The Missing Cross to Purity

Part 24

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Queries propounded to George Fox, by some of the contrivers of the petition, and answered by him.

Query—‘Whether there is one individual God distinguished into the Father, son, and Holy Ghost, or not?’

Answer. In this you would know, whether God is individual, yes or no, which is only from a busy mind; for had you the witness in yourself you would know what he is; but the heathen do not know God, and all who do not know him, are heathen, living in the wicked imaginations of their own hearts; and that is your condition. For ‘God is a spirit,’ and none know him but the son, and he to whom the son is revealed; the son and word are one. ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear what the spirit said,’ for you, natural man, do not know the things of God.

Question. ‘Whether a believer is justified by Christ's righteousness imputed, yes, or no?’

Answer. ‘He who believes is born of God;’ and he who is born of God is justified by Christ alone, without imputation.

Question. ‘Whether he who believes that Christ has taken away his sin, is clean without sin in this life, as Christ himself, or not?’

Answer. ‘He who believes is born of God,’ and ‘he who is born of God sins not, neither can he sin, because his seed remains in him:’ ‘as he is, so are we in this present evil world.’

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father also loves him who is begotten of him.
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep his commands.
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commands; and his commands are not burdensome.
For whoever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.
Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 1:51-5

We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but He
[the Spirit of Christ within your heart] who is fathered by God protects him [the man], and the wicked one does not touch him. 1 John 5:18.
[He cannot fall to sin again because God protects him; he is sanctified, protected from evil.]

Question. ‘Whether a believer is without all sin in this life, or not?’

Answer. Christ being made manifest, is made manifest to take away sin, and ‘in him is no sin at all; he who abides in him, does not sin; he who sins is of the devil, and has not seen him, neither known him; by this are the children of God made manifest, and the children of the devil.’ All you who read these questions, read these things in yourselves, whether you are the children of God, or the children of the devil; and whether you understand what you write, yes, or no.

Question. ‘Whether his works, as well as his person, are perfectly holy and good or not?’

Answer. ‘A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit;’ and ‘if the root is holy, the branches will be holy also;’ and ‘everyone who does righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.’ But as for that person, it is a busy mind in you who asks about what you do not know; for ‘God is no respecter of persons:’ he who respects persons commits sin, and he who commits sin transgresses the law.

Question. ‘Whether saints in this life, without any addition hereafter, are perfectly just, perfectly holy, completely glorious in this life, and are not capable of any addition after death, in the least degree, but only of manifestation?’

Answer. If you know what a saint is, you would know a saint's life, for they passed through death to life; but you are still alive to sin, and dead to righteousness; see if it is not so; but he who is dead to sin is alive to righteousness; and lives in God; and God in him. The Lord is our righteousness, and he said, ‘Be holy, as I am holy:’ for ‘without holiness no man shall see the Lord.’ ‘Do not be deceived, God will not be mocked.’ You hypocrite, do not lie to him; he who is perfectly holy is perfectly just; where this is revealed, there needs no addition; for the man of God is perfect.

Question. ‘Whether the two sacraments, baptism and the breaking of bread, ought necessarily to continue in the church, or not?’

Answer. You ask what you do not know, concerning two sacraments, which there is no scripture for. You ask a question, which is an addition to the scripture; and you who add, the plagues of God are added to you. Those who come into the true church, are baptized with one spirit into one body, but as for sprinkling infants, there is no scripture for it; I deny it; in the true church of God there is no talk of such carnal things. You drunkard [on your own lust and pride], the bread which the saints break is of the body of Christ; he is the bread of life. The church is not the steeple-house, but the church is in God, and those that eat the bread of life live forever; the church is in God, and the bread of life is there, and it shall continue forever.

Question. ‘Whether Christ in the flesh is a figure or not; and if a figure, how and in what?’

Answer. Christ is the substance of all figures; and his flesh is a figure; for everyone passes through the same way as he did, who comes to know Christ in the flesh; there must be a suffering with him, before there be a rejoicing with him. Christ is an example for all to walk after; and if you knew what an example is, you would know what a figure, is to come up to the same fullness.’

Question. ‘Whether there is any heaven or hell, for the elect or reprobate after death, but in man in this life, or not?’

Answer. There is no knowledge of heaven or hell, except through death: ‘The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all those who forget God,’ there to be tormented. There is a hell, you shall find it. Heaven is God's throne; and heavenly notions within shall be shaken; for God is pure, and nothing that is unclean shall stand before him; and he has said he will dwell in man.

Question. ‘Whether the ministration of the ministry by man, is to continue till the end, or not.’

Answer. The ministration of the world is the ministry of man, and does not lead to an end, but keeps in time, and that must have an end, for it is not of God. The ministry of God is to draw people up to himself; but that is ‘not of man, nor by man, nor according to man;’ for Paul was ‘made a minister according to the will of God,’ who had not received it of man, neither was it taught him of man; and was a minister of the spirit. But the ministers of the world receive their learning at Oxford and Cambridge, and are taught by men, and speak a divination of their own brain, which is conjuring; and bewitch the people with those things that are carnal; as, to sprinkling infants, and telling them of a sacrament, which there is no scripture for; and saying they are the ministers of Christ, and act those things which he forbids; such as, to have ‘the chiefest place in the assemblies, the uppermost room at feasts,’ the ‘greetings in markets,’ and ‘to be called of men masters,’ and ‘with pretence make long prayers,’ which Christ forbids, and profess and say, they are the ministers of Christ, by which they show themselves to be antichrist. And see if you do not uphold these antichrists, and say, that they are the ministers of Christ.

Question. ‘Whether the written word, I mean the scriptures, are the power of God to salvation, to everyone who believes, or not?’

