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





A LETTER from a Friend to Mr. John M'millan,

Showing that his Principles and Practise, are consonant to the Word of GOD, our Confession of Faith and Covenants, and to the Practise of CHRIST, his Apostles, and the Primitive Christians; and that the Anti-scriptural Principles Objected to him by the Author, of casting off all Ecclesiastical and Civil Authority, are False and Injurious Imputations.

With a Vindication of the Contending and Suffering, Remnant of the true Covenanted Presbyterians of the Church of Scotland, their present Practise in refusing to concur with the present Church and State in their Backsliding Courses.

Ne quæras quis, sed cogita quid.

Qui Ecclesiæ Scortationem, hoc est Idololatriam vel falsam Doctrinam, & Confederationes cum impiis reprehendit. non est Hereticus, non est Schismaticus, non est ingratus adversus matrem Ecclesiam; alioquin etiam Ezekiel cum Jeremia, aliisque Prophetis, fuisset Hereticus, aut Schismaticus, aut ingratus.

Aman. Pola. Comment. in Ezek. 16. 26, 37, 28.

Isai. 5.20. Wo unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

Isai. 10.1. Wo unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, that writes grievousness which they have prescribed.

TrueCovenanter.com Editor's Introduction.

Dear Reader,

The following vindication of Covenanter principles was published in the year 1710. It is one of the earliest post-revolution defences of Covenanter principles and Terms of Communion, and will therefore be of special interest to all who adhere to our Covenanted Reformation. A large portion of the work is dedicated to answering a list of questions, not unlike many of the questions which are posed to modern Covenanters by those who disown the Reformation at this day. These Questions and Answers may serve as a Covenanter "FAQ" for those who care to understand the grounds on which faithful Presbyterians opposed the Revolution settlement in Scotland some three-hundred years ago, as well as why a small remnant still dissent from the civil and ecclesiastic constitutions of Britain and America at the present day. It is important to note, for the sake of modern readers, that the author is herein responding to a piece published by Mr. Thomas Linning written against John McMillan, the first pastor to join with the Covenanters after the Revolution. Mr. Linning himself had been one of the few pastors remaining amongst the Covenanters prior to the "Re-constitution" of the national Church of Scotland. At that time however, he abandoned the flock, and left the faithful remnant destitute of shepherds. Thereafter he opposed those who contended for Christ's Crown & Covenant against the Covenant-breaking Church and State of Scotland. His "Friendly Letter" written to Mr. McMillan was less than friendly, and evidenced the effects of apostacy on a soul who had once enjoyed much light concerning the word of Christ's patience, and made high professions for the Cause of Truth. As with many at this day, malice towards those who endeavoured to be faithful, while he compromised Christ's truth, led to malignant principles, very unlike historic Presbyterian beliefs, and yet vainly cloaked with the appearance of strict Presbyterian formalities. As at this day, ecclesiastical communions such as the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) in North America facilitate the spread of error and defection by inhibiting any actions against the same, using the "rules of proper order"; and as at this time many individuals attempt to bring slanders against the Covenanter Testimony and Principles as subversive of the ordinances of Church and State, so Mr. Linning in his day, falsely accused the Covenanters of opposing God's ordinances of Church and State, when in reality, it was himself, and the party of malignants and backsliders with which he was confederated, that had, by defending tyranny and tolerating heresy & idolatry, subverted the Scriptural constitutions of Church and State, to the overturning of God's ordinances and the healing of the head of the Beast within the lands of Scotland and England. But their accusations need nothing fear God's saints. When our Lord Jesus Christ, King of kings, shall come to judge, he shall show, on the one hand, what was his ordinance, and who had either obeyed or opposed his power; and on the other hand, what was not his ordinance, and who had received and used their power from the Dragon.

Candid Reader,

THE times into which we are fallen, seem exactly to quadrate with the Apostle's Prediction in his 2nd Epistle to Timothy: Chapter 3, verses 1,2,3, &c. As these are the last times, the Old Age and Gray Hairs of the World, so they are eminently Perilous, in all the respects, and for all the Causes there specified by the Apostle. Self Love that Cardinal evil, the execrable Source and Fountain of all the abounding sins and Plagues, under which the Land groaneth, is now like a spreading Leprosy and contagion, daily fixing deeper Roots, and sending out stronger Branches, to the great Detriment and hurt of Religion. Hence are all our grievous Backslidings from God and his way: Hence are our faintings and yieldings to the Enemies of Religion & Liberty: Hence are our unworthy Compliances with every new Imposition and Innovation, for gaining to our selves a false and ill grounded Peace, upon base and Slavish Terms: Yea; hence, from this base principle and corrupt Root of undue and immoderate respect to ourselves, our Ease, Pleasures, Preferments, & profits doth spring almost all the Gall and wormwood that embitters our Cup, all the circumstances of Misery into which the Land is immersed, and under which it sinks. Hinc illæ eachrymæ. But I must not detain the Reader; Volumes would not express Scotland's sins, nor contain the Complaints whereof they are the Causes. Therefore I shall here only give these few Advertisements. The Reason why I do sometimes in the following Reply speak in Plural Terms, is not because the Letter is the product of more Pens than one (as I am certainly informed that it is) but because the Matter herein treated of, is of publick Concern, respecting the whole of the Ministers of this present Church, who are justly chargeable with the Defections herein testified against. If it be inquired why this Essay is so Compendious, whereas it considers matters which might cause it swell to a greater bulk; the reason shortly is this: that these Heads, here touched, have been largely treated on already by others, and there is nothing here new, but what the Suffering Remnant of the true Church of Scotland has all alongst been owning and contending for. What plainness and freedom is here used being intended for the Vindication of Truth, and not for reflection upon, or Irritation of any, will not, or at least cannot in Justice offend the Ingenuous Reader, nor is this to dishonour the Ministry (as some may possibly object) of which I desire (as all ought) to think and speak honourably, and the persons rightly invested with, & walking worthy of that great Trust, but such as by their unsuitable walk dishonour it are not worthy of Honour, while they continue so to do. I judge it needless to make any apology, why these following Observations appear to the World so rude and unpolished. It is not the Ornaments of Oratory and Embellishments of fine and flourishing Terms, but the instruction and edification of the weak, to whom such high and elegant styles are generally needless, which next to the glory of God & Vindication of his Truth is here intended. There are I know, into whose hands this may come, who superciliously disdain whatever can be written or spoken in Defense of the Truths of Christ, but such would do well to consider the Prophet's Admonition, be not mockers, lest your bands be made strong. E're I conclude, I must tell the Reader, that this being written without Mr. M'm's and Mr. M'Neil's knowledge, its lameness cannot be imputed to them, nor ought any ways to prejudge their Cause, and wherein they shall find themselves not duly vindicate, or their Cause misrepresented, this shall not prevent them, or any to do it more largely, and to better purpose. {1}


Seeing it is your FRIENDLY method, to Print and Publish your Letter, before you send it to him for whom you endorse it, (which, for ought I know, you have yet to do) you cannot in reason be offended, though another shall give his modest Observations upon it. Upon the Title I observe, that this FRIENDLY Author has somewhat mistaken, either the matter of his Letter, or the nature of Demonstration; unless he will say that QUERIES are Demonstrations, for I find little else in it. If he say this is done in his REMARKS, yet I think the Title seems to import, that these are different from the Letter; and whether either of them perform what the Title promiseth, shall be seen when I come to them: As also wherein lies the difference between the Written and Printed Copies of Mr. M'millan's Declinature, shall then be observed. But seeing perhaps he may allege, that Titles are Arbitrary, I leave it, and come to the Preface, wherein I shall especially notice that which concerns the present Controversy, leaving the rest to such as may find themselves more immediately concerned in it.

And first, You entertain your CHRISTIAN READER with a long and grievous Complaint, containing an Enumeration of Evils and Sins sufficient (your self being Judge) to cause bleeding Hearts and weeping Eyes: The Complaint is not only true and certain, but astonishing and horrible; So many Sins, with such killing Aggravations, lifting up their Heads, and doing it unpunished! Where can this be? not in Scotland, a Church not only Pure, but Faithful, (if you may be believed) not under Persecution, but having the Countenance of so gracious a Queen; Yea a Queen superlatively Gracious. But let not your Reader be so much astonished. This is in Scotland indeed: but Scotland is not NOW as formerly. She hath lost much, (I had almost said all) of her Ancient Glory and Beauty, and of the Heroick Courage, unbiased Faithfulness and Flaming Zeal for Christ, and his Cause, she once had, & on all occasions manifested to the World. Pray, Sir, reconcile all this with your so many assertions of this Church's Faithfulness, Purity, Zeal, and Reformation, you have through your following Remarks, yea even in the small verge of this little Preface; and these bold Brags and Asseverations of it, that your Brethren on all occasions, in their Sermons, and Conferences clamour Peoples ears with. It would, no doubt, have been thought, that this STRONG FRIEND, who so upbraids others for weakness, would have acted more consistently with himself. But if it be so as you assert, (and so in very deed it is) that Scotland hath lost this her Ancient Glory, &c. You would do your CHRISTIAN READER a great deal of kindness, to explain a little Your meaning. What Glory, & Beauty is it She {2} hath lost, or when had she that Glory? Not in the dawning of Reformation, when yet she was but on the ascendant; and there were many Corruptions not purged out of her, which her Faithful and Zealous Ministers were not resting satisfied with; but labouring, and that effectually and successfully, to discover and purge out of her: Neither can this Beauty and Glory be meant, of any she has had since the late Revolution, for You will not grant that you are declining since that time: But will have the World believe, you are making progress in Reformation. Can you mean, that GLORY she had in these her Covenanting Days, especially from the Year 1638, when she began to shake off that Grievous and insupportable Yoke of Prelacy and Erastianism, to the Year 1649 or 1650, at which time the Publick Resolutions came in Agitation in the Judicatories. This certainly cannot be meant by you, who looked upon that piece of the Church's attainment in Reformation, to be such a Deformity, that it was not meet to be put into your Constitution, But [ye] rejected it as a piece of an old Garment, fit for nought, but to deface your new model of Government. Unless, your CHRISTIAN READER will be so charitable to you, as to think you did it for your own Credit, who knowing that your Constitution could not reach such a degree of perfection, unless you had endangered the loss of your Benefices, and perhaps your Lives too, and brought most, if not all of you under Censure, or Deprivation, for your manifest Compliance with, or sinful Connivance at, the abominations of the Persecuting times; were therefore obliged to be content with the Claim of Right, instead of the Divine Right of Presbytery; and your Sovereign's Royal Will and Pleasure to Corroborate your Acts, instead of the Intrinsick Power of the Church; and the Oath of Allegiance, and Bond of Assurance to W. and M. instead of the Oath & Bond of the Covenants: And, being Conscious of the vast Disparity of the one from the other, lest your Cowardice and Unfaithfulness should have been ashamed, and (as I may say) looked out of Countenance with the Glory of your Ancestors' Zeal, Courage and Faithfulness; thought fit to your utmost to Bury, and hold it down or at least not to Set it up beside yours, to Discover its Lameness and Imperfection. It's like, you'll think your Reader either Dull or Critical, that he should Require of you any further Description of this Glory, Zeal, Faithfulness, &c. Whereof you speak, when you tell him in general, that it was for Christ and his Cause, & that she once had it, and on all occasions Manifested it to the World; Whereby you will be thought to mean all the Acts of Zeal, Courage, and Faithfulness, which she Exerted and put forth against Popery, Prelacy, Erastianism, Sectarianism, Tyranny, &c. all which are now Connived at, Subjected unto, and supported, drawing alongst with them, all these Circumstances of Sinfulness, and Danger, into which this Church (as you complain) is now involved. Is this Church Involved into all Circumstances of Sinfulness and Danger, which has so good a Constitution (as you would make your Reader believe) so good a Standard of Doctrine, so pure and unmixed Worship, a Discipline, and Government exactly Correspondent to the Word of GOD, and such just and Lawful Terms of Communion. Whence pray, is the danger? not from within, if all this be true which {3} you have asserted (and if it be so or not shall anon be Examined) not from without, for the Law is on your side and the Countenance of your Gracious Queen is on your side, unless you be either flattering, or mocking when you call her so Gracious, which takes so little Notice of these your heavy Complaints, and does so little for Redressing your wrongs. Well, but your Reader must not doubt of any thing here, he must both Believe that all is right with you, and also that you are involved in all manner of Sinful, and dangerous Circumstances. O strange Faith! which must not doubt even of Contradictories: Or if he do in the least fear that Matters be wrong with you, when he reflects upon all those sins and dangers, into which you are Involved; And so bethink him of any way how to escape them by departing from those sins and dangers, and the persons involving themselves in them, then, with you, he is not a Man of common understanding: For, all these sins and dangers notwithstanding, he is obliged to go on with you, and is not in the least to think of any other means of helping the case. Only he may lament with you, that all flesh hath corrupted their ways: But may scarce be allowed to say, that Ministers and Magistrates have done it, or if he may say so much, he must mean only, that their personal walk is corrupted with some personal failings, but must not presume to charge their publick Management with any thing culpable; Or if he may step one degree higher in his search, and say that there are some publick Faults; Yet he must mean only in the Administration, but by all means hold off the Constitution. And when he Complains of Faults in the Administration, he must only say so much in general, but may not Condescend on particulars, otherways its questionable if you will look upon him to Answer his Designation of Christian Reader. But you go further with your Reader and to deal more ingenuously, you lead him into a more particular consideration, and give him a fuller View of those sinful and dangerous Circumstances, viz. Law and Gospel are Contemned and trampled on, all that's Sacred is mocked; and Laughed at, Atheism, Deism, and Popery are Rampant &c. But will you deal so ingenuously with him, as to tell him, what you look upon to be the Causes of these Grassant or (to use your own phase) Rampant Sins. Is it this Church's Apostasy from God? Is it the Backsliding of her Ministers? Is it the unwatchfulness of her Watchmen, who have suffered her hedge to be broken down, or rather have broken it down themselves? Or finally, is it her Perjury, in violating her Marriage Covenant, and dealing treacherously with her Husband? Yes, by all means this is the Cause, and therefore it is (as yourself acknowledge) That a justly provoked God has left her in his Anger, to be Oppressed on all Hands, and by all means and instruments, every Boar of the Forrest, Malignants, Jacobites, Prelatick Teachers, Promoters of Superstition, Corrupt mixture of Human Inventions, English Popish Ceremonies in the Worship of God, and false Prophets, invades, wastes, and ruins her. Well, what must your poor Reader do after so many Concessions? May he think of withdrawing from the Men that have thus neglected, and suffered his Lord's Vineyard to be ruined, after he sees, that they will not be Reclaimed, but go still on from evil to worse? No, by no means, for that compleats {4} the dismal scene of your Misery; to see any that will appear more Zealously and Faithfully against the Indignities, that this Church hath done to her Lord and Husband, in dealing treacherously and falsely in his Covenant; and any that take not those same measures with you, to involve themselves, and the Church of Christ in all extremity of Defection, are presently in your Sense, carrying on a most scandalous, pernicious, and unaccountable Schism. SCANDALOUS, in regard it offends the Ministers and Professors that live at ease in Zion, as being some Disturbance of their beloved quiet, which they have bought at so dear a rate, as the loss of Christ's favour, and incurring of his Anger. PERNICIOUS in regard it draws away the People, the sole pillars and supports of your present Constitution, it being settled upon their Inclinations, which are but unsteadfast and movable like themselves. So that its no wonder, you set Your Selves by all Means to hedge in these Scattering and Tottering Waves of their Inclinations and Affections, which once lost, you must needs Sink. And yet UNACCOUNTABLE, below your Observation or Notice. Your Reader will perhaps tacitly admire, how that which is in itself (or rather in your Notion) so Scandalous and pernicious, should be to you so Unaccountable. But when he considers, how small Account you make of all these gross pieces of Defection you persist in, so provoking to GOD, and really Scandalous to the Godly, it will help to allay his Admiration: And besides it's Unaccountable on this Consideration, that it's not carried on by a great many Learned and Able Men, nor by a Rich and Potent People; but by Three weak Men, supported by a Poor People, and which is worst of all, both are equally ignorant of the Nature of Union with, and Separation from a Church, and what will justify the one or the other. Those Expressions may indeed Disquiet your Reader at first View; but if he take a more narrow Look into your Meaning and Intention in all this, he will find that these your Vilifying Terms you make use of, are not Concludent Arguments, nor fit Materials for doing your Work: For, it's like, your Illiterate Reader, who hath little more Policy than what the Scriptures teach him, will Answer you in Paul's Dialect, 1 Cor. 1.26-28, "For you see your Calling, Brethren, how that not many wise men after the Flesh, not many mighty, not many Noble are called. (Verse 27,) But God hath chosen the foolish things of the World, to confound the things that are mighty. (Verse 28,) And base things of the World, and things which are despised, hath God chosen; yea, and things which are not to bring to nought things that are. (Verse 29,) That no Flesh should glory in his Presence." And with our Lord's words, Matthew 11.25, "At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto Babes." Besides, your Reader Desiderates [desires, longs] to know, whom you mean by these Three Weak Men. That this will not agree to Mr. M'millan and Mr. M'Neil every Body knows; both because they do not really carry on a Schism (as shall be proven) and Supposing that were Granted, yet they have not been the carriers on of that falsely so-called Schism; for this Schism (say you) hath been for a long time {5} amongst us. Moreover you speak of Three, Whereas they are but two, for it can not in Reason be thought, that you will Class Mr. Hepburn with them, seeing he was Reponed [restored] by your Commission some years ago, and taken Engaged to Live Regularly, to exhort the people (as you understood it) to keep Unity with you, not to intrude on other Mens Labours, &c. And he accordingly stands to his Engagements, so far as is Consistent with his Designs best known to himself. And yet the Current of your Phrase seems to Intimate, that by those three weak Men you understand some that are now at this very Day contributing to complete that dismal scene of your Misery. Shall your Reader be so injurious to you, as to imagine that you point at the three Curates, which after they were Deposed by the Synods in the bounds, where they live, for Arminian Tenets and other Scandals, were without acknowledgment or promise of Amendment, reponed [restored] by the Commission; sure these are not they, for such (though they be Schismaticks indeed from the true Church of Scotland) are not so reputed by you: otherwise you might have reckoned up 150 of them enjoying Churches and Manses, besides all that enjoy Meeting-Houses, whereof 15 are in the Capital City of the Kingdom; as they have been lately computed by a certain Author of your own. But its notour, that those come not under the designation of Schismaticks, but of Good Men justly expecting yours, while they enjoy such a large share of your gracious Sovereign's Countenance. Seeing then your dark & Enigmatick phrase will not allow any of the former Senses, will it quadrate to Mr. Richard Cameron, Mr. Donald Cargil, and Mr. James Renwick, who successively as the Lord raised them up, & employed them, did Valiantly & Zealously (even to Death) contend for the Church of Scotland's Privileges, in Opposition to the many Sinful Courses which the Ministers of this Church then took to ruin and divest her of all her Glory and Beauty, by subjecting their Ministry to the exorbitant will and arbitrament of the then Tyrants. Which Faithfulness of theirs was by you indeed called Schism, and all Espousing that Interest, (which was not theirs but Christ's) termed Schismaticks, Tearers of the flesh of their Mother, &c. Unless you assign another Sense of your Words, you'll allow your Reader to acquiesce in this. And if you would be understood when you speak of this long continued Schism, it were your part Candidly to tell what Schism you mean, when it began, what were the Originals of it? Whether you mean the differences, which arose between the Faithful and Corrupt part of the Ministry, occasioned by taking Malignants into places of power and trust, in Church, State, and Army, (a practice not yet repented of, nor abandoned; but daily followed by you, as might be instanced in many particulars) or what other time, Cause, or Occasion of the rise, and progress of it you please to assign. For certainly you cannot say that Mr. M'millan began that Schism, for that which you so call, is nothing else, but what hath been asserted, and maintained formerly, that and that of a long time with your own concession: So that it is not Mr. M'millan you have to do with in this Plea; but the Principles and Practices of the Church of Scotland, which he Espouseth, and a great many of which you have banished from your publick Registers, perhaps because you thought them Schismatical. And this I hope to {6} evince when I come to your Queries; and to let you see that neither Mr. M'millan, nor the People you so upbraid with Ignorance, are so far unacquainted with the Terms of Communion and Separation, as you would represent them. Which shall be made good from their Principles, published in their Declarations, to be seen in their Informatory Vindication and other pieces relative thereto. You add They cannot (in a Consistency with their Principles) hold Communion with any Church this Day upon Earth, Thereby to render them odious, not only to Backslidden Ministers and Professors at home (as indeed they are, because Resisters of their Courses) but even, so far as in you lies, to render them suspect of Schism from all the Churches of Christ in the World. This is indeed a heavy Charge, and yet such a one as would have been no shame for the seven thousand, who had not bowed their knees to Baal: But that this is a most false Charge, shall be made appear to every intelligent Person, by making evident that their Principles and Practices (their present Circumstances being considered) are (all your Cavils notwithstanding) agreeable to the word of God, and so consequently to the Principles of the Churches of Christ: Unless you will say, that no church this Day on Earth, holds by that Standard; which I hope you will not. And I Judge it but bad Logick to argue at this rate, “that the Dissenting Party, who adhere to the Ancient Principles of the Church of Scotland, cannot (in a consistency with those Principles) hold Communion with this Backslidden Church, declining from these Principles, and practically everting them; Ergo, They cannot join with any Church this day on Earth.” Unless you first prove that every Church this Day on Earth are in your Circumstances; declining from their former Principles, & that they are continuing in that their Declension, notwithstanding the endeavours of their Brethren to reclaim them. But you'll possibly say, you are wronged by the Dissenters, if they allege you will not be Reclaimed, who Confess to your Shame, that there are many things wrong among you:

Surely, these must be an unreasonable People (say you) that will not be satisfied with any thing we can do; We have concluded already that it was superfluous, and contrary to this our Tottering Unity, which by all means we must keep up amongst ourselves, to impose it upon any of the Ministers of this Church, who were guilty of Compliance with the Enemies of Christ's Church, in our Persecuting Times, by taking their Oaths and Bonds, as Tests of their Loyalty to them, and Disloyalty to their Master Jesus Christ, that they should make any acknowledgment of these, or any other steps of Defection, whereof they are Guilty, seeing they (for want of a Tentation) are not in the present Practice of these evils; and yet that rigid People have even extorted some Confessions from some of us, We have granted that there are many things wrong among us, and yet they are not satisfied; nor will they be, except we declare publickly in our National Fasts, and Acts of Assembly, what Sense we have of the Evil of these and the like Courses: And we may justly suspect, that though we should do all this, they would still be uneasy, till we should practically forsake them; telling us, that they always think these two must be connected, viz. Confession and Forsaking, before we can expect to find Mercy. So that truly it will be too Expensive {7} for us to gain that People: But what hazard is there, whether or not for we persuade ourselves (say you) That no Man of common understanding will think, this National Church should be cast off, and that we should separate from her.

If by a National Church you understand, the Doctrine, Worship, Discipline, and Government anciently received, maintained, and sworn to, in our Covenants, National, and Solemn League; then indeed I think that, whatever Men of common understanding may do, yet all such as are the true Lovers of Zion, and desire their Lords approbation, will be most loath to cast off, or separate from this National Church: But if by National Church you mean the collective Body of Ministers and Professors in the Land, who have declined from that standard of Doctrine, Worship, Discipline, & Government, and are only Equivocally and Improperly called the National Church of Scotland, insofar as they are established in the room of those who were indeed the Church of Scotland, that is, such as owned the foresaid Standard of her Doctrine, &c. Then why such as disown her, in this Sense, should be termed Men of no understanding, I see not, nor will any find another reason for it, but your pleasure, whose Tongues are your own.

But you go further, to give the Reasons of what you say; and like a FRIEND you kindly inform these poor weak Antagonists of yours, what are the Grounds of Union with, and Separation from a Church, and what will justify either: And it seems you expect, for a Retribution of this your FRIENDLY Dealing, that these Ignorant and Illiterate people will Implicitly concede all your Assertions. viz. We have a good Constitution, &c. For mere Assertions they are, as void of Probation, as the very first Principles of Nature's Light, which admit of no such thing. But if you should fail of this your Intention, and they for their better understanding, should crave of you some Definitions of your Terms, and evidences of the Truth of your Positions; It's hoped you'll Candidly grant it them. First then, I would Inquire, what you mean by this good Constitution of yours? Is it the Acts of Parliament upon which your Constitution is founded? If so, then what goodness is in it, will appear, by a more particular Inspection into these Acts. Then First, Your strong, and almost only support and prop of this Nature is the Claim of Right, the Words whereof, Relative to the Church, are; "That Prelacy, and Superiority of any Office in the Church above Presbyters, is and hath been a great and Insupportable Grievance, and trouble to this Nation, and contrary to the INCLINATIONS of the Generality of the People (they having Reformed from Popery by Presbyters) and therefore ought to be Abolished." From which words its observable: First, That Prelacy is not called contrary to Law, as the rest of the particulars Complained of, and abolished in that Claim of Right are: But only a Grievance and trouble to the Nation, (Mark) it is not said Nations, though it was indeed an Insupportable Grievance to all the Three Nations of Scotland, England, and Ireland, as is undeniable from their entering into a Solemn Covenant to oppose and Extirpate it, of which Covenant, it's Remarkable, there is made no mention in this Claim of Right. 2dly, It's not said, that Prelacy is contrary to the Word of GOD, and the Covenanted {8} Work of Reformation, but only it's contrary to the people's Inclinations, and that not for any other Reason, but because the Nation was Reformed from Popery by Presbyters, and not by Prelates: And that reason would Militate as much against Presbytery as Prelacy, upon Supposition, that the Land had been Reformed from Popery by Prelates. Now, I hope it was upon the same Grounds that Prelacy was Abolished, upon which Presbytery was Restored, viz:

First, Because Presbytery was not so grievous and troublesome to the Nation.

2dly, Because it was more answerable to the People's Inclination: And

3dly, Because it had the start of the other in the Nation's Reformation.

There is never a word of its Divine Right here, Nor of our Covenants binding us to own it, with our Lives and Estates; So much for the Claim of Right. And though this Act be comprehensive of all, that is, more fully expressed in any other Acts of Parliament, Relating to the Settlement of the Church, since the late Revolution, so that having seen this we may say,

Aceipe nunc Procerum insidias, & crimine ab uno     disce omnes.

Yet for the Reader's further satisfaction, I shall transcribe a part of another act, made Anno 1693, Entitled An Act for Settling the Peace and quiet of the Church, wherein it is ordained:

That no person be admitted, or continued for hereafter to be a Minister, or Preacher within this Church, unless that he having first taken, and Subscribed the Oath of Allegiance, and Assurance; As also, that he owns and acknowledges Presbyterian Government, as Settled by the Act of the 2d Session of this Parliament, to be the only Government of this Church; and that he will submit thereto, and Concur therewith, and never endeavour directly, nor indirectly, the Prejudice and Subversion thereof. And their Majesties with Advice and Consent foresaid, Statute and ordain, that Uniformity of Worship, and of the Administration of all publick Ordinances within this Church, be observed by all the saids Ministers, and Preachers, as the same are at present performed, and allowed them, or shall be hereafter declared by the Authority of the same, and no Minister or Preacher be admitted, or continued for hereafter, unless that he Subscribe to observe, and do actually observe the foresaid Uniformity.

In which Act its remarkable, First, What are the New Ministerial Qualifications required by the Magistrate, and the Terms of Ministerial Communion in this present Church; viz. The Oath of Allegiance and Assurance, Imposed (as is plainly declared by the Act imposing it) instead of all other Oaths that might be required, and so in room of our Covenants.

2dly, That this Constitution admits of no Reformation, by the Ministers; for they are bound to Observe the particulars mentioned in the Act, only as they are at present allowed, or shall be hereafter granted to them.

3dly, That this Constitution carries in its Bosom the highest degree of Erastianism, for here the Minister's power Depends Solely upon their Sovereign's allowance with Consent of Parliament; And so have made themselves the Vassals of Men, not the Ministers of JESUS CHRIST. {9}

A third Act made in the last Session of the Scottish Parliament Anno 1707, and engrossed amongst the Fundamental Articles of the Union, Entitled Act for Securing the Protestant Religion, and Presbyterian Church Government is now your strong Tower, and an undoubted Sanctuary, to which you in your utmost straits betake yourselves, and of which you hold your Right of Constitution, as is evident from the Commissions Act, August 5, 1709, against Innovations in the Worship of God. By which Act of Parliament, you are involved into all the Guilt of that Union, and particularly of consenting to the Establishment of Prelacy, upon as firm a Basis and Foundation in the Neighbouring Kingdom of England, as Presbytery is constitute upon in Scotland, contrary to God's word, who has commanded that we should not suffer Sin to lie upon our Brother; and contrary to that solemn Covenant, wherein we engaged to the extirpation of it out of all the three Kingdoms. By all which you declare to the World, that you are Men satisfied with anything that makes for your own private interest, and are ready to account any constitution a good one, which secures to you your Benefices with Ease and Quiet. But if you be ashamed to call the Acts of Parliament your good Constitution; then show us what it is. Is it the Assemblies settling themselves according to the Act Anno 1592? Industriously passing over our best times, as being Conscious to yourselves of the utter inconsistency, and irreconcilable Difference betwixt their Faithful Acts, and your Unfaithful Practices and Designs, under the pretext, that the Church had then the Civil Sanction which she wanted in her Re-establishment Anno 1638. But if this be a sufficient reason (or if you have another give it) then it's evident, that you look upon the civil Sanction as absolutely necessary, not to the Well-being only, but also to the Being of a Church-constitution. And however you look upon it, I hope none that remembers or considers God's signal Goodness to this Church, in granting her such a Faithful Ministry, and such a Glorious Reformation, will account the mere want of the civil Sanction (which yet they even then for the most part had, either the King's Commissioner in their Assemblies, or the Concurrence of the Parliament Corroborating their Acts, or both) a sufficient salvo, for your obliterating the whole proceedings of those Faithful and free Assemblies, betwixt 1638 and 1649; and consigning them, so much as in you lay, to perpetual Oblivion. So much for your first Assertion, viz. We have a good Constitution.

I come now to your second Assertion, We have a standard of Doctrine without Error, Westminster Confession of Faith, which we own as the Confession of our Faith, we have Subscribed it, and Preach the Doctrine therein contained. I Answer, So have the Church of England a Doctrine without Error, and so have Independents: are they not therefore to be separated from? And though some, yea many of the Church of England's Communion be Arminian, and otherwise Heterodox, yet no such thing is asserted in their standard of Doctrine; nor can that Church be charged with these Tenets, more than this Church will allow Arminianism, Borynianism, &c. to be looked upon as her Doctrine, though it's notour, that she hath them in her Communion, who are Maintainers and Favourers {10} of these Tenets: And moreover I still looked upon our Covenants as the Confession of our Faith, as well as the Westminster Confession; and if you abstract it from the Covenants, I do not see what difference, in point of Doctrine, there is between you and Independents, or the Bishops of England. But will you be pleased to assign the Chapter and Section of the Westminster Confession, wherein your Reader will find the Doctrine of Association with Malignants, Prelatists, Papists, or any other known Enemies of Truth and Godliness, asserted: That this Doctrine is yours, appears daily by your practice in Praying for such Confederacies, supporting to your Power, the Persons engaged in them, and Teaching your People so to do. But sure I am this was neither in Doctrine nor Practice held by the Church of Scotland in her purest times. And albeit it were granted, that the Standard of your Doctrine is without Error, if it can be proven that you walk contrary to this Standard, it will not make much for your purpose; only it says, That you know your Master's will: but endeavour not to do it.

Now follows your third Assertion, Our Worship is pure, without the addition of Men's Inventions. Answer, I do indeed grant, that your Worship is so far pure, as that in the Form thereof you do not mix with it those Popish Ceremonies of Crossing, Kneeling towards the East, Bowing before Altars and Crucifixes, and the like. These are indeed too gross pieces of Corruption, to pass without Observation: But shall your Worship be accounted pure, because not chargeable with these gross perversions, when you have other Corruptions, no less dangerous, though not so Palpable and easy to be discovered? Such as your keeping Days of Fasting & Thanksgiving for Causes that will not bear either; and enjoined by such as (though never so Lawfully invested with Authority) have no Right to do it; except in such Exigences of the Church as you will not grant yourselves to be in. And is not the Lord's Table Profaned, though not by the Addition of Men's Inventions, yet by the Admission of Ignorant and Scandalous Persons, (I mean Persons Guilty of Bloodshed, Swearers of Contradictorious Oaths and Bonds, Informers against the People of GOD when flying for fear of their Lives, and otherwise Scandalous in the times of Persecution, (a great part of them who are employed about the Elements, the Symbols of CHRIST's Body and Blood, being Guilty of, and not yet purged from these sins by a publick Acknowledgment) as is Alas, too manifest almost in all places of the Kingdom. And though you may allege these to be but failings in the Administration, yet when this is become Epidemick, it shews that your Worship is not so pure, as you would bear us in Hand: And if your Worship be unsound in the Matter of it, though without mixture of Human Inventions, is it therefore Pure? As for Instance, when you Pray for Success and Prosperity to these Complex Courses of Apostasy from GOD, that have been, and are carried on, in Church and State; As for Divine Conduct to the Head of the Prelates, while Supporting them, and bearing down Reformation in her Dominions, and for themselves as Members of the British Parliament, seeing you have no Warrant {11} for your so doing from GOD's Word, and knows, that it is Perjury, as being contrary to your Solemn Vows in our Covenants, which you pretend to own and are really under the Obligation of them: I say, when you Pray for them in these circumstances, you Pray not in Faith, and so you sin, and consequently pollute that act of the Worship.

As for the Discipline, it's apparent you have it not entirely in your power, but as you hold your Government, and Ecclesiastick Right of the Civil Magistrate, and are dependent on them for your power of Convening in Assemblies, and in appointing your Diets, in making your Acts Valid, and even in the Exercise of your Ministry; as is evident from the Act of Parliament above quoted, making it an Essential Requisite to any who would be a Minister of this National Church, that he Swear and Subscribe the Allegiance and Assurance; which proves your Government faulty, even in the Constitution, as well as Administration; and so by necessary Consequence will infer a Flaw in the Discipline: For, as the Discipline is Dependent on the Government (as none will deny) so it must partake of its Lameness, even in its Constitution. But if you have the Sword of Discipline in your hand, why do ye not draw it out against Offenders? Why are so many rampant Sins, and Evils, yea Evils never before known, suffered to go unpunished? Why have not Known Enemies of Truth and Godliness been censured? Wherefore have not they who shed the Blood of the Saints been Staged for it? Wherefore are not Prelatick Teachers, intruding themselves into the Lord's Vineyard, suppressed and cast out? Why are Persons of Quality passed without Censure, when guilty of the same Sins, for which the meaner sort are by you punished? Surely, this is either because you will not, which is your shame and Reproach, and argues a willful Neglect of your undoubted Duty; or because you cannot: If so, then this is either because yourselves are guilty of the same Evils, and so you are ashamed to call others to Trial, lest your Deeds should be made manifest; or it is, because you have not a Power to do it, that being Extorted out of your hands by the Civil Magistrate; which yet you will not allow to be said, lest it should Reflect on Your Constitution. But if you can Assign any other Reason, why you contravene your Lord's Commission, who has bid you be instant in Season, and out of Season, to Reprove, Rebuke, Exhort, with all Long Suffering, &c. You may do it, yourselves best knows it.

I come now to consider the Terms of your Communion, which you Assert Lawful, and for the better understanding of them; I shall first set down the Ancient Boundaries of the Church of Scotland's Communion, as they are to be seen in the Acts of her Assemblies, and Ratified with the Civil Sanction of Parliamentary Authority. To this Purpose, see the Act of Assembly held at Edinburgh, August 17, 1639, Entitled Act Ordaining the Subscription of the Confession of Faith and Covenant, with the Assembly's Declaration; wherein “the General Assembly, by their Act and Ecclesiastical Constitution” (observe them Acting by Virtue of their Intrinsick power) “do approve the foresaid Covenant, in all the Heads and Clauses thereof, and ordains of new” (note the Terms, It is not said DESIRES, as is now in Custom in your Acts since the Church lost her {12} power and Authority) “under all Ecclesiastical Censure, that all the Masters of Universities, Colleges, and Schools, all Scholars at the passing of their Degrees, all persons suspect of Papistry, or any other Errour; and finally, all the Members of this Kirk and Kingdom Subscribe the same.”

