Poor, wasted, misrepresented remnant of the suffering Antipopish, Antiprelatic, Antierastian, Antisectarian, true Presbyterian church in Scotland, united together in a general correspondence, &c.
It certainly is and ought to be matter of great lamentation, that these once so famous covenanted nations, have so far degenerated into the plant of a strange vine of a long time; and are yet still going on forward in the same courses, from evil to worse, notwithstanding of the Lord's trying to reclaim, sometimes by strokes, sometimes by deliverances; which have been so far from having effect, that we have still grown worse: so that the poor remnant have that sad song to sing (even in a covenanted nation) which David had, when by persecution banished from the church, Woe's me that I dwell in Mesech, or sojourn in Kedar's tents. This, with many sad snares and temptations we are like to be trysted with, and that we may (in this declining time) declare where we, and all the nation, ought to foot a stand: God's glory, the advancing and flourishing of his Son's kingdom, being our chiefest end and design; and to which we desire (through grace) to level all our actions, according to the holy and sweet scriptures of truth, in the Old and New Testaments, Confession of Faith, Catechisms larger and shorter, Covenants National and Solemn League, Directory for Worship, Acknowledgment of Sins, Engagement to Duties. Finding by these a necessity laid upon us, is the ground and reason of our appearing in public at this time, lest we should be found unfaithful in our generation, thought weak and mean. Although we have in our former testimonies and declarations disowned the tyrannical and unlawful powers of the late tyrants. And in like manner having in our two last declarations emitted at Sanquhar, August 10, 1692, and November 6, 1695, declared the late unlawful magistrates and their proceedings, which we here homologate. The three nations and this in particular were once famous for an union with God, and together in the defence of the holy scripture of truth, Confession of Faith and Catechisms, and that by double ties, national and Solemn League, which was the once famous test of both prince and people: and this we have had handed down from our faithful ancestors, by a noble cloud of faithful witnesses who thought it their honour and advantage, and found so much sweetness and satisfaction in their Master's service, that they would not take the opportunity of their falsely pretended years of liberty, but would nail their ears to their master's door-posts to be his servant for ever by their so oft renewing of the same: Therefore, we finding the like, esteem ourselves obliged also so to do: and to declare to the world that we cannot own princess Anne as our lawful chosen covenanted princess, such as we ought to have, nor can have no princess but a covenanted one, and such as will not accept of the qualifications of a covenanted subject to God, shall never (through grace) be chosen, owned, or subjected to as a prince by us: in regard, that she has sworn to maintain prelacy in our neighbouring covenanted nation, and also given encouragement to the same in Scotland, by her letters to the council, and in regard of her indicting and dissolving assemblies at her pleasure, as her predecessor William did, which is to be seen in her proclamation, February 18, 1703, and also her involving the land further in perjury, by her imposing illimited oaths of allegiance and assurance, and setting up in places of power and trust, such vile men as most conduce for the carrying on of her wicked designs, all which we do hereby declare and protest against, as contrary to the word of God, and the covenanted work of reformation.
Likewise we protest and declare against the unfaithfulness of the representatives of this nation, for the receiving and setting up the foresaid princess Ann, as queen over this covenanted land, by their act recognizing her majesty's just title and authority, June 12, 1702. Ah! how sad is it when these who ought to be the grand trustees of the kingdom, to whom it belongs, in such a case, to secure the civil and spiritual interest thereof are so prelimited, that many of the members of parliament are made up of pensioners and corrupt men: such as the word of God, and laudable laws of this nation doth exclude, Exod. xvii. 21. 2 Sam. xxiii. 3 Rom. xiii. 3. Parliament 2. sess. 2. Charles II. act 26. For keeping judicatories and places of trust, free of corruption, February 27, 1649.
