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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 13 of 13)
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unstable minister, Mr. Craighead, as being unworthy of anything more
than historical notice.

The two most noteworthy instances of avowed covenant-renovation within
the present century are those at Dervock, Ireland, in 1853, and in
Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, in 1871; and we class them together, because
however the respective documents differ in their provisions, and in our
judgment some of these are irreconcilable, yet the parties have ever
since agreed to coalesce. Reference is here made only to a sample of
_essential_ discrepancies. In the Dervock bond the British Covenants are
expressly mentioned and owned; in the Pittsburg bond they are neither
owned nor mentioned, although both were urged at the time, while they
were openly vilified without rebuke. In the former Prelacy is abjured,
in the latter it is not so much as named. The fourth article of the
former is irreconcilable with the fourth article of the latter. The
former is limited by _recognized truth_; the latter substitutes for
truth _supposed piety_. But since these two parties, in the face of such
antagonistic fundamental principles, do actually harmonize in practice,
coming down to treat with opposing parties in the plain of Ono, their
example of treachery in covenant can be regarded only as a beacon of

Strictly speaking, no new obligation has been imposed or assumed since
the law was given at Sinai. We are to "keep the words of the covenant,
the ten commandments." This is just what Christ still enjoins upon his
disciples - "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have
commanded you." The footsteps of Christ's flock differ nothing now from
what they were in the days of Solomon. Some turn back into Egypt, while
others turn aside with the "flocks of the companions to right-hand
extremes or left-hand defections"; for the harlot's "ways are moveable
that thou canst not know them," and we are warned - "Come not near the
door of her house."

The federal deeds which we propose to renew are, of course, those of our
witnessing fathers, the National Covenant of Scotland and the Solemn
League of Scotland, England and Ireland, adapting these public deeds to
our time, and comprising all preceding and subsequent attainments, as
was done by our predecessors at Auchensaugh. Our condition and
surroundings are in many respects similar to theirs. "Their soul was
exceedingly filled with the scorning of those that were at ease, and
with the contempt of the proud"; but they were also exposed to many
perils from the existing ecclesiastical and civil authorities which they
publicly disowned.

All inspired records of public vows to God by his united people, from
the time of Moses to Nehemiah, contained a synopsis of special
providence towards themselves and others, of sins, mercies and
judgments; and these were motives to this special duty, though not a
rule - "And because of all this we make a sure covenant and write it."

After these examples, which we judge "written for our learning," we
renew our own and our ancestors' covenants, neither ecclesiastically nor
nationally as representatives of either church or state, as they are now
confederated against the Lord and his Anointed: but we appear publicly
as a "despised remnant," avowing allegiance to Zion's only King and
"Prince of the kings of the earth," pledging adherence to those public
deeds of our progenitors, in which the divine ordinances of Church and
State are exhibited; and in which they are exemplified as co-ordinate,
mutually independent, friendly, and helpful to the family and to each
other. Thus acted the people of God under the covenant of grace in all
ages; and so acted his servants at Auchensaugh, whose more immediate
example we propose to follow.

* * * * *


All authentic history confirms the declaration of the Sacred Scriptures,
That by one man sin entered into the world, and that there is not a just
man upon earth that doeth good and sinneth not. Yet there is mercy with
God that he may be feared, and plenteous redemption to redeem Israel
from all his trespasses. But we are assured that "he that covereth his
sins shall not prosper, but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall
have mercy."

Believing these teachings of God's word, and in view of renewing solemn
vows to him, we now give glory to the Lord God of Israel by making
confession of our own and our fathers' sins in violating our solemn
covenants. We acknowledge the heinous sins of repeated violation of our
covenanted unity - _First_, By joining in a military confederacy with the
American Colonies in the revolutionary war of 1776. _Second_, Joining in
a similar confederacy with Irish Papists and others to cast off the
British government in 1798. _Third_, In a similar confederacy in the war
between the United States and England in 1812. _Fourth_, By the like
military association in the recent civil war: and these sins were
aggravated by framing oaths of allegiance or fidelity in the years 1812
and 1863.