Here the National Covenant with this Declaration of the Assembly is made the Terms of the Church's Communion, as well as a Requisite for the Admission of Masters into Colleges, and Schools. See likewise the Act of the General Assembly Convened at Aberdeen, July 28, 1640, Session 5, Entitled Act for Censuring Speakers against the Covenant: Wherein “The Assembly Ordains Ministers that having taken the Covenant, shall speak against it, to be Deprived (here is Exclusion from Ministerial Communion) “and if Continuing so, to be Excommunicate,” (behold Exclusion even from Laick Communion) and not only were Ministers Excluded from it, but also others were Reputed as Perjured, till they gave Publick Satisfaction. As also another Act of that Assembly, Session 10, Entitled, Act Against Expectants Refusing to Subscribe the Covenant. “Ordains, that if any Expectant shall Refuse to Subscribe the Covenant, he shall be Declared Uncapable of a Pedagogy, Teaching a School, Reading at a Kirk, Preaching within a Presbytery, and shall not have Liberty of Residing within a Burgh, University, or College: And if they continue Obstinate, to be Processed.”

Which Acts were Ratified by Civil Authority, Parliament 2d. Act 5, Charles 1st, Anno 1640, Entitled, Act anent the Ratification of the Covenant. The tenor whereof is,

The Estates of Parliament presently Convened by His Majesty's Special Authority, Considering the Supplication of the General Assembly at Edinburgh, the 12th of August 1639, to His Majesty's High Commissioner, and the Lords of His Majesty's Honourable Privy Council, the 30th of August 1639, containing the Answer of the said Supplication, and the Act of the said General Assembly, Ordaining by their Ecclesiastick Constitution, the Subscription of the Confession of Faith, and Covenant, mentioned in their Supplication: And withal having Supplicated His Majesty, to Ratify and Enjoin the same by His Royal Authority, under all Civil Pains, as tending to the Glory of God, Preservation of Religion, the King's Majesty's Honour, and the Perfect Peace of this Kirk and Kingdom: Do Ratify and Approve the said Supplication, Act of Council, and Act of Assembly; and conform thereunto Ordains and Commands the said Confession and Covenant to be Subscribed by all His Majesty's Subjects, of what Quality soever, under all Civil Pains: And Ordains the said Supplication, Act of Council and Act of Assembly, with the whole Confession and Covenant itself, to be Insert and Registrat in the Acts and Books of Parliament, and also ordains the same to be presented at the entry of every Parliament; and that before they proceed to any other Act, the same be publickly read and Sworn to by the whole Members of Parliament, claiming Voice therein, otherways the Refusers to Subscribe and Swear the same, shall have no Place nor Voice in Parliament. And such like ordains all Judges, Magistrates, or other Officers, of whatsoever Place, Rank, or Quality, Ministers at their Entry, to Swear and {13} subscribe the same Covenant.

And that the Solemn League was also made the Terms of the Church's Communion, may be evinced from an Act of the Assembly holden at Edinburgh, August 2, 1643, Entitled, Approbation of the Solemn League and Covenant, which appoints that after its reception and Approbation in the Kingdom of England, it shall be subscribed by all the true Professors of the Reformed Religion. And from an Act of the Assembly met at Edinburgh, May 1644, Entitled, Act against secret Disaffecters of the Covenant. And that this same Solemn League & Covenant was made the Terms of Admission to the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, is evident, from an Act of the Assembly at Edinburgh, July 1648, Entitled, Act for taking the Covenant at the first receiving of the Sacrament, &c. To all which Acts for his further satisfaction, I refer the Reader. Having now shown from the Records of the Church of Scotland, that the true and Genuine Terms of her Communion are our Covenants, National and Solemn League: I come to inquire if these same Covenants be the Terms of Communion; with this now established Church. That those Covenants are not the terms of your Communion is clear from your practice, and the Acts of Parliament enjoining other Oaths in their room.

First, from your Practice in your neglecting those Covenants, never making them of force in your Acts of Assemblies, nor imposing them upon entrants to the Ministry, as a necessary Test of their Faithfulness to the Church of Scotland, your not Preaching up their Obligation, nor moving their Renovation; all which you behooved to do if they were the terms of your Communion. 2dly. From the Acts of Parliament enjoining (as hath been above said) the Oath of Allegiance, and Bond of Assurance, upon all entrants to the Ministry, otherwise they are declared uncapable of any Benefice, yea and upon all in the Ministry already, unless they will be deprived of it, and the Benefice annexed to it. And though you may allege this to be an injurious Imposition of the State, and not therefore to be imputed to the Church, yet you can never make it appear, that you opposed the state in it, but did heartily embrace those Oaths: Which is proven by your excluding of some Ministers and Elders from having Access to, or Voice in your Judicatories, because not thus qualified. But if you still say, that you impose not these Oaths as Terms of your Communion; then I would ask you, what are the Terms of your Communion? Is it subjection to your Judicatures? Then sure I am this is unlawful, for if your Judicatures be unlawfully constitute (as hath been proved) and carrying on unlawful courses, to the subversion of the Ancient Acts and Laws of the Church of Scotland, as is likewise evident from the consideration of their contrariety to her Ancient Practices, then subjection to your Judicatories, does necessarily involve the Persons subjecting themselves, into these courses, and consequently is unlawful. So much for your Terms of Communion. Well, but (say you) though we have suffered the Work of Reformation to be broken down, and have yourselves thrown down those fair corner Stones of Zions Palaces, yet we favour Zion's dust? Who ever doubted but you loved, and favoured the Dust and Rubbish of the Church of Scotland's Reformation, yea with such Respect, that you will never allow (so far as you {14} can) that, that Dust and Rubbish should be any ways restored to its ancient Beauty and Glory. But you'll pray that the Lord may build his House himself, for Men have not courage to do it. I would ask you, is it Men's duty to endeavour the Rebuilding of the Lord's House? Then why do you so vigorously oppose them, who do but tell that you are neglecting this your Duty? Wherefore may not any complain of your slack-handedness in setting about this Work without censure? Yea, Why may none shew their desires, to have this their Lord's House repaired, but presently they must be the Butt of your Malice, and the subject of your virulent Tongues and Pens. There are a Set of Faithful Ministers in the Church (say you) who are troubled for the many Offenses that are given, and for laying so many Stumbling Blocks before the Blind. But will you tell us where they are? And wherein their Faithfulness appears? Is it in a publick Resentment of all the indignities, that have been, and are done to our Lord’s Interest? Is it in keeping their Vows to the most High GOD? Is it in discovering the Sin and Danger of the Times monstrous Defections? Is it in guarding off from, and testifying against the sinful courses, that are carried on in the Judicatories? Is it in purging the Judicatories of Lax, and unsound Members? Is it in opposing the Injurious Usurpations of the secular powers over Christ’s Church, and declaring to them the exceeding danger, & horrible Guilt of their so doing? No: Their Faithfulness lies not so much in these particulars which to assert, might be of dangerous consequence, as the case now stands: but it discovers itself, in their trouble for the many Offences that are given and the stumbling Blocks, that are laid in the way of the Blind. I would gladly have some evidences of this their trouble; is this a token of it, to heap up daily more stumbling Blocks in the way of the Blind, and still to Minister new matter of Offence: But, say you, herein their trouble appears, that They mourn for these things in secret. Indeed, it’s safest Mourning so; and so much only as may well be consistent with rejoicing and thanksgiving for the success of your Queen, and her Idolatrous and Antichristian Allies; which Alliance and Confederacy by you countenanced, and so much extolled, is not the least of these Stumbling Blocks you speak of, laid before the Blind; yea which in a great measure has blinded yourselves, who will needs be accounted to see. But do you really look upon secret Mourning to be a sufficient salvo for all the Perjury, Blood-shed, Apostacy, and high violations of our Marriage Contract with our Lord and Husband (which you grant the Land to be Guilty of)? It seems you do, when it was denied by a solemn Vote in your Assemblies that Breach of Covenant should be put into the Causes of a National Fast Anno 1706. And as for your frequent Testimonies of this your Grief, I wish you would produce them to the World, that you might at length wipe off your selves the too just imputation of unfaithfulness.

I have said already, that I shall leave that part of your Preface which concerns Messrs. Calamy and Fleming, to such as may be more nearly concerned in it. Only I must observe (as I doubt not but every Reader may do) how irrelevant it is to your present purpose. If it be for Anticipating the Objection of unsound Doctrine, because you cannot deny them to be of your Communion who had access {15} to your Assemblies: yet seeing there are a great many more Grounds of exception against you; this one concession, and that with a little probation, as the rest of your Assertions, can make but little for your purpose. I shall willingly pray with you, Lord pluck up what thou didst not plant: But must add, and every degenerate Plant that bears not Fruit to him, but cumbereth the Ground of his Vineyard. What apprehensions the Godly of the Land have of the approaching Judgments; would God, they were such as might have that blessed Effect, and issue as to turn them from these Sins Publick and Personal, which procure those Judgments. So I leave your Preface, upon which I have of necessity been too prolix: But what I have said on it, shall save me of some trouble in answering the Body of your Letter, and Remarks.


YOUR Interrogative Letter is ushered in with a very special, and plausible Maxim, so correspondent even to Nature’s Light, that none can have any colour or pretext to deny it, viz. As unity, is the very Ligament, Strength, and Bulwark of all Societies, so Division weakens and at length ruins it. And I think your witty method is not a little discovered in it. For your whole scope throughout, being so dubious, and several palpable lies couched in it, it had need of such a Frontispiece. Had you introduced yourself by any Sentence more obscure or suspicious, your Reader might have said Fronti parva fides; and so have taken the better notice of the Falsehoods it contains, and the circumveening scope of it: But, If I mistake not, you have not consulted Truth in the Case; For this Position of yours is not full, whether we respect Human, or Ecclesiastical Societies. That it is not the VERY, or only Strength of Human Societies is certain, unless it be joined with Justice, without which it cannot be long preserved, this being the Original and Support of the other. And without Truth Unity in Ecclesiastical Societies is more dangerous than Division: The want of Unity may and doth exceedingly hurt the Church: But the want of Truth, or the neglect of it, and declining from it does utterly Adulterate her, so that she is no more a Church, but a Synagogue of Satan. Wherefore we must purpose Unity, only in the Lord, as we must do all other Actions: That is, in so far as not to neglect Truth in our pursuance of Peace and Unity. It hath always been (I know) the Maxim of Christ’s Enemies, Divide and Rule: But now they may, for ought I see, alter their Principle, and say, Unite and Rule. For notwithstanding all your Unity, your Enemies are not molested in their Rule. The Prelates of England have more by your Unity, than ever they had formerly, in all the Church’s saddest Divisions: For now they have Presbyterians (though but Nominal) subject to them, keeping Solemnities in conjunction with, and devised by them. Now the Hireling Curates have, nemine contradicente, the peaceable Possession of many Kirks and Manses in this Kingdom, (as {16} was said above) & what do they require more. You fear the imputations of uncharitableness when you charge Mr. M’millan with a design of ruining the Church of Scotland: But you need not so much fear that; for you have left little of that nature for him to do; you have done so well at it yourselves. And how much soever there may be of Informality in Mr. M’millan’s way of managing the Work he is engaged in, yet that will no ways justify you: Nor his Zeal, though it were not according to knowledge, as you allege, be any excuse for your detestable neutrality: Had you behaved yourselves more Zealously for Christ’s cause, there had been less ground for Mr. M’millan’s present courses; which though they cannot be every way, and in every thing justified in an advancing state of the Church, yet in such a declining condition as she is now in, they are become necessary for the preservation and propagation of Truth, and keeping up the Church of Scotland’s ancient Standard. It is not my design to enter into a particular inquiry into every thing proposed in your Queries, whereof not a few are Tautologies, others of them circumveening Fallacies, and most of them already Answered, in substance by Mr. M’millan himself in his true Narrative, and Examination of Mr. Cameron’s Pamphlet upon the said Narrative; And as for such of them as immediately respect his Conscience, as I think he is not bound to give you an Account of it, so in this you shall expect none from me.

Query 1st. How your present disorderly practice, agreeth with the first Paper you gave in to the Commission of the Church sitting at Edinburgh, June 9th, 1704. In which you plainly, and in express Terms (Subscribed with your Hand) declared it was your Judgment, that the Sentences of a Church Judicatory ought to be submitted unto, though unjust, and that redress is to be craved and expected from Superior Judicatories. Sir, This hath always been the Sentiment of Orthodox Divines, and seemed then to have been yours.

Answer: If this was imposed or sustained by the Commission of the Kirk, or given by him illimitedly, then it was a wickedness in both; for if a Church Judicatory should depose or suspend a Minister of the Gospel for some Acts of Faithfulness absolutely necessary in such a juncture, and in which Acts of Faithfulness, he is obliged to persevere, as he will be countable to Christ from whom he receiveth his Mission; Then it will follow (According to this Principle [of yours]) that he must inevitably disobey Christ and forsake his necessary Duty, which how absurd is it? I think this was not the Apostles Sentiment, Acts 5.29, in their Answer to the high Priest and Elders of the Jews. We ought to obey GOD rather than Man. And that this is not the Sentiment of all Orthodox Divines, that the unlawful Sentences of Church Judicatories ought to be obeyed absolutely, might be instanced from several Divines both Ancient, and Modern. See in special, the Judgment of the Venerable Assembly of Divines at Westminster, Chapter 31, Section 3, of our Confession of Faith. The words are, It belongeth to Synods and Councils Ministerially to determine, &c. Which Decrees and Determinations, (mark the Condition) IF CONSONANT TO THE WORD OF GOD, are to be received with Reverence and Submission, &c. You may likewise see for the same purpose, many others quoted by Mr. M’millan in his True Narrative {17} from page 38, to page 51. And if according to the Revealed Will of GOD, there ought to be such Submission in all Cases, without Counteracting, what shall we say of the Practice of the Prophets, Apostles, and others of the People of God, who Lived before us in Corrupt Times? Must all their Preachings and other Actings, thought most agreeable to the Word of God, be Condemned, because they were contrary to the determinations of the Churches wherein they Lived: This were indeed to set up a Papal power over the Word of God, a power for Destruction, and not for Edification. That would indeed make a Sinful Unity, and Order, and Teach a way to avoid Persecution; and readily to obtain Peace with Men; but with the loss of Truth and a good Conscience. But if Mr. M’millan’s Sense was, That the Sentence of a Judicature for alleged (though false) Scandals, and so past Clave errante were to be submitted to for the sake of Peace, and good order, till a Redress should be had from a Superior Judicature; then it helps you nothing: For Mr. M’millan was not Deposed for Scandal, there being none in the Libel and Grounds of the Sentence alleged against him. And though it be too true that Mr. M’millan, what through his own Weakness, what through your industrious Circumvention was carried off his Feet, and Succumbed to you in those Acknowledgments, Yet seeing he has declared in his Narrative, and elsewhere, that its the Matter of his Grief, it cannot invalidate all his after Acts of Faithfulness, nor render him utterly incapable of doing his necessary and incumbent duty, viz. To bear Testimony by publick Preaching against your Backslidings, and all the Sins of the Times, so far as God discovers them to him: Which is that I take to be meant by the Disorderly and irregular Courses you object to Mr. M’millan, which if they justly deserve that Name, let the Word of God be Judge. And whatever Disorder or Irregularity is in them, is (as was just now observed) occasioned by your far greater irregularities in which you persist, and will not be Reclaimed. You object to Mr. M’millan that he should have said, It’s one thing what a Man does out of Conscience, and another what he does for Peace’s sake: Which Sentence of his, makes you apt to believe, that he juggled both with God and Man. And I nothing doubt, but you are apt to believe this and much more of Mr. M’millan, though you had no Ground for it, seeing you have believed and asserted as great Falsehoods in these your Queries, as shall be detected in their proper places: But this being your mere Assertion, you must bring some Probation of it, otherwise I am not concerned to Notice it: But, and if you shall prove it, Mr. M’millan will in all Reason and Justice be allowed to explain his meaning. And if I would allow my self to deal with you by Retortion: How much of this unconscionable Dealing is evident in your whole Conduct? You will not mention the Covenants in your Assembly-Acts for Peace’s sake; You will not reprove the Sins of the State for Peace’s sake; You will not punish Scandalous Offenders for Peace’s sake: Yea, this is almost your whole Defence, when you are told of the wrong Steps and Defects of your Procedure, say you, we must do so and so, for the sake of Peace and Unity. {18}

Query 2d. What Arguments have induced you to alter your Judgment, and to go cross to the Judgment of all Orthodox Divines; if you have found any, produce them, &c.

