Mr. James Renwick
To the Truths of God and to His Cause.
READER OF THE FOLLOWING TESTIMONY.
As the worthy author hath, in several of his letters already printed, particularly the 25th, 43d, and 45th letters, mentioned this testimony, and shown his design to rescribe and enlarge it, and that he hoped never to resile from it, as having the right state of the cause therein; that he rejoiced in some of the effects, and tendency to the siding us, either for or against the Lord, there being not one article in it, but what he was more and more confirmed of;that he was refreshed yet, when he looked back to the frame he was then in, when he wrote it, and had peace in his ingenuity therein.This has induced severals, of different denominations, earnestly to desire that it might be published: And as it contains a comprehensive summary at once of his judgment with respect to what was sin and duty in that time (which is contained in and interspersed through his sermons and letters) it is expected, that, as it will be acceptable to many, so it will give offence to none; even although in his last letter he saith, "Now as to my testimony, which I left in your hands, when I entered into the work of the ministry, I do still adhere unto the matter of it; but I think the manner of expression is in some things too tart, and it containeth sundry men's names, some whereof are now in eternity: Also it is not so pertinent to our present affairs, for the state of our controversies is altered, therefore I judge it may be destroyed, for I have sufficient testimony left behind me in my written sermons and letters. But if this trouble you, and if you desire to keep it for your own use, you would keep this letter with it, and not publish it further abroad: Yet you may make use of any matter of it, that may conduce to the clearing of any controversy." It appears from some of his sermons, that, by what he speaks of the state of the controversies being altered, he understands the discontinuance of the indulgence, and substitution of the boundless antichristian toleration in place thereof, and the blasphemous absolute power swallowing up the ecclesiastic supremacy, or transferring it to the pope: As also in said letter he seems to propose two alternatives, viz. either to suppress it, or that this letter may go along with it; the last of which is here performed: Therefore, as the letter is printed formerly in the volume of his letters, and also here all that relates to the testimony, it is supposed that by deleting a few (and indeed they are but a few) of the most tart phrases that could be observed in it, and giving only the initials of the names of men, these being the chief things most offensive at that time; it is hoped that none will think the worthy author injured, or that his desire in foresaid letter is crossed or wholly disobeyed, or that the men named therein are injured (though several of them were great and godly men) as it was no injury to Peter and Barnabas, that Paul withstood and publicly testified against them for their not walking uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, and registrating the same in his epistle to the Galatians.
If any suspect it, as not genuine, or any way vitiated or altered (excepting a few of the foresaid deletions) they shall be willingly satisfied with a sight of the autograph written and subscribed by his own hand, which is still preserved entire.
Mr. James Renwick
To the Truths of God and to his Cause, as (at this Time) it is stated by the true Presbyterians of the Church of SCOTLAND, against all its adversaries; which he left in the hands of the valiant Contender, and much honoured ROBERT HAMILTON, before his Entry to the Work of the Ministry.
MUCH HONOURED SIR,
WHEN I think upon the Lord's glorious way of dealing with you, for these several years by-past, I must rejoice in the Lord, and praise him for the holy wisdom, majesty, and good-will, that he hath manifested therein, in leveling and squaring your condition so exactly according to Zion's case, for he hath been teaching you to look at none but himself; and so have his dispensations been crying aloud to all that would espouse his quarrel, and choose him to be their God. He will let no one's hand be seen but his own, in counseling, assisting, helping, and comforting you; and so does he with his wrestling remnant, who are now redacted to that noble non-plus (O choice necessity!) that they have nothing but himself to expect any encouragement from. He hath separated you from your land and your brethren, and hath honoured you to contend for him in a strange land; so hath he separated his people from these who had been called their brethren, but now are discovered by their unfaithfulness, helping them to keep up a testimony against these unfaithful dealers. Your acquaintances have lifted up their heels against you, so hath the Lord's work been spurned at by these who once pretended friendship thereunto; yea, every hand hath been against you; and why? but because the Lord's hand hath been with you. O noble hand! O mighty hand! sufficiently able to strengthen against all hands! Hitherto he hath not failed you; you have not wanted wherewith to stop the mouths of your adversaries. And as many other things have returned upon you, so I doubt not but this great and exceeding weighty affair will return principally upon you, whom the Lord hath made use of, as a great mean to open a door for the ministry, when the pleasant remnant could see none, and were ready to faint and succumb: So, I say, that the contending remnant in sweet Scotland, and that you, so much concerned in this affair, and your worthy brother Earlstone, may be cleared in what ye have done therein for poor, weak, empty, unworthy me, upon the account of the Lord's cause, which I desire with my whole soul singly to own and maintain against all its enemies, I find myself necessarily called, before I enter on that great work of the ministry, to leave here with you, written and subscribed with mine own hand, my hearty testimony to the Lord's truths and cause, as it hath been, and this day is stated against all its enemies and backsliders; that this my testimony may be a superadded obligation upon me, and a clearing of the cause of you, and of all therein concerned, and may be also a testimony against myself, if I shall slip from any of these truths and duties upon the greatest of hazards; for I know that of myself I cannot stand, but my sufficiency is of God, from whom must come my help. And indeed I have great reason to believe in him that he will help me. I have his word for it, who is a King that cannot nor will not lie. I have sweet experience for it; but here I do not make experience the ground of faith, but only a good and special motive to believe. I say, I have sweet experience for it, for I have been cast upon his care from the womb even until now. I had few to care for me, neither could I care for myself; but he cared for me, and hath brought me through many difficulties and damping discouragements, and hath plucked my feet out of many nets that have been laid for me; yea, when as for a long time I fled and ran away from him, yet he still pursued and gave not over until that he overtook me, and made me (O exalted be his holy name for ever!) turn my face toward himself. When as I was undoing myself, and also misled by these sitters-at-ease in this day of Zion's trouble, that backsliding company of ministers and professors in the church of Scotland, who first and last have destroyed the Lord's vineyard, he gave me no rest until that he got me out from amongst them. He took me by the hand and tenderly led me, he himself only being my teacher; for he took such a way in it, that I could see no one's hand in it but his own; for I may say, I got neither one nor other of the pleasant remnant, whom the Lord had cleared his truths unto, (for my help) to converse with, until that he had brought me to great clearness in all the heads of our church's sufferings: And I desire to speak this to the praise of him who is given a leader and commander to his people; and to encourage all to seek unto him, and wait on him for teaching, for I can assure them, he will not suffer these to be kept in the dark, whom he hath ordained light unto, even though many outward and ordinary means cannot be had: We have a sure word of prophecy, let us take heed thereunto as unto a light shining in a dark place. And as to the time of his seeking and finding me out, and helping unworthy me to join, though in great weakness, with the remnant of his heritage, with that pleasant handful, that persecuted party, whom only he was honouring to keep up a testimony for himself; it was when they were in a most sad, depressed, and discouraging condition, after the death of that valiant chariot-man of Israel, Mr. Donald Cargil, who was honoured to seal his Master's truths with his blood; and when the pleasant remnant (as they have been since and are at this day) had none to carry the standard of the Lord, none to declare his counsel to them, none to set the trumpet to their mouths. All ministers and teachers belonging to that church, both in the land, and forth thereof, having fled from the Lord's camp, and thereby involved in a course of rebellion against the Lord of hosts, there was no outward encouragement for me: I say this, not that ever I sought after any, but to let the Lord's hand be the more seen in it, to the praise of his free grace; for ( I desire to bless his holy name for it) I may say that I had never either my thought or my eye upon outward encouragement, and yet I got still, in a wonderful manner, enough thereof. And I can assure all men, the less they have their eyes upon it, the more of it they will be ready to meet with. O what shall I say! This is the way, this is the way, and I can say so much for it from experience, that I no sooner laid salvation (in any measure) to heart, but the Lord drew me from that backslidden mixed multitude; and I no sooner began to leave them, but the Lord and his salvation began to be precious in mine eyes: But, O! when I look back upon the length of time that I was little concerned with the glory of God, and with the precious immortal soul, that word sounds in mine ears, What profit had ye then in these things whereof ye are now ashamed, for the end of these things is death? Rom. 6.21. And also when I reflect upon the length of time that I was misled with that church-destroying party, I am made to say, Wo is me that I sojourned so long in Mesech, and dwelt so long in the tents of Kedar, Psalm 120.5, But by the Lord's grace now I am what I am. O for the tongue and pen of the learned, that I might speak and write his praise! His love to me is and hath been wonderful, and his tender mercies have been far extended; but wo is me, I have been a sinful, forward, unthankful, and self-destroying creature, yet the Lord hath many times taught me to go, taking me by the arms, when I knew not that he healed me. O! who is like unto him! If any have reason to proclaim him a merciful and gracious God, surely I have reason to do it. And now he is calling me (O free, free grace, and O great honour!) to carry his name and to go and cry out, that he is wronged, that he is wronged, and against a God-dishonouring, Christ-dethroning, and heaven-contemning generation. I say, that he is calling me by his speaking dispensations, and by his word, wherewith, powerfully, he hath stopped both the mouth and the heart from objecting any thing against the same; for not only before this, he gave me his call to that work, but even when the heart was objecting many things against the setting about it at this time, from the sense of self-emptiness and weakness, he powerfully told me, that he had laid help upon one that is mighty, Psalm 89.19. what then need I fear? My sufficiency is of himself. And (O! praise to his holy name) I find him well pleased with me, that in such a weak case I should even have offered myself to that great work, and accepted his call thereunto. Indeed when he gives a special call, he gives ay the heart to embrace the same. I say, I find him well pleased therewith, and taking it even as a small token of my smoking love to himself, and to his cause, when now it is so cried out against. But, O blessed be his holy name, I love him because he first loved me, 1 John 4.16. and when I ask, why is it, that at such a time, when I am so weak, so unfit, so empty of human learning, he calls me forth? He answers me, That the excellency of the power may be seen to be of himself, and not of me, 2 Cor. 4.7. I cannot say but I see much of his love in the time and manner of it; for now I am put to have nothing but himself to look unto. He will have me to receive all ay from his own hand, and to have nothing in me, or without himself, whereunto I may trust; for it will not be by might nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord, Zech. 4.6. O, his Spirit, his Spirit! where that is, there will be nothing wanting.
