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Act, Declaration, & Testimony for the Whole of our Covenanted Reformation, as Attained to, and Established in Britain and Ireland; Particularly Betwixt the Years 1638 and 1649, Inclusive by The Reformed Presbytery

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do reject and condemn the following contrary errors, tenets and
opinions, whether of older or later date, vented either by open enemies
or professed friends to the reformation cause. And,

1. They reject and condemn that loose latitudinarian tenet and opinion
of opening the door of communion with the church in her judicative
capacity, or sealing ordinances, unto the grossly ignorant, loose,
careless, profane and scandalous: and to the anti-christian deist,
blasphemous heretic, or any who maintain doctrines, principles and
opinions contrary to, and eversive of the cardinal and fundamental
doctrines of Christianity, or such principles and practices as oppose,
obscure or darken the church's beauty and purity, and spoil her of her
power, and particularly that of the church of _Scotland_, in her
attainments in reformation; this being evidently destructive and ruinous
to truth and holiness, the only foundation and basis of external union
and concord in the church, and consequently of all durable, harmonious
and comfortable communion among the ministers and members of Christ's
mystical body: See Eph. v, 11; Isa. viii, 20; Amos iii, 3; 1 Cor. vi,
10; Heb. xii, 14; Rev. xxii, 14, 15; 2 Cor. vi, 17, 18; and conform to
the acts and practice of this church, in her best and purest times, in
excluding from her communion, and refusing to unite with any chargeable
as above.

Again, they hereby reject that false and ungodly principle and opinion,
That a God of infinite wisdom has left his professing people destitute
of any declaration of his will (which they are absolutely bound to
regard) concerning both the institution, administration and
qualifications of such persons as should administer these two distinct
ordinances, government, civil and ecclesiastical; or that these two
different species of government have not their foundation and
institution, as the ordinances of God, in his revealed will; but that
either (with the corrupt revolution church) he hath left the government
of his house a matter of indifference, and the pattern thereof to be
moulded by the discretion of the wise men of this world, and according
to the corrupt will and fluctuating inclination of the people; or, with
their public resolution-brethren, the _Seceders_, exchanging the clear
scriptural and covenanted basis of civil government, with the obscure
foundation of the law and light of nature, or the more dissolute basis
of mere election and acknowledgment of whomsoever the _primores regni_,
though never so wicked and licentious, choose and set up as magistrates.
Which notion contains an injurious and impious impeachment of divine
revelation, as a rule imperfect and insufficient to guide Christians
into the knowledge of the will of God, and their duty, as the peculiar
and professed subjects of the King of kings, and supreme lawgiver,
concerning all his ordinances; and is contrary to 2 Tim. iii, 16; Rom,
ii, 14; Ezek. xliii, 11; and xliv, 5; Lev. xviii, 2, 3, 4, 5; Matt,
xxviii, 20. Confess, chap. 23, Sec. 3.

They in like manner reject and condemn the ecclesiastical headship of
the church, blasphemously arrogated by that man of sin, and son of
perdition the Pope of _Rome_; with all that superiority of dignity and
office in the house of God, claimed by anti-christian Prelates, together
with the whole of their hierarchical order, and the civil places and
power of churchmen, by both usurped; which is a most wicked attempt to
overturn God the Father's deed, constituting his Son Christ, sole King
and Head of his church, an exauctorating of Jesus Christ from his
throne, and headship in his church, an elevation of his ministers,
contrary to his will, and the nature and ends of their office; and an
anti-scriptural and confused blending together of different and distinct
ordinances. Psa. ii, 6; Isa. ix, 6, and xxii, 24; Col. i, 18; Mark x,
42, 43; Luke xxii, 25, 26; I Pet. v, 3; 2 Chron. xix, 12; 1 Cor. vii, 2.
Confess. chap. 25, Sec. 6, and contrary to our solemn covenants, and many
acts and ordinances of both church and state, in times of reformation.

They likewise reject and condemn that gross Erastian principle, That the
civil magistrate is supreme head over all persons, and in all causes,
ecclesiastical as well as civil, whether in more ancient and later times
of tyranny and persecution, openly and blasphemously usurped, or at and
since the Revolution, more craftily yet too manifestly claimed; as
appears from the 37th article of the church of _England_, and king's
declaration prefixed to the said articles: and is further evident from
the many encroachments made upon the royal dignity and headship of
Christ, by the usurpers of his throne, practically vesting themselves
with power and authority to convene and adjourn at their pleasure, and
give laws and ordinances to the church, which is a daring attack on the
prerogative, sovereignty, wisdom and power of her absolute King and
Lord, on whom, as a nail fastened in a sure place, his Father has hung
all the glory of his house, and vested him with the sole supremacy over
the same, being filled abundantly with the spirit of wisdom and
understanding, with the spirit of counsel and of might, to direct and
preside in the management of all her concerns, and to preserve from and
overcome all her enemies; Isa. xxii, 24, and xi, 2, 3, and ix, 6; Col.
i, 18; Eph. i, 22; 2 Chr. xxvi, 18; Heb. v, 4; Confess. chap. 25, Sec. 6.

They also reject and condemn that Erastian tenet and opinion, that the
whole or any part of the power, mission, qualifications, or
administration of ecclesiastical officers, or ministers of the church of
Christ, depends upon the authority and dictation of the civil
magistrate, because it is manifestly destructive of the church's power
and authority, under Christ her Head, and derived from him, and likewise
of the ministerial freedom and faithfulness of Christ's embassadors: and
particularly they reject and condemn, as gross Erastianism (whether
practiced before or since the Revolution, and especially since the
incorporating union with _England_ on terms diametrically opposite to
our covenant union), the civil magistrate's limiting the mission of
office-bearers in the church, according to his will; prescribing certain
qualifications, and restricting to certain limitations; such as the
test, indulgences, allegiance, assurance, and abjuration oaths, act
restoring patronages, and the act anent _Porteous_, together with the
threatened deprivation of office and benefice, upon non-compliance; 1
Cor. xii, 28; Matt, xviii, 17, 18; John xx, 23.

They further reject and condemn that Erastian opinion, that the external
government of Christ's house is left unto the precarious determination
of sinful men, or hath either its immediate or mediate dependence upon
the will and pleasure of the civil magistrate, according to the import
of the claim of right, the anti-scriptural basis of the revolution
settlement. This being evidently an impious reflection on the perfect
wisdom of the church's Head, subversive of the beauty of his house, and
fertile of disorder therein, laying the kingdom of Christ obnoxious to
spiritual tyranny and oppression, when strangers, enemies, or such as
have no call or warrant to build the house of the Lord, put to their
hand to model the form of her government as best suits their perverse
inclinations and secular views, in express contradiction to the will and
law of the God of heaven, Exod xxv, 40, and xxvi, 30; Ezek. xliii, 11; 1
Chron. xv, 12, 13; Neh. ii, 20, with many other texts above cited.

Again they reject and condemn that latitudinarian tenet, That the Lord
Jesus Christ, the alone Head of the church, hath left his house void of
any particular form of government, of divine institution exclusive of
all other, under the New Testament dispensation: which, is a manifest
reflection upon his fidelity to him who appointed him, and most absurd
to suppose of him who is true and faithful, as a Son over his own house,
and contrary to Isa. ix, 6, 7; 1 Tim. v, 17; Heb. iii, 2, 3, 5; 1 Cor.
xii, 28; Rom. xii 6, 7, 8; Acts xx, 17, 28; Matt, xxviii, 20. Confess.
chap. 30, Sec. 1, and to the propositions for church government.