Answer. The written word is not the power of God, nor are the scriptures the salvation; but he who believes, has the life of them. Whoever is born of God shall never die, as it is written; he who believes is born of God; and he who is born of God has the witness in himself, that God is the cause of man's salvation, and not the scripture nor the letter.

James Nayler's answer and declaration, touching some things charged upon him by the men before said.

Having heard of many untruths cast upon me, by some of the priests in their high places, though I stand only to the Lord in respect of myself; yet lest any who love the truth should be led on by these false reports to ‘speak evil of these things they know not;’ I shall lay open the truth, as it is revealed in me, touching those things of which I have been falsely accused.

First, concerning Jesus Christ, that he is the eternal word of God, ‘by whom all things were made,’ and are upheld; which was before all time, but manifested to the world in time, for the recovery of lost man. Which ‘word became flesh, and dwelt among’ the saints; who is ‘the same yesterday, today, and forever;’ who did and does dwell in the saints; who suffered, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, and is set at the right hand of God, to whom ‘all power is given in heaven and in earth;’ who fills all places, is the light of the world, but known to none but to those that receive and follow him, and those he leads up to God, out of all the ways, works, and worships of the world, by his pure light in them, by which he reveals ‘the man of sin;’ and by his power casts him out, and so prepares the bodies of the saints to be a fit temple for the pure God to dwell in; with whom dwells no unclean thing. And thus he reconciles God and man, and the image of God, which is in purity and holiness, is renewed; and the image of Satan, which is all sin and uncleanness, is defaced. And none can witness redemption, further than Christ is thus revealed in them, to set them free from sin; which Christ I witness to be revealed in me in measure. Gal 1:16, 2 Cor 12:5, Col 1:27.

2. Concerning the scriptures. That they are a true declaration of that word which was in those who spoke them forth, and are of ‘no private interpretation,’ but were given forth to be read and fulfilled in the saints, as they were given forth by the Holy Ghost, without adding or diminishing; and were not given forth for men to make a trade of to get money by. But as they are, they are ‘profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto every good work.’ But those who trade in the letter, and are ignorant of the mystery, deny all perfection. And none can rightly understand the scriptures, but those who read them with the same spirit that gave them forth; for ‘the natural man does not understand the things of God, for they are spiritually discerned.’

3. Concerning baptism. The true baptism is that of the spirit, ‘with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.’ ‘Baptized by one spirit into one body;’ ‘not the washing away the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ;’ without which no other baptism can save us, they being but figures or shadows; but this baptism of Christ is the substance, by which we are baptized into his death; and those ‘that are baptized into Christ have put on Christ.’

4. Concerning the Lord's supper. The true supper of the Lord is the spiritual eating and drinking of the flesh and blood of Christ spiritually; which only the spiritual man eats, and is nourished up unto eternal life by this; without which eating there can be no life in the creature, profess what you will. And all who eat of this bread, and drink of this cup, have real communion in Christ the head, and also one with another, as members; and are of one heart, and one mind, a complete body in Christ. Now the world, who take only the outward signs, and are not brought into ‘discerning of the Lord's body, eat and drink damnation to themselves,’ and become ‘guilty of the body and blood of Christ;’ and call this a communion, but live in envy, strife, and debate, fighting, and going to law one with another, for earthly things.

5. Concerning the resurrection. That all shall arise to give an account, and receive at the last day ‘according to their works, whether good or evil.’ These bodies that are dust, shall return to dust, ‘but God shall give a body as pleases him; what is sown in corruption shall be raised in incorruption; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body; and as we have borne the image of the earthly, so we shall bear the image of the heavenly:’ but ‘flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven; neither does corruption inherit incorruption; for we must be changed.’ But those who cannot witness the first resurrection within themselves, know nothing of the second, but by hearsay; and therefore, some of your teachers say, that Christ is in heaven with a carnal body. Now that Christ, who is the first fruits, should be in heaven with a carnal body, and the saints with a spiritual body, is not proportional.

6. Concerning magistracy. It is an ordinance of God, ordained ‘for the punishment of evil doers, and an encouragement for those who do well;’ where justice and righteousness are the head, and rules without partiality, that land is kept in peace; and those who judge for the Lord, I honor as my own life, not with a flattering honor, putting off the hat and bowing of the knee, which is the honor of the world, ‘having men's persons in admiration because of advantage,’ for self-ends; but from my heart, for conscience’ sake, as to the power which is of God, not to men's persons. For the scripture said, ‘he who respects persons commits sin, and is convinced of the law as a transgressor;’ and the apostle James commands the saints, ‘not to have the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons;’ for, said he, ‘such are partial in themselves, and become judges of evil thoughts.’ And said Paul, ‘Let every soul be subject to the higher power; for,’ said he, ‘there is no power but of God, the powers that are are ordained of God;’ and that ‘whoever resists the power, resists the ordinance of God;’ and said, ‘We must needs be subject, for conscience' sake.’ And therefore, though the prophets were often sent by the Lord to pronounce judgment against unjust men, who had the power committed to them, and did not judge for God, but for self-ends; yet they never attempted any violence against them, but used all means to persuade them to ‘love mercy, do justice, and walk humbly with God,’ that they might be established, and the wrath of God turned from them; for those who are of God cannot rejoice in the sufferings of any, but would have all to turn and find mercy.

7. Concerning the ministry. The true ministers of Jesus Christ have always been, and are still, those who do not come by the will of man, but by the will of God; neither are they fitted for the work by anything of man, but by God alone; for the true ministry is the gift of Jesus Christ, and needs no addition of human help and learning; but as the work is spiritual, and of the Lord, so they are spiritually fitted only by the Lord, and therefore he chose herdsmen, fishermen, and ploughmen, and such. And as he gave them a direct call, without the concurrence of man, so he fitted them directly without the help of man; and as they received the gift freely, so they were to give freely. And whenever they found any of the false ministry, who taught for hire, they cried out against them, and pronounced woes against them, and showed those who they lay in iniquity, because they ‘thought that the gift of God could be bought and sold for money.’ And Christ calls them ‘hirelings,’ and said they ‘care not for the sheep.’ And Micah cries out against the priests who taught for hire; and, (said he), ‘they build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity.’ And Jeremiah cried out against the priests in his days, that ‘bare rule by their means,’ and calls it ‘a horrible thing;’ and said that, ‘from least the of them to the greatest, they are all given to covetousness.’ And Isaiah cries out against those in his days, and calls them ‘greedy dogs, that can never have enough;’ and, said he, ‘they all look for their gain from their quarter.’ And Peter said of such as should come, that they ‘through covetousness should make merchandise’ of the people; and said, ‘they have hearts exercised with covetous practices, who have forsaken the right way, and have followed the way of Balaam, who loved the wages of unrighteousness.’ And Jude cries, ‘woe to them, for they go on in the way of Cain,’ in his murder, ‘and run greedily after the error of Balaam’ for reward. But those who were sent out by Christ, counted it their gain to ‘make the gospel without charge;’ neither did they ever have any set means, but went about, having no certain dwelling place; were never masters, but ‘servants to all for Christ's sake;’ nor ever went to law for tithes, or any other earthly thing.

Now all people, try your priests by the scriptures, whether they are of God or of the world, and never think to hear the word of the Lord from their mouths, who walk contrary to the scriptures. For such were never sent by God; for had they been sent by God they would abide in his doctrine; and John said, such do not have God, but ‘he who abide in the doctrine of Christ, has both the Father and the son.’ ‘And if there come any to you, and bring not this doctrine,’ you are forbidden to ‘receive them into your house, or told them God speed:’ for if you do, you are partakers of their evil deeds. And ‘to the wicked, God said, What Have you to do to declare my statutes, or that you should take my covenant into your mouth? seeing you hate instruction, and cast my words behind your back,’ and are a partaker with the thief, the adulterer, evil-speaking, slandering, and deceit; and such as these, ‘think God to be like themselves.’

Various particulars of the persecutions of James Nayler, by the priests of Westmoreland.

James being at a meeting at Edward Briggs' on the First-day, where many people met, he was desired by various Friends to meet the following day at widow Cocks' house, about a mile from Kendal, of which the priests having notice, raised the town of Kendal against him; but being long in gathering together, the meeting was finished. But spies being out upon the steeple top, and other places, notice was given which way James passed from there; and coming down towards Kendal, two priests, accompanied with a justice of peace, and some other magistrates of the town, with an exceeding great multitude of people following them, met him, one of them saying, ‘Nayler, I have a message from the Lord Jesus Christ to you, but that there is not a convenient place.’

To which James answered, ‘The Lord Jesus Christ is no respecter of places.’ The message that he had to declare, was this: ‘I charge you who tell me by what power you inflict such punishment upon the bodies of creatures.’ James answered, ‘Do you remember who it was that adjured Christ to tell if he were the son of God, and asked by what authority he did those things?’ For James saw him to be one of that generation. But the priest still conjuring him to tell by what power he did it; James answered, ‘Do you acknowledge it to be done by a power?’ ‘Yes,’ said he, ‘I have the spirit of God, and by this I know it is done by a power.’ James said, ‘If you have the spirit of God, as you say you have, then you can tell by what power it is done.’ The priest said, ‘When God comes, he comes to torment the souls and not the bodies.’ James said, ‘He comes to redeem the souls.’

But after much opposing the priest began to accuse him before the justice and magistrates of many things; as, ‘that he taught people to burn their bibles, children to disobey their parents, wives their husbands, people to disobey the magistrates, and such like accusations.’ To which James answered, ‘You are a false accuser; prove one of these things if you can, here, before the magistrates.’ But not being able to prove any one, he began to accuse James for holding out a light that convinces of sin, ‘which,’ said the priest, ‘all do not have.’ To which James said, ‘Put out one in all this great multitude who dare say he does not have it?’ Said the priest, ‘These are all Christians, but if a Turk or Indian were here, he would deny it.’ James said, ‘You go far for a proof; but if a Turk were here, he would witness against you.’

The people beginning to fight, the priest turned away, saying, ‘Here will be a disturbance.’ James said, ‘These are your Christians, and these are the fruits of your ministry.’ But the justice, with some others, endeavored to keep the rude people off him, so that they could not come to their purpose there; but he having to pass over the bridge, and through the town, those who were of the priests' party ran before, swearing they would throw him off the bridge into the water; but coming there and seeing their purpose, he was encouraged in his God, who gave him assurance of protection, and did wonderfully keep him, and those that were him. For when he came to the bridge, the word of the Lord came to him, and he was made to cry out against their rage; and the power of the Lord was with him, so that he received no harm, though he was made to speak all along, and in the market-place, and until he came out of the town. But the raging people continued shouting, crying, and throwing of stones at him a quarter of a mile out of the town; but such was the power of the Lord, that neither he, nor any with him, received any harm. The work was wonderful, and we were brought much to admire it, and praise the Lord, who is blessed forever and ever.

