SOME Prison Meditations In the 7th Moneth, 1657.

BEING A Free-Gift SERMON Mainly touching the Religious Robbers, or Spiritual Murtherers, the Sermon and Prayer-sellers of the former, la­ter and present times; Even to the whole company of Mystery. Baby­lons Merchants and Mem­bers a Warning.

Hos. 6 Chap. Vers. the 8. & 9. it is written,

Gilead is a City of them that work iniquitie, and is polluted with blood: And as Troops of Robbers wait for a man, so the company of Priests murther in the way by consent, for they commit leudness.

LONDON, Printed for Giles Calvert, at the Black-spread-Eagle neer the West end of Pauls, 1657.

SOME Prison-Meditations.

NOW all you people and Priests of the Earth, amongst all your observings and gather­ings of Doctrine, observe with me, and take diligent notice of these few, short, plain Doctrines, or Lessons from hence, and tremble, and repent; to wit,

  • 1. That workers of iniquity are a filthy and bloody people.
  • 2. That lewd Priests or Teachers are murtherers, and layers in wait for blood
  • 3. Where the Priests or Teachers are nought, such as fol­low them are not good; and so like Priest, like people, as here.
  • 4. Lewd Priests, and murtherous-minded men, (false Teachers) have in all ages been many a mighty band, fitted to devour.

[Page 2] But Hosea! how didst thou escape this bloody people, and these murtherous Priests, these lewd workers of ini­quity? Did they not murther or imprison thee, or sue thee at their Courts for a disturber of their peace, or for a slander? How didst thou, poor Lamb, escape these Wolves, these boody murtherous Priests and people. Thy brother Amos, the Prophet, was accused by one of these murtherous Priests for a conspirer against the King in the midst of the House of Israol, and that the Land was not able to bear his words, Amos 7. 10, &c. And thy bro­ther Jeremiah was cast into a dirty Dungeon, almost unto death, besides the other beatings, and stockings, and im­prisonings that he suffered from one of these lewd Priests Jer. 20. 1, &c. and the sinful Princes, for his witness sake in that genera­tion, as it is to be seen in Jer. 38. and other places of that Book: And thy brother Zacharias, son of Barachias was slain by this bloody generation between the Temple and the Altar for his witness sake, Matth. 23: 35: And all the See Mat. 23. 34, &c. Lu. 13. 33, &c. & ch. 22. & 23. rest of thy brethren were evil intreated of this bloody murtherous generation of Priests and people for their te­stimonies sake: And the Heir himself Christ Jesus the Head, when he appeared, was cruelly murthered by these bloody Priests, and such as followed them, and consent­ed with them; and that for witnessing forth truth against the wickedness and lewdness of the bloodie City and venemous Priests, their Teachers, as is all over in the Scri­pture of truth to be read, and is now also in these present daies found true in experience by all thy suffering Bre­thren and Sisters, Oh Prophet! who are reproached and persecuted of this present evil-generation of the Priests (the Teachers) and the people under them, under the Nick-name of Quakers. And therefore we having such a Cloud of Witnesses and fellow-sufferers for the truths sake going before us, we may be comforted and incoura­ged in all our tribulations knowing that we are hereunto called, not only to believe, but also to suffer for Christ [Page 3] his Name sake, that so we may fill up the measure of the afflictions of Christ in our flesh for his bodies sake, which is his Church.

Further, oh all people! you may hence observe and take diligent notice for your good, that it hath been an old custome of the worlds Teachers, such as are called of men Master, Matth. 23. and who preach for hire, Mic. 3. and seek their gain from their quarter, Isa. 56. I say, that it hath been an old custom of such Wolves to murther souls and people of God; for in some Scrip­tures is mention made of the spiritual, and in others of the bodily murther that they had and would be guilty of. And further take notice, that these banding Priests are a lewd generation, which in other expressions is all one as to say, Thieves, Whores, & Harlots; and so indeed are they also in Scripture usually said to be, and therefore typed and set forth under the name of painted whorish Jezza­bel, and the wel-favoured Harlot, and here under the si­militude of Troops of Robbers waiting for a man; and Paul calls them Ministers of Satan, having a form of god­liness, denying and resisting the power and truth of godlinesse: And therefore (oh all people!) you are exhorted by the spirit of truth to turn away from them, yea, and com­manded to come out from amongst them upon pain of e­ternal death, Jer 23. throughout. Rev 14. 8, 9, 10, 11. Rev. 18. throughout. 2 Cor. 11. 13, 12, 15. 2 Tim. 3. 5, &c. Rev. 2. 20, &c.

Read Scripture, and see if these things be not so, and fear the living God, and bow to truth, and be exhorted and perswaded all people now at length to learn wisdom, and to understand whom you follow; for you see the Scripture tells of murtherous lewd Priests that stood over the people for Teachers in former days; and in Christs time there was Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, who were taken by the blind people to be sufficient guides and Teachers, whom Christ called blind guides, children of the Joh. 8 25. Matth. 23.[Page 4] devil, painted Sepulchres, whited Walls, yea Vipers and Ser­pents. And so you people that gather together to the Stee­ple-House, which you call your Church, when you hear your Teachers, who now-a-daies go under the name of Ministers with you, take a Scripture, and out of it chuse a verse (or so) of a chapter, according to their wills, for filthy lucre, and calls it their Text, and from it draws Doctrines, and Reasons, and Uses, as they call them, ask them whether there be any such company of false Teach­ers now-a-daies in England to be found, as this Scripture speaks of, who as troops of Robbers wait for a man, so wait to murther in the way by consent; and who they are, and what, and who they murther; and with what they mur­ther; and how these murtherers may be knovvn; vvhat be their fruits, for by their fruits ye shall know them, saith Christ. And ask them further, Whether these false Tea­chers vvhich the Prophet Hosea here calls lewd murther­ers be not the same in nature with those vvhich Isaiah in the 56. chap. and 10. v. of his Prophesie, calls greedy dumb dogs, that sought their gain from their quarter, and could never have enough: and the same that Jeremiah spoke of in ch. 5. ver. 1, 2. & 23. ch. of his Prophesie, through­out, That stole the word from their neighbor, and used their tongues, and said, he saith, when the Lord never sent them, and so could not profit the people at all. And vvhether they be not the same that Micah the Prophet (Mic. ch. 3. 5, &c.) speaks of, who preached for hire, and divined for money, and spake peace to the wicked for the gift sake, but if any put not into their mouths, they prepared war against them, and yet like all hypocrites vvould lean upon the Lord in vvords, & say, Is not the Lord amongst us? no evil shall come unto us. And whe­ther these murtherous Priests vvere not one with those that Christ Jesus cried vvo against in Matth. 23. who were sayers, and not doers; who loved to be called of men Master, and bound heavy burthens upon the people, and touched them not with one of their own fingers, but shut up the kingdom of [Page 5] heaven against men, and would neither enter in themselves, nor suffer others. And finally, ask them whether such men now as stand over the people for Teachers, though under ano­ther Name, and making another profession in words, yet if they be found in the foresaid steps, doing the foresaid deeds of those forementioned false Teachers, are not to receive the same judgement, and to be cried against and denied, and forsaken by all the children of light now, as formerly, yea or nay.

