A Short Relation of the State of the Kirk of Scotland since the Reformation of Religion, to the present time for information, and advertisement to our Brethren in the Kirk of England,
By an hearty Well-wisher to both KINGDOMES.
Printed in the yeare of God, 1638
THE Kirk of Scotland after the reformation of Religion did by degrees attain to as great perfection both in doctrine & discipline as any other reformed kirk in Europe. The soundness of Doctrine appeareth in her several Confessions of Faith approven by all the best reformed Kirks in foreign parts. But because purity of Religion cannot be long preserved without that platform of Government, which the Word of God hath laid forth unto us, her national assemblies laboured diligently many years to find out the same, and after many conferences, and publick reasoning resolved upon these conclusions, which are contained in the booke of Policie, or second booke of Discipline. But shortly thus much for the present.
Each Parish being provided of a Minister (who underwent trials before his admission to the place, and behoved to be qualified both for life, learning and skillful government) was ruled by him and the Elders thereof, being the men of best life & understanding in the said Parish. Twelve, sixteen or twenty of these Kirks were conjoined in a Presbytery or classical meeting, that did meet weekly and exercise their gifts by course, and had the power of ordinary jurisdiction, ordination, suspension, deprivation, excommunication, or direction to the parish Minister to excommunicate, after the sight of the process deduced by the particular Eldership, collation of benefices, visitation of kirks within their bounds. The enormity of Ministers either in life or doctrine were delated, either by some parishioner, or neighbor Minister. Persons of whatsoever quality in the Congregations who would not obey their own Ministers and Elders were censured: If very great difficulties come before them, or if the Presbytery had ado with great parties, who did withdraw any of their number, in these & the like cases there was recourse had to the provincial Synods.
The whole Presbytery of a shire or two met twice a year in their Synod, tried presbyteries, and ordered what was difficult for the presbyteries, or might concern them all in common. If any difficulty come before them, for which there was no kirk constitution, they referred the same to the national Assembly, which convened once a year, or oftener pro re nata. Where they gave their judgment in the case proponed, and made some act & constitution for the like cases in time coming, and other acts and constitutions needful, received appellations, petitions, grievances, and appointed some to propone their own grievances to the Parliament, King, Counsel or Convention. This was the supreme and highest Kirk judicatory, to which was made the last appeal, & which was composed of these members, his Majesty’s self or a Commissioner representing him, two or three Ministers chosen by each Presbytery, one Gentleman an Elder within the bounds of a presbytery, A commissioner for each regal burgh, and two for Edinburgh: some one of these Ministers was chosen to moderate, or preside by the voices of the whole assembly. This supreme judicatory so censured the omissions of the subordinate, that no vice of any person whatsoever escaped censure, no error could sooner set out its head, but it was presently crushed by one of these, as King JAMES confessed in diverse discourses, and gave that reason why so few errors had appeared in the kirk of Scotland, because they could not escape the censure of one of these Ecclesiastical judicatories.
This form of government so comfortable to the religious, and profitable to the Kirk was insufferable to many of higher rank, who did not think this yoke of Christ so easy as to enjoy their wished liberty without controulment, which made a number of these, with Courtiers, and some of the Ministers who were more loose & worldly minded suggest unto King James of ever blessed memory, that He had not so much power in the kirk as in the commonwealth, because, when any of these libertines committed any offence, he could not save them from kirk censure, although his Majesty had always power to remit the civil censure & punishment. His Majesty being then hopeful of the kingdom of England, they added that reason, that if he obtained the Kirk of Scotland to be governed by Bishops, as that of England was, he would thereby endear to himself the kirk men there, who might otherwise suspect his affection to their state, being acquainted with another form of kirk government, if he should not evidence it, by laboring that change. And if he should establish the government of Bishops in Scotland, he might be as absolute in the kirk as in the Common-wealth.
Thus they kindled in his Majesty’s heart the desire of an absolute power over the kirk, being specially moved by their own particular ends. Great men for obtaining erection of kirklands, which then appertained to the Crown, in recompense from his Majesty, for assisting the erection of Bishops in the kirk of Scotland. His Majesty being assured of the Bishops consent, & of inferior kirkmen, in hope of succeeding to the said Bishopricks, and of both for vindicating themselves into a licentious liberty from under the awful censure of the Kirk, was so earnest on that design, that he made it his most special endeavor, but suppressing the same withal, that he might obtain it the more easily.
Where-unto he attained by degrees, which are here set down shortly in some general heads. Wee refer the particulars to a more large information, which shall contain the degrees, course of defection,& advancement of Hierarchy in our kirk. First, his Majesty propounded the necessity to have Ministers voters in Parliament, in the name of the kirk, who sitting in Parliament might be careful, that nothing were done in prejudice of the kirk, and might carry the desires of the whole Kirk to the Parliament for such things as were convenient for them.
The meddling of Ministers in these civil employments was extremely disliked, & opposed by the most judicious in this Kirk. To make the Ministers voting in Parliament the more plausible, and to move the more easy condescendence thereto, they were tied to such caveats, viz. that they should propone nothing in Parliament, Convention or Counsel, without express warrant from the kirk, nor keep silence when any thing is proponed there to the prejudice of the Kirk: That they should give an account of their Commission after each Parliament to the next national Assembly, and be subject either to their censure of deposition, incase they did transgress: To attend faithfully their particular flocks as Ministers, in the administration of discipline, collation of benefices, or other points of ecclesiastical government, to usurp or acclaim no jurisdiction over their brethren. A number of such caveats being agreed upon in the assembly should have been ratified in the next parliament. But these being suppressed, there was insert in place thereof a number of articles in favour of Bishops never mentioned nor agreed upon in Assembly. These Ministers who wold have entered the Parliament-house to discover that falsehood, and protest against it, were holden out from protesting publickly, but they delivered their protestation in write to the Estates severally.
All this time these pretended prelates laboured, that there should be no general Assembly at all to censure them for transgressing their cautions, that they might the more boldly contravene. And whereas in these general assemblies before their dissolving, the Kings Majesty or his Commissioner being present did appoint the time and place of the next assembly, His Majesty being moved by these Kirkmen, who could not endure the censure of general Assemblies, by his own warrant first shifted the time solemnly appointed by the last assembly to another time, and then to no certain time: which made some of the special and ablest Ministers to keep the time last prescribed for preserving the Kirks right. These were convened before the civil Judge by commandment, and sentenced with banishment, although only the Assembly should have judged, whether their meeting had been a lawful assembly or not: some others of these were for that same cause imprisoned. The Kirkmen presented to Bishoprickes were restored to their civil estate and dignity in Parliament, voices being obtained by consenting to erections of sundry Abbacies, and other corrupt means in the year 1606. Thereafter they began to encroach upon the kirk government. First they affected to be constant moderators; & to the end they might effectuate this point the more easily, they procured a meeting of Ministers at Linlithgow not long after, while as their chiefest opposites in the Ministry were either banished, imprisoned, confined or drawn up to Court, being sent for by his Majesty to give their advice or best overtures for the peace of the Kirk as was pretended. That meeting consisted of such as were sent for by his Majesty’s missives without mention of any general assemblies. At this meeting these who were styled Bishops in respect of their benefice were made constant Moderators of the Presbyteries, where they were resident, but were unwillingly admitted by the presbyteries. Yet this did not content them, and therefore they accepted the power of the high Commission, allowed them only by his Majesty’s command, and Lords of Counsel, against the act of Parliament inhibiting any judicatories, but such as should be established by parliament.
Thereafter they procured an Assembly to be holden at Glasgow, consisting of such as were given in note to the presbyteries, and corrupted by sowmes of money, or hopes of preferment, or awed with the terror of the high Commission. At this pretended assembly some power in Presbyteries, and moderation in provincial Synods upon an assurance by word, and an implicit condition in the Act it self for set or yearly assemblies, was granted to those who were styled vulgarly Bishops in respect of their benefice. But the office of a Bishop was not re-established, which before had been damned by former Assemblies. Yet went some of them to England, and received consecration to the office of a Diocesan Bishop, returned and consecrate their Fellows, deserted their flocks, and governed as diocesan Bishops without respect to the limitations of the act of the pretended assembly. And this their usurpation they maintain by the power and authority of the high Commission.
