[Page] Strength in VVeakness OR The Burning Bush not Consumed.

Being an Answer (formerly published under this Title) to two Letters writ­ten by James Naylor.

To which is now added several other Pa­pers written since by the same hand (whereof one is Intituled, The secret shootings of the wicked Reproved.)

With a Reply thereunto, as also to the rest respectively.

By J. J.

Published at the request of some, for the satisfaction of others: and tendred to the serious perusall of the Impartiall and un-prejudic'd Reader.

Judge not according to appearance but Judge Righteous Judgement. For, With what measure ye meat it shal be measured to you again.

London, Printed by J. Macock. 1655.

[...]

The Publisher to the READER.

FRiend, before thou readest the insuing Letters (mayst thou be advertised) touching the occasion of their Publication: This daughter of Abraham, who is the Subject) having been visited by many of the Per­sons distinguished, and commonly known by the name of the Northern people, at sundry times, and in sundry manner of waies, which occasioned (as in her self) much inquiry accom­panied with many Prayers and Soul-searchings, not without great and sore temptations, from that terrible Adversary, who was not wanting to help on the Affliction to the utmost; which conflict was repeated and renewed (as oft as opportu­nity was given by her new Visitors) and hath produced (in many persons whose eyes were fastned upon her) much think­ing, and some speakings, what is, or would be the issue hereof; having this opportunity of knowledge under her own hand, I thought it was not sufficient for me to know how it stood with her Soul after all those bitter assaults and contests which she hath sustained by her Adversary and Enemy of her Peace, both within her, and without her; but that those also who de­sire satisfaction herein may inform themselves hereby, this is one reason why thou hast this trouble given thee, but chiefly and above all, that it might be testified to Sons and Daughters, to small and great, that notwithstanding all her Exercises and Tryals, which have not been small, yet her Bow is caused to abide in strength, to the glory and praise of him, on whom it is given her to beleeve; and this is necessary to be known by those who desire to know it.

Touching the Letters themselves, I wil not at this time say any thing, but leave it to the most wise and holy God to direct the wife in heart to codsider them.

Farewel.

To her hand who is the Wife of James Noel, these deliver.

FRiend. a Seed is in thee which I own, which hath kept thee tender, in a measure of the fear (for whose sake) some openings of the Lords love thou hast had, by which some hope thou hast had of the presence of the Father of love, which hope was given for staying the mind till the light of the Covenant should appear to lead thee into the Covenant him to know, and his face to see which is eternal life, this was manifest in the time of thy tenderness to stay thy mind on him till the time appointed, that the door of the Inheritance should be opened, whereat to enter; but (in the mean time) the fear being lost, another principle hath catcht the hope into the comprehension, and hath led thee out into the visible expectations of a thing to come, so that instead of growing into that measure (thou hadst till the day thou hast lost that which thou sometimes had, and knows not where to come to it again thy imaginations being got betwixt, (which ever shut up the Kingdom) and now thou stands a far off, when thou should enter and not being joyned to that spirit which is able to try all things, and hold onely to that which is good thou art afraid to be deceived; yet hast thou not that which thy soul longs after to be deceived on; but that which hath deceived thee puts thee in fear, and this thou should see, didst thou take Counsel, where thy hope was first awakened: and this (I say to thee in the word of the Lord) that Covenant must be broken to which thou art now joyned (before ever thou see his presence) whom thy soul longs af­ter, though there be nothing (by that spirit that n [...]w rules in thee) more feared, and this that in thy conscience (which is my wit­ness) thou shalt confess too at that day, when the Book is opened.

A Lover of thy Soul, James Naylor.

For the hand of him who is called James Naylor, these are▪

FRiend, your writing I have (I trust) seriously considered of. I therefore do (the more) wonder how thou durst ad­venture upon one thou knew'st not, to lay such a heavy charge as thou hast done on me, whose face thou never sawest; a seed thou ownest in me, which thou affirmest kept me in a mea­sure tender, for whose sake (thou sayest) I received some open­ings of the Fathers love; to this I answer, I find no seed can keep from sin, nor make known the Fathers love to poor sinners, but Jesus Christ; the Scriptures bare witness there­unto, Iohn 1. 3. 9. Matth. 11. 27. him once received is the onely true door of entrance, and onely new Covenant-keep­er; and in those onely is, and doth Christ Jesus make known himself unto, and they alone which have so known him, can truly bear testimony of this Truth (your catching principle) I let passe, not knowing it (by that name) what thou meanest, but in the holy fear of my God, rejoyce in this that I am kept by the Power of God through Faith unto Salvation, yet nevertheless am still kept, groaning, waiting for the Adoption (to wit) the redemption of my body, and so, through Grace, can this day testifie the gracious preservation my heavenly Fa­ther doth dayly visit me with a teaching leading power of his holy spirit, whereby I find my self in the Kingdom of Grace, not shut out, as thou sayest, by my comprehension nor vain imagination, having received Union with that holy spirit in my measure do daily take counsel, and try first my own de­ceivings which are within me, and those also which are with­out, which causeth me to turn away from so many, who pro­fess they are sent Messengers from the Lord, great cause have I to take carefull heed from being deceived, and fear it also, when my onely fore-seeing Lord Jesus did so strictly fore­warn and fore-tell what should come to pass in the last days. Matth. 24.

The good Lord I beleeve; assuredly wil as he hath faithfully promised to my Soul, break every yoak of sinfull Covenant, in me, 'tis no grief of heart but true joy, yea wonderfully more [Page 6] then my Pen at this season can express, to feel and finde the increase of his grace in my soul; with his peace which passeth mans understanding, yea even thy deep censures, for thy ap­pealing to my awakened conscience, I make my appeal already to him who alone is the alone Judge between thee and me, that I know not any of thy charges to be true, thou hast sent me written in thy Letter; if now thou hast thus written by re­velation to me, or by information from others, consider from whence it commeth. I say consider whether either the Apo­stles, or the Prophets thou art like unto herein, I know it to be no evill, but my duty to wait for the injoyment of all that is fore-told in the holy Scriptures; Oh my soul! wait thou on God for my expectation is from him, leave me to the Lords Tryal; So do I freely leave thee, not having faith to follow thee nor thy friends, yet to manifest love to thee and thy friends, for thy Soul at the Throne of Grace and all other out­ward expressions of Love for thee and thy friends, as in my measure, I am able through Christ.

Mary Noel.

To Mary Noel, deliver these.

FRiend, had I known thee no other way, but by sight or hear­ing, or any outward appearance; I durst not have writ on to thee, nor owned a Seed in thee, nor do I appear to that in thee which so judges, my witness is, that in thee that never changeth, which shall confess what I have writ, to be from the Eternal Unity and Love to thy soul which another principal calls a heavy charge; yet art thou made to confess it in thy Letter. If thou didst but see it who art yet groaning and waiting for Adoption, and yet says thou art in the Kingdom: truly friend thou knowst not what it is to be in the Kingdom, none are there but Sons; yet canst thou not bear it, that it should be called comprehensions though it be sound and not stattering, as for those Christ Iesus foretold to come in the last days, they are come, and in the world have been many hundred years, and their fruits do make them [Page 7] manifest as he hath spoken: and were thou joyned to that seed thou talk'st on, thou should know them and avoyd them, not be­cause they are messengers sent of the Lord, but be ause they run unsent, and those are enemies to such are sent and was ever and whereas thou says thou knows not any one thing true, that I writ to thee I say if thou hadst known it, then should I not have been moved to write to thee of it: But for thy sake who knows not, who hast not, him whom thy soul longs after, which is the sum of my writing, which thou denies, calling God to iudge between us; and yet confesses thou art waiting for Adoption and Redemp­tion, which if thou had it, why shouldst thou wait for it, as that of God in thy conscience shall witness, when thou shalt cease to put the Iudge a far off thee, for that Wisdom could never own Apostles nor Prophets; yet was they manifest to every mans conscience in the sight of God: and i [...] thou read me in that which is meek and longs after Christ Iesus, then the harsh nature will be judged, and thou wilt see that plainness is pure love, till then I must bear the reproach of the world: and looks for no other from all whom I have to deal with, knowing that my Message is against the will of all men.