And now Hosea, thou holy Prophet of God, thou hast said and laid down these two Doctrines or high Charges against the people in general, and against the Priests in particular: The first, That the people in general are pollu­ted with blood. The second, That as Troops of Robbers wait for a man, so the company of Priests murther in the way by consent: How dost thou prove and make these good, for the Gileadites are deeply concerned in it; and they will have thee to make it good, or suffer for default? Yea, by the spirit I make it good, thus: Gilead is a (ity polluted with blood, because they are such as work iniquity; and the Priests murther in the way by consent, because they commit Iewdnesse: And this is witnessed not only by the Scriptures, but also by the same spirit of truth that gave it forth in all the children of light to be so. But Hosea, thou must not be tried per pares, that is, them of like condition or qua­lity with thee, to wit, the holy Prophets and children of God, who are Witnesses with thee against the abominati­ons of their times, and sins that rules in Priests and peo­ple, for that will not satisfie nor serve the Gileadites turn, for so the great men of all sorts in City and Countrey would be found faulty: But these Priests and people think it fit (according to their Nation-Law) to have a Judge, and Justices fit upon the Bench, and to have a Jury of In­quest summoned and to have a Bill of Indictment found against thee, and then if thou plead thy innocency, and say thou art not guilty of doing them any wrong, but [Page 6] only thou spoke as thou was moved by the spirit of God; then thou must have, as they pretend, a fair trial, (for thou must know that the Gileadites cannot believe thy Witness, nor any for thee from that spirit only) but this fair trial must not be by spiritual men, who only are able to judge of spiritual things, for the Gileadites know not their voice no more then thine, Oh Prophet! but it must be further, by another company of these men whom thou hast said are workers of iniquity, and polluted with blood, and so are parties; and these must judge of thee; and these (sayes the world) are a Grand Jury, a company of sub­stantial men of the Country, sworn men (Mark, out of the Doctrine of Christ, for his yea is yea, and his nay is nay, without an oath.) And these men (the Grand Jury) must bring in their Verdict (as they call it) against thee, for they have found thee guilty, (for thou hast nothing on thy side but plain truth, without mans testimony, or an oath) and the Judge of the Court (one of the chief men among the Gileadites that is versed in Law matters) thinks it fit thou should be fined to pay a sum of money for thy offence, (oh Prophet! thou man of God!) and be kept in prison (Summer and Winter, that matters not) until thou pay it: But what (oh Prophet!) if thou hast neither liberty in thy spirit, nor outward ability to pay thy Fine, What course must be taken with thee? Well, for that (O Prophet!) Gilead matters not, but impriso­ned thou must remain, for so Gilead will be quiet of thee, and thou cannot come into their Synagogues, Markets, nor other Assemblies, to cry against their sins, and disturb them, for the people and Priests would live quietly in their sins, and they would not be disturbed neither in the time of their service, nor otherwise. And Hosea, that thou mayest have no occasion to find fault with the Jury or the Judge, one of these Priests whom thou hast by the spirit declared to be murtherers and lewd men, have taken an oath in open Court against thee; and dost thou think that though [...] [Page 5] ded for a witnesse against this generation of cruel hearted men, whom the beast and false prophet hath raised in his de­fence, and against the Kingdom of Christ Jesus and them that follow him, how full have the most part of the prisons in all this land been with guiltlesse sufferers under cruel bon­dage, with unjust dealings and false judgments, have gone forth from some of your mouthes, you that have been set to judge over the people, who should have been a terror to the wicked, but have rather strengthened the hands of evil doers, and been a terror to righteousuesse, so much as is possible, the great whore which sits upon the beast, hath made your Rulers drunk and stagger with envy and hatred and persecu­tion, and works of wickednesse against the upright; Wo is me for you, what have you brought forth? even iniquity by Decrees, and injustice by Ordinances, and false judgment by Lawes; alas, alas, your destruction cometh as an armed man upon you. Was ever the like heard, or any president in any generation before you, for imprisoning just men, for declaring against sin and the abominations of the times, as you have done many, and for imprisoning men because they cannot put off their hat to you and respect your persons, and so transgresse the law of God, and because they cannot swear, and so break Christs command? For this you have imprisoned many, and caused them to suffer because of this, may not you fear and tremble before the Lord God, and your faces gather blacknesse at this, when you consider it? Did ever any that were set to judge in the earth among men so abuse their power, and subvert it so, quite to another end than wherefore it was committed to them? May not shame cover you all, to commit men to prison for the exercise of pure conscience towards God, because they cannot swear, or respect mens persons, or maintain Idol-shepherds, and Idol-temples and worships, which is abomination to the Lord; and for taking peaceable men out of peaceable meet­ings, and out of their travel on the High-wayes, and first whipping them, and sending them to prison, the example of this which you have done, never went before in any age, and [Page 6] therefore have you exceeded in oppression, in injustice, in cruelty and false judgment; all your fore-fathers the Pope nor Bishops, hardly ever brought forth such things; but the Lord will reckon with you, and plead the cause of the op­pressed against all you oppressors; yea, and will give unto you a recompence of reward according to your works; ye that have exalted your selves against the innocent, shall be brought down to the dust of misery, and the Saints shall reign and rejoyce over you, when the Kingdom of Christ Jesus the Lamb shall be set up over you all, and your beast­ly power dashed to pieces as a Potters vessel, when he whom you have persecuted and his followers shall rule with a rod of iron, and break you asunder; and this shall shurely come to passe, therefore consider it, ye that thus deal in your an­ger against the Lord and his chosen, for the Lamb shall get the victory over the Beast, and over you all that seek to de­fend him, and that strive under his power; for they that are with the Lamb are Called, and Faithful, and Chosen: O! therefore be awakened, be awakened, ye heads, and Judges, and Rulers of the people, remember and repent, the Lords hand is stretched forth against all oppression and oppressors, and his wrath is kindled against the wicked ones, and his po­wer to overthrow his dominon which long hath reigned in the Nations, and now though he seeks to defend himself a­gainst the Lamb and his followers by injust dealing, yet the out-stretched arme of the Lord shall bring deliverance to his chosen, who hath been made havock upon, in their liberties and in their estates; some cruelly suffering in prison, and o­thers by spoiling of their goods, and none of these for evil doing, but upon false suspitions, and envious jelousies, and secret surmisings, without any ground of occasion given; but by wickednesse have many of you sought occasion to make offenders, by laying snares for the feet of the harm­lesse and innocent; you have made men offenders for a word, and perverted innocent words and actions, that you might make to your self a ground to persecute, and have sought a cloake to cover your cruelty in the sight of men, [Page 7] but naked and bare are your hearts made manifest in the sight of the lord, who hath looked down from heaven, and considered these things, and hath regarded the unjust suf­ferings of his people whose liberties, and estates, and good names have been spoiled through injustice, by grievous bur­thens laid upon some, because they could not pay Tythes (that hainous oppression) to satisfie the unmercifullnesse of cruel men, and many suffers at this day, unjustly in the sight of God, and illegally also in the sight of men; and some suffer the spoiling of their goods, rather by way of robery and theft, than by just execution of judgment in proceeding of just law; this can largely be witnessed, and this is brought forth by subservant Officers to you that are set to judge, and you to them are evil examples, and strengtheners of their malitious hands, some of them are not ashamed to take six times the value of what is unjustly claimed for the use of a false teacher and deceitful hireling who rides upon the beast, and make you their servants to oppresse the poor, to uphold them and maintain them in their pride and vanities, but the Lord hath considered these things, and he hath numbred the oppressions against you, wherewith the just have been grie­ved and oppressed under you, he hath counted this cruelty and recorded all your unjust dealing, which you have (or suffered to be) brought forth, yea the day of account hastens and the tearm draws near upon you, wherein the just and righteous Judge of heaven and earth will call you to account who will plead the cause of the poor, and of the unjust suf­ferer, and oppressed, against you all, who are oppressors the innocent prosecute against you, and the begging of the poor is heard, which calls for vengeance upon you. In the Re­cord of justice, what account will you give to the Highest-power, who rules over heaven and earth, for imprisoning just men for crying against sin, and declaring against the wickednesse of this age; this shall be proved against you in the day of the Lord; Is your answer ready, or will not your mouthes be stopped and you speechlesse, when righte­ousnesse it self pleads against you? And what can you plead [Page 8] for fining men, and imprisoning them, for not respecting your persons, and bowing with hat and knee, and because they could not swear; this hath some of you done; will you have any thing to say in the cause of these things, when Christ Jesus comes to reign and his Saints with him, unto whom the government and the authority, and rule shall be given: though now they are persecuted, and as the refuse of men accounted by you, unto whom they are become a prey, to act your oppression and cruelty upon; and be­cause they render not evil for evil, therefore is the impuden­cie of some men the more encreased, and their hardnesse of heart enlarged; and because judgment is not speedily exe­cuted, therefore are the hearts of some men set in them to do evil. O! what a sad reckoning in that day, and what large indictments and verdicts for your oppression, will be read against you, and proved to be just in the sight of God and men; a sad thing will it be upon you, when laid to your charge by the Lord, for causing men to suffer because they could not swear, nor respect persons, nor uphold the deceits of false worships and teachers, nor cease to cry a­gainst sin, in your Townes and Steeple-houses. O! be stir­red up out of your security, you Heads, and Rulers, and Judges, and Officers, even all you be awakened who have turned your sword against the peaceable, and been a terror to righteousnesse as much as you could, which you ought not to have been, and so your power you have abused, and subverted it to another end than wherefore it was commit­ted to you: instead of defending the upright you have of­fended him, and instead of being a terror to the wicked, his hand hath been strengthened through your wicked presi­dents; this is the truth, as the light in all your consciences shall witnesse in the day of the Lord; O! how hath justice and true judgment been neglected, and oppression and cru­elty abounded, the like in generations past hath not been known, but the Lord is now arisen, and hath said, I will ease me of my enemies, and take vengeance upon my adversaries, who have done wickedly against him and his people, till the [Page 9] patience of the Lord is near an end, and his longe suffering finished, and his judgments will he make known upon his e­nemies in this generation, that ages to come forever may be warned not to oppresse the innocent, as these have done by false accusations, and unjust judgment, and wicked proceed­ings, and because of it, the wrath of the Lord is kindled, and his viols of indignation shall be poured upon the beast, and upon the false Prophet, and all their power shall be smitten in one day.

And O what wickednesse hath abounded in the people al­so, to help up the measure of the Rulers sins, that may re­ceive the recompence together; how have the people of all sorts abused the innocent lambs of Christ, whom he hath called? What beatings, and stonings, and bruisings, and o­ther abuses, in Townes, and High-waies, and Steeple-hou­ses, its hard to be expressed and large to be declared: some have been wounded nigh unto death, others bruised till blood have gushed out, and others cast down in the dirt and punched with feet and troden upon, and many have been in danger of their lives, some have been knocked down with staves and thir cloaths rent, and their hair torne off their heads, and some have been pursued after with throwing stones and dirt at them, and many halled, and tumulted, and lugged, and hurried up and down in cruel manner, to the danger of life and oppression of the creature, and others have been whipped, and lashed, and put into cruel torment of their bodies, by engins framed of purpose to torment the bodies of the harmlesse, as Chester and Carlile may witnesse, and others have been halled before rulers, and falsly slan­dered to the taking away of life if the Lord had not preven­ted, more than mercy of men, and having been unmercifully and unjustly sent to prison, there have they suffered cruel­ties from the Goalers or their servants, by beatings, or pun­nishings, or threatnings, or cruel words, and casting into dungeons, and great abuses shamefully acted upon them, and other prisoners have made a prey upon them, by t [...]king away their cloaths and meat, and beating of them, and a­busing [Page 10] them divers waies, and murtherers have had more priviledge of freedom in prisons and in tryals, than these who are innocent, and these things thus acted contrary to their own law, hath passed without reproofe from many in Authority, though it have been brought to their door, and in this manner have the children of God, the Lamb and his followers been persecuted without cause, or any evil works brought forth by them, and legally proved against them; but for well doing and not for evil, hath the wicked vented their malice against them, that the more the Beast and his power hath fullfilled wickednesse, the sooner may be his de­struction.

And O what scorning, and reviling, and lying, and slan­dering, and evil speeches, with mockings, and cruel words of envy, and tearms of cruelty against the innocent, hath this generation brought forth in this day, wherein the dragon with his Angells hath joyned battel against the Prince of righteousnesse, and they that follow him, and whole Gog and Magog is gathered together, to compasse the Camp of the Saints about, and to fight against the beloved City, the Judges and Rulers, with their train of subservant officers, as Bayliffs, Clarks, Goalers, Constables, with all that to those belonged, have with a high hand persecuted and laid oppres­sions by hard-heartednesse, upon the backs of the poor and distressed, and the scorners, and liers, and prophane wretch­es have bent their tongue against the just, in uttering lies, slanders, reproaches, back-biting, nick-namings, and false-accusing, and all manner of evil speehes, and false reproach­es, and the just have been burthened by all this; and thus they that have been departed from iniquity have been a prey to Rulers to act their injustice upon, and to the peo­ple to utter their slanders, and to do cruelty against; and the teeth of evil doers have been set on edge, to bite and de­voure, and to satisfie their maliciousnesse upon the suffer­ings of the upright people, and from the Judge upon his throne, to the begger upon the high-way; all have had their hand dipped in this cause of cruel and unjust persecution, and [Page 11] the Lord hath considered and harkened from his holy habi­tation, and numbered up the summe of all your iniquities that he may repay and recompence upon your heads, wo unto you unjust Judges, and corrupt men, who have abused your power. And wo unto all that do oppresse by hard dealing, who have offended the just, and defended the unjust: Wo unto all you scorners, liers, back biters, and reproach­full tongues; the Lord is coming to take an account. Your sins cry for vengeance against you, and though your hands and tongues have been strengthened to speak and act un­godlinesse, by the evil example of your rulers, yet your own iniquity shall you bear in the day of the Lord, and though your rulers and judges have been strengthened in their un­justnesse and mercilessenesse, by the false lying teachers and diviners of false visions, which have seen vanity, yet their own iniquity shall they bear, & every man shall die for his own sin; Wo unto your teachers, they have eaten up the sin of rulers and people, and covered iniquity and trans­gression, by flattering and lying words; they have daubed with untempered morter, and healed up the wound deceit­fully, and cryed peace, peace, to the wicked, that have walk­ed in the imaginations of their own hearts, when unto such the Lord never spake peace.

