Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Works of James Nayler > The Perfect Pharisee
The great design of that old and subtle serpent in the latter days doth eminently appear to be, to overturn the faith of souls. For what else is the reason of so many monstrous shapes and varieties of appearances into which he transformeth himself, but that he may have somewhat <324> more probably successful, to entangle, according to the diversities of the temper of hearts? Yet such is the wise and good dispensation of our God, that even when Satan would appear most like an angel of light, yet something ever doth break forth in his closest contrivances that makes the design of the serpent very visible.
There is indeed something which pretends to holiness in this upstart generation of men; as the meanness of their apparel, sometimes more than ordinary abstinence, their forsaking the world (though to a sinful neglect of their callings and families) and many trivial observances, which the apostle calls "the rudiments of the world" (Col. 2:23) (in which they yet place a great part of their perfection). These things have indeed, as Paul said, "A show of wisdom in will-worship and humility, and neglecting of the body," but alas, are narrower coverings than can conceal the wickedness of the blasphemies, cursings and railings which under this are ushered in to destroy the foundation of the saints.
Seeing therefore their folly is very fully, by the demonstration and witness of the Scriptures, made manifest to ourselves, and their principles and practices (hereafter specified) undeniably known to some of us, we are as those that watch for your souls, as those that must give account, pressed in spirit to publish the ensuing discourse, with our prayers that as their folly is made manifest herein, so it may proceed no further.
This is the method of our proceeding in this tractate. First, we lay down their doctrines. Secondly, prove them to be theirs from their own words and writings. Thirdly, confute them from the Scriptures.
Tho. Weld Sam.
Hammond Will. Durant
Rich. Prideaux Will. Cole
Proof 1: That this hath been affected by the chiefest of them, upon whose mouth it's fully known they much depend, will thus appear; George Fox being by warrant from M. Toluson and M. Sawrey (now a Member of Parliament), two Justices of the Peace in Lancashire, to be apprehended for affirming "he was equal with God"; before the said warrant <325> was put in execution, the said business was heard over again at Lancaster at a private meeting of the Justices, where George Fox was present; where after several distinctions, in locations favorably given in behalf of the said Fox, Dr. Marshal in the presence of the said Justices proposed the case of Fox himself, to speak his heart, "whether he did believe himself equal with God." The said Fox in answer thereto, positively affirmed thus, "I am equal with God." The said Dr. Marshall, and Mr. Altham, Schoolmaster at Lancaster, deposed this at a general Sessions in Westmorland, in the hearing of one of us (W.C.), and deposed the same again before the Honorable Judge Puleston at Lancaster the next Assizes.
2. At a meeting with James Nayler, where a discourse was concerning perfection, Will. Baldwinson of Underbarrow in Westmorland proposed to the said Nayler, "whether he believed that any could be as holy, just, and good, as God himself?" To whom the said Nayler answered, "that he did witness that he himself was as holy, just, and good as God." This the said Mr. Baldwin did offer to Col. Brigs to depose and hath very often affirmed the same to one of us (W.C.), and is besides a man fearing God, of eminent trust where he lives in the service of the Commonwealth.
3. Mr. George Berket offered to depose that George Fox did affirm himself to be the judge of the world. And it is fully known to some of us that the general body of that irreligion do pretend to know the secrets of the hearts of men: it's their common expression to all they speak unto, "that they know their hearts," and when they charge persons with sins (which is usual with them, even to such whose faces they never saw before nor heard of) which they can find nothing outwardly to prove, their common assertion is "that they can see their hearts"; and accordingly do call them damned devils and pronounce their judgments. Nor is it impertinent to this that James Nayler to one of us (W.C.) did affirm "that he wondered that God should reveal any thing to me, and he not know it."
One wrote thus from Carlisle, "that he was threatened to be put in prison with George Fox, whom he called the Son of God."
Confutation: 1. That finite and infinite should be equal is a gross contradiction, which all spiritual and natural light abhors. Hear what an infinite God, asserting his own inequality, says to the creature. "To whom then will ye liken me? or shall I be equal saith the holy one?" (Isaiah 40:15). Read the whole chapter, as also Job 38-40.
2. If so, then the creature must needs be eternal, a parte ante, viz. must never have had a beginning of their being, unless they will either affirm that God himself was created, or that man is a created God. Read the creation of man (Gen. 2).
<326> 3. If equal with God, then as holy as just, as wise, as powerful, as omnipresent; some of these the proofs will clear to be affirmed by Nayler. To whom we propose:
If he be as holy, just, and good as God, then he hath been so either from his birth or from some work of conversion since upon his soul. If he say he was so from his birth, then we cry out blasphemy. For
1) Are we not sinners from the womb? (Ps. 51; Isa. 48:8). Children of wrath by nature (Eph. 2:2).
2) Is there not in all a body of death? (Rom. 7:23-24). And shall sinful man be equal with God? he whose righteousness is but rags, dross and dung; whose goodliness but as the flower of the field (Isa. 64:6; Phil. 3:7-8; Isa. 40:7). Whose breath is in his nostrils (Ps. 144:4). Whose station is lower than the angels (Ps. 8) and the best of whom is so far from being just with God, as that he cannot answer him one of a thousand (Job 9:2-3).
If they affirm he is so from some work of conversion since he was born,
1) Then the work of conversion is to make new Gods.
2) And growth in grace shall be the growing of God; and so God shall be less or more God, according to the different degrees of grace on the soul. But the blasphemy is so horrid that to name it is enough to make true saint loathe it and abhor this pretense of Nayler's to a holiness, justice and goodness equal unto God's. As for the other attributes, powerful, omnipresent, &c., we send them to God's challenge of Job in Job 38. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? (v. 4). Canst thou bind the sweet influences of the Pleiades? and loose the bands of Orion? canst thou bring forth Maaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons? (vv. 30-31 to 40:9). Hast thou an arm like God? canst thou thunder with a voice like him?
4. If equal, then the same God or another: other there can be none, but he that was before all time. 'Tis a contradiction, if another; so many saints, so many Gods: if he be the same, then God wanted something of his infinite perfection which he received by Nayler's being God, &c.
These things we should not mention but that saints might be warned of such devilish doctrines, the very smoke of the bottomless pit.
Proof: George Fox lays down such a principle, as you may see in their book called Saul's Errand to Damascus (p. 12), with other assertions of the same kind, known to some of us.
<327> Confutation: We hope we need not say much to the confuting of so known an heresy, raked up out of the dust, and which the saints have ever loathed, as pulling down one great pillar of their faith, the personal deity of Christ, being the main ground of the infinite value of his merits; and the personality of the Spirit being so fully evidenced by the divine attributes appropriated to him in Scripture. But we refer you to these unanswerable Scriptures: Heb. 1:3; Matt. 3:16-17; 1 John 5:7; Matt. 28:19; Isa. 6:1,3; compared with John 12:39-41 and Acts 28:25, &c.
Proof: One of us W.C. had this positively asserted by Col. Benson and Captain Ward at Kendal, and discoursed the controversy with them.
Confutation: Let the Christian reader consider,
1. That if this could be so, then should the essence of God be divided into so many finite beings, or parcels, as souls.
2. Yea, and by this doctrine, that essence of God which is infinite in him should come to be finite, when it becomes a soul in a man. The heavens of heavens are not able to contain him! and the finiteness of our created spirits, who doth not know?
3. How shall the all-creating essence of God become a creature, and who understands not the creation of souls? (Gen 2; Heb. 12:9).
4. If this be so, then shall a part of God be sinful? which how blasphemous? unless men most wretchedly dare deny that there is a sinfulness in any soul.
5. And then shall God hate himself, burn in wrath forever against his own essence, and it lie under damnation forevermore; for so is the state of thousands of souls. How horrible is any of this to be asserted of him, in whose presence is fullness of joy (Ps. 16) and that is God blessed forever (Rom. 9:5).
6. Hereupon, when Jesus Christ gave himself to death for the souls of men, either he died for himself and for the essence of God; or else he died altogether in vain. What soul not grossly apostatized dare vent such things?
Proof: One of us (W.C.) received this assertion from James Nayler in conference with him, wherein he extended the indwellings of Christ to Indians that never heard the gospel. 2. Those whom they call reprobates, devils, they usually tell notwithstanding that they crucify Jesus Christ within them. As is clear in a letter one of us hath read, from John <328> Audland to Edward Briggs, a holy, humble saint in Westmorland whom God was pleased to deliver out of their snares, with which for some time he was entangled. And in ordinary experience it is very much apparent.
Confutation: 1. If so, then either Christ personal, or else he is in them by his Spirit: we rather suppose they understand Christ personal; and our reason is because Mr. Higginson in his book (which he offered the supreme power to make good, in his epistle) affirms it to be their doctrine "that Christ as man dwells in them" (page 5); which is so grossly blasphemous and horrid a contradiction to the personal ascension of Christ (Acts 1:9) and his sitting at his Father's right hand till the restitution of all things (Acts 3:21) that it needs no further confutation.
If Christ dwells in every man by his Spirit, then,
1. Are the fruits of the Spirit in all men? "The fruits of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance" (Gal. 5:22). Are these in Turks, Indians, Papists, drunkards, whoremasters, atheists, &c.?
2. Where the Spirit is, it is a "quickening spirit" (Eph. 2:1). "Ye were such and such, but now ye are sanctified by the Spirit of our God" (1 Cor. 6:11): but it is most apparent that there is no such quickening in all. Nay the whole world lies in wickedness (1 John 5:19). If they shall affirm (as they had done) "that the Spirit of God is in such kept under by corruption"; then it is so either first, for want of will in the Spirit of the living God to get the mastery over sin, or secondly, for want of power. Not for want of will; for the will of the Father, Christ and Spirit, are all one; which will is to destroy the works of the Devil wheresoever the Spirit dwells; where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (2 Cor. 3:17), and so not kept under corruption: for the apostle comfortably concludes that sin shall not have dominion over those who are implanted into Christ, because they are not under the law but under grace (Rom. 6:14). Nor can he secondly be kept under for want of power. "You overcome the world, because greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world" (1 John 4:4), the very ground of their overcoming is the greatness of the Spirit's power above corruption, wheresoever he is (Matt. 13:29; Luke 11:22).
2. And if the Spirit be in all, then all must be saved, or it must necessarily go to Hell with the damned.
But enough of this so horrible an assertion.
Proof: 1. This is expressly found in their book called Saul's Errand <329> to Damascus. 2. As also Mr. Higginson (page 5) says, The Lancashire charge stands clear against them in this principle, and nothing answered to evade it in Saul's Errand to Damascus (page 8). 3. Also this was written in that letter which Nayler wrote to one in Lancashire, which was objected against him by Dr. Marshal upon account of another principle in it (viz., "that he that expected to be saved by him that died at Jerusalem should be deceived"). And this Mr. Jacques, Minister at Bolton in Lancashire, sent his testimony under his hand, that he would make appear if the justices of Westmorland pleased to call for him at another season, being detained at that time upon other occasions.
