Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Works of James Nayler > Several Petitions Answered
Remember the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who said the servant was not greater than his Lord, and saith he, if they have persecuted me they will persecute you also; and saith <73> he, marvel not if the world hate you; it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world the world would love you, but because I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you; but these are the fruits of darkness that ariseth from Cain's generation; they that are after the flesh, they persecute them that are after the Spirit; it is the world that persecutes, and as they are in their natural state and condition, they know not God but are enemies both to him and His, where he is made manifest in Spirit; they that are in the corrupt nature are ignorant of him, according as it is written in the epistle to the Corinthians: the natural man knows not the things of God because they are spiritually discerned, and no man knows the Father but the Son, neither knoweth any man the Son but the Father and he to whom the Son reveals him; there is no knowing of God but by the revelation of the Spirit; but natural men such as the priests of the world who are ignorant of God and are enemies to him, being guided by the spirit of error, standing up in actual rebellion against God now that he is revealing his Son in the hearts of his people and leading them by the divine light of his holy Spirit out of Egypt, out of bondage and darkness wherein they have been held in the time of the fall, while the mystery of iniquity hath been working, and antichrist sitting in the temple of God, as God, showing himself to be God, and the priests of the world have been casting a mist before the eyes of the understandings of the people by their Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, which is but dung and dross, earthy and airy, hath driven the people into earthly conceivings & imagination, having no other knowledge of God but by conceiving and imagining of him, & are of those whom the Lord complains of by his servant the prophet, saying, "This people draweth near me with their mouth, and with their lips do they honor me, but their heart is far from me, and their fear towards me is taught by the precepts of men; therefore thus saith the Lord, I will gather those that have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day, and I will teach them myself and write my law in their hearts and put my Spirit in their inward parts; then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and I will take you from among the heathen and gather you out of all countries, and sprinkle clear water upon you, and cleanse you from all your uncleanness: <74> a new heart also will I give you, and a new Spirit will I put within you, and I will cause you to walk in my statutes to do them" (Ezek. 36). Now the Lord is fulfilling his promises made of old to the seed of Abraham after the Spirit, the immortal seed that is begotten not by the will of men but by the will of God, and born again of water and the Spirit, being separated from all uncleanness, and they that live in the filth of the flesh, fulfilling the lusts thereof, know them not that are born again, washed and cleansed, sanctified and justified, and are taught of God and made partakers of the divine nature, but are enemies to them; it is the same generation now that persecutes, that persecuted from the beginning, but it is but that the Scriptures may be fulfilled: the beast shall make war with the saints, Gog and Magog joins together in battle against the Lamb, the priests of the world are the greatest persecutors of the truth of God.
Now as the high priest was when Jesus Christ came in the flesh, the chief priests were the greatest persecutors of him then, stirring up the rulers and elders and the rude multitude against him, calling him a deceiver and a blasphemer, and they spewed forth their envy against him in raising false witnesses against him and every way incensing the people against him to cry out to have him put to death, saying "Crucify him, crucify him, and let us have Barabbas let loose" which was a murderer, and if thou do but read this little ensuing treatise thou shalt find something worthy of thy labor being single eyed, thou wilt be brought to see antichrist or the man of sin in a high measure, the mystery of iniquity acting in the priests of the world that do profess themselves to be the ministers of Christ but are of the synagogue of Satan, and are enemies to Jesus Christ where he is made manifest and raised up in the spirits of any to testify against their deceits wherein they do deceive the people, and are in the same state and condition that the Jewish high priests were in that put Christ to death. As thou readest keep thy eye single and be not partial, and thou shalt see that the battle is begun betwixt Michael and the dragon, & the dragon he casteth forth floods of revilings and reproaches and persecutions after the man-child Christ Jesus as he is arising in the spirits of his people, to stifle him in the birth that he may not come forth to reign, and where <75> he is borne up into the understandings of any, ruling by the divine power of his Spirit in any, the dragon with his seven golden heads, or the priests under several colors being the painted beast that is gilded with their glorious notions, having painted themselves over with the words of the prophets and apostles that suffered by such as they are of the same generation, whose heart is deceitful and that above measure, being full of subtlety, the serpent's head being unbruised in them, they labor every way as the Jewish high priests did to destroy those who are brought to walk in the same state and condition that the holy men of God did.
In former ages, men that were blameless and harmless in their lives and conversations were guided by the Holy Spirit of God that ruleth in them, I know it by experience, being acquainted with them in their godly conversation, which those Cainish and Jewish spirited priests goes about to cast dirt upon, making them odious to the world, stirring up the people in envy and maliciousness against them, if it were possible to take away their lives, and the Jewish high priests stirred up the rulers and elders of the people against both Jesus Christ and the apostles who were his true ministers, to persecute, imprison and put them to death, so do these stir up not only the rude people in envy and malice, but they stir up the Parliament and rulers of the people by their false petitions to incense them against a harmless and an innocent people to take away, if not their lives, yet their liberties, but where the Lord doth appear in any of the rulers of the people they will see into the wickedness of the priests that they are those that persecute the Lord of life in his saints and servants, and they do openly manifest themselves that they are none of the ministers of Jesus Christ, for they did never persecute nor imprison, but on the contrary were both persecuted and imprisoned, and so are those to whom Jesus Christ is made manifest in Spirit; now the Lord is setting up the kingdom of his Son in the spirits of his people, and the kingdom of antichrist, Babylon, the mystery of iniquity must be thrown down: take heed of holding up that which God will not have to stand; he is setting up the ministry of his Son in the spirits of his people, and throwing down the ministry of antichrist, which is the ministry of the world, as it is made manifest they do openly appear to those that have their eyes in their head.
<76> Now friend if thou do but read this with thy understanding thou shalt see that these persecuting priests know nothing of God but are enemies to him, and are guided by the spirit of error, walking contrary to Christ and his apostles, who were his true ministers and were guided by his Holy Spirit, and suffered by the ministry of the word, as those dear hearts do that are guided I am sure by the Spirit of the Lord, and are as dear to him as the apple of his eye; and if thou do but give thy diligence in reading to read by the same guide that those are led by that write the ensuing treatise it will bring thee to see the innocency and uprightness of their blameless lives and conversation, that they are made to suffer willingly for righteousness sake according to the command of Jesus Christ, and walk in his obedience, knowing that their reward is in heaven, having their conversation in heaven according to that of the apostle in Phil. 3:20. And their affections being set on things above and not on the earth, seeking a kingdom but not of this world, for were they of this world, the world would love its own, but because they are chosen out of the world's ways and worships, customs and fashions, being dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, are brought to worship God in spirit being born again of water and the Spirit as John 3, and having their souls purified in yielding obedience to the commands of the Spirit as the saints had which were obedient to the same Spirit, which purified their souls, as in 1 Pet. 1:22-23: Who were born again as these are, children of the most high God, whom the world and the persecuting envious priests know not; for the spirit that is in them is not of God, because it lusteth to envy contrary to the Spirit of Jesus Christ, which is pure and holy and is loving, as it is raised up in any to rule and guide them, it beareth all the world's judgments, reproaches, revilings, and persecutions, and suffereth with joy, having the promise of this life and that which is to come, thus saith the Lord, woe to the wicked it shall be ill with them, and they shall be rewarded according to their doings as in Isaiah 3:11. But say unto the righteous it shall be well with them (v. 10); and saith Jesus Christ, blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely, as the priests do by those innocent and harmless ones who are dear and precious in the sight of God, and may rejoice, <77> for their reward is great in heaven, according to that of our Savior in Matt. 5:10-12. And that of Peter, who saith, if ye be reproached for the name of Christ happy are you, for the spirit of grace and of glory resteth on you, rejoice and be exceeding glad: all ye that love the Lord, bless ye the Lord, praise him and magnify him forever, for the Lord is glorifying himself and making his power known, and all the crowns of pride and vainglory and fleshly exaltation must be thrown down, and the Son of his love raised up and exalted in the hearts of his people to sit upon his throne; rejoice for evermore.
A Friend to the Truth of God, where it is made manifest
That James Nayler and George Fox, men whose country, habitation, profession and condition is to us generally unknown, merely of their own accord, without any passport, license, or authority whatsoever that they can show or we ever heard of, have entered into the county, and together with some others their companions and proselytes, who are risen up among ourselves in it, have filled it in some parts with very sad divisions and distractions, stirred up much hatred, wrath, and strife, even between the nearest relations; and powerfully seduced multitudes of people from the truth and true worship of God, to embrace their own corrupt and dangerous doctrines, and follow their pernicious ways; which things are so notoriously known to all men that live in these parts, that we need not here say anything to acquaint yourselves with it.
And though these men tell people where they come that they are sent to them from God to declare what he hath revealed in them, and labor to persuade them that they come to them with the authority of the apostles of Christ, yet ourselves do confidently believe and know them to be wicked men, deceivers, and the very ministers of Satan, as may appear,
1. By the horrid blasphemies which they have uttered.
<78> 2. By the damnable heresies and dangerous errors which they have avouched.
All which they tend not only to the disturbance of the public peace and safety of the Commonwealth, but to the subversion of all government, we do in all humility address ourselves,
Humbly and earnestly praying, as you tender the glory of God and the good of so many souls as are or may be endangered by their impious principles and practices, that you would be pleased to make use of that authority wherewith the Lord hath invested you, speedily to provide for the safety of true religion and the public peace, by checking the wicked endeavors and proceedings of these men, which we humbly conceive may be at least by ordering James Nayler and George Fox, &c., being strangers, to depart out of this county and to return to their own homes. Francis Howgill to be of better deportment, specially towards the magistracy and ministry of England, and by enjoining John Ayrey, Alexander Dixon, and the rest of the speakers and followers that live in this county to abide at their own homes, study to be quiet, and do their own business, laboring in their own calling, which is the apostles' rule, and not to wander up and down the country as seducers, to draw disciples after them, save only in a way of travel as private men about their own occasions; and the Lord's gracious guidance of yourselves in the affairs of so great concernment, we shall ever pray, &c.
This is a true copy of the pretended ministers and professors in this county given up at the court at last sessions at Appleby.
Priest. To the right worshipful the justices of the peace for the county of Westmorland.
Ans. Them that are right deny all worships, and worship God, and honor the Lord, "All honor and glory be given unto the Lord." Now man where is thy honor? Yet I honor all men in the Lord.1
Pr. Obj. The humble petition of divers ministers and other inhabitants in the said county, who earnestly desire the glory of <79> God and the peace of his church and this Commonwealth.
