THE Faithful Witness: OR, A HAND OF LOVE REACHED FORTH, That the blind may be guided, and the scattered gathered. ALSO, Mans Sinne and Rebellion declared and the long-suffering of the Lord shewed. [...]ith a true Call unto all People to meet the Lord by speedy repentance, and vvait to yeild him ready obedi­ence, for here is the right Way of the Lord open'd. Also the state of Professors plainly manifested, wherein they may see how they are erred, and hovv the Serpent hath deceived and betrayed them. [...] a Warning unto all the tender hearted amongst them [...] [...], and receive the Hand of Love, that they may no longer abide in [...], but walk in the way of righteousness, where true rest and peace [...] [...]joyed. Truth defended and cleared from the Lyes and Slan­ [...]s declared by Ionathan Iohnson of Lincoln, a Baptist in profession.

[...] who bears no evil will to any man, but wisheth well to all men, and am [...] to many by the Name of William Smith.

[...]DON, Printed for Thomas Simmons, at the Bull and Mouth near Aldersgate, 1659.

THE Faithful VVitness.

GIve ear all ye Inhabitants of the Earth, for these say­ings are true and faithful; be meek and lowly in your hearts, and how your ears to Wisdoms voice, and turn at her reproof; for in your own Ways are you wandering, where peace you know not; the bowels of compassion is free­ly opened from the Fathers love, and his good will is made known amongst you, in that he is striving with you to turn you into the right way, that you might walk therein; for he hath not left himself without a Witness in all your conscien­ces, which doth not consent to your ungodly deeds, but doth convince you thereof, and bears testimony against your ways of vanity, which your minds are exercised in, and all your wicked practices which by you are brought forth from your vain minds, where you are beset with sin, and servants there­unto, your carnal minds being at enmity against God, and not subjected to his Law, you are at liberty in the flesh; and satisfying the lust thereof; and though you all profess to know God, yet in Works you deny him, and your hearts are far off from him, therefore is your Worship vain; for Gods fear is not before your eyes; therefore you run to do evil, and rebels more and more against the Lord, wallowing in the mire of defilements, that pollutes and stains your own con­sciences, your minds being in the earth, and your faces down­ward, thick Clouds of darkness doth compass you about, and the Prince of darkness ruleth over you, and leads you all out of the way, vvhere none doth good; you are a Cage of unclean Birds, every one follovving the lust of his own heart, that you multiply your transgressions with delightings, and commits sin vvith greediness, and strengthens your hands in vvickedness; a sinful Nation you are, and a seed of evil doers, filling up the measure of iniquity, and nourishing your [Page 2] hearts as in a day of slaughter; from the crown of the head to the sole of the feet, there is no whole part in you. O! how long will you suffer the Lord to wait that he may shew mer­cy to you? How often have you rejected his loving kindness, and grieved his holy Spirit? What a day of a patience and forbearance hath he exercised towards you, that you might have turned unto him, and received his mercy? You are a stiff-necked people, who sets your selves against the Lord, and every visitation of his love, refusing to return, and ha­ting to be reformed; for when you have been called by that of God in your own conscience, you have not hearkened; and when it hath smiten, you have refus'd correction; have you not felt a Witness in your own conscience against you, when you have been acting iniquity, & that it hath judged & condem­ned you for your secret faults, that fearfulness hath surpri­sed you & paleness of face hath come upon you, when no man hath been near you, nor no tongue accused you, yet that hath been within that hath numbred up your transgressions, & set your sins in order before you, and brought them all to light in your own conscience, which the eye of man hath not seen, nor for which the tongue of man could accuse you; yet they have appeared fresh in your minds, though many years be­fore they had been committed by you: O consider what it is all you that have so long outstood it, and yeild obedience to the reproof of it, that you may be acquainted with it, and thereby know it to be Gods faithful Witness in your own conscience placed against sin, and the hand of Love reached forth to lead you out of sin, and so come to have communi­on with it, and walk in the light of it, that you may not fall under the eternal condemnation thereof; for though it be as a sign, every where spoken against by those who are at enmi­ty with it, and that they call i [...]atural, and a delusion; yet if you turn at the reproof th [...] of, and yeild obedience to it, you wil know it to be God [...]ighty Power unto salvation; and this vvill give you the e [...]ence in your selves, that it is a manifestation of God which doth discover all that in you which is contrary to its own property, which it hath no fel­lowship nor communion with; and this can neither be natu­ral [Page 3] nor a delusion, which doth reprove the natural man in his natural state, where he is an Enemy to God, a fervant to sin, and under the Devils power, by whom he is tempted and de­luded to consent to the motion of sin, and to bring forth the Works of Iniquity, vvhich the Faithful Witness doth not consent to, but testifies against, and shews it to be evil in the conscience of every man, and reproveth thereof, and calls e­very man to seperate from it as an unclean thing; this you may all read in your selves, in the light which you are en­lightened withall: Yea drunkards, swearers, lyars, and all prophane persons, you all have a manifestation of God in you, which doth discover your sins unto you, and brings them unto your remembrance, and many times strikes you with fear and terror for the evil of your doings, and brings you into sadness and mourning for your sins past, which in the light is made manifest unto you in your own conscience; and this is not a natural thing, nor a delusion, but it is Christ the light of the World, who was before the World was, and is the power of God made manifest to destroy sin, and the Devils Works; and this is he unto whom you are all to look, and stand obedient unto whatsoever he doth command you, that you may know salvation in him, and redemption by him whose Hand of Love is reached forth in this his day of pow­er, that a willingness he might beget in you to follow him, & be guided by the Hand of Love out of darkness, where the god of this World ruleth, who is a deceiver, unto whose de­lusions many are given up, and do believe his lyes, in which they oppose the truth, and are at open enmity with it, being silled with Wrath and Envy against it: Now such whose deeds are evil, loves not the light, neither will come to it, but runs from it, and speaks despightfully of it, as the Pharisees did of him who is the Son of God; and though mighty signs and wonders he did amongst them, making the blind to see, and the dumb to speak, yet were they filled with envy against him, and said he cast out Devils by Beelzebub the Prince of Devils, But he knowing their thoughts▪ said unto them, Every king­dom divided against it self, is brought to desolation; and if Satan cast [...]t Satan, he is divided against himself, how shall then his kingdome [Page 4] stand? But if I cast out Devils by the Spirit of God, then the king­dom of God is come unto you; this you may read Matth. 12. And here you may read whose off-spring you are; for this Scrip­ture is fulfilled this day upon this ungodly generation, though your eyes be blinded that you see it not; therefore repent, and be converted, that the hand of love may lead you, and that your sins may be blotted out; for with a light of Christ are you all enlightned, that doth discover your secrets parts, and makes manifest the counsels of all your hearts, and is the true light that lighteth every man that comes into the World, Ioh. 1. 9. This is plain Scripture, and you say you be­lieve the Scripture; but you say again, This Scripture doth not speak of a light within; then weigh it wisely, and see how every man that comes into the World is enlightned, and by it you may read 2 Cor. 4. 6. For God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts to give the light of the know­ledg of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ: This is plain Scri­pture, and this was the Apostles Testimony, That the light shone in the heart, (that's within people) and there gave them the light of the knowledge of Gods glory: But then you say, These were believers, and you grant that believers have a light of Christ in them, but not people in their natural state; the Apostle was once in the natural state, and was a persecu­tor of those that did believe in the light, yet was the light in him, shining in the darkness, but the darkness compre­hended it not; but when it came to shine round him, and con­vince him that he was an enemy to it, and kicking against it, he bowed before it, and submitted unto it, and yeilded rea­dy obedience, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? Then did it shine forth of darkness, and did shine in the heart, in which the knowledge of Gods glory was made manifest; read this in Gods pure fear, and consider if you be not where the Apostles once were, and there stands in open rebellion against that which he came to believe in, and bear his testimony un­to; and further witnessed, That a people who held the truth in unrighteousness, had a manifestation of God in them, Rom. 1. 19. Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them, for God hath shewed it unto them: Here was a people who [Page 5] was not in the faith, and yet that which might be known of God, was manifest in them, and whatsoever doth make ma­nifest, is light, Eph. 5. 13. then the light was within them, and the truth was within them, but they did not believe in it, but changed it into a lye, Ver. 25. and did not like to retain God in their knowledge, Ver. 28. Therefore unto vile affection did God give them up, that they might believe lyes, because they received not truth in the love of it; this is a Witness which none of you can flye from; whithersoever you go, it will [...]nd you out; contend no longer against it, for in it doth the Grace of God appear to all men, by which the love of God comes to be felt in all that do obey and submits to the teach­ings of it; and though there be many in the unbelief, that speaks unadvisedly of it, neither knowing what they say, nor whereof they affirm, who calls it a natural light, and delusi­on; yet in that love which unto me is freely opened, and through the Grace which I have received in it, I am constrai­ned to bear my Testimony, and to declare unto all people, That the light of Christ with which every man is enlighten­ed, is the mighty power of God unto salvation to every one that do believe in it, and a living Witness in every mans con­science is placed, to condemn the Workers of iniquity, who hath not a love to it, because their deeds are evil; there is no escaping of it, for it is quick and powerful, searching, trying & proving all secrets, and the counsels of all hearts are naked and bare before it: Read this soberly, for it is written plain­ly in the love of God, who is rich in mercy, and plenteous in goodness and truth, whose bowels of compassion moveth in pitty towards a sinful generation, who hath no pleasure that any of you should dye; therefore in this his day doth he reach forth a hand of love to lead and guide out of dark­ness all that turn unto it, and are made willing to be guided by it. Now all prove your selves in the light which you are enlightened withall, and examine your selves truly, and see if you cannot witness this testimony to be faithful and true, and feel the Testimony of the Spirit bearing witness in your inward parts, unto what is here declared; for unto that of God in all consciences I am manifest, which doth not consent [Page 6] to your sins, but is seperate from sin, and made manifest to take away [...]in, who is the Lamb of God, pure and undefiled, and though you have a general talk amongst you of Faith in Christ, and living by faith upon him, and that he is your Sa­viour and Redeemer, yet you work iniquity daily, and pleads for sin term of life, and neither knows salvation nor redem­ption in him, who is the Son of Gods love: Therefore be not deceived with a vain hope, and groundless Faith, which stands onely in Words, when your Works denies your Faith to be living, being yet in your sins, for the lusts of the flesh you do fulfil, and draws iniquity with Cords of Vanity; look inward, the light will not deceive you, but manifest every secret sin which lodgeth in your hearts, which you would keep hidden to have your life in; for though you may not be com­mitting all sin so greedily as may stand with your hearts a­gainst many things which may be commonly counted pro­phane, yet examine if you have not something secretly lod­ged, which your minds are captivated in, and which the light of Christ in your consciences doth reprove you for; there is your lover; and that must be cast out, and trodden under foot, if ever you come to vvitness redemption by Christ. Some men are not common Drunkards, as the World calls them, yet secretly hath a love to be in the excess, some in neither of these, yet hath another lover; So some in pride, some in co­vetousness, some in foolish jesting, and idle talking, some in vain sports and pleasures of the World, that so you are all found to have some secret lover vvhich you vvould not have tried in the light; novv there is nothing so secret vvhich shall not come to light, though long you may hide it, and smothe [...] the Witness of God in your ovvn conscience, that testifies a­gainst it; yet to the light must every secret thing come, vvhe­ther it be good or evil, and in the light be tried and judged in righteous judgement. Therefore all unto the light give up your selves, and yeild obedience to every motion thereof in your own consciences, that you may become followers of it, in love to it; for if you stand in the enmity against it, and be more in love vvith your evil deeds then you are vvith the light, there vvill be no escaping the condemnation of it; [Page 7] therefore let this be a Warning unto you all who live in plea­sures upon the Earth, that you may cease to do evil, and de­part from your iniquities, and break off from your sins, be­fore the time come in which you will say, There is no plea­sure in them.