"The estates of parliament taking into consideration, that the Lord our God requires, that such as bear charge amongst his people, should be able men, fearing God, hating covetousness, and dealing truly, and that many of the evils of sin, and punishment under which the land groans hath come to pass; because hitherto there hath not been sufficiently provided and cared for: and being sensible of the great obligation that lie upon them by the national covenant, and the solemn league and covenant, and by the many deliverances and mercies from God, and the solemn engagement unto duties, and to advance religion and righteousness in the land, and fill places of power and trust with men of approved integrity, and of a blameless and Christian conversation. And being convinced in their consciences, that there cannot be a more effectual way for bearing down of malignants, and suppressing of profanity, iniquity, and ungodliness, and rendering all the laws already made, or hereafter to be made, forcible and effectual, for the honour of God, the advancement of religion and righteousness, the good of the lieges, than that all judicatories of the kingdom consist of, and places of power and public trust, be filled with able and honest men. Do therefore statute and ordain, that no person that is malignant and disaffected to the present work of reformation and covenants, and against whom there is just cause of exception, or just ground of jealousy (because of their disaffection), nor any person given to drunkenness, swearing, uncleanness, or any other scandalous offence, shall hereafter be chosen to be a judge or any office of estate, or magistrate, or counsellor in burghs, clerks, or deacons of crafts, or any officer of any army belonging to this kingdom, or employed in any place of power and trust in this kingdom, shall not only be able men, but also shall be men of known affection unto God, and approven fidelity and integrity in the cause of God, and of a blameless and Christian conversation."
As also, we must declare, for the vindication of ourselves, and undeceiving of our neighbour nations, that since they despise that union whereby we were acceptable to God, and glorious to the world, we protest and testify against any other union (not founded on that basis) with them. And to inform them, that it is our fears, that their aiming at any other union, will be but a confederacy against God, and bring ruin upon us all. And we must, for our own vindication, declare, that howsoever mean and despicable we may be thought; yet having our ancient laws upon our side, both of Church and state, to which the nation was so solemnly sworn, that we must look upon ourselves as these who are endeavouring to shew themselves the truest and most loyal subjects of the nation. For, although the greatest part of the nation should make defection, and break the rules of government, both of church and State; yet the smallest part adhering thereto, best deserves the name. And it was never found, that treachery to God and their country, escaped punishment and faithfulness lost its reward. Verily there is a reward for the righteous. Verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth. Take but a look of our former acts of parliaments, rescinded at Charles the Second's home-coming, by that and these pretended parliaments since, and ye will find the covenants made the coronation oath, as well as the other, and them made the oath of allegiance too, obliging king and people each to other, and both to God, by a more sacred and solemn tie, than any illimited oath, without reserve, can do. See act 15. parl. 2. Charles II. February 7, 1649. anent securing the covenants, religion, and peace of the kingdom, wherein they do enact, ordain, and declare, "That before the king's majesty who now is, or any of his successors shall be admitted to the exercise of his royal power, he shall, by and attour the foresaid oath of coronation, assure and declare by his solemn oath under his hand and seal, his allowance of the national covenant, and of the solemn league and covenant, obligation to prosecute the ends thereof in his action and calling: and that he shall for himself and successors, consent and agree to acts fully establishing Presbyterian government, the Directory of Worship, Confession of Faith and Catechisms, as they are approved by the General Assembly of this kirk, and parliaments of this kingdom, in all his majesty's dominions." And act 5. parliament second, Charles I. concerning the covenant, June 11, 1640. Wherein they ordain and command the confession of faith and covenant to be subscribed by all his majesty's subjects, of all ranks, degrees, and qualities, whatsoever, under all civil pains, &c. And also ordains the same covenant to be presented at the entry of every parliament, and before they proceed to any other act, that the same be publicly read and sworn by the whole members of parliament claiming voice therein, otherwise the refusers to subscribe, and swear the same, shall have no place nor voice in parliament. And such like, ordains all judges, magistrates, or other officers of whatsoever place, rank or quality, and ministers at their entry to swear and subscribe the same covenant.
