... Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.—Revelation 15.3.

[The Waters of Sihor; or The Land's Defection, by James Guthrie.]



of the
Commission of the General Assembly,
and of the
Parliament at Perth, 1651,

Concerning the Employing & Entrusting
of the
Malignant Party in the Army & Judicatories,


Excerpts from The Waters of Sihor, or the Lands Defectione;
By James Guthrie.1

[Propositions laid down and contended for by Guthrie, in page 19.]

1. All judicatories and Armies, and all places of {619:A} power and trust amongst the Lord's covenanted people in Scotland, should consist of, and be filled with, men of known good affection to the work and people of God, and of a blameless Christian conversation.

2. All known malignant, and profane scandalous persons, ought to be excluded from power and trust amongst those, and to be purged out from the Judicatories and Armies.

3. The making of Associations in counsel and in forces with the Malignant party, or these who walk in known wickedness, and in enmity and opposition to the work and people of God, is to these unlawful, and ought to be avoided by them.

4. Malignant and wicked men who have been engaged in such enmity and opposition, or given to profanity, and have thereupon been debarred from the Covenant or Communion, or secluded or removed from power and trust, ought not to be admitted into these till after trial they shall be found in their ordinary conversation to give real testimony of their dislike of their former evil courses and ways, and of their sorrow for their accession to the same, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly.

[Page 21.]

In the year 1648, when the parliament were on debate of a engagement in War against England, the Commission of the Kirk, (being there homologated by the Supplication of most of all the Presbyteries and Synods in Scotland,) as they did desire the parliament "that the grounds and causes of undertaking a war might be cleared to be so just, as that all the well affected might be satisfied in the lawfulness and necessity of the Engagement, with sundry other things to that purpose; so did they also desire, that if the Popish, Prelatical, and Malignant party should again rise in arms in this nation, that their armies might be so far from joining and associating with them, that, on the contrary, they should oppose and endeavour to suppress them, as enemies to the Cause and Covenant on the one hand, as well as Sectaries on the other; and that, for securing of religion, and all other ends of the Covenant, such persons only might be entrusted to be of Committees and Armies as have given constant proof of their integrity and faithfulness in this cause, and against whom there is no just cause of exception or jealousy."

And when the parliament, without satisfaction to these desires, did resolve and enact an engagement in war against the kingdom of England, the General Assembly did condescend upon and issue a Declaration concerning the sinfulness of that war as upon many other grounds, so also upon associating with, and employing and entrusting of Malignants {619:B} in the Army and in Committees. The Assembly's words be these:—"Suppose the ends of this Engagement were lawful, which they are not, yet the means and ways of prosecution are unlawful, because there is not an equal avoiding of rocks on both hands, but a joining with malignants to suppress Sectaries, a joining hands with a black devil to beat a white devil; They are bad Physicians who would so cure one disease as to breed another as evil, or worse. That there is in the present Engagement a confederacy and association in war with such of the English who according to the solemn League and Covenant and Declarations of both Kingdoms, 1643, can be no otherwise looked upon but as Malignants and enemies of Reformation and the Cause of God, is now made so manifest before Sun and Moon, that we suppose none will deny it; And tis no less undeniable, that not only many known Malignants, but diverse who joined in the late rebellion within this Kingdom are employed, yea, put into places of trust; All which how contrary tis to the Word of God, no man can be ignorant who will attentively search the Scriptures, for we find therein condemned confederacies and associations with the enemies of true Religion, whether Canaanites, Exod. 23.32 and 24.12,15; Deut 7.2; or other heathens 1 Kings 11.1,2, such was Asa's Covenant with Benhadad, 2 Chron 16.10; Ahaz's confederacy with the King of Assyria, 2 Kings 16.7,10; 2 Chron. 28.16-23; or whither the association was with wicked men of the seed of Abraham, as Jehoshaphat's with Ahab, 2 Chron. 18.3, compared with chapter 19.2, also his association with Ahaziah, 2 Chron. 20.35, and Amaziah's associating to himself 100,000 of the ten Tribes when GOD was not with them, 2 Chron. 25.7-10. The sin and danger of such associations may further appear from Isaiah 8.12,15; Jer. 2.18; Psalm 106.35; Hos. 5.13; and 7.8,11; 2 Cor. 6.14,15, and if we should esteem God's enemies to be our enemies and hate them with perfect hatred, Psalm 139.21, how can we then join with them as confederates and associates, especially in a cause where Religion is so highly concerned; and seeing they have been formerly in actual opposition to the same cause."

