To the Present Distracted and Broken Nation of England
|To the Present Distracted and Broken Nation of England
|written during the collapse of the English revolution, 1659|
To the Present Distracted and Broken Nation of England
And to all her Inhabitants:
A Presentation and Declaration from the Seed of God, and from the People called Quakers; with their Sense and Knowledge published, concerning the present Divisions and Confusions come to pass in the Land; with Mourning and Lamentation over it because of its Breaches, and the Causes thereof laid down, and discovered.
And also, Good Counsel and Advice held forth, how Peace and Unity may be restored, and how the present Troubles may be Removed.
Oh! poor distressed Nation, and full of Troubles; How art thou broken and divided? How hath Divisions and Distractions compassed thee about, and entred into thy Bowels? And how are thy Inhabitants and thy People divided, even to hatred one against another? and how are they filled, as with Mischief, one towards another, even as it were thirsting for the Blood of one another? Oh! How are thy Rulers and thy Subjects, thy Great Men and thy Poor, confounded amongst themselves? And how is the Wisdom of thy Wise men turned intoFolly, and their Union into present Contention? and how do they seek the Overthrow one of another? and how do they lie in wait to be avenged one against another? And how are the Hearts of many filled with Envy, Contention and Revenge; and Love, Peace and Unity are far away; Meekness, Patience, and Long-suffering, which ought to be among thy People, seem to stand afar off? And oh Nation! this is the Day of thy Trouble, and the beginning of thy Sorrows.
And forasmuch as it hath pleased the Lord God Almighty, to bring, and suffer things thus to be brought to pass, as if he would make our Nation a Heap, and suffer Destruction upon it; and having suffered the Rulers and Great Men to overcome and break down one another, and to rend and tear one another from off the Throne, pulling down others, and setting up themselves, even through their Ambition and Vain-gory, and for corrupted Ends to themselves, whereby this our Nation is brought into present Confusion; and many are begotten, through these things, into Fury, Heart-burnings and Maliciousness, as if men were ready to devour each one his Neighbour and their Brother about Government and Rule, being greatly divided and distracted in this matter; some crying up one way of Religion and Church, and Civil Government, and some crying up another way; being each one sort of People seeking themselves; and the prosperity of their own Interests, and to have their own desires accomplished; but few seeking the Lord, and to advance him in Truth and Righteousness: And because of this, there is no Establishment in the Earth, but Strife, and Contention, and Heart-burnings in the bowels of the Nation, and great want of True Love, True Unity, and True Peace, and all the contrary doth about among the people; because of which the nation is subject to present Misery, even to Blood-shed and Murders, and liable also to greater judgments, which may also come upon it because of these things; all which we have deeply considered with Mourning, and with Breakings of Heart, on the behalf of the Nation, the Land of our Nativity: We have seen, we have seen the Cause of thy Distractions to be the Sins of thy Rulers and People; and we have seen the effect of them to be doleful and miserable unto thee, except the Hand of the Lord turn it backward.
And oh! How do we Mourn and Lament, to see the Out-goings of Men, and the present Condition of the People and Rulers, in this the Day of their Trouble? Alas! they do not behave themselves towards the Lord that his Judgments may be turned away, they do not seek him in Truth and Righteousness, they do not turn unto him with all their Hearts, neither do they tremble at his Word; but they the rather reject his Counsel, and despise his Visitation, and they seek themselves, and exalt their own Horn, and love the Honour of this World, and their hearts are hardened, and the great men seem to be utterly insensible of what the Lord is a doing; but seek great things for themselves, and each one rejoycing of another's Fall, and glorying in their Advantages one over another; one sort being first down, and another sort comes up, boasting themselves over the Fall of their Enemies, and not knowing that their time also is but very short.
And thus is our poor Nation tossed to and fro, through the Ambition of men, who even make a Prey upon the poor peoples Persons and Treasure for their own corrupted Ends; and thy Rulers have not had respect unto the Counsel of the Lord, but seem to refuse the Way of Peace, and even add Fewel to the Fire of God's Wrath, by heaping up one Transgression upon another, and they receive not the Instructions of the Almighty.
