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To The Life of God in All

James Nayler's Confession

from Street Corner Society

The love of that precious life of Christ Jesus in me, constrains me (as the light thereof arises) to declare to all people, and to generations to come, how the innocent, just, and holy life came to suffer in me, and be betrayed, and I to lose the light thereof, so far as to be taken captive again under the power of darkness, sin and death, from which that life had once set me free, and born me in itself for some years, above all the craft, subtlety and power of satan, that old deceiver and tempter of mankind, who ceases not to take every occasion that pure life to devour, and so take the creature captive again, who with that precious Life has once been ransomed, as once I had been by the living virtue thereof; for out of kindreds and estate, and all visible relations had He once called me, and set me free; and had broken all my bonds as to all earthly things, which were strong and many, and redeemed me from all my sins past, and with His precious blood had He sprinkled my conscience (before God) as though I had never sinned in His sight, anointing me with the oil of deliverance and peace towards God and man; and sent me forth in the same bowels to call lost and strayed souls to the same everlasting light, therein to wait for the appearance of the same purifying life and power in themselves, therewith to be gathered to the pure God, to whom the children of darkness and wicked workers cannot come, till with the word of life they be cleansed and made new after Himself, in whom is no iniquity.

And in this His work, by Him was I preserved against all enmity, born in all afflictions, and fed above all wants within and without, though sent into a strange country without money, bag or scrip, and among a strange people that knew not God, in the North Parts of this English Nation; and I may truly say, as a sheep among wolves I was wherever I came; yet had none power to touch me further than what should make for His glory in whom I lived, and the advantage of that work I was about, which He daily turned to my exceeding joy and great reward; and His living Presence did ever furnish me with renewed strength against all contrary spirits, and the power thereof, and in Him I had judgment and power over them, wherever they withstood His pure work.

And in this same life and dominion did He bring me up into this great City London, into which I entered with the greatest fear that ever into any place I came, in Spirit foreseeing somewhat to befall me therein, but not knowing what it might be; yet had I the same Presence and power as before; into whatsoever place or service I was led of the Spirit, in that life I never returned without victory in Christ Jesus, the Lord thereof.

But not minding in all things to stand single and low to the motions of that endless Life, by it to be led in all things, within and without; but giving way to the reasoning part, as to some things which in themselves had no seeming evil, by little and little drew out my mind after trifles, vanities, and persons which took the affectionate part, by which my mind was drawn from the constant watch, and pure fear, into which I was once begotten, and spiritual adultery was committed against the precious pure Life which had purchased me unto Himself alone, and is grieved with the least departure from Him in body, spirit or mind, even that eternal, pure and zealous Spirit from above, had drawn me near into Himself, and that pure Word was become my life, who said; He that does but look upon a woman to lust, commits adultery; and in whose sight the least coveting, or letting any visible object into the affections is idolatry: Into that life I was comprehended, and the apple of that pure eye was opened in me, which admits not of an evil thought; but is wounded and bruised with the least appearance of evil, even this birth was born which reigns through righteousness, and suffers till all righteousness be fulfilled in every particular. And this is the Son of God forever, and into this life and kingdom I was translated; and I was in Him that is true, in whom there is no sin; and He alone lived and ruled in this His temple, which to Himself He had purchased with His precious blood, and His delight was in me, and His presence was glorious, and not the least evil could appear, but I could feel Him in Spirit lifting up His Witness against it.

But when I reasoned against His tender reproof, and consulted with another, and so let the creatures into my affections, then His temple was defiled through lust, and His pure Spirit was grieved, and he ceased to reprove, and He gave me up, and His light He withdrew and His judgment took away; and so the body of sin and death revived again, and I possessed afresh the iniquities of my youth, and that which had of old been buried, arose and stood against me, and so the temple was filled with darkness and the power of death, and my heart with sorrow, and satan daily at my right hand to tempt me further to provoke the Lord, and to take away my life.

Thus having in a great measure lost my own Guide, and darkness being come upon me, I sought a place where I might have been alone, to weep and cry before the Lord, that His face I might find, and my condition recover: But then my adversary who had long waited his opportunity, had got in, and bestirred himself every way, so that I could not be hid, and diverse messages came to me in that case, some true, some false (as I have seen since). So I knowing some to be true, to wit, how I had lost my condition, with this I let in the false message also; and so letting go that little of the true light which I had yet remaining in myself, I gave up myself wholly to be led by others, whose work was then wholly to divide me from the children of light; which was done, though much was done by diverse of them to prevent it, and in bowels of tender love many labored to have stayed me with them. And after I was led out from them, the Lord God of my life sent diverse of His servants with His word after me, for my return: all which was rejected; yea, the provocations of that time of temptation was exceeding great against the pure love of God, yet He left me not; for after I had given myself under that power, and darkness was above, my adversary so prevailed, that all things were turned and perverted against my right seeing, hearing or understanding, only a secret hope and faith I had in my God, whom I had served, that He would bring me through it, and to the end of it; and that I should see again the day of my redemption from under it all: And this quieted my soul in my greatest tribulation.

