Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Works of James Nayler > A Public Discovery of the Open Blindness
And seeing that (when you come to speak for your manner of preaching and expounding in your 48th page and other parts of the book) your work goes on in the number of more than one, saying an evidential command we have, &c. Therefore I must <14> give an answer to more than one, and to such as pretend a call to the ministry also; so to you all I direct my answer as followeth.
Query 1. If every man that comes into the world have lightin him sufficient to salvation, how then do you say that I am in darkness? for either you must grant your first or second assertion to be false, or prove me not come into the world, or not born of a woman.
Answer 1. The cause why thou art in darkness is because thou dost not believe and follow that light which is sufficient according to Christ's words (John 8:12). For they that turn from the darkness to the light have the promise; but the unbeliever is condemned in darkness, yet is the light sufficient (John 3:15-19).
Reply answered. In this reply, though nothing said to disprove my answer, nor the Scriptures that proves it; yet you vent what is in the vessel, calling me a deceiver, a wolf, and a serpent; but had not your rage overcome your wisdom you first would have proved me so, before you had so called me; but I have the less cause to be troubled, seeing the servant doth but share with his Lord. You that are not afraid to say, as Satan is a serpent, so is Christ; it's not like I should be counted any better by you. Yet one thing I tell you, that to say that Christ is a serpent, so as the devil is, is no less than blasphemy; and so it would have been accounted, had any said it but who is freeborn in the kingdom of the murderer.
2nd Query. If that light be universal that is soul-saving, shall all be saved, yea or no?
Answ. 2. All that believe, shall; but he that believeth not, the light is his condemnation (John 3:19).
Reply answered. In this you are angry that I should witness the light of Christ sufficient, because all are not saved. And for this I am accused to pretend a private light, and for false doctrine; but seeing it is no falser than that which Christ and his apostles taught, it matters not much of the judgment of the blind guide; the way is not the worse, so it be but proved to be right (John 8:12). Saith Christ, "I am the light of the world; he that follows me shall have the light of life. And John 12:36, saith Christ, "believe in the light, that you may be the children of light," wherein Christ declares the light to be sufficient to all that will believe; but of some he saith, "ye will not come to me that ye may have life" (John <15> 5:40), and to such he saith, "your destruction is of yourselves," but doth not say his light is to blame, or not sufficient, but their unbelief. And the apostle saith the same (Heb. 4:2), "For unto us was the gospel preached, as unto them"; but it did not profit them, not being mixed with faith; but saith, we which have believed do enter, but they to whom it was first preached entered not, because of unbelief; but doth not say the light of the gospel is in full; that's the devil who blames the light of Christ, to clear the unbelievers. Oh what darkness hath covered the blind guide; is there some light of Christ not sufficient? Did ever any bear such a testimony of the true light that lighteth everyone that comes into the world (John 1:9)? You never came so far as John's baptism, who are witnesses against John, against Christ, and his apostles.
3rd Query. If you say yea, I query farther, How is it then that you say I am damned, and where is the reprobate?
Answ. 3. Thou art damned by thy unbelief (John 3:18-19). And where Christ the light of the world is not known within, but denied, there is the reprobate (2 Cor. 13:3,5).
Reply answered. In this you swell high and call me liar often, if the first word may carry it, but we will try the matter, and turn the lies to the liar. First you say that I say he is damned, which thing you say in your first Query, to which I have but showed him the cause why, but never said by me otherwise than in answer to your own words. Secondly, you say, I say he believes not, which is another lie, as you charge it to be my saying (though in him true), so take these two lies back, and go to the latter end of your reply; and there is a third, where you say, that I say Christ is in the reprobates as well as saints; and yet yourselves so stark blind in the same reply, charges me to abuse the text in saying that where Christ is not known within, there is the reprobate, which I own for truth (2 Cor. 13:5), but that I abuse the text therein is a fourth lie, as the words shall witness who reads them. So these four lies being returned to the founders, you have your reply to my answer yet to make. And whereas you say the Sunb cannot be hid, I say to all who reads your work, and knows the Sonb risen, I leave it to be judged, if to you he be not set in obscurity, and <16> you children of the night, far darker than the clouds.
Query 4. If this light ought only to be minded, and all external means utterly abolished, I query wherefore you teach, and to what end serveth the Scriptures, which were for the making perfect the man of God? (2 Tim. 3:1,6,7).
Answ. 4. We teach to turn people's minds to the light and word, which is the one thing needful to be minded (2 Pet. 1:19; 2 Cor. 4:1-8). And the apostle preached that word to the people which was in their hearts (Rom. 10:6-8). And their preaching was to open the blind eyes, and to turn from darkness to light, and so from the power of Satan, unto God the Father of the light (Acts 26:18). And the Scripture serveth for declaring and testifying that this Christ is he that is the light of the world, and lighteneth everyone that cometh into the world, and the savior of all that believe (John 12:46; John 1:9; 1 Tim. 4:10).
Reply answered. As you made up your last with lies, so you begin this, saying that I grant that all external things are useless, none excepted; when I speak not a word to that purpose, but witness the word and the light thereof to be the one thing needful; nor doth confessing this make useless anything that God made: only it makes the hirelings and false prophets useless, as to teaching, who have not the word and light in them. Another lie is that I say the light in every man is not sufficient to lead out of all the ways of the dark world. And a third is, that I grant the Scripture to be useless. And a fourth is that we cry that down in others that we preach up in ourselves. And a fifth is that I once denied preaching. So these five feet being struck off, the reply falls to naught, and my answer stands as it was at the first, only some rambling words nothing to the purpose, which I forbear to mention, lest I should be as vainly employed in repeating as you in raising them.
5th Query. And if that the external means be useless, to what end were those most sacred gifts bestowed upon men? (Eph. 4:10-12). And how the end and intent for which they were given became void?
Answ. 5. The end of those gifts was for perfecting the saints, and bringing all into one faith unto a perfect man, which they that teach that none can be perfect by those gifts while they live, do set up a faith in people contrary to the end of those gifts; and <17> by setting up external things instead of these spiritual gifts have you lost the gifts, and have made them void, and so are become enemies to the end and intent of them in others who have them and believe the end of them. And thus the end and intent for which they were given are become void to you (Eph. 4:10-12).
Reply answered. This also is made up of great swelling words, and challenges and charges which are false, as you charge them upon me, as that I said in my answer that thou John Deacon had set up external things, and so made void the end of the spiritual gifts, and this you make into three or four lies to father upon me, when my words are: they that teach that none can be perfect, do so; but did not mention thee John Deacon, nor intend it; for I never looked upon thee as one of those teachers, thou never had that wit, though malice enough, to make a cover for one who dare not be seen, lest his works be brought to light. So these bolts turn back upon the makers, with the rest in the former, and the secret deceit is seen you tell on. But the word perfecting the saints sticks much on your stomach, and so I am charged to produce a precedent, of one person in all the Scripture that ever was perfect by any means; and your penalty is, else yield myself a liar: but why a liar? because I say the end of those gifts was for perfecting the saints; and must not Paul be a liar with you also, who said so before me (Eph. 4:10-12)? And can you believe if I produce a precedent in Scripture? however since I am charged therewith, and you ignorant of it, I shall set you where you may find more than one: Job 1:1-8; Prov. 11:5; Ps. 37:37; 1 Cor. 2:6; Phil. 3:15; Col. 1:28 & 4:12; James 3:2; Gen 6:9; Luke 6:40; Heb. 10:14; 1 Thess. 5:2. Search these scriptures over before you conclude me a liar, so shall I not be alone herein. But now what reply to my answer, further than a liar to wit, that I do wrest the Scripture and your meaning, which I quote as it is without the least meaning or wresting at all.
