Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Works of James Nayler > The Lamb's War
The Lord God Almighty, to whom belongs all the kingdoms in heaven and earth, doth nothing therein but by his Son, the Lamb; by him he creates and governs; by him he saves and condemns; judges and justifies; makes peace and makes war; and whatsoever he doth, he is at his right hand in all places, who in him hath long suffered the burden of iniquity, and oppression of wickedness that hath abounded for many generations, till it be come to the full measure, as in the days of old; and now his appearance in the Lamb (as ever it was when iniquity was full) is to make war with the god of this world, and to plead with his subjects concerning their revolt from him their creator, who ordered their beginning and gave them a being, and their breaking the order that was in the beginning, and giving up their obedience to the worldly spirit, and the inventions thereof, till they become so far one with it as that it hath not only defiled their souls and bodies, blinded their eyes, stopped their ears, and so made the creature utterly unprofitable to God and unfit for a temple for him to be worshipped in, or to hear the voice or understand the mind of the eternal Spirit, by which they was created, but that they are also become open enemies to every check and reproof of that Spirit which should lead them to God and doth testify against their evil deeds, and are not afraid to speak against it as a thing not worth the minding, nor able to lead them in the way of truth. Thus hath God lost the creature out of his call and service, and he is become one with the <2> god of this world, to serve and obey him in ways that despite the Spirit of grace, and now use the creation against the creator. Now against this evil seed, and its whole work brought forth in that nature, doth the Lamb make war to take vengeance of his enemies.
To judge this deceiver openly before all the creation, showing that his ways, fashions and customs are not what God ordered for man to live in, in the beginning, to bind him and to redeemb out of his captivity all who will but believe in the Lamb, & are weary of this service and bondage to his enemy, and who will but come forth and give their names and hearts to join with him, and bear his image and testimony openly before all men, and willingly follow him in such ways as wherein the Father hath given him victory over this power, for himself and all that follow him, to redeem them to God; and the rest who will not believe and follow him, and bear his image, them to condemn with the destroyer into everlasting destruction, and to restore all things, and make all things new, as they were in the beginning, that God alone may rule in his own work.
First, that he may be just who is to judge all men and spirits, he gives his light into their hearts, even of man & woman, whereby he lets all see (who will mind it) what he is displeased with, what is with him, and what is against him; what he owns, and what he disowns, that so all may know what is for destruction, to come out of it, lest they be destroyed with it, that so he may save and receive all that are not willfully disobedient and hardened in the pleasures of this world, against him; all who are deceived, who are willing to be undeceived; all who are captivated, who are willing to be set free; all that are in darkness, and are willing to come to light: in a word, all that loves righteousness more than the pleasures of sin, that he may not destroy them, nor they fight against him, and knowc not, but that he may receive them, to be one with him against that which hath misled and deceived them. And as many as turn at his reproof, he doth receive, and gives them power in spirit and life to be as he is, in <3> their measure; but all in watching and wars against that which hath had them, and now has the rest of the creation in bondage, that he may restore all things in their former liberty.
And that is, whatever is not of God: whatever the eye (which loves the world) lusts after, whatever the flesh takes delight in, and whatever stands in respect of persons (as saith the Scripture), the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, the pride of life; these are not of God; and whatever the god of this world hath begot in men's hearts to practice or to plead for, which God did not place there, all this the Lamb and his followers wars against, which is at enmity with it both in themselves and wherever they see it; for in the work of God alone is his kingdom, and all other works will he destroy. So their wars is not against creatures, they wrestle not with flesh and blood which God hath made, but with spiritual wickedness, exalted in the hearts of men and women, where God alone should be, and pleaded for, by which they become enemies to God, and their souls are destroyed. Indeed, their war is against the whole work and device of the god of this world, his laws, his customs, his fashions, his inventions, and all which are to add to or take from the work of God, which was in the beginning; this is all enmity against the Lamb and his followers, who are entered into the covenant which was in the beginning, and therefore no wonder why they are hated of the god of this world and his subjects, who comes to spoil him of all at once, & to destroy the whole body of sin, the foundation and strength of his kingdom, and to take the government to himself, that God may wholly rule in the heart of man, and man wholly live in the work of God.