O hearken! hearken! for this is the day of your visitation, now is the accepted time; now is Gods Witness striving with you; now is the Hand of Love reached forth unto you; there­fore whilst it is called to day, harden not your hearts, but turn unto the Lord who stands ready to have mercy upon you, for therein doth he delight: Now let not your hearts be hardened to outstand this day of Visitation, left the day of Vengeance and Indignation come upon you, and over­take you, because mercy you have refused. Consider this all you who have your life in pride, covetousness, drunkenness, swearing, lying, envy and malice, and vanities of the World, if these things be not shewed you to be evil by something in your own conscience that doth convince you of them, and reprove you for them, and brings you to an understanding that you ought not to do them; this is the light of Christ which is pure, and hath no communion with darkness, nor the unfruitful Works thereof, but is seperated from the un­clean, neither joining with it, nor consenting to it, but hath a life in it self which is holy and undefiled, and doth pursue the evil-doer in judgement, who is at enmity with it, and in disobedience to it. O sink down in Gods fear, and consider what a day of patience and forbearance he hath continued unto you; how long hath he spared you? And what a time of repentance hath he given you? And how many years hath he striven vvith you, that with the Cords of Love he might have drawn you, and with the Hand of Love have led you? But you have rejected it, and casts love behind your backs, and likes to retain your evil deeds better, and to love darkness rather: What Visitations of Gods pure love have you set at nought, that you might walk after the way of your own hearts, & the lust of your own eyes, rising up in rebellion against the pure Witness of God in your own conscience, and [...]laying it, that you might live in pleasures, and walk at liber­ty [Page 8] in the flesh, without reproof: And thus is the just con­demned and killed by you, and he resists not; he is rejected and despised by you, wounding him by your transgressions, and bruising him with your iniquities, yet doth not he open his mouth, but as a Lamb is he led to the slaughter; O look up unto him whom you pierce, and mourn, let your laugh­ter be turned into mourning, and your joy into heaviness; for he doth not so deal with you, but suffers and bears in pa­tience, and in the bowels of pitty is yet striving with you, that his goodness might lead you to repentance; and thus doth he love his enemies, and doth good to those that hates him: Therefore all bow your ears, and hearken, and be dili­gent to obey the light before it cease striving with you, and the long-suffering of the Lord come to an end concerning you, and his tender love be shut up from you, who have gain-sayed and outstood the day of your Visitation, and then you begin to knock like foolish Virgins, when the doors is shut, and all things quiet, and to seek a place of repentance when it cannot be found, though you seek it with tears.

O prize the day of your Visitation; and let all vain Dispu­ters of this World lay their hands upon their mouths, and confess they have done foolishly in contending and striving in their own wills against that which hath so long striven with them, that they might be turned from the darkness un­to the light, and from the power of Satan unto God, tha [...] the hand of Love might guide them to receive the Grace of God which so freely he hath made manifest unto them: Read you Priests, Professors, and all people; who hates the light, and will not [...]bide to hear of it so near you, as in your own conscience, but are filled with rage and fury against it, speaking scornfully, proudly, and disdainfully of it, and ast that are guided by it; in this you are all friends; and joins to­gether; fear and tremble before the living God, for his wrath is revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness and un­godliness of men; and a day of sad lamentation is kindling from the breath of the Almighty, and wil fall upon the heads of the ungodly [...] who in their stout-heartedness outstand the day of Gods loving kindness; this testimony wil reach you all, [Page 9] and that of God in your conscience answers to it; give all dili­gence thereunto, for it is a sure Word, and teacheth right things; it will not deceive you if you incline your m [...]ds unto it, that you may be doers of what it teacheth; for it is Gods Grace that appeareth, and if you yeild obedience to it, you will know it brings salvation with it, and will teach you to deny the ungodliness and worldly lusts, in which the Prince of darkness leads you, and deceives you, and brings forth his Work by you in all manner of sin and wickedness, in which you are serving him, and in which your minds are captiva­ted by him; and the light of Christ in your conscience hath no communion with such Works of darkness, but stands a Witness against them, and reproves you for them, as you join unto them: And this is the Word of his Grace, that would have you to deny them, and forsake them, and to live sober­ly, righteously, and godly in this present evil World; for the fashions of this World passeth away, and all your vanities will wither, and your beauty consume, and the later end wil come upon you, when the Lord will have no pleasure in you, but will give you your portion with hypocrites; Consider all you vain people of the World, who live in rioting and drun­kenness, chambering and wantonness, strife and envying, what will you do? And what account will you make unto the righteous God, who is Judge of all the Earth, and will re­ [...]ard every man according to his deeds? Run not so headi­ly in the exercise of Wickedness, but stand still, and hearken to the still Voice in your conscience, which tells you that is not the Way; for death and destruction is before you, and the pit is near unto you, and many of you are come to the brink thereof; be stayed in time, before you fall therein, from whence there will be no recovery; and let the time past of your lives suffice that you have spent, and lived so many years together in the lusts of the flesh, against the light and love of God. Therefore all in Gods fear stand, and feel it placed in your hearts, that from iniquity you may depart, and [...]in no more, but all come into obedience to that of God in you, which makes [...]in manifest, and there Gods power know, to sanctifie and cleanse you by the washing of Water [Page 10] through the Word, that a new life you may come into, and walk in the regeneration; He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear; For the love of Christ constraineth me to bear testimo­ny of what is made manifest unto me in the light, that you may all come to the knowledge of the truth, and be saved; and likewise knowing the terror of the Lord, I cannot but perswade men to depart from the evil of their Ways, which the Wrath of the Lord is revealed against, and that you may all come to know that the long-suffering of the Lord is salva­tion, and that his saving-strength is near at hand, to help in the needful time; and here you will find power to preserve you from the temptations which the enemy casts in, and then labours to draw your minds to join unto; for as obedience is given unto the light, power is received that destroys the De­vils Work, and weakens his kingdom; and then the Hand of Love is reached forth to take hold of you, and to lead you out of darkness, and from under his Government, into the new and living Way, and there gently guides you, and order [...] you, and keepes you from all the assaults which the Enemy doth pursue withall; and he who hath life in himself, will give life unto you, and make you able to stand and [...]ight the good fight of Faith; and here the Divine nature is felt, and the glory of the onely begotten of the Father is beheld: And this is the testimony of the Faithful Witness, which from the Fa­thers Love is made manifest in the conscience of every man, that you might believe in it, and know the saving-strength of it, working redemption for you, and putting an end to sin, and overturning the powers of darkness, and bringing in e­verlasting righteousness; and this is the Hand of Love reach­ed forth unto you all, to lead you out of the House of Bon­dag [...], into the glorious liberty of the [...]ons of God; where your understandings will be opened to know the Scriptures, and the power of God; for as you give obedience to the rea­chings of the Spirit, so will the things of God be made known unto you, and no man can know the things of God by any e [...]her way, either by Art, Study, Learning, or any industry of the natural part, but as the spirit of God makes them known in the children of obedience, who give up themselves [Page 11] to the teachings of it, and by it are guided to know the Scri­ptures fulfilled in themselves; & this vvil bring you to a right understanding of the Scriptures, as you receive the same spi­rit of Faith, and walks in it, as they received and walked in, by whom the Scriptures were declared; for he that was then light, life and power unto all that did believe in him, and gave them an understanding to know the things that were true; he is the same now, and changeth not; but wicked men have changed his glory into shame, and mindes earthly things; yet is his light, life, and power the same unto all that believe, and comes to have the spirit of their minds renew­ed by him, and so the Scripture is truly owned and witnessed, being fulfilled in all that walk after the Spirit, and have the spirit of their mindes renewed by it, as they had who hath declared it in Words, which are written: and so the same Spi­rit guiding, brings into unity with the same Words, which was given forth from its own movings in the hearts of those who by it was constrained to declare them; and thus the chil­dren of obedience owns the Scriptures, and hath unity with them in the same: Spirit that gave them forth, & knows them fulfilled in themselves, walking after the same Spirit. Let this be wel weighed by you who are wise in your own eyes, & pru­dent in your own sight, and in that Wisdom talks so much of what is written, and gets the Words thereof, and with them contend in your Wills, and fights against the Lord, and eve­ry appearance of righteousness, brought forth in the motion of the Spirit, which is the mysterie hid from your eyes, and revealed unto the Babes, who walk in the light which reveals secrets, and makes them to be of understanding hearts, to know the true God, and eternal life; and here is the door of hope for all you tender ones, who are breathing after God; come, walk in the light that an entrance you may feel mini­stred unto you, and [...]n enjoyment of the possession of that which in the door of hope is opened for you, where the Ri­vers of Gods good pleasure runneth freely, with which he doth satisfie the poor of the flock, who vvaits to be refreshed thereby, vvhich he doth renevv their strength in, to follovv him in the narrovv vvay, in vvhich flesh and blood cannot [Page 12] walk, nor no unclean thing must enter; Therefore do not you hew broken Cisterns, nor feed upon husks any longer, but to the streams of life all come, and feel how good the Lord is; so all wait to know the hand of Love to lead you, and the Spirit of truth to teach you, which will not deceive you, bnt teach you right things; though such vvho are at en­mity with it, speak unadvisedly of it, yet it is truth in it self, and abides the same for ever, and will overturn all who in the height of envy and fury do pursue it with swelling Words of vanity.

Therefore let all things be tryed and proved in the light, and in it search your selves, that you may come to the bot­tom, and have all the dross purged out, and the tinn taken away, that your hearts may be purified in the light, that so you may stand approved in the sight of the pure God: And here is the right Way of the Lord opened, and a Hand of Love reached forth to guide you out of all crooked pathes, and to bring you into the Way of Righteousness, Truth, and Holi­ness, and bring you to an Inheritance incorruptible and un­defiled, where joy unspeakable is possessed: And this honor hath all the Saints, who are found faithful before the Lord, to follow the Lamb whither soever he goes.

Therefore let this testimony come unto you who have had some openings of Gods Love, and have felt the gift of Grace made manifest in your conscience, that hath convinced you of many things, and brought you to forsake much of the Worlds Fashions, and Customs, and Worship, and have brought you to a seperation from it, that you are not so open­ly prophane as many of them are, but are turned from ma­ny appearances of evil, which the light did truly make mani­fest in you, and convince you of in your own conscience; and a simplicity there was begotten in you, that Truth was precious unto you, and a love you had unto it, and came to have a sight of many things afar off, and a desire in you to press after the enjoyment of them; and by the light you were guided out of many things which it did convince you of to be evil; and you could not any longer continue therein, because they were made manifest unto you to be Works of darkness. [Page 13] Deal truly with your own hearts all of you, for there is no­thing secret which shall not come to light; and you cannot deny but that it was something of God in your own consci­ence that made sin manifest, and convinced you thereof, and moved in your hearts to draw you from it, and made discoveries of secret things, which in your hearts were lodged, and shewed you the Worlds Wayes and Worship to be against the truth, and did convince you thereof, and brought you to seperate from it in appearance. And [...]ere was pure breath­ings in you which longed for God, that you might come in­to his Court, and enjoy his presence; O this was a simple and innocent state, in which you were precious in Gods sight; and whilst you did abide faithful, waiting in patience for Gods loving kindness, therein to grow up into the measure of Christs fulness; the Lord was not wanting to you, but was large in his love, and free in his mercy, as in obedience you walked to the measure of the gift of Grace; and your Pray­ers and Tears came up before him, and was had in remem­brance by him: O what breathings, pantings, and hun­gerings hath there been in many of you after the Lord, with strong cryes and tears, for a Visitation of his Love; and that you might walk in the light of his countenance! How zealous & fervent have you been after righteousness, & to follow the motion of the Spirit of life wth chearfulness! Have you not cri­ed down forms, and set up the Spirits Worship, and its teach­ings? And hath not the spirit judged you in your own consci­ence, when you have not obeyed it? And have you not been brought to stoop down, & lye low under the sence of Judge­ment, & that you could not find a resting place, but stil that of God in your own conscience pursued you whithersoever you went, you could not leave it in any place; but near you it did appear, witnessing against you, and judging you for your dis­obedience? Can you not vvitness these things to be true, ma­ny of you? and that this hath been your condition, going heavily and mournfully under Gods displeasure made mani­fest against you? And hath not your anguish and trouble been within you, which hath brought you into meekness and lowliness, and beaten you down in your selves, that you have [Page 14] confest your own nothingnes [...] and insufficiency, and here hath been brought to wait on the Lord alone in simplicity, that his saving-strength you might feele to help you? And did not you find him to be a God near at hand when your eye was towards him, and your expectations from him? Did he not open his love freely, and gave you savoury refresh­ment and comfort, and made bare his own Arm to help you, & wrought all your Works in you,and for you, that you have even admiredd his goodness, and acknowledged his power in his free Gift and Grace unto you? and whilst the simpli [...]ity did abide in you, and you was faithful to what was made manifest unto you? What pure breathings had many of you after a greater measure of the gift of Grace, and that the Lord would pour forth more of his Spirit upon you, that you might be made fruitful, and grow up to the Lord in it; And here you had precious discoveries, as you stood in obedience to the measure of Gods Spirit, thereby to be guided, and so seperated from the Worlds form, in obedience to the light of Christ in your own conscience, and that it did constrain you to depart, having made known unto you something more excellent, which was above the Worlds Worship, and which you found to be your duty to walk np unto, that you might come into liberty, and to serve God in the Spirit; and here you stood in Gods fear, and assembled together to wait for the Spirits moving, that it might teach you to speak, and teach you to pray, and that all your duties might be offered up, and performed in the Spirit; Hath not this been decla­red by many of you, from what you have truly felt of Gods loving kindness made manifest in you, which brought you to deny, & testifie against many things which you were convin­ced of to be evil? but you have forsaken your first Love, and have not been faithful to the end; therefore the Lord hath somewhat against you, because you uphold that Woman Jez­zabel, and suffers her to teach and seduce, by whom many are overcome, to commit fornication with her; for the true Guide you have lost, which once did lead you in the way, and would have brought you to the true rest, had you kept your minds stayed in it, and vvalked in obedience to it; but [Page 15] the Enemy hath deceived you, and prevailed over you, and drawn you into crooked pathes, where you are got into th [...] Earth again; for the simplicity is betrayed, and your desires are cooled; and your breathings and pantings after God are stayed, and you are set down in a form which once you were convinced of to be dead and barren: Let not this offend you, for it is the truth concerning many of you, and the Witness of God in your conscience doth answer to it. There­fore remember from whence you are fallen, and repent, for the [...]ord would not have you perish, but still reacheth forth a hand of Love unto you, having more pleasure to save then to destroy; therefore is he still striving with you, and gives you no rest nor peace in the way which the god of this World hath led you into, and blinds your minds in; for your acti­ons witness against you daily, that you are servants to sin, and that Liberty you speak of, and saith you are redeemed unto, is but an occasion for you to serve the lusts of the flesh, which makes you one with the World again in Words and Practises, where the Enemy hath taken you captive, and leads you in earthly pleasures, and covetous practices, in which you are wanton and light-minded, in foolish jesting, and vain talking, turning the Grace of God into wantonness, and making shipwrack of Faith and a good Conscience, being heightned in your imaginations in what you have taken up in the observation, in which Satan hath transformed himself by his deceitful working, in bringing forth a form in the i­mitation, where you are set down, and have taken up your rest; and here he hath deceived you with a vain hope, having setled you in a form without power, and doth work a perswa­sion in your minds, that it is the right Way, and so sets you in enmity against the pure motion of the light of Christ in you, having got your minds out, to look abroad, and have your expectation from something that is without, and so he hath drawn your minds from that which is within, that once did truly move in yon, and would have brought you into the power, had you been faithful to the end; but you are fallen short of that which they witnessed, whose practice you pre­tend to follow, and are turned against it, and become the [Page 16] greatest Enemies unto it; for he that hath prevailed over you, and betrayed the simplicity in you, seeks to pervert the right Way of the Lord by you, and fills you with fury to cry out against those that walk in uprightness of their hearts be­fore the Lord, and in his fear are kept, that they dare not sin against him, but walks in righteousness and holiness, in which the light leadeth them, and which by his Grace he teacheth them, from which you are erred and gone astray, and walks after the imaginations of your own hearts, where your own Wills leads you, to take up a practice in imitation of what o­thers have done, who was by the Spirit of Truth guided, and by it commanded, and in which they performed all their services; but unto this Spirit you are found Enemies, and fighting against it in the strength of your own Wisdoms, and so runs into error, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the pow­er of God, but denies that which gives the understanding to know them, and so never comes to the fulfilling of them, nor to have unity with them, but as they are Words declared and recorded; for you stand not in obedience to the same spirit, that in the inner man it might teach you, and lead you to the Lord God, who hath life in himself, and gives life unto all that come unto him, and believes in him, by which all the children of obedience are refreshed and satisfied, who lives by faith, looking for, and waiting to receive those things which are not seen; but that which you take up your rest in, and are satisfied with, is visible and temporal, which is seen, and beheld with natural eyes; and so you miss that which is spiritual, and cannot be seen, which is the substance, and the end of all changeable things, not living by Faith, but by sight, and contents your selves with created refreshments; but that which the soul hungereth after, and panteth for, is living Bread that comes down from Heaven, which whoso eats, shall never dye: for it is the Bread of life, whose flesh is meat indeed, and whose blood is drink indeed! O pure re­freshment from the Lords presence! Blessed are all that are found worthy to sit down at this Table, and to partake of this Bread, and drink of this Cup, which is the Communion of Christ's blood.

[Page 17] Be ye of an understanding heart, O ye professors, and consider if you have the substance, and that you live in Christ, and he in you; and that you feel those things you feed upon to have life in themselves, and to give life unto you; if life be not in your Bread and Wine, they are not the Communion of Christs body, nor blood, but bare Bread and Wine, retaining their own quality and vertue, as created re­freshments; and if you say this was their practice who enjoy­ed Christ, and fed upon him, and that the Bread which they brake was the Communion of Christs Body, and the Cup which they drank was the Communion of Christs Blood; but I say, Examine your selves whether you be in the Faith, least you eat and drink damnation to your selves, not discer­ning the Lords body; for that which they received, and had Communion in, who lived by Faith, was not Bread of grain, nor Wine in a silver Cup; but the Bread which they brake was the Communion of Christ's body, and the Cup which they drank, was the Communion of Christ's Blood; and you cannot prove any other thing without inventions; and they being many, was one Bread, and one Body; but the mystery is hid from your eyes, who in your Earthly Wisdom would comprehend the things of God; for you being run from the Guide which once did give you light, and for a season you rejoiced in it, you are departed from that which vvould have given you a true discerning of the Lo [...]ds Body, & wrought Faith in you to have believed, though you had not seen; and if you had been obedient to have followed that of God vvhich once did truly move in you, then you vvould have continued in the holy Commandments given of God, and have walked in them as children of obedience, and discern­ed the Lords Body, and the Communion which they had in it, who did eat and drink, and fed upon it in their hearts by faith; And this was the Bread which they did eat, and the Cup which they drank, and had their life in him who is the Bread of Life, whose examples none can follow in truth, but such as receive the same Spirit of Faith, and walks in obedi­ence to it, which you are found fighting against with the Words which from it were declared, which you say is more [Page 18] sure then it is in its movings: What a Vail hath overspread you! And what thick darkness hath covered you who de­nies the motion of the Spirit from which the Scriptures were declared! Did not holy men of God speak as they were mo­ved by the Holy Ghost? Did it not first move within them, and gave them a Divine inspiration, by which they came to know the things of God made manifest in them, and from the motion of the Spirit declared as it gave them utterance; and so the Scriptures came to be given forth, and a true Re­cord it is of what they were made Witnesses of, who had communion with the Spirit, and tasted of the Word of life? and the Scriptures are profitable where the manifestation of the Spirit is received, and believed in, by which the under­standing is opened to know them, and the power of God, but not to set them above Christ, not against him, as you are doing, who are your selves departed from him, and yet uses your tongues to speak the Words which were declared from the motion of the Spirit, and sets them in opposition to the same light and spirit which now as truly moveth in the chil­dren of obedience, as it did in them who were made Witnes­ses of the Grace of God, and through the operation of the spirit did declare it.

Therefore be not so rash in your minds, as to call good e­vil, and Truth a delusion; but sink down in Gods fear, and know that which is near you, to reprove you in your igno­rance, and then you wil know there is nothing so sure as that which was before the World, or Man, or Scriptures were, which is that which changeth not, but is to day as yesterday, and abides the same for ever.

And this is the everlasting truth which from the beginning hath been made manifest through ages and generations, ac­cording to the dispensation of Gods good pleasure, which all the holy men of God have walked in, and been obedient to, and declared of, whose sayings are all true and faithful, and are owned to be a true Declaration of the living Word which from the beginning was, & novv is, vvhich changeth not, in vvhich they felt Gods loving kindness made manifest unto them, as they vvalked in obedience unto him; and like­wise [Page 19] declared of Gods severity and displeasure revealed a­gainst the ungodly and unbelievers; and thus was the truth known from the beginning, to instruct, and lead, and guide the righteous in the holy Way, wherein they erred not, and to convince and condemn the World for sinne, who walked with a froward heart against the Lord: Be not deceived, for all visible things must perish, and that which hath a begin­ning, hath an end; howsoever it may appear in shew unto you, there will be no help found in any created being in the needful time; for your foundation which in your own Wis­dom you have laid, and in your own strength you are build­ing upon, one tempest will beat it all down, and your labor will be lost after so many years spent.

Therefore be meek and lowly in your hearts, and [...]ink down to the Corner-stone, and reject it no longer, for it will not fail, neither can the Gates of Hell prevail against it: All wait for the Hand of Love to bring you thither, that there your footsteps may be placed, and your goings ordered, that a spi­ritual House you may know raised up by the Arm of the Lord; and here Christ is known, who is true for evermore, and leads into all truth those that believe in him, and are guided by him; the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, the first and the last; there is none besides him, nor any to be compared into him, who baptizeth all that believe in him into one body, by one spirit, and there cleanseth them by the washing of Water through the Word, where the rege­neration comes to be witnessed, and the answer of a good conscience received, the pure Water flowing forth which wa­sheth and cleanseth the body inwardly, by which believers comes to be baptized into Christ, and puts him on; and this is the one baptism, known and witnessed by all that follow the light of the Lord, and walks in obedience to his com­mands: and if you do not wilfully outstand Gods Witness, you cannot but confess this is the baptism in which believers are baptized, and is the one baptism the Scriptures declares of, and that there is not another to be continued.

Therefore be silent before the Lord, and yeild obedience to what he commands you by his spirit in the inner man, [Page 20] and there know that one baptism which all believers are bap­tized with, in which they are washed and cleansed, to follow Christ in the regeneration and newness of life; He that can receive it, let him: For you cannot prove by plain Scripture that Christ was a Minister of Water Baptism, or that he did command it, or preached it for Doctrine, or pressed it as a duty; but he sent his Disciples forth to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom, and to give that which they had received free­ly; and you cannot prove that when they were thus sent forth, that they had received Water-baptism; but what was made manifest in them, and which they had received, that they gave, and declared thereof in Gods power; and this reached the inward parts, and pricked the hearts of those that heard it, and brought them to enquire what they might do; unto whom Peter said, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the holy Ghost, Acts 2. 38. This day is this Scripture fulfilled, praises be unto the Lord God for e­ver; and many are true Witnesses of this baptism, whose hearts have been pricked by the eternal living Word in their own conscience, that they have been brought to enquire what they might do; and the living Word hath been obey­ed, and the reproof thereof, which hath vvrought the godly sorrovv unto repentance, never to be repented of; and there the Fountain hath been opened, which washeth avvay sin and uncleanness, and baptizeth into the Name of Jesus Christ, where sins are remitted, and the gift of the Holy Ghost received: And in this Scripture Water is not once named, where the Apostle preaches the Doctrine of Baptism, and was the first which vvas preached after the Holy Ghost fell upon them.