Ans. The ministers of God never put up a petition to an outward magistrate to maintain the church of God.2 Here you show your ministry is of man and must be uphold by an earthly power; and here you show that church is carnal and must be maintained by a carnal weapon, as the Jews did which came against Paul and said he was "a pestilent fellow,"3 who did witness forth the substance, Jesus Christ, of all these types and figures which the Jews lived in;4 therefore his doctrine did overturn them, to the letting forth of the seed: for that mind that held up the figure did not own the substance, Jesus Christ, when he was come.5 Now all you pretended ministers of Christ, Jesus Christ is come and made manifest in his saints; you who have the form deny him, and the power, and some call it witchery, some of the devil; but that nature can do no other, for it is the same nature that was in the Jews, who would maintain their way and hold up their customs, and persecute him that was the substance, and called him devil:6 but the church Jesus Christ is the head of, and the church is the pillar and ground of truth, and Christ hath redeemed his church with his blood,7 and who are redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ are of the church; and them I do witness, and not one of them shall be plucked out of his hand, whom the Father hath given me,8 saith Christ (John 10:28-31): My Father which gave me them is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hands. I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones to stone him; Christ hath no carnal weapon to maintain his church, for his kingdom is not of this world.9
Pr. Obj. Humbly showeth, that James Nayler and George Fox, men whose country, habitation, profession and condition is to us generally unknown.
Ans. It is true, our habitation is with the Lord, and our country is not of this world, neither are our conditions known unto the world; for who had the power of truth was never known unto the <80> world, where the same power is made manifest, 'tis so now, the world knows them not, therefore they hate you and persecute you, the Scripture's here fulfilled, As they have done unto me, so will they do unto you, saith Christ.10 Here the Scripture is fulfilled.
Pr. Obj. Merely of their own accord, without any passport, or license or authority that they can show, or we ever heard of, entered into the county, and together with some others their companions and proselytes risen up among ourselves.
Ans. The ministers of God never were sent forth by the authority of man; here you show yourselves to be blind guides indeed. Paul an apostle, not of man nor by man, but by Jesus Christ; neither was the gospel he preached according to man; and this do we witness, that our authority is not from man neither our call from man; for he that speaks of himself speaks a lie; and all you who speak & not from the mouth of the Lord are false prophets,11 and there you show yourselves to be no prophets of the Lord, no ministers of the gospel; for if you were the ministers of the gospel and had not received it of man, nor your gospel according to man, then would ye witness us; for that which we preach is not after man, neither according to man's will, but by the will of God.12 For we are not made ministers by Oxford and Cambridge, for that we deny. We stand condemned by you who are ministers of the letter and not of the Spirit, who are ministers by the will of man, and your call and authority is by the will of man.
Obj. Have filled it in some parts with very sad divisions.
Ans. Truth did make division when deceit was at peace, for Christ said, I come not to send peace on the earth, but a sword, for I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, the daughter-in-law against the mother-in-law,13 and here is the Scripture fulfilled.
Pr. Obj. Stirred up much wrath and strife, even between the nearest relation.
Ans. It seems hatred, wrath and strife were within, now truth hath stirred it up. When the strong man armed keeps the <81> house, all the goods are at peace, till a stronger come and dispossess him, and spoils his goods;14 and here is the Scripture fulfilled, where the power of truth dwells, and the kingdom of God is come, who are indeed the temples of God; the works of the devil destroyed, hatred, malice, wrath, strife, heresy and blasphemy, pride, hypocrisy and dissembling, where the truth rules, these are destroyed, and where these rule truth rules not, and consider all you pretended ministers what you have been doing all this while, that there is so much wrath and strife to be stirred up, when the truth comes, for that is it that sets at variance.15 O all people consider what blind guides you have been led withal, why spend you your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which satisfieth not? Ho every one that thirsteth, come freely, without money and without price, hearken diligently unto me saith the Lord, that your souls may live.16
Pr. Obj. And powerfully seduced multitudes of people from the truth.
Ans. Whereas we are accused as seducing people from the truth, it is false: for how can they be in the truth who live in malice, envy, strife, and wrath? for they that live in that nature are turned from the truth; which according to your own words much of that is stirred up. The Lord hath sent us and made us to come into this county, to draw up people unto himself from the doctrines and worships of the world.17 All people are seduced by you whom God hath never sent; for I will prove by the Scriptures that you are seducers and draw people from the teaching within them to follow your imaginations, what you can study out of the letter which the holy men of God spoke forth freely, the which now you make a trade of. And John said, "These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you, you need not that any man teach you, but as the anointing teaches you all things."18 Now if an hundred or a thousand people should come and deny all you priests and witness they had this anointing within them, then this Scripture being fulfilled and you denied, such you go <82> about to persecute which witness this anointing within them and need no man teach them. Herein you show that you have not the same Spirit that was in them that wrote that epistle, but the spirit of the world; the world did not know them then, which were taught by that anointing, but hated them as you do now, them that witness the same anointing ye hate;19 ye are the antichrists of this world and hate them who are not of this world, and seek to bring them from their teacher within to follow you who go in the way of Cain to envy and after the error of Balaam.20 Here you show yourselves to be seducers, and such we do deny, but to every man's conscience do we look to be made manifest; and we do not seek to draw anyone from the anointing within them, but do exhort all there to wait and abide for the promise, which is eternal life to them that abide in the anointing; but you false accusers are without, which the Scripture speaks of.21
Pr. Obj. And from the worship of God.
Ans. That is false, to say we draw any from the truth; for we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth, as the apostle saith: but all corrupt ways we deny and abhor, and the worship of the wicked we deny, who have not their names written in the Lamb's book of life. And God is not worshipped with men's hands, neither dwells he in temples made with hands; and for witnessing this Stephen was stoned to death when the high priests examined him;22 which generation you show yourselves to be, in the same nature, holding up outward temples and synagogues, which we deny and seek to draw people from these things. God is a Spirit, and he that worships him must worship him in Spirit and in truth, and this worship we own and draw people to it up to God from all beastly worships, outward customs imitated of man, which is an abomination unto the Lord.23
Pr. Obj. To embrace their corrupt and dangerous doctrines and pernicious ways, which things are so notoriously known to all men that live in these parts that we need not here say any<83> thing to acquaint yourselves with it.
Ans. Corrupt doctrines & pernicious ways we deny, which are all your ways you proud Baal's priests, for he that doth abide in the doctrine of Christ has God, and he that doth not abide in the doctrine of Christ is of the devil:24 Jesus Christ is made manifest, who witnesses forth the eternal truth to poor souls who have lived in darkness and blindness these many hundred years have the dark ministry reigned; but now the God of power is uttering his thunders25 and making his power known, and the eternal word of God is made manifest in us; this we witness, which we preach forth to the glory of our Father, praises, praises be unto thee alone Lord God Almighty, who art now setting up thy own kingdom. And the same judgment do you give upon us as the Jews did upon Christ and the apostles; for the apostle while he was in the Jewish religion, in their outward worship as you are now, they looking for a Christ coming without them as you do now (at which time) Paul was at peace with them; but when he did preach Jesus Christ that was revealed in him, then they haled him out of the temple26 and persecuted him & could not own nor believe what was revealed in him; so if any should come amongst you now and tell you that God dwells not in temples made with hands,27 neither was he worshipped with men's hands, ye would hate them, beat them, or stone them, as they did the apostles. This ye do that the Scripture might be fulfilled: The time shall come when they shall put you out of their synagogues, and shall hale you before magistrates, and who shall kill you will think he doth God good service.28 And do not you show yourselves openly to be of this generation? Will you have another meaning for the Scriptures? There are but two ways: the one is pure and leads up to the Father; the other stands pretending God and Christ, which way you are in, persecuting us who possess the truth.29 Here's the stand.
Pr. Obj. And though these people tell people where they come that they are sent to them from God to declare what he hath revealed in them, and labor to persuade them that they come <84> to them with the authority of Christ and of the apostles, yet ourselves do confidently believe and know them to be wicked men, deceivers and the very ministers of Satan, as may appear.
Ans. Our call we witness is of the Lord, not by man, that makes you whose call is by man so persecute us;30 your own will is standing, you rage against any that come contrary to the will of man, if ever you witness that call whereby all the prophets and apostles were and are sent, you will not question our authority; the Lord's work is spiritual, 'tis him alone that fits them and furnishes them with power from on high to bear witness to the truth; and whereas you say before that you know not our country nor conditions, yet here you say that we are wicked men and deceivers, yea the ministers of Satan; it seems you care not what you say, but say and unsay anything to root out the innocent; you are liars and are without among dogs, murderers, sorcerers, whoremongers, whose portion is in the lake; your weapons that you form against the truth will not prosper,31 but the Lord hath discovered you to some and is raising up a light whereby your deceits will be laid open; with evil thoughts ye judge,32 who are the ministers of Satan, and by the wicked imaginations of your own hearts counts truth blasphemy, and puts light for darkness, as ever the priests did.
Pr. Obj. 1. By their horrid blasphemies which they have uttered, secondly by their damnable heresies and dangerous errors which they have avouched.
Ans. Blasphemy and heresy whereof we are accused we do deny, that which is false and errors we deny, for they are without God, and that is your own conditions, and there ye live without God in the world,33 and who are in the truth are of one mind and one heart;34 now all the priests see, which pretend Gods and faith, whether you be in one faith, which if you do consider (faith which is the gift of God), ye know it not, it cannot be bought and sold for money.35 And show me in the Scripture that ever the prophets or apostles had a set way of the world, or seeked to the world for augmentations or tithes;36 do not ye show <85> here the spirit of error, erring from the way of the apostles? And do ye not show yourselves in the same generation of them that Peter spoke of who live in wickedness and go after the error of Balaam and in the way of Cain37 to persecute the righteous seed where it is come? here thou makest but a rod for thy own back who liveth in uncleanness, sporting in the daytime, feasting, rioting, and such are as natural brute beasts, and what they know they know naturally, whose judgment lingers not, whose damnation slumbers not,38 woe unto you, for you go in the way of Cain; and the Lord is coming in power to pour his plagues upon the beast, you beasts who do not abide in the truth.
Pr. Obj. All which tends not only to the disturbance of the public peace and safety of the Commonwealth, but to the subversion of all government.
Ans. That is false; it is not our intention to destroy the Commonwealth of Israel; for a Commonwealth is to bring up all into purity and justice.39 Righteousness we set up, own and honor in our souls for conscience sake. And justice is to keep peace, and that we own; justice is not to make strife nor debate, but to keep peace, and he bears not the sword in vain; but he that doth pretend justice and is partial, and hath an evil eye, and rules with his own will and tyranny; that we deny, for the Commonwealth is destroyed for want of justice, the land mourns because of oaths, the land mourns because of wickedness, drunkenness, fighting and wrangling, carding and dicing, shovelboard and bowling, all these filthy pleasures ye lustful ones which holds them up we deny, for this cause the creation groans; but justice we own; let every soul be subject to the higher power, for all power is of God; that soul is subject to the power of God, all these works are denied, and this justice which keeps peace, and righteousness we own, honor and set up in our souls.40
Pr. Obj. We do in all humility address ourselves humbly and earnestly praying as you tender the glory of God.
