Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Works of James Nayler > Foot Yet in the Snare
Good is the word of the Lord, who by his Spirit hath foretold of the heathen raging, and the people imagining vain things, thereby to stop the appearance and exaltation of the king of righteousness in every age of his coming into the world, who hath also foretold of the gatherings together of the great armies of Gog and Magog to battle against the Lamb, with all the subtlety, sorcery, and witchcrafts of the devil, that old serpent and hater <299> of innocency, who ceases not to stir up his chiefest interests and those whom he hath deceived and bewitched with lies and lying wonders, joining together head and tail, root and branch in that nature to trample upon the appearance of Christ and shut up the kingdom against men; and for this end (as one of his deepest designs) he is ever seeking to get in amongst the children of light with his son of perdition, conforming [p.2] himself as near as may be in outward things, yea transforming himself into an angel of light (a thing above all the literal professors) that thereby he may the more strongly delude, and make the way more open whereby to make a havoc of the innocent, doing that under a pretense of owning the truth, which he never could do with open opposition; & this is his design, which ever attends the appearance of the Son of God in this world, for so is the Father's good pleasure to permit him, for the trial & exercise of his own seed where it is manifest: & thus it was with the Son of God in his appearance amongst the Jews, where one of the twelve was a devil, & by his treachery to the light & convincement which he had received, the chief priests & Pharisees got their envy effected against the Lamb (he being an instrument for them against him) which they never could do by all their disputes & open contentions & oppositions: & so it is seen at this day by thee John Toldervy, & the chief priests in these days joined with thee herein, joining your deceits against the innocent way of the Lamb: & this design of Satan the Spirit of God hath foreseen & revealed to his holy apostles & prophets, which was to continue for the trials of his own at his coming amongst the saints in after-ages; & therefore Paul at his departure doth forewarn them to take heed unto the flock & church of God, which he had purchased with his own blood, not only warning them of grievous wolves which would enter in amongst them, not sparing the flock, but, saith he, also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things to draw disciples after them to perdition; & these are the heresies which the Scripture tells of, which the Holy Ghost saith must be amongst the people of God; that they that are approved may be made manifest;2 & it doth not only manifest them that are approved, but them that are for perdition also; <300> and these things were not strange to such as dwelt in the light, nor are they strange to such as in the light dwell now, who see there cannot be a war unless there be a dragon as well as a Lamb, and the beast with the many heads & horns, with blasphemy on every head, as it is seen in you of many colors, heads, & horns joined [p.3] together in this blasphemy, as doth now appear, & will appear more plain concerning you in this thing, than before, who have set to your hands to certify the belief you have concerning the truth of the devil's actings, who is a liar from the beginning & abode not in the truth, nor doth he abide in the truth; and to all who are in the least measure of light, you have discovered yourselves with whom you join, & against whom you take part, though your secret smiting cannot touch the truth, nor them where it is manifest; all you can do is to shut up the kingdom against such as are in the world with you, lest they should enter; as did your fathers so do you, & of their reward shall you receive, having filled up your measure: three sorts of people there are that are much concerned in this filthy thing you have hatched & brought forth (besides the common scoffers of these days) as a snare to catch withal & to devour in the way by consent, as your fathers ever did. The first sort of which the greatest envy is, are without the reach of your trap; & those who have received the light of Christ, whose eye is in their head, who are come to any measure of the anointing, & are joined in the election, in the least measure there abiding, are set above all the devil's deceit and lying wonders, who are brought to the love of the Lord, his light and life; to such I say, this & all other things that can befall in this world work together with the light for your good, and therein I do rejoice on your behalf, who shall hereby not only glorify God, who hath opened an eye to see above all these wiles of Satan, whereby they are judged, and the ground from whence they arise, but also hereby learn the more to fear the Lord, & to walk worthy of him in your measures, who hath called you out of darkness, wherein others are stumbling and falling in mischief, into his marvelous light, wherein abiding you will all be taught by this as by all other his works, to know his end as to yourselves, that he may teach you his praise both in redeeming his own seed, & also in hardening the wicked to destruction: The second sort are such as in their hearts are convinced with the light of Christ of the way of truth, <301> but finding it strait to their carnal pleasure & profits, not loving [p.4] the truth more than the world, but taking pleasure in unrighteousness, and serving and loving the creature more than the Creator, such will be glad of a stumbling block, to take occasion thereby to cast off the yoke wholly, and so to speak evil of that which they are convinced to be the right way, and would have walked therein had it not been too strait to hold them and their lusts. To such I say, you have your desire herein; and as you waited for a stumbling block, thereat to take offence at the cross, so God in judgment hath sent you one suitable to your desires, even from him whose coming is after the working of Satan, with signs and lying wonders, with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, because you received not the truth in the love of it that you might be saved; for this cause God hath sent you strong delusions that you should believe a lie, that you all may be damned who take pleasure in unrighteousness more than in the cross of Christ.3 And as the spirit of witchcraft in the magicians did harden Pharoah's carnal proud heart more against Moses and the seed of God, so will the same spirit take advantage upon your lusts to do the like, though in a different manner, yet to the same end, and upon you is the righteous judgments of God in this case, who are joined to that nature which God hath raised up to show his power upon; and in the end you will find that you are of them upon whom this day of the Lord comes as a snare, when you are grown up into your measure of hardness and enmity against the light of Christ, opportunities to which you will not want from the Lord in judgment so long as you abide in that nature and the love of it, whereof in love to your souls I am moved to warn you.
