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A89679 Some returns to a letter which came from a general meeting of officers of the Army of England, Scotland, and Ireland, sitting at Jame's Westminster. Also A blast from the Lord, or a vvarning to England, by way of exhortation to take heed, and not run upon their own destruction; which will be speedily, without true repentance. By a lover of the truth, and a prisoner for declaring truth abroad Ben: Nicholson. Nicholson, Benjamin. 1653 (1653) Wing N1106; Thomason E689_18; ESTC R203013 13,591 19

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authority it cannot be but burthens vexations and grievances will be upheld for he that cannot rule his own house well or rather is not ruled by the Lord and all his passions subdued can never be fit to rule for the Lord. 3. That Liberty and protection may be given by a Law to all the truely Godly though of different iudgements to worship God peaceably without imposing upon or molesting one another but no encouragement be given to such as are Popish or prophane in the exercise of their superstitious forms and licentious practises Know that the worship of God is spiritual for he is a spirit and will be worshipped in spirit and truth And where there is a Government by the spirit of God living and ruling in those that Govern there will be unity with the worshippers and Governors in that one spirit where they both live and there will need no outward Law to protect the worshippers from being persecuted by the Governors for none ever hated their own flesh and surely the spirit of the Lord ruling in the Rulers cannot hate or persecute the spiritual worshippers neither was it ever known to persecute any but overcame all things with goodness nor since the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh it was never read nor known that any of the Saints or servants of God did impose any corporal punishment in any manner upon any one but by exhortation reproof and correction with spiritual weapons beating down all the strong holds of sin and bringing into subjection every evil thought and imagination of the carnal heart 2 Cor. 10.4 5. which stands up in opposition against the truth of God which is the sire the Scripture speaketh of which shall burn up all the old earth and heavens the carnal parts of man it is that love that shall overcome all things and place it self only But we look for new heavens and earth wherein shall dwell righteousness 2 Pet. 3.10 11 12 13. ver Behold therefore what manner of persons ought we to be in all godlyness and holyness of conversation of life 4. That The Gospel of Iesus Christ you say may be dispenced to all the people in this Land and that all those that labour faithfully in that work may receive all due countenance and encouragement Those who are faithfull labourers in the Gospel of Christ dare trust Christ for maintenance though they be sent out without bag or scrip shoes or two coats Luk. 22.35 For God that clothes the lillies of the field and feeds the ravens when they cry unto him will not let those that trust in him want any good thing Mat. 6.26 For he cares for all those which cast their care upon him and if he spared not his only Son Iesus Christ but delivered him up to death for us will he not with him freely give us all things richly to enjoy Rom. 8.32 And all the Scriptures beareth witness with these things and I am sure that those who are the Ministers of Jesus Christ have faith to believe that their Master will provide for them in all things and so takes care for nothing but how to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ wholly doing his will and can tell how to abase and how to abound Phil. 4.12 13. and are content with imprisonment as wel as liberty with wants as well as fullness and in all things shew themselves approved as the Ministers of God and Messengers of the everlasting Covenant 2 Cor. 6.4 to 10. As there is many now adays and not a few tryed ever praised be the Lord for it Further you say What the Lord shall set upon your spirits by way of Conviction either as to sin or duty if you communicate the same to us we shall take the same as a signe of your acceptance of this our brotherly freedom towards you But whether you mean to all or to the Souldiery onely I know not I as one who have obtained mercy from the love of God living in me and love all men without respect of persons see the Lord stepping towards Sion and he will speedily be in his Temple and I see the walls of Babylon falling and they will speedily be all thrown down at which the Inhabitants of the earth shall mourn but the Saints shall be exceeding glad and rejoyce But to the words as convicted as to sin or duty you mean what sin is to be punished and how and what duty is to be used and how I answer And guides my light forth or sets it upon the top of the Candlestick that if the Lord will all that read may see white from black light from darkness love from cruelty and saith thus All sin is to be punished with fire for Tophet is prepared of old for high and low the pile thereof is fire and much wood the breath of the Lord like a river of brimstone doth kindle it Isa 30.33 and the man of sin or all sin in man shall Jesus Christ destroy with the breath of his mouth and the brightness of his coming