Behold, Oh Nation! Great Trouble is upon thee, and the Men that should Rule thee, and which have pretended to Govern thee, they do not walk in the Way of thy Peace, neither do they bring healing to thee. These things we have considered, and thus we Lament over thee, and over thy present State; Oh Nation! how art thou like an ungirded Vessel, that is ready to fall one piece from another? and how art thou like a Body without a Head, and all thy Joynts out of order? and what Confusion art thou fallen into, which is thy present state, and art even as a Widdow without a Husband, and art even left comfortless unto this day, and ready to devour thy self though the Envy that lodgeth in thy own Bowels? Though thou hast had Kings over thee, and chosen thee Parliaments, and set up Protectors, and Committees and Councils have been created in thee, to have been as a Defence upon thee, and to have born the Scepter of thy Government; but alas! all these have left thee, and thou art now as alone, and left comfortless, even as a Widow unto this day, and the Staff of thy hand hath pierced thee, and thy strength and confidence hath betrayed thee, and them whom thou hast chosen have wrought no deliverance at all in thee, even the men that thou thoughtest should have healed thee, they have made thy wound more incurable, and they in whom thou hast reposed trust, they have been deceitfull and treacherous in thee; for many have sought themselves, and who should be the greatest, and they have trifled away many precious hours in vain contentions about Government, what it should be, and who should govern, while as no good thing hath been effected by them; but in the mean time of their delayes, and while they have been making themselves rich with the Nations Treasure, and loved this worlds perishing honor, and vain titles, the Nation hath starved for want of mercy and just judgment, and the cause of its necessity hath been forgotten, and mercy and truth, and the freedom of the people neglected, and the Cause of the Fatherless, Widow and Stranger, and the Cause of the afflicted people have they not respected: Oh Nation, the men that have sitten on thy Throne, they have left thee groaning under great Oppressions, wounded with the Spirit of Tyranny yet un-cast out, and thy people are yet unhealed, but the breach hath been made wider, even by that Spirit which hath possessed thy Parliaments, thy Protectors, thy Councils, thy Committees, who hath proved Physitians of no value, but have bin the increasers of thy grief, and even because of their iniquities; and the sin of their Ambition and Oppression hath the Lord dealt thus with them, and suffered them to dash one another in pieces; and through Judgment unto themselves and thee, Oh Nation, are they at present ceased from thee, and thou art left alone, and without a Deliverer in the Earth, full of Troubles and Distractions: Oh that thou wouldst now look unto the Lord, and seek him in Righteousness, that he may heal thee; for there is none of them all that do pretend to rule thee, that do rightly proceed in the way of thy Deliverance, they do not apply healing Balm unto thy Wound, they rather add unto the cause of thy Sorrow, then remove it from thee; their hearts are not aright before the Lord, and how then should they prosper in their doings.
All these things have we viewed, and pittied the condition of our Nation, and thus we do declare the very cause of these things that are come to pass in thee in that, oh Nation, thou hast sinned, thou hast sinned, and the cry of thy Iniquities is come up before the Lord, even the sins of thy Rulers and thy People is the Cause of God's Displeasure against thee, and he is provoked through their Transgressions; in thee is found the Blood of the Innocent, in thee is found the Murder of Souls, in thee is found Treachery against God, and Hypocrisie & Dissimulation with God and men; in thee is found Pride & Oppression, Whoredom and Drunkenness, Stealing and Murder; in thee is found the very burden of Iniquity, & the full measure of Transgression, even the transgression of God's whole Law; deceit is found in thee, & unsoundness of heart, & unconstancy in all good things; multitude of hypocritical Fastings, Prayers and Services in thee is found; even destroying Sins of all sorts do abound, and thou hast provoked the Lord God by thy Abominations: thy Rulers have been Oppressors, thy Teachers Deceivers of Souls, and thy People are froward and perverse against the Lord; in thee is found the men that judge for Rewards, and the Priests that preach for Hire, and the Prophets that divine for Money; thy Sins are like Israel's of old for number and greatness, and thou hast lost God's Favour, and gained his Fury by thy own doings, and thou art the very cause of this Misery, and hast brought it upon thy self; and because thou art departed from the Living God by thy Transgression, therefore hath he confounded thee, and turned thy Wisdom into Folly; and he is departed from thee, and out of thy Councils, and men are left to the counsels of their own hearts, and as it were ready to destroy one another, Ruler against Ruler, and Neighbour and Friend full of strife one against another; and this happened unto thee as a Judgment for thy Iniquities, who hast also neglected a glorious Day of Visitation; thy Rulers and Inhabitants have been warned, and the cry of Repentance hath been sounded towards them all by a despised people, but warning hath not been regarded, but the word of the Lord rejected by thy Rulers and People; and lo, what wisdom is there in them? not so much wisdom from God as can preserve them; but it may be just with the Lord to suffer them to drink the blood one of another, even because they have sinned against God, and rejected his counsel, therefore is this come to pass in the Nation; for hadst thou, oh Nation, walked in the Light of the Lord, it had been better with thee; had every one obeyed the Light in his own Conscience; and had every one sought the Lord, and not himself; had thy Rulers ruled for God, and had thy people been ruled of God, then this day had not been a day of Trouble, but it had been a day of Joy; and Sorrow and Anguish had been removed far from thee, and blessings had filled thy Habitations.
And now whereas many wise men have been advising and consulting the peace of this our Nation, and they have given in their counsel for removing these Troubles, yet Peace and Unity seems to be far away, and though they have sought Peace for this Nation, yet they have not walked in the perfect way thereof; for innocency, truth, and simplicity have bin wanting, which God only will bless, and by flatteries and deceits, and the pollicy and wisdom of this World have they thought to make up thy breach, but it cannot be; for in the way of that proceeding will not the Lord be found in a needful time, and his presence hath been wanting in their counsels, and therefore the fruit of peace is not yet grown up, this we have seen, and therefore thus we do declare, O Nation, the inward cause of thy destractions must be removed, even thy iniquities must be forsaken, and thy transgressions repented of; thou must forsake thy former wayes and doings that are not right; thou must leave off thy hypocrisies and flatteries with God and men; thou must repent thee of thy profaneness, and of thy profession also; thy sin and thy righteousness must thou put away, which are both Abominations unto God; thou must cease to do evil, and learn to do well, and thou must be uncovered of thy sheeps cloathing, thy large profession of Religion, and the multitude of thy Prayers and Sermons, and the number of thy oblations and offerings, these things have not been pleasant unto the Lord from thee, but because hereof is he the rather provoked against thee, and thou must be stripped of thy filthy garments, and set as in the day that thou wast born, before thou canst be cloathed with divine righteousness: and O Nation, thou must be changed, not in name only, but in nature; thou must be converted, that the wrath of the Lord may be turned back from thee; every inhabitant in thee must become a fighter against the evil in his own heart, and the plague thereof must be sought out and removed; the sin must be forsaken that judgement may cease, and every one must cease to provoke the Lord, and no longer vex his Spirit within them; and every one must love the Light of Christ in his own conscience, and become a follower of it, that will lead him out of all sin; and every man must put off his Transgressions, and forsake himself, and lay down the enmity, and cast it out of his heart that he hath against persons, and he must war against the Enemies of his own Soul, and the Enemies of his own House must be slain, even his own Lusts, and even the evil Affections of his own heart must he become an Enemy unto; and every man must deny the false Teachers and Deceivers, and must come to be taught of the Lord, every one must turn to him, and come into his Covenant, and hear his Word, and obey his Voice, and become humble and meek, and must tremble at the Word of the Lord, and must become upright and innocent.
