Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Works of James Nayler > Innocency above Impudency
These lines are sent out after a lying pamphlet, published by the Quakers, who are indeed quaking, or else they would never tell so many notorious lies, as I shall show thee they have told in their late book, called Weakness above Wickedness; wherein thou wilt find that they have made lies their refuge, though they call themselves "the Seed of God," and "the Generation of the Just": for did ever the seed of God or the generation of the just say that a man hath not done that which he did do, or that a man hath done that which he never did? Nay, it is rare to find any of the seed of the devil grown up to that degree of impudence as to charge a man with publishing that which he never published, and <476> with concealing that which is published to the world in print, as these men have done by me. But surely they think that no man will take pains to compare book to book, but will believe all that they say; but sure the wise have learned otherwise, though the simple believe everything. I shall therefore desire thee to compare their answer to my book, with the book, and both with this reply, and see if ever any men have lied with that stock of impudence as these men have done. Indeed I am no prophet, nor the son of a prophet; but sure I am that these men are filling up the measure of their iniquity, and that very greedily, as though their hearts were hardened from fear, and as though they had made a league with death, and with hell were at an agreement; otherwise the fear of either would have taught them to have laid aside their wickedness, which they still enlarge the borders of, till such time wrath comes upon them to the uttermost, and the Lord say of them that they shall be called the border of wickedness, and the people against whom he hath indignation forever. Oh therefore, that while God gives them space to repent, they may repent (if there be any place for repentance for them) before the Lord give them over to the plagues of their own hearts, as I fear he hath done many of them already.
These are the desires of my soul, in the behalf of those of them who have not sinned unto death; and I hope I shall be, whatever they say of me, while I am
The apostle in his catalogue of the evils of the latter times (1 Tim. 4:2) reckons up such as speak lies in hypocrisy, "having their consciences seared with a hot iron," to be none of the least, who by a show of self-denial in marriage and meats, &c., should introduce (by their heeding seducing spirits) doctrines of devils; and surely this prophecy aimed much at the men called Quakers, which I shall make appear (God assisting me) by what follows, in answer to their book called Weakness above Wickedness.
|And for the more orderly proceeding herein, I shall first speak to the title page of it, where they are pleased to call their book "The Quakers' Defense," &c. Here I do observe one thing: that my book hath made these men own themselves Quakers; for they were ashamed of their names before and usually called themselves "such as were nicknamed <477> Quakers"; yet now they call their book "The Quakers' Defense." So that here they did tell a notorious lie, in saying the world did nickame them Quakers, when they give that name to themselves.||His first lie|
I now come to the book itself, where he begins and says (p. 1) that "the apostle well knew what he said, when he desired the saints' prayers, that he might be delivered from men without faith," &c.
Truly, the devil speaks truth sometimes, and so do you, in saying "the apostle well knew what he said"; but surely you are no apostles that speak things you know not, and are vainly puffed up with a fleshly mind, as appears by what I have said in my last, and shall yet further make manifest in due place.
|Thou tellest me that I "deny the faith of God, which is the gift of God in his saints," &c. This I never did, either by word or writing. And though he ought to have proved that I denied the faith, being he chargeth it upon me, yet he brings no proof at all, but his bare assertion. I shall therefore give the reader some sayings of mine, and leave him to judge whether they look like the words of a man that did deny the faith of God, and set up a faith of his own, as he falsely accuseth me. As first, in my epistle to the churches, I call upon them to "take heed that they were not spoiled of their joy and confidence they had in Christ Jesus; and that they would let none of the words of our Lord Jesus slip out of their mind"; and that "they would have high and honorable thoughts of the Scriptures"; and "that they would prize the ordinances of God"; and p. 16 of my book I do exhort "that men would take heed of turning the truth of God into a lie." Nay, doth not he tell me that "I did confess that Christ lighteth every man that cometh into the world," in his answer, p. 5? And do not I all along through my book profess Christ to be the savior of the world, and judge of the world? and is not this the faith of God? and yet this man says I "deny the faith of God."||His 2nd lie|
In the second page he insists upon some things which (he saith) I spake at Gerard Roberts' house, which I shall take notice of hereafter, because he is so full of tautologies, and speaks very often in his book of something relating thereto, and therefore it will be lost labor to speak to anything till I come to speak to the whole. The rest of the second page hath little besides, but a pack of swelling words of vanity, as "vain philosophy," "deceitful craft," "unreasonable blasphemous doctrines," "cursed art," charging me with "setting up the spirit of the devil"; and that I had "mustered up a heap of lies, and a heap of subtlety," &c. Let me tell thee, James, these words had done well <478> when thou hadst proved me so; and then they would better have become the conclusion than the preface of thy book.
Thou goest on and sayest, in the latter end of p. 2, that thou "wilt not trouble thyself to answer every particular of my vain stories," &c. Truly, I do believe that thou wouldst be as much troubled to answer to them, and prove them so, as ever thou wast in thy life; and therefore it was cunningly thought on by thee to ease thyself of the trouble, and call them lies, vain stories, and slanders: here thou hast done like thyself.
Thou goest on, and quarrelst with my epistle to the churches, and sayest, "If my brethren, with me, have denied the faith of Christ, and set up a faith of their own, it is like my work will be welcome." To this I have answered already in my reply to thy first page: and because I will not call this another lie, I shall only say it is the former lie reiterated the second time.
|Thou leapest over my epistle to the reader, and sayest nothing to it, though therein thou wast more concerned than in the epistle to the churches: and from thence comest to speak a little, to little purpose, in p. 3 of thy book, and that is, that you "shall not contend whether the world call you that which is true, or that which is false, when they call you Quakers." If so, then why hast thou troubled thyself so far as to call them "Ishmael's brood," that call you so? Your juggling and lying at this turn, which I charge you with in the second and third pages of my book, thou sayest nothing to, but that thou "wilt not trouble thyself whether the world truly or falsely call you so." O shameless wretch! dost thou say thou art nicknamed, when thou art called Quaker? And when I have used arguments to prove thee a liar, in saying, "the world nicknames thee," because thou namest thyself so; thou shakest all off with this, that thou "wilt not contend whether they called thee truly or falsely." But by the way, if they did call thee truly, then thou art a liar in saying they nicknamed thee.||His 3rd lie|
Thou goest on, and in page 3 of thy book, thou tellest me that I "lied in saying you foamed at the mouth in your tremblings," &c. But James, remember that it is not thy bare saying I lie, that proves it so; and thou dost pretend (that so I may repent) to inform me better. But am I better informed that you did not foam because you say I lie in charging you with foaming? Read and judge: and yet this is all you bring to inform me better. And whereas you say that "though it was cast upon you in the Westmorland Petition, and you did not answer to it; it doth not follow," you say, "that the charge was therefore true." To this I reply that if you had overlooked those passages in the charge, then indeed there might be somewhat in what you say. But you printed those particular passages, how that you were charged with swellings and foamings, and <479> that in young children, and yet say nothing to the untruth of them. And though I have again urged the same things, yet you say nothing to your swelling and roaring, though it be charged to be in young children.
And whereas in your answer you deny foamings, yet you do not deny any other part of my charge. By this the world may see thy wickedness, that thou waivest the most material things, and sayest nothing to them.
And whereas thou sayest I lied, and the petitioners lied, in saying you foamed: I demand, why both myself and the petitioners have not better ground to say thou liest, in denying it, seeing thou hast waived answering to it, both when yourselves did print the charge, and also when I did charge you with it afresh in my book? But I do think that this was one thing that James was not willing to trouble himself with answering: for I perceive, and so may the reader, if he minds my book and his answer, that he could not tell how to deny what I and the petitioners of Westmorland did charge against them.