I. N.

For the hands of James Naylor.

FRiend, I am no way troubled at thy continual charges, but do (assuredly know) in whom I have beleeved and (certain knowledge) I have received of my spiritual Son-ship in Christ Jesus, and by this holy Union with Christ Jesus my head have been by him) taught (many years past) to try the publick Teachers of this Nation, with those private also, who have held forth themselves to be (sent Messengers) from Christ Jesus, and by his holy spirit) to which I am united, am taught to turn from them, and from thee also, who hast run (before thou wast sent) (with this false message) to me (assu­redly knowing my self to be in the Kingdom) though men and Devils say never so much to the contrary, my assurance (wher­of I speak) came not by them, therefore they cannot take it [Page 8] from me, I am not afraid to declare what the Lord hath done for my soul, before the faces of thousands: If I knew it were my duty, this (with holy confidence) do I know, and lift up my head with joy when the fire shall try (and doth already) every mans work of what sort it is. So I leave thee to him who is the onely righteous Judge between thee and me; de­siring thee no more to write unto me, for I am taught to turn from thee, as I already have done from others; yet remain­ing to manifest Duties of love to thee, and thy friends, through the strength of my Christ (as need is offere [...].)

Mary Noel

The Secret Shooting of the wicked, reproved; Or a word to the nameless Publisher of that he calls, Strength in weak­ness, or the burning Bush.

NOw is the living God visiting his people, and gathering his seed out of Babylon and Egypt, and hath called out his servants, and sent them to these strange Kings with his Message, to bring out to light that which hath been kept in prison, whereat Pharaoh is exceedingly troubled, and the King of Babylons Posts, meet one another with this cry: Our King­dome is taken at one end the Sea rages, and all that have treasures in Ships are gathered to stand up for their God, and their King, to keep in bondage. But, from him that sits up­on the seat of iniquity, to the Magitians that use the inchant­ments to deceive withal; yea, and upon all that beleive them; shall the hand of the Lord be, to make Babylon desolate, and to dash her children against the stones which lie in the streets thereof, which all the builders refuse. This is the Lords do­ing, and wo to him that doth resist him, who hath sent his Word to strange Nations, and to people of dark understandings, whether they will hear or for bear.

And thou amongst the rest, who calls thy self the publisher of what I write to James Nowell's Wife, but conceals thy name as one ashamed of his vision, saying (in thy practice) Smite him secretly, as the B [...]ckbiters and Whisperers of old ever did, stirring up prejudice in the minds of people, and making [Page 9] them evil affected against the truth, so dost thou against the movings and Messages of the living God in his servants, ren­dring them under the names of sore Temptations, terrible Ad­versaries, bitter Assaults of the enemy, and such like corrupt words thou uses to inform the Reader withal, before he read the Letters: and when thou hast cast out thy venom against the truth of the Lord, then thou covers thy self with feigned words, saying, I leave it to the most wise and holy God to direct the wise in heart to consider them: Oh thou full of all subtilty, was not God able to direct the wise without thy fore­stalling slanderous opinions? how hast thou helped God, or any wise man herein? hadst thou Printed them both, and been si­lent, then thou hadst left it to God indeed, and I should have been silent also; hast thou dealt moderately herein, or as thou wouldst be done unto? shall not the least of wise men Iudge thee and thy spirit? nay, hast thou not helped on the Devils Kingdom with lies, as I shall bring no other witness against thee herein, but her whom thou so highly commends, for, says thou, her temptations, afflictions, and conflict, was repeated and renewed so often as opportunity was given by her new visiters; (which visiters are these letters which thou hast published) but saith she, I am no way troubled at such conti­nued charges: Now how must this be divided betwixt you seeing the one at least must be the Lyar, both in this and divers other things I might instance: but I delight not to rake into such filth, onely I shall let thee see in a few words what a bo­dy of confusion is in this daughter thou art boasting of; which shame might have been hid, had it not been for your glorying against the truth: and thuogh to me both thou and she is known without words; yet before others who yet judge things according to the outward appearance: I shall tak but a word or two out of her own mouth, where by her foundation might be discovered, to the least of those who know the Kingdom. She says, she knows her self assuredly to be in the Kingdom of God; yet still kept groaning for Adoption: I say, the King­dome of God consists not in groaning for Adoption, but in righ­teousness, peace and joy in that which is holy, and none are there but, ons who are Adopted; no farther in the Kingdom [Page 10] then new-born, and self denyed, though shesay herself is in th [...] Kingdom, which never came so far as a Disciple where self is standing, much less not into the Kingdom. Further, she confesses her own deceivings yet within her, unjudged, which are yet to try; and the yoke of sinful convenant in her, yet un­broken: all which and much more may be taken from her own pen without wronging her, as her Letters (by thee) published may witness; yet withal this she says: She knows her self to be in the Kingdom of God, when it is no other but exalted in­to the Chambers of your own imaginary: for all who knows the Kingdom of God can witness against you, that no such un­clean stuffe comes there, no self nor self-deceivings; no sin nor sinful covenant comes there: all this is in the Kingdome of Satan, and not of God, never was nor ever shall be; bles­sed be God who hath condemned out all that filth and confusion, and all that lives in it, that he may keep his Kingdom pure, therefore do the Virgins love him: And had she known the Kingdome of God in her, she had never wondred how I durst adventure to write to one whose face I had not seen, as she doth in her Paper; and (says she) consider whether ever the Apostles or Prophets thou art like herein: I say, did not God command his servants to write his Message to strange Lands, and strange persons? and did he first send them to look upon their faces to know what to write to them, or doth that add to his Word? Oh shame with your blindness herein; is God become as blinde as you, who cannot judge but by carnal appearance, and will you limit him to your selves? that eye never saw: Prophets nor Prophesies, Christ nor Apostles: but this is all you know of God or his Word, his Iudgments and Kingdom, who are blind and deaf, as to the invisible: and so the visible and carnal Iudges, judging God to be like your selves, imagines self to be in the Kingdom; but the blind and deaf, comes not there in that state. Had God no other ser­vants but such as you, it might be long ere the obedience of Christ and his sufferings should be manifest in flesh, for the gathering his seed into the light, as ever he did send them to strange people who declared his Word to them whose faces they had not seen, to open their blind eyes, and so bring them out [Page 11] of darkness into the light to be seen, which to her is a wonder. And this is thy daughter thou boasts on, and calls her a daugh­ter of Abraham, who is a daughter of disobedience, strength­ening her self against the Word of the Lord, because the in­strument had not seen her face, resisting in her own will the tender of eternal love, and this thou calts Strength in Weak­ness, which is obstinate wickedness, and that both she and thou must know, when you have finished your measure; and of her blood I am cleer for ever. And this is the bush thou boasts of which is not consumed though fire be in it: I say, there is a time when the fire is in the Bush and the Bush unconsumed; then is the Seed of God in Egypt under Pharaoh and the Ma­gitians, and in that state death raigns from Adam till Moses: Also there is a time when the light of Israel doth burn up the Bush, and devour the Briars and Thorns in one day, then is that God known who is a consuming fire to all that choaks his seed: go learn what this means, then shalt thou see where­of thou art glorying, and under that glory a fire shall be kind­led. Who would set Briars and Thorns against me in battel; I will go through them and burn them together.

