And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor?—Jeremiah 2.18.

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A Vindication

Of such as Scruple to Hear and Own the Indulged.

By John Brown of Wamphray.

1678.

X

TrueCovenanter.com Editor’s Introduction.

As persecution progressed in Scotland and England through the late 1600s, various “Indulgences” were granted to restore Presbyterian ministers to ecclesiastical functions without their adopting of episcopal principles of Church government.  But their admission to charges, in the manner in which it was received, still represented a departure from Biblical Church government, and accordingly was accounted an unfaithful renouncing of any proper calling or mission such men had received before.  The question accordingly arose, Should we hear such ministers, or attend their administrations of the ordinances of Christ?

To many in our time, it seems foolish to even make a question of such things.  Our congresses and parliaments have given us religious freedom, and we may do what we want.  But to souls convinced that they are accountable to God, who will not have his ordinances mocked, neither by their neglect, nor by their misuse, the question was weighty.  And as it had been determined sinful for Presbyterians to hear Episcopal curates, so the force of reason, on very similar considerations, then determined that the Lord was calling to bear testimony against this strange intrusion upon the Church and her ordinances.

In the discussion which follows, John Brown of Wamphray presents us with some reasons to justify the decision of such as refused to hear indulged ministers in the Church of Scotland.  In some ways, his discussion is similar to what he had written several years earlier to defend those who refused to hear or submit to Episcopal curates.  But the reader who makes comparison is likely to notice that Brown’s considerations now determine things more explicitly in terms of the sinfulness of such hearing and submission, rather than merely warranting a decision to not hear.  Nine years later the United Societies and James Renwick would be definitively “Testifying against... all hearing of Curates or Indulged,” and the solidifying of these convictions as the divinely called-for testimony of the faithful, in the face of surrounding defections, would become the pattern and standard for Covenanters, or Reformed Presbyterians, to later observe strict principles in opposition to hearing schismatic teachers, and enforce a rule against occasional hearing. Brown’s discussions, therefore, led the way in carrying on Reformation principles from the established Church of Reformed Scotland, which carefully guarded & restricted the exercise and use of Christian ordinances among the Lord’s people, into a new context of faithful Presbyterians standing in the position of dissenters, and determining how they are called to behave towards the multitudes following a number of schismatic courses, some legalized, and some tolerated.

But as in the case of the Curates, so in the discussion concerning the Indulged, Mr. Brown is cautious about what he will affirm.  He is more positive that countenancing the Indulged is sinful, and that it is a submitting to the King’s ecclesiastical supremacy.  Still, he is understanding towards the concern that possibly people will end up with no ministers to hear at all if they adopt strict principles in opposition to the hearing of the Indulged.  This concern, according to Mr. Brown, was likely one of the primary influences that made good ministers, (such as Mr. Livingston,) hesitant to oppose the indulged ministers early on.  Such concerns were now of less weight, when the effects of the indulgence, and the character of the preaching of indulged ministers, could be discerned.  Perhaps his most practical and irenic suggestions come in his question 26, where he urges that matters should be directed by the Lord’s countenance, so that the people ought to be encouraged to go where they may find the Lord’s blessing, and the Indulged should invite the field preachers to come and hold field-meetings in all their bounds, while they find the “Spiritual Edification of the people” to follow with them.

Of the lessons which may be learned, applicable to our own day, those in question 32 cannot be ignored.  Precedent is important.  A bad precedent and failure to take a stand when it is possible, can be enslaving.  If Church-liberties are put to sale, it will be hard work to bring them back into the hands of the proper possessors.  To many the Erastianism of our present circumstances seems little in the registration of churches as 501(c)(3) corporations, and in the little-enforced restrictions on preaching characterized as hate speech.  But it is not only kings, parliaments, councils, and courts who stand to dispossess the Church of her liberties: it is church courts themselves, seminaries, interest groups, and church members too.  And it is these last who, taking license to attend churches and hear preachers at their pleasure, without penalty or restriction, now deprive their proper pastors of the freedom to keep their sheep as watchful shepherds.

2017.03.08::JTKer.

A Vindication of such, as scruple to hear and own the Indulged.

COnsidering what is said above, both in the Relation, and in the Reasons against the accepting of the Indulgence, whereby the manifold iniquity thereof is manifested, it might seem wholly unnecessary and superfluous to vindicate such, as, beginning to discover the evil thereof, do scruple to look upon those, who are set over them by the Council, as their Ministers, set over them by the Holy Ghost; seeing it may rather seem strange, that any, who adhere to our former Principles, are of another judgment; and that Conscientious Persons did not from the beginning withdraw from them;  Yet for satisfaction to all (so far as is possible) the grounds of our Vindication of such shall be proposed, in a few questions.

[ Clarifying Distinctions Premitted about Withdrawing from or Disowning of Ministers ]

Only it would be premitted, in what sense we take the question:  And therefore, (1.) I do not make this the question—Whether or not these Indulged Ministers, are true Ministers of the Gospel, or ought, in any case, to be acknowledged, & looked upon as such; for in order to our Vindication of such, who withdraw from them, it is not necessary to assert this; for in order to the Vindication of such, as withdraw from the Prelates’ Curates, as we do not, so we use not to say, That they are not Ministers, knowing that by saying this, we are engaged consequently to say, that all the Children, whom they have baptized, are yet unbaptized; and that all their Ministerial Acts are null.  Nor (2.) Shall I make this the question:—Is it not simply unlawful to hear them?  For in order to Vindicate the withdrawers from the Curates, we need not assert this, knowing that much more is required to make an action simply sinful, than to make it inexpedient, or unlawful; and if it were granted, that the hearing or owning of the Indulged, as matters now stand, were unlawful, or inexpedient, the With-drawers would be sufficiently vindicated.  Nor (3.) Do I propose this question, whether or not, they may lawfully be heard, at any time, or in any circumstances; as for example, if there were no other to be heard, in all Scotland?  For I judge, if no other were to be heard in all Scotland, except the Prelates’ Curates, many would not scruple to hear such of them, as were not openly flagitious and profane, or notoriously ignorant; who, as matters now stand, do and that with Approbation.  (4.) I do not think, that such, as are against this withdrawing, will say, that it is necessary, that these Indulged be heard and countenanced at all times and occasions; and that never, or in no case, such, as are under them, may go and hear others; seeing this was always allowed and permitted, in our best times.

[ The Question Stated ]

But I shall simply propose the Question thus:  Whether may not people lawfully, as the case now standeth, withdraw from those Indulged, whom the Council hath set over them by the Indulgence; or are they to own them, and submit unto them, as over them in the Lord, and as set over them, to be their Pastors and Overseers, by the Holy Ghost; even when there are others, against whom such Exceptions cannot be made, as against them, and whom the Lord doth own and countenance in a remarkable and wonderful manner, to be heard?  Or, whether are such to be condemned, or approven and vindicated, who look upon themselves, as called of {129} God to bear witness against all the sinful Usurpations, manifest in the Indulgence,—and the many evils, in the accepting of it, and in the now acting by virtue thereof,—by withdrawing from such, that they may hear and countenance others, who preach upon Christ’s Call, and not according to Man’s Order, but contrary thereto?

This being the Question, one might think it strange, that there should be any necessity to Vindicate such, as now withdraw, considering what is said above: Yet in Order hereunto, I shall but, in a few words, propose these following Questions, to the Consideration of any, who are of another judgment, in this matter,  As,

1. Seeing by what is said under our First Head of Arguments, it is manifest, that the Indulged, in and by the accepting of the Indulgence, have wronged our Lord Jesus Christ, who is only Head of the Church, and King in Zion; and that in Nine several Particulars: (every one of which might be made use of, as a several Argument, to our present purpose,) How can any blame such as, out of tenderness to the Royal Prerogatives of Jesus Christ, scruple to own, and hear them, as formerly?

2. Seeing by the accepting of this Indulgence, the Indulged have receded from our Presbyterian Principles, and wronged the Interest and Privileges of the Church, which Christ, her only King, hath granted to her; and that in five several Particulars, (out of which particular Arguments might be framed severally) as is clear by what is said under our 2[nd] Head of Arguments; How unreasonable is it to condemn such, as, out of a tender care to adhere to their Presbyterian Principles, dare not own and hear such, as formerly?

3. Seeing in Ten Particulars, mentioned under our 3[rd] Head of Arguments, it is made manifest, that the Indulged, by accepting of the Indulgence, have, upon the matter, homologated the wicked Supremacy, in Church-affairs, whereby our Lord is virtually dethroned, and His Church utterly robbed of her Spiritual Power and Privileges: How can we condemn such, who, in detestation of that Supremacy, and Usurped Power, withdraw from them?

4. Seeing by our Principles, the Free Election and Call of the People, giveth ground to the relation, that a Pastor hath to a Flock, as his Charge, and is the way, how the Holy Ghost setteth men over Flocks, in ordinary: How can these be obliged to own such for their Pastors, whom they never called, nor had freedom freely to Elect and Call?  And this is the case of not a few, yea in reality the case of all, who had others, than such, as had been their Pastors before, set over them; for as for that image of a call, we have said enough above, and particularly, under our 4[th] Head of Arguments, to shew that it was of no force, and imported rather a prostituting of that Ordinance and Institution, to be subservient to the corrupt Designs of men, than savoured of true tenderness unto the Ordinance of Christ; which should have led the way, in an orderly settlement, and not have been trailed at the heels of the Council’s Order, with which in all Common Sense, it was incomparable, except by way of acknowledging and homologating the Council’s Usurpation.

5. Seeing as is clear from the Seven Particulars, mentioned under our 5[th] Head of Arguments, the Indulged, in their accepting of the Indulgence, have fortified and established Erastianism, and Erastian Tenets; how shall we condemn such, {130} as withdraw from them, and rather hear and own such, as adhere by their practice to former Principles?

6. When we consider the Twelve Particulars, mentioned under our 6[th] Head of Arguments, (several of which might be here made use of, as Distinct Arguments, if we designed not brevity) whereby it was made manifest, how the Indulged, in accepting of the Indulgence, have acted to the great prejudice of the Church; how can we imagine, that such are to be condemned, who withdraw from them, and countenance such, as are seeking and promoving its good, in the way, countenanced and approven of God?

7. If we impartially consider the Twelve Particulars, mentioned under our 7[th] Head of Arguments, (several of which also might be adduced here, as distinct Arguments) whereby it appeared, how these Indulged, in their accepting of the Indulgence, have wronged our Cause, and departed from the grounds, upon which our Church is suffering; we will see cause of approving such, as withdraw from them, as matters now stand.

8. Seeing by what is said, it is manifest, that the Entry of the Indulged unto their present Places, and Stations, is not consonant, but repugnant to our Former Doctrine, Principles, and Practices, owned since the Reformation, and confirmed by our Oaths, Vows, Covenants, and Solemn Engagements; besides the Testimonies given thereunto by the Sufferings of our Predecessors, and by our own Sufferings; can we blame and condemn such, who dare not own them, as lawfully entered into these places?

9. Seeing the Indulged have, by the accepting of the Indulgence, and acting by virtue thereof, in so far, departed from Former Principles and Practices; and a difference ought to be put betwixt them, and other Ministers, who, through grace, have hithertill been preserved from stepping aside, whether to Prelacy, or to Erastianism, in their Practices; who can condemn such, as withdraw from the one, and adhere to the other?

10. Is there not a great difference betwixt the ground, whereupon the Indulged do presently exercise their Ministry, and the ground whereupon formerly, before they embraced the Indulgence, they did, and others to this day do, exercise it?  Or shall we say, that it is all one, whether Ministers have the Ministerial Potestative Mission unto such or such places, over which they are set, from Presbyteries, authorized thereunto by Christ, which sometimes they had; or have it from the Magistrate, no ways thereunto authorized by Christ, as now they have it only?  And if there be a difference, how can any condemn those, who cannot now own them, as they did formerly?

11. Seeing the difference betwixt these two ways mentioned, is great, and seeing they cannot be compounded in one, nor lawfully made subordinate, the one to the other; is it not undeniable, that these Indulged, betaking themselves now to the Magistrate’s Mission, as they have done, have upon the matter, renounced their former Mission, which they had from Presbyteries, acting Ministerially under Christ?  And if so, can people be condemned, who do not, nor cannot, own and countenance them, as formerly they did?

12. It being apparent from what is said above, on several occasions, that, as the Indulged did deliberately shun to say, that they had their Ministry only of Christ, {131} so they do now Act and Exercise the same, as receiving it not alone from Christ, by the Ministerial Conveyance of the Power and Authority to exercise it, which Christ hath ordained; but either as receiving it from the Magistrate alone, (and if so, they cannot be looked upon as Christ’s Servants, but as the Magistrate’s Servants;) or from Christ and the Magistrate, as Collateral heads and Fountains of Church-power; (but thus to speak were blasphemy;) or from the Magistrate, as directly subordinate to Christ; (which is the ground of all Arminian-Erastianism) How can Men be accounted transgressours, who in Conscience cannot own them, as formerly they did, when they acted and exercised their Ministry as receiving it alone through Christ, by the Ministerial conveyance of the Power & Authority thereto, through the hands of his Servants thereunto appointed?

13. Is there no difference to be put betwixt such as exercise the Ministry in subordination unto, and in a dependence upon the Council, as being their Curates, & as accountable to them; and others, who, as they are subordinate unto, so they own their dependence only upon Christ, in the way He hath prescribed, receiving Instructions only from Him, in His appointed way, to regulate them, in the Exercise of their Ministry, and hold themselves accountable only to Him, in that way?  And seeing it is manifest, that there is a very great difference; Who can condemn such as withdraw from the Indulged, who have their Instructions, to regulate them in the Exercise of the Ministry, from the Council, (as was manifested above,) as accountable only to them, and to such as they are directly subordinate unto; that is, the King; and not from Christ Jesus, as only Head of the Kirk?

14. Seeing by receiving the Indulgence, with their Instructions &c., the Indulged do, upon the matter, recognosce a Supreme Head-Power over the Church, and Church-affairs, in the Magistrates, to the denying of Christ’s sole Headship, and dethroning of Him (as hath been, on several occasions, cleared above;) how can such be condemned, who scruple to own them, in that case, or to countenance them, while they act so?

15. Seeing the Indulged, being set over the people, specially designed and appointed them by the Council’s order, and not in the way appointed by Christ, can not be said to be set over these people, as their Overseers, by the Holy Ghost; (as hath been evidenced above;) how can such be blamed, who cannot own them, as their Overseers, and as made Overseers to them by the Holy Ghost?

16. Seeing we have made it manifest above, that the entry of the Indulged hath a manifold relation unto the Usurped Supremacy, in Church-affairs; and that, as it floweth therefrom, is secured thereby, and dependeth in its legal being thereupon, as its Charter; so it contributeth to the strengthening, securing, and encouraging of the Usurpation; and seeing this Supremacy and Sacrilegious Usurpation of the Prerogatives Royal of our Lord Jesus, and Subversion of the Rights and Privileges of the Church, is the Top-point of all our Defection, and the Center, into which all the Lines of our Apostasy concur and agree; can any, who would not join in this defection, and have a proportionable part of the guilt, charged upon them, give countenance and approbation unto those Indulged, whose entry is so near akin unto that Supremacy?  Or can any, who desire to be free of all compliance with this abominable evil, carry towards those, who are now set over them by virtue of the Supremacy, as formerly? {132}

17. The Supremacy now regnant, and the grand National sin, being such an evil, as all, that would be kept free of the plagues, that the same will bring upon the Land, must, in their places and stations, bear witness against the same:  And seeing Common people have no other way Patent or Practicable for them, to give this plain and honest Testimony against this heinous Usurpation, in any publick manner, but by withdrawing from such, as are set over them by virtue of this Usurped Power; can those be condemned, who, out of Conscience of their duty, zeal to Christ’s Prerogatives, Care to keep their garments unspotted with publick regnant evils; and out of a desire to mind their duty, in this day of so general Defection, do withdraw from the Indulged, in order to the giving of this publick Testimony, in their Place and Station?

18. Seeing by the Particulars, mentioned under our 8[th] Head of Arguments it is manifest, that the accepters of this Indulgence have thereby contributed to the strengthening of the hands of Prelates and Prelacy, which all are obliged by their Covenants, to endeavour, in their Places and Stations, to extirpate; how can such be condemned, who withdraw from them, while standing thus in a contributing posture?

19. As upon the one hand, the disowning of the Curates is a disowning of the Prelates and their Power; and a countenancing of them by hearing them, and submitting to their Ministry is accounted by all (as indeed it is) a countenancing of Prelacy; is not also, upon the other hand, an owning of the Indulged, and a Submitting to them and their Ministry, a submitting to the Supremacy; seeing (as is above cleared and confirmed) the Curates (at least such as were ordained Ministers before the re-establishment of Prelacy, and have submitted thereto) do no more depend upon Prelacy, as to the present exercise of their Ministry, than the Indulged do depend upon the supremacy, or on the Rulers, acting by virtue of the Supremacy?

20. Seeing the Act of Glasgow, banishing Ministers from their own Charges, cannot dissolve the relation, that was betwixt the Ministers, and their Flocks; how can such, as stand still related unto their former Pastors, (which is the case of some) accept of others, set over them by the Council, & not withal homologate the Council’s deed, and declare the former relation utterly dissolved.

21. Seeing the Indulged, in accepting of the Indulgence, have in several Particulars violated our Covenant-Obligations (as was shown in the 9[th] Head of Arguments,) Can any be blamed for our withdrawing from those, who have so entered, in this day, when God is about to plead with the Land, for a broken Covenant?

22. If all be obliged to resist & withstand Erastianism, by the Solemn Engagement to duties; what less can be expected of Common People, in their private Stations, in order to an answerable walking unto this Engagement, than a with-drawing from such, as are set over them by a Power, purely Erastian?  And can such be thought to mind their Engagement in this particular, who willingly comply with the Erastian Command and Injunction, and accept of such as are set over them by an Erastian-Order?

23. Seeing the Indulged, in accepting of the Indulgence, have receded from our Principles, and wronged our Cause as is undeniable by the Twelve Particulars, mentioned under our 7[th] Head of Arguments; can they justly be condemned, who now withdraw from them? {133}

Seeing by accepting of the Indulgence, the Indulged have highly prejudged the good of our Church (as is manifest from the Twelve Particulars mentioned under our 6[th] Head of Arguments); How can such be condemned, who refuse to countenance them, while thus stated in and by the Indulgence?

25. Seeing, as was cleared above, the Indulgence, was devised of purpose, to annul all Field- and House-meetings; and seeing it cannot be denied, that these Field- and House-meetings, being so eminently countenanced of the Lord, are also to be countenanced of Men; can any say, that they, over whom the Indulged are set by the Council, are not obliged to withdraw from them; and not withal say, that they are not obliged to wait upon these blessed Meetings, though thereby the Minister and other people, should be much discouraged?  And would not this be a manifest homologating and concurring with the Council, in carrying-on of this wicked Design?  And how can such be condemned, who withdraw from them, who have, in accepting of the Indulgence, acted so prejudicially unto these blessed Meetings, as is evidenced in our 11[th] Head of Arguments?

26. Seeing it is undeniable, and daily experience doth confirm it, that an admirably rich blessing attendeth the labours of such as preach contrary to Man’s Law, upon Christ’s sole Warrant and Allowance; what cruelty to Souls were it to say, that they, who have none to preach to them, but such as the Council (none of the best discerners of Ministerial Gifts, nor endued with Power from Christ for that end, to try the Qualifications of Ministers) hath set over them, must not withdraw from these, to seek their food, where God is giving it largely, and is thereby encouraging and inviting all to come?  We would, doubtless, think this hard dealing, were we, as to our temporal food, to be kept at a set sober diet, wherein we found little nourishment, and restrained from going to fattening and strengthening feasts.  If it be said, That it is the people’s fault, that they grow not more under the preaching of such, as are set over them; I need not contradict it, for strengthening of my Argument; but only say, if the blessing be withheld at home, though justly, because of sin; let the people go where they may find the blessing of God’s free grace, notwithstanding of the Provocations, as others have found it: Let them go, I say, where free grace may prevent them.  Nay, I think the Indulged themselves, upon this very account, if they desire (as I would hope they do) the Spiritual Edification of the people, should beseech and obtest all their People, to go unto these richly blessed Conventicles; and desire these Conventiclers to come and choice [choose] the most convenient place, in all their bounds, for a Field-meeting, that their people might partake of the good thereof; and this Course (if it had been taken) would have, I think, endeared them more unto all, that feared God; and had (no doubt) prevented much of this animosity that is, as I apprehend, betwixt them, and the Field-Preachers; for it would have defeat the Design of the Council, and have contributed to the carrying on of the Work of the Lord.

27. Seeing all Persons stand obliged by their Covenants, to maintain the Prerogatives of Christ’s Crown, the Rights of the Church, and Presbyterial Government; how can they, who would make conscience of the saids Covenants, own such, as are set over them, not according to the Principles of Presbyterian Government, nor in compliance with the Prerogatives of Christ, nor so as the Rights of the Church are so much as pretended to be observed, but in a way rather repugnant unto all these; as hath been manifested above? {134}

28. Seeing many of these Indulged have a relation to their own Flocks, from which they were thrust by violence; and it will not be said, that what the Rulers did, in that matter, did utterly annul their relation; How can they be related as Pastors to these Congregations, over which they are set by the Council?  We do not acknowledge or justify Pluralities.  And if they have not the relation of Pastors unto these new Charges, people are not bound to carry, as their flock; and so may lawfully withdraw, and hear others, as well as them.

29. Seeing It is manifest from what is said, that the Indulged, by accepting of the Indulgence, have, upon the matter, condemned all the wrestlings of the Church of Scotland, from the very beginning of our Reformation, against the Erastian Usurpations and Encroachments of King and Court, in the Days of King James, who yet, in the height of his Usurpations, and arrogate Supremacy, never did what the Council did, in the Matter of the Indulgence; He never took upon him, to plant and transplant Ministers by himself, or by his Council immediately and only:  Yea, and have condemned all their sufferings to bonds, banishment, & blood, for the Privileges of the Church, and the Crown-Rights of Christ, the only King in Zion; how can people, be pressed or urged, to look on such, as their lawfully settled Ministers, and be condemned for withdrawing?  Must not the compliers with them in this, be guilty of the same sin of spitting in the faces of all our ancient witnesses; and saying, their Sufferings were for trifles?  Do not they, who do more, than ever these were tempted to do, and that without the least hesitancy, say, that these suffered as fools?

30. Seeing the entry of the Indulged by the Council’s Order is such, as hath not a Parallel, in all the Christian world, for anything I know; for, no where shall we find Ministers planted in Particular Charges, and transplanted from one to another, immediately by the Magistrate:  Yea, I doubt, if Ministers were thus placed, in the Palatinate, (now laid waste and desolate, in the righteous judgment of God,) where the hemlock of Erastianism first grew up;—can any blame the reformed Professours of the Church of Scotland, where that weed hath been cast over the hedge, with a solemn Vow and Covenant, never to own it again, in resenting this manner of Entry, by withdrawing from those, that are set over them, in such a singular and shameful manner?

31. Do we not make use of this Argument against the Prelates, that they are chosen, named, and deputed solely by the King, notwithstanding of that mock-election, made by the Chapter of the See, which must fall upon the person, nominated by the King, or be null?  But where is the strength of it now, when we admit of lesser Bishops, immediately nominated, deputed, and empowered by the Council, notwithstanding of that mock-call by the people, and Election of the same singular person, which was said somewhere to be had?

32. How can any blame such, as withdraw from those, who, by entering in at the door of the Indulgence, have made way for the wreathing of an yoke upon the necks of the Ministry of Scotland, in all time coming, to the utter subversion of all Ministerial liberty, and of the Freedom and Privilege of the Church: For, if hereafter no man shall be settled in a Church but by the King and his Council immediately, and every Minister shall be wholly at the disposal of the King and Council, to be planted, or transplanted, as they please, where were we?  And where {135} should our Church-liberties then be?  And whom had we to thank for breaking the ice?

33. If the Parliament, that carried on the Engagement, Anno 1648, had thrust out a number of the Ministers, and thereafter their Committee had planted them elsewhere, up and down the Land, as they pleased; I would ask such as were Ministers, in those days, and were against the Engagement, or were Members of the Assembly 1649, how such Ministers, as willingly would have obeyed the Orders of the Committee of Estates, and gone thither, where they were Ordered to remain, had been looked upon, when the Engagement to duties was drawn up?  And whether or not lesser faults in Ministers, were not punished with simple Deposition?  If then such a fault, as this, had been so abominable then, shall it be so lovely now, that none may discountenance or withdraw from such persons, as have carried so, at this time?

34. Is it not strange, that people shall not have liberty to withdraw from those, who by their way of entry, and carriage before the Council, have given such open and manifest Scandal unto the Church of God, and unto Strangers, unto Foes and unto Friends, at home and abroad, to the Rulers, to the Prelates and their Curates, to Good and Bad; yea and unto all the Churches of Christ; and have laid such a stumbling block before all the Posterity; as is manifested above, in the 12[th] Head of Arguments?

35. When poor people, who have been hitherto in the dark, as to the evils of this Indulgence, both as to its Ground, Rise, Conveyance, Tendency, and designed End, begin now to get their eyes opened, and to see its connexion with, dependence upon, and confirmation of the fearful Usurpation of the Supremacy: what a grief of heart is it to hear persons pleading against their withdrawing from such, when they see where they are, and how they cannot countenance such, and be free of all accession to the sinful strengthening and confirming of the Encroachments already made, and to the encouraging unto a further progress unto the same evil?

36. When there is such a combination for upholding of this evil of the Indulgence, and several (as is reported) banding and covenanting together, to keep the Indulgence in credit, or at least, not to speak against it; how can such, as are convinced of the dreadful evil thereof, not think themselves called of God, to do their best against it?  And how can any be urged to hear and countenance them, who are Indulged, when the controversy is thus stated and prosecuted, without being also urged to approve of the Indulgence, contrary to their light?

37. Seeing the Indulged, by their accepting of this Indulgence, did fall from their former zeal and steadfastness in choosing suffering rather than sin, and have, upon the matter, condemned what formerly they approved of, and have approved that, which formerly they condemned, as we saw above, in the Six Particulars, mentioned and explained in our 10[th] Head of Arguments; How can those be now condemned, who cannot own them, as they did formerly?

38. Do we not say, that Countenancing and hearing of the Curates is an Homologating and a virtual approving of their sinful way of Entry?  And shall not now, the Countenancing and hearing of the Indulged, be an Homologating and a virtual approving of their sinful way of Entry?  How then can such be condemned, who {136} out of a desire to be kept free of this sin, dare not countenance or hear them, as formerly?

39. I would gladly know one Argument, that can be made use of to condemn now, as matters stand, withdrawing from and refusing to hear the Indulged, that either hath not been; or may not yet be, with equal force, made use of, to prove it unlawful to withdraw from, & to refuse to hear the Established Curates?  And seeing now none dare condemn such, as withdraw from the Curates, why shall these be condemned, who withdraw from the Indulged?

40. When the question is now so stated, by and among the people, as that countenancing and hearing of the Indulged, is looked upon, as an approving of the Indulgence itself, the people not knowing the use and practice of Metaphysical distinctions; how can such be urged to hear and countenance them, who, by so doing, must look upon themselves, as approving what otherwise they condemn, contrary to Romans 14.22,23?

Many more Arguments, may be gathered out of the several Particulars, we mentioned above, under the several Heads of Arguments; but we shall satisfy ourselves with these, at present, leaving the Understanding Reader to make his own use of the rest, that are not made use of here.

For further satisfaction, in this matter, to such, as would have Formal Arguments, I shall only say, That by what Arguments, Principally, we vindicate the People, their withdrawing from the Curates, by the same, mutatis mutandis, by changing or adding such words, as must be changed or added, we shall be able to vindicate the people their withdrawing from the Indulged.  I saw lately a Vindication of the persecuted Ministers and Professors in Scotland, written by a faithful Minister of Christ, now in Glory;[1] and found that the Chief of these Arguments, whereof he made use, to vindicate the people their withdrawing from the Curates, were applicable to the question now under debate, concerning the hearing or withdrawing from the Indulged, as I shall make appear by these Instances.

His first Argument, page 75, was this: They, who have no just Authority, nor Right to officiate fixedly, in this Church, as the proper Pastors of it, ought not to be received, but withdrawn from.  But the Prelates and their adherents the Curates (add, for our case, the Indulged) have no just Authority or Right to officiate in this Church, as her proper Pastors.  Therefore they ought not to be received, but withdrawn from.  All the debate is about the Minor, which he thus maketh good: They, who have entered into, and do officiate fixedly in this Church, without her Authority and Consent, have no just Authority or Right so to do.  But the Prelates and their Curates (add, the Indulged) have entered into this Church, and do Officiate therein, without her Authority and Consent.  Therefore they have no just Authority.  The first Proposition (saith he, and we with him) is clear, and we suppose, will not be gainsaid by our Antagonists; seeing the power of Mission, of Calling & of Sending of ordinary fixed Pastors, is only in the Church, and not in any other, as all Divines do assert.  The Second is evident from matters of fact; for there was no Church-Judicatory called, or convocated, for bringing of Prelates in to the Church; (add, nor for settling of the Indulged over their respective charges) all was done immediately by the King and Acts of Parliament (add, Acts of the Council) without the Church.  A practice wanting a precedent in this, and (for anything we know) in all other Churches. {137/157}

He proposeth an Objection in behalf of the Curates, page 78, which I know the Indulged will use for themselves, to wit, They have entered by the Church.  And his answer will serve us, which is this:  This we deny, the contrary is clear, from constant Practice; for the Curates (add, the Indulged) came in upon Congregations, only by the Bishop and Patron (add in our case, only by the Council and Patron) who are not the Church, nor have any power from her, for what they do, in this: All their right and power is founded upon, and derived from the Supremacy, and Acts of Parliament, and not from the Church; in which the Bishop (add the Council) acts as the King’s Delegate and Substitute, only empowered thereto by his Law (add Letter) So that the Curates (add, the Indulged) having and deriving all their power from the Prelates (add, the Council) cannot have the same from the Church; none gives what he hath not.  But 2. The Prelates (add, the Council) not being the lawful Governing Church, any, that enter Congregations by them, cannot be said to enter by the Church.  Read the rest there.

His second Argument is proposed page 79, 80, thus: Those that receive and derive their Church power from, and are subordinate, in its exercise, to another Head, than Christ Jesus, should not be received and subjected to, as the Ministers of Christ, in his Church.  But the Prelates and their Curates (add, the Indulged) do receive and derive their Church Power from, and are subordinate, in its exercise, to another Head, than Christ Jesus.  Therefore they ought not to be received &c.  The first Proposition will not be denied.  He proveth the second thus: Those Officers in the Church, professing themselves such, that derive their Church-power from, and are subordinate, in its exercises, to a Power truly Architectonick and Supreme in the Church, beside Christ, do derive their Power from, and are subordinate, in its exercise, to another Head, than Christ Jesus.  But so it is, that Prelates and their Curates (add, the Indulged) do derive their Church-Power from, and are subordinate, in its exercise, to a Power truly Architectonick and Supreme in the Church, beside Christ.  Therefore &——  The Major [proposition] is evident; for whoever hath a Supreme Architectonick Power in and over the Church, must be an Head to the same, and the Fountain of all Church-power.  The Minor is clear from the Act of Restitution (add, the Act Explicatory of the Supremacy.)

His third Argument, page 82, is long, I shall cut it short thus, that it may serve our case.  If Churches required by Law, (or, Act of Council) to submit to Prelates, and to their Curates (or, to the Indulged) thus thrust in upon them, had their own Pastors set over them, conform to God’s Word; then it is no sinful Separation, for Churches, in adhering to their Ministers, not to receive, or submit to the Prelates and their Curates, (or, to the Indulged.)  But the former is true; Therefore, &c.——.  The truth of the Major [proposition] is founded on this, That the obligation betwixt Pastor & People standeth, notwithstanding of the Magistrate’s Act.  And the Minor is true, (I suppose) as to some Churches, over which the Indulged were placed by the Council.

His fourth Argument, page 90, will serve us;  It is thus:  The way of the Curates (Indulged) entering into Congregations, puts a bar on our subjection to them, that we dare not own them, for the lawful Pastors of the Church; for as their entry is without the Church, and the way that Christ hath settled in his House for that end; so they have come in on Congregations, in ways, which we judge corrupt, and without all warrant from the word of God, & the practice of the Primitive times.  In the {138/158} search of Scripture and pure Antiquity, we find, that Ordination (add, and Potestative Mission) by Ministers, the Election and Call of the people, was the way, by which Ministers entered into Congregations, and not the Institution and Collation of the Bishop (add, nor the Warrant and Allowance of the Magistrate) nor the Presentation of Patrons.  He addeth,  1. This way of their entry by the Bishop’s Institution and Collation (add, the Council’s Warrant and Order) doth suppose that their Ordination (add, Potestative Mission) doth not sufficiently empower them to the exercise of the Ministry, (add, in that Particular Charge) without a further license; which is contrary to the end of Ordination, and the Nature of the Ministerial Power, that by virtue of its ends, and the command of Christ, doth bind the Person, invested therewith, to its Exercise, &c.  2. The Patron’s Presentation, as it takes away the People’s right of Election, so it supposes Ordination to give no right to the maintenance, or at least suspends it, &c.

His Fifth Argument, is page 91, thus framed, and may serve us, as to some.  Many Congregations, in which the Curates, (add, the Indulged) are entered, are under a standing Obligation to their former Pastors; not only on the account of the Pastoral Relation betwixt them, but for the Engagements they came under to such, in their call and reception of them; which is not dissolved by any thing, we have yet seen; Sure we are, the Magistrate cannot do it, &c. (I hope, I need not, in reference to the Indulged, mention what followeth, in answering of the Objection, taken from Solomon’s removing of Abiathar.)

His Sixth Argument, page 94, is this,  If Congregations have a just Right and Power of Electing and Calling of their Ministers; then those, that come in upon them without this, are not to be esteemed their Pastors, nor to be subjected to, as such, by Congregations, but to be withdrawn from.  But here it is so, &c.

His Seventh Argument, page 95, is this:  Hearing of, submitting to, and receiving of Ordinances from the Curates alone (add, the Indulged) and not from others, is enjoined by Law, and required, as the sign of our compliance with and subjecting to the Present Laws, bringing in and establishing of Prelacy (add, Erastianism and the Supremacy) and other Corruptions, which we dare not own.  Hearing and receiving Ordinances from such, hath a twofold bar put upon it to us; an unqualified Instrument or Object; and the respect that by the Law it is made to have to the corruptions obtruded upon this Church, as the sign of our compliance with and subjection to these.  The Command of God about hearing doth constitute the Object and Instrument (what and whom) we should hear: As we are not to hear all Doctrines, but these that are sound, so we are not to hear and receive all, that pretend to come in Christ’s Name, but those of whose Mission we have some rational evidence, at least, against which we have no just exceptions.  This, as to the Curates, (add, the Indulged) is made out by the former Arguments.  But besides this, the sign appointed and determined by Law, and required of all in this Church, is, that they not only withdraw from, and do not hear the Ejected and Non-conform Ministers; but that they hear and submit to Ministers, that comply with and enter into this Church, by Prelates (add, or by the Council) which to us maketh hearing, and receiving of Ordinances from them, a practical approbation of, and compliance with Prelacy (add, Erastianism and the Supremacy) and other corruptions contained in the Law, for such is the connexion betwixt the sign and the thing signified, that {139/159} he that yields to give the sign, doth, in all rational construction, approve the thing signified.

These are his Principal Arguments, used in defence of such, as cannot, go to hear and subject to the Curates; and whether they will not as forcibly conclude against hearing of and subjecting to the Indulged, the Reader is free to judge.

Objections Anſwered.

IF any should Object, whether in behalf of the Curates, or in behalf of the Indulged, That they are Ministers of the Gospel, and therefore are to be heard, and Ordinances should be received from them; for the Ministerial power giveth to the Persons, invested therewith, not only a right to preach the word, and dispense Ordinances, and maketh their Acts valid; but it binds them to the doing of those, and all others to submit to them, in the exercise of their Power; as is apparent in all relations, and the mutual duties, that the Persons under them owe to one another; So that if Ministers be bound to preach the Gospel, and dispense its Ordinances, the people must likewise be obliged to hear, and receive Ordinances from them.    To this objection he answereth (and we with him, as to the case now in question) denying the Consequence:  For (1.) The true state of the question is, whether we should receive and submit to them, as the lawfully Called and Appropriate Pastors of this Church; which for the former Reasons we deny; for although Intruders upon the Church be Ministers; yet their Intrusion puts a sufficient bar on People’s reception of and submission to them: wherefore insofar as hearing, and receiving of Ordinances from Prelatical Ministers (add, Indulged) is, in our case, and acknowledgement of this, we refuse it.  (2.) People’s obligation to submission to Ministers, doth not immediately flow from the being of the Ministerial Power and Authority, in those clothed therewith; there are beside this, other things that must concur, to the causing of this Obligation, which, if they be wanting, will make it void, or, at least, suspend it, &c.

If it be further Objected, in favours of the Indulged, That Eminent and worthy Mr. Livingstoun, though he saith much against the Indulgence, in his Letter to his Parishioners; yet he adviseth them sometime to hear Mr. John Scot, who was Indulged.    I Answer, I shall readily grant, that several were in the dark, at the first, in the matter, either through want of full information concerning many circumstances, which, if known, would have given greater light in the matter; or through ignorance of the real Design & Intendment of the Rulers, which afterward came more & more to light; or through a fear, that Field-meetings should either cease, or be utterly suppressed; & therefore judged it more safe for people to hear the Indulged, than either to hear none, or none but the Curates.  And though I do not certainly know, which of these grounds moved that Eminent Seer and Servant of Christ, to advise so; yet, considering that in all that Letter (to my remembrance) he doth not speak of their going to the Field Meetings (which I suppose none, that knew him, will think, that he was an enemy unto,) I am apt to think, that the Apprehension he had of the ceasing of the Field-Meetings, at least, in that part of the Country (in which, I doubt, there had been any, or many, at least, before his writing of that Letter,) did move him, to advise them sometimes to hear that Indulged Person, as {140/160} judging that better, than that they should hear none, or none but that wretch, who was obtruded upon them; and as supposing, he would not pervert them by his Doctrine, but would give free and faithful Testimonies unto the Truth, and against all public Corruptions.  Further, I suppose, it is well enough known, that at the first, not a few Ministers were in the dark, as to the question of hearing of the Curates, and upon one ground or other, did not perceive, that people were called of God to withdraw from the obtruded Hirelings, & so durst not positively advise thereunto; who now, I hope, will be as loath to advise people to forsake other occasions, and go hear the Curates.  And what wonder if the matter was so, as to the Indulged, Seven or Eight years ago?

Objection 3. But, till of late, that some few inconsiderate Persons, took this in their head, to preach against the Indulgence, and to cry-out against the unlawfulness of hearing of the Indulged, as if that had been the only thing necessary; for which many even of the Non-Indulged are offended with them, there was not so much as a mutter heard, but people heard the Indulged without scruple, and were edified by their Ministry.    Answer. The Curates might allege the same, as well as the Indulged; But, as it would not help them, so I suppose, It cannot well help the Indulged.  Whether these Persons be considerate or inconsiderate, I am not fit to judge; to their own Master they stand, or fall; only I wish, that such, who call them Inconsiderate, would examine their grounds, & remember that, judge not lest ye be judged &c.  If this be founded upon some expressions of theirs (whether true or false, I know not) I wish that the Expressions of others gave not ground for the same judgment.  I know, not a few are offended with them; but considering what is said above, concerning the sinfulness of the Indulgence, &c. I dare not be offended with them; (& I would fain hope, that second thoughts of the matter shall work a change on these Brethren) But must rather bless the Lord on their behalf, & judge them worthy of praise, who, over the belly of so many discouragements, did set the trumpet to their mouth, to shew Scotland, & the Ministry, and People thereof, that great sin: and this, I know, is consistent with their insisting upon the one thing necessary; which I hope also their practice declareth, and the fruits of their labour proclaim.  But as to the long silence, that hath been, I shall say little; yet it is known, that at the very beginning, people were calling the Indulged “the Council’s Curates,” and how it came, that this spark did not break forth into a general flame, I shall not enquire;[2] acquiescing in this, That the Lord had a further discovery to make: For, had the first Ten, who were Indulged, been thus discountenanced, we had seen no more accepting of that supposed favour; yea the first accepters had quickly shaken that onerous favour off their shoulders.  It may be also, that some suppressed their judgment, concerning the not-hearing of these Indulged, or did not countenance any such motion, when made, either out of a preposterous affection and tenderness to the Brethren, whom they honoured and much esteemed, and that deservedly, for their eminent Enduements [endowments], and sometimes Usefulness unto the Church; or out of a tender care of keeping up of Union, and guarding against all motions apparently tending to troublesome Distractions & Divisions, or upon some other account, best known to themselves.  Neither is it unlike [unlikely], that many were really in the dark, as to the thing: But however, light is light, whoever they be that bring it to us; and as God may Employ whom He will, to this end, so; how inconsiderable soever the Instruments be, who are employed; and {141/161} whether they come sooner or later, the light, when it is come, should be welcomed, because of Him, that sent it; yea and embraced with thankfulness, and with humble submission.

