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taken the covenant, they call him most gracious sovereign; and subscribe the letter thus, Your majesty's most loyal subjects, and humble servants, the ministers and elders convened in this national Assembly of the kirk of Scotland: while in the meantime they tell him, in the same letter, That he had settled a peace with the Irish Papists, the murderers of so many thousands of his Protestant subjects, and granted to them (contrary to the standing laws of his royal progenitors) a full liberty of their abominable idolatry; which, say they, cannot be otherwise judged, but a giving of your royal power to the Beast; and they exhort him to lay aside the servicebook. And several other things may be there found, that may make men blush to talk of their agreeing with the Church of Scotland in her principles in these times, and yet rejecting the authority of the present queen. And, which is most lamentable, even those worthies that laid down their lives for the covenants, whose testimonies are recorded in Naphtali,* having owned the king's authority, and prayed for him on the scaffolds, must by this new doctrine be reputed to die as fools, who understood not the covenants they were laying down their precious lives for. As to the Confession of Faith,
1. How does their refusing to pray for the queen, to pay her cess, and to own her authority, because she is a covenanted queen, agree with the Confession of Faith, chap. 23, § 4, “ It is the duty of people to pray for magistrates, to pay then tribute and other dues, and to be subject to their authority for conscience sake: infidelity, or difference in religion, doth not make void the magistrate's just and legal authority ?" I know they will say, that article is meant of lands not covenanted: there liad been some shadow of force in this perhaps, if this Confession of Faith had been framed before the covenant: but upon the contrary it was long after, and was the product of the solemn League and Covenant, as appears from the first article of the Covenant, in these words, “ And shall endeavour to bring the churches of God in the three kingdoms to the nearest conjunction and uniformity in religion, confession of faith,” &c. The solemn League and Covenant was sworn in the year 1613, the Confession of Faith was sent hither and approven by the Assembly not till the year 1647, for which see the Act of Assembly, printed before the Confession. And can we think, that those who, in pursuance of the covenant, framed this Confession of Faith, to declare to the world the faith of covenanters, would so juggle, as to put in articles of faith which would bind others, but not themselves?
• See the testimonies of the Marquis of Argyle, Warriston, the Teu. These, with T. Paterson, R. Shields, Mr. Robinson, G. Crawford, Mr. M'Kait.
2. How does their reckoning the taking the oath of allegiance to the queen, one of the steps of the Church's defection, consist with Confession, chap. 22, § 2," A lawful oath, being imposed by lawful authority, in such matters ought to be taken ;'' and § 3, of the same chapter, “Yet it is a sin to refuse an oath, touching any thing that is good and just, being imposed by lawful authority ?" It is true, they reckon her no lawful queen; but one error will not atone for another. The famous author of the Apologetical Relation was not of our dissenters' mind, (nay, he thought there had been no Christian of their mind, and for ought I know there were none in these days), for, speaking of the reasons why the oath of supremacy, called then, though falsely, the oath of allegiance, should be refused, and answering this objection, viz. such as refuse this oath of allegiance, declare that they are not dutiful and loyal subjects, he saith, It hath been shown what difference there is betwixt this oath and the oath of allegiance; and there is no minister or Christian should scraple at the taking the pure oath of allegiance, Apol. Rel. p. 259. If it was this author's mind, that no minister or Christian should have scrupled the oath of allegiance to king Charles II. when he had taken the covenant, broken it, and overturned the work of reformation, sure, he would far less have thought it a sin to take the oath of allegiance to the present queen.
3. How doth their separating from this Church, lest they be involved in the guilt of the corruptions amongst us, by keeping communion with us, agree with Conf. chap. 26, § 2, “Saints, by profession, are bound to maintain an holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God;-which communion, as God offereth opportunity, is to be extended to all those who in every place call upon the name of the Lord Jesus ?"
4. How doth that principle of theirs, sometime at least owned by them, though left out in their last paper, agaiast the power of the magistrate to call assemblies, agree with Conf. chap. 31, § 2," As magistrates may lawfully call a synod of ministers, and other fit persons to consult and advise with about matters of religion ?" and with Act of Assembly 1638, sess. 26, concerning yearly General Assemblies, where they say, “If, in the meantime, it shall please the king's majesty to indite a General Assembly, ordaineth all presbyteries, universities, and burghs, to send their commissioners, for keeping the time and place which shall be appointed by his majesty's proclamation ?" They cry out on the encroachment of the magistrates in dissolving Assemblies; but as our Assemblies are constituted in the name of Christ, so are they dissolved in his name. What dissolution the magistrate makes, is looked upon as the dis
missiog of the members. There have indeed been encroachmeuts made by the magistrate in dissolving Assemblies before they had done their business, and there have been protestatious made against this. And though, in the late paper, they charge the Church for
. not protesting against the encroachments, and recording the same; yet that protestations have not been made against them, is an untruth : but where the magistrate's deed is not recorded, neither are the protestations recorded. I was eye and ear-witness to the magistrate's dissolving the Assembly in the midst of business; and protestations were made against it, and for the Church's intrinsic power; and, from every corner of the house, members adhering thereto. And this protesting is recorded in the Acts of Assembly; so that, from my certain knowledge, I can say they speak an untruth in that charge in the declinature; yea, I have the Acts of the Assembly by me, where they, or any that question the truth of what I say, may read it with their own eyes.
