Page images
PDF
EPUB

deprived of his license for standing in opposition to some parts of her public managements, deserted the party of Mr. Hepburn, to which he had been supposed to be attached, and went over to the views of Mr. Mackmillan and his party, * which were, in a third Declaration, published at Sanquhar, on the 22d day of October, 1707, declared to be not only directly opposed to the union, as those of the greater part of Presbyterians were, but, as those of the societies had for the most part, always been, in opposition to the existing order of things, both in church and state. This paper is entitled, “ PROTESTATION and TESTIMONY of the United Societies of the witnessing remnant of the ANTIPOPISH, ANTIPRELATIC, AntieRASTIAN, ANTISECTARIAN, true Presbyterian Church of Christ in Scotland, against the sinful incorporating Union with England, and their British parliament, concluded and established, May, 1707,” and as it is not of great length, and still holds its place among the standards of that body, we shall give it without abridgment, in a note.t

* Conclusions of the General Correspondence, MS. in the possession of the Reformed Presbyterian Synod, p. 56.

+ “ It will no doubt be reported by many, very unseasonable to protest at this time against this Union, now so far advanced by their law established, but the consideration of the superabundant, palpable, and eminent sins, hazards, and destructions to religion, laws, and liberties that are in it, and naturally attend it, is such a pressing motive, that we can do no less for the exoneration of our consciences, in showing our dislike of the same, before the sitting down of the British Parliament, lest our silence should be altogether interpreted either a direct, or indirect owning of, or succumbing to the same. And, though having abundantly and plainly declared our principles formerly, and particularly in our last Deelaration, May 21st, 1703, against the then intended Union, and waiting for more plain discovery with, and opposition unto, this abominable course, by those of better capacity, yet being herein so far disappointed in our expectations of such honourable and commendable appearances for the laudable laws and ancient constitution of this kingdom, both as to sacred and civil concerns, all these appearances, whether by addresses or protestations, being so far lame and defcctive, as that the resolu. tions and purposes of such has never been fairly and freely remonstrate to the contrivers, promoters, and establishers of this Union. The considerations of which and the lamentable case and condition the land already is, and may be, in, by reason of the same truth, moved us after the example, and in imitation of the cloud of witnesses, who have gone before us, to protest against the same, as being contrary to the word of God, Lev, XXX. 23. 2 Chron. xx. 35,

From this paper, whatever may be thought of their loyalty to queen Anne, it is perfectly evident that they neither were, nor could be, Jacobites, as they have often been ignorantly,

36, and repugnant to our former union with England, in terms of the Solemn League and Covenant.

“ And whereas, it hath been the good will and pleasure of Almighty God, to grant unto this nation a glorious and blessed Reformation of the true Christian religion, from the errors, idolatry, and superstitions of popery and prelacy, and therewithall to bless us with the power and purity of heavenly doctrine, worship, discipline, and government in the church of God, according to his will revealed in the Holy Scriptures, and to let us have all this, accompanied and attended with many great and singular blessings in the conversion and comfort of many thousands, and in reforming and purging the land from that gross ignorance, rudeness, and barbarity that once prevailed among us. Wherefore, our zealous and worthy forefathers, being convinced of the bonefit and excellency of such incomparable and invaluable mercies, thought it their duty, not only by all means to endeavour the preservation of these, but also to transmit to posterity a fair deposition and copy in purity and integrity, and as a fit expedient and mean to accomplish and perfect the same, they entered into the National Covenant-no rank nor degree of persons from the highest to the lowest excepted— wherein they bound themselves to defend the Reformation of religion in every part and point of the same, with their lives and fortunes, to the utmost of their power, as may be seen in the National Covenant of this church and kingdom, which was five times solemnly sworn.

