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Judas hanged himself; Christ was crucified for blasp/hemy; Demas embraced the world; Nicholas the deacon proved an heretic; Paul and Barnabas fell out; Paul charged Peter and Barnabas with dissembling; Peter denied Christ; all the Apostles were put to death for heresy. Ergo, the Christian religion, &c., yet this is your goodly reason : if this be a good argument, where is your faith?
But in this likelihood you have a fling at me in particular: Mr. Bernard charging me with divers untruths, which I will manifest.
1. That I doubted nine months I acknowledge; but that I ever did acknowledge the separation the truth and separated from the English assemblies, and then returned again unto them, which you say, I do utterly deny, and I appeal to the town of Gainsborough and those there that knew my footsteps in this matter; and therefore herein I indict you as a public slanderer.
2. Whereas you say I became satisfied at Coventry after conference had with certain ministers, and hereupon kneeled down' and praised God. I answer: I did not confer with them about the separation, as you and they know well enough in your consciences; but about withdrawing from true churches, ministers, and worship, corrupted: wherein I received no satisfaction, but rather thought I had given instruction to them; and for kneeling down to praise God, I confess I did, being requested to perform the duty at night after the conference by the ministers; but that I praised God for resolution of my doubts, I deny to death, and you, therein, are also a slanderer. I praised God for the quiet and peaceable conference and such like matters, and desired pardon of the Lord for ignorance and errors and weakness of judgment and any disordered carriage. If the ministers that heard my prayers and praises of God did misconstrue my meaning, let them look unto it.
3. Whereas you impute an absurdity to me as yet un. answered, namely, that I should affirm the spit whereon the passover was roasted was the altar : I say, seeing the passover was a sacrifice, Mark xiv, 12, and that every sacrifice hath an altar, either the spit was the altar, or else it had no altar. Now, tell me which is the likeliest of the two? And if this be a reasonable speech, that the wooden cross was the altar whereon Christ was crucified, why may not, by as good reason, the spit be the altar of the passover? The sacrifice was not slain upon the altar, but it was burnt upon the altar; for that was not the altar whereupon the passover was killed, but whereupon it was burnt or roasted. Mr. Bernard, I do confidently affirm against you, that the spit was as much the altar to the passover as the cross was an altar to Christ; and let me hear what you in your best logic can say against it.”—pp. 128, 129.
IV. LETTER from Amsterdam from Hugh BROMHEAD to
WILLIAM HAMERTON, of London ; written about 1606. From the original in the British Museum, Harl. MS. 360, fol. 70. It is slightly imperfect.
“Grace with all increase of grace, peace even from the Father and God of peace, with all true comfort and consolation in Jesus Christ, be with you, beloved cousin, and all yours, and that for ever.
Beloved cousin, we received a letter from you, dated the 13th of July, wherein you write that you expect an answer from us of the said letter. The first part of your letter is, that leaving our country we removed to Amsterdam, which removing was, you hope, but to make trial of the country. Cousin, we give you to understand, that though natura hominis est novitatis avida, and the people of the world spectatum veniunt, veniunt spectentur ut ipsi, yet God's children, in whom not sinful nature but God's divine grace ruleth and beareth sway, make more account of those precious hours of time than to bestow them so vainly and unprofitably as the world doth, but redeeming the time because the days be evil, they put them to better use, which before were mis-spent and put to evil uses, even to all sin and wickedness, even to the dishonouring of God and profanation of His name and religion, and also to the wasting and destroying of that portion of worldly goods which their heavenly Father in wisdom and mercy hath allotted them, by straying and straggling from place to place to hear and see news and novelties, as the Athenians gave themselves usually to do. But God's children, I say, put them to better use, even to seek God's kingdom and the righteousness thereof, assuring themselves that, so doing, all other things shall be cast unto them, and to seek to know God, and Him whom He hath sent, Jesus Christ, whom to know is life everlasting.
A second part of your letter is, that you would persuade us to return home into England, which you make no question would be much pleasing to God, but we make great question thereof; yet we hold it without all question the same should be much and highly displeasing ..... unto our good God and Father, that hath in his merciful providence brought us out of Babylon, the mother of all abominations, the habitation of devils, and the hold of all foul spirits, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird, and therewithal hath given us a charge to separate ourselves and to touch no unclean thing, promising us that, so doing, He will receive us and will be a father unto us, and we shall be his sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. You further add in your said letter that our return will be comfort to friends; but those be worldly and carnal, not true and godly friends which love us in the truth and for the truth's sake, as all God's children do and ought to do. The other love our bodies but not our souls, but the end will prove that they love neither our bodies nor our souls.
A third part of your letter is, that you ascertain yourself (but yet we must tell you without all warrant and ground from the word of the Lord) that conceited fancies and opinions and sundry errors, together with self-willed minds, have led us into these bye-paths, not remembering St. Paul's words, which you might set down, but we the whole verse, that neither you nor we should be mistaken, Philippians iv, 8.—“Furthermore, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things pertain to love, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue or if there be any praise, think of these things.” These virtues and good things we persuade ourselves we not only think upon and remember them, but to the uttermost of that power and grace that God in mercy hath given us, we labour to put in practice night and day. In thus hardly censuring us, beloved cousin, and entering into judgment upon our consciences, you are to call to
mind the word of the Apostle, which saith, “Speak not evil one of another, brethren : he that speaketh evil of his brother, or he that condemneth his brother, speaketh evil of the law and condemneth the law : if thou condemnest the law, thou art not an observer of the law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver which is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest and condemnest another man's servant ? he standeth ......."
Those points of religion, beloved cousin, which you call fancies, opinions, and errors, we hold them as most certain and undoubted truths of God, warranted unto our consciences by and from the word of the everlasting Lord, and say with the apostle, that we are not as many that make merchandise of the word of God, but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God, speak we in Christ Jesus, for we all behold, as in a mirror, the glory of the Lord with open face and are changed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord, and as the said apostle then further addeth, “if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost, in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds,"—that is, of the infidels," that the light of the glorious gospel of Christ who is the image of God, should not shine unto them.” To . . . . . . . . . . our cousin Nicholas his speech quoted by you in your letter (if the same were his speech, whereof I make some question), for when we were in the country with him, he was as forward and zealous in these truths of the Lord as we were, which we then and now do hold and are not ashamed to confess and profess the same before men and angels, and to hold them forth unto the whole world, for as our Lord and Master, Christ, saith, “Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and my word amongst this adulterous and sinful generation, of him