But to come to the matter purposed, and , as I was saying before, that the Lord's people, and you, much honoured sir, whom the Lord hath made so concerned with poor, weak, unworthy me in this great affair, may be cleared and exonered, whatever be the end; and also that my sincere and ingenuous desires, for the advancement of the Lord's cause, in sweet covenanted Scotland, may be the more clearly made known, I here leave in your hands my testimony, signifying my fixed and deliberate judgment, the Lord having, in some measure, given me light and clearness, anent both the sins and duties of our day; the latter of which I really and sincerely resolve, in the Lord's strength, plainly to adhere unto, and diligently to propagate; and the former, to witness, testify, and cry out against, particularly and zealously, upon all hazards, as the Lord shall assist in the station that he puts me into.
And, 1. I add my testimony and seal to the scriptures of truth contained in the Old and New Testaments, in the divine authority thereof, 2 Pet. 1.19-21; 2 Tim. 3.16,17; in the fullness thereof, being a full and the only rule of faith and manners, Isa. 8.20; Gal. 6.16; 2 Tim 3.16,17; so that nothing ought to be added thereto, and nothing taken therefrom; and nothing brought into the house of God, either in doctrine, worship, discipline, or government, without or contrary to his royal will therein contained, Deut. 4.2; and in the holiness or spirituality thereof, Rom. 7.12; and particularly to these great truths, O great truths! as (1.) That there is a God, and that that God is three in one and one in three, 1 John 5.7. (2.) That he is merciful yet just, just yet merciful, Exod. 34.6,7. (3.) That he is only merciful in his Son Jesus Christ, with whom (O glory to God and good-will towards men) that covenant of redemption was made, Psalm 40.6-8; Matt. 3.17. (4.) That in and thro' which covenant of redemption only, he entered into the covenant of grace with his elect, Eph. 1.3-7. (5.) That in the covenant of grace he hath promised to help us to perform the conditions required on our parts, Jer. 31.33; Isa. 59.21. So that it is the only perfect and complete righteousness of his Son, which must make us free before God; yet in order to the making of his righteousness to be ours, it must be imputed by his Spirit, and received by faith, producing sanctification as the fruit thereof, 1 John 3.23. Therefore they that think their life to be in God, they must also know that life to them must come from him.
2. I add my testimony and seal to our confession of faith, larger and shorter catechisms, first agreed upon by the assembly of divines at Westminster, and approved by the general assembly of the church of Scotland, to our covenants national and solemn league, to the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government of the church of Scotland, according thereunto, and to our acknowledgement of sins and engagement to duties.
3. I add my testimony and seal to our noble declarations, viz. Those published at Rutherglen, Sanquhar, and Lanerk, whereby that wretched tyrant, Charles Stuart, was faithfully rejected and freely cast off: And particularly I add my seal to that conclusion of the Sanquhar declaration, whereby open war is proclaimed against that tyrant, and that malignant party, desiring in my place and station to keep up the same against them, these Amalekites, with whom the Lord will have war for ever. I add also my seal to that solemn bond commonly called the Queensferry papers, in all the articles thereof, according to the true and corrected copy.
4. I add my testimony and seal to all the faithful testimonies given to the truth by our noble and worthy martyrs, particularly these that have been given upon that head, viz. the declining altogether of that man, Charles Stuart. But I hope none will understand me to include here that testimony given out in the names of these three well-meaning men, William Gogar, Christopher Millar, and Robert Sangster, which was penned by that blasphemous man John Gib.
5. I add my testimony and seal to all the faithful wrestlings of the Lord's people belonging to the church of Scotland, either in the land or forth thereof, particularly that noble battle fought in Holland against Mr. M', for his counseling (yea so peremptorily) to join with that church-rending man, Mr. F, in his ministry at Rotterdam, who had so betrayed the Lord's cause, and condemned the faithful wrestlings and cleanly sufferings of the church of Scotland, and came over thither by virtue of that tyrant, Charles Stuart, his commission.
