The Covenanted Reformation Defended


The topics treated are not adapted to the tastes of many in this age, and to most persons the principles discussed will be as riddles ­ quite enigmatical (Ps. 128:2). The testimony of Christ's witnesses has never been acceptable to the world, least of all to backsliders. Nevertheless, there is warrantable ground to expect that what is contained in the following pages will be helpful to some in following ages, who may be moved by the Spirit of God to inquire and search for the "landmarks which the fathers have set." Among these will be found that grand "international document," the Solemn League (and Covenant ­ RB), ready to be placed in the foundation of the millennial temple. "When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory," and, with an eye to that highest and most desirable end, this contribution is with humble confidence committed to his patronage (David Steele, Reminiscences: Historical and Biographical of a Ministry in the Reformed Presbyterian Church, During 53 Years, [1883] SWRB reprint 1997, pp. 3-4).

These modern pigmies are too far dwarfed in intellectual stature to measure the altitude ­too long, and too deeply steeped in earth's politics, to estimate the latitude, 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 (Reformed Presbytery, A Short Vindication of Our Covenanted Reformation, [1879] SWRB reprint 1996, p. 4).

(T)hese two witnesses have always testified ­not formally against pagans or infidels as such; but ­against apostate Christians, as composing an organized and complex system of opposition to the Lord and His Anointed. And just here, the witnesses have detected the secret of Antichrist's successful enterprise among the human family... "Many false prophets are gone out into the world... this is a deceiver and an Antichrist," 2 John 7. The combination is ostensibly on the side and in the interest of Christ, and the elements of which Antichrist is composed were obviously professing Christians, "They went out from us, but they were not of us, for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us," I John 2:19. Here is the apostasy, and so the witnesses are fully borne out in asserting that Antichrist is a great Christian apostasy! To trace the origin and development, in the organization and modifications of this enemy of all righteousness, is the special work of Christ's witnesses (David Steele, The Two Witnesses: Their Cause, Number, Character, Furniture and Special Work, [1859] SWRB reprint 1998, pp. 17-18).

(T)hese witnesses are called and commissioned to testify especially against Antichrist ­a false christ, and therefor an opposing christ. But Christ is to be considered either personally or mystically; either abstractly in his personal rights and prerogatives, or in the concrete, in the rights and immunities of his church. There is this prejudice, too prevalent, against Christians testifying against Christians! This we are often told, is contrary to the law of charity. We have not so learned Christ. They are not all Israel which are of Israel. Much of the business of these two prophets is to oppose prophets ­to prophesy against the shepherds, Ezek. 34:2. Moses with his miracles must confront the magicians with their enchantments, Exod. 8:19. Elijah must confront the prophets of Baal, 1 Kings 18:25. Paul must counteract false apostles, 2 Cor. 11:13. In short, the direct object of these witnesses' testimony is apostate christendom ­those who depart from the faith, 1 Tim. 4:1 ­who have gone out from fellowship and renounced the doctrines of the apostolic church, 1 John 2:19. Their special work is to testify against error and its propagators and abettors, together with ungodliness, the natural fruit of error, rather than against pagans (David Steele, The Two Witnesses: Their Cause, Number, Character, Furniture and Special Work, [1859] SWRB reprint 1998, p. 14).

We shall also, according to our places and callings, in this common cause of religion, liberty, and peace of the kingdoms, assist and defend all those that enter into this League and Covenant, in the maintaining and pursuing thereof; and shall not suffer ourselves, directly or indirectly, by whatsoever combination, persuasion, or terror, to be divided or withdrawn from this blessed union and conjunction, whether to make defection to the contrary part, or to give ourselves to a detestable indifferency or neutrality in this cause, which so much concerneth the glory of God, the good of the kingdom, and honour of the king; but shall, all the days of our lives, zealously and constantly continue therein against all opposition, and promote the same, according to our power, against all lets and impediments whatsoever; and what we are not able ourselves to suppress or overcome, we shall reveal and make known, that it may be timely prevented or removed: All which we shall do as in the sight of God (The Solemn League and Covenant, subscribed by the Westminster Divines in 1643, Article VI).

The LORD said, Verily it shall be well with thy remnant; verily I will cause the enemy to entreat thee well in the time of evil and in the time of affliction. Shall iron break the northern iron and the steel? Thy substance and thy treasures will I give to the spoil without price, and that for all thy sins, even in all thy borders. And I will make thee to pass with thine enemies into a land which thou knowest not: for a fire is kindled in mine anger, which shall burn upon you. O LORD, thou knowest: remember me, and visit me, and revenge me of my persecutors; take me not away in thy longsuffering: know that for thy sake I have suffered rebuke. Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts. I sat not in the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced; I sat alone because of thy hand: for thou hast filled me with indignation. Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, which refuseth to be healed? wilt thou be altogether unto me as a liar, and as waters that fail? Therefore thus saith the LORD, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth: let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them. And I will make thee unto this people a fenced brazen wall: and they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee: for I am with thee to save thee and to deliver thee, saith the LORD. And I will deliver thee out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem thee out of the hand of the terrible (Jer. 15:11-21).


