A Period in Religion

Pastor John Robinson’s parting words to the Pilgrims as they left Holland for America:

“BRETHREN : We are now quickly to part from one another; and whether I may ever live to see your faces on earth any more, the God of Heaven only knows. But whether the Lord have appointed that or no, I charge you before God, and before his blessed angels, that you follow me no further than you have seen me follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

“If God reveal any thing to you by any other instrument of his, be as ready to receive it, as ever you were to receive any truth by my ministry; for I am verily persuaded, I am very confident the Lord hath more truth yet to break forth out of his holy Word. For my part, I cannot sufficiently bewail the condition of the reformed Churches, who are come to a period in religion; and will go at present no further than the instruments of their first Reformation. The Lutherans cannot be drawn to go beyond what Luther saw; whatever part of his will our good God has imparted and revealed unto Calvin, they will rather die than embrace it. And the Calvinists, you see, stick fast where they were left by that great man of God, who yet saw not all things.

“This is a misery much to be lamented; for though they were ‘burning and shining lights’ in their times, yet they penetrated not into the ‘whole counsel of God;’ but were they now living, they would be as willing to embrace further light, as that which they first received. I beseech you to remember it; it is an article of your Church-covenant, ‘That you will be ready to receive whatever truth shall be made known unto you from the written Word of God.’ Remember that, and every other article of your most sacred covenant. But I must here withal exhort you to take heed what you receive as truth; examine it, consider it, com pare it with the other Scriptures of truth, before you do receive it. For it is not possible the Christian world should come so lately out of such thick anti-christian darkness, and that perfection of knowledge should break forth at once.

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