Heights in depths and depths in heights: or Truth no less secretly then sweetly sparkling out its glory from under a cloud of obloquie. Wherein is discovered the various motions of an experienced soul, in and through the manifold dispensations of God. And how the author hath been acted in, and redeemed from the unknown paths of darkness; wherein, as in a wilderness, he hath wandered without the clear vision of a Divine Presence. Together with a sincere abdication of certain tenents, either formerly vented by him, or now charged upon him. Per me Jo. Salmon
Salmon, Joseph.
Page  [unnumbered]Page  [unnumbered]

Heights in Depths AND Depths in Heights. OR TRVTH no less Secretly then Sweetly sparkling out its GLORY from under a Cloud of OBLOQƲIE.

  • Wherein is discovered the various Motions of an Experienced Soul, in and through the manifold dispensations of GOD.
  • And how the Author hath been acted in, and redeemed from the unknown paths of darkness; wherein, as in a wilderness, he hath wan∣dered without the clear vision of a Divine Presence.
  • Together with a sincere abdication of certain Tenents, either formerly vented by him, or now charged upon him.

Per me JO. SALMON.

Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I.

The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ knowes that I lie not.

London, Printed by Tho. Newcomb, 1651.

Page  [unnumbered]Page  [unnumbered]

AN Apologeticall Hint to the ensuing Discourse.

READER,

THis little Piece comes to thy view as a poore Pilgrim, void of that large accom∣modation which happily it may finde at its own home. I have here dressed it in a homely Language, and for∣med it as like my self as pos∣sible I could; if thou canst see so much woth in it, as to give it entertainment, I Page  [unnumbered]am bold to say (ere it part from thee) it will return thee satisfaction. It steales like a Thiefe upon the be∣nighted world: However, bee not shy of it; for it shal take nothing from thee but what thou shalt bee made willing to part with∣all.

Lastly, I send it into the World, to discharge some debts which in my late Travels through Egypt land I left unsatisfied.

As more plainly thus:

It is not long since where∣in that eminent appea∣rance of light, which daw∣ned out its glory upon my Page  [unnumbered]Spirit, and from thence gave a sweet and powerfull reflexe upon the World, did shrowd it selfe under a most sable and enigmaticall cloud of darknesse, and withdrew for a season, be∣hinde the dark Canopies of Earth and Flesh; in which state the Hemispheare of my spirit was so bespread with obscurity, that I knew not whither I walked, or what I did.

Thus was I led into paths that I had not known, and turned from a King to become a * Beast, and fed upon huskes for a sea∣son.

Page  [unnumbered] After a while posting most furiously in a burning zeal towards an unattainable end: my manner of wal∣king being adjudged by those in power contrary to the peace and civill order of the * Common∣wealth) I was just∣ly apprehended as an offender: who never be∣fore had demerited any thing from them, except love and respect for my faithfull service, which up∣on all occasions I was ever free to offer as a due ho∣mage to the justness of their Cause.

I suffered above halfe a Page  [unnumbered]yeares imprisonment under the notion of a blasphea∣mer; which through want of air, and many other con∣veniences, became very irk∣some and tedious to my outward man.

Being now retired from the noyse of the world, and cloy stered up from the usu∣all society of my friends, having my grates on the one side for a defence, and my doore fast bolted on the other, I had time enough afforded me to ponder my state and condition.

Upon which I summoned my heart to an appearance before the throne of divine Page  [unnumbered]Justice, where after a scru∣tinous and serious debate, I found that I had in ma∣ny things, been led out and acted in the most undoing and destroying paths of darknesse.

Upon which I was for a season deeply, yea intole∣rably sensible of these things; and multitudes of armed thoughts all at once beleaguered my soule, as if they had agreed with one consent to devour me.

In the middest of this trouble and distraction, I was led to consider that cer∣tainly Providence had some end in leading (or suffering Page  [unnumbered]me to bee led) into these appearances.

This stayed me, and got by degrees more ground upon my Spirit; in which to this day I can rejoyce and lift up my head above the most insulting and daring Fury: insomuch as I know the Lord had a speciall end to accomplish through all these declinings.

The rage of man shall turn to the praise of God, & for ever blessed be that Grace & Love which hath taught me to say from an inward experience of light, I thank God that I was made a ser∣vant of * sin. But to return: Page  [unnumbered]Having this clear conviction upon my spirits, I forth with addressed my selfe to those who had been the causers of my then present confine∣ment: and truly I wil speak it to their everlasting praise, (especially some of them) they were as willing to em∣brace me & my desires (up∣on such faire termes pro∣pounded) as I could be to offer my selfe to them.

Major Beak (a man much honored in my thoughts, though once a professed e∣nemy to me) upon the dis∣covery of my mind to him, seemed to be much affected with my condition, & with∣all Page  [unnumbered]informed me of divers blasphemous expressions, which were vented in cer∣tain letters of mine which had lately been intercepted; which (after my humble re∣quest) hee offered to my view one or more of them: I drew out from them those expressions which most de∣served my severest censure, arraigned them and con∣demned them as guilty.

I offered what I had done to Major Beak, together with a Petition to the Coun∣cel of State for my liberty. Who according to my de∣sires, being in himselfe per∣swaded of my hearty and Page  [unnumbered]penitentiall remorse, did with all care and speed pre∣sent the same in my be∣halfe, and so next under God became the onely means of my Release.

Not long after the Right Honorable Colonel Purefoy came down to Coventry wth my discharge frō the Coun∣cell, who after strict exa∣mination (and finding him∣selfe with the rest satisfied) presented my Discharge to the Mayor and Aldermen then present, which ac∣cordingly was received, and I set at liberty, ingaging to his Honour and the rest, that I would with Page  [unnumbered]all convenient speed declare my selfe in Print against those things which I was then char∣ged withall, and still am by many.

This then is one and not the least end of my exposing these lines to a publick view, that I may appeare to bee no worse then my word to them whose indulgencie in a time of need was sufficiently manifested to∣wards me.

And truly had not this with some other weighty reasons pre∣vailed with me, I should not have troubled the world with things of this nature. Onely. Therefore Reader take notice that my main ends in this busi∣ness are.

Page  [unnumbered] 1. To give a faithful account of the dealings of the most High towards me, as he hath led me along through manifold dis∣pensations of himselfe.

2. To declare to all men what J now am, onely in what I am not: if thou (Reader) art so wise as to discover my spirit by what I shall here declaim, thou wilt spare me the labour of ma∣king an after profession of my Faith, which I confesse I shall hardly be drawn to declare to * any man.

3. I now am made to speak, be∣cause I am almost weary of speaking, and to informe the world that silence hath taken hold of my spirit. The thunder∣strokes Page  [unnumbered]of the Almighty have to purpose uttered their voices in me, heaven and earth have trembled at their dreadfull sounds: the Alarm being over, ther's silence now in heaven; for how long I know not

I lie quietly secure in the Lord while I see the whole world consuming in the fire of envie one against another. I heare much noyse about me, but it serves onely to deafen me into the still slumbers of Divine rest. The formall world is much af∣frighted, & every form is up in Arms to proclaim open wars against it selfe: The Almighty power is dashing one thing a∣gainst another, and confoun∣ding Page  [unnumbered]that which hee hath for∣merly faced with the glory of his own presence: Hee setteth up and casteth down, and who shal say, What doest thou? Come then, O my Soule, enter thou into thy Chamber, shut thy doores about thee, hide thy selfe in silence for a season till the indignation bee blown o∣ver.

Reader, I heartily bid thee farewel, commending thee into that bosome of love, where I rest,

Thine in silence.

Page  1

Heights in Depths, AND Depths in Heights. OR TRVTH no less secretly then sweetly sparkling out its GLORY from under a Cloud of OBLOQUIE.

VAnitie of Vanities, All is Va∣nitie saith the Preacher.

The highest piece of wis∣dom, is to see wisdom it self but Vanity.

The whole world is a Circle, includ∣ing nothing but emptiness.

Page  2* Wisdom it self is but a womb of Wind, whose wring∣ing Pangs, pretend the birth of pure Substance, but in times revealing Order it am its nothing, except travel for sor∣row, whose high aspires, do cursorily expire into an airy notion, even while it appears to be something, it proves no∣thing.

Man walketh in a vain shew, he shews to be a man, and thats all.

* Here is nothing that truly is, because it * abides not; things onely appear to be, and so va∣nish.

I am satisfied in nothing so much, as in knowing that * nothing can satisfie me.

We seem to live in the State of vari∣ety, wherein we are not truely living, but onely in appearance: in Unity is our life: in one we are, from one divi∣ded, we are no longer.

While we perambulate variety, we walk but as so many Ghosts or Shadows Page  3in it, that it self being but the Umbrage of the Unity.

To descend from the oneness or E∣ternity, into the multiplicity, is to lose our selves in an endlesse Laby∣rinth.

To ascend from variety into unifor∣mity, is to contract our scattered spi∣rits into their original center and to finde our selves where we * were, before we * were.

Certainly, when a man looks upon the face of things and with a serious inspection eyes the shaken Frame of them, he must conclude that there is somthing above and beyond all appearances, which can onely and alone satisfie.

If we look upon the Temporay, or more outward state of things; good Lord how subject is it to revolutions and vicissitudes? what is it that we can call certain, but onely uncer∣tainty.

Behold the Lord maketh the earth Page  4empty and voyd; he layeth it waste: it reels to and fro like a drunk∣ard: all its Foundations are out of course: one change succeeds ano∣ther, while the earth is become subject to a constant inconstan∣cie.

The world travels perpetually, and every one is swoln full big with par∣ticularity of interest; thus travel∣ling together in pain, and groan∣ing under enmity: labouring to bring forth some one thing, some another, and all bring forth nothing but wind and confusion: this is certain∣ly a great evil that God hath given men to be exercised withall under the sun.

If further we cast our eye upon those things which promise greater Stabillite, (viz: formes of righteousnes and Religion) alas how doth experi∣ence daily informe us, of the violent turnings and overturnings which are incident to these also?

Doth not the Almighty power blast Page  5those things daily, which have been most in request amongst us? is he not dashing one forme against another as potters Vessels? what lively Charact∣ers of sudden mortalitie may we runn and read upon all * outward formes? what meanes this great noyse, and stir, that a∣larmes the world continually? the bit∣ter contention, that intermixes it selfe with mens wayes and worships? the perpetuall clashings of one forme a∣gainst another? The heaven of forme is passing away, which goes not without much clamour, strife and contention. Thus is it the Lords will that people shal labour in the fire, and weary them∣selves for very vanitie.

The farther a man * reaches beyond himselfe to contem∣plate an incomprehensible glory, though his labour may be delightfull, yet hisloss will prove very * extensive.

While with a swift winged ambition, we are transported Page  6into the sublimity of notion; the Scorching influences of the heavenly Splendor, meets us (as it were) with an untimely check; Singes the golden plumes of our soring fancies; & down we fal into unconceivable depths of darknes.

