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The Auchensaugh Renovation of the National Covenant and Solemn League and Covenant With the Acknowledgment of Sins and Engagement to Duties, as They Were Renewed at Auchensaugh, Near Douglas, July 24, online

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Online LibraryThe Reformed PresbyteryThe Auchensaugh Renovation of the National Covenant and Solemn League and Covenant With the Acknowledgment of Sins and Engagement to Duties, as They Were Renewed at Auchensaugh, Near Douglas, July 24, → online text (page 10 of 13)
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bringing his murthering accomplices and incendiaries to condign
punishment; but, on the other hand, some of the suffering party did
sometimes exceed the bounds of moderation in this matter, in usurping
the sword without God's call, without respect to the rule, and against
the scope of their own declarations, to take vengeance on them at their
own hand; yea, even to that degree, of taking the lives of some of them
in an extravagant manner;[27] for which, they were sadly rebuked of God,
an occasion was given and taken to reproach and blaspheme the way of God
upon that account. But to descend to our own time, we have it to
bewail, that whatever alteration there is in the face of affairs since
the yoke of tyranny was taken off our neck, yet there is no alteration
in this matter to the better, but rather to the worse; malignants are so
far from being brought to condign punishment, that they are the whole
administrators of the affairs of the kingdom; whence it is come to pass,
that the supreme judicatories which should take trial of such and bring
them to punishment, and to whom they should be delated, are wholly, or
mostly composed of such; yea, none may now be reputed malignant unless
he be disaffected to the civil government; so that malignancy is not now
disaffection to the cause and work of God, but disaffection to the
present establishment, and so far are they that are truly disaffected to
Christ and his interest this day advanced and strengthened in their
designs, that they have (so far as in them lies) put a final stop to all
further progress in reformation in these covenanted kingdoms; so that
instead of discovering and bringing to punishment them who make parties
and factions against the League and Covenant, and reformation therein
concerted, the most part of Britain and Ireland are nought else but a
party and faction against it, who have cast it out of doors, and, for
what is apparent, are never minded to receive it again; and, upon the
contrary, such as are labouring to adhere most closely (though in
weakness) to these engagements, and prosecute the ends of these
covenants, are unjustly looked upon as a party and faction, and
prosecuted as offenders by such as, according to the genuine sense of
this Article, ought to be brought to condign punishment. It is likewise
promised in this Article, that such _shall be brought to trial as shall
divide the King from his people, or one of the kingdoms from another_,
which clause hath been broken, by using endeavours to have King and
people and the kingdoms all conjoined in a _union_ and conjunction
contrary to, and eversive of this Solemn League and Covenant; and these
that go under the character of ministers, from whom it might in all
reason be expected that they should interpose for having malignants duly
punished, are so far from doing so, that they make it their endeavour
to please them; and upon the contrary, they spare no pains to incense
the persons in the government against those whose design it is, in the
Lord's strength, to adhere to their covenant engagements, and keep
themselves unspotted from the abominations of the times. We acknowledge
also ourselves guilty of the breach of this Article, in so far as we
have not more frequently and fervently, from a real respect and zeal to
the glory of God, after we saw no means of getting such evil instruments
and opposers of reformation punished and suppressed by human
judicatories, applied by prayer and supplication to God, that he would
either of his infinite mercy convince them of, and reclaim them from, or
in justice reprove and punish them for their opposition to his cause and
interest. As also, that we have not duly searched into our own sins, and
especially the malignancy of our own hearts: by means whereof, the Lord
is highly provoked to permit such evil instruments not only to afflict
and oppress us, but also to retard the success of his own work; and that
we have not impartially or sincerely mourned over these sins in our own
hearts and lives, which hinder our own personal, and so have influence
to impede national reformation, and have not forsaken and abandoned
them.

In the fifth Article, we are bound, "according to our place and station,
to endeavor, that the kingdoms may remain conjoined in a most firm peace
and union to all posterity; and that justice may be done upon the wilful
opposers thereof;" according to Isa. ii. 2, 3, xiv. 23, 24; Jer. 1, 4,
5; Ezek. xxxvii. 16, 17; Zech. ii. 11. viii. 21, 22; Gal. v. 12.

