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the Jesuits, for no other purpose but to create dissension; and this silly surmise had, in several instances, a more mischievous tendency, and tended to create disgust and disaffection, in a higher degree than even the oath itself. Upon the whole, however, the effect of these measures was far different from what their projectors anticipated, and, instead of forwarding the views of the Jacobites, were the principal means of blasting them for ever.
Under the leading of Sacheveral, and the excitement of Oxford and Bolingbroke, the clergy of England had been brought to preach little else than the doctrine of indefeasible hereditary right; the irresistible power of princes, with the necessity of a constant succession of diocesan bishops; of all ecclesiastical administrations by priests episcopally ordained; of auricular confession to them, absolution from them, and of
This Jesuitical way of doing business, though it served as a pretext to justify them to some poor silly people, exposed them much to the censure of all sober thinking persons, it being evident from hence, that, though they roared out against the mental reservations of the church of Rome, they could do the very same thing themselves when it served their turns. It proved that either they were scrub theologists, or men of no conscience; for, seeing all divines and lawyers agree in maintaining that all oaths are taken and binding in the sense and terms of the lawgiver imposing the same, any explanation contrary to the plain literal meaning of the words, and without the approbation of the lawgiver, hath no manner of import whatever. And, moreover, the explanation was not made publicly and adhered to in the face of the court, and at the time of swearing the oath, so as to stand on record ; though, by the bye, the justices had no power to consent to and receive the same, being no furder authorized and required, than to put the laws in execution, by administering the oath in the terms of the act imposing the same. It is, therefore, evident, I say, that this explanation was altogether illegal and unwarrantable, a down. right juggling with God and man, and a precedent for admitting the greatest cheats, and performing the greatest villanies, for by the same rule, why might they not abjure Christianity and profess Mahometism, provided they secretly declared to be so only so far as consisted with their principles ? And why might they not falsely swear away any man's life and fortune, provided they privately declared that their oath was to be understood as probative, in so far only as it consisted with truth? But the baseness and bad consequences of such principles and practices are so conspicuous, and so detested by all men of honour and conscience, there is no need of enlarging furder, the bare recital of the fact, to which I was an eye-witness, being more than enough to create in such a just abhorrence of it, and all who act after that manner.” Lockhart Papers, vol. i. pp. 384, 385.
propitiatory sacrifices offered up by them, so that the poor people, ignorant at best, were every day becoming more so, and, careless of either civil or religious interests, were hasting to have their necks again enwreathed in the iron yokes of tyranny and superstition. So far, however, were the ministers of the Scotish establishment from imitating so pernicious an example, that they, for the most part, pursued exactly an opposite course; and from the inroads made upon the liberty of the church, took occasion to vindicate her institutions, to expose those false principles which guided her enemies; and to point out the doleful consequences that behoved to follow the completion of those superstructures, that were attempting to be founded upon her ruins.*
At the same time, it must be admitted, that the labours of the well affected part of the church of Scotland, were greatly counteracted by the zeal of their opponents. Assuring themselves that they had now the favour of the government, the disaffected of every class displayed peculiar activity, and Romish priests, under the patronage of the Jacobite nobility and gentry, swarmed in almost all parts of the country, particularly in the north, in the islands, about Aberdeen, and in the south, where Jacobitism was more prevalent than in the middle and western districts. These, under the protection of the chiefs of the faction, were so bold as to go about all the parts of their religion; and they were so successful as to subvert whole parishes, and retain even considerable districts in Romish darkness. This was particularly the case in Lochaber, Glengarry, Moydart, Arisaig, and the Island of Skye, where the light of protestantism had been but partially diffused, during the brigbtest periods of the reformation. A popish bishop of the name of Bruce, had even the confidence to fix his residence openly in Perthshire, where he lived in great splendour, sent forth emissaries in every direction, and performed the duties of his office as freely and formally as if he had had public authority for so doing. The people, at the same time, resorted to their idolatrous places of worship in the same manner as if they had been parish churches. In
* Rae's History of the Rebellion, pp. 36–38.
these they published banns, celebrated marriages, baptisms, and masses; and for their support schools were established, and the more promising youth sent beyond seas, to be prepared at foreign seminaries for supporting, and diffusing more abundantly over the country, the kingdom of darkness.
