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ground, and in some places a horse, or a cow, lying by them. The lightning whirled through the whole country, and, passing through some houses where the windows were made one against the other, it was seen afterwards to run all along, and to lick the ground; many houses were fired by it, and, had it not pleased God to send an extraordinary shower of rain, some towns, that had taken fire, had been undoubtedly destroyed. It struck some men and women dead for the present, whom it pleased God to recover again to life, to magnify his mercies, and to declare his wonders.
This relation is most true, and seriously we ought to lay it to our hearts, for undoubtedly God there did speak unto us all. You have read in the Gospel, how our Saviour did check the vain presumption of those men, who thought themselves more righteous than those on whom the tower of Siloam fell. Though this thunder and lightning were in the county of Norfolk, yet we ought to fear that the first exhalations did arise from this city *, where so much pride, oppression, hypocrisy, and prophaneness do reign; let us therefore endeavour to humble ourselves before the Almighty, lest he strike us with his forked thunder, and ihere be none to deliver us; lest our houses and our bodies be humbled by firet, by the hand of God; for, although he delights in mercy, and his mercies are spread over all his works, yet to those who presume to overwit God, and do desperately run on in their impieties, our God is a consuming fire.'
And because we are slow to hear, although God himself is our admonisher, it hath pleased him to give us a second alarm in the same county on Saturday last, being the twenty-sixth of this present month, where was again another storm of lightning and thunder, which, passing almost thirty miles, performed the like terrible effects.
GRAND IMPOSTOR EXAMINED:
OR, The Life, Trial, and Examination of James Nayler, the seduced and
seducing Quaker; with the manner of his riding into Bristol. We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. Joh, xix. 7.
But these are written, that ye might believe, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that, believing, ye might have life through his
Joh. xx. 31. London, printed for Henry Brome, at the Hand in St. Paul's Church-yard,
1656. Quarto, containing fifty-six pages.
TO THE READER. Courteous Reader, I do here give thee an account of what passed between James Nayler and his judges, as thinking it a part of my duty, towards God and
• London, + As it came to pass ten years after, when Londou was burnt.
man; that thereby, thou mayest see and know, there is but one only God, and one only Jesus, which is the Christ, who was crucified by the Jews at Jerusalem; which whosoever denies, let him be accursed. · It hath been the custom, in former times, to immure, stone, or other. ways punish with death, such as did falsly stile themselves the only sons of the Most High God; as thou mayest see in that faithful chronologer, John Speed; who affirmeth, That, in the reign of King Henry the Third, there appeared a grand impostor, somewhat, in wickedness, resembling this, of whom we are to treat. This man (or rather devil) thinking himself to be somebody, boasted himself to be nobody in the eyes of the world, but as being sent from heaven; and, having a grave and impudent aspect, pretended himself to be no less than the Saviour of mankind. And, to strike a belief into the easily seduced people, he bad wounded his hands, feet, and side; affirming these to be the wounds, which the Jews had given him at Jerusalem. For which blasphemous and horrid doctrine, he was sentenced to be starved to death, between the walls of a strong prison, where he and his doctrine died. Eve-n so let all thine enemies perish, O Lord.
Thou wilt, in his examination, di-cover some difference to be between him and George Fox; but I suppose they are again reconciled.
I shall not trouble thee with all the many letters, which were cunveyed from him to others, or from them to him, lest I make my relation swell too big; I shall only give thee two or three of the chiefest; out of which if thou canst pick but a flittle sense, and less truth, thou canst do more than
Thy loving friend. December 16,
Reader, THI THINKING it a very good foundation to my building, to give you
the manner of his progress, before you come to his confession, or before his blasphemy aspires to the stool of repentance, I shall thus begin: James Nayler of Wakefield, in the county of York, a deluded and deluding Quaker and impostor, rode October last, through a village called Bedminster, about a mile from Bristol, accompanied with six more, one whereof, a young man, whose head was bare, leading his horse by the bridle, and another uncovered before him, through the dirty way, in which the carts and horses, and none else, usually go: and with them, two men 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 condition, asked them to come in the better road, adding that God expected no such extremity. But they continued on their way, not answering in any other notes, but what were musical, singing, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth,' &c. Thus continued they, till, by their wandering, they came to the alms-house, within the suburbs of Bristol, where one of the women alighted, and
she, with the other of her own sex, lovingly marched on each side of Nayler's borse. This Witherley saith, he supposes, they could not be less deep in the muddy way, than to the knees; and, he saith, they sang, but sometimes with such a buzzing mel-udious noise, that he could not understand what it was. This the said Witherley gave in, upon his oath. Thus did they reach Ratcliff-gate, with Timothy Wedlock of Devon bare-headed, and Martha Symonds with the bridle on one side, and Hannah Stranger, on the other side of the horse; this Martha Symonds is the wife of Thomas Symonds, of London, bookbinder; and Hannah Stranger is the wife of John Stranger of London, comb-maker, who sung ‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Israel. Thus did he ride to the High Cross in Bristol, and after that, to the White Hart in Broad-street, where there lie two eminent Quakers, by name Dennis Hollister and Henry Row; of which the magistrates hearing, they were apprehended and committed to prison.
