Signes are from the Lord to a People or Nation, to forewarn them of some eminent Judgment near at hand.
Thus saith the Lord Jesus Christ, I, and the Children which thou hast given me, are for Signes and Wonders in Israel, from the Lord of Hosts, who dwelleth in Mount Sion, Isa. 8. 18.
And when the Lord saw that Isaiah had walked long enough mournfully in Sackcloth, he then commanded him to loose the Sackcloth from off his Loins and put his Shoos from off his Feet; and he did so, walking naked & bare-foot three years. And the Lord said, Like as my servant Isaiah hath walked naked and bare-foot three years, as a Sign and Wonder upon Egypt and Ethiopia, so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians Captives; Young and Old, Naked, and Bare-footed, with their Buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt, Isa. 20.
Ezekiel was commanded to lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. Three hundred and ninety dayes he must lie on his left side, and bear the iniquity of the house of Israel: and Forty dayes on his right side, to bear the iniquity of Judah: And after this he must shave his head and heard; and cast part of it in the fire, and part into the air. And the Lord said, I will do in thee that which I have not done, and that which I will not do the like; the fathers shall eat their sons in thee, and the sons shall eat their fathers; and I will execute Judgment in thee, and the whole remnant of them I will scatter into all the winds. Ezek. 4th and 5th chapters.
Now therefore, by the same Spirit hath the Lord raised me, to go as a Sign to this dark Generation, who are as black within as the Ethiopians were without; yea and more wicked than Sodom and Gomorrah it self.
Therefore let all beware and repent speedily; for of a truth, The Lord God is com∣ing with all his Saints about him, to execute judgement upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them, of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed, and of all their hard speeches, which ungodly sinners have spoke against him. I can truly say this, That I have strove much, and besought the Lord, that this going naked might be taken from me, before ever I went a Sign at all; but the weight lay on me still, and when first I had given up to go and was obedient; the word of the Lord came to me saying, Look that through the mighty power of God thou art carried through this work. I was glad to hear this word from the mouth of the Lord. This was in the Year, 1659, when I was made to go into Calamy's Steeple-house, for which I was imprisoned the space of eight months. The next time I was raised to go, was before the Pagents were set up in the Streets, and the power of the Lord did rise in me to go thorow the City, and I would have put it by, though I felt the Living Power present: yet ha∣ving no word, I did conclude to stay till the next week; but the Voice of the Lord was in me, saying, To morrow, to morrow: So I durst not withstand, but gave up and went from this side the Barrs in White-Chappel, to the upper end of Cheapside, in the good Power of the Lord, and I received three or four Lashes in or about the Stocks, and I turned about and said, The Lord forgive thee. R. Brown was then Mayor. I was committed prisoner to Bridewel, and there was cruelly used, (the Lord lay it not to their charge) and six moneths Imprisoned.
The next time the Lord appeared to me, to go with Fire and Brimstone on my head Naked, and I had much trouble in me as to that, till the Word of the Lord came to me, and indeed at that time I was in great distress: For the Light made manifest that I must go, but where and when I knew not: Then came the Word of the Lord and Commandment, saying, Thou shalt go, and I will make way for thee: And as I was going through Bartholmew-Fair, so called, not thinking any thing, going onely to see a Friend, the Lord caused me to stand still, and beholding their filthy Tricks upon Sta∣ges, with Fools and Monsters, in ugly shapes, to draw the minds of People from the Lord, my very Bowels were pained in me; I then did admire the patience and for∣bearance of the Lord, and said within my self, How greatly is God dishonoured by this provoking Generation? And presently a weight fell on me to obey the Higher Power, and I was given up to the work with a good heart: and the dear Friend W. G. who was with me twice before, who was as my right-hand, assisted me in the work, and so in the faith of Jesus Christ, I was above the fear of men; and the Lord found me out some place, not in any house, but in a yard, where I stript me, and had the Pan of Coales and Brimstone; then did I speak forth these words, Repent speedily, for God will not be mocked. Remember Sodom and Gomorrah, who are your Examples; they do en∣dure the vengeance of Eternal Fire. And I went thorow the Cloysters, and thorow the Lame-Hospital, and down Smithfield, to the place where I desired the Lord that I might pass that crew of Players, that they might see what should be their Reward for their work. And I sounded forth those words there, and I had the end of my desire to a step. Then suddenly did one throw off the Pan of Coals from my head, and I felt the service over. And a Friend having a Coat, coming after me, put it on me, and so I passed thorow Bartholomews-Close into Little-Britain, and had no hurt, & hardly a mouth open against me; so I went home unto my honest imployment. And this was the first time I was a warning to those Players and Spectators.