You now proceed, and in the latter end of page 3 and page 4 you say that I "can find nothing of the truth you preach that I dare accuse you of." Well said, James, thou wilt speak truth sometimes, though it be against thy father the devil's will: for thou sayest that I "can find nothing of the truth you preach that I dare to accuse you of." Indeed that's true; for I dare not accuse any for holding truth. But then it seems, if I have accused you of anything that you preach, it is of the lies you preach. This must needs follow; for if (as thou sayest) I dare not accuse thee of the truths you preach, and yet do accuse you of many things that you preach, as my book declares at large, then it follows that all that I accuse you with is of the lies you preach; for you have justified me, that I did not dare to accuse you of the truths you preach.
|But in the 3rd and 4th pages of thy book, thou sayest that I "do accuse you of somewhat you never preached"; viz., "that you say nothing must be called God's word, but Christ: this," you say, "is none of your doctrine." But I wonder who hath ever heard you (unless it be such as are deeply drenched in hypocrisy, and have learned your art of equivocation), but will say the same thing that I say of you.||His 4th lie|
|You say also that I "lie, in saying you deny the Scriptures to be the word of God," etc. But have not I proved it from your own writings, p. 6 of my book? And do you not reprove in many places of your books the people and priest, for calling the writings "the word"? O shameless man! to call me a liar for saying nothing of them but what I have under their own hands. And where my arguments against thee are of that force, that thou knowest not how <480> to answer them, thou tellest the reader that it is "false in my sense, to say thou deniest the Scriptures to be the word of God." James, do not juggle; for I did not say you denied the Scriptures to be the word of God in my sense, but in your own words, that may be found in the books I have cited, and which are owned by you.||His 5th lie|
But to proceed: James jumps through the 7th and 8th pages of my book, where I make it appear that they give those titles to their own pamphlets that they will not give to the Scriptures; and thereupon do demand a question—to all which James answers not a word. Reader, remember what James said at first, namely, that he would not trouble himself to answer all; and by this he frees himself very cunningly from answering to the most material things I urge against him.
|He comes now to speak to the third error I charge them with, and that is, that "they preach they are infallibly sent, and cannot prove it." To this he makes his defense by saying "If he had come in his own name, I would have received him." But how doth this appear true? for what though I will not believe a man that comes in God's name, when God never sent him; doth it therefore follow that I must needs believe one that comes in his own name?||His 6th lie|
And whereas he saith in this fourth page of his book, that "it is plainly seen of what spirit I am of, because I set it down as an error, that he preacheth," viz., "that they are sent immediately of God." Now here he plays the serpent's part, for he leaves out that which is most material: for I never said it was an error for men to say they were sent of God, if they could prove it; but that it was error and presumption for one to say it that could not prove it: which words, "and could not prove it," though that be the scope of the charge, as anyone may see, that reads the conferences contained in the 9th-16th pages of my book. For I never denied but a man that could prove his sending might say God sent him; but the thing I denied was that it was error and presumption to say it when it could not be proved, as I have largely declared in the last forecited pages, which James leaps over and saith nothing to, though therein the two chiefest of our conferences are published, with the arguments and answers, to which he saith nothing.
He now comes to tell us that "the apostles said they were sent of God, who did not work miracles in the sight of all they preached to" (p. 4). See this man's deceit: I challenge him to tell us he did a miracle at any time for to prove his ministry, and he answers that "the apostles did not work miracles before all they preached to." But James, canst thou prove thou hast wrought a miracle before any thou hast preached to? Now I see thou art put to thy shifts: for thou didst <481> say in thy letter to me, and also in thy conference at Beech-lane, that "there were many sent immediately of God, that did no miracle." And now my book hath put thee upon saying that "they that were sent immediately of God did not do miracles at all times, before all they preached to." But how doth this justify thee, who canst not say thou hast done a miracle at any time?
Thou goest on still in page 4, and sayest, that I "call that an error, which all the ministers of Christ did own" (p. 4), and thou also sayest that "that which I call error, thou ownest"; and yet but a little before, thou sayest, that I "can find nothing of the truth you preach, that I dare accuse you of" (page 3). Now if I dare not (as you say) accuse you of any truth you preach, then it must needs follow that thou art an heretic condemned in thyself, and that those are errors that I charge upon thee; for I dare not (thou sayest) accuse any of the truth you preach.
|You go on, and say (page 4) that "you make proof of your ministry as the apostles did, in patience, in affliction, and necessities," &c. For shame, James, hold thy tongue at this turn and let somebody else speak: for where is thy patience, who fillest thy mouth with great swelling words of vanity against all that oppose thee? when the saints did not give railing for railing, but (like Christ) they when they were reviled, reviled not again. But I am sure, for railing, thou exceedest any of the society of Billingsgate, and art fitter to converse with oyster-women than about the things of God. For "fool," and "sot," and "devil," and "trash" are thy frequent language to any that oppose thee. And though you say you are "persecuted," I do challenge thee to show me any that have opened their mouths against you in print, that have given you worse language than you have given them; and yet you brag of your patience: for it is no better than bragging, when your persecutors (as you call them) have better words in their mouths than yourselves.||His 7th lie|
But further, you tell us that you "make proof of your ministry by afflictions and necessities," &c. I pray what affliction have you suffered, but others, whom you cry down, have shared in, as deep, if not more deep than yourselves? But as for your necessities, surely thou liest at this turn; for thou didst never go so well when thou followedst the plough (in point of apparel) as thou dost since; and it is believed (and that upon good ground) that thy necessities were more before thou wast a Quaker, than they have been since.
|You go on, and spend the most part of the fifth page to recite some things that thou sayest I left out at a meeting at Gerrard Roberts', and this thou callest "a diminishing truth to cover lies." If this be true that thou sayest, then thou art fearfully guilty of <482> diminishing truth to cover thy lies with. For pray consider, if I had print- ed any part of the conference at Gerrard Roberts', and had left out other part of it that had made most against me, then he might have had a ground of complaint: but I printed not a word of it. And must a man every time he prints, print every conference he hath been at, or else if he leaves out one, and makes no mention of it, be counted a man that diminisheth truth to cover lies? See the wickedness of this man! when himself undertakes to answer my book, he leaves out whole pages, and many arguments of great importance, together with many things that passed at our several conferences, that were of most weight; but this must not be called a diminishing of truth to cover lies—but he excuseth himself (as I have told you) by saying he "would not trouble himself with them."||His 8th lie|
Again, the things which himself said at that meeting he hath left out, and spake not a word to the chief thing in controversy, and upon which the meeting was occasioned, to wit, about water baptism; and yet this man saith that I leave out truth to cover lies, when he hath left out the whole business of that conference, and picked up somewhat that he thinks makes against me, and chargeth me with other things that I never said, as shall appear in due place.
He goes on in this 5th page of his book, and repeats some things which (he saith) I said at that meeting. About this he spends a great part of this page; and yet for all that (as though he thought he could not repeat his lies fast enough) spends three pages more to repeat the same things, which he saith he sent in a letter to me, as anyone may see that shall compare the 5th page with the 6th and 7th of his book. And though in his letter he saith something about water baptism, yet that letter was not the conference but a letter sent after the conference; and that appears because he mentions not one argument brought by me at that time in favor to it, but instead thereof charges me with something I never said. Whereas if that letter were the sum of the conference, as possibly he may make some believe, why then did not he write the arguments I brought for the proof of what I then said, and his answers to them, which the letter speaks nothing of?
And as touching the particulars charged in his letter, and so often repeated by him, as though he wanted matter, I shall first speak to the first, and that is, that I said "a man might understand the Scriptures without the Spirit of God." To this I answer, and that as I then told him, that though all the mysteries of the kingdom of God and Christ could not be understood without God's Spirit, which the Scripture saith "shall lead into all truth"; yet much of the Scripture might be understood by men that had not the Spirit, as "Thou shalt not kill," and <483> "Thou shalt not steal," and the like; and the scribes and priests (Matt. 2:4) understood by the Scripture that "Christ should be born in Bethlehem," as it was written by the prophet, though they had not the Spirit; and surely they understood that Scripture right; for accordingly he was born in the same place. This I did answer at that time, though he hath left it out; and yet omission of anything that he saith is counted an evil.
The next thing is, that I said, "the faith by which a man is saved is not the gift of God." To this I did answer then, and so I do now, that it is not so the gift of God as you imagine by your enthusiastical dotages; as, that men should meet together and neither say nor do towards the work of faith till they are immediately inspired with your quaking dotages: in this sense I do still deny faith to be God's gift; yet in the sense that all those scriptures say "faith is the gift of God" I do freely own it, as my book doth declare (page 37), wherein I have these words, that "men have nothing but what they have received, especially any light or knowledge of Jesus Christ, according to 1 Cor. 4:7."
The next is, that I said "the obedience of believers was not the gift of God." To this I answer, as before, that we being at that time discoursing about the point of baptism, and I then asserting that God was to be obeyed in that as well as others of his commands, thou didst answer that "they must wait till obedience was given them." To which I did reply that God did not give obedience to his people in the way that thou didst expect it, as to sit still and do nothing till men were immediately inspired to it. And in this sense I do still deny that obedience is the gift of God; though I do believe (and am generally known to teach) that to him that hath improved his talent, God will give more; and that he that doth his will shall know of his doctrine. And in this sense I do believe obedience to be the gift of God, according to those scriptures by you alleged; and yet I say, none of those scriptures prove your obedient actions (which you so call) to be God's gift.
|You go on, and say that I said, "Whosoever speaks that which men understand not, is a fool and a barbarian." These were not the words, James; but indeed, when thou hadst spoke a great while to us, and then at last, when I made some reply upon thy words, thou didst answer that thou "spakest in a language that I could not understand"; and so thou saidst upon the like occasion, at our meeting in Beech-lane, before many witnesses, as I have showed in page 10 of my book, called Quakers Quaking: hereupon I did answer, according to that of the apostle, that "he that speaks in an unknown tongue is a barbarian"; and if I said "a fool," I think I might easily prove it. Not but that I did then, and do still believe, that Christ spake many things, and so did his apostles, that the world could not understand because of <484> their hardness of heart.||His 9th lie|
|You charge me further with saying, that "none was baptized with the Holy Ghost, but they wrought miracles." I said not so, but "none were baptized with the Holy Ghost but they could work miracles"; and so I do say still, till thou canst prove it: for not one text by thee alleged proves the contrary.||His 10th lie|
|You tell me that I said, "all good was not of God." This is another of thy lies, and I leave it to thee to prove: though it may be I might say that "all the good you glory in, is not of God"; and so I say still. For you are of the generation that "call good evil, and evil good"; but otherwise I believe with all my heart that God is the fountain of all good, according to the Scriptures.||His 11th lie|
You go on and tell me that I said "Christ was not a minister of circumcision." And so I say still, till thou canst prove it. And though in thy letter thou chargest this for an error, yet thou dost not bring one text to prove he was a minister of circumcision. See thy deceit!
