To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken.—Jer. 6.10

[James Renwick's Testimony Against the Toleration.]
T  E  S  T  I  M  O  N  Y,

Some persecuted Presbyterian Ministers of the Gospel,
unto the Covenanted Reformation



And to the present expediencie of continuing to preach the Gospel
in the Fields, and against the present Antichristian To-
leration in its nature and design, &c.

Given in to the Ministers at Edenburgh by Mr. JAMES RENWICK
upon the 17. Janwarii 1688.

Hos. 2. 1. 2. 3. Say ye unto your Brethren Ammi, and to your Sisters Ruhamah. Plead with your Mother, plead: for she is not my Wife neither am I her Husband: Let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts; Lest I strip her naked &c.

Isa. 58. 1. 2. Cry aloud spare not, lift up thy voice like a Trumpet, and shew my People their transgressions, and the House of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek me daily and delight to know my ways, as a Nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God; &c.

Lamen. 2. 14. Thy Prophets have seen vain and foolish things for thee, and they have not Discovered thine iniquitie, to turn away thy captivity, but have seen for thee false burthens, and causes of banishment.

Jer. 6. 14. They have healed also the hurt of the Daughter of my People slightly, saying, peace, peace, when there is no peace.

Printed in the Year 1688.

 R E A D E R.

Christian and Candid Reader,
SUCH is the iniquity and unhappiness of these times; wherein Judgment is turned away backward, and Justice standeth afar off, Truth is fallen in the streets and equity can not enter, yea Truth faileth, and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey, whereat the Lord is displeased, when he sees there is no man, and Wonders there is no Intercessor; That, now when the Case of Confession is very clear and clamant, to aim at these indispensable and ever heretofore indisputable duties, of pleading for Truth, seeking the Truth, being valiant for it, standing in the Gap to turn away wrath, pleading with our Mother to put away her whoredoms, always called for in such a Case, is flouted at with disdain and exploded with indignation, as a ridiculous impertinency. And so declaredly are these duties declined, and so industriously are these declensions daubed, that the common dialect used and known among the confessors of Christ is inverted, & the very name and notion of these things professedly perverted, under the interchanged designation of their opposite extremes: When now Tyranny passes under the name of Authority, and arbitrary absoluteness under the notion of Magistratical prerogative; Compliance with mischiefs, framed into Laws by a Throne of iniquity, goes for Loyalty; Acceptance of a Popish, Religion-undermining, Reformation-overturning, Liberty-perverting, Law-subverting, Truth-enslaving Toleration, improving a Liberty to preach the Gospel; sinful and shameful silence and unfaithfulness, passing over the indignities done unto Christ, His Cause and Covenants broken, burnt, and buried, and encroachments made upon His Kingly prerogatives, and Kingdom’s Liberties, without a witness, is counted wary and witty prudence; stupid indifferency in the Lord’s matters, preferring their own things to His, postponing His precious Interest, to present ease, and selling Truth to purchase an unhallowed peace from and with Christ’s Enemies, is called and encouraged as moderation: On the other hand, To stand fast in the Liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, that is taken for licentiousness; To maintain Religion with human Liberty, that is Rebellion; To stand at a distance from and withstand these Land-defiling and destroying sins, that is faction; To abstract and abstain from all accession to saying a Confederacy to all to whom the People say a Confederacy, for fear of the Lord, lest the benefice of His sanctuary be forfeited, that is schism and sinful separation; To give every thing its own name, in plainness and Gospel simplicity, that’s reproachful raillery, and pitiful silliness; faithfulness, that’s folly; zeal, that’s wildness; Tenderness of Conscience; that’s superstitious and preposterous scrupulosity; a Testimony can no sooner be named, than it is suspected of Giddiness, hot-headedness, and presently huffed and puffed at, cast away and laid by, as an Ignorant, impertinent, insignificant ridicule. Under such distempers and prejudices, it must needs be very difficult & discouraging to offer a Testimony for the precious Truths {} of Christ; especially for the hunted hidden ones, incessantly chased, continually pursued indefatigably persecuted by the rage of enemies, contempt of friends, and reproach of all; and Labouring under such disadvantages, that the sense of their own incapacity to exhibit it, with any suitableness to the matter and moment of it, the want of the concurrence of those that are best accomplished for it, little hope of the countenance of these that do not concur, of acceptance with those that do not give their countenance, or of access to communicate it to those that do not accept it (without exposing themselves to manifest Hazard) or of getting their help to publish it, to whom they dare not freely communicate it, cannot but demur, daunt and discourage them from any such essay. The following Testimony was attended with those disadvantages; which contrary to the intention of the Authors, did both retard the republishing of it in the manner first resolved, and precipitate the printing of it in the present exigence. For it was first intended to have been given in to some solemn Meeting of Presbyterian Ministers who preach under the present Toleration, that by them it might be communicated to whom they pleased, and Jointly Cognosced upon, and thoughts of it returned. But such meetings being hid from us, and hardly access to persons in our Circumstances, the principle Author a faithful Minister and now Glorified Martyr of Christ, Mr. James Renwick (now above the reach of rage and reproach, and Crowned with victory over sin and sorrow, pride of men & strife of tongues, with which for his master’s sake he had a continual conflict until he overcame by the blood of the Lamb and the word of his Testimony, not loving his life unto the death, by which also he sealed this present Testimony) with the consent of others concurring, thought it expedient to slip no time, but take the first & the fittest opportunity of spreading it among them in such a way as might be least offensive. And accordingly, hastening towards the time of his appointed dissolution, a little before his being taken, he delivered it upon the 17th day of January, as it were his dying Testimony into the hands of a Reverend & learned Minister, whom he supposed to be the Moderator of the meeting at Edinburgh: who, not knowing him (for if he had, its like his known Loyalty, and respect to the Council’s sentence of Intercommuning, would have made him more reserved; as he shewed himself afterward, when one of the Informatory Vindications, was offered to him, which he superciliously refused) at that time, received it very courteously, and promised to consider & communicate it to his Brethren. Which for some time was expected, in the hope that either he or some other, should have had so much regard to the importance of the mater of it about which it treats, or respect to him, who set to his dying seal to it, or tenderness to our Souls, who adhere to it if they think us in an error, or Zeal for the Covenanted Cause, if they think that thereby wronged, as to signify their sentiments of it, in approving what is right, and disapproving what is wrong in it. Yet instead of this, after it had been much spoken of and inquired after, by occasion of its being confirmed by a Martyr’s Testimony, it hath been not only smothered and embezzled, but when sought for, represented as insignificant, impertinent non-sense, not worthy of their Cognizance. Which indeed is the easiest way, and shortest cut to answer all things: And perhaps it were not worth the while, to vindicate the weakness of some of our hands in it from some such Charge. But suppose it were, the matter of it (though weakly managed) is of some consideration. It is a Testimony {} against the Addressers for, Accepters of, and all that have any interest in, or accession to this Toleration; with reflections upon the Granter’s design, and the Receivers’ sin: Surely if they have Loyalty for the Granter, and love to the benefit Granted, and peace in improving it, they must Justify it; and how ever it is incumbent to watchmen to shew whether it be sin or duty to these that challenge and Allege it to be sin. It is a Testimony for the Covenants, now interdicted to be owned; which all Presbyterians must Avouch, or else their Adherence thereunto will be suspected. It is a Testimony for the present expediency of Field meetings, not long ago Generally approven of Presbyterian Ministers, & even of them who now condemn them in the same Circumstances, wherein they themselves maintained them; It is worthy of some Cognizance either to purge themselves of unsteadfastness, or impute to them folly who charge it, and to tell whether it be sin or duty, when People are daily brought to suffering upon this head. What if it have no significancy, hath it no signification? Or cannot these Masters of sense & learning understand the scope of that which Conscience speaks, & it concerns theirs to hear, though it do not observe the rules of Grammar: What if it be folly? Yet they knew not, but the Case may be such as makes the answer expedient, lest we be wise in our own conceit, when they do not discover our folly: Or shall we allow ourselves to think, they care not what conceits or deceits we run upon? But we rather conjecture, the other case of Answering folly, that the Wise man determines in the negative, doth more bind our Brethren, that is, they will not answer, lest they be like unto us: for either they may fear to discover some folly too, & then they will be like unto us; or else, by breaking silence, and the boundaries prescribed in the Terms wherein they are Tolerated, they may break the Toleration, lose their patron’s protection, and then they will be like unto us. And there is some reason to think this Policy preponderates with them, which indeed as they are Circumstantiated may conciliate pity: For, if they answer, without discovering the Constantly asserted principles of Presbyterians, concerning Tolerations of or from Papists, & owning the Obligation of the Covenants, &c. All will suspect them either of prevarication or palpable defection; If they do discover them, they will forfeit the fancied benefit of the pretended favour. But we would have them also to consider, that if they be altogether silent at such a time, though their known learning and sense will absolve them from inability to answer it, yet their disdain of our ignorance, will not clear them of the Censure of unfaithfulness. And let not their fear of Papists & Malignants, if they do speak, make them altogether misregard our constantly resolved Testifying against them, if they do not speak, insignificant & impertinent as it is. However the present industry to cover & smother it, together with the inconvenience of incorrect Copies, & the mocks & jears, wherewith they are entertained, do provoke us to make it more publick, & to take this way of publishing it; that impartial unprejudiced Readers, may see with their own eyes, & at least be invited & incited to search & try, whether the course here testified against, be to be approved or reproved, & consequently whether to be countenanced or discountenanced: and what light they obtain by searching the Scriptures, whether these things be so, it is desired they may ascribe all the praise of it, to the Father of Lights, & not astrict all the profit of it to their own breasts, but impart it also to others; & not withhold it from those, who own this Testimony, who desire nothing more than to be friendly admonished of any wrong in their way, that being convinced thereof, they may confess & forsake it, and to do to others whatsoever they would that men should do to them. Fare well. {6}