And now whereas the Rulers and people have stretched forth their hands to vex the Lords people, and have through unjust judgment, and grievous oppressions, and unmercifull dealings, troden the innocent under foot, and made them a prey to their mouth, and divers waies have persecuted in cruel manner the followers of the Lamb; yet also have the wise men of this world, even the Priests and Teachers, who have led the people, and have caused them to erre, and have set themselves as in battle array against the Lord and his way and people; How have you hardened your hearts and made your forehead as brasse, against the Word of the Lord, and you have been as the fountain of all this wickednesse acted against the just, and strengtheners of the hands of ungodly men; the Heads and Ruler, you have strengthened in their [Page 12] cruelty, of false judgments by your arguments of strife; in subtiltly you have been as nursers of all this perse­cution and wickednesse, and have interceded for oppression, to cause the just to groan, whom the Lord hath raised to testifie against you; the judges they have given re­gard unto you, and the people they have taken you for ex­amples, who have been cursed presidents to the Rulers and people, who have followed your cruel steps of malice and envy; and from the head to the tail, they have drunk in your poisonus doctrines; and made themselves drunk there­with, and out of reason, in their furious zeal of madnesse, and all have taken council together to slay the harmlesse from off the face of the earth; some by false judgment and oppression, and others by cruel abusings, as beatings, and stonings, unheard of, or unequalized in generations of late. O ye Priests, and Teachers, and wise men, and Scribes! how many of you in this Nation joyned hand in hand to betray the innocent, by your false doctrines and lying divinations, and have filled (and sought to do so) the mind of the peo­ple with slanders and false reproaches, and lying imaginati­ons, and many conceptions and jealousies against the people of God; many of you have made it your study work, to bring forth evil by cunning arguments, to suggest into the hearts of people, that they might not enter the kingdom, and even so have you been shutters of the kingdom of hea­ven against men, and would not enter your selves, nor suffer others that would.

