A Visitation & Warning Is this unto all MAGISTRATES AND LAVV-MAKERS, TEMPORAL and SPIRITUAL, to Re­pent of PERSECUTION, and to forsake the Evil thereof, that so they may obtain Mercy, and find a Hiding-place in the Day of God's Wrath, which is near to be revealed against all such: Even from Him that sitteth upon the Throne, and unto all his inferiour Officers and People in England whatsoever; to him that openeth and shutteth the Prison-doors. The Lord will teach his People, the Lord will judge his People, and therefore let all be warned how they teach or judge in matters of Religion and God's Worship, Them that are taught of Him, and have received the Law from his mouth; by whom God speaketh in these latter dayes, whose voice is heard, and words received. Persecution will undo this Generation, the Mouth of the Lord hath spoken it, IN HuMFRY WOOLDRIDGE.

LONDON, Printed in the Year, 1662.

A Visitation and Warning is this unto all Magistrates and Law-makers, Temporal and Spiritual, to repent of Persecution, and to forsake the evil thereof, &c.

PErsecution in all Ages was of the Devil, the enemy of Mankind; it was alwayes against the appearance of God where-ever he made himself manifest; yet did the spirit of the World and births that are of the Devil's begetting, never want a cover to hide themselves withal, nor slanders or names of infamy to cast upon them they per­secuted; so that I may truly say, his visage is more marred than the sons of men: But as it was in the dayes of the Jews, so is it now; they called the Master of the house, Beelzeb [...]th, and did not want a refuge of lies to hide themselves, saying; For a good work we stone thee not; but, because thou being a man, makest thy self the Son of God. So I say is it now in this day of the appearance of the Son of God; they in whom he hath m [...] ­nifested and revealed himself, are not persecuted as righteou [...] and good men, but as unrighteous and such as are not [...] to live upon the Earth: not as them that know the Truth, and walk in it, but as Deceivers and Blasphemers, and such as bring in strange Doctrines, and movers of Sedition, and [...]u [...] the World up-side down. Under these names of reproach and slander do we, whom the sco [...]ners call Quakers, suffer mo [...] cruel usage from this persecuting Generation, as we did from them that went before; and under these deceits and falshoods do the Enemies of God and his eternal Truth hide themselves, saying, You are a People against Ministers and Magistrate [...] you are Rebels to the King, and will not conform to the Law which he hath made. This was the Charge the Enemies of God charged Daniel and the three Children withal; These m [...]n O King, regard not thy Laws; when they in their own wickedness had caused him to make a Law to his own hurt. Thi [...] was charged upon poor Mordecai, he regarded not the King's Commandment, in bowing to the pride of Ha [...]nan. And thi [...] was the Charge-against Jeremiah, he was no friend to th [...] [Page 4]King, say they, but sell away to the Caldeans. This was the [...]harg [...] which the false Prophets and Priests, and men void of th [...]s [...] [...] of God, which they charged upon the Servants of the Lord in all Ages. In the dayes of Ahab King of Israel four hundred [...]d [...]i [...]ty Prophets, all encouraged Ahab and Jeho­shaph [...] to go up to R [...]moth Gilead to battel, and cold them they should pros [...]: but one Micaiah, whom all the Prophets moc­ked and [...], who [...]old the King the Truth, he must not be believ [...]d, but [...]ust b [...] put in P [...]ison, and fed with bread of affliction, [...]nd [...] of affliction. And this hath been the re­ward of th [...] Righteous from the Unrighteous in all Ages, be­cause their d [...]ds have been righteous, and the others wicked. This made [...] to kill righteous Abeb. This made Corah and his co [...]p [...] [...]o [...]is [...] up against Moses and Aar [...]n, and gainsay them who h [...]d [...]h [...] Spirit, and were obedient to it; yet did they [...] [...]o cast upon them, saying, Are not all the [...] [...]oly? why do you then lift up your selves above the Con [...] of the Lord? you take too much upon you, you sons of [...]. [...] th [...]y that gainsayed the Spirit, charged the meekest [...] upon▪ [...]f the Earth, to be proud. And so they that con­ [...] [...] [...]hrist, said those things which he did, was not by the Spirit of th [...] [...]ath [...], but by Beelzebub, the chief of Devils. [...]nd [...]hris [...] said, [...]f it be so in the green tree, what will be done [...] th [...]y h [...]ve h [...]ted me, they will hate you also: If they [...] they will persecute you; and this will they do [...] know not the Father.

So th [...] [...] which know the Truth, do not wonder to see wise [...]nd [...] [...]nd Rulers and Magistrates, Priests and [...] it with one consent as Heresie and Delusion; [...] consider the Generation of the Righteous [...] th [...]n that are beloved of the Lord in the [...] old ho [...] Truth and Righteousness, with them that lov [...]d it, [...] [...]loth [...]d with the black name of Infamy: but God i [...] [...] [...]ill sw [...]ep away your refuge of lies, and he will wo [...]k [...] will bring to pass, and no one shall let it, the [...] spoken it. Wo he to the Wicked, it shall [...]; their covering is too narrow, the Lord will [...] hath begun to rent it already; Therefore [Page 5]all ye Persecutors weep and howl, all ye Bishops and Spiritual men (so called) mourn your part, the Lord is risen against you, the spirit of Persecution is taking root in your habitations, the Spiritual Weapon of the Lamb is wanting; and though your wickedness swell as the Sea, and rise as a floud, yet we know him that is above the pride of man, even him that sits upon the flouds, in him doth my Soul trust, that is able to re­strain all your wrath, but only so much as shall make for his Peoples good, and the pure praise and glory of our God that suffereth it so to be; and you that persecute us, where are the Apostles Weapons they warred withal? where is the Sword of the Spirit that proceeds out of the Lamb's mouth? O mourn all ye Bishops and Priests, and such as call your selves Mini­sters of Christ, ye are unlike him; the Sheep of his pasture are men whom ye seek to devour, and make a prey to your greedy teeth: the Lord is risen against you, in his pure Name is he hiding his Babes, and unto his Children is become a hiding place as in the Generations past: Blessed be the Lord he hath not left us desolate of his tender Mercies, even in a day when we find this saying true, The tender mercies of the wicked are cruelty: and all you by whom we suffer, you say we suffer not for Conscience sake, but for evil doing, and because we are not subject to the King, nor Governours by him set over us.