Thy murmuring against the Northern people is come before the Lord; Thus saith the Lord, I have raised one from the North, from the rising of the Sun is he come upon you, as up­on morter and clay; who declares from the beginning knows him, and who is before time can say that he is righteous, but thou canst not hear him nor declare him, who consumes the Bushes, and makes plain before him, that he may plant in the Wilderness, and make it a Land of springs, for the poor and needy to drink at, where shall come no more fear of Briars and Thorns, but the little ones shall feed safely; this, death, knows not only the fame you have got. Woe to you brambles and bush­es who tears the lambs on every side; Josephs bough you know not nor its fruit (though you have got it to talk of) you are the fruit of the cursed ground, your end is to hand: yet a lamen­tation there is, (that doth not change) for the seeds sake.

By a lover of your Souls, James Naylor.

A word to the Reprover: Or, some Animadversions upon the foregoing Paper.

AS now the living God, is visiting, and gathering his seed out of bondage and confusion, so hath he been ever doing from the time of the manifesting his pleasure in that word of Grace, Gen. 3. 15. (if by the seed be intended the remnant whom the Lord our God shall call, Acts 2. 39. Rom. 8. 28. Revel. 12. 17. Revel. 17. 14. That seed of whom its said, A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation, Psal. 22. 30.) This seed hath the most high been gathering since the time of their first scattering, and for that cause (among others) is Iesus Christ said to be the same yesterday, to day, and for ever, Heb. 13. 8. being the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, Rev. 13. 8. The Apo­stle witnessing in the second of the Cor. 4. 13. that he, and others, had received the same spirit of Faith (with those who had been before) reciting for testimony, and proof hereof, a passage of the Psalmes; I beleeved, therefore have I spoken; we also beleeve, therefore speak. It is there­fore not a new thing (implyed in the word Now) that God is doing, but that which was from the beginning, which doubt­less every day shall be more and more perfected, but especi­ally then, when that other Angel shall fly in the midst of hea­ven, Rev. 14. 6 preaching the antient (or everlasting) Gospel, to them that dwel on the earth, and to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, whose appearance shall be with great power, the earth being enlightned with his glory; which day the Rev. 18. 1 Lord hasten for his names sake, and let all his people say, Amen.

Against the appearance of which day, the old Serpent, the Devil, is at work in the form of an Angel of light, that he might seem to be the enlightner of the earth with a glory, like unto the glory spoken of before; if it were possible thereby, to deceive the very elect, under the great and spe­cious shew and pretence of piety and sanctity: And as no other cover or cloathing can become him, pretending him­self [Page 13] an Angel of light; so no other shape or appearance, can endanger the very elect (they which are so indeed) but such an appearance as this. Therefore our blessed Lord Iesus speaking of the last times, and forewarning his Scholars and followers touching false Christs, and false Prophets which should arise, saith, If any man shall say unto you, lo here is Christ, or there, beleeve it not, for there shall arise false Christs, and false Prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders, insomuch that if it were possible, they should deceive the very Elect. Behold I have told you before, go not forth, beleeve it not, Math. 24. 23, 24, 25, 26. but take you heed, behold I have foretold you all things, Mark 13. 21, 22, 23. Take heed lest any man deceive you, Mark 13. 5, 6. 2 Col. 8. 18. Luke 17. 23. Luke 21. 8. Take heed you be not deceived; for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near, goe ye not therefore after them.

Great cause have therefore all the followers of the Lamb (the true and only Lord Jesus) to take heed how they heare, and who they hear, and whom they follow, and go after, trying the spirits whether they be of God, forasmuch as many false spirits are gone into the world, and the enemy is at work, knowing he hath but a short time, and his actings, are not so much, amongst us in the form & shape of a Dragon (by outward force and hostility) as in the form of a Serpent, saying now as of old to Eve, yea, hath God said?

It is necessary therefore, that the witnesses and followers of Christ, be jealous over themselves, and over each other, with a godly jealousie, lest by any means, as the Serpent be­guiled Eve (through his subtlety) so their minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ, provoking one another, and stirring up one another, that as we have received Christ Iesus the Lord, that so we walk in him, rooted and built up in him, and established in the Faith, as we have been taught, not being moved away from the hope of the Gospel.

And it is the desire of my soul, that both the Reprover, and others of his mind, were at leasure to consider seriously and calmly, whether the Serpent may not be at work in [Page 14] them, and making use of them as once he did of Eve (in her innocency and simplicity) to bring about his end, though they themselves may not be aware thereof.

Touching the Reprovers Paper, it contains such a bundle of Arrows, and they so sharpened at the Philistins forge, that they are greatly provoking, and can scarce be medled withal without begetting their like; a most undesired and un­pleasing return: And were it not for the Truths sake that suffers, and for the Reprovers sake, that he may see what yet he sees not, (if God peradventure may give him repentance for his sinful rashness) I should not trouble my self to write, nor him to read these lines.

A few things amongst many I shall set free from his false glosses, and the rest shall submit to further tryal, knowing, that he before whom all things are naked, and will try the work by fire, of what sort it is, will manifest a righteous judgement in his day.

Reprover.] Hast thou not helped on the Devils kingdome with lyes; for sayes thou, her temptations, afflictions, and conflict was repeated, and renewed so often as opportunity was given by her new visitors (which visitors are these Letters which thou hast published) But, saith she, I am no way trou­bled at thy continued charge: Now how must this be devided betwixt you, seeing the one at least must be the lyar, both in this, and divers other things I might instance, but I delight not to rake into such filth.

Reply.] Thou that reprovest another, judgest thou not thy self? Is such a sentence in the Publishers paper as thou recitest, and sayest he sayes? Read it again, and whereas thou sayest (which visitors are these Letters which thou hast published, art thou not reproved in thy self? for as much as the Publisher saith, that she hath been visited by many of the persons distinguisht and commonly known by the name of the Northern people, at sundry times, and in divers manner of wayes: And these were the new Visitors of which the Pub­lisher speaks; for he speaks of persons, not of Papers, but leaves the Letters to speak for themselves, using these words, viz. Touching the Letters themselves I will not say any thing [Page 15] at this time, but leave it to the most wise and holy God to direct the wise in heart to consider them.

For the Lyar, and who it is, doe but exercise a little pa­tience, and 'twil presently be out of all dispute, and thou wilt see cause to say, it repenteth thee of thy rashness and unadvised censure.

For the better clearing of which seeming contradiction, take a few words from her own mouth, whom thou so much disdainest (calling her Daughter of disobedience) it is a passage of a Letter sent me then when I received the Copy which is now printed.

I have enclosed another Answer to James Naylor, when I was about it, my soul was distressed much under this considerati­on; it was pressed with strong cries to him who alone knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation, to uphold my distressed soul under his heavy charge: This merciful refreshing I re­ceived: I will set him at liberty from him that puffeth at him, or from him that would ensnare him, so I desire to bless God, and wait for the issue.

By this which is here declared, its most apparent, that the things spoken by both parties, are reconcileable, and that there is no lye to be devided between us, nor applyed to ei­ther of us, for that her soul was in bitterness, and conflict at thy charge layd upon her, 'tis evident; which sent her to him, who alone knows how to deliver his sons and daugh­ters when they fly and cry unto him, and before her answer was returned to thee, was heard in what she feared: The strength of Israel was prevailed with, and it was said unto her soul, I will set him at liberty from him that puffeth at him: thus of weak was made strong by the arm of the mighty God of Iacob, who had set her above thy charge; and therefore well might she say at the sending the Answer to thee, I am no way troubled at thy continued charges; thus hast thou this filth wiped off, and needest not be troubled, except it be that thou hast spoken unadvisedly with thy lips in accusing the innocent.

Reprover.] Onely I shall let thee see in a few words what a body of confusion is in this daughter thou art boasting of.

[Page 16] She saies she knows her self assuredly to be in the Kingdom of God, yet still kept groaning for Adoption.

Reply.] Hast thou fairly and honestly recited passages, or hast thou not injured the truth in this thy recital? shouldst not thou have used her own words when thou sayst she sayes? Thou shouldst have said the Kingdom of Grace, for so saith the Letter: And hast thou not left out a material sentence which manifestly alters the case, and makes it speak another thing then is intended; the words in the Letter are these, Yet nevertheless am still kept groaning, waiting for the Adoption, to wit, the redemption of my body.

Which last clause thou hast wholly omitted, which is the explanation of the former, and may not be read without it: Was it not an aggravation of the fault in the Tempter to pretend Scripture to back his temptation with an omission of a material part of a sentence, Mat. 4. 6. I will not apply it, perhaps thou mightst do it ignorantly, not willingly, how­ever at best it was not fair (to say no more.)

2. But why should it seem to thee a thing incredible, and be branded with so much contempt, that a son or daughter of God, who hath received the spirit of Adoption, of Son­ship, and translated into the kingdom of the dear Son of Love, the Lord Jesus; that such should groan within them­selves, waiting for the Adoption (to wit) the Redemption of their body.

Hast thou never heard of a company of Redeemed ones who were delivered from the power of darkness, and trans­lated into the kingdom of the dear son of the Fathers love, in whom they have redemption through his blood, the for­giveness of sins? Yet even these redeemed ones, these that are thus translated into the kingdom of his dear son, are ad­vised to take heed of being spoyled through Philosophy, and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. These are further exhor­ted, to mortifie their members which are upon the earth; to put off anger and to put on bowels of mercy; and above all, to put on Love, which is the bond of Perfectness: There is all this, and much more to be found in that Letter or E­stle [Page 17] written by Paul to the Colossians, who also testifies it was his own case as appears in the eighth of the Romans, where notwithstanding that the Law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus had made him free from the Law of sin and death, verse the second; and that he and the beleeving Romans had the witness in themselves, the spirit it self bearing witness with their spirits, that they were the children of God, and had received the spirit of Adoption, whereby they did cry Abba Father: Yet nevertheless this holy, and blessed wit­ness of Jesus, Paul himself, and others with him, notwith­standing they had received the spirit of Adoption, and all that is above mentioned, yet account it but as a first fruits of the spirit, and groan within themselves, waiting for the Adoption (to wit) the Redemption of the body, these were those who were heirs of God, and joynt heirs with Christ, who nevertheless waited for the Adoption in the sence men­tioned before; here is no cover, no gloss, no interpretati­on, no meanings but plain testimonie of Scripture to which agrees that which is witnessed of the condition of other Saints of God, who although they were translated into the kingdom of the dear son, yet had somthing still to be subdu­ed and mortified, and were to cleanse themselves from all pollution or filthiness, both of flesh and spirit, perfecting holyness in the fear of God.

These things considered, I hope thou wilt see cause to cease to condemn the generation of the righteous, because they dare not say they are perfect, though notwithstanding (through the strength of Christ) they are going on to per­fection, striving against sin, watching against it, and warring against it, and assured (in their measure) that they shall one day be more then conquerors through him that loves them, who both teacheth their hands to fight, and their fingers to war; and what else meanes those words of this friend whom thou dost charge with obstinate wickedness, who saith in these words following.

Through Grace I can testifie the gracious preservation my heavenly father doth daily visit me with a teaching, leading power of his holy spirit, whereby I finde my self in the king­dom [Page 18] of Grace, not shut out as thou sayest by my comprehension, nor vain imagination, having received union with that holy spirit in my measure do daily take counsel, and try first my own deceivings which are within me, and those also which are without which causeth me to turn away from so many who professe they are sent messengers from the Lord.

The good Lord, I beleeve assuredly will, as he hath faith­fully promised to my soul, break every yoke of sinful covenant within me, it is no grief of heart but true joy, yea wonderfully more then my pen at this season can express to feel and find the increase of his grace in my soul with his peace which passeth mans understanding, yea even thy deep censures.

This may suffice to clear away that body of confusion at which thou art so causelesly offended and so grossy stumblest.

Reprover.] And had she known the kingdom of God in her, she had never wondred how I-durst adventure to write to one whose face I had not seen, as she doth in her Paper, and (saies she) consider whether ever the Apostles, or Prophets thou art like herein.

Art thou not still out of the way? wouldst thou bear it from another? see if thou hast not again varied the case much, and judge if it be fair.

Doth the Letter say she wondered how thou durst adven­ture to writt to one whose face thou hadst not seen? or doth it not say, I therefore doe the more wonder how thou durst adventure upon one thou knowest not to lay such a heavy charge as thou hast done on me whose face thou never sawest.

Now consider if there be not a great difference between writing to one thou never sawest, and laying an heavy charge on one thou never knewest nor sawest: however thou mayst deem, yet this is certain, thou hast not done wel nor truly in saying she saith, and yet hast not repeated the words she spake or writ therein but thine own.

2. Instead of answering and shewing which of the Apostles or Prophets thou art like herein; thou glydest off by a questi­on of thine own in these words.

[Page 19] Reprover.] I say, did not God command his servants to write eis message to strange lands, and strange persons, and did he first send them to look upon their faces to know what to write to them, or doth that adde to his word? oh shame with your blindnes herein.

Reply.] Hadst thou answered directly to the former questi­on as it was propounded, and shewed to which of the Pro­phets thou wert like in this thing, there might have been oc­casion administred (Berean like) to have searched the Scrip­tures whether these things were so or no, and by that means our blindness might have been in part removed, though our shame had rested upon us: But now in thy not answering at all, thou hast left us as blind as thou foundst us, but for the shame that must be returned from whence it came, and there abide till thou hast given better satisfaction.

Yet let it be remembred, that before God would charge sin upon Sodom, it is thus recorded, I wil now go down and see whe­ther they have done altogether according to the cry of it which is come unto me, and if not I will know: Hath not this some Gen. 18. 2 teaching in it both to thee and me?

But thou sayst,

Reprover.] Had I known thee no other way but by fight, or hearing, or any outward appearance, I durst not have written to thee.

Reply.] Well, if thou hadst another way of intelligence besides sight and hearing, or outward appearance, and know­est persons without words, as in this thy reprobing Paper thou sayst thou dost: Till I see some evidence, and demon­stration thereof I must give others leave to beleeve it (if they can) for I dare not, having no word, warranting me so to doe; remembring what is written, Who so boasteth of a false Prov. 25. 14 gift is like clouds and wind without rain

Touching that which remaines in thy Paper unspoken to, they are great high swelling words, full of fury, and a repe­tition of more charges against the Innocent; the Answer to them shall be comprehended in these few words, The Lord rebuke thee, even the Lord that hath chosen Ierusalem rebuke thee; but let mercy rejoyce over judgement.

What is before mentioned was written upon another occa­sion [Page 20] as thou mayst perceive, and before our last conference (which to me was so unexpected, and far from my intenti­on) Nevertheless thou having then, and there moved me to write, I have proposed these ensuing Quaeries to thy consi­deration; as judging that the matters in question between thee and mee, do mainly consist therein; and I doe entreat thee as thou professest plainness and simplicity, for Iesus Christ, and a desire of profiting all men, so that thou wouldst in the same plainness and simplicity of spirit give answer thereunto, confirming what thou shalt say therein by plain Texts of Scripture, though never so briefly; and be assured, whatever use I make thereof, yet thy reward wil be with God, who wil not forget any labor of love manifested to his name; therefore though I be never so much despised, yet he is wor­thy, and for his names sake be free, and plain herein.

1. Whether God enlightens every one that comes into the world with the light of Christ (as thou didst affirm at our first conference) and what that light of Christ is?

2. Whether every one that's born into the world by natu­ral generation, be at the time of his, of her receiving life in the womb, or at their being brought forth into the world, enlightened by God with that light of Christ, or of not then, say when they are so enlightned?

