Yea and Nay
When I came to eleven years of age, I knew pureness and righteousness; for while I was a child I was taught how to walk to be kept pure. The Lord taught me to be faithful in all things, and to act faithfully two ways, viz. inwardly to God and outwardly to man, and to keep to 'yea' and 'nay' in all things. For the Lord showed me that though the people of the World have mouths full of deceit and changeable words, yet I was to keep to 'yea' and 'nay' in all things; and that my words should be few and savoury, seasoned with grace; and that I might not eat and drink to make myself wanton but for health, using the creatures in their service, as servants in their places, to the glory of him that hath created them; they being in their covenant, and I being brought up into the covenant, as sanctified by the Word which was in the beginning, by which all things are upheld; wherein is unity with the creation.
When I came towards nineteen years of age, I being upon business at a fair, one of my cousins, whose name was Bradford, being a professor and having another professor with him, came to me and asked me to drink part of a jug of beer with them, and I, being thirsty, went in with them, for I loved any that had a sense of good, or that did seek after the Lord. And when we had drunk a glass apiece, they began to drink healths and called for more drink, agreeing together that he that would not drink should pay all. I was grieved that any that made profession of religion should offer to do so. They grieved me very much, having never had such a thing put to me before by any sort of people; wherefore I rose up to be gone, and putting my hand into my pocket I took out a groat and laid it down upon the table before them and said, 'If it be so, I'll leave you.' So I went away; and when I had done what business I had to do, I returned home, but did not go to bed that night, nor could not sleep, but sometimes walked up and down, and sometimes prayed and cried to the Lord, who said unto me, 'Thou seest how young people go together into vanity and old people into the earth, and thou must forsake all, both young and old, and keep out of all, and be as a stranger unto all.'
Then, at the command of God, on the 9th day of the Seventh Month (September), 1643, I left my relations and brake off all familiarity or fellowship with young or old.
Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?
And after some time I went into my own country again, and was there about a year, in great sorrows and troubles, and walked many nights by myself. Then the priest of Drayton, the town of my birth, whose name was Nathaniel Stephens, would come often to me, and I went often to him, and another priest sometimes would come with him; and they would have given place to me to hear me, and I would ask them questions and reason with them. And this priest Stephens asked me a question, why Christ cried out upon the Cross, 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' And why he said, 'If it be possible, let this cup pass from me, yet not my will but thine be done' And I told him at that time the sins of all mankind were upon him, and their iniquities and transgressions with which he was wounded, which he was to bear, and to be an offering for them as he was man, but died not as he was God; and so, in that he died for all men, and tasted death for every man, he was an offering for the sins of the whole world. This I spoke, being at that time in a measure sensible of Christ's sufferings, and what he went through.
About the beginning of the year 1646, as I was going to Coventry, and entering towards the gate, a consideration arose in me, how it was said that all Christians are believers, both Protestants and Papists; and the Lord opened to me that, if all were believers, then they were all born of God and passed from death to life, and that none were true believers but such; and though others said they were believers, yet they were not.
Learning Not Enough
At another time, as I was walking in a field on a First-day morning, the Lord opened unto me that being bred at Oxford or Cambridge was not enough to fit and qualify men to be ministers of Christ; and I stranged at it because it was the common belief of people. But I saw clearly, as the Lord opened it to me, and was satisfied, and admired the goodness of the Lord who had opened this thing unto me that morning, which struck at Priest Stephens's ministry, namely, that to be bred at Oxford or Cambridge was not enough to make a man fit to be a minister of Christ. So that which opened in me, I saw, struck at the priest's ministry.
Temples not made with human hands
At another time it was opened in me that God, who made the world, did not dwell in temples made with hands. This, at the first, seemed a strange word because both priests and people use to call their temples or churches, dreadful places, and holy ground, and the temples of God. But the Lord showed me, so that I did see clearly, that he did not dwell in these temples which men had commanded and set up, but in people's hearts; for both Stephen and the Apostle Paul bore testimony that he did not dwell in temples made with hands, not even in that which he had once commanded to be built, since he put an end to it; but that his people were his temple, and he dwelt in them. This opened in me as I walked in the fields to my relations' house.
The Lord Would Teach His People Himself
And when I came there, they told me that Nathaniel Stephens the priest had been there, and told them he was afraid of me for going after new lights. And I smiled in myself, knowing what the Lord had opened in me concerning him and his brethren, but I told not my relations, who, though they saw beyond the priests, yet they went to hear them, and were grieved because I would not go also. But I brought them Scriptures, and told them there was an anointing within man to teach him, and that the Lord would teach his people himself. And I had great openings concerning the things written in the Revelations; and when I spoke of them, the priests and professors would say that was a sealed-up book, and would have kept me out of it, but I told them Christ could open the seals, and that they were the nearest things to us, for the Epistles were written to the saints that lived in former ages, but the Revelations were written of things to come.
Great Openings, Great Troubles
Now though I had great openings, yet great trouble and temptation came many times upon me, so that when it was day I wished for night, and when it was night I wished for day; and by reason of the openings I had in my troubles, I could say as David said, 'Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge.' And when I had openings, they answered one another and answered the Scriptures, for I had great openings of the Scriptures; and when I was in troubles, one trouble also answered to another.
But my troubles continued, and I was often under great temptations; and I fasted much, and walked abroad in solitary places many days, and often took my Bible and went and sat in hollow trees and lonesome places till night came on; and frequently in the night walked mournfully about by myself, for I was a man of sorrows in the times of the first workings of the Lord in me.
And though my exercises and troubles were very great, yet were they not so continual but that I had some intermissions, and was sometimes brought into such an heavenly joy that I thought I had been in Abraham's bosom. As I cannot declare the misery I was in, it was so great and heavy upon me, so neither can I set forth the mercies of God unto me in all my misery. Oh, the everlasting love of God to my soul when I was in great distress! When my troubles and torments were great, then was his love exceeding great. Thou, Lord, makest a fruitful field a barren wilderness, and a barren wilderness a fruitful field; thou bringest down and settest up; thou killest and makest alive; all honour and glory be to thee, O Lord of glory! The knowledge of thee in the spirit is life, but that knowledge which is fleshly works death.
Then I Heard A Voice
Now after I had received that opening from the Lord that to be bred at Oxford or Cambridge was not sufficient to fit a man to be a minister of Christ, I regarded the priests less, and looked more after the dissenting people. And among them I saw there was some tenderness, and many of them came afterwards to be convinced, for they had some openings. But as I had forsaken all the priests, so I left the separate preachers also, and those called the most experienced people; for I saw there was none among them all that could speak to my condition. And when all my hopes in them and in all men were gone, so that I had nothing outwardly to help me, nor could tell what to do, then, Oh then, I heard a voice which said, 'There is one, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition,' and when I heard it my heart did leap for joy. Then the Lord did let me see why there was none upon the earth that could speak to my condition, namely, that I might give him all the glory; for all are concluded under sin, and shut up in unbelief as I had been, that Jesus Christ might have the preeminence, who enlightens, and gives grace, and faith, and power. Thus, when God doth work who shall prevent it? And this I knew experimentally.
