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A

Confutation

of a

Scandalous Pamphlet,

Intituled,

A Manifeſto, or the Standard of the Church of Scotland,

In Anſwer to

A Letter from a Gentleman,


By the UNITED SOCIETIES, repreſenting ſome

Part of their Sentiments thereanent.


To which is annexed, A pertinent LETTER of

Mr. James Renwick’s to Mr. Langlans.


James i. 20. The Wrath of Man worketh not the Righteouſneſs of God.

Prov xxvi. 5. Anſwer a Fool according to his Folly, leſt he be wiſe in his own Conceit.

2 Tim. i. 13. Hold faſt the Form of ſound Words, &c.

2 Cor. xiii. 8. For we can do nothing againſt the Truth, but for the Truth.


Illum aborabunt, metuentque reges

Servient Gentes ſub utroque Mundi

Axe jacentes.  Pſal. lxxii. 11. Buch.


Printed in the Year MDCCXXIV.

X

TrueCovenanter.com Editor's Introduction.

In the history of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, and Covenanter Societies, or Community of Old Dissenters, there have on various occasions risen strange and extreme personalities, whose conduct and conversation have given apparent ground to others to view the entire community with suspicion, accounting them either schismatics, fanatics, or some other unhappy sort of trouble-makers.

It must be admitted, that any honest endeavour to observe the biblical admonitions and instructions found in Romans 16.17, Matt. 7.15, 10.17, Mark 8.15, Phil. 3.2, and such passages, will soon be accounted by many worldly-minded and careless professors as schismatic and fanatical trouble-making. This is to be lamented, but is what can never be avoided in a fallen world.  Yet Satan has more harmful policy to work by than this, to keep a stigma on the Church of Jesus Christ. This is especially so in the case of those individuals who pretend to an adherence to the true Christian religion and our Covenanted Reformation, and yet drive the trade of their religion with such a propensity towards extreme notions, and anxiousness to condemn all who differ, that Christ’s own elect are thereby scandalized, and made to think that such is the very nature of a “serious Christian,” “strict Presbyterian” or “Covenanter.”

But though Satan be the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4.4,) his works are always of such a nature which must be very unstable, as a liar’s tales become the more difficult to manage, the longer they are carried on.  So his curious instruments, though they be suffered to carry on longer than Christ’s sheep would wish, yet in the end it must come to that in 2 Timothy 3.6-9: they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.

In the meantime, some will come very strange lengths, and mangle the Christian profession with very unchristian boasting, and such expressions concerning the Lord’s saints, (sometimes “breathing out threatenings and slaughter,”) as would make the world wonder that ever these individuals imagined they were the followers of the Lord Jesus.  Indeed, it is a kind of the deepest and most dangerous delusion possible, that men will contemplate anything against the life of the Lord’s saints; for had they remembered that he keeps them as the apple of his eye, (Deut. 32.10, Zech. 2.8,) they could not but shudder at such thoughts, and the wrath they would bring upon their own heads.

As for the following publication, it will be of use and interest in two regards:  (1.) It details the curious circumstances of one of the early examples of a “Covenanter” whose principles ran him strange lengths directly contrary to the purpose and tenor of our Covenants, and brought upon the dissenting Presbyterians of the late 1600’s and early 1700’s a suspicion in the eyes of ministers and members of the established Erastian Church in Scotland, as though they were of a violent disposition, or pretended to assume to themselves the civil authority which they denied to be possessed by those then exercising governmental functions in the nation.  (2.) It sets in a clear light the Christian character of the true Covenanters of that time: that they were rather of a charitable disposition in their thoughts and hopes concerning other believers; that they were far from desiring violent disturbances in Church or State; and that their political principles were rather the least revolutionary of all religious bodies in the nation, being fully opposed to the Erastianism which had been illegally introduced in Scotland, but avoiding any extreme reaction against Monarchy in favour of Democracy.

One must admit that these faithful Covenanters were “radical” insofar as their religion went to the very core of their being, and so governed their thoughts, desires, and activity in the world, that they were driven by an inward impulse very different from the “natural man” (1 Cor. 2.14); which many of their neighbours must have seen as strange.  But while these true Covenanters were radical only in a sense to be admired, (which may also be seen in their Declaration at Mount Herick, especially in the conclusion,) they could not but be repulsed by the radical principles, speech, and behaviour of men such as Peter Grant and his followers, who gave so much occasion to the enemy to revile all dissenters.

Consequently, when Mr. Grant’s pamphlet or Manifesto was published, the matter was brought before the United Societies in their General Meeting:

Minutes of the Gen. Meeting March
Crawford-John 1724

2. It being overtured from Linlithgow Corresp.
That there should be some Testimony of our dislike
of that Edr. paper called a Manifesto: it was
left to the discretion of any person to answer
it, as they should see fit.

The published answer follows below, along with a letter from the previous century, written by the Martyr James Renwick.  Both of these sufficiently illustrate the length which Covenanters of those times went in their opposition to the prevailing corruptions in Church and State, and how careful they were to avoid all extremes, and take away any occasion for others to impute to them the least extravagance or presumption in matters of religion.  It need not now be said that they carried themselves perfectly in these regards; for they never made such a claim in the time of their own publications. What is certain however, is that their efforts to avoid compliance with the world and fellowship with unrighteousness, were remarkably “balanced” with an effort to avoid extremes in the opposite direction, of a love for division and quarrels, or a carelessness to maintain fellowship and friendship with the children of righteousness, and to live in peace with all men, if it be possible. (Rom. 12.18.)  In short, whileas some will call themselves Covenanters, and yet give the world a remarkably dangerous example of religion that is purely imaginary, the authors below, (faithful though imperfect Covenanters,) afford the present generation a very needful example of real religion, which is neither careless of the dishonours done to King Jesus in Church and State, nor despairs of the hope that a faithful testimony with an example of Christian godliness & meekness, shall win many of the Lord’s enemies to give up the warfare they are carrying on against him, and accept of the peace which he proclaims to sinners in the Gospel of his Grace.

2010.11.30.

TO THE

READER.

IT was the Tyranny of that famous Robber, Procruſtes, towards Strangers, to lay them in his Bed, and, if they were shorter, to draw them to the Length of it; if longer, to cut them short to his Stature.  We desire heartily to bewail the extreme Rigour of some in our Days, who would have the Judgment of all others cut even with the Model of their own; altho’ the Bed is shorter than that a Man can stretch himself upon it, Isa. 28.20.

Sure ’tis Matter of bitter Lamentation, that the grand Adversary of Man’s Salvation should, notwithstanding his known Character, Wiles, and Actions, all evil in the Abstract, still have Access and Power to prosecute his Designs, in ensnaring, {iii} not only so many of Mankind in general; but also Members of the visible Church, living in a Land once reformed from, and covenanted against Popery, Prelacy, Erastianism, and every Thing else contrary to the Divine Rule; into either a detestable Neutrality, Defection and Backsliding, on the Left-hand, partly owing to a cowardish and pucillanimous Spirit, fearing Men more than God; and partly to a Hatred at the Truth, and hence do patronize Defection: Or, failing here, into mad, extraneous, excentrick Notions, on the Right-hand; no less dangerous, more seldom repented of, and resiled from, than the former; and as liable to terminate in gross Error and Profanity.

’Tis true, Satan ordinarily ensnares such, on Pretence of leading them into a more nice, plausible and strict Way than others; but the Thing he aims at, is still more Looseness: And when thus involved, as they seldom retreat, so the Lord, for holy and wise Ends, lets out to such more than ordinary Parts, Abilities, and Impressions on their Spirits, for a Judgment on themselves, and a Trial to others; gives them a Cast of their own Craft, whereby they are elevated above their ordinary Sphere, which they embrace as Divine Confirmation of their prosecuting a commanded Duty, and conclude themselves so stout and well fix’d, that no Error will gain upon them, no Opposition will impede them: An infallible Evidence of their being already ensnared. {iv}

The Opposition that hath been of a long Time, and continues to be made, against the Reviving of the Covenanted Reformation, by Church and State, to the great Grief of many of the Mediator’s Kingdom through the Land, is an eminent Proof of the Former.  And we need adduce no Instance more pregnant for the Latter, than the Author and Vouchers of this poor, pitiful, Erastian Brat, called, The Manifesto, &c.  ’Tis further to be regretted, that this Manifester, with his Accomplices, should presume to father their Wild-fire and Bastard-zeal upon the Lord, even daring to say, they are put to it by God, &c. If they mean, as in Isa. 30.28, by putting a Bridle in their Jaws, causing them to err; in that Sense it may hold.  And Pool’s Note on that Text is very applicable to them, viz. Whereas other Bridles guide the bridled Creatures into the right Way, this shall turn them out of the Way, by giving them up to their own Mistakes, foolish Counsels and wicked Courses, which shall bring them to sore and certain Ruin.  See also, Isa. 66.4.

They also endeavour to found some of their chimerical Fictions upon two or three Declarations (together with the Queensferry Paper) emitted by the Witnessing Remnant in the late bloody Times: From whence they infer, that the suffering Remnant then, were of one Mind with them now.  But to detect and confute the Falsehood and Fallacy of such Obloquies and Calumnies, {v} we have annexed a Letter of that Reverend Worthy Minister and Martyr, Mr. James Renwick, to Mr. Langlans (to which we refer the Reader) wherein he most religiously and learnedly vindicates the Godly Remnant from such Imputations, and explains the most exceptionable and repudiate Expressions therein-contain’d, which these Manifesters adopt.