<86> Ans. The prayers of the wicked are abomination to the Lord, and your humility is feigned; it crouches to one and persecutes another; here you show yourselves to be no ministers of Jesus Christ, for your weapons are carnal, ours spiritual says the apostle casting down spiritual wickednesses in high places,41 which we witness: and here you show not the same Spirit that was in the apostles, but of error.42
Pr. Obj. And the good of so many souls as are, and may be endangered by their impious principles and practices, that you would be pleased to make use of that authority wherewith the Lord hath invested you speedily to provide for the safety of true religion and the public peace.
Ans. If you be ministers of God, ye are to watch for the souls;43 tell me how many souls ye have led out of death; but you are in the flesh, and your ministry is carnal. Cain is alive in you, and the soul ye know not, for it is in the death; therefore dissemble not, thou deceiver, telling people of a soul; for thou art him that keeps in the death, and shuts the kingdom of heaven from against men, and knows not the soul, for that is shut up from thy understanding; that mind shall never know it; thou art a murderer of the just, and watchest for thy means,44 and if men will not give it thee thou sues them at the law, therefore dost thou use carnal weapons to maintain thee in thy carnal ministry: it shows thy weapons to be carnal and not spiritual, showing thy kingdom to be of this world. And here doth not thou show forth damnable doctrines; for shame blush.
Impious principles and practices we deny, they are your own, which keeps poor souls in death; your preaching the carnal letter to the carnal mind, and your carnal weapons will not maintain you, but you seek to a magistrate; here you shame your profession, for where the truth is springing, the pure seed arising, you cannot suppress it with your carnal weapon the letter; then you run to a magistrate without to suppress it. While we all lived under your ministry, and what you spoke we took it for truth as being naturally blind, hearing you blind then you owned <87> us.45 But God now of his infinite love and mercy according to his promise hath gathered us, who have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day, following such shepherds as you which fed yourselves and clothed yourselves with the wool, made a prey upon us and fought for the fleece; but God as he hath said, he hath fulfilled, I will gather my sheep from their mouths, and my sheep shall be a prey no longer unto them, and will feed them in a good pasture;46 and we witness the Scripture fulfilled; there do you hate us and seek to persecute them in whom Jesus Christ is made manifest, but it is that the Scripture might be fulfilled: he that is born after the flesh persecutes him that is born after the Spirit; and if any man live godly in Christ Jesus he must suffer persecution;47 here the Scripture is fulfilled; you show yourselves to be carnal indeed; you must have an outward authority to rule your religion. For shame give over your profession, for pure religion he that lives in it and walks in it hath power over his own tongue, and is kept unspotted from the world, and doth visit the fatherless, widows and strangers,48 and this hath not an outward power to order it but is guided and ordered by the Spirit of the Lord to the Lord himself, to whom be praises for ever; and such we own in our souls, and such ye seek to persecute, and instead of relieving and receiving strangers you give them a report or scandal, as wanderers, that the Scripture might be fulfilled: who preached the everlasting gospel, the world knew not;49 and who forsook their own country and sought for another, whom the world was not worthy of; and you show yourselves to be of that generation; he that was a minister of God did exhort to receive strangers; by that means some received angels; and the same eternal word hath God made manifest and sent his servants to witness it forth, and to warn you all of woe and misery that will come upon all uncleanness and ungodliness.50 And some of them you prison, some of them you beat and mock and scourge in your synagogues, and some of them you hale before magistrates.51 And the chief priests were ever the ringleaders to slay <88> the righteous seed where it was born, wherein the Scriptures come to be fulfilled;52 and you show the fulfilling of them upon the children of the Lord, and the words of Jesus Christ true, but he is coming who bears the government upon his shoulders; he alone will rule them, who rules all nations with a rod of iron; he alone will be their teacher and their shepherd; he alone rules his church, who is the head. But this church is not of this world nor maintained by any weapon of this world; the true church is in God,53 yours without who maintain it with a carnal weapon; you would have a speedy suppressing of the truth where it is risen; here you show yourselves to be of that number who call evil good and good evil, and even the generation of them that would ever have had truth suppressed when it was risen, as they said to Christ depart out of our coasts, as they said to Paul, 'tis not fit such a fellow should live upon the earth,54 as to Amos, go thy way into Judah, prophesy there, that was the king's chapel,55 and he told them the songs of the temple should be turned into howling, so shall that nature which hath turned David's quakings and trembling into meter;56 when ye read them, hats ye keep on, and when ye sing them hats ye put off, and worship the works of your own hands, showing the spirit of error.
Pr. Obj. By the checking the wicked endeavors and proceedings of these men.
Ans. That is the blasphemer indeed which would have the truth checked and be limited. It is written the beast shall blaspheme God and his temple.57 And God hath raised up a light in many that are justices to reprove that nature in you which is fawning and flattering, and you will fawn upon them,58 while they will give you means, but if they give you no means then you prepare war against them.
Pr. Obj. Which we humbly conceive may be at least by ordering James Nayler and George Fox, being strangers, to depart out of this country, and to return unto their own homes.
Ans. You pretended ministers of Christ, which do but conceive <89> with an earthly power to hinder the proceedings of that which you conceive to be error, which is the eternal truth; and which conceivings arise out of pride: here it shows that you have not an infallible judgment; and as it is written, God will scatter the proud in their imaginations:59 and there is your portion. All people, though you now despise us and cast reproaches & slanders upon us, ye shall eternally witness us; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, There shall be false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of them that are good, having a form of godliness, and denying the power thereof, which the apostle saw then creeping into houses, leading silly women captive, always learning, never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.60 And this doctrine hath spread abroad, and ye are in it, having the form are not the people yet learning silly women, indeed some thirty years learning, some forty, some fifty, some sixty years learning, yet must be taught still; therefore you and your doctrine we utterly deny. For as the apostle saith, ye need not that any man teach you, you know all things;61 but these were not of the world, nor are they of this world who witness this teaching, nor the teachers.62
Pr. Obj. Francis Howgill to be of better deport, especially towards the magistracy and ministry of England.
Ans. Would you have Francis Howgill to be like unto the world yourselves? Is he going from the power and prince of the air, which rules in you, the children of disobedience, therefore you hate him.63 Justice he owns, which cuts down corruption, which brings all into an upright carriage and righteous way towards God and man: this he owns and honors in his soul. The ministers of God he owns, and such as bear rule by their means, as Jeremy cried out against, so do I, and such as are greedy dumb dogs which seek for their gain from their quarters, which Isa. spoke against64 I speak against; and such as are hirelings, which Micah cried out against, I cry out against; and such as seek for the fleece and clothe with the wool, and feed themselves with the fat, and kill them that are fed, Ezekiel cried out against such,65 and so do I, the pure seed being made manifest in me lets me see you to be such <90> now, see if you can excuse yourselves. And all such as who lay heavy burdens upon the people, and say they are ministers of Christ, and act those things which Christ forbids, I deny: for saith Jesus Christ, they are called of men masters, and have the chiefest places in the assemblies, stand praying in the synagogues, whose prayers are heathenish, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and love greetings in the market, and under a pretense make long prayers, devouring widows' houses.66 A widow hath no husband, and Christ cried woe against all such, woe was their portion; they painted themselves with other men's words; painted sepulchers full of poison within; woe was their portion, and there you are; woe is your portion. He that upholds that which Christ cried out against is an antichrist, and would you have him uphold antichrist and deny Christ? The world never received Christ, but antichrist. The apostle saith, They go in the way of Cain and run greedily after the error of Balaam,67 woe unto them. Are not all the priests here? And would you have this set up, which all the prophets, Christ and his apostles cried out against? Where the same spirit is made manifest it sees you all in error, blaspheming God and his temple.
Pr. Obj. And by enjoining Tho. Ayrey and Alexander Dixon, and the rest of the speakers and followers that live in this county, to abide at their own houses, study to be quiet, and do their own business, laboring in their own calling, which is the apostles' rule, and not to wander up and down the country as seducers, to draw disciples after them, save only as private men in way of travel about their own occasions.
Ans. Tho. Ayrey and other friends whom you would have to abide in their own callings, according to the apostles' rule, and study to be quiet:68 that they own, but the witnessing forth of the truth doth disturb the man of sin, which makes it now appear: he that is called of the Lord being a servant is the Lord's freeman; likewise he that is called being free is Christ's servant; ye are bought with a price, but be not ye the servants of man. Brethren, let everyone wherein he is called of the Lord there abide with the Lord.69 This call is a holy call which calls into holiness <91> and righteousness, without which none shall see the Lord; and this call is not of man. And the apostles' rule we do own and witness; but as for seducing people we deny, it is your own practice. We were all seduced by you till God did enlighten us & bring us out of darkness into his marvelous light, by which we testify against all the works of darkness;70 and all who are brought into this light are one in unity, & as the apostle saith, exhort one another daily as the light doth appear, building up one another in the most holy faith; and all the children of God shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the peace of them.71
And the saints went from house to house, who were as one soul, and met together in singleness of heart;72 here you show yourselves to be deniers of the practices of the apostles and of the saints, and would tread it under foot, and show forth a beastly nature under the pretense of humility, which is mere hypocrisy and no good at all to poor souls, nor for justice, nor for the Commonwealth, nor for pure religion, nor for the church of God, nor for godliness; but only for your carnal states and for fear of losing your carnal means do you rage. For they that own pure religion, own us; the church of God owns us, and they that own justice own us; and who owns the prophets, Christ and his apostles own us; but you who have their forms and not their power persecute us, so showing yourselves to be haters of the truth. The apostles' rule and use was to go up and down the country,73 who were ministers of God, and rejoice in them whom he had made ministers to witness forth the truth, and did plainly declare they had no certain dwelling place. How dare you take the apostles for your cloak, and their words, and act contrary to their life; they were guided by the Spirit of the Lord, and they did draw disciples after them out of the world and earthly mindedness, in whom the substance of all types and figures was made manifest; they had one heart, one mind: some indeed did forsake them and embraced the present world, as Demas.74 So would you have us to forsake the power of truth, and embrace the present world; then we should not abide in the calling wherein we are <92> called of the Lord. See what a confusion is in your words.
Obj. And for the Lord's gracious guidance of yourselves in the affairs of so great concernment, we shall ever pray.
Ans. You are blind without the truth, and your prayers are an abomination unto the Lord,75 and they who have the gracious guidance of the Lord will witness us; for the free grace of God that brings salvation you have turned into wantonness; it teacheth them to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, them we own;76 where this grace doth guide we have unity with them; but where this free grace hath appeared and is turned into wantonness, them we deny, and there is your conditions: the grace of God hath appeared in many of the justices, which hath brought them from under your bondage, which will not be your executioners to execute your wrath and malice upon the harmless, innocent people. It hath been of late that they who lived under your ministry, the Lord alone was pleased to manifest himself in them, so that they are brought to deny you and declare what was freely revealed in them; presently you cried out against them and had them before magistrates to suppress the truth, praised by the Lord who hath enlightened many by and with his own light, and is setting up his own kingdom to his own glory; praises, praises be unto the Lord God Almighty.77 Never did the apostles go to any magistrate to suppress people, strangers, who witness forth the power of truth in any, where it appears that you have not the same Spirit that was in them. It is the evil in you which would have the truth itself suppressed. It is of great concernment for you to stand up to maintain your kingdom; for if truth rise, ye shall lose your kingdom, eternally shall you witness us to be no seducers, be ye witnesses against yourselves, that ye are witnesses against the power of truth.78
Priests' Petition: To the Right Honorable, the Justices of peace for this County of Westmorland.
<93> Ans. That which is right honorable is that which is pure, which is of God, which worships the Father of heaven and earth;79 now all people fear the Lord Jesus Christ, and see if there be not corruption within that would be honored and worshipped, as ye read in all the Scriptures; they who honored the Lord Jesus Christ cried against deceits, and Jesus Christ testified against the works of the world, and the apostles testified against the same;80 but that which was pure they set up in their souls, and so do we, and honor in our souls.
Pr. Pet. The humble petition of several gentlemen, ministers of the gospel and others, friends and servants to Jesus Christ, his gospel-truths and ordinances, and the general wealth of this commonwealth and nation.
Ans. Never did the gospel ministers put up a petition to a magistrate to maintain the gospel nor the servants of Jesus Christ, wherein it appears that you are ministers of the letter, which is carnal and death, and you must have a carnal weapon to hold you up;81 for shame give over your profession: and you profess humbleness; your humbleness is to persecute; here you show forth the nature of Cain, and void of the knowledge of Jesus Christ; and the ordinances of Jesus Christ was never set up by man, but man who lived in his own will was ever against them; and you know not his ordinances, for they that knew his ordinances were not persecutors; but Paul before he was a minister of Jesus Christ, and knew his ordinances, he came with letters from the priests, to persecute the saints who believed in Jesus Christ, and were of one soul, and met together, yea in the night time, all night,82 where it shows you have but the form, not the power, which must be turned away from according to Scripture.
Pr. Pet. Showeth, that in the late wars, we, or the most of us, did expose lives, liberties, estates and relations, with all other personal advantages, in the just defense of religion and liberty, in concurrence with, and maintenance of the just proceedings of <94> our Parliament; after the prosperous effects whereof, we expected the settlement of the grand ends of our engagement, and so much the more, as being the promise of the Parliament, the vows of their affections, the price of our prayers, purses, hazards, losses, banishments, and the blood of many thousands our fellow servants in the work of God, freely sacrificed in the quarrel of this nation: what hath been done in the setttlement of our good, rights, peace, and wholesome law, we bless God for, and the parliament as his instruments; herein we but acknowledge what hath been done by them in the cause of God, as their Acts against adulteries, fornication, swearing, drunkenness, Sabbath-breaking, ordinances against promoters of heretical doctrines, acts against Ranters or blasphemers; may the Lord increase the number of these things.
Ans. If ye will own the wholesome law ye will own us, but this is but a pretense; for who owns the wholesome law denies all corruption; this is but a pretense whereby ye make a color to make them that live in the truth to appear odious unto the world, setting forth yourselves unto the world, Pharisee-like, and there to make the pure truth odious, through your envious minds; but the day doth declare all things,83 your end will make it manifest, though you pretend yourselves to be ministers of the gospel, yet your ends will show you to be bloody Cains,84 and it doth now begin to appear, the second birth is brought forth, which doth not own your sacrifices, this birth you seek to slay.85
Pr. Obj. Yet so it is, that in this county, several persons proselytes of one Geo. Fox and James Nayler, do in the time of our assemblies, ordinarily in a way of contempt and scorn, come in among us with their hats on, at time of our prayer or singing used in our congregations, some of them show violent actions in time of sermon or prayer or singing, and cry out aloud with horrible clamors, slanders, abuses, reproaches against our ministers.
Ans. That is false, for our friends show no violent actions but are against them, but come peaceably in; and if they be moved by the Lord to cry aloud, who art thou that wilt withstand the Lord? Do not you read in the Scripture that the Lord sent <95> his prophets and bade them cry aloud and spare not?86 And as for clamors, we utterly deny, it is your own: and as for slanders, abuses, reproaches, we utterly deny, it is your own, we are against all filthy minds that give forth reproaches, but we speak the same language the Scripture doth from the same Word that gave it forth; and your ministers which go in the path which all the holy men of God cried out against,87 we speak the same language against them that they did, and by the same Spirit, we see them take all people to record to judge, who have light in their understandings, and the fear of the Lord to judge; do not your priests bear rule by your means; and was it not a horrible filthy thing in the time of Jeremy?88 and is not the same held up in this age now? And do they not seek for their gain from their quarters, greedy dumb dogs? Do not they take money for that which is not bread? And do they not now seek for the fleece & clothe with the wool, and make a prey of the people, which Ezekiel cried woe against?
And are you not hirelings, which Micah cried against,89 and them that put not into your mouths, you prepare war against them, sue them at the law; and are you not called of men masters?90 Have not ye the chiefest places in the assemblies? Stand praying in the synagogues? And do you not lay heavy burdens upon the people, which Jesus Christ cried woe against such? Are not you in the same steps here? Let the Scripture itself judge you; and do not you draw people to those things which there is no Scripture for? telling them of a sacrament, for which there is no Scripture, telling them of sprinkling infants, which there is no Scripture for, telling people they are ordinances; all such ordinances we deny: but the ordinances of God we own. And doth not the Scripture say, he that adds or diminishes, the plagues are added unto him?91 And were not the Galatians bewitched who were drawn from the anointing within them, which God had commanded?92 And do not you draw people to the things there is no Scripture for, telling people they are ordinances, and are not you in the same generation, bewitching people, drawing them from the Spirit of the Lord <96> within them, to follow your imagination? and them that do not, you persecute them who obey the commands of God and the ordinances of Jesus Christ, to walk in the truth in the inward man, which is unknown to you in the world; but it is that the Scripture might be fulfilled: They shall be hated of all men for my name's sake;93 and they through feigned words shall make merchandise of you, saith the apostle,94 who go in the way of Cain to murder, who love the wages of unrighteousness, who have the spirit of error and causes people to err, for the mind that goes from the pure within is erred, and that sets up Baal without, before God; but all whose minds are guided by the Spirit of the Lord up to God, deny all Baal's priests. Now do not say this is railing or false accusing; in these steps are you, which the holy men of God cried out against: read yourselves and let all men judge; and as for coming into your synagogues with hats on when ye are singing of psalms, thou priest, hast not thou one or two caps on, and when ye read psalms hats must be on, and when ye sing them hats must be off: here ye worship the works of your own hands. As David's tremblings, quakings, wastings, weepings, roarings till his sight grew dim, and watered his bed with his tears, and roared all the day long,95 prophecies, praises, prayers, these you sing, having turned them into rhyme, crying, Let us sing to the praise and glory of God—which is all to his dishonor: if one should see one of you lie in David's condition weeping and roaring, and turn it into meter, and go among a deal of ignorant people, and cry, let us sing to the praise and glory of God, would you not say we made a rhyme of you? as you have made of David. All such practices and singings we deny, but we will sing with the Spirit, and with grace and understanding. The apostles which you profess in words, you do not read that when they went into the world they gave David's experiences in meter to sing, but was against all traditions of men; and so are we now, with the same Spirit.96
Pr. Pet. To the stirring up of woeful tumults, evident disturbance of the work, and the turning of the peaceable assemblies of the church of Christ into the grossest confusion.
<97> Ans. For shame never mention your churches to be the churches of Christ, which will so soon be turned into confusion; do not so dishonor the Lord Jesus Christ and so little esteem his church, which is the pillar and ground of truth; and can the pillar and ground of truth be shaken?97 A church must be that which is the ground and pillar of truth; the church of Christ needs not have a carnal weapon to maintain it, but it is now as it was; they who had received the substance came into the assemblies, witnessed forth the substance, and were haled forth, and bruised, and abused, stocked and stoned,98 so do you us now, almost smothered in your assembles; how dare you say ye are peaceable, when ye are so in rage against a peaceable people who come among you for your souls' good, that ye may be directed unto the Lord, when eternally ye shall witness us, though now you would devour us.
Pr. Pet. That their deportment is such, and with so continual violence against the most godly of our ministers, in all places in their travels, in the streets, abusing them with railing language, scornful behaviors, walking in the markets with such great numbers together.
Ans. As for violence, we deny it, it is your own, you show it daily, and in this petition you make it appear. As for godly ministers, such we set up who are made ministers by the will of God, and not by the will of man;99 but such as are made ministers by Oxford and Cambridge, such we deny; they who are made ministers by the will of God will not persecute any, but here you make yourselves manifest not to be such; for if ye were, ye would own us. As touching railing language, scornful behavior, it is false, it is your own; and herein you do abuse us; such practices we deny, which are according to the course of the world. Was it not the practice of the apostles to dispute daily in the markets, in the schools, in the synagogues, and their practice here you do deny and show yourselves to be in that generation that persecuted the apostles, who now persecutes us where the same power is made manifest, but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, for every jot and tittle must be fulfilled.100
<98> Pr. Pet. And scarce passing by any not of their judgment without abusing words, that it cannot but show us, as no small symptoms of bad designs, so no small reason to provide for our security.
Ans. As for abusive words, it is false; it is the abusive mind that speaks, which now appears to scandal the truth. Several of us, who be of one heart, meet together sometimes in the market, and sometimes in other places; and if we see pride and drunkenness and be moved to reprove and exhort; see and hear cursed speakers, swearers, moved to reprove and exhort them; or men fighting and brawling, cozening, cheating, deceitful merchandising, lying and dissembling, which we say woe is upon, do you call this abusive? And we bid them repent and turn unto the Lord while they have time, and now to prize it, for the great day of the Lord is coming wherein every one shall give an account.101 And the apostle warned all, small and great, to turn unto the Lord and repent, which we cannot but do the same who have found mercy of the Lord, who brought us to repentance and changed our lives; and this is it which you call abusive. And poor creatures, ye need not seek for security, for there is none of them who are friends of the truth, and in the truth that will hurt you. Now do you show yourselves to walk in the apostles' practice, or quite against it? here you openly show yourselves to be men who would uphold iniquity and vice and would not have it reproved, but persecute such who reprove the wicked; whose righteous souls are vexed, as just Lot's was, with your filthy conversation, who uphold iniquity and live in it. 'Tis written, "The wicked shall fear where there is no fear"; and did not the true prophet say, "Cursed is he that makes flesh his arm, and puts his strength in man."102
Pr. Pet. That it is their great design to stir up the spirits of people against the ministers of England in general, without distinction, setting forth and sending abroad daily, almost libels and slanders against the office as needless.
