PERIOD. VI. - Containing the Testimony through the continued Tract of the present Deformation from the year 1660. to this day.
NOW comes the last Catastrophe of the Deformation of the Church of Scotland, which now renders her to all Nations as infamously despicable, as her Reformation formerly made her admired & envied; which in a Retrograde motion hath gradually been growing these 27 years, going back through all the steps by which the Reformation ascended, till now she is returned to the very border of that Babylon, from whence she took her departure, and reduced through defection, & division, and persecutions, to a confused Chaos of almost irreparable dissolution, and unavoidable desolation. Through all which steps notwithstanding, to this day, Scotland hath never wanted a witness for Christ, against all the various steps of the Enemies advancings, and of professed friends declinings: Though the Testimony hath had some singularities, some way discriminating it from that of former Periods; in that it hath been more difficult, by reason of more desperate & dreadful assaults of more enraged enemies, more expert & experienced in the accursed art of overturning than any formerly; In that it hath been attended with more disadvantages, by reason of the Enemy’s greater prevalency, and Friend’s deficiency, and greater want of significant Assertors, than any formerly; In that it hath been entangled in more multifarious intricacies, of questions, and debates, and divisions among the Assertors themselves, making it more dark, and yet in the end contributing to clear it more than any formerly; In that it hath been intended & extended to a greater measure, both as to matter & manner of contendings against the Adversaries, and stated upon nicer points; more enixely [earnestly, or forcibly] prosecuted & tenaciously maintained, & sealed with more sufferings, than any formerly; In that it hath had more opposition & contradiction, and less countenance from professed friends to the Reformation, either at home or abroad, than any formerly. And yet it hath had all these several specialties together, which were peculiar to the former Testimonies, in their respective Periods: being both Active & Passive, both against Enemies & Friends; And in cumulo [in fulness] stated against Atheism, Popery, Prelacy, & Erastian Supremacy, which were the successive heads of the former Testimonies, and also now extended in a particular manner against Tyranny. And not only against the substance & essence of these in the abstract, but against substance & circumstance, abstract & concrete root & branch, head & tail of them, and all complying with them, conforming to them, or countenancing of them, or anything conductive for them, or deduced from them, any manner of way, directly or indirectly, formally or interpretatively. This is that extensive and very comprehensive Testimony of the present Period, as it is now stated & sealed with the blood of many: Which in all its parts, points & pendicles is most directly relative, and dilucidly [clearly] reducible, to a complex Witness for the Declarative Glory of Christ’s Kingship and Headship over all, as He is God and as He is Mediator, which is the greatest concern that Creatures have to contend for, either as Men or as Christians. The matter of this Testimony, I shall give a short manuduction to the progress & Result of its Management.
During the Exile of the Royal Brothers, [Charles II. and James VII.], it is undeniably known that they were, by their Mother’s caresses and the Jesuit’s Allurements, seduced to abjure the Reformed Religion (which was easy to induce persons to that never had the sense of any Religion) and to be reconciled to the Church of Rome: And that, not only they wrote to the Pope many promises of promoting his projects, if ever they should recover the power into their hands again, and often frequented the Mass themselves; but also, by their example and the influence of their future hopes, prevailed with many of their dependents & attendants abroad, to do the like. Yet it is also unquestionably known, that in the mean time of his Exile, he renewed & confirmed, by private Letters to Presbyterians, his many reiterated Engagements to adhere to the Covenant, and declared that he was & would continue the same man, that he had declared himself to be in Scotland (wherein doubtless, as he was an expert Artist, he equivocated, and meant in his heart he would continue as Treacherous as ever) which helped to keep a Loyal Impression of his Interest in the hearts of too many, and an expectation of some good of him, of which they were ashamed afterwards. And immediately before his return, its known what promises are contained in that Declaration from Breda (from whence he came also the second time, with greater Treachery than at the first) to all Protestants that would live peaceably under his Government; beginning now to weigh out his perfidy, & perjury, & breach of Covenant, in offering to tolerate that in an Indulgence, which he swore to maintain as a duty. But in all this he purposed nothing, but to ingere [presume] & ingratiate himself into the peoples over credulous affections, that they might not obstruct his return, which a jealousy of his intended Tyranny would have awakened them to withstand. And so having seated himself, and strengthened his power against the attemptings of any, whom his conscience might suggest an apprehension that they ought to resist him, he thought himself discharged from all obligations of Covenants, Oaths, or promises, for which his faith had been pledged. And from the first hour of his arrival, he did in a manner set himself to affront & Defy the Authority, of God, and to be revenged upon his Kingdoms for inviting him so unanimously to sway their Scepter; in polluting & infecting the people with all debaucheries & monstrous villainies; and commencing his incestuous Whoredoms that very first night he came to his Palace, wherein he continued to his dying day outvying all for vileness. Yet he went on deluding our Church with his dissimulations, and would not discover all his wickedness hatched in his heart at first, till his designs should be riper; but directed a Letter to the Presbytery of Edinburgh, declaring he was resolved to protect & preserve the Government of the Church of Scotland, as it is settled by Law without violation: Wherein it was observed he altered the Style, and spake never a word of the Covenant, our Magna Charta of Religion & Righteousness, our greatest security for all Interests entrusted to him, but only of Law; by which, as his practice expounded it afterwards, he meant the Prelatical Church, as it was settled by the Law of his Father, since which time he reckoned there was no Law but Rebellion. This was a piece & prelude of our base defection, & degeneration into blind, blockish, & brutish stupidity; that after he had discovered so much perfidy, we not only at first tempted him to Perjury, in admitting him to the Crown, upon his mock-engagement in the Covenant, whereby God was mocked, His Spirit was grieved, His Covenant prostituted, the Church cheated, & the State betrayed; but after the Lord had broken his yoke from off our necks, by sending him to exile ten years [i.e., during the Protectorates of Oliver and Richard Cromwell], where he was discovered to be imbibing all that venom & Tyrannical violence, which he afterward vented in revenge upon the Nations; and after we had long smarted for our first transaction with him; yet not withstanding of all this, we believed him again, and Issachar-like couched under his burdens, and were so far from withstanding, that we did not so much as witness against the readmission & restauration of the head & tail of Malignants, but let them come in peaceably to the throne, without any security to the Covenanted cause, or for our Civil or Religious Interests, and by piece meal, at their own ease, leisure & pleasure, to overturn all the Work of God, and reintroduce the old Antichristian yoke of abjured Prelacy, and blasphemous Sacrilegious Supremacy, and Absolute Arbitrary Tyranny with all their abominations: which he, and with him the generality of our Nobility, Gentry, Clergy, & commonality by him corrupted, without regard to faith, or fear of God or man, did promote & propagate, until the Nation was involved in the greatest revolt from, & rebellion against God, that ever could be recorded in any Age or Generation; Nay attended with greater & grosser Aggravations, than ever any could be capable of before us, who have had the greatest Privileges that ever any Church had; since the National Church of the Jews, the greatest light; the greatest effects of matchless magnified love, the greatest Convictions of Sin, the greatest Resolutions & Solemn Engagements against it, and the greatest Reformation from it, that ever any had to abuse & affront. O Heavens be astonished at this, & horribly afraid! for Scotland hath changed her Glory, and the Crown hath fallen from off her head, by an unparalleled Apostasy, a free & voluntary, willful & deliberate Apostasy, an avowed & declared & Authorized Apostasy, Tyrannically carried on by Military violence & cruelty, a most universal & every way unprecedented Apostasy! I must a little change my method, in deducing the narration of this Catastrophe, and subdistinguish this unhappy Period into several steps; shewing how the Enemies opposition to Christ advanced, and the Testimony of His Witnesses did gradually ascend, to the pitch it is now arrived at.
I. These Enemies of God, having once got footing again, with the favour and the fawnings of the foolish Nation, went on fervently to further and promote their wicked design: and meeting with no opposition at first, did encourage themselves to begin boldly. Wherefore, hearing of some Ministers peaceably Assembled, to draw up a Monitory Letter to the King, minding him of his Covenant Engagements & promises (which was though weak, yet the first witness & warning against that Heaven-daring wickedness then begun) they cruelly incarcerate them. Having hereby much daunted the Ministry from their duty in that day, for fear of the like unusual & outrageous usage. The Parliament convenes Januar. 1. 1661. without so much as a Protestation for Religion & Liberty given in to them. And there, in the first place, they frame & take the Oath of Supremacy, Exauctorating [depriving of authority] Christ, and investing His usurping Enemy with the spoils of his robbed Prerogative, acknowledging the King only supreme Governour over all persons & in all Causes, and that his power & Jurisdiction must not be declined. Whereby under all persons & all Causes, All Church Officers, in their most properly Ecclesiastic Affairs & Concerns of Christ, are comprehended: And if the King shall take upon him to judge their Doctrine, Worship, Discipline, or Government, he must not be declined as an incompetent Judge. Which did at once enervate all the Testimony of the 4th Period above declared, and laid the foundation for all this Babel they have built since, and of all this war that hath been waged against the Son of God, and did introduce all this Tyranny & absolute power which hath been since carried to its Complement, and made the King’s Throne the foundation of all the succeeding perjury & Apostasy. Yet, though then our Synods & Presbyteries, were not discharged, but might have had access in some Concurrence to witness, against this horrid Invasion upon Christ’s Prerogative and the Churches Privilege, no joint Testimony was given against it, except that some were found witnessing against it in their singular Capacity by themselves. As faithful Mr. James Guthrie, for declining this usurped Authority in prejudice of the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus, suffered death, and got the Martyr’s Crown upon his head: And some others, for refusing that Oath arbitrarily imposed, were Banished or Confined, when they had gained this Bulwark of Christ’s Kingdom; Then they waxed more insolent, and set up their Ensigns for signs, and broke down the carved Work of Reformation with axes & hammers. In this Parliament 1661. They past an Act Rescissory, whereby they annulled & declared void the National Covenant, the Solemn League & Covenant, Presbyterial Government, and all Laws made in favours of the Work of Reformation, since the year 1633. O horrid wickedness! both in its nature so atrocious, to condemn & rescind what God did so signally seal as His own Work, to the conviction of the world, and for which He will rescind the Rescinders, and overturn these Overturners of His Work, and make the curse of that broken Covenant bind them to the punishment, whom its bond could not oblige to the duty Covenanted; And in its design & end so base & detestable, for nothing but to flatter the King in making way for Prelacy, Tyranny, & Popery, and to indulge the licentiousness of some debauched Nobles; who could not endure the yoke of Christ’s Government, and to suppress Religion & Righteousness under the ruins of that Reformation. But O holy & astonishing Justice, thus to recompense our way upon our own head! to suffer this work & cause to be ruined under our unhappy hands, who suffered this Destroyer to come in before it was so effectually secured, as it should not have been in the power of his hand (whatever had been in his heart, swelled with enmity against Christ) to have razed & ruined that Work as now most wickedly he did, and drew in so many into the guilt of the same deed, that almost the whole Land not only consented unto it but applauded it; by approving & countenancing another wicked Act framed at the same time, by that same perfidious Parliament for an Anniversary Thanksgiving commemorating every 29. of May [i.e., the anniversary date of the Restoration], that Blasphemy against the Spirit & Work of God, and celebrating that unhappy Restauration of the Rescinder of the Reformation; which had not only the concurrence of the universality of the Nation, But (alas for shame that it should be told in Gath &c!) even of some Ministers who afterwards accepted the Indulgence (one of which a Pillar among them, was seen scandalously dancing about the bonfires.) And others, who should have alarmed the whole Nation quasi pro aris & focis [as it were for their religion and property], to rise for Religion & Liberty, to resist such wickedness, did wink at it. O how Righteous is the Lord now in turning our Harps into mourning! Though alas! we will not suffer ourselves to this day, to see the shining Righteousness of this Retribution: And though we be scourged with Scorpions, & brayed in a Mortar, our madness, our folly in these irreligious frolics, is not yet acknowledged let be lamented. Yet albeit, neither in this day when the Covenant was not only broken but Cassed [voided, or dismissed] & declared of no obligation, nor afterward when it was burnt (for which Turks & Pagans would have been ashamed & afraid at such a terrible sight, and for which the Lord’s Anger is burning against these bold burners, and against them who suffered it, and did not witness against it) was there any public Testimony by protestation, or Remonstrance, or an public witness? though the Lord had some then, and some who came out afterward with the Trumpet at their mouth, whose heart then sorrowed at the sight: And some suffered for the sense they shewed of that Anniversary abomination, for not keeping which they lost both Church & Liberty. It’s true the ordinary Meetings of Presbyteries & Synods were about that time discharged, to make way for the exercise of the new power conferred on the four Prelates who were at Court, reordained & Consecrated thereby renouncing their former Title to the Ministry. But this could not give a discharge from a Necessary Testimony, then called for from faithful Watchmen. However the Reformation being thus rescinded & razed, and the House of the Lord pulled down, then they begin to build their Babel. In the Parliament anno 1662. by their first Act they restore & reestablish Prelacy, upon such a foundation as they might by the same Law bring in Popery, which was then designed; and so settled its Harbinger Diocesan & Erastian Prelacy, by fuller Enlargement of the Supremacy. The very Act beginneth thus. ‘For as much as the ordering & disposal of the external Government of the Church, doth properly belong to his Maj. as an Inherent right of the Crown, by virtue of his Royal Prerogative, & Supremacy in Causes Ecclesiastic—whatever shall be determined by his Maj. with advice of the Arch Bishops, and such of the Clergy as he shall nominate, in the external Government of the Church (the same consisting with the standing Laws of the Kingdom) shall be valid & effectual. And in the same Act all Laws are rescinded, by which the sole power & Jurisdiction within the Church doth stand in the Church Assemblies, And all which may be interpreted, to have given any Church power, Jurisdiction, or Government to the Office bearers of the Church, other than that which acknowledgeth a dependence upon, & subordination to the Sovereign power of the King as Supreme.’ By which, Prelates are redintegrated [restored] to all their privileges & preeminencies, that they possessed anno 1637. And all their Church power (robbed from the Officers of Christ) is made to be derived from, to depend upon, and to be subordinate to, the Crown prerogative of the King: whereby the King is made the only fountain of Church power, and that exclusive even of Christ, of whom there is no mentioned exception: And his vassals the Bishops, as his Clerks in Ecclesiastics, are accountable to him for all their administrations; A greater usurpation upon the Kingdom of Christ, than ever the Papacy itself aspired unto. Yet, albeit here was another display of a banner of defiance against Christ, in altering the Church Government of Christ’s Institution into the humane Invention of Lordly Prelacy, in assuming a power by prerogative to dispose of the external Government of the Church, and in giving his Creatures patents for this effect, to be his Administrators in that usurped Government; There was no public, Ministerial, at least united Testimony against this neither. Therefore the Lord punished this sinful & shameful silence of Ministers, in His holy Justice, though by men’s horrid wickedness; when by another wicked Act of the Council at Glasgow, above 300 Ministers were put from their Charges; and afterwards, for their Non-conformity in not Countenancing their Diocesan Meeting, and not keeping the Anniversary day May 29. The rest were violently thrust from their labours in the Lord’s vineyard, and banished from their Parishes, and adjudged unto a nice & strange Confinement, twenty miles from their own parishes, six miles from a Cathedral Church as they called it, and three miles from a Burgh; whereby they were reduced in to many inconveniencies. Yet in this fatal Convulsion of the Church, generally all were struck with blindness & baseness, that a Paper-Proclamation made them all run from their posts, and obey the King’s Orders for their ejection. Thus were they given up, because of their forbearing to sound an alarm, charging the people of God, in point of Loyalty to Christ, and under the pain of the Curse of the Covenant, to a wake and acquit themselves like men, and not to suffer the enemy to rob them of that Treasure of Reformation, which they were put in possession of, by the tears, prayers, & blood of such as went before them; instead of those prudential fumblings, & firstlings then & since so much followed. Wherefore the Lord in His holy righteousness, left that enemy (against whom they should have cried & contended, and to whose eye they should have held the Curse of the Covenant, as having held it first to their own, in case of unfaithful silence in not holding it to his) to cast them out of the House of the Lord, and dissolve their Assemblies, and deprive them of their privileges, because of their not being so valiant for the Truth, as that a full & faithful Testimony against that Encroachment might be found upon record. Nevertheless some were found faithful in that hour & pour of darkness, who kept the Word of the Lord’s patience, and who were therefore kept in & from that temptation (which carried many away into sad & shameful defections) though not from suffering hard things from the hands of men; & only these who felt most of their violence, found grace helping them to acquit themselves suitably to that days Testimony, being thereby prevented from an Active yielding to their impositions, when they were made passively to suffer force. However that season of a public Testimony was lost, and as to the most part never recovered to this day. The Prelates being settled, & readmitted to voice in Parliament, they procure an Act, Dogmatically condemning several Material parts & points of our Covenanted Reformation, to wit, these positions, ‘That it was lawful for Subjects, for Reformation or necessary self-defense, to enter into leagues, or take up Arms, against the King: And particularly declaring that the national Covenant, as explained in the year 1638. and the Solemn league & Covenant, were & are in themselves unlawful Oaths, and were taken by & imposed upon the subjects of this Kingdom against the fundamental Laws & Liberties thereof, That all such gatherings & petitions, that were used in the beginning of the late troubles, were unlawful & seditious: And whereas then People were led unto these things, by having disseminated among them such principles as these, That it was lawful to come with petitions & Representations of grievances to the King, That it was lawful for people to restrict their Allegiance under such & such limitations, and suspend it until he should give security for Religion &c. It was therefore enacted, that all such positions & practices founded thereupon, were treasonable—And further did enact, that no person, by writing, praying, preaching, or malicious or advised speaking, express or publish any words or sentences, to stir up the people to the dislike of the King’s prerogative & Supremacy, or of the Government of the Church by Bishops, or justify any of the deeds, actings, or things declared against by that Act.’ Yet not withstanding of all this subversion of Religion & Liberty, and restraint of asserting these Truths here trampled upon either before men by Testimony, or before God in mourning over these Indignities done unto Him, in everting these & all the parts of Reformation, even when it came to Daniel’s case of confession, preaching & praying Truths interdicted by Law; few had their eyes open (let be their windows in an open avouching them) to see the duty of the day calling for a Testimony. Though afterwards, the Lord Spirited some to assert & demonstrate the Glory of these Truths & duties to the world. As that Judicious Author of the Apologetical Relation, [i.e., John Brown (of Wamphray)] whose Labours need no Elogium to commend them. But this is not all: for these men, having now as they thought subverted the Work of God, they provided also against the fears of its revival: making Acts, declaring, ‘that if the outed Ministers dare to continue to preach, and presume to exercise their Ministry, they should be punished as seditious persons; requiring of all a due acknowledgment of, & hearty compliance with, the King’s Government Ecclesiastical & Civil; And that who soever shall ordinarily & willfully withdraw & absent from the ordinary Meetings for Divine Worship in their own Churches on the Lord’s day, shall incur the Penalties there insert.’ Thus the sometimes Chaste Virgin, whose name was Beulah to the Lord, the Reformed Church of Scotland, did now suffer a violent & villainous rape; from a vermin of vile Schismatical Apostates, obtruded & imposed upon her, instead of her able, painful, faithful & successful Pastors, that the Lord had set over her, and now by their faintness & the Enemies force robbed from her; And none now allowed by Law to administer the Ordinances, but either Apostate Curates, who by their Perjury & Apostacy forfeited their Ministry, or other Hirelings & Prelates Journey-men, who run without a Mission except from them who had none to give according to Christ’s Institution, the seal of whose Ministry could never yet be shown in the Conversion of any sinner to Christ: but if the tree may be known by its fruits, we may know whose Ministers they are; ut ex ungue Leonem [as the Lion from his claws], by their Conversions of Reformation into Deformation, of the Work & Cause of God into the similitude of the Roman beast, of Ministers into Hirelings, of their Proselytes into ten times worse children of the Devil then they were before, of the power of Godliness into formality, of Preaching Christ into Orations of Morality, of the purity of Christ’s Ordinances into the vanity of men’s Inventions, of the beautiful Government of the House of God for Edification, to a Lordly preeminence & Domination over consciences, in a word of Church & State Constitutions for Religion & Liberty all up side down into wickedness & slavery: These are the Conversions of Prelacy. But now this astonishing blow to the Gospel of the Kingdom, introducing such a Swarm of Locusts into the Church, And in forcing a Compliance of the people with this defection, and that so violently & rigorously, as even simple withdrawing was so severely punished by severe Edicts of fining, & other arbitrary punishments at first; what did it produce? did it awaken all Christ’s Ambassadours, now to appear for Christ, in this clear & clamant case of Confessing Him, and the freedom & Purity of His Ordinances? Alas! the backwardness & bentness to backsliding, in a Superseding from the duties of that day, did make it evident, that now the Lord had in a great measure forsaken them, because they had forsaken Him. The standard of the Gospel was then fallen, and few to take it up. The Generality of Ministers & Professors both went & Conformed so far as to hear the Curates, contrary to many points of the Reformation formerly attained, contrary to their Covenant Engagements, and contrary to their own principles & practice at that same time; scrupling and refusing to keep the Bishop’s visitations, and to Countenance their Discipline & power of Jurisdiction, because it was required as a Testification of their acknowledgment of, & Compliance with the present Government, And yet not scrupling to Countenance their Doctrine & usurped power of Order required also by the same Law, as the same Test of the same Compliance & submission. It’s strange that some yet doe plead for persisting in that same Compliance, after all the bitter Consequents of it. Other Ministers Lay altogether by in their retired recesses, waiting to see what things would turn to: Others were hopeless, turned Farmers & Doctors: others more wily, stayed at home, & Preached quietly in Ladies Chambers. But the faithful thought that this Tyrannical ejection did not nor or could not unminister them, so as they might not Preach Gospel where ever they were, as Ambassadours of Christ; but rather found themselves under an indispensable necessity to Preach the Gospel and witness for the freedom of their Ministry, and make full proof of it, in preaching in season & out of season: and thereupon as occasion offered preached to all such as were willing to hear; but at first only in private houses, and that for the most part at such times, when Sermons in public surcease [stopped] (a superplus [surplus] of Caution.) But afterwards, finding so great difficulties and Persecutions for their house Meetings, where they were so easily attrapped [entrapped], were constrained at last to keep their Meetings in the fields, without shelter from cold, wind, snow, or rain. Where testifying both practically & particularly against these Usurpations on their Masters Prerogatives, and witnessing for their Ministerial freedom, contrary to all Law-Interdictions, without any Licenses or Indulgences from the Usurper, but holding their Ministry from Jesus Christ alone, both as to the Office & exercise thereof; they had so much of their Masters Countenance, & success in their labours, that they valued neither hazards nor hardships, neither the contempt of pretended Friends, nor the Laws nor threatenings of Enemies, adjudging the penalty of death itself to Preachers at Field Conventicles as they called them. Now having thus overturned the Church Government, by introducing Prelacy, to advance an absolute Supremacy; the effects whereof were either the Corruption, or Persecution of all the Ministry, Encouragement of profanity & wickedness, the increase & advancement of Popery, Superstition, & Error, cruel impositions on the Conscience, and oppressions for Conscience sake, by the practices of cruel Supra-Spanish Inquisitions, and all manner of outcries of outrageous violence & villainy: The King proceeds in his design, to pervert & evert the well modelled & moderated Constitution of the State Government also, by introducing & advancing an Arbitrary Tyranny; the effects whereof were, an absolute Mancipation of Lives & Liberties and estates unto his lust & pleasure, the utter subversion of Laws, and absolute impoverishing the people. For effectuating which, he first procures a lasting Imposition of intolerable Subsidies & Taxations, to impoverish that he might the more easily enslave the Nation; Next a further recognizance of his Prerogative, in a subjection of persons, fortunes, & whole strength of the Kingdom to his absolute arbitrement [control], ‘in a Levy of Militia of 20000 footmen, & 2000 horsemen sufficiently armed, with 40 days provision, to be ready upon the King’s call to march to any part of his Dominions, for opposing whatsoever invasion, or insurrection, or for any other service.’ The first sproutings of Tyranny were cherished, by the cheerful & stupid submission generally yielded to these exorbitances; under which they who suffered most were inwardly Malcontents, but there was no opposition to them by word or Action, but on the contrary, generally people did not so much as scruple sending out or going out as Militia-men: never adverting unto what this Concurrence was designed, & demanded, and given for; Nor what an accession it was, in the nature & influence of the mean it self, and in the sense & intention of the Requirers, unto a Confederacy for a Compliance with, and a Confirmation & strengthening of Arbitrary Tyranny. After the fundamental constitutions of both Church & State are thus razed & rooted up, to confirm this Absolute Power, he contrived to frame all inferior Magistrates according to his mould: And for this end appointed, that all persons in any public Trust or Office whatsoever should subscribe a Declaration, renouncing & abjuring the Covenants; whereby Perjury was made the chief & indispensable qualification, and Conditio sine qua non [the condition without which], of all that were capable of exercing [exercising] any power or place in Church or State. But finding this not yet sufficient security for this unsettled settlement; because he well understood, the people stood no ways obliged to acknowledge him but only according to the solemn Covenants, being the fundamental Conditions whereupon their Allegiance was founded (as amongst all people, the Articles mutually consented betwixt them and these whom they set over them, are the constituent fundamentals of Government) and well knowing, that he & his Associates, by violating these Conditions, had loosed the people from all subjection, to him, or any deriving power from him, whereby the people might justly plead, that since he had kept no Condition they were not now obliged to him, he therefore contrived a new Oath of Allegiance to be imposed upon all in public trust both in Church & State; wherein they are made to oblige themselves to that Boundless breaker of all Bonds Sacred & Civil, and his Successors also, without any reciprocal obligation from him to them, or any reserved restriction, limitation, or qualification, as all humane Authority by God’s Ordinance must be bounded. Whereby the Swearers have by Oath homologated the overturning of the very Basis of the Government, making free people Slaves to the subverters thereof, betraying their native Brethren & posterity to the lust of Tyranny, and have in effect as really as if in plain terms affirmed, that whatsoever Tyranny shall command or do, either as to the overturning of the work of God, subverting of Religion, destroying of Liberty, or persecuting all the Godly to the utmost extremity, they shall not only stupidly endure it, but actively concur with it, and assist in all this Tyranny. Alas there was no public Testimony against this Trick, to bring people under the yoke of Tyranny; except by some who suffered for Conscientious refusing it, while many others did take it, thinking to salve the matter by their pitiful quibbling senses, of giving Cesar his due. Where as this Cesar, for whom these Loyal Allegiers [owners of subjection] plead, is not an ordinary Cesar, but such a Cesar, Nero, or Caligula, that if he got his due, it would be in another kind. Strange! can Presbyterians swear that Allegiance, which is substitute in the place of the broken & burnt Covenant? Or could they swear it to such a person, who having broken & buried the Covenant, that he who had sworn it might have another right and another Allegiance than that of the Covenant, had then remitted to us all Allegiance founded upon the Covenant? However, having now prepared & furnished himself with Tools so qualified for his purpose, in Church & State, he prosecutes his Persecution with such fervour & fury, rage & revenge, impositions & oppressions, and with armed formed force, against the faithful following their duty in a peaceable manner, without the least shadow of Contempt even of his abused Authority, that at length in the year 1666, a small party were compelled to go to defensive arms. Which, whatever was the desire of the Court (as it is known how desirous they have been of an Insurrection, when they thought themselves sure to suppress it, that they might have a vent for their Cruelty; and how one of the Brothers hath been heard say, that if he might have his wish, he would have them all turn Rebels and go to arms.) Yet it was no predetermined design of that poor Handful. For Sir James Turner, pursuing his cruel orders in Galloway, sent some Soldiers to apprehend a poor old man; whom his neighbours compassionating, entreated the Soldiers to loose him as he lay bound, but were answered with drawn Swords and necessitated to their own defense: In which they relieve the man, and disarm the Soldiers, and further attacked some others oppressing that Country, disarming 10 or 12 more, and killing one that made resistance. Whereupon, the Country being alarmed, and fearing from sad experience Sir James would certainly avenge this affront upon the whole Country, without distinction of free & unfree, they gather about 54 horsemen, march to Dumfries, take Sir James Turner Prisoner, and disarm the Soldiers, without any more violence. Being thus by Providence engaged without any hope of retreat, and getting some Concurrence of their Brethren in the same Condition, they come to Lanerk, where they renew the Covenant; and thence to Pentland hills: where, by the holy Disposal of God, they were routed, many killed, and 130 taken Prisoners, who were treated so treacherously & truculently, as Turks would have blushed to have seen the like. Hence now on the one hand, we may see the Righteousness of God, in leaving that Enemy to Him, whom we embraced, to make such avowed Discoveries of himself, without a blush to the world, and to scourge us with Scorpions that we nourished and put in his hands: And also, how justly at that time He left us into such a damp, that like Asses we couched under all burdens, and few came out to the help of the Lord against the Mighty, drawing on them Meroz’s Curse, and the blood of their butchered Brethren; after we had sitten, & seen, and suffered all things Civil & Sacred to be destroyed in our sight without resentment. And though the Lord, who called out these worthy Patriots who fell at Pentland to such an appearance for His Interests, did take a Testimony of their hands with acceptance by sufferings, and singularly Countenanced them in sealing it with their blood; yet He would not give success nor His presence to the Enterprise, but left them in a sort of infatuation, without Counsel & Conduct, to be a prey to devourers, that by a sad inadvertency they took in the Tyrant’s Interest into the State of the Quarrel. Which should have warned His people for the future, to have stated the Quarrel otherwise.
II. By this time; and much more after, the King gave as many proofs & demonstrations of his being true to Antichrist [i.e., the Pope], in minding all the promises & treaties with him, as he had of his being false to Christ, in all his Covenant Engagements with His People. For in this same year 1666. he, with his dear & Royal Brother the Duke of York, contrived, countenanced, & abetted, the burning of London, evident by their employing their Guards to hinder the People from saving their own, and to dismiss the Incendiaries the Papists, that were taken in the fact. The Committee, appointed to cognosce [make inquiry] upon that business, traced it so far, that they durst go no further, unless they would arraign the Duke, & charge the King, and yet before this it was enacted as Criminal for any to say the King was a Papist. But having gained so much of his design in Scotland; where he had established Prelacy, advanced Tyranny to the height of Absoluteness, and his Supremacy almost beyond the reach of any additional supply, yea above the Pope’s own Claim, and had now brought his only opposites, the few faithful Witnesses of Christ, to a Low pass; he went on by Craft as well as Cruelty, to advance his own in promoting Antichrist’s Interest. And therefore, having gotten the Supremacy devolved upon him by Law (for which also he had the Pope’s dispensation, to take it to himself for the time, under promise to restore & surrender it to him, as soon as he could attain his end by it, as the other Brother succeeding hath now done) he would now exert that usurped power, and work by ensnaring policy to effectuate the end which he could not do by other means. Therefore, seeing he was not able to suppress the Meetings of the Lord’s people for Gospel Ordinances, in house & fields, but that the more he laboured by violent courses the greater & more frequent they grew; he fell upon a more Crafty device, not only to overthrow the Gospel and suppress the Meetings, but to break the faithful, and to divide, between the Mad-cap & the Moderate Fanatics (as they phrased it) that he might the more easily destroy both; to confirm the usurpation, and to settle people in a sinful silence & stupid submission to all the Encroachments made on Christ’s Prerogatives, and more effectually to overturn what remained of the Work of God. And, knowing that nothing could more fortify the Supremacy than Ministers their homologating & acknowledging it; Therefore he offered the first Indulgence, Anno 1669. Signifying in a Letter, dated that year June 7. His gracious pleasure was, ‘to appoint so many of the outed Ministers, as have lived peaceably & orderly, to return to preach & exercise other functions of the Ministry, in the Parish Churches where they formerly served (provided they be vacant) and to allow Patrons to present to other vacant Churches, such others of them as the Council should approve: That all who are so Indulged, be enjoined to keep Presbyteries, and the Refusers to be confined within the bounds of their parishes: And that they be enjoined not to admit any of their neighbour Parishes unto their Communions, nor Baptize their Children, nor marry any of them, without the allowance of the Minister of the Parish, and if they Countenance the people deserting their own Parishes, they are to be silenced for shorter or longer time, or altogether turned out, as the Council shall see cause: And upon Complaint made & verified, of any Seditious discourse or expressions in the Pulpit, uttered by any of the Ministers, they are immediately to be turned out, and further punished according to Law: And seeing by these orders, all Pretenses for Conventicles were taken away, if any should be found hereafter to Preach without Authority, or keep Conventicles, his Pleasure is, to proceed with all severity against them, as Seditious persons & Condemners of Authority.’ To salve this in point of Law (because it was against former Laws of their own) and to make the King’s Letter the supreme Law afterwards, and a valid ground in Law, where upon the Council might proceed, & enact, and execute what the King pleased in Matters Ecclesiastic; he therefore caused frame a formal Statutory Act of Supremacy, of this Tenor. ‘That his Maj. hath the supreme Authority & Supremacy over all Persons and in all Causes Ecclesiastic, within his dominions, and that by virtue thereof, the ordering & disposal of the external Government of the Church, doth properly belong to him & his successors, as an Inherent right to the Crown: And that he may settle, enact, & emit such Constitutions, Acts, & Orders, concerning the Administrating thereof, and Persons employed in the same, and concerning all Ecclesiastical Meetings & Matters, to be proposed & determined therein; as he in his Royal wisdom shall think fit: which Acts, Orders, & Constitutions, are to be observed & obeyed by all his Maj. Subjects, any Law, act, or custom to the contrary notwithstanding.’ Where upon, accordingly the Council, in their Act July. 27. 1669. ‘do nominate several Ministers, and appoint them to Preach, and exercise the other functions of the Ministry, at their respective Churches there specified, with Consent of the Patrons.’ The same day also they conclude & enact the forementioned Restrictions, conform to the King’s Letter above rehearsed, And ordain them to be intimate to every person, who is by Authority foresaid allowed the exercise of the Ministry. These Indulged Ministers, having that Indulgence given only upon these terms, that they should accept these Injunctions, and having received it upon these terms also (as an essential part of the bargain & Condition, on which the Indulgence was granted & accepted, as many following Proclamations did expressly declare) do Appoint Mr. Hutcheson, one of the number, ‘to declare so much; In Acknowledging his Maj. favour & Clemency, in granting that Liberty, after so long a restraint; And however they had received their Ministry from Jesus Christ, with full Prescriptions from Him for regulating them therein, yet nothing could be more refreshing on earth to them, than to have free Liberty for the exercise of their Ministry, under the Protection of Lawful Authority: And so they purposed to be have themselves, in the discharge of the Ministry, with that wisdom that became faithful Ministers, and to demean themselves towards Lawful Authority, notwithstanding of their known judgment in Church affairs, as well becometh Loyal subjects; And their prayer to God should be, that the Lord should bless his Maj. in his person & Government, and the Council in the public administration, and especially in the Pursuance of his Maj. mind in his Letter, wherein his singular moderation eminently appears.’—Afterwards they issued out Proclamations, reinforcing the punctual observation of the forementioned Injunctions, and delivered them into the Indulged. In the meantime, though Cruel Acts & Edicts were made against the Meetings of the Lord’s people, in houses & the fields, after all these Midianitish wiles to suppress them; such was the presence of the Lord in these Meetings, and so powerful was His Countenance & Concurrence with the Labours of a few, who laid out themselves to hold up the Standard of Christ; that the number of Converts multiplied daily, to the praise of free Grace, and to the great encouragement of the few hands that wrestled in that Work, through all human discouragement. Therefore King & Council was put to a new shift, which they supposed would prove more effectual: To wit, because there was a great number of Non-conformed Ministers not yet Indulged, who either did or might hereafter hold Conventicles, therefore, to remedy or prevent this in time coming, they appoint & ordain them to such places where Indulged Ministers were settled, there to be confined with allowance to Preach as the Indulged should employ them; thinking by this means to incapacitate many to hold Meetings there or elsewhere: And to these also they give injunctions & restrictions to regulate them in the exercise of their Ministry. And to the end that all the outed Ministers might be brought under restraint, and the Word of God be kept under bonds, by another Act of Council they Command, that all other Ministers (not Disposed of as is said) were either to repair to the Parish Churches where they were, or to some other Parishes where they may be ordinary hearers, and to declare & condescend upon the Parishes where they intend to have their Residence. After this they assumed a Power, to Dispose of these their Curates as they pleased, and transport them from place to place; whereof the only ground was a simple Act of Council, the Instructions always going along with them, as the constant Companion of the Indulgences. By all which it is apparent; whatever these Ministers allege, in vindication of it to cover its deformity, in their Balms to take away its Stink, and in their Surveys to gather Plasters to scurf over its Scurveyness, viz. that it was but the removal of the Civil restraint, And that they entered into their places by the Call of the People (a mere mock pretense for a Prelimited imposition, whereby that Ordinance of Christ was basely prostituted & abused) And that their Testimony & Protestation was a Salvo for their conscience (a mere Utopian fancy, that the Indulgers with whom they bargained never heard of, otherwise, as they did with some who were faithful in testifying against their Encroachments, they would soon have given them a Bill of Ease) It cannot be denied, that that doleful Indulgence, both in its Rise, Contrivance; Conveyance, Grant, & Acceptance, End & Effects, was a Grievous Encroachment upon the Princely Prerogative of Jesus Christ the only Head of the Church; whereby the usurpers Supremacy was Homologated; bowed to, complied with, strengthened & established, the Cause & Kingdom of Christ betrayed, His Church’s Privileges surrendered, His Enemies hardened, His Friends stumbled, and the Remnant rent & ruined; in that it was granted & deduced from the King’s Supremacy, and conveyed by the Council; in that, according to his pleasure, he gave and they received a License & warrant, to such as he nominated & Elected and judged fit & qualified for it, and fixed them in what particular Parish he pleased to assign, under the notion of a Confinement, in that he imposed and they submitted to restrictions in the exercise of their Ministry, in these particular Parishes, inhibiting to Preach elsewhere in the Church; And with these restrictions, he gave and they received instructions to regulate & direct them in their functions: All which was done without Advice or Consent of the Church: And thereupon they have frequently been called & convened before the Council; to give account of their Ministerial exercise, and some of them sentenced, silenced, & deposed for alleged disobedience. This was a manifest Treason against Christ, which involved many in the actual guilt of it that day, and many others who gaped after it & could not obtain it, and for more at that time & since in the guilt of Misprision of Treason [hiding treasonable actions], in passing this also without a witness. Thus, in holy judgment, because of our Indulging & Conniving at the usurper of Christ’s Throne, He left a great part of the Ministers to take that wretched Indulgence; and another part, instead of remonstrating the wickedness of that deed, have been left to palliate, & plaster, & Patronize it, in keeping up the Credit of the King & Council’s Curates, wherein they have shewed more zeal, than ever against that wicked Indulgence. Yet the Lord had some Witnesses, who pretty early did give significations of their resentment of this dishonour done to Christ, as Mr. William Weir, who having got the Legal Call of the People, and discharging his duty honestly, was turned out; And Mr. John Burnet, who wrote a Testimony directed to the Council, shewing why he could not submit to that Indulgence, inserted at large in the History of the Indulgence [by John Brown, (of Wamphray)]; Where also we have the Testimony of other ten Ministers, who drew up their Reasons of Non-Compliance with such a snare; And Mr. Alexander Blair, who, upon occasion of a Citation before the Council for not observing the 29 of May, having with others made his appearance, and got new Copies of Instructions presented to them, being moved with zeal and remembering whose Ambassadour he was, told the Council plainly, that he could receive no Instructions from them in the exercise of his Ministry, otherwise he should not be Christ’s Ambassadour but theirs, and herewith lets their Instructions drop out of his hand, knowing of no other Salvo, or manner of Testifying for the Truth in the Case؛ for which he was imprisoned, & died under Confinement. But afterwards, the Lord raised up some more explicit Witnesses against that defection. All this Trouble was before the year 1673. About which time, finding this device of Indulgences proved so steadable [helpful] for his Service in Scotland, he was induced to try it also in England; which he did almost with the same or like success, & producing the same effects of defection, security, & unfaithfulness. The Occasion was upon his wars with the Dutch: Which gave another demonstrative discovery of his Treachery & Popish perfidy, in breaking League with them, and entering into one with the French, to destroy Religion & Liberty in Britain: ‘Wherein the King of France assures him an Absolute Authority over his Parliaments, and to reestablish the Catholic Religion in his Kingdoms of England Scotland & Ireland; to Compass which it was necessary first to abate the pride & power of the Dutch, and to reduce them to the sole Province of Holland, by which means the King of England should have Zeeland for a retreat in case of need, and that the rest of the Low Countries should remain to the King of France, if he could render himself Master of it.’ But to return to Scotland. While by the forementioned Device, he thought he had utterly suppressed the Gospel in house & field Meetings, he was so far disappointed, that these very means & Machines by which he thought to bury it, did chiefly contribute to its revival. For, when by Persecution many Ministers had been chased away by illegal Law-Sentences, many had been banished away, and by their ensnaring Indulgences many had been drawn away from their duty, and others were now sentenced with Confinements & Restraints, if they should not choose & fix their residence where they could not keep their Quiet & Conscience both; they were forced to wander and disperse through the Country, and the People being tired of the cold & dead Curates, and wanting long the Ministry of their old Pastors, so longed & hungered after the Word, that they behooved to have it at any rate cost what it would; which made them entertain the dispersed Ministers more earnestly, and encouraged them more to their duty. By whose Endeavours, through the mighty power & presence of God, and the Light of His Countenance now shining through the Cloud, after so fatal & fearful a darkness that had overclouded the Land for a while, with such a resplendent brightness, that it darkened the Prelatic Locusts, and made them hiss and gnash their tongues for pain, and dazzled the eyes of all Onlookers; the Word of God grew exceedingly, and went through at least the Southern borders of the Kingdom like lightning, or like the Sun in its Meridian beauty; discovering so the Wonders of God’s Law, the Mysteries of His Gospel, and the Secrets of His Covenant, and the Sins & Duties of that day, that a numerous issue was begotten to Christ, and His Conquest was Glorious, Captivating poor slaves of Satan, and bringing them from his power unto God, and from darkness to Light. O! who can remember the Glory of that Day, without a melting heart, in reflecting upon what we have lost, and let go, and sinned away, by our Misimprovements? O that in that our day we had hearkened to His voice, and had known the things that belonged to our peace! A day of such power, that it made the People, even the bulk & body of the People, willing to come out and venture, upon the greatest of hardships and the greatest of hazards, in pursuing after the Gospel, through Mosses & Moors, & inaccessible Mountains, Summer & Winter, through excess of heat & extremity of cold, many days & night-journeys; even when they could not have a probable expectation of escaping the Sword of the wilderness, and the barbarous fury of bloody Burrio’s [hangman’s] raging for their prey, sent out with orders to take & kill them, it being now made Criminal by Law, especially to the preachers & Convocaters of those Meetings. But this was a day of such power, that nothing could daunt them from their duty, that had tasted once the sweetness of the Lord’s presence at these persecuted Meetings. Then had we such Humiliation-days for personal & public Defections, such Communion-days even in the open fields, and such Sabbath-Solemnities, that the places where they were kept might have been called Bethel, or Peniel, or Bochim, and all of them Jehovah-Shammah; wherein many were truly Converted, more Convinced, and generally all Reformed from their former immoralities: That even Robbers, Thieves, and Profane Men, were some of them brought to a saving subjection to Christ, and generally under such restraint, that all the severities of heading & hanging &c. in a great many years, could not make such a Civil Reformation, as a few days of the Gospel, in these formerly the Devil’s Territories, now Christ’s Quarters, where His Kingly Standard was displayed. I have not Language to lay out the inexpressible Glory of that day: But I will make bold to say two things of it, first, I doubt if ever there was Greater days of the Son of Man upon the Earth since the Apostolic times, than we enjoyed for the space of Seven years at that time: And next, I doubt, if upon the back of such a lightsome day there was ever a blacker night of darkness, defection, division, & confusion, and a more universal impudent Apostasy, than we have seen since. The world is at a great loss, that a more exact & complete account demonstrating both these, is not published, which I am sure would be a fertile Theme to any faithful pen. But this not being my scope at present, but only to deduce the steps of the Contendings of Christ’s Friends & His Enemies, I must follow the thread of my Narration. Now when Christ is gaining Ground by the preached Gospel in plenty, in purity, & power, the Usurpers Supremacy was like to stagger, and Prelacy came under universal Contempt, in so much that several Country Curates would have had but scarce half a dozen of hearers, and some none at all. And this was a General Observe that never failed, that no sooner did any poor Soul come to get a serious sense of Religion, and was brought under any real Exercise of Spirit about their Souls Concerns, but as soon they did fall out with Prelacy and left the Curates. Hence to secure what he had possessed himself of by Law, and to prevent a dangerous Paroxysm which he thought would ensue upon these Commotions, the King returned to exerce [exercise] his innate Tyranny, and to emit terrible Orders, and more terrible Executioners, & bloody Emissaries, against all Field Meetings: which, after long patience, the people at length could not endure; but being first chased to the Fields, where they would have been content to have the Gospel with all the inconveniences of it, and also expelled from the Fields, being resolute to maintain the Gospel, they resolved to defend it & themselves by Arms. To which, unavoidable necessity in unsupportable extremity did constrain them, as the only remaining remedy. It is known, for several years they met without any Arms, where frequently they were disturbed & dispersed with Soldiers some killed others wounded, which they patiently endured without Resistance: At length the Ministers that were most in hazard, having a Price set upon their heads to be brought in dead or alive, with some attending them in their wanderings, understanding they were thus appointed for death, judged it their duty to provide for the necessary defense of their lives from the violence of their Armed Assaulters. And as Meetings increased, diverse others came under the same hazard, which enforced them to endeavour the same remedy, without the least intention of prejudice to any. Thus the number of Sufferers increasing, as they joined in the Ordinances at these persecuted Meetings, found themselves in some probable Capacity to defend themselves and these much endeared & precious Gospel Privileges, & to preserve the Memory of the Lord’s great Work in the Land, which to transmit to posterity was their great design. And they had no small encouragement to endeavour it, by the satisfying sweetness & comfort they found in these Ordinances, being persuaded of the justness of their Cause, and of the groundlessness of their Adversaries quarrel against them: And hereunto also they were incited & prompted, by the palpableness of the Enemies purposes to destroy the Remainder of the Gospel, by extirpating the Remnant that professed it. Wherefore in these circumstances, being redacted to that strait, either to be deprived of the Gospel or to defend themselves in their Meetings for it; And thinking their turning their backs upon it for hazard, was a cowardly deserting duty, and palpable breach of Covenant-Engagements, abandoning their greatest Interest, They thought it expedient, yea necessary, to carry defensive Arms with them. And as for that discouragement from the difficulty & danger of it, because of their fewness & meanness, it did not deter or daunt them from the endeavour of their duty; when they considered, the Lord in former times was wont to own a very small party of their Ancestors, who in extremity jeoparded their lives in defense of Reformation against very potent & powerful Enemies: These now owning the same Cause, judged themselves obliged to run the same hazard, in the same circumstances, and to follow the same method, & durst not leave it unessayed, leaving the event to God: considering also, that not only the Law of Nature & Nations doth allow self-defense from unjust violence, but also the indissoluble obligation of their Covenants, to maintain & defend the true Religion & one another in promoting the same, made it indispensable to use that endeavour, the defect of which through their former supineness [lethargy] gave no small encouragement to the Enemies: They considered also what would be the consequence of that War, declared against all the Faithful of the Land with a displayed banner, prosecuted with fire & sword, and all acts of horrid hostility, published in printed Proclamations, & written in Characters of blood by barbarous soldiers, so that none could enjoy Gospel Ordinances dispensed in Purity, but upon the hazard of their lives: And therefore, to prevent & frustrate these effects, they endeavoured to put themselves in a posture. And hereunto they were encouraged, by the constant experience of the Lord’s countenancing their endeavours in that posture, which always proved successful for several years, their enemies either turning their backs without disturbance, when they observed them resolve defense, or in their assaultings repulsed: So that there was never a Meeting which stood to their defense, got any considerable harm thereby. Thus the Lord was with us while we were with Him, but when we forsook Him then He forsook us, and left us in the hands of our enemies. However, while Meetings for Gospel Ordinances did continue, the wicked Rulers did not cease from time to time to increase their numerous bands of Barbarous Soldiers, for suppressing the Gospel in these field-Meetings. And for their Maintenance, they imposed new wicked & arbitrary Cesses & Taxations, professedly required for suppressing Religion & Liberty, banishing the Gospel out of the Land, and preserving & promoting his Absoluteness over all Matters & Persons Sacred & Civil: Which, under that temptation of great suffering threatened to Refusers, and under the disadvantage of the silence & unfaithfulness of many Ministers, who either did not condemn it or pleaded for the peaceable payment of it, many did comply with it then, and far more since. Yet at that time there were far more Recusants, in some places, (especially in the Western Shires) than Compliers: And there were many of the Ministers that did faithfully declare to the people the sin of it; Not only from the illegality of its imposition, by a convention of overawed and prelimited States; but from the nature of that imposed Compliance, that it was a sinful transaction with Christ’s declared Enemies, a strengthening the hands of the wicked, an Obedience to a wicked Law, a Consenting to Christ’s Expulsion out of the Land, and not only that, but (far worse than the sin, of the Gadarens) a formal Concurrence to assist His Expellers, by maintaining their force, a hiring our Oppressours to destroy Religion & Liberty; And from the fountain of it, an Arbitrary power domineering over us, and oppressing & overpressing the Kingdoms with intolerable exactions That to pay it, it was to entail slavery on the posterity; And from the declared end of it, expressed in the very Narrative of the Act, viz: to levy & maintain forces for suppressing & dispersing Meetings of the Lord’s people, and to shew unanimous affection for maintaining the King’s Supremacy as now established by Law; which designs he resolved, and would be capacitate by the Granters to effectuate by such a Grant, which in effect, to all tender Consciences, had an evident tendency to the exauctorating [dethroning] the Lord Christ, to maintain Soldiers to suppress His Work, & murder His Followers, yet all this time Ministers & Professors were unite, and with one soul & shoulder followed the Work of the Lord, till the Indulged, being dissatisfied with the Meetings in the fields, whose Glory was like to overcloud & obscure their beds of ease, and especially being offended at the freedom & faithfulness of some, who set the Trumpet to their mouth, and shewed Jacob his sins & Israel his transgressions impartially without a clock or cover, they began to make a faction among the Ministers, and to devise how to quench the fervour of their zeal who were faithful for God. But the more they sought to extinguish it, the more it brake out and blazed into a flame. For Several of Christ’s Ambassadours, touched & affected with the affronts done to their Princely Master by the Supremacy and the Indulgence its Bastard brood & brat, began after long silence to discover its iniquity, and to acquaint the people how the Usurper had invaded the Mediators Chair, in taking upon him to depose; suspend, silence, plant & transplant His Ministers, where & when & how he pleased, and to give forth warrants & Licenses for admitting them, with Canons & Instructions for regulating them in the exercise of their Ministry, and to arraign & censure them at his Courts for delinquencies in their Ministry; pursuing all to the death who are faithful to Christ, and maintain their Loyalty to His Laws, and will not prostitute their Consciences to his lusts, and bow down to the Idol of his Supremacy, but will own the Kingly Authority of Christ. Yet others, and the greater number of dissenting Ministers, were not only deficient herein, but defended them, joined with them, and (pretending prudence & prevention of Schism) in effect homologated that deed and the practice of these Priests Ezek. 22. 26. teaching & advising the people to hear them, both by precept, and going along with them in that Erastian Course: And not only so, but condemned & censured such who preached against the sinfulness thereof, especially in the first place, Worthy Mr. [John] Welwood, who was among the first Witnesses against that defection, and Mr. [John] Kid, Mr. [John] King, Mr. [Richard] Cameron, Mr. Donald Cargil &c. who sealed their Testimony afterwards with their blood; yet then even by their Brethren were loaden with the reproachful Nicknames of Schismatics, blind Zealots, Jesuits &c. But it was always observed, as long as Ministers were faithful in following the Lord in the way of their duty, Professors were fervent, And under all their Conflicts with Persecutors, the courage & zeal of the lovers of Christ was blazing, and never out-braved by all the enemies boastings to undertake brisk Exploits: which from time to time they were now and then essaying, till defection destroyed, and division diverted their zeal against the Enemies of God, who before were always the object against which they whetted the edge of their just Indignation. Especially the insulting insolency & insolent villainy of that public Incendiary, the Arch-Prelate Sharp, was judged intolerable by ingenuous Spirits; because he had treacherously betrayed the Church & Nation, and being employed as their delegate to oppose the threatened introduction of Prelacy, he had like a perjured Apostate and perfidious Traitor advanced himself into the place of Primate of Scotland, and being a member of Council he became a chief Instrument of all the Persecution, and main Instigator to all the bloody violence & cruelty that was exerced [exercised] against the people of God; by whose means, the letter sent down to stop the shedding of more blood after Pentland was kept up, until several of these Martyrs were Murdered. Therefore in July 1668. Mr. James Mitchel thought in his duty to save himself, deliver his Brethren, and free the Land of the violence of that beast of prey, and attempted to cut him off: which failing, he then escaped, but afterwards was apprehended; and being moved by the Councils Oath, and Act of Assurance promising his life, he made Confession of the fact: Yet afterwards for the same he was arraigned before the Justiciary, and the Confession he made was brought in against him, and witnessed by the perjured Chancellour Rothes, and other Lords, contrary to their Oath & Act produced in open Court, to their indelible infamy: whereupon he was tortured, condemned, & executed. But Justice would not suffer this Murder to pass long unrevenged, nor that Truculent Traitor, James Sharp the Arch-Prelate, who was the occasion & cause of it, and of many more both before & after, to escape remarkable punishment; the severity whereof did sufficiently compense its delay, after ten years respite, wherein he ceased not more and more to pursue, persecute, & make havoc of the Righteous for their duty, until at length he received the just demerit of his perfidy, perjury, apostasy, sorceries, villainies, and murders, Sharp arrows of the Mighty & coals of Juniper. For upon the 3. of May 1679. several worthy Gentlemen, with some other men of Courage & zeal for the cause of God and the good of the Country, executed righteous Judgment upon him in Magus Moor near St Andrews. And that same month, on the Anniversary day May 29. the Testimony at Rutherglen was Published, against that abomination of celebrating an Anniversary day, kept every year for giving thanks for the setting up an usurped power, destroying the Interest of Christ in the Land—And against all sinful & unlawful Acts, emitted & executed, published & prosecuted against our Covenanted Reformation. Where also they burnt the Act of Supremacy, the Declaration, the Act Recissory &c. in way of retaliation for the burning of the Covenants. On the Sabbath following Jun. 1. A field Meeting for the Worship of God near to Loudon-hill was assaulted by Graham of Claverhouse, and with him three troops of horse & Dragoons, who had that morning taken an honest Minister and about 14 Countrymen out of their beds and carried them along with them as Prisoners to the Meeting in a Barbarous manner. But by the good hand of God upon the Defendants, they were repulsed at Drumclog and put to flight, the Prisoners relieved, about 30. of the Soldiers killed on the place, and 3. of the Meeting, and several wounded on both sides. Thereafter the people retreating from the pursuit, consulted what was expedient in that juncture, whether to disperse themselves as formerly, or to keep together for their necessary defense. The result was, that considering the craft & cruelty of those they had to deal with, the sad consequents of falling into their hands now more incensed than ever, the evil effects that likely would ensue upon their separation, which would give them access to make havoc of all; they judged it most safe in that extremity for some time not to separate. Which Resolution, coming abroad to the ears of others of their Brethren; determined them incontinently to come to their Assistance, considering their necessity, and their own liableness to the same common danger, upon the account of their endeavours of that nature elsewhere to defend themselves, being of the same judgment for maintaining of the same Cause, to which they were bound by the same Covenants, and groaning under the same burdens; they judged therefore that if they now with held their assistance in such a strait, they could not be innocent of their Brethren’s blood, nor found faithful in their Covenant: To which they were encouraged with the Countenance & success the Lord had given to that Meeting, in that defensive Resistance. This was the Rise & Occasion of that Appearance at Bothwell-bridge, which the Lord did in His Holy Sovereignty confound, for former Defections by the means of Division, which broke that little Army among themselves, before they were broken by the Enemy. They continued together in amiable & amicable peace for the space of 8 or 9 days, while they endeavoured to put out & keep out every wicked thing from amongst them, and adhered to the Rutherglen-Testimony, and that short Declaration at Glasgow confirming it; Representing their present purposes & endeavours, ‘where only in vindication & defense of the Reformed Religion—as they stood obliged thereto by the National & Solemn League & Covenant, and the Solemn Acknowledgment of Sins & Engagement to duties; Declaring against Popery, Prelacy, Erastianism, and all things depending thereupon.’ Intending hereby to comprehend the defection of the Indulgence, to witness against which all unanimously agreed: Until the Army increasing, the Defenders & Daubers of that defection, some Ministers and others, came in who broke all, and upon whom the blood of that Appearance may be charged. The occasion of the breach was, first, When in the sense of the obligation of that Command, when the host goeth forth against thine enemies, keep thee from every wicked thing, an overture was offered to set times apart for humiliation for the public sins of the Land, according to the practice of the Godly in all ages before engaging their enemies, and the laudable precedents of our Ancestors; that so the Causes of God’s wrath against the Nation might be enquired into & confessed, and the Lord’s Blessing, Counsel, & Conduct to & upon present Endeavours, might be implored. And accordingly the Complying with abjured Erastianism, by the acceptance of the ensnaring Indulgence, offered by & received from the Usurping Rulers, was condescended upon among the rest of the grounds of fasting & humiliation, so seasonably & necessarily called for at that time. The Sticklers for the Indulgence refused the overture, upon politick considerations, for fear of offending the Indulged Ministers & Gentlemen, and provoking them to withdraw their Assistance. This was the great Cause of the division, that produced such unhappy & destructive effects. And next, whereas the Cause was stated before according to the Covenants, in the Rutherglen-Testimony & Glasgow-Declaration, wherein the King’s Interest was waved; These Dividers drew up another large paper (called the Hamilton-Declaration) wherein they assert the King’s Interest, according to the third Article of the Solemn League & Covenant. Against which the best affected contended, & protested they could not in Conscience put in his Interest in the State of the Quarrel, being now in stated opposition to Christ’s Interests, and inconsistent with the meaning of the Covenant, and the practices of the Covenanters, and their own Testimonies; while now he could not be declared for as being in the defense of Religion & Liberty, when he had so palpably overturned & ruined the Work of Reformation, and oppressed such as adhered thereunto, and had burnt the Covenant &c. Whereby he had loosed the people from all obligation to him from it. Yet that contrary faction prevailed, so far as to get it published in the name of all: whereby the Cause was perverted & betrayed, and the former Testimonies rendered irrite [invalid], and the Interest of the public Enemy espoused. Finally, the same day that the Enemy approached in sight, And a considerable advantage was offered to do execution against them, these Loyal Gentlemen hindered & retarded all Action, till a Parley was beat, and an Address dispatched to the Duke of Monmouth, who then commanded his Fathers Army. By which nothing was gained, but free Liberty given to the Enemies to plant their Canon, and advance without interruption. After which, in the Holy All-overruling Providence of God, that poor handful was signally discountenanced of God, deprived of all Conduct, divested of all Protection, and laid open to the raging Sword, the just punishment of all such tamperings with the Enemies of God, and espousing their Interest, and omitting humiliation for their own and the Lands sins. About 300 were killed in the Fields, and 1000. and upwards were taken Prisoners, stripped, and carried to Edinburgh, where they were kept for a long time in the Gray Friars Churchyard, without shelter from cold or rain. And at length had the temptation of an ensnaring bond of peace: Wherein they were to acknowledge that Insurrection to be Rebellion, and oblige themselves never to rise in Arms against the King, nor any commissionate by him, and to live peaceably &c. Which, through fear of threatened death, and the unfaithfulness of some, and the impudence of other Ministers that persuaded them to take it, prevailed with many: Yet others resolutely resisted, judging it to imply a condemning of their duty, an abandoning of their Covenant-Engagements, wherein they were obliged to duties inconsistent with such bonds, and a voluntary binding up their hands from all oppositions to the declared War against Christ, which is the native sense of the peace they require, which can never be entertained long with men so treacherous. And therefore upon Principles of Reason & Conscience they refused that pretended Indemnity, offered in these terms. Nevertheless the most part took it: and yet were sentenced with banishment; and sent away for America as well as they who refused it; And by the way, (a few excepted,) perished in Shipwreck: whose blood yet cries both against the Imposers, and the Persuaders to that bond.
III. This fearful & fatal stroke at Bothwell, not only was in its immediate effects so deadly, but in its consequents so destructive, that the decaying Church of Scotland, which before was beginning to revive, was then cast into such a swoon that she is never like to recover to this day. And the Universality of her Children, which before espoused her Testimony, was after that partly drawn by Craft, and partly drawn by Cruelty, from a Conjunction with their Brethren in prosecuting the same, either into an open defection to the Contrary side, or into a detestable indifferency & neutrality in the Cause of God. For first of all the Duke of Monmouth, whose nature more averse from Cruelty than the rest of that Progeny made him pliable to all suggestions of wicked policy, that seemed to have a shew or smoothness & lenity, procured the emission of a pretended Indemnity, attended with the foresaid Band [covenant] of peace for its Companion. Which were dreadful snares, catching many with flatteries, and fair pretenses of favours, fairded [coloured] over with curious words and cozening names of living peaceably &c. while in the meantime a most deadly & destructive thrust (as it were under the fifth rib) because most secret, was intended against all that was left remaining of the Work of God undestroyed, and a bar put upon all essays to revive or recover it by their own consent, who should endeavour it. This Course of Defection carried away many at that time: And from that time, since the taking of that bond of peaceable living, there hath been an universal preferring of peace to Truth, and of ease to duty. And the generality have been left to swallow all baits, though the hook was never so discernible, all those ensnaring Oaths & Bonds imposed since, which both then & since People were left to their own determination to choose or refuse; many Ministers refusing to give their Advice when required & requested thereunto, and some not being ashamed or afraid to persuade the People to take them. The Ministry then also were generally ensnared with that banded Indulgence, the pretended benefit of that Indemnity, which as it was designed so it produced the woeful effect of propagating the defection, and promoting the division, and laying them by from their duty & Testimony of that day, which to this day they have not yet taken upon their former ground. For when a Proclamation was emitted, inveighing bitterly against field Meetings, and absolutely interdicting all such for the future under highest pain, but granting Liberty to Preach in houses upon the terms of a Cautionary bond given for their living peaceably: yet excluding all these Ministers who were suspected to have been at the late Rebellion; and all these who shall afterward be admitted by Non-Conformed Ministers: And certifying, that if ever they shall be at any field Conventicle, the said Indemnity shall not be useful to such Transgressours any manner of way: And requiring security, that none under the colour of this favour continue to preach Rebellion. Though there seems to be enough in the Proclamation itself to have scarred them from this scandalous snare, yet a Meeting of Ministers at Edinburg made up of Indulged, avowed Applauders of the Indulgence, or underhand Approvers and favourers of the same, and some of them old Public Resolutioners, assuming to themselves the name of a General Assembly, yea of the Representative of the Church of Scotland, voted for the Acceptance of it. And so formally transacted & bargained upon base, dishonest, & dishonourable terms with the Usurper, by consenting & compacting with the People to give that bond, Wherein the People upon an humble Petition to the Council, obtaining their Indulged-Minister do bind & oblige—‘that the said—shall live peaceably. And in order thereto to present him before his Maj. Privy Council, when they shall be called so to do; And in case of failzie [default] in not presenting him, to be Liable to the sum of 6000 Merks.’ Whereby they condemned themselves of former unpeaceableness, and engaged to a sinful Peace with the enemies of God, and became bound and fettered under these bonds to a forbearance of a Testimony, and made answerable to their Courts, and the People were bound to present them for their duty. The sinfulness, scandalousness, & inconveniences of which transactions, are abundantly demonstrated by a Treatise thereupon, entitled, The Banders disbanded. Nevertheless many embraced this new bastard Indulgence, that had not the benefit of the former brat, of the same Mother the Supremacy, and far more consented to it without a witness, and most of all did some way homologate it, in preaching under the sconce of it: Declining the many reiterated & urgent Calls of the zealous Lovers of Christ, to come out and maintain the Testimony of the Gospel in the open fields, for the honour of their Master and the freedom of their Ministry. Whereupon, as many poor People were stumbled and jumbled into many confusions, so that they were so bewildered & bemysted in doubts & debates, that they knew not what to do, and were tempted to question the Cause formerly so fervently contended for against all opposition, then so simply abandoned, by these that seemed sometimes valiant for it, when they saw them consulting more their own ease than the Concerns of their Masters Glory, or the necessity of the poor people hungering for the Gospel, and standing in need of Counsel in time of such abounding snares, whereby many became a prey to all temptations: So the more zealous & faithful, after several Addresses, Calls, & Invitations to Ministers, finding themselves deserted by them, judged themselves under a necessity to discountenance many of them, whom formerly they followed with pleasure; and to resolve upon a pursuit & prosecution of the duty of the day without them, and to provide themselves with faithful Ministers, who would not shun for all hazards to declare the whole Counsel of God. And accordingly through the tender Mercy of God, compassionating the exigence of the People, the Lord sent them first Mr. Richard Cameron, with whom after his serious solicitation his Brethren denied their concurrence, and then Mr. Donald Cargil; who, with a zeal & boldness becoming Christ’s Ambassadours, maintained & prosecuted the Testimony, against all the Indignities done to their Master and wrongs to the Cause, both by the encroachments of Adversaries and defections of their declining Brethren. Wherein they were signally countenanced of their Master; And the Lord’s Inheritance was again revived with the showers of the Gospel’s blessings, wherewith they had been before refreshed; and enlightened with a Glance & Glimpse of resplendent brightness, immediately before the obscurity of this fearful night of darkness that hath succeeded. But as Christ was then displaying His beauty, to His poor despised & persecuted People; so Antichrist began to blaze his bravery, in the solemn & shameful reception of his harbinger, that Pimp of the Romish whore, the Duke of York [i.e., James II.]. Who had now pulled off the Mask, under which he had long covered his Antichristian Bigotry, through a trick of his brother, constrained by the Papists importunity, and the necessity of their favour, & recruit of their Coin, either to declare himself Papist, or to make his brother do it: whereby all the locusts were engaged to his Interest, with whom he entered into a Conspiracy and Popish Plot, as was discovered by many infallible evidences, and confessed by Coleman his Secretary, to Sir Edmund-Bury Godfrey; for which, lest he should witness against him, when Coleman was apprehended, that Gentleman was cruelly murdered by the Duke of York’s contrivance & command. Yet for all the demonstrations of his being a Bigot Papist, that he had long given unto the world, it is known what some suffered for saying, that the Duke of York was a Papist and being forced to leave England he was come to Scotland to promote Popery & Arbitrary Government. However, though the Parliament of England, for his Popery & Villainy, and his plotting & pursuing the destruction of the Nation, did vote his Exclusion; yet degenerate Scotland did receive him in great pomp & pride. Against which, the forementioned faithful witnesses of Christ did find themselves obliged to testify their just resentment, and to protest against his succeeding to the Crown, in their Declaration published at Sanquhar, June 22. 1680. Wherein also they Disown Charles Stewart, as having any Right, Title, or Interest in the Crown of Scotland or Government thereof, as being forfeited several years since, by his perjury & breach of Covenant, Usurpation on Christ’s Prerogatives, and by his Tyranny & breaches in the very Leges regnandi [laws of ruling] in matters Civil—And declare a war with him, and all the men of these practices—homologating the Testimony at Rutherglen, and disclaiming that declaration at Hamilton.’ This Action was generally condemned by the body of lurking Ministers, both for the matter of it, and the unseasonableness of it, and its apparent unfeasibleness, being done by a handful so inconsiderable, for number, strength, or significancy. But as they had very great & important reasons to disclaim that Tyrant’s Authority, hinted in the [Sanquhar] Declaration itself, and hereafter more fully vindicated: so the necessity of a Testimony against all the Tyrannical Encroachments on Religion & Liberty, then current & increasing; and the sin & shame of shifting & delaying it so long, when the Blasphemous Supremacy was now advanced to its summity [height]; the Church’s Privileges all overturned; Religion and the Work of Reformation trampled underfoot; the People’s Rights & Liberties destroyed, and Laws all subverted; and no shadow of Government left but arbitrary Absoluteness, obtruding the Tyrants will for Reason, and his Letter for the Supreme Law (witness the Answer which one of the Council gave to another, objecting against their Proceedings as not according to Law, what devil do ye talk of Law? have not we the King’s Letter for it?) And all the ends of Magistracy wholly inverted; while innocent & honest People were grievously oppressed in their persons, Consciences, & Estates; And Perjuries, Adulteries, Idolatries, and all impieties were not only connived at, but countenanced as badges of Loyalty, and manifest & monstrous Robberies & Murders Authorized, Judgment turned into gall, and the fruit of Righteousness into hemlock; do justify its Seasonableness: And the ends of the [Sanquhar] Declaration, to keep up the Standard of the Gospel, and maintain the Work of Reformation, and preserve a Remnant of faithful Adherers to it; the nature of the Resolution declared, being only to endeavour to make good & maintain their Revolt, in opposition to all who would pursue them for it, and reinforce them to a subjection to that yoke of slavery again; and the extremity of danger & distress that party was in, while declared & pursued as Rebels, and intercommuned & interdicted of all supply & solace, being put out of their own, and by Law precluded of the harbour of all other habitations, and so both for safety & subsistence compelled by necessity to concur & keep together, may alleviate the Censure and stop the Clamour of its unfeasibleness. But though it is not the prudence of the management, but the justness of the Action, that I would have vindicated from obloquies; yet it wanted nothing but success to justify both, in the conviction of many that made much outcry against it. In these dangerous Circumstances, their difficulties and discouragements daily increased, by their Enemies’ vigilance, their Enviers’ treachery, and their own inadvertency, some of their number falling into the hands of them that sought their lives. For two of the most eminent and faithful Witnesses of Christ, Mr. Donald Cargil, and Henry Hall, were surprised at Queensferry; Mr. Cargil escaped at that time, but the other fervent Contender for the Interest of Christ, fixed in the Cause, and courageous to his death, endeavouring to save him, and resist the enemies, was cruelly murdered by them. And with him they got a draught of a Covenant; declaring their present Purposes and future Resolutions. The tenor whereof was an Engagement. ‘1. To avouch the only true and living God to be their God, and to close with His way of Redemption by His Son Jesus Christ, whose Righteousness is only to be relied upon for Justification; and to take the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, to be the only Object of faith, and Rule of Conversation in all things. 2. To establish in the Land Righteousness, and Religion, in the Truth of its Doctrine purity and power of its Worship, Discipline, and Government; and to free the Church of God of the corruption of Prelacy on the one hand, and the thralldom of Erastianism on the other. 3. To persevere in the Doctrine of the Reformed Churches, especially that of Scotland, and in the Worship prescribed in the scriptures, without the inventions, adornings, and corruptions of men; and in the Presbyterian Government, exercised in Sessions, Presbyteries, Synods, and General Assemblies, as a distinct Government from the Civil and distinctly to be exercised, not after a Carnal manner, by plurality of votes, or Authority of a single person, but according to the word of God, making and carrying the sentence. 4. To endeavour the overthrow of the Kingdom of Darkness, and whatsoever is contrary to the kingdom of Christ, especially Idolatry, and Popery in all its Articles, and the overthrow of that power that hath established and upheld it—–––And to execute righteous Judgments impartially, according to the word of God, and degree of offenses, upon the Committers of these things especially, to wit, Blasphemy, Idolatry, Atheism, Bougery [buggery; i.e., sodomy], Sorcery, Perjury, Uncleanness, Profanation of the Lord’s Day, Oppression and Malignancy.—–––5. Seriously considering—–––there is no more speedy way of relaxation from the Wrath of God, that hath ever lien on the Land since it engaged with these Rulers, but of rejecting them who have so manifestly rejected God—–Disclaiming His Covenant—–––governing contrary to all right Laws, Divine and human,—–––and contrary to all the ends of Government, by enacting and commanding impieties, injuries, and robberies, to the denying of God His due, and the subjects theirs; so that instead of Government, godliness, and peace, there is nothing but rapine, tumult, and blood, which cannot be called a Government, but a lustful rage; —–––and they cannot be called Governours, but public Grassators [violent assailants] and Land-judgments, which all ought to set themselves against, as they would do against Pestilence, sword and famine raging among them.—–––Seeing they have stopped the Course of Law and Justice against Blasphemers, Idolaters, Atheists, Bougerers [buggerers; i.e., sodomites], Sorcerers, Murderers, Incestuous and Adulterous persons.—–––And have made butcheries on the Lord’s People sold them as slaves, imprisoned, forfeited, etc. and that upon no other account, but their maintaining Christ’s Right of ruling over their Consciences, against the Usurpations of men. Therefore, easily solving the Objections. (1.) Of our Ancestors obliging the Nation to this race and line: that they did not buy their Liberty with our thralldom, nor could they bind their Children to anything so much to their prejudice, and against natural Liberty (being a benefit next to life, if not in some regard above it) which is not as an Engagement to Moral things: they could only bind to that Government, which they esteemed the best for common good, which reason ceasing, we are free to choose another, if we find it more conducible for that end. (2.) Of the Covenant binding to defend the King: that this Obligation is only in his maintenance of the true Covenanted Religion—which homage they cannot now require upon the account of the Covenant, which they have renounced & disclaimed; and upon no other ground we are bound to them—the Crown not being an inheritance, that passeth from Father to son without the Consent of Tenants—(3) Of the hope of their returning from these Courses: Whereof there is none, seeing they have so often declared their purposes of persevering in them, And suppose they should dissemble a repentance—supposing also they might be pardoned, for that which is done—from whose guiltiness the Land cannot be cleansed, but by executing God’s righteous Judgments upon them—yet they cannot now be believed, after they have violated all that humane wisdom could devise to bind them. Upon these accounts they reject that King, and those associate with him in the Government—and declare them henceforth no lawful Rulers, as they had declared them to be no lawful Subjects—they having destroyed the established Religion, overturned the fundamental Laws of the Kingdom, taken away Christ’s Church-Government, and changed the Civil into Tyranny, where none are associate in partaking of the Government, but only these who will be found by Justice guilty of Criminals—And declare they shall, God giving power, set up Government & Governours according to the Word of God, and the qualifications required Exod. 18. vers. 20.—And shall not commit the Government—to any single person, or lineal succession, being not tied as the Jews were to one single family—and that kind being liable to most inconveniences, & aptest to degenerate into Tyranny—And moreover, that these men set over them shall be engaged to Govern Principally, by that Civil & Judicial Law (not that which is any way Typical) given by God to His people of Israel—as the best so far as it goes, being given by God—especially in matters of life & death—and other things, so far as they reach, and are consistent with Christian Liberty—exempting Divorces & Polygamy—6. Seeing the greatest part of Ministers, not only were defective in Preaching against the Acts of the Rulers for overthrowing Religion—but hindered others also who were willing, and censured some that did it—and have voted for acceptation of that Liberty, founded upon & given by virtue of that blasphemously arrogate & Usurped power—and appeared before their Courts to accept of it, and to be enacted & authorized their Ministers—whereby they have become the Ministers of men, and bound to be answerable to them as they will—And have preached for the lawfulness of paying that Tribute, declared to be imposed for the bearing down of the true Worship of God—And advised poor Prisoners to subscribe that Bond—which if it were universally subscribed—they should close that door, which the Lord hath made use of in all the Churches of Europe, for casting off the yoke of the whore—and stop all regress of men, when once brought under Tyranny, to recover their Liberty again.—They declare they neither can nor will hear them &c. nor any who encouraged & strengthened their hands, and pleaded for them, and trafficked for union with them. 7. That they are for a standing Gospel Ministry, rightly chosen & rightly ordained—& that none shall take upon them the Preaching of the Word &c. unless called & ordained thereunto—And whereas Separation might be imputed to them, they refell [refute] both the malice, and the ignorance of that Calumny—for if there be a Separation, it must be where the change is; and that was not to be found in them, who were not separating from the Communion of the true Church, nor setting up a New Ministry, but cleaving to the same Ministers & Ordinances, that formerly they followed, when others have fled to new ways, and a new Authority, which is like the old piece in the new Garment. 8. That they shall defend themselves in their Civil, Natural, & Divine Rights & Liberties—And if any assault them, they shall look on it as a declaring a war, and take all advantages that one enemy does of another—but trouble and injure none but those that injure them.’—This is the Compend of that Paper which the Enemies seized and published, while it was only in a rude draught, and not polished, digested, nor consulted by the rest of the Community: yet, whether or not it was for their advantage so to blaze their own baseness in that Paper truly represented, I leave it to the Reader to judge: or, if they did not thereby Proclaim their own Tyranny, and the Innocency & honesty of that people, whom thereby they were seeking to make odious; but in effect inviting all Lovers of Religion & Liberty to Sympathize with them, in their difficulties & distresses there discovered. However that poor Party continued together in a posture of defense, without the Concurrence or Countenance of their Covenanted Brethren, who stayed at home, and left both them to be murdered and their Testimony to be trampled upon, until the 22. of July 1680. Upon the which day they were attacked at Airsmoss, by a strong party of about 120 horse well-armed, while they were but 23 horse and 40 foot at most; and so fighting valiantly were at length routed, not without their Adversaries’ Testimony of their being resolute men: Several of Zion’s precious Mourners, and faithful Witnesses of Christ, were killed; and among the rest, that faithful Minister of Christ, Mr. Richard Cameron sealed & fulfilled his Testimony with his blood. And with others, the valiant and much honoured Gentleman, David Hackston of Rathillet, was after many received wounds apprehended, brought in to Edinburgh; and there, resolutely adhering to the Testimony, and disowning the Authority of King & Council, and all their Tyrannical Judicatories, was cruelly murdered, but countenanced eminently of the Lord. Now remained Mr. Donald Cargil, deprived of his faithful Colleague, destitute of his Brethren’s concurrence, but not of the Lord’s Counsel & Conduct; by which he was prompted & helped to prosecute the Testimony, against the Universal Apostasy of the Church & Nation, Tyranny of Enemies, Backsliding of Friends, and all the wrongs done to his Master on all hands. And considering, in the zeal of God, and sense of His holy Jealousy provoked and threatening wrath against the Land; for the sins especially of Rulers; who had arrived to the height of Heaven-daring Insolence in all wickedness, in which they were still growing & going on without control; That notwithstanding of all the Testimonies given against them, by public Preachings, Protestations, and Declarations, remonstrating their Tyranny and disowning their Authority; yet not only did they still persist in their sins & scandals, to make the Lord’s fierce Anger break forth into a flame, but were owned also by Professors, not only as Magistrates, but as members of the Christian & Protestant Church; And that, however both the defensive arms of men had been used against them, and the Christian arms of Prayers, and the Ministerial weapon of Preaching, yet that of Ecclesiastical Censure had not been Authoritatively exerted against them: Therefore, that no Weapon which Christ allows His Servants under His Standard to manage against His Enemies might be wanting, though he could not obtain the Concurrence of his Brethren to strengthen the solemnity & formality of the Action; yet he did not judge that defect, in this broken Case of the Church, could disable his Authority nor demur the duty, but that he might and ought to proceed to Excommunication. And accordingly, in September—1680. at the Torwood, he excommunicated some of the most scandalous and Principal Promoters & Abettors of this Conspiracy against Christ, as formally as the present Case could admit: After Sermon upon Ezek. 21. 25, 26, 27. And thou profane wicked Prince of Israel, whose day is come &c. He had a short and pertinent discourse on the nature, the subject, the causes, and the ends of Excommunication in general: And then declared, that he was not led out of any private Spirit or passion to this Action, but constrained by Conscience of duty and zeal to God to stigmatize with this brand, and wound with the Sword of the Lord, these Enemies of God that had so Apostatized, rebelled against, mocked, despised & defied Our Lord, and to declare them as they are none of His, to be none of ours. The persons excommunicated, and the Sentence against them, was given forth as follows—I being a Minister of Jesus Christ, and having Authority and Power from Him, do, in His Name & by His Spirit, excommunicate, cast out of the true Church, and deliver up to Satan, Charles the Second, King &c. The Sentence was founded upon these grounds, declared in the pronunciation thereof, ‘(1) for his high mocking of God, in that after he had acknowledged his own sins, his father’s sins, his mother’s Idolatry—yet had gone on more avowedly in the same than all before him. (2) for his great Perjury, in breaking & burning the Covenant. (3) for his rescinding all Laws for establishing the Reformation, and enacting Laws contrary thereunto. (4) for commanding of Armies to destroy the Lord’s people. (5) for his being an Enemy to true Protestants, & helper of the Papists, and hindering the execution of just Laws against them. (6) for his granting Remissions & Pardons for Murderers, which is in the power of no King to do, being expressly contrary to the Law of God. (7) for his Adulteries, and dissembling with God & man—Next by the same Authority, and in the same name, he excommunicated James Duke of York, for his Idolatry, and setting it up in Scotland to defile the Land, and enticing & encouraging others to do so:’ Not mentioning any other sins, but what he scandalously persisted in in Scotland &c. With several other rotten Malignant Enemies, on whom the Lord hath ratified that Sentence since very remarkably, whose sins & punishments both may be read more visibly in the Providences of the time, than I can record them. But about this time, when amidst all the abounding defections & divisions of that dark & dismal hour of temptation, some in zeal for the Cause were endeavouring to keep up the Testimony of the day, in an abstraction from Complying Ministers; Others were left (in holy judgment, to be a stumbling block to the Generation hardening them in their defections, and to be a beacon to the most zealous to keep off from all unwarrantable excesses) to fall into fearful extravagances and delirious & damnable delusions, being overdriven with ignorant & blind zeal into untrodden paths, which led them into a labyrinth of darkness; when as they were stumbled at many Ministers their unfaithfulness, so through the deceit of Satan and the hypocrisy of his Instruments, they came to be offended at Mr. Cargil his faithfulness, who spared neither left hand declensions nor right hand extremes, and left him and all the Ministers; not only disowning all Communion with those that were not of their way, but execrating & Cursing them; and kept themselves in desert places from all Company; where they persisted prodigiously in fastings, and singing Psalms, pretending to wonderful raptures & Enthusiasms: and in fine, J. Gib with 4 more of them came to that height of Blasphemy, that they burnt the Bible & Confession of Faith. These were the sweet singers, as they were called, led away into these delusions by that Impostor & Sorcerer John Gib; who never increased to such a number, as was then feared & reported, being within thirty & most part women: all which for the most part have been through Mercy reclaimed from that destructive way, which through Grace the Reproached Remnant, adhering to the foresaid Testimony, had always an abhorrence of. Wherefore that ignorant & impudent Calumny, of their Consortship with Gib’s followers, is only the vent of viperous Envy. For they were the first that discovered them, and whose pains the Lord blessed in reclaiming them, and were always so far from partaking with them, that to this day these that have come off from that way, and have offered the Confession of their scandal, do still complain of their over-rigid severity, in not admitting them to their select fellowships. To which may be added this undeniable Demonstration, that whereas the persecuting Courts of Inquisition did always extend the utmost severity against the Owners of this Testimony, yet they spared them: And the Duke of York, then in Scotland was so well pleased with Gib’s Blasphemies, that he favoured him extraordinarily, and freely dismissed him. This was a cloudy & dark day, but not without a burning & shining light as long as that faithful Minister of Christ, Mr. Donald Cargil, was following the Work of the Lord; who shortly after this finished his Testimony, being apprehended with other two faithful & zealous Witnesses of Christ, Mr. Walter Smith, and Mr. James Boog, who with 2 more were altogether, at Edinburgh 27. July 1681. Crowned with the Glory of Martyrdom. Then came the day of the Remnants vexation, trouble, darkness & dimness of anguish, wherein who so looked unto the Land could see nothing but darkness & sorrow, & the light darkened in the Heavens thereof, wherein neither Star nor Sun appeared for many days, and poor People were made to grope for the wall like the blind, and to stumble in noon day as in the night. While the Persecution advanced on the one hand, a violent spate of defection carried down the most part of Ministers & Professors before it, driving them to Courses of sinful & scandalous Conformings with the times Corruptions, Compeerings before their Courts, Complyings with their Commands, paying of their Cesses and other Exactions, Taking of their Oaths & Bonds, and countenancing their Prelatical Church-Services, which they were ashamed to do before. And thereupon on the other hand the Divisions and Confusions were augmented, and poor people that desired to cleave to the Testimony were more & more offended and stumbled at the Ministers, who either left the Land in that clamant Call of the people’s necessity, or lurked in their own retirements, and declined the duty of that day, leaving people to determine themselves in all their perplexities, as a prey to all temptations. But the tender Pastor and Shepherd of Israel, who leads the blind in the way they know not, did not forsake a Remnant in that hour of temptation who kept the Word of His Patience; and as He helped those that fell into the hands of Enemies to Witness a good Confession, so He strengthened the zeal of the remaining Contenders, against all the Machinations of Adversaries to crush it, and all the Methods of Backsliding Professors to quench it. And the mean which most effectually preserved it in life & vigour, was the expedient they fell upon of Corresponding in General Meetings, to consult, inform, & confirm one another about common duties in common dangers, for preservation of the Remnant from the destruction & contagion of the times, and propagation of the Testimony: Laying down this General Conclusion for a foundation of Order, to be observed among them in incident doubtful cases, & emergent Controversies, that nothing relative to the public, and which concerns the whole of their Community, be done by any of them, without harmonious consent sought after & rationally waited for, and sufficient deliberation about the best means & manner. In the meantime, the Duke of York, as Commissioner from his brother, held a Parliament wherein he presided, not only against all righteous Laws that make a bloody & avowed Papist incapable or such a Trust, but against the Letter of their own wicked Laws, whereby none ought to be admitted but such as swear the Oaths; yet not only was he constitute in this place, but in the whole Administration of the Government of Scotland without the taking any Oath, which then he was Courting to be entailed Successor and heir of the Crown thereof; And for this end made many pretenses of flatteries, and feigned expressions of love, & of doing many acts of kindness to that ancient Kingdom, as he hath made many dissembling protestations of it since, for carrying on his own Popish & Tyrannical designs: But what good-will he hath born to it, not only his acts & actings written in Characters of the blood of Innocents declare, but his words do witness, which is known when and to whom he spake, when he said, ‘It would never be well til all on the southside of Forth were made a hunting field.’ However in that Parliament, anno 1681. he is chiefly intended, and upon the matter by a wicked Act declared legal & lineal Successor, and a detestable Blasphemous and Self-contradictory Test is framed for a Pest to Consciences, which turned out of all places of Trust any that had any remaining measure of common honesty; And when some was speaking of a bill for securing Religion in case of a Popish Prince, the Duke’s answer was notable, that whatsoever they intended or prepared against Papists should light upon others: whereby we may understand what measures we may expect, when his designs are ripe. And to all the Cruel Acts then & before made against the People of God, there was one superadded regulating the execution of all the rest, whereby at one dash all Civil & Criminal Justice was overthrown, and a foundation laid for Popish-Tyranny, that the Right of Jurisdiction both in Civil & Criminal Matters is so inherent in the Crown, that his Maj. may judge all Causes by himself, on any other he thinks fit to commissionate. Here was Law for Commissionating Soldiers to take away the lives of Innocents, as was frequently exemplified afterwards, and may serve hereafter for erecting the Spanish Inquisition to murder Protestants when he thinks fit to commissonate them. Against which wicked Encroachments on Religion & Liberty, the Faithful thought themselves obliged to emit a Testimony: And therefore published a Declaration at Lanerk, January 12. 1682. Confirming the preceding at Sanquhar, and adding reasons of their Revolt from the Government of Charles the Second. ‘1. For cutting off the neck at one blow of the noble Constitution of Church & State, and involving all Officers in the Kingdom in the same perjury with himself. 2. For exalting himself into a sphere exceeding all measures Divine & human, Tyrannically obtruding his will for a Law in his arbitrary Letters, so that we are made the reproach of Nations, who say, we have only the Law of Letters instead of the Letter of the Law. 3. For his constant adjourning & dissolving Parliaments at his pleasure. 4. For his arrogantly arrogated Supremacy in all Causes Civil & Ecclesiastic, and oppressing the Godly for Conscience & duty. 5. For his exorbitant Taxings, Cessings, & grinding the faces of the poor, dilapidating the rights & revenues of the Crown, for no other end but to employ them for keeping up a Brothel, rather than a Court. 6. For installing a successor, such an one (if not worse) as himself, contrary to all Law, Reason, & Religion, and framing the Test &c. And in end offer to prove, they have done nothing in this against our Ancient Laws, Civil or Ecclesiastic—but only endeavoured to extricate themselves from under a Tyrannous yoke, and to reduce Church & State to what they were in the year 1648 and 1649.’ After which Declaration, they were more condemned by them that were at ease than ever, and very untenderly dealt with; being without any previous admonition reproached, accused, and informed against, both at home & abroad, as if they had turned to some wild & unhappy Course. For which Cause, in the next General Meeting, they resolved to delegate some of their number to foreign Churches, on purpose to vindicate themselves from these Calumnies, and to represent the justness of their Cause, and the sadness of their Case, and provoke them to some Sympathy abroad, which was denied at home: And withal to provide for a Succession of Witnesses, who might maintain the Testimony, which was then in appearance interrupted, except by Martyrdom & Sufferings. Therefore by that means having obtained access for the instruction of some young men, at an University in the United Provinces, in process of time, Mr. James Renwick received Ordination there, and came home to take up the Standard of his Master, upon the ground where it last was left, and to carry on the Testimony against all the oppositions of that day, from open Enemies & backsliding Professors: an undertaking more desperate-like than that of Unus Athanasius contra totam orbem [one Athanasius against the world], and like that of a Child threshing down a Mountain. Which yet against all the outrageous rage of ravening Enemies, ranging, ravaging, hunting, chasing, pursuing after him, through all the towns, villages, cottages, woods, moors, mosses, & mountains of the Country; and against all the scourge of tongues, contradictions, condemnations, obloquies, reproaches, & cruel mockings of incensed Professors, and generally of all the Inhabitants of the Land; he was helped to prosecute, by many weary wanderings, travels, and traversings through the deserts, night & day, Preaching, Conferring, & Catechizing, mostly in the cold winter nights in the open fields: until, by the Blessing of God upon his labours, not only was the faithful Witnessing Remnant that joined in the Testimony, further cleared confirmed, and encouraged, and their number much increased by the coming in and joining of many others to the fellowship of their settled Societies; but also many others, in other places of the Country were induced to the contracting themselves in the like, to the settling such fellowships in most of the Southern Shires. But then the fury of persecutors began to flame more flagrantly than ever; not only in sending out cruel Soldiers, Foot, Horse & Dragoons, habitually fleshed in, & filled with the blood of the saints, to hunt, hound, chase, and pursue after them, and seek them out of all their dens and hiding holes, in the wildest glens, fens, and remotest recesses in the wilderness: but emitting Edicts allowing them to kill, slay, hang, drown, and destroy such as they could apprehend of them pro libitu [as they pleased], and commanding the Country to assist them, in raising the Hue & Cry after them, and not to reset, harbour, supply, or correspond any manner of way with them, under the hazard and pain of being liable to the same punishment. Whereby the Country was harassed and spoiled in searching after them, and many villains were stirred up to give Informations & Intelligence of these Wanderers, wherever they saw them, or learned where they were. Hence followed such a slaughter and seizure of them, that common people usually date their common occurrences since, from the beginning of killing time, as they call it. For which cause, to preserve themselves from, and put a stop to that deluge of blood, and demur and deter the insolency of Intelligencers & Informers, they were necessitate to publish the Apologetic Declaration, and affix it upon sever Mercat-Crosses and Parish-Church doors, Nov. 8, 1684. ‘Wherein they declare their firm resolution, of constant adherence to their Covenants & Engagements,—–and to the Declarations disowning the authority of Charles Stuart;—–and to testify to the world, that they purpose not to inure or offend any whomsoever, but to pursue the ends of their Covenants, in standing to the defense of the Work of Reformation, and of their own lives; yet, if any shall stretch forth their hand against them,—–by shedding their blood actually, either by Authoritative commanding—–or obeying such commands,—–to search for them, and deliver them up to the spilling of their blood,—–to inform against them—–to raise the hue and cry after them,—–and delate [denounce] them before their Courts,—–all these shall be reputed by them Enemies to God, and the Covenanted Reformation, and punished as such, according to their power and the degree of their offense, if they shall continue so and condemn any personal attempt, upon any pretext whatsoever; without previous deliberation, common or competent consent, without certain probation by sufficient witnesses, the guilty person’s confession, or the notourness [notoriousness] of the deeds themselves: and in the end, Warn the bloody Doegs, and flattering Ziphites informing against them, to expect to be dealt with as they deal with them.’ This declaration, though it occasioned greater trials to them, and trouble to the Country, by the Courts of Inquisition, pressing an Oath abjuring the same universally, upon all, as well women as men, and suffering none to travel without a Pass, declaring they had taken that Oath: yet it was so far effectual, as to scare many from their former diligence in informing against them, and to draw out some to join with the Wanderers more publicly, even when the danger was greatest of owning any respect to them. But at length, in the top and height of their insulting Insolency, and heat of their brutish Immanity [savagery] & barbarous Cruelty, designing to cut off the very name of that Remnant, the King of Terrors (a terror to Kings), cut off that Supreme Author & Authorizer of these Mischiefs, Charles the Second, by the suspicious intervention of an unnatural hand as the instrument thereof. Wherein much of the Justice of God was to be observed, and of His Faithfulness verified, that bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days. His bloody violence was recompensed with the unnatural villainy of his brother, and his unparalleled perfidy was justly rewarded with the most ungrate [displeasing] & monstrous treachery of a Parricide: for all the numerous brood of his Adulterous & Incestuous brats, begotten of other men’s wives, and of his numerous multitude of Whores at home and abroad, yea of his own sister too, he died a Childless Poltroon, and had the unlamented burial of an ass, without a Successor, save him that murdered him; and for all his hypocritical pretensions to a Protestant Profession, he not only received Absolution and extreme Unction from a Popish Priest at his death, but drunk his death in a Popish Potion, contrived by his own dear brother that succeeded him; impatiently longing to accomplish that Conspiracy of reintroducing Popery, wherein the other moved too slowly, and passionately resenting Charles his vow, to suffer the Murder of the Earl of Essex to come to a trial, (which was extorted by the reiterated solicitations of some, who offered to discover by whom it was contrived and acted), which made the Duke’s guilty Conscience to dread a detection of his deep accession to it: whereupon the Potion quickly, after prepared, put a stop to that, and an end to his life, February 6. 1685. Of which horrid Villainy time will disclose the Mystery, and give the History when it shall be seasonable.
IV. The former Persecution & Tyranny, mainly promoted by the Duke of York’s instigation, did not only oppress the Poorer sort, but reached also the Greatest of the Nobility & Gentry in both Kingdoms. In Scotland, the Earl of Argyle was arraigned and condemned for his explanation of the Test, but escaped out of the castle of Edinburgh, in the year 1681. And after him several Gentlemen were arbitrarily oppressed and troubled, upon the Act of Intercommuning with Rebels, and for a pretended Plot against the Government (as they called it) but really because they knew these Gentlemen had a desire, and would design to preserve the Nation, which they were seeking to destroy, and would counteract their wicked projects to advance Popery & Tyranny upon the ruins of the Nation’s Interest. For which cause they left their native Country, to seek safety and quiet abroad. And, in England, upon the same pretenses, the Lord Russel was murdered by Law, and the Earl of Essex by a Razor in the Tower, in a morning when the King & Duke of York came to pay it a visit. And many other Gentlemen lost either their lives or fortunes, upon the same grounds of oppressing the Duke’s designs: which made many resort to the United Provinces. Where they with the Scot’s Gentlemen, as soon as they heard of the death of Charles II. and of the ascending of James, D[uke] of York, a notorious and Bigot Papist, to the Throne, Associating themselves in Counsel, to essay some diversion and oppression to the present Current of Tyranny & Popery, threatening the ruin of both Nations; resolved and agreed upon the declaring a war against that Usurper and all his Complices. And in order thereunto, having provided themselves with arms, concluded that a certain Number should, under the Conduct of James, Duke of Monmouth, direct their Course for England, for managing the war there: and others to go for the same ends to Scotland, under the Conduct of Archibald, Earl of Argyle, their chosen Captain. Whereupon, in a short time, they arrived at Orkney, where two Gentlemen of their Company, going ashore, were taken Prisoners, and carried to Edinburgh; whereby the Country was alarmed, and a huge host gathered to opposed them. From thence they went to the West Highlands, where increasing to the number of about 2000 men, they traversed to and again about Kintyre & Bute, and other places in the Highlands, for six or seven weeks, until many of their men ran away, and the rest were much straitened for want of victuals, their passage, by sea, was blocked up by ships of war, and, by land, with their numerous enemies, who got time to gather and strengthen themselves, whereby their friends were frustrate and more oppressed, and themselves kept little better than Prisoners, till their spirits were wearied and worn out, and all hope lost. At length the Earl determined, when out of time, to leave the Highlands, and the Ships, Cannons, Arms, and Ammunition at Island Craig, and marched towards Dumbartoun, crossing the water of Leven, about three miles above it. Next morning, near Duntreth, they discovered a Party of the Enemies, and faced towards them, but they retired. And then directing their course towards Glasgow, were intercepted by a body of the Enemies’ Army: where they drew up in Battalia, one against another, and stopped in arms till the evening, a water being betwixt them. But Argyle’s Party, perceiving that their enemies were above ten times that number, and that themselves were wearied out with a long and tedious march, want of victuals and sleep, resolved to withdraw: but as soon as it grew dark, all hope lost, they dispersed, every man shifting for himself; only a few keeping together all the next day, had a skirmish with a Party of the Enemies, in which they slew the Captain, and about 12 or some more of his men, and afterwards they dispersed themselves also. The Enemies, searching the Country, gleaned up the E. of Argyle himself, Col. Rumbol an Englishman, Mr. Thomas Archer Minister, Gawin Russel, an David Law, who were all condemned & execute at Edinburgh, and many others who were banished to America: and about some 20 in the Highlands, who were hanged at Inerarie. In England, the D[uke] of Monmouth’s expedition, though it had more action, yet terminated in the same success, the loss of many hundred lives, many killed in Battle: And after was, by the mercy of the Duke of York, several hundreds in the West of England were carried about and hanged before the door of their own habitations; and to make his Captains sport by the way, according to the number of the hours of the day, when the murdering humour came in their head, so many of the poor Captives were hanged, as a prodigious monument of monstrous Cruelty. This was the Commencement of the present Tyrant’s Government. In the meantime, the Wanderers in Scotland, though they did not associate with this Expedition upon the account of the too promiscuous admittance of persons to trust in that Party, who were then and since have discovered themselves to be Enemies to the Cause, and because they could not espouse their Declaration as the State of their Quarrel, being not concerted according to the constant Plea of the Scots Covenanters, and for other reasons given in their late Vindication: yet against this Usurpation of a bloody Papist, advancing himself to the Throne in such a manner, they published another Declaration at Sanquhar, May 28. 1685. ‘Wherein, Approving & adhering unto all their former Declarations, And considering that James Duke of York, a Professed & Excommunicate Papist, was proclaimed—To testify their resentment of that deed, And to make it appear unto the world, that they were free thereof, by concurrence or connivance; They Protest against the foresaid Proclamation of James Duke of York as King: In regard that it is the choosing of a Murderer to be a Governour, who hath shed the blood of the Saints—that it is the height of Confederacy with an Idolater, for bidden by the Law of God—contrary to the Declaration of the Gen. Ass. of the Church, July 27. 1649. And contrary to many wholesome & laudable Acts of Parliament—and inconsistent with the safety, faith, Conscience, & Christian Liberty of a Christian People, to choose a subject of Antichrist to be their Supreme Magistrate—and to entrust an Enemy to the Work & People of God with the Interests of both: And upon many important grounds & reasons (which there they express) they Protest against the validity & Constitution of that Parliament, approving & ratifying the foresaid Proclamation—And against all kind of Popery in General & Particular heads—as abjured by the National Covenant, and abrogated by Acts of Parliament—and against its entry again into this Land, And everything that doth or may directly or indirectly make way for the same: Disclaiming likewise all Sectarianism, Malignancy, and any Confederacy therewith.’—This was their Testimony against Popery in the season thereof: which though it was not so much condemned as any former Declarations, yet neither in this had they the Concurrence of any Ministers or Professors; who as they had been silent, and omitted a seasonable Testimony against Prelacy, and the Supremacy, when these were introduced, so now also, even when this wicked Mystery & Conspiracy of Popery & Tyranny, twisted together in the present design of Antichrist, had made so great a progress, and was evidently brought above board, they were left to let slip this opportunity of a Testimony also, to the reproach of the declining & far degenerate Church of Scotland. Yea to their shame, the very rabble of ignorant People may be brought as a witness against the body of Presbyterian Ministers in Scotland, in that they testified their detestation of the first Erection of the Idolatrous Mass, and some of the soldiery, and such as had no Profession of Religion, suffered unto death for speaking against Popery and the designs of the King, while the Ministers were silent. And some of the Curates, and members of the late Parliament 1686. made some stickling against the taking away of the penal Statutes against Papists; while Presbyterians, from whom might have been expected greater opposition, were sleeping in a profound submission. I cannot without Confusion of Spirit touch these obvious & dolorous reflections, and yet in candor cannot forbear them. However the Persecution against the Wanderers went on, and more cruel Edicts were given forth against them, while a relenting abatement of severity was pretended against other Dissenters. At length what could not be obtained by Law at the late Parliament for taking off the Statutes against Papists, was effectuated by Prerogative: and to make it pass with the greater approbation, it was convoyed in a channel of pretended Clemency, offering a sort of Liberty, but really introducing a licentious Latitude, for bringing in all future snares by taking off some former, as arbitrarily as before they were imposed, in a Proclamation dated Feb. 12. 1687. ‘Granting, by the King’s Sovereign Authority, Prerogative Royal, and absolute power, which all Subjects are to obey without reserve, a Royal Toleration, to the several Professors of the Christian Religion afternamed, with & under the several Conditions, restrictions, & limitations aftermentioned. In the first place, tolerating the Moderate Presbyterians to meet in their private houses, and there to hear all such Ministers, as either have or are willing to accept of the Indulgence allanerly [only], and none other: And that there be nothing said or done contrary to the well & peace of his reign, seditious or treasonable, under the highest pains these Crimes will import, nor are they to presume to build Meeting houses, or to use out-houses or barns—In the meantime it’s his Royal will & pleasure, that Field Conventicles, and such as Preach at them, or who shall any way assist or connive at them, shall be prosecute according to the utmost severity of Laws made against them—In like manner tolerating the Quakers to meet & exercise in their form, in any place or places appointed for their Worship—And by the same absolute power, foresaid, suspending, stopping, & disabling all Laws or Acts of Parliament, Customs, or Constitutions against any Roman Catholic subjects—So that they shall in all things be as free in all respects as any Protestant subjects whatsoever, not only to exercise their Religion, but to enjoy all Offices, benefices, &c. which he shall think fit to bestow upon them in all time coming—And casing [invalidating], annulling, & discharging all Oaths whatsoever, and Tests, and Laws enjoining them. And in place of them this Oath only is to be taken—I A. B. do acknowledge, testify, & declare that James the Seventh &c. is rightful King & Supreme Governour of these Realms, and over all persons therein; And that it is unlawful for Subjects, on any Pretence or for any Cause whatsoever, to rise in Arms against him, or any Commissionated by him; and that I shall never so rise in Arms, nor assist any who shall so do; And that I shall never resist his power or Authority, nor ever oppose this Authority to his person—but shall to the utmost of my power assist, defend, & maintain him, his heirs & lawful successors, in the exercise of their Absolute power & Authority against all deadly—And by the same absolute power giving his full & ample Indemnity, to all the foresaid sorts of People, under the foresaid restrictions.’ Here is a Proclamation for a Prince: That Proclaims him in whose name it is emitted, to be the greatest Tyrant that ever lived in the world, and their Revolt who have disowned him to be the justest that ever was. For herein that Monster of Prerogative is not only advanced, paramount to all Laws Divine & humane, but far surmounting all the lust, impudence, & insolence of all the Roman, Sicilian, Turkish, Tartarian, or Indian Tyrants that ever trampled upon the Liberties of Mankind; who have indeed demanded absolute subjection, & surrender of their Lives, Lands, & Liberties at their pleasure, but never arrived at such a height of arrogance as this does, to claim absolute obedience, without reserve of Conscience, Religion, Honour, or Reason; Not only that which ignorantly is called Passive, never to resist him, not only on any Pretense, but for any Cause, even though he should command his Popish Janizaries [devoted followers] to murder & massacre all Protestants, which is the tender mercy & burning fervent charity of Papists; but also of absolute Active obedience without reserve, to assist, defend, & maintain him in everything, whereby he shall be pleased to exercise his absolute power, though he should command to burn the Bible as well as the Covenant (as already he applauded John Gib in doing of it) and to burn and butcher all that will not go to Mass, which we have all grounds to expect will be the end of his Clemency at last. Herein he claims a power to command what he will, and obliging subjects to obey whatsoever he will command: A power to rescind, stop, & disable all Laws; which unhinges all stability and unsettles all the security of human society, yea extinguishes all that remains of natural Liberty: Wherein, as is well observed by the Author of the Representation of the threatening dangers impending over Protestants Pag. 53. ‘It is very natural to observe, that he allows the Government, under which we were born, and to which we were sworn, to be hereby subverted & changed, and that thereupon we are not only absolved & acquitted from all Allegiance to him, but indispensably obliged, by the ties & engagements that are upon us, to apply ourselves to the use of all means & endeavours against him, as an Enemy of the People & subverter of the legal Government.’ But this was so gross, and grievously gripping in its restrictions, as to persons, as to the place, as to the matter allowed the Presbyterians in Preaching, that it was disdained of all; and therefore he behooved to busk it better, and mend the matter, in a Letter to the Council (the Supreme Law of Scotland) bearing date March 31. 1687. of this tenor—‘Whereas we did recommend to yow to take care, that any of the Presbyterians should not be allowed to Preach, but such only as should have your Allowance for the same, and that they at the receiving the Indulgence should take the Oath contained in the Proclamation—These are therefore to let you know, that thereby we meant such of them as did not solemnly take the Test; but if nevertheless the Presbyterian Preachers do scruple to take the said Oath, or any other Oath whatsoever, and that you shall find it reasonable or fit to grant them or any of them our said Indulgence, so as they desire it upon these terms; It is now our will & pleasure—to grant them our said Indulgence, without being obliged to take the Oath, with power unto them to enjoy the benefit of the said Indulgence (during our pleasure only) or so long as you shall find they behave themselves regularly & peaceably, without giving any cause of offence to us, or any in Authority or trust under us in our Government.’—Thus finding the former Proposal not adequately apportioned to his design, because of its palpable odiousness, he would pretend his meaning was mistaken (though it was manifest enough) and mitigate the matter by taking away of the Oaths altogether, if any should scruple it; whereas he could not but know, that all that had sense would abhor it: yet it is clogged with the same restrictions, limited to the same persons, characterized more plainly and peremptorily, with an addition of Cautions, not only that they shall not say or do anything contrary to the well & peace of his reign seditious or treasonable; but also that they behave themselves regularly & peaceably without giving any cause of offence to him or any under him; which comprehends lesser offences than sedition or treason, even everything that will displease a Tyrant and a Papist, that is, all faithfulness in seasonable Duties or Testimonies. But at length lest the deformity & disparity of the Proclamation for the Toleration in Scotland, and the Declaration for Liberty of Conscience in England, should make his Pretenses to Conscience suspect of disingenuity, and lest it should be said he had one Conscience for England and another for Scotland; therefore he added a third eke to the liberty, but such as made it still an ill favoured patched project to destroy Religion & true Liberty, in another Proclamation dated at Windsor, June 28. 1687. wherein he says—‘Taking into our Royal Consideration, the sinistrous Interpretations, which either have or may be made of some Restrictions (mentioned in the last) we have thought fit by this further to declare, that we will Protect our Arch-bishops &c. And we do likewise, by our Sovereign Authority, Prerogative Royal, and Absolute power, suspend, stop, & disable, all penal & Sanguinary Laws; made against any for Non-conformity to the Religion established by Law in that our Ancient Kingdom—to the end, that by the Liberty thereby granted the peace & security of our Government in the practice thereof may not be endangered, we hereby straightly charge all our Loving subjects, that as we do give them leave to meet & serve God after their own way, in private Houses, Chapels, or Places purposely hired or built for that use, so that they take care that nothing be Preached or taught, which may any way tend to alienate the hearts of our People from us & our Government, and that their Meetings be peaceably & publicly held, and all persons freely admitted to them, and that they do signify & make known to some one or more of the next Privy Councilors, Sheriffs, Stewards, Bailiffs, Justices of the Peace, or Magistrates of Burgh Royal, what place or places they set a part for these uses, with the names of the Preachers—provided always that the Meetings be in houses, and not in the open fields; for which now after this our Royal grace & favour (which surpasses the hopes, & equals the very wishes of the most zealously concerned) there is not the least shadow of excuse left: Which Meetings in the fields we do hereby strictly prohibit & forbid, against all which we do leave our Laws & Acts of Parliament in full force & vigour, notwithstanding the premises; and do further command all our Judges, Magistrates, & Officers of forces, to prosecute such as shall be guilty of the said field Conventicles with the utmost rigour; for we are confident, none will after these Liberties & freedoms, given to all without reserve to serve God in their own way, presume to meet in these Assemblies, except such as make a pretense of Religion to cover their treasonable designs against our Royal person & the peace of our Government.’—
This is the Royal Charter for security of the Protestant Religion (intended to secure it so, that it shall not go much abroad again) in Lieu of all the Laws, Constitutions, Oaths, & Covenants wherewith it was formerly confirmed. This is the only patent which the Royal Dâties [beloved and petted persons], the Moderate Presbyterians, have now received to ensure their enjoyment of it durante beneplacito [during his pleasure], during his pleasure whose Faith is as absolute over all ties of promises, as his power from whence it flows is over all Laws; whose chiefest principle of Conscience is that no Faith is to be kept to Heretics. Here is the Liberty which is said to surpass the hopes and equal the wishes of the most zealously concerned; holding true indeed of too many, whose hopes & wishes & zeal are terminate upon peace rather than Truth, ease rather than duty and their own things rather than the things of Christ; But as for the poor wild Wanderers, it some way answers their fears and corresponds with their jealousies, who put the same interpretation upon it as on all the former Indulgences, Indemnities & Tolerations, proceeding from the same fountain & designed for the same sinistrous ends with this, which they look upon as more openly & obviously Anti-christian: and therefore, while others are rejoicing under the bramble-shadow of it, they think it a cause of weeping & matter of mourning, not because they do not share of the benefit of it, but because they are afraid to share of the Curse of it. For which cause, though a freedom be pretended to be given, to all without reserve to serve God in their own way, they think it necessary to reserve to themselves the Liberty wherewith Christ hath made them free, and to serve Him in His Way though interdicted by men, and to take none from Antichrist restricted with his reserves; And do look upon it as a Seasonable Testimony for the Cause of Christ, and the Interest of the Protestant Religion, and the Laws & Liberties of the Country, all overturned & subverted by this Toleration, to keep their Meetings as in former times, in the open fields whither their Tyranny hath driven them. And let them call these Meetings covered & treasonable designs against the Government on pretense of Religion, I trust it shall be made evident in the Conviction of all that know Religion, that their designs are to preserve it, in opposition to the Tyranny that goes about all these ways to suppress it. Though I must suspend the Reasons of their keeping their Meetings in the fields, till I come to discuss that Case in its own place: Here I shall only say, none that is acquainted with their Circumstances, which are as dangerously stated as ever, by reason of the Constant Persecution of Cruel enraged Enemies incessantly pursuing them without relenting, notwithstanding of all this pretense of Clemency & tenderness to Conscience, but may know they can neither have safety, secrecy, nor conveniency in houses for fear of their entrapping enemies, and none will blame them that after so many discoveries of their truculent treachery they dare not trust them: And besides, they think it sinful, scandalous, & inconvenient to seem to homologate this Toleration, the wickedness whereof they are convinced of, from these Reasons.
I. Considering the Granter in his personal Capacity, as to his Morals, they look upon him as a person with whom they cannot in Prudence communicate, in any transaction of that nature. First, because being in his Principles & practice professedly treacherous, yea obliged to be both perfidious & cruel by that Religion whereunto he is addicted, he cannot be trusted in the least concerns, let be those of such momentous consequence as this, without a stupid abandoning of Conscience, Reason, & Experience. Since both that known principle, that no Faith is to be kept to Heretics, which is espoused by all Papists, does to them justify all their lying dissimulations, equivocations, & treacheries imaginable; and that Lateran Canon, that enjoins Kings to destroy & extirpate Heretics under pain of excommunication, does oblige him to be cruel; besides what deep engagements he is known to be under by Oaths & Promises to the Pope, both in his exile, and while a subject, and since he came to the Crown; which make him to all Considering persons to be a person of that Character, whose deceitful dainties are not to be desired, and that when he speaketh fair is not to be believed, for there are seven abominations in his heart. Of which open & affronted Lies we have a sufficient swatch, both in his Proclamation for Scotland and Declaration for England; where he speaks of his constant resolves of uniting the hearts of Subjects to God in Religion, & to their Neighbours in Christian Love, and that it never was his principle to offer violence to any man’s Conscience, or use invincible necessity against any man on the account of his persuasion; and that their Property was never in any case invaded since his coming to the Crown; and that it hath been his constant sense & opinion, that Conscience ought not to be constrained nor People forced in matters of mere Religion. To which, his uninterrupted endeavours to divide us from God and from one another, that he might the more easily destroy us, and his constant encroachments upon Laws, Liberties, & Properties, and all Interests of men & Christians for Conscience’ sake do give the lie manifestly. And it must be great blindness not to see, and great baseness willingly to wink at that double-faced equivocation, in matters of mere Religion; by which he may elude all these flattering promises of tenderness, by excepting at the most necessary & indispensable duties, if either they be such wherein any other Interest is concerned beside mere Religion, or if their troubles sustained thereupon be not altogether invincible necessities. Hence the plain falsehood & doubleness of his Assertions as to what is past, may give ground to conclude his intended perfidy in the promises of what is future. Next, it is known what his Practices & Plots have been for the destruction of all honest & precious Interests; what a deep hand he had in the burning of London, in the Popish plot discovered, anno 1678. in the Murder of the Earl of Essex, yea in the Parricide committed upon his own brother. By all which it appears, nothing is so abominable & barbarous which he hath not a Conscience that will swallow & digest without a scruple; and what he hath done of this kind must be but preparatory to what he intends, as meritorious to atone for these villainies. And in his esteem, and persuasion of Papists, nothing is thought more meritorious than to extirpate the Protestant Religion, and destroy the Professors thereof. Therefore being such a person with whom in Reason no honest man could transact, for a tenure of the least piece of Land or house or any holding whatsoever, they dare not accept of his security or protection for so great an Interest, as the freedom & exercise of their Religion under the shadow of such a bramble. If it was the Shechemites sin & shame to strengthen a naughty Abimelech, and strengthen themselves under the shadow of his protection, much more must it be to take protection for Religion as well as peace, from such a Monster of cruelty & treachery. This were against their Testimony, and contrary to the Laudable Constitutions of the Church of Scotland, to take no Protections from Malignant Enemies, as was shewed above in Montrose’s case. See Pag. 82. above.
II. Considering his Religion more particularly, they judge it unlawful so to bargain with him as this Acceptance would import. It is known he is not only a Papist, an Apostate Papist, and an Excommunicate Papist (as is related above) but a fiery Bigot in the Romish Religion, and zealous sworn votary & vassal of Antichrist: who, as the Letter of the Jesuit from Liege lately published in print tells us, is resolved either to convert England to Popery or die a Martyr, and again that he stiles himself a son of the Society of Jesuits, and will account every injury done to them to be a wrong done against himself; being known to be under the conduct & guidance of that furious Order, yea and enrolled as a member of that Society. Which makes it the less to be wondered, that he should require absolute obedience without reserve, seeing he himself yields absolute obedience as well as implicit faith, without reserve, to the Jesuits. Such a Bigot was Mary of England (as also his great Granddame of Scotland if she had got her will) And his Bigotry will make him emulous of her Cruelty, as counting it a diminution of his glory, for such a Champion as he under Antichrist’s banner to come short of a woman’s enterprises: Nor would the late King have been so posted off the stage, if his successor were not to act more vigorously than he in this Tragical design, to which this Toleration is subservient. He is then a Servant of Antichrist, and as such under the Mediators Malediction; yea in this respect is heir to his Grandfathers imprecation, who wished the Curse of God to fall upon such of his Posterity as should at any time turn Papists. How then can the Followers of the Lamb strike hands, be at peace, associate, confederate, or bargain with such a declared Enemy to Christ? Certainly the Scripture-Commands of making no Covenant or League, interdicting entering into any affinity with the People of these abominations, and forbidding saying a Confederacy with them, do lay awful bonds on the Faithful to stand aloof from such. The People might have had Liberty of Conscience under the Assyrian Protection, when they were saying a Confederacy with him, but in so doing they forfeited the benefit of the Lord being a Sanctuary to them. To bargain therefore with such an one for a Toleration of Religion, were contrary to the Scriptures, contrary to the Covenants and Principles of the Church of Scotland, against Associations & Confederacies with such Enemies. See Gillesp[ie]. Useful Case of Conscience concerning Assoc. hinted Pag. 83. and more Head. 3. Arg. 1. But to accept of this Liberty as now offered were a bargaining; for where there is a Giving & Receiving upon certain Conditions, where there are Demands & Compliance; Commands & Obedience, Promises & Reliance, Offers upon terms & Acquiescence in these terms, what is there wanting to a bargain, but the mere formality of Subscriptions? At least it cannot be denied, but the Addressers have bargained for it, and in the name of all the Accepters, which must stand as their deed also; if they do not evidence their resentment of such Presumption, which I do not see how they can, if they abide under the shadow thereof the same way as they do. I grant Liberty is very desirable, and may be taken & improven from Enemies of Religion: And so do the Wanderers now take it & improve it to the best advantage, without receiving it by acquiescing in any terms. But such a Liberty as this was never offered without a destructive design, nor ever received without a destructive effect. It is one of the filthy flatteries found in the English Addresses, particularly that from Totness, that the present Indulger is like another Cyrus who proclaimed Liberty to the People of God Ezra. 1. But who sees not the disparity in every respect? Cyrus at his very first entry into the Government did lay out himself for the Church’s good; This man who speaks now so fair, his first work was to break our head and next to put on our hood, first to assert & corroborate his prerogative, and then by virtue of that to dispense with all Penal Laws: It was foretold that Cyrus should deliver the Church at that time; But was it ever promised that the Church should get Liberty to advance Antichrist? or that Antichrist, or one of his Limbs, should be employed in the Church’s deliverance, while such? The Lord stirred up the Spirit of Cyrus; Can it be said without blasphemy that the Lord stirred up this man, to contrive the introduction of Popery by this Gate & Gap, except in a penal sense for judgment? Cyrus had a Charge to build the Lord a House, but this is not a Charge but a Grant or License, not from nor according to God’s Authority but mans, not to build Christ a House, but a Babel for Antichrist; and all this Liberty is but contrived as scaffolding for that Edifice, which when it is advanced then the scaffolding must be removed.
3. Considering him in his Relation as a Magistrate, it were contrary to their Testimony so often renewed & ratified, & confirmed with so many reasons, and sealed by so much blood, bonds, banishment, & other sufferings, to own or acknowledge his Authority which is mere Usurpation & Tyranny; in that by the Laws of the Land he is incapable of Government, and that he hath neither given nor can give, without an hypocritical & damning cheat, the Oath & Security indispensably required of him before & at his entry to the Government. Yet this Liberty cannot be Complied with, without recognizing his Authority that he arrogates in giving it: Seeing he tenders it to all his good Subjects, and gives it by his Sovereign Authority, and to the end that by the Liberty thereby granted the peace & security of the Government in the practice thereof may not be endangered; And in the Declaration to England, it is offered as an expedient to establish his Government on such a foundation, as may make his Subjects happy, and unite them to him by inclination as well as duty; to which indeed the Acceptance thereof hath a very apt subserviency: seeing it implies, not only owning of the Government out of Duty, but an union & joining with it and him by inclination, which is a cordial Confederacy with God’s enemy, and a cooperating to the establishment of his Tyranny; that the peace & security thereof may not be endangered. And in his former Proclamation, he gives them the same security for their Rights & Properties, which he gives for Religion; And in the English Declaration, addeth that to the perfect enjoyment of their Property, which was never invaded &c. Which to accept, were not only to take the security of a manifest lie, but to prefer the word of a man that cannot, must not, will not keep it (without going cross to his principles) to the Security of Right & Law which is hereby infringed, and to acknowledge not only the Liberty of Religion, but the Right of Property to his grant: which whenever it is removed, there must remain no more Charter for it, but stupid slavery entailed upon Posterity, and pure & perfect Tyranny transmitted to them. The sin & absurdity where of may be seen demonstrated Head. 2.
4, Considering the Fountain whence it flows, they cannot defile themselves with it. In the English Declaration, it flows from the Royal will & pleasure which speaks a Domination Despotical & Arbitrary enough, but more gently expressed than in the Scots Proclamation; where it is refounded [reestablished] on Sovereign Authority, Prerogative Royal, and Absolute Power: Proclaiming by sound of Trumpet à Power Paramount to all Law, Reason, & Religion, and outvying the height of Ottoman Tyranny. A Power which all are to obey without reserve: A power to Tolerate or Restrain the Protestant Religion, according to his Royal will or pleasure: An Absolute power which cannot be limited by Laws, nor most Sacred Obligations, but only regulated by the Royal lust; whereby indeed he may suffer the Protestant Religion, but only precariously so long as he pleases, and until his Royal pleasure shall be to command the establishment of Popery, which then must be complied with without control. Whereby all the tenure that Protestants have for their Religion, is only the Arbitrary word of an absolute Monarch, whose principles oblige him to break it, and his ambition to disdain to be a slave to it. Now the Acceptance of this Grant, would imply the recognizance of this power that the Granter claims in granting it; which utterly dissolves all Government, and all security for Religion & Liberty, and all the precious Interests of men & Christians: Which to acknowledge, were contrary to Scripture, contrary to Reason, and contrary to the Principles of the Church of Scotland, particularly the Declaration of the Gen. Ass. July 27. 1649. See pag. 89. &c. and contrary to the Covenant.
5. Considering the Channel in which it is conveyed, they cannot Comply with it. Because it comes through such a Conveyance, as suspends, stops, & disables, all penal Laws against Papists, and thereby everts all the Securities & legal Bulwarks that Protestants can have for the establishment of their Religion; yea in effect leaves no Laws in force against any that shall attempt the utter subversion of it, but ratifies & leaves in full vigour all wicked Laws & Acts of Parliament, against such as would most avowedly assert it; and stops & disables none of the most cruel & bloody Laws against Protestants: for the most cruel are such as have been made against Field-Meetings, which are hereby left in full force & vigour. Hence as he hath formally by absolute power suspended all Laws made for the Protection of our Religion, so he may when he will dispense with all the Laws made for its establishment; and those who approve the one by such an Acceptance, cannot disallow the other, but must recognize a power in the King to subvert all Laws, Rights, & Liberties, which is contrary to Reason as well as Religion, and a clear breach of the National & Solemn League & Covenants.
6. Considering the Ends of its Contrivance, they dare not have any accession to accomplish such wicked Projects, to which this Acceptance would be so natively subservient. The expressed ends of this Grant are, to unite the hearts of his Subjects to him in Loyalty and to their Neighbours in love, as in the former Proclamation; And that by the Liberty granted the peace & security of his Government in the practice thereof may not be endangered, as in the latter Proclamation; And to unite the Subjects to him by inclination as well as duty which he thinks can be done by no means so effectually as by granting the free exercise of Religion, as in the English Declaration. Whence we may gather not obscurely, what is the proper tendency of it, both as to the work & worker, to wit, to incline & induce us by flattery to a lawless Loyalty, and a stupid contented slavery when he cannot compel us by force, and make us actively cooperate in setting & settling his Tyranny, in the peaceable possession of all his Usurpations, Robberies, & Encroachments upon our Religion, Laws, & Liberties, and to incorporate us with Babylon, for who are the Neighbours he would have us unite with in love, but the Papists? against whom all the Lovers of Christ must profess themselves irreconcilable Enemies. The English Declaration does further discover the design of this device, in one expression which will most easily be obtained to be believed of any in it, viz. that he heartily wishes that all the People of these Dominions were members of the Catholic Church: which clearly insinuates, that hereby he would entice them to commit fornication with that Mother of harlots; which enticing to Idolatry (if we consult the Scripture) should meet with another sort of entertainment than such a kind & thankful Acceptance, which is not an opposing of such a wicked wish, but an encouraging & corroborating of it. And further he says, that all the former tract of Persecutions never obtained the end for which it was employed; For after all the frequent & pressing endeavours that were used, to reduce this Kingdom to an exact conformity in Religion, it is visible the success has not answered the design, and that the difficulty is invincible. Wherein we may note his extorted acknowledgment, that all former endeavours to destroy the Work of God have been successless, which induces him to try another method, to which this Acceptance is very subservient, to wit, to destroy us and our Religion by flatteries, and by peace to overturn Truth, and by the subversion of Laws to open a door to let in Popery and all abominations. But what is more obscurely expressed in his words, is more visibly obvious in his works, to all that will not willingly wink at them; discovering clearly the end of this Liberty is not for the Glory of God, nor the Advantage of Truth, or the Church’s Edification, nor intended as a benefit to Protestants; but for a pernicious design, by gratifying a few of them in a pretended favour to rob all of them of their chiefest Interests, Religion, Laws, Rights, & Liberties, which he could not otherwise effectuate but by this arbitrary way; for if he could have obtained his designs by Law: he would never have talked of Lenity or Liberty, but having no legal ends he behooved to compass them by illegal means. They must then be very blind who do not see, his drift is, first to get in all Popish Officers in places of Public Trust, by taking off the Penal Laws disabling them for the same; Then to advance his Absoluteness over all Laws, in a way which will be best acknowledged & acquiesced in by People, till he be so strengthened in it that he fears no control; And then to undermine & overturn the Protestant Religion, & establish Popery & Idolatry: which he is concerned the more violently to pursue, because he is now growing old, and therefore must make hast, lest he leave the Papists in a worse condition than he found them: which to be sure the Papists are aware of, and their conscious fears of the Nations resentments of their Villainies will prompt them, as long as they have such a Patron, to all vigilance & violence in playing their game: And withal, hereby he may intend to capacitate himself for subduing the Dutch, against whom he hath given many indications of a hostile mind of old & of late; not only in hiring two Rascals to burn the Amsterdam-fleet heretofore, but in stirring up & protecting the Algerine Pirates against them; So universal a Protector is he become of late, that Papists & Protestants, Turks & Jews are shrouded under the shadow of his Patrociny, but with a design to destroy the best, when his time comes. Which cursed designs cannot be counteracted, but very much strengthened by this Acceptance.
7. Considering the Effects already produced thereby, they cannot but abhor it. Seeing the eyes of all that are tender may affect their hearts, observing how the Papists are hereby encouraged & increased in numbers, the whole Nation overflow’d with their hellish Locusts, and all Places filled with Priests & Jesuits, yea the executive power of the Government put into the hands of the Romanists, and on the other hand how the People are endangered with their abounding & prevailing Errors (to which the Lord may & will give up those that have not received the love of the Truth) Truth is fallen in the streets & equity cannot enter, a Testimony against Antichrist is abandoned & laid aside as unseasonable, the edge of zeal for the Interest of Christ is blunted and its fervor extinguished, they that should stand in the Gap and upon the watch Tower are laid aside from all opposition to the invasions of the Enemy, and lulled asleep by this bewitching Charm & intoxicating Opium, Ministers & Professors are generally settling on their lees and languishing in a fatal security, Defection is carried on, Division promoted, and Destruction is imminent. Is it not then both a part of the Witness of the Faithful, and of their wisdom to stand aloof from such a Plague, that hath such destructive effects?
8. Considering the Nature & Name of this pretended Liberty, they cannot but disdain it as most dishonourable to the Cause of Christ. It is indeed the honour of Kings and happiness of People; to have true humane & Christian Liberty established in the Common wealth, that is, Liberty of Persons from slavery; Liberty of Privileges from Tyranny, and Liberty of Conscience from all impositions of men; Consisting in a freedom from the Doctrines, Traditions, & Commandments of men against or beside the Word of God, in the free enjoyment of Gospel Ordinances in purity & power, and in the free observance & establishment of all His Institutions of Doctrine, Worship, Discipline, & Government, in subordination to the only Rule of Conscience, the revealed Will of its only Law-giver Jesus Christ. When this is ratified as a Right by the Sanction of approven Authority, and countenanced & encouraged as Religion, by the Confirmation of Laws, approving whatsoever is Commanded by the God of Heaven to be done for the House of the God of Heaven (which is the full amount of all Magistrate’s Authority) Then we are obliged to accept of it with all thankful acceptation. But such a Liberty, as overturns our Rights, our Privileges, our Laws, our Religion, and Tolerates it only under the Notion of a Crime, and indemnifies it under the notion of a Fault to be Pardoned, and allows the exercise thereof only in Part so & so modified, cannot be accepted by any to whom the reproach thereof is a burden, and to whom the reproaches of Christ are in esteem, in such a day when even the hoofs of Christ’s Interest buried in bondage are to be contended for. Whatever Liberty this may be to some Consciences, it is none to the tender according to the Rule of Conscience, It is only a Toleration which is always of evil: for that which is good cannot be tolerated under the notion of good, but countenanced & encouraged as such. Therefore this reflects upon our Religion, when a Toleration is accepted which implies such a reproach: And the annexed Indemnity & Pardon tacitly condemns the Profession thereof as a fault or Crime, which no Christian can bear with, or by his acceptance homologate these reproaches, if he consider the nature of it: And much more will he be averse from it, if he consider how dishonourable it is to God (whatever some Addressers, particularly the Presbyterians at London, have blasphemously alleged, that God is hereby restored to His Empire over the Conscience) Since the Granter, after he hath robbed the Mediator of His Supremacy and given it away to Antichrist, And God of His Supremacy Imperial as Universal King by a Claim of Absolute Power peculiar to Him, he hath also robbed Him of His Empire over the Conscience, in giving every man the Empire over his own Conscience, which he reserves a power to retract when he pleases.
9. Considering the Extent of it, they cannot class themselves among the number of them that are Indulged thereby. It takes in not only the Arch-Bishops & Bishops, and the Prelatical & Malignant Crew, but all Quakers, and Papists, reaching all Idolatry, Blasphemy, & Heresy, and Truth also (which could never yet dwell together under one sconce) Whereby the Professors of Christ come in as Partners in the same bargain with Antichrist’s Vassals; And the Lord’s Ark hath a place with Dagon, and its Priests & Followers consent to it; And the builders of Babel & of Jerusalem are made to build together, under the same Protection; and a sluice is opened to let the enemy come in like a flood, which to oppose the Accepters cannot stand in the Gap nor lift up a Standard against them. Liberty indeed should be Universally extended to all the Lord’s People, as Cyrus his Proclamation was General, who is there among yow of all His People? his God be with him. But a Toleration of Idolaters, Blasphemers, & Heretics, as Papists, &c. is odious to God, because it is contrary to Scripture, expressly Commanding Idolaters to die the death, and all Seducers & Enticers to Apostasy from God to be put to death without pity; and Commending all righteous Magistrates that executed Judgment accordingly, as Asa, Hezekiah &c. yea even Heathen Magistrates that added their Sanction to the Laws of God, as Artaxerxes is approven for that Statute, that whosoever will not do the Law of God and of the King, judgment should be executed speedily upon him. And in the New Testament this was never repealed but confirmed, in that the sword is given to Magistrates, not in vain, but to be a terror to, and revengers to execute wrath upon all that do evil, among whom Seducers that are evil workers & Idolaters are chiefly to be ranked, being such as do the worst of evil to mankind. Ephesus is commended because they could not bear them which are evil: and Thyatira reproved for suffering Jezebel: by which it appeareth, that our Lord Jesus is no friend to Toleration. It is true this is spoken against Churchmen; but will any think that will be approven in Civil Powers, which is so hateful in Church Officers? Surely it will be the duty & honour of these horns spoken of Revel. 17. to eat the whores flesh & burn her with fire: And shall that be restricted only to be done against the great Antichrist, & not be duty against the lesser Antichrists, the limbs of the Great one? It is recorded of Iulian the Apostate, that among other devices he used, to root out Christianity this was one, that he gave Toleration openly to all the different Professions that were among Christians, whereof there were many heretical in those days: which is exactly aped by James the Apostate now for the same end. It is also contrary to the Confession of faith Chap. 20. § 4. asserting that, ‘for their publishing such opinions, or maintaining of such practices, as are contrary to the light of Nature, or to the known Principles of Christianity, whether concerning Faith Worship, or Conversation, or to the power of Godliness, or such erroneous opinions or practices, as either in their own nature, or in the manner of publishing or maintaining them, are destructive to the external Peace &. Order, which Christ hath established in the Church; they may lawfully be called to account, and proceeded against by the Censures of the Church, and by the power of the Civil Magistrate.’ And therefore to accept of this Toleration is inconsistent with the Principles of the Church of Scotland, with the National & Solemn League & Covenants, & Solemn Acknowledgment of sins & Engagement to duties, in all which we are bound to extirpate Popery, Prelacy &c. With the whole tract of Contendings in the fifth Period above related, and particularly by the Testimony of the Synod of Fife, and other Brethren in the Ministry, against Cromwell’s vast Toleration & Liberty of Conscience, mentioned above Pag. 76. for it is plain, if it be not to be suffered, then it is not to be accepted.
10. Considering the Terms wherein it is offered, they cannot make such a shameful bargain. In the former Proclamation it is granted expressly under several Conditions, Restrictions, & Limitations: whereof indeed some are retracted in the Latter, as the restriction of it to Moderate Presbyterians, which would seem to be taken off by extending to all without reserve to serve, God in their own may; but being evidently exclusive of all that would serve God in Christ’s way, and not after the mode prescribed, it is so modified and restricted that all that will accept of it must be Moderate Presbyterians indeed, which as it is taken in the Court sense must be an ignominy to all that have zeal against Antichrist. The Limitation also to private houses and not to out-houses, is further enlarged to Chapels or places purposely hired but still it is stinted to these, which they must bargain for with Councilors, Sheriffs &c. So that none of these Restrictions & Limitations are altogether removed, but the Condition of taking the Oath only: yet it is very near to an equivalency homologated, by the Accepters acknowledging in the Granter a Prerogative & Absolute Power over all Laws, which is confirmed & maintained by their Acceptance. As for the rest that are not so much as said to be removed, they must be interpreted to remain, as the terms, conditions, restrictions, & limitations, upon which they are to enjoy the benefit of this Toleration. And what he says, that he thought fit by this Proclamation further to declare, does confirm it, that there are further explications, but no taking off of former restrictions. Hence it is yet clogged with such provisions & restrictions, as must make it very nauseous to all truly tender (1) The restriction as to the Persons still remains, that only Moderate Presbyterians, and such as are willing to accept of this Indulgence allanerly [alone], and none other, and such only whose names must be signified to these Sheriffs, Stewards, Bailiffs &c. are to have the benefit of this Indulgence: whereby all the zealous & faithful Presbyterians are excluded, (for these they will not call them Moderate) and all that would improve it without a formal Acceptance, and all who for their former diligence in duty are under the lash of their wicked Law, and dare not give up their names to those who are seeking their lives, must be deprived of it. (2) It is restricted to certain Places still, which must be made known to some one or more of the next privy Councilors & whereby they are tied to a dependence on their warrant, and must have their lease & license for Preaching the Word in any place, and Field-Meetings are severely interdicted, though signally countenanced of the Lord, whereby the Word of the Lord is bound & bounded; and by this Acceptance their bloody Laws against Preaching in the open fields, where People can have freest access with conveniency & safety, are justified. (3) The manner of Meeting is restricted, which must be in such a way as the peace & security of the Government in the practice thereof may not be endangered, and again that their Meetings be peaceably held, which is all one upon the matter with the bond of peace, and binding to the good behaviour so much formerly contended against by Professors, and is really the same with the Condition of the Cautionary Bond in the Indulgence after Bothwell, of which see Pag. 129. And further they must be openly & publicly held, and all persons freely admitted to them; which is for the informing trade, exposing to all the inconveniences of Jesuits, and other Spies & Flies their delations, in case any thing be spoken reflecting on the Government, a great temptation to Ministers. (4) The worst of all is upon the matter of Preaching. which is so restricted & limited, that nothing must be said or done contrary to the well & peace of his reign, seditious or treasonable; And in case any treasonable speeches be uttered the Law is to take place against the guilty, and none other present, providing they reveal to any of the Council the guilt so committed, as in the former Proclamation: And in the last it is further declared, that nothing must be Preached or taught, which may any way tend to alienate the hearts of the People from him or his Government. Here is the price at which they are to purchase their freedom (a sad bargain to buy Liberty & sell Truth) which yet hardly can be so exactly paid, but he may find a pretense for retrenching it when he pleases; for if a Minister shall Pray for the overturning of a throne of iniquity, or for confounding all that serve graven Images, and for destruction to the Pope and all that give their power to that beast, there will be something said against the well of his Government; Or if any shall hear this and not delate it, then the same pretense is relevant; Or if he shall Preach against the King’s Religion as Idolatry, and the Church of Rome as Babylon, and discharge his Conscience & Duty in speaking against the Tyranny of the times; Or let him Preach against any public sin faithfully, a Popish Critic or Romish Bigot shall interpret it to be an alienation of the People’s hearts from the King & his Government. But who can be faithful, and Preach in season & out of season now, but he must think it his duty to endeavour to alienate the hearts of the People from such an Enemy to Christ, and his absolute Tyranny, so declaredly stated against God? What Watchman must not see it his indispensable Duty, to warn all People of his Devilish designs to destroy the Church & Nation, and Preach so that People may hate the whore, and this Pimp of hers? Sure if he Preach the whole Counsel of God, he must Preach against Popery & Tyranny. And if he think this Indulgence from Absolute Prerogative, granted & accepted on these terms, can supersede him from this faithfulness, then he is no more the Servant of Christ but a pleaser of men. Therefore since it is so clogged with so many restrictions, so inconsistent with duty, so contrary to Scripture, so clearly violatory of Covenant-Engagements, so cross to the constant Contendings & Constitutions of this Church, and Acts of Ass. (See Pag. 80. &c.) it were a great defection to Accept of it.
11. Considering the Scandal of it, they dare not so offend the generation of the Righteous by the Acceptance, and dishonour God, disgrace the Protestant Profession, wrong the Interest thereof, and betray their native Country, as thus to comply with the Design of Antichrist, and partake of this cruel tender mercy of the beast; who hath always mischief in his heart, and intends this as a Preparative for inducing or enforcing all that are hereby lulled asleep either to take on his Mark, or bear the Marks of his fiery fury afterwards. For hereby foreign Churches may think, we are in a fair way of reconciliation with Antichrist, when we so kindly accept his Harbingers favours. And it cannot but be very stumbling to see the Ministers of Scotland, whose Testimony used to be terrible to the Popish and renowned through all the Protestant Churches, purchasing a Liberty to themselves at the rate of burying & betraying the Cause into bondage & restraint, and thus to be laid by from all active & open opposition to Antichrist’s Designs, in such a season. The world will be tempted to think, they are not governed by Principles but their own Interest in this juncture, seeking their own things more than the things of Christ; And that it was not the late Usurpation upon, & overturning of Religion & Liberty that offended them, so much as the Persecution they sustained thereby; but if that Arbitrary Power had been exerted in their favours, though with the same prejudice of the Cause of Christ, they would have complied with it as they do now. Alas sad & dolorous have been the Scandals given & taken by & from the Declining Ministers of Scotland heretofore, which have rent & racked the poor Remnant, and offended many both at home & abroad, but none so stumbling as this. And therefore the tender will be shy to meddle with it.
12. Considering the Addresses made thereupon, with such a stain of foulsome & blasphemous flatteries, to the dishonour of God, the reproach of the Cause, the betraying of the Church, and detriment of the Nation, and exposing themselves to the contempt of all, the poor Persecuted Party dare not so much as seem to incorporate with them. I shall set down the first of their Addresses, given forth in the name of all the Presbyterian Ministers, And let the Reader judge whether there be not Cause of standing aloof from every appearance of being of their number. It is dated at Edinburgh, July 21. 1687. of this tenor.