Early English Interpreters of Spiritual Religion: John Everard, Giles Randall, and Others

The ideas developed by spiritual Reformers on the Continent were brought into England by a great variety of carriers and over many routes. Some of the routes were devious and are difficult to trace, but some of them, on the other hand, are obvious and easily found. One of the potent and pervasive intellectual influences for the formation of the "spiritual" type of thought in England was the Platonic influence which came to England through the Humanists. This strand of thought, inherited from the remote past, is woven into the inner structure of all these interpreters of the divine Life. The English revival of Greek philosophy is closely connected with the work of the early Italian Humanists, especially with that of the Florentine scholar, Marsilio Ficino (1433-1499), who was selected and educated by Cosimo de Medici to be the head of the new Academy in Florence. It was a fixed idea of Ficino that Philosophy and Religion are identical, and therefore that Religion, if it is true Religion, is rooted and grounded in Reason, since God is the source of all Truth and all that is rational. Plato, in Ficino's eyes, is Philosophy. He was the divine forerunner of Christ in the realm of intellect as John the Baptist was in the realm of the law. In his mind Plato's Philosophy is the greatest possible preparation for an adequate understanding of the world of Truth which Christ has unveiled and of the way {236} of Life which He has revealed. Ficino translated Plato's Dialogues into Latin, and gave his own interpretation of the great philosopher in a Treatise on Plato's Doctrine of Immortality of Souls. He also translated Plotinus and the writings falsely attributed to Dionysius the Areopagite, and put them anew into spiritual circulation.

Ficino, though living in an age of corruption and debauchery, and though closely associated with Humanists who had hardly a thin veneer of Christianity, and who were bent on reviving paganism, yet himself maintained a positive Christian faith and a pure and simple life. He found it possible to be a priest in the Christian Church and at the same time to be a high-priest in the temple of Plato, because he found faith and reason to be indivisible and indissoluble. His influence was marked upon the early English Humanists, Linacre, Grocyn, Colet, and More, and he was a vital influence in the new revival, which occurred in the seventeenth century, of Plato and Plotinus as contributors to a virile religion based upon an inherent divine and human relationship.

Still another influence, of a very different sort, came to England by way of Italy -- the intense interpretation of Faith as the way of salvation, expressed in the writings of the Spanish reformer, Juan de Valdes, and in the powerful sermons of his two Italian disciples, Bernardino Ochino (1487-1564) and Pietro Martire Vermigli (1500-1562), generally known as Peter Martyr. Juan de Valdes, twin brother of the Humanist, Alfonso de Valdes, the friend of the Emperor Charles V., was born of a distinguished Castilian family toward the end of the fifteenth century. He was splendidly prepared in his youth, both mentally and religiously, for the great work of his life, which was to be a spiritual mover of other souls. As his views of the needed transformation of Christianity broadened and intensified he concluded that he would be safer in Italy than in Spain, and he thus took up his residence in Naples in 1529. Here he became the centre of a remarkable circle of spiritual men and women who were dedicating themselves to the reform of the Church and to the {237} propagation of a more vital religion. Ochino, the most powerful Italian preacher of the age; the fervent scholar, Vermigli; the papal secretary, Carnesecchi, later a martyr to the new faith; Vittoria Colonna, the friend of Michael Angelo Buonarotti, and the beautiful Giulia Gonzaga, were among those who kindled their torches from his burning flame. For the instruction of his friends -- especially for Giulia Gonzaga -- de Valdes translated St. Paul's Epistles to the Romans and Galatians and wrote commentaries on them, and contributed the penetrating original works, The Christian Alphabet and The Hundred and Ten Divine Considerations.[1]

These writings present in vivid and powerful style the way of salvation through Faith. The primary insight is Lutheran, but it is everywhere coloured and tempered by the author's Humanistic outlook. He insists, in all his interpretations of salvation, upon the vital interior work of the Holy Spirit and upon the necessity of re-living the Christ-life in all its heights and depths. All the truths of religion, he constantly urges, must be known and verified in experience, and those who are to be effective ministers of the Gospel in any age must know that they are divinely sent and must be taught by the inward Word of God rather than by human science. The attractive power of the Cross is rediscovered in his profound experience and makes itself felt as the dynamic principle of his entire moral activity.

The Divine Considerations was put into English by Nicholas Ferrar (1592-1637) of Little Gidding, and published at Oxford in 1638, together with the Introduction to the Commentary on Romans, under the name of "John Valdesso." The English translation was submitted by Ferrar to his friend, George Herbert, who wrote some interesting critical notes which were printed with the original edition. George Herbert expresses his great love for "Valdesso," whose eyes, he says, God has opened, even in the midst of Popery, "to understand and expresse so clearly {238} and excellently the intent of the Gospell in the acceptation of Christ's righteousness," but he "likes not" his slighting of Scripture and his use of the Word of God for inward revelation. He believed, though wrongly, that de Valdes was a "mystic," and that he was advocating a religion of "private enthusiasms and revelations." The fact was rather that de Valdes was presenting or was aiming to present a religion of universal validity, brought to birth by the discovery of God in Christ as revealed in the Gospel, and made continuously effective anew by personal experience of the same Christ as Divine Revealer in the lives of men.

There is no question of the far-reaching influence of Ferrar's translation of this vital message of de Valdes, especially among scholars and literary men. It must also have had a popular influence, for Samuel Rutherford in 1648 declared it to be one of the "poysonable" sources of "Familisme, Antinomianisme, and Enthusiasme."[2] He charges that "Waldesso," as he calls him, teaches men that the Scriptures have been supplanted by the inner Light, in fact that "Scripture shines only as a light in a dark place until the Day-star arises in the heart, and that then man hath no more need to seeke that of the holy Scripture which departs of it selfe, as the light of a candle departs when the Sunne-beames enter, even as Moses departed at the presence of Christ and the Law at the presence of the Gospel."[3]

Ochino and Vermigli spent six important years in England from 1547 to 1553, when persecution under Mary forced them to flee. They were far more under the influence of Calvin at this period than under that of their former friend de Valdes, but they both with the fire and intensity of their Italian nature -- especially Ochino in his sermons -- drove home to the hearts and consciences of their hearers the way of salvation by faith and the absolute necessity of inner experience and interior religion.



Dr. John Everard of Clare College, Cambridge, was clearly one of the earliest and one of the most interesting carriers of these ideas, and in his case it is not difficult to discover the influences which shaped the course of his thought and suggested the general lines of his message. He was born about 1575 -- the birth year of Jacob Boehme -- though all early biographical details are lacking. He had a long student period at Clare College, receiving his degree of B.A. in 1600, M.A. in 1607, and D.D. in 1619. He was deeply versed in the great mystics, and always reveals in his sermons the influence of Plotinus and Dionysius the Areopagite, and no less the influence of Eckhart, Tauler, and the Theologia Germanica. But at some period of his life he tapped a new source and came into possession of a fresh group of live and suggestive ideas which influenced all the thinking of his later stage. His translations, some of which are in MS. and some in printed form, furnish a clue to the main sources of his ideas, which present a striking parallelism with those held by the continental spiritual Reformers of the sixteenth century. He was possessed of original power and of penetrating insight, with "eyes of his own," but no one can fail to see that he had read and pondered the writings of these submerged Reformers, and that in a country remote from theirs he has become a reincarnation of their ideas and a new voice for their message.

