A WOE AGAINST THE
Magistrates, Priests, and People
in the County of Westmorland,
Pronounced from the Lord by one of his PROPHETS.
Which may warn all the persecuting Cities and Towns in the North, and everywhere, to Repent and fear the Lord, lest the Decree go forth against them.
Also the Stumbling-block removed from weak Mindes, who are offended at the strange Signs and wonders acted by the Servants of the Lord, scornfully called QUAKERS In the Northern parts of this Nation.
LONDON, Printed in the Year, 1654.
The word of the Lord came unto me saying, Write and declare against that bloody Town of Kendall, and leave it without excuse.
HEAR ye which pretend to be Rulers, and ye that pretend to be Teachers, and ye people, the trumpet of the Lord is sounded, gather yourselves together, for I will plead with you, your iniquities are come up before me, and your Transgression is come into mine ears; Woe, woe, and misery is coming upon you, you shall be as Sodom and Gomorrah, and as Admah and Zeboim; Desolation and a cry, a cry, lamentation, howling, bitterness and sorrow shall come upon you at unawares, the sword of the Lord is drawn against you, it is sharpened for a great slaughter, and you shall be cut off, because you have despised my name, and trodden under foot my precepts, and walk after your own wills, and the imagination of your own hearts; and yet saith the Lord, they say I am amongst them: Woe unto you hypocrites, I am weary of you, and of all your profession it stinks in my nostrils, and I abhor it as much as if ye slew a man; you have slain my Son, you have mocked my prophets, and despised my messengers which I have sent early and late to forewarn you of the evil to come, have not I wrought signs and wonders amongst you, as ever was in any day, or from the beginning, have not I made the mountains tumble down in your sight, have not I caused my Judgments to fall upon them that have set themselves against me? Have not I cleansed the Lepers? Have not I quickened and raised them out of the grave, which were dead in sins and trespasses? Have not I brought down the proud? Have not I exalted the low? Have not I caused the weak things to confound the wise? Have not I sent signs among you, and have sent my servants to declare against you, as I did to Nineveh, and have you not heard it? Have not I commanded my Servants to go bare and naked in your sight, to be a sign to you that your covering is now rent, and your garment is to be torn, and you shall be left naked and bare, and you shall be made a mock and a proverb to all, as my Servants have been made a mock and a proverb to you; and I will scatter you in my indignation, and I will cause my fury to rest upon you till I have consumed you; ye rulers that rule by your own wills, and ye false prophets that cry peace to this people, and all ye people that delight in lies, is not all manner of wickedness committed amongst you? As pride, covetousness, oppression, persecution, mocking, stoning, and imprisoning, haling before magistrates them who are made to do my will, and to declare against you; ye strive against me, saith the Lord, ye cry a confederacy, ye consult together, ye plot, ye call all your enchanters against me; thus saith the Lord, ye shall be broken as Pharaoh, and go down to the pit with Egypt, Meshach and Tubal, and all the uncircumcised; Woe is me, the spoiler is come up against you, and blackness covers you, and a consumption is entering into your bones, my eye shall not spare, my hand shall not pity, but it will bring this upon you, howl and lament ye oaks, ye mountains cleave asunder, and all ye people, both great and small, be astonished, put on sackcloth, put your mouths in the dust, for I will make my fury to pass over you, and none shall be able to deliver you, said the Lord; write this, let them know, but they will not hear, till I have caused my fire to burn them up and there be no remedy.