Confutation: 1. This wholly destroys the grand foundation of the saints' justification and confidence at the throne of grace. For if he were but a figure then there was no merit in his death (Heb. 9:26).
2. If but a figure, then he must type out another Christ yet to come (Col. 2:17). But surely they do not mean the Jewish Messias; or do they intend a type of Christ in them yet to come, and to appear there in the time of their conversion, as their notion is.1 How absurd is such a doctrine, that all the acts of Christ while here on earth must be acted over again within them? As that the virgin Mary must be in them and bring forth a Christ, and be espoused to Joseph in them; that John baptizeth in them; that the eleven apostles are in them; Judas, Herod, and Pilate in them; that Christ is crucified, dead, and buried in them, and risen again, and ascended to the right hand of the Father in them. And all these not allegorized, but really, personally, and bodily acted in them, and as they were acted at Jerusalem, &c. For all these are the necessary appendices of that sottish doctrine.
3. If an example only, this in plain terms cuts up the satisfaction of Christ, which is the very anchor and refuge of souls. Let the reader seriously consider these scriptures following, because the denying of this doth wholly make fruitless the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28, Rom. 5:8-9; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; Col. 1:20; 1 Pet. 1:19; 1 John 1:2; Rev. 1:8).
4. If an example, how then is the justice of God satisfied? it must be either by the obedience of him the example, or by our own that follow it: they deny it to be Christ's obedience in making it merely figurative, and that it cannot be by any obedience of our personal actings we refer you to what follows in the confutation of the principle of justification by works. And thus the justice of God shall be unsatisfied still. What desperate ruin do these doctrines bring to guilty souls?
<330> 5. What comfort shall a guilty conscience ever find, but in the satisfaction of Jesus? and what peace shall he have if Christ be only an example? unless he do fully come up in every tittle of his life and death also, to answer the pattern? which it is impossible for man to do (Heb 4:15), he being without sin, and in that alone accepted, as to a likeness to us in all things: and the same impossibility is there of coming up to that pattern in the great matters of his nativity, death, and passion, and the like.
Proof: 1. This was the clear sense of that expression in Nayler's letter, formerly hinted, that "whosoever expects to be saved by him that died at Jerusalem shall be deceived." 2. In Nayler's delivering his sense of that expression before the justices in Westmorland, he clearly states the righteousness of Christ by which we are justified to be fulfilled in us. 3. The proof for their next position fully cleareth it. 4. Col. Benson at Kendal asserted the same to one of ourselves (W.C.) and disputed for the maintenance thereof.
Confutation: Then what ground had Paul to boast and glory in the cross of Christ? "who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? who shall condemn me?" upon this account (Rom. 8:34). It is Christ that died, setting the blood of Jesus as a full answer to all the challenges of guilt. 2. When we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son (Rom 5:10). So 3. He his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree (1 Pet. 2:24). And 4. He reconciled us in the body of his flesh, through death (Col. 1:21-22). This body, this death, this cross, were certainly all without us (Rom. 5:9). "We are justified" (Eph. 1:7). "Have redemption through his blood, even the remission of sins." 5. Nay, justification clearly imports, according to the design of the gospel-grace, a nonimputation of sin and a clothing with that which is the righteousness of Christ, fulfilled in the world, imputed through believing (Rom. 4:6; 2 Cor. 5:19-21). What spiritual man may not clearly observe the Scripture laying the weight of justification upon the death of Christ and his blood sacrifice on the cross? (Heb. 9:26).
Proof: Affirmed by James Nayler in a book of his, "This light within you will let you see your sin, bring to repentance, and tenderness of heart, brings you to fear God, and so leads up to justification and <331> peace" (p. 3).b Farnworth in one of his pamphlets thus, "condemnation is only the disobeying of light within" (p. 30). Nayler says, "We are not reconciled to God, till we be perfectly holy, and able to stand so in our own power" (p. 25).c A.P. to the same purpose, in a book set forth by him: "Christ reconciles God and man by renewing the image of God in purity and holiness" (p. 13). Col. Benson and Cap. Ward were positive in the same principle, in a discourse with one of us at Kendal in Westmorl. An. Hodgson, one of that way, being asked by Mr. Ward, minister at Walsingham, an account of his faith, at first denied so to do; but he pressing with that of Peter,2 answered, "then I tell thee, I believe to be saved, not by the righteousness of Christ imputed to me but by the righteousness of Christ inherent in me."
Confutation: This assertion is fully and industriously confuted by the apostles; and we may cry out: "Who hath bewitched the hearts of these men?" (Gal. 3:1). "As many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, cursed is every one that continueth not in all things" (Gal 3:10), &c., clearly holding forth a universal impossibility to fulfil the righteousness of the law (vv 12, 21). If there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. "To him that worketh not but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted to him for righteousness" (Rom. 4:5), even as David himself describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works (v. 6). This doctrine (believed and practiced) was the very reason of the Jews stumbling at the gospel (Rom. 9:30-31; Rom. 10:3-4). We might weary you with quoting such texts, as Rom. 3:19-31: multitudes of scriptures fully clearing up this soul-ravishing truth of justification, not by inherent holiness but by faith in the blood of the Lord Jesus: but we shall close it up with these instead of all (1 Cor 4:4; Phil. 3:8-10).
Proof: We refer the reader for proof hereof to a book of Nayler's, <332> where he is so confident of this doctrine, that he proposeth it as a query to all (page 26),d as if none should have the boldness to gainsay it; your own eyes may satisfy you there.
Confutation: 1. Is not this to bring us perfectly under the covenant of works and to make us our own reconcilers, and so to make void the death of Christ? But he that hath an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith. When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son (Rom. 5:10); what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sent his own Son to perform (Rom. 8:3).
2. And let the reader observe that as the merit of Christ is by their horrible doctrine (before mentioned) wholly made useless as to righteousness, so by this position the very Spirit and power of the Lord Jesus is wholly cast out as to sanctification and holiness. And so this antichristian generation have totally renounced the Lord that bought them—for this our standing perfect is in that assertion attributed wholly to our own power. Alas, who knows not that John 15:4-5; John 1:16. It pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell (Col. 1:19). It is God that worketh in you both to will and to do (Phil. 2:13), that is the Alpha and Omega, the very author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2; Phil. 1:6). These are the people that pretend to lead you to Christ, that thus leave you to the mere strength of your weak and rotten natures, both for life and holiness.
3. This bringing us again to the state of the first Adam (till which time, this people say, God and we cannot be fully reconciled) is nothing else but to bring us again under a covenant of works. And though perhaps to be restored to the state of Adam may seem a glorious thing, yet it will clearly appear to be short of that gospel-state you are translated into, to the more infinite advancing of free grace. Are you not clearly told, the second Adam, the Lord Jesus (Heb. 7:22) is made a surety of a better covenant (Heb. 8:6), established on better promises? for whereas the first Adam by that covenant, First, was to do and live. Secondly, had no promise of perseverance in that state. Thirdly, nor was there a Mediator to interpose in case of breach, the tenor of the law in itself considered as a covenant, clearly disowning any mediator. 4. In a word, the sad condition of Adam under such a covenant, though for a time in so good an estate, if it be not enough experimentally seen in all our falls by his, yet may in the ruin of damned angels, standing upon the like terms, be known apparently: First, yet in the gospel-state, Jesus Christ purchased life for us to be received not by working but by believing (Rom. 4:5-6). And secondly, none can take out of his hands. <333> Thirdly, if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father (1 John 2:2). And fourthly, are delivered from the wrath to come (Rom. 5:9). So that it will appear that this restitution to the state of the first Adam, being so magnified by these men, fully speaks how low their spirits are as to the things of God, how legal their conceptions of the way of salvation, and that it is but a miserable state in comparison of what you are brought to by the covenant of grace; for how doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory? (2 Cor. 3).
Proof: James Nayler in his book before quoted, page 26,e puts it by way of query. And the very reading of the said page will evidently manifest it that this is not only his principle, but any assertion to the contrary looked upon by him as an impossibility or gross absurdity.
Confutation: Our purgatory is the blood of Jesus, which cleanseth the soul (otherwise, as to its personal actings very guilty) from all sin, as 1 John 1:7. And though perhaps these tremblings and quakings (which the administrator at Hexham in his Banners affirms, page 18, doubtless his false Jew could do, and which kind of ecstasies, page 24, he derives from the Franciscan friars) may be looked upon by these people as a purgatory from their sins, yet we dare not trust our eternity upon such impostures or (be they never so real) on things so evidently rather the issue of legal conviction, and the horror of an unbelieving soul, than of any saving knowledge of the gospel. How eminently doth this one position lay the very whole design of these men unanswerably naked and bare as to an overturning of righteousness by the blood of Jesus: our way, and the only way into the holy of holies is by that blood (Heb. 10:19-20), by faith in which a soul otherwise wicked, ungodly, &c (Rom. 4:5) is justified; and though guilty, as to his own actings of many infirmities, shall be absolved and stand undeniably righteous before the tribunal of the Father. But alas, how sottish are the spirits of these men in this discovered to be? how grossly ignorant of the great business of justification of sinners by faith of Jesus Christ, that dare trust to so filthy rags in the presence of so just and so holy a God.
Proof: It is the design of Nayler in his book in several pages to <334> prove this (see his book, pages 21-22).f Nayler hath oft spoken it of himself and said he witnessed it. So G. Fox hath done, others some of us (W.C.) do know have said they witness perfection in Nayler. Nay, so far doth Farnworth's ignorance of the gospel proceed that in his book (page 20) he thus writes, "They say they can never overcome the body of sin or be made perfect here; and they say no unclean thing shall ever enter into the kingdom of God." How doth this agree? It's one of their ordinary outcries against the ministers, because they oppose this doctrine. And 'tis the most general doctrine of all their books and papers.
Confutation: 1. Let the reader consider, there must be of necessity a distinction of the word "perfect" and "perfection" in Scripture; though we know this generation of men will cry down distinctions and pronounce that curse against us (Rev. 22) as if we added to the word. Yet the following cases will evidence the absolute necessity of distinctions, if the unity of truth and the faithfulness of the word be owned at all; read 1 John 1:8-10: "If we say that we have no sin the truth is not in us"; compared with 1 John 3:8-9: "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin"; read 1 John 5:16: "There is a sin to death, and there is a sin not to death." So Isa. 9:7: "Of his government there shall be no end"; compared with 1 Cor. 15:24: "Then cometh the end, when he shall deliver up the kingdom," &c.
