Samuel Rutherford - Scottish Covenanters

Samuel Rutherford Refutes Roger Williams Regarding Toleration, Sectarianism and Peace

(The original spelling, from the 1649 edition of Rutherford's Free Disputation Against Pretended Liberty of Conscience, has been retained.)

Whether peace of civill societies be sure, where there is toleration of all Religions, and what peace Christians can have in Toleration.

Mr. Williams (Bloody Tenet, cap. 6. p.24,25.) civill peace is
pax civitatis, the peace of the citie, Jer.29.7. Pray for the peace of the Citie, which peace of the citie or citizens so compacted in a civill way of union, may be intire, unbroken, safe, &c. notwithstanding so many thousands of Gods people, the Jewes, were there in bondage, and would neither be constrained to the worship of the City of Babell, nor restrained from so much of the worship of the true God, as they could practise, as is plain in Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Daniel 3. in Daniel c.6. who would rather suffer, then desist from true worship, or practice false: So the Amoricans and wildest Papists keep the peace of their Townes and Cities safe and distinct, where there is no spirituall and heavenly peace.

Peace is commanded in the new Testament, no word of toleration of divers Religions, which are the Seminaries of discords between the seed of the woman and the Serpents seed, in all the New Testament, is to be found by precept, promise, or practice, nor any ground of repealing judicial Lawes, for punishing seducing Teachers.

Answ. All this is to prove that there may be no breach of Citie peace, or civil peace, where there are multitudes of sundry Religions. But 1. the man should remember, there is a Christian externall peace, which in an ordinarie providence can not be kept, where there be divers Religions, and sundry waies of worshipping Christ, & we beleeve our Saviour intendeth so much, Mat.10.34. Thinke not that I am come to send peace on earth, I came not to send peace, but the sword. v.35. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother. Luke 21.16. And ye shall be betrayed both by your parents, brethren, kinsfolks, and friends, and some of you they shall cause to be put to death. And what is the quarrell, but divers Religions and waies of worship about Christ? So Paul exhorteth to Christian peace, Ephes.4.3. Indeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, not because of contrary Religions, and many Sectaries called the holy partie that are to bee tolerated in meeknesse and mutuall forbearance: But v.5. Because there is but one Lord, one faith, one baptisme, and but one Religion whether Presbyteriall or Independent, and since the Apostles and Christ in the New Testament so often recommend peace, and never once insinuate forbearance in diversitie of Religion, and all the Apostles and Apostolike Church had but one Religion, toleration of many Religions not being a part of the New Testament liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, as is the libertie from Ceremonies, and righteousness by the Law, that the foolish Galathians affected, Gal.5.1,2, We conclude there is a Law against Toleration of many Religions, not any repealing of that Law in the New Testament, but divers Religions expressely forbidden as contrary to peace, and foretold to fall out as sad judgements, Mat.10.35. Mat.24.24. Luke 21.14,15,16,17,18. I Tim.4.1,2,3,4. 2 Tim.3.5,6,7,8. 2 Joh.10. Affirmanti incumbit probatio, Our Adversaries are obliged to give us precept, promise, or godly practice, why a morall sin forbidden and severely punished in the old Testament, should yet remaine a Moral sin in the new Testament, and yet not be punishable by men or Churches, yea Solomons toleration of the Idolatrous worship, I Kings 11. provoked the Lord to anger, yet his wives consciences should not have been compelled to leave off the worshipping of the Gods of the Moabites, Ammonites, by this way, Rom. 14.19. Let us follow after the thing that makes for peace (faith Paul) but Toleration of many Religions is contrary to peace, if one of them be the only true way, the rest are all false waies, the mixture of the two contrary seeds, the seed of the Serpent, and the seed of the woman must be against peace; and Paul exhorting to union and Christian peace, thinks many Religions, many Sects and opinions tolerated, 1 Cor.1.10. to be just contrary to peace. Now I beseech you brethren by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that here be no divisions among you, but that ye be perfectly joyned together in the same minde, and in the same judgement. Hence he seriously dehorts from Schismes and Sects, whereas upon supposition of divers Sects, all being godly, we should have some charitable precepts commanding men of divers Religions to beare with one another; but where is that written? and if they dwell together peaceably, why but they may marry together, Achab then in marrying the King of the Zidonians daughter, failed not, and he married her wicked Religion. Clotildis the daughter of Clodoveus married Almaricus the Arrian, King of the Wisigots, the Maid being educated in the sound faith, but Procopius, l. 1. Bell. Gothorum said, there was never peace between them. As for Mr. Williams Chaldean, and Heathenish or American peace, we leave it to himself; the peace the people of God was to pray for, Jer.29. was onely outward prosperity, freedome from the Sword of Egypt, and from other Nations, that the captive Church might also partake of that peace. But I hope Jeremiah bad not the people of God in Judea, under the Babylonish captivity, follow an Heathenish peace, with toleration of divers Religions, or yet a Religious peace, or a Church peace, that standeth well with many Religions, yea they are to denounce wrath against the Chaldee Religion, Jer.10.11. and would he have Christians all keeping such an Heathenish unity and peace, as Babylonians and Americans have, and in the mean time tolerate all Religions, Christians who have one God, and one faith, and one hope are to follow more then a Civill and Heathenish peace.

