Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Works of James Nayler > A Discovery of the Man of Sin
To no man's wisdom are we known, nor do we desire by it to be approved, but to that in every one's conscience (which is the light of Christ) are we made manifest; and as that arises, by it shall we and what we declare be approved, and to that do we speak in everyone, to be known: and by that shall we eternally be witnessed when the book of conscience comes to be opened. Now, reader, to strive for the mastery by multitude of words is not the way of the Spirit of God, nor wilt thou find it practiced in this volume. but lies and slanders are denied, and plain truth in few words is declared, not from the wisdom of man nor to the wisdom of man, but for the simple ones' sake, in obedience to God, from a pure conscience, to strengthen the simplicity, and of any pure desires which may be in thy mind towards God. And <482> if there be anything (by the Spirit of the Lord) raised in thee which convinces thee and lets thee see how unprofitably thou hast spent thy time in running from one man to another (which call themselves ministers), and has got no true bread for thy soul but art yet in thy fallen estate, the carnal mind ruling (which is death reigning). And if thou hast any desire and hungerings after truth and righteousness, wait upon the Lord in thy desires, and in the light which convinces thee, and by the Lord shall thy soul be satisfied. And if there be in thee any simple honest desires to know who the false prophets, deceivers and seducers are (which in this day of the Lord is to be revealed) go not to any man to know, but wait in the light which is in thy conscience, which shows thee sin in thyself, which light will discover the man of sin in the world, for that is the brightness of his coming: and of this light everyone hath a measure (though these five, and all that loves the deeds of darkness, who would not be discovered, strongly deny it); and such are against Christ, the light of the world; and there is antichrist discovered and the man of sin; and here in thy measure thou art partaker of the same light by which these five and all their generation are discovered, and have been in all generations by the children of light; and thereby are we separated out of the kingdoms of the world into the kingdom of Christ, for which they hate us and would devour us; but Michael our prince is risen, and the war is begun with the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet: but the Lamb shall take the victory; and woe unto them that are found upholding the beast and the false prophet: for he that helpeth and they that are holpen shall fall together; for now the Lord is risen to be avenged of his enemies; and down they must though their number be as the sand of the sea for multitude. Take heed whom you side with, you powers of the earth.
Friend, I was moved in my answer to your Perfect Pharisee, at the end of it, to write a few words to you five who had subscribed that book, that upon the consideration of the many lying slanders there cast upon us, some gathered by false reports and some out of books, which books did witness so plainly against you, both to you and to all that have read them, that if it might have been the will of God any of you might have searched your conscience (by that light which would teach you to do as you <483> would be done by) and have come to repent and found mercy: for so I thought that perhaps some of them may be drawn to believe lies through report that when they see them laid open will not persist in it: for so was my heart in love to you, if there had been but any innocency in any of you, that it might have been awakened to have pleaded against the deceit, and led you out of it; which was and is my desire. But since you are the same, yea worse (according to that scripture, "evil men and seducers grow worse and worse") wherefore I leave you to the righteous Judge of all causes: and for the sake of the simple (who else may come to be deceived by your subtilties and slanders) proceed to lay open some of your deceits in plain words, as God shall move.
And first, a few words to your boastings, wherein you would make me vile and contemptible and glory much in what you have done, as though you were the only men, and had overturned all before you, to which I answer: You might have spared your great boastings of yourselves (if your pride would have suffered you) and have left it to the judgment of those who are guided by a spirit of judgment, both yours and mine, to have been judged of: for it is not your great swelling words that can overturn the truth, but you must appear to be proud boasters that the scripture (Rom. 1:30; 2 Tim. 3:2; Jas. 4:16) may be fulfilled upon you in this, as it is in other marks left in scripture by which those of your generation have been known and are at this day.
1. You charge me "that I have not sufficiently answered your book called The Perfect Pharisee." To which I answer, That which moved me to write what I did in answer to the slanders in it was not to satisfy your wills, nor wisdom, nor any who stand in their own wills or wisdom, for then had I become a man-pleaser (Gal. 1:10) and should have forsaken the direction of the Spirit of God, which did never in any age serve and feed the serpent's wisdom; but what it spoke was foolishness and a mystery to the wisdom of the world, and it is the same at this day. But that which moved me was for the simple one's sake, lest he should come to be deceived by the sleights of your slanders, and <484> by the envious serpent. And I know and am assured it hath and shall accomplish the end for which it was sent forth, and shall not return in vain but shall be a savor of life unto some, according to his purpose by whom it was sent forth: for it was not my own, nor in my own will and wisdom: and though you would make the people believe it is not answered that so you might glory in yourselves and provoke others to glory in you also; yet any that is wise may see that what your envy hath cast upon us in your 17 particulars. That which we hold and practice is owned and proved by Scripture, and that which is false is denied in plainness of speech without deceit; but to follow you in your janglings and wrestings of Scripture, wherein you bring one scripture to cross another (as is plain in your book) and so walk unprofitably, was not my way, but rather to edification, for your confusion is plain to any spiritual eye, and I need not add to it, nor do I delight in such things further than for the truth's sake I am moved, for the day is come that all shall be manifest, and you cannot be hid.
Secondly, You accuse me for grossly perverting the Scripture, to which I answer: I suppose the reader will not find any private interpretation by me put upon any scripture, but quoted as they are without adding any sense to them, but leaves them to the reader to view; now whether I pervert them who quotes them as they are in plain words as they are set down, or you who give your private meanings on them and brings one to oppose and cross another, and who perverts the Scripture is plain to any who are guided by the same Spirit who gave them forth, and I leave it to such to judge.
Thirdly, You accuse me with "palpable shufflings": To which I answer, shuffling and deceit I abhor, and love and practice plainness and truth, and that is your advantage you have against us, as all your forefathers the persecutors ever had against Christ and his saints, who when they could not condemn them by any witness without them, yet they would ask them many questions to ensnare them; for the subtle serpent knows that they who are of the spiritual seed dare not deny that before men which they own before God, though they suffer for it: and I know I shall not be accused as shuffling in my answer by any but those of your generation; and in my conscience I am cleared of it in the sight of God, and so your slanders toucheth me not <485> but shall be your own garments to wear.
Fourthly, You accuse me of "miserable weakness," and you say "you cannot but smile at it, and may laugh at my ignorance," to which I answer, Herein you declare to all men what spirit you are of, who glory in your own strength and laugh at the weakness of others, which none that ever was guided by the Spirit of Christ ever did; but laugh on a while, yet know your woe is coming, and your laughter shall be turned into weeping and howling: and for my weakness (as you call it, where is my strength) and ignorance, at which you so much rejoice; if the strength and wisdom of God be but made perfect in it, that is it I wait for, and herein shall the Scriptures be fulfilled (1 Cor. 1:27), that "God hath chosen the weak and foolish things to confound the mighty and wise"; take notice of it betimes, you sturdy oaks and tall cedars, and tremble you mountains at his presence.
Fifthly, You accuse me with "horrible railing," to which I answer: What language have I used against you except such as the Spirit of God in Scriptures gives to those of your generation? if I have not the language of the same Spirit, why do you not mention it in particular, but so often accuse in general, to render me odious? but deceit is got into such fine colors that it cannot bear a plain language, for the devil would not be discovered and plainly dealt with where he is, and therefore he hath bred up his children in manners, that they must not call him that vents his lies, a liar; nor him whom he hath deceived and sent to deceive others, a deceiver; nor one who takes hire, a hireling—though they be found in the very act; but some finer words must be used; and here you that cannot bear the Scripture language, but calls it railing, shows to all what brood you are of, who would not be plainly dealt with; but who is guided by the Spirit of God is taught not to flatter but to use plainness of speech, yet not in envy; and whosoever is free from opinion and reads over both our writings may easily find out railers, scorners, liars, slanderers and false accusers; and let such judge.
And now a few words to the rest of your slanders in particular: as for that you call a short draught of my answer I shall not say anything to it here, being the many lies that are in it are so plainly discovered to all who have read my answer, and will more <486> fully be laid open hereafter when we come to the particulars.
The first slander is grounded upon my subscribing myself one whom the world calls James Nayler, and you say you are jealous of a mystery of iniquity from these words; and though you confess the ground to be your own jealousy yet you proceed to slander upon it and tells where the mystery lies, and this you say is to cloak our pretense of being equal with God, and that we herein depart from Scripture and would conclude God and Christ under carnal observations, or else teach them to speak. To which I answer, How any whom these men love not can be free from their aspersions let any man judge, who can so highly slander upon the ground of their own jealousy; and how this jealousy is grounded any may judge: for first, are not the words true: am not I one whom the world calls James Nayler? and they know no other name, and yet the Scripture speaks (Rev. 2:17) of "him that overcometh" having "a new name, that no man knows but he that hath it." And how do we here depart from Scripture? nay, who witness the new man establish the Scripture and witness the promise of Christ fulfilled in him; and here I charge you in the presence of the living God to be contrary to the Scriptures and the Spirit that gave them forth, and with it shall be judged eternally; and that new name you know not, as you make it appear; and how we exclude God and Christ under carnal observations or teach them to speak in owning the promise fulfilled: and if this be not a most wicked and willful slander cast upon us to make us odious, let the reader judge.
And you would have the people believe that the man of sin is to be found at Rome, that so they may not discover him nearer hand in yourselves; but they who observe your practice, preaching "lo here," and "lo there," and printing for the upholding of the kingdom of sin, making people believe they shall never be free from it while they are on the earth: they where the Spirit of Christ is do discover the man of sin nearer hand; for whoever opposeth the end of Christ's coming, which was to take away sin and to set free from it and to present perfect unto the Father without spot or blemish, such are antichrists, and the man of sin acts in them to uphold his own kingdom, which is sin; and there you are, as your practice, printing, and preaching may witness, and are discovered <487> by the Spirit of Christ where it is, though you have long acted in a mystery, for are not you the same men who have had great sums of money for crying out against sin? but now that the kingdom of sin begins to fall you have changed your voice and tells people they must never be free from sin while they live, nor ever attain to perfection, and so takes people's money for pleading against the commands of Christ, who said "Be ye perfect even as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matt. 5:48). "Be ye holy, for I am holy" (1 Pet. 1:15-16; Eph. 5:27). And so being found to minister against Christ, he is blind who cannot see you to be ministers of antichrist, for they who were ministers of Jesus Christ prayed and preached "for the perfecting of the saints, that they might perfect what was lacking in their faith" (1 Thess. 3:10). "That they might present every one perfect in Christ Jesus" (Col. 1:28). And bring up to perfection, "even to the measure, stature and fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:12-13). And such said, "how can you that are dead to sin live any longer therein?" (Rom. 6), which you deny that any can attain to perfection or freedom from sin while they are here, and so are acted by a contrary Spirit to Christ and all that ever he sent forth, and would make people believe that Christ had commanded that which none should ever attain to; and those who witness it, and would press others to press after it in the power of Christ, such you reckon up among those you call blasphemers and heretical doctrine: but all this is that you may be made manifest whose ministers you are.
And whereas you reckon us up among the papists, thereby to make us odious unto people, but are you not ashamed of it who are found amongst them yourselves in many things which you call your worship? wherein we deny both them and you; and they are one with you against us, in persecution and revilings: have not they builded the idols' temples, and you worship in them? are not you one with them in observing many days and times and forms, as sprinkling infants, singing, and many suchlike things? are you not one with them in bearing rule as lords and masters over the common people, and would have to do in ordering of the state-affairs? are you not one with them as in your tithes and fat parsonages and diverse other things which might be mentioned? all which we deny, yours and their practice, as being contrary to the <488> saints in Scripture and commands of Christ. And where is there one papist owns us? I command you all (you priests) to make your slander good or else lay your hands on your mouths in silence and confess yourselves to all the world to be liars.
And now to the particulars wherein you charge us to be one with the papists: I charge you to be liars, and do answer. As we receive not the ground of what we practice from the papists or you, neither do we deny what is truth because they or you may profess it, but shall own it before all the world though by you we be reproached for it.
And first, you charge us, "with denying justification without us, and for witnessing justification by Christ alone in us," which we own, Christ in us, according to the measure made manifest: our sanctification, justification, redemption from sin, and the hope of glory (Col. 1:26-27), and this we own within us, which is a mystery and hath been hid from ages, and is now hid from you and the wisdom of the world, as you make it appear. And here he that sits in heaven may have you in derision, and you to be ignorant of the mystery, who have shown forth your folly.
