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bear it, yea and in a manner felt it not, although it was grievous, as the Spectators said, the Man striking with all his strength (yea spitting on his hand three times, as many affirmed) with a three-coarded whip, giving me therewith thirty stroaks ; when he had loosed me from the Post, having joyfulnesse in my heart, and cheerfulnesse in my countenance, as the Spectators observed, I told the Magistrates, you have struck me as with Roses; and said moreover, Although the Lord hath made it easie to me, yet I pray God it may not be laid to your charge. After this many came to me, rejoycing to see the power of the Lord manifested in weak flesh; but sinfull flesh takes occasion hereby to bring others in trouble, informs the Magistrates hereof, and so two more are apprehended as for contempt of authority, there names were Iohn Hazell and Iohn Spur, who came indeed and did shake me by the hand, but did use no words of contempt or reproach unto any; no man can prove that the first spoke any thing, and for the second, he only said thus, Blessed be the Lord; yet these two for taking me by the hand, and thus saying after I had received my punishment, were sentenced to pay 40 shillings, or to be whipt. Both were resolved against paying their Fine: Neverthelesse after one or two dayes imprisonment, one payed Iohn Spurs Fine, and he was released, and after six or seven dayes Impris onment of Brother Hazell, even the day when he should have suffered, an other payd his, and so he escaped, and the next day went to visit a Friend about 6 miles from Boston, where he the same day fell sick, and within 10 dayes he ended this life ; when I was come to the Prison, it pleased God to stir up the heart of an old acquaintance of mine, who with much tendernesse, like the good Samaritan, poured oyl into my wound, and plaistered my sores; but there was present information given what was done, and inquiry made who was the Chirurgion, and it was commonly reported he should be sent for, but what was done, I yet know not. Now thus it hath pleased the Father of Mercies so to dispose of the matter, that my Bonds and Imprisonments have been no hinderánce to the Gospel, for before my return, some submitted to the Lord, and were baptized, and divers were put upon the
way of enquiry; And now being advised to make my escape by night, because it was reported that there were Warrants forth for me, I departed; and the next day after, while I was on my Iourney, the Constable came to search at the house where I lodged, so I escaped their hands, and was by the good hand of my heavenly Father brought home again to my neer relations, my wife, and eight children, the Brethren of our Town, and Providence having taken pains to meet me 4 miles in the woods, where we rejoyced together in the Lord. Thus have I given you as briefly as I can, a true relation of things : wherefore my Brethren rejoyce with me in the Lord, and give all glory to him, for he is worthy, to whom be praise for evermore, to whom I commit you, and put up my earnest prayers for you, that by my late experience, who have trusted in God, and have not been deceived, you may trust in him perfectly: wherefore my dearly beloved Brethren trust in the Lord, and you shall not be ashamed, nor confounded, so I also rest,
Yours in the bond of Charity,
Three things would be well minded in this relation, 1 that God gave me Power to confess his name before the Sonnes of Men.
2 That he kept my tongue that I did not not speak evill of men, nor of Authority.
3 That he gave strength to weak Flesh that it failed not.
This Tragedy being thus acted in the face of the Country, must needs awaken and rouse up the minds, and spirits of many, cause sad thoughts to arise in their hearts, and to flow forth at their mouthes as men offended, to see Strangers professing Godliness, so discourteously used, for no Civill Transgression, but meerly for Conscience, and that by their hands who pretended, that Liberty of Conscience was also the cause of their flight, together with the other to the hazard of their lives by hard hearted, cruell, and savage Barbarians, and other mischiefs which a vast, and howling Wildernesse is apt to produce; wherefore to stop their mouthes, and to lull
them asleep, the old subtile Serpent as his custome ever hath been, raised up a cloud of disgrace, thinking thereby to darken the truth he profest, and to obscure the glory that appeared in his sufferings, giving out, that he was but an Excommunicate, and so an accursed person, and that it was vehemently suspected, that he was notoriously given to that filthy lust of uncleanness, which God will judge, and that the same was hinted in open Court, and that by persons of no mean credit; wherefore againe to resist the adversary who hath been a lyer from the beginning, and thereby a destroyer and murderer, and to deliver the Children of truth at least from his snare, whereby they might be taken captive at his will, he drew up, and sent a letter unto the Governour of the Mathatusetts Colony, and desired it might be published so that the Sons of Men, so far as the lye and slander might spread, might be acquainted therewith. The Letter followeth.