T E S T I M O N Y,

Some persecuted Presbyterian Ministers of the Gospel, unto the Reformation of the Church of Scotland, namely to the perpetual obligation of the National Covenant, and solemn League and Covenant, and to the present expediency of continuing to preach the Gospel in the interdicted Meetings in the Fields: And against this Antichristian Toleration, in its nature and design, tending to bury all these in oblivion, lately obtruded upon, and accepted by the body of this Nation; given in to the Ministers at Edinburgh, by Mr. James Renwick. 17. Jan. 1688.
IT was ever reckoned the renown of the Church of Scotland, though now brought very low, and like to be lost as a prey in the Dragon’s mouth, that Christ’s conquest of that Land which the Roman Legions while heathenish could not subdue, among the first fruits of the Gentiles. And when overcome and long overrun by Roman Locusts when Antichristian, his Glorious outstretched Arm did emancipate and redeem his Inheritance from the bondage of Antichrist unto such a Pitch of Reformation in Doctrine, Worship, Discipline, and Government, that it became a Pattern to other Churches, and had this prerogative above them all, that at once and from the beginning, nothing was left unremoved or unreformed that ever flowed from the man {6:B} of sin: And every part of the Reformation was regulated by the measuring line of the Sanctuary, the Word of God; and not only established by righteous and laudable Laws ratifying the same with the Sanction of the penal Statutes against the enemies thereof, but confirmed with strictest Engagements to preserve and promote it, in the National and solemn League and Covenants, whereby Scotland became the Inheritance of the Prince of the Kings of the Earth by manifold and undoubted Rights, by his Father’s Grant, by his own Purchase; and by our solemn Surrender & Dedition by Covenant: Whereof ever since he took Infeftment, he hath continued his possession, and maintained his Title by the Testimonies of his Witnesses against all Invasions thereupon, through all the periods of this {7:A} Church which also hath ever been repute the Glory of this Reformed and Covenanted Church, that nothing was ever attempted against any part of her Reformation, but was faithfully witnessed against by Ministers and Professors, from time to time: Especially from its first establishment, and abolition of Popery, no essay could ever be made to introduce, or procure the Toleration of any of its superstitious fopperies, but the Zeal of the Lord’s witnesses was found to flame against it, with a peculiarity of fervor. It was never known in Scotland, before this last fatal Degeneration that ever a favour could be obtained to Papists to practice their Idolatries, without a resolute Protestation against it, much less was it ever heard that the open Profession of it, should not only be allowed without control, but applauded in the congratulatory Addresses of some called Protestants and Presbyterians, for a Toleration Declaredly Designed to introduce it. The Addresses of Protestants on such an occasion used to run in another strain. There is one dated May 27, 1561, presented to the Council, Shewing that "honesty craved them, and Conscience moved them to make the secrets of their hearts patent, which was, that before ever these Tyrants and Dumb Dogs empire over them, they were fully determined to hazard life, and whatsoever they had received of God in temporal things: And that these enemies of God might assure themselves, that if the Council put not order to them they should shortly take such order that they shall neither be able to do what they list, neither yet live upon the sweat of the brows of such as are no debtors to them." Nor were ever wanting in their warnings and witnessings against the least remissness in Zeal against Papists, or any tendency towards {7:B} favouring them: As when the mischievous Mary the Daughter of the degraded Queen returning from France, set up the Mass but in her own family, the Godly at that time gave plain signification that they could not abide, that the Land which God by his power had purged from Idolatry should in their eyes be polluted again, and that Idol be suffered again to take place in this Realm. And a Proclamation being then emitted to protect the Queen’s Domestick Servants that were Papists, there was not wanting a peremptory Protestation against it. That if any of her Servants shall commit idolatry, say Mass, participate therewith or take the defence thereof, in that case this Proclamation should not be extended to them, nor be a safeguard to them in that behalf, no more than if they commit murder. But that it may be lawful to inflict upon them the pains contained in God’s Word against Idolaters, wherever they might be apprehended without favour. Mr. Knox had such an impression of the danger of such a Toleration, that he counted it a Joining hands with Idolatry. And declared that one Mass was more fearful to him, than if ten thousand armed Enemies were Landed of purpose to suppress the whole Religion, for, said he, in our God there is strength to resist and confound Multitudes, if we unfeignedly depend upon him; But when we join hands with Idolatry, it is no doubt, but both God’s amiable presence, and comfortable defence will leave us, and what shall then become of us? Therefore in the reign of K. James VI. upon the discovery of the Plots of the Popish Lords conspiring with the King of Spain, who yet favoured by the King’s Indulgence, it was resolutely declared by Mr. Davidson that it savoured much of defection in those days, that such notorious Rebels to God, and the Country {8:A} should be so treated with; and that a door should not be opened to God’s enemies. And when a Convention in Falkland was consulting to call home these conspiring Traitors, Mr. Andrew Melvin thought it his duty to go thither uncalled, and when rebuked by the King for his boldness, took the confidence to charge him and the Estates in the Name of Christ and his Church, not to favour Christ’s Enemies whom he hateth, nor go about to make Citizens of these who have traitorously sought to betray their City and Native Country, with the overthrow of Christ’s Kingdom. And to challenge them with Treason against Christ, his Church, and the Country in that purpose they were about. Afterwards when the Covenanted Reformation was upon the ascendant and meeting with multifarious assaults from all hands, how impartial and uniform the witness of the Faithful was against the Toleration of pernicious errors, the warnings & Testimonies of the General Assemblies do evidence beyond contradiction. And after the invasion of the Sectaries, the Testimony of sundry Ministers of the Gospel in the Provinces of Perth and Fife against their vast Toleration is yet in the hands, and recent in the hearts of these that desire to retain former principles: Besides the many writings of Truth’s Champions against it, which are yet on record. This hath been the constant tenor of the Testimonies of the witnesses of Christ, ever before this woeful & wretched Catastrophe, which puts an indelible infamy on the shameful security, & ass-like stupidity of this generation; That having received such an excellent Testimony, deposited & transmitted to us through a continued tract of witnessings & wrestlings of our worthy Ancestors, now to let it slip & slide through our feeble fingers. Whereby as we have forfeited the honour {8:B} of being esteemed the offspring of such Heroes (while we not only suffer & consent to, but congratulate & applaud the Introduction & Establishment, at least do embrace & close with that which is introductive of Idolatry & Tyranny, Popery & the Slavery, they built with so great expense) so we may fear the curse of posterity for interrupting the propagation of so excellent a Testimony to succeeding generations, who when they shall read the flattering & fawning Addresses of this age to, & of their so hasty & hungry embracements of ensnaring & destructive favours, from an Antichristian Tyrant, so palpably designed for, & so properly & natively tending towards the undermining & overturning of the Reformation, will disdain & disown such for their Fathers, with indignation at their memory, for such dishonourable & dastardly yieldings. O let it not be told in Gath, nor published in the streets of Askelon, that the Ministers are so far degenerate. Alas all that hear of it will hiss at them for this, that as they had been silent & omitted a seasonable, Testimony against abjured Prelacy, & blasphemous Supremacy, when these were introduced; So now also even when this Mystery & Conspiracy of Popery and Tyranny twisted together in the present design of Antichrist, had made so great a progress, & was evidently brought above board: So except what was endeavoured in a Protestation emitted at Sanquhar, May 28. 1685, (Which here we homologate) the Generality were left to forego this opportunity of a Testimony also, to the reproach, of the sometimes Renowned Church of Scotland. Yea the very rabble may arise in Judgment against them in that they testified their detestation of the first erection of the Idolatrous Mass; & some of the Soldiery, and such as had no Profession {9:A} of Religion, suffered unto death for speaking against Popery, & the design of the King, while the Ministers were silent: And some of the Curates, & Members of the late Parliament, made some stickling against Papists, while Presbyterians, from whom might have been expected greater opposition, were sleeping in a profound submission. Wherefore though we be very insignificant nothings, & therefore both incapable & unworthy to aim at supplying this vacancy of a Testimony, & dare not aspire unto the presumption of thinking to fulfill it, with any proportion to the moment & merit of the matter of this clamant Case of Confession; Yet considering the weight & worth, profit, & price of those Truths, now committed to us to Testify & suffer for, our indisputable duty as Ministers & Members of this Church; The indispensable obligation of our Holy Covenants; The eminent dangers imminent on the Land, apparently ineluctable, if not prevented by giving & taking timeous warning: We cannot, must not, dare not forbear to offer our Mite of a Testimony, for the present precious Word of our Lord’s patience, and the Covenanted Reformation of Scotland, in Doctrine, Worship, Discipline, & Government; & against all the Injuries, insolent Indignities, & audacious encroachments, done unto, & made upon the same, & by which God is highly dishonoured, the Throne of his Glory affronted, the Kingdom of his Son undermined, & many Souls dreadfully involved in the guilt of this Confederacy against him. And so much the more confidence we have, & necessity we find, to prompt to this undertaking, that both this duty is abandoned by others, & imposed upon us by reason of the still continuing and growing persecution incessantly pursuing us, without relenting, notwithstanding {9:B} others are flattered with pretences of clemency, & tenderness to Conscience, which is both encouraging & engaging to us to maintain this Testimony for which we suffer, & being so sequestered from others, & separate (we say, not from the benefit, but) from the snare & curse of this Toleration by the late Proclamations against us, we take the more boldness, & have the more advantage to speak our minds, that what we say, as it is not by communication with others, so it cannot endanger any but ourselves. And for what danger, we may be exposed to upon this so honourable account, We are not careful in this matter: Our God is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, & if not, we think it rather a matter to be ambitious of, than of shame or fear, to be endangered thereupon.

The present Invader of the Regal power, in his Proclamation of the Twentieth of February last past 1687, hath by his Sovereign Authority, prerogative Royal, & absolute power, which he requires all his Subjects to obey without reserve, granted a Toleration to Papists, to Quakers, & to Moderate Presbyterians, under certain conditions, restrictions, & Limitations. In Which Proclamation the Moderate Presbyterians are Tolerate only to meet in their private houses, & only to hear such Ministers as accept of this Indulgence, & none other (whereby all adhering to old Presbyterian principles & Protestations against such a vast Toleration are excluded, & such admitted to be heard who have receded from them) who are thereby obliged to say or do nothing contrary to the peace of his reign, seditious, or treasonable, under the highest pains these crimes will import, (& consequently must not declare that part of the Counsel of God, which concerns his Antichristian enemies, but {10:A} consent that faithfulness to Christ be reputed a Crime) nor are they to presume to build Meeting-houses, or to use out-houses or barns (but content themselves with the confinements whereunto they are restricted in preaching the Gospel). In the meantime all Preachers, Assisters & Connivers at Field Meetings are to be persecuted according to the utmost severity of the Laws made against them. Nevertheless all Laws or Acts of Parliament, Customs or Constitutions, made or executed against any of the Popish way, are suspended, stopped, & disabled (and consequently all the Legal Establishments of the Protestant Religion are unhinged) so that they shall be in all respects as free, as any Protestants whatsoever, not only to exercise their Religion, but to enjoy all Offices, Benefices, &c. Which he shall think fit to bestow upon them in all time coming (whereby he may put in any Popish Priest, in any Parish Church, when he pleases) wherein also he claims a power of vacuating & annulling heritable rights (& by that same power may invade men’s heritable properties, when he is pleased so to exert his Absoluteness) & of cassing & discharging all former Oaths: And in place of all, substituting a new one, wherein he requires all his subjects or such of them, as he or his Council shall please, to swear that they acknowledge him to be rightful King & Supreme Governour of the three Realms, & over all Persons therein. (Not over all Causes, for the Ecclesiastic Supremacy is restored to Antichrist from whom it was borrowed, & for which there is no use at present, Absolute power may do the turn as well as this) that they hold it unlawful for subjects on any pretence, or for any cause whatsoever (even though he should command his Popish Janissaries to massacre all Protestants, which {10:B} is the tender mercy & burning fervent charity of Papists) to rise in arms against him, & that they shall never practice, or assist the Practicers of the same; & that they shall never resist his power, nor oppose his Authority to his person (which is the Compend of all the former Oaths, & further comprehends an Engagement to justify all his personal Administrations, though never so outrageous as Acts of Lawful Authority) but upon the other hand shall to the utmost of their power, defend & maintain him, his heirs & Successors, in the exercise of their absolute power & Authority against all deadly (where they are to engage not only to own his power, paramount & transcendent to all Law divine & human, & to mancipate their Religion & reason with all their Religious & civil Liberties, to the Lustful rage, & unbridled will of a Tyrant; But if he should erect the formal & direct worship of Devils, & bring all their necks under the bowstring, they must neither resist it, nor contradict it, but upon the other hand actively concur with him, in doing all his will to the greatest excess of riot, And must become executioners of their Fathers, Mothers, Wives, & Children, if it shall please him to put forth his absolute power in that exercise; For herein he claims & hereby is given a power to command what he will, & obliging Subjects to obey whatsoever he will command, to obey absolutely without reserve, without reserve of Conscience, Religion, Honour, Honesty, or Reason: Which proclaims him in whose name the Proclamation is emitted, the greatest Tyrant that ever lived in the World, far surmounting all the lust, impudence, & insolence of any Roman, Sicilian, Turkish, Tartarian, or Indian Tyrant, that ever trampled upon the Liberties of mankind.)

But finding this Proclamation was {11:A} not well approven, because of the palpable odiousness of this Oath; Therefore to mend the matter in a Letter to the Council (dated March 31, 1687, the supreme Law at present) he granted to all that should desire on these terms, the benefit of the said Indulgence, without being obliged to take the Oath, during his pleasure only, or so long as the Council should find them behave themselves regularly and peaceably without giving cause of offence to him, or any in Authority or trust under him. By which none of the former restrictions are taken away (the Oath only excepted) but further explained, that they shall not only say or do nothing, contrary to the peace of his reign, seditious or treasonable, but that they behave themselves regularly & peaceably, without giving any cause of offence to him, which comprehends lesser offences than sedition or Treason, even every thing that will displease a Tyrant, & a Papist, that is all faithfulness in seasonable duties or Testimonies. But taking to his consideration that some may easily put such interpretations upon his foresaid Proclamation, as may discover his drift & design; And lest his different procedure in this project with England & Scotland should make his pretences to conscience suspect of Treachery, Therefore he hath fallen upon a more plausible way & given forth a more smooth Proclamation, of the date the Twenty-eighth of June the same year, superstructed upon the former, in which are further explications, but no taking off of former restrictions (except the Oath) seeing he further declares, that by the same Sovereign Authority, Prerogative Royal & absolute power he suspends, stops, & disables all penal Laws. And to the end that by the Liberty thereby granted, the peace & security of his Government in the practice thereof, {11:B} may not be endangered (that is, that his Tyranny may be secured in the peaceable Possession of all his Encroachments upon our Religion, Laws & Liberties, in the practice of this Toleration) he gives his subjects leave to meet & serve God after their own way & manner (every way which is their own, & according to their model, if it be not in Christ’s way) in private Houses, Chapels, or hired places, so that they take care that nothing be preached or taught, which may any way tend to alienate the hearts of the People from him or his Government (& consequently no faithful warning must be given of the sins, duties or dangers of these times, or Testimony against the wickedness of this Toleration, or the wickedness of the Tolerator, by any that accept it, for these would be interpreted to have a tendency to alienate from the Government) & that their Meetings be peaceably held (suitably to this commenced confederacy with Antichrist who here requires of all, who take the benefit of the present truce with him, & binding to the good behaviour) & publickly all persons freely admitted to them, (which is for the Informing trade, that Jesuits’ flies, may have access to observe and delate how the Instructions are kept) & that they signify to some of the next privy Councilors Sheriffs, &c. What places are set apart for the uses, with the names of the Preachers (whereby they are restricted to the terms of a formal bargain, & must have their lease & license for every place of preaching, & no persons are admitted, but such as give up their names excluding hereby all that for any measure of faithfulness in duty are obnoxious to their wicked Laws) in the meantime Field Meetings are strictly prohibited, & all Laws & Acts of Parliament are left in full force & vigor against them; for {12:A} which now he says after this favour, surpassing the hopes, & equaling the very wishes of the most Zealously concerned, there is no shadow of excuse left (which may hold too true of some, who by this acceptance discover their hopes & wishes, & Zeal to be terminate upon peace rather than Truth, ease rather than duty, & their own things rather than the things of Christ: But as for us, it some way answers our fears, & corresponds with our jealousies; And therefore while others are rejoicing under the shadow of such a bramble, we think it matter of mourning, not because we are excluded from the benefit of it, but that so many are included in the guilt of it, & exposed to the curse of it; And do look upon it, as a seasonable & necessary Testimony for the Cause of Christ, & the Interest of the Protestant Religion, & the Laws & Liberties of the Country, all overturned & subverted by this Toleration, to keep our Meetings as in former times in the open Fields, whither his Tyranny hath driven us.

But these who are carrying on wicked designs know not what course to take as most effectual for gaining their ends, & do change their methods so oft as they change their thoughts about the means most apparently successful: So he hath again thought fit to give out another Proclamation of the date the fifth day of October, the foresaid year, declaring not only that all persons, Preachers, & hearers that are present at any Meeting in the open Fields (which are their greatest eyesore, because the Rights of the Crown & Kingdom of Christ are there pleaded, asserted, & vindicated) but also all dissenting Ministers, who shall take upon them to preach in houses, without observing the foresaid directions, as are prescribed by the late Proclamation, viz. (that nothing be preached or taught {12:B} among them, which may any way tend to alienate the hearts of the People from this absolute & incontrollable Monarch or his Government, & that their Meetings be peaceably, openly, & publickly held, & all persons freely admitted to them; And that they do signify and make known to some one or more of his privy Councilors, Sheriffs, Stewarts, Bailies, Justices of peace, or Magistrates of Royal Burroughs, what place or places they set apart for these uses, with the names of the Preachers) shall be also prosecuted with the utmost rigor & severity, that their Laws will allow. And to make all sure, he requireth every one of his foresaid Officers, to whom such intimation shall be made, to send to the Clerks of the privy Council once every month, the names & Surnames of the Preachers, & the times & places of their Meetings. In all this unexpected Clemency (as he terms it) not satisfying himself with what he hath declared against Field Meetings, in the foresaid Proclamations concerning them, he giveth out yet another of the date the 18th of October last against such Meetings, calling such assemblies for the Worship of God, Rendezvouses of Rebellion, Authorizing all Officers, Civil & Military to apprehend, secure in firmance the persons of some Ministers, & for encouragement, ensures them the sum of 100 p. Sterl. for each of these Ministers; A goodly price, wherewith not only they, but their Master & Message are prized, & put upon some, who ever since the first of these Proclamations have been so unhappy as to be innocent of these things laid to their charge, being out of the Kingdom, & so out of capacity to concur in that duty of carrying and following Christ’s standard in the preached Gospel, indispensably required of all his Confessors that are in it. Which as it proclaims the manifest impudence {13:A} of those lies, wherewith the Proclamation is stuffed; So it may provoke all who are touched with zeal against the Indignities done to Christ, & would be accounted among his faithful witnesses, against the present Antichristian design, to an ambition of exposing themselves to the reproach of such lying mouths, the greatest honour of the Servants of Christ.

Having now in this delineation of the foresaid Proclamations already discovered somewhat of the obvious iniquity of the present design against our Covenanted Reformation: We shall now proceed to offer our Testimony for the same, against the present attempts to ruin & raze it. And therefore in the first place, Testify against the Toleration; And next for the obligation of our Covenants, & the necessity & expediency of keeping our Meetings in the Fields, the suppression of which being one of the wicked designs of the Toleration, that suspends other Laws, but leaves all in force & vigor against these.

But ere we begin with the first of these, that we may clear the matter, prevent mistakes, & preoccupy objections, we must permit: (1.) That Lawful Magistrates are placed in the Common-wealth by God, the Supreme Governour of the whole World, to be a terror to evildoers, & a praise to them that do well; So they rule not for men, but for God, with whom is no iniquity: But as Tyrants & Usurpers have no more interest in this than Robbers have in the Authorization of rightful properties, So where Magistrates are Lawful, & acting Lawfully, they will find it their duty to be a terror to these evil doers, who are now Tolerated, & a praise to them, who are persecuted. (2.) We cheerfully subscribe to that Article of our Confession of Faith, Chapter 23, 4, That Infidelity or difference {13:B} in Religion doth not make void the Magistrate’s just & legal Authority, nor free the People from the due obedience to him. But we think it no way inconsistent therewith to say with Naphtali, page 6, Prior Edit, Let the words be considered, & we are confident, that no sober man will think the acknowledgement of just & legal Authority, & due obedience a rational ground to infer that Tyranny is thereby either allowed or privileged. Further we grant all that is in the Confession, viz. Dominium non fundari in gratia. Yet this we assert; that a Prince, who not only is of another Religion, but an avowed enemy to, & overturner of the Religion established by Law, & intending & endeavouring to introduce a heretical, false, Blasphemous, & Idolatrous Religion, can claim no just & legal Authority; but in this case, the People may very lawfully decline his pretended usurped Authority. For though Infidelity or difference of Religion, does not make void Authority, where it is lawfully invested with consent of the People, & without encroachment on their religious & legal Liberties; Yet it may incapacitate a person, & lawfully seclude him from Authority, over a Christian People having the reformed Religion established by Law, & confirmed by solemn & national Covenants, both according to the Laws of the Land, which do incapacitate a Papist of all Authority, Supreme or Subordinate; And by the Oath of Coronation, which obliges all Kings at the reception of their Princely Authority, to make their faithful promise to maintain the true Religion of Christ Jesus (by which ever since the framing of that Oath, was meant only the Protestant Religion) & shall abolish and gainstand all false Religions, &c. And consequently must not so much as Tolerate Popery which no Papists can engage, or be admitted to swear, according {14:A} to the Word of God, which forbids expressly to set a Stranger over us, who is not our Brother, Deut. 17.15. Which includes as well a stranger of a strange Religion, as one of a strange Country. This is not our Notion only; It is asserted by Doctor Guild in his exposition, 2 Sam. 5.1,2. Observe 5 pag.104. We infer the general rule of election of Magistrates, as well in regard of his qualities, & form of election as of the end, wherefore he is to be elected. As for his qualities, [1.] He must not be a stranger in birth, much less in Religion, but must be of a conjunction natural & spiritual with them whom he governeth, otherwise there can be no sympathy nor symbolizing between them. [2.] He must be able to govern, which is called here to lead out & in: Next the form of his election should be by common & voluntary consent, according to the constitution of the State, Oath or obligation of right administration, the rule whereof, should be the Law of God, & positive Constitutions of the realm, and last the end should be to feed the People, caring that they be spiritually fed in the food of life, & temporally, that they be not spoiled, or bereft of their means of the life corporal, to be their Guider, Protector, Father, Patron, & to have a regard to all necessities, as the good Pastor hath to his sheep & the Father to his family. And before him, it is affirmed by Famous Mr. Knox, whose four propositions, as they are to be read, in the account of his life, before his History in quarto, & prosecuted in his second blast, we shall here insert: [1.] It is not birth only, nor propinquity of blood that maketh a King lawfully to reign, over a People Professing Christ Jesus, & his Eternal verity, but in his election, the ordinance, which God hath established in the election of inferiour Judges must be observed. [2.] No manifest {14:B} Idolater, nor notorious transgressor of God’s Holy precepts, ought to be promoted to any publick Regiment, honour or dignity, in any realm, Province or City, that hath subjected themselves to Christ Jesus, & his blessed Evangel. [3.] Neither can Oath or promise bind any such People, to obey & maintain Tyrants against God, & his Truth known. [4.] But if rashly they have promoted any manifest wicked person, or yet ignorantly have chosen such an one, as after declareth himself unworthy of regiment above the People of God (& such be all Idolaters & cruel persecutors) most justly may the same men depose & punish him, that unadvisedly before they did nominate, appoint, & elect. And besides we are to remember, the practice of these venerable divines, that penned that excellent Confession, how avowedly they professed & prosecuted, & animated & encouraged the Parliament to an opposition to the then King, abusing his Authority to the detriment of Religion & Liberty, & to the obstruction of Reformation: And the declared principle of the general assembly of this Church, when they refused to concur in that unlawful engagement, for restoring of Charles the first till security were had by solemn Oath under his hand & seal. That he should for himself & Successors, give his Assent to all Acts & Bills, for enjoining Presbyterian Government, & never make opposition to it, nor endeavour, any change thereof, July ult. 1648. sess. 21. And when they refused to admit Charles the second to the exercise of his power, except he should take the Covenant, as it is to be seen in their seasonable & necessary warning, July 27, sess. 27. 1649. And in the Act of the West Kirk, August 13, 1650, wherein they declare that they will not own him nor his Interest, otherways than {15:A} with a subordination to God, & so far as he owns & prosecutes the Cause of God & disclaims his & his Father’s opposition to the Work of God, & to the Covenant. By all these it is evident, that our renowned Reformers, were not men of such a principle, as that People were bound to own, obey, & maintain a Tyrant against God, & his Truth: And that neither the Authors of our Confession of Faith in England, nor owners thereof in Scotland, did ever understand that Article so, as that a Malignant enemy to our Covenanted Reformation, let be an Idolatrous heretical Enemy to the Christian Religion, could be capable of bearing rule, or owned to be a Ruler over the Lord’s People in Britain & Ireland: And that could ground the entire Loyalty superstructed upon it by the Citizens & Inhabitants of Edinburgh & Cannongate, that give out themselves to be of the Presbyterian persuasion, & professed by them in their Address to the person & Government of such an one, as the Duke of York. (3.) It is the right and duty of Magistrates to use an imperative, coercive & cumulative power about Church matters, in commanding Ministers to do their ministerial duties, prescribed unto them, by their only Head & Master Christ; In restraining Idolatry, Superstition, error and Profaneness; In giving the Ambassadors of Christ their protection, and add their civil sanction to just & lawful Ecclesiastical decrees. And it is the duty of Ministers, to grant unto the Magistrate all the foresaid power, and to be thankful to God, & grateful to them, for the benefit of their right exercise of it. And to pray for them, that we may lead a quiet & peaceable life in all Godliness & honesty. But for usurpers to assume to themselves a Sovereign Authority, prerogative Royal and absolute power, to ranverse their Constitution, {15:B} Tolerate Idolatry, & allow Meetings for Gospel Ordinances only with restrictions to persons who may preach, places where they may preach, & matter what they shall preach, cannot be allowed by any, who dare not have a hand in betraying the Church & yielding to all such encroachments on her Liberties: And to pray for the prosperity of Tyrants, that we may be enslaved in our Religion & Liberty, is a wicked thing. (4.) It is indeed the honour of Kings & happiness of People, to have true Humane & Christian Liberty, established in the commonwealth, that is, Liberty of persons from slavery, Liberty of privileges from Tyranny, & Liberty of Conscience from all Impositions of men, consisting in a freedom from the Doctrines, Traditions, or the Commandments of men, against or beside the Word of God, in the free enjoyment of Gospel Ordinances in purity & power, & in the free observance & establishment of all his Institutions of Doctrine, Worship, Discipline, & Government, in subordination to the only rule of conscience, the revealed will of its only Lawgiver Jesus Christ. When this is ratified as a right, by the Sanction of approven Authority, & countenanced & encouraged as Religion, by the confirmation of Laws, approving whatsoever is commanded by the God of Heaven, to be done for the House of the God of Heaven (which is the full amount of all Magistrates Authority) then we are obliged to accept of it, with all thankful acceptation: But such a Liberty, as overturns our Rights, our Privileges, our Religion, & Tolerates it only under the notion of a crime, & Indemnifies it under the notion of a fault to be pardoned, & allows the exercise thereof only in part, so & so modified, cannot be accepted by any to whom the reproach thereof is a burden, & to whom {16:A} the reproaches of Christ, are in esteem, in such a day, when even the hoofs of Christ’s Interest, buried in bondage, are to be contended for. What Liberty this may be to some Consciences, It is none to the tender, according to the rule of Conscience. (5.) It is certain a Magistrate ought to restore, what right or Liberty, he hath robbed from the Church, if it be the same Liberty restored, that was taken away. Yea we concede, if a Magistrate shall grant a simple permission & Liberty to the Ministers of the Church, to exercise all the parts of their Office without any encroachment upon any kind of power seated in Churches Judicatories, & having no sinful tendency, Ministers may lawfully improve it, for the advancement of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ: But this is so far from being the same that was taken away, that no part of it is restored as it was robbed, but so defaced & depraved with Antichristian & Tyrannical Modifications, that none that adhere to Scotland’s Reformation, can receive it, as a part of that Liberty wherewith Christ had made them free. (6.) As it is Ministers’ duty, by virtue of their Commission & Charge from Christ, to exercise all the parts of their Office fully & freely, whither Magistrates will or not; So if we might have Liberty so to exercise our function in a freedom from civil restraints we would willingly take & improve it. Yea as we abhor the continued persecution against us, not so much for the wrongs we sustain by it, as for the wickedness thereof; So we detest the extending of it against any for Religion or Conscience sake, or the offering violence to any man’s Conscience, & in a safe sense could allow that principle, which he would make the world believe to be his, who now seeks to withdraw all Consciences from the true & only Rule of it, that it ought not to be violented {16:B} or (as it is said in the English Declaration) forced in matters of mere Religion; or that invincible necessity, ought not to be used against any man on the account of his persuasion. If his constant encroachments upon our lives, Laws, and Liberties, & all our Interests as men & Christians, besides the known bloody Tenets of Papists, did not manifest the impudence of this lying pretence, and if it were not notour, that even since this pretended Liberty, many have been banished, imprisoned, & pursued, merely for Conscience sake. And it must be great blindness not to see, & great boldness willingly to wink at that double-faced equivocation, in matters of mere Religion, or using invincible necessity; By which he can elude when he pleases all these flattering promises of tenderness, by excepting at the most necessary & indispensable duties, if either they be such, wherein any other Interest is concerned, beside mere Religion or if the troubles sustained thereupon, be not altogether invincible necessities. Hence the plain falsehood & doubleness of his assertions, as to what is past, may give ground to conclude his intended perfidy in promises of what is future. But to accept of a Liberty clogged with encroachments upon the Liberties of Christ’s free Kingdom, or either formally or interpretatively, directly or indirectly to give way to a Toleration of Idolatrous or false ways of worship, is odious to all that know the rule of Conscience: Though Conscience is not to be forced either to Religion or Irreligion; And Religion is not to be propagated by force, yet the open efforts & overt acts, & propagation of Irreligion, Atheism, Idolatry, Blasphemy, &c. ought to be restrained by force, & every person pretending to Conscience constrained to give outward respect to the Lawgiver, & rule of Conscience. And what Liberty {17} is either intended, or does natively tend to Tolerate what is dishonourable to God or destructive to conscience, cannot be embraced by any who are tender in keeping a Conscience void of offence towards God & man.