6. I add my testimony and seal to all the appearances of the Lord's people for truth in Scotland, ever since the beginning of our reformation; but particularly in our latter times, at Pentland, Drumclog, Bothwel-bridge, and Airds-moss, where our valiant worthies fell. And, O what shall I more say! but I desire with my whole soul to add my testimony and seal to every thing that hath been done for truth, either by word, write, or action.
As on the one hand I desire to declare plainly for truth, yea all truth; so on he other hand I likewise desire to declare freely against sin, yea all sin, testifying and bearing witness against all the wrongs done to the holy Lord God, ever since the reformation began in our land, against popery, prelacy (that is, church-government by arch-bishops, bishops, their chancellors and commissaries, deans, deans and chapters, arch-deacons, and the other ecclesiastical officers depending on that hierarchy) erastianism, quakerism, superstition, heresy, schism, profaneness, and whatsoever is contrary to sound doctrine and the power of godliness; against all the causes of the Lord's wrath with our land, and against all the steps of our defection. And particularly,
(1.) I testify and bear witness against the condemning, hindering and neglecting the purging of the judicatories and armies of the kingdom in the year 1649. and afterwards, from scandalous and disaffected persons to the Lord's cause, that the same might be made up of christian zealous men, of known integrity and affection thereunto, as the Lord in his word hath commanded, Exod. 18.21; Deut. 1.15-17; 2 Chron. 19.6,7; Deut. 23.9,14.
(2.) I testify and bear witness against these public resolutions of church and state, for bringing in the malignant party, first to the army, then to the judicatories, which included these heinous iniquities: [1.] A joining with the enemies of God and his cause, clearly contrary to the scriptures, 2 Chron. 19.1,2; Isa. 30.1-3. [2.] A manifest receding from the public acknowledgement of sins and engagement to duties, Jer. 2.35-37. [3.] A turning the state of our cause upside down, and also a weakening and stumbling of the godly in the land, Jer. 23.14; Ezek. 13.22.
(3.) I bear witness and testify against the authorizing of commissioners to close a treaty with this now-rejected tyrant, for the clothing him with power upon his subscribing such demands as were sent unto him, after he had given many clear evidences of his enmity to the work and people of God, and was still continuing in the same; and then admitting him to the crown, notwithstanding of new discoveries of his malice and disaffection towards the Lord's work; all which was done contrary to the word of God, Exod. 18.21; 2 Sam. 23. 3,4; 2 Chron. 19.6-8; and contrary to the declaration of the general assembly of the church of Scotland, July 27. 1649. whereby it is declared, that magistrates and their power are ordained of God; so they are not to walk in their power according to their own will, but according to the law of equity and righteousness, &c. Moreover, I testify and bear witness against the keeping him in power and owning him any ways as king, since he so wickedly broke the covenant and his coronation oath, which he did swear with his hand lifted up to the most high God. But more especially, I testify and bear witness against all who have any manner of way owned and acknowledged him, and who have not been positive and free in declining of him since he was freely and formally cast off by our noble declaration published at Sanquhar, which formal rejecting of him was both lawful and necessary.
As to the first, viz. the lawfulness thereof, that is clear from Exod. 18.21. For if they be men of truth, fearing God and hating covetousness, who are to be set over a Christian people, so consequently they must be such who are to be continued over them; but it is well known that he [Charles Stuart] neither fears God nor regards man, being an avowed enemy to all godliness and a professed friend to all impiety: And if it be sin to put a wicked man in power, the continuance of him therein must be a greater sin, because there may be a mistake in the one which cannot be in the other, though many were not mistaken in him. And (2.) That it was the land's great sin, adding that to all their other sins, their lusting after that Charles Stuart, our worthy protesting party acknowledges in the causes of the Lord's wrath, and also sad experience hath made us see the Lord's displeasure greatly manifested against us for the same, and heavily felt by that man's being made a rod over the heads and upon the backs of the Lord's people, ever since his getting the crown. Therefore their sin must be greater, who will yet, notwithstanding thereof, adhere to and acknowledge him. Let us look to the practice of Libnah in the scripture, and the practice of our own and other nations in history, and we will see what they have done. And we dare adventure to say it, that none of them had so great reason as we, for what we have done. Was there ever a case like unto ours? Where do we read of any who ever so wickedly did cut the neck of such a noble constitution of church and state, as he did with one blow; especially who was so straitly and often sworn to the Lord in defence and preservation of the same, and admitted by the people only upon that condition, to be owned no longer than he stood to the performance thereof; according both to the law of God, which allows only kinds conditional explicitly, and also according to the eighth act of parliament of K. James VI. enacting that all bearing rule at any time over the realm, should, at the time of their coronation, make their faithful promise by oath unto God, that they shall maintain and defend the true religion of Jesus Christ, and gainstand all things contrary to the same, &c. which thing he did. But from what was known before, and hath been felt since, it may be clearly seen, that he never intended performance. Therefore, he having broken all ties that could bind man, the people are not more tied to him, nor can be, unless they tie themselves to a yoke of transgression and rebellion against God.
