The grand impostor examined: or, The life, tryal, and examination of James Nayler, the seduced and seducing Quaker with the manner of his riding into Bristol. Whereunto is added, the sentence passed upon him by the High Court of Parliament.
Deacon, John, 17th cent.
Page  1

James Naylors Examination.


THinking it a very good foundation to my building, to give you the manner of his progresse, before you come to his confession; or before his blasphe∣mie aspires to the stoole of Repentance. I shall thus begin: James Naylor of Wake∣field in the County of Yorke, a deluded and deluding Quaker and Imposter, rode October last through a Village called Bed∣minster, about a mile from Bristol, accom∣panied with six more, one whereof was a young man, whose head was bare, leading his horse by the bridle, and another unco∣vered before him, thorow the durty way in which the Carts and Horses and none else usually goe. And with them two men Page  2 on horseback with each of them a woman behind him, and one woman walking on the better way or path. In this posture did they march, and in such a case, that one George Witherley noting their condi∣tion, asked them to come in the better rode, adding that God expected no such extremity: but they continued on their way, not answering in any other notes, but what were musicall, singing Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabbath,&c. Thus continued they, till by their wandring they came to the Almsehouse within the Suburbs of Bristol, where one of the women alighted, and she with the other of her own sex lovingly marcht on each side of Naylor's Horse. This Witherley saith, he supposes they could not be lesse deep in the muddy way then to the knees, and he saith they sang, but sometimes with such a buzzing mel-ODIOƲS noyse that he could not understand what it was. This the said Wi∣therley gave in upon his oath. Thus did they reach Ratcliff-gate, with Timothy Page  3 Wedlock of Devon bare-headed, and Mar∣tha Symonds with the bridle on one side and Hannah Stranger on the oher side of the Horse; this Martha Simonds is the wife of Thomas Simonds of London, Book∣binder, and Hannah Stranger is the Wife of John Stranger of London Combmaker, who sung Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Israel. Thus did he ride to the high Crosse in Bristol, and after that to the White-hart in Broadstreet, vvhere there lies two eminent Quakers, by name, Dennis Hollister, and Henry Row; of vvhich the Magistrates hea∣ring they vvere apprehended and commit∣ted to prison.

Long it had not been after their con∣sinement in the Goale at Exeter, from whence passing through Wells and Glassen∣bury this party bestrewed the vvay vvith their garments. But to be short they were searcht, and Letters were found about them, infinitely filled vvith profane non∣sensicall language; vvhich Letters I shall not trouble you with, onely some of the Page  4 chiefe, lest your patience should be too much cloyd. We shall hast now to their axaminations; and because Naylor vvas the chiefe actor 'tis fit he have the prehe∣minence of leading the vvay in their Exa∣minations, we shall therefore give you a full account of vvhat passed betvven the Magistrate and him, vvhich take as fol∣loweth:

He entred the Court with a confident reso∣lution, his Hat on, which he offered not to take off, but without using any civil respect to any one, he Answered in this manner to these following questions.

Page  5

The Examination of James Naylor, and others.

BEing asked his name, or whether he was not called James Naylor, he replied: The men of this world call me James Naylor. hhy Q Art not thou the man that rid on horse∣back into Bristol, a woman leading thy horse, and others singing before thee Holy, holy, holy, Hosannah, &c.

A. I did ride into a Town, but what its name was I know not, and by the Spirit a woman was commanded to hold my horses bridle; and some there were that cast down cloathes, and sang praises to the Lord, such songs as the Lord put into their hearts; and its like it might be the Song of Holy, holy, holy, &c.

Q. Whether or no didst thou reprove those women?

A. Nay, but I bad them take heed that they Page  6 sang nothing but what they were moved to of the Lord.

Q. Dost thou own this Letter (whereupon a Letter vvas shewed him) which Hannah Stranger sent unto thee?

A. Yea, I do own that Letter?

Q. Art thou (according to that Letter) the fairest of ten thousand?

A. As to the visible I deny any such attri∣bute to be due unto me; but if as to that which the Father has begotten in me, I shall own it. But now Reader, before I passe further, I hold it not impertient to deliver you the vvords of the same Letter, with another, vvhich were these:

A Letter to James Naylor at Exeter, by Hannah Stranger.

