CLASSIC COVENANTER, PRESBYTERIAN, PURITAN & REFORMED QUOTES FROM VARIOUS AUTHORS -- ARRANGED BY TOPIC


Compiled by GREG BARROW & OTHERS

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The citations below are (generally) to be found in standard email format. 
Thus, * = emphasis or emphases and _ = italics. This has been done to make 
it easier for you to spread these quotations around the world by email in 
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TOPICAL INDEX

Against Independency
Against Anabaptists
Attainments
Being/well being distinction
Close Communion
Open Communion
Confessions (subscription)
Contradictory Oaths
Covenanting
   -perpetual obligation
   -intrinsic obligation (superadded obligation)
   -covenant renewal
Covenanted Reformation
Civil Government
Eschatology
Extraordinary Ordination
Extraordinary Acts
False Ministers
False Worship
Headcovering
Holy Days -- Christmas, Easter etc.
Historical Testimony
Lord's Supper
Marks of the True Church
Martyrs
Moral Person -- the church
Musical Instruments
Occasional Hearing
Orthodoxy -- Heresy
Partaking in the Sins of Others
Regulative Principle
Revolution Church
Separation from Corrupt Churches
Settled vs. Broken State of the Church
Subordinate Standards -- Implicit Faith
Terms of Communion
Toleration
Unity of the Church

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Against Independency

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Nevertheless, we also very sensible of the great and imminent dangers into 
which this common cause of religion is now brought by the growing and 
spreading of most dangerous errors in England to the obstructing and 
hindering of the begun Reformation, as namely (beside many others) 
Socinianisme, Arminianisme, Anabaptisme, Antinomianisme, Brownisme, 
Erastianism, Independency, and that which is called (by abuse of the word) 
Liberty of Conscience, being indeed Liberty of Error, Scandal, Schisme, 
Heresy, dishonouring God, opposing the Truth, hindering Reformation; and 
seducing others (_The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of 
Scotland, [1638–1649 inclusive_], p. 333).

Our unanimous judgment and uniform practice, is, that according to the 
order of the Reformed Kirks, and the ordinance of God in his Word, not 
only the solemn execution of Ecclesiastical power and authority, but the 
whole acts and exercise thereof, do properly belong unto the Officers of the 
Kirk; yet so that in matters of chiefest importance, the tacit consent of the 
Congregation be had, before their decrees and sentences receive final 
execution, and that the Officers of a particular Congregation, may not 
exercise this power independently, but with subordination unto greater 
Presbyteries and Synods, Provincial and National: Which as they are 
representative of the particular Kirks conjoined together in one under their 
government; so their determination, when they proceed orderly, whether 
in causes common to all, or many of the Kirks, or in causes brought before 
them by appelations or references from the inferior, in the case of 
aberration of the inferior, *is to the several Congregations authoritative 
and obligatory and not consultatory only* (_The Acts of the General 
Assemblies of the Church of Scotland, [1638–1649 inclusive_], p. 108, 
emphases added, http://www.swrb.com/catalog/C.htm).

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Anabaptist

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"the covert nature of the Anabaptists' methodology... Knox regard(ed) the 
Anabaptists as more dangerous than Papists... The 'horrible and absurd' 
opinions of the Anabaptists are 'rotten heresies' and 'damnable errors.' The 
adherents to such teachings are 'blasphemers' and vile slaves of proud 
Lucifer.' In the _First Books of Discipline_, the Anabaptists are classed 
among the 'enemies to the Christian religion.' The _Confession of the 
English Congregation at Geneva_ speaks of the Anabaptists as 'limbs of 
Antichrist'" (Kevin Reed's Introduction to John Knox, _A Warning Against 
the Anabaptists_, reprinted 1984, pp. 13,16 -- On the PHP CD 
under "REED, KEVIN" at: http://www.swrb.com/catalog/R.htm).

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Attainments

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James Kerr, on the Sabbath, June 20th, 1880, in a sermon preached in 
Greyfriar's Churchyard, in Edinburgh, titled "A Third Reformation 
Necessary: or, the Piety, Principles, and Patriotism of Scotland's Covenanted 
Martyrs; With Application to the Present Times," makes the same point 
concerning the monumental character of the international transactions that 
transpired during the Covenanters' combat with the forces of antichrist. 
While also giving us great insight into some of the most important battles 
of Second Reformation warfare, Kerr proclaims, regarding the combat of 
these faithful witnesses,

They stood for the Supreme Authority of the Holy Scriptures; for the 
Exclusive Headship of the Lord Jesus over the Church; for the Church's  
independent spiritual jurisdiction and power; for the Divine right of 
Presbytery; for the purity of worship in the Church and the Church's 
freedom from all unauthorized rites and ceremonies. They stood for every 
pin of the tabernacle, for every item of truth to which they had attained... 
'Whose faith follow.' Let us embrace those doctrines affecting the Church's 
existence, privileges and prosperity, for which the martyrs suffered, and 
let us imitate their fidelity to the high attainments of a preceding period. 
The great Scriptural doctrines for which they were honoured to contend 
and which constituted the Church's glory, are still more or less lightly 
esteemed by even many professing Christians and ecclesiastical 
denominations... (A)rminianism is making rapid strides to popularity. 
Dishonour is done to the royal prerogative of Christ as Zion's King by those 
Churches that appeal to or base the claim of rights upon the Revolution 
Settlement -- a Settlement that proceeded upon Erastian principles and left 
many of the attainments for which the martyrs suffered in the oblivion to 
which the Stuarts had consigned them... The doctrine of Christ's Exclusive 
Headship over His own Church, and of the freedom of the Church under her 
exclusive head, requires to be vindicated and testified for against all 
modern departures therefrom. There is need to maintain and propagate 
the doctrine of the Divine right of the Presbyterian form of Church 
government, for at the present time only two of the Churches -- and these 
among the smallest -- hold this doctrine in all its Scriptural completeness. 
There is a need to maintain the high scriptural doctrine concerning the 
modes of worship in the Church, that no rite or ceremony is to be 
introduced into the forms of worship for which an express prescription, 
direct or indirect, cannot be produced from God's Own Word. The additions 
to the Church's worship of forms of human invention, and called for in 
order to the gratification of mere religious fashion, constitute one of the 
saddest signs of the present time. 'As though God has been defective,' as 
Charnock writes with reference to such innovators, 'in providing for His 
own honour in His institutions, and modelling His own service, but stood in 
need of our directions and the *caprichios* of our brains. In this they do 
not seem to climb above God, yet they set themselves on the throne of God, 
and would grasp one end of His sceptre in their own hands. They do not 
attempt to take the crown from God's head but discover a bold ambition to 
shuffle their hairy scalps under it, and wear a part of it upon their own.' 
**By the unflinching maintenance and profession of these doctrines, then, 
we are to prove ourselves the legitimate descendants of Scotland's 
Covenanted Martyrs.** This duty may draw down upon us reproach and 
shame, but, as the doctrines are Scriptural, the shame, like that of the 
martyrs, is transformed into glory. These doctrines are not now popular 
nor fashionable; still they are in advance of this age and prevailing 
ecclesiastical opinions, and they shall be popular and fashionable in the 
Church everywhere when 'God shall help her, and that at the breaking of 
the morning.' They shall have a resurrection with power, when Zion shall 
be set upon the mountains, and when the glory of her King shall array her, 
they shall be triumphant when the whole banner for the truth shall wave upon the 
battlements of the Millennial Church of Jesus" (Cited in _Sermons Delivered 
in Times of Persecution in Scotland_ [1880 ed., SWRB reprint 1996], pp.
32-35, emphases added, http://www.swrb.com/catalog/C.htm).

The Covenants are an important attainment, no lasting  and binding 
agreement is attained without establishing them first.

Session 23, 1648, A declaration and Exhortation of the General Assembly of 
the Church of Scotland to their brethen of England

And considering of what importance the Solemn League and Covenant is 
unto all the interests of both kingdoms concerning their religion,liberties 
and peace. To make an agreement without establishing of it were not only 
to rob these Nations of the blessings they have already attained by it, but 
to open the door to let in all the corruptions that have been formerly in the 
kirks of God in their lands and all the abuses and usurpations that have 
been in the civil government, and again to divide these two kingdoms that 
are so happily united and conjoined.  Therefore as we wish that all 
misunderstanding between the Nations and between the King and People 
may be removed, so that there may be a happy and lasting peace, so that 
there may be no agreement without establishing and enjoining the 
Covenant in all these three kingdoms...(_The Acts of the General Assemblies 
of the Church of Scotland_. p. 410, http://www.swrb.com/catalog/C.htm).

In short, while, on the ground and in the language of our reforming 
ancestors, we hold that our Covenants are a *norma recta--a right rule*, 
with which other symbols of our profession should harmonize; we also hold 
that the Scriptures are *norma recti, the rule of right*, TO REGULATE ALL 
(_The Reformation Advocate_ magazine, 1874, Vol. 1:1, pp. 6, 7, emphases 
added).

It is in vain for them to palliate or shelter their covenant-breaking with 
appealing from the covenant to the Scripture, for subordianta non pugnant. 
The covenant is norma recta,– a right rule, though the Scripture alone be 
norma recti,–the rule of right. If they hold the covenant to be unlawful, or 
to have anything in it contrary to the word of God, let them speak out. But 
to profess the breach of the covenant to be a grievous and great fault, and 
worthy of a severe censure, and yet to decline the charge and proofs 
thereof, is a most horrible scandal; yea, be astonished, O ye heavens, at 
this, and give ear, O earth! how small regard is had to the oath of God by  
men professing the name of God (George Gillespie, _The Works of George 
Gillespie_, "Male Audis", 1646, reprinted in 1991 [SWRB] from the 1846 
edition, Vol. 1, Chapter 3, p. 13, http://www.swrb.com/catalog/G.htm).

[This is--GB] *a tenet looked upon by the reformed churches as proper to 
those that are inspired with the ghost of Arminius*; for the remonstrants, 
both at and after the Synod of Dort, did cry down the obligation of all 
national covenants and oaths, &c., in matters of religion, under the color of 
*taking the Scripture only for a rule*. Well, we see the charge declined as 
nothing (George Gillespie, _The Works of George Gillespie_, "Male Audis", 
1646, reprinted in 1991 [SWRB] from the 1846 edition, Vol. 1, Chapter 3, 
p.13, emphases added, http://www.swrb.com/catalog/G.htm).

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"Being" -- "Wellbeing"  Distinction

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We recognize this distinction every day in regard to a Christian man; and it 
is no less to be recognized in its application to Christian society. There is 
many a doctrine and truth of revelation, in regard to which a man may err 
without ceasing on that account to be a Christian man; and there may be 
many a duty recognized in Scripture as binding upon all, in which he may 
be totally deficient without forfeiting his Christianity. In other words, 
there is much in doctrine and duty, in faith and practice, necessary to the 
perfection of a believer, which is not necessary to the existence of a 
believer as such; and so it is with a Christian Church. What is essential to 
its *existence* as a Church is something very different from what is 
essential to its *perfection* as a church.... This distinction is of considerable 
value, and not difficult, under the teaching of Scripture, to be applied. We 
read in Scripture that the Christian Church is, "the pillar and ground of the 
truth," and that, "for this cause the Son of God himself came, that he might 
bear witness to the truth." In other words, we learn that the very object 
for which the Church of Christ was established on the earth was to declare 
and uphold the truth.... *Judging then by this first test, we are warranted 
in saying, that to hold and to preach the true faith or doctrine of Christ is 
the only sure and infallible note or mark of the Christian Church, because 
this is the one thing for the sake of which a Church of Christ has been 
instituted on earth. A true faith makes a true church and a corrupt faith a 
corrupt church: and should it at any time apostatize from the true faith 
altogether, it would by the very act, cease to be a Church of Christ in any 
sense at all. The Church was established for the sake of the truth and not 
the truth for the sake of the church*.... For this thing then the Church of 
Christ was instituted; and this thing, or the declaration of the truth, must 
therefore be, in its nature and importance, paramount to the church itself. 
Again we read in Scripture that Christ," gave some apostles, and some 
prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the 
perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of 
the body of Christ." In other words we learn that ordinances and office 
bearers have been established for the object of promoting the *well–being* 
and edification of the Church. These things then [the ordinances and the 
ministry--GB], unlike the former [the truth--GB], were instituted for the 
sake of the Church and not the Church for the sake of them; and these 
things [the ordinances and the ministry--GB] therefore, must be, in their 
nature and importance, subordinate to the Church (James Bannerman, The 
Church of Christ, Vol. 1, 1869, SWRB reprint, 1991, pp. 56–59, emphases 
added, http://www.swrb.com/catalog/B.htm).

In the second place, what are those things which, unlike the truth, have 
been instituted for the sake of the Church, and not the church for the sake 
of them? Such, unquestionably, are those ordinances, office bearers, and 
discipline which have been established within the Christian society. These 
being instituted for the advantage and edification of the Church, are, from 
their very nature, subordinate and secondary to the truth, for the holding 
and publication of which both they and the Church itself exist. They may 
be necessary, and are necessary, for the *perfection* of the Church, but 
they are not necessary for its *existence* (James Bannerman, _The Church 
of Christ_, 1869 Vol. 1, SWRB reprint, 1991, p. 59, emphases added, 
http://www.swrb.com/catalog/B.htm).


I have already mentioned the important distinction between a true church 
[being--GB] and a pure church [well–being--GB]. A church may retain the 
principal doctrines and ordinances of the Christian religion in her 
profession, in such a measure, that she may be called a true church; and 
yet she may as an ecclesiastical body, have such errors in doctrine; such 
human inventions as integral parts of her worship; such unscriptural 
officers and usages in her government; or may be chargeable from such 
defection from reformation, formerly attained, that we cannot be faithful 
to the cause of Christ, which, in these respects, is opposed; nor to the 
catholic [universal--GB] church, for whose true interest we are bound to 
use our best endeavours; nor to the souls of men, which are deeply injured 
by such evils; without withdrawing from her communion. A particular 
church, in this case, though she ceases to be a pure church, may still be 
called a true church of Christ, on account of the measure, in which she 
retains the profession of his truths and ordinances. (John Anderson, 
_Alexander and Rufus_, 1862, p. 77, http://www.swrb.com/catalog/A.htm).

But join to the possession of the true faith the administration of the 
outward ordinances, as necessary to constitute a Christian Church--and you 
assign to outward ordinances a rank and value which are not justly theirs, 
and make them primary, and not, as they truly are of secondary 
importance (James Bannerman, _The Church of Christ_, 1869, SWRB 
reprint, 1991, Vol. 1, p. 61, http://www.swrb.com/catalog/B.htm).


The name of God is indeed called indiscriminately on all, who are deemed 
his people. As it was formerly given to the whole seed of Abraham, so it is 
at this day conferred on all who are consecrated to his name by holy 
baptism, and who boast themselves to be Christians and the sons of the 
Church; and this belongs even to the Papists (_Calvin's Commentaries_, Vol. 
9, p. 285, Baker Book House, http://www.swrb.com/catalog/C.htm).

The Church of Rome can be regarded under a twofold view (schesei); either 
as it is Christian, with regard to the profession of Christianity and of Gospel 
truth which it retains; or Papal, with regard to subjection to the pope, and 
corruptions and capital errors (in faith as well as morals) which she has 
mingled with and built upon those truths besides and contrary to the Word 
of God. We can speak of it in different ways. In the former respect, we do 
not deny that there is some truth in it; but in the latter (under which it is 
regarded here) we deny it can be called Christian and Apostolic, but 
Antichristian and Apostate (Francis Turretin, _Institutes of Elenctic 
Theology_, 1696, Vol. 3, p. 121, http://www.swrb.com/catalog/T.htm). 

However when we categorically deny to the papists the *title* of the 
church [as to its well–being--GB], we do not for this reason impugn the 
*existence* of churches among them [as to their being--GB]. Rather we are 
only contending about the true and lawful constitution of the church, 
required in the communion not only of the sacraments (which are signs of 
profession) but also especially of doctrine (John Calvin, _Institutes of the 
Christian Religion_, Book 4.2.12, Translated by Ford Lewis Battles, 
http://www.swrb.com/catalog/C.htm).

In the same way if anyone recognizes the present congregations--
contaminated with idolatry, superstition, and ungodly doctrine--as 
churches (in full communion of which a Christian man must stand--even to 
the point of agreeing in doctrine), he will gravely err. For if they are 
churches the power of the keys is in their hands; but the keys have an 
indissoluble bond with the Word, which has been destroyed among them. 
Again if they are churches, Christ's promise prevails among them; 
Whatever you bind,"etc [Matt. 16:19; 18:18; John 23:20]. But on the 
contrary, they disown from their communion all that genuinely profess 
themselves servants of Christ. Accordingly either Christ's promise is vain, 
or they are not, at least in this regard, churches. Finally instead of the 
ministry of the Word, they have schools of ungodliness and a sink of all 
kinds of errors. Consequently, by this reckoning either they are not 
churches or no mark will remain to distinguish the lawful congregation of 
believers from the assemblies of Turks (_Institutes of the Christian 
Religion_, Book 4.2.10, http://www.swrb.com/catalog/C.htm).

To sum up, I call them churches [esse--GB] to the extent that the Lord 
wonderfully preserves in them a remnant of his people, however woefully 
dispersed and scattered--and to the extent that some marks of the church 
remain--especially those marks whose effectiveness neither the devils 
wiles nor human depravity can destroy. But on the other hand, because in 
them those marks have been erased to which we should pay particular 
regard in this discourse, I say that every one of their congregations and 
their whole body lack the lawful form of the church [bene esse--GB] 
(_Institutes of the Christian Religion_, Book 4.2.12, Translated by Ford 
Lewis Battles, http://www.swrb.com/catalog/C.htm).

A visible profession of the Truth and Doctrine of godliness, is that which 
essentially constitutes a visible church, and every member of the visible 
church." (Samuel Rutherford, _The Due Right of Presbyteries_, 1644, SWRB 
bound photocopy, p. 251, http://www.swrb.com/catalog/R.htm).

That which is unseen is the form and essence of an invisible church, and 
that which is visible must be the essential form of a visible church (Samuel 
Rutherford, _The Due Right of Presbyteries_, 1644, SWRB bound 
photocopy, p. 242, http://www.swrb.com/catalog/R.htm).

And whereas our Divines say, that the church is invisible, because faith 
which is the specific and constitutive form of the Church is invisible, and 
known only to God the searcher of hearts (Samuel Rutherford, _Survey of 
the Survey of that Summe of Church Discipline_, 1658, p. 418, 
http://www.swrb.com/catalog/R.htm).

There are degrees of necessity; *some things are absolutely necessary to 
the being of a church*, as matter and form, viz., visible saints, and a due 
profession of faith, and obedience to Christ, according to the gospel. *Thus 
it is possible a church may be, and yet want both deacons, elders, and 
pastors too, yea, and word and sacraments for a time: some things are only 
respectively necessary to the well–being of a church*; thus officers are 
necessary, yet some more than others, without which the church is lame, 
defective, and miserably imperfect (_The Divine Right of Church 
Government_, p. 121 Jus Divinum Regiminus Ecclesiastici, ed. by Thos. 
Henderson, published in 1844, see also Naphtali Press edition, p. 123, 
emphases added, http://www.swrb.com/catalog/S.htm).

Abraham called with his house to leave idolatry, obeyed the calling, 
building an altar to the Lord (Gen 12:1–18) professes and teaches as a 
Prophet the doctrine of the covenant, and God appearing revealed the 
Gospel unto him (Gen 12:1–3, Gen 15:4–7) and so he and his house are a 
visible church, when, not while many years after and until he was ninety 
and nine, the seal of circumcision was ordained and given to him and his 
house, Gen 17:1–3. (Samuel Rutherford, _Survey of the Survey of that 
Summe of Church Discipline_, 1658, p. 17, http://www.swrb.com/catalog/R.htm).

*...and the church is a true visible church in the wilderness... which yet 
wanted [lacked--GB] circumcision and the passover forty years in the 
wilderness* (Josh 5:5–7), this proves that there is a true visible church, 
where Christ is, and yet wanteth the ordinary seals, Baptism and the Lord's 
Supper (Samuel Rutherford, _Survey of the Survey of that Summe of 
Church Discipline_, 1658, p. 17, emphases added, 
http://www.swrb.com/catalog/R.htm).

*But a church may retain the essence and being of a visible church, and yet 
have no discipline in actual use, or little*, and though want [lack--GB] of 
discipline do leaven a church, yet it does not (as Robinson says) evert the 
nature thereof, and turn it into Babylon and a den of dragons (Samuel 
Rutherford, _The Due Right of Presbyteries_, 1644, p. 288, SWRB bound 
photocopy, emphases added, http://www.swrb.com/catalog/R.htm).

Any sort of profession, whether by an avowing of that Gospel to one 
another, or suffering for it, even when the shepherds are smitten and the 
flock is scattered is a very practical and speaking mark that such a 
company is a true church (Samuel Rutherford, _Survey of the Survey of 
that Summe of Church Discipline_, 1658, p. 16, SWRB photocopy, 
http://www.swrb.com/catalog/R.htm).

And yet if these may be, to wit, hearing and professed receiving, here is an 
essential mark by which persons before they receive seals are made 
members and visible disciples, and societies visible and Churches 
essentially differenced, 1. From all the false churches visible upon earth, 
who have not the sound of the word preached and professedly heard and 
visibly received and 2. from all civil societies 3. from all Pagan and 
heathen societies on earth. Ergo they were a distinct Christian society, 
differenced essentially, and if they should all die before they had been 
baptized or had received the seals they have been true visible church 
members; and if killed for the truth they had died visible professing 
martyrs, and the called Church of Christ (Samuel Rutherford, _Survey of 
the Survey of that Summe of Church Discipline _, 1658, p. 17, SWRB 
photocopy, http://www.swrb.com/catalog/R.htm).

These have a ministry *essentially* entire who have power under Christ to 
preach the Gospel and Administer the Sacraments, Matthew 28:19. The 
Romish priests have this, and are called to this by the church (Samuel 
Rutherford, _The Due Right of Presbyteries_, p. 240, 1644, SWRB 
photocopy, emphasis added). John Robinson, Rutherford's Independent 
opponent from New England, objects,

How can England forsake the church of Rome and forsake the ministry 
within the church, as in the subject, especially, seeing you teach that a true 
ministry makes a true church (Samuel Rutherford, _The Due Right of 
Presbyteries_, 1644, SWRB photocopy, p. 240, http://www.swrb.com/catalog/R.htm).

Rutherford responds, 

England may well separate from Rome everting the fundamental parts of 
faith and not separate from Rome's baptism or ministry, in so far as they 
*essentially* be the ordinances of Christ. (Samuel Rutherford, _The Due 
Right of Presbyteries_, 1644, p. 240, SWRB photocopy, emphasis added).

However when we categorically deny to the papists the *title* of the 
church, we do not for this reason impugn the existence of churches among 
them. Rather *we are only contending about the true and lawful 
constitution of the church, required in the communion not only of the 
sacraments (which are signs of profession) but also especially of doctrine* 
(John Calvin, _Institutes of the Christian Religion_, Book 4.2.12, Translated 
by Ford Lewis Battles, emphases added, http://www.swrb.com/catalog/C.htm).

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Close Communion

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 If there be no lawful refusing of sacramental communion, with a 
particular church, then there can be no lawful separation from it, till it be 
unchurched. But the latter is absurd; and therefore the former.  I think it 
manifestly absurd to say that we are not to separate from a partucular 
church, however degenerate and corrupt in doctrine, worship, discipline 
and government; till it is no church of Christ at all ; for this would be to  
suppose that, though Christ has provided the censures of the church as a 
means of preserving her from the danger arising from the offenses of one 
or a few members, has provided no means of her preservation from the far 
greater danger of utter ruin by the prevailing influence of a corrupt 
majority.  When such a majority is found incorrigibly obstinate in their 
opposition to any steps towards a thorough reformation, it is evident, that 
there is no remedy but secession.  By such a majority, one great end of 
church communion, which is, that the truths and institutions of the Lord 
Jesus may be preserved pure and entire, is avowedly and obstinately 
opposed; and therefore, in this case, the Lord Jesus, is saying to his people, 
as in 2 Corinth. vi.17, "Come out from among them, and be ye separate."  
Many limit such calls to our departure from the communion of Pagans and 
Papists.  But they are applicable to our secession from any prevailing 
party, even though they should bear the name of Christians, of Protestants 
and Presbyterians, who, in their united capacity, or as a professing body, 
are going on in obstinate opposition to any of the truths and institutions of 
Jesus Christ; so that none can continue in their church communion, without 
being involved in the guilt of that opposition.  From such  Christ is calling 
his people to separate.

 It is not meant, however, that degenerate Protestants and Presbyterians 
are upon a level with Heathens and Papists; for there may be a just cause 
of separation from the former, though not so great as from the latter.  A 
warrantable secession from a particular church of Christ, is a most serious 
and important step.  It is the result of assiduity in searching the scriptures, 
of much prayer and fasting, of long struggling with a prevailing party, 
obstinate in a course of defection.  When a warrantable secession has been 
made; and, while the ground of it continues, there is the highest moral 
necessity of adhering to it.  The Lord Jesus is saying to those, who have 
taken such a step:  Whatever profession or practice ye have attained of the 
truths and ordinances delivered in my word, "hold fast till I come:" and 
with respect to particular churches, that persist in the evils which have 
occasioned a necessary secession, his direction is plain.  "Let them return 
unto you, but return ye not unto them."  But when we have sacramental 
communion with any church from which we have separated, we do return 
to them:  for, in our act of communicating with any church, we declare our 
agreement with that church in its peculiar and distinguishing profession of 
the christian religion: we own the profession of that church to be right, and 
to be so in preference to every different and contrary profession.  This is a 
direct contradiction of the profession we make in our separate communion.  
According to this scheme, we may in our sacramental communion, one 
Sabbath profess, that all true believers shall certainly persevere in a state 
of grace unto the end; that the infants of church members ought to be 
baptised; that we have in the book of Psalms a system of psalmody 
sufficient for the exercise of singing in public worship; and that no hymns 
of human composure ought to be used in that exercise; or that the 
testimony, maintained by the Secession church, ought to be cordially 
embraced, as the testimony  which Christ is calling his people to maintain 
at this day; and yet, on the very next Sabbath, we may, in our sacramental 
communion, profess directly contrary to our former profession, that true 
believers may fall away from their state of grace totally and finally; that 
infant baptism is no baptism; that the songs in the Book of Psalms are not 
sufficient for the exercise of singing in public and solemn worship, various 
hymns of human composure being thought more proper to be sung in New 
Testament worship; or that adherence to what is called the Secession 
Testimony is unwarrantable.  Must we thus say, yea and nay; must we lie 
and prevaricate with God and man, in order to avoid the charge of 
unchurching and excommunicating the churches, from which we are justly 
separated. (John Anderson, _Alexander and Rufus_, p. 77-79, 
http://www.swrb.com/catalog/A.htm).

Anderson writes:

"The catholic church comprehends all that profess the true religion. There 
is a lawful and necessary division of it into sections in respect of local 
situation. But when a number of people, bearing the Christian name, 
combine together as a distinct society, for the purpose of maintaining and
propagating doctrines and practices, which, instead of belonging to the true 
religion, are contrary to it; they ought not, considered as such a 
combination, to be called a lawful section of the catholic church (i.e. 
constitutionally, according to their public character and profession--RB). It 
is not denied, that they belong to the catholic church (in as far as they, as 
individuals, profess the truth--RB); but it is denied, that there ought to be 
any such section or division in it. Thus, there ought to be no section of the 
catholic church, having for the peculiar end of its distinct subsistence, the 
support of episcopal hierarchy, unknown in the Scripture, of the 
propagation of antipaedobaptism, or of anti-scriptural doctrine, in 
opposition to that of God's election, redemption, effectual calling and the 
conservation of his people, as delivered in the scripture; or for the support 
of ways and means of divine worship not found in Scripture. If the catholic 
visible church were brought to a suitable discharge of her duty, she would 
abolish all such sections. But no society ought to be called such an unlawful 
section, while it can be shown that it subsists as a separate society for no 
other end, than for the maintaining of something in the doctrine, worship 
or government of the church which belongs to the Christian religion as 
delivered in the word of God, or for exhibiting a testimony against 
prevailing errors and corruptions which the scripture requires the catholic 
church to condemn. Such a profession of any party of Christians is no 
sectarian profession; and a union with them is not a sectarian, but properly 
a Christian union; and, being cordial and sincere, is a union in Christ; and 
communion upon the ground of this union is truly Christian communion. On 
the other hand, however much of our holy religion any body of Christians 
hold in common with others, and however many of them we may 
charitably judge to be saints, yet while their distinguishing profession is 
contrary to the word of God, communion with them, as a body so 
distinguished, *is sectarian communion*; as it implies a union with them in 
that which ought to be rejected by the whole catholic church" (pp. 10-11, 
emphasis added).

T.H.L. Parker writes,

"Since the evangelical faith had only recently been preached in the city, 
and there were still many Romanists, the ministers also urged 
excommunication on the grounds of failure to confess the faith. _The 
Confession of faith, which all the citizens and inhabitants of Geneva... must 
promise to keep and to hold_ had been presented to the Council on 10 
November 1536. Let the members of the Council be the first to subscribe 
and then the citizens, 'in order to recognize those in harmony with the 
Gospel and those loving rather to be of the kingdom of the pope than of the 
kingdom of Jesus Christ.' Those who would not subscribe were to be 
excommunicated" (_John Calvin: A Biography_, p. 63, 
http://www.swrb.com/catalog/P.htm).

12 November 1537.  It was reported that yesterday the people who had 
not yet made their oath to the reformation were asked to do so, street by 
street; whilst many came, many others did not do so.  No one came from 
the German quarter.  It was decided that they should be commanded to 
leave the city if they did not wish to swear to the reformation" (Johnston, 
Pamela, and Bob Scribner. 1993. _The Reformation in Germany and 
Switzerland_, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,p. 138,
 http://www.swrb.com/catalog/S.htm).

John Anderson states,

"The term sectarian, the favorite watch-word of this author, tends to divert 
the attention from the matter in dispute. The question is, whether a 
church's refusing to have sacramental communion with such as openly 
avow their opposition to one or more articles of her scriptural profession 
has such effects as are now mentioned? Does this refusal break up the 
unity of the church at large? By no means. The truths of God's word 
constitute the bond of unity in the catholic church; so far as they are 
publicly professed and preserved in the doctrine, worship, and 
government of the several particular churches. Hence it is evident, that 
what breaks up the peace of the catholic church, is not the faithfulness of 
particular churches in refusing, but their laxness in granting sacramental 
communion to the avowed opposers of undoubted truths of God's word, as 
exhibited in the public profession of any of the churches, every instance of 
this laxness tending to weaken the bond of their union. Does refusing 
sacramental communion with the avowed opposers of the truths of God, 
publicly professed by a particular church, chill the warmth of love to the 
catholic church? surely no: for it is manifestly the interest of the catholic 
church that every particular church should hold these truths in her public 
profession, and not tolerate opposition to them in her communion. Hence it 
must give sincere pleasure to a lover of the catholic church to see a 
particular church uniformly faithful in refusing church communion to open 
opposers of any one of the truths of God contained in her public 
profession... Does the faithfulness of a particular church, in refusing to have 
sacramental communion with the open opposers of any article of her 
scriptural profession, hinder her from using any means appointed in the 
word of God for promoting his spiritual kingdom? This is so far from being 
the case, that this refusal is supposed and implied in the use of several 
proper means for that end; such as, a church's contending for the whole 
truth exhibited in her public profession; the judicial assertion of the truths 
of God's word, and the judicial condemnation of the contrary errors; 
committing the word to faithful men, who will teach others the whole truth 
and nothing but the truth, according to the public profession or testimony 
of the church, in due subordination to the holy scriptures; recognising the 
solemn engagements, which the church has come under to preserve 
whatever measure of reformation has been attained. These means, which 
are certainly appointed in the word of God, cannot be sincerely used by 
any particular church, unless she be careful, that such as are avowed and 
obstinate opposers of any article of her scriptural profession, may not be 
received into, or continued in her communion. Whilst these means, of our 
Lord's appointment, are willfully neglected, we have little ground to expect 
the Divine blessing on such other means as men may pretend, to use for 
the advancement of his spiritual kingdom" (pp. 92-93).

To see how closely this mirrors Calvin's teaching, see pages 126 to 135 in 
_The Necessity of Reforming the Church_ (Presbyterian Heritage 
Publications' edition, http://www.swrb.com/catalog/R.htm, 
on the PHP CD under "REED, KEVIN").

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Open Communion (the sin of)

*************************

In the first place, it is a sectarian communion. Its existence supposes that 
there are sects and parties in the catholic [i.e. universal--GB] church; and 
that the variety of men's opinions, habits and feelings, is sufficient to 
justify the continuance of them. Scriptural, sacramental communion [close 
communion--GB] admits of no sects; requiring all partakers of it to be one 
bread, one body; perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the 
same judgment.

In the second place, it is an unfaithful and dishonest scheme. It is 
unfaithful to the Lord Jesus; for under the pretext of expressing love to 
him at his table, it regards the denial of some of his truths or institutions, 
however openly or obstinately persisted in, as a trivial matter, deserving 
no church censure. When the advocates for this scheme represent the 
truths and institutions of Christ, that are publicly opposed by corrupt 
churches as sectarian and local peculiarities, they are chargeable with 
great unfaithfulness to the Lord Christ, to these churches and to the whole 
catholic church. They are chargeable with attempting to heal the wound of 
God's people slightly, saying peace, peace while there is no peace.

Thirdly, it is a backsliding scheme. There is nothing more incumbent on a 
particular church than steadfastness in maintaining all the articles of 
Divine truth stated in her confession and testimony. But as soon as the 
practice obtains in any particular church of having sacramental 
communion with the open and obstinate opposers of any of these articles, 
that church, thereby, falls from her steadfastness, and *is chargeable, in 
some measure, with apostasy * (John Anderson, _Alexander and Rufus_, 
1862, pp. 93–94, emphases added, http://www.swrb.com/catalog/A.htm).

Mournful as the divisions of the Church are, and anxious as all its genuine 
friends must be to see them cured, it is their duty to examine carefully the 
plans which may be proposed for attaining this desirable end. *We must 
not do evil that good may come; and there are sacrifices too costly to be 
made for the procuring of peace with fellow Christians*.

