And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul.—Acts 4.32.

[A Vindication of Mr. James Gilchrist, by A Dissenting Presbytery of the Church of Scotland.]
 
THE
V I N D I C A T I O N
OF
Mr. JAMES GILCHRIST,
Minister of the Gospel at Dunscore,

FROM

The Unjust and Calumnious Aspersions, wherewith he is charged, in a Lybel sent to him by the pretended Presbytery of Drumfreis, upon the 8th. of July 1715 Years. 2ly. His Answers to the Grounds of their Act of Deposition. 3ly. Reasons to justifie his preaching, &c. after Deposition. 4ly. His Parish’s Declaration of Adherence to him as their minister, after his Deposition.

* * * *
* * * *


  Printed in the Year 1716.

 
TrueCovenanter.com Editor’s Note:

This document is provided as being of great Historical Value and as an excellent example of Faithful Contendings for our Covenanted Reformation and against Tyranny within the Judicatories of the Apostatizing Church of Scotland. We are sorry that Messrs. Gilchrist, Hepburn, & Taylor never came wholly forward to joining with the Mr. M’Millan and the rest of the faithful dissenters of their day, though we are confident that they are in fellowship together now. We wish only to remark in this instance, that we find their contendings herein commendable in all things except these two: (1.) That although they condemn the Presbytery and Synod of Drumfreis, as well as the National General Assembly itself, as pretended, and having no authority in their judicatures as they were then constitute, they do not here clearly condemn their own having ever joined in with the Revolution Church; and, (2.) That although they steadfastly resisted the Erastian encroachments upon the church, and even declared against the admission of George as king, as an unlawful overturning of the Covenanted Reformation and violation of our Covenant engagements, yet they do not declare him to be no-king and without legitimate Civil Authority. On these points, we refer the reader to the contendings of Mr. M’Millan, the "Society People," and later Reformed Presbyterians.

Lastly, let the reader be informed that the following document was originally accompanied with "A VINDICATION of Mr. John Ruddoch, Student of Divinity, by exhibiting sufficient Testimonials, in Opposition to some Reproaches cast on him," which Vindication was not included in the copy from which the following text was prepared, and is therefore not available at the present time.

 

TO THE
CHRISTIAN READER,
IN Order to the Right and Impartial Judging of the following Vindications, it’s hoped the Christian and Impartial Reader, will please seriously consider, That even the most Eminent Prophets in Israel, who bare faithful Testimony against the gross Corruptions of the Backslidden Church of Israel, Yea, and also our LORD JESUS CHRIST, were reproached and condemned by that Church. And if such Things were done in the Green Tree, What shall be done in the Dry? And how maliciously and falsely, famous Mr. Cameron, Mr. Renwick, and Mr. Shields were reproached, is generally well known to the present Generation. And if the Church of Israel in Time of her gross Apostacy had the Heaven-daring Impudence and Wickedness to reproach and condemn our Blessed and Glorious Redeemer himself, tho’ in the mean Time she professed to be the true Church of God; How easy is it for the Church of Scotland, pretending to be the true Protestant Presbyterian Covenanted Church of God, in the Time of her gross and notour Defections, to reproach and maliciously condemn all Ministers and Professors, who bear Testimony against her gross Defections, and who will not join with them in Communion, tho’ still justifying, and growing in grosser Defections! And it’s to be noticed, That not only the corrupt Church of England plead (with the Church of Rome) That it was Duty for Christ’s Apostles and other Disciples to join in Communion with the Scribes and Pharisees, tho’ they denied his Divine Nature, holding him to be a Mere Man, and an Earthly King; and charging him with Gluttony, Drunkenness, and Treason against their King, Cæsar; a Seducer of the People, a Sorcerer that had a Devil and cast out Devils by Beelzebub: And upon these false Accusations, condemned and put to Death our blessed Redeemer; and continued obstinately defending all they had said and done against him: But also the Ministers of the National Church of Scotland are maintaining the same, as is notour in Print, and surely the Scribes and Pharisees are an abominable Example. 2dly. Let it be considered, That tho’ a Church has once been a most famous pure Covenanted Church, yet when once she is deeply involved in Defection and gross Corruption, She will not only condemn the Doctrine, and reproach {4} the Person of the greatest Prophet, (so did the Jews to CHRIST himself) but will also obstinately set herself against all Convictions to Reformation, by the plain Word of God, and sworn Principles of their Fore-fathers, maintained in the purest Times of that Church. Yea, they’ll beat their Brains, and rack their Wits endlessly, to have the last Word of Dispute, with Tongue and Pen to wrest the Word of God, and the Faith and Covenant of their Fore-fathers; to defend their Corruptions and Defections: So did the Jews against CHRIST, so have Papists and Prelatists done: And the LORD in Mercy stop the present Church of Scotland from doing any more this Way; in palliating and defending Mr. Simpson’s Errors; and the Lawfulness of the Incorporating Union of the Two Nations, by which the whole Constitution of England, including Erastian Supremacy, Prelacy, and English Popish Ceremonies, is established, contrary to the plain Word of GOD, and our Covenants: And in defending the Oath of Abjuration, which obliges to maintain that Incorporate Constitution, which this Church did undeniably approve also, by accepting the Act of Security, as a fundamental and essential Article of the Establishment of that Union; And the Jurants have solemnly ratified it by their Oath. 3dly. Let it be considered, That it is the common Course of a backslidden Church, who resolves to defend her Defections, for saving her Credit among her People; She bends her Tongue like a Bow for Lies, in reproaching all that oppose her Defections: So did the Jews against that Eminent Prophet Jeremiah, Chapter 9.3, and hired the Soldiers to reproach CHRIST for a Deceiver after he was buried: Matt. 28.12,13. And is it not also (on the By) a great Reproach to CHRIST, to establish and swear to maintain Erastianism, which is another Headship over the Church than CHRIST’s Headship. 4thly, It is to be carefully marked, That a Church once resolved to defend her gross Defections, not only says with the Papists, calumniate boldly all that protest against them, and who will not join in Communion with them, and something will stick; But also, she practically maintains her Infallibility on Account of the Knowledge and Wisdom of her Ministers and their judicial Authority: Because say they, Surely all the Assembly of a Church be wiser, and know better what true Principles are, and what is lawful, than a few. We are the Church, and therefore, let us smite them with our Tongues; every Minister of us through the whole Church, let us go to the highest Sentence of Excommunication, that they may be no more regarded; let us hound forth the Civil Powers upon them, to transport them among the Heathen. See how the corrupt Church of the Jews condemned Jeremiah, chapter 18.18. And afterwards the LORD JESUS himself after this Manner: And yet that absurd Argument prevails with many in our Day, tho’ it be contrary to the Word of GOD, and to the 20th Article of the Old Scots Confession of Faith, which saith, If a Council or Assembly forge any New Article of our Faith, or make any New Act or Statute which is repugnant to the Word {5} of God, then utterly we must refuse the same as the Doctrine of Devils. And so, tho’ a Church should have as many learned Ministers as there are Men upon the Earth, yet if their Acts be not warranted by the Word of GOD, they must be rejected; and all the Learning in the World cannot make acts agreeable to the Word for defending the Corruptions of a Church.

These things being duly considered, the judicious impartial Reader will judge the more rightly of the Strength and Validity of the following VINDICATIONS. And it was thought necessary to print even Mr. Gilchrist’s Vindication from the Libel, 1mo. To let the World see the Presbytery of Dumfreis their Malice against him, particularly in aspersing him with marrying a Man to his Mother, and marrying others without Proclamation of Bands. See the sixth Article of the Libel answered; nor could the Ministers of Sanquhar and Holywood, where these People lived, and who thus aspersed him, act ignorantly herein; for the People lived near by them. 2do. Because little of the Libel being proven, yet great Pains are taken to impress People every where at a Distance, with the Truth of all the Articles of the Libel: And what further Stories they may spread of him, he knows not; but he is known in the West of Scotland, where he lived all his Time, till he came within these sixteen Years to this Place, he, and every one of his Family, instructed with sufficient Testimonials (which they can yet produce) from all Places where they resided.

All Care shall also be taken in the following Vindications, to shun all personal Reflections or Recriminations, as much as the Nature of a necessary Vindication will allow; tho’ he is ill served by that Presbytery: For it’s known, he stopped the giving in some Complaints against some of them, to the Commissioners of the Assembly met at Penpoint, July One Thousand Seven Hundred and Fourteen.



Mr. James Gilchrist his Vindication
from the Libel, &c.

IN ORDER to give the more solid Satisfaction, to all unbiased Christians, First, Mr. Gilchrist shall give the Reasons why he could not appear before, nor subject to the said pretended Presbytery of Drumfreis. Secondly, Shall thereafter demonstrate the Injustice and Calumnies of the Charge, in the particular Articles of the said Libel.

As to the first of these, to wit, The Reasons why Mr. Gilchrist could not appear before, nor subject to the Authority of the pretended Presbytery of Drumfreis, they are as follows:

1st. Because, he in Conjunction with the Reverend Mr. John Hepburn, Minister of the Gospel at Orr, and the Reverend Mr. John Taylor, Minister of the Gospel at Wamphray, and some hundreds of Christian Professors, amongst whom were the Inhabitants of the Parish of Dunscore, did on the 13th Day of April, last offer to the pretended Synod of Drumfreis, then sitting, a Protestation against the Constitution, Authority, Acts, and Proceedings of the said pretended Synod, whereof the said pretended Presbytery of Drumfreis are Members; and upon the above said Synod’s refusing to receive and record the above said Protestation, Mr. Gilchrist caused read the said Protestation, at the most patent Door of the Church of Drumfreis, before a Body of People, and did in his own Name, and in Name of those conjoined with him in the said Protestation, as above said, and likewise in Name of all who shall adhere to this Protestation, take Instruments in the Hands of the Notary. The Grounds and Reasons of which Protestation, being the notour and gross Defections from the Covenanted Reformation of the Church of Scotland, in purest Times, whereof the present National Church of Scotland, and Synod of Drumfreis in particular, is guilty; as the said Protestation plainly bears: On Account of which Defections, it was necessary Duty for Ministers and Christian Professors, adhering to the above said Covenanted Reformation, to protest against the Constitution, Authority, Acts, and Proceedings of the said pretended Synod, as being no lawful Judicature of the Covenanted Church of Scotland; and therefore seeing Mr. Gilchrist adheres to the said Protestation, he cannot appear before, nor subject to the Authority of the pretended Presbytery of Drumfreis.

2dly, Because it appears from the fifth and eighth Articles of the Libel, That the said pretended Presbytery state themselves both Judge and Party, by their Libeling Mr. Gilchrist on Account of the Protestation above said, against {7} themselves: Which is so much the more unreasonable, Because,

3dly, Their Malice and Injustice towards him, have formerly plainly appeared in several Instances, viz. First, In that they, contrary to the Principles of the Covenanted Reformation, some Years before the Oath of Abjuration was Imposed, Delated Mr. Gilchrist to the Assembly, and it’s Commission, as a Delinquent to be Censured; because he did not obey the Erastian Power of the Civil Magistrate, in keeping and observing of National Fasts and Thanksgivings, ordinarily appointed, as to Time and Causes, by the Civil Magistrate, in the settled National Church of Scotland. Secondly, Some Years before the above said Oath was Imposed, the Presbytery of Drumfries understanding that Mr. Gilchrist kept some Meetings, with the Reverend Messrs. Hepburn, Reid, and Murray, and some Christian Professors; The said Presbytery at their Private Censures removed Mr. Gilchrist, and before he was called in, had insert a Minute against him to this Purpose; That they Admonished Mr. Gilchrist, for keeping some Meetings; and to be Orderly with his Brethren: And notwithstanding that both Mr. Gilchrist and Mr. John Somervel Minister of Carlaverock Resented that general as very unfair, because it might tacitly insinuate (being on Record) both to the present and succeeding Ages, that Mr. Gilchrist had been guilty of Haunting Debauched or Popish Meetings; Yet the Presbytery would not be prevailed with to tell for what Kind of Meetings they Censure him; And it is hence evident, that in so doing the Presbytery did unjustly and Maliciously fix a Defamatory Insinuation upon Mr. Gilchrist’s Reputation, by such a general as the very Heathens would Condemn. Thirdly, The Injustice of the said pretended Presbytery appears in this, That in April last, when their pretended Synod was sitting, Mr. Gilchrist standing before the Church Door, was Publickly called in by their Officer to come in, and sit down as a Member of the Synod, which Mr. Gilchrist can prove by many Witnesses, tho’ they deny it in their Libel. And when he went in, he told them that he could not sit down as a Member; And he offered his Reasons in Write, urging that they might be Read, Recorded, and Extracts given: And tho’ Mr. Paton, Moderator, by Order of the Synod, invited Mr. Gilchrist to sit down as a Member, and caused Mark Mr. Gilchrist’s Refusal, yet contrary to Reason, Justice, and Form, they utterly refused to hear and Record Mr. Gilchrist’s Reasons of his Refusal; but on the contrary, without ever hearing Mr. Gilchrist’s Reasons, the said Mr. Paton, as Moderator of that pretended Synod, in great Rage and Fury, called for a Magistrate to Incarcerate Mr. Gilchrist; And that failing him, Commanded the Beddal to thrust Mr. Gilchrist, by the Shoulders, out of the Church Door, for no other Cause, but requiring to Read and Record the Reasons why he could not sit down, and Join as a Member of that pretended Synod. Lastly, The said pretended Presbytery doth in the Libel evidence their Malice and Injustice, so far as even to Level against his Life; Seeing in it they Charge him with Sedition {8} and Disloyalty, most unjustly, as afterward shall be made evident. And seeing also it is known, that the Lords of Justiciary, when sitting at Drumfries, some time before the Oath of Abjuration was Imposed, did Order Inferior Judges to take a swinging Fine (as they termed it) from the Ministers who did not keep and observe the Fasts, and Thanksgivings appointed, both as to the Time and Causes by the Magistrate; By whose Instigation the Lords of Justiciary did appoint the same, Mr. Gilchrist shall not determine now, but leave it to all unbiased Persons to consider.

And therefore upon account of all these Reasons abovesaid, Mr. Gilchrist cannot in consistency with the true Covenanted Reformation of the Church of Scotland, in Purest Times, nor in safety to his Person and Cause, appear before, own, or subject to the Authority and Sentence of the said pretended Presbytery of Drumfries.

Before Mr. Gilchrist Answer to the Articles of the Libel in particular; First, It must be considered, that the Libel is Irrelevant, as plainly appears, First, Because the first and second Articles of the Libel, viz. Anent the Poinding [seizing] and the Bond are Civil Causes, and Competent only to the Civil Judicature, at the first Instance, in a settled Government, wherein Justice was to be had without false Collusion; and Mr. Gilchrist was never Convened before the Civil Court on account of the same, by the Parties alleged to be Leased. Secondly, These two Articles foresaid are alleged by the Libel itself to be Scandals of Nine or Ten Years Old, and so it is contrary to the Form of Process, Chapter 1, Paragraph 4, where it is declared, If a Scandal happen not to be Noticed in order to Censure for the space of Five Years, it should not again be revived, so as to enter in a Process thereanent, unless it be of a heinous Nature, or become [pl]ain flagrant, but the Consciences of such Persons ought to be seriously dealt with in private, to bring them to a sense of their Sin and Duty.

