Manifested in his sad late
Whereunto is added a PAPER, particularly holding forth the Sins
of the MINISTRY.
Printed in the year 1653.
Some General Heads of the Causes why the LORD contends with the Land, agreed upon (after seeking of the LORD) by the Commission of the GENERAL ASSEMBLY 1650, with the advice of divers Ministers from several parts of the Kingdom, met at Edinburgh, October 1651, so far as for the present they could attain light therein, which they offer and advise to be made use of by all the LORD's People in the Land, leaving place to add, as the Lord shall make further discoveries hereafter of the guiltiness of the Land, and intending more fully and particularly to enlarge this Paper.
THE gross Atheism and ignorance of God and of his Word and Works, that is in a great part of the Inhabitants of the Land, which is such, that neither Law nor Gospel, nor the most common and necessary points of truth are understood or known by many thousands.
2. Article. Horrible looseness and profanity of Conversation in all sorts, against the Commandments, both of the first and second table, which hath so abounded and increased, that scarce hath any of the Nations exceeded us therein.
3. Article. The despising and slighting of JESUS CHRIST offered in the Gospel (which we look on as the chief and mother sin of this Nation) and the not valuing and improving the Gospel and precious Ordinances of CHRIST, unto the establishing and building up of ourselves in the lively faith of CHRIST and power of godliness, but either neglecting and despising these things altogether, or else resting upon and idolizing outward and bare forms, without studying to know in ourselves, or to promote in others the Kingdom of God, which is righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost: whereby it hath come to pass, that persons not rightly qualified, have been admitted unto, and continued in the Work of the Ministry and Elderships, and that public repentance and Kirk-censures have been grossly slighted, and the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper fearfully polluted by the promiscuous admitting of many ignorant and scandalous persons thereto, and many willfully ignorant, and openly and continuedly profane, have been kept in the fellowship of this Kirk, contrary to the Word of GOD, and Constitutions of this Kirk, and that many other sad and fearful consequences have followed unto the profaning of all the Ordinances of GOD, and rendering them for the most part barren and fruitless to us:
4. Art. Not only the exercise of godliness in families much slighted, great men being unwilling and ashamed to call on the name of the LORD in their Family (which guilt is exceedingly heightened by the continuing of many of these in the same after solemn Public confessing thereof, and engaging to the contrary duty in the year 1648.) and others much neglecting the same; But also the loathing and hating of the power and life of Religion and godliness, and bearing down such as make conscience thereof, or aim at any perfection therein, which hath come to such an height, that the Godly are every-where reproached, reviled, oppressed and persecuted throughout the Land by sundry of all ranks: yea, by sundry Magistrates and Ministers; and the ungodly and profane countenanced, encouraged and employed.
5. Article. The base love of the world, and Covetousness, which hath made not only the Body of the People, but many Ministers, more to mind their own things, than the things of JESUS CHRIST; and many Masters, Rulers, Magistrates, Officers and Soldiers in Armies, exceedingly to abuse their power unto the exercising of intolerable oppression of all kinds on the poor, to the grinding of their faces, and making their lives bitter to them: Which fountain of Covetousness did also produce the great insolencies and oppressions in our Armies in England and Ireland, and the fearful perjuries in the Land in the matter of valuation and Excise.
6. Article. The abusing and prostituting the Public Faith of the Kingdom in the way of borrowing of Money and otherwise; unto the dishonouring of GOD, mocking of Men, and reproach of the Nation.
7. Article. In pursuing of necessary Duties of renewing the National Covenant, and entering into and renewing the solemn League and Covenant, the way of many men's taking these Covenants was without the knowledge of the necessary things contained therein, and without reality and sincerity of heart, in order to the performance thereof; some being induced thereto by example, some by fear, and not a few by principles of policy, following their own carnal and corrupt ends.
8. Article. The Following the work of God, and pursuing the ends of the Covenant not in a Spiritual holy way, setting the LORD always before our eyes, and acknowledging him in all our paths, but in a carnal politick way, abusing GOD's Interest for our own interest and ends, as if it had been the Work of men, and not the Work of GOD, which made us walk more in the counsels of our own hearts than in the Counsel of GOD, and to trust more in the arm of flesh, than in the Arm of the Lord.
9. Article. Backsliding and defection from the Covenant, and from our solemn Vows and Engagements; the guilt whereof is exceedingly heightened by the aggravating circumstances of our renewed Oaths, and of the LORD's Mercies and Engagements, and of our frequent relapses into the same sins, whereof we once seemed to have repented, and which we condemned in others: Of this Defection there be these special heads and Steps:
1. Step. A foul falling from that honesty of heart, and purity of conversation, and from the singleness and integrity of heart, and from the fervency & zeal for GOD that appeared to be in many at the first entry to the Covenant; and declining into loose walking, and self interest, and neutrality and indifferency, from which have issued many sad consequences, especially the great scandal and stumbling of many godly in the Land, at us and the Work of God in our hand.
2. Step. The sitting up of many Professors in the Land under the Gospel, and becoming formal and remiss, not entertaining tenderness, spiritual life and soberness of mind, which as it hath been amongst the provoking Causes of the LORD's wrath, and hath rendered some obnoxious to snares on both hands, so may it (if it be not mourned for and amended) draw on more wrath, and expose to the hazard of errour and disaffection to the Work of GOD.
3. Step. The secret falling off of some, and open falling away of many unto the opposite party, after their entering in Covenant, especially that defection carried on by James Graham & his party, and that which was afterward carried on by the Authors and Abettors of the unlawful Engagement 1648.
4. Step. The neglecting, obstructing, and condemning, the purging of the Judicatories and Army, 1649, and afterward, from scandalous and disaffected men; and of the constituting the same of men of known integrity and affection to the Cause, and of a blameless and Christian Conversation, notwithstanding of the solemn publick Confession of these sins, and Engaging unto these duties a little before that time.
5. Step. The Authorizing of Commissioners to close a Treaty with the King, for the investing him with the Government, upon his subscribing such Demands as were sent to him, after he had given many clear evidences of his disaffection and enmity to the work and people of God, and was continuing in the same: And the admitting of him to the full exercise of his power, and Crowning him, notwithstanding of new discoveries of his adhering to his former principles and way, and of many warnings to the contrary.
6. Step. The Rejecting of Discoveries of guiltiness and causes of the Lord's contending with us, and of our duty in reference thereto; such as the cause of humiliation offered by the Commission of the General Assembly, to the Committee of Estates at Leith, before the defeat at Dumbar: The causes of humiliation condescended on at Sterling immediately after the defeat at Dumbar: The Remonstrance of the Gentlemen, Ministers and Forces in the West, and many other testimonies of Presbyteries and Synods together; neglecting the means tending to peace, and to the preventing the effusion of more blood; from pride and bitterness of spirit against those who had invaded us.
7. Step. The Publick Resolutions of Kirk and State, for bringing in the Malignant party, first to the Army, and then to the Judicatories, and to the actual entrusting of them with the power of the Kingdom, both Military and Civil, whereby the state of our cause is not only turned upside down, by subordinating the interest of God to the interest of men; but the work and people of God have been entrusted to the enemies thereof.
8. Step. The joining of many engaged in the Covenant and Cause of God, in Arms with the Forces of the Kingdom, after that by the Public Resolutions, there was a prevailing party of Malignants brought into the Army, who had the sway of Counsels and Actings therein, and were carrying on a malignant interest.
9. Step. The pre-limiting and corrupting of the Gen. Assembly, in regard of the free, lawful and right constitution thereof, excluding such as were faithful and constant in the Cause, and making it up, for the most part, of those who had been active and instrumental in carrying on a course of Defection, or were consenting thereto; whereby it came to pass that that Meeting did ratify and approve the Defection itself, and did not only censure sundry for protesting against them, but also laid a foundation for censuring all such Ministers, and for keeping all such out of the Ministry who did not approve of their Constitution and Acts, and did issue Warnings and Declarations reflecting exceedingly upon, and contradicting and condemning former pious and warrantable proceedings, and the instruments thereof.
10. Article. Deep security, impenitency, obstinacy and incorrigibleness under all these, and under all the dreadful strokes of God, and tokens of his indignation against us, because of the same, so that whilst he continues to smite, we are so far from humbling ourselves, and turning to Him, that we wax worse and worse and sin more and more.
Having at our last Meeting intended and promised to enlarge more fully and particularly these General Heads of the LORD's Controversy with the Land, then condescended on; We shall now prosecute and perform the same, so far as we conceive is needful, and may be helpful to others, for the better understanding thereof.
IT were superfluous to speak anything to the 1. Article, which relates to the gross ignorance of many thousands in the Land; the truth of the thing being unquestionably acknowledged and bemoaned by all the faithful and godly Ministers in the Land, and that a great many come to age, are grossly ignorant of the first Principles of Christian Religion; which sin of ignorance, although it be extenuated and slightly looked on by many, yet it is holden forth by the Holy Ghost in the Scriptures, as the fountain of the estrangement of souls from the life of God, Eph. 4.18, through the blindness that is in them, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; of all their disobedience, and living in their lusts, 1 Pet. i.14, as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance; And as that which makes them liable to the wrath of God in the day of Christ's appearance, 2 Thes. i.8, When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven with his mighty Angels in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them who know not God, and obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. The guilt of this sin is much aggravated by these Circumstances; (1.) It is willful under the light of the Gospel, and the means of knowledge. (2.) In regard of long continuing therein, many have lived under it for so many years together, even till their old age. (3.) From the grossness of it, being such in many, as they know almost nothing of the very Letter of the Scriptures, either of their sin and misery, or of the mercy and remedy that is holden forth through Jesus Christ, or of the duty which they owe to God and their Neighbour: nothing almost either of Law or Gospel, of the Covenant of Grace, or of the Covenant of Works, of Commandments, Threatenings or Promises, except in such a general and confused way as is altogether useless unto them, and fruitless in them. (4.) In regard of the multitude of these who lie under it, which is very great in all the corners of the Land, especially in the Highlands. (5.) In regard of the quality of persons who are not only servants and Commons, but Masters of Families, and persons of some note in Burghs and in the Country; yea, not a few who have the place of Magistrates and Elders. The Article doth also mention ignorance of the Works of God, by which is meant not only the Works of Creation wherein the Eternal Power and Godhead are clearly seen, Rom. i.20, For the invisible things of him from the Creation of the World, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal Power and Godhead; but also the ignorance of the Works of Providence, which are great and marvelous, Rev. xv.3, And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works Lord God Almighty, just and true are thy ways thou King of Saints. And albeit these should be sought out of all these that take pleasure therein, Psalm ci.2, and the right understanding and observation of them, hath a large promise made thereunto, Psalm cvii.43, Who is wise and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord. Yet doth the ignorance thereof exceedingly abound amongst many, especially the ignorance and not observing, but forgetting the works of mercy and judgments, which GOD hath wrought amongst ourselves; which sin as it proved an in-let to many other provocations, from the 7th verse of that Psalm throughout, so hath it great threatenings pronounced against it, and sore judgments inflicted on it, Psalm 28.5, Because they regard not the works of the Lord, nor the operation of his hands, he shall destroy them, and not build them up. Isa. v.11,12, Woe to them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink, and continue all night, till wine inflame them, and the wine and the pipe, the viol, the tabret and the harp are in their feasts, but they regard not the work of the Lord, nor consider the operation of his hands. Psalm cvi.7,13,21,22. Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt, they remembered not the multitude of thy mercies, but provoked him at the sea, they soon forgot his works, they waited not for his counsel. They forgat their Saviour, who had done great things in Egypt, wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the red sea. In this Article also, Atheism is joined with Ignorance, which as it is the root and fountain of all other sin, Psalm xiv.1, The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God, they are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doth good. So it is also the root and fountain of all misery, Eph. ii.12, At that time ye were without Christ, being strangers from the Commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the Covenant of promise, having no hope, and being without God in the world. And yet this doth possess many, there being multitudes of that wicked sort, Psalm x.4, Who through the pride of their heart, will not seek God, God is not in all their thoughts. These are far from acknowledging him in all their ways, and aiming at his glory in all their actions, according to these divine rules, Proverbs iii.6, In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 1 Cor. x.31, Whether therefore ye eat or ye drink, or whatsoever ye do, in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to the Father through him. But they do live as if there were no God, or as if he had forsaken the earth, and did not see. Ezek. ix.9, Then said he unto me, The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great, and the Land is full of blood, and the City full of perverseness, for they say, The Lord hath forsaken the earth, and the Lord seeth not; Or as if the Lord would not do good or evil, like these who are threatened, Zeph. i.12, I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees, that say in their heart, the Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil.
The second Article.