To you all I say in the Name and Power of the Lord, give unto God the things that belong unto God: O all ye great ones of the Earth, give you unto the Lord the honour due unto his Name; do not you limit the Lords pure eternal Spi­rit by making Laws how he should be served and worshipped; in this thing you rob the Lord of his honour, who is a Spirit, and doth teach his People in Spirit how to worship him: therefore limit ye not the Holy One of Israel, for he is a great King above all kings, and a God of gods, which saith, My Glory will I not give to another.

And unto all you Magistrates and Governours, and all the rest of your inferior Officers in England, high and low, from him that sitteth upon the Throne, to him that openeth and shutteth the Prison doors, this is the Word of the living and true God, Persecution will break you all to pieces, but if you [Page 6]honour me, and give unto me that which alone to me doth be­long, which is to [...]ule in the hearts of my People, let me be Lord, Judge, and [...]aw giver in all spiritual things, and let me be heard of all my Saines in all matters of Worship and spiritual Service, then will I honour you, and all my Children whom I [...]ch my self, they shall honour you also for my Names sake; and if your Souls be subject unto the higher Power, th [...] [...]ight of the World, Christ, unto whom I the Lord have committed all Power in Spiritual matters, then shall all the Souls whom I have begotten into my Power, and gathered from all the false wayes and worships, that they should not be [...] prey any longer to the teeth of the greedy Wolves, unto the chief Bishop and Shepherd of their Souls, be subject unto you, and all your righteous Commands, for Conscience sake▪ but if otherwise ye will still exalt your s [...]lves above s [...]y Throne, which is the lowly and contrite Spi­rit, ye shall be lightly esteemed by me; and all my Saints and Children also, they shall bear their Testimony against you and your unrighteous Laws, whereby you would force them to worship God, contrary to God's Witness, which I the Lord have placed i [...] their Consciences, to be their teacher and guide in [...]ll things.

And though you seed them for these things with Bread of Affliction, and giv [...] them Water of Adversity to drink, and are killed [...]ll the [...] long by you, yet their Teacher shall ne­ver be r [...]moved into a corner any more, I the Lord (who will not leave th [...] comfortless in a Prison, but will rend through Rock [...] and W [...]lls of stone, to comfort and consolate the low­ly heart) [...] spoken it.

And all the while ye are causing them to suffer, and filling up the me [...]sure of your sin, even in going beyond your Com­mission, as they did whom God overthrew before you; for ye have a time set with the Lord, and a work for him ye have to do, which is to make manifest Hypocrites, and that the thoughts of many deceitful hearts (who have made a Profes­sion of God, but are enemies to his Life) may be revealed, and their work [...] manifest of what sort it is; and all Co­verings r [...]nt but only that of the Spirit of the Lord, which his [Page 7]Children and Lambs are covered withal; this ye cannot rent, though ye are pulling hard at it: And all Foundations may ye overturn which are not upon the Rock, & break al Gatherings and Assemblies which are not gathered into the Name of the Lord; and every Church which hath seemed, but hath not been the true House of God, may ye dash to pieces; and all may be made to change their Religion, and Conform to any thing, and lick up their own Vomit again, but only those who are translated by the Power of the Lord out of Darkness into Light, and gathered out of all the false Churches in England (which are many) into the true Church in God which is but one, the pillar and ground of Truth; these things before mentioned may ye do, and yet stand; but ye have not to do with the Lords Anointed, which are covered with his living Spirit, which is eternal and pure: Wo be to them which touch these that have no help but what standeth in the Name of the Lord, neither any foundation have they but that of God, which all the Prophets and Apostles, who, as a cloud of Witnesses against this Generation, suffered Persecution, which is Christ in them the hope of Glory, yea, Glory it self, Righteousness, Peace, and Joy, which is full of glory, which (blessed be the Lord) the World cannot take from us; if ye touch these, and number these with Transgressors, ye touch the Apple of God's Eye, and ye your selves will be found Trangressors if ye persecute and spoil these. O ye Magistrates and Bishops, the Lord will break you with breach upon breach; yea, you have persecuted & spoiled many of them al­ready, and it will be your ruine unless ye speedily repent: it is the eternal Word of the Lord God unto this Generation, Persecution will undo you.

Yet thus is it written by the Prophet Jeremy 18. At what time I speak concerning a Nation, and concerning a Kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it, if that Nation against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I also will repent of the evil I thought to do unto them: O that there were but such a heart in you to consider this before it be too late, and the Lord destroy you with double destruction.

And thi [...] doth [...]y Soul believe, and it is established in my heart for eve [...], th [...]t all your Weapons of Cruelty, your grie­vous and unjust [...]ws which ye have made with the Consent of your Lords Spiritual, to waste and destroy Families, and banish the inno [...]t People of the Lord called Quakers, shall all work together in the end for their good, and drive them, even the Chil [...] and P [...]ople whom he hath blessed, so much nea [...] unto himself; and the more they are oppressed so much the greater will be the Cry of the Oppressed against you: and it will be with the oppressed Seed of God as with Israel in the [...]and of Egyp [...], the more they were Oppressed the more they Multiplied▪ and all the wisdom of this World, and the per­secuting Po [...]s of Hell and Death shall never hinder it, nor stop the Work which God is working, nor quench the Light and Spark which [...]ust become a strong Nation, the Holy One of Israel hath spok [...]n it.

Neverthel [...]ss, ye are doing your endeavour, and taking wise Counsel and Advice, as Pharaoh did with the Magicians of Egyp [...], how [...]o [...]oot out the Name of Israel from under Hea­ven, and to that [...]nd y [...] have established your cruel Command­ments, and s [...]l [...]d your Decrees of Oppression against them, and all this will but op [...]n the ears of the Lord to hear them, and cause hi [...] [...]o st [...]t [...]h out his Arm to save them in your de­struction; for th [...] Lord heareth the cry of the Afflicted, the Lord lo [...]s [...]h [...]h [...] [...]onds of the Prisoners, and ill will it be with you, wh [...] th [...] Souls of the wounded cry out. This mad [...] J [...]i [...]h cry unto the Lord, Chap. 17. Let them be con­founded tha [...] p [...]s [...]cute [...], but let not me be confounded; let them be dis [...]id, b [...] l [...] not me be dismaid; bring upon them the day of evil, and des [...]roy the [...] with double destruction: I say, these things will cry for Veng [...]anc [...] from the God of Heaven, as in the dayes of old, when Christ came near unto Jerusalem, the conside [...]ation of these things caused him to weep over it, saying, O J [...]r [...]s [...]l [...], J [...]rusalem, thou that killest the Prophets, and stonest th [...] th [...] are sent unto thee, how often would I have ga­thered thee▪ This is thy state, and this is thy condition O Lon­don, with thy Magistrates and Rulers, how often hath the Lord wa [...]ned you, and ye would not be warned to leave off Perse­cuting [Page 9]for matters of Conscience in the Worship and Servic [...] of God in the dayes of your former Rulers, which were many; how often were they warned by the Servants of the Living God concerning this thing?

And now, in this your Day, you have been often warned, both you and your King, to let Conscience go free; and you have made Promises, and the words of your King have been, we should never suffer for Conscience sake so long as we lived peace­ably. And again, you are warned at this time, both you and your King, that you leave off Persecution, and let the Spi­rit of the Lord teach the Children of the Lord how to Wor­ship him; for it is written in the Scriptures, that the Spirit teacheth them how to Pray and Worship as they ought, and as many as are the Sons of God are led by the Spirit of God; therefore do not think or believe that such can be limited to any dead Form of Prayer or Worship set up by the Precepts and Commandments of men; therefore be warned of these things, and if you are not, it will be your utter ruine; and it is not for evil-doing, nor rebellion against the Lord, nor the good Laws of your King, that we are killed thus all the day long, and counted by you as Sheep for the slaughter, but because we keep our Consciences clear, in being obedient to his Living Word and Spirit, which purifies our hearts, that we are so used by you, and because we that know the Lord are re­solved, though he suffer you to kill us, we will not fall down to your dead Image (nay, it is not so much as a true Image of a true Worship) nor Worship in any other way but the same which he himself shall teach us, for he is a Spirit, and in Spi­rit will be Worshipped; and all they that Worship him after the Precepts and Commands of men, Worship they know not what.

Now all this Cruelty and Persecution is done and suffered to be done, that that saying might be true, spoken by the Spi­rit in Generations past, They hated me without a cause; and he which is born of the Flesh persecutes him that is born of the Spirit; for the enmity of the Serpents Seed is against the Seed of the f [...]e Woman, because it is begotten and born of God which cannot sin, in bowing to that which is begotten and brought forth by [Page 10]the wicked one; for there is a Seed begotten, and a Birth brought forth by the undefiled God in England, that serveth the Lord in bearing Witness, as it did in all Ages and Genera­tions, against the Seed of Evil-doers. And in the Persecutor is this Seed a prick: Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. This is that Seed of the Kingdom which Christ told the persecuting Jews, Luk. 17.21. was within them: And this is that which Paul told the Gentiles of, Rom. I. that which may be known of God is ma­nifested within them. This is a Talent given to the evil and slothful servant, and a Prize in the hand of a fool, he wanting an heart to improve it to the praise of the Giver. This is the day of small things, and the weakness of God, it being compa­red unto a Leaven hidden, and a grain of Mustard-seed not grown. This is small in its beginnings yet chosen of God, elect and precious: A precious Stone and sure Foundation to all that have tryed, believed and proved it, he is precious, and the head of the corner; but to the wisdom of man, and wise-builders, such as build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity, is he a stumbling stone, and rock of offence at this day: and had not the Lord God of Sabbaths left this Seed in fallen man, even we had all been as Sodom and Gomorrah, whom the Lord overthrew, and repented not. This is the Candle of the Lord, which all ye Persecutors put under a bushel; and that Light, by which Job that righteous Magistrate walked through all dark­ness, which all ye oppressors of the poor in spirit lie in: This is that which did convince the persecuting Jews in themselves that Christ was a good man, and Pilate also, so that he, not­withstanding all the cry of the multitude, Crucifie, crucifie him, could find nothing worthy of death in him. And this was it which almost perswaded King Agrippa to be a Christian. And this is it which all Persecutors and Compellers about Religion, grieve, and do violence to in themselves first.

The light of the body is the eye, God said. I will guide my People by mine eye. This all blind guides put out in themselves. It is the god of this world in you Spiritual-men (falsly so cal­led) with the seeming honour and glory thereof, which blind­eth you, and shutteth your ears, lest you should hear what this [Page 11]good Spirit of God saith; as it is written by the Prophet, If thou canst reade thy state, do. Who is so blinde as he that is per­fect? and deaf as the Lord's Messenger that I send? seeing many things, but thou observest not. Hear, ye deaf, and look, you blind, that you may see the Lord is w [...] pleased. For his Righte­ousness sake he will magnifie the Law, and make it honourable: but this is a people robbed and spoyled; they are all of them snared i [...] holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, Restore. Who among you will give ear to this? who will hearken and hear for the time to come? Thou that art compelling to worship in the Form thou settest up with carnal Laws, thou wouldst blind all them whose eyes the Lord God hath opened in this day of his Power, in which he hath caused his day to spring from on high, which will cover thy day, and stain thy glory, whose fading crown is mortal, and doth not endure throughout all generations, but it is upon the head of the fat valleys, where run the pleasant streams, and where the springs of waters are, ye Persecutors drink not of. The Lord hath caused his Day to spring, and he hath enlightned the Earth; from his holy Habitation ever­lasting Glory is revealed, which will stain the glory of the World. England shal be as a Garden whom the Lord watereth with the dew of the everlasting Hills; as a Vineyard with pleasant Plants, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glo­rified: He is pouring his Waters out of his Buckets, and his Seed shall be in many Nations: His King shall be higher than Agag, and his Kingdom shall be exalted. The Lord hath spoken in his Holiness, he will not lie unto David and his Seed for evermore. He will rejoyce over Palestina; over Ethiopia, Egypt, and Edom will he rejoyce. He will reveal his Glory, which shall cover the Earth as a morning without Clouds; and as the Sun at noon-day, so will he shine out of Zion: many shall be gathered into his Rest, and he will beautifie the place of his Holiness. And this is a Charge to all you Magistrares: in the Name of the Lord of Host take heed what you do against Israel, they are a People whom he hath blessed, and whom he will honour with a Crown that is immortal, and with the right-hand of his Power will he sav [...] [Page 12]them throughout Generations; and he will break their Ene­mies, and they shall never prosper, but shall be confounded for ever that oweth ill will to Jerusalem. The daughter of Zion hath laughed you to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem shall rejoyce in her God for ever [...]nd ever; who hath f [...]rmed Jacob, he will preser [...] and save the distressed of Israel. The Lord liveth, and blessed be our Rock, and magnified for ever be the God of our Salvation, who hides us in the hollow of his hand, and in whose Name and Might we who know the Lord, are confi­dent that he will never leave us nor forsake us utterly, nor give us as a prey into the hands of the wicked; and though he suffer you to plow long furrows upon our backs, as it was with the same Seed in all Generations; yet cannot we forget the Lord, because we love him who is a present help in all times of trouble. We are perswaded, and that by the Love which he hath shed abroad in our hearts, that all your Cruelty whatsoever, your spoyling of Goods, and Banishments, and whatsoever more he who limits all shall suffer you to do, shall never be able to separate us from the Love of God, who hath united our souls in a perpetual Covenant, which can not be broken unto himself.

