JACOB THE Plain Man Wrestling with God un [...] Break of the Day, and prevalling in the Lig [...] [...]ereof, for perfect VICTORY and DOMINIGN over ESAU THE Rough & Cunning Man, And over all that would hinder him from going up to Bethel, the House of God, to sacrifice unto him in the Place where he first appear'd unto him.

Whereby all may see, how I was after long Wrest­ling with, and seeking the Lord, brought off from Pro­fessing and Preaching that for Gospel which made not free from sin in this Life, that I might come to know the Light and Life of Jesus manifest in me for the Destroying the Works of the Devil, and giving Power to supplant & overcome all that would hinder from going up to the Mountain of the Lord's House to Worship and Serve him in the Life and Purity of his own Spirit, which is blessed for evermore; Whose Outward Name is

Laurence Steel.

Printed in the Year, 1677.


THese things were required of me to give forth to be read in the Fear of the Lord, which (if kept to) will make a right Application of all unto thy own Estate and Condition, either by way of Condemning thee or Justifying of thee; and may, if in Singleness of Heart thou readest, help to open thy Understand­in the Discerning of these things, which the Lord (through the Dayes of Judgment and Tryals that are past, and those that are yet to come) hath and will more and more supplant & overturn, and what he hath and will yet more and more establish and exalt in the room thereof, that so thou mayst come timely to escape the one, and to joyn unto the other, lest the Day of the Lord, which will be as a Thief in the Night, overtake thee unawares.

A TESTIMONY TO THE Gospel of Christ Jesus: AS Anciently preached and believed in by the Primitive APOSTLES and CHRISTIANS; with the Manner of my coming to witness and receive the same.

THe Gospel of Christ (as it was preached and witnessed by the Primitive Christians) is the Power of God unto Salvation unto them that do believe, in which Gospel the Wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all (mark, All) Ungodliness and Unrighteousness of Men, who hold the Truth (which is the Gospel that should save them) in Unrighteousness: (So the Truth is in Un­righteous Men, and testifieth against their Unrigh­teousness, in which it is by them held down and im­prisoned, which keeps them from witnessing Deli­verance thereby.) And in this Gospel there is no Glad-tidings to any in Unrighteousness, nor Justifi­cation in Ungodliness, but Wrath revealed against it, and abideth upon all such as hold the Truth there­in, until they come to bow to the Wrath of God [Page 4] which is revealed in them for the cutting down of all Unrighteousness and Ungodliness, and for the free­ing of the Truth which is held therein; and such come through the righteous Judgments of God to know that Righteousness, which is Christ, the Power of God, to be revealed, for the removing and taking away of the Wrath that was upon them, and the bringing them to Life and Justification, who are hereby made Witnesses, that what may be known of God, viz. of his Eternal Power, to sanctifie and re­deem out of Sin and Unrighteousness, is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them to be his Gospel and Power unto Salvation, who do come from holding of the Truth in Unrighteousness, to hold this Mystery of Faith in a pure Conscience; so this Gospel of Christ, which is a Mystery, was ma­nifested or shewed to the Primitive Saints to be within. And how was it shewed? Not by Tra­dition from Man, or any outward Letter, but by Revelation; Therefore it is said, The wrath of God is revealed (mark) and The Righteousness of God is re­vealed; and Paul calls the Gospel, which he received not by Tradition from any, The Revelation [mark] of his Son in him. And how was it that Christ came to be revealed in Paul, but by the Light, which ex­ceeded the Brightness of the Sun, the outward na­tural Light, which Light was the Appearance of Jesus of Nazareth, which also inwardly shewed him, and prickt him for his Persecution, which he saw not, nor was not judged for by the outward Letter of the Law, according to which he was blameless: And Paul being thus met with and stopt by a great­er Power and Authority then that by which he was [Page 5] before acting, it was hard for him to kick against the Pricks of this Light; but he fell down, both he and his Companions, with their Commission from the High Priest, and all their Letter Knowledge before this Light of Jesus, which was greater then all; and here Paul lay until the Light that struck him down said unto him, Stand up; and in the rising up, after he had known the inward Pricks and Ter­rors of the Lord, he came to receive a Power and Commission, to turn the People from Darkness un­to the Light, which he else-where calls the Revelation of Christ in him; and when the Saints heard that Paul preached of and by virtue from Christ revealed in him, which Gospel he once sought to destroy, they glorified God in him [mark, in him] And this was and is the true Gospel, and the manner of the Saints receiving of it, viz. by Revelation, not by Tradition from Men or Writings; and if an Angel from Hea­ven should bring any other Gospel, he was to be ac­cursed: And this was and is the true Foundation, other then which no man can lay, upon which the Ancient Christians built their Hope of Glory, viz. Christ in them, which was not another then Jesus of Nazareth, who was with them, and now came to be manifest in them for the destroying of the Works of the Enemy, that so he and his Works be­ing cast out, the Seed of God, which is Christ the greater Power, might only remain in perfect Domi­nion and Possession of the Hearts, out of the good Treasure whereof good Fruits and Works were to be brought forth to his Glory, who is blessed for­ever.

Now, this Gospel of Christ I could not meet with, [Page 6] or hear preached in any of the Professions that I was conversant in, whose Faith was, that Revelation was ceased, and that there was not a total Cessation from Sin (which is the Work of the Devil) attainable in this Life, nor no such Grace or Light given to Mankind, by which they might come to deny all Ungodliness, and all Worldly Lusts; but that, if the Conversation were re­formed, yet there would be Lust and Sin still remaining within to the Life's end, from the Commission whereof none could be fully freed by any Power or Strength, which God had given on this side the Grave. Nor did I receive this Gospel by Tradition from Man, or any Writings, Learning or Wisdom of my own, but from the li­ving God, who separated me for his Service from the Womb, and placed his Fear in me, which incli­ned me in the beginning of my dayes to seek his Glory & Honour above the Pleasures of this World, and by the Riches of his free Grace drew me out of those Wayes in which many Children were walk­ing to their Destruction; so that in the Feeling of the Movings and Strivings of his Spirit (which I plainly remember from the sixth and seventh years of my Age) I often left my Companions and Recreati­ons that I was engaged with to seek some Place for Prayer, and for the easing of my Heart unto him, fearing that, if I answered not his Call at that time, I should not feel the same drawing afterward, which sometimes I found to my Sorrow; and the same Power constrained me to cry to him, To acquaint me with himself, and to convert me from every Evil Way and Work, which I was prone to, that I might gain others unto him, and if he called me to it, Dye for him, as I read many of the Martyrs, [Page 7] who were weak in themselves, he enabled to do. And being devoted to the Ministry from my Birth by my Parents, who were zealous Professors of the Inde­pendant-Way, they spared no Pains to instruct me in the Principles of that Religion, nor any Cost for the Educating of me in the Knowledge of that Lear­ning that was esteemed requisite for that Work: So that about the twelfth year of my Age I was placed abroad with other Children at the School, by whose Example and Importunity I was drawn to spend my Leisure-Hours in those Sports and Pastimes which were accounted harmless, and by Reason of my Earnestness therein, I neglected to answer the Mo­vings of the Spirit of God, which was near me, and would often have kept me back from going with them, whose Vain Words and Actions were a Bur­then to me, or else would have taken me off some­times in the midst of my Play, and called me to seek the Lord for my Soul, the Motions of which were day after day quenched by my Disobedience, until, as to my Feeling, it had ceased to strive with me; so that, when I went to pray or seek the Lord, my Heart was shut up, and my Words returned un­to me again, and I stood as one smitten before the Lord, not being able many times to utter or bring forth a word, because of the Guilt and Condemna­tion that was upon me when I came to be retired from my Companions, which Guilt I heaped up for some years, until the Reckoning was high between me and the Lord, whose Judgments and Indignation so seized upon me at last, as that I knew not but I was forsaken forever, and had sinned out the Day of my Vi­sitation, and would have bowed to any Terms for the [Page 8] Heast Hopes of Mercy, or escaping the Torments of Hell that were before me, or for the obtaining the Stirring and Strivings of the Spirit of God with me, as formerly I had felt it; but my Cry seemed to be shut out, so that my Life became a Burthen to me, and all that I enjoyed was imbittered by the Wrath and Judgments of the Lord, which followed me wheresoever I went, or whatsoever I did, so that there was no strugling with it, or diverting of it, which brought a Wasting and Consumption upon my Body, which I never fully recover'd to this time, & this continu'd for many Moneths, in which I scarce­ly open'd my heart to any but the Lord, who through his Chastizements and Rebukes, in which I did par­take in Measure with Christ in his Suffering & Bap­tism, brought me by his Word of Power to some hope of Mercy, and escaping of his Wrath, not by justifying of me in my Sin, but clensing me in Mea­sure from Sin and the Love of it, which Tidings was more precious to me then the Gain of the whole World, though my Body was left very weak, and my Strength decayed, which in time was by the same Word restored to the Admiration of my Relations and Acquaintance, that knew me in my Sickness. And now my Fears and Distrusts were Banished by the Risings of the Life & Spirit of God in me, which wrought more frequently and powerfully then be­fore, drawing me into greater Watchfulness over my Thoughts, Words and Actions, and into an higher Abstinence from the Pleasure and Delights of this World, moving Me to reprove such as disho­noured the Name of the Lord, or did offend & grieve his Spirit by the Mis-spending Time in Vanity, [Page 9] in which I spared no Relations or others; and often­times I was constrained to Warn and Reprove pro­phane and wanton People upon the Road, and to ease my self in Evil Company by crying to the Lord, which brought a Fear and Dread upon them, and none durst to with-stand the Power that was with me in any Reproof, Prayer or Exhortation, which was administred in the Denyal of my own Will, in which I never went without a certain Reward of Peace in my Bosome, which were the best Times that ever I knew before the Truth was clearly mani­fested to me, when I was not yet setled in any Form or Profession, or observed any stinted Times or Way of Praying or seeking the Lord, but as by his Spirit he moved upon my Heart, at Home or Abroad, to cry unto him, I obeyed, wondering and admiring what that was which was so sweet and pleasant in its Incomes, and drew me into a daily waiting for it, as my Life, and by which I was broken and tendered in the receiving of every Mercy and Blessing as from the Lord, and burdened and wounded with what was dead and unsavoury. After which I was stir­red up to seek after a People with whom I might have Unity in the Feeling of the same Life and Ex­perience of the same work which I had pass'd through And in the Zeal of my Heart, as one raised from the Dead, that diligently minded the Improvement of the Time that I was intrusted with, I neglected no Oportunities in all Seasons and Weathers, without regarding the Health of my Body, to go to hear such as were esteemed Lively Awakening Preachers, first of the Presbyterians, and then of the Independants, un­to whom I joyned my self as a Member, among [Page 10] whom I felt a Measure of the Stirrings of the Pow­er of God, which brought Terror upon the Ungod­ly, and seized many that were loose and vain, with a Sense of their Iniquity, and made them cry out under it, and raised those Hungerings and Thirstings after Righteousness, which caused many to break forth in earnest Cryes and Supplications unto God for Deliverance from the Bonds of Sin and Iniquity, which was become burdensom unto them, & for the obtaining of that righteousness which was more pre­cious in their Eye then the Glories and Pleasures of the World, which they seemed dead unto for a time: And with this Work I had Unity, and delighted to be with this People in the dayes of their Tenderness, and to spend Time in Prayer and Conference with them. After which, as we came to settle in the Form, and to stint and limit the Spirit of God, so I perceived a dying to the Life that moved and bubled up in us, and caused us to breath and cry to the Lord, so that, when we came together, we were full of Complaints of Dryness, Barrenness and Lukewarmness that we were come unto, and for want of those living Breathings, which once we felt, which we were ready to believe that we should never come out of these Complaints, to know per­fect Victory over our Corruptions here below; and here in the Integrity of my Heart, I rather blamed and judged my self (even when I knew no real Neg­lect by my self) then to blame the Ministry and Way that was preached, until the Lord shewed me the true Reason and Cause not to be from my own Carelesness, in the Neglect of any prescribed Means which I followed, but because of the Shortness and [Page 11] Defect of that Gospel in which there was no Pow­er declared of, that might free from Sin in this Life, nor Faith to believe in the Manifestation of Christ, who was come (not only to bind the Strong Man, which some of us knew for a time, until he came to break his Bonds, and get loose again, but) to de­stroy the seed of the Serpent, and his Works in us, which being destroy'd, so as not to remain longer in us we might come to be born of God, so as not to com­mit Sin, because of the Seed of God, which is Christ Jesus, remaining alone in us in full Power and per­fect Dominion over the seed of the Serpent and his Works: But instead thereof, they declared of a Justification and Salvation by Christ which was con­sistent with the remaining of the Enemy, and of his Works of Darkness and Defilement in them unto the Life's End, when the time of Redemption was past: So that after they had brought the People to a sense of sin and iniquity, and Desire of Deliver­ance, which was good and precious in its day, they could bring them to no further Perfection in this Life, then the laying again and again (as often as they performed any Duties or Services) the Founda­tion of Repentance from Dead Works, where­with their best Services were poluted, and the laying again of the Foundation of Faith towards God, whom they professed still to be going towards, but could not come to him, having not their Con­sciences purged from Dead Works, which all must have that would offer up living Sacrifices, and work the Works of God, which are never to be repented of. And since (according to their Gospel) a through clensing from sin was not to be effected in this Life, nor could not be after this Life, in which the Re­demption [Page 12] of the Soul ceaseth, they should have shew­ed some Middle Place for the Accomplishment of this necessary Work, without which there could be no Admission into the Kingdom of God.