Again, thou chargest me with error in thy letter, in saying "the law was not given by Christ," and yet dost not give me one text to prove that it was given by Christ: for the Scripture saith, "The law was given by Moses; but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" (John 1:17), and yet thou hast the face to call this one of my blasphemous doctrines.
|Thou tellest me in thy letter that I said, "The wilderness where John preached was in Jerusalem." James, this is like thee and thy father: for what man in his right wits ever said a wilderness was in a city, unless there be one at the Bull and Mouth at Aldersgate, which is the likest one of any place in a city that ever I heard of?||His 12th lie|
|He further saith that I "said the River Jordan was in Jerusalem." This is false; for I know that text well in Matt. 3 that saith "Jerusalem went out to be baptized of John in Jordan"; therefore I could not think Jordan was in Jerusalem. But however, it is as reasonable to think that Jordan should be in Jerusalem as it is for you to teach that "Jerusalem is in you."||His 13th lie|
|You go on and tell me that I said "I could foretell things to come, without the Spirit: this," thou sayest, "is witchery." To this I answer that this is another thy lies, to say that this is witchery; for the Pharisees did foretell things to come and had not the Spirit, when they said (Matt. 16:2; Luke 12:54-55) "they knew when it would be heat and rain, before it came to pass"; and Christ bare them witness that this was true; and the priests & scribes by the Scriptures did know that "Christ should be born in Bethlehem," though they had not the Spirit. Was not this to foretell a thing to come? and yet this is <485> not witchcraft, though thou art pleased to call it so. The rest of your letter consists of baptism: for answer thereto, I shall refer the reader to my book, called Quakers Quaking (pages 25-26 and 38).||His 14th lie|
|Thus much as touching thy letter and thy charge going before it, which is the same with the letter, except some things which thou chargest me for omitting, which were spoken at our conference at the Bull and Mouth near Aldersgate; and them thou sayest are, first "that (I should say) Christ lighteth everyone that comes into the world, and yet deny that this light was within everyone that comes into the world." This thou sayest I have omitted, to cover lies. But let me tell thee, James, that if this light spoken of in John 1 had been in thee, thou wouldst have been ashamed to tell thy reader that "I did diminish this from the discourse, to make myself a cover with a lie," when these very words are once and again repeated, as page 49 of my book, called Quakers Quaking, and page 51. In page 49 I have these words, viz., that "I did not oppose the saying of John 1 (which is) that Christ enlightens everyone that comes into the world, but your saying (which is) that everyone in the world hath the light within him, spoken of in that text." Again, in page 51 I have these words, "In like manner he (viz.) Christ lighteth everyone that comes into the world (inasmuch as he useth means for the bringing the world to the light) THOUGH ALL HAVE NOT THIS LIGHT WITHIN THEM." James, I have put it into capital letters, that thou mayest (without a pair of spectacles) see thyself a capital liar; for thou art so impudent as to tell me, "if I had been honest I would have published the whole truth"; and this forementioned passage is one of the sayings thou lyingly tellest thy reader that "I did diminish, to make a cover for a lie," when I printed it word for word. See his answer to my book, page 5.||His 15th lie|
|The next lie he tells his reader is that "I omitted to print another passage that I spake in the conference, which was that the heathen had a light that convinced them of sin, but this light was not within them." James, surely thou canst not forbear lying—for do not I say, page 52, that "they might have a light among them, that might not be within them"? What is this less than what thou sayest I omitted? and is this false doctrine? May not God use means, and send his light among people to convince them of sin, that they may reject and not receive into their hearts? Was not the great Light, Jesus Christ, among many who did not receive him within them by believing? And yet thou art so ignorant and shameless as to call this a deceit, and false doctrine.||His 16th lie|
|The next thing thou chargest me with is that I did "omit the printing of that saying, which," thou sayest, I <486> "spoke at the Bull and Mouth, viz., that Christ pardoneth the sins of everyone that comes into the world." Now James, thou hast fearfully diminished the truth to make thee a cover for thy lie: for thou leavest out these words that I said, namely, that Christ was said to be the light of the world, or to lighten everyone that came into it, as he was said to take away the sin of the world, inasmuch as he did graciously afford means for the pardoning the sins of the world, though every man should not have his sins pardoned. This indeed I said, and to this purpose I spake in page 51 of my book, which is just contrary to what thou chargest: for I say, he doth not pardon the sins of everyone; thou sayest that I said, Christ did pardon the sins of everyone.||His 17th lie|
|He now proceeds in his 10th page to attempt an answer to the fourth error I charge upon them, and saith I "count it an error that they bear testimony to the light of Christ, which lighteth everyone that comes into the world," and that I "count it an error in them, for holding that the spiritual light of Christ is sufficient to teach in all the ways of God," &c., and "that their error is for saying the light of Christ is spiritual, and within." To all this I answer, 1) that the reader may see that in thy foregoing letter thou hast laid to my charge things that I never said: for thou that wilt add to and diminish from my words that are published in print wilt not stick to do the like unto words that were spoken more privately. For where do I charge any of the forementioned things upon you for error? I challenge thee to show it me in any page of my book, or else confess thy wickedness before God and men, and that thy sin may appear at this turn I shall desire the reader to peruse the fourth error I charge upon you, in page 18 of my book, where I do not charge it as error, that you testify to the light of Christ that is spoken of (John 1), but the words are that you say "every man hath a light within him, that will teach him to worship God rightly." And thereupon it is that I do ground my twelve queries, pages 19-21 of my book, and not whether it be an error to testify to the light of Christ, as thou falsely suggestest; for though it be a truth, as I often declare in my book, that Christ is the Light of the world; yet it is an error, and an unwritten conceit, to say "that every man hath a light within him, that will teach him to worship God aright," without any other means vouchsafed.||His 18th lie|
|And in what page of my book do I count it an error in you for saying "the spiritual light of Christ is sufficient to teach in all the ways of God," as thou falsely saith I have? Nay, do not I say (and dost not thou confess in page 10 of thy book that I say) "it is sufficient," &c. And where canst thou show me that I charge it upon you as error, for saying "the light of Christ is sufficient," as thou <487> falsely hast declared?||His 19th lie|
|Again, where do I charge it upon you as error for saying "the light of Christ is spiritual, and within," as you say I do? Do I say any such thing in my whole book? No, no, "I have not so learned Christ"; and yet this you say is the error I charge upon you. For shame, James, leave off lying, and speak truth from thy heart; for my charge is not that you say the light of Christ is spiritual and within, but that you say it is "within every man that comes into the world"; that's the error I charge: and instead of answering that which I object, thou answerest that which I never objected, as my book at large will manifest.||His 20th lie|
|You proceed in page 11 to answer my queries, and therein thou answerest to that I never asked. For 1) I ask, what need there is of the Scripture to declare the mind of God, if it may be known without it every whit as well? And you say I ask "what need there is of the Scriptures to declare the mind of God?" importing to the reader (as all may perceive) both in the question and answer, thatI was a man that judged them needless. But might he not as well have accused Paul for saying "preaching was vain," when he saith, "If there be no resurrection, then is our preaching vain," as tell his reader that I ask what need there is of Scripture, when I said what need there is of Scripture to declare the mind of God if it may be known without it every whit as well, as they pretend? So that this fills up the measure of his lies.||His 21st lie|
Again, I ask whether by the light which is in every man, all men may come to know a virgin had a son, &c. And you say I query "whether that light will show a virgin had a son," which was not my query; for I know that that light (which is Christ) will show this and all other truths. But what's this to the question I ask, viz., whether this light be in every man, &c. Which term "every man," "all nations," and "the whole world," thou deceitfully leavest out of most of my queries, and so makes them speak another thing, and then goest about to answer them, as anyone may see that reads my book and compares thy answer to it; and therefore let these instances suffice for the rest, wherein the reader may see thy deceit, and also what shuffling answers thou givest to the twelve queries, viz., "That all those things I query," thou sayest, "and much more, were made known by the light within," &c. This is the substance of thy answer. But James, how doth this answer the queries, which asketh thee whether every man hath a light within him, that will bring him to know that a virgin had a son, and that Christ rose from the dead in three days, &c.? We believe that by a light within these things were revealed to some men, but that's not our question, but this, viz., whether there be in every man a light that <488> will show him these things proposed in the queries (page 19). And when I ask you, what need there is of your preaching and writing to inform the world, if the light within the world can do it without you? you answer in page 11 that "there is need of preaching, to direct people to the light." Oh miserable darkness! what can the light within, without any other means, direct people to the whole will of God, and cannot this light direct people to itself without you? Is not this just as if a man should say that the light of the sun will show men everything but itself?