Thus was I led out from among the children of light and into the world, to be a sign, where I was chased as a wandering bird gone from her nest, so was my soul daily and my body from one prison to another, till at length I was brought in their own way before a backsliding power to be judged, who had lost their first love, as I had done; So they sentenced me, but could not see their sign, and a sign to the nation, and a sign to the world of the dreadful day of the just God, who is come and coming to avenge for that pure Life, where it is transgressed, and to plead the cause of that precious Seed wherever it is oppressed and suffers under the fleshly lusts of this present world, and the cup is deep and very dreadful that is seen and filling, and it has begun at God's house, but many must drink it, except there be speedy repentance.

And in this time of my darkness and night of great temptation (which darkness I had let up over my head, and my judgment being much lost) there got up many wild spirits, Ranters, and such like, acting many evil things against the life of truth and name of Christ, His light and people that walk therein, on purpose to bring reproach thereon, and set themselves to break and disquiet the meetings of the people of God, and made use of my name therein, and others rejoiced thereat, and cried, Thus would we have it, they are divided among themselves; this is that we looked for &c. Others came to me in that time in true pity, and in sorrow of heart suffered with me for all that was befallen me, and that precious truth I had walked in.

Thus became I an occasion to make sad the innocent and harmless people, whose hearts were tender, and to make glad the man that delights in mischief, and such as rejoice in iniquity, and to gratify many unclean spirits: which things the pure God hates, and my soul hates, and all that name that God had formerly given me in His house, and that power, the wicked one made use on against the Lord, and His Lambs, and His truth, wherein I had received that name and power. Thus I abused my power and knew not, by coming under him who seeks to pervert the right ways of God, and His truth to turn into a lie, wherever he gets above, whom the Lord had once trodden under my feet and all his instruments. And over the head of all this was I kept by His power, while singly I stood in His pure counsel, and humbly walked in His daily fear: the loss whereof was of myself. And this to His eternal glory I confess forever.

So that precious life of Christ Jesus I confess openly, which I had openly sinned against, which life is the light of the world, and all the good that is in man is from the virtue thereof; which whosoever goes from to feed elsewhere, forsakes their own mercies, and to this must return, and confess again, if ever they come to true peace in God: For this is the Peacemaker and the Christ of God, and the Lamb that takes away sin, and reconciles to the Father of spirits, and that Spirit that quickens the dead, of whom I testify forever, and Him I confess in the night and in the day before God and before men, who under all has been my help and Savior, immortal praises forever.

And he that has this precious Life has the Son of the eternal God and eternal life; and with all that receive Him as King and Leader, with such the Father is well-pleased, because He alone it is that leads in all holy ways, and out of all show of lust and uncleanness, and teaches to avoid every appearance of evil within and without; Therefore the pure God loves Him above all in heaven and earth, and had placed His fullness in Him, from whom the living of all ages are to be fed, and whatever good gift any creature receives from God the Father, it is in this pure Life and for the sake of this unspotted Seed; and that He alone (that Spirit) may be exalted in all and above all, not flesh which is grass, whose glory turns into dust. If this life withdraw its virtue, then all his wisdom is shame and folly, who goes out from this light and counsel: For this life is He, which being disobeyed in man's fall; and His Spirit being grieved, is God's wrath upon every creature, but in His favor is length of days and eternal glory; and both these I have learned in the day and in the night: So I give all glory to the life forevermore, and to Him it is due, and all the evil has been from self.

This life is the root and offspring of all heavenly fruit upon earth, and in whom this is planted, as it grows it will bring forth truth and righteousness towards God and man, and the virtue that rises with it will fill the creature with springs of heavenly life and heavenly power, it will cover you with health of salvation, and stay you with immortal strength; He will guide you with counsel of life, and open your mouth in that wisdom which none shall confound; yea, all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in Him, and the richest excellency that ever appeared in the flesh in Him is sealed; For all generations that receive Him in their faith and obedience, and as He arises in is temples, He gives forth of His riches, gifts to adorn His habitation, and to cover it with His light and glory.