His Light to Believe In
My desires after the Lord grew stronger, and zeal in the pure knowledge of God and of Christ alone, without the help of any man, book, or writing. For though I read the Scriptures that spoke of Christ and of God, yet I knew him not but by revelation, as he who hath the key did open, and as the Father of life drew me to his Son by his spirit. And then the Lord did gently lead me along, and did let me see his love, which was endless and eternal, and surpasseth all the knowledge that men have in the natural state, or can get by history or books; and that love let me see myself as I was without him. And I was afraid of all company, for I saw them perfectly where they were, through the love of God which let me see myself. I had not fellowship with any people, priests or professors, nor any sort of separated people, but with Christ, who hath the key, and opened the door of light and life unto me. And I was afraid of all carnal talk and talkers, for I could see nothing but corruptions, and the life lay under the burden of corruptions. And when I myself was in the deep, under all shut up, I could not believe that I should ever overcome; my troubles, my sorrows, and my temptations were so great, that I thought many times I should have despaired, I was so tempted. But when Christ opened to me how he was tempted by the same Devil, and had overcome him and bruised his head, and that through him and his power, light, grace and spirit, I should overcome also, I had confidence in him. So he it was that opened to me when I was shut up and had not hope nor faith. Christ it was who had enlightened me, that gave me his light to believe in, and gave me hope, which is himself, revealed himself in me, and gave me his spirit and gave me his grace, which I found sufficient in the deeps and in weakness.
And I found there were two thirsts in me, the one after the creatures, to have gotten help and strength there, and the other after the Lord the creator and his Son Jesus Christ. And I saw all the world could do me no good. If I had had a king's diet, palace, and attendance, all would have been as nothing, for nothing gave me comfort but the Lord by his power. And I saw professors, priests, and people were whole and at ease in that condition which was my misery, and they loved that which I would have been rid of. But the Lord did stay my desires upon himself from whom my help came, and my care was cast upon him alone. Therefore all wait patiently upon the Lord, whatsoever condition you be in; wait in the grace and truth that comes by Jesus; for if ye so do, there is a promise to you, and the Lord God will fulfill it in you.
Christ the Word
Again I heard a voice which did say, 'Thou Serpent, thou dost seek to destroy the life but canst not, for the sword which keepeth the tree of life shall destroy thee.' So Christ, the Word of God, that bruised the head of the Serpent the destroyer, preserved me, my inward mind being joined to his good Seed, that bruised the head of this Serpent the destroyer. And this inward life did spring up in me, to answer all the opposing professors and priests, and did bring in scriptures to my memory to refute them with.
The Seed Oppressed
At another time I saw the great love of God, and I was filled with admiration at the infiniteness of it; and then I saw what was cast out from God, and what entered into God's kingdom, and how by Jesus, the opener of the door by his heavenly key, the entrance was given. And I saw death, how it had passed upon all men and oppressed the Seed of God in man and in me, and how I in the Seed came forth, and what the promise was to. Yet it was so with me that there seemed to be two pleadings in me; and questionings arose in my mind about gifts and prophecies, and I was tempted again to despair, as if I had sinned against the Holy Ghost. And I was in great perplexity and trouble for many days, yet I gave up myself to the Lord still.
All to be Done in and By Christ
And one day when I had been walking solitarily abroad and was come home, I was taken up in the love of God, so that I could not but admire the greatness of his love. And while I was in that condition it was opened unto me by the eternal Light and power, and I therein saw clearly that all was done and to be done in and by Christ, and how he conquers and destroys this tempter, the Devil and all his works, and is atop of him, and that all these troubles were good for me, and temptations for the trial of my faith which Christ had given me. And the Lord opened me that I saw through all these troubles and temptations. My living faith was raised, that I saw all was done by Christ, The life, and my belief was in him. And when at any time my condition was veiled, my secret belief was stayed firm, and hope underneath held me, as an anchor in the bottom of the sea, and anchored my immortal soul to its Bishop, causing it to swim above the sea, the word where all the raging waves, foul weather, tempests, and temptations are. But oh, then did I see my troubles, trials, and temptations more than, ever I had done! As the Light appeared, all appeared that is out of the Light, darkness, death, temptations, the unrighteous, the ungodly; all was manifest and seen in the Light.
Self to Die
Then after this there did a pure fire appear in me; then I saw how he sat as a refiner's fire and as the fuller's soap; and then the spiritual discerning came into me, by which I did discern my own thoughts, groans and sighs, and what it was that did veil me, and what it was that did open me. And that which could not abide in the patience nor endure the fire, in the Light I found to be the groans of the flesh (that could not give up to the will of God), which had veiled me, and that could not be patient in all trials, troubles and anguishes and perplexities, and could not give up self to die by the Cross, the power of God, that the living and quickened might follow him; and that that which would veil and cloud from the presence of Christ, that which the sword of the Spirit cuts down and which must die, might not be kept alive. And I discerned the groans of the spirit, which did open me, and made intercession to God, in which spirit is the true waiting upon God for the redemption of the body and of the whole creation. And by this true spirit, in which the true sighing is, I saw over the false sighings and groanings. And by this invisible spirit I discerned all the false hearing and the false seeing, and the false smelling which was atop, above the Spirit, quenching and grieving it; and that all they that were there were in confusion and deceit, where the false asking and praying is, in deceit, and atop in that nature and tongue that takes God's holy name in vain, and wallows in the Egyptian sea, and asketh but hath not. For they hate his light and resist the Holy Ghost, and turn the grace into wantonness, and rebel against the Spirit, and are erred from the faith they should ask in, and from the spirit they should pray by. He that knoweth these things in the true spirit, can witness them. The divine light of Christ manifesteth all things; and the spiritual fire trieth all things, and severeth all things. Several things did I then see as the Lord opened them to me, for he showed me that which can live in his holy refining fire, and that can live to God under his law. And he made me sensible how the law and the prophets were until John and how the least in the everlasting kingdom of God is greater than John.
The Law and the Spirit
The pure and perfect law of God is over the flesh to keep it and its works, which are not perfect, under, by the perfect law; and the law of God that is perfect answers the prefect principle of God in every one. And this law the Jews and the prophets and John were to perform and do. None knows the giver of this law but by the spirit of God, neither can any truly read it or hear its voice but by the spirit of God. He that can receive it let him. John, who was the greatest prophet that was born of a woman, did bear witness to the light, which Christ the great heavenly prophet hath enlightened every man that cometh into the world withal, that they might believe in it, and become the children of light, and so have the light of life, and not come into condemnation. For the true belief stands in the light that condemns all evil and the Devil, who is the prince of darkness, who would draw out of the light into condemnation. And they that walk in this light come to the mountain of the house of God established above all mountains, and to God's teaching, who will teach them his ways. These things were opened to me in the light.