But so it is, that it is well know to the Parish of Dunscore, and Neighbouring Parishes, that Mr. Gilchrist was never Charged with being guilty of any of these Scandals, nor was there ever any flagrant Report of any of them, as Scandals, till the pretended Presbytery of Drumfries, within these few Months endeavoured to spread, Report, and fix these Scandals on Mr. Gilchrist.

It is also undeniable, That neither the said pretended Presbytery, nor any of them, ever dealt with Mr. Gilchrist’s Conscience, as they ought to have done if he had been Guilty, according to their own Form of Process; and if Mr. Gilchrist had been Guilty, how came the said Presbytery never to Libel him till now? Surely, that is most unaccountable in that Pretended Presbytery, to have Connived at such Gross and Flagrant Scandals, if they had been Flagrant: But on the contrary, they Invited him to sit down as a Member of their Synod in April last, without so much as Insinuating their Charging him with any of them. {9}

3dly. The Libel is Irrelevant, Because contrary to the Form of Process, Chapter 7, Paragraph 3. None have given in to the Presbytery under their Hands, these Complaints, with some account of their Probability, and obliged themselves to make them out, under the pain of being Censured as Slanderers: Till which had been done, it was unlawful, and contrary to the Form of Process, for the said pretended Presbytery, so much as to Cite Mr. Gilchrist. And in Pursuance of which Form of Process, the General Assembly, Anno 1714, obliged the Reverend Mr. James Webster, Minister in Edinburgh, to make out the gross Errours and Heterodoxies, Charged by him upon Mr. John Simpson, Professor of Divinity in the College of Glasgow. And sicklike [suchlike], The Synod of Drumfreis Obliged the Reverend Mr. James Murray, Minister in Penpont, to make out some Scandals delated by him upon Mr. Simon Riddel, Minister in Tinron; And the like late Instances are Notour, in the Case of Mr. Thomas Laurie, late Minister in Closburn, and Mr. Patrick Home, Minister in Kirkmichael, and Mr. William Thomson, Minister at Tunnergirth: Nor can the pretended Presbytery above said, plead any Advantage from the Exception in the Form of Process, in the Case of their own Vindication, when the Scandal is Flagrant; For in the Instances aforesaid, as the Scandals were more Gross and Flagrant, so the Judicatories were more necessarily obliged, for their own Vindication, to have Prosecuted without an Informer, binding himself to make out the Scandals, and yet they would by no means do so, notwithstanding these Scandals above-said were truly Flagrant; Whereas the pretended Presbytery above-said, did Industriously spread the Report, and Endeavour to fix Scandals on Mr. Gilchrist, anent the Poinding [Seizing], and the Bond, and several other Articles in the Libel.

4thly. The Libel is Irrelevant, Because in it they say, They appoint their Officer to summon Mr. Gilchrist to appear before them, and to Answer to the above-written Libel, and what further shall be laid to his Charge. Whereby in this Libel they Order to summon Mr. Gilchrist, contrary to Law and Reason, and to Answer Accusations Extra Libellum, i.e. without Libel, which renders this Libel Irrelevant, and contrary to the Church’s Form of Process, Chapter 7, Paragraph 5.

Having thus shown the Reasons, why Mr. Gilchrist could not appear before, nor Subject to the Authority of the pretended Presbytery of Dumfreis; And also, the Irrelevancy of the Libel, In the next place, he Answereth to the Articles of the Libel; And seeing it is plainly Evident from the Reasons above said, that Mr. Gilchrist and the Parish of Dunscore, were Necessitated to Call the Reverend Messrs. John Hepburn, Minister of the Gospel at Orr, and John Taylor, Minister of the Gospel at Wamphray, together with Ruling elders, to Constitute themselves into a Judicature, and to Cognosce and Determine Judicially upon this Affair of Mr. Gilchrist’s, which accordingly they did, at the Kirk of Dunscore, on the 18th of July, {10} 1715, the Reverend Mr. Hepburn being Moderator; which was Publickly done, not only in Presence of the Body of the Inhabitants of the Parish of Dunscore, but also of very many People from the Neighbouring Parishes: The Judicature, having Constitute by Prayer, did remove Mr. Gilchrist, and asked at the Heritors, Elders, and Heads of Families in the Parish of Dunscore, if they knew any thing in Mr. Gilchrist’s Doctrine, Diligence, and Faithfulness in his Office of the Ministry, or in his Life and Conversation, during the whole Time of his Ministry in that Parish, That was Scandalous or Unbecoming a Minister of the Gospel of JESUS CHRIST?

To which they all Unanimously Answered, they knew nothing in his Doctrine, Diligence, and Faithfulness in his Office of the Ministry, or in his Life and Conversation, during the time of his Ministry, amongst them in that parish, that was Scandalous, or Unbecoming a Minister of the Gospel of JESUS CHRIST; and that they were very well satisfied with him, and Resolved to adhere to him as their Lawful Minister. And the Heritors, Elders, and Heads of Families of the Parish of Dunscore present, earnestly desired the Judicature, to cognosce and determine Judicially upon the Libel against Mr. Gilchrist, sent to him by the Pretended Presbytery of Drumfreis; Whereupon he being called in, the Libel was Read.

The first Article is, viz. he is Alleged Guilty of Injustice and Oppression; Insofar as upon one or other of the Days of April One Thousand Seven Hundred and Five, contrary to Law, he caused Poind [seize] two Milk Kine from James Kaily then in Carse, now in Cowhill (they being all the Milk Kine the Poor Man then had to subsist his Poor Numerous Family upon) and when the Sum they were Appreciate at, was offered to him, he refused to Accept it, but kept the Man’s Two Kine in his own Custody.

In Answer thereto, First, Mr. Gilchrist made Evident by his Procurator’s Hand Write, who Managed that Poinding for him, that he Poinded these Cows according to Law: And that the Matter is Misrepresented by the Presbytery, which he refers to the Person concerned his Oath.

2dly. James Kaily, from whom these Cows were Poinded, Deponed Judicially, That he Transacted with Mr. Gilchrist, upon the Morrow after these two Cows were Poinded, and was to Pay One Hundred Merks Scots to Mr. Gilchrist, Fifty Merks of it in his Hand, and that the said James Kaily was to give his Bond to Mr. Gilchrist for the other Fifty Merks of the said Sum, and that upon Performance of the Payment of that Hundred Merks, the Two Cows that were Poinded and Aprised were to be returned back to the said James Kaily. And further Depones, That he the said James Kaily was dissuaded from the Performance of the Payment of the said Hundred Merks, and therefore did not Perform it: And further Depones, That upon Performance of the Payment of that Hundred Marks, that the said James Kaily was to be freed for {11} his own Part of the rest of the Money, Owing for Stipend out of the Mains of Carse, where he was half Manurer at that Time, the Sum for which he was Charged at Mr. Gilchrist’s Instance, being about Three Hundred Merks or thereby, but being Dissuaded, did not Pay it.

And John Grier, Portioner of Edgartoun, Judicially Deponed, That he Remembers, that he heard the said James Kaily at that time say, that he was Dissuaded from the Performance of the said Paction with Mr. Gilchrist.

The second Article, viz. He is alleged Guilty of Falsehood and Cheating, in so far as he Caused draw a wrong Bond by John Hunter of Craigenputtock, for Five Hundred Merks Scots, belonging to a Widow Woman called Bessie M’segan in Bershawallow in the Parish of Dunscore, who could not write, and trusted the drawing of the Bond to him, the Bond being so Drawn, that the Money was Payable to her if Alive; And Falsifying of her by Death, to the said Mr. James Gilchrist, his Heirs Executors and Assignees, yet the said Bessie had given no Consent to the Drawing it that way, but was Totally Ignorant of Mr. Gilchrist’s Name being put into the Bond, for it being laid up in a Chest, and when she was Sick afterwards, it being brought out by some of her Friends, to whom she designed to leave that Money, Mr. Gilchrist’s Name was found in the Bond, and Bessie declared then and many times since, that she knew nothing thereof, nor ever designed such a thing, and she was Necessitate to get a Transmission of the Debt made in Favours of her Friends, to prevent its falling to Mr. Gilchrist, not without much Trouble and Expenses. This he was Guilty of, upon the Twenty Eight, or one or other of the Days of June 1706 Years.

It is Answered, the Charge is unjust, which Mr. Gilchrist maketh Evident by the Depositions of James Coggan in Cottack, a Subscribing Witness to the Bond, and William Hunter of Craigenputtock Cautioner and Writer of the Bond, both yet alive in the Parish of Dunscore.

James Coggan Deponed, That Craigenputtock asked her in the time of the writing of the Bond, Bessie, art thou willing to leave this Money to Mr. Gilchrist after thy Decease? She answered, Yes, and then he asked, if she was willing to leave it to his Heirs after him? And she said, Indeed was she, indeed was she; And after the Bond was written, it was Read over to her by William Hunter, the Writer of the Bond, before the Witnesses Subscribed, and she made no Objection against it; And that the said Deponent was one of the Witnesses Insert in the said Bond.

William Hunter of Craigenputtock Deponed, That he wrote the Bond granted by his Father to Bessie M’segan for 500 Merks Scots Money, to be paid to Mr. James Gilchrist, or his Heirs at her Decease, according to his Judgment and Memory: And to the best of his Remembrance, it was read in her hearing before it was Subscribed by the Witnesses. And further Depones, That she was most willing at that Time, and made no Objection against that Bond it’s being given to Mr. Gilchrist; And that she was present in the Room all the Time of Writing and Subscribing that Bond, so far {12} as he remembers. All which Witnesses were Purged Solemnly of Malice and Partial Counsel, and signed, or caused the Clerk sign for them, their Depositions in the Minutes yet extant.

And seeing there can be no better Evidence than the Writer and a Subscribing Witness in the Bond, it is plainly evident by their Depositions abovesaid, that tho’ Bessie M’segan had said what is contained in that Article of the Libel (which yet she denied before several Witnesses) yet the Article is proven to be false Accusation.

The Third Article, viz. He is alleged guilty of Seditious Doctrine, and Disloyal Practices, insofar as 1mo. Upon one or other of the Days of June 1713, in his Sermon at Dunscore Kirk, he made it his Business to Vilify and Reproach the Protestant Successor, through his whole Discourse; And among other things said, That some were much taken up about a Protestant Successor; but was not a Quaker a Protestant? An Anabaptist a Protestant? And went on to shew his Auditors that these were as good Protestants as the Lutherans: And agreeable to this manner of Doctrine, before King George’s Accession to the Throne, when his Succession was in greatest Danger, he never Prayed in Publick for the Succession in the Family of Hanover. 2do. He Publickly testified his Disloyalty to King George, insofar as he neglected to observe the Thanksgiving which was appointed to be kept the 20th of January last 1715, for our King’s Happy and Peaceable Accession to the Throne; But on the contrary kept a Day of Fasting and Humiliation, some Days near to that.

As to the first Branch of that Article, Mr. Gilchrist denieth that ever he made it his Business to Vilify or Reproach the Protestant Successor. Secondly, As to the only Instance adduced in that Article of the Libel, Mr. Gilchrist answereth, That the Scope of his Discourse at that Time, was to hold forth the Indispensable Obligation of our Solemn Covenants, whereby all Ranks of Persons in these Lands are obliged to Extirpate Popery, Prelacy, Erastianism, Heresy, Error, Schism, and Profaneness, and whatsoever is contrary to sound Doctrine, and the Power of Godliness; According to which Solemn and Indispensible Obligations these Nations are bound to require as a Necessary Condition, in order to Invest our Kings with the Power of Regal Government of these Nations, that they be not only Protestants, as the Word Protestant in a Common general Acceptation, in Opposition to Papists signifies, or to Prelatists, Socinians, Arminians, Anabaptists, Quakers, and many other Sects Abjured by our Covenants: But that these who are Invested with the Regal Power of Ruling these Lands, by the Bond of our Covenants, ought to be Protestants of truly Reformed Principles according to the Word of GOD, our Confession of faith, and Covenants: And this is the plain Language of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Anno 1648, Sess. 21. And accordingly King Charles the Second was obliged at {13} his Coronation, Anno 1651, as is evident by the Book of the Form and Order of his Coronation, though King Charles was a Protestant Successor, as he was the Eldest Lawful Son of King Charles the first, and of Episcopal Persuasion, yet that Protestant Persuasion was not sufficient for his being made King of Scotland, But before ever the Nation of Scotland would Invest him with Regal Power, or Swear Allegiance to him, as their Lawful King, they required of him, as an Absolutely necessary Condition, that he should declare himself to be of Presbyterian Principles, and take the Covenant.

And in Conformity to this Scope intended by Mr. Gilchrist in that Discourse, he did adduce some Arguments for refuting that Tenet, maintained by Jurant Ministers; To wit, That it is enough for the Kings of these Lands if they be Protestants at all of any Persuasion, and we ought to Swear Allegiance to them, without any Hesitation on account of their Persuasion of Religion; For that Tenet of the Jurants is contrary to our Covenants, and likewise contrary to the Judgment of the Covenanted Church of Scotland, in the case of King Charles the Second as abovesaid. And seeing Mr. Gilchrist was refuting the Jurants Tenet abovesaid, he doth not deny but he had some Expressions to this Purpose; Is not a Quaker, or an Anabaptist, or a Socinian a Protestant, as well as a Lutheran? In the Jurants general Sense of the Word Protestant, in Opposition to a Papist. And that is true: And his saying that a Quaker, or an Anabaptist, or a Socinian is a Protestant, in that general Sense, as well as a Lutheran, doth not say in common Sense that he said a Quaker, or an Anabaptist, or a Socinian is as good a Protestant as a Lutheran; For the Church of England owns, That Lutherans are Protestants as well as English Prelatists; but they do not count Lutherans to be as good Protestants as English Prelatists, and therefore they obliged the King to lay aside Lutheranism, and Solemnly Swear to be of the Communion of the Prelatick Church of England.

2dly, Mr. Gilchrist wonders how Jurants should find fault with him because his Argument did import, That the Kings of this Land ought not to be of the Lutheran Protestant Persuasion; First, Because our Covenants warrant Mr. Gilchrist in saying so. Secondly, Because the English Laws and Coronation Oath oblige the King to lay aside Lutheranism, and to be only of the Communion of the Prelatick Church of England, which tho’ indeed it is contrary to our Solemn League, yet excludes Lutherans. Thirdly, Because the Jurants by the Oath of Abjuration did swear George out of Lutheranism; For by that Oath they swore he should be King according to the Legal Establishment of the Succession, Settled and Determined by the English Acts of Limitation, and further Limitation; In which Settlement it is made a Fundamental Law, that the Kings and Queens of England shall, at their Coronation, solemnly swear to be only of the Communion of the Prelatick Church of England; And so Jurants have {14} sworn King George out of Lutheranism, and Presbyterian Persuasion also, and other Persuasions of the Protestant Religion, except English Prelacy.

And it is unjust and Disingenuous in the pretended Presbytery to cull out a Part of Mr. Gilchrist’s Argument, without taking the rest of it also: For at that rate they may render any Minister’s Sermon Ridiculous, yea, at that rate they may expose Sacred Scripture to Ridicule and Contempt.

As to the second Branch, viz. His not Praying in Publick for the Succession in the Family of Hanover, before King George his Accession to the Throne, when his Succession was in greatest Danger:

Mr. Gilchrist Answers, First, That it is notour to the Congregation, that he Prayed for ordinary in Publick against the Popish Pretender.

2dly, That the Lord would always Bless these Nations with a Protestant, of sound Principles agreeable to the Word of GOD, to sit upon the Throne of these Lands, that may Rule in the Fear of GOD, for the Advancement of true Piety, and our once Famous Reformation; Or to this Purpose.

