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Historical texts  >  James Nayler's "There is a spirit..."


There is a spirit which I feel that delights to do no evil, nor to revenge any wrong, but delights to endure all things, in hope to enjoy its own in the end.


There is a spirit which I feel that delights to do no evil, nor to revenge any wrong, but delights to endure all things, in hope to enjoy its own in the end. Its hope is to outlive all wrath and contention, and to weary out all exaltation and cruelty, or whatever is of a nature contrary to itself. It sees to the end of all temptations. As it bears no evil in itself, so it conceives none in thought to any other. If it be betrayed, it bears it, for its ground and spring is the mercies and forgiveness of God. Its crown is meekness, its life is everlasting love unfeigned; it takes its kingdom with entreaty and not with contention, and keeps it by lowliness of mind. In God alone it can rejoice, though none else regard it, or can own its life. It is conceived in sorrow, and brought forth without any to pity it; nor doth it murmur at grief and oppression. It never rejoiceth but through sufferings; for with the world's joy it is murdered. I found it alone, being forsaken. I have fellowship therein with them who lived in dens and desolate places of the earth, who through death obtained this resurrection and eternal holy life.

Thou wast with me when I fled from the face of mine enemies: then didst Thou warn me in the night: Thou carriedst me in Thy power into the hiding-place Thou hadst prepared for me: there Thou coveredst me with Thy Hand that in time Thou mightst bring me forth a rock before all the world. When I was weak Thou stayedst me with Thy Hand, that in Thy time Thou mightst present me to the world in Thy strength in which I stand, and cannot be moved. Praise the Lord, O my soul. Let this be written for those that come after. Praise the Lord.


Notes and Links

Source: Christian faith and practice in the experience of the Society of Friends  (London Yearly Meeting, 1960)

This is the famous deathbed testimony of James Naylor, who died in 1660 at the age of 44. Naylor had, in 1656, been found guilty of blasphemy and suffered cruel tortures, including, along with other severe punishments, receiving brutal scourgings, having his tongue bored through with a hot iron, and having the letter "B" branded on his forehead. I believe that his sufferings were made worse by his rejection by many Friends, including George Fox. For a fuller account of Naylor's passion, see my "The Power of Suffering Love: James Naylor and Robert Rich" --George Amoss

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