as experience doth plainly declare when God doth manifest himself to the creature then is the time of Christs coming and the time of the destruction of sin in every man yea he is that happy one that shall dash in pieces all the brats of Babylon every sin is a brat of Babylon and every Saint of God is a living stone with the which Jesus Christ shall dash in pieces all the children of Babylon and those living stones ere long shall be so common in every street that a brat of Babylon shall not look out but by them be dasht in pieces Thus the stream of righteousness shall run down our streets like mighty rivers and cleanse every corner from filthiness and the glorious Lord God shall be unto his people a place of broad rivers and streams wherein shall go no gally with oars nor gallant ship shall pass there thus shall the presence of the mighty God of Iacob cause the earth to fly away and the mountains to remove out of their place all the earthly powers and buildings of men the great men and Rulers of the earth are the mountains which shall be removed and the pillars that shall be shaken and all carnal actings of man is the earth that shall fly away when God appears as he hath already begun whose appearance is as the morning and there need no borrowed lights there this is new Ierusalem that the lamb shall be the glory of and there shall be no need of any outward Law to direct to walk but the inward Law of righteousness which the Lord will place and write in the tables of every mans heart and the Lord alone shall be the teacher and sole ruler of his people for I am God Almighty saith the Lord all in all all over all and will presently dispose of all things to his own praise and glory he will cause to walk uprightly to speak righteously to despise the gain of oppression and
discerned Thus in plainness the Scriptures beareth witness with me and offer in figures as that of Lazarus and of the grains of corn cast into the earth and of the prodigal Son c. and before ever any can know perfecty that they are found they must know themselves lost and dead before they can know themselves alive This my son was dead but is now alive c. but none knows the things of God but the spirit of God Oh that you all tasted with me that you might feell how good the Lord is For to be carnally minded is death but to be spiritually minded is life and peace and except a man be born again of water and of the spirit he cannot enter in no wise into the Kingdom of heaven which is within in the power and demonstration of the Holy Ghost Dear friends the time is come that many that were dead have heard the voice of the Son of God and are made alive and the time is still going on that all that are in the graves shall hear and come forth some to life and some to death Sin shall arise and be condemned but Christ which lay dead the seed shal live every natural man is a grave where Jesus Christ lyeth dead a new Sepulchre where never dead came but he So Christ called the Scribes and Pharises painted Sepulchres whited Tombes and graves that men goe over and cannot tell filthiness did bear all sway in them and smothered the good seed yet their outsides were so fair that none knew it but the spirit Nor doth any Naturall man know that he is a Grave and that Christ lyeth dead in him yet know that the seed is sown in all grounds and that the Light is come into all the world though it he did in the earth and darkness cover the Waters the light is put under a Bushell c. Lord open your eyes and consider what good will it doe you to believe in a Christ come to take away the sinns of the world and yet you live in sin for know assuredly that he came not to take away part of our sins and leave the other untaken away here you count the blood of the Covenant an unholy thing wherewith you were sanctified Heb. 10.29 for I am sure he perfecteth for ever all that come unto him and the blood of Christ cleanseth from all sinn and he will save to the utmost them that believe in him therefore where sin is lived in there is but a dead faith and a false light which is the Egyptian Seas that must be dryed up False light put forth and dead faith made alive before the true faith true light and clear Christall waters flow into the soul to purifie enlighten ●nd cleanse it of all corruption for faith purifies the hear and true light guideth into the paths of righteousness and true Righteousness will like mighty streams runn down our streets all hath gates and goings and cleans them from all filthiness c. As for duty they that worship the Lord must worship him in Spirit and Truth for he seeketh such to worship him John 4 23 24. And they that Judge for the Lord must judg righteous Judgment as it is written He hath shewed th●e O man what is thy duty and what the Lord requireth of thee for to doe Justice to love Mercy and to walk humbly with thy God Micah 6.8 And this is the whole duty of man Fear God and keep his Commandments all which is to love God above all and our Ne●ghbour as our selves This Love is the Tree whereon groweth leaves that will Cure all Nations and whose Pruit will be meat for all People the Shatamits two Armies Love to God and love to Neighbours which overcometh all things both within and without this is the F●re of the Lord that will consume and bu●n up the whole World of Sinn and Corruption this is the destruction of the world that now is which is reserved for Fire untill the destruction and day of ungodly men this exceeding great Love of God shall overcome and burn up all the Heavens and Earth which now is all false rests whereon the the World doth center and they shall be swallowed up in this Love which is Heaven it self He that liveth in Love liveth in God God is Love and the Center of all Joy and Happiness whosoever shall abide therein shall have all hatred taken away and all things become new unto him New Love that shall last for ever New God and all the old Gods of the earth shall be famished the God of this World shall be served by him no longer Money New Christ newly risen from the dead or newly made manifest which had been often talked on New Life and the name written in the book of Life Righteous and true holiness the Lives thereof New Heavens and new Earth wherein dwelleth Righteousness and then shall Judgment be established in Truth in the Earth untill which time hee that Judgeth his Brother is a transgressor of the Law for they that judge their Brethren of any thing and are guilty of the same are vain men and have nothing to doe to judge any they are inexcusable As the Lord liveth that searcheth the hearts and tryes the reines if any Ruler or Judge of this Nation live in any of the seven Abominations spoken of Prov. 6.17 18 19 ver Or if any of them be set up in their hearts they can be no fit Judges to judge of Abomination in others and the Naturall man judging the Saints is but Esau warring against Jacob and untill the Lord shall throw down all Esaus forth of places of Authority there shall be no true judging of the Brethren nor true Judgement set up But least I should seem to you wholly to obstruct your proceedings or to set difference amongst you I shall come home to you in particulars Then know that after the Lord brought the Children out of Egypt they had a great way to pass before they came into the good Land which thing was a true and perfect figure of the spirituall Israels deliverance from the Egiptian bondage of sinn and corruption and all bondages of services whatsoever at whose deliverance they shall finde no less troubles in the spirit then the naturall seed of Israel did in the flesh which condition you are now in and shall find the Sea before the Egyptians behinde and great Mountaines on each hand The Red sea of persecutions before the Egyptian bondage of Sinn and corruption behinde ready to devour you and on each hand great Mountains on the right hand Carnall Worships and on the left hand Carnall Laws that incloseth you in that you cannot goe either backward or forward nor to each hand therefore take heed that like the Israelites you doe not murmure against the true Moses nor tempt God but know that as their strength were to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord so is yours now and then he will divide
the Sea of persecution that you may pass through and you shall pass through the Mountains and leave them behinde you and the Egyptians will the Lord drown in the Sea which they thought to have driven you into but being got over the Red sea and all the Egyptians lie drowned on the shore yet but in the wilderness and great tryals and distresses is there and a mixt multitude now begins to lust for flesh and murmuring gets up and a great slaughter from the Lord destroyes the mightiest of the murmurers so that where God giveth the hearts desire if it be not only used ta his Glory it brings the greater Condemnation Thus going on to Mount Sinah and behold there is a Fire upon it blackness and darkness and sore tempests and fear and much dread overcomes them who look upon it and thunderings and loud voices and great Earthquakes there make the people tremble all those things are plain to him that runs the righteous Race and are all seen within and there the Law of God is written in the heart and added because of transgression and the guilt of Sin and punishment for the same doth appear now the Law of God being written in the heart doth judge and condemn all sin there and there the day of Judgement is come and there is a separation of the precious and vile Sheep and Goats good and evill which good is by God received into rest and cherished but the Evill is punished and cast into torments as plain example will shew in the children of Israels progress for they that believe not cannot enter into the good land But dear hearts be carefull of turning back again into AEgypt in your hearts but go on with courage for all the difficulty for they that endure to the end shall be saved Hearken to Moses the servant of the Lord the manifestations of God within that which doth convince of sin and evill and direct to or in truth and this true Prophet of the Lord will not only lead you into the Mount but into the good Land though now but at the side of the Red sea but if you will not hear this Moses you shall be cut off from amongst the people of God therefore dear Friends as the Lord hath manifested himself to you be faithfull and as yee have put on Christ so walk ye in him in faithfulnesse according to what ye have received for the Lord accepts of that which a man hath and not of that which a man hath not and he requires no more then he gives so he that is faithfull in little shall be Ruler over much being faithfull of a little manifestations of God begets a rule over much sinn and corruptions though they be never so strongly placed in the affections therefore take heed of backsliding for if any set their hands to the Plough and look back they are not fit for the kingdom of Heaven and know that it were better for them never to know the wayes of God then after they know them to return back from them c. And whereas you say The Lord hath strongly convinced you of the great evils you lived in and of the great good you ought to doe which you have omitted That which doth so convince is the true l●ght which being obeyed will lead into all Truths Therefore harden not your hearts against the Lord which hath discovered himself so largely unto you for he discovereth not sin to be lived in nor duty to be neglected for that light which discovereth these things being obeyed giveth strength to forsake sin and to perform duty this is the piller of fire which God lead the children of Israel by through the plain of the read sea or by the way of the Wilderness of the read sea and over the read sea or thorough the which their enemies pursuing were a cloud that they could not see them This is the light of God that enlightneth every one that cometh into the world without end but is darkness to the carnal heart and called evil by every natural man this light doth discover sin and iniquity in the heart O enter into the secrets of your hearts and wait upon the Lord there for the manifestations of his love mediate and pray there in secret and the Lord which seeth in secret will reward you openly by abiding in the house it will appear you are the vertuous woman and all will follow and seek after you whose price is above Rubies and that you are the bride the lambs wife married to him in truth and righteousness and he will take care for you in all things and direct you in all ways how to walk for the woman is to be in subjection to her husband as also saith the law of righteousness but if you gad abroad for councel you will declare to all you are the harlot whose feet abide not in the house whose paths go down to death and all that follow you shall taste thereof O take heed for every one shal give an account unto God for the deeds done in the body whether they be good or evil Therefore O ye heads of the people which judge and rule over them beware of taking gifts and rewards they blind the eyes they will wholly put out the light of God within you and take no bribes for as the Lord liveth for those things hath the Lord cast down all out of the place of judgement that have acted in them and be sure if you still continute the same work you shall have the same wages for if ye judge for hire or rewards or take gifts or bribes the Lord will utterly consume and cast you ou● as he hath done all before you The children of Israel was a perfect figure of this for the which offences the Lord scattered them abroad amongst the heathen and they drave them forth of the land as might be witnessed in our days Ob. But may some say Though the Lord be to be worshipped in spirit and truth yet he hath left the Civil Government to man for man is a reasonable creature by the which he ought to Govern at his own discression Ans No man is reasonable but he which hath faith For all are unreasonable men that live upon sence and it is the property of a beast to live upon sence as all our Judges Rulers and Town Clarks do now all judging and preaching for hire taking gifts and rewards which is contrary to sound reason because the Lord forbids it surely the potter should have power over the clay to make it and then to use it at his pleasure for his own use and not the po● please it self True reason ought to guide every one God made man a reasonable creature but man being not content with that condition God had placed him in but acted in his own reason became like the beasts that perish thus pure reason was destroyed and corrupt reason took place as it doth this day in every natural man God
SOME RETURNS TO A LETTER Which came from a General Meeting of Officers of the Army of England Scotland and Ireland sitting at Jame's Westminster ALSO A blast from the Lord OR A VVARNING TO ENGLAND By way of Exhortation to take heed and not run upon their own destruction which will be speedily without true repentance By a Lover of the Truth and a Prisoner for declaring Truth abroad BEN NICHOLSON London Printed for Giles Calvert and are to be sold at the Black-spread-Eagle near the West end of Pauls 1653. Some Returns to a Letter which came from the General Meeting of Officers of the Army of England Ireland and Scotland sitting at Jame's Westminster Dear Friends 1. WHereas you say that By seeking the Lord and humbling your selves before him he hath convinced you of your slothfulness in his Service and that your hearts have been looking after the things of this world and your own privat Affairs more then the things of Jesus Christ and his people Then consider that God which giveth light to discover them gross darknesses in the which you have lived in doth likewise require a departing from those evils and a walking up to what he hath made manifest in you For they that confess their sins and forsake them shall find mercy but if you again hide your sins you shall not goe unpunished 2. That A slothfull spirit hath overtaken you and you grew weary of the work of the Lord and were ready to say with Baruch that the Lord had added grief to your sorrow that you fainted in your sighings and found no rest Jer. 45 3. Then take heed and seek no longer great things for your selves for the determination of the Lord is to bring evil upon all flesh speedily and to pull down whatsoever it hath built and to pluck up whatsoever it hath planted and to establish truth and righteousness in the earth by his spirit 3. That Those who feared the Lord both in Army and elsewhere have not in this time of peace so improved their Interest or rather imployed their talent to the edifying each other as did the Churches in the primitive times boldly witnessed forth the truth in all places where they went Acts 9.27 to 32. then had the Churches rest c. Then be carefull for the time to come that like the slothfull servant you hide not your Talent in the earth lest the Lord take it wholly from you but improve it only to his use that he may establish peace amongst you that you may walk in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the holy Ghost that you be not cut off with the unprofitable servant c. 4. That The people of this Nation are subject to grievous oppressions through the obstruction of Justice and that the Lord might say to you What could I have done more c. as he said to his Vineyard Isa 5. And he looked for grapes judgement and righteousness but behold wild grapes oppression and crying c. Therefore beware that iniquity be no longer lived in nor oppression upheld by you nor any thing that may cause a cry or complaining of iniquity oppression or unrighteousness among you but bring forth the true grapes judgement and righteousness lest the Lord take away the hedg which he hath set about you and let you be eaten up as all they that have brought forth wild grapes are and troden down laid waste and not digged but there come up briars and thorns and he command the clouds that they rain no rain upon you as Isa 5.5 6 7. verses 5. That Through the corruptions of many in places of Authority some good men have been made to suffer for conscience sake and many bad men have taken encouragement to act in their licentious principles and prophane practises by reason whereof wickedness doth very much abound amongst us Then let it be a warning to all you who see these things in others that you live not in them your selves lest now you shall judge your selves afterwards and take heed that the corruptions which you speak against in others be not upheld by you that good men suffer not under you that by your injustice none take encouragement in any licentious principles or prophane practises and wickedness abound amongst us as now it doth being rather countenanced then truth to speak openly and reprove it c. Therefore like men of truth fearing God and hating covetousness be what you seem that in all things righteousness may be acted by you according to the will of God who made man only to serve him c. that as it is written Our Iudges may be restored as at the first Isa 1.26 to end That our Officers may be peace and our exactors righteousness Isa 60.17 18 c. That Kings and Queens all in Authority may be nursing fathers and nursing mothers of truth and Godlyness that all oppression may be taken off from the poor and all cruelties cease and that crying may be no more heard in the land nor complainings in the streets Isa 46.33 Psal 144.14 And seeing that upon all these considerations forenamed you are strongly convinced that it is a duty very much incombent upon your spirits to awaken your selves and by all lawfull means endeavour the procuring of these things following and surely to prevent the forenamed grievances Then be carefull if you be convinced to obey the Lord in all things you are convinced of and take heed of smothering any thing the Lord hath made known unto you for that is a strangling of the righteous one Jesus Christ which is forbidden Act. 15.20 but be valiant for the Lord and execute true judgement and righteousness every one in your place and let mercy be over all your works that mercy may be shown upon you I am 2.11 to end and take heed of judging for men but stand up for the Lord and judge for him that he may establish truth peace and righteousness amongst you The second Conviction as to duty 1. You say that For the many inconveniences apparently arising from the long continuance of the same persons in Supream Authority that there may be successive Parliaments consisting of men faithfull to the Interest of the Commonwealth men of truth fearing God hating covetousness Then it will follow that no untrue man no wicked nor covetous persons can have any right in the election or choice of or being in any place of authority for those only are fit to rule for the Lord that are ruled by the Lord in all things which power is ordained of God and is to be honoured and he that resists shall receive to himself damnation 2. That The Laws may be regulated that all things whatsoever is good in them may be maintained and whatsoever is really burthen some may be taken away c. Then whilst there is any Law made or upheld by the wisdom and policy of man or whilst there remaineth any evil principl'd or covetous person in any place of