Therefore be not so envious against those who witness the truth as they know it in Jesus, and are baptized with the Ho­ly Ghost and Fire, and hath felt him whose Fan is in his hand, thoroughly purging his floor, and cleansing the in­ward parts from all unrighteousness; and this licks up the Water, and consumes it, as the fire did which fell from Eli­jah's Altar, which was a true figure of the two Ministrations, [Page 21] if you could read it; for had you obeyed that which once did truly move in you, and opened Gods love unto you, and gave you a sight of many things which in your hearts were secretly lodged, and let you see the Ways and Worship of the World to be vain; if you had continued faithful unto this pure Guide, it would not have left you on Jordans brinks, nor in the midst thereof, but would have opened it unto you, and led you thorow it, and over it, and given you an inheri­tance in the true rest for ever.

Therefore be awakened, and lift up your eyes, and behold where you are; for you are not come where [...]ongs of delive­rance are sung, but are set down short of the pure rejoicing, from whence you are all called to arise, and join to the Hand of Love which is still reached forth unto you, that thereby you might be gnided in the Way of peace that leadeth to e­ternal life; and though many of you may swell in Wrath be­cause the little stone is smiting your Image, and that you know not how to uphold it but by contending for it, and tal­king of the Scriptures, yet this will not uphold it, nor your Worship and obedience to it; for the Witness is true, and the testimony thereof doth stand against you, and over it you cannot prevail; and this is my rejoicing in it, that I have the answer of a good conscience, and peace with God; & though many of you may be hardened, and set your selves against the Word of Truth, and hates to be reformed by it; yet truth is the same, and you cannot change it with all your inventions.

And let all the simple-minded who are yet seeking rest, and are not satisfied with what you are feeding upon, O re­turn unto the Lord, and come again to that of God in you, who will heal your backslidings, and open your understand­ings, where the right Way of the Lord will be made known unto you; for it is man that doth deceive you, and leads you in many Wayes that they have imagined; and in their Wills sets up their own inventions for the Way of God, when the Lord hath not required it at their hands; and whilst you are [...] bewitched with the Inchanters and Southsayers, and [...] your delight in their crooked pathes, you will not find [Page 22] that wherein satisfaction is, which some of you are truly se [...]-king after: Therefore unto you is this moved from the living God, who are tender hearted, and in whom there is yet a true breathing after God, who cannot be satisfied with those things that will perish, but are seeking after the enjoyment of something that will abide; hearken to the light of Christ and feel the Hand of Love, and join your selves unto it, that you may be acquainted with it, and know the leadings of it; this will bring you to the life from whence it comes, as you yeild obedience to it, there will you feel living springs open­ed freely to you, and plentifully to refresh you, where you will know the Water that faileth not, which yeildeth satisfa­ction and pure refreshment; and though many be set down with their hearts hardened, and denies every motion of the Spirit in them, and instead of being filled with the Spirit ac­cording to the Apostles Doctrine, they are filled with envy and fury against it, and every appearance of it, and opens their mouths in blasphemy against it; but they shall all know a day of Tryal, in which a recompence of reward will be gi­ven from the righteous God, who will bring every secret thing into Judgement, and make all his Enemies his Foot­stool; let not their hard heartedness be an occcasion to make your tender hearts stumble at the Way of Truth; neither give your minds to harken to their Inchantments, who hath so long bewitched you from obeying the truth; but all be di­ligent to hearken to the light which is truly moving in ma­ny of you, and doth couvince you that you are not walking in the right Way, you see something amiss amongst you, which you cannot have communion with, and something which you are not come to live in, and which you cannot de­ny but to be truth as it is brought forth from the Spirit of Truth in others.

Therefore do you weigh and consider vvisely vvhere you are, that you may be no longer deceived, but may come and knovv the right Way of the Lord. So all in the light keepe your mindes stayed, and hasten not, but lye dovvn and patiently vvait, that you may see salvation brought un­to [Page 23] you, as you are brought to stand still; and so will the Lord work his own Work for you, by the Arm of his power, and make known his secrets, and reveal his Son in you, that you may not confer with flesh and blood.

So unto the light of Christ with which you are enlighten­ed, all give up your selves in obedience, that every motion thereof you may be willing to follow, that it may be your Leader, & guide you out of your own Ways, and Words, and Works, and Thoughts, and bring you into subjection, to do the Fathers Will in all things, and to obey his Teachings which by his Spirit he requireth, and it will bring you to know truth in the inner parts, which the Lord loveth; and as you obey the light, and follows it, you will feel every motion thereof to be precious, and bringing you nearer unto the life from vvhence it comes, vvhere the pure openings of Gods love you vvill feel to satisfie you.

So all in Gods fear stand, and sink down to the Corner­stone which in you is placed, and know that to be your foun­dation, and this will be a sure Way to come to Christ, when you feel his Vertue to stay your Issue; and this is the Grace of God that brings salvation, and appeareth to all Men, & tea­cheth what to deny, and what to vvalk in, which if you take heed unto, you will need no other Teacher, but as the anoin­ting teacheth you, which is in you, and is truth, and no lye, which will open your understandings to know the things of God, and let you see things that differ, and bring you to a true discerning betwixt the precious and the vile, where mans Way and Gods Way will be plainly opened unto you; For the Seeds sake this is declared: Reject not counsel ye ten­der hearts, but be willing to receive instruction, that your minds may be informed where to wait for Gods loving kind­ness, that the Hand of Love may lead you in the new and li­ving Way that brings to the Father, where the true Rest you will find, and perfect peace.

Truth defended and cleared from the Lyes and Slanders de­clared by JONATHAN JOHNSON.

HAving observed the Envious Spirit to rage for a long season in Jonathan Johnson against the Truth as it hath [Page 24] been declared and published in the motion of the Spirit of Life, and that as Books hath come to his hand which hath been so published, he hath been set on work in his busie mind to write in the leaves thereof against the truth which hath been therein declared; for which cause I, having unity through the love of God with that truth so declared, and be­ing made a Witness thereof, it was laid upon me as my duty to write unto him, and declare against his secret working, in which I offered this unto him in the fear of the Lord, That he would set out his own Work, and make it publike in print, and also sent him some Queries for to answer publikely, and thereby did let him know that I should not receive him upon any other account, but as he made his Work publike, having heard much of his contentious spirit; unto which offer and queries, he sent me a plain denial in Writing back again, in which were many Words and false Accusations against the truth, which I did not find my duty to reply to in Writing, having before let him know that I should not receive him up­on that account; therefore my duty was now to let him know that it was my desire that Truth might appear, and be seen where it was, & so was ordered to write to him again, where­in I then offered in the fear of the Lord, to reason with him, which he would not receive, but put it by, under false preten­ces, & false Accusations, which in Writing he sent unto me a­gain; & then the boaster was got up, and told me I stood spech­less, and was silent, and had nothing to answer; and seeing he would not be brought to any way by which his false accusa­tions might come to light, and his deceit discovered, I was moved to return unto him in Writing some of his lyes and slanders with which he falsly accused the truth, and the righ­teous generation, whom his scornful spirit calls the generati­on of Quak [...]s, whom he had also accused with many other things, which I did not return unto him with the rest, because he said I might ere long hear him make them manifest in print; and in that Writing he sent me some queries to answer, though he had plainly denied to answer mine; therefore I laid it upon him, That what he had in private papers writ­ten, and charged upon the truth, he might prove, and print them and his queries also, with the rest which he had said he [Page 25] would make manifest in Print; but he not being willing to make all his lyes and deceit so publick, as in Print, he writes unto me again, and therein offers Proof to what was Retur­ned unto him, and laid upon him to prove publickly, and saith he had proved them all before, as his Writings made ma­nifest, and it was but shifting and dissembling to call for new Proof; yet he saith, That both I and others may see his rea­diness to prove what he had said, he had sent plain Proofs of the 20 Particulars, which he said I might have drawn into 12 or 14, seeing 6 or 8 of them, all concerned one and the same thing: but he said, The Quakers loves to be numerous.

Let the simple-minded here observe, and the spiritual judge what thick darkness is upon him, to say, We love to be numerous, when all the Particulars which I returned unto him, were invented by him, or some other for him, and sent with his ovvn Name unto them, vvhich novv he saith might have been dravvn into fevver; did not he first make them numerous, by multiplying of them vvithout need? and I did but vvrite▪ vvhat I received from him, vvhich he novv con­demns as numerous, and so out of his ovvn mouth is judged to be a transgressor, allovving that in himself, vvhich he con­demns in another: And that some of his deceit may come to vievv, and that it may be seen vvhat Proof he offers, and of vvhat nature they are, and thereby it may be judged hovv he proved his Lyes before, vvhich he saith his Writings vvill make manifest, I shall here therefore give forth the Particu­lars vvhich unto him I returned, and the Proofs vvhich he hath offered, vvith a short Reply unto them severally, in vvhich he is unveiled.