The Lord our God whom we serve, will break all unrighte­ous Laws, and the Yoke of Oppression, as in the day of Mid­dian, so will he rise up for our help; and Wo be unto them which stand in his way when he riseth: he will roar out of Sion, even as the Seas; for the indignation of the Lord is up­on all Nations, and his Fury upon all their Armies: He will utterly destroy them, and deliver them to the slaughter; for it is the day of the Lord's Vengeance, and the Year of Recom­pences for the Controverfie of Sion, which hath long sate soli­tary in a Wilderness; which hath been black as the tents of Ked [...], because of the clouds of the night; the rain and storms of the Winter have all passed over her, the Se [...]s and the waves thereof have covered her, and the reeds have been about her head: she hath mourned sore in the night because of the op­pression, because of the rage of the Dragon hath she been hid in the wilderness, and sitten desolate in a Desart, as they that are dead of old; covered hath she been with the robe of un­righteousness, [Page 13]and rapt up as in a mantle of violence: great hath been her wrong, and grievous the violence done unto my flesh, do the Inhabitants of Sion say; and great will be the de­liverance, and the glory that is to [...] upon thy head for ever­more. Arise and shine forth, for [...] [...]ight is come, the Glo­ry of thy God is risen upon thee, which shall dazle the eyes of all that hate thee, and persecute thee without a cause: the Lord will cover thee in the hollow of his hand, and make thee a sharp threshing instrument, wherewith he will thresh the Mountains, and beat the Hills to pieces. With thee will he plant Nations, and pluck up Nations: With thee will he strike the Horse and his Rider: With thee will he break the Chariot and his Driver; With thee will he break the Scepter, and fling the Crown to the ground.

He hath made thee as a polished Shaft in his Quiver, where­with he will strike through the reins of his Enem [...]es: With thee will he bind the Dragon, and cast the Beast and the false Prophets, which deceive the Nations, into the Lake of Fire: For the Wrath of the Lord is come, and the time of the Dead that they should be judged, and thou shouldst give reward unto thy Servants the Prophets, and to the Saints and them that fear thy Name small and great, and shouldest destroy them which destroy the Earth: and though the Woman with the Man-child have been in the Wilderness, long hidden in a place prepared them of God; yet is the time come wherein she is come forth again, even out of the Wilderness; fair as the Moon, clear as the Sun at noon-day, and terrible as an Army with Banners will she be to her Persecuters; the ever­lasting Gospel is preached again, the Angel that hath it is come, and he will have the Victory, and break his Enemies as a Potter's vessel. Now is come Salvation and Strength, and the Kingdom of our God, and the Power of his Christ; for the Persecuter and Accuser of the Saints must be cast down, and they shall overcome him by the Blood of the Lamb, and by the Word of their Testimony, which they hold who love not their lives unto the death, shall have domininion over the Mighty: But all you Persecuters, you are they which Christ prophesied of should come, Matth. 7. and Mat. 24. You are [Page 14]known by your fruits, to be the corrupt trees of whom men do not gather figs: for we find that saying fulfilled even a­mongst you Bishops and Spiritual men, the most upright a­mongst you is but as a tho [...]-hedge, scratching and tearing the wool, and devouring [...] [...]eep of God's Pasture (which are men) with your Spiritual Courts: your Weapons also we are sure are not the same Christ and the Apostles warred withal, when they warred against Spiritual wickedness in high places; (mark) Spiritual wickedness was against the true Apostles. Paul himself was a Bishop, and Timothy; but we do not reade that ever▪ they had such Councils and Decrees as are now made, to banish and destroy them that will not conform in matters of Conscience. Reade Act. 15.6. when the Apostles and Elders were come together, to confider and determine concerning them which troubled the Church, (and we know they had the mind of the Lord, I believe you will not deny it) vers. 28. it is written, It seemeth good to the holy Ghost, &c. Mark, what they did, seemed good to the holy Ghost. But in their Decrees we reade not of any banishing or imprisoning, or of any such Decrees as are made by you Lords spiritual. And when the Apostles cast any out of the Church, we do not reade that they took such a way as you do when you excom­municate, that they must neither buy nor sell: for Paul saith, I write unto you, that you should not accompany with Fornicators; yet saith he, not altogether with Fornicators of this world, for then must you go out of the world. But if any that is called a Brother be a Fornicator, or covetous, or an Idolater, or a Railer, or a Drunkard, with such a one do not eat: For we have nothing to do to judge them that are without, but them that are within, saith Paul, 1 Cor. 5.11, 12. but these we reade of in the Revela­tions to be the Dragon's, and Beast's and false Prophet's wea­pons, which slew the Saints, and killed them that had the Te­stimony of Jesus, which is the Word of God. And there you may reade all this Compelling is not of God, but the Devil; not of Christ, but Antichrist: neither was it ever found in the true Church, but in the Synagogues of Satan. You may reade your selves, your [...]oot is one with Judas, whose Bishoprick was taken from him, because he persecuted the poor and need [Page 15]man; and your Weapons are not Spiritual, but such as the High Priests were, that came with Judas to apprehend Christ; so all your Decrees and Laws, whereby ye imprison, spoil, and banish such as cannot Conform to your Worship, nor deny the Lord who hath taught-them how to Worship, is not of God, but of the Devil; so ye are they in Sheeps clo­thing, but inwardly ravened from the Spirit and Power the true Bishops had, which Christ said should come: And John which wrote unto the little Children in his Epistles, said, were come already: by which he knew it was the last times. And John in the Revelation saith, All the World wondered after the Beast; (and this was sixteen hundred years since) and said, Who was able to make War with him? and they received his Mark and his Names, which were Names of Blasphemy, who blasphemed the Temple of God, and they that dwelt therein; but only they who loved not their lives unto death, whose Names were written in the Lamb's Book of Life before the foundation of the World, they fol­lowed the Lamb wherever he went.

Now they that are blind in heart, and Hypocrites, may believe you are true Bishops and Ministers of Christ, and your Church the true Church; the fearful and the unbeliev­ing, who are with you without the Gate of the City of our Solemnity and Place where the Saints worship, and serve him day and night, they may say, Who is able to make War with the Beast? False Prophets, they may fall down and bow to any thing; and all they whose Names are not written in the Lamb's Book of Life, they may Worship the Beast; and so that Scripture will be fulfilled in England, written in John's Revelations, Chap. 17. where the false Church is compa [...]ed (even Mystery Babylon) to a Woman deck'd with Gold, Pearls, and precious Stones; this Woman was drunk with the blood of the Saints, and yet in her hand was there a golden Cup, so fair and beautiful to look upon and behold, that she made all the Kings and Great Men to drink of it, and so they became subject to her, even her in whom was found the blood of all the Saints and Prophets that were slain upon the Earth; vers. 18. The Woman that thou sawest is that [Page 16]great City, which reigneth over the Kings of the Earth: But I say, and it is the Truth of God, There are a few notwith­standing all this, that are Redeemed out of that Earth, out of which that Beast which did carry the Woman, rose, that have not defiled their Garments with this Woman, nor bowed to this Baal, nor kissed him; in whom the Lord hath opened a pure eye, that sees an end of all things which had a beginning, and are come to the beginning it self, the first and the last, where there is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where there is no Oppression nor Cry, but the voice of Rejoycing and Sal­vation is in the dwelling place of the Righteous, in which Righteousness is the Lord establishing many: And though our outward man perish daily in Prisons and Dungeons, under the hands of unmerciful men, whose tender mercies are cruelty, yet we can rejoyce in the Lord, & glory all the day long: Even in this your day, and the power of darkness, is the Lord a Light unto us; and when all men, even almost all say, there is a casting down; then can our Souls truly say, The Lord is the lifter up of our head; and though we die daily, and are as men appointed by you for destruction, yet have we a Life hid from you; we have bread to eat and drink ye know not of, and in that do our hearts live that seek the Lord and his face continually, which all Persecuters, and such as do violence unto the blood of any man cannot enter into, but are shut out, even without the gate among the Dogs and the unclean, that can never enter in, the portion of whose Cup is not like the portion of Jacob, but lamentation, weeping, and wo.

All you Bishops, which own your selves to be Ministers of Christ, it is in my heart for Truth's sake, which I love before my own life, that Truth and the Ministers thereof may be made manifest, to ask you a few Questions:

First, How shall one know a true Bishop and Minister of Christ from the false, but by their fruits, the marks and symp­toms the chief Bishop and the true Ministers set them forth by in the Scriptures? 2 Cor. 6.4, &c. where the Apostle saith, In all these things they have proved themselves to be Ministers of God, in much Patience, in Afflictions, in Necessities, in Distresses, [Page 17]in Stripes, in Imprisonments, in Tumults, in Labours, in Watch­ings, in Fastings, (Mark) vers. 6. By Pureness, by Knowledge, by Long-suffering, by Kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by Love un­feigned, by the Word of Truth, by the Power of God, by the Ar­mour of Righteousness on the Right hand and on the Left, by Ho­nour and Dishonour, by evil Report and good Report, as De­ceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, yet behold, we live; as chastized, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet alwayes rejoycing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing all things: (Mark) They were in God, whose was the Earth and the fulness thereof; they cast their care upon him, who said, The Labourer is worthy of his meat, and he cared for them. Whether these things did not alwayes attend the true Prophets, Christ and his true Apostles, before mentioned? And whether these be not the marks of the Lamb and his true Ministers? And whether they that are found in the contrary, living in pleasures, as Lords over Gods Heritage, not ruling in the Spirit and Power of God, but with cruel Laws made by the Powers of the Earth, whether these be not false Prophets and Ministers of Antichrist, let them go under what Name they will? and whether it be the Name of a Minister and Bishop that makes him truly so, or the Nature and Power of God which first gave them the Names, Yea, or Nay? And whether these Marks and Cha­racters are found in your Church and Ministry, or whether they be not rather found amongst the Church and Ministers of the People called Quakers, which by your consent and advice are made this day in England to suffer such cruel things as they do, and are like to do? Whether the marks of the Beast and Characters of the false Prophets, and Merchants of Ba­bylon, which traded with the Bodies and Souls of men, be not rather found amongst you, by whose consent and advice they are caused so to suffer?