3dly, Mr. Gilchrist Confesseth, he did not Pray according to the Form of Words prescribed by the Act of Parliament. (1.) Because he sees no Warrant in the Word of GOD, for a Parliament’s prescribing set Forms of Prayers to Ministers of the Gospel. (2.) Because that Act of Parliament Commanded and Required Ministers to Pray for the Establishment of the Protestant Succession in the illustrious Family of Hanover, as the same is settled by Law; Which undeniably includes all the Conditions, and Provisions of Government, to which King George is now sworn by his Coronation Oath of England, for maintaining English Erastian Supremacy, Prelacy, and English Popish Ceremonies. And these being contrary to Presbyterian Principles, and our Covenants, Mr. Gilchrist could not in Conscience Pray for a Mode, or Form of Constitution of Succession Established by a Law, which includes all these as Fundamental Articles of that Succession. (3.) It is clear by the Letter from the Court of Hanover, Printed at London, 1712, Page 10, That the settling that Succession was the Principal Reason of Uniting the Two Kingdoms, and therefore it plainly follows, by undeniable Consequence, that Praying for that Mode of Settlement of the Succession, is a Praying for the standing and constitution of the Union, in the Sense of Hanoverians themselves, which Union is contrary to, and Destructive of our Covenants. (4.) Mr. Gilchrist is not singular in this, that he prayed not for the Protestant Succession according to the Parliament-Liturgy, or set Form of Prayer appointed by Civil Laws; For there are many Ministers in Scotland well known to have taken the same Way that Mr. Gilchrist did in this Matter.

4thly, Mr. Gilchrist answereth, That his praying in Publick cannot truly, in any common Sense, be constructed to favour the Popish Pretender his Interest; But {15} on the contrary, Scots Jurant Ministers, even when King George his Succession was in greatest Danger, they published in Print, that they were ready, and resolved to swear Allegiance to the Popish Pretender, as soon as ever he should come to Conquer these Lands, as they plainly declare, in A Dialogue betwixt a Minister and Two Elders, Page 40. And in the Oath of Abjuration considered, Pages 6,7, and other Papers Printed about the Oath, which was a manifest Encouragement to the Pretender, and his Adherents to Invade these Lands, and overturn the Legal Succession settled in the House of Hanover: And to let the World see, Scots Jurants were willing, and resolved to swear Allegiance to Arbitrary French Government, in the Dialogue betwixt a Minister and Two Elders, Page 40, They say, If it were for ever, I could not in that Sense Abjure Allegiance to the King of France, for (says the Author, in name of the Jurants) I am not sure but some Time or other he may Conquer us, and if he do, it will be as Reasonable for me to Submit and bear Allegiance to him, as it was for the English Nation to Submit to William Duke of Normandy, a Prince of French Extract and Education, whose Title was founded upon his Conquest: Thus the Jurants. And if they could do more to encourage the Pretender, except they had written for him to Invade these Lands, Mr. Gilchrist leaves it to all sober and unbiased Christians to Judge. And Mr. Gilchrist shall close what he hath to say in answer to this Branch, with a Citation out of the Letter from the Court of Hanover above cited, Pages 10,11, where it is expressly said, Why was that severest of all Oaths, the Abjuration, contrived; by which it is rendered impossible for this Nation, upon any pretence whatsoever, to receive the Pretender but with the black Stigma of abominable Perjury? was this, that with the greater Reverence to Laws, and the greater Regard to a National Oath, we might all turn Tail upon our Principles, and in Defiance of GOD, and the Laws, bow our Knees to an Abjured Pretender? Surely the Hanoverians have with a Witness Condemned the Scots Jurants Tenet above said, because it bears in its Bosom the black Stigma of abominable Perjury, and a Defiance of GOD and the Laws.

The Third Breach of that Article, viz. His not observing the Thanksgiving, appointed to be kept the 20th of January last, 1715, for our King’s happy and peaceable Accession to the Throne, &c.:

To which Mr. Gilchrist Answers, That it was not out of any Affection to the Pretender, nor yet out of Disaffection to King George’s Person, that he did not keep the Day of Publick Thanksgiving on that Day, (nor had he observed such Occasions since the Union) on the Time perfixt by the Magistrate (except that in the Time of the Invasion after the Union) but his Reason was, because it is contrary to Presbyterian Principles, that the Civil Magistrate should, in a settled National Church, ordinarily appoint National Fasts and Thanksgivings, and the Causes of them; And it is notour, that it was only the King with Advice and Consent of the Prelatick Privy Council of England, that made the Act, appointing {16} the Time and Causes of that National Thanksgiving, as the Printed Act plainly bears: For tho’ the Commission put forth a sham Act, as many call it, to delude simple Well-meaning People, yet they appointed no Day at all to be kept, and so devolved the Sole Power upon his present Majesty, at his first Entry, to appoint by Magistratical Authority, all National Fasts and Thanksgivings, as to their Times and Causes.

And as to Mr. Gilchrist’s keeping a Day of Humiliation near that Time, which was a little before the Thanksgiving Day; Mr. Gilchrist Answers, That considering the many sins of this Generation, both Personal and National, and especially gross Publick Defections, such as the swearing the Oath of Abjuration, and other gross and notour Defections, There were many weighty and sufficient Grounds for keeping a Day of Humiliation. And lastly, Mr. Gilchrist answers, That it is notour to the Congregation, that for ordinary since King George’s Coronation in England, Mr. Gilchrist hath Publickly prayed for his Majesty, that the LORD would give him to see the sins lying on the Throne, and on these Lands, for which the LORD is Contending against these Nations; And that the LORD would give him Grace and Wisdom, and make his Majesty an happy Instrument for Restoring our once famous Reformation, and has oft Publickly acknowledged the LORD’s wonderful Mercy in Defeating the Designs of a Popish Jacobitish Party, and granting us yet a respite from these sad Confusions we’re threatened with.

The fourth Article, viz. He is alleged Guilty of railing and reviling Expressions against his Brethren in the Ministry, Jurants and Non-jurants, both by Word and Write; As for Instance, 1mo. Upon one or other of the Days of March last, when Preaching at, or near Whitestones in the Parish of Kirkmohoe, through the whole of his Sermon, he railed at the Ministers of this Church, both Jurants and Non-jurants, and said in a light and scoffing way, that the Ministers had blown away the Pretender with the Wind of their Mouth; As also said, that the Ministers would not get us Hanged, but they would do all they could to Prosecute us. 2do. Upon one or other of the Days of ______ 1714, and one or other of the Days of June 1715, he Preaching in Dunscore, said Publickly, That these who had taken that the Abjuration Oath were Perjured, and that there were seven Perjuries in that Oath of Perjuration, as he termed it. 3tio. Upon the 4th or 5th, or one or other of the Days of November, 1713, he expressed himself most Calumniously against his Brethren in Preaching at Dunscore, after he had been at the Publick Conference at Knockshinnoch, with some of the Ministers of Drumfreis Presbytery, anent his Separation, of which he gave his People a very partial and unfair Account; And amongst other things told the People, that these Ministers would have had him join in Communion with them again, and added, how could he join with these that were Guilty of Uncleanness at the second Bell. And some of his People being {17} stumbled at this Expression, desired him to tell, who they were, that were thus Guilty; He gave them no Answer, but some Days thereafter he Explained himself to the People, by telling them, that Spiritual Uncleanness was as ill as Corporal, and that these who had taken the Oath of Abjuration, were Guilty of Spiritual Uncleanness or Adultery, and went on thus, Comparing them to Hophni and Phinehas. 4to. In the Protestation Subscribed by him, and made Publick by him at the Kirk of Drumfreis in April last, when the Synod was sitting, by reading thereof before several People, and taking Instrument thereupon, in the Hands of a Notary Publick, with whom he left the Protestation; He Asserts, That the Generality of the present Ministers within the Bounds of the Synod are Guilty of gross Scandals; And that both the Presbytery of Lochmaben and the Correspondents that joined with them in Mr. Taylor’s Process, were Unjust, Illegal, and Tyrannical in their Proceedings; And in that Paper he Scurrilously reflects upon, and Banters his Brethren Non-Jurants, as well as Jurants, Declaring, That the Jurants did grossly Juggle with GOD and Man, and that the Non-jurants by not separating from the Jurants, have Materially Approven that Oath; and Materially Condemned their own Practice, and Pre-engaged themselves to Swear that, or the like Oaths, in Conjunction with Jurants, when ever it is Imposed.

As to the first, Mr. Gilchrist answereth, That seeing Jurants make use frequently of that Argument, that their Swearing the Oath of Abjuration, keepeth out the Pretender, notwithstanding it is an Oath that obligeth all jurants to maintain English Erastian Supremacy, Prelacy, and Popish Ceremonies, as the Act of further limitation, Printed in Folio Pag. 2, makes Evident: And so, although the End was good, that Jurants Profess they intended to keep out a Popish Pretender, yet it was an unlawful mean, to Swear to Maintain Erastian Supremacy, Prelacy, and Popish Ceremonies, which are contrary to the Word of GOD, our Principles and Covenants; And when Jurants made use of such a Wicked Argument, Mr. Gilchrist might lawfully give it such an Epithet, as well as the General Assembly, Anno 1648, Session 21, called the Associating with the Prelatists to beat the Sectarians, a joining with a black Devil to beat a white Devil. And as to the second Branch of the first Instance, viz. That the Ministers would not get us Hanged, but they will do all they can to Persecute us; Mr. Gilchrist’s Words were, They cannot cut our Craigs for shame, but they will do all they can to Persecute, and get us Banish’d: And it is Notour, that Mr. Gilchrist had sufficient Grounds to say so.

As to the 2d. Instance, Mr. Gilchrist’s Words were, That the Swearing that Oath of Abjuration was Material Perjury, but he said, as for Intentional Perjury, he would not meddle with that. And further his Words were, that a Minister of great Account, who at present keeps Communion with the Church, {18} asserted, That there were seven Perjuries in the Oath of Abjuration, and Mr. Gilchrist says according to that Reckoning, it may be well Termed the Oath of Perjuration.

As to the Third instance, concerning his giving a partial and unfair account to his Congregation, of the Conference at Knockshinnock, Mr. Gilchrist answereth, That their Charge is both General and False; as to that part of the Instance concerning Eli’s Sons, the Presbytery gives a false Representation of Mr. Gilchrist’s Words: For at that time, Mr. Gilchrist was Inveighing against the Jurants, who make it one of their Chief Arguments, to press People to join in Communion with them, notwithstanding of the Swearing the Oath of Abjuration; For the Jurants in The Oath of Abjuration, no Ground of Separation, Pag. 21, Hold That tho’ Eli’s Sons lay in Uncleanness, with the Women at the Door of the Tabernacle, yet that was no Ground for People to withdraw from Communion in Ordinances with these Priests; And Mr. Gilchrist shewing the Absurdity of the Jurants Argument said, according to the Jurants Argument, altho’ Ministers were Guilty of Uncleanness at the second Bell, it is no Ground of Separation: And all Men of Sense see that, that is a necessary Consequence from the Jurants own Printed Argument, and he never denies his saying so. And as for the Presbytery’s saying, some of Mr. Gilchrist’s People being stumbled at his Expression on that Head, and that they came to him afterwards for Satisfaction, it’s a False Charge, and so is also the rest of that Clause about comparing Spiritual and Corporal Uncleanness, as is Libeled.

The Fourth Instance, is about the Protestation, which the Libel says he Published at the Kirk of Drumfreis, when the Synod was sitting in April 1715. And says also, that he Asserts therein that the Generality of the present Ministers within the Bounds of the Synod, are Guilty of gross Scandals.

To this it is Answered, They cull out a few Words out of a Sentence, thinking thereby to get advantage against him, tho’ the Sentence be only in the Narrative of the Protestation: And therefore, he shall set down the express Words of that part of the Narrative of the Protestation, which relate to the Words Libeled, which will of themselves clear and satisfy the Reader thereanent: The Words are these, In Obedience to which Divine Commands, in Pursuance of the Ends of our Solemn Covenants, and for Revival of the Purity of Reformation, as it was Established in this Land in the Purest times; Many of us Subscribers have, for many Years, in a Christian way, earnestly Pled with several Judicatures of the National Church of Scotland, and particularly with the Synod of Drumfreis, for redress of Grievances, and Removing gross Scandals, whereof the Generality of the present Ministers within the bounds of that Synod are Guilty: For it is Nouttourly known, that the Synod of Drumfreis has been as grossly Guilty as any Synod in Scotland, of the Publickly known Defections of the National Church of Scotland, since the Revolution; Which gross Defections, are Published {19} in the humble Pleadings for the good old way, to which we refer: And moreover, it is palpably Evident, that there have been many more Scandals and Immoralities in the Lives and Practices of many Ministers of the present Pretended Synod of Drumfreis, than in any other Synod of the National Church of Scotland, since the Revolution, so far as we know, and whether some of these Scandals have been alleged to have been sinfully and shamefully Connived at, and not Censured as the Word of GOD Requires, is also Publickly known; an Instance of which was given the last Year, by the many long Papers of Grievances, containing a plain Narration of very many gross Scandals, that many Ministers of the said Synod are Guilty of; Which Papers above-said, were given in to the Commissioners of Assembly, at the Conference at Penpont in the Month of July 1714. But seeing no Redress can be obtained, &c.

Next as to that Sentence in the Protestation, which saith, That Jurants did grossly juggle, both with GOD and Man, at their taking the Oath, the Protestation itself gives a sufficient Reasons to prove it, and Mr. Gilchrist owns and adheres to it; But the Presbytery falsely Represents the Words of the Protestation, in the last Clause of this fourth Article: For the Reason given in the Protestation, shewing how Non-jurants have Materially approven the Oath, is, because the Non-jurants, who join with Jurants, have judicially declared the Swearing the Oath to be no Ground of separation from Communion with Jurants, even in the Sacrament of the LORD’s Supper; And therefore, by necessary Consequence, these joining Non-jurants, declare Judicially, the Swearing that Oath is free of Perjury and Publick Scandal: And if they Judged it an Oath contrary to our Covenants, the Swearing of it is such a gross Publick Scandal, it ought to be Removed before there could be a joining with Jurants in the LORD’s Supper: And Mr. Gilchrist owns and adheres to that, and through Divine Assistance designs to do so, for the Word of GOD Warrants him. It’s to be Noticed, the Presbytery do no quarrel the Truth or Validity of the rest of the Grounds of that Protestation, as to their going into the Union, the Tyrannical Acts of Assembly, &c.