J. N.

IN the pure feare and power of God, my soule salutes thee, Thou everlasting son of righteousnesse and Prince of peace; oh how my soule travelleth to see this day Page  7 which Abraham did and was glad, and so shall all that are of faithfull Abraham: O suffer me to speake what the Lord hath moved. There is one temptation neere, the like unto the first, and is like the wis∣dome of God, but it is not, and therefore it must be destroyed. Oh it desileth and hateth the innocent; I beseech thee wait, my soule travelleth to see a pure Image brought forth, and the enemy strive to de∣stroy it, that he may keep me alwaies sor∣rowing, and ever seeking, and never satis∣fied, nor never rejoycing: But he in whom I have believed will shortly tread satan under our feet, and then shalt thou and thine return to Zion with everlasting re∣joycings and praises. But till then better is the house of mourning then rejoycing, for he that was made a perfect example, when he had fasted the appointed time of his father, vvas tempted to eate, and to shew a miracle, to prove himselfe to be the Sonne of God: But man lives not by bread, said he, and now no more by that Page  8 vvisdom shall he live, on vvhich he hath long fed as on bread, and as his food hath been so must his fast be, and then at the end temptation, to as low a thing as a stone, that if it vvere possible the humi∣lity and the miracles vvould deceive the elect, innocent, and righteous branch of holiness. But be his vvils never so many, the time comes he shall leave thee, for he is faithfull, vvho hath promised he vvill not leave the Throne of David vvithout a man to sit thereon, vvhich shall judge the poore vvith righteousnesse, and the World vvith equity. This shall shortly come to passe, and then shall the vision speak and not lie. O let innocency be thy beloved, and righteousnesse thy Spouse, that thy fathers lambs may rejoyce in thy pure and cleare unspotted image of holi∣nesse and purity, vvhich my soul believeth I shall see, and so in the faith rest. I am in patience, vvait, and the power vvill pre∣serve from subtilty, though under never so zealous a pretence of innocent vvisdom Page  9 it be, yet shall the Lord not suffer his holy one to see corruption, nor his soule to lie in Hell, but will cause the mountain to melt at his presence, and the little hills to bring him peace; O I am ready to fear as a servant, and to obey as a child. If I have spoken words too high, love hath constrained me, which is as strong as death, and with the same spirit cover them as they are spoken with, and then shall the spirit of David be witnessed, who refused not words though from his ser∣vants mouth; if they were in the fear, I am his servant, and he my Master, whom I love and fear, and trust I shall do unto the end.

Hannah Stranger.

From London, 16. day, of the 7th. month.

Hereafter followeth the Letter wherein John Stranger calleth James Naylor Jesus.

Page  10

Another from the same.

OH thou fairest of ten thousand, thou onely begotten Son of God, how my heart panteth after thee; O stay me with flagons, and comfort me with Wine. My well beloved thou art like a Roe, or young Hart upon the mountains of Spices, where thy beloved Spouse hath long been calling thee to come away, but hath been but lately heard of thee. Now it lies something upon me that thou mindst to see her, for the spirit and power of God is with her; And there is given to her much of excellent and innocent wise∣dome arissen and arising in her, which will make all the honest-hearted to praise the Lord alone, and no more set up self. And therefore let not my Lord and Ma∣ster have any jealousie again of her, for she is highly beloved of the Lord, and that shall all see who come to know the Lord. And now he doth blesse them that blesse his, and curse them that curse his: for this hath the Lord shewed me, That her por∣tion Page  11 is exceeding large in the Lord; and as her sorrow hath been much, so shall her joy be much more, which rejoyceth my heart, to see her walke so valiantly and faithfully in the work of the Lord, in this time of so great tryals as hath been laid upon her especially.

And I am Hannah Stranger.

The Postscript.

Remember my dear love to thy Master. Thy name is no more to be called James but Jesus.

John Stranger.

This John Stranger, is Husband to this Hannah Stranger; and this was added as a Postscript by him to his Wives Letter, as is acknowledged,

Remember my love to those friends withthee. The seventeenth day of the eighth month su∣perscribed this to the hands of James Naylor We shall now return to his examination.

Q. Art thou the only Son of God?

A. I am the Son of God, but I have many Brethren.

Q. Have any called thee by the name of Jesus?

Page  12A. Not as unto the visible, but as Jesus, the Christ that is in me.

Q. Dost thou own the name of the King of Israel?

A. Not as a creature, but if they give it Christ within I own it, and have a Kingdom but not of this world, my Kingdome is of another world, of which thou watst not.