Ans. The Spirit of God, if it be raised up, we do witness it will testify against you, and all your practices;103 and whereas we are moved to write abroad, showing forth the errors and deceits of <99> you, which as a scandal you call to be libels: but if ever you own the prophets, Christ, and the apostles, ye will own them which are given forth by the same power and Spirit: and all your offices which are made by man, and are of man, we deny, and slanders we deny, they are your own, and now you vent them forth.
Pr. Pet. Terming them as or under the names of antichrists, antichrist's merchants, tithe-mongers, robbers, deceivers, ministers of the world, priests, murderers, conjurers, devils, and attempting to make proclamations in the open markets to the said effect.
Ans. Are you not antichrists? Do not you act those things Christ forbids, and upholds that which Christ doth forbid, showing yourselves to be antichrists? Do not you mount up into the highest places in assemblies, are called of men masters, which Christ forbids, and said to his, be ye not called so. And do not you buy and sell the letter, make merchandise of it,104 whenas the ministers of God said that the gift of God could not be bought and sold for money, and said he was in the gall of bitterness who thought to buy it.105 And here you show yourselves to be in the gall of bitterness: repent, repent, that the thoughts of your hearts may be changed. And Job said that the wisdom of God cannot be bought and sold for money, nor gold, nor pearls;106 nothing is to be compared unto it; and do not you show yourselves to be merchants of the letter? For the gift of God cannot be bought and sold. And do not you openly show yourselves to take tithe of people, and do not walk according to the law. Levi, who received tithes, the strangers, fatherless and widows were to come within his gate and be filled,107 which ye do not so, showing the spirit of error, and yet would be maintained in your deceit; but God in his infinite love hath raised up a light, gathering his people from you, discovering your deceit.108
Are ye not robbers? Do not you steal the words of the prophets, Christ and his apostles, and sell them for money? and so are thieves and robbers which Jesus Christ spoke of, which goes not in at the door, but climb another way;109 and that generation persecuted Christ, and here you show yourselves to be persecuting <100> them in whom he is risen.
Are ye not deceivers? Whenas you draw people to those things God never commanded, and tell people they are ordinances of God, as sprinkling of infants, and saying the steeple-house is the church and the house of God, and tells people ye are the ministers of God, when he never sent you, but studies a divination of your own brain and not from the mouth of the Lord. Here you show yourselves to be conjurers, and hold up outward temples, traditions and customs, tithes, formal singing, praying; do you not here show yourselves to be ministers of the world? For what is acted outwardly is worldly—your original is worldly, your Hebrew, Latin, and Greek is worldly, your church is worldly, but the saints' church is in God, as Paul, Silvanus, and Timotheus to the church of the Thessalonians, which was in God. Do not you show yourselves to be murderers, in the generation of the priests, Cain-like?110 Do you not show it openly, do not ye seek to persecute and put in prison? Some you have imprisoned, some you have haled out of your assemblies, some ye have stoned and buffeted: do not you show yourselves to be of the generation with the priests, whose ministry was worldly, and so ever the ministry of the letter persecuted the ministers of the Spirit: so it is now; here the Scripture is fulfilled.
And are not you of the devil? They that abide not in the truth are of the devil. And do not you show yourselves to be devils, of the devil? Murderers; he was a murderer from the beginning,111 and which of you can say you come to the beginning, but are seeking now to destroy the innocent, a peaceable, harmless people, to bring them into prison and into bondage. Do not you show yourselves to be murderers, seeking to devour, as the Jews who said God was their Father, when they went about to kill Christ, and were of their father the devil, doing the lusts of their father;112 which generation you show yourselves to be in, envying the righteous seed where it is brought forth. But God of his infinite power and love doth preserve his little ones from your hands, from devouring them, to him be all honor, and glory, and praise, who maintains his own truth and sets up his <101> own kingdom, whose sword is his Word,113 and to it shall all nations bow; though you and many others, who are now fighters against God, and would have the magistrates to help you, 'tis hard for you to kick against the pricks;114 but God hath raised up a light in many of the magistrates to see your deceits, and your envy is made appear.
Pr. Pet. That their main drift is to enrage the people against the ministry by reason of tithes, crying out with open clamor against tithes as unlawful, antichristian, to the necessary overthrowing of the laws, to that purpose bringing an odium upon the government, and tending to stir up sedition in the people, to withdraw their due obedience from the laws and government of England.
Ans. The receiving of tithes is antichristian. Are ye all blind? Did ever any of the apostles or Christ receive tithes, or commanded any such thing? Was not he the end of the law? And where the Spirit of Jesus Christ is, it testifies against you, who neither walk according to the law nor gospel: for whom he made ministers he sent them forth freely, without a bag or stick or scrip, without two coats, freely ye have received, freely give, the workman is worthy of his meat.115 But here's no tithes, no augmentations. Now you are not here in the steps of them whom Christ sent forth, but shows that you run before you be sent; and where the Spirit of the Lord is stirred up in any, it cries against all such unrighteous ways.
Whereas you speak of a necessary overturning the law, therein you show forth your weakness, and a mingle-mangle of your mind. As for bringing an odium upon the government, it is false; for the righteous law of God we honor and set up in our souls, and that is to govern that which is unruly and unjust. As for stirring up sedition, as for drawing people from the righteous law of God, that is your own condition under a pretense of making people believe we deny government and the law; that is false.
If you were as careful and watchful in your own kingdom over drunkards, blasphemers, swearers, fighters, liars—if you were as watchful over them, then you might say you were friends of the government, and of the righteous law; but if any <102> come into the markets and reprove such things, or read a paper in the market against uncleanness, such you hale out, stone and persecute; herein you show there is no friendship with the law; but if a man bring a sieve of ballads, or jest books, rhymes or themes, and sing these in the markets, these are suffered, these libels are not minded; which shows now your venom against the truth and against them that speak from the mouth of the Lord.
Pr. Pet. That besides what others perhaps may know of the blasphemies of them, we do plainly see and know that their practices do exceedingly favor of sorcery, the quakings, swellings, roarings, foamings, and such as we never heard of, but such as were possessed of the devil,116 of persons at their meetings, and especially of young children.
Ans. You can judge no otherwise, being of the generation of them that persecuted Christ, calling truth blasphemy; but blasphemy we do deny, sorcery practices we deny, and we see you in that generation, in witchcraft and sorcery, drawing people to follow your invention, who have painted yourselves with others' words, mystery, witchcraft, all who are drawn from the Spirit of the Lord within to follow your imaginations, are bewitched by you with evil thoughts.
And as for quakings, roarings, tremblings, you say you never heard of, and before you professed yourselves to be ministers of the gospel, and yet are ignorant of the Scriptures; you are blind, and do you make yourselves so openly blind and ignorant as not to hear of quaking? Moses, when he heard the Lord speak unto him, he trembled and durst not behold; and Moses quaked and exceedingly feared, and the whole mount quaked.117 And Daniel, when he heard, trembled, and his breath and strength was gone. And Habakkuk he trembled & quivered, his belly shook, that he might rest in the day of trouble.118 And Paul he trembled when he came among the Corinthians, he was with them in much weakness and trembling, and he bade the saints work out their own salvation with fear and trembling.119 And Job he trembled, and David he quaked and trembled, his bones did quake. And Isaiah <103> said, Hear the word of the Lord, all ye that tremble at his word.120 And Christ said, Your brethren that hated you and cast you out for my name's sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified; but he shall appear to your joy, but they shall be ashamed. And do not you cast us out in your mouths, as the filth and off-scouring of the world? Is not here the Scripture fulfilled? And Jeremy, which was sent to speak unto the people the word of the Lord, said, Hear this, a foolish people without understanding, will you not fear me? Will ye not tremble at my presence, who have placed the sand for the bound of the sea;121 and such a people then uphold priests that bare rule by their means, so do you now. And David he roared, and watered his bed with his tears, and his flesh wasted till he could number his bones;122 will you say that all these were possessed with the devil? The same power of God we witness now, as was then, and we witness the Scripture fulfilled, and have a cloud of witnesses, which are recorded in the Scriptures, it shows that they have not heard his voice which shakes the earth;123 who denies the letter are not ministers of the letter.
Pr. Pet. And giving too sad a suspicion of it, and the more by reason of the known suspicions upon Geo. Fox to deal with the devil before ever he came to us in these parts.
Ans. Whereas you speak of a known suspicion, you have a suspicion and know nothing; he that knows doth not suspect, but hath an infallible judgment to judge truth from error (with evil thoughts ye judge, as they did of Jesus Christ, who called the master of the house Beelzebub);124 which generation it appears you are of. And as for dealing with the devil, it is your own; for I do witness the works of the devil destroyed: for where Jesus Christ is made manifest, the works of the devil are destroyed; therefore do you persecute me, because I testify against you, that your deeds are evil. And dealing with the devil I utterly deny, and the works of darkness; for he that is born of God sins not, neither can he, because the seed of God remains in him,125 and the evil one cannot touch him: but if they call the master of the house Beelzebub, what will they do unto the children? So it <104> was, Jesus Christ, Lord and Master, had that portion of the world, it is the same now where he is made manifest in any,126 the same generation persecutes, it is no strange thing.
Pr. Pet. That we know the principles of some of their followers are against subjection to magistrates, against distinction amongst men, and the practices of the most is such that there is a denying of relations, children professedly refusing subjection to their parents, and servants to their masters.
Ans. Whereas you say we are not subject to justice, that is false; for conscience sake let every soul be subject to the higher power: for all power is of God, and he that resisteth the power resisteth the ordinance of God. So for conscience sake we honor justice, and all men in the Lord; but as for respecting persons127 we deny, for the Scripture denies the same. He that respects persons commits sin and is a transgressor of the law. He that was a minister of Jesus Christ said this; here you show yourselves to be without,128 and no ministers of God, but would have others to transgress the law of God. O false accusers! where do any walk stubbornly against their parents? but for conscience sake they cannot yield to those things which carnally they would have them act, as follow the worship of the world without them and not worship God in Spirit, and set up your teachers of the world. God hath raised up a light in many young children, draws them to himself,129 and you spew forth your venom against them servants and children, because they will not hold you up, and now when you are like to fall. If Christ's words should be fulfilled where he saith, Call no man father upon earth, and he that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, what would you say to that?130 Fathers and mothers pass away, and love that is in the flesh; but the Father, the Lord God of heaven and earth, is forever, and who owns him will not walk in disobedience to anything but the evil; and if God puts into the mouth of any servants to speak,131 that doth not take them from faithfulness in the outward to their masters where they are. But <105> you accusers, which have the form of godliness but deny the power, ever show forth yourselves: where did any of the servants' masters go to complain to the magistrates? But you priests show yourselves busy about other men's matters,132 only to hold up your own profits and accuse the just with many false and scandalous slanders.
