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

The Principles of Covenanters

Concerning Magistracy

And the Exercise of DISSENT and RESISTANCE,

In Opposition to Rulers who have Forfeit their Right to Rule.

Excerpted from Plain Reasons for Presbyterians Dissenting.

By Andrew Clarkson.

First Published 1731.

TrueCovenanter.com Editor’s Introduction.

This section of Plain Reasons for Presbyterians Dissenting by Andrew Clarkson is here offered with both the text of the original (in black font) and revisions from the second edition by John Howie of Lochgoin (additions in green, and revisions in blue.)  It presents the Covenanter testimony on the topics of Magistracy, Resistance, and Dissent.  In the succession of testimony-bearing for Biblical Magistracy in Scotland, from John Knox, to the Melvilles, to Rutherford, Gillespie, and Brown of Wamphray, to Cameron and Renwick, and then to the generation of a new era among the Reformed Presbyterians, the principles below represent the faithful application of Bible doctrine to efforts of a backsliding post-Reformation Christendom to erect counter-institutions in the place of God’s institutions.

Clarkson and Howie were not the last in the succession of those who would assert Christ’s cause and sovereignty in the face of those inconsistent and changing efforts of society to oppose God and his Christ by “breaking their bands asunder, and casting away their cords from us.” (Psalm 2.3.)  Others also would follow, when nations and communities attempted in new ways to constitute an “authority” structure in conflict with the Lord’s purpose for civil authority.  In our time, you are called to the same duty: to make application of the word of God to the deeds, and the claims, of your generation, and to side with Christ and his followers, as they contend with the Dragon (Rev. 12.17,) in the interest of true religion, and a system of morality and justice that pleases the Lord.

As this book of Plain Reasons is very helpful in setting facts in a proper light, with regard to what the Lord teaches, and what Presbyterian Covenanters have maintained about Civil Government, so it is also very helpful in explaining what the Word of God teaches about division, and what faithful Presbyterians have defended on the topics of communion, separation, and schism.  The part of Clarkson’s Plain Reasons on Schism was uploaded here in 2016.  And as this shows who are the true causers of Schism, and therefore guilty as schismatics, so the text which follows shows which parties are truly opposing the institution of civil government as the Lord appoints it, and therefore most worthy to be blamed for antigovernment principles, though with their great numbers and ferocity they load others with the reproach.


The Presbyterian Dissenters having in most of their Prints, such as the Informatory Vindication, and Declarations successively, and in many others, publicly asserted the Lawfulness of MAGISTRACY, and that it was ordained of God for his own Glory, and the Good of human Society, and as publicly declared their Judgment about the past and present Possessors of the Government, very little remains for me to say upon this Subject: Only,

IT seems somewhat necessary, in order to give Light about their Practice and Principles, that a succinct Account of the Principles and Practice of our Reformers in this Matter, should be suitably adverted to, pondered, and withal {222} remembered (as appears from Knox’s History, and other Accounts of that Time.)  That in the very Morning of our Reformation, when our renowned Ancestors were religiously, zealously, vigorously and resolutely wrestling to shake themselves loose of that Antichristian Yoke of Popery, and briskly contended to have our sacred and civil Liberties, and Privileges set, established, and secured upon a firm and scriptural Basis; who, tho' they met with exceeding great Opposition, in promoving this glorious Work from the Civil Powers, being of different or contrary Principles; yet rightly judged, that as they were a free and independent Nation, they had undoubtedly an intrinsick Power to limit Sovereigns, and require, yea oblige them, as an Act of Equity, to establish, maintain, and profess the same true Religion with the Subjects: The fraudulent and wicked Designs of Bloody Popish Queen Mary, aided, excited, and encouraged by the Power and Policy of Rome and France who, when destroying the Protestant Interest, and murdering Protestants (as Mary in England was doing at the same Time) was not wanting, by all fair Shews and Pretences, to persuade the People of her resolute and unchangeable Purpose to maintain the same; did sufficiently convince all the true-hearted Representatives, and others in the Nation, that it would be utterly impossible to advance Reformation without the foresaid and other Restrictions and Limitations, and accordingly did suspend the Queen Regent from all Authority, 21 October 1559.

Hence, answerably hereunto, the three Estates of the Parliament of Scotland, met at Edinburgh 1560, did by their publick Vote authorize {223} our Confession of Faith, as a Doctrine grounded upon the infallible Word of God.

[[ Content from the Second Edition, 1787:







ALTHOUGH Presbyterian Dissenters have in their public prints successively declared unto the world their principles, both concerning the institution, origin, and ends of this ordinance of magistracy, and likewise their judgment anent the past and present possessors of government in these lands; yet, in prosecution of the foregoing subject, it follows of course, that by running a comparison betwixt the principles and practices of our renowned reformers, with the Revolution plan of government, in its constitution and administrations, some reasons might be deduced, why Dissenters can no more acknowledge the lawfulness of the state, constitution, and administration, than the church; yet, on account that the characters and principles of Dissenters has been more furiously attacked of late, by the authors of several detached prints and performances, wherein they have boldly asserted, that Dissenters principles on this head are unscriptural, founded only on human acts, and parliamentary proceedings—that they are anti-government, bare faced and bloody principles, &c.[1]  It may be found necessary for truth’s vindication, and the advantage of these concerned therein, to cast {351} these few hints on this subject, into the following method of order:

1. Notice somewhat of the institution and qualifications of the lawful magistrate, and the stipulations or conditions of government, betwixt ruler and ruled:  2. Give a short and just vidimus or view of the judgment, principles, and practices of our Reformers on this head, together with the present form of government as established upon its Erastian basis, after and at the late Revolution-settlement: And lastly, observe some of the principal objections made by our opponents against Dissenters, on account of their attachment unto these principles.

1. This ordinance and office of civil government, originally flowed from the Lord Jehovah, as the supreme Lord and lawgiver of the world, Psalm 22.28; 93.1; Jer. 10.7, And from Christ the wisdom of the Father, Prov. 3.15, and is instituted by him, and founded upon the moral law of God, for the good of human society, as well under the new testament dispensation as under the old, for the punishing and restraining all manner of vice, impiety, and wickedness, against such as transgress either tables of the law; and however far a heathen magistrate may answer the ends of this ordinance, in curbing vice and impiety, as far as the light or law of nature shall or can direct, yet this is no certain rule, for any Christian people, who are favoured with the light of divine revelation, and particularly these covenanted lands, who, similar to the kingdom or commonwealth of Israel or Judah, have made a due measure of those qualifications, the great Lawgiver requires in his word, together with other stipulations agreeable unto the same unerring rule, the fundamental constitutions of civil government amongst them, and which must on that account be essentially necessary to the constitution and investiture of lawful authority over them, otherwise such can neither be approven of God, answer the great ends ultimate or subordinate of this ordinance, nor claim subjection {352} for conscience sake thereunto.  And (1.) As to their qualifications, they must choose or set up none but such as are brethren in profession and practice, and of the same true reformed Presbyterian covenanted religion;

[1.] They must be brethren both in nation and religion, Deut. 1.13, and 17.15.  [2.] They must be faithful fearers of God, Exod. 18.21.  [3.] They must study and be well acquainted with both tables of the law of God, Deut. 17.18-20.  [4.] They must be haters of covetousness, Exod. 18.21.  [5.] They must be wise and understanding, Deut. 1.13.  [6.] They must be just, 2 Sam. 23.3.  [7.] They must be able, fit, and capable for government, Exod. 18.22.  [8.] Lastly, They must be the minister of God for justice, a terror to evil doers without exception, and a praise to them that do well, Rom. 13.3,4. &c. for if Pharaoh behoved to have wise men or men of activity to rule or be ruler over his cattle, as the text Gen. 47.6, expresses it, how much more should God’s professed subjects have just, active, and wise rulers set over them, the supreme Ruler the rock of Israel spake it.  His vicegerent, a pattern for magistrates, in his last testament has said it, that he that ruleth over men, must be just, ruling in the fear of God, &c. It is not over Israel, no, it is over men, all that are the subjects of government; the precept is morally binding, and neither judicial or ceremonial only, but respects all civil rulers to latter ages.

2. The second thing necessary for the legal constitution of a king by the people, is their compact with him, binding conditionally and reciprocally, without which no relation can be owned, mutua igitur regi cum civibus est pacto, &c. says the learned lawyer Buchanan.  There is then (or ought to be) a mutual compact between the king and his subjects, &c. [Jure Regni, small edition, p. 2.]  And that this is essential to make up the relation betwixt sovereigns and subjects, right reason, scripture, and the practice of well regulated kingdoms and commonwealths makes evident.  See the conditions {353} proposed, Deut. 17.15, and Rom. 13.3,4. “Jephtha became head of the Gileadites by a mutual stipulation, &c. and made a league before the Lord in Hebron;” and before this covenant (says Mr. Shields) he was no king.  Some of the articles or conditions that may be warrantably required of those who are to rule over these covenanted lands, are these,

1. That a covenanted church, nation, and people, should have a covenanted king and inferior magistrates.—“And Jehoiadah made a covenant between the Lord and the king, and the king and the people, that they should be the Lord’s people; between the king also, and the people.”  See also the practice of our reformers with James VI. and Charles II. but more of this afterwards.

2. He must be engaged to keep both tables of the law, “And gave him the testimony, and it shall be with him, and he shall read them all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law, to do them.”

3. Every king in covenanted Scotland, should not only at his coronation be obliged to peruse and keep both tables of the law, by fearing God in his own person and family, but also to maintain and preserve the true religion of Jesus Christ, in doctrine, worship, discipline, and government, according to the will of God, and true Presbyterian principles, and to preserve and maintain all these he is to rule over in their civil and religious privileges, “Whatever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven, &c.” Ezra. 7.23.

4. He must forbid, suppress, and bear down, all impiety, oppression, and injustice, put the laws in execution against all transgressors thereof, without respect of persons, and command equity and justice to be done to all his subjects without exception; for he is the minister of God to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil—for ye judge not for men, but for the Lord—for there is no iniquity with the Lord {354} our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts, Rom. 1.4, and 2 Chron. 19.6,7.

5. He stands obliged as a keeper and executor of both tables of the law, to the utmost of his power, to preserve peace amongst all his subjects, and to keep entire the just rights and liberties of both church and state, without confounding the one with the other; he must not assume the title, or claim Christ’s headship over the church, or supreme lawgiver over all persons, and in all causes civil and ecclesiastic, but must renounce all manner of ecclesiastic supremacy over the church of the living God whatsoever, whether it be in appointing of church officers to that office, or executing any part of their office in doctrine, worship, discipline, or church government, “I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion—the government shall be upon his shoulders—and gave him to be head over all things unto the church—and they withstood Uzziah the king, and said, it pertaineth not to thee to burn incense unto the Lord, &c.”

Lastly, In virtue of the same power he must tolerate no false religion, sect, or sectaries whatsoever—but on the contrary, in prosecuting the ends of the covenant and coronation oath, exclude out of his dominions all Popery and Popish idolatry, all Prelacy and Prelatic ceremonies, all heresies and heretics, all malignants and malignant factions; in a word, every thing that is contrary to the word of God, sound doctrine, and the power of godliness. Deut. 13.2; 2 Kings 23.12; Ezek. 43.8; Rev. 2.2; “You shall throw down their altars—but ye have not obeyed my voice—why have ye done this, Judg. 11.2.” And says the Apostle, Gal. 5.12, “I would they were even cut off which trouble you;” which cannot without injury done to the text be absolutely confined to church discipline, or an imprecation by way of prophesy, for the destruction of her enemies.  And,

3dly, When men thus qualified as above for the office, and on the foresaid conditions, constitute and set up by the people, in agreeableness to the word of {355} God, and moral rules of government; then the people they are to rule over, fall under the following conditions, duties of submission, and obedience.

1. To pray earnestly for them, that the Lord may bless them in soul, body, person, and government, and for whatsoever things are necessary for them, as the Lord shall be pleased to direct: ”Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness to the king’s son, &c.“  2. To esteem and honour them: “Fear God and honour the king.”  3. To be subject to them, obeying all their lawful commands cheerfully for conscience’ sake: “Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience, sake.”  4. To pay them tribute, and all lawful taxations that are imposed upon subjects, for moral and necessary ends, in maintaining and upholding them in their persons, and lawful exercise of their government: “For this cause pay ye tribute also, for they are God’s ministers, &c.”  5. To swear lawful and limited oaths of allegiance to them, as stated in our solemn national engagements, i.e. “to defend the king’s majesty’s person and authority, in the defence and preservation of the true religion, and liberties of the kingdom.” Lastly, to assist and defend them in all lawful and just stated wars, whether against foreign or domestic enemies, with their bodies, goods, and lives, if need require, and that against all deadly whatsoever.

