Quaker Heritage Press >Online Texts > Works of James Nayler > The Power and Glory of the Lord Shining out of the North
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. John 8:12
Therefore behold I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder; for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. Isa. 29:14
For in my jealousy and the fire of my wrath have I spoken, surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel, so that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heavens, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground. Ezek. 38:19-20a
ALL people everywhere, who profess that you love God, and have a desire to walk in his ways, and are in this dark world wandering to and fro, inquiring the way how you may come out of this great city which is Sodom and Egypt, where filthiness and darkness rules1 and is heard, wherein the Lord is crucified, and all the righteous blood hath been shed, and yourselves are kept in bondage to sin and unrighteousness, blindness and thick darkness, and know not where you are, nor the way out of this condition; though many of you have been inquiring after the way so many years, seeking after your blind guides, who are not the way, neither in the way themselves, and so have forsaken the fountain of light and have run after and have been led by them who are in the same darkness with you: now stand still a while and see where you are and what you have been doing. You pretend as to the kingdom of God, but you are not seeking where it is: you have been seeking without, but it is within you; and there you must find it if ever you find it. It is not to be found in forms and customs and outside observations, but the kingdom of God is within you,2 and the way to the kingdom is within you, and the light that guides into the way and keeps in the waye is within. Christ is the way, and know ye not that Christ is in you except ye be reprobates? And as he is the way, so he is the light: "I am the light of the world and lighten every one that cometh into the world. He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life.3 I am the true shepherd of the sheep, and my sheep know my voice, but the voice of a stranger they will not hear." And the voice of Christ is spiritual & not carnal; and he speaks to the spirits in prison: and he that hath an ear, hears what the Spirit saith; and he who comes once to hear the voice of Christ in Spirit will no more desire to hear the voice of strangers. All your hirelings are strangers to Christ, and he knows them not;4 for though they may prophesy in his name and in his name <172> cast out devils,5 yet if they be workers of iniquity Christ knows them not; and such know not Christ; "for he that saith, I know him, and keeps not his commandment, is a liar."6 Now all people, cease from your strange guides and outside lights, and return to the light of Christ in you, that which shows you sin and evil and the deeds of darkness: for whatever makes manifest is light;7 and this is that light which shines into the conscience, which tells you that lying, swearing, pride, envy, covetousness, backbiting and dissembling leads to condemnation. And this light checks you for sin and would have you to do to all men as you would be done to. And this light is not a chapter without you, in a book, but it is that light that revealed thatf to the saints in their several measures, which they spoke forth, and which thou readest in the chapter. And this light being minded will lead to the perfect day which declares all things as they are. And this did the apostles exhort the saints everywhere to take heed unto till the day dawned and the day star did arise in their hearts;8 and this is a more sure word of prophesy than that the apostle did seeg in the mount, as he declared unto them. And if you take heed to this light, to obey and love it, then it will show that to you which no outward declaration of man can show you; it will let you see all your sins done in secret, and whom you have wronged, and how you have spent your time, and will bring you to repentance and to tenderness of heart towards all people and will bring you to exercise a pure conscience in the fear of God, towards God and man in uprightness, and so will lead up to justification and peace.9 And if you disobey it, it will condemn you in your own hearts and will show you that God is greater than your hearts, who will render to everyone according to their work. And here you are left without excuse before God, men and angels; and in this, that you know sin and live in it, here you have learned your condemnation, and your deceit is discovered whereby with a pretense <173> you make prayers and say, Lord, show us a sight of our sins; whenas God hath given you a light within you, which being minded and obeyed will show you all your sins and wickedness, and lead you out of them. But this light you hate, because you love your evil deeds;10 and you perish not for want of light tendered, but because you turn your backs on it: for when you should bring your works to it to be proved, then you join with the deceit to make covers for your sins, and hide them lest they should come to the light and be made manifest. And this is the cause why you stumble, because you walk not in the light; for your evil deeds will not abide the light: the adulterer loves the night, and the thief loves the night, and the drunkard loves the night, and all the children of darkness love the night, that they may bring forth their evil deeds unreproved.11
And here thou art who lovest thy sins, and here wilt thou be found, profess what thou wilt; for the day will thoroughly declare thee what thou art; for now is the day of the Lord which will judge thee as thou art, near at hand. And woe to thee that hidest thy sins and coverest thine iniquities. Thou mayst hide from men and make men believe thou art a Christian, but God will not be mocked; for above all he abhors the hypocrite and dissembler: wherefore take heed and turn from your deceit, and come forth you children of darkness, and come into the light, where there is no occasion of stumbling, and make it appear you are children of the light by loving it:12 and make it appear you love the light by bringing your deeds to it to be proved, that all your works may be works of the light, that your light may shine forth before all men in your works, and that true judgment may be set up in you and all unrighteousness condemned and cast out, and truth received in, that the truth may make you free:13 for while you join with the deceit you consent to keep your sins, and while you commit sin you are the servants of sin, and the wages of sin is death, and death reigns in you because you will not come to Christ, who is the light, that you may have life; and your destruction is of yourselves; and God is just, and your condemnation is this, that light is come into the world, and you <174> love darkness rather than light, because your deeds are evil:14 and this is that grace of God that hath appeared to all men, which is the saints' teacher, and teacheth them to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts,15 which you that live in your lusts turn into wantonness and will not be taught by it; and here you read your condemnation in every sin you commit.16
O you people of England! how long will it be ere you be obedient to the kingdom of Jesus Christ! How long will you profess him in words & forms and yet will not own him in power! You can be content to let him have the name of a king, so that you yourselves may reign, and under the name of Christ's kingdom act your own wills.17 And though you cannot bear it to be judged by the Spirit of Christ where it is in his people, which judgeth all the world and all things,18 yet you cannot escape, for you shall be found guilty before the mighty judge of heaven and earth when he shall appear in flames and fire, to be avenged upon all deceit and unrighteousness of men. And will you be found at that day subjects in the kingdom of Christ, wherein all the saints are one, and Christ their head and lawgiver? Or are you not lords over God's heritage; yea,19 over Christ himself? and you will appear such when the mystery of iniquity shall be revealed in you; you who ought to make it your whole care to observe the law of Christ in all things that he commands,20 as a rule for you to walk by. But are you in your duty as servants to Christ, when you are prescribing him ways to walk by in his church? And is it not so, when you would limit him to speak only by such as you in your wisdom approve of, or else he shall be silent? and to effect this, are all the powers of