"But through the peace and union of the kingdoms (while duly subordinate
to the interest of religion) was a great blessing of God unto both, and
a bond which we are bound to preserve inviolated, and to endeavor that
justice may be done upon the wilful opposers thereof; yet some in this
land, who have come under the bond of the Covenant, have made it their
great study how to dissolve this union, and few or no endeavors have
been used by any of us for punishing of such;" yea, very little, or none
at all, have the most of us been concerned about this Article; whether
there be peace with, or holiness and truth in, the other kingdoms; or
what sort of peace, or on what foundation it be settled: both kingdoms
are mutually guilty of dissolving this Covenant Union, in invading each
other, at several times, contrary to the Covenant, the English nation
in subjecting us to their conquest, and forcing us to a submission to
their Sectarian usurpations on church and state; and this nation, in
giving such provocations to them, by the unlawful engagement in the year
1648, by treating with, setting up and entertaining, the head of the
malignant party, their enemy and ours both, as our King in the year
1650, and invading them upon his quarrel, at the Worcester expedition,
Anno 1651; since which time, after that kingdom and this both united in
that unhappy course of restoring the King, without respect to the
Covenant, and re-establishing the Prelacy, which broke our Covenanted
Union and Conjunction, that nation hath sometimes sent aid to our
persecutors, for suppressing our attempts to recover our religion and
liberties; and this nation hath sent forces to help their destroyers,
and to suppress their endeavors for the recovery of their privileges.
And in the mean time, we have been very little solicitous for
correspondence to settle union with such of them as owned the Covenant,
or for giving to, or receiving from them, mutual informations of our
respective cases and conditions, under all our calamities and calumnies
cast upon us: nor have we studied to keep sympathy or communion of
saints, or mutual bearing of one another's burdens, as became covenanted
brethren.

On the other hand instead of union in truth and duty according to the
bond of the Covenant, a confederacy hath been studied in defection from
the Covenant, and an union and peace which wanted the foundation laid
down in the foregoing Articles of the Covenant, viz., "uniformity in
doctrine, worship, discipline and government, against Popery, Prelacy,
Schism, Sectarianism, for our religion, laws and liberties, and
discovering, suppressing and punishing the enemies of these interests."
Such an Union has not been studied nor sought, but on the contrary an
Union against the Reformation and Uniformity, for Prelacy and
Sectarianism multiformity, by maintaining tyranny and strengthening
malignancy. Yea, by the means of this incorporating Union now of late
established, Prelacy is not only strengthened and confirmed, but so
settled as to continue to all succeeding generations, and this nation's
slavery as well as their sin perpetuated. And persons of all ranks have
had a deep hand in this trespass: the nobility and gentry who
represented the nation, in surrendering their own and the nation's
rights and privileges; ministers in not warning them faithfully to
beware of that covenant-breaking course, which could not but provoke God
to anger against this poor island, but showing more concern in that
juncture for settling their own, then for securing and advancing
Christ's interest; and the body of the land, in that they did not bestir
themselves, for the defence of their own liberties in a lawful way.

In the sixth Article we are bound, "according to our places and
callings, in this common cause of religion, liberty and peace, to assist
and defend all those that enter into this League and Covenant, in the
maintaining thereof. And in the National Covenant, in like manner, we
are bound to stand to the mutual defence and assistance, every one of us
of another, in the same cause, with our best counsel, our bodies, means,
and whole power, against all sorts of persons whatsoever; so that
whatsoever shall be done to the least of us for that cause, should be
taken as done to all of us in general, and to every one of us in
particular." A duty very clear in the scriptures; Judges v. 23; 1 Chron.
xii. 1, 18; Neh. iv. 14; Prov. xxiv. 11, 12.