THE second Article concerning looseness and profanity, is no less true and evident than the first, it being undeniable that a flood of profanity hath overflowed the whole Land, and that the most part of the Inhabitants thereof have corrupted their way before him, unto the dishonouring of his Name, reproach of our profession, and provoking the eyes of his Glory, Isa. i.2-5, Hear O heavens, and give ear O earth for the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me; the ox hath known his owner, and the ass his master's crib, but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider: Ah, sinful Nation, a people loaden with iniquity, a seed of evil doers, children that are corrupters, they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the holy one of Israel to Anger, they have gone away backward; why should ye be stricken any more, ye will revolt more and more, the whole head is sick, and the whole heart is faint. Ezek. xxxvi.21-23, But I had pity for my holy name's sake, which the house of Israel hath profaned amongst the Heathen whither they went: Therefore say to the house of Israel, thus saith the Lord God, I do not this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for my holy Name's sake, which ye have profaned amongst the Heathen whither ye went, and I will sanctify my great name which was profaned among the Heathen which ye have profaned in the midst of them, and the Heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you, before their eyes. Malach. ii.11-13, Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and Jerusalem, for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the Lord which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god, the Lord will cut off the man that doth this, the master and the scholar out of the Tabernacles of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the Lord of hosts; and this have ye done again, covering the Altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping and with crying out, in so much that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hands. Isa. iii.8, For Jerusalem is ruined and Judah is fallen; because their tongue and their doings are against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of his glory. The guilt of this abounding looseness and profanity is so much the more heightened by these circumstances that do attend it: First, that it is under the clear light of the Gospel, of the Word preached now for many years throughout the Land, in purity and plenty. Secondly, that it is contrary to many solemn Vows, Engagements, Oaths and Covenants taken on us before God, Angels and men to the contrary. Thirdly, that it is under many blessings, mercies and deliverances from the Lord. Fourthly that it is under many chastisements, rods and judgments, especially the sword and pestilence, by which two, many thousands in the Land have been taken away within these few years. Fifthly, that it is common and universal, and hath reached over all sorts of persons, Noblemen, Gentlemen, Barons, Burgesses, Ministers and Commons. Sixthly, from the greatness of it, shamelessness of it, avowedness and grossness of it, which is such that many declare their sin as Sodom, and commit all sorts of wickedness with greediness. Seventhly, from the kinds of it, some of the chief and most common of which, especially these who are not named in some other Article of the former Paper; we shall here touch: (1.) Impatiency, murmuring and fretting against God and his works, which hath made many to weary of the charges and expense they have been put to, for the Gospel, and to wish there had been no such thing as the entering into the National Covenant, and the renewing and entering into the solemn League and Covenant, not to an few to curse and blaspheme the Covenants, and to look on them as the rise and original of all the evils wherewith the Land hath been afflicted; and it is an great provocation before God, as it appears from these and the like Scriptures, Numb. xiv.1,2,3,4,10,11,12, And all the Congregations lifted up their voice and weeped and cried, and the people weeped that night, and all the children of Israel murmured against Moses, and against Aaron, and the whole Congregation said to them, would to God we had died in the land of Egypt, or would to God we had died in the wilderness; and wherefore hath the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives, and our children should be a prey, were it not better for us to return to Egypt? And they said one to another, let us make a Captain, let us return to Egypt; then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before the Assemblies of all the Congregation of the children of Israel, but all the Congregation bade stone them with stones, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the Tabernacle of the Congregation before all the Children of Israel: And the Lord said unto Moses, How long will this People provoke me? and how long will it be ere this People believe me, for all the signs I have shewed amongst them? I will smite them with pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a Nation, mightier and greater than they. Numbers xxi.5,6, And they journeyed from Mount Hor, by the way of the Red Sea, to compass the Land of Edom; and the soul of the People was much discouraged because of the way; and the People spake against GOD, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of the Land to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; for our soul loatheth this light bread: and the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and much people of Israel died. 1 Cor. x.10, Neither be ye murmurers, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. (2.) Using not only of charms, though it be condemned in the Scriptures, Deut. xviii.11, A Charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a Wizard, or a Necromancer, shall not be found amongst you; for all that do these things are an abomination to the Lord: yet is very frequent among the Commons: But also Sorcery and Witchcraft, which is an abomination, Exod. xxii.18, Thou shalt not suffer a Witch to live. Deut. xviii.10, There shall not be found amongst you any that useth Divination, or an enchanter, or any Witch; especially amongst these who have been baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus, and yet doth (by the great discoveries thereof which hath been of late) appear to be very frequent in the Land. (3.) Ordinary swearing by them that are no Gods, Jer. v.7, How shall I pardon thee for this? thy Children have forsaken Me, and sworn by them who are no Gods, when I have fed them to the full. Zeph. i.4,5, I will also stretch out my hand against Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the name of the Chemarims, with the Priests: and them that worship the host of heaven upon the house tops, and them that worship, and that swear by the Name of the LORD, and that swear by Malcham: such as Faith, Truth, Soul, Conscience, and by the holy and blessed Name of GOD Himself, and by His Blood and Wounds, and fearful Execrations and Cursings, which though they be condemned, forbidden and threatened in the Scriptures, Exod. xx.7, Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain. Lev. xix.12, Thou shalt not swear by my Name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the Name of thy God: I am the Lord. Matt. v.33-37, Again, ye have heard it said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform to the Lord thy God thy Oaths. But I say unto you, Swear not at all, neither by Heaven, for it is God's Throne: neither by the Earth, for it is His Footstool: neither by Jerusalem, for it is the City of the great King: neither shalt thou swear by thy Head, for thou cannot make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these, cometh of evil. Jer. xxiii.10, For the Land is full of Adulteries; because of Swearing the Land mourneth, and the pleasant places in the wilderness are dried up, because their course is evil, and their force is not right. Zech. v.1-4, Then I looked, and lift up mine eyes, and behold, a flying Roll: the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits. Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth over the face of the whole Earth: for every one that stealeth, shall be cut off as on this side, according to it: and every one that sweareth, shall be cut off on that side, according to it. I will bring it forth, saith the Lord of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the Thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my Name: and it shall remain in the midst of his house, and shall consume the timber and stones thereof. Yet these are so frequent and habitual amongst us, that in many parts of the Land it is a rare thing to find a man or a woman, that in their ordinary speech is not addicted to some one of these. (4.) Ordinary and gross profanation of the Lord's Day; not only by slighting of, and absenting from the Publick Worship with the Congregation, which is a fault whereof many are guilty; and not attending to the Word, or joining in Prayer and singing of Psalms, when they are present, but also by traveling, trysting, working, speaking our own words and otherwise: The danger and heinousness of this sin appears, from Exod. xx.8, Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Nehem. xiii.15-18, In those days, saw I in Judah, some treading Wine-presses on the Sabbath, and bringing in Sheaves, and loading Asses, and also Wine-Grapes, and Figs, and all manner of burdens which they brought to Jerusalem on the Sabbath Day: and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals. There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish and all manner of ware, which they sold to the children of Juda and Jerusalem on the Sabbath: then I contended with the Nobles of Juda, and said unto them, What evil thing is this which ye do, and profane the Sabbath day, did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil on us, and on this city? yet ye bring more wrath on Israel, by profaning the Sabbath. Isai. lviii.13,14, If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy own pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, and the holy of the Lord, honourable, and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasures, nor speaking thine own words, then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord, and thou shalt ride on the high places of the earth, and I will feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. (5.) Not giving obedience to authority to their just and lawful commands for conscience sake, Rom. xiii.5, Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. And on the other hand, an implicit and willing following of their unlawful commands, obeying men rather than God, Hos. v.11, Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment, because he willingly walked after the commandment. Acts iv.19, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken to you rather than to God, judge ye. The gross neglect of many parents in the instructing and breeding of their Children in knowledge, virtue, and piety, Eph. vi.4, Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. And the untowardness and ingratitude of many Children to their Parents, Eph. vi.1-3, Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honour thy father and mother (which is the first commandment with promise) that it may be well with thee, and that thou may live long on the earth. (6.) Self murder, unnatural murder of Children, enmity, malice, strife, contention, especially at Law suits, revenge, and blood, which as they are ancient sins of this Nation, and did much appear in the banding of Clans one against another, and have been little mourned for, or repented of to this day, so do they still continue whilst we profess the unity of the Faith in Christ, and are joined in Covenants of love and peace one with another, Jam. iii.14-16, But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish: For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. 1 Cor. v.8, Therefore let us keep the feast not with old Leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Titus iii.3, For we ourselves were sometime disobedient, foolish, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. Levit. xix.18, Thou shalt not avenge nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people; but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, I am the LORD. Prov. i.16, For their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood, Gal. v.15, For if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. (7.) Intemperance, gluttony and drunkenness; the last of which is become so common, that it hath overrun almost the whole Nation, so that it is hard to find many who are not tipplers, or common drunkards, or will drink drunk on occasion and with company: With this sin we may join the immoderate and excessive use of Tobacco, which is such, that much money and precious time is needlessly and superfluously spent that way by persons of all sorts. Isa. v.11,12,22, Woe to them that rise up early in the morning to drink strong drink, and continue till night, till Wine inflame them; and the harp, and the viol, and tabret, and the pipe, and wine are in their feasts. Woe to them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of might to mingle strong drink. Prov. xxiii.29-32, Who hath woe? Who hath sorrow? Who hath contentions? Who hath babblings? Who hath wounds without cause? Who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine, they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou on the wine when it is red, when it gives its colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright; at last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Eph. v.18, Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess. (8.) Vanity and excess in apparel, and in household stuff, far above that which becometh the sobriety of the Gospel, or that the condition of such a people can reach unto, Isa. iii, from the 16th verse, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched out necks, and wanton eyes, and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet, therefore the LORD will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts. And in that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the Moon, the chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers, & the bonnets, & the ornaments of the legs, and the head-bands, and the tablets, and the ear-rings, and the nose-jewels, the changeable suits of apparel, the mantles and the wimples, the crisping pins, the glasses and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails; and it shall come to pass that in stead of a sweet smell there shall be stink, and in stead of a girdle a rent, and in stead of well set hair, baldness, and in stead of a stomacher, a girding of sackcloth, and burning in stead of beauty, thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty men in the war, and her gates shall lament and mourn, and she being desolate shall sit on the ground. 1 Pet. iii.3, Whose adorning let it not be outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, and putting on of apparel. Zeph. i.8, And it shall come to pass in the day of the LORD'S sacrifice that I will punish the Princes; and the King's children and all such as are clothed with strange apparel. (9.) Uncleanness and filthiness of all sorts, rotten speeches, filthy communication, chambering and wantonness, & fornication, adultery, incest, in some places bestiality, and sodomy, especially fornications and adulteries which abound in many places; the first whereof, viz. fornication is by many accounted no sin. For discovering the greatness of these sins, consider, Exod. xx.14, Thou shalt not commit adultery. 1 Cor. vi.13, Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord, and the Lord, for the body. 1 Cor. v.1, It is reported commonly, that there is fornication amongst you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. Rom. xiii.13, Let us walk honestly as in the day, not in chambering and wantonness. Eph. v.3, But fornication and all uncleanness, let it not once be named among you. 4th verse, Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient. (10.) Prodigality, oppression, extortions, usury, bribery, theft, robbery, false weights and measures, injustice and unfaithfulness in Contracts and Bargains, with fraudulent dealing and deceiving one another; Artificial dearthing of victuals and other things, the livelihood and maintenance of the People. Exod. xx.15, Thou shalt not steal. Ezek. xxii.12, In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood, thou hast taken usury and increase, thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbour by extortion. Amos v.12, They afflict the just, they have taken a bribe, they turn aside the poor from his right. Micah vi.10,11, Are there yet treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is abominable? Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights? 1 Thess. iv.6, That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter, for the Lord is the avenger of all such. (11.) Lying, slandering, backbiting, detracting, reviling, tale-bearing, rash censuring, and defaming and speaking ill one of another, with false witnessing and perjury, breach of Oaths, Covenants, promises. Exodus xx.16, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Psalm l.19,20, Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit: thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother's son. 2 Cor. xii.20, Lest there be debates, envying, wrath, strife, backbiting, whisperings, swellings, and tumults. Matt. vii.1, Judge not, that ye be not judged. Rom. i.31, without understanding, Covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful. 2 Tim. iii.1,2, This know also, that in the last days, perilous times shall come, for men shall be lovers of themselves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unholy. Before we close this Article of profanity, we cannot but in a special way take notice of the carriage of many beggars in the Land, amongst whom for a long time past, abominations of all sorts hath abounded; which sin lies so much heavier on the Land, because though it hath been generally known and acknowledged by all, yet hath no effectual course been taken to this day for the helping thereof.
THE third Article which relates to JESUS CHRIST and the Gospel, is in a great measure spoken to in the Causes of Humiliation, concerning the contempt of the Gospel, condescended on by the Commission of the General Assembly at Perth, Dec. 22, 1650, yet some particulars there be in the Article, which we shall now speak unto: (1.) The resting on outward and bare forms, without studying to know in ourselves, or to promove in others, the Kingdom of GOD, which is righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. The Work of Reformation in the outward part of it, or external means, that do relate to Worship and Ordinances of GOD and the purity thereof, is certainly a thing excellent and desirable, which all the lovers of pure Religion and undefiled, ought to endeavour to attain to and preserve, Ezra vii.27, Blessed be the Lord God of our fathers, who hath put such a thing as this in the King's heart; to beautify the house of the Lord at Jerusalem. Exod. xxxix.42,43, According to all that the Lord commanded Moses, so the Children of Israel made all the work. And Moses did look on all the work, and behold they had done it, as the Lord commanded, even so had they done, and Moses blessed them. Ezek. xlii.11, And the way before them was like the appearing of the Chambers that were toward the North, as long as they, and as broad as they, and all their goings out were both according to their fashions, and according to their doors. Heb. iii.2, Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. Heb. viii.5, Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God, when he was about to make the tabernacle; for, see (saith he) that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed thee in the mount. But when these things are rested upon and idolized, they do through our corruption become snares to us, to keep us from seeking in to more excellent and better things, to wit, communion and fellowship with GOD, and the power and life of godliness, which are the kernel, whereof these things are but the shell and the scrooff, and being rested upon, do provoke the Lord either to make them barren and fruitless to us, or else to loath us in the following of them, or to remove them wholly away from us. Isa. i.10-15, Hear the word of the Lord ye rulers of Sodom, give ear to the Law of our God ye people of Gomorrah; To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to me, saith the Lord? I am full of the burnt-offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts: I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he-goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hands, to tread my Courts? Bring no more vain oblation, incense is an abomination to me, the new moons and the Sabbaths, and the calling of the assembly, I cannot away with, it is an iniquity, even the solemn meeting: your new moons and appointed feasts my soul hateth, they are a trouble to me, I am weary to bear them: And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you; yea when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Isa. lxvi.1-4, Thus saith the Lord, The heavens is my throne, and the earth is my footstool, where is the house ye will build me, and where is the place of my rest? for all these things hath mine hand made, and all these things have been saith the Lord. But to this man will I look, even to him that is of a poor and contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man: he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck: he that offereth an oblation, as he that offereth swine's blood; he that burneth incense, as he that blesseth an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations; I also will choose their delusions, and bring their fears on them, because when I called, none did answer; and when I spake, they did not hear, but did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not. Jer. vii.4,8-14, Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, are these. Behold, ye trust in lying words that cannot profit. Will ye steal, murder, commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not, and come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, we are delivered to do all these abominations? Is this house which is called by my Name become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the Lord; but go ye to my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my Name at the first, and see what I did to it, for the wickedness of my people Israel. And now because ye have done all these works, saith the Lord, and I spake to you, rising up early, and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not: Therefore will I do unto this house which is called by my Name, wherein ye trust, and to the place which I gave to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. Ezek. vii.20-22, As for the beauty of his ornament, he set it in Majesty; but they made the Images of their abominations, and of their detestable things therein: therefore have I set it far from them. And I will give it to the hands of the strangers for a prey, and to the wicked of the earth for a spoil, and they shall pollute it; my face also will I turn from them, and they shall pollute my secret place, for the robbers shall enter into it and defile it. Zeph. iii.13, The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies, neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth, for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid. And this hath been undoubtedly in a great measure the fault of many in this Land, the height of whose zeal and endeavours hath been for the most part to attain the purity of Ordinances, not labouring for the power thereof, whence hath issued a great deal of boasting and confidence in a Covenant and pure Ordinances, and a well reformed Kirk, when in the meanwhile most men be strangers to that grace that bringeth salvation, and teacheth to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world. Titus ii.11,12, For the grace of God that bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men, teaching us, that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live godly, righteously and soberly in this present world. The second is the sad Consequents that hath followed on this, whereof there be four special in the Article.
The First whereof is, The admitting of persons not rightly qualified to the work of the Ministry, and Elderships in Congregations, and the continuing of such in these places. For understanding of which, ye would consider, that the Word of God, and Acts and Constitutions of our Kirk, do require of Ministers, not only that they be men of knowledge, understanding and conscience, for ruling in the house of God, and of a blameless conversation; but that they be sanctified and holy, and spiritual, and have their senses exercised in spiritual things: A Bishop (saith Paul, Titus i.8) must be a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate. And the same Apostle, 1 Tim. iii.6, tells us, he must not be a novice, or one newly come in to the faith. He would not only have him in the faith, that he may speak because he believes, and be able to comfort others with the consolations wherewith he hath been himself comforted of God, 2 Cor. i.3,4, Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, even the Father of mercies, and God of all comfort, who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort others who are in trouble, with the comfort wherewith we ourselves have been comforted of God. In the Acts of the Assembly at Edinburgh 1596, March 26, it is provided, That the trial of the persons to be admitted to the Ministry hereafter, consist not only in their learning and ability to preach, but also in conscience and feeling, and spiritual wisdom; and in the same Act it is provided, that such as shall not be found given to sanctification and prayer, that study not to be powerful and spiritual, but be cold, and wanting spiritual Zeal, that all such persons be censured, and continuing therein, be deprived: Which Act was revived in the General Assembly 1638, likewise in the General Assembly 1646. The putting in, and holding in of insufficient and suspected men, who favour the things of this life; and the keeping the door straiter on these whom God hath sealed, then on these who have less evidence of Grace and holiness, is reckoned amongst the enormities and corruptions of the Ministry in their callings; and amongst the remedies of these corruptions, it is provided, That all Presbyteries make great conscience to have all vacant places, within their several bounds settled with godly and able men, wherever they be found. These Scriptures and Acts, with sundry others of the like kind, require, not only that a Minister be negatively holy, that is, one who is not scandalous in his life and conversation, but that he be positively holy, acquainted with God and spiritual things, and a partaker of the grace of the Gospel in himself, which he preacheth to others; and religious reason doth require the same: How shall he be a Christian Minister, who is not a Christian? how shall he preach to others, who doth not himself believe? how shall he know to speak a word in season, to whom the Lord hath not given the tongue of the Learned? to comfort others with the consolations of God, who was never comforted therewith himself? How shall he pray for others, who cannot pray for himself? How shall he reveal Christ, who never knew him? How shall he naturally care for souls, who hath not the love of Christ dwelling in him? The Scriptures do also require of ruling Elders, not only that they be men of understanding, knowledge, and wisdom, and such as are able to discern and rule, but also that they be blameless and holy, as is evident in the Epistles of Paul to Timothy and Titus. And the Discipline of our Kirk requires, That besides abilities to govern, consult, admonish, and order all things appertaining to the state of the Congregation, that they be men of a good life and holy conversation, without blame, and all suspicion, careful for the Flock, wise; and above all things fearing God: notwithstanding hereof, many literal and formal men, who are strangers to the mystery of godliness, & work of the Spirit of life, which is in Jesus Christ, are admitted unto, and continued in the Ministry and Elderships (nay, in some places, especially in Elderships, men that are ignorant and scandalous) by which things it comes to pass that there is a lifeless, dead, and careless Ministry, and unprofitable Elderships in many Congregations, and that the growth of the Gospel and godliness, is exceedingly obstructed and hindered.