the earth combined together: do not you here take upon you to be lords of the vineyard, and not servants? and would not suffer him to send forth laborers into it, who is Lord of it?21 Is not this the way to make the heritage your own? Hath not all the persecution of the messengers of God arisen from this ground?22 And how many times have earthly powers been broken to pieces against this rock? And do you walk according <175> to the Scriptures, which you say is your rule, when you would limit the Spirit of the Lord not to speak in his own time, and in what place soever they who have the message are sent into? You who are offended because the Lord sends his messengers into your idol temples to cry against your idol worships and heathenish customs, and to call out poor ignorant people from amongst you,23 which have long been deceived by their blind guides: and to call them out of forms and likenesses into the substance of all worships, which is only in Spirit and not in forms and customs and outside observations, that they may come to know what they worship, even the living God, that their souls may live.24—Which was the way by which the apostles did gather the saints out of all the idols' temples and carnal worships into the Spirit, as you may read in the Scripture. And this (with you) is a transgression of your law, and you say it breeds distraction in your churches: but what churches are they which will be so soon distracted? and what people are those churches made up of, who no sooner hear one deliver the Lord's message in a peaceable way, but they are all on fire, beating, buffeting, cursing, swearing, and haling them to prison? And were you not blind you might plainly see what generation these are, who are and always have been offended at the will of God. Is not the love of God to souls, to send, to call them who will hear his voice out of such churches as are thus acted by a spirit of envy, rage and murder, which is the spirit of the devil? And this is that spirit which being offended sets the creatures one to destroy another, lest his deceit should be revealed; and are you not blind who cannot distinguish of that spirit which acts in the persecutor and that Spirit which acts in the sufferer, and hath so done in all ages, and come out from amongst them? And what law is that which you say is transgressed by the creature being obedient to the creator, obeying the voice of Christ witnessed in the Scripture by the practice of the holy men of God, sent out by the same Spirit into the world, as these are at this day? Is this a Christian law, as you pretend it to be, that thus withstands Christ in his kingdom? And were you spiritual as <176> you pretend, would not these carnal laws that oppose the spirit and practice of the saints be laid aside by you? And now try whether that Spirit act in you which led the apostles and saints into the temple and synagogues daily, there to dispute against all idolatrous worships and to hold out to the people the true substance,25 and thereby gathered the church into God, in the Spirit, there to meet and worship; or that spirit that was in them who persecuted the saints for so doing and commanded of them silence, and charged them with breaking their law and turning the world upside down, and counted them madmen.26 And if any be moved to speak a word of truth while your parish teachers are talking, or before their glass be run, you that execute a carnal law upon the bodies of such, are you subject to the kingdom of Christ, which is in the spirits of his own, whereby he rules the conscience and brings them to obey him in his commands? Or will not you be found in the day of trial to be fighters against him,h under the name of professing him? And do these whom you persecute anything but what was the saints' practice?
And how are you not ashamed to profess that Scripture to be your rule which saith, if anything be revealed to another that sits by, let the first hold his peace?27 And this the apostle sets down as order, and the saints' liberty. But what spirit acts you who would restrain it and call it disorder, and haul them before rulers or to prison for so doing? And you that say, if such have their own liberty it is reason they should be silent, and not cry out against others; know that the law of Christ is not grounded on the will and reason of men: and is your reason here anything but carnal? For doth pure reason give any way that deceit should go under the name of truth unreproved? And is there any reason to limit the Spirit of Christ, that it shall not discover the man of sin wherever he is, who must be revealed and destroyed by the brightness of his coming in hisi saints, and by the sword of his mouth? And is there any reason that the powers of the earth should make laws for the Spirit of Christ in the saints to act by? <177> (though in all ages they would be meddling with it to their own hurt). And if all should be subject to your law, which you say is reason, how should truth be spread abroad and deceit be brought to blush: seeing deceit hath always, and doth still wind into the earthly powers for safety? But truth seeks no corners, nor shelters from earthly powers; for all that ever was sent out by Christ to preach the gospel was called by him alone, without the consent of earthly powers, neither stood they to the judgment or trial of any men or powers, as from them to receive order whether to preach or forbear: but by his authority alone by whom they were sent, to whom alone they were to give account of their ministry with joy or sorrow. And in this work they denied all the learning and wisdom of the world. Christ was not learned, and the apostles was not learned;j and Paul, when he tells of his bringing up in learning, counts it amongst other (carnal) things, loss, dross and dung (which before he had counted gain), that in the loss of them he might win Christ. And saith that the knowledge of the gospel, he had it not of man nor by man, nor was he taught it but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.28 But what rule walk you by, who must have them to such a pitch of learning, and so many years at Oxford or Cambridge, and then to study so long in books and old authors? and all this to know what unlearned men, fishermen, plowmen & herdsmen, did mean when they spoke forth the Scriptures, who were counted fools and madmen by the learned generation when they spoke it forth. And they who speak it by the same Spirit are so still by the same serpent's wisdom. And when you have brought them to this height of learning, yet the Scripture is a book sealed to all their wisdom and learning;29 and they from whom you expect the opening of this mystery are at a jar amongst themselves, what should be the meaning of it; and have been in all ages disputing, quarreling, imprisoning, killing and burning one another, and would do so now, had they power: for this learned generation have been the <178> stirrers up of all strife and bloodshed, setting kingdoms, nations and people one against another, and all about standing to uphold their meanings, forms and imaginations, and vain conceptions from the letter, but are all ignorant of that Spirit which gave it forth; for they who have the substance contend not about words and meanings; and that Spirit is the substance which gave it forth, and opens it again as it ariseth in its measure. And they who have that Spirit are ministers of the Spirit, and they minister to the raising up of the Spirit in others, and not to the serpent's wisdom; for they know that wisdom which stands in the will of man must not enter; for the mystery is hid from it. And such cannot persecute the bodies of men because they know not so much as they, neither do they seek to destroy the creature; but they strike at the accursed spirit which keeps the creature in blindness and bondage, and so redeems the creature and reconciles him to God in the Spirit. And this is the ministry of reconciliation, guided by the Spirit, and by this was the Scripture written forth: for holy men of God spoke forth the Scriptures as they were moved by the Holy Ghost,30 without carnal learning. And holy men by the same Spirit read and understandk them again, not by carnal learning and natural tongues; for the Spirit is the original, which first reveals the mystery to the Spirit within man and then declares it forth in words or writing to the understanding of others, to the directing their minds to wait upon God for the same free gift of the Spirit,31 & here is the true worship in Spirit found and performed, which stands in the teaching of the Spirit and not in the letter, unknown to the world, but owned of God.