Finding that yet they wanted means to make the people stumble, & so to be brought under their censure, a national assembly was called 1618. Whereunto his Majesty invited by his letters above thirty Noblemen & Gentlemen wanting Commissions, who voted to the conclusions of that pretended assembly. Ministers were brought in from the streets, and some were written for to assist (though never chosen for Commissioners). These who had Commissions were neither suffered to reason, nor vote freely. (There they concluded the five articles, which had been formerly condemned by our Kirk as superstitious) promising then to leave the practice of them arbitrary. These they procured by the like indirect means to be ratified in Parliament Anno 1621. Against the which articles and ratification thereof in Parliament (without the desire and consent of the assemblies had thereunto) the most religious and judicious of the Ministry did solemnly protest in name of the reformed Kirk of SCOTLAND, whereunto the most part of the particular Congregations have adhered, and never practiced these Articles. Notwithstanding hereof, the Bishops did press them violently, and when any refused practice, there was matter for their high Commission to work on. This their usurpation even without any pretended warrant of corrupt assemblies; and their cruelty increased. For they usurp the moderation of general Assemblies which are holden only at their pleasure, at diocesan Synods they sit as Judges rather than simple moderators. They ordain Ministers not in the presence, or with consent of the Congregation, but in some remote place, and sometimes without the presence of any Minister of the Presbytery, or bounds where the Minister is to serve. They give orders to sundry without the charge of any flock, they suspend and deprive Ministers usually for nonconformity, not in Presbyteries and in Synods, where-unto they are tied, but in the Court of high Commission, wherein they fine, confine, or imprison Preachers or professors at their pleasure. They stay presbyteries from proceeding to the sentence of Excommunication. They exact subscription from entrants to the Ministry unto articles framed by themselves alanerly, and debar the best qualified for refusing to subscribe. It doth not content them to admit according to the oath contained in the Act of Parliament. They convocate Ministers to promiscuous meetings, and direct their mandates from these, as from the representative Kirk of Scotland. They consecrate Bishops and ordain Ministers according to a form not allowed by this Kirk. They debar persons presented by lawful Patrons, because they refuse to enter by the degree of a baptizing Deacon. They sit in Counsel, Session, and Exchequer, contrary to the word of God and acts of the Kirk. They stay process against Papists. They teach Popish and Arminian points of doctrine, or prefer such as teach the like. They bring in practice of innovations in the royal chapel, not warranted so much as by any pretended acts of corrupt Assemblies. But to relate their particular insolencies and usurpations were fitter for a Volume than for this short information.
And although at Conventions and Parliaments their oppressions were complained upon, yet neither parliament, Convention or Counsel, would hear any plaint against them. By direction of his Majesty’s private letters the Counsel all ways interposed their authority to all their sentences in the high Commission, when it was craved, and assisted them so far as lay in them, which did increase their pride, and encourage their undertaking all novelties, which seemed good in their own eyes. Thus thinking themselves by thirty one years experience sufficiently persuaded of the passive disposition of the people to underlie what they would impose, and of the secret Counsel’s assistance, they obtained his Majesty’s letters patents for an high Commission consisting of above an hundred persons civil and ecclesiastical promiscuously, whereof the Bishop of any Diocese, might assume any six to himself, and there judge any person of whatsoever quality within, or without his diocese, whereas only before Arch-bishops might hold Courts of high Commission. Some of the Bishops began to put this new Commission in practice, and give it life and execution.
In the year 1636, the Bishops framed a book of Canons and constitutions for governing the Kirk of Scotland. Which did quite subvert the order and form of discipline established, contained many errors, and opened a door for many more both in doctrinal and disciplinary points of Religion, whensoever the Kings Majesty upon the Bishops recommendation would ordain the same. In this book it was ordained that there should be no obloquy against these Canons, or book of Common prayer, which was to be set forth, notwithstanding such proceedings were illegal.
In the next year in Junij 1637, the said Bishops cause print the books of Common prayer, compiled by them for the use of this Kirk, which was appointed by his Majesty’s letter to be received, as the only form of God’s publick worship, whereunto all Subjects either civil or ecclesiastical behooved to conform themselves, and the contraveeners to be condignly punished. By proclamation each Minister was enjoined, and some charged with letters of horning to buy two of them for the use of the Parish - Approbation from the Lords of Counsel was given to it, when few but Bishops were present at Counsel.