The second Consequent which is mentioned, is, The gross slighting and mocking of Kirk Censures, and of Publick Repentance; whereof it would be considered, That the Word of God, Acts and Constitutions of this Kirk, do require of these who are to make Publick Profession of their Repentance for scandalous offences, not only a naked and bare profession of Repentance, but such a profession of Repentance, as doth hold forth a real conviction and sorrow for sin; and not only the ceasing from the sin for the time, but the bringing forth of the contrary good fruits of sobriety, righteousness and holiness, Numb. v.6-8, Speak unto the Children of Israel, when a man or a woman shall commit any sin that men commit, to do a trespass against the Lord, and that person be guilty; then they shall confess their sin which they have done; and he shall recompence his trespass with the principal thereof, and add unto it the fifth part thereof, and give it unto him against whom he hath trespassed. But if the man have no kinsman to recompence the trespass unto, let the trespass be recompensed unto the Lord, even unto the Priest: beside the Ram of atonement, whereby an atonement shall be made for him. It is appointed that offenders who have wronged others, and were to be admitted to the trespass offering, should not only make confession of their sins, but also make satisfaction to the party to whom the wrong was done, which satisfaction is a fruit of righteousness; to which agrees that of Jesus Christ, Matt. v.23, If thou bring thy gift to the Altar, and there remembrest that thy brother hath ought against thee, verse 24, leave there thy gift before the Altar, and go thy way, and first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. In that publick penitential confession that is mentioned, Ezra x.10,11, Ye have transgressed and taken strange wives, and increased the trespasses of Israel: now therefore make confession to the LORD GOD of your fathers, and do his pleasure, and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange wives. There is not only a confession of the sin, but a doing of the LORD's pleasure, and a separating of themselves from the people of the land, and from the strange wives. Psalm li, which was penned to be a testimony of David's Publick Repentance, for the scandalous sins of murder and adultery committed by him; and was therefore committed to the chief Musician, to be Published in the Sanctuary and Temple, doth contain many notable Evidences of Repentance and Reformation: And we see the Apostle Paul, 2 Cor. ii.7, doth not give charge to the Corinthians for the receiving the Incestuous person, until he is in some appearance of hazard to be swallowed up with too much sorrow, 7th verse, Ye ought to forgive him and comfort him, lest perhaps such an one be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow; which doth argue that the Apostle thought a great measure of real conviction and sorrow requisite in such an one, before he ought to be received: According to these Scriptures, the first book of Discipline, in the 7th head thereof, requires that before scandalous persons be admitted to the Publick confession of their Repentance, that there appear in them signs of unfeigned repentance; and the form and order of Publick repentance appointed by the General Assembly of the Ministers and Elders, in the which they ought sharply to be examined what fear and terrour they have of God's judgments, and what hatred for sin, and dolor for the same, and what sense and feeling they have of God's mercies; in the which if they be ignorant, they ought diligently to be instructed: For it is but a mocking to present such to Publick Repentance as neither know what sin is, what Repentance is, what Grace is, nor by whom God's mercy and favour is purchased, thereafter the offender shall be instructed in the Assembly, so that he have some taste of God's Judgments, but chiefly of God's Mercies through Jesus Christ, he may be presented before the Publick Kirk; And the Act of the General Assembly at Edinburgh 1596, March 26, That none falling in Publick scandal be received in the fellowship of the Kirk, except his Minister have some appearance and warrant in his Conscience, that he hath both a feeling of sin, and an apprehension of mercy; and for this effect, that the Minister travail with him in Doctrine, and private instruction, to bring him thereto; especially in the Doctrine of Publick Repentance, which being neglected, the Publick place of Repentance is turned to a mocking. And the Acts of the General Assembly at Edinburgh 1649, provides that because many heretofore have made a shew and profession of Repentance, who were not convinced of their guiltiness, nor humbled for the same, but did thereafter return like the dog to the vomit, and with the sow to the puddle, unto the mocking of God, the exceeding great reproach and detriment of his Cause; Therefore for the better discerning the truth & sincerity of the Repentance of these who desire to be admitted to the Covenant and Communion, it is appointed and ordained that none of the persons who are debarred from the Covenant and Communion, shall be received and admitted thereunto, but such as after trial shall be found for some competent time either before or after the offer of their Repentance, according to the discretion of the respective Judicatories, to have in their ordinary conversation given real testimony of their dislike of the late unlawful Engagement, and of all the courses and ways of Malignants, and of their sorrow for their accession to the same, and to live godly, righteously, & soberly &c. And reason also proves the same point, for whether we take Publick Repentance in reference to the removing of scandal and offence given to the Kirk, or in reference to the absolution of the party from the guilt of the same intimated to him by the Minister as the servant of Christ, and in the Name of Christ, on his Repentance; it must always be understood of such a profession of Repentance, as doth evidence the reality and humility thereof in outward fruits; for a real scandal cannot be removed by a bare and verbal profession without fruits; neither can a minister with any persuasion of conscience make any intimation of mercy and pardon to him of the reality and sincerity of whose profession he hath no testimony in his carriage and conversation. Yet notwithstanding of these things many scandalous persons of all sorts, especially these who were profane Malignants disaffected to the Work of GOD and his people this last year, have been admitted to Publick Repentance, on bare convictions of Repentance and sorrow, without any real evidence and fruit thereof in their carriage and conversation; nay, in many of them there was presumptions in the contrary; which as it hath proven a snare to their souls, so hath it exceedingly provoked God, and stumbled the godly, and rendered Kirk Censures and Publick Repentance base and contemptible.
The third consequence is, That the Sacrament of the LORD's Supper hath been fearfully polluted and profaned, by the promiscuous admitting of many scandalous and ignorant persons thereto: The truth whereof in the matter of fact, as it hath been the constant burden and complaint of all the godly Ministers and people in Scotland these many years past; so it hath been, oft confessed in the Causes of solemn Fasts, and publick Humiliation and particularly in that publick Acknowledgement of Sin that was made by the Kirk of Scotland, in the year 1648. That it may be the better understood and taken up; ye would consider first what persons by the Word of GOD, and doctrine of the Kirk of Scotland, are to be debarred from, or admitted to the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper; how the rule of the Word and constitutions of the Kirk are kept in this particular. For the first, it is clear from the Word of God, and the Doctrine of the Kirk of Scotland, that all scandalous and ignorant persons ought to be debarred from the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, and that none ought to be received and admitted thereunto, but such who do not only know and make profession of the Gospel, but walk suitable thereunto. The Apostle Paul in the 1 Cor. xi.28, appoints that a man must first examine himself, and so eat. And he also saith, That he who comes to that Sacrament, must be one who discerns the Lord's Body; otherwise, that he eats and drinks damnation to himself; and he further adds, That this must be done in remembrance of JESUS CHRIST, to shew forth his death till he come again; and therefore such as by reason of their ignorance cannot examine themselves, nor discern the Lord's Body, nor knows not what it is to shew forth the Lord's death, ought not to come. This same duty of examination, discerning the Lord's Body, which the Apostle calls for, doth also debar scandalous persons, and admit of none but such who walk orderly according to the Gospel, because the examination here required, must be according to the nature of the Ordinance of the Lord's Supper, to wit, whether they be worthy or not, that is, whether they have repentance or not; For he that comes without it, is unclean, and so pollutes the Ordinance; as also whether he hath faith or not, without which, there can be no discerning of the Lord's Body, nor shewing forth his death; and whether they have love or no, without which, there can be no Communion with CHRIST and his Members in that Ordinance. The Confession of Faith of the Kirk of Scotland, [Chapter XXIII] Entitled, To whom Sacraments appertain, speaks thus: "But the Supper of the Lord (we confess) to appertain to such only as be of the household of Faith, and can try and examine themselves, aswell in their faith as in their duty to their neighbour;" but if such persons ought not to come, and if the Sacraments do not appertain to them, there can be no question, but if they presume to come, they ought to be debarred, it being a trust committed to the Officers of the Kirk, both in the Old and New Testament, to keep the charge of the holy things, and to take heed that his Ordinances be not polluted and profaned, and to separate the precious from the vile. Levit. x.10, That ye may put a difference betwixt the holy and unholy, betwixt the clean and unclean. 2 Chron. xxiii.19, And he set the porters at the gates of the house of the Lord, that none who was unclean, in any thing, should enter in. Ezek. xxii.26, They have put no difference betwixt the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference betwixt the clean and the unclean. Ezek. xliv.7, In that ye have brought into my sanctuary strangers uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary to pollute it, even my house, when ye offer my bread, the fat and the blood, and they have broken my Covenant, because of all your abominations, and ye have not kept the charge of my holy things, but ye have set keepers of my charge in my sanctuary for yourselves. Matt. vii.6, Give not that which is holy unto dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. 1 Cor. v.13, But them that are without God judgeth; therefore put away from amongst yourselves that wicked person. Titus iii.10, A man that is an heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject. Rev. ii.10, Nevertheless I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach & seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed to idols. Jer. xv.19, If thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth: let them return unto thee, but return not thou unto them. The Direction for the Publick Worship of God throughout the three Kingdoms, in the Head concerning the Celebration of the Lord's Supper, asserts, that the ignorant & scandalous are not to receive the Sacrament. And the Large Catechism asserts, That such as are found to be ignorant & scandalous, notwithstanding their profession of faith and desire to come to the Lord's Supper, may & ought to be kept from that Sacrament, by the power which Christ hath left in his Kirk, until they receive instruction, and manifest their reformation: And the Confession of Faith condescended on by the Assembly of Divines, and approven by the Kirk of Scotland, in the Chapter of the Lord's Supper, saith, That all scandalous and ignorant persons, as they are unfit to enjoy Communion with CHRIST, so are they unworthy of the Lord's Table, and so cannot without great sin against CHRIST (whilst they remain such) partake of the holy Mysteries, or be admitted thereto. And for proof thereof, citeth these Scriptures, 1 Cor. xi.27-29, Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord: But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup: For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. 2 Cor. v.14-16, For the love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge, That if one died for all, then were all dead; and that he died for all, that they which live, should not henceforth live to themselves, but to him that died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh; yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet we henceforth know him no more. 1 Cor. v.6,7, Know ye not, that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us. Verse 13, But them that are without, God judgeth: Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. 2 Thess. iii.6,14,15, Now we command you, brethren, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, That ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. And if any man obey not our word by this Epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. Matt. vii.6, Give not that which is holy unto dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
As to the other, how the Rule of the Word, and Constitutions of this Kirk are kept in this particular, it needs not much be spoken, the transgression being so palpable & common that they who runs may read, these particular faults may be taken notice of in order to this point: (1.) To say nothing, that in some places, few or none at all are excluded for ignorance, but that persons being once come to such an age, are admitted, and being once admitted, are never again excluded: There is in many Congregations little or no care to examine, or take any notice of the knowledge of all persons indifferently, something being done in reference to servants, and these of the poorer sort, but masters of families and those of the richer sort for the most part neglected, taking it for granted (as it were) that they have knowledge, when indeed many of them are grossly ignorant, and ought because of their ignorance to be debarred. (2.) That the bare repeating of the Lord's Prayer, the Belief, or ten Commandments, or answering a Question or two of the Catechism by rote-rhyme (as we say) when nothing of the meaning is understood, is by many taken for knowledge sufficient. (3.) There is not sufficient care to take notice of all scandals and scandalous persons, in which respect there is a twofold gross neglect: [1.] That the scandal of omission of Duty is not taken notice of, as well as the scandal of commission of sin, notwithstanding that the Acts and Constitutions of the Kirk make express provision for the one aswell as for the other, as may be seen in their Acts against these who absent themselves on the Lord's day from the Publick Worship of God, and against masters of families who neglect to pray in their family, and others of that nature. [2.] The many scandals of commission are also neglected, it being a custom in many Congregations to take notice only of Fornicators and Adulterers, and workers on the Lord's day, and such as these; but do neglect Tipplers, Drunkards, Swearers, Liars, Deceivers of their Neighbors, Fighters, Oppressors, Extortioners, Covetous persons, and many others who walk contrary to the Gospel; whereas it is expressly provided by the Discipline of this Kirk, in the year 1587, that if the Eldership perceive any thing in the Congregation either evil in the example, or scandalous in manners, and not beseeming their profession, whatsoever it be that may spot the Christian Congregation, yea rather whatsoever is not to edification, ought not to escape admonition or punishment, or higher degree of Kirk-Censure, as 2 Cor. ii.6, Sufficient to such a man is this punishment which was inflicted of many. (4.) That many such as have been judicially convicted of scandalous faults, are pressed and received into a publick profession of Repentance, when as indeed there is no real evidences of Repentance, yet by a profession thereof are put in a capacity to come to the Lord's Table: By these ways it comes to pass that many ignorant and scandalous persons are admitted who ought to be excluded; which certainly is a fearful sin, as may appear in these and many other respects: [1.] It hinders many poor souls from searching after knowledge, and from departing from iniquity, and hardens them in their ignorance and lewdness. [2.] It causeth them to profane the precious blood of the Covenant, and to eat and drink damnation to themselves. [3.] It makes the ignorant and scandalous promiscuously partakers of the seals of the Covenant of Grace with the truly godly. [4.] It provokes the Lord to depart from his Ordinances, and forsake his Temple, because of such dishonour to his Name. [5.] It brings on the judgment of God on particular persons and the whole Land. [6.] Lastly, it grieves and stumbles the godly amongst ourselves, and exposes ourselves and the Ordinances of Christ therein, to contempt and reproach amongst others.
The Fourth Consequent which is named to follow on the resting upon outward and bare forms, is the keeping in of many continually & openly profane in the fellowship of this Kirk, by which is meant the neglect of casting out such from the fellowship of the kirk by the sentence of excommunication; for certainly these who do willfully continue in their ignorance from year to year, slighting the means of knowledge, and refusing to be instructed, or to learn the way of the Lord: And these who do continue in an open course of profanity, making a profession of repentance, and still persisting in their wicked way after sufficient pains taken on them, and their slighting other inferior Kirk Censures, ought to be casten out as dry and withered, corrupt and rotten branches, and not to be looked as Members of the Kirk of GOD. Num. xv.30, But the soul that doth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the Land, or a stranger; the same reproacheth the Lord, and that soul shall be cut off from amongst his People. Psalm l.16,17, But to the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my Statutes, or that thou shouldest take my Covenant in thy mouth, seeing thou hatest instruction and casteth my Words behind thee? Matt. xviii.18, Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever you shall bind on Earth, shall be bound in Heaven. And therefore it is provided in the old Acts of the Assembly of this Kirk, that who will stubbornly remain ignorant in the principal points of Salvation, shall be Excommunicated: And that every Master of Family shall be commanded, either to instruct his Children and Servants, or cause them be instructed; and if they will not, the Kirk shall proceed against them. The General Assembly at Edinburgh in the year 1648, in the Overtures for the remedy of Grievances and common sins of the Land, provided, That persons often guilty of gross scandals, be Excommunicated more summarily than ordinary Process, except there be more than ordinary signs & an eminent measure of repentance, made known to the Sessions and Presbytery. Besides these four, the Article also mentions many other sad and fearful consequents unto the profaning of all the Ordinances of God, and rendering them bare, barren and fruitless to us. And there is no question, but that formality in profession, and resting upon, and idolizing outward and bare forms, brings out many sad consequents besides these; such as the slighting by many, and mocking by some, the work of the Spirit, not seeking after communion and fellowship with God in Ordinances, not studying to know, and be humbled for the iniquity of our Holy things, not seeing a need, and employing of JESUS CHRIST for strength, and acceptance in all our performances; and turning the living God to a dumb Idol: and many others that are mentioned and spoken to, in that Paper published by the Commission, concerning the contempt of the Gospel.
The Fourth Article.
The fourth Article hath two parts; the first whereof relates to the neglect of Family-worship: which though it be a grievous sin, which provokes the Lord to pour out his wrath on a People, Jer. x.25, Pour out thy fury on the Heathen that know thee not, and on the families that call not on thy Name. Yet there be many Masters of Families amongst all ranks of persons, Noblemen, Barons, Gentlemen, Burgesses, Commons, and even some Ministers who lie under the guilt; nay, there be but few in which the plurality will not be found to neglect, or never to have practiced the Duty: Instance is given in the Article of Great men, (Nobles, Barons, Gentlemen and Burgesses of special note) because very few are to be found amongst these who make conscience to call on the Lord's Name in their Families, some of them turning over the Duty wholly on a Chaplain, or some other person in the Family; and others of them having no such Duty in their Families performed at all, either by themselves, or by any other, they being either unable, or ashamed and unwilling to do it; whereas great and eminent persons have accounted it their duty and glory, and have followed it with much conscience and care, as may be instanced in Abraham, Gen. xviii.19, For I know him, that he will command his children, and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment, that the Lord may bring on Abraham that which he hath spoken of. And in Joshua, xxiv.15, And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve, whether the gods that your fathers served who were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites in whose Land ye dwell: but as for me, and my house we will serve the LORD. And in David, 2 Sam. vi.20, Then David returned to bless his household. This woeful neglect of so necessary and profitable a duty, especially in the Families of great Ones, usually attended with the neglect of catechising and instructing of Children and Servants, in the way of the Lord, and pressing and exercising them unto Prayer and other religious Duties, as it is a great sin before God, the height whereof is increased by their continuing therein, after solemn publick confession thereof, and engaging to the contrary, in the year 1648, and is expressly to be seen in the solemn, publick confession of sins, and engagement to duties; so it is the cause of much ignorance of God, Atheism and looseness, profanity, disorder and discontent that is in Families: and not only proves a hindrance to the spreading of piety amongst others who walk after their example, but also stops the course of the Lord's blessings on themselves and on their Families, and brings down upon them many judgments and curses from the Lord. The other part of the Article relates to the loathing and hating of godliness, and the reproaching, reviling, oppressing and persecuting the godly: A sin, as it is great in itself, Gen. xxi.9, And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian which she had born unto Abraham mocking. Gal. iv.28, Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise: But as then he who was born after the flesh, persecuted him who was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Psalm xiv.6, Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor; because the Lord is his refuge. Isa. viii.18, Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me, are for signs, and for wonders in Israel, from the Lord of Hosts who dwelleth in Mount Sion. Acts ix.4, And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And draws down a recompence of tribulation from the Lord. 2 Thess. i.6, Seeing it is a righteous thing with the Lord to recompence tribulation to them which trouble you: so it seems to be a monstrous sin amongst a People, making profession of Reformation, and who are so often covenanted to God in so solemn a way, and yet hath it prevailed and abounded exceedingly this year bygone, in Court, in Country, in Cities, in Judicatories, in the Army, and every where throughout the Land; A man was made an offender for a word, and he that departed from iniquity, made himself a prey. It was quarrel enough, not to have run with others to the same excess of riot: They who would not be disaffected and dissolute, behooved to be esteemed enemies to their Country: they who studied to make conscience of holy Duties, and keep their integrity, were slandered as Sectaries, and compliers with Sectaries, and were not only exposed to the scourge of tongues, but also to the violence and oppression of malignant, graceless and profane men: Neither were Magistrates and Ministers free of this sin, but even sundry of these who ought to have protected, encouraged and countenanced the godly, were as pricks in their eyes, and thorns in their sides, not only by withdrawing their countenance from them, giving way to others, to revile, oppress and persecute them, but by employing their own gifts and power in Judicatories, and Pulpits, and other-ways, for keeping them down, and making them hateful and odious to others amongst whom they live. And whilest we are speaking of these things, We cannot but mention the great prejudice and enmity which many Ministers had against the exercises of godliness and duties of mutual edification, together with the great blot brought upon piety, and the great blow given to the exercise of godliness by the Act of the Assembly at Aberdeen, not repented of by the Kirk of Scotland, nor repealed to this day: and the great neglect of the duties of mutual edification amongst the Lord's Ministers and People, after there was allowance given for the same by the following Assemblies, and the suffering of many giftless and unprofitable Ministers not gifted of God to edify his People, to continue in the Ministry; whereby it comes to pass that many gracious People were necessitated either to want edification in the Publick Ordinances, or to fall under the censure of such Acts made against such as did usually withdraw from the Ordinances and Ministry of their own Parish Churches. This sin of hating and bearing down the power of godliness, and persecuting the godly, was accompanied with another, which is mentioned also in the Article, to wit, The countenancing and employing the ungodly and profane, a thing that the godly man's soul abhorred, Psalm xxvi.1-4, Judge me, O Lord, for I have walked in mine integrity, I have trusted also in the Lord, therefore I shall not slide. Examine me, O Lord, and prove me, try my heart and my reins; For thy loving kindness is before mine eyes, and I have walked in thy truth. I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go with dissemblers, &c. And so throughout the Psalm. Psalm ci.4,5, A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person. Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: Him that hath a proud heart, and an high look will I not suffer. Psalm cxxxix.21-23, Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? And am not I grieved with these that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies. Search me, O Lord, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts. And yet, hath it not gotten great footing amongst us, and made wicked men get up the head, and wickedness to grow and abound everywhere? The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted, Psalm xii, last verse.
THE fifth Article speaks of Covetousness and Oppression, the one as the root, the other, as the fruit and effect thereof. We need not to insist to shew what a sin the love of the World and Covetousness is, the Scriptures hold it forth as Idolatry, Col. iii.5, Mortify therefore your members which are on the earth, fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness which is Idolatry, as the root of all evil. 1 Tim. vi.10, For the love of money is the root of all evil, which while some men have coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows: As that which is inconsistent with the love of God, 1 John ii.15, Love not the World, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the World, the love of the Father is not in him. As that which makes the Lord wroth with men: Isa. lvii.17, For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid my self and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart. And to abhor them, Psalm x.3, The wicked boasteth of his heart's desire, and blesseth the covetous whom the Lord abhorreth. As that which brings the curse of God on them and on their families, Hab. ii.9-11, Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house, that he may set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the power of evil. Thou hast consulted shame to thine house, by cutting off many people, and hast sinned against thy soul. For the stones shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it. And though it have in it all these and many other mischiefs and evils, yet hath it taken hold on, and doth cleave closely to many of all ranks in the Land in their carriage and actings: Do not the Body of the People spend their time in seeking after the things of a present world; and according as they prosper, or are crossed in these things, accordingly do they think themselves happy or miserable. And there be Ministers not a few, that as they entered, so do they follow the work of the Ministry for the things of a present world, and are more for caring for these things, than for the souls committed to their charge, and more eager in pursuing an increase and augmentation in these things, than in pursuing the things that concern the beating down of Satan's Kingdom, and the promoving of the Kingdom of the Lord JESUS CHRIST. And hence also it is as from a main cause that Ministers not a few, prove unfaithful in their duty, and unsuitable in a day of temptation, rather choosing to forbear to reprove and censure the faults of these who may bring prejudice to them in things worldly, rather than to offend them, and rather choosing to become neutral and indifferent, or comply with evil courses, than to hazard the loss of their stipends, but especially the sad and woeful fruit of this woeful evil appears in Masters to their servants, Landlords to their Tenents, Magistrates and Rulers to these over whom they bear rule, Judges to these who come before them, Advocates and Procurators to their Clients; Clerks, Commissars and Collectors to these with whom they have to do; Officers and Soldiers in the Country where they bear charge, yea and amongst the Commons themselves, where they have any power one over another; The Lord hath forbidden to oppress an hired servant, and hath commanded at his day to give him his hire: Deut. xxiv.14,15, Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in the land within thy gates, at his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it: for he is poor and needy, and setteth his heart upon it, lest he cry unto the Lord against thee, and it be sin unto thee. Yet behold, the hire of the labourer is by many Masters kept back violently & fraudulently, and this crieth unto Heaven, and is entered into the ears of the Lord of hosts, James v.4, Behold, the hire of the labourer which have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth; and the cries of them which have reaped, have entered into the ears of the Lord of sabbath. The oppression of Landlords to their Tenents, are so many and so exorbitant, that they cannot easily be reckoned, the Lands for the most part set by them at a dearer rate than the Tenents can pay the Duty, and live in any tolerable condition themselves; and therefore are they forced with their wives and children to drudge continually in the earth from morning till evening; by which it comes to pass, that their lives is but a kind of lasting bondage and slavery, and that they have neither time nor encouragement for serving and seeking GOD themselves in their Families, or for breeding their children in knowledge, virtue and piety. Secondly, Beside the Rent of the Land condescended on, they also lay on them many burdens and taxations in an arbitrary way by their Bailiffs and Courts, and otherways at their pleasure, such as services of all sorts beyond paction and agreement, and quarterings; and beside the putting out of the Foot, and the burden thereof, sometime the burden of putting out the Horse, and the bearing of a great part, or the whole Monthly Maintenance and Cess. Thirdly, The giving of short Leases of Lands, and removing them therefrom, and taking away what they have when they grow poor, and are not able to pay, or else if they thrive, by heightening and augmenting their Farms and Rent, by which means it hath in the righteous judgment of GOD, occasioned that Tenents in many places prove undutiful to their Masters, and deny to them these things which in conscience and reason they are obliged to perform. And for the Rulers, albeit we be far from joining issue with these who from disaffection to the Work of GOD and the Instruments thereof, did traduce and speak evil of those whom GOD set over us in their charge, and even in the imposing of the most necessary burdens, and in the most moderate and equal way, yet we cannot but acknowledge and bemoan the great reproach that hath been brought on the chief Judicatories of the Land, and on the Work of GOD, by the selfishness and particularity of some persons of note therein, who not only contrary to the practice of good Nehemiah, who would not eat the bread of the Governour, took large allowance for their attendance on Publick Affairs: and notwithstanding that they had sufficient estates of their own, but also abused their power and authority for exacting and employing sums of Money for themselves, and for their friends and followers, while in the mean time small regard was had to the condition of these from whom these sums were exacted, or to the equal supplying of the condition of others, to whom as much and possibly more in desert and justice was due, as to these to whom those Moneys were given. We shall not insist on the bribery that hath been amongst Judges, the cunning, cozenage, and exorbitant pilferings and taking that hath been amongst Advocates, Procurators, Commissars, Clerks and Collectors: many of them have made haste to be rich, and have by the Bench, by the Purse, by the tongue and by the Pen, heaped up much treasure, and made conquest of Lands and Estates, but with an evil conscience, because it hath been the gain of bribery and injustice and lying and deceit, violence and oppression; but amongst no sort of persons hath these sins of covetousness and oppression more appeared and prevailed than amongst many of the chief Officers and Soldiers in our Armies, insomuch that many of these who were raised for the Land's protection and defence, have been their intolerable burden and plague, and have by their most exorbitant, violent, tyrannical and insatiable exactions, made the lives of the Inhabitants bitter, and a burden to them: What interverting of Levies, what false Musters, what exorbitant exactions above the Law for men and horse and Arms; what Quarterings and covetous subtle oppressing devices of many sorts for getting of Money have been amongst Officers, and what plundering of Goods, destroying of Corns, taking and robbing of Moneys, railing upon, and beating and wounding the poor people: what excessive eating and drinking, and unplacableness in their diet, not satisfying themselves with such fare as people could afford to them, but killing their Kine and Sheep, and whatever came in their way: and how many other things of that kind hath been amongst Soldiers, and what exorbitancies and oppressions, whereof the negligence and over-sight of some great ones and officers in our Armies, was not the least cause; for they not being able to shake their hands of dishonest gain themselves, did oftentimes wink at, nay sometimes obstruct the purging out, and punishing of others; Amongst other effects of Covetousness, instance is given in the close of the Article of the great Insolencies and oppression of many in our Armies in England and Ireland, and the fearful perjuries of the Land in the matter of Valuation and Excise, both of which were dreadful and horrible provocations: The first of them as it was a grievous burden to our Brethren in England and Ireland, and did exceedingly stumble them at this Nation and the Work of GOD in their hands; so we make no question but it is one of the sins that GOD is pointing at now in a special manner in the rods wherewith he now chastiseth us. The other of them though little adverted to, or laid to heart, or acknowledged to this day, yet is a fearful guilt which many in the Land lie under: How many in the matter of Valuations, that Lands might be valued at a low rate, did swear falsely? And how many were there who were Instrumental to cause others to swear falsely? And some Judges for their own advantage and interest, did connive thereat: And many likewise did swear falsely in exciseable goods. Before we close what relates to this Article, we desire that these Scriptures may be considered, in reference to the sins mentioned there, as the fruits of the love of the World and Covetousness. Job xxxv.9, By reason of the multitude of oppressions they make the oppressed to cry, they cry out because of the arm of the mighty, but none saith, where is God? &c. Psalm lxii.10, Trust not in oppression, become not vain in robbery: If riches increase, set not your hearts on them. Psalm lxxxii.2, How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the person of the wicked? Proverb. xiv.31, He that oppresseth the poor, reproacheth his maker; but he that honoureth him, hath mercy on the poor. Proverb. xv.27, He that is greedy of gain, he troubleth his own house; but he who hateth gifts, shall live. Proverb. xxii.16, He that oppresseth the poor, to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want. Proverb. xxviii.3, A poor man that oppresseth the poor, is like a sweeping rain that leaveth no food. Verse 8, He who by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that shall pity the poor. Verse 20, A faithful man shall abound with blessings; but he who maketh haste to be rich, shall not be innocent. Eccles. vii.7, Surely oppression maketh a wise man made, and a gift destroyeth the heart. Isa. i.21-24, How is the faithful city become an harlot? It was full of judgment, and righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers: Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water. Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them. Therefore saith the Lord, the Lord of hosts, the mighty one of Israel, Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies. Isa. iii.12-15, As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee, cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths. The Lord standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people. The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people, and the Princes thereof: For ye have eaten up the vineyard, the spoil of the poor is in your houses. What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor, saith the Lord God of hosts. Isa. v.7, And he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; and for righteousness, but behold a cry. Verse 9, Of a truth, saith the Lord of Hosts, many houses shall be desolate, even great and fair without Inhabitant. Verse 23, Which justify the wicked for reward, & take away the righteousness of the righteous from him. Isa. x.1,3, Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed: To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my People, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless. And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? To whom will ye flee for help? and where will you leave your glory? Without me they shall bow down under the prisoners, and they shall fall under the slain: for all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still. Isa. xxxiii.15, He that despiseth the gain of oppression, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munition of rocks. Jer. vi.6,7, For thus hath the Lord of Hosts said, Hew ye down trees, and cast a mount against Jerusalem: this is the City to be visited: she is wholly oppression in the midst of her. As a fountain casteth out her waters, so she casteth out her wickedness: Violence and spoil is heard in her: before me continually is grief and wounds. Jer. v.26-29, For amongst my People are found wicked men, they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men. As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore are they become great, and waxen rich. They are waxen fat, they shine; yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge. Shall I not visit for these things, saith the Lord? shall not my soul be avenged on such a Nation as this? Jer. xxii.13-17, Woe to him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong: that useth his neighbour’s service without wages, and gives him not for his work; That saith, I will build me a wide house, and large chambers, and cutteth him out windows, and it is ceiled with cedar, and painted with vermilion. Shalt thou reign because thou closest thyself in cedar? did not thy father eat and drink, and do judgment and justice, and then it was well with him? He judged the cause of the poor and needy, then it was well with him: was not this to know me, saith the Lord? But thine eyes and thine heart are not but for thy covetousness, and for to shed innocent blood, and for oppression, and for violence to do it. Ezek. xxii.13, Behold therefore I have smitten mine hand at thy dishonest gain which thou hast made and at the blood which hath been in the midst of thee. Verse 29, The People of the Land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully. Hos. vii.1, When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered, and the wickedness of Samaria: for they commit falsehood, and the thief cometh in, and the troops of robbers spoil without. Amos iii.10-11, For they know not to do right, saith the Lord, who store up robbery and violence in their palaces. Therefore thus saith the Lord God; An adversary there shall be, even round about the Land, and he shall bring down thy strength from thee, and thy palaces shall be spoiled. Verse 15, And I will smite the winter house with the summer house, and the houses of Ivory shall perish, and the great houses shall have an end, saith the Lord. Micah iii.11-12, The Heads thereof judge for reward, and the Priests thereof, teach for hire, and the Prophets thereof divine for money; yet will they lean on the Lord and say, Is not the Lord amongst us? none evil can come upon us. Therefore shall Sion for their sakes be plowed like a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the Mountain of the House as the high places of the Forrest. Zeph. iii.1, Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing City. Verse 3, Her Princes within her are roaring Lions, her Judges are ravenous Wolves, they gnaw not the bones till the morrow. Verse 8, Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, till I rise up to the prey: my determination is to gather the Nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, that I may pour out on them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the Earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. Zeph. i.9, In the same day will I punish all them who leap on the threshold, who fill their masters' houses with violence and deceit. Exod. xxii.21-24, Ye shall neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the Land of Egypt. Thou shalt not afflict any widow, or fatherless child; if thou afflict them in any ways, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry, and my wrath shall wax hot; I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless.
The Sixth Article.
The sixth Article relates to the abusing and prostituting the Publick Faith of the Kingdom, in the way of borrowing of Monies and otherwise: which no question is not one of the least provoking Publick sins in the Land. As private men ought so far to have their faith and credit in estimation, for the love of righteousness and truth, as not to engage the same but when they do sincerely intend, and really endeavour to perform what they promise: so much more ought publick persons, and the Judicatories of a Land have such regard to the Publick Faith of a Nation, as not to engage the same but when there be some real purposes, and honest endeavours to fulfill it: Because the prostituting and breach of Publick-Faith, as it is an high provocation before God, so it is a great deal more pernicious, reproachful, slanderous, and injurious, and of a worse example amongst men, especially when it becomes common and is used as a state engine, to draw in men’s property from them, under a vail and shadow of righteousness, and is attended with a kind of constraint upon men, to take the Publick Faith for security, as it was in this Land. Job xv.4, Yea, thou castest off fear, and restrainest prayer before God. Psalm xxxvii.21, The wicked borroweth and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy and giveth. Isa. lix.12-14, For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us, and as for our iniquities, we know them. In transgressing and lying against the Lord, and in departing away from our God; speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood. And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. Yea, truth faileth, and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey. And the Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.
The Seventh Article.
The seventh Article mentions two sins that many of this Land are guilty of, in their first taking of the National Covenant, and solemn League and Covenant, and renewing thereof. The first whereof is, The ignorance that was in many, or the want of the necessary knowledge of the things contained in the Covenants. The Lord requires of all those that take an oath, That they do it in judgment, Jer. iv.2, And thou shalt swear, The Lord liveth in truth, in righteousness, and in judgment, and the Nations shall bless themselves in him. That is, That they take it with such a measure of discretion, judgment and understanding, as is needful for men in their station, in order to the Duty which by their Oath they tie themselves to. But it is beyond question that many in the Land do swear these Covenants without the knowledge and understanding of the heads thereof, so far as was needful for them in their station; who when they were catechized on the particulars, do know little or nothing thereof: Which, no doubt is one cause why they have so little minded and followed, and do so little mind and follow the duties contained therein. Jer. v.4, And I said, Surely these are poor, they are foolish; for they know not the way of the Lord, nor the judgment of their God. The other is, The taking of these Covenants without reality and sincerity, in order to the performance thereof: Which was to swear not in truth, as the Lord requireth. Jer. iv.2, And thou shalt swear, The Lord liveth, &c. not falsely. Hos. x.4, They have spoken words, swearing falsely, making a Covenant: thus judgment springeth up as hemlock in the furrows of the field. And with an heart that was not right, & therefore have they not been steadfast in the Covenant. Psalm lxxviii.36,37, Nevertheless, they did flatter him with their mouth, and did lie to him with their tongues: for their heart was not right with him, neither were they steadfast in his Covenant. The judgments therefore mentioned to have been, in some, example; in others, fear; and in not a few, principles of policy, for attaining their own ends. Other bad principles certainly there were in sundry persons, beside these, but these are mentioned as the most common, and which had sway with most of these who were guilty either of ignorance, or of hypocrisy in the entering into these Covenants. Many did take the National Covenant, in example of others, it being counted praiseworthy and commendable, after such a defection as was then in the Land, to engage in such a duty, and to be reckoned amongst the repairers of the breach: Many did take the solemn League and Covenant, for fear; because the refusing to take it was attended both with Ecclesiastical and Civil Censures, and therefore did they rather choose to hazard on the OATH of GOD, than to run these hazards amongst Men; which doth not yet condemn the enjoining the taking of these Covenants upon a good and warrantable principle. It is lawful for the Judicatories of a Kirk and State to enjoin to men cohabitation with their wives; and to children, obedience to their Parents; to subjects, obedience to their Magistrates, and suchlike under such respective relations: Yet as these persons sin against God if they give obedience only from a principle of carnal fear; neither doth the influence that these relations have on them make the commanding of these things under these relations to be a sin, because they are in themselves duties which are commanded of God, the neglect whereof may in regard of scandal be censured by the Kirk, and in regard of the prejudice that redounds to the honour of God, and good of our neighbour, be punished by the civil Magistrate. In taking of both Covenants, though there were many whom a principle of the fear and love of God did move, yet there were not a few, whom after-discoveries have made manifest, who were acted thereto by carnal wisdom and policy, for attaining their own base and corrupt ends, such as riches, places of preferment, and livelihood, and ease; and hence mainly hath issued that sin which follows in the next Article.