There is a third sort, for whose sakes I am moved especially to write something in answer to this filthy [p.5] thing, which otherwise (being a work of the devil) it should have rotted rather than have been raked in or mentioned over again by me; and these are such as have a simplicity in them, and a love to the truth and the way thereof, and would walk in it, did they know it, but are yet kept in blindness and darkness by their blind guides, who take advantage by these works of the devil, lies, and slanders to thicken <302> the veil & strengthen the bonds whereby to keep them from the light of life and way of peace, and so keep them in the way of destruction for their corrupt ends, which were they not ensnared in these things through their deceit, might possibly be brought forth into the ways of salvation, many of them already having been made sensible from the Lord in love to their souls, of the barrenness, unfruitfulness, and unrighteousness of the world's ways, wherein they have been led; and also the deceit, pride, and covetousness and contrary-walking of their teachers, both in doctrine, manners, and maintenance, to all those whom ever Christ appointed for the work of the ministry in any age. I say, for you who are in this case, out of the knowledge of God, his light and life, which is your salvation, doth my bowels yearn, being sensible of your condition from the Lord, and how easy a thing it is for you to be kept in delusion (by the false teachers), who are not come to the true light, especially, having such things as these, with your lying spirit to work upon, whereby to affright you from the truth, which many simple hearts are inquiring after in this day of the Lord's love; as also, knowing that any being begun to be unsettled from the deceits by the light of Christ, and then come to be settled again by a spirit of deceit, and joining therewith; seeing such deny the tender of love, how hard a thing it is for such to be recovered to hearken to anything from the Lord in Spirit to bring them near him: I say, for your sakes where the simplicity is, am I [p.6] made free to lay open to you some of the deceits of these spirits that lay wait for your souls, that unless you choose your own delusion rather than the simplicity of truth, you may not be by them ensnared, as the Light of Christ in your consciences will one day witness my tender love to your souls herein.
And to you John Toldervy, Tho. Brooks, Tho. Jacombe, George Cokayne, Will. Adderly, John Goodwin, John Tombes, Will. Jenkyn, and Matt. Poole, who are joined together, that with the light of Christ you might take notice against whom you are joined, and what work it is you are joined in, which is, to bear witness unto lies and confusions, and lying wonders which you never saw nor heard, as by your own confession, who say, some of you have but perused a part of the thing to which you are witnesses, and have but the things by hearsay, and that from one possessed with a deluded spirit, wherein you show your envy and <303> rashness and want of discretion, and therefore are found falsifying your own words in your book, and so have ensnared yourselves in your own wickedness; and this you call The Foot out of the Snare, and so your work is begun with a lie, and so carried on, who in your title page tell of the manner of his separation from the Quakers, which is false; for those you call Quakers did separate from him and deny him, both in word and writing, because of his following a bewitched Spirit, and would not be reclaimed by them, who oft reproved him and judged him for it with one consent, as you afterward confess in your book, page 38, and in other places of your book also. As in your title page also, you tell of what judgment he was learned in by the ministry of those people, and so bear witness you know not to what, for both you and he are yet unlearned in the judgment and ministry of those you call Quakers, whose judgment and ministry is not to be led by vain customs and imaginations out of the truth, as you are, [p.7] and are witnesses that he was, as in your book is declared. In your Epistle you say the subject matter of your discourse relates principally to the persons who go under the name of Quakers, and you confess that many have abused the truth by seeking to defend themselves in that deceit, which the Spirit which is of God in those you call Quakers hath witnessed against, by which (you say) the generality of men are through their misguided spirits, already beyond measure, bitterly incensed against them; to which, I say, let your practice judge you, as to the work in hand, in seeking to defend yourselves in that deceit which the Spirit of God in us hath witnessed against. As to the particular actings of that deluded spirit with whom you are joined witnesses in your book, and so are of those who have abused the truth, thereby more bitterly to incense the generations of men beyond measure against us, through your misguided spirit; yea, so much I may say, the devil had never yet such a design on foot, for the incensing people against those you call Quakers, as this book of yours, which you have filled with the devil's works and lying wonders, wrought and witnessed amongst yourselves, whereof we are clear, from the first to the last, having been witnesses against it; and yet you are not ashamed to say, the subject matter doth relate principally to the persons of the Quakers, which was acted and witnessed among your own persons, which are joined one in it against <304> that Spirit of God in the Quakers, by which it was denied in the persons of them, both root and branch thereof, as is confessed and witnessed by you. So let all judge who have the Spirit of truth, if you be not those misguided spirits (you tell on) beyond measure, who are casting upon us the deceits acted amongst yourselves, and yet confess the Spirit of God in us witnessing against deceit; so out of your own mouths be you judged to be those who take part with the deceit (acted among yourselves) [p.8] against the Spirit of God, who have cast upon us the works that are done amongst yourselves, of which we are clear in the presence of God. Yea, Judas and the chief priests might as truly charge what they did in combining together against Christ, upon the other eleven disciples, as you charge this your act and combination upon the persons of the Quakers, or the Spirit of God in them, the case being the same both in respect of matter and quality, as near as possibly may be; and how guilty the disciples were of that, or we of this, let the light of Christ in all consciences be judge, till he appear to reward you according to your work.
Further, in your epistle you tell of expressing tenderness towards your brethren and companions who by their misguided spirit are subject to laws and ordinances, ceremonies and traditions of their own inventing, denying themselves their just and lawful liberty out of a slavish fear: to which I say, as for ordinances, ceremonies, and traditions and inventions, they are your own, and so is that misguided spirit, which led in the inventions to what was acted, as is declared in this book, as also that misguided spirit by which you are led in your worships, you parish masters and separated masters, who have lost the form of the saints' worship and with your misguided spirit are run into the inventions in every particular of your worship which you perform in your idols' temples, so that the Scripture will not warrant your practice in any particular without wresting to suit your inventions; so it nearly concerns you to plead for tenderness towards your brethren, who are companions with you in this misguided spirit, and subject to those ordinances and inventions into which you are run, that you may also partake of that compassion, who never loved to be plainly dealt withal nor reproved for your errors. But as for them who are come from under that misguided spirit with its ordinances and [p.9] inventions, it may be long ere you be heard pleading for compassion <305> to such; nay, against such is all your misguided ordinances and misguided spirits with all their inventions combined together, as appears in your book, who have joined testimony to the works of the devil against the Spirit of God, under a pretense of love to the truth, as you would plead for your misguided spirit, ordinances and inventions, under a pretense of compassion; and so you show to all that are wise-hearted what your compassion is to. But as for denying yourselves of liberty lawful or unlawful, you are little guilty of that crime, but would accuse others for doing it because we cannot run with you into your excess of pride, drunkenness and gluttony, and all manner of lasciviousness, and shelter it with you under the name of Christian liberty; therefore you speak evil of us who see your wickedness and cannot join with you therein, who under the name of Christian liberty have opened a door to your hearers of all licentiousness, as woeful experience may witness throughout the nations, what pride and oppression, what excess and lasciviousness, drunkenness and gluttony, gaming, sporting, and wantonness; what changeable fashions and foolish childish toys in your habits which you are pleading for in your book, which sober-minded heathen would be ashamed of, what idolatrous worships, speaking high words through the lusts of the flesh, beguiling the souls that are unstablished; what idolatrous days and feasts, what imprisonment, persecution, and bloodshed; what swearing and whoring, foolish jesting and filthy communication, idle talking, and all manner of abominations is lived in amongst you and your hearers; and all covered with the name of Christian liberty; and if any make conscience of these things they are presently condemned by you for denying themselves their just and lawful liberty, accused of whimsies and voluntary humiliation, and [p.10] covenant of works; and so the devil hath got Scriptures and the saints' words to plead for his lusts and condemn the saints' practice. And how much you parish masters value the just liberty of such as witness against your unjust dealings, the most of the jails in the nation may testify. So the liberty of Barabbas bespeaks the death of Jesus and his imprisonment. Do not ye remember your fathers the bishops, who under pretense of Christian liberty set out their play books, giving them names of lawful recreations, which indeed were the devil's practices? and are not you got upon the same beast, yet as blind as they, and as full of rage (had you the same <306> power) against them that reprove you thereof? But as for any liberty we deny which is according to God, charge us with it in particular and let truth make its defense. You tell again of giving account of John Toldervy his separation from the people called Quakers; I say, that is but the former lie told over again, for the people called Quakers did separate from him, when he was separated from the light and acted by a spirit of darkness, and would not be reclaimed.
In your cautions to the reader you confess that his errors from what was written in the Scripture and in himself, was that by which he dearly suffered, having before cast it upon the persons of the Quakers; and this is the truth which you are satisfied of, as you have signified with your hands, but are found with deceit in your mouths. If it was his departing from the Scriptures, and what was written in him, that was his error and cause of his sufferings, then it was not the persons of the Quakers, which before you said was the subject matter of your discourse, and that which did relate principally to their persons; neither was it any judgment he learned by the ministry of those people, as you seem to hold forth in another place, and thus you are not ashamed to utter your deceits, and believing [p.11] of lies, to tell them, and set your hands to them, thinking thereby to have them pass as unquestionable truths, and to that end recommend them to all Christians, and so are found abusing the truth and defending the deceits which you confess the Spirit of God in those you call Quakers hath witnessed against, and so through your misguided Spirit are incensing the people beyond measure in bitterness against us, show yourselves to be of that Spirit which did ever oppose the Spirit of God, which you confess to be in us, as out of your own mouth you may be judged:
In your first page you bear witness with John Toldervy who you say hath been for divers years full of zeal after the things of God; seeking after the knowledge of Christ, for the clearing of his conscience to his close walking with God, and blameless life and conversation amongst men. And in your 49th page you bear witness to him, that before he was principled in the way of the Quakers he had been very zealously affected in divers ways, and there was begot in him much fleshly wisdom, in which his hope did much rest, believing it was the mystery and wisdom of the <307> Holy Spirit revealed in him; and that he was covered over with deceit, and did glory in that condition; and both these must be believed to be truth by your certificate, and this you have recommended as a piece worthy to be read and taken into consideration by all serious Christians. But may not all that consider of it see you stark blind and drunk with abomination and confusion? Could zeal to God, and exceeding love towards Christ, and ways most useful for clearing his conscience, in order to his upright and close walking with God, and blameless life and conversation amongst men, and resting in much fleshly wisdom, [p.12] and glorying in being covered over with deceit, stand together in one person? and both these you say he had in his profession before he joined with the Quakers; what a testimony is this that you nine are joined in! Do you think it will excuse you to say that you read it not all over? with them whom you have blinded it may, but the least of the children of light may see you are erred from the truth and joined in deceit, witnessing you know not what.
And in your second page you tell of a spirit infused into him by the operation whereof together with what he apprehended of himself, after a short time, there was made clear to his understanding what follows; so that by your confession this spirit from which he has those apprehensions was infused into him before he knew the Quakers, after which he became affected with those people called Seekers, and afterward met with two of those called Quakers, and yet the drift of your book is to make people believe that he received this spirit among the Quakers, and this is another piece of your recommended truth; so with your own hands you have signified your confusion, and cleared them whom you intended to slander.
In your third page you tell of the Quakers that what they spoke was against all sin, yet they declared nothing of the mystery of the gospel of Christ; so that by your doctrine, that which declares against all sin is nothing of the gospel of Christ. I say, if you had said it had been nothing of your gospel, you might have been believed, whose gospel and the mystery thereof is by talking against sin to make a cover for sin. But there is nothing that speaks against all sin indeed and in truth, but the gospel of Christ, though another gospel many of you have invented wherein you can imagine a justification to yourselves while you are the servants <308> of sin; but by the gospel of Christ, which speaks against [p.13] all sin, do the Quakers know whose gospel that is which justifies you while you are the servants of sin and live in it and encourage your hearers therein also. Are you not ashamed to give it under your hands, that that which speaks against all sin is nothing of the gospel? Was that nothing of the gospel when he said, "Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon thee?" If this was anything of the gospel, or the mystery of it, then all may see that you nine are joined in a lie. And to say that the Quakers speak nothing of the mystery of the gospel, let thousands that have heard them be witnesses against you, whether this be not another; yet by your ninefold cord you would have these to pass for truths.
In your seventh page you tell of one whom he knew to be a very serious true hearted man which was converted to our belief, which gave John Toldervy to understand that the person, that Son of God, that died at Jerusalem, was not the redeemer of man from sin. To which I say, Did you hear that man say so? or have you it from him who is possessed? or did you ever admonish that man of his error to his face before you slandered him before all the world? Have you done herein like Christians, or as you would be done unto? Or did you ever see his face? Or do you know his name? and why is it not here mentioned, that we might have admonished him though you will not? Have you not herein discovered your Spirit and yourselves a pack of slanderers and backbiters, to accuse a man in print whom you never saw nor spoke to? one without name; all that are not blind may see this stone is not cast at one man but against the whole truth, and upon your own heads shall it return, for all that ever knew those people called Quakers will bear us witness that we own no redeemer but that Son of God which died at Jerusalem, whom we witness in us, the light by which we see sin, and by obedience thereto are led out of sin.
[p.14] In your eighth page you seem to reproach the Quakers, saying you know some of them who fasted 30 or 40 days:4 I say, if you had lived in the days of Moses, Elias, David, Daniel, and <309> other the saints of God, and the apostles, who made proof of their ministries in fastings and prayings; yea Christ himself should have had no better from you than scorn and reproach therein, fasting being a thing which your generation knows little of, nor are exercised in, whose care in the first place is for your bellies; and all must fast about you before you want your hire which you expect from them, which many times you do no work for, yet war is prepared if they put not into your mouths, suits and prisons, yea many times where the children want bread, and whereof you stand in no need; so that there is little thoughts of your fasting. But would you be counted ministers of Christ and follow him, and is fasting become a reproach with you? David declares of your generation, by whom his fasting was turned to his reproach by the belly-gods of his time; and the same spirits now act the same things.
In your ninth page you tell of two spirits in him, one contrary to the other, by which he did many things in his will, against his will. And in your 49th page you say, before he was persuaded to comply with us, he had a right knowledge of our belief and practice; here is another piece of your confusion manifest; had he a right knowledge of our belief and practice who was thus acted, for which you confess he was judged by all the Quakers? and thus your false witnesses will not agree to the end you intended, only it serves to manifest your own absurdities and that confused spirit to which you are joined, which you say led him to do things in his will, against his will, whereby you say he became a destroyer of the will of God, and this you would cast upon the Quakers; whom you confess to [p.15] have the Spirit of God in them, witnessing against all deceit and misguided spirits, as though the Spirit of God which witnesseth against all deceit did lead him to destroy the will of God; and afterward confess, in the same page, that it was his imaginary, which being overthrown in one thing, there was begotten the like being in another shape, thus adding your confusion, as though the like being could be in another shape, by which you say he was wrought upon to believe many things and act many things, as follows, and yet your drift in the book is to accuse the light of Christ therewith, as though his imaginaries were the light of Christ: and much such unsavory stuff your slanderous spirits send out of the bottomless pit.
Then you go on and tell of his believing of what was manifest <310> of God in man, is the light of life, and one with himself and that man was the cause of all his distractions and confusions in himself, and that man having lost the kernel and substance, he feedeth on dry husks, and being not refreshed with bread and water of life he remains always seeking and never satisfied; and that eternal life living in us there needeth no more thirst; and that confusion proceeds from the evil one transformed in man, who having darkened his understanding, leads him to many duties that are his own, & that if the author and finisher of our faith live in us, there is perfection, and that in the first creation man was made pure and holy, &c. and many other precious truths which nearly concerns the salvation of every soul to know, and these being things which the devil most envies, you have mixed with them some of your own deceits, thereby the better to make people believe they are errors; and having heaped a great sort of them together that you might strike at the whole foundation at once, then you say that you will declare some of those effects which this change wrought in him, [p.16] going on to tell of his filthy practices, being led with flies to crucify himself, and to burn his legs, and prick needles in his thumbs, and such filthy bewitched stuff not worth the mentioning, being the devil's work.
You blasphemers, did those truths of God beforementioned lead to these things? how are you filled with subtle envy against the truth? Was there ever such a nest, to set your hands to slander the truth? Shall not the Lord find you out and bring your wickedness upon your own pate? Shall your joining hand in hand keep your wickedness from being punished? What you have done in secret the Lord will reward you openly; the day of revelation is at hand, and you can be no longer hid.
You go on to tell how he was moved not to pull off the hat to any man; to speak the word "thee" and "thou"; not to bow or worship any man, not to direct his mind in drinking to any; to pull off his points at his knees, and his buttons that were unnecessary, and suchlike things which you would loath see go down, and therefore give it as though it was the spirit of the devil that bare witness against these things, and so would condemn the Spirit of God and practice of the saints, for the upholding of the devil's work, who is not divided against himself, who hath too many amongst you to make covers for pride and excess to set any on work to cry it <311> down, or your flattering titles either. Did ever the Spirit of God use any other language to a particular than "thou" or "thee"? Doth it not forbid bowing or worshipping any man? Or did ever any who are guided by the Spirit of God put off their hats one to another in way of worship or compliment? Or did they ever use the practice of you drunkards, drinking one to another, enticing one another to devour the creatures upon your lusts, by your heathenish customs? Or did they ever use points at their knees in your manner of filthy pride? May not all see what you are about to uphold? Are you [p.17] the ministers of Christ or the ministers of sin, who are pleading for pride and the world's customs, and whether this be not the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, which is not of the Father? Let your testimony that you have set your hands unto be witness against you.
Have you taken monies so many years for preaching against sin, pride, and drunkenness, respect of persons, and creature-worships (and lived in it)? and now that Christ is come to bear testimony against it in practice and to cast it down in his creatures, are you now forced to set to your shoulders, both in word and writing, lest it should fall? Do not the most of your pulpits sound every day against those people who cannot bow to these filthinesses? Who would have believed (had they judged by your words) that you would have been found the ministers of sin and antichrist? Is this your "foot out of the snare," or a bringing all feet into the snare? Is this a restoration of the inhabitants of Zion into their place, whose words tend to uphold such things whereby Zion is captivated, and Babylon's brats restored into their place? Herein you are seen, for this is the day of revelation and righteous judgment which is coming on, and by your works you must be proved, and not by your words, and your reward shall be accordingly.