And as they war not against men's persons, so their weapons are not carnal, nor hurtful to any of the creation; for the Lamb comes not to destroy men's lives, nor the work of God, and therefore at his appearance in his subjects, he puts spiritual weapons into their hearts and hands: their armor is the light, their sword the Spirit of the Father and the Son; their shield is faith and patience; their paths are prepared with the gospel of peace and good will towards all the creation of God. Their breastplate <4> is righteousness and holiness to God; their minds are girt with godliness, and they are covered with salvation, and they are taught with truth. And thus the Lamb in them, and they in him, goes out in judgment and righteousness to make war with his enemies, conquering and to conquer, not as the prince of this world in his subjects, with whips and prisons, tortures and torments on the bodies of creatures, to kill and destroy men's lives, who are deceived and so become his enemies; but he goes forth in the power of the Spirit with the word of truth, to pass judgment upon the head of the serpent, which doth deceive and bewitch the world, and covers his own with his love, whilst he kindles coals of fire on the head of his enemies; for with the spirit of judgment and with the spirit of burning will he plead with his enemies: and having kindled the fire and awakened the creature, and broken their peace and rest in sin, he waits in patience to prevail to recover the creature and slay the enmity by suffering all the rage and envy and evil entreatings that the evil spirit that rules in the creature can cast upon him, and he receives it all with meekness and pity to the creature, returning love for hatred, wrestling with God against the enmity, with prayers and tears night and day, with fasting, mourning and lamentation, in patience, in faithfulness, in truth, in love unfeigned, in longsuffering, and in all the fruits of the Spirit, that if by any means he may overcome evil with good, and by this his light in the sight of the creature, that the eye may come to be opened which the god of this world hath blinded, that so the creature might see what it is he thus hates, and what fruits he himself brings forth, that the creature may be convinced he is no deceiver, but hath with him the life and power of innocency and holiness, in whom he rules; and this preaching hath a power in it to open the eye of all that are not willfully blind, because they love the deeds of darkness, and such are left thereby without excuse forever; and thus he in his members many times wrestles and preaches to the spirits in prison, with much longsuffering towards the world, a nation, or a particular person, before he gives them up and numbers them for destruction; yea, sometimes till their rage against him, and cruelty exercised upon his members be so great that there be no remedy, as in the days of old (2 Chron. 36:15-16).<5>
As they come to obey him, he covers them with love, gentleness, faith, patience, and purity, grace and virtue, temperance and self-denial, meekness and innocency, all in white, that follow him, in whom he is, who walks themselves as he walked, in all things conforming to God, with boldness and zeal, owning the Lamb to be their leader, with him testifying against the world, that the deeds thereof are evil, themselves the meanwhile covered with his righteousness against all the storms and tempests that they must be sure to meet withal who bears that testimony which the Lamb hath ever borne, in whom he appeared to the convincing of the world, that he is the same that ever he was from the beginning, that all that will believe and loves holiness may see where it is to be found, and come forth to him & be saved, that the whole world become not as Sodom in the day of wrath, which ever comes upon a people or a nation after Christ hath thus appeared and been rejected thereof.
The power, the glory, and compass of it is not comprehended with mortal understanding, which was before all beginnings, and endures forever, who orders and limits all spirits in heaven and earth, who rules in the rulers of the earth, and in all heavenly places, though many spirits knows him not till they have felt his reproof for their rebellion against him; his sufferings are free for love's sake, which is naturally in him to the creation, being his offspring, for which cause he becomes meek and lowly, that he may bear the infirmities of the creation, which doth no way take from his power, who is equal with the Father, but doth manifest his power to be unlimited, in that he beareth all things, his dominion he hath amongst the heathen, and his hands is in the counsels of the kings of the earth, and there is no place where he is not, who descends below all depths, and ascends far above all heavens, that he may fill all things.
But his kingdom in this world, in which he chiefly delights to walk and make himself known, is in the hearts of such as have believed in him, and owned his call out of the world, whose hearts he hath purified, and whose bodies he hath washed in obedience <6> and made them fit for the Father to be worshipped in; and in such he rejoices and takes delight, and his kingdom in such is righteousness and peace; in love, in power and purity, he leads them by the gentle movings of his Spirit out of all their own ways and wills, in which they would defile themselves, and guides them into the will of the Father, by which they become more clean and holy; deeply he lets them know his covenant, and how far they may go and be safe; he gives them his laws and his statutes, contrary in all things to the god of this world, that they may be known to be his before all his enemies; if they keep his counsel they are safe; but if they refuse he lets them know the correction of the Father; his presence is great joy to them of a willing mind; but with the froward he appears in frowardness; the kisses of his lips is life eternal. But who may abide his wrath? The secrets of the Father are with him, and he maketh all his subjects wise; he makes them alld one heart, and with himself of the same mind; his government is wholly pure, and no unclean thing can abide his judgments. As any come into his kingdom they are known, and their change is to be seen of all men. He keeps them low in mind, and a meek spirit doth he beget in them; and with his power he leads them forth against all the enmity of the evil one and makes all conditions comfortable to them who abides in his kingdom.