Q. Whether or no art thou the Prophet of the most high?

A. Thou bast said, I am a Prophet.

Q. Dost thou own that attribute, the Judge of Israel?

A. The Judge is but one, and is witnessed in me, and is the Christ, there must not be any joyned with him: if they speak of the spirit in me, I own it only as God is manifest in the flesh, according as God dwelleth in me, and judgeth there himself.

Q. By whom wert thou sent?

A. By him who hath sent the spirit of his Son in me to try, not as to carnal matters, but belonging to the Kingdome of God, by the in∣dwelling of the Father and the Son, the judge of all spirits to be guided by none.

Page  13Q. Is not the written word of God the guide?

A. The written word declares of it, and what is not according to that is not true.

Q. Whether art thou more sent then others, or whether others be not sent in that measure?

A. As to that I have nothing at present given me of my Father to answer.

Q. Was your birth mortal or immortal?

A. Not according to the Natural birth, but according to the Spiritual birth, born of the immortal seed.

Q. Wert thou ever called the Lambe of God?

A. I look not back to things behind, but there might be some such thing in the letter; I am a lamb, and have sought it long before I could witnesse it.

Q. Who is thy mother, or whether or no is she a virgin?

A. Nay, according to the naturall birth.

Q. Who is thy mother according to thy spirituall birth?

A. No carnall creature.

Q. Who ••…n?

Page  14A.—To this he refused to answer.

Q. Is the hope of Israel in thee?

A. The hope is in Christ, and as Christ is in me so far the hope of Israel stands; Christ is in me the hope of glory.

Q. What more hope is there in thee then in others?

A. None can know but them of Israel, and Israel must give an account.

Q. Art thou the everlasting Son of God?

A. Where God is manifest in the flesh, there is the everlasting Son, and I do witness God in the flesh; I am the Son of God, and the Son of God is but one.

Q. Art thou the Prince of peace?

A. The Prince of everlasting peace is be∣gotten in me.

Q. Why dost thou not reprove those that give thee these attributes?

A. I have said nothing unto them but such things are written.

Q. Is thy name Jesus?

A.—Here he was silent.

Q. For what space of time hast thou been so called?

Page  15A.—And here.

Q. Ith ere no other Jesus besides thee?

A. These questions he forbore either to af∣firm or to contradict.

Q. Art thou the everlasting Son of God, the King of righteousness?

A. I am, and the everlasting righteousness is wrought in me, if ye were acquainted with the Father, ye would also be acquainted with me.

Q. Did any kisse thy feet?

A. It might be they did, but I minded them not.

Q. When thou wast called the King of Is∣rael, didst thou not answer, thou sayest it.

A. Yea.

Q. How dost thou provide for a livelihood

A. As do the Lillies without care, being maintained by my father.

Q. Who dost thou call thy Father?

A. He whom thou callest God.

Q. What businesse hadst thou at Bristoll or that way?

A. I was guided and directed by my father.

Page  16Q. Why wast thou called a Judge to try the cause of Israel?

A. —Here be answered nothing.

Q. Are any of these sayings blasphemy or not.

A. What is received of the Lord is truth.

Q. VVhose Letter was that which was writ to thee, signed T.S.

A. It was sent me to Exeter Gaol by one the world calls Tho. Symonds.

Q. Didst thou not say, it ye had known me, ye had known the father?

A. Yea, for the father is my life.

Q. VVhere wert thou born?

A. At Anderslow in Yorkshire.

Q. VVhere lives thy wife?

A. She whom thou callest my wife, lives in Wakefield.

Q. VVhy dost thou not live with her?

A. I did, till I was called to the Army.

Q. Ʋnder whose Command didst thou serve in the Army?

Page  17A. First, under him they call Lord Fairfax.

Q. Who then?

A. Afterwards, under that man called Col. Lambert: and then I went into Scotland, where I was a Quartermaster, and returned sick to my earthly habitation, and was called into the North.

Q. What wentst thou for to Exceter?

A. I was sent to Lawson to see the brethren.

Q. What estate hast thou?

A. I take no care for that.

Q. Doth God in an extraordinary manner sustain thee, without any corporal food?

A. Man doth not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Father: the same life is mine that is in the Father; but not in the same measure.

Q. How art thou cloathed?

A. I know not.

Q. Dost thou live without bread?

A. As long as my heavenly Father will: I have tasted of that bread, of which he that eateth shall never die.

Page  18Qu. How long hast thou lived without any corporal sustenance, having perfect health?

