Die Jovis, 23 Jan. 1645. Post meridiem. Sess. II.
The Letter from the Commissioners at London to the Generall Assembly.
Right Honourable, Reverend, and beloved in the Lord,
AS we are not without the knowledge, so are we not without the feeling of the distresses of our Na∣tive Countrey, and of the troubles of our dear Brethren, specially that the hand of the Lord is stretched out against you, not onely by Invasion from without of the basest of the children of men, but also by the unnaturall treachery of some within, who have dealt perfidiously in the Covenant and Cause of God: They hisse and gnash the teeth; they say, We have swallowed her up: certain∣ly this is the day that we looked for: we have found, we have seen it; the Lord hath caused thine Enemy to rejoyce over thee, he hath set up the horn of thine Adversaries: Yet (saith the Lord, who is thy maker and thy husband, the Lord of hosts is his name, and thy Re∣deemer the holy One of Israel) for a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hide Page 4my face from thee, for a moment; but with everlasting kindnesse will I have mercy on thee: for this is as the waters of Noah, the Covenant of my peace shall not be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee. When the foundation of the House of the Lord was laid, the Priests and Levites sung together in praising and giving thanks to the Lord, Because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever. And we hope at this time upon the coming of our Reverend Brethren, and the sight of that which they bring with them, the noise of the shout of joy, shall be louder than the noise of the weeping of the People. This we may say, that not many yeers ago, many of us would have been content to have losed our lives, that we might have obtained that which the Lord, if not in a miraculous, yet in a marvellous and mercifull providence, hath brought to passe in this Island, in these dayes, which many before us have desired to see, and have not seen. God forbid that it should seem a small thing in your eyes which is done here already, as it is expressed in a Paper from the Parliament, and Letters from the Assembly. Ye are best acquainted with the temptations and difficulties which ye meet with there, which are also very sensible unto us; And when we consider how the Lord hath carried on his Work here, at the first taking of the Covenant, and since, against much learn∣ing and contradiction, against much policy, power, and all sorts of opposition, (such as Reformation useth to encounter) we are ravished with admiration of the right hand of the Almighty. For our part, we may confidently avouch in the sight of God, and before you, whom next unto God we do respect and re∣verence, and to whom as your servants we are accomptable, that in all our proceedings we had first of all the word of God be∣fore our eyes for the Rule; and for our Patern the Church of Scot∣land, so much as was possible; and no lesse (if not more) than if all this time since we parted from you, we had been sitting in a Nationall Assembly there, and debating matters with our Bre∣thren at home: Where we were not able to get every thing fra∣med to our minde, we have endeavoured as much as we could, to preserve our own Reformation and practice, of which our Brethren will give you accompt in the particulars, we hope, to your satisfaction. That an Uniformity in every thing is not ob∣tained in the beginning, let it not seem strange; The levelling of the high Mountain of Prelacy, The laying aside of the Book of Page 5Common Prayer, The Directory of Worship concluded in both Houses of Parliament, and the principall Propositions of Church-Government passed in the Assembly, all of them according to the Solemne League and Covenant, the greatest of all, are three or foure witnesses to prove, that the Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad, and which make us like them that dream: And we are sure, that not onely the Reformed Kirks, but the Papists will say, The Lord hath done great things for them.
All that we desire, is:
1. That the Directory of Worship may be returned by our Bre∣thren with all possible expedition, that it may be published here, and put in practise, as that which is extreamly longed for by the good People, and will be a remedy of the many differences and divisions about the Worship of God in this Kingdom, especially in this place: If there be any thing in it that displeaseth, let it be remonstrate upon irrefragable and convincing reason, otherwise ye will in your wisdom give approbation to it.
2. If there be any particular differences among some Bre∣thren, which are not determined, but passed over in silence in the Directory, and yet hinted at in the Letter from the Assembly, we hope that in your wisdom ye will so consider of them, that they may be laid aside in due time, and that in the mean while, till the Directory be concluded and put in practice, there be no trouble about them, for that were as Snow in Summer, and as Rain in Harvest. We know nothing of that kinde, that all of us who love Unity, Order, and Edification, may not perfect∣ly agree in, without scandall or disturbance: And we beseech the Lord to keep that Kirk free of such Sects and Monsters of Opi∣nions, as are daily set on foot and multiplied in this Kingdom, through the want of that Church-Government by Assemblies, which hath preserved us, and we hope, through the blessing of God, shall cure them.
3. Because Nationall Assemblies cannot frequently conveene, we humbly desire, that such a Commission may be setled, as we may at all occasions, till the Work be finished, have our recourse unto, for our direction and resolution: for we know both our own weaknesse, and the greatnesse of the Work: wherein we can Page 6promise no more but to be faithfull in obeying your command¦ments, as in the sight of God, whom with our Souls we pray, to grant you his Spirit, to guide you into all truth: And thus con∣tinue
Worcester house,Jan. 6. 1645.
Your humble and faithfull Servants Subscrib.
- JO. MAITLAND.
- ALEX. HENDERSON.
- SAM. RUTHERFURD.
DIRECT. For the Right Reverend the Generall Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland.