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A Pastoral Letter of


Much Respected FRIENDS,

that are in their Voyage


Quebeck for New-England.

Present with Care, I Pray.

Per Samuel Scammon. Q. D. C.


My Brethren, dear Friends, and Christian Neighbours,

INasmuch as I may neither be permitted to return with you ; nor be permitted to come to see you before you return ; These come to acquaint you, That I am truly desirous of your Prosperity, for Soul and Body. I would bless God who is opening a door of Return for you : And if God be your Front-Guard, and Rereward, it shall yet go well with you ; a Mercy , I would humbly be imploring for you. I hope you will continue to Pray for us that are left behind, that God would

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Mr. John Williams.

preserve and recover us, and give us Grace to Glorify his Holy Name, tho' He continue, yea increase our Trials. If we may be Witnesses for God, and Serve him, tho' under fiery Trials, we shall be no losers. The Lord help us by his Grace (for of our selves we are insufficient to do any thing) to keep the Faith, and suffer according to his Will. He has foretold us, that through much Tribulation we must enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. If God will bless ; no matter what men say of us. As for you, I would offer a few words of Counsel to you in your Voyage. What is it that is most upon your heart in your Return ? Is it that you may with all Freedom Glorify God, in bringing forth much Fruit, whereby He may be Glorifyed, whilst you are again planted in the Court-yards of our God ? How sorrowful is it, if your greatest design be to see your Friends so long separated from you ; to Gain Estates, and recover your outward Losses ; and to be free again to go and come as you lift ! When you return, consult, Luk.8.39. and see from thence, that it well becomes them who

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A Pastoral Letter of

had Eminent Mercies, to be shewing to others what great Things God has done for them. Hereby you will be advancing the Glory and Honour of God, the highest, last, and most noble End Man was made for. Hereby you will comply with the Revealed Will of God : For He says, Call upon me in the day of trouble ; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. Hereby you will also stir up others to Glorify God on your behalf. Hereby also you may gain good Counsels, Directions, & the Prayers of many in order to your improving such Mercies, so as God may have Glory, & your Souls a continued profiting. Yea, hereby you may be instrumental in putting others upon trusting God, & making Him their Refuge in an Evil day. Let God have the Glory of preserving you ; and don't ascribe it to your own Wisdom, or Goodness ; don't think to go sharers or partners with God in his Glory : He has done it for the Honour of his Name. Read Psal. 66.13, 14. and learn from thence, that a truly gracious Soul delivered out of Afflictions, will be very careful to fulfil his promises, and pay his Vows made

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Mr. John Williams

to God in the day of his distress. For otherwise you will unavoidably fall into the number of them spoken of, Psal. 78. 34, 35, 36, 37. Without this, you will fail of a comfortable Evidence, that your Deliverance is in special Mercy. It's certain, That he who Glorifies God, is one that orders his Conversation aright. Be careful to perform your Promises as to the matter, manner, time, and end of Obedience : Be thorough in your Obedience. The performing your Promises will turn to your own special and peculiar gain and profit. Surely, God has a worse Prison, than any of you have yet been in, for them that will not honestly pay their Debts of Obedience to Him, Eccl. 5. 4. &c. Consider how angry God was with Hezekiah, for not rendering to the Lord according to the Mercy bestowed upon him, 2 Chron. 32. 25. God manifested his Displeasure in very signal Works of Judgment upon Israel in the Wilderness for their Unthankfulness to God for his great Mercy in bringing them from Egypt ; yea, destroyed many of them in the Wilderness. You will have ma-

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A Pastoral Letter of

ny Temptations from within, and from without, to be neglecting your Duties of Obedience. You have the World as it were, to begin again. Well, Consider the greatest Concernment is to make sure of an incorruptible Inheritance, an House not made with Hands, Eternal in the Heavens. We are here, at longest, but only Sojourners. If you turn again to Folly, God will be very angry, Jer. 2. 20. &c. Surely, a provoking God to Anger, is not the way to thrive, for Soul or Body. Yea, neglect of Duty, will give great ground to fear that the Furnace has not been sanctified to your purging and purifying. Peace and Friendship with God, is the best Peace and Friendship. Sincere Souls have it much upon their hearts how they shall walk answerable to the expectations of God from them for the Mercies they receive at his Hands, Psal. 116. 12. They are careful that their Thoughts, Desires, Delights, Choice, Refusals, Words and Actions be such as may be for Gods Glory, and Honour. They are therefore very watchful against every thing that would draw a-

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Mr. John Williams.