Again, Whether Paul were not a faithful and true Bishop, who said, Though we live in the flesh, yet do we not war after the flesh; but the weapons of our Warfare are spiritual and not carnal: Moreover he said, We are counted as the off-scouring of all things; being defamed, we entreat; neither, saith he, do we wrestle with [Page 18]flesh and blood, (mark this ye that have put, or at least suf­fered it so to be, so many thousands of innocent People in close Prisons, wherein many of them have lost their lives) but with Principalities and Powers of Darkness, and with spiritual Wickedness in high Places, (mark) Spiritual wickedness was against Paul, as at this day it is against them that follow his steps: And whether your Warfare be the same Paul's was, and against the same? if yea, then why do you not use the same weapons the Apostles used, namely, found Doctrine? for a Bishop must be blameless and faithful, as the Steward of God, holding fast the faithfull Word, that thereby he may be able with sound Doctrine (mark) not with Prisons, spoyling their Goods, and banishing, which destroyes the handy-work of God, and spills their blood; but with sound Doctrine he must, Paul saith, be able both to convince and stop the mouths of gain-sayers. Now if ye be found in the Faith, as they which watch for the Soul ought to be, even in that Faith which is a Mystery to all that mingle their Sacrifices with Blood, and was once delivered unto the Saints, then Answer these Que­ries, and do not cry out, Heresie, a Blasphemy, and run to your Car [...]al Weapons, and Car [...]al Laws for help, as the persecu­ting Jews did against Christ and the Apostles, when they were not able to resist the Spirit and Power by which they spake.

Again, If your Church be true, and Ministry also, then why is it not upheld according to the Truth, as it is in the Scriptures declared to be in Jesus? then according to Paul's words, 1. Cor. 5.12. What have ye to do to judge them that are without? or to sue them for Maintenance that are without? are ye not greedy, which would feed upon the Milk of the Flock ye keep not, and eat the Fruit of the Vineyard ye neither dress nor plant? them that are without your Church, if it be true, leave them to God's Judgment, as Paul saith, What have I to do to judge them that are without? So I say, What have you to do with us, who have denied both you and your Church, root and branch, many years since? What have ye to do to Excommunicate and cast them out, that for the Lord's sake have separated themselves from both your Church and [Page 19]Ministry, because they have no Faith to believe it is the true Church and Lamb's Wife (and, whatsoever is not of Faith, is sin) but rather that Mystory Babylon, which John (Rev. 17. vers. the last) said, Ruled over the Kings of the Earth, and all Na­tions have drunk of her Cup, and were become unstable as Waters, even her Cup in whom was found the blood of the Martyrs of Jesus; and your Ministers, the Merchants thereof, which must weep and mourn over her, for men will not buy her Merchandize as afore-time; the Merchandize of Gold, and Silver, and precious Stones, and of Pearls, and fine Linen, and Purple, and Silk, and Scarlet, and Cinamon, and Odours, and Oyntments, and Frankinscence, and Wine, and Oyl, and fine flower of Wheat, and Beasts, and Sheep, and Horses, and Slaves, and Souls and Bodies of Men; the Merchants of these things, which are made rich by her, shall stand a far off for fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, al [...] I that great City which was clothed in fine Linen, and Purple, and Scarlet, and deck'd with Gold, and precious Stones, and Pearls; and every Ship-master, and Company in Ships, and Saylors, and as many as traded by Sea, stood a far off and cryed, when they saw the smoke of her burning; What City is like unto this great City that reigneth over the Kings of the [...]arth? For in this day, even in this day that is dawned in England, must Babylon be de­stroyed, and all her Merchants mourn, and all their great Riches brought to nought; and she that hath sate as Queen upon many Waters, and hath been called the Lady of King­doms, shall know Widowhood, and loss of Children: There­fore rejoyce over her thou Heavens, and holy Apostles, and Prophets, for God hath avenged you of her. And a mighty Angel took up a Stone, like a great Mill- [...]one, and cast it into the Sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great City Babylon be thrown down and be found no more at all.

Again, I do not read in the Scriptures among any of the Acts of Christ's Apostles, and Churches by them gathered, who had all Power in Heaven and Earth committed to them, that after. Excommunication, or casting them out of the Church, they did ever spoil the Goods or Imprison any such, [Page 20]and that they should not be suffered to buy or sell, but be ba­nished, as is done in England, by the consent and advice of you that seem to be Pillars of the Church. These things hath my Soul weighed, and upon Consideration of good advice, and in the counsel of the holy & pure God, I am bold to Conclude that these Marks and Characters are not of the Lamb or his Ministers, but of the Beast, and false Prophets, and Apostles transformed, being found amongst you.

I charge you in the Name of the Lord, not to be true Bi­shops and Ministers of Christ, neither were ye ever made so by the Holy Ghost and the Power of God, as they were we reade of in the Scriptures; nor your Church true but false, and a Nest of unclean Birds, and Synagogue of Satan, and place where his seat is set; witness all the Prisons of England, and the spoiling of their Goods, who for Conscience sake are imprisoned; witness also Newgate in London, how many of the Lord's People have been kept there until death; a suffici­ent witness is the whole Nation, of them that fear the Lord, in whose heart is his Law, against both you and your Church.

Again, Whether Christ be not come, the unchangeable High Priest, he which puts an end to all Shadows, changeable Priests and Worship? whether he be not given for a Covenant of Light? and whether all the Nations of them that are saved must not walk in it, the same that Moses by the Spirit, the man of God, spoke of, saying, A Prophet like unto me shall the Lord your God raise up, him shall you hear in all things? and whether that Soul must not be cut off out of the Land of the Lord which hearkens not unto him only, even him who saith, Learn of me, and ye shall find rest to your Souls; and that when I go away, I will send you the Spirit of Truth, the Comforter, which shall lead you into all Truth? And what do you think of them which have heard and learned of the Father, and are come to the knowledge of him, which to know is Life and Peace eter­nal, as he is obeyed, and his voice followed, who saith, My Sheep hear my voice, and a stranger they will not follow? What will become of them, I say, that have eaten of the true Bread, and drunk of the living Fountain, which, as a Well of living Water, springeth up in them, even them that be­lieve [Page 21]in the Name of Jesus? if these shall fall away, and in their hearts turn back into Egypt to you again, and feed upon the Husks which satisfie not, and drink Water out of your broken Cisterns, even the puddle waters of Babylon, from which all that fear the Lord, let them be separated as we are whom ye persecute, lest they partake with you of the Woes and Plagues he is bringing upon you, because of the blood of the Innocent, and the oppression of the Poor. I speak, that I may be refreshed, let come on me what will, good is the Lord, and his mercy endures for ever, the Lord is graci­ous and full of compassion, but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruelty; the Lord will most certainly do by you as you have done by us, and such a day is the Lord bringing up­on all Persecuters, the like was never seen in England; the mean while in patience we possess our Souls, and commit the keeping both of them and our Bodies, whom ye shut up for his Names sake, whose witnesses we are in cruel Prisons, as into the hands of a faithful Creator.