Whether the light wherewith every man is enlightned, be sufficient, as it is in man, to lead him to the discovery of Christ, without any other means of discovery but that light thats in him?

4. Whether the seed which is said to be in prison and groans through the earth for deliverance, be the seed of God, or a talent of grace in every one that is born into the world, as is before mentioned? or whether it be in any one before they be regenerate and born again, and what that seed is?

5. What that perfection is which is attainable in this life, and whether thou thy self art perfect, and sinnest not?

6. What the spirit of a man is, and how dost thou distin­guish it from the spirit of God, called the spirit it self, bear­ing witness with our spirit. Rom. 8. 16.

Thy Friend, and a lover of thy soul,
J. J.

[Page 21] FRiend; he that believes, is born of God, and he thats born of God, is not of this world; only such knows Gods gathering the time, and way of it; but such never questioned the light of Christ nor the sufficiency of it for by that alone was they gathe­red, and against that in them did the old Sepent rage, who now is at work, and his actings are now amongst us, as much in the form of the Dragon, and his power as ever; though in some he acts in the form of a Serpent binding in secret, being ashamed as yet of open persecution; yet these in whom he thus acts being the head, are joyned to the other all against the Lamb; and these are the false spirits gone out into the world, and are in the world, and of the world, though of divers colours and forms, yet all in one work, by which they are all known, as Christ hath said; and as Christ the true light, and Sheepheard is gathering the seed, so these tears are boundling together; and as they come nearer the fire, their smoak ariseth, whereby to darken the light of the Sun: But who takes Christs counsel keeps within, where the Kingdom and light is, and goes not forth after them, and such their smoak can­not blinde, who keeps in the Kingdom of Light, and everlasting Covenant. As for thy reproachful words cast upon my paper, I leave it to clear it self, in the sight of the wise; and for the Phi­listims forge, I never were at it, so thou may reprove thy self till thou prove that I was. A few things thou sayest thou wilt clear from my false glosses, and the rest thou wilt leave to Gods judge­ment, but must not God judge of those hast covered also? But had it not been more plainness to have said, thou wilt put a gloss upon as many of them as thou can have a pretense for, and the rest thou wilt let alone: This thou hast done, though thou hast not said it.

And thou would charge me with lies, because I say she says I am no way troubled at thy continued charges; but if thou read her Papers over, thou may find the thing confessed by her: Also thou would charge me with a ly, because I say the Visitors are those Letters published, and thou sayest the Publisher speaks of Persons, not of Papers I say, let the things published be witness [Page 22] against thee herein, wherein is no persons named but I and she: And whereas thou sayst the Publisher speaks not of [...] If thou read his first line, thou mayst see he speaks of letters, and then thy testimony is false, unless thou think to escape between the word Papers and Letters; but there thou canst not hide thy self; And seeing the Publisher names no other Visitors in particular but I, and I not visiting her any other way but by these letters, must not those Papers needs be the Visitors spoken of▪ Nor doth my Paper exclude any other Visitors, but in answer to the particu­lars published. Again, thou goest about to put it out of dispute who is the Lyar, and to clear thy self, thou wouldst have me take a few words from her mouth, wherein she tells how she was di­stressed under my heavie charge; and in her Letter before she said, she was no way troubled at that charge, and so thou hast proved her the Lyar (as thou sayst by her own words) and so put it out of doubt: And when thou hast done, thou goes about to clear her by thy crooked way, that she might be distressed in soul for a time at my letters, and yet no way troubled at them: But this cover will not hide thee, these two cannot stand together, the mat­ter being naught, raving in it makes it worse: Also thou chargest me, because where she says assuredly she knows her self to be in the Kingdom, and my offence is, because I call this the Kingdom of God. I say in Scripture I read but of two King­doms, the Kingdom of God, and the Kingdom of Sathan, read­ing no where of the Kingdom of Grace, that I know of; and she in this Letter not naming any Kingdom in particular, my offence is, that I took her words in the letter sense: And whereas thou sayst the words in the Letter are these, where she says, she knows her self assuredly to be in the Kingdom: I should have said the Kingdom of Grace, for so saith the Letter: I say read that let­ter again which speaks of assuredly, and see thy self mistaken; but if she or thou intend a Kingdom which is not the Kingdom of God, I shall not contend with you about it; so in thy next thou may send whether thou intend the Kingdom of God, or some other Kingdom imagined, which the Scripture speaks not of; And thou heaps many of the Saints words together, whose conditions thou never learnedst of God: and thou tells of Mortification, and Anger, &c. but deal plainly, and tell us, in Anger, or any [Page 23] unmortified thing in the Kingdom of God? Also take in her con­dition, which thou hast missed in thy answer, and tell us whether any self be in the Kingdom, or any who have their own Deceiv­ings within them, or that have the yoke of sinful covenant within them, Hast thou not a cover for these things as well as the other? Let it be seen what a Kingdom it is thou be rest witness to, whe­ther thy rest be in the poluted, or where no polution cometh: Ano­ther thing is, because I set down the word wonder for more wonder, and such like words thou art carping at; and because I omitted, one thou knowst not, I say a Lye is better omitted then set down: But if it be such a fault to miss a word, or a sillable, when thou hast the substance; then first judge thy self, who in printing her Letter, hath missed both in words and sense, as I can shew her hand against thee herein, were it worth contending about: Thou tells of searching the Scriptures Berean like; I say the Bere­ans did not search the Scriptures to oppose the light, nor to deny that spirit that reveals things to come, but those who search the Scriptures to that end, must needs be left blind, as they are found blinde; And for thy unbelief in that spirit, that giveth know­ledge without outward appearance, I say, thou might have spa­red to have written to me of it, for I knew it before of thee, and all that oppose the light, then must, own the light that leads out of the world, and thy own imaginations, before thou know the spirit of Revelation, or believe in it; yet all thou knows with­out it, is but as thou knows naturally, or bruit beasts, and in that knowledge is unbelief, opposition, and death with which the spirit of Iudgement is rebuked, and shut out from Ierusalem, and re­joyceth in the flesh, and speaks evil of the spirit of light, that leads to mercy, and is the light of Ierusalem; which hath no other light but it which all the world is at enmity with: Thou says at our last conference I moved thee to write, so thou hast prepared these ensuing Queries: I say, Deceipt speaks, I moved thee to answer what was then in hand, not to Query, which first thou might have done, and then queried; But the latter is of more advantage to the Tempter, and hath been in all ages; yet thy queries I shall answer.

1. To thy first I say Yea, and that light is that which convin­ceth the world of sin, and manifests thine deeds of darkness.

[Page 24] 2. To thy second I say, the light and life are one, and be­ing brought into the world by the life, so soon at the creature is capable to be tempted to sin, from the life the light ariseth a witness against sin, if it be but minded; but not being taken heed to, but disobeyed, the eye is blinded by the God of this world, and through the continuance of sin, is the conscience sceared, and the heart hardened against the light, till they know no Gospel but the Letter; receive it if thou canst.

3. To thy third I say, that light is sufficient to all that be­leeve and follow it; but to the unbeleeving and disobedient a Rock of offence, and stone of stumbling, even to the builder, for they that rebel against the light knows not the ways of it: yet is the light sufficient though they turn it into their con­demnation; but had thou known him, whose appearance is with great power, and whose glory enlightens the earth, which thou art talking of, thou had not asked this question.

4. To thy fourth, I say that which groans for deliverance, is the seed of God, and to them who so groan is the grace to, and that grace being beleeved and followed, the seed is raised, but who turn this grace into lasciviousness and live in their own wills, are kept in death, and such knows not the seed of God, and therefore persecut; it, and thou that tells of this seeds groaning under the earth for deliverance, and then asks if it be in any one before they be born again, manifest thy con­fusion and ignorance of the new birth.