Query 6. If natural light be sufficient without the help of the means, what then is become of the work of grace (Eph. 2:5,8; Rom. 11:6) and of the growth of faith (Luke 17:5; Mark 9:24), the practical use of ordinances (1 Cor. 11:2,23-24), as baptism (Matt. 28:19), the Lord's supper, reading (1 Tim. 4:13), preaching (Matt. 28:20 and several other places), prayer (1 Thess. 5:17; Rom. 12:12), communion of saints in public assemblies (Heb. 10:25)?
<18> Answ. 6. The light of Christ is the gift of the grace of God which brings salvation, which teaches to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world (Tit. 2:11-12). And with this light is the work of grace seen; but thou that callest this natural light, or wouldest make people believe it is not sufficient, must needs be ignorant of that Spirit, whereby that work of grace and growth of faith, prayer, and communion of saints, supper and ordinances is known; for without faith in the light of Christ, these are not known nor accepted, though dark natural imaginations may make an imitation from them in the letter (1 Cor. 2:14). And thus are the works of grace become to all that deny the light and spirit of Christ within, and take up a tradition from the letter without, sensual, having not the Spirit (Jude 19).
Reply answered. The reply to this answer is, O deceitful sophister! and so, because you cannot enter upon my answer, yet to your old trade of lying, your way is open, that I deny the work of grace, faith, and growth of faith, by the use of ordinances, most if not all; and that I waive the question, when as I tell you what is become of the work of grace, to all that deny the light, and what the gift of grace is, which is more rather than less than was asked me.
Query 7. Whether the Bible be the written word of God, yea or no; if not, what means the apostle (1 Cor. 14:36-38; Gal. 1:10-11; 1 Thess. 2:13).
Answ. 7. That is the word which the Bible declares of, which is invisible and eternal, which they that received it of God, and had it in their hearts, did speak, or write it down, which writing they called a declaration (Luke 1:1; 1 John 1:3). But doth nowhere say the Bible is the word, but God and Christ is the word (John 1:1; 1 Pet. 1:25). And of this word the apostle means, which was of God, and not of man, nor by man; and the word of God is the name of Christ, and not the name of the Bible (Rev. 19:13).
Reply answered. Your reply to this is, Thou blind sot, and why so? because I will not confess the Bible to be the word of God. And in the conclusion of your heedless reply you say yourselves, that for the Scriptures to say, the Bible is the word <19> of God, is absurd to imagine; so because I will not say that which is absurd for the Scripture to say, I am a blind sot, and this out of your own mouth; and why is not the Scripture a blind sot also, seeing it will not own your Query no more than I do? Seeing we are guilty both alike, why should you judge partially? And for your Coessential Word, and your Coeternal Word, and your Temporal Word, and your Expressive Word, the Scripture knows no word by these names, no more than your Bible Word, but you who have lost the true word have got so many strange imagined words, till the Scripture will not find you name for them. But we can describe one word in Scripture language, but it's absurd (as you say) both to the Scripture, and us, to own what you imagine. So I had rather be a sot with the Scripture, than a serpent without it. And the apostles preached Christ the Spirit, and not the letter, but the sell-sermons knows not that; and so must preach such as they have for money; and if the Bible be not the word, they may truly say they know none: so it stands in hand, lest they lose their gain: but which of the ministers of Christ came with a book, saying, this is the word of the Lord, and preached out of a verse? And whereas you say John makes a distinct difference between the word of God and the testimony of Jesus, that is false also.
Query 8. If the ministry now established be antichristian, where then, and who be orthodoxal?
Answ. 8. Those ministers who have their authority from Christ are such as abide in the doctrine of Christ, and these are they who are hated of the world, and ever was, for crying out against the deceits and filthiness of the world, priests and people; and whereas thou askest where they are? I say in jails and prisons in this nation, many of these are for the same now, by means of those who live out of the doctrine of Christ and in the steps of the false prophets, scribes and Pharisees, seeking for their gain, bearing rule by their means, being called of men masters, &c., all which are forbidden by Christ, and for bearing witness against such much innocent blood hath been shed, though they ever call themselves orthodoxal and the ministry of Christ established by men.
Reply answered. In this reply you lay a heavy charge upon me, as a Jesuit, and that I sprung from the Romish priests, and <20> much suchlike; which had been well beseeming first to have proved and then have condemned. But notwithstanding I must tell you I am not of that line nor descent; for I am able to abide the search herein, and shall not be found in the least favor with that brood; therefore you are willfully mistaken. Had we been of those whom the pope hath done so much for, as for many others of his own descent, who descended from the bishops, who descended from the pope—had he created us masters over towns and parishes, and builded us great parsonages to live in, and caused poor people to labor for us, to keep us idle, and our families, & provided us ways to take it by force where they denied our demands; had he builded us houses, idols, temples, and consecrated them for us, and set up a worship therein, or may best suit our authority, and none to question it, but a law by him provided to secure us and hale them to prison without bail or mainprise whom the Lord should send to speak against it. Or did we continue in the relics of his superstitious worship, though we denied him in words, and yet lived in all this from him, then there might be some cause to say we sprung from Romish priests, and were branches from that grove of heresy; but that we should deny all this, and testify against all this, and the rest of the papal worship, root and branch; nay if any of us be moved of the Lord to come into any of his houses to declare against all this, we are not suffered to speak, and yet be thus accused by such as live in this, and worship in it, this is but hard measure: but being innocent we are able to bear it; and when it comes to such as are guilty, see you kick not at it. And whereas you say we accuse you to be out of the doctrine of Christ because you are not one with Rome, that is false; it is such as are in the relics of the Romish worship, who are called masters by their hearers, bear rule by their means, teach for the fleece, preach for hire, &c., such as was hirelings, that Christ and all his denied; for the same practice do we deny now; and if any come out of those, and the rest of the popish ways, we deny you not, not while you are therein we may not own you, lest we deny the Lord. And you say your being called masters is cleared by reverend Mr. Baxter, answer him if I can: I say, I have answered him, and you may reply thereupon, seeing he hath not that I know of; and my saying that Christ forbids his ministers to be called masters, you say is a damnable lie, so let the words of Christ <21> (Matt. 23:8,10) judge the liar and condemn him. And you challenge me to prove it, that ever any died for that cause we now stand for; I say yea, some have been beaten and bruised even in your idol's temples, till they have been carried out and their blood shed, and have died ere they recovered; others have been thrust in holes and prisons, and there died, which blood will be required, though yet you are not come to burning, but some are hastening towards it; if God so permit, it will be seen.
Query 9. Since that you say that Presbyterians, Independents, and the like differing forms are of Babylon, and under the destruction thereof, I query who are out of it, and where is the true church?
Query 10. And if you say a small number of Quakers, I query again, where then hath the church of Christ been since his passion, for this 1600 years and more? till this upstart faction spread itself abroad like an infectious cloud; for if in all this time there were no church, then could Christ be no head without a body, nor no husband without a spouse, nor a savior without a people saved.
