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Title: The Covenants And The Covenanters - Covenants, Sermons, and Documents of the Covenanted Reformation
Author: Various
Language: English
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[Transcriber's Note: All items in the Errata have been corrected in the
text, however the Errata has still been included for completeness.]


[Illustration: THE GRASSMARKET, EDINBURGH.]

THE COVENANTS
AND
THE COVENANTERS


COVENANTS, SERMONS, AND DOCUMENTS
OF
THE COVENANTED REFORMATION.
_WITH ILLUSTRATIONS._


INTRODUCTION ON THE NATIONAL COVENANTS
BY
REV. JAMES KERR, D.D., GLASGOW


EDINBURGH:
R.W. HUNTER, GEORGE IV. BRIDGE.



THE COVENANTS AND THE COVENANTERS.

[Illustration]



PREFATORY NOTE.


The Covenants, Sermons, and Papers in this volume carry the readers back
to some of the brightest periods of Scottish history. They mark
important events in that great struggle by which these three kingdoms
were emancipated from the despotisms of Pope, Prince, and Prelate, and
an inheritance of liberty secured for these Islands of the Sea. The
whole achievements of the heroes of the battlefields are comprehended
under that phrase of Reformers and Martyrs, "The Covenanted Work of
Reformation." The attainments of those stirring times were bound
together by the Covenants, as by rings of gold.

The Sermons here were the product of the ripe thought of the main
actors in the various scenes--men of piety, learning, and renown.
Hence, the nature, objects, and benefits of personal and national
Covenanting are exhibited in a manner fitted to attract to that
ordinance the minds and hearts of men. The readers can well believe
the statement of Livingstone, who was present at several ceremonies of
covenant-renovation: "I never saw such motions from the Spirit of God. I
have seen more than a thousand persons all at once lifting up their
hands, and the tears falling down from their eyes." In the presence of
the defences of the Covenants as deeds, by these preachers, the baseless
aspersions of novelists and theologues fade out into oblivion.

True Christians must, as they ponder these productions, be convinced
that the Covenanters were men of intense faith and seraphic fervour, and
their own hearts will burn as they catch the heavenly flame. Members of
the Church of Christ will be stirred to nobler efforts for the Kingdom
of their Lord as they meditate on the heroism of those who were the
"chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof;" and they will behold with
wonder that "to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle that she
might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished
for a time and times and half a time, from the face of the serpent." And
Statesmen will discover how Princes, Parliaments, and Peoples united in
the hearty surrender of themselves to the Prince of the kings and
kingdoms of the earth; and will be aroused to promote that policy of
Christian Statesmanship which, illustrating the purpose and will of God,
the Father, shall liberate Parliaments and nations from the bonds of
false religions, and assert for them those liberties and honours which
spring from the enthronement of the Son of Man, as King of kings and
Lord of lords.

This volume of documents of olden times is sent out on a mission of
Revival of Religion, personal and national, in the present times. It
would do a noble work if it helped to humble classes and masses, and led
them to return as one man to that God in covenant from Whom all have
gone so far away. A national movement, in penitence and faith, for the
repeal of the Acts Rescissory and the recognition of the National
Covenants would be as life from the dead throughout the British Empire.
The people and rulers of these dominions shall yet behold the brilliancy
of the Redeemer's crowns; and shall, by universal consent, exalt Him who
rules in imperial majesty over the entire universe of God. For, "The
seventh angel sounded, and there were great voices in heaven, saying,
The kingdoms of this world are become the Kingdoms of our Lord and of
His Christ."

GLASGOW, _December, 1895_.



_ERRATA._

Page 29, line 8, instead of "1745," _read_ 1712.

Page 29, line 10, instead of "Crawfordjohn," _read_ Auchensaugh, near
Douglas.



CONTENTS.