Is it necessary to remind you, that unity and peace are not always good, 
nor a sure and infallible mark of a true and pure church? We know that 
there is a church which has long boasted of her catholic unity 
notwithstanding all the corruptions which pollute her communion; and that 
within her pale the whole world called Christian once enjoyed a profound 
repose, and it could be said, "Behold, the people is one, and they have all 
one language" (Gen. 11:6). It was a union and peace founded in ignorance, 
delusion, implicit faith, and a base subjection to human authority; and 
supported by the arts of compulsion and terror.

But there are other methods by which Christians may be deceived, and the 
interests of religion deeply injured, under the pretext or with the view of 
uniting its friends. Among these I know none more imposing, nor from 
which greater danger is to be apprehended in the present time, than that 
which proceeds on the scheme of principles usually styled latitudinarian.

*It has obtained this name because it proclaims an undue latitude in 
matters of religion, which persons may take to themselves or give to 
others. Its abettors make light of the differences which subsist among 
religious parties, and propose to unite them on the common principles on 
which they are already agreed, in the way of burying the rest in silence, or 
of stipulating mutual forbearance and charity with respect to everything 
about which they may differ in opinion or in practice.*

Some plead for this on the ground that the several professions of religion 
differ very little from one another, and are all conducive to the happiness 
of mankind and the honor of God, who is pleased with the various 
diversified modes in which men profess their regard to him, provided only 
they are sincere in their professions--a principle of difformity which, 
however *congenial to the system of polytheism, is utterly eversive of a 
religion founded on the unity of the divine nature and will*, and on a 
revelation which teaches us what we are to believe concerning God and 
what duty he requires of us.

But the ground on which this plan is ordinarily made to rest is a distinction 
made among the articles of religion. Some of these are called essential, or 
fundamental, or necessary, or principal; others circumstantial, or non–
fundamental, or unnecessary, or less important. The former, it is pleaded, 
are embraced by all true Christians; the latter form the subjects of 
difference among them, and ought not to enter into the terms of 
ecclesiastical fellowship. On this principle some of them would conciliate 
and unite all the Christian denominations, not excepting Papists, Arians, 
and Socinians; while others restrict their plan to those called evangelical, 
who differ mainly in their views and practice as to the worship, order, and 
discipline of the Church.

The distinction on which this scheme rests is itself liable to objections 
which appear insuperable. It is not warranted by the Word of God; and the 
most acute of its defenders have never been able to state it in a manner 
that is satisfactory, or which renders it subservient to any practical use. 
The Scripture, indeed, speaks of certain truths which may be called the 
foundation, because they are first laid, and others depend on them--first 
principles, or elementary truths, which are to be taught before others. But 
their priority or posteriority in point of order, in conception or instruction, 
does not determine the relative importance of doctrines, or their necessity 
in order to salvation. Far less does it determine the propriety of their being 
made to enter into the religious profession of Christians and Christian 
churches.

There are doctrines, too, which intrinsically, and on different accounts, may 
be said to have a peculiar and superior degree of importance; and this, so 
far as known, may properly be urged as a motive for our giving the more 
earnest heed to them. It is not, however, their comparative importance or 
utility, but their truth and the authority of him who has revealed them, 
which is the formal and proper reason of our receiving, professing, and 
maintaining them. And this applies equally to all the contents of a divine 
revelation. The relations of truths, especially those of a supernatural kind, 
are manifold and incomprehensible to us; it is not our part to pronounce a 
judgment on them; and if we could see them as God does, in all their extent 
and at once, we would behold the lesser joined to the greater, the most 
remote connected with the primary, by necessary and indissoluble links, 
and all together conspiring to form one beautiful and harmonious and 
indivisible whole.

Whatever God has revealed we are bound to receive and hold fast; 
whatever he has enjoined we are bound to obey; and the liberty which we 
dare not arrogate to ourselves we cannot give to others. It is not, indeed, 
necessary that the confession or testimony of the Church (meaning by this 
that which is explicitly made by her, as distinguished from her declared 
adherence to the whole Word of God) should contain all truths. But then 
any of them may come to be included in it, when opposed and endangered; 
and it is no sufficient reason for excluding any of them that they are less 
important than others, or that they have been doubted and denied by good 
and learned men. Whatever forbearance may be exercised to persons, "the 
Word of the Lord," in all its extent, "must have free course and be 
glorified" (cf. 2 Thess. 3:1). *And any act of men--call it forbearance or 
what you will--which serves as a screen and protection to error or sin, and 
prevents it from being opposed and removed by any proper means, is 
contrary to the divine law, and consequently is destitute of all intrinsic 
force and validity*.

There are truths also which are more immediately connected with 
salvation. But who will pretend to fix those propositions which are 
absolutely necessary to be known in order to salvation, by all persons, of 
all capacities, and in all situations; or say how low a God of grace and 
salvation may descend in dealing with particular individuals? Or, if we 
could determine this extreme point, who would say that it ought to fix the 
rule of our dealing with others, or the extent of a church's profession of 
faith? Is nothing else to be kept in view in settling articles of faith and 
fellowship, but what may be necessary to the salvation of sinners? Do we 
not owe a paramount regard to the glory of God in the highest, to the 
edifying of the body of Christ, to the advancing of the general interests of 
religion, and to the preserving, in purity, of those external means, by 
which, in the economy of providence and grace, the salvation of men, both 
initial and progressive, may be promoted to an incalculable extent from 
age to age?

In fine, there is reason for complaining that the criteria or marks given for 
determining these fundamental or necessary articles are uncertain or 
contradictory. It is alleged that "they are clearly taught in Scripture?" This 
is true of the others also. "That they are few and simple?" This is 
contradicted by their own attempts to state them. "That they are such as 
the Scripture has declared to be necessary?" Why then have we not yet 
been furnished with a catalogue of them? "That they are such as embraced 
by all true Christians?" Have they a secret tact by which they are able to 
discover such characters? If not, can they avoid running into a vicious 
circle in reasoning, by first determining who are true Christians by their 
embracing certain doctrines, and then determining that these doctrines are 
fundamental because they are embraced by persons of that description?

Many who have contributed to give currency to this scheme have been 
actuated, I have no doubt, by motives which are in themselves highly 
commendable. They wished to fix the attention of men on matters 
confessedly of great importance, and were anxious to put an end to the 
dissensions of Christians by discovering a mean point in which the views of 
all might harmoniously meet. But surely those who cherish a supreme 
regard for divine authority will be afraid of contemning or of teaching 
others to think lightly of anything which bears its sacred impress. They 
will be disposed carefully to reconsider an opinion, or an interpretation of 
any part of Scripture, which seems to imply in it that God has given men a 
power to dispense with some of his own laws. And they will be cautious of 
originating or countenancing plans of communion that may involve a 
principle of such a complexion.

These plans are more or less dangerous according to the extent to which 
they are carried, and the errors or abuses which may prevail among the 
parties which they embrace. But however limited they may be, they set an 
example which may be carried to any extent. *So far as it is agreed and 
stipulated that any truth or duty shall be sacrificed or neglected, and that 
any error or sin shall be treated as indifferent or trivial, the essence of 
latitudinarianism is adopted, room is made for further advancements, and 
the way is prepared for ascending, through successive generations, to the 
very highest degree in the scale*.

Another plan of communion, apparently opposite to the former, but 
proceeding on the same general principle, has been zealously 
recommended, and in some instances reduced to practice, in the present 
day. According to it, the several religious parties are allowed to remain 
separate, and to preserve their distinct constitution and peculiarities, while 
a species of partial or occasional communion is established among them. 
This plan is liable to all the objections which lie against the former, with 
the addition of another that is peculiar to itself. It is inconsistent and self–
contradictory. *It strikes against the radical principles of the unity of the 
Church, and confirms schism by law: while it provides that the parties shall 
remain separate, at the same time that it proceeds on the supposition that 
there is no scriptural or conscientious ground of difference between them*. 
[Note that this is Mr. Bacon's plan of communion--GB]

By defending such occasional conformity, English Dissenters at a former 
period contradicted the reasons of their dissent from the establishment, 
and exposed themselves to their opponents: for where communion is 
lawful, *it will not be easy to vindicate separation from the charge of 
schism. The world has for some time beheld annually the spectacle of 
Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Independents, Methodists, and Seceders, 
sitting down together at the Lord's Table, and then going away and 
maintaining communion, through the remainder of the year, on their own 
separate and contradictory professions*. Nay, it has of late become the 
practice to keep, in the same church, an open communion table for 
Christians of different denominations on one part of the day, and a close 
one for those of a particular sect on the other part of the day; while the 
same ministers officiate, and many individuals communicate, on both these 
occasions. And all this is cried up as a proof of liberality, and a mind that 
has freed itself from the trammels of party.

*It is difficult to say which of these plans is most objectionable. By the 
former, that church which is most faithful, and has made the greatest 
progress in reformation, must always be the loser, without having the 
satisfaction to think that she has conveyed any benefit to her new 
associates*. It behoves her profession and managements to yield, and be 
reduced to the standard of those societies which are defective and less 
reformed. And thus, by a process opposite to that mentioned by the 
Apostle, those who have built on the foundation "gold, silver, precious 
stones," are the persons who shall "suffer loss" (1 Cor. 3:12, 15). *By the 
latter, all the good effects which might be expected from warrantable and 
necessary separations are lost, without the compensation of a rational and 
effective conjunction; purity of communion is endangered; persons are 
encouraged to continue in connection with the most corrupt churches; and 
a faithful testimony against errors and abuses, with all consistent attempts 
to have them removed or prevented, is held up to odium and reproach, as 
dictated by bigotry, and as tending to revive old dissensions, and to defeat 
the delightful prospect of those halcyon days of peace which are 
anticipated under the reign of mutual forbearance and charity* (Thomas 
M'Crie, _Unity of the Church_, 1821, reprinted 1989 by Presbyterian 
Heritage Publications, pp.106–118, or free on Still Waters Revival Books 
web page at: http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/Unity_00.htm, 
emphases added).

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Confessions (subscription to)

*************************

However, two things can be asked about these confessions: first, their 
necessity; then, their authority. As to the necessity, *we say that it is not 
absolute*, as if the church could not do without them. For there was a time 
when she was without them, being content with ecumenical creeds alone 
or even without these, content with the formula of Scripture alone; but 
hypothetical on the hypothesis of a divine command and of the condition 
of the church, from the time when heresies, the danger of contagion, the 
calumnies of adversaries and intestine discords in religion began to disturb 
her, that the necessity and justice of our secession from the church might 
be manifested, that they might be held together in one body and so all 
distractions, dangerous dissents and schisms, wounding the truth and unity 
of the church, might be shunned.

Their authority ought indeed to be great with the pious in the churches, 
but still sinking below the authority of the Scripture. For the latter is a 
rule, they the thing ruled. It [the Scripture--GB] alone is self–credible 
(autopistos) with respect to words as well as to things, divine and 
infallible; they, as divine in things, still in words and manner of treatment 
are human writings. Faith is immediately and absolutely due to it [the 
Scripture--GB]; to them an examination is due and that having been made, 
if they agree with the word, faith. It [the Scripture--GB] is the constant and 
immutable canon of faith; while they are subject to revision and new 
examination, in which it is right not only to explain and amplify them, but 
also to correct whatever fault should be found in them and reform 
according to the rule of the word. Hence it is evident that they err here in 
excess who hold such confessions as the rule of the truth itself and make 
them equal to the Word of God. *They are at best secondary rules, not of 
truth, but of the doctrine received in any church, since from them can be 
seen and decided what agrees with or what differs from the doctrine of the 
church*.

*Therefore, their true authority consists in this--that they are obligatory 
upon those who are subject to them in the court of external communion 
because they were written by the churches or in the name of the churches, 
to which individual members in the external communion are responsible* 
(1 Cor. 14:32). Hence if they think they observe anything in them worthy 
of correction, they ought to undertake nothing rashly or disorderly 
(ataktos) and unseasonably, so as to violently rend the body of their 
mother (which schismatics do), but to refer the difficulties they feel to 
their church and either to prefer her public opinion to their own private 
judgment or to secede from her communion, if the conscience cannot 
acquiesce in her judgment. *Thus they cannot bind in the inner court of 
conscience, except inasmuch as they are found to agree with the Word of 
God (which alone has power to bind the conscience)*.

Therefore, they err in defect who acknowledge no authority or a very 
slight authority in confessions; such are the neutrals and Libertines, who, 
to consult their own interests, profess nothing certain and determinate, but 
amid the conflicts of contradictions are undecided and fluctuate and, falling 
in with the winds of fortune, bend their sails to their influence. Their 
religion, consequently, you would properly call (if they have any) a 
monthly faith; nay, even a daily (hemerobion) or hourly. Unorthodox 
persons and heretics are such who, seeing that they are checked by such 
formulas as by a bridle that they may not scatter their errors to the winds, 
endeavor in every way, either openly, or secretly and by cunning, to 
destroy their authority. *As was done by the Arminians, who frequently* 
(in considerationibus suis in Confess. et Catech. Belgi. +) *have calumniously 
charged us with ascribing to these formulas an authority canonical and 
equal to the Scriptures, when they were read and explained in the public 
assembly, as if they were considered as the very Word of God. But the 
groundlessness of this accusation appears from the acknowledged 
difference between confessions and the Word of God* (Francis Turretin, 
_Institutes of Elenctic Theology_, 1696, Vol. 3, pp. 284, 285, emphases 
added, http://www.swrb.com/catalog/T.htm).


But while the matter, as well as the ground, of the church's profession is 
properly speaking divine, the acts and modes of professing and 
maintaining it are necessarily human. When false and corrupt views of 
Christianity become general, it is necessary that confessions of the truth in 
opposition to them be embodied in formal and written documents, which 
may be known and read by all men. Vox emissa perit: litera scripta manet 
(a voice sent forth disappears: a written letter remains). It is not enough 
that Christians confess their faith individually: to comply with divine 
commands, to answer to their character as church members, and the better 
to gain the ends in view, it is requisite that they make a joint and common 
confession. When the truths contained in the Word of God have been 
explicitly stated and declared, in opposition to existing errors, by the 
proper authority in a church, an approbation of such statements and 
declarations may be required as a test of soundness in the faith and 
Christian fidelity, without any unwarrantable imposition on conscience, or 
the most distant reflection on the perfection of Scripture. *The same 
arguments which justify the use of creeds and confessions will also justify 
particular declarations or testimonies directed against errors and 
corruptions prevailing in churches which still retain scriptural formularies. 
Those who allow the former cannot consistently condemn the latter*. It is 
not sufficient to entitle persons to the character of faithful witnesses of 
Christ, that they profess a general adherence to the Bible or a sound 
confession of faith, provided they refuse or decline to direct and apply 
these seasonably against present evils. It might as well be said that the 
soldier has acquitted himself well in a battle, because he had excellent 
armor lying in a magazine, or a sword hanging by his side, although he 
never brought forth the armor nor drew his sword from is scabbard. The 
means alluded to are the unsheathing of the sword and the wielding of the 
armor of the Church. So far from setting aside the authority of Scripture, 
they are necessary for keeping a sense of it alive on the spirits of men, and 
for declaring the joint views and animating the combined endeavors of 
those who adhere to it. *By explaining and applying a rule, we do not add 
to it, nor do we detract from its authority* (Thomas M'Crie, _Unity of the 
Church_, 1821, reprinted in 1989 by Presbyterian Heritage Publications, 
pp. 135–137, emphases added, http://www.swrb.com/catalog/R.htm, 
on the PHP CD under "REED, KEVIN").


_Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland_ (this book is at 
http://www.swrb.com/catalog/C.htm, under "COVENANTED GENERAL 
ASSEMBLY OF THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND")

On Subscription to Church Standards,

1. Full Subscription  to Church Standards Required

December 8, Session 16, 1638 (Book of Discipline)

In the Assembly held 1590 when the Confession of Faith was subscribed 
universally (de novo) a ratification of the liberties of the Kirk, in her 
jurisdiction, discipline, Presbyteries, Synods, and General assemblies, and 
an abrogation of all things contrary thereunto; was ordained to be sought 
in Council and in Parliament. In the next session it was ordained that the 
Book of Discipline, specially the controverted heads should be subscribed 
by all ministers that bear or hereafter were to bear office in this Kirk and 
that they be charged by the Presbyteries under pain of excommunication; seeing 
the Word of God cannot be kept in sincerity unless the holy discipline be 
preserved.

The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland, p.  33.

December 10, Session 17, 1638. (Confession of Faith)

And findeth that first in general : In the Confession of Faith we profess, we 
willingly agree in our consciences to the form of religion of a long time 
openly professed by the Kings Majesty, and whole body of this realm, in all 
points, as unto Gods undoubted truth and verity grounded only upon His 
written word, and therefore abhor and detest all contrary religion and 
doctrine.

The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland, p. 37.

Act  Ordaining the subscription of the Confession of Faith and the Covenant 
(1639)

We by our Act and Constitution ecclesiastical do approve the foresaid 
Covenant in all the heads and clauses thereof and ordains of new, under all 
ecclesiastical censure, the the masters of universities, colleges, and schools, 
all scholars at the passing of their degrees, all persons suspect of papistry 
or any other errors; and finally all the members of this Kirk and Kingdom, 
subscribe the same.....

The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland, p. 87.

2. Those who speak or write against these standards or those who wrote 
them are to be censured as sectarian.

March 26, Session 7, 1638.

The assembly alloweth this article.
Whereas the Confession of Faith in this Kirk concerning both doctrine and 
discipline so often called in question by the corrupt judgement and 
tyrannous authority of the pretended Prelats, is now clearly explained, and 
by this whole Kirk represented by this General Assembly concluded, 
ordained also to be subscribed by all sorts of persons within this said Kirk 
and Kingdom : The Assembly constitutes and ordains that from henceforth  
no sort of person of whatsoever quality or degree be permitted to speak or 
write against the said Confession, this Assembly or any Act of this 
Assembly, and that under the pain of incurring the censures of this Kirk.

The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland, p. 51

Aug 1, Session 5, 1640

The Assembly ordains, that such as have subscribed the Covenant and 
speaks against the same, if he be a Minister, shall be deprived: And if he 
continue so, being deprived, shall be excommunicate: And if he be any 
other man, shall be dealt with as perjured and satisfy publicly for his 
perjury.

The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland. p. 93

 July, Session 21, 1648.

Whosoever brings in any opinion or practise in this Kirk contrary to the 
Confession of Faith, Directory for Worship or Presbyterian Government 
may be justly esteemed to be opening the door to schism and sects: And 
therefore all depravers and misconstructors of the proceedings of the Kirk 
judicatiries, especially the General Assembly would take heed lest making 
a breach upon the walls of Jerusalem they make a patent way for Sectaries 
to enter.

The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland. p. 396.

1. Only the Word of God is the principal and formal ground of our faith. 
Eph. 2:20–22; 
2 Tim. 3:16; Lk. 24:25.

2. A confession of faith containing all fundamental points is so far forth the 
Word of God as it agrees with the Word of God and *obligeth as a rule 
secondary, which we believe with subjection to God, speaking in His own 
word, and to this platform we may lawfully swear* (Samuel Rutherford, 
_The Due Right of Presbyteries_, 1644, p. 132, SWRB bound photocopy, 
emphases added).

Contradictory Oaths

Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland on Contradictory 
Oaths

1. The Confession of Faith interpreted to a contrary meaning and 
subscribed to is a contradictory oath which is sinful and censurable.

December 20, Session 26, 1638. Concerning the subscribing of the 
Confession of Faith lately subscribed by his Majesties Commissioner , and 
urged to be subscribed by others.

And in the mean time, lest any should fall under the danger of a 
contradictory oath, and bring the wrath of God upon themselves and the 
land, for the abuse of His name and Covenant; The Assembly by their 
ecclesiastical authority, prohibits and discharges, that no member of this 
Kirk swear or subscribe the said Confession so far wrested to a contrary 
meaning, under pain of all ecclesiastical censure.

The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland, p. 63

2. Oaths and Bands contradicting the National Covenant and the Solemn 
League and Covenant are sinful and censurable.

July 28, Session 18, 1648 Act and declaration against the Act of Parliament 
and Committee of Estates ordained to be subscribed the 10th and 12th of 
June, and against all new Oaths or Bands in the common cause imposed 
without the consent of the Church.

And therefore the General Assembly professing in all tender respect to the 
high and Honourable Court of Parliament and Committee of Estates, but 
finding a straighter tie of God lying upon their consciences, that they be 
not found unfaithful watchmen, and betrayers of the souls of these 
committed to their charge, Do unanimously declare the foresaid 
subscription to be unlawful and sinful.  And do warn, and in the name of 
the Lord charge all the members of this Kirk, to forbear the subscribing of 
the said Act and Declaration, much more the urging of the subscription 
thereof, as they would not incur the wrath of God, and the Censures of the 
Kirk.  And considering how necessary it is that according to the eight 
desire of the Commissioners of the Assembly to the Parliament, the Kirk 
might have the same interest in any new Oaths in this cause, as they had 
in the Solemn League and Covenant, and what dangers of contradictory 
Oaths, perjuries and snares to mens consciences may fall out otherwise: 
Therefore they likewise enjoin all the members of this Kirk, to forbear the 
swearing, subscribing or pressing of any new Oaths or Bands in this cause, 
without advise and concurrence of the Kirk, especially any negative Oaths 
or Bands, which may in any way limit or restrain them in the duties 
whereunto they are obliged, by National or Solemn League and Covenant, 
and that with certification as aforesaid. And such as have already pressed 
or subscribed the foresaid Act and Declaration, The General Assembly doth 
hereby exhort then most earnestly in the bowels of Christ, to repent of that 
defection. 

The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland, p.378-379


July, Session 21, 1648.

That they beware of all things which may ensnare their consciences, as evil 
council, evil company, false information,  rash promises, and especially that 
they beware taking any Oaths, subscribing any Bonds, which may relate to 
the Covenant and cause of God unless such Oaths and Bonds be approved 
by the General Assembly or their Commissioners for the public affairs of 
the Kirk.

The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland, p.399

3. An example of excommunication for obstinate maintaining of oaths 
contradictory to the National Covenant and the Solemn League and 
Covenant.

June 13, Session 10, 1646. Ordinance for Excommunication of the Earl of 
Seafort

The General Assembly having taken to their serious consideration that 
perfidious band made and contrived lately in the North under the name of 
A Humble Remonstrance , against our National Covenant, and the League 
and Covenant of the three kingdoms; which tends to the making of division 
and fomenting of jealousy within this and between both kingdoms, to the 
prolonging of these unnatural wars, to the impeding of the intended 
uniformity of religion, and to the subversion of all the happy ends of our 
Covenants. And finding that George Earle of Seafort has not only most 
perfidiously himself subscribed the said wicked band, contrary to his 
solemn oath sin in  the Covenants aforesaid... Therefore the Assembly 
moved with the zeal of God, do without a contrary voice discern and ordain 
the said George Earle of Seafort to be summarily excommunicate and 
declared to be one whom Christ commanded to be held by all and 
everyone of the faithful as an ethnic and a publican.

The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland, p. 303-304.


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Covenanting

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I shall leave every man to his Judge, and shall judge nothing before the 
time; and I wish every man to consider sadly and seriously, by what spirit 
and principles he is led, and whether he be seeking the things of Christ, or 
his own things; whether he be pleasing Christ; whether sin be more 
shamed and holiness more advanced, this way or that way; which way is 
the most agreeable to the Word of God, to the example of the best 
reformed churches, and so to the _Solemn League and Covenant_. The 
controversy is now hot: every faithful servant of Christ will be careful to 
deliver his own soul by his faithfulness, and let the Lord do what seemeth 
him good. The cause is not ours, but Christ's; it stands him upon his honour, 
his crown, his laws, his kingdom. Our eyes are towards the Lord, and we 
will wait for a divine decision of the business: "For the Lord is our judge, 
the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king, he will save us" (George 
Gillespie, _Aaron's Rod Blossoming_, 1646, reprinted by Sprinkle 
Publications, 1985, p. 78, http://www.swrb.com/catalog/G.htm).

Yes, unto them which believe Christ is precious; and *I never question that 
he is so to multitudes who never heard of the British Covenants*; but I 
grieve when these are lightly called the "old covenants" by those under the 
obligation of them... (David Steele, Reminiscences, 1883, p. 262, emphases 
added).

Arminians [argue--GB]--A confession [Covenant--GB] is not a rule of faith it 
hath not the lowest place in the Church.

*The Covenant written and sealed in Nehemiah's time was a secondary rule 
of faith* [in the same sense as the PRCE's fourth term of communion--GB], 
*and a rule in so far as it agreed with the Law of Moses*, for they enter in 
a curse and an oath to walk in God's law, not to give their sons and 
daughters in marriage to the heathen, not to buy victuals from the heathen 
on the Sabbath, to charge themselves to give money to maintain the 
service of God.(Nehemiah 9:38, 10:1–3, 29–32). *Which written Covenant 
was not Scripture; and Acts 15, the decrees of the Synod was not formally 
Scripture, yet to be observed as a secondary rule*. (Samuel Rutherford, _A 
Free Disputation Against Pretended Liberty of Conscience_, 1649, SWRB 
bound photocopy, p. 25).

The only plausible objection offered by opponents to the doctrine and 
practice of public social covenanting is taken from the assumption, that it 
is superceded by the sacraments, especially the Lord's Supper. The 
assumption has never been proved, and is utterly groundless, as will at 
once appear to any unbiased mind, by considering that God instituted all 
three forms of taking hold of his covenant. If it be so that baptism and the 
Lord's Supper are substantially the same seals of the covenant as 
circumcision and the passover; then the consequence is inevitable, that as 
the whole people of Israel were taken and engaged to God at Sinai, he 
judged the two preceding forms incomplete. And since the privileges of 
God's covenant people are enlarged--not abridged, under the New 
Testament dispensation, and that public covenanting was a matter of 
frequent prediction and promise under the Old dispensation; it follows that 
this instrumentality is to be continued and exemplified (David Steele, _The 
Two Witnesses_, 1859, p. 27)

Calvin's first objective was to obtain, at a meeting attended by the whole 
city, an oath forcing the entire population to abjure the papacy and adhere 
to the Christian religion and its discipline, as comprehended under a few 
headings (Johnston, _The Reformation in Germany and Switzerland_,  p. 
138, emphases added).

Register of the Council of 24

12 November 1537.  It was reported that yesterday the people who had 
not yet made their oath to the reformation were asked to do so, street by 
street; whilst many came, many others did not do so.  No one came from 
the German quarter.  It was decided that they should be commanded to 
leave the city if they did not wish to swear to the reformation. 26 
November 1537.  Some people have been reported to have said that it was 
perjury to swear to a confession which had been dictated to them in 
writing . . . [Farel or Calvin] replied that if the contents of the written
confession were studied carefully it would be seen that this was not so, but 
that it was a confession made according to God.  Examples from holy 
Scripture (in Nehemia and Jeremiah) proved that the people should all be 
assembled to swear to keep faith with God and observe his commandments
(cited by Johnson, _The Reformation in Germany and Switzerland_,  p. 138, 
emphases added).

To swear to the true religion, the defence and maintenance thereof is a 
lawful oath; as to swear to any thing that is lawful, and to lay a new band 
on our souls to perform holy duties, where we fear a breach, and find by 
experience there hath been a breach, is also a duty of moral and perpetual
equity; therefore such a sworn covenant is lawful (Rutherford, _The Due 
Right Of Presbyteries_, p. 134, emphases added).  

Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland on Covenanting  
and Covenants 

1. The Blessing of God upon Covenanting

January 23, Session 2, 1645

And when we consider how the Lord hath carried on His work here at the 
first taking of the Covenant, and since, against much learning and 
contradiction, against much policy, power, and all sorts of opposition (such 
as reformation useth to encounter) we are ravished with admiration at the 
right hand of the Almighty.

The Acts of  the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland. p.249

2. The Perpetual Obligation of the Covenant 

July, Session 21, 1648

To remember that as the violation of the Covenant by some in England 
doth not set us free from the observation thereof, and as no laws nor 
authority on earth can absolve us from so solemn an obligation to the most 
high God (which not only has been professed by this Kirk but in a petition 
in the city of London, and in public testimonies of many of the Ministry in 
England) So we are not acquitted and assoiled from the obligation of our 
solemn Covenant, because of the troubles and confusions of the times; But 
that in the worst of times all those duties,whereunto by Covenant we 
oblige ourselves, do still lie upon us, for we have sworn (and must perform 
it) concerning that Cause and Covenant wherein we solemnly engaged. That 
we shall all the days of our lives zealously and constantly continue therein 
against all opposition and promove the same according to our power 
against all lets and impediments whatsoever. And if against all lets and 
impediments whatsoever, then the altering of the way of opposition, or of 
the kind of impediments doth not alter the nature or tie of the Covenant, 
but we are obliged to all the duties therein contained

The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland. p.399

August 6, 1649

Although there were none in the one kingdom who did adhere to the 
Covenant, yet thereby were not  the other kingdom nor any person in 
either of them absolved from the bond thereof, since in it we have not only 
sworn by the Lord, but also covenanted with Him. It is not the failing of 
one or more that can absolve the other from their duty or tie to Him: 
Besides, the duties therein contained, being in themselves lawful, and the 
grounds of our tie thereunto moral, though the other do forget their duty, 
yet doth not their defection free us from that obligation which lies upon us 
by the Covenant in our places and stations. And the Covenant being 
intended and entered into by these kingdoms, as one of the best means of 
steadfastness, for guarding against declining times: It were strange to say 
that the backsliding of any should absolve others from the tie thereof, 
especially seeing our engagement therein is not only National, but also 
personal, everyone with uplifted hands swearing by himself, as it is 
evident by the tenor of the Covenant.

From these and other important reasons, it may appear that all these 
kingdoms joining together to abolish that oath by law, yet could they not 
dispense therewith; Much less can any one of them, or any part in either of 
them do the same. The dispensing with oaths have hitherto been abhorred 
as Antichristian, and never practised and avowed by any but by that man 
of sin; therefore those who take the same upon them, as they join with him 
in his sin, so must they expect to partake of his plagues.

The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland. pp. 474-475

July 27, Session 27, 1649

Albeit the League and Covenant be despised by the prevailing party in 
England, and the work of Uniformity through retardments and obstructions 
that have come in the way, be almost forgotten in these kingdoms, yet the 
obligation of that Covenant is perpetual, and all the duties contained 
therein are constantly to be minded, and prosecuted by every one of us 
and our posterity.

The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland. p. 460

3. Covenant Subscription a Term of Communion

August 8,Session 6, 1643

The General Assembly considering the good and pious advice of the 
commissioners of the last Assembly, upon the 22 of September, 1642 
recommending to presbyteries, to have copies of the Covenant to be 
subscribed by every Minister at his admission, doth therefore ratify and 
approve the same. And further ordains that the Covenant be reprinted , 
with this ordinance prefixed thereto, and that every Synod, Presbytery 
and Parish, have one of them bound in quatro, with some blank paper, 
whereupon every person may be obliged to subscribe:  And that the 
Covenants of the Synod and Presbytery be keeped by their Moderator 
respective, of Universities by their principals, of Parishes by their 
Ministers, with all carefulness.  And that particular account of obedience to 
this Act, be required hereafter in all visitations of Parishes, Universities, 
and Prebyteries, and all trials of Presbyteries and Synod books.

The General Assembly considering that the Act of the Assembly at 
Edinburgh 1639.  August 30. enjoining all persons to subscribe the 
Covenant, under all Ecclesiastical censure, hath not been obeyed:  
Therefore ordains all Ministers to make intimation of the said Act in their 
Kirks, and thereafter to proceed with the censures of the Kirk against such 
as shall refuse to subscribe the Covenant.  And that exact account be taken 
of every Ministers diligence herein by their Presbyteries and Synods, as 
they will answer to the General Assembly.

The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland. p. 162.

August 5, Session 10, 1640

The Assembly ordains, that if any Expectant [minister-GB] shall refuse to 
subscribe the Covenant, he shall be declared incapable of Pedagogy, 
teaching in a school, reading at a Kirk, preaching within a presbytery, and 
shall not have liberty of residing within a Burgh, university or College: and 
if they continue obstinate to be processed.

The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland. p. 94

Aug 1, Session 5, 1640

The Assembly ordains, that such as have subscribed the Covenant and 
speaks against the same, if he be a Minister, shall be deprived: And if he 
continue so, being deprived, shall be excommunicate: And if he be any 
other man, shall be dealt with as perjured and satisfy publicly for his 
perjury.

The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland. p. 93

Act Against Secret Disaffecters of the Covenant (1644)

The General Assembly understanding that diverse persons disaffected to 
the National Covenant of this Kirk, and to the Solemn League and Covenant 
of the three kingdoms, do escape their just censure, either by private and 
inconstant abode in any one congregation, or by secret conveyance of their 
malignant speeches and practises; Therefore ordains all ministers to take 
notice when any such person shall come into their parishes, and so soon as 
they shall know the same, that without delay they cause them to appear 
before the Presbyteries within which their parish lies......And the assembly 
ordains the said commissioners not only to proceed to trial and censure of 
such disaffected persons but also to take a special account of the diligence 
of the Ministers, Elders, and Presyteries herein respective.

The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland. pp. 220-221

August 20,Session 15, 1647

And if by the declaration of both kingdoms [Scotland and England-GB] 
joined in arms, Anno 1643, such as would not take the Covenant were 
declared to be public enemies to their Religion and Country and that they 
be censured and punished as professed adversaries and malignant.

The Acts of  the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland. p. 335.


Act  for Taking the Covenant at the first receiving of the Sacrament of the 
Lords Supper

The General Assembly according to former recommendations, Doth ordain 
that all young students take the Covenant at their first entry into colleges; 
and that hereafter all persons whatsoever take the Covenant at their first 
receiving of the Lords Supper: Requiring hereby Provincial Assemblies, 
Presbyteries and Universities to be careful that this Act be observed, an 
account thereof taken in the visitation of Universities and particular Kirks, 
and in the trial of Presbyteries.

The Acts of General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland. p. 422
see also p. 368

That all students of Philosophy at their first entry and at their lawreation, 
be holden to subscribe the League and Covenant and be urged thereto, and 
all other persons as they come to age and discretion before their first 
receiving the Sacrament of the Lords Supper

4. The Covenants are an important attainment, no lasting  and binding 
agreement  is attained without establishing them first.