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WESTMINSTER DIVINES

The Westminster Confession of Faith
"The product of Puritan conflict," stated Shedd, reaching "a perfection of statement never elsewhere achieved.""All that learning the most profound and extensive, intellect the most acute and searching, and piety the most sincere and earnest, could accomplish, was thus concentrated in the Westminster AssemblyÕs Confession of Faith, which may be safely termed the most perfect statement of Systematic Theology ever framed by the Christian Church," writes Hetherington in The History of the Westminster Assembly of Divines (p. 345, emphasis added). "These are worth an hundred victories on the battle field. We do not fear to say of them that they are the finest transfusion into uninspired language of the sublime, awful, blessed truths of the Word of God which the Church has as yet been honored to make... Never can the Covenanters be robbed of the immortal honor of having, while at the summit of their power, published this great principle to the world" noted J.A. Wylie, in praise of the Westminster Standards (cited in JohnstonÕs Treasury of the Scottish Covenant, p. 101). Concerning the Shorter Catechism, which is one of the items also included in this book, Mitchell, in his Westminster Assembly: Its History and Standards, notes: "...it is a thoroughly Calvinistic and Puritan catechism, the ripest fruit of the Assembly's thought and experience, maturing and finally fixing the definitions of theological terms to which Puritanism for half a century had been leading up and gradually coming closer and closer to in its legion of catechisms" (p. 431). The WCF is the greatest of all the creeds of the Christian church. The church of Christ cannot be creedless and live. Especially in an age of doubt and confusion, it is her duty to define and proclaim the one true faith. Nowhere has the Reformed church done this so effectively as in the Westminster family of documents. This book represents Reformed thinking at its purest and best. It was intended, as part of the covenanted reformation taking place during its compilation, to be adopted as the binding confessional standard for every individual, family, court, church, and legislature in the British Isles. Study it carefully and we think that you will see why this same goal should be covenanted to by all serious minded followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the definitive edition of the WCF and its many related documents. It contains Manton's "Epistle to the Reader," the Larger Catechism, Shorter Catechism, "The Sum of Saving Knowledge," "The National Covenant (1638)," "The Solemn League and Covenant (1643)," "Acknowledgment of Publick Sins and Breaches of the Covenant (1648)," "The Directory for the Publick Worship of God (1645)," The Form of Presbyterial Church Government (1645)," "The Directory for Family Worship (1647)," an extensive index and more! "Every effort has been made, by sparing no expense or labour... to render it the Standard Edition," note the publishers. An essential book for every Christian home, church, and state! Next to the Bible itself, no other book can furnish you with as much necessary spiritual information. Related item: William Hetherington's History of the Westminster Assembly ($9.98/cerlox bound photocopy or $19.00/Hardcover photocopy).

(Hardcover) $39.95 - 50% = $19.98
(Softcover) $24.95 - 40% = $14.97
(Pocket edition, just the Confession: without scripture proofs, the Catechisms, etc.)
$4.95-20%= $3.96
(The Confession on cassette)
$2.98
(Larger Catechism on 2 cassettes)
$5.96
(Shorter Catechism on cassette)
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ANONYMOUS

Protesters Vindicated: Or, A Just and Necessary Defence of Protesting Against, and Withdrawing from This National Church of Scotland on Account of Her Many Gross and Continued Defections (1716)
The title continues: "More particularly, her approving of, and going into the legal establishment of the Prelatic constitutions of England. The generality of ministers swearing, in the Oath of Abjuration, to maintain Erastianism, Prelacy, and English Popish Ceremonies. Non-Jurants joining with Jurants, judicially approving that practice to be free of scandal. The Church's establishing tyranny in government, against all who will not join in communion with her, and approve her practices without redress of grievances. Wherein these and several other causes of withdrawing are proven to be justly chargeable on the Church, demonstrated to be contrary to the Word of God and Reformed principles of this Church, and just grounds of withdrawing, and setting up judicatures distinct from her; and the objections of Jurants and others fully answered." This is a classic, detailed statement of the old covenanted principles and the biblical attainments of the second Reformation (like the Solemn League and Covenant, the Westminster standards, etc.). It is also an excellent defense against the modern malignants who counsel Christ's children to remain in the backsliding and covenant breaking denominations that abound in our day. Very Rare! 270 pages.
(Bound photocopy) $99.95-85%=14.99
(Hardcover photocopy) $24.00 (US funds)