But all you who seek to find out the invisible things of God, or the way of his worship, by your learning and wisdom in the letter, you seek that which is hid from your wisdoms, & you take the saints conditions to talk on; and they having outwardly declared their inward worship & fellowship they had with God in Spirit, & this you find in the letter,32 and everyone, according to <179> your several conceivings thereof, sets up an outward form, image, or likeness of the saints' worship. And here you worship, and for this you contend by reasons and arguments, and wrest the Scriptures to uphold your form;33 and if any will not worship this your image you are greatly offended. And here is all the contention in the world about things without, as forms, customs and traditions; and here carnal minds contend with carnal words and weapons about carnal things: and you who are here cannot own the saints' conditions in yourselves, as to witness the infallible teachings of the Spirit, and the body of sin put off, and to be sanctified throughout in soul and body.34 But you will own the Scriptures (as they are) as far as they will make with your form, and that you may live in the delights of the world; and for those which cross your ways and wills, you will alter them by meanings and expositions. And thus the Scripture must bend to you, and submit to your wills, that the will may reign, and you live in your lusts: but to believe that ever they shall be fulfilled in you by Christ, as they are and were in the saints, to this your faith is reprobate.35 And yet you are not ashamed to profess Christ your king, and the Scripture your rule, and you make a great sound in words: the kingdom of Christ, and the ordinances of Christ, and the church of Christ, and the saints' practice, and the Scripture rule; but is it so upon trial, or but a thing like these you speak on? And where you appear to be wanting, there you have covered with words, meanings and expositions; but the saints, whose conditions you talk on, was what they spoke withoutl meanings or deceit: they were subjects in the kingdom of Christ, and he did rule in them, and they followed him through persecution, mockings and death:36 but is it so with you, who are lords over your brethren, beating, mocking, imprisoning and killing them because they will not forsake the commands of Christ to be subject to your wills and heathenish customs, as to bow down to you and worship you, and to be silent at your will, and to speak at your wills though Christ command the contrary? Is this to own Christ for your <180> king? And as for your ordinances you cry up so much, are these they, to set up a proud man, called by you "master," having the highest place in the idol's temple, preaching always from a verse of another man's condition but not fulfilled in himself;37 raising points, reasons, objections and uses, a divination of his own brain, but not from the mouth of the Lord; adding and diminishing to the Scripture; sprinkling of infants and calling it baptizing into Christ; singing David's conditions in rhymes; telling people of a sacrament, and observing of times,38 doing all for tithes or money, living in pride, fullness and covetousness, and many more like things, never used by any that ever Christ sent? And is this your church, all within such a place or parish, sprinkled when they were infants but not yet washed from sin, butm are still liars, swearers, drunkards, whoremongers, covetous, scorners, proud, wanton, oppressors, and suchlike, but not one that can witness that faith which hath overcome the world, sin and the devil, or believes that ever they shall overcome while they are here?39 and is this the church of Christ (which is his body) which are limbs of the devil, and serve him at his will? And is this the saints' practice you speak of, to exalt yourselves one above another, to sue one another, to accuse falsely, to be proud and coveetous, to live in the lusts of the flesh,40 sporting and gaming and calling it recreation; living in excess of apparel and diet, spending the creatures onn your lusts when your brethren want food and raiment, causing others to labor in wants, that they may bring it to you to spend onn your lusts and vanity? And when you should hearken to the light of Christ in your conscience, then you join with the deceit to make covers for your iniquities and say it is but as your place and estate requires, as though God had given out his law with respect of persons and had given you a toleration to abuse the creature and live in your lusts more than others because you have more of the earth, or a greater power committed to your charge amongst men than others;41 not considering <181> that the heathen exercise these things, but the saints, the greater power, the more humble, and the more careful to walk as examples to others, that so they may exalt him alone whose ministers they are, and not themselves in pride.42 And this is to be truly honorable, and herein have all the faithful been honored; but you who seek for the world's honor are not of the faithful; for, saith Christ, how can you believe that seek for honor one of another?43 Now you that talk of the saints' practice, own it in yourselves, and it will take you off from these and many more vanities you live in; God will not be mocked; you hypocrites, be not sayers, but doers. And you talk of the Scripture being a golden rule, but your ways prove how little you are ruled by it. Do ye seek to be perfect? for God is perfect: holy as he is holy? Do ye love God above all, and your neighbors as yourself, when you make them your footstool? Do you do to all as you would be done by? have you forsaken the world and the love of it? Is the lusts and affections of your flesh crucified? Having food and raiment, are ye therewith content? Do you live by faith, not taking thought for tomorrow, not what to eat and what to put on? Do you live as the Lord's lilies? Do you feed the hungry and clothe the naked and let the oppressed go free? Are ye no respecters of persons in all your dealings? Are you brought to yea and nay in all your communication, without any more which comes of evil?44 Do you suffer and are hated, and have all manner of evil spoken on you falsely for the name of Christ?45 Are you brought out of all the customs of the heathen, and are conformable to Christ in his life and sufferings? prove yourselves if you be what you profess in truth, that you be saints, sanctified and redeemed out of all worldly and earthly things, to live to God in all things, in righteousness and holiness. Oh! you take but their conditions to talk on, which was so, and so you boast in another man's line on things that are not your own. See if you be made the righteousness of God in Christ,46 as they were, and if you know him, <182> whom you say you worship, to dwell in your bodies, as they did, and that you are taught of him in Spirit how he will be worshipped, as they were whom you talk on.47 See whether these things be so in substance, or you have but a form of their worship, gathered out of the letter; and so you worship a likeness or image of that whereof they had the substance. Now if you have but the outside, take heed; for now is the hand of the Lord upon all the idols of the world.48 And that which is not the substance is but an image. And now shall the stone cut out of the mountain without hands break thee and thy image in pieces,49 and he that is without form shall by his power break all your forms and formal worships in pieces.50 And that worship alone shall be set up which is in Spirit and not in form, and is accepted by that God who never was known in form, but in Spirit blessed forever.