2. Now as to a necessity of it in the case in hand, consider the various use of the word in Scripture: Phil. 3 is very full, verse 12: Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect, compared with verse 15 (where it is a word of the same root) the apostle speaking of the saints, and taking in himself in that expression, adds, "Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, be thus minded." In which is plainly evident that Paul shall grossly contradict himself unless there be a distinguishing betwixt the variety of the sense of the word "perfect."
3. That "perfection," therefore (verse 12), is perfection in glory, as the verses both before and presently following it do fully clear; it's that for which Paul was apprehended of Christ, as is evident (1 Cor. 13:10) where 'tis opposed to Paul's present state; "When that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away"; clearly meaning his enjoyment of God in glory, as is plain (verse 12): "Now we see through a glass darkly, then face to face." Now the same word (perfect) in v. 15 that it cannot possibly be meant of the same sort of perfection is evident; for as the apostle tells you that he is enjoying the perfection (v. 15), is yet short of, and is pressing forward towards the <335> perfection, in v. 12, as to a thing that's yet before, so taking the word in both places in the same sense it were a contradiction for him to say he is perfect and is not perfect. For the true meaning thereof, we give you three scriptures: 1 Cor. 2:6, "Howbeit, we speak wisdom amongst those that are perfect"; 1 Cor. 14:20, "In malice be ye children, but in understanding be ye men," or be ye "perfect" (for the word is the same with the former text); Heb. 5:last, "Strong meat belongs to those that are of full age," or that are "perfect." In all which places it is evident in itself that the word imports, "Christians grown up to more knowledge in the gospel than others had who are in these quotations called babes." From the consideration of this text it may be fully seen that perfection of saints here is not that absolute perfection in glory which Paul professed he had not attained to, but that comparative perfection of being grown up to more than ordinary measures of grace and understanding, much beyond the attainment of babes in Christ.
4. As for our perfection by justification, the Scriptures fully hold it out upon the account of the imputed righteousness of Christ, whereby the spouse appears altogether lovely not upon the account of her own holiness, for so she is black and an infant in her blood; but we know that 'tis not this perfection they speak of, as he that hath but looked into their books may presently discover.
5. There is a perfection which the Scripture expresseth integrity by, as that word speaks the truth of grace in opposition to hypocrisy. Thus Job is called perfect (Job 1:1), but that this perfection doth not imply a total absence of sin is plain; witness his sinful passionate cursing the day of his birth (Job 3:3): "Let the day perish wherein I was born"; Job 6:8-9, "Oh that it would please God to destroy me, that he would let go his hand and cut me off." See his own confession (Job 9:20-21): "If I say I am perfect, my own mouth shall prove me perverse." Thus Asa is called "perfect" (1 Kings 15:14): "The high places were not removed; nevertheless, Asa's heart was perfect with the Lord all his days." Here is the perfection of Asa's heart with God, and that all his days; yet you shall find, first, he took not away the high places, which was a great sin. Secondly, he took the gold and silver out of the treasures of the house of the Lord and sent them to the King of Syria, and made a league (2 Chron. 16:7,9). Thirdly, he was wroth with the seer and put him in the prison-house (v. 10). He had also oppressed the people at the same time (v. 10). And in his disease sought not to the Lord but to the physicians. So that you may clearly see in what respect he was said to be perfect. As for other examples in this kind, by this time it may be clearly understood in what sense the Spirit calls them <336> perfect who otherwise had their personal gross infirmities.
6. You are to distinguish betwixt the perfection of God and the perfection of the creature, in reference to that text, Matt. 5:ult. In which place perfection cannot signify that which brings up to an equality with God, but a similitude, unless you run upon that blasphemous principle of equality with God of which we have said enough before.
7. By our thus comparing Scripture with Scripture we expect (from their former usage in this kind) they will charge us with pleading for sin, though we are but discovering the imperfections of the best saints lest they should live upon their own righteousness (which to set up and establish, in opposition to that of Christ's imputed, is evidently the design of Quakers). And that so the strength of the Lord may be made perfect in their weakness; did the Spirit plead for sin when he rehearsed the faults of saints? or Paul (Rom. 7) when he cried out of the body of this death? or when he discovers the unevenness of Peter's Judaizing? (Gal. 2) or Christ, when he writes to the seven churches and discovers their sin (Rev. 2:2-4) and tells the purest of them their strength is yet but little (Rev. 3:8). Hence you may discover from Christ, the Spirit, &c., their manifesting the imperfections of the choicest saints, that to discover it is not to plead for it, unless you will blaspheme the holy one of Israel. And let all Christian readers consider that it is far from us to plead for iniquity; but the great part of our work is to reprove it in whomsoever, and to press mortification and spiritual life, and communion with God, that so they may press forwards to perfection, as the design and mark of their souls (Phil. 3:14) and have the attaining to that blessed state upon their hearts exceedingly, though it be to the best at present a thing before and that which they have not already attained, nor shall do till this corruption have put on incorruption. Yet are there gloriouser and fuller measures of holiness than yet the best enjoy, that may be attained here, which though attained to, do leave us short of that perfection we do wait for in glory; yet may be a quickening argument to draw out and exercise their souls in pressing forwards continually.
Proof: Farnworth in his book (p. 51): "Every one mind the light of God within you." James Nayler in a book of his (page 2)g: "All people cease from your outside lights, and turn to the light of God <337> within you" (and this he ignorantly makes to be the sure word of prophecy [1 Pet. 1:19]). The said Nayler in discourse with one of us, W.C. at Kendal, affirmed, "That every man in the world had a light within them sufficient to guide them to salvation," &c. and this he extended even to Indians that never heard the gospel. But the general stream of their words and papers speak as fully.
Confutation: By their constant expressions both in speaking and writing, and by their calling off from all outward teaching, it is evident that by this light they mean the principles within left in the spirit of every man since the fall, the same light which an Indian hath which never heard of Christ by any outward discovery; for one of us (W.C.) in discourse with Nayler, proposing whether Indians that never heard of Christ by any outward discovery had a light within them sufficient to guide them to salvation; he affirmed they had, & when the experience of the saints in New England to the contrary was produced he answered, "If any Indian were present, he would justify the contrary." Thus will men to bear up an opinion affirm the things they do not know. Now that this natural light which an Indian that never heard of Christ may have, cannot bring to salvation, we desire to propound these considerations following:
1. No light can bring to salvation but that which discovers Christ; 2 Cor. 4:3, "If our Gospel be hid, it's hid to those that are lost," where the apostle positively concludes the hidings of the gospel to be an evidence of a lost estate; John 17:2, Now Christ is not known by the light of nature; Matt. 16:17, "flesh and blood hath not revealed these things unto thee."
2. God doth clearly show a distinguishing grace in the discovery of Christ: Matt. 13:11, "To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven, to them it is not given"; in which is apparent, all have not the knowledge of the gospel given.
3. Those that lived in the highest improvement of reason, being without gospel discoveries, did not and could not apprehend God in Christ. 1 Cor. 1:21; 1 Cor. 2:14, "The natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God, &c., neither indeed can he," &c; here is the impossibility of natural principles to give out the knowledge of Christ.
4. Rom. 10: "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God"; not by the inward light or discovery which all men have, but by the word of the Lord outwardly made known.
5. If they shall say that every man hath the knowledge of Christ by special revelation, and that immediate, then they speak that which is contrary to the common and known experience of thousands who conversing with Indians never found the least hint of a Christ amongst <338> them. Many of them, whose confessions are in print, having been wrought upon by the preaching of the word by Mr. Eliot, &c., have clearly declared they knew nothing of the true God and Christ before the publishing of the gospel to them.
6. We pray the reader to consider what sad and lamentable effects will flow from this doctrine, to the utter undoing of the soul.
1) This is to forsake the fountain of living waters, not going out to Jesus for light; but (Jer. 2) "digging to themselves broken cisterns," leaving the Sun of righteousness to live by the light of their own candle.
2) 'Tis a confining our attainments to the improvement of this natural light, which must needs keep men both as to light and power under legal performances and discoveries.
3) Hence do men account their tremblings and quakings as their perfection, they being at the best but the improvements of an awakened natural conscience, without the soul's applying of gospel promises as to justification by the blood of Jesus.
4) Hence the soul's believing and the acts of faith in the blood of Christ are such strangers to these people as never to have the least hint in any of their words or writings; and what they have spoken of faith in general, as Farnworth in his Discovery of Faithh doth manifest their exceeding ignorance and darkness in the great business of the soul's believing in the Lord Jesus.
5) Hence come men under the unavoidable chains of Satan, who leads them captive at his will, whilst by this means they deprive themselves of any standing rule to try the spirits by; but walk in such irregular and sinful ways, as do evidently speak how unable that their light is to distinguish betwixt duty and delusion.
6) And what is else the reason of their bitter railing and reproaching the institution of the living God, the ordinance of preaching the gospel of Christ crucified, speaking all manner of evil against us for the work's sake, their design being in their reproaching of the ministers, evidently apparent to strike down the very work of preaching the gospel.
Proof: George Bateman in his answer to Mr. Ledgard (p. 21) affirms, "If the promises (there named) be fulfilled in any man, then what need have such of Scripture teaching without them, when they have received the same Spirit within them by which all true Scripture <339> was written" (p.22). "If any soul be once made one with God, who dare deny but that all true Scripture3 is fulfilled in them, and that such souls have no need of any to teach them" (p.22). Farnworth in one of his books: "mind the light within, here is your teacher, this light obeying it, and here is your condemnation, this light disobeying it" (p. 29). See James Nayler in a book of his called The Glory of the Lord Shining out in the North: "All people cease from your outside lights and return to the light of Christ in you, and this light is not a chapter without you in a book; and this light did the apostles everywhere bid to take heed to till the day dawned (2 Pet. 1:19)" (p. 2).i (Let the reader observe the palpable blindness of the man in the gross misinterpretation of so plain a text.) "What need we the teachings of men," saith another in a paper of his in the hands of one of us. William Strickland walking up the streets in Kendal naked, except that he had a shirt on, published the said principle; one of us (W.C.) both heard it and saw him in that immodest garb. Miles Bateman affirmed the same before the whole congregation at Kendal. And George Fox pretended he "had all from within" though his juggling was presently discovered, a concordance being sent to him from York to help his memory. Miles Hawd in the same congregation affirmed that "whosoever did refer any man to any light but that which is within him is a deceiver." And being by one of us admonished to take heed of such blasphemy, and urged with Christ's referring to the Scriptures and Paul's referring to the doctrine he had preached before (Gal. 1:8), he blasphemously and in much heat of spirit repeated the same again. John Audland affirmed "no need of outward teaching" in discourse with us at Newcastle.
