Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.—Habakkuk 2.4.

[A Preface and Lecture Preached at Distinckorn-Hill by Alexander Shields.]
 
SOME
N O T E S   O R   H E A D S
OF A
P R E F A C E
AND OF A
L E C T U R E,
PREACHED AT
DISTINCKORN-HILL, 
IN THE
P A R I S H
OF
G A A S T O U N,
April 25, 1688. 

By MasterAlexander Shields, Preacher of the Gospel.
Psalm 79; 1 Samuel 15 Chap. from the13 verse to the 24.

April 25, 1688.

Some Notes or Heads of a PREFACE Preached at Distinckorn-
Hill, in the Parish of Gaastoun, by Mr. Alexander Shields,
Preacher of the Gospel.

The 79 Psalm being Sung.


ALL our Songs this Day may be Sad Lamentation, for if we understood the Place where we are: It is, by the Rivers of Babylon, and we ought to hang our Harps on the Willows, and our Songs ought to be Songs of Mourning, and our Voice the Voice of Weeping. And this is a very pertinent Song of Lamentation which we have been singing (Psalm 79) and very apposite and proper for the Case of our Day, when the Heathens have entered into our Sanctuary, and laid Jerusalem on Heaps; and the Gentiles are treading down our outer Courts. And this will always hold true, so long as bloody Papists do so much prevail, and the Blood of the Lord's Servants (that aim at Faithfulness and contend for GOD) is shed like water, and runs down like a River about our Jerusalem. We are become a Reproach to our Neighbours, and made a scorn and a Derision to them that are round about us And this may be matter of Lamentation to us, but if it were only so with us, the matter were less. But not only we are made a Reproach and a Derision, but the Word of GOD, and the Cause of CHRIST, and the Covenanted Work of Reformation is reproached, and made a Ludibrium and a Laughing stock to the Heathen round about us: To Papists, Atheists, Prelates, and Malignants, and Enemies on all hands. And when we look on the cruelty of Papists and Malignants, and upon our dastardly Yieldings, our foolish Yieldings: Turn which way we will, look before us, look behind us, look on every hand, we see matter of sad Lamentation, and sad Significations of the Lord's Displeasure against us: And this we must make mention and take notice of when we come before His Presence, Who is this day, not only a Holy GOD, but an Angry GOD, who is showing His Wrath in Characters of Blood. Ye may Remember the last time I was in this Country, we did hear a very sad Subject suitable to Reflect upon. Which was, our fears did then come upon us, and are come upon us since. I had News to tell you then, and if a right use hath not been made thereof, they will be sadder, and sadder still. We say if {3} you have not been affected rightly and concerned with them, but have been slighting and not taking it to heart, they will be sadder still: Then we were Alarmed with the sad and sudden surprising Report of the Approaching and taking of two Faithful Servants of JESUS CHRIST who were contending for the Prerogatives of the Prince of the Kings of the Earth, and the Concerns of all the Churches, and the Depositum of the Church of Scotland, who were let fall into the Enemies hands, and given up into the Holy all-overruling Providence of GOD, to the Power of their murdering Enemies, One thereof his Blood has been shed like Water since, which make this Song that we have been singing very pertinent, and which may make all our Songs, Songs of Mourning. For his Blood hath a crying Language, and I fear that many hath forgotten it, that seemed to be affected with it then, and many is even despising it. But I say that the Blood of that Faithful Servant of JESUS CHRIST, Mr. James Renwick, hath a Cry to the Heavens against this Generation. And we shall shew some things that is the Language of it: For we ought not to forget it, for it is precious in the sight of GOD, and it ought to be so in our sight also: For if we forget it, it will Cry against us as well as others; we ought to enquire into the Language of such a Dispensation, for it hath a very loud Cry to open Ears, and weakened Consciences. And

First, It cries to us, That there is a dreadful day coming on this Generation, when the Godly man perisheth, and when the Righteous and Merciful Men are taken away, it is always an infallible Symptom of Wrath to come, Isa. 57.1. We have all the Symptoms of approaching Wrath, that ever a Generation had, for there are many Righteous Men taken away by bloody Violent Men, who were Righteous in their state, Righteous in their course, and Righteous in their Cause: Many also merciful Men are taken away: merciful Men who would fain have had the Generation brought off from the evils of the Generation, and did spend their time and strength for them that did not pity themselves, those were merciful Men; and it's so much the more a Symptom of Wrath, that those Tokens are not taken notice of, but are despised and made light of, and this does speak out a surprising stroke, and the near approach of it, when People are crying Peace, then behold sudden destruction, according to 1 Thess. 5.3. And are not the generality crying peace and safety, and what may we expect, but sudden Destruction! For O! it's an unhappy Peace, unhappy in it's nature, and unhappy in its effects; For it's peace with the Enemies of God; yea, we have all the procuring causes that ever brought down the Wrath of God on any Generation. 2dly, I'll tell you what the blood of that Martyr cries, and it is this, that {4} there is not only Wrath and Anger, impendent and hanging over our heads, but it is also incumbent and lying on us already, and that his anger is not turned away but his hand is stretched out still, and it is even against us in particular, who are the persecuted party; and this calls us to search and try our ways, that we may know what it is that the Lord contends with us for: And indeed we may find in a very slight and overly search and enquiry, many procuring causes of it on our part; O it says, we have slighted many Warnings. The Lord hath been sending his Servants, rising up early, and sending them, and many of them have spent their blood, and for the most part, it seems to have been in vain as to us, he hath sent one still after another, but we did not receive their Message as we should have done, and we may fear, that he will cease to contend any more with us, but will say to us, they are joined to their Idols, let them alone. For many in this day have discovered a great deal of their incorrigibleness, as the Lord before the Flood gave Warning to the Old World by the Preaching of Noah; He set a day to their Repentance (One Hundred and Twenty Years) and after that they should get no more time to repent: It comes to this at length, that he says, I will no more strive with them, I'll say no more to them: let them rot away in their iniquities; and it seems to say this, that the Lord hath set a day to Scotland's Repentance, and [I fear] it be shorter than many are looking for: The Lord is even saying, They shall have that time and no longer! He hath suffered long, but now he is wearied with Repenting: Therefore the time is coming that he will say to Scotland, as he said to these in the 15th of Jer. 1 and 2 Verses, such as are for Death to Death, and such as are for the Sword to the Sword; And such as are for the Famine to the Famine, and such as are for the Captivity to the Captivity, and these that are for Massacres to Massacres, and these that are for Martyrdom to Martyrdom. But I fear there shall be but few that shall be honoured with Martyrdom. O! It says, We have undervalued his Message and Messenger, and the Lord would not always let him be contemned, but he hath been provoked to take away Message and Messenger, and altogether.

Thirdly, As it Cries for Vengeance against all these that have had any Accession to the shedding of it directly or indirectly: So it hath another Cry and they are Deaf and Dead that will not take notice of it, and hear it. And it's this, That those who are now speaking so fair to this Generation they have Murder in their hearts: And it proclaims the Cruelty of Bloody Papists who had the chiefest hand in it. And that tho' many be crying up the Clemency of the Tyrant on the Throne, yet it says, we have to do {5} with Men that have Murder in their Hearts, altho' they be now speaking fair, Fleechingly and Flatteringly to this Generation; Yet when they speak fair, believe them not, for there are seven Abominations in their Hearts. Tho' many be crying up the Lenity of the Murdering Enemies, The Lord was pleased to Alarm us with this Dispensation, though to us very costly; Which says, that they have not changed their Nature, they have the same Nature still: they have the same end, and Design still, though they have changed their Methods and Measures a little, yet wherever they find any Asserting the Testimony of the day, their Rage and Fury is as great against them as ever: And it says, it is no time now to fall Asleep, and to cry peace, and Safety: For the Lord is calling us to awaken, and when the Lion Roars, who will not fear? and when the Lord God hath spoken, who can but Prophesy? But we by this particular see, that we have to do with Bloody Papists, altho' they be now speaking fair, after all the Blood they have shed both on Fields, and on Scaffolds, and in the Seas; yet they have the same Nature still, they have the same Captain, and they are Prosecuting the same War still against the Prince of the Kings of the Earth. The Dragon and his Angels is managing and carrying on the same War still against Michael and his Angels that he did formerly, though he had changed his Method a little. O Scotland, who hath bewitched you? have you not had the Experience of the Dreadfulness of the Treachery and Cruelty of Papists before? and will ye believe them at their first Word, Especially with a Toleration; when the most part of the Protestant Churches of Europe have had a Taste of their Falsehood, and have been Cheated by such a method? Was not the Protestants in France Cheated by such a Toleration granted to them by the Tyrant there? which when he saw fit, he took away; and made them either to Renounce and Abjure their Religion, or then endure great Sufferings. Was not the Protestants in the Valley of Piedmont [The Waldenses] Ruined by making Peace and Confederacy with the Duke of Savoy? And will nothing awaken us? O poor Scotland, awaken ye and sleep not now in Peace and Ease, for you have to do with those that are intending nothing but Massacres, nothing but the Subversion of Religion, and the utter Ruin and Overthrow of the Covenanted Reformation, and all that adhere to it. And they are beguiled that thought the Devil was grown better in his Old Age: For many thought (so to speak) that the Devil and Antichrist were grown better in their Old Age by granting this Toleration. Therefore hath the Lord Alarmed us by this Dispensation: He would take one of his Jewels and let him fall into their Hands, and suffer them to discover their Bloodiness upon him {6} and thereby let us see whom we have to do with. It hath this Language with it; and woe to them that will not hear it.

Fourthly, It hath another Cry, for as little as ye may think of it: Yet it hath this Language with it, that there is a very sad Defection this day, and that there are few Valiant for the Truth upon the Earth. We may say as Jeremiah says, Chap. 9, He Complains sadly in such a Case, and says, Oh! that my head were Waters, and mine Eyes a Fountain of Tears, that I might Weep day and Night for the Slain of the Daughter of my People. Oh! that I had in the Wilderness a lodging-place of way-faring-men, that I might leave my People, and go from them. For they be all Adulterers, an Assembly of Treacherous men! And they Bend their Tongues like their Bows for Lies: But they are not Valiant for the Truth upon the Earth. What way does it signify this ye'll say? Then I'll tell You, none can be Valiant for the Truth upon the Earth, and Faithful for Christ, but he will be exposed to the Cruelty and Rage of His Bloody Antichristian Enemies; it hath been so always, and will be so. For Michael and the Dragon are two Parties; and there must be a War kept up by all the Lord's Called, and Chosen, and Faithful, against the Dragon and Antichrist, without any Cessation, Truce, or Transaction with them; And if any will discover any measure of Valiantness for the Cause, or will be Zealous for Christ; then he must expect for the Fury of all the World. He may look for the Rage of the Devil and of Antichrist, of Papists, Prelates, and Malignants to be against him: For where Satan hath his Seat on the Throne of the Kingdom, the poor Antipas must suffer Martyrdom (Rev. 2.14.) I say it speaks out much Defection, when those that pretend to be for the Truth on the Earth, and those that should contend for the Truth, gets leave to enjoy all their Liberties from Enemies.

For it cannot be, neither was it ever seen, but all that were Valiant for the Truth, and Zealous for the Cause of Christ, but they had all the Enemies of Truth upon their Top. And these that now have peace, it says they are not so [valiant] now, for the Covenants are not only broken and burnt, but Declared Criminal to be owned; and the Covenanted Reformation like to be Ruined and razed: And when there is so much peace with Antichrist, it is a Wrath-presaging thing, a Wrath procuring thing. And his Blood cries for Vengeance against all those who have been seeking to have peace with the Enemies of GOD, that have encroached on all his Prerogatives. For those who would be Zealous in Adhering to, and contending for those things, must expect to have all Truth's Enemies against them. And now {7} when an Absolute Power (which is the incommunicable Prerogative of JEHOVAH) is arrogate by the Tyrant now upon the Throne, a Vassal of Antichrist: And this Power Recognosced, by the accepting and embracing of the Toleration which flows from it, and when Popery is like to come in at this Gap, and be established, any who would be Faithful in Witnessing against those things, and would be Zealous in contending for the Prerogatives of CHRIST, and the Privileges of His Church, may look and expect to have the Fury and Rage of all Christ's Enemies bent against them. But now when there is so much silence as to those things, and so great enjoying of Peace and Quietness: it says, there is a great Defection, and that there is few Valiant for the Truth upon the Earth. Nay, many have bought Ease at the rate of Selling the Truth.

Fifthly, I'll tell you what it proclaims, and it is that, that Jeremiah complains of in his day, Chap. 9.3, That many hath bent their Tongues like their Bows for Lies: But they were not valiant for the Truth. Yet there was a great deal of Zeal in the Witnesses of God in that day; So it cries for Vengeance against the Shedders, also it proclaims shame and ignominy on lying Tongues that reproaches Truth's Sufferers. And it proclaims sad things to those who were guilty of reproaching him; and if this had been among Enemies, the matter had been less: For we would think it a Reproach not to be Reproached by the Enemies o' God. But to be reproached by these who are not only Protestants, but Covenanted Presbyterians, it is very sad: Yet those who are now above the reach of reproaching Tongues have met with it first and last. For from the Death of Mr. James Guthrie, till Mr. James Renwick suffered, all the faithful and Zealous Ministers of Christ were reproached: Was not Mr. James Guthrie called a Fool? Was not Mr. Kid and Mr. King called Jesuits?And was not Mr. Donald Cargil and Mr. Richard Cameron called the same? And what Reproaches and Calumnies that could be broached out of Hell, was not cast on Mr. James Renwick? He was seen at Masses, and in League with the Enemies, and they would not stir nor trouble him, I cannot rehearse the one half of them, but the Lord hath Vindicated his Servant of them all, though dear to us. But his blood Cries aloud against those Reproaches, ye would take notice of it, and not think it a light matter to reproach the Servants of the Living God: For there is no part of the present Testimony that we have Witnessed for, and that we do own, but it is founded upon the word of God, the Confession of Faith, and the Constitution of the Covenanted Church of Scotland, we are able to make this out. Wherefore in Reproaching us, ye Reproach the Living God, the {8} Cause of Christ, and the Covenanted Reformation of the Church of Scotland. But, O it is sad, that those that are Presbyterians have such Arguments against us, for all their Arguments are such as Papists have; all have the same Arguments against us, and cast the same Reproaches upon us: For not only all the Papists, Prelates, and Malignants of the Land, but also our Declining Brethren Ministers and Professors, use one and the same Arguments against us, and casts the same reproaches upon us: But we have this Advantage by it, that all our Enemies are on the one hand, which makes it the easier to deal with them. What can any say against us? But all the Papists and Malignants in the World will say so too: So we have them all upon the left hand, and none upon the Right, I say, there is very much to be learned by this bloody Dispensation. For the Papists are begun to their bloody Practices; from which it is to be Learned, they will not be restrained, until they do strange bloody Works, for it is their nature; and they cannot be restrained from it, and it ought to have a dreadful cry in our Ears.

Sixthly, It hath another Cry, which is this, as it cries for Vengeance against all the Shedders, and all that have any accession to the shedding of it: So it calls aloud to us, to enquire into the Heads for which he suffered; lest we be found Tramplers on his Blood. The Testimony against this Antichristian Toleration is now Sealed with Blood. The Testimony against this present Tyrannical Government of this Duke of York is now Sealed with Blood. The Testimony of the Gospel Ordinances dispensed by Christ's Faithful Servants in the persecuted Field-Meetings, is now Sealed with Blood. The testimony for Defensive Arms is now Sealed with Blood. He testified against that Land-destroying sin, the paying of the Cess and the Locality, for bearing down the Free Preaching of the Gospel (which was never Settled before.) And let me tell you, O ye Cess-Payers, for I know that there are many of you here: I have sad News to tell you, and whether you will hear or forbear, I must tell you it: but I would counsel you to hear and forbear the Practice of paying it: I say, I must tell you from the Lord, that ye are Guilty of the Murder of the Lord's People, and of this Martyr's blood: amongst the rest, which testified against it, and Sealed it with his Blood: Nay, Let me tell you more, ye are guilty of the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ, and Crucifying of Him afresh: For ye have given your concurrence and your helping hand to the Crucifying Christ afresh again in Scotland, for Christ has been as really Crucified in Scotland, as He was upon Mount {9} Calvary without the Gates of Jerusalem, and ye are as guilty of his blood as the Soldiers who did it. Ye may think this strange, but it is true, for there is such a thing as the Crucifying of Christ afresh, Heb. 6.6, And Christ may be crucified again Mystically in his Truths, Cause, and Members, when his Truth and Cause are Opposed, Contradicted, and Reproached, and his Members Murdered by wicked bloody Enemies, then is He Mystically crucified afresh, and put to open shame. And in Scotland, is not his Truths and Cause opposed, Contradicted, and Reproached, and his Members Murdered? Did not the wicked Convention and Parliament, who laid on the Cess tell you in the Narrative of their Acts, that it was for suppressing of Field Meetings, called by them the Rendezvouses of Rebellion! So term they the Meetings of the Lord's People for Gospel Ordinances. So that they have not left you ignorant of that wherefore they required it; which was, to Banish Christ and his Gospel out of the Land, and to Murder all his Servants and People who would avow and avouch their Adherence to the same: And they required your help and supply to get this wicked turn done, which I dare aver in the sight of Heaven, ye are Christ's Murderers, and the Murderers of all the Saints that has been Murdered since: For you have bought the Swords that did it; and you have bought the Ropes that hanged them, and if you had not been the Hangmen yourselves, you could have done no more, for it was told you, that it was for that end.

Then again in the Paying of it, it hath this Aggravation, that it is against Light; Ye are convinced it is a Sin: For many of you, if we come to you and speak about it, ye will confess it is a Sin, and yet ye go on in the Paying of it without any Excuse: O that is dreadful! will Ye but consider the sinfulness of it? You dare not deny but it is a Breach of Covenant, and that it is against the Acts of our Assemblies; and the Word of GOD condemns it: And yet Ye pay it, that Ye might keep Your Houses and enjoy Your Land. O there shall be a Curse lying on Houses and [they] that have preferred them to the Blessed and Glorious Gospel, the Cause of a Maillings, broken Covenant, the Blood of his Murdered Servants, and the Guilt of crucifying of CHRIST afresh shall lie on You; and the Blood of this Martyr that Suffered last, who Testified against that sin; cries for Vengeance against You, for it was never before Sealed with Blood, and that gives us to Mark it the more. And if You will not hear and forbear it, all Europe shall hear of the Terrible Judgments that shall come upon You, for the promoting, Maintaining, and Helping forward this Heaven-daring-revolt against the SON of the Most HIGH. Now {10} I would have You to consider what his Blood cries to You for, and say it to Heart; for it calls You to Esteem, Love, and contend for those Truths which he Sealed with his Blood: For they are worthy of the Lives of Thousands. Yea, even of all the World: The least of Christ's Truths, is worth the Lives of all the World; much more such great Truths.

I thought I would tell You this in the Entry. Now let us compose our selves, and set ourselves in the Sight of this Great GOD, and beg His Presence and Assistance to what we are about. Let us Pray.



April 15. 1688.

Some Notes or Heads of a LECTURE Preached at Distinckorn-Hill
in the Parish of Gaastoun, by Mr. Alexander Shields,
Preacher of the Gospel.

Upon 1. Samuel 15. Chap, from the 13 verse to the 24.


THE People of Israel and the People of Scotland are very like [each] other: they have been equal in Privileges, and they have been equal in Sins. They were a special privileged people, as [more than any that] was in all the World. They were a Covenanted people, a peculiar people. They were likewise a very treacherous people, and guilty of many breaches of Covenant. They were unsteadfast & changeable, they could not stay long at one thing; and they were a very Loyal people: Yea, and sometimes a wicked Loyal people. They would have a King like the rest of the Nations. Well, the Lord gave them a King in His Anger, and took him away in His Wrath. They might well have wanted a King; for they had a very good Government before, They had the Lord to be their King: And He raised them up Judges fitted for Governing and Ruling aright. Therefore because they desired this Change, The Lord says unto Samuel, hearken unto them, for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me, that I should not Reign over them. Well, the Lord gave them one, but such an one that made the Child to weep that was unborn. Well, he began right well. And the Lord is here taking a Proof of him, whether he would perform Obedience to his Command or not; and he puts him on this piece of Service to go and Execute Vengeance on Amalek, which was a Necessary Duty, a Moral Duty, for they were to have War with Amalek for ever. For the Lord had given a particular Charge to the Children of Israel, Deut. 25 and the last verse. To blot out the Remembrance of Amalek from under the Heaven, and not to forget it. And the Lord puts this in the hands of Saul to discover his Hypocrisy. I shall go no further on the Introduction, but to lead to the Application to our Case.

We have Amalek to deal with; for Amalek does Typify all the Enemies of the Church in general, and hath a Reference to them in these Words that we have Read. There is these six or seven Things contained, {11}

There is First, the Meeting of Samuel and Saul together in that 13th verse and that Meeting was little for Saul’s profit: Poor Samuel in the Night before (when he heard that he disobeyed the Command of the Lord) had been Weeping and Crying all Night to God for him; And here he comes to him, and he came with an Intention to be free with Saul.

We have Secondly, Saul’s accosting the Prophet; he took the first word and spake, wherein are two things: First, Saul’s Hypocritical Salutation of Samuel, and Saul said unto him, blessed be thou of the Lord. 2dly, his Vaunting of his Performances, I have performed the Commandment of the Lord: He began to justify himself. We have

Thirdly, The Prophet’s Challenging of him in the 14th verse, as if he said, have ye done so? have ye performed the Commandment of the Lord? What means then the bleating of the sheep, and the lowing of the Oxen in mine ears? For you got a Commission to go and Destroy these and [the] cursed Amalekites, and all that appertained to them. God’s Command was cut off all, and if ye have done it, what means all this Din then? Every Rout of the Oxen, and every Bleat of the sheep, declares you to be a Rebel against GOD.

Fourthly, We have Saul’s Excuse, and Extenuation of his sin: It was the people that did it, not I; and they did it for a good End, viz. That they might take of those sheep and oxen to Sacrifice unto the Lord in Gilgal.

Fifthly, We have the Prophet’s pressing home the Charge with many aggravating Circumstances in the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th verses: As if the Prophet had said, well, you Excuse yourself, but I must be free with you; remember this, that you may see the Aggravation of your sin: Remember what you were when God advanced you? Ye were little in your own sight, when you were Anointed King over Israel: And further you were then put in a Capacity to do the Will of God, and to Obey His Command. And then the Lord was very particular with you, To go and destroy, and root out these Cursed Amalekites; but ye have not obeyed His Voice, but have Rebelled against him.

Sixthly, We have Saul’s persisting in his justifying of himself in the 20th verse, Yea, I have Obeyed the Voice of the Lord, and have gone the Way that the Lord sent me; and I have brought Agag the King of Amalek, and have utterly Destroyed the Amalekites; but the People took of the Spoil, Sheep and Oxen to Sacrifice unto the Lord thy God in Gilgal. He would not give over the Plea, what they had done, they had done it for a good End.

And then in the Seventh place, We have the Prophet’s convincing him of his Rebellion in the 22nd and 23rd verses: as if he had said, a Sacrifice, what cares the Lord for your Sacrifice, or you either? He loves Obedience better than Sacrifice. Will ye serve God in your own way? No, he will be served in his own way: But now ye are not his Servant, seeing ye have Disobeyed his Command; ye are but a Rebel.

Then in the last place, We have the Sentence that the Prophet pronounces against this Rebel: As if he had said, seeing ye have Disobeyed his Command, He hath taken away and invalidated your Authority; ye may have the Title and the Name for a while, but ye are no more King over Israel; He will have no more of your Service. So these are the particulars of the words which we have read, and we shall go over them again, and speak a little to each of them as time will allow, applying them to our times.

The First thing then, is the Meeting of the Prophet and this Hypocritical King. The Lord had told Samuel in the Night before, how He was Displeased with Saul, and that he had Rejected him, and would not have him to be King any longer: And the Prophet weeps all the Night over for the poor Saul. This was his Exercise, for if he could have gotten the Wrath and Anger of the Lord turned away from Saul, he would fain have had it done, as we should all of us do. We should not desire the Evil day on any; but should weep {12} for the sins of Enemies, and for the Judgments of Enemies: So likewise we should [....] them. And he went from one place to another till he gets Saul to witness against [him,] 12th verse, And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul, in the morning it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel and behold, he set him upon a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgall.

Whence we Observe, when Judges or any in Eminent Note Rebel against God, all the Servants of God should not only mourn over them in secret, but witness against them publickly, as Samuel did. Ministers should be free, and Faithful in preaching against the sins of every one who ever be offended, this is a clear Duty, if Ye will consider these two or three things, First, Why this should be done. 2dly, Who is the Object against whom they should witness. 3dly, When is the time that this should be done.

First then, Why Rebellion should be witnessed against, be in whom it will, which is a duty very much slighted in our Day: We should not suffer sin upon our Brother [Lev. 19.17], when we see him sin, we suffer sin upon him when we do not reprove him, and the not reproving of him, is a hating of him. We hate our Brother when we do not tell him of his Sin, and they are guilty of their blood, 33rd [chapter of] Ezekiel. They that do not declare the whole Counsel of God, cannot say that they are free of the blood of all Men: They should tell what are their sins, and that they should repent of their sins.

Secondly, It is clear, if ye will consider the Names that Ministers get in Scripture, as Watchmen, and those must set the Trumpet to their Mouth, and give Warning when they see danger coming, otherwise they are guilty of their Blood. And also it is clear from what they have in Commission, 58th [chapter] of Isaiah, They must cry aloud and not spare, and lift up their Voice like a Trumpet, and shew the Lord’s People their Transgressions, and the House of Jacob their Sins: Ezek. 16.2, Cause Jerusalem know her abominations, Ezek. 20.4, Cause them to know their Father’s Sins. And when Ministers does not this, they cannot say with Paul, That they are free from the blood of all Men, Acts 28. Seeing if they do not tell the People of their Sins, they have shunned to declare unto them all the Counsel of God: For how can People Repent of and mourn for those sins that they do not know nor [are] told of; There is many a Direction to the Servants of God to declare against the Sins of his People, and they should make their Witness against publick sins, as publick as they can.

Thirdly, It is clear, if ye will consider, that there is no way left to avert the Wrath of God from the whole Land, but a publick pleading against those sins: For we find that for Saul’s Sin, there was Three Years Famine on the whole Land. For David’s sin of Numbering the People, there fell of the People Ten Thousand: And for Manasseh’s sin the Ears of all Judah was made to tingle: So as upon the one hand, the sins of Rulers brings on the Wrath of God on a Land: So upon the other hand the unfaithfulness of Ministers in not giving faithful Warning, and telling the People their sin and Duty, brings Wrath upon the whole Land, Lev. 10.6, And Moses said unto Aaron and unto Eleazar, and unto Ithamar, his Sons, uncover not your Heads, neither rend your Clothes, lest you die, and lest Wrath come upon all the People. Isa. 44.43. Jer. 14.13. Micah 3. [and] 5. Where it is clearly insinuated, that the sins and unfaithfulness of Ministers bring Wrath upon all the People. Now I say, there is no other way left to avert the Wrath of God from a Land, but publick pleading for Truth and against Sin and Defection, which is clear, Isa. 59, 15th and 16th verses, Yea truth faileth, and he that departeth from Evil, maketh himself a prey, And the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him, that there was no Judgment, and He saw that there was no Man, and wondered that there was no Intercessor. And Jer. 5.1, Run ye to and fro through the Streets of Jerusalem, and see now and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a Man, if there be any {13} that executeth Judgment and seeketh the Truth, and I will pardon it: As if the Lord would say, Now I am going to bring Judgment on the Land, and if ye can get any that executeth Judgment and seeketh the Truth, I will turn away my Wrath: And in the 9 of Jeremiah, verse 3, They are not Valiant for the Truth. And Ezek. 22.30, And I sought for a Man among them that should make up the Hedge and stand in the Gap (before ME) for the Land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none: Therefore have I poured out my Indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the Fire of my Wrath. Where we may see, if there had been any to make up the Hedge and stand in the Gap (Before ME) the Land would not have been destroyed. We may see likewise from this, that Ministers should not only be free and Faithful in Witnessing for Truth, but they must wrestle with God as well as for God, and their Witness must be as publick as can be, for the expressions of seeking the truth, and making up the Hedge does import it, seeing these cannot be done but in a publick manner: But alas! There is none found this day to stand in the Gap, and to plead with their Mother, that she should put away her Whoredoms, and Defections, yet it is the only way to turn away Wrath for all that, Hosea 2.2. Alas! We have few in Scotland this day to Wrestle, Mourn, and Plead: And yet every Rebellion that is done against God, when we do not declare against it, we declare ourselves guilty of concealing Treason.

Secondly, Against whom should we Witness? against all, Great or Small, they must not Spare them when they Sin, either for Fear or Favour. So we find Samuel here did Witness against Saul and Nathan the Prophet did Witness against David; Hanani the Seer against Asa and against Jehoshaphat. So we find Isaiah did Witness against Hezekiah; Elijah against Jeroboam, and Elijah against Ahab. Yea many times these Examples has been adduced to us to Witness against all Sins be in whom it will; Especially Ministers should preach against the sins of Tyrants. Our ancient Reformers at the beginning of the Reformation, made use of the freedom and faithfulness of the Prophets in reproving the sins of the Kings of Judah and Israel, to prove the lawfulness of what they did, in reproving the sins of the Great Folk in their time. And some of them took the Freedom, to say there is many Folk nowadays, that will have no other Religion than the Queen’s and the Queen will have no other Religion than the Cardinals, and the Cardinals will have no other Religion than the Pope, and the Pope will have no other Religion than what pleases the Devil: And so it may be said of many in our day: Many will have no other Minister but such as pleases the King, the King does nothing but what pleases the Pope, the Pope does nothing but what pleases the Devil! And look Ye and see what sort of Preaching that must be then. Have ye not a brave Toleration of it then? For upon these Terms was it given: That Ministers should preach nothing that was Seditious or Treasonable or might any way tend to alienate the hearts of the People from the King and his Government: And what is that? But that they should preach nothing against the sins of the Time, nothing of the Tyranny of the Time, nothing against the Absolute Power he hath arrogated, nothing of the Incoming of Popery at the Gate and Gap of this Toleration, nor of the Snares of the Times, nor what was the People’s Duty in such a Case; for that would be Seditious by the King, the Pope, Antichrist, and the Devil! And alas! it is sad [to hear,] that this Toleration is complied with, and that the Freedom and Faithfulness that should be used in these things, is forborne by the Ministers that Preaches in the Meeting Houses, for this pleases the King and the Pope, and the Devil well.

Thirdly, When is the time that Ministers should be thus Free, Faithful, and Publick to Witness against publick sins. Samuel took a very fit time to reprove and convince Saul, just after the {14} committing of the sin: And if ever there was a time to Witness against publick Sins, this is it: But in Answer to this, I shall shew you from Scripture: when is the time and Season of giving a publick Witness and Testimony for Truth and against Sin. As first, When Enemies are relenting a little from their Cruelty, former Rage and Fury against the Lord’s People, yields somewhat, and offers Liberty upon easier Terms than before; when they are very accommodating and yielding, then that is [the very] Season of a Testimony for Truth, without yielding in the least to them. Thus it was with Pharaoh, he was very stubborn at first, but after that he had kept the Children of Israel long in Bond, he yields much, and grants to let them go upon condition that they would let him but keep some of the Sheep; but Moses thought this a fit time of giving a Testimony; he would not yield to Pharaoh in this, not a Hoof says Moses shall be left behind us, and we should all be Slaves this Hundred Years, Nay though we should never be delivered. The Tyrant upon the Throne hath somewhat relented of his former Fury, he hath yielded somewhat, and offers Accommodation with the Lord’s People, but yet upon conditions Destructive to the cause of Christ: Then now is a time of giving a Testimony, declaring that we will not quit one Hoof of Truth, nor yield to him in the least: So when ever Enemies will be pleased with less than formerly, that is the time to testify against Sin.

Secondly, When ever there is a Toleration granted, when Idolatry and Idolaters is Tolerated, as in Judges 2.1, The Children of Israel gave a Toleration to the Canaanites, there came an Angel of the Lord, to wit, a Prophet, and testified against them. And Saul here had given a Toleration to Agag, by sparing of his Life. Samuel testified against him, and told him, that he was but a Rebel to God for the doing [of it. So] when Ahab gave a Toleration to Benhadad he called him Brother, and spares his Life, there comes a Prophet of the Lord and reproves him, 1 Kings 20, and says, Thy Life shall go for his Life, and thy People for his People. As also when Ahaz took a Toleration from the Assyrians, and entered into an Association and Confederacy, with Tiglath Pelezar King of Assyria, the Prophet Isaiah thought this the Season of giving a Testimony, chapter 8.12: Say ye not, a Confederacy, to all them to whom this People shall say a Confederacy. And is not now Idolatry and Idolaters Tolerated, is not Papists and Quakers Tolerated? Then this is the time of giving a Testimony for Truth, and against every thing contrar to it.

Then Thirdly, When People are halting between two Opinions; then is the time of giving a Testimony, as Elijah the Prophet did, 1 Kings 18, When the Children of Israel were halting between two Opinions, he shewed himself to Ahab, who had sought his Life many a day before, And at this time many People are halting between two Opinions; for some will go to the Curates one day, and to the Tolerated Meetings another, and come to the Field Meetings the Third; then this is the time of giving a Testimony. For we must tell you, not to halt between two Opinions, and as Elijah said to them, if the Lord be God, follow Him, but if Baal, then follow Him: So we say unto you, if ye be for God, then avouch it and if you be for Antichrist, then be for Antichrist, it is no time now to keep Peace both with CHRIST and Antichrist, for it is a thing impossible.

Fourthly, When the wicked are very high in Power, as Haman in the Days of Mordecai, then is the time of giving a Testimony: as we see Mordecai did, he would not Reverence him, nor reveal his Cap [take off his hat] to him, though his Life should have gone for it, and the Life of all the Jews. So now, is not now the Papists high in Power! Hosea 8.1, Set ye the Trumpet to thy mouth, and what shall he sound when he hath it there? Even this among these things, verse 4, They have set up Kings but not by me: They have set up a Popish Tyrant upon the Throne of Britain, for which the Wrath of God shall come on this Land. When Enemies are come to a great height {15} of Heaven-daring Wickedness, is it not then a time for Ministers to preach freely against them: To set the Trumpet to their mouth and give a certain sound. O it was the Duty of all the Ministers in Scotland when ever this Popish Tyrant mounted the Throne, to have set the Trumpet to their Mouth and sounded an Alarm; and to have given the People Warning of the great danger they were in; thereby they should have told them, they have set up a Tyrant yonder upon the Throne of Britain and Ireland, who is seeking to Subvert and overturn Religion, and all the Liberties of Mankind, and he hath now arrogate to himself an absolute Power, whereby he may do what he pleases. O therefore have a care of your selves, have nothing ado with him, make no Bargain or Transaction with them.

Fifthly, When the Servants of God are in hazard to be destroyed for the Testimony, and are to be massacred and murdered by Cruel bloody Enemies, then is the Season of a Testimony, and appearing publickly, to tell the People the hazard in order to the preventing of the same, as we see in the case of Mordecai and Esther, when the Jews were in hazard to be massacred and murdered. And now are we not all as really in hazard to be massacred and murdered as ever the Jews were? For it is well known, that the Papists have as great hatred at all Presbyterians, as they had at the Jews, and is not this the time of giving a Testimony against them? Alas! it is sad to see many at peace with Papists, and like to live in Neighbourhood with them. But I must tell you it, there is not a Man this day in Scotland and at Peace with Papists, but he is a Rebel to Christ: For if he were faithful to Christ, then he might expect to have Satan and all his Instruments on his top.

Sixthly, The time of Defection, especially the time of Defections of Ministers is the season of giving a publick Testimony for Truth against them, as we see in the 13th of Ezekiel, 2nd verse. He is bidden Prophesy against the Prophets, and also he is bidden tell them they are but Daubers and that the Wall should fall which they had daubed with untempered Mortar, and we have also this to make the Season of a publick Testimony for truth, and we should look upon the having of it as matter of Sorrow and Lamentation. But alas? hath not many Ministers this day gone on in sad steps of Defection, are they not daubing with Untempered Mortar? This should be told them, that they are unfaithful to Christ in doing such things, and that by their so doing, that they bring not only the Wrath of GOD upon themselves, but upon the whole Land.