A. Some fifteen or fixteen days, sustained without any other food except the Word of God.

Q. was Dorcas Erbury dead two days in Exce∣ter? and didst thou raise her?

A. I can do nothing of my self: the Scripture beareth witness to the power in me which is e∣verlasting; it is the same power we read of in the Scripture. The Lord hath made me a signe of his coming: and that honour that belongeth to Christ Jesus, in whom I am revealed, may be given to him, as when on earth at Jerusalem, ac∣cording to the measure.

Q. Art thou the unspotted Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world?

A. Were I not a lamb, wolves would not seek to devour me.

Q. Art thou not guilty of horrid blasphemy, by thy own words?

A. Who made thee a Judge over them?

Q. Wherefore camest thou in such an unusual po∣sture, as, two women leading thy horse; others singing Holy, holy, &c. with another before thee bare-head∣ed, knee-deep in the high-way-mud, when thou mightst have gone in the Causey; and at such a time, that it Page  19 raining, thy companions received the rain at their necks and vented it at their hose and breeches?

A. It tended to my Fathers praise and glory; and I ought not to slight any thing which the Spirit of the Lord moves.

Q. Dost thou think the Spirit of the Lord moved or commanded them?

A. Yea.

Q. Whom mean they by holy, holy, holy, &c.

A. Let them answer for themselves; they are at age.

Q. Did not some spread their cloaths on the ground before thee, when thou ridst thorow Glanstenbury and Wells?

A. I think they did.

Q. Wherefore didst thou call Martha Simons mo∣ther, as George Fox affirms?

A. George Fox is a lyer, and a firebrand of hell: for neither I, nor any with me, called her so.

Q. Thou hast a wife at this time?

A. A woman I have, whom by the world is called my wife; and some children I have, which according to the flesh are mine.

Q. Those books which thou hast writ, wilt thou main∣tain them, and affirm what is therein?

A. Yea, with my dearest blood.

Page  20

The Sentence which it pleased the high Court of Parliament to pro∣nounce against James Nayler.

THat he stand in the Pillory on Thurs∣day (being Decemb 18. 1656.) in the new Palace at Westminster, for two hours; and then by the Hangman to be whipped from Westminster to the Old Exchange, London; and there also to stand in the Pillory two hours, on Satur∣day next, between Eleven and one; with an Inscription fastned to him, relating his Crimes: and at the old Exchange, to have his tongue bored thorow with an Hot∣iron; and in the forehead stigmatized with B: and that he be conveyed thorow Bristol with his face towards the horses tail, and there likewise whipped; and after returned to London, to remain a prisoner in Bridewel, during the pleasure of the honourable Parliament.

Page  21

ACcording to the sentence pronounced, he was whipped from Westminster to the Old Exchange; and from thence conveyed to Newgate, where (the next day) there came unto him one Robert Rich (so called) who when he was approaching neer him sang, but what it was, I know not: but when he saw James Nayler, he saluted him, by bowing to him: and having asked whether he had prayed for him; James answered, Yea, he had. Whereupon, this Rich took him round the middle, stroaked his face, and kissed him. And having took his leave of James Nayler, he descended the stairs, saying, Oh ye hard hearted people, and unbelieving Generati∣on, will ye not believe, although ye see such wonders, signs and miracles wrought before ye?

Another came to him, and said unto him thus: James, none will venture to come and see thee, but Paul, Nicodemus, and I.

Page  22

ON Decemb. 20. was presented a Pe∣tition concerning James Nayler, the effect of which was, that the sentence might not be wholly executed at the time appointed, by reason of some di∣stemper in his body: whereupon it was ordered that he should stand in the Pillory at the old Exchange on the Saturday fol∣lowing, & to suffer the rest of his punish∣ment, which should before have been in∣flicted.

On the 24 of the same month the a∣foresaid Robert Rich presented a Petiti∣on, the effect of which was, that he him∣self might suffer the rest of the punish∣ment which was to be inflicted on James Nayler; but that not being granted, James Nayler was Decemb. 27. conveyed to the Exchange; where, according to former order, the residue of his punishment was executed.