The Bishop of Edinburgh accompanied with two Archbishops, and sundry other Bishops (notwithstanding the mislike Ministers and Professors had for the manner of introduction & corruptions of the same) began the use of it in the chief Kirk of Edinburgh, upon the 23 Julij. 1637. The people much discontented with the former innovations, could not endure so great and sudden alteration, as imported a change both of the external form, and nature of the former publick worship, did the most part of them all at one instant rise & hinder the new service, calling it superstitious or idolatrous. The same was also stopped in another Kirk of Edinburgh, where it was to be read by the Bishop of Argyle. Notwithstanding hereof they procured by act of Counsel, the pain of death without all favour and mercy to be denounced against all those who should any ways rail or speak against the Bishops, or any of the inferior clergy, or against the Service book. They discharged the Ministers and Readers in Edinburgh, (who refused the Book,) there wonted service, and interdicted the publick Evening and Morning prayer, reading of Scriptures, singing of Psalms, for a long time, and still pressing the buying and practicing of the said Book by all Ministers. Which moved the Ministers first to petition, and next many of the Nobility, Gentry, Burgesses, and Ministers to meet, and to supplicate the Lords of privy Counsel against the said books of Canons and Common prayers against the illegal and unorderly way of introducing the same.
The general Supplication sent to His Majesty by the Duke of Lennox, (who was then returning to England from the burial of his Mother in September, 1637) was answered in October only by a Proclamation, discharging the Counsel to meddle in Kirk matters, and charging all the Supplicants to depart out of the Town within twenty-four hours, under the pain of rebellion, as also the Judicatories of Counsel, and Session to remove, but no ways answering the petitions, which the Supplicants did patiently expect, notwithstanding the matter concerned the service of God. The Supplicants gave in then a Complaint against the Bishops, offering to prove these books contained the seeds of Superstition and Idolatry &c. and craved justice upon the Bishops, as authors thereof, and guilty of lies, betwixt the King and his Subjects, and many other crimes censurable by Law.
The affection of people drawing so many together to wait for the answer to their Supplications gave offence to the Lords of Counsel, whereupon the Supplicants for giving them satisfaction, did with their consent choose but a few of their number to attend the same, who after long expectation, were answered only by a Proclamation upon the seventh of December, declaring his Majesty not to be inclined to Popery, which the Supplicants did not allege. They being then earnestly required, by such as had power from his Majesty, to divide the supplications severally by shires, to restrain them only to the books of Canons and Common prayer, and to passe from the high Commission and the pursuit of the Bishops, the supplicants gave sundry reasons why they could not do so, shewing also, that if the Bishops kept their boundless usurped power, they could soon frame and bring in the like books within a short space, and offered to prove they had all deserved exemplary punishment by their usurpation against Law, and by their heavy tyranny unlawfully exercised on the Subjects for many years.
All this time the Supplicants could obtain no answer to the supplications sent to His Majesty, nor move the Counsel to receive them, and recommend them to His Majesty not for the space of a whole Month, although they continually attended, till they were ready to make protestation against the Counsel for not hearing them in so important a business.
Upon the twenty-first day of December, 1637. the Counsel received the general Supplication, and sent it to his Majesty, at which time the Supplicants declined the Bishops from being their Judges as being now their parties. The answer to the particular and general Supplications was returned by a Proclamation made in February, 1638. Whereby his Majesty had declared he had ordained the book of Common prayer to be compiled, that he had approved the same as a ready mean to maintain the true Religion, and beat out all Superstition and Idolatry, and doubted not to satisfy the minds of all the Subjects. Herewith charged them all to depart from these Towns where the Counsel or Session should sit, and to abstain from all meetings any where under the pain of Treason. A very great number of the Nobility and Gentry, made a protestation on the mercat Crosse of Edinburgh immediately after the Proclamation was read, against the books of Canons, and Common prayer, high Commission, and all other innovations introduced in the Kirk against or without the Word of GOD and laws of the Country, and against the Bishops as their parties, & that in no judicatory they should sit as their Judges, till they were tried by Law. That their whole meetings were lawful & necessary, & that they might have their recourse to his Majesty. The Supplicants were then forced to forbear any further dealing with the Counsel, because against the Law of Nature and Nations they would not admit their declinatour against the Bishops their parties from sitting as their Judges, whereas they offered under the pain of their lives, to prove many heinous crimes against them, and such as were palpable to the World, as their introduction of Popery, and Arminianism,& their many publick transgressions against Law.
