Reverend and Beloved,
IT hath pleased the Right Honorable the Lord Major of the City of London, once and again to write unto the Ministers thereof respectively, in a very pious and pathetical manner. Not only to bewail the pro∣phanation of the Lords day, the Christian Sabbath, and to signifie what he hath done by way of Precept; but also to promise what ever the power of his place may do for the strengthening of their hands; and like∣wise to desire all and every particular Minister in the City, as they tender the honour of Christ, and the good of peoples souls, and welfare of the City, yea and earnestly in the name of God to intreat (as in the said Letters appeareth more fully,) that they the Ministers of Christ Jesus, press the duty of Sanctifying that holy day, shew the danger of prophaning of it, and perswade not only to publike worship, but also to retire in private families to such holy duties as the Lord requireth.
We who are some of those to whom the foresaid Letters were directed, have therefore accordingly indeavoured something heretofore in order to the desired end, but of late more seriously in our Provincial Assembly (where through Gods mercy we have opportunity to confer about matters of Religion) we have weighed those foresaid Let∣ters, and laboured mutually to have our hearts affected (as in the sight of God) with the contents thereof. And as we bless God unfainedly for stirring up the Magistrate to minde the Sabbath, and quicken us in our duty about it, (the rather because in these times many are of Gallio's temper careless of such matters.) So we the Ministers there assem∣bled, with the assistance of the Elders, have consulted among our selves, wherein, and how we might be most service∣able to our Lord Jesus Christ the great Shepherd of the sheep, in decrying Sabbath-breaking, and in furthering the true Sanctification of that holy rest, both in publike and private, throughout all the Congregations and families within the said City, the Liberties thereof, and the bounds of the Province.
And because the Delegates there assembling are but few of many Ministers within the City, we judged it necessary by writing to stir up our selves and the rest of our Brethren and fellow-labourers in the work of the Lord, that as one man with one shoulder we may apply our selves to procure in the first place the sanctifying of the Sabbath, as the fountaine and foundation of a more perfect Reformation in all other things appertaining to Religion.
To that end we make it our request unto all our dear Brethren & to your self in particular, that upon and after as you see occasion, you choose some pertinent Scripture to open and apply for instruction of your hear∣ers about the Sabbath, that all duties belonging to it may be inforced, and all Errors in judgment, and sinful practi∣ses whereby it is polluted, may be discovered, confuted and reproved.
And because there are divers Acts and Ordinances of Parliament in force for the better sanctification of that day, we desire also that every Officer may be stirred up to act conscientiously and vigorously according to the duty of his place, as is in them prescribed.
And what, though we be poor and despised, yet we may not forget Gods Law. We fear a great part of our trouble a∣rises from hence, that we are not sufficiently zealous for that rest. If we can vindicate the Lords day, His holy Ordi∣nances will soon regain their credit. The Calling of the Ministers will not die, if conscience of the Sabbath do revive. But if that fall, which of us, or what Ordinance of God shall be able to stand?
It should be no small incouragement unto us that God hath prepared the Magistrates heart to accompany us in our desires and indeavours this way. And that we have so solemn an Ingagement as his promise in writing to every one of us particularly, that he will use all the power of his place to presse and carry on this work, untill it come unto perfection. We want not many other, yea stronger and more sacred grounds and reasons, to inforce these duties upon our con∣sciences, yet His incouragements, zeale and forwardness should provoke us, as the like in Jehosaphat and Nehemia did among the Priests and Levites. God threatens Sabbaths of desolation, the Land (saith he) shall enjoy her rest, be¦cause it rested not in the dayes and yeers which He had set apart; This in some proportion hath been verified in mos• of those Churches which bear the name of Reformed. To England we may say, considering the state of other places, Be not high-minded, but fear. Repent and do thy first works. Yea let thy last be better then thy first, lest God remove thy Can¦dlestick. We speak not this as if we needed to put words into our Brethrens mouths, but to stir up their pure minds and to testifie how sincerely we desire to sympathize with all those who minde the things of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Which we desire so much the more to love, and look after, as they are hated or neglected by others We forbear to press arguments from the duty of your calling, because of your selfe, we hope you are sufficiently sen∣sible thereof. The good Lord prosper all your labour in the Lord, to whose blessing we commend you.
Signed in the name and by the appointment of the Provincial Assembly by the present MODERATOR La. Seaman.