« PreviousContinue »
cause of much sin, so also of much misery and calamity unto this land; and holds forth to us the grievousness of our sin, of complying with malignants in the greatness of our judgment, that we may be taught never to split again upon the same rock, upon which the Lord hath set so remarkable à beacon. And after all that is come to pass unto us because of this our trespass; and after that grace hath been shewed unto us from the Lord our God, by breaking these men's yoke from off our necks, and putting us again into a capacity to act for the good of religion, our own safety, and the peace and the safety of this kingdom, should we again break this commandment and covenant, by joining once more with the people of these abominations, and taking into our bosom those serpents, which had formerly stung us almost unto death; this, as it would argue great madness and folly upon our part, so, no doubt, if it be not avoided, will provoke the Lord against us, to consume us, until there be no remnant nor escaping in the land.
And albeit the peace and union betwixt the kingdoms be a great blessing of God unto both, and a bond which we are obliged to preserve unviolated, and to endeavour that justice may be done upon the opposers thereof; yet some in this land, who have come under the bond of the Covenant, have made it their great study how to dissolve this union; and few or no endeavours have been used by any of us for punishing of such.
We have suffered many of our brethren, in several parts of the land, to be oppressed by the common enemy, without compassion or relief. There hath been great murmuring and repining, because of expence of means, and pains in doing of our duty. Many, by persuasion or terror, have suffered themselves to be divided and withdrawn, to make defection to the contrary part: many have turned off to a detestable indifferency, and neutrality in this cause, which so much concerneth the glory of God, and the good of these kingdoms; nay, many have made it their study to walk so, as they might comply with all times, and all the revolutions thereof. It hath not been our care to countenance, encourage, intrust, and employ such only, as from their hearts did affect and mind God's work; but the hearts of such many times have been discouraged, and their hands weakened, their sufferings neglected, and themselves slighted; and many, who were once open enemies, and always secret underminers, countenanced and employed: nay, even those who had been looked upon as incendiaries, and upon whom the Lord has set marks of desperate malignancy, falsehood, and deceit, were brought in, as fit to manage publick affairs: many have been the lets and impediments that have been cast in the way, to retard and obstruct the Lord's work; and some have kept secret, what of themselves they were not able to suppress and overcome.
Besides these, and many other breaches of the articles of the Covenant in the matter thereof, which it concerneth every one of us to search out and acknowledge before the Lord, as we would wish his wrath to be turned away from us; so have many of us failed exceedingly in the manner of our following and pursuing the duties contained therein; not only seeking great things for ourselves, and mixing of our private interests and ends concerning ourselves, and friends, and followers, with those things which concern the publick good; but many times preferring such to the honour of God, and good of his cause, and retarding God's work, until we might carry along with us our own interests and designs. It hath been our way to trust in the means, and to rely upon the arm of flesh for success, albeit the Lord hath many times made us meet with disappointment therein, and stained the pride of all our glory, by blasting every carnal confidence unto us: we have followed for the most part the counsels of flesh and blood, and walked more by the rules of policy than fiety, and have hearkened more unto men than unto God.
Albeit we made solemn publick profession before the world, of our unfeigned desires to be humbled before the Lord for our own sins, and the sins of these kingdoms, especially for our undervaluing of the inestimable benefit of the gospel, and that we have not laboured for the power thereof, and received Christ into our hearts, and walked worthy of him in our lives; and of our true and unfeigned purpose, desire, and endeavour, for ourselves, and all others under our power and charge, both in publick and private, in all the
duties which we owe to God and man, to amend our lives, and each one to go before another in the example of a real reformation, that the Lord might turn away his wrath and heavy indignation, and establish these kirks and kingdoms in truth and peace; yet we have refused to be reformed, and have walked proudly and obstinately against the Lord, not valuing his gospel, nor submitting ourselves unto the obedience thereof; not seeking after Christ, not studying to honour him in the excellency of his person, nor employ him in the virtue of his offices; nor making conscience of publick ordinances, nor private nor secret duties; nor
studying to edify one another in love. Ignorance of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ, prevails exceedingly in the land; the greatest part of masters of families, amongst Noblemen, Barons, Gentlemen, Burgesses, and Commons, neglect to seek God in their families, and to endeavour the reformation thereof; and albeit it hath been much pressed, yet few of our nobles and great ones, ever to this day, could be persuaded to perform family-duties themselves, and in their own persons; which makes so necessary and useful a duty to be misregarded by others of inferior rank; nay, many of the Nobility, Gentry, and Burrows, who should have been examples of godliness and sober walking unto others, have been ringleaders of excess and rioting. Albeit we be the Lord's people, engaged to him in a solemn way; yet to this day we have not made it our study, that judicatories and armies should consist of, and places of power and trust be filled with, men of a blameless and Christian conversation, and of known integrity, and approven fidelity, affection, and zeal, unto the cause of God; but not only those who have been neutral and indifferent, but disaffected and malignant, and others who have been profane and scandalous, have been intrusted : by which it hath come to pass, that judicatories have been the seats of injustice and iniquity; and many in our armies, by their miscarriages, have become our plague, unto the great prejudice of the cause of God, the great scandal of the gospel, and the great increase of looseness and profanity throughout all the land. It were impossible to reckon up all the abominations that are in the land; but the blaspheming of the name of God, swearing by the creatures, profanation of the Lord's day, uncleanness, drunkenness, excess and rioting, vanity of apparel, lying and deceit, railing and cursing, arbitrary and uncon. trouled oppression, and grinding of the faces of the poor by landlords, and others in place and power, are become ordinary and common sins; and besides all these things, there be many other transgressions, whereof the lands wherein we live are guilty. All which we desire to acknowledge and to be humbled for, that the world may bear witness with us, that righteousness belongeth unto God, and shame and confusion of face unto us, as appears this day.