His public career, in the England of the first two Stuarts, was a stormy one. He was Rector of St. Martin-in-the-Field. In the early stage of his preaching he felt called upon to oppose the "Spanish Marriage" as "the great sin of matching with idolaters," and he underwent a series of imprisonments for his attacks upon this precious scheme of King James, who wittily suggested changing his name from Dr. Everard ["Ever-out"] to "Dr. Never-out." Some time before his fiftieth year -- the date cannot be exactly fixed -- he reached {240} his new and deeper insight, and henceforth became the bearer of a message which seemed to him and to his friends like the reopening of the treasury of the Gospels, and in this new light he felt ashamed of the barren period of his life when he walked in "the ignorance of litteral knowledge," when he was "a bare, literal, University preacher," as he himself says, and had not found "the marrow and the true Word of God."[4] The great change which cleaves his public career into two well-defined parts is impressively indicated by his friend and disciple, Rapha Harford, in his "Dedicatory Epistle" to the Sermons and in his preface "to the Reader," though he nowhere gives any light upon the events and influences which initiated the transformation. "In a special and extraordinary manner God appeared to him in his latter days," Harford says, "and after that, he desired nothing more than to bring others to see what he saw and to enjoy what he enjoyed."[5] He was, we are told, "a man of presence and of princely behaviour" and was known "as a good philosopher, few or none exceeding him," "endowed with skill and depth of learning," but after his new experience, when he "came to know himself," and to "know Jesus Christ and the Scriptures experimentally rather than grammatically, literally or academically," he came to esteem lightly "notions and speculation," "letter-learning" and "University-knowledge," and he "centred his spirit on union and communion with God" and turned his supreme interest from "forms, externals and generals" to the cultivation of "the inner man," and to "acting more than talking."[6]

His new way of preaching -- vivid, concrete, touched with subtle humour, grounded in experience and filling old texts with new meaning -- appealed powerfully to the common people and to an elect few of the more highly privileged who had won a large enough freedom of spirit to go with him into new paths.[7] Like his Master, he loved {241} the common people, "thinking it no disparagement to accompany with the lowest of men," "tinkers, coblers, weavers and poor beggarly fellows who came running" to hear him, and he poured out the best he had in his treasury to any, even the simplest and most ordinary, who cared to hear of this "spiritual, practical experiment of life." His preaching naturally brought him suffering and persecution. He was "often fetched into the High Commission," was forced to give "attendance from Court to Court and from Term to Term," was on one occasion fined a thousand pounds for his "heresies," and had many interviews with Archbishop Laud, but he always held that "Truth is strongest," and he declared that God had called him to be "a Sampson against Philistines and a David against the huge and mighty Goliath of his times,"[8] and he was ready to pay the cost of obedience to the Light. His friend, Harford, who had "much ado" to keep the manuscript of his sermons "out of the Bishop's fingers," declares that though Everard clearly "distinguished the outward and killing letter from the Life and Spirit of the Holy Word," he was not an antinomian or in sympathy with ranterism. "Our author," the Dedicatory Epistle says, and says truly, "missed both rocks against which many have split their vessels. He carries Truth amain with Topsail set. He cuts his way clear between the meer Rationalist who will square out God according to his Reason, and the Familist who lives above all ordinances and by degrees hath turned licencious Ranter." Thomas Brooks added to Harford's Testimony a brief "Approbation" to the Volume, on Behalf of the Publishers, recommending all readers to receive its "heaven-born truths" into their homes and into their hearts, assuring them that as they read and open their inner eyes they will find their own hearts in the book and the book in their own hearts, i.e. the book will "find them."

Before turning to Everard's message, as it finds expression in the rare volume of his sermons -- The Gospel Treasures Opened -- we must consider the Translations {242} which he left unpublished. They are preserved in clearly written manuscripts in Cambridge University Library, under the title "Three Bookes Translated out of their Originall."[9] The first "Book" bears the following title-page: "The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, And the Tree of Life in the Midst of the Paradise of God: Taken out of a Book called The Letter and the Life, or The Flesh and the Spirit. Translated by Dr. Everard." An interesting article on Dr. Everard in Notes and Queries[10] concludes that this first "Book" of Everard's is a free translation of the Second Part of Tentzel's Medicina diastica. This guess, however, proves to be incorrect, though there is a slight likeness between Tentzel's book and the English MS. Everard's book is, in reality, a translation of Sebastian Franck's Von dem Baum des Wissens Gutes und Boeses ("Of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil"). The translation is made from a Latin edition of Franck's little book, which was published in 1561. The entire message of this treatise, written by the wandering chronicler and spiritual prophet of Germany, and here reproduced in English, is the inwardness of everything that concerns the religious life. The Tree of Life was in Adam's heart, and in that same inner region of the soul was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The story of Paradise is a graphic parable of the soul's experience. "That Tree which tested Adam was and is nothing else in truth but the Nature, Will, Knowledge, and Life of Adam, and every man is as much forbidden to eat of this Tree as Adam was." Franck's significant book contained passages from Hans Denck's Widerruf ("Confession"), and Everard translated them as an appendix to his first manuscript book.[11] They hold the very heart of Denck's message and deal, with Denck's usual sincerity and boldness, with the fundamental nature of spiritual religion. He here declares the primacy of the Word of God in the soul over everything else that ministers to man's life: "I prefer the Holy Scriptures before all Humane {243} Treasure; yet I do not so much esteem them as I do the Word of God which is living, potent, and eternal, and which is free from all elements of this world: For that is God Himself, Spirit and no letter, written without pen or ink, so that it can never be obliterated. True Salvation is in the Word of God; it is not tied up to the Scriptures. They alone cannot make a bad heart good, though they may supply it with information. But a heart illumined with the Light of God is made better by everything." Franck declares, in comment on Denck's words: "I myself know at least twenty Christian Religions all of which claim to rest on the Holy Scriptures which they apply to themselves by far-fetched expositions and allegories, or from the dead letter of the text. . . . They can be understood rightly, however, only by the divine new-man, who is God-born, and who brings to them the Light of the Holy Spirit." There can be no doubt, I think, that Dr. Everard found in the writings of these two sixteenth-century prophets the body and filling of his own new conceptions of Christianity, and it was through his vigorous interpretations that this stream of thought first flowed into England.

