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would not answer. Then, said James, 'Neither will I answer thee, if thou ask me twenty more.'
The next question he asked, was, . Whether Christ was ascended or not?' but James said, I will not answer thee.' Whereupon he cried out to the people, and said, “He denies the humanity of Christ,' and made a great outcry among the people of it. But the people cried out, saying, · Let us hear him; you have often told us many things against him; let him speak, and then if he speak not truth, you may then reprove him. James, hearing the desire of the people, began to speak; and the people gave audience, and were very silent. But beginning to hold out Christ alone to be the teacher of his people in spirit and truth, one of the priests cried out, I cannot endure to hear this seducer any longer. Upon which James said, “Prove me a seducer before all this people, or else thou art a false accuser. But he had not one word to say against any thing that he had spoken: but said, If thou wilt not answer me that question I asked thee, I will call thee a seducer as long as I live.
Whereupon, seeing there could be no peace there, nor liberty to speak, they desired James to go into the house; and they kept close about him, to keep him from violence of some that came along with the priests : but they raged so that he and other Friends received stripes, and with much ado got to the house. But the raging Sodomites waited about the door to do mischief, and kept shouting about the house all the while he was speaking; but the house being filled with people, they could not come to their purpose: and the Lord so ordered it in the evening, we came away without any more harm. But not long after, there came some of the priests' party about the house, and asked if Nayler was gone: and when they heard he was gone, they said, He may thank God for that.' Thus, by the wisdom of God, he escaped their violence at that time.
But the priests, missing of their purpose there, the next First-day after, they prepared their sermons suitable to what they intended, possessing the people that he was a blasphemer, and denied the resurrection, and the humanity of Christ, and all authority: and that the parliament had opened a gap for blasphemy, and, as it was said by some of their hearers, they did God good service that would knock him down. Thus having stirred up the ruder sort, the next day they prevailed with one called a justice of the peace: the priest's son got him to come twelve miles from his own house: he was one, as some say, that had been in actual arms against the parliament, for bringing in the Scots. And having armed a great multitude against the next morning, they came very early to the house where he was, where many christian Friends should have met that day, and asked for Nayler, threatening to knock
out his brains against the stones in the wall, and that they would pull down the house, if he would not come out: though the door was never shut against them. But some of them came into the house, and commanded him to come forth, under pretence to dispute with the priest. But James, seeing what they intended, answered, “You did not use me so civilly the last time I was amongst you; but if any have a mind they may come in, the doors are open.' Which answer they told the priests, whereupon they rushed violently in, and took him by the throat, haled him out of the door into a field, where was a man whom they called a justice, and with a pitchfork struck off his hat, and commanded him to answer to such questions as the priests would ask him. Whereupon the priest began to ask many questions, as concerning the resurrection, the humanity of Christ, the scriptures; and divers other questions, as the sacrament, and such like, to which he answered, and proved by scripture. But at last being asked, if Christ was in him, he said,
he witnessed him in him in measure.' The priest asked, if Christ was in him as man.' James said, “Christ is not divided.' But he urged him to tell whether Christ as man was in him or not. He answered, Christ is not divided; for if he be, he is no more Christ; but I witness that Christ in me who is God and man, in measure. But the priest said, Christ is in heaven with a carnal body.' To which said James, Christ filleth heaven and earth, and is not carnal but spiritual: for if Christ be in heaven with a carnal body, and the saints with a spiritual body, that is not proportionable; neither was that a carnal body which came in among the disciples, the doors being shut; for Christ is a mystery, and thou knowest him not.'
Then after much jangling and tempting, the priest not having got the advantage he waited for, he cried out unto the people not to receive him into their houses, and alleged that in the second epistle of John v. 10. Now, how suitable that place was for his purpose, all people may see, who have eyes; for there they are forbidden to receive any into their houses but such who “abide in the doctrine of Christ, and confess themselves that they had both the Father and the son, and preach that doctrine:' but the priests say that is blasphemy.
Then the priest turned away from him: upon which the armed multitude began to be violent against divers Friends that were there. James hearing Friends cry out, said to the justice, “You will surely set us peaceably into the house again;' but seeing him to go away, and leave them in the hands of the rude multitude, he gave himself up, saying, “The will of the Lord be done.'
Upon which the justice turned again, saying, "We will see him in the house again:' and going toward the house, many Friends kept close about James, exposing their own bodies to the danger of their weapons, Vol. III.
to save him harmless; and so with much ado we got into the house, not receiving much harm. Which being done, and as James was praising the Lord for his wondrous deliverance from their malicious intents, some heard them say, “If we let him go thus, all people will run after him.' Whereupon they agreed that he should be brought before the justice again; and came with violence, and haled him out again. Then the justice and the priest getting on horseback, they caused him to run after them to an ale-house on the other side the water, where they went in, not suffering one Friend to go in with James: and when he came before the justice, he told him if he would not put off his bat, he would send him to prison, and also because he thoued him; for the justice said, • My commission runs ye.' To which James answered, “I do it not in contempt; for I own authority, and honour it according to the scriptures; but I find none such honour commanded in scripture, but forbidden.' Then they concluded to commit him for that, and also as a wandering person, and said none there knew him whence he came; for those who knew him were kept out. Then, said he to Arthur Scaise, • Thou knewest me; I was in the army with thee eight or nine years.' • It is no matter,' said the justice, ó thou art no soldier now.'
Then they wrote a mittimus to send him to prison, and carried him to Kirkby Steven that night, and shut him up in a chamber, and set a guard upon him; but divers of our friends following into the town, where a great multitude was gathered together for meeting, then did the people come from the steeple-house, where another had been preaching; for divers of the priests were gathered together that day; some preaching, some plotting, and some persecuting. Jezebel's fast was a preparation for Naboth's death. But Friends not being suffered to go into the house where James was, they abode in the streets; and some of them being moved to speak to the people, the priests perceiving the people to give audience to what was spoken, made complaint. Whereupon, some were sent forth, and with violence fetched in one Francis Howgill, a Friend, who was speaking to the people, and brought him into the high priest's hall, where were five priests assembled, with many others of their party, but not one Friend. And bringing him before the justice, he was commanded to put off his hat. He answered, I know no such law. The priest said, "He will tread both ministry and magistracy under his feet.' He said, • Thou art a false accuser; prove wherein.' But one that stood by, took off his hat, and cast it into the fire. Then said the justice, · What is this thou speakest against the ministers? He answered, What hast thou to accuse me of? Whereupon one affirmed that he said, all the ministers that taught for hire, and in steeple-houses, were enemies, and liars against Jesus Christ, and no ministers of Jesus Christ.' Upon that
the justice said, " Thou speakest against the law; for the law gives them their maintenance.' He said, “I meddle not with the law, but with their practice.' Then said Francis to the priest, Didst thou ever know a minister of Jesus Christ that was a persecutor, or did labour to imprison any?' And after some more discourse, he said to the priest, “I have seen a great deal of tyranny and persecution in this day's actions.' Then said the justice to the people, • Take notice, he saith, the law I act by is tyranny and persecution. To which the people assented. Then said Francis, • Thou mayst give out to the people what thou wilt, but I speak not of the law, but of your actions.' Upon that, he was sent to prison; a guard of eight men were set over them, who spent the night in drinking, swearing, and filthy and unclean talking; and the more they were desired by the people to take heed of sin, the more filthy they
appear; but these are the fittest instruments for acting the priests' intentions, being members of their churches. The next day they were guarded to Appleby: but some Friends following, could not be suffered to pass on the streets that way, so great was their envy against all that set their face that way. And the prisoners being brought thither, much means was used that none should come at them, but such as were sent to tempt them. There they were kept until the sessions; in which time they sent up and down the country to seek for any who would witness any thing against them, and improved their utmost interest for their advantage. A jury was chosen, divers of them were resolved on the business, so that it was told the prisoners what would become of them, before the day of examination came; and it was accordingly. For the day came, and judgment passed; but the prisoners never saw their accusers, nor know who they are; but against that day, the priests bad prepared three large petitions stuffed with most filthy untruths and slanders, raised out of the bottomless pit; but not one of them proved, though one of the justices said to them, · It is fit they should be proved; neither was there any thing in them which they could charge upon the prisoners, save only what the power of the Lord had manifested at their meetings, in shaking proud flesh, and pouring out his spirit upon many, especially, as they said, upon little children; which the priests concluded was sorcery and witchery, and of the devil; hereby declaring themselves to be of that generation who called the good man of the house Beelzebub;' and if they should not do the same to them of his household, the words of Christ could not be fulfilled.
Likewise they had gathered up all reports, true or false, of things done by many that the prisoners had not seen the faces of, nor ever knew; thinking thereby to make them odious to the people. They also brought two priests out of Lancashire, to swear things that another man had spoken in the presence of four justices of the peace, and for which the
man had been tried and cleared. And these they brought, thinking to • add afflictions to the prisoners' bonds.' But he is kept in great peace and joy, having not any comfort from man, but from God, who hath appeared to him in this condition, and hath given him assurance of his love, in whom he rests. To whom be praise, honour, and glory, for ever. Amen.
The examination of James Nayler, upon an indictment of blas
phemy, at the sessions at Appleby, in January, 1652.
JUSTICE PEarson. Put off your hats.
James. I do it not in contempt of authority: for I honour the power as it is of God, without respecting persons, it being forbidden in scripture. He that respects men's persons commits sin, and is convinced of the law as a transgressor.
Just. Pear. That is meant of respecting persons in judgment.
James. If I see one in goodly apparel and a gold ring, and see one in poor and vile raiment, and say to him in fine apparel, sit thou in a higher place than the poor, I am partial, and judged of evil thoughts.
Col. Brigs. If thou wert in the parliament house, wouldst thou keep it on ?
Jam. If God should keep me in the same mind I am in now I should. Col. Brigs. I knew thou wouldst contemn authority.
Jam. I speak in the presence of God, I do not contemn authority; but I am subject to the power as it is of God, for conscience sake.
Just. Pear. Now authority commands thee put off thy hat, what sayest thou to it?
Jam. Where God commands one thing, and man another, I am to obey God rather than man.
Col. Benson. See whether the law commands it, or your own wills.
The indictment was read, wherein James was indicted for saying that • Christ was in him,' and · that there was but one word of God.'
Col. Brigs. Where wast thou born?