Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.—Rom. 8.33


Concerning the Receiving of



Late Unlawfull VVarre against


To publick







Printed by Evan Tyler, Printer to the Kings moſt

Excellent Majeſtie, 1649.

TrueCovenanter.com Editor’s Introduction.

The “Engagement” of 1648, during renewed tensions between Scotland and England, was accounted an unlawful war by Presbyterians dedicated to the Covenanted Reformation, and the Solemn League of 1643.  The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland being all along opposed to this Engagemnet, the Parliament was in time persuaded to join in acknowledging before the Lord the sinfulness of this war, as a violation of covenant obligations.  This led to an Acknowledgment of Public Sins, and renewal of the Solemn League and Covenant.  Much care was used to repress any further activity of this kind, and the efforts which followed to keep Royalists and Malignants out of places of influence serve to demonstrate Presbyterian principles relating to military and other associations.  From that time forward, the effort of Covenanters to affirm and practice authentic Presbyterianism has involved a refusal to join in military association with those who oppose the cause of Christ’s Kingdom.



Edinb. 20. Julii 1649. Antemeridiem, Sess. XIX.

Act concerning the receiving of Engagers in the late unlawful VVar against England, to public Satisfaction.

THE General Assembly considering what great offence against God, and Scandal to his People at home and abroad, hath arisen from the late unlawful Engagement in War against England, whereby contrary to the Law of God and of Nations, contrary to the Solemn League and Covenant, contrary to the Petitions of almost the whole Kingdom, contrary to the Declarations of the Judicatories of this Kirk, contrary to the Protestations of a considerable part of the Parliament, contrary to the frequent and clear Warnings of the Servants of God in his name, not only an Association in Counsels and Arms was made with Malignant persons, who had formerly shewn their dis-affection to the Covenant and Cause, but an invasion of the Neighbour Nation was prosecuted; from whence flowed the oppression of the persons, estates and consciences of many of the People of God in this Land, the shedding of the blood of some, the loss and dishonour of this Nation, and several other inconveniences: And considering {2} that the Commissioners of the last General Assembly have acquit themselves faithfully, in ordaining to be suspended from the renewing of the Covenant and from the Ordinance of the Lords Supper, such as are designed in their Acts of date the 6. of October and 4. of December last, referring the further consideration and censure of the persons foresaid to this present General Assembly: Therefore the General Assembly for removing of such offences, and for prevention of the like in time coming, and for restoring of such as are truly humbled, do Declare and Appoint,

I. That all those who have been guilty and censured as aforesaid, and withal, do not by their addresses to Kirk Judicatories testify their dislike thereof, and give evidences of their Repentance thereof, That these be processed, and continuing obstinate, be excommunicated; But if withall they go on in promoving Malignant Designs, that they be forthwith Excommunicated: As also that all such persons guilty as aforesaid, who after Profession of their Repentance shall yet again hereafter relapse to the promoting any Malignant Design, that these be likewise forthwith excommunicated.

II. That all these who have been guilty and censured as aforesaid, and desire to testify their Repentance and to be admitted to the Covenant and Commission, shall besides any Confession in publick before the Congregation subscribe the Declaration, hereunto subjoined, of their unfeigned detestation and renunciation of that Engagement, and all other Malignant courses contrary to the Covenant and Cause, Promising to keep themselves from such ways in time coming, and acknowledging that if they shall again fall into such defection thereafter, they may justly be accounted perfidious backsliders, and breakers of the Covenant and {3} Oath of God, and proceeded against with the highest Censures of the Kirk.

III. That of these who have been guilty and censured as aforesaid, and desire now to testify their Repentance, Whosoever were formerly joined in Arms or Counsel with James Graham in his Rebellion, or who were General persons or Colonels in the late unlawful Engagement, Or who went to Ireland to bring over Forces for that effect, Or who have been eminently active in contriving of, or seducing unto the said Engagement, Or whosoever above the degrees of a Lieutenant Commanded these parties, that in promoving of the ends of the said Engagement shed blood within the Kingdom, either before that Army of Engagers went to England, or after their return, Or who above the degree foresaid Commanded in the late Rebellion in the North; That none of these be admitted or received to give satisfaction, but by the General Assembly or their Commissioners.

IV. That all the rest of these who have been guilty, or censured as aforesaid, may be received by the Presbyteries where they reside.

V. That all who have been guilty as aforesaid, before their receiving to the Covenant, shall make a Solemn publick Acknowledgement in such manner, and before such Congregations as the Commission of the General Assembly or Presbyteries respective shall prescribe, according to the degree of their offence and scandal given.