And in the Sense of that Decay of Life and Spiri­tualness, and that Earthliness that was got up a­mong Professors, who by their fashioning themselves according to the World, had lost their Testimony for God, I eased my self in the first publick Opor­tunity that was offered me in London, the Place of my Nativity, from these Words of Paul, All seek their own things, and not the things of Jesus Christ; and another time at a Fast, from the Testimony of Jeremiah, Though Moses and Samuel stood before me yet [...]ould not my Heart be towards this People; cast them out of my Sight, let them go forth: Which things were uttered not to please man, but to discharge my Con­science, in the manifesting those Provocations, which was a Grief to see in such as professed Salvation and Redemption by Christ Jesus, and yet were not to be distinguished from them who made no Profession of him; & for my plain Dealing I met with much Love, and soliciting to come oftner among them. Thus ha­ving sought into the highest Professions I could hear of, in which I was uprightly desirous to know the utmost of what was to be found of Life and Purity, which did not amount to that Spiritualness, and Vi­ctory over Sin which I looked for, in a People, and for which I was raised up; wherefore in Refusal of more publick Imployments I accepted of a private Place in Dorset-shire, where I was to tutor their Chil­dren, and pray and preach in the Family for such a yearly Stipend, which when it came to be paid I [Page 13] was not suffered to take any thing for preaching, which also I denyed in London: And in this Family where there were many of a seeking enquiring Spi­rit, I kept up the Family-Worship, according to the Practice and Example of the best reputed Christians which I walkt strictly by, and the Meeting on the First Dayes, unto which many People came, until that I came to preach from those Words Heb. 4. v. 12. For the Word of God is Quick and Powerful, and Sharper then any Two edged Sword, Piercing, even to the Dividing asunder the Joynts and the Marrow; at the finishing of which Scripture, after I was retired into my Chamber the Word of the Lord came to me after this manner, bring no more vain Oblations before me, but wait upon the living Motions of my Spirit, to bring forth that Sacrifice which is accepted with me (out of which I could see no Offerings accepted of God, or prest by Christ or his Apostles upon any) withal reminding me of what I had formerly felt of the Quickness and Sharpness of this Word to cut me down from my vain Pleasures and Pastimes, which was the same that was now come to cut me down from my vain Oblations; by which the Spirit of God was again quencht & limited, & to bring me to that which was more pure & spiri­tual, and that the Issue of withstanding this Counsel of God, would be the casting me under Despair again, which Words, as I was required, so I declared them to one of the Heads of the Family, desiring the Pray­er Bell might not ring for me, for that I now felt the Word of the Lord to be really as I had preacht it, as a Sword to cut me down from all vain Oblations, so that there was struggling or resisting, or kicking a­gainst the Pricks of this living Word, or satisfying [Page 14] of it, but by coming out of all that which I had taken up by Tradition, or Imitation of any, out of its Lead­ings, which was not out of any Disrespect to that spiritual Prayer & Supplication which was exhorted unto in the Scriptures, which I did the more earnestly watch unto; but for Fear of offending God by offering that which was become Sin and Iniquity to him, even the Solemn Assembly, as it is called Isa. 1.13. But all this while no man stopt me, uor did any Persecution stop me, but I was the more enlarged by it; neither did I act from any Counsel or president of any of the peo­ple called Quakers, from whose Converse I kept my self, so as to be acquainted with none of them in that Country, or in any other place where I had lived, and also from reading their Books, or going to their Meetings, because of the Danger of Infection that was reported of them; and when a Servant that li­ved in the Family, where I was, inclined to go among them, I diswaded her from it: And now having laid down all at the Feet of God in a Readiness to fol­low him whitherever he would lead me, I enquired of the Lord what was the Way, and People, and Foundation that he would establish and set up in the Room of what he had pulled down? and the Lord shewed me, and caused me to declare the substance of it to the Family, that according to the Vision of the Prophet Isaiah in the six first verses of the second chapter, Read ver. 1, and 2. That he was now come to establish the Spiritual Mountain of his House, a Wor­ship which Christ set up in the Dayes of his Flesh, not only over the Mountains of Samaria and Jerusalem, but over all the Mountains and Hills which have since risen up in the Apostacy, under what Form or [Page 15] Denomination soever, in all which Mountains and Hills there was no Mountain of the Lord's House, where he, had his Residence and Dwelling, and therefore he would e­stablish this Mountain for his House, unto which all the Nations (where the Enemy had set up his Mountains and House, in which he had his Seat) should flow, so that there should be no other Mountain or House of the Lord, but this alone, which should in time make the other Mountains de­solate, as without Inhabitants, which Mountain man in all his Might, Strength and Wisdom, should have none of the Glory of the Establishment or Exal­tation thereof, but the Lord alone, whose House it was, who would be known to be the God of Jacob, that was come forth to supplant and overturn the lofty Mountains and Hills, and all that dwelt therein, by such a poor despised People as Jacob was. Read v. 3.