“ Like as the Lord was so pleased to bless our land, and to beautify it with his presence, that our neighbour nations of England and Ireland who beheld this, and were groaning under, and likewise aiming at, the removal and abolishing of popery and prelacy, had sought and obtained assistance from this na. tion, to help them in their endeavour for that end, and had been owned of God with success. They likewise thought it fit to enter into a most solemn League and Covenant with this church and kingdom, for reformation and defence of religion wherein, with their hands lifted up to the most High God, they do bind and oblige themselves to maintain, preserve, and defend, whatever measure and degree of Reformation they had attained unto, and mutually to concur, each with another, with their lives and fortunes, in their several places and callings, in opposition to all the enemies of the same, as may be seen at large, in the Solemn League and Covenant. By means of which, these nations became, as it were, dedicated and devoted to God, in a peculiar and singular manner, above all other people in the world, and that by an indissolvable and indispensable obligation to perform, observe, and fulfil, the duties sworn to, and contained therein, from which no power on earth can absolve us. And so to carry on the ends of the same, and to evidence our firm adherence to it, with the utmost of our endeavours in opposition to every thing contradictory or contrary unto, or exclusive of these our sacred

perhaps sometimes maliciously, represented; and that such a paper could be published, and boldly adhered to on all occasions, without incurring public punishment, sets the mild

tows. We have from time to time, for these several years bypast, emitted and published several declarations and public testimonies against the breaches of the same, as is evident, not only from our declarations of late, but also from all the wrestlings and contendings of the faithful in former times, all which we here adhere to and promulgate, as they are founded upon the word of God, and are agreeable thereto.

“ And, in this juncture, to perpetuate and transmit to posterity the testimony of this church, and to acquit ourselves as faithful to God, and zealous for the concerns of religion and every thing that is dear to us as men and Christians. We here testify and protest against the prompters or establishers of, and against every thing that hath tended to the promoting, advancing, corroborating, or by law establishing, such a wicked and ruining Union, and hereby we also declare against the validity of the proceedings of the late parliament, with reference to the carrying on, and establishing the said Union, and that their acts shall not be looked upon as obligatory to us, nor ought to be by posterity, or any way prejudicial to the cause of God, and the Covenanted work of Reformation in this church, nor to the being, liberty, and freedom of parliaments, according to the laudable and ancient practique of this kingdom, the which we do not only for ourselves, but also in the name of all such as shall join or concur with us in this our protestation, and therefore we protest.

« In regard that the said Union is a visible and plain subversion of the fundamental, antient constitutions, laws, and liberties of this kingdom, which we, as a free people, have enjoyed for the space of about two thousand years, without ever being fully conquered, and we have had singular and remarkable steps of providence, preventing our utter sinking, and preserving us from such a deluge and overthrow, which some other nations more mighty and opulent than we have felt, and whose memory is much extinct. While, by this incorporating Union with England in their sinful terms, this nation is debased and enslaved, its antient independency lost and gone, the parliamentary power dissolved, which was the very strength, bulwark, and basis of all liberties and privileges of persons of all ranks, of all manner of courts and judicatories, corporations and societies within this kingdom, all which now must be at the disposal and discretion of the British parliament, (to which by this Union this nation must be brought to full subjection) and further, the number of peers, who have many times ventured their lives for the interest of their country, having reputation and success at home, and were famous and formidable abroad, and the number of barrons and burrows, famous sometimes for courage and zeal for the interest of their country, (and more especially in our reforming times,) all these reduced to such an insignificant and small number in the British parliament, we say (as is also evident from the many protestations given in to the late parliament against this union, how far it is contrary to the

and liberal spirit of the British government in a more imposing point of view than any description; and, especially when contrasted with the conduct of the Scotish government but a very

honour, interest, fundamental laws, and constitutions of this kingdom, and palpable surrender of the sovereignty, rights, and privileges of the nation, and how by this surrender of parliament and sovercignty, the people are denuded of all security as to any thing that is agreed to by this Union, and all that is dear to them is daily in danger to be encroached upon, altered, or subverted by the said British parliament, managed entirely by the English, who seldom have consulted our welfare, but rather have sought opportunities to injure us, and are now put in greater capacity, with more ease to act to our prejudice, and poor people to be made liable to taxes, levies, and unsupportable burdens, and many other imminent hazards and impositions, all which we here protest against.

“ As also that which is little considered, (though most lamentable, how the fundamental constitutions should be altered, subverted, and overturned, not only renitente et reclamante populo, but also by such men who, if the righteous and standing laws of the nation were put in execution, are incapable of having any vote or suffrage in any judicatory, seeing the Covenants, National and Solemn League, which had the assent and concurrence of the thrce estates of parliament, and the sanction of the civil law, cordially and harmoniously assenting to, complying with, and corroborating the acts and canons of ecclesiastic courts in favour of their covenants, whereby they became the foundation, limitation, and constitution of the government, and succession to the crown of this realm, and the qualifications of all magistrates, supreme and subordinate, and of all offices in church, state or army, and likewise the ground and condition of the people's obedience and subjection, as may be seen in the acts, laws, and practices of these times, witness the admission of Charles II. to the government, anno 1651. From all which it is evident how blind such men have been, who not only have enslaved the nation, but have rendered themselves infamous, by such an open and manifest violation of these solemn and sacred vows to the most High God, to the obligation of which they, as well as the rest of the land, are indispensably bound.

“ But ah, when we mention these covenants, how notorious and palpable is the breach thereof, and indignity done to these solemn vows by the sinful union, by means whereof they come to be buried in perpetual oblivion, and all means for prosecuting their ends are so blocked up by this incorporating union with England, as that whatever is, or may be done, or acted contrary thereunto, or in prejudice thereof, by any of the enemies of the same, cannot bé reminded in a due and spiritual exercise of church discipline, and execution of the laws of the land against such transgressors, and if we would open our eyes, and consider a little with reference to the National Covenant, we may clearly see, that this incorporating union is directly contrary to this par- · ticular oath and vow made to God by us in this kingdom, which we are obliged to fulfil and perform in a national state and capacity, as we are a par

short time before its extinction, ought to have made every wise, and every honest man ashamed of the vulgar and violent in

ticular nation by ourselves, distinct in the constitution of our government and laws from those of England and from all others. But now, when we cease to be a particular nation, we being no way distinct from that of England, (which is the very genuine and inevitable effect of the union,) how then can we keep our national vows to God, when we shall not be a particular nation, but only (by means of this incorporating union) made a part of another nation, whose government is managed, as is very well known, in many things directly contrary to what is contained in the National Covenant of this land, though we have charity to believe there shall multitudes be found in the land, who will grant and acknowledge themselves bound to the observation of that oath by an indispensible tye, which no power on carth can dissolve.

“ And what a palpable breach is this wicked union, of our Solemn League and Covenant, which was made and sworn with uplifted hands, to the most High God, for purging and reforming his house in these three nations, from error, heresy, superstition, and profaneness, and whatever is contrary to sound and pure doctrine, worship, discipline, and government in the same. And so it involves this nation in most fearful perjury before God, being contrary to the very first article of the Covenant, wherein we swear to contribute our utmost endeavours in our several places and callings, to reform England in doctrine, worship, discipline, and government; but by this union, both we and they are bound up for ever, from all endeavours and attempts of this nature, and have put ourselves out of a capacity to give any help or assistance that way, but on the contrary, they come to be hardened in their impious and superstitious courses. And how far contrary to the second article, where we solemnly abjure prelacy for ever, when by this union, prelacy comes to be established, and placed on the surest and strongest foundation imaginable, as is evident from the ratification of the articles in the English parliament, with the exemplification of the same in the Scots parliament, where the prelatic government in England is made a foundamental article of the union, so it is also impossible for us to fulfil the other part of that article, where we forswear schism with a legal toleration of errors, which a legal toleration of errors will infer and fix among us as the native result, and inevitable consequence of this union. And how far this is contrary to the word of God, Deut. xii. 6—12. and to our covenants any considering person may discern. As to the third article, any may see how far it is impossible for us to preserve the rights, liberties, and privileges of parliament and kingdom, when divested both of our parliaments and liberties in a distinct national way, or yet according to the same article, where we are obliged to maintain and defend the king his majesty's person and government, in defence and preservation of the true religion, how can it be supposed that we answer our obligation part of the covenant, when a corrupt religion is established, as is by this union already donc, when prelatic government is made a foundamental article thereof. And it is a clear breach of the fourth article of the Solemn League and Covenant, where wr.

« PreviousContinue »