The Fifth Article, viz. He is alleged guilty of Schism and unlawful Separation from the Communion of this Church, and of promoting Division in this Corner; In Regard, 1mo. He has withdrawn himself from all the Meetings of the Presbytery and Synod of Drumfreis, within whose Bounds he is, for more than these two Years and an half bypast, notwithstanding of the Pains that has been taken to reclaim him. 2do. Hath joined and associated himself with Mr. John Taylor, who had separated from his own Presbytery, and that even after he was suspended; and as if that had been but a small Disorder, he hath countenanced, supported, and preached with the said Mr. John Taylor, since he was deposed for Immoralities, and other scandalous Offences: And with him and such as would join with them, he hath traveled up and down the Country, in the Presbyteries of Penpont, Drumfreis, and Lochmaben, and intruded himself into planted Congregations, {20} as well as others that are vacant; particularly, upon the eighth Day of February last, and upon one or other of the Days of January, February, or March last, the said Mr. James Gilchrist with Mr. Taylor did intrude into, and preach in the Parish of Sanquhar, where Mr. Mongo Gibson is Minister; and upon the eighth of April last, or one or other of the Days of that Month, he preached in Kirkconnel, which is within the Presbytery of Penpont, and upon one or other of the Days of February last, he intruded into, and preached in the Parish of Durisdier, where Mr. Thomas Tod is Minister: And upon one or other of the Days of March last, he together with Mr. Taylor, preached at Whitestones in the Parish of Kirkmaho; And upon the twelfth of June last, he preached with Mr. Taylor in the Parish of Wamphray, setting up his Tent at the very Door of that Parish Church, in Opposition to two Ministers, that were sent by Lochmaben Presbytery to preach there; And upon the thirteenth Day of April last, he came along with Mr. John Taylor to the Kirk of Drumfreis, the said Mr. Taylor being summoned to answer for some scandalous Offences before the Synod, for which he was afterwards deposed by them; and when the said Mr. Gilchrist came into the Synod, tho’ without being called, and was desired to sit down as a Member, when Mr. Taylor was called to answer his Libel, the said Mr. Gilchrist officiously began to speak, and said, He came not there as a Member, and offered a long Paper to be read, which he said contained his Reasons for it: After which he went forth to the Church Yard, and before a great Crowd of People, caused read that Paper, which was subscribed by him, Mr. John Taylor, and many Common People, and took Instruments thereupon in the Hands of a Notary Publick.

To the first Instance, Mr. Gilchrist answers, That his Protestation shows that he has sufficient Grounds to withdraw from the Presbytery of Drumfreis.

To the second Instance, he answers, That the Sentences of Suspension and Deposition of Mr. Taylor were unjust and tyrannical; and therefore null and void, as has been sufficiently made evident in publick before considerable Bodies of honest Christian People, both in the Shires of Annandale and Nithsdale, to their Conviction of the Maliciousness, Injustice, and Nullity of these Sentences.

As to Mr. Gilchrist’s preaching in Durisdier and Kirkmaho Parishes, he owns it his Duty to supply People’s clamant Necessities, either there or elsewhere.

And as to the charging of Mr. Gilchrist with going into the pretended Synod of Drumfreis, without being called, it is false, as Mr. Gilchrist can prove by many Witnesses.

The Sixth Article, viz. He is alleged guilty of a great many Irregularities and Disorders, as to baptizing and marrying; Particularly, upon the ninth or one or other of the Days of April last, he married Thomas Lorrimore in _________ a parishioner in Sanquhar, to ____________ in the Parish of Kirkconnel without any Testimonial from the Session or Minister of Sanquhar, or Allowance from {21} the Presbytery of Penpont, or any due Proclamation of Banns; and upon one or other of the Days of February One Thousand Seven Hundred and Fourteen, or February last, he caused proclaim before a Meeting in Durisdier John Corsan in Coelstoun, and ______________ now his Spouse, both Parishioners in Glencairn, and a little Time thereafter married them in Dunscore, without any Testimonial from the Session or Minister of Glencairn; And upon one or other of the Days of June 1714, he caused proclaim, and thereafter married Robert Hidleston Weaver in Over Claudan, and Agnes Renwick now his Spouse, both Parishioners in Holywood, without any Testimonial from the Minister or Session of Holywood, or Allowance from them; And upon one or other of the Days of December 1713, or of January, or of February 1714, he without any Testimonial or Allowance from them, caused proclaim, and thereafter married Archibald Rorison in Barfreggan, and Mary Glencorse, now his Spouse, both Parishioners in Holywood; And upon one or other of the Days of August or September 1713, he caused proclaim, and thereafter married Robert Crocket, then in Clauden, now in Milliganton, and Mary Maxwel now his Spouse, both Parishioners in Holywood, without any Testimonial or Allowance from the Minister or Session of that Parish. As also he baptized many Children of Parishioners of Keir, Glencairn, Closburn, Kirkmaho, and Irongray; and particularly, several Children of Parishioners of Holywood, whereof some Instances are as follow, viz. Upon one or other of the Days of December 1712, or January or February 1713, he baptized a Child to James Paterson Taylor at Newbridge; And upon one or other of the Days of March 1715, he baptized a Child to Robert Hidleston in Nethergribtoun; And upon one or other of the Days of February, he baptized a Child to John Hidleston in Over Cloudan; All without any Testimonial or Allowance from Mr. Robert Blair Minister of Holywood, or the Session of that Parish.

Mr. Gilchrist answers, That he wonders that Ministers thought not Shame to publish such notorious Falsehoods; as first, in asserting, That he married Thomas Lorrimore without any Testimonials, or Proclamation of Banns, whereas the contrary is known to the Parish of Sanquhar; and Mr. Gilchrist has a sufficient Testimonial under the Hand of Archibald Hadden Session Clerk of Sanquhar.

2dly. It is false, That Mr. Gilchrist, in February 1714, or in February last, at a Meeting in Durisdier, caused proclaim John Corsan in Coolstone; for it’s notour the Man was married two Years ago; and the Man was never proclaimed in Durisdier. 3dly. It is false, That Mr. Gilchrist married Robert Hidlestone Weaver in Over Clouden to Agnes Renwick; for she is Mother to the said Robert Hidleston, and all Men see that evidently a base malicious Aspersion, both on Mr. Gilchrist and Robert Hidleston.

As for Mr. Gilchrist’s baptizing Children belonging to the Parishes of Holywood and Glencairn, without Testimonials from the Session of the Parishes, Mr. Gilchrist answers, 1st. It’s notour, there hath not been the Face of a Session {22} in any of these Parishes, these several Years bypast. 2dly. But never baptized any without sufficient Testimonials; Nor can any of the Ministers of these Parishes, charge any of the Parents of these Children with any Scandal: And moreover, Mr. Gilchrist and other Ministers, who withdraw from the National Church, had Allowance from Nonjurants that joined with the Church, to baptize and marry Persons belonging to other Neighbouring Congregations, that scrupled to join in their own Parishes: And tho’ Mr. Gilchrist did not then, nor yet judge That the Exercise of his Ministry depended on their Allowance, nor did he subject his Ministry to their Authority or Limitations, with whom he could not join in Communion; yet their voluntary Grant of Allowance, not being condemned by Jurants, serves to stop the Church’s Mouth.

The Seventh Article, viz. He is alleged guilty of Negligence in Church Discipline, insofar as one William Shannon in Stewarton, and Margaret Bennoch, who lived formerly in the Parish of Dunscore, being guilty of a Relapse, into the Sin of Adultery, committed in Berthawallow, before they removed out of Dunscore; And the Minister of Glencairn by Appointment of the Presbytery of Penpont, having written to the said Mr. James Gilchrist, That they had after their coming to the Parish of Glencairn within that Presbytery, been called before the Presbytery, and confessed their Guilt; The Woman went to Mr. Gilchrist herself, and owned the Confession they had made, and thereafter desired to be entered upon Satisfaction; and the Man sent one to him to signify the same; but he would not receive or allow them to give Satisfaction: And tho’ this was upon one or other of the Days of _______ One Thousand Seven Hundred and _________ Yet hitherto he has never asked after them, nor done any Thing in Order to the Purging of that Scandal, tho’ it be several Years since it was committed.

To this Mr. Gilchrist answers, passing several Mistakes in the Article, as That it was a Relapse, whereas it was only reiterated Acts; And That the Man should have sent to Mr. Gilchrist to receive him to give Satisfaction, whereas there were none sent to Mr. Gilchrist on that Account from the Man: Passing several Mistakes like these, in that Article of the Libel: Mr. Gilchrist answers, That although the Guilt was committed some Years agone, yet it was not discovered until about a Year agone: And tho’ the Woman came privately to Mr. Gilchrist, desiring him to enter her upon Satisfaction, yet seeing the Session as well as Mr. Gilchrist were unwilling to concern themselves about it at that Time, because she was sometimes in Fits of Distemper of Judgment; and because Adultery was only cognoscible by a Presbytery; And also the Man was obstinate in Denial, and they both lived in the Parish of Glencairn, where they at last confessed they had been most frequently guilty, as {23} is reported, and the Scandal was most flagrant there; and at the Time of their Guilt in Dunscore, they were only hired Servants for the Harvest Time, and they stayed no longer: Upon all these Accounts, neither Mr. Gilchrist nor his Session can be reckoned culpable for Remissness in Discipline in that Case, conform to the Acts of Assembly; and the Man never judicially confessed till about Martinmass 1714. And however when the Man appeared one Day before the Congregation of Dunscore in the Spring Time 1716, the Woman having promised also to appear that Day, fell into furious Distraction, and was bound with Cords.

The Eighth Article, viz. He is alleged guilty of declining the Authority of the Synod of Drumfreis; insofar as he in express Terms, declares in the foresaid Protestation against the Constitution and Authority of the Synod, and several Times designs it a pretended Synod. And,

The Ninth Article, viz, He is alleged guilty of constituting himself with others into a new Judicatory, and therein presuming and taking upon him to recognosce the Actings of the Synod of Drumfreis, and of Acting in direct Opposition to their Sentences, insofar as upon the Eighth, or one or other of the Days of June last, he met at Wamphray Kirk, with Mr. John Taylor and others, and after constituting their pretended presbytery, they went through the Libel against Mr. John Taylor, that was entered before the Presbytery of Lochmaben, and after considering the same, they vindicate Mr. Taylor from these Scandals, and other bad Practices proven against him, before the Presbytery of Lochmaben; for which the said Mr. John Taylor was deposed by the Synod, and the said Mr. Gilchrist did read Mr. Taylor’s Vindication, from the Tent where he preached, at Wamphray Kirk-yard, on the Sabbath following, before all the Meeting.

To both which Articles, Mr. Gilchrist answers, his Protestation contains sufficient Reasons for his so doing: And also for his Practice in joining with other Ministers, who withdraw from the present National Church of Scotland, and setting up a Judicature.

Upon all which, the said Presbytery of protesting Ministers and Elders, having deliberately and mutually considered the Libel, and Mr. Gilchrist’s Answers, together with the Deposition of the Witnesses, found the Libel to be false and calumnious, And therefore declared Mr. Gilchrist free of these, and all other publick Scandals, and allowed him to continue in the full Power and Exercise of his Ministry.



ANSWERS given by Mr. JAMES GILCHRIST, Minister of the Gospel at Dunscore, To the Grounds of the Act of Deposition, past by the pretended Presbytery of Drumfreis against him, which Answers he gave in to a Presbytery of protesting Ministers and Elders, held at Morton-Mains in Nithsdale, October 14th, 1716 Years.
1mo. THEY Refer to an Act of Assembly, May 1715, made against Mr. John Hepburn and Mr. James Gilchrist, for the Warrant of their Proceeding against, and Deposing him. To which he answered, 1mo. That it was by Instigation of the said Presbytery of Drumfreis, that the Assembly made the said Act.  2do. The Nonjurants inconsistently with themselves (as was shewed in the Vindication above) As also with the Covenanted Work of Reformation, had made as it were a Bargain with the Jurants to prosecute and persecute all Ministers, who had declared they could not in Consistency with covenanted Principles, join in Communion with the Ministers of this Church; as appears by the several Acts made by the General Assembly, against Separation, upon the Account of taking the Oath of Abjuration: And it is Generally judged, and not without Grounds, That the Nonjurants’ Motive, in going in to that Tyrannical Act of Assembly, May 1714, (imposing on Men’s Consciences, without, yea, contrary to the Word of God; by appointing all Jurants and Nonjurants to join, even in the Sacrament of thee Lord’s Supper, without removing the Scandal.) And next, into this last Act of Assembly, May 1715, was, That they might by so doing, procure Connivance from the Civil Government, in the Enjoyment of their Kirks and Benefices.  3tio. That Act of Assembly was no just Warrant for the Presbytery’s Proceedings against Mr. Gilchrist, in Regard the Judicatures of the Church have no Power to Act against the Truth, but for the Truth; 2 Cor. 13.8. Where it’s plain, That when Judicatures of the Church make Acts to Censure faithful Ministers or Professors for their Duty: It’s plain Persecution and Tyranny, which is evident in this Case, in Respect the Sentence of Deposition is past against Mr. Gilchrist, for his Adherence to the Truths of God, according to the Covenanted Reformation: And consequently all such Sentences are null and void, for we are to obey GOD rather than Men. According to which Rule, several Protesting Ministers, who long ago were deposed by the Publick Resolutioners, did not own the Validity of the Sentence of Deposition past against them; yea, nor of the greater Excommunication past against such an Eminent Protester, as Colonel Strachan1 (who it’s said, amongst his latter Words had {25} these, Cast out by Men, but taken in by the LORD) for not joining in sinful Communion with the Publick Resolutioners; notwithstanding the Publick Resolutioners were not only a Christian Church, but also professed Presbyterians; for neither the Profession of Christianity, nor of Presbyterian Persuasion, can be a sufficient Warrant to make Acts or Sentences valid, for obliging Ministers or Professors, to join in sinful Communion with that Church, that being contrary to the Word of GOD, 2 Thes. 3.6, compared with Rom. 16.17.

2do. The said pretended Presbytery of Drumfreis complains of the alleged Contumacy of the Witnesses; yet they do not in the least allege, that Mr. Gilchrist hindered them to use their Freedom: From which it’s evident the Witnesses judged it their Duty, not to own their Authority.

3tio. They charge Mr. Gilchrist for joining with Mr. Taylor, since he was deposed, and for irregular marrying and baptizing: But these are sufficiently answered in the Vindication above.