And you rulers of the nation, take heed how you step into the throne of Christ or exalt yourselves in his kingdom, and mind what power you are entrusted with by the Lord, and be faithful in that as the ministers of God, to whom you are to account.o You are to punish sin in whom it is, without respect of persons: and if you be faithful herein you will find work enough in the nation. And you are to encourage them that do well and deliver them from the power of cruel and bloodthirsty men that oppress them; for he that departs from iniquity is made a prey to this generation.51 And you are to walk as examples to the people in all holiness and righteousness, that God may bless you and honor you in the doing of his commands: but as for sending out laborers into his vineyard, where hath he commanded this at your hands? or when did he in any age reprove any for not doing it? He hath overthrown kingdoms and nations for abusing and going about to stop the mouths of those that he sent;52 and hath reproved kings for their sakes, saying touch them not: but these were such as he <183> sent; for he never betrusted the powers of the earth to choose him messengers to go on his message.53 And hath he now put power into your hand that you should not suffer him to choose his own messengers, by whom he will send to his own people? And have you the message to put into their mouths? and must they go on your errand or his? and will not you give him leave to choose his own servants and what he will employ them about? Will you deal so with him as you would not have any to deal with you? And for your tithes, augmentations and set benefits, when did ever God require any such thing from any magistrates under the gospel? And doth it serve for any other end, but to hold up an idle, loitering ministry, one pulling another out of places, and setting themselves in their stead, that they may heap up riches and live in their lusts, all running greedily after the wages of Balaam for gifts and rewards? And do you fear that the hand of God is shortened, that he will not raise up such as will go on his message unless you provide them wages?54 Did ever any that he sent complain to the world for want? nay, all my Father's servants have bread enough, without being cared for by the world; for those who are sent by Christ take little care for such earthly things, having a better reward in durable riches. And can you ever keep the ministers of antichrist out of places (who will conform to anything for gain) so long as they can have you to feed them with money? And will not you be found guilty of keeping up the hirelings that the woe is to, and them that hold them up, and whom Christ is come to discover and cast out, and so you be found fighters against him? And when you leave all that say they are Christ's ministers to Christ's maintenance set down in the gospel, then it will appear who have run unsent, and have not profited the people. And is it not the love of God to cast out such as have called themselves teachers, and have been thus long in places, and have their people yet liars, swearers, drunkards, proud and covetous, and in all filthiness; but not one that is set free from sin and brought out of the world;55 and they who have taught them dare not trust them for maintenance without a law to <184> compel them? And are you doing any acceptable service to God in maintaining such as these as they live? And will it not be said to you one day, who requiredp these things at your hands, to oppress the poor who labor hard to give their labors to maintain these belly-gods (contrary to their conscience) in their fullness, pride and lust, and their wives and families in idleness; and they that labor for it are many times in great want?56
Oh! be wise and take heed what you do; and as you profess yourselves to be a Christian magistracy, so mind the commands of Christ, and not your own wills. It is not saying you are Christians, but walking after Christ and his commands, that differs you from heathen: and do not profess the Scripture in words, but own their practice that gave them forth; and let them who say they are ministers make proof of their ministry in power, and not in getting a few words whereby to deceive you and the people: but let them first sow spiritual things before they reap carnal: first beget a people out of the world into the Spirit and then they shall not need to contend with them about food and raiment nor sue them at the law: first plant, then eat.57 And this was the practice of such as Christ sent, and he always provided them a house to go to who were worthy, and meat to eat, and they never wanted what was good for them.58 And I witness that he is the same now and hath the same care over those that he sends into the world, with divers others whom he hath sent out without bag or scrip, yea, into the most brutish parts in the nation: praises, praises be to our God, whose is the earth and the fullness thereof. And thus do we witness the Scripture fulfilled, and take no thought for food and raiment, as the heathen do, but are come into the unity with all saints in their joy and sufferings, and are taught by Christ how to want and how to abound, and in all conditions to be therewithal content.59 And we can truly say, all is for good to us and to the church of Christ: and our kingdom and joy is not of this world, nor doth the world know us nor our joy; glory to the highest forever, who is shaking all the <185> wisdoms and powers of men to establish that which is of himself alone, to which all shall be made to bend and bow.60
And you that are in power, mind the promise of the Father, at the coming of Christ to his kingdom, "I will overturn, overturn, overturn, till it come into his hand whose right it is, and upon his shoulders shall the government be established (he that hath an ear to hear, let him hear)."61 And take notice how many have been overturned already, who would have been limiting him by their wisdoms. And now it is come into your hands, who above all have seen his wonders done for you and the nation, and you above all have declared that your desire is that Christ alone may reign in his kingdom;62 and some of you I have known to be tender towards any who looked that way. Oh that there were such a heart in you, to lay aside all your own wills and carnal consultations,63 and to take counsel at the Spirit of the Lord and be guided by his pure light shining intoq your conscience, which would bring you into the fear of the Lord and to depart from self-ends, interests and exaltations, and to follow the law of God in establishing laws for yourselves and others to walk by, and that you may follow the practice of the saints left in Scripture without wresting it, that so you might come to have unity with them in the same Spirit that gave them forth, and so be guided by the same Spirit of justice and judgment64 by which all were guided that ever have ruled well in all ages, whom God did bless and hath honored forever: that so God may bless you and establish you, and preserve the nation out of the hands of yours and the nation's enemies. And that you may be honored with taking away oppression, and wicked and unjust rulers, who are the cause of it, who judge not the cause of the poor and needy, and which the Lord hath been grieved at these many years.65 But if you forget yourselves and what you have promised before the Lord, in the day when you sought unto him for deliverance, and <186> so exalt yourselves over the poor, and set up your own laws and not the law of God in its purity: I declare unto you this day from the word of the Lord that he will overturn you and raise up his kingdom another way; whether you will hear, or whether you will forbear, the word of the Lord shall stand; for the Almighty God hath been shaking the nations that his glory may appear;66 and there shall be no rest until his kingdom be established above all mountains. Hear all ye powers of the earth, the Lord alone will reign.
