Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Works of James Nayler > The Royal Law and Covenant of God
As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God, who are begotten of the royal Spirit, not of the earthly, but of the heavenly, a seed separated from the world, to serve in Spirit, who have the royal law written in their hearts, and the royal worship in Spirit and power, which are of the royal priesthood, of which the spirit of the world makes an imitation, from the letter, the words spoke by them who was of the royal seed, but knows not the Spirit, therefore set up the earthly spirit to worship, contrary to the law royal, which is spiritual and pure forever; and this spirit would rule over the Spirit of God, which makes a profession of the words given forth by the Spirit of God. And such are you as make laws which stand in respect of persons, where self is eyed and would be honored. And by the royal law are you condemned, which denies respect of persons, and leads to do to all men as they would be done unto; and upon this foundation stands all the law and the prophets. So you who profess the law and the prophets' words, and set up respect of persons, with the law and the prophets' words you are judged, and your partial evil thoughts (James 2). And your profession shall arise in condemnation against you, and from all that have the faith of Christ are you condemned; which faith cannot be where respect of persons is (John 5:44; James 2) because it stands in God, who respects no man's person, so with the foundation of God you are casta out, and with the royal law are you <264> condemned. And all you that count the proud happy, and despise the poor, are against the royal law. And all you who do not as you would be done unto are against the royal law. And all you that say and do not, whose hearts teacheth not your mouth, are out of the royal law, and not guided by that Spirit nor of that priesthood, nor doth those lips preserve knowledge; but all such darkens counsel by words without knowledge, and knows not the royal law of God. And all who takes the saints' words to plead against the saints' life and practice, are against the royal law and the royal priesthood, and with it are judged and condemned; and with it are seen to be perverters of the Scriptures; using them to draw into the imitations and traditions, thereby making the royal law of none effect; which law is written in the heart, which is before tradition was, which law you make void, who receive not your law and light there, and Christ is notorphaned number for missing editorial note! your law-giver, whose law is spiritual, and so is his priesthood, and so is his judgment, and his kingdom royal, and who are united there are the royal diadem, joined to the Lord in everlasting covenant, married in the Spirit, where is no dissolution, but fruitful forever. But all you who respects persons casts the royal law of God behind your backs, and trample it under your feet, and makes it of none effect. And all you that respect persons are transgressors and committers of sin, and judged with the royal law of liberty, which saith, "So speak, and so do," and "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself"; and if you do so, you do well; but if you do respect men's persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors, and you that respect him that wears the gay clothing and gold ring, and despise the poor, ye are the partial, and the judgers with the evil thoughts, and such are not heirs of the kingdom of promise, but the poor despised, rich in faith; who are in the law of liberty, respect no man's person, but it convinceth all that doth. And who are in the faith, without respect of persons, for who are in respect of persons are out of the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ; and such are "reprobate concerning the faith," "being filled with unrighteousness," "professing they know God, but in works they deny him," worshipping and serving the creature more than the Creator.
Scum off the filth, and come from under the thick clay which ye are laden withal. Ease yourselves of that burden; the beasts of the south are great, which goeth on as the ox to the slaughter, to whom the word of the Lord is a sword, hammer, and fire. The wanton ones and careless ones are many, and such as be in pleasures, which be dead while they live; which stains and defiles the earth, which the blessing comes not upon, but the sword, and the judgment, and the canker, and the destroyer, and the rust, and the waster, and amongst such as fear the Lord, God will him restrain and rebuke the waster and destroyer, that the blessing of Abraham may be known.
But God is staining the glory of man: they which dwell in the eternal, where the glory of it is not seeked for, seeth with the eternal light how God hath stained and doth it stain daily, and so bring his glory to himself, and brings man's honor and glory into contempt. We see it fades as the flower and withers as the grass, but "the word of the Lord endures forever," which the children of light delights in, and sees that to the wicked it is a hammer to beat down their pride, and it is as a sword to cut down their honor, and lays it in the dust, and is as a fire, doth burn them up, "all the proud, and them that do wickedly, for they are as the stubble"; and though the fleshly mind profess the letter and call it the word, and call it the light, the light they shall find to be their condemnation, and the word they shall find to be as a hammer and as a sword among them and upon them, and as a fire to burn them up.