And O Nation, If it were thus with thee, then shouldst thou be a happy People; if thou dost these things, then shall all thy Breaches be healed, and thy Sorrows be turned into Joy, and the Lord shall cease to smite thee, and his Anger shall be turned clean away. This is our Counsel unto thee, Remove thy Iniquities by Repentance, be converted to the Lord, and he shall heal thee, and his Love shall be shed abroad; Peace, Plenty and Satisfactions, Unity and Concord shall be unto all thy Inhabitants, and the Lord himself shall be thy King, thy Judge and thy Law-giver: he will judge thee with equity, and not with Oppression; he will teach thee in the perfect way, and thou shalt not err, he will defend thee from all thy Enemies: Oh Nation, if thou do these things, even turn to the Lord with all thy heart, that he may walk in thee, and dwell in thee, then should thy light break out of obscurity, and the dew of Mercies shall fall upon thee, and it should be unto thee as a Morning without Clouds, and thou shouldest be refreshed after all thy sorrow; the Nation should be happy, and the people blessed, and the Government of Peace and Truth should be established, never to be confounded any more.
And thus thy Iniquities being removed, the Plague should cease, and the cause of destruction being taken away, no fruit thereof should appear; wherefore let men cease to match Mischief one against another, and to seek vengeance one of another, and let them seek with all speed and sincerity to get victory over their own sins, and vengeance may be taken upon their own transgressions; and this is our Councel for the healing of our Nations breach, and for turning away the Anger of the Lord. But and if, O Nation, thou continuest in thy perverseness, and in transgressions which the Lord hates; and if thou wilt not turn to him that smites thee, and love his Rod that corrects thee, but wilt always grieve the Spirit of the Lord, and be obstinate & stout-hearted against the Lord, and his reproofs; and if thou wilt continue in thy accustomed sins, then shall the reward thereof be upon thee, even breach upon breach, and one Judgment upon another; and Mercy shall be with-holden from thee, and the Dew shall not fall upon thee, but thou shalt be as a barren Heath; and thou shalt be given up to consume thy self in mischief, and in thy heart-burnings one towards another; if thou wilt set up Rulers of thy own proud and ambitious men, and wilt not chuse the Lord to Rule over thee, but reject him and his People, then shall thy Breach never be healed by the Men whom thou chusest, but through them shall thy Breach be more desperate, and thy Wound be made more incurable; and if thou wilt set up Teachers that teach for filthy Lucre, and Prophets that divine for Money, and Priests that preach for Hire, and will not receive the Covenant of the Lord, and him to be thy Teacher by his spirit, then shalt thou err in thy ways, and stumble and fall, and never know perfect Peace with God, nor one with another; but as thou lovest Oppression and Deceit, and Walkest in Transgression, so shall it be unto thee, and thou must eat the Fruit of thy own doings, Misery upon Miseries shall be upon thee, and thou shalt not see the Face of the Almighty to refresh thee: Wherefore, O Nation! consider, before the Night comes upon thee, when no way will be found by thee to be dilivered; for in the middst of thy Confusions God is a working; he hath a Work to bring forth, which shall be a Work of great Mercy and Deliverance, or of Sorrow and of great Judgment, even to the whole Land.