Particular. The first is, That the quakers observes the Worlds Form.

Proof. This Charge was to thy self, in observing the Worlds Form in thy Title Page, of thy Book, in which thou hast laid down thy Weapons of Defence.

Reply. That, by vvhich every thing is proved to be truth, is truth, but no lye is of the truth, therefore thou hast but added sin to sin, offering one lye to prove another; for in thy Writing, these vvere thy vvords, I do not say that writing Scripture phrases in a title page is against the truth, but against [Page 26] your own Principle as you are Quakers, who cry out against [...]thers for following the Worlds Form, and yet your selves do observe it, therefore thou art found guilty of making Lyes thy Kefuge, and would in thy ignorance perswade others that it is a proof of the matter: Let the wise in heart consider, and that of God in all Consciences judge, if this be a proof, of what thou hast false­ly accused the Righteous with, or if this Charge was only to my self, or in general, from thy own words be thou judged, which I have here truly set down, that all honest minds may be truly informed, and thou may be convinced by that of God in thy own Conscience to be a false accuser, and that is my Weapon, in which I stand to defend the truth from thy lyes, and it will cut thee down, and there shall be none to hold thee up.

2. Partic. That they maintain their device of formal quaking.

Proof. That they labour to maintain their formal quaking, is laid open in their Books, and Writings.

Reply. Such a Proof may shame a formal Professor, to re­proach the Saints Condition, and call it formal, when the Lord by his power makes the Earth to tremble and melt at his presence, of which Condition, Moses, David, Habakknk, and many others, were true VVitnesses; which Condition we own, and on the Lord do wait, that by the power of his Spirit it may be wrought in the inner man, and it is the work of the Lord, who is unlimited in his power, and what he doth, who shall say unto him, VVhat doest thou? vvho VVorks vvhen, and vvhere he pleaseth, as the vvind blovveth vvhere it listeth, vvhich is in no formal practice bound up, or limitted, neither do we so maintain it, either in Book or Writing, but thou hast added sin to sin again, and manifest­ed thy envie to all moderate Spirits, and no way that thou canst find out to help thy self, but by making Lyes thy Re­fuge, for a Lyar thou art proved, and therefore hast no cause to think why thy words should pass for proof in any matter against which thou contendest, without thou canstbring plain Scripture, to manifest that what thou contendest against, is contrary to the Leadings, and Guidings, and Work of the Spirit of truth, and the Doctrine of Christ and the Apostles in [...]he Scriptures declared; but what thou hast done, doth [Page 27] manifest thy folly, and en [...]ity against the truth, and those who walk therein.

3. Pa [...]ic. That their light within, is a false Harlot.

Proof. Their light within is their false Religion, being against the light and teachings of the Scriptures; and false Religion is known of all, who knows any thing, to be a false Harlot.

Reply. Who comes to the knowledge of Gods glory, comes to know him in the light which shines in their hearts, which light shines within, and brings to know God, where the pure Religion is witnessed, which the Scripture declares of; but thouknowest nothing as thou ought to know, and so puts the true light for darkness, and calls pure Religion a false Harlot, for the true light which lighteth every man that comes into the world is Christ, Joh. 1. 9. and he is the truth, John 14. 6. and they that follow him comes to the light of life, Joh. 8. 12. and they examine themselves, and knows Christ to be in them according to the Scripture, 2 Cor. 13. 5. and he is in them the hope of Glory, Col. 1. 27. and this Christ we preach, and this Grace of God we declare, which we know to be in us, and is truth in the inward parts which the Lord loveth, and will stand above thee, and all thy de­ceit, though thou hast blasphemed him.

4▪ Partic. That they steat Scriptures to deck their false Har­lots with.

Proof. Is proved in first calling the Scriptures dead and live­less, to bring their false Harlot called light within, into osteem, and then fills their mouths with it, to seem spiritualized, and to make the world believe 'tis from themselves, and not from Scripture; and this was proved against thes in thy Title Page of thy Book to H. H.

Reply. The light within is already proved from plain Scrip­ture to be Christ the light of the world, and the eternal truth and power of God, and the Scriptures are dead and liveless unto thee, who art at enmity with the light and life from which they were declared, and unto which they bear testi­mony, and therefore we deny thee, though thy mouth may be somtimes filled with Scripture expressions, and of which [Page 28] it is now empty; but the Scriptures we own, and have unity with them in the same Spirit from which they were given forth, and knows them to be fulfilled in us, who walk after the Spirit; and what thou sayest was proved before to this matter against me, is a proof which was of thy own inventi­ons, as these are, which thou hast now offered to thy shame for ever, not giving a Scripture expression, nor naming a Scripture for what thou hast said; but thy mouth is filled with Lyes instead of Scripture, and that thou calls a proof.

5. Partic. That they labour to have the Scriptures dead in m [...]ns est [...]mation.

Proof. Is proved plain [...]y in telling men the Scriptures are a dead Letter, and a liveless Book; and saying it is a damnable Doctrine to say the Spirit is received by the hearing of Faith preached, and beleeving according to the Scriptures, and in calling the Doctrine and Ordi­nances of Christ in the Scriptures, outward Forms and liveless.

Reply. That which hath not life in it self is dead, and thou cannot deny it, and the Book hath not life in it self, neither can the Letter thereof give life to any, though they may read it and hear it all their life time, and if ever thou come to know the Scriptures, and the true use of them, thou must come to the light which is the life of men, without whom all things are dead; and it is a damnable Doctrine to preach the Letter for Christ, and set it above him, which is not ac­cording to the Doctrine of those who were Ministers of the Spirit, and not of the Letter, and this doth the Letter de­clare; and the Spirit is not received by hearing or reading the Letter, but by the hearing of Faith preached in the heart by the Spirit that quickneth, and the Doctrine of Christ and the Apostles, which the Scriptures do declare, and beleeving according to that Doctrine we own, and in it walk, by the same spirit which doth not lead any contrary, who by it are guided, but leads into the fulfilling of all, and into the life where living vertue is received which from the beginning was ordained, which is not dead nor formal, but life and po­wer; but thou can sit down in thy own time, to eat and drink in immitation of what thy imagination comprehends by [Page 29] reading the Scriptures, that the Saints did, and so thou glo­ries in appearance, and not in heart.

6. Partic. That they deny the Scriptures.

Proof. Is proved afore in which they are manifested to be the most audacious denyers of Scripture that ever hath been, of all the Antich istian party.

Reply. That which thou hast proved afore, thou hast ma­nifested thy self in, to be a servant unto him who is an enemy to truth, and every appearance of Righteousness, which by the light is brought forth in the Children of Obedience, that strikes at every work of darkness, having no Communi­on with it, and this makes him rage, in Wrath and Fury in thee, to speak great swelling words of vanity, and offer them for a Proof that his Lyes might have a likeness of truth put upon them, by which many are at this day deceived; for the scriptures are owned and beleeved in, and the Doctrine of Christ is obeyed, and the light is walked in, which gives us fellowship with the Father, and with the Son, where we have Communion with the life; but Antichrist denyeth the Fa­ther and the Son, and is at enmity with the divine Nature, and fighting against every appearance of godliness, which from the living vertue thereof is brought forth, which thou makes thy great business to oppose, and contend against.

7. Partic. [...]hat they are not guided by that light and spirit that gave forth the Scriptures.

Proof. Is proved both by their denyal of those Scriptures and Commands g [...]v [...]n forth by the light and spirit of God in the Scriptures, and also in their se [...]ting up a pre­tended light within, contrary to any teachings of the spirit of God in the Scriptures.

Reply. Thou art proved a Lyar by plain scripture, in the Third Reply, where it is proved, that Christ is the light, and it was in their hearts, and this doth the teachings of Gods spirit in the scripture witness, and we neither deny the tea­chings nor Commands given forth by the light and spirit of God in the scriptures, but have unity with them, and the s [...]me light and spirit teacheth us, and unto the Commands thereof we wait to yield obedience; but it is thy business to make Lyes thy Refuge, and adds one to another without [Page 30] shame, neither shewing what the Teachings and Commands are; which thou sayest the scriptures teacheth and comman­deth, and what we deny; nor what the light and spirit is, nor where to be waited for, which thou sayest we are not guided by; but thou passeth all for Proof, because thou sayest it.

8. Par: That they are evil dealers, and fighters against God.

Proof. Is proved in their evil dealing, and fighting against the spirit of God speaking in the Scriptures, and denying obedience thereunto, and rayling against those that d [...] obey, to exalt their lying spirit against it.

