Note: Not all the Epistles were dated
An Epistle to several Friends about Wakefield. (1653)
James Nayler, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, to all that love the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ everywhere, grace and peace be multiplied from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.
My dear Hearts, you whom the Lord has manifested so much love to, as to call you out of sin and death, and the world, all the delights and pleasures of the world which fade away, up to Himself; where is joy unspeakable, pleasures and riches that endure forevermore.
Dear Friends, watch and be sober, that you may hear the voice of your Beloved when He calls, and let not the precious proffers of the love of God be tendered in vain. While you have an ear opened to the world, you cannot hear the voice of God; so that you have been made to groan under it. How long have you been deceived by it? All your time promising peace, fullness, and satisfaction: but have been brought to cry out of oppression and deceit. And your cries are come before the Lord of Sabbaths, who is your rest; and He is now appeared to deliver you, and set you free from bondage, that you may serve Him alone.
And now take heed of consulting with your old master: has the Lord been so merciful to you, as that He has set your faces out of Sodom and Egypt, towards the promised land? Oh! take heed of looking back, lest you be taken captive, and led back again; and so you come short of redemption, and your faith fail you, and so you come short of the promise; for unbelief cannot enter into the rest. But you, dear Friends, put on resolution, put on strength, be valiant for your freedom, cast off every weight, follow your Captain, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, despised the shame, and so entered into rest and glory.
Take heed of halting between God and the world: What agreement can there be, or what peace while you are married to the world? Your thoughts turn in there, and you are adulterated from God, who gives you all good things, and so many tokens of His love. Hereby is the broken language brought forth, and you cannot speak the pure language of the land of rest. And while you give way to that in you, which leads you to look back to what is behind you, you keep yourselves in the wilderness and darkness; and lose your way, and know not where you are; grieving the Holy Spirit of the Lord, which has appeared to you to guide you.
But, (O Friends!) mind your Guide and follow Him; Arise, shine, your light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you; the night is far spent, the day is at hand, even the day of Sion's deliverance: Arise, come away, all you that love her, come off from the world and worldly things, come into the life, lie no longer in death and dead things. Awake, you that sleep, and stand up from the dead, that Christ may give you light: Come forth, come forth of all created things, witness your redemption from the world, that you are redeemed from the earth up to God, out of all kindreds, tongues, people and nations, to reign as kings and priests forever, above the world, sin and death, triumphing and treading upon all that would take you captive. This is the day of your deliverance, own it with the loss of all fading pleasures, make it appear to all the world, this is the day you waited for: even this day of your joy, but of the world's sorrow: a day of blackness and gloominess; a day of fear and trouble to them that oppress you; a day wherein the kingdom of Jesus Christ shall be exalted, and all the kingdoms and powers of the earth shaken; a day wherein the Lord will avenge the power of him that is too strong for you. Rejoice, rejoice, you meek of the earth, shout for joy, you poor despised ones, whom your brethren have trodden upon, and have cast you out, and you have been made their mocking stock for the truth's sake; sing and rejoice, the voice of a King is among you, and He will marry you to Himself in righteousness, purity and holiness, and will rejoice over you, as a bridegroom over the bride, and you shall be for a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
O my dear Hearts! My desire to God for you all is, that you might come to see what unspeakable riches is laid up for you in Jesus Christ, which is hid from all flesh, neither can they see it who live after the flesh: And while they continue their love to the world and worldly things, they keep out the manifestation of the Father's love, for their hearts cannot receive both.
Now show yourselves wise men, choose that which is eternal: here is light and life tendered to you in Jesus Christ, freely out of the Father's love, and show forth life and love to God again, by giving up to Him all you have, and all you are for Christ's sake; that so you may come to receive all again with Christ, who is the fullness of the Father's love, and in Him are all good things needful for this life, and that which is to come, even the earnest of your inheritance, which none can take from you; which being received, you shall never hunger more, having a well-spring within, even the witness of eternal life and love. And as Christ appears, who is our life and love; so shall life and love appear, spring, blossom, and bring forth fruit towards God and man: That so, being raised by Him from death and dead works, you may henceforth live to God: And being brought into oneness with Him, and purity, and holiness, you may be one among yourselves, of one heart and of one mind, speaking one and the self-same thing; and having the same care one for another, as for yourselves. And take heed that there be not in any of you a principle of self-love, which will lead to separation and division, casting a stumbling-block in the way of the simple; and so they that are weak, may be defiled and turned back into the world.
And I beseech you, brethren, that you mark them that once set their faces towards Sion, but not being willing to deny the world, and take up the cross, have consulted with flesh and blood, and turned back into Egypt again: of such take heed, knowing, that the same spirit that has wrought in them deceitfully, will not cease to work by them to deceive others, to maintain its own kingdom. But you, standing fast in the pure light of Christ, shall see where those return, and the cause of their returnings, and that the end of such is worse than the beginning: but there will be such, that they who are approved may be manifest. But you, my brethren, be you so far from following such, that their falling away, may cause you to watch, and search by what power you stand; and so a pure fear may be preserved in you, by which you may be kept in the way that leads to the crown which is immortal; for it is he that overcomes that must wear the crown: Wherefore faint not, nor think anything too hard the Lord calls you to; nothing must suffer, but that which is to die, that your souls may live. Oh! your light affliction works for you a far more exceeding weight of glory, while you keep your eye to that which is invisible. Wherefore give up yourselves to His will in all things.