These things premitted, We come in the next place to declare our Testimony against the Toleration. And this we shall do, both as it is simply and complexly considered.

First considering it simply, we cannot but testify against it.

1. In regard that it doth palpably cross & contradict the will of God, revealed in the Scriptures of Truth, Gen. 35.1-4, Exod. 23.31-33; Exod. 34.12-15; Deut. 7.2-6,25,26; Deut. 13.6,12, &c. Josh. 22.10,12; Josh. 23.11-13; Judges 2.1-3; 1 Sam. 3.13,14; 1 Kings 18.40; 2 Kings 9.22; 2 Chron. 15.15,16; Psalm 101 throughout; Prov. 20.8; Cant. 2.15; Ezek. 43.7,8; Zech. 13.2-4; John 2.15,16; Rom. 13.3,4; Revel. 2.2,14,20; Prov. 17.16.

2. The Commissioners of the General Assembly did plainly & fully witness against the Toleration that was in the bud Anno 1649; And the reverend Assembly of divines at Westminster, have in the Larger Catechism, in the exposition of the second Commandment, reckoned the Toleration of false Religion, amongst the sins forbidden therein. And in the Confession of Faith, Chapter 20, 4, Asserted that such opinions or practices as are contrary to the light of nature, or the known principles of Christianity, or destructive to the external peace & Order which Christ hath established in the Church, they may be proceeded against, by the Censures of the Church, & by the power of the civil Magistrate. And Chapter 23, 3, That it is the Magistrate’s duty to take care, that the Truth of God be kept pure & entire, that all blasphemy {17:B} & heresies be suppressed, all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or reformed, & all the ordinances of God, duly settled, administered, & observed.

3. In regard that a Toleration is utterly repugnant unto & inconsistent with the indispensable Oath of God in the National Covenant very expressly condemning it, & more particularly the solemn league & Covenant. It is not the way to maintain (nay cannot consist with maintaining) Reformation, to carry on a Uniformity to extirpate heresy, superstition, schism, profaneness, and whatsoever is contrary to sound Doctrine, & the power of Godliness; To free our Souls from the guilt of other men’s sins, to make the Lord one, & his Name one; All which we are engaged & sworn unto in the presence of Almighty God, the searcher of all hearts, with a true intent to perform the same, as we shall answer at the great day, when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed.

4. In regard of the sad & sinful effects, that it produceth, such as the growth & increase of heresy, superstition, and error, the profaning the Lord’s day, the contempt & casting loose of Church discipline, the subversion of Souls, the offence of the Godly & Faithful. Instead of Reformation, Deformation; Instead of the power of Godliness, vain Jangling; Instead of love, bitter heart-burnings & jealousies; Instead of union, schism & division; And instead of peace, contention & strife; Instead of Government and Order, Anarchy & Confusion, as it is elegantly held forth & evidenced by the Ministers of Perth & Fife in their forecited Testimony, page 31. The General Assembly of our Church in their Declaration & Exhortation to their Brethren in England, say, what is Liberty of Conscience, but Liberty of error, scandal, {18:A} schism, heresy, dishonour of God, opposing the Truth, hindering Reformation, & seducing others. And the Ministers of the County Palatine of Lancaster in their harmonious Testimony against Toleration subscribed by them, March 7th, 1647, do fitly add that a Toleration is the putting a Sword into a mad man’s hand, a cup of Poison in to the hand of a child, a letting loose of mad men with firebrands in their hands, an appointing a city of refuge in men’s Consciences for the Devil to flee to, a laying of the stumbling block before the blind, a proclaiming Liberty to the Wolves to come into Christ’s fold to prey upon his Lambs; A Toleration of Soul-murder (the greatest Murder of all other) and for the establishing whereof damned Souls in Hell, would accurse men on earth: Could it be to provide for tender Consciences, to take away all Conscience; If evil be suffered it will not suffer good; If error be not kept under, it will be Superiour. In fine, let any read Mr. Durham in his excellent Treatise of scandal, particularly part 3, Chapter 2, pages 146-147, And they will see how he holdeth forth the Toleration, & suffering of error to be a thing most hateful in itself, most hurtful in its consequences, & most displeasing to Christ: For if error, (saith he) be such an evil, that thwarteth, (1.) Both with God’s Holiness & Truth: And (2.) That hazardeth so many Souls (for never a plague hath so destroyed the face of the visible Church nor carried so many Souls to Hell as error hath done); then the suffering of it, cannot but be hateful to him, who Loveth his Church. (3.) There is no way, whereby the Devil reproacheth Ordinances, & the word, more than by this, by turning them to the quite contrary end, as if he would outshoot the Lord in his own bow (which is abominable to mention) & {18:B} invert his own means, & turn his own weapons upon him, & suffering of this is a conniving at his design. (4.) There is no way by which the Devil may so get in on Christ’s Servants to seduce them, as by this, as in the Epistle to Thyatira is clear. And can there danger come so nigh Christ & he not displeased with what strengtheneth their snares. (5.) This doth equal, yea in some respect prefer the Devil to him so far as in us lieth, & so cannot but provoke his jealousy; For, so the Devil hath Liberty to vent his Lies with Truth equally; And there being many Lies, though there be but one Truth, he hath by this more doors opened to him than the Gospel hath. (6.) This doth make even the Truth, Ordinances, and Religion itself to be thought light of; When all these have toleration, it is on the matter a proclaiming an Indifferency to be in these things, than which nothing can more reflect on the jealous God, who in his Word putteth such a difference, & sheweth such detestation at indifferency. (7.) This bringeth huge confusions on the Church. For [1.] If these errors & corrupt teachers prevail, they carry Souls after them & destroy them, & ought that to be thought light of? [2.] If they prevail not, yet they cross, afflict & offend them, & so prove a snare and burden to them, of whom the Lord is tender. (8.) Toleration doth either account little of error, as being no hurtful thing, & so there can be no esteem of Truth; or it doth account little of the destruction of Souls; both which must be abominable. (9.) Error doth not only break God’s Law, but doth teach others to do so; & suffering thereof must be a maintaining of teachers to transgression & Rebellion against the Lord.

Next we witness against this present Toleration complexly considered. And that we do:

1. In respect of the Granter, considered {19:A} either as to his morals, or Religion, or Relation, he is to all considering men, a person of that character, whose dainties are not to be desired, & that when he speaketh is not to be believed, for there are seven abominations in his heart, Prov. 26.25. His Plots & practices in his known accession to the burning of London, 1666; In the Popish Plot discovered, 1678; In the Murder of the Earl of Essex, do give some swatch and specimen of his former craft & cruelty, & of what further he may be suspected to intend as meritorious to atone for such villainies, to wit, the Extirpation of the Protestant Religion, than which in the esteem of Papists nothing can be more meritorious. And for which he hath deserved to forfeit all trust with men of knowledge or Conscience; he is known of all to be an Excommunicate Papist, and a sworn votary & vassal of Antichrist, & enrolled in the Society of Jesuits, and therefore being in his principles professedly treacherous, yea obliged to be both treacherous & truculent by that Religion, he cannot be trusted in the least concerns, let be those of such momentous consequence, without a stupid abandoning of Conscience, reason, & experience; When both that known principle, that no Faith is to be kept to Hereticks, espoused by all Papists, does to them justify all their lying dissimulations, equivocations, & treacheries imaginable; And that Lateran canon, that enjoins Kings to destroy & extirpate Hereticks under the pain of excommunication, does oblige him to be cruel to Protestants, by him esteemed to be such. Besides that in his relation, he cannot be looked upon, as a rightful or righteous Magistrate, by any that understands & considers the Institution, Constitution, Characters, & Boundaries of that Sacred Ordinance, & knows by what dreadful & detestable means he usurped {19:B} that place, who can say a confederacy unto, make transaction with, or take any security from such a Granter, that expects the benefit of the Lord’s Sanctuary, Isa. 8.12,13. If it was the Schechemites sin & shame to strengthen a naughty Abimelech & strengthen themselves under the shadow of his protection, Judges 9.9, Much more must it be to take protection for Religion, as well as peace from a man of cruelty and treachery.

2. In respect of its design: which he himself expresseth to be to unite the hearts of his subjects to him in loyalty, & to their Neighbours in Love: Which is to incline & induce them by flattery to lawless loyalty, & a stupid contented slavery, & make them actively cooperate, in setting up, & settling his Tyranny in the indisturbed possession of all his usurpation; And to incorporate them with Babylon; For, who are the Neighbours, he would have them unite with in Love, but the Papists, against whom all the Lovers of Christ, must profess irreconcilable Enmity. But in the sense & sentiments of all sound & zealous Protestants; The design of the Work & Worker is to get unto himself an acknowledgment of his blasphemous absoluteness, and to advance it over all Laws, in a way, which will be best acquiesced in by the People till he be so strengthened in it, that he fears no control; To get all the Accepters one way or other to operate with him in his Popish and bloody ends. To get our penal Laws against the Subjects and Promoters of Antichrist’s Kingdom with the less contradiction stopped and disabled which by this esteemed gracious Grant, and grateful Acceptance of it, he hath already effectuated. And now by the same measures he is encouraged to achieve the total rescinding and repealing of them. In the mean time his {20:A} drift is very visible, and palpable to increase differences, divisions, & animosities amongst Protestants to hire these Presbyterians, whom he calleth more moderate, to commend his Clemency, while he is exercising it, in pillaging, plundering, hunting, apprehending, stigmatizing, banishing, & killing other Conscientious Non-conformists; To stop the mouths of Protestants with this morsel of Liberty, while he is filling all the places of power & trust, with men, devoted to his way, by taking off the penal Laws, disabling them, & then when all power is in the hands of bloody Papists, none shall dare to mutter against the setting up of the publick Masses. And finally he designs to infatuate the body of the Land, & lull them asleep, by this intoxicating Opium, or at least to lay them by from all opposition, till he undermine and overturn the Protestant Religion, and establish Popery & Slavery, which he intends either to accomplish by these smooth flatteries, by peace to overturn Truth, and by getting the Laws against the Popish repealed, to make way for rescinding these for the Protestant Religion: Or rendering them secure, as the Zidonians, who dwelt carelessly, to make his bloody Massacring attempts upon the whole body, & what he intends to do with the whole, if they come not the full length of Compliance, may be seen in his outrageous beginnings with the West of Scotland, the old butt of his malice which as sometimes he hath expressed his desire, so now it seems he designs to make a Hunting-field. We may see through the Tragical History of former ages, what wicked and hellish design the men of his character have had, in their Protestations and Proclamations of pretended favour. It is known how Julian the Apostate amongst other devices he used to root out Christianity, gave a Toleration {20:B} openly to all the different Professions, that were among Christians, whereof there were many Heretical in those days: And he commenced this cursed contrivance, by calling home the Orthodox Bishops, whom Constantius banished, that the Church might be embroiled by a civil war of Contention among themselves, as Sozomen observes, lib. 5. And in the meantime conniving at, & encouraging the lawless outrages of barbarous heathens against them, which they thought they were well enough Authorized, in knowing it would please the Emperor, which was an unwritten Law to them, which afterwards was followed with a more open faced & declared war against all that professed Christ; which is exactly aped by James the Apostate now for the same end. So the Massacre of Paris was carried on with the King’s Marrying his Sister to the King of Navar, a famous Protestant Prince, & with many publick & solemn Protestations & Declarations of favour to the Protestant Church, while in the meantime, they were plotting & conspiring how to Massacre them all, whereunto he was instigate by Jezebel his Wife, though he was forward enough himself, his genius leading him that way, & which was carried on by the Duke of Guise, as the main leader of these Murderers, who still cried out (which was all the Law & reason he used, for instigating these bloody Ruffians to that hellish outrage) Courage my Fellows this is the King’s command, It is his express will & pleasure. And after butchering the famous Coligni, they went through the streets (at the tolling of the Royal bell, which was the sign of that horrid perpetration) killing all Protestants, without distinction of age, sex, or quality, so that in the space of two hours or thereabout, ten thousand were cruelly put to death in that City. {21:A} The like villainy was committed through the rest of France, & the carrying on of the present & almost unparalleled persecution there, with the Tyranny & Treachery of that Bigot Arbitrarian after so many Laws & Edicts seemingly securing the Protestants against all fears, may let us see, what may be expected of those Princes, who devout themselves to the lust & rage of Popish Orders, these locusts come out of the bottomless pit. We have also a recent instance of the cruelty and Treachery of that fiery little Tiger the Duke of Savoy, against some of the relicts of the old Waldenses in the valley of Piedmont, who after some ruffles received, promised unto them the enjoyment of their Religious & civil Liberties, if they would lay down their Arms; But after [he] had got them spoiled of their outward defence, he catched many thousands of them, killing them in Prisons with hunger & cold. And as the Duke of York doth affect much the absoluteness of the French Monarch, so we may expect no better of him (what ever he promise (who can do & undo, by virtue of his declared Prerogative, being as absolute over promises as over Laws) and however many do extol him as a Gracious Prince) than that he shall trace the steps of his falsehood, treachery, cruelty, & Romish Zeal; That so we may have an Instance of Babylon’s deceit & rage acted in Britain & Ireland, which may make other Instances, not to be Remembered. They are blind who do not see, & stupid who have not the sense of the dreadfulness of these designs of this Tolerator, which he thinks to accomplish by this Toleration, unto which it is very subservient & which cannot be counteracted, but very much strengthened by this acceptance of it.