Reply. What shall be done unto thee, O thou false tongue, who without fear uttereth such Lyes against the innocent, who are guided by the spirit of truth out of all evil dealing, or wrong doing! but thou art in the depth of the bottom­less pit, and from thence foaming out thy own shame, not fearing to speak any thing which the lying spirit puts into thy mouth, and calls it a Proof, when thou hast neither scrip­ture ground, nor reason, to shew for what thou sayest, but as the Devil hatcheth mischief in thy heart, so with a ready mind thou serves him in what he will have thee to do, and so falsely accuses the innocent, who in all obedience serves the Lord, and walks-after the spirit, and yields all obedience to it, and yet thou sayest they deny the spirit of God speak­ing in the scriptures, but hast not shewed what those speak­ings are, nor who they are that do obey, that they rail a­gainst, nor what the lying spirit is that they exalt, for what thou hast here laid down, is but in substance one with thy whole matter, which thou calls Proofs; for what thou hast to say is chiefly against the light within, and disobedience to the scripture teaching, in which thou hast been proved a lyar and a false accuser, manifesting nothing but envy against the Righteous generation, whose foundation is sure, and their footsteps so ordered upon it that all thy darts cannot make them to move, neither can the strength of thy might shake their foundation.

9. Part. That they have n [...]ither part in, nor fellowship with the Scriptures.

Proof. What part or fellowship can they have with the Scrip­tures, who deny their Teachings, and Commands [Page 31] thereof, and the spirits speaking [...] and [...] [...] from their Teaching, except that part and fellowship of con­demnation which the Scriptures doth pass sentence of, against all that disobey their Teaching.

Reply. Wilt thou not here see thy ignorance, to ask a question and offer it for a Proof? was ever any that thou readest of in the scriptures, who were guided by the spirit of truth, thus taught? for the scriptures doth not set up it self, to be the teacher, nei­ther canst thou prove it, or that the scripture passeth sentence upon any, but the Lord gives forth his Word, that gives sen­tance against all the disobedient, & the scriptures do but declare that sencence which was given forth by the Lord; and it is the grace of God that teacheth, and the anointing within, and this the scripture bears Witness of, & directs the minds of all people unto, where true teaching is received, from the true voice, & this we labour to draw all men unto, therefore thy condemnation will be from the light which thou art at enmity with, and hates it, because thy deeds are evil.

10. Partic. That they are guilty of taking counsel together against Christ.

Proof. Is Proved in their binding themselves together in many & se­veral places, & thereby all the violence of words and writings that they can, draw men from the teaching of Christ & his Apostles, to follow their false devices, and secret pretended light:

Reply. Thou art in the Heathens rage, & there fighting against the Lord, & speaking evil of the things thou knowest not, calling the light false and pretended, which Christ & his Apostles prea­ched for the doctrine of salvation, unto all that love it & believe in it, & for condemnation unto all that hate it; & unto this light we exhort all people to look unto & be saved, which is the eter­nal truth, which thou canst not prevail against.

11. Partic. That they seek to kill Christ in his Witness.

Proof. Is proved in their seeking to kill that Christ which is preached and taught in the scriptures, to set up their own fals [...] Idol, which they call Christ within, never preach'd or Taught in scripture, but the scriptures will be lively Witnesses to their condemnation.

Reply. Thou art a cruel blasphemer to call Christ within a false Idol, & dare affirm that he never was so preacht or taught in the scriptures; doest thou talk so much of the scripture and their teaching, & hast thou never read in the declaration thereof that [Page 32] Christ is in heaven? & did not he teach unbeleevers to look for the kingdom of heaven within them? and hast thou not read Joh. 17. 23. I in them, and thou in me; and Gal. 1. 15, 16. But when it pleased God who separated me from my Mothers womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the Gentiles; and Col. 1. 27, 28. To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this Mysterie, among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you the hope of glory, whom we preach: Now let the wise in heart judge thy blasphemy, who hath denied Christ & the plain words of scriptures, & saith Christ within is a false Idol, & that he was never so preacht in the scriptures, when they preach'd that Christ that was in them, & not another, whom we know to live in us, & so preaches him, which thou by wicked hands crucifies & slayes in thee, & so blasphems his holy name; I am moved to warn thee to repentance, that thou mayst not go on in the hardness of thy heart, to treasure up Wrath, against the day of Wrath, & revela­tion of the righteous judgment of God, for thou art in the gall of bitterness, and the bond of iniquity.

12. Partic. That they set up a Kingdom of darkness.

Proof. Is proved in setting up their low-bred devices of darkness, a­gainst the glorious and heavenly light of Christ in the scriptures.

Reply. Let thy mouth of iniquity be for ever stopped, who hath denied Christ & the scriptures, & stands an open enemy against the glorious light of Christ, declared of in the scriptures; but where is it written that the heavenly light of Christ is in the scriptures, but it is written that the true light is Christ, and the scriptures are not Christ, but are they which testifies of him, therfore thy understanding is darkned, & the god of this World hath thee captive at his will, & fills thee full of Witchcraft, that by thy sorceries the simple minds are deceived, unto whose view thou art now opened, and thy enchantments is discovered, that thou may be seen naked and bare.

13. Partic. That they are against the Scriptures.

Proof. Was there ever any more grosly & wickedly against the scriptures than they who denied their life, disobey their teachings, boldly & au­daciously, and sets up their own darkness which they call light, a­gainst the light thereof?

Reply. Thou hast here manifested thy folly, in asking a question and offering it for a Proof, & speaking the same sentences over again which thou hast used before, and is Replied to, but thou [Page 33] art is a lost man, who knows not which way to take, & so many times goeth backward, when he should go forward, as thou art doing, who knows not what to say to make up somthing, to call a Proof; but the scriptures thou hast denied, and it is plainly proved against thee, and the light which they bear Witness of thou art an enemy unto it, and fighting against it.

14. Partic. That they deny the Lord that Bought them.

Proof. Is proved in their bringing in damnable here [...]ies; 2 Pet. 2. 1. under a pretence of a light within, to deny the [...]ight of Christ held forth in the Scripture; as in the doctrine of Redemption, saying, Their light within is the Redeemer, and that nothing without a man can Re­deem [...] him; by which is denied that great Redemption, and Redeem­er, who without [...]ll m [...]n, did Redeem all men.

Reply. Thou hast here brought a scripture, which is owned, and seen to be fulfilled in thee, that hast denied Christ within, who is the Lord, which is a damnable heresie, & contrary to the scrip­tures; & doth not that scripture say, that such as bring in dam­nable here [...]ies shall also speak evil of the way of truth? & is not this thy great business to speak evil of Christ the light of the world, who is the way and the truth, which thou art speaking a­gainst, & so act out of the doctrine of Redemption, not knowing thy Redeemer to live, having not obeyed from thy heart the form of Christ doctrine, & so art not come to the work of Re­demption, which worketh by his own mighty power in all that beleeve in him, saving from fin, & redeeming from all iniquity, and making perfect for ever through the sanctification of the spirit, which is his work within, and yet without all men; these things thou canst not reach unto, in thy wisdom below.

15. Partic. That they make the Word of God of none Authority.

Proof. Is proved by their Traditions against [...]he teachings of the Word of God, which tells men, that they who are without Faith are with­out Christ, & the true light, Eph. 2. 12. But the Quakers tells men, who are without faith, that they have & must look to Christ & the true light within; a flat contradiction to the div [...]n [...] Autho­rity of the Word of God.

Reply. All that knows the Word of God, & the teachings there­of do see thee to be in that state as they were, who were without Christ; & the Apostle doth not say that Christ was not within them, but that they were without Christ, & without God, in the world, & therfore he calls them to awake & arise from the dead, [Page 34] [...] Christ might give them light, which was not a light without [...]nem, for that they had whilst they were dead, but to the light within them, did he mind them, which when they had received, they were made light in the Lord, & knew him to be the Author of their Faith, which he wrought in their [...]ea [...]s by the Word of his power, which is the Word of Faith preached, & stands in the divine authority of God, that so it is the true doctrin which the Word of God teacheth, without any contradiction, that they who are without faith are without Christ; & yet who are without faith are to look unto Christ within them, & obey him there, that he may work faith in their hearts, which those who are at enmi­ty with him, doth not come to know, & so abides without him in the unbelief, & in the world, having no comunion with his life, & though such be without him, yet he is within them a faithful witness to reprove them in their own conscience, for their trans­gression & disobedience; but the Book unto thee is sealed & thou art unlearn'd & thy heart hardened, that thou wilt not beleeve truth, though from the living Word of God it be declared.

16. Partic. That they set their hearts against the Lords Teachings in the Scriptures.

Proof. Is proved in their setting themselves in array against the tea­chings of Christ & his Apostles in the scriptures, which is the open manifestation of the true light, & calling men into the desart and secret place, to look for light in the house of darkness.

Reply. Christ said, false Christs & false Prophets should arise & shew great figns and wonders, insomuch that if it were possible they should deceive the very elect; but saith he, Behold I have told you before, wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold he is in the desart, go not forth, Mat. 24. If thy understanding was opened to know the scriptures, Christs own words declares the [...] plainly what thou art, & what signs & wonders thou art shewing to deceive by, saying, Christ is without, behold him there, Christ saith, Go not forth, this is his own doctrine, & all believers obeys it, & that which they were not to go forth from, was within them and when those false Prophets came vvhich Christ said should come, John savv their deceit, & their seducing spirit, in the same light, in vvhich thou art novv made manifest, & he exhorted to bevvare of that vvhich did seduce, & to look unto that vvhich vvas vvithin them, which is the anointing, saith he, that ye have received of him & abideth in you, & you need not that any man [Page 35] teach you, but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and no lye, Joh. 2 27. And thus the Scriptures comes to be known and witnessed in the unity of that Spirit which is but one in all, Christ said false prophets should come, Go [...] forth, John saw them when they did come, and he said, Abide in the anointing which is in [...]; and here is the pure Doctrine of Christ & the Apostle decla­red in the unity of the Spirit, which thou art at enmity with, and so teacheth another Doctrine, as all false Prophets & deceivers do.

17. Partic. That they set up their own traditions.

Proof. Is proved in setting up their pretended light, which is quite contrary to the light and teachings of Scripture:

Rep. Thou being in the state of darkness, calls good evil, and so falsly accuses the truth by thy lying spirit, which to make way for thy lyes to be brought in, cryes out against the truth to be contrary to the Scripture-teaching; and under this Vail of thick darkness, was the Lord of glory crucified by the wise Scripture-learned, who cried out against him, to teach contrary to what was written in the Law and the Prophets, and so enviously set themselves against him who was the end of the Law and Prophets, and falsly accused him (as thou in that Wisdom art doing) who is the light of the world.

18. Partic. That they pull down the Oracle of God in the Scriptures.

Proof. Is proved in their calling the Scriptures dead and lifeless, and pulling their teachings from mens hearts and minds, that they might receive their false Voice which is quite contrary to them.

Rep. Christ's sheep hear his voice, and follows him, and his voice they know from strangers; and it is the true Voice which is uttered from Gods holy habitation, which is sweet to all that love it, and a terror to all that hate it, unto which we mind all people to give di­ligence, that with a ready performance they may obey and do what­soever it doth command; and this is the still voice which is behinde thee, from which thou starts aside, and will not abide the reproof thereof.

19. Partic. That they set up their own Idol-Books as a living voice.

Proof. Is proved in their setting up their Books for Teachers, and calling the Scriptures dead and lifelefs; which books com­pared with their denyal of the Scriptures teaching, are set forth with bl [...]sphemous Tities.

Rep. The Lord God who lives for ever, pleads the cause of the innocent against thy false tongue; and he that searcheth all hearts, [Page 36] and judgeth right in every conscience, knows that thou dost falsly accuse the righteous generation, and that there is no guilt upon them, as to what thou hast charged against them; for they do not deny the Scriptures, nor sets up their Books for Teachers, neither are the Titles thereof blasphemous; but in this thou hast served thy Master to the full, and to all moderate Spirits art manifest to bear the Image of him who was a lyar from the beginning; and thou hast neither shewed what they deny the Scriptures in, not what Ti­tles their Books bears, nor how they are blasphemous, neither hast given any Scripture-proof or expression for what thou hast said, but as thou hatcheth mischief in thy heart, so thou utters it without fear.

20. Partic. That they perswade themselves and others of a light within, without & against any testimony of Scripture.

Proof. Is proved in all their teachings by word and writing which chiefly consists in this, to te [...] men who are not in the faith, That they must look onely to the light within them, and not to the Scriptures light, which is without, and against all Scripture-teaching.

Rep. The beast hath been sore troubled for any defence against the Lambs power; for thou hast had thy proofs so far to seek, that if thou hadst not gone down into the pit of darkness, where lyes are invented, thou might'st have stood silent, which had been better for thee then to make lyes thy refuge, and with them accuse the truth, and rise up against the Lamb and his followers, to make War, & ra­ther then thou wilt stand stil, thou wilt add lye to lye, & speak them over and over, as is manifest in the particulars, and what thou hast offered to prove them by; and it is a true Doctrine, and hath before been plainly proved, That all men are to look unto Christ who is the light of the World, that in his light they may walk, and know him to be the Author of Faith, and to work it in their hearts with pow­er, and no unbeliever is to look unto any other thing but Christ the true light, and the Author of Faith, and the Teacher, and there is not another, neither doth the Scriptures set themselves in that place, but bear witness unto him unto whom all power is given, who by his own living voice calls all to come unto him, and they that come, he doth not cast off, neither sends them to the Scriptures (not any thing else) for life or salvation, but opens the fresh springs, where satisfa­ction and pure refreshment is received, and eternal life witnessed, and the Scripture-testimony owned, and so by the light are thy lies and false accusations condemned.

[Page 37] Then thou saist, Th [...] reminds me of what I ought to prove against [...] which is, That thou goes upon thy belly, and feeds upon the dust.

Thou didst confess in thy Writing that it was the Lords Sentence against the Serpent; then look into the 23. of Matthew; and there see what sort of people they were that Christ calls Serpents; & though there be not thy name, yet thou hast the nature, and in that is wor­king the same wickedness, and filling up the measure of thy fathers: And here thou maist read thy self, and thy portion; and this is a plain proof to all the children of light, unto whom I offer it, who hath unity wi [...]h that which proveth all things

Then thou bids me labour to have my mind enlarged, though my bo­dy be in prison, & then askest, If the light within hath taught me to deny Tythes without the Scriptures; and if I will say my cause is good, being for the non-payment of Tythes, and if the light within hath taught me that without the Scriptures, then thou sayest he who throws me in pri­son may pretend as good a light within to demand them, as I to deny them; but if I deny to pay because the Scripture hath taught me otherwise; thou askest, Why I will not as well obey them in what they command me in other things, as in the non-payment of money; and then askest, Why I will call them dead and lifeless, and yet call them for my defence when I am in need, Then thou bids me consider well of this, and be not deceived.

It is not my own labour that can enlarge my mind unto God; neither is it the imprisonment of my body, that can keep my mind bound, but in the Lords power my heart is enlarged, and I made willing to run the way of his Commands, who is near unto me, and in the midst of my sufferings; his comforts delight my soul, and his right hand upholds me, and my cause is good, being for the non­payment of tythes, and thou canst not overthrow it; and by the light of Christ in my conscience I am taught to deny them, and in the light I have unity with the Scriptures, and am made to stand a Witness against all deceit and oppression, as they did who gave forth the Scriptures, knowing Christ the end of all types & figures, tythes, & temples made with hands, who is the unchangeable life; But this Gate is too straight for thee to enter in at, and the way to narrow for thee to walk in, and so thou lightly esteems of those that are tru­ly called by the Lord to walk therein, and unto all things which by the Doctrine of Christ in the Scriptures I am commanded, I desire to wait, that I may perform them with a ready mind, and that I may [Page 38] as a good servant do the will of God who is my helper in the [...] ful time, and doth defend me from all false tongues; neither [...] own, or call any thing for my defence in the truth, but he [...] who is my life, in whom I trust, that doth not fail me, but [...] wrought great things for me by his own arm, and I trust will [...] deliver me, when the good pleasure of his will he hath performed▪ So thy secret parts are unveiled, & thou art manifested where [...] goes, and upon what thou feeds; for it is the Serpents poyson whi [...] out of thy mouth is cast, who would give him that casts me into [...] ­ [...]on as good right to demand Tythes by a pretended light, as I to de­ny them from the true light, & so by thy rule would make the thing pretended to be of equal weight, with that which in the truth is [...] ­blished; for all that receives the spirit which is of God, knows the things that are freely given of God, and the light of Christ which enlighteneth every man that comes into the world, doth not give unto any man as good a right to demand any part of the substance which the Lord gives and encreases unto me, as it doth unto me [...] deny that▪ [...]an of his demand, & to receive my own which the Lord hath encreased unto me: And he who pretends such a light to [...] ­mand that which is not his, nor which no man can in the truth giv [...] him any interest in, he errs from the true light, & his pretence [...] not make his demand neither equal nor warrantable; for the [...] light doth not lead any man to covet, or to desire that which is [...] his, but brings all that are guided by it to be satisfied & contented with the Lords free-gift and encrease unto them; and so the tenth Cock of Hey or Corn, or other encrease, is as truly my own as the nine, being the same encrease unto me from the Lord, and I [...] challenge it as the Lords blessing, and so receives it as my own, [...] ­ly from the Lord, without yeilding any account to any man; [...] have the answer of a good conscience in it, and peace with God in suffering for it; & who receives tythes, denies Christ the true light and who payes tythes, are not guided by him who is the end [...] Tythes, and of that Covenant under which Tythes were paid.

Therefore look over thy self again, and be covered with shame, and let thy [...] tongue be forever silent, who hath so proudly, scornfully, and disdainfully spoken [...] the right way of the Lord, and those that walk therein; So I have considered thee [...] light, in which all things are considered wel [...], and sees thee to be a blasph [...]e [...], a [...] a lyar, and a slanderer, a [...]d so hath proved thee. Therefore the Doctrine of [...] is prea [...]ed unto thee.

W. S.

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