It will not be necessary to make extended comment on Everard's other translations. The second one was "The Golden Book of German Divinitie," rendered into English in 1628 from the Latin edition of "John Theophilus," who is Sebastian Castellio, and the third is a translation of Nicholas of Cusa's De visione Dei ("The Vision of God"), which is a profound and impressive piece of mystical literature and deserves to be much better known than it is. Everard, further, translated the "Mystical Divinity" of Dionysius the Areopagite, selections from John Tauler and Meister Eckhart, and "The Divine Pymander [Poemander] of Hermes Trismegistus" -- a book which nearly all the spiritual Humanists ranked in the very first list of religious literature.[12]

We must now turn to Everard's message as it is {244} presented in his Sermons, and endeavour to discover what he told the throngs of people who came gladly to hear him in the Kensington Meetings and the gatherings at Islington. The central emphasis in every sermon is on personal experience, or, as we should phrase it to-day, on a religion of life and reality. He has had his own "scholastic" period, but he looks back on it as a passage across an arid desert, and he feels a mission laid upon him to call men everywhere away from a religion of "notions and words"[13] to a religion of first-hand experience and inwardly felt realities. Unless we know Christ, he says, experimentally so that "He lives within us spiritually, and so that all which is known of Him in the Letter and Historically is truly done and acted in our own souls -- until we experimentally verify all we read of Him -- the Gospel is a meer tale to us." It is not saving knowledge to know that Christ was born in Bethlehem but to know that He is born in us. It is vastly more important to know experimentally that we are crucified with Christ than to know historically that He died in Jerusalem many years ago, and to feel Jesus Christ risen again within you is far more operative than to have "a notional knowledge" that He rose on the third day. "When thou begins to finde and know not merely that He was conceived in the womb of a virgin, but that thou art that virgin and that He is more truly and spiritually, and yet as really, conceived in thy heart so that thou feelest the Babe beginning to be conceived in thee by the power of the Holy Ghost and the Most High overshadowing thee; when thou feelest Jesus Christ stirring to be born and brought forth in thee; when thou beginnest to see and feel all those mighty, powerful actions done in thee which thou readest that He did in the flesh -- here is a Christ indeed, a real Christ who will do thee some good."[14]


To have Christ born in the soul means also to "do the deeds of Christ," to grow and increase toward perfection as His life is more fully manifested in us, to be able to say as we read of divine events, "This day is this Scripture fulfilled in me," and to see Christ work all His miracles before our eyes to-day. It is the "key of experience" which unlocks all the drawers and cabinets and hidden and secret doors of Scripture.[15] We can discover, as we read, that there are whole armies of Philistines in us to be overcome, that there are Goliaths to be slain, and that there are Promised Lands to be won.[16] "When thou hast seen God and found Him for thyself; then thou mayest say: Now I believe, not only because it is written in Genesis, but because I have felt it and seen it written and fulfilled in mine own soul."[17] "Men should not so much trouble themselves," he says to those who are expecting a "Fifth Monarchy," "about a personal reign of Christ here upon earth, if they saw that the chief and real fulfilling of the Scriptures were in them; and that, whatever is externally done in the world or expressed in the Scriptures, is but typical and representative, and points out a more spiritual saving, and a more divine fulfilling of them."[18]

In almost the same figures used by Sebastian Franck he contrasts the letter and the Spirit, the outward and the inward, the word of the written Book and the living Word of God. This contrast is carefully worked out in four sermons, preached at Kensington, on "The Dead and Killing Letter, and the Spirit and the Life." Here he insists, often in quaint and curious phrases, that the Old Testament, "from the first of Genesis to the last of the Prophets," is an allegory, "woven like a beautiful tapestry" to picture forth to the eye a history whose real meaning is to be found within the soul; if you dwell upon it only as picture, only as history, it is a letter that kills; if you see your own selves in it and by it, then it gives life.[19] You may learn the whole Bible by heart and speak to any point in divinity according to text and letter, and yet know {246} nothing of God or of spiritual life.[20] "If you be always handling the letter of the Word, always licking the letter, always chewing upon that, what great thing do you? No marvel you are such starvelings!"[21] The letter is the husk; the Word, the Spirit, is the kernel; the letter is the earthen jar, the Spirit is the hidden manna; the letter is the outer court, the Spirit is the inner sanctuary; the letter is the shadow, the Spirit is the substance; the letter is the sheath, the Spirit is the sharp two-edged sword; the letter is the hard encasing bone that must be broken, the Spirit is inward marrow which nourishes the soul; the letter is temporal, the Word is eternal[22] -- "if ye once know the truth experimentally after the Spirit ye will no longer make such a stir about Forms, Disciplines, and Externals as if that were the great and only Reformation!"[23] The real difficulty, the true cause of spiritual dryness, is that "men strive and contend so much for the letter and the external part of God's worship, that they neglect the inward and internal altogether; for where is the man who is so zealous and hot for the internal as he is for the external. If we press men to the inward before the outward, or do as I do, lift up that; either how cold and heartless they are, or else how quarrelsome and malicious they are!"[24] When once the inward core of things has been grasped and the transforming experience has occurred, making a new man -- freed, illuminated, sin-delivered, with "God the Life of the life and the Soul of the soul"[25] -- the outward forms and the external things will fall into the right perspective and will receive their proper emphasis. Imitating St. Augustine's great saying: "Love God absolutely and then you may do as you please," Everard says, "Turn the man loose who has found the living Guide within him, and then let him neglect the outward if he can; just as you would say to a man who loves his wife with all tenderness, 'you may beat her, hurt her or kill her, if you want to!'"[26]

The conception of God which forms the foreground of {247} all Everard's teaching is one perfectly familiar to those that have studied the great mystics who have formed their ideas under the direct or indirect influence of Plotinus. The conception is, of course, not necessarily mystical -- it is rather a recurring type of metaphysics -- but it has peculiarly suited the mystical mind and is often regarded by Christian historians as synonymous with mysticism. God, for Everard as for Dionysius and for Eckhart, Tauler, and Franck, is unknowable, unspeakable, unnamable, abstracted from all that is created and visible, an absolute One, alone of all beings in the universe able to say "I am," since He alone is Perfect Reality; but just for that reason He is unrevealable in His inmost nature to finite beings and incapable of manifestation through anything that is finite.[27]

He is a permanent and unchanging Substance; all things that are visible are but shadow and appearance, are like bubbles in the water which are now here and now gone.[28] Every created and finite thing, however -- from a grain of sand to a radiant sun and from a blade of grass to the Seraph that is nearest God -- is a beam or a ray or expression of that eternal Reality, is an angel or messenger that in some minute, or in some glorious fashion, reveals God in space and time; and all created things together, from the lowest to the highest, from the treble of the heavenly beings to the base of earthly things, form "one mighty sweet-tuned instrument," sending forth one harmonious hallelujah to the Creator and revealing a single organic universe, "acted and guided by one Spirit" -- the Soul of all that is.[29] "Ask the craggy mountains what part they sing, and they will tell you that they sing the praise of the immutableness and unchangeableness of God; ask the flowers of the field what part they sing, and they will tell you they sing the wisdom and liberality of God who cloathes them beyond Solomon in all his glory; ask the sun, moon and stars what part they sing, and they will say the constancy of God's promises, that they hold their course and do not alter it; ask the poor received sinner {248} what part he sings, and he will tell you he sings the infinite free mercy of a most gracious Father; and ask the wicked, obstinate sinner what part he sings, and he will tell you he sings the praise of the patience and justice of God."[30]

In a very striking passage, Everard points out how the beings nearest in order to God are most free of matter and imperfection, while those lower in hierarchical scale are increasingly more material: "God is a pure Spirit, only Form without any manner of matter; and all the Creatures, the further off from Him, the more matter [they have] and the nearer the less. For example, Angels are pictured with complete bodies; yet to show they are further off from matter than men, therefore they have always wings. And Arch-angels, they being nearer the Nature of God than Angels, are pictured with bodies cut off by the middle with wings. But Cherubims, having less matter and nearer God Himself than either, are pictured only with heads and wings, without bodies. But Seraphims, being farthest off from man and nearest of all to God, have no bodies nor heads nor wings at all but [are] only represented by a certain yellowish or fiery Colour."[31]

We ourselves, we men, are both finite and infinite. We have come from an infinite source, and even in our apparent finiteness and independence we still remain inwardly joined to that central Reality.