Answer. I have already shown you, that Mr. M'millan has not gone contrary to the Judgment of all Orthodox Divines, and that he hath Quoted not a few Divines, their Judgment anent this, in his Narrative, to which you may please to have Recourse: Had you Read it before your Letter was Writ, you might have saved yourself of much Superfluous Labour you have put your self to in those Queries. And whereas you allege he has gone cross to his own Judgment, I see no reason why he may not, if at that time by being Conversant with you, who are Men of such a Judgment, he had been unsound in that particular; which yet I have shown you he was not. For I don't think that ever he meaned that Subjection to unjust Sentences is lawful, when they are for express Duty: But only that they ought to be Subjected to, when inflicted for things in themselves really scandalous; but falsely alleged to the Party Censured; and so he goes not contrary to his former Judgment; And granting he did, it were no Reproach to him. Non est pudor ad meliora transire. You say, you have heard of one Argument used by Mr. M'millan: viz. That the Remonstrators [protesters] when Deposed, continued to Preach as he does. Whether Mr. M'millan ever used this as an Argument, I wot not: A precedent indeed it is: But can not, except we speak improperly, be called an Argument. Mr. M'millan's Arguments are taken from a surer Foundation, to wit, his Lord's Commission; his orderly Call and Admission to the Ministry, not yet invalidated, nor can be by any unjust Sentence; the necessity of the Duty of Preaching, and finally the danger of incurring the Anger of God, in case of neglecting so plain and clear a Duty. It is true, all these were in the Remonstrators case, and therefore the same Reasons that moved them to Counter-act the unjust Sentences of the then Judicatures will Warrant him now, the Case being parallel: And any Disparity that I see betwixt the Cases lies chiefly in this, that this present Church is more chargeable with Defection from her Sworn Principles, than at that time she was, and less hope of her being reclaimed from her evil Courses, and that her Constitution is now vitiated (I should have said Subverted) which was not then, though at that time it began to be Corrupted. And though it were granted, that, that was a broken State of the Church, which you say this is not, yet this holds, a fortiori, that there is as good Reason for Mr. M'millan's Preaching, notwithstanding of the Sentence. You urge the Disparity of the Case then, and now, from this, that there was a Party then in the Judicatures which declaimed against the unjust Sentences, (though I don't find any such thing) whereas Mr. M'millan's Sentence was confirmed in the Judicatures from the lowest to the highest, nemine contradicente. But if this commend an unjust Sentence, that it has many Voices approving it, then the Sentences against our Lord, past in the Jewish Sanhedrim were valid Sentences. And let us suppose, a Person duly qualified is Suspended from the Lord's Supper, or the exercise of the Ministry, or Excommunicated and cast {19} out of the Church, because of his pressing and holding forth some precious Truth of God, which a Church Judicature condemneth for a lie, and passeth such Sentences and Censures upon him, because he doth adhere thereunto; shall we say that such a Person is bound not to Communicate, not to Preach the Gospel, or to absent himself from the Fellowship and Prayers of the Saints? You'll say, he is bound so to do for Peace's sake, till his Appeal be Discussed, but what shall the innocent Person do, when it is Discussed, and he Condemned, nemine contradicente, in all the Judicatures, so that he hath not a higher to which he may Appeal. What will you now allow him? Must he still be the Servant of Men? And though the Lord Jesus hath commanded him to Preach the Gospel, to Communicate, to Assemble himself with the Saints; yet he must not do it, because contrary to a Church Sentence, ratified without Opposition, or any contrary Voice; is not this to obey Men rather than GOD?

Query 3d. If the Commission of the Kirk, according to Your Desire (in your Paper given in to them, June 9th, 1704) had Reponed You to the Exercise of the Ministry at Balmaghie; if you would really in that Case, have thought it your Duty to have separate from this Church, &c.

Answer: This Query cannot be Solved, but by a Declaration of Mr. M'millan's Intentions, which I know not; and though I knew them, would not hold my self obliged to relate them: But sure I am, whatever he would have done, he had the same Grounds for so doing then, that he yet hath; unless the Commission had Redressed his Grievances, which, that they are sufficient Grounds of Separation, shall be shown in its proper place. But may not I, altering the Terms a little, thus Retort the Question? If it had not been Criminal to Renew the Covenants, would you have done it? If you could with Your Sovereign's Favour, would you judge it your Duty to purge this Church of Prelatick Teachers? Surely I have no less Reason to inquire this at you, than you have to inquire into Mr. M'millan's Intentions.

Query 4. Is not Your Sin highly aggravated, by counteracting the Sentence of the Presbytery of Kirkcudbright, after the same was Ratified by the Commission? &c.

Answer: This, for substance, is Answered already in the former Queries wherein it's demonstrate, that it was not only Lawful, but necessary for Mr. M'millan so to do; in Regard that, that Act and Sentence of the Presbytery, Ratified by the Commission, puts him (if yielded unto) in an Utter Incapacity for performing his Necessary Duty, and involves him in a Necessity of Sinning, in disobeying God to please Men. And whatever Acknowledgments he gave of the contrary, he has publickly Declared in his Writings, and Doctrinally in his Preaching, that these are the Matter of his Grief and Resentment. And yet you still insist on these, as if that Dissimulation of his (to give it the harshest designation) could admit of no Repentance. If the Ministers of this Church had, in a way Competent to their station, and according to the Scripture Rule, done so much in testifying their Grief, for the Land's Publick and National Sins and Defections, {20} and set themselves, to the utmost of their Power, to Redress the Grievances, which the Godly of the Land groan under; I would have reckoned them unjust that should still have objected these to them, and kept at a Distance from them, upon that account.

Query 5. What Conscience have you made of the Performance of that Solemn Promise in the foresaid Paper, That in the Strength of God you would live more Orderly, and in Subjection to the Judicatures of this Church, and would use your utmost Endeavours to maintain Unity, Concord, and Peace therein?

Answer. This Query is much of a piece with the former, and so needs not a particular Answer. But I hope you will not be offended, if I paraphrase Your Query, thus: What Conscience have you made of that Solemn Promise, and Tremendous Oath of the Covenant, to which you stand engaged, that Solemn Promise, I say, made in presence of Almighty God, the Searcher of all hearts, with a true Intention to perform the same; Wherein you are Bound to endeavour the Reformation (not the Deformation) of Religion in Doctrine, Worship, Discipline, and Government; the Extirpation (not the Confirmation and Establishment) of Prelacy out of these Lands: The Preservation (not the Subversion) of the Privileges, the Rights of Parliament; the Defence of the Kings Majesty in Maintaining and Propagating (not the Suppressing) of Religion? As for what Mr. M’millan promised, if it was contrary to his Duty, he must Retract it, rather than forego his Duty. Besides that Submission promised behooved to be in the Lord, otherwise it was not Lawful for you to accept such a promise, nor for him to give it. And he has Likewise given his Answers to this in his true Narrative, page 52 and 53. You add, Do you now think it was Really a Sin for you to promise to maintain Unity, Concord, and Peace in this Church, if these be your Thoughts, then sure I am you are no Covenanter, being bound to Unity in our Covenants. I shall indeed grant you, if the Unity, Concord, and Peace you speak of were Qualified with the Maintaining and Propagating of Truth (of which its observable you have never a word, being intent to press that only which makes for your purpose) and the Reformation and Flourishing of Religion; then it would be not only no Sin to promise to maintain it; but also really a Duty with all Sedulous Endeavours to perform that promise: But that our Covenants do require Unity without Truth you have yet to Demonstrate: which till you do or otherwise clear yourselves of the Charge of neglecting, and Burying not a few Truths necessary to be asserted, you cannot evince Mr. M’millan to be no Covenanter: And your arguing, seems not to be so sound on this Head, as might have been expected. Your Argument in its Native and Genuine strain runs thus, Our Covenants bind us to Unity so and so qualified. Ergo, it binds us to Unity absolutely, and without these qualifications: which I think not concludent.

Query 6. Did you not once own the Church’s Authority? And if you did (which I suppose you cannot deny) were you not (according to your own Principle) guilty in Concurring with all the steps of Defection you Charge on this Church, &c. {21}

Answer. This is a Dilemma wherewith you urge Mr. M’millan, no doubt, in your Opinion, unanswerable; and yet it pushes not so hard as you conceive: For if by the Authority of the Church, you mean that lawful Power, which Christ hath conferred on his Church, of Ordination and Deprivation, binding and loosing, upon Grounds Relevant and Weighty, shown to be such from his Word, Meeting and Consulting anent things pertaining to his Glory and his Church’s good; Sitting, Voting, and Dissolving at his Appointment, Warrant, and Command; then Mr. M’millan yet owns that Authority and still did. But must he therefore own your Authority, for Destruction many times, rather than Edification? And if Mr. M’millan did, by reason of his want of a full Discovery of the badness of this present Church’s Constitution, really subject himself to her Authority, may he not therefore alter his Course, when he sees it inconsistent with the preservation of Truth? & to say with Seneca, Non est levitas a cognito errore discedere sed ingenue fatendum, aliud put avi, deceptus sum, hæc vera superbæ Stultitiæ perseverantia est; quod semel dixi, vel feci, qualicunque est fixum, ratumque sit. For the second part of your Query: What step of Defection hath the Church of Christ in this Land, been Guilty of betwixt the time you first owned her Authority, and the time of your casting it off? I Answer, Though there had been no step of Defection in the Church all that time (which I do not grant) yet the steps of Defection, whereof she was Guilty before, when discovered, were ground of disowning her while persisting therein. And yet many can be instanced, as for instance reiterated Acts of Erastianism, submitted unto: Such as W. proroguing Assemblies at pleasure by open Proclamation, without Opposition, his dissolving Assembly by his Commissioner, without an ample protest against it. Your Swearing an illimited Oath of Allegiance to A. contradictory to the Covenants; and why should I multiply more, if you please to have recourse to the Grievances offered to the Presbytery of Kirkcudbright by Messrs. R. T. and M. there you will find the steps of Defection chargeable on this Church in that interim of which you speak.

Query 7. If you can produce one Scripture in all the Bible, that will Sufficiently prove, that all those Grievances which you allege to be in this Church, are a Sufficient Ground of Separation from her as now Constitute, &c.

Answer. I am glad that you are now at last come to the Balance of the Sanctuary, that you call your Antagonists to the Law and to the Testimony; and I shall grant you, that if their Principles speak not according to these, there is no Light in them: But if they be found consonant to these, there is no ground for Despising them. And seeing this concerns not Mr. M’millan alone; But likewise many of the Godly in the Land, who could never see it to be their Duty to join with, and adhere to this Church as now Constitute; I Judge it Necessary to Treat somewhat more Largely upon this head, and shall thereby save my pains of giving a particular Answer to your Remarks, wherein you object to Mr. M’millan and Mr. M’Neill the casting off all Ecclesiastick Authority. The THESIS, therefore, which I am to prove from Scripture is this: {22} The Grievances which are really in this Church, and the Defection which she hath made from the Truths Received and Maintained by the Church of Scotland in her Purest times; are sufficient Ground of Separation from her, while Persisted in, and not Reformed. In proving of which, Method would require that I should first set down the Terms of Communion with, and just grounds of separation from a Church in abstracto, that is, without any Relation to this or that Church in particular. 2dly. That I should show, that these Grounds of Separation are really to be found in this Church, and that the lawful terms of Communion with a Church are not in her as now established. But this not being my intention to Write a Volume upon the Subject, which I behoved to do, if I should prosecute this method, and having shown in Answer to the Author’s Preface, that the Terms of Communion which he asserts to be in this present Church, are not so indeed (to which I refer the Reader) I shall only for clearing and confirming the Thesis, 1st. Give an Enumeration of the most weighty Grievances and grossest steps of Defection, obvious in this Church, and prove them to be really chargeable upon her as now Constitute And, 2dly. Adduce the Scriptures warranting and commanding Separation from a Church in these Circumstances, retaining such matter of Grievance, and persisting in such steps of Defection. The first of these I shall do in the following Assertions.

Assertion 1st. This Church is Guilty of all the steps of Defection made in the time of the publick Resolutions from the Purity of the Doctrine and Discipline of the Church of Scotland. The Reasons of my Assertion are, First. Because this present Church hath never declared by Acts of Assembly, that these Courses the Judicatures then took, tending to the ruin of the Church of CHRIST (as the sad Event proved) were sinful and unlawful. 2dly. This Church follows their Foot-steps, in receiving into places of Power and Trust, with their consent, Men Malignant and Disaffected to the cause of God. 3dly. This present Church approves of Association and Confederacy with Idolaters, Hereticks, and Enemies to Truth and Godliness, as the Resolution Party then did; which is irrefragably proven from the Practice of this present Church, in their keeping at the Command of the Magistrate, Diets of Fasting and Thanksgiving for, and in their Publick Prayers making mention of that Confederacy.

Assertion 2d. This present Church is Chargeable with all the Backslidings, Perjury, Bloodshed, Erastianism, Tyranny, & Apostacy from God, and the received Principles of the Church of Scotland, committed in the late Times of Persecution, under Cha. II, and Jam. VII. their Tyrannous Reigns. Perhaps some will say, this is a bold and uncharitable Assertion: But alas its too true and evident. That this is no calumny, but a sober Truth, will appear to any seriously, and without prejudice, weighing those Reasons. 1st. The Ministers guilty of, Connivance at, or Acceptance of the favours and indulgences of Christ’s declared, stated, and avowed Enemies, such as Addressed for, and embraced a Toleration from these Monstrous Tyrants, and that Clogged with Sinful Limitations, {23} and Restrictions utterly inconsistent with the Duty then called for, viz. A Faithful Testimony against Antichristian Idolatry (the Sin being aggreged with those heinous circumstances of consenting to the whole Bloodshed of their Brethren, who Suffered for Displaying a Banner for CHRIST in the Fields, and opposing their Faithful Testimonies, and Warnings, particularly that of Mr. James Renwick, who Died Witnessing against those who had embraced that Toleration) were never called to an Account for these scandalous Practices, nor Censured by this Church, but continued in Ministerial Communion without Acknowledgment of these gross and hateful Evils.

2dly. The perjuring Oaths, Declaration, Test, Abjuration, &c. made in Opposition to our Covenants, and the whole Work of Uniformity in Reformation, imposed by the Perfidious Tyrant Cha. 2d. on purpose, if possible, to eradicate the very Memory of Religion out of the Land; have never been by Act of Assembly declared Infamous and Unlawful, nor the Sin of them discovered, and their Contrariety to our Covenants demonstrated; they have never been explicitly Enumerated in Causes of National Fasts, Persons who accepted them, both Ministers and others, have not been called to make publick Repentance for them; but without Acknowledgement, received to Ecclesiastick Functions. 3dly. As the Oaths Contradictory to our Covenants have never been judicially condemned by the Church, nor by them Required to be Annulled and Rescinded by the State, so neither have the Covenants been Revived and Renewed, nor the Maltreatment they met with, when publickly burnt by the Tyrant’s Command, Confessed and Mourned over Nationally, and by all Ranks. 4ly. They that were the Actual Persecutors and Murderers of the Lord’s People, (I mean, such as pursued them in the Fields, brought them before Courts, sat on their Assizes, marched in Arms against them at Pentland and Bothwell, and at the Tyrant’s Command kept Days of Thanksgiving for their Defeat,) have never been Processed before this Church; yea, even some guilty of those Terrible Evils have been taken into Ministerial Communion. 5thly. And Lastly, This Present Church did not Require of W. and M. nor of their Present Queen, at their Entrance to the Regal Power, that they should acknowledge those Fearful Evils, Sins, Perjuries, and Bloodshed, that the foresaid Tyrants were guilty of, to have been heinous Pollutions of the Throne; as the Church did with Charles 2d. for his Father’s Opposition to the Word of God. By all which it appears, that this Church hath not taken proper Measures, nay, nor any Measures to purge the Land of all that horrid Guilt, and so by necessary Consequence are themselves guilty of it.

Assertion 3d. This Present Church is Erastian, not only, insofar as she is guilty of that complexly with other Evils of the Late Times: (as was shown in the last Assertion) but also in her present Establishment, and Exercise of her Discipline. 1st. Because this Present Church is Constitute upon the same Level with the late Prelacy, (which none doubts to have been Erastian) as may appear from this: 1st. Prelacy was never Ecclesiastically asserted, neither is Presbytery by an Explicit and Formal Act of Assembly since the Revolution. 2ly. The Prelatists High Ecclesiastick {24} Court was Called, Adjourned, and Dissolved in the King’s Name; so likewise are the Assemblies of this Present Church. 3dly. The Prelatists owned the King in the Exercise of his Erastian Supremacy over them; so this Present Church hath never declined the Exercise of that Supremacy in her Annual Assemblies, by an Uniform and Ample Protest, Insert and Recorded in the Assembly-Books. 4ly. King and Parliament prescribed Limits unto, and at their pleasure altered Prelatical Government; so to this Church the King and Parliament have prescribed a Formula, that all the Ordinances within the same, be so performed by the Ministers thereof, as they were then allowed them, or should be thereafter Declared by their Authority, as the very Act itself bears.

2dly. This Church is Erastian in regard her Ministers have embraced and Sworn the illimited Oath of Allegiance, and Subscribed the Bond of Assurance, by the Narrative of the Act imposing it, declared to be a necessary Qualification for all Ministers that would legally enjoy any Benefice in this Land; and that (as was said above upon the Preface) in room of the Covenants, the standing Laws of the Nation, which if it be not a most wicked Usurpation over the Church of Christ, Let God’s word and the Acts of the Church of Scotland determine.

3dly. This Church is Erastian, in regard (as hath likewise been already observed) of her keeping Fasts and Thanksgivings at the Command and Appointment of the Magistrate, a manifest encroachment on the privileges of the Church, and a reproach to her Ministers who has so little Zeal for their Lord’s Interest. All which Acts of Usurpation by the Civil Powers over the Church willingly subjected unto, and suffered without a Testimony against, by the Ministers, do with sufficient evidence infer that which was to be proved, viz. That this Church is Erastian.

Assertion 4th. This Present Church is guilty of, and chargeable with unparalleled Unfaithfulness; as appears almost in every Emergent Providence: To pass many particulars, I instance only the late Union, and Oath of Abjuration. When the Late Union was on foot, it became the Ministers of this Church, and particularly the Commission then Sitting, not to have dealt with the Parliament by Addresses only, (in a Matter of so great Import and Moment, as well to Religion as Civil Liberty) and that only for some Additional Acts or Clauses, for the Securing to them their Present Establishment; but Faithfully to have Remonstrate to them by Protestations, and to the whole Kingdom by Declarations, (as was the Practice of the Church of Scotland, in Cases of like Danger to the Interest of Religion) the Utter Inconsistency of such an Union, with the Safety of Religion, and with that Noble Work of Uniformity in Religion, though, alas! now Buried and Forgot: Yea by this Union utterly incapacitate to be again revived. They ought to have in their publick Acts declared their Resentment of such a course; and in their Sermons to have shown to the People, the Sin and Danger of any way complying with, or Contributing to support it. And yet none of these things were done: But on the contrary they were either Silent altogether, or Ambiguous in the Application of their Doctrine to it, {25} and in their Prayers for it; Many using these or the like doubtful expressions, “That if it were for the Glory of God he might prosper it, if not, that he would prevent and overturn it,” thereby leaving their Flocks which they pretend to Feed without Light and Direction as to the Sin or Duty of it, contrary to that Comfortable Promise, given by God to his Church, concerning her Ministers, Malachi 2.7, For the Priests Lips should preserve knowledge, and they should seek the Law at his mouth, for he is the Messenger of the Lord of Hosts. And such as seemed then to be against it, have since evidenced themselves for it, being Reuben-like, unstable as Water, and therefore cannot expect to excel.

