Poor, wasted, misrepresented remnant of the suffering Antipopish, Antiprelatic, Antierastian, Antisectarian, true Presbyterian church of Christ in Scotland, united together in a general correspondence, &c.
These kingdoms have been in pain to bring forth an uniformity: but, alas! they have brought forth wind: we have been in expectation of unity in judgment and practice: but, ah, how monstrous a deformity and dissension in both! These that profess themselves healers of our breaches, they make them wider, while they build a wall and strive to uphold it, and daub it with untempered mortar. Unity is beautiful, and accursed may he be that doth not both love it and study it, but unity must be consecrated to verity, and both to God. Truth must be the uniting principle, else we cannot be truly one: but interest and prejudices are clouds to eclipse that light of divine truth that otherwise would shine in the world, these put out the eye of the mind, and darken the light of truth. Where is now the product of all that expense of witnessing, wrestling, blood, and suffering of our worthy ancestors and dear brethren, in depositating and transmitting to us such an excellent testimony, when brought to the very brinks of Jordan? Have we not sinfully and shamefully buried all? Have we not chosen ourselves captains to return us back unto Egypt again? And are we not in the high way to it, and at one blow cut the very neck of our noble constitution, covenanted rights, and charters of our pure mother church, for an Erastian and clipped platform of mock presbytery, shapen out by and accepted at the first instant from the hands of the civil powers, and these for the most her old inveterate enemies, underminers, and opposers, dealing with her as with an illegitimate bastard, who cannot dispose of or transmit their inheritance to posterity, but must fall in the king's hands, or as broken heirs who enter to their grandfathers, to evite the debt of her many vows, engagements, protestations, testimonies, declarations, &c. that we and the whole land are inevitably engaged into, especially these between the year 1638, and 1649, with the faithful contendings of the protesting party in the year 1651, till anno 1660, reducing her to an estate of minority, and delivering her up to the pedagogue tutory and disposal of her enemies, betrayers, and opposers. What corrupting and everting the very constitution of the supreme courts of Christ in their members, convocating, sitting, voicing, and proceedings, all accommodated and managed according to the king and court's letters, acts, appointments, and recommendation. What burying and villipending [despising] our solemn and sacred covenants, acknowledgement of sins, and engagement to duties. And in lieu of them introducing illimited oaths of allegiance and assurance, not only exclusive, but contradictory of the former, and making them the grand qualifications of all members in their church, state, and army. What abominable conjunction and confederacies with the Lord's inveterate enemies, the very old props, pillars, and limbs of Antichrist? And how encouraged with sinful and barbarous levies, cess, hearth, pole-money, and other supplies! What a vast toleration of all errors, heresies, and blasphemies promoted, pleaded for, connived at and protected? What encouraging of bloody and perjured prelates with their underlings? Yea, and trusting with the cure and care of souls; some of them created presbyters: some indulged, while pretended presbyters are made or rather have made themselves court curates, parasites, hirelings, and changelings. What God provoking, soul-ruining, land cheating fasts, and days of thanksgiving, for the success, designs, and interests of the Lord's old and stated enemies? What dreadful polluting and profaning of the Lord's supper? What horrid pardoning and advancing of bloody murders and murderers of the Lord's people and others? whereby the Lord is provoked and the land defiled with blood. Alas! what horrid iniquities are not now perpetrated, encouraged, enacted, and complied with? But our design here, is neither to insist nor expatiate on the unparalleled God-provoking, soul-destroying, land-sinking apostacies and defections of the pretended representative, either of church or state, having in our declaration at Sanquhar, anno 1692, August 10, by virtue not only of our general call as Christians; but by reason of that sacred and solemn tie of the public National Covenant, and of the Solemn League and Covenant, and desirous to be found faithful in this day of temptation, and to exoner our consciences as in his sight, and to avoid accession to the guiltiness in which most have involved themselves, fairly red marches in setting up our ancient boundaries, and covenanted land-marks betwixt us, and both of them holden out by many weighty reasons, why we could own neither of them; but in our places and stations, behoved to disown and testify against them, and all the acts, determinations, and conjunctions flowing from them, with all their courts and judicatories, while so constitute and circumstantiate (which declaration we here homologate) though hitherto flouted at with disdain, and exploded with indignation, and the owners and adherers thereunto, reproached, persecuted, and hated; not only by open enemies, but by the bulk of the so called presbyterian ministers and professors, while they themselves neither will, nor dare so much as mutter, or offer one mite of a testimony for the present precious word of the Lord's patience, and the covenanted reformation of Scotland, in doctrine, worship, discipline and government, and the National Covenant of Scotland, and the Solemn League and Covenant of Scotland, England, and Ireland, and the work of uniformity in religion, and against all or any of the injuries, insolent