Page images

ready to say, as many others of like spirit in this day do,* of the like sad occasions amongst us, "Lo! this is the day we looked for." The King and his Party prepare accordingly to ruin all; by^sudden Insurrections in most parts of the Nation: the Scot, concurring with the same designs, comes in with a potent Army under Duke Hamilton. We in the Army, in a low, weak, divided, perplexed condition in all respects, as aforesaid:—some of U3 judging it a duty to lay down our arms, to quit our stations, and put ourselves into the capacities of private men,—since what we had done, and what was yet in our hearts to do, tending as we judged to the good of these poor Nations, was not accepted by them.

'Some also even encouraged themselves and us to such a thing by urging for such a practice the example of our Lord Jesus; who, when he had borne an eminent testimony to the pleasure of his Father in an active way, sealed it at last by his sufferings; which was presented to us as our pattern for imitation. Others of us, however, were different-minded; thinking something of another nature might yet be farther our duty ;—and these therefore were, by joint advice, by a good hand of the Lord, led to this result; viz., To go solemnly to search out our own iniquities, and humble our souls before the Lord in the sense of the same; which, we were persuaded, had provoked the Lord against us, to bring such sad perplexities upon us at that day. Out of which we saw no way else to extricate ourselves.

'Accordingly we did agree to meet at Windsor Castle about the beginning of Forty-eight. And there we spent one day together in prayer; inquiring into the causes of that sad dispensation,'—let all men consider it; 'coming to no farther result that day; but that it was still our duty to seek. And on the morrow we met again in the morning; where many spake from the Word, and prayed; and the then Lieutenaut-General Cromwell,'—unintelligible to Posterity, but extremely intelligible to himself, to these men, and to the Maker of him and them,—' did press very earnestly on all there present, to a thorough consider

* 1659; Allen's Pamphlet is written as a Monition and Example to Fleetwood and the others, now in a similar peril, but with no Oliver now among them.

ation of our actions as an Army, and of our ways particularly as private Christians: to see (f any iniquity could be found in them; and what it was; that if possible we might find it out, and so remove the cause of such sad rebukes as were upon us (by reason of our iniquities, as we judged) at that time. And the way more particularly the Lord led us to herein was this: To look back and consider what time it was when with joint satisfaction we could last say to the best of our judgment, The presence of the Lord was amongst us, and rebukes and judgments were not as then upon us. Which time the Lord led us jointly to find out and agree in; and having done so, to proceed, as we then judged it our duty, to search into all our public actions as an Army, afterwards. Duly weighing (as the Lord helped us) each of them, with their grounds, rules, and ends, as near as we could. And so we concluded this second day, with agreeing to meet again on the morrow. Which accordingly we did upon the same occasion, reassuming the consideration of our debates the day before, and reviewing our actions again.

'By which means we were, by a gracious hand of the Lord, led to find out the very steps (as we were all then jointly convinced) by which we had departed from the Lord, and provoked Him to depart from us. Which we found to be those cursed carnal Conferences our own conceited wisdom, our fears, and want of faith had prompted us, the year before, to entertain with the King and his Party. At this time, and on this occasion, did the then Major Gone (as I remember was his title) make use of that good Word, Proverbs First and Twenty-third, Turn you at my reproof: behold 1 will pour out my Spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. Which, we having found out our sin, he urged as our duty from those words. And the Lord so accompanied by His Spirit, that it had a kindly effect, like a word of His, upon most of our hearts that were then present; which begot in us a great sense, a shame and loathing of ourselves for our iniquities, and a justifying of the Lord as righteous in His proceedings against us.

'And in this path the Lord led us, not only to see our sin, but also our duty; and this so unanimously set with weight upon each heart, that none was hardly able to speak a word to each other for bitter weeping,'—does the modern reader mark it; this weeping, and who they are that wept! Weeping ' partly in the sense and shame of our iniquities; of our unbelief, base fear of men, and carnal consultations (as the fruit thereof) with our own wisdom, and not with the Word of the Lord,—which only is a way of wisdom, strength, and safety, and all beside it are ways of snares. And yet we were also helped, with fear and trembling, to rejoice in the Lord; whose faithfulness and loving-kir.idness, we were made to see, yet failed us not;—who remembered us still, even in our low estate, because His mercy endures for ever. Who no sooner brought us to His feet, acknowledging Him in that way of His (viz. searching for, being ashamed of, and willing to turn from, our iniquities), but He did direct our steps; and presently we were led and helped to a clear agree ment amongst ourselves, not any dissenting, That it was the duty of our day, with the forces we had, to go out and fight against those potent enemies, which that year in all places appeared against us.' Courage!' With an humble confidence, in the name of the Lord only, that we should destroy them. And we were also enabled then, after serious seeking His face, to come to a very clear and joint resolution, on many grounds at large there debated amongst us, (That it was our duty, if ever the Lord brought us back again in peace, to call Charles Stuart, that man of blood, to an account for that blood he had shed, and mischief he had done to his utmost, against the Lord's Cause and People in these poor Nations.' Mark that also-fT

'And how the Lord led and prospered us in all our undertakings that year, in this way; cutting His work short, in righteousness; making it a year of mercy, equal if not transcendent to any since these Wars began; and making it worthy of remembrance by every gracious soul, who was wise to observe the Lord, and the operations of His hands,—I wish may never be forgotten.' Let Fleetwood, if he have the same heart, go and do likewise.*

* A faithful Memorial of that remarkable Meeting of many Officers of the Army in England at Windsor Castle, in the Year 1648, &c., &c. (in Somen Tracts, vi., 499-501).

Abysses, black chaotic whirlwinds:—does the reader look upon it all as Madness? Madness lies close by; as Madness does to the Highest Wisdom, in man's life always: but this is not mad! This dark element, it is the mother of the lightnings and the splendors; it is very sane this !—

« PreviousContinue »