Ob. How then shall a man attaine to a onenes, and communion with this in∣accessible glory?

Sol. Seeing there is no way probable for us, (by our most lofty aspires) to interesse our selves in that

We must patiently expect its seaso∣nable descension upon us; whose na∣ture it is to * consume us in∣to it selfe, and to melt us into the same nature and likenes:

And truly till this come, and thus manifest it selfe, all that man can doe to acquire satisfaction, does but multi∣ply his sorrow upon his head, and aug∣ment cares upon his spirit. Vanitie, va∣nitie, all is vanitie.

It is but vanitie for me to write, vani∣tie for you to read. Words are but Page  7wind; you read you know not what, and perhaps I write I know not what: and so let it be till God will have it o∣therwise.

There is a set time for ever purpose under heaven; vanity hath its time also; nay time it selfe is but a lengthened threed of vanitie; there's no reallity but in eternitie:

When time shall be no longer then things will appeare in their proper and perfect substance.

Well; to every thing there is a season; a time to * cast a way stones, and a time to gather stones to∣gether, I know not very well which of these times I am now under, while I am thus busied:

It may be I am now casting stones a∣gainst the wind, [that is but vanity] However, (if so) methinks the wise reader might find some better employ∣ment, then to stand as a spectator of such folly and madnes.

Truly I would very willingly say no∣thing, & yet at present I am forced into a freedom to speak my mind:

Page  8 If I speak any thing more then my reason dictates to me as truth; I am be∣come a foole;

And yet I have not so much reason in me, as to make what I say appear rea∣sonable to others: this is also vanity, and a sore travell. But to draw near to what I intend:

I have lived to see an end of all per∣fections; that which I now long for, is to see perfection it selfe perfected.

I have bin led out to seek the Lord in manifold appearances, I must now (by himselfe) be found in himselfe, who is the good it selfe, and nothing but this can satisfie: Take only this breif hint, for information.

How the Author hath beene acted in, and carried thorough va∣rious and manifold ap∣pearances.

NO sooner had I attained to any maturity in a natural understand∣ing, of common principles of morali¦ty, Page  9but I found in my selfe a secret long∣ing to sore in a more celestiall orbe; (be∣ing partly convicted of a higher life than that of nature.)

This desire being kindled, and sup∣plied with the timely breath of the Al∣mighty, it soone begann to warme and afterwards to set my whole heart of a flame, which to this day could ne∣ver be extinct; but hath ever since (like the ambitious sparke) made its constant ascensions, and earnest aspires, towards this heavenly center.

Receiving (after my nocturnal slum∣bers in nature's grave) some quicknings of a divine principle within me; I pre∣sently arose and (as it were) shooke of my night dresses, and appeared to my selfe, like the sunn, dawning out its re∣fulgent splendor, from behind the darke canopies of the earth: I was now a∣dorned in another hue, and devoutly re∣solved to tread the paths of a more princely dignity.

I presently set forth for heaven, the whole powers and faculties of my soule Page  10being infinitely ingaged thereunto, by some taste of the fruies of that good land, which I received as pledges of divine love, and as the earnest of that more glorious inheritance, which I now wai∣ted for.

I now forsooke my owne kindred and my fathers house, withdrew my selfe from my former vanities, and willingly exposed my selfe to all the contempt and reproach of the world, that I might owne Christ, his cause, and people.

By this time (the honest presbyterian party) were looked most upon, as own∣ers of, and sufferers for, the cause of God;

These, being newly crept out of the shell of Episcopacy, were hatched in∣to a more pure and refined forme; and (after a small time) did seeme to hover gently, and sore sweetly, in a more sub∣limer region than the former.

With these I now joyned, and became a Zealous hearer and a very great affect∣er of them; and truly did enjoy much of God in this station while the Lord ap∣peared to me in it.

Page  11 After a while, the notion of Indepen∣dency offred it selfe upon the stage, to which I was willing to lend my audience (at least) and make proofe of its plausi∣ble proposalls. I understood they were a people, much decryed by the vulga∣ritie, which made me imagine that there was something of God amongst them;

I saw they were a people farr excelling others in the strictnes of their forme; and (which most affected me) were ga∣thered out of the world, and knit one to another in a more close, and comforta∣ble bond of love, than any;

The more excelling lustre of this forme, (to me) darkned the beauty, and dim'd the glory of the other: my affections (upon the illumination of the understanding) were soone commanded and forth they runn with a great deale, of delight, to wel-com this newly receiv∣ed glory; in this forme I was concluded and shutt up for a season: wherein I also enjoyed much satisfaction:

Soone after, the doctrine of beleivers baptisme was much pressed by many: Page  12and this (though it were a much despi∣sed forme) I was yet free to make triall of it, and owne it so farr as I could see it hold a correspondencie with truth.

I (after some serious debate) was convinced that it was my duty to obey God in my subjection to that ordinance of water baptisme: I hereupon tendered my willing and chearful submission, and consulted not with flesh and blood in this business. In the hottest time of Persecution: I was made one eminent both in holding forth this way to the world, and also in an open suffering for the same.

By this time I began to think it was high time to settle, and not to expose my minde to such changes and alterati∣ons in things of this nature: Where∣upon I here built me a Tabernacle, and was fixed in a peremptory resolve, That this and no other could lawfully be ad∣judged the way of God.

Then came that voice from the throne of the heavenly Almightiness: Arise and depart for this is not your rest.