Now are these the last times, and many false Christs there must appear and be made manifest by the true Christ, with their false prophets, false ways, and false worships, and false worshippers, which though they be at wars one with another, yet not the Lamb's war. Now seeing he hath appeared who is from everlasting and changeth not, here is an everlasting trial for you all, all sorts of professors, whether you profess him from the letter or the light; come try your Christ,e measure your life, and weigh your profession with that which cannot deceive you, which hath stood and will stand forever; for he is sealed of the Father.
Now in truth to God and your own souls, prove your work in time, lest you and it perish together. First see if your Christ be the same that was from everlasting to everlasting, or is he changed according to the times, in life, in death, in peace and wars, in <7> reigning, in suffering, in casting out and receiving in; and if you find the true Christ, then prove your faithfulness to him in all things. Doth him whom you obey as your leader lead you out to war against this world, and all the pride and glory, fashions and customs, love and pleasures, and whatever else is not of God therein? and to give up your lives unto death, rather than knowingly to yield your obedience thereto? Doth he justify any life now but what he justified in the prophets and apostles, and saints of old? Doth he give his subjects liberty now to bow to the god of this world, and his ways, in things that he hath denied in the saints of old, and for denying whereof, many both then and now have suffered? Is he at peace in you, whilst you are in the fleshly pleasures, or whilst you have fellowship with the unclean spirits that are in the world? Doth he not lead out of the world, and to strive against it in watchings, fastings, prayers, and strong cries to the Father, that you may be kept, and others delivered from the bondage and pollutions of it? Is his kingdom the same in you? And doth he give out the same spiritual laws against all the laws and customs of the man of sin in you, as he hath done in his subjects in all ages? Doth he beget in your hearts a new nature, contrary to the world's nature in all things, motions and delights like himself, whereby he works out the old nature that inclines to the world and can be at peace therein, and now your peace is wholly in him, and that which crucifies the world to you, and you to it, is your joy and delight? Hath he called you out of this world to bear his name before the powers thereof, & put his testimony into your hearts, and the same weapons into your hands, as was used by the saints of old against the powers of darkness, whereby you have power given to overcome evil with good; and many other fruits you may find, which he ever brought forth in his chosen, whereby they was known to be in him, and he in them, for which the world hates them; by all which you may clearly know if he be the same in you today as he was yesterday in his people, and forever; for he changeth not, nor conforms to the world, nor the will of any creature, but changes all his followers, till they become in all things like himself; for they must bear his name and image before all men and spirits.
Now if you profess the same as was, and is, and is to come, the same forevermore, the same Christ, the same calling in you <8> that was in all the people of God, then prove your faithfulness in answering and obeying. Who is it that sees not that wars is begun? and to whom hath not the sound gone forth? The children of light hath published the gospel of light throughf the world, and the prince of darkness hath showed his enmity against it; the Lamb hath appeared with his weapons as before-mentioned, in much longsuffering, and the god of this world hath appeared to withstand him with his weapons, and hath prevailed unto blood with much eagerness; and the Lamb hath prevailed unto suffering with much meekness and patience, each of them in their subjects, in whom these contrary spirits acts one against another; and now see what part you take, who hath hired you, and whose work are you in, or are you idle, looking on? Or are you gone out with the beast of the field, and regards nothing but your bellies and pleasures? Doth it not greatly concern you to try your estate, seeing all must come speedily to an account for their lives and service? Are you such as spend your time and strength in watching and praying to the Father of spirits for yourselves and the people of God, that they may be kept in the time of temptation and assaults of the evil one, who seeks his advantage on the weak brethren, and for your enemies, that they may be delivered from under his power, who are captivated by him at his will, to fulfill his lusts and envy, and satisfy his wrath upon the innocent? And do you deny yourselves of your pleasures, profits, ease and liberty, that you may hold forth a chaste conversation in the power and life of gentleness, meekness, faithfulness & truth, exercising a conscience void of offense towards God and all men, that thereby you may shine forth in righteousness, so as to convince your enemies whom you pray for, thus following him who laysg down his life for his enemies? Is this your war? and these your weapons? Is this your calling? & are you faithful to him that hath called you hereto, so as you can by no means bow to the god of this world, nor his ways, though it were to save your lives or credit in the world, or estates, & yet can serve the meanest creature in God's way, though to the loss of all? I beseech you be faithful to your own souls herein: do you find nothing in you that calls or moves this way, or reproves the <9> contrary? If there be, are you not such as quench the Spirit, & put out your own eye, & denies the Lamb's call against your own lives? & if there be not, then are you not dead members, cut off from Christ, & all your profession is but a lie, & without Christ you are in the world? O that you would prove your own selves; for