Session 23, 1648, A declaration and Exhortation of the General Assembly of 
the Church of Scotland to their brethen of England

And considering of what importance the Solemn League and Covenant is 
unto all the interests of both kingdoms concerning their religion,liberties 
and peace. To make an agreement without establishing of it were not only 
to rob these Nations of the blessings they have already attained by it, but 
to open the door to let in all the corruptions that have been formerly in the 
kirks of God in their lands and all the abuses and usurpations that have 
been in the civil government, and again to divide these two kingdoms that 
are so happily united and conjoined.  Therefore as we wish that all 
misunderstanding between the Nations and between the King and People 
may be removed,  so that there may be a happy and lasting peace, so that 
there may be no agreement without establishing and enjoining the 
Covenant in all these three kingdoms...

The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland. p. 410

5. Covenant Breaking a Heinous Sin

August 20, Session 15, 1647  A declaration and Exhortation of the General 
Assembly of the Church of Scotland to their brethen of England

Yet we should betray our own sense and betray the truth if we should not 
resent so great a sin and danger as is the breach of a solemn Covenant, 
sworn with hands lifted up to the most high God: which breach however 
varnished over with some colorful and handsome pretexts, one whereof is 
the Liberty and Common Right of the free people of England, as once Saul 
brake a Covenant with the Gibeonite in his zeal to the children of Israel 
and Judah. Yet God could not then, and cannot now be mocked; Yea it is too 
apparent and undeniable, that among those who did take the Covenant of 
the three kingdoms, as there are many who have given themselve to a 
detestable indifferency or neutrality, so there is a generation which has 
made defection on the contrary part; persecuting as far as they could that 
true reformed religion, in doctrine, worship, discipline and government, 
which by the Covenant they ought to preserve against the common 
enemies; hindering and resisting the Reformation and Uniformity, which 
by the Covenant ought to be endeavored; preserving and tolerating those 
cursed things which by the Covenant ought to be extirpated ...

The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland. p. 334.

One would have to be almost totally spiritually blind not to recognize that 
we have nationally "provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger." The 
result is that our cities are burned with fire, our land is devoured by 
strangers (covenant breakers, antichristian and pagan) and that "the 
daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of 
cucumbers, as a besieged city." But the Lord has left us a remnant for "the 
work of the restoring of the ruined temple of the Covenanted Reformation, 
and thereby the effecting of a third Reformation" (James Kerr, as cited in 
_Sermons Delivered in Times of Persecution in Scotland_ by the 
Covenanted Ministers of Scotland, p. 47).

6. Opposers and slanderers  of the Covenant considered Enemies to the 
Cause of God.

July , Session 21,1648

But remember that the foulest actions have not wanted specious pretences; 
And if they who killed the Apostles did both pretend and intend to do God 
good  service, what marvel that they who engage against the Covenant 
pretend to engage for it.

The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland, p. 397.

The second sort of enemies, from which our present dangers arise, are 
secret malignants and dis-covenanters who may be know by these and like 
characters:  Their slighting or censuring of the public resolutions of this 
Kirk and State. Their consulting and labouring to raise jealousies and 
divisions to retard or hinder the execution of what is ordered by public 
judicatories. Their slandering the Covenant of the three kingdoms and 
expedition into England, as not necessary for the good of religion....

The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland, p. 280

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Some Quotes from Archibald Mason's book entitled-- _Observations on the 
Public Covenants_

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The public covenants betwixt God and the church contain his gracious 
engaging himself to be their God, and to bless them; and their dutiful 
obliging themselves to be his people, and to serve him. This is the nature 
of all religious covenants with God. If they are considered in any other
light, they are misunderstood; and if they are held up to men in any other 
point of view, they are misrepresented. p. 9

An individual Christian in a personal, or a body of them in a public 
capacity, entering into a covenant with God, do it not with a view to obtain 
an interest in in him as their God, to regain his favor, or to aquire a title to 
his salvation; but, having received Christ by faith, and taken hold of the 
covenant of which he is the mediator for these purposes, they, in their 
covenanting with God, solemnly devote themselves unto him, and vow or 
swear, in the strength of this grace, to glorify and serve him with their 
bodies and spirits which are his. p. 9

Those who oppose that truth, for which we are now arguing,  must hold it 
to be an immoral and unlawful thing, for a Christian people to avouch the 
Lord to be their God, and to serve him; that they have no warrant in the 
word of God to resolve, promise, vow, or swear that they shall to the 
uttermost of their power maintain his gospel, cleave unto his ordinances, 
obey his laws, support the interests of his glory in the world, and oppose 
whatever is contrary thereunto; and that it is a criminal and unlawful 
thing for them to join themselves unto the Lord in a perpetual covenant 
that shall not be forgotten  p. 23

In response to those who think we can only bind our conscience to the 
scriptures, Mason says:

If this opinion were true, the house of Israel and the house of Judah could 
not be charged with breaking the covenant; they might be charged with 
breaking the Lord‚s law; but he could not have said, they have broken my 
covenant. p. 40

If it is lawful and necessary for the Christian, in his personal capacity to 
bind himself to all duty; must it not be equally lawful and necessary for 
the church to comprehend duties of every class; in their public and solemn 
engagements to the Lord?  Since it would be dishonoring for the believer 
to come under a partial obligation to duty, it must be still more provoking 
in the eyes of his holiness, to see his professing church partial in the law.  
p. 67

That it is NOT the duty of Christians to bring themselves under solemn and 
voluntary obligations to serve their God, will never be believed by those 
who have had their senses duly exercised  to discern between good and 
evil. That comprehensive duty which Christ requires of them, who have 
come to him, and have found rest in him, Take my yoke upon you Matt. 
11:29, plainly includes this important exercise. p. 89

Whenever a person comes to be savingly enlightened in the knowledge of 
the law, and of its obligation upon him, he immediately resolves upon 
obeying it. His obedience to the law commences with that act, whereby he 
resolves that whatever others do, as for him, he will serve the Lord. The 
Christian cannot thus determine or resolve without bringing himself under 
a voluntary obligation to obey. It is therefore evident, that both the 
discovery of the original divine obligation of the law, and the Christian's 
willing engagement to fulfill it, are absolutely necessary unto all acceptable 
obedience. If these may be formed in the mind, they may be expressed in 
words unto the Lord. Of this we have innumerable instances in the 
scriptures. If they may be expressed in words, they may be uttered in the 
form of a promise, vow, or oath unto the Lord. If these things may be done 
by an individual, they may be done by a company, consisting of few or 
many, even by a whole nation.  It is therefore, an important and necessary 
duty belongiing to Christians, either in their personal or collective 
capacities, to come under voluntary obligations unto the service of the 
Lord.  The evil of opposing the duty of public covenanting with God, is 
evident from this subject. p. 90

The great evil of this opposition to our covenants consists in its being a 
fighting against God, a contempt of his ordinance, an injury done to his 
church, a striking against pure and undefiled religion, and an endeavor to 
harden the generation in their sin.  p. 92

In the same visions with which John was favored, the martyrs of Jesus are 
said to be slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony which they held 
Rev. vi. 9.  The word of God is one thing, and the church's testimony for the 
truths of that word is another thing; and it was for their attachment unto 
the word of God, and for the faithful witness which they bare unto the 
truths of it, that they were put to death by their cruel persecutors.  p. 103


Many of the quotations below are excerpted from _The Covenanted Reformation Defended_ which is FREE under "Church Writings" at: http://www.reformedpresbytery.org/books/index.html or directly from http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/CovRefGB.htm; for sale at: http://www.swrb.com/catalog/b.htm; or FREE on all the Reformation Bookshelf CDs at: http://www.swrb.com/Puritan/reformation-bookshelf-CDs.htm. Most other books noted below are available from Still Waters Revival Books for FREE and/or at great discounts, at: http://www.swrb.com.


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Covenants -- John Brown of Haddington 

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Brown (of Haddington), in his book _The Absurdity and Perfidy of All 
Authoritative Toleration..._ (1803), points out (on page 161) that  
Westminster Assembly considered the SL&C an "everlasting covenant."

That the body of the English nation also swore the Solemn League and 
Covenant, is manifest. The Westminster Assembly and English Parliament, 
affirm, "The honourable house of Parliament, the Assembly of Divines, the 
renowned city of London, and multitudes of other persons of all ranks and 
quality in this nation, and the whole body of Scotland, have all sworn it, 
rejoicing at the oath so graciously seconded from heaven. God will, 
doubtless, stand by all those, who with singleness of heart shall now enter 
into an ***everlasting covenant*** with the Lord." p.161, 

The footnote tells us that the section Brown was quoting was taken from 
"Exhortation to take the Covenant, February, 1644."

Furthermore, Brown annihilates Richard Bacon's novel view of covenanting 
throughout the last third of this book (pages 114-189). 

"The intrinsic obligation of promises, oaths, vows, and covenants which 
constitutes their very essence or essential form, ***is totally and 
manifestly distinct from the obligation of the law of God in many 
respects***." (Emphasis added)

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Perpetual Obligation of Covenants

*************************

That by this new subscription [which Charles I was proposing--GB] our late 
Covenant [of 1638 --GB], and Confession may be quite absorbed and buried 
in oblivion, *that where it was intended and sworn to be an everlasting 
Covenant never to be forgotten*, it shall never more be remembered, the 
one shall be cryed up, and the other drowned in the noise thereof (Records 
of the Church of Scotland, p. 86, "The Protestation of the Noblemen, Barons, 
Gentlemen, Burrowes, Ministers, and Commons" [after reading the 
proclamation dated September 9, 1638], emphases added).

That the body of the English nation also swore the Solemn League and 
Covenant, is manifest. The Westminster Assembly and English Parliament, 
affirm, "The honourable house of Parliament, the Assembly of Divines, the 
renowned city of London, and multitudes of other persons of all ranks and 
quality in this nation, and the whole body of Scotland, have all sworn it, 
rejoicing at the oath so graciously seconded from heaven. God will, 
doubtless, stand by all those, *who with singleness of heart shall now enter 
into an everlasting covenant with the Lord*" (_The Absurdity and Perfidy 
of All Authoritative Toleration_, 1803, p. 161, emphases added).

Go on in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, against all opposition, without 
fear of whatsoever dangers, to purge the house of the Lord, to repair the 
breaches thereof, to set up all his ordinances in their full beauty and 
perfection, to the uttermost of your power, according to the pattern of the 
Word of God and zeal of the best Reformed Kirks. And let these two 
kingdoms be knit together as one man in maintaining and promoting the 
truth of the Gospel. *Let us enter in a perpetual Covenant for ourselves and 
our posterity* to endeavour that all things may be done in the House of 
God according to his own will, and let the Lord do with us as seems good in 
his eyes (_The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland_, 
[1638–1649 inclusive], p. 205, emphases added).

That the obligation of religious vows and oaths extends to posterity is 
evident also, from the names which the Scriptures bestow upon the 
church's covenants with God. 

They are called an everlasting covenant, 

The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have 
transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting 
covenant (Isaiah 24:5, AV),

and a perpetual covenant,

They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, 
and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a perpetual covenant that shall not 
be forgotten (Jeremiah 50:5, AV). 

*These covenants are called an everlasting covenant, and a perpetual 
covenant, because their obligation is durable and permanent, and extends 
to future generations*. If the obligation of these covenants perished at the 
decease of the actual covenanters, they would be temporary, fleeting and 
transient in their nature indeed, and could have no title to these 
honourable appelations bestowed upon them by the Spirit of God. 
(Archibald Mason, Observations on Public Covenanting, 1821, p. 45, cited 
from _The Fall of Babylon the Great_, emphases added).

*But these three lands are one party, and the God of heaven is the other 
party*; therefore, though England should break, should Scotland also break 
the Covenant? It is not after this tenor:--We will endeavour reformation in 
these lands, but if you break, we will break also. *No; it is each man 
swearing for himself that he shall, in his place and station, endeavour 
reformation, so that if it were left all to one man, he must endeavour 
reformation*. For, consider the last words of the article. Each of them for 
himself did lift up his hands to the Most High; and so these three lands are 
one party, and *the other party is the God of heaven*. Consider seriously 
upon it, for it is the thing that you must either suffer for or sin, ere it be 
long, without remedy. Whatever England and Ireland have done in 
breaking the covenant, we say they justly must smart for it, according to 
the Word of God, if God in mercy prevent it not. Nevertheless, as long as 
there are in these lands any who keep the covenant, we are bound to keep 
it; and suppose there are many who had rather suffer for it than sin, as 
witness the many scattered flocks and shepherds in these lands--and 
supposing this were not, though both England and Ireland should quit it, 
yet Scotland is bound to it (John Howie, _Sermons Delivered in Times of 
Persecution in Scotland_, 1880, p. 668).

Now, a word to that which I mentioned before. What shall we do since 
these lands have broken covenant with God? I tell you that Scotland is 
bound to keep it, although England and Ireland have broken it; and 
although Scotland break it, yet Ireland and England are bound to stand to 
it. "Though thou Israel play the harlot, yet let not Judah offend;" that is to 
say, As for you at this present time, though England and Ireland have 
broken, yet let not Scotland so do too. Suppose there were but one family 
in these lands that would stand to it, and if all that family should turn 
their back upon it except one person, truly that person is bound to stand to 
it. "Choose you whom you will serve; but as for me and my house, we will 
serve the Lord." Here is but a family, so that if all the kingdom should 
forswear the covenant, yet so long as I am master of a family, I must serve 
the Lord. I must not serve other gods, that is to say, we should not serve 
Popes nor Prelates, &c. But what if it come to this, that there be no man to 
bide by it at all but one man? That man is bound to keep it according to 
Scripture. "I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: because the 
children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, 
and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only am left." From 
these words I conclude, though England has forsaken yet Scotland is 
bound; and though Scotland should forsake yet England is bound; and 
though both forsake yet one family is bound to stand to it. Therefore study 
to know your duty lest the wrath of God come upon you and your 
posterity. Believe these things, for our king and princes, nobles and 
ministers, and all the people, and our posterity, are bound to it. So I leave 
it to you with this: Happy is that man that shall be steadfast in the 
covenant, though all the rest should forsake it. But as to the persons who 
shall continue steadfast, God has reserved that to Himself as a piece of His 
sovereignty. Again, we hear not tell of a public covenant ever sworn and 
broken but God visibly plagued the breakers thereof (John Howie, 
_Sermons Delivered in Times of Persecution in Scotland_, 1880, pp. 673–
674).

If there is any truth in the statements that have now been made, the 
question respecting the obligation of the British covenants is deeply 
interesting to the present generation. The identity of a nation, as existing 
through different ages, is, in all moral respects, as real as the identity of an 
individual through the whole period of his life. The individuals that 
compose it, like the particles of matter in the human body, pass away and 
are succeeded by others; but the body politic continues essentially the 
same. If Britain contracted a moral obligation, in virtue of a solemn 
national covenant, for religion and reformation, that obligation must attach 
to her until it has been discharged. Have the pledges given by the nation 
been yet redeemed? Do not the principle stipulations in the covenant 
remain unfulfilled unto this day? Are we not as a people still bound by 
that engagement to see these things done? *Has the lapse of time cancelled 
the bond? Or, will a change of sentiments and views set us free from its 
tie? Is it not the duty of all friends of reformation to endeavour to keep 
alive a sense of this obligation on the public mind? But although all ranks 
and classes in the nation should lose impressions of it, and although there 
should not be a single religious denomination, nor even a single individual, 
in the land, to remind them of it, will it not be held in remembrance by 
One, with whom, "a thousand years are as one day, and one day as a 
thousand years"* (Thomas M'Crie, _Unity of the Church_, 1821, reprinted 
in 1989 by Presbyterian Heritage Publications, p. 200, 1821, reprinted 
1989, emphases added).

The principle of continued or transmissible federal obligation is not liable 
to the objections that have been urged against it, and is no novelty. We do 
not make our ancestors a sort of federal head as Adam was to the human 
family, when we allege that our posterity are bound by their engagements. 
This is altogether a misrepresentation of the argument on the subject. *The 
descending obligation of the public covenants rests upon the essential 
character of organised society. It is the same party in different stages of its 
existence that is bound to moral obedience*; and the obligation rests in all 
its plenitude upon the community as the same moral agent, until the whole 
matter of the engagement be fulfilled (Thomas Houston, _A Memorial of 
Covenanting_, 1857, p. 35, emphases added).

August 6, 1649.

Although there were none in the one kingdom who did adhere to the 
Covenant, yet thereby were not the other kingdom nor any person in 
either of them absolved from the bond thereof, *since in it we have not 
only sworn by the Lord, but also covenanted with Him*. It is not the failing 
of one or more that can absolve the other from their duty or tie to Him: 
*Besides, the duties therein contained, being in themselves lawful, and the 
grounds of our tie thereunto moral, though the other do forget their duty, 
yet doth not their defection free us from that obligation which lies upon us 
by the Covenant in our places and stations*. And the Covenant being 
intended and entered into by these kingdoms, as one of the best means of 
steadfastness, for guarding against declining times: *It were strange to say 
that the backsliding of any should absolve others from the tie thereof*, 
especially seeing our engagement therein is not only National, but also 
personal, everyone with uplifted hands swearing by himself, as it is 
evident by the tenor of the Covenant. From these and other important 
reasons, it may appear that all these kingdoms joining together to abolish 
that oath by law, yet could they not dispense therewith; Much less can any 
one of them, or any part in either of them do the same. *The dispensing 
with oaths have hitherto been abhorred as Antichristian, and never 
practised and avowed by any but by that man of sin*; therefore those who 
take the same upon them, as they join with him in his sin, so must they 
expect to partake of his plagues (_The Acts of the General Assemblies of 
the Church of Scotland_, [1638–1649 inclusive], pp. 474–475, emphases 
added).

The permanent obligation of the Solemn League results from the 
permanency of its nature and design, and of the parties entering into it, 
taken in connection with the public capacity in which it was established... 
*the emergency which led to the formation of the covenant is one thing, 
and the obligation of the covenant is quite another; the former might 
quickly pass away, while the latter may be permanent and perpetual*. Nor 
is the obligation of the covenant to be determined by the temporary or 
changeable nature of its subordinate and accessory articles. Whatever may 
be said of some of the things engaged to in the Solemn League there cannot 
be a doubt that in its great design and leading articles it was not 
temporary but permanent. Though the objects immediately contemplated 
by it--religious reformation and uniformity--had been accomplished, it 
would still have continued to oblige those who were under its bond to 
adhere to and maintain these attainments. But unhappily there is no need 
of having recourse to this line of argument; its grand stipulations remain to 
this day unfulfilled (Thomas M'Crie, _Unity of the Church_, 1821, reprinted 
in 1989 by Presbyterian Heritage Publications, p. 195, emphases added).

Albeit the League and Covenant be despised by the prevailing party in 
England, and the work of Uniformity through retardments and obstructions 
that have come in the way, be almost forgotten in these kingdoms, yet the 
obligation of that Covenant is perpetual, and all the duties contained 
therein are constantly to be minded, and prosecuted by every one of us 
and our posterity. (_The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of 
Scotland_, [1638–1649 inclusive] p. 460).

It is no small grief to us that the Gospel and Government of Jesus Christ are 
so despised in the land, that faithful preachers are persecuted and cried 
down, that toleration is established by law and maintained by military 
power and that the Covenant is abolished and buried in oblivion. All which 
proceedings cannot but be looked upon as directly contrary to the Oath of 
God lying upon us and therefore we cannot eschew his wrath when he 
shall come in judgment to be a swift witness against those who falsely 
swear against His name (_The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church 
of Scotland_, [1638–1649 inclusive], pp. 472–473).

*************************

Intrinsic Obligation of Covenants

*************************

Some of the principles on which it has been attempted to loose this sacred 
tie are so opposite to the common sentiments of mankind, that it is not 
necessary to refute them: *such as, that covenants, vows and oaths, cannot 
superadd any obligation to that which we are previously under by the law 
of God*; and, that their obligation on posterity consists merely in the 
influence of example (Thomas M'Crie, _Unity of the Church_, 1821, 
reprinted in 1989 by Presbyterian Heritage Publications, p. 197).

The lax and prevailing sentiment by which this truth [of solemn covenant 
obligations--GB] is opposed, is the following. Religious covenants are not 
formally, but only materially [or morally--GB] binding. They have no real 
obligation in themselves, but we are bound to the duties therein, because 
these duties are required in the moral law. *[Is this not Mr. Bacon's exact 
argument?--GB] *This dangerous opinion appears to be imbibed by many 
professed witnesses for the Covenanted Reformation, by the influence of 
which, they seem to be precipitated into the gulf of *public apostasy from 
these principles*, which they formerly espoused. It is impossible for a 
person to believe it, without entertaining a secret contempt of religious 
vows, oaths and covenants; and it is impossible for him to act upon it, 
without being involved in a practical opposition to them. . . . If this opinion 
were true, the house of Israel and the house of Judah could not be charged 
with breaking the covenant: they might be charged with breaking the 
Lord's law; but he could not have said, they have broken my covenant. If 
Israel's covenant with God did not bind them, by an intrinsic obligation, 
their iniquity could not be a breach of the covenant, but only a 
transgression of the law; nor could it be any way criminal from the relation 
it had to the covenant, but only from the reference it had to the law. We 
may easily know what to think of an opinion, which necessarily renders 
the charges the Lord brings against His backsliding people, absurd and 
unjust--Were this opinion true, there could be no such thing among the 
children of men, as the sins of perfidy [i.e. breach of promise--GB], 
covenant–breaking or perjury. Though we may pledge our veracity, by 
religious promises and vows unto God, if there is no [formal--GB] obligation 
in them, there can be no perfidy, or breach of faith in our disregarding 
them. Though we may join ourselves to the Lord in a solemn covenant, if 
that deed brings us under no obligation to fulfil it, the sin of covenant–
breaking can have no existence. Though we should enter into an oath to 
walk in the Lord's law, if this oath is not binding in itself, how can the sin 
of perjury, or despising the oath of God, be charged upon us. We are 
certain that these sins are mentioned in the Word of God, and that they are 
committed by men; but this opinion destroys them forever--Were this 
sentiment right, then all the solemn acts of believers as individuals, and of 
the church as a body, are rendered void and useless to all intents and 
purposes. *Of what use are promises, vows, oaths and covenants, if there is 
no obligation in them? If obligation to performance is refused to them, 
their very essence is destroyed*. The mind cannot think on any of those 
transactions without considering an obligation to do as we have said, 
vowed or sworn as essential to their being. *Promises, without an 
obligation to fulfil them, vows, without an obligation to pay them, oaths, 
without an obligation to perform them, and covenants, without an 
obligation to keep them, are monsters both in divinity, and in morals, 
which are created by this more monstrous opinion*--It is also the native 
import of this doctrine, that Christians are under no other obligation to 
duty, after they have promised, vowed and sworn unto the Lord, or 
covenanted with him, than they were before they engaged in these solemn 
and holy transactions. The man who [like Mr. Bacon--GB] can believe this, 
there is great reason to fear, is actuated by a desire to break the bands of 
the Lord and His anointed, and to cast away their cords from him. These 
things both show the gross error of this sentiment, and serve to confirm 
the truth of the contrary doctrine (Archibald Mason, "Observations On The 
Public Covenants", 1821, pp. 40, 41, an appendix in _The Fall of Babylon 
the Great_, emphases added).

To lay bands of promises and oaths upon a back–sliding heart, is 
commanded in the third Command, and is not Judiacal, Gen. 14:22. Gen. 
28:20. Psal. 132:2. Psal. 76:22. And this is sinful omission of a morally 
obliging duty, and morally obliging one man: so it obligeth a Nation, as 
affirmative precepts do: *and this smells of Anabaptism to cry down all 
Gospel–vows* (Samuel Rutherford, _A Survey of the Survey of that Summe 
of Church Discipline_, 1658, p. 482, emphases added).

The grand and fundamental ground of a religious covenant is the moral 
law. *The law of God alone can bind the conscience*. No oath or bond is of 
any force that is opposed to it.... *The obligation of the law of God is 
primary and cannot be increased--that of a voluntary oath or engagement 
is only secondary and subordinate*. By the Divine law, we are obliged to 
the performance of duty whether we choose it or not--by covenants we 
voluntarily bind ourselves.... where the vows made respect duties enjoined 
by the law of God, they have a intrinsic obligation of the highest and most 
constraining kind (Thomas Houston, D.D., _A Memorial of Covenanting_, 
1857, p. 29, emphases added).

*But, moreover, religious covenants have an obligation distinct and 
peculiar. Although the authority of God, expressed in his law and speaking 
through his word, is supreme and cannot possibly be increased, there may 
be a superadded obligation on a man's conscience to respect and obey His 
authority, arising from his own voluntary oath or engagement.* This is 
easily illustrated. We are bound at all times to speak the truth, and to fulfil 
our promises and federal engagements. If an oath is taken to declare the 
truth, this adds nothing, it is true, to the authority of the law; but it brings 
the person swearing under an additional obligation to speak the truth. This 
does not increase the original obligation; and yet it may be properly 
regarded as a new and different obligation. An oath is enjoined by Divine 
authority, and cannot therefore be useless. When properly taken, it is 
important and valuable. *Before the oath was taken, if a person deviated 
from the truth, he was simply guilty of lying--but afterward, if he speaks 
falsely, he has added to his sin the crime of perjury. In the former case, he 
rebelled against the authority of God--in the latter, he violates both the 
authority of God and repugns the obligation of his oath.* The usages of all 
civil society confirms the doctrine of superadded obligation, arising from 
oaths and voluntary engagements; and regards perjured persons and 
covenant breakers as aggravated criminals. It has been justly observed, 
that a, *"Covenant does not bind to anything additional to what the law of 
God contains, but it additionally binds."* (William Symington, _Nature and 
Obligation of Public Vowing_, p. 22). This superadded obligation of vows 
oaths and covenants is plainly recognized in Scripture, (See Numbers xxx. 
2; Deut. xxiii. 21; Eccles. v. 4,5). Divine threatenings distinctly specify, as a 
separate ground of punishment, breach of covenant, in addition to the 
transgression of God's law. (Thomas Houston, A Memorial of Covenanting, 
1857, pp. 29, 30, emphases added).

The intrinsic obligation of promises, oaths, vows, and covenants which 
constitutes their very essence or essential form, is totally and manifestly 
distinct from the obligation of the law of God in many respects.

1. In his law, God, by the declaration of his will as our supreme Ruler, 
binds us, Deut. xii. 32. *In promises, vows, covenants, and promissory 
oaths, we, as his deputy–governors over ourselves, by a declaration of our 
will, bind ourselves with a bond, bind our souls with our own bond, our 
own vow*, Num.. xxx. Psalm lxvi. 13.15. & cxix. 106. &c.

2. *The obligation of our promises, oaths and covenants is always subject to 
examination by the standard, of God's law, as to both its matter and 
manner, I Thess. v. 12. But it would be presumption, blasphemous 
presumption, to examine, Whether, what we know to be the law of God be 
right and obligatory, or not,* James iv. 11,12. Isa.. viii. 20. Deut. v. 32.

3. The law of God necessarily binds all men to the most absolute perfection 
in holiness, be they as incapable of it as they will, Matth. v.48. I Pet. i. 15, 
16. No man can, without mocking and tempting of God, bind himself by 
vow or oath to any thing, but what he is able to perform. No man may vow 
to do anything which is not in his own power, and for the performance of 
which he hath no promise of ability from God. But, no mere man since the 
fall is able, in this life either in himself or by any grace received form God, 
perfectly to keep the commandments of God, Eccl. vii. 23. James iii.2. While 
God remains God, his law can demand no less than absolute perfection in 
holiness. While his word remains true, no mere man since the fall, in this 
life, can possibly attain to it; and therefore ought never to promise or vow 
it. The least imperfection in holiness, however involuntary, breaks the law 
of God, and is even contrary to the duty of our relative stations of 
husbands, parents, masters, magistrates, ministers, wives, children, 
servants or people, I John iii. 4. Rom.. vii. 14, 23, 24. *But it is only by that 
which is, in some respect, voluntary sinfulness, that we break our lawful 
vows, Psal. xliv. 47. Nothing can more clearly mark the distinction of the 
two obligations, than this particular. There is no evading the force of it, but 
either by adopting the Arminian new law of sincere obedience, or by 
adopting the Popish perfection of saints in this life*.

4. The law of God binds all men forever, whether in heaven or hell, Psal.. 
cxi. 7, 8. No human law or self–engagement binds men, but only in this life, 
in which they remain imperfect, and are encompassed with temptations to 
seduce them from their duty. In heaven they have no need of such helps 
to duty, and in hell they cannot be profited by them. The obligation of 
lawful promises, oaths, vows and covenants, as well as of human laws, 
respecting moral duties, however distinct is no more separable from the 
obligation of God's law, than Christ's two distinct natures are separable, the 
one from the other, but closely connected in manifold respects. *In binding 
ourselves to necessary duties, and to other things so long and so far as is 
conducive thereto, God's law as the only rule to direct us how to glorify 
and enjoy him, is made the rule of our engagement. Our vow is no new rule 
of duty, but a new bond to make the law of God our rule.* Even Adam's 
engagement to perfect obedience in the covenant of works was nothing 
else. His fallibility in his estate of innocence, made it proper, that he should 
be bound by his own consent or engagement, as well as by the authority of 
God. Our imperfection in this life, and the temptations which surround us, 
make it needful, that we, in like manner, should be bound to the same rule, 
both by the authority of God, and our own engagements. It is in the law of 
God, that all our deputed authority to command others, or to bind 
ourselves is allotted to us. The requirement of moral duties by the law of 
God obligeth us to use all lawful means to promote the performance of 
them; and hence requires human laws and self–engagements, and the 
observance of them as conducive to it. Nay they are also expressly 
required in his law, as his ordinances for helping and hedging us in to our 
duty. In making lawful vows, as well as in making human laws we exert 
the deputed authority of God, the supreme Lawgiver, granted to us in his 
law, in the manner which his law prescribes, and in obedience to its 
prescription. In forming our vows as an instituted ordinance of God's 
worship, which he hath required us to receive, observe, and keep pure and 
entire, Psal.. lxxvi. 11. & cxix. 106. & lvi. 12. Isa.. xix. 18, 21. & xlv. 23, 24. 
& xliv. 5. Jer. l. 5, 2 Cor. viii.5,--we act precisely according to the direction 
of his law, and in obedience to his authority in it, --binding ourselves with 
a bond, binding our soul with a bond, Num. xxx. 2–11--binding ourselves 
by that which we utter with our lips ver. 2, 6, 12, --binding ourselves with 
a binding oath,--binding ourselves--binding our soul by our own vow--our 
own bond, ver. 4,7,14. In forming our vow, we, according to the 
prescription of his own law, solemnly constitute God, who is the supreme 
Lawgiver and Lord of the conscience,--the witness of our self–engagement, 
and the Guarantee, graciously to reward our evangelical fulfilment of it, 
and justly to punish our perfidious violation of it. The more punctual and 
faithful observation of God's law, notwithstanding our manifold infirmities 
and temptations, and the more effectual promotion of his glory therein, is 
the end of our self–engagements, as well as of human laws of authority. 
And by a due regard to their binding force, as above stated, is this end 
promoted,--as hereby the obligation of God's law is the more deeply 
impressed on our minds, and we are shut up to obedience to it, and 
deterred from transgressing it.-- In consequence of our formation of our 
vow, with respect to its matter, manner, and end, as prescribed by God, He 
doth, and necessarily must ratify it in all its awful solemnities, requiring us 
by his law, to pay it as a bond of debt,--to perform and fulfil it as an 
engagement to duties, and an obligation which stands upon or against us, 
Num. xxx. 5, 7, 9, 11. with Deut. xxiii. 21–23. Psalm lxxvi. 11. & 1. 14. Eccl. 
v.4, 5. Mat. v. 33. In obedience to this divine requirement, and considering 
our vow, in that precise form, in which God in his law, adopts and ratifies 
it, and requires it to be fulfilled, we pay, perform, and fulfil it as a bond, 
wherewith we, in obedience to Him, have bound ourselves, to endeavour 
universal obedience to his law, as our only rule of faith and manners. 
Whoever doth not, in his attempts to obey human laws or to fulfil self–
engagements, consider them as having that binding force which the law of 
God allows them; he pours contempt on them, as ordinances of God, and on 
the law of God for allowing them a binding force. *Thus, through 
maintaining the superadded but subordinate obligation of human laws, and 
of self–engagements to moral duties, we do not make void, but establish 
the obligation of God's law.* The obligation of a vow, by which we engage 
ourselves to necessary duties commanded by the law of God, must 
therefore be inexpressibly solemn. Not only are we required by the law of 
God before our vow was made; but we are bound in that performance, to 
fulfil our vow, as an engagement or obligation founded in the supreme 
authority of his law warranting us to make it. We are bound to fulfil it as a 
mean of further impressing his authority manifested in his law, upon our 
own consciences,-- as a bond securing and promoting a faithful obedience 
to all his commandments. We are bound to fulfil it, in obedience to that 
divine authority, by derived power from which, we as governors of 
ourselves made it to promote his honour. In those or like respects, our 
fulfilment of our vows is a direct obedience to his whole law. We are 
moreover bound to fulfil it, as a solemn ordinance of God's worship, the 
essential form of which lies in self–obligation, and must be received, 
observed, kept pure and entire, and holily and reverently used, and so in 
obedience to Command I. II. III. We are bound to fulfil it, as an ordinance 
of God, in which we have pledged our own truth, sincerity and faithfulness 
and so in obedience to Command IX. I. II. III. We are bound to fulfil it, as a 
solemn deed or grant, in which we have made over our persons, property, 
and service to the Lord and his Church; and so in obedience to Command I. 
II. VIII. nay, in obedience to the whole law of love and equity, Mat. xxii. 
37, 39. & vii. 12. We are bound to fulfil it from regard to the declarative 
glory of God, as the witness of our making of it, that he may appear to 
have been called to attest nothing, but sincerity and truth; and so in 
obedience to Command I. III. IX. We are bound to fulfil it from a regard to 
truth, honesty, and reverence of God, as things not only commanded by his 
law, but good in themselves, agreeable to his very nature, and therefore 
necessarily commanded by him,-- and from a detestation of falsehood, 
injustice, and contempt of God, as things intrinsically evil, contrary to his 
nature, and therefore necessarily forbidden in his law; and thus in regard 
to his authority in his whole law, as necessarily holy, just and good. We are 
bound to fulfil it, from a regard to the holiness, justice, faithfulness, 
majesty, and other perfections of God, as the Guarantee of it, into whose 
hand we have committed the determination and execution of its awful 
sanction,--as the gracious rewarder of our fidelity, or just revenger of our 
perfidy,--and hence in regard to our own happiness, as concerned in that 
sanction. In fine, we are bound to fulfil it in obedience to that command of 
God, which adopts and ratifies it, requiring us to pay, fulfil, or perform our 
vow, oath or covenant, Psal. L. 14. & lxxvi. 11. Eccl. v. 4. Deut. xxiii. 21, 23. 
Mat. v. 33.