But this is the evil in His sight, and that which provokes His pure Spirit, that vain man, in whom He thus delights, should be exalted in himself, because of the gifts, and glory in his strength and wisdom, and so grow wanton against the Life, from whence he has it; And so through feeding on the gifts, ceases to walk humbly with the Giver in his own vessel. Here man forgets his God, and so withers at the root, and be the tree never so great it will fall in the end, and great will be the fall thereof.

And this is that God against whom I have sinned, and my offence I confess to the Root that bore me, who raises up the meek and lowly, and casts down him that boasts above the Root, who does what He will in the heavens, and rules in the kingdoms of men, the Lord of Hosts is His name, and He is worthy; yea, and will be feared: Even so be it forevermore.

And whatever of that worship or honor has any way by any creature been given or received to my person, which belongs to that eternal Spirit, forever by me it is denied and condemned as idolatry; and whatever creature I have at any time gone out to, from this pure Spirit, and let into my affections, or whatever I have taken counsel of without this Life and against it, it is forever condemned as adultery in my heart, and so I have found it in His pure Spirit, to whom I confess for my God and Savior in all my troubles.

In whomsoever this pure eternal Spirit of Life throughout the world has been troubled or offended, in man or woman, through my fall, or the advantage which the adversary got against my soul, God's truth and His people, to that in all I acknowledge my offence. Against Thee have I sinned who was with me in the deep, and in so many tender hearts for my recovery and salvation, which is one in all, forever confessed too, and the occasion of the grief thereof forever condemned in the Presence of God, His host and people.

But against him that sought my life in that day, and rejoiced at that occasion, have I requited no evil in my heart, neither have I opened my mouth before the Lord, that the evil day should haste, who rejoiced at my fall, and was glad at that advantage, to pursue my soul into the pit, that I might never be seen in the light more, nor have appeared in the assemblies of them which God has sanctified on the earth: But in the bowels of Him that has born me through all adversity, I have been kept towards them, and I know it is the Spirit of Christ Jesus which thinks not evil for evil. And when all visible help was removed afar off, and I in the depth of the pit, then this was with me and in me before God, which often appeared when all else was gone, and many a time stayed my soul in secret, that it sunk not under the accuser; and the weight of his temptations when I was alone from any creature. And now seeing that the loving-kindness of the Lord has outlived all this enmity, and the long-suffering of Christ Jesus has born to the end thereof, and that endless life has ministered freedom for me, thereto be glory and praise forevermore.

And to God the Father of all be thanks forever, who is begetting His creatures into that one pure Life, and with the cords thereof as bound up as in one bundle so many at this day, who in His living Spirit and power are made at the needful time to stand before Him, with cries and prayers one for another, which He has heard and does hear, even as he has begotten thereto in every creature, the answer whereof makes me glad at this day, praises to God everlasting.

And to the glory of this precious Life is this sent forth, that all that have sinned against Him may have hope in Him and return, whose judgments are right and His mercy endures forever, and that all who have made their graves deep through disobedience, and their darkness through lust, might awake and confess to the Lord of life, and come forth, who quickens the dead, at His Word the blind He makes to see, and has called to the great deeps, that His praises may live forever.

And that all you in whom any measure of this precious Life has been betrayed, either through this or any other thing, that to the light thereof you may return in yourselves, and there wait till the Life arise, which is your return, and which must give you rest with the flock of God; for it's the Life that's the door and the fold, and without it you will be but wanderers, and lost in all your thoughts and motions, and God will cross you and curse you for its sake, and plead against you till you return, if He cast you not off for often rebellion, from which the Lord keep you. And take heed of evil thoughts to which you will be tempted, you that are gone out from the true light, or an evil eye going out of your own hearts against the truth you were once called into, or them that walk in it, to spy faults in others and feed thereon; this food will but strengthen the enmity in you against you and your return, and with this you may make bonds which you cannot break when you would, and your evil thoughts are as witchcraft to the pure Life, and as a canker, will eat till it have devoured all that remains in you, to lead you to repentance, that not so much as the place thereof you will find in the end. And this I am moved to warn you of, having been often tempted therewith, that the Life of peace and truth may only live and guide in you in all, without which there can be no true unity with God or His people, which is that the devil chiefly hates and withstands in all in whom he can prevail.

Thus having drunken a measure of that depth which cannot be measured, I cannot but confess thereto, and declare thereof to His praise, who above all excels in judgment and mercy, to every particular creature in their several states and conditions, that all might hear and take heed to abide in Him, whose offspring they are, who has His way in the deeps, and makes darkness as light before Him: He turns man to destruction for his disobedience, and the light of His Word is salvation, and His Life the resurrection out of the greatest depth; who has saved my soul from death thus far, and lifted my feet out of the pit, even to Him be immortal glory forever; and let every troubled soul trust in Him, for His mercy endures forever.

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