As for the Oath of Abjuration, they did not Faithfully Warn the Court of the Injury done to Religion by Imposing New Oaths, or Bonds without the Consent of the Church; contrary to an Act of Assembly holden at Edinburgh July 28, 1648, Session 18, “Enjoining all Members of the Church to forbear the Swearing or Subscribing any new Oaths, or Bonds in the common Cause, without Advice and Concurrence of the Church; especially any Negative Oaths or Bonds, which may any way Limit, or restrain them in the Duties whereunto they are obliged by National, or Solemn League and Covenant”: For as it was plainly declared by the Assembly, that it was a sin for Church Members that are Subjects to Swear such Oaths, so likewise it must be a sin for the State to impose them. And when the Ministers had for ends best known to themselves, (for they have not made them known to the World) evaded this Oath, they left their Flock without Faithful Discovery of the sin of it, as it necessarily involves in it a Swearing That the Successor to the Crown of Britain shall be of the Communion of the Church of England, and so is an express Breach of our Solemn League and Covenant, herein personating the Hireling, of whom our Lord gives this Character, that when he seeth the Wolf coming, he leaveth the Sheep and fleeth, John 10.12. Moreover some did Counsel People to take it, telling them it was no sin, but Duty to Swear against a Popish Pretender; but not showing the Perjury couched in it. And those who have taken it are not Censured: But some of them received and continued to be Ruling Elders, and admitted to the Holy Table of the Lord. From which Instances (though many others might have been brought) it is more than apparent, what unparalleled unfaithfulness to the Cause, and Interest of Christ, and the Souls of their People, the Ministers of this Church are chargeable with. It were endless to enumerate all the particular Steps of Defection, this Church is guilty of; together with their several Aggravations and magnifying Circumstances, viz. Of a willful, obstinate, and irreclaimable continuance, and progress in all these enumerate, and many other sinful Courses, contrary to God's Word, and express Vows, and Covenants; And that so soon after such a Glorious Reformation as the Church attained unto betwixt 1638 and 1650.

Seeing then, the Ministers of this Church are Actually or Virtually, Directly or Indirectly Guilty of all these fore-mentioned sins. viz: Apostasy from former {26} received and professed Principles, consonant to God's Word; Perjury, and Breach of Covenants, and Vows made for the Defence of these Principles; Bloodshed, even of their Covenanted Brethren, who were put to Death for Adherence to these Principles, from which they are Declining; Erastianism, giving up the Privileges of Christ's Church, to the Will and Disposal of his Enemies, and taking their License, and holding of them not of Christ, the sole head and King in his Church; Unfaithfulness, not Warning the people of whatever Rank and quality, of the Sins and evils Practiced and carried on in the Land; and finally of Sinful silence, Indifferency, and Neutrality in the Cause of God; I would ask at every Unprejudiced Person, who have not set up the Stumbling Block of their Iniquity before their Eyes, and have any Impression of the Heinous and Dreadful Guilt of those Sins, whether they Judge those Sufficient Grounds of Depriving any one Person of the Sacred Office of the Ministry, while not Repented of and forsaken? If it be Granted, that they are, then will it not much more hold, that a whole National Church being Guilty of, and Persisting in such Sins; Seeing they are really worthy of Deprivation, and are Condemned and Sentenced by God's Word, and the Faithful Acts of free and well Constitute General Assemblies (though they be not formally Condemned and Censured, Because there wants Faithful Judicatures to do it) ought to be separate from, and Disowned by all who will not incur the Participation of those Sins, and consent to the Violation of those Acts. The Reason of the Consequence is clear, For if the Sins, which will Validly Deprive a Person of the Exercise of the Ministry, considered in themselves, be Clothed with other Aggravations, they will much more do it. And certainly when these forementioned Sins are National, they are highly Aggravated beyond what they are, when only Personal.

Having now laid down some of the Weightiest Grievances, and most Comprehensive Steps of Defection, and proven them really to be chargeable upon this Church, as now Constitute: It remains for the Establishing of the Thesis, that I adduce some places of Scripture, that may evince these Sins, enumerate and proven to be in this Church, to be (while persisted in) sufficient Grounds of Separation from her. But here I must observe (in transitu) how the Author of this Letter has the Boldness & Impudence, to require one Scripture in all the Word of God, that may Warrant Separation from this church, when almost the whole Current of it strikes directly against her present Courses. See Ezra 9.14, Should we again break thy Commandments, and join in affinity with the People of these abominations? Wouldest thou not be angry with us, till thou hadst consumed us; that there should be no remnant, nor escaping? Here the Holy Penman by an Interrogation, importing one of the strongest Negations imaginable, asserts it unlawful to join with the People of these Abominations: Now certainly to join in Church-Communion, is equally, yea, more dangerous, than in Conjugal Contracts, (as the case is here;) and the Reason given against Affinity, in Deut. 7.4, will hold as well in the Case of Church Communion, to wit, Lest they with whom we join, turn away our hearts from the Lord and his way. But this Church being guilty of all the forementioned abominations (as is proven) and having thereby {27} departed, in tanto, from God, are apt to draw others away after them, to break God's Commandments. Ergo, She is to be separated from. See for another Proof of this, Proverbs 22.28, Remove not the Ancient Landmark, which thy Fathers have set. If it be a dreadful and accursed thing to remove our Neighbours Marks and Bounds: O! how much more dreadful is it to change and alter God's Land-marks, his Privileges, Oaths, and Covenants! which this Church hath done; and is therefore, if we will not be guilty with her of the same, to be separated from, while so doing. Turn over to Isaiah 8.12, Say ye not a Confederacy, to all them to whom this People shall say a Confederacy, Compared with Jerem. 2.18, What hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the Waters of Sihor? Or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the Waters of the River? v. 19, Thine own Wickedness shall correct thee, and thy Backsliding shall reprove thee. If the Lord instructed the Prophets, and the Godly with them, not to say a Confederacy, and that but a Civil one, with Egypt for self-Defence; how much more are we not to say a Confederacy with this Church, and that in matters Religious, which is going back to Egypt, and so is more guilty before God, and more dangerous to be joined with than the Egyptians were, who though they were Idolaters, yet had never been Reformed from it. And so according to this place, this present Church ought to be separated from. See likewise for this, Jer. 23. v. 14, They strengthen also the Hands of evil Doers, that none doth return from his wickedness, compared with verse 16, Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, hearken not unto the words of the Prophets, that Prophesy unto you, &c. Now it is evident that the Ministers of this Church do strengthen the hands of the wicked; partly by Example, going before others in Backsliding; partly by neglecting to punish and censure Evil-doers, whereby others are emboldened to go on in the like evil courses, and partly in maintaining the present powers; while acting contrary to the Covenanted Reformation. What then is to be done in this case? The Lord by his Prophet expressly tells us, we must not hearken to them. And this Command we cannot obey, if we keep still Communion with them, for thereby we do corroborate their evil Examples to our power; and declare ourselves willing to hearken to them; As therefore we would obey this Command, we must separate from this present Church. Glance forward to Ezek. 22.25,26,28,31, There is a Conspiracy of her Prophets in the midst thereof; her Priests have violated my Law, and profaned mine holy things: they have put no Difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean. Surely this is applicable to the Ministers of this present Church: For seeing their Unity is not in the Lord, and according to the Bond of our Holy Covenants, it cannot but be a Conspiracy: And they neglect to put Difference between the clean and unclean, by receiving into Church Communion (as is already proven) and into Offices in the Church Men unclean, that is, such as are not purged from their Scandalous Practices. Verse 28, And her Prophets {28} have Daubed them with untempered Mortar, &c. This likewise is most evident in this present Church, by all means seeking to palliate, and Plaster over all these evils that are couched in her; but not to purge them out, and amend them. And so to build on the Ancient Basis, and endeavour to keep a good Superstructure. Now see what is that, the Lord Threatens against such, verse 31, To pour out his Indignation upon them, to consume them with the fire of his Wrath? Which, as we would escape, we must separate from these courses, and by consequence from the Men of these courses which deserves this indignation, and may expect, if they Repent not, to be consumed, according to this Threatening. In the New Testament, See Matthew 18.15,16,17, Moreover if thy Brother shall trespass against thee, go & tell him his fault between him & thee, &c. If we are to esteem our Brother as an Heathen-man, and a Publican, upon the account of Personal and private Scandals, in case he hear not the Church, how much more ought we to do so upon the account of publick and National Scandals and Offences: But the Ministers of this present Church being guilty of publick and National Scandals and Offences (as has been proven in the foregoing Assertions) do Refuse to hear the Church; ergo, they are to be accounted and held, while so doing, as Heathens and Publicans, and so are to be separated from. The Minor [proposition] (viz: That the present Ministers do Refuse to hear the Church) is evident, because though they have been admonished and testified against, by not a few of the Godly in the Land, and Grievances offered to them by Ministers and private Persons, and a Redress craved, and they called to hear the Church; that is, the standing Acts and Laws of the Church, yet they have never hearkened to these Acts and Statutes, but go quite contrary to them, and will not, according as these Acts require, confess and acknowledge their Scandals and Offences.

As also, Romans 16.17, and 18, Now I beseech you, Brethren, mark them which cause Divisions and Offences, contrary to the Doctrine which you have Learned: And avoid them, verse 18, For they that are such, serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own Belly; and by good Words, and fair Speeches Deceive the hearts of the Simple. Here the Apostle commands us to Mark and avoid them, that cause Divisions and offences, contrary to the Doctrine which we have Received: But the Ministers of this present Church, cause Divisions and Offences contrary to the Doctrine which we have Received, and therefore, we are to mark and avoid them. The Minor [proposition], viz: That the Ministers of this present Church do cause Divisions and Offences, contrary to the Doctrine we have received, I have proved at large in the foregoing Assertions, and in Answer to the Author's Preface, and therefore need not do it here. Turn over to 2 Thess. 3.6, and 14, Now we command you Brethren, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every Brother that walketh Disorderly and not after the Tradition which he received of us. Verse 14, And if any Man obey not our word by this Epistle, note that Man, and have no Company with him, that he may be ashamed. The Apostle in this Place by a most {29} pathetic and pithy Exhortation, and command in the Name, and backed with the Authority of Jesus Christ, does expressly charge us to withdraw from every Brother that walketh disorderly, and not according to the Tradition received, And I have already demonstrate, that the Ministers of this present Church do walk most disorderly, (for the context shews that the Apostle is speaking of them, who would not work with their hands, which holds true of the Ministers by Analogy, who work not the Work incumbent upon them) and contrary to the Ancient Acts and Ordinances of the Church of Scotland, which are the Tradition we have received. Therefore we are to withdraw from them, and every one of them, while they continue so disorderly, according to this charge given us by the Apostle.

For further confirming the point, that separation from this present Church is lawful and necessary, as the case now stands, I shall adduce two or three Sentences from our Approved Authors. The Grave and Learned Mr. Durham in his Commentary upon Revelation, chapter 1, page 55, hath these Words:

In the matter of hearing it is not so hard to discern who are to be Accounted, to speak without GOD's Commission; Because ordinarily, such have either no warrantable Call at all, (no not in the outward Form; and so cannot be Accounted, but to run unsent) or, by palpable Defection from the Truth, and Commission given them in that Call, they have Forfeited their Commission, and so no more are to be accounted Ambassadors for Christ, or Watchmen of his Flock, than a Watchman of the City is to be Accounted an Observer thereof, when he hath publickly made Defection to the Enemy, and taken on with him.

Now it's evident from the foregoing Assertions, That the Ministers of this Church have made gross Defection from, and are greatly Unfaithful in the Discharge of their Commission, and so consequently according to this Author, have insofar and for the time Forfeited their Commission; and if so, who can be blamed for separating from them? Consider likewise the Reasons brought by the same Author, why we should not Countenance such as have thus made Defection from their Commission. ibid.

1. The Countenancing of such, puts the Person so doing in the hazard of a snare &c. 2. It carries Offence along with it in reference to the Party who runs unsent (or, which is the same thing, has by palpable Defection forfeited his Mission) it proves a strengthening and confirming of him, and so a partaking of his Sin: In Reference to others, it either strengthens them by that Example, to cast themselves in that snare, which possibly may be their ruin; or it grieves them and makes them sad who are tender of such things; or it gives occasion to make all Difference of that kind to be thought light of.

Here it's evident that this worthy Author looked upon the countenancing and encouraging of Backsliders as no small evil, but such are the Ministers of this present Church (as is clear from the Backsliding Courses, whereof they are proven to be guilty in the preceding Assertions) and so are not to be countenanced and encouraged, and by consequence to be withdrawn or separate from. {30}

The Famous and Faithful Rutherford, in his Due Right of Presbytery, pages 253,254, In his Distinctions anent Separation; sheweth, “That there is a Separation Lawful and Laudable," which he calls a "Negative Separation, or a Non-Union; when the Faithful Part, adhering to their Principles, does not concur with the Backsliding and Declining Part," (which is the very Case here.) And he makes likewise a Distinction between “Separation from the Church, in her most and worst part; and Separation from her in her best and least Part:” The former he asserts Lawful, “for they who separate from a Church in her worst, tho' greatest part, do notwithstanding remain a Part of, and a Part in the Visible Church; because they do not Separate from the Church, according to the least and best Part.” And this former kind of Separation is all that's pleaded here: viz. Either a keeping of the Ancient Ground and Acting, according to the Church's formerly Received Principles, separately from such as decline from them, (tho' the greatest part) or endeavouring to recover it when lost, and to return to their Sworn and professed Principles, by Separating from those with whom they have been joined in their former Declining. And Page 255, he saith, “When the greatest Part of a Church maketh Defection from the Truth, the Lesser Part remaining Sound, the Greatest Part, is the Church of Separatists: though the maniest and greatest part, in the Actual Exercise of discipline, be the Church; yet in Case of Right Discipline; the Best, though fewest, is the Church. For Truth is like Life, that retireth from the maniest Members, to the Heart, in case of Danger.” So that with Application to the case in hand, though the Dissenters be invidiously termed separatists, yet it is the Declining Ministers and Professors who have Deserted the Church of Scotland's Testimony, that justly deserve to be so called.

The Learned Author of Rectius Instruendum Confut. 3. Dial. Chap. 1. page 7, &c. Affirms that “every Separation is not Schism, even from a Church, which hath Essentials, yea and more than Essentials, if it be from those, tho never so many, who are drawing back from any piece of Duty and Integrity attained; for this is still to be held fast, according to many Scripture Commands. Or, in case that we separate in that, which a National Church hath Commanded us as her Members to disown, by her Standing Acts and Authority; while these from whom we separate own that Corruption. As also,” he says, “That Forbearance of Union, or Compliance with Backsliders, in that which is in itself sinful, or inductive to it is lawful: And the Commands of Abstaining from all Appearance of Evil, and hating the Garments spotted with the Flesh, do include so much.” Now the Separation here pleaded, is upon these very same Grounds, which this Reverend Author asserts and proves to be Lawful: For the Ministers of this Present Church are drawing back from former Attained Integrity, in many things mentioned in the foregoing Assertions and adhering to several Corruptions (as has been shown already) which the Standing Acts of this Church, command us as her Members to Disown; and are carrying on and maintaining Courses in themselves Sinful, and inductive to more sin; and so according to the mind of this Author, they are to be separate {31} from: And such a Separation is not only Lawful, but even necessary in the present Circumstances.

But wherefore do I stand to recite the Judgment of particular Divines? Any who will consult the Acts of the Church of Scotland in her advancing state, while her Lord Rejoiced over her, and she walked according to his Commandment, owning Him only for her Head and LORD, and so having Salvation for Walls and Bulwarks about her, and her Redeemer, the Glory in the midst of her; He will find most if not all of the Ministers of this present Church worthy of Deposition; and if they be worthy of it, and so Morally Deprived, while persisting in their Defections, tho not Juridically declared to be so, because (as was just now hinted) there are not Faithful Judicatures to do it, it follows very evidently, that they are to be separated from. For clearing this, that the Ministers of this Church are guilty of the Sins, that are by the assembly of the Church of Scotland declared to be Ground of Deposition; see the Act of Assembly, August 4, 1648, Session 26, Entitled, Act for Censuring Ministers for their Silence, and not speaking to the Corruptions of the time. In which Act, including all the former of the like Nature, and reviving them, particularly “the Act of the Assembly at Glasgow 1596:” and another “Act of the Assembly at Glasgow, (or rather the same Revived) 1638.” Appointing that “such as did not apply their Doctrine to the times Corruptions, or were Cold and wanted Spiritual Zeal, did flatter or dissemble publick Sins, &c. should be Censured and if continuing deprived.” Now let the Reader apply, are not the present Ministers thus Defective in applying their Doctrine against the Corruptions of the present Times; do they not neglect to declare the publick sins, and warn People of their hazard in Complying with the Times' Corruptions? and are they not Neutral, and want Zeal for the Covenants and Cause of GOD? and finally do they not wink at and Dissemble publick Sins? and are Continuing so to do notwithstanding of Admonition and Warning to the contrary, and so come under the Sentence of the General Assembly. And the particular Sins and Corruptions, against which the General Assembly, did ordain and appoint the Ministers to apply their Doctrine, will be found to be of the same Nature with the Sins that are now Reigning, and the Corruptions now abounding; viz: “That as they should not neglect to give Warning against the Errors of the Sectaries in England, so the main Current of Applications in Sermons should run along against the Evils prevailing at Home, Namely, against the Contempt of the Word, against all Profaneness, against Defection from the League and Covenant, against the Unlawful Engagement in War, against the Band and Declaration of the Date June 10, 1648, ordained to be subscribed by all the Subjects, and other unjust Decrees established by Law, against the Plots and Practises of Malignants, against the Principles and tenets of Erastianism, &c.”