The eighth Article.
The following of the Work of God, pursuing the ends of the Covenant not in a holy and spiritual way, setting the Lord always before our eyes, and acknowledging him in all our paths according to the direction given us of God, which hath the promise of the Blessing, Psalm xxxvii.5, Commit thy way to the Lord, trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass. Prov. iii.5,6, Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not to thy own understanding, in all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths. But in a carnal politick way abusing God's Interest for our own interest and ends, is a fearful transgression, howsoever it is often palliated with specious pretences, as Jehu his zeal against the house of Ahab 2 Kings x.16, Come with me, and see my zeal for the LORD; so they made him ride in his chariot. Yet the Lord doth not suffer it to go unpunished, Hos. i.4,5, And the LORD said unto him, Call his Name Jezreel, for yet a little while and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel on the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the Kingdom of the house of Israel. And it shall come to pass in that day that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.
1. Consequent. Two consequents of this carnal way are mentioned, the one is the walking in the way of our own hearts, more than in the Counsel of God: For when men’s hearts are not single and straight in reference to the glory of God, they love not to walk according to the simplicity of the Word of God, but turns aside to their crooked ways, to choose such carnal midses [means] as seem most plausible to their carnal hearts, for compassing their corrupt ends: a sin that was confessed in the publick solemn Confession of sins, in the year 1648. And yet never have these crooked paths been more trodden in, and these counsels of flesh and blood been more hearkened to, than since that time; which is one of the causes, why the sword doth abide in our cities, and consume our branches and devours: For this the Prophet threatens against Israel, because of their own counsels. The other, Trusting more in the arm of flesh, than in the arm of the Lord; which hath been a constant and continued sin in this Nation these years past; in doting on multitudes, skill, and abilities of men, and numbers, and strength of horses; whence have issued the corrupt mixtures in our Armies and the employing of all ranks of persons, how malignant and profane soever: what wonder then though our Armies have not prospered? but have oftentimes met with a curse instead of a blessing. Jer. xvii.5,6, Thus saith the Lord, Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord, for he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness in a salt Land, and not inhabited. From this same fountain hath proceeded needless alienation of mind, and estrangedness of heart, on the least difference in judgment amongst Brethren, often attended with passion and spleen. Which makes our affection rather to favour our own image than the Image of Christ in others: and our zeal against malignancy and error did divers times break forth into bitterness and reproach against the persons that did turn aside, whereas it ought to have been accompanied with Christian meekness and compassion.
The Ninth Article.
The Ninth Article specifies one of the greatest and most comprehensive and provoking sins in this Land, viz. Backsliding and defection from the Covenants, and our solemn Vows and Engagements. For attaining a right impression thereof, We desire, That these and other scruples of that kind, may be seriously and impartially thought on and applied. Prov. xiv.14, The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself. Jer. iii.20, Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have you dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the Lord. Jer. viii.4-9, Moreover thou shalt say unto them, thus saith the Lord, shall they fall, and not arise? shall he turn away, and not return? Why then is this People of Jerusalem slidden back, by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return. I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright: no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done: everyone turneth to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle. Yea, the stork in the Heavens knoweth her appointed times, and the turtle, and the crane, and the swallow observe the times of their coming: but my People know not this Judgment of the Lord. How do ye say, We are wise, and the Law of the Lord is with us: lo, certainly in vain made he it, the pen of the Scribe is in vain. The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken; lo, they have rejected the Word of the Lord, and what wisdom is in them? Hos. xi.7, My People are bent to backsliding from me; though they called them to the most high, none at all would exalt him. Jer. v.6, Wherefore a Lion out of the forest shall slay them, and a Wolf of the evening shall spoil them: a Leopard shall watch over their Cities: every one that goeth out thence, shall be torn in pieces: because their transgressions are many, and their backslidings are increased. Lev. xxvi.15-17, And if ye shall despise my Statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my Commandments, but that ye break my Covenant: I also will do this unto you, I will even appoint over you terrour, consumption, and the burning-ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: and they that hate you, shall reign over you, and ye shall flee when none pursueth you. Verse 35, As long as it lieth desolate, it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it. Deut. xxix.23-25, And that the whole Land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth thereon, like the overthrow of Sodom & Gomorrah, Admah, & Zeboim, which the Lord overthrew in his anger & in his wrath: Even all Nations shall say, Wherefore hath the Lord done this to this Land? what meaneth the heat of this great anger? Then men shall say, Because they have forsaken the Covenant of the Lord God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them forth out of the Land of Egypt. 1 Kings xi.11, Wherefore the Lord said to Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my Covenant and my Statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the Kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. 2 Kings xvii.15, And they rejected his Statutes and his Covenant which he made with their fathers, and his Testimonies which he testified against them, and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the Lord had charged them, that they should not do like them. Psalm lxxviii.9-11, The children of Ephraim being armed and carrying Bows, turned back in the day of battle. They kept not the Covenant of God, and refused to walk in his Law: and forgat his works, and his wonders that he had shewed them. Verse 36, Nevertheless, they did flatter him with their mouths, and lied to him with their tongues, for their heart was not right with him, neither were they steadfast in his Covenant. Isa. xxiv.5,6, The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof, because they have transgressed the Laws, changed the Ordinances, and broken the everlasting Covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left. Psalm xliv.17-20, All this is come upon us; yet have we not forgotten thee, neither have we dealt falsely in thy Covenant. Our heart is not turned back from thee; neither have our steps declined from thy way. Though thou hast sore broken us in the place of Dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death. If we have forgotten the Name of our God, or stretched our hands to a strange god: Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of our hearts. Psalm l.16, But to the wicked, saith God, What hast thou to do to declare my Statutes, or that thou shouldest take my Covenant in thy mouth? Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee. Jer. xi.9,10, And the Lord said to me, A conspiracy is found among the men of Judah, and amongst the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They are turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, which refused to hear my words; and they went after other gods to serve them: the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my Covenant which I made with their fathers. Jer. xxii.8,9, And many Nations shall pass by this City, and they shall say every man to his neighbor, Wherefore hath the Lord done this to this great City? Then they shall answer, Because they have forsaken the Covenant of the Lord their God, and worshipped other gods and served them. Ezek. xvi.59, For thus saith the Lord God, I will even deal with thee as thou hast done, which hast despised the Oath, in breaking the Covenant. Hos. vi.7, But they like men have transgressed the Covenant, they have dealt treacherously against me. Hos. viii.1, Set the Trumpet to thy mouth: he shall come as an Eagle against the house of the Lord: because they have transgressed against my Covenant, and trespassed against my Law. Hos. x.4, They have spoken words, swearing falsely in making a Covenant: thus Judgment springeth up as Hemlock in the furrows of the field. Rev. ii.5, Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works, or else I will come to thee quickly, and remove thy Candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. This sin is aggravated by several circumstances mentioned in the Article, which are clear in themselves, and need not to be insisted on: therefore passing these, we come to speak of the special Heads and Steps that are condescended on in the Paper.
1. Step. The first is, declining from that purity of conversation, that integrity of heart, that zeal of God that seemed to be in many at their first entry to the Covenant, and a falling off into loose walking, self-interest and indifferency. About the time of the first renewing of the Covenant; there was an sensible change to the better in men’s carriage and conversation; most of all these who joined in opposing the defection; not only reforming themselves from common and gross sins, such as drunkenness, uncleanness, swearing, profaning the LORD’S Day, slighting of the Ordinances, self-seeking, covetousness and oppression, &c. but giving themselves to the Duties of Religion and Righteousness, such as sobriety, Edifying Discourse, Chaste behaviour, hallowing of the LORD’S Day, diligent seeking of the LORD in secret and in their Families, attending on the preaching of the Word as often as opportunity is offered, liberality, love, charity one towards another, a Publick spirit and zeal for GOD; but all these things are now decayed in many, and they are again grown as ill if not worse than before, which as it is an evidence of great unsoundness of heart, so hath it brought many sad reproaches on the Work of GOD in our hands, and hath proven a great stumbling block to many in the neighbour Land, to make them averse therefrom, and hath given them no small advantage to speak both against us and it, though these, who do reject and speak ill of any part of the precious truth of God be not to be justified in so doing, yet certainly they are much to be condemned who by their untender and loose walking minister occasion thereto: Woe to these by whom offences come.
2. Step. The second Step is the sitting up of many Professors in the Land under the Gospel, and becoming formal and remiss, not entertaining tenderness and soberness of mind, a sin that relates especially to the Godly in the Land, not a few of which have much decayed in former tenderness, and zeal, and diligent seeking of God, and sober and exact walking, studying to root themselves in the solid knowledge and love of the truth, and invaluing and improving the Gospel & the means of grace unto a loathing and denying of themselves, and a growing into and loving and employing of the Lord Jesus Christ. By which, deadness of spirit hath seized on some, and laziness of spirit on others; whereby it hath come to pass, that they have been tempted to step out of the way, and some to turn aside to the left hand, to embrace Malignant courses, and some to the right hand to embrace errour, whose sin is so much the greater than the sin of others, by how much their knowledge and the LORD's loving kindness to them hath been greater than to others; and this declining of Professors, and falling off from their first love, if it be not deeply mourned for, and if they do not timeously lament after the Lord, as it may prove a snare to many more than yet it hath done, so it is like to be amongst the chief causes that may provoke the Lord to remove his Candlestick from us, Rev. ii.4,5, Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love: Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent and do the first works, or else I will come to thee quickly and remove thy Candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
3. Step. The third is, the secret falling off of some, and open falling off of many to the opposite party, after their entering to the Covenant; especially the defection carried on by James Graham, and his party, and that of the year 1648, by the authors and abettors of the unlawful Engagement, which particulars are so well known, that we shall not need to stay upon them. Only we desire that it may be remembered, that as they were early begun and long in ripening, that of James Graham, having begun in the year 1639, and ripened till the year 1645, and that some of the chief Authors of the unlawful Engagement having begun in the year 1644, and ripened till the year 1648, and did take hold upon, and infect very many of all ranks throughout the Land, so have they been really and unfeignedly repented of by very few to this day: which we doubt not is one of the reasons why so many of these who had hand in these bloody and backsliding courses have fallen by the sword, and are gone into captivity.
4. Step. The fourth Step, is, The neglecting and condemning the purging of Judicatories, and the Army, in the year 1649, and afterward, from scandalous and disaffected men, and of constituting the same of men of known integrity and affection to the Cause, and of a blameless and Christian conversation: That it was a duty so to have constituted and purged the Judicatories and Armies, ought in reason to be question by none: it being a duty holden forth in the Word of God, That the Rulers of thousands, Rulers of hundreds, Rulers of fifties, and Rulers of tens (amongst the People of God) should not only be able men, but such also as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness, Exod. xviii.21, Moreover, thou shalt provide out of all the People able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating Covetousness; and place such over them to be Rulers of thousands, Rulers of hundreds, Rulers of fifties, and Rulers of tens. And let them judge the People at all seasons. Deut. i.15-17, So I took the chief of your Tribes, wise men, and known, and made them heads over you, Captains over thousands, Captains over hundreds, Captains over fifties, and Captains over tens, and Officers among your Tribes. And I charged your Judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously betwixt every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him. Ye shall not respect persons in Judgment, but you shall hear the small as well as the great; you shall not be afraid of the face of man, for the judgment is God's: 2 Sam. xxiii.3,4, The God of Israel said, The Rock of Israel spake to me: He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God; and he shall be as the light in the morning, when the Sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springeth out of the earth by clear shining after rain. 2 Chr. xix.6-9, And he said to the Judges, Take heed what ye do, for ye judge not for man; but for the Lord, who is with you in the judgment; wherefore now, let the fear of the Lord be upon you; take heed and do it, for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts. And he charged them, saying, Thus shall ye do in the fear of the Lord, faithfully, and with a perfect heart; and Deut. xxiii.9, When the host goeth forth against thine enemies then keep thee from every wicked thing. Therefore were they unclean by Leprosy, by an Issue, and by the Dead, to be put out of the Camp. Num. v.2, Command the children of Israel, that they put out of the Camp every Leper, and every one that hath an Issue, and whosoever is defiled by the dead. Deut. xxii.10,11, Thou shalt not plow with an Ox and an Ass together. Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woolen and linen together; because the Lord their God did walk in the midst of the Camp of his People, to deliver them, and to give up his enemies before them; therefore was the Camp to be holy, that he might see no unclean thing in them, & turn away from them. Deut. xxiii.14, For the Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thy Camp, to deliver thee, and give up thine enemies before thee: therefore shall thy Camp be holy, that he may see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.
And because this Nation had exceedingly neglected the purging of Judicatories and Armies, and constituting the same of persons rightly qualified, which was the cause of many evils of sin and punishment; therefore was this neglect publicly and solemnly confessed to GOD, and the contrary duty engaged unto, at the renewing of the Covenant toward the end of the year 1648, as is to be seen in the solemn Publick Confession of sins, and engagement to duties. For rendering of the which effectual, the Commission of the General Assembly did present many Petitions, Remonstrances and Warnings from time to time to the Committee of Estates, and to the Parliament, who did make sundry Laws both for the purging of the Judicatories and Armies which then were, and for keeping them pure for the time to come, as is to be seen in their Registers and Acts, Anno 1649 and 1650. And accordingly somewhat was done in that great and necessary duty by themselves and others, to whom they did commit the trust, but notwithstanding of all these things, it did appear very soon after the Confessing of that sin, and engaging to that duty, that many did neither mind repentance of the one, or performance of the other. Therefore as the Commission of the General Assembly were necessitated to renew their desires in that particular very often, and from month to month, so were not these Laws and Committees having power to execute the same, established without some wrestling and difficulty: not a few labouring to obstruct and retard the same, and when it came to the execution, with what neglect and slowness, and partiality, did they proceed therein? And what impediments did they (who were not diligent) cast in the way of others who were more diligent and faithful, and zealous in following of the duty? By which it came to pass, that little could be gotten done in that matter, and what was done was not only loaded with imputations and reproaches, but also was for the most part made ineffectual: The persons appointed to be removed, being either kept still, or shortly thereafter being brought again to their own or some other place, or else as evil being put in their place. Nay, after the defeat at Dumbar, these duties came not only to be neglected, but what formerly had been gotten done therein, was looked and cried out upon, as the cause of the ruin of the Army; and therefore not only these who had been formerly purged, but all others how malignant and loose soever, were brought to the Judicatories and Army, and what had formerly been confessed a sin, was then followed and commended as a duty.