Which acts, if they had been kept, as they were materially sworn to, would have kept places of power and trust, both high and low, civil, ecclesiastic and military, from being filled with persons of corrupt principles and practices (as they too long have been) and have supplied them with these, according to the standard of God's word: whereby religion, liberty, and property, would have been preserved entire at home; and we would have been kept from any unlawful Antichristian confederacies abroad, the shame of our once (otherwise) covenanted nation, and as by that breach our state hath been debauched of a long time, so our church hath not wanted its share by being supplied by the ordinances of men, with men of corrupt principles of a long time, and yet continues sadly to be so, to our great grief and spiritual detriment and loss to the whole nation; for they being ministers of men, and illimitedly sworn to men, cannot have ground of expectation from God to profit the people, having acted so far contrary to the word of God, Jer. xxiii. 22. Rom. vi. 16. and their sworn principles, which they are now ashamed of, instead of glorying in. Ah! how lamentable is this, that ministers should be with the first, and exemplary in prompting one another, and involving the land deeper in defection. Therefore we protest and declare against all such unfaithfulness in ministers and magistrates, and refuse to own or concur in any thing we know will strengthen and encourage them, as in paying them tiends, taxes or impositions in their several places and stations, while suffering Christ's crown and privileges to be so enhanced, and so choping and changing his ordinances formerly, and now, the order, as if they were arbitrary, contrary both to scripture, (Mal. ii. 8. But ye are departed out of the way, ye have caused many to stumble at the law. Ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the Lord of hosts. Isa. xxiv. 5. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof, because they have transgressed the law, changed the ordinances, and broken the everlasting covenant. Col. i. 18. And he is the head of the church, who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in all things, he might have the pre-eminence. Eph. i. 22. And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church.) and our former noble constitutions of faithful parliaments and assemblies, all which has been owned and countenanced of God in our purer times, and witnessed and testified for both on scaffolds, and in fields at home, in seas and plantations abroad, and by our foresaid declarations, which we here count ourselves obliged to own, being by covenant engaged thereto. But that we be not mistaken, we hereby declare our hearty invitation to our covenanted brethren, of all ranks, both in this land, and our neighbouring covenanted kingdoms, to abandon their former and present courses of defection, (we not being willing or desirous to rake further in these ashes, wishing rather that the fire were extinguished, and the just grounds of our exceptions removed) that they would put to their helping hand to the work of God, his cause and covenants, that is now trampled upon, and buried by great and small, ministers and others. We exhort and beseech them, in the bowels of our Lord Jesus Christ; that now, after the loss of the opportunity of so many years, they would, in their places and stations, not be slack handed in giving a testimony for Christ faithfully, against all usurpations upon our Lord's crown rights and encroachments upon his church's privileges, both of old, and of late. And likewise that they disown the reception of any such, whose principles and practices are repugnant to the covenanted principles of the church of Scotland and vows to the Most High God. And remember you are bound in covenants, to the utmost of your power, with your lives, lands, and estates, to maintain and defend the whole covenanted work of reformation, against all whatsomever.
Ought ye not then to endeavour to repair the house of the Lord, that lies so long desolate? Let it be seen that ye state yourselves rightly, and your former debatings for your own ends and interests be laid aside, and that it is only for the Lord's interest, and not your own ye are striving for: otherwise if ye will not, after all this, appear for Christ and his cause, we cannot look upon you as friends, but foes, notwithstanding of your flattery and fair pretences. Only we desire to exoner our consciences, to put you yet in mind of what you may, and ought to know you are engaged to, if so be the Lord would stir up or awaken any in his mercy before judgment come on altogether: among the many warnings you have gotten, both by the Lord's dispensations, and by the testimonies that have been given by the faithful witnesses of old and late, in these declining times, as they are to be seen by any who are desirous to search for them; both by martyrs and faithful contenders, as these contained in our Informatory Vindication and testimony, against the toleration, given in by Mr. James Renwick, Jan. 17th, 1688. All which testimony we own and approve of. And likewise we declare our close and firm adherence to the whole of our covenanted reformation; for we love the laws of our father and the ordinances of our mother, the once famous church of Scotland. This we thought fit to declare in this juncture, for the vindication of truth, and exoneration of our conscience, and to testify to all parties where we stand, and resolve (through the Lord's grace) to foot our stand.
Therefore in order to the publication hereof, we appoint and ordain, that ye our emissaries, pass upon the 21st of May 1703 years, unto the market cross of Sanquhar, and there by open proclamation make intimation of this our declaration, leaving copies of the same affixed upon the foresaid market cross, and other patent places of the kingdom necessary.
Given upon the 21st of May, 1703.
Let King Jesus reign, and let all his enemies be scattered.