Friday, January 31, 2014

New Testament Inspired Words of James Nayler - Nayler Sonnet 22 by K. Boulding

New Testament Inspired:
Beautiful Quaker Words: James Nayler’s Deathbed Testimony

There is a spirit which I feel that delights to do no evil, nor to revenge any wrong, but delights to endure all things, in hope to enjoy its own in the end. Its hope is to outlive all wrath and contention, and to weary out all exaltation and cruelty, or whatever is of a nature contrary to itself. It sees to the end of all temptations. As it bears no evil in itself, so it conceives none in thought to any other. If it be betrayed, it bears it, for its ground and spring is the mercies and forgiveness of God. Its crown is meekness, its life is everlasting love unfeigned; it takes its kingdom with entreaty and not with contention, and keeps it by lowliness of mind. In God alone it can rejoice, though none else regard it, or can own its life. It is conceived in sorrow, and brought forth without any to pity it; nor doth it murmur at grief and oppression. It never rejoiceth but through sufferings; for with the world's joy it is murdered. I found it alone, being forsaken. I have fellowship therein with them who lived in dens and desolate places of the earth, who through death obtained this resurrection and eternal holy life.

Thou wast with me when I fled from the face of mine enemies: then didst Thou warn me in the night: Thou carriedst me in Thy power into the hiding-place Thou hadst prepared for me: there Thou coveredst me with Thy Hand that in time Thou mightst bring me forth a rock before all the world. When I was weak Thou stayedst me with Thy Hand, that in Thy time Thou mightst present me to the world in Thy strength in which I stand, and cannot be moved. Praise the Lord, O my soul. Let this be written for those that come after. Praise the Lord.

Kenneth Boulding’s Nayler Sonnets:
22. It never rejoiceth but through sufferings
Can grief be gift, love’s gift, Divine Love’s gift?
Not gentle grief over imagined loss,
But vital-tearing agonies, that toss
All bodily organs into a bottomless pit
Of choking pain? Ah, dare we, dare we sift
The abyss of suffering, truly take our cross
To the insane pit of pain, and there emboss
Love’s symbol on a door Hope cannot lift?
Thou sayest it—and yet the very tongue
That mouthed these words was bored with blackening flame,
Seared with twice-bitter tasting pain and shame.
No greater song than this the saints have sung:
That there is joy, greater than Joy can know,
Through suffering, on the far side of woe.

I think this is one of the few times, maybe the only time, Boulding makes reference to an actual experience of James Nayler. The words that inspire and "set off" this sonnet, were in fact uttered by a man who had his tongue bored through with a blazing piece of iron after having been beaten and branded with a "B" on his forehead for the blasphemy he was convicted of in "reenacting" Christ's glorious entry into Jerusalem.

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