Stand in the will of God in your present condition, you are my joy in the Lord, let my bowels be refreshed to hear of your steadfastness and growth in truth. Take heed of propounding ends to yourselves in anything, for that leads out of the way of God, and gives way to your own wisdom; and so you seek to preserve that alive which is appointed for death, and so you maintain war against God, and know it not. And in this condition you can have no peace, while the enemies are in arms against your peace. Oh! dear Friends, you are in my heart, my prayer to God for you is, that you may be kept blameless to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, blessed forever.
My fellow prisoner, and dear companion in the Lord, salutes you all. Cease not to pray for us, that we may be kept to His praise, who has counted us worthy to suffer for His name. We are well, and in great peace, kept in our Father's love above all. We are often brought to stand, and wonder how we are kept in the midst of the fire, and not consumed; and the more that the enemy rages, the more are we kept in peace within. Here are strange devices used to ensnare us, to get ought against us (true or false) but all is ordered by a Power the world knows not. God is our strength, rejoice with us, all dear Friends, and praise His name forevermore, for He is worthy, for His mercy endures forever.
(James Nayler, A prisoner at Appleby in Westmorland for the truth's sake, 1653)
To All Dear Brethren and Friends in Holderness, and in the East Parts of Yorkshire. (1653)
I rejoice in you, as you are entered into the love of the truth, and have owned the voice that calls out of darkness that is over all the earth, to set your faces towards Sion, the City of everlasting light. And now mind your way, and the light that is given to guide you in the way, to keep your eye to the light, that it may lead you through all the visible things of the world: And as you pass through, you may stand single in the mind to God, not turning to the right or left hand, where lies the temptation: nor looking back, which lays you open to be assaulted afresh by those evils you had once escaped from: but keeping the eye towards the mark, pass on, leaving and forgetting what is behind, and treading and trampling under your feet, what the enemy shall lay as stumbling-blocks in your way, which your carnal eyes, or ears, or hearts would be closing with, for the temptation lies in the carnal things, and there is the bondage of the creature to things that are corrupt: from which bondage from sin and corruption the Lord is now appeared, that in the light He may redeem and lead out of it all that will own and follow Him.
And this light and redemption is in His Son, whom He is about to exalt, in which exaltation a strange and mighty work is to be brought to pass, whereat all that stand not in His counsel and fear, and to whom He will not reveal His secrets, shall be offended: for all that is exalted, shall be laid low and debased; the wisdom of the wise shall come to naught, and the understanding of the prudent ones shall be hid: Riches and honors shall fall to the dust, from whence they came, and the worship of the world shall become filthiness, the gods of the heathen shall be famished with looking for worship but shall get none; and the strongest of them shall not be able to deliver himself: For the Lord will bring down all heights and mountains into the valleys; for in the valley of Jehosophat He will plead with all flesh, which have scattered the Seed of the covenant.
And now, dear Friends, here is your peace and blessedness, That you silence all flesh, and cease from your own wisdom, and give over your imaginations about the things of God; come out of the love of the world, and arise out of all visible things, and prepare to meet the Lord: Cast off all your idols that have had your hearts, and put off the stumbling-blocks of your iniquities from before your faces, and give up all that will not that He should reign over them, that His enemies may be your enemies; for in judgment and righteousness is He come out, to be avenged upon the unrighteous seed. And now stand in the light, that a separation may be made in you, the precious from the vile, that a true Savior may arise, that you may know your calling and election, what is called, and what you are to come out of, lest you stay in any of that to which the plagues are: for this is the cause of your suffering, not discerning, in the pure wisdom, what that antichrist or exalted spirit is, that is got into the seat of God, and shows himself to be as God, whose kingdom stands in the wisdom, glory and riches of the world, whereat all that know not the true God in spirit ask counsel.
Therefore, dear Friends, look not out into visible things, for there he is ready to present to you false voices and visions, lying wonders, to lead out the vain mind into the liberty and boasting of high things, in words without power: but while such speak of liberty, they are in bondage in mind, to corrupt and fading things. And while these are head in the creature, there is not redemption: for the bonds of iniquity are unloosed, and the pure Seed is oppressed, and the plagues must pass upon that nature. Therefore sink down into the sufferings and death, that you may find the door whereat to enter; for there is a vale of tears to pass through. You shall find your wellsprings in Him, where you shall drink of the water of life, and find refreshment, and grow from strength to strength, till you come up to Sion. Stand fast, take heed of words without life, spoken from the comprehensions, for that feeds not the pure Seed, but feeds the wisdom which is below, and the itching ears, and so the Pure is covered with earth, and the fowls of the air are fed, and no fruit is brought forth to perfection. And take heed of that nature that would know more than God is willing to reveal: for you shall find that unwilling to obey what it knows: And take heed of that which desires to appear before men to be commended, for that seldom deserves praise of God. And let a godly conversation declare what is within; and know one another in spirit, and not in word, and meet often together, and wait upon God, (for His teaching alone) in a cross to your own wills, for therein is the secrets of God revealed. Let love abound in you one towards another, without being partial.