This zeal on the part of the papists, was warmly seconded by the Scotish episcopal clergy, who, for profanity of conduct, and heterodoxy of doctrine, for the most part came, at this time, very little, if any thing short of those of Rome; and they possessed some advantages for poisoning the public mind, which the others did not. These advantages they were very careful to improve. They had the name of protestant, and employed themselves assiduously to persuade the people, that the pretender might turn protestant—nay, many of them affirmed that he was protestant already. “ And what a pity," they exclaimed, “that the lineal heir of our crown should be obliged to wander in foreign parts, while a family so remote as that of Hanover, not within the ninth degree of blood to queen Anne, should be brought in to reign over us.” They were also at immense pains to fabricate and to spread the most foolish, and false, and caluninious reports of the protestant successor; affirming that he communicated thrice a year with the Romish church, and so was popish as well as the pretender—which, had be done so, no reasonable man would have doubted—and still worse, he was also a pagan, and sacrificed to the devil, with many other unworthy but ridiculous things, which, though no man of common sense could believe, yet among the unthinking vulgar, who were not aware of the design, brought a certain degree of contempt upon his character, and had their own weight, even with many, who, it might have been presumed, would have been superior to such vulgar influence.*
Participating strongly in that general feeling of insult and indignity that prevailed through the country, the old dissenters under Messrs. John Mackmillan and John Macneil, felt themselves now called upon to make a still more decided appearance against what they supposed the defections of the
* Rae's History of the Rebellion, p. 14.
time than they had hitherto done; and, for this purpose, they resolved upon a solemn renewal of the national covenants. Great pains were accordingly taken throughout the various societies, belonging to the general correspondence, to have every member properly enlightened upon the subject, and to bring them cordially and universally to join in an act, which, whether as it regarded the cause of truth and holiness, their own exoneration, or the best interests of present and future generations, they considered as of the last importance. Draughts of an acknowledgment of sins, and an engagement to duties were prepared, and, at various meetings of committees, carefully corrected; conferences were held for reconciling all differences and disagreements, existing between the societies themselves, or between individual members of the societies, and on the twenty-sixth of May, 1712, the general meeting at Crawford John approved of all these previous preparations, and finding it to be the mind of the greater part of the societies, “ that the work of renewing the covenants shall presently be fallen about,” proceeded to appoint the time and place for its performance. Accordingly, after days of fasting had been observed, more privately by the several societies, and more publicly by congregations assembled in the fields, they met at Auchinsaugh, near Douglas, in one great body, on Wednesday the twentythird of July, 1712, when Mr. Mackmillan “ began the work with prayer, for special assistance to attain due preparation for, and a suitable frame throughout the whole solemnity.” After giving a prefatory exhortation, Mr. Mackmillan was followed by Mr. Macniel, with a sermon suitable to the occasion, which being closed with prayer, the covenants were read, and there. after the acknowledgment of sins, the general heads of which were summed up in an extempore prayer; psalms were then sung, and the congregation was dismissed with a reproof from Mr. Mackmillan, “ for their unconcerned carriage and behaviour during the reading of the acknowledgment of the breaches of these covenants.”*
On Thursday, July 24th, after a sermon by Mr. Mackmillan,
* Conclusions of the General Meeting, MS. in the possession of the Reformed Presbyterian Synod.
the acknowledgment of sins was again read, and all such as were guilty of any such public steps of defection as are confessed therein, admonished “to make full and free confession thereof, before the congregation, with such a due sense of, and sorrow for these public sins, as might evidence a hearty design of abandoning them.” Of this, the minister himself set an example, and was followed by many others. The “engagement to duties was also read in the audience of the congregation, where it was showed, that the design of these engagements was to accommodate the covenants to our case and circumstances.”*
* The following is the engagement to duties come under by the Covenanters at Auchinsaugh, 1712 :
Because it is requisite, in order to obtain mercy, not only to confess, but also to forsake our sins, and to do the contrary duties; therefore, that the sincerity and reality of our repentance may appear, we resolve, and solemnly engage before God, in the strength, and through the assistance of Christ, that we shall carefully endeavour, in all time coming, to avoid all these offences, whereof we have now made solemn public acknowledgment, and all the snares and temptations tending thereunto; and to testify this sincerity of our resolution, and that we may be the better enabled, in the power of the Lord's might, to perform the same, we do again renew our covenants, both national and solemn league, promising to make conscience of a more exact performance of all the duties therein contained, so far as we in our stations, and present deplorable circumstances, are capable, particularly such as follow:
Because religion is of all things the most excellent and precious in its own nature, and therefore most to be desired by the children of men, and the knowledge of the great truths of the gospel, so generally decreased in this land, is so absolutely necessary to salvation; therefore, in order to attain it, we shall labour to be better acquainted with the written word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and manners; and shall (according to our capacity) study more than formerly, the doctrine of the reformed church of Scotland, summed up in our Confession of Faith, Catechisms, Larger and Shorter, Sum of Christian Doctrine, and Practical use of saving Knowledge, Directory for Worship, (as the same was received and observed by this church in her purest times, viz. in the year 1649,) Propositions concerning Church Government and ordination of Ministers, annexed to the Confession of Faith, and other writings, clearing and confirming these truths, approven by this church, and agreeable to the word of God
We shall likewise endeavour the advancing and promoting the power of this true reformed religion, against all ungodliness and profanity, and the securing and preserving the purity thereof, against all kind of error, heresy, and schism, as namely, Independency, Brownism, Anabaptism, Antinomianism, Arminianism, Socinianism, Libertinism, Familism, Scepticism, Quakerism, Deism, Burignonism, and Erastianism; and as we declare, that we willingly agree in