They further reject and condemn that sectarian principle and tenet,
whether in former or latter times maintained, that a kirk session, or
particular congregational eldership, is vested with equal ecclesiastical
power and authority, with any superior judicatory, and is neither
subordinate nor accountable to them (in the Lord) in their
determinations. They likewise reject as sectarian, That the community of
the faithful or professing Christians, in a private station hath any
scriptural warrant for public teaching, or judicative determination in
the church; both which opinions are not only expressly contrary to
scripture, Acts xv, throughout, and xvi, 4; I Cor. v, 4; 1 Tim: v, 17;
Heb. v, 4, and xiii, 17, &c, but also have been found hitherto most
hurtful and dangerous to the church of God, depriving her ministers and
members of just and necessary recourse to superior judgment and decision
in matters difficult, discrediting and prostituting the sacred office of
the ministry, and tending to overthrow a standing ministry in the church
of Christ, and subvert that comely and beautiful order he hath
prescribed therein.

In like manner they reject and condemn that gross invasion and
encroachment upon the church's liberties, by the intrusion of popish
patronages, whether imposed as a law by civil, or executed by
ecclesiastical powers. Of the latter of these, the ministers and
judicatories of the now corrupt, harlot Church of _Scotland_, cannot but
be more egregiously guilty. The nature of their sacred function and
trust obliges them to preserve inviolate the church's freedom and
liberties: but in place of this, their hands are _chief in the
trespass_, in an authoritative and active enforcement of this wicked
act--an act evidently destructive of the very nature and essence of that
mutual relation between pastor and people, and which has the native and
necessary tendency to schism in the church, spiritual leanness, and
starving of the flock, by thrusting in idle, idol shepherds upon them,
such as serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own bellies; feed
themselves, but not the flock; and seek not them, but theirs, contrary
to John x, 2, 9; Heb. v, 4; 1 Tim. iii, 3; 1 Cor. xii, 14, with many
more; and to acts of both church and state, in times of reformation in
these covenanted lands.

But, on the other hand, that the Presbytery, when thus condescending on
particulars, pass not over in sinful silence, what stands opposite to
the word of God and their declared principles, as above concerning civil
authority, the administrators thereof, and subjection of the people
thereto: they reject, likeas they hereby reject and condemn that
anti-scriptural principle and opinion, that the divine scriptural
ordinance of magistracy has not its foundation in the moral preceptive
law of God (wherein alone his will is revealed and declared unto his
people, concerning the nature, use, and ends of all his ordinances), but
in the subjective light of nature (even as corrupted), so confused and
dark in its discoveries, so gross and selfish in its principles,
motives, and ends, that neither the true nature of this, nor any other
of the ordinances of Jehovah, as revealed in his word, can hereby be
known, or the true use and ends thereof sufficiently discovered or
obtained.

They likewise testify against, and reject that equally absurd opinion,
as a stream flowing from the foresaid corrupt fountain, that the office,
authority, and constitution of lawful magistrates, does not solely
belong to professing Christians, in a Christian reformed land, but that
the election and choice of any one whosoever, made by the civil body
(whether Pagan, Papist, Atheist, Deist, or other enemy to God, to man,
and to true religion), makes up the whole of what is essential to the
constitution of a lawful magistrate according to God's ordinance. A
tenet contrary to the light and dictates both of reason and scripture.

And they hereby also disclaim that corrupt notion, that all providential
magistrates, who are, and while they are acknowledged by any civil
society especially in an apostate backsliding land and people from the
scriptural standard (in respect of the origin of their office), are also
preceptive; and that the office and authority of all so constituted and
acknowledged, in itself considered, does equally arise from, and agree
unto the preceptive will of God, contrary to scriptural precepts, Deut.
xvii, 18; what falls under scriptural reproof, Hos. viii, 4; and what
greatly depreciates the valiant contendings of our honored ancestors for
civil reformation, and tends to invalidate their deeds of constitution
thereanent.

Again the Presbytery testifies against, and condemns that principle,
that the Christian people of God ought to give explicit acknowledgment
of, implicit subjection and obedience to, whatever civil authority
(though most wicked and unlawful) the Lord in his holy providence, may,
for the trial and punishment of his church, permit a backsliding people
to constitute and set up, without regard to the precept of his word. And
they hereby reject whatever in opposition to the covenanted principles
of the Church of _Scotland_, does justly, and in its own nature imply a
voluntary and real acknowledgment of the lawfulness of the title and
authority of an anti-scriptural, anti-covenanted, and Erastian
government, constituted upon the ruins of our scriptural covenanted
reformation. Particularly, they testify against praying for success and
prosperity to such, in their stated opposition to the Lord and his
Anointed, or in any form implying a homologation of their title as
lawful, swearing oaths of fidelity and allegiance to such, accepting any
office from such, and executing these in their name and authority under
them, military associations with such, by a voluntary enlisting under
their banner, and fighting for their support and establishment. And that
in regard these are actions, as they express a proper and explicit
owning of the lawfulness of that authority, which they immediately
respect, so they are such as cannot be obtained without the actual
consent of the party performing, and must therefore imply a deliberate
approbation of foresaid iniquitous authority.

Further, they testify against a direct and active, free and voluntary
paying of tribute and other dues, unto such, and that for conscience
sake, as unto the ordinance of God, according to his precept; and
particularly, when these dues are required as a tessera of loyalty to
such; or when required, as an evidence of a person's active contributing
to the accomplishment of some wicked action, expressly declared to be
the immediate end of the imposition. Thus the case was in the time of
persecution, when the declared end of the additional cess, was the
immediate suppression of the pure preaching of the gospel in the fields.
As also, not only against professed witnesses for reformation
principles, their prosecuting of their witnessing brethren at law before
the courts of anti-scriptural, unqualified judges; but generally,
against all law processes, in a way of direct counteracting any part of
reformation attainments, or express homologating the authority of an
unlawful judge. And, in fine, against all voluntary subjection, for
conscience sake, unto such powers as are not the ordinance of God,
according to his revealed preceptive will, as contrary to scripture; 2
Sam. ii, 10; 2 Kings xi, 4, 17; 2 Chron. xix, 2; Isa. viii, 12 and lxv,
11; Rom. xiii, 1 to 8; 1 Cor. vi, 1 to 8, contrary to the acts of this
church approving, and ordinances of the state, establishing the civil
authority upon its scriptural foundation, and thereby discovering the
proper object of a Christian people's voluntary and conscientious
subjection; and particularly, to the act of classes. While in the
meantime, it must be acknowledged, that the state and condition of
Presbyterian Covenanters in these lands, continuing, as a community, to
witness and contend for reformation of both church and state, that
obtained, and was established, between 1638 and 1650, cannot be regarded
as that of a free people enjoying their ancient privileges and
liberties, but as that of an oppressed people, brought under the power
of a conqueror, and no better than captives in their own land. As this
was evidently the state of the suffering remnant under the persecuting
period, when, by the force of the sword, they were robbed of their
former liberties, and reduced to the most deplorable condition. So,
however the Revolution did alter some circumstances in the condition of
Covenanters; yet, in regard it was established upon, and did homologate
the overthrow of the reformation, to which that people do still adhere,
it could make no substantial change in their condition, from what it
formerly was. And moreover, as it is necessarily requisite to the
constituting of the relation between magistrate and people, that there
be a mutual and voluntary consent; and as the community of presbyterian
Covenanters did never, at or since the Revolution, give such consent;
but, on the contrary, have, in the most public manner, protested against
the constitution and installment of rulers in agreeableness thereto, as
being contrary to the word of God, covenanted constitution, and
fundamental laws of the nations; as is evident from their printed
testimonies and declarations. It follows, that their state is that of an
oppressed people, in passive subjection to a conquering power, whose
duty is, to wait with patience upon _Israel's_ God for his return to
revive his work, and recall the bondage of his _Zion_. And while they
are to take care to do nothing that justly implies their consent to the
continued opposition made unto the covenanted reformation, yet they
ought to observe a proper difference between such actions and things as
are necessary, and in themselves just and lawful, by a moral obligation,
and those that are not so. As also, between that which cannot be had,
nor the value or equivalent of it, unless the person actually give it;
and that which may be obtained, whether he actually contribute to it or
not.[7] Most applicable to this our present condition, are the words of
the _Levites_, expressing the distressed state of _Israel_, which they
had brought themselves into by their sins, as recorded by Neh. ix, 36,
37: "Behold we are servants this day; and for the land thou gavest unto
our fathers, to eat the fruit thereof, and the good thereof, behold we
are servants in it: and it yieldeth much increase unto the kings which
thou hast set over us, because of our sins; also they have dominion over
our bodies, and over our cattle, at their pleasure, and we are in great
distress."

Likewise the Presbytery testify against all ministerial or church
communion with such, who, though they may occupy the place of
office-bearers in the church of Christ, yet are destitute of those
qualifications indispensably required by the church's Head, or enter not
into their office by the door he has appointed in his word, own another
head than Christ, or apostatize and fall from the truth and cause of
Christ, formerly espoused and sworn to by them in a church capacity;
against all active owning and countenancing of such, by attending upon
any of their corrupt official ministrations, or receiving any ordinances
from such, to whom the Lord has denied his blessing. Against all
voluntary contracting with prelates, curates, or such officers of human
invention in the church, for paying tithes or other dues unto them, as
unto lawful, scriptural parish ministers. For besides that there is
nothing due unto them, their office having no divine authority; so there
being under the New Testament a change of the priesthood, there is also
a change of the law, respecting tithes; according to 2 Cor. vi, 17; Rev.
ii, 20, &c.

By all which it appears, from what is above asserted and declared
concerning these two divine distinct ordinances, the ministry and
magistracy, that the principles maintained thereanent by the Presbytery,
are nothing else than an endeavor, as a judicatory of the Lord Jesus
Christ, constituted in his name, to hold fast the church of _Scotland's_
testimony, agreeable to the scriptures of truth, for confession and
covenants, fundamental acts and constitutions both of church and state
and this, according to the command of the church's sole King and Head;
Rev. ii, 25, and iii, 11. And what is testified against, is, in the
nature of it, an homologation of the church's faithful opposition to
backsliders, in their course of defection, from the national,
attainments in religion and reformation, resisting even unto blood,
striving against sin.

XVIII. OF OATHS AND VOWS.--The Presbytery further assert and declare,
that oaths and vows are a part of religious worship, warranted in the
word of God, and under the New Testament dispensation, and may be
lawfully taken and entered into by the Lord's people. That such oaths
and vows only are warrantable, as are lawful both for the matter and the
manner of them; and those that are so, when once engaged in, must not be
violated on any consideration, and that, because of the authority of the
awful name of God interposed in them. And further, they declare, that
the right of administering oaths is competent only to those vested with
such authority as is agreeable to the word of truth. As also, that it is
the incumbent duty of Christians, by solemn oath to bind themselves to
maintain and defend the persons of righteous rulers, in the lawful
exercise of their authority; and to such only, it is lawful to swear
oaths of allegiance and fidelity. And hereby, they disapprove the
principle of refusing allegiance to lawful authority. At the same time,
the Presbytery testify against, as above, all the oaths of allegiance in
being, to an Erastian Prelatical government. And further, they reject
and detest that sinful, idolatrous and superstitious form of swearing,
in laying the hand upon, and kissing the gospels, practiced by the
Prelatical churches of _England_ and _Ireland_, and even introduced into
_Scotland_, as a gross profanation of that holy ordinance, and contrary
to the scripture examples thereof. Hereby they also testify against all
sinful swearing, whereby the name of God, his titles, perfections, or
graces of his Holy Spirit, are profaned in ordinary discourse. As also,
the unnecessary oaths of customhouse, trade, &c., as a reiterated and
fearful profanation of the name of God. And moreover, they testify
against, and condemn that ungodly and superstitious oath, practiced by
that unhallowed club, called _Free Masons_: according to Deut. x, 20;
Exod. xx, 7; Neh. xiii, 25; Ezra x, 5; Deut. vi, 13; Matth. iv, 35, 36;
Ezek. xvii, 16, 17, 18, 19; Rev. x, 5, 6; Jer. iv, 2. and v, 2; Confess.
chap. 22.

Again, they testify and declare, that the work of solemn covenanting
with a God in Christ, is a duty warranted in the scriptures of the Old
and New Testament, and by the examples of the godly, agreeable thereto;
and that not only to individuals in particular, but to churches and
nations in general. Which covenants once entered into, and being for the
matter of them lawful, are most sacred, and therefore inviolably
binding; and what cannot be broken or transgressed, without manifest
guilt, and incurring the dreadful resentment of a holy and jealous God,
who has severely threatened to punish covenant-breakers. And hence they
assert, that the National Covenant of _Scotland_, and the Solemn League
and Covenant entered into by the three nations, for reformation and
defense of religion, and for the maintainance and preservation of the
truths and ordinances of God in purity, and sworn by our honored
ancestors, not only for themselves, but including also their posterity,
are of divine authority, as having their foundation upon the word of
God; therefore moral, and so perpetually binding upon the nations, and
every individual of them, to the latest posterity. Wherefore, the
Presbytery testify against the principle of refusing the lawfulness of
national covenanting, particularly, under the New Testament
dispensation, and all principles and practices that strike against the
moral obligation of these covenants; see Deut. vi, 13, Isa. ix, 18, and
xliv, 5; Jer. 1, 5; Deut. xxix, 12 to 16, 24, 25; Lev. xxvi, 25, 26;
Josh, ix, 14, 15, 18, 19; 2 Sam. xxi, 1; Ezek. xvi, 59, and xvii, 15,
16, 18, 19; Hos. x, 4; Gal. iii, 15; 2 Cor. viii, 5. See also acts and
ordinances both of church and state in times of reformation, respecting
the taking, and binding obligation, of the covenants.

Again, the Presbytery hereby testify and declare their approbation of,
and adherence unto, all the different steps of reformation, that ever,
in any period, were attained unto in this church and land: particularly,
besides what has been mentioned above, they declare their adherence to
the Westminster Confession of Faith, as it was approven by act of the
General Assembly of the Church of _Scotland, anno_ 1647: Catechisms,
larger and shorter; Form of church government, Directory for worship,
and Books of Discipline, as agreeable to, and extracted from the sacred
oracles.

And with respect to the fourth article of the 23d chapter of our
Confession, the Presbytery hereby declare, that they reject that corrupt
sense and gloss which has been imposed upon it, whether by open enemies,
or false friends to our covenanted reformation in former or latter
times, viz., That a reformed Christian people, having generally
received, and publicly professing the true religion; and more
especially, having expressly and solemnly bound themselves by public
national vows to the Most High, for the preservation of it, may
warrantably set over them an infidel, or one of a religion differing
from the true religion, and thereupon acknowledge and submit themselves
unto him, as their lawful civil ruler for conscience sake. And moreover,
they declare that they understand said articles, as principally relating
to the condition of a people emerging out of the darkness and
superstition of Paganism or Popery, &c., before that religion has
obtained the sanction of civil authority; when, although the major part
or bulk of a people should embrace the true religion, yet that does not
dissolve or loose the relation subsisting between them and their civil
rulers, prior to their conversion, agreeable to, and founded upon the
just and reasonable laws of the realm. In this case only, it is granted,
that an infidel, or one of a different religion, may have authority just
and legal over a people partly converted to the knowledge and gospel of
Christ. Thus it was with the primitive Christians, and thus it was
particularly with our ancestors in _Scotland_, at the beginning of the
reformation; and this perfectly well agrees to the apostolic precept and
determination in a case similar to the above; 1 Cor. vii, 12, 13 and 39,
and 2 Cor. vi, 14.

As also, they further declare their approbation of, and adherence to all
the faithful testimonies, declarations and protestations, emitted by the
witnesses for the work of reformation, whether before or under the late
times of tyranny and persecution, in prisons, scaffolds, or in the
fields, by land or sea; or by such, as since that time have succeeded.
them in the self same testimony, as they are founded upon, and agreeable
to the word of truth, and as a just and proper vindication of foresaid
covenanted cause. And particularly with the above proviso and
limitation, they declare their adherence to the _Rutherglen, Sanquhar_
and _Lanerk_ declarations, _annis_ 1679, 1680, 1682; as also to the
declarations published at _Sanquhar_, 1683, 1684, 1692, and 1695, 1703,
1707; to the _informatory vindication_, and _cloud of witnesses_; to the
_covenants national_ and _solemn league_, sworn at _Auchensaugh_, near
_Douglas_, in the year 1712, at _Crawfurd-john_ 1745; with the
additional acknowledgments of sins, and engagements to duties at these
times; to the declarations published at _Sanquhar_, 1718, and at
_Montherrick_, 1740, 1741. And in like manner, they testify their
adherence to the _Act_ formerly emitted by this Presbytery, in
condemnation of the universal scheme. And they do hereby testify
against, and disapprove all partiality and unfaithfulness, whether in
respect of right or left hand extremes, in any testimonies, published in
a way of professed adherence to reformation principles; particularly,
they reject the testimony published by those designated the _Associate
Presbytery_, as no adequate testimony for truth, because of the
partiality and unfaithfulness, both to God and the generation,
discovered therein; being, instead of a faithful vindication, no better
than a burial of some of the most important attainments in reformation
of this church and land. And they likewise reject, detest and abhor that
spurious brat, stuffed with gross error, blasphemy and nonsense, most
falsely and unjustly designated, "A testimony for the word of Christ's
patience," by that sacrilegious usurper of the ministry, _William
Dunnet_, who, being once plunged into the depths of enthusiasm, such is
his madness, that under pretense of an immediate mission from heaven, he
not only daringly usurps the whole of the ministerial function, but also
wickedly claims an Erastian exercise of the office of the civil
magistrate, in a stupid unaccountable declaration of war, offensive and
defensive, against all mankind, himself, and his blind-folded
confederates only excepted; having probably had these anti-scriptural
notions instilled into him by the industry of some unstable heads, who,
after they had made a professed subjection to this Presbytery, in the
Lord, did, with some others of the same stamp, in a most unwarrantable
and schismatical manner, break off from their communion, without so much
as discovering any shadow of reason, in justification of their rash,
ungrounded and precipitate separation.

Upon the whole, the Presbytery, protesting that they have been
influenced to this necessary work of displaying a judicial banner for
the covenanted cause and interest of our exalted Redeemer, purely out of
a regard to the glory of God, a desire that Christ's kingdom may be
advanced, and his buried truths revived, as also a concern for the
welfare and happiness of the present and succeeding generations, do
earnestly, in the bowels of our Lord Jesus Christ, beseech and obtest
all and every one, into whose hands this testimony may come, that,
without considering the insignificancy of the instruments, and laying
aside prejudice and carnal selfish considerations, they receive the
truth as it is in Jesus, not only in the notion, but in the love and
power of it; that they take with the many just and highly aggravated
grounds of the Lord's controversy, and causes of his wrath against us,
not only on account of private and personal wickedness come to a very
great height, but particularly on account of the general opposition to
the public concerns of his glory, in what respects the doctrine,
worship, government and discipline of his house. Alas! our public
abominations are both obstinately persisted in and publicly justified.
That they lay to heart the great and terrible wickedness of the day and
generation, with deep humiliation before the Lord, while he waits to, be
gracious, and is calling all ranks to humble themselves, and saying,
"Rend your heart and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and merciful;" Joel ii, 13. That, in the way of
flying under the covert of the atoning blood of the Son of God, by faith
in his name, for the remission of sins, and endeavoring after personal
reformation, as to all the impiety and irreligion, all the detestable
indifferency, lukewarmness and hypocrisy, in the matters of God, which
universally prevail; they also study and set about public reformation,
every one in their several stations, according to our solemn national
engagements, concurring to restore the Lord's ruined and buried work,
and rebuild his house, which is now lying as a desolate heap, covered
over with the rubbish of manifold errors, corruptions and human
inventions. If we still hold fast our abominations, and will not, by
repentance and reformation, return and give glory to the Lord our God
before he cause darkness, then, when he returns for the salvation of
_Zion_, "He will come treading down the people in his anger, and making
them drunk in his fury, and bringing down their strength to the earth;"
Isa. lxiii, 6. "But is there no hope in _Israel_ concerning this thing?
Is there no balm in _Gilead_? Is there not a physician there?" Is there
not virtue in Christ's blood for the most desperate cases, that
churches, as well as particular persons, can be in? Is there not ground
to hope, that the Lord will not altogether forsake these sinful lands,
which were given to him of old for an inheritance, and wherein he has so
long maintained his possession, but that he will yet build up our
_Zion_, and appear in his glory therein, will plead his own cause,
revive his own work, a covenanted work of reformation, and remove all
the contempt and ignominy which it presently lies under? Sure the
continuance of his gracious calls and invitations to return to him,
gives ground to hope, that our "_Israel_ hath not been forsaken, nor
_Judah_ of his God, of the Lord of Hosts, though their land was filled
with sin against the holy One of _Israel_;" Jer. li, 5. And though, while
so much of error, prejudice and carnal interest, lie as impassable
mountains in the way, there is little appearance of the nations taking
this course yet the Lord seems still to bespeak us in that endearing
language, Jer. iii, 12, "Go and proclaim these words towards the north,
and say, Return thou backsliding _Israel_, saith the Lord, and I will
not cause mine anger to fall upon you; for I am merciful, saith the
Lord, and I will not keep anger forever." Though we have nationally torn
our marriage contract with heaven, and taken away our names, yet the
Lord has not. _Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord, for I am
married unto you._ Let all, then, _repent, and turn themselves from all
their transgressions, so iniquity shall not be their ruin_; but if not,
then let all the impenitent despisers of the repeated calls of mercy
know, that abused patience will at length turn into fury, and the Lord
Jehovah, who has already furbished his sword, and prepared the
instruments of death, will speedily give that dreadful commission to the
executioners of his wrath: "Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is
ripe; come, get you down, for the press is full, the fats overflow, for
their wickedness is great:" Joel iii, 13. "But because God will do this
to _Israel_, let us prepare to meet our God." Further, the Presbytery
invite and entreat all who tender the glory of God, the removal of the
causes of his wrath and indignation, and who desire the continuance of
his tabernacle and gracious presence among us, to come and join in a
harmonious, zealous and faithful testimony for the precious truths and
interest of _Zion's_ glorious King, and against every course that has a
tendency to heighten, and at last to lay on the copestone of our
defections. Consider it is the Lord's call and command to every one,
even in their most private station, _Contend earnestly for the faith
once delivered to the saints_. It is the burden he, at this day, lays on
his church and people: _Hold fast what thou hast till I come, that no
man take thy crown_; hold fast by our former attainments in reformation.
And finally, the Presbytery exhort all with whom they are more
particularly connected, _To stand fast in one spirit, with one mind,
striving together for the faith of the gospel, and in nothing terrified
by your adversaries_. Let the flame of fervent and true love to God, his
truths, and to one another, prevent and extinguish the wild fire of
unnecessary and hurtful mutual animosities; and _endeavoring to keep the
unity of the spirit in the bond of peace_, study oneness in promoting
the Lord's opposed work, and in walking in the good old way, without
turning aside to the right hand or to the left, because of the lion that
is therein, and without laying other foundations than what were laid.
Let none of Christ's true and faithful witnesses suffer their hearts to
sink into despondency; the cause is the Lord's, and assuredly he will
thoroughly plead that cause which is his own. It will outlive all its
enemies, and yet have a glorious resurrection; and this will be the
crown and comfort of all such as continue, amidst all trials and
sufferings, contending for him, in the blessed expectation of the
conqueror's everlasting reward. Therefore, _lift up the hands that hang
down, and strengthen the feeble knees_; greater afflictions have been
accomplished in those that are gone before, and are now inheriting the
promises, than any wherewith the Lord is presently trying his church.
And as the God of all grace, after they had suffered awhile, made them
perfect, and put them in possession of that eternal glory to which they
were called by Jesus Christ, so shall he establish, strengthen and keep
his people still from falling, and, after all their sorrows and
sufferings, present them faultless before the presence of his glory,
with exceeding joy. "Return, we beseech thee, O God of Hosts; look down
from heaven, and behold and visit this vine; and the vineyard which thy
right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for
thyself, it is burnt with fire, it is cut down, they perish at the
rebuke of thy countenance. Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right
hand, upon the Son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself, so will
not we go back from thee; quicken us, and we will call upon thy name;
turn us again, O Lord of Hosts, cause thy face to shine, and we shall be
saved: Let God arise, let _Zion's_ immortal and omnipotent King Jesus
reign, and let all his enemies be scattered; but let them that love him
be as the sun, when he goeth forth in his might."

Extracted by JO. THORBURN, Pr. Clk.

ADDENDA.

In addition to what is said (from page 65 to 67 preceding, respecting
the establishment of Popery in Canada), the Presbytery deeply lament,
that, in the present edition of their Testimony, they are furnished with
fresh matter to animadvert upon the continued tendency of the British
administration in favor of the religion of Antichrist.

Not long after the civil establishment of Popery in Canada, new
privileges, civil and religious, were bestowed upon the professors of
that religion at home, both in England and Ireland, by which Catholics
have received toleration, under the sanction of law, openly to profess
and practice their idolatry, to open seminaries of learning for the
public instruction of youth in their own religion, and to purchase and
transfer estates to their Popish relations, in direct opposition to the
established laws of the land, framed by our Protestant ancestors, under
the sense of felt necessity, whereby Catholics were laid under
disabilities, as to the enjoyment of those privileges, which they saw to
be inconsistent with the peace of the state and safety of the Protestant
religion, on account of the barbarous massacres committed by Catholics
upon Protestants, and the numerous hostile attempts made to overturn, by
violence, the Protestant religion within these lands, as proceeding from
the sanguinary spirit of Popery. The modern plea set up in favor of
those privileges being conferred upon Popery, that the Catholics of this
day have candidly renounced the whole of their old principles which they
held, as inimical to a Protestant country, never can be admitted, while
they still retain the most dangerous of all their principles, viz.,
implicit faith in the doctrines of supreme councils, and the dispensing
authority of the Pope. Against this sinful indulgence granted to Popery,
the Presbytery testified at the time, in a separate piece, entitled, A
Testimony and Warning against the Blasphemies and Idolatries of Popery,
&c., to which they still refer the reader. An attempt also was made to
extend a similar indulgence to Catholics in Scotland, but which was
happily frustrated through the zealous exertions of the people, who,
pleading the established laws of the land, boldly reclaimed against the
measure, which produced the desired effect of compelling the government
to desist. But alas! no sooner, was the popular zeal cooled, than
government sowed tares by enlarging the privileges of Catholics with
regard to civil property. The deplorable fact now is, that Popery,
basking in the sunshine of legislative power, advanced to the legal
possession of new privileges, and shielded by a formal toleration in the
neighboring kingdoms, may be considered as enjoying the actual
protection of government in Scotland. In Ireland, privileges of a still
more exalted nature are bestowed upon Popery, while the Catholic is so
far enfranchised, that, in conjunction with the Protestant, he may give
his voice for members to serve in the legislature of the country. What
greatly adds to the evil is, the lamentable alteration of public
opinion, so lately displayed against the measures of government in
former indulgences bestowed upon the Catholic interest; but which has
now changed into an entire approbation thereof, both by the great body
of the people and the minority in the two houses of Parliament; and the
only complaint against government on that score is, that, stopping short
of meeting just claims of Catholics, they have not ingrafted them into
all the privileges of British subjects, and for ever done away the
odious distinction between Protestant and Catholic, as to privilege.

When we open our eyes to the measures of the present day, we behold
still more abominations. The government so far from remembering whence
they are fallen, repenting and doing their first works, have started
again in the cause of Antichrist, by leaguing themselves in a military
expedition with a group of Popish despots on the continent, who have
long given their power to the beast; of this expedition one object
evidently appears to be the re-establishment and support of Popery in
France, where under the administration of the omnipotent, and avenging
holy providence of God, in the pouring out of the vials of his wrath
upon the beast, that false religion has received a sore and bleeding
wound, and where the people, long crushed under the tyranny of a
despotic throne, and usurpation of an imposing priesthood, have risen to
extricate themselves from the accumulated oppression, and by their
astonishing efforts have shaken off the Papal yoke, by renouncing their
accustomed allegiance to the head of the Antichristian states at Rome,
have withdrawn their wonted supplies from his treasures, and completely
overthrown the temporal power of his religion in their own country,
which had for many ages kept them in fetters. If any doubt should be
entertained with regard to the support afforded to the sinking cause of
Popery in France by this expedition, the declaration published by the
brother of the late King of France, stiling himself Louis XVIII, at the
head of the emigrants in arms, exhibits the fact in the clearest point
of view, while he plainly and unequivocally says, in that declaration,
that their designs are the erection of the throne and altar, by which
are meant the civil government and the Catholic religion, as they
existed in France prior to the revolution. Britain, not satisfied with
sending forth numerous hosts to the field abroad, and lavishing her
treasures to supply the exhausted finances of the coalesced powers, has
opened her arms at home to receive flying emigrants, caressed by her, as
if they had been sufferers in the cause of genuine Christianity. By the
voice of Episcopal dignitaries the Popish clergy have been extolled, as
men of the most eminent piety, while places have been furnished by
government, to accommodate them in their mass service; and a branch of
the bloody house of Bourbon, whom divine vengeance has reduced to the
abject state of a wandering exile, is admitted among us, with all marks
of honor, and, with his train, provided for, as if he were a zealous
supporter of the Protestant cause, seeking an asylum from the rage of
Papal persecution in this reformed land. It cannot escape the notice of
the attentive observer, how closely the crown of Britain has become
allied to this false religion, in consequence of the conquest of the
island of Corsica, and the accession of the crown of that island to the
crown of Britain. According to the new constitution of Corsica, the king
of Great Britain, as represented by his viceroy, makes an essential
branch of the parliament, all the acts whereof must be assented to by
him, in order, to give them the force of law. Now, it is to be remarked,
that in this constitution Popery is expressly declared to be the only
established religion in the island; it is therefore agreed to be divided
into districts, to be filled up with ministers of the Catholic religion,
endowed with legal maintenance. So the king of Britain, as wearing the
Corsican crown, engages to unite this constitutional establishment of
the Catholic religion, the king of Great Britain, as the king of
Corsica, gives his firm assent. Moreover, to provide for the more
extensive propagation of Popery in Corsica, the legislature stipulate to
consult with the See of Rome; here, also, he engages to join the wisdom
of his counsels to those of the Pope, for the express purpose of giving
a wider spread to Popery. If the prophet Jehu accused Jehoshaphat,
though a good prince, when he was returning from a military expedition
with Ahab, king of Israel, in such cutting language; 2 Chron. xix, 2,
_Shouldst thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord?
therefore, is wrath upon thee from the Lord_: in what words shall we
pronounce upon this conduct of Britain, in mixing with her politics and
wars, active measures to raise again the falling Dagon of Popery from
the threshold, and to help forward the interests of a religion which the
Lord has solemnly declared he will destroy with the judgments of his
hand and the brightness of his coming. Besides the iniquity of the thing
itself, in giving direct aid to this religion; our guilt derives great
aggravations from a view of the present dispensations of Providence in
visibly sending down terrible judgments (no matter through what rough
hands) upon that anti-christian power, that has long, sat upon many
waters; and the loud voice of Jehovah is uttering, on the awful crisis
of its downfall, to all the fearers of his name to escape a share in its
judgments, by flying away from all communion with its evils; Rev. xviii,
4, _Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins,
and that ye receive not of her plagues._ But, blind to his avenging
hand, and deaf to this summons, Great Britain, once without, is now
again returning into a most unlawful communion to support this adjudged
power, by which she constitutes herself a partner in its sins, and
thereby exposes herself to a portion of its plagues. In vain will it be
urged as a plea of justification, that the authors of the revolution in
France, having overturned the constitution of their own country, and
spread desolation through the wide extent of it, menaced other nations,
and us also; and that, therefore, Britain, acting on the first principle
of nature's law, self-preservation, joined the allied powers for her own
defense. Though the Presbytery are by no means to be understood as
giving their suffrage for the lawfulness and justice of the war on our
side; yet, for the sake of argument, allowing the plea--what then? Will
this sanctify the measures adopted by Britain, in recovering, supporting
and propagating the cause of Popery, that the conquest of the enemy, and
her own safety are the ends ultimately to be gained by them? The
Christian maxim, that evil is not to be done that good may come, binds
as strongly nations as individuals. Popery is not a local evil; it is
still the mystery of iniquity, as much in France, and in Corsica, as it
is in Great Britain; it is everywhere the forbidden fruit, not to be
touched. If the security of a Protestant country is to be sought for, in
dependence upon, or in any state of connection with the co-existence and
maintenance of Antichrist, we have indeed a feeble pillar to rest upon,
for, as sure as God himself has spoken it, the Papal kingdoms are the
Babylon to fall and to rise no more again at all. Perhaps, our allies
would not be pleased with another mode of conduct; and shall we run the
hazard of displeasing the God of all our salvation, to gratify, in sin,
the friends of the man of sin? If the crown of Corsica cannot be worn,
but upon the condition of supporting Popery, and joining in councils
with the Church of Rome, to advance her interest there, we are afraid
the weight of it, like a millstone, will sink us deep in the gulf of
God's wrath. But Popery was the former religion of that island, and the
people wished no change. If the wretched inhabitants, loving darkness
rather than the light, refused to be reclaimed, leave them to
themselves, but why should we have fellowship with them in their
unfruitful works of darkness. The Presbytery would not wish to be
understood as if they meant that Protestants ought to raise a crusade,
in order to exterminate Catholics in foreign lands, as Catholics have
attempted to do against Protestants, for the weapons of our warfare, in
propagating religion are not carnal. But it certainly is the incumbent
duty of all Protestant nations to abstain from anything, that has a
tendency to uphold and propagate their religion; and as no positive
countenance should be given to it, so it is highly proper that Catholics
should be kept in such a state of restraint, as they may not again have
it in their power to repeat those bloody scenes, which Popery had acted
upon us. With a view to deliver themselves from the guilt of
participating in the evil, the Presbytery do lift up a judicial
testimony against the present anti-christian courses of administration;
as, also, against those state fasts, proceeding from an Erastian
supremacy, which have been appointed to be observed by all persons, in
order to engage by prayer the Almighty to crown their measures with
success. Likewise, the Presbytery do testify against the national
church, particularly her ministers, who from their station ought to act
as spiritual watchmen, and give pointed warning of sin and danger on the
present occasion; but, who, instead of faithfully discharging this duty,
sanction all these measures of government, which cannot fail to produce
a hardening effect upon the generation.

N.B. Since writing the above, by a reverse in the war, Britain has lost
possession of Corsica, but while this does not acquit her of the guilt
of her anti-christian administration there, neither will it supersede
the necessity of our testimony against it.

* * * * *

ADVERTISEMENT.

The late Reformed Presbytery, June 2d, 1845, adopted the following
doctrinal and practical declarations. They have therefore a judicial
sanction; and having been in overture before the people prior to the
action of Presbytery, we subjoin them as a suitable supplement.
_Cincinnati, Nov. 12th_, 1850.

JUDICIAL DECLARATIONS.

1. Man is a free agent, unconscious of restraint in his volitions by the
execution of the immutable decree of God; and it is not possible for
him, in any instance, to avoid fulfilling that decree: yet the law of
God--not his decree--is the rule of man's conduct, and the standard of
final judgment.

2. It is the duty of a Christian to pray for the church of Christ--to
inquire diligently into her scriptural character, and to seek covenant
blessings in her communion.

3. If the majority should violate the terms upon which church members
were united, it is lawful for the minority to testify against the
defection, and to walk by the rule of their former attainments. And when
any community assuming to be the Church of Christ, imposes sinful terms
of communion--when the constitution is anti-scriptural--when the
administration is corrupt, and attempts at its reformation have proved
ineffectual--it is the duty of Christians to separate from it: "_Come
out of her, my people_," &c.; Rev. xviii, 4.

4. No member of the Reformed Presbyterian Church can, without
contracting guilt, in the present state of society, take the oath of
allegiance to the government of these United States, hold office,
exercise the elective franchise, act as a juror, or hold communion in
other ecclesiastical bodies, by what is commonly styled _occasional
hearing_; Rev. xi, 1-3.

TERMS

OF

MINISTERIAL AND CHRISTIAN COMMUNION

IN THE

REFORMED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.

* * * * *

1. An acknowledgment of the Old and New Testament to be the Word of God,
and the alone infallible rule of faith and practice.

2. An acknowledgement that the whole doctrine of the Westminster
Confession of Faith, and the Catechisms, larger and shorter, are
agreeable unto, and founded upon the Scriptures.

3. An acknowledgment that Presbyterian Church government is of divine
right, and unalterable: and that the most perfect model as yet attained,
is exhibited in the Form of Government and Directory for Worship, as
adopted by the Church of Scotland, in the Second Reformation.

4. An acknowledgment that public, social covenanting, is an ordinance of
God, and obligatory on churches and nations under the New Testament
dispensation: and that the National Covenant of Scotland, and the Solemn
League and Covenant of Scotland, England and Ireland, were an
exemplification of this divine institution: and that these solemn deeds
are of perpetual obligation upon the moral person, as continued by
representation and accession: and in consistency with this,
acknowledging the renovation of these covenants at Auchensaugh, 1712, to
be agreeable to the Word of God.

5. An approbation of the faithful contendings of the martyrs of Jesus,
against paganism, popery, prelacy, malignancy, and sectarianism; and
against immoral constitutions of civil government--Erastian tolerations
and persecutions which flow therefrom: the Judicial Act, Declaration and
Testimony, emitted by the Reformed Presbytery in North Britain, 1761,
together with the Historical and Declaratory Supplements adopted by the
Reformed Church in North America, 1850--as containing an noble example
for their posterity to follow, in contending for all divine truth, and
in testifying against all corruptions embodied in the constitutions of
either church or State.

6. Practically adorning the doctrine of God our Savior, by walking in
all his commandments and ordinances blamelessly.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: _Christ's rights, &c._ By these are not meant the rights of
Christ personal. It is not in the power of mortals, or any creature, to
acquire and secure these to him; but the rights of Christ mystical, that
is, of the church, or, of his truth, true worship, and religion, and
professors of it as such.]

[Footnote 2: Besides the above instances of that unholy, tyrannical, and
church-robbing policy, which has been exercised by the supreme civil
powers in these nations with reference to religion and the worship of
God, all of which existed when the presbytery first published their
testimony, there has, of late, a very singular instance of the same kind
occurred, in the course of administration, which the presbytery cannot
forbear to take notice of, but must embrace the present opportunity to
declare their sense of, and testify against; and especially, as it is
one that carries a more striking evidence than any of the former, of our
public national infidelity and licentiousness, and of our being
judicially infatuated in our national counsels, and given up of heaven
to proceed from evil to worse, in the course of apostasy from the cause
and principles of the reformation. We particularly mean the instance of
a late bill or act, which has been agreed upon by both houses of
parliament, and which also, June, 1774, was sanctioned with the royal
assent, entitled "An act for making more effectual provision for the
government of the province of Quebec in North America." By which act,
not only is French despotism, or arbitrary power, settled as the form of
civil government, but, which is still worse, Popery, the _Religion of
Antichrist_, with all its idolatries and blasphemies, has such security
and establishment granted it, as to be taken immediately under the legal
protection of the supreme civil authority of these nations in that vast
and extensive region of _Canada_, lately added to the British dominions
in North America--a province so large and fertile, that it is said to be
capable of containing, if fully peopled, not less than thirty millions
of souls. This infamous and injurious bill, before it passed into a law,
was publicly reprobated and declaimed against by sundry members of both
houses. It has been petitioned and remonstrated against by the most
respectable civil body corporated in Britain, or its dominions, the city
of London; by all the provinces of North America south of Quebec; and
even by the inhabitants of the city of Quebec itself. It has been, in
the most public manner, in open parliament, declared to be "a most
cruel, oppressive, and odious measure--a child of inordinate power," &c.
All which are sufficient indications how scandalous, offensive, and
obnoxious this act was. There was afterward, in the month of May, 1775,
a bill brought into the house of lords, in order to effectuate the
repeal of the foresaid disgraceful act, when, in the course of public
debate, it was represented by those few members of the house who
appeared in the opposition, as "one of the most destructive, most
despotic, most nefarious acts that ever passed the house of peers." But
all in vain--the repeal could not be effected.

And moreover, let it be further observed here, that the bench of bishops
in the house of peers, who assume the anti-christian title of _spiritual
lords_, and pretend to claim a seat in parliament for the care of
religion, during the whole course of this contest, instead of appearing
for the Protestant interest, have, to their lasting infamy, publicly
distinguished themselves in opposition to it, by--"Standing forth the
avowed supporters of Popery."

The presbytery, therefore, find themselves in duty obliged, in their
judicative capacity, principally in behalf of the rights and interests
of the great God and of his Son Jesus Christ our Redeemer--that is to
say, in behalf of the rights of truth, true religion, and righteousness
among men, which he ever owns as his, to add, as they hereby do, their
public testimony against this nefandous national deed, so manifestly
injurious to all these.

The presbytery do not, as some others, found their testimony against
this extravagant act establishing Popery, &c., in Canada, solely or
simply on its injuriousness to the private interests of men--their
bodily lives, goods, or outward privileges; nor do they declare against
and condemn it merely because _that_ religion which is sanctioned with
this national decree and engagement for its defense is a sanguinary one:
"Has deluged our island in blood, and dispersed impiety, persecution,
and murder, &c., through the world." (See an address from the general
congress to the people of Great Britain.) These are all indeed
incontestable proofs that it is not the religion of the divine Jesus,
but of antichrist. Nevertheless, the same have been known to be the
staple and constant fruits of Prelacy too, which, to the extent of its
reach and influence, has as much Christian blood wrapped up in its
skirts as Popery, if not more. Nor yet is it merely on account that it
is greatly injurious, as indeed it is, and a notorious breach of the
public faith to the British Protestant settlers in that province. The
presbytery's particular objections against this extraordinary measure
are of a different quality. They are briefly such as follow:

1. The _iniquity_ of it against God. It is certainly a deed highly
provoking and dishonoring to the God of heaven. For (1), it is a giving
that public protection and countenance to a _lie_, i.e. to idolatry and
false worship (and to anti-christian idolatry, the worst of all other),
which is only due to the truth of God. It is a devoting and giving our
national power to the preservation of the life of the Romish beast,
after the deadly wound given it by the Reformation. And therefore (2), a
most wretched prostitution of the ordinance of civil power, sacred by
its divine institution, to be _a terror_ and restraint _to evil doers,
and a praise to them that do well_, Rom. xiii,--to the quite contrary
purposes. What right have open idolaters and blasphemers to be protected
and supported by any ordinance of God in the public acts of their
idolatry? And how awful is it to think (3), that it is a setting
ourselves openly to fight against God, in a national engagement to
support and defend what God has declared and testified to us in his
word, he will have destroyed; and wherein he expressly forbids giving
the least countenance to idolatry. And shall we thus harden ourselves
against God and prosper? (4), As this last instance of our profane
national policy is a still more open discovery of our incorrigibleness
in our apostasy, so it is also the most striking of all the former of
that Erastianism and spiritual supremacy exercised by the civil powers
in these lands over the church and kingdom of Christ. Herein we have an
open and avowed justification of that anti-scriptural right and power
claimed by them to settle and establish whatever mode of religion they
please, or is most agreeable to the inclinations of the people, or which
best answers their worldly political purposes, although it should be the
religion of Satan in place of that of Christ. This has been the great
leading principle all along since the Revolution, but never more openly
discovered than in this instance. Upon all which it may appear how
sinful and provoking to the divine Majesty this act must be.