3. In respect of its Fountain, from whence it flows, & is given forth, a despotical & Arbitrarian Domination, {21:B} out-vying & surmounting the height of Ottoman Tyranny. It proceeds from & is refounded on the Leviathan of Sovereign Authority, Prerogative Royal & absolute power, which all are to obey without reserve. Which is a power loosed from, & above all Laws, only regulable by the Royal lust, which cannot be owned, by any, who know what Religion or Liberty is, being contrary, to nature, contrary to the ends of all Government, the Glory of God, & the good of human Societies, mancipating all the Interests of mankind to the lust of one empowered to destroy all, against the exorbitancy whereof, no means are left to prevent its obstructing all the fountains of Justice, and turning all into anarchy & confusion, inconsistent with any security, People can have, either of Religion or Safety, & so cannot be the ordinance of God, nor the person assuming it, his Minister for good; A Lawless power making all Laws void, needless & useless, & so Tyrannical in Actu signato, claiming a power Jure to Tyrannize when he pleases; A power destructive to the People’s Liberties, under which the People cannot be secured in the possession of anything they have in the world; A power invading the incommunicable prerogative of the Universal King, who only is absolute, whose Glory is to have his will, for the Rule of his power: Psalm 115.3; Ephes. 1.11; Isa. 46.10. A power expressly condemned as Tyranny in Scripture: Dan. 5.19,20; Amos 6.12,13. Which in a word cannot be better named nor represented under a better notion, than that which the famous & faithful Mr. Andrew Melvin calls it, The bloody gullie of absolute power, as he inveighs against it, in the assembly 1582. This is the fountain & foundation of this Toleration, by which indeed, the name & common profession of the Protestant Religion, {22:A} may be for a time suffered precariously durante beneplacito donatoris, until his pleasure shall be to command the establishment of Popery, which then he will expect must be complied with without control. But all avouched adherence to old Protestant and Presbyterian principles is hereby interdicted, so all the tenure, that Protestants have for their Religion, is only the arbitrary word of an absolute Dominator, whose principles oblige him to break it, & his absoluteness to disdain to be a slave to it. Howbeit it cannot be denied, that the acceptance of this grant declaredly proceeding from such a power, and professedly requiring the acknowledgment of it, in the acceptance does, imply the recognizance of this power, that the Granter claims in granting it.

4. In respect of its Conveyance, & that is through the conduct of the most apparent means of establishing Popery, & subverting Protestancy, by stopping & disabling all these penal Laws and Statutes enacted against Papists, & leaving in force, yea commanding to execute according to their rigor, all laws made against honest Presbyterians, the most true & faithful Protestants, & stopping none of the most cruel of them, but emitting more & more barbarous Edicts against them; For the most cruel, are such as are made against Field-meetings, which are hereby left in full vigor, what mean can be more effectual to destroy our Reformation; than to suspend all Laws against any, that shall attempt the utter subversion of it, and ratify all wicked Acts against such as would most avowedly assert, or own the obligation of all sacred bonds to preserve it? Hence as he hath presumed by absolute power to suspend all Laws, made for the protection of our Religion, so by the same, when he will, he may repeal all Laws for its establishment. And these who approve the one by such an acceptance, {22:B} cannot disallow the other, but must recognosce a power in this Tolerator to subvert all Laws; And so by accepting this lawless, & Law-subverting Liberty, they make themselves guilty of the palpable breach of the national Covenant, where the Laws are contained, which this Toleration suspends; And dreadfully accessory to all the sad effects of this undermining all the legal bulwarks of our Religion.

5. In respect of the nature & extent of it. It is Toleration, which is always of evil, for that which is good, cannot be Tolerated, under the notion of good, but countenanced & encouraged as good. Therefore it reflects upon our Religion, when a Toleration is accepted, which implies such a reproach; seeing it is not ratified as a Right, nor encouraged as a Religion, but Tolerated under the notion of an evil to be suffered. And such a Toleration as makes the Professors of Christ, partners in the same bargain with Antichrist’s Vassals, & sets up the Ark in the place, & under the same sconce with dagon; & the Devil’s thresholds by the Lord’s threshold; & whereby a sluce is opened, to let the enemy come in like a flood, none lifting up a Standard against them. Since it is a Toleration, not only of Archbishops, Bishops, & Curates, but of all Quakers and Papists, reaching all Idolatry, blasphemy, Heresy: which to accept, is contrary to Scripture, our Confessions of Faith, & Catechisms, as was shewed above; and clearly inconsistent with the principles of the Church of Scotland, with the Covenants, national & solemn league; where we are bound to extirpate Popery, &c. Preserve the Reformation, defend our Liberties, & so never to accept of a Toleration in its nature & tendency eversive of all these precious Interests, we are sworn to maintain.

6. In respect of its conditions, limitations, {23:A} & restrictions, by which all the kinds of power, that Christ hath seated in his Church is invaded, invalidated, & evacuated: As (1) the Dogmatick power, whereby Ministers are to judge of Truth & Error, in point of Doctrine, according to the Word of God only: this Key is extorted out of their hands, for according to the foresaid Proclamations, nothing may be taught by the moderate Presbyterian Ministers, in their Tolerated Meetings, that can be interpreted by the Court, (according to their will, or their Law, for all is one) to have any tendency to alienate the hearts of the People, from this incontrollable Tyrant or his Government. Now by virtue of this condition, they may not doctrinally discover unto People, the affronted wickedness of this unparalleled prerogative; They may not shew the iniquity of the Laws, nor warn of the evil thereof; They may not testify against the introduction of Popery, nor these means that give an inlet unto it; They may not once mention any wicked design, in all this course of a cursed Toleration; They may not teach the obligation of the Covenants; Neither witness against the breaches thereof expressly; Nor reprove the publick sins of the time; Nor warn of the dangers thereof, nor exhort them against compliances in particular with any course established by Law: For all this may be interpreted by Court Expositors, to have a direct tendency to alienate People’s hearts from the man, & his Government. Accordingly Mr. Hardy is apprehended, imprisoned and proceeded against, for giving concional Testimony against the taking off the penal Laws, & Statutes, which would be thought, could not have offended any Protestant. (2.) The Diatactick power, whereby the Courts of Christ are to decern the circumstances of the worship of God, as time, place, &c. For order, {23:B} decency, & edification, according to the general rules of the Word. This power is invaded, the Key of order is wrung out of their hands in like manner; For now the places of worship are determined in the Royal Proclamations, which must be made known to some of the Court Patrons on whose warrant they are tied to depend. What may be the hidden design of this intimation we know not; we heartily wish & pray, it may not be to do with them, as Jehu with the Priests of Baal. In the mean time Field-meetings for the worship of God, which have been signally countenanced of the Lord, are severely interdicted; whereby the Word of the Lord, is bound & bounded; And by the accepters consent to such a model, the bloody Laws against preaching in the open Fields, where People have freest access with convenience & Safety are justified; The manner of meeting is also restricted to be in such a way, as the peace and security of the Government, may not be endangered, & that they be peaceably & publickly held, yea it is expressly required in the Proclamation, October 5th, That all who shall preach, by virtue of this Royal Grant, at any time, or in any place, make intimation of their preaching, as to time & place, to some one or more of the next privy Council-Lords, which shall be sufficient for them, during their abode only: Whereby they not only are engaged to keep the peace with Antichrist, or his Lieutenant in all their Meetings, & not only to give accession to all his Clandestine Censors, to observe how they keep their Instructions; But formerly must mancipate their Ministry, & the freedom of its exercise, to a dependence upon the license of his Trustees; Which is not only a formal bargaining, with the enemies of Truth and Godliness, but a becoming their Servants, and so a forfeiting {24:A} the honour of being esteemed, while they continue so enslaved, the faithful and free Servants of Christ, especially considering how as to the matter of their Preaching also, they involve themselves in such inconveniences, that either they must forbear some part of the Counsel of God, and decline the Testimony of this day, or else expose themselves as a prey to the lust of enemies, who hereby have brought them into a hose-net. (3.) The Critick, or Corrective power, which the Courts of Christ’s have to censure Delinquents and absolve the Penitents, according to the Word of God, is also invaded & made void; For not only doth this Toleration rob the Ministers Tolerated, and the Accepters, consent to be robbed of that power of impartial censuring those scandals that are Tolerated thereby, & all that make themselves guilty of complying with the same; or have been involved in sinful scandalous compliances with wicked courses formerly, such as taking of sinful Oaths, subscribing of sinful bonds, paying of sinful exactions, & other scandalous breaches of the Covenant; Nor dare these that are free of them censure or remove from among them their guilty Brethren, & so separate the clean from the unclean: But also invades & usurps this power, formally, in investing the Tolerator with Authority to Inhibit, & discharge some Ministers the exercise of their office whom the standing Laws of this Church do Authorize, and to allow others whom the Word of God, & Constitutions of our Church, require to be laid aside, & suspended from that function. (4.) Finally, the Exousiastick power of trying, sending, & Authorizing office-bearers in the Church, is made useless & void by this Toleration; For, however an allowance is pretended to keep assemblies, & send out Ministers to answer the People’s call; {24:B} Neither are these assemblies lawfully constitute of, nor free for all that have right to sit there: Nor is their mission of Ministers nor the People’s call, of any significancy or value, except intimation be made to this Exotick power of their names, that are to officiate, under this Toleration, & they be found such as please the Court Patrons, which is the worst of Patronages, that ever burdened this Church. Hence if a Minister were never so lawfully ordained, never so blameless in his personal deportment, never so formally appropriate to a particular flock, he cannot exerce his function, in any place, unless the next privy Councilor, Sheriff, &c. Give their allowance. They will forsooth, have the Judging whether he be qualified or not, & if he have not the new condition sine qua non, that only Qualification of them that are to be Tolerated, moderation, in the Court sense, which is nothing but loathsome lukewarmness in the things of Christ, and Court Loyalty to a vassal of Antichrist, which is disloyalty to Christ, he can have no Liberty to exercise his Office.

7. In respect of the manifest & manifold scandal of it, we cannot but witness against the acceptance thereof, so offensive to the generation of the Righteous, so dishonourable to God, disgraceful to the Protestant Religion, & prejudicial to the Interest thereof. As we would not be accounted unfaithful to Christ, yea betrayers of our native Country, & Compliers with the design of Antichrist, who hath always mischief in his heart, & intends this as a preparative, for inducing & enforcing all that are hereby lulled asleep, either to take on this mark, or bear the mark of his fury hereafter. Hereby foreign Churches may think Scotland is now in a fair way of reconciliation with Antichrist, when his harbinger’s favours is so kindly accepted, and it cannot but {25:A} be very stumbling to them to see the Ministers of Scotland, whose Testimony used to be terrible to the Popish, & renowned through all the Protestant Churches, purchasing a Liberty to themselves, at the rate, of burying & betraying the Cause in bondage and restraint, & thus to be laid by from all active & open opposition to the designs of Papists in such a season. Alas, sad & shameful have been the scandals given & taken, by & from the declining Ministers of this Church heretofore, which have rent and racked the poor Remnant, and offended many both at home & abroad; But none so stumbling as this, which to the present and succeeding generation, will appear to be a succumbing at length, and yielding up the Cause, and surceasing from any more contending for it, a contemning of former wrestlings for the same, tending to harden and hearten open adversaries in their wicked invasions on our Religion, Laws, & Liberties, a sad evidence of being weary of the Cross of Christ, & that they would fain have ease upon any terms, & a weakening of the hands, & condemning the practice of these that suffer, when others are at ease.

