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PREFACE. - John Robinson, The Works of John Robinson, vol. 3 
The Works of John Robinson, Pastor of the Pilgrim Fathers, with a Memoir and Annotations by Robert Ashton, 3 vols (London: John Snow, 1851). Vol. 3.
Part of: The Works of John Robinson, Pastor of the Pilgrim Fathers, with a Memoir and Annotations by Robert Ashton, 3 vols.
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To my Christian Friends in Norwich and thereabouts, Grace and Salvation from the God and Giver thereof.
That loving and thankful remembrance in which I always have you, my Christian friends, provoketh me as continually to commend unto God your welfare, so to rejoice greatly when I understand thereof, and especially that your souls do prosper. And as the prosperity of the soul is principally furthered by the zealous preaching of the gospel, so hath it been matter of unfeigned rejoicing unto me, to hear how God hath of late stirred up amongst you divers instruments, whose zealous endeavours he hath used that way, and covering in mercy what is evil of ignorance and infirmity on their parts (I hope) in their entrance and ministrations, doth bless what is of himself to the good of his chosen. But, as it falleth out in nature that the pure waters draw off the tainture of the soil through which they run, so with you, it seems, the pure truths of the gospel have suffered by some, too great mixture with sundry popish errors about the church and ministry, in and by which, they are propounded: and this more especially by Mr. Yates, a man of good gifts in himself, and note amongst you; pleading the cause of the whore of Babylon, the Church of Home, as Christ's wife; and of Antichrist's clergy, as of Christ's ministry. And as this clergy's exhortation is not a little furthered by usurpation on the people's liberty, which it swalloweth up, and thereby swelleth above proportion, so in all his pleading for the one, he doth necessarily implead the other; and as in other things, so especially in the exercise of prophecy, or teaching in the church by an ordinary gift; in which every one that is able, bringeth his shot (reckoning, share) in due time and order, for a joint feast of that heavenly repast, the Word of God.
The arguments in his writing, (sent unto me by W. E., with his consent, and that, before the magistrate,) I have set down word for word, and answered, and therewith confirmed what I have elsewhere published,* in justification of this exercise against his exceptions and answers, which being scattered, here and there, in his large discourse and divers of them divers times repeated, I have collected, contracted, and set in orderly opposition to their contrary arguments; and that without any the least wrong (to my knowledge) unto him or his cause; as, having left out nothing in his writing, which might seem to bring advantage to his purpose.
Now if any shall ask me why I have not rather answered Mr. Hall's large and learned volume against me,† and the general cause which I profess, my reasons are,—First, Because it is a large volume so full farced by him, as it seems, that he might prevent further answer. Secondly, His treatise is as much (and more immediately) against the Reformists, and their cause in the main, as against us and ours. Thirdly, The truth requireth not that persons but things be answered; and things in it know I none, not answered in my defence‡ against Mr. Bernard. Lastly, I do put as great difference between him and Mr. Yates, as between a word-wise orator, both labouring more, and being better able to feed his reader with the leaves of words, and flowers of rhetoric, than with the fruits of knowledge, as also striving rather to oppress the person of his adversary with false and proud reproaches, than to convince his tenet by sound arguments: and between a man sincerely zealous for the truth, and by his simple and solid dealing by the Scriptures, as Mr. Yates doth, giving testimony of his unfeigned love thereof. Which truth my prayer to God is, that he, with myself, and all others so seeking it, may find, and therein accord in all things.
And for you, my Christian friends, towards whom, for your persons I am minded, even as when I lived with you, be you admonished by me (which I also entreat at the hands of the Lord on your behalf) that you carefully beware, lest in anything you fall from your steadfastness; but on the contrary, grow in grace, and in the knowledge and obedience of the Lord Jesus in his whole revealed will. And let me the more earnestly exhort you hereunto, by how much the contrary evil is the more both dangerous and common. A man may fall forward, and in so doing endanger his hands and face; but in falling backward, the danger is far greater, as we see in old Eli, of whom we read, that he fell backwards and his neck brake and he died. 1 Sam. iv. 18. And how common a thing is it for men amongst you and the whole land throughout, in their declining age to decline in grace, woeful experience teacheth; there being few old disciples to be found, who in their age do hold the same temper of zeal and goodness, which they had upon them in their younger times; this being one main reason thereof,—That the means amongst you are far more for conversion than preservation; and for birth than nourishment: whereas they (by the Lord's gracious dispensation in the orderly state of things) who are planted in the house of the Lord, in the courts of our God, shall flourish, yea, shall sprout, in old age, and are fat and green, to show that the Lord is just and with him is none unrighteousness. Psa. xcii. 13–15. Of this grace, he who is the author and finisher of our faith, make both you and us partakers always. Amen.
Vide vol. ii. A Justification of Separation, pages 246–251.
A Common Apology of the Church of England, &c. &c., by J. H. (Bishop Hall), 1610. Vol. ix. pages 375–480. Pratt's Edition, 1808.
Vide vol. ii. A Justification of Separation, &c.