And as for us, we hereby declare unto thee, We are not thy Enemies, we seek not thy hurt, nor do we desire Vengeance upon our Enemies, we seek not thy Destruction; but we desire thy Repentance, that thou mayst be healed: we have not the spirit of Mischief and Rebellion in our hearts towards thee, neither are we for one Party or another, nor do we side with one sort against another, neither do we joyn our selves to this sort or the other, nor do we war against any carnal Weapons, neither shall we ever provoke the Nation against us, otherwise then by our Righteous and Holy Walking; and we do declare, that we are not for Men nor Names, nor shall we joyn with this or that sort of men, but as they act Righteousness alone; nor any thing that yet appears, can we fully embrace or rejoyce in; for they are all corrupted in their ways, and that cursed spirit of Self-seeking seems to be the Rule of, and to leaven their principal Actions; and we rather chuse to suffer by all, as for a long time we have done already, then to lose our Integrity and Innocency, by joyning to any in their unjust ways; for we reject all Places of corrupted Honour, and we are yet kept free. It is true, we are a People gathered of the Lord into one Spirit, and though a People little in Account, and very low in Reputation, and greatly reproached, and even a suffering People by all sorts of men, yet we are a people loved of the Lord, and his Presence is among us, and his Dread filleth our hearts; and though we are accounted as a cast-out people, yet are we dreadful unto the Wicked, and must be their Fear; for we have chosen the Son of God to be our King, and he hath chosen us to be his People; whose Kingdom is not of this World, neither is his Warfare with carnal Weapons, neither is his Victory by the murdering and killing of mens Persons; but we are given up to bear and suffer all things for his Name's sake; and our present Glory and Renown therein stands till the appointed time of our Deliverance, without the Arm of Flesh, or any multitude of an Host of men; this we declare: And oh Nation, though we have born thy Reproaches these many years, and have passed under the Rod of thy wicked Rulers and People, and have been afflicted through their Hard-heartedness, though we never have provoked thee otherwise, then by our Well doing; and though Persecution, Imprisonments, Whippings, Banishments, and all hard things have been our Portion from thee, yet this hath been for Righteousness sake, and not for any Evil-doing; and we have born all these things in much Patience; and we are not now provoked against thee, to seek thy Hurt, or to work Evil in thee; and though thou hast smitten us, yet would we have thee to be healed; and though thou hast sought to destroy us, yet would we have thee to Repent, and be saved: and we are at this day thy Mourners, and are afflicted for thee in our hearts, even because thou hast provoked the Lord against thee, though we do rejoyce in the Judgments which smites thee, yet we mourn for thee who hath deserved such wofull Stripes, and also because thou refusest the Way of Peace, and countest them that reprove thee even thy Enemies, and hardnest thy heart against God's Instructions, and counteth his free-born people thy Bond-slaves, who hath not any large Portion, nor great places of honour in this Nation, nor any thing to glory in from thee but Sufferings, Afflictions and Tribulations: Where is the place in this Nation that we have not been reproached? In what Street have we not been reviled? And in what Prison have we not been unjustly imprisoned? And among what sort of people have not we been hated? And what one of thy Judges & Rulers can clear themselves before the Lord from the guilt of our unjust Sufferings? O Nation, our Portion in thee for these many years hath been thy cruel reproaches; our greatest place of honour in thee hath been under thy cruel Oppressions, and these things, and the guilt thereof will God charge upon thee, and reward thee for, one time or another; yet notwithstanding all this, our present desires for thee are good, and not evil, that thou mayst be saved, and not destroyed; healed, and not wounded unrecoverably; and we would not add unto thy grief by any just provocation, through any evil towards thee; neither would we work offence in thee, further then what thou takest for Righteousness sake, and for the exercise of our pure Conscience.