Libertines give us heathenish, not Christians peace under many Religions

It is therefore in vaine for Libertines to tell us, that Abraham lived long amongst the Canaanites, who were contrary to him in Religion, Gen.13. and Isaac with them, Gen.26. and Jacob twenty years with Laban an Idolater, Gen.31. Israel in Egypt 430 years, in Babylon 70. Israel under the Romans with Herodians, Pharisees. What of all these? the godly Rulers and Church, sometimes Pilgrims, sometimes servants, sometimes captives, never having the Sword nor power of it as Magistrates to take order with false Teachers, did peaceably dwell with them, ergo, godly Magistrates armed with the Sword, must now suffer the Sheep of Christ, to be worried and preyed upon by Wolves? this consequence is nothing, this is a facto ad jus, and to argue from the controverted practice of Heathen.

Excerpted from:
A Free Disputation Against Pretended Liberty of Conscience by Samuel Rutherford, pp. 331-334 (a SWRB rare bound photocopy [1649], reprinted 1993).

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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 US funds] or a Hardcover photocopy [$25.00 US funds]. It is also free on most of the CDs in both the REFORMATION BOOKSHELF CD set [30 CDs, ] and the PURITAN BOOKSHELF CD set [32 CDs, ])

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A Free Disputation Against Pretended Liberty of Conscience (1649 edition.)
Rutherford's Free Disputation
, though scarce, is still one of his most important works – with maybe only a few copies of the actual book left in existence. Though Rutherford is affectionately remembered in our day for his Letters, or for laying the foundations of constitutional government (against the divine right of kings) in his unsurpassed Lex Rex, his Free Disputation should not be overlooked – for it contains the same searing insights as Lex Rex. In fact, this book should probably be known as Rutherford's "politically incorrect" companion volume to Lex Rex. A sort of sequel aimed at driving pluralists and antinomians insane. Written against "the Belgick Arminians, Socinians, and other Authors contending for lawlesse liberty, or licentious Tolerations of Sects and Heresies," Rutherford explains the undiluted Biblical solution to moral relativism, especially as it is expressed in ecclesiastical and civil pluralism! (Corporate pluralism being a violation of the first commandment and an affront to the holy God of Scripture). He also deals with conscience, toleration, penology (punishment), and the judicial laws, as related to both the civil and ecclesiastical realms. Excellent sections are also included which address questions related to determining the fundamentals of religion, how covenants bind us, the perpetual obligation of social covenants (with direct application to the Solemn League and Covenant and the covenant-breaking of Cromwell and his sectarian supporters), whether the punishing of seducing teachers be persecution of conscience, and much more. Walker adds these comments and context regarding Rutherford's Free Disputation, "The principle of toleration was beginning to be broached in England, and in a modified shape to find acceptance there. Samuel Rutherford was alarmed, or rather, I should say, he was horrified, for he neither feared the face of man or argument. He rushed to the rescue of the good old view... It is not so easy to find a theoretical ground for toleration; and Rutherford has many plausible things to say against it. With the most perfect confidence, he argues that it is alike against Scripture and common sense that you should have two religions side by side. It is outrageous ecclesiastically, it is sinful civilly. He does not, however, take what I call the essentially persecuting ground. He does not hold that the magistrate is to punish religion as religion. Nay, he strongly maintains that the civil magistrate never aims at the conscience. The magistrate, he urges, does not send anyone, whether a heretic (who is a soul murderer--RB) or a murderer, to the scaffold with the idea of producing conversion or other spiritual result, but to strengthen the foundations of civil order. But if he gives so much power to the king, he is no lover of despotism withal: the king himself must be under law. To vindicate this great doctrine is the object of another book, the celebrated Lex Rex; of which it has been said by one competent to judge, that it first clearly developed the constitutionalism which all men now accept" (Theology and Theologians..., pp. 11-12). In our day Francis Schaeffer, and numerous others, have critiqued many of the problems found in modern society, but most have spent little time developing explicitly Biblical solutions – especially regarding the theoretical foundations that Rutherford addresses here. Rutherford's Free Disputation provides a detailed blueprint for laying the foundations that must be laid before any lasting, God-honoring solutions will be found. Furthermore, Rutherford and his writings were the enemies of all governments not covenanted with Christ. This book will give you a very clear picture as to why "the beast" (civil and ecclesiastical) has reserved his special hatred for such teaching. As Samuel Wylie noted "[t]he dispute, then, will not turn upon the point whether religion should be civilly established... but it is concerning what religion ought to be civilly established and protected, -- whether the religion of Jesus alone should be countenanced by civil authority, or every blasphemous, heretical, and idolatrous abomination which the subtle malignity of the old serpent and a heart deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, can frame and devise, should be put on an equal footing therewith" (Two Sons of Oil: or, The Faithful Witness For Magistracy and Ministry Upon a Scriptural Basis, softcover). Can our generation swallow Rutherford's hard, anti-pluralistic, Covenanter medicine, poured forth from the bottle of the first commandment, without choking on their carnal dreams of a free and righteous society divorced from God (and His absolute claims upon everyone and everything)? Not without the enabling power of the Holy Spirit -- that is for sure! In summary, this book answers all the hardest questions theonomists (and their wisest and best opponents) have been asking for the last 20-30 years (and these answers are much more in depth than any we have seen in the last couple of millennia [less about a century to account for the apostles]). As the reader will discover, Rutherford was a wealthy man when it came to wisdom (and much advanced theologically), and those who take the time to gaze into the King's treasure house, as exhibited in this book, will find that they are greatly rewarded. Furthermore, because of its uncompromising stand upon the Word of God, this book is sure to be unpopular among a wicked and adulterous generation. However, on the other hand, it is sure to be popular among the covenanted servants of King Jesus! This is one of the best books (in the top five anyway) for advanced study of the Christian faith. We have now obtained an easy-to-read, amazingly clear copy of this very rare, old treasure. Great price too, considering that a copy of the 1649 edition, containing this quality of print, would likely cost upwards of $1000 on the rare book market -- though it is unlikely you would ever see a copy for sale!


The Covenant of Life Opened: or, A Treatise of the Covenant of Grace (1655 edition.)
A exceedingly rare Covenanter classic! These are deep waters and this title is recommended for those who have already developed some fair strength in swimming the strong theological currents of the second Reformation. Containing some of Rutherford's most mature thought
, this book was published six years before Rutherford passed on to glory. Over 350 pages.


The Reformed Presbyterian Catechism (1853)
A manual of instruction, drawing from such notable authors as William Symington and J.R. Willson, presenting "arguments and facts confirming and illustrating the 'Distinctive Principles'" of the Reformed Presbyterian Church. Chapters deal with: "Christ's Mediatorial Dominion in general;" Christ's exclusive Headship over the Church;" "The Supreme and Ultimate Authority of the Word of God in the Church;" Civil Government, the Moral Ordinance of God;" Christ's Headship over the Nations;" "The Subjection of the Nations to God and to Christ;" The Word, or Revealed Will of God, the Supreme Law in the State;" "The Duty of Nations, in their National Capacity, to acknowledge and support the True Religion:" "The Spiritual Independence of the Church of Christ:" "The Right and Duty of Dissent from an immoral Constitution of Civil Government;" "The Duty of Covenanting, and the Permanent Obligations of Religious Covenants;" "The Application of these Principles to the Governments, where Reformed Presbyterians reside, in the form of a Practical Testimony;" and finally "Application of the Testimony to the British Empire." A most important book, as we approach (possibly) the end of the great apostasy and will be in need of preparing for the dawning of the glorious millennial blessings to come; the days prophesied in which the church "shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings" (Isa. 60:16).


The Works of George Gillespie (2 vol.)
Gillespie was one of the Scottish commissioners to the Westminster Assembly. One of the great theologians of all time ó almost singlehandedly steering this august Assembly at certain points. As Hetherington notes, "in all those debates no person took a more active part, or gained more distinction than George Gillespie," though he was the youngest man there. Furthermore, Hetherington calls him a "genius of the highest order," and writes that his work "dazzled and astonished his countrymen." He "held an undisputed position among the foremost of the distinguished men by whose talents and energy the Church of Scotland was delivered from the prelatic despotism" of that day. This rare work contains Gillespie's per-sonal notes during the Westminster Assembly and A Dispute Against English Popish Ceremonies. A Dispute Against English Popish Ceremonies is a rare classic on Reformed worship, taking on all the arguments related to the use of man-made ceremonies in worship. Burned by the Prelates (Episcopalians) just after it first appeared in 1637, this masterful defense of the regulative principle has yet to be answered (by those that oppose God's sovereignty in worship). It ably, and in a detailed manner, refutes the old errors of Prelacy and Romanism ó many of which are being resurrected in our day by writers like James Jordan (and others abandoning historic Presbyterian [i.e. Biblical] worship). Gillespie's practical "Treatise of Miscellany Questions," contains 22 chapters. Topics dealt with range from: whether prophets and prophesying continued beyond the primitive church (answered in the negative); whether a sound heart and an unsound head can consist together; what are heresies and what is their purpose; are infants to be baptized; should the civil government attach a negative sanction to not swearing to the Solemn League and Covenant (against one aspect of Theonomy); etc. These Works also contains a memoir of Gillespie's life and writings, written by Hetherington, Gillespie's sermons before the house of commons, and much more!


Wholesome Severity Reconciled With Christian Liberty, or, The True Resolution of a Present Controversy Concerning Liberty of Conscience (1644)
One of our most rare and valuable resources. A masterpiece! Wholesome Severity was written during the sitting of the Westminster Assembly and demonstrates why Gillespie is considered one of the most influential Divines of the seventeenth century. Here we have the question stated (regarding liberty of conscience), the middle (or biblical) way between Popish tyranny and Schismatizing liberty approved, and also confirmed from Scripture, with the testimonies of Divines, yea of whole churches added to vindicate Christ's kingship (over the idolatry of the rule of an ill-informed, sinful conscience sitting in judgement upon the truth of the Word of God). The chief arguments of exception used in (Roger Williams) The Bloudy Tenet, The Compassionate Samaritane, M.S. to A.S. etc. are examined herein and Gillespie also deals with many of the thorny questions related to the abiding validity of the Old Testament judicial laws. Eight distinctions are added for qualifying and clearing the whole matter. In conclusion, a moving brotherly appeal is addressed to the five Apologists (Independents at the Assembly) for choosing accommodation rather then toleration. This is classic Scottish (covenanted) Presbyterianism at its best, a work that can be read over and over with increasing profit! This exceedingly rare essay is not found in Gillespie's Works or The Presbyterian Armoury, however it is also available on two cassettes for $4.77.


Aaron's Rod Blossoming; or, the Divine Ordinance of Church Government Vindicated
The remainder of the title reads: "So as the Present Erastian Controversy Concerning the Distinction of Civil and Ecclesiastical Government, Excommunication and Suspension, is Fully Debated and Discussed, from the Holy Scriptures, for the Jewish and Christian Antiquities, from the Consent of Later Writers, from the True Nature and Rights of Magistracy, and from the Groundlessness of the Chief Objections made Against the Presbyterial Government, in Point of a Domineering Arbitrary Unlimited Power." In short, this book deals with the biblical view of the separation of church and state, and is especially pertinent concerning the modern political climate, in which the old Erastian tree of civil ecclesiastical interference is growing strong and spreading much poisonous fruit. As with just about everything else Gillespie wrote, this book has been widely recognized as THE classic in its field. Three major sections cover "Of the Jewish Church Government;" "Of Christian Church Government;" and "Of Excommunication from the Church, and of Suspension from the Lord's Table." Lachman, in his Preface writes, "It presents the classic Reformed point of view, one now little heard and perhaps less understood. Gillespie writes carefully and clearly, in many respects resembling the better know John Owen in the clarity and power of his reasoning." Bannerman states, "This famous treatise is unquestionably the most able, learned, systematic, and complete work on the Erastian controversy in existence. It deserves, and will repay, the most careful study" (The Church of Christ, vol. 2., p. 432). Beattie (Memorial Volume, p. xxxvi, 1879) called this book, "the ablest plea for Presbytery ever made."


Sketches of the Covenanters
Stirring accounts of sacrifice and martyrdom for the Reformed Faith that will bring tears to eyes of all but the backslidden. Follows the chain of events which gave Scotland two Reformations and a Revolution. Knox, the National Covenant, the Westminster Assembly, the Field Meetings, and much more is covered. The history of great battles for Christ and His royal rights are recounted in this moving history book. Sheds much light upon the warfare with the dragon for true liberty. One of our best history books, highly recommended!


An Explanation and Defence of the Terms of Communion, Adopted by the Community of Dissenters, etc.
Defends the inescapable necessity of creeds and confessions, while promoting a fully creedal church membership. Shows how the law of God obliges all Christians "to think the same things, and to speak the same things; holding fast the form of sound words, and keeping the ordinances as they have been delivered to us" (Col. 3:13). After laying some basic groundwork, this book proceeds to defend the six points of the "Terms of Ministerial and Christian Communion Agreed Upon by the Reformed Presbytery." These six points are the most conservative and comprehensive short statements of consistent Presbyterianism you will likely ever see. Besides the obvious acknowledgement of the alone infallible Scriptures, the Westminster Standards, and the divine right of Presbyterianism, these points also maintain the perpetual obligation of our Covenants, National and Solemn League, the Renovation of these covenants at Auchensaugh in 1712, and the Judicial Act, Declaration and Testimony emitted by the Reformed Presbytery. In short, this book sets forth adherence to the whole of the covenanted reformation, in both church and state, as it has been attained by our covenanting forefathers.


The Divine Right of Church Government and Excommunication: A Peaceable Dispute for the Perfection of the Holy Scripture in Point of Ceremonies and Church Government in which the Removal of the Service Book is Justified. The Six Books of Erastus Against Excommunication are Examined; with a Vindication of the Eminent Divine Theodore Beza Against the Aspersions of Erastus, The Arguments of Mr. William Pryn, Richard Hooker, Dr. Morton... and the Doctors of Aberdeen; Touching Will-Worship, Ceremonies, Imagery, Idolatry, Things Indifferent, An Ambulatory Government; The Due and Just Power of the Magistrate in Matters of Religion, and the Arguments of Mr. Pryn, in so Far as they Side with Erastus, are Moderately Discussed. (Facsimile, 1646, also contains: "Scandal and Christian Libertie")
Over 750 pages which Walker says "contains the amplest exposition and vindication of our old ecclesiastical principles." Rutherfurd here gives a classic defense of Presbyterianism, touching on both church government and "the due and just power of the Magistrate in matters of Religion." Regarding worship, he touches on imagery, idolatry, things indifferent, ceremonies and will worship. Sherman Isbell describes this book as follows: "Rutherford asserts that there is delineated in the NT a form of Church government by elders and Presbyteries which is of permanent obligation; more-over, that discipline and suspension from the sacraments are vested with church officers rather than with the Christian civil magistrate. The book also expounds the Westminster Assembly's principle that the mode of acceptable worship is regulated by the will of Christ as king speaking in the Scriptures; the Church is not at liberty to alter or invent anything in worship or government which goes beyond the pattern in God's Word. Rutherford's writings during the London years provide a significant commentary on the theology of the Westminster Confession and Catechisms" (Dictionary of Scottish Church History and Theology
, pp. 735-36). Innes notes that Rutherford had "no hesitation in including among matters of faith -- first, fundamental points; second, superstructions built upon the fundamentals; third, circa fundamentalia, things about matters of faith;" making this an important look at the teaching surrounding the Scottish view of the visible church, close communion, etc. An exceedingly rare gem by this celebrated Presbyterian divine and Scottish commissioner to the famous Westminster Assembly.


