Source: Reprinted in "A Collection of Ranter Writings", ed. Nigel Smith, 1983 & 2014
A Rout, A Rout;
Or some part of the
By the DAY of the
Stealing upon Them.
Wherein is briefly discovered
the present cloudy and dark Appearance
of God amongst them.
By JOSEPH SALMON, a present
Member of the ARMY.
He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith.
Arise ye, and depart, for this is not your rest; it is polluted, &c.
The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God,
to beat down strong holds, &c.
London, Printed for G. C. 1649.1
A WORD to the Commanding Power in the ARMY.
By your leave, Gentlemen,
I Hope, in these days of Liberty, I may be free to speak a word to my fellow soldiers: I shall not trouble you with much at the present, for I know you have more trouble already upon your spirits, then you can well tell how to be rid of. My speech is intended especially (as I said before) to my fellow soldiers, those of the inferior rank and quality; I have very little from the Lord to declare to you as yet: All that I have to say, is this; That you go on as fast as you can with the work you have begun, for the time draws nigh that is allotted you: Make haste (I say;) yet not more haste than good speed: Make a short work; but cut it short in righteousness; for the Day is at hand, wherein he that helpeth and they that are holpen shall fall together. Gentlemen, you are the rod of God, yea, the rod of the Lord's anger in His own hand, the Almighty Arm acts you; and so it appears; for no manly glory can encounter with you: in this day of the LORD'S Wrath you strike through King, gentry, and nobility, they all fall before you: You have a commission from the LORD to scourge ENGLAND'S oppressors; do it in the name of God, do it (I say) fully, hotly, sharply; and the same measure you mete, shall be met to you again; for the Lord will ere long cast his rod into the fire of burning and destruction: It will be a sweet destruction, wait for it.
Under an abrupt form I subscribe myself
Yours in life and death,
TO The Fellowship (of SAINTS scattered) in the ARMY.
I Know it will be a wonder to some of you, to behold this frontispiece faced with my character; and truly it is as much my wonder as yours: I little thought that ever God would have called me hither. Friends, I am yet amongst you, I own you, I can say Amen to your proceedings, although I cannot close with you in the managing of them. I have a fellowship with you in the Lord: but I am distant from your dark and fleshly enterprises.
You are a scattered seed amongst tares, and it is your name that upholds the fame of the whole: You are that little leaven hid in the meal, whose reputation seasons the whole lump; if it were not for you, this power of the sword, would vanish and be annihilated. Behold, I show you a Mystery, it is yet hidden from many, yea most of you; Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, The day is coming, and now is, when I will gather up my jewels in the Army (from under this dark and carnal form of the sword) into myself; where I will be unto them life, liberty, privilege and satisfaction, the fullness of arrears, and plenty of accommodation; when they shall no more contend with the world for outward interest, but beholding all in Divine fullness, shall in the enjoyment of it sit down contented. And this I partly see fulfilled in myself and others.
But now it may be you will wonder why I yet remain amongst you, seeing I am brought hither; I am sure many of your verdicts will pass upon me, I shall not want the censure of most. But it is no matter; Cast all your cruelty and malice upon me; the Lord in me is mighty to bear it: I will own it all, being willing to become sin for you, though the Lord in me knows no sin; that you, together with me, may be presented in the Lord an eternal righteousness.
I have but this at present to say: I am now with you, as Mary at the sepulchre, waiting to see the Lord: but he is risen. Your carnal affairs are the sepulchre where the Lord is buried to me; he is not here, he is certainly risen, but where to see him in his next appearance, I wait: I must stand at the sepulchre till the voice be uttered behind me, which I believe will be shortly, both to me and many others. Till the day break, and the shadows flee away, Farewell my beloved, be thou as a Roe, or a young Hart upon the mountains of Bether.
Sirs, I am yours,
A ROUT, A ROUT,
Some part of the Army's Quarters beaten up, by the DAY of the LORD stealing upon them.
