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may keep covenant, stand our ground, and not again turn into folly. O! have a care of a Nothful mind; that which can fit at home and censure, but is not diligent in the work of the Lord : let us go on, and press forward, towards the glorious recompence. This keeps in the universal spirit, out of murmurings and grudgings, and herein shall we prosper, and be preserved for ever: and let this be the godly use we make of this great obligation which the Lord hath now eminently laid upon us, to watch and persevere, that we may hold out to the end, and give no just occasion to any to speak evil of this blessed way of the Lord, that hath so signally been borne witness to, (even by such as have spoken evil of it) when they came to die; as this narrative (though briefly, yet fully) proves.
And as to the persecution that now threatens, you know this, it comes all from the same root; and he that drew a testimony from this opposer (and persecu. tor, as he confesseth he was, will, in due time, give witness to his holy way, and you his people, from the consciences of your persecutors, as you know full well he hath frequently done in divers places of this nation. Therefore never heed it, neither be ye moved at it, but be of good cheer; for the shout of an immortal king is amongst us, who is the only Sacred Majesty, Dread Sovereign, King, Prince; and Lord of conscience, and no mortal man whatever: for be only can be Lord of conscience, who is greater than conscience, and author of conscience; but that no man is, because conscience is the chiefest part that constitutes that man ; therefore no man can be Lord of conscience. And be it known to all powers on earth, it is this great Lord that hath reached to your souls, even Israel's God: wherefore keep you with him, hearken to his holy voice, and obey it diligently unto all holiness, and all shall go well with you in the end : « Say unto the righteous, it shall go so well with " them; but say unto the wicked, it shall go ill with « them:" This God gave his prophet in charge of
GROUND. old, and it stands true to our day, and shall while a good and a bad man live upon the earth.
You know, my brethren, in whom you have believed, and have good experience of his power and faithfulness : call to mind his noble acts, and valiant deeds, his great salvation in all ages; how sure, how ready, how willing, and how able he hath been to deliver our ancestors; and you know he is the same now at this day : trust there for ever; for " he is « greater that is in you, than he that is in the world;" and I know assuredly that all these things shall work together for good, to them that keep in the faith, the royal faith, the victorious faith, that faich that stands all trials, and surmounts all temptations, and, through patient sufferings, triumphs over rage, darkness, and the grave: it is this exceeding precious faith, that makes the good Christian, the good man, the good subject, and keeps man's conscience void of offence towards God and all men; and as we keep it, of right may we say, “ The Lord is our light, whom «s should we fear? The Lord is the strength of « our life, of whom should we be afraid ?” O those that fee before informers, and run at the fight of persecutors (yea, though an army of them) either never had, or have parted from, this noble faith, which is pure confidence in God, and intire resignation to his divine will, come what will come. Christ will not have one coward in his spiritual arıy: “ Fear not " what man can do unto you,” was a great part of his instruction to his disciples, the pilgrim preachers of his holy gospel to the world: but consulters with Aesh and blood, those that use base stratagems to save themselves, that will not abide the day, but sink from the shock of sufferings, and hide in stormy times, they betray God's prerogative, conscience's liberty, Aling up the cause, and bring a spot upon “ Consci« entious feparation;" such mall become an abhorrence, and utter detestation, in the fight of the pure jealous God, and all good people,
THE GROUND. 265 My brethren, I hope that few or none of these will be found amongst us: howbeit, these things may be permitted for a winnowing, that many may be proved, that so their integrity may be the better manifested; for a sincere, holy, and self-denying people, God will have to delight himself in: “ Blessed are they whose so God is the Lord, and whose trust is in him for “ ever, for they shall never be moved.”
Into his blessed care and protection, with myself, do I commit you all; and the Lord of heaven and earth preserve us all in his holy fear, love, and patience, to the end. Amen.
TO THE CHILDREN of LIGHT
Called of God to be Partakers of Eternal Life
in Jesus CHRIST, the Lamb of God, and Light of the World.
Published in the Year 1678.
My endeared friends and brethren, M ANY days and weeks, yea, fome months, hath
Il my heart been heavy, and my soul unusually fad, for the sake of this nation, the land of our naa tivity! For I have not only long beheld, with a grieved eye, the many abominations and grofs impieties that reign therein, the lufts, pleasures, wantonness, drunkenness, whoredoms, oaths, blasphemies, envy, treachery, and persecution of the just, but for foine time I have had a deep sense that the overflowing scourge of God's wrath and indignation was just ready to break out upon the people, confusion, amazement, and misery! The weight of which hath caused me to cry within myself, ; Who shall save us ? who shall deliver (us? Are there none to stay the stroke? To blunt the • edge? To stop the fury, and intercede for the peo
ple, and mediate for this poor land, that the Lord may not utterly depart, and take his glory and his • name from it, and make it a desolation for the wild