4to. As to the calumnious Article in the Libel, That Mr. Gilchrist should have wronged a Widow Woman in the Matter of a Bond, which the said Presbytery expressly confess, in the Narrative of the Act of Deposition, that it is not proven against Mr. Gilchrist; nor do they make it a Ground of his Deposition: Yet because they insert that malicious Calumny, to see if it will make any impression upon Strangers against Mr. Gilchrist, by saying, in the Narrative of their of their Act of Deposition, That it’s deponed by two Witnesses, That the Woman had such a Bond in her Custody, and when it was read to her, she declared, that she knew not of Mr. Gilchrist’s Name being in the Bond, and that she made an Assignation of the Debt to some of her Friends, to prevent it’s falling to him, against which he, to the Witnesses’ Knowledge, never appeared. Therefore to remove this calumnious Insinuation, it’s answered, 1mo. That the Woman’s having the Bond in her own Custody, is no Presumption of his designing to wrong the Woman, but rather of the contrary. 2do. To these two Witnesses deponing they heard her say, she knew not of Mr. Gilchrist’s Name, being insert in the Bond; It’s answered, suppose they said so, that proves not the Article of their Libel (the contrary also being sworn judicially by the Writer and another subscribing Witness of the Bond, whose Depositions are set down in the Vindication above) else at this Rate Men’s Reputation may be sunk every Hour, by false Reports, even contrary to Legal Probation of their Integrity. 3tio. As to the Presbytery’s saying, That she made a Transmission of that Debt to some of her Friends to prevent its falling to Mr. Gilchrist, 1st. That proves nothing against him, whose honest dealing therein, is sufficiently manifest, by the Depositions of the Writer and Witness, above said; but only evidences the variable and fickle Temper of the Woman, which was sufficiently made notour by the Testimony of her nearest honest Neighbours, given in to a Presbytery of protesting Ministers and Elders, held at Dunscore Kirk, July 18th, 1715, before {26} the Body of the Parish of Dunscore and others. And do not all Lawyers and others know, that such Instances are very frequent of making such new Transmissions, and denying the former Right, lest it weaken the latter. 2ly. It’s also notour to many of her honest Neighbours, That she made Promises of some of her Effects to several Persons, and afterwards resiled [went back on her promises.] 3ly. By Reason of her Age (she being above Seventy Years) and the Impressionableness of her Temper, she was so fickle, that she made a Third Transmission of the very same Debt, specified in the Bond (concerning which the Presbytery falsely accuses Mr. Gilchrist) and that in Favours of a Gentleman, who could not in the least pretend any Relation to her; one Robert Maxwell of Shelloch, in the Parish of Irongray: The Truth of which can be proven by John and James Glencorses in Dunscore, and several others. 4thly, The Debtor declared judicially, that the Woman had lifted the Interest of the Money contained in that Bond, and given Receipts thereupon several Years, long before the Time that she said she knew not Mr. Gilchrist’s Name was in the Bond, which is a sufficient Document in Law, of her owning the Security itself, upon which the Discharge is granted. 4to. As to the Presbytery’s saying, that the Witnesses deponed, That to their Knowledge Mr. Gilchrist never appeared against that Transmission; To that it’s answered 1st. That the Witnesses who deponed so, living at Seven Miles Distance from Mr. Gilchrist, as he hears, might well be ignorant whether he appeared against it or not: And therefore, in their Deposition, they add that Caution, viz. so far as they know. 2dly. The Alteration being made by the Woman without her acquainting him, the Writer being Cautioner in the Bond, for his now deceased Father; he knows Mr. Gilchrist appeared against it, both to him and his Father, after he got Notice of it. And lastly (which sufficiently answers the whole, and refutes the Woman’s false Assertion above said) both the Writer of the Bond, and another subscribing Witness thereof, have judicially deponed, That the Woman at the making the Bond, gave her express Allowance and Consent to the putting Mr. Gilchrist’s Name in the said Bond, who being unexceptionable Witnesses (the Writer being a Gentleman of notour Integrity) and being the only fit Persons in all the World to clear the Matter of Fact, and being both yet alive; their Depositions recorded in Mr. Gilchrist’s Vindication abovesaid (which the Presbytery of Drumfreis owns they received) do incontestably prove the Falsehood of the Woman’s Assertion; and which being notour to the said Presbytery of Drumfreis, manifests their Malice against Mr. Gilchrist, in their asserting such a Notour Calumny in the narrative of the Act of Deposition, and that for Calumny’s Sake; would not they call it desperate Malice, in any who would print false Reports (and especially if proven to be so) vented against any of themselves, as they have printed upon him: The Corner knows what pat Recriminations of this Nature {27} he might make; but he will let them fall in another’s Hand. Further he leaves it to Lawyers, or even any of ordinary Capacity, to consider how the Presbytery of Drumfreis could in Conscience or Reason (when they confess, they knew that the Writer, and a Subscribing Witness of the Bond, had judicially cleared Mr. Gilchrist, fully from that Aspersion of theirs) could afterward take other Depositions on that Head, and especially bring in Witnesses to depone against a dead Person, that she had calumniated Mr. Gilchrist; for they own in the Act of Deposition, they knew she was dead before that Time. And now, tho’ the Corner be fully satisfied, That Mr. Gilchrist is maliciously abused, herein by the Presbytery of Drumfreis; yet because they have printed and dispersed this Act of Deposition far and near, he was obliged to be thus full and particular for Satisfaction to all Strangers to him.

But if it be Objected, That the two Witnesses, who Subscribed the Bond, having given their Depositions before a Presbytery of Protesting Ministers and Elders, was no sufficient Proof; Because these Protesting Ministers and Elders did not Join in Communion with the National Church, and by an Act of the General Assembly of the said National Church, anno 1715, All Oaths taken in Exercise of Discipline by Presbyterian Ministers within Scotland, who separate from the Communion of the National Church, are declared void and null. To which it’s answered, 1mo. That General Assembly anno 1715, hath made Acts not only self-Contradictory, but also, inconsistent with the Word of GOD, and Confession of Faith of the best Reformed Churches, because in their 15th Act of that General Assembly, they declare Mr. John Hepburn to be Minister at Orr; And yet in the 14th Act of the same Assembly, they declare all Oaths null and void, which he shall take Judicially, in Exercise of Discipline: Whence it’s evident, That Assembly holds and maintains, that Men may be Ministers of the Gospel of CHRIST, Lawfully Established in Charges, and under no Process or Sentence of Deposition, nor Suspension; And yet have no Power to exercise Discipline, and take Oaths Judicially for removing Scandalous Calumnies, and vindicating Persons by Oath from unjust Aspersions; Which two Acts of the Assembly, taken together, are contradictory to the Word of GOD, in regard Christ hath, in the Institution of the Office of the Ministry, made the Power of Discipline and Government, and examining upon Oath, &c. According to Divine Institution, as Essential to the Office of the Ministry, as the Power of Doctrine, which two he hath inseparably connected, to make up the Essence of the Office of the Ministry of the Gospel, one of which essential Parts the above said Assembly takes away by their Acts: Otherways the Reverend Mr. Hepburn, together with Ruling Elders Constitute into a Judicatory, had Lawful Power by Divine Authority to take the Deposition of Witnesses, tho’ there had been no more Ministers in Conjunction with him; Especially he being a Minister who {28} lives within the Bounds of the Presbytery of Drumfreis, as well as Mr. Gilchrist. 2do. It is contrary to the Confessions of Faith of the best Reformed Churches, viz. The Dutch Confession, Article 31, and Article 1; The French, Article 25, and Article 5; The Bohemian Confession, Article 9; The Helvetian Confession, chapter 18; And the Old Scots Confession, Article 20; And our Westminster Confession, chapters 30,31; to Divest Ministers of the Gospel of one Essential Part of their Office, viz. their Power of Government and Discipline, which as the above-said General Assembly, by their foresaid Acts, Statute, not only with respect to Mr. Hepburn, but also Mr. Gilchrist, both whom they own in their foresaid Acts of Assembly anno 1715, to be Ministers, and fixed in particular Charges, viz. Orr and Dunscore; And yet by the foresaid Act, take from them the Power of Discipline and Government altogether, even over their particular Flocks. 3tio. It appears plain Prelatick Tyranny in the foresaid Assembly, who, notwithstanding owning Men to be Lawful Ministers of the Gospel fixed in their Charges, and wholly to take from these Ministers the Power of Discipline and Government. 4to. How Ridiculous and inconsistent is it with the Word of GOD, the Confessions of Faith of Orthodox Churches, and with Reason, that the Assembly allow Men, to Administer the Oath of Baptism, as Lawful Ministers of the Gospel, which shall stand valid, but deny them the Power to take any Oath in Discipline, that can stand valid, as if Ministers needed a higher Power and Commission from Christ, for taking an Oath of Discipline, than for Administrating a Sacramental Oath of the New Testament. 5to. The Assembly’s Act for Depriving Protesting Ministers of the Power of Discipline, because of their Separation from Communion with the National Church, is an Establishing Tyranny into a Law (which of itself is a just Ground of Separation, by the Confession of all Orthodox Divines) in regard, the Protesting Ministers have not only sufficient, but also far more Weighty Grounds, for warranting the Justness of their Separation from the present National Church, than the Protesters, anno 1652, had, which sufficiently warranted their Separation from the National Church of the Publick Resolutioners, tho’ Professed Presbyterians; And therefore, as the Famous Messrs. Cant, Rutherfoord, Gillespie, Fergusson, &c. notwithstanding of Sentences of Deposition, passed by the National Church of the Publick Resolutioners, against severals of the Protesting Ministers; Yet these Great Men above said, and many others their Brethren Protesters, held these Sentences of Deposition to be null and void; And notwithstanding thereof, allowed their Brethren, who were Deposed, to Exercise their Office of the Ministry, not only in Doctrine, but also in Discipline. And that the present Protesting Ministers have not only more, but also Weightier Grounds, which Warrant the Justness of their Separation from the present National Church, than the Protesters had Anno 1652, to Warrant their Separation from Communion with the Publick Resolutioners, is too notour in Print to the World, to be denied. {29}

Whence it clearly follows, that as the Protesters, Anno 1652, held the Sentences of Deposition, passed by the Publick Resolutioners, to be null and void; So the present Protesters hold the above said Acts of Assembly, and Depositions passed thereon, to be also null and void; So that the present Protesting Ministers’ Power of Doctrine and Discipline remain entire, notwithstanding of any Sentences passed against them by the present National Church. And it is not to be passed without Remark, that Mr. Hugh Kennedy, one of the Protesting Ministers, who was Deposed for Separation from the Publick Resolutioners, and never Reponed, yet was allowed to be Moderator to the first General Assembly, at the Revolution; And consequently Mr. Hepburn might much more Lawfully Join with Mr. Taylor, who was Deposed for not Joining with the present National Church; And if the present National Church do not sustain Oaths, that are taken in Discipline by the present Protesting Ministers, why might they not also, by the same Reason, Re-baptize all the Children Baptized by them, both within, and without their own Parishes, in a broken state of the Church? Parents being free of Scandal, and fit to be admitted.

But, 2dly, If it be Objected, two Ministers with two Ruling Elders and a Clerk, make not a Competent Number for Constituting a Presbytery, and therefore it was not a lawful Judicature, competent for taking Oaths Judicially.

R. 1. Surely at least they were a competent Number for a Session, which is a lawful Judicature, having sufficient Power to take Oaths.

2do. Mr. Gillespie in Aaron’s Rod Blossoming, Book 3, Chapter 6, Page 416, (which Book was approven by the Venerable Assembly at Westminster, which Composed our Confession of Faith) he in the place above-cited, hath unanswerably proven from Matt. 18.19,20, That two Gospel Ministers, when no more can be had, may, in Conjunction with Ruling Elders, Constitute a Presbyterial Judicature, for Exercise of Discipline in any Matter of Scandal, &c. competent to a Presbytery; And they acting according to the Word of GOD, shall have their Sentences and Determinations ratified in Heaven. In the place above-cited, Mr. Gillespie saith, Secondly, the Apostles, and those who Succeeded them in the Work of the Ministry, have the same Power of the Keys committed from CHRIST to them Ministerially, which CHRIST hath committed from the Father to him (as Mediator) Authoritatively. For in the Parallel place, John 20.21,23, where he gives them Power of remitting and retaining sins, he saith, ‘as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.’ But the Father gave CHRIST such a Power of the Keys, as Comprehends power of Government, and not merely Doctrinal. Isa. 22.21,22, I will commit the Government into his Hand, &c. and the Keys of the House of David will I lay upon his shoulder.

Thirdly, It may be proved also, by that which immediately follows in verse 19, (viz. of the 18th Chapter of Matthew) ‘again, I say unto you, if two of you shall agree on {30} Earth, &c.’ which cannot be meant of the power of Preaching; For neither the Efficacy of Preaching, nor the Ratification of it in Heaven, nor the Fruit of it on Earth, doth depend upon this, that two Preachers must needs agree in the same thing. But it agreeth well to the power of Discipline, concerning which it Answers these two Objections. First, it might be said, the Apostles and other Church Governours, may fall to be very few in this or that Church, where the Offence riseth; Shall we in that Case Execute any Church Discipline? Yes, saith CHRIST, if there were but two Church Officers in a Church (where no more can be had) they are to Exercise Discipline, and it shall not be in vain. Again it might be Objected, be they two or three or more, what if they do not agree among themselves? To that he answereth, there must be an agreement of two Church Officers at least, otherways the Sentence shall be Null; We cannot say the like of the Doctrinal power of binding and loosing, that it is of no Force nor Validity, unless two at least agree in the same Doctrine, as hath been said; Two must agree in that Sentence or Censure, which is desired to be ratified in Heaven, and then they binding on Earth, and unanimously calling upon GOD to ratify it in Heaven, it shall be done.

But now to Speak particularly in Answer to the Grounds of Deposition, which the Presbytery say in their Act they have found proven.

1mo. As to Mr. Gilchrist’s withdrawing from Presbytery, and Synod, and other Judicatures of the National Church, and his not obeying their Summons: These are answered in the beginning of his Vindication above. He addeth, that he was not in safety to go into Drumfreis, since they revived the Process, because of Dragoons there, whom they threatened him with.

2do. As to the Charging him with giving in a Protestation, in to their pretended Synod, April 1715, which they say they have gotten proven. It’s answered, that tho’ it was matter of Fact, that he then gave in a Protestation, yet they falsely assert that they have gotten it proven, for they have not gotten in proven either by Confession of Party, nor Deposition of Witnesses, nor any legal Evidence under Mr. Gilchrist’s own Hand immediately, yet they assert it was proven, and make it also a Ground of their Sentence (tho’ not legally proven) contrary to all Reason, and Practice of all Courts whatsoever, in Criminal Causes.

3tio. As to their Charging him with offering a Protestation against their Constitution and Authority, instead of sitting down as a Member of that Synod; Which Protestation (they say) they could not receive, it not being given in orderly to the Committee of Overtures and Bills: It is answered, seeing in this their Act they declare the Synod then desired him, to sit down and join as a Member; Then it plainly follows, by evident necessary Consequences, that the Scandals they charge him with in their Libel, must be malicious Calumnies, for otherways it was an unaccountable Synod, to require him to join as a Member in sitting with them, without requiring satisfaction. It is true, when they are challenged by some of their Hearers, how they came to Libel Mr. Gilchrist with these Scandals now, {31} and never charged him with them before, these Nine or Ten Years past, not so much as in Privy Censures, nor any of them in a private Brotherly Admonition, they make the People Believe, that they never heard of them, till about the time they raised the Libel against him: But that is horridly false, for as to the Article in the Libel about the Poinding, Anno 1705, both Mr. James Guthrie, Minister at Irongray, and Mr. Robert Blair, Minister at Holywood, his nearest Neighbours, (who have been at so much Toil in Expiscating all things against him) knew it at the very time of the Poinding, and dare not upon Oath deny it. And as to the second Article, about the Bond, they, long before they raised the Libel against him, were privately inculcating that Aspersion among their Hearers, particularly Mr. Alexander Robison, Minister at Tinwald, his Elders told in that Parish, in the Winter before the Presbytery raised the Process, that their said Minister told them, sitting in Session, with a great deal of seeming Regret, that it was most certain Mr. Gilchrist had Forged and Written with his own Hand that Bond, and that the Woman’s Friends were instantly going to Pursue him before the Civil Magistrate therefore. And even to this Day, pains is taken privately to Inculcate this their Forged Forgery (tho’ they do not Charge Forgery on him in the Libel) upon some even good People in the Town of Drumfreis, as well as in all Places at a Distance: But as to Mr. Robison particularly, he may easily forgive him, who had the Confidence, with the rest of the Presbytery, in that Pamphlet, called the Oath of Abjuration no Ground of Separation, falsely to Charge even Mr. Rutherfoord with a gross Absurd Error. 2dly. The said Presbytery falsely assert in the Act of Deposition, that he offered to their Synod a Paper as being a Protestation, for tho’ it was indeed a Protestation, yet he offered it as Reasons why he could not sit with them, as they Confess themselves, in the 5th Article of their Libel set down above. 3dly. As to his causing read that Protestation at the Kirk Door, before a Notary Publick, the Reasons are given in the beginning of his Vindication above, viz. Their marking in their Minutes, his refusing to sit down as a Member, and yet (with a design to take Advantage of him) peremptorily denying at the same time to receive and mark his Reasons, and threatening him with Prison, and at last ordering their Beddle to thrust him out by the Shoulders, &c. Whereupon the rest of the Subscribers of the Protestation, being denied access to the Synod, thought they could do no less upon such Treatment, than intimate the same by a Notary at the Kirk Door, For by such Abusive Maltreatment and Injustice to a Minister, they plainly saw no Justice was to be expected before any of their Committees. 4thly. Seeing the Protestation was given in to the Synod, the Synod itself ought to have Prosecute Mr. Gilchrist for the same.