there be many deceitful workers at this day of his appearance, who do the work of the Lord negligently & deceitfully, & many do their own work instead of his, & many are called, & for a while abide, but in the time of hardship prove deceitful, & return to serve in the world again, and take pleasure therein; others are called & convinced, but come half out of the world, even as far as they can do it without loss or shame, but keep their covenant therewith still, in what makes most for their gain, or earthly advantage or credit: others have answered their call, & been faithful in the wholeh covenant of the Lamb against the prince of this world, so far as they have seen; but not minding the watch against the enemy, & not keeping low in the fear, & zealous in the light, have suffered the simplicity to be deceived, & are led back to the old beggarly rudiments of the world again, & take that for their perfection & growth, which once they had vomited up; & these expect great things in their work; but they are blinder than the rest, & more to be pitied, because of the simplicity that is deceived. Many other grounds there be that brings not fruit to perfection, who are not found faithful to him that hath called them therein; so that now truth is, that many are called, but few chosen and faithful; many are ashamed at the Lamb's appearance, it is so low & weak & poor & contemptible, & many are afraid seeing so great a power against him; many be at work in their imaginations, to compass a kingdom to get power over sin, & peace of conscience, but few will deny all to be led by the Lamb in a way they know not, to bear his testimony & mark against the world, and suffer for it with him. Now deceit hath taught you to say, and maybe you think it also, God forbid but you should suffer with Christ till death, but come to the trial in deed and truth. Doth not he suffer under all the pride & pleasures of the flesh, by all manner of excess, by all manner of customs & fashions not of God but of the world? Is not all against him that is not of him <10> and the Father? Is not the lust of the eye, and of the flesh, and pride of life, his oppressors? And do you that live in these things and fashions, and plead for them, suffer with him by them, or war with him against them? then would you be weary of them, and not practice nor plead for them against him: this you will find true in the end, you cannot suffer with him and serve his enemies.i
Can you live at ease, and in your pleasures and profits, and cover yourselves with worldly glory, while Christ Jesus is glorified in his temples with mockings, stockings, stonings, whippings, and all manner of evil entreatings? cast into holes, pits, and dungeons? having none on earth to take his part, nor plead his righteous cause, nor once to take notice of his innocent sufferings? but who as will may tread down his precious life, in the open streets, without resisting; and this for no other thing but for testifying against the deeds of the world, that they are evil, the pride and oppression, false ways, and false worships, never set up by him, but in the will of man, and so maintained against him, which he must judge with a contrary appearance, ere he come to his kingdom? And do you suffer with him herein, who have a heart consenting to these things? if not a hand deeply in them, secret or open, either in this cruelty acting, or contriving, or in cursed and scornful speeches, condemning such as bear thisj witness as a foolish ignorant people, and that they bring these sufferings upon themselves by their own wills: and so shoot your poisoned arrows, one way or other, against that Spirit which leads, and hath ever led such as do not resist and disobey him, into the same testimony; and so in secret you become worse than open persecutors.
Or it may be some few be come as far as Pilate, who washed his own hands, while others shed the innocent blood, and these are few indeed, who thus far will openly confess the just and innocent one,k before his accusers, in what vessel he is thus honored.
But will the best of this stand in judgment, as sufferers with him? Or will he know you at his appearance, by this mark? Are these his steps you follow? Or is this his image, or power, war or weapons? Will this suffering bring you to reign with <11> him? Or he in you, to your peace? Or will this cross crucify you to the world, and the world to you? Do you walk as he walked, or hath he left you such example to follow? Search the Scriptures, and read the life of them, and your own lives, with the light of Christ Jesus, and cease to blaspheme any longer, in saying you are Christians, while in Christ you are not, but in a contrary spirit, and contrary life. And your fellowship is not with him in suffering, but with them by whom he suffers.
Were ever Christians at their ease and worldly delights, while Christ hath not where to rest his head, thrust out of your meeting places, towns, and markets, and every assembly, if he do but testify against the evil thereof? Are you asleep in the world, and doth it not awaken you, to see or hear how sudden a return that bloody spirit hath made, lately in part cast out? and with what power he is now entering, like to exceed sevenfold, what he hath this many generations, making daily havoc of the lambs? Is it a time for you to riot in, to satisfy your lusts, to eat and drink, and arise andl play, and spend your time and strength (many of you) so as modest heathen would blush at; and then say, you are Christians, and suffer with Christ? Surely were you members of that body, or sensible of his sufferings herein, you would not add thereto a greater weight, nor join to his adversary the devil, whose works these are; but on the Lord's part everyone up and be armed in the light, with the armor of the Lamb (as before mentioned) to withstand these and other the temptations of his enemy, and in sufferings witness against them. Do you not daily read of such a testimony in the Scriptures, borne against the murderer by the Lamb?
