John Robinson’s Farewell Counsel

“The arrangements for the departure of the emigrants being completed, the whole congregation met for humiliation and prayer on the 21st of July, 1620, when Mr. Robinson preached, with deep emotion, from Ezra 8:21-22. The close of his discourse is thus given by Mr. Winslow: ‘We are now ere long to part asunder, and the Lord knoweth whether ever he should live to see our faces again. But whether the Lord had appointed it or not, he charged us before God and his blessed angels, to follow him no further than he followed Christ; and if God should reveal any thing to us by any other instrument of his, to be as ready to receive it, as ever we were to receive any truth by his ministry; for he was very confident the Lord had more truth and light yet to break forth out of his holy word. He took occasion also miserably to bewall the state and condition of the Reformed churches who were come to a period in religion, and would go no further than the instruments of their reformation. As for example, the Lutherans, they could not be drawn to go beyond what Luther saw; for whatever part of God’s will he had further imparted and revealed to Calvin, they will rather die than embrace it And so also, saith he, you see the Calvinists, they wtick where he left them, a mistery much to be lamented; for though they were precious shinging lights in ther times, yet God had not revealed his whole will to theml and were they now living, sait he, they would be as ready and willing to embrace further light, as that htey had received. Here also he put us in mind of our church covenant, at least that part of it whereby we promise and covenant with God and one another to receive whatsoever light or truth shall be made known to us from his written Word; but withal exhorted us to take heed what we received for truth, and well to examine and compare it and weigh it with other Scriptures of truth before we received it. For saith he, it is not possible the Christian world should come so lately out of such thick antichristian darkness, and that full perfection of knowledge should break forth at once.” 1

  1. William B. Sprague. Annals of the American Pulpit – 1857
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