Next, as we must testify against the Accepters of this Toleration, who must be interpreted to take it, as it is given, and receive it as convoyed from its fountain of absolute power, through its channel of an arbitrary Law-disabling, and Religion-dishonouring Proclamation, with consent to the sinful Impositions with which it is tendered; Against all which there is no access for a Protestation, consistent with the improvement [use] of it, it being granted and accepted on these very terms, that there shall be no Protestation; For if there be, that will be found an alienating of the hearts of the Subjects from the Government, which by that Proclamation would be {25:B} reflected upon: So in a particular manner, we must testify against the Addressers for it, who have formally said a Confederacy, and congratulated the Tolerator for this Toleration, & all the mischiefs he is machinating and effectuating thereby, especially seeing they have presumptuously taken upon them to send their Addresses, in the name of all Presbyterian Ministers, we think it concerns all honest men, Zealous Christians, and faithful Ministers of that persuasion & denomination, in honour & Conscience to declare to the world by some publick Testimony, that they are not Consenters to that sinful, shameful, and scandalous conspiracy, with which, all will be interpreted Consenters, that are not Contradicters, and charged with the guilt of it, that doth not make the resentment of it notour. We cannot express with what horror and sorrow, our hearts were filled to see an Address in the name of all the Presbyterian Ministers in Scotland, And another from the Inhabitants of the City of Edinburgh & Cannongate, who call themselves of the Presbyterian persuasion, who having been always forward in a Catechrestick loyalty, or slavery of their persons & Consciences, are not ambitious, not to [be] behind any in a flattering Profession of it: We say we are filled with wonder, that they should affirm to themselves, the name of Presbyterian Ministers, and give out their Addresses in the name of all, & that it was at their desire; when as the contents of it, are clearly contrary to Presbyterian principles, by justifying an Antichristian usurper, in undermining Religion, & approving the abrogation of the national Covenant, confirming the Laws now disabled, by thanking the Tolerator for opening a door to introduce Popery, which we are sworn to extirpate, by consenting to limitations & restrictions, upon the exercise {26:A} of their Ministry, by accepting of a bounded Toleration, wherein Idolaters and hereticks have the greatest share, contrary to our Confession of Faith in the places fore-cited, chapter 23, section 3, which, notwithstanding they have insinuate, that they do own, wherein either they bewray great inconsiderateness in acting so contrary to themselves, or else no small impudence, in laying claim to that Confession, which doth so condemn their way; Therefore we testify against these Addressers: (1.) Because of the ground for which they Address. What can they allege for this? It is either for the Liberty granted to the exercise of their Ministry or else the Toleration complexly considered: If the former, then suppose they had got a full & free liberty, it would have been but what was due, & to thank a man for giving what is not his own seemeth to insinuate a recognoscing a power to him to withhold it; But now their Liberty is loaded & clogged with sinful and scandalous conditions, which is little ground of thanks; If the latter be said, then they give their consent to set up Popery and Quakerism, for these are also Tolerated; Also it is not to be passed, that there is nothing in all the Proclamations concerning this Toleration in the least protested against by the Addressers; So we cannot see, how they can free themselves of congratulating their clement benefactor, for all the woeful evils in the foresaid Proclamations that respect their imaginary favour, more valuable to them (as they say) than all earthly comforts. (2.) Because of the sinful & shameful deficiency of the Addressers, they speak not a word against the openly designed Introduction of Popery, no resentment of the eversion of Religion & civil Liberties, no representation of the wrongs sustained under the grassation of the two Brothers; No Protestation against the invasion made upon the power that {26:B} Christ hath seated in the Courts of his Church; & consequently upon his own incommunicable Headship: Not a word of the Covenants, but they are passed over in silence, as if they were ashamed of them; They say nothing of the Reformation, whereunto we once attained, & were solemnly engaged. (3.) Because of their Lawless & illimited loyalty. This is professed by the foresaid Ministers, To his Excellent, To his Gracious, & to his Sacred Majesty: Loyalty not to be questioned, an entire Loyalty in Doctrine, which is in effect disloyalty to Christ, in not observing their Instructions received from him, but keeping silent at the wrongs done to him, & not declaring against the invasion of his open enemies: A resolved Loyalty in practice, whereof all the Inhabitants of Edinburgh & Cannongate, will have him assured: this is no less than betraying Religion & Liberty, in lying by from any active Testimony and opposition to the open Destroyer of both: A fervent Loyalty in Prayers, which we shall not now insist upon, being to speak of them afterward. This Loyalty of theirs, is not a Christian Loyalty, or Profession of subjection for Conscience sake, to a Minister of God for good, who is a terror to evil doers, nor a Presbyterian Loyalty, to a King as it is qualified in the national and solemn League & Covenants; But a stupid subjection, and absolute allegiance to a Minister of Antichrist, who gives Liberty to all evil men & seducers; A Loyalty to a Tyrant in his overturning Religion, Laws, and Liberties, and protecting & encouraging all iniquity. (4.) Because of their foulsome flattery: We need not instance how the Ministers in their Address say, from the deep sense they have of his Majesty’s gracious and surprising favour, finding themselves bound in duty to offer their most humble & hearty thanks to his Sacred Majesty, the favour {27:A} being to them valuable above all earthly comforts: And how the Inhabitants of the City of Edinburgh and Cannongate express themselves; We cannot find suitable expressions to evidence our most humble and grateful acknowledgment of your Majesty’s late gracious Declaration. The matter were less, if they did not speak a lie, for they say they are allowed the free & peaceable publick exercise of their Religion. Peaceable & publick it is, They know not how long; free it is not, for their Ministers are bounded with sinful restrictions as is shown above. And again they add, could we open our hearts, your Majesty would undoubtedly see, what deep sense and true Zeal for your service, so surprising and signal a favour hath imprinted on our spirits, &c. This is worse than flattery: We say we need not adduce particular instances of their Adulation, for their whole strain is a rhapsody of flatteries more becoming Sychophants and Court parasites, than Ministers & Professors that give out themselves to be of the Presbyterian persuasion. (5.) If the Addresses were only stuffed with flatteries, it were less, but we cannot dissemble or conceal our horror & astonishment at some expressions; Which (if they come not near the borders of blasphemy) are Equivocations inconsistent with ingenuity: The Ministers bless the Great God, who hath put this in his Royal heart: Which must either be understood in that sense, where it is said, Revel. 17.17, God hath put in their hearts to give their Kingdom unto the beast; Which they durst not express to him, whom they Address, neither durst they bless the Lord for it with application to him: And to say this with such a reverend meaning, were odious to Protestants, & all honest men. Or if they be ingenuous then they bless God for putting it in his heart to project all this wickedness, discovered in the design, tendency, and nature of this Popish Toleration; which {27:B} is not far from blasphemy to make the Holy one, the Author of that, which he hath declared his detestation of in his word. They further express their resolution, by the help of God, so to demean themselves, as his Majesty may find cause rather to enlarge than to diminish his favours towards them. Which upon the matter is either a double Equivocation, or else it must be understood, they resolve to demean themselves so, as that a Zealous Papist shall find cause to enlarge his favours to them, and shall not find any cause of displeasure at them. They know what he maketh criminal against others, to wit, their teaching the obligation of our Covenants, the lawfulness of defensive arms, their testifying against the encroachments made upon the Kingly power of Christ, & against the taking off the penal Statutes that concern Papists, & the like pieces of faithfulness. And consequently they resolve, they shall be as unfaithful and silent Ministers, as ever pleased a Papist; For if they be faithful, they may be assured, he will find cause to diminish his favours towards them: Now to purpose this by the help of God, comes very near the borders of blasphemy. The Citizens of Edinburgh and Cannongate, do engage to continue still in their Prayers, for blessing his Person & Government; And shew by what Argument they plead for it, to wit, that by the God of Heaven, Kings reign, and Princes decree Justice. Which with application to the Person whom they Address, is absurdly impertinent, otherwise to bring it forth as an adulatory equivocation, with a reserve that they intend only to offer that general proposition in Thesi, without application to him, in the mean time, making him believe, they assert the divine approbation of his Government: Or else it hath the appearance of blasphemy to extend that proposition to him, which they cannot do, except they turn it thus, {28:A} by the Lord Tyrants reign, & usurpers decree Justice; which to say, according to the Lord’s perceptive & approbative will, as that Scripture must be understood, were a blasphemous Indignity to the Holy one, with whom such a Throne of Iniquity can have no fellowship, whereof the possessors are set up, but not by him, & he disowneth them, Hosea 8.4. (6.) Because the Ministers in their Address, disown these, who avouch an Adherence to the Covenanted reformation & avow an opposition to Antichristian usurpers (which they call promoting disloyal principles and practices) humbly beseeching the Tolerator not to look upon such as any of their confederacy. They needed not have been so solicitous upon this head, for all that abide in the principles and practices of the Church of Scotland, (which they have deserted) would count it a sin & scandal, laying them obnoxious to the displeasure of the Holy & jealous God and a shameful reproach, exposing them to the contempt of all of whom they might expect sympathy, to be reckoned of their association, who have thus betrayed the Cause & the Country. (7.) Because of their mercenary prayers, that are disagreeable to the will of God: The Ministers pray for divine illumination & conduct (they durst not say conversion, for that would have reflected upon the man, either as a wicked man or a Papist, or both, but they warily term it, illumination & conduct that he might interpret it, to be for light & leading in this Antichristian way of his) with all other blessings ever to attend his Person & Government; Therefore they cannot pray for bringing down the Kingdom of Satan, seeing they pray so heartily for the support of an eminent prop of it: They pray not that God, may remove such an absolute Tyranny, but that temporal & spiritual blessings may attend it. And the Loyalists of Edinburgh {28:B} & Cannongate, after their dutiful and faithful assurances, That as they had not been formerly wanting in praying for him (where we fear they are not wanting in flattering dissimulation) for so refreshing & unexpected a favour (so term they the Toleration) will much more engage them to offer up their desires to God, to bless his Person & Government. We wonder whence they have the impudence to seek of God, that he would bless a Government loosed altogether from his Law, and Diametrically opposing it, and regulated only by the lust of an arbitrarian: And after all, that he would Crown such a Popish Zealot, with an incorruptible Crown of Glory in Heaven. Can they be ignorant of the revealed will of God, that such prayers do clash with it? Can they be unmindful of that, which is generally professed by Protestants, to wit, That a Papist living & dying true to the principles of the Church of Rome, cannot be saved. They would have him to think, that Heaven is to be gotten very easily, when after all his Idolatry, Atheism, Murder, Tyranny, and Treachery (without any word of repentance) he may attain to that Everlasting Blessedness: Heaven is not a City for unclean things. How such prayers will find acceptance with God, let any who read the Scriptures Judge.

Upon these considerations, having witnessed against the accepting of, and addressing for this Toleration, we come now to testify against the sinful & scandalous conjunction of that Incorporation, which is made up of so strange a mixture, some having embraced the former Indulgences; some having given bond to the council not to preach, for an indefinite, or a longer or shorter time: Some have ordinarily heard & communicated with the curates; some having come under sinful bonds & Oaths to the persecuting adversaries, repugnant to the Oath of our Covenants; And others {29:A} of them, having gone on in sundry other steps of defection, & in no small contradiction to Christ’s more faithful Sufferers & Witnesses; Admitting also some to the charge of ruling elders amongst them, who had habitually complied with prelacy, & had born the name of that office under the Curates, and all this without any resentment of such horrid courses that the World can hear of: And so they are a corrupt mixture of all sorts of Compliers, & Suffers these who have gone on in dreadful Apostasy, and sworn the wicked Oaths, even the Test itself, to present their Children, to the Sacrament of Baptism, without any profession of repentance. Now likewise, they must according to the Royal Proclamation have one common purse with the Curates, by casting in their Baptism & Marriage money together, like that in the Proverbs, chapter 1, verse 14, Cast in thy lot among us, let us all have one purse; But who would regard the will of the Lord must regard what follows, verse 15, My son walk not thou in the way with them, refrain thy feet from their path. This confederacy of theirs, is as the conspiring of the Prophets in the midst of Jerusalem, like a roaring Lion ravening the prey, Ezek. 22.25. Can such a work be of God, and can it stand, which hath such a foundation, such a superstructure, such measures & such workers? We must in like-manner testify against the Constitution of their Ecclesiastick Meetings, to wit, their Presbyteries, Synods, Assemblies; In regard that they are made up of such a corrupt mixture of members, who (for the most part) by the Word of God, & decrees of our Church, would be suspended, if not deposed from their office, & brought in as delinquents to undergo censure, & not as constituent members of a Judicatory; In regard that the Accepters of this Toleration, {29:B} hold their ministry upon a dependence upon the courts of men; And in regard that they carry on a course of defection contrary to the Scriptures, our Covenants, & the Acts & Constitutions of this Church, And further we testify against all that they may conclude that may be any way prejudicial to our Reformation, or corroborating to this course of Apostasy. And plainly protests that whatsoever determinations, Acts, or Commissions that shall be given by them, may not be interpreted as binding to the Church of Scotland.