Now, these rules which the moral law of God and right reason requires, being duly observed in the electing and establishing of magistrates, in and over these covenanted isles of the sea, those two, Britain and Ireland, must of necessity inevitably follow.

1. That all such are entirely excluded, either as superior or inferior magistrates over these nations, (who have by several laudable acts and laws, made the above qualifications and conditions essential to the being of every lawful magistrate who is to rule over them,) such as are Infidels, Mahometans, Papists, Prelatists, Lutherans, Erastians, and Sectarians; (all {356} these being equally abjured in our covenants,) or persons ignorantly scandalous, profane, and flagitious contemners of God’s holy laws, and justly liable to censure, viz. punishment civil, and censure ecclesiastic; such vile men, should be contemned in the eyes of the godly, and how can they acknowledge such to be God’s ordinance over them, “in whose eyes (says the Psalmist) a vile person is contemned.” But what said Jethro to the great Lawgiver, “Provide out of all the people, able men such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness.“  And,

2. Since there is but one law given for magistrate and people to regulate their conduct by, therefore, a people who are favoured with a full exhibition thereof, in the book of divine revelation, so that if those who are delegated should go contrary to their instructions, and should be found by such as they represent, to set up such as by the above rules has no right to govern, then they may warrantably recall their right, disown what is done, and choose others to do according to their direction; or if even the majority of the nation should rest satisfied in the choice, and thereby overturn the whole of our laudable reformed constitution, as to the electing and setting up of magistrates supreme and subordinate over these lands, then the minor party though a few, who adhere to the covenanted work of Reformation, may withhold their subjection, protest, testify against, and disown all such pretended rulers, otherwise they behoved not to clash with the divine precept; nay, they may call back, hold, and retain, that radical right God has given them, as the members of human society, till the Lord be pleased in mercy, to return and break the power of their oppressors, the apostatizing multitude, and put it in their power to set up lawful magistrates over them, and though it should seem good to holy sovereignty, that the eyes of Christ’s faithful witnesses, and their successors in the same cause and testimony should never see it, we and they must live quietly, and as inoffensively as we can, {357} without groundless molestation, as we are not to tempt Providence by pushing on improbabilities, no, we must rest in hope, yea, die in the faith, of the promise of those happy and glorious days, “when kings shall be nursing fathers and queens nursing mothers to his church,” and will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning. [Isa. 49.23; Isa. 1.26.]

Now, upon the whole of this article, (and the foundation article too) shall I appeal to the unprejudiced and thinking part of mankind, whether these be antiscriptural and antigovernment principles or not.  Perhaps they may reply, that they are good principles in themselves, we should have such magistrates, but how are they to be obtained?  True, but let me enquire further, is there any thing in what I have above narrated, that can justly in themselves incense or stimulate on Dissenters (I may say any person or community whatsoever) unto the wicked practice of jacobitism, bloodshed, or rebellion?—But perhaps I may have occasion to meet with somewhat of this again, before the conclusion of the subject.

2dly, How our worthy reforming forefathers prosecuted, pursued, and avowed these principles, until they obtained all on this head of civil government we have yet claimed: and how far the Revolution plan of government corresponds therewith, let the reader consult the histories of these times, from the very first period of our Reformation, and he will find that no sooner did these renowned champions, namely, Knox, and others, begin to shake off the Antichristian yoke, than they laboured to have their civil as well as sacred rights, secured on the scriptural basis; they judged they had undoubtedly a just right to limit sovereigns, and require and oblige them as an act of equity, to profess, maintain, and establish the true religion; the opposition they met with from the bloody Queen Regent, made them see it impossible, until they suspended her, October 21st, 1559.  Hence the three estates met at Edinburgh, 1560, did in parliament, by public vote, authorize our Confession {358} of Faith, as a doctrine grounded upon the infallible word of God.]] {223} The subsequent Parliament (which was the first Parliament of King James VI.) met at the same Place, in the very second Act, December 15, 1567, abolished the Pope’s usurped Supremacy over this Realm; in their third Act, they abolished all Acts of Parliament, made against God’s Word, and for Maintenance of Idolatry; in their fourth Act, they abolished the Mass, and appointed all the Sayers and Hearers thereof to be punished, and in the same Act, they also ratified and repeated the Confession of Faith foresaid, as the publick and avowed Confession of the Kirk [Church] of Scotland:  Also, that same Parliament, in their sixth Act, entitled, An Act anent the King’s Oath, to be given at his Coronation, framed and agreed upon the Coronation-Oath of Scotland, which take at follows:

Because that the Increase of Virtue, and suppressing of Idolatry crave, that the Prince and the People be of one perfect Religion, which of God’s Mercy is now presently professed within this Realm; therefore it is statuted, and ordained by our Sovereign Lord, my Lord regent, and the Three Estates of this present Parliament, that all Kings, Princes, and Magistrates whatsoever, holding their Place, which at any Time hereafter shall happen to Reign, and bear Rule over this Realm; at the Time of their Coronation and Receipt of their Princely Authority, make their faithful Promise by Oath, in Presence of the Eternal God, that enduring the whole Course of their Lives, they shall serve the same Eternal God, to the utmost of their Power, according as he hath {224} required in his most holy Word, revealed and contained in the New and Old Testaments; and, according to the same Word, shall maintain the true Religion of Christ Jesus, the Preaching of his holy Word, and due and right Ministration of the Sacraments, now received and practiced within this Realm; and shall abolish and gainstand all false Religions contrary to the same, and shall rule the People committed to their Charge, according to the Will and Command of God, revealed in his foresaid Word, and according to the loveable Laws and Constitutions received in this Realm, nowise repugnant to the said Word of the Eternal God; and shall procure, to the uttermost of their Power, to the Kirk of God and whole Christian People, true and perfect Peace in all Time coming, the Rights and Rents, with all just Privileges of the Crown of Scotland, to preserve and keep inviolated; neither shall they transfer nor alienate the same: They shall forbid and repress, in all Estates and Degrees, Reif, Oppression, and all Kind of Wrong; in all Judgments, they shall command, and procure that Justice and Equity be kept to all Creatures, without Exception, as the Lord and Father of all Mercies be merciful to them; and, out of their Lands and Empire, they shall be careful to root out all Hereticks and Enemies to the true Worship of God, that shall be convict by the true Kirk of God of the foresaid Crimes; and that they shall faithfully affirm the Things above-written by their solemn Oath.

Which Coronation-Oath was first sworn by King James VI. and afterward by his Son Charles I, upon his Coronation at Edinburgh, {225} June 18, 1633, and is insert in our National Covenant, — whose being of a different Religion from the People, led him to impose the Service-Book contrived by his Father, &c. upon the Church of Scotland, Anno 1637, contrary unto his Oath, and endeavoured to establish the same by Force of Arms; which tyrannical and arbitrary Conduct, obliged our Reformers, in February 1638, to renew our National Covenant with God, for maintaining and defending their Sacred and Civil Rights, Liberties, and Privileges: And, altho’ the said Charles afterwards solemnly entered into several Pacifications and Treaties of Agreement and Union with his Subjects of Scotland; yet ’tis well known he never observed or kept one of them: Yea, when the Parliament of England would not allow him to reign arbitrarily, above all Laws, over that Kingdom, he raised and headed an Army of the Popish, Prelatick, and malignant Faction, to oppose the Reformation of Religion in the Kingdoms of England and Ireland, that he might the more easily overturn the true Religion, established in the Church of Scotland, which he was by his solemn Oath, Pacifications, Articles of Treaty, and Acts of Parliament authorized by himself, bound to maintain and defend: And, altho’ the Parliament of this ancient Kingdom of Scotland, used all means possible in their Capacity, to reclaim and recover him from his evil Ways and wicked Counsellors, which proved altogether ineffectual; Yet, after his untimely End, by the Hands of the Sectarian Party in England, they [the Parliament of Scotland] justly considering, that all the arbitrary Government, and unlimited Power, and the King’s being of a different Religion from his Subjects, was {226} the Spring and Fountain of not only all the Corruptions, whether in Kirk or State, but likewise of all the Tyranny exercised by him, upon the Laws and Liberties of the Kingdom, and on the best of the Subjects, yea, and all the Opposition and Violation the Covenants and Presbyterian Government met with, during his unhappy Reign; did, for putting a Stop unto, and preventing these and like noxious Encroachments, Abuses, and Confusions for the Future, in the first Parliament of Charles II, at Edinburgh, February 7, 1649, in their fifteenth Act, entitled, Act anent securing of the Covenant, Religion, and the Peace of the Kingdom, make an additional, or second Coronation Oath, which take as follows.

The Estates of Parliament taking to their most serious Consideration, the unhappy Differences between their late Sovereign and these Kingdoms, caused by the Civil Counsellors about him, unto the great Prejudice of Religion, and long Disturbance of the Peace of these Kingdoms; and likewise the manifold Acts of Parliament, and fundamental Constitution of this Kingdom, Anent the King’s Oath at his Coronation; which judging it necessary that the Prince and the People be of one perfect Religion, appointeth, That all Kings and Princes, who shall reign, or bear Rule over this Realm, shall, at their Coronation, or Receipt of their Princely Authority, solemnly swear to observe in their own Persons, and to preserve the Religion, as it is presently established and professed, and rule the People committed to their Charge, according to the Will of God revealed in his Word, and the loveable Constitutions received {227} within this Kingdom, and do sundry other Things, which are more fully expressed therein: And withal, pondering their manifold solemn Obligations to endeavour the securing of Religion and the COVENANT, before and above all worldly Interests: Therefore they do enact, ordain, and declare, that before the King’s Majesty who now is, or any of his Successors, shall be admitted to the Exercise of his Royal Power, he shall, by and attour the foresaid Oath, assure and declare by his solemn Oath, under his Hand and Seal, his Allowance of the National Covenant, and of the Solemn League and Covenant, and Obligation to prosecute the Ends thereof in his Station and Calling; and that he shall, for himself and his Successors, consent and agree to all Acts of Parliament, enjoining the Solemn League and Covenant, and fully establishing Presbyterian Government, Directory for Worship, Confession of Faith and Catechism, as they are approven by the General Assembly of this Kirk, and Parliament of this Kingdom, in all his Majesty’s Dominions; and that he shall observe these in his own Practice and Family; and that he shall never make Opposition to any of these, or endeavour any Change thereof.

Agreeably hereunto, in Pursuance of, and Obedience to the foresaid Act, the Commissioners of the Church and Parliament of Scotland, did, by virtue of Power from their respective Constituents, administrate these two Oaths foresaid, together with the National Covenant, and the Solemn League and Covenant of the three Kingdoms, Scotland, England, and Ireland, unto Charles II.  All which, I say, were sworn and {228} subscribed by him, before his Admission unto the Regal Dignity, at Scoon, January 1st, 1651: Who, after his solemn Swearing, by the Eternal and Almighty GOD, who liveth and reigneth for ever and ever, that he should observe and keep all that is contained in the forementioned solemn Oaths; Had the Instruments of Government tendered unto him, For Defence of the Faith of Christ, and Protection of his Kirk, and of the true Religion, as it was at that Time professed within this Kingdom, and according to the National Covenant, and League and Covenant, and for executing Equity and Justice, for punishing all Impiety and Injustice; to whom the People did swear Allegiance, against all Manner of Folks whatsomever, according to the National Covenant, and Solemn League and Covenant.

In like manner, with Reference to all inferior Magistrates, Military Officers, and all Persons admitted to Power and Trust, &c. It is statuted and ordained in the 9th Act James VI, Parliament 1st, above-cited, “That no Person shall be admitted Judge, Procurator, Notar, nor Member of a Court thereafter, who professed not the Purity of Religion and Doctrine, as then established.”  And, for Explication of the Words Purity of Religion and Doctrine, the Parliaments of Scotland, by their 5th Act 1640, and 9th Act 1641, extend the said Act to all the foresaid Persons, &c. invested with these respective Offices, their Taking the National Covenant; and by the 5th Act of Parliament 1644, and 16th Act of Parliament 1646, to the Taking of the Solemn League and Covenant: And, by {229} their 26th Act 1649, the Parliament did statute and ordain, That no Person that was malignant, or disaffected to the then present Work of Reformation and Covenants, nor any given to Drunkenness, Swearing, Uncleanness, or any other scandalous Offence, should thereafter be chosen to be a Judge, or any Office of Estate, or Magistrate, or Counsellor in Burghs, Clerks, or Deacons of Crafts, or any Office of any Army belonging to this Kingdom, or employed in any Place of publick Power and Trust: And the said Act bears, that none shall be chosen to these respective Offices, or any of them, but such as should be Men of known Affection unto, and of approved Fidelity and Integrity in the Cause of God, and of a blameless and Christian Conversation, &c.  And in the Acts of Classis 1641, 1646, and 1649, I find all Malignants, and Enemies to the Covenants and Work of Reformation, and Persons guilty of Errors and Immoralities, were purged, and appointed to be kept out of the Army, as the said Act more fully bears.

The great and last Compleatment of all Securities whatsoever among Men, was the Act of Ratification, confirming and establishing all these preceding Transactions, Engagements, and Actions, concluded and enacted by the King, then having attained the Age of Twenty-one Years complete, and the Parliament fully and freely convened in the Month of June 1651, whereby the same did pass into a perpetual Law; and this Covenant, which, from the first entering into the same, was and is the most indispensable Oath of God, became at Length the very fundamental Law of the Kingdom, whereon all the Rights and Privileges either of King or People are principally {230} bottomed and secured.  See Naphtali, printed 1693, p. 164.

Having thus illustrated, by the preceding Acts and Accounts, how diligently, indefatigably, zealously, and faithfully the heroick and honourable Representatives of this Kingdom, contended for the Advancement of our glorious Reformation; and how far all Magistrates, whether supreme or subordinate, and with them all Ranks and Degrees of Men, in their respective Capacities, Stations, and Relations, became bound, by solemn and sacred Ties, to profess, maintain, and defend the same; To show the Concern and Concurrence of the Church in that reforming Period, seems somewhat necessary in order to represent the beautiful and becoming Harmony betwixt Church and State, in this important Matter.

The Church of Scotland, in the 24th Article of her Confession of Faith forecited, concerning the Civil Magistrate, after asserting and declaring the Office of the Civil Magistrate to be the Ordinance of God, they add,—“To Kings, Princes, Rulers, and Magistrates (being qualified as above-related) we affirm, that chiefly, and most principally, the Conservation and Purgation of Religion appertain; so that not only they are appointed for Civil Policy, but also for Maintenance of the true Religion, and for suppressing Idolatry and Superstition whatsoever, as in David, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, Josiah, and others highly commended for their Zeal in that Cause.——We affirm, that whosoever deny unto them Aid, their Counsel and Comfort, whiles the Princes and Rulers vigilantly travail in the Execution of their {231} Office (here is a most excellent Caution and Limitation) that the same Men deny their Help, Support, and Counsel to God, who, by the Presence of his Lieutenant, doth crave it of them.” [See article 24/25 of the 1560 Confession of Faith.]

In Mr. Craig’s Catechism, approven by the General Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland 1592, Sect. 10th, Quest. 85: What is the Office of the Christian Magistrate in the Kirk? Answer, He should defend the true Religion and Discipline, and punish all Troublers and Contemners of the same.

In the Confession of Faith or National Covenant, subscribed at first by King James VI, and his Household 1580, and thereafter by Persons of all Ranks, by the Authority of Church and State 1581 and 1590, after abjuring Popery, with all its Appurtenances, and solemnly engaging to continue in the Obedience of the Doctrine and Discipline of this Kirk, and Defence of the same, I find these Words, viz. We protest, and promise with our Hearts, under the same Oath, Handwrit, and Pains, That we shall defend the King’s Person and Authority, with our Goods, Bodies and Lives, in Defence of Christ his Evangel, Liberties of our Country, Ministration of Justice, and punishing of Iniquity, against all Enemies within this Realm or without.

The General Assembly 1639, Sess. 23, in their Supplication, say, Following the laudable Example of our Predecessors 1598, we do most humbly supplicate your Grace, his Majesty’s Commissioner, and the Lords of his Majesty’s Privy Council, to enjoin by Act of Council, that this Confession and Covenant, which, as a Testimony of our Fidelity to God, and Loyalty to our King, {232} we have subscribed, be subscribed by all his Majesty’s Subjects, of what Rank and Quality soever. Which Supplication was granted, that same Day it was presented, as the Records of that Time show.

That same Assembly, Sess. foresaid, in their Act ordaining the Subscription of the Confession of Faith and Covenant, with the Assembly’s Declaration, having ordained all Persons, of what Rank, Quality, or Office soever, to subscribe the said Covenant: “They appoint the same to be insert in the Registers of this Church.—They add, And in all Humility supplicates his Majesty’s high Commissioner, and the honourable Estates of Parliament, by their Authority, to ratify and enjoin the same, with all Civil Pains; which will tend to the Glory of God, the Preservation of Religion, the King’s Majesty’s Honour, and perfect Peace of his Kirk and Kingdom.” All which was granted in the 5th Act of Parliament 1640.

King Charles I, in his Letter to the General Assembly 1641, says, Trusty and well Beloved,——it is not small Part of our royal Care and Desire, that the true reformed Religion, wherein, by the Grace of God, we resolve to live and die, be settled peaceably, in that our ancient and native Kingdom of Scotland; and that the same be truly taught, and universally received and professed by our Subjects there, of all Degrees, for preventing of all Division and Trouble hereafter: We did intend in our own Royal Person to have been present at this Assembly, but conceiving it to be unfit to detain the Ministers from their particular Charges, till the Time of {233} our coming to the Parliament: We have resolved to make known unto you by these, and by our Commissioner, that in the succeeding Parliament, it is our Intention by our Authority to ratify and confirm the Constitutions of the late Assembly at Edinburgh, that they may be obeyed by all our Subjects, living in that our Kingdom. Which accordingly was done in the 5th and 6th Acts of Parliament, August 16, 1641. See also his Letter to the Assembly 1642.

As Matters stand thus, Church and State seem to go Hand in Hand together, for carrying on the Building; yet, on a further View, perhaps it will be found only the Earth helping the Woman [Rev. 12.16]: Matters stood not long on this Situation: For upon the Parliament of England’s maintaining, and honourable defending their own Rights and Privileges, in Opposition to Charles I. his perfidious Encroachments thereupon; he speedily raised an Army, of Purpose to jumble all into the greatest Confusion, and defend him in his absolute Supremacy as above; yea, after Rejection of all suitable and wholesome Supplications and Remonstrances, humbly presented unto him by the Church and State of Scotland, and for the Preservation of Truth and Peace, the three Kingdoms were convinced, that it was their undoubted Duty, and the most powerful Mean, by the Blessing of God, for Preservation of themselves, and the true Protestant Religion from utter Ruin and Destruction, according to the commendable Practice of these Kingdoms in former Times, and the Example of God’s People in other Nations; after mature Deliberation, resolved and determined to enter into a mutual and solemn League and Covenant, wherein they {234} engaged to the Preservation of the true Religion in the Church of Scotland, the Reformation of Religion in the Churches of England and Ireland, to preserve the Rights and Privileges of the Parliaments, and the Liberties of the Kingdoms; to preserve and defend the King’s Majesty’s Person and Authority, in the Preservation and Defence of the true Religion and Liberty, &c.

Now, nothing is more certain among Men, than that Charles I. did, notwithstanding all his solemn Engagements, fair Appearances, and ample Protestations of Fidelity and Honesty; burst all these Bands, break all agreeable Measures with Church and State, overturn to his utmost what he had been professedly erecting, excited, and gave a formal Commission unto, the Irish Cut-throats, (who had murdered so many Thousands of Protestants in Ireland) to make an Inroad upon Scotland, and shed the Blood of the People of God there, besides what he had spilt in England.  And albeit the Church of Scotland did remonstrate unto him most faithfully, zealously, and freely, the horrid Cruelty, Treachery, and exceeding Sinfulness thereof (as appears from that Remonstrance, February 13, 1645,) together with the inexpressible Danger such Courses laid him obnoxious unto, in a Way of recognizing his Authority at that Juncture, hoping, at least wishing a better of it: Yet, after the malignant Party raised an Army in Scotland, under the Command of Duke Hamilton, with design to restore that Tyrant to the Exercise of his arbitrary Government (just in the very Nick of Time, when he and the Parliament of England were on a Treaty of Peace for accommodating Differences) contrary to their Oath of Parliament, and the subscribed Articles of Treaty betwixt the two Kingdoms; {235} and without his granting any Manner of Security to Religion and the Covenants (he having shaken himself loose of all former Ties, and indeed there was little Ground left to trust him for the Future, while persisting in that Course) as the Church of Scotland plainly declared that Engagement to be unlawful and sinful (notwithstanding the King’s express Orders for it) and inconsistent with the Safety and Security of Religion, because contrary to the holy Word, and destructive of the whole of the covenanted Work of Reformation and Work of Uniformity, carried on betwixt the two Kingdoms; yea, they did so strenuously maintain their own intrinsick Power, and so openly trampled upon the King’s pretended Authority, that they would not, yea, did not admit any concerned in that sinful Quarrel, I mean the Duke’s unlawful Engagement, without evident Signs of their Repentance: So, and in an Agreeableness to this, they were expressly against restoring the King (viz. Charles I.) to the Exercise of Government, unless he would give better, and sufficient Security for the true reformed Religion and Covenants; which plainly evinces their Rejection of his Authority: And truly they had acted directly cross unto their well worded, and suitably limited Oath of Allegiance, if they had done otherwise; being only bound to subject to his Authority, in his Defence of the Gospel of Christ, the Liberties of the Country, Ministration of Justice, and punishing of Iniquity, &c.  Hence, his open and avowed Violation of all these, proclaimed a Liberty unto them, and they improved it; all which is plainly evident from the publick Records of the Commission {236} of the Assembly 1647, and the General Assembly 1648, and their Commission.

That this was the Mind and Principles of the Church of Scotland, with Reference to Charles I. and [that they] did not flinch from the same, with Reference to his Son Charles II. is most clear from the seasonable and necessary Warning, and Declaration, July 27, 1649, viz.

1. That as Magistrates and their Power are ordained of God, so are they, in the Exercise thereof, not to walk according to their own Will, but according to the Law of Equity and Righteousness, as being Ministers of God for the Safety of the People: Therefore a boundless and illimited power is to be ACKNOWLEDGED IN NO KING, nor Magistrate; neither is our King to be admitted to the Exercise of his Power, as long as he refuses to walk in the Administration of the same, according to this Rule, and the established Laws of the Kingdom (viz. the Laws establishing the covenanted Reformation and Civil Liberties) that his Subjects may live under him a quiet and peaceable Life, in all Godliness and Honesty.

2. There is a mutual Obligation and Stipulation betwixt the King and his People: As both of them are tied to God, so each of them are one to another, for the Performance of mutual and reciprocal Duties—See Act 8, Parliament 1, James VI. as above——As long therefore as his Majesty refuses to hearken to the just and necessary Desires of Kirk and State, proponed to him for Security of Religion, and Safety of his People, and to engage and oblige himself for the Performance of his Duty to his People; It is consonant to Scripture and Reason, and the Laws {237} of the Kingdom, that they should refuse to admit him to the Exercise of his Government, until he give Satisfaction in these Things.

3. In the League and Covenant, which hath been solemnly sworn and renewed by this Kingdom, the Duty of defending and preserving the King’s Majesty’s Person and Authority, is joined with, and subordinate unto the Duty of preserving and defending the true Religion and Liberties of the Kingdoms: And therefore his Majesty standing in Opposition unto the just and necessary publick Desires, concerning Religion and Liberties; it were a manifest Breach of Covenant, and a preferring of the King’s Interest to the INTEREST of Jesus Christ, to bring him to the Exercise of his Royal Power, which he, walking in a contrary Way, and being compassed about with malignant Counsels, cannot but employ unto the Prejudice and Ruin of both.  See also the approven Proceedings of the Commissioners of the Church and Kingdom of Scotland, with Charles II. at the Hague 1649, in which their Faithfulness and Honesty appear most consonant unto the Declaration and Warning foresaid.

The Harmony of their Actings and Proceedings appear in this, viz. That as the Church and Parliament dealt with the Father, so did they with the Son; for it is abundantly well known, that they did actually refuse to admit Charles II. (as they did not admit his Father) to the Exercise of Government (and so could not subject to it, tho’ they gave him Titles of Honour, being in Terms of Union with him) until he granted Security for the true Religion and Covenants, as above.  Hence it appears most consonant both {238} to Acts of Parliament, to our National Covenants (which are fundamental Laws of this Kingdom) and to the publick Declarations of this Nation, to refuse the Admission of, or own Persons when admitted, as just and lawful Magistrates in this Realm, until they, prior to their Admission, grant sufficient Security for the Defence of, and profess the true Protestant Religion in their own Persons and Families, take, swear, and subscribe the Covenants, National, and Solemn League, and be of the Communion of the Church of Scotland, as then established: From this it appears, that a contrary Practice is a downright Relinquishing and Abandoning the Reformation-Principles and fundamental Laws.

That the Estates of Parliament were one with the Church in this Matter, of Not-receiving and Subjecting to Charles II. until he gave Security as said is, is manifest from the fore-cited Act of Parliament, where they discharge all the Lieges and Subjects of this Kingdom, to procure or receive from him (viz. Charles II.) any Commissions, Patents, Honours, Offices, or Gifts whatsomever, until he gave Satisfaction as above, under the Pain of being censured in their Persons and Estates, as the Parliament, or any having Power from them, should judge proper: And, in case any should contravene their Orders, as above specified, these respective Offices were declared void and null.