He tells this in his parable of the water-drops: "Suppose two water-drops reasoning together, and one says to the other,

'Whence are we? Canst thou conceive whence we are? Dost thou know either whence we come or to whom we belong, or whither we shall go? Something we are, but what will in a short time become of us, canst thou tell?' And the other drop might answer, 'Alas, poor fellow-drop, be assured we are nothing, for the sun may arise and draw us up and scatter us and so bring us to nothing.' Says the other again, 'Suppose it do, for all that, yet we are, we have a being, we are something.'

'Why, what are we?' saith the other.


'Why, brother drop, dost thou not know? We, even we, as small and as contemptible as we are in ourselves, yet we are members of the Sea; poor drops though we be, yet let us not be discouraged: We belong to the vast Ocean.'"[32]

The way back to this infinite Ocean from which we have come and in which we belong is through the tiny rivulet, the narrow inlet, of our own souls, for "the Sea flows into all the creeks and crannies of the World."[33] But to find Him -- this original Ground and Reality -- we must "leave the outcoasts" and go back into "the Abysse." Most of us are busy "playing with cockel-shells and pebble-stones that lie on the outcoasts of the Kingdom," and we do not put back to the infinite Sea itself, where we become united and made one with His Life.[34]

The process of return is a process of denial and subtraction. The "cockel-shells and pebble-stones" must be left, and one finite thing after another must be dropped, and finally "all that thou callest I, all that self ness, all that propriety that thou hast taken to thyself, whatsoever creates in us Iness and selfness, must be brought to nothing."[35] If we would hear God, we must still the noises within ourselves. "All the Artillery in the World, were they all discharged together at one clap, could not more deaf the ears of our bodies than the clamorings of desires in the soul deaf its ears, so you see a man must go into silence or else he cannot hear God speak."[36] All "the minstrels" that are singing of self and self interests "must be cast out." If "the creature" is to be loved and used at all, it must be loved and used rightly and in balance, which is hard to do. "Thou must love it and use it as if thou loved it not and used it not, not appropriating it to thyself, and always being ready to leave it willingly and freely; so that thou sufferest no rending, no tearing in thy soul to part with it, and so thou usest it for God and in God and to ends appointed by God."[37]

The result of this junction of finite and infinite in us is {250} that a Christian life is bound to be a strenuous contest: "you must expect to fight a great battel." "You are," Everard says again, "bidden to fight with your own selves, with your own desires, with your own affections, with your own reason, with your own will; and therefore if you will finde your enemies, never look without. If you will finde out the Devil and what he is and what his nature is, look within you. There you may see him in his colours, in his nature, in his power, in his effects and in his working."[38]

In a word, the way to God is the way of the Cross. Christ Himself is the pattern and His way of Life is the typical way for all who would find God -- "Christ Jesus is He that all visions tend to; He is the substance of all the types, shadows, and sacrifices. He is the business that the whole Word was ever about, and only is, and shall be about; He hath been, is, and shall be the business of all ages, in one kinde or other."[39] "The Book of God," he says in another sermon, "is a great Book, and many words are in it, and many large volumes have been drawn out of it, but Jesus Christ is the body of it; He is the Mark all these words shoot at."[40] It henceforth becomes our business to find Christ's life and Christ's death in us, to see that all His deeds are done in us. Christ's will must become our will, Christ's peace our peace, Christ's sufferings our sufferings, Christ's cross our cross, and then we may know "the eternal Sabbath," and keep "quiet, even if the whole fabrick of heaven and earth crack and the mountains tumble down."[41]

Everard was always on the watch for those things which prevent the growth, progress, and advance of the soul into the deeper significance of religion. The true Christian continually "grows taller in Christ," he does not stop at "the child's stature," his growth is "not stinted like a Dwarf."[42] He discovers one of the prevailing {251} causes of arrested development, the "stinting" of the soul, to lie in the wrong use of externals, in the subtle tendency to "rest" in the elements or beginnings of religion, as he calls them, in "the lowest things in Christianity." This is "to cover oneself with fig-leaves as Adam did."[43] Men "turn shadows into substance," and instead of using ordinances and sacraments, "as means, schoolmasters and tutors," "as steps and guides to Christ who is the Truth and Substance," they so use them that they stop the soul mid-way and hinder it from going on to Christ.[44] He cites the way in which St. Paul "burst out into a holy defiance" of everything which did not directly minister to the formation of a new creation within the person, whether it were Moses and the law or even Christ after the flesh, or any "outward Priviledges and Ordinances" whatever. Those who make these things "the top and quintessence of religion" miss the Apostle's "more excellent way." Those who "stick in externals" and "rest upon them as Crutches and Go-bies" [i.e. become arrested there] prevent growth in religion, "turn the ordinance into an Idol" and occasion disputes and differences, "like children who quarrel about triffles."[45] But Everard is, nevertheless, very cautious not to go too far in this direction and he always shows poise and balance. So long as the outward, whether letter or sacrament, is kept in its place and is used as means or medium for the attainment of a spiritual goal -- the formation of Christ within -- he approves of its use and warns against a too sudden transcendence of the outward helps to the soul.[46]

Here in England, then, during the tumultuous years from 1625 to 1650 a solid scholar and a great preacher was teaching the people the same views which the spiritual Reformers of Germany had taught a century earlier. Like them, Everard taught that the book of the Bible, in so far as it consists of words, syllables, and letters, is not the Word of God, for God's Word is not ink and paper, but Life and Spirit, quick and powerful, illuminating the {252} soul immediately, and demonstrating itself by its creative work upon the inward man until he becomes like the Spirit that works within him.[47] Like them, he insisted that Christ becomes Saviour only as He becomes the Life of our lives and repeats in us in a spiritual way the events of His outward and historical life. Like them, too, he had discovered that God is not a being of wrath and anger, needing to be appeased. On the contrary he says: "Beloved, were you once to come to a true sight of God, you would see Him glorious and amiable, full of love and mercy and tenderness -- all wrath and frowns blown clean away. We should see in Him not so much as any shadow of anger."[48] Like them, he found heaven not far away but in the redeemed soul: "Heaven is nothing but Grace perfected, 'tis of the same nature of that you enjoy here when you are united by faith to Christ."[49] "I remember," he once said, "how I was taught as a child, either by my nurse, or my mother, or my schoolmaster, that God was above in heaven, above the sun, moon and stars, and there, I thought, was His Court, and His Chamber of presence, and I thought it a great height to come to this knowledge; but I assure you I had more to do to unlearn this principle than ever I had to learn it."[50] He tries to call his hearers away from "the childish apprehensions" that heaven is a place of "visible and ocular glories," or that "it shall be only hereafter," or that its glory "consists in Thrones, and Crowns, and Scepters, in Music, Harps and Vyols, and such like carnal and poor things."[51]