Confutation: 1. This is clearly to make Scriptures useless; for as they are a light without, so there is no taking of them but by hearing or reading, the Spirit going along therewith. And are the Scriptures useless? Then why doth Christ command the Jews to search the Scriptures? (John 5:39). Paul commands Timothy to read the Scriptures: Give attendance to reading (1 Tim. 4:13); "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable," &c (2 Tim. 13:15), and so not useless. The apostle says, "When this epistle is read amongst you, cause it to be read to the Laodiceans, and that you also read that from Laodicea" (Col. <340> 4:16). Christ himself stood up for to read the Scriptures (Luke 4:16).
2. Wherefore were the apostles sent forth, if outward teaching be useless or needless? "As you go, preach." "Go preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15; Matt. 10:7). "Go teach all nations" (Matt. 28:19-20). And let the reader observe, they did not only go to preach for conversion but for the building up of saints; as they returned again to Lystra, and Iconium, and Antioch, confirming the souls of the disciples (Acts 14:23); "Let us go again and visit every city wherein we have preached the word of the Lord" (Acts 15:36); "they went through Syria and Cilicia confirming the churches" (v. 41). And why left they elders in every church, but for the building up the body? (Acts 14:24; Acts 20:17; Eph. 4:11).
3. The great work of Christ at his ascending to his Father was to send forth officers for the "perfecting of saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ," as is most undeniably proved (Eph. 4:11-12) and to continue to the end of all things, till all the saints (even those yet unborn) be come to a perfect stature.
4. The apostles, in pursuance of the will of Christ, "ordained elders in every city" (Acts 14:23), "who are officers for the teaching the house of God, laboring in word and doctrine" (1 Tim. 5:17), set down qualifications of pastors, bishops and deacons (1 Tim. 3), "For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest ordain elders in every city" (Tit. 1:5), "Commit that thou hast heard to faithful men, able to teach others" (2 Tim. 2:2).
Now let every Christian judge, to what end doth Christ send forth his apostles and other officers, if outward teaching be needless? What folly, nay what sin had they been guilty of to hazard, nay to ruin themselves (1 Cor. 4:13; 2 Cor. 4:8-9; 2 Cor. 11:23) if outward teaching were needless? To what purpose should Christ so eminently engage by promise to go along with them, both in their success and sufferings (Matt. 28:last; Luke 10:16); "he that despiseth, despiseth not man but God" (1 Thes. 4:8), if outward teaching be needless? For they can but speak to the ear, as appears by the fruitlessness of their labors often, and the world's resisting them (Acts 7:54); the Jews "spoke against the things spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming" (Acts 13:45). And though it were necessary the word of God should be first spoken to them, yet they put it from them (Acts 28:24). How clear is it from Scripture assertion and example, That faith comes by hearing, and not by minding a light within, as Rom. 10:14-15; Gal. 3:2; Acts 13:48; Eph. 1:12-13. And lastly (though we might much more) yet we shall add but this, the Lord was pleased eminently to seal to their outward <341> teaching, as to his own ordinance, by those fair epistles ministered by them and written by the Spirit of the living God, viz. the multitude of men converted from darkness to light by their ministry, and from the power of Satan unto God (2 Cor. 3:3; 1 Cor. 4:15; Acts 2). And we dare appeal to the experience of the saints in England whether the ministry in England have not full and undeniable seals to their ministration in the witness of Christ thereto, in making them fruitful fathers to beget many souls to conversion by the Gospel.
Proof: James Nayler being asked by the justices in Westmorland whether he believed the written word to be the word of God answered, "I know no such thing." See Mr. Higginson's book, page 73,j and this passage one of us (W.C.) also heard. Farnworth in his book called A Discovery of Faith, page 6, cries out against ministers because they say the letter is the word;k and the four books, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John the gospel (page 12).l A paper one of us hath from them hath this passage in it: "they say, 'the letter is the word,' which is false." To this purpose is that of George Bateman to Mr. Ledgard (pages 25-26). As also their casting away their Bibles: William Strickland told Mr. Archer "If he had never read the Bible it had been better for him." How constantly do the Scriptures pass under no better name from them than "the saints' conditions," "David's, Moses', Isaiah's, Paul's conditions," and a declaration of the condition of them that spake them forth.
Confutation: This position is so gross that we hope it will never sink into any Christian heart but will be a confutation to itself in the thought of any sober-minded Christian; yet we shall propose these things.
1. That when the word of the Lord came to the prophets, Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, &c., it cannot be understood of the word that was made flesh, the Lord Jesus, but must necessarily signify that mind or message of the Lord contained in those words or Scripture writings, as 1 Sam. 15:10: "Then came the word of the Lord to Samuel saying, It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be King." Isaiah 38:5: "then came the word of the Lord unto Isaiah, saying, say to Hezekiah, &c., I will add unto thy days fifteen years." Jer. 14:1: "The word of the Lord that came to the prophet Jeremiah concerning the dearth, Judah mourneth and the gates thereof languish." It's a gross absurdity to say this word of the Lord was Christ; and it is as much to say they were the experiences <342> of those prophets, or their conditions; but they were the word of the Lord by these prophets, spoken to the persons therein concerned.
2. As for the phrase in the New Testament, the word of God, it is clear both Christ and the apostles in their mention thereof do understand that which they spoke, preached, or wrote, and not the person of Christ, of the Father, or Spirit. So Christ speaks to the Jews (Mark 7:13): "making the word of God of none effect by their traditions," which word can be understood alone of that fifth commandment (v. 10), "Honor thy father and mother." Luke 11:28: "Blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it," which plainly hints a word spoken, written, or engraven, &c., not the eternal word, the Lord Jesus. Rom. 10:17: "faith comes by hearing, hearing by the word of God," where the word preached, or the scriptures of the apostles which we now have, is plainly called "the word of God."
3. As for those writings of the prophets and apostles, that they are the word given forth from the living God and of authentical and undeniable authority over every conscience good and bad, we could fill pages with the proofs and evidence thereof; but the reader may observe we are speaking of the Scriptures in reference to these men's cavils, & no further. And so shall (leaving so plain, so fundamental a principle) rather fall upon their own notion of the word of God, calling it "A declaration of the conditions or experiences of them that spoke them."
1) This is fully to take away the very foundation of the faith of saints, which is only built upon the authority of God, not upon any experience of the best saints, or the declaration of it. Luke 24:25: "O fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken": where faith is bottomed upon Scripture authority, as Acts 18:28: "Apollos mightily convinced the Jews, showing by the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ." Acts 28:23: "Paul persuaded them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses and out of the prophets." Now, be this law and the prophets what they will, if they fall anything lower than the truth and word of God, they can be no bottom for the faith of saints, and Paul takes a weak argument to convince them by. And yet that those were not the conditions of those prophets, or the experience of things fulfilled in themselves, is as clear as the day to any not grossly ignorant; and especially from 1 Pet. 1:10-12, "Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you, searching what or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed that not unto themselves, but unto <343> us they did minister the things which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you." And as in this it's clear that they spoke not forth their own conditions and experiences; so also the apostle sends the saints to a word of prophesy as a more sure foundation of faith than the most glorious experience or enjoyment in the world (2 Pet. 1:18-19).
2) This is to make the Scripture lose his authority, save only when we experience it or where it is fulfilled in men's souls, and so doth make void every command and promise; & all wicked men that can experience little of it shall be left excusable before God at the last day, because not having the Scripture fulfilled in themselves (according to the Quakers' doctrine) it had no authority over them. This is the most pleasant doctrine for desperate atheists that can be. Whereas John 12:48: "He that receiveth not my words" hath them not fulfilled in him; "yet the words that I have spoken, they shall judge him at the last day."
3) This at once nulls and destroys the divine authority of the whole historical and prophetical part of Scripture, together with all the threatenings of Scripture, of hell and judgment (unless they say the saints have those threats of hell fulfilled in themselves, and that condition of Dives in hell is the condition of saints) as also the promises therein of mercies yet to come, their futurity denying their being the already experiences of the saints.
4. Consider what impossibilities, contradictions, falsehood doth this woeful doctrine bring upon most parts of Scripture; wherein such things there spoken of were not, could not be the conditions of either God that gave the word or the prophets and apostles that published it.
In the close of this consideration we desire to mind you of the reproachful terms this people everywhere give to the written word, though the Spirit (Rom. 15) saith, These things were written that we through patience and the comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. And the Holy Ghost still refers to the written word (Luke 20:17; John 15:25; Heb. 10:7; 1 Pet. 1:17) because it is written, "be ye holy as I am holy"; where the Spirit of God doth evidently put an authority upon the written word, which is the same in signification and thing with the word Scriptures, of which see how glorious things the Holy Ghost reports thereof (how slightly soever the Quakers esteem thereof). 2 Tim. 3:15-17: "The holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise to salvation. All Scripture is given by inspiration from God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."<344>
Proof: Miles Hawd in the congregation at Kendal asserted that "he that referred to any light without was a deceiver." In a paper of theirs, one of them reckons this up as one of the errors of the priests (as he calls them): "they profess the Scripture to be the rule and the touchstone to try withal." A book called Several Papers, set forth by A.P., says (p. 19), "the world's touchstone is without them, and they try the living by the dead, the spirit by the letter; the saints' touchstone is within, whereby they try the spirits whether they be of God or no":m which evidently demonstrates they allow no trial of the spirits by the written word.
Confutation: 1. Hear what the Spirit saith (Isa. 8:20): "To the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this it is because there is no light in them." 2. This is to withdraw the soul from the judgment or determination of God, whose revealed will the Scripture is, as above is shown. 3. This is to open a gap unavoidably to all Satan's delusions, as you may see by the short relation of Quakers Shaken, in the case of John Gilpin; and we can no otherwise look upon this than the very hold Satan hath to keep this people under his delusions by cozening them thus to stop their eyes against the light (John 3:20), for what else shall be the touchstone but the word of God? 4. And how strong are the persuasions of error? how fully doth Satan pretend in the soul to be an angel of light? and wherein shall man distinguish? The Bereans searched the Scriptures whether these things were so (Acts 17:11), trying the apostles themselves by the written word. 5. And Christ himself leaves the very proof of himself to be the Messias to the Scriptures (John 5:39): "Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me."