*In violating such a vow, We do not merely transgress the law of God, as 
requiring the duties engaged, before the vow was made. But we also rebel 
against, and profane that divine warrant, which we had to make our vow. 
We profane that authority over ourselves in the exercise of which we 
made the vow, and consequentially that supreme authority in God, from 
which ours was derived; and so strike against the foundation of the whole 
law.* We manifest a contempt of that law, which regulated the matter and 
manner of our vow. We profane the vow, as an ordinance of God's worship, 
appointed in his law. By trampling on a noted mean of promoting 
obedience to all the commands of God, we mark our hatred of them, and 
prepare ourselves to transgress them, and endeavour to remove the awe of 
God's authority and terror of his judgments from our consciences. We 
blasphemously represent the Most High as a willing witness to our 
treachery and fraud. We pour contempt on him, as the Guarantee of our 
engagements, as if he inclined not, or durst not avenge our villainy. 
Contrary to the truth and faithfulness required in his law, and pledged in 
our vow, we plunge ourselves into the most criminal deceit and falsehood. 
Contrary to equity, we rob God and his Church of that which we had 
solemnly devoted to their service. Contrary to devotion, we banish the 
serious impression of God's adorable perfections. Contrary to good 
neighbourhood, we render ourselves a plague and curse, and encourage 
others to the most enormous wickedness. Contrary to the design of our 
creation and preservation, we reject the glory of God, and obedience to his 
law from being our end. Meanwhile, we trample on the ratification of our 
vow, by the divine law in all its awful solemnities, and manifold 
connections with itself,--and requirement to pay it.

*It is manifest, that our covenanting ancestors understood their vows in 
the manner above represented. They never represent them as mere 
acknowledgments of the obligation of God's law, or as placing themselves 
in some new relation to God's law, or more directly under any command of 
it.* But declare that a man binds himself by a promissory oath to what is 
good and just. It cannot oblige to sin; but in any thing not sinful, being 
taken, it binds to performance. *By a vow we more strictly bind ourselves 
to necessary duties.* And, in expressions almost innumerable, they 
represent the obligation of their vows as distinct and different, though not 
separable from the law of God. They no less plainly declared, that no man 
may bind himself by oath to any thing, but what he is able and resolved to 
perform; --no man may vow any thing which is not in his own power, and 
for the performance of which he hath no promise of ability from God. And 
in their several forms of covenant, they never once pretend to engage 
performing of duties in that absolute perfection which is required by the 
law of God,--*but sincerely, really, and constantly to endeavour the 
performance of them* (John Brown of Haddinton, _The Absurdity and 
Perfidy of all Authoritative Toleration_, 1803, pp. 120–127, emphases 
added).


Many of the quotations below are excerpted from _The Covenanted Reformation Defended_ which is FREE under "Church Writings" at: http://www.reformedpresbytery.org/books/index.html or directly from http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/CovRefGB.htm; for sale at: http://www.swrb.com/catalog/b.htm; or FREE on all the Reformation Bookshelf CDs at: http://www.swrb.com/Puritan/reformation-bookshelf-CDs.htm and some of the Puritan Bookshelf CDs at http://www.swrb.com/Puritan/puritan-bookshelf-CDs.htm. Most other books noted below are available from Still Waters Revival Books for FREE and/or at great discounts, at: http://www.swrb.com.


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Covenant Renewal

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In his sermon upon Psalm 110:3, "Thy people shall be willing in the day of 
Thy power, in the beauty of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou 
hast the dew of Thy youth," Henderson proclaims:

And indeed ye have just reason to be willing now.

Because it is God's cause ye have in hand, and it is no new cause to us. *It 
is almost sixty years old; it is no less since this same Confession of Faith 
was first subscribed and sworn to [1580–81--GB]. And it has been still in 
use yearly to be subscribed and sworn to in some parts, among those in 
this land, to this day.* And I think it would have been so in all parts of the 
land if men had dreamed of what was coming upon us. Whatever is added 
to it at this time, it is nothing but an interpretation of the former part; and 
if men will be willing to see the right, that they may see that there is 
nothing in the latter part but that which may be deduced from the first. 
And in the keeping of a Covenant we are not found to keep only these 
same words that were before, *but we must renew it; and in the renewing 
thereof we must apply it to the present time when it is renewed, as we 
have done, renewed it against the present ills* (Alexander Henderson, 
_Sermons, Prayers, and Pulpit Addresses_, 1638, p. 21, SWRB bound 
photocopy, emphases added).

Now is there any of you but ye are obliged to be holy? Ye say that ye are 
the people of the Lord. If so be, then ye must have your inward man 
purged of sin, and ye must stand at the stave's end against the corruption 
of the time, and ye must devote yourselves only to serve and honor God. 
And your Covenant, that ye are to swear to this day obliges you to this; 
and it requires nothing of you but that which ye are bound to perform. 
And therefore, seeing this is required of you, purge yourselves within, flee 
the corruptions at the same time, eschew the society of those whom you 
see to be corrupt, and devote yourselves only to the Lord. Yet this is not 
that we would oblige you to perform everything punctually that the Lord 
requires of you; there is none who can do that, but promise to the Lord to 
do so, tell him that ye have a desire to do so, and say to him, Lord, I shall 
earnestly endeavour to do as far as I can. And, indeed there is no more in 
our covenant but this, that we shall endeavour to keep ourselves within 
the bounds of our Christian liberty; *and albeit, none of you would swear 
to this, ye are bound to it [the National Covenant--GB] by your baptism.* 
And therefore, think not that we are precisians (or these who have set 
down this Covenant), *seeing all of you are bound to do it* (Alexander 
Henderson, _Sermons, Prayers, and Pulpit Addresses, 1638, p. 23, SWRB 
bound photocopy, emphases added).

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Covenanted Reformation

*************************

These modern pigmies are too far dwarfed in intellectual stature to 
measure the altitude, of our glorious Covenanted Reformation--a 
Reformation which, imbedded in the law and the covenant of God, has 
already brought civil and ecclesiastical freedom to many millions; and 
*which is doubtless destined to be laid in the foundation of reconstructed 
society in the millennial period of the world* (The Reformed Presbytery, 
_A Short Vindication of Our Covenanted Reformation, 1879, SWRB bound 
photocopy, p. 4, emphases added).

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Civil Government

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      The view of the Reformers

                (1)     Civil government is an ordinance of God established for 
God's glory and and the welfare of man.  To that end God has entrusted 
into the hands of the lawful magistrate the sword.  It is lawful for 
Christians to serve as magistrates in a lawful government and in even in 
an unlawful government (provided no oath of allegiance to an evil 
constitution is required),  to exercise capital punishment, just wars and 
judicial recompense to the guilty, and for a Christian to exercise self-
defence.

                (2)     It is the duty of the civil magistrate to suppress all 
false religion and to establish the true reformed religion (in doctrine, worship, 
and government) by law within his realm.

Wherefore we condemn the Anabaptists, and all those troublesome spirits, 
which do reject higher powers and magistrates, overthrow all laws and 
judgments, make all goods common, and, to conclude, do abolish and 
confound all those orders and degrees, which God hath appointed among 
men for honesty's sake (Belgic Confession, Article 36).

Yet civil government has as its appointed end, so long as we live among 
men, to cherish and protect the outward worship of God, to defend sound 
doctrine of piety and the position of the church, to adjust our life to the 
society of men, to form our social behavior to civil righteousness, to 
reconcile us with one another, and to promote general peace and 
tranquility (Calvin, Institutes, IV, XX, 2, p.1487, emphases added).

Moreover, to kings, princes, rulers, and magistrates, we affirm that chiefly 
and most principally the conservation and purgation of the religion 
appertains; so that not only they are appointed  for civil policy, but also for 
maintenance of the true religion, and for suppressing of idolatry and 
superstition whatsoever: as in David, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, Josiah, and 
others, highly commended for their zeal in that case, may be espied (_The 
Scottish Confession of Faith_, Chapter 24, emphases added).

The orthodox churches believe also, and do willingly acknowledge, that 
every lawful magistrate, being by God himself constituted the keeper and 
defender of both tables of the law, may and ought first and chiefly to take 
care of God's glory, and (according to his place, or in his manner and way)
to preserve religion when pure, and to restore it when decayed and 
corrupted:  and also to provide a learned and godly ministry, schools also 
and synods, as likewise to restrain and punish as well atheists, 
blasphemers, heretics and schismatics, as the violators of justice and civil 
peace (Gillespie, _Works_, 1:12, emphases added).

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Eschatology

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Daniel [Dan.9:27] and Paul [2 Thess. 2:4] foretold that Antichrist would sit 
in the Temple of God. With us it is the Roman Pontiff we make the leader 
and standard bearer of that wicked and abominable kingdom. The fact that 
his seat is placed in the Temple of God signifies that his reign was not such 
as to wipe out either the name of Christ or of the Church. From this it 
therefore is evident that we by no means deny that churches under his 
tyranny remain churches... (_Institutes of the Christian Religion_, Book 
4.2.12, Translated by Ford Lewis Battles).

The coming of Christ to reign here on earth a thousand years is, if not a 
groundless opinion, yet so dubious and uncertain as not to be admitted a 
place in the analogy of faith to regulate our interpretation of Scripture in 
places that may fairly admit of another interpretation (Owen, _Works_, 20: 
154).

The bodies of men after death return to dust, and see corruption; but their 
souls, (which neither die nor sleep,) having an immortal subsistence, 
immediately return to God who gave them.  The souls of the righteous, 
being then made perfect in holiness, are received into the highest heavens, 
where they behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full 
redemption of their bodies; and the souls of the wicked are cast into hell, 
where they remain in torments and utter darkness, reserved to the 
judgment of the great day.  Besides these two places for souls separated 
from their bodies, the scripture acknowledgeth none (_Westminster 
Confession of Faith_, 32:1).

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Extraordinary Ordination

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George Gillespie states,

We plainly say, that in extraordinary cases, when ordination cannot be 
had, and when there are none who have commisssion and authority from 
Christ to ordain, then and there, an inward call from God, enlarging the 
heart, stirring up, and assisting with the good-will and consent of a people 
whom God makes willing, can make a minister authorized to ministerial 
acts.  Suppose this to have been the case at the first coming out from 
Popery, yet here was a seed for more churches and more ministers.  At the 
first plantation of churches ordination may be wanting without making 
void the ministry, because ordination cannot be had; but in constituted 
churches, the want of ordination doth make a minister, no minister." _Misc. 
Questions, Ch. 3, sec .3_ (see Kevin Reeds _Presbyterian Government in 
Extraordinary Times_).

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Extraordinary Acts

*************************

Both quotes below from "The Life of Mr. John Welch" in John Howie's _Biographia Scoticana or Scots Worthies_ (1781 edition, http://www.swrb.com/catalog/h.htm).

"He was sometime prisoner in Edinburgh castle before he went into exile, where one night sitting at supper with the Lord Ochiltry, who was uncle to Mr. Welch's wife, as his manner was, he entertained the company with godly and edifying discourse, which was well received by all the company, except a debauched popish young gentleman, who sometimes laughed, and sometimes mocked and made wry faces; whereupon Mr. Welch brake out into a sad abrupt charge upon all the company to be silent, and observe the work of the Lord upon that profane mocker, which they should presently behold; upon which the profane wretch sunk down and died beneath the table, to the great astonishment of all the company" (p. 143).

"There was in his house, amongst many others who boarded with him for good education, a young gentleman of great quality, and suitable expectations, and this was the heir of Lord Ochiltry, captain of the castle of Edinburgh. This young nobleman, after he had gained very much upon Mr. Welch's affections, fell ill of a grievous sickness, and after he had been long wasted with it, closed his eyes, and expired, to the apprehension of all spectators, and was therefore taken out of his bed, and laid on a pallet on the floor, that his body might be the more conveniently dressed. This was to Mr. Welch a very great grief, and therefore he stayed with the dead body full three hours, lamenting over him with great tenderness. After twelve hours, the friends brought in a coffin, whereinto they desired the corpse to be put, as the custom is; but Mr. Welch desired, that for the satisfaction of his affections, they would forbear it for a time, which they granted, and returned not till twenty-four hours after his death were expired; then they desired, with great importunity, that the corpse might be coffined, and speedily buried, the weather being extremely hot; yet he persisted in his request, earnestly begging them to excuse him once more; so they left the corpse upon the pallet for full thirty-six hours; but even after all that, though he was urged, not only with great earnestness, but displeasure, they were constrained to forbear for twelve hours more. After forty-eight hours were passed, Mr. Welch still held out against them, and then his friends perceiving that he believed the young man was not really dead, but under some apoplectic fit, proposed to him, for his satisfaction, that trial should be made upon his body by doctors and chirurgeons, if possibly any spark of life might be found in him, and with this he was content. -- So the physicians are set to work, who pinched him with pincers in the fleshy parts of his body, and twisted a bow-string about his head with great force, but no sign of life appearing in him, the physicians pronounced him stark dead, and then there was no more delay to be made; yet Mr. Welch begged of them once more, that they would but step into the next room for an hour or two, and leave him with the dead youth; and this they granted. Then Mr. Welch fell down before the pallet, and cried to the Lord with all his might, and sometimes looked upon the dead body, continuing in wrestling with the Lord, till at length the dead youth opened his eyes, and cried out to Mr. Welch, whom he distinctly knew, O Sir, I am all whole, but my head and legs; and these were the places they had fore hurt with their pinching.

"When Mr. Welch perceived this, he called upon his friends, and shewed them the dead young man restored to life again, to their great astonishment. And this young nobleman, though he lost the estate of Ochiltry, lived to acquire a great estate in Ireland, and was Lord Castle-Stuart, and a man of such excellent parts, that he was courted by the earl of Stafford to be a counsellor in Ireland; which he refused to be, until the godly silenced Scottish ministers, who suffered under the bishops in the north of Ireland, were restored to the exercise of their ministry, and then he engaged, and continued so for all his life, not only in honour and power, but in the profession and practice of godliness, to the great comfort of the country where he lived. This story the nobleman himself communicated to his friends in Ireland" (pp. 146-147).

Also see the FREE book, _A Reformation Discussion of Extraordinary Predictive Prophecy Subsequent to The Closing of the Canon of Scripture_ by the Session of the Puritan Reformed Church of Edmonton, under "Church Writings" at http://www.reformedpresbytery.org/.

*************************

False Ministers

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Act for censuring Ministers for their silence, and not speaking to the 
corruption of the time. August 3, 1648. Ante Meridiem. Session 26.

The General Assembly, taking to their serious consideration, the great 
scandals which have lately increased, partly through some Ministers their 
reserving and not declaring of themselves against the prevalent sins of the 
times, partly through the spite, Malignity, and insolency of others against 
such Ministers as have faithfully and freely reproved the Sins of the times 
without respect of persons, Do therefore for preventing and removing such 
scandals hereafter, Appoint and Ordain, that every Minister do by the 
word of Wisdom apply his Doctrine faithfully against the publick Sins and 
Corruptions of these times, and particularly against the Sins and Scandals 
in the Congregation wherein he lives, according to the Act of the General 
Assembly 1596, revived by the Assembly at Glasgow 1638. *Appointing 
that such as shall be found not applying their Doctrine to corruptions, 
which is the Pastoral gift, cold, and wanting of Spiritual zeal, flatterers and 
dissembling of publick sins, and especially of great Personages in their 
Congregations, that all such persons be censured according to the degree of 
their faults and continuing therein be deprived; And according to the Act 
of General Assembly 1646, Sess. 10, That beside all other scandals, silence, 
or ambiguous speaking in the public cause, much more detracting and 
disaffected speeches be seasonably censured* (_The Records of the Church 
of Scotland_, p. 509, emphases added).


Here the Spirit signifies that the false prophets should be subject to the 
greatest ridicule, when they shall be convicted by the event, and their lies 
shall be proved by clear proof. Hence, also, we may gather the utility of the 
doctrine which Paul teaches, that we must stand bravely when God gives 
the reins to impostors to disturb or disperse the Church (_Calvin's 
Commentaries_, Vol. 12, p. 21, Baker Book House).

Because the Churches take not care, that Ministers be savoury and 
gracious; from Steermen all Apostasie and rottenness begin. O if the Lord 
would arise and purge his House in Scotland! As for Church–members, they 
ought to be holy; and though all baptized be actu primo members, yet such 
as remain habitually ignorant after admonition, are to be cast out, and 
though they be not cast out certainly, as paralytick or rottened members 
cannot discharge the functions of life: *So those that are scandalous, 
ignorant, malignant, unsound in faith, lose their rights of Suffrages in 
election of Officers, and are to be debarred from the Seals.* Nor can we 
defend our sinful practise in this: it were our wisdom to repent of our 
taking in the Malignant party, who shed the blood of the people of God, 
and obstructed the work of God, into places of Trust in the Church State, 
and the Army, contrary to our Covenants, they continuing still Enemies. 
(Samuel Rutherford, A Survey of the Survey of the Summe of Church 
Discipline, 1658, p. 373, emphases added).

All who reject history from their conditions of fellowship, and yet claim 
kindred with the Reformed Covenanted Church, are "deceiving and being 
deceived." In this matter they are false witnesses; but "we wot that 
through ignorance they do it" (_The Original Covenanter_ magazine, Vol. 2, 
No. 12, December 1879, pp. 353–357).

Teachers who discharge their duties honestly and sincerely are like 
builders, who, if they see a breach in a wall, instantly and carefully repair 
it.... For God, indeed, offers us peace, and invites us to reconciliation by his 
own prophets; but on this condition, that they make war with their own 
lusts. This then, is one way of being at peace with God by becoming 
enemies to ourselves, and fighting earnestly against the depraved and 
vicious desires of the flesh. *But how do false prophets preach peace? 
Why! so that miserable and abandoned men may sleep in the midst of 
their sins.* We must diligently attend, then, to this difference, that we may 
safely embrace the peace which is offered us by true prophets, and be on 
guard against the snares of those who fallaciously flatter us with peace, 
because under promise of reconciliation they foment hostilities between 
God and ourselves (_Calvin's Commentaries_, Vol. 12, pp. 20, 21, Baker 
Book House, emphases added)

... for if the saying of God speed to a false teacher, make us partakers of his 
evil deed, 2 John 10, how much more doth the admitting of such or the like 
scandalous sinners to the Lord's Table, make (I say not all who 
communicate then and there, but) all who consent to their admission, to be 
partakers of their evil deeds (George Gillespie, _Aaron's Rod Blossoming_, 
1646, reprinted by Sprinkle Publications, 1985, p. 53).

Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and 
there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with 
untempered morter: Say unto them which daub it with untempered 
morter, that it shall fall: there shall be an overflowing shower; and ye, O 
great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall rend it (Ezekiel 13: 
10,11, AV).

John Calvin judiciously comments upon this passage:

Here the Spirit signifies that the false prophets should be subject to the 
greatest ridicule, when they shall be convicted by the event, and their lies 
shall be proved by clear proof. Hence, also, we may gather the utility of the 
doctrine which Paul teaches, that we must stand bravely when God gives 
the reins to impostors to disturb or disperse the Church (_Calvin's 
Commentaries_, Vol. 12, p. 21, Baker Book House).

*************************

False Worship

*************************

The nearer a false worship approaches to a true one, the more dangerous it 
is. Israel came nearer to the true worship of God than the heathens: now 
the prophet saith not, Though the heathens be idolators, yet let not Judah 
be so too; but, 'Though Israel play the harlot, yet let not Judah offend.' 
There was more danger that Judah should be drawn aside by Israel, than 
that they should be drawn aside by any of the heathen. And so there is 
more danger that we, at this day, should be drawn aside by those that join 
with us in many things that are right, than by papists, who are hateful to 
us, and whose ways we see to be abominable. There is not so much danger, 
especially for those that profess godliness, of being drawn aside by those 
who grossly violate the laws of God, as by brethren that join with us in 
many things that are right, and come very near to the true worship of God...
We must not approach places calculated to draw us into sin, especially to false
 worship... It is dangerous to indulge curiosity in visiting places of idolatry..."

("Comments on Hosea 4:15 by Jeremiah Burroughs [1599-1646]" cited in 
_The Original Covenanter and Contending Witness_ magazine [vol. 1, #19, Sept.
10/93, pp. 416-417])

*************************

Headcovering

*************************

Theodore Beza's Notes in the Geneva Bible (1 Cor. 11:3) state :

11:4 {3} Every {b} man praying or prophesying, having [his] head covered, 
dishonoureth his head.

Beza's Notes in the Geneva Bible On 1 Cor. 11:3 says:

{3} By this he [Paul-GB] gathers that if men do either pray or preach in 
public assemblies having their heads covered (*which was then a sign of 
subjection*), they robbed themselves of their dignity, against God's 
ordinance. 

{b} *It appears, that this was a political law serving only for the 
circumstance of the time that Paul lived in, by this reason, because in these 
our days for a man to speak bareheaded in an assembly is a sign of 
subjection.*

Although certain ordinations of the Apostles (which referred to the rites 
and circumstances of divine worship) were *variable and instituted only 
for a time* (as the sanction of not eating blood and of things strangled 
(Acts 15:20); *concerning the woman's head being covered and the mans 
being uncovered when they prophesy [1Cor. 11:4, 5])* because this was a 
special cause and reason for them and this ceasing the institution itself 
*ought to cease* also... (_The Institutes of Elenctic Theology_, Vol. 2, p. 95).

*Uncovering the head, seemeth to be little older then Pauls Epistles to the 
Corinthians. The learned Salmasius, thinketh it but a National sign of 
honour, no ways universally received*: but certainly is not Adoration: 
*Though therefore we receive the supper of the Lord uncovered*, no man 
can conclude from thence Adoration of the Elements, as we shall here for 
all bodily worship or expression of our affection to means of graces ( 
though these means be but creatures) is not Adoration properly either of 
God, or of these means, it is Lawful to tremble at the word, and for Josiah 
to weep before the book of the Law read, and for the Martyrs to kiss the 
stake as the Instrument by which they glorified God, in dying for the truth: 
all these things being Ojectam quo, and means by which they conveyed 
their worship to the true God, and natural and Lawful expressions of their 
affection to God:   *For uncovering the head, it is a sort of veneration or 
reverence*, not adoration; and Paul insinuateth so much when he saith 
(1Cor 11:14) Everyman praying and prophesying having his head covered 
dishonoreth his head: *But it is not his meaning that he dishonoreth God. 
The Jews to this day, as of old, used not uncovering the head as a sign of 
honour: But by the contrary, covering was a sign of honour. If therefore 
the Jews, being made a visible Church, shall receive the Lords Supper, and 
Pray and Prophesy with covered heads , men would judge it no 
dishonoring of their head, or not of disrespect of the ordinances of God: 
Though Paul having regard to National custom in Corinth, did so esteem it* 
(Samuel Rutherford, _The Divine Right of Church Government_, p. 89, 90).

Though this last  ( the last point  (7) of Raphael de la Torres was about 
uncovering the head--GB) be not adoration ,[unreadable word--GB] sign of 
reverence,  and is not everywhere adoration; yet Abulensis saith, *the Jews 
did pray and sacrifice with covered heads; So saith Virgil, and (d) [Lod. 
Vives --Lod Vives com.in August. de civit. dei lib. 15, c. 2--GB]* Therefore 
the Corinthians had  this from the Grecians as a civil sign of gravity, which 
should not be banished from Gods Worship;  and if it [Adoration-GB]  be 
appropriate to an Idol, it should in that case be made Veneration : But no 
reverence at all is due to an Idol (Samuel Rutherford, _The Divine Right of 
Church Government_, p. 144).

Confession Argentinensi (1530):

"In the Confession presented to the emperor Charles the Fifth, by the 
ambassadors of the cities of Argentor, Memmingen, Constance and Lindau, 
in 1530, we have the following passages:  'The human traditions, which the 
churches consider as condemned in scripture, are those only which they 
find inconsistent with the law of God; such as those binding men's 
conscience to the observation of certain meat, drink, or times; or forbidding to 
marry. But those which are consonant to scripture and good morals, and are for 
the benefit of men, and which though they are not expressed in so many 
words in scripture, yet flow from the law of love which enjoins all things to 
be done decently , may be reckoned rather Divine than human.  Such are 
these traditions of Paul:  that the women should not pray in the church with 
their heads uncovered; nor the men with their heads covered; that when 
they were going to communicate, they should wait for one another; that no 
one should speak in an unkown tongue in the public assemblies without an
interpreter; that the prophets should speak in order without interrupting 
one another'" (Cited in Alexander and Rufus, John Anderson, p.143, 
emphases added).

In his _Dispute Against English Popish Ceremonies_ p. 247, George Gillespie 
states:

There are three sorts of signs to be distinguished.

1. Natural signs.

2. Customable Signs; and *so the uncovering of the head, which of old was a 
sign of preeminence, has, through custom, become a sign of subjection*. 
[Notice here Gillespie agrees with Calvin, Beza, Turretin, and Rutherford 
when he asserts that time and custom can change the meaning of the 
headcovering from preeminence to subjection--GB]

3. Voluntary Signs.

In his explanation on page 248 he says:

Secondly, customary signs have likewise place in divine service; *for so a 
man coming into one of our churches in time of public worship, if he sees 
the hearers covered, he knows by this customary sign that sermon has 
begun.*

On page 254 he says: 

As for the veils wherewith the Apostle would have women covered whilst 
they are praying ( that is in their hearts following the public and common 
prayer), or prophesying (that is singing,1 Sam. 10:10;1 Chron.25:1), they 
are worthy to be covered with shame as with a garment who allege this 
example for sacred significant ceremonies of human institution. *This 
covering was a moral sign* for that comely and orderly distinction of men 
and women *which civil decency required in all their meetings;* wherefore 
that distinction of habits which they used for decency and comeliness in 
their common behaviour and conversation, the Apostle will have them, for 
the same decency and comeliness, still to retain in their holy assemblies.  
And further, the Apostle shows that it is also a natural sign, and that 
nature itself teaches it; therefore he urges it both by the inferiority or 
subjection of the woman (vs. 3,8,9; for *covering was then a sign of 
subjection*), and by the long hair which nature gives to a woman (v. 25); 
where he would have the artificial covering to be fashioned in imitation of 
the natural.  What need we any more?  Let us see nature's institution, or 
the Apostle's recommendation, for the controverted ceremonies (as we 
have seen them for women's veils), and we yield the argument. 

Again Matthew Henry states in his commentary on 1 Cor 11, p. 561, states:

The thing he reprehends is the womans praying or prophesying uncovered 
or the mans doing either covered. To understand this it must be observed 
that *it was a signification either of shame or subjection for persons to be 
veiled, or covered, in the eastern countries, contrary to the custom of ours, 
where the being bare headed betokens subjection and being covered 
superiority and dominion. *And this will help us better to understand. 
[Notice that Henry clearly affirms that the meaning of the headcovering in 
his land is contrary to that of the Eastern countries. He undoubtedly held 
the position that national culture affected what the church ought to do in 
this circumstance. If he believed that the meaning of headcovering was 
unalterable this particular comment would be unintelligible--GB]

On 1 Cor 11: 3, p. 561, Henry says: 

She appears in the dress of her superior, and throws of the token of her 
subjection. She might with equal decency, *cut her hair short or cut it close, 
which was the custom of the man in that age.... It was doing a thing which 
in that age of the world betokened superiority, and therefore a tacit claim 
of what did not belong to them but the other sex.*

On 1 Cor 11: 4, p. 562,  Henry says:

Now because evil angels will be sure to mix in all Christian assemblies, 
*therefore should women wear the token of their shamefacedness and 
subjection, which in that age and country was a veil.*


Many of the quotations below are excerpted from _The Covenanted Reformation Defended_ which is FREE under "Church Writings" at: http://www.reformedpresbytery.org/books/index.html or directly from http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/CovRefGB.htm; for sale at: http://www.swrb.com/catalog/b.htm; or FREE on all the Reformation Bookshelf CDs at: http://www.swrb.com/Puritan/reformation-bookshelf-CDs.htm and some of the Puritan Bookshelf CDs at http://www.swrb.com/Puritan/puritan-bookshelf-CDs.htm. Most other books noted below are available from Still Waters Revival Books for FREE and/or at great discounts, at: http://www.swrb.com.


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Other Examples of headcovering practice

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Speaking of the practice of the congregation of Balmagie in the time of of 
faithful John Macmillan (1701), Rev. H. M. R. Reid writes: 

The dress of the people was on par with their homes and fare. *A Galloway 
man wore constantly, even in the church, his broad blue bonnet, made in 
Kilmarnock.*

Young girls at home wore no headcovering, but snooded their locks with a 
piece of string or ribbon. At fair or church, they wore white linen mutches, 
slightly plaited above the brow. The farmers' wives covered their heads 
with coarse white linen toys when they went a-visiting (_A Cameronian 
Apostle_, p. 52 - original source Nicholson's History, II. p. 332-339). 

At 11 A.M. on Sunday, those who wished could hear the Scriptures read by 
an Elder or other person, within the church. At noon, the minister came 
forth from the manse hard by, and the people flocked noisily into the 
house of prayer, *where they still wore their blue bonnets while the psalm 
was sung. But at the first words of prayer, all stood up bare headed, and so 
kept the dies dominica in the most ancient form* (_A Cameronian Apostle_, 
p. 54). [It is difficult to tell why the Scots would keep their headcovering 
on for singing but not for prayer but the fact that the men did sing psalms 
in public on the Lord's day with heads covered shows that their practice is 
distinctly different than ours--GB]

From _The Reformation in Scotland_  by David Hay Fleming (p. 301, 302) 
we read that:  

As penitent sinners of various kinds were ordered to sit in the church" 
bare -heidit all the time of the sermons (quoted from the Booke of the 
Universal Kirk, ii. p. 692)," it would appear that the members of the 
congregation kept their hats on during that time. 

This is also implied by Knox's statement that the Earl of Huntley pulled 
down his bonnet over his eyes when the preacher denounced certain vices 
(Laings Knox, ii., p. 362). [This would indicate that the men, in the days of 
John Knox, wore headcoverings while the sermon was being preached--GB]

Thomas Kirk, an Englishman, who visited Dundee in 1677, says,  " we heard 
a sermon at the greatest church; they first sing a psalm, and then the 
minister begins his prayer, and as soon as he has taken on his text they all 
put on their hats" (_Kirk and Thorsby's Tours of Scotland_, p.19).

In England, during part of the seventeenth century, it was customary for 
the people to sit in church with their hats on, and to take them off when 
they sang the Psalms (Brands Popular Antiquities, Bohn's ed. ii. p. 323). 
[Whereas the Scots would take of their hats for prayer it appears the 
English would remove them for singing. Evidently, there was no 
universally agreed upon practice among the churches of the seventeenth 
century--unless one wishes to assert that this description is some sort of 
anomaly--GB]

Some lifted them [headcoverings-GB] at the name of Jesus. (Marsden's 
_Early Puritans_, 1853, p. 347)

By the beginning of the eighteenth century many Scottish Presbyterians 
uncovered their heads during sermon. ( An Examination of Three Prelatical 
Pamphlets, 1703 p. 18) The custom survived in the Scottish Church at 
Rotterdam until at least the last quarter of the nineteenth century. At one 
time the ministers of Scotland may have kept their hats on while 
preaching, as French and Dutch Protestant preachers did (_The 
Reformation in Scotland_,  p. 302). 

He [i.e.Alix] was bold and brisk in the pulpit, and when he had read his 
text, he cocked his hat: but Claud, when he put on his hat, slipped it on, and 
drew down the sides of it (Wodrow's Analectica, ii. 273).

"The ministers" of the Church of Holland "are covered in the time of 
sermon" (Lieut- Col. Erskine of Wodrow in 1728, Edinburgh Christian 
Instructor, xxvii.,p. 265). 

Although the English Independent Mr. Phillip Nye was no friend to true 
Presbyterian reformation it is nevertheless interesting to hear how he 
thought headcovering should be practiced.  It should be noted that prior  
describing Mr. Nye's judgment, Robert Ballie was listing ways in which he 
thought the Independents were irreverent in their way of celebrating the 
Lords Supper. Since Mr. Nye was an Independent it is difficult to tell 
whether his opinion was widespread, or simply independent upon the 
subject of headcovering.

Mr. Nye [ Phillip Nye] told us in private judgment , that in preaching he 
thinks the minister should be covered, and the people discovered: but in 
the Sacrament, the minister should be discovered, as a servant, and all the 
guests covered (Laing's _Baillies Letters_, ii. p. 149).

Free book on headcoverings, _The Practice Of Headcoverings In Public Worship_ by 
the Reformed Presbytery In North America, at: http://www.reformedpresbytery.org/books/index.html

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Holydays

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Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland on Festival Days

1. Festival days not commanded nor warranted by scripture. General 
Assembly seeks total abolition not reformation of abuses only

December 10, Session 17, 1638.

And next in particular, concerning festival days findeth that in the 
explication of the first head of the first book of discipline it was thought 
good that the feasts of Christmas, Circumcision, Epiphany, with the feasts of 
the Apostles, Martyrs and Virgin Mary be utterly abolished because they 
are neither commanded nor warranted by Scripture and that such a 
observe them be punished by Civil Magistrates. Here utter abolition is 
craved and not reformation of abuses only and that because the 
observation of such feasts have no warrant from the word of God. In the 
General Assembly held at Edinburgh Anno 1556 the large confession of 
Helvetia was approved but with special exception against the same five 
days which are now urged upon us.  It was not then the Popish 
observation only, with the Popish opinion of worship and merit, which was 
disallowed; (for so the reformed Kirk in Helvetia did not observe them) but 
simpliciter all observation.  For this end was read a letter in Latin, sent at 
that time by some of our divines to certain divines in these parts to this 
purpose.  In the Assembly holden 15 5. in August, complaint was made 
against the Ministers and Readers beside Aberdeen; because they 
assembled the people to preaching and prayers upon certain festival days:  
So that preaching and prayers upon festival days was judged rebukable.  It 
was ordained likewise, that complaint be made to the Regent, upon the 
town of Drumfreis, for urging and convoying a Reader to the Kirk with 
Cabrfet and Whistle, to read Prayers, all the holy days of Christmas, upon 
the refusal of their own Reader.  Among the articles directed by this 
Assembly to the Regent:  It was craved that all holy days hereto-fore 
keeped holy, beside the Lords day, such as Yooleday, and Saints days, and 
such others may be abolished, and a certain penalty appointed for 
banqueting, playing, feasting upon these days.  In the Assembly held in 
April, Anno 1577.  It was ordained that the visitors with the advice of the 
Synodal Assembly, should admonish Ministers, preaching or administrating 
the Communion at Easter, or Christmas, or other like superstitious times, or 
Readers reading, to desist, under the pain of deprivation.  In the ninth 
head of the first book of Discipline, the reason is set down against Easter 
Communion.  Your honours are not ignorant how superstitiously the people 
run to that action at Pascheven; as if the time gave virtue to the 
Sacrament, and how the rest of the whole year, they are careless and 
negligent as if it appertained not to them, but at that time only.  And for 
this reason, other times were appointed by that book, for that holy action.  
In the Assembly holden 1596, begun in March 1595, at which time the 
Covenant was renewed, superstition and idolatry breaking forth in 
observing festival days; setting out of bonfires, singing carols, are reckoned 
amongst the corruptions which were to be amended:  And the pulpits did 
sound from time to time, against all show of observing any festival day 
whatsoever, except the Lords day.