He was a man of beautiful spirit, of saintly life, "courageous and discerning," "concerned not so much over self-sufferings as that truth should not in any way be obstructed through him," and he belongs in the list of those who saw through the veil of the outward, through the parable of the letter, and found the inward and eternal Reality.[52]



Another seventeenth-century interpreter of religion as direct and immediate experience of God was Giles Randall, who, like John Everard, was a scholar, a translator of religious books, and a powerful popular preacher. If one knew him only through the accounts of the heresy-hunters of the period, one would suppose him to have been a disseminator of the most "virulent poyson" for the soul; but a careful examination of all the material available convinces me that he was a high-minded, sincere, and fearless bearer of the message of the present, living, inwardly-experienced Christ, as Eternal Spirit, Divine Light, and Word of God.

It is extremely difficult, from the fragmentary details at hand, to construct a biographical account of Randall, but the following sketch of him seems fairly well supported by facts:

He was the son of Edward Randall of Chipping Wycombe, Bucks, and received his B.A. from Lincoln College, Oxford, February 13, 1625-6.[53] He was probably the nephew of John Randall, B.D. (1570-1622), an eminent Puritan divine, a man of good scholarship and of large means, who bequeathed by will his house and garden to his "loveing Nephewe Gyles Randall."[54] He seems to have been for some years a minister in good odour and repute, and to have given no occasion of complaint against his doctrine before 1643. He probably was the Giles Randall who was arrested in 1637 and tried in the Star Chamber for {254} preaching against "ship-money" as unjust and an offence against God, since it was, he declared in his sermon, "a way of taking burdens off rich men's shoulders and laying them on the necks of poor men."[55] He was again before the Star Chamber -- this time it is certainly our Giles Randall -- in 1643 charged with preaching "anabaptism," "familism," and "antinomianism," according to the usual labels of the time. He had been for some years preaching peaceably at "the Spital" in London with great multitudes of people nocking to hear him.[56] The charge of heresy was brought against Randall for a sermon which he was said to have preached in St. Martin Orgar's, a soundly orthodox church, in Candlewick ward, London -- the charge being that he preached against "the mandatory and obligatory nature of the law as a Christian rule to walk by," and asserted that a child of God can live as sinless a life as Christ's was.[57] He was "removed" from the ministry "for his anabaptism" in the autumn of 1644, though he continued to preach after being "removed."[58] The famous drag-nets of heresy give us a few more details of Randall's "poysonous" doctrine. Edwards says that Randall taught that "our common food, ordinary eating and drinking, is a sacrament of Christ's death," and that "all creatures [i.e. everything in the visible creation] held forth God in Christ."[59] Samuel Rutherford charges him with teaching a possible perfection in this life: "Randall, the antinomian and Familist says, those persons are ever learning and never coming to knowledge who say that perfection is not attainable in this life."[60] He further charges that Randall in a sermon said that "Christ's Parables, from Sowing, a Draw-net, Leaven, etc., did prove that to expound the Scriptures by allegories was lawfull and that all the things of this life, as Seeds, the Wayside, a Rocke, the Sea, a {255} Net, the Leaven, etc., were sacraments of Christ . . . and that a spiritual minde might see the mysteries of the Gospel in all the things of nature and of this life. This man who preacheth most abomnable Familisme is suffered in and about London publickly, twise on the Lord's Day, to draw hundreds of Godly people after him!"[61]

John Etherington throws a little more light upon the nature of this "abomnable Familism," which so many godly people liked. He says that Randall taught in his sermons that when a person is baptized with the Holy Ghost he knows all things, and has entered into the deep mystery which is "like the great ocean where there is no casting anchor nor sounding the bottome"; that perfection and the resurrection are attainable in the present time; that "those who have the Spirit have nothing to doe with the law nor with the baptism of repentance which John preached"; "he presumes to turn the holy writings of Moses, the Prophets, of Christ and His Apostles into Allegories," and gives "a spiritual meaning" to the same.[62] It is clear from the comments of these crumb-pickers of pernicious doctrine that Giles Randall, as a preacher, was teaching the views now quite familiar to us. He was teaching that the whole world is a revelation of God, that Christ is God fully revealed; that the Divine Spirit, incarnate in Him, comes upon men still and brings them into the bottomless, unsoundable deeps of Life with God, and makes it possible for them to attain a perfect life; that the Scriptures as outward and legal must be transcended, and that they must be spiritually discerned and experienced.

Nearly everything connected with Randall's name presents an historical puzzle to us. His biography, as we have seen, lies hid in obscurity and his books present baffling problems. There are three translations of religious classics which bear his name on the title-page, and which are introduced to the reader in Prefaces written by him, but it is far from certain that he actually made the {256} translations. In 1646 he published a little book called the Single Eye, or the Vision of God wherein is unfolded the Mystery of the Divine Presence. Randall says that the book was written by "that learned Doctor Cusanus." It is in fact a translation of the De visione Dei of Nicholas of Cusa, and it is word for word a printed copy of the Cambridge MS. ascribed to John Everard. The other book, published in 1648, is an English edition of Theologia Germanica, the translation being made from the Latin of "John Theophilus," that is, Sebastian Castellio. It is called "a Little Golden Manuall briefly discovering the mysteries, sublimity, perfection and simplicity of Christianity in Belief and Practice." Everard, it will be remembered, also translated this "little golden book," but in this case there are very great variations between Randall's printed copy and the Cambridge MS., and they probably did not come from the same hand.[63] The English translation was evidently made some time before the appearance of this edition of 1648, for Randall says in his Introduction that "This little Book was long veiled and obscured (by its unknown tongue) from the eye of the illiterate and inexpert, until some years since, through the desires and industries of some of our own countrymen, lovers of Truth, it was translated and made to speak to thee in thine own dialect and language. But the time of its Nativity being under the late wise and wary Hierarchic who had monopolized and engrossed the discovery of others . . . it walked up and down the city in MSS. at deer rates from hand to hand of some well-wishers to truth, in clandestine and private manner; like Moses in his Arke, or the little {257} Child fled and hid from Herod, never daring to crowd into the Presse, fearing the rude usuage of those then in authority."[64]

Both Robert Baillie and Benjamin Bourne had seen the treatise before their respective books against heresy appeared in 1646, and they were deeply stirred against Randall for sowing what to their minds seemed such dangerous doctrines and such regard for "Popish writings."[65] His critics further connect Randall with other books. Baillie speaks of two books: "the one by a Dutch Frier [evidently the Theologia] and the other by an English Capuchine." Bourne writes against those dangerous books Theologia Germanica, The Bright Star, Divinity and Philosophy Dissected, and Edwards couples with the Vision of God (the treatise by Nicholas of Cusa) "the third part of the Rule of Perfection by a Cappuchian Friar."[66]

John Goodwin, vicar of St. Stephen's in Coleman St., commenting on Edward's Gangraena, humorously says: "I marvaile how Mr. Edwards having (it seems) an authorized power to make errors and heresies at what rate and of what materialles he pleaseth, and hopes to live upon the trade, could stay his pen at so small a number as 180, and did not advance to that angelicall quotient in the Apocalypse, which is ten thousand times ten thousand," and he adds that if Edwards had consulted with a book "printed within the compasse of his foure years, intitled Divinity and Philosophy Dissected, set out by a mad man, with some few others . . . He shall be able to increase his roll of errors from 180 to 280, if not to 500."[67] Samuel {258} Rutherford says: "So hath Randel the Familist prefixed an Epistle to two Popish Tractates, furnishing to us excellent priviledges of Familisme, the one called Theologia Germanica, and the other Bright Starre, which both advance perfect Saints above Law, and Gospel". . .[68]

This treatise, called A Bright Starre (London, 1646), which so deeply disturbed the seventeenth-century guardians of orthodoxy, is a translation of "The Third Part of the Rule of Perfection," written by an English Capuchin Friar, and "faithfully done into the English tongue," apparently by Randall, "for the common good."[69] It is a profoundly mystical book, characterized by interior depth and insight. Its central aim is the exposition of a stage of spiritual life which transcends both "the active life" and "the contemplative life," a stage which the writer calls "the Life Supereminent." In this highest stage "the essential will of God is practiced," without strain or effort, because God Himself has now become the inner Life and Being of the person, the spring and power of the new-formed will.

Randall's preface, or "Epistle to the Reader," as he calls it, is a further revelation of his religious views, and his Christian spirit. He pleads for freedom and for variety in religious life and thought. God does not want one fixed and unvarying Christian form or doctrine; He wants variety in the spiritual life as He has arranged for variety in the external world of nature: "As in the world all men are not of an equall height and stature of body, but some taller, some shorter; some weaker, some stronger: so neither are all of one just and even proportion in spiritual light and strength of faith in the kingdome of Christ, some are dwarfs of Zacheus his pitch, some {259} againe of Saul's port, taller by his head and shoulders than his brethren; so, in the kingdome of Christ, some are babes, some are young men, some are fathers, every one according to the measure of the gift of Christ." God has something in His kingdom that fits each spiritual stature, something suited to each intellectual capacity. He does not want one and the same note struck by all -- "harping blindly on one string." He does not want men to be "tyed to one forme and kept forever to one lesson, unable to top up their work" -- He wants men to "go from strength to strength, from faith to faith and from height to height."

Randall declares that he has observed with deep sorrow "the non-proficiency of many ingenuous spirits who through the policie of others and the too too much modesty and timerity of themselves" have failed to progress "to the top and pitch" of their possible perfection -- "poore soules after many years travelling being found in the same place and going the same pace!" He hopes that this book on Perfection which he is now giving "common vulgar people in their own mother tongue," though it is a way that is "high and hard and almost unheard of amongst us," may help men to grow up into their full stature and to come to "the uttermost steps of Jacob's Ladder which reacheth into the heavens." The lower stages of the religious life consist (1) of external practices and exercises in conformity to the law of God, and (2) interior contemplation and meditation of a God thought of as outside and beyond the soul's real possession. But the true spiritual life, and "Sabbath rest of the soul," is reached only when God becomes the inner Life of our lives, when Christ is formed within and we see Light and have our wisdom through His divine anointing. At the highest stage of spiritual life man finds himself by ceasing to be himself. God can now reveal His beauty and glory through such a person and act and work in him and through him. This teaching, Randall admits, is only for "experienced Christians," but he believes that this book will have "good successe amongst the Children of {260} the Light, who are taught of God and who run and read the hidden and deepe things of God."[70]

If we may judge Randall from his extant Prefaces he was a beautiful spirit and was, in fact, what he calls himself, "a lover of the Truth in the Truth."[71] He says that "Nothing is or ever was endeavored by most men, with more industry and less success than the true knowledge of God," but this perennial failure is due, he thinks, to the false ways which have been taken, especially to "the negative process of abstraction" by which men have tried in vain to find God. The only true way to Him is "the new and living way" through the concrete revelation of Him. "The sound and unerring knowledge of God standeth in your knowledge of your man Christ Jesus, and whoever hath seen Him hath seen the Father also, for He is not a dead image of Him, but a living Image of the invisible God, yea, the fulgor or brightness of His glory and character of His person. . . . He is an Immanuel, God with us, God in us. . . . But there is no true knowledge of God within us till He be in us formed in the face of Jesus Christ."[72] He declares that since "understanding" must be helped by "sense" and "sense is not available till it live in the light of the understanding," we must learn to find the infinite in the finite, the invisible in the visible, and thus in Christ we have God "finitely infinite and infinitely finite" -- "He cloathes Himself with flesh, reason, sense and the form and nature of a servant, who yet is above all and Lord over all." "He that is infinitely above thee makes himselfe be to thee [visibly] what He is in thee."[73] Christ is the universal revealer of God to all who see Him, just as the portrait of a human face seems to fix and follow the beholder from any position in the room, while at the same time it does the same to all other beholders from whatever angle they may look.[75]

The Vision of God, whether Englished by Randall or {261} by Everard, or by both working together, is translated into beautiful, often poetical and rhythmical English, and contains many vivid passages, such as the following: "Thou, O God, canst never forsake me so long as I am capable of Thee."[75] "I love my life exceedingly because Thou art the sweetness of my life."[76] "No man can turn to Thee except Thou be present, for except Thou wert present and diddest solicit me I should not know Thee at all."[77] "Restless is my heart, O Lord, because Thy love hath enflamed it with such a desire that it cannot rest but in Thee alone."[78] "In the Son of Man I see the Son of God, because Thou art so the Son of Man that Thou art the Son of God and in the finite attracted nature I see the Infinite Attracting Nature." "I see all things in thy human nature which I see in thy divine nature."[79] "To come to God is Paradise; to see God is to be in Paradise."[80] "The Word of God illuminateth the understanding as the light of the sun doth the world. I see the fountain of Light in the Word of God. . . . Christ is the Word of God humanified and man deified."[81] "What is more easie than to believe God, what is more sweet than to love Him. . . . Thy Spirit, O God, comes into the intellectual spirit of good men, and by the heat of divine love concocts the virtuall power which may be perfected in us. . . . All Scriptures labour for nothing but to show Thee, all intellectual spirits have no other exercise but to seek Thee and to reveal Thee. Above all things Thou hast given me Jesus for a Master, the Way of Life, and Truth, so that there might be nothing at all wanting to me."[82]

The literary style of Divinity and Philosophy Dissected is unlike that of Randall's known writings, and yet it is not impossible for him to have written it.[83] The ideas which fill the little book are quite similar to those which {262} Randall held and are in full accord with those which prevailed in this general group of Christian thinkers. The writer of the treatise, whoever he was, is fond of allegory and symbolic interpretation. He turns Adam into a figure and makes the Garden of Eden an allegory in quite modern fashion. "Doe you thinke," he writes, "that there was a materiall garden or a tree whereon did grow the fruit of good and evill, or that the serpent did goe up in the same to speake to the woman? Sure it cannot stand with reason that it could be so, for it is said that all the creatures did come to Adam, and he gave them names according to their natures: now it is contrary to the Serpent's nature to speake after the manner of men, unlesse you will alleadge that she understood the language of the beasts, and thought them wiser than God, and resolved to be ruled by them, which to me seems altogether against reason, that the woman should be so ignorant and unrationall, who was created rationall after the image of God to be ruler of all creatures: for at this day if a Serpent went up into a tree, and did speake from thence to men and women, it would make them afraid in so much that they would not doe what he bid them: or dost thou thinke that in Mesopotamia (a great way off beyond the seas) that there is a materiall garden wherein standeth the tree of life, and the tree of knowledge of good and ill, both in one place, and an angell, standing with a flickering sword to keep the tree of life from the man!"[84]

The book contains a very striking confession of Faith quite unlike that which Rutherford or Baillie or Edwards would have allowed as "sound," but yet serious, honest, and marked with a clear note of experience. God is, for the writer, above everything a living God, a Spirit, "a perfect clear Light that reveals to man the Truth." God is, he says, Light, Life, and Love, and He is all these things to man. He instructs and convinces his conscience; He disciplines and corrects him; He raises condemnation in us for our sins, and "His Light persuades our hearts to have true sorrow and real repentance for our sins, with a {263} broken and contrite heart and sorrowful spirit, and so we begin to hate ourselves and our sins, and doe really forsake them."[85] "There is," he maintains, in words that sound strangely like the yet unborn Quakers, "an infallible Spirit, Jesus Christ, the power of God in us, which directs, corrects, instructs, perswades, and makes us wise unto salvation; for He is the holy Word of life unto us . . . and discovers all mysteries unto us, . . . if so be we are obedient unto Him; but if we are not obedient unto Him, this infallible Spirit, Jesus Christ in us, then we shall know nothing of God or of the Scriptures, but it shall be a sealed book, a dead letter, a seeming contradiction unto us."[86]

Samuel Rutherford declares the little treatise to be "a rude, foolish and unlearned Pamphlet of late penned and changing, as Familists and Antinomians doe, Scripture and God and Christ into metaphores and vaine Allegories."[87] The comment of this good man is honest and sincere, but of value only as revealing the mental attitude of himself. Here the representative of the old system was speaking out of the past and condemning a dawning movement which with his apperceiving material he could not understand, but which was in a few years to have extraordinary expansion and which, when it should in time become defecated through discipline and spiritual travail, was destined to speak to the condition of many minds to whom Rutherford's "notions" have become only empty words.


A beautiful little anonymous book of this period, containing a similar conception of Christianity to that set forth in the writings of Everard and Randall, must be briefly considered here: The Life and Light of a Man in Christ Jesus (London, 1646). The writer, who was a scholarly man, shows the profound influence of the Theologia Germanica, that universal book of religion which {264} fed so many souls in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and he has evidently found, either at home or abroad, spiritual guides who have brought him to the Day-star in his own heart.

Religion, he says, is wholly a matter of the "operative manifestation of Christ in a man -- the divine Spirit living in a man."[88] To miss that experience and to lack that inner life in God is to miss the very heart of religion. "There be many and diverse Religions and Baptisms among many and diverse peoples of the habitable world, but to be baptized as a man in Christ -- that is to be baptized into the living, active God, so that the man has his salvation and eternal well-being wrought in him by the Spirit and life of his God -- is the only best."[89] Those who lack "this real spiritual business" never attain "the true Sabbath-rest of the soul." They go to meeting on "Sunday, Sabbath or First day [sic] merely to hear such or such a rare divine preach or discourse, or to participate in such or such Ordinances."[90] They have "an artificiall, historicall Divinity [Theology] which they have attained by the eye, that is by reading books, or by the ears, that is, by hearing this or that man, or by gathering up expressions" -- their religion rests on "knowledge" and not on Christ experienced within.[91] This external religion is not so much wrong as it is inadequate and immature. "It is," he says, "like unto young children, who with shells and little stones imitate a real building!"[92] The religion which carries a man beyond shadows to true realities and from the cockle-shell house to a permanent and eternal temple for the Spirit is the religion which finds Christ within as the Day-star in the man's own heart.[93]

There is throughout this simple little book a noble appreciation of love as the "supream good" for the soul. "The God of infinite goodness and eternal love" is a kind of refrain which bursts forth in these pages again {265} and again. Love in us is, he thinks, "a sparkle of that immense and infinite Love of the King and Lord of Love."[94] Salvation and eternal well-being consist for him in the formation of a life "consecrated and united unto the true Light and Love of Christ." The man who has this Life within him will always be willing and glad when the time comes "to returne againe into the bosome of his heavenly Father-God."[95] And not only is the man who has the Life of Christ in him harmonized in love upwardly toward God; he is also harmonized outwardly towards his fellows. "He is a member with all other men, with the good as a lowly-minded disciple to them; with those that are not in Christ, as a deare, sympathizing helper, doing his utmost to do them good."[96] He has written his "little Treatise," he says, "as a love-token from the Father" to help lead men out of the "darke pits of the world's darkness" into the full Light of the soul's day-dawn.

The book lacks the robustness and depth that are so clearly in evidence in most of the writings that have been dealt with in this volume, but there is a beauty, a simplicity, a sweetness, a sincerity born of experience, which give this book an unusual flavour and perfume. The writer says that there is "an endless battle between the Seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent," but one feels that he has fought the battle through and won. He says that "a man should be unto God what a house is to a man," i.e. a man should be a habitation of the living God, and the reader feels that this man has made himself a habitation for the divine presence within. He says if you want spiritual help you must go to a "man who has skill in God," and one lays down his slender book feeling assured that, out of the experience of Christ in his own soul, he did have "skill in God," so that he could speak to the condition of others. There was at least one man in England in 1646 who knew that the true source and basis of religion was to be found in the experience of Christ within and not in theological notions of Him.

[1] The Italian titles of these two books are Alfabeto Christiana (1546) and Le Cento et dieci divine Considerationi (1550).

[2] A Survey of the Spiritual Antichrist (1648), p.164.

[3] Ibid. p.319.

[4] Epistle Dedicatory to Some Gospel Treasures Opened (London, 1653).

[5] Gospel Treas., "To the Reader."

[6] Ibid.

[7] Sometimes "Divers Earls and Lords and other great ones" were in his audience.

[8] Gospel Treas., "To the Reader."

[9] Sig. Dd. xii. p.68.

[10] Fourth series, i. p.597.

[11] Denck's name is used in its Latin form John Denqui, and he is called magnus theologus.

[12] Hermes Trismegistus was published in Everard's lifetime. Large extracts from his manuscript translations are given in the Gospel Treasures Opened (1653). The Vision of God was edited and published in full by Giles Randall in 1646, and it is very probable that Everard and Randall did this work together.

[13] Gospel Treasures Opened, p.393.