way their hearts from God ; or prevent and hinder their living holily. Yea, all that have gained Spiritual benefit by Afflictions, are much in bewailing their unsuitable behaviour under Afflictions. Oh, it's a matter of shame to think how much they pored upon their Afflictions, and how little on their Sins that procured all their Afflictions ; that they were so impatient under Afflictions ; so much concerned to get Afflictions removed ; and so little concerned to carry graciously under them, to profit by them, to get them sanctified to them : Yea, that they have been so very Unbelieving, and full of carking cares under them, and so backward to a committing all to God's Disposal ; that they have been so full of guile and deceit, and unbroken in spirit in all their Acknowledgments, and Confessions of Sin ; so little of a gracious Prayerfulness : Yea, that there is so much opposition in their Will to the Will of God in disposing and governing the Affairs of the World according to the Counsel of his own Will : Yea, that they have in so great a degree been

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A Pastoral Letter of

forgetful of God, whilst they have been inordinately afraid of man. They bewail that they were so very unthankful for what Mercies they had continued to them, and that they did no more improve them for God and his Glory. Whilst others bewail that they have been so long under Afflictions ; do you bewail that you carried no better under them. If God in special Mercy be leading you forth ; I am sure, he is leading you out in penitential Weeping and Supplications. If you come forth as Gold well refined ; cleansed from all your Filthiness, and saved from all your Idols : What a Mercy do you Enjoy ! The best Freedom, is Freedom by Jesus Christ from Spiritual Evils. Sirs, the Expectations of God, and Man too, will be great from you. Oh ! let it be made evident that you were brought into Captivity for your Good. Oh ! improve Gospel Priviledges with all Fidelity. Don't begrudge God time for Religious Services. Don't content yourselves in being Hearers ; but be you Doers of the Word. Let your Thankfulness be expressed in a continued, uni-

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Mr. John Williams.

versal, holy Conversation. Watch against all Appearances of Evil ; and all leading Causes to a Forgetting God, or ill requiting of Him for all his Kindness to you. Don't think after your Return ; that, having desired Publickly in the Congregations of God's People to have Thanks returned to God on your behalf ; you have done your Duty. This is the way to be like them that Sang his Praises, but soon forgot his wondrous Works. Thanksliving is the best Thanksgiving. Oh ! that all your Souls may flourish in exemplary Holiness and Piety, when you are again setled in God's Sanctuaries. Let God's Sabbaths be duely, at all times, Sanctified. If any of you are yet in an Unconverted State ; let not your outward freedom put away the sense of the Deplorableness and Dangerousness of an Unconverted State ; and of the Depths of Misery they are in, that are Captives to Sin and Satan, and Condemned already by a Holy God, for not believing on the Name of the Son of God. Oh ! make all Haste to get into a Converted State. Christ seems to be Saying to you. Go and Sin no more, lest a worse thing come

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upon you. Improve all Helps for a thorough, and Well-wrought Conversion to God. Incline your ears to hear, and hearken diligently to the glad Tidings of Salvation by Jesus Christ. If God has Sanctified to any of you your outward Captivity, to a purging away your Sins, and to a making you partakers of his Holiness : Say with Psalmist, that it is good for you, that you have been Afflicted ; yea, that in Faithfulness He has caused you to be Afflicted. And at your Return, be you found among them that fit under Christ's Shadow with great Delight ; and let his Fruit be sweet to your taste. Draw nigh to Him in all his holy Institutions, that your Souls may be filled with the Fulness of Him who filleth all in all. Let your Souls follow hard after the Lord, and the desire of your Souls be to the Remembrance of his Name. As to them of you who were through Christ reconciled to God, before your Captivity ; let it be evident that you have been purged to bring forth more fruit ; Job. 15. 2. If you lose your Dross, I know you will [ yet ] bless God, tho' He has exercised you with

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Mr. John Williams.

many Afflictions and Temptations, and heat the Furnace to a high degree. For it is, if need be, that we are in heaviness through manifold Temptations. The unfruitful Tree is Unpruned, and reserved for the Fire ; when the choicest Fruit-bearing Tree is pruned in a great degree. Our heavenly Father knows best what is best for us ; and in what way to lead us through a Vale of Tears, to his Glory. The Experience of Saints in all Ages, proves that a long time of outward Prosperity has been more hurtful to the Children of God, as to the concerns of their Souls ; than manifold trying Afflictions for a long time. God has always a Father's Love to his Own ; yea, even then, when He has his Rod in his hand, or be chastning with it : for He always aims at our Profit. The Rod and Reproof give Wisdom. Well, see to it after your Return, that you be more lively, more exemplary, more self-denying, more tender, more holy in all your Conversation, than before. Be entirely devoted to the glorifying of God. If any of you labour under spiritual Darkness, and be buffeted with Temptations ;