That Power (or Mystery) which acts all things, and by which whole man (in his counsels, actions and engagements) is led out and disposed according to divine will and pleasure; I say, this Power (which is God) comes forth and offers itself in a diversity of appearance, and still (by a divine progress in the affairs of the earth) moves from one power to another, from one dispensation to another, from one party to another; hereby accomplishing his eternal decreed design in and upon the Creature. This is manifest in all dispensations, civil and spiritual.
Time was, when God had faced the Jewish Ceremonies (those carnal manifestations) with a great beauty and splendour of divine Majesty: the Lord was there seen under that form to veil and hide his beauty and glory. In a time appointed he departed from them, went out of them, he would dwell there no longer; but he casts off that form or garment, and clothes himself with another, swallowed up that glory in another, the lesser in the greater; and then all the brightness and lustre of divine appearance resided in, and dwelt upon the flesh of the Son, as being a more true pattern, and exact resemblance of God the divine Power. But the Lord was not here in his appearance where he would be neither; and therefore having no resolution eternally here to tabernacle or abide, in the fullness of time he lays this form aside also. Though he was the Son, the dear Son, the only begotten Son, a Son so like the Father, yet he must not be spared, he must be crucified, the Lord will move hence also: whence note, That this divine power (or mystery) admits of no eternal habitation in anything below itself.
Now as this power [God] hath a daily motion out of one dispensation spiritual into another, so also it is in civil or outward dispensations.
This I have found in my own experience, (by tracing this divine power, in its going forth amongst the sons of men) that it sometimes owns this, sometimes that form; sometimes this, sometimes that party, daily moving from one to another as it pleaseth: now the Lord lives in all these, though in some darkly, in others more purely; and all these motions are as so many footsteps of God, whereby he gradually ascends out of the creature, into a more complete image or likeness of himself.
Time was, when God dwelt amongst us in the darkness of absolute and arbitrary Monarchy: the face and beauty of divine mystery lived in it, deny it who can, that sees God in all things.
In this form of Monarchy God hath veiled his beautiful presence with a thick cloud of darkness: He hath made darkness his secret place, and his pavilions round about him have been thick clouds of the sky. Though the image and brightness of God have dwelt in it, yet under such black darkness that man could never discern it. Tyranny, persecution, opposition, will, nature and creature, hath been (as it were) that veil betwixt God and man in this dispensation; all this, and whatever you will call evil in Monarchy, the Lord was pleased to hide himself under, while resident in this carnal form. I know it's difficult to see God in this darkness, the bright Sun under this black cloud: the naked and pure Spirit, under this foul habit and filthy attire; but he that cannot here discern God is blind, and sees not afar off.
God (having hitherto walked under this form) is now (and hath in these last days) come forth to rend this veil in pieces, to shake this form, to lay it waste, and clothe himself with another.
How God hath and does destroy Monarchy, and what it figures out to us.
The power and life of the King, and in him the very soul of Monarchy sunk into the Parliament, and here it lost its name barely, but not its nature; its form, but not its power; they making themselves as absolute and tyrannical as ever the King in his reign, dignity and supremacy; yet the Lord ascended a little nearer himself, by taking off this form (the Parliament) and hereby made way for his after-design.
We see in a short time, he lays aside that glorious show and idol (the Parliament) and clothes himself with the Army: And thus, both King, Monarchy and Parliament fell into the hands, and upon the swords of the Army: and thus the Army are to be the executioners of that beast (Monarchy) which they had formerly wounded, and whose wound the Parliament had healed and salved over by a corrupt and rotten treaty: all which doth figure out to me the stain of the glory of all flesh; as Monarchy (or arbitrary regal power) falls by the sword, so also shall that kingly and imperial power of all flesh be cut in sunder by the stroke of Divine Justice; for by his fire and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh, and the slain of the Lord shall be many: The Lord will kindle a burning under that glory wherein he hath formerly appeared; God himself shall be the burning, the holy One shall be the flame, and all fleshly regality in us shall be the fuel which shall be burnt up and consumed. But we shall hence proceed to our former discourse, and shall next in order consider
How God lives in the ARMY.
Thus far we see God hath moved from party to party, and sits down at present in the Army; and here also God makes darkness his secret place, living under a poor, low, carnal form, and few can behold his beautiful presence under the power of the sword. The Lord here besmears himself with blood and vengeance, deforms his own beauty, hides his amiable presence under a hideous and wrathful form.
And now in as much as God hath called me forth (from an impartial spirit) to declare my light; I shall (from some clear experience of the Army's present condition) discover that dark and cloudy appearance of the supreme Power [God] amongst them, whereby may be discerned how far below the pure appearance of the spirit, their present station renders them. And I am very confident, that which I shall say, the Lord will testify and bear record the truth of the same upon the hearts of many amongst them. Friends! Look about you, for the Lord is now coming forth to rip up your bowels, to search your hearts, and try your reins; yea, to let loose the imprisoned light of himself in you; and if the Lord by this doth not shake many of you, then say, That I have prophesied lies in the name of the Lord. Then let him that hath an ear to hear, hear what the Lord, that Spirit saith.
Thus saith the Lord, yea the Lord saith it:
That the present condition of the Army, or the present appearance of the supreme Power amongst them, renders them in darkness, and far below the pure Light and Life of God.
That it is so, I offer my appeal thus.
First, let them and all others (who are spiritually wise) consider, by and from what principles God acts these men; I mean you heroes of valour in the Army, you grandees of the present power in the Kingdom: In patience possess ye your souls till I shall race your foundation, and discover your principles, which God hath hitherto and still does act you in: they are either public or private, common or (more properly) peculiar; your common and public principles, are the outward liberty and freedom of the Nation, the establishment of outward laws, liberties, and privileges; and some outward form of government; which may correspond with your sense of Justice: what no farther yet? This is poor earthly Tabernacle, which God at present hath taken up in you; I wish I might not have cause to say, It is a speckled pretence under which your private interests resides: For I know this is the main spur that drives you on, (self-preservation:) This is your Delilah, your proper, private and peculiar principle: resolved you are to save your lives, and preserve your self-interest, though in this expedition you destroy all other powers and interests whatsoever: Herein, (though you walk, as men, very carnally) yet, Dear hearts, I blame you not. I know God acts you in this cloud, he goes out with you in this darkness, and lets out his presence through this veil of self-preservation amongst you, he hath crowned you with fame, success and victory, while you have lived and acted in this earthly body of outward liberty. But how far inferior and below this is, to a life in the purity of Divine light, (now God hath disclosed himself) I am in some measure able to discern.
You know not yet what it is to be dead to your own interests, though you have professed a great deal of self-denial, yet I profess many of you never knew what true self-denial was; and what it is truly to be dissolved and dye out of your own carnal Interests: I know your honour and dignity is great in your hearts, your renowned enterprises call for merit: Your lives and safeties are also dear to you; it is so, so it must be, God will have it so: he lives in these low concernments, and yet your hearts cannot be embittered or disengaged from them: you hug them, you prize them, they are an object of your embraces. But I tell you (Sirs) God is going about to unbody himself in you, whiles you are embracing this body of self-safety and outward liberty, he is dying and departing from it, though you see it not. And this know, That God will ere long leave you exceeding dark and dead in your enterprises: I was alive once as well as you, and in my life I laboured amongst you (in my sphere) as much as another; but I am now dead with the Lord; I am at rest from my labour; Ah happy death! oh blessed loss! how far better is it O Lord to be dissolved and gathered up into thy rest, than to live the life of a worldly and carnal labour? and I know also that the hour of God's judgement is come upon many of you: some of you have received your mortal wound already; I see you gasp and struggle in your confused and dark enterprises. Let this silver probe but sink to the bottom of your wounded hearts, and something, without question, will speedily be discovered.