But alas! how little conscience hath been made of this duty? "We have
suffered many of our brethren in many parts of the land to be oppressed
of the common enemy, without compassion or relief. There hath been great
murmuring and repining because of expenses of means and pains in doing
of our duty;" and not only so, but many did swear and subscribe oaths
and bonds expressly against such assistances, and to condemn all such
endeavors, to assist, defend and rescue them, as rebellion and sedition,
and obliging them to assist their murdering malignant enemies, by such
occurrences as they required. Yea, many instead of coming out to _help
the Lord against the mighty_, and defending their brethren, did come out
to the help of the mighty against the Lord, his cause, Covenant, and
oppressed people; concurring in arms against them at all the appearances
that were made and essayed for the cause of Christ; compearing at
courts, held for informing against and condemning their brethren, that
were present at, or concerned in such appearances for the Covenanted
cause, and coming in as witnesses against them; sitting in assizes for
condemning them, and guarding them to their executions, when martyred
for their duty, and the interest of truth. Many likewise denied to
reset, harbor or entertain their brethren, persecuted for maintaining
the Covenanted Reformation; some raised the hue and cry after them,
thereby occasioning, and assisting in, the murder of several faithful
brethren; the most part owned the great murderer who authorized all the
rest, and enacted all these murders, and assisted him and his
accomplices, and executioners of his murdering mandates, with their
persons and estates, in paying the supplies professedly demanded, and
declaredly imposed, for enabling them to accomplish these mischiefs.
Yea, many were so far from assisting, that they added afflictions to
their afflicted brethren, their reproaches, and persecuting by the
tongue those whom the Lord had smitten, and talking to the grief of
those he had wounded. And all sorts of us have been wanting in our
sympathy with, and endeavoring succor to, our suffering brethren, let be
to deliver them from their enemies' hands according to our capacity. So
also, it is for matter of lamentation, that many ministers all alongst
discovered great unconcernedness with, and contempt of, poor despised
and reproached sufferers, condemned the heads of their suffering, forgot
or refused to pray for them publicly. And as this Article was all
alongst through the persecuting times, most grossly violated, so to this
day it continues to be. Any that would appear in the least active in
this cause, are so far from being assisted that they are borne down,
derided, sentenced, and sometimes imprisoned; whatever motions are made
in private discourses, or public sermons, which may import a respect to,
or liking of, this noble cause of religion, or a dislike of, and
displacency with the courses opposite unto it, are so far from being
countenanced, that the movers are hated, vilipended, contemned or
censured, as raisers of dust, formenters of division, pragmatic,
turbulent and fractious spirits, and loaded with many other defamatory
epithets and calumnies. Many instances of which may be given since the
Revolution. For example, when in the year 1690, there was a paper of
grievances presented to the Assembly by some of those who had been
keeping up a witness against the iniquitous courses of the times, and
were now expecting that as the fruit of a merciful delivery from
tyrannical usurpations, and antichristian persecutions, Reformation
should be revived, grievances redressed, judicatories rightly
constituted, and duly purged, it was far from receiving a kind and
friendly reception and they who presented it left without assistance and
help, contrary to the tenor of the Covenant, so that that paper could
not be allowed a hearing, let be a redress, and the persons who offered
it to their consideration were, to their great sorrow and grief of
heart, dismissed without a satisfying answer. As also when Messrs.
Linning, Shields and Boyd, who had been carrying on a Testimony against
the time's defection, and were now minded to join with the Assembly,
after the exhibition of their Testimony, whatever acceptance it might
meet with at their hands, had in prosecution of this their design,
exhibited their proposals to the Committee of Overtures, these
proposals, though both worthy of consideration and necessary to be
redressed, were not allowed a hearing in open Assembly, but rejected as
being "made up of mistakes, reflections, unseasonable and impracticable
overtures," and the said persons, so far from being assisted, in order
to a removal of the evils therein complained of, as destructive to the
cause of God, that upon the contrary the four named persons stand in the
fifth Act of that pretended Assembly characterized with the name and
epithet of persons who had followed courses contrary to the order of the
church, and in their Moderator's exhortation, _to walk orderly in time
coming, in opposition to all schism and division_, their former practice
of testifying against the corruptions of the times was implicitly
condemned as disorderly, schismatic and divisive. Another instance of
this appeared not long after; when in the year 1692, some of the godly
of the land published their declaration disowning William and Mary's
government, because not qualified as God's word, and our Covenants do
require, as it is specified at large in the narrative of that
declaration; some of them were apprehended and imprisoned, for that
piece of adherence to the Covenanted Reformation, and opposing or at
least witnessing against the courses which they found to be contrary to
it. Yet who at that juncture appeared to assist them in their laudable
undertakings? And all alongst since, whosoever has offered grievances,
or any way witnessed against the bypast and present defections, have
been and are prosecuted with church censure, or persecuted with bitter
and malicious invectives and reproaches, falling from the tongues and
pens of those that are obliged by Covenant to have assisted, defended
and encouraged them. And especially ministers, who by virtue of their
office, as well as Covenant engagements, are obliged to excite persons
to, and assist them in their duty, have been active to do the quite
contrary; for instance, when some persons offered to give public
satisfaction for their compliance with Christ's enemies, they refused to
admit them. But to what purpose do we repeat these instances? It is too
certain and evident, that there is more assistance and encouragement
afforded to the enemies of this cause and Covenant, by persons of all
ranks than to the friends and well wishers of it. Love to, and zeal for
this cause are greatly decayed, and therefore mutual sympathy and
affection amongst the people of God in the prosecution and maintenance
of it are much a wanting.

