Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Works of James Nayler > Untitled


A Discovery of Faitha

Wherein is laid down

The Ground of True Faith
Which Sanctifieth and Purifieth the Heart
and Worketh Out the Carnal Part


The Way that Leadeth to Salvation


The difference betwixt the two seeds, the one of Mount
Sinai which tendeth to bondage, and the other,
which is the immortal Seed of God, begotten by
the immortal word, which liveth and abideth forever

Being as Isaac was, the child of the promise, and of Jerusalem which is from above, which is the mother of us all that are of the immortal birth, begotten not by the will of man but by the will of God; and born again of water and the Spirit, baptized into one body, and made to drink into one Spirit, having fellowship with the Father and the Son, all springing from one root, and growing into one body, a habitation for God through the Spirit.
The difference betwixt

The Living WORD and the LETTER

1 John 4:6. We are of God; he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us; hereby know we the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

London, Printed for Giles Calvert, at the Black Spread Eagle at the
west end of Paul's. 1653b


An Epistle to the Reader

Christian Friend,

     This ensuing treatise was not written for swine to snuffle upon and so cast dirt upon it with their dirty noses, but from the flowings of love to tender desires that they may mind what begets the desire to righteousness and so come out of all men's words and writings that doth arise out of the corrupt nature; for they are filthy and unclean, the heart of man being deceitful and that above measure, and all words and writings that arise out of the first nature are corrupt and earthly, and there is no life in them, but for the dead mind that is carnal, which knoweth not the things of God, therefore do they not know those that are begotten to a lively faith in God, which purifieth their hearts and worketh out the carnal part that did delight in the unclean conversation of the world, in conforming to the customs and fashions of the world, in capping and cringing, bending and bowing to men of corrupt hearts and impure minds, all being earthly and brutish, following the imaginations of their hearts, idolizing the creatures, falling down to worship men more than God, fearing to displease men of corrupt hearts and unclean conversation, for some self end or other, not regarding the command of Jesus Christ who saith: fashion not yourselves like unto the world, for the fashion of the world passeth away, and again saith he be not conformed like unto the world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your minds; neither be ye men pleasers, for he that is a man pleaser, he is no longer the servant of Jesus Christ, who did not seek to please men but did the will of his Father in reproving sin and evil and testifying against the deceits of the world; and that was the reason why he was hated of the world, not for any evil, but because saith he, I testify against the world that the deeds thereof are evil, therefore do the world hate me; and the fair sayers then came to him and tempting him, saying, Master we know that thou teachest the way of God truly, and that thou carest for no man's person; and the subtle serpent in the Pharisees lay at catch and laid snares for the innocent, to betray him into the hand of sinners that they might have to accuse him to put him to death. And the Pharisees with the chief <152> priests, they sought out false witness to put him to death, because he did testify against their deceitfulness, hypocrisies and dissimulations; and the blessed Spirit in him seeing the envy, subtlety and venom that lodged in their hearts, and covered over with fine words and fair pretenses, being wise to do evil; he said to all that are of the seed of Abraham after the Spirit, born again of the same Spirit, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy; for, saith he, the children of the world are wiser in their generation than the children of the light; therefore be ye wise as serpents and harmless as doves; but beware of the leaven of the Pharisees. Now they are alive, the same seed of evildoers to persecute, and lies in wait to destroy the simple ones who are guided by the pure wisdom of God and are redeemed from their vain conversation, and walks in obedience to the commands of Jesus Christ, being guided by the same Spirit; God sending the Spirit of his Son into their hearts crying Abba, Father; and saith the blessed Spirit of truth, Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them (Eph. 5:11). But he that departs from iniquity makes himself a prey, and because that there is not a running with them into the same excess of riot, therefore speak they evil of them as of evildoers, calling them Quakers, or what they can invent, to make them odious in the eyes of the world; but 'tis nothing but the seed of the serpent that doth so, and it is known by the Spirit of the living God, where Jesus Christ is made manifest in spirit, having destroyed the works of the devil; the Spirit of truth and righteousness living in them, it lets them see how the seed of the serpent lies upon the earth, and grows in the earthly delights, and is covered over with an earthly profession, and brings forth nothing but weeds and tares, which is for the fire and must be burnt up by the Lord God Almighty, who is the heart searcher and trier. Now friend, if thou do but with a single eye read this little ensuing treatise, thou wilt not find any gilded expressions in it that doth arise from the wisdom of the flesh, for they do but feed the fleshly mind which must be destroyed with a sore destruction. Let me entreat thee, that when thou readest thou may first return into thy own spirit and see how thou standest in the fear of the Lord, which is to lay aside all evil, and see that thy understanding be <153> kept open as thou readest, and thy mind free from all hard thoughts and opinions of men, which arise out of the dark nature; stand free out of all men's words, that do arise out of the corrupt nature, and give thy diligence and attention to what thou readest, as well within as without, and it will show thee the way that leadeth to salvation and the true guide which it is written from, that thou mayest have union with him in the life and substance of it, without all question or doubt, to live in the life and power of the truth itself; for as the lightning cometh out of the east and shineth into the west, so shall the coming of the Son of man be. Wait wholly within, and sink down into the eternal love, and thou wilt see me and the rest that we are in the unity of that one Spirit, where love is head, the daily bread, where the soul's refreshment is for to be had.

A Discovery of Faith

is laid down the ground of true faith, which sanctifieth
and purifieth the heart, and worketh out the carnal part

     Faith purifieth the heart; all who are of faith are of Abraham; they are of one seed,1 come out of their native country, kingdom and father's house;2 they are of one faith, all of one faith, if ten thousand, all faith in God, which purifies the heart,3 is one seed if ten thousand.4 The letter is not the faith, nor the letter is not the seed:5 many profess the letter but are not all of one faith, and this is because they have not the true faith which purifies the heart; but it is a formed faith, so your hearts are full of deceits, passion, envy, crookedness, corrupt, vain conversation and strife; and thou that art there hast not learned Christ.6 To profess all the Scriptures and have them in thy notion, wit and memory, yet have not faith, but the wisdom of the world, which is carnal, sensual and earthly, and the earthly mind,7 applying the earthly letter to the earthly mind, and the devilish <154> nature lodgeth within, killing and devouring the just, where it is risen within; and men and women are brutish and heathenish, and heathens know not God; and all you that know not God at this present are heathens. So examine whether you have faith or no. Faith gives the victory over the world,8 and then he comes to the end of the world: now you must see the world to be set in your hearts,9 and the world by their wisdom, which is earthly and carnal, knows not God;10 for God is pure and cannot behold iniquity. Now thou that saith thou hast wisdom, see if thou know God or have seen him face to face. Jacob saw him face to face,11 Moses saw him face to face;12 and thou that sayest thou hast faith, art thou of Abraham? for they that have faith are of Abraham.13 See if thou canst witness the Scripture, for thee to apply the prophets' inheritance, the apostles' inheritance, or Abraham's inheritance to thyself and to thy condition. Thou thief, the Lord is against thee that steals the word from thy neighbor.14 Behold, saith the Lord, I am against them that saith, He saith, and useth their tongues, and I have never spoke to them, saith the Lord. And do not all the world's teachers and people all apply the Scriptures, and say he saith, and calls the letter the Word, and so live in hearsay and deceive yourselves and others: whenas the letter saith, God is the Word;15 and the letter saith, "The Word is sharper than a two edged sword, and it divideth asunder";16 but it doth not say that the letter is sharper than a two-edged sword, and you are clean through the Word,17 but not through the letter. The letter saith, "The Word is a hammer," but it doth not say the letter is a hammer; and the letter saith, "The Word is a fire,"18 but it doth not say the letter is as a fire. O hear you outside faiths and you outside minds, whose faith is without God, formed and imagined in thy mind; you have the nature of the devil, to murder, and the nature of the heathen, to rage;19 the nature of the manslayer, to envy; and you take the letter for a cloak and say you believe in Christ, in the <155> Lord Jesus. O hypocrite and dissembler, awake, awake! O you blind guides, which have lain long covered, but now the Lord is uncovering you, now he will strip you of your mantles, of your veils, of your broidered attire; now your bracelets, and your bonnets, and of your nose-jewels,20 and now thou scarlet colored harlot that is covered, mincing with thy eyes and tinkling with thy feet,21 and thy broidered hair, now thou hast time to repent, repent, turn to the Lord; but thy own ways thou hast chosen, and the vain imaginations of thy own heart thou followest; so thy own delusions and fear the Lord will bring upon thee. And all you that say you have faith, you gather a great company together, and you profess Christ, and you have been a long time taught, some thirty years, some forty, some fifty, some sixty, some fourscore; but how many of you have one faith and one seed and witness? Examine yourselves and deceive not your own souls; and you that do profess you have faith, you say the letter is the light, and the Scripture letter is the Word, and the steeplehouse is the church, and the sprinkling of infants is the baptism which you baptize them into, and you have a teacher, and he teaches you these things, and he is called of men "master," which Christ cried woe against, and hath the chiefest place in the assemblies.22 But all this while, see how many of you are of one faith, and how many of you would lay down your life one for another, and to let your yea be yea, and your nay, nay in all things; that which purifies the heart, comes from one and draws to one; if they be ten thousand, they are one.