And I saw the mountains burning up and the rubbish, and the rough and crooked ways and places made smooth and plain that the Lord might come into his tabernacle. These things are to be found in man's heart. But to speak of these things being within seemed strange to the rough and crooked and mountainous ones. Yet the Lord said, 'O Earth, hear the word of the Lord!' The law of the Spirit crosseth the fleshly mind, spirit and will, which lives in disobedience, and doth not keep within the law of the Spirit. I saw this law was the pure love of God which was upon me, and which I must go through, though I was troubled while I was under it; for I could not be dead to the law but through the law - which did judge and condemn that which is to be condemned. I saw many talked of the law, who had never known the law to be their schoolmaster; and many talked of the Gospel of Christ, who had never known life and immortality brought to light in them by it. You that have been under that schoolmaster, and the condemnation of it, know these things; for though the Lord in that day opened these things unto me in secret, they have since been published by his eternal spirit, as on the housetop. And as you are brought into the law, and through the law to be dead to it, and witness the righteousness of the law fulfilled in you, ye will afterwards come to know what it is to be brought into the faith, and through faith from under the law. And abiding in the faith which Christ is the author of, ye will have peace and access to God. But if ye look out from the faith, and from that which would keep you in the victory, and look after fleshly things or words, ye will be brought into bondage to the flesh again, and to the law which takes hold upon the flesh and sin and worketh wrath, and the works of the flesh will appear again. The law of God takes hold upon the law of sin and death; but the law of faith, or the law of the Spirit of life, which is the love of God, and which comes by Jesus (who is the end of the law for righteousness' sake), this makes free from the law of sin and death. This law of life fleshly minded men do not know; yet they will tempt you, to draw you from the Spirit into the flesh, and so into bondage.
Into Liberty and Freedom
Therefore ye, who know the love of God, and the law of his Spirit, and the freedom that is in Jesus Christ, stand fast in him, in that divine faith which he is the author of in you; and be not entangled with the yoke of bondage. For the ministry of Christ Jesus and his teaching bringeth into liberty and freedom; but the ministry that is of man and by man, and which stands in the will of man, bringeth into bondage, and under the shadow of death and darkness. And therefore none can be a minister of Christ Jesus but in the eternal Spirit, which was before the Scriptures were given forth; for if they have not his spirit, they are none of his. Though they may have his light to condemn them that hate it, yet they can never bring any into unity and fellowship in the Spirit, except they be in it. For the Seed of God is a burdensome stone to the selfish, fleshly, earthly will which reigns in its own knowledge and understanding, that must perish, and in its wisdom, that is devilish. And the Spirit of God is grieved and vexed and quenched with that which brings into the fleshly bondage, and that which wars against the spirit of God must be mortified by it. For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other. The flesh would have its liberty, and the spirit would have its liberty; but the spirit is to have its liberty and not the flesh. If therefore ye quench the spirit, and join to the flesh, and be servants of it, then ye are judged and tormented by the spirit; but if ye join to the Spirit and serve God in it, ye have liberty and victory over the flesh and its works. Therefore keep in the daily cross, the power of God, by which ye may witness all that to be crucified which is contrary to the will of God, and which shall not come into his kingdom.
These things are here mentioned and opened for information, exhortation and comfort to others, as the Lord opened them unto me in that day.
Ocean of Light and Love
And I went back into Nottinghamshire, and there the Lord shewed me that the natures of those things which were hurtful without were within, in the hearts and minds of wicked men. The natures of dogs, swine, vipers, of Sodom and Egypt. Pharoah, Cain, Ishmael, Esau, etc. The natures of these I saw within, though people had been looking without. And I cried to the Lord, saying, 'Why should I be thus, seeing I was never addicted to commit those evils?' And the Lord answered that it was needful I should have a sense of all conditions, how else should I speak to all conditions; and in this I saw the infinite love of God. I also saw that there was an ocean of darkness and death, but an infinite ocean of light and love, which flowed over the ocean of darkness. And in that also I saw the infinite love of God, and I had great openings.
The Life Trampled Upon
And as I was walking by the steeplehouse side, in the town of Mansfield, the Lord said unto me, 'That which people do trample upon must be thy food.' And as the Lord spoke he opened it to me how that people and professors did trample upon the life, even the life of Christ was trampled upon; and they fed upon words, and fed one another with words, but trampled upon the life, and trampled underfoot the blood of the Son of God, which blood was my life, and they lived in their airy notions, talking of him. It seemed strange to me at the first that I should feed on that which the high professors trampled upon, but the Lord opened it clearly to me by his eternal spirit and power.
I Saw The Harvest White
There was one Brown, who had great prophecies and sights upon his death-bed of me. And he spoke openly of what I should be made instrumental by the Lord to bring forth. And of others he spake that they should come to nothing, which was fulfilled on some, that then were something in show. And when this man was buried, a great work of the Lord fell upon me, to the admiration of many, who thought I had been dead, and many came to see me, for about fourteen days time. For I was very much altered in countenance and person as if my body had been new moulded or changed. And while I was in that condition, I had a sense and discerning given me by the Lord, through which I saw plainly that when many people talked of God and of Christ, etc., the Serpent spoke in them; but this was hard to be borne. Yet the work of the Lord went on in some, and my sorrows and troubles began to wear off and tears of joy dropped from me, so that I could have wept night and day with tears of joy to the Lord, in humility and brokeness of heart. And I saw into that which was without end, and things which cannot be uttered, and of the greatness and infiniteness of the love of God, which cannot be expressed by words. For I had been brought through the very ocean of darkness and death, and through the power and over the power of Satan, by the eternal glorious power of Christ. Even through that darkness was I brought, which covered over all the world, and which chained down all, and shut up all in the death. And the same eternal power of God, which brought me through these things, was that which afterwards shook the nations, priests, professors, and people. Then could I say I had been in spiritual Babylon, Sodom, Egypt and the grave; but by the eternal power of God I was come out of it, and was brought over it and the power of it, into the power of Christ. And I saw the harvest white, and the Seed of God Iying thick in the ground, as ever did wheat that was sown outwardly, and none to gather it; and for this I mourned with tears.
The Earth Shaken
In the year 1648, as I was sitting in a Friend's house in Nottinghamshire (for by this time the power of God had opened the hearts of some to receive the word of life and reconciliation), I saw there was a great crack to go through out the earth, and a great smoke to go as the crack went and that after the crack, there should be a great shaking. This was the earth in people's hearts, which was to be shaken before the Seed of God was raised out of the earth. And it was so; for the Lord's power began to shake them, and great meetings we began to have, and a mighty power and work of God there was amongst people, to the astonishment of both people and priests.
