An inlet into the Land of Promise, the new Jerusalem, and a gate into the ensuing Discourse, worthy of serious consideration.
My Dear One.
All or none.
Everyone under the Sun.
My most excellent Majesty (in me) hath strangely and variously transformed this form.
And behold, by mine own Almightiness (in me) I have been changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the sound of the trump.
And now the Lord is descended from Heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God.
And the sea, the earth, yea, all things are now giving up their dead. And all things that ever were, are, or shall be visible ― are the grave wherein the King of glory (the eternal, invisible Almightiness) hath lain as it were dead and buried.
But behold, behold, he is now risen with a witness, to save Zion with vengeance, or to confound and plague all things into himself; who by his mighty angel is proclaiming (with a loud voice) that sin and transgression is finished and ended, and everlasting righteousness be brought in with most terrible earth-quakes and heaven-quakes, and with signs and wonders following.
And it hath pleased my most excellent Majesty (who is universal love, and whose service is perfect freedom) to set this form (the writer of this Roll) as no small sign and wonder in fleshly Israel; as you may partly see in the ensuing Discourse.
And now (my dear ones!) every one under the Sun, I will only point at the gate; through which I was led into that new City, new Jerusalem, and to the spirits of just men, made perfect, and to God the Judge of all. First, all my strength, my forces were utterly routed, my house I dwelt in fired; my father and mother forsook me, the wife of my bosom loathed me; mine old name was rotted, perished; and I was utterly plagued, consumed, damned, rammed, and sunk into nothing, into the bowels of the still eternity (my mother's womb) out of which I came naked, and where hereto I returned again naked. And lying a while there, rapt up in silence, at length (the body or outward form being awake all this while) I heard with my outward ear (to my apprehension) a most terrible thunderclap, and after that a second. And upon the second thunderclap, which was exceeding terrible, I saw a great body of light, like the light of the Sun, and red as fire, in the form of a drum (as it were) whereupon with exceeding trembling and amazement on the flesh, and with joy unspeakable in the spirit, I clapped my hands, and cried out, Amen, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Amen. And so lay trembling, sweating, and smoking (for the space of half an hour) at length with a loud voice (I inwardly) cried out, Lord, what wilt thou do with me? My most excellent majesty and eternal glory (in me) answered & said, Fear Not, I will take thee up into mine everlasting Kingdom. But thou shalt (first) drink a bitter cup, a bitter cup, a bitter cup. Whereupon (being filled with exceeding amazement) I was thrown into the belly of hell (and take what you can of it in these expressions, though the matter is beyond expression) I was among all the devils in hell, even in their most hideous hue.
And under all this terror, and amazement, there was a little spark of transcendent, transplendent, unspeakable glory, which survived, and sustained itself, triumphing, exulting, and exalting it self above all the fiends. And, confounding all the blackness of darkness (you must take it in these terms, for it is infinitely beyond expression.) Upon this the life was taken out of the body (for a season) and it was thus resembled, as if a man with a great brush dipped in whiting, should with one stroke wipe out, or sweep off a picture upon a wall, &c. After a while, breath and life was returned into the form again. Whereupon I saw various streams of light (in the night) which appeared to the outward eye, and immediately I saw three hearts (or three appearances) in the form of hearts, of exceeding brightness; and immediately an innumerable company of hearts, filling each corner of the room where I was. And methoughts there was variety and distinction, as if there had been several hearts, and yet most strangely unexpressably complicated or folded up in unity. I clearly saw distinction, diversity, variety, and as clearly saw all swallowed up into unity. And it hath been my song many times since, within and without, unity, universality, universality, unity, Eternal Majesty, &c. And at this vision, a most strong, glorious voice uttered these words: The spirits of just men made perfect. The spirits, &c. with whom I had as absolute, clear, full communion, and in a twofold more familiar way, than ever I had outwardly with my dearest friends and nearest relations. The visions and revelations of God and the strong hand of eternal invisible almightiness was stretched out upon me, within me, for the space of four days and nights without intermission.
The time would fail if I would tell you all, but it is not the good will and pleasure of my most excellent Majesty in me, to declare any more (as yet) than thus much further: That amongst those various voices that were then uttered within, these were some: Blood, blood, Where, where? upon the hypocritical holy heart &c. Another thus: Vengeance, vengeance, vengeance, Plagues, plagues, upon the inhabitants of the Earth; Fire, fire, fire, Sword, sword &c. upon all that bow not down to eternal Majesty, universal love; I'll recover, recover, my wool, my flax, my money. Declare, declare, fear thou not the faces of any; I am (in thee) ammunition of rocks &c.