The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland, p.37-38

2. Observation if Festival days are contrary to the Confession of Faith

August 22, Session 18, 1639.

A second cause [of great evils in this Kirk and Kingdom-GB] was the 
Articles of Perth, viz. the observation of festival days, kneeling at 
communion, administration of the Sacrament in private places which are 
brought in by a null Assembly and are contrary to the Confession of Faith 
as it was meant and subscribed Anno 1580 and divers times since and to 
the order and constitutions of this Kirk.

The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland, p.75.

3. Observation of festival days censurable

February 13, 1645.

Act for Censuring the Observers of Yule- day and other superstitious days 
especially if they be scholars.

The General Assembly taking to their consideration the manifold abuses, 
profanity, and superstitions committed on Yule-day and some other 
superstitious days following
have unanimously concluded and hereby ordains; That whatsoever person 
or persons hereafter shall be found guilty in keeping of the foresaid 
superstitious days shall be proceeded against by Kirk censures and shall 
make their  public repentance therefore in the face of the congregation 
where the offence is committed.  And that Presbyteries and Provincial 
Synods take particular notice how Ministers try and censure delinquents of 
this kind within the several parishes. And because scholars and students 
give great scandal offence in this, That they (being found guilty) be 
severely disciplined and chastised before their Masters. And in case the 
Masters of Schools or Colleges be accessory to the said superstitious 
profanity, by their connivance, granting of liberty of vacancy to their 
Scholars at that time, or any time thereafter, in compensation thereof, That 
the Masters be summoned by the Ministers of the place to compear before 
the next ensuing General Assembly, there to be censured according to their 
trespass;  And if Scholars (being guilty) refuse to subject themselves to 
correction, or be fugitives from discipline, That they be not received in any 
other school or college within the kingdom.

The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland, p. 285-286

 The National Covenant
....do condemn the monuments and dregs of bygone idolatry, as going to 
crosses, observing the festival days of saints, and such other superstitious 
and Papistical rites, to the dishonour of God, contempt of true religion, and 
fostering of great error among the people; and ordains the users of them to 
be punished for the second fault, as idolaters, Act 104, Parl.7, King James 
VI.

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Historical Testimony

*************************

*Even our doctrinal standards we received from our fathers through 
history alone.* Now, I desire the reader to see with his own mental eye, 
that our faith in the genuineness of these doctrinal standards rests solely 
on human testimony: that is, we believe on the evidence of the generations 
who have lived before us, that our Confessions, Covenants, etc., are true 
copies of those documents. But our belief so far is not saving faith-- "the 
faith of God's elect." Having these documents handed down to us through 
history alone, then we compare them with the Bible. Can we perceive their 
agreement or disagreement without reasoning? No, surely. Well now, if two 
persons at first sight take different views of any doctrine, will they not at 
once enter into discussion, and their future agreement result from honest 
argument; yet neither their agreement in believing the symbols of their 
profession to be true copies; no, nor even their belief that a certain 
doctrine is scriptural, constitutes "the faith of God's elect;" but it does 
constitute that kind of faith or agreement by which they can "walk 
together." I hope the reader can now perceive that "the faith of God's elect" 
is not the condition of fellowship in the visible church, and that the visible 
is distinct from the invisible church. There are few delusions more 
prevalent and popular than the old error revived, that "assurance of grace 
and salvation is essential to saving faith;" and that it is, or ought to be one 
of the terms, or in fact the only condition of fellowship in the visible 
church. 

The first judicial Testimony sanctioned by the Reformed Presbyterian 
Church, in 1761, at Ploughlandhead, Scotland, is the only one that has the 
formal nature and possesses the essential parts of such a document. These 
parts are three: history to supply facts, arguments to test the character of 
the facts, and doctrinal statement as the rule of trial.

Is it not the function of a witness to state facts? Yes, certainly. *And what 
is history but a statement of facts?* These may be true or false. The 
character and competence of the witness is to be considered. *The function 
of the judge is to state and apply the law*, and in the application of the law 
he is assisted by others called jurors or associates. *Arguments are 
addressed,* by advocates, to judge and jury. Now, I hope the reader will 
see that the greatest, the most important cause in the universe, the conflict 
between truth and error, between righteousness and unrighteousness, 
between Christ and Belial, which has been on trial since the time of Cain 
and Abel, *cannot be conducted without history, argument and doctrinal 
declaration. All testimony–bearing which lacks any of these three cardinal 
and essential elements is not merely defective, but decidedly pretentious 
and unfaithful* ( David Steele, _Reminiscences_, 1883, pp. 202–205, 
emphases added).

Furthermore, Pastor Steele adds:

History is a record of past events, and to deserve the name of history the 
events recorded must be authentic, for "cunningly devised fables" are not 
history. Authentic history is of the essential nature of testimony. A witness 
on the stand gives a statement of facts, evidence, testimony. So true is it 
that not only minor matters of litigation, but even "death and life are in 
the power of the tongue"(Prov. 18:21). A very large portion of the Bible is 
historical. The first words in it announce one of the most important of 
historical facts: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth," 
The great importance of this statement appears from the speculations of 
heathen philosophers, and self–styled scientists in our own age. 

For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens 
were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water (2 
Peter 3:5, AV).
 
Also many of the Psalms are historical, epitomizing the previous facts 
recorded in the Old Testament, that these might be more indelibly 
impressed upon the mind and heart of God's people, and that they "might 
not forget his works;" for then they "forget God their Saviour" (Ps. 
16:13,21).

Moreover, the origin and progress of the visible church in the world, under 
different dispensations of mercy, is matter of historical record. She is on 
earth the only immortal corporation; and since the canon of inspired 
Scripture closed, she has had no one infallible historian. Many, indeed, 
have undertaken "to set forth in order a declaration of those things which 
are most surely believed among the disciples of Christ;" but "their witness 
agreed not together" (Luke 1:1; Mark 14:56). Those who take as guides in 
searching the history of the church, Mosheim, Milner, or many others, are 
following false guides, whose delineations portray the features of the 
"scarlet lady" rather than the "Lamb's wife." In this historical fact--the 
almost universal misrepresentations of the spouse of Christ, the intelligent 
reader may discover the reason for a select class, whom the Lord Jesus 
expressly distinguishes from all others as "his witnesses," (Rev. 11:3), and 
the necessity for their testimony. These and these only are "children that 
will not lie" (Isa. 63:8); "and in their mouth is found no guile" (Rev.14:5). 
Hence, the necessity of historical testimony.

Again, history interprets prophecy, which is an ever increasing evidence 
that the Holy Scriptures are from God. *How could it be known when the 
canon was settled but mainly by history? Or how can antichrist be 
identified, or the witnesses themselves but by history?* For the doctrines, 
the worship, government and discipline of the church have all been 
misrepresented, counterfeited, and even the church herself (Rev. 17:18)! 
Thus it is apparent that the only way by which the witnesses can identify 
the true church is by comparing doctrine and order with the alone 
infallible rule, the Bible; and this comparing involves reasoning--argument; 
history and argument do, therefore, constitute the church's testimony and 
supply her *Terms of Communion*, by which she is distinguished from the 
"flocks of the companions."

Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou 
makest thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth 
aside by the *flocks of thy companions* (Song of Solomon 1:7, AV, 
emphases added)?

Reader, where did you get all the subordinate standards of your published 
faith, your confession, catechisms, &c.? You will probably say--from 
Westminster, England, and from Scotland; but how do you know? For about 
forty–six years ago, had you been a member in the Reformed Presbyterian 
Church, this question might have puzzled you. About that time we received 
new light on that matter, when the following startling statements were 
first published by professing Covenanters: "Even the fact of the existence 
of the Westminster Assembly has been for several generations a matter 
merely of human history. . . . Such a faith" (in the existence of the 
Westminster Assembly) "could not be the faith of God's elect." Again, "That 
such covenants were ever entered into has no other evidence than mere 
historical record, and consequently ought not to be made an article of the 
believer's faith"--a term of communion.

We have often said, and we now repeat, that there are two kinds of faith 
by which society is held together. Faith and belief are convertible terms. 
The *kind* of testimony in any case determines the *kind* of faith. *Divine 
faith is founded and rests on divine testimony alone; whereas human faith 
needs as a foundation only human testimony.* All human relations in this 
world are grounded on human evidence--testimony. Does a husband 
identify his wife, or the wife her husband by divine testimony? Can the 
parents know their child, or the child the parents by the Bible? We insist 
upon this point, "giving precept upon precept," simple though it be; 
because we know with absolute certainty that even learned divines, 
including many theological professors, *Doctors of Divinity even, of the 
Covenanting name, have forsaken the covenant cause of Christ through 
their sinful and shameful ignorance of this matter.* Our reformed 
ancestors thoroughly understood this point before there ever was a D.D. 
known among them. *Why did they attach the word infallible to the first 
Term of Communion? Because it, and it alone, demands divine faith; all the 
rest requiring human faith only, because they are fallible–subordinate to 
the first term. Did our truly learned and godly progenitors stultify 
themselves by contradicting their own Confession? *

All synods or councils since the apostles' times, whether general or 
particular, may err, and many have erred; therefore they are not to be 
made the rule of faith or practice, but to be used as a help in both 
(_Westminster Confession of Faith_, 31:4).

To make this topic in theology and faithful testimony–bearing so plain that 
"he may run that readeth it," and to render those who prefer to continue 
"willingly ignorant" inexcusable, we give an illustration adapted, we hope, 
to the capacity of even babes in Christ:-- Question,--Do you believe there is 
such a place as Scotland? Answer,--I think I do, for it is laid down on the 
school–atlas, and whoever made the atlas must have believed in its 
existence. Q.--Do you find Scotland named in the Bible? A.--No. Q.--Do you 
believe that Richard Cameron, Donald Cargill, James Renwick, and many 
others associated with them, lived in Scotland in the latter half of the 
seventeenth century? A.--I do, for I have both heard and read about those 
ministers. Q.--But you do not read of them in the Bible, do you? A.--No. Q.-
-Well, have you read of the principles they held, and how they applied 
their principles? A.--Yes, I know the principles they propagated, and also 
the way they applied them. Q.--Now, were they malefactors, as most of 
their countrymen charged, or were they indeed martyrs of Jesus Christ? 
A.--I believe they were martyrs. So you believe in human testimony, that 
there is such a place on the earth as Scotland; that Richard Cameron, &c. 
once lived in Scotland; that they taught certain doctrines and applied them, 
and for such teaching and practice they suffered a violent death, 
martyrdom; and yet you find nothing of this in the Bible. *"Human records" 
alone supply these facts, from which, comparing them with the Word of 
God, you argue and conclude with certainty that those people were 
witnesses for Christ. Now, if you reject the history of their principles, 
practice and sufferings, how can you honestly or rationally claim identity 
with them?* You thereby sever the only link of connection. You may be 
pious--a Christian, but not a Covenanted Presbyterian. And if your 
supreme end is your own salvation, you have mistaken the end of your 
being (Rev. 4:11), and come short of that type of patriotism which the 
example of the martyrs supplies. Hence--

1. The British Covenants are manifestly historical documents.

2. The peculiarity of the National Covenant, that it was framed, sworn, and 
often renewed in Scotland, does not destroy its moral character, or affect 
the permanency of its obligation; and the same is true of the Solemn 
League and Covenant.

3. The very names of these covenants--yes, and the principles 
incorporated in them, which have given Christian liberty and liberty of 
conscience to many millions, come to us through the medium of history 
alone.
4. All who have adhered to these covenants have been known for centuries 
by historic names, and can be identified in no other way; as "Cameronians, 
Cargillites, Society People, Mountain–men, Covenanters," &c. And by near 
and necessary consequence--

If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the 
footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents (Song 
of Solomon 1:8, AV).

5. All who reject history from their conditions of fellowship, and yet claim 
kindred with the Reformed Covenanted Church, are "deceiving and being 
deceived." In this matter they are false witnesses; but "we wot that 
through ignorance they do it" (_The Original Covenanter_ magazine, Vol. 2, 
No. 12, December 1879, pp. 353–357).

1. The Bible, both Old and New Testament, is largely historical--the books 
of Genesis and Matthew beginning with narrative, the wonderful works of 
God. It is thus adapted to the rational nature of man, and equally to the 
spiritual nature of the new man (_Minutes of the Reformed Presbytery_, 
Sept. 30, 1875, _The Reformation Advocate_ magazine, p. 250).

For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, 
which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to 
their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the 
children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their 
children: That they might set their hope in God, *and not forget the works 
of God*, but keep his commandments: And might not be as their fathers, a 
stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart 
aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God. (Psalms 78:5–8, AV, 
Scripture proof added, emphases added).

2. [Without the use of uninspired history--GB] The church cannot ascertain 
the fulfilment of prophecy--the cumulating external evidence of its divine 
original: especially can Christ's witnesses no otherwise than by history 
identify her confederated enemies--the man of sin and son of perdition, 
his paramour--the well favoured harlot, and her harlot daughters--the off–
spring of her fornication with the kings of the earth (_Minutes of the 
Reformed Presbytery_, Sept. 30, 1875, _The Reformation Advocate_, p. 
250).

Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom 
against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and 
famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be 
from heaven. But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and 
persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being 
brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake. *And it shall turn to 
you for a testimony.* Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate 
before what ye shall answer
(Luke 21:10–14, AV, Scripture proof added, emphases added).

3. The present cannot in faith confess the sins, or express thanks to God for 
the mercies, of a former generation, except on the credibility of human 
history (_Minutes of the Reformed Presbytery_, Sept. 30, 1875, _The 
Reformation Advocate_, p. 250).

And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood 
and *confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers* (Nehemiah 
9:2, AV, Scripture proof added, emphases added).

4. No otherwise can a Christian know the time or place of his birth, or the 
persons whom God commands him to honour as his father and mother, 
than by uninspired testimony; and the same is true of his covenant 
obligation, if baptized in infancy. Against all who ignorantly or recklessly 
reject or oppose history as a bond of fellowship, in the family, in the state, 
but especially in the church, we thus enter our solemn and 
uncompromising protest (_Minutes of the Reformed Presbytery_, Sept. 30, 
1875, _The Reformation Advocate_, p. 250).

My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy 
mother (Proverbs 1:8, AV, Scripture proof added).

But whether I have reason to deny what is so confidently asserted, let the 
following Testimony be considered, that it may decide. Great Mr. Welch in 
his letter to Mr. Bruce writes thus, "What my Mind is (saith he) concerning 
the Root of these Branches, the Bearer will show you more fully. They are 
no more to be accounted ORTHODOX, but APOSTATES. They have fallen 
from their CALLINGS, by receiving an Antichristian, and bringing in of 
Idolatry, to make the Kingdom culpable, and to expose it to fearful 
judgments, for such an high Perfidy, against an Oath so solemnly exacted 
and given; and are no more to be accounted Christians; but Strangers and 
Apostates and Persecuters; and therefore not to be heard any more either 
in Publick or in Consistories, Colleges, or Synods. For what Fellowship hath 
Light with Darkness? &c. Calderwood's Hist: Page 743. Now, Sir, here is not 
only a Testimony of one of the greatest Lights that ever shined in our 
Church, directly contradicting what you assert; but *considering, how 
carefully this History was Revised by our General Assembly, we are to look 
upon it as the Judgment of our whole Church*; that Letter being therein 
insert, as a Commendation and Vindication of that eminent Man of God 
(Robert McWard, _Earnest Contendings for the Faith_, p. 127, emphases 
added)

The Assembly constitutes and ordains that *from henceforth no sort of 
person of whatsoever quality or degree be permitted to speak or write 
against the said Confession, this Assembly or any Act of this Assembly, and 
that under the pain of incurring the censures of this Kirk* (_The Acts of 
the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland_, [1638–1649 inclusive], 
p. 51, emphases added)?

And likewise *in case they acknowledge not this Assembly, reverence not 
the constitutions thereof, and obey not the sentence*, and make not their 
repentance, conform to the order prescribed in this Assembly, *ordains 
them to be excommunicated* and declared to be of these whom Christ 
commanded to be holden by all and everyone of the faithful as Ethnics and 
Publicans (_The Acts of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland_, 
p. 22, emphases added).

Whether in the light of God's word, history and argument are to be 
inseparably joined with doctrine in the Testimony of the church, is the 
question. The affirmative we maintain,--the negative is asserted in the 
"Preface" to _Reformation Principles Exhibited_ [formerly the "Testimony" 
of the RPCNA--GB], and urged by the Covenanter [the magazine--GB]. 
"What saith Scripture?" The case of Stephen the protomartyr under the 
Christian dispensation, will serve for both proof and illustration, (Acts 7:1, 
etc). This witness begins his testimony with history, commencing with the 
call of Abraham, and ending at his own time. From the 51st to the 53rd 
verse, he applies the facts of history and doctrines declared to the case in 
hand; and this he does in argumentative form. Take the case of the blind 
man restored to sight, (John 9:13–34). The former of these witnesses was 
stoned to death [i.e. Stephen--GB]; the latter excommunicated [i.e. the blind 
man restored--GB], for stating facts, and arguing from them. These two 
examples are deemed sufficient at present for proof and illustration. But it 
may be said--"These are inspired records--scriptural examples." True, and 
just because they are inspired instances of testimony–bearing we adduce 
them, to establish and illustrate our position, which they irrefragably do. 
"But what has this to do with uninspired, mere human history, as a part of 
testimony?" "Much every way," chiefly with reference to Covenanting. 
Their very designation, COVENANTERS, one would suppose sufficient, if 
received in its historical import, to establish the truth of our position. But 
we waive that for the present. *There are two kinds of faith--distinct, but 
inseparable; and, as already stated, the kind of faith is determined by the 
kind of testimony, while both are required by God's word and by the 
condition of human society. The one, for the sake of a distinction, is called 
divine faith; the other, human*. "If we receive the witness of men, the 
witness of God is greater," I John 5:9. Christ said to the Pharisees--"It is 
also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true," John 8:17. 
See also Matt. 18:16. Now it is obvious that facts, rather than principles, 
constitute testimony. And it is undeniable that the holy Scriptures sustain 
the credibility of human testimony, though uninspired. Still, "the witness 
(testimony) of God is greater." Hence I reason thus--The Lord Jesus, whose 
name is the Word of God, the faithful and true Witness, having it in charge 
to reveal and execute the purposes of God; and the devil, the father of lies, 
who sinneth from the beginning, being assiduously engaged in falsifying 
the revealed will, and resisting the execution of the purposes of Jehovah, 
(Rev. 5:9; 12:7); both these leaders are accompanied by their respective 
partisans of the human family. Protestants generally agree that Popery is a 
diabolical organization against Christ and truth. That Christ is a divine 
person, is a doctrine of Scripture, (John 1:1); but this is questioned by the 
devil, (Matt. 4:6), though admitted by the church of Rome. Christ, being 
divine, is the object of worship. To this Popery assents. But Christ is also 
Mediator between God and man. Well, Popery admits this also, and resists 
only the exclusive mediation of Christ; which office the Romish church 
distributes among Christ, Mary, angels, etc. And we know both the errors 
and idolatries as FACTS in the history of Popery. True, we may and ought 
to try both by God's word. On the other hand, we know that Christ is the 
Son of God, and that we ought to "honor the Son, even as we honor the 
Father,"--we know these things, I say, not only as doctrinally declared, but 
also as exemplified in the faith and practice of the church of God in all 
ages. Of the three men who visited Abraham, (Gen. 18:2), the patriarch 
worships one only (v. 22). The unbelieving Jews claim Abraham as their 
father, but refused to do the works of Abraham, and so falsified their 
claim, (John 8:33,39). We claim to be the seed of Christ's covenanted 
witnesses in Britain and Ireland; but unless we "walk in the steps of their 
faith," our professed attachment to that faith will avail us nothing.

But it may be said, Who denies all this, or what has this to do with the 
matter of a testimony? Everything. That many of our former brethren are 
aiming to copy their "noble example," including the Covenanter, is matter 
of our joy and thanksgiving to God. But how? As individuals?--as 
congregations?--as judicatories? If so, it is all right, so far as they followed 
Christ. Still Christ enjoins it upon us to "go forth by the footsteps of the 
flock," (Song 1:8). These footsteps are Christian practices; that is, they are 
the application of principle, scriptural principle, to individual and social 
life. Let it be noticed that Christ counsels inquirers to follow the footsteps 
of the flock; thus making those footsteps at once directive and 
authoritative. *We can know the footsteps, the Christian and social practice 
of our Covenanted fathers, only by HISTORY; and through the same 
medium alone do we come to ascertain the very arguments by which they 
defended both their faith and practice.*

*My faith may be designated human; or, if you will, even Popish; still I am 
not ashamed to own that the practice of Cameron, Cargill, Renwick, and 
those with whom the martyrs were associated, is directive to me and 
authoritative also! Indeed, I am bound to bring even their principles and 
arguments to the "law and to the testimony," but history alone will supply 
me with these; which, that it may do, I must have it in an authenticated 
form. In this matter the Lord Jesus will not allow us to walk at random. "Go 
thy way... by the footsteps of the flock." The great outlines of the 
Mediator's special providence, and of the church's faithful contendings 
must ever be before her children, sanctioned by her authority in a judicial 
form, that posterity may see how she has walked with God in the 
wilderness; as also wherein she may have acted perfidiously in view of her 
solemn covenant engagement* (_The Covenanter_, May 1856, p. 303, 
emphases added).


Many of the quotations below are excerpted from _The Covenanted Reformation Defended_ which is FREE under "Church Writings" at: http://www.reformedpresbytery.org/books/index.html or directly from http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/CovRefGB.htm; for sale at: http://www.swrb.com/catalog/b.htm; or FREE on all the Reformation Bookshelf CDs at: http://www.swrb.com/Puritan/reformation-bookshelf-CDs.htm and some of the Puritan Bookshelf CDs at http://www.swrb.com/Puritan/puritan-bookshelf-CDs.htm. Most other books noted below are available from Still Waters Revival Books for FREE and/or at great discounts, at: http://www.swrb.com.


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Lord's Supper

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(Admission to)

*I dare say divers thousands have been kept off from the sacrament in 
Scotland, as unworthy to be admitted. Where I myself have excercised my 
ministry there have been some hundreds kept off; partly for ignorance, 
and partly for scandal.* The order of the Church of Scotland, and the Acts 
of General Assemblies, are for keeping off all scandalous persons; which 
every godly and faithful minister doth conscientiously and effectually 
endeavour. And if, here or there, it be too much neglected by some 
Archippus, who takes not heed to fulfil the ministry which he hath 
received of the Lord, let him and his eldership bear the blame and answer 
for it (George Gillespie, _The Works of George Gillespie, Nihil Respodes_, 
1642, reprinted in 1991 [SWRB] from the 1846 edition, Vol. 1, p.12, 
emphases added).

The customary hour of public worship was now come [the Lord's Day, 
September 3, 1553--GB]. The great bell Clemence had tolled its summons. 
The throng of worshippers on their way to the cathedral had rolled past, 
and now the streets, which had resounded with their tread, were empty 
and silent. Over city, plain, and lake there brooded a deep stillness. It was 
around the pulpit of St. Peter's, and the man with pale face, commanding 
eye, and kingly brow who occupied it, that the heart of Geneva palpitated. 
The church was filled with an uneasy crowd. On the benches of the 
Consistory sat, unmoved, the pastors and elders, resolved to bear the 
greatest violence rather than not do their duty. A confused noise was 
heard within the temple. The congregation opened with difficulty, and a 
numerous band of men, of all ranks, their hands upon their sword–hilts, 
force their way in presence of the holy table. The elite of the Libertines 
had decided to communicate. Berthier did not appear as yet. He reserved 
himself till the last moment. Calvin, calm as ever, rose to begin the service. 
He could not but see the Libertines in the vast congregation before him but 
he seemed as if he saw them not. He preached on the state of mind with 
which the Lord's Supper ought to be received. At the close, raising his 
voice, he said, "As for me, so long as God shall leave me here, since he hath 
given me fortitude, and I have relieved it from him, I will employ it, 
whatever betide; and I will guide myself by my Master's rule, which is to 
me clear and well known. As we are now to receive the Holy Supper of the 
Lord Jesus Christ, if anyone who has been debarred by the Consistory shall 
approach this table, though it should cost my life, I will show myself such 
as I ought to be." When the liturgies were concluded, Calvin came down 
from the pulpit and took his stand before the table. Lifting up the white 
napkin he displayed the symbols of Christ's body and blood, the food 
destined for believing souls. Having blessed the bread and the wine, he 
was about to distribute them to the congregation. At that moment their 
was a movement among the Libertines as if they would seize the bread 
and the cup. The Reformer, covering the sacred symbols with his hands, 
exclaimed in a voice that rang through the edifice, *"These hands you may 
crush; and these arms you may lop off; my life you may take; my blood is 
yours you may shed it; but you shall never force me to give holy things to 
the profane, and dishonor the table of my God."* These words broke like a 
thunder peal over the Libertines. As if an invisible power had flung back 
the ungodly host, they slunk away unabashed, the congregation opening a 
passage for their retreat. A deep calm succeeded and the, "sacred 
ordinance," says Beza, "was celebrated with profound silence, and under a 
solemn awe in all present, as if the Deity himself had been visible among 
them (J. A. Wylie, _The History of Protestantism_,1878,  Vol. 2, p. 327, 
emphases added).

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Moral Person -- of the church

*************************

1. Ecclesiastical and national societies are moral persons. By a moral person 
I mean that each of these kinds of society has an understanding and a will 
of its own, by which it perceives, deliberates, determines and acts. An 
individual person, is one that has the power of understanding and willing; 
the name moral person is therefore applied to a society, having an 
understanding and a will common to the whole body, by which, though 
made up of a vast number of individuals, it possesses the power of 
knowing, deliberating, determining, and acting. A moral person may enter 
into contracts and covenant obligations; and these are as valid when 
entered into, as the covenant obligations of individual persons. Being moral 
persons, churches and nations are capable of entering into covenant with 
God; and that it is their duty to do so, I have demonstrated in the 
preceding section. *Such obligation, when constituted agreeably to the will 
of God, are necessarily perpetual; for it is not the individuals merely of 
which the society consists, but the society itself, as a moral person, that 
covenants. In the case of personal covenanting, no one will question that 
the covenant obligation extends throughout the whole life of the 
individual; the same principle prevails in relation to social covenanting: the 
obligation extends throughout the duration of the moral person.*

2. The church is a permanently existing body. It has undergone, indeed, 
several changes in its external administration, but it is the same now that 
it was when first constituted. The church in the wilderness of Sinai is 
identical with the church in the days of Adam and Eve, and continues still 
the same moral person in the nineteenth century. The removal by death of 
individual members, does not destroy the identity of the moral person, 
which remains unaffected by the removal of a thousand generations. 
Covenant obligation entered into by the church, in any given period, 
continues of perpetual obligation throughout all succeeding generations, 
and that too, on the recognized principle that the church continues the 
same moral person.

3. National society does not possess an undying constitution like that of the 
church, it may be dissolved; and history presents a vast number of 
instances of the entire dissolution of nations. But the obligation created by 
national covenanting, extends throughout the duration of the society, 
because it is a moral person; and if the perpetuity of the obligation may be 
limited, it is limited only by the moral person ceasing to exist (David Scott, 
Distinctive Principles of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, pp. 61–63, 
1841, emphases added).

The principle of continued or transmissible federal obligation is not liable 
to the objections that have been urged against it, and is no novelty. We do 
not make our ancestors a sort of federal head as Adam was to the human 
family, when we allege that our posterity are bound by their engagements. 
This is altogether a misrepresentation of the argument on the subject. *The 
descending obligation of the public covenants rests upon the essential 
character of organised society. It is the same party in different stages of its 
existence that is bound to moral obedience*; and the obligation rests in all 
its plenitude upon the community as the same moral agent, until the whole 
matter of the engagement be fulfilled (Thomas Houston, _A Memorial of 
Covenanting_, 1857, p. 35, emphases added).

We adhere to the Renovation of the National Covenants at Auchensaugh, 
1712, as comprising the same grand Scriptural principles with the original 
deeds, and preserving the identity of the moral person, which became 
more visible in 1761 by a Judicial Testimony. Re–exhibited in 1858 and 
1876. We repudiate the Renovation at Dervock, 1853, as being inadequate, 
defective, and unfaithful--part of the document couched in abstract and 
evasive and equivocal language. Also we condemn and reject the 
Pittsburgh Bond [the present bond of the RPCNA--GB] as ambiguous, self 
contradictory and treacherous-- "a snare on Mizpah" (The Reformed 
Presbytery of America, _Act of Adherence to our Covenants, National and 
Solemn League; *as adapted to the present time*_,  emphases added).

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Marks of the True Church

*************************

The notes, therefore, of the true kirk of God we believe, confess, and avow 
to be: first, the true preaching of the Word of God, into the which God has 
revealed himself to us, as the writings of the prophets and apostles do 
declare; secondly, the right administration of the sacraments of Christ 
Jesus, which must be annexed unto the word and promise of God, to seal 
and confirm the same in our hearts; last, ecclesiastical discipline uprightly 
ministered, as God's word prescribes, whereby vice is repressed, and 
virtue nourished. Wheresoever then these former notes are seen, and of 
any time continue (be the number [*of persons*--GB] never so few, about 
two or three) there, without all doubt, is the true kirk of Christ: who, 
according to his promise is in the midst of them: *not that universal [kirk--
GB]* (of which we have before spoken) but particular [kirks--GB]; such as 
were in Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, and other places in which the ministry 
was planted by Paul, and were of himself named the kirks of God (_The 
Scottish Confession of Faith_, 1560, chapter 18, Presbyterian Heritage 
Publications, p. 29, emphases added).

'That there is an universal Church, that there has been, from the beginning 
of the world, and will be even to the end, we all acknowledge.  *The 
appearance by which it may be recognised is the question.* We place it in 
the word of God, or, (if any one would so put it,) since Christ is her head, 
we maintain that, as a man is recognised by his face, so she is to be beheld 
in Christ: as it is written, "Where the carcase is, there will the eagles be 
gathered together," (Matth. xxiv. 28.)  Again,"There will be one sheepfold, 
and one Shepherd," (John x. 16.)  But as the pure preaching of the gospel is 
not always exhibited, neither is the face of Christ always conspicuous, (1 
Cor. xi. 19).  *Thence we infer that the Church is not always discernible by 
the eyes of men, as the example of many ages testify.  For in the time of 
the prophets, the multitude of the wicked so prevailed, that the true 
Church was oppressed; so also in the time of Christ, we see that the little 
flock of God was hidden from men, while the ungodly usurped to 
themselves the name of Church.  But what will those, who have eyes so 
clear that they boast the Church is always visible to them, make of Elijah, 
who thought the he alone remained of the Church? (1 Kings xix. 10.) * In 
this, indeed, he was mistaken, but it is a proof that the Church of God may 
be equally concealed from us, especially since we know, from the prophecy 
of Paul, that defection was predicted, (2 Thess. ii. 3.)  Let us hold, then, that 
the Church is seen where Christ appears, and where his word is heard; as it 
is written, "My sheep hear my voice," (John x. 27;) *but that at the instant 
when the true doctrine was buried, the Church vanished from the eyes of 
men.*  This Church, we acknowledge with Paul, to be the pillar and ground 
of the truth, (1 Tim. iii.,) because she is the guardian of sound doctrine, and 
by her ministry propagates it to posterity, that it may not perish from the 
world.  For, seeing she is the spouse of Christ, it is meet that she be subject 
to him.  And, as Paul declares, (Eph. v. 24;  2 Cor. xi. 2,3,) her chastity 
consists in not being led away from the simplicity of Christ.  She errs not, 
because she follows the truth of God for her rule; but if she recedes from 
this truth, she ceases to be a spouse, and becomes an adulteress.

_Articles agreed upon by The Faculty of Sacred Theology of Paris, in 
Reference to Matters of Faith at Present Controverted with The Antidote, 
Calvins Selected Works_ Vol. 1, Tracts Part 1, pp. 102-103

*************************

Martyrs

*************************

The Fathers have not been forgotten; yea they are still highly esteemed for 
their heroic struggle, by which every son and daughter has a birthright to 
the richest inheritance of Christian liberty on earth. The persecution lasted 
twenty eight years, with few "blinks" to take the chill of horror out of the 
air. During this time, 18,000 persons, it is said, suffered death, or utmost 
hardships, for their faith in Jesus Christ. Of this number, 7,000 went into 
voluntary banishment; 2500 were shipped to distant lands; 800 were 
outlawed; 680 were killed in battle, or died of their wounds; 500 were 
murdered in cold blood; 362 were, by form of law executed. We have no 
account of the number that perished in shipwrecks, or succumbed to the 
horrors of transportation; nor of hundreds that were shot at sight by the 
soldiers who ravaged the country for years; nor of the thousands who 
wasted away through cold, hunger, and exposure in the mountains and 
moors. Gloomy caves, dripping moss hags, and unmarked graves, were 
asylums of mercy to multitudes, who are without any earthly record; but 
their names are written in heaven. Truly Scotland has been consecrated to 
the Lord. The blood of the martyrs has watered her heather, crimsoned her 
streams, stained her streets, and bedewed her fields. Scotland is the Lord's. 
*The blood means much* (J. C. McFeeters, _Sketches of the Covenanters_, 
1913, pp. 395–396, SWRB bound photocopy, emphases added).