4to. As to their counting it an Enormity, in Mr. Gilchrist his Protesting against the Constitution and Authority of that Synod, and calling it a pretended Synod: To that it’s Answered, That Messrs. Rutherford, Cant, Gillespie, Ferguson, and {32} many others, did in these express Terms, Protest against the Constitution, Authority, Acts, and Proceedings of the Publick Resolutioners, Anno 1652, (altho’ many great and good Men were for the Publick Resolutions, as Mr. David Dickson, &c.) and that not on such weighty Grounds, as are in that Protestation given in by Mr. Gilchrist.

5to. As to their Charging him with maliciously Aspersing in the Protestation, many Ministers of that Synod, without Specifying the particular Scandals: it’s Answered, their Charge is False, for the Protestation expressly refers to several long Papers given in, by Bodies of honest People throughout Nithsdale and Annandale, to the Commissioners of the General Assembly, met at Penpont, July 1714; In which Papers many particular Scandals were Specified; for which see the express Words of the Protestation set down in the Vindication above, in the Answer to the 4th Instance in the 4th Article.

6to. As to their Charging Mr. Gilchrist with Reflecting most unchristianly on both Jurants and Non-jurants, Members of that Synod, in the foresaid Protestation: It’s Answered, That Charge is false, as is sufficiently Evident by the express Grounds of the Protestation, and also from the Vindication, above in the Answer to the 4th Instance, in the 4th Article. And adds, That any who will Read that Printed Letter, sent by a Minister of this Church R.W. to a Minister in London, will see what Ground there is, for saying, that the Jurants juggled both with GOD and Man.

7mo. As to their Deposing Mr. Gilchrist, upon the account of a Reference in the Protestation, made to the Grievances contained in the first part of the Book, called the Humble Pleadings for the Good old Way, out of which they Cite a Clause of one of the Grievances in Page 119, where it’s said, How can Presbyterian Ministers of the Church of Scotland, approve of the Succession of One, who in all Probability will be an Enemy to them and this Church of Scotland, as being both by His Principles and Laws founding his Claim to the Throne, bended against the Calvinists and Presbyterian Interest: Which Words they say, are a Scandalous Reflection on the Protestant Succession. To which it’s Answered, 1mo. They did not Libel him for these Words, and yet make them a Ground of his Deposition, contrary to all Justice: But their Design is plain; thinking thereby to make all People believe that he is Jacobitish, and to Incense the Government against him. 2do. If it be a Scandalous Reflection on that Succession, to own the Grievances contained in the first part of the humble Pleadings for the Good old Way; Then the Commissioners of the General Assembly are Guilty, for they did at Penpont Conference, July 1714, Publickly own these Grievances to be their own Grievances, before not only a great Multitude of People, but also several Honourable Gentlemen; Namely, Sir Thomas Kilpatrick of Closburn, the Laird of Lamington, Sir John Erskine of Carnock, &c. 3tio. It seems the Presbytery of Drumfreis cannot endure to Profess as strict a Reformation as the Prelatick Church of {33} England, for English Bishops Judged Lutheranism so inconsistent with the English Prelatick Religion, That they made a Fundamental Law and Coronation Oath obliging King George in effect, to Abjure all Errours of Lutheranism, inconsistent with the Religion Professed in the Prelatick Church of England, with whom he is Sworn to be in Communion. And, 4to, If it be a Crime to say, the English Acts of Limitation and further Limitation, and the Incorporating Union, and Act of Toleration of Prelacy and English Popish Ceremonies in Scotland, and Laws Establishing Erastianism and Prelacy, and obliging Ministers and Magistrates, to Swear to maintain the whole Constitution: he says, if it be a Crime to say, these Laws (on which King George’s Claim is founded) are bended against the Presbyterian Interest, of the Covenanted Church of Scotland, then 1st. Our Covenants National and Solemn League, are now declared by the Presbytery of Drumfreis to be a Crime; Because by our Covenants, Prelacy, Erastianism, Superstitious Ceremonies, are Abjured, and to be Extirpated. 2dly, The Acts of the General Assemblies of this Church, from Anno 1638 to 1649 Inclusive, are also a Crime, for they Speak the same Language. 3dly. Is it not upon that account, that the Constitution of Civil Government, founding King George his Claim by Law, is not consistent with, but opposite to the Covenanted Constitution of Scotland, Sacred and Civil that many Ministers in this National Church, declare, they cannot in Conscience, Swear the Oath of Abjuration? and some of good account, not the simple Oath of Allegiance (tho’ they are known to be most Anti-Jacobitish, and shew their Affection for King George) and so they must all fall under the Merciless Condemnation of the Presbytery of Drumfreis their Sentence, holding them to be Scandalous Revilers of King George.

8vo. As to their Charging Mr. Gilchrist with Reviling the Protestant Succession for one Sabbath; That is answered, in the Vindication above, fully in the Answer to the third Article of the Libel. Only it’s Remarkable, that in their Libel they say, it was in his Sermon, but in their Act of Deposition, they say, it was after Sermon. 2dly, It’s noticeable, they assert in their Act of Deposition, that two Witnesses have Deponed, that to the Apprehension of Mr. Gilchrist’s Hearers, he reviled the Successor: Now let the World Judge, what sort of Witnesses these are, that can swear the Apprehensions of other Men, and especially of a Kirk full of People, or how the Presbytery could take such Depositions, and also make any Man’s Apprehensions, (tho’ the Witnesses had sworn but their own Apprehensions) without sufficient Grounds of Knowledge, to be a Ground of Deposing a Minister: But the Presbytery were resolved to have Mr. Gilchrist Deposed by Hook or Crook. And whereas they charge him with not Praying for the Protestant Succession, on a Sabbath before King George came to the Throne; He answers, they allege against him only once omitting it, and Depose him therefore, which King George himself would think hard measure, Howsoever {34} he refers to the Vindication, in the answer to the third Article of the Libel.

9no. As to their charging Mr. Gilchrist with Schism, and unlawful Separation from the Communion of this Church, on account of his Absenting from her Judicatures within the Bounds of this Synod, and Protesting against the Constitution and Authority of this Synod, and that on Grounds which equally strike at the Constitution of the Church of Scotland. To which it is answered, 1mo. He had more Weighty Reasons and Grounds so to do, than the Protesters had, anno 1652, to Protest in the same Terms against the Publick Resolutioners; And the Publick Resolutioners were not only a Christian Protestant, but also a Professed Presbyterian Church, and were not Guilty of so many and gross Defections as the present National Church. And these who will condemn Famous Messrs. Rutherfoord, Cant, Gillespie, Ferguson, and many others, that Protested, as a pack of Scandalous Schismaticks: Men, who have a Just Regard to our Covenants and Work of Reformation, which these Protesters so highly advanced, and so stoutly defended, cannot but abhor such Calumnious Sentences as that of the Presbytery of Drumfreis. 2do. They falsely charge Mr. Gilchrist with Schism, on account of his separating from, and Protesting against the Constitution and Authority of the pretended Synod of Drumfreis, and that upon Grounds which do equally strike at the Constitution and Authority of the present National Church: Because these Grounds are most gross and notour Defections from our covenanted Reformation, which not only that pretended Presbytery, but also the National Church is guilty of, and persists in (and the Jurants themselves grant that if Scandals be grievous and notour, and no Redress can be had in an orderly Way, so as to reach the great End of Edification, then it is Lawful Duty to separate: (nor did Mr. Gilchrist ever Promise or engage to be subject to any Church Judicature in such a case) And therefore the Schism is upon their Side: For we have an uncontestable Description of what is Schism from the true covenanted Church of Scotland, Recorded in the sixth Article of our Solemn League, by which it’s evident, that Schism from the covenanted Church consists in making Defection to the contrary Part, (that is, in plain Terms) when they Associate, or Incorporate with, Assist and Defend the Parties against whom the Covenant was made and sworn, viz. Papists, Prelatists, Hereticks, &c. and fall from the Duties of preserving and propagating the Reformation of the Three Kingdoms in Doctrine, Worship, Discipline, and Government, and from the great Duty of Extirpating Popery, Prelacy, Erastianism, Heresy, and Profaneness, and whatever is contrary to sound Doctrine, and the Power of Godliness: As also Schism from the covenanted Church, according to the said sixth Article of the Solemn League, consists in the Members of the Church giving themselves to Neutrality and Detestable Indifferency in the Work of GOD; To wit, The Work of covenanted {35} Reformation of the Three Kingdoms above specified. And now, seeing the National Church is grossly guilty of making Defection to the contrary Part, by going in to the Incorporating UNION, whereby Erastianism, Prelacy, and English Popish Ceremonies are Established; and the greatest Part of the Ministers of the present National Church have sworn the Oath of Abjuration, whereby they have solemnly Ratified that Incorporating UNION: And seeing also Non-Jurants who Join with them, have in their several Assemblies, Anno 1712, 1713, 1714, declared the swearing that Oath, to be no just Ground of Separation from Jurants; Yea, anno 1714, Tyrannically and unanimously commanded, all Ministers and Professors in Scotland, to Join even in the Sacrament of the LORD’s Supper with Jurants, without removing such a gross Scandal, and that under the Pain of all the Censures of the Church, Excommunication included, and so have declared such a grievous and notour Scandal to be no Scandal at all; or if they should not deny altogether, but that it is a Publick Scandal, then by that Act, they have gone contrary to the Confession of Faith, chapter 30, section 3, where it’s declared, all Persons guilty of Publick Scandal ought to be debarred from the LORD’s Supper, till they give Satisfaction, and be reclaimed; Yea, contrary to the Judgment of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster who Composed our Confession of faith, and approved Mr. Gillespie his Aaron’s Rod Blossoming, where, Book 1, chapter 2, page 106, arguing from 2 Epistle of John, 10th verse, he concludeth, that all Persons who consent to admitting scandalous Sinners to the LORD’s Table, make themselves partakers of these scandalous Sinners’ evil Deeds; Nor can it possibly be defended, that a sham Protestation will free therefrom, any that Join in Communion with the Swearers of such an Oath, as is contrary to, and eversive of our sworn Reformation, and whom the standing Acts of these Famous covenanted Assemblies, anno 1648, 1649, peremptorily appointed to be Excommunicated: Seeing both Jurants and Non-Jurants have thus made Defection to the contrary Part, as was said, and given themselves to such detestable Neutrality and Indifferency in the Work of sworn Reformation; Hence it plainly follows, That not only the Presbytery and Synod of Drumfries, but also the National Church of Scotland is guilty of Schism, according to the said Description of Schism, given in the sixth Article of the Solemn League, and according to the Explication of that Article, which is given by the Acts of Assembly following, viz. Anno 1645, sess. 18, page 283, the Words are, According to the sixth Article of the Solemn League, Men’s Reality and Integrity in the Covenant will be manifest and demonstrable, as well by their Omissions, as their Commissions, as well by their not doing good, as their doing of evil, he that is not with us, is against us, and he that gathereth not with us scattereth, &c. And sicklike [suchlike], That Act of Assembly anno 1647, page 334, the Words are, Yea, it is too Apparent and undeniable, that among these who did take the Covenant of the Three Kingdoms, {36} as there are many who have given themselves to a detestable Indifferency and Neutrality, so there is a Generation which hath made Defection to the contrary Part; Persecuting as far as they could, that true Reformed Religion, in Doctrine, Worship, Discipline, and Government, which by the Covenant they ought to preserve against the common Enemies, hindering and resisting the Reformation and Uniformity, which by the Covenant ought to be endeavoured; Preserving and Tolerating those cursed Things which by the Covenant ought to be Extirpat, Heresy and Schism, encroaching upon, Yea, offering Violence unto the Rights, Privileges, and the Authority of Magistracy, Protecting and Assisting such as by the Covenant ought to have been brought to Condign Trial and Punishment, and Persecuting those who by the Covenant ought to be Assisted and Defended, &c. See also Act of Assembly, Anno 1648, session 21, page 391,392. Contrary to all which even the Non-jurants, not only by the foresaid Unanimous Acts of Assembly Judicially, but also Doctrinally and otherways, press Joining with the Jurants, and declare all to be Schismaticks, who will not do so; so far were they ever from Protesting against, or shewing any Dislike to these Tyrannical Acts of Assembly, which were Ratified unanimously for three Assemblies successively; Yea, did not the Commissioners of Assembly, at the Conference at Penpont, Anno 1714, declare, That if the Dissenting Ministers scrupled to own the Authority of a Jurant, they had equal Ground to disown the Non-jurants Judicial Authority; For said the Non-jurants, we have no Authority, but a mixed Authority from Jurants and Non-jurants, together, sit where we will, and how we will. From which it’s plain, that none can sit in a Presbytery of Non-jurants, but they must be constructed as Joiners with, and Owners of the Authority of the Jurants.

The said Presbytery say, in the Act of Deposition, That they Depose Mr. Gilchrist from the Ministry Nemine Contradicente, without a Contradictory Vote, and that they do it out of Zeal for the Glory of GOD, and maintaining the good Order, Unity, and Peace of this Church; And also after calling upon GOD by Prayer for Light and Direction in this Weighty Affair. But it’s well known, 1mo. That severals in the Presbytery did plead very much against his Deposition, as Mr. William Veatch, Minister of Drumfries, &c. Some went out and left them, and would not be Witnesses to the passing the Sentence; Others came not to the Presbytery that Day, knowing their Design. As for their Praying for Light about it, this was but a mocking of the Holy Name of GOD, for it’s well known, that long ago they expressed their irresistible Resolutions, to be avenged on him by any in Scotland; And that Scotland, no, nor Europe should keep him, and are now Threatening him with the greater Excommunication, Dragooning, Imprisonment, and have Condescended at last in their Clemency to spare his Life, for a little, and Transport him amongst the Pagans. Upon the whole, he expects no better Treatment: but however he freely forgives them, as is his {37} Duty, and wishes them all Prosperity as Men, Christians, and Ministers, and that they may be helped, in all Things, to act truly out of Zeal for the Glory of GOD, and for maintaining the good Order, Unity, and Peace of the Covenanted Church of Scotland; And he waits every Hour, for the Execution of their Designs against him.

All which Answers, to the Grounds of Deposition mentioned in the said Act, being Read and maturely considered, as well as the Act of Deposition itself, the saids Protesting Ministers and Elders, who had Constitute themselves into a Judicatory at Mortoun-Mains in Nithsdale, October 14th 1716, as above said, did find the Deposition unjust, Malicious, and Tyrannical; And that by that Deposition Mr. Gilchrist is Maliciously Calumniate, and abused, for his Adhering to the true covenanted Reformation of the Church of Scotland, in the Purest Times of Reformation, viz. From 1638 to 1649 inclusive. And therefore declared the said Sentence of Deposition Null and Void; And consequently all other Sentences or Censures, founded upon the said Act of Deposition, (even of the greater Excommunication itself) which the said Presbytery of Drumfries, or any other Judicatory of this Church shall happen to pronounce against the said Mr. Gilchrist. And they allowed him to continue in the full Power and Exercise of his Ministry: As their Act to that Purpose more fully bears, whereof they allowed him an Extract. Upon all which Mr. Gilchrist took Instruments.