5. To thy fifth, I say that perfection is Christ Iesus, and his life made manifest in mortal flesh and self denyed dead and buried, and there is no sin: But thou that tells of going on to perfection, and knows not what it is, art going thou knowst not whether, and stumbles at the light which should guide thee.

6. To thy last, that spirit is that which in fallen man lust­eth after the works of the Devil; and worldly things; but receiving the light of Christ, and by it being guided, it comes to be redeemed from those lusts, and joyned to God, and receives his witness, and so loves and serve him, which be­fore served Satan and the world.

Thus having Answered thine, in as much plainnses as I [Page 25] can to the understanding of the meekest of the children of light, I return these again to thee, desiring the like from thee in as much plainness.

1. Is the living word of God received or known in this life, any other way but in spirit within, or is it visible or invisi­ble, or can any have the Word of God, who hath it not in spi­rit, is the Covenant of God and his Kingdom within or with­out?

2. Can there be any Redemption for the Creature with out Christ in them? and is not he the only light and way to the Father in the creatures? or can any come to God any other way but by his light, was it sufficient before the Letter? and what is the thing that must be added to it now, to make it suf­ficient; seeing its sufficiency is now questioned, which never was before by any that professed him come in the flesh?

3. Whether any who, read the Letter without this light of Christ it them, can find out the mystery of it, or the way to the Father, or do not all who have not learned first of that spirit, wrest the Scriptuure to their own destruction? or can any speak or walk according to the word, who have not the light in them?

4. Whether the Prophets the Christ, or the Apostles, did ever preach any other light but the saving light of Christ, which is the true light, which being beleeved and followed, will lead out of darkness to the Father of light; and was that light which John calls the true light, the light of Christ, and who they are that have not this light tendred to them, and what is their condemnation, or is any light of Christ [...] of in the Letter not sufficient?

5. Doth not the man of sin sit in the Temple of God within people, till he be cast out, and must not the light of Christ reveal him within [...] or [...] the Letter [...], reveal him within, without the light; or cannot the light of Christ within rev al him, and the spirit of light cast him out, without-the Scriptures?

6. What is the inward man, and what is the outward man, spoken of in the Scripture, and how doth the inward man renew, though the outward man perish, and what in the [Page 26] several food of each man, and where it is to be found, what is their several fruits, and from what do they arise, and can any redeemed one bring forth the same fruits that was before the fall, or fruits better, or fruits not so good, and from what different ground shall they now arise, in redeemed ones; and whether the second Adam. can recover to man in this world what was lost here in the first. These being plainly answered, people may know whether they be in the first Adam or in the second.

James Naylor.

Reply to the fore-going Paper.

FRiend he that is born of God, in plainness and simplici­ty of his heart, utters the things which he hath heard and learnt of him, and can truly and honestly witness, that as he beleeveth so he speaketh, viz. plainly without warping or prevaricating, not departing from the truth by any covers or glosses, but speaks out of a sincere heart, as before him, whose eyes behold the secretest thought. At the reading of thy pa­per in answer to mine of the 25th. of the last moneth. I was grieved (yea and I am so) to see such an appearance of a de­parting from the simplicity which was held forth to thee therein, easily discernable by any ingenious person: And it is to me out of doubt that whosoever reads thy late Paper, and compares it with what it refers to, will easily discern, more then I am willing to say touching it, however I am wil­ling to point thee to some things among many, and to advise thy further perusal thereof.

I pass by thy personal reflections (are they not written in a book?) I mean all thy hard words and speeches.

Doest thou deal sincerely and plainly touching the person on whom thou wouldest father a lie? not distinguishing be­tween the words I am, and I was, is there not difference enough here? may not that be my case this day, or in present, which was not so erstwhile, wilt thou see a case Psalm 73. When I thought to know this it was too painfull for me, untill I went into the Sanctuary of God; then I understood, &c. was [Page 27] not enough said to have sufficed an honest heart, and to have set him to rights in a matter so clear; but I refer thee to what is said and leave thee. Thou art very crooked in thy reply about visitors; for its evident the Publisher spake of persons to have been the Visitors, whom he calls such as were distin­guished by the name of the Northern people, which cannot be truly affirmed of Papers or Letters (saving thy quibble about the distinction between Papers and Letters) I dis-own the stistinction, I mean honestly and plainly: Thou art seen in thy confounding the Letters making one speak for another, its plain where thou sayest its said Kingdom of God, the Let­ters speak not so, but sayes Kingdome of Grace: Its obvi­ous to every ones view that reads them. Though thou say­est thou readest but of two Kingdomes in Scripture, the King­come of God, and the Kingdome of Sathan, thou mayest read of a Kingdome of Heaven, a Kingdome of Priests, be­sides that of the Father and of the Son, but least thou shouldst say these are comprehended in the first, I insist not on them. But what may that be where it is said, Matth. 8. 12. But the Children shall be cast out into utter darkness (the Children of the Kingdome) if these be the Children of the Kingdome of God, that sounds something harsh; if of Sathan are they not in utter darknesse already: Let it be considered what Kingdome this must be. Thou sayest I heap up many of the Saints words, whose condition I never lear­ned of God; I say to that but this, let God be true though man be a lie; hadst thou looked into that heap thou talkest on, thou would'st have seen what is there witnessed, and have found thy self reproved by plain evidence of Scripture, and mayest do so still if thou hast leisure to look back, whatever thou judgest of me; thou biddest me deal plainly and tell us, is anger or any immortified thing in the Kingdome of God? I answer, no; for the Kingdome of God consists in righ­teousness, and peace, and joy in the holy Spirit; yet never­theless, the subjects of this Kingdom, are admonisht to put off anger, and to put on bowels of mercy, as the elect of God, as is witnessed in that heap thou speakest of, which mentions the Saints conditions. 1 Colos. 13. 14. compared with Col. 3. [Page 28] 5. 8. 12. and this is the Kingdome I witness, giving thanks to the father, who hath delivered me from the power of dark­ness, into the Kingdome of his dear Son, which to me is Grace for present, and will be Glory in due time, when this vile body or body of vileness, shall be changed and made like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself. As for that pas­sage, where [...]t is said, I know my self, &c. where thou art nibling, at the word self, what wouldest thou have had? should it have been said, I know another to be in the King­dom? if not another, it must be my self, for there lies the opposition. Is the word self, an unsound or unsavory word, or may it not be used in a good sence? if that be the thing, consult the Scriptures, and try if it be so. Luke 24. 39. It is I my self, Io. 10. 18. I lay it down of my self, Iohn 17. 19. for their sakes I sanctifie my self, Acts 24. 10. 16. Math. 19. 19. thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy self, Mark. 1. 44. Iohn 20. 14. 16. She turned her self back, &c. Cor. 2. 13. 5. prove your own selves.

Touching the word (wonder) instead of more wonder, or thy omission of those words [one thou knewest not] thou hast very weakly or willfully mistaken in making the Emphasis to lie there, for those Passages were recited amongst others, to shew how unfairly thou hadst done when thou saiest (it is said) (or she sayes) when it appears it was not so said, but thou very well knowest that the force and Emphasis of my words lay between thy (writing) to one thou knowest not, and (laying an heavy charge) on one thou never knewest, gi­ving thee an instance in Gods dealing with Sodom, which thou canst not forget: But to mend the matter, thou hast not yet shewed which of the Prophets or Apostles thou woul­dest be likened unto for doing the like.

Hast thou not found a cover for that other omission of thine (to wit the redemption of the body) by which thou variedst both words and sence, cannot that be excused? or do­est thou hope it will be forgotten.

Though thou concludest me under the like guilt with thy self, yet I assure thee in the words of truth and soberness, I [Page 29] know not of one word wherein I have varied from the Copy which was sent me, if thou wilt shew it, I shall acknowledge it.