                                                        PAGE
PREFATORY NOTE,                                            5

THE NATIONAL COVENANTS--_Introduction_,                   11


THE NATIONAL COVENANT--

    THE NATIONAL COVENANT, OR CONFESSION OF FAITH,        39

    EXHORTATION TO LORDS OF COUNCIL,                      52

    SERMON AT ST. ANDREWS. By Alexander Henderson,        54

    EXHORTATION AT INVERNESS. By Andrew Cant,             77

    SERMON AT GLASGOW. By Andrew Cant,                    83

    SERMON AT EDINBURGH. By Andrew Cant,                 109


THE SOLEMN LEAGUE AND COVENANT--

    THE SOLEMN LEAGUE AND COVENANT,                      131

    ACT OF GENERAL ASSEMBLY,                             136

    EXHORTATION AT WESTMINSTER. By Philip Nye,           138

    ADDRESS AT WESTMINSTER. By Alexander Henderson,      151

    SERMON AT WESTMINSTER. By Thomas Coleman,            159

    SERMON AT WESTMINSTER. By Joseph Caryl,              190

    SERMON AT LONDON. By Thomas Case,                    228

    SERMON AT LONDON. By Thomas Case,                    265

    ORDINANCE OF THE LORDS AND COMMONS,                  303

    EXHORTATION BY THE WESTMINSTER ASSEMBLY,             307

    SERMON AT LONDON. By Edmund Calamy,                  312


THE NATIONAL COVENANTS--

    CORONATION SERMON AT SCONE. By Robert Douglas,       349

    CHARLES II, TAKING THE COVENANTS,                    386

    THE ACTS RESCISSORY,                                 398

    THE TORWOOD EXCOMMUNICATION,                         408

    ACT AGAINST CONVENTICLES,                            412

    THE SANQUHAR DECLARATION,                            416

    PROTESTATION AGAINST THE UNION,                      419

    SECESSION FROM THE REVOLUTION CHURCH,                434



_Illustrations._

THE GRASSMARKET, EDINBURGH,                   _Frontispiece_

GREYFRIARS CHURCH, EDINBURGH,                             38

ST. MARGARETS AND THE ABBEY, WESTMINSTER,                130



THE NATIONAL COVENANTS


Every person who enters rightly into covenant with God is on the pathway
to gladness and honour. He comes into sympathy with Him who from
eternity made a covenant with His chosen. He gives joy to Him who loves
to see His people even touch the hem of His garments, or eagerly grasp
His Omnipotent hand. The Spirit of God on the heart of the believer
draws him into the firmest attachment to the Beloved. Under His gracious
influence, the bonds of prejudice against covenanting are as green withs
and the covenanter stands forth in liberty and in power. So also, when
the people of a kingdom together come into covenant with the Lord. In
the character of Israel as a covenanted people, there shines out a
special splendour. One of the most brilliant events in Judah's chequered
history is that in which, in the days of the good king Asa, "they
gathered themselves together to Jerusalem and entered into a covenant to
seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart and with all
their soul; and all Judah rejoiced at the oath." More than any other
nation of modern times, the people of the British Isles resemble in
their covenant actings the people of Israel; and Scotland is the likest
to Judah. Certainly, Scotland's covenants with God were coronets on
Scotland's brow.

At the beginning of the sixteenth century, Scotland was a moral waste.
The Papacy, which had attained the zenith of its power on the
Continent, reigned in its supremacy throughout the land. In Europe,
indeed, there were some oases in the desolation, but here there were
"stretched out upon the kingdom the line of confusion and the stones of
emptiness." The chaos was as broad and deep as that of the Papal States
before the time of Victor Emanuel. By the presence of the Papacy, mind,
conscience, heart, were blasted; while ignorance, superstition,
iniquity, increased and prevailed. But the Lord that saw the affliction
of Israel in the land of the Pharaohs, was "the same yesterday"; and His
time of visitation was one of love. The first signs of the coming
deliverance were the martyr fires kindled to consume those who were
beginning to cry for liberty. The heroic efforts and successes of the
Reformers on the Continent, in the presence of Papal bulls and
inquisitions, were a trumpet call to independence to the people of this
priest-cursed land; and many responded right nobly, ready to stand amid
the faggots at the stake rather than bear the iron heel that bruised
them.

Those valiant men were led to bind themselves together in "bands," or
covenants, and together to God, in prosecution of their aims. At Dun, in
1556, they entered into a "Band" in which they vowed to "refuse all
society with idolatry." At Edinburgh, in 1557, they entered into "ane
Godlie Band," vowing that "we, by His grace, shall, with all diligence,
continually apply our whole power, substance, and our very lives to
maintain, set forward and establish the most blessed Word of God." At
Perth, in 1559, they entered into covenant "to put away all things that
dishonour His name, that God may be truly and purely worshipped." At
Edinburgh, in 1560, they entered into covenant "to procure, by all means
possible, that the truth of God's Word may have free passage within this
realm." And these covenants were soon followed by the Confession of
Faith prepared by Knox and five other Reformers, and acknowledged by the
three Estates as "wholesome and sound doctrine grounded upon the
infallible truth of God;" by an Act abolishing the "jurisdiction of the
bishop of Rome within this realme," and forbidding "title or right by
the said bishop of Rome or his sect to anything within this realme," and
by the first General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. Seven years
thereafter, 1569, the Parliament recognised, by specific Act, the
reformed Church of Scotland as "the only true and holy kirk of Jesus
Christ within this realm." The young Church of Scotland was based on the
Word of God, anti-papal, free, reformed, and covenanting, and in that
character acknowledged by the State. "At this time," writes D'Aubigne,
"the reformed church was recognised and established by the State--a
triumph similar to that of Christianity when under Constantine the
religion of the Crucified One ascended the throne of the Cæsars." In
spite of the vacillating policy of the King and Parliament, and their
repeated attempts to impose the order of bishops on the Church, the
reformation proceeded steadily, and a great advance was reached by the
National Covenant of 1580.