Seventhly, When the Testimony is discharged, and Duty interdicted by Law, then is the very Season for a Testimony for it: As in Daniel’s time, when Prayers were interdicted by Law, he would pray then as well as ever; though he was a very wise man, and no Pharisee, yet he not only disobeyed the wicked Law, but he would let his Enemies know it, that he did not obey it by opening his windows. And have we not this also to make this the very season of a Testimony for truth and against enemies, when the Covenants are not only broken and burnt, but declared Criminal to be owned,1 and this makes it the very time of declaring publickly the Obligation thereof upon us, and our Adherence thereunto. Likewise, is not Field-Meetings (which the LORD many times signally countenanced) strictly interdicted by a wicked Law and discharged under pain of Death;2 and this makes it to be an inavoidable Testimony to keep them up, [tho our] blood should be mingled with our Sacrifice. Now by these things may we not see when the Season is, for giving a publick Testimony for Truth, and against the Enemies thereof. And we have all these concurring in our Case, which makes the giving of a publick Testimony for Truth, and against its Enemies an indispensable Duty: For in our Case the Object is clear. Now, when the Prerogatives of CHRIST, Who is the Prince of the Kings of the Earth, is usurped by this Absolute Power which the Tyrant upon the Throne (this Vassal of Antichrist) hath blasphemously arrogated to himself; When this Popish Tyrant claims {16} this absolute Power to himself, and when the Privileges of the Church and Liberties of Mankind is encroached upon by this Monster, and when the Wrath of God is burning against the Generation; is it a time then to keep silence: O who can hold his Peace, The Lion hath Roared, who can but Prophesy? There is none can hold their Tongue that hath any Zeal for the God of Israel, No, no, they cannot.

Secondly, The second thing to be considered, is, Saul’s accosting of Samuel when they were met; Saul took the first word, for he had an ill Conscience in this. There is these two things, First, A flattering Complement, just like the Flatterers of our day. Secondly, A flaunting Profession. First then, There is here a flattering Complement; and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the Lord; O Terrible! this was a taking of the Lord’s Name in vain.

Hence we observe, That Hypocritical Enemies of God are sometimes very free of their Complements, and ofttimes are very ready to bless as Saul was here; but their Blessing had better been wanting, for they are nothing worth. We find this Expression very frequent, blessed be thou of the Lord: As First, When any body gives them any thing, then they will get their Blessing for it; as we see Micah’s Mother did, when he told her, that he had the eleven hundred Shekels of Silver, about which she had cursed; and she said, Blessed be thou of the Lord my Son, Judges 17.2. So if any Body will give the Enemies any thing they may expect their Blessing; but they will not be much the Richer of it when they have gotten it. Secondly, When any Body makes any Address to them, or help them to do any ill Turn, then they will get their Blessing for it. As when the Ziphites, these Intelligencers came and told Saul where David was, and Saul said Blessed be ye of the Lord; as if he had said, Blessed be ye of the Lord, for ye are Loyal Subjects, seeing ye came to tell me where my Enemy David haunts, blessed be ye. Thirdly, When such an Occasion is put in into the Hands of the Lord’s People, as that they may cut them off, and they spare them; as when David spared Saul’s Life, 1 Samuel 24.16 [26.25], Blessed be thou my Son David, thou shalt prevail, says Hypocritical Saul. And Fourthly, When they have done an ill Turn, to stop the mouths of Reprovers, they will say, they have not [sinned] as the Papists have done this day. Fifthly, When they have a mind to do an ill Turn to any, then they will speak fair, and fall to their Compliments as we see Joab did when he killed Amasa, 2 Samuel 20.9. It is said, Proverbs 26.25, When they speak fair, believe them not, for there are seven Abominations in their heart.

Well, one word by way of Application: There are many in Scotland, hath win the Blessing of Enemies; well, hold them with it, but it is not much worth when they have gotten it, [it] will do them little good. Many of you by Complying in hearing of Curates, taking of Oaths and Bonds, and paying the Cess, have win Antichrist’s Blessing, and the Devil’s Blessing; but when ye have gotten it, you will win nothing by it, nor be the Richer by it, And many of you by embracing this Toleration, have given your Helping hand, when they are going to set up Dagon, and when you lie by from giving a Testimony against it, and when there is such smooth preaching that will trouble Antichrist much. O but he will be well pleased with it. Oh! consider it, Ye who have had any hand in this! for Ye have given your Helping hand to set up Popery, and so you have got their Blessing.

The second thing to be considered in Saul’s accosting of Samuel, Is, Saul’s Flaunting profession, I have performed the Commandment of the LORD. I shall note this from it, That Hypocrites are very ready to make a shew of their Profession, and to vaunt of their performances, which is always the Mark of a Hypocrite. For if Ye would speak to some Folk, they will tell You that they have done as much and suffered as much for the Cause as any, and they will make a shew of their Profession, and boast of their Performances ofttimes for these ends. {17}

First, To be in Favour with People, that they may esteem much of them (so [Saul boasted much of his] performances:) seeking to be advanced; they will tell you, they have done this Duty and the [other] Duty; and O, but they have done much for the LORD. O this is [hateful] in His sight. Jehu [boasted] of that which he had done, when he said, Come with me, and see my Zeal for the LORD, 2 Kings 10.16. So many Hypocrites in Scotland have made a great din of their profession, and have talked [much] of what they had done, that they might be much esteemed, [and] in Favour with People: Many [made] their Talking of owning the Covenant, a Stirrup to mount themselves into the Saddle of Preferment, and have helped to Bury it since; at which the LORD’s Spirit has been grieved. Secondly, Some did boast of their pretended Performances, and do make them a [scugg] to [hide] their Knavery with; whereas their pretence is, to make themselves Rich: I have done bravely, [says] he. This [hath been] much in Scotland: Many have had a great shew of Profession, and bragged much of that they had done. So, many Folks will take up a Profession of Religion, to have their Knavery [cloaked] but GOD will discover such to their shame. There will some Folks appear for the Lord with their Swords; whereas their End is to make themselves Rich: For there are many who came out at Bothwell-Bridge, that came out for [no] other End, [but] to get a Booty and a Spoil, to make themselves Rich. Thirdly, Hypocrites will brag much of their Performances, that they may persuade others to sin; and all that I can say for this End, is, as [Baits] to allure People to that which is sinful. The Whorish Woman spoken of by Solomon, Proverbs 4, When she is alluring the Young Man to commit Fornication with her, she makes use of this as an Argument to persuade him, verse 14, I have Peace-Offerings with me this day; I have performed my Vows. So when they would have others to concur in a Conspiracy with them, they are brave Men then, and they will talk much of their performances. They boast of their Performances, that they may make the same a Prop to lean upon: They have nothing to brag of but their own works, and they build upon that, and go about to establish their own Righteousness; and some Folks lean upon their own principles, great profession, and much suffering. O [poor sandy] Foundation! poor Saul thought that what he had done would merit Favour from GOD: so Hypocrites lean on many things (that are not CHRIST) as props. Lastly, Hypocrites may make their great profession and performances, a plea to extenuate and defend, and justify their sins; as Saul did here to justify and extenuate his sin of disobeying the Commandment of the Lord, I have performed the Commandment of the Lord. So alas! for [all the] Defections that have been in Scotland, for which the Heavens may stand astonished, and all Nations that have heard of it: Yet this is the common plea, and pretext of many Compliers to extenuate their Defection: Yet they will say, O they have performed the Commandment of the LORD, they have done much, and suffered much. Ay, if ye will speak to some of the greatest Compliers in all the Land, that have gone on in all the Compliances in all the Land, hearing of Curates, taking of Oaths, paying of Cess, and the rest; and all this to cover their Defection, as Saul did here. O this is abominable in the LORD’s sight.

Now the Third thing to be spoken to, is, The Prophet’s challenging Saul, and telling him, in [person], that he was a Lying Hypocrite; as if the Prophet had said, ye talk much of performing of the Commandment of the LORD, but there are many Witnesses to the contrary: Ye say ye have performed and obeyed the LORD’s Command, have ye done so? What means then the bleating of the Sheep, and the lowing of the Oxen which I hear? Every [Rout] and every Bleat declares the contrary: Whence we observe, that Defections shall be discovered by their Effects, as Matth. [12.33,] The Tree is known by its Fruits: Though we may say, we have performed the Commandments of the Lord, there are many things that evidence the contrary: For if we will reflect on the sins of our time, we may see many evidences of our Defections, our Bleatings of the Sheep, and Lowing of the Oxen does Witness. Alas! Our Defections are great and many, and very heinous and yet it is sad to hear such a justifying of ourselves, as there is, I shall only tell you some of them, that we may think upon and mourn for the same.

As for Example, we have sworn away ourselves and all that we have to the Lord in a Solemn League and Covenant; and we are commanded to hold fast that which we have received. Let us run through shortly all the Articles thereof, and we shall see we have broken them all.

