Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Works of James Nayler > A True Narrative
And Haman said unto King Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad, and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are divers from all people; neither keep they the king's laws. Therefore it is not for the king's profit to suffer them. Esth. 3:8
Great is the enmity between the two seeds, that of the woman, and that of the serpent. A truth which, though every Christian doth experiment in himself, in his measure and degree, yet it is then rendered most remarkable when the appearances of Christ are most signal, and carry a greater disagreement with flesh and blood, and the glories of the first creation. The reason is this, the natural man having escaped the grosser pollutions of the world, and decking himself with the knowledge of Christ Jesus after the flesh, and the literal understanding of the Scripture, is whetted thereby with greater zeal and fury to <693> oppose the ministration of Christ in the Spirit, and his exertions of himself in that simplicity, innocency and self-denial, which are proper only to this dispensation. The legal spirit is filled with indignation to be so far left behind, yea to be in danger of losing all, by this spiritual birth of the child Jesus in the heart, as Herod was at the apprehension of his loss in the outward, upon the relation of the natural birth.
This was the ground of the sufferings of the prophets, of Christ himself, and many of the saints since that time; whether this consideration obtain not in the present case of James Nayler; upon the perusal of this ensuing treatise, no doubt you will receive full satisfaction.
'Tis an acquiescence to some spirits, that they bore their testimony against it, and though their endeavors did not produce their desired effect, yet having discharged their consciences, as in the sight of the Lord, and resting in his will, they shall not lose their reward.
Who knows how necessary sufferings are for the saints? yea how great a measure of them is yet behind? Gird up therefore the loins of your minds, and receive an alarm from the hand of the Lord to that self-denial and patience in which you are to possess your souls until the Lord come.
It is not denied but a saint may be subject to many temptations; 'twas the privilege of Christ alone not to be overcome by them; yet when the true Judge appears, he will embrace his own seed and pass sentence, not according to occasional diversions but according to the constant tenor of the integrity and uprightness of our spirits in his sight.
Resolved, That the matter of fact, together with the particular resolutions of this committee thereupon, be reported to the House.
First, I shall give you the short history of his life, as the Committee had it from his own mouth. He saith he was born in the parish of Ardisloe, near Wakefield in Yorkshire, where he lived 22 or 23 years, till he was married, according to the world, as he expressed it. Then he removed into the parish of Wakefield, where he continued till the last wars began: during which time he was under several commands and at last was quartermaster in Major General Lambert's troop; in which service he continued till disabled by sickness in Scotland, and so retired to his own home: about which time he was a member of an independent church at Horbery in Yorkshire, of which church Mr. Christopher Marshal was pastor; and by the same church, since cast <694> out,1 as himself confesseth he hath heard;2 by which church he was charged as guilty of blasphemy3 and uncivil and wanton carriage4 with one Mrs. Roper, a married woman, as that she should sit on his knee and kiss him before divers other persons;5 and that it was his opinion, he might lie with any woman that was of his judgment.6 And then after some time7 went to visit the Quakers in Cornwall, and by his way was by Major Saunders committed to the common jail in Exon,8 as a vagrant. And thence he and his company being delivered9 by an order from the Council, they traveling to Bristol, in the way Nayler took upon him,10 as was alleged11 against him. And as he passed through Chewstoke in the county of Somerset, towards Bristol, it is informed upon oath certified by three justices to the committee, that staying in that town one night, he was there in a chamber with three women12 of his company, leaning upon the bed with one of them13 at night when the servant of the house left them: and in the morning the servant found Nayler on the bed with one of the women, and the curtains drawn; and some of the company14 wished the servant to make no noise to awake them.
<695> The way taken in this report will be, first, to give you the articles charged against him.
Secondly, the evidence, wherein there will be a little mention of the examinations and informations upon oath taken at Bristol; against which because there lies a seeming objection I shall first clear that upon the matter of fact.
The objection was, that they were not read again to the parties, as is usual in such cases.
Answer. That two witnesses, both of more than ordinary good repute, in that place were both put, and took characters of the questions and answers there; and comparing their notes did both of them publicly avow to the committee, as that which they were ready to depose, that every material passage was read unto the parties once or twice15 after they writ it down; and that they were the same which were offered to the committee, attested under the mayor of Bristol's hand to every of the said examinations and informations, and the city seal annexed to the whole. And besides, there is nothing in the said examinations and informations taken there but what is generally more clearly made out upon their examinations before the committee.
Other evidence will be from Nayler's examination, wherein is most of this whole matter, which was taken in characters by five of the committee, who were appointed to and did compare their notes.
Thirdly, the Opinion of the Committee.
The whole fact will fall under one of these two Articles.
First, James Nayler did assume16 the gesture, words, honor, worship, and miracles of our blessed17 Savior. Secondly, the names and incommunicable attributes and titles18 of our blessed Savior.
As to part of the first Article, that James Nayler riding through a town in Somerset, his company spread their garments and sang, "Holy, Holy," before him; and also sang the like at his entrance into Bristol,19 <696> one going bareheaded before his horse.
The evidence was, that Dorcas Erbury, in her examination before the Committee in the Painted Chamber, confessed that she did spread garments before him. And Martha Simmonds in her examination at the same time, saith that those garments that she did spread she spread in obedience to the Lord.20 And Hannah Stranger being then also examined, said she threw two handkerchiefs before him, which she did because he that is Lord of all commanded21 her to do so. And
John Stranger confesseth, that he saw others spread garments before him in the way from Exon22 to Bristol, And
James Nayler himself confesseth23 (upon the question whether garments were spread before him) that some clothes were cast down, and afterwards that some gloves and other things.
The evidence for singing Holy, Holy, was thus:
Dorcas Erbury in her examination at Bristol, being then asked, Why she passed along singing? said, She did not do it; but they that did it were commanded to do it:24 and the Lord hath made it manifest that they were moved of the Lord to do it. And being asked to whom they sang? and whom they called the Holy One of Israel? she said, him that rode upon the horse;25 and she would maintain it with her blood. And being examined by the Committee as to this part of the examination, and advised to deny, if it were false; yet did not deny it though she did some other part of that examination.
Martha Simmonds being examined in the Painted Chamber, whether she did sing the words, "Holy, Holy," before the said James Nayler, answered, It is my life to praise the Lord, whether he be before me, or from me; it is my life to praise the Lord.26 And being asked, Whether she heard any person sing "Holy, Holy," before the said James Nayler, she answered, it is our life to praise the Lord.27
<697> Hannah Stranger being examined in the Painted Chamber, whether she sang the words "Holy, Holy," answered, she could not well remember the words; but if she did not sing "Holy, Holy," she witnesseth the Holy of Holies was risen, which moved her so to do:28 but said further, she did not stand there to accuse herself.29
James Nayler being examined by the committee, whether any sang "Holy, Holy," before him as he rode, answered, There were praises sung to the Lord.30 And being asked, Whether those words, "Holy, Holy" were sung, answered, That he heard those words. And being asked as to the singing before him when he rode into Bristol, answered, That there was a psalm sung, such a one as the Lord was pleased to give into the hearts31 of them that sang. And being asked as to the words of the psalm, whether they were not "Holy, Holy," said, It may be it was; very like it might be so.
And in his examination at Bristol, being asked why he came in there in such an unusual manner, two women leading his horse,32 and singing, with one bare before him, said, It was for the praises of his Father; and that he may not refuse anything that is moved of the Lord; and that he did think the Father did command them to do it. And being there asked whom they meant by the word "Holy" that they sang, he answered, That they that sang were all of age to answer for themselves.
And this speaks something for the proving of another part of the first Article, vindicating one going bareheaded before him, and women leading his horse, which is more fully proved by the informations upon oath of George Witherly and Richard Hart, taken at Bristol, before the mayor there, and certified as aforesaid; and upon the confession of one Thomas Woodcock before the said mayor, who went bareheaded before James Nayler, and said he was moved by the Spirit so to do. And James Nayler himself, upon his examination by the committee, when he was asked whether any went bareheaded before him as he went into Bristol, answered, he did not know, he took little notice of it, but heard some <698> say it was so. And being asked, whether any woman led his horse, answered, there was a woman took hold of the bridle of the horse.
The Committee were of opinion,33 that the first Article was proved.
One thing also, being part of the matter of fact, we think worthy your knowledge, though much stress34 will not be lain on it; and that is, That the description of our Savior by Publius Lentulus to the Senate of Rome in writing (which is also imprinted) was taken upon one of James Nayler's attendance, which is also certified by the said mayor. And for Nayler's hair, both color and manner of wearing it, as also the fashion of his beard, and feature, and person, did much agree with that description, which also was taken notice of by many of the Committee, how much he resembled (as they apprehended with some affectation) the picture usually drawn for our Savior.35
That in divers answers he imitated our Savior Jesus Christ, using the same expressions36 that he did; in one place he saith that he lived some weeks, fifteen or sixteen days, without any food or other sustenance;37 and being asked wherewithal God fed him, if not with food? answered "Man liveth not by bread alone, but by every word which proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord."
I shall here mention one remarkable one in his examination at Bristol: his expression was, If they had known the Father, they should know him also. And Nayler being examined by the Committee to this, <699> whether that were his answer at Bristol, he answered in these words: "Truly I can say little of that, whether I did say it or no; but if I did say it there, it is true; for if anyone do know the Father, they shall know what I am, and where I live; and none can know my life further than they know the Father; for the Father is my life: none can know my life, but they that know my Father,38 for he is my life." This I particularly mention, being commanded39 by the Committee, who resolved that this whole answer40 of James Nayler be reported to the House.
Another part of this Article was, That he received the outward worship of being kneeled unto,41 and having his feet kissed.42 And for this the evidence was:
Martha Simmonds, in her examination at Bristol, said, she ought to worship him, but here denied.43
And further the evidence went, that after his imprisonment at Bristol, it appeared by the information upon oath at Bristol, to wit, of Thomas Perkins and Thomas Cole:
Thomas Perkins informeth, that Dorcas Erbury fell down at Nayler's feet, and kissed his feet;44 and the same evening one Alice Brock fell on her knees before the said Nayler, and Nayler put his hands upon her head, and said, "Stand fast," &c.
Thomas Cole informeth, that the 25th of October, Martha Simmonds and Hannah Stranger being called out of Nayler's room into <700> their own lodging, they one after another kneeled before Nayler, and laid their heads on his knees; and he laid his hands on their heads, making a groaning noise within himself; and before they rose from their knees, he crossed his hands45 over their heads. And Hannah Stranger at her examination before the Committee confessed, That she kneeled at James Nayler's feet, and kissed them. And others being demanded concerning these actions, would give no answer. And
James Nayler being examined, whether any kneeled and kissed his feet, answered, That there might be such things, though he did not mind it, being things that he did not glory in.46
As for his doing of miracles particularly, Dorcas Erbury saith, That she was dead47 in Exeter jail two days, and that Nayler laid his hands upon her and raised her; which she affirmed in her examination at Bristol, and did not deny when examined as to this by the Committee.
To which Nayler being examined whether Dorcas Erbury was dead in Exon jail, as in her examination, answered, "If you speak of such a death as you may understand, she was dead." Being further asked, How she was dead in his understanding, answered, "I shall say little of myself in that thing." And being further asked whether he raised her from the dead, answered, "I can do nothing of myself." Being asked whether any other did raise her by his hands, and if he laid his hands upon her, answered, "There is a power in me from above." And being demanded whether he had such a power as to raise from the dead, answered, "I have said before I cannot bear witness of myself in the thing." And being asked who bore witness of him, answered, "The Scriptures48 do bear witness to the power which is in me, which is everlasting." And being demanded whether he raised from the dead by virtue of that power, answered, "I can do nothing but what the power doth in me: and it is the same power whereof you read in the Scriptures,49 that hath raised the dead, according to the measure of the power manifest."
And being asked, whether that power were manifest in such a manner in him as to raise Dorcas Erbury from the dead, answered, "I have said, I shall not satisfy in words concerning the thing further than only this, that you may clearly understand that wherein Dorcas Erbury or any else do attribute unto me, as to a creature that hath a beginning and <701> ending, that I utterly deny;50 but that that any see of God in me, by the same spirit that revealed anything to them, that I do not deny. This may serve at one word; for there cannot be a more abominable thing than to take from the Creator and give to the creature.51 The same power which did raise from the dead, which you read in the Scripture, the same Christ,52 the same anointing according to the measure of him is manifest in me, and not another." And being asked if any prayed to Christ in him, whether he did disown it? answered, "As a creature I do disown it."53
These things54 and divers others we have reported as part of the matter of fact.
Second Article: That the said James Nayler assumed55 the name, and the incommunicable attributes and titles of our blessed Savior: as first,
As for this, the evidence was in a letter of Hannah Stranger, found about him at Bristol, she giving him the title of the Fairest of Ten Thousand, which upon her examination at Bristol and before the Committee, she confessed she wrote to him in her letter. And James Nayler being asked by the Committee, whether any such title as the Fairest of Ten Thousand had been given to him in any writing or letter? he answered, "To what they did in the letter, if they gave it to me as to the visible, then I do deny it;56 but if they speak it to that begotten of the Father in me, then I dare not deny it." And being willed to repeat that answer again, he said, "If they speak it as to the visible, as to that which is earthly, then I deny57 any such thing belonging to me in that sense; but if they speak it to that which the Father hath begotten in me, then I dare not deny it, because that, as he said, is beautiful,58 wherever it is begotten." And in his second examination before the Committee, <702> his answer was to the same effect.59
Upon this evidence the Committee were of opinion that James Nayler60 had assumed the title of "the Fairest of Ten Thousand."
