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PAGE 210

to the fair green grass on the other side, and there they streik and dry themselves. You will say, What shall we doe? Shall we hear such a man? Indeed, we cannot well tell. Some may be heard, and some not. How shall we spend the Sabbath? How shall we get impositions payed? How shall I state my sufferings upon such small matters? Can I state on this that I have a scunnering of heart at such ane thing? It may be it is offensive to the Lord's people, and it is not for the glory of God, [when I am seeking such a thing, and whether I may state my sufferings upon that.1] Now, I grant these are ticklish things, and neither time nor ability serves me to goe through them; but it may be after we have been debaiting among ourselves, in such ane case, tyme and Providence shall, when it comes nearer, make it appear a far other thing, and clear enough. Have ye observed the Providence of God? have ye observed that (blessed and glorious is the Lord) possibly some would have said not many years since. We will be circumveened and drawn on to such and such things piece and piece? But if we be drawn to abjure and quite the Covenant, that is a clear case not to goe in such a way. Lord be blessed, these who are not great friends to the work of God, are not alwayes very deep in their policy. It may be they have deeps and policies in some respects that we are not aware of; but if they have a deep and a policie under that, our Lord Jesus hath a deep and a policie under theirs,2 to discover and overturn that their policie. And for that question, Whatt shall we doe?^3 I must give it over, and, therefore, look unto him, and to the word that you have heard, "Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation." And, indeed, these that labour to reform their heart and life, if there be any doubt anent some particulars, he will, in his own time, make them clear. Christians have sundry cases, [that] some goe and doe such things, and some not; who can help it? It is ane plague that it ia soe; it hath been the plague of the Church thir many years. However, this may easily be maintained A man takes such things to



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1    MS. vol. xxvii.

2    Under their deep.

3    Ye shall do.

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be his master's instructions, (he is mistaken,) he thinks his master bids him obey, and so he doeth, and therupon goes to suffering. What if he lose his head? I think that man will get his master's approbation, if he be not a pertinacious, violent, and headstrong man, that desyres to be singular; but a man that comes and falls on his face before God, and prayes. Lord, I think this thy will; if it be not, reveall it to me, and I shall follow it; but if it be, assist me in maintaining of it: for materially, virtually, and eminently, he obeyes his master when he obeyes the light of his own conscience, as far as he can attain to a clearness in it.1

We have been labouring among you these fourteen2 years, and have that conviction we have not taken the3 pains, in privat or publick, as we ought [to have done;] yet in some sort we hope we may say it without pride, we have not sought4 yours, but you. We cared not to be rich and great in this world. To our knowledge we have not wronged [nor oppressed] any of you. In as far as we have given offence, less or more, to [any of] this congregation, or any that have interest in it, [or any round about it,] or any that are here present, or any of the people of God elsewhere,5 we here crave God's pardon, and crave also your forgiveness, in as far as in any way we have grieved you or weakened you. We cannot tell, if the Lord see it good,6 he may continue our liberty with us for a while; [and] if not, there are some here may say that in the same quarrell now about thirty years agoe, we endured somewhat, and a very Htle it was, but yet it was the loss of our



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1    A man taks such a thing to be his maister's instructiouns to command or to forbear such a thing. Now [though] the thing be in some respect unlawfull, yet may he be brought to suffer and losse his head in the defence of it, and may be accepted of his master for all that, provyding he be not pertinatious and singular, and glory in a kynd of self-suffering, as sum may have that humour. But and a man can fall doun upon his knees on his face before God, and say, Now, O Lord, I desyre in this to know thy will, and thus it is revealed unto me, and I desyre to follow it. Well, though he sould be mistaken, yet materially, virtually, &c. (Vol. xxvii. of Wod. MSS.)

2    Severall.

3    "That."

4    Been seeking.

4    Any of his people that are absent.

4    We cannot tell but the Lord may, if he see it good.






        
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