     But these are them who are purified: now you shall see a difference between your faith, as you call it, and the saints' faith; for the saints said their light was Christ,23 and it was within them, and the saints' light and the saints' Word was God;24 and their teacher was the anointing,25 and their church was in God,26 and that was their baptism, with one Spirit into one body,27 and Jesus Christ the substance of the prophets, the end of them and of Moses: them that were called of men "masters," and was got up <156> into the chiefest place in the assemblies, he cried against such,28 and such you hold up. And are not all your teachers called of men "masters"? Do you think God will be mocked with your words?29 though you may take him for your cloak a while, he will come with flames of fire and will recompense upon all you:30 he that follows him obeys him, and he that doth obey him doth not hold up that which he cried out against. Herod's hard heart exalted, he gathered all the chief priests to know of them where Christ should be born, and they said, in Bethlehem of Judea, it is written,31 so saith the prophets. Here they could tell by the letter where he should be born, and when he was come they had no faith in him; and all you now that tell by the letter where Jesus Christ was born, where he was crucified, at Jerusalem, and to say he hath died for all; yet here is no faith in Christ, though you may know all this by the letter, except that you can witness the life that you live is by the faith of Christ.32 And there the apostle speaks his life, and you take his words: now everyone in particular who comes to witness Jesus Christ, must witness him born in them; and Christ is not the letter, for the letter is death; it is a declaration of Christ, and all who have Christ made manifest, the works of the devil are destroyed;33 and if thou canst not witness the works of the devil destroyed, Jesus Christ is not yet made manifest.34 Therefore what thou dost profess, a thing without thee, and thy heart is full of deceit, and no faith at all, no not so much as a grain of mustard seed, and a grain of mustard seed is but a little thing to the outward eye;35 but thou art proud Lucifer who art mounted up with thy knowledge; when thou art thrown down thou shalt see that thou hast no faith.36 For all who are of faith are of Abraham, they are one seed, one heart, yea, written in one another's hearts;37 therefore all you who follow this customary teaching of the world see how many of you are of one heart and one soul. Now you shall see yourselves without this faith, perverse one to another, fighting and brawling and devouring one another, sporting and living in wantonness, fullness, <157> gluttony, and abundance of idleness, devourers of the just and the creation. See that these be the sins of Sodom; just Lot vexed his righteous soul with all their ungodly deeds.38 Now where souls are raised up by the same power, are grieved with you, the same generation and nature as was in them, and you envying one another, quarrelling with one another for the creatures, yea for old hedges, old houses, going to law one with another: and here you show priests and people that your affections are in the earth.39 Now your teachers who are examples go to law, so do the people go to law one with another, which shows that there is not a wise man amongst you; and so your conversation is in the earth, our conversation is in heaven.40 And thy affections that are in the earth, thou hast nothing to do to profess the saints' conditions, for thy mind is earthly, lusting after earthly things which pass away, and so evil conceivings lodge in thy mind.41 Therefore all men and women, profess no more than you do possess. For no man in England that holds up that which Christ speaks against hath faith in Christ, neither people nor priest, for who had faith in Jesus denied the priests, which were true types of him, and who hath faith now denies all the blind priests, who are types of nothing but are antichrists, and them hath God never sent.