Are not these and the like, the Corruptions of our Times? was there ever more danger from the Sectarian Errors than now, when we are embodied with a Nation where they are suffered without control? yea, and many of {32} them Tolerate even in this Nation, as for instance that abominable Error of Quakerism, they having their General Meetings in the Metropolitan with the Magistrates permission and Allowance, as appears from his sending of Soldiers to Guard and Defend them; and who testifies against such evils? Is there not as much contempt of the Word, and abounding Profaneness of all sorts in this present time as ever formerly; and are the Contemners, and profane duly punished? No: Or such sins publickly rebuked in the Persons of all Ranks? No, the Contrary is Notour: That there is the most Palpable Defection from the League and Covenant, yea, and an utter Subversion of it, is so evident to every thinking person that I need not Demonstrate it by instances, and if I would endeavour to enumerate them particularly, this should Excress into a huge Volume; And yet who declares faithfully against these Defections? What shall I say more? is not the present Alliance, and confederacy with Anti-Christian Idolaters, persecutors of the Protestants abroad, and Malignants at Home, as unlawful as that Engagment was? is not the Abjuration, and other Oaths imposed upon all in places of any Trust, as hateful and Scandalous as the foresaid Bond and Declaration? Are not the Plots and Machinations of Malignants further advanced and come to more Maturity now, than at that Time they were? And finally, are not the Principles and practices of Erastianism now more deeply rooted and spreading themselves further in the Land, when they are eminently to be found in the General Assemblies of this church; and where is the Man that does faithfully Declaim against those evils, and Zealously apply his Doctrine to these Corruptions? Now let us see what was the Assembly's mind with Respect to the Neglecters of this Duty: “They do ordain, that if any be found too sparing, General, or Ambiguous in the foresaid Applications, and shall after Admonition continue so, that after due Trial they shall be Deposed.” And that the General Assembly Acted not Arbitrarily, and without Grounds in this Sentence, and Determination (for if they did, their Sentence were not of force in foro Divino &conscientiæ) you may see in the same Act, the reasons of the Sentence: viz: “For being pleasers of Men, rather than Servants of Christ; for giving themselves to a Detestable Indifferency and Neutrality in the Cause of God; For Defrauding the Souls of People; and being Guilty of the Blood of Souls, in not giving them Warning. &c.” They add further as Causes of Deposition, “Much more are such Ministers to be Censured with Deposition from their Ministry, who Preach for the Lawfulness, or pray for the Success of the Unlawful Engagement.” A practise that is now frequent as every hearer may Witness. Do not the present Ministers Preach up the Lawfulness of the present Unlawful, and Antichristian Confederacy? Do they not pray for the Success of it? there is one thing in the same Act, which ought not to pass without Observation, viz: “the Assembly's appointing and Recommending to the Ministry the study of that Controversy of Erastianism, in order to its Confutation, and that they might be the more able to stop the Mouths of Gainsayers.” The which Ordinance and Recommendation {33} of the Assembly, is now so far Slighted (to say no worse) that upon the Contrary, they are Suppressed who endeavour to Discover the evil of it, or shew how the Land is Involved in it, as is notour through many places of the Kingdom.

Those Scriptures with the Judgment of the Quoted Authors, and Acts of the General Assembly are sufficient to prove the Point: Yet, if the Reader pleases, he will find it no unprofitable Exercise, to search and ponder the following Scripture Precepts, Promises, and Threatenings, and having compared them with the Sins and Defections obvious in this Church, seriously to consider, what may be the Mind of GOD declared in His Word the only Rule of our Faith and Life, and the alone Bond obliging our Consciences, in the Matter of Sin and Duty. I shall set them down as they occur. Deut. 27.18. Prov. 4.14,15. Prov. 28.4,9,10,13. Isa. 3.12, the latter part of the Verse. Isa. 9.16. Isa. 43.27. Jer. 2.34,35. Jer. 12.10. Jer. 15.5,6. Jer. 16.12,13. Jer. 23.1,2. Ezek. 13.4, compared with verse 22. Ezek. 14.10,11. Ezek. 34 throughout. Ezek. 44.10-17. Hosea 2.2,3. Hosea 5.11,12. Hosea 6.7,8,9. Micah 3.10,11,12. Mal. 2.8,9. Matth. 7.20. Matth. 15.13,14. 1 Cor. 5.11. Gal. 2.18. 2 Tim. 3.1-6. Heb. 10.23. 2 John 10,11. Jude 3d verse. Rev. 3.11.

Nor needs any allege against it, the Scriptures pressing Unity; till they make it appear, that the Unity they speak of is duly qualified according to those Scriptures, to wit, in the LORD, and in the way of Truth and Duty. For all those Scriptures speak directly against this present Church, that has broken, and continues to violate our Covenants, the Conditions and Bonds of our Unity. Wherefore I shall conclude all that has been said on this Head, with that Precept, 2 Cor. 6.17, Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you.

It were needful here for Caution, preventing Mistakes and preoccupying Objections, to shew what kind of Ministers the Dissenters require, and whom they could join with, seeing they cannot join with, and countenance the Ministers of this present Church; But this being done largely and accurately in their Informatory Vindication, to do it here were but Actum agere; for this purpose I Recommend to the Readers serious and deliberate consideration the 4th Head of the foresaid Vindication, page 74, &c. where he will find the state of the Question candidly proposed, and the most usual Objections Answered; the Grounds of Separation and Communion solidly inquired into, and discussed: And amongst others, he will find these Qualifications required in Ministers which they can join with, viz, That they be clothed with Christ's Commission, free of Scandals, Ministerial and Personal, free of Errors, Defections, and Compliances, and Discharging their Commissions, Faithfully, or whosoever will clear themselves of the just Exceptions there mentioned, or remove them by a declared Confession, and forsaking of these Scandals and Offences, {34} which have stumbled the Godly in the Land. The Reader will also find, if he considers that Head, many Scriptures besides these, which have here been adduced, enjoining Separation from this Church as now Constitute. Having thus far in General Answered the Query, I return to the Author; and expect, that he will be pleased of his FRIENDLY Disposition, to assign (if he can) one Scripture in all the Bible, that will speak in Defence of the present Courses of Backsliding, or justify the Persons in these Courses.

Query 8. If you be really persuaded in your Conscience, that the method and way you take, and what advance you have made that way, is the true and proper Method to get these Grievances removed?

Answer. If you please let the Query run thus, can you and the rest of your Brethren, the Ministers of this Church be persuaded in your Conscience, that your way in Burying the Church of Scotland's Testimony; doing what in you lies to confirm Prelacy in England, (by consenting to the Ratification of the Articles of Union) and neglecting to root it out of Scotland, together with all the steps of Defection, enumerated in the Answer to the preceeding Query, is a true and proper method for advancing the Glory of God, the good of Souls, and the Reformation of the Nations? Sure I am those are not the proper means for attaining such an end. And though Mr. M'millan's method and way were not justifiable, that will be no salvo for you. And your methods and ways so effectual for ruining Reformation, and Defacing the Glory of the Church of Scotland, has laid a necessity upon him to take his present methods. And if he could fall upon any more effectual means of keeping up a Testimony for the Truth once delivered to the Saints, I look upon him to be bound to use them, how irregular and improper soever, they may seem to you. And moreover I judge it the Duty of all the Faithful in the Land, in their places and stations to take all lawful means and measures to preserve their Union, Cum Deo, cum Fœdere, cum pristina Ecclesia Scoticana; With God, their Covenant, and the Ancient Principles of the Church of Scotland: And when they cannot do it (Facto) by any lawful means; to do it (Jure) by Protestations and Testimonies against the Courses eversive of, and prejudicial to it.

Query 9. What kind of Call have you to Preach the Gospel? is it ordinary, or extraordinary?

Answer. The Learned Durham in a Digression concerning a Call to the Ministry and clearness therein, in his exposition on Rev. page 45, and 46, doth enumerate these things, which concur to make up a Call and Mission to the Ministry, viz, First, A Gift, or Aptness to Teach. 2dly, The orderly Trial and Approbation of that Gift, by them to whom it belongs to try Gifts fit for the Edification of the Church. 3dly, Singleness in the Man's Self. And 4thly, GOD's Providence and the Concurrence of his Dispensations. So that an ordinary Call, and Mission to the Ministry is, “The lawful and orderly setting apart a Person duly Qualified and Gifted to the Edification of the Church.” This Lawful and Orderly setting apart a Person to the Work of the Ministry, {35} must be done by Imposition of Hands in a Presbytery. And as it respects the People, it requires their Orderly Call and Invitation of such a Person to be their Minister. There is moreover requisite to make this Call valid (in foro Conscientiæ) GOD's Approbation of the Man, evidenced in his Sealing his Ministry on the Hearts of the People. Although I grant, all these are not essential and absolutely necessary to the being of a Call, yet the first two are, and the rest conduce to its better Being. And now I am most willing that every sound and unprejudiced Reader judge whether Mr. M'millan's Call be such. For First, He hath a competency of Gifts for the Ministry, as appears not only from the Presbytery of Kirkcudbright's Trial and Approbation; but from the Confession and Testimony of his Hearers, both before and after the Presbytery's Sentence; and that even of such as yourselves cannot deny to be judicious. It appears likewise from this, That the Sentence of Deposition against him was not founded upon unsufficiency, as may be seen in the Grounds of the Sentence. 2dly, That he once had an orderly Mission to the Ministry, you will not deny, But allege, that this was taken from him by the Sentence of Deposition. But I ask you, quo Jure? You need not still tell the World, that Mr. M'millan was Deposed by the Presbytery of Kirkcudbright, the thing is Notour: But will you tell them upon what Grounds, and show that they are valid to found such a Sentence upon? Do you think that this will sufficiently solve People's Consciences anent the matter of hearing him, or persuade them that it is unlawful so to do (as you affirm it to be), to tell them that he was Deposed? Then must the Actions of the Church be the Rule of our Faith. Or will you rather do the World the Justice to let them see, upon what heads Mr. M'millan came under that unjust Sentence. Or if you please, I shall do it for you. The true Reason then of his being Deposed was no other, but his adhering to the Covenanted work of Reformation, which was his Duty, and opposing your Courses of Declining from it, with whatever other pretext you Varnished over that Sentence, that your unjust and unfaithful Dealing might not appear to the World; Which yet it hath done to all who have impartially weighed the matter. And that which confirms not a few, that the matter is really so, is your Assiduous endeavour to suppress all, that since the Revolution have appeared any way Zealous for the Ancient Interest of the Church of Scotland. As for the Call of the People, he had first the Call of the Parishioners of Balmaghie, which is yet in force, and the Generality of that People adheres to it: Nor can that ungrounded Sentence of the Presbytery loose his Relation to that Place. And whereas he Preaches in other Places throughout the Kingdom, he does it not without the Call and Invitation of the Suffering Remnant, who could not, nor ever did Subject themselves to your Ministry. And with respect to that Query, you have in your Remarks, how he can leave his Flock in Balmaghie, and molest the Congregations of other Ministers? I grant it is a Practice which in an advancing State of the Church, neither is allowable, nor would be justified by Mr. M'millan; And if in that Case, he should follow it, there were just Ground of Exception against him: {36} But in this declining state of the Church, it is his duty, and I am persuaded, commendable in the sight of GOD, to molest such, as for their own ease, and to be free of Molestation, have quit with the Truths of Christ, ay and while [until] they shall forsake such courses. Wherefore Mr. M'millan's Call is not extraordinary; nor does he pretend to any such thing, (so far as I know) only the extraordinary Defections of this present Church, obliges him to some Actions, attended with extraordinary Circumstances, though yet he does nothing but what Messrs. Cameron, Cargil, and Renwick, did before him in like cases, the Disparity being only in this, that their's were in a broken, and his are in a Declining State of the Church, and the one is no less dangerous, than the other.

Query 10. Notwithstanding the great Noise you make about our Covenants, have you ever Preached up their Obligation? Have you gone through every Article of them, and proven them to be moral Duties? &c.

Answer. You would have done as well to have omitted the Possessive Particle (OUR) and have termed them (THE) Covenants in general. They are indeed yours, insofar as they are binding upon you, whether you own them or not: But if they be your Covenants, surely you deal not with them as yours: Who ever makes noise about them, you do it not, except insofar as you are forced for salving your credit with the People. Whereas you charge Mr. M'millan as having never Preached up the Obligations of our Covenants you do it most injuriously, and falsely: For since ever he entered upon the Work of the Ministry, both before and since the Presbytery's unjust Sentence: He has made it his Work, to explain and press these Covenants, as morally binding upon these Lands; and indissolvable by any human Laws, because of their perfect consonancy with a higher Law, to wit, The Rule of GOD's Word. He engaged his Elders to them at their Ordination at Balmaghie. He did explain and Administrate them to the whole of the Parishioners, willing & capable to Swear them, and not under Scandal impeding them; And takes Parents engaged to them, at their receiving the Seal of Baptism to their Children. And has proven moreover (so oft as occasion offered, and GOD assisted him) that they are really and practically subverted and violated by you, the Ministers of this present Church. His Doctrine is agreeable unto them, neither have you shown the contrary, nor instanced any Principle of his (except such as are not his indeed, but some Imaginary Principles of your own making, or formerly Broached Heresies, by you falsely Objected to him) Repugnant thereunto, but such as are already, or shall be shown to be really agreeable to our Covenants.

Query 11. If the Covenants were renewed and sworn by all Ranks, except the Supreme Magistrate, if in that Case you could take, and subscribe these Covenants as they now stand? I am afraid you would not know, what to do with Reference to the last Article of Third Section of the Solemn League.

Answer. You are too much Difficulted, and afraid, lest Mr. M'millan shall not know what to do with this clause of our Covenant, That the World may bear Witness with our Consciences of our Loyalty, &c. But you are not so much {37} afraid what yourself and Brethren would do if you were to Swear the Covenants, who has taken an Oath in room of, and contradictory unto them; even your illimited Oath of Allegiance to the Head of the Prelates. But in my Answer to your next Query, I shall shew you that Mr. M'millan, and such as own him for their Minister, are the true Loyalists, and are as much for yielding due Obedience, and Subjection to Magistrates as you: But dare not so far betray Religion, as to yield illimited Obedience to any Potentate, or own any but in the Lord, and according to his command.

Query 12. Was there ever in Scotland Magistracy you could have owned, and submitted yourself unto? &c.

In Answer to this Query, because not Mr. M'millan only, but also many of the Godly through the Kingdom, are branded with disowning all civil Government, and aspersed with despising of Dignities; Therefore I am obliged to lay down in the first place, the Principles they hold on this Head, and shall do it as briefly as possible. 2dly, To shew those their Principles to be conform to the Word of GOD, and the Standing Laws of the Nation, both of Church and State; Whereby I shall take off that false imputation objected to Mr. M'millan in your Remarks, viz. That he disowns all civil Government. 3dly, To make it evident, that it is impossible according to the Word of GOD and our Covenants, the Acts and Laws of Church and State, made in the time of Reformation to own, and subject to the present powers in these Lands. 4thly, To Answer the most common Objections made to the contrary, especially those propounded in the Remarks. For the first, viz. What are the Principles of the Dissenters in this Head? See them set down in their Informatory Vindication, in a Declaration Published at Sanquhar, August 10. Anno 1692, page 10, and 11. The Words are these:

As for such Magistrates, as being rightly and lawfully Constitute over us, shall employee their power for setting the Mediator on his Throne, and the Crown upon his Head, and in Defence of his Crown-Rights and Royal Prerogatives, shall Act as the Ministers of GOD in a direct Line of Subordination to him, in Defence of our Covenanted Reformation, and the Subjects' Liberties against Popery, Prelacy, Erastianism, Superstition, Heresy, Profaneness, and whatever shall be found to be contrary to sound Doctrine and the power of Godliness: And thus become a Terror to evil Doers, and encouragers of them that do well; We Declare, whensoever we can obtain and enjoy such Rulers, we will own, embrace, and defend them to the utmost of our Power, and prove encouraging, subject, and obedient to them in our places and Stations.

For the 2d, To prove these their Principles consonant to the Word of GOD, needs be no difficulty: The very Words being taken out of the Scriptures, yet for this, see Exod. 18.21, Moreover, thou shalt provide out of all the People able Men, such as fear GOD, Men of truth, hating covetousness, and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, &c. Deut. 17.15, Thou shalt in any ways set him King over thee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose: One from among thy Brethren shalt thou set King over thee: Thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy Brother. {38} 2 Sam. 23.3,4, He that ruleth over Men, must be just, ruling in the fear of God: and he shall be as the Light of the Morning, when the Sun riseth, &c. Neh. 7.2, I gave my brother Hanani, and Hananiah, the Ruler of the Palace, charge over Jerusalem, for he was a Faithful man, and feared God above many. Rom. 13.3, For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. To prove them agreeable to the Acts and Laws of Church and State, made in the time of Reformation: See the Act of the Commission of the General Assembly, sitting at the West-kirk, August 13, 1650. The words are these:

The Commission of the General Assembly, considering that there may be just ground of Stumbling, from the King's Majesty's refusing to Subscribe and Emit the Declaration offered to him by the Committee of Estates, and the Commission 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 doth not own or Espouse any Malignant Party, Quarrel, or Interest, but that they Fight merely upon their former Grounds and Principles, and in the Defence of the Cause of GOD and of the Kingdom, as they have done these twelve Years past; And therefore, as they disclaim all the Sin and Guilt of the King and his House, so they will not own him, nor his Interest, otherwise than with a Subordination to GOD, and so far as he owns and prosecutes the Cause of GOD, and disclaims his, and his Father's Opposition to the Work of GOD, and to the Covenant, and likewise all the Enemies thereof, &c.

The which Act is Recognized and approven by the Committee of Estates, August 13, 1650:

The Committee of Estates having considered a Declaration of the Commission of the General Assembly anent the Stating of the quarrel wherein the Army is to Fight, do approve the same and heartily concur therein.

See likewise the Act of Parliament, 17 February 1649, Parl. 2. Sess. 2. Act 26, of Charles II, entitled, Act for keeping Judicatures and Places of Trust, free of Corruption, wherein it's Stated and Ordained that,

The Estates of Parliament taking into Consideration, that the Lord our God requires, That such as bear charge among the People, should be able men, fearing God, hating Covetousness, and dealing truly; and that many of the Evils of Sin, and Punishment, under which the Land Groans, hath come to pass, because hitherto this hath not been sufficiently provided and cared for: And being sensible of the great Obligation, that lies upon them, by the National Covenant, and Solemn League and covenant, and by the many Deliverances and mercies from God, and by the Solemn Engagement to Duties, to advance Religion, and Righteousness in the Land, and fill Places of Power and Trust, with Men of approved Integrity, and of a blameless and Christian Conversation: And being convinced in their Consciences, that there cannot be a more effectual way for bearing down of Malignants, and suppressing of Profanity, Iniquity, and Ungodliness, and rendering all the Laws already made or hereafter to be made, forcible and effectual, for the House of GOD, the advancing of Religion and Righteousness, and the good of the Lieges, than {39} that all the Judicatures of the Kingdom consist of, and places of Power and Publick Trust be filled with able and honest Men; Do therefore Statute and Ordain, that no Person that is Malignant, and Disaffected to the present Work of Reformation and Covenants, and against whom there is just cause of Exception or just Ground of Jealousy, because of their Disaffection; nor any Person given to Drunkenness, Swearing, Uncleanness, or any other Scandalous Offence, shall hereafter be chosen to be a Judge or any Officer of State, or Magistrate, &c. or employed in any place of Publick Power and Trust, within this Kingdom: And that all such as shall be chosen to be Judges, &c. Shall not only be able Men, but also shall be Men of known Affection unto, and approved Integrity and Fidelity in the Cause of GOD, and of a Blameless and Christian Conversation, &c.

