Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, ... yet I sent them not, nor commanded them:
therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.
—Jeremiah 23.32.

[The Just Complaint and Remonstrance of the Covenants.]
 

TO THE

MINISTERS AND ELDERS

Met at Edinburgh, April 26, 1710.


The Just COMPLAINT and Remonstrance

Of the

NATIONAL COVENANT of SCOTLAND,

And the

SOLEMN LEAGUE and COVENANT

of the Three Kingdoms of

SCOTLAND, ENGLAND, and IRELAND.


Humbly Sheweth,

THAT whereas your Petitioners forlorn,
By Church and State, held in Contempt and Scorn,
By Persons of all Ranks and Qualities,
Exposed to Affronts, Indignities,
And all the Unjust Rage of Enemies
Unto the Covenanted Reformation,
Which once obtained within this Church and Nation;
Cast off by all that's in Authority,
And Violate by th'grossest Perfidy;
Under the Ashes of Affronts do lie,
Desert by most unjust Apostacy;
Deserve some other treatment at the hands
Of all, and each in these Reformed Lands;
And specially at yours, whose Place and Station,
Whose Honour, Interest, and that high Relation,
Wherein you stand unto the KING of Kings,
Who in Sublime o're Earth's Clay-Monarchs reigns;
Doth challenge your Observance of His Laws,
With Life and Fortune to defend His Cause:
His Honour and His Interest to advance,
To propagate with Care and Vigilance, {2}
His Kingdom, to oppose all Enemies,
Who would invade His Church's Liberties.
From You (We say) We justly might expect
Some ampler Demonstrations of Respect,
And Signs of Love, than yet You kythed have,
Who suffer Us to lie still in that Grave,
Which Tyrants, now convict of Perjury,
Did in the highest pitch of Cruelty,
Dig up, Our burned Ashes to enshrine;
Thereby to satiate that Fury keen
Bred in their Breasts, by the Infernal Flames
Of Spite and Malice, gainst the very Names
Of Reformation, and a Covenant,
Or what e're else might interrupt the Rant
Of that Chimeric Sinful Liberty,
Which now hath drown'd their Souls in Misery,
We might have thought, that through all this long tract
Of Peace and Ease, you sometime would ransact
These deep Meanders and confused Cells,
These Labyrinths, which Truth's pure light expels,
Or rather ne'er admits; You know we mean,
These darksom Caves where we have bury'd been,
Of Tolerations and Indulgencies,
Granted by Christ's declared Enemies;
But oh, Alas! basely accepted by,
Some of yourselves to whom We now apply,
(Perhaps in vain.) We say, we might have thought,
That you, at least our Reliques would have sought;
We can assure you, 'tis no superstition
To seek'em out with careful Inquisition;
Nay, on the contrare 'tis your bounden duty,
These Reliques to restore to th'ancient beauty,
Glory and Splendor wherewith once they shin'd,
While Christ's true Citizens in one combin'd,
To propagate under their Captain's Banner
His Truths and Cause in most couragious manner,
Did with a just magnificence display,
Their Zeal, for that Intrinsic liberty, {3}
And Pow'r wherewith the Church is vested by
Her Husband CHRIST, without dependency
On any State, or Worldly Monarchy.

We might have look'd, that when you did begin
The Church's Breaches to repair again,
We should have been employed to Cement
That Fabrick, which Defections sore had rent;
Instead of which 'twas basely plaist'red over
With fair pretexts, not to remove but cover
All the Defection, Blood-shed, Perjury
Enacted by Enormous Tyranny.

Yea such was your respect, rather disdain,
To Us, who had the Nation's Glory been;
Least Your new Structure should participate
Of any thing which might to Us relate,
You chused rather to reject as Dust,
And to consign to everlasting Rust,
These worthy Acts, which did corroborate,
And Us to Our just greatness elevate;
Than to control the Arrogating Pow'rs,
Which o're Christ's Church seek to erect the Tow'rs
Of an unlimited Supremacy
Eversive of the Church's Liberty;
And that You might their Humours gratify,
Thereby t'obtain Peace and Prosperity,
A temporary, Earthly, fading thing,
Which seldom doth true satisfaction bring
Unto the Soul at its Concomitant,
Being that it is the Glory of a Saint
To bear his Cross and imitate his Master,
Who when on Earth was subject to Disaster,
To sufferings great, and manifold Afflictions,
And to the worst of sinners Contradictions.
But You contrary ways, to purchase ease,
And Worldly wealth, or out of Cowardice,
A Pusillanimous unmanly Passion
Conversant more with Fear than solid Reason,
Have contrare to the Duty which doth lie {4}
Upon these Lands, by virtue of that tie
Which we contain, meanly receded from
The Church's choicest Triumphs over Rome;
And practically granted them to be
What once they were declar'd by Tyranny
Acts of Rebellion 'gainst Authority.
And ever since Your late Establishment,
You have declared that you are content
With any Model of Church Government,
Respondent to the People's Inclinations,
Within these three once Covenanted Nations;
Instead of that blest Uniformity
In Sound Religion, with the Purity
Of all its parts, intended and begun,
And sworn unto, tho' now alas o're-run
With Clouds of Error, Mists and Superstition,
Erastian Usurpation and Division.
It is no Paradox to see it so,
when there's a patent Door to every Foe;
Since We Religion's Bulwarks are broke down,
And ne'er repair'd, what wonder tho' the Crown
Fall from your heads? It can't be otherways,
Can you expect Heaven's sweet comforting Rays
Till you repent and do reform your ways?
O! do you think, th'Eternal hath forgot
The wrongs His Truth sustains? Observes He not
The Manners and Deportment of these Lands?
Who solemnly with elevated hands
Did vow Allegiance and Fidelity,
Both for themselves and for posterity,
To Christ his Kingdom, Scepter, Government;
And amply testified their Souls' Consent
By entring in a solemn COVENANT;
A COVENANT which was the blest effect
Of free and boundless Love, immense respect,
Which GOD vouchsaf'd upon these sinking Nations,
Whereby his People of all Ranks and Stations
Were animated, strengthened, and enlarged {5}
From Yokes and Burdens which had overcharged
Their Souls, their Conscience had much perturbed,
And their due Christian Liberty had curbed.
A COVENANT which for its rise and spring,
Manner and Ends, yea every other thing
Relating to it, plainly doth discover,
That GOD therein hath been the supreme Mover
His Kingdom's progress the supreme Design;
The Manner what His perfect Laws define;
The Matter such as every gracious Soul,
If well inform'd, must love, but can't control;
Binding to nothing but was formerly
And antecedent unto such a tie,
Was lying as a duty on these Nations,
Chiefly the Godly of all Ranks and Stations.

But lest you should Us tax of arrogance,
While modestly We labour to advance
That just Esteem, and Honour which is due
To Us from all these Nations and from you
In special, if you serve that Character
Which Christ upon His Servants doth confer,
Therefore We shall forbear Now to declare
What our Enduements and Perfections are.

Nor list We amply to enumerate
What wrongs we bear, lest 't might exasperate
Impatient humours, which can scarcely bear
Our Names, much less Our just Complaints to hear;
And tho' We be contemned, flouted at,
Despis'd, derided and dilacerate;
Tho' such as seal'd Us with their precious Blood,
Have been by You so far misunderstood,
As to be term'd Blind-Zealots, Men intent,
The Kingdom to disturb, the Church to rent;
Tho' in our room Oaths are impos'd and taken,
Contrare to Us, and We our selves forsaken;
Yea, tho' We have sufficient Evidence
Of disrespect to Our just Eminence,
In every Event which doth now commence,
Yet here (We say) it is not Our Intentions {6}
To draw these injuries in large Dimensions,
Nor to aggrege the heinous Circumstances,
Which them to such a pitch of guilt advances:
But You may Justly fear, some other Pencil
Will do't in lines of Blood, We mean the Bensil
And storm of long-deserved Indignation,
Justly impendent on this sinful Nation.

But what We here intend, is to remind
You of the Duty, unto which We bind,
These Kingdoms, namely that you should suppress,
Whatever is contrare to Godliness,
To sound Religion in its purity,
And pow'r, such as that cursed Hierarchy,
Satanical no doubt in its invention,
Th'infamous Means of Antichrist's ascension,
Erect' by Law, confirmed by Decrees,
And Oaths impos'd on Men of all degrees.
As likewise every Het'rodox Opinion,
And Heresy, supporting the Dominion
Of the Infernal King, now so much spreading;
Men's wretched Souls to endless darkness leading;
Tho' by the Influence and Kindly Rays,
Which Moon and Stars upon their roots displays,
These Errours quickly pullulate and spring,
And do their cursed fruits to ripeness bring.

WE know 'tis vain for Us to supplicate
You to revive Us, or redintegrate
That Reformation which We bind you to,
For that's beyond your Reach and Pow'r to do,
Till once you break the Bonds, throw off the yokes
Wreath'd on your Necks, remove the stumbling-blocks
Laid in the way of any Enterprise,
By which Christ's bury'd Int'rest may arise,
Mount up and Flourish: yet, pray, do not think,
That Impotency under which you sink,
Can lessen or excuse your sinful Courses,
Which do produce these Lets, and are the Sources, {7}
From which do spring these grand impediments,
Which hinder Reformation, and foments
The Quite Reverse, even every cursed Weed,
And Poison'd Root, which in these Lands do spread.
Only We crave, You'd seriously advert
Unto these Means which may just Wrath avert;
That you'd Repent, and would no more refuse
To turn to GOD, persist not to abuse
His long-protracted Love and Patience,
Which knows no Rival of its Eminence
Yet when abus'd will sometime yield a place
To Justice 'gainst a stiff Rebellious Race.
Consider that your trifling Quidities,
Whereby you cover your Iniquities,
All these Distinctions whereby you'd evade
Just Challenges, and whereby you'd persuade
The simple to complaisance with your ways,
Can never hide them from OMNISCIENT Eyes.
And tho' by strength of rack'd Imaginations,
You may invent Distinctions and Evasions,
Shifts, and Pretexts your sins to palliate,
And your Declensions to extenuate,
Yet when the Righteous LORD shall rise to plead,
And 'gainst these Courses shall His Witness lead,
Perhaps you'll find, they'll prove but bruised Reeds,
Useless, yea, hurtful in your greatest Needs.
O! how will you that weighty charge elude
Of Cov'nant-breaking; yea, the guilt of Blood,
Even Blood of Souls; who do not Faithfully,
As Watchmen set on Zion's Walls, descry
The heinous sins and Heav'n-incensing Crimes,
Which are the Monstrous product of these times?
How can you say that you Repentence preach,
While you the Land's Defections do not reach?
While as you don't impartially declare
The sins of Great and Small, while you do spare
Sin in your selves or others, ne'er expect
Such tender Indications of respect, {8}
As Christ hath pleased sometimes to confer
Upon His Ministers, who did prefer
His Kingdom's success to their Worldly Grandeur
Who were content and willing to surrender
Their ALL to Christ, if so they might promove
His Church's Interest, and unite in Love
His Subjects in the way of Truth and Duty,
Which is the Quintessence of Zion's beauty,
Which now she greatly wants, and can't regain,
While Asher-like you love still to remain
In these wide Breaches which her Foe's have made,
Who did and do her Properties invade,

But to conclude, if you refuse to hear
These words of soberness, and stop your ear
Against the Truth, We'll reinforce our Charge
We'll change our Arguments and them enlarge,
And will oblige our briskest foes to yield,
Yea, with disgrace at length to quit the field;
Because HE's Mighty who has promised
Our Quarrel to avenge, our Cause to plead.
HIS faithfulness and HIS veracity
Will not allow, HE should indemnify
These Obstinate and unrepenting Lands,
Who do despise HIS Oath, and break HIS bands,
Who dream of ease, peace, and prosperity,
While yet involv'd in profound perjury.
This is the Sum of what was Our intent
In this Assembly to have represent;
But doubting of a kind and friendly hearing,
Our usual entertainment justly fearing,
We here await what honour your Discretion
Will put upon two Patriots of your Nation.

In prolem dilata ruunt perjuria patris
Et pænam merito filius ore legit
Et quas fallacis collegit lingua parentis
Has eadem nati lingua refundit opes
.
—Claudianus ex Hesiodo.