Let this be published abroad; for the cleansing of the land of evildoers is the Lord now come, and his truth is he exalting, and tares is known from wheat, and chaff, and stubble which all is to be burnt with fire. Read and understand everyone with the life of God, that you may comprehend all the powers of darkness, and the wiles and temptations and snares, with the life and power that cannot be limited. Glory to the Lord God forever.
Ye gazers and mockers and gluttonous ones and drunkards and evil beasts whose god is your belly, who mind earthly things and lives in the lusts of your own conceivings, who now say where is the time of his coming and are observers of times, but sees him not where he is manifested and makes a mock at his messengers which <266> are his witnesses, and stone them in your streets, and casts them into holes and dungeons, corners and prisons and houses of correction, and whipping them and beating them in your markets, stripping naked, setting your dogs upon them and tearing their clothes, beating them with cudgels and casting dirt upon them who are made white through the blood of the Lamb, and haling them out of your synagogues before magistrates and councils and chief priests, them which witness the everlasting Priest.
And here you are they that fulfill Christ's words, who said they should hale you before rulers and scourge you in synagogues and councils; and Christ is now manifest the same that ever was; and you are made manifest to be the generation to oppose him, who makes war against him; and the son of man now reigns, Christ Jesus, amongst his children that learn of him, who heareth the prophet that Moses spoke of; and everyone that will not hear this prophet is to be cut off; and now many that will not hear this prophet are numbered to the sword. And you that deny the light that Christ Jesus hath enlightened every man that comes into the world withal that through him all might believe. So you that deny this light which Christ hath enlightened every one that comes into the world withal, you do not believe, but calls it a natural light, who are in your natural state and stumbleth at the light, and are blind and led with the blind, and so shall both go into the ditch. So Christ's reign you know not which receives not the light which enlighteneth every man that comes into the world, that through him they might believe. So everyone owning the light which cometh from Christ, it will bring you to hear the true prophet and learn of him, so with the light you will come to see Christ Jesus, God's righteousness; now you that do stumble and deny the light which comes from Christ Jesus, which is God's righteousness, if you profess any righteousness (being in that state driven from God) it is your own righteousness, though you may profess all the saints' words and the prophets' and Christ's words and the holy men of God, and deny the light which comes from Christ, you stumble at God's righteousness and deny it that denies the light which comes from Christ, which lighteneth everyone that comes into the world, and are all found in your own righteousness. And you that deny that Christ Jesus is the light of the world, and enlightens everyone that comes into the world, and do not own the light, you are in your will worships, and all your worships are in your wills and are to be condemned with the light; and so you be all in the state of wrath and darkness droven from God, shut up in unbelief, will worship and self righteousness, your own works, and are not yet come to own the Son of God, who lighteneth <267> everyone that cometh into the world, that through him all may believe.
God who is light drove man from him, so he being in darkness and in the earth and under the power of Satan, God sending his Son his light into the world, which is the light of the world, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world, that all men through him might believe and learn of Christ and hear him who is the true Prophet; and he that doth not believe in the Son of God, the light, is condemned already with the light; for this is the condemnation, the light, saith Christ Jesus; and he that hears not this Prophet shall be cut off.