How fully this empty, vain Braggadocio manifests his Folly in Folio, by claiming a peculiar Right to all the Promises, misapplying them to himself and Abettors; and by his ill-coherent Sentences, both void of Sense and Grammar, is so obvious to every Eye, that there is no Necessity to insist further upon them.

The Reason why we appear against this Pamphlet, is to wipe off the Odium, that some invidious Persons have industriously cast upon us, by making it pass for certain, That we are the Authors and Owners thereof; with Design (as would seem) to render the Cause of Christ, unto which they are disaffected, and which we desire to contend for, tho’ in much Weakness, contemptible in the Eyes of this Generation.  1 John 4.1. Beloved, believe not every Spirit, but try the Spirits, whether they are of God: Because many false Prophets are gone out into the World.  Farewel. {6}


Confutation of the Manifeſto.

SIR,

YOURS came to Hand, importing, that a Wellwisher informed you, That there is a horrid scandalous Paper, called a Manifesto, emitted, as it were, by some of our Party, eversive of the whole Magistracy and Kingly Government —— wanting only an Opportunity for the Execution thereof.  It is thought (you say) to be some Jesuitical Draught.—— You desire to know our Mind of it, whether we own, or will adhere to it: If not, and that we have no Concern in it, you friendly advise, That we should do something to wipe off the Odium of it from our Party, and to prevent the other fatal Consequences it is like to have. ——— There also come to our Ears daily, in a more unfriendly Manner, the Defamings and Upbraidings of many through the Land, as if we were the Authors or Owners of that so called Manifesto, which doth manifest so much of its Authors Folly, Heterodoxy, and Inhumanity.  Wherefore it is thought necessary, that,

For undeceiving you and others, exonering our selves and vindicating the Truth, we return you this brief, yet ingenuous Answer, more plain than pleasant unto some.  But, First, For avoiding Mistakes anent Parties; Tho’ we affect not the Designation of Party, If you mean by our Party, The Presbyterian Dissenters, who are joined in Fellowship-meetings, or Societies for religious Exercises, {7} adhering to all the Parts of our Testimony unto and for the Covenanted Reformation; We in that Sense admit the Term for present: Expecting you’ll, on the other Hand, allow us to call the Members of this establish’d Erastian Church, from which we dissent, and with whom you are imbodied (yet not saying you’re a Man of Erastian Principles) your Party; to distinguish both Parties, in this Reply, from the Jacobites, and from the Author and Owners of the Manifesto, who are not Owners of your Church, nor unite in any Society-meeting, or Fellowship for the Worship of God and religious Exercises conjunctly.

2dly; It is not intended here, to dip any further into the Paper itself, than seems necessary for discovering,  First, Who are not, nor can rationally be accounted the Authors or Owners;  Next, who are, or justly may be repute Authors and Owners thereof: Comparing this Manifesto with the same Author’s former Pamphlets, known to be his, tho’ he sets his Name to none of them.  And yet we would not be thought to approve any of the rash or unsound Expressions and Opinions therein, which we do not here expressly touch or condemn; or to condemn here, what we approve in our Informatory Vindication and Testimonies, because mentioned in a Paper, which we cannot, in any Consistency with the Scriptures and our known Principles, own.  These things being premised,

We freely answer, That neither our Party in general, nor any of them in particular, so far as we know, are either Authors or Owners of, or Adherers to the said, Manifesto: Nor can we justly be suspected thereof, by any, who knows what we own and disown, as expressed in the Informatory vindication, {8} our Declarations and Testimonies, and without Byass considers how contrary that Manifesto is to the same, in Style, Scope, and Tendency.

Our Party never use to manifest so much of their Ambition, as by prefixing to their Papers such arrogant Titles, to call any of them a Manifesto; they leave the Use of this Title to Princes, as not being proper or pertinent for such mean private Persons.  And the Alternative subjoined, viz. Or the STANDARD of the CHURCH of SCOTLAND, is so insolently arrogant and unsound, that, as we durst never presume to compose a Standard of the Church or call any of our Papers by that Name; so the most ignorant of our Party are in no great Hazard of being seduced, or deluded, to own any such Paper, under that Title.  For any Acceptation of the Word, Standard, whether proper, or figurative, will be most impertinent here.  Properly, that Weight or Measure by Law constitute, according to which all others of that Kind are to be tried and adjusted, is called the Standard. And in the Military, Ensigns, Colours, or Banners, are properly called Standards (Num. 2.) the Principal whereof is sometimes termed, the Royal Standard.  But it were ridiculous to call this Paper a Standard, in either Sense, for Civil or Military Use.

So, Metaphorically, the Subjects and Soldiers of Christ, Zion’s King, have their Standards;  First, The holy Scriptures, the Royal Standard, and a Form of sound Words, such as our Confession of Faith, founded on, and agreeable to them, is the Church’s Standard of Doctrine, whereby all Tenets, {9} or Doctrines delivered or taught in the Church, are to be tried.  If this Manifesto be proposed by the Author, or Owners, as a Standard, in this Sense, to try Doctrines, &c. ’tis preposterous; for, if it were tried by the Standard, as it ought, it would be found light, unsound Metal, as reprobate Silver, and very deficient; so that no sound Christian could own or adhere to it.  And, 2dly, By a Metaphor, the Gospel is called the Banner or Standard of the Church militant, which all its Members, Christ’s chosen, called, and faithful Soldiers, must own, follow and cleave to: He who is the Standard-Bearer above Ten thousands, doth commissionate his Ministers, as Standard-Bearers under him, to display this Banner; and if they, or any of his Militia, prove unfaithful, faint, or desert his Colours or Standard, they are obnoxious to his Martial, but spiritual, Discipline.  But these Civil Powers, or Authoritative Men, must be very blasphemous, as well as presumptuous, if they call their Manifesto, a Standard of the Church, in this Sense.  And whatever Sense they take it in, they must needs be very erroneous, and grossly Erastian in their Judgment, who, being Statesmen, and Civil Magistrates, as their Paper imports, will yet presume to compose and publish the Standard of the Church, without her Advice and Concurrence; unless they be all the Church, as well as the State themselves, Five or Six Men.  None of all the Tyrants, whom they pretend to testify against, and depose, did ever arrogate that Degree of Erastianism, or pretend to compose a Standard of the Church of Scotland.  One of them, Charles I. imposed a Prayer-Book on her, {10} but it was composed by P. Prelates, called Church-men.

Albeit you, Sir, and others might suspect our Party to be denominate, by these Words in their Title Page, The Presbyterians——dissenting from the present indulged Church; yet, adverting to the Style here used by the Author and Owners of this Manifesto, viz. who do, as their Ancestors, espouse the Representative Power and Authority; and comparing therewith our Principles and Practice, you might well doubt these Persons were but Pretenders to be esteemed of us, as your Words insinuate, when you say, As it were by some of your Party: For none of our Societies, who all own and adhere to the Testimony, as stated and approven by Mr. James Renwick, and others, in the Informatory Vindication, have ever usurped, or can lawfully claim or espouse the Representative Power and Authority; lest we be found aspiring unto Things too high for us, in our private Stations and Capacities; and lest he, who hath appointed every Man to abide in the Calling wherein he was called, should say to us, Who hath required these Things at your Hands?

Also, in their Title Page, they confidently assert, That they are the Men, who are faithfully adhering to our covenanted Engagements and Privileges, both of Church and State——. As this Profession agrees ill with the Scope and Import of that Paper; so it looks more ostentive and arrogant, than our Party durst ever so positively assert of themselves, in any of their Papers: For, tho’ we express our Desires, and own our Obligations to endeavour faithfully to adhere to those Engagements and Privileges; yet, being conscious to our own {11} Weakness, Failings, and Deficiencies, it would seem too Pharisaical, to tell the World in Print, that we are faithfully adhering to them.  And even these Manifesters, upon serious second Thoughts, and duly examining their Ways, may see Cause to repent, as he had, who made the like Boast, saying, I have performed the Commandment,——yea, I have obeyed, &c.  1 Sam. 15.13,20.

You’ll say, These Manifesters own some of our Declarations.  But we reply, That will not prove them to be of us.  For, as they own but three, excluding seven moe, so they acknowledge these three, with the Queens-ferry Paper, to be both materially and formally——agreeable to the Word of God. We dare not so own any human Writings, to agree both materially and formally with the Word, lest we might seem to make them essentially the same: For, Things that agree in Matter and Form, are of the same specifical Kind and Nature.  It were blasphemous thus to class or equalize human Writings with the holy Scriptures.  As to the Paper taken at the Queensferry, Mr. Shiel’s Hind let loose, page 137, says, It was only in a rude Draught, and not polished, digested, nor consulted by the rest of the Community, when the Enemies did seize and publish it.  Yet the Author of this Manifesto, in his Bond of Union, doth so basely mangle and vitiate that Paper, that it seems Nonsense, where the Copy published by the Enemies is good Sense; and his unsound, where theirs is sound. Moreover, he has in the Manifesto, chosen the most exceptionable and repudiate Expressions of these two Declarations, and condemns the necessary Qualifications and Explication thereof, in our Informatory Vindication, Head {12} 2. (as hereafter will appear.) According to which we adhere to them, and to all the faithful Declarations and Testimonies of the Cloud of Witnesses, viz. for Matter, Substance, and Scope, as they are agreeable to the Scriptures, and were accommodate to the Times wherein they were exhibited; as expressed, Inf. Vind. p. 32.

You will not have read far in the Manifesto, till you may perceive, that, as they speak not in the usual Dialect of our Party; so they seem not to be of such sound Principles as Presbyterian Dissenters: For Instance, p. 3. where, speaking of Kings, ’tis said, That they are to be Christ's Servants, Subjects, and Vicegerents on Earth.  Is not the Honour, Privilege, and Dignity, of being Servants and Subjects to Christ, sole King in Zion, high enough for any Mortals?  But, must they also be his Vicegerents, to rule instead of Christ, the Mediator, alone King and Head of his Church?  Mr. Brown, in History of Indulgence, page 131, calls it the Ground of all Arminian Erastianism, to admit the Magistrate directly subordinate to Christ. His Throne and Seed must endure for ever, and the Government be still on his own Shoulder, not delegate to any Vicegerent, Isa. 9.6.  As this Tenet, of Kings being Christ’s Vicegerents on Earth, seems not very consistent with their Principle, of abolishing all Government by Kings; so it looks fully as gross as the Popish Tenet, that their Pope is Christ’s Vicar on Earth: For, if our Lord Jesus Christ had any Vicegerents, or Viceroys on Earth, then it would follow, that either they should be Legislators and Administrators of spiritual Things, and have the Jurisdiction in his spiritual Kingdom; or, that his Kingdom should be of this {13} World, contrary to his Word, John 18.36.  None can be Vicegerent properly, without having the Jurisdiction and Power of Him, who set him over that Part of his Dominions, wherein he is constitute Vicegerent: But to hold that Kings of the Earth are, or ought to be invested with Christ’s Power, or have the Jurisdiction in his Church, or spiritual Kingdom, were to make Kings the Heads of the Church with a Witness; and is not only horrid Erastianism, as they would be such in Subordination to Christ; but also Antichristian, as being contrary to his revealed Will and royal Prerogatives.  Again, If this Tenet, of Christ’s Vicegerents on Earth, be received; why not also that of Vicars?  Both which are contrary to holy Scripture, all sound Confessions of Faith, and Writings of the Orthodox.  This, with other unsound and horrible Positions and Expressions in the Manifesto, and other Papers of the same Author, may afford too much Ground for what you say, viz. It is thought to be some Jesuitical Draught—But we know not, if the Jesuits be in that Point so much Erastians; for they would have Kings to be Vassals to him, whom they call Christ’s Vicar, and not Vicars or Vicegerents to Christ himself immediately.  But not here to insist upon this or other Errors and Absurdities in that Manifesto; It is evident by what is above, that, as our Party, or any orthodox Christians, have no Concern or Hand in it, So we have just and solid Grounds to disown, renounce, and refuse it, as we do entirely; and its Author and Owners as none of our Community.  But next,

You would know, seeing we are not, who are the Authors and Approvers of that Paper.  If we {14} knew them to be tender, conscientious Christians otherwise, and that they had been through their Simplicity and indiscreet Zeal ensnared into such Opinions, and were willing to be convinced and reclaimed, it were hard for us to become Informers against them; tho’ they seem to have had no good Designs towards Dissenters in publishing such a Paper.  But indeed we know not either Author, or (if now there be moe than one) Owners of the Manifesto to be such.  And tho’ we can’t make certain Proof, or Demonstration, that such a Man, or Men, wrote and publish’d, are Author and Owners of this Manifesto: Yet, beside the common Report of some, who have Access to know, and of Chapmen, who got them from him to sell, affirming that P. G—t is the principal Author and Publisher thereof; who has but 4 or 5 Men of his Counsel, as Abettors, and not so many Adherers, so far as we can learn; for some of these 5 are said to disown it, and but one to be forward in vending them, setting his Name to some of the printed Copies: And yet even he, as ashamed of the Author, or afraid to avow what he subscribes, would make it pass, that Mr. William Adams, late Minister, is the Author; calling it a Paper of his Out-setting, as if the Printer or Corrector could be truly called the Author, or Out-setter of all he Prints, or Corrects at the Press.  We say, beside all this, as well known to others as to us, we find from the same Author’s continued Opposition to our Testimony and Party above 40 Years, and his consonant Positions in other of his printed Papers, what is with us equivalent to a Demonstration that Pet. Grant is the Author of this. {15}

You have him hinted in Wodrow’s History, Vol. 2. p. 221. Where, after having spoken of Gib’s Abominations, on the Year 1681, he says, "When, after Mr. Cargil’s Death, his Followers formed themselves into Societies, their Records bear, That they had been at much Pains to keep themselves from these delusive Extravagancies, and had no small Difficulties from one Grant, who, if I mistake not, is yet alive, the foresaid Ruſsel and Others; and through this Diligence their Madness was crushed in the Bud."  Thus Mr. Wodrow out of the general Meetings Records, which he unjustly detains from our Party.

Since which Time P. G. has ever stood on the other Side, being an impotent Antagonist unto that pious, painful, and faithful Minister and Martyr of Jesus Christ, Mr. James Renwick and his Followers; calumniating both him and them, as having wrong’d, yea, buried the Testimony, by stating the same as in the Informatory Vindication, which he did write, and they approve and adhere to: Wherein they pass from the Defence of some inexpedient and unadvised Stiles and Titles, used in two Declarations (which repudiate Stiles, you see, G—t makes most of in his Manifesto) as may be seen, Head 2. p. 63.

Thus he persists, as it were with implacable Prejudice and inveterate Malice, to inveigh against the Testimony and Owners thereof, both by Tongue and Pen; whereof many Instances might be produced: As a few Years ago, he, with one of his late Proselytes, said to some of our Friends near Edinburgh, That our Informatory Vindication and Confession of Faith should be burnt —— So, in his Letter to a Friend, printed 1716, he says, p. 12. {16} They (viz. the Dissenters) adhere to the Informatory Vindication, and states their Testimony positively thereon, affirming — That our Declarations, viz. Rutherglen, Sanquhair and Lanerk, are to be taken according to the Sense and Meaning put upon them in their Explication, which Explication is most ridiculous Nonsense —— and p. 13. As to the rest of the Nonsense, such as their distinguishing between a judicial, authoritative Deposing, and a private, lawful Disowning —— and their Distinction betwixt Hostile War and Martial Insurrection; and declaring a War of Contradiction by Testimonies: All which Explications and Distinctions are absurd and ridiculous Nonsense.——With more in the like virulent Strain, through that Letter, which he wrote expressly against us Dissenters.  You may see Informatory Vindication, p. 64, &c. if these Explications and Distinctions be all Nonsense: Where, explaining that Designation, Representatives of the true Presbyterian Church and Covenanted Nation of Scotland— ’tis said, We utterly disclaim, as an unsound and Erastian Principle and Practice, that the same Party, Persons and Assembly, formally invested with Authority, should take upon them to perform Actions Civil and Ecclesiastick, representing both Church and State,—declare, That neither the Authors nor we ever intended or practised any such Thing.—This, being contrary to G—t’s Principles and Practice, he can’t endure, but rageth and rails.  As to the Distinctions, see p. 66, We deny that we used any judicial, authoritative Deposing of that Tyrant — We own as our Duty, a private, lawful and necessary Disowning — him in a Magistratical Relation over us.  The other Distinction, p. 68, “We look on the former Branch, Hostile War and Martial Insurrection {17} to be declared against the Tyrant, and such as rise with him in Arms, — against the Cause and People of God: But the latter, A War of Contradiction and Opposition by Testimonies, &c. that is declared against all such, as any way strengthen, side with, or acknowledge the said Tyrant, or any other of the like Tyranny and Usurpation, Civil or Ecclesiastick.”  Without which Distinction and Explication, the illimited War in the Declaration of 1680, might import horrid, cruel Murder, or be strained to that Sense, as G—t doth in the Manifesto: A bloody and barbarous Principle of killing all, who interpretatively, or any way strengthen, side with, or acknowledge a Tyrant, or Usurper.  If others were of his Principle, he and any 2 or 3 who side with him, might be afraid; being of like Usurpation, in usurping Magistratical Power and Authority over a Kingdom, without their Consent.  It is also remarkable, that G—t pleads here only for the same three Declarations, which he has twice in his Manifesto, excluding all the rest that our Party adhere to.

All he says in the foresaid Letter, and in his Bond of Union, (printed Anno 1714.) against the Lord’s Cause and People, might soon [have] been answered and refuted, had not our Party look’d upon such a Man’s Obloquies, as greater Praise than if he had spoken well of them.

Accordingly some Remarks were written on his Bond of Union, when published; where the Remarker says, “He (viz. Grant) begins, p. 1. with his Antagonists, The present indulged Church, who may answer for themselves; and The dissenting Party, whose Actings he calls childish, their Sentiments {18} ridiculous, and themselves no less Antibuilders than the other.  Seeing G—t doth not here specify what Actings and Sentiments these are; and, pag. 16 to 19, he likewise inveighs against their warrantable and laudable Actings and Sentiments (such as their solemn Renewing Covenant at Auchensaugh, July 1712, &c.) the Dissenters may accept his calumnious Obloquie, not as an Opprobrium, but as an Encomium, that such an erroneous Man terms all their Actings and Sentiments childish and ridiculous, without Exception: And it being no small Part of this sententious Encomie, that he stiles them Antibuilders to him, in his pretending now to erect some Chimerical Autocraſie, or Aerial Oligarchie (scarce having Three Men of his Judgment in all Scotland, and none elsewhere) that they might seem ingrate, or male feriati, to retaliate him with Antilogie or Emulation.’

G—t, in his other Papers, frees the Dissenters of any Hand in his Manifesto, by objecting against them.  In the said Bond of Union, p. 16. he says, We testifie against the defective Steps and Sentiments of the Dissenting Party: As, 1ſt. In their denying themselves and others to be formally invested with the Authoritative Power.  This he says, because we deny that any were invested with a Magistratical, or Authoritative Power among the Witnessing Remnant, in the Year 1680, or ever since; as he affirms that they were.  And yet he cannot prove it, but, as in the Manifesto and his other Papers, by some wrested Consequences, ill drawn from the said unadvised and repudiate Expressions, in two Declarations, 1680 and 1682, and in the Ferry-Paper. In the Manifesto he collects, That there was a Conventional {19} Authority in Being, and a Magistratical Authority in Agitating.  We deny both in any proper Acceptation of the Words; saying, as in our Informatory Vindication, p. 63, &c.  Not—Persons formally invested with Authority and Delegation, but only a poor People appearing most publickly for pursuing the Ends of our Covenants; some way representing the Body that should have done it, in that they did it in their Stead. — — — —

He says, ibid. page 18. We testify against (Dissenters) their passive Deliverance, nowise co-operating in their Mercies, as it is to be seen in their Informatory Vindication, (Head 2.) who says, We only some Way represent these, who should have done it.  Here you see, he condemns both that Part of our Testimony, and us, as not for delivering our selves actively, and co-operating with him therein, as in his Bond and Manifesto proposed.  He subjoins, If they be expecting some Cyrus or Monarch to deliver the Church, then their Expectation is vain: For, N.B. The Lord cannot give Mercies to these, who will not profess to keep and preserve them to the utmost of their Power, with Life and Liberty. Here, tho’ he speaks of temporal Deliverance and external Mercies, yet he says, The Lord cannot give them. Is not this Blasphemy?

If they who said, Can he give Bread? can he provide Flesh? (Psalm 78.19,41.) are accused, that they spake against God, and limited the Holy One,—How much more guilty is he who denies his Power?  Matth. 5.45, He maketh his Sun to rise upon the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.  These, and innumerable others, are Mercies, which he both can, and doth give daily to them that profess little good.  Jesurun waxed {20} fat, with his Mercies, and kicked: — then he forsook God, Deut. 32.15.  Many times did he deliver them, but they provoked him with their Counsel, Psalm 106.43.  Whatever they professed, they did ill improve or keep Deliverances and Mercies; and yet Omnipotency and infinite Goodness often repeated them.  See the Book of Judges; yea, the Current of holy Scriptures runs contrary to such a blasphemous Assertion.  And altho’ the Inhabitants of the Earth, in all Ages of the World, had not received Proofs of such Mercies, as they have had many; were it not a blasphemous limiting of infinite Power, thus to deny he can give Mercies, but according as Men will, or will not profess? This excuseth none of Sin, in not professing and practicing their Duty.  But if the Wrath of God came upon them, who questioned his Power, how great Cause has this Man, who denies it, to be afraid and repent? And tho’ he meant spiritual Mercies, what he says is contrary to holy Scripture and the Experience of all the Lord's People; that his giving such Mercies, depends on their willing, or professing: He alone makes them to will and profess. When they have gone on frowardly in the Way of their Heart, he hath seen their Way, and healed them, Isa. 57.17,18.  And albeit he had never prevented his People with Mercies and Deliverances, as, Praises to him, he hath ever and always done, yet it were great Blasphemy to say, He cannot give Mercies and Deliverances to them.

This Manifester is not only Erroneous in speaking against God, but also heterodox and arrogant in condemning the Lord's Servants, who were eminent orthodox Divines, as not being of his Opinion.  In his Letter to a Friend, page 3, he says, {21} The Authors of Naphtali, Jus Populi, the Hind let loose, did not act so freely. —— For altho’ they learnedly and elaborately vindicated —— Self-defence upon the material Part; yet the lawful and necessary Formality is never touched. So that the great Essential of the Controversie lies buried, viz. to whom the Exercise of the Sword of Authority properly by Right belonged.  For in all these whole Writings, they never once declare, That it was the Duty of the Faithful——to have diveſted these Tyrants of their Authority, and to have invested themselves therewith. — The Fruits and Effects of such Silence and Connivance has discovered, — that these who are guilty thereof, has always centred back to the Erastian Indulgence, and therefore Compliers with Tyranny and Usurpation, as is to be seen by the Indulged and Dissenters, at this present Time.  Thus, Sir, you see, he,  First, Condemns the foresaid great Authors.  2dly, Upon Account of their not being of his Mind, for a few private Persons to divest and invest authoritatively.  3dly, He makes not only your Party the Indulged, who own such; but us Dissenters, who dare not, Compliers with Tyranny and Usurpation: So his War is declared against us all equally.  For he cannot, or will not see, that it is one Thing for a few private Men, to revolt from, and reject a Tyrant’s Authority, as illegal; and another quite different Thing, to invest themselves therewith.  Libnah did the former, 2 Chron. 21.10, not the latter. So did the Faithful in 1680, and we continue accordingly, until we obtain Magistrates duly qualified and elected.  But he pleads, or asserts in all his Papers, That it is Duty for some few private Persons to assume Authority, and thereby formally to depose Tyrants, and invest {22} themselves with their Power.  As ibid. page 4. he says, We (speaking of himself and Associates) ſet about the neceſsary and indiſpenſible Duty, — which was the eſpouſing the Repreſentative Power, and inveſting our ſelves with the Authority the Tyrants had abuſed.—And page 8, he says, We was (’tis his own Grammar) inveſted with Authority.——Hence he condemns all that will not approve his odd Opinion, that two or three private Men in a Kingdom, may invest themselves with Magistratical Authority, when it happens that they have, and cannot in Conscience own Tyrants for Magistrates.

And however wild and antiscriptural he is in that Opinion, and keen for the Formality thereof, he runs more wild in his Bond of Union, page 17. saying, “All that are virtually owning our Covenants, Laws, and Liberties, are Rulers; altho’ no Formality has been at their electing and upsetting.”  Sure this is Democracy with a Witness: According to this Assertion, there may be Rulers in Plenty, in a reformed Nation; unless he deny that any are virtually owning the Covenants, Laws and Liberties, but himself, and his Four or Five Associates.

In that Bond of Union, page 19. he says, “We Undersubscribers and Approvers of the Authoritative Power, — page 20. considering what Foundation our Ancestors hath laid, what Authority they have assumed, and what our Part hath been hitherto in maintaining and avowing that Authority, they and we inveſted our ſelves with, from the Year 80, to this present Time, in taking to us the Representative Power; — Declaring by the same Power, — we do divest the present Persons in Authority of their {23} usurped Power, — the Right thereof we retain and renew. — Therefore our Will — and Intentions are, to change the Form of Government, — to set up a Common-wealth Government, the Form and Fabrick of which is a little touched at in the Smoaking Flax”  This is another of his Books so called. You see he begins here as in the Manifesto, tho’ he had not then Three Men of his Opinion in the World, that we know of.  He proceeds, page 21, and 22, to state and answer Objections, saying,  “First, That it is ridiculous to a few insignificant People to invest themselves with Authority, will ever they effectuate such a great Work? — 2dly, There is no less required than a Miracle to prosecute such a great Work, as to depose and overthrow so many great Men and States-Men.— 3dly, If we clothe our selves with Authority, why will we not presently exercise it?  He answers, We may exercise it within our own Corporation, but must wait—till he give us Power to exercise it in its full Extent over the Adversary.”——His Answers to the former are as impertinent, as this is ridiculous; and to repeat such Notions, is enough to refute them.  But,

You’ll say, Tho’ he grants, Ten Years ago, that he and all his Adherers were few, mean and insignificant, waiting for Power to execute their Authority in its full Extent; Yet now they seem to be many, and to have acquired Power, when they thus publish their Manifesto.  Answer. They were then indeed few, at most 3 Men and 3 Women, so far as we could learn: And now they can scarce double that Number of Men and Women; for they are not all married (tho’ some of them marry without {24} a Minister) and these who are, have not all Wives of their own Opinions.  Yea, ’tis reported, as was said above, That none of the Five or Six that are of G—t’s Opinion, approves the Manifesto, but one, who subscribes some Copies.  However, the Paper it self discovers the Author to be one; for, tho’ he speaks mostly in the Plural, or like a Monarch, saying, We, Our Authority, Our Will, &c. Yet, p. 6. of Manifesto, when he is rehearsing an Article of his Creed, he says, I believe few or none can incline to Monarchy, but these who are blindly ignorant, or prejudg’d with Self-interest—. Where one Person speaks, and beside, you may observe, how he, who pretends to be so much for Ancestors, condemns all in this Age, and their Ancestors above 2000 Years back, who in this Nation inclined to Monarchy, of being blindly ignorant, or prejudged with Self-interest.  Not to speak of Ancestors preceeding the Reformation, Is it not an harsh and severe Censure, or Imputation upon all our wise and pious Reformers?  They were for Monarchy, not absolute Supremacy, or unlimited Power.  The General Assembly 1648, in their Declaration and Exhortation to their Brethren of England, say,  “We cannot but abhor the Principles of any, who mind the Subversion of Monarchical Government, which we heartily wish to be preserved —— We wish ——that there may be no Agreement, without Establishing and Enjoining the Covenant in all these Three Kingdoms.”  So General Assembly 1649, in their Solemn and necessary Warning and Declaration,——say, “That Party in England, who have broken the Covenant, and despised the Oath of God, corrupted the Truth, subverted the fundamental Government, {25} —— look upon us with an evil Eye, as these who stand in the Way of their monstrous and new-fangled Devices in Religion and Government — — It is without Controversy, that the Spirit, which hath acted in the Courses and Counsels of these, who have—despised the Covenant, forced the Parliament,—changed the Government—cannot be the Spirit of Righteousness and Holiness.”—— Again they say, “As Magistrates and their Power is ordained of God, so are they in the Exercise thereof,——according to the Law of Equity and Righteousness: ——— A boundless and illimited Power is to be acknowledged in no King nor Magistrate: Neither is our King to be admitted to the Exercise of his Power, as long as he refuses to walk in the Administration—according to this Rule: As long therefore, as his Maj.— refuses to hearken to the just and necessary Desires of State and Kirk,——it is consonant to Scripture, and Reason, and the Laws of the Kingdom, that they should refuse to admit him to the Exercise of his Government. — In the League and Covenant—the Duty of Defending and preserving the King‘s Maj. Person & Authority, is joined with, & subordinate unto the Duty of preserving & defending the true Religion and Liberties of the Kingdoms——.”  Thus the Assemblies of this Church, and at the same Time the Parliament of this Kingdom, inclined to Monarchy; yet were for having their Monarchs duly qualified and limited.  But all these wise, learned Men, zealous, and Men of Truth in Church and State, must have been, in this Manifester’s Opinion blindly ignorant, or prejudged with Self-interest, few or none excepted; and so must all they, who {26} shall in Time coming incline to Monarchical Government.  But, as our godly Ancestors did, so do we, according to the sure Word of Prophecy, expect that Kings shall yet be Nursing Fathers to the Church, and their Queens her Nursing Mothers: That Kings shall do Homage and bring Presents to Him, by whom Kings reign, Psalm 72.10,11.  And although Kings have long been Usurpers of Christ’s Prerogatives, Encroachers upon his Church’s Privileges, and Hinderers of Reformation; having given their Power and Strength to the Beast, and made War with the Lamb; yet the Lamb, or Lion of the Tribe of Judah shall overcome, and they shall hate the Whore and make her desolate when the Words of God shall be fulfilled:  For they received Power as Kings, one Hour with the Beast, and must fulfil the Will of God, to agree and give their Kingdom to the Beast until the determined Time come. [Rev. 17.14; 5.5; 17.16,17.]  And as Mr. Grant, with all his Power and Forces, will not before that Time get them vanquished; So we have no Warrant, or solid Ground, to believe, as he believes, that few or none can or will then incline to Monarchy, or that all Kingly Government shall be abolished, but that it shall be reformed and restricted with due Limitations.  For, that Enunciation, express’d by WISDOM, Zion’s King, shall be true while the World stands, Prov. 8.15, By me Kings reign, and Princes decree Justice: As well as that, verse 16, By me Princes rule, and Nobles, even all the Judges of the Earth.  And Kings will not only favour His Church, when they see her Glory, but respect and serve her, Isa. 49.23.  Yet G—t would not only abolish all Regal Government, but even all the Nobles, depriving them of their Birth-right, which were great Injury; and of their Blood-right, {27} which (if he mean to take their Life without Distinction) were great Cruelty.  There is Cause to fear, that if Grant or any of his Associates were advanced to the Government, they would be more tyrannical than any that have preceeded.  A poor Man, oppressing the Poor, is as a sweeping Rain, that carries all away [Prov. 28.3]: he would leave nothing.  We had better want, than have such a King, and Rulers, as are ready to execute every One of us.

You see what they say in the Close, All which Cabal (viz. the Dead and Living before mentioned) We—do authoritatively, formally and legally cast off—and hereby declare them and all their Followers to deserve Death by Law (here the Sentence is pronounced, and by Law too) Declaring a War against them and all their Associates, and ready—to execute Justice upon every One of them. Manifest. p. 8. They are ready to execute the foresaid Sentence upon every One. They deal warily in taking One by One to Execution, lest many together should make too strong Resistance unto such Five or Six Executioners.  But it were Folly to make a Mock of Sin.  We are concerned to know more particularly, who are meant by Associates; for the war is declared against them, and Justice to be execute upon every One of them.  We saw above, from Grant’s Letter to a Friend, p. 3, that the Indulged and Dissenters, at this present Time, were by him reckoned Compliers with Tyranny and Usurpation; perhaps he may take Compliers for their Associates. But more expressly, ibid. p. 7. he says, Altho’ Tyrants and their Associates, the Indulged and Dissenters, mock at what is acted and said.  Here we see, your Party the Indulged, and ours the Dissenters, are the Associates in his Opinion.  So the Sentence is pronounc’d and War denounc’d as {28} much against us as against you; for he frequently classeth us all together, as one Party opposite to his Government.  As, ibid. p. 11, he says, The Dissenters are discovered to be classed up in the same Category with the Indulged;—all the specifical Difference is only in Circumstantials: The Indulged sacrifices in Houses, and the Dissenters sacrifices in the Mountains.  It seems, there must be some specifical Difference betwixt him and us, more than in Circumstantials: And if he differ from both Parties in the said Circumstances of Place, we know not where he sacrifices, nor with whom; for, tho’ it be said, that he consociated with the Two Men and Four Women, called the Cot-muir-folk, until he put the two Men in Orders, or constitute them Ministers, such as they are; for none can tell what Potestative Mission they ever had to execute that sacred Function these many Years, but only such as he gave them, and he could give but such as he had.  They say themselves, That he and they went all Three into a Room, where they found themselves a Quorum, and so did constitute themselves all Three actual Ministers of the Gospel; and presently he went with them to the North, and put one in the Exercise thereof; and the other, some Years after, intruded into the same Office.  Yet, about five or six Years ago, some of Grant’s late Proselytes calling the said two pretended Ministers, Imposters, and three of the leading Women being dead, prevailed with Mr. Grant to comply, and renounce some of their Tenets; and since that Time, he is not in Communion with them, as is said.  But hereby we see he is Erastian in Practice, as well as in Opinion, ordaining Ministers, tho’ a Magistrate. {29}

If you ask, what he and his late Associates express verbally anent what is contain’d in their Manifesto?  We, not being of their Counsel, cannot make any certain Relation.  And, as you would scarce believe, so they have Assurance to deny, what some of his Associates boldly vented within these few Years, viz. That they were about to choose One a Magistrate, put forth their Manifesto, which would put our Party under a Necessity of owning it, or of denying their Principles (perhaps they meant, we might be first staged upon it, and would be forced to own, or disown complexly all contained in that Manifesto.) They would, in the Spring 1720, display their Banner (then said to be ready) and go forth to Action, in an hostile Manner, cut off all Opposites, and the Dissenters first, as greatest enemies to them in their new Scheme; some of us being nominate, who had with Tongue and Pen most redargued their Notions:  None should be suffered to stand neutral, or indifferent Persons in this War; and if but a Woman refused to espouse their Principles, contained in their (then unseen) Manifesto, it would be in their Option to kill her, or not.  And, lest any should suspect them of being Jacobites, two great Families of that Lay were nominate to be cut off with the First.  Yet, if any of these or the like Expressions had been told them, and that their uttering such Boasts could be proven by Ear-witnesses; They used to deny all, and call them all Liars that said so, &c. Either not adverting, or not regarding that themselves and their few Females fell under that Epithet, by saying, and denying they said so.  But now the Manifesto is put forth, after all their Travel and Pains, far and near, to procure Approvers; (yet we can hear of none, {30} but one that assented, and he is not of our Party) and their Banner, or Standard, has been seen by severals of us; with this Inscription, Jehovah-niſſi: And lower, For Christ and the Covenants, No Quarters to Anticovenanters, or such Words.  So they cannot get all denied that was boasted and reported.

Yet we might look on all, as the Actions of Children, in Imitation of Men, and more ridicule than fear their Hostilities, if we had not Cause to dread, that the Lord in just Wrath for our multiplied Sins and Defections, not repented of, might give up Men to strong Delusions, to believe Lies, that gross Error is Truth, and Sin Duty, [2 Thess. 2.11, John 16.2]; so that they may reckon any private or clandestine Acts of Assassination to be Heroick Acts of hostile War against those, whom they hold as their Enemies, of whom they may take all Advantages, as one Enemy may do of another. [Compare 1 Kings 2.5.]  And, considering who they are; what their Characters and Disposition (which you may hear in our next, if they persist) what their vented and boasted-of Opinions are, and how they but wait an Occasion, for practising such Mischief; or, as in their Manifesto, till called of God, tho’ what they pretend be directly contrary to his revealed Will; yet, may not such be left unto the Conduct of an evil Spirit of Error and Delusion, and so to follow the Impulse thereof, instead of a Divine Call, as to attempt the Perpetration of all their manifested Folly, Cruelty, and Iniquity, as the Boors in Germany last Century.

Our Lot is fallen in these last Days and perillous Times, which we are to know should come, 2 Tim. 3.  For, have not Men immoderate Self-love, who, being Two or Three mean Persons, do so {31} ambitiously covet all Powers, to change, subvert, and erect what Government they please in a Kingdom, and rule as they will, without the Advice or Consent of the People, among whom they would thus usurp and tyrannize?  Must not such Two or Three Men be very proud, who dare openly in Print boast such Things, and declare an hostile War and martial Insurrection against all other Men, high and low, good and bad? Boasters they are, vain-glorious enough, who declare so boldly,  and that they are in a Readiness to execute the Sentence of Death upon every one of us.  And if they blaspheme, who speak Evil of Men injuriously, as the Apostle uses the Word, Titus 3.2, (where it is in the Original, Blaspheme no Man) then they, who speak Evil calumniously of the most Orthodox, and godly Men of the precedent Ages, and of all Men but themselves, in this Age, cannot be other than Blasphemers; yea, the Author of the Manifesto, as was shew’d above, blasphemes God, in limiting and denying his Power.  Are they not Truce-breakers, or Covenant-breakers, who avouch, advance, and maintain such erroneous Opinions and Practices, as are opposite unto, and inconsistent with the solemn and sacred Covenants, which they professed, and yet should adhere to?  False Accusers they manifest themselves to be, who do accuse all our Ancestors, the pious eminent Reformers in Church and State, and the faithful Martyrs of Jesus, who did incline to Monarchical Government, of being blindly ignorant, or prejudged by Self-interest; and accuse us all, who yet have not all committed Crimes, that the Law of God, or agreeable Laws of Men make Capital, as guilty of Death by {32} Law.  And are they not fierce and Despisers of good Men, who declare themselves ready to execute the Sentence of Death upon every one, not of their Opinion?  may not Men be also called incontinent, or intemperate, and Lovers of Pleasures more than Lovers of God, who act and approve of unclean Co-habitation?  But one of these Sextumviri took a Woman, and cohabite Months together, ere he sent an open Letter, informing the rest that he and that Woman had lived two Months in Wedlock; upon which they came to his House and confirmed that so-called Marriage, as if they had been Ministers, or Magistrates; and all of them, so far as we know, do approve of this as a lawful Marriage; and one of them, by Word and Writ, maintains, that disorderly Fact to be the most lawful Marriage that has been since the Revolution.  Who else are Traitors, if these be not cruel Traitors, who boast they are faithfully adhering to our covenanted Engagements and Privileges, both of Church and State, (as in their Frontispiece) and yet would treacherously, and contrary to all these Engagements and Privileges, have all others than themselves cut off?  Are they not heady, precipitant Persons, who, being so few and impotent, would usurp the Representative Power and Magistratical Authority of a populous Nation, and change a Kingdom to a Common-wealth Government, without the Concurrence of its Inhabitants, and cut off all that will not, or cannot in Conscience subject unto and approve of them in so doing:  They must needs be very Self-conceited, high-minded, or (as the Word is 1 Tim. 3.6,) lifted up with Pride,) who presume that no Force in the Kingdom shall be able to resist them, Sextumviri, {33} or defeat their Attempt and Enterprizes.  You see they professedly have a Form of Godliness, but sure such Opinions and Practices, as they manifestly avow, must [be] at least a practical denying of the Power of Godliness.  And albeit Mr. Grant of a long Time, and Two or Three others with him of late, as being of this Sort, have crept into Houses, endeavouring to lead captive silly Women and simple Persons, easily imposed upon, yet, blessed be the Lord, they have been unsuccessful by all their fair Pretences; but, by their so resisting the Truth, have made some Progress in discovering their corrupt Minds and unsound Judgment concerning the Truth, once delivered to the Saints, venting practical Offences contrary to the Doctrine, which the Lord's People in this Land have learned:  Therefore, as we are hopeful that none of our Party, or any other zealous and tender Christians in the Land, will be taken in a Snare already broken, or embrace his gross Opinions; so, that some of these few lately ensnared and inveigled therein, may timeously escape; and that, however he and any one or other, who adheres to him, may rage and rail on us for the above Freedom, yet they shall proceed no further, covertly, or in Credit with the Pious or Prudent; for their Folly is, or, shall be manifest unto all Men. [2 Tim. 3.9.]

March 1724.

     

Sir,

Your, &c.

P.S. ’Tis expected, Sir, you will excuse the Delay of this Reply; for tho’ we heard that the said Manifesto was printed, and some of the Copies vended about the Beginning of November last, yet it came much later into our Hands. {34}


A Reply to Mr. Robert Langlan’s Letter to Gavin Woderſpoon; by Mr. James Renwick Miniſter of the Goſpel.

December 13, 1685.

SIR,

I Have seen your Letter which ye wrote to Gavin Woderspoon, and it doth not a little trouble me, that ye have, and expressed so great Mistakes of us; many are the Wormwoods and bitter Ingredients in our Cup, and I think our sad and wide Breaches (together with the various spiritual Plagues that have seized upon our Spirits) are amongst the bitterest. But until the Lord heal our Backslidings, (by taking away the Guilt thereof, and breaking the Power thereof, and removing the spiritual Judgments, which are the saddest Consequences thereof, and pour down the Spirit from on high) it will never be otherwise with us:  Our Ruptures will never be truly and safely removed, until our Sins be confessed, mourned over and forsaken, and the unclean Spirits of Self, Prejudice, and Mistakes be made to pass out of the Land.  For mine own Part, Union in the Lord, would be a most rejoicing, pleasant and desirable Thing: I say, That Union, that is bottomed upon the Truth, and cemented with Love; For any other Kind of Union would be but a Conspiracy, and not Union.  O for that Soul-ravishing Day, when we shall {35} have Union rightly qualified!  I think that would be the Church of Scotland’s Restoration.

But to come to your foresaid Letter:  There are some things there, Sir, which (I say) are not a little astonishing to me:  I shall not now enter into the List of Debate; but I desire, in the Fear of the Lord, that ye would look otherwise upon our Matters:  Ye say, That we have overturned Presbyterian Government even to the Foundation, and put in its Room a popular Confusion:  And to prove this, ye instance a Paper of ours in Reply to James Russel, his Libel against us; whence ye draw, That we commit to Persons, that are not Church Officers, the Trial both of the Degree of Scandals, and the Degree of Censures to be inflicted for the same.  But in this ye wrong our Paper, very sadly;  For, it does not at all speak of Censures, or the Measure thereof committed to these Persons, but only the trying and searching out the Measure of the Scandal; and by Trying and Searching, there, we do not understand, a judicial Trying, and Searching, but only private and popular, by Way of Information; not that we might judge or censure the Person, if scandalous: But, that we might have a Judgment of our own Duty, how to carry towards him; and if the Measure of the Scandal would bear the Weight of our Withdrawing from him:  Non per modum ſpecialis Delegationis, ſed per modum communis Charitatis;  not by Way of special Delegation, but by Way of common Charity, which is no Act of the Keys: And this is very clear; seeing our Paper makes no Mention of Censure, tho’ ye allege the same upon it.  Also Charity, which thinketh no Evil, would put this Construction upon our Words, seeing they can so well bear it. {36} Again, the Word (Try) is taken in this Sense, 1 John 4.1., Try the Spirits, which Epistle is not written to Church-Guides only: Suchlike, Rutherford, in his Peaceable Plea for Presbytery, Chapter 7, page 83, Disclaims a Representative Church, in a common Sense; which is a Number sent by a Community, to give Laws, absolutely tying: As if Believers should say, We resign our Faith and Conscience to you, to hold good whatsoever your determine, without Repeal, or Trial: Now, doth not this make it clear, that our Words will bear this Sense?  All that we understand and express by them, is also competent to Professors of the Faith; as Acts 17.11, These of Berea received the Word with all Readiness of Mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether these Things were so.  Now, these were the Believers in Berea, and not the Church-Guides, as is clear in the 12th verse, where it is spoken of Women, who are not admitted to bear any Office in the Church:  Moreover, Acts 11, These of the Circumcision contended with Peter, for an alleged Scandal, for eating with the Uncircumcised; and he rehearses the Matter from the Beginning, and expounds it in Order to them.  From this, I do not draw (with the Independents) that the Power of censuring Church-Guides is in the Hands of the People; as in their Argument from the forecited Place:  But, I hold what holy and learned Rutherford saith, in Answer thereunto, in his Peaceable Plea, Chapter 4, pages 51,52, (to wit) That Peter, or any Church-Guide, is to purge himself before any one Brother of a Scandal: Yea, the Necessity of his Salvation, and so the Law of Nature forbids to offend the weak, and willeth him to purge himself, if he were a Pope, saith Occam.  If Peter had {37} done Wrong, he was obliged to confess his Scandal before one offended Brother, and also, before all the Church: But that proveth not Jurisdiction in the Believer.

Lastly, If this belong not unto People, they have nothing but a blind implicit Faith; and what better are they than Papists, who must believe as the Church believes?  Yea, hath not every private Christian a Judgment of Discretion, even in reference to the Actions of others? seeing they are to do nothing doubtingly, but to be fully persuaded in their own Minds, Rom. 14.5,23.  But some (I know) say, That Withdrawing from a scandalous Person, is a Censuring of a scandalous Person; and to withdraw from a scandalous Minister, is to depose him, and make him no Minister.  But this I deny; for simple Withdrawing is not the Inflicting of a Censure, but only the Believers' testifying their Sense, that the Censure should be inflicted (to wit) by such as are competent: And this is warranted by Scripture, Rom. 16.17. Eph. 5.11. 2 Thess. 3.14. and many such like Places.  Also, Rutherford saith, in his Peaceable Plea, Chapter 4, page 25: That the Law of Nature will warrant a popular and private Subtraction and Separation from the Ministry of a known Wolf and Seducer; And alloweth what Parker saith, from Saravia, Licet tutela inculpata uti, ſi malus Rector ab Eccleſia deponi nequit.  It is lawful to use that blameless and just Defence, if the bad Church-guide cannot be deposed.  Any private Person may take that Care for the Safety of their Soul, that they may do for the Safety of their Bodies: For a Son may defend himself, by flying from his distracted Father, coming to kill him; and none will call this an Act judicial {38} of Authority, but only an Act natural.  Now, I say, private Separation from scandalous Persons, is no depriving of them, if they be Pastors; nor an excommunicating of them, if they be Professors: For, the latter is an Act of Authority, belonging to these to whom Christ hath given the Keys; but the former is an Act Natural, belonging to every Believer.  Likewise, if Withdrawing from a scandalous Person be a Censuring of scandalous Persons, then the Professors who withdraw from the Curates, do censure the Curates; which I hope no sound Presbyterian will say.  Howbeit, I distinguish betwixt a Person scandalous really, and a Person scandalous judicially; and between a Church in a settled State, and a Church in a broken State.  So, I say, when a Church is in a settled State, a Person really scandalous cannot be withdrawn from, until (at least) he be judicially, by Two or Three Witnesses, convicted, before the Church, Rutherford’s Peaceable Plea, Chapter 9. page 117. seeing that the Brethren offended have Church-Judicatures to appeal unto, for taking Order with Offenders: But when the Church is in a broken State, and every Man (as the Children of Israel, when they wanted Governours) doing that which is right in his own Eyes, there may and should be Withdrawing from a Person scandalous really, tho’ he be not scandalous judicially; because then Ecclesiastick Judicatories, for censuring of him, cannot be had: Otherwise, all must go into a mixed Confusion together; the Faithful must become Partakers of other Men’s Sins, private and popular Means of reclaiming offending Brethren shall be stopt, and the Testimonies of the Faithful shall fall to the Ground.  But (mark it) I am not, even in this Case, for a {39} Rude, Off-hand Withdrawing, until private Admonition (according to Christ’s Method) once and again, prove ineffectual; and the Offender declare his Obstinacy.  Now, I beg that ye would consider how heavy a Charge ye have laid upon us, by asserting, That we have overturned Presbyterian Government even to the Foundation, and put in its Room a popular Confusion; seeing your Grounds are bottomless.  And as to this I shall say no more: But ye have a Way, Sir, of drawing stretched Consequences from Words and Sentences, (which I cannot join with) as ye have done from the foresaid Words, in our foresaid Reply; as, to all unprejudiced Persons, may be manifest.  As also, from that Word [Treacherous] in our Protestation, against the Scottish Congregation at Rotterdam, asserting and writing, That the foresaid Word [Treacherous] imports a Design to betray: But, for my own Part, I could never see that it imported more than a practical Deserting of Duty, or Betraying of Trust, abstracting from the Person’s Design; and I never knew another Commentary upon it: And I desire to know, what Way Treacherous (express’d Zeph. 3.4) will bear your Sense.  Also, great Mr. Durham, in his Treatise upon Scandal, doth say, "That the Term, Malicious, is not to be referred to the Design of the Person; tho’ Malicious be still taken in as bad a Sense as Treacherous."  Ah! the Lord behold our Case.  James Russel spreads of us, That we went off at the Left-hand, by admitting scandalous Persons amongst us: And ye write of us, That we went off at the Right-hand, by devolving the Church-power upon the Shoulders of the People; So we are beat upon both Hands.  The Lord help us. {40}

Secondly, Ye say, We have most unhappily thrust in our selves into the Magistrate’s Room, and taken to us the Civil Government.  Wherefrom do ye draw this? From our declining the Magistrates, because Tyrants?  Then every Man declining a Prelate, because a Church-Officer not of Christ’s Appointment, thrusts himself into the Prelate’s Room, and takes unto himself the Ecclesiastick Government; And what great Absurdity will be here?  But mistake me not; for I will not misinterpret your Words: Ye say, That, if every Man of us, for himself, had said, he could not own the Magistrates and the present Government, because Tyrants and tyrannical; there had been little to be said; especially if we had done as we said, striving like Men to cast off that Yoke.  But, granting it had been so, there would have been something to be said; for little to be said, imports something to be said; and I know many said very much, even against the Matter of that Deed:  Also, we could have said more, than that we, every Man for himself, could not own the Government, because Tyrannical; and the Magistrates, because Tyrants: For we could have said, We, for our selves and all our Adherents, and all these by whom we were sent and commissionated for that Deed, could not own the foresaids; and that the Law of God, the Law of Nature, and the fundamental Laws of our Land, and our Covenants, did oblige all the Subjects of the Kingdom (especially these who yet profess Adherence to our Covenants) to do, as we have done: And this is all that I understand, by any Words in our Declaration (about which ye make so much Matter of Debate.)  Also, how can it be instructed, that we have acted as a Convention of Estates?  The mere {41} Disowning of the present Government and Governors, doth it not; for that is an Act radical and natural.  And as for the Expression itself, in our Lanerk Declaration, (used in the Historical Relation of the Sanquhair Declaration preceeding) to wit, Convention of Estates; What needeth so much Fighting about it, seeing ye know our Mind?  Famous Mr. Rutherford saith, in his Peaceable Plea, Chap. 9. p. 107. That he lists not to strive about Names.  We crave only that Right, that God and Nature hath given us; and, come in behind us, or go out before us who will, let us have our own Place.  Howbeit, as to me, these Words, that ye fight so much against, in our Declaration, may bear a safe Sense, tho’ I disown the Sense ye put upon them: For, as to Convention of Estates, I understand it not in a formal and proper Sense, extending itself judicially over the whole Land (altho’ all were obliged to have concurred with us, by reason of the Duty of the Action:) But in an improper and figurative Sense; Yea, may it not be said by Synecdoche? the better Part getting the Denomination of the Whole; They acting jointly, by common Consent, and explicit Commission, for that Effect, from several honest Sufferers, in various Corners of the Land, in the Name of all their Adherents; and founding upon the Law of Nature, the fundamental Laws of the Kingdom, and our laudable Constitutions.  And as to the other Expression, in our Lanerk Declaration, to wit, In our Name and Authority; I understand it not as importing the Authority of the Judge, but the Authority of the Law, which certainly they had; they keeping by the fundamental Laws of our Land. {42}

And as to that, in our first Declaration at Sanquhair, viz. Representatives of Church and Covenanted Nation: What Absurdity is there in saying, that these Elders, who keep closest by the lawful Constitutions of a Church, are the Representatives thereof?  And People of a Covenanted Nation, who keep closest by their Covenants, (even tho’ they were never so few) are the Representatives thereof, as it is covenanted; tho’ not in an Authoritative and Nomothetical, yet in a material and Participial Sense; as it hath a Relation to the Word from whence it is derived, that is, Representatives, not as it is strictly taken, for these who are clothed with formal Authority; but as it is largely taken, for these who do represent, or are in the Place of others, doing that which all, whom they represent, are obliged unto, from the Nature of the Thing.  But I do not hold, that these Declarations were emitted by a formal Judicatory, as having the Authority of any Judge; for as yet, I see not how some Persons, as having Ecclesiastick Authority, and others, as having Civil Authority, could authoritatively concur in one Action: I leave this to the Tyrant’s Council, which is made up of Lords Spiritual and Temporal, as they call them.  So, I look upon the Declarations to be emitted by the Publishers, as free Subjects, for themselves, and these, from whom they were commissionated, for that Effect; and all Others their Adherents.  And, for mine own Part, I wish that these Words had been otherwise express’d, that so they might not have admitted of such various Senses.  Nevertheless, I still think, where there is a cordial Agreeing with the Matter and Intent of these Papers, there would not be any such Enveighing against these Expressions; especially {43} seeing the Minds of the Owners thereof are sound (even anent the same) and their Meaning good.  And I wonder greatly how ye can exclaim so much against the foresaid Names, seeing we told you many Times, in our Conferences together, our Judgment concerning them, That we owned them not in the Sense that ye put upon them; And that, rather than that Debate should be kept up, upon such a Head merely; tho’ we could not resile from them in any safe and sound Sense, wherein we ourselves could take them; yet, for Union’s Sake in the Lord, we would be content to lay them aside, desiring no more of any, who would join with us, (as to that Head) than their cordial Agreement with the Matter and Intent of our foresaid Declarations.  Yet, notwithstanding of all this, ye often recurred upon these Words at our Meeting, and now have written, That we have most unhappily thrust our selves into the Magistrates Room; And that we continue most unhappily to manage Civil Affairs.  Seeing that ye know our Minds, Sir, why will ye make Men such Offenders for Words? suppose they could bear no safe Sense at all: Will such a Spirit be helpful to the healing of our Breaches? And how comes it, that in the Relation, which ye give of our Conferences, ye say, That we have disowned such Things, and in this your Letter ye say the contrary, asserting, that we continue yet, most unhappily to manage Civil Affairs.  And whereas ye say, There would have been little to be said, especially if we had done as we said, striving like Men to cast off the Yoke: We have done as the Lord gave us Spirit and Ability; and he hath assisted many of us, (O Praise be to him alone for it) to wrestle to our utmost Breath, and to leave our Blood both on Scaffolds and Fields, {44} in Testimony against the Wrongs done to our Lord Jesus, by that Tyrannical Government.  And I think People should not speak much of our doing little, until they do more themselves.  And for my own Part, I wish, the Lord might polish and raise up a Party, whose Zealous, Christian, and Manly Actions, might obscure all ours: For, the Glory is only due to the Lord, and not to any Creature; and a Self-denied Christian will desire, that all Instruments’ Hands may be hid, to the End that the Lord’s Hand may the more appear; so that, he may get all the Praise of the Work.  Now, from this, I wish, ye may see how groundless your Accusation is.

