Introductory to the following Sheets.
IT hath been the lot of the Suffering Remnant of the Church of Scotland, both in the bye-past and present time, to be in several ways, and in divers manners exercised; and this no doubt for the trial of their faith, as well as for other holy and wise ends, known unto the Lord: and this, amongst other things, hath not been the least of the bitter ingredients of their cup, to travel often in their wilderness, without help and direction, countenance, and assistance of faithful leaders and guides; which hath often put them to a stand how they might carry (so as they might not bury the truth, nor wrong the testimony) through the several dangerous emergencies, and dispensations of Divine Providence, which hath oftentimes fallen out in these junctures and periods wherein they have been without faithful guides. Upon which weighty considerations, we judge, that seeing our intentions and resolutions, as to the cause of God, and carrying on of a testimony, is no ways altered from what they were, when we were honoured with faithful shepherds, who were as the he-goats pathing the way before us; that in that case, none (we think) will adventure to carp at whatever escapes, mismanagements, or defects, might have proceeded from us, in the carrying on of the testimony, since we are an illiterate people, yet honest in our intentions: and there being nothing of such mismanagements, or escapes, (as we judge) as will destroy the substantial, or material part of any of the faithful testimonies, which have been formerly emitted, but a corroboration of the same. Therefore, albeit that our testimonies, lately emitted by us, (as we had not the assistance of the learned therein) may not appear so plausible in their stile, to the more criticizing and nice; yet herein, since our design and intention was, not only to adhere to the same word of Christ's patience, as formerly; but also according to our capacity, to transmit a testimony to the up coming generation. Under this consideration, though it be heavy unto us, yet patiently we desire to bear the reproaches of the critical age, and to testify our adherence unto every part and pendicle of Christ's crown, until our Lord shall be pleased to raise up more proper and fit instruments for carrying on of the same.
And since our present design, is not to give satisfaction to the learned critics of our time (although we could) as to the grammatical dress and ornament of speech, which the gallants of this age more study, than the demonstration of truth in its simple garb; therefore to be brief, the following sheets, with reference to our declarations emitted since 1692, will give an account of honest, simple, and faithful contendings (though weakly) against the defections and abominations, practised in church and state, since we were deprived of faithful leaders. And that the world may know that we walk not contrary to the principles of the church of Scotland in her best times, when we keep at a distance from such rulers and ministers, as have not taken up the state of the quarrel, according to the covenanted engagements of the church of Scotland, although we be ignorantly by some and maliciously by others, aspersed with that of schismatics and separatists: yet if our best and present times were brought to the standing balance of the sanctuary, any unbiassed person might see as great a disproportion betwixt what we were then, and what we are now, as betwixt reformation and defection. So that our principles and practices need not so much to be flouted at as they are: and if the comparison were rightly stated betwixt Prelacy and the present established Presbytery, the difference will not appear to be so great. For, (1.) Prelacy was never ecclesiastically asserted, neither is Presbytery since the Revolution. (2.) The prelates high ecclesiastical court was called, adjourned, and dissolved in the king's name: so likewise is all their assemblies since the Revolution (for it is but a mere cheat, that in their late assemblies they say, that the church hath gotten her intrinsic power settled) (3.) The prelates owned the king in the exercise of his Erastian supremacy over them. So this corrupt church hath never declined the exercises of his supremacy in her annual assemblies, by an uniform and ample protest, inserted and recorded in the assembly book, since the year, 1690. (4.) Prelacy was counted the only government of this church when Erastianism was highest, so that to this hour this corrupt church hath never declared by an act, whether it was the only government, or not. (5.) The king and parliament who established Prelacy, likewise ratified this church government, as only suiting the people's inclinations, and so consequently is human; this church when so ratified, never testified against this, whether human or divine. (6.) King and parliament prescribed, limited, and altered prelatical government at their pleasure, so to this church, the king and parliament hath prescribed a formula, that all ordinances within the same be so performed by the ministers thereof, as they are at present allowed them, or shall be hereafter declared by their authority. This together with what is witnessed against in our testimony, may give ground to all that truly fear the Lord, to see that it is not upon sinistrous designs, that we stand at a distance from the present course of defection, but upon a principle of conscience.
And before we shall in this introductory preface narrate any thing, either as to the loss of our faithful pastors, or yet of the ensnaring draughts that these three ministers took, who went off from us to bring us into a conjunction with such as our covenants excludes: we shall here take the occasion to acquaint the generation, that we would not be constructed as such, from our silence in this present juncture, as to the unhallowed union, that we are homologaters thereof, for we are so far from it, that we have been honoured of the Lord to have the start of the nation, to testify against any union with the corrupt and pestiferous church of England, destructive to, and subversive of that well-grounded union made betwixt the two nations in our best times: which union never allowed of such a sinful confederacy as this does, which puts us in the category with such as walk directly opposite to our covenant engagements, as the corrupt church of England most perfidiously hath done, who have so sinfully broken the oath of God betwixt the two nations; for which we doubt not but God in his due time, will reckon with them for it, and with Scotland too, which is so deeply involved in the sin of covenant breaking. Oh! a most sinful and heaven-daring attempt, for the nobility, gentry, barons, and boroughs of Scotland, to pull Christ's bride (although polluted) as Scotland was, from our Lord's very side, and to join her to a harlot, such as England is. And now we having in our declaration, Anno 1703 (as said above) testified against any other union, we thought it both superfluous, and also a tautologizing to do it over again, seeing we are the same now, that we were then, when we emitted our declaration as to any other union with England, than such as above said. And we are more than astonished, not so much at these who are designed the primores regni, though they incline to such an union, destructive to the religious and civil concerns of the reformed church of Scotland, since their principles declared by their practice, never led them to be for the covenanted work of reformation, we say is not so much astonishing to us what these may do, as it is to see such as pretend to be the leaders of the people, homologating such a sinful design, as is evidently apparent from their sinful and shameful addresses, whereby they show themselves satisfied to abide in their breaches, providing they have their own temporal interest secured: by which homologation of theirs, or rather actual concurrence, of such we mean who offered such addresses, they (interpretatively by their consent to the going on of this union with the church of England, as so circumstantiate) are accessory to the putting on the capstone of defection, and thereby to say Amen to all that the late tyrannical powers did to the extirpations of the work of reformation in the church of Scotland. Neither do we so much admire at many of the present ministers, for what they have done of this kind, who are tenaciously set to defend the defections they are chargeable with in the bypast times: but we are surprised to see and hear such, who would appear more refined than all the rest, addressing, as others, with all their court compliments! who, notwithstanding of their many plausible-like pretensions, against both church and state; yet hitherto have owned both: when yet, in the mean time 'tis known that the designs and intentions of their corrupt court men, is to have the sinful union carried on, over the belly of the generality of the nation.
But to proceed, after the death of our faithful and painful minister, and now glorified martyr, Mr. James Renwick, we having none to succeed him in the holy office of the ministry in Scotland, save the eminent Mr. Alexander Shields, preacher of the gospel, (Mr. D. H. being then in Ireland, and soon afterwards taken and imprisoned by the deputy, at the instigation of the indulged ministers there, who had caused some years ago to apprehend him; and being sent to Scotland to be execute, was rescued by a party of our brethren at Bellow-path) at that time Mr. Thomas Linning being abroad at his studies, sent there before by the remnant, in Mr. James Renwick's time, our general meetings and societies, after the death of our renowned martyr, were much concerned in writing letters abroad, to the Classis at Embden. That the said Mr. Thomas might receive license and ordination: who accordingly, about the end of harvest, or beginning of winter 1688, returned to Scotland an ordained minister, and was by the number of twenty-four elders, together with the suffrage of the whole remnant of Scotland called, and embraced as their actual minister, who, for some short time thereafter carried on and maintained the testimony, as it was stated, in all the heads and clauses thereof; until that the prince of Orange (being come over to England) emitted his declaration, containing the grounds of his appearance for the deliverance of the kingdom: upon the back of which, Mr. Thomas soon manifested his knavery.
This same winter 1688, the prince of Orange coming over into England, was admitted as their king, to the exercise of government; and thereafter being embraced by Scotland, he, by the advice and help of the corrupt old statesmen, whose hands were reeking in the blood of the saints! condescended to a form of church government, as was most suitable to the people's inclinations: a model vastly inconsistent with the principles of the church of Scotland, which holds, that her government is of divine right. A far better foundation than the inclinations of the people.
December 19, 1688, upon the false report of the burning of Kirkcudbright by the papists, our friends, in a rash and precipitate manner, joined the bulk and body of the backslidden country, which by them was easily complied with, because our ministers preached it up as a duty, contrary to their former doctrine.
About the beginning of the year 1689, these three ministers, Messrs. Shields, Linning, and Boyd, having had (unknown to us) their private conferences with the indulged ministers, in and about Glasgow, in order to the adjusting the differences that were betwixt them, wheddled us over into a belief, under plausible-like pretexts, that their zeal to the covenants was the same as formerly; which could not by us be any otherwise understood, when at some general meetings, it was concluded, that the covenants should be renewed: in order to which several good overtures were agreed to; yet at which time, by the conferences (as above) with these indulged ministers, Messrs. Linning and Boyd, gave clear proofs of their underhand dealing, in their proposing that a bond of association might be drawn up in order to others joining with us. To which the eminent and pious Mr. Shields replied, that our covenants were our bond of association, and such as would not adhere to these, we would not join with them. At which time it was concluded, that our covenants should be renewed by a few of every shire in a martial manner, and thereafter, that they should be renewed in every shire, according to the foresaid form and order by all our number therein. But, March 3, 1689, when they were about to be renewed, the former overtures being laid aside, and the ministers being then at the place where they renewed the covenants, though not at the place appointed by the general meeting (which was to be at Linlithgow) they sent their posts contrary to our former conclusions, to dissuade us from bringing along our arms, which too generally was complied with, except by a few, who observed the former appointment, and that the rather because they saw the malignant interest twisted in contrary to former resolutions, which was evident, not only from what Mr. Boyd, and a few with him did rashly, and abruptly, without the consent of our general meeting, in his going into Glasgow, and reading the Prince of Orange's declaration; which greedy grasping of the man's, at that occasion, to free himself of the yoke, which he reckoned a bondage, in witnessing to the cause of God with the faithful remnant; (we say) that his former promises to the indulged ministers, came clearly to light; to whom he had given promises, to break and divide the remnant in Scotland; which was manifest from the testimonials that he received of them for his license, when he went abroad: and also upon this and many other considerations, it was clear enough, the desire that these ministers had, especially Messrs. Boyd and Linning, to grasp at untimeous liberty: so also, upon the back of the Renovation of these three solemn engagements at Lismahgow, these three ministers hurried a considerable party of the professors of the west, into a conjunction with these who had lately pursued us, and shed our brethren's blood (viz.) in guarding of the convention of estates, which was afterwards bewailed by many, when they came to see the evil of it. At the renovation of which covenants, on Borlandhill of Lismahagow, Mr. Shields said, "From this day shall be dated either our reformation, or defection!" which of the two was truest, by what followed the read may conjecture.
That summer, 1689, under the conduct of William Cleland, lieutenant colonel to Angus, who according to the 23d act of the convention of estates, levied a regiment of the suffering remnant; which compliance of theirs therein, was contrary to their former principles and professions, in complying with a malignant interest, as they had been taught by their ministers when faithful, yet notwithstanding at this juncture, these three ministers chided us into a compliance and conjunction with the malignant party, before that there was any evidences given of their abandoning, mourning over, and laying aside of their former practices, as they had been destructive to the cause and people of God. Which piece of defection was too easily complied with by these of our number, who were for worldly gain and pre-eminence, and yet nevertheless it was testified against by some.
That same summer 1689 the north being in an uproar, by the 4th act of the convention of estates, the south and west being commanded to rendezvous many of our brethren, kept up rendezvousing days, with the late persecuting gentry, little to some's comfort, who espying the evil thereof, witnessed against it, both then and afterwards.
June 17, 1689, William and Mary were accepted of, and admitted to the crown, but not covenant-wise: albeit the covenants in Scotland are to be holden as the coronation oath, which all magistrates, according to the standing laws of this nation, are to swear before they can be admitted to bear rule in this covenanted land, as you may read in our third declaration.
Shortly after, July 22, their church government being settled (running back to the 1592 with its legal establishment, and so overleaping our best times) according to the inclinations of the people, a thing, which, without doubt, had as its tendency, an eye to the pleasing of the prelatic and presbyterian party (as they might be termed) which may easily be understood from the general terms of the Protestant interest of the covenanted work of reformation, which settlement of church government, as it opened a door to the prelatic party to plead for a share of church communion, and yet without an acknowledgement of their bypast offences, so it allayed their fears of being brought to condign punishment for their former miscarriages; so that as the general epithet and Protestant interest was not frightsome upon the one hand to the prelatical party, our adversaries: so on the other hand, it not unfitly answered the character of such as made interest more their study than God's glory; as those of the indulged and tolerated party of both church and state then, who were more ready to grasp at secular preferments and worldly interests in things pertaining to themselves, than they were to have the house of God purged from that leaven of defection wherewith it had been defiled, by which alteration of times, though not of manners, our enemies were advanced, and those of the ministers whom we had just exceptions against, and whom our ministers could not own before as their brethren, were notwithstanding upon this new revolution joined with by the great part of the land, and that before ever they had declared any remorse for their former courses, yea, our ministers, though formerly doctrinally they had taught us, not to join in affinity with the people of such abominations, yet how forward were they then to bring us to an union with such ministers, as they themselves had formerly declared their just exceptions against, and this (as was said) before ever such ministers had evidenced their remorse: whereby our teachers who formerly were leading us into Canaan, were now bringing us back to Egypt.
Anno 1690, the parliament by their act, indicted and appointed the first general assembly, as the first specimen of their Erastianism over the new constitute church, which afterwards came to be practical, as was seen in their frequent calling, dissolving and adjourning of these general assemblies, even sometimes to an indefinite day. To which general assembly the suffering remnant being instigate by the three ministers, to give in a paper, (as they had done before to the convention of estate) which paper as it contained an enumeration of the sins of the land, though not so particular as some of the remnant would have had it, was appointed to be given into that assembly by ten or twelve of each shire, and they to crave a redress of these particular grievances, which was so far from being acquiesced unto by that assembly, that it could not so much as have a hearing by reading, and though that those three ministers knew many of the suffering party's averseness from meddling with these backslidden ministers, convocate in that assembly, until they had declared their resentment of their former courses, yet how industriously did these three ministers, in their going through the country, break many of our number, and brought them into a compliance with these their designs to acknowledge such, as a lawful judicatory, whom formerly they had refused to own, as long as just exception stood in the way. As for what papers the three ministers offered to that assembly, their assembly acts 1690, declares whatever reception they got. However, it is observable, that these three ministers sadly succumbed, when, at their reception into the communion of that backslidden church, they patiently received a reprimand! which was in effect for their faithfulness to the interest and cause of God; whereby they gave these backslidden ministers ground to believe that they were repenting for their former zeal, and also the honest party, ground to alledge, that especially Messrs. Linning and Boyd, had never been honest in heart to the cause of God.
As to Mr. D. H. (of whom before) after his release from the enemy, he preaching here and there, as he was called, was for his freedom against the present courses of defection, as well of those, viz. the three ministers who had lately gone from us as other, much hated, slighted, and despised; so what through one thing, what through another, the reverend godly old man was rendered useless, so that he going over to Ireland, he lived some few years after, and died peaceably, witnessing against the defections, and for Christ's crown rights.
Now the suffering remnant being without the help of leaders, their wilderness lot came to be more terrible like unto them; wherein they met with many assaults and sore trials, not only by such as had left them, but also their trials came to be sharp, with reference to others: for shortly after that we were deprived of our leaders, through their backsliding, came over out of Ireland, two women, pretending themselves to be somewhat, where-through some of the more simple of our number, both in the west, east, and Fife, were ready to be endangered with them: but process of time discovering the naughtiness of these persons, and our friends being better informed concerning them, came to be more cautious in meddling with them.
And albeit we had several temptations, by such as were not of us, viz. Messrs. R. and G. to call such of ourselves as might be thought fit to the office of the ministry, and dispense the ordinances to us: yea, these two foresaid, offered themselves to preach unto us; yet such got no reception: for, we desire still (through the Lord's help and assistance) to keep off from every unwarrantable and unpracticable course, although we be otherwise represented by the generation.
Yet notwithstanding of all these trials that the godly remnant met with from both hands, yet the Lord in his mercy still preserved a witnessing remnant from both right and left hand errors and extremes: and though to our grief, many of our number were greatly shaken, as to their former zeal and stedfastness in the cause of God, after these three ministers had left us, and before the general meetings were erected, (being for some time deprived of general meetings also) where through we were like persons in a staggering condition, not having fixed a stand. We thought fit to call general meetings again. But when gathered and searching into one another's judgments as to the state of the testimony, we found ourselves to be but a mixed company, whereupon we purged our meetings from all such, as had sinfully joined with the courses of the times, and were defending the same; and also, set days apart for fasting and humiliation before the Lord; for what accession any of us had to any piece of compliance: which thing to our felt experience we saw to be so far countenanced of God, as that without ostentation, we might have called the place Bohim: and having got our meetings purged of such as had made defection to the contrary party, we emitted a declaration August 10, 1692 (which speaks for itself) and thereby we declared the state of the testimony as we were purposed, and resolved (through divine assistance) to maintain against both church and state, in as far as they are opposite to and averse from the maintaining of the covenanted work of reformation of the church of Scotland. Which declaration, as it was a testimony of our adherence to what our forefathers had been contending for, so also it was so far displeasing to our adversaries, that they caused apprehend some of our brethren; but thereafter were set at liberty, without the least restriction or acknowledgment of their authority. This declaration had also that effect with it, that many came to get their eyes opened who had them shut before.
Now as to the present church, her defections and backslidings (of which already) they are notourly known, which defections our several testimonies bear witness and testimony against, and these not only of the former times but also of the latter. And we desire to be sorry and heartily grieved, that any professing themselves a minister of the church of Scotland, should own and countenance, concur and comply with a prelatical Erastianism, established in this land (which we of this church were reformed from) which thing is evident from ministers their compliance with the acts and mandates of the state, they exercising their Erastian supremacy over this church, as their acts and practice hath manifested and declared. Which acts of the state, as it would be tedious, so it would be superfluous to relate all of them, yet we shall set down so much as we think may suffice to declare the Erastian designs.
As that act, anno 1693, entitled, an act for settling the peace and quiet of the church, ordains "That no person be admitted or continued for hereafter to be a minister or preacher within this church, unless that he having first taken and subscribed the oath of allegiance and assurance (this is the new qualification of ministers imposed by the magistrate) as likewise, that he owns and acknowledges Presbyterian church government as settled by the foresaid 5th act of the 2d session of this parliament, to be the only government of this church (and how is it settled, but on the people's inclinations,) and that he will submit thereto, and concur therewith, and never endeavour directly nor indirectly the prejudice or subversion thereof. (Observe that here the ministers have all, and to seek for more will make an alteration whatever is wanting: which has been very well observed by a great part of the corrupt ministers, that would not have more when they had the opportunity to have had it.) And their Majesties, with advice and consent foresaid, statute and ordain, that uniformity of worship, and of the administration of all public ordinances within this church, be observed by all the said ministers and preachers as the same are at present performed and allowed them, or shall be hereafter declared by the authority of the same. And no ministers or preacher be admitted or continued for hereafter, unless that he subscribe to observe, and do actually subscribe the foresaid uniformity." Observe, this church by this act, is deprived of that intrinsic power, which properly belongs to the church of Christ, so that hereby they must depend upon the parliament for what liberty they have, and this is a Vidimus for all the rest of their acts relating to the church.
But we return, the suffering remnant durst never from a zeal to God's glory, love to truth, and conscience of their duty, wink at, or pass over in silence the national sins of this land, without a testimony against them: but upon every new emergent, as the duty of the day called for a testimony at their hand, so therein they endeavoured not to be deficient, and the rather when such iniquitous impositions as hearth-money, and pole-money came to be imposed upon our land, as had never been practicable, we reckoned ourselves obliged to testify against them. And so accordingly we emitted another declaration, November 6, 1695, as may be seen in the following sheets. And albeit there was none of our number that suffered upon the account of publishing of the same, yet we wanted not the bitter reflections of some, in saying, that it strengthened the malignant party at home, and common enemy abroad.
In that interval of time, betwixt the emitting of our second and third declaration, as there was nothing in William's time that gave us ground to the emitting of a third declaration, besides what we had already testified against, yet it is observable, that there were no amendments as to the things testified against, either in church or state: for so punctual was he, and pliable were they, viz. the ministers, in the observation of that model of church government, which he with his parliament had first established, that they still persisted and went on without any amendment of the things testified against, for (as we said) the dissolutions, callings, and adjournments of their assemblies was so practicable, that it became a case of confession to these who owned them; and albeit this bad practice had a rank smell of Erastianism, yet how shamefully and basely they subjected themselves to the iniquitous commandments of the state; and instance whereof (once for all) in that assembly, wherein Lothian Ker was commissioner, who said, that he in his Majesty's name dissolved this assembly (this was Feb. 13, 1692,) whereupon the moderator asked his grace, if this assembly was dissolved without nominating a diet for another? To which his Grace made return in these words; "His Majesty will appoint another general assembly wherewith ye will be timeously advertised." Upon this the moderator desiring of his grace that he might be heard a few words, his grace replied, "That as a private person he would hear him, but not as a moderator. The moderator answered, "Sir, in whatsoever capacity your Grace pleaseth, I beg to be heard a few words." His Grace replied, "That as a private person he might speak." And because what the commissioner had done, in dissolving that assembly, without nominating another, many of the members were so far dissatisfied therewith, that they verbally protested against what the commissioner had done: but as there was much of a coward-like spirit that appeared in their moderator, in the resigning up of his post, (as above) at the command or word of man; so how much unfaithfulness in this affair to the concerns of Christ, did the commission of the kirk afterward shew, while they declined the deed of that protestation verbally given in by some of their number, at the dissolution of that assembly, as theirs: which afterwards clearly appeared from their submission to the encroachments made by the magistrates, upon the church privileges; as, that of their passing from the appointed diet of their meeting which was to be on the third Wednesday of August 1693: and their acquiescing to that diet, which by open proclamation was appointed by the magistrate December 6th 1693; which yet by another proclamation was adjourned to the 24th of March 1694. Which fearful encroachments by the state, has never faithfully been testified against by this church. And though there were no more to declare this church's compliance with the magistrate's erastian course, their very laying aside these minutes, in not bringing them to the world's view, though that they had sitten for the space of a month in that assembly (as above) where Lothian Ker dissolved them: We say, if there were no more to testify their dependence on the state, it is sufficient to declare it; and how provoking such a practice may be to the Lord Jesus Christ, the only head of his church, and injurious to the up-coming generation, let the world judge! But moreover the king's commissioner appointed the first Thursday of April 1695, as the diet of their meeting; yet by the proclamation it was adjourned from that day to the 11th of July thereafter, and from that to the 29th of November; and from that to the 17th of December: and yet in all this, nothing like zeal and faithfulness to the concerns of our Lord Jesus Christ, was seen to appear in such weighty matters: How confounding like may it be to the very Gallios of the age we live in! Ah! tell it not in Gath! &c.
Yea, and so obsequious was this Erastian church to the mandates of the magistrate, as to the holding or not holding of the courts of Christ; that though they were sitting in assembly in the mean time of William's death; and when his commissioner told them, that he could attend them no longer, his master being dead. So that albeit they had a fair door set open to have asserted Christ's headship over his church; yet they would not sit, though they might, but dissolved abruptly.
Now, after the death of their king William, princess Anne being admitted to the government of the church affairs, she walked in the same footsteps with her predecessor; for the very first assembly was called by her authority: upon which change of persons to the exercise of the government, the suffering party finding themselves obliged by the indispensable oath of God, contained in the covenants, to testify against every thing that was destructive thereof. And princess Anne being now admitted to the government over the three kingdoms, we could not but bear testimony against the same, upon these considerations mentioned in the declaration, which was our third declaration emitted at May 1703.
And to conclude, with reference to these declarations following, whatever exceptions they may get from persons of all ranks, parties, or persuasions, yet we persuade ourselves, that when the honest and faithful acts of church and state in our best times are judicially approved, that our honest designs and intentions in the publication of these our declarations, will be also approved. And albeit we should be counted as fools and branded with various aspersions for the following out of our duty, and adhering to every part of the reformation of Scotland both as in church and state. We say our suffering is more honourable than sinning. So those nick names and aspersions, we desire with a Moses to esteem them greater riches than the treasures of Egypt.
Postscript. As for that pamphlet, entitled Church Communion, emitted by Mr. Linning and fathered on Mr. Shields, we say that our thoughts of it is, though that the once worthy Mr. Shields was turned off his feet by cunning and slight of Messrs. Linning and Boyd, so that he could not easily recover them again; yet that he was a man more consonant to his principles, than so openly to condemn by his pen that which he had so openly avouched before, as may be clearly seen both in the Vindication and Hind let loose: for we having had the occasion to know the judgment, humour and temper of the three men, as much as any in the nation, must say, (that abstract from Mr. Shield's parts) for faithfulness, zeal, love, and constancy to the cause of God, we found him by many degrees preferable to the other two, although he was (as said above) stolen off his feet by his false brethren: and as for Mr. Thomas's pamphlet, as we judge him to be the author, so as the swatch is not pleasing, being round spun linning indeed, we shall suffer the author to make the best hand of it he can: and as for what bitterness he hath kithed against the poor remnant by words and deeds, in hindering them to get the gospel faithfully preached: he being the principal man that instigated his brethren to write to the colleges abroad, that all doors of hope might be shut as to the poor remnant's bettering their condition, we say, it ill became him to have stood so cross in the way of their mercy of the preached gospel, for it was to their purses he was beholden for what advancements he attained unto when abroad.