But now to put an end to this sad & deplorable declamation, which we can say with some singleness of heart, that only Zeal for our Master’s Glory, Love to our Brethren involved in such a sad snare, and the exoneration of our own Consciences, hath extorted from us, having no access in any other way to acquit ourselves in our duty to them: We must subjoin a sorrowful, but necessary, consequential inference; and thereupon subsume that we cannot avoid, but are constrained in Conscience to warn all the Zealous and faithful Lovers of our Lord Jesus Christ, who are desirous to confess Christ before men, & to be listed among his called, chosen, & faithful Followers, who must side themselves for him now, in adhering to his Standard when the enemy is coming in like a flood, and the war is declared between Christ and Antichrist, as they would not be involved in this confederacy, and so forfeit the hope of his sanctuary, in a day when he is a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence to both the Houses of Israel, and so many are fallen, broken, snared, and taken, and as they would not be found accessory to, nor guilty of the innumerable evils that are either implied in, or do natively follow upon this new way, to come out from among, discountenance and withdraw from the {30:A} Promoters, Abettors of, Carriers on, Concurrers with this course of defection, we mean the Addressers for, and Accepters of this Toleration, whose iniquity we have endeavored in some measure here to discover. We abhor that principle that we are invidiously calumniated with, of casting off the Ministry, or disowning all the Ministers of the Church of Scotland: We hope all are not, and shall not be so far left in this hour of tentation, so to abandon the Word of the Lord’s patience as thus to forget and forgo the hitherto continued in Testimony for the Covenanted Reformation, by embracing a Toleration so plainly and palpably eversive thereof; And doubt not but there are some of our dear and Reverend Brethren who dare not concur in this Conspiracy, who both mourn in secret, and are willing to witness their dislike at the sins and scandals of this course, as they find occasion, whom only Misinformation by the industry of our Traducers does demur from concurring in this Testimony: But as for our declining Brethren, involved in the guilt of this defection, though we respect and reverence them in the Lord, as our beloved Brethren, yet out of Love to them, and to the Souls of the People, whom they and we must answer for; we cannot but witness against them, & obtest them in the Bowels of Christ, to relinquish this Course, or otherwise we must warn all that would be free of the sin of it, and escape the Judgments, wherewith it is like to be pursued, to discountenance them, while they continue in it. (1.) Because by this bargain and Confederacy with the Tolerator, in the acceptance of this his Antichristian Toleration, receiving upon certain conditions what he gives, complying with what he demands, obeying what he commands, relying on what he promises, and acquiescing {30:B} in what he offers upon the very terms that he offers it, (which is a formal confederacy) they become in the exercise of their Ministry the Servants of men, and bound to please them; whereby they forfeit the honour of the free Servants of Christ, Gal. 1.10, And change the holding of the freedom of their Ministry with Changelings, of which sort it is not good to meddle, Prov. 24.21. Mr. Durham in a digression of hearing Ministers, Revel. chapter 1, page 55, in quarto: Shews that by palpable defection from the Truth and Commission given to Ministers in their call, they may forfeit their Commission, and so no more are to be accounted Ambassadors to Christ or Watchmen of his Flock, than a Watchman of the City is to be accounted an observer, when he hath made publick defection to the enemy, and taken on with him. Seeing then they have made such a palpable defection from the Truth, as is evidenced above, and from the Commission Christ hath given them, they so far take on with the enemy as to Address him, and accept of his favours, with a cession of the war they should maintain against Antichrist, they must be looked upon in tantum, & pro tempore, as having Jure forfeited the wonted respect due to Christ’s faithful Ambassadors while they continue in that defection. (2.) Because they cannot be submitted to, without consenting to the great encroachments, made upon Both the Privileges of this Church and Liberties of this Kingdom; For they are fixed in such and such places by a warrant from Councilors, Sheriffs, &c. And others are discharged, they are Authorized to preach there, by a power encroaching on the Privileges of the Church, and usurping the freedom of their Ministry. (3.) Because while they are under this pretended Liberty, not only must they {31:A} keep Truth in bondage, not daring to declare the sins, snares, duties, and dangers of the times faithfully, but People are in hazard of being perverted from some parts of our Covenanted Reformation, by the Loyalty of their doctrine and prayers, savouring more of sinful compliance with, and flattering of wicked men, than of Loyalty to, or Zeal for Christ as King; And while in the application of their doctrine, they condemn such essential parts of the present Testimony, as are the known and received principles of the Church of Scotland, in her best & purest times; And in the meantime recede, and justify their recession from their former way of preaching & praying formerly, who used to preach up the Reformation, and the obligation of the Covenants, and cry against the sins of the time, and especially the heaven-daring usurpations of the Court; And used to pray against he Throne of Iniquity, the Kingdom and Seat of the beast, and all that gave their power to the beast, to support that tottering Kingdom: But now People must expect another strain in their doctrine, and another style in their prayers, since they received this hire of Liberty, who to the sad stumbling of many, and observation of all are found to have an apparent tincture of Mercenariness, while instead of joining with the incessant cry of all the elect for vengeance against Babylon, & the destruction of the whore, they pray for all blessings upon the Person and Government of a chief Pimp of hers, who knows but ere long, by such prayers People may be induced to such a remitting of their Zeal against Popery, as to think it tolerable to pray for the Pope, as well as for a Popish Tyrant. By such doctrine and prayers they may be caused to err from the words of knowledge, and to receive that instruction that Solomon {31:B} bids us cease to hear, Prov. 19.27. Sure it hath a tendency to cause divisions & offences contrary to the doctrine, which we have learned, and therefore such as cause them, are to be marked and avoided, Rom. 16.17. (4.) Because as there are many terrible Charges and Adjurations laid upon Ministers, in reference to a faithful diligence in their Ministerial function, & a suitable Testimony concerning the sin and duty of the time, as is well observed by the Judicious Author of Rectius Instruendum, Confut. 3, Dial. Chap, page 21. So for their negligence & unfaithfulness herein, there are many Scripture woes and threatenings thundered against them, and the People for adhering to them, Isa. 9.16; Isa. 43.27,28; Jerem. 14.15,16; Jerem. 23.14,16; Lam. 4.13; Ezek. 3.18; Ezek. 13.10,11,14,18,22; Ezek. 22.25, to the end. And therefore as People would not be partakers of the Judgment with which this Toleration will be pursued, we must warn them to beware of adhering to those who are palpably unfaithful, in not witnessing against, but justifying the sins of this course. (5.) Because Communion with them in these circumstances, will infer a participation of their sin, being a Communion in Sacred things, which makes the partakers of the bread to be one body, 1 Cor. 10.17,20. And an unequally yoked fellowship to be separated from, 2 Cor. 6.14,17, Since it is such a Communion as in the present circumstances is interpreted to be a Tessera of incorporation with them, and sign of approbation of them in this new way of theirs. (6.) Because of the scandal in countenancing them in this way, it would be forborne, not only with respect to their own Consciences who join not with them, but of others also, giving none offence, neither to the Jews, nor Gentiles, nor to the Church {32:A} of God, 1 Cor. 10.28, &c. Master Durham in the forecited digression, makes that a reason of forbearing joining with some, that it carries offence along with it, in reference to the party joined with, it proves a strengthening & confirming of him, and so a partaking of his sin; In reference to others, it either strengthens them by that example, to cast themselves in that snare, or it grieves them and makes them sad, who are tender of such things, and makes all difference of that kind to be thought light of. Since then in the Toleration itself, addressing for it, and accepting of it, there is such a manifest scandal, there must also be a manifold offence in countenancing those that are so Tolerated and consent thereunto: it strengthens and confirms them, it strengthens others to incorporate with them, and weakens the hands of these that witness against it. (7.) Because our duty to themselves, yea, our greatest office of Love, we owe to them in order to their conviction, does oblige us to withdraw from them to shame them out of their sin; and not suffer it upon them, especially because they are Brethren, 1 Cor. 5.11. That walk disorderly against & without the order of their office, & the order of the Church. Qui quod sui est ordinis atque officii non faciunt, & facientes turbant: 2 Thess. 3.6-14. We plead not here for schism or sinful separation; only we apply to this present Case, the constant doctrine of Presbyterians; Wherefore we shall here subjoin some plain Quotations out of their Writings: Mr. Rutherfoord in his Due Right of Presbyteries, page 253, &c. Distinguishes a separation from the Church, in her worst and most part, and a separation from the best and least part, and page 258, when the greatest part of a Church makes defection, the lesser part remaining sound, the greatest part of the Church are separatists. {32:B} Truth is like life, that retireth from the manifest members, into the heart in case of danger. So it is the major part, that hath made defection which are to be accounted separatists, and not such who stand to their principles, tho’ they cannot comply or join with the corrupt majority. Apologetical Relation [by John Brown of Wamphray,] sect. 14, page 291, saith, there may be a lawful withdrawing, where the ordinances and Ministry are not cast at, so long as [the] People do not cast at the Ordinances, but are willing to run many Miles to enjoy them; Nor cast at the Church, as no Church (tho’ they sadly fear that God shall be provoked by that dreadful defection, to give her a bill of divorce) nor at the Ministry, for they love these that stand to their principles dearly, and are most willing to hear them either in publick or private. The Grave Author of Rectius Instruendum, Confut. 3. Dial. Chap. 1, page 7, &c. allows that every separation is not schism, even from the Church which hath essentials, yea and more than essentials, if it be from those tho’ never so many, who are drawing back, from any piece of duty and integrity attained, for this is still to be held fast according to many Scripture Commands. Next he says, If we separate in that, which a national Church hath commanded us as her members to disown by her standing Acts and Authority while these from whom we separate, own that corruption. He asserts there likewise, there is a lawful forbearance of Union and Compliance with Backsliders in that which is of itself sinful or inductive to it, which is far from separation strictly taken, the commands of abstaining from all appearance of evil, and hating the garments spotted with the flesh, do clearly include this. He adds many things will warrant separation from such a particular Minister or congregation {33:A} which will not warrant separation from a Church national, nor infer it. Lastly he says there is a commanded withdrawing from persons and societies, even in worship: the precepts Rom. 16.17; 2 Cor. 6.17; Prov. 19.20; Acts 2.40, will clearly import this by consequence. Surely the Ministers and Professors adhering to her reformation, must be the true Church of Scotland, tho’ the less number. These Soldiers who keep the Generals order, are the true members, not the deserters of the same.