Thus saith the Lord, Hear me O my People, hearken unto me O my Nation, for a Law shall proceed from me, and all my Chil­dren shall be taught of me: What may you judge of your selves then, that say, Hearken unto us, Pray, Sing, and Worship God as we teach you, for a Law is proceeded from us, and all that will not Conform thereunto, all that will not Pray and Wor­ship God according to the Precepts and Commandments we have prescribed, they shall be esteemed Rebels to the King, and all their Goods taken away, and at last, after long im­prisonment, they shall be banished out of the Nation; and all this is done, and intended to be done by the consent and advice of you Lords Spiritual; Whether Chiist, who is the chief Bishop of the Soul, and Shepherd of the Sheep, ever gave you, or any, which were true Ministers and Bishops, such authority? Or, whether all this be not from Antichrist's Power, and the Dragon's, that slew the Saints which had the Testimony of Jesus and Word of God.

There are several Scriptures which speak of forcing and compelling, which the Persecutors make themselves a Cover­ing of: but this was in the time of the Law, when their Wor­shi [...] [Page 22]was outward, [...]nd they were compelled to it by an out­ward Law: all which Christ put an end to, and said, God is a Spirit; [...]d they that worship him acceptably, must worship him in Spirit and in Truth.

But this I say unto all you, high and low, great and small, that persecute and imprison about Religion; You have impri­soned and done violence to the Just and Holy One in your own hearts, the good Spirit which God who is a Spirit hath given to instruct you, that you have grieved and rebelled against; and [...]herefore all that will not do the like, must be imprisoned, their Goods spoiled, and their Persons banished: All that will not kill the Witness in themselves, must by you be killed for its sake all the day long; All they that will not make ship­wrack of Faith and a good Conscience, and lay the Heritage of God waste, and tread the holy City under their feet, and blaspheme the Temple of God and them that dwell therein, their Families must be laid waste by your consent; and they themselves who fear before the Lord, and at the remembrance of his Holiness, they must be counted Hereticks and Blasphe­mers by this Generation: You have rejected the Word of the Lord, and will have none of Wisdoms Counsel, and therefore must they, which walk in the Light of the Word, who are Wisdoms Children, and justified by Christ who is God's Wis­dom and Righteousness, be condemned by you, who are only wise to do evil.

The god of this world he it is that blindeth thee with the seeming glory and honour, so that thou canst not see nor dis­cern the things that be of the Spirit of God; and now thou being blinded thy self (thou Persecuter about Religion, who­ever thou art) thou wouldst with cruel tortures make all to see with thy vailed eye, thy own house being left desolate, and overthrown by strangers; desolate, I say, of the Spirit (any otherwayes than to reprove and convince thee) and the true knowledge of God; thou wouldst lay waste the Temple of God without thee, and the House which is a House of Prayer indeed wouldst thou have to become an habitation of Devils, and De [...] of Thieves, like thine own: thou hast banished the go [...]t [...]e reproof [...] of the good Spirit of God, and the Word which [Page 23]is nigh thee, out of thine own heart, and hast set up another thing besides the Fear of the Lord, which is to depart from evil; and now thou being banished, like Cain, for thy rebel­lion, from the presence of the Lord, art wrath; and thou wilt spoil all their Houses and Goods, and lay their Dwellings de­solate; and though thou cannot banish them from the presence of the Lord, as thou art thy self, thou wilt do thy endeavour to make them miserable upon the Earth; if thou canst not kill them, thou wilt banish them under the name of Traitors, and they shall be whipt and imprisoned under the names of Vaga­bonds: thus thou art building thy City with blood; but still thou art in a Land of fear, and but a Vagabond thy self in the Earth, whilst we poor despised People, called Quakers, who are free born of the Seed that is immortal, by this Generati­on have not so much as a place whereon to lay out heads, but in Prisons and nolsom Dungeons: and all this is, because we cannot bow to the false Worships, the false Prophets, the Beast and Dragon is setting up, and establishing with carnal Laws and weapons of Cruelty, which God will break: therefore are the Wicked angry, and rage like the swelling of the Seas, and send out their own shame, and execute their cruelty on the People whom the Lord hath blessed, and united to himself in a perpetual Covenant and firm Decree, that can never be bro­ken. All this is done that Wrath may come upon you to the uttermost. Yet the Lord hath said, Though all the Powers of Hell do rise as Mountains of darkness, and Gog and Magog ga­ther all their host together, whose number is numberless, and their weapons the same the Dragon, Beast and false Prophets used in all Ages. All this is nothing with the Lord, in whom we have believed, he will go through them as an Arrow shot through the Air; he will save his Children, and not one of them shall be desolate that trust in him; though they walk in the midst of the stones of fire, and through the deeps of the Seas, he will save them and be with them there; he will be ever mindful of his Covenant, and of his Oath, to a thou­sand Generations: he will come unto them, and will not leave them comfortless there.

O that all that have known the living and powerful Arm of the Lord, would believe and trust in it for ever, in which is Salvation and Deliverance from all fears of destruction when it cometh; which Arm is revealed, in which we have believ­ed, and in which Faith we stand, and witness Peace and Truth, the stability of our times; and God is become our God, our Lord, our Law-giver and our Judge, and of his Name will we make mention, and we will walk in the light of his Law for ever and ever; and are resolved to keep his righteous Judg­ments at all times, and therefore do our Enemies hate us: The Lord is our Judge and our Justifier in this day when men condemn us; he hath restored us into the liberty, and brought us unto the beginning of that Day which shall never end, and for which our souls have groaned and travelled long, pure Praises be unto him that lives for ever and ever. The Lord hath brought us into his Rest, which remains for ever, even we that have and do believe in the Light that shines in our hearts, have by this Light walked through all Darkness, unto Him with whom there is no darkness nor shadow of turning; so that the shadow of death is become as the eye-lids of the morning, and we through the tender Mercies of our God are entred into the Rest, where the Prisoners rest together, and where the weary be at rest. Glory, glory and praise be unto the Lord of Sabbath, the inner Gate of the Temple is opened in this Rest, which hath been shut the six working dayes: Praises to our God, that openeth and none shutteth. Bless the Lord, O my Soul, and praise him whilst thou hast a being in the Land of the living.