And if it should be objected, that the third article of our solemn league and covenant binds us to defend his person and authority.We answer, That article is only conditional, binding us no otherwise to him than in the defence of the true religion and liberties of the kingdom, as it is there in express terms. But now, he having broken that condition, and instead of defending and maintaining true religion and civil liberties, he hath broken down and destroyed both; so that in nowise can that be sustained which our backsliders, void both of the spirit of zeal and knowledge, have so frequently in their mouths, viz. though he hath broken to us, yet let us keep to him; for by so saying, they make that condition in the fore-mentioned article, and also often reiterated in the coronation oath, to be nothing but a mocking of God and a cheating of men. For the more clear uptaking whereof I oppone the sixth article of that same solemn league, which is morally and continually binding, wherein we are sworn that we shall never suffer ourselves, directly nor indirectly, by whatsoever combination, &c. to be divided from this blessed union, &c. together with the second article, wherein we swear to endeavour the extirpation of popery, prelacy, &c. without respect of persons: Charles himself is not there exempted.
I shall not take up time to speak against the foolish and needless pretences of these who say, that the primores regni (or chief men of the kingdom, as they call them) behoved to concur with the rejection of that tyrant ere it could be legally done; for I altogether deny that, because it is manifest, that the power of government is naturally and radically in the people, unitely in the people, and singularly in every one; so that any rank, or any company thereof, may, from the privilege which God and he law of nature hath allowed them, cast off a tyrannous yoke, and ought of necessity to do it in such a case as ours is this day, when that tyranny is not only a yoke of oppression upon our jaws, but of transgression upon our heads; for it is a duty incumbent on all ranks of persons, and the omission thereof will be charged on every degree, without respect to the high or to the low, Jer. 22.2,3. compared with 37.2: And by that same power they may set up governors over themselves, men fearing God, who may rule them according to the royal will of the supreme Lawgiver, whenever they are in case to do it. I grant, indeed, it were desirable to see the primores regni men fearing God, and zealous for his cause; yet when they are the principal men in all wickedness, making themselves slaves to all manner of sin, and servants to Satan, as at this day they do in Scotland, being the tyrant's own creatures, the want of them can neither exeem the people from their duty, nor deprive them of their privileges. Hence from all this, and much more that might be said, I conclude the lawfulness of rejecting that wretched tyrant; yea, not only so, but also the necessity thereof. Yet, that I may speak a word more particularly to the necessity of it,
Let us look back upon what he did, when first he was admitted to the crown, notwithstanding (as hath been insinuated before) of his often swearing to the contrary with his hand lifted up to the most high God; how that, I say, he, avowedly breaking all these ties both to God and man, cut the neck of our noble constitution of church and state government, arrogating to himself a blasphemous supremacy in matters ecclesiastic, altogether inconsistent with the kingly office of our blessed Lord Jesus Christ, and an arbitrary power in matters civil, by virtue of the same supremacy, altogether destructive of the liberties of the kingdom, contrary to the very law of nature, making his supremacy in the one and the other so collateral and co-equal, that by him it is made essential to the crown by the act explanatory of the supremacy, declaring the same to be inherent to the crown to him and his successors; so that he cannot be owned nor acknowledged as king, nor any succeeding upon that foundation, be who they will, without denying of Jesus Christ, and being guilty of lese-majesty against the King of kings, who will not give his glory to another, Isaiah 42.8. Therefore the rejecting of that wretched tyrant, and all depending on him, is not only lawful, but also necessary, to all those who desire to be subjects to Jesus Christ. And none can pretend any distinction, unless they would cheat themselves out of the truth, and become guilty of his blasphemous robbery of the Son of God; for he hath no civil power distinct from his supremacy; that, I say, his supremacy is the foundation of all power he pleads for, and takes all acknowledgement of him as an acknowledgement thereof. And why may we not? seeing it is made essential to the crown. And moreover, doth not that general act rescissory, by virtue of that supremacy (whereby he rescinded whatever our parliaments had done in favour of the reformed religion) introduce another kind of civil government which so much troubles men's tongues and wearies our ears, but a constitution of pure tyranny, a fabric of rebellion against God, upheld by the pillar of perjury, and cemented with the blood of the saints.
Moreover, I cannot here pass by the vanity of these who, blindfolding themselves, use so to distinguish, viz. they cannot own or acknowledge some of his civil acts, such as, imprisoning, stigmatizing, and murdering the Lord's people, yet they must hold by that which they call his power; but O what blindness does that bewray! for there can nothing in him be considered, but that which they call his power in the establishment and exercise thereof. Now, the establishment is clear to be upon the ruins of the work of God, and our engagements to him; the foundation thereof being that blasphemously arrogated supremacy, with the act explanatory thereof, whereby sacrilege and monstrous tyranny are established by a law decree, and exercised by that general act rescissory, declaration against our covenants, murdering of the Lord's people, bearing down of his work, &c. So then let them speak their minds, and say, Whether they think the establishment of that power, or the exercise thereof, is to be owned. If they own and acknowledge the one, the acknowledgment of the other will necessarily follow upon it. Is not the one the root, and the other the branches? the one the spring, and the other the streams? O poor, poor Scotland! thou art now become a home-born slave, because thou wast not valiant in contending for the truth. The Lord hath, in his just judgment, corrected thee for breaking his commandments, by joining with the people of these abominations, and desiring a king, whom he hath given thee in his wrath, and will take him away in his displeasure. But blessed be the name of the Lord, who hath stirred up a pleasant party of valiant and noble heroes, whom he hath honoured to pull the crown off that tyrant's head, in order to the crowning of our Lord Jesus Christ again in Scotland, and helped some of them to seal the same with their precious blood; to whose sufferings, even upon that head, I desire with my whole heart and soul to add my testimony and seal, certifying it to all men, that if ever I had the Lord's countenance and peace in any duty, it was in rejecting of that poor wretched tyrant. O remember what the Lord is calling for at your hands in these loud crying commands, Isa. 8.11,12; 2 Cor. 6.17; Rev. 18.4-6.
(4.) As I testify and bear witness against all that own that rejected tyrant, or any of his acts and laws, (abusively so called) in their profession; so also I bear witness and testify against all that own him any way in their practice, by subjecting themselves to him and his demands, and particularly against the paying of that dreadful cess, whereby they bear down the work and people of God; that sinful locality whereby they decline the Lord's cause, and strengthen wicked men in their wickedness, especially against the paying of that which they call their town locality, viz. money to these ruffian bloody soldiers for their beds; because it is the thing that some men, more out of self-love than love to God, plead for; but let them pretend what they will therein, they do evil that good may come of it, and their condemnation is just: Against the paying of that annuity, whereby they pay tithes to Baal's priests; against the paying of feu-duty, and every thing that contributes to the upholding of that throne of iniquity. In the paying of any of which things, they destroy the Lord's cause, and walk contrary to his word, Isa. 8.11,13, &c. Jer. 23.14. Also I testify and bear witness against the furnishing of any of these bloody soldiers with meat and drink to themselves, or provision to their horses, a practice destructive to the cause and contrary to the will of the Lord, Isa. 65.11-13. I do not mean here what they violently rob, but what is given and furnished unto them. Moreover, I testify and bear witness against the compearing before these enemies courts, thereby strengthening them in their wickedness, and homologating their robbery of God; against all bonding, tampering, or complying with them, directly or indirectly: I say, indirectly, because some men cheat themselves out of the truth by conniving at the compliance and bargaining of others with the enemies on their account: A practice which condemns the Lord's cause, and is disapproven of himself, Jer. 2.35-37. and 23.14; Psalm 50.18.
(5.) I testify and bear witness against the bargaining and entering into tacks of houses or lands with, or paying of rent to these public grassators, who for their being signal enemies to the work of God, have got from that tyrant a gift, as they term it, of those men's escheats, who have been at any public appearance for the Lord's cause, such as Pentland or Bothwel-bridge; by which means they clearly condemn the faithful wrestlings of the church, sealed with so much precious blood, and consent to the violent forfeiture of their former masters for their faithfulness to the Lord. Also I testify and bear witness against the entering into tacks or bargains of house or lands with, or paying of rent to these church-destroying men, who have been at Pentland, Bothwel bridge, or any other appearances for the Lord's cause, and have been forfeited upon that account, yet have redeemed their forfeiture by condemning the Lord's cause and the noble testimonies given thereunto, sealed with so much precious blood, and making themselves transgressors by justifying the enemies in all that they have done; for in that case to bargain with them, enter into tack, or pay them rent, is an homologation of that new holding which they have of their lands, by burying, robbing, and denying the Lord's cause.
(6.) I testify and bear witness against all that may join in arms or confederacies with the indulged, with duke Hamilton's party, the parliament of England, these ministers, or any that have kept up correspondence with them, it being so contrary to the word of God, 2 Chron. 19.1,2. Isaiah 30.1-3.
As I testify and bear witness against the wrongs done to the holy Lord by all ranks, the tyrant and his accomplices and all who strengthen that throne of iniquity, so also I testify and bear witness against that church-destroying party, the ministers of Scotland, for the great and many wrongs that they have done to the Lord's cause, both first and last. And particularly,
1st, I testify and bear witness against their sinful and shameful surrendering up the privileges of the Lord's house into the hands of men, by leaving their flocks, as hirelings, when they saw the wolf coming, Isa. 10.12; whereby they did virtually non-ministrate themselves, by their becoming servants of men, not remembering that they were ambassadors for Christ, 2 Cor. 5.20. nor minding the practice of the holy apostles. Acts 4.19,20,29.
