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To the Right Reverend the Commission of the General Assembly.

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To the Right Reverend the Commission of the General Assembly.

James Dodson

My very reverend and dear Brethren,—

Although the Lord's hand detaineth me from attending your meetings, yet, as long as I can write or speak, I dare not be silent, nor conceal my thoughts of any sinful and dangerous course in the public proceedings. Having, therefore, heard of some motions and beginnings of compliance with those who have been so deeply engaged in a war destructive to religion and the liberties of the kingdoms, I cannot but discharge my conscience in giving a testimony against all such compliance. I know, and am persuaded, that all the faithful witnesses that gave testimony to the Thesis, that the late engagement was contrary and destructive to the covenant, will also give testimony to the appendix, that compliance with any who have been active in that engagement is most sinful and unlawful. I am not able to express all the evils of that compliance, they are so many. Sure I am it were a hardening of the malignant party,—a wounding of the hearts of the godly,—an infinite wronging of those who, from their affection to the covenant and cause of God, have taken their life in their hand,—a great scandal to our brethren of England, who, as they have been strengthened and encouraged by the hearing of the zeal and integrity of the well-affected in this kingdom, and how they opposed the late engagement; so they would be as much scandalized to hear of a compliance with malignants now. Yea, all that hear of it might justly stand amazed at us, and look on us as a people infatuated, that can take in our bosom the fiery serpents that have stung us so sore.

But, above all, that which would heighten this sin, even to the heavens, is this: That it were not only a horrible backsliding, but a backsliding into that very sin which was specially pointed at and punished by the prevalency of the malignant party, God justly making them thorns and scourges who were taken in as friends, without any real evidence or fruits of repentance. Alas! shall we split twice upon the same rock, yea, run upon it, when God hath set a beacon on it? Shall we be so demented as to fall back into the same sin which was engraven, with great letters, in our late judgment? Yea, I may say, shall we thus outface and out-dare the Almighty, by protecting his and our enemies when he is persecuting them, by making peace and friendship with them when the anger of the Lord is burning against them, by setting them on their feet when God hath cast them down? O shall neither judgments nor deliverances make us wise! I must here apply to our present condition the words of' Ezra: "And after all this is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this; should we again break thy commandments and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? wouldest thou not be angry with us, till thou hast consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping?" O happy Scotland, if thou canst now improve aright and not abuse this golden opportunity! But if thou wilt help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord, wrath upon wrath, and woe upon woe, shall be upon thee from the Lord.

This testimony of a dying man, who expects to stand shortly before the tribunal of Christ, I leave with you, my reverend brethren, being confident of you, through the Lord, that ye will be no otherwise minded but that, as men of God, moved with the zeal of God, you will freely discharge your consciences against everything which you see lifting up itself against the kingdom of the Lord Jesus. This shall be your peace and comfort in your latter end. Now the God of all grace establish you, and direct you, and preserve you all blameless to the end, and bring others out of the snare that hanker after that compliance.—So prayeth your most affectionate brother, to serve you in what I can to my last,

GEORGE GILLESPIE.

Kirkaldy, Sept. 8, 1648.