Go up to London, to London, that great City, write, write, write. And behold I writ, and lo a hand was sent to me, and a roll of a book was within, which this fleshly hand would have put wings to, before the time. Whereupon it was snatched out of my hand, & the Roll thrust into my mouth, and I eat it up, and filled my bowels with it, (Ezekiel 2:8, &. ch. 3:1,2,3) where it was bitter as wormwood; and it lay broiling, and burning in my stomach, till I brought it forth in this form.
And now I send it flying to thee, with my heart,
per AUXILIUM PATRIS
1. Thus saith the Lord, I inform you that I overturn, overturn, overturn. And as the bishops, Charles and the Lords have had their turn, overturn, so your turn shall be next (ye surviving great ones) by what name or title soever dignified or distinguished whoever you are that oppose me, the eternal God who am universal love and whose service is perfect freedom and pure libertinism.
2. But afore I proceed any further,
be it known unto you, that although that excellent majesty which
dwells in the writer of this Roll hath reconciled all things to
himself, yet this hand which now writes never drew sword or shed one
drop of any man's blood. I am free from the blood of
all men, though (I say) all things are reconciled to me , the
eternal God (in Him) yet sword-levelling or digging-levelling are
neither of them his principle.
Both are as far from his principle as the East is from the West or the Heavens from the Earth (though, I say, reconciled to both as to all things else). And though he hath more justice, righteousness, truth and sincerity shining in those low dung holes (as they are esteemed) than in the Sun, Moon and all the stars.
3. I come not forth (in him) either with material sword or mattock, but now (in this my day ―) I make him my sword bearer, to brandish the sword of the Spirit, as he hath done several days and nights together through the streets of the great City.
4. And now thus saith the Lord:
Though you as little endure the word levelling as you could the late slain or dead Charles (your forerunner, who is gone before you ―) and had as lief hear the devil named as hear of the Levellers (men-levellers) which is and who indeed are but shadows of most terrible, yet great and glorious good things to come.
5. Behold, behold, behold, I the eternal God, the Lord of Hosts who am that mighty leveller and coming (yea, even at the doors) to level in good earnest , to level to some purpose, to level with a witness, to level the hills with the valleys and to lay the mountains low.
7. Hills! Mountains! Cedars! Mighty
men! Your breath is in your nostrils.
Those that have admired, adored, idolized, magnified, set you up, fought for you, ventured goods and good name, limb and life for you, shall cease from you.
You shall not at all be accounted of (not one of you) ye sturdy oak, who bow not down before eternal majesty, universal love, whose service is perfect freedom, and who hath put down the mighty - Remember, remember your forerunner - and who is putting down the mighty from their seats and exalting them of low degree.
8. O let not for your own sakes, let not the mother of harlots in you who is very subtle of heart, nor the beast without you - what do you call 'em? The ministers, fat parsons, vicars, lecturers &c. (who for their own base ends, to maintain their pride and pomp, and to fill their own paunches and purses) have been the chief instruments of all those horrid abominations, hellish, cruel, devilish persecutions in this Nation, which cry for vengeance. For your own sakes, I say, let neither the one nor the other bewitch you or charm your ears, to hear them say, these things shall not befall you, these Scriptures shall not be fulfilled upon you, but upon the Pope, Turk and heathen princes &c.
9. Or if any of them should - through subtlety for their own base ends - creep into that mystery of that forementioned Scripture (Isaiah 2.10), and tell you, Those words are to be taken in the mystery only, and they only point out a spiritual inward levelling. Once more for your own sakes, I say, believe them not.
12. For this honour, nobility, gentility, propriety, superfluity, &c. hath (without contradiction) been the father of hellish horrid pride, arrogance, haughtiness, loftiness, murder, malice, of all manner of wickedness and impiety. Yea, the cause of all the blood that ever hath been shed - from the blood of the righteous Abel to the blood of the last Levellers that were shot to death. And now as I live (saith the Lord) I am come to make inquisition for blood, for murder and pride, &c.
15. And maugre
the subtlety and sedulity, the craft and
cruelty of hell and earth, this levelling shall up.
Not by sword. We holily scorn to fight for anything. We had as lief be dead drunk every day of the week and lie with whores in the market place, and account these as good actions as taking the poor, abused, enslaved ploughman's money from him - who is almost everywhere undone and squeezed to death, and not so much as that plaguey, unsupportable, hellish burden and oppression of tithes taken off his shoulders, notwithstanding all his honesty, fidelity, taxes, free quarter, petitioning &c. for the same. We had rather starve, I say, than take away his money from him for killing of men.
Nay, if we might have captain's pay and a good fat parsonage or two besides, we would scorn to be swordsmen or fight with those mostly carnal weapons for anything or against anyone or for our livings.