And that according to the Prophet's Vision, The Peo­ple that came to this Mountain of the Lord's House were gone up into a higher State of supplanting and overcoming, then was known in any of the other Mountains and Hills; & as they had the highest and freest Mission & Authority, so they had the highest Message and call, to wit, to come up to the Teachings of the God of Jacob, who was come to supplant and overturn all the Teachers of the Mountains and Hills, whose Teachings so affected those that came un­to it, as that they were resolved to walk in no other Paths or Wayes, but what the God of Jacob taught them, accor­ding to their Language (we will walk) nor would they go back any more to the Mountains and Hills where the Lord had no house or dwelling, nor no teaching of the poor and needy how to supplant and overcome their Enemies; for that now they were come to an higher and better Mountain, which was as Zion and Jerusalem, where [Page 16] the Infallible Word and Law of God was revealed and gi­ven forth, as it was to Jacob, who had no other Written Word or Law to walk by, read ver. 4.

It was shewed me, That by and through this People (who were now come) The Lord would cause his Judg­ments and Rebukes to be poured out upon all the Swords and Spears which were used to force the People to, or to de­tain them in the Mountains and Hills, or from coming to the Mountain of the Lord's House, which needed not any Sword or Spear to estalish or exalt it, or to force the Nati­ons that were ready and free of themselves to flow unto it. And that the Lord would also indue this People, as he did Jacob, with so much Thriftiness and Prudence, as not to waste or throw away what might be improved for the good of the Creation, so that, a [...] they should not make any Spoyl upon the Body by the Sword and Spear, so neither should they waste the Swords that had spoyled, but rather beat them into Plow-shares, and the spears into pruning-hooks and so turn destructive Weapons into useful Instruments, for the publick prosperity of the Nations, unto which they should become a Blessing, as Jacob and his Seed was: That their Faith and Belief should be so high, as that the Judgments and Rebukes of the Lord should never cease af­ter the Proclaiming this Mountain, until (Supplanter like) it had brought down all Nations, Parties and Per­swasions to cease from rising up one against another; and that the Concord and Agreement of the Nations should be so great, as that (the House of the Lord being now come, for which they fought) they should learn War no more, nor seek to take up any Sword or Spear, which they had beaten into Plow-shares and pruning-hooks, which now they were to learn the use of, as that which should abide when the Sword and all the Trade and Traffick of the Moun­tains [Page 17] that was for War, should cease and come to in End, read ver. 5.

It was shewed me, as these verses opened one after another, that the People unto whom I was to go, were, as to the Nobility of their Off spring, of the House and Family of Worm Jacob the Supplanter, and that as Jacob did, so they should also supplant the Nations, by the most unlikeliest Wayes and Means, viz. Not by Rough­ness, as Esau, who was the Father of the Mountains, but by Smoothness and Gentleness; not by Pollicy and Cun­ningness, as Esau, but by Plainness and Simplicity; not by going from Home & seeking and toyling abroad, like Esau the Hunter, but by quiet abiding in their Tents and Ha­bitations; not by Might nor Force of outward Weapons, in the Disuse of which Jacob was singular from his Prede­cessors, but by Strength of Prayers & spiritual Wrestlings, which is attested by several learned Men, upon Gen. 48.22. not by any bloody Plots or Conspiracies, nor by any Confederacy with the House of Levi, the Father of the Priests, in whose House (but not in Jacob's) the Instru­ments of Cruelty were found, upon whom Jacob pour­ed out an irrevocable Curse, and in the Hatred and Antipathy of his innocent Mind charged his Soul, not to enter into his Assembly, nor his Honour to be united to him—Not by the Dictates or Example of any precedent men or Scripture that was not then written, but by following the Guidance of God's Word and Spirit, which brought him up over all Opposition & Assaults to Bethel, the Place of Worship and Sacrifice unto God, in which Respects Jacob was singled out by the Holy Ghost, as a Lively Type of the People whom God would call and raise up from a low Degree in the last Dayes.

And I had not only a sight of this People by their Doctrine, Practice and Off-spring before mentioned, but also By the Principle by which they should walk, and from which they should receive Power to supplant and overturn, which was the Light of the Lord, which Light their Message should be to call the People to, Read ver. 5. O House of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the Light of the Lord, which Light was suffici­ent to bring them off from the Mountains and Hills up to the House of God, where the God of Jacob teacheth and giveth forth his Word and Law, which is not the Light of man's Dictates or Examples but the Light of the God of Jacob, by which Jacob walked, and was taught to supplant & overcome; so that, as this Mountain came to be established on the Top of all the Mountains and Hills, so the Light also should be established and exalted on the Top of all the Foundations, Rules and Principles of the Moun­tains that walked by Tradition: The Sufficiency of which Light should not be only manifested by the Benefit of them that walk therein, but by the Forsaking of those that should reject and despise it, the Cause of which should be their being filled and replenisht with some­thing else; Read ver. 6. to the end. so that there should be no more room to receive Christ in his spiritual Appearance, as a Light, then there was room in the Inn, which was filled and replenisht with other Guests, to receive him in his outward Appearance, because of which God would cause his Judgments and Rebukes to pass upon the Treasures and Idols, and Glory of the Mountains, which had reple­nisht and filled up their hearts, so as to stain their Glory, until he had left them not a Staff or a Stay to lean upon, & had caused the Mark of his Displeasure to pass upon the Mighty Man, the Man of War, the Captain of fifty, the [Page 19] Judge, the Prophet, the Prudent, the Counsellor, the Cunning Artificer and Eloquent Orator, so that no Rank or Degree of men, that had despised this Mountain or Light should be able by all their Power & Prudence, Art or Cun­ning to escape the Stroke of the God of Jacob, who is come forth in his spiritual Host & Army to Supplant and over­turn, until the Lofty Looks of Man, that looks scornful­ly upon this People and Light, as Esau did upon Jacob, be brought low, and his Haughtiness be abased, and he made of no account, that so the God of Jacob may alone be Reverenced and exalted in his own House and People, and there be no Mountain, House or Principle left to stand in Competition with him.