Another time, James being desired of many Christian friends to be at a meeting at Orton, there to wait upon the Lord for what he would make known to his people, did accordingly; and many Friends and brethren accompanied him; but the priests having intelligence some days before, five of them were gathered together, and many people from all quarters. A Friend in the town desired James to come to his house; and having come into his house, a message was sent from the priests, desiring him to come into the field, under pretence of a more convenient place for the great multitude. To which James answered, ‘It is my desire that all may be edified; and coming into the field the priests came with a great multitude, and asked him ‘by what authority he came there, and had gathered together so many people to break the peace;’ and tempting him, said, ‘will you be bound that none here shall break the peace?’ To which James answered, ‘We do not come here to create offences, but if any break the law, let him suffer by the law;’ for he perceived they intended violence, as it appeared afterwards.

But seeing they could not prevail in that, another of them desired him to go into the church, as he called it, tempting him, saying, ‘The people may all sit and hear better.’ But James perceiving their deceit, said, ‘All places were alike to him; he would abide in the field.’ On which they pulled out an ordinance of parliament, forbidding any to speak but those who were authorized to speak either in church or chapel, or any public place; and told him speak at his peril, as he would answer the contempt of it. To which he answered, saying, ‘This is not a public place.’ ‘No,’ said one of the priests, ‘is this not a public place, the town field!’ And charged the constable of the town to do his office; and examined his authority. James answered, ‘Those who are sent to declare the things of God do not have their authority from men.’ But they told him prove that. He said, ‘Paul did not receive his commission from man or by man.’ To which one of them answered, ‘That was his gospel, but they would prove that Paul had a call from man to preach;’ and for that end he named that place in Acts 13:2-3. where the Holy Ghost said, ‘Separate me Barnabas and Saul;’ and the apostles laid their hands upon them, ‘which,’ said one of them, ‘was the laying on of hands of the presbytery.’ But when he had found that place, James asked him if that was Paul's call to the ministry? (three times), but he answered nothing. Then James said ‘If, that was his call, he had preached long without a call before that;’ and instanced to prove it, Gal 1:1.

Upon which that business ended; but another priest stood up, and said, ‘You ought to give an account of your faith to everyone who asks;’ upon which he asked several questions; to which James answered so much that some who stood by, cried out, ‘Do not answer all, but ask him some.’ Awhile after, James asked him, ‘how he would prove himself a minister of the gospel, and live upon tithes?’ To which he would not answer. Then, said James, ‘Neither will I answer you, if you ask me twenty more.’

The next question he asked, was, ‘Whether Christ had ascended or not?’ but James said, ‘I will not answer you.’ Whereupon he cried out to the people, and said, ‘He denies the humanity of Christ,’ and made a great outcry among the people of it. But the people cried out, saying, ‘Let us hear him; you have often told us many things against him; let him speak, and then if he does not speak truth, you may then reprove him.’ James, hearing the desire of the people, began to speak; and the people gave audience, and were very silent. But beginning to hold out Christ alone to be the teacher of his people in spirit and truth, one of the priests cried out, ‘I cannot endure to hear this seducer any longer.’ Upon which James said, ‘Prove me a seducer before all this people, or else you are a false accuser.’ But he had not one word to say against anything that he had spoken, but said, ‘If you will not answer me that question I asked you, I will call you a seducer as long as I live.’

Upon which, seeing there could be no peace there, nor liberty to speak, they desired James to go into the house; and they kept close about him, to keep him from violence of some who came along with the priests; but they raged so that he and other Friends received stripes, and with much ado got to the house. But the raging Sodomites waited about the door to do mischief, and kept shouting about the house all the while he was speaking; but the house being filled with people, they could not come to their purpose; and the Lord so ordered it in the evening, that we came away without any more harm. But not long after, there came some of the priests' party around the house, and asked if Nayler was gone; and when they heard he was gone, they said, ‘He may thank God for that.’ Thus, by the wisdom of God, he escaped their violence at that time.

But the priests, missing their purpose there, the next First-day after, they prepared their sermons suitable to what they intended, possessing the people that he was a blasphemer, and denied the resurrection, and the humanity of Christ, and all authority; and that the parliament had opened a gap for blasphemy, and, as it was said by some of their hearers, they did God good service who would knock him down. Thus having stirred up the ruder sort, the next day they prevailed with one called a justice of the peace; the priest's son got him to come twelve miles from his own house; he was one, as some say, who had been in actual arms against the parliament, for bringing in the Scots. Having armed a great multitude against him the next morning, they came very early to the house where he was, where many Christian Friends would have met that day, and asked for Nayler, threatening to knock out his brains against the stones in the wall, and that they would pull down the house, if he would not come out, though the door was never shut against them. But some of them came into the house, and commanded him to come forth, under pretence to dispute with the priest. But James, seeing what they intended, answered, ‘You did not use me so civilly the last time I was among you; but if any have a mind they may come in, the doors are open.’ Which answer they told the priests, upon which they rushed violently in, and took him by the throat, haled him out of the door into a field, where there was a man whom they called a justice, and with a pitchfork struck off his hat, and commanded him to answer to such questions as the priests would ask him. Upon which the priest began to ask many questions, as concerning the resurrection, the humanity of Christ, the scriptures; and many other questions, such as the sacrament, and such like, to which he answered, and proved by scripture. But at last being asked, if Christ was in him, he said, ‘he witnessed him in him in measure.’ The priest asked, ‘if Christ was in him as man.’ James said, ‘Christ is not divided.’ But he urged him to tell whether Christ as man was in him or not. He answered, ‘Christ is not divided; for if he is, he is no more Christ; but I witness that Christ in me who is God and man, in measure.’ But the priest said, ‘Christ is in heaven with a carnal body.’ To which James said, ‘Christ fills heaven and earth, and is not carnal but spiritual; for if Christ is in heaven with a carnal body, and the saints with a spiritual body, that is not proportional; neither was that a carnal body which came in among the disciples, the doors being shut; for Christ is a mystery, and you do not know him.’

Then after much arguing and tempting, the priest not having gotten the advantage he waited for, he cried out to the people not to receive him into their houses, and alleged support for that in the second epistle of John 1:10. Now, how suitable that place was for his purpose, all people may see, who have eyes; for there they are forbidden to receive any into their houses but those who ‘abide in the doctrine of Christ, and confess themselves that they had both the Father and the son, and preach that doctrine:’ but the priests say that is blasphemy.

Then the priest turned away from him, upon which the armed multitude began to be violent against various Friends who were there. James hearing Friends cry out, said to the justice, ‘You will surely set us peaceably into the house again;’ but seeing him to go away, and leave them in the hands of the rude multitude, he gave himself up, saying, ‘The will of the Lord be done.’

Upon which the justice turned again, saying, ‘We will see him in the house again;’ and going toward the house, many Friends kept close about James, exposing their own bodies to the danger of their weapons, to save him harmless; and so with much ado we got into the house, not receiving much harm. Which being done, and as James was praising the Lord for his wondrous deliverance from their malicious intents, some heard them say, ‘If we let him go thus, all people will run after him.’ Upon which they agreed that he should be brought before the justice again; and came with violence, and haled him out again. Then the justice and the priest getting on horseback, they caused him to run after them to an ale-house on the other side of the water, where they went in, not allowing one Friend to go in with James; and when he came before the justice, he told him if he would not put off his hat, he would send him to prison, and also because he thoued him; for the justice said, ‘My commission runs you.’ To which James answered, ‘I do it not in contempt; for I own authority, and honor it according to the scriptures; but I find no such honor commanded in scripture, but forbidden.’ Then they concluded to commit him for that, and also as a wandering person, and said no one there knew him, where he came from; for those who knew him were kept out. Then, he said to Arthur Scaife, ‘You knew me; I was in the army with you eight or nine years.’ ‘It is no matter,’ said the justice, ‘you are no soldier now.’

Then they wrote a mittimus to send him to prison, and carried him to Kirkby Steven that night, and shut him up in a chamber, and set a guard upon him; but several of our friends following into the town, where a great multitude was gathered together for meeting. Then the people came from the steeple-house, where another had been preaching; for several of the priests were gathered together that day; some preaching, some plotting, and some persecuting. Jezebel's fast was a preparation for Naboth's death. But Friends not being allowed to go into the house where James was, they abode in the streets; and some of them being moved to speak to the people, and the priests perceiving the people to give audience to what was spoken, made complaint. Upon which, some were sent forth, and with violence fetched in one Francis Howgill, a Friend, who was speaking to the people, and brought him into the high priest's hall, where five priests were assembled, with many others of their party, but not one Friend. And bringing him before the justice, he was commanded to put off his hat. He answered, ‘I know no such law.’ The priest said, ‘He will tread both ministry and magistracy under his feet.’ He said, ‘You are a false accuser; prove in this.’ But one who stood by, took off his hat, and cast it into the fire. Then the justice said, ‘What is this you speak against the ministers?’ He answered, ‘What have you to accuse me of?’ Upon which one affirmed that he said, ‘all the ministers that taught for hire, and in steeple-houses, were enemies, and liars against Jesus Christ, and no ministers of Jesus Christ.’ Upon that the justice said, ‘You speak against the law; for the law gives them their maintenance.’ He said, ‘I do not meddle with the law, but with their practice.’ Then Francis said to the priest, ‘Did you ever know a minister of Jesus Christ who was a persecutor, or labored to imprison any?’ And after some more discourse, he said to the priest, ‘I have seen a great deal of tyranny and persecution in this day's actions.’ Then the justice said to the people, ‘Take notice, he said, the law I act by is tyranny and persecution.’ To which the people assented. Then said Francis, ‘You may give out to the people what you will, but I speak not of the law, but of your actions.’ Upon that, he was sent to prison; a guard of eight men were set over them, who spent the night in drinking, swearing, and filthy and unclean talking; and the more they were desired by the people to take heed of sin, the more filthy they appeared; but these are the fittest instruments for acting the priests' intentions, being members of their churches. The next day they were guarded to Appleby prison; but some Friends following, were not allowed to pass on the streets that way, so great was their envy against all who set their face that way. And the prisoners being brought there, much means was used that none should come to them, but those who were sent to tempt them. There they were kept until the sessions; in which time they sent up and down the country to seek for any who would witness anything against them, and improved their utmost interest for their advantage. A jury was chosen, several of them were resolved on the business, so that it was told the prisoners what would become of them, before the day of examination came; and it was accordingly. For the day came, and judgment passed; but the prisoners never saw their accusers, nor know who they are; but against that day, the priests had prepared three large petitions stuffed with most filthy untruths and slanders, raised out of the bottomless pit; but not one of them proved, though one of the justices said to them, ‘It is fit they should be proved;’ neither was there anything in them which they could charge upon the prisoners, except only what the power of the Lord had manifested at their meetings, in shaking proud flesh, and pouring out his spirit upon many, especially, as they said, upon little children; which the priests concluded was sorcery and witchery, and of the devil; by this declaring themselves to be of that generation who ‘called the good man of the house Beelzebub;’ and if they should not do the same to them of his household, the words of Christ could not be fulfilled.

Likewise they had gathered up all reports, true or false, of things done by many that the prisoners had not seen the faces of, nor ever knew; thinking by this to make them odious to the people. They also brought two priests out of Lancashire, to swear things that another man had spoken in the presence of four justices of the peace, and for which the man had been tried and cleared. And these they brought, thinking to ‘add afflictions to the prisoners' bonds.’ But he is kept in great peace and joy, not having any comfort from man, but from God, who has appeared to him in this condition, and has given him assurance of his love, in whom he rests. To whom be praise, honor, and glory, forever. Amen.

The examination of James Nayler, upon an indictment of blasphemy, at the sessions at Appleby, in January, 1652.

Justice Pearson. Put off your hats.

James. I do it not in contempt of authority for I honor the power as it is of God, without respecting persons, it being forbidden in scripture. He who respects men's persons commits sin, and is convinced of the law as a transgressor.

Justice Pearson. That is meant of respecting persons in judgment.

James. If I see one in costly apparel and a gold ring, and see one in poor and inferior clothing, and say to him in fine apparel, sit in a higher place than the poor, I am partial, and judged of evil thoughts.

Col. Brigs. If you were in the parliament house, would you keep it on?

James. If God should keep me in the same mind I am in now I would.

Col. Brigs. I knew you would condemn authority.

James. I speak in the presence of God, I do not condemn authority; but I am subject to the power as it is of God, for conscience' sake.

Justice Pearson. Now authority commands you put off your hat, what do you say to it?

James. Where God commands one thing, and man another, I am to obey God rather than man.

Col. Benson. See whether the law commands it, or your own wills.

The indictment was read, wherein James was indicted for saying that ‘Christ was in him,’ and ‘that there was only one word of God.

Col. Brigs. Where were you born?

James. At Ardislaw, two miles from Wakefield.

Col. Brigs. How long did you live there?

James. Until I was married; then I went unto Wakefield parish.

Col. Brigs. What profession were you of?

James. A husbandman.

Col. Brigs. Were you a soldier?

James. Yes; I was a soldier between eight and nine years.

Col. Brigs. Were you not at Burford among the levellers?

James. I was never there.

Col. Brigs. I charge you by the Lord for you to tell me whether you were or not?

James. I was then in the north, and was never taxed for any mutiny or any other thing while I served the parliament.

Col. Brigs. What was the cause of your coming into these parts.

James. If I may have liberty I shall declare it. I was at the plough, meditating on the things of God, and suddenly I heard a voice, saying unto me, ‘Get out from your kindred and from your father's house;’ and I had a promise given in with it. Upon which I exceedingly rejoiced, that I had heard the voice of that God which I had professed from a child, but had never known him.

Col. Brigs. Did you hear that voice?

James. Yes, I did hear it; and when I came home, I gave up my estate, cast out my money; but not being obedient in going forth, the wrath of God was on me, so that I was made a wonder to all, and none thought I would have lived; but (after I was made willing to go) I began to make some preparation; as apparel, and other necessaries, not knowing where I should go. But shortly afterward going from my own house toward the gate with a Friend, having an old suit, without any money, having neither taken leave of wife or children, not thinking then of any journey, I was commanded to go into the west, not knowing where I should go, nor what I was to do there; but when I had been there a little while, I had given me what I was to declare; and ever since I have remained, not knowing today what I was to do tomorrow.

Col. Brigs. What was the promise you had been given?

James. That God would be with me; which promise I find made good every day.

Col. Brigs. I never heard such a call as this is, in our time.

James. I believe you.

Justice Pearson. Is Christ in you?

James. I witness him in me; and if I should deny him before men, he would deny me before my Father which is in heaven.

Justice Pearson. Spiritual, you mean.

James. Yes, spiritual.

Justice Pearson. By faith, or how?

James. By faith.

Justice Pearson. What difference then is there between the ministers and you?

James. The ministers affirm Christ to be in heaven with a carnal body, but I with a spiritual body.

Justice Pearson. Which of the ministers say Christ is in heaven with a carnal body?

James. The minister so called of Kirby Steven.

Priest Higginson stood up, and affirmed it again openly before all the court.

James. If Christ is in heaven with a carnal body, and the saints with a spiritual body, it is not proportional; neither was that a carnal body which appeared among the disciples, the doors being shut, and appeared in several shapes.

Quest. Was Christ man, or not?

James. Yes, he was, and took upon him the seed of Abraham, and was real flesh and bone; but is a mystery not known to the carnal man; for he is begotten of the immortal seed, and those who know him, know him to be spiritual; for it was ‘the word’ that ‘became flesh, and dwelt among us;’ and if he had not been spiritual he would not have wrought my redemption.

Justice Pearson. Is Christ in you as man?

James. Christ fills all places, and is not divided; separate God and man, and he is no more Christ.

Justice Pearson. If we stand to dispute these things, we should have the ministers.

James. Perceiving priest Higginson offended, because he had told of his saying that Christ was in heaven with a carnal body, James said, ‘Friend, I would not have accused you, had I not been asked what was the difference between the ministers and me, for I have not come to accuse any; for I am against accusations.’

Col. Brigs. Were you not of a Kirk [church] about Sawrby?

James. I was a member of an Independent church at Weedchurch.

Col. Brigs. Were you not excommunicated for your blasphemous opinions?

James. I do not know what they have done since I came forth; but before, I was not to my knowledge.

Col. Brigs called to Mr. Coale, saying, ‘Did you ever hear such a call as this? Did you hear it?’

Coale. Yes, I heard part of it.

Col. Brigs. Did you not write a paper, in which was mentioned, that if you think to be saved by that Christ which died at Jerusalem, you are deceived?

James. If I cannot witness Christ nearer than Jerusalem, I shall have no benefit by him; but I own no other Christ but that who ‘witnessed a good confession before Pontius Pilate;’ which Christ I witness suffering in me now.

Col. Brigs. Will you deny your hand?

James. I will not deny my hand, if I may see it; and I desire that I may so much savor, that that paper may be kept as an evidence either with or against me.

A large petition being read, in which was something against quaking and trembling.

Justice Pearson. How does it come to pass that people quake and tremble?

James. The scriptures witness the same condition in the saints formerly; as David, Daniel, Habakkuk, and many others.