The blood of the martyrs imposes obligations upon posterity from 
generation to generation. The martyrs deeply felt their responsibility for 
the Church, her purity, her doctrines, discipline, membership; for her 
loyalty to Christ, her separation from the world, and her administration in 
the Holy Spirit. Their zeal for the house of God brought them to the front; 
their passionate love for Jesus Christ placed them on the firing line. There 
they met every attack made upon Christ and His House; there they stood 
for the royal rights of Jesus and the honour of His kingdom; there they fell 
under the murderous fire, giving place to their successors. These soldiers 
of Jesus knew how to die, but not how to retreat. They did their work well 
and necessarily left it unfinished. The victory was assured, though not in 
sight. The death stricken hands reached the bloodstained banner out to 
another to be carried forward. This war still rages. The supremacy of Jesus 
Christ is yet disputed; His royal rights are yet usurped by mortals; His 
Bride the Church, still halts amid many opinions; the ordinances of grace 
are unblushingly corrupted; the teachings of the Gospel are adroitly 
doctored. The attacking forces are active, determined, and numerous, as in 
the days of the martyrs. The tactics differ, but the fight goes on. *Heavy, 
heavy are the moral obligations, that fall to the successors of those who 
gave their lives for the truth. To recede would be cowardice, desertion 
from the ranks, perjury within the Covenant, treason against Jesus Christ.* 
Is this too strong? Listen, "If any man draw back, my soul shall have no 
pleasure in him." Surely the times call for Christian Soldiers; yea heroes; 
possibly, martyrs. Do Covenanters feel their obligation to the Lord? (J. C. 
McFeeters, Sketches of the Covenanters, 1913, pp. 402–403, SWRB bound 
photocopy, emphases added).

...he [Richard Cameron--GB] went over to Holland in the year of 1678, not 
knowing what work the Lord had for him there; where he conversed with 
Mr. M'Ward [Robert McWard--GB] and others of the banished Worthies. In 
his private conversation and exercise in families, but especially by his 
public sermon in the Scots Kirk at Rotterdam, he was most refreshing unto 
many souls. He dwelt mostly upon conversion work, from that text, Matt. 
11:28: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will 
give you rest;" which was most satisfying and agreeable to Mr. M'Ward and 
Mr. Brown [John Brown of Wamphray--GB], and others who had been 
informed by the Indulged, and those of their persuasion, that he could 
preach nothing but babble against the Indulgence, cess paying, etc. Here he 
touched upon none of these things, except in prayer when lamenting over 
the deplorable case of Scotland by means of defection and tyranny. About 
this time Mr. M'Ward said to him, "Richard the public standard has now 
fallen in Scotland; and, if I know anything of the mind of the Lord, ye are 
called to undergo your trials [ordination exam--GB] before us, to go home, 
and lift the fallen standard, and display it publicly before the whole world. 
But before you put your hand to it, ye shall go to as many field ministers 
as ye can find, and give them your hearty invitation to go with you; and if 
they will not go, go alone, and the Lord will go with you." 

Accordingly he was ordained by Mr. M'Ward, Mr. Brown, and Roleman, a 
famous Dutch divine. When their hands were lifted up from his [Richard 
Cameron's--GB] head, Mr. M'Ward continued this still and cried out, 
"Behold all ye beholders, here is the head of a faithful minister and servant 
of Jesus Christ, *who shall lose the same for his master's interest*, and it 
shall be set up before sun and moon, in the view of the world." (John 
Howie, _The Scots Worthies_, 1781, p. 423, emphases added).

On July 22, 1680, faithful Richard Cameron was martyred in Airsmoss. His 
head and hands cut off and taken to Edinburgh, just as Robert M'Ward had 
spoken. Before his murderers committed the barbarous act of publicly 
displaying his head and hands upon the Netherbow Port, they first had one 
further act of antichristian cruelty to enact. 

His father being in prison for the same cause, they carried them [Cameron's 
head and hands--GB] to him, to add grief unto his former sorrow, and 
inquired at him if he knew them. Taking his son's head and hands which 
were very fair--being a man of fair complexion like himself--he kissed 
them, and said, "I know--I know them; they are my son's--my own dear 
son's. It is the Lord--good is the will of the Lord, who cannot wrong me nor 
mine, but hath made goodness and mercy to follow us all our days." After 
which, by order of the Council, *his head was fixed upon the Netherbow 
Port, and his hands beside it with the fingers upward*. (John Howie, _The 
Scots Worthies_, 1781, pp. 428–429, emphases added).

Consider the testimony for which the faithful and honorable martyr James 
Renwick suffered and died (and note the similarity between his dying 
testimony and our terms of communion) and ask yourself--Has Mr. Bacon 
faithfully represented Renwick's position?

Dear Friends, I die a Presbyterian Protestant; I own the Word of God as the 
rule of faith and manners; I own the Confession of Faith, Larger and 
Shorter Catechisms, Sum of Saving Knowledge, Directory for Public and 
Family Worship, Covenants, National and Solemn League, Acts of General 
Assemblies, and all the faithful contendings that have been for the 
Covenanted Reformation. I leave my testimony approving the preaching in 
the field, and defending the same by arms. I adjoin my testimony against 
Popery, Prelacy, Erastianism, against all profanity, and everything contrary 
to sound doctrine and the power of godliness; particular against all 
usurpation and encroachments made upon Christ's right, the Prince of the 
kings of this earth, who alone must bear the glory of ruling his own 
kingdom the Church; and in particular against the absolute power affected 
by his usurper, that belongs to no mortal, but is the incommunicable 
prerogative of Jehovah, and against his Toleration flowing from his 
absolute power (John Howie, _The Scots Worthies_, 1781, p. 547).


Many of the quotations below are excerpted from _The Covenanted Reformation Defended_ which is FREE under "Church Writings" at: http://www.reformedpresbytery.org/books/index.html or directly from http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/CovRefGB.htm; for sale at: http://www.swrb.com/catalog/b.htm; or FREE on all the Reformation Bookshelf CDs at: http://www.swrb.com/Puritan/reformation-bookshelf-CDs.htm and some of the Puritan Bookshelf CDs at http://www.swrb.com/Puritan/puritan-bookshelf-CDs.htm. Most other books noted below are available from Still Waters Revival Books for FREE and/or at great discounts, at: http://www.swrb.com.


*************************

Musical Instruments

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Dabney warns that those who reject the classical Protestant position on 
the regulative principle also reject "that vital truth which no
Presbyterian can discard without a square desertion of our 
principles." A second shot is fired when he compounds his 
warning in this cautionary beacon, proclaiming that those who do not 
adhere to what Wilson falsely calls "strict regulativism" have -- in 
Dabney's own words -- "**set out at once for Rome**?"

"As we cannot but admire the good hand of GOD in the great things done 
already, particularly; That the Covenant (the foundation of the whole 
Work) is taken; Prelacie and the whole train thereof, extirpated; The 
Service-Book in many places forsaken, plain and powerful preaching set 
up; Many Colledges in Cambridge provided with such Ministers, as are 
most zealous of the best Reformation; Altars removed; The Communion in 
some places given at the Table with sitting; The great Organs at Pauls and 
of Peters in Westminster taken down; Images and many other Monuments 
of Idolatry defaced and abolished; The Chappel-royal at Whitehal purged 
and reformed; and all by authority in a quiet manner at noon day, without 
tumult" ("The Letter from the Commissioners at London to the General 
Assembly", 4 June 1644, Session 7, _The Acts Of The General Assemblies Of 
The Church Of Scotland, From the Year 1638 to the Year 1649 Inclusive_, p. 
228, emphases added and original spelling retained).

Nay, there are some ecclesiastical officers in the Church of England, who, 
for their very profession and employment (i.e. of musical instruments in 
the public worship-RB), ***would have been kept from the communion of 
the Church***, except they desisted from it. So we are informed by the 
_Apostolic Constitutions_, "If any come to the mystery of godliness, being a 
player upon a Pipe, a Lute, or an Harp; let him leave it off, or be rejected." 
... nor would they be retained among the Lutherans, unless they had 
forsaken their own Luther; who, by the confession of Eckard, reckoned 
**"Organs among the ensigns of Baal.**" That they still continue in some of 
the Dutch Churches, is against the minds of the Pastors. For in the National 
Synods at Middleburg, in the year 1581, and in the Synod of Holland and 
Zealand, in the year 1594, it was resolved: "That they would endeavour to 
obtain of the magistrate the laying aside of Organs, and the singing with 
them in the Churches, even out of the time of worship, either before or 
after the sermon: so far are those Synods from bearing with them in the 
worship itself." (Cited in James Peirce, _A Vindication of the Dissenters_)

*************************

Occasional Hearing

*************************

Acts of General Assembly of the Church of Scotland on Occasional Hearing 
and Keeping Familiar Company with Malignant,Sectarian and 
Excommunicated Persons

1. The assembly alloweth this article.

Anent frequenting with excommunicated persons (1638)

The Assembly ordaineth that the Act of Edinburgh, March 5,1569 session 
10 to wit, That these who will not forbear the company of excommunicated 
persons after due admonition, be excommunicated themselves. 

The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland 1638-1649, 
p. 51

2.August 4, Session 10, 1641.  Act against Impiety and Schism.

... Doth charge all the Ministers and members of this Kirk whom they do 
represent, that according to their several places and vocations, they 
endeavour to suppress all impiety and mocking of religious exercises, 
especially of such as put foul aspertions, and factious and odius names 
upon the godly. And upon the other part, that in fear of God they beware 
and spiritually wise, that under the name and pretext of religious 
exercises, otherways lawful and necessary, they fall not into the foresaid 
abuses; especially, that they eschew all meetings which are apt to breed 
Error,Scandal, Schism, neglect of duties or particular callings, and such 
other evils as are the works, not of the spirit, but of the flesh, and are 
contrary to truth and peace; and that the Presbyteries and Synods have a 
care to take order with such as transgress the one way or the other.
 
The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland 1638-1649, 
p. 101.

3. July 25, Session 14, 1648. 

... it was necessary that the Popish, Prelatical and Malignant party, be 
declared enemies to the cause upon the one hand, a well as Sectaries upon 
the other, and that all associations, either in forces or councils with the 
former as well as the latter be avoided.
 
The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland 1638-1649, 
p. 374.

4. July, Session 21,1648.

Whosoever brings in any opinion or practise in this Kirk contrary to the 
Confession of Faith, Directory for Worship or Presbyterian Government 
may be justly esteemed to be opening the door to schism and sects: And 
therefore all depravers and misconstructors of the proceedings of the Kirk 
judicatiries, especially the General Assembly would take heed lest making 
a breach upon the walls of Jerusalem they make a patent way for Sectaries 
to enter.

The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland 1638-1649, 
p. 396. 

5 July, Session 21,1648.

Besides the former these are also marks of a Sectary. 
If any commend or recommend to others, or spread and divulge the 
erroneous books of Sectaries. If any allow, avow or use Conventicles 
or private meetings forbidden by the Acts of General Assembly 1641 and 
1647 last past. If any be unwilling and decline to reckon Sectaries among 
the Enemies of the Covenant from whom danger is to be apprehended.
 
The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland 1638-1649, 
p. 396.

6. July, Session 21,1648.

That they beware of all things which may ensnare their consciences, as evil 
counsel, evil company, false informations... 

The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland 1638-1649, 
p. 399.

7. August 10, Session 38, 1648.

Let the Presbyteries take special notice of Ministers who do converse 
frequently and familiarly with malignants, and with scandalous and 
prophane persons, especially such as belong to other parishes. 

The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland 1638-1649, 
p. 427.

8. Overtures concerning Papists, their Children, and Excommunicate 
Persons (1648)

Because persons addicted to Idolatry will use all means for their own 
hardening in their superstitious and idolatrous way, even within the 
country; Therefore all known Papists or persons suspect of popery upon 
probable grounds are to find caution before their Presbyteries, for their 
abstinence from Mass, and from the company of all Jesuits and Preists 
according to The Second Overture Against Papists made Anno 1642.

The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland 1638-1649, 
p. 431.

9. July 27, Session 27, 1649.

But it is without controversy that that Spirit which has acted in the courses 
and councils of  these who have retarded and obstructed the work of the 
Covenant, forced the parliament, murdered the King, changed the civil 
government, and established a vast toleration in religion cannot be the 
Spirit of Righteousness and Holiness, because it teaches not men to live 
godly and righteously but draws them aside into error and makes them to 
bring forth the bitter fruits of impiety and iniquity and therefore ought to 
be avoided. And not only are such of our Nation as travel in our neighbour 
land, to take heed unto themselves, but these also who live at home, 
especially in those places where Sectaries, upon pretext of merchandise, 
and other civil employments, ordinarily traffic and converse.
 
The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland 1638-1649, 
p. 453.

10.  July 27, Session 27, 1649.

Yet it cannot be unseasonable to warn them to take heed of temptations, 
and to beware of snares that they benot drawn to indifference or 
neutrality in the Cause of God, much less unto connivance at, or compliance 
with the courses and designs of Malignants or Sectaries, but to stick closely 
by the same and to be zealous against all the enemies and adversaries 
thereof...

The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland 1638-1649, 
p. 463.

11.  July 27, Session 27, 1649.

...And it is unto us a sure word of promise, that whosover shall associate 
themselves, or take counsel together, or gird themselves against God and 
His work, shall be broken in pieces.

The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland 1638-1649, 
p. 459. 
Presbyterianism

The visible church consists of all those who profess the true religion 
together with their children.  Within the membership of the visible church 
are both regenerate and unregenerate.  God addeth such as should be 
saved to the visible Church by baptism, because the adjoining to a visible 
Church is a way to salvation, but it followeth not that all whom God addeth 
to the visible Church are saved ones, for then the visible Church should 
consist only of believers, which only Anabaptists teach (Rutherford, The 
Due Right Of Presbyteries, p. 261, emphases added).

It is lawful, and agreeable to the word of God, that the church be governed 
by several sorts of assemblies, which are congregational, classical 
[presbyterial-GB], and synodical . . . .  It is lawful, and agreeable to the 
word of God, that there be a subordination of congregational,
classical, provincial, and  national assemblies, for the government of the 
church (The Form of Presbyterial Church-Government  emitted by the 
Westminster Assembly).

And it so obligatory to all persons, states and degrees, that none ought to 
be exempted from that Church-government which is jure divino  [by 
divine right-GB], nor to be tolerated in another Church-government, which 
is but jure humano  [by human right-GB]; nor ought any Christian to seek 
after, or content himself with any such Exemption or Toleration. For in so 
doing, inventions of men are [would be] preferred before the ordinances of 
God; our own wisdom, will, authority [would be] before the wisdom, will, 
[and-GB] authority of Christ. . . .  That the Law of God
holds forth a subordination of a particular Church to greater Assemblies, 
consisting of several choice members, taken out of several single 
Congregations, which Assemblies have authoritative power and 
Ecclesiastical jurisdiction over that particular Church by way of sentencing 
in and deciding of Ecclesiastical causes (The Divine Right of Church-Government 
originally asserted by the Ministers of Sion College, London, December 
1646, pp.7,8,238, emphases are in the original text).

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Orthodoxy -- Heresy

*************************

I find the most Learned Orthodox Divines hold, That there are substantial 
Articles of Faith, that are not so great Articles, as the Author's 
Fundamentals; And yet the maintaining and teaching Errors contrary to 
any of these substantial Articles, is HERESY, and brings Damnation, as the 
Learned *Mr. Rutherford* in his Examen. Arminianismi Page 12. says Tho' 
an Article of Faith be but suprafundamental, that is, by evident necessary 
Consequence Deduced from the Fundamental, as a Doctrine from a Text, an 
Error that is maintained and taught contrary to this consequential Article 
of Faith; is Damnable. i.e. brings Damnation; *because whoever denieth the 
evident necessary Consequent, by the same Reason he denys the 
Antecedent, which is a Fundamental Article beyond all Controversie.* And 
Turretin holds the same, in Theolog. Elenct. Part 1. Page 56: in arguing 
against Papists. *Mr. Gillespie* in his Miscellany Questions Chap. 9. Page: 
111, 112. saith, Heresy is not so far to be taken at large, as to be extended 
to every Error which may be confuted by Scripture; altho' happily such an 
Error to be too tenaciously maintained: Nor yet is it to be so far restricted, 
as that no Error shall be accounted Heretical; but that which is Destructive 
to some Fundamental Article of the Christian Faith; If by Fundamental 
Article you understand a Truth, without the Knowledge and Faith whereof 
'tis impossible to get Salvation: But if you understand by Fundamental 
Truths, all the chief Substantial Truths. *I mean not, saith he, the A. B. C. of 
a Catechism [this most likely is a reference to The A. B. C.  or A Catechism 
for Young Children appointed by the Act of the Church and Council of 
Scotland to be learned in all families and Lector Schools in the said 
Kingdom, 1644--GB) which we first of all put to New Beginners; but I mean 
all such Truths as are commonly put in the Confessions of Faith, and in the 
more full and large Catechisms of the Reformed Churches, or all such 
Truths as all and every one who live in a true Christian Reformed Church, 
are commanded and required to learn and know, as they expect in the 
ordinary Dispensation of GOD to be saved, in this sense I may yield, says 
he, that Heresie is always contrary to some Fundamental Truth:* And in 
the 112 Page he Cites *Wallaeus*, Tom. 1. Page 57. Calvin: Institute: Lib. 4. 
cap. 2. Sect. 5. and Peter Martyr, Loc. commun: Class 2.cap. 4. Sect. 60. who 
all hold the same.  And *Augustin and Cyprian* did thus understand 
Heresy, as Calvin in his Institutions Lib. 4 cap. 2. Observes. And Learned 
*Ravanel* in his Bibliotheca Sacra, Part 1. Page 702. Saith, An Heretick is 
one who having been instructed in the Principles of Faith, not only erreth 
in some Article or Head of true Faith, but also pertinaciously insists in his 
Error, breaks the Peace of the Church, and produceth Scandals against the 
Doctrine we have learned, and is to be avoided, Rom. 16:17. Thus he. *By 
all which it is plain, both by Scripture and the Judgment of Orthodox 
Divines; That Men who teach and pertinaciously maintain an Error, 
contrary to any Substantial Article of true Faith, are Hereticks to be 
avoided, and shunned as Wolves among Christ's Sheep* (_Protestors 
Vindicated_, 1716, p. 105, SWRB bound photocopy, emphases added).

*************************

Partaking in the Sins of Others

*************************

... for if the saying of God speed to a false teacher, make us partakers of his 
evil deed, 2 John 10, how much more doth the admitting of such or the like 
scandalous sinners to the Lord's Table, make (I say not all who 
communicate then and there, but) all who consent to their admission, to be 
partakers of their evil deeds (George Gillespie, _Aaron's Rod Blossoming_, 
1646, reprinted by Sprinkle Publications, 1985, p. 53).


Many of the quotations below are excerpted from _The Covenanted Reformation Defended_ which is FREE under "Church Writings" at: http://www.reformedpresbytery.org/books/index.html or directly from http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/CovRefGB.htm; for sale at: http://www.swrb.com/catalog/b.htm; or FREE on all the Reformation Bookshelf CDs at: http://www.swrb.com/Puritan/reformation-bookshelf-CDs.htm and some of the Puritan Bookshelf CDs at http://www.swrb.com/Puritan/puritan-bookshelf-CDs.htm. Most other books noted below are available from Still Waters Revival Books for FREE and/or at great discounts, at: http://www.swrb.com.


*************************

Regulative Principle

*************************

"If it be inquired, then, by what things chiefly the Christian religion has a 
standing existence amongst us, and maintains its truth, it will be found 
that the following two not only occupy the principal place, but comprehend 
under them all the other parts, and consequently the whole substance of 
Christianity: this is, a knowledge, first, of the mode in which God is duly 
worshipped; and, secondly, of the source from which salvation is to be 
obtained. When these are kept out of view, though we may glory in the 
name Christians, our profession is empty and vain. After these come the 
sacraments and the government of the church..." (_The Necessity of
Reforming the Church_ [Presbyterian Heritage Publications, 1544, 
reprinted 1995], p. 15).

So let us hold to this rule, that all human inventions which are set up to 
corrupt the simple purity of the word of God, and to undo the worship 
which he demands and approves, are true sacrileges, in which the Christian 
man cannot participate without blaspheming God, and trampling his 
honour underfoot (Calvin, "The First Sermon, On Psalm 16:4", cited in 
_Come Out From Among Them-The 'Anti-Nicodemite Writings of John 
Calvin_, Reed, ed. , p. 141, emphases added).

Now, if you will prove that your ceremonies proceed from faith, and do 
please God, you must prove that God in expressed words has commanded 
them; or else you shall never prove that they proceed from faith, nor yet 
that they please God; but they are sin, and do displease him, according to 
the words of the apostle, "Whatsoever is not of faith is sin" (Knox, _Works_, 
I:195-196, emphases added).

But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by 
himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be 
worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the 
suggestions of Satan, under any visble representation, or any other way 
not prescribed in the holy Scripture (_Westminster Confession of Faith_, 21:1, 
emphases added).

But what Augustine says is true, that no one can sing things worthy of God, 
unless he has received them from Himself [i.e. from God-GLP].  Therefore, 
after we have sought on every side, searching here and there, we shall find 
no songs better and more suitable for our purpose than the Psalms of 
David, dictated to him and made for him by the Holy Spirit. . . .  it should 
accustom itself hereafter to sing these divine and heavenly songs with 
good King David (Calvin, _Opera_, VI:171, cited in Bushell, _Songs of Zion_, 
pp.181,182, emphases added).

The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear; the sound preaching, and 
conscionable hearing of the word, in obedience unto God, with 
understanding, faith, and reverence; singing of psalms with grace in the 
heart; as also the due administration and worthy receiving of the 
sacraments instituted by Christ; are all parts of the ordinary worship of 
God (_Westminster Confession of Faith_, 21:5, emphases added).

It is the duty of Christians to praise God publicly, by singing of psalms 
together in the congregation (_The Directory For The Publick Worship Of 
God_, "Of Singing of Psalms" emitted by the Westminster Assembly, 
emphases added).

MARTIN LUTHER, ROMANISM, AND PSALM SINGING

"When the Lord brought the testimony of his witnesses out of obscurity in 
Piedmont, Bohemio, &c., by the ministry of Luther, his contemporaries and 
successors; then the psalms were restored to their place in the churches 
of the Reformation. Luther was skilled in music, himself composed many 
hymns; but he carefully distinguished between the Psalms and his hymns. 
An old lady in eastern Pennsylvania is said to have in her possession 'a German 
Psalm-book, published by Luther himself.' The book closes with a collection of
Luther's hymns; but the old lady says that in her young days in Germany, 'its 
directions were rigidlyobeyed, and in public worship they sang only the Psalms 
of David.' The same order, as is well known,prevailed in all the other reformed 
churches of Europe and the British Isles."

Cited in: David Steele, "Psalms and Hymns," The Original Covenanter Magazine 
(Vol. 3:1-3:16, March 1881 to Dec. 1884), p. 41.


FROM: INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC IN THE PUBLIC WORSHIP OF THE CHURCH

By John L. Girardeau

(Still Waters Revival Books, [1888] 2000), pp. 63, 64.


Instrumental Music in Public Worship: The Views of John Calvin

"To sing the praises of God upon the harp and psaltery," says Calvin, "unquestionably formed a part of the training of the law and of the service of God under that dispensation of shadows and figures, but they are not now to be used in public thanksgiving."1 He says again: "With respect to the tabret, harp, and psaltery, we have formerly observed, and will find it necessary afterwards to repeat the same remark, that the Levites, under the law, were justified in making use of instrumental music in the worship of God; it having been his will to train his people, while they were yet tender and like children, by such rudiments until the coming of Christ. But now, when the clear light of the gospel has dissipated the shadows of the law and taught us that God is to be served in a simpler form, it would be to act a foolish and mistaken part to imitate that which the prophet enjoined only upon those of his own time."2 He further observes: "We are to remember that the worship of God was never understood to consist in such outward services, which were only necessary to help forward a people as yet weak and rude in knowledge in the spiritual worship of God. A difference is to be observed in this respect between his people under the Old and under the New Testament; for now that Christ has appeared, and the church has reached full age, it were only to bury the light of the gospel should we introduce the shadows of a departed dispensation. From this it appears that the Papists, as I shall have occasion to show elsewhere, in employing instrumental music cannot be said so much to imitate the practice of God's ancient people as to ape it in a senseless and absurd manner, exhibiting a silly delight in that worship of the Old Testament which was figurative and terminated with the gospel."3

ENDNOTES:
1. On Ps. lxxi. 22.
2. On Ps. lxxxi. 3.
3. On Ps. xcii. 1.


*************************

Revolution Church

*************************

Now let it be considered, that this retrograde Settlement [1690--GB], or 
this Act of Parliament unto which this church fled back and founded on the 
late Revolution, was before the Church had been reformed from several 
abuses, viz., Before she had got the heavy yoke of the King's Erastian 
Supremacy and Patronages shaken of, and long before she had 
Ecclesiastically asserted, and practically maintained her scriptural Claim of 
Right, viz., the Divine Right of Presbytery, and intrinsic power of the 
church, the two prime branches of Christ's headship in and over his own 
House and before the National Covenant was explained as condemning 
Prelacy, together with the Five Articles of Perth, and the civil places and 
power of Kirk–men; and before the Solemn League and Covenant was 
made, and before the Westminster Confession of Faith, Catechisms Larger 
and Shorter, Directory for Public Worship, Form of Presbyterian Church 
Government, were made and established, as parts of the Covenanted 
Uniformity in Religion between the Churches of Christ in the three 
kingdoms of Scotland, England and Ireland; and exceeding far short of that 
blessed, attained, Covenanted Reformation so happily established in this 
church in 1649: I say, the accepting of, and going into this way of settling, 
thereby deserting and shamefully disregarding so many excellent and 
truly valuable pieces of Reformation, privileges and liberties sworn to, in 
our sacred and solemn Covenants, attained between 1637 and 1650, seems 
to be a plain yielding to them, who deny Presbyterian government to be of 
Divine Right though often clearly proven, and judicially asserted by the 
Church, and legally established in her purer and better times; yea, this 
amounts to such a Step of Defection and apostasy, as seems without 
parallel in sacred or profane history and withal too shrewdly discovers this 
Revolution Church to be upon another footing, and to be called by another 
name, than the successors of the true and genuine Reformed Covenanted 
Church of Christ in Scotland; namely Changelings, yea, Backsliders (Andrew 
Clarkson, _Plain Reasons for Presbyterians Dissenting_, 1731, pp. 14–15).

There was one thing in which it proved practically disastrous, but which at 
the time there seemed to be no way of evading. This was the receiving 
without very rigid test of the "curate" as they were called into the 
Presbyterian ministry. *There were at that this period about 900 parishes 
in Scotland, and these were occupied by men who had conformed to 
Prelacy. Of the ejected ministers only about 90 survived. Even after room, 
therefore, had been made for them, there remained many charges which 
would have been left unoccupied if the former incumbents had not been 
employed. That they were ready to change their colours to suit the fashion 
of the hour did not say very much for their strength of principle; and that 
before that they had approved themselves to a government whose hands 
were red with the blood of martyrs was not a point in their history from 
which very favourable conclusions could be drawn a to their personal 
piety.*... They were incorporated into the church accordingly; and we shall 
see how their presence came to complexion after its history. In point of 
fact they became the founders of the moderate party--that party to whose 
spirit and policy may be ascribed a good many of the misfortunes of the 
church of Scotland (Our Church Heritage, cited from _Treasury of the 
Scottish Covenant_, p. 151–152, emphases added).

*************************

Separation

*************************

Now upon this very comprehensive ground, *we withdraw not only from 
gross heretics*, and sectarians, and malignant prelatists.... *But in this 
broken and declining state, even from many Presbyterian Ministers who 
have overturned a great part of our testimony*... which has been signally 
sealed by the blood of many Martyrs who laying down their lives for this 
Testimony have been singularly countenanced of the Lord: yet we say, by 
many of our ministers this in a great measure has been deserted and 
perverted, by their condemning the Martyrs that died for it, as well as us 
who have desired to witness for it... (James Renwick, _An Informatory 
Vindication_, 1687, p. 75–76, emphases added).

Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD (Psalms 
83:16, AV).

Separation from corrupt churches

We are expressly commanded to note such Schismatics and mark such 
causes of divisions and offences which they effectuate both by their 
practice and by their words, crying up their own party, and informing 
against the more pure and faithful remnant (James Renwick, _An 
Informatory Vindication_, 1687, p. 85). 

We judge Schismatic and Pragmatic dividers of the church, and wideners of 
the breaches thereof, already broken and divided, and those who sow 
discord among brethren and promote their contentions by individious 
reproaches or other ways, are to be withdrawn from (James Renwick, _An 
Informatory Vindication_, 1687, p. 85).

"As for the babblers who ridicule us, wondering if one cannot get to 
paradise except by way of Geneva, I answer: would to God they had the 
courage to gather in the name of Jesus Christ wherever they are, and set 
up some sort of church, either in their houses or in those of their
neighbors*, to do in their place what we do here in our temples! . . . And, 
whoever has no means of being in the Christian church, where God is 
worshipped purely, let him at least groan night and day, 'Thine altars, 
Lord; it is only thine altars that I desire, my God, my king!'" (John Calvin, 
_The Third Sermon_, On Psalm 27:4_, pp. 192,193).

_Come Out From Among Them--The 'Anti-Nicodemite' Writings of John 
Calvin_ (a forthcoming book published by Protestant Heritage Press).

Some one will therefore ask me what counsel I would like to give to a 
believer who thus dwells in some Egypt or Babylon *where he may not 
worship God purely*, but is forced by the common practice to 
accommodate himself to bad things.  The first advice would be to leave [i.e. 
relocate--GLP] if he could. . . .  If someone has no way to depart, I would 
counsel him to consider whether it would be possible for him to abstain 
from all idolatry in order to preserve himself pure and spotless toward 
God in both body and soul.  Then let him worship God *in private*, praying 
him to restore his poor church to its right estate" (John Calvin, _A Short 
Teatise_, pp.93,94).

When the greatest part of a Church maketh defection from the Truth, the 
lesser part remaining sound, the greatest part is the Church of Separatists 
(Samuel Rutherford, _The Due Right Of Presbyteries_, p. 255, emphases 
added).

Because the Churches take not care, that Ministers be savoury and 
gracious; from Steermen all Apostasie and rottenness begin. O if the Lord 
would arise and purge his House in Scotland! As for Church-members, they 
ought to be holy; and though all baptized be *actu primo* members, yet 
such as remain habitually ignorant after admonition, are to be cast out, and 
though they be not cast out certainly, as paralytick or rottened members 
cannot discharge the functions of life: So those that are scandalous, 
ignorant, malignant, unsound in faith, lose their rights of Suffrages in 
election of Officers, and are to be debarred from the Seals. Nor can we 
defend our sinful practise in this: it were our wisdom to repent of our 
taking in the Malignant party, who shed the blood of the people of God, 
and obstructed the work of God, into places of Trust in the Church State, 
and the Army, contrary to our Covenants, they continuing still Enemies" ( 
Samuel Rutherford, _Survey of the Survey..._, p. 373).

For although no one denies that we ought to hold in great esteem the 
pastors and faithful ministers of God who watch for our souls and that we 
ought to obey them according to the direction of Paul (Heb.13:17); still it is 
certain that that obedience and dependency is not absolute and unlimited 
(which belongs to God and Christ alone), but circumscribed within certain 
limits (i.e., as far as it promotes the glory of God and our safety and as far 
as it can consist with the fidelity and obedience due to Christ) (Frances 
Turretin, _Institutes_,3:244, emphases added).

Christ alone has a right over the conscience, as the supreme and 
_anypeuthynos_ ("beyond human accountability") ruler.  Pastors are 
ministers and interpreters of his will; therefore, the dependence and 
submission due to them rests wholly upon the dependence due to Christ by 
them (which is the rule and cause of that).  Therefore, as long as pastors 
show themselves to be true ministers of God, believers ought to depend 
upon them on account of Christ;**but if it happens that they act like lords, 
not as ministers, and lead away from Christ and do not lead them to him; 
if, in order to depend upon them, the dependence and obedience due to 
Christ has to be violated, who will deny that we ought most justly (nay, 
indispensably) to secede from them in order that our union with Christ 
may remain safe and unimpaired ( Frances Turretin, _Institutes_, 3:245, 
emphases added).

But in affairs of conscience which have reference to faith, piety and the 
worship of God, no one can usurp dominion over the conscience; nor are we 
bound to obey anyone, because otherwise we would be bound to error and 
impiety and thus we would incur eternal punishment and our consciences 
would be stained with vices without criminality because we would be 
bound to obey superiors absolutely (Frances Turretin, _Institutes_, 3:287, 
emphases added).

The obedience which he [i.e. Christ-GLP] wishes to be rendered to teachers 
must always be understood with the condition--in as far as the teachers do 
not prescribe to us another thing than what Christ gave to us in his 
commands (which they do not do, who arrogate to themselves the right of 
making new laws) (Frances Turretin, _Institutes_, 3:288, emphases added).

From Heb.13:17 nothing else can be garthered than that obedience is due 
to teachers, as long as they hear Christ themselves and speak the words of 
God. Otherwise if they lead us away from Christ, they ought to be 
anathema to us (Frances Turretin, _Institutes of Elenctic Theology_, 3:289, 
emphases added).

The subordinate judgment, which I call private, is the judgment of 
discretion whereby **every Christian**, for the certain information of his 
own mind, and the satisfaction of his own conscience, may and ought to try 
and examine, as well the  decrees of councils as the doctrine of particular 
pastors, and in so far to receive and believe the same, as he understands 
them to agree with the Scriptures. Gillespie, _A Dispute Against The English 
Popish Ceremonies_, pp.364-365, emphases added.

Howbeit, even in such cases, when the consent of the church cannot be had 
to the execution of this discipline [i.e. excommunication-GLP], faithful 
pastors and professors [i.e. professing Christians-GLP] must, **every one 
for his own part**, take heed that he have no fellowship with the
unfruitful works of darkness, but even reprove them.  Yea, they ought, _in 
sensu negativo_[in a negative sense], excommunicate those who should be 
(but are not) excommunicated postively, which negative excommunication 
is not an ecclesiastical censure, but either a bare punishment, or a cautel 
[caution] and animadversion [warning].  And so says the Archbishop of 
Spalato, not only one brother may refuse to communicate with another, but 
a people, also, may refuse to communicate with their pastor, which he 
confirms by certain examples.  But the public censure of positive 
excommunication should not be inflicted without the church's consent, for 
the reasons foresaid (George Gillespie, _A Dispute Against The English 
Popish Ceremonies_, p.382, emphases added).