Blood of The New Covenant
Soon after there was another great meeting of professors, and a captain whose name was Amor Stoddard, came in. And they were discoursing of the blood of Christ; and as they were discoursing of it, I saw, through the immediate opening of the invisible Spirit, the blood of Christ. And I cried out among them, and said, 'Do ye not see the blood of Christ? See it in your hearts, to sprinkle your hearts and consciences from dead works to serve the living God?' For I saw it, the blood of the New Covenant, how it came into the heart. This startled the professors, who would have the blood only without them and not in them. But Captain Stoddard was reached, and said, 'Let the youth speak; hear the youth speak', when he saw they endeavored to bear me down with many words.
What Is The Church?
In Leicestershire, as I was passing through the fields, I was moved to go to Leicester, and when I came there I heard of a great meeting for a dispute and that there were many to preach, Presbyterians, Independents, Baptists, and Common prayer men. The meeting was in a steeplehouse; and I was moved to go among them. And I heard their discourse and reasonings, some being in pews and the priest in the pulpit, abundance of people being gathered together. At last one woman asked a question out of Peter, what that birth was, viz. a being 'born again of incorruptible seed, by the Word of God, that liveth and abideth forever'. And the priest said to her, 'I permit not a woman to speak in the church'; though he had before given liberty for any to speak. Whereupon I was rapt up, as in a rapture, in the Lord's power; and I stepped up in a place and asked the priest, 'Dost thou call this place a church? Or dost thou call this mixed multitude a church?' For the woman asking a question, he ought to have answered it, having given liberty for any to speak. But he did not answer me neither, but asked me what a church was. I told him the Church was the pillar and ground of Truth, made up of living stones living members, a spiritual household which Christ was the head of, but he was not the head of a mixed multitude or of an old house made up of lime, stones, and wood.
Then I spoke how that the Church was in God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ . . .
A Living God
And one morning, as I was sitting by the fire, a great cloud came over me, and a temptation beset me; but I sat still. And it was said, 'All things come by nature'; and the elements and stars came over me so that I was in a manner quite clouded with it. But inasmuch as I sat, still and silent, the people of the house perceived nothing. And as I sat still under it and let it alone, a living hope arose in me and a true voice, which said, 'There is a living God who made all things.' And immediately the cloud and temptation vanished away, and life rose over it all, and my heart was glad, and I praised the living God.
Speaking For Justice
And at a certain time, when I was at Mansfield, there was a sitting of the justices about hiring of servants; and it was upon me from the Lord to go and speak to the justices that they should not oppress the servants in their wages . . . And then I was come to the house where they were, and many servants with them, I exhorted the justices not to oppress the servants in their wages, but to do what was right and just to them; and I exhorted the servants to do their duties, and serve honestly, etc. And they all received my exhortation kindly, for I was moved of the Lord therein.
Moreover, I was moved to go to several courts and steeplehouses at Mansfield and other places to warn them to leave off oppression and oaths, and to turn from deceit and to turn to the Lord and do justly.
All Things New
Now was I come up in spirit through the flaming sword into the paradise of God. All things were new, and all the creation gave another smell unto me than before, beyond what words can utter. I knew nothing but pureness, and innocency, and righteousness, being renewed up into the image of God by Christ Jesus, so that I say I was come up to the state of Adam which he was in before he fell. The creation was opened to me, and it was showed me how all things had their names given them according to their nature and virtue. And I was at a stand in my mind whether I should practice physic for the good of mankind, seeing the nature and virtues of the creatures were so opened to me by the Lord. But I was immediately taken up in spirit, to see into another or more steadfast state than Adam's in innocency, even into a state in Christ Jesus, that should never fall. And the Lord showed me that such as were faithful to him in the power and light of Christ, should come up into that state in which Adam was before he fell, in which the admirable works of the creation, and the virtues thereof, may be known, through the openings of that divine Word of wisdom and power by which they were made. Great things did the Lord lead me into, and wonderful depths were opened unto me, beyond what can by words be declared; but as people come into subjection to the spirit of God, and grow up in the image and power of the Almighty, they may receive the Word of wisdom, that opens all things, and come to know the hidden unity in the Eternal Being.
Lawyers, Physicians, Priests
Thus travelled I on in the Lord's service, as the Lord led me. And when I came to Nottingham, the mighty power of God was there among Friends. From thence I went to Clawson in Leicestershire, in the Vale of Beavor, and the mighty power of God was there also in several towns and villages where Friends were gathered. While I was there the Lord opened to me three things relating to those three great professions in the world, physic, divinity (so called) and law. And he showed me that the physicians were out of the wisdom of God by which the creatures were made, and so knew not the virtues of the creatures, because they were out of the Word of wisdom by which they were made. And he showed me that the priests were out of the true faith which Christ is the author of, the faith which purifies and gives victory and brings people to have access to God, by which they please God, which mystery of faith is held in a pure conscience. He showed me also, that the lawyers were out of the equity and out of the true justice, and out of the law of God, which went over the first transgression and over all sin, and answered the spirit of God that was grieved and transgressed in man. And that these three, the physicians, the priests, and the lawyers ruled the world out of the wisdom, out of the faith and out of the equity and law of God, the one pretending the cure of the body, the other the cure of the soul, and the third the property of the people. But I saw they were all out, out of the wisdom, out of the faith, out of the equity and perfect law of God.
And as the Lord opened these things unto me, I felt his power went forth over all, by which all might be reformed, if they would receive and bow unto it. The priests might be reformed and brought into the true faith which was the gift of God. The lawyers might be reformed and brought into the law of God which answers that of God (that is transgressed) in every one, and brings to love one's neighbour as himself. This lets man see if he wrongs his neighbour he wrongs himself; and this teaches him to do unto others as he would they should do unto him. The physicians might be reformed, and brought into the wisdom of God, by which all things were made and created; that they might receive a right knowledge of the creatures and understand the virtues of them, which the Word of wisdom, by which they were made and are upheld, hath given them. Abundance was opened concerning these things; how all lay out of the wisdom of God, and out of the righteousness and holiness that man at the first was made in. But as all believe in the light and walk in the light, which Christ hath enlightened every man that cometh into the world withal, and so become children of the light, and of the day of Christ; in his day all things are seen, visible and invisible, by the divine light of Christ, the spiritual, heavenly man, by whom all things were made and created.
The Greatest Deceivers
Then I saw concerning the priests, that although they stood in the deceit, and acted by the dark power, which both they and their people were kept under, yet they were not the greatest deceivers spoken of in the Scriptures; for these were not come so far as many of them had come. But the Lord opened to me who the greatest deceivers were, and how far they might come, even such as came as far as Cain, to hear the voice of God; and such as came out of Egypt, and through the Red Sea, and to praise God on the banks of the seashore; such as could speak by experience of God's miracles and wonders; such as were come as far as Korah and Dathan and their company; such as come as far as Balaam, who could speak the Word of the Lord, who heard his voice and knew it, and knew his spirit and could see the star of Jacob and the goodliness of Israel's tent; the second birth, which no enchantment could prevail against These that could speak so much of their experiences of God, and yet turned from the Spirit and the Word and went into the gainsaying, these were, and would be the great deceivers far beyond the priests Likewise among the Christians, such as should preach in Christ's name, and should work miracles, cast out devils, and go as far as a Cain, a Korah, and a Balaam, in the Gospel times, these were and would be the great deceivers. They that could speak some experiences of Christ and God, but lived not in the life, these were they that led the world after them who got the form of godliness, but denied the power, who inwardly ravened from the Spirit, and brought people into the form, but persecuted them that were in the power, as Cain did; and ran greedily after the error of Balaam through covetousness, loving the wages of unrighteousness as Balaam did. These followers of Cain, Korah and Balaam have brought the world, since the apostles' days, to be like a sea. And such as these, I saw might deceive now, as they had in former ages; but it is impossible for them to deceive the elect, who were chosen in Christ, who was before the world began, and before the deceiver was, though others may be deceived in their openings and prophecies, not keeping their minds to the Lord Jesus Christ who doth open and reveal to his.
The Form of Godliness
And I saw the state of those, both priests and people, who in reading the Scriptures, cry out much against, Cain, Esau, and Judas, and other wicked men of former times, mentioned in the Holy Scriptures; but do not see the nature of Cain, of Esau of Judas, and those others, in themselves. And these said it was they, they, they, that were the bad people, putting it off from themselves: but when some of these came, with the light and spirit of Truth, to see into themselves, then they came to say, 'I, I, I, it is I myself that have been the Ishmael, and the Esau', etc. For then they came to see the nature of wild Ishmael in themselves, the nature of Cain, of Esau, of Korah, of Balaam and of the son of perdition in themselves, sitting above all that is called God in them.
So I saw it was the fallen man that was got up into the Scriptures and was finding fault with those before-mentioned, and with the backsliding Jews, calling them the sturdy oaks and tall cedars and fat bulls of Bashan, wild heifers, vipers, serpents, etc., and charging them that it was they that closed their eyes and stopped their ears and hardened their hearts, and were dull of hearing, that it was they that hated the light and rebelled against it, and that quenched the Spirit, and vexed, and grieved it, and walked despitefully against the spirit of grace, and turned the grace of God into wantonness, and it was they that resisted the Holy Ghost, and they that got the form of godliness, and turned against the power, and that they were the inwardly ravening wolves that had got the sheep's clothing, and that they were the wells without water, and clouds without rain and trees without fruit, etc. But when these, who were so much taken up with finding fault with others, and thought themselves clear from these things, came to look into themselves, and with the light of Christ thoroughly to search themselves, they might see enough of this in themselves; and then the cry could not be, it is he, or they as before, but I and we are found in these conditions.
Reading Scriptures Aright
I saw also how people read the Scriptures without a right sense of them, and without duly applying them to their own states. For, when they read that death reigned from Adam to Moses, that the law and the prophets were until John, and that the least in the kingdom is greater than John, they read these things without them and applied them to others without them, and the things were true of others without them, but they did not turn in to find the truth of these things in themselves but as these things came to be opened in me, I saw death reigned over them from Adam to Moses, from the entrance into transgression till they came to the ministration of condemnation, which restrains people from sin that brings death Then, when the ministration of Moses is passed through, the ministry of the prophets comes to be read and understood, which reaches through the figures, types, and shadows unto John the greatest prophet born of woman; whose ministration prepares the way of the Lord by bringing down the exalted mountains and making straight paths. And as this ministration is passed through, an entrance comes to be known into the everlasting kingdom.
And I saw that none could read Moses aright without Moses' spirit, by which Moses saw how man was in the image of God in paradise, and how he fell, and how death came over him, and how all men have been under this death. I saw how Moses received the pure law that went over all transgressors, and how the clean beasts which were figures and types were offered up, when the people were come into the righteous law that went over the first transgression And both Moses and the prophets saw through the types and figures and beyond them, and saw Christ the great prophet that was to come to fulfil them.
And I saw that none could read John's words aright and with a true understanding of them, but in and with the same divine Spirit by which John spoke them, and by his burning, shining light, which is sent from God. For by that Spirit their crooked natures might be made straight, and their rough natures smooth, and the exacter and violent doer in them might be thrown out, and they that had been hypocrites might come to bring forth fruits meet for repentance, and their mountain of sin and earthliness might be laid low in them, and their valley exalted in them, that there might be a way prepared for the Lord in them; and then the least in the kingdom is greater than John. But all must first know the voice crying in the wilderness, in their hearts, which through transgression were become as a wilderness. Thus I saw it was an easy matter to say death reigned from Adam to Moses, and that the law and the prophets were until John, and that the least in the kingdom is greater than John; but none could know death reigned from Adam to Moses, etc., but by the same Holy Spirit which Moses, and the prophets, and John were in. They could not know the spiritual meaning of Moses', the prophets' and John's words, nor see their path and travels, much less see through them and to the end of them into the kingdom, unless they had the Spirit and the light of Jesus; nor could they know the words of Christ and of his apostles without his Spirit. But as man comes through by the Spirit and power of God to Christ who fulfils the types, figures, shadows, promises, and prophecies that were of him, and is led by the Holy Ghost into the truth and substance of the Scriptures, sitting down in him who is the author and end of them, then are they read and understood with profit and great delight.
Possibility of Perfection
Moreover the Lord God let me see, when I was brought up into his image in righteousness and holiness, and into the paradise of God, the state how Adam was made a living soul, and also, the stature of Christ, the mystery, that had been hid from ages and generations, which things are hard to be uttered and cannot be borne by many. For, of all the sects in Christendom (so called) that I discoursed withal I found none that could bear to be told that any should come to Adam's perfection, into that image of God and righteousness and holiness that Adam was in before he fell, to be so clear and pure without sin, as he was. Therefore how should they be able to bear being told that any should grow up to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, when they cannot bear to hear that any should come, whilst upon earth, into the same power and Spirit that the prophets and apostles were in? Though it be a certain truth, that none can understand their writings aright without the same Spirit by which they were written.
Every Man Enlightened
Now the Lord God hath opened to me by his invisible power how that every man was enlightened by the divine light of Christ; and I saw it shine through all, and that they that believed in it came out of condemnation and came to the light of life and became the children of it, but they that hated it, and did not believe in it, were condemned by it, though they made a profession of Christ. This I saw in the pure openings of the Light without the help of any man, neither did I then know where to find it in the Scriptures; though afterwards, searching the Scriptures, I found it. For I saw in that Light and Spirit which was before Scripture was given forth, and which led the holy men of God, to give them forth, that all must come to that Spirit, if they would know God, or Christ, or the Scriptures aright, which they that gave them forth were led and taught by.
But I observed a dulness and drowsy heaviness upon people, which I wondered at, for sometimes when I would set myself to sleep, my mind went over all to the beginning, in that which is from everlasting to everlasting. I saw death was to pass over this sleepy, heavy state, and I told people they must come to witness death to that sleepy, heavy nature, and a cross to it in the power of God, that their minds and hearts might be on things above.
The New Birth
And on a certain time, as I was walking in the fields, the Lord said unto me, 'Thy name is written in the Lamb's book of life, which was before the foundation of the world'; and as the Lord spoke it I believed, and saw it in the new birth. Then, some time after, the Lord commanded me to go abroad into the world, which is like a briery, thorny wilderness, and when I came in the Lord's mighty power with the word of life into the world, the world swelled and made a noise like the great raging waves of the sea. Priests and professors, magistrates and people, were all like a sea, when I came to proclaim the day of the Lord amongst them and to preach repentance to them.
Now I Was Sent
Now I was sent to turn people from darkness to the light that they might receive Christ Jesus, for to as many as should receive him in his light, I saw that he would give power to become the sons of God, which I had obtained by receiving Christ. And I was to direct people to the Spirit that gave forth the Scriptures, by which they might be led into all Truth, and so up to Christ and God, as they had been who gave them forth. And I was to turn them to the grace of God, and to the Truth in the heart, which came by Jesus, that by this grace they might be taught, which would bring them into salvation, that their hearts might be established by it, and their words might be seasoned, and all might come to know their salvation nigh. For I saw that Christ had died for all men, and was a propitiation for all, and had enlightened all men and women with his divine and saving light, and that none could be a true believer but who believed in it. I saw that the grace of God, which brings salvation, had appeared to all men, and that the manifestation of the Spirit of God was given to every man to profit withal. These things I did not see by the help of man, nor by the letter, though they are written in the letter, but I saw them in the light of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by his immediate Spirit and power, as did the holy men of God, by whom the Holy Scriptures were written. Yet I had no slight esteem of the Holy Scriptures, but they were very precious to me, for I was in that spirit by which they were given forth, and what the Lord opened in me I afterwards found was agreeable to them. I could speak much of these things and many volumes might be written, but all would prove too short to set forth the infinite love, wisdom, and power of God, in preparing, fitting and furnishing me for the service he has appointed me to; letting me see the depths of Satan on the one hand, and opening to me on the other hand, the divine mysteries of his own everlasting kingdom.
The New And Living Way
Now, when the Lord God and his son, Jesus Christ, did send me forth into the world, to preach his everlasting gospel and kingdom, I was glad that I was commanded to turn people to that inward light, spirit, and grace, by which all might know their salvation, and their way to God; even that divine Spirit which would lead them into all Truth and which I infallibly knew would never deceive any. But with and by this divine power and spirit of God, and the light of Jesus, I was to bring people off from all their own ways to Christ, the new and living way, and from their churches, which men had made and gathered, to the Church in God, the general assembly written in heaven, which Christ is the head of, and off from the world's teachers made by men, to learn of Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life, of whom the Father said, 'This is my beloved Son, hear ye him'; and off from all the world's worships, to know the spirit of Truth in the inward parts, and to be led thereby, that in it they might worship the Father of spirits, who seeks such to worship him, which spirit they that worshipped not in knew not what they worshipped.
And I was to bring people off from all the world's religions, which are vain, that they might know the pure religion, and might visit the fatherless, the widows and the strangers, and keep themselves from the spots of the world. And then there would not be so many beggars, the sight of whom often grieved my heart, to see so much hard-heartedness amongst them that professed the name of Christ. And I was to bring them off from all the world's fellowships, and prayings, and singings, which stood in forms without power, that their fellowships might be in the Holy Ghost, and in the eternal Spirit of God; that they might pray in the Holy Ghost, and sing in the spirit and with the grace that comes by Jesus, making melody in their hearts to the Lord who hath sent his beloved Son to be their Saviour, and caused his heavenly sun to shine upon all the world, and through them all, and his heavenly rain to fall upon the just and the unjust (as his outward rain doth fall, and his outward sun doth shine on all), which is God's unspeakable love to the world.
And I was to bring people off from Jewish ceremonies, and from heathenish fables, and from men's inventions and windy doctrines, by which they blowed the people about this way and the other way, from sect to sect; and all their beggarly rudiments, with their schools and colleges for making ministers of Christ, who are indeed ministers of their own making but not of Christ's; and from all their images and crosses, and sprinkling of infants, with all their holy days (so called) and all their vain traditions, which they had gotten up since the apostles' days, which the Lord's power was against, and in the dread and authority thereof I was moved to declare against them all, and against all that preached and not freely, as being such as had not received freely from Christ.
Thee And Thou
Moreover when the Lord sent me forth into the world, he forbade me to put off my hat to any, high or low; and I was required to 'thee' and 'thou' all men and women, without any respect to rich or poor, great or small. And as I travelled up and down, I was not to bid people 'good morrow' or 'good evening', neither might I bow or scrape with my leg to anyone; and this made the sects and professions to rage. But the Lord's power carried me over all to his glory, and many came to be turned to God in a little time, for the heavenly day of the Lord sprang from on high, and brake forth apace, by the light of which many came to see where they were.
But oh, the rage that then was in the priests, magistrates, professors, and people of all sorts, but especially in priests and professors! For, though 'thou' to a single person was according to their own learning, their accidence and grammar rules, and according to the Bible, yet they could not bear to hear it, and the hat-honour, because I could not put off my hat to them, it set them all into a rage. But the Lord showed me that it was an honour below, which he would lay in the dust and stain it, an honour which proud flesh looked for, but sought not the honour which came from God only, that it was an honour invented by men in the Fall, and in the alienation from God, who were offended if it were not given them, and yet would be looked upon as saints, church members, and great Christians.