Long it bad not been, after their confinement in the gaol at Exeter, from whence, passing through Wells and Glassenbury, this party bestrewed the way with their garments. But, to be short, they were searched, and letters were found about them, infinitely filled with profane nonsensical language; which letters I shall not trouble you with, only some of the chief, lest your patience should be too much cloyed. We shall haste now to their examinations; and, because Nayler was the chief actor, it is fit he have the pre-eminence of leading the way in their examinations; we shall therefore give you a full account of what passed between the magistrate and him, which take as followeth :
The Examination of James Nayler, and others. BEING asked his naine, or whether he was not called James Nayler, he replied, The men of this world call me James Nayler.
Quest 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.?
Answ 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 horse's bridle, and some there were that cast down clothes, and sang praises to the Lord, such songs as the Lord put into their hearts; and it is like it might be the song of Holy, holy, holy,' &c.
Quest. Whether or no didst thou reprove those women?
Answ. Nay, but I bade them take heed, that they sang nothing but what they were moved to by the Lord.
Quest. Dost thou own this letter (whereupon a letter was shewed him) which Hannah Stranger sent unto thee?
Answ. Yea, I do own that letter.
answ. As to the visible, I deny any such attribute to be duc unto me; but if, as to that which the Father has begotten in me, I shall own it. But now, reader, before I pass further, I hold it not impertinent to deliver
the words of the same letter, with another, which were these:
A letter to James Nayler at Exeter, by Hannah Stranger. J. N. IN the pure fear and power of God, my soul salutes thee, thou everlasting son of righteousness, and prince of peace. Oh! how my soul travelleth to see this day, which Abraham did, and was glad, and so shall all that are of faithful Abraham. O! suffer me to speak what the Lord hath moved, there is ove temptation near, the like unto the first, and is like the wisdom of God, but it is not, and therefore it must be destroyed. Oh! it defileth and hateth the iunocent; I beseech thee wait, my soul travelleth to see a pure image brought forth, and the enemy strives to destroy it, that he may keep me always sorrowing, and ever seeking, and never satisfied, nor never rejoicing. 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 rejoicings and praises, But, till then, better is the house of mourning than rejoicing, for he that was made a perfect example, when he had fasted the appointed time of his father, was tenpted to eat, and to shew a miracle, to prove himself to be the Son of God. But man lives not by bread, said he, and now no more by that wisdom shall he live, on which he hath long fed, as on bread; and, as his food hath been, so must his fast be, and then, at the end, teinptation, to as low a thing as a stone, that, if it were possible, the humility and the miracles would deceive the elect, innocent, and righteous branch of holiness. But, be his wills never so many, the time comes he shall leave thee, for he is faithful, who hath promised he will not leave the throne of David without a man to sit thereon, which shall judge the poor with righteousness, and the world with equity. This shall shortly come to pass, and then shall the vision speak, and not lye. O! let innocency be thy beloved, and righteousness thy spouse, that thy father's lambs may rejoice in thy pure and clear unspotted image of holiness and purity, which my soul believeth I shall see, and so in the faith rest. I am in patience, wait, and the
power will preserve from subtlety; though under never so zealous a pretence of innocent wisdom it be, yet shall the Lord not suffer his Holy One to see corruption, nor his soul to lie in hell, but will cause the mountains to meli 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 servant's 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, 16th day
of the 7th month,
Another of the same. OH! thou fairest of ten-thousand, thou only begotten Son of God, how
my heart panteth after thee? O stay me with flaggons, and comfort me with wine. My 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 mindest to see her, for the spirit and power of God is with her; and there is given to her much of excellent and innocent wisdom arisen, 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 master have any jealousy 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 bless them that bless bis, and curse them that curse his; for this hath the Lord shewed me, that her portion is exceeding large in the Lord; and, as her sorrow hath been much, so shall her joy be much more; which rejoiceth my heart, to see her walk so valiantly and so faithfully in the work of the Lord, in this time of so great trials as hath been laid upon her especially.
And I am
The Postscript. Remember my dear love to thy master. Thy name is no more to be called James but Jesus.
of the eighth month, superscribed this to the hands of James
We shall now return to his examination.
Quest. Dost thou own the name of the King of Israel?
Answ. Not as a creature, but, if they give it Christ within, I own it, and have a kingdom but not of this world; my kingdom is of another world, of which thou wotst not.
Quest. Whether or no art thou the prophet of the Most High?
Answ. The judge is but one, and is witnessed in me, and is the
Quest. By whom were you sent?
Answ. By Him who hath sent the spirit of his Son in me to try, not as to carnal matters, but belonging to the kingdom of God, by the