My dear Friends,
This is the word of the Lord to you all, whom my Father has chosen out of the world in his eternal love, to make known his power in you.
Look not back, but judge that mind with my pure word, wherewith I enlightened your consciences, for the exercising them towards me and towards men.
And I command you, my children, stand in my pure counsel and look up to me; and I will accompany you with my power, and will make the way plain before you, in bringing down that which is untoward within you and disobedient to my will. So my ways will not be burdensome, nor my commandments grievous to you, my dear children. And this is my word to you :—cast off whatever I have let you see is offensive to my will, that so your souls may rest in the bosom of my love, that I may carry you on in the arms of my eternal power, faithful unto the end, and crown you with glory, which I have laid up for you in the Lord Jesus. Slight not my counsel, but be valiant and bold for the glory of my name, says the Lord God; and be not hasty to utter words before me; but let your words be few and savory at all times, ministering grace to all that hear you. That my name may be honored in you all, my dear children, in all your words and actions. Then I will accompany you with my powerful presence, and will make you a terror to all evil doers, one to chase a thousand and live to put ten thousand to flight. So will I get myself a glorious name, in the manifestation of my power in you, my sons and daughters, who stand faithful in my counsel and walk in my fear. And your souls shall be refreshed in the fountain of my love in the Lord Jesus, where you shall reign forever in my presence. Meet often together to wait upon me, in the fear of my name, and watch over one another in love; and I will be with you, my dear children, to order you in my pure wisdom, to the praise and glory of my great name, said the Lord God Almighty."William Dewsbury
Dewsbury's Message from the Lord to all faithful and suffering members in all holes, prisons, and jails, for the word of God and testimony of Jesus Christ; with the rest of the faithful, wherever scattered upon the face of the earth.
Dear Brethren and Sisters!
Hear the word of the Lord:—thus said the Lord, though you now drink the cup of adversity, and eat the bread of affliction, and are trampled upon as though you were not worthy to live upon the earth, yet, despite all the fury of men, you are resolved in the strength of my Spirit, forever to be deprived of the sweet enjoyments of wife, husband, tender children, parents, and outward possessions, liberty, and life [rather than] deny the testimony of my name before the sons-of men. Oh! you dear and tender children, who love not your lives unto death this day, that you may finish a good testimony for the glory of my name, said the Lord God; lift up your heads in the light of my covenant, and believe in my name, for I am near you, said the mighty God of safety. Let not any weight or burden lie upon you; for I will be more than a husband to wife, and more than a wife to husband, or parents to children, or children to parents; yes, I will be a husband to the widow, and a father to the children who are deprived of their tender parents for my name's sake. I will enlarge your borders in the life of my righteousness. You who suffer in true innocence, will I refresh with the depth of my mercies. Yes, I will guard you with the angel of my presence, and all who devise mischief against you, shall be confounded before the glory of my power, with which I will keep and preserve you in the word of my patience, in safety, in my presence, said the Lord God. Therefore, you dear children, who drink the deepest in sufferings, think it not hard; for it is my purpose unto you all, that have not any eye to self, but alone seek my glory in all that you do, to make you more and more honorable in the glory of my life, and double my blessings upon you and yours. For I have beheld your integrity, and my bowels are mightily moved in compassion towards you. Therefore am I risen for your sake this day, to declare unto you, my suffering people, that not a hair of your head shall perish, neither shall you be detained in prisons and desolate holes any longer than I have determined shall be for your eternal good, and the glory of my name forever. Therefore in my life stand faithful, in resistance of every evil thought, or whatever would cause you to murmur, or desire anything but what you know will advance the glory of my name, and the exaltation of my Truth, over all that rises up against it; in your being truly subject to the measure of my light and life, that will not let any seek a preeminence or esteem among men. Neither let self-striving nor self-serving have power in any; but in true humility, love and meekness, watch one over another; and let the strong take the weak by the hand, that you may all gently, in love, meekness, and holy fear, serve one another and dread my name; that your love may be manifest unto me, said the Lord your God, and one unto another, in the naked simplicity of your spirits. Then will I make my dwelling among you, and with you; and my dreadful and glorious presence you shall feel mightily in you and among you, moving in the exercise of my Spirit, to the renown of my name, and the comfort one of another. I will crown you with heavenly blessings in the glory of my powerful life; and you shall praise my name forever, that I made you my jewels, and counted you worthy to suffer for the testimony of my name. I will go before you, through all the waters and floods of afflictions; and I will appear with you before all the counsels of the sons of men; and my saving power shall compass you about in your hot and sharp afflictions, all you who have your confidence alone in me, the LORD your GOD. Therefore trust in my name, you, my dear children, and cast all your care upon me. If any of you joyfully suffer the spoiling of your goods, I will supply what is needful for you and yours. If any of you seal your testimony in the word of my patience with your blood, I will take care of your tender wives and children, or parents, for whom your souls have been poured forth in prayers unto me for their good.
Therefore bear my word that is sounded unto you from the throne of my grace and eternal glory. Rejoice not too much in spirits made subject, but throw down your crowns before me, that there is not a self-seeking, self-serving spirit in the family of my people. But all feel the birth immortal raised up in the resurrection of my life in you all, which truly makes self of no reputation; so that all loftiness is laid low, and all haughtiness bowed down in every one. Thus I, the Lord God, may be loved, obeyed, and exalted in you all. I am taking to me my great power, to exalt the meek upon the earth, and to reign over all the pride of the children of men, who are exalted above the witness in their consciences; so that my sons may be brought from afar, and my daughters from the ends of the earth, in the sight of all people; whom I will make to confess, in subjection to my power, that you are the beloved people of the Most High God, and of the righteous seed which the Lord has blessed. Not any weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, but come to nothing, which will be hastened and certainly performed, according to what is here declared, to your comfort and eternal joy. And you shall assuredly know, that the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.
The word of the Lord, before expressed, came to me in the prison-house at Warwick, the 11th day of the 1st month, 1664; which constrained me to send it to be read among you, dear, faithful, and suffering people of the Almighty God, in whom I remain your brother and companion in tribulation and kingdom of patience in the Lord Jesus Christ..
William Dewsbury's Address to Oliver Cromwell.
THUS said the Lord God of heaven and earth to you, Oliver Cromwell, called Lord Protector.
Why do you slight my counsel, and harden your heart against it, which I declare to you by my sons and daughters, and is witnessed in your conscience by my word in you, which called on you to trust no longer in the 'arm of flesh,' nor seek great things for yourself, as those did, whom I drove out before you in my wrath and destroyed in my fury, and the fearfulness of my displeasure consumed them? And I have given power into your hand, who promised me in the day of your distress, that if I would deliver you in that day, and give you power over all who stood up against you, then would you take away all those unrighteous laws, which are contrary to my righteous law in the conscience, which were made by those I drove out before you; and that my children should not be persecuted any more by any outward law, but have free liberty to declare my mind, as I moved them by my Spirit.
And into your power I have committed what you required of me, that you might perform your promises to me. And now I have tried you; and in this day of your trial, you have proved unfaithful to me and to my people, and no truth have I found in you in this day, so as to perform your promises to me; but contrary to them all, have you improved the power put into your hand, to seek great things for yourself, and have set up yourself in the pride of your heart, to rob me of my glory, in taking upon you to be Lord Protector of my people, when, contrary to your fair words and promises, you by your power establishes those laws by which my people always were and are persecuted; which laws uphold this filthy and abominable thing in my sight: the heads over them judge for reward, and the priests teach for hire, and you with them lean upon me, saying, 'Is not the Lord among us? no evil shall come upon us,' as the wicked generation did, Micah 3:11, those rebellious people whom I destroyed before you, who made those laws you have established, contrary to all your fair words and promises. I preserved you in your obstinate and wicked walking before me, setting yourself on high, seeking your own glory. You trust in the arm of flesh to protect you in the ways you live in; but, since you have abused the power I put into your hand, I have corrected you by the arm of my power, to let you see that all policy and strength of men cannot deliver you forth from my hand. When you were near to destruction, I appeared, as I had done in all the times of your distress, your Lord Protector; and in my tender love delivered you by the arm of my mighty power, when none could help you, that you might fear me, and lay your crown in the dust before me, and give glory to my name, in denying yourself, and performing your promise to me, who am a dreadful God, and will not be robbed of my glory. But since I delivered you, you still, like proud Pharaoh, harden your heart against me, and continue in your obstinacy, in upholding these unrighteous laws you promised to take away, by which my children are persecuted, and the hands of the wicked are strengthened against them.
Yet, despite all your wickedness and rebellious walking before me, in love to your soul I have preserved you to this day, and still do wait upon you to be gracious and merciful to you, if you will still return to my counsel, and diligently hearken to it, the light in your conscience, which witnesses against the pride of your heart and loftiness of your spirit, and calls you to perform your promises made to me in the day of your distress, in speedily taking away the unrighteous laws by which my people are persecuted, who are guided by my righteous law in their conscience; that they be no more given up as sheep to the slaughter, for declaring my word and mind to the people, as they have been and are in this nation; but that they may have free liberty, and be persecuted no more by any outward law, for declaring what I make known to them by my Spirit. Thus, if you return unto me, that I may guide you by my power, as is declared, then will I heal your backslidings, and deliver your soul forth of the pit of corruption, and bring it into my banqueting house, where you shall drink of the rivers of pleasure that are in my presence, where your soul shall be forever with my dear children in the purchased inheritance that shall never fade away:—and this shall be the portion of your cup. I once more offer to you, if you will speedily return, while my arm is stretched forth to embrace you in this day of your visitation; and if you will not hearken to my counsel, but like proud Pharaoh still harden your heart against it, and continue in your pride and obstinacy as you have done,—know this, my Spirit shall not always strive with you, but I will hasten the day of my righteous judgments upon you, and the arm of flesh upon which you trust and lean, to uphold and protect you where you are, shall be to you as the broken reeds of Egypt, that shall break to pieces, and torment and wound you. I will get my glory upon you in breaking you down in my wrath and fierce displeasures, and none shall deliver you out of my hand, which will speedily perfect my pleasure upon you. For the time is not long before I accomplish what I have spoken, unless you repent; and you shall know your destruction is of yourself, and your blood shall be upon your own head, and you shall confess my judgments to be true and righteous to all that hear of it, that they may be warned by you to fear and walk humbly before me, in the day that I do this, said the Lord of Hosts!
P.S. The word of the Lord I was commanded by him to write to you; and after it had been written, it was taken from me by one Thomas Pentlow, called justice of the peace, at the town of Wilby, in Northamptonshire. Yet, in the love of God to your soul, I am again ordered by him to make known his counsel to you, that you might not be ignorant of his mind towards you, what he has made known to me, who am a lover of your soul, and known to the world by the name William Dewsbury, prisoner in Northampton jail, for the word of God and testimony of Jesus Christ.
1st of the 10th month, 1654
Address to King Charles the Second.
OH, KING! hear the word of the Lord God, which came unto me about the sixth hour in the morning of the 20th day of the 3rd month, 1661.
Thus said the Lord through his servant, Oh! fear and dread the name of the eternal God, who has created and preserved you, by the arm of his mighty power, and saved you in the hollow of his hand, in the day of your great distress, when he corrected that family and all the nation, that they might walk humbly before him. And those who did humble themselves before him, his presence did appear with them; but when they departed from the lowliness of his Spirit, and promised fair things, and did not perform in the uprightness of their hearts, according to their words, though they were never so invincible for strength, and clothed with policy and wisdom of this world, the Lord has, and will break them down by the arm of his mighty power, and he catches them in their own craft, and overthrows them in their own devices, and not any can deliver themselves out of his mighty hand. He breaks them as the potsherds of the earth, and makes their names to rot and perish among men, and stink in the nostrils of the upright in heart. Thus he sets up, to try man if he will give him glory of his works; and when he kicks against him, his Maker, he breaks him down in his wrath, and overthrows him in his fierce displeasure. This is the work of the mighty God, who has preserved you in safety, while destruction and calamity was on every side; that now you have seen a cloud of witnesses before your eyes; in this day you are set on the throne, wherein he is trying and proving you, that you may by what you have seen, dread his name, and wait in his counsel, the light of his Spirit, which is his law in your heart and conscience, that lets you see you are but dust. If you watch unto it, and wait upon him in it, you will see the secret evil of your heart; if you look up to him in the light of his Spirit, and in the uprightness of your heart judge the evil in you with his light, and in it wait on him to be guided in the true lowliness and humility of his Spirit, to seek alone his glory, and nothing for yourself, but wait upon him to be an instrument in his hand, that he may govern and order you in all his ways; then will he enlighten your understanding, and seal unto you his secret counsel, and give you to see through all that profess his name and know him not, and what his true worship is.
He will let you see what is idolatry, and what is the worship which his presence shall accompany all that are found faithful therein, and which he will defend with his power against all opposers; and none shall prosper that devise mischief against those who are faithful to him, in this his worship which is declared to you to be pure obedience to his Spirit, which cleanses the heart and purifies the conscience. This is his worship he has determined in his unchangeable and heavenly decree to establish in the earth, and over all nations it shall stand; he shall scatter all as dust, that seek to oppress his people, and resist the rising of his glory, and you shall certainly know the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken it.
If you turn your mind within, to his counsel in you, and in diligent watchfulness incline your ear to his pure Spirit, that calls for righteousness in your heart and conscience, and be obedient with boldness to walk in the strait way of the daily cross, and deny the evil that accompanies the day, and answer his requirements, what he makes known unto you; then will he guard you with the power of his heavenly and dreadful presence, and will make you a terror to evil doers, that a liar or an unclean person shall not be found in your house, nor any worker of iniquity shall be able to stand before you; he will clothe you with wisdom, and you shall be able to judge all causes that are brought before you in righteousness.