[14] Sermon on "The Starre in the East," Gospel Treas. pp.52-54. See also pp.586-587. Compare the famous lines of Angelus Silesius:

"Had Christ a thousand times
Been born in Bethlehem
But not in thee, thy sin
Would still thy soul condemn."

Angelus Silesius, edited by Paul Carus (Chicago, 1909), p.103.

[15] Gospel Treas. pp.59, 72, and 98.

[16] Ibid. pp.270-271.

[17] Ibid. p.282.

[18] Ibid. p.92.

[19] Ibid. p.280

[20] Gospel Treas. pp.310-311.

[21] Ibid. p.286.

[22] Ibid. p.468.

[23] Ibid. p.343.

[24] Ibid. p.344.

[25] Ibid. p.341.

[27] Ibid. p.344.

[27] Gospel Treas. p.81.

[28] Ibid. p.630.

[29] Ibid. pp.637 and 658.

[30] Gospel Treas. p.411.

[31] Ibid. 2nd ed. ii. p.345.

[32] Gospel Treas. p.753.

[33] Ibid. p.418.

[34] Ibid. pp.423-425.

[35] Ibid. p.230.

[36] Ibid. p.600.

[37] Ibid. p.308.

[38] Gospel Treas. p.142.

[39] Ibid. p.648.

[40] Ibid. p.642.

[41] Ibid. pp.99 and 250. Everard's greater contemporary, Pascal, also held the view that what happened to Christ should take place in every Christian. He wrote to his sister, Madame Perier, Oct.17, 1651, on the death of their father: "We know that what has been accomplished in Jesus Christ should be accomplished also in all His members."

[42] Ibid. pp.555-556.

[43] Gospel Treas. p.315.

[44] Ibid. p.558.

[45] Ibid. pp.561-562.

[46] Ibid. pp.563-565.

[47] Gospel Treas. pp.310-315.

[48] Ibid. p.361.

[49] Ibid. p.365.

[50] Ibid. p.736.

[51] Ibid. p.552.

[52] It is not possible to tell whether the sermons of John Everard were generally known to the early Quakers or not. He held similar views to theirs on many points, and he reiterates, with as much vigour as does Fox, the inadequacy of University learning as a preparation for spiritual ministry. One Quaker at least of the early time read Everard and appreciated him. That was John Bellers. In his "Epistle to the Quarterly Meeting of London and Middlesex," written in 1718, Bellers quotes "the substance of an excellent Discourse of a poor man in Germany, above 300 years ago, then writ by John Taulerus, and since printed in John Everard's Works, who was a religious dissenter in King James the First's time." He thereupon gives the "Dialogue between a Learned Divine and a Beggar" (which Everard ascribed to Tauler) to add force to his own presentation of "the duty of propagating piety, charity, and industry among men."

[53] Foster's Alumni Oxonienses (1500-1714), vol. iii. Early Series, p.1231.

[54] 57, Savile, Probate Court of Canterbury, Somerset House.

[55] Calendar of State Papers, Dom. Ser. Charles I.

[56] Robert Baillie's Anabaptisme, the true Fountains of Independency (1646), p.102,

[57] Thomas Gataker's God's Eye on His Israel (1645), Preface.

[58] Journal of Commons, August 9, 1644, pp.584-585.

[59] Gangraena (1646), part iii. p.25.

[60] A Survey of the Spiritual Antichrist (1647), chap. xi. p.143.

[61] A Survey of the Spiritual Antichrist, chap. lxxvi. pp.162-163.

[62] A Brief Discovery, etc. (1645), pp.1-5.

[63] Contemporary writers held that the Giles Randall who preached in "the Spital" was the translator. Robert Baillie, Principal of Glasgow University, in his work on Anabaptisme, pp.102-103, speaks of Randall who preached in "the Spital," and refers to his increasing temerity as shown by the fact that "he hath lately printed two very dangerous books and set his Preface before each of them, composed as he professes long ago by Popish Priests, the one by a Dutch Frier and the other by an English Capuchine." Baillie further refers to the "deadly poison" of these books as shown in Benjamin Bourne's Description and Confutation of Mysticall Antichrist, the Familists (1646), where "the dangerous books" are named, as Theologia Germanica, the Bright Star, Divinity and Philosophy Dissected. Edward's Gangraena also identifies Randall the preacher with the translator of "Popish Books written by Priests and Friers," citing as an example "The Vision of God by Cardinall Cusanus," op. cit. (1646), part iii.

[64] Preface.

[65] Bourne's Description and Confutation and Baillie's Anabaptisme. It seems likely that there was an earlier edition of the Theologia than this of 1648, as the chapters and pages quoted by Bourne do not correspond with those of the 1648 edition, whose title-page has this clause: "Also a Treatise of the Soul and other additions not before printed."

[66] Gangraena, part iii.

[67] Goodwin's Cretensis (1646). The book, entitled Divinity and Philosophy Dissected, and attributed by implication to Randall, was published in Amsterdam in 1644, with the following title-page:

"Divinity & Philosophy Dissected, & set forth by a mad man. "The first Book divided into 3 Chapters.
"Chap. I. The description of the World in man's heart with the Articles of the Christian Faith.
"Chap. II. A description of one Spirit acting in all, which some affirme is God.
"Chap. III. A description of the Scripture according to the history and mystery thereof.
"Amsterdam, 1644."

[68] Survey, etc., part ii. chap. xlvii. p.53.

[69] The only copy of Randall's Bright Starre which I have been able to locate is in the Lambeth Palace Library. A copy of it formerly belonged to the learned Quaker, Benjamin Furly, and was sold with his remarkable collection of books in 1714.

[70] This term, "Children of the Light," was the name by which Friends, or Quakers, first called themselves. It was plainly a term current at the time for a Christian who put the emphasis on inward life and personal experience.

[71] Preface to Theologia.

[72] Preface to The Vision of God.

[73] Ibid.

[74] Nicholas' Preface to De visione Dei.

[75] The Vision of God, p.11.

[76] Ibid. p.13.

[77] Ibid. p.19. Compare this passage with Pascal's saying: "Thou wouldst not seek me if thou hadst not already found me."

[78] Ibid. p.37.

[79] Ibid. p.130.

[80] Ibid. p.138.

[81] Ibid. pp.151-152.

[82] Ibid. pp.170-176.

[83] There is no author's name or initial in the book, only the statement that it is "put forth" by a "mad man," who "desires to be in my wits and right minde to God, although a fool and madman to the world."

[84] Divinity and Philosophy Dissected, pp.39-40.

[85] Divinity and Philosophy Dissected, p.17.

[86] Ibid. p.62.

[87] A Survey of the Spiritual Antichrist, chap. xiv. p.163.

[88] Life and Light, p.3.

[89] Ibid. pp.99 and 101 quoted freely.

[90] Ibid. p.19. It should be noted that this use of "First-day" for Sunday antedates the Quaker practice.

[91] Ibid. pp.26-27.

[92] Ibid. p.35.

[93] See ibid. p.36.

[94] Life and Light, p.11.

[95] Ibid. p.38.

[96] Ibid. p.34.

chapter xii jacob boehmes influence
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