For the second, you charge us "for being justified by inherent righteousness," which word we deny; it is a word of your own coining; but by being "made the righteousness of God in Christ" (2 Cor. 5:21) and denying all our own righteousness are we justified. And this Christ and this righteousness we witness within us in measure.
Thirdly, you charge upon us that we say "every saint is perfect" and "that it is possible to be perfectly holy and without sin and yield perfect obedience to the law of God." I answer: to your first, it is a lying slander that we say every saint is perfect, for we witness the saints' growth and the time of pressing after perfection. To your second, we own it that it is possible to be perfectly holy and without sin; and herein we have the saints in Scripture to witness with us (which I charge you to be ignorant of and not come to the first principles), who witnessed the new birth, freedom from sin, and perfection (Heb. 10:14). As to your third, I answer that "not one jot or tittle of the law shall pass till all be fulfilled"; and it was the end for which God sent his Son manifest in the flesh, that by him "the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled <489> in us, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit" (Rom. 8:3-4). And herein we have the saints in Scripture to witness with us. The fourth thing which you charge upon us is "that the Spirit is not to be tried by Scripture." To which I answer: That Spirit which is of God is one with that which gave forth the Scripture, wherever it is; yet can none who have not that Spirit try the spirits by the Scripture: for they who have not that infallible Spirit that gave forth the Scriptures have the spirit of error, and judge amiss both of Spirit and Scripture, as the scribes and Pharisees did, and you do. But they who have that infallible Spirit which gave forth the Scripture have that which tried the spirits before the Scripture was: and such have their touchstone within them and not without them; and such need not go to the letter to try the spirits. The fifth thing you charge upon us is to "cry down the necessity of the written word and call it a dead letter, and that it is but a declaration of them that spoke it forth." To which I answer, where read you of a written word? But if you thereby mean the Scriptures, which we call a declaration of them that spake them forth, it is true we do so; and they who spake them forth witness them with us to be a declaration (Luke 1:1; 1 John 1:3), and the letter and not the Spirit. But that we cry down the necessity of the Scriptures is false: for they are our own, and we see them of use every day in bearing witness with us against you and your heathenish worships and unsanctified lives, who are belly-gods, evil beasts. And so you that say the four books are the gospel make it appear you never knew him who is the glad tidings, which gospel was manifest before these books were written and is everlasting. Sixthly, you charge upon us "the owning of an immediate call, and the word of the Lord coming to us." To which I answer: Let all the prophets and apostles and holy men of God in the Scripture witness against you, who all owned the immediate call and the word of the Lord; and be you witnesses against yourselves that you never had the word of the Lord coming unto you but are of those who say, "Thus saith the Lord," when the Lord never spoke unto you (Jeremiah 23 from verse 21 to 33), but are liars and false prophets by your own confession who reckon it up as a blasphemous doctrine to witness the word of the Lord coming unto us, and be also witnesses against yourselves, who deny an immediate call, that you <490> never were called of God; for his call is immediate whereby he hath called his and sent them forth: which call I witness from the mouth of the Lord. But you are of those who run unsent and therefore do not profit the people; whose call is mediate and so never any was called by God, and so are made ministers by the will of man. And as your call is carnal and mediate, so is your ministry, who have not the word of the Lord but what you steal from your neighbor, out of a book, which none of the true prophets of the Lord ever did; and so out of your own mouth be ye judged and discovered to all the children of light to be in the error. Seventhly, You charge us with "putting abundance of holiness in fasting, beggarly apparel, wandering up and down the world." To which I answer: our holiness is in Christ. But you that scorn fasting and wandering up and down scorn that which the holy men of God ever owned (Heb. 11:37-38). Christ fasted, and the prophets and apostles were in fastings often. Christ wandered up and down and had not whereon to lay his head, and many followed him. And the apostles wandered to and fro and had "no certain dwelling place" (1 Cor. 4:11). Now had you lived in their days you would have reproached them, as you do those that follow them now, and so here I charge you to be acted by a contrary spirit to Christ, the prophets and apostles. And for "beggarly apparel": you that reproach us because that we have cast off needless pride and excess (for no other beggarly apparel do I know used amongst us) you would have reproached those who wandered up and down in sheep's skins and goats' skins, lodged in dens and caves of the earth; for such were hated by your generation then, as we are now. And now let all judge by what spirit you are acted, who would make the world believe these were the fruits of the man of sin and the mystery of the Babylonish iniquity. And for your smiling at my weakness in saying that Gog and Magog are gathered together against Christ and his kingdom, which you would put far off from yourselves to the Turks and Saracens, at the conversion of the Jews: I tell you the Jews are converting, and you are of those heathens who are banding together against Christ with Gog and Magog, who is King of the Jews, and you are discovered to be enemies unto him; and the trumpet is sounded, and the battle is begun, and your rage is great with the rest of the heathen. But the Lamb must take the kingdom: <491> blessed be our God forever.
And whereas you accuse me for saying "that you can scarcely agree among yourselves in that which you call the worship of God": Have I spoken here anything but truth? as they that know you may witness with me; though you would put it off to matters of discipline. And you accuse A.P. to report it; which is false: and here I charge you priests to minister lies and to slander him: for he hath not reported it to me. But it seems your conscience accuse you, and you would charge it upon him: but your practice reports it.
And whereas you say "this doth not make you like Herod and Pilate": neither do I say that only doth, but your joining together in one against Christ and his kingdom, and your hatred against the truth: therein you resemble them.
And whereas you bring Paul and Peter to warrant your divisions; you may let their conditions alone, for few in the nation live more unlike Paul and Peter than you: therefore go not about to make them like yourselves, who live in pride and covetousness as lords and masters over your hearers, suing or compelling them to pay you tithes or wages; running from place to place for more money, and call that your call to the ministry and deny the immediate call of Christ and the word of the Lord coming to you; which the apostles never did: therefore for shame never compare yourselves to the apostles, who are found amongst the hirelings and false prophets.
And whereas you would excuse yourselves from speaking evil of our forsaking the world and would cover it over with deceitful words: Let any that reads your words judge if they be not spoken in reproach to that our practice, who call it but a "pretense"; and our obedience in answering the call of Christ, in forsaking the world, this you call "a sinful neglect of our families." And do you not belie the apostle when you say he calls those "the rudiments of the world"? And do not those who forsake the world forsake the pride and lust of it, which you live in? And whereas you say it is a sinful neglect of our families, and you know it to be a sin; and yet you say you speak not against the world in its proper gospel-sense: and you instance Fox and Nayler as two evident examples of it.
<492> And you say, "We do sinfully neglect our callings." To which I answer: Jesus Christ having called us forth by his immediate voice to leave all and follow him to do the work he hath for us to do. Whether obeying and coming forth, contrary to our own wills, taking up our cross and following him, or disobeying and abiding in our estates and pleasures in the world; now in a gospel-sense whether of these is a sinful neglect of our callings, let the Scriptures of the prophets and apostles and all the holy men of God judge, who have been called, and obeyed, and come forth, and condemn you and your slander who are ignorant of the call of Christ and do oppose it in them who obey it and call it sinful; and you bring scriptures to oppose it which will fall upon your own backs. As for providing for our families (1 Tim. 5:8), they are provided for by him who provides for us; and they want nothing.
And as for "those that do not work that they should not eat; and those who live disorderly, not working at all" (2 Thess. 3:10-11), how are you not ashamed to take these scriptures into your mouths when all that know you may witness this against you, that no sort of people in the nation lives like you for idleness, like beasts and swine: for 1) your families are provided for by the sweat of other men's brows; 2) you are those that walk disorderly not working at all and therefore ought not to eat; 3) and for abiding in our callings, we are in them and there abide with God: but you are crept in, and are not called of God, by your own confession, who never heard his voice.
And whereas you make an objection, lest we should say that the apostles left their callings and followed Christ; and you say, "'Tis true, the Messiah has his disciples following him: but Paul after Christ's ascension left a standing rule [say you] for all to abide in their callings." As if when Christ should ever call out any more, they should not obey him; as though Paul had left a standing rule to the contrary. And thus you bring Paul to oppose the commands of Christ, and one scripture to cross another; and yet would not be counted wresters of scriptures, nor opposers of Christ. But you are found out and can no longer be hid.
And whereas you tell them who were called forth having an immediate call, and to public work in the ministry; herein, I say, silence flesh, who knows nothing of that immediate call to that <493> public work but denies it.
And whereas you tell of Paul reproving Christians for leaving their callings, I answer: Did Paul reprove them for leaving all and coming forth at the commands of Christ? O with what subtilty do you go about here to make people believe that Christ should never call out any more, nor they obey!
And whereas you tell that a man may forsake the world and yet enjoy his possessions in it, I answer: Such a forsaking of the world pleaseth you well; and so do you forsake the world when you leave one parsonage to go to a greater living; and this is all the forsaking of the world that you know or can judge of. But did ever any that Christ called forth to be ministers forsake the world so? But they left all at his command.
And whereas you tell of "using this world as not abusing it," and many suchlike words which you know nothing of, I answer: When you come to live in what you speak and to use this world you will cease to compel your hearers to pay you tithes or money for your hour's talk, or one to pull out another for greater livings: for he who spoke those words did no such things; and till you come to live that life you have naught to do with those words.
And whereas you say you spoke not a syllable of the pride and lusts of the world in your epistle, but it is foisted in by James Nayler, I answer: Doth not he that forsakes the world forsake the pride and lusts of it? which you live in, and seem to speak evil of them that do forsake the world, as is plain in your book: and then what wrong have I done you? for I do not charge you with the words but with the thing.
And now for those things you have set down as trivial observances, they are these: our not saluting; which we witness a command to the contrary: our not putting off the hat before the magistrate; wherein we have the example of Christ and all the apostles and saints and are plainly forbidden to "have the faith of Christ in respect of persons": and our thouing everyone; which is the Scripture's language, and none of the holy men of God ever used any other to a particular: and our not calling men masters; which is the command of Christ in plain words. Now you that call yourselves ministers and call the commands of Christ "trivial observances," I charge you in the presence of the living God to <494> be in the doctrine of devils, and there are seen by all the children of the light; and makes it plainly appear how little you regard the language of the Scriptures given out by the Spirit of God, or the practice of the saints who were guided by the same Spirit, or the express commands of Jesus Christ, but stand up to maintain the customs of the world against all these; and here you plainly appear to whom you belong; for you who are guided by the spirit of the world stand up to maintain the customs of the world; and they that are guided by the Spirit of God are led into the same way, words, worship and obedience that those walked in who were guided by the same Spirit before them: and none can live in the kingdom of Christ and conform to the customs of the world: neither doth the apostle speak of any of these when he saith, "Touch not, taste not, handle not," as you would make people believe; but of your carnal ordinances. And whereas you say we place holiness and religion in these things; it is false; our holiness is in Christ; but these things we cannot neglect being the commands of Christ to us and practice of the saints in Scripture.
And whereas you say we will not submit to Christ's righteousness, I charge you to be liars and slanderers: and that we also deny many other truths, with full opposition to gospel ordinances, prayer, baptism, supper, church-government and ministry; which is all false and a lying slander, for the righteousness of Christ we own, and in him alone are we made the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21). But your righteousness which live in sin and talk of righteousness without you, and are not made conformable to Christ but are conformable to the world, that righteousness we deny. And Christ the gospel-ordinance we own and deny your carnal ordinances and set forms. And prayer we own which is with the Spirit; and as the Spirit helps our infirmities, so we ask and receive of the Father, and deny the vain babblings of you heathen and you that "under pretense make long prayers." And the supper of the Lord we own, which is spiritual; and deny your carnal sacrament, for which there is no Scripture, and your mixed multitudes. The baptism of Christ we own and are baptized "by one Spirit into one body." And the Holy Ghost and the fire we own and do witness, but deny your sprinkling of infants, for which there is no scripture. Church-government we own, and Jesus Christ the head and <495> governor of his church, to whom we submit, but deny your classes, assemblies and masterships by which you rule and govern in your own wills; and the ministers we own, which is of Jesus Christ and immediate call to it, and deny all whose call is mediate and are made ministers by the will of man; and here I charge you in the presence of the Lord to be slanderers and false accusers who say we deny these things. And whereas you would deny that you persecuted us and would put it upon those who are sent to you from the Lord to witness against your deceit, as though they were the persecutors; but whether those whom the Lord sent out to cry woe against the false prophets and hirelings, calling them greedy dumb dogs, blind guides, and many suchlike plain words, or they who caused them to be haled before rulers, there accused them, cast them into prison, and put them to death—whether of these were the persecutors then? the same are the persecutors now, as some of us can witness who have been haled before magistrates and there vehemently accused and cast into prison, and some stoned; and not a few of you who call yourselves ministers have had a hand in it and been the cause of it; and whereas you say "you have been hindered in the seed of the word"; I answer, what word have you to sow who deny the word of the Lord coming to you? but your seed being stolen makes a bad harvest and little seed to be reaped; and whereas you tell of bringing ourselves within the compass of the law for declaring our message to you from the Lord, and that we suffer as evildoers, here take notice whose ministers you are, who have had papists' law that guarded the Jesuits contrary to the Scripture, to defend you with, which the ministers of Christ never had; and Christ and all the saints suffered as evildoers in the account of those who were protected by carnal laws; and whereas you say "you are set for the confirmation and defense of the gospel": I pray you, who set you? since you deny the immediate call of God and so have set yourselves, or are set by the will of man; and that the gospel should be defended by persecution and persecutors was never known.