Some of those who had violated their covenants by military association
with the United Irishmen fled for refuge to the United States; and
without undergoing censure became active agents in constituting a
presbytery without authority had from the parent body in Scotland, 1798;
and proceeded in 1806 to frame and publish _Reformation Principles
Exhibited_, a work which removed landmarks which the fathers had set;
and which with an abstract of Terms of Communion unpresbyterially
introduced, unsettled the foundations and issued in the lamentable
disruption of 1833.

In Scotland the leaders of the people caused them to err by changing the
Terms of Communion in the year 1822, and the Testimony in 1837. While
these changes were made in the Covenanted Church's organic law some of
the most popular and influential ministers - theological professors, were
publicly transgressing our covenants by joining in affinity with divers
confederacies for moral reform. Doctor Andrew Symington, the most
influential minister in the Synod did actually and publicly co-operate
with the Evangelical Alliance; and in 1841 the same professor was among
the foremost in projecting a plan for a "concert of prayer," by diverse
sorts of professors, those of the Established Church of Scotland being
expressly mentioned. No wonder the hesitating _Covenanter_ ventured at
least to express preferance for "more generally small meetings for
prayer, to a large number of Christians of different names." This kind
of amalgamation being contrary to Scripture was a breach also of the
Solemn League, the sixth article of which was evidently designed by our
fathers to prevent such social sins under the name of religion. The
Theological Seminary in Scotland, as a corrupt fountain, polluted all
the streams, the ministers taking the lead in the defection, as is now
manifested to the world.

All along our history in Scotland, Ireland and America, the sin of the
antediluvians and of Israel after the flesh has been imitated by
us - joining with the known enemies of truth and righteousness, in the
face of many fearful judgments for such breaches of solemn vows.

The ministers took the lead in joining and inducing others to join the
Colonization Society, a scheme for the removal of colored freedmen from
among the bondmen, that slavery might be more secure and more certainly
perpetuated by removing the disturbing element; and all this under the
guise of evangelizing Africa! The General Synod which had unanimously
patronized that scheme in 1828, discovering the deception, did in 1836,
by a majority transfer its patronage to the rival cause of Abolition,
thus continuing and persevering in the same transgression, from which
they are not reclaimed to this day.

About the same time when we were ensnared in these unscriptural
confederacies, occasional hearing naturally became developed in a
sabbath-school, which for a short time was conducted jointly by three
denominations in Pittsburgh - Covenanters, Seceders and Associate
Reformed, violating our covenanted unity and erecting an unauthorized
agency for spiritual instruction. The General Synod did, in 1840,
abolish its own deligation form and the Subordinate Synods in violation
of conventional law and Presbyterial order, and still continues to
adhere to this two-fold breach of the brotherly covenant. That body,
carrying on defection, joined in military association as noticed above,
during the late civil war between the Union and Confederate armies,
framing an "oath of fidelity," and thus profaning a divine ordinance by
pledging themselves to enforce an atheistical constitution and execute
the laws: and some of them glory in their shame and boast of this
flagrant and complicated breach of solemn vows to the contrary.

While recognizing many precious principles embodied in the Dorvock bond,
we cannot give it our approbation as an adequate renovation of our
National Covenant and Solemn League, because it not only omits but
obviously excludes the Form of Presbyterial Church Government and the
Directory for Public Worship, and seems to substitute for these the
Testimony which is incompatible with that of 1761; although the two
documents above named were received by our General Assembly of Scotland
as "part of the uniformity" to which we are bound in the Solemn League.
And besides, all their symbols of faith mentioned in the Dervock
transaction as subordinate, are owned only as "_Doctrinal_ Standards,"
thus leaving at loose ends individual and social Christian _practice_.
This document is therefore a defective, evasive, and consequently
inadequate renovation of our Covenants.

The sound principles comprised in the Pittsburgh bond are still more
palpably rendered nugatory by contradictions, manifold evasions and
ambiguous phrases; such as "accepted manuals, our fathers' covenants,"
etc.; while the solemn pledge to "maintain Christian friendship with
pious men of every name, and to feel and act as one with all in every
land who pursue this grand end " - an _undefined_ end - would overthrow,
if this were possible, the whole scriptural fabric of our Presbyterial
Covenanted Reformation. Treachery and perfidy, not to say perjury, are
bound up in the Pittsburgh bond, especially in pledging themselves to
the performance of civil duties "not forbidden in the law of God." Some
of the native fruits of this transaction, tending still more to corrupt
themselves and others are the continual practice of occasional hearing,
exchange of pulpits and correspondence by delegation.