Thirdly, You say, That we have imposed most unhappy Restrictions upon Ministers, in the Exercise of their Ministry.  I think, this poor mistaken Remnant, never in the least intended any Restrictions on Ministers; but only desire that they may declare unto them the Mind of God faithfully, both anent the Sins and Duties of our Day; they would have Ministers taking a Liberty to preach up all Duties, and down all Sins: This is no Restriction, neither is it any Imposition; neither is it a prescribing Rules to Ministers; for the Word of God hath prescribed this Rule, Isa. 58.1, Shew my People their Transgressions, and the House of Jacob their Sins.  Jer. 15.19, If thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my Mouth: But this is a pleading with our Mother, Hosea 2.2.  And a saying to Archippus, Take heed to the Ministry, which thou hast received of the Lord, that thou fulfil it. [Col. 4.17.] And this the Scriptures do allow, and this I hope ye will not deny: But to prove your Assertion, I know ye will instance the first Call given to the {45} Ministers, which ye did see yourself long before I saw it; yet what needs this? seeing it was so frequently told in publick, that, that Call was not owned by us, as to all, (especially the lesser Things in it) for, Pudor est nemini in meliora transire, it is a Shame for no Man to mend the least Thing that is amiss.  Should not every Christian (in whatsoever Capacity) be still stepping forward unto better? seeing there is neither Perfection, nor Infallibility here.  I must say, the more Tenderness should be used towards a poor wasted and bleeding People, chased by a cruel Enemy, as Partridges in the Wilderness, their Blood spilt in great Measure; yea, and left in the Dark by their Leaders: Especially seeing they are so willing to receive Instruction, and to take with any Thing that ever looked like the least Wrong among them.  Which Thing I have not yet seen in others; for they defend even their gross Scandals, and will not acknowledge any Offence, in particular among themselves, through the whole Tract of our Defections.

Further, Ye wrong us, when ye say, That Because they cannot preach upon such and such Terms, we call them silent and unfaithful, and require disowning of them. For, before ever these Terms were offered to them, by the suffering Party, which, I wish, had been yet undone; we were in the same Case and Circumstances as to them, that we are in to this Day.  And as for the Question put to these, who are admitted to sit in our General Meeting, &c. It is, anent the joining with the complying, silent and unfaithful Ministers of the Time: It is not my Concern now, to defend in Application to particular Persons; yet I ask,  First, Whether or not are there any such in Scotland?  2dly, If {46} there be any such, whether or not should they be joined with?  3dly, If they are to be joined with, what mean such Scripture Precepts, Rom. 16.17. 2 Thess. 3.14.  And what mean our General Assemblies to Decree, That complying Ministers with the Adversaries, and silent and unfaithful Ministers anent the Sins of the Time, (if persisting in them) ought to be deposed.  And, 4thly, Whether or not that which will bear the Weight of Deposition, will bear the Weight of Withdrawing, when Deposition cannot be had, the Ministers persisting in their offensive Courses?  Now I hold, that People are not to judge Ministers, yet they are to have a Judgment of their own Duty, how to carry toward Ministers: I am against Peoples desiring any Thing of Ministers, but what is divinely bound upon them by the Word of God; and Ecclesiastically by our National and Solemn Covenants, and Acts of our General Assemblies; so this is not the People's Imposition, Restriction, or Binding, but what is bound by the Authority of God and the Church: And if these Ties were regarded, as they should be, honest People would be satisfied themselves, and otherwise constructed by others; and there would not be such Differences, when we descend into Particulars.

Now, I desire from real Charity towards you, that ye would weigh Matters in the Balance of the Sanctuary, which is even, and impartial; and forbear your far-fetched and sickly Consequences, which ye draw from honest Actions.

Also, I thought fit to insinuate unto you here, that there are some Things in the Relation of what past at our Conference, as it were resumed by you before our General Meeting, which I can sufficiently {47} prove, to be, in a great Part, misrepresented, as afterwards (if Need be) may be made manifest.  But as to what ye have said, in your Letter, of me in particular; I heartily forgive you, and shall be very brief in my Reply.

Ye say, First, That I have written, in a Letter to a Friend in Ireland, That there is not a Minister in Scotland, England, or Ireland, faithful, save One.  I humbly and kindly desire, That ye would consider upon what Grounds ye have said such a Thing: For the Charge I deny; and the Expression (yea, such a Thought) would savour so much of the basest of Self, (which, tho’ it be as our Skin, wherein our Flesh and Bones are enchambered, and so Nature is most tender of one Penny-breadth of it) that therefore I would abhor it.  If I have written any Thing of the Unfaithfulness of Ministers indefinitely; yet it is a Weer-drawing of Words, or a wrong drawn Consequence, to infer, that I have said, There is none Faithful in Britain or Ireland, save One; for it is not unusual in the Scriptures to speak indefinitely of a Plurality, that which is to be instanced of any of that Sort: See Mr. Dickson upon Matth. 27.44.1  I shall say no more as to this, but, God pardon the Unfaithfulness of Ministers; and let their Deeds prove who have been faithful, and who not.

Secondly, Ye say, That, by my own Confession, I am not a Minister of this Church; which I altogether deny: For, that which I said, was, That I am a Minister in that Place wherever I have a Call from the People, and do embrace it: And if your Assertion will follow from this truly, I see not well; but I am short-sighted always.  There are several other Things in your Letter, anent which I was thinking to have written unto you; but I being loth to trouble you, and the Things themselves not so material, I shall forbear; only desiring, that what I have said, ye would not take in ill Part: For, so far as I can see into mine own Heart, it is neither Self, nor Prejudice, that hath moved me unto it; but merely, that Truth may be cleared, and that the Actings of the poor, wounded, suffering Party, may not be so sadly misrepresented, to the great Detriment of the Cause of Christ.  Also, I beg, ye would not give Ear to Busy-bodies, and Tale-bearers, their Whispering in your Ears: For such have had no small Hand in Wid’ning of our Breaches: I wish they may have Pardon of God for what they have done.  O that the Lord's Elect were agreeing together in Truth! O that all these, that shall agree in Heaven, were agreeing upon Earth!  I think, if my Blood could be a Means to procure it, I could willingly offer it up, upon that Account: But {48} I speak as a Fool.  O that all the Lord’s People were searching out their Sins, taking with their Guilt, mourning for, and forsaking their Iniquities!  This would be yet some Branch of Hope.  But that is coming, which will make many change their Thoughts: For I write it, and abide by it, That the Lord is coming with a Flood of his Anger upon Scotland; and ere his Controversies be ended, he will work a strange Work in the Land: For, as Micah 7.11,12,13, Altho’ that, in the Day that her Walls are to be built, the Decree shall be far removed, and they shall come to her from Sea to Sea, and from Mountain to Mountain: Notwithstanding, the Land shall be desolate, because of them that dwell therein, for the Fruit of their Doings.  O happy are they, who are going into their Chambers, and closing Door and Windows about them, that Wrath may have no Entry in!  O happy they, who are sighing and crying, for all the Abominations that are done in the Earth!  But, in the mean Time, it doth not a little quiet and comfort me, that Christ hath told, That the Government is upon his Shoulders, and he knoweth how to erect a glorious Fabrick out of a Mass of Confusion; and I believe, he will make the succeeding Generation to reap a glorious Fruit of the sad Sufferings and Contendings, that have been in our Day.  Not to trouble you further, I wish Peace and Truth may be your Companions.  I am,

SIR,

Your Soul’s Welwisher,

And Friend in Christ Jesus,

JAMES RENWICK.

 

Footnotes:

1. The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth: Christ suffereth at the hands of those that were crucified with him: it is not unusual in the Scripture, to speak indefinitely of a plurality, that which is to be instanced of any one of that sort: for the meaning is, that not only common beholders, and formerly known enemies, did mock our Lord, but also the two thieves hanging now on the cross beside him, justly condemned for their robbery, were not free of mocking the innocent Son of God; for one of them did cast the same scoff in his teeth also. DOCTRINE: (1.) It is no wonder to see the innocency of Christ's followers mocked by rascals; for our Lord did suffer cruel mocking by a condemned robber. (2.) Straits and torment will not tame a reprobate, even on the threshold of hell he will blaspheme God, without a cause offered, as here is to be seen.—David Dickson