The whole Nobility, Gentry, Burrowes, Ministers, and Commons, who had now so often supplicated, and so long attended, were cast into great difficulties considering their Religion so well warranted by God’s Word, and established by the laws of the Kirk and Kingdome, was now begun to be changed, both in doctrine and discipline, at the pleasure of the fourteen Bishops, and the liberties of the Country like to be infringed by their usurpation, and that having complained often upon them to his Majesty by his Counsel, were answered by the former declaration approving these Popish books, their wicked & unlawful proceedings, and condemning the Supplicants lawful and peaceable meetings, and humble ways of supplicating, as prejudicial to regal authority, prohibiting also their necessary meetings in time coming, All these did move the Supplicants, to bethink the renewing of the national Covenant of this Kirk & Kingdom, (the breach whereof hath been a special cause to bring these evils upon them) to be a good mean for obtaining the Lord’s wonted favour, having many examples in holy Scripture that the people of GOD have happily renewed their Covenant with GOD.
This their Covenant containeth nothing in substance but that which is contained in the Confession of Faith, and general band formerly made for maintenance of Religion & acts of Parliament made at sundry times. The Confession of Faith was approved by diverse Acts of secret Counsel, and general Assemblies. It was first subscribed by King JAMES himself, and his whole Household, after by all his Subjects, commanded by publick Proclamation to subscribe. Subscription to this Confession hath been in continual practice, when any persons suspect of Papistry were to be tried,& likewise masters of Schools & Colleges were ordained by act of Assembly to cause their Scholars subscribe when they were to pass their degrees, which hath been observed to this day.
The practice of subscribing being in continual use to this time was a sufficient warrant for the Supplicants to subscribe the same for manifesting their affection to GOD’S truth, and holding out all Popish superstition. To the said Confession are subjoined such acts of Parliament, as ratified the heads thereof, and were made in favour of Religion professed in the same, Together with a part of the general band formerly made and subscribed by authority of King James, and his Counsel, binding all the Subjects to the defense of Religion, and his Majesty’s person, and each to other in these two causes. The Supplicants bind themselves to forbear all approbation or practice of corruptions and innovations brought in this Kirk, till the form of their entry, their lawfulness, or expediency be tried in a free general Assembly, and to labor by all means lawful to recover the purity and liberty of the Gospel, as it was professed and established before the entry of the said innovations. But withal they declare that the innovations and evils contained in their Supplications, complaints& protestations, have no warrant in the word of God, and are contrary to the articles of the foresaid confession, & acts of Parliament. They promise to forbear the practice and approbation of innovations already entered, till a free assembly and Parliament, because they were never condescended upon, but in pretended Assemblies, and upon conditions which have not been observed, besides that protestations have been made contrary to the same.
This Covenant was subscribed by many thousands in February last, yea, in a very short time, by almost the whole Kingdome. It was publickly read and sworn in most Kirks with great motion, prayers, and tears, all professing repentance for their sins, specially for their breach of Covenant to God in suffering the purity of his worship to be thus tainted. The desire of true knowledge wrought by it in the hearts of the people may approve it to be a special mean appointed by God for reclaiming this Nation to himself.
The supplicants having now both by oath & subscription manifested their desires to be religious, & their hearts loyal and faithful to their Prince, being now barred from dealing with the privy Counsel, who admitted the Bishops to sit as Judges in the cause, after the Supplicants had declined them as parties, and being desirous his Majesty should be rightly informed, that he might give a gracious answer, they thought it expedient to write to the Duke of Lennox, Marquesse of Hamiltoun, Earl of Mortoun, as special members of this state, because they had near access to his Majesty, not doubting that they could not but be very sensible of these evils complained upon, desired them to learn from his Majesty, if he would be pleased to receive a new petition from the Supplicants immediately or if they should make their desires known to his Majesty by their Lordships. This supplication was sent to have been delivered if his Majesty would have received it, and also some articles containing their just desires for their Lordships information. His Majesty was not willing to receive the supplication, but perusing the articles did remit his gracious answer to be delivered by the Marquesse of Hamiltoun, who was to be sent as his Majesty’s Commissioner, with instructions and power for settling the peace of this Kingdome.