COVENANTED GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND (Alexander Peterkin, editor)

Records of the Kirk of Scotland, Containing the Acts and Proceedings of the Generals Assemblies, From the Year 1638 Downwards, As Authenticated by the Clerks of Assembly; With Notes and Historical Illustrations, by Alexander Peterkin (1838 edition)
"The object of the present work is to present to the public, in a form that may be generally accessible, the history of one of the most interesting periods in the annals of our National Church, by the republication of the Acts and Proceedings, at and subsequent to the era of her second Reformation; and, combined therewith, such historical documents and sketches as are calculated to preserve the memory of an important, and, ultimately beneficial revolution," notes Peterkin in his introduction. This is one the most valuable publications we offer related to second Reformation history and the many important questions that were debated (and oftentimes settled) during this watershed period -- before, during and after the sitting of the Westminster Assembly. It also contains some indispensable information on the Protester/Resolutioner controversy (which reveals many valuable lessons for Reformed Christians today), including excerpts from some lost books and papers written by the Protesting Covenanters. The excerpts from James Guthrie's The Waters of Sihor, or the Lands Defectione, in which Guthrie enumerates the errors of the Resolutioners, as well as the marks of malignancy, is one prime example. Other rare Protester documents (inveighing against the "pretended Assemblies" of the Resolutioners), signed by the likes of Samuel Rutherford and Robert Traill are also included. Very rare and very valuable -- a gold mine for the serious student of the second Reformation! 684 pages.
(Bound photocopy) $99.95-75%=24.99
(Hardcover photocopy) $34.00 (US funds)



REFORMED PRESBYTERY

Act, Declaration, And Testimony, For The Whole Of The Covenanted Reformation, As Attained To, And Established In, Britain and Ireland; Particularly Betwixt The Years 1638 and 1649, Inclusive. As, Also, Against All The Steps Of Defection From Said Reformation, Whether In Former Or Later Times, Since The Overthrow Of That Glorious Work, Down To This Present Day (1876)
Upholds the original work of the Westminster Assembly and testifies to the abiding worth and truth formulated in the Westminster family of documents. Upholds and defends the crown rights of King Jesus in church and state, denouncing those who would remove the crown from Christ's head by denying His right to rule (by His law) in both the civil and ecclesiastical spheres. Testifies to the received doctrine, government, worship, and discipline of the Church of Scotland in her purest (reforming) periods. Applies God's Word to the Church's corporate attainments "with a judicial approbation of the earnest contendings and attainments of the faithful, and a strong and pointed judicial condemnation of error and the promoters thereof" (The Original Covenanter and Contending Witness, Dec. 17/93, p. 558). Shows the church's great historical victories (such as the National and Solemn League and Covenant, leading to the Westminster Assembly) and exposes her enemies actions (e.g. the Prelacy of Laud; the Independency, sectarianism, covenant breaking and ungodly toleration set forth by the likes of Cromwell [and the Independents that conspired with him]; the Erastianism and civil sectarianism of William of Orange, etc.). It is not likely that you will find a more consistent working out of the principles of Calvinism anywhere -- and fittingly this work has been called "the most profoundly reasoned document ever issued by the (R.P.) Church." It deals with the most important matters relating to the individual, the family, the church and the state. Sets forth a faithful historical testimony of God's dealings with men during some of the most important days of church history. A basic text that should be mastered by all Christians.
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REFORMED PRESBYTERY