5. Step. The fifth is, The authorizing of Commissioners to close a Treaty with the King, for the investing him with the Government, upon his subscribing such demands as were sent to him, after he had given many clear evidences of his disaffection and enmity to the Work and people of GOD, and was continuing in the same; and the admitting of him to the full exercise of his power, and Crowning him notwithstanding of new discoveries of his adhering to his former Principles and way, and of many warnings to the contrary. For the better understanding and more full and clear discovery of this sin, we would consider these things which are set down by the General Assembly of this Kirk, in their Declaration of the date July 17, 1649, to wit, that as Magistrates and their power are ordained of GOD, so are they in the exercise thereof, not to walk according to their own will, but according to the Law of equity and righteousness, as being the Ministers of GOD for the safety of his people, &c. Secondly, That there is a continual obligation and stipulation betwixt the King and the People, as both of them are tied to GOD, so each of them are tied each to other, for the performance of mutual and reciprocal duties, according to which it is statute and ordained in the 8th Act of the Parliament of King James the Sixth, That all Kings, Princes and Magistrates whatsomever, holding their place, which hereafter shall happen at any time to reign and bear rule over this Realm, at the time of their Coronation, the receipt of their Princely Authority, make their faithful Promise by Oath, in the presence of the Eternal GOD, That during the whole course of their lives, they shall serve the same Eternal GOD to the utmost of their power, according as he hath required in his Holy Word, contained in the Old and New Testament, and according to the same Word shall maintain the true Religion of JESUS CHRIST, the Preaching of his most holy Word, and due and right Administration of the Sacraments now received and preached within this Realm, and shall abolish and gainstand all false Religion contrary to the same, and shall rule the People of GOD committed to their charge, according to the will and command of GOD revealed in his Word, and according to the laudable Laws and Constitutions received within this Realm, &c. Thirdly, That in the League and Covenant that had been so solemnly and publicly sworn and renewed by this Kingdom, the duty of defending and preserving the King's Majesty's Person and Authority, is joined with, and subordinate to the duty of preserving and defending the true Religion and Liberty of the Kingdoms. Fourthly, That an arbitrary Government and an illimited Power was the fountain of most, if not of all the corruptions both of Kirk and State: And that it was for restraint of this, and for their own just defence against tyranny and unjust violence (which ordinarily is the fruit and effect of such power) that the Lord's People did join in Covenant, and have been at the expenses of so much blood, travails and pains these years past. Fifthly, That the King being averse from the Work of Reformation, and the Instruments thereof, and compassed about with Malignant and dis-affected men whom he hearkens to as his most faithful counsellours, and looks upon as his most loyal and faithful Subjects, being admitted to the exercise of his power before satisfaction given, would by these counsels, endeavour an over-turning of these things which the Lord hath wrought amongst us, and labour to draw Publick Administrations concerning Religion and the Liberty of the Subject into the course and Channel, in which they did run under Prelacy, & before the Work of Reformation: Which we had the more cause to fear, because his Royal Father did often declare, That he conceived himself bound to employ all the power that God had put in his hands to the utmost, for these ends, and that he adhered to his Father's principles, and walked in his way, and had made a peace with the Irish Rebels, by which is granted to them the full liberty of Popery. From these Principles the General Assembly did then infer, That it would be the wisdom of every one who dwells in this Land, to take heed to such a temptation and snare, that they be not accessory to any such designs and endeavours of bringing or admitting the King to the exercise of his Power, without satisfaction given concerning the security of Religion, and Liberty of the Subjects, as they would not bring upon themselves, and on their Families, the guilt of all the detriment that would undoubtedly follow thereupon to Religion and the Covenant, and of all the miseries and calamities that it would bring on his Majesty's Person and Throne, and on these Kingdoms. Such a thing (say they would in all appearance be the under-minding and shaking off, if not the over-throwing and destroying of the Work of Reformation, and that therefore whosoever attempts the same, do oppose themselves to the Cause of GOD, and will at last dash against the rock of the Lord's Power, which hath broken in pieces many high and lofty ones since the beginning of this Work in these Kingdoms. From all which it doth appear upon good grounds, that it was an high provocation, to admit the King to the exercise of his Power, or to entrust him with the Cause and People of GOD, whilst he was continuing in his former disaffection to, and enmity against the same; with which sin the Lord hath been so displeased, that he hath in a great measure verified the same things on the Land which are holden forth by the General Assembly, and which would be the consequents thereof.
We know that it will be objected by many, That the King did desist from, and abandon that course of enmity against the Work and People of God, before the close of the Treaty, and that he did give satisfaction concerning the security of Religion, and Liberty of the Subjects, by condescending to, and subscribing these demands, which were sent to him from the Parliament of this Kingdom, and the Commission of the General Assembly. To which we reply, First, that these demands were deficient, at least not so plain and positive, and express in the main and necessary thing, to wit, a real abandoning of former malignant courses and principles, and a real and cordial cleaving to the Work and people of God, without which there could not be a real security; it was not a shadow of security for Religion and Liberty, or a paper and verbal security only, but a real security which we were bound before the Lord to have endeavoured and obtained before the close of a Treaty with the King, for entrusting him with the Government, and to authorize Commissioners to settle with him upon such paper-securities, and accordingly to entrust him, was but to mock God, and to deceive the World, and to betray and destroy ourselves, by giving up all the precious Interests of Religion and Liberty into the hands of one who was in a course of enmity to these. Secondly, it is certain, (if men will not deny clear and evident truths) that the King had not only (before the authorizing of these Commissioners to close a Treaty with him upon his condescending to these Demands) given evidence of his enmity to the Work and people of God, but also was continuing in the same, during the time of the Treaty, and that he had not abandoned these Principles and courses at the close of the Treaty; And when he did swear and subscribe the National Covenant, and the Solemn League and Covenant; Nay, the whole tenour of his carriage, did then, and afterward convincingly enough (to intelligent men) demonstrate him to be the same he was before. We shall not need bring many instances, therefore passing over these things which he did, before this Kingdom began to treat with him, such as the Declaration emitted by him when he was Prince, against the Cause and People of God, and his Printed Declaration at Jersey, as King, against all who had been in opposition to his Father in these troubles: We shall mention only a few particulars that fell out thereafter, to wit, these: first, he did not only countenance and entertain the most Capital and known Enemies of this Kingdom, such as James Graham, and others, who had shed much of the blood thereof, but also did give Commission to the said James Graham, to make war upon, and invade the Inhabitants thereof, as Traitors and Rebels. Secondly, in the whole progress of the Treaty, as he did communicate and take counsel with known dis-affected and malignant men in all things relating to the same, and not moving a step, but according to their advice, so did he procrastinate and delay to grant what was desired, until all other means of help had failed, and his own estate and condition was now become desperate, and what he did grant, was not all at once, and cheerfully, as if it had been a duty, but by little and little, and by a kind of coaction and merchandise, as if it had been a bargain of buying and selling. Thirdly, after the Treaty was brought to some close, he did before his coming to Sea, receive the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper from one of the Prelatical Chaplains, and according to the Service-Book notwithstanding the Commissioners of the Kirk did represent the evil thereof to him, and did earnestly deal with him to the contrary. Fourthly, he brought to Sea, and into Scotland with him almost the whole Train of Malignant and dis-affected men, who had followed him in his former evil courses, and fled from the Justice of both Kingdoms, and these he did more familiarly & entirely converse with, than with others. Fifthly, he was near the coast of Scotland before he would condescend to the subscribing of these Demands which were sent from the Parliament, upon the report of the close of the Treaty, as it was first closed in Holland, and the Commissioners were so far out of hopes of obtaining their desire, that even when they were come near the shore, they were preparing Papers of exoneration; and when in an instant on the suggestion of some Malignants, he did condescend to subscribe the Demands, and take the Covenant; it was with a reserve of a Declaration to be printed therewith, which he did not pass from until the Commissioners of the Church did refuse to admit thereof. Sixthly, Within a few days of his coming to Scotland, when removing Malignants from his Family and Court was earnestly pressed by the Commissioners both of Kirk and State, at Falkland, he shewed himself very averse from the same, and did not only at that place, but at all places and times afterwards countenance and entertain men of that stamp, who were in his Family and Court, and came to the same. Seventhly, He did for a long time refuse to subscribe the Declaration which was tendered to him, for the acknowledging of his own, and his Parents’ guiltiness for the time past, and according to his duty for the time to come; and after that he had, with a great deal of reluctancy, subscribed the same, he did oftentimes express, That he did not think his Father guilty of blood, and that notwithstanding he had so declared, he had his own meaning thereof. Eighthly, As he did first by Letters authorize sundry of the Malignant party to rise in Arms without the knowledge of the Committee of Estates, and contrary to the standing Laws of this Kingdom; so did he himself within a short time thereafter, desert the Publick Councils of the Kingdom, and join with the Malignants. Ninthly, During the whole time of the Treaty, and after the close thereof, he had correspondence with all the Malignants of the three Nations, to sundry of which he gave Commissions. These Instances do clearly enough prove what was said concerning the King's continuing in a course of enmity to the Work and People of God, which made it a sin in us, whilst he was in that condition, to entrust him with the Interests of both: neither was our carriage here more faulty in the matter, than it was rash and precipitant in regard of the manner. The news of the late King's death, brought to Edinburgh on the Lord's day at night, the Parliament did the next day before twelve of the clock, proclaim this King with all publick solemnity, without setting any time apart to seek the Lord for Counsel and direction therein; which, as both Reason and Religion might have taught us, to have used more deliberation amongst ourselves, and more supplication to God, before he (whose Father and himself had been engaged so much in opposition to the Work and People of God) had been proclaimed King, and within a short time thereafter, solemn Address was made to him for offering him the Crown and Kingdom upon some verbal and paper security, without any previous Address for informing his conscience, or taking notice whether he did adhere to his former principles and way; and when the Lord was pleased to render these Applications ineffectual, and to bring back the Commissioners to this Kingdom and Kirk, without any satisfaction to their desires; we did again no less precipitantly than before, rush on a second Address, which was at one and the same day concluded and proponed in Parliament, not only without any previous Consultation or Debate had there anent amongst these who had been tender and faithful to the Work of God from the beginning, but without their knowledge, and contrary to their expectation; and afterwards, in regard of the close and dispatch of Commissioners, which was so passionately and violently driven on, that many were impatient, even of the most necessary delays, and of the most reasonable contradiction in any thing that related thereto: and it is not to be past without observation, that whilst we were treading these slippery and sinful steps, the Lord suffered not us to want warning. We shall not insist on the sad apprehensions that were in the hearts of many of the godly in the Land in reference thereto: So albeit they durst not altogether deny duty to be in making Application to the King, yet did the sense of the Lord's controversy with him and his house, together with his walking in his former way, lie heavy on their spirits and made them rather fear a curse, than expect a blessing thereupon. Nor shall we speak of the passionate inclination, desires, and endeavours of the Malignant party, and of their rejoicing herein, and of their heightening of their hopes thereby. But we desire it may be remembered, That whilst the second Address was in preparing, not only did the Lord give us warning of presumptions, first of the King his authorizing of James Graham to invade this Kingdom, and of his encouraging him by Letters to go on in that Invasion, even whilst he was in terms of a Treaty with Us; but also by James Graham his actual invasion a little thereafter by the King's Commission, and by bringing to our hands the authentic Commission itself, and sundry Letters under the King's own hand, testifying his adherence to his former principles, & his affection to that great Enemy of this Cause and Kingdom. And what were all these instances which we have formerly spoken of in the King's carriage, but warnings from the Lord to have taught us wisdom in this thing? We know that some may think it unsuitable for us to meddle in these things which seem to have been otherwise determined by the General Assembly of this Kirk, 1650, and that others may wonder that that Assembly should have so determined. We shall not now stand to debate how far that Assembly did approve of these things which concern the Treaty with the King, anent the security of Religion: but the Lord having declared so much from Heaven against the whole Land, it concerns us and all others impartially to search into, and to discover the causes thereof, so far as he is pleased to convince and give light therein; and we do in charity, and not without ground, presume, That if all the passages of procedure of the King's carriage in the Treaty, and from the beginning in order to this Kingdom, and the enemies thereof, had been impartially and freely discovered and made known to the Assembly as they have been since, they had not gone the length which they went.
6. Step. For understanding of the sixth Step, which relateth unto the rejecting the discovery of guiltiness and causes of the LORD'S contending with us; It will be needful to speak somewhat for clearing of the matter of fact in the instances which are given in the Article: The first instance is in the causes of humiliation, condescended on by the Commission of the General Assembly at Leith, and offered to the Committee of Estates, by whom they were rejected; the story whereof as to the matter of fact was thus: The next day after the English forces came in view of our Army, which was then entrenched betwixt Leith and Edinburgh: Some general persons in our Army (whether from any desire to approve themselves to the King, who the night before was come to Leith from Sterlin, or from any other principle, we know not) did draw forth a great many of the Horse to skirmish with the English, by whom they were with some loss, and much shame beaten back again to the trenches, which bred such a disheartening and astonishment in the whole body of the Army, that had the English then stormed the Trenches, they had belike gained them, and routed our Army. Upon this occasion, the Commission of the General Assembly gave themselves to search after the causes of this stroke and spirit of confusion and astonishment from the LORD, and after some pains taken therein, found that there had been a malignant design for bringing in again the malignant party of a long time, hatching and carrying on by sundry in the Judicatories and in the Army, and that it was far promoted and advanced: And for the more conviction herein, they did condescend on several Instances and Particulars of moment and consequence: This they offered to the Committee of Estates as grounds of humiliation to be kept by them and the Army; but the Committee, as they did refuse to take with any such guiltiness, so did they refuse to join in any humiliation to be kept for the same. Upon the which the Commission did leave it before them with a Declaration, That they had exonered themselves, and with a desire to the Committee of Estates to do therein, as they would be answerable to GOD, who was contending for these things. The second is the causes of humiliation, condescended on at Sterlin immediately after the defeat at Dumbar: these causes which were first condescended on by the Presbytery with the Army, and afterwards approven by the Commission of the General Assembly did specify somewhat of the crooked courses which had been taken in carrying on the Treaty with the King, and of the obstructing the purging of the Army, and of the Judicatories, and of the King's Family, and of the not differencing of Instruments employed in Publick trust, and several other things relating to the carriage of these in Publick trust in Judicatories and Armies, which though real truths in themselves, and just matter of humiliation before GOD, yet were rejected and not so much as read or intimated by many Ministers in their Congregations, and were refused to be taken with, or acknowledged by sundry Statesmen and Officers of the Army, and others, who were guilty of them. The third Instance is the Remonstrance of the Gentlemen, Ministers and Forces in the West, which though it was a testimony given in reference to sin and Duty by a company of men who had been straight from the beginning in the Work of GOD, in the simplicity of their hearts, and did contain in it many sad truths, yet was not only rejected, but condemned by the plurality of the Committee of Estates, and Commission of the General Assembly, notwithstanding that many of the Members of both these Judicatories did dissent from, and protest against these voices, and as if it had not been enough, was again resumed by the Parliament and a most harsh censure put upon it, and all such as did not disclaim it before such a day, appointed to be proceeded against with Censures of an high nature; other testimonies of Presbyteries and Synods beside these are also mentioned, for divers such there was, as the Letters from the Presbyteries of Sterling, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Paisley, and several other Presbyteries and Synods, which were written to the Commission as testimonies of their dis-satisfaction with the Publick Resolutions concerning the Leavy, and were rejected, and sundry of the authors thereof sharply rebuked: nay, some of them discharged to speak their Consciences, and confined in places far distant from their charge for doing thereof. In the close of this Article there is mention of the neglecting of means tending to peace, and the preventing the effusion of more blood, from pride and bitterness of spirit, against these who had invaded us. We know that before this Kingdom was invaded by these who hath now brought it low, there was a Letter written by the Parliament to the present power in England, and duplicates thereof to the General, Lieutenant General, and General Major of their Army, upon the 22nd of June, 1650, wherein they did shew that as in their Letter of the 6th of March, 1649, they did acknowledge their obligation, and declare their resolution, to observe the rule of Remonstrating; first the breaches of Peace for craving just reparation, of using all fair means of giving a preceding warning of three months, before any Engagement of these Kingdoms in war, so they do again renew the same, and accordingly renewed the Acts of Posture and Leavy for putting this Kingdom in readiness in case of invasion, which were made the former year when they wrote the foresaid Letter of the 6th of March, all which they do profess solemnly to be done by them in the sincerity of their hearts; not out of any policy to catch advantages, nor for any other end or design whatsoever, but merely for their own defence, which they do account abundantly sufficient to remove all grounds of jealousies, and misreports of their intentions, and to take away all pretence of necessity of the marching of forces for defence of the borders of England; and on the other part being informed of a resolution in England to send an Army to Invade this Kingdom, they desired to know whether these who have the present power in England do acknowledge themselves obliged, or by their answer will oblige themselves and declare their Resolutions to observe the foresaid way and order upon their part to us, and plainly and clearly to declare, whether their Forces do march for offence or defence, whether with intention for keeping only within the borders of England or coming within ours, which way of procedure for clearing each others, and dealing plainly, is not only agreeable to particular Treaties, and to the many Ties, Bonds and Declarations past betwixt these Kingdoms, but also to the Law of God, and practice of his People in his Word, and to the common law and practice, even of heathen Nations, much more of Christian Covenanted Kingdoms, and may prevent many evils & dangerous consequences, which may fall out, even beyond and contrary to the intentions of the Nations, by their Armies lying near others upon their borders, although merely upon intended defence: This did indeed savour of a spirit of peace; but since the coming of these men into the Land there hath been such pride and bitterness of spirit, that not only were all essays of peace neglected, but every motion tending thereto, whether made by any amongst ourselves, or hinted at by any amongst them, were slighted and sometime entertained with disdain, reproach and contempt; and albeit the invasion was unjust, yet certainly it was our duty to have followed and endeavoured peace so far as it was possible, Rom. xii.18, If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Heb. xii.14, Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see God. Psalm cxx.7, I am for peace, but when I speak they are for war.