In the same Article we are bound, "not to suffer ourselves directly or
indirectly, by whatsoever combination or terror, to be divided or
withdrawn from this blessed union and conjunction, whether to make
defection to the contrary part, or to give ourselves to a detestable
indifferency or neutrality in this cause; and in the National Covenant,
that we shall neither directly nor indirectly suffer ourselves to be
divided, or withdrawn, by whatsoever suggestion, allurement or terror,
from this blessed and loyal conjunction. According to scripture
warrants."

Gen. xiii. 8; Psal. cxxxiii. throughout; Zech. viii. 19; I Cor. i. 10;
Eph. iv. 3; Phil. i. 27, ii. 2; Heb. xxi. 14; Jer. ix. 3; Ezek. xxii.
25; Hag. i. 2; Phil. ii. 21; II Tim. iv. 10; Rev. iii. 15.

But, alas! it is long since our fathers had reason to complain and
confess, "That many in their day through persuasion or terror, suffered
themselves to be divided and withdrawn to make defection to the contrary
part. Many had turned off to a detestable indifferency and neutrality in
this cause, which so much concerneth the glory of God, and the good of
these kingdoms. Nay, many had made it their study to walk so, as they
might comply with all times, and all the revolutions thereof. That it
was not their care to countenance, encourage, entrust, and employ, such
only as from their hearts did affect and mind God's work; but the hearts
of such, many times had been discouraged, and their hands weakened,
their sufferings neglected, and themselves slighted, and many who had
been once open enemies, and always secret underminers, countenanced and
employed. Nay, even those who had been looked upon as incendiaries, and
upon whom the Lord had set marks of desperate malignancy, falsehood and
deceit, were brought in as fit to manage public affairs."