Now a few words to your reply to my answer; and first, to your first position: as touching your accusing George Fox, that he said "that he was equal with God": and you say your proof is not at all denied. I answer, That those words were spoken is not <496> denied: but that they are the words of George Fox is denied. And you use many words and say I make a difference between George Fox and himself; so that though George Fox is not equal with God, yet he that is called George Fox is equal with God. And thus when you have made up a piece of deceit to blind the people then you go about to frame an answer to confute it, and so you confute your own deceit and not my words. For the sum of mine answer was this, "That George Fox was denied as dust; but the Spirit that spoke in him is equal with God," according to the Scripture and the words of Christ, who saith, "When you are called before rulers for my name's sake, take no thought what to speak: for it is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you" (Matt. 10:20). Now George Fox being called before rulers for the name of Christ, he denies George Fox to speak, and the creature who is but dust, and witnesseth the Spirit of the Father speaking in him (though the words pass through George Fox), and the words of Christ fulfilled. And are not the Father and the Son and the Spirit equal, wherever they are? and must they not be suffered to speak where they are? But you that are carnal know not the voice.
Thus the answer is plain to any spiritual eye; but to satisfy you who cavil on purpose is impossible: but what I say is for the simple ones' sake. And I shall not follow you in your arguments; for I know they shall deceive none but such as are deceived already and are willing so to be.
Now whereas you say I "blasphemously abuse the Scriptures"; are you not ashamed to charge me with the abusing of them who do but only set them down as they are, without giving any meaning to them? which Scriptures you take and wrest them to another end than for which the Holy Ghost spake them forth, adding your own invention and words which the Scripture speaks not. For where doth the Scripture speak of a "physical or relative oneness"? But by these words you darken knowledge and blind people's minds, lest they should seek after a oneness with God: for the Scripture saith, "He that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit" (1 Cor. 6:17), and Christ saith, "That they may be one, as thou Father and I are one" (John 17:21-23), and "As he is so are we in this present world" (1 John 4:17). Which scriptures <497> you wrest to another end by your subtle words added to them. Now who blasphemes the Scriptures, whether you or I, let truth judge, and your accusation fall upon your own pate.
And for your falsely accusing me to say "I was as holy, just and good as God himself"; what I have said in mine answer in my former book may sufficiently convince anyone that fears God that I am clear of it. And whereas you bring William Baldwinson's testimony, which may give evidence against yourselves and show it to any honest heart, both your deceit and his. For before I was charged with this in particular, and now you say Richard Farnworth and I both said it; and he confessed there was a great deal of people in the house. Now it was strange we should both say it and none hear it but himself: for the great deal of people he speaks of, they do witness against him in it, and divers of them have offered their testimony against him. But sending and proving becometh not saints, nor did they ever use it, nor dare I stand by the witness of men but have the witness of God against you and your slanders who will reward everyone according to their doings, both the slanderer and the liar: and not only by your reporting these but also your seeking evidence to back them, herein you are serving the devil the father of lies, and so make that appear to be true which I have spoken of you.
Now for your charging George Fox to say he was "the judge of the world," and you say I deny it not but tell you that you are grossly ignorant of Christ: I answer, if you be not grossly ignorant of Christ and the Scripture, let any wise man judge: for you say, "God hath committed all judgment to the Son," and yet you will not own him to be judge where he is, wherein you go about either to exclude him from being in the saints, and so would limit him into a particular place, or from being judge in them where he is. Now that you are ignorant of Christ all that know him shall witness: for all that know him, know him in them, and that he judgeth the world in them and the things of the world in every particular: and he that is judge of the world in particular, he is judge of the world in general; for he is but one in all the saints who is judge, and shall be at the great day: which judgments you are ignorant of who are carnal, and compare it with carnal judging of justice at the bench, and so compare spiritual <498> things with carnal, and so appear to be ignorant of spiritual things, and that "spiritual man" which "judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man"; which spiritual man being in George Fox is judge of the world; but George Fox is denied, for we look not upon the visible but the invisible, which is the Son of God. And this may serve for an answer to your reply, and for condemnation.
To the calling George Fox the Son of God: you know nothing of the Son of God as he was revealed in the apostles but are "without God in the world," a nest of serpents. This Son is the same who is the judge of the world. And whereas you speak of the angels not being this Son of God; it is true, "he takes not upon him the nature of angels but the seed of Abraham": and who seeth by this eye judgeth "the deep things of God" and "searcheth the hearts," according to that measure as he is borne up.
And whereas you charge me with saying to one of you, "How should God reveal anything to him and I not know it?" I answer: William Cole meeting me in the way said he had a message to me from the Lord Jesus Christ, but that was not a convenient place: and here Cole's spirit is tried. I told him, "Jesus Christ was no respecter of places," and therein I disowned him and his message and saw it to be deceit. Whereupon I told him to this purpose: "If Jesus Christ should have sent him with any message to me I should have owned it: for where the Spirit of Jesus Christ is, that owns the message of Jesus Christ."
And whereas you speak of "vindicating the honor of our dread Lord and his Son Jesus Christ," I answer: By your lying slanders of the innocent you shall never vindicate his honor, for he is honored by the truth: but herein you honor the devil and do his work.
And here Cole's spirit is tried not to be the Spirit of Christ, which respects places, and his message to be a lie.
For your reply to the second position, "That there is no distinction of persons in the Godhead": Before you said it was in Saul's Errand, page 12, and now you say you did but infer it from those words that George Fox said, that "it was but a busy mind." But what shuffling is this? are not you ashamed to charge me with shuffling and are found in it yourselves? What is it that you may not charge upon us by these false inferences? And when you are plainly told of it you call it "railing." But <499> your folly is made manifest to all men, and the ground you go upon, who slander by your false inferences and gathered up reports from the mouths of others, and give them out for truths. Here I charge you priests to be slanderers and liars.
Now for your reply to the third position, "That the soul is a part of the divine essence": and you say I do not in the least deny it: I answer to your charge: As to the general I deny; and whether any spoke it in particular or no, I question; there being so many lies charged upon us from his mouth who affirms this: and how shall I either deny or confess it unless I know the truth of it? and if any word in weakness be spoken by one, is this an honest ground you go upon to charge it upon the whole in general? If any should gather up the profane words and walkings of any in your parish and charge them upon you, would not you think yourselves wronged? And herein you appear to all not to do as you would be done by. And for what is said of our not knowing what the soul is: the endless disputes that are amongst you concerning the soul of man and what it is shall witness against you, and with me before all men, that I have done you no wrong and that you are ignorant of the living soul.
Position 4: "That Christ is in every man, and in the reprobate held under corruption": and in your reply you say I charge you with lying slanders and yet confess the thing. I answer, that Jesus Christ is all, and in all the light of the world, and "lighteneth every one that cometh into the world" without exception is confessed; but that I said, "in the reprobate he is held under corruption," which one of you said you received from me in conference, that is denied. And here you add lies to slander withal; and what I said of you is true, spoken not in envy, nor from the fullness of my gall as you would make people believe, but in plainness and truth. And now you would shuffle it off to John Audland because he wrote in a letter to one that was fallen away from the truth which he had once received "that such crucified Christ within them afresh" (according to the Scripture). But is this to say that Christ in a reprobate is holden under corruption? let any judge. And thus you seem to go about to make amends for wronging of me by casting the same slander falsely upon another. But it seems you have a purpose to slander, and some must bear it.
<500> And for that expression you say I used in Edward Briggs' house, I deny it and witness it to be no truer than the rest, and from the same root. And for the dispute you speak of at Pierce-bridge, and Sanderson whom you bring to prove your lies which you cast upon me and others of my brethren who were at Pierce-bridge, Decemb. 12 where Priest Sanderson came in and many rude people with him and said that God had not given to every man a measure to profit withal. C.A. said, Here is not one here which can deny but that Christ hath enlightened them, which light is the measure of God—which Sanderson denied. But that any there said that Christ in some was held under corruption, they that were there may all witness against him. Therefore be ashamed, inventors of lies, who seek others to invent them also and are liars, who say Christ is a true light but not the true light, as Sanderson did there; and that Christ rules in all to whom he is given for a light, which is false: and here I charge you all, Sanderson and the rest, to be no ministers of Christ, who stumble at the light: for many say, we will not have this man to rule over us, and so deny the light and the Lord that bought them; and this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and such abide in darkness and comprehend not the light, though the light shine in darkness; and here are you, who deny Christ to enlighten everyone that cometh into the world, and to be in all, when the Scripture saith, "There is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free but Christ is all and in all" (Col. 3:11), which scripture doth plainly witness against you, though you deny it to your shame who would reason against the infiniteness of Christ, who filleth heaven and earth: and here I charge you to be ignorant of the Scriptures and blind guides.
And you undertake to open that place, John 1:9, "In the beginning was the word; all things were made by him"; and in your opening of it you say this was not Christ, nor a knowledge of Christ as mediator, nor a light sufficient to bring salvation, when John saith, he came to bear witness of that light, and that "the word became flesh and dwelt amongst us: and in him was life, and the life was the light of men; and this was the true light that enlighteneth every one that cometh into the world: and we saw his glory, as the glory of the only begotten Son of God, full of <501> grace and truth"; and John "bare witness of him, saying, This is he of whom I spake. He that cometh after me is preferred before me"; and this you deny to be Christ, nor a knowledge of Christ, nor a light sufficient to salvation; but call it a created light: and here you are witnesses against John and what he witnesseth of Christ, and the sufficiency of the light of Christ to salvation; and this is your opening of the Scriptures; whereof all that read the chapter of John may witness against you and your openings; but by such openings as this do you shut the kingdom of heaven, neither will enter in yourselves nor suffer them that would.
And whereas you tell of "James Nayler's wicked blasphemy, in affirming that Christ as man dwelt in him."
I answer, That is false, and those words were not spoken by me: for being asked, "If Christ as man dwelt in me," my answer was, that Christ I witness, who is God and man, which words you wrest to slander withal but speak not the words as they came from me, and you make much ado to prove that a natural light is not the light of Christ and thereby would make people believe that that light spoken of in the 1 of John is a natural light: but so plainly is your deceit laid open to any who know anything of Christ that your arguments need no further answering: only whereas you would prove in Matt. 13:11: "To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, to them it is not given"; thereby you would infer that Christ doth not enlighten every man.
I answer, the light of Christ hath its degrees and measures, so that though he be tendered a light to all, yet all do not receive that light nor walk in it, but deny it, and such come not up to the knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven: for only "to them that received him, to them he gave power," so that denying the light, you deny the power and abide in darkness, and are out of the fear of God, but the "secret of the Lord is with them that fear him"; and whereas you call that a natural light which enlighteneth every man which cometh into the world; and John saith, "This is the true light which enlighteneth everyone that cometh into the world"; here you would make John a liar, and Christ who is the true light to be natural; and thus you wrest the Scriptures to your own destruction, and all that believe you: and you say the apostle, 1 Cor. 2:14, makes an opposition between <502> natural and spiritual light and puts an impossibility of discovering Christ by the light of nature.
I answer, You belie the apostle and bewrest his words, as you do ours, for the apostle doth not speak there of a natural light and a spiritual light; for that which is natural is darkness, neither have you any Scripture to prove that to be a natural light which enlightens everyone that comes into the world, but ye children of darkness envy the light of Christ and would make people believe it's natural and carnal.
And whereas you say "that that mystery was hid from ages and generations"; it is true it was so, but when Christ was manifest who was that light, then it was revealed both by John and Christ himself, saying, "I am the light of the world, he that followeth me shall not abide in darkness but shall have the light of life": and whereas you are quarrelling with A.P., A.P. may do it with authority, seeing you do term the light of Christ to be natural, for denying your distinction of natural and spiritual light, and you say the Lord Jesus and the apostles are full for it, yet have you not brought one scripture to witness that light we speak of to be a natural light; but we have Christ and the apostles witnessing against you, it to be the light of Christ, so that we have the authority of the Scriptures, and yours is the novel opinions you speak of: and for my saying "that Christ must be in the vilest of the world" to see the thoughts of the heart and judge the inward part, or else how shall he judge righteous judgment upon every thought and intent which come not forth into action? and this word which I spake of Christ's being in the most vile you change to dwell in: thus by deceit you change my words into your own language and so go about to confute your own words, but not mine as I spake them: though I do not say Christ dwells in hell, yet the Scripture saith, "If I make my bed in hell thou art there." If you knew Christ you would know him that said so: Ps. 139:8, and here your priests' ignorance is discovered. And here you say it is ridiculous to infer that Christ dwells in all because he knows all things.
In answer, for inferring and dwelling, they are your own words, but where he seeth anything, there he is present, though you blind creatures see him not, but they who know him know that he is infinite and that he fills heaven and earth, and his <503> presence is the life of all creatures (Eph. 1:23); and here I charge you to be them that hate the light and stumble.
Position 5. "That Christ in the flesh with all he did and suffered therein was but a figure and nothing but an example."
And these words you say are expressly found in Saul's Errand, which I deny and bring that book to be a witness against you and that deceitful spirit that acts in you; and for which you say I pretend neither to conscience nor modesty that doth challenge you there with a lie, I answer: if those words, "that Christ with all he did was but a figure and nothing but an example," be expressly found in Saul's Errand, then you may say I have done you wrong and I shall confess it: but if these words be not expressly found there (as I know they are not), then all your shuffling will not clear you, but the lie is found in your mouth; what I have said of you will be found true, for it is one thing to say Christ is a figure or example, and another thing to say "with all he did and suffered was but a figure and nothing but an example"; and whereas you bring John Jacques' testimony to strengthen your slander against me, that I should write to Henry Holme that if he expected to be saved by him that died at Jerusalem he was deceived, I answer: Many things are cast upon us by words and so by words must be proved or disproved: but this being in a letter (as you say) why is not the letter produced? which was my desire at the Sessions when I was accused, but none of you mine accusers could produce any such letter; and I challenge John Jacques, Henry Holme and you all to produce such a letter of my writing that hath those words in it, or anything in it where that Christ which died at Jerusalem is denied for salvation: and what was written to Henry Holme I writ with my own hands, as divers that were present can witness; and a copy of it was taken, which was afterwards delivered to the justices, whereby they saw the envious slanders cast upon me to be false. Now produce that letter that I wrote to Henry Holme: and here I command you and charge you in the presence of the living God (you priests) to bring forth that note, and it will clear me; which I know none of you dare, lest you be found liars.
And whereas you challenge me to produce one scripture wherein Christ is called a figure, I answer: My words were "a figure or example," which in my sense are both one: wherein he showed or <504> figured out the way "for Christians to follow": and the word "figure" I spake not as from the Scripture but in relation to Richard Hubberthorne's letter, which if his own sense may be taken of his words, he saith, "A figure or an holding out in outward actions among men those things that he will truly, spiritually, or really do in the spirits of his people at his second coming": and these are witnessed to be his words in William More's letter: which sense considered by any charitable Christian, the word figure will not appear so heinous a crime as you would make it, though the word "example" I own to be the language of the Scriptures.
Now for your 6 Position: "That men are not justified by that righteousness of Christ which he in his own person did fulfil without us": and you charge it upon us as a heinous blasphemy to witness Christ in us our justification; but what a justification is that of yours which is without, which is contrary to what the saints witnessed in the Scripture? for the justification was in the Spirit, and what is in the Spirit is within, and they witnessed Christ in them for sanctification, justification and hope of glory: and Christ was in them, which differed them from reprobates; but your justification, which is without you, is in the outward man, at a distance: Christ is without you, and sob God ever witnessed: and ye bring many scriptures but not one of them that speaks of a justification without. That we are "justified freely by his grace" we own; and that God hath set him forth to be a "propitiation"; that "he was wounded for our transgressions," and that "he laid on him the iniquities of us all," and his sufferings we own: and we witness what he did, he doth still in us, and bears and supports us, and so "the remainders of the sufferings of Christ that are yet behind" are by him "fulfilled in us": and by his mighty working in us is the man of sin cast out. And this we witness the sufferings of Christ in us now, bearing your reproaches and persecution and imprisonments, and all the venom the Serpent can cast upon him: and by his sufferings shall he bruise that which is head in you and all the persecutors in the world. And this we witness, and deny your justification which is without, which stands in words without power.
Now to the seventh position, "That men are justified by that righteousness which Christ within us enabled us to perform; or, <505> which is in effect (as some of them have expressed) by inherent holiness." And you bring many proofs that we say, "The light in us will not only discover sin but redeem from it, and bring to the fear of God, and so lead up to justification in the exercise of a pure conscience towards God and man." I answer: For the position as you have framed it up with your own words of "inherent holiness" and the like your words we deny. But that the light of Christ, which we witness in us, is sufficient to lead out of darkness, bring into the fear of God, and to exercise a pure conscience before God and man in the power of Christ, this we witness, according to the words of Christ (who is our justification) and the apostles; and yours to be contrary thereunto: John 8:12, "I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life."
And whereas you charge me with saying, "that no unperfect thing can be reconciled to God"; and you bring Paul for a proof, who said "he was carnal and sold under sin"; and "what he would do, that he did not": to this I answer: That in Paul which was carnal and sold under sin, which warred against the law of his mind, was not reconciled to God but was for death: for where reconciliation is, there is no more wars. And here you show your blindness. And you say Peter when he denied his Master was in a justified estate: which if he was, why did he weep bitterly and repent: but thus you blind lead the blind into the ditch, who say that one denying Christ is in a state of justification. But by whom is he justified, who denies Christ? and because I deny justification by our own works and own him who worketh in us to will and to do, and herein deny self-works; this you say is an old threadbare shuffle of the papists: by which it seems you disown it and would make it odious because the papists hold it. But the truth we own for the truth's sake, neither because the papists own it, nor you deny it: for by him alone are we justified, and the witness is within us. Here let all the children of the light judge you with the light to be in your own works with the papists, which have gotten the form of words, as you have, but both deny the power; and with the power of God we deny you both and see the curse upon you both.
Now to your eighth position, "That God and man cannot be <506> wholly reconciled till he be brought into the state of the first Adam and able in his own power to stand perfect." And you are offended that I should say that the book should witness against your false slander; and that the word is twice repeated, "to stand in God's power and not in his own." I answer; I shall appeal to any sober Christian who reads the query, whether the words carry not that very same sense twice over; where it is said, "able in his power to have stood, if they had not forsaken his power and consented to the wisdom of the serpent." Where if I had spoken of the power of man and woman, then it should have been set down "their power" and not "his power," which only holds forth the power of God. And for your deceitful reasoning to back your slander, wherein you would deny Adam in that state of innocency to stand in the power of God; therein you show you know not Adam in innocency, nor his standing with God: for while he stood, he stood in that power and wisdom and counsel of God: and the looking out from that was the cause of his fall. And here all that ever know Adam in innocency shall witness against your ignorance and foolishness.
And whereas you charge George Fox with scoffing at the grace of God; and that to pray for the sight of sin and for power from sin is a tempting of God; and to pray for light to discover sin, and refraining from it, are needless: I answer, This slander comes from the same root of the rest. For scoffing at the grace of God, it is false: I charge you to be liars in the presence of the living God, and you for eternal condemnation: for the grace of God he owns, as is plain where he saith, "The free grace of God hath appeared to all men, which shows sin and evil; which whosoever lives in, after it be discovered by the grace of God, and yet with a pretence makes a prayer to God to give them a sight of their sins, when God hath letten them see their sins freely by his grace, and they will not forsake it: such tempt God, and their prayers are abomination; and God will not hear the prayers of them that regard iniquity." But how falsely you gather from these words that to pray for power against sin, or to refrain from it, is to tempt God or a thing needless, let any one that fears the Lord judge, and witness against your slanderous spirit. But wickedness shall be upon the head of the wicked. And for the prayers and practice of the saints, which was to overcome and forsake <507> sin, them we own and have union with in that which is holy; and they witness with us against your practice, who live in sin and plead for it, and for a pretense make long prayers. And for that you call Nayler's lies, because I say you are slanderers, which appear to be true more and more to all the children of light, under your hands. And whereas you would go about to prove Adam in the state of innocency under the covenant of works, and that he had the Levitical law (for that is the covenant of works) I answer: What were the works that he was to do for life? for the covenant of works saith, "Do this, and live": but he had the life already, while he stood in it; and so it was not to be obtained by working: and the Scripture saith, "The law was added because of transgression"; which if it had been before the transgression, could not have been. And Adam in his innocency stood not by the moral law, as you call it: for that which was given to Adam was, "Thou shalt not eat"; which nowhere in Scripture is called the covenant of works. Thus while you laugh at my ignorance, as you say, you discover your own wickedness and folly.
Now to your ninth position, "That no man that commits sin or that is not perfectly holy can ever enter into the kingdom of heaven, unless there be a purgatory." And in your reply you think strange that I should deny your wresting of my words to another purpose than for which I spoke them. But seeing your charge is grounded upon my query, why have you altered the words from what I wrote? as by inserting the word "ever," when as he that hath sinned may repent, and so his sin be done away: and your adding the words "unless there be a purgatory," as though I owned a cleansing after death. When as the query is, "Whether you own a purgatory or no, who say none can be clean from sin while they live." Now I shall appeal to any where there is honesty if you have not wrested my words, and you in the papists' mind again in that query, whenas you charge me with owning a purgatory, which I deny, as is plain by these words ("seeing the tree must lie as it falls"), and this is your deceit, which would persuade the reader to look upon my words according to your false interpretation, when you have wrested them, and not as I spake them; but when my words will not serve you to ground your slanders on as they are set down, then <508> you take and alter them for your own ends, and that this is not a shuffle (and your shuffle I own not, which shall stand for yourselves) but plain dealing in me, to clear the truth from your slanders, may appear to all who read both our books.
And whereas you say "You have found me out a medium for the washing of the sins of them that die in sins, which is neither holiness here nor a purgatory, but the blood of the Lord Jesus": now I challenge you to find one scripture which saith the blood of Christ cleanseth sinners after death; for it is only effectual to the believers. And now let all who know anything of faith judge if it be not you that are shuffling and put to the pinch you speak of, who for clearing your deceit would make people believe that which the Scriptures speak not, but is raised in your invention.
And whereas you charge me with dealing falsely with that scripture, 1 John 1:7, because I say, Doth it say any are cleansed from sin while they personally act sin? which I say that scripture doth not, as shall appear to all that read it, but quite contrary.
And whereas you charge me to imitate Satan, who when he came to tempt Christ took what scripture would serve his purpose and leaves out the rest: I answer, Your slander is false, for I mentioned the same scripture you set down, without adding or leaving out, and herein I have not wronged you, neither will the verse following nor any other scripture warrant what you speak, "That man is cleansed from sin while he personally acts sin": but your words are contrary to the words of Christ, who saith, "He that committeth sin is the servant of sin": but you say, "He may act sin and be cleansed from sin." Now who deals deceitfully with the Scripture and with men's souls, and imitates the father of lies, let the truth judge. And for those words, If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us; whoever reads the next words may plainly see that they are spoken of a condition before confession and cleansing; else the same apostle should contradict himself, who saith, "He that abides in Christ sins not, and he that commits sin is of the devil" (1 John 3:6-9). And "he that is born of God sins not"; which all witness against your deceit: and for that in Rom. 4:5, it is true, "no man is justified by his own works, for it is he that worketh in us": but doth that scripture say he justifies the ungodly in his ungodliness? or him that by faith <509> became obedient as Abraham did? And you that would persuade people that Christ will justify them in their ungodliness count the blood of Christ an unholy thing, which is to cleanse people from their sins and not to justify them in their sins: and here I charge you by the blood of Christ to be enemies to the blood of Christ; and here you reason to encourage people in ungodliness.
