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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 crare thy patronage, as if thereby I might have more confidence to present 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 increase 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 permit 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 over-ruled, as well as to rule, and sit upon the throne; and being oppressed, thou hast reason to know how hateful 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 lust and vanity; surely great will be thy condemnation.
Against which snare as well as the temptation of those that may or do feed thee, and prompt thee to evil, the most excellent and prevalent remedy will be, to apply thyself to that Light of Christ, which shineth in thy conscience, which neither can nor will flatter thee, nor suffer thee to be at ease in thy sins; but doth and will deal plainly and faithfully with thee, as those that are followers thereof have also done.
GOD Almighty, who hath so signally hitherto visited
thee with his love, so touch and reach thy heart, ere the day of thy visitation be expired, that thou mayest effectually turn to him, so as to improve thy place and station for his name. So wisheth, so prayeth,
Thy faithful friend and subject,
From Ury, in my native country
of Scotland, the 25th of the month called November, in the year MDCLXXV.
R. B. Unto the Friendly Reader wisheth Salvation.
FORASMUCH as that, which above all things I propose to myself, is to declare and defend the truth, for the service whereof I have given up and devoted myself, and all that is mine; therefore there is nothing which for its sake (by the help and assistance of God) I may not attempt. And in this confidence, I did some time ago publish certain propositions of divinity, comprehending briefly the chief principles and doctrines of truth, which appearing not un profitable to some, and being beyond my expectation well received by many, though also opposed by some envious ones, did so far prevail, as in some part to remove that false and monstrous opinion, which lying fame, and the malice of our adversaries, had implanted in the minds of some, concerning us and our doctrines.
In this respect it seemed to me not fit to spare my pains and labour; and therefore, being actuated by the same Divine Spirit, and the like intention of propagating the truth, by which I published the propositions themselves, I judged it meet to explain them somewhat more largely at this time, and defend them by certain arguments.
Perhaps my method of writing may seem not only different, but even contrary, to that which is commonly used by the men called divines, with which I am not concerned: inasmuch as I confess myself to be not only no imitator and admirer of the school-men, but an opposer and despiser of them as such, by whose labour I judge the Christian religion to be so far from being bettered, that it is rather destroyed. Neither have I sought to accommodate this my work to itching ears, who desire rather to comprehend in their heads the sublime notions of truth, than to embrace it in their hearts: for what I have written comes more from my