Touching the Queries thou hast done friendly in that thou hast answered them, but its not satisfactory to me, forasmuch as they come without proof for confirmation by the Scrip­ture, contrary to what was desired.

1. To the first thou saiest, yea but provest it not, and in­stead of saying what it is, thou sayest what it does, and do­est miss there also; for it is the Spirit, the Comforter that doth convince the world of sin, Iohn 16. 8. viz. of unbeleef, but all men have not the spirit, Rom. 8. 9. nor are they so con­vinced viz. of unbeleef.

2. To the second its said the life and light are one, this should have been proved to be so in the subject (man) for its not denied to be so in God: That life was the light of men, Iohn 1. 4.

3. To the the third, that light is sufficient to all that be­leeve and follow it, but to the unbeleeving and dis-obedient a Rock of offence and a stone of stumbling even to the build­ers, &c.

Thou hast here departed from the question (which inquires whether the light wherewith every man is inlightned be suffi­cient (as it is in man) to lead him to the discovery of Christ, without any other means of discovery, and thou for answer sayest, as above is said. Now it is evident that what is so said by thee touching the sufficiency and efficacy of the light, is spoken of Christ the light, that precious living stone, who is precious to all that beleeve, but is a rock of offence, and a stone of stumbling to the unbeleeving and dis-obedient, as it is witnessed, 1 Pet. 2. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. this light (the Lord Jesus) is certainly sufficient to lead every one beleeving on him into the light of life, according to Iohn 8. 12.

If therefore by the light in every man thou doest intend Christ, the Rock, the chief Corner-stone, the precious living stone, as he is called, Pet. 1. 2. let it not be any longer hid under the name and cover of the light of Christ, as if some­thing were intended which were not Christ, but off or from [Page 30] him which would lead to him, but let it be plainly said, that Christ the light is in every man (for so much is inferred in thy answer to this third Query, or else no answer at all is gi­ven to it) and let but the Scripture witness and prove the same, and there shal be an end for ever of all controversie between thee and me, touching the sufficiency of that light (Christ) for I am onely trying how far the Candle in man must vail its lustre, when this glorious Sun, viz. Christ the light appears.

4. To the fourth, Thou speakest words, but makest not any answer to the Query, not shewing whether the seed that's said to be in Prison, and to groan, be a Talent of grace in e­very one that's born into the World, as aforesaid by natural generation, viz, (then when they are so born) or whether it be in any one before they be regenerate and born again, and what that seed is? but instead of answering directly thou reflects upon my confusion and ignorance, which is a very easie way of answering but edifies not, but I will leave it with thee, heartily wishing thou hadst been more plain and free herein (sparing thy censure.)

5. To the fifth, Its said perfection is Christ Jesus, and his life made manifest in mortal flesh, yet thou mayest read where he who witnesseth that Christ lived in him, Gal. 2. 20. and had the life of Jesus Christ manifested in his mortal flesh, 2 Cor. 4. 10. 11. yet counted not himself to have apprehended nor to have attained to perfection, Phil. 3. 12, 13. therefore thou art not full nor plain in this answer, besides the omission of the last clause of the Query, or couching it in obscurity in those words, viz. (and self-denied, dead, and buried, and there is no sin) but this signifies not to me any thing by way of answer. Its hard for thee to conclude this Query (as the fore-going) without another censure, but I will not write after thy Copy herein.

6. To the last, Thou shewest (as in the first) what it (doth) in fallen man, as also in man renued, when redeemed and join­ed to God, but sayest not at all what, it is, either in the one or in the other, nor how it is distinguished from the spirit of God, called the spirit it self, bearing witness with our spirit, which were the terms in the last Query, to which thou seem­est [Page 31] to make answer but speakest not to the thing in hand.

Thus I have considered the several things proposed in an­swer, and as I beleeve, so have I spoken, concluding the answers to be neither plain nor pertinent, and altogether without con­firmation or proof by any Text of Scripture as was desired, and therefore to me no way satisfactory.

Touching the Queries sent from thee, to which thou desi­rest answer in plainness, I would say at present a few words.

1. It seems to me unreasonable to be put upon answering to a new stock of Queries, while the former are depending, and no accompt given how far the answers are allowed, or dis-allowed, which by this thou wilt be informed.

2. If the former were more fully answered, which I expect, yet the fruitlesseness of this new undertaking is so apparent that it much discourageth me in the thought of it; forasmuch as the glory of God doth not appear to me to be propound­ed, as the end of the inquirer, not asking as one unsatisfied, or desiring information, for that hath been dis-avowed by him already both in word and writing, in great measure, and there­fore in that respect ought rather to have been put as certain positions then propounded as Queries by him.

Further, The Inquirer hath already past a sentence upon me, concluding my insufficiency toward such an undertaking: im­plied in those many and repeated censures of blindness and confusion, knowing naturally as a bruit-beast with such like. What issue then can be expected whatever should be said in answer by such an one that is so fore-judged; therefore they appear to me, as they are stated between thee and me, to be fitted for matter of strife, and debate, and contention, ra­ther then matter of edifying: And that I am sure is not for the honour of God to be so exercised; therefore if thou do­est intend true, honest edifying, turn thy Queries into so ma­ny positions, let them be asserted and proved, and leave the issue to him that teacheth to profit.

3. Nevertheless, if thou shalt review thy answers, com­paring them with the Queries whereunto they have refe­rence, rectifying that wherein they are defective, and con­firming what thou hast or shalt say by testimony of Scrip­ture; [Page 32] I doubt not but my God will make it of use to me, notwithstanding all thy hard words, and give me freedom to entertain these thy 6 or rather 26 Queries, for so they appear to me, every one containing many in it, and to give such an­swer thereunto as he shall please to inable me, or if thou shalt refuse to proceed as aforesaid; yet in process of time thou mayest meet with what is equivalent to whats propounded, though not in thy figure nor form, touching which thou mayest have occasion to manifest thy witness.

I. I.

FRiend, thou sayes my answer is not satisfactory to thee, I say my answer is so plain as I can speak the truth to the simpli­city yea the least that beleeve in the light shall confesse plain­nesse in them; but there is a nature that will never be satisfied with any lesse then an advantage to blaspheme the truth; how often these was resisted by Christ in plainnesse thou mayest read, yet never could rest till they forced their ends from him, and then they said they need no more, though all they had then catcht, was their own ruine, and their posterity, by seeking to insuare him whose love was such as to lay down life for them, and the same love in what measure soever it is, finds the same entertainment with such as abide in that unbeleeving nature, which is for death, and that I am not sent to feed which is for famine, and fire; it sa­tisfies me that I faithfully bear testimony to the faithfull and true witnesse; which the father in his eternal love hath sent into the world, which both thou and all that oppose it shall be made to con­fesse of Salvation is in it, even the light, and though he hath sent me with a message, every where spoken against; yet I know I am accepted with him and at that day I and my testimony shall be owned, though now I am as a sign and a wonder to be spoken against; and as one at strife with the whole earth, yet in peace with him alone, and with as many as lay down their Crowns at his feet.

[Page 33] There is not any thing in thy Letters lies upon me, wherein I have not dealt plainly with thee in, before the Lord, not covering but laying open, to the simplicity, onely one thing thou hast twice demanded of me, to shew thee which of the Prophets or Apostles I am like, in sending the Lords Message to on whose faced ne­ver see in the flesh. I said before what might have satisfied, one who pretends to know Seripture, but seeing its a particular proof thou seekest, I shall (of many) instance of either one which thou mayest see in Jeremy 27. and Col. 2. 1. with 4. 16 this is what God did; but if thou wilt now undertake to limit him, thou shalt know that his own remains for ever.