Page  13 I was made as truly sensible of this in∣wardly, as the eye is sensible of the light, or the ear of the outward sound.

I was certainly struck dead to all my wonted enjoyments.

Stript I was of my glory, and my Crown taken from my head, & I could see nothing but Vanity (and that legi∣bly written) upon all my former tra∣vels.

I then had a clear discovery in my spirit, how far all my former enjoy∣ments came short of that true rest which my soul had all along aimed at.

Here I stood for a season weeping with Mary at the Sepulcher: fain I would have found Christ where I left him, but alas he was risen: I found no∣thing in form but a few * sig∣nals of Mortality; as for Jesus, he was risen and de∣parted.

Thus have I followed Christ from his babe-ship, or infancy, to his Grave of mortality, running through the life Page  16of Form in a bare knowledge of Christ after the flesh, till I expired with him * into his death, and was sealed up in the Grave of most darke, and somnolent retires for a sea∣son.

Loath, full loath I was thus to shake hands with form, & to leave the terres∣trial image of Iesus Christ; yet so it was designed that hee must goe to his fa∣ther, and (although * I were ignorant of it) prepare a higher mansion in himself for me.

When my 3. dayes (or set time) was expired, I begann to feele some quick∣ning comfort within me; the grave stone was rolled away, and I set at li∣bertie, from these deep and darke re∣tires; out I came with a most serene and chearfull countenance, and (as one inspired with a supernaturall life) sprang up farr above my earthly cen∣ter, into a most heavenly and divine enjoyment: Wrapt up in the embraces Page  14of such pure love and peace, as that I knew not oft times, whether I were in or out of this fading forme.

Here I saw heaven opened upon me and the new Ierusalem (in its divine brightnes and corruscant beauty) greeting my Soule by its humble and gentle descensions:

Now I certainely enjoyed that sub∣stance, which all this while I had gro∣ped after in the shadow.

My water was turned into wine-form, into power; and all my former enjoy∣ments being nothing in appearance to that glory which now rested on my spirit.

Time would faile to tell, what joy unspeakeable, peace unconceiveable; what soul ravishing delights, and most divinely infatuating pleasures my soul was here possest with.

I could cast my eye no where, but that presence of love presented it selfe to me, whose beatificall vision, oftimes dazeled me into a sweet astonishment:

In a word, I can give you no perfect Page  16account of that glory which then co∣vered me; the lisps and slipps of my tongue will but render that imper∣fect, whose pure perfection surmounts the reach of the most strenuous and high flown expression.

I appeared to my selfe as one con∣founded into the abyss of eternitie, nonentitized into the being of beings; my soule spilt, and emptied into the fountaine and ocean of divine fulness: expired into the aspires of pure life:

In breife the Lord so much appeared that * I was little or nothing seene; but walked at an or∣derly distance from my self, treading and tripping over the pleasant moun∣taines of the Heavenly land, where I walked with the Lord and was not:

I shall be esteemed a foole, by the wise world, thorough an over much boasting: otherwise I could tell you how I have been exalted into the bo∣some of the eternall Allmightines, where I have seene and heard, things unlawful, (I say * unlawful) to be uttered amongst Page  17men; but I shall at present spare my self the labour, and prevent the worlds inconsiderate censure.

The proud and imperious Nature of flesh, would willingly claim a share in this glorious work, for which cause happened a suddain, certain, terrible, dreadfull revolution, a most strange vicissitude.

God sent a Thorn immediatly; hid himself from me by a sudden depar∣ture, and gives a speedy Commission to a Messenger of Satan to assault me.

The Lord being thus withdrawn, & having carried away (in the bundle of his Treasures) the heart and life of that * new seed in me, there now remained nought behind but the man of sinne, who (for his pride) being wounded with the thorn of Divine vengeance, began by degrees to act its part.

This Thorn, I say was in the flesh (or fleshly principle) the Page  18spirit (or new man) that was preserv∣ed still in the heart of eternal love, and became a life occult, hid with Christ in God.

Angry flesh being struck at heart with the piercing dart of vengeance, begins to swell, and contracting all the evil humors of the body of death into one lump, to grapple with this thorne of wrath, at last violently breaks out, and lets forth the very heart and coar of its pride and enmity.

The rankor and venom of this sub∣til serpent, now discovers it self, and being sore sick with a cup of pure wrath, disgorges its foul stomack up∣on the very face, and appearance of Truth.

I was now sent into a strange land, and made to eat unclean things in Assy∣ria; walked in unknown paths, and became a mad man, a fool amongst men.

Thus tumbling in my own Vomit, I became a derision to all, and even loa∣thed by those by whom I had been be∣loved: Page  19being made drunk with a Cup of vengeance, every one begins to cast a squint eye towards me.

O the deep drunken bewitching, be sotting draughts of the wine of asto∣nishment that hath been forced upon me.

Well, my folly being discovered, and the bowels of corrupt flesh being let out, I lay as a spectacle of scorn and contempt to every eye; yea my mo∣thers children were angry with me, and even those were apt to censure me for a firebrand of hell, an hypocrite, a cast away, into whose hands when the Cup of the Lord shall come, they may appear as bad, if not worse then my self.

But most true it is, he that slippeth with his feet, is as a Lamp despised in the heart of him that is at ease.

Certainly if the Lord would but let loose the reins of mens hearts, they should soon discover as bad, or worse in themselves, as they hate and despise in others.

Page  20 The time of many is now at hand; yea, its come upon them, wherein the baseness and rottenness of their hearts are discovered; they walk with their insides outwards, and shew their na∣kedness and shame.

They are turned and tossed as a ball in a large countrey: reel, stagger, stumble and fall with the desperate in∣toxicating draughts of wrath and mad∣ness: tumble up and down in their own filthiness and beastiality; and are become signs and wonders amongst men: yea, those that have been Ri∣vals to the chiefest and most eminent in knowledge and enjoyment, have been puld down from the Throne, and set as mirrors of amazement in the world: Judged with a witness both by God and man: judged in them∣selves, the damnation of whose flesh sleepeth not: Judged, censured, strip∣ped, persecuted, imprisoned by o∣thers.

The hand of the Lord meets them continually, and the world knows not, Page  21considers not, their most heavy and sad pressures.

O God, that men could a little con∣sider the several disposings of the eter∣nal wisdom!

I would gladly offer one silent whi∣sper in the ears of the world, and leave it to the wise, and ponderous judge∣ment of every Christian.

Hark then—

Think ye that those eighteen upon whom the Tower of Siloam tell, were greater sinners then others? I tel you, nay.

Are their impieties on their fore∣heads? and are not yours in your hearts? is there not the same spring of enmity, root of bitterness, den of Darkness, and spawn of folly and mad∣ness in you as in them.

What if the Lord should tear off your large Phylacteries of religion and righteousness, and instead thereof stamp the foul image of that hidden enormity, which harbors secretly in your breast.

Page  22 What if God should uncloke you, and strip you of your lovely garbes of pretended holiness, and should let that apear which is hidden under this plea∣sing vesture?

Consider, is there not in the best of you a body of death?

Is not the root of rebellion planted in your natures?

Is there not also a time for this wic∣ked one to be revealed?

Do you think that God will not one time or other, one way or another di∣scover and judge that flesh, which now seems to sleep securely under the spe∣cious pretences of righteousness.

You little think, and less know, how soon the cup of fury may be put into your hands: my self, with many others have been made stark drunk with that wine of wrath, the dregs whereof (for ought I know) may fall to your share suddenly.

I speak not this either to extenuate my own evil, or to cast approbries in the face of those who have (to the Page  23utmost) censured me; but rather to mittigate the severity of peoples spi∣rits, and to give a by hint of that doom and judgement, that is at hand upon the world.

For my own part, I do most inge∣niously and candidly confess, that the worst of men cannot out-vie my ini∣quity. Hell it self cannot hatch that mischiefe, which my heart hath not been a receptacle to imbrace; and if ever a proud Pharisee in the world dare stept up and plead his own inno∣cency, let him cast the first stone at me: If every man be found guilty, and there is none that doth good, why should we so unseemly envy, and not rather pitty (and lament over) each others miseries.

But to return: being thus clouded from the presence of the Lord, I was violently posted through most dark paths, where I ever and anon stumbled and fell into the snare of open error and profaneness, led and hurried, (by what power let the wise judg) in a Page  24principle of mad Zeal, to tear and rend the very appearances of God, which I had formerly cherished in my brest.

Delighting my self in nothing but in that which rendred me most vile and ugly in the sight of all men, and glorying in nought, but my own shame.

I could not have imagined that such deadly poyson had lodged within me, had not the dreadful piercing lance of vengeance, let it out before my face, and made it palpably manifest to all men.

I was indeed full sick of wrath, a vial of wrath was given me to drink; the heavenly pleasure would not ex∣euse me a drop of it; which no sooner had flesh received, but it burst in sun∣der, polluted and defiled my wayes and actions, with its filthy poysonous nature;

Well—drink I must, but mark the riddle.

'Twas given me, that I might drink, I drank, that I might stumble, I stum∣bled, Page  25that I might fall; I fell, * and through my fall was made happy.

It is strange to think, how the hidden and secret presence of God in me, did silently rejoyce while flesh was thus manife∣sted;

I had a sweet rest and refuge in the Lord, * even while my flesh was frying and scorching in the flames of ireful fury.

I was ark'd up in the eternal bosome, while the flesh was tumbling in the foaming surges of its own vanity:

And although the beast a∣scended out of the bottomless pit, and cast out a flood of envy against me, yet I was preserved in the Lord from its insulting fury: and this I know is a riddle to many, * which none but the true Nazarite can expound; and til he is pleased to unfold it, it pleases me it should lie dark.

Page  26 But to conclude—

Thus have I been forc't into the strange paths of obscurity, driven up and down in a tem∣pestuous storm of wrath, and split upon the rocks of dreadful astonishment; All the waves and billows of the Almighty have gone over me.

I am now at rest in the silent deeps of eternity, sunk into the abysse of silence, and (having shot this perilous gulf) am safe∣ly arrived into the bosome of love; the land of rest.

I sometimes hear from the world, which I have now for∣saken; I see its Diurnals are fraught with the tydings of the same clamor, strife, and con∣tention, which abounded in it when I left it; I give it the hea∣ring, and that's all.

I meddle with none-of them; though they are daily censuring me at their pleasure.

Page  27 My lovely silence contributes so large a parcel of Peace to me, as that I would gladly be at Peace with all men: but yet such is the restless fury of the disturbed world, that it will not upon any terms enter into a league of concord with me.

I cannot inveigh against any form, party, or religious inte∣rest: it becomes not my sweet silence, to bawl and brawl with the unquiet spirits of men, who are therefore swoln with mad∣ness, and frenzy against me, be∣cause they cannot by their bit∣ter emulation, either disturb the peace and rest of my spirit, or provoke me to a contest with them, upon such poor base and beggerly terms.

I see there is nought that can satisfie under the Sun.

And certainly were men pos∣sessed of that true enjoyment Page  28which they pretend to, they would be better satisfied, and more at peace in their spirits.

My great desire (and that wherein I most delight) is to see and say nothing.

I have run round the world of variety, * and am now cente∣red in eternity; that is the womb out of which I was ta∣ken, and to which my desires are now reduced.

There is nothing in the world of so great amplitude, as to comprehend or contain my spirit within its measurable orb; something that is more durable, then any thing that is extant in the world, is that which my souls press after.

And in the interim I find my self mostly comprehended, and best satisfied in my still and si∣lent reserves.

I am, or would bee, very lit∣tle, or nothing in shew, yet I Page  29am indeed, both what I would be, or may desire to be.

I am drawne, from off the stage of outward appearances, on which (of late) I have acted a most sad and Tragicall part: I am bound in the close Galle∣ries with my beloved, where (under the sweet verge of his Love, and shadow of his wing) I am wooed to refresh my selfe with most mellifluous de∣lights.

I am as the Lords Lillie a∣mongst Thornes; I stand in a very fertile soyl: though it be a valley, yet its both fat, rich, and pleasant.

I cannot envy the Thornes that are about me, neither can they hurt mee; I grow quietly by them, stand peaceably a∣mongst them, and they are made (against their wills) a de∣fensive hedge about me.

In summ,

Page  30 While I view with a serious inspection the state of things about mee; I clearly perceive how every thing prides it self in a momentany state; when (alasse!) after it hath shewed it self, it suddenly is swallowed up by that being whence it first came.

Every thing beares a constant and greedy motion towards the center; and when once we are wearied in the prolixity of va∣riety, wee revolve into silence, where we are as if we had never been.

Every one stands up, Vi & ar∣mis, to plead the prerogative of his own interest; the World is so filled with Verbosity, that I am gladly constrained into si∣lence, till I have time and op∣portunity to offer my minde amongst them.

I see partly what the end will be, but I must not declare, nei∣ther Page  31will the world hear it.

I have stept out of my silent Mansions, to offer these few words to the Vulgar view: how hardly I was perswaded to it, my own heart can evidence, and many in my behalf can te∣stifie: some engagements ur∣ged me to it, more then any desire of mine to become pub∣lick.

I am quite a weary of popu∣lar applause, and I little value a vulgar censure; the benefit of the one, cannot at all affect me, nor the prejudice of the other much molest me:

I enjoy greater treasures in my happy silence, then all their cruelty can make me capable of the want of.

'Tis true I have lost a good name, and honorable esteem in the world.

I have also another name, which is a new one, which Page  32none can read, but he that hath it; none can blast with the least blot of infamy.

I can cheerfully bear the in∣dignation of the Lord, for I have sinned:

It is not for me to reply a∣gainst the dealings of the Eter∣nal Wisdome: it is rather good for mee to bear the yoke in my youth, with a Christian silence and gravity.

I am made willing to give my * cheek to the smiter, to sit a∣lone, (keeping silence) and put my mouth in the dust: any thing with the Lord, is to mee very acceptable; nothing (with∣out God) dares approach my quiet and still Mansions.

In a word: I am able both to doe and to suffer all things tho∣row an Eternall Almightinesse: And resolved I am to gaine a conquest over the World, by Page  33prostrating my self a subject to their weakness.

I must submit to them, that I may raign over them; and e∣ven then I trample them under∣neath my feet, when I am most subdued to their will and plea∣sure.

Well—to draw neer to my chamber, (for it's bad standing without doors, while a storm is impending) I am to this day set upon the account of a blasphe∣mer, a seducer: what not.

I will not say but I have gi∣ven some former ground of su∣spition, both by my unwary walking, and heedless expressi∣ons.

Somewhat I have formerly vented in certain papers, * which the weak stomacks of many can hardly digest: and truely I could heartily wish, that some expressions had been better Page  34pondered; and not so untime∣ly exposed to a publick view: though I also beleeve, that if they were well chewed (and not so suddenly swallowed without relishing the nature of them) they would be better di∣gested then they are.

'Tis a vanity and sore travail, for a man to unbosom his life in the face of a confused multi∣tude; and to offer it up to the rude censure of the (no less mercylesse then) ignorant world.

I clearly see that the under∣standings of men (for the most part) are too gross and corpu∣lent, to turn and winde in the nice, and narrow criticismes of truth; their spirits too dull and plumbous to mount above their wonted notorious, and thread bare principles.

Whatsoever stands out of their Sphear, or bears, no prox∣imity Page  35to their commonly recei∣ved maximes; must presently be deemed as blasphemy, and sentenced to the infernal lake, as most odious and abomina∣ble.

That which men call truth to day, they proclaim error to morrow: and that which now is adjudged and condemned as error, anon is embraced and extolled as truth. That man certainly is not otherwise, that will regard the uncertain censures of men.

Truely for my part, as I sit still and behold how the over∣busie world is acted; so I can quietly let them alone, to roul in their confused labyrinth: but because in many things I have offended; and the froward spi∣rits of men are not easily cour∣ted to a pardon: I have here thought meet, to cite a small parcel of the most crying errors Page  36of the times; and (before I withdraw into my sweet and safe retires) spend a little time in sweeping them from my door; that so the evil of error, may not lie in the porch, to dis∣quiet my blessed rest, and dis∣sturb the sweet slumbers of my silent mansions. Which done, I shall then as well resolvedly, as quietly bid adeue to the wretched world; and wrap my self up in my mantle of silence, where I shall refresh my defes∣sed spirit with the pure naps of divine pleasure, while the be∣loved is pleased to awaken me into a more active state.

Priefly then in one word.

I shall linck the most capital errors now extant, in one chain; and expulse them by a free vote, form having any future commerce with me, or claiming the least propinquity to my re∣formed judgment.

Page  37

A sincere Abdication of cer∣tain Tenents, either for∣merly vented by, or now charged upon the Author.

I Am daily accused as one that holds these horrid opinions. Viz. That there is no God; no Devil; no Heaven; no Hell; as one that denies the Scripture, and the blessed Trinity of the God-head; that saith there is no Sin; or otherwise that God is the author of Sin; these (a∣mong others of less conse∣quence) are chiefly alledged a∣gainst me: to all which I reply, as followeth—.

Page  38

And first, of God.

THE fool hath said in his heart, * there is no God. 'Tis the greatest folly and madness in the world to assert or give credit to it.

The wise man, whose eyes are in his head, cannot harbor such a motion in his heart.

I wholly banish such conceits from my minde; * and on the contrary assert,

That God is that pure and per∣fect being in whom we ail are, move and live; that secret blood, breath, & life, that silent∣ly courseth through the hidden veins and close arteries of the whole creation.

Every thing both visible and invisible is fraught with his pre∣sence, * & brim'd up wth the plen∣tiful distils of a divine life: he is both all and in all, * he truly is, and there is nothing besides him Page  39that derives not power from him.

He hath but a weak eye, that sees not the sparkling beams of eternity, darting out their re∣fulgent beauty in and through variety.

What madman or fool will then deny a divine and eternal being.

Where can we go, * what can we do without him? heaven, hel, earth, sea, sun, moon, stars, al that you see, all that you possess, is sweetly replenished with the glory of this pure majesty: eve∣ry thing receives from him, and gives up to him.

More might be said but I hope this is sufficient to inform any reasonable man, that I wholly abjure this conceit, or rather deceit of the world.

Now to the next.

Page  40

Of the Divell.

THe Divel is understood va∣riously amongst men: ei∣ther grosly, or corpulently by some, or more subtilly and mi∣stically by others.

I am not now either to ad∣vance my own, or to fly in the face of any mans judgement. I am one under censure; it be∣comes not me to be over-busie in judging others, till I have cleared my self.

They say, I hold no Di∣vel —

Truly if any thing ever was vented by me, that is infected with the least tang or tincture of such a principle; I shall hear∣tily deplore my own weakness in it, and shall be ready to dis∣own it, as the bastard brat of a vain and empty notion.

Page  41 And on the contrary doe af∣firm.

That the Divel, * who was once an Angel of light, yet not keeping his first state, became a Denne, and receptacle of dark∣ness; reserved in chains from the presence of the Lord til the great day.

He is that spirit or Mystery of Iniquity, which continually envies God in his pure ways and workings.

That dark Angel, or Messen ger employed by the Almighty, to effect the purposes of his wrath and vengeance.

The Prince of the powers of the air; an airy fashionist, that can assume any form: That can form, * conform, resoim, and deform at his pleasure: one that chiefly rules in the hearts of the children of disobedi∣ence.

Let the wise judge, and the Page  42righteous, gently smite me, if I deserve censure in what I have spoken.

I proceed—

Of Heaven.

Heaven is the center of the souls bliss and happiness.

I can in no wise deny it, be∣cause my conversation is in it. *

If there be no heaven, wheres our present enjoyment? Or what shal become of that fu∣ture happiness which we all ex∣pect? *

Heaven is the Christians rest, his divine Sabboth, * where he keeps holy day to the Lord.

Did I ever insinuate a deniall of heaven? certainly it was be∣cause the darkness of hel cover∣ed my understanding.

To live with, * and in God, to Page  43be raised up into the nature and life of Christ out of the somno∣lencie of flesh, * is to live in the heavenly place; this we enjoy partly here, more fully here∣after.

Of Hell.

THat there is no Hell, I in no wise can imagine, but contrarywise say,—

That Hell is the appoynted portion of the * sinner, where in sinfull man is for ever to be tormented from the presence of the Lord: the inhabitants of whose dark mansions are ever weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth.

Hell is a * Tophet of scorch∣ing displeasure; a fire kindled and maintained by the continu∣ed breath of the Almighty, Page  44whereby it becomes a dying, life, or rather, a living death. The breath or life of Eternity augments and increases this death and misery, which death and hell hath a greedy Lake to receive it.

I hope malice it self will con∣sent, that I am not guilty of this blasphemy.

I therefore proceed for my sweet invitations, to my silent feast, solemnize my devotions thitherward.

Of the Scripture.

CHrist is the Eternall word of the Father, the saving, teaching, enlightening Oracle of heaven, to whom the Scrip∣tures ascribe all honor and dig∣nitie.

I do not remember that in a∣ny Page  45thing which I have written, or declared, I have given the captious world the least ground to render me guilty of denying the Scriptures.

Yet because I am charged with it through weakness and mistake in some, malice and im∣pudence in others, I give this sa∣tisfactory hint.

I own the Scriptures as the inspirations of the Holy Ghost; to holy men of old: a history, or map of truth, wherein (if our learned Translators have not deceived us) is contained a true discovery of the dealings of God with his people in former times, and ages of the world: wherein the life of many a pre∣cious promise is lockt up. They are known to be the word of God to those in whom the spirit declares them; others do but call them, not knowing them to be so.