Page  23Being mounted the Pillory, Robert Rich accompa∣nied him, with comfortable words, kisses, and stroakings on his face, until the remainder of Ju∣stice was executed; Nayler having stood till two of the clock, he was let out: the Executioner then addressing himself in order to what followed; he took a cap and put it on the head of James Nayler, below his eyes: which cap, Robert Rich hastily snatched from him, and put it on below his nose: then the Executioner having bound his arms with cords to the Pillory, he bad him put forth his Tongue, which he freely did; and the Executi∣oner, with an Iron. about the bigness of a Quill, bored the same, and by order from the Sheriff, held it in a small space, to the end the Beholders might see and bear witness that the sentence was truely executed: then having took it out, he marked him in the forehead with a B. at the which he not so much as stirred: but having been marked, he took the Executioner in his arms, and hugged him; and Robert Rich, through his ardent affection, licked the wound on his forehead. The superscription over his head was, For HORRID BLASPHEMY, GRAND IMPOSTURE, and SE∣DUCING OF THE PEOPLE: which inscription Robert Rich endeavoured to smother, by clapping another over it, which was, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Thus having given you an ac∣count concerning him, I shall now proceed to the examination of his accomplices: which take in order.

Page  24

MARTHA SIMONDS Her Examination.

She confesseth she knew James Nayler formerly: for he is now no more Iames Nayler, but resined to a more excellent substance: and so she saith she came with him from Bristol to Exceter.

Q. VVHat made thee lead his Horse into Bristol, and sing, Holy, holy, holy &c. and to spread thy garments before him?

A. I was forced thereto by the power of the Lord.

Page  33Q. He is styled in Hannah Strangers Letter, the fairest of ten thousand, the hope of Israel, and the onely begotten son of God: Dost thou so esteem him?

A. That James Nayler of whom thou speakest, is buried in me, and he hath promised to come again.

Q. Dost thou like of that attribute as given to him?

A. I cannot tell, I judge them not.

Q. Whether didst thou kneel before him?

A. What I did was in obedience to a power a∣bove.

Q. Dost thou own him to be the Prince of Peace?

A. He is a perfect man; and he that is a perfect man is the Prince of Peace.

Q. Hast thou a husband?

A. I have a man which thou callest my Hus∣band.

Q. What caused thee to sing before James Nayler in such a manner?

A. It is our life to praise the Lord; and the Lord my strength (who filleth heaven and earth) is manifest in James Nayler.

Q. Oughtest thou to worship James Nayler, as thou didst upon thy knee?

A. Yea, I ought so to do.

Q. Why oughtest thou so to do?

A. He is the son of Righteousness; and the new man within him is the everlasting son of Page  34 Righteousness; and James Nayler will be Jesus, when the new life is born in him.

Q. By what Name callest thou him?

A. Lord.

Q. Why dost thou call him Lord?

A. Because he is Prince of Peace, and Lord of Righteousness.

Q. What reason canst thou shw for thy calling him King of Israel?

A. He is anointed.

Q. Who hath anointed him?

A. A Prophet.

Q. What Prophet was that?

A. I will not tell thee.

Q. Thou confessest that thou didst spread thy cloaths.

A. Yea, I did.

Q. Tell me, Doth that spirit of Jesus which thou ayest is in Nayler, make him a sufficient Jesus to o∣•…ers?

A. I tell thee, there is a seed born in him, which above all men I shall (and every one ought to) ho∣nour.

Q. Is he king of Israel as thy Husband saith?

A. If he saith so, they testimony is double.

Page  35

HANNAH STRANGER, her Examination.

She saith, She came from Bristol to Excester with Iames Nay∣ler, and that she flang her Handkerchief before him, be∣cause commanded so of the Lord; and that she sung Holy, &c. and that the Lord is risen in him.

Q. WHerefore didst thou sing before James Nayler?

A. I must not be mute when I am commanded of the Lord.

Q. Wherefore didst thou sing before him?

A. My conscience tells me, I have not offended any Law.

Q. Was that Letter thine? and didst thou spread thy garments before him?

A. Yea, and my blood will maintain it.

Page  36Q. Dost thou own him for the Prince of Peace?

A. Yea, he is so.

Q. What dost thou call his Name?

A. It hath been said already, I have told of his Name.

Q. Dost thou not know it to be blasphemy to give him such and such attributes?

A. If I have offended any Law, &c.

Q. Didst thou send him that Letter wherein he was called the Son of God.

A. Yea, I do own the whole Letter.

Q. Didst thou call him Jesus?

A. —She would not answer.

Q. Didst thou kiss his feet?

A. Yea.

Page  37


HE owneth the Postscript of the Letter in which he calleth James Nayler Iesus, but could not be got to answer any more questi∣ons, any further than, If I have of∣fended any Law, &c. Hee confessed hee called James Nayler Iesus, and saith he was thereto moved of the Lord

Page  38

TIMOTHY WEDLOCK, his Examination.