If you saw your interests in the Lord, your lives and liberties in the Lord, if you saw all yours in the Lord, you would think it a beggarly thing to contend for anything, or to plead God's quarrel with any that shall demand them of you. Doubtless, it is a poor, low, base, earthly Spirit, that raises contests, and seeks after the ruin and blood of creatures, for the enjoyment of that which at best is but a bitter-sweet, a well-being subject to all manner of casualties. Lo, This is the principle that God at present acts you by: It is the Lord in you, inhabiting his secret place; and because I see it is the Lord, I can embrace it, I can tender you in my bosom-affections, while you are carried forth in this carnal dispensation. Nevertheless, I will in part discover to you how far some are dead to their own Interest, and whither shortly you must be brought.
Those that live in the more pure knowledge and Life of God, see themselves (their Lives, Liberties, and all outward enjoyments) not their own, but the Lords, and theirs in the Lord, not a jot below him, or at the least distance from him,
If we have the Lord, we have enough, because he is all to us, and we the same fullness e in him: Lo, this is life, liberty, and satisfaction. Now no outward loss or misery can make us unhappy: we may be persecuted, yet not forsaken, cast down, yet not destroyed; dying, and behold we live, in bondage, yet free; because the Lord is all this, and more to us. To live, to us is Christ, and to die is gain. If we have a portion of outward safety amongst others, we see it is the Lord; if not, it is the Lord; and where the Lord is, there is Liberty: God is to us light in darkness, glory in shame, beauty in deformity, liberty in bondage, we possess nothing, yet enjoy all things; suffering is our crown, death our life; yea, we live upon death daily, we cannot live without it.
Again, We are also contented with the dispose of providence in anything that may be called ours: If any party or power command us, our lives, liberties, or interest, it is the pleasure of the Father in us to give up all to them: we see a divine call in it, and can with alacrity yield obedience. Oh, it is a sweet smelling sacrifice, acceptable with the Father, when we (the son) are thus drawn forth to offer up our dearest interests for the world. It may be you cannot in this apprehend me: it is no matter, the Father willeth it should be a mystery.
Our Interest of life and liberty is at your service; if you call for it, take it; we are contented to be prodigal of it, to satisfy the blood-thirsty spirit of any man in the Kingdom.
While we are in the enjoyment of these outward things, we use them as if we used them not, being free to throw them off at the first demand: we are as free to suffer, to be trampled upon, to hang and burn, as to enjoy that outward liberty which you (so seriously and resolutely) press after. I tell you, Sirs, suffering is our conquest; While we are ground to pieces under any power whatsoever, all this while we trample upon them: debasing is our exalting; in that which you call misery and calamity, we are more than conquerors: We dare meet you (even you, whose courage hath excelled, whose fierce countenance makes the earth to tremble, you who are the present terror of the Nation) and appear in a naked posture before you; yea, throw yourselves, lives, liberties, and all upon the edge of your cruelty; and we are sure, if you dare encounter with us here, we shall overcome you. Ah Sirs! When you see this way of conquest, you will throw your swords behind you in an holy despite and scorn; you shall lay all your honour in the dust, and by that sweet spirit of meekness shall destroy and subdue your enemies.
I wish you might be carried forth into a serious view of the manner of your present actings. As your principles are poor and beggarly, so also the manner of your Engagements is dark and fleshly. This cloudy and veiled appearance of God amongst you, puts you upon preposterous designs, upon low and carnal Enterprises: You have taken away Charles his life, because otherwise he would (it's likely) have taken yours. True, it is the good will of the Lord it should be so, I have nothing to say against it; the Lord in this cloud leads you forth to it, and in this you have plaid the parts of men acting under a fleshly discovery of things. You are led forth in a way of vengeance upon your adversaries; you sentence and shoot to death at your pleasure; it little moves you to trample upon the blood of your enemies; this is your victory, glory and triumph. All this is well; you must tarry here till God moves higher amongst you.