All which sins and breaches of covenant have now increased to a great
height of heinousness; for, in our day, these incendiaries, desperate
and engrained malignants have only been employed in, and admitted to the
management of the affairs of the kingdom, and none but they accounted
habile by law; and such divisions from the Covenanted-conjunction, and
defections to the contrary part have been, and are enacted and
established by law; yea, all the unhappy divisions that have been from
the _public resolutions_, and downward, have been the woful consequents
and effects of defections to the contrary part. At the first erection of
Prelacy, many, both ministers and professors, partly by terror, partly
by persuasions, did withdraw from this covenanted conjunction, and make
defection unto Prelacy, with which they combined, conforming with, and
submitting to the ministry of the conforming curates; and afterward, by
the terror of the fear of men, and the persuasions of their counsel and
example, many of the land were seduced into a combination with
malignants, in taking oaths and bonds contrary to the covenant, thereby
dividing themselves from the recusants, and making defection to the
party imposing them, and opposing the covenants. By combination of those
that preferred peace to truth, and ease to duty - by the terror of
threatened continuance of persecution, and the persuasion of a promised
relaxation and immunity from troubles; many ministers have been divided
from the testimony of the Church of Scotland, against the enroaching
supremacy and absolute power, and one from another, and have made
defection to that part and party that were advancing these encroachments
and usurpations on the prerogatives of Christ and privileges of his
church; by receiving indulgences and tolerations from them, in their own
nature destructive unto, and given and received on terms inconsistent
with the duties of the covenants, which were contrived and conferred on
purpose to divide them from this cause, and from their brethren that
more tenaciously adhered to it; and did effectuate that design in a
great measure - and others gave themselves to a detestable indifferency
in complying with, conniving at, and not witnessing against these
defections, but passing them over in a secure submissive silence. And
as, in the times of persecuting violence, these breaches of this Article
were made by reason of the snares of that sinful time; so much more has
there been a manifest violation of it since, when at this day there is
such a universal combination of interests in opposition to the
covenanted reformation. Are not the most of the three kingdoms in one
great combination against it, by this cope-stone of defection, this
incorporating union? How have we made conscience of performing that part
of the covenant anent _resisting the persuasion of men to make defection
to the contrary part_, when the whole land is so deeply involved into
it? There has been, alas! too much way given to carnal arguments and
persuasives - such as worldly gain, ease, profit, and preferment, and too
much slavish fear and terror of men, whose breath is in their nostrils,
has been entertained, without a due reliance and dependance upon
Omnipotency; which has greatly carried men off their feet, and wheedled
them into a compliance with, and defection to the contrary part, or into
a neutrality and indifferency in this cause; so that few are found
valiant for the truth upon the earth. What strange laxness and Laodicean
indifference has there appeared in this cause, through the whole conduct
of affairs in church and state, since the revolution; whereby many
discover to every observant eye that they are satisfied if they obtain a
peaceful enjoyment of their own things, and liberty to dwell in their
ceiled houses - albeit the Lord's house (in a great measure) lies waste?
Where are there any acts of Assemblies, or proceedings of the church,
which discover any due concern or zeal for the covenanted interests?
Nay, the contrary has too frequently appeared; as for instance, when by
the 5th act of the 2d session of William and Mary's 1st Parl., the
establishment of the church was calculated for the meridian of
state-policy, according to act 114, Parl. 12, King James VI. Anno 1592.
On purpose to pass over in shameful oblivion the church's choicest
attainments in reformation betwixt 1638 and 1649; and particularly, to
make void the League and Covenant, with the Assembly's explanatory
declaration affixed to the National, the malignants' grand eye-sore,
there was no faithful protestation and testimony exhibited against this
by the Assembly, then indicted, and convened the 16th of October
following; which, if duly pondered in all its circumstances, without the
mask and pretexts industriously drawn over it, will appear to be,
perhaps one of the greatest sins of this nation, and to be little
inferior in nature and aggravations to the burning of the covenants,
which is granted by all Presbyterians to be a most atrocious act of
contempt done to the eternal God, and to his Son Jesus Christ, and
cannot be called to mind by any of the godly without great abhorrence
and detestation of it; in so far as the passing over and not ratifying
these acts of Parliament and Assembly by the respective judicatories,
which were made during that time of reformation, was a practical and
interpretative condemning of them as unprofitable, and did greatly
corroborate the acts whereby Charles II. had declared them null and not
obligatory; and did likewise import a vilifying and despising of what
God had wrought for his people in these lands, during that time; and,
lastly, was a manifest indication of disregard to the oath of God, which
these lands had come under. Neither did that, nor any succeeding
Assembly, impartially and explicitly enumerate the land's sins in their
national fasts; namely, the indulgence and toleration, with the
addresses and thanksgiving for it, and the burning of the covenant, &c.;
neither have they, in any of their addresses to their King or Queen, by
letters, or other means, declared unto them the indispensable duty of
renewing the covenants, nor applied to the Parliament for that effect;
neither have they, by their Assembly-acts, asserted the intrinsic power
of the church; neither did they in any of their acts, or public papers,
make honourable mention of those who had laid down their lives for their
adherence to Christ's truths during the times of persecution, nor
testified their approbation of what was done that way; and yet many of
us have been wanting in testifying our dislike of these backsliding
courses, by discountenancing, withdrawing from, and keeping ourselves
free of all participation with them; but have received the sacraments
of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, and the privilege of marriage at their
hands, and paid tithes and stipends. By all which, it is apparent now


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Online LibraryThe Reformed PresbyteryThe Auchensaugh Renovation of the National Covenant and Solemn League and Covenant With the Acknowledgment of Sins and Engagement to Duties, as They Were Renewed at Auchensaugh, Near Douglas, July 24, → online text (page 10 of 13)