Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Works of James Nayler > There is a Spirit which I Feel
that delights to do no evil, nor to revenge any wrong, but delights to endure all things, in hope to enjoy its own in the end. Its hope is to outlive all wrath and contention and to weary out all exaltation and cruelty, or whatsoever is of nature contrary to itself; it sees to the end of all temptations. As it bears no evil in itself so it conceives none in thoughts to any other. If it be betrayed it bears it,b for its ground and spring is the mercies and forgiveness of God. Its crown is meekness, its life is everlasting love unfeigned, and takes its kingdom with entreaty and not with contention, and keeps it by lowliness of mind. In God alone it can rejoice, though none else regard it or can own its life. It's conceived in sorrow and brought forth without any to pity it, nor doth it murmur at grief and oppression; it never rejoiceth but through sufferings, for with the world's joy it is murdered. I found it alone, being forsaken; I have fellowship therein with them who lived in dens and desolate places in the earth, who through death obtained this resurrection and eternal holy life. Thou wast with me when I fled from the face of mine enemies, then didst thou warn me in the night; thou carriedst me in thy power into the hiding place thou hadst prepared for me; there thou coveredst me with thy hand, that in time thou mightest bring me forth a rock before all the world. When I was weak thou stayedst me with thy hand, that in thy time thou mightest present me to the world in thy strength, in which I stand and cannot be moved. Praise the Lord, O my soul. Let this be written for those that come after. Praise the Lord.
a. Robert Rich describes this as "A Letter from James Nayler, by which the then present state of his spirit is represented" (Hidden Things Brought to Light, pp. 21-22). Only Rich includes the last 5 sentences (beginning "Thou wast with me," but the earlier part has often been printed, first appearing in a collection entitled Several Papers of Confessions, Prayer, and Praise; by James Nayler, printed in London in 1659. It was included in Whitehead's 1716 collection under the heading: "His last testimony, said to be delivered by him about two hours before his departure out of this life, several Friends being present."
b. The phrase, "If it be betrayed it bears
it," is in the earliest printing but is missing from all later printings including that of Robert
Rich, until it is restored by Whitehead in 1716. Whitehead adds, "He died in peace with the
Lord, at Soam (or Home)* in Huntingtonshire, and was buried at Kings-Rippon in the said
county, the latter end of the year 1660, about the 44th year of his age."
(*The place was Holme, according to John Whiting's account quoted in William Sewel, The History of the Rise, Increase, and Progress, of the Christian People called Quakers, 2nd edition, London, 1675, p. 155.)