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Mr. Francis Melvil, &c.
Was not a little furprized to hear of a Sermon preach'd by you in the Church of Aberdeen the 13th of March laft, wherein after you had told an old Woman's Tale, of the Devil's having appeared in a Green Habit to a poor ick Woman, and a great deal more fuch ridicule is Stuff; you then obferved to your Hearers, That before the Reformation; the Devils fre quently appeared in human Shape, and were called 1520wnies,
Brownies, Houfe Familiars] but that ever fince they have been chained up, till of late the English Service Book came to be used here, upon which they had again broke loose to play their Tricks amongst us, for useing fuch an Idolatrous Form of Worship. To make good this wife Obfervation, you afferted that you had read the English Liturgy and the Roman Miffal, and having diligently compared them, you found them to agree in every thing, defiring they would take this on your Word, and believe it as a certain Truth.
As for the Devils frequent appearing before the Reformation, I know nothing about it, and I believe you know as little from any good Authority, either of his Range then, or how far he has been reftrained fince. We are affured from the divine Writings, that the SON of GOD was manifefted to deftroy the Works of the Devil, and that all Sin and Wickednefs are the Devils Works; St. John faid in his time that the whole World lay tv T Trovиp in Maligno, in the Evil one; ἐν as you may fee by comparing 1 Epift. v. ch. 19. with ch. iii. ver. 12. The time is not yet come of the old Serpent called the Devil and Satan his being bound for a thousand Years. Apocal. xx. 2. He ftill goeth about feeking whom he may devour; and we are not ignorant of his Devices. He that commiteth Sin is of the Devil, therefore I pray you do him the Juftice to let our own Pride and Ambition, our Malice and Self-love, our corrupt Lufts and Affections, come in for a Share of the Blame, and join with the Holy Church in praying that the Kingdom of Chrift may come, that we may have Power and Strength, to have Victory and to triumph, against Sin, the World, and the Devil; that we may not be led into Temptation, but delivered from that Evil one; that it may please
GOD to ftrengthen fuch as do ftand, to comfort and help the weak hearted, to raise up them that fall, and finally to beat down Satan under our Feet. Whatever you do, I fhall ever pray that these may be the blessed Effects of the Reformation of Religion, that we may bring forth the Fruits of the Spirit, a national and perfonal Reformation of every thing that is amifs either in Doctrine or Practice.
But I could wish that all who believe they have Authority to be Inftru&tors of the People would confider what mighty Obligation lies upon them, to affert nothing that is vain, impertinent, or ridiculous, much lefs to make the holy House of GOD, the Place of his more immediate Prefence, a Market of Scandal, Falfhood, Obloquy, Detraction, Slander, Defamation, Error and Hypocrify. This is to abuse the Inftitution, to pervert the End of Church Affemblies, to delude the Auditory, to cheat the Simple, to feduce the Unwary, to mislead the Ignorant, and to turn theHouse of Prayer into a Synagogue of Satan. How far you or any of your Brethren may be guilty in this Particular, I leave to your felves to judge, and all others who have attended your Pulpit-Exercises for thefe Years, that the Orthodox Clergy have been every where turned out to make way for the boul converting and edifying Ministry you pretend. I am forry that Aberdeen, the Northern Athens, once famous for Learning and learned Men, fhould now (inftead of the folid and judicious Sermons of grave Divines, celebrated all over the Reformed World) have Froth and Fables, Falfhood and Scandal, forcibly obtruded with the formal Preamble of ear the lord of the Lozd, D Believers! This is a melancholy Confideration, but fuch indeed is our present Condition; B 2
and we may take up the Lamentation of the Jews, If. lix. 9. We waited for Light, but behold ObJcurity; for Brightnefs, but we walk in Darkness. v. 12. For our own Tranfgreffions are with us, and as for our Iniquities, we know them. v. 13. In tranfgref fing and lying against the Lord, in departing away from our God, Speaking Oppreffion and Revolt, conceiving and uttering from the Heart Words of Falfhood. v. 14. And Judgment is turned away backward, and Juftice ftandeth afar off: for Truth is fallen in the Street, and Equity cannot enter, v. 15. Tea, Truth faileth, and be that departeth from Evil maketh himself a Prey.
It is the Duty in the mean time of every one who seeks for Salvation, in these lamentable Calamities of the Church, to put in Practice the ferious Council of the GOD of Truth, Jerem. vi. 16. Thus faith the Lord, ftand ye in the Ways and fee, and ask for the old Paths, where is the good Way, and walk therein, and ye shall find reft for your Souls. Such a Way, fuch an OLD and confequently fafe Way, by the Teftimony of the Catholick Church, every where and at all times, I believe our Reformed Epifcopal Church to be, and your Presbyterian Conftitution to be Modern, New, and Anti-Catholick, as I fhall endeavour to prove in this Letter and the Treatife following, whereby will appear the manifeft Falfhood and Injuftice of that Affertion you had the Confidence to utter in your Pulpit-harangue, viz. That the English Service Book and the Romish Miffal were the fame; of this you brought no Proof but your Say-fo, which was to require fuch an implicit Faith in your Hearers, in a matter of very great Importance, as favours too much of that Popery, against which you would feem fo zealous; whilft in the mean time you do most effectual Service to that Intereft, by
laying in the Duft the Glory of the Reformation, a Liturgy fufficiently commended by the Pens of the Learned, and vindicated from all the Objeb &tions of its Oppofers. You give up at once thofe eminent Divines, to whom we owe our Reforma} tion from Popery, (they being the Compilers of the English Liturgy) the whole Church of England, the fureft Bulwark I know upon Earth against it; and 2 thofe of her Communion who retain to it, the Kings and Parliaments, (the Authorisers of it) all of them to be Papifts, if it be Popery, as you fay it is. But I am pretty confident I fhall vindicate all concerned in that Matter; and for that effect I fhall confider the Service Book in it felf, what Opinion our Reformers, both at home and abroad, had of it, the Compilers and Authorisers of it, if it was by them deemed Popery, or they Papifts. As for our Scots Reformers, if Inquiry be made, it will be found, they had the Beginnings of their Knowledge that Way, from the Compilers of it, and that upon all Occafions they heartily joyned in it. As to the first,
I fhall grant you may have read the English Liturgy and Roman Miffal; efpecially if you found them both in English, but I do not think you have fo read them as to know the Rationale or Ground of either; or that you ever compar'd them, either with the Liturgies of the Primitive, or other foreign Churches at this Time. And for one to deny the Christian Church had Liturgies, before the Church of Rome came to be corrupted either in Worship or Doctrine, requires a good Stock of Brafs; but I hope to put that beyond all Queftion in what I design to fubjoyn to this.
You know by the Rules of Reasoning, Affirmanti incumbit probatio: As it's your Part, fo I put you