Pr. Pet. That we are sensible what confusions, divisions, tumults and parties are made by these men's disturbances, and cannot but with sadness of spirit remember that such small beginnings have in other nations grown to eat out their peace and stagger the foundation of their states, as also to lay it before you, what advantage it gives for the common enemy, weakens the Parliament's interest in the people's hearts.
Ans. Truth ever stirred up confusion where it was, though it lay close till truth came, as you read in the Scriptures. Christ came to put fire to the earth;133 and the apostles where they came in the markets or synagogues, who witnessed forth the substance, to draw people to it, to serve the Lord in newness of life, to come up into the everlasting truth and peace, then everyone stood up in his own imagination and thoughts, as you do now to oppose the truth, and said they would turn the world upside down.
Pr. Pet. To see such persons unrestrained creates discontents and lays a clear foundation for civil wars, or at least advantage to the Hollanders or French now in arms against us, to carry on their wicked intentions with greater facility.
Ans. The intention of your mind is to have truth restrained, which takes away the occasions of all wars and brings into love and true heartedness, and there is nothing discontent with us but that which doth not abide in the truth. And whereas thou speakest of weakening the Parliament's interest and laying a foundation of new war: this is hatched in your own minds, so to incense ignorant people; it is your own interest that you fear; for if the Parliament should take away your tithes and your means little love would appear to them. For it hath been already said by you that the Parliament hath opened a gap for all blasphemings, but the hands of evildoers we do not strengthen; and you are the men <106> that raise up civil wars against them that live peaceably and love peace and go about to take away the occasions of all wars. For the world raises up a persecution and a civil war against a peaceable people, whose intents are to bring up all to God, to live in unity one with another, to be of one heart and one mind and one soul to serve God in newness of life, whom Christ Jesus hath set free from the traditions and rudiments of the world. Now who are set free from the world you bring under your bondage, and persecute them if they will not obey you, showing forth the nature of Pharaoh, not letting Israel go to serve God.
Pr. Pet. Therefore as you are Christians and English magistrates, we are freemen born of England, and desiring something more as instruments under God with others of your present peace, do beg and challenge from you.
Ans. Now you show your complements: we are no breakers of peace; who owns the peace owns us; and he that bears this sword that cuts down all corruption and filthiness owns us.134 For there is no peace to the wicked, saith God, and this you shall all find who would have peace to that which must die; it is your eternal peace and eternal soul's good that we are moved of the Lord to speak unto you for, which eternally you shall witness.
Pr. Pet. 1. Your timely looking unto the peace of England, that it seems too evidently to be endeavored to be rent asunder.
Ans. Justices that keeps peace, we honor and set up, and wait all for the peace; but your intention in this is to have truth suppressed and wickedness flourish, and the works of darkness not discovered: here is justice weakened and the hand of evildoers strengthened against the innocent, which ever the chief priests did; for they asked to release Barabbas and crucify Jesus the innocent, and gathered the elders against him to seek to put him to death; so do you now, where he is made manifest, who are of the same generation.
Pr. Pet. 2. The protection of ourselves and our ministers from violence, or disturbance in our worship of God, and suppression of offenders.
Ans. Where did the saints or ministers of God seek to a <107> magistrate to protect their worship? but on the contrary they were persecuted of such,135 which the Jews and priests did incense them to, which is the same you do now; as the Jews who came against Paul and said he was a pestilent fellow, a mover of sedition, a stirrer up of heresy, a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes, turning the world upside down, and teaches contrary to our custom and this holy place. He told them, God dwelled not in temples made with hands, neither was he worshipped with men's hands,136 which outward custom you are upholding now in the same nature that they were in. When the Jews brought Paul to Felix, holding up their own customs by an outward law, as imprisoning him, Paul had no law to maintain him but the law of God, and the eternal Word to guide him; and the same we do witness against all the powers of men, but the power of God let every soul be subject to.137
Pr. Pet. 3. Execution of the statute against sabbath-breakers and such as under pretense of religion are in no religious assemblies that day.
Ans. All that live in pretense of religion, and not in power, is nothing; all that owns pure religion, owns us; and all that owns the sabbath, the eternal rest, the eternal day, owns us; but while people have met together to set up you, who in the weekday invented fashions, and on that day put it on, so the eye goes out looking at new fashions, and in the weekday follows oaths, drunkenness, profaneness, pleasures, and such practices we deny. But to live righteously, soberly in this present world, this we own; and whom you find wrangling, walking in uncleanness, cursed speaking, fighting, drunkenness, upon such you should lay the law. For the law was made for the lawless; but you pretended ministers seek to bring upon us bonds, who are redeemed from these ways, through the love and power of God. If you were the ministers of God you would go about to bring people from under all law, up to God; but you show yourselves to be of that generation which shut the kingdom of heaven from men, which kingdom is a kingdom of peace, this we witness.138
<108> Pr. Pet. 4. Charge to all differing judgments, to meet together each Lord's day peaceably, and not to spread themselves to several places for disturbance.
Ans. If any be moved by the Lord to come into your assemblies, to speak the word of the Lord unto them, for your soul's eternal happiness, would you have this limited? This is your intent, to limit the Holy One of Israel. As for disturbance, we all deny, and to draw people up to God, that we do, out of all carnal ways; for God is a Spirit and will be worshipped in Spirit and in truth, and this worship we own. And who are here, denies all your temples and priests; herein is one priest, Jesus Christ, the bishop of our souls; for they who received the substance denied the priests, and they met together the first day of the week, and when any was moved to go forth they went and witnessed forth the substance to them that lived in the shadows. This we do, and now to deny you priests (being ye cannot witness your call) the temple which God never commanded, they that are in the temples of God do. This dark ministry hath long reigned over people and kept them in bondage under imitated forms, but now God is raising a light in his people,139 to gather them up to himself, to live in love and unity one with another.
Pr. Pet. 5. Suppression of persons living without any calling.
Ans. Then this suppression must come upon yourselves, for you cannot witness that ever you were called of God or sent forth by Jesus Christ to preach the everlasting truth; for if you were you would not raise up persecution against them that witness a call from the Lord. Who of you receive whipping, stocking, stoning, prisoning, buffeting, and haling us out of your assemblies, who do pretend yourselves to be ministers of Christ; wait to have that suppressed in yourselves that persecutes, then you will not seek to oppress the just for your own ends, that ye might be maintained in your beastly worship and your antichristian ways.
Pr. Pet. 6. And your witnessing against all blasphemers of the name of God, especially such as are contained in the acts of Parliament.
Ans. If you would have them witness against all blasphemers, <109> then they must witness against you, who calls evil good, and good evil, and vents forth so many blasphemies against them who live in the power of truth.
Pr. Pet. And if the application of any effectual remedy lie not within your power, that you will please to join with us in this desire, and transmit this cause to the knowledge of the Right Honorable the Council of State, as a cause so nearly concerning the peace of England, and we shall ever pray, &c.
Ans. You would have a law or an act forth, under a pretense to suppress the truth under the name of blasphemy, because it doth shake your kingdom, who live in your self-ends: for ranting ways and blasphemy we utterly deny, and takers of God's name in vain, which you do in every word you speak, because ye know him not: he is merciful to the just and unjust, but you show your cruelty against the just and persecute them. Here you show forth your serpentine nature and would beget others in the same envy to join with you, to be the stronger to tread down the truth, as it is written, The beast shall make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb get the victory, praises, praises forever be to the Lord God Almighty; you say the Lord's Prayer, "Forgive us, as we forgive them that trespass against us"; but you persecute them that seeks your souls' health, seeking you and not yours, their prayers are an abomination to the Lord. And what is right and honorable will deny all you and your petitions;140 for they who owns God and Christ owns us; who owns peace owns us and we them in our souls; but all the pretenders of God and godliness who live in uncleanness and ungodliness, denying the power that cuts down iniquity, which we own and set up. Therefore all people whose minds are now bent to raise up persecution, and priests who stand railing in your pulpits, incensing ignorant people against harmless innocent people: are not you laying here a foundation for a new war? and so digging a pit for yourselves to fall into? You need never fear them who live in the power of truth to raise up an outward war, but it is your false suggestion, to incense people to make them believe lies; but God hath raised up a light in people and in magistrates, which discerns all your intents.
Ordered, That whosoever shall hereafter disturb any minister in the public exercise of his ministry within this county, or give any scandalous, opprobrious terms against any of them, shall be apprehended by the constables or church wardens of the place where the offense shall be committed, and brought before the next justice of the peace to find sureties for his or her good behavior, and upon refusing to find such sureties to be committed to the common gaol till willingly they shall do the same, or be from thence delivered by due course of law. And likewise, all such persons as meet in great numbers and assemblies in the nighttime within the county shall be apprehended and bound to good behavior as aforesaid.
Priests' Order. Ordered, That whosoever shall hereafter disturb any minister in the public exercise of his ministry within this county.
Ans. The law of the land doth give freedom to speak after the man hath done; and here you seem to make a new Parliament and new laws, contrary to the law of the land; and here you show yourselves not to do justice, not acting according to the law of the land and the law of God. Moses said, who witnessed forth the law and was ruler in the law, he wished that all God's people were prophets.141 Now he was faithful in the law of God which God had commanded him; and here thou showest to act contrary to the law of the land and turnest thyself out of the justice. And the minister of God said that all might speak in the true church, and if anything were revealed to him that sat by, let the first hold his peace; for you may all prophesy one by one, that all may be edified and God may be glorified; for the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.142 And here you do show yourselves to be no prophets nor no ministers, and your church no church. If any should come into your assemblies and <111> sit by, and something be revealed to him, and he say, Let the other hold his peace; and you say he disturbs the minister: here you would quench the Spirit and limit the holy one. And here is the Scripture fulfilled upon you: if they should speak you would scourge them in your synagogues, nay stone them, beat them, and imprison them, and mock them: and is not Jesus Christ's words fulfilled here? "And they shall persecute you."143 And now you show it forth; blush for shame and never take him for a cloak, for you are in the same generation of them that persecuted them who lived in the truth; be ye witnesses unto yourselves that you are in the same nature that they were in that haled Paul out of the temple. How darest thou then take his words into thy mouth: O brazen face beast that doth not abide the truth!144
Pr. Ord. Or give any scandalous, opprobrious terms against any of them, shall be apprehended by the constables or church wardens of the place where the offense shall be committed.
Ans. That which you call scandalous terms is the truth upon the deceit, according to Scripture. For Paul said they were bewitched, them that were drawn from the Spirit of the Lord within them to carnal circumcision without them;145 so do you bewitch the people now, as sprinkling of infants and telling them of a sacrament, which there is no Scripture for, and drawing them from their teacher within them. For Jeremiah said they bear rule by their means, and held up the horrible filthy thing that was committed in the land.146 And Isaiah said they were greedy dumb dogs which could not bark, which never had enough, seeking for their gain from their quarters.147 And all people consider, do not all the priests of the world bear rule by their means and seek for their gain from their quarter? we speak the truth, we have a cloud of witnesses. And Micah said the priests preached for hire, and he that did not put into their mouths, they prepared war against him.148 Do not you priests sue men at the law, if they do not put into your mouths? Nay, of your own church—and yet professes yourselves to be teachers of Christ. O for shame blush! Paul, <112> that was a minister of Christ, said to the saints that went to law, there was not a wise man among them.149 And here thou showest thyself to be no minister of Christ, no not to walk according to the letter, no not a wise man. Jesus Christ said, Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, them that were called of men masters, and so are you, them that had the chiefest places in the assemblies, and so have you; stand praying in the synagogues, and so do you; and with a pretense make long prayers, devouring widows' houses, and Jesus Christ cried woe against such.150 And you hold up those things which Christ doth forbid, and you do make men believe you are ministers of Christ, and that Christ hath sent you, and act those things which Christ doth forbid, and the same woe is upon you that was upon them, that held up those practices; and the apostle said they had forsaken the right way, woe unto them; for they have gone in the way of Cain and run greedily after the error of Balaam.151 Are not you in envy like Cain? Do not you show it forth, and run after the wages of Balaam, for gifts, rewards, and covetousness, who make merchandise upon the people, and as Ezekiel said, they seek after the fleece and eat the fat, and clothe with the wool, and kill them that were fed, and made a prey upon them and devoured them. But as the Lord said, I will gather them from their mouths, and feed them upon the mountains.152 And this Scripture we witness to be fulfilled, praise and honor be to the Lord. And you priests—do not you seek after the wool? Will you make a lie of Scripture? Friends, do not say this is railing, for I speak the truth, and have a cloud of witnesses, the prophets and apostles which spoke from the same Word which is made manifest and lets us see the deceits as they saw them and cry against them; and for Zion's sake we cannot hold our peace.153
Order. And brought before the next justice of the peace.
Ans. The prophets and the apostles that witnessed forth these things were haled to prison and before the magistrates, as you read in the Scripture; so here is the Scripture fulfilled by the same generation. Paul was haled out of the temple and was had <113> to prison, who witnessed forth the substance of all types, figures, and shadows.154 And though you have gotten Paul's words, you show yourselves to be of the same generation, haling them out of the temple.155 Be witnesses against yourselves that you are persecutors of the power of truth.
Pr. Pet. To find sureties for his or her good behavior; and upon refuse to find such sureties to be committed to the common gaol till willingly they shall do the same, or be from thence delivered by due course of law.
Ans. Who are redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ from their vain conversations, who live up to God, who are the ministers of God, guided by the Spirit of God, need not have a law laid upon them which is made for the lawless, to bind them to good behavior.156 The end of our ministry is to bring all men from under the occasions of all laws into good behavior, to serve God in newness of life. For the law is made to bind them to good behavior who walk in drunkenness, swearing, and fighting,157 and this is at liberty where there is misbehavior, and you lay your law upon us which you cannot accuse; for Barabbas is set at liberty, and Christ is persecuted and prisoned;158 and here you would lay your law upon them whom you cannot accuse: therefore woe unto you liars who pervert the counsel of God.
Pr. Pet. And likewise all such persons as meet in great numbers and assemblies in the night time within the county shall be apprehended and bound to good behavior, as aforesaid.
Ans. This law it seems is made new, while we meet together to card, to dance in alehouses, to vain pleasures, we were not accused; but now all these practices are denied, who are gathered by the Spirit of the Lord to exhort one another day and night, both which is according to the saints' practice and rule; Paul preached unto midnight, and they met together and did exhort one another, and preached one to another, and builded up one another in the most holy faith;159 and herein we witness the Scripture <114> fulfilled amongst us, praised be the Lord. By this you would not have us to walk according to the Scripture, wherein you bring us to misbehavior, and we see and witness you are the same generation as they were in that persecuted Paul and the saints then which met together in the nighttime. If Paul and the saints were here now, you which have got the form of words, you would do it unto them as you do unto us; for all is one.
At the sessions of the peace holden at Appleby the 11th day of January, 1652, upon the commitment of James Nayler, it being alleged that the words by him spoken were not within the act against blasphemy nor against any law. It was replied by two of the justices that rather than the said James Nayler should go at liberty and abroad in the county they would stand to the hazard of a fine to be imposed upon them by the judges of the assizes, or words to the same effect; and another of the justices said openly that they rather committed him upon the ministers' petition (though no oath of the truth of any particular therein contained was made) than upon the indictment. And upon making the order against the people of God's meeting peaceably in the night season, it being urged that the Parliament had given liberty of meeting, it was replied that it was no matter; they would in their discretions restrain their meetings on the night time, or words the same in effect. Another justice who gave the charge, who was formerly in arms against the Parliament, the most part of his charge was composed of nothing else but railing against the people of God, whom by way of reproach he called Quakers: the truth of these particulars will be attested upon oath. Likewise Justice Pearson, when I parted with him, told me that he must give an account at Newcastle to the ministers and others of their proceedings.
It was ordered by thejustices at Appleby that James Nayler and Francis Howgill should stay in prison till the petitions be answered; I was moved to answer them, and we could not <115> have a copy of the petitions from Tho. Kilner the Clerk of the Peace but we must pay four shillings and six pence for them, which we know was oppression.
The chief priests were ever the greatest persecutors of the truth, and under the name of profession sought always to destroy the seed of God wherever it was made manifest, and they are the same still; wherever the seed of God is raised up then they in whom the seed of the serpent is head seek to devour it. The dragon not having power to devour the man child, yet he will still persecute the woman in whom he was brought forth.160 When Jesus Christ was born, all Jerusalem was moved and troubled, and when Herod demanded where Christ should be born, the chief priests and scribes of the people told him, in Bethlehem,161 and in all the coasts thereof Jesus Christ showed to his disciples that he was to suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed of the chief priests and scribes:162 when they saw the wonderful things that Jesus Christ did, and that little children did confess him, they were sore displeased; the chief priests and elders of the people came unto Christ as he was preaching and asked, By what authority dost thou these things, & who gave thee that authority?163 The chief priests and Pharisees sought to lay hands on Jesus for speaking the truth; Jesus told his disciples that he should be betrayed into the hands of the chief priests and scribes, and they would condemn him to death and deliver him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. The chief priests, scribes and elders assembled to the place of the highest priests and consulted that they might take Jesus by subtlety and kill him. The chief priests hired Judas to betray Christ. The chief priests and elders of the people set a great multitude with swords and staves to take Jesus; and when he was taken they led him to the high priests, where the scribes and elders were assembled; the chief priests and elders and all the council sought false witness against Jesus to put him to death. The high priest, when <116> he saw that he could not find witness to condemn him, then he arose and provoked him to speak, that he might ensnare him in his words; but when Jesus held his peace, then the high priest did adjure him by the living God to tell whether he were the Son of God or no. And when he witnessed forth the truth, the high priest rent his clothes and said, he hath spoken blasphemy, what further need have we of witnesses? And from that they concluded he was worthy of death, and then they spat in his face and mocked him.164 And when the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. And when they had bound him they delivered him to Pilate.165 When Judas brought again the thirty pieces of silver the chief priests confessed it to be the price of blood and took counsel how to dispose of it.166 The chief priests and elders accused Christ before Pilate of many things. Pilate knew that for envy they had delivered him. The chief priests persuaded the people to take Barabbas and destroy Jesus. The chief priests mocked Jesus on the cross, with the scribes and elders, and said, He trusted in God, let him deliver him now if he would have him, for he said, I am the Son of God.167 The chief priests called Christ a deceiver; the chief priests and elders devised a lie and gave large money to the soldiers to report it, and promised them security in so doing.168
The chief priests and the captain of the temple come upon the apostles, and being grieved that they preached through Jesus the resurrection of the dead, they laid hands on them, and put them in hold; and the next day the high priest and all his kindred gathered together, and when he had set them in the midst they asked them by what vows and by what means they had done this.169 And though they could not deny the power, yet they agreed to threaten the apostles lest the truth should spread any further. The high priest and they that were with him were filled with indignation because of the works done by the apostles, and put them in the common gaol. The high priest called the council and all the senate of the children of Israel against the apostles, and sent to the <117> prison to have them brought; and when they were come the high priest said, Did not we strictly command you to teach no more in this name?170 And when the apostles did still witness forth the truth, they took counsel to slay them. The high priest examined Stephen, and for witnessing forth the truth he was stoned to death.171 Saul had letters from the high priest whereby to persecute the saints and to bring them bound to the chief priests. The high priest commanded to smite Paul on the mouth for speaking truth. Forty men having sworn to murder Paul came to the chief priest for help to act it. The high priest descended with the elders and a certain orator who was to inform against Paul.172 The chief priests and elders informed Festus and desired judgment against Paul.173 The priests and the prophets and all the people said, Jeremy thou shalt surely die, because he spoke the word of the Lord.174 The priests and the prophets accused Jeremy to the princes, saying, This man is worthy of death; yea both priest and prophet are profane, yea in my house I have found their wickedness, saith the Lord;175 yea his watchmen are all blind, they are ignorant, yea they are greedy dogs that can never have enough, they are shepherds that cannot understand, they all look for their gain from their quarters. Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink, and tomorrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant.176 Awake ye drunkards, and weep and howl all ye drinkers of wine, gird yourselves and lament you priests, howl you ministers of the altar,177 they build up Zion with blood and Jerusalem with iniquity. The heads thereof judge for rewards, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money, yet will they lean upon the Lord and say, is not the Lord amongst us, no evil can come upon us.178 And now ye priests, this commandment is for you. If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the Lord of Hosts, I will even send a curse upon you and will curse your blessings, yea, I have cursed them already because you do not lay it to heart: but behold I will corrupt their <118> seed and spread dung upon their faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts, and one shall take you away with it. And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi, saith the Lord of Hosts.179 A wonderful, a horrible thing is committed in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means, & my people love to have it so, but what will you do in the end thereof?180 for from the least of them to the greatest of them they are given to covetousness, and from the prophet even unto the priest, every one dealeth falsely. They have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people deceitfully, saying Peace, peace, where there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abominations? Nay they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush; therefore they shall fall amongst them that fall; at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the Lord.181
I was moved to write this, after the trial at Lancaster.
