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thus completing a direct and formal renunciation of the constituted authorities of the nation, civil and ecclesiastic. This paper was probably the sole composition of the subscribers, and is of inferior merit to that of the previous year, which, it may
isters and people may know the unaccountableness of such assertions, let it be considered, that this backsliding church—when we with others might have been big with expectation of advancement in Reformation-continued in their defections from time to time, still, as occasion was given, evidencing their readiness to comply with every new backsliding course, instance that of the Oath of Allegiance and Bond of Assurance to the present queen; which ada ditional step to the former, gave occasion and rise to our unhappy contentions and divisions. And now at this time, for the glory of God, the vindication of Truth and of ourselves as conscience and reason obligeth us-to make evident to the world the groundlessness of these aspersions and calumnies, as renters and dividers, and particularly in the commission's late odious and malicious libel, wherein are contained many gross falsehoods, such as swearing persons not to pay cess, and travelling through the country with scandalous persons in arms, which, as they are odious calumnies in themselves, so they will never be proven by witnesses. And as to our judgment anent the case, we reckon it duty in the people of God to deny and withhold all support, succour, aid, or assistance, that may contribute to the upholding or strengthening the man of sin, or any of the adversaries of truth-as the word of God instructeth us—or for supporting any in such a way, as 'tending to the establishing the kingdom of Satan, and bringing down the kingdom of the Son of God, in a course tending this way, how deeply these nations are engaged contrar to the word of God, and our indispensible oaths and covenants, whereby these lands were solemnly devoted to God--is too palpable and plain, especially in the infidel terms of the late God-provoking, religion-destroying, and land-ruining Union. We judge it most necessary to give to the world a brief and short account of our principles, in what we own or disown-referring for larger and more ample information, to several protestations and testimonies, given by some of the godly heretofore, at different times and places—And hereby, that truth may be vindicated, and our consciences exonored, we declare to the world our hearty desire to embrace and adhere to the written word of God, contained in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as the only and complete rule, and adequate umpire of faith and manners—and whatever is founded thereupon, and agreeable thereunto, such as our Confession of Faith, Larger and Shorter Catechisms, Dir. ectory for Worship, Covenants, National and Solemn League, The Acknowledgement of Sins, and Engagement to Duties, Causes of God's wrath, and 'the ordinary and perpetual officers of Christ's appointment, as Pastors, Doctors, Elders, and Deacons, and the form of church government, commonly called Presbyterian.
“ Next, we declare our firm adherence to all the faithful contendings, whether of old or of late, by ministers and professors, and against whatever
be presumed, was the production of the leaders of the societies, rather than of the ministers, and these leaders, though they wanted the polish of polite scholarship, were certainly, many of them, men of great natural shrewdness, improved by much
sinful courses, whether more refined or more gross, and particularly the prelatic Resolutions, Cromwell's usurpations, the toleration of Sectarians and heresies in his time, and against the sacrilegious usurpations and tyranny of Charles II., the unfaithfulness of ministers and professors, in complying with him, and accepting his indulgence first and last, and in a word, to every thing agreeable to the matter of this our testimony, as it is declared in pages 25 and 26 of the Informatory Vindication, printed anno 1687. .
“ Likewise, we declare our adherence unto the testimony against the abominable toleration granted by the duke of York, given into the ministers at Edinburgh, by that faithful minister, and now glorified martyr, Mr. James Renwick, January, 1688, and to whatever things or contendings have been made, or testimonies given against the endeavours of any in their subtile and sedulous striving to insinuate or engage us in a sinful confederacy with a malignant interest and cause, contrary to the word of God, our Solemn League and Covenant, and testimony of this church.
“ Next, we bear testimony against persons being vested with royal power and authority in thir Covenanted lands, without a declaration of their hearty compliance with, and approbation of the National Solemn League and Covenants, and engagement to prosecute the ends thereof, by consenting to, and ratifying all acts and laws made in defence of these Covenants, agreeable to the word of God and laudable acts and practice of this kirk and kingdom in our best times.
“Moreover, we bear testimony against all confederacies with Popish prelates and malignants, contrary to the word of God and our solemn engagementsthe magistrates' adjourning and dissolving of assemblies, and not allowing them time to consider and exped their affairs—their appointing them dyets and causes of fasts, particularly that in January the fourteenth, and the thanksgiving, August the twentieth, anno 1708, which is a manifest encroachment upon, and destructive to, the privileges of this church-their protecting of curates in the peaceable exercise of their ministry, some in kirks, others in meeting-houses, yea, even in the principal city of the kingdom, if qualified according to law, by swearing the oath of allegiance-their not bringing unto condign punishment, enemies to the Covenant and cause of God, but advancing such to places of power and trust, all which we here bear testimony against.
« Next, we bear testimony against lukewarmness and unfaithfulness in ministers, anent the corruptions and defections the church was guilty of in the late times, not yet purged and removed by censures and otherwise, as was duty-and their not leaving faithful and joint testimonies against all the encroachments made upon the church by the civil powers, since the year 1690. And we bear testimony against the settling the constitution of this church,
reading and deep reflection; and, though it should be granted, that they sometimes pushed conclusions somewhat farther than their premises could fairly warrant, it cannot be doubted but that they were men of God, honoured with much of his
according as it was established in the year 16 J2, and the ministers not testifying against this deed, seems to impart a disowning all that reformation attained to betwixt 1638 and 1649 inclusive; at least, cowardice in not daring to avouch the same, or their being ashamed to own it, because many famous and faithful acts of assemblies, especially about the year 1648, would have made them liable to censure, even to the length of silencing and deposition for their defection avd unfaithfulness during the late times of the Jand's apostacy, particularly the weakening the bands and discouraging the hearts of the Lord's suffering people, by their bitter expressions and aspersions cast upon them for their zeal and tenderness, which would not allow them to comply with a wicked, arbitrary, and bloody council, as many of them did
their not renewing the covenants, buried for upwards of fifty years by the greatest part of the land, contrary to the former practice of this church, especially after some grosser steps of defection-their receiving of perjured curates into ministerial communion without covenant ties and obligations, and without evident signs of their repentance, contrary to the practice of this church-their receiving some lax, tested men, and curates' elders into kirk offices, without soine apparent sigos, at least, of their repentance in a public appearance, contrary to the former practice of this church in such like cases, evident by the acts of assemblies--their not protesting formally, faithfully, and explicitly, against the magistrates' adjourning and dissolving of assemblies, and recording the same, contrary to the former practice of this church in our reforming times. We are not concerned to notice the protestation of some few persons at particular times, seeing their precipitancy and rashness in this matter (as they accounted it) was afterwards apologized for, and that it was not the deed of the assembly—their not asserting, in any explicit and formal act, the divine right of presbytery, and the intrinsic power of the church, though often desired by private christians, and some several members—their not confirming and ratifying the acts of assemblies that were made in our best times, for strengthening and advancing the work of reformation, contrary to the former practice of this church--their admitting, in many places, ignorant and scandalous persons to the Lord's table, contrary to the acts of former assemblies their not protesting against the present sinful confederacy with papists, malignants, and other enemies of religion and godliness, contrary to the Word of God, and former practice of this church-their offensive partiality in their respective judicatories as to some particular members, whereby the more lax and scandalous are overlooked and passed by, and the more faithful and zealous are severely dealt with, and handled contrar the rule of equity and former practice of this church-their refusing and shifting to receive and redress the people's just and great grievances, and the little regard had to prevent the giving offence to the
presence, and zealous to promote among men the knowledge of his will. Cold, indeed, must that heart be, and, whatever it may pretend, dead to the nobler sentiments of our nature, which does not sympathize even with scruples apparently so
Lord's people, and small endeavours to have these things removed that are stumbling and offensive to them, contrar to the Apostle's rule and practice, wbo became all things to all men, that by all means he might save some their not declaring faithfully and freely against the sins of the land, former and latter, without any respect of persons, contrar the express precept,
Set the trumpet to thy mouth, and show my people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins.' .“ Lastly, we bear testimony against ministers' sinful and shameful silence when called to speak and act, by preaching and protesting against this unhallowed Union; which, as it is already the stain, so we fear it will prove the ruin of this poor nation, though some of them, we grant, significd their dislike thereof before, and about the time it was concluded, yet there was no plain and express protestation faithfully and freely given in to the parliament, showing the sinfulness and danger of this cursed Union, being contrar, not only the honour, interest, and fundamental laws and constitutions of the kingdom, and a palpable surrender of the sovereignty, rights, and privileges of the nation; but also a manifest breach of our solemn league and covenant, which was made and sworn with uplifted hands to the Most High God, for purging and reforming the three nations from error, heresy, superstition, and profaneness, and whatever is contrar to sound doctrine, the power of godliness, and the purity of worship, discipline, and government in the same; and so it involves this nation in a most fearful perjury before God, being contrary to the first article of the covenant, wherein we swear, to contribute with our utmost endeavours, in our several places and callings, to reform England in doctrine, worship, discipline, and government; but by this Union we are bound np for ever from all endeavours and attempts of that pature, and have put ourselves out of all capacity to give any help or assistance that way, as ye may see more fully in the late protestation against the Union, published at Sanquhar October 22d, 1707.