You answer the fifth error I charge, which was that one John Lawson said the day of judgment was past already, saying, "It may be seen whether he own it or no, by them that read the book." And so it may, if they read but the 35th page of Saul's Errand to Damascus, which is the book I cited for that purpose.
To the 6th and 7th errors I charge, which is against one George Fox, for saying that he was the eternal judge of the world, and the way, the truth and life; you answer that "I prove this like the rest, viz., as I did foamings at your meetings, because you did not deny it" (see page 12 of your answer). To this I reply (and that as I have said), viz., that if any shall print to the world that they are charged with swellings, foamings, quakings, and roarings; and also that these things are found among them in little children; and when they come to answer it, shall only deny to be guilty of one of these, and say nothing to the rest; may not a man rationally conclude these men guilty of all the rest, especially considering it is testified by many witnesses, who are better to be believed than themselves? In like manner I still say that the petitioners of Lancaster did witness this against Fox, and he did not deny it, viz., that he said he was the eternal judge of the world, and the way, truth and life. Now what clearer proof can be made of anything among men, than to witness what is charged, and the person charged deny it not? and yet James says this is no proof. I pray if this must not go for proof, how will you prove anything to be true that one doth not see?
The eighth error I charge is that George Fox said, he that took a place of Scripture and made a sermon of it or from it, is a conjurer. This thou wouldst excuse by saying "these were not George's words, but the accusers'." Indeed this is like the rest. But how dost thou know they were not George's words? Canst thou have the face to say that they are not his words, when he, though he prints the charge and answer to it, doth not deny it himself? Here thou exceedest Fox himself for impudency. Nay, doth not Fox answer, in page 7 of Saul's Errand to Damascus, that he that raiseth the Spirit out of the letter is a conjurer? And how far doth this differ from the charge? But however, <489> is it not more reasonable to believe the men that witness this against him, seeing he denies it not, than thee, who wilt deny that for George, which he denies not for himself?
The tenth error I charge, is upon George Fox, for saying the Scriptures are carnal, and thou tellest me "that this is a lie." But James, how darest thou say it is a lie, when George himself, in his printed answer to it, would not tell the petitioners that charged him with it, "they lied," but instead thereof, evades the charge by saying "the letter of the Scripture is carnal"?
The eleventh error I charge, is upon one Leonard Fell, which through the printer's mistake is printed Hill; and that was that he said Christ had no body but his church. To this thou repliedst that "thou dost not know that name," and therefore thou makest no answer to the charge. Herein thou was glad to be ignorant, else thou mightest have looked into the book and page I cited for the proof of it, and easily have found it was the printer's mistake.
The eleventhb error I charge is against one John Lawson, who said he had been in hell but was now in heaven. Thou sayest, "It is plain, the saints have witnessed being in hell and heaven also." What juggling is here! I charge him with saying he had been in hell but was now in heaven; and you tell us of the saints of old, that some of them had been in heaven and hell, as Jonah was in hell when he was in the belly of the whale, and Paul was in the third heaven (2 Cor. 12:2,4). Is not this thy logic, James? viz., Jonah was in the whale's belly, and Paul was in the third heaven; ergo, John Lawson was in hell but is now in heaven. And you say, "This was not an error in them that witnessed this, nor in Lawson, if he said true." Now see if this answers the charge: for how hast thou proved he said true, when he said so?
The twelfth error I charge is that you say you are perfect and sin not. This you tell me is a lie; and yet in the next words you say "You own perfection"; and you say, "Perfection is not that that you never had, as," you say, "I falsely accuse you." But James, if thou hast perfection, what lie is it to say thou art perfect, any more than it is a lie to say one is rich, when he saith he hath riches?
The thirteenth error that I charge is that James Nayler said, none could come to God or Christ, but they that come to perfection. "By this," he saith, "it seems I deny perfection to be in God or Christ; but," saith he, "if that be granted, then they that come to them come to perfection." To this I answer that it is one thing for men to come to <490> perfection, and another thing for them to come before a God that is perfect: for Paul was not come to perfection, when he himself saith, "Not as though I had already attained." Now he had attained to come to God and Christ, as I plainly show in page 33 of my book; and therefore this cunning evasion will not serve thy turn: for who is there so sottish as to think that when they come to God or Christ, that they come to a God or Christ that is imperfect? and therefore if that should be thy meaning, then thou wast but beating the air, and fighting and contending where none opposed thee. But by this the world may see how Janus-faced thy oracles are, that look two ways at once. Nay, and doth not the latter end of thy answer to this particular, in page 14 of thy book, plainly show that thou didst intend perfection in men, rather than God or Christ, inasmuch as thou sayest, "The children of God never pleaded for sin dwelling in them"? and so say I too.
The fourteenth error I charge is that James Nayler said, that whensoever they did eat or drink, they could have communion with the body and blood of the Lord in eating and drinking, though it were at the Gentiles' table. This he denies not, but saith, "It must needs be counted an error with the belly-gods of this world," &c. But what is this to prove that God doth anywhere require you to have communion with the body and blood of the Lord, though it were at the Gentiles' table? and if he do not require it, how darest thou say thou canst do it? and how darest thou blame me for calling this an error, when thou hast not brought one text to prove it is a truth?
And whereas thou sayest, "Thou canst have communion with the body and blood of Christ at the Gentiles' table," doth not the Scripture say that "the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, it is to devils?" And doth it not also say that "we cannot partake of the table of the Lord, and the table of devils?" and yet this man saith, "He can have communion with the body and blood of Christ, at the Gentiles' table."
The fifteenth error I charge is that James Parnell did deny all baptism but of the Holy Ghost. To this thou repliest that "to own the baptism of Christ, and to deny all else, is counted an error by me; and if so, then the apostles did err also." How doth this follow? when they did assert pluralities of baptisms, and did nowhere deny (as you do) all baptisms but that of the Spirit.
James now proceeds to tell me (page 14) that I "go about to prove water baptism by questions and crooked consequences"; and he saith that "I cannot find a command for it, after Christ's sufferings"; and that "we cannot find a plain scripture for that which we worship," &c. And he further saith, "that Moses in all his house did leave his ordinances not to be proved after this manner; and therefore," he infers, "we are not <491> to think that Christ will leave his ordinances with such kind of proof."
To all which I answer, first, that I have asserted proof for water baptism in the questions propounded by me upon that occasion: see my book, page 25-26, which thou canst not answer.
But secondly, how canst thou reject consequences and questions, when none have more questions and conceited consequences, to prove what they hold, than yourselves?
As for instance (to give the reader a few among many):
1. Quest. Where have you a plain text, without a consequence, that saith that the light spoken of in John 1 is in every man that comes into the world? which you confidently affirm.
2. Where have you a plain text that saith Christ was the minister of circumcision? which, thou saidst, was one of my blasphemous doctrines to deny (p. 5 of thy book).
3. Where have you a plain text that saith the law was given by Christ? the denial of which, thou sayest, is another of my blasphemous doctrines (page 5).
4. Where have you a plain text that saith God sent some immediately, that could not work miracles, or to whose ministry he did not witness from heaven, since you boldly affirm that you are so sent, though you can work none?
5. Where hast thou a text that saith one may have communion with the body and blood of the Lord at the Gentiles' table, as you affirm?
6. Where have you a plain text that saith he that raiseth Spirit out of the letter is a conjurer?
7. Where have you a plain text that saith the Scriptures may not be called the word of God?
8. Where have you a plain text that saith there is no baptism but of the Spirit, which you also affirm?
9. Where have you a plain text that saith John Lawson was in hell but is now in heaven?
10. Where have you a plain text that saith Christ was not born after the flesh, but after the Spirit?
James, either give me express scriptures that do affirm these things in the words, as thou layest them down, or else be ashamed to accuse others for bringing consequences, when they bring the plain text; whereas thou hast neither text nor consequence for any of these thy fond conceits.
|And now I cannot but give the reader to take notice that thou sayest I "have not found one text that doth command water baptism after Christ's sufferings," when whoever looketh over the <492> 25th-26th pages of my book shall find several texts to that purpose, and nine several questions upon that subject to which James makes no answer at all, as anybody may perceive that reads the 14th page of his book, where he answers all by calling what I propose "crooked consequences." See if the man be not here at a nonplus! or else, how could he have the face to entitle his book an answer to mine, when he first leaves out the first two pages of my book where I show their juggling about their name Quakers, and that they have lied in saying "the world nicknames them so"; and to this he saith nothing, but that he "shall not contend whether the world call them truly or falsely, when they call them so"?||His 22nd lie|
Again, I spend other two pages to prove that they do give such titles to their pamphlets, as they will refuse to give to the Scriptures; and this I prove by their own books, as the reader may perceive; and to this he says not one word.
Again, I do print the substance of two conferences, where he is so miserably nonplussed that he cannot tell what to say to them, but only tells his reader that I "do add words that were never spoken and diminish truth, to make myself a cover with a lie." This is all that he saith touching the two conferences contained in the 9th-18th pages of my book, as anyone may see that reads the fifth page of his book: and yet he hath got such a stock of impudence as to call his book an answer to mine.
Again I propound twelve queries in the 19th-21st pages of my book. And to these, instead of answering them, he proposeth questions of his own, for so I call them, because he hath left out the most material terms of mine in his transcribing them, by which they become his own questions, and not mine: and to these twelve queries he saith as little as to the other.
Again, the like answer he gives to the nine queries in page 25-26 of my book; and the sum of his answer is that they are crooked consequences. See page 14 of his book.
He now comes to answer the sixteenth error I charge upon them, which was that one of their scribes did ask a minister of the nation whether he had the light that did enlighten everyone that comes into the world? when he had before told him "that everyone had that light within him." This I charge as a piece of inconsistency in these that would be counted perfect. To which he replies that "Christ did ask the disciples who they said he was, and yet they had the light within them, that revealed him to be the Son of God." But what's this to the case in hand? The case in hand is not whether a man may ask a question for the further confirmation of a thing that is in question, as our Lord did his disciples, in a time when there was various opinions of him. But, whether after a man hath preached a thing that concerneth every man, <493> whether it be not very ridiculous to ask the same man to whom he hath preached, whether it concerns him? Where doth Christ, or any wise man, ask such a question? Again, Christ demands this question of them that owned him, what their opinion was of him; but he asked the question of a man that disowned the light to be in everyone—so that this being considered, I demand whether Christ ever asked a man that did disown him and his light, whether his light was within them or no? as this man hath done: for he asked the question of one that was a minister of the nation, whom they all say disown the light of Christ.
He passeth over the second instance of their inconsistency and saith not a word to it. I do suppose, as he said at first, that these were some things he would not trouble himself with answering; and indeed, I think it would trouble him to answer them, and therefore he cunningly lets them alone.
He comes to say something to the third instance I bring of their inconsistency; and that is, that though they pretend to own the Scriptures, yet one of them said to Parson Camelford of Staveley Chapel that he might as well have burnt the Scriptures, as his queries. He answers, "that it doth not prove all my false accusations cast upon them," &c. To this I reply, that I have not spoke or writ any syllable of untruth concerning you; and further, it doth prove all that I charge against you, about the case in hand, and all that I do urge in the foregoing pages, about your slighting the Scripture: for, for anyone to say that a man might as well burn the Scriptures, as his queries, doth not this prove that your design is to eat out the honor of the Scriptures, and build up the honor of your contradictious stories?
And whereas in a parenthesis you question if there was any such that said so: fie, James; do not I in p. 29 of my book cite those passages and tell thee that they are in a book called Truth's Defense, which is owned by you all? And yet you question if there be any such: dost thou think that book did write itself? and if not, why shouldst thou question whether there be such a man as saith those words in his book? for the words are there asserted, as I have transcribed them. But James, thou wouldst willingly be ignorant of this story, because it doth so much lay open your hypocrisy and double-dealing about the Scriptures. And further, is not this book bound up and owned by you, among the rest of your works? and yet thou wouldst fain make the reader believe that there was no man among you that published such a thing.
Thou passest over my fourth instance of your inconsistency, and sayest not a word to it, which would trouble thee too much to answer it; and that is, that one Tomlinson in his book called A Word of <494> Reproof, p. 11, did blame the ministers of the nation for doing that they had no rule for, when they prayed before or after sermon (this book is also owned by you, and bound up with the rest of your stories), and yet Edward Burrough did pray after sermon, before hundreds of people, at the Bull and Mouth near Aldersgate.
To this inconsistency among themselves he says not a word, but leaps over it.
He proceeds, and saith, the seventeenth error I charge is a lie, which is that they study deceitful terms, that look with two faces, &c. James, it is not thy saying I "lie in charging you" that proves it to be a lie, as anyone may see in page 30 of my book. And for all thou sayest "a man may affirm a negative," yet that will not serve thy turn, for that is not the question, but whether a man being charged with speaking a thing that is negative (for that's the case) doth not equivocate in saying "he spake no such affirmative"?
He comes now to answer the eighteenth error I charge, and that is, their lying: first, in saying "they are perfect, and sin not. This," he saith, "is a lie of mine own, and shall rest upon my head till I prove they have said so." To this I answer that I could prove this largely, if I should trouble the reader to look over many of your writings. But however, to save that labor, I shall cite that passage in page 28 of this thy book:
Where you make this your ninth query that you would have me answer, "viz, what faith is that which pleads for sin, and preacheth against perfection? and that believes that they can never be free from sin and come to perfection while they are in this world? show the saint that so believed and so practiced." Let me tell thee, James, that if this be true, that men may be free from sin in this world, as one branch of the question doth plainly import, then if none of you are free from sin, you do not do that which you may do; and then you are self-condemned sinners, if you may be free from sin, and will not; is it not a shame for you to cry out against those that live in sin (who, it may be, do think that they cannot live without sin) and for you that believe you may live without sin, to live in sin? Oh, the deceit of these men!
But if anybody shall say that the Quakers do not live in sin: I answer, then what lie have I told in charging them with saying that they profess to be perfect? And doth not John Lilburn call Nayler once and again (in his book lately published, called his Resurrection) that tall man in Christ"? and yet Nayler saith I lie in saying they profess to be perfect. Now how can he be truly called a "tall man in Christ" that believes a man may be free from sin in this world, and yet is not free from it himself?
Again, may not a man believe that tall men in Christ should be <495> free from sin in this world, if anybody may? and yet James saith I lie in saying they profess to be perfect. Indeed, this is such a bundle of imperfection, that if I had said they had been perfect, I had lied indeed.
The second lie I charge is that they said "they were immediately sent of God." To this he answers, that "it is a truth in them who are so sent, to say so; and the lie," he saith, "is my own, till I prove the contrary." To this I reply: first, that this is no answer to the charge, but a mere evasion, to say it is truth for a man that is so sent to say so—and I wonder when James heard that denied by me, or anybody. But though it be a truth for a man to say that God sends him, when indeed God hath sent him, yet it is a lie for a man to say God sent him, when he never did. And that he never sent these Quakers, I prove at large, in pages 9-18 of my book, to which (as I have said) he makes no answer—where I show at large that the Turk can say as much for his Alcoran, and the pope for his "infallible chair," as they can for their immediate sending.
The third lie I charge is that Fox said the world did not know his name; and yet afterwards saith, he is known by the name of George Fox. He answers, that "the saints that overcome have a new name," &c. But what is this to George Fox? unless we should take it for granted that he was an overcoming saint? is not this a ridiculous argument, viz, everyone that overcomes hath a new name; ergo, George Fox hath overcome and hath a new name?
Again, he doth not say, the world did not know his new name, but his name, without any such distinction.
Again, did ever any of the saints of old subscribe themselves as these do? but surely such kind of canting hath never been about subscribing names, unless it were among thieves, that would be known in the city by one name, and the country by another.
The fourth lie I charge is that Edward Burrough said his book was sealed with the Spirit of the eternal God: to this he answers, "that this is called a lie, but not proved." But surely if any shall presume to utter such a saying, it is more rational for him to prove the thing affirmed than for his respondent to prove what he denies: for if God had sealed Burrough his book, we should have had more for the proof of it than his bare say-so.
The fifth and sixth lies I charge is about some passages that were in a letter that James sent me, where he saith that I did tempt him to deny the Lord, and that I did tell him that if he came in his own name I would have received him. These were both false, as many can witness, for I bid him either prove he was sent of God or else disown his presumptions in saying so; and for my telling him I would have <496> received him if he had come in his own name, &c., surely if I had been of that mind I should have received him at that time, for I did then and so I do still believe that he never came in anybody's name but his own, as our whole discourse doth make manifest, though with the false prophets of old they boast of their being sent of God.
And whereas he adds at the bottom of his letter in page 18 of his book that I said "if he were sent of God, it were to no purpose to put my faith upon trial with him, for he would overturn all my proofs": James, thou needest not witness this, but then this doth show thy lies in thy letter, which was, that "I did tempt thee to deny the Lord"; when I did at that time say that if God sent thee we would not stand to contend with thee, if thou couldst but prove that. I further added that then I would fall down under all that he said—doth this look like tempting one to deny the Lord?
The seventh lie that I did charge upon them was that he being charged with those two forementioned lies writ in the letter did deny that there was any such passages in the letter.
And whereas he saith "that he did not know of the fetching the letter," &c., this is no answer to the charge. The charge is that he denied he writ any such passages; and it is not his now printing them that proves he did not then deny them, which is all he urgeth to prove it.
And as for his running away, while the letter was fetching for to prove him a liar; that I did urge as an aggravation of his sin of lying, and that he did so, though he knew the letter was gone for (though he now denies it) will appear by certificate at the end of this book.
|He proceeds in the 19th page of his book, and saith "that I make a boast of something I will prove," and that is, saith he, that I said "I would prove the writings of the Scriptures to be the word of God." For shame, James, hide thy face; did I ever say any such thing? Nay, do not I say (page 34) the writings may be burned, but the word of God contained in them cannot; and that the tables might be broken, but the commands contained in them did remain like Mount Zion? &c.||His 25th lie|
And yet this man hath the impudence to tell his reader that I say I "would prove the writings of the scripture to be the word of God."
But at this turn the devil makes him speak nonsense as well as falsities; for is it not nonsense to say "the writings of the Scriptures"? What is that, but in plain English to say, the writings of the writings? which is absurd, and therefore the more like the author that devised it: for my words are these, that the written precepts and promises of God, together with his threatenings of judgments, and exhortations to amendment of life, they are, and ought to be called, the words of God: and <497> this I have used arguments to prove, to which he says little.
|His next lie is that he saith, in page 19 of his book, that "I would prove that the letter of that roll is the word of God which Baruch read," when there is no such passage in my whole book; and having thus set up a man of straw, he valiantly goes to fight with him, and saith that Baruch's roll might be burned, but the word of God cannot. See if this man hath not belied me in his letters, that will thus belie me about things that are published in print, charging that to be in my book which is not in it, and then go about to confute it; for I say nothing of Baruch, but the very words of the text (Jer. 36:2,5).||His 26th lie|
He proceeds in page 20 and calls the next proof of mine "as confused as the rest" because I "charge them to deny the Scriptures to be the word, and yet say, I will prove the Scriptures to be the word of God out of their own mouths." But what confusion is this? Doth not Christ prove God to be just, and judge the unprofitable servant out of his own mouth? And yet the unprofitable servant said God was not just; for he said that he did reap where he sowed not: so may I judge you out of your own mouths, that deny the Scriptures to be the word, who at some turns, to save your credit, own them; and because I prove from your own words, as doth appear by my book (page 35), that the Scriptures must be called God's word, because you say nothing can declare God's will but God's word; you from hence would prove that Balaam's ass was God's word, because he declared God's will; and this you would fasten as an absurdity upon me, which is an argument that I raised upon your own principles; and therefore the absurdity lights upon your own head, who say nothing can inform into the will of God but the word, and yet at another time say the Scriptures declare God's will but are not his word.
You go on still in page 20 of your book and say "that I confess Christ is the light that lightens every man that comes into the world; and yet say, it is an error for you to say, that this light will teach people to worship God rightly."
Now James, when did I count it an error in you to say that the light of Christ is sufficient to teach people to worship God rightly? this is another of thy lies. Indeed, I have often said that every man hath not the light of Christ in him; and that that light which every man hath is not sufficient to teach him to worship God rightly; but did I ever say the light of Christ was not sufficient? Do I not say the contrary (viz.), that the light of Christ is sufficient (page 36 of my book)?
Thou goest on, glorying in lies, and sayest (page 21 of thy book) "that I do apply the text of God's purging Israel, Ezek. 24:14, to the light of Christ, to prove it was not sufficient." See thy false tongue! <498> when I do bring those words to parallel with John 1 to prove that the light is sufficient to enlighten all, though all have not this light within them. See my book, page 36.
You go on and call this the next piece of my divination because I say that if every man have received the light, then every man hath received Christ, &c. All thou sayest to take off the edge of the argument is that "because Christ is that light, I would make that light Christ." And James, what hast thou said to the contrary? for (is it not the same) Christ is the Son of God; ergo, the Son of God is Christ? and how canst thou deny this? And yet the like argument to this, thou callest divination.
You answer the Scripture I bring (John 11:10), where it is said, "He that walks in the dark stumbleth, because there is no light in him, by telling us, "There is no light in his way." For shame, man, leave off thy adding to Scriptures! Dost not thou add to the words of the book? Doth not the text say "there is no light in him," and thou sayest "there is no light in his way"?
But may not a man as well interpret John 1 and say that when the text saith "He lightens everyone that comes into the world," that it is to be understood of his lightening the world's way, and not as you notion it, that everyone hath this light in him? This is the man that would have nothing proved by consequences; and yet when we have a plain text for what we say, viz., that they that walk in the dark stumble, because there is no light in them, he shuffles it off by telling us he hath no light in his way. So that James, it seems we must believe thy conceited consequences, by which thou wouldst prove every man hath the light within him, spoken of in John 1, and not the plain text, that saith, he that is in the dark hath no light in him.
You come to the next thing, and that is, that I say "the day of judgment is not past." This thou seemest to own to be a truth, by bidding me prepare for it, &c. But if with Lawson thou didst not believe it past, thou wouldst never tell those untruths, as I have made appear thou hast told in thy book. For didst thou believe judgment to come, thou wouldst tremble after another manner than ever thou hast done in quaking delusions, and fear to lie at this rate.
You go on still in page 22, and touching what I have asserted about baptism and the Lord's Supper in page 38-39 of my book, you say you "have spoken somewhat already, and that must stand till it be disproved." I see a short answer serves your turn, or else you might have told us where we might have found it, that so it might be disproved; but though thou didst find something proposed by me about baptism, thou leapest over it, as though thou wast afraid to look on it, and saith nothing to several texts alleged, and nine questions proposed, but that "I brought <499> crooked consequences, and no plain text," &c. The next work is (he saith) "to prove respect of persons," which are none of my words.
|And he saith I pervert that text in Lev. 19:32 because I read it (as Beza renders it) "Thou shalt honor the person of the old man." But why is this a perversion of the text, when I have as good reason to follow his translation as any? But 2) is not that which is done to the face of a man done to his person, be it honor or dishonor? And 3) are not these terms, face and person, convertible, as Isa. 3:15, where it is said that "the face of the poor was grinded," was not this the person of the poor?||His 28th lie|
And whereas you charge me with lying, in saying you deny respect due to parents, masters, husbands, wives, &c., I cannot but wonder at you: for I did not say so in any place of my book; I say, you did deny respect to persons, which I prove ought to be, because I am commanded to honor my father and mother, &c.
I brought this to prove we ought to honor some more than others; and you say I charge you with denying honor to father and mother, &c. But sure, James, thy conscience is very guilty at this turn, or else thou wouldst never have said, because I brought those scriptures to prove what I laid down, that therefore I said you were guilty. But hadst thou done fairly, thou shouldst have spoke to the scriptures and arguments alleged and have showed us in what sense the unjust judge was blamable, in not reverencing man; and many other texts which may be seen in page 39-40. To all which thou sayest nothing, but quarrelst about that I never said.
You go on and say that I lie because I say, "not one in ten shall give the same answer to a question, if it be asked them severally"; and this thou sayest is a lie, because (thou sayest) I "never proved ten of you therein." But James, this is as true as the rest; for I have proved twenty of you herein, and to make it appear, I will meet thee at any time and ask thee a question appertaining to the things of God, and not one of ten shall give the same answer with thee, the question being asked apart; if they do, I will be content to be called a liar, but not before.
You say, the next thing I would prove is that "Christ had two bodies." But James, why couldst not thou as well lay down the proposition in my words, as thine own? My words are that Christ had a body besides his church; and to the arguments and texts alleged, thou sayest nothing, but tellest us a few of your own notions, as that thou wilt not dispute with me, but sayest it serveth thee to know he is thy head, &c. But why didst not thou answer my arguments alleged to prove what I urged in the case?
<500> You go on and say you "do not deny Christ taking flesh," &c. James, I did draw thy veil from before the face of the people, which thou hadst cast upon them, and made thee speak somewhat plainly at the Bull and Mouth; and now thou wouldst fain speak somewhat to cover over thy vile sayings: but to this I shall speak anon.
And as touching the next thing, which is that one of them said Christ was but a figure: this he saith is a lie because of the printer's errata, who put page 54 of Saul's Errand to Damascus, instead of page 8, in which page he hath the words I charge, though he saith there is no such saying in the book; for this very thing was objected against him, and he answers, "that Christ in the flesh was a figure."
And whereas I show you that you have affinity with Gnostics, Manichees, and Familists, &c., you answer in page 24 that "it is not worth answering"—a cunning shift indeed! but if I should say so to your questions by and by, you were well enough served.
You go on, and tell me that "I have perverted the Scriptures," &c., but hast not showed one text wherein, unless it be that of Lev. 19, which I have already showed to be no perverting of it.