Answ. All forms differing from the light of Christ are in Babylon darkness and distraction, and the true church is in God (1 Thess. 1:1). Such only are out of Babylon who are gathered out of the world by the spiritual light of Christ, and there hath it been ever since his passion, and he hath never been without, though but in a small number which he hath saved, which the world hated and scornfully miscalled, and into prisons and corners have they been driven all this time of the man of sin and his papal priesthood; but now he is come, who is spreading his truth, and multiplying his seed as a cloud to the Egyptians, wherefore the heathen rage exceedingly. But it seems by thy query that thou ownest the church all along since the apostles to have been in the multitude of the popish priests, rather than in the martyrs, seeing thou speakest so scornfully of a small number to be the church of Christ, who are so contemptible, which the church ever was, and so it is at this day (Luke 12:32; Matt. 7:14; Matt. 20:16).
Reply answered. In this you say you believe I speak truth, and that I tell you here nothing but what you knew before, and yet you murmur at it, and cast your lies upon it, saying that we grant <22> ourselves to be none of Christ's church; which who reads my answer may read what you have there to ground that lie on, so though I speak what you know is truth, and confess too, yet it must not pass without lying and reproach; but you show your nature; and for that you would go under the name of what they was that suffered, I say the name will not cover you, when you are as far from their nature as the sufferer from the persecutor: and your priests are lords over us now, as your fathers the bishops was over them, and whatever the dispensation is, the persecutor is ever in the error, though the sufferer bear the reproach and sufferings also: and so it is now, though the persecutor hath changed his name and form, yet the same malice and work you are in.
Query 11. Whether you own the resurrection of the body after death? If not, of what doth and shall Christ's kingdom consist, for he can be no king without his subjects?
Answ. I say yea, the resurrection I own, according to the Scriptures.
Reply answered. In this you are not satisfied with a Scripture answer, much less would you with mine, and so puts it off with saying a slander on some nameless man.
Query 12. Whether you acknowledge the Trinity of the persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, one substance, but three in subsistence or manner of beings?
Answ. For the word "Trinity," thou mayst send it to Rome from whence it came; but God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, and that these three are one, I know and knowledge according to the Scriptures (1 John 5:7).
Reply answered. Your reply to this is, "O subtle deceiver," &c. And what is the fault, because I will not own your word "Trinity," though I own the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; yet if I do not decline the Scripture phrase, and take up the Romish, I am a deceiver and etymologer, and my pen stinks, &c. Well, be it so, such a deceiver I shall be, to own the Scripture and the sound words therein, against all your popish inventions. And when you have thus railed against me because I will not own it, then you accuse me for bringing it from Rome. So that it's a thing impossible to escape your tongues, who are bent for mischief every way; but it matters not, seeing the reproach of the wicked <23> is not only safe but great riches. Much more such smoke foams out at the pit's mouth, but not worth heeding: such a reply you may return to any answer, which is naught but bitterness and cursing and reviling, so that you forget to speak to the answer.
Query 13. Whether Jesus the Son of Mary incarnated in the flesh, God-man in one person, who died at Jerusalem upon the cross, rose from the death to life the third day, and ascended on high into the highest heavens, and sitteth on the right hand of God, be the true Messiah, as that you own and say is within you?
Answ. Jesus the Son of God and eternal word which came down from God, became flesh, born of the virgin, God and man, who died at Jerusalem, rose again, ascended, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father, the true Messias, which Christ we own to be within us, which no carnal mind which denies his light can comprehend; and "Christ in you except ye be reprobates" (2 Cor. 13:5).
Reply answered. This you say is in some sort satisfactory, but yet you say you have no faith to believe Christ within us; I say I know you have not, for did you believe Christ within, there could not issue out all this mud and confusion uncondemned: but though you cannot believe, yet you can slander that we are deluded: but I look on it as the fruits of your unbelief, and so pass it as not worth heeding, being but a slander unproved.
Query 14. Whether the soul of man be mortal or immortal? If mortal, for what then did Christ Jesus suffer to purchase eternal glory, and what profiteth holiness in life? If immortal, where then shall it abide after death, since you say there is no heaven nor hell but in a man's conscience?
Answ. The first part of this query I answer: the soul is immortal; but the latter part being made up of a lie, I return it back into thy father's bottle, from whence it came, till thou hast proved that ever I said there is no heaven nor hell but in a man's conscience.
Reply answered. In this reply you call me secret deceit, and liar, because I tell you of a lie you cast upon me in your query, to wit, that I say there is no heaven nor hell but in a man's conscience, and because I will not bear it in silence, but lays it open to be a lie, therefore I am called secret deceit, for laying open your secret deceit, and now another must bear it who is not here to answer for himself, and so to excuse the lie, you have discovered the backbiter, who is shut out of the kingdom with the liar. And <24> now Richard Hubberthorne is named, but you dare not say he ever said it, lest he should be nearer than you are aware to disprove you; but lest you should fail, now you slander all our fraternity (as you call it) therewith which in truth is as much as to say nobody; for I am one, but you clear me, saying, you cannot prove it against me, so not all our fraternity; so take the lie back till you find a father for it, for with us it rests not. Also take the other with it, which says that it is usual with me to speak that in one breath, which I will deny with another: which when you prove I shall receive the lie; till then let it rest upon the founder. For your scoffing at the plow, I am not ashamed of it, knowing it to be a lawful employment, much better than the hireling that works not at all, but lives on other men's labors, taking by violence what's other men's labors; but seeing the plow is a reproach with you, why should not the tithes be so also, which are a fruit of the plow, but it seems there is a generation to whom the plow is a reproach, but the sheaves gentle, but the scorners will do scornfully.
Query 15. If you are perfectly free from sin, as you assert you are, what then is the sting of death? or are you in the flesh immortal on earth?
Answ. 15. The former part of this query I return thee back, with the latter part of thy foregoing, being both of one root; but to the latter part I answer, where the new birth is witnessed, which is not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible, partakers of the divine nature, the life of Christ, made manifest in mortal flesh; and where life and immortality is brought to light, there the sting of death is seen to be abolished on earth; but this Cain's generation knows not where death reigns, and therefore would murder such as are translated from death to life.
Reply answered. In this after your old manner your reply is, "O incomparable hypocritical liar!" And forthwith a challenge is made to try the context, whether you or I be the liar. And you say, my own writings must decide the controversy. And the charge is, that I have said expressly, them who say they have faith, and yet their life is not the life of Christ, and say they cannot be saved from their sins in this world but in part, them and their faith we deny. So if I have not denied this in my answer to this query, then you are the liars, but if I have, then I must be he: but have you not here with your hasty railing lost your senses, to <25> put your case to trial in so plain a thing, where there is not the least show of a word, seeming to deny this in the whole answer, neither is there one word here wherein perfection is asserted, so stay till I assert it in my own behalf. Till then, your consequence from what another said will not clear your query of a lie, cast upon me, but afterward you are made to confess your lies in both queries in these words: say you, for charity take this, that the former part of my last query, and the latter part of this, are both of one root, to wit, the false doctrine of your spirit, which is a lying one: so you confess to what I told you they was, so the controversy is decided in this business, and the incomparable hypocritical liar hath confessed to the lie and what spirit it is of.
Query 16. And if you have no sin, to what end is Christ beneficial as an advocate, intercessor and mediator; or is he no such?