This I am to declare abroad, that they who are wisehearted may understand and fear before the Lord God Almighty: the time is at hand; he that believes shall be established.
Take heed how you speak evil of the things you know not (Jude 10). You who neither know the Lord nor his works in yourselves, take heed how you judge it in others; you are without God who arer in the world. And the works of God have always been strange to that nature which you live in; but search the Scriptures, and you shall find that the holy men of God do witness quaking and trembling, and roaring and weeping, and fasting and tears; but the world knows not the saints' conditions. But beware therefore lest that come upon you which is spoken of in the prophets and apostles, of such despisers and scorners as you are. "Behold ye despisers, and wonder, and perish; for I work a work in your days, a work which you shall not in any wise believe, though a man declare it unto you" (Acts 13:40-41). "The Lord reigneth, let the people tremble; he sitteth between the cherubims, let the earth be moved" (Ps. 99:1). "Tremble thous earth at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob" (Ps. 114). "My flesh trembleth because of thee, and I am afraid of thy judgments (Ps. 119:120). "He looketh upon the earth, and it trembled: he toucheth the hills, and they smoke" (Ps. 104:32). <187> "A fire goeth before his face and burneth up all his enemies round about; his lightning enlightned the world; the earth saw and trembled: the hills melted like wax at the presence of the Lord" (Ps. 97:3-5). "Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me" (Ps. 55:5). "So terrible was the voice that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and tremble: whose voice then shook the earth; but now he hath said, that once more I shake not the earth only, but heaven also" (Heb. 12:21,26). When Paul heard the voice of Christ, he trembling and astonished said, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" (Acts 9:6). The Corinthians received Titus in obedience, with fear and trembling (2 Cor. 7:15). Paul was with the Corinthians in weakness and fear and much trembling (1 Cor. 2:3). When Paul reasoned of righteousness, temperance & judgment to come, Felix trembled (Acts 24:25). The apostle exhorts the saints to work out their salvation with fear & trembling (Phil. 2:12). The jailer, when he believed, he came trembling and fell down before Paul and Silas (Acts 16:29). When Isaac blessed his sons, he trembled very exceedingly (Gen. 27:33). "Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at his word; your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name's sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed" (Isa. 66:5). Thus saith the Lord, to this man will I look even to him that is poor and of a contrite heart, and trembleth at my words (Isa. 66:2). "Oh! that thou wouldst rent the heavens, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence, as when the melting fire causeth the water to boil: and to make his name known to his adversaries, that the nations may tremble at his presence" (Isa. 64:1-2). "Yea, I will make many people amazed at thee, and their kings shall be horribly afraid for thee, when I shall brandish my sword before them, and they shall tremble at every moment, every man for his own life, in the day of thy fall" (Ezek. 32:10). When Habakkuk heard the voice his belly trembled, his lips quivered, and rottenness entered into his bones, and he trembled in himself that he might rest in the day of trouble (Hab. 3:16). When Daniel saw the vision he stood trembling, & they that were with him thought that they saw it not, yet a great quaking fell upon them so that they fled to hide themselves (Dan. 10:7,11). <188> When God sets up his Son as king, all are exhorted to serve him with fear and rejoice with trembling (Ps. 2:6,11). When Job remembered God he was afraid, and trembling took hold of his flesh (Job 21:6). The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at his presence (Job 26:11). "Which shaketh the earth out of her place, the pillars thereof tremble" (Job 9:6). "Thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment, thou hast made the earth to tremble: thou hast broken it, heal the breaches thereof, for it shaketh" (Ps. 60:2-3). "The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of the God of Israel" (Ps. 68:8). "And the land shall tremble and sorrow; for every purpose of the Lord shall be performed against Babylon" (Jer. 51:29). When Ezra heard of the people's sins, he plucked his hair off his head and off his beard; he rent his garment and sat down astonished; and there assembled unto him all that trembled at the word of the God of Israel (Ezra 9:3-4). The people were to enter into covenant with God by the counsel of those that trembled at the command of God (Ezra 10:3). "The Lord will take the cup of trembling out of the hands of his people and put into the hands of those that afflict them" (Isa. 51:22-23). When the Lord shall roar, then the children shall tremble as a bird (Hos. 11:10-11). "Shall not the land tremble for this, and every one mourn that dwelleth therein? And all feasts shall be turned into mourning, and all songs into lamentation, as a lamentation for an only son" (Amos 8:8,10). "Thus saith the Lord of hosts: Yet a little while, and I will shake the heavens, the earth, the sea, and the dry land: and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come, and I will fill my house with glory, saith the Lord" (Hag. 2:6-7). "I beheld the mountains, and lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly" (Jer. 4:24). "At his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation" (Jer. 10:10). "Tremble ye women that are at ease; be troubled ye careless ones: strip ye and make ye bare, and gird sackcloth upon your loins" (Isa. 32:11). Jeremy said his heart was broken within him; and all his bones shaked because of the Lord and because of the word of his holiness (Jer. 23:9). The elders of Bethlehem trembled at the coming of Samuel (1 Sam. 16:4). Ezekiel was commanded to eat his bread with quaking and drink his water <189> with trembling and with carefulness (Ezek. 12:18). "Blow the trumpet in Zion, sound an alarm in my holy mountain. Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for the day of the Lord cometh; for it is nigh at hand" (Joel 2:1). "For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken: surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel, so that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground" (Ezek. 38:19-20). When God heard David's prayer out of his holy temple, the earth shook and trembled, the foundations of the hills moved and were shaken because he was wroth (Ps. 18:6-7).
David roared all the day long and was weary with his groanings: he wept all the night and made his bed to swim with tears: he fasted till his knees grew feeble and his flesh failed of fatness, until he could number his bones, while he suffered the terrors of God. He was distracted; he was a reproach among men for so doing, and despised of the people. All that saw him laughed him to scorn; he was a mocking to the wicked, they made mouths at him and shaked the head at him: the drunkards made songs of him; he was a taunt and a by-word among them. Dogs compassed him about, the assemblies of wicked men enclosed him; vain persons came to see him that they might tell it abroad, and he was a wonder to many and a stranger to his brethren, and his kinsmen stood afar off.67
"Thus saith the Lord, we have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask now, and see whether a man doth travail with child: wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail? and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas, for that day is great, so that none is like it; it is even the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of it" (Jer. 30:5-7).
"Hear now this, ye foolish people and without understanding, <190> which have eyes and see not; which have ears and hear not; fear ye not me? saith the Lord. Will ye not tremble at my presence?" (Jer. 5:21-22).
Know this thou subtle one who hast long upholden a kingdom of sin, unrighteousness, injustice and oppression, with all manner of filthiness by thy wisdom, that now the day of thy torment is at hand; for now is that seed arisen which is appointed to discover thee and thy deceitful workings, and to bruise thy head, and to lay all thy pride and glory in the dust: and he will set up a kingdom of righteousness, purity and holiness in the hearts of his people, who have been deceived through thy divination and witchcrafts these many years.68 And you ministers of antichrist who have made people believe that you were the ministers of Jesus Christ, the son of righteousness, by your crying out against sin in words and making poor ignorant people think that you were enemies to all unrighteousness and lovers of purity and perfection; but now that the Lord is bringing out a people out of the unrighteous world, destroying the body of sin and bringing them up to righteousness, holiness and perfection, even to the image of his dear Son in which they were created, and so to himself again from whence they were fallen by sin, and could no other way be restored but by being made the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17-21). Which God having begun to effect, now you are forced to uncover and show yourselves, whose ministers you are and what kingdom you stand for, with all your power opposing the kingdom of Christ, which is in holiness and perfection; and now you are forced (lest the man of sin should fall) to tell the same people to whom you have been all this while talking against sin, impurity and imperfection, that they must never look while <191> they are here to overcome sin, the world, and the devil, nor ever come to purity and perfection:69 and thus you labor to keep a hold for the man of sin as long as people live; and so persuade them to leave the work of redemption and freedom till after death, or you know not when, and thus encourage people to spend their days in folly and leave the world with torment and horror at their death.
Now it being that you are ignorant of that pure light of the Spirit that convinceth those who will own it, I am moved from the letter,u for the simple ones' sake, who have been long deceived by you, to give some discoveries to yourselves and all who will see whose ministers you are, and for whose kingdom you minister.
And first, you that say none can be free from sin while they are here, you are ministers against the truth (John 8:32,34).
Secondly, you are against that which the Father promised at the coming of Christ (Matt. 1:21; John 1:29; Jer. 50:20).
Thirdly, you are against the end for which Christ came into the world (John 8:34,36).
Fourthly, you are against the end of Christ's sufferings (Gal. 1:4; 1 Pet. 3:18; Rom. 4:25; 6:10-11; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:21-22).
Fifthly, you are against the end of Christ being manifested in the saints (Rom. 8:3-4; 1 John 3:8 and 3:5).
Sixthly, you are against that which manifests the children of God from the children of the devil (1 John 3:10; 5:18).
Seventhly, you are against the commands of God and Christ (Isa. 52:11; John 8:11; 1 Tim. 1:5; John 5:14).
Eighthly, you are against that which the saints did witness wrought in them by Christ (Rom. 6:1,6,7,18,22; Rev. 1:5; 1 Pet. 2:24; 1 John 3:6; 5:18; Col. 2:11).
And you that say none can come to holiness and perfection while they are here; and to prove this you take the saints' conditions which they declared as they were passing on in growth toward it: and hence you go about by your subtilty to make people <192> believe that they never did attain to perfection; and all this lest any should press after it, as though God did command his people to labor for that which is not to be attained. And now judge if you were not blind whom you minister for, and whom you are against.
First, you are against the end for which Christ offered up himself (Heb. 10:14; Tit. 2:14).
Secondly, you are against the commands of God (Matt. 5:48; 1 Pet. 1:16; Lev. 11:44; Deut. 18:13; Lev. 20:7; Gen. 17:1).
Thirdly, you are against the end for which Christ comes into the saints (John 17:23).
Fourthly, you are against the end for which Christ begifted and sent out all his ministers into the world (Eph. 4:11-13).
Fifthly, you are against the work of the apostles and prophets to whom they writ and taught (Jas. 1:4; 2 Cor. 7:1; 13:11; 1 Chron. 28:9; Heb. 6:1).
Sixthly, you are against that which the apostles and ministers of Christ labored and prayed for to be wrought in the saints, night and day (1 Thess. 3:10; Col. 1:28; Heb. 13:20-21; 1 Pet. 5:10; Col. 4:12).
Seventhly, you are against the end for which the Scriptures are written (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
Eighthly, you are against the testimony God himself bears of his own (Gen. 6:9; Job 1:8; 2:3).
Ninthly, you are against what the saints witnessed to be in themselves and others (2 Kings 20:3; Phil. 2:15; 1 Cor. 2:6; 2 Cor. 12:9; Prov. 2:21; 11:5; Ps. 37:37; 64:4; 101:2,6; Heb. 12:23; 1 John 3:3; 4:17.
Tenthly, you are against that without which God and man can never be reconciled in one again (Heb. 7:19; Hab. 1:13; Dan. 9:24; 2 Tim. 2:21; 1 Cor. 3:17; Matt. 5:8; Ps. 15; Prov. 15:9,29; Ps. 5:4).
And now let them who are wise-hearted judge whose ministers you are that are thus against God and the recovery of lost man into his first estate, and see if it be not the same spirit that acts you thus in subtlety to keep man in the fall, by which the fall of man was occasioned at the first; and let all judge whether you be the ministers of righteousness or of unrighteousness; of Christ the king of purity and peace, or of antichrist, the prince of <193> this world and man of sin and opposition; now by your fruits you are known and shall be judged: wherefore repent and cease limiting the Lord and measuring the pure Spirit of God in his people, whom he hath called out of the world and sanctified thereby unto fruits of righteousness, obedience, holiness and perfection; and measure not this with that spirit of pride, covetousness, self-love and envy and persecution which rules in you, who are yet in the world and the love of it, which is enmity with God (James 4:4). But see within yourselves what is the cause why you are such enemies to righteousness and perfection: you are too rich in yourselves, in your own wisdom, by your earthly wisdom, to wait for the good and perfect gifts of God from above (James 1:17). You envious ones, you want the bond of perfectness, which is charity (Col. 3:14). You hypocrites, who hear, and say, and do not that which leads to it; how can you come to perfection? (James 1:22-25). You are too much in words but too little in practice to come to perfection; for faith is made perfect through works, and not through words (Jas. 2:22; 1 Cor. 4:20).
And you fat worldlings, who live in pride, pleasure and fulness, and have your hearts in the earth, see Luke 8:14; and there Christ tells you the plain cause why you bring no fruit to perfection: now woe unto you who have set yourselves in places to lead people up to God out of the fall, sin and uncleanness; but now when the Lord is come, none are found such opposers of purity as you are: O repent! how long will it be ere you cease to pervert the ways of God for your own ends? Oh that you had eyes to see, that you might make peace with him, least he tear you in pieces and there be none to deliver.
And now to you poor scattered sheep, who have been scattered by these hirelings in this cloudy dark day which hath been upon all flesh spread upon the face of the earth, and you have been running from mountain to hill to find the Lord but have not found him who is to give rest to your souls. And many of you are still wandering you know not where. Others have seated themselves under green trees and are worshipping you know not what, but as others tell you, who know as little of the true and living God as yourselves. Others are weary with seeking where <194> nothing can be found and are fallen asleep in the world of ease and carelessness. Others have their ears open to all voices, which cry lo here, lo there, but know not who to trust, being all in confusion. Now all awake to meet the Lord, who is arisen to seek and save and gather into one fold all his scattered ones, and to bring them up to Zion the holy city, where he will feed them himself alone, without fear, in good pasture, where they shall lie down in peace: now come off from all your blind guides, that are not in the way themselves, nor can they direct others where the way is: come out of the world and worldly cares and pleasures, and return to the Lord in Spirit; he is within you, and there if you wait in Spirit you shall hear him speak to your spirits, to the directing your minds out of all the works of darkness and sin, up to God, where no sin is nor unclean thing can come; and if you mind to obey his voice he will teach you to lay aside all your dissembling and hypocrisy, whereby you have deceived yourselves and others, professing godliness in words but denying it in power, and you will find power given in from the Lord to become what you profess in reality and truth, and to profess no more but what you are, that God may have glory by you and take delight to dwell in you; for this is the day of your visitation if you will own it; the day of salvation from all sin and unrighteousness, the day wherein all the children of the Lord shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be their peace, in righteousness shall they be established, and they shall be far from oppression (Isa. 54:13-14). Many of you have had great travail and gone through many sorrows to find rest, but have found none: many prayers and tears, but no answer of peace: many days of seeking, but have not found him whom your souls thirst after: and all this because you have been seeking the living among the dead: he is not to be found in the world nor formal worships, nor in human wisdom and learning; but he is only to be found as he reveals himself freely to those who patiently wait for him in Spirit. Dear people, to you that love the Lord above all earthly things and yet have not your minds directed where to wait for him, to you I speak, to your souls that lie in death till they hear the voice of the Son of God: he is near you who is the way to the Father; look not out, he is within you: that which I know declare I unto you, and the way I <195> know, where I have found my beloved, my savior, my redeemer, my husband, my maker, who hath set me above all the world, my sins, my fears, my sorrows, my tears, into his love, to live with him in Spirit forever; but dying daily to all visible things, praises, praises to my Father forever. The night is far spent, the day is at hand, come out of darkness all that love the Lord, into his marvelous light where you shall see what you have been and what you are redeemed from, that you may live and praise the Lord; for it is the living that praise the Lord and not the dead. Arise, come out of death, come away, and let us rejoice together in his love, in the life of our king, even so, Amen.
And you that are so much offended at perfection and being cleansed from sin, I leave these queries with you to consider.
1. Whether any unperfect one, committing sin, be the image of God, yea or no?
2. Whether any can witness the work of redemption complete in them by Christ, while they commit sin and are overcome with the temptation of the devil, yea or no?
3. Whether any unperfect and unclean one that lives in sin shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, yea or no? And if not, how shall one dying in sin: and where shall he be made perfect and clean, seeing the tree must lie as it falls: and whether you own a purgatory, yea or no?
4. Whether a Christian hath ground to believe that he may be recovered by the second Adam into that estate in which he was created and which he lost in the first Adam, yea or no?
5.Whether God created man and woman perfect, without sin, and able in his power so to have stood, if they had not forsaken his power and consented to the wisdom of the serpent, yea or no?
6. Whether God and man be wholly reconciled till man be brought into that estate again, yea or no?
7. Whether all those that both by their life and doctrine labor to persuade people to abide in that condition of sin, imperfection and separation from God (which Christ came to destroy, and so to unite man to God again) be not ministers of antichrist, and for the upholding of the kingdom of the devil, yea or no?
1. Rev. 11:8.
2. Luke 17:21.
3. John 14:6; 2 Cor. 13:5; John 1:9; 8:12.
4. 1 Pet. 3:19; Rev. 2:7,17; John 10:11-12.
5. Matt. 7:22-23.
6. 1 John 2:4.
7. Eph. 5:13.
8. 2 Pet. 1:19.
9. Acts 24:16.
10. John 3:20.
11. Job 24:15-16; 1 Thess. 5:7.
12. Eph. 5:8.
13. John 8:32,34.
14. John 3:19.
15. Tit. 2:11-12.
16. Jude 4.
17. 1 Cor. 4:20; Tit. 1:16.
18. 1 Cor. 2:15.
19. 1 Pet. 5:3.
20. Matt. 28:20.
21. Matt. 21:28 to the end.
22. 2 Chron 36:16.
23. Amos. 7:13; Acts 5:19-20; Acts 17:2-3.
24. John 4:21-24.
25. Acts 17:2-3.
26. Acts 16:19-21.
27. 1 Cor. 14:30.
28. Acts 4:13; Phil. 3:7-8; Gal. 1:11-12.
29. Rev. 5:2.
30. 2 Pet. 1:21.
31. 1 Cor. 2:14; Eph. 3:3,5.
32. Matt. 11:25; 1 John 1:3.
33. 2 Pet. 3:16.
34. Rom. 6:6-7.
35. Rom. 8:3-4.
36. Rev. 7:14.
37. Matt. 23:6,10.
38. Gal. 4:10-11.
39. 1 John 2:4.
40. Matt. 20:26-27; Gal. 5:24.
41. Jas. 5:1-3,5.
42. Matt. 20:25-27; Luke 22:26.
43. John 5:41,44.
44. Heb. 13:5; 1 Tim. 6:8-9; Matt. 6:25 to the end; Jas. 2:1,9; Matt. 5:37.
45. Matt. 5:11; Luke 6:22.
46. 2 Cor. 5:21.
47. 2 Cor. 13:10; 2 Cor. 6:16.
48. Zech. 13:2.
49. Dan. 2:34.
50. Rev. 14:9.
51. 2 Sam. 23:3; Isa. 56:1; 1 Pet. 2:14; Ps. 82:2-4; Prov. 29:2; Isa. 59:15.
52. 2 Chron. 36:15-16.
53. Luke 10:2.
54. Zech. 11:4-5; Ezek. 22:25; Isa. 50:2,4.
55. Rom. 6:7,18.
56. Prov. 22:16.
57. 1 Cor. 9:11.
58. Acts 4:34.
59. Matt. 6:25; Phil. 4:11-12.
60. John 16:22.
61. Isa. 9:6-7.
62. Amos 3:2.
63. Isa. 30:1.
64. Ps. 89:14-16.
65. Isa. 1:23; Zech. 7:9-10 to the end.
66. Isa. 42:23; Isa. 14:26-27; Hag. 2:5,7.
67. Ps. 38:8; 32:3; 6:6; 109:24; 22:6-7,17; 88:15; 35:16; 22:16; 41:6; 71:7.
68. Isa. 29:14-15.
69. 2 Thess. 3-4.
a. Whitehead moves this subtitle, and the Ezekiel quote, to the head of the section beginning "Take heed how you speak evil" (p. 186 below).
b. W. omits this subtitle here but includes it on the section below (p. 190).
c. W. omits "By one whom ... Nayler."
d. Thomason date: August 17, 1653.
e. Whitehead omits "and keeps in the way."
f. Whitehead changes "that" to "the Scriptures."
g. Whitehead changes "apostle did see" to "apostles did dear [presumably intending 'hear']."
h. Whitehead changes "him" to "God."
i. Whitehead changes "his" to "the."
j. Whitehead changes "Christ was not learned, and the apostles was not learned," to "Few of the apostles were learned."
k. Whitehead changes "understand" to "understood."
l. Whitehead inserts "your" after "without."
m. Whitehead inserts "many" after "but."
n. Whitehead changes "on" to "in."
o. Whitehead changes "account" to "give an account."
p. 1656: "require." Whitehead: "requires."
q. Whitehead changes "into" to "in."
r. Whitehead omits "who are."
s. 1656: "Tremble you."
t. Whitehead omits "he is."
u. Whitehead changes "letter" to "Lord."