And though there hath been in this Nation divers and sundry overturnings of late days, and some have been turned out, and others brought into place, each one sort of them crying against the evil of another, and promising to accomplish such and such good things in this Nation; yet alas, what is there effected unto this day? What Freedom and true Liberty to Subjects more then was many years ago? What Oppressions taken off from the people? what establishment in Government? Alas, not any of these things are accomplish'd, neither see we a right thing propounded, & rightly prosecuted by any party yet appearing, but the cause hardly yet appears carryed on by any among them, which can be said of it, This is of the Lord, and is perfectly right, and the Lord will prosper it: for the most of the men that have yet appeared on the Throne, they have rejected the Word of the Lord, and his Counsel; and what Wisdom is there in them? only the Policy, and Subtilty and Wisdom of this World, wherein they build, but the Lord throweth down even before it be finished: and they consult therein, and the Lord dasheth to pieces; they set up, but he pulls down, because they want his Spirit and Wisdom, and his Authority amongst them; and they are as the Potsherds of the Earth, that the Iron Rod must break in pieces. And this we declare, The Men (yet) seem not to appear in all these parties which are worthy to handle the Lord's Scepter, and to be Crowned with the Honour of Authority in his Government; but even this Party and the other Party seems to be unworthy to Rule for the Lord; for they appear to be choaked with the Honour of this world, and corrupted thereby, and uncapable of receiving that Anointing that Men must have that shall truly Rule for God: And though many in our dayes, that have ruled over us, have promised great Things to the Nation, yet we see all hitherto have wanted Power to perform, and have not been blessed with the Presence of the Lord, so as this Nation hath not been healed and redeemed by them; and we are utterly out of all Hopes of this Party or the other party, of this Man or that Man, to bring Salvation unto this Nation, from all its Bonds and Oppressions; for we known, whatsoever men profess to do, yet they cannot perform any good Thing, nor Rule for God in our Nation, till that themselves be reformed and ruled by him, and have the Spirit of God poured upon them for such a Work: And this we declare, Till that a man, or men, be ruled of the Lord, they can never rightly rule for him, nor bring Deliverance and Freedom to an oppressed Nation; though men may and have promised much, yet their Fruit is but little; and thou, O Nation, hast long been deceived by such men, who have flattered thee with the multitude of fair words, and promised thee deliverance: and hereby mightest thou learn Wisdom, O England, never more to rest under the shadow of such men; make no more a Mountain to cover thy self; rest no more under the shadow of dead Trees, that want the Vertue of God; but now look at the Living God, and wait for that King of Righteousness and Peace, whose Right alone it is to Rule; for he alone can bring Salvation to thee, he alone can heal thy Breaches, even Jesus Christ, whose coming is at the Door: and in the mean time, O Nation, while he is absent, thou art dry, and barren, and empty, thou art tossed and shaken, and thou art tossed and perplexed, and canst not be rightly comforted; for men shall not be a Rest unto thee, but one after another shall they be overturned; for it is the Lord alone, and under his Government shall People find Rest and Freedom from all Oppression: For, What is a King? and what is a Parliament? what is a Protector? and what is a Council, or any other sort of men, while the Presence of the Lord is not with them, and while his Spirit and Authority is wanting to them? What can any of these bring forth? none of all these whatsoever, if the Lord be not chief in them and amongst them, and his Counsel their only Guide, shall be any otherwise unto this Nation, then as a broken Reed to lean upon, and no more then a Shaddow, which shall not save the people from the heat, nor from the storm; this we know, and this we declare in the Name of the Lord. And we are not for Names, nor Men, nor Titles of Government, nor are we for this Party, nor against the other, because of its Name and Pretence; but we are for Justice and Mercy, and Truth and Peace, and true Freedom, that these may be exalted in our Nation; and that Goodness, Righteousness, Meekness, Temperance, Peace and Unity with God, and one with another, that these things may abound, and be brought forth abundantly: such a Government are we seeking and waiting for, wherein Truth and Righteousness, Mercy and Justice, Unity and Love, and all the Fruits of Holiness may abound; and all the contrary be removed, cast out, and limitted: And we are not for such and such Names and Titles of Government, that promise fair things, and perform nothing; but if a Council, if a Parliament, if any one Man, or a number of Men whatsoever, shall have the Spirit of the Lord poured on him or them, and shall be anointed of the Lord for such an End and Use, to Govern this Nation, under such only shall the Nation be happy, and enjoy Rest from such men fitted of the Lord, and called by him; and under such a Government of Truth and Righteousness shalt thou O Nation, enjoy Rest from all thy Travels; and under such a Government shall the Righteous rejoyce, and the whole Land sing for Joy of Heart, when Tyranny and Oppression shall be clean removed, Strife and Contention and Self-seeking utterly abandoned, and when Peace and Truth flows forth as a Stream, and the Lord alone rules in thy Rulers, and he the Principal amongst them; and under such men, and such a Government only, and not under any other, shalt thou, O Nation, be happy, and thy people a free People.