Answ. 16. Christ that gives a man a light to see his sin, who redeems and cleanseth him from sin, is of use to us; and all that knows him as the mediator, and of use to keep his from the wicked one, and that he toucheth them not (1 John 5:18). And the same who sets free from sin is he that keeps free from sin; and this benefit we have by him as advocate, intercessor and mediator.c
Reply answered. In this the pit mouth opens again, and out comes "O secret deceiver," with a lie at the end of it; and that is that I grant what I lately denied: and that must be, that I asserted that I am perfectly free from sin. With another lie on the apostle John, the end of which is to deny Christ to be an advocate for the righteous where sin is not committed, your words are these: "But if any man sin (not else) we have an advocate with the Father." And then you conclude, "if you have no sin, then is Christ useless." So by your doctrine to obtain the end of Christ's coming, which is to set free from sin, is to make Christ useless, when the same apostle saith, "He that abides in Christ sins not." Doth he make Christ useless, or is it not he alone that can keep, that the evil one touch not, in whom he is and they in him. But the liars never knew what it was to be in him, nor kept by him, further than to embolden yourselves in the world's wickedness, by talking of him you know not. And it is no <26> strange thing to see you pervert my words all into a lie, when you dare turn the Scriptures into a lie, to deny Christ to be an advocate, unless men sin, saying "(not else)" which the Scripture saith not, so he is no advocate in prayer with you, and spiritual worship, so you have said enough to show your knowledge in Christ as he is advocate, intercessor and mediator.
Query 17. And if you be perfect in purity, what is the cause you are not also perfect in glory?
Answ 17. Perfect glory is perfect purity, and everyone according to their measures are glorified therewith; but this world knows not whose glory fadeth, neither can they judge of it with their impure spirit (2 Cor. 3:18). And of this glory all the saints have a measure in this life, but the world hates it.
Reply answered. What you say in this is suitable to the former, and one answer is to both.
Query 18. And if you disown method in teaching, I query whether you have any command against it? and whether you esteem better than uniformity?
Answ. 18. That method and teaching which is out of the doctrine of Christ, which is in the wisdom of man, and in the wisdom of words of man's wisdom out of the unity of the light of Christ and his Spirit, this we see to be confusion, and not uniformity, and against it we have a command, which was judged with the spirit of the apostles, so do we (1 Cor. 2).
Reply answered. In this answer I am rendered as a fool, though before a subtle sophister, and you say rather deserve to be laughed at, than in the least to be replied to; I say, had you said as little to all the rest, you have showed more wisdom and less lying, though your scornful laughter I justify not.
Query 19. Whether ever intentively the gospel was promised to be made known? or practically, that it was made known without the means (to wit), the ministration of man? If not, why then do you resist it?
Answ. 19. The gospel was made known and promised intentively and practically to the servants and children of God, without the ministration of man, as to Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaiah, and all the prophets, John Baptist, Simeon, the shepherds, Paul, and divers others; and the same he doth at this day, and none can limit him, nor do I resist what means he uses; <27> but such as resist his works deny his light, and would limit him (Gen. 3:15; 9:9; 17:7; Luke 3:2; 2:10; Gal. 1:11-12).
Reply answered. In this I am called blind sophister again, and you say it would be absurd to imagine that any should preach the gospel of Christ, as from themselves, though, say you, "I dare presume to say you do"; so that though it be absurd so to say, yet you dare presume to say it; for your privilege is to speak absurd things, and to presume so to do, yet not see yourselves herein, which did you mind the light, you might see the blind sophister at home; but this is not the first absurdity by many in your book, which you have presumed to cast upon me, though you have not confessed to them all, as to this. Also this must not be without a lie more, which is, that I bring the means to testify against itself, but cannot instance wherein, and when thou hast confessed that we preach the gospel of Christ, and says, "you dare presume to say we do," then say you, "but tell me, hath that man any one spark of grace or truth in him, that cannot see you are truthless?" So to preach the gospel of Christ is a truthless thing amongst you; and such blind stuff as this you cast out at random; nor have I denied any means in my answer, that God is free to make use on, as you would accuse, for I have learned otherwise than to limit him to means, or from means; in what he hath not declared I am silent; but this I say: what means soever he uses, the hireling is denied, and they whose worship is not according to Scripture, as your high-place worship is not, neither in call, maintenance, nor manner of worship in any one particular. And this I am ready to make appear when I shall be called thereto, notwithstanding all the filthy venomous names you have called me in your replies, which shows your inside and the fruits of your ministry, and serve most for that end, for me they touch not, nor hath your replies in the least shaken my answers, though your unclean language have shown your own foundation, and confusion thereon builded.
Query 1. Now seeing you so much oppose the light within, and Spirit, and set up the letter for the light; I say, seeing it is <28> plain all the saints had a light in Spirit to guide them in ways accepted in all ages before the letter was; if you be spiritual men, give it in writing what that light was, where it was, and how they came by it, when they had no letter? or was it sufficient before the letter? is it the same now? or when, or how was it changed, and the letter set in its stead?
1. Answer and reply. In the answer to this query I am charged with a lie, because I say you oppose the light within, and Spirit, and sets up the letter for the light; & yet in the answer your great work is to deny the law written in the heart, and place it now in the letter; and says the gospel is not known by being within; and says it is one of the most principal controversies between us Christians and the Quakers, and says that which was once written in the heart and was sufficient, is now become insufficient; and now since the thing you have stated, that the controversy must be, betwixt the law that was received at Mount Sinai, which you call a lively oracle, and that which God hath written in the heart, we will search the Scripture, for whom it bears testimony, and with whom they side in this controversy. Jer. 31: God makes a promise of the new covenant after they had broken that which you call a lively oracle, and saith God, this shall be my covenant I will make with the house of Israel: I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, know the Lord, for all shall know me from the least to the greatest. And Paul (Heb. 8) witnesseth the same words, and says the first covenant was faulty. And in 2 Cor. 3 he calls that which was engraven in stones the ministration of death, and said he was not a minister of it, but of the Spirit; for said he, the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life, and saith it is done away, that is in the letter. And David saith of a righteous man, the law of God is in his heart, so that none of his steps shall slide (Ps. 37:31); and Paul saith, the law of Spirit and life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and death; and this law you say is become unsufficient, and yet with the same shameless mouth am I accused for a lie, saying, you oppose the light within, and set up the letter; behold your work, and be ashamed you blind guides, who know not the <29> light in you; your states you may read (Eph. 4:18-19), and this blind work you have in hand is suitable. And further to manifest your blindness, you say before that law, their sins were no sins, so by your doctrine it were no sin for Cain to kill his brother, and Sodom and the old world suffered without sin by your doctrine; and such dark muddy stuff as this you utter, but leaves the query wholly unanswered.
Query 2. Seeing you say the Scripture is a rule, declare in plainness: is the whole Scriptures a rule to all men and women to take up the practice thereof? or how much of it is? and to how many people? and to whom in particular? seeing the saints in all ages had their particular commands, how may weak people know which of their commands they must take up, and which they must not? and when they have found the commands, where they must have the power? and whether that which gives the commands be not the power only accepted for performance? deal plain herein, that people may know what to do, and what they have done; that they be not always learning, and never able to come to the end of their labors and rest of God.
2. Answer and reply. In the answer to this query, after you have uttered a sort of frothy words you come to lay down an impudent lie, saying private saints had never particular and peculiar commands; and ere you leave the query you contradict your lie yourselves, saying Noah had a particular command to build an ark, and John to baptize, and the apostles to preach, &c. But for answer to the query, which asks how people may know which of these commands they must follow, you send us to Reverend Pens to seek, but names not where, and so steals away from it.
Query 3. Seeing Christ preached the kingdom of God within unbelievers, and the apostle saith, that which may be known of God is manifest in them; and that they came to the knowledge of God and his glory by the light that shone in their heart, which God showed them, &c. Deal plainly and let people know how it now comes to be without, and denied within, as it is by you. Prove your practice and judgment herein by plain Scripture.
3. Answer and reply. In this answer you charge me with two lies: first concerning Christ preaching the kingdom of God within unbelievers, and to prove that a lie you charge that Scripture (Luke 17:21) which saith the kingdom of God is within you, <30> and among you. The second lie you charge me with is because I said the apostle said that they came to the knowledge of God and his glory by that light that shone in their hearts. To which I say it's no lie, for none ever came to the knowledge of God otherwise but by that spiritual light, and that the apostle said so 2 Cor. 4:6 may testify, and that Scripture (Rom 1:19) which saith, that which may be known of God is manifest in them, for God hath showed it to them: this you say cannot be the spirit of God or Christ, thus being stark blind you utter your lies and confusions without shame and would cast them upon others; but how should you believe the kingdom of God within, who say faith and knowledge is not within.
Query 4. Whether that new birth spoken of the Scriptures be Christ within, or some other thing? and if not he, then what is it? and how people may know it by the letter without the light, when they have Christ, and when they have a spirit of delusion? and whether the light of the Spirit alone be sufficient without the letter to reveal the Son of God, the Father, and all truth, and judge of all spirits whatsoever without any addition to it?
4. Answer and reply. In this answer you run a wild chase, telling of Adam and Eden, & much the like things which you know naught of; and then you tell of the matter whereof the new man is made, and you say the mind and will of man is the matter, to which I say, that's like all the new man you know; so the second Adam is made of the mind and will of the first. The saints had Christ formed in them, which was their new birth, but is he formed of the will of man? The new birth of the saints is not of the will of man nor of the will of the flesh, but of God; but your birth is of the will of man, and suchlike babbling stuff not worth mentioning after you, but leaves the query unanswered, only adds a lie in the conclusion, that our spirit opposes the commands in the letter.
Query 5. Whether the least measure of saving faith in Christ Jesus be not present power above the devil and all the powers of darkness? which if it be, then what is the cause that men must be captivated to commit sin while they live? Whether it is want of faith, or that there is not power in faith to overcome the evil one? or hath any faith in Christ farther than they have power over sin and the world? or is there any rest to a <31> believer short of that power?
5. Answer and reply. In your answer to this query, your whole work is to plead for sin, and that the greatest fullness cannot except from actual sin, and in the conclusion you render it as a dangerous thing, lest they should fight against God's counsel and determination, as though God had determined actual sin, yet dare not deny the query, but say the least measure of faith in Christ is sufficient to keep from the dominion of sin, as though sin had not dominion where it is acted, and suchlike confused stuff you utter, lest any should believe freedom from sin, and you lose your kingdom.
Query 6. Seeing you say the Scriptures is the ground of faith, and that they who can read the Scriptures have power to believe, as you did the last first day; then I say, can any believe who have not read or heard the Scriptures? if yea, then is not their faith without ground (by your opinion) or is there more ground of faith than one? or is the Scriptures Christ?
6. Answer and reply. Instead of answering this, you call me a liar for telling you the truth, the time and place where and when you did affirm that whereof I told you in my query, and hundreds may witness it, for which I then withstood thee and thy companions, among whom it was spoken.
Query 7. Seeing you affirm that none can be ministers of Christ but who are called of man, and are learned men; whether was the apostle Paul a true minister, who saith, he was neither of man nor by man, and what he preached was not after man: nor was it but by revelation (Gal. 1:2,11-12)? Or was Peter, John, and the rest true ministers, who were unlearned and ignorant men? (Acts 4:13), and what lets that God may not choose such now?
7. Answer and reply. This is answered like the former, by denying what thou and thy companions did affirm at the mouth, before many witnesses, and if thou said some, and another other some, and all was as one, was it not affirmed by you? but it's no new thing to say in words what you will deny when you should prove in writing; but being called liar by thee is little matter, so many knowing I speak truth. Farther thou sayest I oppose Christ's commands and belie his institutions in general, which are but two <32> lies more to the number. Another lie you tell of God, saying you dare boldly assert that God never did, nor never will use any extraordinary means to destroy the ordinary. I say, was not the brazen serpent, outward circumcision, and carnal ordinances ordinary means? and did he not by the extraordinary means of his Spirit destroy these? and if it thus befall that which he had commanded, when they committed idolatry therewith, then what shall become of your idol worship, such as he never commanded, now at his spiritual appearing? though the heathen had both bespoiled of their idols, yet down you must, and the event will declare it.
Query 8. What eye is that which the God of this world hath blinded? he hath blinded it, and how it is opened? and by what? and whether the letter can open it, yea or no?
8. Answer and reply. This you excuse, saying you have not read any such thing. I say it's a hard lesson for the blind to read, but that eye was Christ and his ministers sent to open, of which you are blind and cannot read.
Query 9. Whether the true ministry of Christ be the same now for matter, means and maintenance, that it was in apostles' time? or when was it changed into great livings, tithes and set maintenance, and by whom, and in what must it now differ from these?
9. Answer and reply. In this you have excluded all the parish ministry in the nation, in that you say the ministry of Christ is the same now for matter, means and maintenance that it was in the apostles' times, which not one steeplehouse-teacher in the nation is in, so all you can plead for them will not gain what you have confessed against them, till they change their practice. You have now left no place for any meaning, but to the apostles' practice you must come, or else none of Christ's ministers, by your own confession; and then you would plead for another practice than the apostles', and says the apostles' employment requireth haste, and they were to travel from one region to another, were to plant, not to order the vineyard. To which I say, it will be long ere your ministers be in such haste as to leave their parsonages and go travel from one region to another, unless for a better benefit; so by your confession they who are not the same are none of Christ's ministers; so stop your mouth for pleading any change from what was in the apostles' time; but what you say <33> that they were not to order the vineyard, I say that's false: they both planted and ordered, but such as sit at home do neither as they did, so their plants brings forth like fruit.
Query 10. Whether the light of Christ be as sufficient to lead to God now as it was in Abraham's time? and if not, what must now be added to it to make it sufficient?
10. Answer and reply. Instead of one answer to this I receive two slanders, that I seek to prevent his will, and fight against the Spirit of God in the primitive saints. Another lie you tell of God, saying, God then wrought immediately, but he doth not the same now. To which I say, the heathen knew him not to work then immediately, nor do they now, and so it is denied by you as it was by them.
Query 11. Can any preach Christ who have not Christ in them? and where he is, is he not sole teacher, what to preach and pray, and how, and when, and to whom? and is he to be limited by any external thing, or to any external thing? or is any ordinance to be practiced but what he in Spirit leads the creature to?
11. Answer and reply. Your judgment is that they may preach Christ and yet not have Christ in them, and so reprobate preachers you would set up, and it is your likest way, lest you should exclude yourselves and all the rest of that blind generation; but do such know what they preach who preach without Christ in them? For say you, the traitor preached Christ as well as any other of the apostles; I say, such preachers are you of, and such is your fruits, and you murmur at staying for the Spirit, and says it bereaves you of your glorious communion of God. I say what communion is that which is without the Spirit? What glory that is I know, it's but the glory of your imaginations, and so is your prayers that is without the Spirit, and all the rest of your worships.
Query 12. What is the ground and rise of your knowledge? whether it be received within man from God, or without from the letter? And if without, whether this be not the knowledge which all the vain janglers comes out of, and the generation of persecutors comes out of, as the Jews was in, which professed the letter and were strangers to the life of God? And whether this generation of men and professors in our age do not begin to manifest the same as the persecuting Jews did, yea or nay?