The Due Right of Presbyteries or a Peaceable Plea for the Government of the Church of Scotland... (1644)
Almost 800 pages long, Rutherfurd here deals with church membership, separation from the visible church, the civil magistrate and religion, communion among churches, the errors of the independents (specifically in New England) and much more. This could be considered the Lex Rex
of church government -- another exceedingly rare masterpiece of Presbyterianism! Characterized by Walker as sweeping "over a wider field than most. Most essential points which Gillespie has barely touched, Rutherfurd carefully considers; as, for instance, the nature of the visible church as such, and its constituent elements. Even in the Erastian controversy he is a necessary supplement to his great contemporary. It is something to me altogether amazing, the mass of thinking about Church questions you have in those writings." Bannerman, in his Church of Christ calls this a "very learned and elaborate treatise." Here is a sample of Mr. Rutherford's writing: "A private subtraction and separation from the Ministry of a known wolf and seducer,... this the Law of nature will warrant... as Parker saith from Saravia, 'it is lawful to use that blameless and just defence, if the bad church-guide cannot be deposed.' So the son may save himself by a just defence in fleeing from his mad father, or his distracted friend coming to kill him. Now this defence is not an authoritative act, nor [a] judicial act of authority, but a natural act that is common to any private person, yea to all without the true Church as well as within to take that care in extreme necessity, for the safety of their souls, that they would do for the safety of their bodies" (1642, cited in The Original Covenanter and Contending Witness magazine).


Fourteen Communion Sermons (2nd edition, 1877)
All who relish Samuel Rutherford's Letters will welcome the reprint of this volume, preached by him at sacramental occasions in the years 1630, 1634, and 1637. Andrew Bonar, who wrote the preface and notes, added two other sermons from 1630 and 1633 respectively. All breathe the same spirit as the famous Letters and are full of racy remark and illustration, bearing on Scriptural doctrine and Christian experience.


Unity and Uniformity in the Church (1881)
This item lays out the case for unity among churches, proving its assertions from: (1.) throughout Scripture; (2.) from our Lord's declaring His will both in precept and prayer; (3.) from apostolic practise; and (4.) from the covenanted Reformation's "Solemn League and Covenant" which lead to the production of the Westminster standards. Houston notes that in the Apostolic church "the government of the church was one and common wherever churches were planted. It was Presbyterian, and neither Prelatic, a system of monarchial despotism, nor Congregational, a system of popular democracy." This biblical and Presbyterian uniformity was considered the apostolic, visible and doctrinal manifestation of the scriptural injunction to "one Lord, one faith, (and) one baptism." Houston also points out that "the only true and safe way of union is based on the platform of Scriptural uniformity; while that which is framed on allowing diversity in doctrine, and differences in government and worship, is a mere human contrivance, and its effect is to sanction and perpetuate divisions (which is to sanction schism under the false pretence of unity--RB), and to mar the prospect of an ultimate happy union in the church of Christ." Biblical union and uniformity is shown to be based on "agreement in doctrine, worship, discipline, and government." Moreover, the author contends that, "this is to be constantly sought after by men united in mind and heart, pledged to God and to one another; it is to be externally manifested, and to be diligently labored for, that it may be generally and universally prevalent. It is never to be viewed as impracticable. This was the main design of the convocation of the Westminster Assembly." The eschatological aspect of visible unity is also noticed, shedding valuable light on such postmillennial strongholds as, "The watchmen on the walls of Zion shall see eye to eye, they shall lift up the voice together, and together shall they sing" (Isa. 52:8) and "The Lord shall be King over all the earth; in that day there shall be one Lord, and His name one" (Zech. 14:9). This book is full of faithful encouragement and is one of the best introductions to this topic we have seen.


The Reformed Presbyterian Catechism (1853)
A manual of instruction, drawing from such notable authors as William Symington and J.R. Willson, presenting "arguments and facts confirming and illustrating the 'Distinctive Principles'" of the Reformed Presbyterian Church. Chapters deal with: "Christ's Mediatorial Dominion in general;" Christ's exclusive Headship over the Church;" "The Supreme and Ultimate Authority of the Word of God in the Church;" Civil Government, the Moral Ordinance of God;" Christ's Headship over the Nations;" "The Subjection of the Nations to God and to Christ;" The Word, or Revealed Will of God, the Supreme Law in the State;" "The Duty of Nations, in their National Capacity, to acknowledge and support the True Religion:" "The Spiritual Independence of the Church of Christ:" "The Right and Duty of Dissent from an immoral Constitution of Civil Government;" "The Duty of Covenanting, and the Permanent Obligations of Religious Covenants;" "The Application of these Principles to the Governments, where Reformed Presbyterians reside, in the form of a Practical Testimony;" and finally "Application of the Testimony to the British Empire." A most important book, as we approach (possibly) the end of the great apostasy and will be in need of preparing for the dawning of the glorious millennial blessings to come; the days prophesied in which the church "shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings" (Isa. 60:16).


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. Write for a sample of this highly recommended publication at: P.O. Box 131, Pottstown, PA, 19464, USA). 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. 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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