Then will you put away all sports, plays, pastimes, drunkenness, uncleanness, and whatever grieves his Spirit, forth of your sight, and cleanse the land of it, through your faithful walking with God, who has made you a son of affliction from your youth, that you might learn to fear his name; which if you do, he will make you a terror to all nations round about, that devise mischief against you; the angels of his presence will pitch their tents about you, you standing in his counsel, and giving liberty to his sons and daughters, as he moves them by his Spirit, to walk in his service.
He is the mighty God that requires this of you, that you do not lay a bond upon the spirits of his people in matters of worship, as to force all to one uniformity; for you have seen before your eyes, that the kings and princes of this world, who have sought so to do, have brought much innocent blood upon them, who have been seeking by their outward power to establish Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity. Thus have his people been slain from day to day, in the nations that have been building Babel, in whom is found the blood of the saints and martyrs of Jesus, and all that is slain upon the earth; for whose sake he is now risen, to plead the cause of those that fear him, and walk humbly before him.
And this he requires of you, in all things to mind his law in your heart, to do unto others as you would be done unto, if you were in their places and they in yours; and let mercy be found in your hands to all people, (as you have found mercy at the hands of the Lord), yes to your enemies; and, in what you may, live in peace with all men. In all your undertakings seek not for yourself, but let the glory of God be the object of your mind, and wait to feel his hand leading you in what you do; which if you stand in his counsel, to do as he requires of you, to mind your place and to keep the people in peace, and punish sin and wickedness, and give free liberty for the Lord, with his Spirit to rule in the consciences of his people, as he orders them to meet in his fear, and witness forth his mind where he leads them, without restraint, and no more to be given like lambs to the slaughter, and driven to prison like sheep to the fold, but to have free liberty in their peaceable lives to serve him their God;—then will he raise his name in your father's house, and make you a nursing father unto his people, and you shall partake of the blessings with them that fear him, and all the world shall be amazed to hear of his dreadful appearance for his people that obey his Spirit in this nation, which shall convince both Jew and Gentile, that the mighty God is risen to manifest his power to them that fear him in this nation and these northern countries. The day is very near, wherein it shall be no more said, "The Lord lives, who brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;" but, "The Lord lives who brought up and led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country."
Oh King! let his goodness constrain you, and all your family, to humble yourselves before him; what could he have done for you more than he has done? Has he not been your relief in your greatest straits? Now let his goodness engage you to answer what he requires of you; then will he make you one of the number of his elect and chosen, and your days will be full of gladness, and your soul shall live forever in the kingdom of glory with all the redeemed who are led with his Spirit. But, if you reject his counsel, his law in your heart, and not regard his Spirit in your inward parts, but hearken to the counsel of your own heart, and the wit and policy of the spirit of this world, and so set up yourself on high, and rob God of his glory;—and give up his people, as they have been, to be pulled out of their peaceable meetings, and haled to and fro, as sheep that are slaying all the day long, in tumults, distresses, afflictions, stonings, stripes, prisons, and death;—and set up proud covetous men, that know not God, to be teachers in the land, which draw people into idolatry, worshipping they know not what; so, the blind leading the blind, they both fall into great wickedness, which grieves the Spirit of God, and the liberty which is given to plays, sports, and pastimes, which draw people into drunkenness, uncleanness, and great abomination; and if they are not reformed by you, but allowed to go on as they have been;—this will be your portion:— as he has multiplied on you his mercies to the astonishment of the people and nations round about, so will he stretch out the arm of his power against you, and get himself the glory, in his mighty judgments, which shall be revealed in the great and terrible day of his fierce wrath, wherein he will cleanse the land of all who rob him of his glory, and reject his counsel, the light of his Spirit in their consciences, and you shall certainly know the mouth of the Lord has spoken it through his servant, who, in faithfulness to your soul, oh King, has not hidden the counsel of God from you, but greatly desires your eternal welfare, and in patience waits, that righteousness may be established in the earth, who is known by name, William Dewsbury, prisoner at the date hereof in the common jail at York, for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.
P.S. Before this could be sent unto you with a private and safe hand, I was set at liberty, with some other of my brethren, by your late proclamation, which we own as an act of justice. Now, if you let bonds be no more laid upon the consciences of the people of God, but, as before written, they may serve their God in free liberty of his Spirit; you will then find a hiding-place in this terrible day of vengeance, which will be manifest in England, and so to the astonishment of all the world. For not any man that lives contrary to God, but he shall roar under the heavy judgments of the fiery wrath of the Lamb of God, whom the Father will reveal in flames, rendering vengeance upon all that know him not, and obey not the gospel of Jesus Christ. For God will make England as the garden of Eden, and wickedness shall not reign therein; then shall it be a blessing to all nations; and you shall know assuredly, that he is faithful and true who has revealed these things to his servant, that desires your everlasting felicity and happiness in your obedience to Christ Jesus, the Light, who lights every man that comes into the world; and now is the Father revealing him, to judge every one according to the deeds done in the body.
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