5. How doth their rejecting and despising the testimony of the Commission of the General Assembly against the Union, and reproaching them for it, because it was given into the Parliament by way of humble address, and not by way of protestation, agree with Confession, chap. 31, § 5, “Synods and councils are to handle and
$ conclude nothing but that which is ecclesiastical, and are not to internieddle with civil affairs, which concern the commonwealth, unless, by way of humble petition, in cases extraordinary, or by way of advice, for satisfaction of conscience, if they be thereunto required by the civil magistrate ?”
Lastly, How does their crying out on the magistrate's occasionally appointing fasts and thanksgivings, agree with the Confession of Faith, allowing the magistrate to call Assemblies ? This I spoke to formerly in another sermon. And further, how agrees it with the last paragraph of the Directory concerning public solemn fasting, where we have these words, “ Besides solemn and general fasts enjoined by authority, we judge," &c. It may be observed how frequently the apostles enjoin obedience to magistrates, and honouring of them, as 1 Tim. ii. 1, 2, “ 1 exhort therefore, that prayers be made for kings, and for all that are in authority.” Rom. xiii. 1, "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers," &c. Tit. iii. 1, “ Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates.” 1 Pet. ii. 13, and downwards. All which may shew us, that we have no more right to take away the fifth command out of the decalogue, that requires obedience to magistrates, than the Papists have to take away the secoud, which condemns their idolatry. I think there is a strange inclination amongst some
that profess religion, not only amongst dissenters, but others, to
" I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you.” Beware of division yourselves, and give your help to recover, in all tenderness, those that have withdrawn, and encourage them not in their way. I am persuaded, that if they were not so much countenanced and encouraged by those that are the hearers, the number of such would not be so great as it is. Let not that itching ear get place with you, so as to run away to their meetings, whenever ye bave opportunity, and so to cast yourselves into a snare, and to do what in you lies to strengthen the division, and trample on the grave authority of the church, whereby one of their preachers is deposed from the ministry, and the other, who never was a minister, his license to preach is declared null and void ; and both are certified, that if they repent not, and amend their ways, they shall be excommunicated. I know it is said, that it is thought strange, the Commission threateneth to censure these men with the highest ceasures of the Church, while yet they declare them to be none of their communion. But I think it more strange to find men amused with this,
wlio though some curates, and others who have been censured by this Church, who were as little of our communion as these men, yet are dissatisfied that the Church does not censure more of them, and that inore severely. Beware then of this division, I beseech you,
1. For their sakes that have withdrawn, that ye may not confirm them in their course, tending so much to the disadvantage of their souls, in withdrawing from the means of grace and knowledge, which they stand in need of, as well as others. 0 Sirs, be concerned this way; the Lord's people are of an uniting and gathering spirit, Isa. Ixvi. 20,“ And they shall bring all yonr brethren for an offering unto the Lord, out of all pations, upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters,—to my holy mountain.” They shall bring them not by force, but by gospel-motives. But some of them are far off ; what then? yet they shall bring them; may be they cannot walk, then shall they bring them on horses; may be they are so weak they cannot ride on horses, then they shall get chariots; some may be so sickly they cannot come in chariots, then they shall come in litters that are for carrying of sick folk: But by all means they will endeavour to bring them to the mountain of the Lord. Some will not concern themselves this way, but let every one do as they please in these matters. But 0 for this gathering spirit !
2. I beseech you for the sake of those, both amongst them and us, that have no religion. O Sirs, what should come of the many perishing souls up and down Scotland, that are strangers to Christ and their own soul's state, if, as these men would have it, all should leave us, and we be left to preach to the empty walls, or hold our tongues? Will they be able for the whole kingdom ?
3. I beseech you, for your own sakes, have pity on your souls, cast not away your spiritual food; yield not so to Satan, who, if he could, would set you at variance with the ordinances, because he well knows that men in that case may get greater ease in their lusts, for it will be long ere a reproof be reached from the pulpit to the fields, or their firesides. I am very apprehensive, that the preaching of the word, as being levelled at peoples' state, and case of their souls before the Lord, has been over hot for soine, that has made them withdraw from ministers, as men tbat tormented them that dwell upon the earth.
4. I beseech you for the Church's sake, whose beauty is marred with division, Cant. i. 6, “ Look not upon me, because I am black :my mother's children were angry with me.” There is no danger from enemies without, like that from divisions within. of the Church would be the stability of it, Isa. xxxiii. 20,"Thine
“ eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall