Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Works of James Nayler > Glory to God Almighty
who raiseth up and casteth down at his will, who hath ways to confound the exaltation of man, and to chastise his children, and to make man to know himself to be as grass before him, whose judgments are above the highest of men, and his pity reacheth the deepest misery, and thisb arm of his mercy is underneath to lift up the prisoner out of the pit, and to save such as trust in him from the great destruction, which vain man through his folly brings on himself; who hath delivered my soul out of darkness, and made way for my freedom out of the prison-house, and ransomed me from the great captivity, who divides the seas before him and removes the mountains out of his way, in the day when he takes upon him to deliver the oppressed out of the hand of him that is too mighty for him in the earth; let his name be exalted forever, and let all flesh fear before him, whose breath is life to his own, but a consuming fire to the adversary.<232>
And to the Lord Jesus Christ be everlasting dominion upon earth, and his kingdom above all the powers of darkness, even that Christ of whom the Scriptures declares, which was and is, and is to come, the light of the world to all generations, of whose coming I testify with the rest of the children of light begotten of the immortal seed, whose truth and virtue now shines in the world unto the righteousness of eternal life, and the savior of all that believe therein, who hath been the rock of my salvation, and his Spirit hath given quietness and patience to my soul in deep affliction, even for his name's sake, praises forever.
But condemned forever be all those false worships with which any have idolized my person in the night of my temptation, when the power of darkness was above: all their casting off their clothes in the way, their bowings and singings, and all the rest of those wild actions which did any way tend to dishonor the Lord or draw the minds of any from the measure of Christ Jesus in themselves, to look at flesh which is grass or to ascribe that to the visible which belongs to Christ Jesus; all that I condemn by which the pure name of the Lord hath any way been blasphemed through me in that time of temptation, or the spirits of any people grieved that truly loves the Lord Jesus throughout the whole world of what sort soever; this offense I confess which hath been sorrow of heart that the enemy of man's peace in Christ should get this advantage in the night of my trial, to stir up wrath and offenses in the creation of God, a thing the simplicity of my heart did not intend, the Lord knows, who in his endless love hath given me power over it to condemn it. And also that letter sent me to Exeter by John Stranger when I was in prison, with these words, "Thy name shall be no more James Nayler, but Jesus"; this I judge to be written from the imaginations, and a fear struck me when I first saw it, and so I put it in my pocket (close) not intending any should see it, which they finding on me spread it abroad, which the simplicity of my heart never owned. So this I deny also that the name of Christ Jesus is received instead of James Nayler or after the flesh,c for the name is to thed seed to all generations, and he that hath the Son hath the name which is life and power, the salvation and the unction, into <233> which name all the children of light are baptized; so the name of Christ I confess before men, but not according to men, which name to me hath been a strong tower, in the night and in the day.
And this is the name of Jesus Christ which I confess, the Son, and the Lamb, in the seed,e where he speaks in male or female, but who hath not this in himself hath not life, neither can have by idolizing my person, or the person of any flesh, but in whom the heir is born and hath spoken, or doth speak, there he must not be denied the mouth to speak by, who is head over all, and in all his own, God blessed forever.
And all those ranting wild spirits which then gathered about me in thatf time of darkness, and all their wild actions and wicked words against the honor of God and his pure Spirit and people, I deny the spirit, the power and the works thereof; and as far as I gave advantage through want of judgment for that evil spirit in any to arise I take shame to myself, justly, having formerly had power over that spirit in judgment and discerning wherever it was, which darkness came over me through want of watchfulness and obedience to the pure eye of God, and diligent minding the reproof of life, which condemns the adulterous spirit; so the adversary got advantage, who ceases not to seek to devour, and being taken captive from the true light, walked in the night where none can work, as a wandering bird fit for the prey, and if the Lord of all my mercies had not rescued me, I had perished, for I was as one appointed to death and destruction, and there was none could deliver me. And this I confess, that God may be justified in his judgment and magnified in his mercies without end, who did not forsake his captive in the night, even when his Spirit was daily provoked and grieved, but hath brought me forth to give glory to his name forever. And it is in my heart to confess to God and before men my folly and offense in that day, yet was there many things formed against me at that day to take away my life and cast upon the truth of which I am not guilty at all, as that accusation as if I had committed adultery with some of those women who came with us from Exeter prison; and also those who were with me at Bristol the <234> night before I suffered there, of both which accusations I am clear before God, who kept me at that day both in thought and deed, as to all women, as a little child; God is my record, and this I mention in particular (hearing of some who still cease not to reproach therewith God's truth and people) that the mouth of enmity may be shut from evil-speaking, though this touch not my conscience.