Proof: Their common expression is to him that opens or shows them the interpretation of any Scripture, "Cursed is he that adds," or "the plagues are upon thee for adding to the Scripture." John Audland a few days since, being for his railing and public disturbance called before the magistrates, and there pleading against the ministry, alleging that text (Jer. 5:31): "The priests bear rule by their means"; one of us (W.C.) labored to convince him of this ignorance in that gross misinterpretation, <345> for by means he understood their maintenance, showing, that that text doth most evidently hold this sense, that those priests bare rule by the means of the false prophets: the said J.A. presently cried out, "Thou addest, thou addest." The same man having called another of us (S.H.) deceiver, was asked whether he heard him preach anything contrary to the truth the day before; telling him withal, "he preached that which he had prayed and studied the Scripture for"; presently the said Audland (as if studying the word were enough to convince a man to be a deceiver) cried out, "there thou showest thyself." One of their papers in the hands of one of us (W.C.) wickedly rails thus, "Away with all your conjuring studying, away with all our stage-play preaching." And 'tis their known and constant principle, though their grand master Fox was not able enough in this point but discovered his imposture by his concordance to the Bible, sent him from York to Kendal.
Confutation: As to this, let the reader consider (Neh. 8:8): Ezra "read in the book of the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading." Luke 24:27, Christ "began at Moses, and all the prophets, and expounded therein all things concerning himself." Mark 4:34: "He expounded all things to his disciples." Acts 28:23: Paul "expounded and testified the kingdom of God out of the prophets." Acts 8:30-35: Philip expounded the mind of the Holy Ghost in that prophecy of Isaiah to the eunuch who read it and yet without interpretation knew not the meaning of it. Christ sends the Pharisees to study the meaning of Scripture instead of cavilling (Matt. 9:13): "Go learn what that meaneth." And Peter tells you in the writings of Paul "there are many things hard to be understood which the unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also other Scriptures unto their own destruction" (2 Pet. 3:16). But to say there is no sense or meaning in the Scriptures shows so gross ignorance, nay, such senselessness in these people, that this may suffice: and for the studying of the word read the command of Christ for searching it (John 5:39), of Paul, "Give attendance to reading" (1 Tim. 4:13); "Let the word of God dwell in you richly in all wisdom" (Col. 3:16). Timothy must be nourished up in the word of truth and of that good doctrine to which he had attained (1 Tim. 4:6), must give himself wholly (1 Tim. 4:15) to reading, exhortation, doctrine, that his profiting might appear to all. "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). "From a child thou hast learned the holy Scriptures," &c. (2 Tim. 3:15), out of which the man of God must labor to be "thoroughly furnished unto all good works."<346>
Proof: A book called Several Papers, set forth by A.P., p. 19, thus: The world's baptism is without them; the saints' baptism is within them: the world's communion is without them, taking a little bread and wine, &c., which is carnal: the saints' communion is within.n Compare this with George Bateman's answer to Mr. Ledgard (p. 29), disputing with him about baptism, &c., says, That baptism and the Lord's Supper, &c., Christ when he was in the flesh left them as types of another nature, and this pointed at Christ's appearing in the Spirit; and as the types under the law ended when Christ appeared in the flesh, so these types (viz., baptism and the supper of the Lord, for of them he speaks there) end, when Christ appears in Spirit. To which add that of Farnworth in his pamphlet, entitled, A Discovery of Faith (p. 11), "All your baptism, such as are invented from the letter, the carnal mind invents them: these are for the fire; for they are the works of the flesh." Read him also (p. 13).o
Confutation: What soul that lives under the kingdom and scepter of the Lord Jesus will not abhor these opinions that destroy and wholly take from the saints these two great mysteries? We shall but briefly therefore propose, 1) That our Lord Jesus appointed his disciples to baptize with water (John 4:2; Matt. 28:ult); 2) The apostles practiced it quite through the Acts (Acts 2:41; 18:12-13,16,36): "Here is water, what hinders but I may be baptized?" (read v. 38; Acts 9:18; 18:8; 1 Cor. 1:14-16). And for the supper of the Lord see the institution (Matt. 26:26; 1 Cor. 11:23), where it is an ordinance established to continue in practice till our Lord Jesus come again (v. 26), which coming cannot be meant of that coming in the Spirit which these men speak of, for so he was come already to them, being already saints. And as this text doth fully clear their continuance in the churches till the last day: so where baptism and the supper of the Lord are called types in Scripture, to cease upon the coming of Christ in Spirit, we demand a text. What a plain addition is this to the word of God, by those who so frequently curse the ministry in their explications and applying of texts as if they added to the sayings of the prophecies of that book? And how apparently doth this principle speak their teaching, instead of gospel doctrines and the commands of Jesus, the fond imaginations of their own brain and divinings of their own heart.
But we trust we shall need to add no more to the satisfying of those who have eaten of the flesh and drunk of the blood of the Lord Jesus, <347> and been baptized into his death, & found the power and virtue of these blessed ordinances. What soul that is not under the strong delusions of Satan dare cast off as so slight things, or blaspheme with so vile reproaches (as these men do) those sacred institutions which the Lord Jesus left to his churches as such eminent memorials of his blessed love.
Proof: This was asserted by Thomas Willan of Kendal in the public congregation there, on a lecture day, in the hearing of one of us, W.C., the said T.W. (according to the custom of that generation to prophesy lies in the name of the Lord) pretending to the man that preached he was sent of God to speak to him: then the said master demanded whether he was sent by a mediate or immediate call: upon which proposal, being baffled in the proof of his own immediate call which he pretended to, with a loud voice cried down all mediate calls to the ministry as not of God, and 'tis one of their common exceptions against the ministers of the gospel, as being sent forth by the ordination of men, not considering the institution of Christ for such proceedings.
Confutation: That a mediate call (since the time of those apostles who being to be witnesses to the world of all that Jesus said and did were to be such as had accompanied the Lord Jesus in the days of his flesh [Acts 1:21] and received their call from Christ immediately, being inspired by the Holy Ghost [1 Pet. 1:21] and able to evidence their call and confirm the gospel they committed to posterity by infallible testimonies of mighty signs and real miracles [2 Cor. 12:12]) is the way of the gospel for sending forth its ministers, is apparent to whomsoever shall read those texts: Acts 14:23: "When they had ordained them elders in every church," &c.; 1 Tim. 4:14: "Neglect not the gift that is in thee, that was given thee by prophesy and the laying on of the hands of presbytery"; Tit. 1:5: "For this cause I left thee in Crete, that thou shouldest ordain elders in every city"; 2 Tim, 2:2: "The things thou hast heard of me that commit thou to faithful men able to teach others." In Titus 1 and 1 Tim. 3 the apostle at large leaves direction for the qualification of such as should from time to time be ordained to the office of elders in the churches in a mediate way: for to prescribe rules to an immediate call is impossible. But how confident soever these men are against the mediate call to ministerial work, yet as we dare oppose the above written word of the living God, against all railings and revilings, as enough to crush in pieces all gainsaying pleas, so there hath been so much and so convincingly on every hand written in defense thereof that we dare not question the establishment of all sober spirits in that truth and shall add <348> no more to overturn the gainsayings of this besotted people.
Having thus gone through the more gross positions which are the very foundations and principles that support this antichristian rabble, we shall presume to stay the reader with some of their principles of lesser value, which though (as the reader may observe) are of inferior note, yet this sort of people lay no less weight upon them than to place the greatest part of that great Diana of their imaginary perfection in the observance of them, and even to damn all that oppose them therein and cry down the ministry of the gospel because of their noncompliance with them in these so rotten principles. We could have given proof sufficient that these principles that follow are clearly and fully owned by them; but they are so evidently the very marks and distinguishing badges of their irreligion, so constantly practiced by them and so plainly known to all that know this sort of men, that we shall, once for all, satisfy the reader. We shall not need to produce any evidence but only stand upon the confutation.
Confutation: The commands of our Lord Jesus and his apostles may be a sufficient answer to show the folly of this principle which they stand so much upon and for which they so often call the ministry "priests" and "antichristian," &c. Let the reader seriously consider that full Scripture, Matt. 5:47: "If you salute your brethren only, what do you more than do others? do not even the publicans so?" In the verse before, our Lord Christ commands the duty of love to all men; and in the same way of commanding doth also impose the duty of salutation; not only of some, but all; of friends, but enemies: If ye salute your brethren only what do you more than do the publicans? (which how fully it speaks to the sharp reproof of Quakers, that salute none but one another, we believe their consciences will as clearly tell them if they be not seared, as any observing eye may presently see). Matt. 10:12: "When ye come into an house salute it." The apostle Paul almost in every epistle, especially Rom. 16, is full of such commands. And for the practice of the saints, see 1 Sam. 25:14: David sent messengers to salute Abigail's husband; 1 Sam. 17:22: David came and saluted his brethren. Acts 21:18: "when Paul had saluted them, he declared," &c., where you fully see the practice of Paul: he first saluted them.
For that so much objected text, Luke 10:4: "Carry neither purse nor scrip nor shoes, and salute no man by the way."
1. You may see that by the same command the seventy disciples were forbid to wear shoes or carry a purse; and yet these Quakers, who do so imperiously impose upon all men this not saluting, make no conscience <349> at all of these commands of not wearing shoes and not carrying purses, as is evident to any that observes them, especially if they be traveling a far journey. And this was very fitly objected by one in Lancashire to James Nayler, reproving him for his salute, who retorted the words upon him again, as being guilty of the breach of that command by wearing shoes. Is not this to pick and choose in the Scriptures such things as do most agree with their humors and according to their own fancy to take away from the Scriptures and bring upon themselves that curse (Rev. 22) which they pronounce against others, if it be so that this example be any ways or in any part binding to us at this day?
2. Further, let the reader know, this is no binding example to us, but a particular dispensation and command to the seventy disciples at that time, as will appear. For 1) When he sends forth the apostles he imposeth not that command upon them, but lays upon them a contrary injunction, "Into what house soever ye enter, salute it" (Matt. 10:12). And 2) The apostles' practice above shown, clears, they were under no such command, for as much as they walked contrary, unless you charge Paul with sinning in that Rom. 16; Acts 21. As 3) They commanded this work to others, as above is proved. 4) That general command to the saints to salute all, not only brethren but also enemies (Matt. 5:47), evidenceth fully that this was but a particular dispensation, and so to us it is not binding.
3. To close up this, to us it appears a very ungrounded distinction of the nature of salutes, which is practiced by these very men; for all their trouble in salutes is about men's putting off the hat; whereas themselves do ordinarily salute their brethren as do the publicans, not only with saying, "How does thou," but also with putting forth the hand, &c. Now the hand and the language, with the moving of the body, being the way of saluting among the Jews in those days, if the manner of our salutes be so much disrelished, it's evident the practice of Quakers more directly contradicts that command than the practice of any others.
