... for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?—Canticles 1.7.
A C T
Appointing the Obſervation of a
With the CAUSES thereof,
PENTLAND, 15th April O.S. 1759.
The Presbytery enquiring for the Draft of the Causes of fasting Mr. Lynd was enjoined to prepare at last meeting, the same being transmitted by him to the Moderator, was produced, read, and approven after some amendment; whereupon the Presbytery appoint the 3rd Thursday of May next O.S. being the 20th day of that month, to be observed as a day of solemn fasting and humiliation by all the people under their inspection for the following causes.
The Presbytery having considered that God both by his mercy and judgments has endeavoured to effect our Return to himself as formerly [by] the sword and lately the famine, together with all the awful commotions abroad at present, whereby he dashes the potsherds of the Earth one against another; yet we harden our hearts more and more and refuse to be reclaimed, tho’ God hath continued with us the light of the glorious Gospel, the most affecting method of bringing sinners from death and wrath to life and Eternal Glory, Giving his precepts for our Guide, his promises for our encouragement, assuring us of happiness for our reward, and for a perpetual monitor proclaims his tremendious wrath against the unfaithful and disobedient, yet the most enormous crimes are perpetrated in all the corners of the land.
1st. Such as the abominable practice of cursing, swearing, lying, pride, profanity, drunkenness, sabbath breaking, fornication, adultery, covetousness, theft, Treachery, Murderers, fraud, unjustice and Cruel Oppression of the poor, by all which God is highly dishonoured and the Land greatly polluted; many of those so tolerated as that the Committers thereof pass with impunity; many of them also committed by persons of a more strict profession of Religion, Whereby Religion is contemned and sinners hardened still the more.
2nd. The breach of the Land’s Solemn Engagements and that obstinately & avowedly defended; sinful ensnaring Oaths substituted in their Room as a Just cause of God’s resentments & dreadful wrath: What Nation hath ever broke Covenant with God and prospered; shall any nation take the Crown from Christ’s head and give his titles to an aspiring Mortal; will not the Lord visit for these things and his soul be avenged on such a nation as this?
3rdly. The shedding of the saint’s blood — a dreadful guilt lying yet both upon crown and kingdom unlamented of.
4thly. A Depriving the people of their Rights both sacred & Civil, overturning the Lawful & setting up a prelatical & Erastian supremacy instead of a Glorious Reformation.
5thly. An unbounded toleration for almost all sectaries and opinions is established by a law, whereby heresy & blasphemy is audaciously maintained in the most public places of the Land, to the great Dishonour of God, injuring of truth, and subversion of souls.
6thly. That sad neutrality and indifferency in matters of Religion has seized upon all Ranks of all Denominations: a lamentable security under the hiding [of] God’s face.
7thly. Because we have withdrawn our dedication from the Lord, & divided our love and zeal from him, he has Divided us from one another both in judgment and affection.
8thly. Tho those bearing the presbyterian name have more freedom to be zealous now than in the days of our fathers, yet they are more remiss and careless, & some under specious pretences seem to be zealous for some parts of Reformation, yet do not include the whole, but strenuously contradict that which is absolutely necessary for the well-being of the Rest, by which many are influenced to think nicety [carefulness] in Religion is only a matter of speculation.
9thly. The great Contempt of Gospel ordinances, [and also] trusting in them instead of Christ the fountain from whence all their spiritual virtue flows.
For these and many other causes as lasting Grounds of God’s Controversy with these Lands, the Presbytery desires to be humbly affected and sincerely to mourn over these transgressions before the Lord; that finding mercy in supplicating the throne of his grace, they may comfortably experience his gracious return again to have Compassion to subdue their iniquities & cast all their sins into the depths of the Sea, &c.
Extracted by Jeremy T. Kerr, 2018.12.28, from Digital Images of the Presbytery’s Minute-Book.