7. Step. The seventh is, the Publick Resolutions of Kirk and State, for bringing in the Malignant Party first to the Army, and then to the Judicatories, and the actual entrusting of them with the power of the Kingdom both Military and Civil; We conceive that these Publick Resolutions in the complex of them do (besides other sins which may be mentioned) include these: First, a conjunction with the Enemies of God and his Cause, which is condemned by many clear Scriptures, 2 Chron. xix.1,2, And Jehoshaphat the King of Judah returned to his house in peace to Jerusalem, and Jehu the son of Hanani the seer, went out to meet him, and said to King Jehosaphat, Shouldst thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath on thee from before the Lord. Isa. xxx.1-3, Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin: That walk to go down to Egypt (and have not asked at my mouth) to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt; Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion. Isa. xxxi.1-3, Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help, and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many, and in horsemen, because they are very strong, but they look not to the holy one of Israel, neither seek the LORD: Yet he also is wise, and will bring evil, and will not call back his words: But will arise against the house of the evil doers, and against the help of them that work iniquity: Now the Egyptians are men and not GOD, and their horses flesh and not spirit; when the LORD shall stretch out his hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is holpen shall fall down, and they all shall fall together. Jer. ii.18, And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river? Jer. xiii.21, What wilt thou say when he shall punish thee? (for thou hast taught them to be captains, and as chief over thee) shall not sorrows take thee as a woman in travail? (2.) The laying of a foundation of, or the establishing of a rule for employing and entrusting men with the interest of the Cause of GOD and of the Kingdom, who ought not to be employed nor entrusted, if respect be had to the qualifications required in the Word, viz. That they be men fearing GOD, hating covetousness and dealing truly, who are appointed to be rulers over thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens, Exod. xviii.21, Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people, able men, such as fear GOD, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them; to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties and rulers of tens; and that they be just, ruling in the fear of God who rules over men. 2 Sam. xxiii.3, The GOD of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. (3.) That there was therein a breach and violation of the fourth Article of the Covenant, which obligeth that we be so far from giving trust to Malignants, that they should endeavour to bring them to condign punishment. (4.) That there was therein a manifest receding from the solemn publick confession of sins, and engagement to duties, and from the constant tenor of our Declarations, Warnings, and Remonstrances and causes of humiliation these years past. Jer. ii.35-37, Yet thou sayest, Because I am innocent, surely his anger shall turn from me: Behold I will plead with thee, because thou sayest I have not sinned. Why gaddest thou about so much to change thy way: thou also shalt be ashamed of Egypt, as thou wast ashamed of Assyria; yea, thou shalt go forth from him, and thine hands upon thine head: for the Lord hath rejected thy confidences, and thou shalt not prosper in them. (5.) That there was a great deal of diffidence, and distrust in the Arm of the LORD, and a seeking of help from, and a resting on the arm of flesh; Jer. xvii.5,6, Thus saith the Lord, Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD: for he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. (6.) That there was therein a great deal of prevarication and deceitful dealing by many, Jer. v.2,3, And though they say the Lord liveth, surely they swear falsely. O Lord, are not thine eyes upon the truth? thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved, thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction, they have made their faces harder than a rock, they have refused to return: Because albeit the arguments that were used, were taken from necessity and other things of that kind, yet the great wheel that moved in that business, was a design to bring in that party into places of power and trust into the Army, who had been formerly put out for their malignant and disaffected carriage, and thereafter, albeit in the beginning of this business so great haste was pretended, that they could not wait for a very few days, till the Commission might convene, but made use of a unfrequent and occasional meeting, when not only many of the Members were absent, but also not advertised; yet when that which was aimed at concerning the Modeling of the Army was obtained they did move but very slowly, and Acted nothing at all for many months thereafter; nay, not till long after the Army was completely Leavied, and until they had gotten the Act of Classis also rescinded, and that Party brought to the Parliament as well as to the Army, and until the General Assembly did sit down, that they might have their approbation of these proceedings so far as was fit for them to meddle with. (7.) There was in it a real stumbling and offence to the most part of the godly in the Land, whose hearts were much grieved, and their hands exceedingly weakened thereby, together with the making glad and strengthening the ungodly, and disaffected and profane in the Land, Jer. xxiii.14, I have seen also in the Prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing, they commit adultery and walk in lies; they strengthen also the hands of evil doers, that none doth return from his wickedness; they are all to me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah. Ezek. xiii.22, Because with lies ye have made the hearts of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked works, by promising him life. Lastly, the state of our Cause was thereby upon the matter turned upside-down by entrusting the Work and people of God to the enemies thereof, it being known and made manifest that these men did retain the same principles, and did drive on the same designs which could not but prove destructive to Religion & the People of God.
8. Step. The next Step, is, The joining of many of the People (who are engaged with God by Covenant to the contrary, no less than the Rulers) with the Forces of the Kingdom; after that by the Resolutions there was a prevailing party of malignants brought to the Army, who had the strength of Counsels and Actings therein, and were carrying on a malignant interest; whatever question there may be of the associating of subjects in war with the wicked enemies of God, on the command of the Magistrate in a lawful cause, which seems to us to be condemned in the People of God, Isa. viii.11-18, For the Lord spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me, that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying, Say ye not a Confederacy to all those to whom this People shall say, a Confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the Lord of Hosts Himself, and let Him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling, and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin, and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and many among them shall stumble and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken. Bind up the Testimony, seal the Law among my Disciples. And I will wait upon the Lord that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him. Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me, are for signs, and for wonders in Israel, from the Lord of hosts which dwelleth in Mount Sion. As well as in the Magistrates; the ground of the prohibition, to wit, learning of their works, and the ensnaring of the People, having a more immediate connexion with the People's joining, than with the Magistrate's commanding them to join; yet as the thing is laid down in the Paper we think there will be no question about it, because it includes these Particulars: (1.) The joining of a People who with the consent and approbation, nay by the commandment and authority of their Magistrates had covenanted with the LORD, not to join with his Enemies. (2.) That it was when the rule of constituting the Army was corrupt, to wit, the Publick Resolutions, which made the case desperate and left no place or remedy for purging of the Army. (3.) That it was when a party of Malignants who had the sway of Counsels and Actings were brought to the Army, which being added to the former, not only made the purging of the Army in an ordinary way impossible, but also carried the stream and current of all their Resolutions and Actings into a malignant Channel; that they were the prevailing Party, is more manifest, than that time needs to be spent in verifying thereof. (4.) That they were carrying on a Malignant Interest, to wit, the establishing the King in the exercise of his Power in Scotland, and the re-investing him with the Government in England, when he had not yet abandoned his former enmity to the Work and people of God; and the securing of Power in their own hands under him: And though none of these four had concurred (all which we believe will be acknowledged by un-biased men) yet there was a sin in the People's joining, because few or none of these who did join, did give any testimony against the Magistrate's employing of the Malignant Party, but went willingly after the commandment, Hosea v.11, Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment, because he willingly obeyed and went after the commandment. It is acknowledged to have been the People's duty, even by these who justify their joining with them upon the command of the Magistrate, to have bemoaned it before the Lord, and in their stations to have testified against it before men.
9. Step. The ninth Step is, the prelimiting and corrupting of the General Assembly, in regard of the free and right constitution thereof. General Assemblies rightly constitute in their liberties and freedom, as they are one of the most precious Ordinances of JESUS CHRIST, so have they been most wholesome and profitable means in this Kirk, for the purging and preserving all the Ordinances of CHRIST in the Land; and therefore as it hath been the care of all the faithful servants of God in the Land, to vindicate and preserve their right constitution and due liberty and freedom; so in the promoting of any course of defection hath Satan always studied to entrench thereupon, and to corrupt the same. That the General Assembly was prelimited this year, is evident by the Letter written by the Commission of the General Assembly to the Presbyteries, with an Act sent therewith, appointing, that all these who remain unsatisfied in the Publick Resolutions, after Conference, and did continue to oppose the same, should be cited to the General Assembly; Which Letter and Act had such influence on many Presbyteries, that though there were in them many able and faithful men who were unsatisfied with the Publick Resolutions, yet very few of these were chosen to be Commissioners; and where any such persons were elected, there was for the most part either Protestations against it, or else another election of other persons; by which it came to pass, that almost all these were incapacitated to sit in the Assembly, and the Meeting was almost wholly made up only of these who had been instrumental in carrying on the former defection, or were consenting thereto, and were approving thereof. A more gross prelimitation than this could not readily be, that men, entrusted by the General Assembly with the Publick Affairs, and to preserve the liberty thereof, should first (contrary to their trust) open a door for bringing in the Malignant Party, and then shut the door against the sitting of all these in the Assembly, where their proceedings were to be tried, who did not before their coming there, approve of their opening the door to the Malignants; which was not only to make defection themselves, but to involve others therein, and to take away the remedy thereof. Beside this gross prelimitation, there was also divers other particulars of importance that fell out in the Meeting itself, in the constituent Members in the liberty & freedom of voicing, which were set down at length in the Protestation made at St. Andrews against that Meeting, and the Reasons afterwards penned for strengthening thereof, and therefore we shall not need in this place to repeat these things, but recommends the reading of them to such as desire more fully to be informed in these particulars. It were tedious to fall on the Acts of that Assembly, and Warnings issued by them. These things we now leave, as a subject requiring a more large and distinct consideration; desiring only this one thing to be pondered and considered: That besides their ratifying and approving the Proceedings of the former Commission (which were in many things the great grief of all the godly in the Land) in such ample manner, as even (in way of expression) is not free of some flattery and vanity; and besides the censuring of some honest men for no other thing but only protesting against them; and besides, the emitting of Warnings reflecting exceedingly on former pious and warrantable proceedings, they have laid a foundation for censuring all Ministers and Professors, and for keeping such out of the Ministry, who do not approve of all these proceedings, which have this last year so much vexed and grieved the godly, and so much rejoiced and made glad the Malignant Party and wicked of the Land: And if these things shall be accordingly executed and take effect, what persecution shall there be of many godly Ministers, Elders, Expectants, and Professors; and what a Ministry, and what a Church shall we have in a few years?
The last Head of the Lord’s controversy that is mentioned, is deep security and obstinacy, impenitency and incorrigibleness under all these, and under all the dreadful strokes of God, and tokens of his indignation against us, because of the same, so that whilst he continues to smite, we are so far from humbling ourselves, that we grow worse and worse, and sin more and more: that it is so with us, will not (we suppose) be denied by any godly man amongst us, who knows and observes the Land's condition, and the present temper and carriage of the Inhabitants; every man crying out almost for his affliction, but none almost mourning for his sin. We think it may be truly said, That sin and iniquity of all kinds, and amongst all ranks of persons hath been more multiplied and increased in Scotland since the defeat at Dumbar, than in many years before, and that this Nation was not so dull, hard-hearted, and impenitent under any of the former rods wherewith the Lord did smite us these years past, as under these rods wherewith he now smites us; and that this doth much heighten our iniquity, and speak sad things to come, if not repented of, is evident from Isaiah i.5, Why should ye be stricken anymore? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart is faint. Isa. ix.13-16, For the People turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the Lord of Hosts. Therefore the Lord will cut off from Israel head and tail, root & branch in one day. The Ancient and Honourable, he is the head; and the Prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail. For the Leaders of this People cause them to err, and they that are led of them, are destroyed. Jer. v.3, O Lord, are not thine eyes upon the truth? thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock, they have refused to return. Jer. viii.4-7, Moreover, thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord, Shall they fall, and not arise? shall he turn away and not return? Why then is this People of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return. I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright; no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? every one turneth to his course as the horse rusheth into the battle. Yea, the Stork in the Heaven knoweth her appointed times, and the Turtle, and the Crane, and the Swallow observe the time of their coming; but my People know not the judgment of the Lord. Isa. xlii.23-25, Who among you will give ear to this? who will hearken and hear for the time to come? Who gave Jacob for a spoil and Israel to the robbers? did not the Lord, He, against whom we have sinned? for they would not walk in his ways, neither were they obedient to his Law. Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle; and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him yet he laid it not to heart. Lev. xxvi.14-39, But if you will not hearken to me, and will not do all these Commandments; And if ye shall despise my Statutes, or if your soul abhor my Judgments, so that ye will not do all my Commandments, but that ye break my Covenant: I also will do this unto you, I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning-ague; that shall consume the eyes, & cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you, and ye shall flee when none pursueth you. And if you will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your Heaven as Iron and your Earth as Brass: And your strength shall be spent in vain; for your Land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the Trees of the Land yield their fruits. And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me, I will bring seven times more plagues upon you, according to your sins. I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number, and your high ways shall be desolate. And if you will not be reformed by these things, but will walk contrary unto me: Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins. And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of my Covenant: and when you are gathered together within your Cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy. And when I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight; and ye shall eat and not be satisfied. And if you will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me: Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat. And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your Images, and cast your carcasses upon the carcasses of your Idols, and my soul shall abhor you. And I will make your Cities waste, and bring your Sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet Odours. And I will bring the Land into desolation; and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. And I will scatter you among the Heathen, and will draw out a sword after you; and your Land shall be desolate, and your Cities waste. Then shall the Land enjoy her Sabbaths as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies’ Land; even then shall the Land rest, and enjoy her Sabbaths. As long as it lieth desolate, it shall rest; because it did not rest in your Sabbaths when ye dwelt upon it. And upon them that are left alive of you, I will send a faintness into their hearts in the Lands of their enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword, and they shall fall when none pursueth them. And they shall fall one upon another as it were before a sword, when none pursueth; and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies. And ye shall perish among the Heathen, and the Land of your enemies shall eat you up. And they that are left of you, shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies' Lands, and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them.
Printed in the year 1653.
ALTHOUGH we are not ignorant, that mockers of all sorts may take occasion by this Acknowledgement of the Sins of Ministers, to strengthen themselves in their prejudices at our persons and Callings, and turn this unto our reproach, and that some may misconstrue our meaning therein, as if we did thereby intend to render the Ministry of this Church base and contemptible, which is far from our thoughts, We knowing and being persuaded in ourselves, that there are many able, godly, and faithful Ministers in the Land; yet being convinced that we are called to humble ourselves, and to justify the Lord in all the contempt that he hath poured upon us: That they who shall know our sins, may not stumble at our judgments: We have thought it our duty to punish this following Discovery and Acknowledgement of the corruptions and sins of Ministers, That it may appear how deep our hand is in the Transgression, and that the Ministers of Scotland have no small accession to the drawing on of these judgments that are upon the Land.
Only in this following Acknowledgment we desire it may be considered, That there are here enumerated some sins, whereof there be but some few Ministers guilty, and others whereof more are guilty, and not a few, which are the sins of these whom the Lord hath kept from the more gross corruptions herein mentioned; And that it is not to be wondered at, if the Ministry of Scotland be yet in a great measure unpurged, Considering that there was so wide a door opened for the entering of corrupt persons into the Ministry, for the space of above thirty years under the tyranny of Prelates, and that also there hath been so many diversions from, and interruptions of endeavours to have a purged Ministry in this Land.
First, such as are before their entry
to the Ministry.
LIGHTNESS and profanity in conversation, unsuitable to that holy Calling which they did intend, not throughly repented of.
Corrupt education of some in the Prelatical and Arminian way, whereby their corruptions and errors were drunken in, and abilities improven, for strengthening and promoting the same, not repented of.
Not studying to be in CHRIST, before they be in the Ministry; nor to have the practical knowledge and experience of the Mystery of the Gospel in themselves, before they preach it to others.
Neglecting to fit themselves for the Work of the Ministry in not improving prayer and fellowship with God, education at Schools and opportunities of a lively Ministry, and other means, and not mourning for these neglects.
Not studying self-denial, nor resolving to take up the Cross of CHRIST.
Negligence to entertain sight and sense of sin and misery, not wrestling against corruption, nor studying of mortification and subduedness of spirit.
Secondly, in entering.
CARNAL, corrupt and crooked ways for entering to the Ministry, such as bribing in the time of Prelacy, solicitation of friends and the like; whereby many have not entered by the door, but did climb up another way.
Entering to the Ministry by an implicit, execrable, Canonical Oath and subscription given to the Prelates for acknowledging them, and advancing their corruptions introduced and to be introduced.
Entering to the Ministry without trials, and receiving ordination either from the Prelate, or by a recommendation from him to the Presbytery, and sometimes without or against the mind of the Presbytery.
Entering either only by Presentations, or by purchased Supplications from the plurality of the Parishioners, without or against the consent of the godly in the Parish.
Entering to the Ministry without respect to a Commission from Jesus Christ, by which it hath come to pass, that many have run unsent.
Entering to the Ministry not from the love of Christ, nor from a desire to honour God in gaining of souls, but for by-ends, for a name, and for livelihood in the World, notwithstanding solemn declaration to the contrary at admission.
Some offering themselves to trial without abilities, and studying to conceal and hide their weakness, by making use of the help and pains of some friend and acquaintance, or other men’s Papers, in several parts of the trial; and some authorized to preach, and others admitted to the Ministry, who have little or no ability for performing the duties thereof.
Too much weighed with inclination to be called to the Ministry in a place where we have carnal relation.
Thirdly, After entering, which is first in their private
condition and conversation.
IGNORANCE of God, want of nearness with him, and taking up little of God in reading, meditating, and speaking of him.
Exceeding great selfishness in all that we do, acting from ourselves, for ourselves.
Not caring how unfaithful and negligent others were, so being it might contribute a testimony to our faithfulness and diligence: but being rather content, if not rejoicing at their fault.
Least delight in these things wherein lieth our nearest communion with God, great inconstancy in our walk with God, and neglect of acknowledging of him in all our ways.
In going about duties, least careful of these which are most remote from the eyes of men.
Seldom in secret prayer with God, except to fit for Publick performances, and even that much neglected, or gone about very superficially.
Glad to find excuses for the neglect of duties.