“Let none say that what we have now done flows from ambition to exalt ourselves above others, for as we have great cause, so we desire grace from the Lord to be sensible of what accession we have with others in the land to the provoking of his Spirit, in not walking as becomes the gospel, according to our solemn engagements-neither proceeds it from irritation or inclination (by choice or pleasure) to discover our mother's nakedness, or that we love to be of a contentious spirit, for our witness is in heaven, (whatever the world may say) that it would be the joy of our hearts, and as it were a restoration from the dead, to have these grievances redressed and removed, and our backslidings and breaches quickly and happily healed—but it is to exoner our consciences, by protesting against the defections of the land, especially of ministers. And seeing we can neither with safety to our persons, nor freedom in our
conscientiously formed, and execrate the individuals who, from the pride of power, or the paltry hope of a little court favour, instead of eradicating these scruples by soothing persuasives and kindly forbearance, converted them, by harsh and précipitant censures, into fixed principles, and inveterate pre
consciences, compear before their judicatories, while these defections are not acknowledged and removed, so we must so long decline them, as unfaithful judges in such matters-in regard they have in so great a measure yielded up the privileges of the church into the hands and will of her enemies, and carried on a course of defection contrar to the scriptures, our covenant, and the acts and constitutions of this our church. And hereby we further protest and testify against whatever they may conclude or determine in their ecclesiastic courts, by acts, ratifications, sentences, censures, &c. &c. that bave been or shall be made or given out by them, and protest, that the same may be made void and null, and not interpreted as binding to us or any who desire firmly to adhere to the covenanted work of reformation.
“ But let none look upon what we have here said to be a vilipending or rejecting of the free, lawful, and rightly constitute courts of Christ, for we do acknowledge such to have been among the first most effectual means appointed of God for preserving the purity, and advancing the power of refor, mation in the church of Christ ; the sweet fruits and blessed effects whereof this church bath sometimos enjoyed, and which we have been endeavouring and seeking after, and are this day longing for.
“ We detest and abhor that principle of casting off the ministry, wherewith we are odiously and maliciously reproached, by those who labour to fasten upon us the hateful names of schismaticks, separatists, despisers of the gospel —but herein as they do bewray their enmity to the cause we own, so, till they bring in their own principles and practices, and ours also, and try them by the law and the testimony, the measuring line of the sanctuary, the Word of God, and the practice of this church, when the Lord keeped house with, and rejoiced over her as a bridegroom over his bride, they can never prove us schismaticks, or separatists from the kirk of Scotland, upon the account of our noncommunion with the backslidden multitude, ministers, and others.
“ Finally, that we may not be judged by any as persons of an infallible spirit, and our actions above the cognizance of the judicatories of Christ's appointment, we appeal to the first free, faithful, and rightly constituted assembly in this church, to whose decision and sentence in the things libelled against us we willingly refer ourselves, and crave liberty to extend and enlarge this our Protestation, Declinature, and Appeal, as need requires.”
The above was dated at the Manse of Balmaghie, September the twentyfourth, 1708, subscribed by Messrs. John Mackmillan and John Macneil, enclosed under cover, directed to Nicol Spence, one of the clerks of assembly, and by him delivered in to the commission, September the twenty-ninth,