The next year I passed by that way again, and did behold their filthy Shows, at which the Power of God rose in me against that cursed Practice. I did immediately prepare to lay down my Body a Sacrifice for God, which was my reasonable service; and then coming forth in the Power of God, I passed into the midst of them, the Pan of Coals on my head burning with Fire and Brimstone; and I spake forth the same words, as the Year before; and I was clapt and beaten and afterwards whipt by one who said he had twenty lashes at me: I know not the number: but when he hit me two or three Lashes, I was made to stand still in God's Power, and he hit me several Lashes more, but in God's strength I was made to bear them all, and when I felt he had done, I turned and said, The Lord forgive thee. Presently after that time I was sore put to it, and had much a-doe to come off with my Life; for I was so cruelly worried with the Butchers and wicked loose Men, that I could neither stand nor go. Yet out of all this I was preserved by the mighty God of Jacob.
And now this Third Year, in which I had more dread upon my heart, than ever I had: for truly, men are more desperately wicked than ever; but in the strength and power of the Lord I was made to give up, it being the third and last time: And out of the mouth of two or three Witnesses shall every word be established. I had a good Friend was given up, and his service was honourable, who went before me with such a living power, and made way for me with good speed. And another true and serviceable Friend that came behind me, who renewed the Brimstone to the Fire, so that the smell of Brimstone was hot in the Fair. This Friend had the better part of his Coat rent off, and his Pocket pickt of about four shillings.
So the Work being throughly over, I had peace with God; but going through Bartholomews Close, I was stopt by one Clark that keeps a Tavern thereabouts, for it made much against his market; for I was a Sign against all Drunkards and Swinish men and women, who ryot at such places, as his is, at such times: but he filthily used me with his gang, and my dear Friend which brought my Cloathes to me, and haled us rudely to Richard Brown's house, but he was not within; notwithstanding this Tavern-keeper commanded this swinish Crew to carry us to Prison; (some of which Gang not long before pickt this Friend's pocket also) but I being so weary that I could go no further, they lay with such a weight upon me there, that I was made to lie down, and they carried me upon their shoulders to Prison, and put my dear Friend and I into the Hole, where those that are to be executed are put: and about the seventh hour, Richard Brown being come home, we were carried before him. Now the Tavern-keeper began to accuse me, but could hardly speak a plain word; Then Richard Brown calling to me, began to jeer me, and said, Mark this man: Not when he opens his mouth; but when he openeth his mouth, openeth his mouth: and so he sate down. I said, A Magistrate should not jeer those that come before him: and when I did perceive he was a little silent, I said, Is it a sin to pray for a man's ene∣mies? he said, No: But (said he) it is a sin for you to go naked. I said, What I did, was in Obedience to the living God. He said, How will you make that appear? I will not believe you. I said, The Lord commanded me. He said, Where? I said, In my heart. He said, So will the Thieves say. I said, Thou must be tryed by that of God in thy heart. He said, Leave your canting. I said, Shew me what Law I have broke. He said, It was a Ryot. I said, Thou wilt not believe me when I tell the truth, I shall not believe thee now, except thou reade the Law to me: hast thou not a Clerk here? thou oughtest to have such things ready when men are brought be∣fore thee. He said, Take him away: and so turning himself to his wife and daugh∣ters, he said, I told you when he openeth his mouth. And then he began to be in an ex∣ceeding great rage, and called me Rogue, for putting on my Hat before him, and bid take me away and carry me to Bridewell, and the Friend with me. Then they called him back