Alexander Henderson on the work of the Westminster Assembly and Solemn League and Covenant

Alexander HendersonThe near and neighboring example of the church and kingdom of Scotland, is in this case worthy of our best observation. When the prelates there were grown by their rents, and lordly dignities, by their exorbitant power over all sorts of his majesty’s subjects, ministers and others, by their places in parliament, council, college of justice, exchequer, and high commission, to a monstrous dominion and greatness, and, like giants, setting their one foot on the neck of the church, and the other on the neck of the state, were become intolerably insolent. And when the people of God, through their oppression in religion, liberties and laws, and what was dearest unto them, were brought so low, that they choose rather to die, than to live in such slavery, or to live in any other place, rather than in their own native country: then did the Lord say, “I have seen the affliction of My people, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them.” The beginnings were small and contemptible in the eyes of the presumptuous enemies, such as used to be the beginnings of the greatest works of God; but were so seconded and continually followed by the undeniable evidences of divine providence, leading them forward from one step to another, that their mountain became strong in the end. No tongue can tell what motions filled the hearts, what tears were poured forth from the eyes, and what cries came from the mouths of many thousands in that land, when they found an unwonted flame warming their breasts, and perceived the power of God, raising them from the dead, and creating for them a new world, wherein shall dwell religion and righteousness. When they were destitute both of monies and munition, which, next unto the spirit and arms of men, are the sinews of war, the Lord brought them forth out of His hid treasures, which was wonderful in their eyes, and matter of astonishment to their hearts: when they were many times at a pause in their deliberations, and brought to such perplexity, that they knew not what to choose, or to do for prosecuting the work of God, only their eyes were towards Him; not only the fears and furies, but the plots also and policies of the adversaries opened the way unto them, their devices were turned upon their own heads, and served for promoting of the work of God. The purity of their intentions elevated above base and earthly respects, and the constant peace of their hearts in the midst of many dangers, did bear them out against the malicious accusations and aspersions put upon their actions: all which were sensible impressions of the good providence of God, and legible characters of His work; which the church and kingdom of England, exercised at this time with greater difficulty than theirs, have in part already found; so shall the parallel be perfected to their greater comfort in the faithful pursuing of the work unto the end.

 

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