VI. That none of the foresaid Persons be admitted, or received as Elders in any Judicatories of the Kirk, but according to the Act of the General Assembly of the {4} last of August 1647. against complyers of the first Class.[1]

And because many have heretofore made shew and profession of their Repentance, who were not indeed convinced of their guiltiness, nor humbled for the same, but did thereafter return with the dog to the vomit, and with the sow to the puddle, unto the mocking of God, and the exceeding great reproach and detriment of his Cause: Therefore, for the better determining the Truth and sincerity of the Repentance of those who desire to be admitted to the Covenant and Communion: It is appointed and Ordained that none of those persons who are debarred from the Covenant and Communion shall be admitted and received thereto, but such as after exact trial, shall be found for some competent time before or after the offer of their Repentance, according to the discretion of the respective Judicatories, to have in their ordinary conversations given real Testimony of their dislike of the late unlawful Engagement, and of the courses and ways of Malignants, and of their sorrow for their accession to the same, and to live soberly, righteously and godly; And if any shall be found, who after the defeating of the Engagers have uttered any Malignant speeches, tending to the approbation of the late unlawful Engagement, or the bloodshed within the Kingdom for promoving of the ends of the said Engagement, or any other projects or practiſes within or without the Kingdom, prejudicial to Religion and the Covenant, or tending to the reproach of the Ministry, or the civil Government of the Kingdom; Or who have unnecessarily or ordinarily conversed with Malignants and disaffected persons, Or who have had hand in, or accession to, or compliance with, or have any wayes {5} countenanced or promoved any Malignant Design, prejudicial to Religion and the Covenant, That these, notwithstanding their profession of Repentance be not suddenly received, but a competent time, according to the discretion of the Judicatory, be assigned to them for trial of the evidence of their Repentance, according to the qualifications above-mentioned.  And the General Assembly Ordains Presbyteries to make intimation of this Act in the several Kirks of their bounds so soon as they can, after the rising of the General Assembly, that none pretend ignorance; And that Presbyteries make account of their diligence in prosecuting of this Act to the Quarterly meetings of the Commission of this Assembly.

A. Ker.

The Declaration and Acknowledgment beforementioned.

I  _______________________ after due consideration of the late Engagement in War against the Kingdom of England; And having also considered the course pursued and promoted by the Earl of Lanerk, George Monro and their Adherents in and about Stirling, and by others in the late Rebellion in the North, against all which not only eminent Testimonies of Gods Wrath have been given in defeating of them, but they were in themselves sinful breaches of Covenant, and preferring the interest of man unto God; I do herefore in Gods sight profess, that I am convinced of the unlawfulness of all these ways, as contrary to the Word of God, and to the Solemn League and Covenant, not only in regard of the miscarriages of these that were employed therein, but also in respect of the nature of these courses themselves; And therefore professing my unfeigned sorrow for my guiltiness by my accession to the same, do renounce and disclaim the foresaid Engagement and all the courses that were used for carrying on the same, either before or after the defeat of the Engagers, as contrary to the Word of GOD and Solemn League and Covenant, and destructive to Religion and the work of Reformation; And I do promise in the power of the Lords strength, never again to own any of these or the like courses: And if hereafter at any time, I shall be found to promote any Malignant Design or course, that I shall justly be accounted a perfidious Covenant-breaker and despiser of the Oath of God, and be proceeded against with the highest Censures of the Kirk: Likeas, I do hereby promise to adhere to the National Covenant of this Kingdom, and to the Solemn League and Covenant betwixt the Kingdoms, and to be honest & zealous for promoving all the ends thereof, as I shall be called thereunto of God, and to flee all occasions and temptations that may lead me into any the like snares against the same.  Subscribed _______ at _________ the ____ day of __________ FINIS.

Other Resources

Those desiring further information on these topics may be interested in:

The former resource states the distinctive Presbyterian position on this topic, and will shed important light on why the Reformed Presbyterian Church does not allow its members to join branches of the US, British, or Canadian Military.


1. Act for debarring of Complyers in the first Classe from Ecclesiastick office.

THE General Assembly Declares and Ordains, That no Person who is guilty of Compliance in the first Class mentioned in the Act of the preceding Assembly shall be received in any Ecclesiastical charge, until the evidence of his repentance before the Presbytery and Congregation be reported to the Synod to which he belongs, and to the General Assembly, and their consent obtained for his bearing office. And if any such Person be already received unto the Eldership of any particular Congregation, yet he shall not be admitted to be a Member of any Presbytery, Synod, or General Assembly, until (upon the evidence of his repentance) the consent and approbation of these judicatories respectively be obtained thereto.