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Historical texts  >  The Resurrection of John Lilburne


THE RESURRECTION OF

John Lilburne,

Now a Prisoner in Dover-Castle *


Having many and strong compulsions, from the measure of the light of the Lord now shining clearly within me, and raised up now to a good degree of life and power in my soul, to make a public declaration in print, of my real owning, and now living in, (in my present attained to measure) the life and power of those divine and heavenly principles, professed by those spirituallized people called Quakers; at my owning of which, all my old and familiar friends (in a manner) are so much troubled and offended with me for, and my great adversaries so jealous of the real intentions of my heart within me, at my so doing, and by that measure of the Light of JESUS shining in my soul, I am now directed and guided to entitle it as aforesaid, and here at this place (as an introduction, before I come to the main thing of that which through the strength of God I have now to say) to insert here the copies of the very two first Letters, that ever I wrote of note, after the great and glorious power of God had seized upon my soul, to let in the real beginnings of convincement into my soul, of my spiritual blindness, deadness and emptiness, and by which I came to see a clear glimpse of that spiritual fullness that was, and really is, in the divine and heavenly declared principles of the aforesaid precious people: The first Letter being to my wife, take in these following words.

Dover-Castle the fourth day of the tenth month, 1655.
For my dear and loving wife Elizabeth Lilburn, at her friend George Wade's (house) a cook at the Sign of the Sun near Guild-Hall, and Lawrence Lanes end in London, these with speed deliver.

My dear heart,
What in a great measure my temper of spirit was before thy coming to me, I in its measure communicated unto thee, by the copy of my letter to Luke Howard, which I have here enclosed thee at thy leisure to peruse: and what distemperedness my earthly spirit was in, at, and towards thee, at thy and my last meeting upon Saturday, the tenth of November last, I need not repeat unto thee, being (I believe) it is fresh enough in thy own memory.

And the frame of my heart, after thy reconciliation and mine (so far as God has given me the spirit of discerning, and searching it) I in no small proportion in reality discovered to thee.

And since my departure (upon Wednesday the 21. of November last) feeling myself seriously to a deep and weighty consideration of that work that my soul longed for anew to be a travelling in; And giving fullness of scope to that divine and heavenly voice of God speaking plainly in my heart, unto which I am truly able to set my seal to, that it is that spirit, or power of the Holy Ghost, or true Comforter, spoken of Joh. I 6.7-8. that convinceth, or reproveth the world, or the carnal, or first, or fallen nature in me, of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgement, and is that eternal and everlasting spirit of truth, that (embraced and closed with) leads my soul by its divine and strong power, or attractive drawings, step by step in its measure and degree into truth, and in my heavenly father's good time, I doubt not but it will establish and build me up in truth, Joh.16.13. and mould me into a real conformity in life and power (in real and substantial enjoyment) to the ways of truth, of light, and life, be they never so difficult to the flesh, carnal man, or fallen, or first nature in me, or never so full of the cross, or self-denial, or giving up my own reason, understanding, will, wisdom, and affections, to be crossed and crucified by the Will and Wisdom of JESUS, the annointed above measure of the Father, and to be guided or led on by him the living life, light, or power in all the sons of men, that have the greatest degree, or least of sparks of divine or heavenly light, shining within their dark, (in their small degree or measure) or enlightened, enlivened souls, in their larger degree or measure.

I have, since I see thee, read extraordinary much of those two volumes which I showed thee, containing both almost seventeen hundred pages, of the writings of those preciousest (though most contemptible) people called quakers; the truly beloved objects of my soul. And this at present, (because I rather now heartily desire to live in the possession, power, or life of truth in my soul, than in the bare profession, notion, or talk of it) I shall, and can in sincerity say to thee, that my soul has been amazed, and even confounded by them; not as Herod by John Baptist preachings was, for fear of eternal wrath (or loss of his Tetrarch-ship by, or) for his sins, which to avoid made him reform, and amend many things, Mark 6.20. but of real breakings, or shame of soul, that so glorious a Talent, as my Lord and Master (by the clear, lively, and powerful breakings in of his divine and heavenly light in o my heart) long, and many years ago bestowed upon me, should by me (or my first, and carnal wisdom) be most ungratefully, and unfaithfully, like a lighted candle put under a bushel, or hid, or buried in the earth in me, in obscurity and darkness: Or, that my soul should by the will and wisdom of the first nature, ambitiously (Adam-like) eat anew upon the tree of Knowledge of good and evil, and thereby covet to be esteemed something among the sons of men, (more than the Divine Wisdom would have me) with that measure or degree I had attained to; and therewith be with it (like the unbelieving Jews, the type in the flesh) or the first (or mean in its degree or measure, to what I ought to have thirsted after) out-goings of the divine and heavenly teaching, and instructing spirit, or voice of God in, or unto my soul, willing and content to sit down in the wilderness, or journeying way to Canaan; and not with precious Joshua and Caleb (the spiritual anti-types in that particular, or in another particular, the outward types, of the spiritual travelling anti-types, the feed of God under the Gospel, into God's spiritual rest in himself) be willing, longing, and desirous, by faith in the strength of God, (resting as the old Israelites after the flesh ought to have done, in his faithful and powerful promise of carrying me on) through all difficulties, self-denials, crosses, and hardships whatsoever; to travel into the Spiritual Kingdom; or heavenly Land of Rest, that God in the naked enjoyment of himself hath prepared for (and at this very day I believe hath experimentally and really bestowed the clear enjoyment of, upon many of) his Ransomed ones, contemptibly and scornfully called quakers.