I have only this to say to you:
Is it not a poor carnal thing for Saints, so high in profession as you have been, to stand brangling with the world for a few carnal enjoyments? What, the sons of everlasting peace, and engaged in a carnal combat? Well, it is the Lord; I am satisfied. But oh, that sweet and meek Spirit of Christ! Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; was persecuted, but with patience underwent it, and committed himself to him that judged righteously. You cannot, you dare not commit yourselves, your cause, your lives and liberties to the Lord, and nakedly, without any carnal opposition, surrender your interest to a divine dispose: Nay rather, Shall not your swords soon be sheathed in the bowels of those who obstruct, or impede, your furious march in the road of self-preservation? Poor dear hearts! It is the lowness, weakness and darkness of God by which you are led forth and acted. The Lord, ere long, will come forth in another appearance amongst you; he is coming out of darkness, his secret place, into a light and open view; he will let out a more pure glory upon you, when, in an holy shame, you will reflect upon your present employments.
I tell you, dearly esteemed, it is a scorn to us, either to pick, or plead a quarrel with any party, for an outward or carnal interest; The Lord hath showed us (and will shortly manifest to you) a more easy and sweet way of victory; we can overcome by being conquered, we can lose all, and yet be savers in the conclusion.
Again, for I draw homewards.
The manner of your present actings is in much fear, dread, darkness and confusion; it is your daily thoughts and care how to complot your designs, and lay out your work so, as that you may save yourselves, your honour and reputation, but all is too little, you must shortly part with all; your name, fame, success and victory must all be forgotten, yea, you yourselves shall rejoice at your own overtures.
You are very fearful and jealous of your defamation; you are afraid to think of it: your spirits are involved in confusion and distraction, for fear lest your design should betray you. These are your imprisoned thoughts, I am very certain, but spiritual wisdom can discover them. The Lord knows that you lie under a sad weight of fear, terror and distraction: Fear, the pit, and a snare have taken hold on you, disorder and confusion abounds amongst you: You grope for the wall like the blind; you aim at liberty and privilege, but you grope blindly after it, as knowing not which way to accomplish it; and thus many times you sit down weeping by the Rivers of Babylon; you are oft so overwhelmed in these troubled waters of liberty and privilege, that you are constrained to sink under the waves of sorrow and darkness: I know the Lord judges many of you, and throws you down by the sad and serious consideration of your actings; He turns your hearts, ways and enterprises upside down before you, and I know you are under daily convictions of spirit. Thus the dark presence of God shuts you up in fear, and keeps you under bondage: The thick cloud of horror and confusion veils that sweet presence, and bright splendour of peace and liberty from you; but in an appointed time the mystery of light will break out in you, and upon you, when in the shinings of Divine Majesty, you will clearly and purely behold things in a naked appearance, when you shall see no cause of fear or trouble in anything.
Those that live in love to all, see no cause to fear any; for there is no fear in love, perfect love casts out fear: If you were in charity with all men, you would fear no man; for charity thinks no evil, it knows none, it fears none: All things are not yet reconciled to you, earth and heaven are not yet agreed; but you labour under a body and bulk of cursed enmity, and hence is the spring of all your fear and jealousy: If you could see all men, all interests, all power in the Lord, you would be offended at none, you would not fear any, but would, with a sweet, patient, contented, and quiet spirit, lie down under anything coming from a Divine dispose. We see and behold ourselves (as in the Lord) without fear or jealousy, because we are really reconciled to all men, all designs, all interests; and all they that know us are carried forth in a spirit of Love towards us. The reason why we are hated, despised, and trampled upon, is, because the world knoweth us not, they know not the Father in us.