Auchensaugh Renovation of the National Covenant and Solemn League and Covenant; with the Acknowledgement of Sins and Engagement to Duties as they were Renewed at Auchensaugh in 1712... Also the Renovation of These Public Federal Deeds Ordained at Philadelphia, Oct. 8, 1880, By the Reformed Presbytery, With Accommodation of the Original Covenants, in Both Transactions, to their Times and Positions Respectively (1880 ed.)
"In 1712, at Auchensaugh, the Covenants, National and Solemn League, were renewed... At the renewal the covenant bonds were recognized as binding the descendants of those who first entered into those bonds. The Covenanters, however, sought to display the true intent of those Covenants with marginal notes. These notes explained that the Church of Jesus Christ, in Scotland (and around the world), must not join hands with any political power in rebellion to the crown rights of King Jesus. The Covenanters pledged the Covenanted Reformed Presbyterian Church to the support of lawful magistracy (i.e. magistracy which conformed itself to the precepts of God's Word) and declared themselves and their posterity against support of any power, in Church or State, which lacked biblical authority." (From "About the Covenanted Reformed Presbyterian Church" newsletter). An excellent introduction (historical and moral) regarding the reasons, motives and manner of fulfilling the duty of covenanting with God. Especially helpful concerning the Biblical view of the blessings (for covenant-keepers) and cursings (for covenant breakers) related to covenanting. As noted on page 37, "the godly usually in times of great defection from the purity and power of religion, and corruption of the ordinances of God's worship, set about renewing their covenant, thereby to prevent covenant curses, and procure covenant blessing; as we find both in scripture record, 2 Chron. 15:12-13; 29:10; 34:30-31; Ezra 10:3, and in our own ecclesiastical history." Times like ours certainly call for a revival of the Scriptural ordinance of covenanting, for "[t]he nations throughout Christendom, continue in league with Antichrist and give their strength to the beast. They still refuse to profess and defend the true religion in doctrine, worship, government and discipline, contrary to the example of the kingdoms of Scotland, England and Ireland in the seventeenth century" (p. 136 in this book).
(Rare bound photocopy) $19.95-70%=5.99
(Hardcover photocopy) $19.00 (US funds)



COVENANTED GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND & OTHERS

Various Official Acts, Declarations, Protestations, etc., Concerning the Covenanted Reformation
Contains 24 rare documents from the period 1638-1650. One document, "The Act of Covenant Renovation" (1880) by the Reformed Presbytery (which was a faithful renewal of the National Covenant and the Solemn League and Covenant [adapted to the present time], with a confession of public sins), is added from outside this period to illustrate the continuing obligations that rest upon the moral person (civilly and ecclesiastically). Among the seventeenth century documents we find much (from both the church and the state) that relates to the central place that covenanting played in the second Reformation. We also find various authoritative international testimonies against Popery, Prelacy and Schism (i.e. Independency, Cromwell, etc.), and for biblical covenanted uniformity, divine right Presbyterian church government, and apostolic worship. Military documents related to the second Reformation are also added. One proclamation by Charles I is even included, to illustrate Royalist opposition to Reformation. 686 pages.
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CHURCH OF SCOTLAND (Alexander Peterkin, editor)

The Book of the Universal Kirk of Scotland
Contains the earliest official records (acts and proceedings) of the Established Reformed Church in Scotland, covering the period from 1560 to 1616. Peterkin calls them "the only sure and satisfactory memorials of the course of Ecclesiastical affairs in the times immediately succeeding the Reformation." Lee, Clerk of the General Assembly in 1828 writes (regarding the originals), "there is no difficulty in proving that the volumes in question were laid on the table of the General Assembly which met at Glasgow in 1638; and that they were pronounced by that Assembly to be true and authentic Registers of the Kirk of Scotland." Concerning this copy of "The Booke" ("for the first time fully printed from the copies in the Advocates' Library"), Lee further states that these records exhibit, "the real character of the internal government of this national church. They display the operation of the principles by which the first Reformers and their immediate successors were actuated. They demonstrate that these men were not more distinguished by zeal for the truth, than by loyalty to the head of the government, attachment to true principles, (I do not say of toleration--for that was a term which they certainly did not employ or approve)--of religious liberty and civil subordination. They bear testimony to the strictness and impartiality of ancient discipline. They vindicate the character of those illustrious men whose names have been unjustly aspersed, but who, both by their doctrine and lives,--by their unwearied exertions and their patient sufferings,--left an example, not indeed or faultless excellence, but assuredly of the most noble, magnanimous, and fearless adherence to the standards of our constitution. These Registers also contain much that is capable of correcting erroneous representations of historical facts with regard to the internal state of the kingdom-- institutions, habits, and customs, as well as the morals of the people, and the spirit which was most prevalent at particular periods in various districts of the land... they prove, that from the very first moment, it was the determined object of the leaders of the Reformation, to establish such a Presbyterian Government, as was at last, with the utmost difficulty completed... they deserve to be preserved with care, as the most venerable remnants of a distant age--as the earliest annuls of our infant church... of confessors and martyrs, who counted not their lives dear to them; and who when they thought it necessary, never shrunk from sealing their testimony with their blood... (they) present the seal and superscription of glory to God, and good will to man--peace to the church, and happiness to the state" (pp. xi-xii). John Knox, the first name listed in the first record of the first General Assembly (in 1560), of course, plays a prominent role in much of what is recorded here. 631 pages.
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(Hardcover photocopy) $29.00 (US funds)



Other Related FREE Resources On the Web:



Saul in the Cave of Adullam: A Testimony Against the Fashionable Sub-Calvinism of Doug Wilson (Editor of Credenda/Agenda Magazine); and, for Classical Protestantism and the Attainments of the Second Reformation by Reg Barrow
Doug Wilson and others at Credenda/Agenda used their magazine to publicly attack and slander Reg Barrow (President of Still Waters Revival Books) in a column that they call the "Cave of Adullam." This invective was Credenda's response to Barrow's comments on Knox Ring (where Barrow noted that John Calvin would have excommunicated John Frame for the apostasy that he manifests in his new book on worship). Numerous private attempts were unsuccessfully made (by Barrow and others) to call Wilson to repentance for this slander. Ultimately, charges for violation of the ninth commandment were brought (in accord with Matt. 18:15-17) against Wilson by Barrow. This book recounts the salient points of the controversy (and the Matthew 18 proceedings) between Wilson and Barrow -- in their actual email debates! Also included is Barrow's demonstration of why Calvin would have excommunicated Frame and Greg Price's Testimony Against The Unfounded Charges of Anabaptism. These debates are a classic example of the differences that exist today between paleopresbyterians (Barrow) and neopresbyterians (Wilson). Wilson's charges against Barrow, of Anabaptism, separatism, etc. are all refuted under a mountain of quotations from Reformation source documents. Barrow's refutations of Wilson's spurious charges bring to light many aspects of Reformation thought that have been lost or forgotten in our day. Besides the initial controversy (over Frame and worship) and the restoration process (set forth in Matthew 18:15-17), this book should be of special interest to all of those who love the "old paths" of truth -- trod by our forefathers in the Reformed faith -- for some of the most pressing issues of our day (regarding the individual, church and state) are addressed herein. Classic statements, cited by Barrow, not only exhibit the wisdom which God granted the best Reformers of both the first and second Reformations, but also specifically demonstrate how Wilson and many other modern Protestants actually reject the Reformation at many points (all their protests not withstanding). "And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in" (Isa. 58:12). This item is also available as a bound photocopy for $7.98 (US funds) or a Hardcover photocopy for $19.00 (US funds).



Why the PCA is Not a Duly Constituted Church and Why Faithful Christians Should Separate from this Corrupted "Communion" by Larry Birger
Two letters from Larry Birger, Jr. to the session of his former congregation in the PCA, with an historical introduction. Birger states, "This work is emitted by way of testimony against the defections from the reformation of the true religion granted by God in ages past, in hopes of playing some small part in the edification of God's people currently languishing under such defected and defecting denominations." It spotlights the differences between classic Presbyterian thought [paleopresbyterianism] and what today is but a pale imitation [neopresbyterianism] of the Reformation attainments that have been won [at the cost of much suffering and many lives] in the past. This is a good practical introduction to ecclesiology, testimony-bearing, and second Reformation thought.



PURITAN REFORMED SESSION

A Brief Defence of Dissociation in the Present Circumstances (1996)
This work explains why Christians should separate themselves from those churches which deny biblical truth and its implications. It defends this position using many Reformation source documents. Samuel Rutherford has been especially misunderstood concerning separation. Examples of misleading and seriously flawed presentations of Rutherford's position on the church and separation have been seen in Walker's The Theology and Theologians of Scotland 1560-1750, Bacon's The Visible Church and Outer Darkness and a host of other works -- all of which overlook foundational second Reformation truths set forth by Rutherford and his fellow Covenanters. This book clearly demonstrates, from Rutherford's own actions and teaching (during the Protester/Resolutioner controversy in the Scottish church), how far off many previous works on this subject have been. It is the best short introduction to questions regarding the visible church and separation which we list.
(Bound photocopy) $9.95-60%=3.98



CLARKSON, ANDREW

"The Reformed View of Schism"
The Reformers often said "that to avoid schism we must separate." This should give the perceptive reader some indication of how badly misunderstood the biblical teaching regarding schism and separation (which should be differentiated in many ways) has become in our day. Sadly, some of the most anti-Reformed work on this subject has been written by contemporary individuals, who, though calling themselves Reformed, "understand neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm" (1 Tim. 1:7). This excerpt from Clarkson's Plain Reasons for Presbyterians Dissenting should contribute much to correcting the problem of unbiblical ecumenism and place this doctrine (of biblical unity in the visible church) back on its Scriptural foundation -- which was recovered during the Reformation. Clarkson cites Beza, Rutherford, Gillespie, Dickson, Durham, McWard (Rutherford's "disciple"), Marshal, Watson, Owen, Burroughs, and many others, while defending the truth about schism. Objections brought against the Reformation view of schism are also carefully answered. This is probably the single best medium length treatment of this subject.)



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