Q. DOst thou own James Nayler to be the one∣ly Son of God?

A. I do own him to be the Son of God.

Q. Wherefore didst thou and the rest sing before him, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Israel?

A. I do own the songs of Sion.

Q. Thou wilt go through a great rain bare-headed, why then wilt thou not be uncovered to a Magistrate?

A. What I did was as the Lord commanded.

Q. What is your opinion concerning Religion?

A. I own no Opinions, nor any Judgements.

Q. Wherefore didst thou honour him in Towns, and not elsewhere?

A. We did as well in commons; but in both as the Spirit of the Lord directed us.

Q. Wherefore didst thou kneel before him?

A. The Truth made us.

Page  39

DORCAS ERBƲRY, her Examination.

Q. WHere dost thou live?

A. With Margaret Thomas.

Q. Wherefore didst thou sing Holy, &c.

A. I did not at that time; but those that sang did it in discharging their duty.

Q. Dost thou own him that rode on horse back to be the Holy One of Israel?

A. Yea, I do; and with my blood will seal it.

Q. And dost thou own him for the Son of God?

A. He is the onely begotten Son of God.

Q. Wherefore didst thou pull off his stockings, and lay thy clothes beneath his feet?

A. He is worthy of it, for he is the holy Lord of Israel.

Q. Knowest thou no other Jesus the onely begotten Son of God?

A. I know no other Saviour.

Q. Dost thou believe in James Nayler?

A. Yea, in him whom thou callest so, I do.

Q. By what name dost thou call him?

A. The Son of God, but I am to serve him, Page  40 and to call him Lord and Master.

Q. Jesus was crucified, but this man you call the Son of God, is alive.

A. He hath shook off his carnal body.

Q. Why, what Body hath he then?

A. Say not the Scriptures, Thy natural body I will change, and it shall be spiritual?

Q. Hath a spirit flesh and bones?

A. His flesh and bones are new.

Q. Christ raised those that had been dead: so did not he.

A. He raised me.

Q. In what manner?

A. He laid his hand on my head, after I had been dead two days, and said, Dorcas arise: and I arose, and live as thou seest.

Q. Where did he this?

A. At the Goal in Exceter.

Q. What witness hast thou for this?

A. My Mother, who was present.

Q. His power being so much, wherefore opened he not the Prison-doors, and escaped?

A. The doors shall open, when the Lords work is done.

Q. What apostles hath he?

A. They are scattered: but some are here.

Q. Jesus Christ doth sit at the right hand of the Father, where the world shall be judged by him.

A. He whom thou callest Nayler, shall sit at the right hand of the Father, and shall judge the world with equity.

Page  33

Here followeth a Relation con∣cerning one of his Companions.

ONe of James Naylers Disciples ha∣ving attained to some knowledge in the French-tongue, went over into France to a City called Burdeaux, where entring into a Congregation of the Pro∣testants, he began after his wonted man∣ner here in England, to cry out in the open Congregation against the Mini∣ster, calling him conjurer, lyer, impo∣stor, deceiver; and the elders and peo∣ple being astonished at the novelty, and reputing him a mad-man, came and told him, that they had laws in France, to protect the Congregations either of Pa∣pists or Protestants from any distur∣bance; and thrust him forth of their Church.

Page  34Vpon which, he went into the Church-yard, and upon a stone conti∣nued his discourse, which drew the whole Congregation out of the Church, after him, and caused the Minister to give over, and the elders coming again to him, told him, that he being a stranger they were willing to favour him; but seeing he did continue his disturbance, they would commit him to justice: he told them, Justice was never in that place until his appearance.