And because it is needful for those who find mercy, not only to confess, but also to forsake their sin; therefore, that the reality and sincerity of our repentance may appear, we do resolve and solemnly engage ourselves, before the Lord, carefully to avoid for the time to come all these offences, whereof we have now made solemn publick acknowledgment, and all the snares and tentations which tend thereunto; and to testify the integrity of our resolution herein, and that we may be the better enabled in the power of the Lord's strength to perform the same, we do again renew our Solemn League and Covenant; promising hereafter to make conscience of all the duties whereunto we are obliged, in all the heads and articles thereof, particularly of these that follow.
1. Because religion is of all things the most excellent and precious, the advancing and promoting the power thereof against all ungodliness and profanity, the securing and preserving the purity thereof against all error, heresy, and schism, and namely, Independency, Anabaptism, Antinomianism, Arminianism, and Socinianism, Familism, Libertinism, Scepticism, and Erastianism, and the carrying on the work of uniformity, shall be studied and endeavoured by us before all worldly interests, whether concerning the King, ourselves, or any other whatsomever. 2. Because many have of late laboured to supplant the liberties of the kirk, we shall maintain and defend the kirk of Scotland, in all her liberties and privileges, against all who shall oppose or undermine the same, or encroach" thereupon, under any pretext
whatsomever. 3. We shall vindicate and maintain the liberties of the subjects, in all these things which concern their consciences, persons, and estates. 4. We shall carefully maintain and defend the union betwixt the kingdoms, and avoid every thing that may weaken the same, or involve us in any measure of accession unto the guilt of those who have invaded the kingdom of England. 5. As we have been always loyal to our King, so we shall still endeavour to give unto God that which is God's, and to Cesar the things which are Cesar's. 6. We shall be so far from conniving at, complying with, or countenancing of, malignancy, injustice, iniquity, profanity, and impiety, that we shall not only avoid and discountenance those things, and cherish and encourage these persons who are zealous for the cause of God, and walk according to the gospel; but also shall take a more effectual course than heretofore, in our respective places and callings, for punishing and suppressing these evils; and faithfully endeavour, that the best and fittest remedies may be applied for taking away the causes thereof, and advancing the knowledge of God, and holiness and righteousness in the land. And therefore, in the last place, as we shall earnestly pray unto God, that he would give us able men, fearing God, men of truth, and hating covetousness, to judge and bear charge among his people; so we shall, according to our places and callings, endeavour that judicatories, and all places of power and trust, both in kirk and state, may consist of, and be filled with, such men as are of known good affection to the cause of God, and of a blameless and Christian conversation.
And, because there be many, who heretofore have not made conscience of the oath of God, but some through fear, others by persuasion, and upon base ends and human interests, have entered thereinto, who have afterwards discovered themselves to have dealt deceitfully with the Lord, in swearing falsely by his name; therefore we, who do now renew our Covenant, in reference to these duties, and all other duties contained therein, do, in the sight of him who is the Searcher of hearts, solemnly profess, that it is not upon any politick advantage, or private interest or by-end, or because of any terror or persuasion from men,
or hypocritically and deceitfully, that we do again take upon us the oath of God, but honestly and sincerely, and from the sense of our duty; and that therefore, denying ourselves, and our own things, and laying aside all self-interest and ends, we shall above all things seek the honour of God, the good of his cause, and the wealth of his people; and that forsaking the counsels of flesh and blood, and not leaning upon carnal confidences, we shall depend upon the Lord, walk by the rule of his word, and hearken to the voice of his servants. In all which, professing our own weakness, we do earnestly pray to God, who is the Father of mercies, through his Son Jesus Christ, to be merciful unto us, and to enable us, by the power of his might, that we may do our duty, unto the praise of his grace in the churches. Amen.
THE PUBLICK WORSHIP OF GOD;
AGREED UPON BY THE ASSEMBLY OF DIVINES AT WESTMINSTER, WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF COMMISSIONERS FROM THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND,
AS A PART OF THE COVENANTED UNIFORMITY IN RELIGION
BETWIXT THE CHURCHES OF CHRIST IN THE KINGDOMS
OF SCOTLAND, ENGLAND, AND IRELAND:
AN ACT OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, AND ACT OF PARLIAMENT, BOTH IN ANNO 1645, APPROVING AND ESTABLISHING
THE SAID DIRECTORY.
1 Cor. xiv. 40.—Let all things be done decently, and in order.
Ver. 26.-Let all things be done unto edifying.