Wherefore, O Nation, when wilt thou begin to look to the Lord? when wilt thou begin to set up Him, and not man? when wilt thou mind his Power and Presence in and through men, more then any men themselves? when shall it once be, O ye people of our Nation, that ye will seek after him, to be the principal and chief Power among you? Oh! let your eye be turned to the Lord alone, that he may deliver you, and bring Salvation and Freedom; and look no more at men, but only as they are in him, guided by his Spirit, & only expect good from men as they are guided by the Lord; and then shall you not ever any more be deceived, as long you have been with Parliaments, with Councils, with Armies, nor any others; for, in these have you trusted, and not in the Lord; from these have you expected great Things without him, whenas, alas! what shall men accomplish? or, what can they bring forth while they reject the Counsel of the Lord, and his Word, as hitherto they have done? and therefore hath he broke them, and confounded them; yea, and he will break them and crush them under his Rod, even till they come to learn his Judgments, and know him the alone Power, and give Honour to him that doth whatsoever he will; and he will overthrow it once and again, even till he comes, whose Right it is to Rule, and he is at work in this his Day; and because of Iniquities doth he visit with Tribulation, and through great Tribulation, and overturning of Men and Powers, will he advance his own Kingdom and Government; and the end of all these things shall bring forth his Glory; and men that will not honour him, by dealing Righteously in their Day upon Earth, they must honour him in their destruction at their Latter-end; and let not men glory one over another, while some are put down, and others set up; but let them all know, they have but each sort their hour, and their end will come even as others: for an everlasting Kingdom and Government will God set up, that must rule over all, and this is the hope of a poor dispised people, though for present hated of all, and sought to be destroyed by all, yet our Souls are anchored and staid even in the sure Promises of our God, in this the day of the Nations trouble; and though we are poor, and rejected of all, and have nothing to glory in among any party or sort of people, but even in our Reproaches and Sufferings which we sustain from all, yet have we perfect rest in God, and satisfaction over all these distractions, we know him in whom we have believed, and we trust in the shadow of his Wing, and we are not of a doubting heart concerning what can come, or whomsoever do rule, for this we know, though all seek after our blood, yet he can deliver us if he will; we know him that can do all things, and if he save none can destroy, if he bless none can curse; him we know, and in him we rest, and we give our power in all things to him, & not unto mortal man whose breath is in his nostrils, who must perish as the dung; we cannot be afraid of their horror, nor can we be drawn by their love, but we trust in his Name, and under his defence shall we be saved; we give our power to him, to be defended and preserved by him alone, and we are well content with our Sufferings, and murmur not, our Sufferings are our present Crown; but yet, Wo unto that Authority which maketh us to suffer, and wo unto the men upon whom God shall charge the guilt of our Oppressions; and wo unto that Spirit that is found acting against Gods Anointed: Behold ye Mountains of the Earth, behold ye Rulers, and ye People, the Lord hath blessed his People, and every Tongue that riseth up in witness against them shall be condemned, and every Weapon that is formed against them shall be broken; this is our hope in this gloomy day, and the hope of a Kingdom of Righteousness and Peace which must be set up, is our refreshment in this day of trouble; and let not our Enemies glory over us, for though we be very poor, yet shall we be made rich, and though we have no carnal weapon, yet shall we conquer; and thus have we declared our selves in much plainness and sincerity to our Nation whom we love, and whose present condition we pitty and lament over, and we are Friends to an appearance of good, that may come forth in Truth and Sincerity, and as Righteousness do appear in any, we are ready to joyn with it in our Prayers and Desires, yea, and otherwise; even that which hath the Image of our God upon it, whenever it shall appear, we shall rejoyce therein, and be glad to see it prosper: For, for the establishing of Righteousness in the Earth have we laboured; and it cannot be charged upon us, That we have sided with one or another; for we have beheld all hitherto out of the Right Way, as we have said; but we truly seek the general Good of our Nation: and though we are accounted so and so, yet we have not lost true Reason nor Understanding; but we well know what is wrong, and what would be right, even in way of Government; but the time appears not to be yet, when Innocency and Simplicity of Hearth can be embraced; for men are yet too wise in their own wisdom, and cannot receive the Counsel of the Lord, that they may prosper, and therefore are they, and must they be confounded amongst themselves, and dashed one against another, till they learn the Way of Righteousness and Truth.
The substance of this was given forth the Twentieth Day of the Tenth Moneth, 1659. being moved of the Lord by his Spirit thereunto, through
|This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.|