Dear brethren and sisters, in the visible life which hath been hid from ages but now is made manifest in the Son by the revelation of his coming, in this life am I one with you and doth dearly salute you all farewell. Upon the first day of the week, being the 14th day of the 4th month, the word of the Lord came unto me saying, thus saith the Lord, if ye my dear children, whom I have convinced by my pure light in your consciences, will hearken to my counsel and will stand in my fear, then shall my secrets be made known unto you, and you shall grow up in the knowledge of me, as calves of the stall, and my knowledge shall cover the whole earth, as the waters cover the sea. And the earth shall be removed out of its place, and the mountains under which my pure seed suffers will I remove by my mighty power, saith the Lord of hosts; and I will raise up the mountain of my holiness and establish it on the top of the mountains; and ye shall become the glory of the whole earth. And ye shall be called Zion, the city of the living God, the habitation of my holiness, from whence my pure and righteous law shall go forth, which shall cut down all the unrighteous laws made in the will of man, which are turned from my pure light in the conscience; and righteousness and truth shall kiss each other, and run down the nations like a mighty stream; and violence and oppression shall cease, and the rod of the wicked willI remove from off your backs, and their heavy yokes and bonds which have been made as bulwarks to keep my pure seed in bondage will I by my mighty power break in sunder; and the oppressed will I set free, and the wild beasts of the field, which ye have long been a prey unto, will I cause to cease out of your land, and you shall be no more a reproach to the heathen, saith the Lord, but ye shall become a terror and a dread to all your enemies. And I will multiply my blessings upon you, and will establish my covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David; and I will write my pure law in your hearts, and ye shall not depart from me, neither shall you need to say to any man "know the Lord," for ye <268> shall all know me from the least even to the greatest; and an open fountain will be unto you, as you abide in my pure fear, to cleanse you from your sins and to refresh my own in every one of you. And I will be unto you asthe former and the latter rain in its due season; and you shall sit under your vine which is Christ in you, and eat of your own fruit, and none shall make you afraid, and ye shall be my sheep and the flock of my pasture; and ye shall be no longer a prey to the idol shepherds, who have fed themselves but not my flock; therefore will I feed them with judgment, and by my mighty power will I redeem you out of their mouths, and I will be your alone shepherd, and you shall be my people saith the Lord of hosts.
And this is witnessed by many who have not thought their lives dear unto them, but hath freely given up to the death of the cross and hath walked in obedience of my pure light in their consciences, contrary to their own wills, and in these is my power known and my glorious presence witnessed; and now thus saith the Lord, If ye who are convinced by my pure light in your consciences, and walk not in obedience to it but slights my counsel and cast my law behind your backs and abide not in my fear, which would have kept you out of all slavish fears, and will go on to uphold this filthy abominable thing in my sight in upholding with your outward estates a crooked viperous serpentine generation of priests who devour the souls of the people for dishonest gain, though you are convinced by my pure light in your consciences that they ran and I sent them not, neither have they stood in my counsel but have erred from my Spirit as their father Balaam did, and because they have unrighteous laws made in the will of man for the upholding of their unrighteous maintenance, which they with greediness do seek after, and where they cannot have it there they bite and devour; and yet I, saith the Lord according to my promise made of old in love to your souls, have pluckt you out of their mouths that ye should be no longer a prey unto them, and yet many of you for fear of the unrighteous laws, made in the will of proud flesh which is contrary to my pure law in the conscience, have consulted with flesh and blood, which shall never enter in my rest, and so hath cumbered your mind with fears and troubles of what would come after if you should withstand them of what they call theirs, being that they have a law to compel us thereunto and we shall bring further trouble upon ourselves.
And here the earthly mind that is not willing to suffer for my name sake comes to be exalted and the will of man is bowed unto: and my pure seed which boweth not unto the seed of evildoers, neither can uphold any deceit but testifies against it, comes to be betrayed into the hands of the murderer; and now the witnesses being slain you are at ease and can uphold the idols' temple and the idols' shepherds and <269> changeable priests; and here the carnal upholds the carnal, but my light which is eternal you are turned from, and the hands of the wicked are strengthened by you, and you add afflictions to my children's bonds, who through faithfulness to me are made willing to suffer for my name's sake the spoiling of their goods with joy, and to be cast into dungeons and prisons for the testimony of a good conscience.