How long shall it be ere the life of what you profess be seen in the face of your conversation, teachers and people? When will you teachers approve yourselves as the ministers of God, and sufferers with Christ (as saith the Scripture which you profess), "in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes above measure, in prisons frequently, in deaths often, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in hunger, in fastings oft, in cold and nakedness, in poverty, in longsuffering, and love unfeigned, in honor and dishonor, in evil reports and good reports, as deceivers,m as <12> unknown, sorrowing, chastened, poor, having nothing, yet coveting no man's money, making it your reward to keep the gospel without charge?" and much more of this self-denying nature which is the armor of righteousness the ministers of Christ put on, and with such weapons they went out to fight with beasts and belly-gods, false prophets, greedy dogs, hirelings, and all sorts that went after the error of Balaam for wages, gifts, or rewards: and by these marks of Christ they were ever to be known from Baal's priests and such as the world called and set up in the will of man: and in the Spirit of Christ did openly war against them, with the sword of his mouth, and do to this day, even to the day of judgment. In whom the Scriptures are fulfilled, which cannot be broken.
Now why will you not measure yourselves with this measure, seeing this only is sealed to all generations of God's ministers (witness the Scriptures)? Nay, why are you so exceedingly blind, and wicked above measure, that if you be found in the contrary nature, life, and practice, and God send some to warn you thereof, and hold forth the Lamb's testimony against you, you presently suffer the evil one to get up in you, and in rage and madness (not minding this to be obedience to God in them, and his love and faithfulness to your souls) seek to cast some of these things before-mentioned upon them; and so your revenge turns to their double honor, and doubles a witness against yourselves, to your own condemnation, and that you have not the Spirit of Christ in you. And some of you exceed in this, above your forefathers; for whom the lambs of God have a lamentation. Yet must God be justified when he comes to judgment; for you will be found far off the suffering with Christ, though with your lips you honor him.
Surely he that hath a living conscience may much admire how you get over these scriptures in your teaching of others, and not to wound yourselves, or pierce your hearts with fear, and your faces with blushing, who are found so absolute in contradiction thereto, in conversation; and unlike in your lives, in the sight of every open eye. Or how you can muzzle your consciences while you pass your prayers, that your own mouth doth not devourn you? It's no wonder why you are such enemies to the light within: "every one that doth evil hateth the light."<13>
And you hearers of all sorts, how long will it be ere you hearken what the Lord saith to your souls, who is no respecter of persons? but everyone that bears not the image of his Son in well-doing, he hates, though with Cain you sacrifice, or with Esau you pray with tears. That with the light of Christ in your own hearts you may see how the world's lusts have spoiled your souls of that heavenly image, and hath captivated your minds into its self and likeness; and how you lie dead in sin, covered with earth, and daubed over with the words of men. Oh that you would awake before wrath awake you, and put on the armor of God, not relying any longer on men that beat the air, to fight your battles, against him who is got into your hearts; but that yourselves, as soldiers of Christ, may all come to use the spiritual weapons against the spiritual wickedness exalted in the temple of God, so that you can neither see nor serve God therein, being filled with wicked and worldly cumbrances.
That's the spiritual weapons which captivates every thought to the obedience of Christ, and this is the true warfare, and is mighty through God to cast down the strongholds of the man of sin in you; "and having in readiness to revenge all disobedience," knowing that he that will not be led by the Spirit of God is for condemnation. And only these weapons are effectual to cleanse the heart of all that exalts against the life and knowledge of God, and to make way for his appearance, which no man's words who is in the same evils hath power to do; for this power is only in Christ, his light and life. And only blessed are they who feel and find this treasure working in the earthen vessel; such shall approve their own work to God and have praise thereof, not of men. So should you come to see what others have said in Scripture, concerning "the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world," and savingly feel the power of his cross, of his death and resurrection, and the everlasting purity of his life, and that eternal love the Father bears thereto; an everlasting inheritance to all who learn him, and attain his appearance, whose beauty is blessed forever.
Called, chosen, and faithful are the servants and subjects of Christ's kingdom, in whom at this day he maintains war against the prince of this world, the beast, and his seat, with the false prophet, and all that serve under his dominion and obey his laws <14> he hath set up.