Friends, do not call this railing, because we use plainness of speech, and not with feigned words, nor sew pillows under your elbows, as the false prophets did, as you read in the Scripture; but we use the same language of the prophets, Christ and the apostles, who spoke against feigned humbleness, as it is as the Scripture saith. They go on in the way of Cain, and run greedily after the error of Balaam, and many shall follow their pernicious ways, of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. O all friends and people, see if there be not something within you which shows you sin and evil, and the deceits of your own hearts; which if you do hearken to it and love it, you will love Christ: for he is the light, and hating this light you hate Christ, because your deeds are evil, and will not bring your works to the light, lest the light should reprove them: and here is your condemnation, the light within you, and it is not a chapter nor a verse without you. And loving this light it will bring you off all the world's ways and worships to worship God: for they walked in their own ways, which spent their money for that which was not bread, and there you are in <119> your own ways; and it will draw you out of all the world's churches into the church in God. And wait in this light, and it will gather all your hearts together to live in unity one with another; and it will lead you to the everlasting day of the Lord; and walking in that light there will be no occasion of stumbling: for being disobedient to the light, there will be stumbling at noon day. Therefore all people prize your time, this is the day of your visitation and salvation; and if ever you own a clean & pure conscience you will own us; and if ever you come to know Jesus Christ you will own us; and if ever you own the Lord God of heaven and earth and come to know him and worship him, you will then own us and know us; and if ever you own the life of the prophets and the apostles, you will then own us to be sent of God, and of God; and we seek not yours but your saving health and soul's good, and your eternal peace and happiness, and eternally shall you witness us, to that which doth convince you: I speak that which will witness with me in the end, when the thoughts of every man's heart shall be revealed, and the book of conscience shall be opened; therefore be low in heart and consider where you are, and learn the lesson of Christ and put him on, and forsake all your blind guides without you, and mind the guide within you; they are the sons of God that are guided by the Spirit of the Lord; they are not the sons of God who can profess and talk of the letter and persecute them which are contrary to their opinions, but show forth to be the children of the devil and not of God.
My name is covered from the world, and the world knows not me, nor my name; the earthly name the earthly man knows, and he is afraid of reproach, and cannot bear it upon the earthly name; he that overcometh, hath the new name, and knoweth it; he that is not come into the war, knows it not; he that overcometh, sitteth in his throne, he that overcometh is crowned, he that is judged, and judgment, is brought into victory, and then it is set in the earth; he that overcometh, eateth of the hidden manna; he that overcometh, shall inherit all things: he that is without, hath the old name, and wants all things, and cannot judge any thing; for the natural man knows not the things of God, but the spiritual man judgeth all things; he that hath an ear to hear, let him hear; and blessed is he that reads, and doth understand what he reads.
1. Acts 19:27; John 5:44; John 4:22; Prov. 20:3; Rev. 14:7.
2. Gal. 1:1; John 18:36.
3. Acts 24:5.
4. Acts 17:6.
5. Col. 2:17.
6. 2 Tim. 3:5; Mark 3:22.
7. 1 Tim. 3:15; Col. 1:24; Rev. 5:9.
8. John 10:29.
9. John 18:36.
10. John 15:19-20; Heb. 11:14-16; John 15:18.
11. Matt. 23:24; Gal. 1:1; Jer. 23:31-32.
12. Gal. 1:21, 12; Gal. 1:1.
13. Matt. 10:34-35.
14. Matt. 12:29; Luke 11:21-22.
15. 2 Cor. 6:19; 1 John 3:8.
16. Isa. 55:1-3.
17. Matt. 15:9; Col. 2:22; 1 John 2:26-27; John 11:7.
18. 1 John 2:27-27.
19. John 15:25.
20. Jude 11.
21. 2 Cor. 4:2; 1 John 2:25; 2 Tim. 3:3.
22. 2 Cor. 13:8; Rev. 21:27; Acts 17:24-25; Acts 7:48-60.
23. Rev. 13:8; John 4:22-24; Acts 19:24-27.
24. 2 Pet. 2:2,15; 2 John 1:9; Luke 7:9.
25. Rev. 10:3-4.
26. Acts 21:27,28,30.
27. Acts 17:24-25.
28. John 16:2.
29. John 8:41,33; Luke 13:24.
30. Matt. 23:33-34; Gal. 1:1; 1 Cor. 1:26-28.
31. Rev. 22:15; Isa. 54:17; Matt. 26:65.
32. James 2:4.
33. Eph. 2:12.
34. James 2:4.
35. Eph. 2:8; Acts 8:19-21.
36. Matt. 10:8
37. 2 Pet. 2:13-15.
38. Prov. 26:3; Jude 10; 2 Pet. 2:13.
39. Eph. 2:12.
40. Jer. 23:10; Hos. 4:2; 2 Tim. 3:4; Prov. 12:22; Prov. 28:9; Prov. 15:8-9; Rom. 8:22; Ps. 146:9; Rom. 13:1-2.
41. Prov. 12:22; Prov. 28:9; Col. 2:18; Ps. 146:9.
42. 1 John 4:6.
43. Heb. 13:17.
44. Matt. 23:13; Jas. 5:6; Acts 7:52.
45. Matt. 15:14; 1 Cor. 2:14.
46. Ezek. 34:12-14,8,16.
47. Gal. 4:29; 2 Tim. 3:12.
48. Jas. 1:26-27.
49. Rev. 14:6.
50. Heb. 11:38; Heb. 13:2; 1 Tim. 5:10.
51. Matt. 10:17.
52. Matt. 27:1,20; Matt. 26:3-4.
53. Isa. 9:6; Ps. 23:1; Col. 1:18; 1 Thes. 1:1.
54. Isa. 5:20; Acts 13:50; Acts 12:22.
55. Amos 7:12.
56. Amos 8:3; Ps. 119, 120.
57. Rev. 13:6.
58. Micah 3:5.
59. Luke 1:51.
60. 2 Tim. 3:3-5, and so on.
61. 1 John 2:20,27.
62. 1 John 3:13.
63. Eph. 2:2; John 15:19.
64. Jer. 5:30-31; Isa. 56:10-11.
65. Ezek. 4:2-3.
66. Matt. 23:4-7,14; Matt. 6:5.
67. Jude 11.
68. 1 Cor. 7:20; 2 Thes. 2:3.
69. 1 Cor. 7:22-24.
70. 1 Pet. 2:9; Job 33:30.
71. 1 John 1:7; Jude 20; Isa. 54:13.
72. Acts 4:32; Acts 2:46.
73. Matt. 28:19.
74. Acts 4:32; 2 Tim. 4:10.
75. Prov. 28:9.
76. Tit. 2:11-12.
77. Rev. 11:15.
78. Matt. 23:31.
79. John 5:41,44.
80. John 7:7.
81. Matt. 10:10; 2 Cor. 10:14; 2 Cor. 3:6; 1 John 3:12; John 4:21-24.
82. Acts 9:2; Acts 22:4; Acts 20:7; Acts 4:32.
83. 1 Cor. 3:13.
84. 1 Cor. 3:13.
85. 1 Cor. 15:47-49.
86. Isa. 58:1.
87. Isa. 56:10-11.
88. Jer. 5:30-31; Jer. 10:21.
89. Micah 3:11.
90. Matt. 23:6-8.
91. Rev. 22:18.
92. Gal. 3:1.
93. Matt. 10:22.
94. 2 Pet. 2:3,13-14.
95. Ps. 6:2-3,6-7.
96. 1 Cor. 14:15; Mark 7:13; Col. 2:8.
97. 1 Tim. 3:15.
98. Acts 7:48; Acts 21:30.
99. Gal. 1:1.
100. Eph. 2:2; Acts 19:8; Acts 17:17; Matt. 24:34-35.
101. Rom. 14:12.
102. 2 Pet. 2:8; Prov. 10:24; Jer. 17:5.
103. Rom. 8:10.
104. Matt. 23; 2 Pet. 2:3.
105. Acts 8:18,23,19,20.
106. Job 28:15-16.
107. Deut. 26:12-13; Deut. 14:29.
108. Luke 1:79.
109. Jer. 23:30; John 10:1.
110. 1 Thess. 1:1; 1 John 3:15.
111. 2 John 1:9.
112. John 8:44.
113. Heb. 4:12.
114. Acts 9:5.
115. Matt. 10:10,8.
116. Gal. 3:1; Jas. 2:4.
117. Acts 7:32.
118. Dan. 10:11; Hab. 3:16.
119. Acts 9:6; 1 Cor. 2:3.
120. Job 4:14; Ps. 119, 120; Isa. 66:2,5.
121. Jer. 5:22.
122. Ps. 6.
123. Heb. 12:1; Ps. 29:8.
124. Jas. 2:4; Matt. 10:25.
125. 1 John 3:8-9.
126. Matt. 10:25.
127. Rom. 13:1-2.
128. Jas. 2:9; Rev. 22:15.
129. John 4:23; Luke 1:79; Matt. 21:16; Matt. 11:25.
130. Matt. 23:9; Matt.10:37.
131. Acts 2:18.
132. 1 Tim. 5:13.
133. Luke 12:49.
134. Rom. 13:4.
135. Acts 24:5.
136. Acts 17:24-25.
137. Acts 24:14; Gal. 1:1; Isa. 33:22.
138. Matt. 23:13.
139. Luke 1:79.
140. Prov. 28:9; John 5:44; Prov. 20:3; Rev. 14:7.
141. 1 Cor. 14:30-31; Num. 11:28-29; Num. 12:8; Heb. 3:2.
142. 1 Cor. 14:30-32.
143. 1 Thes. 5:19; Matt. 10:17,23; Heb. 11:36-37; Acts 7:58-59.
144. Gen. 4:8; Matt. 23:33-35; Acts 21:30; 2 Pet. 2:12.
145. Gal. 3:1.
146. Jer. 5:30-31.
147. Isa. 56:10-11.
148. Micah 3:5.
149. 1 Cor. 6:1,5.
150. Matt. 23:6-8,10,23.
151. 2 Pet. 2:15,3; Jude 11.
152. Ezek. 34:2,3,10,14.
153. Isa. 62:1.
154. Acts 21:34; Acts 12:4-5; Acts 16:22-24.
155. Acts 21:30-31.
156. Matt. 23:21; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; Phil. 3:20; Rom. 8:14.
157. Rom. 7:6; Gal. 3:19; Jas. 4:1.
158. Matt. 27:26; Acts 13:10.
159. Heb. 3:13; Acts 20:7-9; Jude 20; 1 Pet. 4:10.
160. Rev. 12:3-5,13.
161. Matt. 2:3-5,16.
162. Matt. 16:21; 21:15.
163. Matt. 21:23.
164. Matt. 22:18-19; Matt. 26:14-15,57,59, &c.
165. Matt. 27:2.
166. Matt. 27:6.
167. Matt. 28:11-14.
168. Matt. 28:11-14.
169. Acts 4:1-3,6, &c.
170. Acts 17-18,27-28,53.
171. Acts 7:1; Acts 9:1-2,21.
172. Acts 23:2,14; Acts 24:1.
173. Acts 25:15.
174. Jer. 26:8,11.
175. Jer. 23:11.
176. Isa. 56:10-12.
177. Joel 1:5,13.
178. Micah 3:10-11.
179. Mal. 2:1-4.
180. Jer. 5:30-31.
181. Jer. 6:13-15.
a. This appears to be by Nayler, except for the opening epistle by Farnworth, the brief statement by Gervase Benson, and the closing Exhortation by Fox.
b. Thomason date: 29 June 1653.