He goes on, and because I say in page 45 of my book that all that I have writ against you is either from your own mouths or writings, you say "this is a lie." But James, in the same page, about the middle of it, you might have found these words, namely, that the errors I charge you with are either such as fell from your own mouths, or else such as yourselves being charged with could not deny. Now put all this together, and what untruth have I told? For did you deny any of those things that I say you did not deny? And though you say the men were bloody persecuting priests, &c., that charged you, the more shame for you that you should call your book an answer to their petition, and withal print their objections yourselves, pretending to answer them; and when all comes to all, never deny the charge in the particulars I mention, but say somewhat else instead thereof, which is nothing to purpose, as you have done by me, as any may see that reads your answer both to my book, and the Westmorland petition, which is a thing I never saw, any further than as yourselves did transcribe and print it.
He now comes to the Postscript at the end of my book and saith that "because some saw my murderous mind, they did write down what he said." Though that which they have writ to cover thy assertion was not spoken at that time, as many can witness that came out with me, whatever you spake after I was gone. And though you seem to carry it by witness, you must know that your witnesses are parties, being of the same faith with thyself, viz., that Christ was not born after the flesh: and it doth behoove them to make a cloak for thee, lest thy deeds <501> & sayings should be made manifest. But whatever they have said, that matters not, since you confess all that I charge, which is that Christ was not born after the flesh. And how have you answered the thing I charge in the postscript, which is that it is all one to be born after the flesh as it is to be born according to the flesh? and though I prove it all one in the 52nd-53rd pages of my book, yet thou makest no kind of answer; which shows that thou hast picked up this letter to keep thee from the lash of the law, because thou sayest, "some saw I had a murderous design," or else thou wouldst have answered what I say in the Postscript, but that you did fear the light.
|You proceed, and in page 26 say, that I say, "the Scriptures make no such distinction, as born after the flesh, and after the Spirit." This is another of thy lies: where do I say any such thing in all my book? but this I said, that the Scriptures made no distinction between a being born after the flesh and born according to the flesh.||His 29th lie|
And you say again that "Christ, as he was born of Mary, was not born after the flesh, but begotten and brought forth by promise." To this I answer, first, that this is nothing to the question; for though he was begotten and brought forth by promise, doth this prove that therefore he was not born after the flesh? for Isaac was born according to the promise, yet he was born after the flesh likewise; so God's promise concerning Christ's birth doth not prove that therefore he was not born according to the flesh. And whereas thou sayest, he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, I say that though this be true in sinful, unregenerate men, that have no other birth and generation than what was after the flesh, yet it is not true in Christ and his being born after the flesh; for he being without sin did not persecute him that was born after the Spirit, as sinful men do. And therefore, James, because thou sayest Christ was not born after the flesh, show me a plain text for such a doctrine, without any of these conceited consequences; or else take shame to thyself for finding fault with proofs that others bring, when they do not give the express text.
Thou tellest me of my promise to repent, if I should be better informed, &c.; to this I answer that thou hast rather strengthened my former opinions of thee than any way better informed me, except I will take thy bare saying I lie for a better information.
Thou now comest upon me with a pack of questions, to which I shall answer.
His first question is, whose spirit that is which men understand the Scriptures with, and try spirits with, who are without the Spirit of God? Seeing thou affirms that a man may understand Scriptures without the <502> Spirit of God? or whether God hath set up such a trier, yea or no.
Answ. The greatest part of this question is grounded upon a false bottom, viz., "something that I said," which is most part false; for I did never say those words; yet I have answered to them, so far as I am concerned, in my answer to thy letter which thou sentst to me, after our meeting at Gerard Roberts, in the former part of this book: but yet if by understanding the Scriptures thou dost mean all things contained in them, I say, this he cannot do without God's Spirit: and if by trying spirits thou meanest to try between your spirits and the Spirit of Christ, I can say again, that a man without the Spirit of God may by his own spirit understand that you are not guided by the Spirit of truth, that have told so many untruths.
His second question: seeing thou confesseth Christ to be the true light, and that he lighteth every man that comes into the world, but denies that light to be within; show in plainness where he doth enlighten every man that comes into the world, and not within; and how they come by it: and seeing thou sayest every man hath it, how have they it, and not within?
This is answered already in page 51 of my book, called Quakers Quaking. The later part of the question is a lie: for I never said that every man hath the light of Christ, though Christ hath used means to bring the world to the light, that their deeds may be reproved. But lest both my books should not come to the reader's hand, I do again answer that Christ is said to enlighten the world, as he pardoneth their sins; though none but them that believe shall receive remission of sins, yet he pardoneth their sins by proposing a way for the pardon of them. So Christ enlightens every man (aye, and that within too, if you will have it) by giving them means to be enlightened within, though thousands (like yourselves) stumble because there is no light in them.
3. Quest. Seeing thou confessest that the heathen have a light that reproves them of sin, but not within, show where it is, and what it is; whether the light of Christ or no, and how they came by it?
Answ. That the heathen may have a light among them, that may not be in them, I have already shown in my former book (page 52), but further, did not Christ tell the Pharisees (Luke 17:2) that the kingdom of God was within them, when indeed it was but among them? and so the margin reads it: for they were far enough from having his kingdom erected in their inward man. In like manner may God send light among the heathen, which may not be within every individual man of them. And whereas you ask me, what light it is? I say, it is the light of nature, which taught them to do by nature the things contained in the law. And whereas you ask how they came by it? I answer, that that manifestation <503> they have is from God, for God hath showed it to them (Rom. 1:19).
4. Quest. Whether that which reproves the heathen when they sin be the same that reproves thee when thou sinnest, and the rest, who call yourselves believers? and whether it be in the same place? and wherein doth it differ, as to place, nature, and operation?
Answ. To which I answer, first, that that which reproves the heathen of sin doth reprove us and you too. And as touching the place, I confess it is an odd term: yet I answer that it is the conscience that must be reproved of sin, according to Rom. 2, but yet this light may differ in the nature of it, as the light of the moon differs from the sun; and as a man may see further by the light of the sun than he can by the light of the moon, even so may them that have the light of Christ have a further inspection into the things of Christ than the Gentiles who walk by the light of nature. Yet that light of nature we have (together with the light of the gospel) which will convince us of sins against nature; but for sins in the particular circumstances, relating to God's worship, the light of nature will not convince: and here these lights differ in operation also.
5. Quest. The fifth question is, whether your light, who call yourselves believers, be within you? and if within you, how came you by it, when you were in darkness, as the moving cause? and if without, how doth it enlighten, and not within? and where doth it abide for you, that is not in you?
Answ. To this I answer that God which commanded the light to shine out of darkness is he which hath shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:6); this being answered, there is no need of answering the later part of this query, for the light that is in believers doth abide in their hearts.
6. Quest. Whether that light which is not within can enlighten the heart and understanding? Whether the gospel be not hid to all who have their hearts and minds blinded? and whether it be not the work of the god of this world to blind hearts? Whether such as deny the light within and preach against it, lest people should believe in it, be not in his work and ministry, yea or no?
Answer. To the former part of this question I answer by concession; to the later part, if by preaching against light within you mean preaching against the light of Christ in his saints, we make one mind with you; but if you mean preaching against your notion, viz., that everyone hath the light of Christ in him, then I say that a man may preach against this and say with John, "He that walks in the dark hath no light in him."
7. Quest. What kind of faith thine is, who hast denied the faith that is the gift of God? and how thou camest by it, which God did not <504> give thee? and whether that faith which is not of God, be not of the devil, yea or no?
Answ. This question is grounded upon another of thy false suggestions, as I have showed already. For though I deny thy faith to be God's gift, yet I did never tell thee that my faith was not his gift; and though I do say that no faith is the gift of God as you fancy it, to wit, that men must do nothing towards the obtaining it, but wait till they are puffed up with your quaking dotages, yet I do say that we ought to contend for that faith that was once given to the saints.
8. Quest. Did ever any of the saints profess a faith which they received not of God? and whether thy contention be for the faith once delivered to these saints? and if so, from whom hadst thou it, seeing thou deniest it to be the gift of God?
Answ. This question is the same with the former, and therefore the same answer will serve to it, as to the former. However, I cannot but take notice that thou multipliest words without knowledge, or else thou mightest have seen this question to be the same with the former, and grounded upon the same falsity.
9. Quest. What faith is that which pleads for sin, and preacheth against perfection? that believes they can never be free from sin, nor come to perfection, while they are in this world? Show the saints that so believed and so preached.
Answ. This I have in part answered already, some pages before, when I proved that by the import of this question, that you professed to be perfect men, which you were forced to deny, when I laid so many imperfections and inconsistencies upon you, that you leaped over many and did not answer them; yet I shall add this further: that the faith which pleads for sin is of the devil (if such a thing may be called faith) and from beneath—but where didst thou learn this dialect, as to call a pleading for sin, faith? whereas the Scripture notes it for unbelief.
10. Quest. Is not the end of Christ's ministry for the perfecting of the saints; and is not that antichrist, whose ministry is against it? or is Christ's ministry now changed from what it was?
Answ. The end of Christ's ministry is for the perfecting the saints; and that is antichrist's ministry that is against it; and Christ's ministry is not changed from what it was.
