Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Works of James Nayler > Two Unsigned Papers


Two Unsigned Papersa

     O all you who have cast the law of God behind you and walk despitefully against the Spirit of grace, give over your profession for shame, and never profess you love God, and have cast his law behind you, and walk in uncleanness, fighting, wrangling, quarrelling, in drunkenness and maliciousness, and brawling, railing, and backbiting, cursed speakers, inventors of evil, and doers of mischief. Plotting together to devour the truth, living in wantonness and pleasures, feasting and rioting and gluttony. In misnaming and miscalling the people of God who live in the truth, and covetous cheaters, incontinent, without natural affection, unholy, unjust, and unrighteous, brutish, given over unto all unrighteousness. People and priests are gone out of the way, fierce despisers of them that are good. Now all people and friends, where is your profession and love towards God? Awake ye drunkards, awake ye scorners, and give over your drunkenness and scorning; God scorns the scornful, and drunkards shall rot (Isa. 5:24). "Therefore as the flame of fire devours the stubble and as the chaff is consumed of the flame, so their root shall be rottenness and their blossom shall go up as dust, because ye have cast off the law of God and contemned the word of the holy one of Israel." Awake ye proud ones, for ye are as the stubble, as the fire burneth the stubble so shall ye be burned. Awake you wicked ones, for ye are as the chaff that the wind drives to and fro. Woe unto you liars, for you are without God. Awake and blush for shame, and turn to the Lord. Awake ye dogs which bite and devour one another, for ye are without God; and cross your lusts and learn meekness and tenderness, for that is of God and the other is of the devil. Awake ye idolaters, who trust in the earth; trusting in your riches and in your horses and in your beauty, delighting in your corn and wine. Your woe and misery is coming, for all the gods of the earth must be famished. Oh trust in the Lord and forsake your idols! Come down thou proud one and lay thine honor in the dust; cast down thy crown of pride who art exalted, that the Lord alone may be exalted. Who art thou that art exalted and lifted up in pride? who <74> art thou that sets thy nest on high and oppressest thy fellow creatures, and taxeth them? Remember! Remember that there is a God; and remember what he did to Pharaoh that was a taxer, oppressor, and was proud. Oh consider! thou shalt not escape the judgment of God, thou hard-hearted Pharaoh, thou wild Ishmael, whose hands are against every man; thou profane Esau which despiseth thy birthright for the earth; thou art a place for the dragons to dwell in, greedy devourers; thou that enviest thy fellow-creatures art old Cain; he that envies his brother is a murderer of the Righteous and the Just, whose sacrifice God doth not accept; and thou that art Cain, who livest in envy, God doth not accept thy sacrifice; all your preaching, all your praying, all your singing, and all your praising is not accepted of God whilst you live in envy; for it is the pure that he accepts, and the heart that he requires, and not the murderer's sacrifice, for that is Cain's. Woe, woe to the world; and woe to all you that turn the grace of God into wantonness. Woe, woe unto all disobedient children that will not take counsel of the Lord. Woe, woe to you that paint yourselves with other men's words, that appear beautiful to men outwardly but within are full of poison, whited walls, painted sepulchres, full of deceit and hypocrisy, outside churches, outside forms, outside teachers, formal prayers, formal teachings, formal singing, formal praises, carnal teachers, speaking the carnal letter for carnal money, to carnal and brutish people. Away with all this filthy profession, for the curse of God is upon it and upon all that filthy nature: and the cursed nature holds it up. Who are redeemed from the curse, their church is in God, and their teacher is God, and they are brought to obey the law of God, who teacheth holiness, without which none shall see God; who teacheth pureness and meekness, tenderness and righteousness; and to lay aside all envy, wrath, malice, hatred, drunkenness, railing, theft, murder, fighting, quarreling, and idle jesting, vain songs, and all venomousness, all hypocrisy, cozening and cheating, worldliness and earthly mindedness. For these are the works of the flesh, and who act these things shall never inherit the kingdom of God. O all people consider where you are; there is a light in you that tells you that all these things are sinful. Herein you have learned your condemnation, for you know that you should do no unrighteousness; this light is your teacher, and this light is your condemner: and if you love this light you love Christ; and if you hate this light you hate Christ (for this light shows these things), and your profession is carnal, heathenish and brutish. Hearken to the light, and it will draw you out of all the worships, customs and fashions in the world, up to God, and to live in love and unity one with another; <75> gather in your hearts together in one. Now you have time, prize it. O all people! beware of the woe and misery that is coming upon you: the earth shall be shaken, and all earthly ways. And all your profession shall come to nothing but to be fuel for the fire: heathenish ways, heathenish forms, heathenish teachers. For God is coming to overturn the kingdoms of the world and to set up his own Son, and in righteousness will he establish it and throw down all unrighteous kingdoms, all the heathenish kingdoms, and synagogues of Satan. You which have professed the saints' words will be found to be of the devil and out of the truth: squeaking professors, feigned professors. Away with all your feigned humility, for God is power. Away with all your professors that profess God and Christ, being within full of bloodthirsty devouring, to slay the righteous. And you which profess truth and live not in it, but in envy and sin: you are of the devil, and his works ye do; and every tree shows forth its fruit, and ye are trees. "A good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and an evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit." Now all people consider which of these trees you are; every man and woman is likened to a bottle. "New wine is put into new bottles, and old wine into old bottles." And what is within you pours forth; the old bottle pours forth the old nature, which is envy, wrath, malice, taking God's name in vain, swearing, lying, pride and oppression, and spewing forth your filthiness, corruptness, and all abominations, and all ungodly deeds and unrighteous ways, and your filthy profession, which is in the wisdom of the world, by which wisdom the world knows not God; and he that drinks the old doth not desire to drink the new, and he that drinks the new will not in any wise desire to drink the old. Out of the new bottle proceeds righteousness, or rivers of living water: all people see and consider which tree and which bottle you are. Whether the good tree which cannot bring forth evil fruit, or the evil tree which cannot bring forth good fruit? Whether you be the new bottle that pours forth righteousness, holiness and purity, or the old bottle which pours forth wickedness and all manner of ungodliness? All people see, consider what fountain you are. Whether the good fountain that venteth out righteousness, or the evil fountain that venteth out evil and unrighteousness, spewing out the venomous nature? One fountain doth not send forth sweet water and bitter, salt and fresh. And you that send forth the bitter water, you may profess to be of the sweet fountain. But God knows your hypocrisy, and the plagues of God are to be poured forth upon all such beasts. For you are beasts, dogs, swine and devils, who do not abide in the truth. Fat bulls of Bashan, hypocrites and serpents, antichrists, seducers and deceivers, dragons, murderers, and devourers <76> of them that abide in the truth. But they that abide in the truth, the deceits of all the world are discovered to them.

