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Of these Letters, the first Two, with their Replies and Adjuncts, Six Missives in all, form a Pamphlet published at Edinburgh in 1650, with the Title : Several Letters and Passages between his Excellency the Lord General Cromwell and the Governor of Edinburgh Castle. They have been reprinted in various quarters : we copy the Cromwell part of them from Thurloe; and fancy they will not much need any preface. Here are some words, written elsewhere on the occasion, some time ago.
These Letters of Cromwell to the Edinburgh Clergy, treat‘ing of obsolete theologies and polities, are very dull to modern 'men: but they deserve a steady perusal by all such as will • understand the strange meaning (for the present, alas, as * good as obsolete in all forms of it) that possessed the mind
of Cromwell in these hazardous operations of his. Dryas• dust, carrying his learned eye over these and the like Letters, ' finds them, of course, full of “ hypocrisy,” &c. &c.— Unfor
tunate Dryasdust, they are coruscations, terrible as lightning, 6 and beautiful as lightning, from the innermost temple of the • Human Soul ;-intimations, still credible, of what a Human • Soul does mean when it believes in the Highest ; a thing poor • Dryasdust never did nor will do. The hapless generation
that now reads these words ought to hold its peace when it • has read them, and sink into unutterable reflections,-not unmixed with tears, and some substitute for “sackcloth and ashes,” if it liked. In its poor canting sniffing flimsy vocabulary there is no word that can make any response to them. . This man has a living god-inspired soul in him, not an en
chanted artificial “substitute for salt,” as our fashion is. • They that have human eyes can look upon him ; they that have only owl-eyes need not.'
Here also are some sentences on a favourite topic, lightning and light. “As lightning is to light, so is a Cromwell to a • Shakspeare. The light is beautifuller. Ah, yes ; but until, . by lightning and other fierce labour, your foul Chaos bas ' become a World, you cannot have any light, or the smallest chance for any! Honour the Amphion whose music makes the stones, rocks, and big blocks, dance into figures, into domed cities, with temples and habitations :—yet know him
too; how, as Volker's in the old Nibelungen, oftentimes his "“ fiddlebow” has to be of “sharp steel,” and to play a tune
very rough to rebellious ears! The melodious Speaker is 'great, but the melodious Worker is greater than he. “Our • Time," says a certain author, “cannot speak at all, but only 'cant and sneer, and argumentatively jargon, and recite the * multiplication-table. Neither as yet can it work, except at 'mere railroads and cotton-spinning. It will, apparently, re'turn to Chaos soon ; and then more lightnings will be needed,
lightning enough, to which Cromwell's was but a mild mat• ter ;— to be followed by light, we may hope!” –
The following Letter from Whalley, with the Answer to it, will introduce this series. The date is Monday; the Lord General observing yesterday that the poor Edinburgh people were sadly short of Sermon, has ordered the Commissary-General to communicate as follows:
“ For the Honourable the Governor of the Castle of Edinburgh.
“ Edinburgh, 9th September, 1650. “Sir, I received command from my Lord General to “ desire you to let the Ministers of Edinburgh, now in the “ Castle with you, know, That they have free liberty granted “ them, if they please to take the pains, to preach in their “several Churches ; and that my Lord hath given special “command both to officers and soldiers that they shall not “ in the least be molested. Sir, I am, your most humble “ servant,
“ EDWARD WHALLEY."
To which straightway there is this Answer from Governor Dundas :
•• To Commissary-General Whalley.'
“ • Edinburgh Castle,' 9th September, 1650. “Sir, I have communicated the desire of your Letter " to such of the Ministers of Edinburgh as are with me; who “ have desired me to return this for Answer:
“ That though they are ready to be spent in their Master's “service, and to refuse no suffering so they may fulfil their “ ministry with joy ; yet perceiving the persecution to be “personal, by the practice of your Partył upon the Ministers “ of Christ in England and Ireland, and in the Kingdom of “Scotland since your unjust Invasion thereof; and finding “ nothing expressed in yours whereupon to build any secu“rity for their persons while they are there, and for their “ return hither ;- they are resolved to reserve themselves
* Sectarian Party, of Independents.
“ for better times, and to wait upon Him who hath hidden “ His face for a while from the sons of Jacob.
“This is all I have to say, but that I am, Sir, your most “ humble servant,
“ W. Dundas.”
To which somewhat sulky response, Oliver makes Answer in this notable manner :
For the Honourable the Governor of the Castle of
Edinburgh, 9th September, 1650. The kindness offered to the Ministers with you was done with ingenuity ;l thinking it might have met with the like: but I am satisfied to tell those with you, That if their Master's service (as they call it) were chiefly in their eye, imagination of suffering? would not have caused such a return; much less would' the practice of our Party, as they are pleased to say, upon the Ministers of Christ in England, have been an argument of personal persecution.
The Ministers in England are supported, and have liberty to preach the Gospel; though not to rail, nor, under pretence thereof,3 to overtop the Civil Power, or debase it as they please. No man hath been troubled in England or Ireland for preaching the Gospel; nor
1 Means always ingenuously. 3 Of preaching the Gospel.
? Fear of personal damage.
has any Minister been molested in Scotland since the coming of the Army hither. The speaking truth becomes the Ministers of Christ.
When Ministers pretend to a glorious Reformation; and lay the foundations thereof in getting to themselves worldly power; and can make worldly mixtures to accomplish the same, such as their late Agreement with their King; and hope by him to carry on their design, they may know that the Sion promised will not be built with such untempered mortar.
As for the unjust Invasion they mention, time was when an Army of Scotland came into England, not called by the Supreme Authority. We have said, in our Papers, with what hearts, and upon what account, we came; and the Lord hath heard us, though you would not, upon as solemn an appeal as any experience can parallel.
And although they seem to comfort themselves with being sons of Jacob, from whom (they say) God hath hid His face for a time; yet it's no wonder when the Lord hath lifted up His hand so eminently against a Family as He hath done so often against this,3 and men will not see His hand, -' it's no wonder if the Lord hide His face from such; putting them to shame both for it and their hatred of His people, as it is this day. When they purely trust to the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, which is powerful to bring down strongholds and every imagination that exalts
? 1648, Duke Hamilton's time; to say nothing of 1640 and other times. At Dunbar, six days ago.
3 Of the Stuarts.