However, when we categorically deny to the papists the title of the church, 
we do not for this reason impugn the existence of churches among them.  
Rather, we are only contending about the true and lawful constitution of 
the church, required in the communion not only of the sacraments (which 
are the signs of profession) but also especially of doctrine. . . .  To sum up, I 
call them churches to the extent that the Lord wonderfully preserves in 
them a remnant of his people, however woefully dispersed and scattered, 
and to the extent that some marks of the church remain-especially those 
marks whose effectiveness neither the devil's wiles nor human depravity 
can destroy.  But on the other hand, because in them those marks have 
been erased to which we should pay particular regard in this discourse, I 
say that everyo one of their congregations and their whole body lack the 
lawful form of the church (Calvin, _Institutes_, IV,II,12, pp.1052,1053, 
emphases added).

Calvin goes on to speak of Antichrist saying:

The fact that his seat is placed in the Temple of God signifies that his reign 
was not such as to wipe out either the name of Christ or of the Church.  
From this it therefore is evident that we by no means deny that churches 
under his tyranny remain churches....
_Institutes_ Book 4:2.12

Further on Calvin states:

To sum up, I call them churches to the extent that the Lord wonderfully 
preserves in them a remnant of his people, however woefully dispersed 
and scattered - and to the extent that some marks of the church remain - 
especially those marks whose effectiveness neither the devils wiles nor 
human depravity can destroy. But on the other hand, because in them 
those marks have been erased to which we should pay particular regard in 
this discourse, I say that every one of their congregations and their whole 
body *lack the lawful form of the church.*
_Institutes_  Book 4:2.12


Many of the quotations below are excerpted from _The Covenanted Reformation Defended_ which is FREE under "Church Writings" at: http://www.reformedpresbytery.org/books/index.html or directly from http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/CovRefGB.htm; for sale at: http://www.swrb.com/catalog/b.htm; or FREE on all the Reformation Bookshelf CDs at: http://www.swrb.com/Puritan/reformation-bookshelf-CDs.htm and some of the Puritan Bookshelf CDs at http://www.swrb.com/Puritan/puritan-bookshelf-CDs.htm. Most other books noted below are available from Still Waters Revival Books for FREE and/or at great discounts, at: http://www.swrb.com.


*************************

Settled vs. Broken State of the Church

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We distinguish between a Church in a Reformed and *settled state* and 
confirmed with the constitutions of General Assemblies and the civil 
sanctions of Parliament; and a church in a *broken and disturbed state*. In 
the former, abuses and disorders can be orderly redressed and removed 
by church judicatories, but not so in the latter. Wherefore the most lawful, 
expedient and conduceable mean, for maintaining the attained unto 
Reformation, is to be followed in the time of such confusions and 
disturbances, and that is, (as we think) abstraction and withdrawing from 
such disorders in ministers which we cannot get otherways rectified 
(James Renwick, _An Informatory Vindication_, 1687, p. 61, emphases 
added)

We distinguish between a Reformed Church enjoying her privileges and 
judicatories and a Reformed church denuded of her privileges and 
deprived of her judicatories. *In the former*, people are to address 
themselves unto Church judicatories and not to withdraw from their 
ministers (especially for ordinary scandals); *But in the latter*, when 
ministers are really scandalous (though not juridically declared so) and 
duly censurable according to the Word of God, and their own church's 
constitutions and censures cannot be inflicted through the want of church 
judicatories, and yet they still persist in their offensive courses, people 
may do what is competent to them and testify their sense of the justness 
of the censure to be inflicted, *by withdrawing from such ministers even 
without the Presbyterial sentence* (James Renwick, _An Informatory 
Vindication_, 1687, pp. 61, 62, emphases added).

We hold, that Schism, or disowning and rejecting of, or groundless and 
unwarrantable separating from, true and faithful ministers, to be a very 
heinous, hateful, and hurtful sin; yet this doth not hinder, but that it may 
be duty, *in a broken state of the Church*, to withdraw from Ministers 
chargeable with defection. For, seeing this Church hath attained to such a 
high degree of Reformation; and seeing, by Solemn Covenants to the 
Almighty, we have bound ourselves to maintain and defend the same; 
Seeing by reason of the enemy's subtilty and cruelty, and the fainting, 
falling and failing of Ministers, so many dreadful defections have been 
introduced, embraced, and countenanced; Seeing, in these times of 
distempering confusions, *we are now deprived of the remedy of settled 
Judicatories, where unto we might recur for rectifying of disorders*; And 
seeing we are bound to witness against these Complying and backsliding 
Courses, whereby the wrath of God is so much kindled against the Land: 
Therefore we hold it as our duty, that when a backsliding or defection is 
embraced, avowed, and obstinately defended, in such things as have been 
Reformed, either expressly or equivalently, especially being witnessed 
against doctrinally, and further confirmed by other testimonies; We judge 
it lawful, reasonable, and necessary; *in a declining, backsliding, and 
troubled state of the Church*, to leave that part of the Church which hath 
made such defection, whether Ministers or Professors, as to a joint 
concurrence in carrying on the public work (according as it is given in 
Command to Jeremiah 15:19, let them return unto thee, but return not 
thou unto them) and to adhere unto the other part of the Church, Ministers 
and Professors, whether more or fewer, who are standing steadfastly to 
the Defense of the Reformation, witnessing against others who have turned 
aside and declined therefrom; *until the defections of the backsliding party 
be confessed, mourned over and forsaken* This is no separation from the 
Church of Scotland, but only a departing and going forth from her sins, 
backslidings, and defections, as we are commanded by the Lord (James 
Renwick, _An Informatory Vindication_, 1687, pp. 36, 37, emphases 
added).

*In a constitute and settled case of the church*, enjoying her privileges and 
judicatories, corruptions may be forborne, and the offended are not to 
withdraw, before recourse to the judicatories for an orderly redress; *but 
in a broken and disturbed state*, when there is no access to these courts of 
Christ; then people, though they must not usurp a power of judicial 
censuring these corruptions, yet they may claim and exercise a discretive 
power over their own practice; and by their withdrawing from such 
ministers as are guilty of them, signify their sense of the moral equity of 
these censures that have been legally enacted against these and the 
equivalent corruptions, and when they should be legally inflicted. As we 
do upon this ground withdraw from the prelatic curates, and likewise from 
some of our covenanted brethren, upon the account of their being 
chargeable with such corruptions and defections from our reformation, as 
we cannot but show our dislike of (Alexander Shields, _A Hind Let Loose_, 
1797, p. 266, SWRB bound photocopy, emphases added).

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Subordinate Standards -- Implicit Faith

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Convinced of the self–evidencing power, intrinsic worth, and divine 
excellencies of the Holy Scriptures, *we ever wish them to be considered as 
a complete and sufficient rule in themselves, independent of oral law, 
tradition of the fathers, or any human invention whatever; and in 
opposition to that absurd notion,"That the true sense depends upon the 
church*." [Can it be stated more clearly than this?--GB] At the same time, 
in our practical application of the inspired Oracles, we consider them to be 
a rule, as consistently understood, and properly applied. For though they 
be an absolutely perfect and sufficient rule in themselves, yet it is possible 
to mistake their true meaning; but this we endeavour to guard against the 
conduct of those who, while they pretend to believe in the divine authority 
of the Scriptures, do, meanwhile, evidently wrest them, imposing glosses 
which make one part of the Sacred Volume to contradict another, and 
which lead us away from the true scope and design of the whole 
(Reformed Presbytery, _An Explanation and Defense of the Terms of 
Communion_, 1801, p. 161, SWRB bound photocopy, emphases added).

It is only after mature deliberation, *carefully comparing them with the 
Word of God*, and receiving full conviction in our own minds of their 
*being wholly founded upon it*, that we consider the Confession and 
Catechisms, or any other human composure whatever, as properly entitled 
to our belief, and deserving to be ranked amongst the subordinate 
standards of our church. *But after being convinced of their agreeableness 
to the infallible rule, we cheerfully receive them. It is not with the 
remotest intention of supplying a defect in the Oracles of truth, which we 
ever consider a complete rule in themselves; nor is it at all in the view of 
putting either the Confession, or any other book in the world, on a level 
with the Bible, that we adopt these explanatory standards; but purely to 
ascertain the true meaning of Scripture*, help us to understand one 
another in our church–fellowship, and, through these mediums, to transmit 
a faithful testimony for truth from generation to generation (Reformed 
Presbytery, _An Explanation and Defense of the Terms of Communion_, 
1801, p. 161, SWRB bound photocopy, emphases added).

The reader may be assured that neither we nor the Reformed Presbytery, 
whose committee we are, *claim Papal infallibility or Christian perfection; 
nor do we ask implicit faith in our documents.* But we sincerely believe 
ourselves that the Auchensaugh Renovation and the Bond, to which the 
foregoing statements are prefixed, *will be found on examination to be 
sound*, faithful and in nothing, "contrary to the Word of God"(Preface to 
the _Auschensagh Renovation_, emphases added).

*Beware of acting implicit faith. It is long since the error falsely imputed to 
us*, was broached among professing Covenanters. For example--we heard 
from the mouth of a minister in that body, more than a quarter of a 
century ago, the declaration in the pulpit: "The first [term of communion--
GB] is the only proper term of communion in the church, and the time is 
not distant, we trust, when she will have no more:" that is, when all the 
displays of a covenant God's justice, mercy, faithfulness, etc., in dealing 
with the Church and her Antichristian opposers, shall have passed into 
oblivion--an unbelieving and ungrateful hope, or desire. The Protestant 
world is so denominated because simply of a solemn protest against 
Rome's impious claim to infallibility and cognate invasions of Messiah's 
prerogatives. *Attach the attribute of infallibility to any of the subordinate 
standards of our Christian profession, and we are instantly deprived of 
them all, as a near and necessary consequence*. We sincerely hope the 
Covenanter [James M. Willson] will arrive at clearer light on the general 
subject of creeds and confessions; and, if so, we are sure he will come to a 
better temper. It is part of the known character of the two witnesses that 
they contend for the faith once delivered to the saints, as the nearest and 
surest way to victory. Again, we would say to the reader, *beware of 
exercising implicit faith in human authority as well as testimony; and hold 
in dread all assumptions of infallibility by Pope, Prelate or Presbyterian; 
and especially Reformed Presbyterian, standing by the exclusive 
supremacy of Zion's King* (David Steele, _The Two Witnesses_, 1859, p. 41, 
emphases added).

Let no one imagine that I defend symbols of faith from force of habit, or 
because they are old, perfect, immutable, or infallible; for I have for many 
years repeatedly said the contrary: that no document framed by wisdom, 
learning, or piety of any uninspired man, or body of such, is either perfect 
or immutable, and much less infallible.... No, I plead not for immutability, 
but for the faithfulness of subordinate standards, both of doctrine and 
practice (David Steele, _Reminiscences_, 1883, pp. 135, 136).

Concerning these covenants, some have proposed the query, "In what 
sense can they be said, as they are in our Testimony, to be of divine 
authority or obligation?" We reply, The divine authority of heaven's great 
Sovereign is, evidently, interposed, in requiring us to enter into such 
covenants, "Vow unto the Lord your God." And when once we have entered 
into them, the same divine authority binds us to performance, "Pay that 
which thou hast vowed." Add to these, that the great and dreadful name, 
THE LORD OUR GOD is invoked in the solemn transaction, while his 
declarative glory among men is deeply concerned in the faithful fulfilment 
of our engagements. So that, besides the intrinsic obligation of the 
covenants, viewed simply as human deeds, whereby men bind their souls, 
there is, in all such covenants, an obligation of divine authority, requiring 
first to make, and then to perform our covenants; from the invocation of 
the divine name, considering JEHOVAH as witness and avenger, and from 
the interfering with the divine glory, in the keeping or violating of our 
oath. Hence, in the Scripture, the same oath is, in one respect, considered as 
the covenant of the man giving his hand; and, in another respect, as the 
Lord's covenant, whose glory is concerned in it [cf. Ezek. 17: 11–21--GB]. 
*Our Testimony, if properly attended to, explains itself; telling us, the 
covenants "are of divine authority, or obligation, as having their foundation 
upon the Word of God*" (Reformed Presbytery, _An Explanation and 
Defense of the Terms of Communion_, p. 161, emphases added).

Even the doctrinal propositions of our Confessions and Catechisms are 
received, *not because they are inspired or infallible; but simply because 
they are in the apprehension of the Christian, "agreeable to the holy 
Scriptures." Much more does this obviously apply to our solemn covenants 
as embodying the heroic achievements of our martyred and witnessing 
fathers*. Add to these, all the real attainments of those who survived the 
overthrow of the "Second Reformation" (Pastor Steele's Printed 
Communications with the Editor of the Covenanter [James M. Willson], 
appended to _Notes on the Apocalypse_, in the forthcoming edition from 
Covenanted Reformed Presbyterian Publishing, pp. 400, 401, emphases 
added).

*No symbols of faith and order framed by uninspired men are faultless--
much less infallible, either in substance or form*: otherwise they would not 
be subordinate. Divine truth is the sole ground of saving faith, and is not to 
be confounded with Terms of Communion, as ignorance and presumption 
commonly do [and as Mr. Bacon has overtly done--GB]. Again, the 
testimony of Christ's witnesses in all its integral parts, is always and 
necessarily progressive until it shall have been finished. Even their 
statements of doctrine, their abstract and distinctive principles may, and 
often must be restated in diversified language, to meet the ever shifting 
position and subtile sophisms of adversaries. Also our Covenants, National 
and Solemn League may and ought to be renewed--not that they have 
become old, as many say; but that they are to be owned as obligatory upon 
us, and a sense of their permanent obligation deepened upon our own 
souls, and exhibited to others by the solemnity of an Oath (The Reformed 
Presbytery, _A Short Vindication of the Covenanted Reformation_, 1879, 
SWRB bound photocopy, p. 19, emphases added).

Consider the number of these witnesses; they are two, as this is the 
smallest number that can establish truth, Deut.17:6; 19:15. The Lawgiver 
himself, addressing the Jews, says: "It is written in your law that the 
testimony of two men is true," John 8:17. Not that we are to receive the 
testimony of every two men. The experience of all men is that "a false 
witness will utter lies;" and it is sometimes found that two may "agree 
together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord," Acts 5:9. But on the supposition 
that the witnesses are competent and credible; then it is the decision of 
Christ, endorsed by the common sentiment of mankind, that "we receive 
the witness of such men," 1 John 5:9. And although "the witness of God is 
greater" than that of any number of men; *still, human witnesses do not 
need to be inspired to render their testimony credible; for then [if the 
witnesses are inspired--GB], as the reader will perceive, the testimony is 
that of God, and of course ceases to be human testimony. This point is of 
the greatest moment, since not one word uttered by these two witnesses is 
inspired in the proper and formal sense of inspiration! This is too great an 
honour to confer upon the very chiefest of our covenanted confessors or 
martyrs. It savours too much of Rome* (David Steele, _The Two 
Witnesses_, 1859, p. 7, emphases added).

Meanwhile, in exhibiting our testimony, *we make no pretensions to 
infallibility or perfection*. Our design, we hope, is good, but we are very 
sensible that human weakness and infirmity must always be discernible in 
our best performances. We do not assert, either with respect to our own, or 
the other testimonies which we approve, that there are no incautious 
expressions in these compositions. Considering the time, and the peculiarly 
trying circumstances, in which the compilers of them existed, and 
considering that they were men of like passions with others, it would, 
perhaps, be rather unreasonable to expect so much. But if none of the 
precious truths, stated and vindicated in these testimonies, be given up; if 
none of the errors or immoralities which they condemn be countenanced; 
or, in other words, if the whole substance be conscientiously retained; we 
mean not to differ with those who may plead that some particular modes 
of expression might be altered for the better. 

Let it also be carefully observed here, that, with regard to the Deeds of 
which we speak [the Scriptural testimonies and earnest contendings of 
Christ's faithful witnesses--GB], we wish to be understood in the same 
sense as before, concerning the Confession of Faith and the Covenants. *It 
is only after diligently perusing, pondering, and comparing these 
testimonies with the Word of God, and after finding them to be founded 
upon, and agreeable unto it, that we mean to rank them among the 
subordinate standards of our church.* But, as two, or more, cannot 
consistently walk together in church–fellowship, unless they be agreed in 
sentiment concerning the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government of 
the church, and concerning the proper way of glorifying God upon earth, 
*we reckon it exceedingly requisite that this agreement should be properly 
ascertained*. For that important purpose, amongst others, these 
testimonies seem to be very much calculated. *And it is only to such of 
them as truly deserve the characteristic epithets of SCRIPTURAL AND 
FAITHFUL, that we require the assent of our church members.* If any are 
disposed to question the propriety of applying these designations, either to 
our own, or to the rest which we approve, we are always ready, as 
opportunity offers, to reason the matter with them. If we can agree, it is 
well; "Let us strive together for the faith of the Gospel, and continue 
steadfastly in the Apostle's doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of 
bread, and in prayers." If we cannot agree, we must part in peace. *For we 
never entertained the remotest thought that these matters were to be 
adjusted by any other weapons than those of Scripture and reason, under 
the influence and direction of the Holy Spirit* (The Reformed Presbytery, 
_An Explanation and Defense of the Terms of Communion_, pp. 188–189, 
emphases added).

It is vain to say that the confession of a particular church is a human thing: 
for, candidly interpreted, it may be found to contain nothing but the 
undoubted truth of God's word. It is either possible for men to express 
these truths in their own words or it is not. If it is not possible, then his 
words cannot be understood: and all attempts to state, explain, illustrate or 
apply them, as in public preaching or writing, are vain; a supposition 
grossly absurd. But if it be possible for men to express the truths of 
scripture in their own words, then the doctrines or instructions contained 
in a confession, may be no other than the truths of God's word; and if they 
are actually no other, *then a church may warrantably require of her 
members, and of such as desire admission to her communion, a public 
assent to her whole confession, nor can that assent be refused without 
impiety*. No church has a right to require her members to receive any of 
the doctrines or commandments of men; but her Divine Head authorises 
her to exact of her members an adherence to all his truths and institutions. 
In this case he is saying, "he that receiveth you, receiveth me; and he that 
despiseth you, despiseth me" (John Anderson, _Alexander and Rufus_, 
1862, p. 36, emphases added).

Among consistent Reformed Presbyterians, *unity in the faith, and 
uniformity in its application*, have ever been the terms of their fellowship. 
And this unity and uniformity are mutually pledged, not only as required 
by the Word of God, but as the subordinate standards of both their faith 
and practice, "were received by the Church of Scotland." Of course the 
avowed faith--that is, the principles of our covenant fathers, and their 
Christian practice--are known to us only by evidence of uninspired history; 
and *while we view neither their system of faith nor their known practice 
as infallible, we nevertheless own their principle and engage to follow 
their footsteps*--and both, if need be, with all the solemnity of the oath of 
God. All this is implied and carried out in covenant renovation (Pastor 
Steele's Printed Communications with the Editor of the Covenanter [James 
M. Willson], appended to _Notes on the Apocalypse_, in the forthcoming 
edition from Covenanted Reformed Presbyterian Publishing, p. 413, 
emphases added).

Francis Turretin adds:

As we have said before, this is the natural right of all well–regulated 
societies--that they can separate from their own flock unfit and injurious 
men and the impurities, disgraces and cancers of their assembly. For the 
same power by which they have the right of gathering themselves 
together gives to them the authority to make laws and constitutions for the 
preservation of the body and for the expulsions of those who will not obey 
those laws and who, by their rebellion, could taint or corrupt the whole 
body. And it is a necessity of such a kind that without it no society can 
long exist. *Now if this is granted to other societies, far more ought it to 
belong to the church, which is both holier and better regulated.* Nor can 
they with whom we now argue deny this, who acknowledge (the 
magistrate not being a believer or neglecting his duty in restraining and 
punishing the wicked) that each assembly by associated discipline and 
mutual covenant can assume for itself a certain power of the magistrate, 
reduce the disorderly (ataktous) to order, drive the impious and 
unbelievers from itself (and cause them to keep by themselves), and 
provide for other things conducing to its own conservation. Now it makes 
little difference whether this is called a right of nature or authority flowing 
from Christ, since the right of nature is derived from no other source than 
God himself. Nay, since the church is a sacred and religious society 
instituted by Christ, no one can deny that she has received from Christ 
himself whatever power she has, as all other things. For the same one who 
wished to establish her in the world furnished her also with all things 
which are necessary for her conservation (Francis Turretin, _Institutes of 
Elenctic Theology_, 1696, Vol. 3, p. 296, emphases added).

2. Distinguish between the visible Church and the Church invisible. Saving 
faith, or the ground of saving faith, is the bond of communion in the 
invisible church; not so in the visible church, otherwise hypocrites could 
not be there. *The doctrines, arguments and history of the visible church 
are all her own deductions from Scripture. None of these has the attribute 
of infallibility, because the church is not infallible.* An effect cannot be 
greater than its cause--the stream rise higher than its source (David Steele, 
_The Two Witnesses_, 1859, p. 40, emphases added).

Whatsoever reverence or dignity is by the Spirit of God in the Scriptures 
given, whether to the Priests, or Prophets, or Apostles, or their Successors, 
all of it is given, not properly to Men themselves, but to the Ministry 
wherewith they are clothed, or to speak more expeditly, the Ministry 
whereof is committed unto them, Exod. 3:4. and 14: 31. Deut. 17: 9,10. Mal 
2: 4,6. Ezek. 3:17. Jer. 23:28. and 1:6. Matth. 28:19. Acts.15:10. 

2ndly, That as their Authority is founded upon, and wholly derived from 
the Word of God; so in the Administration and Exercise thereof, they are in 
all things to walk according to this Rule, Isa. 8:19, 20. Mal. 2:6,7. Matth. 
28:19. 

3rdly, That Church–power is not a Lordly and Magistratical Power, but a 
lowly and Ministerial Power, and not an absolute Autocratorick, but a 
limited and hyperetick Power; and that Church Decrees and Sentences are 
all of the REGULAE REGULATAE, Rules that are Subordinated, and do not 
bind but in the Lord, and so far as they are conform to that first inflexible 
and unerring Rule prescribed by himself, Luke 22:25,26,27. 1 Pet. 5:2,3. 2 
Tim. 3:15, 16, 17. 1 Thess. 5:12. Eph. 6:1. (and Pag. 96). 

4thly. That all Church Judicatures whether Congregational Elderships, or 
Presbyteries or Synods, Provincial, National or Ecumenical, being 
constituted of Men, that are weak frail and ignorant in Part, are in their 
Determinations fallible and subject to Error, Isa. 40:6,7,8. Rom. 3:4 1 Cor. 
13:9,12. 

5thly. That in so far as any of these do actually err and decline they do in 
so far act without Power and Authority from Jesus Christ, they may do 
nothing by his Commission against the Truth, but for the Truth, 2 Cor. 13:8. 
The power that he hath given is to Edification and not to Destruction. 

6thly. That sad Experience almost in every Generation doth teach us, That 
church Guides and Church Judicatures do often times decline from the 
straight Ways of the LORD and decree unrighteous Decrees, and write 
grievous things, which they have prescribed, Isa. 9:15,16. Jer 8:8,9. Mal 
2:8,9. Jer 2:8. And that whilest they are boasting of the Authority given to 
them of GOD, and of their Skill in the Law, and professing to walk according 
thereto, they are perverting the precious Truths of GOD, and persecuting 
these who adhere thereto, Jer 18:18. Isa 66:5. Job 7:48, 49. 

7thly. (in Pag. 97) The same LORD who hath commanded us not to despise 
Prophesying, 1Thess 5:19. hath also commanded us, to prove all things, and 
to hold fast that which is good. Ver. 20. And not to believe every Spirit, but 
to try the Spirits whether they be of God, because many false Prophets are 
gone forth into the World. Job 4:1. And that whatsoever is not of Faith is 
Sin, Rom 14:15. And that we ought not to be Servants of Men. 1 Cor 7:23. 
That is, to do things, especially in the Matters of GOD, for which we have no 
other Warrant, but the mere pleasure and Will of Men, which the Apostle 
calls living to the Lusts of Men, and not to the Will of God, 1 Pet. 4:2. *And 
it is therefore both the Duty and privilege of every Church Member to 
examine by the Judgment of Discretion every thing that the Church 
Judicatory injoineth, whether it be agreeable or repugnant to the Rule or 
the Word; and if, after a diligent and impartial Search, it be found 
repugnant, they are not to bring their Conscience in Bondage thereto. 
Protestant Divines, (de Judice Controversiarum), have shewed us, That this 
doth not make a private Man, or an inferior, Judge of the Sentences of his 
Superiors, but only of his own Actions *(Pag. 98.99) (_Protesters no 
Subverters_, p. 95, cited from _Protestors Vindicated_, 1716, pp. 93–95, 
emphases added).


Many of the quotations below are excerpted from _The Covenanted Reformation Defended_ which is FREE under "Church Writings" at: http://www.reformedpresbytery.org/books/index.html or directly from http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/CovRefGB.htm; for sale at: http://www.swrb.com/catalog/b.htm; or FREE on all the Reformation Bookshelf CDs at: http://www.swrb.com/Puritan/reformation-bookshelf-CDs.htm and some of the Puritan Bookshelf CDs at http://www.swrb.com/Puritan/puritan-bookshelf-CDs.htm. Most other books noted below are available from Still Waters Revival Books for FREE and/or at great discounts, at: http://www.swrb.com.


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Terms of Communion

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*Ministers who sought popularity affected the favour of the unlearned, by 
representing the testimony as too profound for the comprehension of the 
common people. It was, moreover, too prolix [lengthy--GB]; so that few 
could find time to examine it thoroughly.* But the greatest objection was, 
that it was too severe against other churches; and this last objection is, in 
truth, the only one. Aspiring ministers felt ashamed of "sackcloth;" they 
longed to get out of the "wilderness" and get nearer to "king's palaces" 
(_The Reformation Advocate_, March 1876, Vol.1, p. 260, emphases 
added).

We treat here of the first part or the power concerning articles of faith.... 
This power is properly to be attended to in the judgment which the church 
ought to make concerning doctrine; also in the creeds and confessions 
*which she ought to compose for the conservation of doctrine and the bond 
of ecclesiastical communion* (Francis Turretin, _Institutes of Elenctic 
Theology_, 1696, Vol. 3, p. 282, emphases added).


This power [of preserving and vindicating articles of faith--GB] is properly 
to be attended to in the judgment which the church ought to make 
concerning doctrine; also in the creeds and confessions *which she ought to 
compose for the conservation of doctrine and the bond of ecclesiastical 
communion... their true authority consists in this--that they are obligatory 
upon those who are subject to them in the court of external communion 
because they were written by the churches or in the name of the churches, 
to which individual members in the external communion are responsible* 
(Francis Turretin, _Institutes of Elenctic Theology_, 1696, Vol. 3, pp. 284, 
285, emphases added).

The truth does not change. But the Church's understanding of the truth 
enlarges. And hence the creed of the fourth century will not meet the 
wants of the nineteenth century, any more than the coat worn by the boy 
of six years, will fit a full grown man (Rev. J. M. Foster, _Distinctive 
Principles of the Covenanters_, 1892, p. 4).

*As the primary object of terms of communion in the church is to exhibit 
the law and covenant of God, and then agreement of persons in their 
apprehension of these, together with their joint and declared resolution to 
walk accordingly; it would appear that they are a rational expedient to 
reach the proposed end.* Those who oppose creeds, etc., are apt to forget 
that the acknowledgment of the Holy Scriptures does not itself secure 
union of sentiment and concert in action. Besides, the witnesses of Christ, 
in preserving the integrity of their testimony, and their own moral 
identity, are necessitated to know and expose the errors and ungodliness 
which prevail under the name of religion. Hence they are obliged so to 
direct their testimony as to meet the ever–shifting forms and phases of 
error and immorality. And as their testimony thus progresses toward its 
consummation, there is a correspondent bearing given to her terms of 
communion. In case of defection she must ascertain from history, the 
footsteps of the flock whereto she attained in time past; that she may obey 
the divine direction, "walk by the same rule and mind the same thing" 
(David Steele, _The Two Witnesses_, 1859, Appendix Note C, appended to 
_Notes on the Apocalypse_, in the forthcoming edition from Covenanted 
Reformed Presbyterian Publishing, pp. 388–389, emphases added). 

1. Terms of communion pertain to the external communion of the visible 
church and not to the internal communion of the invisible church. 

2. Terms of communion are intended to exhibit the law and covenant of 
God, so that members of Christ's visible body can determine whether or 
not they walk together in unity and uniformity. They are an aid to 
promoting, preserving and maintaining the peace and purity of the Church, 
and are based solely upon the infallible Word of God.

3. Terms of communion are composed of abstract doctrinal statements such 
as creeds and confessions, forms and directories. Though agreeable to God's 
word, these standards are all deduced from the Word of God and thus 
understood to be historical and fallible.

4. Terms of communion also include intrinsically and perpetually binding 
Covenants. Faith without works is dead, as is abstract doctrine without 
covenanted obligation. Covenants are deduced from God's word and thus 
are subordinate and fallible. 

5. Terms of communion include facts of history judged by the Word of God 
according to the argument of faithful witnesses and judicatories. Historical 
acts of General Assemblies, governments, and notable individuals are 
identified and judged according to the principles of God's Word. Faithful 
contendings are separated from unfaithful contendings and martyrs are 
remembered and honoured for their "faithful works created in Christ Jesus 
from the foundation of the world." These Acts of General Assembly--
judging history according to scripture--are all fallible and subordinate to 
the Word of God.

6. All of these terms are progressive and may be restated (by qualified 
Assemblies) to meet the ever shifting forms and phases of error and 
immorality. Consequently, a standing testimony is not sufficient due to the 
fact that it does not testify against the current sins and the errors of the 
times. (Greg Barrow, _Covenanted Reformation Defended_, p. 112)

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Toleration

*************************

A vague and erratic charity, which soars above fixed principles of belief, 
looks down with neglect on external ordinances, and spurns the restraint 
of ordinary rules, whether it seeks to include all Christians within its 
catholic embrace, or confines itself to those of a favorite class, is a very 
feeble and precarious bond of union. True Christian charity is the daughter 
of truth, and fixes her objects "for the truth's sake which dwells in them" 
(cf. 2 John 2). (Thomas M'Crie, _Unity of the Church_, 1821, reprinted in 
1989 by Presbyterian Heritage Publications, p. 25).


The doctrine of modern forbearance among persons of opposite belief, 
inducing them to form a compromise in which they mutually agree to 
differ, and never more to mention discording tenets, leads, in its native 
tendency, to the suppression of the truth, and the lasting concealment of so 
many articles of faith, as the jarring sentiments may happen to hinge upon. 
And what is the amount of this, but to banish forever from the faith of the 
Church, a great number of precious truths contained in the Word of God, 
and designed by him for the spiritual comfort and edification of the 
people? And all this to obtain a Catholic union amongst professing 
Christians, at the expense of losing sacred truth. An agreement to divide, in 
matter of faith and practice, sounds ill with the injunction, "be perfectly 
joined together in the same mind" (The Reformed Presbytery, _An 
Explanation and Defense of the Terms of Communion_, p. 152).

I dare not be silent, nor conceal my thoughts of any sinful and dangerous 
course in the public proceedings... I cannot but discharge my conscience in 
giving a testimony against all such compliance (with the malignants--GB)... 
Yea, all that hear of it (the covenant breaking compliance--GB) might justly 
stand amazed at us, and look on us as a people infatuated, that can take in 
our bosom the fiery serpents that have stung us so sore ("To the Right 
Reverend the Commission of the General Assembly" in Gillespie's _Works_ 
volume 2, p. 1).

"In this age of boasted charity, but really 'detestable neutrality and 
indifferency,' it is an irksome and painful task, but a duty, thus to bear 
testimony against churches, in which are to be found, no doubt, many 
precious sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty. But personal piety 
never was, nor possibly can be, the condition of fellowship in the visible 
church. To think so, and say so, is one of the most popular delusions of the 
present day. It puts the supposed pious man, speaking  his experience, in 
the place of God, speaking his sovereign will in the Bible. This is the
height of impiety," declared the Reformed Presbytery in their _Act, 
Declaration, and Testimony for the Whole of Our Covenanted Reformation_ 
in 1876.

That which is not only sinful in itself, but a great dishonor to God, a great 
scandal to the church, and withal a disobedience to the lawful ordinance of 
authority, may and ought to be punished by this Christian and reforming 
parliament. *But their offence which still refuse to take the covenant is not 
only sinful in itself, but a great dishonor to God, a great scandal to the 
church [therefore a term of communion--GB] and withal a disobedience to 
the lawful ordinance of authority.* Therefore the offense of those who still 
refuse to take the covenant, may and ought to be punished by this 
Christian and reforming parliament.

It is no tyranny over men's consciences to punish a great and scandalous 
sin (such as the refusing and opposing of the covenant or a dividing from 
it), although the offender in his conscience believe it to be no sin, yea, 
peradventure, believe it to be a duty, otherwise it had been tyranny over 
the conscience to punish those who killed the Apostles, because they 
thought they were doing God service, John 16:2–3 (George Gillespie, _The 
Works of George Gillespie, A Treatise of Micellany Questions_, 1642, Vol. 2, 
p. 87, cf. pp. 80–81, emphases added).

Wylie writes,

"Obj. 13. 'Your principles lead to persecution, and are cruel and unmerciful.'

Ans. The church of Christ never persecuted. If our principles lead to it, 
they are certainly wrong.

But what is persecution? Does it consist in executing God's law? If it does, 
he must be the author of it. Does it not rather consist in injuring men in 
their characters, property, or persons, for their tenacious and steadfast 
adherence to his divine commandments? If this is not persecution,
then the martyrs have suffered, not for the cause and testimony of Jesus, 
but for their obstinate rebellion against it. How does this correspond with 
the character of those souls whom John saw lying under the altar, "who 
were slain for the word of God, and for the Testimony which they held!" 
Rev 6:9. Whatsoever the law of God commands to be punished, ought to be 
punished with the penalties therein made and provided; but God has 
commanded gross heretics, blasphemers, and idolaters, to be punished 
with certain specific penalties. Therefore, such ought to be punished.

These commands could not belong to the ceremonial law, for then they 
would have flowed entirely from the arbitrary will of God, and been mere 
signs between him and Israel. Who would dare to think so of gross heresy, 
&c.?
Neither could they belong to that part of the judicial law which respected 
the Jews peculiarly. Who would dare to say that none but the Jews were, 
or are, under obligation to worship God in purity, or abstain from 
blaspheming his nature and dignity? They must, therefore, belong to the 
moral law, and flow from the moral nature of Jehovah, who has declared 
he will not give his glory to another, nor his praise to graven images.