Wo unto you, you have taken away the key of know­ledge and lost it, and multitudes of false aspersions, and ly­ing assertions have you brought forth without fear, by wick­ed consequence and lying productions, that you might take away the key of knowledge thereby, and hide it from men, and lay stumbling blocks of iniquity before the people, to stop the way of the upright, and you have travelled to seek occasions of evil against the just, and watched for the halt­ing of the innocent, that you might glory and rejoyce in their fall, and without any occasion by words or actions, you have [...] [Page 15] ded] five Marks, and imprisonment until I should pay it; And so because I cannot give them money for their un­just proceedings against me, and unchristian dealings with me, I am kept here accordingly in the common Goal a prisoner, yet free, and in that everlasting Truth of God which cannot be bound, but tramples upon the neck and head of all deceit more then a Conqueror. But from hence all that have eyes may see what little liberty truth can yet get in the earth, after so much war and words protested for it: And therefore whoever thou art that reads these things, know, that in England also novv if thou vvilt live godly in Christ Jesus, thou must suffer persecution; for the Scripture cannot be broken. And this persecution novv in England ariseth mainly from the blind zeal that many have for keeping up their Ministers as they call them, from being spoken unto in the Assembly, either in, after, or before the time of their preaching, especially on the first day of the vveek, by them called the Lords day, and Sabbath day, and this the people are prompted unto by the wicked spirit in their Teachers, which can­not endure the light that God hath raised up in his peo­ple in these Islands in these dayes: and so this is the con­demnation of all such children of darkness, whether Priest or People, that light shines, and they love darkness more then light because their deeds are evil. And so all may see whether the teachers and people that act in such darkness are going; for in the days of Mary the perse­cutor, the Law reached only to a punishing of such as spoke to her Priests in the time of their service; but now the zeal of some for them is so increased, that neither in the time of their speaking, nor in their coming nor go­ing from their Steeplehouse, especially on the day afore­said, must their Teachers be spoken unto, but they will im­pute it to the party for an ofence, without examining whether there be cause for it yea or nay; but the Teacher though he be never so false in Doctrine, or vicious in life, yet if he be a Parish-Teacher, and receive the worlds [Page 16] hire, as Tythes, Glebe-lands, and Augmentations, with the State-allowance, or upon other Accompts be allow­ed for a Puklike Teacher by the Nation-Law, he is like to be defended; and he or she that speaks to them, though such a one be never so deer to God, and speaks truth in that particular never so clearly, is like to be punished as an evil doer: And if this be not a provoking of the wrath and hot displeasure of God against thee, Oh England! then let him that hath understanding declare what more can be: and therefore thou art now in time warned of these things, that thou mayest by repentance be saved from those things that shall assuredly come upon the wic­ked. But for the present, all poor people every where, who are in the dark minde, unacquainted with the teach­ings of God in the spirit and light of the holy Annoynt­ing, but are following the blind guides that indeavor to get their wickedness established by a Law, your misery is great and much to be lamented, and the case of such of you as have any true breathings after God is to be pitied; and who shall deliver you out of your bondage, but he that delivered Israel out of Aegypt, and hath in all Ages been a present help unto them in the needfull time of trouble, and will still deliver them that fear him out of all adversity: So wait upon him, and the work is done, and be incouraged all that wait upon him, for there is no end of his goodness to us, for his mercy indureth for e­ver; and before him goeth a devouring fire to consume the Adversaries of his glorious Truth round about; and the day is dawned that will leave them neither root nor branch. And in this rest I am your deer brother, oh all ye free people of God! and in the patience and sufferings of Christ your fellow-servant for the imbondaged seeds sake,

Thomas Taylor.

To the Judges, Justices, Juries, Teachers and people of the Nation who profess themselves to be Christians, and the Scripture to be their rule, and yet account them­selves disturbed if any speak unto them and cry against them in their Assemblies or Streets in the name and word of the Lord (without any authority from man) a few Quae­ries.

1 Quae.

WHether was that a disturbance in Christ Jesus when he went into the Temple at Jerusalem (a figure of his body) and made a whip of smal cords, and with it (with­out any authority from man) whipt out the buy­ers and sellers, and overthrew the Tables of the Money-changers, and commanded the Merchan­dize to be taken thence, Yea or nay, Mat. 21. 12. &c.

2 Query.

Whether was it a disturbance in the young prophet of God that was sent to cry against the Altar at Bethel whereon the King Jeroboam sacri­ficed even in the time of his worship, or the dis­turbance was not on the Kings own part, who put out his hand against Gods servant in Gods work; and whether the withering of that hand was not an evident sign on whose part the disturbance was, [Page 18] 1 Kings 13. 1. &c. Yea, or Nay.

3 Query.

Whether did Jeremiah the Prophet disturb the people of Israel, when he spoke unto them, and cryed against them terribly in the Word of the Lord ordinarily in their Assemblies and gates of their Cities, yea, or nay. Or did not they disturb him in puting him in stocks & prison for so doing? Consider well of it, and give judgment according­ly, Jer. 20. and Chap. 26. and chap. 37. and 38.

4 Query.

And whether was it wicked Ahab, King of Is­rael, and his house that had sinned against God, or Elijah the prophet of God who cryed against their sins, that disturbed Israels peace, yea or nay. And whether the wicked Kings Judgement, or the holy Prophets Iudgement will you be of in this matter. See 1 Kings 18. 17. &c.

5 Query.

And whether Amos who prophesied even in the Kings court and chappel, the sword upon the Kings house, and desolations upon all their san­ctuaries, was a disturber in so doing, or so accoun­ted then (that we read of) save onely by one wic­ked Priest, as you may read, Amos 7. 7. &c. [Page 19] And whether Ionah preaching repentance in the o­pen streets of Niniveh for a whole day together was a disturber or a friend to their city, yea or nay, see Ion. 3. 4. &c.

6 Query.

And whether the King and people of Nineveh who instead of persecuting him the Lords Pro­phet, did repent at his preaching, shall not rise up in judgement with this present generation, and condemn it, yea or nay.

7 Query.

Whether did Paul the Apostle disturb the Iewes and Gentiles in their synagogues and markets, when he reasoned of the things of Gods kingdom, and disputed as it were daily with them there, as you may read in the Acts of the Apostles: And whether you who account your selves disturbed with the like things, doing in these dayes, do not allow of the Iews persecuting of him for his works sake then, Yea or Nay.

8 Query.

And whether the same Paul in the Corinthians when he said, In the true church all that have any thing reuealed unto them from God, may speake one by one: and when he that is speaking heares [Page 20] such an inspired one begin to speak, he (to wit, the first) is to hold his peace, that all things may bee he ard, and all edified; I say whether Paul in prea­ching such doctrine preached disturbing doctrine, yea or nay.

And lastly, it is required of those that iudge o­thers for disturbers in such cases as these, that they do set down what is the true and infallible rule of trying doctrines and spirits by in these dayes; or for ever hereafter that they let the thing alone.

These from the Lords Prisoner, Thomas Taylor.

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