Some Queries proposed to the Bishops and Ministers of England, for them, or any of them, to answer; that there may be an understanding why Persecution is so violently prosecuted.

  • QUERY 1. WHether was not Man created good, and whether had he not power in that state over all creatures? and whether did he oppress or afflict any creature by his power; or whether was not the Creation in love, peace and unity together?
  • 2. Whether did not the Fall disorder the Creation, and whether was not the Serpent the cause of it; and whether doth not the Serpent govern over all People in the Fall, and whether any in that state be in a right capacity to govern others?
  • 3. Whether was not the Serpent the original of sin? and whether is not Perse­cution, Sin? and whether did Cain well in killing his brother, and for what cause did he kill him?
  • 4. Whether is there not a day of Restauration to be expected, and by whom is all things to be restored? and whether is that day past, present, or to come.
  • 5. Whether is not the Serpents head to be broken in the day of Restauration? and whether must not his Government fall when his head is broken, and whether is not that come which is to do it?
  • 6. Whether is there any Persecution in the Restauration, or whether doth not Love, Peace and Unity grow again? and whether such as persecute be in love, peace and unity with those they persecute?
  • 7. Whether is not Persecution an evident mark of the Serpents Enmity? and whether any in Enmity be in Love, Peace and Unity?
  • 8. Whether is not Christ the Author of Faith, and whether do such as live in the Faith persecute any?
  • 9. Whether Unbelievers can be converted by Persecution, and whether Per­secution be a good Religion to convert any into?
  • 10. Whether are not such as are contrary-minded to be convinced, and the mouthes of gainsayers to be stopped; and whether Persecution be the way to do either?
  • 11. Whether is not Persecution an Effect of your Doctrine; and whether is your Doctrine sound that produceth such Effects?
  • 12. Whether do not you promote the Persecution that is, and whether have you not laid the greater part of that work upon others to ease your selves?
  • 13. Whether do you walk as Christ and his Apostles walked? and whether is not your practice of Persecution contrary to their Practice and Doctrine.
  • 14. Whether is not the Love of God manifest in Christ, and whether is not Christ the Light that makes it manifest? and whether is not the Love of God shed abroad in the hearts of all that believe in the Light, and whether is not [...]
  • 15. Whether doth any Persecution rise from the Love of God, [...] such as know it shed abroad in their hearts do walk in that way?
  • 16. Whether doth not Love endure all things; and whether are not such in the Love of God that endure Persecution, and whether are not such in the Enmity that persecute?
  • 17. Whether is not the Doctrine of Christ to be believed and followed? and whether such as love their Enemies, and follow Peace with all men, do not believe and follow his Doctrine?
  • 18. Whether are any worthy to be persecuted, that believe and follow Christ's Doctrine; or whether they are not worthy to be encouraged?
  • 19. Whether is your Faith and Doctrine the same as the Apostles was, and how may it be known?
  • 20. Whether doth your Practice and Worship agree with Christ and his Apo­stles, or whether it is not nearer the Popes Inventions?
  • 21. VVhether do you preach, pray and sing in the same Spirit as the Apostles did; or whether are you not apostatized from it, and observing the Traditi­ons of men?
  • 22. VVhether do you take Tythes from any Precept or President of Christ or his Apostles; and whether are Tythes to be taken and paid for maintenance of a Gospel-Ministry?
  • 23. VVhether do you sprinkle Infants from any Precept or President of Christ or his Apostles, or whether hath not the Pope introduced it?
  • 24. VVhether is the whole, or any part of your Practice and Worship accord­ing to the plain Truth of Scripture? if it be, then prove it by the Scripture; but if you cannot, then it is not to be owned as Infallible.
  • 25. VVhether is it Error in the sight of God to dissent from your Practice and Worship? if it be, then convince the Dissenters by sound Doctrine, and maintain your practice in the Spirit of Love and Meekness, without Persecu­tion and Violence.
  • 26. VVhether is it Error for some to meet, besides the Family, contrary to your Lyturgy? or, whether may not four so meet without transgressing the late Act? if so, Then whether may not four hundred meet in the same Truth, see­ing four are not concluded to be in error? and whether doth the number make it an error, or whether is it not the same Truth in many as in few?
  • 27. VVhether is not that a true Worship which is performed to God in his Spi­rit, and whether such a Worship may not be performed contrary to your Ly­turgy? and whether have you ever proved the Quakers Meetings to be Sedi­tious Conventicles, and contrary to the true Worship in Spirit? and whether is it reasonable to persecute for that you have never proved to be irregular?
  • 28. VVhether Appearance only be a good ground to judge and conclude Error by; and whether Dissenters from you in appearance may not truly worship God? and if so, then whether you do well to persecute them?
  • 29. VVhether is a Peaceable Meeting a Seditious Conventicle, or what makes a Seditious Conventicle? and whether is not the late Act wrested, when execu­ted upon such as meet peaceably?
  • 30. VVhether must not the Lamb and the Saints have the Victory, and what must they have victory over; and whether must not the Lamb reign over all that war against him? and whether doth not Persecution war against him? and whether such as persecute be not his enemies, that would not that he should reign, and whether must they not be overcome and slain before him?
  • 31. VVhether is it not the Lamb and his Followers that patiently endure Persecution; and whether is not Persecution the Dragon's flood?
  • 32. Whether is it a work of Christianity to banish People for meeting peace­ably, and no other thing proved against them? and whether is there any Law in England that gives power so to do? and whether is true Judgment exe­cuted by those that do it?
  • 33. Whether is it not better to suffer Afflictions with the People of God, than to enjoy the pleasure of sin? and whether Pride, Rioting, and Drunken­ness be not sin? and whether do not such as enjoy those pleasures cause the People of God to suffer Affliction?
  • 34. Whether is not Christ the Prince of Peace? and whether is not Peace the fruit of his Spirit? and whether are such governed by his Spirit, as persecute his People for meeting peaceably, which is the fruit of his Spirit?
  • 35. VVhether is not Persecution exposed to termination, and whether such as prosecute it be not exposed to termination with it?
  • 36. Whether is not Love and Good-will a sure mark of Christianity? and whether is not Envy and Cruelty a sure mark of the contrary? and whether is there Love and Good-will in Persecution, and whether is the nature of Christianity in such a work?
  • 37. VVhether is the Name of a Christian a sure Evidence of Salvation, and whether may not such as have the Name and not the Nature, be liable to Condemnation?
  • 38. VVhether is Religion an outward thing, or whether is it contained in outward observations? or whether doth it not stand in the Principle of Life? and whether is that Religion which stands in the Life to be denied, and they that live in it to be persecuted?
  • 39. VVhether are not all outward things of a perishing nature, and whether is a perishing nature a good foundation to settle Religion upon? or whether is not Christ the true and only Foundation? and whether that Religion that is setled upon him ought to be suppressed?
  • 40. VVhether is not all Power in Heaven and Earth in Christ? and whether is not he the chief Shepherd and Bishop of the Soul? and whether is any [...]ing, Bishop, or Judge to limit his Power? or whether are not [...] to be subject unto him, and in all things give him the Preheminence?

