TO THE SCHOL∣lars of Oxford and Cam∣bridge, and to all that call them∣selves Ministers of the Gospel in City and Country.
YOu are the men that stand up, assuming the power to your selves to teach the People the mystery of the Spirit, and that you are the onely men sent of him for that office: therefore you are called spiritu∣all men, or men that are all spirit.
Many differences you see about spi∣rituall things, arises up daily amongst the people; it doth not belong to you to make parties; but to judge of these differences, with a moderate and meek Page [unnumbered] spirit between people and people; you are not to suffer flesh or selfish distem∣per to breake forth from you; a hasty rash spirit cannot judge any thing.
There are onely these two roots, from whence these differences spring up, that is, either from the Spirit that made all things, or from humane flesh, which is the Creature that is gone astray; and he that walks after the flesh, denies the Spirit.
Now if you be spirituall, as you say, you are to judge of these differences, and declare what is of the Spirit, that it may stand; and what is of the flesh that it may be trod under foot; that so the Lord alone, that made flesh, may be exalted above flesh, in the day of his power, that doth begin to shine forth. The rule that you judge by, you say are the Scriptures of Prophets, Apostles and ancient writers; if so, then you are not spirituall, or all spirit; neither have you the alone priviledge to judge; for the Page [unnumbered] People having the Scriptures, may judge by them as well as you.
If you say no, the People cannot judge, because they know not the ori∣ginall: I answer, neither doe you know the originall; though by your learning you may be able to translate a writing out of Hebrew or Greek into our mother tongue, English; but to say this is the o∣riginall Scripture you cannot: for those very Copies which the Prophets and Apostles writ, are not to be seen in your Universities.
You say you have the just Copies of their writings; you doe not know that but as your Fathers have told you; which may be as well false as true, if you have no better ground then tradi∣tion. You say that the interpretation of Scripture into our mother tongue is according to the mind of the spirit; you cannot tell that neither, unlesse you were able to say, that those who did •nterpret those writings, had had Page [unnumbered] the same testimony of Spirit, as the pen-men of Scriptures had; for it is the Spirit within that must prove those co∣pies to be true: now you know that there are many translations and inter∣pretations, which differ much one from another; which of them must the People take to be truest; seeing you yourselves are at losse?
One company of you sayes, this translation is the truth; and then the People must be forced to follow you: loe, here is Christ, saith the Prelats; a∣nother company of yours saies, such a translation is the truest; and then the People must be forced to follow them: as this halfe-day of the Beast, cry, loe here is Christ,
First, here▪ in the Pres•ytery; then there in the Independency: and thus you leade the People like horses by the noses; & ride upon them at your plea∣sure▪ from one forme and custome to another, and so quite from the Spirit.
Page [unnumbered]You presse the People with much violence, to maintain the Gospel: the People demands, What is the Gospel? You say, it is the Scriptures. The Peo∣ple replies again; How can these Scrip∣tures be called the everlasting Gospel, see∣ing it is torne in peeces daily amongst your selves, by various translations, infe∣rences and conclusions; one pressing this, another that; and the People are lost in the midst of your waters?
If you say, you can judge by the Spi∣rit, why, then you have not the alone priviledge to judge neither; for the Spirit is not confined to your Univer∣sities; but it spreads from East to West, and enlightens sons and daughters in all parts.
If you say, that visions and revelati∣ons are ceased, and that the Spirit and Scriptures are still together; then you erre mightily in spending constructi∣ons upon the Scriptures, which is a re∣velation; and doth not rather leave the Page [unnumbered] Scriptures to their own genuine lan∣guage, that People may read the very lettter without alteration.
Two things, as you are Scripture men, you must judge of. First, what is the Gospel. Secondly, what is the re∣port or declaration of the Gospel. I de∣clare positively what I know; doe you take the Scriptures and disprove me if you can. First, The Gospel is the Spirit that ruled in the Prophets and Apostles, which testified to them, that in the la∣ter daies the same Spirit should be pou∣red out upon all flesh. Secondly, then their writings is not the Spirit; but a re∣port or declaration of that law and te∣stimony which was within them.
Now the Spirit spreading it selfe from East to West, from North to South, in sonnes and daughters, is ever∣lasting, and never dies; but is still ever∣lasting, and rising higher and higher in manifesting himselfe in and to man∣kinde.
Page [unnumbered]But now the declaration of the Spi∣rit, being but words gon out of the mouth, may be, and daily are corrup∣ted by the subtilty of imaginary flesh; it is the Spirit within every man that tries all things: words cannot try all things: he that speakes from the flesh; shall of the flesh reap corruption; shall tast of misery that flesh brings upon himselfe: but he that speaks from the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life: or he that preaches the Gospel, shall live of the Gospel; that is, he that speakes from the Spirit, shall have inward peace, life, and liberty from the Spirit, in the midst of all worldly straights, he shall not want life and peace with∣in.
I answer, it is matter of the greatest concernment; your Pulpit wrings against Errors: The People cries what are those errors? You answere, Page [unnumbered] that there are a company of men ro• up that denies God and Christ, and th• Scriptures, and the Gospel, and pray¦er, and all Ordinances; and yet yo• have not considered with a meek spiri• what these men say; but cry then down without tryall: is this spiritual judging.
Well, matters of this nature, are to be judged with a wary and moderate spi∣rit; covetous rashnesse can judge of no∣thing. I my selfe being branded by some of your mouthes, as guilty of horrid blasphemy, for denying all these, as you say though you cannot prove it, was drawn forth by the Spirit to write what here followes; which I leave to the spirituall men all the world over to judge.
Whether you your selves, be not the very men that doe deny God, Scrip∣tures and Ordinances of God; and that turnes the tr•thes of the Spirit into a lye; by leaving the letter, and walk∣ing Page [unnumbered] in your own inferences; and so by holding forth spirituall things by that imagination of the flesh, and not by the law and testimony of the Spirit within; and let them likewise judge whether those men you count such blasphemers; be not those men that doth advance God, Christ, Scriptures and Ordinances, in the spirituality of them.
When the Apostolicall gifts ceased, which was to speak from an inward te∣stimony of what they heard and saw; as the Father did will it should cease for a time, times and halfe time; or fourty two moneths; then began the false Christs and false Prophets to arise, that speak from tradition of what they had read in Books; expounding those wri∣tings from their imaginary thoughts; getting a power from the Magistrate to protect them; and to punish such as speak from the testimony of Christ within them, which flesh is willin• to oppose.
Page [unnumbered]And then the flesh began to be ad∣vanced above the Spirit, from the time that the universall Bishop was raised, to this very hour; and so in every go∣vernment; which imagination hath set up since that time false Christs, and false Prophets have arose from your Schools, and have filled the Earth with darknesse; so that now when the King of righteousnesse begins to arise, and fill the earth with his light; the Earth growes mad & full of rage: but though flesh be angry; assure your selves Christ will take the Kingdome, and rule in flesh. And here I rest,
A servant to the Faher; Gerrard Winstanly.Oct. 16. 1648.