I say unto thee, the real (and close applied home unto my soul by the spirit and power of life from God, that now aloud again speaks within me) consideration of the premises, or that which is foregoing,

* - As is clearly proved by the printed speeches of several of the prisoners in Northhampton and Eversham Goals.

and that people afar off, (yea, ignorant idiots, fools and profane* ones) in comparison to my being so nigh at hand so many years ago, to the clear and full possession of the spiritual Land of Canaan, should enter into the glorious Kingdom of God, or that clearness of Rest, Peace and Union in, and with him, that now clearly to my spiritual undestanding they enjoy, and there bring forth the ripe fruits of spiritual old age in comparison of me, of Praises, Honor, and Glory to the Lamb: and to the ancient of Days, that clearly fits upon the Throne in their hearts, as having judged down, conquered, and overcome, within them, all their sins or spiritual enemies, and caused them to triumph over them, as in his strength, divine and heavenly power, reigning and ruling as King and Lord over them.

O, I say unto thee again, the real fight (in its measure and degree) and spiritual consideration of these things, since I last saw thee, for diverse hours in several nights, one after another, when my God denied sleep unto my outward eyes, and caused my soul to be awake with himself and to be really exercised in an interchange of Divine conference, contemplation or parley with him, has even caused my soul to weep, figh, and mourn within me before him, and in his strength and almighty power to indent with him, and now in good earnest, to engage in my soul, or spiritual man, to be obedient to his heavenly, and divine voice, speaking clearly in me, and to follow him (least I should now, by any longer reliftance, totally quench his divine drawings) through the denial of my own (or natural reason) will, wit, wisdom, desires and affections, with a real weanedness from worldly or fleshly honor, applause, glory, riches, or creature-fulness, yes, even to a final denial of father, kindred, friends, my sweet and dearly beloved (by me) babes, or thy own self, who viz. thy self, for many years bypast, I must avow it before the Almighty in sincerity and truth, has been to me the greatest and dearest of all earthly delights and joys.

And now therefore look about thee in good earnest, and see what thou hast got to thy self, as to the flesh, by thy eager desires, and strong endeavours to bring me back again into England, for the day of they real, strong, and full temptation and trial, never came upon thee till now, if God give thee not by degrees the fullness and completeness of spiritual and heavenly strength and ability to bear it and go through it. For my part I am now in reality and truth, in the clearly, lively, or evident seeing of the wisdom, and loving hand of a tender and endeared eternal Father, in stripping me naked of all earthly and created excellencies, and taking my outward estate and profitable employments, and all my worldly glory from me, and graciously, and supportingly leading me through the valley of Baca, Psal. 84.6. or Tears, outward Dangers, and Death; for now almost four years together, and separating from me for a long time, that wonted delight that used to be betwixt thee (my old and real idol) and me; and at my coming to this place, clearly unrobing me of all and every one of my old Friends, and familiar Acquaintance, that were any way fit, or able to do anything for me; and thereby hedging up my way, that I must, whether I will or no, in spite of my teeth, once again give ear to the serious and plain voice, call, or counsel of the Most High, speaking in, and unto my soul.

And so in much mercy and endeared loving kindness, as he did in my great straits in the Bishop's time, provided and sent unto me a poor dispised (yet understanding) Priscilla, to instruct me in, or expound unto me the way of God more fully, or perfectly (whom I am compelled now to tell thee, I shall love and respect therefore, the longest day I live upon the earth, let her continue by whomsoever to be judged never so rigid or contemptible) so here at this place he has also provided for me an Aquila (being a contemptible yet understanding, spiritually, knowing, and single hearted Shoemaker) to do the same now to my spiritual, and no small advantage, refreshment and benefit, by means of all which I am at present become dead to my former busling actings in the world, and now stand ready with the devout Centurion, or Captain, spoken of Act.10. to hear and obey all things that the lively voice of God speaking in my soulthat require of me, upon the further manifestation of whole, glorious preference, my heart with a watching fear and care desires to wait, and to walk faithfully, and tenderly, and humbly in that measure of Light already received; and out of the strength of indearedness of love, and tenderness of affection, that has long in times bypast, dwelt in me towards thee and of late in much sinserity is renewed unto thee again, I have with the same eternal, wellwishing of thy spiritual happiness, as I do my own, order Giles Calvert to send unto thee several of those printed pieties of the quakers, that in the serious reading of which have been most convincing, instructive unto my soul, amongst which I have judged in the first place James Naylor (that strong, or tall man in Christ) his Something in answer unto (thy and my endeared friend) John Jackson (that tall Cedar in great profession of Religion) his book called, Strength in weakness (which book the last ... I received from thee) in the reading of which piece of James Naylor's, I must set my seal to it, that there goes along in the breaking out of it a great deal of the quickening life and power of the spirit of God, and unto it are annexed several pieces of that precious and divine soul, William Deusbury, the Lord's now, or late glorious prisoner, in Northampton common goal, (to whose precious and hevenly spirit, although I never saw his face, mine indearedness of love is glued unto) whose book is called, The discovery of the great enmity of the Serpent against the Seed of the woman, and his discovery of man's return, have been pieces in my reading of them seriously, that by the power of the Almighty has spoken home to my soul I have ordered to be annexed unto them (as I remember) as many as makes them ten in number; and then twelve more in another volume principally for answering Objections, I have ordered to be sent unto thee, which I hope thou wilt receive (before this come to thee) bound up in that method that I have directed.

And now my dear love, for whom my soul travels with God for they eternal good, with the same sincere heartedness as for my own, hoping that thy late outfall and mine was but for a set season, that so as divine Paul in another sense speaks, Phil. 15. thy reconciliation and mine again might now remain firm in love forever.

I therefore earnestly entreat thee, not to much cumber thy self in thy many toilings and journeyings for my outward liberty, but sit down a little, and behold the great salvation of the Lord, and if by any means possible thy spirit can be made free to it, retire thyself but for one week, or the like, into thy own chamber (as being sequestered from all thy friends and acquaintances) and with as much seriousness and deliberation read this, and the forementioned precious books, with the letter that thy and my endeared, spiritual, and faithful friend, Luke Howard, yesterday sent unto theee (as the real outgoings of the measure of the spirit of God in his heart towards thee) as I have often and deliberately read thy last Post-letter to me, Dated at White-Hall, upon Wednesday the 28. of November last, and often wept for joy and gladness of heart, at that thy honest exhortation to me, at the last end of it in these words, viz. My Dear, Retain a sober patient spirit within thee, which I am confident thou shalt see shall be of more force to recover thee, than all thy keen mettal has been; I hope God is a doing a work upon thee and mee too, as shall make us study ourselves more than we have done.

O my hear Love, I am deeply already entered into my part of it: The mighty power of God enable thee to get in too, and also to go through thine, and effectually to go cheerfully and willingly along hand in hand with me, which abundntly would render thee more amiable, lovely, and pleasant in mine eyes, although thou were then clothed in rags, than thou couldst be to me in they drawings back, or standing still where thou wast when I last saw thee, though therein thou wert clothed all over with rich, and outwardly glittering earthly Diamonds, and in the greatest of earthly prosperities.

I am sorry for that hard portion thou tell'st me thou hadst in going from me, in thy dangerous travelling upon the Thames, and I desire to bless God for thy deliverance from so nigh a death.

I am also sorry thou art so straightly put to it for money, but to live upon God by faith in the depth of straights, in the lively condition of a Christian: O that thy spirit could attain unto it!

According to thy desire in thy Letter, and my own present genius or frame of Spirit (which now can contentedly feed savourily upon bread and cheese, and small-beer alone) for saving of money. I have discharged my old Nurse, and borrowed 20.s. to give her to carry her towards her husband, and by her have I sent these lines to deliver to thine own hands.

Of which, poor ignorant soul, I must say this to thee in truth, that although that woman, in my clear understanding, be but wholly in the first nature of fallen mankind, yet she has been in the hand of God, an instrument of much service (honestly performed) faithfulness, and tender compassion to me, in the day of the greatest and unparalelled extremity of my outward desires in the Isle of Jersey, for which, in her station, I must value her as long as I live, and if ever outward prosperity in any competent degree be my portion, really requite her; therefore I expect from thee, if she have occasion to use thee, that thou beest tender and respectful to her from my sake.

And for my Liberty, about which thou so weariest and spendest thyself and earthly strength, as thy Letter acquaints me with thou dost, I can say no more to thee than what was contained, in my Letter, directed to thee, and Dated Nov.21. last, (which I gave here to thy own hands) but that I am in my present temper of spirit, ready really with Peter at the sight of the glorious transfiguration of Christ, to say, it's good being here (for me) for here in Dover Castle, through the loving kindness of God, I have met with a more clear, plain, and evident knowledge of God; and myself, and his gracious outgoings to my soul, than ever I had in all my lifetime, not excepting my glorying and rejoicing condition under the Bishops, and now the pangs and travelling throes of God are powerfully afresh upon my very heart, and therefore now in my own will, I could rather with thee, and them where thou art, yet submissively and heartily I say, and can say, the Will of my heavenly Father be done in me, by me, and for me, in whole Will I leave thee and thine, with all thy and my friends, and rest,

Thine in the strength of
    renewedness of
          true love,

      John Lilburn

From Dover-Castle, the place of the present enjoyed delightful dispensations of the eternal, everlasting love of God unto my soul, the 4th. day of the 10th month, 1655.


The forementioned second Letter, take in these following words.

Dover-Castle the fifth day of the tenth month, 1655.

For my endeared Friend, William Harding (commonly called Mayor) at Weymouth in Dorcetshire, these deliver.

Kind Friend,

Since my arrival here, I have often been desirous in my own spirit, at large to have written to thee, but hitherto by a power above me, I have been hindered, and yet am, as to the particular aforesaid, only now I thought it not only convenient to acquaint thee, but am thereunto compelled to tell thee, that meeting here with one of those precious people called quakers, of which thee and I at the Isle of Jersey had much talk of) and getting into my hands two volumes of their printed papers, amounting to about seventeen hundred pages, I have with serious of discourse, and seriousness reading therein, been knocked down off, or from my former legs, or standing; and giving scope to my true teacher and guide, the light of God speaking in my soul, I am become at present, dead to my fallen, or first nature's reason, wit, wisdom and desires, and also totally become dead to my old busling ways in the flesh, and now in a great degree or measure, am struck down dead to the very earth within me, and by that Light which gloriously within my soul has shined round about my first, or corrupt nature within me, I am like Paul, with astonishment and amazement, Act.9. fallen down flat at the feet of Jesus, and hearing a voice speaking within me, to persuade me for my own good and benefit, to become willing, to be guided and directed by the heavenly wisdom of Jesus my annointed; I have thereupon given up my self wholly to be guided by his Divine teachings shining within me, before which I now stand ready to give ear to what by it shall be told me, being willing and desirous to have the scales fall further from the blind eyes of my soul, that they may further be opened, and that a power therewith may come into my soul from the Holy Ghost, which may enable me in the strength thereof, to redeem my lost, and mispent bypast precious time, and not now to consult with flesh and blood in my daily taking up the Cross of Christ, and following him whither soever he shall by his call, or heavenly Divine voice within me, lead me.

I say, I am compelled from a power within me, at this present time, in brief to tell thee these things, and to require thee from God, to give ear to that true convincing light, that clearly speaks in thy conscience, and by the assistance thereof to strive with the first, or fallen nature yet ruling in thy soul, and lay aside that greatness of wit and earthly wisdom that thou hast attained to, and in that measure of Light that long since thou has received, withdraw into thy private Closet, and seriously meditate upon these brief lines. And being thou in my late conversing with me, told me, thou hadst read, or hadst sent me down from London most of the Quakers' Books; Let me in love to thy soul, earnestly entreat thee, with seriousness to read over (strong and tall in Christ) James Nayler, his sheet of paper, entitled, Something further in answer to John Jacksons book, called, Strength in weakness; (which John Jackson is my endeared friend, and old and long acquaintance, and a greater professor of Religion now, than ever thou thyself in all thy zeal once was, therefore in him thou mayest plainly read thy own condition) and that precious prisoner of the Lord's in Northampton Gaol, William Dewsbury, his two books, the first and excellentest of which is called, The discovery of the great enmity of the serpent against the seed of the women: and his other book is entitled, The discovery of mans Return: and the Lord by his almighty power set them home to thy soul. I heartily desire to return thee my hearty thanks for all they kindness and tenderness manifested to me at Jersey, in our passage from thence, and at thy own house, so with my hearty salutations presented to thee, and all thy friends that were with me at thy house at Weymouth. I desire to let thee know, that by my moral, honest, carefull, and industrious old Nurse Elizabeth Crome (who by reason of shortness of money with me, I am forced and compelled to part with) I have writ thee a few lines in her behalf, entreating thy countenance and favourable respect to the old (and real serviceable to me in my great distress in Jersey) woman; in case in things that are just and righteous before God, she desire thy favour, and what thee, or thy friend and mine, Edward (commonly called Lieutenant) Tucker, in that particular does for her, I shall thankfully look upon as actions done to thy souls.

Faithful, hearty, and real
  well-wishing friend,

John Lilburn.

From Dover-Castle, being a place wherein God has more clearly than ever before, opened the eyes of my understanding, the 4. day of the 10. month, 1655.


With which fore-mentioned main or principal thing that I have now to say, I thus proceed, and go on with it, and here in the especial presence of the Lord declare, that by that present measure of light now born up in my understanding, and moving in my soul at this very time, I am here compelled to let the Reader (whosoever he be) to know, that as I have long understood from my wife the original of my fore-going Letter to her, she conveyed to the hands of Oliver Cromwell himself, and at his Son-in-Law's desire, Charls Fleetwood (my old, and sometimes much familiar greatly obliged friend) gave him a copy of it,and notwithstanding the clear declarations of a sincere (changed in measure) heart in the said Letter, at the penning of which, I had then lost all manner of ability to consult with one grain of Machivel, or humane deceitful policy, having then the very dreadful, and aweful, immediate, convincing, judging, and burning up power of God upon my soul; yet upon my said writing, and my wife's disposing, as aforesaid, of my said Letter, many and great jealousies arise upon me at White-hall, at the strange politic contrivance of my (largely reputed by them) politic heart in my turning quaker (of which I had several ways exact information) which it seems out of humane fear, took that powerful impression upon my poor weak wife, as that, as I judged by her Letters to me, troubled the poor afflicted Woman at the very heart, and compelled her by writing in a vehement manner, to press me to sign such an engagement as George Fox did, the copy of which I have seen and read) and sent it up to Oliver Cromwell to secure him from his pretended fears of my politick endeavouring to draw the temporal sword against him; unto which for many reasons having then no manner of freedom in the earth to do it (George Fox though even then a precious man in my eyes, his particular actions being no rules for me to walk by, unless I lived in the same life and power of Spiritual enjoyments that he did, and had the very self-same motions in spirit from God, that led him to a freedom and ability to do such, and the like particular actions) I therefore ceased it, and did it now; and if I had then done it for my own particular human ends, as to avoid further persecution, and the like, I had in so doing been an outside pharisaical imitator, and the greatest and basest of hypocrites, which sin alone is the height of God's [a] abhorrance, for although I must before the Lord now truly avow, that the said Letter was a true and faithful (without fraud or guile) declaration of as real and spiritual a power of God in its measure, seizing upon my soul, for my conviction of my spiritual blindness and sinfulness, as ever seized upn Paul, declared in the 9 of the Acts, or any man's that ever breathed upon earth, yet betwixt the Winter-storms and fierce tempests of conviction, (or rather the beginning of it) and the pleasant Sunshine, dews, and springing days of growth into a measure of refreshment, there is a vast difference; and therefore then the true occasion, or real ground of all outward war and humane busling being content being not taken away, or absolutely crucified or subdued at the very Root in my soul, if then I had signed such an engagement, I had clearly gone beyond my soul's then living and real attainments, and thereby ran presumptuously and wickedly beyond my measure and so had tempted the Lord my then present Leader, and spiritual guide, and abominably sinned against him.