By this Time, it being credibly told, That the said Presbytery of Drumfreis are about to pronounce the Sentence of the greater Excommunication against the said Mr. Gilchrist, for his disobeying their said Act of Deposition, (tho’ it was never Legally intimate, at the Parish Church of Dunscore, by a Minister but only left at the Kirk Door by their Kirk Officer, without so much as offering to read it, as can be proven.) And for his continuing to Exercise his Ministry as formerly within his own Parish: Therefore it was thought fit, 1mo. To let all know, that this need not be thought so strange, by any who know their Violent Persecuting Spirit, against any who will not go alongst with them in their Course of gross Apostacy: And indeed they but follow here in the steps of the Publick Resolutioners against the Protesters, as is evident from the known Instance of the worthy Colonel Strachan, who Died under their Sentence of the greater Excommunication as above said; As also, from a Letter sent by the Protesters to the Publick Resolutioners, dated at Edinburgh, 17th, March 1653, wherein they have these express Words; We cannot forget to desire you seriously to consider, how unwarrantably you did proceed, in the midst of so many sad Threatenings from the LORD, even to that Height and Animosity of Spirit, as to pronounce the heavy Curse of GOD against all these that did withdraw their Counsels from your Judicatures, and to Ordain the same to be read in every Congregation Publickly {38} on the Lord’s Day, and to spread Declarations at Home, and send Printed Informations Abroad into England, grievously traducing your Brethren as Separatists, as Enemies to the Work of Reformation, and promoters of their Designs who Invaded this Land; With many other Reproaches of the like kind, notwithstanding you have had long Experience of their Faithfulness in the Lord’s Work.

And downwards in the same Letter they add, We may further say, That Ways of Peace and Healing were so little studied by the most Part of your last Meeting, as we fear the contrary was too much endeavoured; For not only Synods and Presbyteries were Warranted, and Encouraged to proceed against Ministers, Elders, and Expectants, according to the Acts made at Dundee (which for the substance were renewed) but also Letters were Written and Published in Print, directed to the Noblemen and Gentlemen of the Land, whereby the Malignant Party was stirred up to Exercise all the Power they had against us, which in some Places they have not been slack to put in Execution. Thus they spared not such great Men of whom the World was not worthy, as Mr. Rutherfoord, &c. But pronounced the Curse of GOD against them for not owning the Authority of their Assemblies, and incited these in Civil Power to Persecute them: And what less is to be expected now from such corrupt Ministers; and unfaithful Watchmen who give not Warning to the People, but cause them to Err, and to stumble at the Law, by continuing to swear Oaths, Overturning our sworn Principles, and taking Part with strange Errors, &c. For tho’ the Leading Men of the Church, before the Union abhorred the Thoughts of Excommunicating a Dissenting Minister, as for instance, when some Ministers in this Corner, were pressing the Commission of the Church to pass the Sentence of the greater Excommunication against Mr. John M‘millan, Minister at Balmagie, for Preaching after Deposition, Mr. George Meldrum, one of the Ministers of Edinburgh, then Moderator, effectually stopped all such Desperate Measures: For says he, It will not tend to Edification, but Destruction; And how sad will it be, that in Foreign Churches it shall be said, Ministers are Preaching in Scotland, not only after Deposition, but also after Excommunication. Yet at that Time, Ministers were not come to such a dreadful height of Apostacy as now. To this purpose the Words of the Author of the Fulfilling of the Scriptures, page 135, are noticeable: It hath, (says he) been very discernable in all Ages, how such corrupt Ministers have usually been most noted, as the greatest, and most violent Enemies which the Church hath had at any Time; Yea, that no Course hath been so evil and gross, that hath wanted some of these to help it on, whose Hatred and Persecution of the Godly hath been found to exceed the most openly Profane, and Profligate in that Time. 2do. That as they are particularly threatened above others in the Word, so they get also some remarkable cast in their Judgment above others, and having once lost their Savour, become vile and loathsome, even to the worst of Men, are Contemptible in the {39} Eyes of such, whom they seek in sinful Way to please; Yea, have a worse savour than the profanest Wretches, that being verified in them, Corruptio optimi, pessima. 3tio. That these do seldom make a good retreat from an evil Way; So as it is an usual Observation, it is rare for Church-men to Repent, or a fallen Star to shine again. Yet this is not designed to be equally applied to every Minister of the Church, very far from it.

In the second Place, Because it’s so much inculcated by Ministers on the People that a Church’s Sentences of Deposition or Excommunication ought to be regarded and obeyed by all, tho’ they were never so unjust; because of the Authority of the Church: Therefore Account shall be given on what Grounds Mr. Gilchrist came to preach after the Deposition, or may continue in the Exercise of his Ministry even after the greater Excommunication. And 1mo. It’s known, That on a Sabbath after his Deposition he read, after Sermon, the Act of Deposition before 2000 People, and made Intimation to his Parish, That if either they or any without the Parish, had any Scruple to own his Ministry, or if his Parish would even also desire him to remove from among them, for fear of Trouble upon his Account, he left every Person to their own free Choice, declaring, That he would be uneasy to no honest People, nor preach any where, if he were not earnestly pressed. 2do. He subjected himself to the Determination of the Protesting Ministers and Elders, as above said, both as to the Lawfulness and Expediency of his continuing in the Exercise of his Ministry: and they determined in the Affirmative, that it was both lawful and expedient; declaring it to be false, That the unjust Sentences of a Church are binding, or ought to be regarded and obeyed. 3tio. Mr. Gilchrist is not obliged to obey this unjust Sentence passed against him, as is plain from both our old and new Scots Confession of Faith, and the Judgment of our Reformers: For in the 20th Article of the old Confession of Faith of this Church, which was ratified by Act of Parliament, and we sworn by Covenant to defend; the Words are, So far then as the Council proveth the Determination and Commandment, that is given by the plain Word of GOD, so far we reverence and embrace the same: But if Men, under the Name of a Council, pretend to forge unto us new Articles of our Faith, or to make Constitutions repugnant to the Word of GOD, then utterly we must refuse the same, as the Doctrine of Devils, which draweth our Souls from the Voice of our only GOD, to follow the Doctrines and Constitutions of Men. Sicklike [suchlike] in the Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 31, Sections 3,4: The Words are, It belongeth to Synods and Councils to determine Controversies of Faith, and Cases of Conscience, to set down Rules and Directions for better ordering of the publick Worship of GOD, and Government of his Church: To receive Complaints in Cases of Mal-administration, and authoritatively to determine the same, which Decrees and Determinations, if consonant to the Word of GOD, are to be received with Reverence and Submission, not only for their Agreement with the Word of GOD, but also for the Power {40} whereby they are made, as being an Ordinance of GOD appointed thereunto in his Word. All Synods and Councils since the Apostle’s Times, whether general or particular, may err, and many have erred, therefore they are not to be made the Rule of Faith, or Practice, but to be used as an Help in both. And for further Satisfaction to the Reader, and for advancing just Defences against unlimited Obedience to the Authority and Commands of a Church, and their unjust Sentences, read some Arguments advanced by the Learned and Pious Protesters, Anno 1658, against Acts and Proceedings of the Assembly of Publick Resolutioners, whose Acts were of the same Kind with the Acts and Proceedings of this present National Church: Ye shall have the Protesters express Words, recorded in the Book, entitled, Protesters no Subverters, page 95: Whatsoever Reverence or Dignity is by the Spirit of GOD in the Scriptures given, whether to the Priests or Prophets or Apostles, or their Successors, all of it is given, not properly to Men themselves; but to the Ministry wherewith they are clothed; or to speak more expeditely, to the Word, the Ministry whereof is committed unto them, Exod. 3.4; and 14.31; Deut. 17.9.10; Mal. 2.4,6; Ezek. 3.17; Jer. 23.28; and 1.6; Matth. 28.19; Acts 15.10. 2dly. That as their Authority is founded upon, and wholly derived from the Word of GOD; So in the Administration and Exercise thereof, they are in all Things to walk according to this Rule, Isa. 8.19,20; Mal. 2.6,7; Matth. 28.19. 3dly. That Church Power is not a Lordly and Magistratical Power, but a lowly and Ministerial Power, and not an absolute Autocratorick, but a limited and Hyperetick Power; and that Church Decrees and Sentences are all of them Regulæ Regulatæm, Rules that are subordinated, and do not bind, but in the LORD, and so far as they are conform to that first inflexible unerring Rule, prescribed by himself, Luke 22.25-27; Gal. 6.16; 1 Pet. 5.2,3; 2 Tim. 3.15-17; 1 Thes. 5.12; Eph. 6.1. (and page 96) 4thly. That all Church Judicatures, whether Congregational Elderships, or Presbyteries, or Synods Provincial, National, or Ecumenical, being constituted of Men that are weak, frail, and ignorant in Part, are in their Determinations fallible, and subject to Error, Isa. 40.6-8; Rom. 3.4; 1 Cor. 13.9,12. 5thly. That insofar as, any of those do actually err and decline, they do insofar, act without Power and Authority from JESUS CHRIST, they may do nothing by his Commission against the Truth, but for the Truth, 2 Cor. 13.8. The Power that he hath given is to Edification, and not to Destruction. 6thly. That sad Experience, almost in every Generation, doth teach us, That Church-guides and Church-judicatures do oftentimes decline from the straight Way of the LORD, and decree unrighteous Decrees, and write grievous things, which they have prescribed, Isa. 9.15,16; Jer. 8.8,9; Mal. 2.8,9; Jer. 2.8; and that whilst they are boasting of the Authority given to them of GOD, and of their Skill in the Law, and professing to walk according thereto, they are perverting the precious Truths of GOD, and persecuting these who adhere thereto, Jer. 18.18; Isa. 66.5; John 7.48,49. 7thly. (in page 97) The same LORD who hath Commanded us not to despise {41} Prophesying, 1 Thess. 5.19, hath also Commanded us to prove all things, and to hold Fast that which is Good, verse 20. And not to Believe every Spirit, but to try the Spirits, whether they be of GOD, because many false Prophets are gone forth into the World, 1 John 4.1. And whatsoever is not of Faith is sin, Rom 14.15. And that we ought not to be Servants of Men, 1 Cor. 7.23. That is to do things, especially in the Matters of GOD, for which we have no other Warrant, than the mere Pleasure and Will of Men, which the Apostle calls, Living to the Lusts of Men, and not to the Will of God, 1 Pet. 4.2. And it is therefore both the Duty, and Privilege of every Church Member, to Examine by the Judgment of Discretion, everything that the Church Judicatory enjoineth, whether it be agreeable, or repugnant to the Rule of the Word; and if, after a Diligent and Impartial Search, it be found Repugnant, they are not to bring their Conscience in Bondage thereto. Protestant Divines, de judice controversiarum, have shewed us, that this doth not make a Private Man or any Inferior, Judge of the Sentences of his Superiors, but only of his own Actions. Pages 98,99, An Absolute Submission, or such a Submission as is Comprehensive of Subjection, to such Decrees and Sentences of Church Judicatures, as are upon the Matter, and for the Grounds unjust, and repugnant to the Word of GOD, hath neither Precept nor Precedent for it, in the Book of GOD. The People of Israel were obliged to hear the Priests, but only when they Answered according to the Law, as Calvin on Deut. 17.9-12, well Observes. 2dly. That Submission or Subjection is contrary to Scripture Precept, 1 Cor. 7.23, Be not Servants of Men. Gal. 5.1, Stand fast therefore, in the Liberty wherewith CHRIST hath made you free, and be not again Entangled with the Yoke of Bondage. Acts 5.29, It is better to Obey GOD than Men. 2 Tim. 4.2, Preach the Word, be Instant in Season, and out of Season. 1 Cor. 11.24, Do this, in remembrance of me. To refrain from Duty upon the free Will and Commandment of Men, is to be a Servant unto Men, and to Betray Christian Liberty, and to be Entangled with the Yoke of Bondage, and to obey Men rather than GOD; And to say that we will not Preach the Gospel, nor receive the Sacrament of the LORD’s Supper, tho’ GOD hath Commanded us so to do: Let us suppose, That a Man duly Qualified, is Suspended from the Sacrament of the LORD’s Supper, or from the Exercise of the Ministry, or Excommunicated and cast out of the Church, because of his pressing and holding forth some Precious Truth of GOD, which the Church-Judicatory condemneth for a Lie, and passeth such Sentences and Censures upon him, because he doth adhere thereunto: Shall we say, That this Man is bound not to communicate, not to preach the Gospel, to absent himself from the Fellowship and Prayers of the Saints? Our Brethren (say they) will happily tell us, That he is bound for Peace’s sake so to do, till his Appeal be discussed: But what will the innocent Man do, when it is discussed against him, and the unjust Sentence of the inferior Judicatory is confirmed by the superior? Shall he go to a higher, and when he is gone to the highest, and is condemned there too (as CHRIST was crucified at Jerusalem) what will they now allow him? Will they have him still to be a Servant of Men, and still to be in Bondage? And tho’ the LORD JESUS hath commanded him to preach the Gospel, and said unto him, Woe unto thee, if thou {42} preach not the Gospel; and hath commanded him to eat of his Body and drink of his Blood, and not to forsake the assembling of himself with the Saints of GOD; yet because Men, pro Arbitratu & Imperio, i.e. By their Arbitrary Command; yea, because of his adhering to the Truth of GOD, which they have rejected and condemned, have forbidden him so to do; that he shall not obey GOD: This is an hard Saying, who can receive it? And it is contrary also to Scripture Precedents; for Jeremiah gave no Subjection to the unjust Sentence, either of Ecclesiastick or Civil Authority, see Jer. chapters 26, and 32, and 37, and 38. Amos counteracted the Command of Amaziah the Priest, Amos 5.13-16. Daniel did the like against the Command of the King, Dan. 6.6-10. The poor Man did not submit to the Command of the Jews; for he went on to confess Christ, John 9.22,30-38. The Apostles were commanded once and again, by the Council of Jerusalem, not to speak, nor teach any more in the Name of JESUS; but they told them, That they ought to obey GOD rather than Men.

3dly. This Submission dethroneth JESUS CHRIST, who only hath Power over the Consciences of Men, page 103. Shall the sole Will, and mere Pleasure of Men loose a Man from the Obligation he oweth to the Commandments of GOD? If so, let us no more blame the Pope, for dispensing with Divine Laws.

4thly. This Submission concludeth a Man under a Necessity of sinning against GOD, by omitting these necessary Duties, that are commanded him by GOD, upon a non-relevant reason, to wit, the mere Will and Pleasure of Men, to whom GOD hath given no Power against the Truth, but for the Truth, no Power to Destruction, but to Edification.