To your tenth position, "No real saint but he that is perfect, and perfectly holy in this life, and doth not sin." And in your reply you are offended with our charging you with pleading for sin, and you say you foresaw it. I answer, it seems something in your conscience accused you, that we could do no less as may appear to all who have read your words, who would make people believe that saints are real and yet live in sin: but this is of the same with your former, who saith "that while a man is cursing and denying Christ he is in a state of justification." Now what justification you own, all may see, when you say, "He that denies Christ, is in a state of justification."
And whereas you say, "To discover sin is not to plead for it"; and many deceitful words you use, and brings in a comparison of a physician discovering a consumption, to that end that the patient may be healed, and this you say is the very case between you and Nayler: I answer, your comparison will not hold, for the physician discovers the disease that there may be healing. But your discovering is, that none can be free from it while they live; nor do we say you plead for sin in your discovering of sin, but in that you say, "No man shall ever be without it"; and here you plead that men shall serve the devil as long as they live; for "he that commits sin is of the devil and the servant of sin"; and such a one is the servant of the devil.
And whereas you say that Nayler will not hear of the saints being sick or under any spiritual imperfection; your charge is false: for the saints' growth I own, and the time of a child I own, and the growth till the overcoming: and do not deny seeking after the healings of the blood of Christ but witness it effectual for cleansing and overcoming; which you deny and say that to witness perfection and holiness, and the overcoming of sin, is really to plead for sin and to strengthen the bars of the kingdom of Satan. And that which the saints have witnessed and do witness, you would render it under the name of "conceit" and <510> charge them to make the blood of Christ in vain. But whether do they, who witness the end for which the blood of Christ was given, which is to "cleanse from all sin" (1 John 1:7), or they that deny it, make it in vain?
And whereas you say, "The practice of the Quakers, both in their speaking and writing, is never to send souls to the blood of Christ but to their own light to save them": O you silly slanderers, who matter not what you speak against the truth! Where did ever the Quakers, either in speaking or writing, deny the blood of Christ, or send any to their own light to save them, but to the light of Christ and to the blood of Christ? For what is our own is darkness; but Christ the light of the world we witness, and this light shining out of darkness.
And whereas you use many words and bring many scriptures, as to make people believe that we hold the blood of Christ needless or that men can be cleansed without it; that is your deceit: for all are miserable till they be cleansed by Christ; and then "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect," whose sins are taken away by the Lamb of God? And such deny self-righteousness. And though Paul did witness his warfare, which we witness also in our measure; yet afterward he did witness his overcoming and being more than a conqueror.
And whereas you talk of covering sins daily; his sins, who are once covered, are not daily to cover, but once forever, if he abide in Christ and return not into sin again; and are made heirs of the righteousness of God: and such deny self-righteousness.
And whereas you charge us with blasphemous heresy, denying the Lord that bought us, railing, pride, lying, reproaching the ordinance of God and messengers of Jesus; we deny it; and this shall stand for yourselves. For blasphemies and heresies, you that would draw people from the teachings of Christ are guilty of them: and the Lord that bought us we own, whom you that are sold to sin cannot witness. Railing, pride and lying we abhor and witness against them in you who live in them, and therefore you hate us. The ordinance of God we own but deny your traditions. The messengers of Jesus we own, and their call, and deny you, who scorn the immediate call of Christ and would cast it off as blasphemy on them whom he hath called; and so witness yourselves to be of <511> those who run unsent: and here you are discovered, and your covering is too narrow, and your bed is too short. And the words of John we own, and deny self-justification, and witness ourselves justified by Christ and his righteousness brought near unto us; which is not a broken reed as you would call it but will stand us in stead in the evil day. And our walking with God in his righteousness is our covering from wrath; for which you reproach us and cast it upon us as blasphemy: but it is that you may be manifest that you know not the covering of Christ's righteousness and holiness, in which whoever walk with God are covered from wrath.
And whereas you say that Christ destroyed the works of the devil for his people upon the cross, and yet men must commit sin while they live; here is your confusion laid open to all men: and you who live in sin, which is a work of the devil, he hath not destroyed the works of the devil in you: and out of your own mouth be you judged that you are not his people; for the work of the devil is alive in you. And the cross of Christ you know not: for what Christ formerly did destroy upon the cross for his people, he doth the same now; and so is "the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Heb. 13:8), which cross you that live in your pride and lusts of the flesh will not take up, and therefore the works of the devil remain in you undestroyed. And for the scriptures you allege, do any of them say that Christ hath destroyed the works of the devil for them who live in sin? for to commit sin is the work of the devil. And first, you say Christ hath destroyed the works of the devil upon the cross; and then you say the works of Satan shall be destroyed in the time appointed of the Father, and he shall present us spotless at his coming: which time of the Father's appointment, and coming of Christ to present spotless, you appear to be ignorant of. For the Father's time is "today," to them that "will hear his voice." And the "coming of Christ without sin unto salvation and presenting spotless" is witnessed.
And whereas you go about to make people believe that though they die the servants of sin, yet they shall be complete in Christ and be made glorious and perfect and holy after death, which is your own imagination: here I charge you in the presence of the living God to be in the papists' faith, to encourage people to live in sin while they live, and for which you have no Scripture; for I challenge you to bring one scripture which doth <512> say that perfection and holiness are reserved till after death or that any shall inherit them after death; or one scripture that says men shall live in sin while they are upon the earth, who cannot witness them here; but as men die so shall they come to judgment and so shall be proceeded against, without any holiness added to them after death. And thus you are not afraid to deceive souls and hold things contrary to plain Scripture to deceive withal, which at that day you shall account for, which will be terrible to all deceivers: and whereas you would wrest those words of Christ (Matt. 5:18): "Not one jot or tittle of the law shall pass away until all be fulfilled," and this you would wrest to make the law void, as though God did not require it to be fulfilled, and you say this was the sole and alone work of Christ; which work of Christ you know not in yourselves, who puts it far from you; for they who witness the work of Christ, they know that he, who did fulfil the law, doth fulfil it in every generation of saints who believe in him, and so by faith the law is established and not made void: and whereas you say, it is not said in all the book of God that the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in this life in any saints; and here I charge you all to be liars in the presence of the living God. But you say the contrary is asserted. I answer, it seems you hold a fulfilling it after death, but read Rom. 8:3-4 and let the Scripture be witness against you, which saith in plain words that Christ came for that end, to fulfill the law in the saints, which they could not do through the weakness of the flesh; and there is no Scripture that asserts the contrary without your wrestings, which I deny, as you have wrested and turned many scriptures here to your own destruction and to destroy others, turning them into your sense, to another end than for which the Holy Ghost gave them forth, for the Spirit of God will never give out the Scripture to plead for sin while men live, but they are so plain to all your wresting of them that I forbear to mention them in particular: and whereas you slander us to hold up popish notions and inherent holiness, that is your own practice and your own words, which we deny. And you that say, May not a man be in part unclean, and yet pure and spotless too, by reason of imputation? Here you now show your confusion, and I command you to show plain Scripture for this without twining. <513> And now let any who sees your pleading for sin and uncleanness, which Christ came to take away, judge if you are not the upholders of what Christ came to destroy; and here you are antichrists, and by your pleading for sin is the man of sin discovered in you, who pleads for his kingdom while men live: and how I am a railer for laying open these truths, let any judge, where the man of sin is discovered, and you are found faithful to, therein (you are in the doctrine of the papists) your master.
The eleventh position, "That every man in the world hath a light within him sufficient to guide him to salvation, without the help of any outward light or discovery." And in your reply you deceitfully put in that word ("saving light") which is not spoken by me, for though Christ be the light of the world that enlightens all, yet none are saved by him but who believe and follow him out of the works of darkness; but to the rest it is the condemnation that light is come into the world and they love darkness and their evil deeds, and here are you to be condemned with it, who are enemies to the light and pleads against it, and so lives in works of darkness.
And whereas you say, "None can come except the Father draw them"; it's true, but those drawings, you and all that hate the light, do resist.
And whereas you say, "Every one that hath heard and learned of the Father cometh to me"; it's true, and that's the reason why you (who own not the teachings of the Father but counts it blasphemy to witness his voice) come not to Christ but are at a distance from him: and for John 1:4-5, which you say is clear against me, and you say, They were in darkness for want of light; but John saith, "The light shined in darkness: and he came unto his own, and they received him not" (John 1). And here John shows the cause why they were in darkness was because they received not the light, for as many as received him became the sons of God; and thus what John saith you hold the contrary; and you say that of John 3:19, "This is the condemnation that light is come into the world," is full against me; but how that is full against my witnessing every man to have a light, let any man see; but you sure think that people are bound to believe any thing you say without any further trial: but the light is come, and you must now <514> lead none but who are wilfully blind. And for the third branch of my answer, "That where the light of Christ is there needs no outward discovery," to this you say you have abundantly proved that Christ is not in all, nor doth enlighten all. I answer, your proofs are contrary to plain Scripture in this, as in all the rest; for the Scripture saith, "Christ is in all, Jew and Greek, bond and free" (Col. 3:11). And "this is the true light that enlightens everyone that comes into the world" (John 1:9, John 8:12). And you say you have fully proved that all men in the world do need an outward light, and that it is the way of Christ to make himself known by outward discoveries, and you say you have proved it by arguments. I answer, your deceitful arguments I deny, and they are no proof to me nor any that fear God, who receive that truth by the Spirit and not by arguments, but bring one scripture in plain words, that all men need an outward light, or that an outward discovery is the way by which Christ makes himself known to his people; and till then I deny you and your philosophy; and prove one saint that ever knew Christ since his ascension, but by revelation. And what talk you of preaching the gospel, who denies the immediate call of Christ or any hearing his voice? or to talk of officers given for perfecting of the saints, which say none shall ever be perfect while they live? which show you to be none of those officers given by Christ for the perfecting of the saints, for you plead against such as witness that work and that end.
And whereas you say that the light spoken of (2 Pet. 1:19) that Peter doth not send them to a light within but to books and words of the prophets, which scripture shall witness against your deceit and blindness: for the apostle exhorts them to wait on the light "till the day dawn, and the day-star arise in their hearts," which is not without nor in books. And if the testimony of the old prophets was a more sure word than that which Peter heard from the mouth of God, then it must needs follow that the testimony of the old prophets, who spoke but darkly of Christ and did not see his day (though they desired it) must be a more sure testimony than the apostles, who were his eye-witnesses, and the words of books a more sure word than the voice that came from heaven, which was the immediate voice of God; which blind absurdity all who have the spirit of prophesy, which is the sure word and testimony of Jesus, shall condemn your blindness who <515> knows not that sure word of prophesy that was in them.
And whereas you wish the reader to observe that Nayler cries down the Scriptures as needless, here you would have the reader to observe your lies: for though the letter doth not discover Christ, but the Spirit: yet it is not useless, for it is a witness against your practice, opinions, traditions, and casts you all amongst the false prophets and hirelings; and herein it is of use and authority and also is a witness without against all that will not own the witness within: nor do I cry down the publishing the gospel by the ministry, nor the hearing God and his word, but you, who deny the immediate call and the word of God coming to any now, denies both the word and ministry, which we own and witness.
The twelfth position, "That there is no need of any outward teaching by reading or hearing the Scriptures opened or applied." And herein you accuse me of shuffling, railing and lying, because I say you apply the promises of God to them who are in the first birth and preach them up all believers, and say men must commit sin while they are here, and sew pillows under men's arm-holes: now is not this true of you, who sprinkle infants by the faith of their parents? and calls them your flock and receives them to your ordinances? and do you not here preach them up believers within your liberty or parish, though they live in sin? and here you sew pillows under every arm-hole: and then do you not fine them who refuse to pay you tithes or hire? and so you prepare war against them who put not into your mouths. And you hold forth that none can be free from sin while they live. Now where are the lies, or what wrong have I done you? let any that is spiritual judge, for lying I abhor, or to wrong any: but I speak the truth of you, as your practice doth witness. And in your answer to that scripture which saith, "They shall no more teach every man his neighbor, saying, Know the Lord" (Heb. 8:11), this you say doth only concern the children of God and such as have their sins pardoned, wherein you exclude all your parish people from the children of God and pardon of sin: for how many have you that are taught of God and needs not your teaching (as you say); I desire your hearers that they would consider of it that so they might come to the teachings of God, and so witness the children of God and sin pardoned, and so to witness the everlasting covenant and no need of your teachings.