     To all the children of darkness, that stumble at the light wherewith Christ hath enlightened everyone that cometh into the world; saith Christ, "I am the light of the world, he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life." And this light you deny to be sufficient to lead to God, and here you are unbelievers and cannot believe in the Son of God, whom the Father hath given for a Covenant of light, that whosoever believes in him should not abide in darkness; but you that deny this light deny the way of the Father, the way out of the world, the way out of darkness; you deny the prophets and apostles and all the holy men of God, for they all walked in this light and spoke of it; and you deny the Scriptures given out from the light, and by this light you are condemned and found to be of that sort which all that dwelt in the light bear witness against, for of this sort you are who deny the light: such as are blind guides, proud and covetous, such as are called of men masters, such as bear rule by your means, hirelings, greedy dumb dogs, such as seek for their gain from their quarters, seeks for the fleece, lay heavy burdens on the people, such as go in the way of Cain and after the error of Balaam for gifts and rewards, and such as with feigned words make merchandise of the people; which Christ the light, and all that walked in the light, cried woe against; and their words in the Scripture are left as a witness against you all, who live in such things, which words you dare not stand to be tried by, they are so plain against your practice, but wrest them by your subtlety, giving other meanings and private interpretations on them, to make them fit your private ends and filthy practices, and thereby they have covered your filthiness and hid your iniquities, all these times of darkness; and have gone under the name of the ministers of Christ, by crying out against others for persecuting, quarrelling, fighting, stocking, stoning, suing, covetousness, pride and idleness, and thus by your fair pretenses have ye deceived the simple; but now that the same Christ is manifest which hath always been persecuted, by his light are they discovered to be these who garnish the sepulchres of Christ, the prophets and apostles whom your fathers slew, which ye yourselves are in the same work; are not you now found beating, backbiting, stocking, imprisoning, suing, false accusing and persuading the powers of the earth against the bodies of these, where the light of Christ is owned and <77> the brightness of his coming manifest to lay you open, so that the prisons are filled by your means? Who would have believed within these few years that you had been of them of which Christ spoke, by which his messengers should be shamefully entreated, beat in the synagogues, haled before rulers, falsely accused and imprisoned? Who would have thought you had been the men who should have been found beating your fellow servants, suing and imprisoning for tithes and hire, such who cannot uphold you but sin against the light of Christ in their conscience? and these whom a few weeks since you counted the most conscientious of your hearers, to whom you cried peace, peace: now that they cease putting into your mouths you prepare war against them, and here you are found in the steps of the false prophets, who were enemies to the light and were witnessed against by the light, as all who walk in the light are now turned away from you and are come out from you and made to declare against you with that light; and now by such as are turned from the light are ye upholden, and to them ye fly for refuge; and now you set up drunkards, swearers, scorners, fighters, such as deny the light and bring forth works of darkness to uphold you with clubs, stones, and stocks, fighting and tearing by the hair of the head, and shedding of blood of such as are sent to witness against you; and the most envious and cruel are become your best friends; and the Scripture is fulfilled upon you all: "Like people, like priest"; and the woe that came upon such is coming upon you all, except you repent.


Editor's Note

a. These papers are included in F1992, following the paper by Nayler above (pp. 70-72). Rosemary Moore, in her Bibliography of "Quaker Books: 1652-1659" <www.qhpress.org/rmoore>, expresses her view that they are probably Nayler's.