First, According to the first Article of the Covenant, we are sworn through Grace to endeavour in our Places and Stations, the preservation of our Reformed Religion in the Church of Scotland in Doctrine, Worship, Discipline, and Government. Well, have we done this? Ay, ay, Ministers and People will both say they have done it: But now I say, if we have done it, What means the Bleating of the Sheep and Lowing of the Oxen: If we have keeped this Article of our Covenant, then how comes it, that the Overturner is admitted to sit upon the Throne, and submitted unto; {18} And in Absolute Power claimed by the Granter of this Toleration, and the Accepters do recognize that Absolute Power to be in him, for that Toleration flows from it: The Design whereof, is, to overturn Religion, and introduce Idolatry; yet how is the same not only embraced and accepted by the most part, but thanked for by all the Presbyterian Ministers, as their Address bears. O can this consist with Presbyterian Principles, and yet the obligation of the Covenant dare not be preached in no Tolerated Meeting this day in Scotland. And yet it was the Doctrine of the Reformers of the Church of Scotland, that Folk should Witness for these things. But now nothing may be preached that may tend to alienate the hearts of the people from Papists; and is not the Doctrine encroached upon by this Toleration? when it is prescribed to Ministers how they should preach: And is not the Discipline encroached upon? For none are Tolerated, but those whom the Enemies please, and these have no power to exercise Discipline: And the Government is also Encroached upon. So that it is the most shameful thing, and most destructive thing that ever was in the Church before. For there was never such a Bondage as this: What means the bleating of the Sheep, and lowing of the oxen? O! may we not see how we have broken this Article?

Secondly, We are commanded to keep the Lord’s Land clean, we are bound in the second Article to extirpate Popery and Prelacy, &c. Now have we done this? ay, ay, Ministers and Professors will say that they have done it, but if we have done it, then what means the bleating of the sheep and lowing of the oxen? if we have extirpated Prelacy; then what meaneth the Ringing of the Bells to the Curates’ preaching, which some of you might have heard the day by the way? For if we had been Faithful in keeping this Article, there would none of them been in the Kirks this day. If we have endeavoured to extirpate Popery: Then what means the Mumbling of the Mass in many places of the Land? Do ye not hear tell of Masses? Do ye not hear of a Popish Tyrant on the Throne, a Vassal of Antichrist? And yet Acknowledged as the Vicegerent of JEHOVAH? Have you been extirpating those, when you have been Hiring them by paying them these things that they Require of you: And what means the embracing of and Accepting A Toleration? The Design of the granting of which, is, to introduce Popery: For was ever Popery introduced where once it was Rooted out without A Toleration? And is this the way to extirpate Popery? O! no, no, Are there not many of you brave Covenanters indeed, when ye countenance A Toleration which opens a Gap to let in Popery? But some of you will say, may not Papists do good? For Cyrus was a Heathen, and he gave Liberty to the Jews to go Home to their own Land and build the Temple of Jerusalem; there we see he did good. O ye who plead thus, have a care what you say, and do not Father your ill-gotten [Getts] on the Holy scripture! Do not wrest the scriptures of Truth! for ye have no ground to plead the Lawfulness of your practice from this Example of Cyrus. This Antichristian Toleration now so Universally Accepted, improved and Applauded of, is no ways like that Liberty granted by Cyrus to the Lord’s people; it is neither like it in the Granter, nor in the Terms whereupon it is granted, nor in the Design wherefore it was granted, nor in any other thing are they like other: For Cyrus was prophesied of, long before he was born, by the Prophet Isaiah, that he should build the LORD’s House, and let go his Captives: He was extraordinarily Raised up by the Lord, and called of GOD to give Liberty to His people, and to Establish their Religion by a Decree: Now this cannot be said of him who grants this Toleration. Again, Cyrus in his Proclamation gives Liberty to the Lord’s people, the Jews only, and not to any of the Nations as Ammonites, Philistines, or the Rest; and the thing he granted, is, the Free Exercise of their Religion in their own Land, Ezra 1.3. And he gives a Noble Testimony to the Glory of GOD: But he does not give any Liberty to the Idolatrous Nations to Exercise their Idolatries. Now this cannot be said of the Tyrant and his Proclamation for this Toleration: For [he] gives Liberty to Idolaters and Heretics, Papists and Quakers; And he grants Religion among other things to be Tolerated. But Cyrus does not Tolerate the Religion of the Jews as a thing to be suffered: but by a real Decree, and he gives Testimony to Truth and people of GOD: but this Tyrant gives no Testimony to the Glory of GOD, he does not Encourage and Establish Religion as Duty; but Tolerates it under the Notion of a Crime, And gives Liberty to it under the Notion of a Fault to be pardoned. Now Religion cannot be Tolerated; but should be owned, encouraged, and established as such: Likewise he gives Liberty to Idolaters to Exercise their Idolatries; and to Hereticks to spread Abroad and vent their Heresies; he gives Papists liberty to say their Mass; and Quakers to vent their Blasphemies: So that now, as it were, the Ark of the Lord is set up beside Dagon. Moreover, Cyrus granted the Jews the Free Exercise of their Religion, without any Bonds, Restriction, or Limitations: But this cannot be said of this Toleration; For it is clogged with Restrictions and Limitations: By it Ministers are Restricted in {19} [their] Doctrine; For they must preach nothing that any way may tend to Alienate the Hearts of the subjects from the Granter of it or his Government; and the place of their preaching is also Restricted, it must be in Houses, and not in the Fields. Likewise the Design of Cyrus granting Liberty to the Jews was good; For he gave them Liberty to go up to Jerusalem to Build the House of the LORD: But this is not the Design of this Granter, it is to Introduce Popery! And he intends not to Build the House of the LORD; but to Build Babylon: And he will make use of this Toleration as a scaffolding to keep up that Tower of Babylon; And when ever he hath the building finished, then he will pull down the scaffold again.

Then again, some plead for the Lawfulness of accepting and making use of this Liberty from the Philistines sending Home the Ark. Ay, ay, say they, seeing the Philistines sends us Home the Ark, why may we not Receive it? may not the Philistines’ Kine carry home the Ark of the LORD? But they have no ground for this neither: For the Ark and Dagon cannot stand together under one sconce: For no sooner was the Ark set up but Dagon went down, But now if ye will look upon the Liberty granted by this Toleration, as the bringing back of the Ark, then the Ark and Dagon are standing very peaceably and pleasantly together under one sconce; this cannot be, for they cannot stand together, and now many, both Ministers and Professors are living peaceably, And in good Neighbourhood with Papists and Quakers. O abominable! what is this? O this is sad that ever this should have been heard of in Scotland. Moreover when the Lords of the Philistines sent back the Ark, the Kine that carried it, went straight to Bethshemesh in the Land of Israel; but now they are going away to Babylon: And if this Liberty granted by this Toleration be the Ark, then they are carrying it the high-gate to Rome.

Then Thirdly, In the third Article of our Solemn League and Covenant, we are bound to stand fast in the Defence, and to maintain the Liberties of the Church, and Privileges of the Kingdom, as We are Men and Christians. We have observed this, that some will plead on this Article of the Covenant for owning a Popish King: But O! is there not an express Condition and Qualification there, that we shall own no Magistrates over us, but in subordination to the Law of GOD, and those who will give us security for our Religion and Liberty: And have we not the Laws of GOD against Tyranny, and also the Laws of the Land, which we are bound to maintain every Soul of us; and now we do subscribe ourselves Breakers of it, when we own a Papist. Now have we performed this? Ay, ay, it may be some Ministers and Professors will say they have; but if we have done it, then what meaneth the bleating of the sheep, and lowing of the oxen? What meaneth the lowing of the Bulls of Bashan? What meant the Wicked walking on every side? And what means the Bloodshed? All these things do Witness against us, if We have keeped this Article in refusing to set up Magistrates over us without security given for our Religion and Liberty: Neither was it Required of him, now when he is set up, and hath Arrogate to himself an absolute power; by virtue whereof he hath stopped and disabled all our Penal statutes made against Idolaters: and is intending to [Rob] us of all Privileges and Liberties, as we are Men and Christians. And if we have maintained and Defended our Privileges as we are Men and Christians, then what meaneth the great Oppression both of Bodies and Consciences in the Land? What meaneth the [Crushing] of many poor people under heavy Burdens and great Bondage. Nay, we are obliged to cut off Idolaters: The Idolater should be put to Death, according to the Law of GOD; and those Penal statutes in the Old Testament are not abrogated yet, for they are Moral.

Fourthly, In the Fourth Article of the solemn League and Covenant, we are bound to bring the Malignant Enemies of GOD to Condign punishment. By the Law of GOD Idolaters should die the Death; and Murderers should Die the Death; that the Land should not be defiled with Blood: Well have we done this? ay, ay, Ministers and Professors will say they have done it: But if we have performed this, then what meaneth the bleating of the sheep, and lowing of the Oxen? if we have Endeavoured to bring the Enemies of GOD to condign Punishment: Then what means the setting them up in places of Power and Trust, and instead of bringing Idolaters and Murderers to punishment, We have set them up Confederate with them, and taken Protection from them, and instead of bringing them to punishment, we have maintained them: For what’s your Cess but a Grassing of Antichrist’s Bulls to push and destroy the LORDs people. The Devil has so many Oxen to Feed, and he Requires you to Feed them, that they may tread down the Work of GOD: and where is there any that stands up and justifies themselves? O is that a keeping of the Covenant, to maintain its Destroyers? And is that a bringing of these Enemies, Idolaters and Murderers to punishment, to Feed them, and Confederate with them? O ye have made thereby an unhappy Conjunction.