As the above Accounts give a Vidimus of our fundamental Laws, of the Judgment and Principles of our worthy Reformers, with Reference to the Cause and Interest of Christ, and of their just and equable Qualifications and Limitations, they required, and saw themselves bound, in Point {239} of Duty and Conscience, for the Preservation of Truth, and Propagation of Reformation, to require of all such as they admitted, or forever in Time coming should be admitted unto the Regal Dignity: So, upon these so honourable and every Way convenient Terms, they accepted of Charles II. as above; who, notwithstanding of the singular and unheard of Sympathy, that our Presbyterians in Scotland bore towards him, during his Ten Years Exile, in resisting unto Blood the Usurpation of Oliver Cromwell; immediately upon his mounting the Saddle of Preferment, did throw off the MASK, and requited their Love with Hatred, and their Kindness with shedding their Blood: And, having treacherously broke the Covenants, and all Manner of sacred Ties, he overturned and razed our excellent Constitutions and fundamental Laws; yea, advanced, or rather swelled up to the Height of Monstrosity, absolute Power and Tyranny, that, by the wicked Hell-hatched Act Rescissory 1661, he rescinded the whole Parliaments, and all their Acts from 1640 to 1649 inclusive, establishing our Sacred and Civil Rights and Privileges, and glorious Reformation.  And, in another Act of the same Parliament, he condemned and disowned the binding Force of our sacred Covenants, brought in and established abjured Prelacy, spued out such a Flood of Malice and Enmity against the Church of Scotland (which he had so often sworn to maintain) and all her Members, or any whatsomever, who studied a firm Adherence to Presbyterian Government, Covenants, Laws, Liberties, and Privileges of the Kingdom agreeable thereunto; that he exposed them to the most cruel Hardships, Severities {240} and Tortures that his savage persecuting Spirit could devise and get accomplished: Which Act Rescissory, and Act condemning our Covenants foresaid, are yet standing unrepealed, to the great Shame of the Revolution-principles and Establishment, which they call happy, notwithstanding this.

The Monstrosity, cruel Barbarity and Perfidy of that Tyrant, could not miss to make all such true Fearers of the Lord, and Lovers of Zion’s Welfare, as had any Hand in his Restoration and Inauguration, not only regret the same with the deepest Sorrow, as appears from the History of Mr. Livingston’s Life (one of the Commissioners from the Church, that dealt with him at the Hague) and Testimonies of the Sufferers, and other authentick Papers of that Time; but also, in regard he had publickly broken (as said is) his Coronation-Oaths, and Original Contracts betwixt him and the People, usurped an arbitrary Government, and became an open Tyrant, invading and altering the very fundamental Laws and Constitutions of the Kingdom, subverting the true reformed Protestant Religion and Presbyterian Government, violating the Laws and Liberties of the Nation, and inverted all the Ends of Government, whereby he forfeited all Right to Government, and to the Crown; I say, upon these weighty and like Considerations, they, and many others, could not but renounce and reject his pretended Authority; as indeed, to the Praise of the Presbyterian Cause, and Honour of their Memory, they did: Which was their undoubted Duty; and no Man in his solid Wits can condemn them for this Action of Rejection (see 1 Kings 12.2-17,) without being guilty, {241} at the same Time of condemning the Bulk of the three Kingdoms, for renouncing and rejecting the pretended Authority of the Popish Duke of York, his Brother, at the Revolution, upon the very same Reasons; whose Accession and pretended Power, all true Presbyterians bore Testimony against; which is also vindicated by the Revolution Rejection of that profane Prince foresaid, who was thereby made justly to wander as a Vagabond among the Nations.

There seems to be such a close Connection, Sameness, Unity, and good Agreement between the Principles and Practice of our famous Reformers, whether in sacred or civil Capacity, and the noble Cloud of Witnesses and Sufferers (both being so well founded) all along, during the Twenty-eight Years of bloody Persecution and Tyranny, down to the Revolution, as to the Essentials and Substance of their Testimony; that ever since Presbyterian Dissenters from this Revolution-Plan of Civil Government, cannot approve of the former, but they must both disapprove of the latter, and continue the former Practice.  And, in regard they are constantly, tho’ unjustly, reproached for their Nonconformity with this Piece of Revolution Defection, their setting up, and subjecting unto, such as they raise to the Regal Power, and Subordinate, in a Way so very cross and diametrically opposite unto the above-mentioned fundamental Laws and Covenants, and the whole of our covenanted Reformation; I shall take the Freedom to add to the above, some few of the many Reasons, for the Vindication of Truth, and this Practice of Dissenters: Such as, {242}

1. Because all Kings and Queens have been put in Possession of the Civil Government, since the Revolution, without being duly qualified by taking the Scots Coronation-Oaths, according to the 15th Act of Parliament 1649, and some of them did never so much as take the Coronation-Oath of James VI.  How opposite this Admission of Persons to the Instruments of Government, is to the former above-mentioned, may easily be discerned by every Body.

2. Because none of them have ever taken, sworn and subscribed the National Covenant of Scotland, and the Solemn League and Covenant of the three Kingdoms, Scotland, England, and Ireland, nor engaged to prosecute the Ends thereof, according to the foresaid 15th Act of Parliament 1649, nor become bound inviolably to maintain, preserve, and defend the true Presbyterian Protestant Religion, with the Government, Worship, Discipline, Rights and Privileges of the Church of Scotland, as by Law established 1649, nor be of her Communion according to the Act foresaid.

3. Because all Persons, admitted to rule over these three Lands, maintain that wicked Act, made in Middletoun’s black Parliament, in Time of the late Tyranny, condemning our Covenants, both National and Solemn League; which Act binds up all Persons from entering into and renewing the same, without the Consent of the Civil Powers; whereby a Bar, preventative of prosecuting indispensable Duty, founded on and agreeable to the Word, Acts of faithful Parliaments, and the fundamental Laws of this Nation, is kept up; which, as it was founded on Perjury, its Constitution can be nothing less, & respice finem. {243}

4. Because they all maintain that Heaven-daring Act Rescissory, made in the foresaid unhappy Parliament, rescinding the whole Parliaments of Scotland, betwixt the Year 1640 and 1649 inclusive, and the whole legal Establishment of the true reformed Protestant Religion and Presbyterian Church-Government, (which is the Ordinance of God) which Act is not only destructive of the Being of Parliaments, and fundamental Government of this ancient Kingdom; but by it the whole of the covenanted Work of Reformation, and reformed Principles of the Church of Scotland, stand publickly condemned.

5. Because the Antichristian Hierarchy of Archbishops, Bishops, and other Ecclesiastick Officers depending thereon, together with all the superstitious Service and Ceremonies of the Church of England, are by Law established in England and Ireland, and tolerated in Scotland (which ought not to be so much as connived at, in any Part of these three covenanted Kingdoms) to the great Prejudice and Subversion of the true reformed Religion, which is the indispensable Duty of all in these Lands foresaid, sincerely, really, and constantly to maintain and preserve; and to oppose, yea, grub up, and keep out all Heresy, Superstition, and Profaneness contrair thereunto.

6. Because [[Popery &c. is now tolerated in England and Ireland, and we may say virtually in Scotland, as the penal statutes,]] the Acts and Laws made against Popery and Papists, are not vigorously, impartially, and effectually put in Execution; but, on the contrary, they are too much countenanced, encouraged, and suffered to overspread, with their Masses, and other execrable Idolatries, in many Places of these Kingdoms; particularly one of them in the Canongate of Edinburgh, under the Protection of the present Government: But hath {244} indicted and proclaimed some Presbyterian Ministers, Rebels, for continuing in the Exercise of their Ministry, and Possessions of Glebes and Manses, after they were unjustly and tyrannically deposed by this Church, for adhering to, and prosecuting the Ends of the Covenants.

7. Because the Kings and Queens of these Realms, ever since the foresaid Work of Reformation and Uniformity was overturned and rescinded, and abjured Prelacy re-established, have been, by the Laws of England, not only engaged and sworn to support, defend, and inviolably maintain the Prelatick Hierarchy, and English Popish Ceremonies of that Church, which is a most direct supporting and maintaining that, which these Lands are, by the holy and inviolably Oath of God, sworn to bear down and exterminate; but also to be themselves personally of the Communion of that Church, as by Law established (in which England acts more like a People, maintaining a Principle, such as it is, in requiring that, as a Condition sine qua non, than professed Presbyterians in the Nation and Church of Scotland, who overlook it altogether) which yet is plainly contrary to the Word of God, our laudable Laws, sacred and civil Liberties, Privileges and Covenants; and therefore involves all such Occupants in the dreadful Guilt of Perjury, which cannot fail to bring Wrath from the Lord upon them, their Posterity and People.

8. Because they have been these many Years joined, and yet continue in sinful Associations, Confederacies, and Leagues with Popish Princes, Supporters of the very Antichrist, and others, who are known Malignants and Enemies to the {245} true reformed Protestant Religion; which Antiscriptural Associations, &c. are expressly condemned in God’s Word, and have been still plagued of him with signal Judgments.  See famous Mr. Gillespie’s Miscellany Questions and Mr. Hugh Binning against Associations with Malignants, &c.

9. Because all such as have of a long Time been admitted to the Possession of the Government, have always by the Laws and Customs of England, assumed and appropriated to themselves, the Stile and Title of the Head of the Church, the supreme Judge in all Causes, whether Civil or Ecclesiastick: For Proof of this, I find in a Declaration dated at St. James’s June 13, 1715, concerning the Articles of the Church of England, made by the late K.G. these words, “Being by God’s Ordinance, according to our just Title, Defender of the Faith, and supreme Governor of the Church, within these our Dominions, &c.——That we are supreme Governor of the Church of England; and that if any Difference arise about the External Policy, concerning Injunctions, Canons, and other Constitutions whatsoever thereto belonging, the Clergy in their Convocation is to order and settle them, having first obtained Leave under our Broad Seal so to do,” &c.  The King’s giving them their Patents, empowering them to exercise that pretended Church-Office, making them accountable in all their Ecclesiastick Administrations to himself, as supreme Governor of the Church; which Title for Man or Angel to arrogate, is dreadful Blasphemy and Usurpation, and a downright exauctorating of Christ, who is the only and alone Head and supreme Governor {246} of his Church.  Ah! this is a fighting against God, and does (as Mr. M‘Ward says in the Cup of cold Water, p. 9.) complete the Revolt of these Lands from their sworn Subjection and Obedience to Jesus Christ, as Supreme in his own House, when they have these many Years substitute another in his Place, and have framed Supremacy into a Law, to be the Rule and Standard, according to which our Kings do, and in all succeeding Generations shall of Right, king it over the House of God, as knowing no Superior, with a more simple Absoluteness than the Law of the Nation will permit them to do over the House, Inheritance, Interest, or Concern of the meanest Subject of the Kingdom. By which Law our Lord Jesus Christ is explicitly exauctorate, he is declared to have neither House, People, nor Property in these Lands or Dominions.  Let any read over these Acts and Laws of Supremacy, and sense them, and consider if their lowest Amount be not this, We have no King but Cæsar. And, in Pursuance of the same, they have made many Erastian Encroachments upon the Royalties of Christ, and Privileges of his House, in taking upon them ordinarily, and by themselves, to appoint Diets, and Causes of Fasting, and Thanksgivings, dissolving and adjourning General Assemblies at their Pleasure: And, in order to support that unjust and sinful Title, have imposed the Oath of Supremacy, which recognizeth the same, upon Persons of publick Trust; and also the Sacramental Test, obliging their Armies, both Officers and Soldiers, to join in Communion with the Prelatick Church of England. {247}

10. Because these Erastian Powers have expressly claimed that wicked Supremacy foresaid, in that Act of the British Parliament, obliging every Minister of this Revolution-Church to swear the Abjuration Oath, under the Pain of being deprived both of Office and Benefice; hereby asserting their Dependency on the Civil Magistrate, and putting them on the same Level with any Civil and Military Officer: Which Encroachment has never been faithfully and freely witnessed against by any of the Judicatories of this Church, but complied with by the far greatest Part.

11. Because the Erastian Powers foresaid have made, and sworn to maintain the incorporating Union with the Prelatick Constitution of England; whereby our National independent Liberty and Freedom, and our ancient Privileges are entirely subverted, and wrested out of our Hands,[2] People oppressed in their Consciences and Estates, with such iniquous Laws, severe, unlawful, and unsupportable Taxations and Impositions, as are directly contrary to our sacred and civil Rights; and particularly the Church is strip’d and divested of her undoubted Right of the People’s choosing their own Pastors, by the Patronage-Act; and our Land infected, poisoned, and pester’d with innumerable Heresies and Errors, by that large and almost boundless Toleration, granted by a wicked Law, contrary to the Confession of Faith, Chap. 20, and Chap. 23, Sect. 3. &c.  Yea, sinful Oaths, inconsistent with, and contrary to Presbyterian Principles, and our Covenants, are from Time to Time imposed and repeated, such as the Allegiance, Assurance, and Abjuration Oaths, &c. upon all Persons in publick Office, Civil or {248} Ecclesiastick, under most exorbitant and severe Penalties, [[as was annexed to Porteous act, 1751.]]

12. Because the foresaid Erastian Powers have advanced, and employed in Parliaments, Councils, and other inferior Judicatories, such as were, and are known Malignants, Shedders of the Blood of the Lord’s People, Enemies to the Cause of God, and the whole of our covenanted Reformation: Whereas, by our laudable fundamental Laws and Constitutions, all such as were to be employed in any publick Trust, or Office, ought to be Men of known Integrity, and of good Affection to the Cause of God, and of a blameless and Christian Conversation.

13. Because these Erastian Powers, in their sinful Act of Toleration, did prescribe a set Form of Words, for all Ministers in this Revolution-Church, to use in praying for their Protestant Succession, under Certification or Penalties: And as they have incarcerated and maltreated severals for owning the covenanted Cause, and barbarously murdered other poor Innocents, witness Glenco, and Darien; so they have pardoned many Malefactors, Murderers, and others, guilty of dreadful Enormities, who by the divine Law deserved Death, since the Year 1690.

14. Because these Erastian Powers being all Strangers (practically at least, and many of them personally) to our true reformed Protestant Religion, have been admitted to the Possession of the Government, expressly contrary to the fundamental Laws of this Kingdom, and covenanted Principles of the Church of Scotland, and the Bands of our Covenants, all bottomed on the sacred Word of God; which none can annul, enervate, or dispense with, without violating Divine Commands, {249} and Covenants, and particularly contrary to the Holy Word, Deut. 17.15, One from among thy Brethren shalt thou set King over thee: Thou mayest not set a Stranger over thee, which is not thy Brother: Which seems to import, that Christian Magistrates should be of the same true Religion (if not of the same Nation) with the People; because such are most likely to maintain the true Religion, and rule with Righteousness, Gentleness, and Kindness to the Subjects.  And the above Accounts inform, that our Reformers understood that Scripture in this Sense, in their refusing Subjection, until they got sufficient Security for our holy Religion, &c.

Having thus represented, how these Erastian Powers have been admitted, and subjected to, without any Signification of their hearty Compliance with, and Approbation of the National Covenant, and solemn League and Covenant, (but in a Way exclusive of, and contrary to both) without any Kind of Promises to prosecute the Ends thereof, by approving, reviving, renewing, or ratifying, establishing, consenting to, and agreeing with all Acts and Laws made, or that may be made in Defence thereof, and the whole of the covenanted Reformation; and how they have required, and enacted the swearing of the Oaths of Allegiance and Abjuration, &c. instead of all other Oaths and Declarations, which might be required by Law, whereby the Civil Part of the Covenant is laid aside, as well as the Religious Part: And how they have settled the Government of this Revolution-Church, about an hundred Years back (thereby overleaping our best Times) and a nominal Presbytery, upon the Inclinations of the People, and not upon the Word {250} of God, as if it were merely Human; and how they have not vacated and disabled all Acts and Laws made in Charles his Time, condemning the Covenant and Work of Reformation: [[Have they not by an infamous act in 1774, established Popery, and with it French despotism, tolerated it in Grenada; nay, have as late as 1778 repealed the penal statutes, thereby tolerating it in England and Ireland, and we may also say virtually though not formally in Scotland: wherein instead of executing laws against Papists, an express order was issued out, that there should be no molestation given to these amongst other sectaries, in the exercise of their superstitious worship; all which is expressly contrary to the word of God, our Covenants, and reforming acts and laws, and is more than what the great grandfather, the father, and the two late tyrant brothers could ever get effected; for they could never get Popery established in any part of their dominions, however far their schemes were laid for that purpose: How they now commerce, confederate, and regiment with Papists, Malignants, and other sectaries, &c. &c.]] How they have, and yet do confederate with Papists, Malignants, and other Sectaries, and tolerate all Manner of Hereticks, Heresies, and Errors, contrary to the Word, and destructive of the true Religion; how they encourage, aid, and advance Malignants, exercise Supremacy, encroach upon the Prerogatives of Christ, in the Matter of Diets and Causes of Fasts, and Thanksgivings, Dissolution and Adjournment of Assemblies, and assuming Titles of Supremacy over all Causes, tho’ Ecclesiastick, Publick Prayers, Oaths, very material Parts of Worship; together with prescribing, commensurating, and prelimiting the Church, not to exceed the Bounds prescribed, till they please; and also signified how they judge, at least prescribe the necessary and legal Qualifications of Ministers in the Church, by taking Oaths and Bonds, &c. arbitrarily imposed by them; and withal, maintaining, and solemnly swearing to maintain that abominable Idolatry, viz. Prelacy (and profess it in their own Person) by Law established, in the Church of England and Ireland, and tolerated in Scotland: All which are some Part of the Reasons, in my Opinion, why Presbyterian Dissenters disown this Revolution-Plan of Civil Government, and Governors; whose Throne lies steeped in the Blood of our dear Fathers and Brethren, shed in the former Period, never to this Day purged away; which seems to cry loudly for Vengeance upon all, that are following a Course contrary to that attained Reformation, in these Lands, from the Throne to the Beggar.  I say, having given {251} a Hint at these Things, I come now to answer some Objections, that are commonly flung in to vilify this Cause, and the Owners thereof;

Such as, 1. Objection. The 23rd chapter, 4th section of the Confession of Faith, says, Infidelity, or Difference in Religion, doth not make void the Magistrate’s just and legal Authority, nor free the People from their due Obedience to him; therefore Magistrates of a Religion different from the People, or Subjects, may be set up, bear Rule over this Realm, and warrantably subjected to, as such.

Answer 1. The Holy Ghost points out the Marks of a just and lawful Magistrate, 2 Sam. 23.3, Exod. 18.21. The Word, and Reason do expressly command, and allow, that a Magistrate should have suitable Qualifications for the Office, as in Deut. 17, from verse 15, and as the Tree is known by its Fruit, so is the Power known to be just, by the good Acts thereof, Matth. 12.24-28.  The Apostle Paul, when he doth command Obedience to the higher Powers, as those Powers which are ordained of God, warning them not to resist the Ordinance of God, he does not leave People in the Wilderness, or in the Dark: No, he gives us to understand, how we shall know them; he points out this as the certain and true Character of just and lawful Magistrates, namely, that they were not to be a Terror to good Works, but to the evil, and that they were to be the Ministers of God to the People for Good, Rom. 13.4.  And accordingly the Apostle Peter, in his 1st Epistle 2.14, gives the very same Character of them, viz. That they are for the Punishment of Evil Doers, and for the Praise of them that do well. {252}

The Law of God requires these following Qualifications, and Properties in Rulers or Magistrates.  (1.) To be wise, able, and understanding Men, not Children, Weak, Ignorant, or Fools.  Moreover, thou shalt provide of all the People able Men, Exod. 18.21.  Take ye wise and understanding Men, and I will make them Rulers, Deut. 1.13.  Set Magistrates and Judges which may judge the People, such as know the Laws of thy God, Exod. 7.25.  (2.) The Divine Law requires them to be Men well known among their Brethren, and not Aliens or Strangers: And known amongst your Tribes, and I will make them Rulers over you: So I took the Chief of your Tribes, wise Men, and known, and made them Heads over you, Deut. 1.13,15.  Two hundred and fifty Princes of the Assembly, famous in the Congregation, Num. 16.2.  Moreover in Jerusalem did Jehoshaphat set of the Chief of the Fathers of Israel, for the Judgment of the Lord, and for Controversies, 2 Chron. 19.[8].  One from amongst thy Brethren: Thou mayest not set a Stranger over thee.  (3.) Thy must be just Men, Men of Truth, fearing God, and hating Covetousness; not wicked, unjust, false, deceitful, covetous, proud, oppressive, &c. The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, and his Word was in my Tongue; the Lord God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over Men must be just, ruling in the Fear of God, 2 Sam. 23.2,3.

2. Agreeable to the Word, the foresaid Acts of Parliament prescribe the just, and necessary Qualifications of all just and lawful Magistrates, in the Kingdom of Scotland; namely, that they have taken and subscribed the Coronation-Oaths {253} and Covenants, fully secured and established the true Religion, well affected to the covenanted Reformation, of a blameless Life and Conversation, and be of the Communion of the Church of Scotland, and rule the People according to the Word, and wholesome Laws of this ancient Kingdom, employ their Power for the Good of Religion and Civil Liberty; as are more fully expressed in the above Acts of Parliament.

3. In Agreeableness to the Word, and Acts of Parliament foresaid, the 2nd Section of the 23rd Chapter of the Confession foresaid asserts, That it is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the Office of a Magistrate, when called thereto; proven Prov. 8.15,26, Rom. 13.1,2,4.  In the managing whereof, as they ought, especially to maintain Piety, Justice, and Peace, according to the wholesome Laws of each Commonwealth, which is proven from Psalm 2.10-12; 2 Tim. 2.2; Psalm 82.3,4; 2 Sam. 23.3; 1 Peter 2.13, and in the 3rd Section of the said Chapter, they assert, That the Magistrate hath Authority, and it is his Duty, to take Order, that Unity and Peace be preserved in the Church; and that the Truths of God be kept pure and entire; that all Blasphemies and Heresies be suppressed, all Corruptions and Abuses in Worship prevented or reformed, and all the Ordinances of God duly settled, administrated and observed; which is proven from many Texts of Scripture.  It is not supposable, that an Infidel Magistrate, or one of a different Religion from the People, could discharge these incumbent and indispensably necessary Duties.  But,

4. Let it be considered, That the King and Parliaments of England and Scotland, were at {254} open War when the Assembly of Divines compiled the said Confession of Faith; and yet none of these Parliaments, nor the Church of Scotland, subjected to his Authority (or admitted his Son) until he professed himself to be of the Communion of the Church of Scotland, and gave sufficient Security for the true Religion, as above: And no Body, that has a Mouthful of Sense, will imagine, that these Assemblies did not comprehend the Articles of their own Faith, or think, that their Practice contradicted their Principles; especially considering, that the Parliament of Scotland, in their 15th Act 1649, did limit the Succession to the Crown; and in their next Act 16, on that very same Day, they approved and ratified the foresaid Confession of Faith.

5. In the Act of the Commission of the General Assembly, held at the West-Kirk of Edinburgh, August 13, 1650, approven by the Committee of Estates, that same Day, 'tis said, They will not own Charles II, nor his Interest, otherwise than in Subordination to God, and (N.B.) 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: So that, altho’ they do not hold Government to be founded on Grace, yet it may justly follow, and will hold, that a Prince, who is not only of a different Religion, but has established Prelacy a false and heretical Religion, and tolerates all Sectaries and Heretics, thereby inverting the fundamental Laws of our Kingdom, can have no just and legal Authority; and, in this Case, People may very lawfully decline that pretended Authority: And, tho’ Infidelity, &c. does not make void the Authority among Heathens, where {255} it is lawfully invested with Consent of the People, and without Encroachment on Privileges and Liberties; yet it does incapacitate a Person, and lawfully secludes him from Authority over a Christian People, having the true reformed Presbyterian Protestant Religion established by Law, and confirmed by solemn and National Covenants.  Now, the Case being plainly thus, with Reference to such as have been these many Years, and are at present in Possession of the Government, ’tis evident, Presbyterian Dissenters, noways contradict that Article of the Confession, mentioned in the Objection, in refusing to pay Allegiance and Obedience to such as have assumed, or are elected to the Regal Power, since the Revolution (more than before it, there being no specifical Difference betwixt them) altogether wanting these scriptural and legal Qualifications, expressly required by these foresaid fundamental Laws of the Kingdoms, which give or clothe a Prince with that just and legal Authority to rule, as a Magistrate in his Kingdom; which Principle of our Reformers (the Penmen or Compilers of the Confession of Faith) of our Martyrs and Sufferers in the late Times, and of the present Dissenters, seems to be pretty fully and clearly vindicated by the Revolution-Principles, in the first Article of the Claim of Right, wherein they make the Duke of York’s being of a different Religion from the People, and his assuming the Regal Power, without taking the Oaths required by Law, the only and chief Reasons, for declining and rejecting his Authority: And the present Government has drawn a perpetual Bar since, against all Papists, or Persons married to Papists, from being admitted to the Imperial {256} Crown; which yet holds so far good, and plainly says, They are not for admitting Persons of a Religion different from their own false Religion, tho’ at best it is but an ILL MUMBLED MASS, as was said by King James VI.

Objection 2. The Apostles commanded and paid Subjection to Heathen Magistrates, some of which were Tyrants, and void of all Religion; and why may not Dissenters pay Subjection and Obedience to such as are professed Protestants?

Answer. 1. The Mystery of Magistracy unvail’d, p. 35, says in general, That the Heathen Magistrates was God’s Ordinance, viz. Ordinance of his Providence, is owned, but not the Ordinance of his Precept;[3] the one ordering all Things that come to pass in the World, the other only that which is good and acceptable in his Sight.  And that it is not the Ordinance of his Precept, seems plain, because there is no Institution for it in the Word of God, no Precept being given to the Heathen concerning their Magistrates, but they are left in that, as in all other Things, walking after their own Lusts, 1 Thess. 4.5, lying in Wickedness, and living in the Vanity of their own Mind, Eph. 4.17,18, under the Regiment and Conduct of the Devil, who is therefore said to have the Kingdoms of this World (as the Ruler, Prince, King, and God thereof) at his Dispose; as Luke 4.6; Eph. 2.2; 6.12; John 14.30; Rev. 13.2; 2 Cor. 4.4; Job 1.12, to the 19th, where the Devil is said to order the several Regiments and Bands against Job.

2. None who are acted in any Measure, by Reason and Religion, will ever allege, that the Apostles did contradict themselves, or that they were {257} lying and dissembling to the People.  It is plain, these Rules, Rom. 13.3,4, and 1 Peter 2.14, were given as standing Rules for all Time coming, that the People might give Obedience and Subjection to such Magistrates, as should act by Virtue of God’s Ordinance; that is to say, by the Rule of his Precept, and not that of his Providence; and therefore chalks them out, and gives us the true and certain Characters of them, by which we should know the Magistrates we are to honour and obey; they were to be a Terror to evil Doers, and a Praise to them that do well: Able Men, fearing God, hating Covetousness, &c.  So that the Apostle’s Doctrine doth not at all clash with the Necessity of obeying God rather than Man; for, as the Mystery of Magistracy says, Page 39, Wheresoever voluntary and conscientious Subjection is required, it is to the right Ordinance of Magistracy.  It is true, the Saints, as well as the Nations, were for a Season to be given up unto the Hands of such Powers, by the Fore-appointment of God, who were to subdue, overcome, and rule over them, as did the Egyptians, Philistines, and Babylonians of old, over his People for their Iniquity: And that, during this Slavery and Bondage, there was to be a patient Subjection to the overpowering Force, relating both to Bodies and Goods, thereby kissing the Rod, owning the Stroke, &c. Which Subjection under all these cruel Tyrants and Task-Masters, cannot rationally be conceived to be Voluntary, or out of Conscience, but constrained, as being for their Sin under the Lion’s Paw, and subjected to the Power of the prevailing Robber, groaning under the Oppression, and waiting for the Day of Deliverance, expecting {258} the righteous Rulers, that are to be (according to the Promise) a Blessing to the Creation, When the Oppressor shall cease, and the evil Beasts be put out of the Land: When, instead of Subjection to, and obeying such, there shall be a Shaking off the Yoke; yea, a Binding their Kings in Chains, and their Nobles in Fetters of Iron, Psalm 149.6-8.

3. Neither the Apostle by his Practice, consonant to his Precept, doth acknowledge Cæsar’s being a just or lawful Magistrate: Nor yet doth his Precept, which is certainly perpetual, extend beyond the Case and State of the People he wrote to, to wit, the Called to be Saints, who were in Rome, Rom. 1.7, no great Number; not to the whole Body of the Roman People: Then it is concerning a Power established, tho’ not lawfully, or by Consent of the People, yet by the Providence of God, for his own wise Ends, which doth neither communicate Justness nor Lawfulness to that Power, but single Possession; yet it will not follow, that Heathen Magistrates (chiefly because such) are to be declared in no Sense Magistrates; for the Magistrate’s Power, considered generaliter, given for the Good of Human Society, may be in the Person of a Heathen, or one at least of a different Religion; But considered specialiter, given for the Good of the Church, then it is only in the Person of a Professor of (not Popery or Prelacy, &c. which have no Foundation in the Word, yea contrair to it, but) the true Religion: Hence in traveling or trafficking in foreign Lands, be the Persons in whom is the Power, Heathen, or of a different Religion, Subjection cannot be refused to their Laws, so far as they are consistent with the Word and {259} true Christian Liberty, &c.[4]  See Mr. Renwick’s Testimony against the Toleration, &c.

Furthermore, these Heathen Magistrates, who did then persecute Religion, were not at all guilty of the Breach of Faith and Trust to the People; because they were not under any Engagement to the People, to defend the same, in respect of Religion’s not being the Right and Privilege of these Nations; therefore the Persecuting, tho’ it was their Sin, and their great Sin too, yet did not Unmagistrate them.  But it is vastly different, where Religion is become the Right and Privilege of a Nation, and the Magistrates either formally or materially engaged to maintain and defend the same.

As these have been some of the Principles of our Reformers and Sufferers, and I judge of all other reformed Churches, nor could any maintain the contrary, without unhinging all Government in Mahometan and Popish Countries; yet this can never, in the smallest Degree, be inconsistent with our Sufferers and present Dissenters, their Disclaiming the Authority of Persons (in a true reformed covenanted Land, where the true Presbyterian Religion has been legally established, in Opposition to Prelacy as well as Popery, &c.) who have either forfeited their Right to rule over these Lands, by violating their Original Contracts and Coronation-Oaths, &c. and so became declared Traitors and Tyrants, as in the Case of Charles I. and II. &c. Or such as have been admitted to the Regal Power, without the due indispensably necessary Qualifications, above-mentioned; as in the Case of all that have been in Possession thereof since the Revolution: This must undoubtedly hold, unless People make that 4th {260} Section of the 23rd Chapter of the Confession of Faith, contradict both the 2nd Section of that Chapter, and the fundamental Laws of the Land; in regard the second Section asserts, that a Civil Magistrate must maintain Piety and Justice, according to each Commonwealth: Now, we being a distinct Kingdom, there is no other Way of Admission, Government, and Subjection, but in Conformity to our fundamental Laws; nor upon any other Laws or Titles whatsoever, can he have any just Right unto the Subjects’ Obedience, mentioned in that 4th Section foresaid; and if he be of a different Religion from the People, he can by no Manner of Means make Conscience of performing the Duties required in the 3rd Section of that Chapter: Hence that a reformed covenanted Christian People and Nation, as Scotland is, cannot be bound to pay voluntary and conscientious Subjection, &c. to Heathen Magistrates, nor unto any Magistrates under that naked Name, Protestant; none being truly such, but those that faithfully protest against Prelacy, &c. as well as against Popery; and truly, in a strict Sense, none can be said to protest against Popery, who submits to, and professes Prelacy, by Reason of that Likeness and Affinity that is centered in both their Principles and Practices, seems abundantly clear.

4. There can be nothing more absurd than to affirm, That that which qualified a Man for being a Magistrate in a Heathen Nation, does qualify him for being a Magistrate in a Kingdom, truly reformed from Paganism, Popery, Prelacy, &c.  Or that which qualified a Man for being a Magistrate in Spain, does sufficiently qualify the same Man for the same Office in Scotland; {261} the former being under an absolute Government, but the latter under a duly limited Government, &c. as above:  Insomuch that the Reformation-Establishment has, most warrantably and commendably, drawn a perpetual Bar against the Admission of Princes of Prelatick Principles, as well as against Papists, &c. unto the Regal Dignity: And the same Reason seems to hold good equally against both; namely, That they are both false Religions, both contrary to, and condemned in the Word, both idolatrous, and lead to the Maintenance thereof: Tho’ the latter has some more aggravating Circumstances than the former; yet Majus & Minus non variant speciem, both condemned and abjured in our sacred Covenants, both contrary to our fundamental Laws, and both of sanguinary Principles and Practices, as the Sufferings and Bloodshed both in Scotland, England, and Ireland, do abundantly testify; and our Obligation both from the Word and our Covenant-Engagements is the same against both, in Proportion to their several Evils.

Objection 3. But the Saints prayed for Heathen Magistrates, and honoured them, according to Scripture-Instances, &c.

Answer. As for praying for them, that was no otherwise than for all other Men, and limited also by the Apostle, in urging that Duty as to the Ends thereof, viz. That the Saints might live a quiet and peaceable Life; and that they might be converted, and come to the Knowledge of the Truth, that they might be saved, 1 Tim. 2.1-3, which no more proves them to be God’s Ordinance, than the praying for all other Enemies and Persecutors:  And, as for {262} Titles of Honour given to them, that no more ordains them, than the contrary, viz. dishonourable and ignoble Titles (whereof there are diverse Instances to be given, terming them Dogs, Foxes, Lions, Serpents, Devils, &c.) degrades them; Mystery of Magistracy, p. 4.

Objection 4. But the Saints made their Addresses to them, Paul appealed unto Cæsar.

Answer. As for addressing to them for Justice, or any Command so to do, I find not; but the contrary, they being expressly required not to carry their Controversies unto them to decide; and the Reason given, because they were wicked and unjust, 1 Cor. 6.1,2,3, Dare any of you, having a Matter against another, go to the Law before the Unjust, and not before the Saints? See verses 7,8.

And as for Paul’s Appeal to Cæsar, these Particulars are to be observed in it: As,  (1.) He was brought before the Seat of Judicature, he did not voluntarily come to them, Acts 23.23.  (2.) He being threatened to be murdered by his Countrymen, who lay in wait by the Way for him, Acts 23.14, chapter 25.2,3, he claims the Benefit of the Heathens’ own Law, for his Preservation, not for his Adversaries’ Accusation, Acts 28.19, chapter 25.11, as though one should appeal to a Thief, to save his Life from the Murderer.  (3.) His Appeal to Cæsar might be, to get an Opportunity to testify of Christ, and to preach the Gospel at Rome, as the Lord had declared to him he should, chapter 23.11, and as he accordingly did.

Objection 5. But Christ paid, and commanded Tribute to be paid, and accordingly the Saints did pay Tribute to the Powers then in Being, {263} according to many Scripture Instances.

To this the Mystery of Magistracy says, p. 40.

Answer. It is true Christ paid Tribute, but yet with such Cautions and Considerations, as leaves the Title unstated, and as much undetermined, as never any such Thing had been mentioned or done; he paid it, but wherefore?  Not for Conscience, but for Wrath’s Sake, that he might not offend them, Matth. 17.27, declaring, That he as a free Man, was imposed upon contrary to Right.  And as for his alledged Command to pay it, as urged from Matth. 22.21, it will be found to be no such Thing, leaving them at a great Loss in that Matter, that came to ask such a Question of him, as Luke 20.26, where it is said, They could not take hold of his Words: And as for any of those Instances of the Saints going up to be taxed, and paying Tribute, they cannot otherwise be judged, than as forced Acts, and as Badges of their Roman Yoke and Bondage.

Mr. Shields’ Hind-let-loose, Page 229, says, “In Answer to that much insisted Instance of Christ’s paying Tribute, and commanding it to be paid to Cæsar, the Difficulty of it may be clearly solved.  That Tribute which he paid, Matth. 17.24, and that about the Payment thereof he was questioned, Matth. 22.21, seem to be two different Tributes.  Many think very probably they were not one and the same Tribute: ’Tis a Question for whom, and by whom, that of Matth. 17 was gathered; it is most likely it was gathered by the Officers of the Temple, for its Service, however the Payment with such Caution (tacitly declining the strict Right to exact it from him, but to {264} avoid Offence in an Act in itself unobliging) that their Claim is left as much in the Dark, as if the Question had never been moved.  The other, Matth. 22, was exacted for Cæsar; but to that captious Question, our Lord returns such an Answer, as might both solve it, and evade the Snare of the Propounders; giving a general Rule of giving to God, and to Cæsar each their own, without defining which of them had the right to the Payment in Question, whether Cæsar should have it, or whether it should be paid only for the Temple’s Use, upon which they marveled, &c.”

Objection 6. But ’tis said, Rom. 13.1, Let every Soul be subject to the higher Powers; the Reason is added, For there is no Power but of God; and the Powers that be, are ordained of God: Where the tyrannical Roman Cæsars, the Powers in Possession, are owned to be the Ordinance of God; and that because of their said Possession, to whom therefore all are required to subject for Conscience Sake.

Answer. By Power, we are to understand Authority, the Word being εξουσια, potestas, which signifies such a Power, as consists in Right, Interest, and Propriety, opposed to unrighteous and unlawful Authority; not δυναμις, potentia, which signifies mere Mightiness or Ability, opposed to Weakness and Impotency; the latter being a natural Power, consisting in Vigour and Strength; the former a moral Power, consisting in Right and Title.  See the Mystery of Magistracy, p. 42. If natural Power could oblige to Obedience, then the most lawful Monarch were bound to resign his Crown to the Mob, every Commotion {265} and Rout were to be submitted to, and not repressed: The Effect of the natural Power, is but to subject the Conquered to an actual Subduedness, to crouch down, as a Man doth to a Lion under his Paw, or a Traveler to a highway Robber.  The Effect of the Moral Power is to subject the Reason and Conscience, being founded on the Light of Nature, and Law of God; the Strength of the Moral Power lies in its Word, more than the Sword; in its Reason, more than its Might; which gives Law, the Sceptre going before the Sword, and is that which legitimates it: So that Power here is not meant a mere Force, or Domineering over a People.  Neither, by being of God, are we to understand a mere Act of Possession; for then it would have been Sin to have resisted Absalom, Athaliah, Amaziah, &c. so that Word, ordained of God, in the Text, must relate to his Precept, not his Providence only.  Mr. Shields in the Hind, p. 415, says, Tyrants, &c. are not capable of this Ordination; yea, it were Blasphemy to say, they are authorized or ordained of God, by his preceptive Will.  Hence take one Argument, says he, All Rulers that we must own are ordained of God, do reign, and are set up by God, Prov. 8.15, (for that and this place, Rom. 13.1, are parallel) but Tyrants do not reign nor are set up by God, Hosea 8.4. They are set up (saith the Lord) but not by me: Ergo, we cannot own them to be ordained of God, &c. Rulers are not a Terror to good Works, but to the evil; and they that do that which is good, shall have Praise of the same, verse 3.  This is the Character of righteous Magistrates, tho’ it be not always their Administration; but an Usurper or Tyrant is not capable or {266} susceptible of this Character; but on the contrary, is, and must be a Terror to good Works, and a Praise to the evil, &c.  Furthermore, the Sense of the Words, as they may be rendered Word for Word out of the Greek Copy, may give some Light to this, viz. For the Power is not, if not of God, and the Powers that be of God, are ordained, namely, according to the Ordinance; that is to say, his preceptive Will, not his providential Ordination, or their Self-creation.

Objection 7. But they do much Good, however unlawful in their Entrance; yet they answer much the End of Magistracy, in punishing many evil Doers, &c.

Answer. Mystery of Magistracy, page 47, says, That cannot be good which hath a bad Principle: A Government for Constitution good, may, for the Acts it puts forth, be bad; but a Government for Constitution bad, cannot for the Acts it puts forth, be good: For to the Making of an Action good, there must go, First, Warrantableness of the Matter done.  2dly, A warrantable Calling of the Party to it.  This [the fact pleaded in the objection,] may be an Obligation, to induce the Subject to bear, and improve to the best, what he cannot remedy; but it lays no Obligation on him, to take such a Ruler to be a Power ordained of God, and so conscientiously submit to him, as his lawful Ruler.  It is no Power, which is not a lawful Power, says Rutherford. [Lex Rex, Question 22, p. 186, ed. 1657; p. 102 ed. 1843/1982.]

Objection 8. It is still Duty for all in these Lands, to subject unto, and obey the lawful Commands of all that are in Possession of the Government, whether lawfully or unlawfully invested therewith.

Answer. That Possession in every Case, or any {267} Thing possible, gives not Right and Title, is clear.  See Mystery of Magistracy, p. 44, &c.

First, Because the Power of right Magistracy may be in one, and actual Rule by Providence in another, as in the Cases of Joash and Athaliah, Solomon and Adonijah, David, Absalom and Sheba, 1 Chron. 23; 2 Chron. 20,21.  2dly, Because God hath expressly disowned the Being of them that have been in present Possession of Command, as Hosea 8.4, You have set up Kings, and not by me, &c. Hab. 2.5,6, Pronounces a Woe to the King of Babylon (who had gathered to himself all Nations, and heaped unto himself all People) because he had increased that which was not his.  A Threat is denounced against them, that had taken to themselves Horns by their own Strength, Ezek. 21.25,26,27. The Possessor there is disowned, and threatened to be removed, as having no Right; that he might come whose Right it is.

3dly, Because God hath expressly authorized and owned the Act of Rising up in Arms, to expel them that have been in actual Rule, as Judges 2.16,18.  The Lord raised up Judges, to deliver them from their present Oppressors, Judges 3.15.  God is said to raise up Ehud; and chapter 4.9, It is said the Lord sold Sisera (the present Possessor) into the Hand of a Woman.  2 Kings 3.4, &c. Jehoram against Mesha King of Moab; 1 Chron. 12.21, Those that sided with David against Saul.

4thly, Because of the many Examples of Persons taking up Arms, and employed for the Recovery of Persons, Goods, and Countries, out of the Hands of them, that had the present Possession of them; which could not be done, if Dominion {268} were founded by God in Providential Possession, as Gen. 14.14, Abraham against the four Kings, that had possessed themselves of the Spoil of Sodom, &c.  2 Sam. 18.1, David against Absalom the present Possessor of the Government. 1 Sam. 13.3,4, Jonathan, that went up to invade the Philistines in their Possessions, &c.

Furthermore, to make Obedience and Subjection Duty, because of Possession of Government, is to make Providence a Rule, in place of the Word; which, without a Rule of God’s Word, signifies no Allowance, only a Permission,  (1.) In regard that which is herein attributed to Providence, is by Scripture denied, Eccles. 9.2,1, All Things come alike to all, none knowing Love or Hatred by all that is before him.

(2.) Because the putting any Thing to be a Rule, beyond, or further than Scripture, so as to make a Law of God, which is not there delivered, denies the Sufficiency and Perfection thereof, which is perfect, and ought not to be added to, or diminished from, Deut. 4.2; 2 Tim. 3.15.

(3.) Because God hath reproved his People for following Providence, without Recourse to himself, Isa. 30.1,2; chap. 31.1. Their Confederacies with Egypt, and leaning upon Horses and Armies, because strong.

(4.) Because Providence itself is so indistinct and various, as Eccles. 8.14, so that no Argument can be made from it.  Hence God’s Preceptive, not his Providential Will, is to be our Rule.  Answerably hereunto, Subjection and Obedience, not merely passive, as under a Burden and Cross, but voluntary and active, for Conscience’ {269} Sake, is only due unto a Power, not natural, but moral; and if so, then that moral Power must be both ordained and regulated by the Rule of his Precept; for the lawful, not the unlawful Commands of lawful Magistrates, are our Duty.  Obedience is to be in the Lord.

Musculus saith, “It is to be noted, that the Apostle, Rom. 13, doth not say, There is not a Prince or King, who is not of God, but the Power is not but of God; for he speaks not of the Abuse of the Power, and the Tyranny, which many Princes exercise; nor yet of those who by Force break into Power, but of the Power itself Divinely ordained; altho’ every Power be of God, yet every Prince is not presently of God.  It is written of some, that they had been set up, but not by God.” [Hosea 8.4.]

Treatise of Monarchy [1643] says, “Be People captived or possessed at Pleasure, they have no Duty of Obedience incumbent upon them; neither do they sin, in not Obeying: Nor do they resist God’s Ordinance, If, at any Time of Advantage, they use Force, to free themselves from such a violent Possession.” [page 18, ed. London, 1689.]

Mr. Shields says, “Was not Charles I. opposed by Arms, and his Son Charles II. refused to be admitted to the Government, till he subscribed the Covenants?  Did not our Church by their Acts and Constitutions declare, what Magistrates they would have to reign over them, and what Qualifications were requisite in them?  So, what we have done, in disowning the present Authority, is no new, nice Notion, as some would have it, but consonant unto the Principles of the Church of Scotland.  It is these that own the Authority {270} of the Popish Usurper, that espouse new Notions; for this Principle is maintained by the Generality of the Enemies, &c. viz. That when by Providence any are in Government, they have a Right to govern.  This (says he) is to make the Holy One the Author of Sin, seeing (tho’ the Ordinance and Office of Magistracy be according to his preceptive and approbative Will, yet) Tyranny cannot be, but only by his Permission and Providential Will; for where Tyranny is, it is the Throne of Iniquity, which is the Throne of the Devil, which should not be owned; for God never gave a Right to Tyrants and Oppressors, to govern his People in these Lands, but ordained them for a People’s Punishment, according to that Power which the Devil has, who has a Power, both to tempt to Sin, and also to punish for Sin, tho’ under a Restraint as to both.”

But to set this Matter in a clear Light, it seems reasonable Duty, when Magistrates or Governors are chosen, and advanced to the Imperial Crown in Britain by a Party, that has made Defection and Apostasy from the Purity of Religion, and has not only violated, but rescinded our fundamental Laws and original Contracts, &c. the rest of the Subjects, be they few, or many, adhering to the true Religion, and that so-deserted and despised Cause, are not only free, not to subject to, and own such Magistrates’ Authority; but they are bound and obliged not to do it, lest thereby they consent to the Publick Defection of that other Part, and to the Making void the said Laws, establishing the true Religion: And being thus obliged not to submit and acknowledge such Authority, they are necessarily also {271} bound to do nothing in their Station, actually and voluntarily to corroborate the same; or which, in the Construction of Law and Reason, may import and Acknowledgment of that Authority.

Hence, Magistrates’ [their being] elected according to the Rules, and invested with Qualifications, revealed in the holy Word, and the fundamental Laws of our Land, and Covenants securing our holy Religion, and right Administration thereof, only found a Title unto Obedience, and not Providence or Possession; otherwise Obedience is unlimited; and so the Power to whom ’tis due must be unlimited and absolute: Both which are sinful.  And hence, if Julian the Apostate, or the Pope, were on the Throne of Britain, by a Turn of Providence, Obedience to their lawful Commands, according to the Objection, is Duty; which is absurd, and saps all fundamental Laws, blots out the Word, regulating and limiting both Government and Obedience, Governors and Governed, and turns all into Confusion, which is ridiculous Nonsense and Delusion; yea, it is utterly inconsistent, and contradictitious with itself, condemning all Resistance against any present Possessor or Occupant; yet justifying every Resistance that is but successful, however murderous and unjust: Yea, this would utterly make void all Prophecies, that foretold the Coming of Antichrist; and yet, if once come, it would forever keep him upon the Stage, in Opposition to JESUS CHRIST, and to the vacating of all the Promises and Prophecies of his Dispossession and Destruction, upon a Penalty of resisting God’s Ordinance, and Damnation to oppose him.  Yea, this Objection reproves all Resistance and Opposition, that has been made by the Saints against {272} any Possessor, requiring only in them a Neutrality, in every Contest that happens, and a Subjecting to those only that are uppermost, and got into Possession, which cannot be known, until the Controversy be decided.  Neither ought there to be a Cleaving to either Side, the Event being so uncertain.  See the Mystery of Magistracy, p. 51.

Objection 9. In Regard every subsequent Parliament has Power to rescind any Act or Constitution, which has been made by a former Parliament; these fundamental Laws and Covenants being abrogate and rescinded, are no more the Laws of Scotland, and so can neither limit Princes, in their Admission to the Imperial Crown, nor regulate them in their Government.

Answer 1. That subsequent Parliaments have a Power to rescind Laws, Acts, or Constitutions, either sinful or prejudicial to the Good of the Common-weal, or to make Laws tending to the Good of Church or State, is granted; but that any Parliament has an absolute Power, to destroy the National Conditions, and rescind the fundamental Laws of the Realm, is utterly refused; that being contrary to the Design of their representative Capacity: For id possumus quod jure possumus, Men have no just Power to do Iniquity.

2. If any subsequent Parliament has a Power to vacate, cass, and rescind any fundamental Law or Constitution, then it will undoubtedly hold, that any following Parliament in England has a Power to rescind that Act and fundamental Constitution, viz. That no Person that is a Papist, or marries a Papist, shall have any Right {273} to succeed to the Crown of England, in all Time coming; and by this Means, Popery, with all the Trumpery of Rome, may in a trice come to be established: But if it cannot be granted, that they have a just rightful Power so to do; then it will most natively follow, That no Man or Number of Men, no Parliament or Council, had a just Power to abrogate, rescind, or make void these Covenants and fundamental Laws of Scotland, whereby the Sovereign is obliged to be of the Communion of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, so as to loose any one in it from the Obligation thereof.

3. That subsequent Parliaments have a Physical Power of Force, to rescind or alter fundamental Laws, &c. is certain, because they do it; but that they have a Moral Power of Right; to rescind Acts and Laws, made for the Security and Establishment of the true Religion, is absolutely denied; because that would make the Divine Law, which enjoins Purity and Holiness, to contend earnestly for the Faith once delivered to the Saints, and whereunto we have already attained, to walk by the same Rule, and to do nothing against the Truth, but for the Truth, to CROUCH to the Lusts and Pleasures of Men.  Furthermore, it seems abundantly plain, that when a Part of a Nation, making Defection from the Purity of Religion, do rescind the Laws made in Favours thereof, establish a false Religion, and advance one of their own Kidney [sort, disposition] to the Government, that other Party adhering to the Purity of Religion, are undoubtedly bound, in their Capacity, to oppose that Course; and purely for this very Reason, Because that defectious Party has overturned the just Laws and {274} Constitutions, which if they have a rightful Power to rescind, then they are never to be opposed in any Part of their Absoluteness and Tyranny, &c. which is absurd.  Hence,

4. It seems undeniably evident, that these fundamental Laws and Covenants, being founded upon, and agreeable to the divine Law, cannot be made null by any human Law whatsoever; and so continuing to be the standing Laws of Scotland, they make the professing, practicing, and maintaining of the true reformed Religion in Doctrine, Worship, Discipline, and Government, according to the holy Word, and the Covenants, National and Solemn League, a FUNDAMENTAL QUALIFICATION of the Sovereigns of Scotland, and a special Stipulation at their Entry into the Government; as is evident from their Acts insert in the National Covenant, and from the Form and Order of the Coronation of King Charles II.  And,

5. To allow a King or Parliament to assume such an absolute and unlimited Power, to invade fundamental Laws, subvert the true reformed Protestant Religion, and to violate the Laws and Liberties of a free Kingdom, is directly contrary to the first Article of the Claim of Right, where the same is made one of the main Grounds the States used for deposing the Duke of York, rejecting and disowning his pretended Authority.

Objection 10. But Presbyterian Dissenters are suspected of Jacobitism, and particularly charged with it, in Kersland’s Memoirs,[5] and Patrick Walker’s Passages.

Answer. They say this at their own Hand, without the least Evidence; and no wise Man will credit their bare Assertions, without some Proof. {275} That the Charge is Groundless, is plain,   (1.) From the Principles Dissenters have always espoused and pursued, viz. The Purity of Presbytery and Reformation-Principles, in Opposition to Prelacy, Popery, and their respective Appurtenances.  (2.) From their divers Declarations of their Principles in Print, wherein the whole Strain and Scope of all runs in a direct Line of Contrariety unto Jacobitism.  (3.) From their constant Practice consonant unto their declared Principles, by which they have always given Proof of their utter Aversion to that Way of it, in avoiding the direct Opposites of these their Opinions.

And, tho’ Kersland [Crawford] brands Dissenters with that hateful Name, yet he was never united with them, did never convene them at Sanquhar, or any where else (as he and Patrick Walker affirm) but an entire Stranger unto their Secrets, a perfect Foreigner unto their Purposes, and they quite removed from the Sphere of his Prescriptions or Dictates.  But to refute both his and Patrick Walker’s Calumnies on that Point, a few Sentences of that Declaration 1707 may be insert, in which they say, The Pretender’s Interest was couched, which run thus, In the Informatory Vindication, p. 270, viz. “Upon the like, and other weighty Considerations (as Popish Education, Conversation, &c.) we Protest against, and disown the pretended Prince of Wales, from having any just Right to rule or govern these Nations, or be admitted to the Government thereof: And whereas (as is reported) we are maliciously aspersed by these who profess themselves of the Presbyterian Persuasion, especially the Laodicean Preachers, {276} that we should be accessory to the Advancement of him whom they call the pretended Prince of Wales to the Throne of Britain: Therefore, to let all concerned be fully assured of the contrary, we protest and testify against all such, so principled, to rule in thir [these] Lands; because we look upon all such, to be standing in a stated Opposition to God, and our covenanted Reformation.”

Patrick Walker, and all others are challenged to point at the Page, Section, Sentence, Words, or Syllables of that Declaration, or any other published by them, in which the Pretender’s Interest is couched; till this be done, the World may judge what Designation he justly merits, thro’ his malevolent Speeches.

It would appear from the 86th page of his remarkable Passages (in which are found some remarkable Lies) That Patrick Walker has either,  (1.) thro’ Ignorance and Envy, reproached Dissenters with that Jacobite Interest (which they always did, and do disclaim) without so much as once reading that Declaration foresaid, depending only on Kersland’s Assertion (who had a Patent to be a Rogue, Patrem sequitur sua proles) without searching into the Truth of the Matter.  And, if so, then this Deed does indeed invalidate and nullify all his other Accusations, he hath, or possible may bring against Dissenters; in Regard this very Fact of accusing Dissenters, without reading their Prints, does really give every Body just Ground to question the Truth of all the Passages and Accounts he has, or can publish of himself, or others, unless they be better instructed [demonstrated, proven].  Or, {277}

2. He has read that Declaration 1707, (in which he says, the Pretender’s Interest was couched) as it seems he has, seeing he cites and condemns other three Declarations; and none in their solid Wits would condemn these, or like Papers, without Perusal of them: And, if so, then this false Charge must be bottomed upon, and is the Effect of pure Malice, in Regard, in reading that Print, he could not but see the above Quotation; and so knew, when writing this Charge, that he was deliberately writing a Lie.  Hence, no Man of Sense and Probity can lay any Stress on, or credit his Performances.

Caryl on Job, Chapter 13.4, says, “There is a practical Lie, when we act against what we speak, and unsay with our Lives, what we say with our Lips; many a Man’s Hand gives his Tongue the Lie, and his Works speak the Falsity of his Words.  Lying is very abominable, when it is only a Tongue-Craft; but it is then most abominable, when it is also an Handy-Craft.” Which seems very applicable to Patrick Walker. His other Stories, may come to be considered afterward.

[Conclusion of the Book of Plain Reasons, etc.]

But, to conclude, there needs not be a more confirming Proof of this Revolution-Church’s shamefully deserting and abandoning our Covenants, and covenanted Work of Uniformity in Reformation of Religion, than their never so much as making any suitable and vigorous Essays for reviving and practicing the same (many rather wishing they had never been, and expressing these evil Wishes, both in Word and Deed) nor yet dealing with the Civil Powers, in any Measure of Honesty and Faithfulness, by representing the {278} Sin and Guilt of the Throne of Britain (instead of this constant hateful Flattery) in their Supplications, Addresses, and Remonstrances; yea, never to this Day desired so much as the rescinding of that Heaven-daring Act of Wickedness, the Act Rescissory, and the Act condemning the Covenants.  It would be but an Abuse of Words and a practical Lie, to say she bears any dutiful Respect unto that Cause, while these Acts stand unrepealed, and no Complaint of the same made; which seems to import, that they stand in Doubt, if the Things condemned by these Acts were, and are the Cause of Christ; and, if they be, they can make a Fend [provision] without it, and yet gull poor People over with a pretended Kindness to it.  O how cross and opposite this Unfaithfulness, both to God and Man, is unto that Soul-concern and flaming Zeal of our burning and shining Lights in the Year 1645, worthy truly of the deepest Consideration, and speedy and daily Imitation, who, in their Remonstrance to King Charles I. inform him, “That what they had concluded concerning Uniformity of Religion betwixt both Kingdoms, was to be humbly offered to him from the Commissioners of this Kingdom, for his Royal Assent and Ratification!”  In which Remonstrance, after faithfully representing to him his great and growing Dangers, from the Displeasure of his provoked People; and most of all, from the Guilt that cleaveth fast to his Throne, particularly the several Sins mentioned in the Remonstrance, which would involve him and his Posterity under the Wrath of the ever-living God, if not timeously repented of; and therefore exhorting him to serious Repentance: They add,

“For all which ’tis high Time for your {279} Majesty to fall down at the Footstool of the King of Glory, to acknowledge your Offences, to repent timely, to make your Peace with God through Jesus Christ (whose Blood is able to wash away your great Sin) and to be no longer unwilling that the Son of God reign over you and your Kingdoms, in his pure Ordinances of Church-Government and Worship.  These Things, if your Majesty do, it shall be no Grief of Heart unto you afterward; a Blessing is reserved for you, and you shall find Favour with God and with your People, and with all the Churches of Christ: But if your Majesty shall refuse to hearken to this wholesome Counsel (which the Lord forbid) we have discharged our Consciences; we take God and Man to witness, that we are blameless of the sad Consequences, which may follow: And we shall wait upon the Lord, who, when he maketh Inquisition for Blood, will not forget the Cry of the Humble; in the mean While, beseeching your Majesty to take Notice, that we are not staggering or fainting, through Diffidence of the Success of this Cause and Covenant of the three Kingdoms, unto which, as God hath already given manifold Testimonies of his Favour and Blessing; so it is our steadfast and unshaken Confidence, that this is the Work and Cause of God, which shall gloriously prevail against all Opposition, and from which, with the Assistance and Grace of God, we shall never suffer ourselves to be divided or withdrawn, but shall zealously and constantly, in our several Vocations, endeavour, with our Estates and Lives, the Pursuing and Promoving thereof.” {280}

And, in the Assembly’s Letter to the King, Aug. 6th, 1649,

“We do, in all Humility, beseech your Majesty to consider and lay to Heart what the Mouth of the Lord of Hosts hath spoken of all the Accounts of People, Nations, Kings and Rulers, against the Kingdom of his SON: That they imagine a vain Thing, and that he that sitteth in Heaven will have them in Derision, and vex them in his sore Displeasure.  Consider how he hath blasted and turned upside down these Years past, all the Devices and Plots of these Men, that now bear the Sway in your Majesty’s Councils.  Consider how the Anger of God has been kindled, even against his dearest Saints, when they have joined themselves to such Men, as he hateth and has cursed, consider, how severely he hath threatened and punished such Kings, as have associate with Idolaters, and leaned unto their Helps.  Surely, great is the Wrath of God, whereof you are in Danger——As for the Iniquities of your Father’s House, especially the Opposition against the Reformation of Religion and Cause of God; the permitting and practicing Antichristian Idolatry in the Royal Family itself, and the shedding of so much Blood of the People of God; So also, for their entering to walk in the like Courses——it is high Time to fall down before the Throne of Grace, seeking to get your Peace made with God thro’ Jesus Christ—to walk no longer in the Counsel of the Ungodly, nor cleave to such as seek their own Things, and not the Things of Jesus Christ,—but to set your Eyes upon the Faithful in your Dominions, that such may dwell with you, and be the Men of your Councils; to serve the Lord in Fear, and kiss the Son of God, by a sincere and cordial contributing your Royal Allowance and Authority, for establishing in all your Dominions, the Reformation of Religion, in Doctrine, Worship, and Government, as it is now agreed upon, according to the clear and evident Warrant of the Word of God, by the Assembly of Divines at Westminster, and the General Assemblies of this Church: And also, laying aside that Service-Book, which is so stuffed with Romish Corruptions, &c.”


The above section of Ten Objections and Answers which ran from pages 251 to 277 in the 1731 edition of Plain Reasons for Presbyterians Dissenting was replaced by John Howie with a revised section of Thirteen Objections and Answers in his 1787 edition of the work published in Reformation Principles Re-Exhibited.—JTK.


1. Such as the Antigovernment scheme reviewed, Roger’s dialogue, the Scripture, (or rather) modern Loyalist, joint Testimony, &c. &c. &c.

2. See Mr. Richard Cameron’s Sermon on Psalm 46.10, where he warns: “For I assure you, if ye be not delivered and made a free and purified people, we shall no more be a free corporation, nation, or embodied people, than the Jews are at this day.”  This prophetic threatening of national judgment was thus fulfilled only some 27 years after Mr. Cameron’s death.—JTK.

3. These expressions, effectively disowning any lawfulness in “Heathen Magistracy” per se, as an institution of God, should be viewed in light of the next several paragraphs.  In Mr. Howie’s revised section of Objections and Answers, the concepts of “Heathen Magistrates” and “Heathen Magistracy” receive further discussion, especially in his tenth objection and answer.  In what follows here from Mr. Clarkson, there is shown a clear awareness that sometimes heathen nations with heathen rulers have possessed governments entitled to the respect and subjection of God’s people.  Yet it is as certain that the Heathenism of a magistrate is in no way a qualification for any office which actually is the ordinance of God, nor really compatible with the office of civil government, whether guided by the light of Holy Scripture, or even as guided by the Light of Nature.  Heathenism is darkness, and not light.  Its tendency is only to nullify both a man’s capability, and also his right, to bear ruling responsibilities in society.  And as there have been Heathens and Pagans who were, more or less, guided by the light of nature, contrary to their Heathenism, so such rulers and philosophers were, like Christians guided by the light of Scripture, concerned to discern the difference between just and unjust laws, as well as between that government to which men ought to submit, and that which they ought to resist.—JTK.

4. The above statements are a paraphrase of part of the second paragraph in the Covenanter’s 1685 Declaration at Sanquhar, in which they explain their understanding of section 4 of the Westminster Confession’s 23rd chapter.—JTK.

5. John Crawford of Crawfordland assumed the name Kersland after purchasing the family estate of his wife’s deceased father from her sister.  He should not be confused with their father, Robert Ker, who was a well known Covenanter, and who had been deprived of his lands during the era of persecution.—JTK.