But now in my already attained growing up measure, having the experimental witness of God within my [b] self, that I am already truly and really attained, in substantial, and witnessed within me, real truth, with the young men in Christ, spoken of by the Apostle [c] John, to a good measure or degree, in overcoming the wicken one within me, so that now I am able to witness in truth and righteousness, that the true ground or real occasions of all outward wars, and all carnal buslings, and all fleshly strivings within me, is in a very large measure, or degree, become dead or crucified within me, which true ground and real occasions, of all the outward iron and steel sword war in the world, and all the wicked and fleshly forerunners of it and dependents upon it, truly rises from its fountain, the raging power of sin, or lust within, in carnal, and unregenerated, unsanctified, and unjustified (before God) men's hearts, as is plainly and truly witnessed by the apostle [d] James in these words, From whence comes wars and fights among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts, that war in your members? you lust, and have not; you kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain; you fight and war, yet you have not, because you ask not. You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss that you may consume it upon your lusts. You Adulterers and Adulteresses, know you not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God: whosoever therefore will be a friend to the world (that spiritual Kingdom of Satan in unsanctified men's souls) is the enemy of God.

And therefore Christ, the true Lord of the soul, and the true Headmaster, and King of that heavenly spiritual kingdom (as the Devil or Prince of the air, is the Headmaster, King, or god of the Kingdom of this world, in the hearts of the children of unsanctified, and unjustified, disobedient [e] men) that he has provided for all redeemed, sanctified, justified and righteous [f] souls, declares at his very answer before Pilate for his life, and faith, My Kingdom is not of this world, if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from [g] hence; and therefore it was when Judas betrayed this spiritual King, Christ, into the hands of his murdering enemies, and that his servant Simon [h] Peter stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the High Priests, and smote off his ear; that this spiritual King, Lord and Master, cured the wounded man, although he was his [i] enemy, and commanded his servant Peter to put up his sword again in his place, further saying to him For all they that take the Sword [mark it well] shall perish with the [k] Sword: Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve [l] Legions of Angels. And therefore all the whole Laws of his inward and spiritual Kingdom, are made in quite opposition against the Laws of the mere glorious outside kingdoms of the God and Prince of this world, unto which two Masters, or Kings, or Law-givers, it is impossible for any man in the world or upon this globy earth, to be a servant of them both, at one and the same [m] time, but by that commits sin is the servant of sin, and so the servant of the [n] devil, and he that is the servant of sin, is free from Righteousness, and so from being a servant or subject unto [o] Christ: And therefore the Spirit of Christ, this spiritual inside King, dwelling in the Apostle Paul, declares, that there is no fellowship between righteousness and unrighteousness, nor no communion between light and darkness, nor no concord between Christ and Belial, nor no harmony between the true believer (that knows [p] God) and the infidel, (and such are all they that truly know not [q] God) and there be further demands, what agreement has the Temple of God with Idols? for you are (says he to the true knowers of God in Corinth) the temple of the living God, as God has [r] said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people, wherefore come out from among them, and be you [s] separate says the Lord, and touch not (mark it well) the unclean thing, and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto [t] you, and you shall be my Sons and Daughters says the Lord [u] Almighty. And therefore it is, that the very same Divine Spirit that dwells in this Spiritual King Jesus, speaking in the Apostle John, requires all his Spiritual and true Subjects, not to love the world, neither the things that are in the world, for, if any man love the world, (that Kingdom of Satan the Prince of Darkness, as) the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world; and the world (and the vanities and empty pleasures of it) passes away, and the lusts thereof; but he that does the will of God abides for [w] ever.

Yes, the contrariety is so great between the foresaid two Kings and Masters, that whatsoever in the King, or Ruler in the Kingdom of the world, (or fallen, or unrenewed man) and the Subjects thereof, is esteemed highly or excellent, is an abomination in the sight of [x] God: And therefore this spiritual King having purchased all his Subjects and Servants with a glorious price, (as the greatest demonstration of love) of his own blood, by his spiritual Command requires them not to be the servants of [y] men, but to glorify him both in body and [z] soul; and therefore his grown up servant Paul, declares himself to be no man-pleaser, avowing himself that if he were a man-pleaser, he should, nor could not be the servant of Christ.

And therefore the same apostle, by the infallible spirit of the Lord, requires the spiritual Subjects of this spriritual King Jesus, to present their bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which (says he) is your reasonable service; and do not be conformed to this world (the kingdom of the Prince of darkness, but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable and perfect will of [a] God; and therefore when any man once becomes a spiritual subject of this spiritual King Christ, and dwells in him, he becomes a new creature, and old things in him are passed away, and all things in him are become [b] new, spiritual and savoury, yes even his very thought and his words are found few and divine, his behaviour righteous and solid, his deeds upright, and free like God from all respect of persons: [c] and although there be such a perfect and absolute contrariety between all the laws and constitutions of these two Kings or Masters, and a continual and perpetual war beteen the Subjects thereof, yet the weapons of the warfare of Christ's Spiritual, Heavenly, and glorious Kingdom, handled and used by his Servants and true Subjects, who although they do walk in the flesh, yet do they not war after the flesh, and therefore their weapons of warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God, to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and brins into captivity every thought to the obedience of [d] Christ: The Armour of Proof of these Spiritual warring Subjects and Soldiers of this spiritual glorious King, is to have their loins girded about with truth, and having on them the breastplate of righteousness, and their feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace; above all, taking the Shield of Faith, wherewith they shall be able to quench the fiery darts of the wicked, and taking the Helmet of Salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of [e] God; which Spiritual Sowrd, or Word of God, is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two edged Sword, piercing, even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart; neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his fight, who is this Spiritual sharp Sword, or eternal and everlasting Word of God that endures forever; but all things are naked and opened to the eyes of him with whom we have to [f] do. With which Spiritual Sword this spiritual conquering Lord and King, pricked and wounded to the very heart three thousand of his enemies at once, by the Ministration of his single Spiritual Soldier, the Apostle Peter, which made them bitterly to cry out for a Plaster, and a Physician to heal and cure [g] them: which spiritual Sword is the only and alone weapon that this glorious, conquering, spiritual King uses to fight withall against all enemies, the powers of the Prince of Darkness of this world, and with which only and alone he conquers and [h] overcomes carnal Weapons of any kind whatsoever, having no place, nor being of no use at all in his spiritual Kingdom, for his Subjects are to love their enemies, to do good unto their haters, and to resist or reuite their evil with [i] good, and to dwell in love towards all men, as the God of love himself dwells in [k] love, and to be holy as God is [l] holy, and perfect as he is [m] perfect, and therefore not in the least to draw temporal weapons against their enemies; for among the true and real Saints of the Lord in the mountain of the Lord, where the Lord himself is the inward and soul-teacher and instructor of his people and Subjects in his own ways, there all the temporal swords are to be beat into plowshares, and their earthly spears into pruning-hooks, and no more using of carnal swords, or so much as learning of earthly war, is to be exercised among [n] them, but they are to walk in the pure, holy, and peaceable light of the Lord, which seal and will lead the sanctified, justified and redeemed soul to advancement, or set up the innocent, harmless, peaceable lamb-like nature, or seed of Christ, to become Lord and King in the heart of, and over the Lion-like warring; devouring, and destroying wicked nature of the serpent, the devil, and satan, within man, yes in the Gospel-mount of God, or the spiritual kingdom of Christ (under the Gospel dispensation) the habitation of the true Saint of God; The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf, and the young lion, and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed, their young ones shall lie down together. And the lion shall eat strw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the Cockatrice Den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy [o] mountain, says God; For the earth shall be full of the Knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the Sea. Yes, they shall be far from [p] Oppression: Yes, and violence hall no more be heard in the Land; (of the spiritual Kingdom, inhabited by the spiritual subjects, or true Saints of Christ, nor) wasting, nor destruction within their borders; but they shall call their wall salvation, and their Gates Praise. The Sun (or borrowed humane Lights, or Rudimental Ordinances) shall be no more thy Light (says God) by day, neither for brightness shall the Moon give Light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee everlasting Light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. They people shall be all Righteous, they shall inherit the Land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation; I the Lord will hasten it in his [q] time.

In all which consideration, I say, I have now the faithful and true witness in my soul, that the Lord himself is become within me, the Teacher of my soul, and enabler of me to walk in a measure of his pure ways and paths; yes, and so clear a teacher within me, is he already become unto me, as that I with confidence believe my inward Teacher shal, never now more be removed into a corner; but it, and shall be as a continual voice speaking in my ears; This is the way, walk in [r] it: By which divine teaching I am now daily taught to die to sin, and led up by it into living power, to be raised up, and enabled to live in a pure measure of Righteousness; and by which inward spiritual teachings, I am, I say again, led up into power in Christ, by which I particularly can, and do hereby witness, that I am already dead, or crucified, to the very occasions, and real grounds of all outward wars, and carnal sword-fightings and fleshly buslings and contests; and that therefore I confidently now believe, I shall never hereafter be a user of a temporal sword more, nor a joiner with those that so do. And this I do ... ... solemnly declare, nor in the least to my old persecution, or for any politic ... of my own or in the least for the satisfaction of the ... wills of any of my great adversaries, or for satisfying the carnal will of my poor weak, afflicted wife, but by the special movings and compulsions of God now upon my soul, am I in truth and righteousness compelled this to declare, that so I may take away from my adversaries all their fig-leaf covers, or pretences of their continuing of my everyway unjust bonds; And thereby, if yet I must be an imprisoned sufferer, it may from this day forward be for the truth, as it is in Jesus: Which truth I witness to be truly professed and practiced by the savouriest of people called quakers: and to this my present declaration, which I exceedingly long and earnestly desire to have in print, and for which I know that I can cheerfully and assuredly lay down my life, if I be called to witness the truth of it, I subscribe my outward name,

JOHN LILBVRN,
the new, or inward
spiritual name, no
man knows but he
that has it.

From my innocent, and every way causeless captivity in Dover-Castle, the place of my soul's delightful and contentful abode, where I have really and substantially found that which my soul many years has fought diligently after, and with unsatisfied longingness, thirsted to enjoy, this present first day of the week, being the 4th of the 3d. month, 1655.