Vpon that, they took him away to the Governour where being brought, with his hat on, he asked the Governour what he was; who told him he was the Go∣vernour of that place, under the King of France: he said, that he would not an∣swer him as Governour, his Government being carnal: and a certain Bishop being with the Governour, who was a Papist, desiring that he might question him, and demanding what he was, he told him he was an English-man, and sent of the Lord to prepare his way: he demanded Page  35 of the Bishop what he was, who told him he was a Bishop: whereupon he re∣plied, That against him he was sent, who was one of the Locusts that was sent forth of the bottomless pit; and that the wea∣pons he had with him was fitted to de∣stroy him and the whole Kingdom of Antichrist, who was held in darkness and blindness; and that he was to pour out Vials of the Fathers Wrath upon him: The Governour perceiving several of the People to be infected with his Do∣ctrine, demanded if there was any ship ready to sail for England; which being informed of, he therein shipt him; being not willing to use extremity to a stranger, but caused some six or seven who had been infected with his Doctrine, to be whipped through the streets.

Page  36

A Relation concerning some others of the same Tribe.

SEven or eight others went over in a vessel to New-England, where being arrived, they began to spread themselves; but the Governor having notice, caused them to be clap'd up close in a Castle, and would not suffer any to come to see them under penaltie of five pounds; in the mean time he sent for the Master of the ship that brought them, and commanded him immediate∣ly to carry them back into old England; which he refusing, was also clapt up close prisoner until he consented and took them aboard again: at their departure, they shook off the dust off their feet, as a testimony against that place.

Page  37

Now, Reader, I shall close up all with a word or two of the Life and Actions of James Nayler.

HE is a man of so erroneous and unsanctified a Disposition, that it is hard to say whether heresie or impudencie beareth the greater rule in him, as will appear,

First, in what he testifieth before sufficient wit∣nesses; see the brief Relation of the Northern Quakers, pag.22. that he was as holy, just, and good as God himself. And

Secondly, That he in a Letter to one in Lan∣caster, expresly saith, That he that expected to be saved by Jesus Christ that died at Jerusalem, shall be deceived: see Mr. Billingsly's Defence of the Scriptures, pag.16. The Perfect Pharisee, pag. 8. And so said another of that Sect: Page  38 he was not such a fool, as to hope to be saved by Jesus Christ that died at Jerusa∣lem sixteen hundred years ago: See Mr. Farmer's Mysterie of Godliness and un∣godliness: Thus they glory in their ignorance, and count that foolishness which is the true Wisdom.

Thirdly, in a letter I had in my pos∣session, but now lent to a friend, sub∣scribed by the Pastor and other mem∣bers of that Congregation in the North, whereof Nayler once was a member, till for his apostacy he was excommunicated, It is offered to be proved, and by them testified to be true, that one Mris. Roper, her husband being gon on some occasion from her a long voyage, this Nayler fre∣quented her company, & was seen to dan∣dle her upon his knee, and kiss her lasci∣viously: and in that time of his society with her, she was brought to bed with a child, when her husband had been absent seven and fourty weeks to a day from her; and on a time he was seen to dance her in a private room; and having kist Page  39 her very often, she took occasion to say, Now James, what would the world say if they should see us in this posture? to which he said somewhat, but he was so low, that it could not be heard. This was objected against him, but he denied to answer it before the said Church; al∣ledging, that he would not speak to them that spoke not immediately by the Spirit.

Fourthly, in that when I had discourse with him concerning perfect perfection, at the Bull and Mouth, he said I was a liar to say he owned it; then I proved it from his own writings, as that he said, they that say they have faith, and their life is not the life of Christ, and them that say they have faith, & yet they cannot be saved from their sins but in part in this world, them & their faith I deny, &c. To which he hypocritically said, that I was a lyer to say that he owned it in himself, though he disowned it in others. And when I had objected any thing against what he said, he would deny it so soon as Page  40 he had spoke it: which to convince the people of his lying deceits, I desired them that stood by me, to Remember that he said, All that are in the world are of the world, in direct opposition to that saying of Christ, Joh. 17. I pray not holy father that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but preserve them from the evil of the world; which I present∣ly accused him with: for which he called me lyer; for he said, he said not so: I then desired them that heard him to testifie to the truth, against the lyer and his deceit; which they did: but his fear∣ed impudence was such, that he said, should a thousand say so, they were all lyers: with much more to the like effect.

Page  41

For his Character.

HE is a man of a ruddy complexion, brown hair, and flank, hanging a little below his jaw-bones; of an indif∣ferent height; not very long visaged, nor very round; close shaven; a sad down∣look, and melancholy countenance; a little band, close to his coller, with no bandstrings; his hat hanging over his brows; his nose neither high nor low, but rising a little in the middle.

Something concerning some others of them also.