And I beseech you by the love of God, that you halt not between God and the world, but as you profess that you are not of the world, so let your conversation be out of its fashions, customs, traditions and covetous practices, that it may appear that you are marked out for the Lord's, and that you are not ashamed to own that which differs, and so walk, as not to cast an offence on the Gospel, that you become not a scorn to fools; but let wisdom be justified of her children. And take heed of that which would be exalted above others, teaching and talking of things without life. And you that would be counted as somebody, let such first learn to wash the feet of them that they would be above; and he that would be greatest, let him be servant to all, for it is the humble, and not the high spirits that are taught of God, and such so walk, as their lives and practices teach and judge all vain, light and haughty spirits. And mind how you grow out of the earth, and out of that which is in the enmity: and until you be brought out of the love of all visible things, and wholly enfolded into the love of God, you cannot witness redemption, nor receive the true joy that arises in the manifestation of the love; for it is only he that is brought up out of the unrighteous mammon, who is entered into the kingdom of righteousness, joy and peace. And as you arise out of the earthly bondage, you shall witness the glorious liberty, and so come to know your own measures, everyone in particular to improve it and not to boast above it in another man's line: And so you will come to see by what power you stand in your warfare, how far you are conquerors, and who is your enemy at present; and so be able to give an account in yourselves of your faith, and how you grow from faith to faith.
And, dear Friends, watch over one another, exhort, reprove, admonish in pure love and meekness of spirit, lest you also be tempted; and all know, that you are set as a city on a hill, as signs to this generation: therefore lift up your light to all the world, that all mouths may be stopped, and hearts convinced; so that all that see you, may see you to be children of light, and being judged by you, may be ashamed of their deeds of darkness: For great is the work of the Lord, and blessed are they that are found faithful in it, in what is committed to them.
Farewell, dear Hearts, and the Lord God Almighty bless, prosper, and preserve you pure and clear unto His kingdom, Amen.
My love in the Lord salutes you all, and if my Father please, I shall be glad to see your faces in the flesh, but His will is my peace, who is blessed forevermore. A lover to your souls, James Nayler. (Written from Nuby, the last day of the Seventh month, 1653.)
The work of the Lord is great in these Parts, and He carries it on with a high hand, having got Himself the victory.
Praise the Lord with us, all that know Him, who is worthy, even Him alone forever.
Concerning Love And Judgment
He that loves not, knows not God, for God is love, and he that dwells in love, dwells in God, and God in him. Herein is love made perfect, who are as He is in this world; here is boldness in judgment; there is no fear in this love, no torment in judgment. But if any man love the world, or the things that are in the world, the love of the Father is not in him, but the love of the world: which judgment torments; for all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, is not of the Father. These are in the world, and lie in wickedness, which cannot stand in judgment, who have fear in judgment, who are tormented in judgment, whose life is in the world, in the lust, in the pleasure, in the pride, in the excess, in the ease and in the world's nature: These are not of God; whose love to these is greater in them than the Spirit which calls them out of the world; for such cannot endure judgment, cannot stand in it without torment, fear arises, torment arises within, which makes them flee judgment, and cry out against it; which God loves, which the sons of God love, who are redeemed therewith, who have denied the spirit of the world, which is to be tormented, and have received the Spirit of adoption, through the Spirit of judgment, and the Spirit of burning, and are purified, and sanctified, and baptized into Christ Jesus, and have put off the world in great tribulation: Such love judgment, and are able to stand therein, and to dwell with everlasting burning, that which condemns the wicked, the world and the spirit thereof; such love, who love God, who love His appearance in Jesus Christ, who is a consuming fire, which is love everlasting to His own Seed, not of the world, nor the lust thereof; but that which strikes at the world's life, vanity and glory, which cannot stand His appearance, whose day burns as an oven, before whom the world's glory and the fashion of it passes away, that He may bring forth His sons and daughters in another image and life which the world loves not, but has torment in judgment, but the redeemed rejoice therein.
And who is it now that cries, Away with judgment, and who has turned it into wormwood? Such as have their life in the world, whose delight is in that which will be burned, who are for condemnation, who are disobedient to Him that calls them out of the world, who deny the Light of the world, sent to convince the world of sin, and lead into all truth; Such cannot stand in judgment; what boldness can such have therein, who are condemned already, for unbelief in the light and disobedience thereto, fear and torment must needs arise and drive them away, and as chaff must they be, that the Scripture may be fulfilled.
And these cry out for love, who cannot stand in judgment, who stand in the enmity; those who love the things of the world, are in the enmity against God, and those whose life is therein, what have you to do with love? You must first deny the enmity, and give up that life that stands therein, through obedience to the Light, which is God's love to the world, that through the cross of Christ, and by the Spirit of judgment and baptism of fire, all the bonds of iniquity, which keep you in the world, in the enmity and out of God, may be broken, and you brought out free, born of that Spirit which the world hates and condemns, which condemns the world. And so through death of that life which holds you in the world, in the enmity, under the law, under the wrath, you may come to enjoy God, who is love, whom without holiness none can see to their comfort.
God's love stands not in man's will, nor can any who stand in the will of man either give or receive it, only to those who have no other lovers in the world, He gives Himself: whoever loves Christ's life, as to hate their own, whose hearts can join to nothing but what is of God. And this is that true chastity and true charity, which all must learn with the loss of the world's gain, e're God be enjoyed as a Husband. And he who has obtained this treasure in his vessel, must possess it in holiness, or lose it; he cannot let the harlot in and be undefiled, nor give it out to the nature which he has denied to obtain it, and not betray it and lose it, which is only retained in holiness alone. So He that dwells in love calls to all in love; Come to Me, says Christ, and drink and eat freely: this is love, but do all hear? Do all obey? Do all come? Do all inherit? Do all own correction? Are all of God? Do not many cast off judgment, and despise reproof? will not hear the rod, and yet would have the love? Whom I love, I rebuke, says the Spirit, and chasten every son that I receive. This is God's Way; so you who reject it, reject love, and not it you.
Ah! Silly people, how are you deceived! Does he that sees you fast in the world and in the curse, where you have not power to do well, as yourselves confess, but to do evil, and comes and cries peace to you there, and sits down with you in that form or fellowship, does he bring you love, or has he the love that is of God in him, who flatters you here? And does he who has the sword of judgment, and faithfully uses it to part you and the world in which the enmity stands against God, to bring you out into the Son's freedom, does he hate you, or is he your enemy? Is not this to put enmity for love, and love for enmity, as it is at this day with all that love the things of the world, and are kept captive therein, when truth comes to pass upon them where you are?
And you say you are come to the Son and to freedom &c. and you are all in love, as you say: But when judgment from God is sent among you, and falls upon that which is of the world where it finds you; then a fire kindles among you, and you have torment, and your love leaves you; which shows your love is not of God, which loves judgment, where mercy rejoices, whose love has not torment nor fear.
Now the day tries your sonship, your freedom and your love; For judgment I am come into the world, says the Son: And are you come to Him and cannot stand therein? Are you free-born who are in that nature whereon the fires kindle? Is your love that which bears all things, who are tormented in judgment, and driven into heaps of confusion and fear, speaking you no not what? Is this the voice of sons, which cries, Away with judgment? Is this to receive correction? Is this the Son's freedom, or of His nature? Nay, this is to kick against that which pricks you, wherein you plainly show you have not learned your sonship of the Father, after Christ Jesus; nor know Him formed in you, who bears the chastisement of peace, but have got your knowledge another way, than in learning of Christ, and your love is not obtained through the fire, with the loss of all that is to be consumed, which God hates, nor are you born of that Spirit of Christ, to whom all judgment is committed in heaven and earth, nor do you know the key of David.
Now honestly search your house with the candle which God has lighted, and when you find the truth in your inward parts, then shall you say, There is no love but in it; and that the world's love stands in that which God hates, and is a lie, and pierces the soul of all that serve it, or let it into their bosom. And for this we may not join in your love, though we love you, in that which is beloved of the Father, wherein alone we can have boldness in the day of judgment, and in that life alone, in which love is made perfect, which none can inherit further than they become as He is in this world, walking as He walked, dwelling in God who is love without end.
To some that were Backslidden
The Child is born who is not of this world; and many are called to bear His testimony against the world, who are no more of this world, nor the spirit thereof will they receive, nor be in bondage thereto, who have received the Spirit of freedom, even of the Father and the Son, in which they are begotten out of the world, and the love thereof.
Now what are you about to do, who have been called, and once enlightened to see the vanities of the world, and the evils of its customs and fashions, ways and worships, and have been touched with judgment for your consenting thereto, and now are turning back to settle and build therein, and there to take up your rest, seeking to get a peace to yourselves in that which judgment has once entered upon you, shall this your building stand? Shall not your peace be broken? Ask your own hearts, if they condemn you not herein, and of unfaithfulness to His faithful Witness in you; I know God has not left Himself without a Witness in you for judgment, which sometimes does arise, and cause fear in you, and lets you plainly see that you take not counsel of His Spirit, but of your pleasures and profits in the world, and by them are you led, and not by that Spirit which calls you to bear His testimony against them.