But ye who can conform and bow to the will of man, and stumble at the cross, and deal in hypocrisy, you are with my pure light by which my saints are perfected, to be judged and condemned, and I will rip off all your coverings, saith the Lord, which you in your earthly wills have made to cover over your deceits withal. And you my dear children who have through ignorance upheld them, idol shepherds with the carnal things, remember you have been warned from me, saith the Lord; see you uphold them no longer, for my hand is stretched out against them, and by my mighty power will I bring them down and those that uphold them. Therefore are you left without excuse; for at your ignorance I winked at, but now by my pure light in your consciences are you convinced that I, the Lord, am the sum of all figures, types, and shadows, and all changeable things, and of the changeable priesthood, and of the changeable temple. For ye are my temple, saith the Lord, and the habitation of my holiness, whom I have separated and chosen by my power to place my name amongst you; and I will be a priest unto you after the everlasting order, and ye shall be kings and priests and shall reign over the earth, over the beast and the false prophet. Therefore my dear lambs and babes, be bold and valiant for my truth upon the earth, and contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered to my dear children of old, your brethren the prophets and apostles which hath passed before you, which was shamefully entreated by the wicked world; therefore in my pure counsel stand and abide, and look not out at the prosperity of the wicked, for by the Red Sea of my wrath and fierce displeasure will I destroy and consume all your enemies and oppressors, saith the Lord of Hosts; therefore rejoice and be glad, ye righteous ones, and be faithful to the Lord, for your redemption draweth nigh.
Rich. Salle, Prisoner at Derby,
writ to friends
All you that have a set wages for reading the Scriptures, which was spoken forth freely, Christ sent his disciples to speak forth freely, and the words which they spoke forth freely do you make a trade of, and have great sums of money for. And the apostles which writ the epistles which was to be read among the saints, he charged <270> them to read it by the Lord; and he did not say they should have so much in the year for reading of it, for it was sent freely to be read freely; and the writing which was in the Revelations was to be read freely, which was sent to the churches in Asia; they was not to have great sums of money to read that which was written. And Jeremiah which was commanded to write the roll which was to be read, he had not a great sum of money for it, for they burnt it; and Moses which wrote the two tables and the law which was to be read among the people, they had not so many hundreds a year for reading of it. But oh what abundance do make merchandise of the saints' words? But let these examples before that be mentioned judge you all to be such as are greedy of filthy lucre and through covetousness make merchandise of the people, going in the way of Cain, after the error of Balaam, who perished in the gainsaying of Core, whose judgments of a long time lingers not, whose damnation slumbers not; and there you may see your examples before mentioned.
Friends, had the prophets, Christ, and the apostles, when they were speaking forth the Scripture if any spoke to them in their time or asked them any question while they were speaking forth the Scriptures, a law to send them to prison and say they did disturb them? Was they of such a perverse generation that spoke forth the Scriptures? By a law did they cause them to suffer that opposed the prophets and the apostles as you do, who doth profess the words that were given forth from them that were prisoned and contradicted; you with your law to prison them that witness the life, and are in the life that gave forth the Scriptures; and with your law holds up them, which hath their words but not their life, as their fruits doth make it appear; therefore some examples, such as bear rule by their means, were cried against, with them who were in the life, and such as seek for their gain from their quarter, and such as are hirelings and seek for the fleece, and such as stands praying in the synagogues and are called of men Masters and hath the chiefest seat in the assemblies, and such as sue men at the law, which are not wise men; and such as go in Cain's and Balaam's way, such were cried against with the life that gave forth the Scriptures, which used their tongues and said the Lord saith, when the Lord had not spoken to them; and such as have gotten the saints' words and talk of them for money, and must be maintained by a law, and must have a house maintained by poor people, whenas the life that gave forth the Scriptures testified against such things, and now it comes to be made manifest what men you do hold up and justify.
a. Whitehead changes "cast" to "found."
b. This paper is unsigned, as is the closing of the pamphlet on p. 270. Whitehead includes only the opening of the pamphlet (pp. 263-64 above) in his collection; it is not certain who wrote the unsigned parts.