Neglecting the reading of Scriptures in secret, for edifying ourselves as Christians, only reading them insofar as may fit us for our duty as Ministers, and oft-times neglecting that.
Not given to reflect upon our own ways, nor suffering conviction to have a thorough work upon us, deceiving ourselves by resting upon abstinence from, and abhorrency of evils, from the light of a natural conscience, and looking upon the same as an evidence of a real change.
Evil guarding of, and watching over the heart, and carelessness in self-searching, which makes much unacquaintedness with ourselves, and estrangedness from God.
Not guarding nor wrestling against seen and known ills, especially our predominants.
A facility to be drawn away with the temptations of the time, and other particular temptations, according to our inclinations and fellowship.
Instability and wavering in the ways of God through the fears of persecution, hazard, or loss of esteem, and declining duties, because of the fear of jealousies and reproaches.
Not esteeming the Cross of Christ and sufferings for his Name honourable, but rather shifting sufferings from self-love.
Deadness of spirit after all the sore strokes of God upon the Land.
Little conscience made of secret humiliation and fasting by ourselves apart, and in our Families; that we might mourn for our own and the Land's guiltiness and great backslidings, and little applying the Causes of publick humiliation to our own hearts.
Finding of our own pleasures, when the Lord calls for humiliation.
Not laying to heart the sad and heavy sufferings of the people of God abroad, and the not thriving of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, and the power of godliness among them.
Refined hypocrisy, desiring to appear what indeed we are not.
Studying more to learn the language of God's people nor their exercise.
Artificial confessing of sin without repentance, professing to declare iniquity, and not resolving to be sorry for sin.
Confession in secret much slighted, even of these things whereof we are convinced.
No Reformation after solemn acknowledgments and private Vows, thinking ourselves exonered after Confession.
Readier to search out and censure faults in others, than to see or take with them in ourselves.
Accounting of our estate and way according to the estimation that others have of us.
Estimation of men as they agree with or disagree from us.
Not fearing to meet with trials, but presuming in our own strength to go through them unshaken.
Not learning to fear by the falls of gracious men, nor mourning and Praying for them.
Not observing particular deliverances and rods, nor improving of them for the honour of God, and edification of ourselves and others.
Little or no mourning for the corruption of our nature, and less groaning under, and longing to be delivered from that body of death, the bitter root of all our other evils.
Secondly, in our Conversation and Walk
with and before these of our Flocks and others.
FRUITLESS conversing ordinarily with others for the worse rather than for the better.
Foolish jesting away time with impertinent and useless discourse, very unseeming the Ministers of the Gospel.
Spiritual purposes often dying in our hands, when they are begun by others.
Carnal familiarity with natural wicked and Malignant men; whereby they are hardened, the People of God stumbled, and we ourselves blunted.
Slighting fellowship with these by whom we might profit.
Desiring more to converse with these that might better us by their parts, than such as might edify us by their graces.
Not studying opportunities of doing good to others.
Shifting of prayer and other duties when called thereto, choosing rather to omit the same, than we should be put to them ourselves.
Abusing of time in frequent recreation and pastimes, and loving our pleasures more than God.
Taking little or no time to Christian Discourse with young men trained up for the Ministry.
Common and ordinary discourse on the Lord's Day.
Slighting Christian Admonition from any of our Flocks, or others, as being below us, and ashamed to take light and warning from private Christians.
Dislike of, or bitterness against such as deal freely with us by admonition or reproof, and not dealing faithfully with others who would welcome it off our hands.
Not making conscience to take pains on the ignorant and profane for their good.
Our not mourning for the ignorance, unbelief, and miscarriages of the Flocks committed unto us.
Impatient bearing of the infirmities of others, rashly breaking out against their persons, more than studying to gain them from their sins.
Not using freedom with these of our charge, and for most part spending our time with them in common discourses, not tending to Edification.
Neglecting Admonition to friends and others in an evil course.
Reservedness in laying out our condition to others.
Not praying for men of a contrary judgment, but using Reservedness and distance from them, being more ready to speak of them than to them, or to God for them.
Not weighed with the fallings and miscarriages of others, but rather taking advantage thereof for justifying ourselves.
Talking of, and sporting at the faults of others, rather than compassionating of them.
No pains taken in religious ordering of our families, nor studying to be Patterns to other Families in the government of ours.
Hasty anger and passion in our Families and conversation with others.
Covetousness, worldly-mindedness, and an inordinate desire after the things of this life, upon which followeth a neglect of the Duties of our Calling, and our being taken up for the most part with the things of the World.
Want of Hospitality and Charity to the Members of Christ.
Not cherishing Godliness in the People, and some being afraid of it, and hating the people of God for Piety, and studying to bear down and quench the work of the Spirit amongst them.
Thirdly in the discharge of Ministerial Duties.
Which is first in regard of labouring in the Word and Doctrine.
NOT entertaining that edge of spirit in Ministerial Duties, which we found at the first entry to the Ministry.
Great neglect of reading and other preparation, or preparation merely Literal and bookish, making an idol of a book, which hindereth Communion with God, or presuming on bygone assistance, and praying little.
Trusting to gifts, parts, and pains taken for preparation, whereby God is provoked, to blast good matter well ordered and worded.
Careless in employing CHRIST, and drawing virtue out of him for enabling us to preach in the Spirit and in power.
In prayer for assistance, we pray more for assistance to the Messenger than to the Message which we carry, not caring what become of the Word, if we be with some measure of assistance carried on in the Duty.
The matter we bring forth is not seriously recommended to God by Prayer to be quickened to his People.
Neglect of Prayer after the Word is Preached, that it may receive the first and latter rain; and that the Lord would put in the hearts of his People what we speak to them in his Name.
Neglect to warn in Preaching of snares and sin in Publick affairs by some, and too much frequent and unnecessary speaking by others of Publick business and Transactions.
Exceeding great neglect and unskillfulness to set forth the excellencies and usefulness of Jesus Christ, and the New Covenant which ought to be the great subject of a Minister's Study and Preaching.
Speaking of CHRIST more by hear-say than from knowledge and experience, or any real impression of him upon the heart.
The way of most Minister's Preaching too Legal.
Want of sobriety in Preaching the Gospel, not savouring any thing but what is new, so that the Substantials of Religion bear but little bulk.
Not Preaching Christ in the simplicity of the Gospel, nor ourselves the People's servants for Christ's sake.
Preaching of Christ not that the People may know Him, but that they may think we know much of him.
Preaching anent Christ's leaving the Land without brokenness of heart, or up-stirring of ourselves to take hold of him.
Not Preaching with bowels of compassion to them who are in hazard to perish.
Preaching against Publick sins, neither in such a way nor for such an end as we ought for the gaining of souls, and drawing men out of their sins, but rather because it is of our concernment to say something of these evils.
Bitterness instead of zeal, in speaking against Malignants, Sectaries, and other scandalous persons, and unfaithfulness therein.
Not studying to know the particular condition of the souls of the people, that we may speak to them accordingly, nor keeping a particular record thereof, though convinced of the usefulness of this.
Not wealing [making prosperous] what may be most profitable and Edifying, and want of wisdom in application to the several conditions of souls, not so careful to bring home the point by application as to find out the Doctrine, nor speaking the same with that reverence which becomes his Word and Message.
Choosing texts whereon we have something to say rather than suiting to the condition of souls and times, and frequent preaching of the same things that we may not be put to the pains of new study.
Such a way of Reading, Preaching, and Prayer as puts us in these Duties further from GOD.
Too soon satisfied in the discharge of Duties, and holding off challenges with excuses.
Indulging the body, and wasting much time idly.
Too much eyeing our own credit and applause, and being taken with it, when we get it, and unsatisfied when it is wanting.
Timorousness in delivering God's Message, letting people die in reigning sins without warning.
Voguiness [showiness] and pride of heart because the Lord fulfilled our word in the year 1648.
Rash speaking in the Name of the Lord in reference to the success of our Armies of late.
Studying the discharge of Duties, rather to free ourselves from censure, than to approve ourselves to God.
Shifting to preach in places where we were for the time for fear of displeasing, in this time of Publick backsliding and trial.
Not making all the Counsel of God known to his People, and particularly not giving testimony in times of defection.
Not studying to profit by our own doctrine, nor the doctrine of others.
For most part preaching, as we ourselves were not concerned in the Message we carry to the People.
Not rejoicing at the conversion of sinners, but content with the unthriving of the Lord's Work amongst his people as suiting best with our minds, fearing if they should thrive better, we should be more put to it, and less esteemed of by them.
Many in Preaching and practice, bearing down the power of godliness.
Unfaithful discharge of Ministerial Duties in attending the Armies.
We Preach not as before God, but as to men, as doth appear by the different pains in our preparation to speak to our ordinary hearers, and to others to whom we would approve ourselves.
Not making the Ministry a work in earnest as a thing to be accounted for in every duty, which makes much laziness and unfruitfulness, doing duties ex officio, not ex conscientia officio, rather to discharge our Calling nor our conscience.
Secondly, In the Administration of Sacraments.
1. In Baptism.
LITTLE minding in ourselves, or stirring up of others to mind the obligation that lies on us and them, by the Covenant made with God in Baptism.
Not instructing Parents in their duty, not charging them with their promise given at the Baptizing of their Children, nor trying what pains they have taken to perform the same.
Being very superficial and formal in the administration of this Ordinance.
2. In the Administration of the Lord's Supper.
ADMITTING of mixed multitudes to the Lord's Table, not separating betwixt the precious and the vile.
Unequal dealing with poor and rich, in admitting to, or suspending and debarring from the Lord's Table.
Great neglect to prepare for that action, preparing for it more as Ministers, than as Christians.
Carnal and unworthy carriage of Ministers at the Communion, being more desirous to have that action by our hands, with credit to ourselves, than with profit to the people.
Thinking when that action is by-hand, that we have a vacancy from other Ministerial duties for a time.
Little wrestling with God to have the People prepared for it, or the guilt of profaning of it by ourselves and others taken away.
Fourthly, in Visiting.
NEGLIGENT, lazy and partial visiting the sick; if they be poor, we go once, and only when sent for; If they be rich and of better note, we go oftener, and unsent for.
Not knowing how to speak with the tongue of the Learned a word in season to the weary and exercised in conscience, nor to such as are under the loss of husband, wife, children, friends or goods, for the improving of these trials to their spiritual advantage, nor to dying persons.
In visiting, wearying, or shunning to go to such as we esteem graceless.
Not visiting the People from house to house, nor praying with them at fit opportunities.
Fifthly, In Catechising.
LAZIE and negligent in Catechising.
Not preparing our hearts before, nor wrestling with God for a blessing to it, because of the ordinariness, and apprehended easiness of it; whereby the Lord's Name is much taken in vain, and the People little profited.
Looking on that Exercise as a work below us, and not condescending to study a right and profitable way of instructing the Lord's People.
Partial in Catechising, passing by these that are rich and of better quality, though many of such stand ordinarily in great need of instruction.
Not waiting upon and following the ignorant, but passionately upbraiding of them often.
Sixthly, In Ruling and Discipline.
NOT making use of this Ordinance of Church-Censures for gaining of souls, but turning it into a mere Civil punishment; and in the administration thereof becoming either coldrife [lukewarm], or without a spirit of meekness, and using a way either merely rational by worldly wisdom, or merely authoritative, more than by motives drawn from the love of Christ; and by our carriage in Judicatories putting a human shape upon the Ordinances of Jesus Christ, carrying ourselves in too stately a way, like the men of this world.
Partiality in administration of Censures with respect of persons, not using the like faithful freedom towards high and low, sib and fremd [brother and stranger].
Rash taking on us to open and shut Christ's door.
By our practice, teaching (as it were) formality in Repentance to offenders, hardening them in their sins, by accepting bare forms without any evidence of Repentance, and loosing when we were persuaded Christ did not loose: and of late turning profession of Repentance into a State engine for men to step unto preferment and publick employments.
Following scandalous persons with the highest Censures of the Kirk, with little or no care to hold them up to God.
Want of compassion to these on whom Discipline is exercised, not labouring to convince them of sin, but imperiously and with passion instead of zeal threatening them, thinking it sufficient if we be obeyed, though they be not gained to Christ.
Superficial, sinful, and slight censuring one another, at times appointed for that end in Presbyteries and Synods, and neglect of faithful freedom and love in performing that duty.
Admitting of men to the Ministry who were not qualified with Grace as well as Gifts, notwithstanding the Word of God and Constitutions of this Kirk do require the one, as well as the other; which hath been the fountain of many evils.
Great unfaithfulness in bringing in, and holding in, unworthy persons in the Ministry, and keeping Censures off unfaithful men.
Unfaithfulness in giving Testimonials and Recommendations, and receiving persons upon Testimonials merely negative, especially Expectants and Students of Divinity.
Constituting Elderships of such men as are known to be ignorant, profane, and disaffected to the Work of God, and being careless to have them consisting of the most able and godly men within the Congregation, a great cause of much ignorance, profane and scandalous carriage among the People.
Neglecting to remove from the Elderships such as are ignorant and scandalous.
Neglecting to hold out the necessary qualifications and duties of Ruling Elders, and to stir them up to their duty.
Not carrying ourselves in Judicatories and other ways toward Ruling Elders as towards Brethren, and joint Overseers in the work of the Lord.
Not making conscience of keeping Kirk Judicatories, but wearying of the expenses and attendance, whereby divers things hath been hastert [hastened] and miscarried therein; willing deserting of them, and shunning to give testimony in them, for fear of inconveniences.
Not stooping to a gaining way in Debates, nor making application to God for knowledge of his mind in things debated, before they pass in a conclusion.
Wearying to hear men fully who represent their doubts, and to weigh all the Arguments that can be represented for the negative, before the affirmative be concluded.
Too great animosities in Judicatories, even about matters of small weight.
Pride, impatience, and peremptoriness of spirit, not staying on others clearness in our debates and conclusions, through which it comes to pass that we judge rashly of precious men; and alienation of affections steals in and is entertained.
Hasty concluding of Acts & pressing obedience thereto without convincing grounds holden forth from Scripture for satisfying the consciences of the Lord's People.
Silence in Assemblies when unsatisfied, being carried by the authority of men, and too much following other men’s light and suppressing their own.
Making Votes subservient to the humors of men and human interests.
Some altogether neglecting wholesome Acts and Constitutions of Assemblies, and others, receiving their Acts too implicitly.
Too bitter expressions against Adversaries in Publick Papers and Sermons, for eschewing reproaches, whereof there is no fruit but irritation.
Abusing transportations by making them too frequent, and almost the ordinary way of Planting places of any eminency; sometimes enacting them when there is no pressing necessity, and without tender endeavouring the satisfaction of the People interested and without care of providing them thereafter.
In relation to the Publick.
NOT studying the controversies of the time, that we might be enabled to hold forth light, and convince gain-sayers of the truth.
Not fearing to meddle in matters too high for us, and desiring to be taken notice of, more than to be stedable [serviceable, faithful] in the Publick.
Following of Publick business, with too much neglect of our Flocks.
Following of Publick business with much pride and passion, and loftiness of spirit upon carnal principles and desire to be esteemed of, rather than true zeal to Jesus Christ and his matters, and with little or no prayer.
Superficial admitting of all to the Covenants, and solemn Acknowledgement, without taking sufficient pains to instruct and inform them in the knowledge of the things contained therein.
Being too instrumental for bringing disaffected persons to trust.
Unequal zeal against enemies, cooling in our zeal against one enemy as it is increased against another.
Much repining at the judgments of God upon the Land from carnal respects, and transferring the causes of the wrath off ourselves upon others.
Too easy satisfied in such things as might tend to the prejudice of Christ's interest, weighing the consequences of great Revolutions more by respect to ourselves, than to his honor.
Agreeing to receive the King to the Covenant barely upon writing, without any apparent evidences of a real change of Principles.
Not using freedom in shewing what we were convinced, was sinful in reference to the late Treaty with the King, but going on therein when we were not satisfied in our consciences for fear of reproach and of being mistaken.
Silence in Publick, and not giving Testimony after discovery of the King's Commission given to James Graham; for invading the Kingdom.
Pressing the King to make a Declaration to the world, whilst we knew by clear evidences that he had no real conviction of the things contained therein.
Too much desiring to lurk upon by-ends, when called to give a Testimony.
Not bearing Testimony against Publick Defections in a right and spiritual way.
Unfaithfulness in bearing burden with them, whom the Lord raised up to be his witnesses against the publick backslidings; omitting to bear Testimony ourselves upon carnal respects and lukewarmness in adhering to publick Testimonies formerly given.
Which could not be gotten printed.
THE foregoing causes of God's wrath being on several days of solemn Humiliation laid out & confessed before the Lord, we thought fit to subjoin here some other causes of our late Humiliation; as
- The late declining of the Land by consenting & engaging unto the publick actings of the present Powers, so contrary to the Covenants, & so much prejudicial to Religion & liberties.
- The defection of divers, who are accounted religious, from their former principles, unto Separation, & other Errours of the time.
- The Usurpation & Carriage of the present pretended Assembly.
- The English their great Encroachments upon the Liberties of this Church.
- That the promised Conversion of His Ancient people of the Jews may be hastened.
- That the Lord may make our present resolutions for reforming ourselves, our Elderships & people effectual, and may bless our Endeavours to this purpose.