In this state of ignorance we are the objects of scorn and contempt, and it is our freedom and liberty to be so: The Lord in us, and we in the Lord, and with him, travel together under the worlds infirmities, and because we see it the Father's will, it is our meat and drink to do it; we love to sweat drops of blood under all men's offences: Throw all the wrath, malice, envy and scorn of man upon us, we fear it not, but in the Lord we are able to bear all, and suffer under it. Lo, thus we fill up behind the measure of the sufferings of Christ in our flesh, the dyings of the Lord are manifested in us daily: Here, O here's a way to bring forth peace and unity: the Lord is coming, (he is coming) to discover it: For by this death we ascend to a life, in all men's hearts and affections; after this cross of hatred, we are crowned (as most choice and precious) in all men's love and esteem, when the spirit shall descend from on high, and be poured out upon them; they shall look upon us (whom in the Lord they have pierced) and mourn over us with a spirit of love and tenderness: Then shall we see of the travel of our souls, and be therewith satisfied.
Ah my dear friends! my Soul travels again in birth with you, till the Lord be thus formed and brought forth in you: I know many of you are almost spent under your burthen; you are so lost in a wilderness of confusion, That you desire and seek after a retired rest; you begin to loath your husks, and to have some desire after your Father's table: I say no more, he that does come, will come, and will not tarry; behold, he comes with a recompense: you are afraid to lay down your swords, lest you should lose your liberties; but the Lord will recompense this seven-fold into your bosom, he is coming forth to make you free to suffer a blessed freedom, a glorious liberty, a sufficient recompense for the loss of all outward glories: Is it the loss of your honour, fame and dignity that you are afraid of? The Lord is coming to make you glad to part with it, and with a holy rejoicing to throw it all behind you: Ah friends! The Lord will honour you with meekness; you shall be the fame of the world, for true valour and spiritual courage; yea (now and not before) shall the desire of the Nations be towards you, their lamb-like spirits of meekness and innocency will be an enforcing invitation to the lion-hearted devourers of the world to feed together with you in your green pastures, and to drink of your quiet and still waters: when you are become children of this new birth, you shall be able to play upon the hole of the asp, and to dwell with the cockatrice in his den, oppression and tyranny shall be destroyed before you; the sons of your afflictors shall come bending to you: that sweet spirit of love and subjection, that God shall bring forth in you, shall attract the hearts of the world towards you, they shall throw down their crowns at your feet; and shall take hold of that skirt of righteousness which is upon you, and say, We perceive of a truth, that the Lord is in you and amongst you. But in the meantime, you, together with the world, are shut up in darkness, and not truly discerning one another: you fear the world, and they are afraid of you; you are at a distance, involved in a bloody contest, an earthly, lustful, and carnal warfare.
Where Live and Lie, and die together,
Yet but a while, it's not for ever.
But one word more, and I have done. I told you before, and now I say it again, That your reputation is the fame and glory of this present Army; you (I know) are the main supporting pillars of it. I will tell you what I see in this, more plainly than I have hitherto declared. I see the Lord, our spiritual Sampson, hath laid his hands of almighty power upon (You) these Pillars of this wooden fabric, he will disjoint you, and shake you all to pieces, and in you the whole edifice of this swordly power shall be annihilated: the Lord will die with it, in it (or rather out of it, and from it) and in this death he will destroy more than you have done all your lives' time. The Lord will here take you napping, as you are eating and drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage to strange flesh, and the lake of divine burning shall consume you. Oh, it will be a glorious day; wait for it.
I have here offered a few things to a public view, I know the wise ones amongst you will slight it, and disregard it; the form, method and language invites not the curious and nice spirit of any man; it hath no beauty upon it, though a great deal in it, which the Princes of this world cannot discern. It is indeed the foolish language of the Spirit; if you do not like it, return it again, and I will carry it where I had it; you are like yet to have no better from me. I was once wise as well as you, but I am now a fool, I care not who knows it: I once also enjoyed myself, but I am now carried out of my wits, a fool, a mad man, besides myself; if you think me any other, you are mistaken, and it is for your sakes that I am so.
And now Friends, In him that was, is, and is to come, I take my farewell of you: Remember what I say, (is, was, and is to come.) The Lord was, when you were lowest; he is, now you are highest; and he is to come, when you shall be nothing. Even so, come Lord Jesus, come quickly.