Now let any seriously weigh and ponder these Scriptures and the Laws of this Land consonant thereunto, and compare them with the Persons now in the Government, and see if there be not just Ground according to both to deny Subjection to the present Magistrates. For first, They are not Installed into their Office according to these Laws, and so consequently are not lawfully invested with their Authority. 2dly, They have not the Qualifications required in our Covenants, and the Laws of the Crown, to be in Judges Superior and Inferior, whom we are allowed to set over us and join with, viz. Of known Integrity, approven Fidelity, constant Affection and Zeal to the Cause of GOD, such against whom there is no just Cause of Exception, nor Ground of Jealousy. 3dly, They are in the Exercise of their Government, suppressing those Laws and Covenants, and acting in Opposition to them. 4thly, They are at their Entry to the Government Sworn, and engaged by Oath to maintain and uphold Prelacy, which is expressly contrary to the word of God, and our Covenants, And all bearing any Office under them are bound by the Oath of Abjuration not only to defend them in the Pursuance of their Oath: But also to oppose the Accession of any to the Crown of these Realms that shall not be of the Communion of the Church of England, which is most contrary to the Acts and Laws of this Land, on which the Magistrates Right of Government, and the People's Subjection and Obedience is founded; and which cannot be altered, unless we incur the Dreadful Guilt of Perjury, being bound by our Covenants to adhere to these Laws. Yea, for this Land after all the Acts and Laws, Vows and Covenants made to the contrary, again to Subject themselves to a Prelatick Head, and that by a Voluntary Subjection, and to bind themselves thereunto by so many Oaths, thereby putting themselves out of all capacity, for obtaining Magistrates of one Religion with themselves, as the word of GOD, Deut. 17.15. And our Covenants requires, is to me utterly inconsistent with Presbyterian Principles; and a disgrace and reproach for Presbyterians, to be of such mean and dastardly Spirits, as to be behind the Prelates, in their Zeal of providing Security for the Religion they own. Thereby giving Ground to the World to Judge, that they are not persuaded in their Consciences, that their Religion is founded on GOD's Word, nor worthy to be defended and protected; And so Scandalizing and Stumbling to others of the {40} Churches of Christ, when they see the Presbyterians of Scotland, who formerly for Zeal and Resolution, were Renowned and Famous through the World, and Examples of Reformation to other Churches; Now become so indifferent of that Interest, as to Subject themselves to Prelatical Magistrates: and by their Union with England says, they mind to do so forever; and not any more to endeavour Reformation or Alteration thereof, pudet hæc opprobria Scotis & Dici potuisse & non potuisse refelli. I Judge it superfluous to expatiate any further in shewing how Brutish and Irrational it is for us of these Lands to yield Subjection to such Magistrates. I shall only insert here a few Expressions to this purpose, taken out of a Pamphlet, Entitled, Reasons against the English Oath of Abjuration, commonly Reported to be done by Mr. James Webster. See pages 4 and 5. His Words are these,

Let any Man tell us, how we who believe that Presbytery is of Divine right, and by the Solemn League and Covenant, England as well as Scotland hath abjured Prelacy; and Scotland particularly, by the foresaid Covenant, is obliged to maintain the Worship, which then obtained in the Church of Scotland, when the said Covenant was made, how (we say) we can Swear to maintain a Sovereign, in a Practice so contrary to the foresaid Worship? Would not the World Judge us to be Runagadoes from our Principles, if we should Swear not only to maintain, support, and defend our Sovereign, when upon the Throne, but also to further his accession, if he be Prelatical, and join in Communion with the Church of England: Whereas we Swear upon the contrary [by the Oath of Abjuration] if not to abandon and desert him when upon the Throne, yet to the utmost of our Power to oppose his Accession to the Throne, if he should be Presbyterian, and refuse to join in Communion with the English Church----.

I come now to Answer the Objections made against disowning the present powers. And first, It's Objected, That our LORD paid Tribute to Cæsar, Matth. 17. and Matth. 22. Paul appealed to Cæsar, Acts 25.10. Exhorted the Believing Romans to subject to Cæsar, Romans 13.3,4. Commanded to pray for Heathen Magistrates, 1 Tim. 2.1. Titus 3.1. From all which Scriptures its alleged, to be Lawful for us in these Covenanted Lands to receive, and subject to Heathens, Infidels, Hereticks, Idolaters, and Enemies to Religion, as lawful Magistrates; to Reverence their Persons; pray for Blessings from God upon their Persons and Government. But I Answer, these Scriptures don't prove any such thing; considering the Disparity of the case. For the first, That this Tribute was civil, which Christ paid, is greatly doubted, and there is as good reason for the contrary Opinion that this was that Tribute, which by God's Law was due to the Temple. 2dly, It's observable, that when the Jews came to Tempt Christ, and asked, if it was lawful to pay Tribute to Cæsar? He does shift them; and Answers not directly to the point, but leaves them at as much uncertainty as before; neither does he Recognize Cæsar's Title, but bids them Render to Cæsar what is Cæsar's, and to God what is God's; From which I draw an Argument strong & concludent in the case; That which we cannot do without wronging GOD of that which is his due, that we {41} must forbear and abandon, but we cannot, subject unto, maintain and defend the present Magistrates, unless we wrong God of his due: Ergo, We must not own, subject unto; maintain, and defend them. The Minor [proposition], viz. That we cannot own and maintain the present Magistrates [without wronging God of his due]; is manifest from what hath been above said: For its our Duty to keep Covenant with GOD, and we wrong him when we break our Vows to him; As in the Psalm 50.14, Perform thy Vow to the most High, &c. Which Vows we cannot keep in subjecting to the present Magistrates. As for the others Scriptures, wherein the Apostle urgeth, and presseth Obedience to the Heathen Magistrates: It is to be observed, that their case was vastly different from ours: For they were only a handful in this, and another, in another Kingdom, we are a Reformed Land; These Kingdoms received not the Gospel wholly, but only some part of them; This [Scotland] wholly received the Gospel: These Magistrates had a Right of Government, according [to] the Laws of the Kingdom; The present Magistrates have none, being excluded by the Laws of the Kingdom, and in particular by our Covenants. And whatever Obedience they were to give to these Magistrates, was certainly in a consistency with their Duty; Obedience to the present Powers, while opposing and ruining Reformation, is inconsistent with our Duty; and so must not be yielded to them; unless we will come under GOD's Indignation for so doing. Another Argument to prove Subjection to Infidels, Hereticks, &c. is taken from the practise of the Primitive Christians; but is of no force in our Case. And let such as object it, first, prove that these Primitive Christians Lived in a Reformed Land as we do; 2dly, That they were engaged in Covenant not to have any Magistrates, but such as should defend and maintain Religion; And 3dly, That the Magistrate whom they obeyed, was received into the Exercise of his Government, and acted therein contrary to Religion and the Laws of the Nation: and then it will have some more weight to enforce the point. But albeit the case were parallel, their Practice is not our Rule; Though it cannot be denied, but the Practice of the Primitive Christians, when agreeable to a Divine Command, be of great moment, to induce us to imitation; Yet if it be not agreeable to God's Command, it does not oblige us in foro conscientiæ & divino.

Another argument is taken from the Solemn League, Article 3d, Wherein we swear, to preserve the King's Majesty, in the preservation and Defence of the true Religion, which Limitation its observable you altogether leave out as indifferent, when you propose this Argument in your Remarks, and propound it thus; You are bound to preserve the Civil Magistrate's Authority: And it is no great wonder to see you, who are inured to Illimitted [Absolute] Oaths of Allegiance, to forget that Limitation in our Covenants; viz, That our maintaining and defending the King's Majesty must be in his maintaining and Defending Religion, and not in his upholding, and binding himself by Oath to maintain, and defend the Hierarchy abjured in that Covenant; which that your present Queen hath done is proven above, and yourselves dare not deny it. And lastly as to that place of our Confession of Faith where it is said in a general and Abstract Sense (in Opposition to Sectarians, who assert That such are not Lawful Kings who either know not Christ, nor believe not in him,) that Infidelity {42} or Difference in Religion, doth not make void the Magistrate's just and legal Authority, nor free the People of their due Obedience to him: I acknowledge it to be true indeed, that Infidels, and these of a different Religion are not (chiefly because such) presently to be declared no Magistrates; For Magistratus non est Magistratus qua Christianus, sed qua homo: So it is that the Magistratical power considered Generaliter, given for the good of Human Societies, may be in the person of an Infidel, or One of a different Religion, but considered Specialiter, given for the good of the Church, it is only in the person of a Professor of the true Religion. Hence in Traveling or Trafficking in Foreign Lands, be the persons in whom is the power Infidels or of a different Religion, we cannot refuse Subjection to their Laws so far as they are consistent with the written Word of GOD, and our true Christian Liberty. Howbeit our Covenants and Acts of Parliament have put a bar upon the Admission of any person, if either Infidels or of a different Religion, while such, to Govern in Scotland, and the Practice of our Church confirms it, in refusing the Crown to the late Deceased Tyrant Charles 2d, until he Subscribed such Demands as were sent unto him. Having thus shown that Mr. M'millan, and the Dissenting Party does maintain nothing, but what is agreeable to GOD's Word, the Confession of Faith, our Covenants and the Laudable Acts of the Land, both of Church and State; I Judge it no Difficulty to tell you, when Mr. M'millan could have owned Magistracy, and Subjected to it in Scotland, viz. When ever the Civil Magistrate was lawfully invested, and acted according to the Laws of the Land.

Query 13. What Conscience make You of Observing that Article of Our Solemn League and Covenant, in which We do oblige ourselves to guard against Dividing the King from his People, or his People from him? Pray, is not this your Study to alienate the Hearts of the People from our present Queen, the Supreme Magistrate, whom God hath honoured in a signal manner, since her Accession to the Throne, and under whose Government we may live a quiet and peaceable Life, in all Godliness and Honesty?

Answer. In the foregoing Query, I have proven that the Supreme Magistrate is not invested according to the Laws of the Land, neither ruling according to those Laws, and so is no Magistrate jure, by any Right of Government, tho' facto she have the Power in her hand; and so there can be no danger of breaking this Article, with respect to her. And if Mr. M'millan make it his Business and Study, to discover to the People, the Sin and Danger of yielding Obedience and Subjection to Magistrates invested with, and Exercising Authority contrary our Covenants, he cannot therefore be said to be guilty of the Breach of that Article. I expect to hear of you, wherein God hath so signally honoured your Queen: Is it in her carrying on and consummating the Treaty of Union, to involve these Lands in utter Defection and Apostacy from the Reformation, formerly attained? Is it in supporting that Antichristian Hierarchy in England, as She is bound by Oath to do? Is it in her successful management of the War, and helping Antichrist's Vassals, and loving them that hate the Lord? I suppose {43} you'll not say that it is in those Particulars She is so signally honoured. Perhaps this Signal honour of hers, lies in her Tolerating your present Model of Presbytery in her Dominions; when Restricted and Qualified, Limited and altered at her pleasure. O Signal Honour! But say you, Under Her Government We may lead a Quiet and Peaceable Life, in all Godliness and Honesty. That you may live a peaceable and quiet Life under her Government, I grant; and this is that you are so intent to obtain: but that you can do it in all Godliness and Honesty, is most false. For Her Government being expressly contrary to our Solemn Vows to the Most High God, it's not possible to give Obedience and Subjection to her Government, but we must Violate our Vows; which is a thing most opposite to Godliness and Honesty.

In your 14th Query, you allege it to be Mr. M'millan's Opinion, that it is a sin to Marry with the present Ministers, and for proof of this you bring an instance of his taking Satisfaction of a Person at Crawford-John for that Crime (as you call it) but this instance of yours is false. Mr. M'millan did never call any to give Satisfaction on that Head: I grant you, a certain Person being convinced that this was a sin, and he being pressed in Conscience did without Mr. M'millan's previous Knowledge offer publickly to give satisfaction, and confessed that, for the easing of his Conscience; which cannot be imputed to Mr. M'millan, seeing he did not require any such thing at his hand, so that you'll be obliged to seek other instances to prove what you allege, and seeing that fails, you must grant that the Inference you draw from it falls to the Ground, viz. That Mr. M'millan is partial in the Exercise of his Discipline. Your next expression is so Scurrilous, so Obscene, and unbecoming a Minister of the Gospel to use in his Ordinary Discourse, much more in his Writings, that I forbear to mention it, such light expressions sufficiently discover, that the Subject you Write upon, is not weighty to you.1

Query 15th, If it be agreeable to the Spirit of the Gospel, for you to take an Oath of any who enters into your Society, that they shall never again hear the present Ministers, with such a dreadful Certification (as I am Credibly informed) as is not meet so much as to be mentioned among Christians; And therefore, from the favour I bear to Religion, and from a Principle of Tenderness, I forbear to mention or make known to the World, that Horrid Threatening which is said to be annexed as the Penalty of the Breach of that Unhallowed Oath, &c.

Answer: I observe you somewhat inconsistent with yourself in this Query. First, You say, you are credibly Informed, that there is such an Oath tendered to them that enter into Societies. Next, you are in doubt with it, if no such Oath hath been tendered or taken of any, &c. What is it for one to be Credibly informed, is it not to have so much evidence of the Truth of the Matter, as leaves no just Ground of doubt: if you had this, wherefore did you not plainly Assert it; and adduce your Credible Information for making it evident to others, or do you look that it needs no more Probation, but your word for it, that you are Credibly Informed. Next, I see you deal most Disingenuously, you speak of a Dreadful {44} Certification Appended to that Oath, but does not tell what it is, and I will allow you so much Charity, as to think you would have done it, if you could, and had seen, that it tended to make Mr. M'millan and the Dissenters Odious to the World; But when you could not produce it, you pretend to forbear the mentioning of it, from a favour to Religion, and a Principle of Tenderness, thereby to aggrege the Dreadfulness of the thing: But if you had a favour for Religion, you should have plainly Discovered, that which you Judge to be contrary to it, and a Principle of Tenderness, would have obliged you to be tender of people's Souls, in showing the Danger and Sin of such a Dreadful Oath as you Speak of. But seeing you desire Mr. M'millan to declare in plain terms (that which you seldom do) and without Equivocation to the World, if that which you are Credibly informed to be true, therefore I (in his stead) do declare most ingenuously, without all manner of Dissimulation, that there is no Oath Tendered to any, that enters into these Societies by Mr. M'millan or any other, and that this is a most Injurious Calumny that you allege which I might have Challenged you to prove, without giving you such a Positive Answer, but this I do, to undeceive such as may be Imposed upon by your Falsehoods. And moreover I must tell you, that Mr. M'millan and that party, does nothing in Secret: what they hold in Principle or Practice is set down in their Informatory Vindication, and published to the World. See particularly head 7, of the above-mentioned Book concerning the Terms of their Communion. Page 134.

Having already Answered what is material in the Controversy betwixt you and Mr. M'millan, in my Reply to your Preface, and Queries: I see no Necessity to follow you any more so closely, and to Examine all the same things over in Your Remarks upon Mr. M'millan's Declinature, Protest, and Appeal, only in Answer to your first general Remark, wherein you observe, That Mr. M'millan would gladly have the World believe, that this Present Church proceeds against him, upon the Account of his Adherence to the Covenanted Work of Reformation: Sir, I answer you; Whether Mr. M'millan would gladly have the World believe this or not, sure I am, it is not without ground; and if he would gladly have the Truth believed, who can blame him? That his Grievances, and Adherence to Scotland's Covenanted Principles, were indeed the Reason of his being Sentenced, is proven in his True Narrative, and may appear from the Presbytery's Libel, and the Accommodation offered to him, wherein they promise to pass from their Libel, in case he would recede from those Grievances, and subject himself to their Direction; which was, to lead him into a Course, contrary to our Covenanted Principles. Now, if they could pass from that, which afterward they made a Ground of a Sentence, upon his receding from the Grievances; then manifestly they Deposed him upon the Account of these Grievances. The Argument which you draw from the Absurdity of it, to say, that you should Censure and Sentence a Man for Adherence to your own Principles, is easily obviate; for I have shown that you don't adhere to the Ancient Principles of the Church of Scotland, and so you are not Bedlamites in the case, but indued with {45} so much Reason as leads you, to censure all that owns the Ancient Principles of this Church. I have, in Answering the Seventh and Twelfth Queries, shown you, that Mr. M'millan owns both the Civil and Ecclesiastick Authority, but such only as are consonant to the Word of God, Confession of Faith, our Covenants, and the Acts and Laws of the Land. And though he disowns the Present Church and State, because not so qualified, Does he therefore cast off all Authority, both Civil and Ecclesiastick when Rightly Qualified? No, it in no ways follows. So that seeing in your Remarks, you only plead against these two Principles, which are indeed Antiscriptural, Anticovenanted, and Condemned by all Sound Christians, viz: the Denying Civil and Ecclesiastick Authority: I have nothing to do, to Answer the Arguments brought against them. I have already cleared, that these are not Mr. M'millan's Principles, (or as your new Lexicon sounds, M'millanean Principles) and seeing your Argument is only a Begging of the Question, this not being the state of the controversy, whether those Anti-Scriptural & Anti-Covenanted Principles be unlawful or not, but whether Mr. M'millan & they who adhere to him, do really avouch those for their Principles which till you show, you do but beat the Air, & prove that which is not denied; so that Mr. M'millan needs none of these poor shifts you have mentioned to Blunt the Edge of your Arguments, such as that you allege, Mr. M'neil in a Conference, should have said, he owned Magistracy in the abstract, but denied it in the concrete, which if they were his Words, you cannot deny him Liberty to explain what he meaned by them. I shall not stand to criticize upon the Philosophical Terms of Abstract and Concrete, of Accident and Subject, but shall give the common Sense of that distinction in a plain and easy dress, leaving these Scholastick Terms for you that has Philosophy: The Distinction is this, Mr. M'millan and the Dissenting Party does own Magistracy itself, that is a power ordained of God for the good of Mankind, and looks upon it as a thing most sacred and inviolable, and the Persons lawfully invested with it, and using it lawfully for the ends appointed of GOD, to be so likewise, but such as are not lawfully invested with or abuse that Ordinance to wrong ends cannot be properly said to be either; they are not the Ordinance itself, neither have they it legally, but only are set up in the room of it. You may see this Distinction in Knox's History of Scotland, book 2:

There is a great Difference betwixt the Authority, which is GOD's Ordinance, and the Persons of these who are placed in Authority. The Authority and Ordinance of God can never do wrong, for it commandeth that Vice be punished and Virtue maintained; But the corrupt Person placed in this Authority may offend.----

I know none who use that Argument against that Article of our Confession of Faith, Infidelity, &c. Pray Sir, when did Mr. M'millan say, that that point was much Debated by the Divines at Westminster, or where did you find any of the Dissenters deny, that the Scriptures adduced by them to prove it, are probative and concludent?2 I have shown already, that the Strength of that Argument is taken off by a Distinction between our Case, considered as a Covenanted Land, and and what it would be if we had not come under those Covenants, and how that which is lawful to others, cannot be so to us.----Another Argument you propose in favours of your Antagonists is, That they say their Fore-Fathers in the late Times of Persecution denied the Civil Magistrates Authority (you should have said the Tyrants Authority, for you grant his Authority {46} then was absolutely Tyrannical) particularly they would not pay Cess, and your Answer is, I deny that ever they disowned the Magistrate's Authority; and so do they too, but affirms that they disowned the Tyrant's Authority; And the reason was, because he had Forfeit all Right of Rule, which is the same with the Reason, on which they disown the present powers, because by their Actions, they have Forfeit all Right of Government. The Disparity lies mostly in this, that the then Tyrant once had a Right of Government, the present never had any, not being installed according to the Laws of the Land, and if they have not right (while such) to Govern, Then there is no Cess or Tribute due to them, whatever way it be employed. But certain it is, that the Cess is employed for no better ends by them, than it was by these, viz. To uphold the Idolatrous and Antichristian Confederates, to help the house of Austria, open and professed Enemies to Religion; and that is declared in the Acts imposing it, viz. That it is imposed for maintaining her Majesty's Forces, which are employed as said is, contrary to express Scripture, 2 Chron. 19.2, Shouldest thou help the Ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord. I shall say no more upon your general Remarks, only you'll allow me to Congratulate your safe return (if you be indeed returned) from Rome, and to take a view of those strong Arguments you have found in the Pope's Library, for your Antagonist Mr. M'millan. Pray Sir, Are the M'millanean Principles (as you call them) there indeed? I persuade myself, if you have found them there, you'll not get many poor Noble meaning People, to go so far with you to see them. Perhaps they'll go no further than their Bibles, for though they should, you would be put to a great deal of pains to make them understand the Latin Tongue, but they will more easily understand those Principles, if they can find them in their English Bibles. If you please you may go to Deut. 13, from the 6th to the 12th [verse] where Moses the Servant of the Lord, who was Faithful in all his House (observe it, this is not Cardinal Bellarmine) commands us, That if our nearest Relations be Idolaters and seek to draw us away after them to serve other God's, we are not to yield to them, but to put them to Death. And Pooll, upon the place, shews that this extends itself to Children; that they are obliged, in that case, to Delate their Parents to the Judges; and to concur in putting them to Death. Now, if Children may do so to their Natural Parents for Idolatry, then much more is a civil Parent to be rejected on that Account. But such is now on the Throne (which is evident from her upholding and joining with Prelatick Idolatry in England, and Confederating with Popish Idolaters Abroad) and so ought not to be Subjected to, but rather Punished.3 Turn over likewise to Titus 3.10,11. A man that is an Heretick reject. Here Paul (not Bellarmine) the Apostle of Jesus Christ (not the Pope's Cardinal) commands us to reject an Heretick, and so consequently not to subject to him as a Civil Magistrate. I know, in that Sense, wherein Bellarmine takes the Word Heretick, this position of his is most iniquous and abominable. He understands such as were not of the Communion of the Church of Rome; but take the Sentiment of the Cardinal in the due and usual acception of the Words, and I see no repugnancy, why it may not hold; For it says neither for, nor against it, to tell that it was held by a Popish Cardinal, since they hold some things sound, others unsound. And if for Espousing this Principle, you find Mr. M'millan at Rome, voting with the Pope's Cardinals, then you must also grant, that the Convention of {47} Estates, did give their Sufferage with the Pope's Cardinals, who (as is asserted in their Declaration at Edinburgh, April, 11. 1689) did deprive James the Seventh,

Because he was a profest Papist (and such are Hereticks in the due Acceptation of the Word) and because he sought to draw his Dominions into his Sect, by Disabling and Annulling the Penal Statutes made against Papists, Erecting publick Schools and Societies of Jesuits, allowing Mass to be publickly said, Popish Books to be Printed, sending Children of Noblemen and Gentlemen to be bred Papists Abroad, perverting Protestants from their Religion by offers of Places, Preferments, and Pensions, &c.

As also the Compilers of the Coronation Oath, made in the Eighth Act of the 1st Parliament of King James 6, do by consequence Vote with the Pope's Cardinals, as well as Mr. M'millan, where they

Declare it necessary for the increase of Virtue and suppressing Idolatry, that the Prince and People be of one perfect Religion; And therefore Statute and Ordain, That all Kings, Princes, and Magistrates whatsoever holding their Place, shall at their Receipt of their Princely Authority, make their Faithful promise in the presence of the Eternal GOD, that during the whole course of their Lives, they shall serve the same Eternal GOD, to the uttermost of their power, according as he hath required in his most holy Word. And according to the same Word shall maintain the true Religion of Christ Jesus, &c. and shall abolish and gainstand all false Religions contrary to the same.

These and the like Conditions being required by the estate of the Kingdom, as Fundamental and Essentially necessary to all Regal Government in this Land, it follows necessarily, that they thought the Violation, and Subversion of these, just ground to Deprive any Person of that Authority, which he received upon these conditions, and so consequently, That if a King should turn Infidel or Heretick, and seek to draw his Dominions into his Sect, he ought to be Deprived. So that if this be to Vote with the Pope and his Cardinals, its evident the Kingdom of Scotland has done it. You must therefore take them in Task, before you confute Mr. M'millan's Principles. Your first Particular Remark is Answered above in the 9th Query. In your 2d parl. Remark, you expatiate upon Names and Epithets of Schismaticks, Separatists, &c. and will not allow Mr. M'millan to declare them odious to him, but alleges, that its the Titles and Epithets that are odious, not the things signified by them; but Sir, you must think that your Antagonists are not so pregnant in Philosophy as you: they take words for the things themselves, which are signified by these Words; and when they say, that the Names of Schism, Division, &c. are odious to them, they mean Schism and Division itself truly so called, is odious to them, but I find you make it your work to catch at Words. With respect to Schism they say and hold that there is no Schism so odious to them, as Schism from God, and the Truth formerly received and practiced in the Church of Scotland, to which they are bound in Covenant, and look upon themselves as obliged in their places and stations to bear Testimony thereto against the Backsliding courses that are carried on in the Land; and if this be Schism, then they own it: And I truly Judge that those Charges of Renting the Church and fixing a Schism in it, needs not much move them, being Conscious of their own Innocency, and knowing that this is the common Topick from whence Decliners in all Ages of the Church, have argued against those who would not consent unto it, or testified against their Defection: Peace and Unity hath been their {48} Plea, Sedition and Schism their charge against their Opposers: Upon this Account doth our Lord Jesus and his Apostles by the Scribes, Pharisees, and Elders of the Jews; Luther, Calvin and our first Reformers, by the Pope and his Clergy; Nonconformists by the Prelates and their Adherents, stand Recorded in the Catalogue of those who practiced to Foment Divisions, and fix a Schism in the Church. And Mr. M'm. will not deny, that he has separate from the Ministers of this present church, but that he has separated from the received and professed Principles of the Church, he denies; neither have (or can) you prove it.

In your third particular Remark you say, that you discover Mr. M'millan's Printed Protestation, not to be a Genuine Double of what he sent to the Commission of the late General Assembly, upon which account you Charge him with Dissimulation and Expatiate exceedingly on that Subject, and looks that you have got a fit occasion to render him Odious thereby to the World; and therefore let us see what that vast Difference is; The one may justly be imputed, to be a Literal Errour of the Press, there being not many Letters between these two Particles THEIR and THE. For the other there is no Impossibility in it, but it might be a neglect and mistake of the press also. But though both had been done Industriously by the Corrector, it can nowise be imputed to Mr. M'millan, for it was Printed entirely without his Knowledge or Direction. And pray, what Advantage would it have been for him to make any Alteration, in that which he had Subscribed? Wherefore his Conscience should smite him on this head, I see no reason; For I know no piece of Reformation wrought upon the present powers between the time of his giving it into the Commission, and the time when this was Printed; and this Clause, which is left out, containing the very reason of his not owning your present Magistrates, viz: Because they are Engaged in Opposition to Christ's Cause and interest, cannot be Disclaimed by him, while his practice continues what it is. In the end of this Remark, I find your Charity very Strait, to such as will not with you own, your present Sovereign. There is not a good Man in all the Land, nay not in all Her Dominions, except he with you own Her. But I have shown above, that whatever good Men may do, yet they ought not to own Her while such: And whereas you Class Mr. M'millan and the Jacobites together; I see no reason, but to render him Odious to the World; Whereas his Grounds of Disowning Her, are the Ancient Principles of the Church of Scotland, theirs are not. I pass your 4th particular Remark, having shown already [1] that Mr. M'millan's Principles and Practices are not Repugnant to the word of GOD, which is that you have endeavoured to Demonstrate, and [2] that notwithstanding all you have said, he doth both in just Judgment and Practice, adhere to the Written word of GOD, and to whatever is founded thereupon, such as the Confession of Faith & Covenants &c. According to his Protest.

In your 5th particular Remark, You make a Concession, that you have many Grievances, and are expecting nothing else while Militant: I do indeed grant, that the Church of Christ while Militant, will still have some Matter of Grievance; but will this Excuse your Declinings, and satisfyingly succumbing to Grievous Usurpations on the Church of Christ? surely not. Mr. M'millan does not decline you because you have Grievances, but because you persist in Palpable defections from the Truth. If your Grievances were not procured by your Default, or if you had evidenced yourself truly grieved for these Grievances, there had not been such Reason to have declined you. You say, that in declining you as Competent {49} Judges, he declines the Purest and best Constitute Church in the World. But in my Observations on your Preface, I have shown what a Constitution you have: and in my Reply to your Queries, what Purity you can pretend to; And have proven, that there is ground from God's Word to decline and separate from you. Your 6th particular Remark, charges Mr. M'millan with a dreadful Satanical Protestation: But wherein is it Satanical in protesting, that the Acts, Ratifications, Sentences, and Censures made by you, shall not be looked upon as binding upon him? To which I Answer, That this Protestation cannot be called Satanical, for this, that he disowns your Authority; for till your Assemblies be Constitute according to the Ancient Acts and Laws of this Church in her Reforming Times, and act for the Glory of God, and Advancement of his Kingdom, It is Duty to disown and discountenance you, in whatever you do, and not to corroborate by any Means your Authority, unless you employ the same for Christ. And when once you shall convocate your Assemblies in Christ's Name, and by that Authority which HE has given His Church, make Acts for His Glory, and the Land's Reformation: Then Mr. M'millan will, or at least ought, to subject himself thereunto. And whatever Moral Duties you enact, its the Duty of all to Obey them, but not under that Reduplication, as they are your Acts, but as they are Moral Duties antecedently binding, by virtue of God's Commandment. Your 7th Remark labours to prove from Mr. M'millan's Declinature, that he casts off the ministry, and will gather it from these words; We decline them, and testify against whatever they may conclude by Act. I Answer, This will not import a casting off the Ministry, for the Reasons above given in Answer to Query 7th, do prove that you are not holding by the Standard of this Church's Covenanted Principles, are betraying Christ's Interest, that Headship He hath over His Church, and suffering your Queen to possess it. You are guilty of Defection from God, sufficient to invalidate your Ministry, unless you Repent, and do your first Works, or rather the Works of your Fathers, and walk in their Footsteps and so it must be Duty to disown you while such: yet cannot the Ministry be preserved, but in the Persons of you who are thus declining from this Church's Ancient Integrity? sure it may: and to own the Sacred Office of the Ministry, given by God for the Edification of His Church, doth not lay upon any an absolute Necessity of owning you; otherwise the owning of our Duty, would put us in a necessity of sinning. Which is absurd.

In your 8th Remark you say, by the practice of the Church, Mr. M'millan does mean the Actings and Proceedings of the Church, otherwise I know not (say you) what he means. To shew you his meaning then, I must tell you, that by your Practice, he means your whole Conduct, since the Revolution in your Management of the Affairs of Christ's House, wherein you have given Sufficient proof of your want of Zeal for GOD, and his Glory, the Flourishing and Thriving of Reformation in the Nations, and the Reviving of our Covenants. And as for your Principles, they must be Answerable to your Practice, and so the Tree being known by its Fruits, Men may from your Practices make a Judgment of your Principles, viz: That it is not Requisite, that Christ be Sole King of his Church; that the power of calling, Adjourning, and Dissolving Christ's Courts, is Lodged in the Civil Magistrate; that it's lawful to own and Subject to Magistrates, by Oath bound to defend Idolatry, that it's proper for the Magistrate {50} to [appoint] Diets and Causes of Fasts, that its duty to Confederate with Papists, Prelates, and Malignants; that its Superfluous to acknowledge the breach of Covenants and to renew the same. Now these are your Principles, though you have not in Express Terms [published] them; for your constant practice, quadrates exactly with them; and you will not allow any to say, that in all those, and many other things of that kind, you are Counteracting your Principles. These are the Principles which Mr. M'millan would have brought to the Law and the Testimony, and Tried by the Balance of the Sanctuary, the word of GOD, the Ancient Acts of the Church of Scotland, our Covenants, National and Solemn League, to see if they speak according to them. and these are the Principles and Practices of this Church, that are Grievous and Afflicting to the Godly throughout the Land.

In your 9th Remark You are bold to tell Mr. M'millan that there were never more faithful free and better Constitute Assemblies than you have. Os durum! never more Faithful, free, and better Constitute Assemblies? None knows any thing of the Ancient Constitution of the Church of Scotland's Assemblies, and their freedom and faithfulness, but they may be bold to tell you the contrare. I need no probation that they are not free and well Constitute but your own words: you grant your labour under Grievances? Wherefore is it, seeing you have free Assemblies to redress and remove them? Wherefore do not you renew our Covenants since you have such well constitute Assemblies to Authorize it? what means all the Complaints in your Preface, seeing you have so free Assemblies to table them before.

What you say upon the Postscript [of M'millan's declinature] is so trivial and inconsiderable, that it might pass without Observation: You will not allow it the name of a Postscript, tho' the Etymology of the word will bear it. And wherefore may not any who pleases Affix his Advertisements to the Reader, as well to the end of the intended Subject, as prefix it to the beginning, and so call it a Postscript to the Reader? but though this were really an informality, It cannot in Reason be imputed to Mr. M'millan, seeing (as I said before) the Declinature was Printed, and the Postscript Affixed to it without his Knowledge and Direction. And whereas you take occasion to play upon words and not rather to consider the Matter, it is but the shifting an Answer, and contributes little to the Establishment of your Cause. You Remark That the Brethren who are amused to hear the Commission Threaten them with the highest Church Censure, while in the mean time they are declared to be none of their communion, have not mused upon the extent of Church Discipline. I answer, however it hath pleased the Writer of that Postscript to say so; Yet sure I am they have no great Reason to be much amused or Disturbed at such Threatenings, for its no new thing for Christ's Followers to undergo such Threatenings and come under such Censures from the Hands of backslidden Brethren, if they Testify against their Corruptions, It's nothing but what their Lord and Master has forewarned them of, Behold, they shall cast you out of the Synagogues, &c.  I come now to the Conclusion, wherein you are pleased in a high Elogium [Eulogy] of self Commendation to Design yourself: A well wisher to the Covenanted Work of Reformation: If you had not said so much your Letter had scarce discovered it.  What you say further, is a Summary of what has been already answered, and therefore I shall pass it, and Conclude with your own words, Wishing the same to you, which you seem to do to Mr. M'millan, viz. That the Lord may be pleased to convince you of your great Defection, and of the might prejudice you do to the Church and Interest of Christ in these Lands, by your unfaithful and untender Behaviour in the Trust wherein (de facto) you are, and grant you unfeignedly to Reform them; which if it might once be, we should have ground to expect, Peace to be within Jerusalem's Walls, and Prosperity in her Palaces.


1. Mr. Linning's Scurrilous and Obscene expression in his letter was as follows, page 6: “This looks like Partiality in the exercise of your Church Discipline and fondness on a Wife.” But though Mr. Linning's uncharitable presumptions concerning Mr. M'Millan could be validated, yet little is remembered about Mr. Linning to this day, except that he sold the cause of Christ, for which he had formerly contended, into the hands of His enemies, and played the traitor against the people of God, so that he might get himself a wife and a stipend, which otherwise had been too hard for him to do, if he would stand to the Covenants after the Revolution.—JTK.

2. Here we must confess that, if not at the time of our author, yet shortly thereafter, by the 1720's, and for many years thereafter, there was a small party of “Dissenters” who were guilty of condemning this very passage in our Confession of Faith. But although it be true that some such persons have existed, who obviously shared in common with the faithful Covenanters that they were fellow-dissenters from the pretending civil authorities of the day, yet this present work, and all of those proceeding from the United Societies and Reformed Presbyterian Church, serve as a clear testimony to the same principle in this matter. As our author here, so in all of their writings, they own the said section of the Confession, (abused by Erastians to justify compliance with Tyranny,) and then vindicate its true meaning and intention along the same lines as our author. What other “dissenters” have done and said, never approved by the Old Dissenters or Reformed Presbyterians, can no ways be imputed as the fault of any but themselves.—JTK.

3. Which doctrine & principle is ably asserted and defended by John Knox in his debate with Secretary Lethington recorded in his History of the Reformation.—JTK.