The dead praise not the Lord, there's not a Persecutor giveth him thanks, their singing is no better than the howling of Dogs; they that lie in the grave, and wallow in their own filth, over whom Death and Darkness hath dominion, they celebrate not the loving kindness of the Lord; their Songs are over the Dead, they rejoyce over the slain Witnesses of God in themselves; the Songs of the Temple must be turned into howling; the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

Come down, O thou Virgin Daughter of Caldea, weep bit­terly, saith the Lord, who knows thy out-goings and thy rage [Page 25]against the precious Sons of Sion, and Virgin Daughter of Jeru­salem, the time of whose Controversie is already come into my heart: wherefore look upon Sion, the City of thy Solem­nity, thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation (O thou Mourner) a Tabernacle that shall not be taken down, nor one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, nor any of the cords thereof broken: thine eyes shall behold the King in his beauty, thou shalt dwell in the Land that is yet far off. O thou that art afflicted, and tossed with tempests, but not comforted; tempests within, and tempests without: in the Name of the Lord I say unto thee, thine is the Kingdom, and the righteous­ness thereof, the Power and the Glory belongs unto thee; and she that is thy enemy shall be trodden down, as the mire in the streets: for the Indignation of the Lord is kindled against Babylon, which shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoak thereof shall go up for ever, from Generation to Ge­neration shall it lie waste, no one shall pass through it for ever and ever: They shall call the Nobles thereof to the King­dom, but none shall be there, and all her Princes shall be nothing. Seek ye out of the Book of the Lord, and reade; nothing of all this shall fail. And the line of confusion shall be stretched over it, and stones of emptiness: and all thy Merchants shall mourn, and they that are made rich by Seas shall weep bitterly; for thy Tacklings are loosed, they can­not well strengthen thy Masts, they cannot well spread thy Sails: But the Inhabitants of Zion shall not say, I am sick; the People that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity.

Our God is the living and true God, his habitation is in the holy Mountain: he hath chosen Sion to dwell in, let all the Idols of the Heathen that know him not, but would limit him, that doth teach and lead his People in the Way Ever­lasting, be confounded for ever; and all the Idol-makers, which are like unto them, be broken, and let not their hands perform their Enterprizes; for the Breath of my God scatter them as the Dust of the Mountains in the Desart, and as the Chaff before the Whirlwind, fling them out of their place; Amen, saith my heart and soul for ever. The Lord our God is rising against all Persecutors, wo be to them if they be not [Page 26]warned; yea, he is risen already in the persecuted; he will shake Mountains to pieces, he will rent all Hills before him, and there is no darkness so thick, where the worker of Iniqui­ty can hide himself from the fierce anger of the Lord; though he make his nest in Hell, and hide himself under the Moun­tains of the Earth, yet the breath of the Lord shall breath upon him, and his Spirit which created him, shall rend him to pieces as a rotten rag, until he make a way for him who Rules in Peace, whose Scepter is a right Scepter, he it is that must Reign, the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

And he will cause them to remain, even them which have suffered with him, who hath been a man of sorrows, and ac­quainted with grief, hated and rejected of men, them will he cause to reign with him upon the Earth; yea, they shall have dominion over the Mighty: the Lion is come out of his thicket, the Destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way, he will not fail nor be discouraged, he is risen as a valiant man, and as a Gyant refreshed with new Wine, his hand will not spare his Enemies, his eye will not pity his Persecutors; but the Lord will spare them that serve him both small and great: Blessed are they that hear and believe unto the end of sin and transgression, which God is finishing and putting an end unto, they shall have dominion over the Mighty.

But wo be to all Hypocrites, and wo be to all double-mind­ed, and them that forsake the Lord, the living Fountain, in whom all fresh springs are; and wo be to all persecuting Ma­gistrates and Law-makers against the Innocent, Temporal and Spiritual, a day of wasting and destruction, wherein your stink shall be great, and wherein you shall not find a hiding place to hide you from the furious vengeance of the Lord, who is risen to shake terribly the Earth, and plead the Cause of the Oppressed and Innocent, by you persecuted; wherefore this I say unto you all in the Name of the Lord, Repent and humble your selves you Magitrates spiritual and temporal, and every inferiour Officer, even from him that sitteth on the Throne, to him that openeth and shutteth your Prison­doors, Repent both you and your King, and persecute the In­nocent no longer; imprison and spoil their Goods no longer, [Page 27]because they cannot worship as you do, even you that mingle your Sacrifices with blood, that it may be a lengthning of your tranquility; but if otherwise you go on, Persecution will undo you, the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it; for whose sake I am a witness against your persecuting power,


For which Cause I am close Prisoner in Chester Castle, which I shall here relate, and of which I have no cause at all to repent, or be ashamed for ever. Upon the second day of the 10th Month, I came to Chester, it being the end of the Assize, and many of the Lord's People being close Prisoners, taken from their own peaceable Meeting, but were not called at all before the Judges; upon the First day it was moved in my heart, by the Lord that made me, to go to their Church called the Cathederal; the Judges and Magistrates which should do Justice, and loose the Oppressed, and open the doors of the Prisoners, being there, to cry out against Perse­cution; I came in in the Peace and Power of the Living God, where I found the Organs playing, the Men and Boyes sing­ing, which songs the Lord will turn into mourning; but Da­vid's Harp was not amongst them, nor the Living Spirit which only praiseth the Lord; but the persecuting spirit of Saul, which was ever an Enemy to the Spirit of the Father: when their Song was ended, I came into their inward place of Wor­ship, the Word of the Lord being in my heart as a spring shut up, and a fountain sealed, I said, Let me speak, that I may be refreshed, let come on me what will; it is better to die than to live in rebellion against the Lord: So I stepped upon the side of a Pew, and bid them hear the Word of the Living God to them all: but before I had spoken all that was in my heart, they violently pulled me down as if they would have torn me to pieces; but an Officer with a Silver Mace, whose heart the Lord touched, saved me from the rude multitude; so I was carried away towards the Castle, where I remain to this day.


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