<516> And whereas you tell of 4 arguments and above 30 plain scriptures in your Perfect Pharisee: your arguments I deny and sees them to be deceit, and there is not one of the thirty, nor in the whole book, that doth plainly witness to your way of teaching: but the whole Scriptures are against you and all that teach for hire and denies the immediate call and the word of the Lord coming to you (Jer. 23:21,32). And you ask why the apostle wrote to the Hebrews to teach them, if that were the meaning that no man should teach their neighbor. I answer, To draw them to the teaching of Christ, as is plain, when he tells them of a growth that need no man to teach them: and though he say, You have need that one teach you again, which is the first principle of the oracles of God, doth he say this to continue them in a need of that (as you would infer), or to shame them, that they were not yet grown up to the teachings of God (Heb. 6:1) and out of man's teachings towards perfection.
And whereas you allege the exhortation of the apostles, we own it, which was to draw up to the light and teaching, as is plain in their exhorting them to wait for the appearing of Christ, who was their light and life (Col. 3:4).
And whereas you say you press all to struggle after that perfection they do not yet enjoy: now how this agrees with your saying they shall never be perfect while they live, and what encouragement you give them to struggle is evident, who tells them they must struggle but never prevail while they live. And here you are found to be the jugglers you speak of, whose teaching is yea and nay.
And whereas you charge me with casting dirt upon the Scriptures, because I say the Holy Ghost did not put it into chapters and verses, but the hireling priests to trade withal: Here you appear to be false accusers, and the railers and liars you speak on: for I have not spoken one word against the Scriptures but own them as the Holy Ghost gave them forth.
The thirteenth position, "That the Scriptures are not the word of God but a declaration of the condition of them that spoke them forth." And in your reply you allege many scriptures but not one that speaks of a written word or that the letter is the word, but that it is a declaration is plain, as Luke 1:1, 1 John <517> 1:3 and divers other places, where they that had the word in them declared it in writings to others (Gal. 1:16).
And whereas you say, the seed is the word: it's true, but that seed is not the letter, nor can any sow that seed, but where Christ is revealed in them. And you argue carnally and say, Can the devil take Christ out of their hearts? I answer, Where the devil is received in, there Christ departs, and in that sense may be said to be taken away; but if you mind the words that follow ("lest they should believe and be saved") it will appear to be the seed of Christ, for in what else could they believe to salvation, but in Christ? and this seed is not the letter as you would prove it to be: and for that place (1 Thess. 2:13) where it is said, "That which the saints heard of the apostles was not the words of man": I answer, It's true, and that word was Christ the word of faith, as is plain (Rom. 10:6-8); neither can you prove that ever the apostles preached any other word but Christ (Gal. 1).
And whereas you say there are two words of God, an essential and a declarative word, which is your own language, but the Scripture speaks no such words.
And whereas you accuse us to destroy the Scriptures' divinity and authority; but is this to destroy their authority when we say they were spoken forth by the Holy Ghost, which was in them that spoke them forth? and ye would make people believe the letter to be the foundation of the saints, and hath the authority over the soul: and here you deny Christ, to establish the letter in his stead, who is the foundation of saints and hath the authority of souls; for they who preached Christ the foundation denied themselves to preach the letter; but your ministration is of the letter, who knows no other word but what you read in books. And this is your foundation you stand on, and here it's tried, and by which you get your living in the world, and here you deny Christ, for the letter is not Christ.
And whereas you talk of the commands of God, but his commands you know not, who have them to seek in the letter, for his commands is in Spirit and ever was, and yet this doth not destroy the Scriptures, but witness the same Spirit that gave them forth; and that which the saints spoke was the word of the Lord and not the letter, according to their several measures and conditions.
<518> And whereas you accuse me to say that the words which the prophets spoke was Christ, wherein your deceit appears to all that read my words, for I do not say their words were Christ, but that Spirit by which they spoke was the Spirit of Christ. And this is that which I spoke of, which came to the prophets, which you deny to be Christ, and therewith the life of Christ and the apostles, you are judged all out of truth, and there your deceit and blindness and slanders are laid open for every spiritual eye to see.
The fourteenth position, "That the spirits are not to be tried by Scriptures." And here because I say that the infallible Spirit, which is the original of all Scriptures, is the trial of all spirits, from thence you argue that I set the mind & will of the Spirit in opposition to the Spirit, which is false: for I set the Spirit of God, in whom it is, in opposition to all deceitful spirits: for so the apostle bids them who had the Spirit of God try the deceitful spirits: and this was not spoken to them who were guided by the spirit of the world; for such cannot try the spirits, neither with the letter nor without it, as I have formerly proved: neither did Christ send them to try his Spirit when he bade them "search the Scriptures": nor did the Bereans try the Spirit of Christ, but searched the words which Paul spoke from those Scriptures that declared of Christ. And here by the visible eye they tried visible words: but the Spirit of God is invisible and cannot be tried by any but those who have it and are guided by it. And you that would make people believe that all that can read the letter can try the Spirit of God would set up carnal judges over the Spirit of God, when the Scripture saith, "The natural man understands not the things of God": and you confess the eternal Spirit to be the trier of spirits, though formerly you seemed to deny it: but say your question is what the saints had to try the spirits by. In answer, by the same Spirit by which they are sanctified—and prove in Scripture where the saints are commanded to try the spirits by any other things, and here see your confusion; for the letter is dead and speaks nothing: for the apostles said "they served God in the newness of life and not in the oldness of the letter": and if any man read this letter and not by the same Spirit that gave it forth, he is not able to judge of it but wrests it as you do for your several ends; and if any man read it by the same Spirit that gave it forth, it is the Spirit <519> that judged of the letter and not the letter of the Spirit.
And whereas you talk of trying the doctrines of men by the Scriptures: it is true they that have had the Spirit of God in all ages have made use of the letter against the deceitful doctrines, as we do at this day, and yet this letter is not the judge of the Spirit of God in them, for this were to set the letter above the Spirit.
And whereas you accuse us to exclude the Scriptures because we say the Holy Ghost is the original of them, which slander is false, for hereby we confess and own the Scripture to be given forth by the Holy Ghost.
And whereas you say the light which a spiritual man hath is a Scripture-light, I answer: a spiritual man's light is the light of Christ and is infallible, and cannot be altered; and therefore all that are guided by it are one, where there is no disputes nor janglings; but you that have your light from what you gather out of the letter, are confused amongst yourselves, adding to it your own meanings for your own ends, and do not speak one and the same things, but every man according to his imaginations of the letter, so he judgeth and so he worshippeth, and here are you teachers of the world divided in your several judgments and your several worships. And thus you are putting meanings upon Paul's words, where he saith "he is present in Spirit," which you go about to deny by your meanings and so would make Paul a liar like yourselves; but they who believe your wrestings before Paul's words are blind like you; and so with the apostles' light you are all judged, and so the blind leads the blind. And because I say the Spirit of God was the trier of spirits before the letter was, therefore you would make people believe that I hold forth that the word is not to be regarded, nor the law looked upon, nor the Scripture heeded; and when you have thus falsely slandered you say you leave the reader to laugh at it: it shows that light spirit rules in you, but whilst you are thus in your laughter, and persuading others to laugh also, all that fear God may mourn to see your doctrine, to see you profess the name of the Lord who is holy, and you to gather up such filthy consequences as these, to slander the truth withal, and when you have done make it a matter of laughter: but the day is at hand when your laughter shall be turned into howling and weeping, and then woe unto you <520> and those that laugh with you. And for what I said of your several judgments and worships and imagined Gods, according to your several judgments, it is true, as all that take notice of you and your divisions through the whole nation may witness with me, for the true God is but one and his worship one.
And whereas you say you hold the head, the Lord Jesus, it is false; for they who hold him for their head, the Lord and Master, denied to be called masters themselves amongst the saints, or of the world, but owned one master, which is the head, which is Christ, and they were all brethren, neither did they exercise authority one over another as the heathen do, neither were they bowed to, and worshiped with cap and knee, as you are, and do to others, for they had one master, whom they worshipped and bowed their knee to, which was spiritual, in whom they believed, which faith they had not in respect of persons; but you are enemies to that faith, neither can you believe "who receive honor one of another" (John 5:44), and here you hold not the head the Lord but walk as lords yourselves amongst your hearers, which Peter and Paul never did, whose conditions you talk so much on: and this is not my venom but a true witness against your unrighteous practice.
And whereas you talk of things hard to be understood in the Scriptures, which the unstable and unlearned wrest: it is true; and you are those unlearned, who were never taught of God nor heard his voice, but reproach them that have, and you are they who wrest these Scriptures to your own destruction, and not rightly understanding them cannot discover every spirit: nay, you are so blind that you cannot discover that spirit in you that acts you in covetousness, pride, slander, envy and persecution, is the spirit of the devil; and that spirit that acts you to plead for sin while men live, to be the spirit of the man of sin; and though you talk of the "word" that "is sweeter than the honey and the honeycomb," and so have stolen David's words, yet that word you know not, nor the sweetness of it, who deny the word of the Lord coming to you and know no word but the letter: for that word which David speaks of was within him and not without him, which word I witness and its sweetness.
And whereas you charge me to set a gloss upon that scripture, <521> Isa. 8:20, "To the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this word it is because there is no light in them," and because I say "the law of God in the new covenant is written in the hearts of men," which is plain in the Scriptures (Heb. 8:10), therefore you say I overturn all Scripture, so that for me to speak Scripture and witness the promise of God in the new covenant and the end of the old, by your deceit you would make it to overturn Scripture. And you say it hath reference to the law written in tables of stone: it's true, and that was in the old covenant, a type of the new and of that law that should be written in men's hearts in the new covenant, and you that would deny the new covenant to establish the old make it appear that you are blind and ignorant of that covenant and that pure law which is within written by the Lord in the heart and are in your own righteousness and covenant of works, and so have no light in you, whose light and law is without, and all that are spiritual against you, who says herein I overturn all Scriptures, who witness the Scriptures fulfilled; and as for John Gilpin, whom you say is delivered out of the snares of the devil, and would make him a stumbling-block to the truth, his practice since hath showed how he hath been delivered out of the snares of the devil, and the judgment of God hath overtaken him; and whether they consulted with John Gilpin against Christ, who caused his book to be printed over again and framed it at the first, the truth may easily judge, and their reward shall be according to their works.
To your fifteenth position, "That there ought to be no sense, meaning, or exposition given, or studying of the Scripture." And in your reply you say the Scriptures are in some places given out darkly, and when you have done, you say it is from the darkness that lies on the spirits of the saints. Here is your confusion and darkness: and for the key of David you speak on, it is not committed into the hands of any hirelings as you are, nor ever was, but where Christ is, and such live the life of the Scriptures, and so open them in their conversation as well as words: and till your lives witness what you preach, you shut them to others, and not open them. And how long your generation have been about opening them, all may see, and yet they are shut from yourselves, and you cannot agree about them, and then how will you open them <522> to others? but who waits for that Spirit that gave them forth shall not need you and your openings but by that Spirit will deny you and your openings and with that Spirit judge you all, and the blindness of you hearers: your own practice shows what openers you are; for they are a book sealed to your wisdom and carnal learning. Therefore let them alone as they are, for they are of no private interpretation, nor are they committed to you to open, nor doth any scripture you allege prove any such thing.
And whereas you say you have the infallible Spirit dwelling in you, I answer: Where that Spirit is, it is one and admits of no disputes and janglings, but speaks one and the same thing in all that have it in their measure: but your divisions amongst yourselves witness what Spirit acts in you, and your pride, covetousness, and conformities to the world: for that Spirit, which is infallible, leads out of the world and fashions of it, and conforms to Christ, and they who judge by that Spirit deny the wisdom and learning of the world, or to enrich themselves by it.
The sixteenth position: "They cry down baptism with water and the Lord's Supper, as being but types and shadows, ceasing upon the appearance of Christ in them." And in your reply you quarrel that I should say, Paul knew what he said when he said, "Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach" (1 Cor. 1:17), and you say this is to heap sin upon Peter and the rest of the apostles: but that Paul by speaking the truth, or I by speaking it after him, doth thereby heap sin upon Peter, is a strange inference, but it is like the rest: for there is no truth that I speak but that you can infer a slander from it, and how many times in your book have you slandered me for speaking plain Scripture? but it is to manifest you to be what you are.
And whereas you say we cry down baptism and the Lord's Supper, it is false; for the baptism of John we own, which is with water, and the baptism of Christ with the Holy Ghost and fire we own, and the Supper of the Lord we own, and our faith feeds upon him, and the eating of his flesh and drinking of his blood is our life (John 6:53-54); and we deny your faith, which you say is nourished by bread and wine which is carnal; and your sprinkling of infants we deny, which you say you can clear up to be an ordinance of Christ, but doth not nor can do it.