Also that report as though I had raised Dorcas Erbury from death, carnally,g this I deny also, and condemn that testimony to be out of the truth, though that power that quickens the dead I deny not, which is the word of eternal life.
And this I give forth that it may go as far as the offense against the Spirit of truth hath gone abroad, that all burdens may be taken off with the truth, and the truth cleared thereby, and the true light and all that walk therein, and the deeds of darkness be condemned, and that all that are in darkness may not act in the night but stay upon God who walksh in the light, who with the workers of iniquity hath not fellowship, which had I done when first darkness came upon me, and not been led by others, I had not run against that rock to be broken which so long had borne me, and of whom I had so largely drunken, and of which I now drink in measure, to whom be the glory of all, and to him must every tongue confess as judge and savior, God over all, blessed forever.
And this further is given me to say to every particular person to whom this writing shall come: whatever is thy condition, wait in the light which lets thee see it: there is thy counsel and thy strength to be received, to stay thee and to recover thee. Art thou tempted to sin? abide in that which lets thee see it, that there thou may come to feed on the right body and not on the temptation, for if thou mind the temptation it will overcome thee, but in the light is salvation; or having sinned art thou tempted to despair or to destroy thyself? mind not the temptation, for it's death that sin hath brought forth; feed not on it nor mind it, lest thou eat condemnation, for that's the wrong body.
The body of Christ is felt in the light, in which is life from death, grace and truth to feed on, which will overcome for thee being followed, but if thou follow the temptation, fear and <235> condemnation will swallow thee up; if there appear to thee voices, visions, and revelations, feed not thereon, but abide in the light and feel the body of Christ, and there wilt thou receive faith and power to judge of every appearance and spirits, the good to hold fast and obey, and the false to resist. Art thou in darkness? mind it not, for if thou do it will fill thee more, but stand still and act not, and wait in patience till light arise out of darkness to lead thee. Art thou wounded in conscience? feed not there, but abide in the light, which leads to the grace and truth which teaches to deny and put off the weight, & removes the cause, and brings saving health to light; yea this I say to thee in the name of Jesus Christ, that though thou have made thy grave as deep as the nethermost hell, or were thy afflictions as great as Job's, and thy darkness as the depth of the sea, yet if thou wilt not run to vain helps as I have done, but stay upon the Lord till he give thee light by his word (who commands light to shine out of darkness), from thence will he bring thee forth, and his eye shall guide thee, and thou shalt praise his name as I do this day, glory forevermore. And this word is nigh thee which must give thee light, though darkness comprehends it not.
And hadst thou gifts, revelations, knowledge, wisdom or whatever thou mayest read oni in the Scriptures of truth, and do not abide in the light and feed on the body of Christ whence the gifts springs, but feed on the gift, thou mayest be up for a while in thy own sight, but certainly thou wilt wither and die to God, and darkness will come upon thee, and thy food will turn to thy condemnation in the sight of God.
And this I have learned in the deeps and in secret when I was alone, and now declare openly in the day of my mercy: Glory to the Highest forevermore who hath thus far set me free to praise his righteousness and his mercy, and to the eternal invisible pure God, over all, be fear, obedience and glory evermore. Amen.
a. 1659. London: printed for Thomas Simmonds.
b. Whitehead changes "this" to "the."
c. Whitehead changes "after the flesh" to "be ascribed to him."
d. Whitehead inserts "promised."
e. Whitehead changes "in the seed" to "the promised seed."
f. Whitehead changes "that" to "the."
g. Whitehead omits "carnally."
h. Whitehead changes "walks" to "dwells."
i. Whitehead changes "mayest read on" to "canst read of."