12. Answer and reply. In your answer to this, you say, your <34> ground of knowledge is neither within nor without, and so it seems by your answers as without foundation, not spiritual, because not within, and you belie the church of Ephesus in saying their faith and knowledge too was without, not within. And for your blessed candles of the gospel (as you calls them) whom you say waste themselves, that you may grow up into perfection, I say they are seen to be dart lights, and such as waste all about them, but withstand perfection, casting into prison for their gain and envy; such candles give light to all your drunkards, swearers, whoremongers, fighters, liars, covetous proud idolaters, and all manner of licentious persons, such perfection is brought forth by such as follow their candles and so call darkness light, and light darkness, and their works are like their candles, and you blasphemers set these instead of Christ, calling them candles of the gospel, much like yourselves, who say the Ephesians when they believed, their faith and knowledge was not within; such dark lanterns you are, who have not the light in you, so your light and faith is without, so blame them not who say you have no faith in you and so are unreasonable men (2 Thess. 3:2), and that is seen by your tumults at the mouth. And for the fire and faggot you tell on, you are going toward it, fighting, imprisoning, whipping and bloodshed—the light of your candles.
Query 13. What Scripture have you for your manner of worship, as to read a chapter and to give meanings to it, and call it expounding? to take a text of another man's words and raise points, reasons and uses, &c., to sprinkle infants, to sing David's words in order of your ballads, to stand praying in the synagogues at your set times, before and after your glass? Prove your practice by command from Christ, or practice of gospel minsters, else for shame cease to call it gospel worship, since none of Christ's ministers worshipped in that manner.
13. Answer and reply. Your answer to this is thus much: Christ preached and his apostles, and you preach, Nehemiah expounded and you expound, and so doth the pope, may he say, but that either he or you are in that manner of preaching that Christ and his apostles was, that I deny, and that you are to prove; for what is not in the same manner is another worship. For if Moses was so faithful in his house that not one tittle must be changed, much more Christ; so that worship which is not the <35> same in manner, though it have got the name of worship, yet that I deny to be Christ's worship. But to question this your manner of worship, say you, is to clip the wings of God. So he that will not let men set up what they will for worship, and hold it unquestionable, clips God's wings; so we must believe as the church believes, says your predecessor; but will you call yourselves ministers of Christ, and will not the same manner serve you to preach and worship in that his ministers used, but are gone out from the same in every particular, and would bring the apostles' words to justify a practice contrary to theirs, which to question you call clipping of wings. And whereas you say this hath been as often answered as proposed, that is false; for never was it answered yet, nor can be till the same manner of worship be brought forth in every particular. Did the apostles or ministers of Christ sprinkle infants, turn the Scriptures into rhymes, to sing worship, and pray in the idol's temple, bring a book and from a verse raise points and reasons and uses, live upon tithes or set wages, sue their hearers for money! And all the rest of your worship is also questioned by the apostles' practice, to which you are contrary: and do you think words will prove it and answer it? So did your fathers the bishops and the pope: and them and you we deny, and all your proof that stands in words, while you uphold another practice. Whereof I say again (and yet no lie) that none of Christ's ministers worshipped so. So your boast of a curb be to yourselves, till you prove your practice.
Query 14. Are you wiser than the Jews was, or stricter in your profession, or more able to search the Scriptures; are you fuller in your wisdom and prudence for that work, any of you who deny the light of Christ? And was not they ignorant of the voices of the prophets, though they was read every Sabbath day, and so fulfilled in condemning him? and are not you in the same work; as to the word of Christ, though you have them every first day, beating in your synagogues, and haling before rulers, and think that you do God the best service, when you are greatest opposers? and so fulfilling the measure of wickedness, as they did? and how can you escape their end (Mark 13:9; Acts 13:27; Matt. 24:9; John 16:2-3)? And are not they who are in envy, in Cain's way, out of Christ? Hath God any respect to their <36> sacrifice, yea or no?
14. Answer and reply. This you answer with, You care not, and so go on to a piece of railing, your old practice. And you say, Christ hath opened your eyes with your eye-salve of grace. But what eye? or where is that grace, seeing you say faith and knowledge is not within?
So you say you have accomplished an answer to our queries, which when viewed is no more but a piece of vain babbling, railing and lying, which you would have us take for an answer; but the queries yet stand a witness against you and all your generation, and are still unanswered. And if you read them over again, you may see you have scarcely spoken to any one particular.
Query 1. Whether your quaking and trembling be not the effects and tokens of those curses: 1 Sam. 14:15; Deut. 28:65; Ps. 69:23? And whether the Lord hath not given you eyes that you should not see, &c.?
Answ. For answer to this query, I say, no. But the curses therein belong to such who deny knowledge and faith within, as you do. So take it back and apply it at home. Yet trembling and quaking we own, else should we deny the saints' conditions.
Query 2. Whether there ought not to be a special distinction made betwixt the dictates of the Spirit of God, and the spirit of man, &c.?
Answ. 2. I say yea, but they who have no faith and knowledge in them cannot make it. All that proceeds from such is the dictates of their own spirit, if not worse; and for a pretense use the name of Christ. But who have their light, faith and knowledge from Christ within lay nothing on Christ but what is his own.
Query 3,4, and Answer. To your third and fourth query, which are about the call to the ministry, wherein you would thrust in your presbytery, under the pretense of ordaining elders and choosing apostles; I say, those whom ever Christ called into his ministry were called by his Spirit out of the world, out of its <37> glory and worships; which yours are none of, as all your manner of worship makes it manifest. So shelter not yourselves in the world, and the false worships thereof, with their Scriptures who were called out of the world, and never worshipped in your manner, call, nor maintenance. And for Timothy's gift, your hands are polluted, and have not that gift, as is manifest by your fruits: you are of those who lay on hands to beat in the synagogues; such never had the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Query 5 and Answer. For your fifth query, which is about the light of Christ being insufficient. You say if it be sufficient, is not this a leading to perfection? I say, yea it is, and will lead all to perfection that follow it, which is the light of life (John 8:12). Yet is no means needless which God appoints to direct to that light: neither doth their message make the light insufficient. Yet doth not this make way for your blind guides, and your false worship, whose message is to oppose this light and prove it insufficient; though formerly in your book you say you do not, and so prove yourselves liars.
Query 6. And if Christ preached the kingdom of God within unbelievers, as you say he did, what then is the difference between the faithful and the faithless, &c.
Answ. Were you not blind you might see you have answered the query you ask, to wit, the one believes, the other believes not. And therein doth the difference consist: and the latter of these you are, who cannot believe the light is sufficient, which is one in all, though some will not believe and follow it: and so though the kingdom of God be preached within unbelievers (Luke 17:21), yet saith Christ of such, ye will not come to me that you may have life. So the gospel of the kingdom preached doth not profit, not being mixed with faith (Heb. 4:2).
Query 7. And whether is not your spirit a lying one, which saith the Scriptures are not the words of God, but of men? &c.
Answ. I do not say the Scriptures are not the words of God, but of men. So the lying spirit is your own. Yet I say, in the Bible there are words of men, yea and of the devil also, which God never commanded: and this is truth without equivocation.
Query 8. Whether it be any better than hypocrisy to prate of and call for Scripture, and yet deny the prerogative of Scripture, &c.
<38> Answ. Prove that I have denied the prerogative of Scripture, or else thy question is no better than a lie. And whereas you say, if the commands are the words of God, why are not other Scriptures the same? I say, if it be the Bible you call the Scripture, my answer is, because there be many words declared of which God never commanded them that spoke them: yet the declaration I own to be true. And whereas you ask, how it is that some of us say, the word of God cannot be contained in ink and paper, I say, because the word of God fills heaven and earth, and contains all things, but cannot be contained in any place.
Query 9. And since you say that Christ only is the word of God, I query whether he be meet to be a teacher of others? nay hath he not need himself to learn the first principle of religion, that cannot discern between the temporal expressive word of God and the coessential and coeternal word with God? for so is Christ.
Answ. That Christ is the only word is plain in Scripture (John 1; Rev. 19:13). But what are you, who have more words than you can express by Scripture language? and whose word is that that is temporal, seeing the word of the Lord endures forever (1 Pet. 1:25)?
Query 10. Your tenth query, wherein you would deny the sufficiency of the law written in the heart, doth sufficiently manifest yourselves heart-blind who would deny the new covenant to be sufficient (Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 8:8-11). Was the law written in the heart sufficient in David's time (Ps. 37:31), and was it sufficient in the apostles' time (Rom. 8:2), and is it now become insufficient with you? that therefore you would turn us back again to the letter to be made perfect, who have begun in the Spirit? But this is suitable to your knowledge and your faith, which you deny to be within. And whereas you ask wherefore the law in the letter was given? I say, not to give life, but to drive into the law in Spirit (of which it was a figure) which law of the Spirit giveth life (Rom. 8:2).
Query 11. What be those first principles of the oracles of God, made mention of by Paul as needful for believers to know? what the oracles be? whether the Scriptures, or what else be the oracles, or the principles, how learnt? and after what manner? <39> and by what means? or if the Scripture be the oracle of God, why not the word of God also? and what difference between the oracles and the word? and wherein consistent? and what those principles of the doctrine of Christ be? whether the same with those of the oracles? wherein different? and wherein congruent, and what the growing up into perfection is? and when the end? and whether in this life or in another?
Answ. All this heap of queries cannot let in the serpent, neither can he know the oracle which is spiritual, and the letter is not it. You must first know the light of Christ in Spirit (which is the first principle) and faith to believe in it; the thing which you deny within; for so the oracle and first principle is learnt; and that's the manner and means; and the word and oracle of God is not at difference, but in all things consistent; and the light of Christ which is the first principle leads to them and so is one with them (not different), and therein is the growing to perfection, which is not in your life, whose faith and knowledge is without, but in the life of another.
Query 12. What is the kingdom of God that our savior speaks of (Luke 11:20), and what that kingdom (Matt. 11); how did it suffer violence? by whom? and after what manner?
Answ. The kingdom of God is one, whereinto none can enter who have no faith in them, so read yourselves shut out in your answer to my twelfth query. Neither can any know how the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, but who is come through John's ministry, which such as you are far off, who say the light of Christ is not sufficient, that lighteth everyone that cometh into the world, which John calls the true light, and bare witness to, that through him all might believe. Which you whose faith is without resist. So out of the kingdom you are shut with the Pharisees, though it be preached in you.
Query 13. What is that election? what that ordination? what that adoption? and what that drawing so oftentimes spoken of in Scripture? and who they be who are capable of it here? and after what manner administered? and make out your judgment here in plain Scripture.
Answ. That election, ordination and adoption is Christ, and the drawing is the Spirit of the Father which is administered in <40> the light, which draws to Christ the election which none are capable of who deny the light to be sufficient and have no faith in them. And this judgment is according to the Scriptures.
Queries 14, 15, 16, 17, 18. Your 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th queries are concerning your worship, and you begin with a lie, saying you have proved Scriptures may be expounded, which is yet to prove; neither can you prove it, as you use it, by the practice of any gospel minister. And under this lie would you usher in and shelter your doctrines, reasons, uses, stinted times, tithes and masterships, pulpit-worship, and literal text preaching, sprinkling of infants, and sacraments as you call them, which is every particular, as you perform them, a thing besides the saints' practice. Neither will the Scripture own you therein without wresting. So that's a lie, which says the Scriptures allows it. For the Scripture allows no man to change any tittle of the manner of gospel worship, much less them which have changed all. Neither doth it allow any sort of people to set up a worship and then wrest the Scriptures to uphold it. For then should we allow the pope as well as all the rabble of false worshippers that are descended from him. And whereas you ask, are not these the ministers which Rome would destroy, which we cry down? and were not the martyrs of the same profession? or wherein did they differ, &c., I say, those ministers which we cry down are such who had their rise from Rome, however their mother and they are fallen out, whose kingdom stands most in contentions; neither do we cry down any who are come out from that Romish worship, and herein do those whom we cry down and the martyrs differ, in that the one were sufferers for conscience sake, according to the measure of the light then made manifest; and the other are persecutors of the heir now at his coming and opposers of his light in conscience, whereby the martyrs were led to suffer, who suffered not for standing for pulpits and masterships and tithes, but for bearing witness against other of that trash, both of the same rise and nature. And such do justify their murders, who are found persecuting for the rest of the relics that are yet behind; and so be witnesses against yourselves that you are their children who slew the martyrs.
Query 19. And since you say I am damned, &c.
<41> Answ. The foundation of this query is a lie, and of the same it is builded. And what thou asks concerning the ground of faith, I say, it is Christ in the degrees of the several measures thereof; and in the light they are known within the creature; the effects whereof is truth, peace, and righteousness. But the liars who have no faith in them bring forth other effects, as is seen in your book.
Query 20. Whether the power that worketh in you, and in the rest of your quaking fraternity, be divine or diabolical? If divine, prove it by Scripture. Or may we not know the tree antichrist, by its fruits, heresy in you. If diabolical, then cease like Simon Magus to seem to be some great one to draw disciples after you, and resist this spirit in yourself; better repent than perish.
Answ. The power that worketh in us is divine (Isa. 26:12; Phil. 2:13), and the tree is known by its fruits; and that is antichrist and heresy and diabolical who hath no faith nor knowledge in them. And such like Simon Magus would buy or sell it for money, if they had it. And these are antichrists which John speaks on, who cannot confess Christ in them. And such we resist by the Spirit in us.
Query 21. Whether it be by the spirit of Satan or the power of God, say you, that worketh by charms? whereby some of your proselytes have been possessed with devils, as Gilpin, Mary White, and others. And whether Peter or Simon Magus be the apostles of Christ? or whether it be the work of the Spirit of God to inspire with the Holy Ghost or with Satan? and hereby let us know whether you be saints or sorcerers. Make it out upon a gospel account.
Answ. The liars and those that have no faith in them are possessed already; but when the light of Christ is preached, the devil that hath possessed them comes therewith to be judged, who then sets up his charms to tempt them and turn them back again into his old way, which if he effect it, then his ministers cries them up for converted Christians, as they did Gilpin, till they were ashamed on him for his drunkenness. So they become your proselytes, for after the devil get up with his charms in them they abide not with us. For the Spirit of God judgeth all charms and charming worships, and inspires with the Holy Ghost. But they who have no faith in them are inspired by <42> Satan. Hereby we know saints from sorcerers.
Query 22. And since you so much rail against superiors and dignities, &c.
Answ. Where the query is begun with a lie, the intent thereof is easily seen. What is the superiors and dignities we have railed against, the latter part of your query makes it manifest. Because we will not call your ministers masters, as well as rulers. I say, they are blind that take them for either. But since this is the thing you mean, is not Christ a railer also with you, who forbade the same before us? If the follower be guilty surely the leader cannot be free. And whereas you ask, if stewards of the mysteries of God be inferior to the word "Master." I say, he may well be said to have no faith or knowledge in him, that calls them either: for there was never any of the ministers of Christ who were stewards of his mysteries that were called of men masters. Neither will all your pleading for it obtain it from any who know the one Master.
