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LII. To MR MATTHEW MOWAT, minister of Kilmarnock

Mowat was one of seven leading ministers in the west of Scotland whom Parliament after the Restoration brought before them to demand their agreement to the establishment of episcopacy, thinking their agreement would influence others. On their refusal they were imprisoned.

REVEREND AND DEAR BROTHER, — I am refreshed with your letters. I would take all well at my Lord’s hands that He has done, if I knew that I could do my Lord any service in my suffering; suppose my Lord would make a stop-hole of me, to fill a hole in the wall of His house, or a pinning in Zion’s new work. For any place of trust in my Lord’s house, as steward, or chamberlain, or the like, surely I think myself (my very dear brother, I speak not by any proud figure or traps) unworthy of it; nay, I am not worthy to stand behind the door. When I hear that the men of God are at work, and speaking in the name of our Lord Jesus, I think myself but an outcast, or outlaw, chased from the city to lie on the hills, and live amongst the rocks and out-fields. Oh that I might but stand in Christ’s out-house, or hold a candle in any low vault of His house! But I know this is but the vapors that arise out of a quarrelous and unbelieving heart to darken the wisdom of God; and your fault is just mine, that I cannot believe my Lord’s bare and naked word. I must either have an apple to play me with, and shake hands with Christ, and have seal, caution, and witness to His word, or else I count myself loose; howbeit, I have the word and faith of a King! Oh, I am made of unbelief, and cannot swim but where my feet may touch the ground!

But surely, brother, ye shall have my advice (howbeit, alas! I cannot follow it myself, not to contend with the honest and faithful Lord of the house; for, go He or come He, He is aye gracious in His departure. There are grace, and mercy, and loving-kindness upon Christ’s back parts; and when He goes away, the proportion of His face, the image of that fair Sun that stayeth in eyes, senses, and heart, after He is gone, leaveth a mass of love behind it in the heart. The sound of His knock at the door of His Beloved, after He is gone and passed, leaveth a share of joy and sorrow both. So we have something to feed upon till He return: and He is more loved in His departure, and after He is gone, than before, as the day in the declining of the sun, and towards the evening, is often most desired.

And as for Christ’s cross, I never received evil of it, but what was of mine own making: when I miscooked Christ’s physic, no marvel that it hurt me. For since it was on Christ’s back, it has always a sweet smell, and these 1600 years it keepeth the smell of Christ.

I believe that our Lord once again will water with His dew the withered hill of Mount Zion in Scotland. Remember our Covenant.

Your excuse for advice to me is needless. Alas! Many sit beside light, as sick folk beside meat, and cannot make use of it. Grace be with you.

Your brother in Christ.

ABERDEEN, Sept. 7, 1637

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