These Queries are proposed in meekness and fear for you, or any of you to an­swer, for the heat of Persecution is violent upon the Innocent; and it is but a reasonable thing to demonstrate your minds for the Nations satisfaction, and in plainness make it known wherefore such things come to pass; and if you can make it appear that it is for any cause of evil that we are so afflicted, then you will manifest something to satisfaction; for it's believed you have very much provoked the present Authority unto it, and also promote the Execution of it; And though the Magistrates in doing of it give you ease, and so you keep your selves more close from appearing in action, yet it is believed that you follow it with your strength, and that by your strength the Magistrates hand is both lifted up and pulled down: and if it be not so, then clear your selves from it, by en­deavouring to restrain the Evil of it, that the backs of the Righteous may be smitten no more, and all that have their hands in that work may say, It is enough, lest Judgment fall merciless because no mercy is shewed: for is it a light thing to drive Innocent People from their Peaceable Meetings with Armed men, and to thrust them into Holes and Prisons, for no other cause but the exercise of their Consciences towards God, and then to send them away, and banish them into Remote Countries, and so tare and rend the Bowels of the Nation, and lay Families waste that are a good service in their places? O preach the doctrine of Love and Peace amongst them, and let Pitty and Mercy oversway Cruelty, that God may divert his Vengeance which unto Cruelty belongeth, from which none can escape that persist in persecuting the Innocent: Therefore you Bi­shops and Ministers consider your places, and do not preach and promote that which will draw down God's Vengeance, but preach and promote the Gospel of Peace and Salvation, that the noise of Cruelty and Persecution may cease and no more be heard in the Land.

And all you Magistrates and People hear what your Bishops and Ministers will answer, for this matter is not to be carried on with Clubs and Staves, these were the weapons of Judas's Band; that's but a bad Religion that must be so upheld: therefore stay your hands, and let those that are accounted Spiritual, stand forth in the Spirit of Meekness; and if in that Spirit they will appear, we are ready in the same Spirit to make our defence, but we cannot use Clubs and Staves in it, for our weapons are not carnal, and our Consciences are tender towards God; therefore be you still and quiet, and let them have time to con­sider and give their Answer; which if they do not, you may well forbear standing in their defence, and also stay your hands from afflicting or persecuting us any further; for we have a good Cause, and our patience and peace is in it; and in the midst of our Afflictions that is our Joy and Crown of Rejoycing. Glory be unto the Lord God for ever.

W. S.

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