The Gospel Is Free
But the black earthly spirit of the priests wounded my life, and when I heard the bell toll to call people together to the steeplehouse, it struck at my life, for it was just like a market-bell to gather people together that the priest might set forth his ware to sale. Oh, the vast sums of money that are gotten by the trade they make of selling the Scriptures, and by their preaching, from the highest bishop to the lowest priest! What one trade else in the world is comparable to it, notwithstanding the Scriptures were given forth freely, and Christ commanded his ministers to preach freely, and the prophets and apostles denounced judgement against all covetous hirelings and diviners for money. But in this free spirit of the Lord Jesus was I sent forth to declare the word of life and reconciliation freely, that all might come up to Christ, who gives freely, and who renews up into the image of God which man and woman were in before they fell, that they might sit down in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
Holy Spirit, Not Scriptures, Is Authority
Now as I passed to Nottingham . . . I went away to the steeplehouse. And when I came there, all the people looked like fallow ground, and the priest, like a great lump of earth, stood in his pulpit above And he told the people that the Scriptures were the touchstone and judge by which they were to try all doctrines, religions, and opinions, and to end controversy. Now the Lord's power was so mighty upon me, and so strong in me, that I could not hold, but was made to cry out and say, 'Oh, no, it is not the Scriptures', and was commanded to tell them God did not dwell in temples made with hands but I told them what it was, namely, the Holy Spirit, by which the holy men of God gave forth the Scriptures, whereby opinions, religions, and judgements were to be tried; for it led into all Truth, and so gave the knowledge of all Truth. For the Jews had the Scriptures, and yet resisted the Holy Ghost, and rejected Christ the bright morning star, and they persecuted Christ and his apostles, and took upon them to try their doctrines by the Scriptures, but erred in judgement, and did not try them aright, because they tried without the Holy Ghost.
Passing away I heard of a people that were in prison in Coventry for religion And as I walked towards the gaol, the word of the Lord came to me saying, 'My love was always to thee, and thou art in my love.' And I was ravished with the sense of the love of God and greatly strengthened in my inward man.
Had I No Sin?
Then we passed through Friends to Derby . . . And as I was walking in my chamber, the (steeplehouse) bell rung, and it struck at my life, at the very hearing of it; and I asked the woman of the house what the bell rung for, and she said there was to be a great lecture that day and abundance of the officers of the army, and priests, and preachers were to be there, and a colonel that was a preacher. I was moved of the Lord to go up to them, and when they had done, I spake to them what the Lord commanded me, of the Truth, and the day of the Lord, and the light within them, and the spirit to teach and lead them to God, and they were pretty quiet. There came an officer to me and took me by the hand and said I must go before the magistrates, and the other two that were with me, and so when we came before them about the first hour afternoon, they asked me why we came thither. I said God moved us to do so, and I told them, 'God dwells not in temples made with hands.' I told them also all their preaching, baptism, and sacrifices would never sanctify them, and I had many words with them. And I told them they were not to dispute of God and Christ, but to obey him. The power of God was thundered among them and they flew like chaff, and they put me in and out of the room from the first hour to the ninth hour at night in examinations, having me backward and forward, and, said in a deriding manner that I was taken up in raptures, as they called it.
At last they asked me whether I was sanctified. I said, 'Sanctified? Yes', for I was in the Paradise of God. They said, had I no sin? 'Sin?' Said I, 'Christ my Saviour hath taken away my sin and in him there is no sin.' They asked how we knew that Christ did abide in us. I said, 'By his Spirit that he hath given us.' They temptingly asked if any of us were Christ. I answered, 'Nay, we are nothing, Christ is all.' They said, 'If a man steal is it no sin' I answered, 'All unrighteousness is sin.'
The Covenant of Peace
So the keeper of the House of Correction was commanded to bring me up before the Commissioners and soldiers in the market place . . . And there they . . . Asked me if I would not take up arms for the Commonwealth against the King.
But I told them I lived in the virtue of that life and power that took away the occasion of all wars, and I knew from whence all wars did rise, from the lust according to James's doctrine. Still they courted me to accept of their offer and thought that I did but compliment with them. But I told them I was come into the covenant of peace which was before wars and strifes were.
Justice And Mercy
And in this time I was exceeding much oppressed with judges and magistrates and courts, and was moved to write to the judges concerning their putting men to death for cattle and money and small things, several times, how contrary to the law of God it was. One time I was under great sufferings in my spirit through it, and under the very sense of death, but when I came out of it, standing in the will of God a heavenly breathing arose in my soul to the Lord. Then did I see the heavens opened and the glory of God shined over all. Two men suffered for small things, and I was moved to admonish them for their theft and encourage them concerning their suffering, it being contrary to the law of God; and a little after they had suffered their spirits appeared to me as I was walking, and I saw the men were well.
Judgement on Derby
Great was the exercise and travail in spirit that I went under during my imprisonment here because of the wickedness that was in this town. And a great judgment was upon the town, and I saw the power of God went away from them, as the waters ran from the town dam when the flood gates were up, for they were an hardened people; and yet there were some convinced. And I mourned over them; and it came upon me to give forth the following lines as a lamentation for them:
O Derby! As the waters run away when the floodgates are up, so doth the visitation of God's love pass away from thee, O Derby! Therefore look where thou art, and how thou art grounded; and consider, before thou art utterly forsaken. The Lord moved me twice before I came to cry against the deceits and vanities that are in thee, and to warn all to look at the Lord, and not at man . . . It doth break my heart to see how God is dishonoured in thee, O Derby!
Now after that I had seen the visitation of God's love pass away from this place, I knew that my imprisonment here would not continue long; but I saw that when the Lord should bring me forth, it would be as the letting of a lion out of a den amongst the wild beasts of the forest. For all professions stood in a beastly spirit and nature, pleading for sin, and for the body and of sin and imperfection as long as they lived. And they all kicked and yelled, and roared, and raged, and ran against the life and spirit which gave forth the Scriptures, which they professed in words. And so it was.
Woe Unto Lichfield !
And as I was one time walking in a close with several Friends I lifted up my head and I espied three steeplehouse spires. They struck at my life and I asked Friends what they were, and they said, Lichfield. The word of the Lord came to me thither I might go, so being come to the house we were going to I bid friends that were with me walk into the house from me; and they did and as soon as they were gone (for I said nothing to them whither I would go) I went over hedge and ditch till I came within a mile of Lichfield. When I came into a great field where there were shepherds keeping their sheep, I was commanded of the Lord to pull off my shoes of a sudden; and I stood still, and the word of the Lord was like a fire in me; and being winter, I untied my shoes and put them off; and when I had done I was commanded to give them to the shepherds and was to charge them to let no one have them except they paid for them. And the poor shepherds trembled and were astonished.
So I went about a mile till I came into the town, and as soon as I came within the town the word of the Lord came unto me again to cry, 'Woe unto the bloody city of Lichfield!'; so I went up and down the streets crying, 'Woe unto the bloody city of Lichfield!' Being market day I went into the market place and went up and down in several places of it and made stands, crying, 'Woe unto the bloody city of Lichfield!', and no one touched me nor laid hands on me. As I went down the town there ran like a channel of blood down the streets, and the market place was like a pool of blood.
And so at last some friends and friendly people came to me and said, 'Alack George! Where are thy shoes?' And I told them it was no matter; so when I had declared what was upon me and cleared myself, I came out of the town in peace about a mile to the shepherds: and there I went to them and took my shoes and gave them some money, but the fire of the Lord was so in my feet and all over me that I did not matter to put my shoes on any more and was at a stand whether I should or no till I felt freedom from the Lord so to do.