Thus the reader may take notice how groundless their clamor is in crying out against saluting, and how malicious in making this an argument against the ministry. For it being clearly a command to salute all, as for the manner of it, whether by words or putting off the hat, we shall not be determined by their judgment: for as one country is not bound to the habits of another, nor is it the duty of a saint in England to wear that kind of garment which was worn by a Jew in the time of Christ, so neither did the apostles take it their duty to be conformed in their salutes to the fashions of salutation used either in other countries or by the patriarchs in their own.<350>
Confutation: Gen. 42:6: Joseph being the governor of the land, when his brethren came before him they bowed themselves before him with their faces to the earth. Gen. 23:7: Abraham stood up and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth. 1 Sam. 25:23: That holy woman Abigail when she saw David, she fell before David on her face and bowed herself to the ground. Gen. 33:3: Jacob bowed to Esau seven times. Gen. 48:12: Joseph bowed himself with his face to his father Jacob. 1 Kings 1:23: Nathan the prophet bowed himself to the king with his face to the ground. Now this was a known token of honor due, and by these holy persons given to magistrates and parents. Let any Christian reader consider the fifth commandment, "Honor thy father and thy mother." And Rom. 13:7: "Render to all their due, tribute to whom tribute, honor to whom honor." Now as tribute and honor are here apparent to be due, so it is also plain that they are due outwardly. For otherwise, to pay tribute in the heart only, would be but a ridiculous illusion, as also is their saying their hearts do honor men, when there is no outward expression thereof at all. But they will tell us they "honor the power, not the persons." To which we say, what is the power, without the person? government without governors, but a mere fancy? This is a highway to pour contempt upon persons in supreme authority, as if a soldier should say he would honor the supreme office in the army, but would not hear the Lord Gen. Cromwell. How doth this notion cause so much irreverent carriage in their practice generally before the magistrates? And we leave it to the magistrates to consider how impossible it shall be for any to commit treason against the person of any magistrate if there be no honor due to their person, but their power? but so much may satisfy for that.
Confutation: In the Old Testament the saints frequently were so called. It's no less than 17 times spoken of Abraham (Gen. 24; Exod. 21:5). 1 Sam. 24:6: David calls King Saul Master. 2 Kings 6:5: One of the prophets gives that also to Elisha, "Alas Master, it was borrowed." So the apostle: "Servants be obedient to your masters" (Eph. 6:5,9; Col. 3:22). So in 1 Tim, 6:1: "Let the servants count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed." Now for what is objected, that this only speaks to the case of servants to their own masters, we wish the reader to know that the prophet (2 Kings 6:5) was not a servant to Elisha, though he <351> called him Master, nor David servant to Saul when he was in actual arms against him (we mean, he was not his family servant), when he gave him that title of honor and called him Master (1 Sam. 24:6). And if the Quakers stand so punctually upon the command of Christ (Matt. 23:10), let them know that if that command were binding in this sense which they put upon it, it should hold in the case of the heads of families as fully as any others, and so the apostle should sin in calling them masters (1 Tim. 6:1). Further, consider the word "Sirs" is the same expression with Master in our English compilation and in the original; and you shall frequently find it given to those that were not masters to them that called them so (Gen. 43: "now Sir, we came down at the first," &c.; John 12:21: "Sir, we would see Jesus"; Acts 7:26: "Sirs, ye are brethren"; as Moses speaks to them that strove. Paul and Barnabas (Acts 14) said to them that were ready to sacrifice to them (v. 15), "Sirs, why do you these things?" Acts 16:30: the jailor cries out, "Sirs, what shall we do to be saved?" So Paul (Acts 27) to the mariners (vv. 10,21,25) useth the same expression. Thus you see the vanity of their evasion, and the lawfulness of using the word Sir or Master. Add hereto that titles more honorable than Master are often given in Scripture, as Luke 1:3: "most excellent Theophilus"; Acts 26:25: "most noble Festus"; 2 John 1: "the elder to the elect lady."
For that text which they urge as to this principle, "Be not ye called Masters" (Matt. 23:10), we have given you some account already and shall add but this: that a lording and domineering over the faith of saints, as that 1 Pet. 5:3, and a vain affectation of titles, are the sins forbidden by Christ in that place, for therein was the pride and folly of the Pharisees, not in the expression of that civil honor, which is largely proved before, the saints and the apostles gave to others.
What is here said to the case of the word "master" will fully answer as to the like quarrel, about calling any "father."
There are many other things which we might speak to as being their principles, for they are indeed the very distinguishing characters of that generation of men whereby they own one another and disown others that are not as loud in the slanders of the ministry, because of these things, as themselves; but we shall rather lay them down as their charges against the ministry, by reason whereof they ridiculously would seem to prove them antichristian.
Confutation: We might here justly bemoan their ignorance in the Scriptures. For he that is acquainted with the tongue the evangelist wrote in, will know that cannot signify "pulpits" <352> (which these men cry out so much against) nor anything of that kind, which we use as the best advantage, that all may hear; but as it is truly interpreted, the chief seats which the Pharisees so much affected.
1) Let the reader observe that of those uppermost seats that Christ speaks of there were many in one synagogue, & so it's nothing to the case of pulpits. 2) And they had their disciples sitting at their feet, called Scabellum pedum Phariseorum, the Pharisees' footstool, out of a proud ostentation; which is no way applicable to our case. 3) Those their chief seats also were such as they out of a vain affectation of honor, by reason of their extraordinary thoughts of their own holiness and learning, did assume to themselves, and is so yet further different from our case, who use pulpits as conveniencies for the people's hearing, not for our own vanity. 4) Those their seats also were such as were places in the synagogues, chief, or uppermost, as where the chiefest and more honorable persons sat, and such of these the magistrates and persons of honor in our congregations deservedly enjoy, and not the ministers; for the word which is interpreted chief or uppermost there, doth not signify altitude or height (for so we could tell them that the galleries in which the boys do sit are higher than our pulpits, &c.) but preemininence, as in the case of magistrates, who do enjoy the chiefest places by reason of the eminency of their office, as it is plain in that Luke 14:10: "Friend sit up higher." 5) If yet their quarrel be at the pulpit, we have warrant for it in Scripture from the example of Ezra (Neh. 8:4): Ezra stood up in a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose, when he expounded the law. 6) And lastly: the necessity of a place higher than the body of the hearers will appear to any serious considerate reader from the impossibility of having the voice heard and understood in so numerous an auditory which we do usually preach the gospel unto, if we should not use such advantages to help the voice, for edification of the people. So that any serious Christian we doubt not will conclude that 'tis not our selves or our own glory we seek in this, but their good, that they may the better all be informed of the things of Christ. Were it not for which, as it were all one to us to speak in secret or on the housetop, so we dare appeal to these men's consciences whether in their clamorings in our congregations they do not desire to be heard of all, which they cannot be in their standing amongst the people? You see the unreasonableness of these men, to lay so great a charge as antichristianism upon our thus publishing the gospel that all may hear.
Confutation: We suppose they ground this charge upon Luke <353> 20:46, where it is said, "Beware of the scribes that desire to walk in long robes and love greetings in the markets and the highest seats in the synagogues and the chief rooms at feasts." Now any that compares this with Matt. 23 he will find it to be an epitome of that which the evangelist sets down there (v. 5), where you may observe that what Luke calls here a "walking in long robes," Matthew there more fully expresseth in these words: "They make broad their phylacteries and enlarge the borders of their garments," and so goes on in adding the same that Luke there repeats, as "loving the uppermost seats," &c., so that it is apparent that they signify one and the same thing; and their long robes spoken of by Luke are their broad phylacteries and enlarged borders of their garments. By phylacteries, from Deut. 6:8, the reader may understand certain frontlets or pieces of parchment tied upon their foreheads and arms of the Jews, wherein were written some places of the Scriptures; and the borders of their garments were such fringes at the bottom of their garment which all the Jews were to wear, as you shall find (Num. 15:38): "Speak unto the children of Israel and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations." But the vanity and pride of the Pharisees appeared in this, that they made their fringes as pompous as they could, laboring to exceed all others in the bigness of them, placing much piety therein; and this was the pride and hypocrisy which the Lord Jesus charged them with in that particular. Now reader judge thou what ground they have from hence to charge this Scripture against the ministers because of their cloaks? Have they either their fringes or phylacteries? And had not Paul a cloak? (2 Tim. 4:13) for the color or length whereof we desire him that pretends to the greatest attainment to tell us what they were? How undeservedly we are called antichristian upon this account, upon such pitiful grounds as this, we leave it the reader to consider.
Confutation: We suppose this their charge is grounded upon Matt. 6:5: "Thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are, for they love to stand praying in their synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men." First, it is evident that the challenge of Christ there against hypocrites is for their performing their private duties in public places, that they may be seen of men, as is clear from v. 6, "But thou when thou prayest, enter into thy closet": they were much in praying in public, in the synagogue and streets, that so they might get the esteem of being holy men; but little or nothing in secret before the Lord. But that this text denies either the work of prayer in public congregations, or the gesture of standing in time of prayer, is most absurd <354> to affirm; for 2 Chron. 6:22; Luke 18:10: "two men went up to the temple to pray"; Matt 21:13: "my house shall be called," &c. and that in Acts 16:13 is understood of one of their synagogues. And in the time of the gospel, prayer in the public meeting places of the saints is fully proved from 1 Tim. 2:8: "I will therefore that prayer be made everywhere"; 1 Cor. 14:14: "If I pray in an unknown tongue," &c., where the apostle is treating about prayer in church meetings; as also in 1 Cor. 11:4: "Every man praying or prophesying with his head covered," &c. So Acts 1:14,24: "the apostle prayed"; Acts 2:42: the converted Christians "continued in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayer." The apostles join together prayer and the ministry of the word (Acts 6:4). See Acts 13:3; 14:23; 20:36; 12:5. And for the gesture of standing, read Mark 11:25: "and when ye stand praying forgive," spoken to the disciples; Luke 18:13, "the publican stood afar off and prayed." So that 'tis neither praying in the public meeting places nor standing in prayer that Christ reproved, but the hypocritical ostentation of Pharisees. But what is this to ministers who neither perform their private duties in public places nor pray in the corners of the streets, but are employed in the performance of that solemn part of the worship of God: and yet for this cause are by these men reproached as antichristian?