11. Quest. Whether that faith which is not of God can receive the things of God, or can be imputed for righteousness to him that hath it? And is not his righteousness of himself, whose faith is of himself? or can it be otherwise, if it be the righteousness of faith?
A. This question is confused like the querent that made it, or else he would never ask whether the faith which is of God can receive the <505> things of God? and is not his righteousness of himself, whose faith is of himself? and yet ask in the latter end of the same query, if it can be otherwise, if it be the righteousness of faith? Therefore till he understand better how to make a question, I shall forbear to answer any otherwise, but that he that hath not the faith of God is not of God; neither can any other faith be imputed for righteousness than that which is of faith in Christ Jesus.
12. Quest. Whether he that hath not received the faith be not an infidel? or is he to be believed in matters of God and Christ? And being of a false faith, is it safe to believe what he saith against the children of light?
Answ. If by the faith of God you mean the faith that you do profess, which is that Christ was not born after the flesh, then I say that this faith is not the gift of God, neither is he an infidel that hath not received it; neither is he to be believed in matters of God and Christ, whatsoever he talks and prates of, if he have such a false faith. Neither is it safe to believe what a man of such a faith saith, either against the children of light, or anybody else.
13. Quest. Whether it be not plain nonsense to say that Christ doth enlighten everyone that comes into the world (as thou dost confess in thy book) and then to deny that light to be in that enlightens.
Answ. Thou mightest as well ask whether John did not speak nonsense in saying (John 1) that Christ is "the true light, that lightens everyone that comes into the world"; and yet afterwards, in John 11:10, says "If a man do walk in the night he stumbles, because there is no light in him." But to this I have spoke once and again, in my last and this also.
14. Quest. Whether Paul was rightly called and endued to the ministry, who was not sent to baptize? and whether it was not a sign that John was decreasing, and Christ increasing, that being left out in Paul's command, who was called after Christ was offered up? And cannot a man now be a minister of Christ, and not sent to baptize?
Answ. I answer, first, Paul was rightly called and endued, though (he saith) he was not sent to baptize. But James, how canst thou prove that this relates to his not baptizing with water, since thou wilt not have that text in Matt. 28 so understood? but tellest me our understanding the text to be meant of water is a crooked consequence, because the word "water" is not expressed: though thereupon I have said so much that it would trouble thee to answer; and therefore thou cunningly slippest it over, and sayest nothing to it. And now James, how canst thou, without the like consequence, prove this was meant of water, since the word water is not here expressed? But 2) if that be granted, that it is meant <506> of water, doth this prove (because it is said, "he was not sent to baptize") that therefore he was not in any sense commanded to it? Doth not the Scriptures sometimes lay down such sayings that are to be understood chiefly and eminently, and not exclusively, as "labor not for the meat that perisheth"; doth this therefore prove that believers are not to labor for earthly bread at all, but eat the bread of idleness, as you do? In like manner is this saying of Paul's to be understood, who though he was not chiefly and eminently sent to baptize, but to preach the gospel, yet he also did baptize, as the same place (2 Cor. 1:14,16) doth declare. Now if Paul did baptize, it was either in the name of God and Christ, or his own name; but it was not in his own name, for this he denies (v. 13) when he saith "either were you baptized in the name of Paul?" Well then, if he did baptize in the name of Christ, then I query, whether it be not great wickedness to do a thing in the name of God or Christ, that Christ never commanded? and therefore I say, Paul's saying he was not sent to baptize doth not prove that therefore John was decreasing, if by decreasing you mean that the things that John was a preacher of should decrease; for John was a preacher of repentance, as well as water baptism. And may you not as well say that he decreased in one thing as well as another? And to the last branch of the query, I say, that in the sense Paul was a minister of Christ, and was not sent to baptize, a man may be a minister of Christ now. But did you ever find a minister of Christ in all the New Testament that did not baptize at all, or that said as you do that baptism with water is not God's command?
15. Quest. Your next question is, seeing the last of Matthew is your strength for water baptism, I ask, whether one may not be baptized into the name of Father, Son, & Holy Ghost, without being dipped in carnal water? also, whether all you dip in water you baptize into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost? If the first of these be yea, and the later no, then I conclude that carnal dipping is not the thing.
Answ. As for thy word "carnal water," it is a word of thy own, and therefore I have nothing to say to it. But as touching the rest of the question, I say that the former is nay and the latter yea, to use your own phrases; for none were ever baptized into the name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, that were not baptized with water; and do thou prove it if thou canst, without a crooked consequence, and I will believe all you say: and the latter is yea, for we do not baptize any but we do it in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
16. Quest. Doth everyone that reads the Bible hear the word of God? or hath everyone the word that hath a Bible? and what difference is there between the ministration of the letter now, and that in the Jews' time, both denying the faith which is the gift of God? and will that save <507> now more without the ministration of the Spirit, than in their days?
Answ. First, everyone that reads the Bible reads the word; though it is true that many can read that do not hear. Again, 2) everyone that hath the Bible hath the word, if by word you mean the written commands of God, and his promises to them that obey, and his threatenings to them that obey not. And whereas you ask me what difference is between the ministration of the letter now, and that in the Jews' time, since both denied the faith which is the gift of God, &c. I wonder at thy ignorance, James; doth not Paul say (2 Cor. 3:7) that the ministration written with letters was "glorious"? and was not that to the Jews, in the Jews' time? and yet thou hast the face to say that the ministration of the letter in the Jews' time did deny the faith of God; and so thou sayest now. But where hast thou a text for this, that proves the ministration of the letter to deny the faith of God at any time? is not this one of thy brain-sick notions? And whereas you ask if it would save now without the Spirit, more than in their days? I say, that question is needless; for neither then nor now can men be saved without God's Spirit. But what's this to thy purpose, who saith that the ministration of the letter in the Jews' time, and now, do both deny the light and faith, which is the gift of God? For shame, man, leave off thy talking of God, without thou couldst speak more to purpose, and less to his dishonor!
17. Quest. Whether that righteousness that a man reads in the letter sets him to do the like without faith, which is the gift of God, or the leadings of the light of Christ, the ministration of the Spirit, be the righteousness of faith, or self-righteousness?
Answ. The letter nowhere sets men to do the righteousness which it calls for, without the faith of God and Christ. 2) To the latter part of your question, I answer, that the righteousness of faith which men have by the light of Christ and the ministration of the Spirit is not self-righteousness.
Thus have I plainly and faithfully transcribed thy questions and answered them, which in reason thou couldst not expect, since thou hast left mine unanswered. And were it not but that thou wouldst have been wise in thy own conceit, I should scarce have taken the pains; and if thou shouldst joy in the strength of thy queries, know that the joy of the hypocrite will be but for a moment, till my answer can overtake them.
Some passages thou hast for which there is but his Yea and my Nay; and therefore, that you may know on which side the truth lieth, examine my former book, and his answer, and see if that he hath not accused that <508> book of many things that were neither in the book nor the author's heart; and by that thou wilt perceive that he that will not stick to belie me in a matter so publicly made known as my book is, will not matter to do the like, and worse, concerning what I spake more private. And also compare this reply with his answer, and see if I have falsely related or perverted any saying in his book, but have faithfully and impartially transcribed them; and see if I have omitted replying to anything that is of weight, or indeed to the lightest thing that doth but look like an argument; and see also if he hath not left out many arguments, and many pages, to which he saith nothing; and whether he hath not added to and taken from most things that he mentions of my book, and then attempts to answer it. And whereas he would excuse his error of denying Christ born after the flesh, by saying that "that which is born after the flesh is flesh, and that which is born after the Spirit, is Spirit": whether by the rule of contraries it doth not undeniably follow that that which is not born after the flesh is not flesh? And then what doth he less than deny Christ to be made flesh, by the perverting those scriptures, John 3 and Gal. 4, whatever he saith to the contrary? Consider and weigh things aright, and the Lord give you understanding in all things. VALE.
Reader, These may certify that Jer. Ives did not utter any such thing as James Nayler falsely charges upon him, viz., as that all good was not of God: neither did he deny faith and obedience to be God's gift, but in the sense mentioned in this reply. Neither did he say any of those things, as that the wilderness where John baptized was in Jerusalem, &c. And we do further certify that the account he hath given of that conference at Gerard Roberts', in this reply to James Nayler, is true; we being there all the time and heard none of those things, save what Jer. Ives hath here acknowledged and given an account of in this his answer to that lying letter. Witness our hands,
John Fry, Rich. Cleiveland, William Nash
Reader, Whereas James Nayler denies that ever he knew of the fetching the last letter mentioned in this book, which letter was to prove he had writ some things that was false concerning Jer. Ives: now these may certify that it was publicly declared to his face, that the letter should be fetched for to prove him a liar, and accordingly it was: and when the letter came, he was gone; though it was told him, if he would stay, the letter should be produced, to prove his false speaking (though in his book he denies he knew of the fetching of it). Witness my hand this 21st of July, 1656.
a. Thomason date: 30 Aug. 1656.
b. Ives has two "eleventh" errors in his list of charges.