5thly. page 105. But upon Supposal, That this Submission were not due to the Decrees of the Church, in Matters of Doctrine and Worship, and external Order, by Virtue of the Dogmatick and Diatactick Power in themselves: Yet the asserting of it in Matters of Discipline, shall also necessarily infer the asserting of it, in Matters of Doctrine and Worship and external Order. The Commissioners of the General Assembly 1650 did declare, That a great Company and Faction of wicked Men, Sons of Belial, being Subjects, may and ought, in the Case of Necessity, to be employed in a Christian Army, and Covenanted Nation, for the defence of Religion and the Country. And the Assembly at St. Andrews and Dundee, Anno 1651, do, by Virtue of their Dogmatick Power approve of, and ratify this Doctrine and Declaration; and withal, by their Critick Power, appoint and ordain, That whoever will not submit to this Determination, but shall oppose, by professing and preaching otherwise, shall be proceeded against with the Censures of the Kirk. We ask whether these Censures being put in Execution, by Suspension from the Sacrament, against these who profess otherwise, or by a Suspension or Deposition from the Ministry, against those who preach otherwise: If this Submission, which is required (being given to those Censures) will not necessarily infer, That they must not continue to profess or preach any more so? And if this, by necessary Consequence, be not an absolute Submission {43} to the Dogmatick Power, as well as to the Critick? And in pages 106,107: In the Case of a Person suspended from the Sacrament, or deposed from the Ministry, because of their professing and preaching against kneeling at the Communion: Will not Submission to these Sentences, which exclude all counteracting, unless it be to appeal, necessarily infer Submission to the Decrees themselves, so as the Person censured must be silenced, and not profess, nor preach, nor plead any more for the one Truth, nor against the other Error?

From all which it’s plainly evident, That the Acts of Assemblies, Synods, or Presbyteries, whereby they do unjustly, and contrary to the Rule of GOD’s Word, suspend or depose Ministers, or excommunicate either Ministers or other Persons, on Account of separating from Communion with this National Church (they being obliged in Conscience so to separate, in Adherence to the Reformation of the Church of Scotland in her purest Times) I say, All such Sentences are null and void, and to be rejected, as evidently appears from what hath been said on this Head: And also from this Consideration, That when a Separation is formally stated, and that by a Body of People from a Church, Divines always found it hard to proceed against them, especially to the Sentence of greater Excommunication: And so is the Case now; for not only Mr. Gilchrist, but Mr. Hepburn and Mr. Taylor, and a Body of People, did join in that Protestation against the Synod of Drumfreis. And therefore Mr. Gilchrist, according to our Confessions of Faith, Judgment of Divines, and Practice of the Protesters Anno 1652, is not obliged to desist from the Exercise of his Ministry, even after a Sentence of Excommunication, when unjust, & for alleged Irregularities only, and having already declared himself, by his Protestation, to be none of their Communion. It’s true, some give it out, That the Presbytery of Drumfreis is provoked, to pass that Sentence of the greater Excommunication against Mr. Gilchrist, because they fear that he, with the other two Ministers foresaid, having constitute themselves into a Judicature, Design to licentiate Men for preaching the Gospel, but that is only a sham Excuse; for it is well known to many, That Mr. Gilchrist was hitherto very cautious, as to passing Men’s Trials suddenly, and stood in the Way of it to this Day, as can be proven; neither did he ever preach abroad, much less act judicially with Mr. Hepburn and Mr. Taylor, till the Church entered on their Way of Persecution; Nor has he ever acted judicially with them, but when necessarily called thereto, by Dissenters with whom he corresponded, and that only about any Matter of Weight immediately concerning them, or the other two Ministers themselves, which could not be so well expede, without a judicially Acting: And so it’s owing much to the Church’s violent Persecution: And the Protesters did the same, Anno 1652, to Anno 1660, as is to be seen, in the many printed Pamphlets of their Times.

To conclude, because some, carrying on still the great Design of incensing {44} the Civil Government against Mr. Gilchrist, do spread a Story, That in the time of Confusions last Year, he being at Sanquhar, hindered the West-landmen, who were there at the Time, to come down towards Drumfreis, to join their Friends for Assistance, and sent them Home to the West; Therefore he is obliged to vindicate himself, and refers to the Men themselves, also to other Members of that Committee, who live in Sanquhar Parish, who can tell what Pains he was at, in earnest Dealing with them to come down toward Drumfreis, and meet with their Friends: It is also known, That he being sent next Day, by Concert (as William Lorrimer in Sanquhar Parish, William Brown in Morton Parish, Peter Aird in Newmilns Parish, and others can attest) to preach upon the Water of Irving, he publickly pressed the People of that Community, who live there, to come instantly to Nithsdale, and join with their Friends. And tho’ it’s true, his Judgment was not That that Body of People should go in to Annandale below Drumfreis, in Time of such Danger from the Enemy, yet it is also well known, how active he was for that People’s making Appearance against the Enemy, suitable to their Principles, and laid down a Method at Morton-Mains, for convocating the whole Community with their Arms; Witnesses Mr. Hepburn, Adam Menzies, in Morton-Mains, William and Thomas Lorrimers in Sanquhar Parish, and others. In a Word, tho’ Pains be taken to asperse Mr. Gilchrist with Jacobitism, yet he refers to King George whether he, or these Ministers be the greatest Jacobites, who declare, as above said in the Vindication from the Libel, in the Answer to the 4th Article, That even after the swearing the Oath of Abjuration, they were ready and resolved to swear Allegiance to the popish Pretender, as soon as ever he should come to conquer these Lands.



A Solemn DECLARATION of the Heritors, Elders, and Inhabitants of the Parish of Dunscore, their Adherence to the Reverend Mr. JAMES GILCHRIST, as their Lawful Minister, Publickly Read at the Kirk of Dunscore, October 1716.
WE there Heritors, Elders, and Inhabitants of the Parish of Dunscore, do hereby Declare, That after the Process was Commenced by the Presbytery of Drumfreis (who are generally Jurants) and that more than a Year ago, against the Reverend Mr. James Gilchrist our Minister; We convened at the Kirk of Dunscore on the 18th of July, 1715, before the Reverend Mr. John Hepburn, Minister of the Gospel at Orr, and Mr. John Taylor, Minister of the Gospel at Wamphray, who in Conjunction with two Ruling Elders, did at our earnest desire, time and place above-said, Constitute themselves into a Presbytery, and Judicially {45} Cognosce upon the Libel raised against our said Minister, by the said Jurant Presbytery of Drumfreis, few of whom had refused the Oath of Abjuration; And therefore, we could not in Conscience, nor would own them: And for the Glory of GOD, the Honour of CHRIST, His Truth and Interest, the Covenanted Reformation, the Credit and Reputation of our Minister and ourselves, we were obliged, to apply to the said Presbytery of Protesting Ministers and Elders, held at Dunscore Kirk, the said 18th of July, 1715; To cognosce Judicially upon the Libel above-said, that so our Minister might be Judicially Vindicated from the Calumnies and notourly unjust Aspersions cast on him in the said Libel; And we being Interrogated Judicially, by the Reverend Mr. John Hepburn, Moderator, if we knew any thing, in our Minister’s Life and Conversation, or in his Doctrine and other Ministerial Administrations, that was disagreeable to the Word of GOD, unbecoming a Minister of the Gospel, and truly Scandalous and Offensive? And we declared then (as we also now declare) our satisfaction with our Reverend Minister, Mr. James Gilchrist, both as to his Ministerial Administration, and also his Life and Conversation, in both which he hath Behaved, as became a Minister of the Gospel of JESUS CHRIST, not only free of Scandal, but also Piously, Faithfully, and Diligently in all Parts of his Office, and Duties, as a faithful Pastor of CHRIST’s Flock, during the whole Time since his Admission to the Charge of our Parish, these fifteen Years bygone; And that we would adhere to him as our Lawful Minister, till we saw sufficient Grounds to the contrary: whereupon the said Presbytery did cause their Clerk, in presence of the Heritors, Elders, and Inhabitants of the Parish, and many People from other Parishes in Nithsdale, Annandale, and Galloway, read the said Libel, and took the Depositions of the Writer, and also of another Subscribing Witness of the Bond, wherein the Presbytery of Drumfries alleged our Minister had wronged a Widow Woman in this Parish, by putting in his own Name therein, without her Knowledge and Consent; And they both Deponed, That she was present at the Time of writing of the Bond, and gave also her Consent to the putting in of our Minister Mr. James Gilchrist his Name in the Bond; And that the Money should fall to him after her Decease: As their Depositions subscribed with their own Hands plainly bear, an Extracted double whereof we sent to the said pretended Presbytery of Drumfries, within a little Time after they had deponed, which Extract was contained in a Vindication of our said Minister from the said Libel, which Vindication the said Presbytery of Drumfries, Publickly and Judicially owned they received. And with the said Vindication we sent also to the said pretended Presbytery, a Declaration of our firm and close Adherence to our Minister, notwithstanding of the Malicious and Calumnious Libel, from which our Minister was by Judicial Sentence fully and Judicially vindicate, to our satisfaction, and all others present. And of late when {46} their Process was revived by the said Presbytery of Jurants against our said Minister, we sent in a new Declaration, of our firm resolved Adherence to him, as our Lawful Minister; Notwithstanding of any Malicious unjust Sentences they should happen to pass against him. And now also, after we have heard their Act of Deposition passed against him, (tho’ it be not Legally intimate,) we plainly see by their Act they cannot, else undoubtedly they would have Deposed him for Scandal, or Immorality; But on the contrary, they only Depose him for not Joining with them, and Protesting against, and disowning their Authority, and the like, as their Act plainly bears, which tho’ they call Schism and railing, yet he had sufficient Grounds, notour to the World for Protesting against, and disowning Jurant Ministers’ Authority, and separating from Communion with them, and to continue in the Exercise of his Ministry, in Adherence to our Covenanted Reformation; Seeing for his firm Adherence thereto, they unjustly, maliciously, and Tyrannically Deposed him, and therefore their Sentence is in itself null and void; For we are to obey GOD rather than Men. And that he is Deposed, for Adherence to the sworn Principles of our Covenanted Church of Scotland, in this sad Time of Apostacy and Confusion, and broken state of the Church, is made evident in the foresaid Vindication sent unto the said Presbytery of Drumfries. As by comparing the Grounds of Deposition, with the Articles of that Libel, and Articles in the said Vindication, is clearly manifest to all that are not wilfully blind.

Wherefore upon all these Considerations, we the Heritors, Elders, and Inhabitants of the Parish of Dunscore, do hereby declare, That we are fully persuaded, both from the Way of the Procedure in the Process, and from the Sentence itself, when we had heard it, that the Sentence is unjust, Malicious, and Illegal, contrary to the Word of GOD, and sworn Principles of the covenanted Church of Scotland; And therefore is in itself null and void: And that both our Minister, and his People are by the Presbytery of Drumfries Persecuted by that Sentence of Deposition. And it is notour in this Country-side, That if our Minister would but have gone in, and sitten with the said Presbytery of Drumfries, or would go yet and Join with them, notwithstanding of all that is past, they would pass from all without requiring any satisfaction: But this he cannot do in consistency with his sworn Principles, being these of the covenanted Church of Scotland, until notour Grievances be redressed.

And further we Unanimously declare, That we will own Mr. James Gilchrist, not only as a Lawful Minister of the Gospel of Christ, tho’ he be persecuted for his Adherence to the sworn Principles of the covenanted Church of Scotland; but also, as our Lawful Minister: And that we will, to the utmost of our Power, in all Lawful ways, in Dependence upon the Lord, Defend him in the Lawful Exercise of his Ministry; Nor are we singular in this, for of the {47} same Judgment and Resolution, there is a considerable Body of People, in several Parishes, with respect to him; And therefore they adhere more closely to him than ever. And because it is an ordinary Trick nowadays, for Jurants to Brand any, who will not Join with them, and approve such Sentences, with Jacobitism; Our Appearances last Year in Time of Danger at Drumfries, Vindicates us effectually from this Malicious Calumny, cast on us by the Jurant Ministers; And our Affection to his Majesty King George, Joining cordially in Publick Prayers for him, and our Subjection in ready payment of Duties, is notour in the Bounds.

Finally, To give satisfaction to all unprejudiced Christians, of the Justness of the Grounds of this our Declaration, both as to the Injustice, Illegality, and Nullity of the Sentence of Deposition; And also of owning and adhering to Mr. James Gilchrist, as our Lawful Minister: For answer to all the Articles of the Libel itself, as well as to the Grounds of the Deposition, we refer to the Vindication above-said, and to the Answers also given in Judicially by Mr. Gilchrist, to a Presbytery of Protesting Ministers and Elders, held at Mortoun-Mains in Nithsdale, on the 4th of October 1716. Which Answers being maturely considered by the said Presbytery, they thereupon found the said Sentence of Deposition to be unjust and Tyrannical, and therefore Judicially declared it Null and Void: All which are subjoined to, and Published herewith.

Only we cannot pass without a Remark, That it seems the Presbytery of Drumfreis, Judged it would look too bare-faced Persecution, to Depose Mr. Gilchrist, only for adhering to Covenanted Principles, without making mention, at least, of a Scandalous Immorality, which they had alleged against him: And accordingly in their Act of Deposition, they Narrate a Calumnious Insinuation of Mr. Gilchrist, his causing put in his Name in a Widow Woman’s Bond, without her Knowledge and Consent, tho’ in the meantime they declare, in the said Act of Deposition, they have not gotten it proven, nor do they Depose him thereupon; Yea, tho’ they in the said Act also Acknowledge, they received a Paper from the People of Dunscore, containing a Vindication of Mr. Gilchrist; And in this Vindication, there are expressly set down the Depositions of the Writer and a Subscribing Witness to that Bond, both which plainly prove that, that Widow Woman Deceased a good time ago, gave her express allowance of putting Mr. Gilchrist’s Name in the said Bond: As also, the Presbytery of Drumfreis owns in their said Act, that they received a Letter from one of the Witnesses, cited by them, (who was the Writer of the said Bond) declaring that he had Deponed Judicially in the Kirk of Dunscore on the 18th of July, 1715. And that which further Evidenceth their Malice is, That they Conceal and Suppress in that Narration, the Depositions of these Witnesses contained in the said Vindication (which they own they received) to make Strangers think that, that Scandal which they alleged against him is not cleared. Nor can they advance any Argument to prove their alleged {48} Scandal, but that the Woman, several Years after the making of the said Bond, did say, she gave not her Consent to put in Mr. Gilchrist’s Name in the said Bond, which Report of hers was proven False, by the Depositions of the Writer and Witness of the said Bond, both yet alive in the Parish of Dunscore: And tho’ she made a Transmission of the Money, several Years after making of the said Bond, as it was sufficiently proven, as was above said, she had given her express Consent and Allowance to put Mr. Gilchrist’s Name into the foresaid Bond, and so her after Transmission proves nothing against Mr. Gilchrist, but only Evidences the Woman to be fickle and variable in her Mind, which was indeed true of her, and imputable both to her Temper and Age, being above 70 Years, and this with her Conveyance of other Effects beside to Mr. Gilchrist, was sufficiently Documented by her honest Neighbours, before the said Presbytery of Protesting Ministers and Elders held at Dunscore Kirk, on the 18th of July, 1715. And that which yet further Evidenceth her Notour Fickleness, she made a Third Transmission of the said Sum of Money, and besides her Neighbours knew, she made several Promises of Conveyance of some of her effects to several Persons, which afterwards she resiled from.

And now if all Stories of Scandal, reported concerning the Ministers of these bounds, even tho’ they were proven evidently to be false, by Depositions of unexceptionable Witnesses; And yet notwithstanding of all this, these Reports were Published as uncleared, would not they Reckon this Malicious Calumny, and yet this is the Treatment our Minister meets with from them.


F I N I S.



Footnotes:

1. This unjust sentence was pronounced in the high church of Glasgow by Mr. John Carstairs, who prefaceth Mr. Durham’s posthumous works, some of which are supposed to be vitiated by him, especially his treatise on scandal.—Howie.