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to pass over to the Isle of Wight, and place himself under the protection of the governor, the nephew of his favourite chaplain. But Hammond, who had married a daughter of Hampden, and was devoted to Cromwell, immediately sent advice to that General of his Majesty's arrival.
A correspondence * now took place between them, in which Cromwell anxiously endeavoured to remove some of Hammond's scruples on the subject of his royal charge. Part of it, as a specimen of his mode of reasoning, is here subjoined:
• DEAR ROBIN,
Nov. 25, 1648. • No man rejoiceth more to see a line from thee, than myself. I know thou hast long been under trial. Thou shalt be no loser by it. All must work for the best. Thou desirest to hear of my experience. I can tell thee, I am such a one as thou didst formerly know, having a body of sin and death ; but I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, there is no condemnation, though much infirmity, and I wait for the redemption; and in this poor condition I obtain mercy and sweet consolation through the Spirit, and find abundant cause every day to exalt the Lord, abase flesh. And herein I have some exercise.
• As to outward dispensations, if we may so call them, we have not been without our share of beholding some remarkable providences and appearances of the Lord. His presence hath been amongst us, and by the light of his countenance we have prevailed.
* See a Collection of Original Letters, lately published, that passed between them and the Committee of Lords and Commons at Derby House, Generals Fairfax and Ireton, &c. with relation to that unfortunate Monarch.
We are sure, the good will of him who dwelt in the bush shined upon us; and we can humbly say, we know in whom we have believed, who is able and will perfect what remaineth, and us also in doing what is well-pleasing in his eye-sight.
• Because I find some trouble in your spirit, occasioned first, not only by the continuance of your sad and heavy burthen, as you call it, upon you ; but by the dissatisfaction you take at the ways of some good men, whom you love with your heart, who through this principle, that it is lawful for a lesser part (if in the right) to force, &c.
* To the first :-call not your burthen“ sad nor heavy. If your Father lay it upon you, he intended neither. He is the Father of lights, from whom comes every good and perfect gift, who of his own will begot us, and bade us count it all joy when such things befall us; they being for the exercise of faith and patience, whereby in the end (James i.) we shall be made perfect.
• Dear Robin, our fleshly reasonings ensnare us. These make us say, Heavy, sad, pleasant, easy! Was there not a little of this when Robert Ham, mond, through dissatisfaction too, desired retirement from the army, and thought of quiet in the Isle of Wight? Did not God find him out there? I believe he will never forget this. And now I perceive he is to seek again, partly through his sad and heavy burthen, and partly through dissatisfaction with friends' actings. Dear Robin, thou and I were never worthy to be door-keepers in this service. If thou wilt seek, seek to know the mind of God in all that chain of providence, whereby God brought thee thither, and that person to thee: how before and since God has ordered him, and affairs concerning him: and then tell me, whether there be not some glori. ous and high meaning in all this, above what thou hast yet attained. And laying aside thy fleshly reason, seek of the Lord to teach thee what that is ; and he will do it. I dare be positive to say, it is not, that the wicked should be exalted, that God should so appear, as indeed he hath done. For there is no peace to them : no, it is set upon the hearts of such as fear the Lord; and we have witness upon witness, that it shall go ill with them and their partakers. I say again, seek that Spirit to teach thee, which is the Spirit of knowledge and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, of wisdom and of the fear of the Lord. That Spirit will close thine eyes, and stop thine ears, so that thou shalt not judge by them; but thou shalt judge for the meek of the earth, and thou shalt be made able to do accordingly. The Lord direct: thee to that, which is well-pleasing in his eyesight!
• As to thy dissatisfaction with friends acting upon that supposed principle, I wonder not at that. If a man take not his own burthen well, he shall hardly others ; especially, if involved by so near a relation of love and christian brotherhood as thou art. I shall not take upon me to satisfy, ' but I hold myself bound to lay my thoughts before, so dear a friend. The Lord do his own will!
“ God hath appointed authorities among the nations, to which active or passive obedience is to be yielded. This resides in England in the parliament. Therefore active or passive, &c.” Authorities and powers are the ordinance of God. This or that species is of human institution, and limited,
o You say,
some with larger, others with stricter bands, each one according to it's constitution. I do not, therefore, think the authorities may do any thing, and yet such obedience due; but all agree, there are cases, in which it is lawful to resist. If so, your ground fails, and so likewise the inference. Indeed, dear Robin, not to multiply words, the query is, Whether ours be such a case?, This, ingenuously, is the true question. To this I shall say nothing, though I could say very much; but only desire thee to see, what thou findest in thy own heart as to two or three plain considerations : First, whether salus populi be a sound position? Secondly, whether in the way in hand, really and before the Lord, before whom conscience must stand, this be provided for; or the whole, fruit of the war like to be frustrated, and almost like to turn to what it was, and worse; and this contrary to engagements, declarations, implicit covenants with those who ventured their lives upon those covenants and engagements, without whom perhaps, in equity, relaxation ought not to be? Thirdly, whether this army be not a lawful power, called by God to oppose and fight against the King upon some stated grounds; and, being in power to such ends, may not oppose one name of authority for those ends, as well as another: the outward authority, that called them, not by their power making the quarrel lawful, but it being so in itself? If so, it may be, acting will be justified in foro humano. But truly these kind of reasonings may be but fleshly, either with or against ; only it is good to try, what truth may be in them. And the Lord teach us ! ;. My dear friend, let us look into providences ; surely they mean somewhat. They hang so toge
ther, have been so constant, so clear and unclouded. Malice, swollen malice against God's people, now called saints,' to root out their name: and yet they by providence having arms; and therein blessed with defence, and more.
• I desire he, that is for a principle of suffering, would not too much slight this. I slight not him, who is so minded; but let us beware, lest fleshly reasoning see more safety in making use of the principle, than in acting. Who acts, and resolves not through God to be willing to part with all? Our hearts are very deceitful, on the right and on the left. What think you of providence disposing the hearts of so many of God's people this way, especially in this poor army, wherein the great God has vouchsafed to appear? I know not one officer amongst us, but is on the increasing hand : and let me say, it is here in the north, after much patience, we trust the same Lord, who hath framed our minds in our actings, is with us in this also. And this, contrary to a natural tendency, and to those comforts our hearts could wish to enjoy with others, And the difficulties probably to be encountered with, and enemies, not few ; even all that is glorious in this world with appearance of united names, titles, and authorities: and yet not ter. rified, only desiring to fear our great God, that we do nothing against his will. Truly, this is our condition.
And, to conclude, we in this northern army were in a waiting posture, desiring to see what the Lord would lead us to. And a declaration is put out, at which many are shaken, although we could perhaps have wished the stay of it till after the treaty; yet, seeing it is come out, we trust to rejoice in the will