Now you that cry, "The kingdoms of the world are become the kingdoms of the Lord and of his Christ": see that it be truth in you, and that you lie not within yourselves. The Lamb's war you must know, before you can witness his kingdom, and how you have been called into his war, and whether you have been "faithful and chosen" there or no. He that preaches the kingdom of Christ in words, without victory, is the thief that goes before Christ. So take heed that your own words condemn you not; but mind your calling and how you have answered, and whether you have been faithful in that whereunto you have been called, the war. Christ hath a war with his enemies, to which he calls his subjects to serve him therein against all the powers of darkness of this world: and all things of this old world, the ways and fashions of it will he overturn; and all things will he make new which the god of this world hath polluted, and wherewith his children have corrupted themselves, and do service to the lust, and devourer; this the Lamb wars against, in whomsoever he appears, and calls them to join to him herein, in heart and mind, and with all their whole might: and for that end he lights his candle in their hearts, that they may find out every secret evil that the man of sin hath there treasured up, even to every thought and intent of the heart, to cast out the enemy with all his stuff, and to subject the creature wholly to himself, that he may form a new man, a new heart, new thoughts, and a new obedience, in a new way, in all things therein to reign, and there is his kingdom.
Now many are called to this war, but few are chosen and faithful. They that are faithful in their calling, them he chooses, and in them he reigns, & with them he makes war against his enemies on every side, under what color soever they appear; if they be not subjects to him, all in whom he reigns are at war with them in Christ, and the sword of his Spirit he hath put into their hand, his word into their mouths, whereby they are at wars with all the world, and the world with them; and he that's faithful will make no peace nor agreement; neither will he bow nor yield agreement till there be a subjection to Christ. These are faithful to him that hath called them.
So you that are much in words, prove your own selves; if you be in his kingdom or of his subjects: then are you at work with him <15> in this his day, wherein he is coming "in thousands of his saints, to take vengeance" into his hands and inflict it upon his enemies.
Now you who are asleep and at ease in the flesh are not of his kingdom; for by suffering in the flesh doth he make war, and slays the man of sin.
You that are at peace in the world's ways and fashions, invented and maintained by the man of sin, you are not in his kingdom; for he hath given an alarm against all those things which hath caused the dragon to whet his teeth, and all the devouring spirits are stirred up, their lord's kingdom to defend, every one with such weapons as they have, against the Lamb in his kingdom, in what vessel soever he reigns; and he is but one in all his, against all these.
Now you that are making peace where these things are upholden, you are false-hearted and betray the Lamb, as that of God in you shall witness; you are at peacemaking with his enemies.
But say you, God is love, and we are commanded to love all, and seek peace with all, &c.
I say, is God's love in you otherwise than heo hath ever been in Christ and all his saints, whom the world ever hated, whom God loved, & in whom he testified against the world unto death, and unto bonds and persecution? was not they in God's love? Did not they keep his commandments? Will you take their words in your mouths and condemn their lives by your practices?
The Lamb's quarrelp is not against the creation, for then should his weapons be carnal, as the weapons of the worldly spirits are: "For we war not with flesh and blood," nor against the creation of God; that we love; but we fight against the spiritual powers of wickedness, which wars against God in the creation, and captivates the creation into the lust which wars against the soul, and that the creature may be delivered into its liberty prepared for the sons of God. And this is not against love, nor everlasting peace, but that without which can be no true love nor lasting peace.
Love to God and man constrains us to be faithful in this war. Nor is Godq love to that seed of bondage, nor did he ever <16> command you to seek the peace of it: "for the love of the world is enmity with God," as saith the Scripture.
And were you not fallen into self-love, which is utterly blind (as to the love of God), you would see a great difference between the creature and that which keeps the creature in bondage and out of the love of God. Can you love that, & not hate the creature, and God also? This all that fight in the Lamb's battles knows, who are in the true love. Doth not the spirit of pride, gluttony, drunkenness, pleasures, envy and strife, keep that in bondage which thou shouldst love by the command of God? Doth not the creature groan to be delivered from the vanity, customs and fashions of this generation? Is not the whole time of man taken up in service of the lust and invention which the man of sin hath found out: inventions in meats and drinks, inventions in apparel, inventions in worships, in sports and pleasures, &c.? Is not the whole creation captivated under this spirit of whoredom, and so man's whole life spent in vain? So that men and women come into the world and depart out of it again, as though they were made for no other end but for vanity and selfishness: scarce one of ten thousand knows any call from God to any service for him, or hath an ear to hear that voice; but if any do hear and obey, they all conclude him deceived, and are ready to devour him, because he testifies against these evils which destroy men's souls, and makes void man's service to his creator, and devours the creation.