Upon the thirtieth day of May, a ship arrived at the road of Leith, carrying a great deal of munition, as Cannon, powder, with Cannon ball, muskets, Pikes, and match for the Castle of Edinburgh, foretold & threatened by the Bishop of S. Andrews, and his followers, who affirmed the providing that Castle, and fortifying the town of Leith, to be the only mean to beat down Edinburgh, and force them to undergo any thing should be enjoined, as also to hold the supplicants out of it& c. Upon suspicion that the putting of this munition in the Castle would be stayed, the Lord Thesaurer did convey it quietly to Mussilburgh harberie and from thence to Dalkeith. The people remembering the threatenings preceding, and considering that such provision had not been made for these places these thirty years by past, began to suspect danger. The Supplicants suspecting that the same would be employed against the body of the Kingdome, who were aiming at nothing but the preservation of Religion, and the Subjects liberty, resolved without giving offence, to keep a watch lest any of that provision should be conveyed into these places against the wonted custom: For these are the greatest forts in the Country appointed for her safety, and not for her hurt.
The Marquesse of Hamilton being appointed his Majesty’s Commissioner did send a number of missives to his friends, followers & acquaintance in Scotland from Court, to meet him at Haddingtoun, and Dalkeith, the fifth day of Junij. Where-upon the Papists applauding to the Service book, bragged that they with some neutrals, and such as were indifferent in matters of Religion, would assist the Bishops, & used all their means to convene the greatest numbers they could.
The Supplicants moved with the provision intended for the Castle, and these frequent meetings of Papists & neutrals, resolved not to join with them at their meeting with the Commissioner, because they would impudently ascribe the most part of these whom he had required, to themselves and these neutrals, for these and some other important reasons, the Supplicants resolved to send out some few of their number to make their excuse to my Lord Commissioner. The Supplicants together & the Town of Edinburgh apart by their request procured his coming to Haly-rood-house as the most convenient place for their attendance.
Upon the seventh of Junij at his entry he was attended by a great number of the Supplicants on horse, meeting him three miles from Haly-rood-house, and all the way betwixt by many thousands on foot, amongst the which were six or seven hundred of the Ministry. In hope that the Commissioner would not offer to furnish the Castle with munition during the treaty, the numbers appointed for watching were diminished even before his entry.
The Supplicants renewed their former desires of a general Assembly and Parliament to the Commissioner, as the only mean to redress the evils complained upon. He acknowledged himself unable to grant either, till first the Country were in a peaceable condition, & till they should first rescind and render their subscribed Covenants to his Majesty. To the first it was answered, the Country was not unpeaceable, there was many humble supplications desiring remedy of these pressing grievances, the Supplicants could not be moved to stay from meeting, and supplicating till they should receive a gracious answer, and the only mean to content them was the granting of a free general Assembly, and a Parliament, for the second, they could not draw on themselves the guilt of perjury before God,& gave the Commissioner sufficient reasons of their refusal, which are extant in print.
The Commissioner excepted against that clause in the Covenant, bearing mutual defenses, as if the Supplicants had combined themselves to maintain each other in their own private quarrels, howbeit the clause be clear enough of itself, yet for his Majesty’s satisfaction they gave in a Supplication to the Commissioner, wherein they declared their mutual defense of each other, was only in the defense of true Religion, of the laws and liberties of this Kirk and Kingdome, and of his Majesty’s person, and authority in preservation thereof, where-with his Grace acquiesced.
The Commissioner professing, that all his instructions did run on the hope of having the Covenant surrendered, and this failing, he could do no more but return, and deal with his Majesty for obtaining a free general Assembly and Parliament Withal did shew that before his parting he behooved to publish his Majesty’s gracious declaration, and so first made that proclamation of returning the Counsel, and Session to Edinburgh to make a faire way for the other, professing also, that the other should be full of goodness, promising only a general Assembly and parliament, and discharging all innovations introduced. Whereupon a protestation was provided only to give thanks to his Majesty, and to protest that some short and convenient time might be appointed for holding the Assembly and Parliament.