2. The _folly and shamefulness_ of it as to ourselves. How disgraceful
and dishonorable is this public act in favor of Popery, even to the
nation itself, and its representatives, who me the authors of it. How
palpably inconsistent is it with our national character and profession
as Protestant, and with our national establishments, civil and
ecclesiastical (both which are professedly built upon reformation from
Popery), to come to take that idolatrous religion under our national
protection, and become _defenders_ of the _anti-christian_ faith; nay,
were it competent for the presbytery as a spiritual court, and spiritual
watchmen, to view this act in a civil light, they might show at large,
that it is a violation of the fundamental national constitutions of the
kingdom, and reaches a blow to the credit of the legal security granted
to the Protestant religion at home. We need not here mention how
contrary this act is to the fundamental laws and constitutions of the
kingdom of Scotland, which are now set aside. But it is contrary to, and
a manifest violation of the Revolution and British constitution itself;
contrary to the Claim of Right, yea, to the oath solemnly sworn by every
English and British sovereign upon their accession to the throne, as
settled by an act of the English parliament in the first year of William
III. By which they are obliged to "profess, and to the utmost of their
power maintain, in all their dominions, the laws of God, the true
profession of the gospel, and the true reformed religion established by
law." But these things the presbytery leave to such whom it may more,
properly concern. Let it, however, be observed that the presbytery are
not here to be interpreted as approving of the abovesaid oath, as it
designedly obliges to the maintenance of the abjured English hierarchy
and popish ceremonies, which might better be called _a true reformed
lie_, than the true reformed religion. Nevertheless, this being the
British coronation oath, it clearly determines that all legal
establishments behoove to be Protestant, and that without a violation of
said oath, no other religion can be taken under protection of law but
what is called Protestant religion only.

The presbytery conclude the whole of this additional remark with
observing, That as in the former instances of the exercise of this
Erastian power above mentioned, the present church of Scotland never
gave evidence of her fidelity to Christ, so far as to testify against
them; so their assembly has, in a like supine, senseless manner,
conducted themselves with reference to this last and most alarming
instance. Notwithstanding all that has been remonstrated against it, and
in favor of the reformed religion, they have remained mute and silent,
which indeed evidences them not to be truly deserving of the character
of _venerable_ and _reverend_, which they assume to themselves, but
rather that of an association; or, in the words of the weeping prophet,
_an assembly of treacherous men_: Jer. ix, 2.]

[Footnote 3: See pages 68, 69, preceding.]

[Footnote 4: Mr. _Andrew Clarkson_ originally belonged to the community
of Old Dissenters under the pastoral inspection of the Rev. Mr. _John
McMillan_ senior; was educated and lived in communion with them, till
upwards of the age of thirty years; during which time he wrote and
published a book, entitled, _Plain Reasons, &c._, setting forth the
grounds why Presbyterian Dissenters refused to hold communion with the
revolution, church and state; but, having no prospect of obtaining
license and ordination among them, in regard they had then no ordained
minister belonging to them but old Mr. _McMillan_ alone, it appeared
that, from a passionate desire after these privileges, he left his old
friends, and made his application to the Associate Presbytery, who
treated him as above narrated.]

[Footnote 5: Mr. _John Cameron_, then a probationer and clerk to their
Presbytery.]

[Footnote 6: These people, referred to above, very unjustly designate
themselves such _who adhere to the testimony for the kingly prerogative
of Christ_. They did at first, before their agreement with the
Presbytery, and ever since their elopement, do still profess to appear
for what they call _An Active Testimony_, conform to the rude draft of a
paper commonly known by the name of the _Queensferry Paper_ or
_Covenant_ (see _Cloud of Witnesses_, Appendix, page 270). After their
_activity_ had carried them the length of avouching the most
inconsistent anti-predestinarian, Arminian schemes of universal
redemption, and not only to a total separation from the Presbytery, and
rejection of their judicial authority, but even to an open denial of the
protestative mission of the ministers therein, and of all others; the
most part of them were, in God's holy and righteous justice, left to
receive and submit to the pretended authority and ministrations of
_William Dunnet_, a deceiver, destitute of all mission and authority,
whom they were afterward obliged to abandon In 1771, they published a
pamphlet entitled, _A short Abstract of their Principles and Designs_.
In this they cunningly evade the acknowledgment of our Confession of
Faith and Catechisms, decline to own the doctrine of the holy Trinity in
_unity_, and do professedly adopt and avow the hypothesis of the famous
modern Socinian, Dr. _Taylor, of Norwich_, anent the person of Christ.
According to which he is no more than "a glorious being, truly created
by God before the world." This pre-existent creature they call a
_superangelic_ spirit; which spirit, coming in time to be united to a
human body, makes according to them, the person of Christ. A person
neither truly God nor truly man, but a sort of being different from
both. The absurdity and blasphemy of this hypothesis needs no
elucidation. Thus they idolatrously worship _another_ god than the
Scripture reveals, and blasphemously substitute and trust in _another_
savior than the gospel offers unto sinners. In the same pamphlet they
declare and publish their resolution to take some of their number under
formal trials, whom, upon being approved, they might appoint and send
forth to preach the gospel and administer the ordinances of it. And all
which they have accordingly done, to the great dishonor of God, reproach
of religion, and the profession of it.

And now, from the above principles and practices, the reader may justly
conclude how unworthily these Christians (if they may be called such)
profess to stand up for the royal prerogatives of Christ. What an
arrogant and presumptuous invasion upon, and usurpation of, the powers
and prerogatives of this glorious King, for any mortal to assume "to
appoint and call men," not to the _work_ (which yet is all that the
Church of Christ, according to the will of God, and her privileges from
Christ her head, ever claimed), but to the very _power_ and _office_ of
the holy ministry, "and to _install_ them in it." Besides, that their
doctrine as to Christ's person, which denies his divine nature and
sonship, saps the very foundations of _that_ and all his other offices.
We would, therefore, yet beseech them, by the mercies of God, "to repent
them of all their wickedness, and to pray God, if perhaps the thoughts
of their heart may be forgiven them."]

[Footnote 7: It has been complained by some, that the sense of both the
members of this particular paragraph is obscure, and not so intelligible
as it should be to many readers; but this complaint seems rather to
arise from the want of proper attention and consideration, than from any
other cause. As to the first branch of the sentence, Among--"Such
actions and things as are necessary, and in themselves just and lawful
by a moral obligation"--may be reckoned the payment of county tolls on
highways and bridges, for the benefit of an easy and commodious
passage--keeping watch in cities which have no settled or regular
guard, to prevent public damage by fire or otherwise. In like manner,
the payment of custom in public markets or fairs, or of town dues, all
of which, being intended for the benefit of public corporations, are
given or paid as the price of liberty and privilege of trade and
commerce. And to this may be added, such necessary instances of
_self-defense_ as a person may be obliged to, when maliciously and
villanously attacked in his character or goods, by persons perhaps
designedly taking advantage of his Christian temper, or profession. Or
when perhaps a person may be maliciously charged with, and prosecuted
for crimes not only peculiarly dishonorable to religion, but even
capital, as has been the case with some individuals. In all such cases,
self-defense at law becomes necessary before the ordinary courts and
judges of any nation, or place of the world whatever, when such defenses
are admitted without the formal and explicit acknowledgment of the
lawfulness of unjust or usurped authority (when such happens to be in
place, as in the instance of Paul's appeal to Caesar, Acts xxv), or
acting any otherwise contrary to justice and charity. And with regard to
the other branch of the sentence where it is observed--"That a
difference ought to made between those things that cannot be had, nor
yet the value and equivalent of them, unless the person actually give
it," &c.: This is sufficiently explained in a paragraph, page 163, near
the foot. Prayers for God's blessing on any government--enlisting and
bearing arms in their service--accepting offices and places of power
from them--swearing oaths of fidelity to them, &c.--are such things as
can by no means be got, nor yet the equivalent of them, unless the party
actually consents and grants them. These, therefore, and, such like, are
the only instances of action which, the Presbytery judge, do, in their
own nature, contain and express a proper and explicit acknowledgment of
the lawfulness of that authority which they immediately respect.]

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