Fifthly, By the fifth Article of our Solemn League and Covenant, we are obliged to seek and promote Peace and Union. Now can we say we have done this? Ay, ay, Ministers and Professors {20} will say they have done it; then what meaneth our Joining in this unhappy and unhallowed Union for our bitter Debates and Contentions have been the Fruit of our Defections: For our Defection hath brought on Division, and Division hath brought on Confusion; [and] yet we must not Unite in this Toleration; We must not Unite in a course of Defection from the LORD, for that would bring on Wrath and Indignation, and the Judgment of the Lord upon us. But alas; we have United with Antichrists. The Reek of our Chimneys, and the Bleating of your sheep, [even] Witness against you. I do not envy your Peace in the Way of Righteousness: But this I may say, if ye be Confessors of His Name, and appear for Him as ye ought to do, ye will not get [sitting] long; and I fear there is not a Man that can Free himself of the breach of this Article.

Sixthly, By the sixth Article of the Covenant, we are bound to Defend our Brethren in their pursuing the Ends of the Covenant; and we are obliged to take what is done to one as done to all: Well, have we not done this? Have we defended our Brethren? Ay, ay, maybe some Ministers and Professors will say they have done it: if we have done it, What meaneth the Bleating of the sheep, and Lowing of the Oxen? What means your withdrawing your Help from your brethren when in Hazard? What means your not Relieving your brethren (when in your power to do it) when drawn to Death by Enemies? Oh! many of you instead of helping your brethren, you have helped the Enemies. Alas! We are guilty of the Breach of Covenant; We have not endeavoured to perform these things which we are bound to perform: For there is not one Article of the Solemn League and Covenant, but we have broken: And we have not endeavoured as we should have done in our several places and Callings to preserve the Reformed Religion in the Church of Scotland, in Doctrine, Worship, Discipline, and Government. We have not endeavoured as we should have done to extirpate Popery and Prelacy! And the Accepting this Toleration is a Breach of every Article of the Covenant. For how can they extirpate Popery and Prelacy, seeing they make use of this Toleration that Tolerates them: And ye who go to these Toleration Meetings ye are guilty of breach of Covenant, for ye strengthen the Hands of Papists thereby; ye cannot endeavour the Extirpation of Popery when ye are at peace with Papists. And then we are to Repent and turn to the LORD, and Acknowledge our Sins, and engage to our Duty. Well, have we performed this, what means then our justifying of our selves in maintaining of this present course. For that is inconsistent with true Repentance and mourning for sin, which is clear from 2 Cor. 7.10,11. If we had mourned for the sin of former Indulgences, we could not have [looked] on this Toleration but with Detestation; for it has loaded us with many Reproaches: [Ay, They] may pretend to what they will, it is impossible that they shall be found among the Mourners of Zion, while they continue in that Course, which is clear from the forecited place of Scripture: For you give all that is Required of you! and by so doing you make yourselves guilty of the breach of Covenant. O consider the sin thereof, and the Judgment that GOD will assuredly pursue for such an Indignity done unto Him. Remember Sirs, and take Warning: And I Charge you to take Warning: For if ever there was a Defection in Scotland, this is one: For this hundred and Twenty Years, there hath not a Testimony been wanting to the Truth; And this Toleration Condemns them all. O will not the sin of Hearing the Curates make us guilty of the sin of Prelacy?

And will not the hearing of these Tolerated Meetings, make us guilty of the sin of this Toleration? I am not imposing upon you my own Notions; I invite you to nothing; but the Scripture is clear; For if you will search them, and the Ancient Records of our Church, the Acts and Constitutions of her General Assemblies, and the Writings of True and Faithful Champions, you would [find] these things not to be my Whimsies, but to be the Truth which I tell you; I invite you then to search them, and I desire no more.

The Fourth Thing in the Words to be spoken unto, is Saul’s Excuse and Extenuation of his Sins; and there is a Fourfold Excuse in [it.] I shall Observe this from it in general; whatever Men as Hypocrites pretend to in Excusing their Sin, it will not do the Turn, but it makes it the more heinous. Now, the first Excuse which Saul makes, is this, They have brought them from the Amalekites, and this doth discover his ignorance: For it was his sin to spare them; they should all have been destroyed: For the Amalekites were Devoted Enemies among other Nations. They might have [done these] things, but they had on express Charge, Deut. 25.17,18,19 verses, To blot out the Remembrance of Amalek from under Heaven: For they were accursed Enemies of GOD, and they were Idolaters, and they ought not to have been spared by [tampering] with them: No, no, they were all to be cut off, Man, Woman, and Child, and all that belonged to them; nothing was to be spared. The Children of Israel was to keep up and to have maintained a War against them without any Cessation, Peace, or Transaction with them. And if it was Saul’s sin to spare Agag, and the best of the Sheep, and {21} of Oxen, and if it was Israel’s Interest to have maintained a War against Amalek, It is as much our duty and the duty of all the People of CHRIST, to keep up and maintain War without any Cessation, Peace, or Transaction against Antichrist, and against Papists, now under the New Testament; as it was theirs under the Old, For they are great Enemies to Truth, and as great Idolaters as they were; it was Israel’s sin to spare Agag: But we have not only spared the Papists, but we have set up a Papist over us! And if it was Saul’s sin, and the people’s sin to spare Agag, So it would have been greater sin and a shame to have set up Agag on the Throne of Israel, So it was our sin to spare Papists; but more to set up a Papist over us; so far is our sin surpassing theirs. Well, remember Sirs, you have many Oxen, and many Sheep bleating; but will you Examine how you get them: there are many of you that has peace [now], you have Houses and Lands; well, got you them and your Consciences keeped both? was you Wiser than other Folk; or was you Honester nor [than] others? or was you more False than others have been? some will say, I got mine keeped by hearing the Curate; others will say, I got mine keeped by countenancing this Toleration: Well, you got it from the Amalekites the Enemies of GOD and you may have little Peace by reflecting on the Way that you have then, and them you have it from. O consider the sinfulness of making Peace with Papists, these Enemies of God, against whom we are to maintain a War without any Cessation: For CHRIST has proclaimed a War against all such. Look and ye will see the Declaration of War in the 14th [chapter] of the Revelation, 9th verse. And any of you that have got any thing that you have this way; O strive to get a better [tack] of them.

The second Excuse which Saul makes, is this, That it was the People did it, and not he: (just like many in our day.) but he lied like a Traitor; for it was by his Command. Whence we observe, that Hypocrites will ay lay the Blame on others: For if he asked at the People, they would have laid the Blame on Saul. So in our day, spear [ask] at the Ministers who is to Blame for all this Defection, and they will say the Blame lies upon the people; and if we spear [ask] at the people, they will [lay the] Blame upon the Ministers, and say, they left them, and would not preach to them in the time of Temptations and Trials; and Ministers will say, that they would have preached, if the people would have heard them: But where these Excuses are, there is little Sense of sin, and Humiliation for sin, and little fear of the Judgments of GOD that will pursue such sins, where every one is laying the Charge off themselves: For Ministers say, they would have keeped their Kirks and preached, but the people would not bide with us, and what could we do? For we wanted our [Judicatories,] and what could we do? It is not the Ministers, it is the people. Come to the people, and they will say, the Ministers went to the Kirks and heard the Curates, and we went too; and the Ministers counseled us to take the Bond, and what could we do? But God will lay the blame upon the whole Ware, both Ministers and people.

A Third Excuse that Saul makes is, that he spared the Sheep and Oxen for a Sacrifice to the Lord thy God. Whence we Observe, that it is the Mark and Plea of Hypocrites to justify all their Defections from the good end that they have in going about them. We are ready to justify our Actions, tho they be bad, because of the good end we think we have in going about them; A good end will not justify a bad Action. If we should spear [ask] at some Ministers, wherefore bowed ye to the Supremacy, wherefore accepted ye the Indulgence? It was to get liberty to Preach the Gospel say they. Wherefore did ye accept this Toleration? They will Answer, it was to Preach the Gospel that we did it, and it was the Salvation of Souls that we intended thereby; and is not that a very good end? Poor Man, has thy Preaching no other end but the Salvation of Souls? Ay, ay, ye think ye have a brave Plea of it, but remember, though it be the indispensable Duty of Ministers to Preach the Gospel; yet to accept of a Liberty to preach the Gospel [in a] way which encroaches upon and wrongs the Prerogatives of the great King and head of the Church, is a sin, though their end be good in accepting the same: Where is thy Obedience Man? For Obedience is better than Sacrifice. Constancy and Faithfulness in the Matters of God, is called for at Ministers’ hands. The conversion and edification of Souls is indeed the great end of preaching the Gospel, but that is not all, it is but the one half of the end of it. There is also the Glory of Christ, He must and will be Glorified, whether Souls get good by it or not. For the Preaching of the Gospel is not only the Testimony of Christ, but the Testimony for Christ. Ministers must obey all Christ’s Commands, For what cares the Lord for thy Sacrifice or thee either, that thou hast gotten from the Amalekites? For the preaching of the Gospel by accepting and improving of the Liberty granted by this Toleration, is not a Testimony for Christ, seeing it so wrongs and encroaches upon the Prerogatives of Christ. And it is no less than presumption for any to expect the Lord’s presence at any of the Tolerated Meetings: For they have not a promise for [it in] {22} [. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ., what the Lord] may do in his Providence, I would have you to [tell them, that they are . . . . . . . . . . . . . . the] Lord Jesus Christ, and that their Meetings are not [Consonant to the] Doctrine of the [Church of Scotland,] and tell them that I [bade you . . .] [. . .] fourth Excuse Saul makes, is by telling his Commission to extenuate his Omissions, the rest [we] have [utterly destroyed]: Though we have not killed all the sheep and the oxen, but have spared [. . .] some of them [to sacrifice] to the LORD; yet the rest we have utterly destroyed. [He . . . . .] [. . .,] That [Hypocrites] would still count and reckon the things that they have done, to [make them] [. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .] done. For if ye will charge some Folk with Omission [. .] of their [duty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . their] Commissions [as may ever . . . . . . . . have their Omissions . . . . . . . . . that will not do the business.]