This body has placed itself under the authority of the Pennsylvania
Legislature, having petitioned for and obtained an act of incorporation,
and having voluntarily submitted to the Erastian civil jurisdiction of
the state of Pennsylvania and of the United States. The civil Charter
expressly institutes and appoints its trustees to be regulated and
limited in the exercise of the functions of their respective offices by
the constitutions of Pennsylvania and of the nation. Their bond prepared
the way for this more gross and practical surrender of all that is
distinctive in our covenanted position. And finally, so far as we know
all parties in the three lands claiming to be Reformed Presbyterians,
have for years renounced those provisions of our Directory which require
the lines to be read in public praise to God, and the banns to be
proclaimed before marriage.

The nations throughout Christendom, continue in league with Antichrist
and give their strength to the beast. They still refuse to profess and
defend the true religion in doctrine, worship, government and
discipline, contrary to the example of the kingdoms of Scotland, England
and Ireland in the seventeenth century. Some of them have waged wars of
conquest, under pretence of opening a way for the spread of the gospel;
and disregarding international law, have violated solemn treaties among
themselves, and all of them practically disregard divine authority;
habitually profaning the Christian Sabbath, by carrying the mail, by
commercial traffic, and parties of pleasure on land and water.

Acknowledging the righteousness of divine judgment upon ourselves and
others for manifold violations of God's law and breaches of our own and
our fathers' solemn vows in our domestic, ecclesiastical and civil
relations; we desire to humble ourselves before God for these sins, and
for others not contained in this enumeration. Seeing that God hath
punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hath left us a small
remnant in his sovereign mercy, our prayer to him is that he may enable
us by his grace to bring forth fruits meet for repentance, to the glory
of his great and holy name, and the commendation of his pardoning mercy.

* * * * *


We, office-bearers and members of the Reformed Presbyterian Church,
convinced by the Word and Spirit of God of our guilt and depravity by
our breach of covenant in Adam; of utter inability to save ourselves
from the ruins of the falls or its just penal consequences; desiring
moreover to bless, the Lord, that when we were yet without strength
Christ died for the ungodly; that a door of faith has been opened to the
Gentiles, and repentance unto life granted to such; taking our warrant
and encouragement from God alone, with our hands lifted up toward
him: - do swear by his great and fearful name as the Lord our God,
that -

I. We accept God in Christ for ourselves and our children as offered to
us in the gospel, to be our everlasting portion; and we joyfully
surrender ourselves and our all to him as his rightful and exclusive
property. We cordially approve the Covenant of Grace, and embrace it as
all our salvation and all our desire. Dead to the law as a covenant of
works, we cheerfully receive it from Christ's hand as our perfect rule
of life, to direct our personal and social conduct. Aiming to glorify
God as our chief end, and to do good unto all men as we have
opportunity - especially to the household of faith - we promise in the
strength of divine grace to search the Scriptures, conforming heart and
life to this standard, in constant opposition to the course of this
world, exemplifying godliness and honesty before men all our days.

II. Set for the defence of the gospel, and under manifold obligations to
contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered to the saints,
we acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and new Testament to be the
Word of God and the alone infallible rule of faith and manners,
rejecting any and all additions or subtractions, false translations,
perverting or wresting them to men's destruction.

We own also, as subordinate standards of faith and practice of doctrine
and order, the National Covenant and Solemn League: as also the
Westminster formularies, well known by their names - viz., the Confession
of Faith, the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, Form of Church Government,
and Directory of Public Worship; as these were received respectively by
the Church of Scotland in the years 1645, '47, and '48, not merely as
"_Doctrinal_ Standards," but as symbols, all of them, of Christian
practice also, and as a part of the uniformity sworn to in the Solemn
League. We adhere to the Renovation of the National Covenants at
Auchensaugh, 1712, as comprising the same grand Scriptural principles
with the original deeds, and preserving the identity of the moral
person, which became more visible in 1761 by a Judicial Testimony,
re-exhibited in 1858 and 1876.

