450. A LETTER OF ONE JOHN MELVYN, PRISONER IN NEWGATE.
"Christi electis salutem.
"The Almighty Lord hath made this world for many; but the world or life to come, but for a few.
"Most certain it is, dearly beloved, that Christ's elect be but few in comparison of that great number which go in the broad way into everlasting perdition, which live after the flesh, loving this present evil world, deny God in word and deed, whose eyes are blinded, and their hearts hardened.
"Most certain it is also, that our Saviour Jesus Christ hath and knoweth his own, whose names are written in the book of life, redeemed with the most precious blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ. So that the eternal Father knoweth them that be his.
"The almighty and eternal God grant, that we may have the testimony of our conscience, and the Spirit of God to bear record with our spirits, that we be his elect children, walking in the Spirit, not fulfilling the lusts of the flesh, but as Christ's members, having Christ Jesus fixed before our eyes, he being to us the true way, the infallible verity, and the eternal life. Christ hath given us example; let us follow him as dear children, for God's delight is to behold his saints which be in the earth. Let us put on the whole armour of God, and walk in the light in these evil days, in the which Satan, with his angels, seeketh whom he may devour. The almighty Lord deliver us from the mouths of those unshamefaced dogs! They truly seek ours, and not us unto the Lord. Esdras saith and writeth truly, 'The world is made for them, and they for the world.' Dearly bought, let us remember Christ which saith: 'I have chosen you out of the world; you shall be hated of all worldly men.' Did ever the covetous, idolaters, oppressors, or whoremongers, love us? Nay, they love mass-mongers, which say, Peace, peace, when there is no peace. Nay, either they flatter the ears, or else they say nothing, as dumb dogs not able to bark, of whom be you ware; for though they come in sheep's clothing, they be ravening wolves, whose damnation sleepeth not, from whose captivity the holy will of God save and preserve you, Amen!
"Dearly beloved, we having the record of our conscience, that we be very members in Christ's body, separate from that malignant antichrist's church: let us rejoice in conscience, and in the Lord, having heavenly hope in all his promises, which be eternal and most sure to us in Christ our Saviour, who loseth none of all them, whom the eternal Father hath given him, but at his appearing to be our merciful Judge, shall raise us up at the last day; for the trumpet of God shall blow, and be heard of all Adam's posterity, sounding, Venite ad judicium, Come unto judgment, come and be judged. Let us therefore be prepared, having the wedding garment, yea, the whole armour of God, the marriage garment, clear lamps, that is, pure hearts, and burning heavenly light in the same. Let us prepare ourselves richly to restore to our Lord and Master our talents, with the increase of heavenly living and occupying. Then, without all doubt, we shall hear that most blessed wish of our alone Saviour Jesus Christ, who shall then say, Rejoice, good servants, I will make you stewards over many things: enter into the everlasting rest and kingdom, which hath been prepared for you from the beginning. This is the kingdom of Jesus Christ, which at this present is in Babylon, and banished to the desert, the troublesome waters of Satan in the antichrist and his shavelings, spewed out of Christ's mouth. The Lord be our aid, avenger, and deliverer, when his holy will is, Amen!
"Dearly bought with the most precious blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ! that we be not deceived by the antichrist, let us ponder, weigh, mark, and study, the heavenly doctrine of our Saviour Christ in his last supper: the text is, Benedixit, dixit bene, gratias egit; he spake heavenly and well; he gave thanks; he took bread, brake it and gave it to his disciples, saying, 'Take, eat this sacramental bread, and me the bread of life which came down from heaven, which giveth life to the world. Take true faith, heavenly hope kindled with Christian charity, thanksgiving for my death. Let these heavenly virtues enter into your souls; then enter I. This is my body: this is the true eating of my body, which is given to the death of the cross, for the ransom and sins of God's elect.' Likewise after supper he took the cup, he spake well, gave thanks, and gave it them, saying, 'Drink ye all of this: drink, I say, by this infallible verity and everlasting word joined and annexed with this cup, my blood, which is shed from before the beginning of the world, for many, in remission of sins: he or she that thus dwelleth in me, and I in him, eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood.' St. Augustine saith, 'Why preparest thou thy tooth and belly? believe, and thou hast eaten.' St. Bernard saith, 'When faith, hope, Christian love, and thanksgiving for Christ's death enter into a Christian, Christ entereth.' And again St. Augustine saith, upon these words of Christ, You shall always have the poor with you, but me shall ye not have always with you: 'the church had him but a few days touching his humanity; now they have him by faith, with these eyes they do not see him.' O Jesus Christ, thou Son of the living God, which art in the bosom of thy Father, God with God, the very image of God the Father eternal, give us vicfory over this antichrist in thy most precious blood. Be faithful to the end, and our Saviour shall crown us in glory: let us sanctify the name of God in thought, word, and deed.
"I say unto the papist, and will not flatter,
Our God is in heaven whom they will not see:
And is no such little pretty matter,
As their god the pope feigneth him to be.
Pray for all the preachers of the verity,
That God may give us grace and constancy.
They sing and say, they have him in a string:
Tie not the dog so, for fear of hanging.
To all the faithful, whose names in general,
In the book of life, by Christ are written all;
The godly thought and patient mind,
Doth liberty in prison find.
Whoso to patience can attain,
Shall find in prison is no pain.
Thrall, trouble, bound or free,
As pleaseth God, so shall all be.
Wherefore I never will forsake
What pleaseth God lay on my back.
preacher, and prisoner in Newgate."