The End


Notes and Links

*
Printed for Giles Calvert, first edition, May 16, 1656; second edition, May 21, 1656. (Pauline Gregg. Free-Born John: The Biography of John Lilburne. J.M. Dent, 1961; reprint edition, Phoenix Press, 2000.)
A short preface is followed by two letters. John Lilburne's first letter is addressed (literally) to his wife, dated December 4th, 1655. The second letter, written the following day, is addressed to his friend, William Harding. These are followed by the statement which Lilburne presumably wrote for publication, dated "the 4th of the 3d. month, 1655" (May 4th, 1655).
"tenth month"
Tenth month was December (Septem-ber, Octo-ber, Novem-ber, and Decem-ber actually follow the Latin for seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth months- the rest are named for Roman gods and goddess, a festival and two emperors. See A History of the the Months and the Meanings of their names.) Until the mid 1700s, in Britain the calendar year began in March, and with the month of March.
I John 1:6-8
"If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive our selves, and the truth is not in us."
John 16:13
"However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come."
Mark 6:20
"... for Herod feared John [the Baptist], knowing that he was a just and holy man, and he protected him. And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly."
* -
This note is in the margin of the original text, a practice which pervades the printed version of the second letter which accompanies this one. Lilburne's comments about the Quakers testify to the difficulty he and many of his contemporaries had with crediting the early Quakers.
    The significance of Lilburne's resurrection as a Quaker in 1655 can be compared with the stir that Rennie Davis, national director of the community organizing program of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and one of the Chicago Seven, made when he announced he had become a devotee of the guru Maharaj Ji in the mid-1970s.
    See also "Review of Stephen A. Kent, From Slogans to Mantras: Social Protest and Religious Conversion in the Late Vietnam War Era, H-AmRel, H-Net Reviews, July, 2002. [HTML or PDF]:
"Kent concludes that, by the late Vietnam War era, activist youth were frustrated and disillusioned by what they perceived to be the failures of New Left methods to achieve movement goals. Therefore, they were suffering from a 'crisis of means' which made attractive the messages of many non-mainstream, mystical religious groups who claimed that their religious methods would bring the same goals to fruition."
"the Bishop's time"
In 1637, Lilburne was convicted, tortured, and imprisoned for three years for his part in bringing seditious religious literature into England, and then, under interrogation, refusing to betray his colleagues.
"which book the last ... I received from thee"
One word illegible - "dost"?.
Philemon 15
For perhaps he [Onesimus] departed for a while for this purpose, that you might receive him forever...

[Scriptural citations, from the margins of the original text, are given here as closely as possible to the original. However, spacing is adjusted when the intent seems evident. Typography in the original text is not consistent. Biblical text included here is from the New King James Version.]

a - Mat 24.51, Rev. 3.15, 16. See Mat. 6.5 & 33.13, 14.
Mat 24.51 - "... and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Rev. 3.15, 16. - "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth."
See Mat. 6.5 & 33.13, 14.
b - I Joh. 5.10.
I Joh. 5.10. - He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of his Son.
c- I Joh. 2.13.
I Joh. 2.13.
d - James 4.1, 2, 3, 4.
James 4.1, 2, 3, 4. -
eEph. 2.2. 3. 5, & 16.11. & 2 Cor. 4.4. Jam. 1.13, 14, 15. Joh. 12.3 & 16.11. Rom 6.16. 20. & Tim. 2.26. & 2 Pet. 2.19. & 1 Joh. 3.8. 10.
Eph. 2.2, 3, 5, & 16.11. - xxxx
2 Cor. 4.4. - xxxx
Jam. 1.13, 14, 15. - xxxx
Rom 6.16. 20. - xxxx
2 Tim. 2.26. - xxxx
2 Pet. 2.19. - xxxx
1 Joh. 3.8. 10. - xxxx
f - Rom. 6.20, 22, 23. & 8.1, 2, 3, 4. Rom. 14.17. & 15.13, 14. & 1 Cor. 4.20. & 2 Cor. 4.6. Gal. 5.22, 23, 24. Eph. 5 7, 8, 9. Heb. 12.22, 23. & 1 Joh. 1.5, 6, 7. Rev. 6.14, 15, 16, 17 & 21.3, 4. 22, 23. & 22.1, 2, 3, 4. Isa. 60.19, 20, 21.
Rom. 6.20, 22, 23. and 16.13, 14. -
2 Pet. 2.19. -
g - Joh. 18.36.
Joh. 18.36. -
h - Joh. 18.10.
Joh. 18.10. -
i - Luke 22.50, 51.
Luke 22.50, 51. -
k - Mat. 26.51, 52, 53. See Gen. 9.6. Rev. 13.10.
Mat. 26.51, 52, 53. -
Gen. 9.6. -
Rev. 13.10. -
l - A constituted full Roman Legion of soldiers, at this time as I remember the Roman Histories, was reputed to be commonly about 7 or 8000 men.
 