We repudiate the Renovation at Dervock, 1853, as being inadequate,
defective, and unfaithful - part of the document couched in abstract,
evasive, and equivocal language. Also, we condemn and reject the
Pittsburgh Bond, as ambiguous, self-contradictory and treacherous - "a
snare on Mizpah." We abjure and testify against Popery, as delineated by
our ancestors in the National Covenant, together with the fictitious
dogma of the Immaculate Conception, and the blasphemous assumption by
the Pope of Jehovah's incommunicable prerogative of Infallibility. In
like manner we reject Prelacy, whether Erastian or Diocesan, as abjured
in the National Covenant and more explicitly in the Solemn League; while
in pity for the persons involved in these despotic systems, we will pray
and labor for the extirpation of these poisonous plants, and the
emancipation of their deluded admirers. We condemn and disown all
existing systems which involve the infidel element called Voluntaryism,
representing the divine ordinances of Church and State as mutually
inimical or in any way antagonistic, thus impeaching the wisdom of the

III. Believing that the Son of God has been, as Mediator appointed heir
of all things, and invested with universal dominion; that he reigns and
must reign till all his impenitent enemies be put under his feet: we
pledge ourselves in reliance on divine grace to continue our advocacy of
his claims upon the homage and willing obedience of individual and
social man, in the family, the church and the civil commonwealth. We
will maintain and urge his exclusive right to prescribe the faith and
order of the church by his royal authority. We promise to inculcate and
exemplify Presbyterian Church Government as alone of divine right and

Believing, moreover, that civil government, originating in the will of
God as Creator, has been placed by the Father under the authority of the
Mediator, and that the principal objects to be promoted by this divine
ordinance are the glory of its Author, the welfare of mankind, and the
prosperity of the church; we engage to endeavor the reformation of the
nations by testifying against all neglect or contempt of Messiah's
claims, or impious invasion of his rights by either rulers or subjects.
In joyful anticipation of the universal reign of righteousness and peace
on the earth, we will labor and pray for a gospel ministry and a
Scriptural magistracy; testifying against all corruptions of these or
substitutes for them. Persuaded of the adaptation and sufficiency of
divine ordinances to effect reformation, we will refuse to identify or
incorporate with any substitutes for these, or to co-operate with
voluntary associations for moral reform, whether secret and sworn, or
open and pledged, as these imply want of faith in divine ordinances, and
in the wisdom and beneficence of our covenant God.

IV. Believing that the Christian Church is one by her divine
constitution, and lamenting existing divisions among the children of
God; recognizing the obligation upon us to love the brotherhood, we will
endeavor to cultivate charity in private intercourse towards all who
reflect the divine image; and help to elevate them to the platform of
the Covenanted Reformation as our only recognized bond of organic and
ministerial church-fellowship. Nor will we, in reliance upon the
promised and continued supplies of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, permit
ourselves to be divided from this our covenanted unity and uniformity by
the promises, threats, or solicitations of surrounding communities.
Through divine grace we will endeavor, by practical manifestation of the
truth, to commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of
God, as the most effectual means of healing Zion's breaches, that are
great like the sea.

V. Having learned from God's Word that all who live godly in Christ
Jesus shall suffer persecution, in their character, in their substance,
or in their persons; and knowing from the recorded history of those who
nobly stood to their covenant that they were subjected to all these
kinds of suffering; and since our Sovereign Lord in his holy providence
for the trial of the patience and faith of his saints permits Antichrist
to practice and prosper, the kings of the earth still giving their
strength unto the beast: we therefore, anticipating like treatment from
an opposing world wherever we may sojourn, resolve in his strength to
follow the Lamb, whithersoever he goeth, as our leader, endeavoring so
to diffuse the sweet savor of his name, that in due time and in every
land men shall be blessed in him, and all nations shall call him

VI. Finally, this solemn renewal of our federal obligations we confirm
by oath in the presence of the omniscient God, who searcheth our hearts,
uninfluenced by any selfish, worldly, politic, or carnal motives or
ends; but singly with a view to the glory of God and the temporal and
eternal welfare of our fellow-men; beseeching our Father in heaven for
Christ's sake so to furnish us with the gifts and graces of his Holy
Spirit, that we may prove faithful unto death, and joyfully welcome, the
glorious appearing of our final and chosen Judge.

And in testimony of our desires, and assurance to be heard, we
say - Amen.

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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 13 of 13)