And for that the evidence was, that Hannah Stranger in the said letter gave him that title; and being demanded whether he did assume that title, answered in these words: "That there are many sons61 besides, yet the son of God I must witness, and dare not deny;62 the son of God I am, and dare not deny." And being often pressed to give a direct answer, whether he were the only-begotten63 son of God, answered thus: I am the son of God, but I have many brethren"; and again said, "I have many brethren, though some of them do not yet know me." And being urged to confess or deny it, answered in these words: "I have answered, that I have given of my Father to speak for the present unto that thing." Being asked, whether he were the only-begotten son of God, he answered,64 "Thou hast said it." Which question and answer being repeated to him as his answer, he answered, "Do not ensnare65 the innocent." And upon his examination taken, certified and attested, as aforesaid, being asked, whether he be the only-begotten son of God, answered, That he was the son of God; and that the son of God was but one.66
But being examined by the Committee as to this part of his examination at Bristol,67 he affirmed that this was not his answer.
Upon this evidence the Committee were of opinion that the title of the only-begotten Son of God was given to James Nayler.68 And being <703> demanded whether he assumed that title, he did not deny it.
This title we find given him in a letter to Nayler from one Jane Woodcock, found about him at Bristol. And being examined there upon that clause in the letter, he answered, that he was the prophet of the most high God.
And Martha Simmonds, upon her examination at Bristol, said, There was a time when James Nayler was a true prophet of the most high God, but now he is gone beyond, and is in the administration of peace, and is the beloved of the Lord.
James Nayler being examined by the Committee, whether he owned this title of The Prophet of the most high God, he answered, "Yea, I am a prophet of the most high God." And being pressed to answer whether he were the prophet, he answered, "There be other prophets69 besides me." And being pressed again with the same question, answered, "I have said what I may as to that thing in the counsel of my Father."
Upon this his confession at Bristol, and answer as aforesaid.
The Committee were of opinion that James Nayler had assumed70 the title of the Prophet71 of the most high God.
And for this the evidence was, We find in a letter from one Thomas Simmonds this title given to James Nayler; and in the examination of Dorcas Erbury, taken at Bristol aforesaid, we find something to this purpose; who being asked why she pulled off his stockings, she answered, "Because he is the Holy One of Israel, and deserves and is worthy of it."
And Martha Simmonds, upon her examination at Bristol, saith, that James Nayler's name is now buried, and that he is anointed King72 of Israel. To which being examined by the Committee, expressly owned the examination as to that to be true, and the thing itself; but because this varies a little from the charge, and fastens73 it not altogether upon <704> James Nayler, they had this further proof: James Nayler, in his examination at Bristol, being asked whether he were the King of Israel, answered, "Thou hast said." To this James Nayler, being examined by the Committee whether this question were so demanded as aforesaid, he answered, That it was not asked by way of a question, whether he were the King of Israel, but that the examiner did positively affirm, "Thou art the King of Israel," to which he answered, "Thou hast said it." And being particularly examined by the Committee, whether he did own the title of the King of Israel, he answered in these words, "I have no kingdom in this world, yet a kingdom I have; and he that hath redeemed me hath redeemed me to be a king74 forever." And being examined again to the same question, whether he owned the title of the King of Israel, he answered, "As a creature, I deny any such thing, further than as God manifested in the flesh. And if they gave that title to Christ in me,75 then I do own it."
Upon this evidence the Committee were of opinion, that James Nayler assumed76 the title of the king of Israel.
This we find given to him in a letter by Hannah Stranger in these words, "Thou Everlasting Son of Righteousness." And Martha Simmonds, in her examination at Bristol, calls him Lord of Righteousness; which she also affirmed before the Committee. And James Nayler himself being examined by the Committee, whether any person had given him that title of the Everlasting Son of Righteousness, he answered: "Where God77 is manifested in the flesh, there is the Everlasting Son of Righteousness." And being asked twice,78 whether God was manifested in the flesh in him, answered both times, "God manifest in the flesh I witness, and may not deny."
This we find given him in a letter by the said Hannah Stranger; and in her examination at Bristol she owned him to be the Prince of Peace. The same title was also given him by Martha Simmonds, as it appeared by her examination at Bristol, which was confessed by her <705> before the Committee. And being particularly asked what she called the man whom we call James Nayler, answered, "I call him a perfect man." And being further demanded whether she did not call him the Prince of Peace, answered, "He that is a perfect79 man, he is the Prince of Peace." And Nayler being examined by the Committee, whether he owned the title of Prince of Peace, answered, "The Prince of Peace I own, the everlasting peace80 is begotten in me."
The evidence of this was, in the same letter of Jane Woodcock's we find it given to him; and in his examination at Bristol, whether that title was given to him, he would make no answer. And being examined by the Committee, whether he assumed to judge and try the cause of Israel, answered in these words: "The judge of Israel is but one, and that judge I witness in me, which is the Christ."81 And further answered, "If thou speak of him whom the Father hath sent into the world and begotten in me, the Holy Ghost, the spirit of the Father, and the Son in me, which is in me; if thou speak of it, this I own." And being asked, in what respect he was sent, he answered: "No otherwise but as God manifest in the flesh, though not as mortal." And being asked, by whom he was sent to try the cause of Israel, answered, "By him who hath made all creatures and hath sent his Spirit into me, his Son into me to try the cause; though he said he was no judge in carnal matters." And being asked whether he were more sent to judge and try the cause of Israel, than another, answered in these words: "As to my saying I am sent; mind that no otherwise than as the Father and the Son is in me: and to that I say further, that no other man is sent in that sense but he that knoweth the indwelling of that God, and according to the measure of his knowledge of the living God, so far is judgment82 committed to him, and no further."
And being urged to answer, whether any other had the same measure of judgment, to judge the cause of Israel, as he had, he answered, that he had not at present anything given him of his Father to answer unto that.
That James Nayler83 hath assumed to be sent to judge and try the <706> cause of Israel.
And for this the evidence was,
John Stranger, in a postscript in his wife's letter directed to and found upon James Nayler, used these words: "Thy name is no more to be called James, but Jesus." Which postscript being showed to Stranger by the Committee, he owned it written by him: and being asked wherefore he called him Jesus, answered in these words, "I was moved84 of the Lord, and afterwards by the Spirit of the Lord." And being asked whether by Jesus he meant the Savior of the world, he would give no answer. And Martha Simmonds in her examination at Bristol saith, that she hath heard some call him Jesus; which examination being read unto her, she denied not that, though she denied another part of that examination. And James Nayler being examined, whether any person had called him by the name of Jesus, answered in these words: "As I am visible85 here before you, I believe they have not; but that the name of the Lord is in me, that I dare not deny": and further said, that "they have given that name to him who is the Jesus,86 but if they have given it to any other than to the Son of God that is in me, I do deny what they have spoken."87 And being asked whether he denied that they gave him the name of Jesus, answered, "As I am a creature,88 I believe they did not." And afterwards confessed that the name of Jesus was given him in a letter; and if he had understood it of any other than the Jesus, he should have denied it. Being demanded, whether they gave the name of Jesus to him, he answered in these words: "No otherwise than as to the Son of God."89 Being demanded, whether any had given him the name of Jesus? answered, "Not as to the visible." And being demanded, to what they gave the name of Jesus, answered in these words: "I understand they gave that name to the Jesus, to the Christ90 that is in me."
Upon his second examination, being asked whether he owned the name of Jesus, and if that title belonged to him, as to Christ within him? He answered, "That name was never published to be called by <707> me, neither do I call myself91 by that name; but what my Father hath published, is another thing."
Upon this evidence the Committee were of opinion that James Nayler assumed the name of Jesus.92
And for this, the evidence was in the letter of Martha Simmonds, found upon James Nayler, [where] were these words: "Thou well-beloved Lamb of God, in whom the hope of Israel stands." And James Nayler, in his examination at Bristol, being asked, whether he were the Lamb of God in whom the hope of Israel stands, answered that, "if I were not his lamb, I should not be so sought to be devoured";93 and that "the hope of Israel stands in the righteousness of the Father, in whomsoever it is." And being asked, whether Israel's hope were in any measure in him, he answered, "Yea." Which examination of his at Bristol being read to him by the Committee, he denied not this part of it. And being examined by the Committee whether their hope of Israel did stand in him, answered in these words, "It stands only in Christ Jesus,94 and as Christ Jesus is known in me." And being asked again, whether he were he in whom the hope of Israel stands, answered in these words, "No way but as Christ is in me."95 And being then asked, "Whether as Christ is in you, so are you he in whom the hope of Israel stands?" answered, "Nay, do not add to my words; I speak as plain as I can, that all the glory may be given to God,96 and none to the creature"; that the whole glory may be given to my Father, and none to me, as you look upon me as a creature. And the next question was, "Whether as Christ is in you, are you he in whom the hope of Israel stands?" To which he answered, "Christ in me, the hope of glory."97 And being examined, what hopes Israel had in him beyond any other person, answered, "None <708> can know, but they that are of Israel:98 they can give an account of their hopes; Israel must give an account of their hopes themselves."
That James Nayler assumed99 to beseem him "in whom the hope of Israel stands."
The Committee being desirous to inform themselves how far the said Nayler was consenting unto that worship and those titles, before given unto him, besides the former evidence, they did find in his examination at Bristol, where being asked why he came in so unusual a manner, as the woman leading his horse, and singing before him, he answered, that he might not refuse anything that's moved100 of the Lord. Which being read unto him at the Committee, he denied not. And for the better clearing of this, the Committee examined Hannah Stranger, whether Nayler reproved her for casting her garments before him, or for kneeling, or kissing his feet. From whom they could get no other answer than this, she would not accuse or justify any. The Committee did also find in their examination of Nayler, being asked by them whether he reproved the women for spreading their garments and singing before him, answered in these words, "Nay, only I said unto them, take heed that they did nothing but what they were really moved of the Lord."101
And being also examined by the Committee, whether he reproved those that gave him the titles before-mentioned, answered, that he had not at all spoken unto them concerning that thing, only the letters he had, wherein the titles were given; and did not think at all that any should have seen102 them, because he knew there was things in them that many could not bear; but now he saw his Father purposed they should not be hid.
Nayler, at his second examination before the Committee, being demanded whether he had reproved the persons that gave him those titles and attributes, he would not say he had reproved them. Being demanded, whether he owned them or disclaimed them, answered in these words: "If they had it from the Lord, what am I that I should <709> judge it?"103 And being pressed again with the same question, answered thus: "If the Father move them by his Spirit to give them to Christ, I may not deny; if they give that to any other but Christ, I disown it."104 And being asked again, whether he reproved them or not, answered, "If attributed to the creature, then it is reprovable;105 if they did it to the Lord, then I dare not reprove it." And being asked whether he thought not Christ robbed of106 his honor or worship given unto him, answered, that he looked upon it to be really to the true honor of Christ, or else he would utterly have denied it. And being asked whether he had at any time whatsoever reproved those persons, he answered, "I never understood that they gave that honor but to God."107
Here we thought to have concluded this report; but the Committee meeting with some further evidence,108 they were willing you should be partakers of it. And it is this: John Baynham, deputy to the sergeant of the house, to whose custody Nayler and his company are committed, informed that the usual posture of James Nayler is sitting in a chair, and his company, both men and women, do sometimes kneel; and when they are weary of kneeling, they sit upon the ground before him,109 singing these and divers other words to the like purpose, viz., "Holy, holy, to the Almighty, to the true God, and great God; and glory to the Almighty,"110 &c. And thus they do usually all the day long. But the informer never heard Nayler sing as aforesaid. And saith, "There is great resort to the said Nayler by divers persons who, most of them, do kneel111 before him in the manner aforesaid." And Martha Simmonds, in the posture aforesaid, sung, "This is the joyful day: behold the King of Righteousness is come."112 And further, the informer saith, that he never knew the said Nayler show any dislike, either by reproof or otherwise, of that honor or worship which John Stranger and his wife, Martha Simmonds, and <710> Dorcas Erbury, and the rest, gave him113 as aforesaid. And a member of the house, being lately at the place where Nayler is now a prisoner, informs the Committee that he saw Nayler and his company in the posture aforesaid; and heard John Stranger and one of the women sing, "Holy, holy, holy Lord God";114 and "Holy, holy, holy to thee, thee, thee, Lord God." And whilst John Stranger sung these words, he did sometimes look upwards,115 and sometimes upon James Nayler. Another member116 informed us, as upon his own view, to the same purpose. And at Nayler's last examination before the Committee, being Wednesday the 3d instant, one William Piggot did inform that Nayler sitting in a chair where he is now a prisoner, one Sarah Blackbury came to him and took him by the hand, and said, "Rise up, my love, my dove, my fair one, and come away. Why sittest thou among the pots?" And presently put her mouth upon his hand and sunk down upon the ground before him.
To which Nayler himself, being examined by the Committee, confessed she took him by the hand and spoke the words aforesaid; but denies the putting her mouth upon his hand, and such bowing down, but saith that he sat low, and that he was not free to go with her. And Nayler being asked to whom she directed that speech, answered, "To the Lord, and to him that raiseth from the dust, and casteth them down that are exalted." And being asked whether he reproved her for that expression, he answered, he reproved her not. And further, William Piggot informed the Committee, that the last week he was at the place aforesaid where Nayler is now a prisoner; and that one Stranger and Martha Simmonds were, with others, sitting upon their heels before and about Nayler; and that Stranger rose up, and stood and sung just before Nayler, according to their usual manner117 of singing, when and where a man Quaker (being present) asked Nayler, "Dost thou own that voice?" Nayler answered, "Yea, I do." And Nayler being asked by the Committee if this were so, answered, "If I tell you the truth, you <711> will not believe me." And Nayler being pressed to answer, whether he owned the voice aforesaid, answered, "That voice I will not deny."
To sum up all: The Committee asked Nayler what he had more to say (that being likely to be the last time of hearing him, before the Committee reported the whole fact to the house), he thus answered:
"I do abhor that any of that honor which is due to God should be given to me, as I am a creature. But it pleased the Lord to set me up as a sign of the coming of the righteous one; and what hath been done in my passing through the towns, I was commanded by the power of the Lord to suffer such things to be done to the outward as a sign. I abhor any honor as a creature."118
The Report119 concerning James Nayler, received and read in the House this day from the Committee,
The House this day resumed the debate upon the report120 touching James Nayler.
Resolved, that James Nayler be brought forthwith to the bar, and that the report of the Committee be read to him; and that it be then demanded of him what he saith hereunto by confession or denial. He was sent for accordingly, and being brought to the bar, was spoken to to kneel,121 which he did not; and keeping his hat on, the sergeant by command of the speaker took off his hat. And being asked whether his name were James Nayler, he answered, he is so called. Being asked how long he hath been so called, he answered, ever since he can remember.
The report that the Committee had drawn up was read to him, and he was demanded to every particular, whether that were his answer to the Committee. To which he answered particularly, acknowledging them to be so, or to that effect,122 and so withdrew.
<712> Resolved, that James Nayler be called in to the bar, and demanded several questions. He was accordingly called in, and these123 questions demanded of him.
Resolved, that the House doth agree with the Committee in the report of the matter touching James Nayler.
Resolved, that this debate be adjourned till Monday morning, and nothing to intervene.
Resolved, that James Nayler be kept private.
The House according to former order resumed124 the debate upon the business of James Nayler.
Resolved, that this debate be adjourned till three of the clock.
Resolved, that candles be brought in.
The question being propounded,125 that James Nayler upon the whole matter of fact126 is guilty of blaspshemy; and the question being put, that the word "horrid"127 be inserted in the question next before the word "blasphemy," it passed in the affirmative.
And the question being propounded, That James Nayler upon the whole matter in fact, is guilty of horrid blasphemy.
And the question being put, that the question be now put, it passed in the affirmative.128
And the main question being put, it was
Resolved, that James Nayler upon the whole matter of fact is guilty of horrid blasphemy.
Resolved, that James Nayler is a grand impostor,129 and seducer of the people.
Resolved, that the debate upon this report touching James Nayler be adjourned till tomorrow morning.130<713>
The House according to former order did resume131 the debate upon the report touching James Nayler.
Resolved, that the debate be adjourned two hours.
The House adjourned till three of the clock.
The House resumed132 the debate upon the report touching James Nayler.
Resolved, that this debate touching James Nayler be adjourned till tomorrow morning.
Resolved,133 that this debate be adjourned till tomorrow morning eight of the clock, and nothing to intervene.
The House resolved,134 &c.
The question being put that the House adjourn two hours,135 the House was divided.
Yeas went forth: 84. Noes: 87.
So it passed in the negative.
Resolved, that the debate touching James Nayler be adjourned till tomorrow morning, and nothing to intervene.
The House according to former order resumed136 the debate upon the business of James Nayler.
Resolved, that this debate, &c. till tomorrow morning, and nothing to intervene.
The House this day according to former order assumed,137 &c.
The question being propounded, that the debate touching James <714> Nayler be adjourned till Monday morning,138 and nothing to intervene, the House was divided:
Noes went out: 65 Yeas: 108
So it was resolved, that the debate touching James Nayler should be adjourned till Monday morning eight of the clock, and nothing to intervene.
The House according to former order assumed139 the debate about James Nayler, and adjourned till tomorrow morning.
The House according to former order140 resumed, &c.
The question being propounded, that the punishment of James Nayler for his crimes shall be death,141 and that a bill be prepared and brought in for that purpose; and the question being put that the question be now put, the House was divided.142
The Noes went forth: 96 The Yeas: 82
So it passed in the negative.
The question being put, that this be part of the punishment of James Nayler, to have his hair cut off,143 it passed in the negative.
Resolved, that this be part of the punishment of James Nayler, that his tongue be bored through144 with a hot iron.
That the further punishment of James Nayler shall be, that he shall be stigmatized in the forehead145 with the letter B.
The question being propounded, that James Nayler be set on the pillory146 in the new Palace Westminster the space of two hours, and then shall be whipped147 by the hangman through the streets from Westminster <715> to Cheapside, and there likewise be set upon the pillory for the space of two hours in each of the said places, wearing a paper containing an inscription of his crimes;148 that his tongue shall be bored through with a hot iron, and that he be stigmatized in the forehead with the letter B.
Resolved, that instead of the word Cheapside in this question, the old Exchange be inserted.149
Resolved, that these words be added in the question, "With his head in150 the pillory."
Resolved, that the place for boring his tongue, and stigmatizing, be near the old Exchange.
The question being propounded, that the prison he shall be committed to be Bridewell in Bristol; and the question being put, it passed in the negative.
Resolved, he be committed to prison to Bridewell, London.
Resolved, that instead of the words, "from the society of all men," these be inserted: "from the society of all151 people."
Resolved, that he have no pen, ink, or paper.
Resolved, that he shall have no relief but what he earns by his daily labor.152
Resolved, that James Nayler be set on the pillory, with his head in the pillory, in the palace-yard Westminster, during the space of two hours on Thursday153 next, and shall be whipped by the hangman through the streets from Westminster to the old Exchange London, and there likewise be set on the pillory, with his head in the pillory, for the space of two hours, between the hours of eleven and one, on Saturday154 <716> next, in each place wearing a paper containing an inscription of his crimes; and that at the old Exchange his tongue be bored through with a hot iron, and that he be there also stigmatized in the forehead with the letter B, and that he be afterwards sent to Bristol, and be conveyed into and through the said city on horseback bare-ridged, with his face backward,155 and there also publicly whipped;156 the next market-day after he comes thither & that from thence he be committed to prison in Bridewell, London, & there restrained from the society of all people,157 and there to labor hard till he shall be released by Parliament, and during that time be debarred the use of pen, ink, and paper,158 and shall have no relief, but what he earns by his daily labors.
Resolved, that the said James Nayler be brought to the bar, tomorrow by ten of the clock, to receive this judgment.
Resolved, that the Speaker be authorized to issue his warrants159 to the Sheriffs of London and Middlesex, the Sheriff of Bristol and Governor of Bridewell, to see this judgment put in execution respectively in the said places.
Resolved, that the Speaker be authorized to make his warrant to the Sheriffs of London and Middlesex, to convey the said Nayler to Bristol.
Resolved, that the Speaker do issue the like warrant to the Sheriff of Bristol, to convey him up to London, after the execution of this judgment there.
Resolved, that tomorrow after the sentence is pronounced against James Nayler, the several petitions now offered be read.160
<717> Resolved, that then the House do likewise take into consideration161 the persons brought up with James Nayler.
The House being informed that James Nayler was brought to the door, according to the former order made yesterday that he should be brought to the bar, receive the judgment, and the resolution made yesterday touching the said James Nayler for his punishment.
Resolved, that these words be added to the said resolution, viz., and the Parliament do declare and judge the same accordingly.
The question being propounded that James Nayler be had in, and before judgment pronounced he be demanded whether he have anything to say, why judgment should not be pronounced162 upon him, and the question being put, that the question be now put, the House was divided.
The Noes went forth: 107 The Yeas: 87
So it passed in the negative.163
The said James Nayler was by order of the House brought in to the bar, where the Speaker acquainted him with the heinousness of the crime, of which the Parliament found him guilty,164 and accordingly did pronounce the judgment against him, and upon which he withdrew.
Resolved, that the petitions from the counties, and the business about the women which were apprehended with James Nayler be taken into consideration tomorrow morning, nothing to intervene.165
Was several petitions presented to the House containing complaints against the growth and exorbitances of the people called Quakers;166 were this day read one from the county of Devon, and of Exeter.
One other from the ministers167 in the county of Northumberland, <718> Durham, and Newcastle upon Tyne.
One other from the justices of peace, gentry, ministers of the gospel,168 and others within the county palatine of Chester, and the attestation of the same petition by the mayor, aldermen, and ministers of the City of Chester.
Another from the mayor, aldermen and common council of the City of Bristol, and the ministers of the gospel there, and other chief inhabitants there.
And also the humble petition of divers well affected persons, gentlemen, ministers & others in the county of Cornwall, which were all referred to a committee to consider of them, and to collect such heads as may be fittest for a bill for suppressing169 of the mischiefs and inconveniences complained of therein.
The House likewise referred to a committee, the facts and crimes170 of the rest of the persons, apprehended with James Nayler to state the matter of fact and report it.
This day James Nayler suffered part of the sentence, he stood full two hours with his head in the pillory in the palace yard Westminster, and from thence was whipped to the old Exchange (and received 310 stripes as the hangman hath confessed, and should have had one more for there are 311 kennels, but his foot slipping it fell on his own hand and cut him much).
What else remarkable this day was that (one Robert Rich, a merchant who for several days before had attended the Parliament with letters, petitions and papers on that behalf of James Nayler, as to the clearing of his innocency), this morning he stood at the Parliament door, crying to the members as they passed in, to some after this manner, "Blessed be the Lord God of Shem, Canaan shall be his servant," and to others he said, "Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be," and likewise crying to several of them, whom pretended to be friends to innocency and justice, "Why is thy countenance fallen? hadst thou done well wouldst thou not been accepted? but now sin lies at thy <719> door," and cried, "The Lord is coming to separate between the sheep and the goats, to gather his wheat into garners, and to burn up the chaff with fire that is not to be quenched." These words passed with such a power (mixed sometime with singing) that none resisted or gainsaid. Between ten and eleven of the clock, he went from the Parliament door downstairs into the great Hall (singing very loud), and seeing the Commissioners of the Great Seal sitting there judges in the Court of Chancery, stood still over against them, and cried, "The land mourns because of oppression, and for want of justice and true judgment, the land mourns," and from thence he went with a great multitude following of him into the palace yard round the pillory, singing; and this was strange: that although there were great multitudes of people round about him, yet none did him any harm, but made room for him to go which way he would, till at length his brother, who is a counselor and was at the bar with the rest of lawyers, took counsel, and gave large sums of money to soldiers, to take him by force, & they put him into a coach and so carried him away (for it seems the lawyers were so struck that they could not go on in their pleadings), and the soldiers were ordered for to watch him strictly that he got not forth, so they carried him to the Bull & Mouth near Aldersgate, but their watchmen being blind, he passed by them, and went again to the Parliament door, and from thence through the Hall into palace yard to the pillory, singing aloud, and none of the multitude was suffered to do him any harm; at length the second time he was taken by force and carried away prisoner, it was said by means of his brother.
This day James Nayler should have suffered the second part of the sentence, but that the Lord wrought in many honorable persons (both citizens and others) a noble principle of tenderness, who presented a petition to the House on his behalf, so the House did order that the further punishment of James Nayler (which should have been on this day) shall be suspended till this day seven-night.
Came five ministers to Newgate to J.N., namely M. Caryl, Mr. Manton, Mr. Nye, Mr. Griffith, and Mr. Reynolds, and it is said they did it by order from the Parliament, but they did not deal with him faithfully, or as ministers of Christ Jesus, for they would not permit neither friend or other to be present in the room that might bear witness of their discourse, and likewise when they had promised him to write down both their questions and his answers, and to leave with him a copy of the same, which after they had written they took and burnt, <720> and performed not their promise with him, which thing was not honestly done; and they doing such evil things, how can they teach good to their people, or profit them at all, seeing they preach more by example than by precept.
This day James Nayler received a second part of the sentence of Parliament, before the old Exchange, where he stood full two hours with his head in the pillory, after which he was bored through the tongue with an hot iron, and burnt on the forehead with letter B. This is observable that Robert Rich, a merchant, being at the Parliament door and thereabout this morning from eight of the clock till about eleven, crying to the Parliament-men as they passed by; to one, where he saw innocency, said, "He that dwelleth in love, dwelleth with God, for God is love." And to another, where he saw envy reign, "He that hateth his brother is a manslayer, and he that hates his brother is a murderer," and several other the like speeches, dividing the good from the bad. And although it was then thought that James Nayler would not have suffered any further punishment, by reason that there were many honorable persons then attending the Parliament and Protector on behalf of the said James Nayler; and likewise the Protector had sent to the Parliament a letter, &c., yet the said Rich then told the people that the innocent was going to suffer; and crying to the Parliament, that he was clear from the blood of all men; and desiring them to be so too, departed, and came before the Exchange, where with James Nayler he went on the pillory where he stood, and sat by him with two other women that sat on each side by him, till after a good space Robert Rich took a paper out of his pocket, and placed over his head, whereon was written:
But presently an officer stepped up and pulled it down, and turned Robert Rich and the two women off the pillory; but after a while they lifted up Robert Rich again on the pillory, where he stayed till James Nayler had finished his sufferings for that time, and held him by the hand whilst he was burning, and afterwards licked his wounds, and led him by the hand from off the pillory.
This was also very remarkable, that notwithstanding there might be many thousands of people, yet they were very quiet, few heard to revile him, or seen to throw any one thing at him; and when he was a burning, all the people both before him and behind him, and on both sides of him, with one consent stood bareheaded. This was done that <721> the Scripture might be fulfilled (Mark 15:38).
Act nothing contrary to that which doth convince you, though bound with an oath, although you bring yourselves in never so much disgrace in breaking your agreement; for in such a case you may reject the counsel of God against your own knowledge, and so appearing to please the world that looks upon you, the unjust acts against the just; herein you'll do despite to the Spirit of Grace, willfully acting that which he knows he should not. So here comes man's condemnation just from God; therefore before you do act, consider; and before you do give sentence fear; for blasphemy proceeds from the root of transgression; and see that you be first out of it before you of it do judge. There is no blasphemy in the light which is truth. And to witness the light is not blasphemy. And to witness the prophets' life, and the apostles' life that had the life of Jesus made manifest in his mortal flesh, and to witness the life of God, and God dwelling in man is not blasphemy. And to witness the second Adam, the Lord from heaven, and as he is, so to be in this world, is not blasphemy; but not to witness this, and to be in the transgression, he is in the root that will blaspheme; and for a man to say he witnesses these things, and himself in the transgression, he blasphemes, and is the synagogue for Satan, who did transgress, and not abide in the truth, who is in the transgression. Now it is not because men can speak the Scriptures of truth, therefore they are able to judge of blasphemy; for the Jews could speak the Scriptures of truth, but judged the truth blasphemy. Now if you would know what's blasphemy, this is blasphemy; and these were out of the life of the truth that judged the life blasphemy; and you do not read that any that was in the life of Christ did whip, banish, prison, put to death any for blasphemy. Alas! here is blasphemy heard all up and down the streets, men professing what they are not. Now the Jews which had the Scriptures, and out of the Spirit of Christ, did put to death for blasphemy. Now with this examine and judge yourselves, that you may not be judged of the Lord. Although Darius could not change after sealed, yet 'twas much grief to him: consider what act that was, and law that was not to be changed <722> after sealed. And consider Herod's oath against John Baptist, and the counsel and chief priests against Christ for a blasphemer. Is Christ in you? Now where is this counsel and chief priests against him? It is better to judge of things which you truly understand, pertaining to this life (but that you cannot) till you come to the light that enlightens every man that comes into the world, and so leads into the kingdom of God and Christ that is not of this world; for there is a kingdom of the world which is not become the kingdom of Christ, which is in the transgression; and there are the blasphemers in the transgression of the life which the Scriptures of truth is given forth from, which judges the truth blasphemy. Now wait in the light that you may receive the wisdom of God which comes from Christ, by which all things was created, that with it you may come to use the creatures with the wisdom by which they were created to the glory of God. I know the Lord is striving, that innocent blood you bring not upon your heads, and hath opened your understandings for to see more than at the first; and in many of you hath he wrought a noble principle of tenderness and moderation, in which if you abide faithful to act what it requires, the arm of the Lord you will see revealed, and great things brought to pass; and so will you be clear (whatever becomes of the innocent) in the day of God's visitation when he makes inquisition for blood; you whose understandings the Lord hath opened and moved to plead the cause of the innocent; be faithful to God; be your talent never so small, take heed of hiding it, lest your sin become greater than you will be able to bear.
If I may have liberty of those that sit in the Parliament, I do here at their door attend, and am ready out of the Scriptures of truth, to show that not anything James Nayler hath said or done is blasphemy, or worthy either of death or bonds. It concerns no man farther to judge than he is judged, and is in the truth.
This in tender love to all who are of an upright heart, that sits in Parliament, from Robert Rich.
There was several copies of the letter given to particular members, besides this little paper given to many that had not the letter.
In a letter of mine given to the speaker this morning (which I desire may be read amongst you) is written at the latter end thereof these words, viz.,
"If I may have liberty of those that sit in the Parliament, I do here at their door attend, and am ready out of the Scriptures of truth, to show, that not any thing James Nayler hath said or done is blasphemy, or worthy either of death or bonds."
These were delivered the 15th of December, being the eleventh <723> time the whole House had set about this business; so when I had given the Speaker the letter, I waited at their door from the time they first sat till they arose, and then I departed in peace.
Whether those that said God was their Father, and crucified him for blasphemy that spoke the truth, were not liars, and of their father the devil, yea or nay? read John 8:41,44.
2. Whether liars, covetous, or proud men are not the synagogue of Satan? And if such say they are the children of God, or Christians, whether (by the Scripture) that be not blasphemy? Read Rev. 2:9.
3. Whether the liar doth not hate him that abides in the truth? Read 1 John 3:12, and there see why Cain slew Abel. And as it was then, is it not so now? Doth not he that is born after the flesh persecute him that is born after the Spirit? Read Gal. 4:29.
4. Whether they that have the Spirit of Christ Jesus in them punisheth the body, or puts any to death for words true or false? And did not Christ come to save life and not to destroy it? Read Mark 3:4; Matt. 13:29-30; John 8:11.
5. Whether Christ Jesus hath not been a stumbling stone, and a rock of offense throughout all generations? Read and see Isa. 8:14,18; Luke 2:34; 1 Pet. 2:7-8; Luke 20:17-19; Matt. 13:55-56; Luke 5:30,33 (read these scriptures over). And did not the very disciples of Christ oft stumble and were offended at him? Read over these scriptures and consider them well: Matt. 26:8-14,31, Matt. 28:17; John 6:60; Luke 24:11,15,16,37; John 11:39-40; John 20:15; Luke 24:32. And did not the prophets do many things that the wisdom of the flesh might count foolishness, and to be ridiculous? Read Isa. 20:2-3; Jer. 13:3-5, &c. Ezek. 4:1-3, &c.; Ezek. 12:5-6; Acts 21:12-13; Isa. 6:6.
6. Whether the Lord in all ages hath not tried the children of men? Read Ps. 11:4-5; Rev. 3:9-10. And whether the day be not approaching that will try every man's work (1 Cor. 3:13)? And whether all men be not either the children of God or of the devil? And whether by their fruits they are not made manifest? And whether those that are the children of God be not led into moderation, gentleness, patience, mercifulness, meekness, love, &c. And whether the devil leads not his into wrath, envy, hatred, emulation, variance, strife, &c.? So in this thing you will make yourselves manifest which spirit leads you, and whose <724> children you are. Search the Scriptures, and see if these things be not so.
The humble petition of Robert Rich (surnamed Mordecai) on the behalf of himself and all the seed of the Jews, which wait for the consolation of Israel, that are of an upright heart, scattered throughout these three nations of England, Scotland and Ireland, whether in forms or in professions, or out of them.
That ever since the year 1648, it was hoped that oppression and all persecution for conscience sake would utterly have ceased, according to what hath often been declared; and instead thereof that truth and mercy would have taken place. But contrary thereto within these three years last past, have many hundreds (even in this one nation of England, in all parts thereof) been cast into prisons, dungeons and holes, and some have perished therein; and others have endured cruel whippings, stonings, and other bodily punishments, besides the spoiling of their goods, for no other cause save for matters concerning the law of their God, and that for conscience sake they could not bow to Haman's nature, not so much as one known law of this nation proved that they had transgressed.
The premises being considered,
My humble request is, That the innocent in all prisons throughout these nations may be set at liberty (that only for conscience sake suffer). And more particularly, in case there be yet behind of the sufferings of James Nayler to be filled up, that it may be acted in my body.
And I shall ever pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and for all them that love her prosperity,
Blessed is he that considereth the poor and needy, the Lord will deliver him in the time of trouble, and cover his head in the day of battle. Let none become judges of evil thoughts (James 2:4).
1. Whether the anointing of the Father be not the Christ? (Exod. 40:15; Ps. 89:20; Ps. 45:7; Heb. 1:9; Isa. 61:1; Ps. 105:6-15; 1 John 2:27; 2 Cor. 1:21), and whether he was not complete Christ, the Son of God, before he took upon him that flesh in which he suffered at <725> Jerusalem, yea, before the soul or body of man or the world was (Prov. 8:22-32; John 1:1-4; John 8:58; John 17:5; Eph. 4:10). And whether the name Christ reach not over the whole body, anointed from the beginning of the world to the end? (1 Cor. 12:12).
2. Did not Christ Jesus speak in other vessels? and was he not persecuted in other vessels besides that wherein he was lifted up at Jerusalem? and if he had said in those vessels he was not the Christ, whether he had lied or no? (Acts 9:4; 2 Cor. 13:3; 1 Cor. 7:10,12; Phil. 1:20; Rom. 8:9-10; Rom. 10:6-8; 1 Cor. 1:24).
3. Doth not the Scripture say, God will write his name on him that overcomes? (Rev. 3:12), which name he is to bear before kings and rulers (Acts 9:15), which if he deny, shall he not be denied before the Father in heaven? (Matt. 10:33). And if God doth reveal what he hath written to any other of his children, and command him to confess it, whether his obedience be blasphemy, yea or nay?
4. Did Christ ever appear in the world, and had not a body prepared? (Heb. 10:5). And did he ever come into the world, and not in a veil? (Heb. 10:20; 2 Cor. 3:13-14). And whether those that judged the Christ by looking on the outward veil could ever see the Christ; but became his persecutors? Read Matt. 13:55-56; John 5:18; John 10:33-38.
5. Whether that which God begetteth in any creature be not the seed of Abraham, which is the Christ? (Gen. 22:18; Heb. 2:16; Gal. 3:16,29; 1 John 5:18), the firstborn amongst many brethren (Rom. 8:29). And doth he not require the growth thereof to the measure, stature and fulness? (Eph. 4:12-13). And whether any can judge of that measure in another, to which he is not grown in himself, without erring? (Rom. 12:3; 2 Cor. 10:13-15). And whether this hath not been the cause of all the innocent blood that hath been spilt from righteous Abel to this day, let the wise in heart judge.
6. Whether this begotten be not the only begotten of the Father? (John 3:16; James 1:18). And whether this begotten be not the eternal Son of God (Heb. 1:2-3; Isa. 9:7; 1 John 5:11)? The Rock of Ages (Isa. 51:1; Deut. 32:18; 1 Cor. 10:4). The Anointing; the Immanuel (Matt. 1:23). The Savior (Isa. 63:8-9; Obad. 21). The Lamb of God (Rev. 13:8; John 1:29). The Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6), and the great Mystery hid from ages and generations, Christ in you the hope of glory (Col. 1:26-27). The stumbling-stone, and a rock of offense laid in Zion (Isa. 8:14; 1 Pet. 2:6-8), and the Christ Jesus this day, he was yesterday, and will be forever (Heb. 13:8).
7. Whether Christ Jesus be not our example? (John 13:14-15, 1 Pet. 2:21-22; James 5:10). And if any of his brethren or members do, or suffer to be done, the same he, or the prophets of God did, whether <726> this be blasphemy? (1 Sam. 25:23-33; 2 Kings 4:27,37; Dan. 2:46; Matt. 26:7-8; Luke 17:16; Heb. 1:6). And whether Christ Jesus where he is now made manifest, may not have the same love & honor he formerly had? And if any be moved of the Lord to give it him, whether that be blasphemy?
8. If any prophet in these our days suffer to be done to him what the prophet Elisha did (2 Kings 4:27,37), who permitted a woman to fall down at his feet, and did not reprove her, but did reprove Gehazi, who would have put her from him; or should any now do as Daniel did (Dan. 2:46), who permitted Nebuchadnezzar to fall down at his feet and worship him? Whether this in Daniel or Elisha were blasphemy?
9. Whether to call anyone Christ (in a spiritual sense) that is anointed with the Spirit of God, or to call any Jesus that is saved from their sin, or saveth others as Joshua, &c. (Obad. 21) be blasphemy? and if it be, whether all manner of blasphemy against the Son of Man ought not to be forgiven in this world (Matt. 12:31-32).
10. Whether this be not true blasphemy, according to the Scripture, for one to say that he is a Christian, or member of Christ, that is a liar, a covetous or proud man, or that worshippeth the creature more than the creator, or that hateth his brother? (Read and understand, Rev. 2:9 & 3:9.) And if such be blasphemers, yet whether the law of God, or of this nation, doth allow they should die, or suffer any other bodily punishment as bad, or worse than death for the same.
11. If any should worship an angel (Rev. 22:9), whether that be blasphemy or deserve cruel tortures, as bad or worse than death? Or is it to be seen throughout the Scriptures, that any magistrate had power from God to punish any for sin only against him till such time as the mind and will of the Lord be first known, and a command given; and is it not written, "Vengeance is mine, and I will repay it" (Rom. 12:19)?
These eleven queries I present to you who sit in Parliament, and such as are spiritual to judge and consider of them; and for those that are sensual, not having the Spirit, my desire is that they would not judge of the things they know not, lest they condemn the members of Christ as blasphemers, and so bring upon themselves all the innocent blood spilt since the foundation of the world to this day.
Friends, let it not be forgotten, how that often the Lord hath sent me amongst you, for to advise and warn both by word of mouth and writing, that you might keep your hands clear from the blood of all men; and there is few amongst you, that hath not seen the sword of the Lord drawn against your proceedings since you entered on the business of James Nayler. And now in the sight of the Lord my God (having warned you) am I justified; and for those that have cursed where the <727> Lord would not curse, the blood will be upon their own heads; & for such amongst you as have had their ear opened to discipline, that have not condemned the just, and have pleaded the cause of the poor and needy, lift up your heads, & be faithful to the Lord in what he makes manifest, and you shall find his salvation near, and promise fulfilled: that he will deliver you in the time of trouble, and cover your heads in the day of battle.
To you that are honorable in this House, who are of sober minds, and loves the thing that is right and just, am I of the Lord made willing to offer (in case it be thought by you fit) to discourse of the things in particular, and at large, that hath been either said or done by James Nayler, with those five ministers that were sent to him into the prison a little before his last sufferings at London; and doubt not but by the help of my God to prove him by the Scriptures clear (both in his judgment and practice) of blasphemy. And the rather do I desire to have to do with those five ministers herein, for that they did not deal with him (and doubt whether they have not done the like by you) as men of integrity and faithfulness ought to have done; for they would not permit any one person, friend, or other, to be present to bear witness of what passed between them; which James Nayler perceiving, said to them, that unless they would write down their questions and his answers thereto, and afterwards leave a copy thereof with him, he would make no answer to them; so they promised they would. But when they had asked what questions they thought good, and he having answered the same, they took what they had writ, and cast into the fire, and burnt it, leaving no copy with him as they had promised. Let the wise in heart judge whether this were done like ministers of Christ, or like the chief priests that sought to catch him in his words: This thing is offered by me, that if there be found wickedness with James Nayler, either in judgment or practice, that it may be published and made known to the nation; or if the ministers be found ignorant of the Scriptures and power of God, they likewise may be made manifest, that no longer they may deceive the nations.
And one of these five ministers (namely Mr. Nye) hath declared (as was affirmed in Westminster-Hall by one Mr. Smith, a Parliament man, that the said Mr. Nye told him, that coming where some Quakers were met together he found amongst them a Jesuit which he knew, and of what college he was of beyond the seas, and that they spake Latin to each other. So I asked Mr. Smith what was become of the Jesuit; he answered he knew not, but supposed he was gone; so I desired the Parliament men <728> then present for to take notice who were the favorers or concealers of the Jesuits, the Quakers or Mr. Nye. The members of Parliament then present, whose names I knew, were Captain Bains, Judge Advocate Margeret, Sergeant Berkhead, besides others whose names I knew not.
This is written, that the Parliament may examine and find out who are the Jesuits' friends.
After the tares appeared, then came the servants of the householder and said unto him, Wilt thou that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay, lest while ye go about to gather the tares, ye pluck up also with them the wheat: let both grow together until the harvest (Matt. 13:26, &c.)
This is the Doctrine of Christ Jesus our Lord
Such care hath Christ Jesus of the wheat, that he will not that his servants pluck up the tares until the harvest, the end of the world, lest they pluck up the wheat with them; this is his wisdom.
But some men pretend such care for the wheat, that they will have the tares plucked up before the harvest, this is their wisdom.
Now mind whose wisdom you follow, and whose doctrine you obey; for you can do Christ Jesus no service in going contrary to his own doctrine, though some may think they do (John 16:2-3). They shall think they do God service when they are killing his servants, mistaking them for his great enemies, for else they would not kill them to do him service.
My desire is, that you may be found in the counsel and doctrine of Christ Jesus, which is safe, and keeps from that danger of shedding innocent blood.
You have called him a blasphemer, we desire that you would publish what his blasphemy is, that we may know it and take heed of it. Christ Jesus himself was called a blasphemer, because he said, "I am the Son of God," and saith John (1 John 3:2), "Now are we the Sons of God."
The near relation between Christ Jesus and his Father being owned by him, was counted in him blasphemy, because he said, "I am the Son of God."
Take heed lest the near relation between Christ and his members whom he calls brethren be not now counted blasphemy where it is owned.<729>
And consider these scriptures:
"Now are we the sons of God through Christ," saith John (1 John 3:2). "If a son, then an heir of God," saith Paul (Gal. 4:7). "If sons, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ" (Rom. 8:17).
"Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and I will write upon him my new name," saith Christ Jesus (Rev. 3:12-13). "He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."
If you be able to see these things, do; but if not, take heed what you do, lest you bring innocent blood upon your own heads.
There's none able to judge of these things before the lusts of the flesh, and the lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life be judged and overcome in them, and the love of the world.
That's blasphemy for a man to say he is a Jew, or a Christian, and is not, but still is in the old nature, that was a murderer from the beginning; he blasphemes the name of God (Rev. 2:9), for God hath no such children in the New Covenant. As it was then, he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, so it is now (Gal. 4:29). But he that is born after the Spirit never persecutes him that is born after the flesh.
Friends, your hands have hitherto been held from shedding of blood. Consider what it is that hath withstood you, and kept you from it, and do not go on to strive any longer against the Lord, but remember David how glad he was that he was prevented from blood, when he was going with a full resolution, and the thing was gone out of his mouth to destroy the house of Nabal (1 Sam. 25:22,32-33), "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel," saith he, "which hath sent thee this day to meet me, and hath kept me this day from coming to shed blood"; and this was but the blood of a wicked man. So Friends consider, and strive not against the goodness of the Lord, which hath hitherto withstood you, and kept you off from shedding of blood, and that with little force. It will be no grief of heart to you that you have not shed blood, but to shed it may lie heavier upon you than yet you are aware. To let the tares (if tares) alone with the wheat according to Christ's own doctrine; this will not repent you, because it is his own command; but under pretense of plucking them up, to pull up one of the least of his lambs, this will be a burden too heavy for you to bear; and though you may think you do God service therein, yet he accepts it not. To seek the harm of one that would not hurt a hair of your heads, consider whence this is, and what acceptance this would have with God, seeing he saith, "He that toucheth you" (the <730> innocent lambs) "toucheth the apple of mine eye; therefore touch not mine anointed, do my prophets no harm," saith the Lord; and blessed be their work who are made tender of them, for what's done to one of the least of those that belong to Christ, is done to him.
They are very confident, who kill Christ's lambs, to do God service, that those they kill are not his lambs, but his enemies, else they would not kill them to do him service; for they could not think it service to God to kill his children. Yet see how far their confident zeal is mistaken; while they think they kill his enemies, they kill the children of the kingdom. Thus it happened to Christ, the zealous Jews were very confident he was a blasphemer and seducer of the people, and therefore they durst say, "His blood be on us and on our children," upon the same account the members also of Christ always suffer, as blasphemers, as heretics, as seducers of the people. You are now upon this danger and trial of your spirits. Now why is it that in this confident zeal they kill his children, taking them for enemies? It is (saith Christ Jesus) "because they know not the Father nor me" (John 16:2-3).
Now examine yourselves you that are for killing, or hurting; Do you know the Father? Do you know the Son? Have you communion and fellowship with them? Is the Son begot in you? Is he formed in you? Are you come into his innocent nature? If not, your confidence and zeal will deceive you, and you stand in that nature that will kill children for enemies; for you cannot know them till you know his nature brought forth in you. And if his nature be once brought forth in you, you will find a saving spirit raised up in you, not a destroying spirit; for Christ and every measure of him is a savior, not a destroyer; and so from Christ the Savior spring up many saviors (Obad. v.21). He that is the destroyer and persecutor is yet in the Old Covenant, Hagar. He is but the son of the bond-woman, which is yet in bondage with her children and is to be cast out (Gal. 4:22-31). And if ever you come to witness the New Covenant, and the law of God writ in your hearts, and the nature of Christ formed in you, you will find the persecutor in you cast out and that it enters not the kingdom; for there's nothing hurts nor destroys in all God's holy mountain (Isa. 11:9).
You who are for killing or otherwise harming, I appeal to that of God in your own consciences, which will witness faithfully; do you find the Spirit of God witnessing in you, that you are the Sons of God? Do <731> you find that hope in you, that purifies you as the Son of God is pure (1 John 3:3)?, that faith that purifies the heart (Acts 15:9)? Are you become dead to the world? are you dead to the lusts of the flesh, to the lusts of the eyes, and pride of life? Have you mortified the flesh with the affections and lusts thereof? Is your conversation in heaven? Or are you not yet among those that think these things impossible, not knowing the power of God? Are you not yet in the reprobate state, not knowing Christ in you? Are not some of you such as will deride, and scorn, and are full of bitterness? Are not some of you selfish, covetous, high-minded, far from little children? Now if you be such, how can you be able to see the high things of the Kingdom of God, who cannot yet see the low things, the beginnings, the entrances; for till you become as little children, you cannot see them (Matt. 18:3; John 3:3), and while you are in your natural condition you cannot see them (1 Cor. 2:14). The natural man perceives not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them. How then should he that's such be able to judge of them? How can you that are judge such of the high things of God, and not count them blasphemy? How can you hear one speak of saviors and not count it blasphemy, though the Scripture hath spoke it (Obad. 11)? How can you hear it that a feeble one shall be as David, and the house of David as God, as the angel of the Lord (Zech. 11:8)? How can you hear it, that we should be co-heirs with Christ Jesus, if you consider what a co-heir is? How can you hear it that any should sit in the throne of Christ with him, and have power over the nations (Rev. 3:21 & 2:26-27) and have the name of Christ put upon him; yea, though Christ put it upon him (Rev. 3:12)? How can you that are such hear these things & suchlike, and not count them blasphemy (though the Scripture hath spoken them) any more than the zealous devout Jews could hear that Christ should be called the Son of God without counting it blasphemy? Therefore learn this counsel that Christ hath given: First judge yourselves, lest you be judged for judging things above your measure.
"What shall be done to the man whom the king will honor? Let the royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear, and the horse that the king rideth on, and the crown royal which is set upon his head; and let his apparel and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king's most noble princes, that they may array the man withal whom the king delighteth to honor, and bring him on horseback through the streets of the city, and proclaim before him. Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honor." And thus by the command of the king it was done to Mordecai, a type of that spirit <732> that cannot bow to proud Haman (Esth. 6).
Hath an earthly king this power to impart of his own honor to his servants: and hath Christ Jesus, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, no power to impart of his honor to his servants whom he makes kings?
Was it no treason or blasphemy against the king for Mordecai to receive this honor and not to rebuke it? And must such a thing be blasphemy (if so done) among the lambs of Christ, to give and receive of Christ's honor at his command in sign of his approaching and coming again?
Hath not Christ Jesus our Lord power to put his own honors, names, titles, hosannahs upon his servants, as well as King Ahasuerus, to put his crown and apparel royal upon one of his who was found faithful?
Hath not Christ said, "He that overcometh shall sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne? Hath he power to impart his throne which is greater, and which he received after he departed; and hath he no power to impart his hosannahs (if he please) which is less, and which he had here on earth among and from babes and sucklings?
And how know you that he did not command this thing to be done (if done)?
Hath not Christ Jesus said, "He that overcometh, him will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out; and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God, and I will write upon him my new name. He that hath an ear let him hear." Can this be but it will be accounted blasphemy by the blind world who live in continual blasphemy, calling themselves Christians and are not? Therefore consider what you are doing, you whose mouths are opened against that ye understand not.
To you who are chosen by these nations to be the Parliament of England, to divide, rule and govern things, this is the Word of the Lord God to you: Take heed of acting against Christ where he is made manifest; take heed of acting or doing anything against them that be in the pure religion, or acting anything against religion; how know you but this thing is fallen out to try you whether or no you act against Christ where he is manifest in his members; for it is said, "Christ in you," and if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; and if Christ be within, may not he speak in righteousness, and be confessed there? Now if Jesus Christ be not in you (mark) Jesus Christ be not in you, ye <733> are reprobates; and if Christ be within must he not speak (mark) Jesus Christ the Immanuel, the same; is it offense for Christ to speak, and Jesus to speak where he is within? Now examine yourselves; know not you yourselves how that Jesus Christ is in you except ye be reprobates? And if Jesus Christ is in you must he not speak in you? Is it not he that must speak? for the natural man receives not the things of God, because they are spiritually discerned, & they are foolishness unto him; and did not the apostle say, he did not live, but Christ, it was Christ that lived in him (mark again) it was Christ that lived in him? If it was Christ that lived in him, it was Christ that spake in him, & the life that he lived it was by the faith of the Son of God (mark); what a life was this; and did he not say that the Son of God was revealed in him? And if the Son be revealed in any, must it not be he that must speak and declare of the Father? but people have had the form of godliness since the days of the apostles, but have wanted the thing, & wants the thing that the apostles were in, who had the Son of God, Christ Jesus, and therefore it is by them that have the form wondered and stranged at, and not the power of God wondered, estranged, where Christ Jesus is manifested, and speaks, and acts, and rules. Was it not the apostles' doctrine to preach Christ in them? and told them the hope of the glory, which was in them, which was the mystery hid from ages and generations. And is not this Christ the hope of glory a mystery in this age as it was in the days of the apostles, to the world, and had been to generations before? and hath it not been a mystery in the ages past amongst them that have had the form of godliness since the apostles? But where Christ within, this mystery, this hope of glory is witnessed, may he not speak without offense? And did not Christ say he would come again to his disciples and make his abode with them? And did he not say I in you, and the Spirit of the Father which speaketh in you? They were not to take thought when they were brought before rulers and magistrates; and is not the Spirit of the Father the Spirit of Christ? And are not they that have not the spirit of Christ none of his?
Therefore take heed; I am moved to warn and charge you in the presence of the Lord God (ye rulers and magistrates of this nation), lest ye be found acting against the Spirit of the Father where he speaks in such as are brought before you who have the form of godliness, such as witness Christ in them, and the Spirit of the Father to speak, and the Son of God come according to his promise, which doth witness that fulfilled; doth not John say in his epistle, that the Son of God was come, and they were in him; and this was the true God and eternal life; and do not the apostles in their several epistles, which have been read amongst you long, speak that Christ is in you, and of their being the <734> sons of God and the Son of God revealed in them, and the Spirit of the Father in them, and Christ the mystery in them? Have ye not heard these things read, and amongst you? and have not these things long been hid amongst them that have had the form of godliness; and Christ in the male and the female, and God will dwell in you, and walk in you; and the word is in thy heart, and is not Christ's name called the Word of God? Now think you not it strange to find any to witness these things, and that these things should be possessed; you that have had the form of godliness long, the night of the apostasy hath been long since those words were spoken forth, and the thing enjoyed that these words spake of; but now cometh to be possessed the things that they did enjoy which spoke the word, which long they have had the form of in the night of the apostasy since the days of the apostles. Now if it be not the Spirit of God, nor the voice of the Father, nor the Spirit of Christ that speaks in man, it is natural and devilish, and that is it that stands against the voice of Christ and the Spirit of God; but if any mere creature by him made, saith that he is Christ, that is false, and is not so; for all creatures that were created were by him and for him; and all things that were made were created for his service, Christ Jesus the Power of God, by which all things were made and created; and where the power of God is, there is Christ, and Christ is the power of God (take notice of that); the power of God is everlasting; where the power of God is received and felt, Christ is received and felt; and where the power of God speaks, Christ speaks; and you that feel the power of God, ye feel Christ, and will not be offended at the power of God where it speaks, which is Christ, and so Christ is one in all who are in the power; and where the power of God doth not rule and speak, the power of the devil that speaks, and that is it which is tormented at the power of God, which is Christ that speaks; if the truth speak, is it not Christ? Doth he not say, "I am the truth"; and if the life speak, is it not that I which is the life? If the unrighteous speak, it is a false thing, but if the power of God speaks, it is the truth. If it be the power of God that speaks, which is the true Christ, it is the power of the devil which is the false Christ. So examine yourselves: if Christ be in you the body is dead because of sin, and there the sin is dead. And is not Christ Jesus, which except he be in you ye are reprobates, is not he the Immanuel and the Savior, and the Prince of Peace? and is not he the prince of life and the hosannah? and is not this witnessed within where he is made manifest? or is he divided from these? and is not he the Lamb of God? and are not they against him where he is manifest with him that would not have him to speak, & such as would not have him to reign? Here you may see what hath been lost since the apostles, that they were in and rejoiced, this <735> night of apostasy, which time had the form but not the power; but now is coming again to be made manifest which have been lost, the truth, the power of the form, and the life of Christ, and Christ himself the Immanuel. Therefore take heed of persecuting that which is created and made by his power, where the power is received and dwelt in, for the power's sake, which power is Christ, and which the power speaks through, and where the power of God rules; where there is a fault the fault is judged; but where the seed is, that is to be owned; and it is not just that the mouth of the seed should be stopped; in the fear of God and meekness weigh and consider these things before you act; and consider what was in the apostles that caused them to suffer.
If the seed speak, which is Christ, he hath no other name, for the seed is Jesus Christ, and it is not blasphemy, but truth; but if the seed of the serpent speak and say he is Christ, that is the liar and the blasphemer and the ground of all blasphemy; and is not the seed which is Christ, but the head of the serpent is to be bruised, which is the cause of all enmity, strife and debate, with the seed of the woman, which is Christ.
Was not the appearance of Christ when he was born glorious, when that the voice was cried Hosanna to the Highest? Was not this to the astonishing of the beholders, and amazement of the world? did it not stir up all chief priests, and Herod, was not he puzzled about his birth, and they troubled at his coming? Did not the chief priests and rulers gather against him who was full of grace and truth? Did not the glory of him show itself forth when he went up unto Jerusalem, when the high voice was spoken, and the songs to him sung, the strength ordained out of the mouths of babes and sucklings? And was not Jerusalem the highest place of worship? and did not the strength which was ordained for the babes and sucklings, set the priests and rulers on rage against Christ, that they crucified and slew him? And did not that make Herod and Pilate friends in the highest place of worship? Did not he say, and tell his disciples, he would come again, the Hosanna, him that was cried "Glory to the Highest"? And did not he come again to his apostles according to his promise, and make his abode with them, and sup with them? Did not the apostles say to the saints that Christ was in them the mystery, the hope of glory; and if he was in them, the body was dead because of sin? Did not the apostle say, "Examine yourselves, prove yourselves; know you not that Jesus Christ is in you except you be reprobates"? mark, Jesus Christ in you, the Immanuel, the Savior, the Lamb of God, the Hosanna. Is not his <736> appearance in the Spirit as glorious in his second coming as it was at his first? Is it not as much to be admired in the world as it was ever? Answer these things, and satisfy yourselves: to the Light wherewith Christ Jesus hath enlightened you all I speak, that with it you may see when you act against him where he is manifested.
To prison them contrary to the Just is to make them to grow, and to banish them is to shame your religion, and not to own the thing the Scripture speaks of; and to put them to death is to destroy yourselves.
Whether or no you will suffer Christ to have as much honor in the earth, and world, as the devil hath? Where Christ is manifested, whether or no he shall not have more honor, or as much, where he is manifested? And whether or no it is an offense to bow to man, or to kneel before a judge in the world. Whether this be offensive to the world, amongst the world, to bow before such, and among such the truth is not in? And whether or no it would not be offense to such, to bow to Christ where he is manifested, and persecute such as do bow where the thing is in the truth; whether or no such a thing may not be done in the truth, and be a figure to all the bowings of the earthly powers which be out of truth, which hath reigned above the seed of God? An example to you all: Therefore take heed and consider, before you act anything or judge, lest God judge you afterward, for be assured he will. Whether bowing in the truth may not be a figure, that the seed of God shall rise, and reign above the earthly powers, and they shall bow to it? And how know you but such things as these may be trials to you, whether you will persecute another, for taking that which is acted among you to yourselves, in another way different from this? Now come to do as you would be done by, and do not persecute that in another that is acted in the world, though it be professed other ways in the intent, and come to the true measure and weight; and act nothing in your own wills, nor out of the counsel of God, to judge the just upon earth in this world, the just you'd be judged by, that is of the world to come, without end. I receive not honor of man; whether or no if any do persecute the seed, which doth take the honor of God, which is over the world and it, they themselves do take the honor of the world, that persecutes the contrary. Are these things judged with a just measure, and weighed with an equal balance, yea or nay?
Did not Christ wash the disciples' feet? Did he not do that as a <737> pattern and example to those that came after him, that they should do so to one another? Have you washed one another's feet? Have ye anointed one another with oil that stumble at these where they are acted? Are not these the expressions of love to one another? And are not these things to be acted amongst the disciples of Christ? Are not these things wonders amongst you that do not wash one another's feet, that be out of the example of the Lord? Did not the disciples wash one another's feet according to Christ's example? Were not the prophets' feet washed? Did not Peter desire his head to be washed? Do not wonder and strange at these things where they are practiced. Were not the saints to salute one another with a holy kiss? And was not Peter to be carried whither he would not? Was there not a time that he girded himself? And is it not the prince of the air that rules in the children of disobedience, if it be not the Prince of Peace and the Lamb of God? And is it not an expression of love and honor where there is the washing of one another's feet? And for the washing or kissing of feet, it is but an expression of love and humility. And is not this a pattern and example to all you to judge you all how far short ye are of washing one another's feet, or kissing one another's feet; and do not wrong one another about these outward things, but to come to know the Seed of God, which bruiseth the serpent's head, which would destroy and set one at enmity with another; that crusheth down these outward things, and reigns over these outward things; which Seed of God comprehends all strife, and comprehends the world; which Seed the promise and blessing of God is to, in which Seed is the unity, and not the enmity, for that is it which is bruised with it. Therefore do not show yourselves in enmity, against these actions, where they are acted in the Seed of God in righteousness, not in the world, out of the enmity; not as justifying the wicked in these things, nor condemning the righteous. Mind consideration before you do judge of such as are moved to act these things, whether or no they be not examples to you all, to try you all, whether or no you will persecute, or lift up your hands against such; and an act whereby you may search yourselves and see how far short ye come of a disciple. And come to that good in you all, that is of God, that with it you may overcome, if there be anything that is evil, and the heaping the coals of fire upon that which is the adversary. And whether or no there be not such things to be acted in righteousness and simplicity, as washing the feet of the disciples, or that some may be carried whither they would not go; and if any should kiss the feet, or wash the feet of another in love and simplicity, is that such a crime? And for Jesus and Christ, and the prince of life and peace, if Jesus Christ be within, the second Adam is witnessed, God with us, which is Jesus; and be not offended with this, <738> if any do witness the state reconciled to God, who hath witnessed the state drove from God, the first Adam's state, who witnesses the second Adam's state, the Immanuel, God with us. Again, now be not ye offended at this, lest you do manifest yourselves to be in the first Adam's state, driven from God, not witness Jesus Christ, God with you reconciled to God again. But if you stand against this, it shows yourselves to be in the transgression, standing against the Immanuel, which is God with us. Be not hasty in acting these things, but examine and consider before you do act.
Except ye see signs and wonders ye will not believe; but this is come to pass that the Scriptures might be fulfilled, that saith, the time will come that they shall think they do God good service when they kill you.
Remember the scripture which saith, "His face is more marred than any man's" (Isa. 52:14). And whether this be not the same that gave his cheeks to the smiter, and opened not his mouth? And see now who they are that have spit upon him; but what evil hath he done?
Notwithstanding all these warnings, yet on the 17th day of the tenth month, the major part of the House pronounced sentence on him.
God who worketh all things according to the counsel of his own will is ofttimes pleased to make use of extremities, and by them to point out unto his people their duty. Thus did he order that the increased tyrannies and oppressions of Israel in the land of Egypt should press forth their cries and tears unto the Lord, that he might thence take his rise to appear for them. So in the days of the bishops of late years, the trials and sufferings of the people of God have come to some head and ripeness, before He hath been provoked to deliver them, as we might instance both in Scotland and our own nation. Even so fareth it with the poor people of God at this day, who having been for some time asleep and in a pleasing dream, as if the storms were over and the winter were past and gone, are awakened by a fresh alarm, to consider and behold the same spirit of persecution and blood, revived again in the bosom of that worldly peace and glory, wherein we have delighted to stand forth in the image of the nations. How much better and safer had it been for us, to have stood by the Lord in his founding of Zion, waiting for his counsel (who stood by us in our destroying the grosser Babylon) and to have been of the poor of <739> his people that trust in it, and not of those that exercise dominion over it. There is a poor contemptible people whom God hath pleased to call forth out of all the sects and divisions in this nation, both professors and nonprofessors, whose principles and ways have been fitted and prepared to give check or confront at least, to that spirit of lordliness and formality, that after the throwing down of the old fabric of a painted and pompous church and state was but too apt to spring up again among us; which is the best account we can at present give, why God should suffer so many upright souls to be snatched from their former communion and walking, into so exasperating a way. There was something of the measure of the sufferings of Christ yet behind; and of the spirit of antichrist, yet to be vented and acted upon our English theater. And truly, not without some regret in ourselves, have we heard & observed the long & oft repeated sufferings of that poor people, who have been whipped & imprisoned in many parts of this nation,171 thrust into holes and dungeons, where they have scarce had the liberty to breathe; and all this for nothing, as far as we understand, but what peaceable people may do without any disturbance to the civil peace and quiet of the nation. We hope what we have writ is clear, and we may easily be understood herein, not to approve their scheme of doctrine, as absolutely clear and evangelical; but who knows what sufferings may do to the purifying and refining thereof? But thus have we stood gazing upon them, not pleading their cause, because disgusting some of their principles, till the wisdom of God saw good to give us a fresh and louder alarm (not in our ears only, but before our eyes) in the bitter usage of James Nayler, one of the very chief of that people (though now disowned by the generality of them, whose case therefore is the more respected by us). So that we could no longer, as persons unconcerned, keep silence, but we must appear for him in a petition to the Parliament. And this we could not refuse, unless we would renounce that love, that light, that cause, and those principles we have all along for some years professed and avowed.
But how low and tender these first buddings of our charity were, the petitions themselves will show, which yet were as high as we could well go, or the Parliament bear. And we were not so modest but some thought us too bold and daring, to appear in such a cause, for such a person so obnoxious in their account; for which we could offer many, and those very great considerations.
As 1) and principally, the honor of that cause for which we have <740> suffered the loss of a thousand other things: we mean conscience-liberty, which we conceive to stand in nothing more than in these two points (or indeed we may say, bears itself up on them as two main pillars), viz., First, that the civil magistrate is not the proper judge of error or blasphemy. And secondly, that corporal punishment is not a proper punishment for offenses of a spiritual nature, though it was used to the Jews for divers special reasons, peculiar to that legal dispensation only.
2) The safety of the government, which is in danger of wrath from the Almighty, for nothing so much or so soon as for invading the spiritual jurisdiction of our Lord Jesus.
3) The consequence to ourselves, who by this rule may be pulled out and judged without a law, yea judged and sentenced in the highest condemnation as blasphemers, for which the present temper of the civil magistrate shall censure to be blasphemy.
These, with other reasons, were in our eye, which we shall not insist upon, but desire it may satisfy others, that we are exceeding well satisfied ourselves in bearing our testimony. We cannot, we dare not cry blasphemy with all that do so; we dare not throw men out of heaven and out of our hearts (out of all love and pity there) so fast as some can. It is a dark and disguising time, and scarce anyone wears his own clothes. Temptations are abroad, and there is not a spirit to judge and discern them aright. They many times are accounted orthodox who have least right to it. Old Jacob must cross his hands again; but this is the snare in which God will take the world. And look to it, the worst of blasphemies is to make profession of the gospel, and have no love.
