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will he made sensible of his displeasure, as he hath declared by his prophet. The beasts are consumed with the birds, Jer. xii. we need not travel far to give you an example ot this. The following narration is as full of truth as wonder, and may serve to make our hearts to melt, if they were not made of marble.
On the twentieth of July, being the sabbath day, about four of the clock in the afternoon, there was a great and sudden tempt st in the city of Norwich, and the country thereabouts; the flashes ol lightning were most dreadful and violent, and the loud. claps from the clouds did so amaze and affright the people, that they thought the spherescame thundering down in flames about their ears. About an hour afterwards, there appeared to the view of many a black cloud of smoke, like unto the smoke of a furnace, and ever and anon it did cast forth flames of fire; it was attended with a white cloud, which, sailing along the air, did seem to labour for all the'advantages of the wind, to overtake the other; but, the black cloud being first come, and covering the face of the city, there arose a sudden whirlwind, which in the streets of the city did raise such a dust, that it was almost impossible for one man to discern another, but only at a little distance; and, to increase this wonderful darkness, the clouds grew thicker and thicker, especially at the south, and the south-west, when behold the lightning from them did leap forth again, and the thunder chid, and there followed such a rattling storm ofstupendions hail, that, being afterwards measured, the hail stones were found to be five inches about, and some more; all the glass-windows that were on the weather side of the city were beaten down.
Some letters from Norwich do affirm, that three-thousand pounds will not repair the windows. This which I now speak may in other countries seem incredible, and so it might in our own also, were it not to be attested by above ten-thousand witnesses. And surely it is well worth the observation of the best philosophers to take notice, that those hail-stones (as they exceeded all others in their bigness, so they were unlike them in their form) for many of them were meer pieces of flat ice, and had not the least similitude of roundness in them. But why should we, in so great a wonder, expect to be satisfied with reason from philosophy? He only knows what they were, who in the book of Job doth propound the query as the subject of our admiration, and is pleased himself to acknowledge them to be of his own armoury, ' which is the armoury of God.' It is to be admired besides, that, in many of these hail-stones, there was to be seen the figure of an eye, resembling the eye of a man, and that so perfectly, as if it had been there engraved by the hand of some skilful artificer.
If your eyes, possessed with these unusual spectacles, have yet the leisure to look into the country, in hope there to behold some more comfortable objects, you will find in some places whole fields of corn destroyed by the lightning; you will behold the tempest wrestling with the trees, and, having torn them up by the roots, to lay them on their backs with their heels higher than their heads; the burrows could not protect the listening conies, nor the trees the birds, but on the next morning the travellers found them dead in great numbers on the
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 there 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:
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 name. Joh. xx. 31.
Loudon, 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 cam* to past 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 otherways 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 had 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. Even so let all thine enemies perish, O Lord.
Thou wilt, in his examination, discover 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 conveyed 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 'little sense, and less truth, thou canst do more than
Thy loving friend. December 16", 1656.
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 othiT of her own sex, lovingly marched on each side of Nayler's horse. 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-odious 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 had not been, after their confinement in the gaol at Exeter, from whence, passing through Wells and Glassenbury, this purty bestrewed the way with their garments. But,-to be short, they were searched, and letters were found about them, infinitely rilled 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 Naylerwas 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 name, 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.?
Ansty. 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.
Quest. A rt thou (according to that letter) the fairest of ten-thousand?
Answ. As to the visible, I deny any such attribute to be due 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 you the words of the same letter, with another, which were these:
A letter to James Nayler at Exeter, by Hannah Stranger.
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 one 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 innocent; 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 ine 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 tempted 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, temptation, 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 melt at his presence, and the little hills to bring hintpeace. 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 1 love and fear, and trust I shall do unto the end.
Hannah Stranger. From London, lfjthday
pf the 7 th month.