DIsborough not much inferior to Nayler him∣self, attempting to lie with one Rebeccah (who was first seduced to be, and then was of their heresie) she asked him what his wife would say if she should know what he attempt∣ed? Disborough replyed, that he gave her the Page  42 same liberty that he took himself (that was, to be a whore, as he was a whoremaster) but in short, he having obtained his desire of her, she asked him how if she should prove with child, he an∣swered, she must be content to be numbered with the transgressors, and to make her grave with the wicked (so that he followed not that light which is pure, but sinned against knowledg) and she the said Rebeccah, as bewailing her sin, confessed it to one Mr. White a Lincolnshire Gentleman, to whom she added that Nayler attempted to defile her al∣so; so that in stead of perfect Saints, they are ra∣ther perfect Sophisters.

This Relation under the said Gentlemans hand, and the aforementioned letter from the Church, whereof Nayler was once a member, were offered to be proved and made good, in the publick meeting at the Bull and Mouth to Nayler's face, more then once or twice, who was unable to say ought unto it, but left his standing and sate down silent. They that offered it so to publick trial, were, one Mr. Persivall, and Mr. John Deacon au∣thor of the Publick discovery of their Secret de∣ceit.

Page  43

Some of their Opinions are these:

  • 1. They deny the Scriptures are the Word of God.
  • 2. They esteem their own Speakings to be of as great authority.
  • 3. They hold it unlawful to expound or interpret the Scriptures.
  • 4. They say, that he that preaches by a text of Scripture, is a Conjurer.
  • 5. That the holy letter is carnal.
  • 6. That the Bible ought to he burn∣ed.
  • 7. That Jesus Christ inhabits in their flesh as man.
  • 8. Some have said, that Christ never ascended into heaven.
  • 9. That to pray that their sins may be pardoned, is needless.
  • Page  4410. They believe not that there is another world.
  • 11. Some of them deny the Resurre∣ction.
  • 12. That they cannot sin, but that they are perfect.
  • 13. They make no distinction of per∣sons.
  • 14. That the power of the Magi∣strate is Antichristian.
  • 15. That they have no other Guide but the Light within them.
  • 16. They deny all civil respects to men, as putting off the Hat, bow∣ing, &c.
  • 17. That it is sinful to wear any su∣perfluous Ornaments.
Page  45

A Friend of mine being desirous to be resolv∣ed of a doubt, as, Whether that which was reported of that Heretical Sect were more then they erred in, or less then they erroneously maintained contrary to the Truth; he went un∣to their Meeting within Aldersgate: where he had no sooner entered that Synagogue of Satan, but the then-speaker (namely, George Fox) cried out, (but on what occasion, he knoweth not) Quakers, Quakes, Earth's above God, in the open house, before hundreds then present. At which my friend wondered: and pressing forwards a little into the multitude, he saw some disputing upon the same words: who demanding what was the matter, one answered, that George Fox said Earth is above God; and here is one saith, that whatsoever George Fox should or did say, he would maintain: (pointing to a young man then stand∣ing by) to whom my friend replyed, he had un∣dertaken a harder task then he was able to per∣form: for God was the Creator of the earth, and all things else; and therefore above the earth, and not the earth above him that created it, foras∣much as the workman is above his work: for al∣though Page  46 an Artificer shall by Art compose any thing that is never so excellent, yet it can claim no equality with the maker, in regard that what is excellent in it, is the makers excellency, and not its own: for, destroy the work, and the workman can make the like; but destroy the workman with the work, and both perish. To which he replied, He did not mean the earth under our feet, but earthly sin in man. To which my friend replyed, that now his blasphemy was worse then it was before: for take the earth simply in it self, it hath no prejudice towards God; but sin is that which seeks Gods destruction, and therefore he was not to be conversed with, being of so diabo∣lical an opinion.

Page  47ONe Stephens of London being on a time at their Meetings, with an intent to oppose what he should there hear, not agreeing with Truth; which, at his first coming, he did for a short time, till one of them, taking him by the hand, and rubbing his wrest very hard; which put him to very sore pain: and so altered his resolu∣tion, that he was so transformed by their in∣chantments, that he since confessed, that should any one whatsoever, have dared to oppose or resist them, as he just before did, he would have stab'd them to the heart, whatsoever had come of it.

There is one Stephens, (and 'tis supposed the same) a Quaker, that now lieth stark mad, and hath so been a pretty while, through the distur∣bances of that Spirit which ruleth in the old Quakers.

John Deacon.