     All people weigh and try yourselves where you are, whether you be in the state of Ishmael.42 Ishmael was the first birth,43 and he was a scoffer, an archer; his hand was against every man.44 And all you who are in the first birth are Ishmaels, scoffers, mockers, and wild as Ishmael was, who was a wild man, whose hand was against every man. Isaac was not so,45 the second birth; he was the seed, in him was none of the first nature; so all who are of the same seed witnesseth him, and witnesseth the other. And Esau was the first birth,46 and he was a profane person, a cunning hunter,47 having the fat of the earth, bearing <158> the sword,48 who was a place for dragons, a wilderness, and desolate, whose portion was Mount Seir.49 And all you who are in the first birth are as he was.50 Are ye not seeking after the fat of the earth, bearing the sword, and a wilderness, devouring one another, cunning hunters, hunting up and down,51 whose portion is Mount Seir, all striving for it; but Jacob his portion was not such; he was a plain man and perfect, dwelling in tents; God saw no iniquity in him. O man and woman, art thou here, art thou plain? art thou perfect? dost thou dwell in tents? A standing place, doth God see no iniquity in thee?52 This was Jacob, the second birth.

     Now all people, flatter not yourselves, read yourselves whether you be in the first or second birth. There is a light within you53 will tell you, hearkening unto it, which will condemn you to God if you lie: therefore be just and fear the Lord, for dreadful is he and terrible to the wicked. For the fear of the Lord keeps the heart clean,54 and Cain was the first, and Eve was deceived in her first birth, and Cain's sacrifice God did not accept; he was in envy, a murderer.55 And all you who are in the first birth, you are in envy, and God doth not accept your sacrifice.56 Read yourselves and honestly consider, while you have envy in you you are Cains, while you are in the first birth you are Cains, and your sacrifice God doth not accept. Abel, the second, was not so; he was not a manslayer, he did not envy, he was a righteous man, and his sacrifice God did accept.57 So all who are come into the second birth, to offer up a sacrifice according to the Scripture,58 in righteousness to God, God doth accept them as it's his own.59 All holy praises be unto thee, O God forever, who art righteous and delightst in righteousness, who art holy and delightst in holiness, who art pure and canst not behold iniquity; for the workers of iniquity must depart into cursing.60 Thou mayest say thou art redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, but they that are redeemed are redeemed from their <159> vain conversation.61 Now canst thou witness this, that thou art redeemed from thy vain conversation by the precious blood of Jesus Christ? All who read these things, read yourselves, and see if you can witness these things; read them not without you but within. Things have been long put afar off; the apostle told of an Esau amongst them then,62 the prophets told of an Esau then,63 and the apostle told of a Cain amongst the saints, and the same nature that was is, the first birth, the second birth is, they that come to witness it, know it. There's but two seeds,64 two ways; read yourselves, light and darkness. See whetherc you are in; he that walks in darkness, the fruit of darkness shows it; he that walks in the light, the fruits of the light make it manifest.65 Let your light so shine before men as that you may glorify your heavenly Father, which is in heaven.66 He that walks in the flesh, the fruits of the flesh makes it manifest and shows it forth; and he that walks in the Spirit, the fruits of the Spirit shows it forth.67 So deceive not yourselves, God will not be mocked with words,68 and do not take him for a cloak, making a profession, and live in deceit. For woe unto him that is covered and not with the Spirit of the Lord: therefore stay yourselves and see, and be not hasty, nor rash, nor fierce, but honestly stay yourselves on the Lord.69 And see yourselves the prodigal: when he saw himself what he had done, went home unto his father's house; and thou hast read of a prodigal in the Scripture that fed among swine;70 but dost thou see thyself to be the prodigal feeding among the swine, feeding on husks? Is this opened unto thee? Dost thou know what this husk is? Thou must not read this parable without knowing it, but within thee; when thou seest thyself thou wilt witness this thing with me, when thou art come to thy Father's house thou wilt rejoice with me and see that thou hast been feeding among the swine on the letter, the outside which profits not.

<160>     To all that love the Lord Jesus Christd and turns away from fables, light speeches, filthy talking, cursed speaking, idle jesting, and walketh in cleanness of life, who have families, children, and servants: I charge you by the Lord be patterns and examples to them, and all in wisdom and gravity, in holiness and righteousness, teaching children humbleness, meekness and tenderness, which leads to the fear of the Lord. And let no corrupt communication come out of your mouth, lest children and servants learn it, and there thou art a pattern of evil. Nor no filthy jesting, nor light talk, lest thou be an example of evil, for one teaches and learns of another. And while the evil cunning deceit lodgeth, it's hatching and inventing evil, and so others learns of it, and so who are wicked learns wickedness and grows up in it. Therefore, all you who are lovers of Jesus Christ, shun the occasion of such, and have no fellowship with such, for they be unfruitful workers, but rather reprove them. And you which be servants fear the Lord and be diligent, serving the Lord, who have dames, masters and mistresses, as they call them, which live in rioting, drunkenness and pride, excess and lying, oaths, foolish songs and jesting: shun the occasion of such, for they are evil examples, and practice not such things, but wait upon the Lord. And whatsoever ye do, do it as unto the Lord, but to you that have families, that love the Lord Jesus Christ and all his saints, real in power, love and mercy will be multiplied among you; and you that be servants, labor in love as unto the Lord, and children walk in love and soberness, so God is the head who is love amongst you all to be a family of love; and all the creation is the Lord's; and all that you do, do it as unto the Lord, not with compulsion, rigor and hardness, for that's the slothful servant that lives in the earth without the fear of the Lord.

     Thou that hast applied all the promises, redemption and salvation, thou shalt see to thyself is due nothing but curses: woe, misery, and condemnation, and destruction for that nature, <161> and self is out of the truth and is not reconciled to anything. He that is reconciled to God is reconciled to all things, he is come out of death which hath passed over all; he is not of this world; he sees all the world passeth away, he is escaped from the pollutions; he hath put off the body of sin with the filth of the flesh. It is he by whom all things were made in the beginning and who were with him when all things were made. Who are of the world knows him not, but is a preserver, and it is he that rejoiceth in the heavens, which the world cannot contain; it is he whose words are the words of life; he is a savior, but they are destroyers. Thou that canst contain this hast laid hold upon eternal life; thou that hearest his voice hast life; he that hears the voice of the Son of God shall live.

     The death which hath passed over all men is but one, and Christ Jesus took upon him not the nature of angels but the seed of Abraham, which the death hast passed over. Now thou that hast not the same Spirit that raised up Jesus Christ from the death is none of his, and all the promises is to the seed, which seed is but one, which is Christ in you. Who are of faith are of Abraham, called out of the heathenish nature and worships, and out of their native country, as Abraham was, and are of Abraham; and thousands do witness it: one faith, one seed.

