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laws made against meetings, being clothed with innocency, they have boldly stood to their testimony for God, without creeping into holes or corners, or once hiding themselves, as all other Dissenters have done ; but daily met, according to their custom, in the public places appointed for that end; so that none of thy officers can say of them, that they have surprised them in a corner, overtaken them in a private conventicle, or catched them lurking in their secret chambers ; nor needed they to send out spies to get them, whom they were sure daily to find in their open assemblies, testifying for God and his truth.

By which those who have an eye to see may observe their Christian patience and courage, constancy and suffering, joined in one, more than in any other people that differ from them, or oppose them. And yet, in the midst of those troubles, thou canst bear witness, that as on the one part they never sought to detract from thee, or to render thee and thy government odious to the people, by nameless and scandalous pamphlets and libels; so on the other hand they have not spared to admonish, exhort, and reprove thee; and have faithfully discharged their consciences towards thee, without flattering words, as ever the true prophets in ancient times used to do to those kings and princés, under whose power violence and oppression were acted.

And although it is evident by experience to be most agreeable both to divine truth and human policy to allow every one to serve God according to their consciences, nevertheless those other sects, who for the most part durst

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not peep out in the times of persecution, while these innocent people stood bold and faithful, do now combine in a joint confederacy, notwithstanding all the former janglings and contentions among themselves, to render us odious; seeking unjustly to wrest our doctrine and words, as if they were both inconsistent with Christianity and civil society : so that to effectuate this their work of malice against us, they have not been ashamed to take the help, and commend the labours, of some invidious Socinians against us. So do Herod and Pontius Pilate agree to crucify Christ.

But our practice, known to thee by good experience to be more consistent with Christianity and civil society, and the peace and welfare of this island, than that of those who thus accuse us, doth sufficiently guard us against this calumny; and we may indeed appeal to the testimony of thy conscience, as a witness for us in the face of the nations.

These things moved me to present the world with a brief, but true account of this people's principles, in some short theological propositions ; which, according to the will of God, proving successful, beyond my expectation, to the satisfaction of several, and to the exciting in many a desire of being farther informed concerning us, as being every where evil spoken of; and likewise meeting with public opposition by some, as such will always do, so long as the devil rules in the children of disobedience ; I was thereby farther engaged, in the liberty of the Lord, to present to the world this Apology of the truth held by

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those people : which, because of thy interest in them, and theirs in thee, as having first appeared, and mostly increased, in these nations under thy rule, I make bold to present unto thee.

Thou knowest, and hast experienced, their faithfulness towards their God, their patience in suffering, their peaceableness towards their king, their honesty, plainness, and integrity in their faithful warnings and testimonies to thee ; and if thou wilt allow thyself so much time as to read this, thou mayest find how consonant their principles are both to scripture, truth, and right reason. The simplicity 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 reason. But though it be to them as their crown, thus to be esteemed of the wise, the great, and learned of this world, and though they rejoice to be accounted fools for Christ's sake; yet of late some, even such who in the world's account are esteemed both wise and learned, begin to judge otherwise of them, and find that they hold forth things very agreeable both to scripture, reason, and true learning.

As it is inconsistent with the truth I bear, so it is far from me, to use this epistle as an engine to flatter thee, the usual design of such works; and therefore I can neither dedicate it to thee, nor crave thy patronage, as if thereby I might have more confidence to pre

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sent it to the world, or be more hopeful of its success. To God alone I owe what I have, and that more immediately in matters spiritual; and therefore to him alone, and to the service of his truth, I dedicate whatever work he brings forth in me; to whom only the praise and honour appertain, whose 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 occasion to present this book unto thee; that as thou hast been often warned by several of that people, who are inhabitants of England ; so thou mayest not want a seasonable advertisement from a member of thy ancient kingdom of Scotland; and that thou mayest know, which I hope thou wilt have no reason to be troubled at, that God is raising up and increasing that people in this nation. And the nations shall also hereby know, that the truth we profess is not a work of darkness, nor propagated by stealth ; and that we are not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, because we know it to be the power of God unto salvation ; and that we are no ways so inconsistent with government, nor such disturbers of the

peace, as our enemies, by traducing us, have sought to make the world believe we are : for which to thee I dare appeal, as a witness of our peaceableness and Christian patience.

Generations to come shall not more admire that singular step of Divine Providence, in restoring thee to thy throne, without outward bloodshed, than they shall admire the in

crease and progress of this truth, without all outward help, and against so great opposition; which shall be none of the least things rendering thy memory remarkable. God hath done great things for thee; he hath sufficiently shown thee, that it is by him princes rule, and that he can pull down and set up at his pleasure. He hath often faithfully warned thee by his servants, since 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 per: mit thee to be soothed up, and lulled asleep in thy sins, by the flattering of court parasites, who, by their fawning, are the ruin of many princes.

There is no king in the world, who can so experimentally testify of God's providence and goodness ; neither is there any who rules so many free people, so many true Christians: which thing renders thy government more honourable, thyself more considerable, than the accession of many nations, filled with slavish and superstitious souls.

Thou hast tasted of prosperity and adversity ; thou knowest what it is to be banished thy native country, to be overruled, as well as to rule, and sit upon the throne; and being

oppressed, thou hast reason to know how hate{ ful the oppressor is both to God and man: if

after all these warnings and advertisements, thou dost not turn unto the Lord with all thy heart, but forget him, who remembered thee in thy distress, and give up thyself to follow

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