And so at last I came to a ditch and washed my feet and put on my shoes; and when I had done, I considered why I should go and cry against that city and call it a bloody city; for though the Parliament had the minister one while and the King another while, and much blood had been shed in the town, yet that could not be charged upon the town. But as I went through the town there ran like a channel of blood down the streets and the market place was like a pool of blood; this I saw as I went through it crying, 'woe to the bloody city of Lichfield'.
But after, I came to see that there were a thousand martyrs in Lichfield in the Emperor Diocletian's time. And so I must go in my stockings through the channel of their blood in their market place. So I might raise up the blood of those martyrs that had been shed and lay cold in their streets, which had been shed above a thousand years before. So the sense of this blood was upon me, for which I obeyed the word of the Lord. And the ancient records will testify how many of the Christian Britons suffered there.
Christ Is In You
And I went to Gainsborough, and there, a Friend having been speaking in the market, the market and town were all in an uproar. And I went into a friendly man's house and the people rushed into it and it was filled with professors and disputers. And so this false accuser came in before them all, and the rude people, and accused me openly before all the people, that I said I was Christ and had brought many witnesses to prove it; and so set a rage in the people that they had much to do to keep their hands off me. And in the eternal power of God I was moved of the Lord God to stand up atop of the table and tell them that Christ was in them except they were reprobates; and it was the eternal power of Christ and Christ that spake in me that time to them. And generally with one consent all the people did acknowledge the thing, and gave testimony to it, and confessed to it - yea, even the very professors and all them that were in a rage against me - and I said that if the power of God and the Seed spoke in man or woman it was Christ.
A People To Be Gathered
At night we came to a country house . . . Where we had a good service for the Lord, declaring his Truth amongst them; for the Lord had said unto me if I did but set up one in the same spirit that the prophets and apostles were in that gave forth the Scriptures, he or she should shake all the country in their profession ten miles about them . . .
And the next day we passed on, warning people as we met them of the day of the Lord that was coming upon them. As we went I spied a great high hill called Pendle Hill, and I went on the top of it with much ado, it was so steep; but I was moved of the Lord to go atop of it; and when I came atop of it I saw Lancashire sea; and there atop of the hill I was moved to sound the day of the Lord; and the Lord let me see atop of the hill in what places he had a great people to be gathered.
A People In White Raiment
And so at night we came to an alehouse and stayed all night . . . And the Lord opened to me at that place, and let me see a great people in white raiment by a river's side coming to the Lord, and the place was near John Blaykling's where Richard Robinson lived . . .
So I came through the dales . . . To Major Bousfield's in Garsdale . . . And from Major Bousfield's I came to Richard Robinson's; and as I was passing along the way I asked a man which was Richard Robinson's; he asked me from whence I came I, and I told him, 'From the Lord', and when I came to Richard Robinson's I declared the everlasting Truth to him and he was convinced. And yet a dark jealousy riz up in him, after I had gone to bed, that I might be somebody that was come to rob his house, and he locked all his doors fast.
And the next day, being the First-day I went to a Separate meeting at Justice Benson's, where the people were generally convinced; This was the place that I had seen a people coming forth in white raiment. A mighty meeting there was and is to this day, near Sedbergh, which I gathered in the name of Jesus.
Christ Has Come To Teach His People
And . . . There was a great fair at Sedbergh . . . There I declared the everlasting Truth of the Lord and the word of life for several hours, and that the Lord Christ Jesus was come to teach his people himself and bring them off all the world's ways and teachers to Christ, their way to God; and I laid open all their teachers and set up the true teacher, Christ Jesus; and how they were judged by the prophets, Christ, and the apostles; and to bring them off the temples made with hands, that they themselves might know they were the temples of God. And never a priest had power to open his mouth. But at last a captain said, why would I not go into the church, for that was a fit place to preach in. I said unto him I denied their church for the church was in God as in I Thess. 1. 1. There stood up a Separate preacher, one Francis Howgill, that had not seen me before, and he began to dispute with the captain, but he held his peace. Then said Francis Howgill, "This man speaks with authority and not as the scribes.' So I opened to the people that the ground and house was no holier than another place, and that the house was not the church, but the people which Christ is the head of; and so, after a while that I had made a stand amongst the people, the priests came up to me and I warned them to repent. And when I was passing away a priest said to the people that I was distracted; his mouth being stopped by the power of God for opposing, that was only his cover to the people, and so they turned away, but many were glad at the hearing of the Truth declared to them that day, which they received gladly.
Christ The Substance
And the next First-day I came to Firbank Chapel . . . Where Francis Howgill and John Audland had been preaching in the morning . . .
So they had quickly done with their preaching to the people at that time and they, and the people, went to their dinners; and abundance stayed till they came again. I went to a brook and got me a little water, and so I came and set me down atop of a rock, for the word of the Lord came to me I must go and set down upon the rock in the mountain even as Christ had done before. In the afternoon the people gathered about me with several Separate teachers, where it was judged there were above a thousand people; and all those several Separate teachers were convinced of God's everlasting Truth that day; amongst whom I declared freely and largely God's everlasting Truth and word of life about three hours; and there were many old people that went into the Chapel, and looked out of the windows and thought it a strange thing to see a man to preach on a hill or mountain and not in their church (as they called it).
I was made to open to the people that the steeplehouse and that ground on which it stood were no more holy than that mountain, and those temples and 'dreadful houses of God', (as they called them) were not set up by the command of God nor Christ; nor their priests as Aaron's priesthood; nor their tithes as theirs was. But Christ was come, who ended the temple, and the priests, and the tithes, and Christ said, 'Learn of me', and God said, `This is my beloved Son, hear ye him ' For the Lord had sent me with his everlasting gospel to preach, and his word of life to bring them off all those temples, tithes, priests and rudiments of the World, that had gotten up since the apostles' days, and had been set up by such who had erred from the spirit and power the apostles were in; so that they might all come to know Christ their teacher, their counsellor, their shepherd to feed them, and their bishop to oversee them and their prophet to open to them, and to know their bodies to be the temples of God and Christ for them to dwell in.
And so I opened the prophets and the figures and shadows and turned them to Christ the substance, and then opened the parables of Christ and the things that had been hid from the beginning, and showed them the estate of the Epistles how they were written to the elect; and the state of the apostasy that has been since the apostles' days, and how the priests have got the Scriptures and are not in that spirit which gave them forth; who make a trade of their words and have put them into chapter and verse; and how that the teachers and priests now are found in the steps both of the false prophets, chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees, such as both the prophets, Christ, and his apostles cried against, and so are judged by the prophets', Christ's, and the apostles' spirit; and all that were in it could not own them. ,and so turning the people to the spirit of God, and from the darkness to the light that they might believe in it and become children of the light, and turning them from the power of Satan which they had been under to God, and that with the spirit of Truth they might be led into all the Truth of the prophets', Christ's and the apostles' words.