Thus being the second time ransomed through Judgment, and the Way of the Lord so plainly o­pened unto me, I could no longer delay seeking out some of the People here described, whom I was con­vinced were come, but I knew not where to find, but as the Lord put it into my Heart to go to such a Pro­fessor's House, and desire him to send for one of the People called Quakers, which I did, and when I came to him, and enquired of him concerning that People he told me, There were in that Village but Three or Four Families of Poor Inconsiderable People, that were mean in Ability, and that the Men were at Harvest, but their Wives were at Home; So I sent for one of them, whom when she came, I took strict notice of her Carriage and Words; and when I had discoursed with her about the Light of Christ, which they professed in them, and what Benefit they reaped by walking in it, to overcome their Spiritual Enemies, and to work Salvation for them; her Testimony so suited to what the Lord had before shew'd unto me, [Page 20] and the Gravity and Saviour of her Language and Deportment was such; counselling me, To mind the Truth in me, which would bring me further, as I kept low and obedient to the Cross of Christ Jesus, for that the Lord had a further Work in his due time to do in me and by me; which Advice was of God, so that I could not but confess to the Wisdom she was guided by, which I esteemed the more for her outward Mean­ness and Plainness: and afterwards, as I discoursed with her Husband, a plain Man, in his Return from Labour, I found, that their whole Stay and Support was in the Spirit of the Lord, whose Teachings and Leadings they waited for at all times, to guide them out of all Evil Thoughts, Words and Works, into all Truth, in which God alone is worshipped; which Testimony best reached my Conscience, and answered the Spirit of Truth in my own Heart, the manner of whose stirring & movings from a Child, and of its being quenched, and co­ming to be raised again, I have before declared of, concerning which I never met with any that testifi­ed so feelingly and experimentally of the inward Work of Redemption and Regeneration by Christ Jesus, in the Sense of which my Heart was upon the first Meeting firmly united to them, so as from that time not to look back any more unto any thing the Lord had called me out of, but resolved, to take up my Lot with them, which I signified to my Relations. And when I returned in the Evening from this plain people and came in before the Counsellor and his Wife with my usual Language and Deportment, which was out of the Cross of Christ, which I knew was un­like to the plain Language of the Scriptures, and Beha­viour of Christ and his Apostles, I was soon reproved [Page 21] for Respect of Persons, and lost my Peace and Life that was raised in me, and so went to my Bed un­der Judgment, crying unto the Lord, Not to with­hold his Peace and Comfort from me, nor to let this put a­ny stop to what he intented further to make known unto me, promising to obey him, if he would spare me to the Morning; which when I was risen and had seated my self, the Counsellour's Wife, whom I well estee­med and respected, came into the Chamber, unto whom, because of the Fear of the Lord, I used that plain Language and Department which I was con­vinced of, in which, though it may seem as a small thing, I had great Joy and Peace; and when I was asked the Occasion of that Change and Alteration that was in me, I told her to this effect, That I was now confirmed by Converse, that the People which I preached of to be the House of Jacob, the Plain Man, were come, the Way of whose Supplanting should be by that which see­med Foelishness and Simplicity unto the Nations: After which it went forth into the Family and Country, That I was become a Quaker. And the next First Day, being alone at Home, I was required, To go to the Place where I first spake with the Woman, and to seek out their Meeting; which I did, and when I came, I found a few People met together in a serious manner, wait­ing upon the Lord, among whom (though few, if any words were utter'd) I felt that Presence and Power of God in which I had more Satisfaction then in my own Preaching and Praying—and such a room and place this People had with me (as still they have) that I thought no time too long which I spent with them, or Pains too much to go to their Meetings, which was far distant from that Place; and the more. I [Page 22] was acquainted with them, the more I was united to them, especially after that I had heard their Testi­monies and Declarations, and was a Witness of the Life and Power that accompanied Mean Illiterate Persons, such as the first that I heard was, I was the more joyned unto them, whose Prayers and Suppli­cations were more prevalent to bring me unto, and keep me in the Light, then all the Prayers and Fasts of those that deny its Guidance were to keep me from it.