again, and the Tavern-keeper and Constable charged him for carrying my Cloaths after me. The Friend said, I brought his Cloaths to him. R. B. said, Did you not set him on to do it? the Friend said, No. Then R. B. called to me and said, Sirrah, here's one denies you: you'l all deny one another when you come to be tryed. The Friend said, I do not deny him neither. R. B. said, Were you not with him when he put off his Cloaths? the Friend was silent. Then R. B. asked, what house he put off his Cloaths in? the Friend gave him little answer. Then he asked, What were the words he spake? the Friend said, Ask him. I replyed (being at some distance) I would tell thee what I spake; but he would not hear me. Then he asked the Friend what his Name was: and he told him his Name and Trade; and then he jeered him, and said, You cut a Louse in two, and so bloudied your self. Then said he to the Tavern∣keeper, What have you against this man? he stood stammering, and would have spoken something, but could not tell what. Then Brown asked him again, What is it? and he could say nothing. The Friend seeing nothing charged against him, said, he was clear: but the Tavern-keeper said, We shall have something against you; and so sent us both to Prison, and the Keeper put us both into the Hole again: and when we were in, the Tavern-keeper jeered us.
Oh! how is the Lord and his People grieved at the filthy conversation of the wicked! Yet behold the goodness of the Lord, that after so long time grieved with your doings, he yet doth warn you to come to Repentance, and invites you by his Messengers to come out of Sodom; for, did ever Sodom exceed this Generation for pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness? Abundance of Spectators of those filthy sports: Wo to you Stage-players, Monsters, Fidlers, Pipers, Dancers on Ropes to provoke the Lord; Juglers, Cheaters, Whores and Harlots: Repent speedily; for this is your day of Visitation; I am your Sign from the dreadful Lord God; who hath sent me three several times, to leave you inexcusable. The Lord is now clear of your bloods, and I his poor Servant, who have ventured my life each time freely, that you might hear and believe, and remember the words which have been spoke to you; for not one of them shall fall to the ground. And remember the old world, that was destroyed by Water; but this is reserved unto Fire against the day of Judge∣ment and Perdition of ungodly men, as saith the Apostle, 2 Pet. 3. 7.
The first year I was carried through without being hurt or imprisoned. The second year I was whipt and beaten, but not imprisoned. This third and last year, beaten, and whipt, and badly used, and falsly imprisoned by Richard Brown: But all that will live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution. But I do beseech the Lord not to charge this sin upon their head, with the rest of their iniquiries, but rather that he would give them Repentance and Amendment of life, that all may turn to the Light that condemns for sin, and wait till that which condemns may save them from sin.
And this is the desire of him who is a Prisoner for the Testimony of Jesus Christ, and for going a Sign in the Life and Power of the Eternal God, who alone is blessed for ever and for evermore.
O Lord, I do return to thee Praises, Praises; Glory, Glory: for thou art worthy; who hast sent me, and upheld me these three times: yea, to thee be the Glory, Power and strength, and the Victory, and the Dominion for ever and for evermore. Hallelujahs to the Lord God Eternal. Amen.
Given forth by the Spirit of Truth, and written in the Prison of Newgate, by him who is kept in bonds (having broke no Law) for standing in God's Counsel, and for doing that which makes men wonder: And this I give forth for the honour of God, that it was not I, but Christ Jesus come in my flesh, and this body hath he prepared to do the Will of his Father in me: Not in my will, nor when I will: (Nay) Not I, but Christ Jesus: not flesh and blood, but the Power of God which did this Work in me, and for me. Glory everlasting to the King of Saints.
LONDON, Printed in the Year, 1663.