And do you see this deceitful dealing in your own spirits towards Christ, and that your hearts are not upright in His testimony against the evil of this world. And will you cover all this deceit with conceits, words and notions, and seek to build you a place of peace above all this? Will you thus heal your hurt deceitfully and know it? And shall this stand before God? Shall not judgment arise in due time, and your hurt appear again? Is not this worse than all your former sins of ignorance, which you now add knowingly? Ask your own hearts, if they fear not the end of this dealing towards God and your own souls.
You are seeking rest, but not in the Sabbath of God, but in the world, you deny the first days work, (to wit) That which separates light from darkness. So you are far from the Sabbath of pure rest; so your rest shall spew you out: it's unclean, and your building shall fall upon your own heads. The foundation is polluted and mixed with the world, your garment shall rot; it's defiled with the flesh, and all your notions and conceits as hay and stubble and chaff, shall burn in the day when He shall arise to judgment, whom you now betray for the world, and to get yourselves ease and pleasure, your ease shall slay you, and your pleasures pass away with bitterness of soul, when your own work shall set you on fire, and all your airy notions and high words, and all your knowledge you have gotten in that disobedient nature, shall become fuel, and all your fears shall fall upon you to the utmost, because you have willfully made a path for yourselves to err, and sought to hid your way from the light, thereby to stop judgment in your hearts, and that equity should not enter, who have denied Him that called you, and have withheld your body from Him that made it, lest He should have purged you, and have drawn away your shoulder from His burden, lest you should have born His testimony against the world's lusts and your own, who have cast off His yoke, and proclaimed liberty to yourselves in that which grieves the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, as you are joined with the world against the judgment of the Just, who comes to restore all things, so with the world will be your portion, when the Just comes to judge the world, and when all comes to be restored in the covenant, you who have not kept covenant will be cast out: then shall you know, that whoever denies the light is a child of darkness, notwithstanding now your conceits cover you.
Against whom do you strengthen yourselves, when you say, We shall have peace, notwithstanding the Witness in our conscience speaks not peace? And when you call that the spirit of bondage, that would have you free from the evil of the world and service of sin, do not you speak this against the Lord and your life? Do not you herein rise up against the Just and innocent, and to stop the mouth of Him that is faithful, that the wicked may escape unreproved and live? Have you anything else that will show you your hearts deceits? And is He become your enemy, because He will not flatter you therein? Does not He speak peace freely to the obedient, though He never prophesies good of the world, in its corrupted ways? Shall you prosper who seek deep to hide you sin from His reproof? and will you be found children of the day, who seek to hide your ways from the light?
Whose image do you bear, who are like the world, except in opinion and notion? And who can so far conform to it, as to procure its love, and escape the cross which should crucify it to you? Are you like Christ, because you profess Him, when you crucify every appearance of Him to yourselves afresh? Will you boast in the Saints lines to make you a cover, while that lies crucified in you which should lead to their lives? Will not you be found the sepulchers that appear well without, but death and dry bones within? The Babe slain, that is not of this world, and His Life buried in earthly minds, and the grave garnished with His Words? Shall he who steals his neighbors ass be condemned fourfold; and shall he that slays the innocent, and steals his garments go free?
The holy men of God travailed in sorrow, to bring forth that which God begot in them, and not their own conceiving; and when they brought it forth it was contrary to the world, and could not bow to it, nor join with its ways, but held forth another image. So their covering was with the Spirit of God, and with the reproach of the world. And in obedience to that Spirit they spoke as it moved; in which words you take liberty, and resist the Holy Spirit, and call their lives bondage. Now ask your own consciences, if you be not they who glory in words, without the life, in appearance but not in heart; But this is seen among you, that the blood of the slain cries so loud, that few dare look within his own house: So you make ado without, to stop it for a time; but by what is done within must you be judged in the end.
Are you the restorers of pure paths for the simple to walk in, as in the beginning, e're the god of this world caused error by his inventions? Or, are you the makers up of the breach, wherewith he had broken in upon our forefathers, in the days of darkness, error and superstition? When will your practice preach redemption from all those vanities, and your lives declare a liberty from his bondage of corruption, and to things that perish with using? Does not the creation groan because of pride, and the oppression that is used to uphold it, in its becking and bowing, and false worships and customs? And are not men and women wholly in bondage to things that God never set up, nor commanded; because they please the spirit of this world, with whom you are turning back to worship, and call it your liberty? So your liberty is in that which lies in corruption, and your glory in that which is unrestored, the end whereof is death; But the sons of God are they that are led by the Spirit of God, who glory in His likeness, and their substance is eternal life.
For Friends to be Tender and Compassionate One towards Another
Be tenderly affected towards one another, as brethren in the Lord, and often remember whose Spirit it is you profess to have upon you, and whose image you are to bear before all men; but especially towards all that love Christ Jesus, and bear His testimony this day, and His reproach; And that you seek to support the weak, and recover such as are tempted, shaken or fallen: seeking all occasions to restore and forgive one another, and to blot the remembrances of offences out of your hearts, and remember the bonds, with which the Lord Jesus has bound us to all this, who laid down His precious life for His enemies, whom we were, and are if we receive not this Spirit in the life of it, therein to walk towards one another; He cannot live in us else, but suffers in us as in the world. And remember how the Father accepted His Son's atonement for us, and forgave us much at the beginning, which we had done against Him when His life we knew not, but oppressed it in us. And this should bind us to do the like for all souls; for they are His, as we were His when we knew Him not; but especially to every brother or sister, for this is pleasant in His sight, and in His house it is His honor and anointing, wherewith His children are anointed into tenderness, from the highest to the lowest. And that Spirit where He lives seeks not self, but seeks the lost, and to bring again to God.
So prove your own selves, if Christ be in you, and the anointing makes soft and gentle, and melting the hardness makes peace and oneness. And this is His glory and work above every spirit, and His name above every name; that as He is just and pure, and separate from sinners, yet is He tender to seek, and to save, and ready to forgive above all other, thereby turning away wrath. And for this He is loved of God and men who are reconciled thereby; and pleasing it is to God that He walk in you, and you in Him, in whom wrath is quenched, and forgiveness received.
And dear Friends, this is our peace, and His glory is upon us if with this Spirit we be covered, and armed against the adversary who waits for evil, and to divide and keep in division, and to keep the evil in mind, that it should not be blotted out; and there wrath abides as a spark in secret, and the fire is ready to kindle, more than to forgive. And where this is so, it cannot be long till it will break out, where peace is denied, and there satan gets his daily advantage: And, says Christ, it is impossible but that offences will come; wherefore He says, Take heed to yourselves; and if your brother trespass against you, rebuke him, and if he repent forgive him; and if he trespass against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to you, saying, I repent, you shall forgive him. And if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive you your trespasses. So look at God in what you do to men herein, for to Him you owe it, and much more: If you know God and yourselves know this, and for want of this satan has got advantage at this day, and the enmity eats as a canker, and pride gets up, and wrath is heavy and devours, though many see it not; yet it is seen and felt by some, and lamented and feared, who see it spread over the tenderness in many, where love did abound at first; and how little a thing will now give occasion of wrath to work high; yea, many times when no just occasion is given.
And this is the advantage that satan has got in this time of trial, which has tried many, and shaken many. Oh! that it might once be truly said, that we had all taken warning, and gotten strength by it in the best things and most pleasing to God, and which might most honor Him before all men, and double the bonds of pure truth, and live in all His called people, who bear His name openly; and that we might all be found in His nature, and no appearance else seen, that so the adversary might be wholly without his hope within and without. And some breath after this more than any outward glory, and many lament the want of it; which if we all seek it, our rest will then be truly glorious, yet again, in one heart and mind, as at the beginning. And this is longed and believed for, with desire of heart, that none may come short of seeking and obtaining the same.
And you that have the word of God, which is the sword of the Spirit, take heed how you use it, and be not rash in your words, nor unadvised; but take counsel at that which leads to do to another, as you would be done to, that you may use your power for edification, rather than for destruction; you may bind or loose here on earth who have the word. This power is given from above, abuse it not, to bite or devour with, lest you be devoured thereof, and wrath kindle against you, who reject mercy, and choose it not rather than judging one another, in things where mercy might take place among brethren. And you may bind a brother or a sister under a trespass, who has trespassed against you, and cause them to suffer much, and give satan advantage against them above their strength; but this I am sure God delights not in, on your behalf; though you may say it is just, and an eye for an eye; yet surely if God had so dealt with you, your debt had remained upon you; and the time will come, that he that has showed no mercy must have judgment without mercy. And for that end has God showed us mercy and forgiveness, that we should walk in it towards the brethren, and be like Him. And some are tried that all may fear, and know by what you stand; and if God does but leave you to your own spirits, you will appear as other men, and high-mindedness, and hard-heartedness against your brethren, is the way to provoke Him to do it, that as you have done, so you receive.
And this will certainly come upon all, who in the forgiveness of God abide not, though some mens sins go before to judgment, and some follow after; and happy is that man whose iniquity is covered, and puts on that Spirit towards the brethren and fellow-servants, which has power to keep it so.
I speak not this to hide the transgressor, or keep the evil one from judgment, wherever he is seen; for that will defile you. But to preserve the brotherhood from him that now seeks occasion, that no place be given to him, but that all may be done in that Spirit that has the power and effectual working together, and heal and save through judgment, making an end of sin, and the remembrance of it, and in peace sowing the fruit of righteousness in Him, alone that makes peace, not kindling the fire; but with fear to be defiled pulling out of the fire, putting a difference in this case, which none can do but who have received the power of forgiveness from above, and walk in it. And such indeed have put on the Lord, who would have none defiled, nor any lost for want of compassion; and in whom sin is covered, wrath is put away, and mercy has taken its place, and such love mercy and salvation; but they in whom wrath and strife is above, take heed and glory not over another, which will bring yourselves under greater condemnation.