Objection 4. All or most of the Non-Indulged, Faithful, and Zealous Ministers in the Land are for hearing of the Indulged; and only a few, and these of the younger sort, with the ignorant people, are against it.    Answer. Though I would hope, few should lay any weight on this Objection: and it were enough to desire such, who did lay any weight thereon, to consider John 7, v. 47-49, with Mr. Hutcheson’s Notes thereupon, specially the 7, and 9; Yet I shall only say, That an Impartial Observer will find, that for the most part, in all the steps of our trial, since this last overthrow came, God hath made use of the nothings to break the ice to others.  Holy is our Sovereign, who doth what He will.  This might be made out by Instances; but I suppose, the matter is so manifest, that I need not insist thereupon, the matter about hearing of the Curates, being a sufficient evidence of what I have said.

Objection 5. Now when we are in hazard to be over-run with Popery, is it seasonable, that such questions should be started, to break the remnant in pieces; and thereby to make all a prey for the man of sin?  Were it not better that we were all united as one, to withstand that Inundation?    Answer. I grant, the apprehensions of the Man of sin’s stretching out his wings, & filling the breadth of Immanuel’s land, seemeth to me not altogether groundless; yea it is much to be feared, that by Popery and Blood, the Lord shall avenge the quarrel of His Covenant, and the contempt of His Gospel:  And therefore I judge, it were our duty this day, to be preparing ourselves to meet the Lord, thus coming to be avenged on a generation of His wrath, with ropes about our necks, giving Him the glory of His Righteousness, and acknowledging ourselves the basest of sinners; that so we may be in case, to say, in the day, when the small remnant of the glory, that is yet to be seen on the mountains, shall depart out of sight, Blessed be the Glory of the Lord from his place. [Ezek. 3.12.]  Our Union, while the accursed thing is among us, will be but a conspiracy, and will really weaken us before the Lord.  If we be not tender of Christ’s Headship, and of what depends thereupon, and of the least pin of his Tabernacle, pitched among us; how can we expect His help, when we are to run with the horsemen? [Jer. 12.5]  Will they not have most peace in that day, who have been Jealous for the Lord of hosts, and for his Crown Interests? — And who knoweth, but they shall find a shelter and a chamber of Protection, in the day, when the overflowing scourge shall come, who are now following the Lord, and his Glory, through Mountains and Valleys, and are, upon that account, suffering Tossings, Hardships, and Harrassings?  How little security, I pray, shall the wings of the Supremacy be able to give, in that day?  Our Union in Duty, and upon the old grounds of our received and sworn Principles and Maxims, would prove our strength;—But if this shall not be had, as then every one may certainly conclude, that there is a dreadful stroke at the doors, and that this division, upon such an account, is a certain fore-runner of a dark and dismal Dispensation; so, it will be every man’s duty, who would have peace, in the day of God’s contending against a generation of Backsliders and Revolters, to be mourning for the abominations of the Land, and for this of the Indulgence, among the rest, and to be adhering to the Lord, and unto our Principles, which the Lord hath owned and countenanced, though he should, in a manner, be left alone.  Will {142/162} not, I pray, many of these, who have complied with Prelacy, and with the courses, that have been carried on, profess an abhorrence at Popery?  And is this ground sufficient for us to think of uniting with them, notwithstanding of all they have done, that we may be the more fortified to withstand that torrent?  Alas! this our strength will prove our weakness: Let us remember that Isaiah 8, verses 11-14: For the Lord spoke thus to me, with a strong hand, and instructed me, that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying, Say not a confederacy to all them to whom this people shall say, a confederacy: Neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.  Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.  And he shall be for a Sanctuary, &c.  It were more suitable for us, to be considering that word, Amos 4, verses 12,13: Therefore, thus will I do unto thee; and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel: for lo, he that formeth the Mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth: The Lord, the God of hosts is his Name: And in order to a Christian compliance therewith, to be separating our selves from every sinful course, mourning for our former miscarriages, and utterly forsaking such ways, whereby we have provoked the Lord to wrath.  I shall close with that, Zeph. 2, verses 1-3: Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O Nation not desired.  Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass, as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the Lord come upon you, before the day of the Lord’s anger come upon you.  Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment, seek righteousness, seek meekness; it may be, ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger: And let us all pray, Thy Kingdom come, and thy Will be Done, AMEN.


Footnotes:

1. The full title of this work is, An Apology for, or Vindication of the Oppressed persecuted Ministers & Professors of the Presbyterian Reformed Religion, in the Church of Scotland, emitted in the defence of them, and the cause for which they suffer: & that for the information of ignorant, the satisfaction and establishment of the doubtful, the conviction (if possible) of the malicious, the warning of our Rulers, the strengthening & comforting of the said sufferers under their present pressures & trials. — Being their Testimony to the Covenanted work of Reformation in this Church, and against the present prevailing corruptions and course of defection therefrom. Printed in the Year 1677.  The authorship is ascribed to Hugh Smith and also to Alexander Jamieson.—JTKer.

2. In this reasoning, and elsewhere, the reader may perceive that the Indulgence and the indulged were accounted to be in some ways worse than the curates, and so it was in the estimates of some.  Bishop Burnet, in his history, tells of disappointed hearers referring to the indulged as “the King’s curates,” and describing them as dumb dogs, that could not bark.  Very plainly to the point, Richard Cameron, in his sermon on Canticles 3.3, says, “What better are those ministers who have accepted of the indulgence than curates, or even Papists?  I assure you the curate hath more the form of a church officer than they, for they have not the form of a church officer at all, and so are not Christ’s ministers.  Nay, they are the king’s ministers.  They were once ministers, and as such we did acknowledge them; but now they are the king’s and the councillors’ ministers.  They hold of them and receive their liberty from them.  They have done more hurt to the work of reformation by their compliances than all other open and avowed enemies.  Therefore, I say, do not deceive yourselves in this respect; for we and they are two parties now.”  What Mr. Brown has said above in Questions 31 and 32, identifying the indulged as “lesser bishops” and pointing out, (to put it in other words,) how the conduct of such “Presbyterians” prepares the way for a very sad state of a very weak church, (in which he clearly foresaw what was coming,) show clearly that Cameron was not alone in his estimate of the radical problems involved in the Indulgence.—JTKer.