Brooks - BX9338 .B7 1813 v1

INTRODUCTION. 27 affectionate and pressing letter to the bishops and pastors of England, exposing the evil of persecution, and recom- mending peace among brethren. " We understand," say they, " that divers of our dearest brethren, among whom are some of the best learned in the realm, are deprived from the ecclesiastical function, and forbidden to preach, because their consciences will not suffer them to use such garments as idolaters in time of blindness, have used in their idolatry. We crave in the bowels of Jesus Christ, that christian charity may prevail among you. Ye cannot be ignorant how tender a thing the conscience of man is. If then the surplice, corner cap, and tippet, have been badges of idolatry, and used in the very act of idolatry, what hath the preacher of christian liberty, and the open rebuker of all superstition, to do with the dregs of that Romish beast ? Our brethrenwho of conscience refuse that unprofitable apparel, do neither condemn, nor molest you, who Use such vain trifles. If you should do the like to them, we doubt not that you will please God, and comfort the hearts of many, which are wounded by the present extremities. Our humble supplication is, that our brethren among you, who refuse the Romish rags, may find such favour of you prelates, as your Head and Master coin- mandeth every one of his members to shew to all others. We expect to receive your gentleness, not only because you fear to offend God's majesty, by troubling your brethren with such vain trifles ; but also because you will not refusethe humble request of usyour brethren and fellow- preachers of Jesus Christ. We suppose you will esteem us to be of the number of those, who fight against the Romish antichrist, and travel for the advancement of the universal kingdom of Jesus Christ ; before whom, we, and you, and your brethren, must soon give an account."* Many of the puritans having, for the sake of peace, conformed as far as they possibly could, at length endea- voured, though under great discouragements, to obtain an accommodation. But the prelates proceeding with still greater severity against all who could not come up to the standard ofconformity, made it too evidently appear, that they sought not their conformity, but their utter extir- * This letter, dated Edinburg, Dec. 27, 1566, is entitled " The ministers and elders of the churches within the realmeof Scotlande, to their brethren the bishops and pastours of Engtande, who have renounced the Romane antichrist, and doe professe with them the Lord Jesus in sinceritie, desireth the perpetuall increase of the Holy Spirit."-Parte of a Register, p. 125 -127.