Instead of answering of my Queries, thou sayest it seems un­reasonable to be put upon answering new while the former are depending, I say if the dependency hang in this, till thou say thou be satisfied, then thou hast all in thy own will; then an end till thou will, or not will; but reason sayes thus in me, seeing I have been put upon answering all along both by word and writing, and could never refuse to answer in the plainest way I could, though not accepted; yet that thou should once (amongst many) return an answer in thy way, which if it be more plain then mine, the simple may more profit thereby, but if thine prove as dark, then why should thou condemn me therein, unlesse thou will wholly be judge both for me and thy self, so let them come forth, and let the simple judge.

Also thy reason speaks not clear to me in this, that thou questi­ons the fruitlessnesse of my Queries, and that the glory of God doth not appear to thee to be the end of them; I say if thy eyē had been single, thou should first have questioned thy own and by searching that with the Impartial light, thou might have learn­ed, if thou would, to have suffered me to have shared a little with thee in thy Charity, seeing there is not one reason thou alledgest against me, but they may fit thy self being rightly applied.

J. N.

A Reply to the fore-going Paper.

FRiend, if I had (only) said thy answer was not satisfacto­ry, and had not shewed thee wherein, I had said (there­in) that which signifies nothing; or were not my spirit free, that what hath been spoken in secret, might be published up­on the house top; I mean, that what hath been transacted privately, and personally between thee and me, in relation thereunto, might be publikely manifested before (not only the least, but) any, or all the children of the light, that they might impartially give evidence to the plainness, or obscurity, which will appear to be in the same: I sa [...], were it not thus with me, I should have as little satisfaction in my self, as I have declared to have had in these Answers of thine; And to give the assurance that it's not in my heart to ensnare thee or force my ends from thee, or seek any advantage to Blaspheme the truth, as they who resisted Christ (all which are hints of great reflection) I am upon this score resolved (in the power of the Lord) not to be easily drawn to this kinde of personal entercourse any further; only for the present let me say I am far from desiring that thou shouldest feed what's appointed for famishing, or that, that which is for fire, or death, should scape it; let it be far from me, let that which is for burning, be burnt, for famishing be famished, for death, let it not live; but all this in the power of the Lord, and by the fire of his kindling, whose fire shall surely try the work of what sort it is, not mans day, but Gods, must silence and satisfie.

Thou sayest ther [...] is not any thing in my letters lies upon thee, wherein thou hast not dealt plainly with me in, before the Lord, &c. only one thing which I have twice demanded of thee, to which of the Apostles or Prophets thou w [...]rt like &c.

I remember not in what terms this demand was made by Reader, it is this passage, viz The Redem­ption of my body. me in either of my letters, neither will the letters themselves shew any such demand of mine; But is there only one thing demanded of thee? Is there not another beside that one thing, as much and as oft demanded as the former? I spare to repeat it a third time, its visible to every eye that peruseth the [Page 35] Papers, that there hath been no plainness manifested therein, nor the thing it self so much as taken notice of, though thou hast been twice reminded thereof.

And as for that one thing touching which thou givest par­ticular Proof, after twice minding thee thereof, though not demanding it of thee, when I consider what thou art to prove, and compare it with the proofs, I find not that, said, which thou produces them to bear witness unto.

The words under consideration are these, viz. I therefore do the more wonder how thou durst adventure upon one thou knowest not, to lay such an heavy charge as thou hast done on me, whose face thou never sawest; if now thou hast thus written by revelation (to me) or by information from others, consider from whence it cometh; I say consider whether either the Apostles or Prophets thou art like herein.

For Proof of this thy practice, viz. of laying an heavy charge on one thou never knewest nor sawest, and that by wri­ting, thou producest an example of each, one Prophet, Iere­miah 27. and one Apostle, Col. 2. 1. compared with 4. 16. upon the perusal of which examples its very apparent, not to me onely, but to any person that is impartial, that these ex­amples are not parallel to the case in hand; for Ieremy though he by the command of the Lord did deliver a message, touch­ing the purpose of God in subjecting the Nations to the yoke of the King of Babylon; yet this message is delivered by word of mouth to the Messengers which came from those Kings to Ierusalem ver. 4. there is not a word of any wri­ting, much less of laying any charge of sin upon them, and touching that of Col. 2. 1. he that reads shall find much of consolation, exhortation, and confirmation; but the thing in question, namely, laying an heavy charge on them he ne­ver knew nor saw in the flesh, this is not found in the place aforesaid, nay the contrary was his practice, 1 Cor. 11. 18. 22. I hear that there be divisions amongst you, and I partly be­leeve it, what shall I say to you, shall I praise you in this, I praise you not.

For we hear there are some which walk among you disor­derly working not at all but are busie bodies, Thes. 2. 3. 11. 12. [Page 36] together with that in the 1 Cor. 5. 1. it is commonly report­ed, and 1 Cor. 1. 11. for it hath been declared to me of you my brethren, by them of the house of Cloe, that there are contentions among you, thus hee reproves and lays his charge upon persons of whom he had certain knowledge, either by sight or information nor may that passage of Gods dealing with Sodom be omitted, Gen 18. 21. of which there hath been a remembrance before; so that though there may be a writing to persons under a general consideration, yea though they be such whose faces we have not seen in the flesh yet when we lay a charge of sin upon persons, they ought to be known under the Considerations above-mentioned, by personal knowledge, or true informations as in the example before.

Touching the answering the Queries sent me, I abide in the same mind still, touching the fruitlesseness thereof, in all appearance as to me: For to strike off a persons legs and then bid him go is not fair, to conclude a person blind, and then to try how hee can see, is the same; this is the case between thee and me, as in my last I hinted; this is the whole of what I have to say to this matter, and the last that Pintend to trou­ble thee with here about, the dear and tender Lord, bring eve­ry hidden thing to light, that whatsoever is dark and lies co­vered under vails, either not being truly or fully understood, may be unvailed, and unmarked, that the simplicity of the truth, may nakedly appear to bee, as it indeed is in Jesus: So prayeth thy friend, and he that tenders thy Soul.

I. I.

[Page 37] FRiend, is this the end of thy long profession and all thy knowledge of the living God and his unsearchable ways, That it's become a strange thing to thee, and not to be beleeved, that he should send out his message in word or writing, with but personal knowledge, or information of men? Is this the living God who fils heaven and earth with his presence, whom thou would limit is his Sons and Daughters? Or wilt thou instruct him, or teach him a way to send his will to his creatures? Or else thou wilt question it: Hast thou learned this of him? let that in thy conscience judge, which will shew thee that thou art up in the comprehending nature, to which the wayes of God be as much hid now as ever: And the earth thou art without faith, now at his coming, who canst not beleeve in the light of the world, unlesse thou canst comprehend it, which darkness never could, who art preaching thy unbelief, who art an unbeliever, yet art set up for a teacher, but out of the light, wherein the faith is recei­ved, which believes in the invisible teacher.

Friend, thy Crown thou must lay down at his seet who is the light of the world, who hath a witness in thee for himself, which is love to thy soul, it thou canst receive it; and of thy blood I am clear at that day.

J. N.

IN lieu of a Reply to the foregoing Paper, I desire the Reader, that is not pre-engaged (or partial) to compare it with what went before, and try whether there be any such thing said as might circumscribe or limit the most high and holy God in his Message, to personal knowledge or in­formation of men (for are not all things naked and bare be­fore him, and who may say to God what dost thou?) but to shew by president what hath been done by, and towards the Sons of men, and to evidence how unparalel the exam­ples produced were to the thing in question, and for which they were produc'd; viz. the laying an heavy charge on a person unknown or unseen (by a man) such an one as sub­scribes himself I. N this was the case in debate, and to [Page 38] this were the examples produced; or nothing; touching the residue of what is contained therein, I submit it (with what hath been hitherto said) to him who better knows what is in man then man.

J. J.
The End.

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