The 12 of the 7th. M. 51. To the Honoured
However you may judge of me, yet am I dayly waiting to stand before him who shall judge quick and dead, and now because I am under reproach, and sensure by many, and the more by reason of some words spoken by yourself, as though I were an evill person in life and conversation, and although I may be accounted as a fool, yet hear me a little to plead mine innocency, and I hope you will not too far condemn me untill you hear me speak; Sir, I acknowledge only free grace, and that by his power alone I have been kept, and what my life and manner of conversation was for six or seven years while I was with you, I appeal to your self, and the experiences you have had of me, and to your Elders, and to the whole Church; who ever reproved me of evill? and ye recommended me to others, and for four years time I walked with them at Rehoboth, who also should have reproved me if under Sin; but when it pleased the Lord to cause me to hear his voice, and I separated from them, which was occasioned by an unrighteous Act of theirs as I judged, which was, that Seven of the Brethren should pass an Act of Admonition upon a Brother without the Consent of the rest, we being 23 in number, who might all in one hours space, if in health, have come together, so when I heard of it I went to Mr. Newman, and told him of the evill which he, and the other six had done, he told me they were the Church Representative, and if 4 of them had done it, it had been a Church Act; when this comes to the Congregation, with much adoe, he got five more to himself, and then they were 12, and we eleven, then they owned themselves to be the Church, and so began to deal with me for saying, they had abused the Church, and had took from them their power, whereupon I told them I should renounce them, and not have any more fellowship with them, till either they saw their Sin, or I further light; after which divers others to the number of seven, or eight fell off from them, and we met once a week, and every first day, and so continued for a long space of time, yea and the day was known when we intended to be Baptized, and there were many Witnesses observing our Faith, and Order, and yet not one Man or Woman of Mr. Newmans company that ever came to deal with me for evill, neither in Judgment, nor Practice, untill a long time after that appointment of our Lord was dispensed; Thus I say, when I had separated from them, and a long time after, I understood by their Messenger that they intended to proceed against me, so I desired the messenger to tell me for what evill, he told me I should know when I come there, so I sent one of their own Brethren to tell them from me, though I owned them not as Brethren, yet if any Man or Woman had ought against me, I would come to them, although they had not delt with me according to any rule; but none came to me, nor charged me with any evill; and when upon occasion I came before all the Congregation, and strangers, I demanded for what cause it was that they proceeded against me, seeing I had sent to them before, and no man accused me; Mr. Newman told me, it was for nonappear. ance; and now judge of the evill in your own way, an
that for my Excommunication as you call it, I am by you rendred that wicked person; as for the suspition of that most abominable evill of uncleanness, and Adultery, which many think I am guilty of, by reason of some persons speeches, I desire to bless my Lord, who hath caused me to deny all uncleanness and wickedness, and God forbid
that I should take the Members of Christ, and make them
Whilst (he through the spirit of the Lord that rested upon him) bore these bloody strokes with so cheerfull a spirit as if he felt them not, divers of the standers by, beholding it, were so affected with joy, that when he was loosed could not forbear to come to him, and to shake him by the hand, thereby to manifest their rejoycing with him, that the Lord had supported him; but information hereof being given to the Magistrates, warrants were sent forth (as is reported to the number of 13) whereupon some through fear were fain to hide themselves, and being strangers, to hasten away, or change their habit, two of them were taken as aforesaid, that is to say John Spur, and old Iohn Hazell, and committed to prison as the Warrant herewith declares.