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

ACT of the Reformed Presbytery

Anent a FAST, with the CAUSES thereof.

Pentland, Nov. 5th, 1773.

THE Presbytery conscious of the duty incumbent upon them as spiritual watchmen, to blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, and call a solemn assembly, to the exercise of solemn humiliation and mourning, on account of our multiplied crying sins, both national and personal, daily increasing, because of which the Lord’s anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still. [Isa. 5.25.]  Particularly, our national guilt, which may be generally summed up in the instances of---national apostasy, and overthrow of a glorious work of reformation;---breach and contemptuous burial of our solemn national vows to God, and the bloodshed of the saints and witnesses of the most High;---none of which have been suitably mourned over, and turned from; but, on the contrary, this generation seems to be fast filling up the sin of their fathers, and serving themselves heirs to their iniquity, by their continued hatred of, and opposition to the covenanted cause and principles of the Reformation, and joining with the people of these abominations, in their sin and idolatry, which we were and are still bound both by our baptismal and national vows to detest and renounce.  An established antichristian supremacy is exercised over the house of God; his church is violently oppressed in her spiritual rights and privileges, in all corners of the land, where there is an opportunity.  As also, from a generally prevailing contented ignorance {2} of reformation truths and attainments formerly contended for, by the Lord’s faithful church and people in these lands, the present generation are hardened in their opposition to, and contempt of these precious truths, that the Lord is calling to hold fast till he come, that we lose not our crown. [Rev. 3.11.]

A great and awful security, stupidity and unconcernedness under all our guilt, present abounding wickedness, and the terrible tokens both of the Lord’s departure from us, and his wrath against us; whereby he is giving intimation, that he is coming against us in some stroke more sensible and alarming than we have yet felt, as the just punishment of our many aggravated iniquities.

Again, Considering the dreadful evils and distempers prevailing among professors of the name of Christ; such as,---Great ignorance of God and of ourselves; of sin in its nature, effects and deserts.  Ignorance of the most substantial truths of the gospel, of Christ himself, in his person, offices and relations; and of the discipline and laws of his kingdom, which he has commanded us to observe.  Ignorance of the holy Spirit, in his person and operations; dreadful leanness of soul; barrenness under the means of grace; estrangedness from the life and power of religion, and spiritual communion with a God in Christ in duties and ordinances; so that it may be said of many of the professed disciples and followers of the Lord, Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. [2 Tim. 3.5.]  A great neglect of the duties and exercises of religion in general, and particularly {3} the duty of Christian society for prayer and godly conference, which is either much neglected, carelessly attended to, or then the very end and design of the duty perverted and turned to vain jangling:  Woeful contentions and rending divisions among Christ’ professed witnesses and followers; whereby witnessing work for truth is turned into a reproach and derision by many, who are thereby hardened in their contempt of all that is sacred; and others discouraged from coming forth to the help of the Lord against the mighty, [Judges 5.23,] by an espousing an impartial testimony for his cause and interest.

Finally, Little affectedness in a suitable way for acknowledged causes of the Lord’s wrath, and no due endeavours for remedying confessed evils:  Few stirring up themselves to take hold of a departing God and glory, and wrestling him back to his house and sanctuary. [Ezek. 10.18; Gen. 32.24-25.]  All these, besides the abounding of the grossest immoralities, profaneness, error, &c many instances of which have been specified in former papers of causes, call loudly upon us to humble ourselves before the Lord, while he waits to be gracious, [Isa. 30.18]; and speedily to fly to the blood of atonement for pardon and cleansing from all the complicated load of guilt we ly under, whether national or personal, before the door of mercy be shut, the decree bring forth, and the day of the Lord’s anger come upon us, [Zeph. 2.2,] when there will be no escaping.  Wherefore, and for all these causes, with others that have been formerly condescended upon, the presbytery appoint the third Thursday, being the 20th of January next, to be observed by themselves, and all the {4} people under their inspection, as a day of solemn fasting, humiliation, and chastening of soul before the Lord, exhorting and obtesting all and every one of them, not only to a searching out, and evangelically mourning over sin, but a real turning therefrom.  And further, the presbytery require them not to be forgetful of any of the Lord’s benefits, but thankfully to acknowledge all his mercies, whether temporal, as the seasonable harvest, or spiritual, in the continuance of the day of the Lord’s patience, and of the dispensation of gospel grace, and the ordinances thereof; and to pray that the Lord may mercifully interpose in putting a stop to the prodigious increase of [xxxx xxxxx xxxx departing][1] from the living God:----That the Lord may direct and strengthen the hands of the presbytery in the maintenance of his cause and truth; bless the labours of his servants in this and the neighbouring kingdom, and in America, to the conviction and conversion of many souls, and building up of his people in holiness and comfort, through faith unto salvation.  And as the presbytery have at present some views of further assistance in their work, and the people of further supply of gospel ordinances, that the Lord of the harvest would, as to their concern therein, guide them with his eye and hand upon them for good, and in his own good time crown their prospect with his blessing in sending forth able and faithful labourers into his harvest. [Luke 10.2.]  And the presbytery appoint intimation to be publicly made hereof, by the ministers, on the sabbath immediately preceding, and the causes to be read.

Extracted by J. FAIRLY, Pr. Cls.


1. The original from which this text was transcribed is defective.  There are about 5 words here at the end of one line, which cannot be read.—JTK.