Then you go on to tell of the working of this power upon his spirit, and that by his persuasion of this way he was engaged to make restitution of forty shillings which he had adventured to take unwarrantably. So you condemning that Spirit and way which caused the restitution are found the justifiers of that which took it falsely. So all may see who love truth and honesty what Spirit and way you are engaged against, for that spirit which took the money before was not that which forced the restoration, neither was that which pulled off [p.18] the pride the same that <312> put it on again and pleads for it; these two are contrary as much as between the just and the unjust, a true man and a thief, God and the devil; and you being forced to confess this thing (to his praise by whose Spirit he was moved thereunto), you have thrust it in amongst his deceits to render it odious as a work of the spirit of the devil; but that is your deceit, who would blind the works of God by mixing them among the works of the devil. The children of light see you, for that Spirit we own which caused him to make restitution, which caused him to cast away his pride and heathenish customs, creature-worships, and respect of persons, and brought him into the form of sound words; but that spirit we condemn which took the money, hath put on the pride, denied the faith, and run into respect of persons, and we see that to be it which led him into the witchcrafts, for thieving, witchcraft, pride and idolatry, are all of one spirit, and that spirit was condemned by those who believed the apostles' doctrine, who confessed their sins, burned their books, and made restitution. And here are the two spirits you tell on, which were in him, the one contrary to the other; but when he denied the Spirit of meekness which condemns the thief, and the pride, then the other spirit exalted, and led him to follow his damned imaginations; having denied the light and spirit of peace, joined to the proud, exalted, and deceitful spirit, God in judgment gave him up to the spirit of delusion, which being seen, he was by us denied and his spirit also, as is very well known, both to himself and divers more. And all you who have joined with him in this spirit, to deny that Spirit which caused the restitution, are seen in the eternal light to be in the same state with the chief priests and rulers, who joined with Judas, who bare the bag in combination to betray Christ, & this you will find when the day of account [p.19] comes, when each spirit will be seen as they are, and they that join with them; then shall not you be hid, who have set this work on foot, raised out of the depth of Satan; till then we are not ashamed of that Spirit which caused restitution, condemned his pride, and bare witness in him, if he had minded it, against all his lying wonders, divinations and sorceries. And in that Spirit are we willing to suffer all the reproach of the heathen, in love to justice and meekness; so take your own with which you are joined and think not to be hid under a pretense of clearing <313> the truth, no more than Judas could be hid with a kiss; and you will see at that day that what you have done is but to dig the pit deeper into which you must fall, for from the Lord your counsels are not hid. And before all the world do we own that Spirit which leads to truth and meekness and humility, and do declare that the denying of that Spirit was the cause of all his delusions, and he shall know that that was his day of visitation. And you that have taken part against that Spirit, at that day shall know your blasphemy, and your condition you may read, Mark 3:29-30. Read their work, and who they were, and read your own.
And in your 17th page, you say, A short time after his compliance with that spirit which entered into him by the observation of our practices; and in your second page you say, This spirit was infused before he went amongst the Seekers, or knew the Quakers; so it was far unlike to enter by the observation of our practice. And by the observation of our practice (you say) declared to be from the teachings of the Spirit, he denied his master, & afterward denied all relations, went & sat down at the head-end of the table above his master, & justified the deed of it, & went into Cheapside to gather up cabbage stalks & colwort leaves, which were cast away, to eat; & was possessed that Christ Jesus which died at Jerusalem was a figure of him, [p.20] and that he was the true Christ, that the dissolution of all things would be at the end of 63 years, and that there was a greater revelation to be made manifest in him than was in Christ, to believe in outward appearances, and spirits in likeness of a man's shade; to believe in lying spirits and take them for angels, and that he should be made perfect in 25 days; and that he was to suffer, waiting for and desiring apparitions, which would come and go at his desire, dancing and flying about the room, and he dancing himself with them; choosing apostles, believing in spirits singing and hissing like bees, calling them the angels of the living God; kindling fire with dead coals, and such lying wonders, taking a fly to be a messenger of God, and being guided by flies, gathering sticks, leaves, and small stones, laying them by themselves, casting some away, and keeping others, waiting for direction from the blaze of a candle, burning his flesh at the fire at the observation of a fly, wrestling with himself, imitating the crucifying and burying of Christ, and much suchlike bewitched imaginations, which spirit you affirm entered into him by <314> the observation of our practices, and by a spirit that entered in thereby: O you shameless men! are not you led by the same bewitched confused spirit with which you have taken part, by which you are so blinded to vomit out your own shame, and utter out your confusion before all the world? Have not you before confessed that this spirit was infused into him before he came among the Seekers or ever knew the Quakers? And have not you confessed in your 49th page, "That the cause of these distractions and confusions in his mind, was, having been zealously affected in divers ways before, there was begotten in him much fleshly wisdom, in which his hope did rest, believing it to be the Holy Spirit revealed in him, and that he was covered with deceit and could glory in that condition"; and in your 50th page you confess "the light of the Spirit, which [p.21] if followed, would have guided out of the works of the flesh and led to the worship of God in spirit and truth; but he being naturally of a very hasty forward mind, and his resolutions being a covenant of his own, he was hastily carried forth before the true light, by which in a short time he became lost in his understanding, and exalted mightily, and the enemy which was for condemnation having thereby darkened the true light of the sun, formed itself in the shape of the true light, and so deceit got the power, whereby he became obedient to these things before related, by which the simple became exceedingly deceived." Is not this your own confession under your hands? and dare you join to blaspheme and say that this was by compliance with that spirit which is declared to be from the teachings of the Spirit of Christ in us, when you yourselves had cleared it in plain words and laid it upon his fleshly mindedness and deceit, whereby he was hastily carried forth before the true light, which if he had followed (you say) would have led him out of the works of the flesh into the true worship of God in spirit and truth. Are not you in the sight of all who know the Spirit of God, seen to be led with the same drunken, confused, blasphemous spirit: to slander the teachings of the spirit of Christ with these things, wherein your own hands testify against you? And in your 32nd & 33rd pages, "when he was