Written from the Spirit of the living God, by me who am a witness for his name, whom the world knows not, but named by the world,
Oh ye raging Priests, who have set yourselves against the mighty power of the Lord in his own, whereby he is manifesting his works, his strange works his acts, his strange acts, making his servants signs and wonders amongst the heathen, and them that know not God, nor his power, whereby he is choosing that which seems foolishness, to confound the wisdom of the wise, which you who stand in your own wills and wisdom, know nothing of; but in this, as in other things, out of your envy against the truth, take occasion to lay stumbling-blocks in the way of others, wherein you plainly appear to be in that generation, who will neither enter into the kingdom yourselves, nor would suffer others; you who take occasion to Preach and Print against the truth, because the Lord hath caused some of his servants to go naked along your streets, as in Kendal and Kirkby-Stephen, as signs of his wrath to come upon that pride and fullness that Priests and people live in; and this, you who never knew what it was to obey God, contrary to your own reason and wills, (for who act such things, act contrary to their own wills) cry out on a delusion and madness, thinking thereby to make the truth odious to others, but it is that the Scriptures may be fulfilled upon you, as it hath been on your generation before you, who counted always what the Prophets, Christ, and the Apostles did madness, and called them mad-fellows; but now all you who fear the Lord, and believe his Word, take heed of the deceit of these men, and mind not what they say, who have set themselves to speak evil of the things they know not, but search the Scriptures and there you shall find, that the mighty God (who hath power over all flesh, and what he commandeth none must dispute by their Reason (though it seem never so foolish, and against their wills) but must obey) hath always before his great Judgments which he has about to bring on a people, or Nation, made some of his dearest Servants to pass and act as signs to such Nations of what was to follow, and was so usual among the Prophets, and them who knew the word of the Lord, that the Prophet Isaiah speaking in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, saith, I and the Children whom thou hast given me, are for Signs and Wonders in Israel, from the Lord of Hosts that dwelleth in Zion, Isaiah 8. 18. And if ye search the Scriptures of the Prophets, you shall see in what strange and foolish things to the wisdom of the world they were acted in, as in Isiah 20. the Prophet was to go Three years naked for a sign, what the Lord would bring upon Ethiopia and Egypt: Now had these men lived in his days, they would have cried that up as a delusion and madness, and not as the Word of the Lord, as they do at this day; for they neither know the Lord, nor his Word who stand in their own wills: Also read the 4. of Ezekiel, and see what a sign he was to both the houses of Israel and Judah, a strange thing to the wisdom as ever was: also read the 5. of Ezekiel, and see what a sign he was to be, and what folly he was to act as to their wisdom, and that in the midst of the City: also Ezek. 12. 18, 19. & 24. 16. to the end of the chap. likewise Ezek, 12. to 17. v. and many other of the dear Servants of God, who were not only to declare the Word of the Lord from his mouth, but also to be signs to them to whom he was to prophecy, that so he might leave them all without excuse.
Now those who then were Priests, and should have been teachers and leaders of the people to fear God, and hear his Word, and observe his signs, and repent that the Judgments might be prevented, they were the only men that hated, reproached, persecuted, and called the prophets, Christ and his Apostles madmen, deceivers, because of these things, which into their wisdoms could not enter, and stirred up the Rulers and ignorant people against them that they might put them to death as it is at this day, but these in our days are more inexcusable then all that ever went before them, inasmuch as they had no Scripture to show them that the Lord had commanded such signs formerly; but these have the Scriptures that witness to the same thing; which scriptures they make a trade on, and cry up in words, but are ignorant of that Spirit by which they were acted that gave them forth, and envy and persecute that obedience that was acted in them, in whom it is now acted; and they might as well cry out against Isaiah for a mad-man, because he went naked at the word of the Lord, and the rest of the prophets and servants of God for acting such weak and foolish things, to their wisdom, as they did as against these for obeying the Lord in the same or the like things whatsoever, for God is not tied to any rule to walk by, but his own will; and where he commands woe to him that doth not obey, and where he commands not, woe to him that acts in his own will, and saith, it is the Word of the Lord. Wherefore all ye that fear the Lord, take heed of being stirred np by these men to speak evil of that you know not, but consider that the priests have been always the movers and persuaders of the people against Christ and his Kingdom, and power in his saints, and instead of being forward to speak evil of the things you know not, turn in your minds into the fear of God, and mind the light in your conscience that will let you see what sins you are guilty of, which these signs are threatenings to, that you may repent of them, and escape the Judgment and find mercy, as they did in the time of the prophets, who feared the Lord and escaped the Judgment; but the envious, scorners and fools passed on, and were punished and know this, that a wise man's eye is in his head and such an one hath his guide within himself, and will not be hasty to follow others though they be multitudes to do evil, and such know it is better to be silent, then to speak evil of the things they know not, and when was there ever any truth of God brought forth, but it always suffered the violence of the proud and haughty, where the seed of the serpent reigns and shows his enmity; and it is the same now, for that which hath been is at this day, but it is that the power of the Lord may be seen, in carrying on his simple truth, against all the Wisdom and Power of of the World, and plotting of the Serpent, yea and he will carry it on to his praise, and to the confounding all his Enemies, who must stumble at the stumbling stone, and be offended at the Rock, that must break them to pieces, wherefore be silent all flesh before the Lord, whose foolishness is more than thy Wisdom, and whose weakness is more than the strength of all the World, who is a defence to his poor despised ones, in the midst of their enemies. Eternal praises to thee who art our Wisdom for ever.
To all you who have Eyes and yet are blind, and who have Ears and yet are deaf, and have Hearts and yet cannot understand; to you I am moved to declare.
THE Lord is proclaiming himself to be King, and all the mountains and every isle and every oak of Bashan, and all the cedars of Lebanon, and all who rule as Kings and conquerors shall bow: Hear ye deaf, the trumpet is blown, the standard is lifted up, there is open war proclaimed between Michael our prince and all the inhabitants of the earth. Arm yourselves, O ye mountains and gather yourselves on heaps O ye isles, the glittering sword of the lord is drawn, and a fire is before him, and all ye will be found as stubble, and you are all to be slain heaps upon heaps, and are all to go down with all the uncircumcised rulers and people into the pit; the lord the mighty Jehovah is revealing himself from heaven in flames of fire to render vengeance upon all the workers iniquity; for you have slain the heir of the vineyard, you are killing his prophets, and imprisoning his saints; to you all professors, rulers, and priests, which say you are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan; I speak in plainness of speech unto you all who live in all the abominations of the heathen, and yet say you love Christ, do not you call the master of the house now Beelzebub, do not ye mock, and set your mouths awry ye sons of the adulteress, and of Sodom, at the light of Christ which enlighteneth every one that comes into the world, which light did lead all saints into purity, and up to God, and this you call natural, and them who witness redemption by the Son, you call blasphemers; Christ which you profess and yet know not, was accounted by your generation a blasphemer, and all the apostles and saints were persecuted by your generation as evil doers, as despisers of government, as disturbers of the peace, as leaders of the people into iniquity, as the off-scouring of all things, as sheep for the slaughter, and were all of them put to death and in prison by that generation which professed God, and said they had his ordinances, yet slew them who professed him and kept his statutes; for if ye be not wilfully blind, are ye not doing the same now; mocking, haling, imprisoning, bringing before magistrates them that witness Jesus Christ in them, and because they bear witness against all sin; did ever any of the saints of God persecute, imprison, or hale before magistrates, and falsely accuse any? Did ever the saints complain to authority to guard them? Hear ye whited tombs, ye painted sepulchres, what gospel is this ye profess? What God is this ye serve that must be defended with clubs, swords, rulers, and carnal weapons; the saints who had the everlasting gospel, said, their weapons were not carnal but spiritual, and yet they were mighty through God to beat down strong holds, even principalities and powers, thrones and dominions; but your gospel and ministry can do nothing without a sword; all people see where you are, & what you are doing, you run headlong to ruin; those who were despised by that generation of Pharisees & professors which you are in, were a burdensome stone, upon which all that opposed did break themselves; so this generation whom ye set at nought, ye shall be made to bow and throw down your crowns before them, and before the lamb who is our leader & guider, glory unto him for evermore; it's hard for you to kick against the pricks, for we witness the two edged sword of the lord shall bathe itself in the blood of his enemies, and shall be made fat with slaughter. O ye mountains ye shall become a plain for the ransomed to come over you; all your profession shall be as stubble, and you shall be left naked and bare, and nothing shall be able to cover you, because you are crucifiers of Christ and the saints, repent that you may be hid in the day of his fierce anger, which is to come upon all the workers of iniquity.