Exhorting to Mercy and Forgiveness
Mind whereon you feed, and in what you grow, and keep all low in your minds, that the virtue of meekness you may feel, and know the strength of it with God; take heed of the knowledge above the life, and of getting words of wisdom, and therewith set yourselves above the meek, and despise the weak, and so become strong trees without fruit, which God will overturn by the roots: But everyone feed in a clean Spirit, and therein know the power of the word of life in yourselves, which as it passes breaks the rocks, and melts the hardness in every heart, and melts you all into one heart, as one man, all into one mind in Christ Jesus, that you may be knit in one body, and one Spirit, and one Head, the Lamb over all, glorified over all; having come through the world, and through the law, now know the power of love in yourselves, as it is in Christ, and the mercy seat and forgiveness of God; even as you have received of the Lord freely, that you may be sealed therein; that there be no evil in any heart unblotted out before God, that He may walk in you all in pure peace and mercy, and that all may know into whom you are begotten; and with the saving health of God you may be all covered, and the weak strengthened and comforted, that none be driven away for want of compassion, but that such be visited with the same you have received, or would receive from God for yourselves: and this is brotherly-kindness, as God is kind: And all know the virtue of a healing tongue, and how to use it; and often remember, you were enemies to God, and ignorantly did that which you should not; and in that state God sought you with much patience and long-suffering towards you, and with great forgiveness were you gathered into His love and mercy, that He might lead you an example towards your brethren, for all souls are His: How much more should you be tender to such as are already called, and serve them as brethren who have but received the truth in belief thereof, and are turned towards God, bearing their testimony in that faith against the world, though in much weakness? Yet of such be tender, and feed them with milk, as the Lord has fed you; so do with much fear and gentleness, lest the same be driven out of the way, and give no advantage to the enemy; and set not yourselves above them with that which you have received from God: But seek the life of God in all; and let that be the chief thing you aim at in all, for the Lord's sake, leading them the way of meekness and fear which is in God, and in the pure wisdom, putting a difference between weakness and willfulness, and between the brethren and the world; and as your hearts are found perfect to the Seed (of the word of God) herein, God will make you wise to salvation, nurses and fathers shall you be called, and a blessing will be in your hand on whomever you lay it; and you will grow in grace and mercy as you come to feel this rise in you, and in the knowledge of salvation, and the power of God's arm you will feel you have to gather with to God, and He will write His name of peace upon your assemblies, and build you as a city without breaches.
Not to Strive, but Overcome by Suffering
Children of God, seek a kingdom in you, that flesh and blood strive not for, nor cannot enter therein, a kingdom undefiled, and that fades not away, hid from that which feeds on earthly things, a heavenly kingdom, bearing heavenly fruits, and where heavenly things abound; wherein the heavenly Spirit rules, guides, and brings forth fruits of itself, heavenly fruits, the fruits of grace and meekness, and of a lowly mind, the fruits of peace and gentleness, and forbearance among yourselves. These are heavenly fruits and the virtues of the tree of life, and that which the loftiness of flesh and blood looks not for, nor does esteem, which loves the praise of men, and to be known in that which this world can see into with the outward understanding: But wait with patience to feel that quickened, which is sown in tears, and springs up with joy, out of the sight of the natural understanding, that that alone may bear you, and therein all your fruit may be found, and so come to the knowledge of the tree by its fruits; and let the life open the understanding (and not the notion, or the sight) that is the heavenly learning of Christ Jesus the Righteous, full of grace and truth; but striving to get up to the knowledge of heavenly things in notion and form, before the thing itself be born and brought forth, this is the wrong way to learn Christ, and the way of the world, that vails the life; for this knowledge stands in the sensual part, to exalt and puff up the mind above the meekness and lowliness that is in the Spirit of Christ Jesus, and beguiles the soul of the simplicity in which it should feed; and so a tree may grow high, and hard, and strong, yet fruitless and out of the power, got above the Poor, above the Innocent, out of the feeling of the Sufferer and Man of sorrows where He is; and the end of this growth is not in the pure rest, for the higher anyone grows here, the more does that wither and die in them, which is soft, and tender and melting, which makes one, and is the true Fold for lambs, where the lions must lie down in the end, if they come to rest, and that eye put out which looks to be great among men, that comes not into the rest, but has strife in the mind, strife in words and secret smitings, which defile the rest, and lead into the division and separation; but the little Child leads into the rest, and that which is lowly gives the entrance.
So feel that which is lowly and meek to arise above self, that which stills all strife at home in your minds, and gives peace in temptation and tribulation; that's a soft and tender thing in you, that is the Peace-maker, that's blessed of God. And this is first felt under the world, under the strife, suffering by the strife in patience, to bring to the end of the strife and the world, and in the end of it, and all exaltation, He comes to arise over the world and the enmity, who is not of a striving nature, but lives by hope, and believes to see to the end of all things under which He suffers, and to out-live every temptation by suffering. And so by an everlasting life comes over the world, and to reign over all things that are not of that eternal nature; but not to join with the evil.