Page  46 They bare Testimony to the great Oracle of Life and Salva∣tion (Christ Jesus.) * They are the letter, * & sound of truth. The form (and but the form) of sound words where they are not corrupted with the false glosses of the learned.

I must embrace them, own them, honour them; yea, I can∣not but delight in them, because they bear the image and feature of that pure word which was from the begining, * and is to e∣verlasting.

Of sin, or God being the Author of sin.

THe vulgar censure, is, a ma∣ny headed ill favoured monster, it lookes many waies; it favourably entertains, and smoothly invites, and eagerly gapes after all reports whatso∣ever.

Page  47 Some say I hold no sinn, and with the same mouth will be apt to conclude that I make God the author of sinn: Here must needs be a gross mistake on the one hand or other certainely.

I humbly acknowledg my over readiness to present some noti∣ons of this nature to a publique view: * If any things that I have written, will claime relation to these, I here recede them, and leave them to the mercy, or ra∣ther judgment of those to whom their nakednesse and folly are palpably evident: and further say concerning sin,

That sin is that contagious le∣prosie, * which hath Epidemical∣ly spread it self over the whole earth.

Neither the * righteous nor the wicked are free from it.

Sin is a transgression of the Law: unity was once the Law of man, he brake the Unity, run in∣to Page  48to the wilie intangles of devisi∣on and distance, and did plunge himself into the gulfe of sin, the abysss of misery.

The Law or Command of U∣nity, * was to know one, and on∣ly one (God.) Man will know more then one; know himself in a state of division; * here creeps in sin, and brings down man from his uprightness, under a state of obliquity.

Man, as man growing from the root of the first Adam,* (the Earthly-fallen principle) is no∣thing else but a massie heap of sin, a cursed lump of foul impi∣ety, and must certainly expect to receive the wages of iniqui∣tie.

Sin makes every thing a curse and bitterness to us.

Were it not for this sin (or breach of the Law of Unity) all things would be sweetned with Page  49blessing, yea, blest with a Divine sweetness.

Death it self, the bitterest potion of sorrow, would be nectarized with a pleasant dul∣citude, which (through sin) brings with it, * (and bears in it) an unpleasing mordacity.

In fine, tis sin that corrupts our judgements, stains our na∣tures, burthens our spirits, and betrays our souls into the snares of endless, and easless Torment.

Again,

This being the lothsome na∣ture of sin, who will dare to be so impudent as to affirm, That God is the Author of it? tis true, the Scripture in many pla∣ces seem to countenance such a thing, if not wisely and soberly interpreted.

But it is not my work, as I said before, to condemn any, before I have cleared my selfe: Page  50it is enough for me to exonerat my spirit of that load which is laid upon me by a fair recession of the Error I stand charged with.

Let all therefore know, * That I look upon God to be a single object of pure light, whose glo∣rious nature cannot be touched with the least tincture of dark. ness; evill or sin may not, can∣not * approach his perfectly pure presence.

He is good (the good it self) he doth good, * nothing but good, al good: good is God, there's no∣thing good but himself.

Men, the best of men, things, the most excellent of things, they are all vanity & a lye, worse then vanity, vexation of Spi∣rit.

God, the Unity is good: all vertue, and true worth is bund∣ledup in it. Contrary wise—The Divel, division, distance, sin, Page  51they are naught, stark naught; evil, nothing but evil, continu∣ally evil.

The Divel is a lye, believe him not; sin is a lye; all that you see below besides God, it is a lie, froth, emptiness, winde and con∣fusion.

God hath nothing to do with any thing that existeth not in himself, or is divided from him∣self: he is not the Author of di∣vision: * he is all one in all vari∣ety: the divider is the Divel, God knows him not: the divi∣sion is sin, God owns it not.

I say not then that God is the Author of sin.

Page  52

Lastly, Of the Tri∣nity.

GOD is one simple, single; uncompounded glory: no∣thing lives in him or flows from him, but what is his pure individual self.

Unity is the Father, the Au∣thor and begetter of all things; or (if you will) the Grandmo∣ther in whoseintrinsecal womb, variety lies occult, till time or∣derly brings it forth.

Christ sayes of himself, * I and the Father am one: and the Apostle saith, * there are three that bare record in Hea∣ven; the Father, the Word, and Spirit, and these three are one. Without controversie, great is the mystery.

Page  53 In the multiplicity or varie∣ty they are three, but in the u∣nity or primary state, all one, but one.

The Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Spirit, as multiplied into form and di∣stance; I may lawfully and must necessarily maintain three: —but then again trace them by their lineal discent into the womb of eternity, revolve to the center, and where is the difference?

The unity or Father in it self, is a massy heap of an undisco∣vered glory, which branches out it self into an orderly varie∣ty, and so admits of various names and titles: Father, Son, Spirit, three in name, but all one in nature.

Unity without variety, is like the * man in the Garden, solita∣rily slumbering in its owne pro∣found retires; having nothing to delight in but it self.

Page  54 The Father will not therfore be without the Son, * without the Spirit: It is not fit the Man should be alone.

But then again to contemplate variety without Unity, is to bee over-much expensive upon the weakness, and to set up the wo∣man without the man, which are not indeed two, but one in Christ.

I love the Unity, as it orderly discovers it self in the Trinity: I prize the Trinity, as it beares correspondency with the Unity; Let the skilfull Ordipus unfold this.

FINIS.