Confutation: It is cheerfully acknowledged that we do receive wages in our labor in the ministry. But as to our making hire the end of our work we do abhor it: and do appeal to the searcher of hearts to clear up the unrighteousness of this reproach, who tries and judgeth all things. But we are the less troubled with this aspersion because these inveterate adversaries of the ministry do condemn it because we do receive wages for our work. Now as to our warrant in so doing, we shall show you the evident practice of the apostles and the express authority of Scripture (2 Cor. 11:8): "I robbed other churches, taking wages of them." Here you see the apostle receiving wages of the churches amongst whom he labored. 1 Cor. 9:6: "I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working?" where it is clear that the apostles lived not by their working with their hands but their preaching of the gospel; and if sometimes he say he labored with his hands (1 Thes. 2:9): "I preached to you the gospel of God freely" (2 Cor. 11:7), let the reader consider: first, in that same verse he calls it "an abasing of himself," yea, and secondly, in 1 Cor. 4:12, he reckons his laboring with his own hands amongst his great afflictions. Thirdly, nor was this a denial of his right to maintenance, but a suspension of it for <355> present reasons to himself best known. For 1 Cor. 9:6, "I only and Barnabas, have we not power to forbear working?" 2 Thes. 3:8-9: "that we might not be chargeable to any of you," but not as though we had not power. Now for the fuller authority of Scripture as to this our practice, read Luke 10:7: "the laborer is worthy of his hire," where Christ lays it down as the very reason why the apostles should make no provision for their subsistence: "provide neither gold nor scrip," &c., but wholly depend upon the maintenance due to them for preaching the gospel because the laborer is worthy of his hire. And we hope any ingenious reader will believe that we in our places might be enabled as well as others for subsistence in the world (if they will look upon us as capable to understand and practice the callings in which others live), but that in obedience to this authority we do freely cast ourselves upon the gospel maintenance; but we know our work is to give ourselves continually to prayer and the ministry of the word; and remember that 2 Tim. 2:4, "No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life." But if there were no more, we should propose these following Scriptures against any objection: 1 Cor. 9:7, "Who goeth a warfare at his own charges?"; verse 9, "You shall not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn; doth God take care for oxen?"; v. 10, "or saith he it altogether for our sakes? for our sakes no doubt this is written"; v. 11, "If we have sown unto you spiritual things is it a great thing if we should reap your carnal things? If others are partakers of this power over you, are not we rather?" "Do you not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? even so God hath ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel." So 1 Tim. 5:17-18, as to that you may see it is a gospel ordinance (God hath ordained it).
And thus you have the Scripture fully asserting that which these men do so maliciously charge upon us as antichristian.
There are many other cavils which these men do raise against the ministry, as that first, we have been at universities, as if Paul's learning had truly made him mad, according to the false charge of Festus. Secondly, our making use of an hourglass (though our respect is herein to the weakness and capacities of people, for though the spirit be willing, the flesh is often weak). Thirdly, our preaching upon a text (though our work be to divide the word aright (2 Tim. 2:15), and Christ and the apostles practiced it (Luke 4:12,22: "they wondered at the gracious words that proceeded out of his mouth"; which must needs be his opening of that text. So Acts 28:23: but of this we have spoken before). Fourthly, as also, that we run to the powers of the world to <356> uphold us (as if it were a sin for Paul in case of wrong and persecution to appeal to Caesar's judgment, and no blessing for the churches to be protected by the magistrate to live a peaceable life under their authority. Fifthly, that we steal from the prophets and apostles while we quote them and preach from the Scriptures. Is not this blasphemously to charge Christ and his apostles, who so often quoted the prophets and spoke out their words: Matt. 1:22; Matt. 2:6; Matt. 4; Acts 28:25, "Well said the prophet Isaiah," &c. And lastly, our not thouing all we speak unto, and yet thouing God, as is their expression. For this last, we are taught to own the simplicity of the essence of God thereby; and as for the phrase you give unto men, it no way entrencheth upon God, either his attributes or commands, but being according to the use thereof in England an expression of civil respect, as Sir, Master, most noble, &c., we see not why the same freedom in our dialect may not be used amongst us. But in such indifferencies and trivial cases that rule of the apostle holds, "Hast thou faith? have it to thyself" (Rom. 14:22). These, with many other such, we shall pass over as being the perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, being afraid we have kept you too long in discussing things of lesser moment. But truly when we consider that many silly souls are catched by them with such cobwebs as these we thought it our duty to undeceive poor creatures and to discover the vanity of these principles and slanders against the ministry.
That there are such, those that have lived in these northern parts are sufficiently satisfied. And for the manner of it, the trembling of all the parts of their body, grovelling upon the ground, foaming at the mouth, horrible noise, running naked in the streets and markets, with other the like passions, are fully known; and the narration of John Gilpin in print will give any that desires more particular information a full account.
1. First, There are in Scripture three sorts of tremblings held forth. One is, when the glory and majesty of God hath been more extraordinarily revealed in visions to the prophets, as in Moses at Mount Sinai, Daniel, Habbakuk, &c. For this trembling under visions of the Lord's majesty: 1) we do fully own and admire the glorious appearances of God unto and in those blessed prophets. But secondly, we are fully convinced that the quakings of these men do not proceed from any such visions of God; for
1) By those that have been delivered out of their snares it hath appeared to be a diabolical delusion, as is convincingly apparent in the <357> example of Gilpin.
2) 'Tis not God's way to confirm such blasphemous doctrine by any miracle, though the Scripture plainly foretells (2 Thes. 4:9) "that the coming of the Son of perdition shall be after the working of Satan, in all signs and lying wonders." God will never set his seal by any miraculous act of his to the blasphemies of men. For (Deut. 13:1) "If there arise amongst you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass whereof he spake unto thee, saying, let us go after other gods, thou shalt not hearken to the words of that prophet, for the Lord your God proveth you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul."
3) Who knows not that false prophets have been under satanical ecstasies? as Mahomet, John of Leyden, Knipperdolling; & among the papists multitudes of examples of pretended raptures and ecstasies, which we hope now will gain no proselytes to their impious doctrines.
4) What glorious visions and revelations did Milner in Lancashire, one of these men pretend unto? As that a sheet with four corners should at such a time come down from heaven, & with many more; which said apish imitation of that vision of Peter, together with all the rest of his presumptuous prophecies, God did lay very naked to the eyes of all to be a mere delusion and imposture of Satan (Deut. 18:22): "When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken presumptuously; thou shalt not be afraid of him."
5) Lastly, we wonder how such bitter cursings and railings, such blasphemous and antichristian doctrines, should be the fruit of the visions of God in his majesty and glory. Surely they would strike down the soul to more self-loathings and abasings than that it should presently dare to rail or avouch in itself perfection, when such visions made Isaiah to cry out, "I am unclean," and Job to "abhor himself in dust and ashes."
Now as to the second sort of trembling, arising from sight of sin and sense of the wrath of God.
1) We grant, not only the Scriptures, but the experiences of many do witness the terrors of God sometimes upon the soul for sin.
2) Those workings of wrath upon the soul we do conceive are vastly different from the tremblings and quakings of these men's. For first, some of us do know that very young children have been under these ecstasies amongst them. Secondly, sense of sin never caused foaming and running naked in the streets, that we do know of. Thirdly, <358> by the narration of Gilpin you may clearly observe that he was often under those quakings when he was purely possessed by Satan. Fourthly, besides it is looked upon by them (as we could instance in particular in some that have been long Quakers) as a great attainment, & they have exceedingly desired to be in their fits of trembling; not as to the terrifying of the conscience but as to the trembling of the body. 5. Lastly, we propose this to them: How comes it to pass that many of their partners and companions are owned by them as saints and as brethren who yet never had those fits of quaking? for if their quaking do proceed from a true sense of sin, how come they to be saints before they have attained it?
3) But thirdly, let us put the case that these their quakings do proceed from sight of sin and sense of wrath (though truly we are convinced to the contrary), yet we say that this, which they call their great perfection, First, is nothing but the startlings of a legal conscience, far short of the happy state of a soul made free by the blood of Jesus Christ. Secondly, do not the devils believe and tremble by legal sights of sin and through sense of wrath, as also the damned souls in Hell; and shall we call this quaking their perfection? Thirdly, these quakings under sense of sin can be at best but an establishing of self-righteousness while they are cried up and carried on to the neglect of the righteousness of Christ imputed to the soul through believing (not through working) as we have largely proved before, against their establishing of their own righteousness. And so, what is Felix better for all his tremblings? And what are these quakings but a forerunner and foretaste of that eternal wrath of God, which is to fall shortly upon him who resteth under the convictions and actings of the law but embraceth not the righteousness of the Lord Jesus to be found in that as his appearing.
3. There is indeed a mention of trembling in a third sense in Scripture, as 2 Cor. 7:15, where the Corinthians are said to receive Titus with fear and trembling; which they grossly apply to their case; as also Eph. 6:5, "Servants obey your masters with fear and trembling"; which holds forth no more than a reverential carefulness and obedience. These last we mention lest they should charge us with passing over that which they presume to make so much for them.
In all this, reader, we desire to profess that our so large discovery of the nature of quaking is not to discourage any poor soul that under tremblings of spirit is longing for Christ; but to warn every man of the danger and seduction of these methods which establish such doctrines and practices as lead the soul into the covenant of works, and leaves them there.<359>
Their practice herein is notoriously known to whomsoever hath had to do with them; and ourselves some of us have had a large measure of their revilings thrown upon us. In one paper of theirs, which one of us hath, you have all these horrid railings against the ministers, calling them priests, conjurers, thieves, robbers, antichrists, witches, devils, sir-simons, serpents, bloody Herodians, scarlet colored beasts, Babylon's merchants, wolves, dogs, swine, sodomites, &c. Readers, we are not ashamed of the gospel of Christ nor of the reproach of men, because of it. But consider how fully they make good that of Jude 13, "raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame," &c, though Michael the Archangel "when disputing with the devil, durst bring no railing accusation against him." But is not the condition of the ministers of Christ in England such that we have reason to take up the complaint of David (Ps. 57:4): "My soul is amongst lions, and I lie even amongst them that are set on fire, whose teeth are spears and arrows and their tongues a sharp sword, their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness, the poison of asps is under their lips." Neither is it only mentioned as the saints' complaint but as the strict prohibition of the Spirit of God (Eph. 4:31): "Let all bitterness and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice." As also that of Timothy (2 Tim. 2:25): "The servant of the Lord must be gentle towards all men, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves, if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledgment of the truth." How clearly contradictory is the way of these men to the rule of Paul, when they in all their speaking to men not of their way, or that oppose themselves, do fly out in those bitter railings in calling them devils, damned, and that they see the devil in their faces, and suchlike expressions? So 1 Pet. 3:4, the apostle calls for "meek and quiet spirits," which in the sight of God are of great price. But we shall close up this with that of our saviour (Matt. 7:1): "Judge not that ye be not judged." And (Matt. 5:5): "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."
Some of them came to Kendal Church about a year agone and pretended they had a commission to pull down the steeple.