And can you love this spirit, bow and conform to it, or suffer it to reign in yourselves or your brethren, and you be silent under a pretense of seeking love and peace, and obeying God's command, and boast in high words about Christ's kingdom, counting it a low and foolish thing in such as faithfully and zealously bear their testimony for God, and against these evils? And will not God find you out, and your deceit and unfaithfulness in your generation; shall not God break your peace and disannul your covenant you are making with the world to settle yourselves in ease and pleasure; and bring you out with true judgment, where it shall be seen what nature your love is of, whose kingdom you are in, and whom you love and serve?
The day is dawned, and the sun is risen to many, that shall not set, nor shall he cease his course, until he have rightly divided between the precious seed and the children of whoredoms and <17> deceit. And now the holy seed is called forth to appear in its color against the man of sin, and with "the sword of his mouth doth he make war," and "with the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning" doth he consume the filthy and unclean spirits. And all that are faithful have their armor on, ready day and night to follow the Lamb, as he moves, counting nothing hard to undergo, so as they may but have hopes of reconciliation betwixt God and the creature that is fallen to the prince of the world, and led captive at his will. And this is love indeed to lay down all for such as are yet enemies.
Go on and prosper in the name of the Lord, and in righteousness make war; and all that are zealous for truth and purity shall say Amen. But the slothful, the lukewarm, and all unclean persons shut themselves out, as not for this work, nor worthy to be counted faithful nor chosen.r
Perilous times are come; now is the earth and the air corrupted and filled with violence and deceit, ungodliness abounds everywhere, Satan is loosed and gone forth to deceive, multitudes of spirits are sent abroad, and have power given to enter all that dwell in the earth, who inhabit in dark places, who loves not the light; woe to the world, woe to all who have treasured up wickedness in themselves, for now will Satan seek to his own, and his vessels will be filled, filled with wrath, filled with pride, filled with lust, covetousness, and all manner of unrighteousness; the fulness of the Gentiles is at hand, and every bottle must be filled, that the Potter may dash them one against another. Woe to the drunken nation whose vomit is in the streets, streets filled with pride, filled with oppression and deceit, lying, swearing and cursed speaking, vomits out openly and not ashamed, vanity and folly is become a glory, wickedness shines, it exceeds in boldness, it's not found in a corner but in the broad places of the streets, so that none can look out without danger of letting in the devil. Oh what is now to be seen in the world in which there is not a temptation? so that no safety is to him that looks out, for sin lies at the door ready to enter: woe to every city that's without a watchman, these are the perilous times when every house is beset <18> with danger, these are the evil days, the last times wherein iniquity abounds. And now where the watchman is blind (enemies to the light), that house will be filled with evil spirits; legions of devils may enter and inhabit in darkness, proud spirits, lying spirits, dissembling spirits, flattering spirits, deceitful spirits of all sorts, and those being got in, works in the vessel according to their several natures, the works of their father, holding forth his image to all that look out, tempting to get into others to enlarge his kingdom, and so the wanton look comes to be deceived, lust looks out, and pride calls and holds out an object to the eye, which being let in, it conceives within, and grows till it be able to bring forth of its own, and become a tempter to others, so vanity calls out of the devil's treasury to all that pass by, spiritual whoredom cries aloud in the open streets to entice the simple and defile the virgin with eagerness, seeking to pollute the chaste spirit and corrupt the mind from God; now these are the perilous times wherein simplicity is taken in the snares of subtlety. Oh what baits are laid out, where the strong man keeps the house within; with an impudent face hath the adulterous mind set herself to deceive, enticements to the eye, words of witchcraft to ear; where Satan hath got a head, how doth he open his mouth in blasphemy against the Holy Spirit & its fruits of humility and purity and godliness, plainness & truth, blaspheming the holy truth of Scriptures, turning them against these fruits,s and to plead for that which destroys these fruits and brings forth contrary fruits? what pleading for pride from Scripture, for respect of persons, for false worships, for covetousness, for excess and riot, for all deceitful dealings, and works of the flesh from Scriptures? the deceitful worker having through subtlety got the words of Scripture to destroy the life thereof, and set up a life contrary thereto as though they now allowed what they formerly condemned; and thus the whore holds forth a gilded cup, but filled with abomination and filthy lust.