2dly, I testify and bear witness against them for their handling the word deceitfully, for their ambiguous way of doctrine, and not being particular in their applications, unless it had been against these whom the Lord raised up to be zealous and faithful, and by this means called duty sin, and sin duty, making light to become darkness, so that many poor things did stumble and fall. O sad, sad, to think of the blood of souls which is in the skirts of these men.
3dly, I testify and bear witness against the church-destroying indulgence, first and last, whereby that idol was worshipped in his blasphemous supremacy, and which hath wrought to the hands, and accomplished the designs of the malignant adversary all alongst. I bear witness and testify against the compliance therewith, and connivance thereat, both of ministers and people; against silence thereat, and unfaithfulness in not witnessing faithfully against the same; yea, and against all the sins of the time, as the Lord hath commanded, Isaiah 58.1.
4thly, As I testify and bear witness against these ministers for their unfaithfulness all alongst; so also I testify and bear witness against their malice at these whom the Lord stirred up to be faithful in their places and stations, particularly their censuring of worthy Messrs Welwood, Kid, and Cameron, for faithfulness to their Lord and Master; Mr. Cameron being censured merely for preaching against that sinful indulgence. Also I testify and bear witness against them for their false calumnies and reproaches cast upon the way and people of God, particularly on those fore-named worthies, and Mr. Cargill, all faithful messengers of Jesus Christ; and on the much honoured Robert Hamilton, that valiant contender, both at home and abroad, for his Master's truths, against whom their hands have been in a signal manner, because he hath been honoured of the Lord to have his hand against their treachery. O Scotland, Scotland! many pastors have destroyed the Lord's vineyard in thee, O Scotland, Jer. 12.10. Thy prophets, O Scotland, are like the foxes in the deserts, they have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge, for the house of Israel to stand in the battle, in the day of the Lord. They have seduced the people, saying, Peace, peace, when there was no peace. One built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered mortar, Ezek. 33.4,5,10; but blessed be the Lord's most holy name, who hath delivered his people out of their hands, and performed his promise, Ezek. 33.23.
5thly, I testify and bear witness against people's joining in any part of their ministry with any of these Scottish ministers this day in Scotland, or forth thereof, because they have all betrayed the Lord's cause and fled from his camps; and, whatever disagreement may be amongst themselves, yet they, like Pilate and Herod, become good friends by their joining in one body in condemning and reproaching the pleasant witnessing remnant, off whose hands the Lord hath taken many noble testimonies, sealed with much precious blood. And particularly, I testify and bear witness against people's joining in any part of their ministry with these men, viz. Messrs W K, J R, T H elder in Scotland, J H in England, T H younger at Utrecht, G B at Rotterdam, and that bitter and base reproacher J W. Not that I think these men worse than the rest, but because some plead so much for them that they are better; but to me they are all in one category, and they ought to be so unto all men. For,
1. They join hand and issue with the rest, in pleading for defection, in reproaching and condemning our cause, our worthy contenders, and their faithful testimonies sealed with much precious blood.
2. They stand on the other side, and in the cross way to cut off these that do escape of Jacob, Obad. 11-14. therefore shame shall cover them, and they shall be cut off for ever, verse. 10.
3. They handle the Lord's word deceitfully, making it like a nose of wax to serve their turns, misapplying it against those who have it on their side.
4. Never one of them professes to be faithful, yet they are Reuben-like, unstable as water, professing one thing at one time, and another thing at another, one thing to one person, and another thing to another. But O praise to the Lord who hath helped some to obey his command, Prov. 19.27; 24.21; 2 Thes. 3.6,14.
6thly, I testify and bear witness against Mr. T D for the offence he gave to that society he was in at Utrecht, in first agreeing so positively and peremptorily with that sound conclusion, viz. that it was unlawful to hear that church-betraying man, Mr. F at Rotterdam, preach, and then going immediately and hearing him; and I testify and bear witness against all joining with the said Mr. T D in his ministry, while that he stands to the defence of, and will not acknowledge the same, and until that amendment be seen of his other gross practices.
7thly, I testify and bear witness against joining in his ministry with that man Mr. P.
1. For his refusing to come out to the work of the Lord, and being useful to his people in this sad day, when they had none to take them by the hand, and none to exhort to duty and dehort from sin.
2. Because he is not clear as to what is people's duty, and unwilling that they should obey the Lord's command, Rom. 16.17. and avoid such as cause divisions and offences, contrary to the doctrine which they had learned.