Justice Pearson. Did they fall down?

James. Yes, some of them did so.

Coale. David said all his bones were broken, but these were whole.

James. So are these now.

Coale. Moses trembled; for he saw the face of God, and all Israel.

James. Did all Israel see the face of God? That conflicts with the scriptures.

Coale. They saw his glory. I shall see the Lord with these eyes; putting his fingers to his eyes.

James. They must first be made spiritual; he cannot be seen with carnal eyes, for he is a spirit; and no flesh can see God, and live.

Coale. That light by which I am justified, is a created light.

James. That light by which I am justified, is not a created light.

Coale. That is true.

Justice Pearson. As to the word: what do you say to the scriptures? Are they the word of God?

James. They are a true declaration of the word that was in them who spoke them forth.

Higginson. Is there not a written word?

James. Where do you read in the scriptures of a written word? The word is spiritual, not seen with carnal eyes; but as for the scriptures, they are true, and I witness them true, in measure fulfilled in me, as far as I am grown up.

Justice Pearson. Why do you disturb the ministers in their public worship.

James. I have not disturbed them in their public worships.

Justice Pearson. Why do you speak against tithes, which are allowed by the states?

James. I do not meddle with the states; I speak against those who are hirelings, as they are hirelings; those who were sent by Christ, never took tithes, nor ever sued any for wages.

Justice Pearson. Do you think we are so beggarly as the heathens, that we cannot afford our ministers maintenance? We give it to them freely.

James. They are the ministers of Christ, who abide [remain] in the doctrine of Christ.

Justice Pearson. But who shall judge? How shall we know them?

James. By their fruits you shall know them; those who do not abide in the doctrine of Christ, make it appear they are not the ministers of Christ.

Justice Pearson. That is true.

[Justice Pearson became a Quaker, becoming convinced while trying Quaker ministers: James Nayler, George Fox, and Francis Howgill for blasphemy. Below is his letter:

DEAR FRIEND. — I have long professed to serve and worship the true God, and as I thought—above many sects—attained to a high pitch in religion; but now, alas ! I find my work will not abide the fire. My notions were swelling vanities without power or life. What it was to love enemies, to bless them that curse, to render good for evil, to use the world as using it not, to lay down life for the brethren, I never understood; what purity and perfection meant, I never tasted : all my religion was but the hearing of the ear, the believing and talking of a God and Christ in heaven or a place at a distance, I knew not where.

Oh! how gracious was the Lord to me in carrying me to judge Fell's, to see the wonders of His power and wisdom,—a family walking in the fear of the Lord, conversing daily with Him, crucified to the world, and living only to God. I was so confounded, all my knowledge and wisdom became folly; my mouth was stopped, my conscience convinced, and the secrets of my heart were made manifest, and that Lord was discovered to be near, whom I ignorantly worshipped. I could have talked of Christ in the saints the hope of glory, but it was a riddle to me. And truly, dear friend, I must tell you I have now lost all my religion, and am in such distress I have no hope nor foundation left. My justification and assurance have forsaken me, and I am even like a poor shattered vessel, tossed to and fro, without a pilot or rudder; as blind, dead, and helpless, as you can imagine. I never felt corruption so strong, and temptation so prevailing, as now; I have a proud, hard, flinty heart, that cannot be sensible of my misery.

When I deeply consider how much precious time I have wasted, and how unprofitably I have lived, my spirit feels a sudden fear; but then I am still flying to my old refuge, and there my thoughts are diverted. What it means to wait upon God, I cannot apprehend; and the confusions in my own spirit, together with the continual temptations from without, are so great, I cannot understand or perceive the small still voice of the Lord.

What you told me of George Fox, I found true. When you see him or James Nayler,— they both know my condition better than myself,—move them—if neither of them are drawn this way,—to help me with their counsel by letter; they are full of pity and compassion; and though I was their enemy, they are my friends : and so is Francis Howgill, from whom I received a letter full of tenderness and wholesome advice. Oh ! How welcome would the faces of any of them be to me; truly I think I could scorn the world, to have fellowship with them. But I find my heart is full of deceit, and I exceedingly fear to be beguiled,—as I have been,—and to be seduced into a form without power, into a profession before I possess the Truth; which will multiply my misery, and deprive me both of God and the world.

Dear friend, there is a carrier comes from Kendal within a mile of my house every fortnight, and he shall call at Peter Huggins' to bring any letter that shall be there left for me; it will much refresh me to receive any lines from you ;—but be you faithful. You may perceive, by my Ashdod language, what a countryman I am—even of the low world that lives in darkness. I am afraid for fear that the orders* we made at Appleby, will cause some to suffer, who speak from the mouth of the Lord;** I heartily wish they were suppressed or recalled. I have been at judge Fell's, and have been informed from that precious soul’s wife {Margaret Fell} in some measure what those things mean, which before I counted as overflows of giddy brains.—

*Orders as  magistrates regarding prison sentences of Quakers to Appleby prison.

**So here is a former justice, previously sentencing Quakers to prison, stating that the early Quakers, not just Fox alone, spoke by the mouth of the Lord.

Dear heart, pity and pray for me; and let all obligations of former friendship be discharged in well wishes to the soul of the old family friend, that he may partake with them of your heavenly possessions.

Notice: he speaks of partaking with this Quaker of his heavenly possessions. This is evidence that the Quaker's measure of Christ was apparent to anyone with an open mind, and Pearson wished to partake with him in this divine nature that the Quaker exhibited to him. Remember, Pearson what a highly conservative, respected Sessions Justice that had sent Quakers to prison, and was convinced while trying Quaker ministers: James Nayler, George Fox, and Francis Howgill for blasphemy, as previously noted above.

Anthony Pearson

Ramshaw, near West Auckland, 5 (May) 9th, 1653]

Accusations against John Lawson, by him answered.

That John Lawson of Lancaster did affirm, December the 4th, 1652,

Objection. ‘That he was dead, and rose again.’

Answer. You are a witness against him who is risen from the dead, of which the apostles were witnesses. Here you show yourself to be a witness against the living, and show yourself to be in the death, and no minister of Christ; for the ministers of Christ justified those who were raised from the dead: ‘Even when we were dead in trespasses and sins has he quickened us together with Christ, and has raised us together, and has made us to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Likewise reckon you also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive to God, through Jesus Christ, For in that he died, he died once to sin; in that he lives, he lives to God. Here you show yourself to be no minister of Jesus Christ. He who believes, has ‘passed from death to life, because he loves his brother:’ here you show you do not believe, but are in the death, and are in envy; so you show forth yourself to be Cain, and hate your brethren. ‘We know that we are translated from death to life, because we love our brothers; he who does not love his brother, abides in the death;’ and there you are. ‘Whoever hates his brother, is a manslayer; and you know that no manslayer has eternal life abiding in him.’ 1 John 3:14-15. And this is your condition, and here you are an antichrist in the world, envying those who are raised from the dead; and you seek to bring them to the death, whom God has raised from the death. You have not seen yourself to be the prodigal; yet the scripture said, ‘This my son was dead, and is alive again;’ but you are in the world without God.

Objection 2. ‘That the day of judgment was past.’

Answer. Christ speaks, ‘A bruised reed he will not break, and smoking flax he will not quench, until he brings forth judgment to victory.’ Here you show yourself to be ignorant of the scripture; but you speak only from hearsay, and the outside of the letter, and not Christ; and cannot witness him, who brings forth judgment to victory, but stand as a witness against those who witness the scriptures fulfilled in them, and Christ bringing forth judgment to victory: and here you show yourself to be unacquainted with Christ, and you make your nakedness and ignorance appear.

Objection 3. ‘That he had been in hell, and is now in heaven.’

Answer. Here you show yourself to be a witness against the holy men of God. Jonah said, ‘Out of the belly of hell I cried, and you heard my voice,’ and the Lord delivered him out of hell; and might not he confess it, you hypocrite? ‘For you will not leave my soul in hell, neither will you suffer your holy one to see corruption. You have delivered my soul out of death. Bless the Lord, my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name.’ How dare you profess the scriptures, and the holy men of God's conditions, who were raised and brought out of death; and if any witness the holy men of God's condition, you persecute them? O you blind hypocrite! Here you show you have never yet seen hell's mouth, therefore you have never yet cried out in hell.

Objection 4. ‘That he had come to the infinite company of the first born, and the spirits of just men made perfect.’

Answer. Paul, (who was a minister of God) said, but you have come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, ‘and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first born, which are written in heaven; unto God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect. Paul was a minister of Jesus Christ by the will of God,’ who encouraged the saints who were brought there; but you now persecute them, and are a witness against those who confess they are brought there; here you show, you have the spirit of error, openly: and are no minister of God, no, not of the letter; but are against the letter as it speaks, persecuting those who have the life of it.

Objection 5. That he had heard the last trumpet sound, and seen the new Jerusalem.

Answer. Here you show forth your spite and venom; if John was here, who saw the great city and holy Jerusalem descend out of heaven from God (John said, I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, come down from God out of heaven) you would be a witness against him; and you show yourself in the generation that were ever persecutors, slanderers, and opposers of the power of truth. Where the same spirit is that was in John, he sees these things now, as he did then, but where the same spirit is not, which you show you have not, but a contrary spirit that persecutes those who do see those things—this is as a dog to tear and devour. John heard the trumpet sound, which shows you have not come to the first. Blow the trumpet in Zion, sound an alarm in my holy mountain; let all the inhabitants of the earth tremble. Here are you a witness against yourself; you are a witness against the truth, and in the generation of those who ever slew the righteous seed.

Objection 6. That John Lawson said he had God face to face.

Answer. Here you show yourself to be a witness against those who know God, and make yourself manifest to be a heathen; for all are heathens who do not know God; and no man knows God, unless he who is born of God; and who are born of God, are owners of the truth, and not against it, but against the deceit. Jacob said, I have seen God face to face. Isaiah said, my eyes have seen the king, the Lord of hosts. Job said, I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear; but now my eyes have seen you. And God spoke to Moses face to face. Here you may take your oaths, and swear against Jacob, against Isaiah, against Job, and against Moses. Where the same spirit is made manifest; and whoever is born of God, knows God face to face, as they did; but those who are born of the flesh, persecute those who are born of the spirit; and here you show yourselves to be taking oaths and swearing against those who know God, seeking to bring them to prison or bondage; so you never read in all the scriptures, that the prophets or the apostles took their oaths against any who confessed they had seen God, or put up a petition to the magistrates, or witnessed it with oaths against any of them; the ministers of God said, do not swear at all. And here you show yourselves to be no ministers of God, but without God; for the ministers of God are to bring people to know God, and to the church in God, and to the heavenly Jerusalem, and to the innumerable company of angels, and minister to what is in prison, and in death; but if any come to witness these things fulfilled, you are witnesses against them with oaths, and would bring the bodies of such into prison, where the seed of God is raised out of prison within; showing yourselves to be antichrists, persecutors of the power of truth, and beasts which shall make war against the saints, and against the Lamb, but the Lamb shall get the victory.

Job cried when the Lord hid his face, and David cried when the Lord hid his face, and said, O Lord, I will seek your face. And here you show, you neither know his face, nor have seen it; but are persecutors of those who know it and seek it.

Praises, praises be to the Lord forever.



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