indignities, violations, and breaches done unto, and made upon the same: but out of zeal to their mercenary bastard loyalty, and to their own short and cursed quiet have manifestly and deliberately broken and buried their solemn oaths and allegiances to Christ, sold his crown, sword, and scepter, and royal prerogatives, with the liberties of this church, and have confederate, bonded, associate, and embodied themselves with the Lord's stated enemies and opposers, their sins, interest, and courses; yea, have metamorphosed themselves not unto a shape, but unto a condition below an ass, whereby the work of reformation, piety, and godliness, have gotten a sore blow, the wicked and ungodly their hopes heightened, and made to say their day is coming. So we have seen it, and the godly discouraged, their hands weakened, their hearts saddened, and made almost to say, Our hope is cut off, our glory is departed: ruin and desolation apparently ineluctably drawn on the land, if not prevented, by giving and taking timeous warning: and yet after all these things are done, gadding about so much to change their way to seek love, teaching the wicked ones their ways, they wipe their mouth and say, We are innocent, and that notwithstanding of all that is come upon us, we have not forgotten the Lord, nor dealt falsely in his covenant, and we cannot bear these who discover our iniquity and make known our sins unto us. And if there be any who design to keep their integrity, and adhere to their former covenanted principles, bear testimony against the land's apostacies, backslidings, and defections. These are the burdens of many, and are for signs and wonders; who are spoken and acted against as schismatics, traitors, Gibbs, Coot-mooronians, and what not. Nevertheless, though we be men compassed about with many infirmities, and for our sakes also wrath is upon the land, yet considering that some by reason of the acts of your pretended parliaments, or upon what other pretences or pretexts we know not, have to the grief of our hearts most sinfully and shamefully paid, and designs to pay the pole-money, in our name, unjustly and impiously imposed, exacted and complied with by all ranks in the land, whereby many of our names are inserted in the public collectors books, as tacit payers, compliers, and connivers with such juggling, cheating, and God-provoking abominations, manifestly importing and owning any of their imposers, as our lawgivers, who have broken, burn, and buried the covenant, overturned the reformation, and destroyed the people of the Lord, a sacrilegious robbing of God, in our means and estates, and giving it to his enemies, which we gave away to him in our sacred covenants, contrary the zeal we owe to our covenanted husband and the honour of his house, by not only securing and strengthening his enemies and opposers in their possessions, courses, and designs; but inviting them, and prostituting our means, estates, and consciences to them. Not only playing the harlot with them, but hiring them when they have done, strengthening, supporting, and furnishing of them: a palpable changing the good old quarrel of this covenanted kingdom, for pursuing the ends of our covenant, to the espousing, confederating, and joining with a contrary party, viz. a popish, prelatic, malignant, and sectarian party, with their cause, interests, and designs, and venturing our stock in one vessel with them; and casting in our lot with them. And to use the like words of the General Assembly Jul. Ult. 1646. sess. 21. "It is a joining hands with a white devil, to beat a black devil!" A course that hath been always cursed to us of God, and hath often cost this land very dear, in itself most sinful and unlawful. And besides, a violation of our solemn oaths and engagement, a backsliding from our former covenant principles and professions, and a walking contrary to the whole tenor of the former resolutions and practices of this church, when glorious to all beholders, and terrible to her enemies, and when the Lord delighted in us, and our land was married to him, and salvation was written upon our walls, and praise in our gates.
But now it is not our design to enlarge in long arguments, in debating with opposites, neither our inclination to have appeared in this juncture, if the methods of the present Christ-dethroning reformation, overturning, and land-ruining powers, had not put a necessity upon us; and lest our silence at this time might be stumbling both to friends, who might look upon it as a fainting and succumbing (at least in our contendings for the cause of Christ) as being quite overcome, and to enemies and opposers, prove hardening and encouraging in their wicked and sinful designs, when they see their contrivances so universally complied with. Wherefore as we do profess the sorrow of our hearts so we do declare before God, angels, and men, that we abhor, renounce, and detest, protest, and testify against all such principles and practices, and that we design not to concur in, nor any way assist such, least we partake in other men's sins, and so receive of their plagues: But by the grace and assistance of Christ, steadfastly resolve to suffer the outmost, rather than put forth our hands to iniquities. And withal, here we do declare our firm resolution to adhere to our covenants and engagements, whereby we are bound to have common friends and foes with our covenanted reformation, and to look upon what is done to one, done to all of us.
Thus having declared our deliberate, lawful, and necessary purposes concerning this matter, in order to the publishing of the same, we appoint and ordain, that incontinently, ye our emissaries, pass, upon the sixth day of November 1695 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 6th of November, 1695.
Let King Jesus reign, and let all his enemies be scattered.