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WONDER-WORKING PROVIDENCE OF SIONS SAVIOUR.
Being a Relation of the first Planting in New England, in the Yeare
(Continued from p. 51 of the fourth volume, second series.]
CHAP. VII. Of the first Synod holden in New England, whereby the Lord in his mercy did more plainly discover his ancient truths, and confute those cursed errors that ordinarily dogg the reforming Churches of Christ.
The Lord Christ deeming it most expedient for his people to adde some farther help to assist them in cutting downe those cursed errors (that were the next dangerous difficulty they were to meet with) sends in the Reverend and bright shining light Mr. Davenport, and the cheerfull
, grave, and gracious soldier of his, Mr. Allen, as also Mr. Thompson, Mr. Browne, Mr. Fish, with divers other of the faithfull servants of Christ, the much honoured Mr. Eaton and Mr. Hopkins: and now the time being come, the Synod sate at Cambridge, where was present about 25. Reverend and godly Ministers of Christ, besides many other graciously-eminent servants of his. A Catalogue of the severall Errors scattered about the Countrey was there produced, to the number of 80. and liberty given to any man to dispute pro or con, and none to be charged to be of that opinion he disputed for, unlesse he should declare himself so to be. The Weapons these Souldiers of Christ warred with, was the Sword
of the Spirit, even the Word of God, together with earnest prayer to the God of all Truth, that he would open his truths unto them. The clearing of the true sense and meaning of any place of Scripture, it was done by Scripture, for they so discerned by the grace of God that was given them, that the whole Scripture must be attended unto. Foure sorts of persons I could with a good will have paid their passage out, and home againe to England, that they might have been present at this Synod, so that they would have reported the truth of all the passages thereof to their own Colledges at their return. The first is the Prelates, who both in Theorie and Practice might have made their owne Eyes Judges in the case, Whether would prevaile most, (to the suppressing of Error, and advancing of Unity in the true worship of God) either their commanding power backt with the subordinate sword of Princes, or the Word of God cleered up by the faithfull labour and indefatigable pains of the sincere servants of the Lord Christ, and mightily declared through the demonstration of his blessed Spirit. This well waighed, may (through the Lords blessing) stop the yet running fancie in the brains of many, that their Lordly power is the onely means of suppressing Error.
Secondly, the Godly and Reverend Presbyterian Party, who, had they made their eye-witnessess of this worke, they had assuredly saved themselves much labour which I dare presume they would have spent worthily otherwayes, then in writing so many books to prove the Congregationall or Independent Churches to be the sluce, through which so many flouds of Error flow in: nay, my deare and reverend brethren, might not so much work of yours in writing, and ours in answering, have been a meanes to have stopt the height of this overflowing floud ? and through the Lords assisting have setled Peace and Truth in a great measure throughout the three Nations.
Thirdly, those who with their new stratagems have brought in so much old error; for although they had a party here, yet verily they durst not bring their New Light to the Old Word, for fear it would prove but Old Darknesse, (as indeed they doe.) But here might they
have seene the Ministers of Christ (who were so experienced in the Scripture, that some of them could tell you the place, both Chapter and Verse, of most sentences of Scripture could be named unto them) with Scriptures light, cleering up the truths of Christ clouded by any of these Errors and Heresies, as had not been done for many Ages before : and verily this great work of Christ must not be lightly over-past, the Author of this History *passeth not for the shrewd censures of men : nor, can it be any matter of disparagement to the reverend and highly honoured in Christ, remaining in England, that their fellow brethren have done so worthily here? it is well knowne to all our English Nation, that the most ablepreaching Ministers of Christ were most pursued by the lording Clergy, and those that have spent all their dayes, even from a child, in searching the Scriptures, the Lord Christ preparing them by his blessed spirit for this very work. Besides, their continued practice in studying and preaching the wayes of truth; and lastly, their meeting with the opposition of so many crafty, close couched errors, whose first foundation was laid cheke by joule with the most glorious, heavenly and blessed truths, to dazle the eyes of the beholders, and strike terrour into the hearts of those should lift up their hands against them, for fear they should misse them, and hit their stroke upon the blessed truth : and also to bring up a slanderous and evil report on all the able Orthodox Ministers of Christ that withstand them, perswading men they withstand the holy, heavenly, and blessed truth, which they have lodged there, which this Synod did with strong and undenyable arguments fetch from Scripture, to overthrow and pluck up by the roots, all those Errors, which you have heard mentioned in the former Book, the which they divided for the more full answering of them. Among all those valiant Champions of the Truth whom you have heard named, to some six, some five, some foure, &c. it had assuredly been worth the work to have related the particular manner of putting to the sword every one of them: but besides the length of the discourse, there must have been a more able Penman: but however they were so
put to death, that they never have stood up in a living manner among us since, but sometimes like Wizards to peepe and mutter out of ground, fit for such people to resort unto, as will goe from the living to the dead. But . blessed be the Lord Christ, who girded his people with strength against this day of battaile, and caused the Heavens to cleere up againe in New-England, after these foggy dayes.
The fourth and last sort of persons, whose presence I could most of all the other three former have desired, was, those whose disease lay as chiefly in despising all Physitians, and that upon this ground for one, because some for filthy lucre sake have nourisht Diseases rather than cured them. Many pamphlets have come from our Countreymen of late, to this purpose, namely, scurrillously to deride all kind of Scholarship, Presbytery, and Synods. Experience hath taught Gods people here, that such are troubled with some sinfull opinion of their owne, that they would not have touched ; but had they been at this Synod, they must, per force, have learned better language, or their speech and their knowledge would fall foule one of the other; here might they have beheld the humility of the most learned of these servants of Christ, condemning the high conceitednesse of their ignorance, and then also the framing of arguments in a Schollar-like way, did (the Lord assisting) cleare up the truths of Christ more to the meanest capacity in one hour, then could be clouded again in seaven yeare by the new notion of any such as boast so much of their unlettered knowledge, diversity of languages, although a correcting hand of God upon the whole world, when they joyned together in that proud Edifice : yet now is it blest of God, to retaine the purity of the Scriptures; if any man should goe about to corrupt them in one language, they should remain pure in another; and assuredly, the Lord intending to have the wayes of the Gospel of Christ to be made more manifest at this time, then formerly, not by tradition of our forefathers, or by mans reason, but by the revealed will of God in the holy Scripture, did accordingly prepare Instruments for this work, earthen vessels, men subject to