Query 23. Did not your spirit speak in Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and their adherents, &c.?
Answ. I say no; our Spirit was opposed there, as it is now by you. And the spirit of Diotrophes you tell on is that which loved the pre-eminence and is now pleading for mastership, which we oppose with its doctrine, by which the holy men of God ever suffered and now suffers even unto blood for the testimony thereof, even for the Lord Christ within us, which you render as a reproach, so to say, which we count great riches and the hope of glory, which you who deny faith and knowledge within oppose, in a spirit of presumption and abomination.
Query 24. Is a lie the fruit of an infallible, or fallible spirit? and may not a true church err, and so be fallible? Or may it err and yet still be infallible? or is pretense of infallibility an assurance, that that church so pretending is a true church? or did any of the apostles boast of infallibility, &c.?
Answ. A lie is the fruit of a fallible spirit. Therefore is there so many heaped up in your book, who deny the infallible Spirit and faith within. For he that hath not an infallible spirit hath a lying spirit, as you have sufficiently manifested. And the true church is in God the Father, and in Christ Jesus his Son <43> which is infallible. But neither the church of Rome nor yours is it, who are without God in the world, who scoff at the Lord Christ within us and render it as the sin of Korah for us to confess him. How should there be aught else in you but a lying spirit? And the apostles boasted of an infallible Spirit, from which nothing could separate them, with which they were sealed to the day of redemption after they believed in the light, which you that deny faith within have little knowledge of, and so oppose you know not what; and therefore are looking for miracles for your adulterous spirit; and says, is not the spirit fallible? I say, stop your mouths, you lying spirits. The spirit of God is not fallible, nor did you ever know it, who would so render it, which spirit, you that have not, you speak of yourselves and judge with a lie, and the pure light you know not, but are in the hellish darkness you tell of. As these errors following which are gathered out of the heap of your confusion may witness:
That the new birth is a remission of sin.
That the new birth is nothing else but a sanctified mind and will.
That the mind and will of man is the matter whereof the new creature or image of God is made.
That the new birth is the work of the Spirit, the ministry of man as the matter.
That he that knows the new birth by the letter of Scripture knows it not without the light, and yet saith, closing with the law written in the heart is contrary to the gospel, and that the gospel is not made known by seeing within.
That their sins was no sins before the letter of the law was given.
That the saints before the letter was given had immediate revelations of God's will, but since (as Israel did in Canaan so) lie at rack and manger.
That if the law which God hath written in the heart be now sufficient, then God wrought a work in vain, in giving the law at Mount Sinai.
That the gospel is not made known by seeing within.
That the faith and knowledge of the disciples of Ephesus was not within.
<44> That private saints had never particular and peculiar commands.
That the apostles was to plant, but not to keep in order the vineyards.
That as Satan is a serpent so is Christ.
That closing with the law written in the heart is contrary to the gospel.
That the law written in man's heart were not sufficient to its proper end.
Many more such blind confusions I might have gathered out of the heap, but these may serve to show what you know of the new birth, the new covenant, or Christ whom it is, the apostles' ministry, or the saints' commands, the gospel light, the knowledge of sin, or yourselves, but in your blind, busy minds will be babbling you know not, as the least child of light shall judge you.
1. Whither, and from what did man fall, seeing God spake to him in the garden after his fall? And whether the resurrection must be to that from whence he fell or no?
2. What death that was Adam died that day he eat the forbidden, seeing Adam lived many hundred years after?
3. What was the ground of Adam's obedience before the fall, and what is the ground of man's obedience in Christ? and wherein do they differ, and in what particular?
4. Is it possible that any believer can bring forth the same fruits in Christ that was in man before the fall? or fruits better, or fruits not so good, or in what particular shall they differ, as to the ground and rise thereof; and also as to the acceptance with God?
5. What the seed of the serpent is, and what the seed of the woman is, and whether they be within people or no? and whether they can both rule in one person at once? and whether the seed <45> of the woman must not be where the serpent is when he bruises his head? and what is it that can let every particular man see this done if he mind it?
6. Whether that law of the new covenant spoken on (Heb. 8) which is by the Lord written in the heart be the same in every particular with that which you say was writ in Adam's heart before the fall, or wherein does it differ, and how may the difference be known?
7. Where is that city the saints were fellow citizens of, what it is, and how may one know when they are in it, and whether any that commits sin is in that city, yea or no?
8. What is that beast that rose up out of the sea, and what that beast that came up out of the earth, wherein do they differ? how may they be known, that men may not worship neither of them?
9. What is that which is dead in trespasses and sins in an unbeliever, and whether the reading of the letter can quicken it? or can any understand the letter while they are so dead?
10. What that mystery of faith is that is held in a pure conscience? since you say the faith and knowledge of the disciples was not within? and whether that faith and knowledge that is from without, not within, can save and bring to know God?
11. What faith and knowledge that is, which you say is without a man, and how may any know when they have it?
12. How must the gospel be made known to the soul? seeing you say it is not made known by seeing within?
13. The word of God at the first being the matter whereon the image of God was made in man, how comes it now to be changed, seeing you now say the mind and will of man is the matter, and then the ministry of man as the matter; and is not this blasphemous confusion?
14. Seeing you say their sins was no sins before the letter of the law was given, nor was they imputed: what was the cause of the old world drowning, and Sodom and Gomorrah's burning with fire, and whether was not their sins imputed to them?
15. What the soul of man is, and how a creature may know when it is in death, and when it is raised to life eternal?
16. What that grace of God is that brings salvation, and hath appeared to all men? and how it hath appeared to all men, and <46> how it brings salvation?
17. What that inward man is that is renewed daily, though the outward man perish, seeing you say the new birth is nothing else but a sanctified mind, and whether the new birth be a substance, yea or no?
18. Whether such as have changed their manner of worship from that manner which the saints worshipped in, and then wrest the Scriptures to uphold it, be true worshippers, or can be truly said to take the Scriptures for their rule?
19. Whether ever any minister of Christ did go into the idol's temple to pray and worship in that manner you do, in any one particular, or did they sue people for tithes or money, for so doing? Did they or their hearers beat in their synagogues, or hale before rulers such as opposed them? or did they ever make use of an outward law to inflict upon any man's person, or to spoil their goods, or was they who did so any Christians?
20. What is the cross of Christ, and how doth the creature take it up, and how is it preached, and what is the offense of it, and how is it the power of God to salvation, and how doth it become a stumbling block, and how doth the offense of it cease?
21. How is Christ the light of the world, and how is it he lighteth every man that cometh into the world? and whether any abide in darkness, and how are all things that are made manifest upon us by the light, and what is the cause that so many remain in darkness?
22. What that tongue of the Egyptian Sea is, and how must it be smitten in the seven streams, that men may go over dryshod?
23. Whether the new birth be not Christ formed in the creature, and whether that be not a substance; and are not you utterly blind, who says it's nothing else but a sanctified mind, and the will of man, and his ministry is the matter of it.
Answer plainly, and do not send a deal of railing and miscalling and bitterness, lying and false accusing, instead of answers, as you have hitherto done. Also view my former queries over again, and your pretenses, and for shame never call those for answers, which scarcely answer to the true end of any one particular.
a. Thomason date: March 13, 1655/56
b. The inconsistency between "Sun" and "Son" is in the original printing.
c. The original pamphlet here adds "Ephes. 16.17"; this is not a correct reference, but we are not sure what Scripture text Nayler intended.