And this is done with such craft as it is impossible for any who go out from the light within, to lend either eye or ear to that without, to escape the snare and not to have that which should be for their welfare turned into a trap, by that spirit which where it enters turns all the mercies of God into lasciviousness, as it is at <19> this day in all where he is entered. How is riches become a trap to the rich to captivate them into pride, idleness and vanity. How is Dives' table become a snare to captivate into all excess and wantonness and harden them against the lowly and meek; this is the greatest of curses, and it now abounds and seeks to enter and spread. How is trading become a trap to captivate men into deceitful dealing, and vain customs and fashions to serve the adulterous eye and vanity, so that not one trade amongst many, wherein a just plain man who is come to yea and nay, and cannot serve the vanity of the eye and the pride of life, can live; but if he will keep his conscience pure he must become a prey; these are evil times indeed. Where can the innocent go out and not a trap laid to bring him into bondage and slavery to some of these spirits, to captivate the conscience, or deceive the simplicity? What traps in laws which should defend the simple, traps in courts, traps in teachers, yea what is it wherein there is not the snare of the fowler to him that goes out? Wherefore now he alone is blessed who looks not out for a guide, who lends not an ear to the wicked, nor walks in the counsels of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, but delights in the light of Christ to exercise his mind day and night,t he only shall escape these perilous times and not be polluted; his city shall be safety who stands on his watch, his house shall not be filled with thieves, these evil spirits shall not lodge there; they are prepared for darkness and have power in them that hate the light.u
Watching in the light with diligence, faithfulness and patience, keeps the enemy out, and kills that of his seed that is within, where it is not wholly dead, while the root of pride & lust is within, it is fed by fetching in of its own without, but the faithful watch, suffers him no passage out nor in, and so he that watches for iniquity is cut off, and the seed of the evildoer is kept in captivity, and the devil cannot come to relieve his own; so "if a man's enemies be them in his own house" (as it is with all till they be dead and buried), yet a faithful watch in the light will keep from being betrayed therewith, though the tempter with all his wiles and subtlety seek to draw out the mind, that he may come <20> into his own, yet in the light he cannot enter; he that dwells in the light dwells in God and hath immortality for his defense, and who feels the power of meekness, truth, peace, love, patience, and holds this in his mind and heart, and will not be tempted from it, he holds the head; this is he that is given of the Father to be head to the church that is in God who dwells in the light, he is head over all principalities and powers and all spiritual wickedness, this is the savior and that name and nature to which "every knee must bow, and every tongue confess," he that puts on truth and righteousness puts on immortality and eternal life, and freedom; this is our house from heaven, and hath power to save upon earth, and to take us up to heaven, to be with God forever, in whom is the kingdom, power and glory over all, blessed forevermore.
a. London, Printed for Thomas Simmonds, 1657.
b. Whitehead inserts "him."
c. Whitehead inserts "it."
d. Whitehead inserts "of."
e. W. changes "your Christ" to "whether Christ is in you."
f. W. changes "through" to "throughout."
g. W. changes "lays" to "laid."
h. Whitehead omits "whole."
i. 1657 edition ends here; what follows is from the 1658 edition.
j. W changes "such as bear this" to "them that bear."
k. Whitehead changes "one" to "Lord."
l. Whitehead changes "arise and" to "rise up to."
m. W. inserts "(yet true)."
n. W. changes "devour" to "condemn."
o. Whitehead changes "he" to "it."
p. W. changes "quarrel" to "war."
q. Whitehead changes "God" to "God's."
r. W. adds a title before the remaining paragraphs: "A Warning to such whose hearts are prepared to receive instruction, to lead out of the ways of death."
s. Whitehead inserts "of holiness."
t. Whitehead inserts "in that law which God hath written in his heart."
u. Whitehead inserts "and their habitation must be in desolate vessels, wherein God walks not."
v. But W. adds the following paragraph. I do not know where he found it:
So holiness is come down from heaven, and the light of the son is arising, and begins to shine; and now all unclean spirits get to their strongholds. An unclean, lustful, covetous, proud heart, that hath got the words of truth, is become a habitation of multitudes of unclean spirits and hath covers for them all: so thither they flock apace, and in the light they are seen making head against the lamb, the temples of God to defile, holding forth whoredoms of all sorts, to entice the simple to come out from their strength; but he that keeps within is safe, and the clean heart is God's habitation, and such as walk in his light are them that are saved; and such are fit to serve God against all these whoredoms, who are inhabited with the chaste spirit and clean minds, they cannot bewitch: so the Lord alone is become the salvation of all that receive him, and the separation is making daily, and them that are saved of the nations walk in the light, and thick darkness covers the unclean, and such love the deeds that are evil and see not destruction in their way: and the fool delights in his folly, babbling and vanity, and thinks he is as rich as he that hath the treasure of God in a clean vessel; and the whore wipes her mouth, and saith she is right, though the heart runs from God all the day long. And so the scriptures are fulfilled upon that generation, that it may pass away out of the sight of the Lord, and his holy ones forever, into the place out of which the deceiver came, and the deceived with him. And this the father of lights shows to his own, as they come out from amongst them; glory to his day forever, and holiness without end.