The fifth thing to be spoken to, is, the Prophet’s pressing [home the] Charge [upon] Saul, by telling him some of the Aggravations of his sin. And First, the Prophet [aggravates his sin] from the privileges that the LORD had bestowed upon him: When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made Head of the Tribes of Israel: He was but a poor man, and he [. . . . . . . of] the LORD [. . . . . . . to be] King over Israel. Whence [we] Observe, that [despised] and misimproved Privileges are very great Aggravations of the sins of a Country, or people, or a particular man. O this Aggravation is in Scotland’s sin; this makes [our] Defection very heinous. The LORD bestowed [more and . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Scotland than upon any other] Nation in the World: For the LORD redeemed and delivered it. First, from Paganism by the Ancient Culdees. What were we then? [A poor . . . . . . . . . . Nation.] [. . . . . . . . . . . Antichristian . . . . . .] And Reformation was advanced [a great] length [. . . . . . . .]: For then we were Papists. And was there a people more savage and more rude in all the World than we were? and when there was [not . . . a poor] [. . . . people in all the world . . . we . . . . . . . . . . . . .; and . . . the LORD set up his Church] in it. And Thirdly, He did redeem us from Prelacy; and advanced it to a greater length in Reformation [than before]: And then upon the [breach of all . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . such a Defection; when it [had] enjoyed [such] Privileges as no other Nation in the world [. . .] the like of them, and was Covenanted to the LORD [. . .] certainly a great Aggravation of our Guilt. O beloved Scotland, what a dreadful and [. . . .] sin was it for thee [to . . .] into such [. . . . . . .]? Secondly, Another Aggravation in Saul’s sin was this, not improving that Power for the LORD, which he had from the Lord. Whence we observe, that when People are put in a Capacity to do the Will of GOD and does not improve it, [that does exceedingly] Aggravate their sin; and this is here charged on Saul: he was King over Israel, and so he had power, and was in a Capacity to destroy the Amalekites as he was commanded; and [this makes his not doing] thereof the more heinous, and this is likewise a great Aggravation in Scotland’s sin. The LORD gave our [Fore-fathers] Power to advance Reformation, and to have rid themselves of [Malignants] for ever; For then like a Foolish People they fell a-tampering with them, and brought in the Head of them. And now though we suffer under their Hands for this, we have nothing to say, but adore the Righteousness of the LORD therein.

Thirdly, Another Aggravation of Saul’s Sin, was a disobeying a peremptor Commission which he got to go and destroy the Amalekites, beside what the Children of Israel got in commandment from the Lord, to blot out their remembrance of them from under Heaven, Deut. 25.19. Saul got a particular Commission to go and destroy them all, and to have nothing to do with them. The Lord hath told us, and we are commanded peremptorily not to meddle with his Enemies, and to have a [care], not to Bargain nor [transact] with them in the least, because it is [dishonourable] to God, and Destructive to his Interest, and we are bound in Covenant to extirpate them. O Sirs, it is utterly unlawful in matters of Religion, to tamper with the Enemies of God, and yet for all this, we cannot forbear to take and give with them. Our Fathers tampered with them when they fell upon these Resolutions, and all along since our tampering with them, has destroyed us, and we continue this day to run our Heads against the Bosses of Jehovah’s Bucklers; and on these Rocks on which the People of God have perished formerly.

Then in the last place, the Prophet convincing him of his sin: Wherefore didst thou not Obey the Voice of the LORD? And here the Prophet calls it Rebellion. Hence we Note, that [of] all Rebellions in the World, Rebellion against GOD is the greatest; and of all Rebellions in the World, the Rebellion of a King against GOD is the greatest: For it is called here as the sin of Witchcraft. The Brutishness of the Enemies appeared much in using this Argument, (that Rebellion was as the sin of Witchcraft,) against some of the Prisoners taken at Pentland; but some of them answered very pertinently, (which was to this purpose) that the Rebellion there spoken of, was not the Rebellion of a People against a King; But the Rebellion of a King against GOD; and this was Saul’s sin. It is {23} true, to Rebel against Lawful Magistrates that are Ordained of GOD, and are [. . . . . . . . . . .] is a Damnable sin: but it is no Rebellion to resist Tyranny; and these Powers that set up a Throne of iniquity. O consider, what a dreadful thing Rebellion against GOD is; the Prophet here compares it to Witchcraft: But now what is this Rebellion? There are several things in Scripture called Rebellion against GOD.

I shall mention these five or six of them. First, Murmuring against the LORD, is called rebellion against Him, Numbers 14.9. O there hath been much sad Murmuring in our days, many of us hath murmured in the Wilderness. We have Rebelled against Him: And it is to be feared that many of us shall die in Ordinances appointed by him in His Word, Joshua 22.19, But rebel not against the Lord, nor against us, in building ye an Altar beside the Altar of the Lord our God. Alas! there hath been much of this Rebellion in Scotland: setting up Worship not according to his institution. Inventing, preventing, and corrupting the Worship of GOD. [Hence] conformity with Prelacy is Rebellion against God: For he never appointed this Lordly Dominion in his Word: It is none of his Ordinances. Hence this Antichristian Toleration is Rebellion against GOD: There is no Warrant for it in his Word: The receiving and embracing of this Toleration (whereby the power which the Granter claims in granting it, is Recognosced: the Evils in it in effect justified, and not witnessed against; and the wicked Design of its granting strengthened) is Rebellion against GOD; and this Toleration is a filthy Rebel against GOD: The Claiming an Absolute power which is the prerogative of God. O such a dreadful day as is coming upon him, and all that take part with him! Thirdly, Backsliding is called Rebellion against GOD, Isa. 1.2. O there hath been much Backsliding both in heart and Ways in Scotland! There is a great Backsliding from Practice, Principles, and Profession, [it] was always the Principles of the Church of Scotland to oppose Tyranny and Usurpation: it was the Doctrine of the Church of Scotland to be against a Toleration: It was their Constant Principle never to give a Toleration to Papists, nor take Toleration from Papists. But O there is a great Backsliding from former Faithfulness, and from former Love and Zeal. Fourthly: Obstinacy, and refusing to hearken to the Commandments of the Lord, and to turn again unto Him, is called Rebellion, Ezek. 20.3; Dan. 9.5. O there hath been much Rebellion in Scotland. Fifthly, Confederacy and Association with the Enemies of GOD, is called Rebellion against Him, Hosea 7.14, And they Rebelled against ME. And one of the ways whereby they Rebelled against the Lord was, by calling to Egypt and going to Assyria, as it is, verse 11, they were going back to Egypt to get help from them; that was an Confederating and making peace with them. O there is much of this Rebellion in Scotland, many are saying a Confederacy with enemies, and are at Peace with them, and this Rebellion is the sin and shame, and the Judgment of Backsliding Scotland, and woe to all them that have any recession to this dreadful Confederacy. I shall say no more at this time. The LORD Himself give you to consider what is said. Amen.


Footnotes:

1. James VII. Parl. 1. Act 5:

Act Declaring it Treason to Take or Own the Covenants.
May 6.1685.

OUR SOVERAIGN LORD, and Estates of Parliament, Do hereby Declare, that the Giving, or Taking, of the National Covenant, as Explained in the Year 1638, or of the League and Covenant (so commonly called) or Writing in Defence thereof, or Owning of them as lawful, or Obligatory on themselves or others, shall infer the Crime and Pains of Treason.


2. James VII. Parl. 1. Act 8

Act against Preachers at Conventicles, and Hearers at Field Conventicles.
May 8. 1685.

OUR SOVERAIGN LORD, Considering the Obstinacy of the Fanatical Party, who notwithstanding all the Laws formerly made against them, Persevere to keep their House and Field-Conventicles, which are the Nurseries and Rendezvouzes of Rebellion. THEREFORE, His Majesty, with Consent of His Estates in Parliament, Doth Statute and Ordain, That all such as shall hereafter Preach at such Fanatical, House, or Field-Conventicles; As also, such as shall be present as Hearers at Field-Conventicles, shall be punished by Death, and Confiscation of their Goods.