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A Pastoral Letter of

Spread your case continually, without ceasing, before a Prayer-hearing God ; Be advising with the Word of God for Light, and Direction ; Be acting and Exercising the Faith of Dependence on God, when you hant a Faith of Assurance ; Isa. 50. 10. Use all Helps appointed by God for your Establishment. Oh ! Grow in Grace, and in the Knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Oh ! Endeavour to stir up all you converse with, thoroughly to amend their Ways and Doings ; Whilest in all Holiness of Conversation you have your Walk among them. Tell others, how great a Privilege they enjoy, that have the Scriptures, and so many Days in God's Courts. And at your Return, beware lest you forget your own judgment, whilest in Captivity, of the Preciousness of such a choice Mercy. Oh ! be found daily, and with all Fervour of Soul, in your Closets, pouring out your Souls before God. And Pray for us, that are so dull and slow of heart to do our Duty ; and are therefore kept under the Rod. Oh ! for the effectual pouring out of the Spirit from on high

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Mr. John Williams.

upon you that go, and upon us that stay here : Without which neither you nor we shall behave ourselves as becomes the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have great Encouragement to be Praying for the Spirit : for our glorious Redeemer, whilst here, told us how acceptable it would be, to be importunately Crying to God for it ; and how ready and willing He was to give the Spirit to them that ask.

When you return, doubtless you will find many Temptations, as well as Helps ; you had need therefore be daily upon your Watch. Don't forget the way God has led you in, to humble and prove you ; that you might know what was in your hearts. Spiritual Idolatry, which is Covetousness, is highly displeasing to God. Having seen the Vanity and Transitoriness of Earthly Comforts ; let your Conversation for the future, be more in Heaven. You will daily need to be in the exercise of Faith for a Conquest over the World. Let us look after those things that are Unseen, that are Eternal. Whilst others cry, Give, give, as to the World ; let our Cry be

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for Grace and Spiritual Blessings. The Light of God's Countenance on the Soul, will give more Joy ; than the time wherein Corn, Wine and Oyl have been much increased. Seek first the Kingdom of God, and his Righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Lay not up for your selves treasures upon Earth, where Moth and Rust doth corrupt, & where Thieves break through and steal : but lay up for your selves Treasures in Heaven, where neither Moth nor Rust do corrupt, and where Thieves do not break through and steal : for where your Treasure is, there will your Heart be also.

I have written more largely here, because I know, your Temptations ( having the World to begin again ) will arise much from thoughts what to Eat, and what to Drink, and wherewith to be Cloathed ; having lost your Earthly Comforts. And our great Danger often lyes in our cravings of, and seeking after Lawful Comforts. Inordinancy of Desire after Lawful things, will put a stop to a lively exercise of Grace. Being forewarned, labour to be forearmed. I hope God will supply all your

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Wants for Soul and Body too. By the Grace of God, my Fellow-Sufferers shall always be upon my heart, when I am before God. I wish you a healthy, a safe, a speedy Passage to your Desired Port ; if it be the Will of God. But above all, I wish you a gracious, truly Penitent, Christ-prizing and Soul-enriching, sanctifying Voyage to a better Port ; when it is the pleasure of God to call you to come Home to your Fathers House ; Even that House not made with Hands, Eternal in the Heavens. There is an incorruptible Inheritance ; there is perfect Holiness ; There is a perfect, uninterrupted Enjoyment of God ; a seeing of Him in a glorious manner. Oh ! let CHRIST JESUS, who is the Best Friend, be secured and prized by us ; for he is a never-dying Friend. As for many other Friends, and dear Relations, who were ready to serve us under our Trials ; we shall never more see them, or meet with them in this World : But comfortable grounds of Hope of meeting with them in a better World, should bear up our hearts under our Separations from them : and we should

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A Pastoral Letter of, &c.

be careful to follow them in every thing wherein they followed Christ. Let us all approve our selves in all sincerity of Heart and Life, the Willing Subjects of our Exalted and Glorious LORD. His Service is perfect Freedom. Well ! I commit you all to His Keeping Care, and Conduct ; intreating you would take in good part these few general Truths, and Words of Counsel, that, with a heart full of Affection to you, I have hastily drawn up, and sent as the only way I have, at present, to have any Converse with you. If they may be of any Service, let God have the Glory. And I intreat your united Prayers to God for us left behind, whilst you are together : and afterwards, the Continuance of your Prayers ; that we may be left to do nothing dishonourable to God, scandalous to Religion, or prejudicial to our own Souls ; that we may not give occasion to the Adversary to reproach, or speak evil of the Right Wayes of GOD.

I am your Brother in Tribulations and Fellow-Prisoner,
Chateauriche ; May 28. 1706.

John Williams.

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