m - Mat. 6.24. Luke 16.13(?).
Mat. 6.24. -
Luke 16.13. -
n - Joh. 8.34. 41, 42(?) 00. Rom. 6.16. & 2 Pet. 2.19. & 1 John 3.8, 10.
Joh. 8.34. 41, 42, 00. -
Rom. 6.16. -
2 Pet. 2.19. -
1 John 3.8, 10. -
o - Rom. 6.17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23. 1 Joh. 1.6. & cap. 3.3, 4, 5, 6, 6. & 5.1, 2, 3, 4, 18, 19. Joh. 7.17. & 8.31, 32. & 9.31. & 12.26. & 14, 15, 21, 23(?), 24. & 15(?).4.7.10. 14. (?)
dd
p - Joh. 17(?).3.
dd
q - 1 Thess. 4, 5. See Tit. 16. Ex. 5.2. Psal. 79.6. Jer. 10.25. Ro. 1.19, 21. Eph. 4.17, 8, 19.
dd
r - Levit. 26.12.
dd
s - Isa. 51.11.
dd
t - Jer. 31.1.
dd
u - 2 Cor. 6.14, 15, 16, 7, 18.
dd
w - 1 Joh. 2.15, 16, 17.
dd
x - Luke 16.15. See chap 6.14, 25, 26. Mar. 13.13. Joh. 5.41. 44. & 7.17, 18. & 8.50(?). 54. & 12.42, 43. & 15.19. & 16.35.
dd
y - 1Cor. 7.23.
dd
z - 1 Cor. 6.20. See chap. 3. 16, 17 & 2 Cor. 2. 5.15. 17. & () Psal. 1.10. See 4.3.9, 10, 11. & 5. 1 Col. 2.8. 20. 22.
dd
a - Rom. 22.1, 2.
dd
b - 2 Cor 5.17.
dd
c - Mat. 3.34. 37, 39, 40, 41, 45, 46, 48. & 6.25 31, 32, 33. and 7.12, 13. and 23, 3. 5, 6, 7. and 9. 10. Mark 12.14. Luk. 20, 21. Act 10.34, 35. Deu. 10.17. Esth. 3.2, 5, 6. Job 32.21, 22. Prov. 10.20. & 28.21. Rom. 2.11. and Cor. 2.16. and 16.33. Gal 2.6. Eph. 4.29. and 5.4. and 6.9. Phil. 2. 5. Col. 3.15. 8, 5. 16. & 4.6. 1 Tim. 1.10 & 6.3, 4, 5, 6. & 2 Tim. 7.13. and 4.3. Tit. 1.19. 17. and 2.1, 2.8. Jam. 2.1. to 10. and 5.12. and Pet. 1.15, 16, 17. and 4.12. and 2 John 9, 10, 11.
dd
d - 2 Cor. 10.3, 4, 5.
dd
e - Eph 6.13, 14, 15, 16, 17.
dd
f - Heb. 4.12, 13.
dd
g - Act. 2.37. 41.
dd
h - Rev. 1.16. and 2.12. 16. and 19.15. 21. Hos. 6.7.
dd
i - Matt. 5.39, 40, 44, 45, 56.
dd
k - Gal. 6.10. and 1 Thes. 3.12 & 5.14, 15. 1 Joh. 4.16, 17.
dd
l - (?) 1.15, 16.
dd
m - Matt. 5.48.
dd
n - Isa. 2.2, 3, 4, 5.
dd
o - Esa 11.6, 7, 8, 9. & 65.25.
Isaiah 11.6-9. "Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the alter. And he touched my mouth with it, and said:

"Behold, this has touched your lips;
Your iniquity is taken away,
And your sin is purged."

Also, I heard the voice of the Lord, saying:

Whom shall I send,
And who will go for Us?"
Then I said, "Here am I! Send me.

And He said, "Go, and tell this people:

'Keep on hearing, but do not understand;
Keep on seeing, but do not perceive."

p - Esa. 54.14. & 66.11, 12.
dd
q - Esa. 60.18, 19, 20, 21, 22. See ch. 40.19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26. Rev. 7.14, 15, 16, 17. & 21.1, 2, 3, 4, 5. 1o.11. 22, 23, 24, & 22.1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Revelations 10.11. "And he said to me, "You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings."
r - Esa. 30. 20, 21. see ch. 24.18, 19. & 36.7, 8. & 42.2, 3, 4. 7. & 44.3. & 51.7. & 54.13. Prov. 6.22, 23. Ps 37.31. Deu. 18.15, 16 . 18, 19. & 34.6. Jer. 24.7. & 31.31, 32, 33, 34. and 32. 14, 15. Eze. 11.19. & 34.22, 23. 24, 25, 26. 27 & 36.24(?), 25, 26, 27, and 37.22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28. Joel 2.28, 29. Matt. 11.27. Luk. 10.22. Joh. 1.5 9 12 & 3.21. & 6.41. 45. & 7.37, 8, 39 and 9.5. 39 & 10.7.9, 16. & 11.9, 10.25. 22.12. 35, 36, 46, 48. and 14.16, 17, 18, 19. 23 26. and 15.5.15. and 16, 17, 18.13, 14. 25, 27, 28. Act. 1.4. and 2.4.16, 17, 18. Rom. 10.7, 8, 9, 10. Gal. 1.15, 16. Heb. 8.7, 8, 9 10, 11 and 10.16.19.20. and 1 Joh. 2.2.20.27, and 3.24. and 4.13. and 5.10. see Act. 17.27, 28. 31. and 26.16. 8.(?) Rom. 1. 19, 21. and 2.15. 26, 27, 28, 29. and 1 Cor. 7.19. and 2 Cor. 2.3. & 4 6. Gal. 3.3. & 5.5, 6. & 6.15. Phil. 3.3. Col. 2.11. & 3.11. & 1 Tim. 4.10. (?). 2.11, 12. & 1 Joh. 1.5, 6, 7.