For thou and all they reverend divines, so called, (who divine for tithes, hire and money, and serve the Lord Jesus Christ for their own bellies) are ignorant of this one thing:
7. That sin and transgression is
finished; it's a mere riddle that they with all their human learning
can never read.
Neither can they understand what pure honour is wrapped up in the King's motto Honi soit qui mal y pense - evil to him that evil thinks.
But for my labour, I have been plagued and
tormented beyond expression. So that now I had rather behold one of
these angels pouring out the plagues of God, cursing and teaching
others to curse bitterly (Revelation 15; Judges 5; Revelation 10;
And had rather hear a might angel in man swearing a full mouthed oath, and see the spirit of Nehemiah in any form of man or woman running upon an unclean Jew (a pretended Saint) and tearing the hair of his head like a mad man, cursing and making others fall a-swearing than hear a zealous Presbyterian, Independent or spiritual Notionist pray, preach or exercise.
11. Well! To the pure all things are pure. God hath so cleared cursing, swearing in some, that that which goes for swearing and cursing in them is more glorious than praying and preaching in others.
4. Well! Let it be how it will.
These Levellers (so called) you mostly hated, though in
outward declarations you owned their tenets as your own principle.
( Once more, know that sword-levelling is not my principle. I only pronounce the righteous judgments of the Lord upon the Earth as I durst.)
So you mostly hate me, saith the Lord (though in outward declarations you profess me and seem to own me) more than a thousand whom you despise, who are nearer the kingdom of heaven than yourselves.
1. O London, London. My bowels are
rolled together in me for thee, and my compassions within me are
kindled for thee.
And now I only tell thee that it was not in vain that this form hath been brought so far to thee, to proclaim the day of the Lord throughout thy streets, day and night, for twelve or thirteen days together.
And that I have made such a sign and a wonder before many of thine inhabitants' faces.
2. Many of them, among other strange exploits, beholding me fall down flat at the feet of cripples, beggars, lazars, kissing their feet, and resigning up my money to them - being several times over-emptied of money that I have not had one penny left, and yet have recruited again ―
Wherefore be it known to all tongues, kindred, nations and languages upon Earth, That my most excellent majesty, the King of glory, the eternal God, who dwelleth in the form of the writer of this Roll (among many other strange and great exploits) hath in the open streets, with his hand fiercely stretched out, his hat cocked up, his eyes set as if they would sparkle out, and with a mighty loud voice, charged 100 of coaches, 100 of men and women of the greatest rank, and many notorious, deboist, swearing, roistering, roaring Cavaliers (so called) and other wild sparks of the gentry, and have proclaimed the notable day of the Lord to them. And that through the streets of the great City and in Southwark. Many times great multitudes following him up and down, and this for the space of 12 or 13 days. And yet all this while, not one of them lifting up one finger, not touching one hair of his head or laying one hand on his raiment.
But many, yea, many notorious vile ones in the esteem of men, yea, of great quality among men, trembling and bowing to the God of Heaven, &c.
The Devil in you roared out who was tormented to some purpose, though not before his time.
He there showed both his fangs and paws and would have torn me to pieces and have eaten me up. They pride, envy, malice, arrogance &c. was poured out like a river of brimstone, crying out, a blasphemer, a blasphemer, away with him. At length threatening men, and being at last raving mad, some took hold of my coat on one side, some on another, endeavouring to throw me from the place where I stood to proclaim his Majesty's message, making a great uproar in a great congregation of people. Till at length I wrapped up myself in silence for a season, for the well-favoured harlot's confusion &c.
And to thine eternal shame and damnation - O mother of witchcraft who dwellest in his gathered churches - let this be told abroad. And let her Flesh be burnt with Fire.
[Spelling and punctuation modernized]
Abiezer Coppe (1619-72) was educated at Oxford and served as a chaplain in the New Model Army. An ecstatic experience led him to preach antinomian and apocalyptic views. After the Restoration, he quietened down and practiced medicine.
Auxilium patris = assistance of the father
I am free &c. = Acts 20:26 "Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.
mattock = a tool midway between a spade and a pick used for digging amongst tree stumps.
Your breath is in your nostrils = Wisdom of Solomon 2:2 "For we are born at all adventure: and we shall be hereafter as though we had never been: for the breath in our nostrils is as smoke, and a little spark in the moving of our heart".
putting down the mighty &c. = Luke1:52 "He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree".
Levellers that were shot = After the Leveller mutiny of May 1649, three of the ringleaders were summarily shot.
inquisition for blood = Psalms 9:12 "When he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them: he forgetteth not the cry of the humble".
maugre = despite, notwithstanding.
sedulity = diligence, attentiveness
|Honi soit qui mal y pense =|
lazars = lepers
deboist = debauched