The Difference Betwixt the Word of God and Letter

     In the beginning was the word, and none knows this word but who are come into the beginning. Now all people and priests, who can witness this? Who are come hither? into the beginning, what our hands have handled, what our eyes have seen, what was from the beginning, the word of life, this declare we unto you. Who knows this word is pure and are made clean through the word, are washed by it, are sanctified by it, are cut in pieces by it, and are divided asunder by it. This word is a hammer beating down everything, that the seed of God may rise up, and all who know this word may come to the beginning. It is as a fire burning up all corruptions, and this is the word that is nigh thee, in thy heart. And this is the word which all the <162> prophets spoke from; and this is the word that became flesh and dwelt amongst us, saith the saints; and this is the word of life which the apostles preached, the substance of all figures, types and shadows. And this is the word which makes all the saints one, that reconciles their hearts together to the Lord; this is the word by which all things stands and remains, and are uphold, by his word and power. And this is the word which doth endure forever; all who are born again of the immortal seed witness this word with me. And now the word is made manifest, the same as ever was, which gathers together the hearts of all people, which divides asunder the precious and vile, and of twain hath made one. And this is the word that lets see that flesh is grass. And this is the word which was before any letter was written; and all who have not this word puts the letter for the word and are in Cain's nature, envying and murdering, running on swiftly. And Cain's sacrifice God doth not accept; and all the preaching, and all the praying, and all your reading, and all your singing, and all your expounding, and all your churches, and all your worships, and all your teachers, and all your baptisms which are invented from the letter, the carnal mind invents them. All this is for the fire: your profession must be gathered together in bundles, and cast into the fire, for they are the works of the flesh, proceeding from the first nature; & not knowing the word of God, but only the letter, ye crucify the just, and ye get up in the just's place, quenching the light within you, the deceit transforms in his place as Cain did when he slew his brother Abel; he gets up into his brother's place, and said, "Am I my brother's keeper?" So all you who crucify the just, ye are as Cain; for it is the righteous that God doth accept, the second birth. As you read Cain's sacrifice God did not accept, but Abel the second God did accept, for he was righteous. And Cain slew Abel, because Abel's works were righteous and Cain's were evil. Now all you who are in the first birth are Cain, in envy, manslayers, and your sacrifice God doth not accept: see whether you be in envy or no. Now all that come to the word, come before Cain was. All the prophets of the Lord spoke from this word, and then the false prophets got the true prophets' form of words, but had not the word. Then the Lord sent his prophets which <163> had his word to cry against the prophets that spoke a divination of their own brain, and steal my word from their neighbor, and use their tongue, and say, the Lord saith, when the Lord hath not spoken unto them. And as it was then, so it is now: all the teachers of the world speak a divination of their own brain, and not from the mouth of the Lord; the Lord is against them now, I witness it by the same word as ever was. And so they draw people unto the letter and tells them it is the word, and to harken to them, who speak their vain imaginations of it. So they bear rule by their means over the poor people, which the Lord was ever against; for God is free and he will have his people so; and his gospel is a free gospel, and his mercies are free, and his grace is free. His gospel is free to every creature, and his grace is free to every creature; his grace is not the letter, the gospel is not the letter, his glad tidings is not the letter, for many poor troubled souls may lie in death and condemnation and have the letter and these teachers of the letter, and there lay wounded, but no peace till Jesus Christ come, the glad tidings, the free gospel. Then will you witness with me that the gospel is a free gospel and not to be bought and sold for money, and the grace of God is free. "Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come to the water of life; he that hath no money come buy wine and milk, without money and without price." And harken diligently that your souls may live, "And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David." So all people consider, and see if you can witness your souls are raised out of death, and you brought into this everlasting covenant; for who can witness their souls brought out of death are come into the beginning. But thou that hast nothing but the letter, and art spending thy money and thy labor, and not satisfied, spending thy money for that which is not bread, thou art following the greedy dumb dogs, which never have enough: Baal's priests, which have forsaken the right way, going after the error of Balaam, running after the way of Cain, who loved the wages of unrighteousness, who ever slew the just in the particular, despiseth the birthright, Cain-like slaying the righteous. And who slays it in the particular, the same nature slays it in the general, where the righteous seed guides and rules and is the head. So the generation of Cain is <164> but one, which is the first birth. Now loving the light, it will guide you to God from all men, that you need never look at man more.

That the Ministers of Christ, Many of Them,
were Tradesmen, and no Masters

     To all who are ignorant and blind people, who a long time have been deceived by blind guides, who have told you that learned men and scholars must open the Scriptures, which is a thing contrary to the Scripture, and crosseth the Scriptures to say so; for there was not many of them learned in the letter, and spoke forth the life of the Scriptures which made learned men to wonder. Paul was a learned man, but while he was in that condition he was an enemy to Christ, and that hindered, but he was a strict Pharisee and a persecutor; and when he knew Jesus Christ he denied all his learning, and then he spoke forth the Scriptures. He was a tentmaker, Amos a herdsman, a keeper of cattle, and the apostles many of them fishermen. These gave forth the Scriptures; these were the ministers of God, made by God not by man. David, Moses, and Jacob were keepers of sheep, and such as these spoke forth the Scriptures. They were plain men, keepers of cattle; Elisha was a ploughman; these were plain men, and those were an abomination to the Egyptians. Would it not be an abominable thing, and abomination to you who are Egyptians and in the Egyptian wisdom, to see a shepherd or a tentmaker come and preach, or a fisherman to come and preach, which was not learned; or a herdsman come among you and preach in the King's chapel, as Amos did, and they would not let him, and yet ye will make a trade of his words; or to see a man come from the plough, or a thresher preach. Such kind of men as these gave forth the Scriptures, taught of God, not brought up and taught and learned by the will of man, for by that learning no man knows God, but that knowledge lifts up in pride and makes them masters, and lord it over people and creatures, but who are made ministers by the will of God, and not by the will of man, are servants to all. Now here is a distinction <165> between the ministers of the world and the ministers of God: the one is masters over all; the other is servants to all; and they who are in their own will set up the ministers made by the will of man, and denies them who are made ministers by the will of God; and they who are made ministers by the will of man say that the letter, which is carnal, is the light; and that the letter is the word, the steeplehouse the church, the 4 books Matthew, Mark, Luke and John the gospel; Hebrew, Greek and Latin these are the tongues; Oxford and Cambridge two wellheads of divinity; and the letter and the Spirit inseparable; and the Spirit is in the letter, and that learned men must raise it out. Now they who are made ministers by the will of God, their word is God, their light is Christ, their church is in God, their record is the Spirit, their original is the word which was before all tongues, which opens tongues; their gospel is Jesus Christ the Lamb of God, prepared before the world was, which was before the world was; salvation is in God, the Spirit is within them, and they are the sons of God that are guided by his Spirit. The Spirit is not in the letter, but it is within, as it was in them that spoke forth the Scriptures. So all people weigh and try your teachers, and let the Scriptures be your rule, which you do profess in words. The life of the Scriptures is the saints' rule and guide within them. The world professeth the letter to be their rule, yet walk contrary to it. The saints' baptism is with one Spirit into one body; the world's baptism is in sprinkling a little water, which they say they baptize into the church withal. There is not one example among the saints for them to practice such a thing; yea, professing the letter to be the rule, they act contrary to it. Oh blind hypocrites! the blind leads the blind, so both fall into the ditch. The bread the saints break is the body of Christ, and the cup they drink is the blood of Christ, and are all made to drink into one Spirit. And the cup the world take is a little bread and wine, and they call that a sacrament, which there is no Scripture for, and so show forth the spirit of error. Who hath an ear to hear, may hear, and who can reach to these things may receive them; the ministers made by the will of God, their fountain is God.