Thus we find the first, second, and third precepts of the moral law 
pointedly prohibiting these things, and requiring the contrary duties. All 
the precepts and threatenings which are to be found respecting these, 
scattered up and down the Bible, are only elucidations of those
commandments.

I would leave this particular, with proposing one question, which the 
judicious reader will easily solve. Was Elijah a persecutor when he caused 
the law of God to be executed upon the prophets of Baal?"

 _The Two Sons of Oil; or, the Faithful Witness for Magistracy and Ministry 
Upon a Scriptural Basis_  (1850 ed., reprinted 1995 by Covenanted  
Reformed Presbyterian Publishing), pp. 60-61.

[The magistrate's duty to enforce the Judicial law].

"The Adversary brings several exceptions against this Argument which we 
shall propone and take off.  The first Exception is, say they, Those were 
Judicial Laws, and so now are expired with their Common-wealth: Answer, 
This is a common refuge to sectaries where any practice is brought from 
the Old Testament against them, presently they cast at it upon this account 
as not binding to us under the New: Therefore we shall speak so much the 
more unto this point: By a Judicial Law is meaned a Civil Law, so the force 
of their Argument is this: The Civil Law of one Kingdom is not binding to 
another, but these were Civil Laws belonging to that Kingdom, Therefore, 
they are not binding to us.  To this we Answer, First, That they cannot say 
this of all the Laws instanced, particularly of that Law of the fourth 
Command: It is a Moral Law binding to all.  Secondly, we answer, *the rest 
of these Laws are Moral and binding to all Magistrates*, yea and that for 
these reasons: Because First, **Abraham, and Jacob, and other Magistrates 
that were among the Jews did practice these Laws even before the Judicial 
Law was given out by Moses**; and so they behooved to be Moral.  Yea 
Heathen Kings that were not under the Judicial Law of Moses, as not being 
Members of their Commonwealth, when they came to the knowledge of 
God, they made use of their *Power to suppress* Idolatry, *which certainly 
was through virtue of the Moral Law*, commanding them so to do: Not the 
Judicial Law, that they were not under.  A Third Answer we give, that 
though what is said were true.viz. That these Laws were Judicial: Yet it 
does not follow that they were not now binding to Magistrates.  To 
understand this, there were two things in their Judicial Laws, as in our 
Civil Laws.  Yet, there was somewhat that concerned the Kingdom in 
particular as that law, that Servants should be freed from their service at 
the seven years end.  And the Law of inheritance to be Kept within the 
Tribe, and this part of the Law did fall with their Common-wealth.  But 
there was another thing in their Judicial Laws. and that is somewhat of 
**Common Equity belonging unto all, such as Laws for punishing sins done 
against the Moral Law**; and in this far the Judicial Law is binding to us: 
because there is not a syllable in the New Testament for abrogating of it, 
and so must bind, being given by God.  And Jesus Christ and his Apostles 
Reason from this Judicial Law; as in 1 Corinth:9.9. It is written in the Law 
of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the Ox that treadeth out the 
corn.  And in several other places: so is it in the civil Laws in other 
Kingdoms: as for example, That Witches should be punished by death, and 
burnt to ashes, is a Civil Law in Scotland: Now there is somewhat there of 
Common Equity, to wit, that they should be punished by death; but the 
particular way of putting them to death, to wit whither by strangling 
drowning &c. or the burning of their Bodies to Ashes, is not of Common 
Equity: Other Kingdoms may use another way of execution, as pleaseth 
them best.  There is a second Exception they bring against this argument, 
say they: If their Laws were binding to us, then they would be binding 
according to all their circumstances: and if so, then all persons, whole 
Cities, yea beasts behoved to be stoned to death: For so is the Command 
Deut:13.  Now say they, what Massacring would this be.  To take off this 
exception, we Answer: There are two things in a Law, there is first, The 
substance of the Law, Secondly, the Circumstances of it: *Now a Law may 
hold according to the main substance*, and yet not according to these 
circumstances: We shall clear it in an Example, the Law of Hospitality binds 
all nations as to the substance of the things commanded by it, but there 
were some circumstances joined with this Law, according to the nature of 
the people to whom it was given; such as the washing of feet, and kisses of 
Charity; and according to these it is not binding; And so that command, 
That false worship should be punished, is substantial and binding unto all; 
*but that is should so be punished* as to put Children, Women, Beasts, 
young and old to death, was suited according unto the temper of that 
People unto whom it was given, being so naturally prone to idolatry, and 
therefore were by more fearful punishments to be scarred from it, and *so 
in that respect is not binding unto others*.  We may add where this Law is 
repeated, as Exod:22.18. Deut:17.2.5 and cap:18 20.  It is only repeated in 
the substance of it, and the way and manner is not mentioned.  Secondly, 
**we find that Jacob and other Magistrates who were before the Law did 
not Execute according to their Circumstances**; Yea and the Jewish 
Magistrates as Moses and Josiah Exod:31. and 2 King 23, **Did not tie 
themselves precisely to Execute the Law according to all these 
Circumstances**; ***And so it remains that though these Circumstances do 
not bind the Magistrate yet the Law according to its substance is yet 
binding***." (James Fergusson, _A Brief Refutation Of The Errors Of 
Toleration, Erastianism, Independency And Separation_.  1692., pp. 63-66.  
Emphasis added.  Here is clear proof that by Common Equity the 
Covenanters referred to the circumstances of the mode of punishments and 
not the actual punishment itself... Fergusson's influence at the 1647 
General Assembly [which adopted the Westminster Confession of Faith], 
makes his viewpoint especially significant. Cited in _Theonomy and the 
Westminster Confession_, compiled by M. Foulner, Marpet Press, 1997, pp. 
29-30, emphases added.)

Here is another interesting quote on the law:

James Fergusson  1621-1667

The magistrate's right to punish idolatry etc

"The main question then is, concerning State Toleration.  

Concerning which some do affirm, That whatever the Church may do in 
inflicting Church censures on Heriticks, Maintainers of Heterodox Opinions: 
Yet, Say they, no civil Punishment, such as Death, Imprisonment, Mulcts, or 
fines, should be inflicted on any Error or Blasphemy whatsoever; providing 
the Maintainers of them carry themselves peaceably, do not trouble the 
State, or do evil against the Commonwealth in civil Things: We again on the 
contrary do hold, that it is the duty of the Civil Magistrate to suppress 
Error, Heresies, and every sin against the First Table, as well as it is his 
Duty to suppress Adultery, Fornication, Sedition, and other sins against the 
Second Table: And that he is not only bound to suppress Errors and 
Blasphemies, that are contrary to fundamental Truths, or the Light of 
Nature; but all Error contrary to other points of Truth." (James Fergusson, 
_A Brief Refutation Of The Errors Of Toleration, Erastianism, Independency 
And Separation_.  1692.  pp. 51-52.  These sermons were originally 
preached in 1652 but published posthumously by his son. Cited in 
_Theonomy and the Westminster Confession_, compiled by M. Foulner, 
Marpet Press, 1997, p.28).

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Unity and Uniformity

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The exercise of authority and government is necessary as a bond of union 
and a basis of stability, in all societies. By means of it, the largest 
communities, and even many nations, may be made to coalesce and 
become one, under the same political government. And can any good 
reason be assigned for supposing that the Church of Christ should be 
destitute of this bond, or that it should not be necessary to her union as a 
visible society? If every family has its economy and discipline, if every 
kingdom has its form of government and laws, shall we suppose that the 
most perfect of all societies, "the house of the living God" (1 Tim. 3:15), and 
"the kingdom of heaven," should be left by her divine Head without that 
which so evidently tends to the maintenance of her faith, the purity and 
regularity of her administrations, and the order, subordination, unity, and 
peace which ought to reign among all her members? Whatever is 
necessary to her government, and the preserving of her order and purity, 
either is expressly enjoined in Scripture, or may be deduced, by native 
inference, from the general rules and the particular examples which are 
recorded in it (Thomas M'Crie, _Unity of the Church_, 1821, reprinted in 
1989 by Presbyterian Heritage Publications, p. 24)

*The catholic church comprehends all that profess the true religion.* There 
is a lawful and necessary division of it into sections in respect of local 
situation. *But when a number of people, bearing the Christian name, 
combine together as a distinct society, for the purpose of maintaining and 
propagating doctrines and practices, which, instead of belonging to the true 
religion, are contrary to it; they ought not, considered as such a 
combination, to be called a lawful section of the catholic church. It is not 
denied, that they belong to the catholic church; but it is denied, that there 
ought to be any such section or division in it.* Thus, there ought to be no 
section of the catholic church, having for the peculiar end of its distinct 
subsistence, the support of episcopal hierarchy, unknown in the Scripture, 
of the propagation of antipaedobaptism, or of anti–scriptural doctrine, in 
opposition to that of God's election, redemption, effectual calling and the 
conservation of his people, as delivered in the scripture; or for the support 
of ways and means of divine worship not found in scripture. If the catholic 
visible church were brought to a suitable discharge of her duty, she would 
abolish all such sections. But no society ought to be called such an unlawful 
section, while it can be shown that it subsists as a separate society for no 
other end, than for the maintaining of something in the doctrine, worship 
or government of the church which belongs to the Christian religion as 
delivered in the Word of God, or for exhibiting a testimony against 
prevailing errors and corruptions which the scripture requires the catholic 
church to condemn. Such a profession of any party of Christians is no 
sectarian profession; and a union with them is not a sectarian, but properly 
a Christian union; and, being cordial and sincere, is a union in Christ; and 
communion upon the ground of this union is truly Christian communion. On 
the other hand, however much of our holy religion any body of Christians 
hold in common with others, and however many of them we may 
charitably judge to be saints, *yet while their distinguishing profession is 
contrary to the Word of God, communion with them, as a body so 
distinguished, is sectarian communion; as it implies a union with them in 
that which ought to be rejected by the whole catholic church* (John 
Anderson, _Alexander and Rufus_, 1862, pp. 10, 11, emphases added).

Besides, the martyrs held the great desirableness of union and uniformity 
in the profession of religion. They testified against sectarianism, or the  
violation of the unity of the church, by cutting or dividing it into insulated 
sections. God is one; religion, as a principle in the heart, is  one; the word of 
God is one; Christ is one; and his law is one. The law of Christ is not an 
undeterminate thing; it is definite, and is distinguished  by a universality 
and simplicity adapted to the situation of the church in every 
circumstance, and providing for its visible unity. The reformers were 
unionist upon principle, and on the largest scale too. They sought union 
upon the basis of truth. They held the doctrine of the unity of the church, 
and endeavoured its exemplification. They wished, also, by good laws and 
scripturally qualified rulers, the union and prosperity of the kingdom. And 
it is not to be denied that, without making any compromise of the 
authority and freedom of either, they sought a harmonious co-operation 
and reciprocation between Church and State, in subserviency to godliness 
and honesty. Nor were their pious wishes confined to their own loved 
country. They looked abroad. They sought the enlargement of the kingdom 
of Jesus Christ, and the peace and tranquillity of all Christian kingdoms and 
commonwealths; the Christianization and union of all the nations of the 
earth. But they would not sacrifice truth for union; nor did they stumble at 
the impossibility of obtaining uniformity in the profession of religion. The 
event showed that they were premature in their expectations. Their aim, 
however, was excellent; and predictions assure us that the evil of division 
will be healed in the arrival of a day in which "there shall be one Lord and 
his name One."

The martyrs also held covenanting to be a fit and divinely authorized 
means of consolidating union in a church and a nation, and of giving 
security to the interests of religion in both. They found confederation in 
the transactions of mankind; they viewed it to be based on the moral law; 
they saw it largely exemplified in the history of the Jews; they read 
prophetic intimations of the practice; and they had before them the 
example of the reformed churches. Besides, they were, in a measure, 
driven into covenanting by the plottings of their enemies. At the period of 
the first reformation, the National Covenant of Scotland had been prepared 
and gone into, when the jealousy of the nation had been awakened by the 
interception of letters from Rome, granting a dispensation to the Roman 
Catholics to profess the reformed tenets for a time; with a view, no doubt, 
to the ultimate overthrow of the reformed cause. The covenant united the 
country, and proved a means of preserving the reformed religion from the 
peril to which it was exposed, from the machinations of enemies. At a 
subsequent period, this covenant was again sworn as applying to Prelacy 
as well as Popery; and a Solemn League and Covenant was subsequently 
framed to preserve the reformed religion in Scotland, and extend it in 
"England and Ireland." These deeds formed, in those days, the Magna 
Charta of civil and religious liberty; and were held in the highest 
veneration by those who contended against the overthrow of the 
reformation. The offence in which these deeds were held by the enemies of 
the reformation, may be learned from the public odium, attempted to be
thrown upon them by their condemnation and burning. But the martyrs 
held fast their obligation, because of that scriptural reformation which they
embraced, and which they had been the means, so seasonably and 
efficiently, under God, of preserving (Andrew Symington, cited from a short 
article entitled "Religious Principles of the Scottish Martyrs")

Are there any who, when they hear of the future of uniting all Christians 
in profession, affection, and practice, are disposed to receive the intimation 
with a smile of incredulity, to treat the prospect as visionary, and to 
exclaim, "How can these things be? Will God create a new race on the 
earth? Will he give new structure to the minds of men? Will they not 
continue to think and act about religion as they have done from the 
beginning until now?"

Hear the Word of the Lord, you scornful men: Is it a small matter for you 
to weary men, will you weary my God also? Has he not said, "I will give 
them one heart and one way, that they may fear me?" (Jer. 32:29). And 
will he not do it? Let God be true, and every man a liar (cf. Rom. 3:4). 
When the time comes, the time which he has set for accomplishing his 
promise, he shall arise, and every difficulty and every obstruction shall 
give way before him and vanish at his approach.

Do you ask a sign? Do you ask it in the heaven above? It is he that "binds 
the sweet influences of Pleiades, and looses the "frozen" bands of Orion, 
and guides Arcturus with his sons" (cf. Job 38:31). Do you ask it in the 
earth beneath? "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard 
shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fattling 
together; and a little child shall lead them ... for the earth shall be full of 
the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea" (Isa. 11:6, 9).

The Infinite One has, in his faithful Word, pledged all his perfections for 
the accomplishment of this work. What resistance can be opposed to 
infinite power, put in motion by infinite love, and guided by infinite 
wisdom? He can raise up instruments properly qualified and disposed for 
promoting his design, guide their counsels, animate them to constancy and 
perseverance, and, finally crown all their exertions with the wished–for 
success. He has the hearts of all men in his hand, and can turn them like 
the waters in an aqueduct. He can rebuke the spirit of error and delusion, 
"cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land" (Zech. 
13:2), and remove and abolish all things that offend in his kingdom. He can 
subdue the most stubborn and inveterate prejudices, allay the fiercest 
heats and animosities, convert jealousies into confidence and hatred into 
love, and having "made the wrath of man to praise him" by accomplishing 
his purposes, can "restrain the remainder thereof" (cf. Ps. 76:10).

Who is among you that fears the Lord, and obeys the voice of his servant, 
who walks in darkness and has no light as to the removal or abatement of 
the melancholy divisions of the Church? Let him plant his faith firmly on 
the promises of Jehovah, and stay himself on his perfections. Say with the 
Prophet Jeremiah, in a similar case, "Ah, Lord God! behold, thou hast made 
the heaven and the earth by thy great power ... and there is nothing too 
hard for thee ... The Great, the Mighty God, the Lord of Hosts, is his name, 
Great in counsel, and mighty in work" (Jer. 32:17–19).

*Place yourself in spirit in the midst of the emblematical valley into which 
Ezekiel was carried, and say, "God who raises the dead can easily do this"* 
(Ezek. 37:1–14; cf. 2 Cor. 1:9). Rivers, deep and broad, seas, noisy and 
tempestuous, "on which no galley with oars can go, neither gallant ship 
ride" (cf. Isa. 33:21), have disparted the territories which the God of 
heaven has given to his Son, and prevented the intercourse of his subjects. 
But he "shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his 
mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in 
the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod. And there shall be an 
highway for the remnant of his people ... like as it was to Israel in the day 
that he came out of the land of Egypt" (Isa. 11:15–16).

Brazen "mountains of separation" may stand in the way of the desirable 
event. But the resistance which they oppose to it shall be overcome, *not 
according to the confused plan of modern projectors, by throwing a 
scaffolding over them, by which those who have reared altars on their tops 
may hold occasional intercourse and partial communion*; but in a way 
becoming the New Testament Zerubbabel, the Disperser of Confusion.

When he rends the heavens and comes down to do things which we looked 
not for, "the mountains shall flow down at his presence" (cf. Isa. 64:1). 
Those separations which have been of most ancient date, and which 
threatened to last forever, shall yield to his power: "The everlasting 
mountains shall be scattered, the perpetual hills shall bow," before him 
whose "ways are everlasting" (cf. Hab. 3:6). If there shall be one that has 
reared its head above all the rest, and makes a more formidable resistance, 
it also shall crumble down and disappear: "Who art thou, O great 
mountain? Before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain" (Zech. 4:7). Then 
shall the mountain on which the house of God is built be established on the 
top of the mountains, and exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow 
to it. And he will rebuke and repress the envious risings of its proudest 
rival. "A hill of God is the hill of Bashan, a high hill of Bashan. But why lift 
ye up yourselves, ye high hills? This (Zion) is the hill which God desireth to 
dwell in; yea, the Lord will dwell in it for ever" (cf. Ps. 68:15–16). May God 
fulfil these promises in due time; and unto him be glory in the Church by 
Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. (Thomas 
M'Crie, _Unity of the Church_, 1821, reprinted in 1989 by Presbyterian 
Heritage Publications, pp. 130–134, emphases added).

Accomodation and peace

We declare our esteem of and love for all the godly in these lands, who 
have the root of the matter in them, and love our Lord Jesus Christ in 
sincerity, who are studying godliness and have sad hearts for the tokens of 
God's sad displeasure, and the sins and abominations procuring the same, 
*notwithstanding of their not being of the same sentiments and mind with 
us as to some parts of our testimony and practice* (Matthew Hutchison, 
_The Reformed Presbyterian Church in Scotland_, 1893, p. 175, emphases 
added).

I wish it could be brought about, that men of learning and dignity from the 
principal churches might have a meeting; and, after a careful discussion of 
the several points of faith, might hand down to posterity the doctrine of 
the scripture, settled by their common judgment. But amongst the greatest 
evils of our age, this also is to be reckoned, that our churches are so 
distracted one from another, that human society [fellowship--GB] scarcely 
flourishes amongst us; much less that holy communion of the members of 
Christ, which all profess in words, and few sincerely cultivate in fact. Thus 
it happens, that the body of the church, by the dissipation of its members, 
lies torn and mangled. As to myself, were I like to be of any service, I 
should not hesitate to cross the seas for that purpose. . . . Now, when the 
object is to obtain such an agreement of learned men upon strict scriptural 
principles, as may accomplish a union of churches in other respects widely 
asunder, I do not think it lawful for me to decline any labours or troubles 
(John Anderson, _Alexander and Rufus_, 1862, p. 151).

I have often and heartily wished that I might not be distracted by, nor 
engaged into, polemic writings, of which the world is too full already, and 
from which many more learned and idoneous [i.e. suitable--GB] have 
abstained; and I did, accordingly, resolve that in this controversial age, I 
should be slow to write, swift to read and learn (George Gillespie, _Aaron's 
Rod Blossoming_, 1646, reprinted by Sprinkle Publications 1985, p. xv).

 "We pray for the coming of his Kingdom, and praise him that the number 
of those that seek the Lord in Scotland are not diminished, but grow even 
under evil shepherds and lazy feeders; which is the lilly among the thorns, 
though we go under the name of Protesters, separatists, hypocrites, 
unpeaceable, implacable spirits, are made as the filth of the world, and the 
off-scourings of all things: yea, troubled on every side (in the streets, 
pulpits, in divers Synods, Presbyteries, &c.
more than under Prelacy) yet not distressed; perplexed, but not in despair; 
persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed" (Samuel 
Rutherford, "Preface", _A Survey Of The Survey Of That Summe Of Church-
Discipline_).

In like manner do we hear the words of that eminent minister and Scottish 
commissioner to the Westminster Assembly, Alexander Henderson as he 
pleads for a uniformity in the truth:

Nothing so powerful to divide the hearts of people as division in religion; 
nothing so strong to unite them as unity in religion: and the greater zeal in 
different religions the greater division; but the more zeal in one religion 
the more firm union.  In the paradise of nature the diversity of flowers 
and herbs is pleasant and useful; but in the paradise of the Church 
different and contrary religions are unpleasant and hurtful.  It is therefore 
to be wished that there were one Confession of Faith, one form of 
Catechism, one Directory for all the parts of the public worship of God, and 
for prayer, preaching, administration of sacraments, &c., and one form of 
Church government, in all the Churches of his majesty's dominions (cited in 
Hetherington's _History of the Westminster Assembly of Divines_, p.373).

From Calvin's Commentary on 1 Corinthians 14:33 (_Calvin's 
Commentaries_, Vol. XX, p. 466) note his emphasis upon truth being the 
bond that unites churches:

Let us, therefore, bear in mind, that, in judging as to the servants of Christ, 
this mark must be kept in view--whether or not they aim at peace and 
concord, and by conducting themselves peaceably, avoid contentions to the 
utmost of their power, provided, however, we understand by this a peace 
of which the truth of God is the bond.  For if we are called to contend 
against wicked doctrines, even though heaven and earth should come 
together, we must, nevertheless, persevere in the contest.  We must, 
indeed, in the first place, make it our aim, that the truth of God may,
without contention, maintain its ground; but if the wicked resist, we must 
set our face against them, and have no fear, lest the blame of the 
disturbances should be laid to our charge.  For accursed is that peace of 
which revolt from God is that bond, and blessed are those contentions by 
which it is necessary to maintain the kingdom of Christ.


Many of the quotations below are excerpted from _The Covenanted Reformation Defended_ which is FREE under "Church Writings" at: http://www.reformedpresbytery.org/books/index.html or directly from http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/CovRefGB.htm; for sale at: http://www.swrb.com/catalog/b.htm; or FREE on all the Reformation Bookshelf CDs at: http://www.swrb.com/Puritan/reformation-bookshelf-CDs.htm and some of the Puritan Bookshelf CDs at http://www.swrb.com/Puritan/puritan-bookshelf-CDs.htm. Most other books noted below are available from Still Waters Revival Books for FREE and/or at great discounts, at: http://www.swrb.com.


*************************

International Unity

*************************

THE ASSEMBLY'S  LETTER  TO  THE  KIRKS  IN  THE  NETHERLANDS. 
(Translated from Latin, for the first time [in 1997], by Dr. Stephen 
Westcott)

Most worshipful brothers in the Lord,

The letter that was sent to us last year in the name of the Churches of 
Zealand, and your kindness shown to us by so many great services, assures 
us that we must interpret them as strong  witnesses of the goodwill with 
the whole of your Belgic Churches towards us. This opinion has been
abundantly confirmed in those things which that most distinguished knight 
Sir Archibald Johnston of Warriston, assessor in the supreme Assembly, 
not long since informed us of from London.  Reporting the order of affairs 
in both kingdom and Church he related, in that same National Synod, of 
your extraordinary zeal towards us, and especially with what great faith, 
with what solicitous diligence you have promoted, and even now continue busy 
to promote, our cause (or rather that of the Lord Jesus Christ) as it is now 
being persued in London. In which business those delegates, whose names 
are not all unknown to you, have happily undertaken the scheme for 
conciliating a union of the Britannic Churches. May they,  by your help and 
diligence, soon achieve a result, of which we have already received by no 
means obscure indications. There are these so illustrious testimonies  of 
your kindness, open to such an extent in the eyes of all good people that no 
forgetfulness could ever destroy the memory of them. No one will ever 
repent of labors undertaken now, and labor that may be undertaken 
hereafter, to happily compose and decide the controversies arising in the 
London Synod. From the fruit which we have already seen (through the 
divine blessing)  it is reasonable to hope for all the best for the future. To 
add to this so honourable remembrance of your kindnesses made by 
Warriston we have also received a letter from parts of Northern Ireland 
signed with many autographs, which makes mention of the remarkable 
grace poured out on that church by divine influence, from the time that 
they were admitted into the covenant of these kingdoms. Of this divine blessing 
we have recently had most ample testimony in the outstanding generosity the 
saints in Belgium  have showed  to them though unknown and foreign, 
most loving, and as pricked by a very tender sense of their evils. For they
relieved them in the nick of time, being a very few survivors of the sword 
and about to soon die of hunger, being surrounded by all kinds of 
difficulties. Not only did they strengthened their inner courage by 
consoling discourses for their consolation, urging that proceeding humbly 
they should wait for God as their liberator (who is not accustomed to hid 
His face from the house of Jacob except for a little while) but they also 
amply warmed them into life with generous aid in addition, with corn and 
other things fit for their easement and necessary relief, in so great straits. 
When they strove so much as suppliants to obtain  munificence from God,  
and you were His agents, so  He will pay it back into your bosoms 
sevenfold. So we humbly and repeatedly  crave, in recognition of such 
kindness , that you give our thanks to all the Belgic Churches. This duty do, 
for if indeed we failed in our duty we should sin against ourselves, and 
most grievously against them.

We acknowledge, therefore, the most illustrious and most powerful and 
outstanding kindness of Holland, Zealand and of the other Belgic classes. 
With whom not only  not turning the blind eye but supplying provisions 
(which in itself cannot be considered an ordinary kindness), but also that
your authors wrote with method and reason, so that, leading by example, 
collections made throughout your Churches were soon sent to the relief our 
Irish brothers. We acknowledge such ready good will and generosity of the 
devout in the same Belgic Churches.  We acknowledge that such great 
kindness has been conferred, not less than our brothers themselves do, in 
their own persons speaking on their behalf. And we wish that you, 
Reverend brothers, as we will always be prompt to all the actions of a 
grateful mind, that you will use your diligence to pass on thanks to your 
most prayerful Classes in our name, as is most reasonable to be done.  And 
that you might demonstrate, moreover, to the people committed to your 
Christian care, first to all publicly, next to individuals privately, as the 
occasion may turn out, how respectfully we feel almost at one with them, 
and how much worth we place on their so outstanding goodwill and charity 
with which they revived our flesh and blood, in their consolation of the Irish 
Churches. What, moreover, have you been in the past, dearest brothers! With what 
devout zeal and toil, with what constant diligence have you carried 
forward the seed of charity until the sprouting corn waxed at length into 
the ripe harvest! We both willingly acknowledge this, whilst the event 
speaks for itself, as the excellent harvest fruit bears witness.

Most especially, however, (which is the chief point) we, together with the 
Irish Churches, praise and celebrate the Author and Bestower of such great 
grace through you, praying that He may pour out His Spirit on you all in 
great abundance, and on all the Churches committed to you by the Lord, in 
your most illustrious Classes in Belgium and in your Republic.

Making defence against a most potent enemy, and being endangered in the 
midst of so many difficulties, you are protected by the light of the 
uncontaminated truth of the Gospel in your Churches against the gates of 
hell. Then, being defended the more widely by the immense power of God 
watching over you has caused His manifold wisdom and understanding kindness 
to be celebrated at this time throughout the entire world. So may the same 
fount of all goodness continue to keep you in Him and in all good things, so 
that your Federal Republic may daily be more eminent, to the murmuring 
of the enemies of our religion and liberty. May the exercise of your 
wisdom and best arts as well as  your arms and triumphs over the most 
eminent nations, make the Church may shine forth by the purity of a holy 
people, to the evident splendor of heavenly truth. And may your most 
prudent and wholesome designs turn out all the more successful for you; 
plans by which you may be assured you are creating an advantage for the 
common happiness. Nor have you consulted only your own interests, but 
you are concerned also about neighbouring Churches as to how, by your diligence 
and providential use of your resources, you may support and strengthen them all. 
As if looking out from a watch-tower you give warning to them all, averting 
dangers and forearming against all the downfalls treacherously plotted by
the enemy.

 You warned us of  your letter sent from Zealand last year, how impostors, 
impudently counterfeiting the name of Jesus, and other henchmen of the 
Antichrist, have the more securely brought many onto their side, in a 
nation fascinated by Papal errors, with a design no less than to cut out, 
root and branch all the pure Churches of Christ.  As they have bound 
themselves together in this by a close conspiracy to perpetrate such 
infamous plans, so all the Reformed Churches, as if at a given alarm signal, 
should join their minds and strength, united, as it were in the middle, so 
that they may turn the ruin intended for them  back upon the heads of 
their enemies. Unless we can do so we will lack, in the eyes of posterity, 
any excuse for our shameless cowardice. We willingly acknowledged that your 
plan and advice was not less provident than trustworthy, not less happy than 
wholesome, and we again approve of it, as we see its outworking.

Firstly, however, in order to achieve this, it seems necessary that without 
delay we all fly to our most merciful God, who has, after so long suffering 
the so-little reformed character of the Reformed Churches began many 
years ago first to brandish the rod, and then at length the unsheathed 
sword, and now  for a long time has loosed the sword, red and dripping, 
nay, streaming and foaming with  blood, and that the blood of His  own 
people throughout many regions. Finally it is now stretched over we who are 
left, warning us to come to our right minds quickly and unite our ranks more 
closely against the common enemy, to purge and further cleanse His house, to 
more highly esteem the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, to see that the 
institutions of God concerning His worship, and concerning sanctification of 
His Sabbath be observed more religiously (from which things we have, alas, 
averted our eyes all too much), and concerning morals being rectified by the 
rule of true piety more thoroughly than has hitherto been done, and 
establishing ourselves as the people of God under pious governors, as 
they that lived under Nehemiah, Joshua and other such godly magistrates.

Being bound to God by a solemn religious Covenant, struck as the very 
firmest of bonds, we seek  that God might avert His wrath (now steaming 
and threatening over our heads); wrath which our very many and very 
great sins have provoked and inflamed against us.

Not sooner had we  offered ourselves, than we began to taste those fruits 
which a covenanted people receive from their God, fruits well worthy of 
the vows which have been so solemnly and openly announced, so that it 
may be pleasing to you to place our example before you.

What we have experienced, however, concerning the grace of God towards 
us, what gratitude to God His glory requires of us we dare not conceal, 
whatever our own merits may be in the sight of God and of men. Certainly 
from that day on which we first thought of entering upon a religious
Covenant with God and among ourselves,  we began to be called back from 
the gates of hell, and all our affairs, thus necessarily thrown onto our God, 
began to work out for the better, and so far with the most happy success. 
But if it seems good to your providence to think of entering into further 
religious society by a Covenant of this kind (which can be done to the 
advantage of purging and stabilising your affairs, as has been the case in 
our Britain from the Covenant recently entered upon), and from the 
interest of those whose business it is to deliberate and to deal with the 
other Reformed churches, (by the influence of that grace by which you are so 
strong among them all), so that many may enter upon the same plan of 
action with you, then there is no doubt that, through the grace of our most 
kind Lord and God Jesus Christ towards his Churches, it will be the case 
that not only will you maintain a most sure defence against the impending 
evils mentioned in your letter sent from Zealand last year, but that the 
Reformed Churches may unite amongst themselves by a new bond and 
closer association, invigorating and strengthening each other against all the 
attempts and assaults of the enemy. Thus might even the dislodged stones 
of the house of God throughout Germany be lifted from the debris and 
ruins  and be replaced into the building, and the glorious Temple of our 
Lord be restored in that same place whilst the professors of a pure religion 
in those Churches may be purified by the renewing of a right Spirit 
towards Him who had seen fit to strike them and, being returned  by a 
pact which never can grow old, be united and joined with us in the Lord, 
and at length relieved of the evils under which they have been groaning 
for so many years. In that day, so longed for and desired. (if it ever dawns, 
through the grace of God), a course of action may be worked out 
concerning the inter communion of the councils and Synods of the 
Reformed churches (by means of delegates and letters). By this means 
heresies may be crushed, schisms avoided and a peace provided for with 
God and amongst ourselves, whilst the glorious work of the Lord may be 
provided for in propagating the Gospel throughout the world and so the 
kingdom of Antichrist be overthrown. This we commend as being worthy 
to be desired and hoped for in your devout and prudent meditations, like a 
good seed in a most fertile soil.

Edinburgh,  4th June, 1644.
Pledged to your worthinesses, most fraternally, by the Pastors and Elders
of the National Synod of Scotland, in the name and by the mandate of them
all.

To the Churches of God which are in the United Provinces of Holland,
Zealand, and the Federated Provinces of Belgium.


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The Covenanted Reformation Defended Against Contemporary Schismatics: A Response and Antidote Primarily to the Neopresbyterian Malignancy and Misrepresentations, and the Manufactured "Steelite" Controversy, Found in Richard Bacon's A Defense Departed; With a Refutation of Bacon's Independency, Popery, Arminianism, Anabaptism and Various Other Heresies (Including an Exhibition of His Opposition to Scripture and the Covenanted Reformation, in General; and His Opposition to John Calvin, John Knox, the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland [Especially 1638-1649], Samuel Rutherford, George Gillespie, the Testimony of the Covenanter Martyrs, the Reformed Presbytery, the Puritan Reformed Church of Edmonton and a Host of Other Prominent Reformers from Past Generations, in Particular) -- With Copious Notes on Mr. Bacon's Backsliding and His Blackening of the Blue Banner; as Well as Various Replies to Other Modern Malignants by Greg Barrow (Greg Price, Reg Barrow, Larry Birger, et al.)

(Though set in the context of a debate with one individual, this book addresses a number of specific problems which plague the Presbyterian and Reformed churches of our day in general. "It conclusively and irrefutably demonstrates that those churches which today call themselves Presbyterian [and even many which claim a more general Reformed heritage] have grievously departed from the Scriptural standards and principles of the previous Spirit led Reformations [of the 16th and 17th centuries]. This will become progressively [and painfully] clear as the reader witnesses evidence upon evidence of defection from biblically based Reformation attainments (Phil. 3:16) -- and the burying and/or removing of the ancient Reformation landmarks. Ultimately, when the testimony and evidence [presented in this book] is weighed in light of Scriptural verities, it is entirely safe to say that the original Reformers would not only have sought negative ecclesiastical sanctions against our modern pseudo-Reformers, but in many cases negative civil sanctions as well," writes Reg Barrow in the "Publisher's Preface." This book, of over 300 [8.5" X 11"] pages, is also offered as a cerlox bound photocopy [$14.98 Canadian funds] or a Hardcover photocopy [$25.00 Canadian funds]. It is also free on most of the CDs in both the

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