And he that in the particular is born of this, has overcome the world in himself, and knows how to walk towards his brother in that which has power over the world and out-lives all, whereby he can suffer therein, and brings forth its own undefiled into one to rest, ever aiming in the ministrations at the kingdom of truth, peace and holiness, which is the end of all gifts and callings among the brethren, and is only obtained as that arises in all which suffers by the world, but is not of the world, which he that is Christ's minister comes to turn men to.
And this Seed all should know, which is beloved of the Father and Heir of the everlasting kingdom, who strives not by violence, but entreats; who seeks not revenge, but endures all contradictions from all against Himself, to the end He may obtain mercy for all from the Father. And this is the Seed of eternal peace, and the eternal Peace-maker, which was fore-ordained of the Father, and has power to endure all things, and subdue all things by overcoming.
So this seek in yourselves and all men, and in it seek one another as brethren. This is that which is perfect, and is never to be done away, neither can it be overcome of the world; wrath cannot enter it; it strives for nothing but to live its own life, which the world strives not for; nor can any that are of it strive with it; the worldly spirit seeks not that crown, whose life is to suffer all things, to be meek, and low, and poor, and rejected; reviled, contemned of the world, bearing the reproach of all that's above God in all. And little striving in the will of man is there for this kingdom, or the cross that belongs thereto, which no exalted mind can bear nor glory in.
And this is the righteousness that exceeds the Scribes and Pharisees, and Professors, and that wherein they cannot enter; nor can any reign in this kingdom, but who can bear the cross which leads to the crown, and has a habitation in that which cannot be moved with change nor kindled with wrath.
This the heritage of the meek, and the kingdom which only belongs to the poor in spirit and pure in heart, where the hardness of heart is broken, and melted, and self dead, many spirits desire to look into it; but few to live the life of it; It's only for the Heirs who are born through sorrow, and slain with ease; to whom flesh and blood is an enemy, and with the eye that looks out lightly esteemed among men.
Exhorting to Watchfulness
Blessed forever be the Father of light, who has called you out of the world, and has given you a testimony to finish in behalf of Christ Jesus; that through you He may manifestly declare Him to the world, in the true Savior of God, wherein you are the first-fruits of His glory, as you die and arise in Him: And so the Son is the light of the world. I beseech you, let your shining be in the right nature, and your rising be as you are born of God, and covered with the same Spirit and life by which you have been begotten towards Him: That none of you may be found false witnesses of His coming, when you are proved with fire, when nothing will abide with you but what you are in His nature: That's all you have of the treasure of God, even what you are in Him, who works in you against the flesh and the world; as many as abide in the feeling of His measure, and therein receive Him as Head over all. But if you receive anything above Him, in your minds, which is not of this nature, then you oppress Him who is meek and tender, which hinders His arising to walk and dwell in you.
Wherefore dear Friends, watch against all fleshly, selfish, hasty motions; take heed what you receive into His temple, lest you defile it, and He leave you desolate and in darkness.
Because of evil thoughts, covetousness, and pride of heart, is His Spirit grieved; every self-end, in whatever you do and suffer, is an enemy to His life, He suffers by whatever is done deceitfully towards God or man; and if you give way to wrath you deny His kingdom; yea, you that have tasted of Him, you know in measure how pure His way is in all things; and I pray you may all grow therein, being so much the more diligent, as you see your adversary seeking by all means to darken that glory of your holiness in Christ Jesus, that Spirit; to whom I commit you all, that in the holy bowels of His tender love you may know one another, in whatsoever any of you shall meet with from the world, in this way of your pilgrimage; that your unity in Him nothing may be able to break.
To watch against the Enemy's Wiles, and be Faithful to the End
In tenderness of heart which I receive of God daily, I am with you; and I pray God our Father, in the Lord Jesus Christ, that your minds may be kept pure and single to Himself, so as at the Fountain of eternal life you may ever feed and receive counsel, and grow in strength against that Spirit which has many subtle wiles to draw your minds from the Bread of life; even the Lord God of truth discover them all to every one of you, and preserve you daily against them; that to the Root which bears you, you may all be kept, there to receive renewed strength, that to God you may be fruitful forever; and not as trees whose root withers, and must needs fall in the end, though never so high in knowledge and conceit; even the Lord keep you all from this, which is that which is much in me to write to you of at this present, who to me are dearer than I can express; that to the Foundation of God you all may be kept, and all the people of God on the Rock to drink, who are His portion in this His day, with Him to stand against the powers of darkness that are arising against the Lamb, to whom be glory.
And blessed are they who with Him are found faithful, even such as continually feed with Him, where eternal life is ministered; and none can feed there, but as they come to have their minds redeemed out of worldly things. So dear Friends, all take heed of many thoughts, and many works, and walk humbly with God, with single minds always; and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all, Amen.