[After references to the Solemn Confession, &c., and Engagement to Duties after the defeat of the Engagement, the author proceeds, page 24:—]
At the same time, the Committees of the General Assembly did make an Act for debarring of persons accessory to the late Unlawful Engagement in War against England from renewing the Covenant, receiving the Communion, and from exercise of ecclesiastic office; and the Parliament meeting a little thereafter, did make two Acts, one for purging the Armies and Judicatories from corrupt and malignant men who were in trust; another for keeping of them pure for the time to come; and the General Assembly, which sat in Edinburgh in the year 1649, did enact that none of these persons who were excluded from the Covenant and Communion should be admitted and received thereto but such as, after exact trial, did in their ordinary conversation give real testimony of their dislike of the courses and ways of Malignants, and of their sorrow for their accession to the same, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly. These Acts of Kirk and State, I shall here set down, at least so much of them as contributes for the further clearing and proving of our present purpose; to wit, that the propositions formerly mentioned were received, and owned, and engaged unto by the kirk and kingdom of Scotland,… "as truths necessary for preserving and promoving of Religion and Righteousness."
[In the 5th chapter, Guthrie goes on to argue, that these several Acts of the Commission and Estates, after the Engagement was defeated, were legal and binding on Kirk and Kingdom, because the Confession of Sins, &c., was made in October, 1648, throughout all congregations and whole body of the people, except those who were excluded.—Page 39.]
The Commission of the General Assembly meeting at Edinburgh about the time of the marching of the English Army to invade this land—to wit, June 25, 1650—did emit a Warning concerning dangers and duties, in which are these passages:—"It's far from our meaning that any who are tainted with malignancy and disaffection to the work of God should be allowed or permitted to associate or join themselves together by parties in Armies, much less do we mean that we should associate or join with them, or that they should be employed, or made use of, or countenanced, or permitted to be in our armies. The Lord hath so far cleared his mind, both by his words and works, against these that they are very blind who are not convinced therein; and we have made so solemn publick confession of this sin that relates unto Malignants, and so solemnly engaged ourselves against the same, that they among us who should again hazard upon it should seem to be desperately perverse. It {620:A} were not only to give great ground of encouragement to the Sectaries, before whom Malignants have so often fled and fallen, but to discourage the hearts and weaken the hands of men of integrity and godliness, who could hardly expect a blessing in the fellowship of such; yea, it were from the words of their own former confession and engagement unto duties, to proclaim a judgment against the land till it were consumed without remedy. We are therefore bold, in the Lord's name, to warn the honourable Estates of Parliament, and all whom it concerns in the land, that they may be far from such a thing, and that they may take care, in their respective places and stations, to purge judicatories and committees of all scandalous and disaffected men, and speedily go about the removing and purging out from the army all men of a scandalous conversation, and of a questionable integrity and affection in the cause of God, and that they employ none but such as are of a blameless conversation, and of approven integrity in the Lord's work. It shall be a shame for any in this land to be so faithless and unbelieving, as, because of the scarceness of men, to make use of others who are not thus qualified. The Lord hath not only spoken it in his word, and verified it in his works in the days of old, but hath let us see it with our own eyes, that it is all one with him to save with few as with many, and that a few whom God will countenance are more worth than many against whom he hath a controversy."

Again, in the same Warning:—"Albeit we be diligently to take heed of the danger that threatens from Sectaries, and faithfully to bestir ourselves in our places and stations in the use of all lawful and necessary means for preventing of the same, yet are we not to forget, but also with the same diligence and care, to take heed of these dangers and snares that threatens the work and people of God from Malignants. Malignancy, though a very evil weed, yet is not plucked up, but continued to be one of the reigning sins of this land, the snare wherewith loose hearts, who cannot endure Christ's yoke, are most readily taken. Hence it is that there be many of that stamp in all the three kingdoms, who, drawing encouragement to themselves from the influence they have upon the Kings Counsel, and hardening themselves in their way by the proceedings of Sectaries, do still follow their former designs, and wait for their day, and would rejoice in the ruin or halting of these who adhere to the Covenant; and experience proves, that many of these who have seemed to repent of and abandon that way, yet do not really shake off that sin that hangs so fast on, but, upon new tentations, fall again upon the same wickedness, and prove worse than before, which may be a caution to us not suddenly to trust them. We make no doubt but Malignants will, by all means, endeavour that there may be room left for them to undermine the work and people of God, and engage the kingdom in a new war, upon terms of their devising, destructive to Religion and the Covenant."

The General Assembly itself at Edinburgh, in July thereafter, did, upon the 19th of that month, publish a Declaration, in which they give warning concerning Malignants thus:—"We exhort all these who are in public trust, in the Committees of Estates, or otherwise, not only to take good heed of their private walking, that it be suitable to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and of their families and followers, that they be void of offence, but also be straight in the cause of the Covenant, and not to seek themselves, nor befriend any who have been enemies to {620:B} the Lord's work, self seeking, and conniving at, and complying with, and pleading for Malignants, having been publick sins that have been often complained of; and we wish to God there were no cause to complain of these things still, notwithstanding of the solemn Confession of them, and engaging against them. God forbid that any mock the Lord. He is a severe avenger of all such things; and there is the more reason at this time not to own Malignants, because it is ordinary with men so to be taken with the sense of the dangers which is before them, as not to look back to that which is behind them. There may be inclinations in some to employ these men, and make use of them, that we may be strengthened in this and in our neighbour land; but God hath hitherto cursed all such counsels, and blasted such resolutions; and if we shall again fall into this sin, as our guilt shall be so much the greater by reason of many promises and engagements to the contrary, so may we expect an heavier judgment from the Lord upon it. Let us keep the Lord's way, and, though we be few and weak, the Lord shall be with us, and make us to prosper and prevail. They are not fit for the work of God, and for the glorious dispensations of his more than ordinary works of power and providence in these times, who cannot believe nor act anything beyond what sense and reason can make clear unto them from the beginning to the end of their undertakings. Former experiences and present straits call upon us that we should act and follow our duty in such a way as may magnify the Lord and make it known to others that we may live by Faith."

About the same time, the Committee of Estates in their Declaration, in answer to the English Declaration concerning their Invasion, speak thus:—"If we shall keep Malignancy out of our quarrel and Malignant instruments out of our counsels and forces, and ourselves free from everything which may provoke the Lord, and do every duty which may engage him for us, the case of the Ammonites against Jephtah and Israel, the case of Jeroboam against Abijah, the case of Amaziah against Joab, the case of Zenachrib against Hezekia, the case of Moab against Jehosaphat, and the judgment which came upon the invaders, speak terror to our adversaries that come against us, and comfort to the necessary defenders."

Immediately after the defeat at Dumbar, Causes of Humiliation and Fast were condescended upon at Sterling, to be kept through the whole land.

[Page 42]

A little thereafter, to wit, September 12, 1650, the Commissioners of the General Assembly did write to the several Presbyteries in the land; in which letter they do relate to these causes, and, in special, do recommend to them, "that they would carefully and instantly warn their people against snares, and not to be dismayed, but sanctify the Lord God in their hearts, that he may be their fear and their dread, so that they do not for their safety choose the course of flesh and blood, tending either to compliance with Sectaries, on the one hand, or Malignants, on the other hand, but that the work of God may be carried on, and his people may follow and adhere unto it in their stations, according to the Covenants and former grounds and principles. We conceive (say they) that these who fear the Lord and make conscience of duty, and desire to be faithful, will be so far from slacking their hands in their duty and in a straight way of pursuance {621:A} thereof for any thing that hath befallen now, that they will rather look upon themselves as called and obliged to their duties in a more special way of strictness and watchfulness than formerly, and that the present difficulties and dangers of the time be not abused for flattering of men in any way that may tend to turning aside to crooked courses."

With this letter they sent a short Declaration and Warning, to be read in all the congregations of the Kirk of Scotland.

At Stirlinge, the 12 of September 1650.
A short Declaration and Warning to all the Congregations of the Kirk of Scotland, from the Commissioners of the General Assembly.
Albeit the Lord, whose judgments are unsearchable, and whose ways past finding out, has brought the land very low under the hand of a prevailing enemy, Yet must we not forbear to declare the mind of God, nor others refuse to hearken thereto. It were superfluous to give answer to the many calumnies and reproaches that are blazed abroad; for albeit in everything we cannot justify the conduct of the army, yet we hold it our duty to desire every one not to believe groundless reports, but rather to eye the Lord, and look up to the hand that smites them. And therefore, in the first place, we exhort and warn all the inhabitants of the land, to search out their iniquities, and to be deeply humbled before the Lord, that he may turn away his wrath from us. The Lord hath wounded us, and chastised us sore; which says, that our iniquities are much, and that our sins are increased. It concerneth the King to mourn for all the grievous provocations of his father's house, and for all his own guiltiness; and to consider if he has come to the covenant, and joined himself to the Lord, upon politic interests, for gaining a crown to himself, rather than to advance religion and righteousness; that it is iniquity which God will not forget, except it be speedily repented of. It concerns our Nobles and Judges to consider whether their carriage in public matters be straight and equal, or rather savouring of seeking themselves and the things of this world; and how they walk in their families, and in their private conversations. There is in many a great deal of perverseness and incorrigibleness in regard of forsaking some and performing some duties, notwithstanding public confessions and engagements; and this cannot but highly provoke the Lord. And it concerneth the officers of the army, especially these who are chief among them, to weigh well what the Lord has against them, and to repent of their diffidence and carnal way of acting and undervaluing of God's people. And ministers have also need to search themselves concerning their faithfulness to be sound, for which God is angry; doubtless even amongst these is much negligence. Albeit the Lord has suffered that army of perfidious and blasphemous sectaries to prevail, yet God forbid that the land should comply with him, whatever may be the plausible and fair carriage of some of that enemy, yet doubtless, there is a leaven of error and hypocrisy amongst them, which all the lovers of truth would discern and avoid. As the Lord has tried the stability and integrity of his people in the land heretofore, by the prevailing of malignants, so doth he now try them, by the prevailing of sectaries; and we trust they will think it their duty and commendation to prove steadfast against them, as well as the other.

3. Neither would men be less careful and active to oppose the enemy, than they have been in opposing malignants heretofore; our religion, lives, liberties and estates, are as much in hazard now as ever; all the ordinances of Jesus Christ in the land are in danger, and the foundation like to be overturned by these men who are obliged, by the band of the covenant, to maintain all these; and it were a great guiltiness to lie down and comply and crutch under the burden of the strange impositions that they will lay upon us, and as men without head, to suffer our land to be brought in bondage, and ourselves to be robbed of all these things which are most precious and dear to us. If we should do so, the Lord would be angry with us, and our posterity could not but curse us.

4. We would not think that all danger from the malignants is now gone, seeing that there is a great many such in the land, who still retain their former principles; therefore we would, with as much watchfulness and tenderness now as ever, avoid their snares, and beware of compliance and conjunction with them; and take heed, that under a pretence of doing for the King and kingdom, they get not power and strength unto their hands, for advancing and promoving their old malignant designs. Doubtless our safety is in holding fast our former principles, and keeping a straight faith, without declining to the right hand or to the left.

5. It concerns all the inhabitants of the land to beware of murmuring and complaining against God's dispensations, and questioning the truth and goodness of our cause, or quarreling with God, or blaming or casting of the covenant, because of anything that hath befallen them, that were a great iniquity not to be pardoned. Let us bear the indignation of the Lord patiently, because we have sinned against him, until he plead our cause and execute judgment for us; he will bring us forth to the light, and we shall behold his righteousness.

Causes of a solemn public humiliation upon the defeat of the army, to be kept throughout all the congregations of the Kirk of Scotland.
Albeit solemn publick humiliations has been much slighted, and gone about in a formal way by many in this land, so that it is not one of the least of our provocations, that we have drawn near to God with our mouths, and kept our hearts far from him; for which the Lord hath turned the wisdom of the wise unto foolishness, and the strength of the strong men unto weakness; yet seeing it is a duty that hath often proven comfortable to uswards, God doth now call us in a special way by a singular piece of dispensation; and knowing that all who are acquainted with God in the land will make conscience of it, we conceive it expedient that the whole land be humbled for the causes following:

First, The continued ignorance and profanity of the body of the land, and the obstinacy and incorrigibleness of many, notwithstanding of all the cares that God hath taken upon us by his word, and by his works of mercy and judgment, to teach us in the knowledge of his name, and to refrain us from the evil of our ways.

2. The manifest provocations of the King's house, which we fear are not throughly repented of, nor forsaken by him to this day; together with the crooked and precipitant ways that were taken by sundry of our statesmen for carrying on the treaty with the King.

3. The bringing home with the King a great many malignants, and endeavoring to keep some of them about him, and many of them in the kingdom, notwithstanding of public resolutions to the contrary.

4. The not purging of the King's family from malignant and profane men, and the constituting of the same of well affected and godly persons; albeit it hath been often pressed upon the parliament and Committee of Estates, undertaking and promised to be performed by them.

5. The leaving of a most malignant and profane guard of horse to be about the King, who having been sent for to be purged about 2 days before the defeat were suffered to be, and fight in our army.

6. The exceeding great slackness of many, and averseness and untowardness of some, in the chief judicatories of the kingdom, and in the army, in good motion and public duties, especially in these things that concern the purging of judicatories and the army from malignant and scandalous persons, and filling all places of power and trust with men of known integrity and trust, and of a blameless and Christian conversation; together with great inclinations to keep and bring in malignants to the judicatories and to the army, as if the land could not be guided and defended without these; and great repining and crying out against all that is done to the contrary, and studying to make the same ineffectual.

7. The exceeding great diffidence of some of the chief leaders of our army, and others amongst us, who thought we could not be saved but by a numerous army; who, when we have gotten many thousands together, would not hazard to act any thing, notwithstanding that God offered fair opportunities and advantages, and fitted the spirits of the soldiers for their duty; for carnal confidence that was in many of the army, to the despising of the enemy, and promising victory to themselves, without eyeing of God.

8. The looseness, insolency, and oppression, of many in the army, and the little or no care that was taken by many to preserve the corn, by which it hath come to pass that very much of the food of the poor people of the land have been needlessly destroyed; and while we even remember this, we wish that the profanity and oppression of sundry of our officers and soldiers in England, when we were fighting for the assistance of the parliament of that kingdom, may not be forgotten, because it was matter of stumbling in that land, so it is like it is one of the causes of the sore indignation now manifested against us by the hands of these men.

9. Our great unthankfulness for former mercies and deliverances, and even for many tokens of the Lord's favour and goodness towards our present army while they were together, and the great impatience of spirit that was to be seen in many these weeks past, which made them limit the Lord, and to complain and weary of his delaying of a deliverance.

10. The envying and eyeing of the King's interest, and quarrel by many, without subordination to religion, and the liberties and safeties of this kingdom.

11. The carnal self-seeking and crooked way of sundry in our judicatories and armies, who make their employments and places rather a matter of interest and gain, and preferment to themselves, than of advancing religion and righteousness in the land.

12. The not putting difference betwixt these that fear God, and these that fear him not, for our services, our company, our employments, but accounting all men alike, many times preferring these who have nothing of God in them.

13. The exceeding great negligence that is in great ones, and many others, in performing the duties in their families, notwithstanding of our former solemn acknowledgement of the same; as also, our neglect of the duties of mutual edification, and great unfruitfulness and barrenness that is to be seen amongst all sorts of persons; together with the following of duty with a great deal of mixture of carnal affections and fleshly wisdom, which grieves the Spirit of God, and takes away much of the beauty of the Lord's image from our judicatories.

As we would be humbled for these things, so would we also entreat the Lord that he would sanctify this affliction to his people, that they neither despise his chastisings, nor faint when they are rebuked of him; but that they may bear his indignation patiently, and cleave steadfastly to the truth and the covenants, and the cause of God, without yielding to the power of the enemy, or receiving their errors, or complying either with them on the one hand, or malignants on the other; and that the Lord would pour out of his Spirit upon the people, that their spirits may be raised unto their duty, and that they may be filled and furnished of God with wisdom and resolution to act against their enemies for the honor of God, their own preservation; and that the Lord would not suffer them to be tempted above that which they are able to bear, but that he would break the yoke of their oppressors from off their necks, and give them salvation and deliverance; earnestly to entreat the Lord in private and in public, that he would preserve with us the ordinances of Jesus Christ, the kingdom, the King's Majesty's person, the ministry, from the power of their enemies, who seeks the destruction of all.

Upon the 24 of October, [1650] the Commission upon occasion of the rising of many of the Malignants in the North, in a tumultuous and rebellious way, did emit another Warning, in which, (after laying open of these men's gross miscarriages, and their breaking of all bonds, promises, and oaths,) they do give warning against compliance with them in these words:—"It shall be wisdom to these that are in authority to walk with Malignants according to the rule of the word of God and the bond of the Covenant, to take good heed of trusting and taking in of such that have been opposite to the work of God, so many experiences teaching the unsoundness of the most of these from year to year."

In the Month of October thereafter, or thereabouts, the King (being then at Perth) did, by the suggestion of some, write two Letters, one to the Committee of Estates, another to the Commissioners of the General Assembly, both which were then sitting at Stirling, in which he did directly propound it to their consideration, and ask their judgment concerning the employing of these men who were then excluded from power and trust, and in his letter did propound the consideration of the land's necessity, and of the advantages that would accress [increase, accrue] by intrusting of them; yet the Committee of Estates, (according to my information,) and sure I am the Commissioners of the Kirk did return a negative answer to him in this particular, declaring that it would be both dangerous and scandalous to make use of these men.

In the end of November, the Commissioners did give in to the Parliament at Perth, a Remonstrance concerning the search of their guiltiness in the matter of the treaty in the Act of Indemnity given to the rebels in the north, who had risen in arms after the defeat at Dumbar, in neglecting to purge the King's family and in their personal carriage. In which Remonstrance I find these two passages:—

1. "As we humbly desire your Lordships to be exceeding watchful over your hearts, and to beware of harboring any prejudices or relenting in your affections to the Godly in the land, whom God has honoured to be instrumental in his work, so to search if there has been at this time among you any purpose or resolution tending to a sinful compliance with the enemies of the cause of God; and what upon serious search shall be found of this to lie low before the Lord for it; and withal to guard for the future against all inclination of making use of any scandalous, malignant, and disaffected persons for public trust, or for admitting any to employment in your counsels or armies, except in the way agreed upon by the Public Resolutions of Kirk and State."

The Public Resolutions here meant were not these against which this dispute runs, for these were not then in being, but the Resolutions contained in the Solemn Engagement unto Duties.

2. "The great foreslowing of that so important a business, the purging of the King's family notwithstanding {621:B} the many addresses we have had to your Lordships thereanent, as we desire it to be looked upon as no small guiltiness, so we hope and desire that once for all you will take some effectual course for purging the King's family of all scandalous and disaffected persons, and of constituting it of men of known integrity and affection to the cause of God, as also for debarring all Malignants from access to the King's Majesty and to the Court. We doubt not but your Lordships does consider how bad effects the land has already found of such men's influence upon the King, whereof belike we shall find more, and worse if your Lordships faithfulness and wisdom do not prevent it. Let the wicked be removed from the King, and his throne shall be established in righteousness." [Prov. 25.5.]

The same day that this Remonstrance was condescended upon, the Commissioners did also pass an Act suspending all these Malignants in the north, who had risen in arms, from the Communion, till the next General Assembly, the just copy whereof follows:—

Perth, Novemb: 29, 1650.
The Commissioners of the General Assembly, considering the great sin and offence these men are guilty of, who have had accession to the late Rebellion in the North; therefore they do appoint that all these persons that were actually in arms at the late rebellion, and all such as subscribed the Bond and Declaration emitted by them, to be suspended from the Communion till the next General Assembly, to which they are hereby referred for further censure; and for all others that had any accession, by counsel or otherwise, to that rebellion, or to the King's withdrawing from his Counsel, refers to Presbyteries to try diligently, in their several bounds, these persons and the degree of their guiltiness, and to report the same, with the evidences and proofs thereof, to the next meeting of this Commission.
About the same time the Commissioners were instrumental to cause the King and his family, and the whole land, keep a Solemn Public Humiliation for the sins of the King and of his father's house.

[Page 65.]

The Commission of the General Assembly in their Warning at Edinburgh, June 25, 1650, when the English army, to their knowledge, were now upon their march for invading of Scotland, say—

That these who are tainted with malignancy and disaffection to the cause of God, should not be allowed or permitted to associate, or join themselves together in Armies, much less should we associate or join with them, or make use or employ, or countenance, or permit them to be in our armies; that we have solemnly engaged ourselves against this, and should be desperately perverse to hazard upon it; that it were to give great encouragement to Sectaries, to discourage the hearts and weaken the hands of men of integrity and godliness, who could hardly expect a blessing in the fellowship of such; that it were from the words of our own former Confession and engagement unto duties, to proclaim judgment against the land till it were consumed without remedy; that it were a shame for any in this land to be so faithless and unbelieving as, because of the scarceness of men, to make use of such.
The General Assembly in their Declaration, July 19, thereafter when the English now were come over the Border, warn against the employing and entrusting of these men, and tell us "that God hath hitherto cursed all such counsels, and blasted such Resolutions; and that if we shall fall again {622:A} into this sin, as our guilt shall be much the greater by reason of many promises and engagements to the contrary, so we may expect a heavier judgment from the Lord upon it."

The Commission of the General Assembly that sat at Stirling, after the defeat at Dumbar, did, in the three several meetings, declare their Judgment to the same purpose. (1.) In the causes of public humiliation, which were first condescended upon by the Presbyteries and Members of the Commission, then with the Army, and were afterwards approven by the Commission.

"The not purging of Judicatories and of the Army from malignant and scandalous persons, and not filling all places of power and trust with men of known integrity, and of a blameless and Christian conversation, together with greater inclinations and endeavours to keep and bring in Malignants to the Judicatories and the Army, as though the land could not be guided nor defended without these," is acknowledged as one of our sins, and as one of the causes of our sad stroke.

In their Warning at Stirline, September 12, 1650, they advertise us that "we would not think that all danger from the malignant party is now gone, seeing there are a great many such in the land who yet maintain their former principles, and therefore (say they) we would, with as much watchfulness and tenderness now as ever, avoid their snares, and beware of compliance and conjunction with them, and take heed that, under pretence of doing for the cause, they get not power and strength into their hands for advancing and promoting their old malignant designs, doubtless (say they) our safety is in holding fast our former principles, without declining to the right hand or to the left."

A little thereafter, the King, by his Letter, propounding the question unto them concerning the employing and entrusting these men, they did resolve it so as they did hold it forth to be "dangerous and scandalous, and contrary to our former principles to employ and entrust these men." That was the language that the Kirk of Scotland spoke before these Resolutions.

[Page 109.]

The Commission of the General Assembly, in August next thereafter, that for preventing any misapprehension that might arise because of the King's Declaration about the state of the question, did emit a short Declaration concerning the state of the question, which I shall here set down, with the Committee of Estates approbation thereof and concurrence therein.

West-kirk, the 13 of August, 1650.—The Commission of the General Assembly, considering there may be just ground of stumbling, from the King's Majesty refusing to subscribe and emit the declaration offered to him by the Committee of Estates and the Commissioners of the General Assembly concerning his former carriage, and resolutions for the future, in reference to the cause of God, and the enemies and friends thereof, doth therefore declare, that this kirk and kingdom do not own nor espouse any malignant party's quarrel or interest; but that they fight merely upon their former grounds and principles, and in defence of the cause of God and of the kingdom, as they have done these 12 years bygone; and therefore, as they disclaim all the sin and the guilt of the King and of his house, so they will not own him or his interest, no ways than with a subordination to God, and so far as he aims and prosecutes the cause of God, and disclaims his and his father's opposition to the cause of God and to the covenant, and likewise all the enemies thereof; and that they will, with convenient speed, take in consideration the papers lately sent unto them from Oliver Cromwell, and vindicate themselves from all the falsehoods contained therein; especially in these things wherein the quarrel betwixt us and that party is misstated, as if we owned the late King's proceedings, and were resolved to prosecute and maintain his present Majesty's interest before and without acknowledgement of the sin of his house, and former ways, and satisfaction to God's people in both kingdoms.
W. A. KER.
13 of August, 1650.—The Committee of Estates having seen and considered a declaration of the Commission of the General Assembly, anent the stating of the quarrel whereon the army is to fight, do approve the same, and heartily concur therein.
This Declaration was also entertained with a testimony of cordial acceptance by the army, and was by public order sent to the General of the English army, as containing the true state of the quarrel upon which this Kingdom then fought.

[ ~~~~~~~ Later Excerpts {636:B} ~~~~~~~ ]

[Page 66.]

The Commission of the General Assembly, in their answer to the Letter of the Presbytery of Stirling, from Pearth, Jan. 6, 1651, plead—"That it is not only lawful but a necessary duty, to raise these men in arms, pag. 7; That they must be called and allowed to rise in arms for their own defence, and for the defence of the country, pag. 11; That we may warrantably associate with them, pag. 11, 12; That it is not against the solemn engagement to duties; that being but a human law and Resolution, which must yield to this case that is warranted by the law of nature, pag. 13, 14; That it gives no encouragement to sectaries, pag. 16, 17; That there is no cause to be afraid of God's indignation upon the account of employing such, p. 17; That, what ever be the event, there will be more peace and comfort to us by making use of such means, than any further calamity should come upon the land, they not being made use of, p. 18; That it were a tempting of God and transgressing against warrantable Christian prudence, not to make use of them in the case wherein we then stood, p. 6; That the danger of making use of such is not certain and inevitable: That it is not so apparent {637:A} and great, page 18; That the scandal is not given but taken, p. 16." The same things are repeated in the Solemn Warning to all the Members of this Kirk. Pearth, Jan. 11, 1651.

That these things do infer and contradict the things cited before these resolutions, I think, is manifest and obvious:—what the one makes sin the other makes duty. [And then the writer goes on to contrast the documents and point out their inconsistency.—[Page 75.]]

The Commission, in their warning at Pearth, Jan. 7, 1651, and in their Remonstrance at Pearth, Jan. 25, 1651, do clearly insimulate them of complying with the adversaries. In the 4 pag. of the Warning, they give this advertisement: "We exhort, and, as the servants and messengers of Jesus Christ, do, in his name, charge the Kirk and people of God in this kingdom, to avoid all sorts of complying with the enemy, whether by speaking favourable of them and their ways, or speaking disrespectively of the public just and necessary Resolutions and proceedings of the Kirk and State, for opposing their wicked design."

Now these Resolutions are the same in question, against which sundry Presbyteries had then begun to give testimony; and, in the 8 pag. of their Remonstrance, they give this advertisement to the King and Committee of Estates:—"Ye would carefully take heed that scruple of conscience be not, by some, pretended unto unwillingness of acting, for preservation of the endangered cause and sinking kingdom, and taken on as a mask to cover the design of underhand advancing the interest of the Sectarian Army."

In a Letter written from Pearth, Jan. 16, 1651, they give this order concerning such:—"We do hereby require and exhort you to take notice of them, of whatsoever place or station, who do obstruct, speak against, dissuade, privately or publicly, from the present levy, or who, having a calling to speak for it, are silent therein, and to make report thereof at the next meeting of our Commission at St. Andrews, Jan. 21."

Upon the 20 of March 1651, they did emit a Warning at Pearth, to the Ministers and professors, of this kirk, in which they not only characterize the opposers of these Resolutions as Malignants, by applying unto them the characters that were formerly given by this Kirk, whereby to know Malignants, but also (beside insinuations made to the Civil Magistrate, concerning civil censures to be inflicted upon them, as appears from the 2 and 5 pages of their Warning,) they do inhibit all speaking, preaching, writing against these Resolutions, and stir up Presbyteries to censure all such in their bounds as do so, and that by virtue of former Acts of Assemblies against Malignants, for clearing of which I shall set down a part of this warning:—

Let faithful ministers, as messengers of the Lord, stir up others, both publicly, by free preaching, and privately, by admonishing every one of his duty, as there shall be occasion, considering that silence in the public cause, especially in public persons not labouring to cure the disaffection of people, not urging them to constancy and patience in bearing of public burdens, nor too forwardness in the public cause, that, speaking ambiguously, inclining to justify the wicked cause, uttering words which savor of disaffection, complaining of the times, in such a way as may steal the hearts of the people from liking good instruments in this work, and, consequently, from God's cause; yea, that some read public orders, and speak against them in private conference, are reckoned {637:B} up among the corruptions and enormities of ministers in their callings by the General Assembly, 1646, Session 10; and because the Commission of the General Assembly, in their Remonstrance to the Committee of Estates, July 6, 1643, teaching all true patriots and professors of religion, that they may learn to discern and know the Enemies of the Kirk, among other marks of Malignants, give this, their offering to Presbyteries, in all the quarters of the land, papers contrary to the Declaration of the Commissioners of the General Assembly, The General Assembly 1645, in their seasonable Warning, 12 February, gave these characters of secret malignants and dis-covenanters, their slighting and censuring of the public Resolutions of this Kirk and State; their labouring to raise jealousies and divisions to retard the execution of what is ordained by the public judicatories; their slandering these whom God has used as his chief instruments in his work; their drawing of factions for weakening of the common union; their endeavours, solicitations, and informations, tending to weaken the hearts and hands of others, and to make them withhold their assistance from this work, enjoining such to be well marked, timeously discovered, and carefully avoided, lest they infuse their counsels in the minds of others; wherein they require ministers to be faithful, and Presbyteries to be vigilant and impartial, as they will answer the contrary to God and to the General Assembly or their Commissioners. The General Assembly 1646, Session 10, ordains, that, beside all other scandals, silence, and ambiguous speaking in the public, much more detracting and disaffected speeches be censured seasonably. The General Assembly 1647, Session 27, doth, in the name of God, inhibit the spreading and dispersing of erroneous books or papers, pamphlets, libels, and letters, requiring all ministers to warn their flocks against such books in general, and particular against such as are most plausible, insinuating, and dangerous; and ordains Presbyteries and Synods to try and process such as shall transgress, recommending to Civil Magistrates, that they may be pleased to be assisting to ministers and Presbyteries in the execution of this Act, and to concur with their authority to that effect. Therefore, for execution of the foresaid Acts of the Assembly, and preventing the eminent danger of Religion, the people of God, and the kingdom, by practices leading to encourage the hearts and strengthen the hands of enemies in prosecuting their wicked purposes, to make faint the hearts and enfeeble the hands of God's people, and to seduce their minds with divisive and separating counsels and principles, according to the power and trust committed to us, and according to the practice of former Commissions of the General Assembly, we do, in the name of God, inhibit and discharge all ministers to preach, and all ministers and professors to detract, speak, or write against the late public Resolutions and papers of the Commission of the General Assembly, in order to the calling forth of the people for necessary defence of the cause and kingdom against the unjust invasion of these enemies to the cause of God and to the government of this Kirk and kingdom, or to spread letters or any other papers against the same, or in any other way to obstruct the service tending to the preservation and defence of religion, King, and kingdom: Requiring ministers to warn their flocks of these papers in general, and particularly such as are most plausible, insinuating, and dangerous. And we do seriously recommend to Presbyteries, that, will all vigillancy, they take special notice and trial of such persons within their bounds, whether {638:A} such as have their station there, or such as, in the troublesome time, have their present residence, ministers or others, and impartially proceed against them, as they will be answerable.
At the same time they did write a particular order to Presbyteries for censuring of such, of which I shall here set down the true copy:—
Reverend and well beloved brethren: Finding that, notwithstanding of our faithful Warning and great pains taken to satisfy all men, to concur, in their places, for furthering of the levies for defence of Religion, King, and Kingdom, and all other our dearest interests, many are so far from concurring, that they do very vehemently go about, by preaching, writing, and persuading to the contrary to obstruct the work; we do, therefore, require that you carefully inquire, in your presbyteries, what ministers do preach or otherwise persuade contrary to our present public and published Resolutions, and that ye proceed to censure such as are of your own number; and if any ministers that travel amongst you transgress in that kind, let them not be permitted to preach in your bounds.
By these traveling ministers are meant some of the gracious ministers of Ireland, who were driven from their stations and forced to retire to this land, and some other faithful ministers among ourselves, who were also necessitated to retire from their charges at that time, and were preaching to vacant congregations, some in the West and some in Fyfe.

Upon the ___ of May 1651, they made an Act, which they sent with a Letter to Presbyteries, appointing such ministers, as did oppose the Public Resolutions, to be cited to the next General Assembly at St. Andrews. [Note by Wodrow.—"The copy whereof I shall set down but it's blank in the autograph."]

These Warnings, and Letters, and Acts, though stumbled at by many, yet were received and entertained by such Synods and Presbyteries, as were of the Commission's judgment, with respect and affection; and, by order from them, the Warnings were read publicly in the Kirks, and the Acts were put upon record in their registers, and diligence was used thereupon, unto the censuring of some and threatening of sundry with censures, and citing of many to the General Assembly.

The pretended Assembly at Dundee, treading the same paths after the ratification of all these proceedings, did proceed unto the censuring of some of these who protested against their meeting and the ratifying of these Resolutions, and emitted a public declaration and made public acts against all of their judgment and way in these particulars. The Declaration is a little book by itself, fraughted all alongst with hard representations against such, that the reader may judge ex unque Leonem. I shall only set down the preface that is therein used to usher in that purpose:—

"But, would to God we had this evil only within ourselves to fight with as in former times, and that Satan, having turned himself into an angel of light, had not so far abused the zeal and wit of some, and simplicity of others, as to open the gape of such a rent, which, of all other trials, is like to have the saddest consequences, if God prevent it not, concerning which we are necessitate to say, whatsoever have been the intentions of these who have been instrumental in making of this rent from public counsels and actings; yet the work itself, and the spirit that hath stirred in it, hath been and yet is most effectual for carrying on of the enemies design." {638:B}

The Acts which they made for censuring of their opposers were these which follow:—

Dundee, July 21, 1651. Ante mer. Session 19.
Act for censuring of those who do not acknowledge this present Assembly, and do not acquiesce to the Acts thereof, &c.
THE General Assembly considering that all persons who protest against, and decline the authority of the General Assembly, are censurable by the Acts and Constitutions of this Kirk, with the highest censures thereof, and that by the Act of the solemn General Assembly of Glasgow, 20 December 1638, Session 26, Presbyteries and Provincials are ordained to cite and censure all such as would not acknowledge the said Assembly. And the Assembly being very sensible of the prejudice this Kirk may suffer in her Liberties and Privileges, by the beginnings of such practices (if they be not timeously prevented and restrained.) Therefore according to the practice and example of the said Assembly, They ordain Presbyteries and Provincial Assemblies, to call before them all persons that do not acknowledge this present Assembly, and to censure them according to the degree of their contempt and obstinacy to the Acts of this Kirk: And the Assembly having also considered that by the afore-mentioned Act of the Assembly of Glasgow; and another Act of the said Assembly, December 18, Session 24, Presbyteries are ordained to proceed against these that do not acquiesce to the Acts of the said Assembly, and that refuse themselves, or draw others from the obedience of the Act of the General Assembly, in manner mentioned in the said Act. Therefore do ratify and approve the said Acts, and declare, that they are to be extended against Ministers censured by this Assembly, and all those that oppose the Public Resolutions thereof. Ordaining also Presbyteries and Provincial Assemblies, To call before them all persons that shall not acquiesce to the {636:B} Acts and Constitutions of this present Assembly, and to deal with them by conference for their satisfaction. And if in their conference with them they shall still oppose the Acts and Conclusions of this Assembly, That they censure them according to the degree of their offence and obstinacy to the Acts of this Assembly. And where Presbyteries are negligent or wanting herein, the Assembly appoints the Commission appointed for Public Affairs, to proceed against the said offenders respectivè, and to censure them in manner above specified, giving unto them full power for that effect.


Eodem die at Dundee, Session 19. Ante merid.

Act against Expectants who oppose the Public Resolutions.

THE General Assembly understanding the scandal and prejudice of practices and carriage of some Expectants and students, attenders of families, for performance of religious duties by their private or public opposing Public Resolutions: For removing whereof, they do extend the Act of the Assembly 1640, Session 10, against expectants, refusing to subscribe the Covenant and the censure therein specified, against all expectants, students in Divinity, and attenders upon families for religious duties, that shall not acknowledge the General Assemblies of this Kirk, and this present General Assembly, and that shall not acquiesce to the Acts and Constitutions thereof; and do ordain them to be removed from Bursaries, and to be discharged from public preaching and catechising in Congregations and families, and from all other privileges and liberties allowed to expectants; appointing Presbyteries and Provincials to proceed against them accordingly.

[Page 80.]

What these Acts include and how far they reach, is shown in a treatise of observations upon them already printed. It is, in a word, all the Ministers, Elders, Expectants in the Church of Scotland, who do not acknowledge that Assembly, or oppose the Resolutions thereof, or do not acquiesce to the Acts and Constitutions thereof, are to be laid aside, discharged, silenced, suspended, or deposed; yea, all the Ministers, Elders, Expectants, or Professors in the Church of Scotland who do not acknowledge that Assembly, or who do oppose the Resolutions thereof, or do not acquiesce to the Acts and Constitutions thereof, are made liable to excommunication, if, after conference, they do not receive satisfaction.

As if it had not been enough to deal thus with them at home, the Commissioners of this pretended Assembly in their information to their Brethren in England, from their meeting at Forfar, August 12, 1651, do represent them thus:—

Yet in these last and perilous times, wherein the Spirit of Error is wise to palliate his lies with the pretence of piety, there are among ourselves a few unsatisfied, of whom some have been held in high esteem, before this time for their works sake, and with whom we have dealt with all tenderness, in the spirit of meekness, for their reclaiming; who, to the great advantage of the common adversary, and to the weakening the hands that were at the work, have opposed these just and necessary Resolutions, and actively obstructed the use of the lawful and only likely means left of opposition to the prevailing enemy, setting on foot a State separation, which necessarily tends to a Kirk separation; we need not warn you, dear brethren, who are acquainted with the policies and practices of these, that, among yourselves, under the specious name of the Godly Party, have carried on a devilish design of undoing Kirk and State, and setting up a boundless toleration and arbitrary Government, to beware of misinformation from such men to take impression upon you. Their actions at home, to sail every wind, and to roll every stone for their own advantage and prejudice of the public, induceth us to believe that they have not been idle towards you, but active by their emissaries and papers, to abuse you with misreports, and to prepossess you with prejudices against our proceedings; but we are confident that ye who have had so great proof of the faithfulness of the Judicatories of this Kirk in guarding warily against enemies on both hands, as well Malignants as Sectaries, have not suffered yourselves to believe evil of your brethren; and we do earnestly beseech you to beware, that the trust which any have had from us, and the estimation they had among you while they were about the discharge of that trust, be not inductive of your being now deceived by them whose principles and practices, whatever their intentions be, tend to the giving up of you and us unto the power of the avowed enemies of Christ's Kingdom.


1. "The Waters of Sihor, or the Lands Defectione; founded on the late Publick Resolutions of the Commission of the General Assembly, and of the Parliament at Perth, 1651, concerning the Employing and Entrusting of the Malignant party in the Army and in the Judicatories, discovered and demonstrated," 341 pages MS. in Advocate's Library. —Wodrow MS., vol. 17.—Rob. 3., 2.15. Such is the title of a work by James Guthrie, one of the leading Protesters, who made a great figure in the transactions of these times, and who was executed after the restoration of Charles II. We are not aware that this work has ever been printed, and think it right to give some specimens of the principles and practices of the Protesters, as exhibited in the writings of one of their most conspicuous leaders.

Additional Note from the Present Editor: The text here supplied is that found in "The Records of the Kirk of Scotland," edited by Alexander Peterkin and published in 1838. Page numbers in braces {} represent the page numbers of the text as found in Peterkin, whereas the page numbers in brackets [] are provided by Peterkin and represent the page numbers of the original Manuscripts. Bracketed comments are those of Peterkin and are unaltered except in the case of one or two where they were cut short on account of his unbiblical anti-protester bias.—JTK.