Another, Thomas Castley, came in the time of the preaching of one of us to the congregation at Kendal, & had, he said, his commission from God to pull down the hourglass. And the same man came a long <360> mile with no other message from God (as he pretended) but this, to tell of one of us, "Thou art an high priest"; which words having spoken he went his way. Another time he came with a message from God (as he pretended) to the house of the abovesaid one of us, at which time I was not at home, yet confidently affirmed to my wife that God had sent him and that I was at home. Again also, the same man came with the like message to my house and said that God had sent him to me, and that I was at home; but it being denied, he was by the schoolmaster, Mr. Turner, taken over to his house, where (by providence, being presently come home) I went to him and asked him, "what message he had from God to me?" whereat he denied that he had any message to me from God at all. Mr. Richard Stookes, minister at Grayrig, told one of us that discoursing with Fox at a meeting appointed, concerning his immediate call, the said Fox affirmed, "He was called by a voice from heaven to Grayrig"; and at his affirming the same the simple deluded souls that were there with him affirmed, "they knew it to be true"; he asked them whether they saw any vision or heard any voice? they answered, no; but all the account they could give of it was that "whereas he was walking towards Firthbanke suddenly he faced about and said he was commanded to go to Grayrig." One of these people, when they were lately at Newcastle, told a merchant there, Mr. H.T., having on his black clothes, that he was a deceiver, &c., but being told he was no minister he shuffled pitifully, as seeing how naked his mistake was laid. Concerning this horrid pretense of being sent of God to the commission of abominable practices in Yorkshire, we refer you to a book called The second hearing of the cause betwixt the Querer and Antiquerer, &c.
In the view of the stories above written, the reader may make these observations:
1. Is it the way of the Lord to call men immediately from heaven on purpose to tell only of an hourglass; and to have nothing to say but to call a man priest, with no other message? were ever the prophets of God sent forth with such trivial messages as these? How fearfully is the glorious name of an holy God abused in this particular.
2. Is not this to belie the all-knowing God to say in the name of the Lord that one of us was at home, when he was not? And that he had a message, which presently after he denied again, being demanded what it was?
3. How eminent is that judgment upon the followers of these men that they are delivered up to strong delusions to believe lies themselves, and delude others, who confidently affirmed that they knew that Fox was so sent as he pretended by an immediate voice from God, and yet <361> upon enquiry denied they either saw shape or heard voice.
4. That this their pretense of being commanded or sent forth immediately by God is most wicked and vain, and merely their way to get popular applause or acceptance, is plain. For,
1) If they be withheld in public from delivering their message there (as they may pretend) yet why do they not deliver it in private? or at other times? When they came to Newcastle and were with us before the magistrates, they delivered not their message there; and they might have had liberty with freedom to come to any of our houses; nay, some of them were invited thither by some of us. How fully do they contradict themselves and are faithless messengers to their master, neither true to God nor Satan.
2) If they were under such powerful impulses of the spirit to speak (as they pretend they are) that they cannot hold, we desire to know how they can now of late forbear till our public worship and exercise be concluded? At their first breaking forth it was otherwise; but since they have found that their speaking in the time of our public work is punishable by law they can now be silent till we have closed up the work. Certainly, such politic proceedings do evidently make plain that their pretense of an extraordinary command, and strong impulses of the spirit, are absolute counterfeit, either against their own consciences or by the strong delusions of the father of lies.
3) Their usual charge in public against us is that we are deceivers and do teach lies in the name of the Lord; yet when they are charged to produce any one tittle by us delivered that they particularly can call a lie, there is nothing that they do ordinarily produce or can except against us, but will presently run to such expressions as these: thou wearest long robes and prayest standing in the synagogues; and therefore they tell us in the name of the Lord, we preach lies: this was fully apparent lately before the magistrates of Newcastle, where John Audland, Stubbs, and the woman their partner were called and challenged to instance in any one particular of the doctrine delivered by either of us, which they durst affirm to be a lie, but had no syllable against it to object; and as we could instance in many other cases.
4) But would you lastly see their folly in pretending to an immediate light, take this following story: George Fox meeting with one Mr. Nichols in Carlisle told him that "he was an hypocrite," &c; he replying, asked him if he knew his heart? He said "he did." He asked him again, and Fox affirmed again, "he did." He asked him if he knew his name; Fox answered, "I know by thy questions thou art an hypocrite," shuffling so lamentably to evade his question. To whom Mr. Nichols <362> answered, dost thou know my heart, and not know my name? And so shaked him off as a most notorious imposter.
Reader, they that live in the countries where these people come or do reside, do know we might discover much more of their principles and practices than what we have done: We might plead against them the fruits of their casting off the word and way of God; and the more because they justify them instead of mourning for them. Such as George Fox his cursing of Mr. Fetherstone, Miles Halhead his cursing of Mr. Walker minister of Kendal very lately in the presence of M. Archer and Mr. Cook. Christopher Atkinson (a grand leader of this people and a prophetical imposter) for a good while together, his very immodest familiarity with (to say no more) a woman of his way, in the sight of a godly minister at Kendal, Mr. Walker. The wife of Edmond Adlington of Kendal going naked Novemb. 21, 1653 through Kendal streets, &c., but these we have named are the very badge of their profession; and we are satisfied that this will suffice to enforce that rule of the apostle upon every watchful heart (from such turn away).
We shall now add the reason of our title, and how fully that title of Pharisee, which they ordinarily give to others, will fall upon themselves, will thus appear.
1. The Pharisees, it is fully known, did separate themselves from the rest of the people upon an account of a conceit they had of their own surpassing holiness: this is the very reason of their name, as Luke 18:9: Christ spoke that parable about the publicans and Pharisees, "unto certain that trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others." How fully is this the spirit of these men? all that are acquainted with their principles and practices know. Nor any (whatsoever being owned of them as saints) but such as walk in their way, pronouncing damnation to all others. Let them read and consider (Isa. 65:5): "They which say, stand by thyself, come not near to me, for I am holier than thou; these are a smoke in my nose, and as a fire that burneth all that day."
2. Their undeniable conformity to the Pharisees is in their known rash censuring (John 7:49). When the people had spoken to the praise of the Lord Jesus, the Pharisees presently censure, saying, This people who knoweth not the law are cursed. What is this but the ordinary phrase of Quakers, in pronouncing every one cursed and damned that is not of their way (John 10:20): "There was a division amongst the Jews, and many of them said, he hath a devil and is mad." So John 9:16, Matt. 11:19: "Behold a man gluttonous and a winebibber." No man dare say that Christ sinned in excess as to meat and drink, but <363> only this was their Pharisaical slander because of his lawful use of meat and drink. Here you have them again perfectly acted, in pronouncing others cursed and rashly judging the lawful use of meats, &c., and appearing the most absolute successors to Pharisees.
3. Matt. 23:13. Christ is there charging the Pharisees for shutting the kingdom of heaven against men, which is known to be by putting people upon a righteousness within them, in opposition to that of Christ. And how fully is this the very business of Quakers, we refer you to that position of theirs in pag. 10 of this book.p But we shall add that (Matt. 5:20): "Except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven."
4. Matt. 23:15. There Christ pronounceth a woe to the Pharisees for "compassing sea and land to make one proselyte, which so made is twofold more the child of Hell than before." Considering the blasphemies of these men before alleged, and their wandering up and down to carry on that design of poisoning men's hearts with their doctrines, any reader will see the fullness of the parallel.
5. Matt. 23:23. You have another woe pronounced against the Pharisees by Christ for "tithing mint, &c. but neglecting the weightier matters of the law," &c. How evidently is this the frame of these men, who laying all the weight upon trivial observances of hats, thou, clothes, &c., do wholly neglect the great mysteries of faith, righteousness of Christ, and ordinances of the gospel? Thus they strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.
6. Matt. 23:27-28. A woe pronounced to the Pharisees so: making clean the outside of the cup, being whited sepulchres, outwardly appearing beautiful but within full of hypocrisy and iniquity. How fully doth this set out the condition of these Quakers as if it were a prophecy of them, who are inwardly so full of cursing and bitterness, and being only clothed with some seeming beautiful rags of the law do put from them the very righteousness of Christ imputed and deny the principles of in the gospel.
We have the rather given you the description of them out of this chapter because it is their presumption and usual course from this chapter to persuade the credulous world that the ministers are these Pharisees. But alas, how fully doth it make these men naked and open, and pull off the fig leaves of their hypocrisy. We might also add that (Matt. 23:5): All their works (as the Pharisees then) they now do to be <364> seen of men, else whence is it that no place will serve them to vent their messages in (though but to particular persons) but in the meeting houses or synagogues? No place hears of their religion so much as streets and market crosses: for though they pray not at all, as constant experience is a most convincing witness (no they are the heathen that know not God and the families that call not on his name), yet, what of religion is pretended to by them is most in crying up their own holiness and pharisaically despising and scorning others publicly in the streets and marketplaces: and though they be not called Master, and Rabbi, yet they fully do affect the whole of that pharisaical vanity in crying up themselves as extraordinary prophets, accounting themselves as the only rabbis or authentical doctors of truth in the world. We could acquaint the learned from Jewish Antiquities with many other affectations of the Pharisees, their mimical gestures, hypocritical carriages in the streets, wherein these men are a most exquisite picture of them. But we rather leave them as they are plainly set forth in these Scripture discoveries for monkish holiness, which we also attribute to them: he that shall compare their neglect of apparel, the pretended frequent fastings, their dissembling separation from the world (though James Nayler being asked how he left and gave away his estate when he entered into this way, said, in the public Sessions at Appleby, "He gave it to his wife" a pretty shift), their counterfeiting visions and revelations, the laying weight of justification upon their outward observances and many other things of the same nature; we say, he that shall compare them in these things with popish monks and friars will questionless conclude that as their way in these things is clearly the superstition of monks and friars, so we have not been injurious in giving that title to all the pretenses of their holiness. Nay we could produce instances of visions, revelations, fastings, &c., in that shaven generation which might let these people know their perfection they boast of leaves them many leagues short of this kind of perfection which hath more fully been attained to by that popish rabble.
And now brethren, you for the establishing of whose faith in a special manner we have published this, having forewarned you of grievous wolves entering in upon you, not sparing, but endeavoring to make havoc of the flock and of the faith once delivered to the saints. We commend you to the Lord and the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance amongst all them that are sanctified.
1. See Geo. Bateman's pamphlet (page 29).
2. 1 Pet. 3:15.
3. What means that expression, twice repeated: "true Scripture"? Is any of the Scripture false?
a. Thomason date: Jan. 14, 1653/54.
b. See p. 172 above.
c. See p. 195 above.
d. See p. 195 above.
e. See p. 195 above.
f. See pp. 191-192 above.
g. See p. 172 above.
h. See p. 150 above.
i. See p. 172.
j. See p. 555 below.
k. See p. 161 above.
l. See p. 172 above.
m. See p. 227 above.
n. See p. 227 above.
o. See pages 150, 162.
p. See page 330 above.