1. 1 John 3:3; Gal. 3:7.

2. Gen. 13:1.

3. 1 John 3:3.

4. Gal. 3:27-28.

5. Matt. 13:19.

6. Eph. 4:20.

7. James 3:14-15.

8. 1 John 5:4.

9. Eccl. 3:11.

10. 1 Cor. 1:21.

11. Gen. 32:30.

12. Exod. 33:11.

13. Gal. 3:7.

14. Jer. 23:30-31.

15. John 1:1.

16. Heb. 4:12.

17. John 15:3.

18. Jer. 23:29.

19. Ps. 2:1.

20. Isa. 3:18-23.

21. Isa. 3:16.

22. Matt. 23:27,16.

23. John 1:9.

24. John 1:1.

25. 1 John 2:20,27.

26. 1 Thess. 1:1.

27. 1 Cor. 12:13.

28. Matt. 23:6-8.

29. Gal. 6:7.

30. 2 Thess. 1:8.

31. Matt. 2:1-4.

32. Gal. 2:20.

33. John 5:29,40.

34. 1 John 3:8.

35. Matt. 17:20.

36. Gal. 3:7.

37. 2 Cor. 3:2.

38. 2 Pet. 2:7.

39. 1 Cor. 6:5.

40. Phil. 3:20; Col. 3:1.

41. 1 Pet. 4:2.

42. Gen. 21:9.

43. Gal. 4:29.

44. Gen. 16:11-12.

45. Gen. 21:12.

46. Gen. 25:25.

47. Gen. 25:27.

48. Gen. 27:40.

49. Isa. 34:13.

50. John 3:3.

51. Gen. 25:27.

52. 2 Cor. 5:17.

53. John 1:5,9.

54. Mal. 4:1.

55. Gen. 4:5,8.

56. Isa. 1:11.

57. Gen. 4:4.

58. Mal. 3:3-4.

59. 1 John 3:6.

60. Matt. 25:41.

61. 1 Pet. 1:18-19.

62. Rom. 9:13.

63. Amos 1:11; Mal. 1:2.

64. Gen. 3:15.

65. 1 John 2:11; 1:7.

66. Matt. 5:16.

67. Gal. 5:19-20,22.

68. Gal. 6:7.

69. Isa. 3:1.

70. Luke 15:20,16.

Editor's Notes

a. The authorship of this tract is uncertain, some sources attributing it to Nayler, others to Richard Farnworth. The Epistle to the Reader is not in Nayler's style and may be by Farnworth. Most of the body of the tract seems to this editor consistent with Nayler's style; and Rosemary Moore in her online bibliography judges it "more Nayler than Farnworth." Nayler's letter "To Several Friends about Wakefield" was originally printed at its end but in this volume can be found at pp. 313-316.

b. Thomason date: June 29, 1653.

c. whether = which

d. This paragraph, on a different subject and addressed to a different readership than the rest of the tract, may also be by a different author. The style and subject matter are not typical of Nayler. On our copy, in what appears to be a 17th-century hand, someone has written in the margin, "by another."