<523> The seventeenth position, "That there is no immediate call of the ministry." And you say I contradict myself because I say that the ordaining of elders, by the direction of the Spirit of God, was not by man; which I again affirm, that it was not by man nor of man, nor any created power, but by the Spirit of God in the apostles, which did empower them with the gift of the Holy Ghost, to them who were ordained, and this was not of man but of God.
And whereas you would prove your mediate call from this, it will not serve your turn, who are either called by the cursed bishops or by earthly magistrates, or else you call one another by your own wills, but no appointment of God nor gift of the Holy Ghost is witnessed amongst you.
And whereas you deny that the late commission did ever pretend to put any in the office of a minister, here all the North may witness against you, that you care not what you say to excuse yourselves and accuse others, though never so false. Did not you and those that were in commission call them before you and examined and appointed whom you would, and denied whom you would at will and pleasure? And your partiality in it the North can witness. And now you deny it: be ashamed and confounded before all men, you shameless creatures; this you may call railing, as you do the rest, where you are told of your deceit. And for your fifty-five proofs you tell of, which you say are not all answered, I answer: those that might seem to make for your purpose are answered, and for many other you bring, they are so full against the end for which you allege them that they may answer themselves before all that know anything of Scriptures, and to their judgment I leave them and shall not trouble myself or others with things to so little purpose. And for your sending and proving your false accusations, under hand and seal as you call it, here you show what spirit acts in you, who pursue such unjust things with such eagerness, which none of the saints of God ever did, but your reward shall be as your work is, and time shall clear the truth when you have vented your envy.
And first, "Not to salute any." And here you accuse us to deny highway salutes, and when you have done you say highway salutes is our known practice; but how doth this agree? honesty <524> would never have accused us to deny what is our known practice, unless you could have proved that we had denied to salute any, as you falsely accuse us: for the salutation of the saints we own and practice and deny your heathenish customs that are used without the fear of God.
And whereas you bring the practice of some in the Old Testament to overturn the commands of Christ in the New: I answer, No contrary practice of any (though the best of saints) can be a ground for me to break the command of Christ; neither had they whom you instance, as Jacob and Abigail, any command for what they did, to bow down or fall to the ground: but rather did it out of fear and weakness. Now if any had alleged these to those whom Christ sent out, had that been a ground for them to have broken Christ's command, to follow their practice without command? and it is the same now. Christ who hath sent us forth hath commanded us to deny your vain customs, and not to salute any by the way; and this we witness and practice, whatever they did in the old time, and here we leave you who are in the world to your traditions of the world and follow Christ, and so witness against all the vanities out of which we are called. And for that place (2 John 10) which you would allege to keep up the world's customs which is clear against you, for the apostle there commands "not to bid Godspeed to any transgressor, that doth not abide in the doctrine of Christ, and who hath not the Father and the Son'; for if they bade Godspeed to any of them they were partakers of their evil deeds. Now they who fear God had need take heed whom they bade Godspeed to, for few are found who have in them the Father and the Son and are no transgressors, and now how this makes for your Godspeed to all, any that fear God may see and be warned of your deceit, lest they partake of other men's evil deeds. And so it's plain the saints were forbidden to salute any but saints, though you call it publican-like.
And whereas you say in Matt. 5:37 is a command to "salute all," I answer: If that was so as you speak, a general command to salute all, then doth Christ contradict himself when he commands "not to salute any by the way"; and so you will make Christ yea and nay; but it is plain that Christ is there exhorting to love and not to salutation, wherein he would have them to exceed <525> the heathen, who showed their partiality in saluting their friends only, which was a token of their love to be partial, but if this were a command of Christ, to salute all, and binding to them who had received a command to the contrary (which we witness) then those who obeyed his command "not to salute any" (Luke 10:4) was guilty of the breach of it, which to affirm was to make Christ say and unsay; and besides, there is not a word in it of saluting by the way, which is the thing you are to prove, which we say we are forbidden.
And whereas you say you salute the poor as well as the rich, here let your practice witness against you, who bow to the rich with cap and knee and worship them, and call them masters, but do you so to the poor? and here you are the heathen. And because I say, What we do, we do it not for the commands that were given to others but by his command to us, by whom we are sent forth; and this you say is a mystery of iniquity and utterly to shake off the authority of the word, and you boast much of a great advantage you have got by these words: but you see not your own blindness, which is apparent, for you say this was a particular command; now instance in Scripture where any saint did take up any particular command by imitation, but every particular saint has his particular command from God, which he was to obey; and if all the particular commands that was given to the saints in Scripture be binding to us in this generation, then why do not you observe them? as Isaiah went three years naked, why do not you do so? and why are not you without money, brass, two coats and shoes, and many suchlike commands? And now what doth all your Scriptures prove? It is true, what is written is for our learning, that as they waited upon God for their commands what to do and did obey, so we should do likewise, and the disobedient should warn us not to disobey (Matt. 15:9; Isa. 29:13). And thus you have laid open yourselves to be ignorant of the word of God and his commands to you, and all your obedience is imagination and tradition, and so in vain you worship. And because I say, If we were commanded to forbear wearing shoes we should be made willing to obey in that, as well as in other things, which we are not commanded; and you say this is to cast off the yoke of Christ and break his bonds asunder: now if our willingness to obey his commands <526> be to cast off his yoke, let the wise judge, and here your charge shall appear to all to be false; for to obey the commands of Christ is not to deny the authority of the Scripture (as you would slander us) but it establishes the Scripture's authority; for herein we witness the same obedience and the same commanding power with all saints; and you reckon up many that have been made signs and wonders to this generation, as some have gone naked and the like (Isa. 8:18), which you would cast upon the truth to make it odious to people; and you bring many Scriptures and wrest them to your own ends, to which I answer: The command of God to them that know him is of more force to bind them to obey than your subtle arguings and wrestings to disobey, and had you lived in the times of the prophets you would have reproached them for obeying and being made signs in the same things, as Isa. 20, and others in other things, which your generation then counted madness, as you do now, and persecuted them for it, as you do now; but it is no wonder why you should thus reproach us for obeying God when you are not afraid to contradict God himself in what he saith and give him the lie; for when he saith, "My servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot" (Isa. 20), you go about to prove that he was not naked; and when God saith, "The Egyptians and the Ethiopians shall be carried captive naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered to their shame," and you deny and say they took but off their best apparel, and left them such as was necessary to cover their shame; and thus what God saith you say the contrary and go about to make him a liar, and persuades people to believe your subtle imaginations before God's plain words. And here you show the serpent, who contraries God in all things, and ever did, and not only here but in all your books your reasoning and proving are for sin and against plain Scripture, and any that reads them may see that I speak the truth of you though you may call it railing. And you bring 1 Tim. 2:9: "That women adorn themselves in modest apparel and sobriety." And this you bring to cast upon them that obey the commands of God, but you might use it nearer home amongst your own wives, who go in their hoods, veils and rings, which is forbidden and is not modesty but pride, but these whom you reproach go in modest apparel, though some be made as signs to you who live in pride; and this as done by a <527> call from God, contrary to their own wills; though you, who deny the word coming to you, be ignorant of it, as all the false prophets ever were. And for that you cast upon Thomas Holmes, that he should say that it was not he that went naked, but God; it is of the same root with the rest and will not be believed by any but your own generation.
The second principle, "Not giving any outward token of reverence to magistrates, parents, masters, or any other." To which I answer, Reverence and obedience to magistrates, parents, masters and others we own according to the Scriptures, but to bow down and worship the creature, which God hath forbidden, that we deny; and though you, who love greetings and bowings to you, would make people believe it's no sin, yet they that fear God and worship him alone know it to be a sin; and Mordecai had rather die, and all the seed of the Jews be cut off than do it, though the King commanded it: and though you say, It's a ridiculous application of that command, "Thou shalt not bow down and worship," yet the apostle owns it, and saith, "If you respect persons you commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors": now what law do such transgress, if it be not this which convinceth "that no worship is to be given to any but God," not to men's persons? But these wrestings are as the rest, to encourage to do what God forbids; for Christ saith, "How can you believe, that receive honor one of another?" neither did he nor any of his ever respect men's persons, nor any that is in the faith of Christ (James 2:1), but plainly forbids it, both Christ and the apostles; which you plead for and appear to be of a contrary spirit, for the Spirit of God, where it is, pleads for the worship of God alone, for he is no respecter of persons, nor any that is guided by his Spirit: but they that are guided by the spirit of the world pleads for the world's worships and customs: and where the serpent is, he would be worshipped; but the Spirit of Christ where it is keeps the creature upright to God, and not to bow to pride. And notwithstanding your light and scornful words against A.P. for saying there is a power without persons, yet the saints know that there is a power which is of God to which they are subject for conscience sake, whether there be any persons to execute that power or no: for many times the persons who should have set up that power <528> which is of God have set up their wills instead of it, and so have turned the edge of the sword (put into their hands) against them that do well, which is appointed by God for a terror to evildoers (Rom. 13:3), and when such persons have ruled, God hath sent his servants to witness against the person and his practice, but the power they are still subject to for conscience sake, which is one, and is not changed nor corrupted, though the person be: for it remains and is one with that in the conscience, and that in the conscience owns and honors it wherever it is, and so in setting up that power, which is of God, is the person honored (in the sight of all that fear God) and not in setting up himself; but you, who look upon the person as your rule, and not the power, change as men's minds change, and such will be of the same mind with the powers of the earth, turn what way they will, and by these the saints, who are faithful to God and his power, have always suffered, but these will never suffer for any truth.
The third principle, "That no man must have the title of Master," which is false, for masters and servants we own, but to call any "Master" out of a flattering title, or for his riches or his pride or greatness, this we deny, being expressly forbidden of Christ, both in us and in the Scriptures.
And whereas you say you have brought at least ten scriptures out of the New Testament to prove calling men "masters"; I say you cannot instance one scripture without wresting, that ever commands it after Christ forbade it; but here as in the rest of your book you would turn the Scriptures against the plain commands of Christ, to maintain your pride, and here you are discovered to be the ministers of antichrist, and pleads for his kingdom and worships, against Christ and his commands.
And for the four things you say we charge upon you, viz.: 1. that ye love the highest places in the synagogues; 2. that ye wear long robes; 3. stand praying in the synagogues; 4. that you preach for hire. And whereas you say you have proved these to be the proper guilt of the Pharisees, I answer: There are many more may be added to them, which were marks of false teachers, which you practice, and then what difference of the Pharisees and you? for one spirit acts to one and the same things in you both, and one Spirit of Christ witnesses against you both to be in one condemnation. <529> And for other things you say we charge you with, as going to universities, using an hourglass, preaching upon a text, not using the language of the Scriptures in thouing a particular, running to the powers of the world to protect you: now are not these things true of you? And then what need I say any more to them? And as for stealing the word from your neighbor, what word have you else but what you steal, who denies the word of the Lord coming to you and the immediate call, and scorns it in them who witness it? which none ever did but the false prophets, who stole the word from the true prophets: and here your own mouths shall witness to what I say in the sight of all men: and for the pure language you speak of is not thou and thee, I answer: the Scripture language is the pure language, given out by the pure Spirit, though Babylon hath another language of its own and denies the Scriptures, but that language is confusion. And here are you, who ye one and thou another, but the Scripture language you own not.
The first practice, Quaking, and here you add, "grovelling on the ground and foaming at the mouth," to be our practice: and to prove this you bring John Gilpin and William Moore, Priest of Kellet. I answer, Your witnesses are suitable to your slander; but all that ever have been at our meetings, yea, those of your own that have come to spy, shall witness against Gilpin and William Moore, and you, that those are not our practice, and the whole country shall more and more see into your lying slanders.
And whereas you say "quaking is our great perfection"; it's false, for Christ is our perfection, though quaking and trembling we own to be a condition the saints passed through, as is plain in Scripture, else should we deny the Scripture as you do, though you use it as a name of reproach.
The slanders of William may easily be disproved by what follows:
I Jane Withers was moved of the Lord to go to the steeple-house of Kellet to speak to Priest Moore these words, "Thou art the beast that all the world worships and wanders after: the plagues of God must be poured upon thee." When these words came to me, the power of the Lord seized upon me; but the deceit prevailed so over me that I did not obey at the first movings; <530> but the power of the Lord so seized on me again that I was bound about my body above the middle as if I had been bound with chains, and it was said to me "that if I went not I should repent it, and he should know it"; and in the afternoon I was forced to go, and as I went in at the door I should have said, "The plagues of God must be poured upon thee," but I did not speak the words then; and then the power of the Lord came upon me, but in that Priest Moore says I was in a trance, it is a lie, for I was as sensible all the while as ever I was; and for foaming at the mouth I did not, that is a lie; but for the working of the power of the Lord in my body I deny not; and two of the priest's own hearers, which were close by me, we sent for, hearing this lying slander was sent to be printed, being examined whether or no they saw her foam at the mouth, the one of them did affirm that it was a lie, and she laid me on her lap; and the other said she saw no such thing; but the priest went his way, and I went after him, and then I spoke the words that was commanded, and as soon as I had spoken them the power ceased; and the maid that Moore sent to George Fox, which carried the lies to him, one of the women, Annes Clapin, one of his hearers, said she was a liar, and it did not matter what she said; and this is Moore's ground to write his letter upon to the priest of Newcastle, and they put it in print to minister forth his lies that their folly might be made manifest to all the country and truth confirmed, and the deceit trodden upon. And Moore which sent his lying wench, as his own hearers calls her, she came to me three times to Robert Wither's, and she scoffed, and she was asked if Christ taught her to scoff, and she said he did teach her to scoff; and before her face it was written down, and she was denied to talk of the Scriptures that is a scoffer. And the liar would have known what Scripture there had been for foaming at the mouth and wherever did he read of any such, unless it were such that were possessed with the devil; she said he denied that any of theirs did, till Jane Withers was pointed out, and then she said he confessed it.
Oh thou liar and slanderer, God will make thee an example to all liars, and they that witness for Jane Withers, which are of the priest's own hearers, some will witness against thee to be a liar and one that matters not what thou speakest; and before <531> James's face she was proved a slanderer and a liar, and lying is a sin, and he denies it; and to say he confessed that Jane Withers foamed at the mouth is a lie, and many will witness against it. And here thou Moore that art for the lake, who fathers lies, thy own hearers will witness against thee.
And whereas you say she asked him if lying was a sin, here in this you are proved to be lying and sinning, and so with the just you liars are judged and condemned for the lake eternally, though you may think a while to please the world. But Oh thou harlot, thy woe and misery is coming.
Some Scriptures given forth about travailing, as "I said, I will cry as a travailing woman" (Isa. 42:14); Isa. 63:1, "travailing in the greatness of his strength"; Rom. 8:22, "travaileth in pain together"; Micah 4:3, "She which travaileth hath brought forth"; Isa. 21:3, "as the pangs on a woman in travail"; Habakkuk, "whose belly trembled."
And here Moore and his messenger seems to be ignorant of the letter, and wonders which are to perish. And the priests of Newcastle, which said they could not but smile at James Nayler, hath declared themselves to be the mockers that should come in the last time; and the maid, which they printed her lies, said that Christ taught her to scoff, before many witnesses. And here they show what generation they are on: like priest, like people; for they who dwell in the truth can scarcely pass up and down for your scoffing generation; but to us your reproaches are great riches, and knowing that you and your generation is for condemnation, which stumble at the light.
The second practice, Railing, and you instance these words, "Thou art damned, and I see the devil in thy face"; and this you say is the first salute to all we meet with, to which I answer: Thousands in the country shall witness you false accusers, which we have met with, passed by and spoke not one word to them; but you are shameless and care not what you say against us; and for words which have been spoken to some of you, which you call railing, you will find them one day to be no railings but the language of the Spirit upon the head of the man of sin in you, though for the present you will not own them.
The third practice, "Their pretending upon all occasion to be <532> sent by a special commission from God." To this I answer, What have you to do to speak of, or how can you judge of them that are sent by God, who deny the immediate call and scorns it, and knows it not? can you judge of that you know not, who knows not the word of God nor his call?
And whereas you say, "I knew not the things in particular, and yet I take the boldness to call them lies." I answer: Your words are false; for I say I knew not the things in particular and therefore could say little; but finding your book stuffed with lies and untruths gave me cause to see many of these to be like the rest, which is not to call them lies as you say, and now judge of your own conscience as you say. And for denying that any that were before the magistrates were invited to any of your houses, are not my words, but the words of one who was before the magistrates, as will appear in the margin,c though you so rashly cast it upon me; and here it may be seen who it is that rusheth upon a lie, which you charge me to do, but are found the liars yourselves: neither did you invite any of them which were called before the magistrates, as appears both by their own witness and your own concession, for you say it was Thomas Tayler you invited, who was not then called before the magistrates nor imprisoned. And you that call it immodest for the saints to greet one another with a kiss, and would slander by it, may as well accuse the apostle for immodest, who exhorteth the saints to it: and was this the thing you kept so close when you said, "to say no more?" It seemed by those words to have been some heinous thing and not the apostle's exhortation and saints' practice, but you want matter to accuse of. And for what Wallis said, there was witness enough; and all your sending and proving cannot stop the truth, but make your deceit more appear. And for your reason you show why you called your book, The Perfect Pharisee; and you say "that title is most properly applied to us"; I answer, It's most properly applied to them who are found to walk in the steps of the Pharisees, and whether that be us or you let your practices judge, and all that see us, and all your practice shall witness with me that I have not wronged or belied you, as you would make people believe, <533> but let any honest heart who reads both our books judge betwixt us who are the slanderers, liars and railers, which you would cast upon me, but the thing is evident to all, and you cannot be hid, who have nothing to judge withal, and it is of God to discover you to all that you may deceive no longer. Blessed be our God who is revealing the man of sin, who hath acted in a mystery and is delivering his people from your mouths and redeeming them to himself, who is holy: praises be to our God forever, and let all the children of light praise him forever.
And if any scruple why the servants of God should be made signs and wonders to this generation, I refer them for satisfaction to a printed paper called A Woe to Kendal in the County of Westmorland,d in which you shall find the dear servants of God made signs and wonders to the generation of the wicked then, and confounding the serpent's wisdom, acting strange things by the immediate commands of God, into which the wisdom of the world could never enter.
God hath made as many signs among you, as to go naked in your steeple-houses, in your markets, in your streets, as many in the northern parts, which is a figure to you of all your nakedness.
Priests, in your first page, you say, "It is their greatest work to deny his righteousness fulfilled in his person, to be imputed to you for your justification."
Rep. What righteousness is there imputed to the workers of iniquity, which are cursed? the righteousness of Christ we own, which he fulfilled in his own person, who is the Lord our righteousness, and we through him are become the righteousness of God, and from this you priests are shut out, who would do as your fathers did, who persecuted the Lord of glory; and I charge you here in the presence of the living God to be liars; for what Christ fulfilled and came to fulfil, we own, which Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever: and the same ministry and the same immediate call we witness, and have all the prophets, apostles, and Christ the cornerstone to witness us in the same; and all you reprobates, and all your weapons you strike with against the truth, do but confirm us and establish the innocent, <534> and confirm the truth against all you opposers.
Priests, you are speaking of "faith being swallowed up in vision."
I charge you to show such an expression in Scripture among all the saints which was in faith.
Priests, whereas you say "that George Fox called Mr. Nichols hypocrite in Carlile, though he never saw his face."
Here I charge you all priests to be confused. And you say, "How doth this bottom upon Christ, who gave it to none but to such as they had a particular knowledge of?" Here I charge you to be contrary to Christ, contrary to the apostles, for Christ said, "Judge not according to outward appearance as the Pharisees did." And here I prove you to be Pharisees; and the apostles said "he was present in Spirit beholding the order of the saints," though he never saw their faces; and here I judge with the spirits of the apostles to be out of their life. And you say, "That Christ gave that title as hypocrite to Herod, and the teachers of false doctrine." Now to you I speak: the Scripture itself and Christ's words in it shall be your judge to be in the steps of the Pharisees and false teachers, and in the nature of Herod, which are called of men masters, as the hypocrites were; and hath the chief places in the assemblies, and stand praying in the synagogues, which are painted with the prophets, Christ's and the apostles' words, as your fathers were with the prophets' words, laying heavy burdens upon the people, as some of your fellow priests have imprisoned some because they would not pay tithes, which are pretended teachers: and here you are under the woe which Christ pronounced against your fathers, as you may read (Matt. 23), and so with all the children of the light you are judged, and with the light of Christ you are condemned to be out of his doctrine eternally, and for condemnation of old with the light, which gad in the way of Cain and after the error of Balaam, who received gifts and rewards. You are casting out your lies and slanders upon the innocent, but with the light of Christ they are for eternal condemnation, and you that act them, to that in all your consciences I speak which shall witness it eternally, and condemn all you that are acquainted with lies and slanders, for the book of conscience is opened.
Priests, you say "Paul disclaims all equality with God" in <535> your one and twentieth page. Here I charge you to be liars in the presence of the living God: Paul saith, "Let the mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God thought it no robbery to be equal with God, yet made himself of no reputation," &c. (Phil. 2:5-7).
Priests, and whereas you say, "The light which is by Christ is the light of the first Covenant."
Rep. Christ Jesus saith, "He is the light of the world and doth enlighten everyone that comes into the world": and the prophet said, "God would give him for a covenant, a light to the Gentiles": and here let the Scripture judge thee to be out of the light, that stumbles at the light and the covenant.
And whereas you would have James Nayler confess George to be the adopted Son of God, what Son was that that was revealed in the apostles? but the confessing of the Son of God vexeth you and shows you had not life, for you that have not the Son of God have not life; Christ saith "he is that true light that enlightens everyone that comes into the world," and your answer is, "This light is not Christ's will"; and here you blasphemously declare yourselves to say the light of Christ is not his will, when Christ says, "I am the light that enlightens everyone that comes into the world," him that hates it shall be his condemnation; and here you show you are in darkness that stumbles at the light, and your darkness cannot comprehend it.
Priests, you say "the light of Christ is not a knowledge of Christ as mediator." Here again I charge you to be liars in the presence of the living God: whoever comes to know Christ as a mediator is with the light of Christ which hath enlightened him, and here again I charge you to be stumblers at the light.
And whereas you speak in your seven and thirtieth page of "a natural light," and so blaspheming the light of Christ, but with that light ye shall be condemned before you know the Gospel.
Priests, in your sixtieth page you say, "Christ did not give a saving light to every man."
Rep. Christ the savior saith "he enlightens everyone that comes into the world, and he that walks in the light, shall have the light of life, and not walk in darkness, and as many as believes in him and receives him, to them gave he power to become <536> the sons of God"; but you which stumbles at the light of Christ and hate it, shall be your eternal condemnation, and all your profession to be air and wind, and empty, and shows you do not believe in the light of Christ, and so with the light you are condemned and your mouths stopped.
And whereas you are speaking of your "outward helps and discoveries," or to help the light of Christ, here you declare your light to be darkness, for the visible doth not open the invisible, but the invisible the visible; "he that hath an ear to hear let him hear": but I see you have none, that stumble at the light of Christ.
You speak of a trinity, of sprinkling infants, of merits, and of inherent righteousness. I command you to show a word in Scripture that speaks of any of these words; you speak of a moral law, of the word essential or suggestion, show forth where the Scripture speaks any such words, so take the slander upon yourselves wherewith you slander George Fox as juggling, which he abhors, and your slander reacheth him not, and so find out these words in Scripture, else lay your hands on your mouths and confess yourselves to be jugglers to all the world, and let the Scripture itself judge you that teach those things there is no Scripture for, who says it is your touchstone and standing rule;e and so the title of Perfect Pharisee shall stand to yourselves, who would be justified in the sight of man, so the beast shall be burned, and the false prophet cast into the lake of fire.
The thing that was seen concerning Newcastle, all his pillars to be dry and his trees to be bare, and much nakedness, that they have not scarcely the bark, but are as a wilderness where much wind and cold comes, where there must be much labor before the ground be brought into order; for it's a stony ground, and there is much briars and thorns about her, and many trees have grown wild long, and have scarce earth to cover their roots, but their roots are seen, and how they stand in the stones, and these trees bears no fruit but bears moss, and much wind pierce through and clatters them together, and makes the trees shake, but still the roots are held amongst the stones, and are bald and naked.
a. Thomason date: 3 June 1654.
b. We suspect a printer's omission at this point.
c. We suspect a printer's omission at this point.
d. See pp. 204-207 above.
e. The tract says "standing oyle," which we take to be a misprint.