... for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?—Canticles 1.7.
The Apologetick Declaration, & Admonitory Vindication
True Presbyterians of the Church of Scotland:
Especially anent Intelligencers & Informers.
ALbeit we know, that the people of God in all ages have been cruelly persecuted & maliciously reviled, by Apostates from & enemies to the Truths of our Lord Jesus Christ; yet such hard usage & virulent reproachings, hath not (at least ought not to have) abated the zeal of tender hearted Christians, in the prosecution of holy & commanded duties. Therefore, as hitherto (through Grace assisting) we have not been driven to lay aside necessary obliging Duties, because of the viperous threatenings of men, who are given up of a Holy & wise God to lay out all their might & power, for promoving a course of wicked profanity, by virulent persecution & ignominious Calumnies (to all of whom nevertheless that are reconcilable unto God we heartily wish Eternal salvation) So we Declare our firm resolution of constant Adherence to our Covenants & engagements, whereby we are bound to have common friends & foes with our Covenanted Reformation, & to look upon what is done to one as done to all of us; And also our unanimous adherence to our faithful Declarations, wherein we have disowned the authority of Charles Stewart (not authority of God’s institutions, either among Christians or Heathens) & all authority depending upon him, for reasons given elsewhere (Disclaiming all such things as infer a magistratical relation betwixt him & us) And wherein also we have Declared war against him & his accomplices, such as lay out themselves to promote his wicked & hellish designs. Therefore, that therein our mind may be the more clearly understood, & for preventing further mistakes anent our purposes, We do hereby jointly & unanimously Testify & declare; that as we utterly detest and abhor that hellish principle of killing all who differ in judgment or persuasion from us, it having no bottom upon the word of God or right reason; so we look upon it as a duty binding upon us, to publish openly unto the world, That, forasmuch as we are firmly & really purposed not to injure or offend any whomsoever, but to pursue the ends of our Covenants, in standing to the defence of our glorious work of Reformation, & of our own lives: yet (we say) we do hereby declare unto all, that whosoever stretch forth their hands against us, while we are maintaining the Cause & Interest of Christ against his enemies, in defence of the Covenanted Reformation; By shedding our blood actually, either by authoritative Commanding, such as bloody Counsellors (bloody, we say, insinuating clearly by this & other Adjective Epithets, an open distinction, betwixt the cruel & blood-thirsty, & the more sober & moderate) Especially that (so called) Justiciary, General of forces, Adjutants, Captains, Lieutenants, & all in Civil, & Military power, who make it their work to embrue their hands in our blood; or by obeying such Commands, such as bloody Militia men, malicious Troopers, soldiers, & Dragoons; likewise such gentlemen & Commons, who through wickedness & ill will ride & run with the foresaid persons to Lay search for us; or who deliver up any of us into their hands to the spilling of our blood; By enticing morally, or stirring up enemies to the taking away of our Lives, such as designedly and purposedly advise, counsel, & encourage them to proceed against us to our utter extirpation; By informing against us wickedly, wittingly, & willingly, such as viperous & malicious Bishops & Curates, & all such sort of Intelligencers, who lay out themselves to the effusion of our blood, together with all such, as, in obedience to the enemies their Commands, at the sight of us, raise the hue & cry after us; yea & against all such, as, compearing before the adversaries their courts upon their demand, delate us & any who befriend us, to their & our extreme hazard & suffering: We say, All & every one of such shall be reputed by us Enemies to God & the Covenanted work of Reformation, & punished as such according to our power & the degree of their offence; chiefly if they shall continue after the publication of this our declaration, obstinately & habitually, with malice to proceed against us any of the foresaid ways; not at all exeeming from present punishment, such as formerly have been chief ringleaders & obstinate offenders; And withal leaving room for Civil & Ecclesiastick satisfaction before Lawful & settled judicatories, for the offences of such persons as our power at this time cannot reach, or the degree of [their] punishment according to their offences is hard for us to be determined. Finally we do hereby declare that we Abhor, condemn, & discharge any personal attempts, upon any pretext what somever, without previous deliberation, common or competent consent, without certain probation by sufficient witnesses, the guilty person’s Confession, or the notourness of the deeds themselves. Inhibiting also & discharging any of our Emissaries whom soever, to stretch forth their hands beyond the certainly known degrees of any of the foresaid persons their offences.
Now let not any think (our God assisting us) we will be so slack handed in time coming, to put matters in execution, as heretofore we have been, seeing we are bound faithfully & valiantly to maintain our Covenants & the Cause of Christ: Therefore let all these foresaid persons be admonished of their hazard. And particularly all ye Intelligencers, who by your voluntary Informations endeavour to render us up to the enemies’ hands, that our blood may be shed: for by such courses ye both endanger your immortal souls, if repentance prevent not, seeing God will make inquisition for shedding the precious blood of his saints, whatever be the thoughts of men, And also your bodies, seeing ye render yourselves actually & maliciously guilty of our blood, whose innocency the Lord knoweth: However, we are Sorry at our very hearts, that any of you should choose such courses, either with bloody Doeg [1 Sam. 22,] to shed our blood, or with the flattering Ziphites [1 Sam. 23.19; 26.1,] to inform persecutors where we are to be found. So we say again, we desire you to take warning of the hazard that ye incur, by following such courses: for the sinless necessity of self-preservation, accompanied with holy zeal for Christ’s reigning in our Land & suppressing of profanity, will move us not to let you pass unpunished. Call to your rememberance, All that is in peril is not lost, & all that is delayed is not forgiven. Therefore expect to be dealt with as ye deal with us, so far as our power can reach; not because we are acted by a sinful Spirit of revenge for private & personal injuries; but mainly because, by our fall Reformation suffers damage; yea the power of Godliness, through ensnaring flatteries & terrible threatening, will thereby be brought to a very low ebb, the consciences of many more Dreadfully surrendered, & profanity more established & propagated.
And as upon the one hand we have here declared our purposes anent malicious injurers of us; so upon the other hand, we do hereby Beseech and obtest, All you who wishes well to Zion, to shew your good will towards us, by acting with us, & in your places & stations, according to your ability counselling, encouraging, & strengthening our hands, for this great work of holding up the standard of our Lord Jesus Christ. Think not that in any ways ye are called to lie by neutral & indifferent, especially in such a day; for we are a people by holy Covenants Dedicated unto the Lord, in our persons, Lives, Liberties, & fortunes, for defending & promoving this glorious work of Reformation, notwithstanding all opposition that is or may be made thereunto, yea, & sworn against all neutrality & indifferency in the Lord’s matters: And moreover we are fully persuaded, that the Lord, who now hideth his face from the house of Jacob will suddenly appear, & bring Light out of darkness, & perfect strength out of weakness, And cause judgement to return again to righteousness.
Thus having declared our deliberated, Lawful, & necessary purposes, concerning this matter; In order to the publication of the same, we do hereby statute & ordain that upon the eighth day of November copies of this our Declaration be affixed upon a sufficient & competent number of the publick mercat Crosses of the respective burghs, & of the patent doors of the respective kirks within this Kingdom.
Given at upon the 28 October 1684.
Let King Jesus reign, & all his enemies be Scattered.
[ This text is presented above as it was published in the original 1687 Informatory Vindication; which may be considered the most authentic available, being published by those who adhered to the declaration. Minor corrections of errors and adjustments to the spelling of some words have been made. This and other Declarations were adhered to afterward by the United Societies, as they explain in their Informatory Vindication, "for the matter, substance, & scope of them, as accommodated to the times wherein they were exhibited, according as we explain them afterward, Head 2."—JTKer. ]