But the Supplicants attending the publishing of this faire and smooth declaration, when it was proclaimed upon the fourth of Julij they found it so grievous, as it necessitated the Supplicants to make that protestation, which is extant in print.
As the Supplicants were grieved at the Proclamation, so their grief was augmented when they heard that the Lords of Counsel had approved the Proclamation by a particular Act. For the Counsel had approved that proclamation as satisfactory, and so full of grace and goodness, so that it might satisfy all men. Whereas it gave satisfaction to none of the Supplicants desires, and did condemn their lawful meetings. Therefore they prepared a supplication for the Commissioner, which did bear their just exceptions at the Proclamation, and far more against the Counsel’s act of approbation. But the Counsel considering better of their Act, did tear it after it was subscribed, and before it was put upon record. The next day the Commissioner was supplicated and earnestly desired to make some act to clear, that the Counsel’s subscribing of the King’s Majesty’s declaration was no approbation thereof from them, but only a warrant for the Clerk to cause proclaim it. The Commissioner and most of the Counselors declared the same solemnly by their oaths, wherein the Supplicants acquiesced. My Lord Commissioner promised to recommend their desires earnestly to his Majesty, and return at the fifth of August next, or before the twelfth at the furthest.
The Commissioner reported that it was written from England, that these of this Nation were coming with arms towards them. The Supplicants protested before God, it never entered in their minds to do them the least harm, but that they carried toward them all due respect of Brethren, if they should not be first invaded by them, which was as far from their expectation, as it was without their deserving.
But on the contrary, whereas such of the Bishops as were chief authors of these evils, apprehending danger from the Panick terrors of their guilty consciences, & not from any just occasion offered by the Supplicants, when they and their adherents, had acted the part of Incendiaries at the Court of England betwixt the King’s Majesty and his Subjects, did thereafter retire themselves out of Scotland, as hopeless to find a party for them there, these who have not subscribed the Confession, excepting Counselors, not being a considerable part, and the most part of them no favorers of Bishops. And they bragged that his Majesty will make the people of England come in arms against Scotland, which is neither to be expected from so just a King against his own native subjects only supplicating for the preservation of true Religion, and liberties of the Country established by laws, nor from so good and wise a people with whom the Kingdom of Scotland is not more nearly conjoined by marches, than all true Scottish hearts have been these many years past. It should be an high and fearful dissimulation, if any such spiteful intention were kept up against brethren, whose natural freedom and ingenuity cannot admit the least suspicion of any such thoughts: seeing they live in one Isle, under one King, & have entertained commerce with as little controversy, or debate, & with as much affection and peace, as ever was betwixt two Nations, yea, they are so far from intention to offer wrong to the English, that they are resolved never to suffer England to be wronged by any other Nation, so long as their lives and means shall last, and do expect the like brotherly duty from them, least they be found even to fight against God himself. How can they have any purpose to wrong that Country, wherein so many worthy Preachers and professors have given both by writing and suffering abundant testimony to the cause they plead for in all the particulars thereof, which now they maintain. My Lords of the Clergy in Scotland as they have borrowed some things from England, to wit, high Commission, Canons, and such other stuff not warranted by law as in England, thought to have repaired that loan by establishing the new Service book first here, that thereafter their confederates might thrust out that service so long continued in England, for if it had not been for that end, it should not have gotten so much help and approbation from thence, and perhaps from Rome. But that current is stopped here, praised be God, and we wish it might be also there, if some English Bishops, seeming to compassionate their Brethren here, have a desire to further the plot, though it were upon National perils, & so may move the English Catholicks, as persons furthest disappointed to undertake the recovery of their cause, by giving their whole assistance against Scotland, which being once suppressed, all may be settled there, and then undoubtedly in England: The kingdom of Scotland (with reservation of all due respect to the true English) craveth they may not only have help from good Christians there, in case of such invasion: but also leave to root out these Canaanites, who are pricks in their sides. And this much shortly, to give satisfaction to the better sort, that there be no mistaking amongst brethren. Cursed be these that do not wish and pray for peace, if it can be had without that great loss of the Gospel of peace, in the purity and power thereof according to the word of God.