working these wonders, pulling off his band, gathering sticks and leaves, serving the devil and" (say you) "in the time of this service, by the persuasion of divers of those you call Quakers, sometimes he would give over; but when given over, he would be <315> commanded by the first fly he saw to that service again." And afterwards in page 38 do you not confess that when he came to the meeting at the place where the Quakers were, showing the holes he had made in his thumbs, and telling of these lying wonders which he had been acting, many of the Quakers being there, all of them judged him with one consent, charged him to be [p.22] silent, and told him that he was in darkness and had slain the witness of God in him. And in your 51st page you confess he was restored to a right understanding, and his life became a clear light by being guided in that obedience which was professed by those people; and all this being your own confession and signed with your own hands for truth, you are not ashamed to charge all these things upon a spirit that entered in by the observation of our practices whom you call Quakers. Was there ever such a heap of confusion and falsehood uttered and signed for truth by a pack of men stark drunk with envy against the truth? Shall not all who know our practices be witness against you herein, that never any of these practices was owned by us? and be you witnesses against yourselves forever, that you are of that generation who had ever the mouth open against the innocent, they being moved to bear testimony against your filthy practices is the cause of this envy, as witness all your generation throughout the Scriptures, and all the histories of the innocent sufferings, to reproach, persecution or blood: when did ever any of this befall the innocent lambs of God but you were the instruments to set it on foot and carry it on under the name of heresies or blasphemy, sometime possessing the rulers of the earth, and sometimes the people therewith, as though you were zealous for God, when it is for your own ends to vent your envy against the righteous seed at his appearance? Was it not the chief priests who joined hands against the prophets who were sent by the Lord to bear witness against their false doctrine and greediness of hire, wherefore they could never be at rest with anything short of their blood? Was it not the chief priests who combined against Christ with many plots and temptings, and could never be at rest till they prevailed with a Judas to betray him? (the case now in hand). And how oft they sought the life of the apostles, the [p.23] Scriptures make manifest; yea, they would join with murderers therein, under a pretense of performing a vow, besides the innocent blood that hath been shed since in every generation; and is there any in this <316> city but they are ashamed to have a hand in so filthy a thing? or to cast upon a people that are innocent such a slander—any but yourselves? So consider your work and the confused thing you have set your hands to, wherein you have been forced so often to clear us of the thing you have so often accused us of, and to the world declared yourselves, whereof all the world cannot prove us guilty of these deceits wrought by him, further than to testify against him and them, and that spirit by which he was acted, as we do against that spirit by which you are now acted in your lies and slanders, which is the same spirit; for the sorcerer, the murderer, and the liar is one spirit; so you who have cast these things upon the persons of the Quakers, which yourselves do testify they denied and judged with one consent, let all men see by what spirit you are led. Was there ever such a thing done amongst the people of God? Had you lived in the apostles' times would not you have slandered the truth and the persons of the saints with the act of Simon Magus (though it was much better than you, who sell that which is not the gift of God)? Would not you have charged the act of the incestuous person upon the apostles, and that of Ananias and Sapphira upon their doctrine? and that of Judas upon Christ and his disciples? which is the like case. And had this been just dealing to accuse the innocent? or have you done herein as you would be done unto? Would you have all the filthiness of your hearers, the drunkenness, whoring, the witchcrafts, the murders, the persecutions, the swearings, the pride, the covetousness, and all abominations in the land (for amongst your hearers, you parish-masters it all is), [p.24] would you have it raked up and cast upon your persons? Nay, though some of it you be guilty of; nay, would you who are the false witnesses in this paper against the innocent, have the abomination that some of you are guilty of gathered up and cast upon the persons of the rest? consider of it. If you had any part of the true worship of God in your steeplehouses, would you have it slandered by one whom you cannot reclaim and therefore have denied? Would you hold them guiltless who should gather up all these things, and much suchlike which is amongst you, not denied (as we have done him) but pleaded for, and printed it in a book, and set it out with many false aggravations, & say "the subject matter doth relate principally to the persons of you," & subscribe hands to it, & say, "they are certified of the contents and <317> circumstances of that discourse, and are fully satisfied of the truth of things reported in it", and so commend it to all as a piece worthy to be read, when you confess some of you have but perused a part thereof, and then be forced in the same paper to clear you of the same things: this being the true case betwixt yourselves and us, whose persons you have slandered; take it into consideration, and let the light of Christ be judge in you, whether you have kept the royal law, "to do as you would be done unto," before God; let him be witness (whose Spirit you have blasphemed) this day between us and you. Also, let all the judges in this nation give their testimony, and all that understand law between man and man, if such a witness deserve not the pillory, or punishment suitable to his slander, who would dare to be a witness against another in things he never saw nor heard, as you confess some of you have done, though I am far from desiring that any of these things should befall you, but that you might come to see your unjust dealing after the manner of men, being that the things of God you understand not, being heart-blind are become past feeling, and so given [p.25] up to shameless things, to set to your hands as witnesses to such contradictions and confusions as is in this your book; yet to become as certain witnesses to that which you confess you have but seen part of, and so set to your hand to you know not what. Was ever such a thing done by any that feared God? moderate heathen would blush thereat. Have not some of you been the wisdom of the nation? But how are you fallen! and how hath envy besotted you! Is not the word of the Lord concerning your fathers in fulfilling now upon you? "The days of your visitation is come; the days of recompense are come; Israel shall know it; the prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad for the multitude of their iniquity, and the great hatred: the prophet is a snare of a fowler in all his ways, and hatred in the house of his God."5 Praises, praises to our redeemer, who frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad: that turneth wise men backward and maketh their knowledge foolish: that saith to the deep, be dry, and I will dry up the rivers, that he may make way for his kingdom through the depth of the sorceries."6 In his works we rejoice, who hath <318> given us an inheritance therein; yet for you there is a lamentation, knowing the shame that must cover you and the woeful day that must come upon you, which is near at hand.
You go on further in your deceit to make a cover for all this filthiness, and when you have fathered all these lying wonders upon the persons of the Quakers, then you go about to clear us of it again; and in your 49th page you say he had a clear understanding of what our ministry held forth, and had a right knowledge of our belief and practice before he did comply with us; and here you add another lie to cover the former, for he never had a right knowledge of our belief or practice, for all that are in a right knowledge of our faith and practice deny all such things, and by our faith and practice was he denied, who acted such things.
[p.26] And then you go on to tell the occasion how he came to be lost in his understanding, and so distracted and confused in mind; and this you say you will do for the truth's sake: O ye full of all subtlety! Have you cast out all this venom upon the truth in your book, and are you now about to clear it? Is there not more of the devil seen herein than in your former wickedness? more hypocrisy and deceit? Stop your mouths you dissemblers; the truth will clear itself, and in the end all shall witness it when the war is completed, and the beast and the false prophet is cast into the lake.
And in the clearing of the truth say you, "he being fully persuaded by what he learned from the Quakers, of the truth which was made known by the light in us, which light is spiritual and guides out of the work of the flesh, to worship God in Spirit and truth, he was then to wait out of thoughts and imaginations," &c. and "his understanding being now thus opened, he was possessed with much joy in the sense of that love he had received, whereupon he was resolved to give all diligence that his calling and election may be made sure; but being naturally of a hasty and forward mind, and his resolution in part being of a covenant of his own, there was speedily begot in him an extreme fiery zeal, so that in the general he was hastily carried forth before the true light, by which in a short time he became lost in his understanding and so the disputer was raised to life; and that which was for condemnation, having darkened the light of the sun, formed itself in the shape of the true light, and so deceit got the power and led out of the true obedience in the things before related, by which the <319> simple became exceedingly deceived; but when he was restored by the clear light of life, being guided in that obedience which was professed [p.27] by those people amongst whom he was, being the Quakers, and his witness," you say, "herein is true." To all which, I say, this being true, then out of your own mouths be ye judged, that what you witnessed to before was a lie; for if it was the true spiritual light which first let him see his darkness, and would have guided him out of the works of the flesh, his own thoughts and imaginations; and if the cause why he turned from that was his natural hasty forward mind and resolution, which carried him forth before the true light, being a covenant of his own, and thereby darkened the light of the sun and so formed up false lights in shape of a true light, whereby deceit got power to do those filthy things before related; and if he was restored again by the true light, being guided by that obedience which was professed by the Quakers, and this, you say, his witness therein is true; then let all wherein there is the least measure of honesty judge of your blasphemy, lies and slanders, and abominable confusions, who all along in your book have gone about to defile and slander the true light of the Spirit of God with these filthy things, which you now confess was acted in his hasty forward mind, carried forth before the true light in a covenant of his own, whereby the true light was darkened and the deceit got power to act those things by which the simplicity was deceived, which you would cast upon the persons of the Quakers: can you behold your confusion and not be ashamed? Is this your "foot out of the snare"? and do you not blush at your envy against the innocent? and are you not afraid at your envy against the light? Can you say and unsay, accuse and excuse, and all in one thing, and witness all for truth? was there ever a generation of men thus brazened in iniquity, and who could feed upon mischief like you? [p.28] How long will you make lies your refuge, and smite the innocent in secret therewith, who are passing on their way peaceably? Do you believe that all are so blind as some who are led by you, who believe all to be truths you speak in your pulpits without examination? Or do you think that wisdom and light is wholly excluded from amongst men, and true judgment wholly rejected? then might you think that your lies and deceits might pass unreproved & you cover yourselves therewith as with a garment. But the Lord is <320> risen and rising, & the light is come, & the dayspring from on high is visiting his people, & your works of darkness must come to judgment; & you must know against whom you builders are gathered, though you think it is but against the despised people who have none to take their part in the earth. But what is the work you have done herein, further than manifesting Herod & Pilate, yourselves who could never agree in your worship nor opinions, now joined together to set your hands to a lie against the Lamb and his light, which was ever refused by you builders? and so no strange thing is happened to the children of light; and your works shall tend no further than to accomplish the will of God, to keep them blind who desire not the way of the light, because they love their deeds of darkness, and so the just judgment of God is upon them and you, who are given up to bear your testimony to the liar; for truly the least of the children of light who love their measure of God, with it they see you and your gathering together, and your ground, with the root and branch from whence you spring; you are comprehended with the light, your compass, with the depth of your deceit, and your end; and the arm of the Lord is seen gathering his sheep, which by you have been scattered upon the barren mountains this cloudy dark day, ever since the rise of the pope and his adherents, the head and tail, stalk and branch that from him spring. [p.29] And the Lord is uttering his voice, even the soul-shepherd, calling by his light into his teaching and feeding, who is the spiritual pastor, who is no hireling nor devourer of the sheep, neither doth he make a prey upon them; who seeks the lost which you have driven away, and restores the lame, strengthens the feeble and carries the lambs in his bosom, because they are his own; who doth not feed upon the fat, nor make a prey upon the poor, who doth not teach for the fleece, nor seek for his gain from his quarter, nor bear rule by his means, with force and rigor, who seeks them and not theirs, who respects not the person but the purity. Praises, praises to him forever, who is now appearing to call to an account those who have perverted his way. And all you who have changed his worship into another thing than what he appointed, as is plain amongst you, who have not left one particular of his worship which you have not added to and altered from what it was in himself and his saints, as is plain in Scripture, which will not own <321> any one thing you do in your high places, to be so much as in the form of true worship; but you have formed after the times & changes of men, & some you have led with you into the new forms, and some you have left in the old, till you have scattered the Lord's people from him and his way; so that from the pope to this day you are all gone out of the way, nor is there any one form of worship in the nations, into which you have led them, which is in that manner (much less the matter) in which it was before the pope begun; and because we tell you these things and call you to come to the foundation of truth, we are accounted your enemies. But behold the Lord is zealous for Zion, and is rising to gather his outcasts, and hath uttered his voice, and lift up his standard against the idol-shepherds; therefore are you gathered together against him to war, even the heads of all colors, [p.30] and he will break you to pieces together, and scatter you as you have scattered his lambs, and trampled upon the simple, and made a prey upon him whose heart hath been set to seek God; such have you drawn into your net, and led them into your forms, & there have set yourselves over them, serving yourselves upon them; these must be taken from between your teeth, and gathered not by might nor by power, but by mine arm saith the Lord. Howl you vine-dressers, the heir is come to call for fruit, and you are gathering together against him that you may keep his vineyard as an inheritance to yourselves, who have planted therein for yourselves and not for him, so that the Lord can have no fruit. Your vineyard brings forth pride, vainglory, and respect of persons, love of the world, and conformity thereto, creature-worships, and honor which is not of God; this fruit abounds, and you like it well and plead for it, lest it should be plucked up; but the pure God disowns this fruit, and therefore your plants he will pluck up, which bring forth fruits to the times and not to him, not the same that is and was in his Son. And all your worships which follow the times, and not him, that which changes with the times must be plucked up also, that he may plant that which is before time was, which brings not forth to your times, but unto God; this he will accomplish, though your rage be great. Against whom are you gathered, you scornful proud ones? against a people whom the Lord hath laid as the streets, and as the ground to them that go over. Thus hath the Lord made his people to prove you, and you <322> are found trampling upon them, and they are esteemed in your eyes as not worthy to live. Surely had you risen up against an enemy, you might have had honor; but you are risen up against them that are laid much lower then the lowest of the people, who have no kindred in the earth, nor is there any who will so far [p.31] debase himself as to plead their cause; they are sold for nothing, nor doth any enquire after their blood. Surely to thee O Lord do we look; thou art our beloved on whom we lean; at the end of the times thou hast revived us, and in thy life we shall live. Oh you potsherds of the earth! why will you be broken to pieces? why will not you look to the pit out of which you were digged, before you be taken away in his wrath: for your gathering together is the iron rod prepared, and it is lifted up though you see it not.
And as for thee John Toldervy, who so often hath said to divers people that thou didst put forth this book to clear the truth professed by those called Quakers from many slanders cast upon it through thy means; now that truth by us professed is a witness against thee forever, that thou hast not sought to clear it, but hast sought thine own, and hast caused the truth to be blasphemed above all that ever was before thee in this generation, since the time of his appearance, who is the light of the world; and for that end hast thou gone out to consult with the greatest enemies to that truth professed by us, that is in the nation, as the chief priests ever was. Now to thee and them, from the living God must it be after your work, and to all the rest who have stirred thee up against them who have tendered thy soul, and against that light which let thee see thy sin, which light and truth thou and they shall confess too, at the dreadful day, when you have finished your testimony against it, and for your lusts; but as for us whom the thing is intended against, we desire none of the evil may come upon you, God is our witness; yet do we know his word is true, who hath said, "It is meet that offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom they do come; it had been good he had not been born." So as thou goes towards the pit, remember what is said, and so to you all, and let that of God in all your consciences [p.32] (which you have reproached) be my witness herein against you all who set this work on foot.
If this man gainsaid, and turned into fables, and believed lies, truth changeth not, and the priests make him their refuge as <323> they heretofore did Judas. Was he brought to see his sins, and yet heard nothing of the mystery of the gospel? and is he given over to believe lies, and to gainsay the truth? Did Cain hear the voice of God, and yet slew Abel his brother? Did Korah come out of Egypt; and yet did he gainsay? Dost not thou think to perish in his gainsaying that art ungodly? But thy and your spirits the Lord rebuke, for your spirits are savored and tried, and your voice is known, and your mist doth no hurt among the children of light, nor your smoke; for the sun is risen, and all the barking of the dogs of Egypt against the lambs, them doth not fear; the true shepherd is among his sheep, who puts them forth and goes before them, and they know his voice and follow him, and he gives them eternal life. I am the light of the world; and enlighten every one in the world; so you who do hate the light, as you manifest, in the day of your condemnation remember.
Therefore an exhortation to all friends: the light which Christ lighteth every man withal, which comes from Christ the unchangeable priest, this light lets you see the end of all shadows, visions, and the end of the first priesthood, and all types and figures, and guides out of all changeable things to the unchangeable priest from whence light comes, to him by whom the world was made, from all lying signs and wonders, from all the inventions of the brain, from the feigned humility, from the will-worship, and all hypocrisy, and thoughts and imaginations of man's heart, which is desperately wicked; and hastiness, and foolishness, and inventions, and the desires of man's own will and lusts to Christ, who is the wisdom of God, to receive the wisdom with it, [p.33] to be ordered to the glory of God; and here the everlasting covenant of life, of light, of peace, is witnessed; who believeth in the light makes not haste, for the light manifesteth all that is contrary whatsoever; here is the true humility known, the true patience that obtains the crown, and the willing and the running kept down, which the light manifesteth, which from Christ doth come, to whom all power in heaven and earth is given, which from him doth come, with which light the throne of grace is seen, by which you are saved from the wonders of the beast and the lies of the false prophet which the world runs after.
1. Thomason date: 1 Jan. 1655/56.
2. 1 Cor. 11:19.
3. 2 Thess 2:11-12.
4. Let the adulterers cease seeking for a sign or a miracle in this generation, seeing this is witnessed with your own hands.
5. Hos. 9:7-8.
6. Isa. 44:25,27