8thly, Notwithstanding of his being hitherto helped to contend in many things valiantly against the adversaries, yet I testify and bear witness against that man J R:
1. For his unsuitable withdrawing from these who were both straight and zealous, and joining in with a company of persons who are a scandal to the way of God, and a reproach to truth; some of them deserving death by the law of God and man, and others of them a high degree of church-censure.
2. For his misrepresenting us and our doings, and writing many gross untruths of us, which is known by all those who are members of our general meetings.
9thly, Being in a special way sent to this land by the faithful, wrestling true presbyterian party of the purely reformed church of Scotland, I desire, wherever I am, or may be, to contend for that cause against all error, and every thing inconsistent with the doctrine of truth. Therefore I testify and bear witness against the vast and sinful toleration of all error and sectaries in the Belgian church, particularly their giving places of power and trust to that erroneous church-destroying party of Cocceian principles; also against their sinful formalities, such as they use in the administration of the sacraments, and such as their formal prayers, which their professors and doctors use in their public and private colleges; and also against all their superstitious customs, such as, their observing of holy feast days, as they call them, the organs in their churches, and the like; all which they have as the reliques of idolatry; and against every other thing amongst them contrary to sound doctrine and the power of godliness.
And as, on the one hand, I testify and bear witness against all these superstitions, so, on the other hand, I add my testimony and seal to any faithful contending that hath been in this land against the same, by strangers or by the natives thereof, such as, Mr. Coolman, his contending against the foresaid sins, as also Mr. Brakell, his testimony given at Leewarden, asserting the rights and privileges of Jesus Christ in his own house, and freely declining any magistrates usurping thereof.
Now, much honoured Sir, I have here, with all brevity possible, left my mind, my fixed and deliberated judgment of all matters in our day, having studied to be plain and particular in every thing, for it is that which the Lord is calling for at the hands of all who desire to be contenders for his precious truths. Oh! we ought not so to speak in his matters, as that equivocation or ambiguity may lurk in our words, so that they are still needing a commentary; and I am sure, they who know what peace as to duty is, will be made to find no small peace in plain-dealing for their Lord and Master, in all things seeking his honour, and not the credit of any man, the great failing in which hath broken the church of Scotland. Therefore, through his grace and strength, I firmly resolve to be plain, free, and faithful for him, in the station which he is now calling me unto: But his way of dealing hath been so with me this long time, and especially of late, that I think he is training me up for another work, which also he may shortly put in my hand, viz. the sealing of all these precious truths with my blood, as well as the subscribing them with my hand. And O, how honourable! how glorious and how acceptable a work would that be, if he give strength and frame sufficient, for which I desire to rely and depend upon him. Yet if his holiness shall not call me thereunto, I must reverence his gracious way of dealing with me, seeking me thereby to be the more fit for this work; for, at this day, none should set about it, but such whom he makes denied to their life, and to all things in the present world. O that he would make poor me so to be in the day, when the manifestation thereof is called for at my hand; but be before me what so may, O! I am many ways obliged to run for him any of his errands upon all hazards; for in a special manner I hold my life of him, having wonderfully got a new tack of it from himself, when men thought to have taken it from me. O what shall I say of him: He is God, he is God, and a wonderful, kind, and merciful condescending God unto me. Now, O Zion's friend, covenanted Scotland's friend, and my dear friend, let us join hand to hand, in order to the advancement of the kingdom of our Lord, in the stations he puts us into, and set ourselves against all men who are professing or practicing against the same. And my soul desires to bless that holy God, who hath made you hitherto a brazen wall and an iron pillar against them, seeking only his honour and glory, and not the friendship and favour of men. O go on valiantly in his way! Ye have many sweet (O sweet) experiences of his helping you, and when maniest hands were against you, his hand, O praise to his holy name, hath been mostly with you, yea, and because of his hand's being with you, the hands of men have been against you: Because he was a friend, and was honouring you, they became your enemies. O rejoice, and again, I say, rejoice, because he hath thought you worthy to suffer straits, distresses, and sweet reproaches, for his name's sake. O these noble badges of honour that these reproaches are, especially these cast upon you by that backsliding and church-destroying company of ministers in Scotland, and forth thereof, belonging to that nation; and do not think that they will let you alone yet, for they set themselves against all that are zealous for God and his covenant, but in a special manner against you, for which my soul desires to honour you, craving, from my real affection to yourself, and as an honour put upon me, that there may be kept up betwixt us a mutual correspondence and heart sympathy one with another, desiring to believe that the Lord will help and honour us to keep his way. So leaving you, and the Lord's cause, covenanted sweet Scotland's cause (which only is our concernment) upon his own hand, who can wisely, O wisely, manage his own affairs:
Having written and subscribed this testimony with mine own hand at Groningen, the fourteenth day of April, one thousand six hundred and eighty-three years, I desire to remain, a friend to Zion's friends, and an enemy to her enemies, and (much honoured sir) your assured friend and servant in the Lord,