proving fuccessful, beyond my expectation, to the fatisfaction of feveral, and to the exciting in many a defire of being farther informed concerning us, as being every where evil fpoken of; and likewife meeting with publick oppofition by fome, as fuch will always do, fo long as the devil rules in the children of difobedience; I was thereby farther engaged, in the liberty of the Lord, to prefent to the world this Apology of the truth held by thofe people: which, because of thy intereft in them, and theirs in thee, as having first appeared, and moftly increased, in thefe nations under thy rule, I make bold to prefent unto thee.

Thou knoweft, and haft experienced, their faithfulness towards their God, their patience in Suffering, their peaceableness towards the king, their bonefty, plainnefs, and integrity in their faithful warnings and teftimonies to thee; and if thou wilt allow thyself so much time as to read this, thou mayest find how confonant their principles are both to fcripture, truth, and right reafon. The fimplicity of their behaviour, the generality of their condition, as being poor men and illiterate; the manner of their procedure, being without the wisdom and policy of this world; hath made many conclude them fools and madmen, and neglect them, as not being capable of reafon. But tho' it be to them as their crown, thus to be esteemed of the wife, the great, and learned of this world, and tho' they rejoice to be accounted fools for Chrift's fake; yet of late fome, even fuch who in the world's account are esteemed both wife and learned, be

gin to judge otherwise of them, and find that they hold forth things very agreeable both to scripture, reason, and true learning.

As it is inconfiftent with the truth I bear, fo it is far from me, to use this epiftle as an engine to flatter thee, the ufual defign of fuch works; and therefore I can neither dedicate it to thee, nor crave thy patronage, as if thereby I might have more confidence to prefent it to the world, or be more hopeful of its fuccefs. To God alone I owe what I have, and that more immediately in matters fpiritual; and therefore to him alone, and to the fervice of his truth, I dedicate whatever work he brings forth in me; to whom only the praise and honour appertain, whofe truth needs not the patronage of worldly princes; his arm and power being that alone by which it is propagated, established, and confirmed. But I found it upon my spirit to take occafion to prefent this book unto thee; that as thou hast been often warned by feveral of that people, who are inhabitants of England; fo thou mayeft not want a feasonable advertisement from a member of thy ancient kingdom of Scotland; and that thou may'st know, which I hope thou wilt have no reafon to be troubled at, that God is raifing up and increasing that people in this nation. And the nations fhall alfo hereby know, that the truth we profefs is not a work of darkness, nor propagated by stealth; and that, we are not afhamed of the gospel of Christ, because we know it to be the power of God unto falvation; and that we are no ways fo inconfiftent with go


vernment, nor such disturbers of the peace, as our enemies, by traducing us, have fought to make the world believe we are: for which to thee I dare appeal, as a witness of our peaceablenefs and Chriftian patience.

Generations to come fhall not more admire that fingular step of Divine Providence, in reftoring thee to thy throne, without outward bloodshed, than they fhall admire the increase and progrefs of this truth, without all outward help, and against fo great oppofition; which fhall be none of the leaft things rendering thy memory remarkable. God hath done great things for thee; he hath fufficiently fhewn thee, that it is by him princes rule, and that he can pull down and fet up at his pleasure. He hath often faithfully warned thee by his fervants, fince he restored thee to thy royal dignity, that thy heart might not wax wanton against him, to forget his mercies and providences towards thee whereby he might permit thee to be foothed up, and lulled afleep in thy fins, by the flattering of court-parafites, who, by their fawning, are the ruin of many princes.

There is no king in the world, who can fo experimentally teftify of God's providence and goodness; neither is there any who rules fo many free people, fo many true Christians: which thing renders thy government more honourable, thyfelf more confiderable, than the acceffion of many nations, filled with flavish and fuperftitious fouls.

Thou haft tafted of profperity and adverfity; thou knoweft what it is to be banished


thy native country, to be over-ruled, as well as to rule, and fit upon the throne; and being opprefed, thou haft reason to know how hateful the oppreffor is both to God and man: if after all these warnings and advertisements, thou doft not turn unto the Lord with all thy heart, but forget him, who remembered thee in thy distress, and give up thyself to follow luft and vanity; furely great will be thy condemnation.


Against which fnare, as well as the temptation of those that may or do feed thee, and prompt thee to evil, the moft excellent and prevalent remedy will be, to apply thyfelf to that Light of Chrift, which fineth in thy confcience, which neither can, nor will flatter thee, nor fuffer thee to be at eafe in thy fins; but doth and will deal plainly and faithfully with thee, as thofe that are followers thereof have alfo done.

GOD Almighty, who hath fo fignally hitherto

vifited thee with his love, fo touch and reach thy heart, ere the day of thy vifitation be expired, that thou mayeft effectually turn to him, So as to improve thy place and ftation for his name. So wifheth, fo prayeth,

Thy faithful friend and subject,

From Ury, in my native country of Scotland, the 25th of the month called November, in the year M. DC. LXXV.


R. B.



ORASMUCH as that, which above all things I propofe to myfelf, is to declare and defend the truth, for the fervice whereof I have given up and devoted myself, and all that is mine; therefore there is nothing which for its fake (by the help and affiftance of God) I may not attempt. And in this confidence, I did fome time ago publish certain propofitions of divinity, comprehending briefly the chief principles and doctrines of truth; which appearing not unprofitable to fome, and being beyond my expectation well received by many, though alfo opposed by some envious ones, did fo far prevail, as in fome part to remove that falfe and monstrous opinion, which lying fame, and the malice of our adverfaries, had implanted in the minds of fome, concerning us and our doctrines.

In this refpect it feemed to me not fit to spare my pains and labour; and therefore, being actuated by the fame Divine Spirit, and the like intention of propagating the truth, by which I published the propofitions themselves, I judged it meet to explain them fomewhat more largely at this time, and defend them by certain arguments.

Perhaps my method of writing may seem not only different, but even contrary, to that which is commonly used by the men called divines, with which I am not concerned: inafmuch as I confefs myself to be not only no imitator and


« VorigeDoorgaan »