The series of our petitions and addresses in the behalf of the said James Nayler, hereafter followeth.
That we are credibly informed (from those eyes that have seen it) that James Nayler is in a very ill and dangerous condition of body, not fit to undergo that part of your sentence he is adjudged unto, this day; and were desired to acquaint this honorable House so much, and to beg the respite of a week, or some small time, as to your wisdom and goodness shall seem meet; that he may recover a little strength before he be called forth again: which office of charity we could not refuse, <741> though we are not partakers with him, nor abettors of him in anything that hath occasioned this sentence.
Therefore since we believe it is not your intent to destroy that life which you spared in your sentence, we humbly pray an order of reprieve may be granted for a few days; and it will be accepted as an act of your Christian moderation and clemency.
And we shall pray, &c.
T.Z., J.S., J.W., C.H.
The substance of the foresaid petition was certified to the subscribers by divers credible persons, and it may further appear by a certificate from the woman that first washed his stripes, a copy whereof is hereunto annexed.
To my best discerning there was not a space bigger than the breadth of a man's nail free from stripes and blood, from his shoulders near his waist. And his right arm was sorely striped. His hands also were sorely hurt with the cords, that they bled and were swelled.
The blood and wounds of his back did very little appear at first sight, by reason of the abundance of dirt that covered them, till it was washed off.
This I saw, coming to him above an hour after his whipping, in all which time none had been with him or sent to him to look after his wounds.
And others saw that he was much abused with horses treading on him, for the print of the nails were seen on his feet.
Upon reading the aforesaid petition, the Parliament respited the further execution of their sentence upon James Nayler for one week, as by their order may appear, which was Saturday, 20 Decemb.
That the further punishment of James Nayler which should have been on this day shall be suspended till this day seven-night, and be executed on him then; and that the sheriffs of London and Middlesex do observe this order accordingly.
During which interval several peaceable and well-affected persons, being sadly sensible of the consequence of such proceedings, did address themselves by petition to the Parliament, for the remitting the remaining part of the said James Nayler's punishment, a copy whereof is underwritten:<742>
The humble petition of divers peaceable and well-affected persons in the cities of London and Westminster, in behalf of themselves and many others:
That your moderation and clemency in respiting the punishment of James Nayler, in consideration of his illness of body, hath refreshed the hearts of many thousands in these cities, altogether unconcerned in his practice, and hath opened their eyes to see something more than the terrors of Mount Sinai, to dwell upon your honorable House; and hath likewise given them some hopes to see you come forth in the spirit of our Lord Jesus, yet more and more, to the convincement of those that erred and are out of the way.
Wherefore we must humbly beg your pardon, that are constrained to appear before you in such a suit (not daring to do otherwise), that you would remit the remaining part of your sentence against said James Nayler, leaving him to the Lord, and to such gospel remedies as he hath sanctified. And we are persuaded you will find such a course of love and forbearance more effectual to reclaim, and will leave a seal of your love and tenderness upon our spirits.
And we shall pray, &c.
This petition being presented at the bar of the House by about one hundred persons in the behalf of the whole, was accordingly read and debated by them; but being not likely to produce the desired effect, the petitioners thought themselves bound in duty and conscience to make this following address to the Lord Protector also:
That your petitioners having, out of tenderness to the good cause of our spiritual and civil liberties, concerned in some late proceedings of the House of Parliament, and to the good of these nations and the government thereof, appeared in a petition to the Parliament (a copy whereof is hereunto annexed) for the remitting the remaining punishment of James Nayler, which petition is received into the House and resteth there; we humbly conceive it our duty also, in consideration of the joint interest which your Highness with the Parliament hath, by the Instrument of Government, in the legislative power, to make our <743> humble address and request to your Highness,
That you will be pleased according to all former declarations, and the experience we have had of your Highness' care of this tender interest of liberty of conscience, to weigh the consequence of these late proceedings. And according to the 37th Article of the Instrument aforesaid, and one of the grounds you declare upon in the war with Spain, your Highness will stand up for the poor people of God in this day, wherein your Highness will not do more right to your petitioners than to yourself and these nations.
And we shall pray, &c.
The product of which address was only sending the following letter, by his Highness, to the Parliament.
Right trusty and right wellbeloved, we greet you well. Having taken notice of a judgment lately given against one James Nayler, although we detest and abhor the giving or occasioning the least countenance to persons of such opinions or practices, or who are under the guilt of such crimes as are commonly imputed to the said person; yet we being interested in the present government on behalf of the people of these nations, and not knowing how far such a proceeding (wholly without us) may extend in the consequence of it, we desire that the House will let us know the grounds and reasons whereupon they have proceeded. Given at White-Hall the 25th day of Decemb. 1656.
To our right trusty and right wellbeloved
Sir Thomas Widdrington, Speaker.
Which letter occasioning some debate in the House, and the day for execution of the remaining part of the sentence drawing near, the petitioners made a second address to his Highness, in manner following:
That with great thankfulness we acknowledge your highness' love to the cause and people of God, and their liberties, and particularly your appearing at their request by your letter to the Parliament on their and the nation's behalf, as they seem to be concerned in the proceedings against James Nayler. And we desire we may not forget, nor be unmindful to bless God that hath raised up your Highness a bulwark between us and oppression and persecution. And hath given you to be faithful on all occasions when we have applied ourselves unto you, that expecting the fruit of your Highness' letter to the Parliament, to our grief we find nothing is done, nor like to be done timely, but the execution of the remaining <744> part of the sentence will take place, unless prevented by your Highness.
Wherefore your petitioners are constrained again to make their humble address to your Highness, that in regard the business will admit of no longer delay, your Highness will be pleased in pursuance of that claim you may justly make to a joint-interest and concern, in such proceedings, to take such course, that the intended execution tomorrow may be prevented.
And your petitioners shall as in duty bound, pray, &c.
Notwithstanding all which, the sentence of Parliament took place, and was executed upon James Nayler.
It is very remarkable, that these great sufferings have hitherto been endured by him with much patience and meekness; as a lamb led to the slaughter he opened not his mouth. He never murmured at the heavy sentence pronounced against him, nor complained against his adversaries, nor of the severity of his sufferings, but endured them with so much patience and quietness of spirit as that it hath astonished the minds of many who were eyewitnesses thereto.
When he was before the House, and they asked him concerning particulars of his examination before the Committee, which were passed out of his mind, he in simplicity of heart referred himself to his examiners, saying he thought they would not do him wrong; though divers of the House were both his accusers and judges.
When they were about to pronounce the sentence, he said he did not know his offense. The Speaker amongst many others gave forth these words, That he should know his offence by his punishment.
And when his sentence was pronounced against him, he showed not the least dislike, but being denied to have liberty to speak, as he passed away, he uttered these words with meekness: "He that hath prepared the body, will enable me to suffer; and I pray that He may not lay it to your charge."
Wednesday the 24th of Decemb. 1656 myself with others being at the prison with James Nayler, and understanding that divers ministers were come thither by order of Parliament to confer with him touching those things for which he was there detained, and being desirous to know the truth of what is reported concerning those blasphemies of which he is accused, and for which he suffers, as also the frame and temper of his spirit under such great sufferings, I desired to be present <745> at the said conference. But being denied that liberty by the keeper, who told us he was appointed by the ministers to let none be present whilst they were with him, one of us addressed to the ministers themselves, who also denied us, or so much as one of us, to be present. So we could not be admitted, but were turned forth. And myself having business in the city, went about the same. And about eight of the clock the same night, going through Newgate Market, I met those ministers in the street; and judging they came then from James Nayler, I went directly to the prison to know the issue of their meeting: and asking him concerning it (so near as I can remember) he told me, as followeth, viz.
That he told those ministers, he saw they had an intent to make him suffer (though innocent) as an evildoer, and therefore denied any to be present that might be indifferent judges betwixt them and him (or words to that purpose). And therefore he should not say anything unless what passed might be writ down, and a copy therefore given him to keep, or left with the jailer, signed by them. Which (he said) was, after some words, assented unto. And so they propounded several questions unto him, and took his answers in writing.
And I asking him if he could remember any of the questions propounded to him, he told me as followeth (viz.):
That they asked him if he was sorry for those blasphemies that he was guilty of, and whether he did recant, and renounce the same? To which he answered, What blasphemies? name them. But they not able to instance in any particular, he replied, "Would you have me recant, and renounce you know now what?"
They asked him whether he did believe there was a Jesus Christ? To which he answered, he did believe there was: for he had tasted of him, and that Jesus had taken up dwelling in his heart and spirit; and, for the testimony of him, he now suffered. One of them replied, "But I believe in a Jesus that never was in any man's heart." To which he answered, he knew no such Christ; for the Christ he witnessed fills heaven and earth, and dwells in the hearts of believers.
Again, they demanded of him why he suffered those women, &c., to worship and adore him. To which he replied: Bowing to the creature, I deny. But if they behold the power of Christ wherever it is, and bow to it, he had nothing by which he might resist that, or gainsay it. And withal said to the ministers, "Have you thus long professed the Scriptures, and do you now stumble at what they hold forth?" Whereupon they desired one instance of Scripture, wherein such a practice was held forth. To which he answered, What think you of the Shunamite in falling down at the feet of Elisha, and bowing before him? Whether was the prophet guilty of blasphemy, in not reproving her when she did so? <746> (2 Kings 4:27,37), as also divers others in Scripture spoken of. Upon which they, pausing for a while, answered, that was but a civil act, or acknowledgment. So (said he) might you interpret theirs also, if your eye were not evil, seeing the outward action is one and the same.
But after a while, he seeing them not contented with plain answers, but seeking to wrest words out of him to their own purpose, in meekness uttered these words: "How soon have you forgot the work of the bishops, who are now found in the same, seeking to ensnare the innocent?" Whereupon they rose up and with bitterness of spirit burnt all that they had before written. And so left him with some bemoaning expressions, rather discovering a prejudiced spirit than real affection to the good of his soul.
So when they were departing he desired of them (as he had also done before) that the Parliament would send him such questions in writing as they desired satisfaction in, and give him leave to return his answers in writing also.
These (as near as I can remember) he told me, with some other passages, which I do not well remember. And hoping the whole passages of that meeting will be published by the parties themselves, upon consideration of what is before mentioned, I humbly premise these queries following, touching the case of the said Nayler:
1) Whether rationally those men in that their proceeding can be adjudged lovers of his soul, or that act tending to the good thereof? or not rather wholly prejudiced, and intending to lay snares before him?
2) Whether any nation afford the like precedent, that four or five persons (a man's enemies) should be his examiners, and solely empowered to report his case to his judges, not admitting any to be present but themselves, as indifferent witnesses betwixt them? If four or five of those silversmiths that made shrines for Diana, whose gain Paul's doctrine destroyed, if they had been sent to Paul to examine him and report his case to his judges—how unequal a thing would this be accounted?
3) Whether the verbal report of those persons (or if written, it being done after they departed from him) ought to be received or credited as a true testimony, when they have burnt their examinations, & his answers written while they were together, not admitting them to be seen as they were first stated.
4) Whether it were not a very reasonable desire of James Nayler's (as the case stood) that the questions might be sent him in writing from the Parliament, and he might have liberty to return his answers in writing, for the avoiding of misinterpretation of his adversaries.
1. If he was cast out, it was not till some years after he had withdrawn from them, for their wanton and unchristian carriage, especially of Christopher Marshal their pastor, which things he had charged upon them, and given them in writing under nine particulars, proving their practice contrary to Scripture, but never yet received a line from them of any crime, as he declared before the Committee; and how doth this prove him an impostor, &c.
2. From others, but not from them.
3. Which blasphemy was, that he had affirmed in a book, justification by the gift of God's righteousness, which he proved from Rom. 5, which stopped their mouths.
4. But nothing proved further than common salutations, which then were not accounted evil, being about seven years since, and before he saw the vanity of those customs.
5. So it seems it was not done in a corner.
6. Which he denied before the Committee, as utterly false, being never his judgment.
7. Which time was this last summer, being so many years after.
8. This is false, for Major Saunders gave him liberty to go on his journey; but he was brought back about 20 miles from thence; and committed by a judge, and fined 20 marks for not putting off his hat.
9. Of which company few had been prisoners, as is intimated.
11. Must it be taken for granted because alleged, when nothing is made appear that is evil?
12. And four men, & what's the reason they are not mentioned as well as the women?
13. But was there not four men, and two women more in the room?
14. What evil was in this? if while he was on the bed, some of the rest also were leaning upon some part of the bed, there being but one bed in the room, and they having sit up all night.
15. That's utterly false, for the prisoners did not hear them read. You had done well to have given in his full answers in your report, and not to pick what ye thought good, and to conceal the rest.
16. How assume?! because he was silent, and submitted to the will of his Father?
17. The Pharisees who persecuted the prophets' life, yet garnished their sepulchers; so do many garnish the name of Christ with titles, but persecute his nature.
18. See his last answer to the Committee, & how false this charge is, may appear throughout the whole report.
19. Is this his blasphemy, to hear others praise the Lord? or that others in obedience to God go bare-headed? is not this thing usually practiced amongst, and to yourselves? But what evil hath he done?
20. But where's his blasphemy, must he suffer because they obeyed the Lord?
21. But James Nayler never commanded her to do this thing, then where's his blasphemy? Is obedience to him that is Lord of all, yielded by another, imputed to him for blasphemy?
22. It's not denied; but where is the blasphemy of the sufferer?
23. Is it blasphemy to confess what he saw others do?
24. How doth this evidence prove the sufferer a blasphemer?
25. Suppose she said so, doth this make him a blasphemer? what hath he done?
26. Then this was not James Nayler.
27. How is this become an offense to you? Or how doth this prove him a blasphemer?
28. How doth her confession of Christ's resurrection, prove him a blasphemer?
29. And was this a crime to say so? Is not here the spirit of the persecuting courts got up again, that seeks matter from the accused to judge them by?
30. Doth not he here acknowledge the praises sung to the Lord? And is this blasphemy that he did not forbid praises to be sung to the Lord?
31. Take notice.
32. And what law of God or man is here broken, or doth say that this is blasphemy, to have his horse led, and one to go bareheaded before him, or to be accompanied with singing?
33. A strange opinion to take the thing to be proved that he assumed such things, seeing he himself was silent, passing on his journey, acting no evil either against God or man, neither did require any of these things to be done, only durst not forbid what God moved others to do.
34. It seems you will pass by nothing you think hath anything in it that might raise up evil thoughts; you had done justly had all been writ was said by the sufferer, to prove his innocency.
35. And to whom do you impute this fault, seeing there was no art used either to the head, beard or feature, but was the work of the Creator. How do you here love your example, who count him the greatest offender that God hath made most like him. Neither was the letter forementioned known by the sufferer to be amongst any of his company, till after it was taken from them, and so he told the Speaker when before them.
36. Are not his expressions good, and fit to be used; where they are spoken in truth?
37. This may be testified by divers witnesses, yet is it no blasphemy. How are your hearts hardened against the power of God! Had you known that scripture, Matt. 4:4, or the power of God, it would not have been counted an offense to see it fulfilled. Is not here that Scripture fulfilled upon the sufferer, John 6:13, that saith, "These things will they do unto you, because they know not the Father nor me."
38. Is it become an offense to live the life of God? Had not the children of God their life hid with Christ in God? Read Col. 3:3.
39. And why not the rest of his answers, wherein his innocency might more fully have appeared; and yet here is nothing in this, or any other, that proves him either a blasphemer or an offender.
40. And why should not his other answers have been reported also, seeing you thought fit to question him; and they that were to judge ought to have known the whole truth?
41. This he denies to receive as to the outward man, though you required that from him to you in the House at the Bar. Thus you condemn him who denies it as to himself, and gives it to the Lord, & yet take it to yourselves; is this righteous judgment, or to do as you would be done by?
42. What blasphemy is in this, to kiss the foot more than the hand, or any other part of the body? we have learned greater love than this, who can lay down our lives for the brethren.
43. If she deny it, why is it reported as evidence? and if she had confessed such a thing, how doth that make him guilty of blasphemy?
44. If these things were true, what offense is committed? did not the saints do and suffer the same things? Read 1 Sam. 25:23, &c., 2 Kings 4:27,37 & Dan. 2:46; Esth. 8:3; Matt. 18:29; Luke 17:16; John 11:32; Luke 8:41; Luke 7:38, &c.; John 13,14,15. And why should any be offended that the saints' life and practice be made manifest again in the world?
45. Laying on of hands was owned before the house; but crossing of hands is denied.
47. Is it blasphemy to raise from the dead?
48. If the Scriptures or any just law of this nation had been hearkened to, the innocent would not thus have suffered cruel torments.
49. Mark and take notice of this.
50. Mark what blasphemy are in these words.
51. Mark again.
52. Take notice he speaks not of another Christ, but the same that was yesterday (Heb. 13:8).
53. Take notice.
54. What matter of fact is in these things that is in the least evil? or what the Scriptures do not own?
55. How assumed, because others write and spoke what the Lord commanded them?
56. Mark what is confessed, and what denied, and let the wise judge if the Scriptures speak not the same things (2 Cor. 4:7,10; 2 Cor. 6:18; 2 Cor. 13:5; 1 Cor. 6:19), and ought not Christ to speak, or be worshipped in his temple?
57. Mark, his yea is amen.
58. Where the most of that beauty is revealed by God amongst ten thousand, there is the fairest of ten thousand. This was his testimony before the House.
59. So he changeth not.
60. You should not spend your opinion of things you know not; for he denies that James Nayler (which is the visible) to take these things upon him.
61. Mark this also, you that are of an understanding heart.
62. Was not this a direct answer, and sufficient to all them that desired to hear the truth?
63. He that is a son of God, is he not the only begotten of God? Doth any help God to beget his children, save himself alone? Read James 1:5. Were you not wholly ignorant of the Scriptures, and power of God, you would not stumble at these things.
64. Hath he not well spoken? let him that is spiritual, judge.
65. Saw he not their hearts?
66. Mark this.
67. Why did they not then at Bristol write down his true answer, and afterwards cause it to be read to them?
68. To that which was visible he hath denied again and again. How is it that you cannot receive the truth?
69. Mark this.
70. Why? because he confesses the truth.
71. Therefore you should not have done him harm (Ps. 105:15).
72. He witnessed before his judges that he was a king over the powers of darkness, and so reigns according to Scripture (Rev. 5:10).
73. Where is anything that is evil proved that he hath said or done?
74. Read Rev. 5:9-10.
75. Would you not have him to reign? Read Luke 19:27.
76. Doth he not all along deny it to the visible, how comes it you bear false witness against him, in saying that James Nayler assumes it?
77. Take notice of his answers all along, whether there be any blasphemy in them.
78. The begotten of God cannot lie.
79. Read James 3:2.
80. Blessed is he that can truly witness this.
81. Mark his answers all along, and see what blasphemy you find.
82. Let his answers be weighed in the right balance (Job 31:6), and those that dwell in love will see no evil in them.
83. Learn to speak truth.
84. Be not offended at the movings of the Lord, lest he break you in pieces. Read Matt. 21:44.
85. Take notice of this.
86. Read and understand (2 Cor. 13:5).
88. Mark again, where is the blasphemy?
89. Take notice of this also.
90. Let those that know what Christ Jesus is, judge if this be blasphemy, and let the Scriptures bear witness. Read Col. 1:27; 2 Cor. 13:5.
91. Mark again.
92. What ground is there for such an opinion, seeing they often heard him deny it, as to self?
93. Is it a true saying?
94. Take notice he cannot deny Christ Jesus, but himself doth he deny.
96. Take notice of this man's blasphemy, who would have all the glory given to God, and what is there proved that he hath taken to himself?
97. Search the Scripture (Col. 1:27).
98. Let him that reads understand, but he that will be ignorant, may be ignorant still.
99. Why because he saith the hope of Israel stands only in Christ Jesus.
100. Is this blasphemy for to own the movings of the Lord, and who made you judges in this matter?
101. Is not this good counsel where appears that which should prove blasphemy?
102. So he intended not the publishing of those titles, as one assuming glory to himself.
103. Is not this rightly spoken? Read Rom. 14:4,10.
104. Is this assuming?
105. Or is this assuming?
106. Nay, they would rob him of his honor, that would not have him to have it where he is.
107. Or is this blasphemy?
108. There is need of further evidence to satisfy the wise-hearted.
109. They have been found in the same postures daily, since James Nayler hath been removed from them. And is this your further evidence?
110. And is this further evidence of James Nayler's blasphemy, that others sing praises to the true God, and glory to the Almighty?
111. And do they not still the same, as when James Nayler was with them?
112. It is likely she knew what she sung, and well it is for them that can witness the Son of Righteousness come with healing, &c. Read Mal. 4:2.
113. How can he say they gave it to him, since he himself saith that he never understood they did it to him as a creature, and this informer hath said a little before that their praises were directed to the great God, and to the Almighty.
114. Are you angry that others should sing praises to the Lord God, and is this your further evidence of James Nayler's blasphemy?
115. Is looking upon J.N. any further evidence? It seems a small thing will serve turn for further evidence.
116. Ought his accusers to have been his judges? it was not likely that such could see his innocency.
117. Hath it not been their manner since he was removed as before? Ask their keeper John Brynam, whom you cite as further evidence.
118. Take good notice of his answers from first to last, and see if in any of them you can find blasphemy, or anything that is contrary to the Scriptures, and the saints' practice.
119. The first time the whole House sat about J.N.
120. The second time the whole House sat about J.N.
121. You should not be offended with others if they do what you require yourselves. Herein you walk not charitably toward your brethren, more especially when it is done to God in man. Read 2 Cor. 6:18 and 13:5.
122. But there was much wanting of what he had spoken to the Committee, which in some things the truth might have more fully appeared.
123. But what these questions were, is not yet certainly known, for there is no record kept of them.
124. The third time the whole House spent about J.N.
125. The fourth time the whole House sat about J.N.
126. What was his fact that he committed made him guilty of blasphemy?
127. What horrid thing did he? Let it be declared; few wise men are not satisfied as yet.
128. It is much such a vote should pass, and so little ground for it as yet appears.
129. It were well if cause were shown why this was added.
130. You do your business with great leisure, and take time enough; if you do it well, you'll have the more peace with God.
131. The fifth time the whole House sat about J.N.
132. The sixth time the whole House sat about J.N.
133. The seventh time the House sat about J.N.
134. The eighth time the whole House spent about J.N.
135. What is the reason you are so earnest? You have spent time enough already to end such a business as this, had not there been a lion in the way. And you had done well to have taken notice of the sword of the Lord drawn against you in this thing.
136. The ninth time the whole House spent about J.N.
137. The tenth time the whole House assumed J.N. business.
138. Why, did you intend to spend your Sabbath about J.N.? had you not days enough besides to labor in?
139. The eleventh time the whole House assumed J.N. business.
140. The 12th time the whole House assumed the debate about J.N. It is wondered at by many what cause should be that this foolish business should hold so many wise men so long. Is not the Lord a-confounding the wisdom of this world with things that are foolish?
141. What you desire to him, will be your own end; but you cannot kill the soul.
142. It seems you cannot have your will in this neither.
143. Why, do you think his strength lies in his hair?
144. This was that the Scripture might be fulfilled (Rev. 1:7).
145. This was also that the Scriptures might be fulfilled (Isa. 52:14).
146. This was also that the Scripture might be fulfilled (Mark 15:17).
147. This was likewise done that the Scripture might be fulfilled (John 19:1; Heb. 13:36).
148. This was likewise done that the Scripture might be fulfilled (Matt. 27:37).
149. Why, had not Cheapside been far enough? What hath he done to deserve such cruel punishment?
150. Otherwise the crown had not been about his head (Mark 15:17).
151. Why, whom hath he harmed? may he not have food and raiment? His fact had need be great that deserves this punishment. Is this the way to pay him some hundreds in arrears, and for his nine years faithful service in the Army?
152. Suppose you make him uncapable of labor by your punishment; or he be at any time sick that he cannot labor, must he then starve? Surely the spirit of Christ you did not consult with when you passed this judgment.
153. You were long ere you could agree on your sentence, but quick in the execution, the next day.
154. But one day's respite between such cruel suffering? your sentence had been more merciful had it been present death; for the executioner confessed, that he gave him 310 stripes, and should have given him one more (there being 311 kennels), but his foot slipped, and the stroke fall upon his own hand, which hurt him much: this he confessed to the sheriff.
155. What, more sufferings yet?
156. The world may think this man a great sinner, if they judge by outward appearance, according to his sufferings: but what evil hath he done?
157. Though the devil had power to cast some into prison, yet the Lord's work will go on to the confounding of all his enemies, this assuredly will come to pass, and remember that a prophet hath been amongst you.
158. See whether in Queen Mary's days, or in the late bishops' time, they were ever so cruel, but this is come to pass for to try those that dwell on the earth, which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Read Rev. 2:9 and Rev. 3:9-10.
159. It is a question whether this be sufficient warrants (unless the Protector concur with them in the thing), if the Instrument of Government be yet in force.
160. Were not these petitions for the destruction of the whole seed of the Jews, let that in your conscience answer.
161. It were well if you did them speedy justice: they have been a long time kept by you from their homes and families. You use to say they are worse than infidels, provides not for their families; who now hinders these and many more that are innocent, which lie in prisons, dungeons and holes in this nation, that have broken no law.
162. This had been just and legal, but it is likely, you were afraid he would then have cleared his innocency.
163. It is pity too illegal a thing should stand on record against you, it is hoped and desired by all good men, that no Court of Judicature in these nations will follow the example. If they should, what will become of the good and wholesome laws made by our ancestors?
164. Of what? This is the 13th time the whole House sat about J.N.
165. You are very zealous; take heed the hand of the Lord be not against you in this, as in the other, and that you be made to feel it.
166. You name only these, but it is against the whole seed that cannot bow to Haman, or that denies the teachers made by the will of man.
167. Whose ministers are those that persecute, or that will not give liberty of conscience to serve the Lord as he requires?
168. These rulers, gentry, and ministers must be such we read of, Mark 14:55 &c. and Luke 19:47-48.
169. It were well that you had heard both parties speak, and see if their complaints be true, for fear the justice that is amongst the heathen condemn you not in the day of the Lord, which is not far from every one of you.
170. They desire to receive justice from you, and as speedy as you please.
171. As Evesham can witness.
a. This is generally recognized to be the work of Robert Rich, compiled from official documents and copies of various petitions by himself and others, with his copious marginal notes added to the record of Nayler's examination by the Parliamentary Committee.
Thomason date: 14 Jan. 1656/57.