In the next place, considering how our Covenants are slighted, the obligation of them forgotten, and they like to be buried in oblivion; We Judge we are necessarily called to speak a word of our Covenants national & solemn League, desiring to bless the Lord, who put it in the hearts of his People to engage themselves to enter into Holy Covenants unto his Holy Majesty, and one to another in subordination to him, in order to these things, that concern Truth, Righteousness, & Holiness. And we do testify our cordial approbation of, and real adherence unto these memorable engagements, for we are persuaded in our minds, that it is the duty of People & Nations, who professes the name of the Lord, to enter into Covenant with him. It is the first & great Commandment, that we should have no other gods before him, Exod. 20.3, And that we do his Statutes & Judgments, & to avouch the Lord to be our God, & to walk in his ways, & to keep his Statutes, & Commandments, & his Judgments, & to hearken unto his voice, Deut. 26.16,17. And whereof we have many notable precedents in the Book of God, of entering into, & renewing the Covenant of Israel by Moses, Deut. 29; by Joshua, chapter 24; by Asa, 2 Chron. 15; by Hezekiah, 2 Chron. 29; by Josiah, 2 Chron. 34; by Ezra, chapter 10; by Nehemiah, chapter 9.38, chapter 10.29. And we are also no less convinced in our {33:B} Consciences, that the obligation of our Covenants is perpetual & binding upon posterity: And to confirm this, we shall add these few considerations: These engagements are national promises, laying in pledge the publick Faith. Certainly that promise of the Jewish nobles & rulers, not to exact usury of their Brethren, would have brought their posterity under the curse if they should have done it, Nehem. 5.12,13. They are national vows, whereby they devoted themselves, & their posterity to be the Lord’s People. Jacob’s vow at Bethel, that the Lord should be his God, Gen. 28.21, did oblige all his posterity virtually comprehended in him, he found him at Bethel, and there he spake with us, saith Hosea many hundred years after, chapter 12.4. So the Rechabites were bound to observe the vow of their Fore-father Jonadab. They are national Oaths, & these do oblige posterity, Joseph took an Oath of the Children of Israel to carry up his bones to Canaan, Gen. 50.25, which the posterity going forth of Egypt in after-ages, found themselves straitly sworn to observe, Exod. 30.19. And accordingly buried them in Shechem, Josh. 24.32. They are national Covenants, wherein King, Parliament, and People do Covenant with each other to perform their several & respective duties, as to Religion and Liberty: These oblige posterity, as Israel’s Covenant with the Gibeonites, Josh. 9.15,19, for the breach whereof many ages after the posterity was plagued, 2 Sam. 21.1. They are national attestations of God, as witness for the perpetuity as well as fidelity thereof. Such are these Covenants wherein the name of God is invocated as witness, and so they are called the Lord’s Covenants, as that which Zedekiah brake, & wherefore the Lord punished him, Ezek. 17. They are national Covenants made with God as party contracting, which {34:A} none can dispense with; Such were the national Covenants of the Lord’s People renewed by Joshua, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, Josiah, Ezra, Nehemiah: They are for the matter national Covenants about things moral objectively obliging and so perpetual, Jeremiah 50.5. They are for their ends, which may be all summed up in this, preservation of Religion and Liberty inviolably, because these ends are constantly to be pursued. They are national adjurations, under the pain of a national curse, which doth make the posterity that break them obnoxious. They are for their Legality national Laws, being solemnly Ratified by Parliament, & by the King, and made the foundation of their compact with him, at his inauguration whereby they became among the leges Regnandi. They are national Covenants of an hereditary nature, like that of Israel, Deut. 29.14,15, which did oblige, not only the present but the absent, and consequently the posterity. Now considering these things, concerning the obligation of our Covenants, the rejoicing that was at the Oaths of God, when they were taken, the singular manifestations of his spirit at that time, and his testifying in his Works of providence, his approbation of what his People did in these things, according to his Word, by his going forth with his People & their Armies and making the enemies to fall before them. We cannot but profess the sorrow of our hearts, & testify the abhorrence of our Souls, against all the breaches, injuries or affronts that have been, or are offered or done to our Covenants national and solemn league; which now (Alas) are like to be despised & buried in forgetfulness: Even when now they are not only nationally broken, but burnt, and the owning of them is declared criminal, by an Act of Queensberries Parliament which makes it a case of confession to assert their obligation, particularly we testify {34:B} against the sinful, shameful, & scandalous defection of many Ministers in this point, by their laying by these Sacred Covenants, forbearing (under this Toleration) to preach plainly the obligation of them, to discover particularly the breaches of them; and to mention them in the engagements, which they require of Parents, when they present their Children to Baptism. Tho’ at first publication of the foresaid Act of Parliament, many of them did privately preach against it, when there were none to challenge it, but being exposed to the Court censors, in their publick and peaceable Meetings, they are submissively silent. We find the forgetting & breaking of the Covenant of the Lord, lieth under most heavy threatenings, & hath been punished with most for Judgments, Levit. 16.25,16,17; Deut. 29.14,15,19,21; 1 Kings 9.8,9; Jerem. 22.8,9; Zech. 5.3,4; Mal. 3.5. We cannot slight that which the Ministers of the County Palatine of Lancaster, in their harmonious Testimony against Toleration (of which we have spoken before) do say in the like case, if we shall now cast by the Covenant, after we have reaped so much fruit & benefit by it, who knows, but we may be forced to take it up again to save our Lives.

In the last place, Because Field-Meetings for Gospel ordinances, dispensed in freedom and faithfulness, which the Lord hath often signally owned & countenanced to the conviction of many, in the conversion, confirmation, edification, & consolation of many poor Souls, are now by wicked and sanguinary Laws (left still in force, when the righteous Laws against Papists are suspended) interdicted and discharged under pain of death: Therefore we must testify our abhorrence of this cruelty, when others are silent at it; And signify also our reasons of endeavouring to maintain these interdicted {35:A} Meetings with respect to the conveniency, secrecy, & safety of the People to whom we preach: Not daring to trust these, who are thirsting insatiably after our blood, nor give them such advantage as they are seeking to prey upon us, by shutting ourselves within houses. And moreover taking ourselves, to be called indispensably in the present circumstances, to be as publick or more than ever in our Testimony for the preached Gospel, even in the open Fields. We grant that under the Evangelical dispensation, there is no place more Sacred than another, to which the worship of God is astricted; And that when we are persecuted in one place, we may flee into another; And that if a Magistrate should prohibit one place & leave all other free, we would not strive for a spot; If we were only excluded out of one place, and not included & restricted to other places, nor otherwise robbed of the Church’s privileges. But this is not our case, for we are interdicted of all places, and have to do with one, from whom we can take no orders to determine our Meetings. It is not then the place of Fields or houses which we contend for; Nor is it that which he mainly opposes, but it is the freedom of the Gospel faithfully preached, that we are seeking to promote and improve, & he seeking to suppress; And therefore as an enemy to the matter & object of these Religious exercises, which are the eye-sore of Antichrist, he prosecutes with such fury and force, vigor and rage, cruelty and craft, the manner & circumstances thereof. But for the expediency, and necessity of our continuing to keep up our Meetings in Fields, in our circumstances, we offer these reasons: (1.) It is necessary at all times that Christians should meet together for Gospel ordinances, whether the Magistrate will or not, the Authority of God, their necessity, {35:B} duty and interest makes it indispensable in all cases; If then there must be such Meetings, for such ends, then when they cannot meet within doors, with conveniency and safety, they must do it without; If they cannot get the Gospel in houses, they must have it wherever they can, with the freedom & favour of God cost what it will. (2.) These Meetings must be as publick as may be with conveniency and prudence, especially in an evil-time, when wickedness is encouraged, and a witness for Truth suppressed. Then the Meetings of the Lord’s People, that endeavours to keep clean garments, should be more frequent, publick & avowed. For [1] Then the call of God, by his Word & Works is more clamant, for publick & solemn humiliation, in order to avert imminent Judgments & impendent strokes from God, Zeph. 2.1-3; Joel 2.15,16; 1 Sam. 7.2,6. The way that the Scriptures points out to evite & avert publick Judgments is to make our resentment of these indignities done to our God, our mourning over them, & our witness against them, as publick as the sins are, at least as publick as we can make it, by a publick pleading for Truth, Isa. 59.4; a publick seeking of Truth, Jer. 5.1; an avowed valour for the Truth upon the earth, Jerem. 9.3; a making up the hedge, & standing in the gap, Ezek. 22.30; A publick pleading with our Mother, Hos. 2.2. These things cannot be done in private, but by way of Testimony. [2] The nature and end of Meeting for Gospel ordinances is for a publick Testimony for Christ, against all sin, and every dishonour done to the Son of God; the preached Gospel being not only the Testimony of Christ, but a Testimony for Christ, Psalm 122.4; Matt. 24.14; Revel. 6.9; Revel. 12.11. Wherever then the Gospel is preached, it must be a Testimony, but it cannot be a Testimony, except it be as publick as {36:A} can be. [3] It is the great work of the day to carry the Gospel, and follow it, and keep it up as Christ’s banner of love over his Friends and the Standard of war against his enemies: When now Zion is labouring to bring forth as a Woman in travail, and made to go forth out of the City, and to dwell in the Field, and that which will prompt to bear men out in this publick work, must be a publick spirit, aiming at no less than Christ’s publick glory, the Church’s publick good, the Saints publick comfort, a publick concern for all Christ’s Interests, a publick sympathy with all Christ’s Friends, and a publick declared opposition to all Christ’s enemies, which where it is, will put his Zealous Lovers & Votaries to a publick appearance for him, and avowed seeking of him. Cant. 3.1,4; Cant. 5.7; Psalm 132.5,6. [4] The Privilege of the Gospel to have it in freedom, purity, power, & plenty, is the publick concern of all the Lord’s People preferable to all other Interests, and therefore more publickly, peremptorily, and zealously to be contended for, than any other Interest whatsoever: And therefore we must resolve, they shall sooner bereave us of our hearts’ blood, than of the Gospel in freedom & purity, but we cannot contend publickly for it if our Meetings be not publick. [5] The nature & business of the Gospel Ministry is such, that it obliges them that exercise it to endeavour all publickness, without which they cannot discharge the extent of their Instructions. Their very names & Titles do insinuate so much, being Witnesses, Heralds, Ambassadors, Watchmen, light that cannot be hid. The Instructions given them infer the necessity of it, Isa. 58.1; Isa. 62.6,7; Jer. 6.17; Ezek. 16.2; Ezek. 20.4; Matt. 10.27. These things cannot be done in a Clandestine way; And therefore now when there is so much necessity, it must be the duty of all faithful Ministers to be laying out themselves to the utmost, to give a publick Testimony against all the evils of the time, notwithstanding of any prohibition to the contrary, in the most publick manner, according to the example of all the Faithful Servants of the Lord, both in the Old & New Testament, tho’ it be most impiously & Tyrannically Interdicted, yet the Laws of God stand unrepealed, & therefore all that have Trumpet and a Mouth should set the Trumpet to the Mouth, and sound a certain sound, not in secret, for that will not alarm the People, but in the most publick manner they can have access; Therefore seeing Meetings must be as publick as they can be, That they should be in houses, safety will not permit, to us to go to the streets or mercat [market] places, neither safety nor prudence will admit, what can we do then, but go to the Fields. (3.) Keeping of Field Meetings now is not only most convenient for testifying, but a very significant Testimony in itself: [1] Against the Popish Toleration: Reason and Religion both will conclude that this is to be witnessed against by all that will adhere to the Cause of Reformation thereby overturned, and resolve to stand in the gap against Popery, thereby to be introduced, and will approve themselves honest Patriots, in defending the Laws & Liberties of the Country, thereby subverted. Seeing then it must be given, it is certainly most expedient to do it there, where the meeting is without its Covert, & interdicted by the same Proclamation that tenders it; And where the very gathering in such a place, is a Testimony against it: For to preach in houses constantly & leave the Fields, would now be interpreted an homologating the Toleration, that commands preaching to be restricted, [but it is necessary to yield no compliance] with it. [2] It {36:B} is a Testimony against the wicked Law, that discharges them as criminal, which cannot be lawfully obeyed when in some respect, it is come to a case of confession; For if Daniel’s case, praying with open windows, when publick prayer was discharged under the Pain of death, was a case of Confession, then must our case come near to it; when publick preaching is discharged to us under the same penalty: Tho’ to us, we reckon it as indispensable duty from these Scriptures, 1 Cor. 9.16; 2 Cor. 6.4,8,9; 2 Tim. 4.2. It is equivalent to an universal discharge of all publick preaching, when that manner of it, is discharged, which we can only have with freedom & safety, in a way of publick Testimony; which can be none other in our circumstances, but in the Fields. [3] It is a Testimony for the headship, honour, & princely prerogative of Jesus, which hath been, & is the great Word of his patience in Scotland, and by an unparalleled insolence encroached upon by usurpers in our day; since in these meetings there is a particular Declaration of our holding our Ministry, and the exercise thereof from Christ alone, without any dependence on, subordination to, or license from his usurping enemies, and that we may and will preach in publick, without Authority from them. [4] It is a Testimony for our Covenants, national and solemn league, the owning whereof, is declared criminal by that same Law, that discharges these Meetings; Since then the owning of these Meeting, and our Covenants are both discharged together and the owning of the Covenants does oblige to a publick opposition against the dischargers, &c. an avowed maintainance of the Church’s privileges, whereof this in a manner is the only and chief Liberty now left to be maintained, to keep Meetings where we may testify against them, without dependence on their Toleration, it must follow that these Meetings are to be maintained, which only can be in the Fields with conveniency. (4.) To give over Field-Meetings altogether, at this time, would be very stumbling, both to Friends, who might look on it, as a fainting and succumbing at least in our contendings for the Cause of Christ, as being quite overcome: And to enemies prove very hardening & encouraging in their wicked design of banishing all Meetings out of the Land; For certainly it will not terminate upon a simple suppression of Meetings of this sort, but further is intended to extirpate all Meetings for Gospel Ordinances, in which there is any Testimony against the Antichristian Enemy: To comply therefore with such a forbearance of them at this time, would lay a stone of stumbling before them in these their designs, when they shall see their contrivances so universally complied with wherein they might boast that at length they had prevailed to put quite away that eye-sore, the freely preached Gospel of Jesus Christ.

But to come to an end, we shall conclude with that pertinent Epilogue of the Ministers of Lancaster in England, used by them in their Testimony against Toleration, thus fearing lest if we had altogether held our peace, at this time, God might have sufficiently vindicated his Truths by other Instruments: But for our baseness, judged us unworthy to be entrusted any longer, with so precious a Treasure as Truth is; We have therefore chosen rather to approve ourselves faithful unto God, tho’ for so doing, we should be never so much persecuted and condemned by men, than by our sinful silence, seem to be ashamed of Christ, his Truth, our Covenants, Reformation, and the faithful Confessors of Christ in all ages, although thereby we might be assured to gain the whole World. And now having discharged our Consciences in this point, however our Actions may be misconstrued by some, yet knowing that our witness is in Heaven, and that God is the righteous Judge, we are hopeful that the Testimony of our Consciences (that herein, we have aimed at nothing, but the Glory of God, the defence of his Truth, the health and recovery of his bleeding & declining Church, the casting some discountenance upon this woeful Toleration, and to testify our Adherence to our Covenants and Reformation) will abundantly support us against the worst of evils that can befall us, for witness-bearing to the Truth.