Thus, according to my earnest Desires to the Lord, to bring forth the Work which he would e­stablish in the room of that which he had pulled down before I went out of that Family, I was for a­bout 2 weeks among them in a testimony to the truth, in the Risings of which I felt more and more freedom to be witnessed from my Soul's enemies, and a drawing me again into a watchfulness over my own thoughts words and actions, that nothing might arise or work in my Heart but what was of God, who was now come to judge down every Evil Thought and Incli­nation in the first Motion and Rise of it; so that though there was an Abatement of that Bodily Ex­ercise, which profiteth not, yet there was an Increase of Inward Exercise to keep a Conscience void of Offence, not only in the Sight of Man, who lookt at the Outward Appearance, but also in the Sight of God, that searched the Heart. And in that Family I met with much Christian-like Forbearance & Ten­derness, not out of any Respect to the People and Principle, which they esteemed too mean and low, but out of Respect to that Uprightness which they believed to be in me: And now the time of our par­ting [Page 23] being come, in which I must leave them, which (because of that Love and Endearedness that had been between us) it was hard to do, but that my Heart was taken up with Christ's being come to re­ceive me to himself, and to dwell and walk in me as his house and temple, for which End he had separated & called me out from all that was defiled: And since I could no longer perform the Office of a Chaplain, as it was expected of me, which if I could they desi­red no other, they were willing to give me Satisfa­ction, according to our Agreement for the time that I had been among them upon a double Account, viz. of Tutouring their Children, and of Preaching: As to the Teaching the Children, I was free to take Consi­deration; but as for Preaching, notwithstanding the Money was told out, and I was urged and pressed to receive it, I was forbidden by the Lord to take a­ny, and so left it. But to clear the Family of all Sus­pitions & Jealousies that might arise in any touching the Ground of my leaving them, I consented upon the first Motion thereof to leave a Certificate, sig­nifying to all that might be concerned, That I left the Family only upon the Account of some higher Discovery of Truth on my part, not apprehending it to be the Will of the Lord to be worshipped any otherwise then in Spirit and Truth, and that as to Outward Encouragements, they rather exceeded then came short of my Expectation. And thus in pure Love and Desires of the Spiritual Welfare of every one, I left that Family, which next to my own Relations were dear to me, who had a full Sight and Experience of my Conversation, as to the Work and Dealings of the Lord with me in that Day. This was about the 7th Moneth of the [Page 24] Year 1673. After which I came forward to my Re­lations, among whom I knew not one that was inclined to the Truth, who might stand with me in a Testimony for it, but all Opposed it, and joyned with their Teachers against it, with whom notwith­standing, as I stood innocently in the Counsel of God, which led me to yield true Submission and Honour to them next to himself, I found way made for my Reception; and also opened the Hearts of his Peo­ple unto me, to whom I was a Stranger, but as the Lord gave them a sense of that Upright Desire of Truth and Righteousness which only brought me a­mong them, in whose Meetings I waited as one of the Meanest and Lowest of them for about twelve Moneths, sitting under the Droppings and Distil­lings of that Life and Power, which the Lord was pleased to sill others with in the Meeting, & to grow daily more and more (as it is daily my Endeavour) in the inward Experience of the Redeeming, Puri­fying and Quickening Virtue of the Truth, which (in the sense of that Love of God in bringing me a­mong this People, to eat of the Bread of Life, when so many Wise and Prudent were left behind, feed­ing upon Husks) often broke my Heart, and cau­sed Desires in me, That I might never more appear out of the living Stirrings and movings of the Spirit & Life of Christ, nor stay behind it when it did move. Af­ter which it pleased the Lord in his own time (ac­cording to my own and others Travail and Suppli­cation) to cause his Life to break forth in me some­times in a few words of Prayer, sometimes of Ex­hortation, in which the Lord gave me Power and Faithfulness to ease my self, and my Words return­ed [Page 25] not to me again, but had entrance; and as I kept low and humble, giving Honour and Glory to Christ alone in his Appearance, so I selt the Increase of that Authority and Life, which made way in the Hearts of them to whom I was sent, in whose Con­sciences it is my desire to stand recommended, and to be felt of them who are in Life, as a Savour of Life unto Life.

And thus the Lord having raised me up, and spa­red me through much Weakness and Labour unto this Day to see the Desire of my Soul accomplished in great Measure, according to my Faith when I first laid down my Ministry; I do still wait (in Submis­sion to the Will of the Lord) for the Day, when that breathing Seed of God, which is yet left in the dead and lifeless Professions, may become ripe for the Harvest, then shall there be no Want of Reap­ers, who shall put in their Sickles, and gather them into the House which God hath provided for to re­ceive all that are low and poor in their own Eyes, for want of Power and Strength to overcome that which letteth & hindereth their perfect Redempti­on; into which House God hath called me, as a Fore-Runner of Thousands that are yet ungathered, unto which being come up, I can't go back or down unto them, but can freely serve the lowest of them by living Supplications to the Great Shepherd of the Sheep, for the bringing them into that Fold, where he makes his Flocks that were wearied and driven from Mountain to Hill, to rest at Noon in the Bo­some of their Beloved, whose Tents they need no longer enquire after, or go to the Watch men of the Night for Direction, but by the Light of the Lord [Page 26] are they brought up to Bethel, the House of the God of Jacob, where they desire forever to dwell, and offer unto the God of their Redemption, Victo­ries and Deliverance, as I do, the Sacrifice of Praise and of Thanksgiving for evermore.

And now I shall shut up all with the Testimony of the Pastor of that Independant. Congregation of which I was a Member, and walkt with for several years, who (best among them) knew the bent of my Heart, who in his Letter to my Mother soon after my Convincement of the Truth, gives this Testimony of the Grounds of my leaving them to come to this People, in which he hath confirmed what I have be­fore-mentioned; his words are these, The great Stum­bling-block to him hath been, our Loose, Low and Earth­ly Conversation: And is not Loosness, Lowness and Earthliness Stumbling block enough, especially in them that profess to be Members of Christ Jesus, and look for Salvation by him, and to be gathered out of the World? He may well call it Great; What can lay a greater Stumbling-block in the Way of the Upright, then to make so high a Profession a Cloak and Covering for so much Sin and Iniquity? Would it not be far better and more Honour to Christ, to cease professing of him, which doth but make them the greater Stumbling-blocks, until they have departed from these Iniquities? And is not this enough to acquit me from separating from such As­semblies and Congregations, that are thus poluted? Further, he saith, He is earnest to get up to More Spi­ritualness then he sees among us: And must I be re­presented in so many places as a deluded deceived Per­son, [Page 27] and one that is fallen from the Faith, and apostatized to Error, and a Saddener of the Hearts of the Upright, and prayed and fasted for, as such, and all for leaving of such People as are Loose, Low and Earthly, to get up to more Spiritualness? Or can I look upon such as true Friends to my Soul, as would hinder me from so good an Exchange? Further, he saith, Which he apprehends is to be found among this People: Yea, I do more then apprehend it; for I have felt and experienced for some years that Spiritualness to be among them, which keeps them that walk in it from Loosness, Lowness and Earthliness; so that I have no Desire to return to them whose Conversati­ons are so loose, &c. as he confesseth. Further, he saith, I am perswaded, this is that which hath carried him among them, more then any Respect that he hath to their odd Opinions: Here he hath bound all with his Perswasion from that certain Knowledge he had of me for many years, in which he knew my Bent was after Spiritualness and Heavenly-mindedness; and herein he hath spoken the Truth of me, viz. That it was Loosness, Lowness and Earthliness that stum­bled, and drew me off from them; and that it was with desire of more Spiritualness that I came among this People, and my Desire hath been therein large­ly answered, to the Joy and Satisfaction of my Soul. Further, he continueth to say, If we gain this by his Fall, to be provoked to more Heavenliness and Spiritual­ness, and to savour less of this Earth, we shall be Gain­ers by his Loss: Here he should have minded his for­mer Expression and Perswasion, and have consider­ed, whether the Lord doth suffer such to fall whose great Stumbling is at Loosness, Lowness and Earth­liness, [Page 28] and who are earnest to get up to more Spiri­tualness, which is more according to the Will of God: Or are they not fallen and lost, who according to his Confession, are still where they were many years ago, after all his Preaching and Praying, are not got up above their Looseness, Lowness & Earth­liness; whom he presseth, and indeed it is high time for them all to manifest better Fruits of their profi­ting, and to savour less of this Earth, which hath been the Cause of my leaving of them, and to get up to that Spiritualness and Heavenliness, where they will find me, and so in this Spiritualness we shall be united again. But has not the cause of this unprofitable­ness or standing at a stay bin for want of coming to that Grace which is sufficient to teach all that learn of it, to deny All [mark, All] Ungodliness, and All worldly Lusts, which makes them Stumbling-blocks in the Way of others, that so through the denying of these, they might come to live soberly, righte­ously and godly, not only hereafter, but in this pre­sent Evil World, and so not stumble, but gain others by their Conversation, without which all Verbal Confession and Acknowledgments are vain and fruit­less, and leaves them no better then they were be­fore.


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