This National Covenant, or Second Confession of Faith, was prepared by
John Craig, minister of Holyrood House. Its original title was "Ane
Short and Generall Confession of the True Christiane Faith and
Religione, according to God's verde and Actis of our Perlamentis,
subscryved by the Kingis Majestie and his Household, with sindrie
otheris, to the glorie of God and good example of all men, att
Edinburghe, the 28 day of Januare, 1580, and 14 yeare of his Majestie's
reigne." The immediate occasion of this memorable transaction was the
discovery of a secret dispensation from the Pope consenting to the
profession of the reformed religion by Roman Catholics, but instructing
them to use all their influence in promotion of the "ancient faith."
Though the King was still in sympathy to some degree with the policy of
Rome against the "new faith," he could not dare to resist the
indignation of the people against Romish intrigues, and their demand for
a national bond as a means of defence. By the National Covenant, the
Covenanters declared their belief "in the true Christian faith and
religion, revealed by the blessed evangel, and received by the Kirk of
Scotland, as God's eternal truth and only ground of our Salvation;"
renounced "all kinds of Papistry," its authority, dogmas, rites and
decrees, and pledged themselves to maintain "the King's majesty, in the
defence of Christ, against all enemies within this realm or without." It
was signed by the King and the Privy Council and throughout the kingdom,
and was subscribed again in 1590 and 1596. "The Kirk of Scotland," wrote
Calderwood, "was now come to her perfection and the greatest puritie
that ever she attained unto, both in doctrine and discipline, so that
her beautie was admirable to forraine kirks. The assemblies of the
sancts were never so glorious." This period was the meridian of the
first Reformation.

But the time of Scotland's rest and joy was short indeed. Ere the
sixteenth century opened, the ecclesiastical edifice, raised by Knox,
the Melvilles and other reformers, was almost in ruins. The monarch had
been taught in his youth the doctrine of the divine right of kings, and
he was now determined to assert it. Both church and state must be laid
in the dust before his absolute will. Both had been delivered from a
popedom on the banks of the Tiber, now they will be confronted by a
popedom on the banks of the Thames; and the despotism of the Pope shall
be even exceeded by the despotism of the Prince. Scotland is now to be
the scene of a struggle with issues more momentous than any ever waged
on any field of battle. Shall civil and religious liberty be saved from
captivity by tyrants on the throne? Shall free assemblies and free
parliaments be extinguished in the land that has, by its people and its
Parliament, abolished the authority of Rome and taken its National
Covenant with God? For nearly a hundred years this conflict was destined
to continue till, at the Revolution Settlement, the divine right of
kings was banished the realm.

Kingcraft forthwith commenced its work of demolition and proceeded to
deliver its blows in rapid succession. Summoning to its aid Laud and
other sycophantic counsellors, it subtly resolved to lay its hand on the
very conscience of the church. Mitres were offered some of her more
prominent ministers, for Charles I. knew that Presbyterianism is the
friend of civil freedom, and that Prelacy in the Church will more
readily consent to despotism in the State. The "Black Acts" were passed
confirming the "king's royal power over all states and subjects within
this realm," discharging all assemblies held "without our Sovereign
Lord's special licence and commandment," and requiring ministers to
acknowledge the ecclesiastical superiority of bishops. The assembly was
induced to adopt a proposal for the appointment of a number of
commissioners to sit and vote in Parliament, become members of the Privy
Council, and Lords of Session; and such honours would not readily be
declined. Then came the Court of High Commission, instituted for the
purpose of compelling the "faithful" ministers to acknowledge the
bishops appointed by the king--a court called into existence by royal
proclamation, "a sort of English Inquisition," writes Dr. M'Crie,
"composed of prelates, noblemen, knights, and ministers, and possessing
the combined power of a civil and ecclesiastical tribunal." After this
came the Act giving full legal status to the "Anti-Christian hierarchy"
of Episcopacy in Scotland; the formal consecration of the first Scottish
prelates; the five articles of Perth; the Canons and Constitutions
Ecclesiastical--a complete code of laws for the Church issued without
any consultation with the representatives of the Church; an Act charging
all His Majesty's subjects to conform to the order of worship
prescribed by him, and the Semi-Popish Book of Common Prayer and
Administration of the Sacraments which was imposed upon all parishes and
ministers. By these and other measures, the sovereign impiously assumed
that spiritual power which belonged to Christ alone, as King and Head of
the Church. Here, in its worst form, was "the absolutism that had so
long threatened the extinction of their liberties; here was the heel of
despotism openly planted on the neck of their Church, and the crown
openly torn from the brow of Christ, her only King."

During all these years, the Reformers were resisting with courage the
assaults of the enemy. At times there were secessions from their ranks
when, under the bribes and threats of prince and prelate, some
ingloriously succumbed. But, as Renwick said later in the struggle, "the
loss of the men was not the loss of the cause." The champions of the
Reformation, led by Andrew Melville, feared not to arraign that monarch
who once told his bishops that "now he had put the sword into their
hands they should not let it rust." They tabled petitions, published
protests, obtained interviews, but all proved powerless to arrest the
career of those who were bent on the annihilation of the Church, and the
establishment on its ruins of the royal Supremacy. In one of their
protests, they call upon the Estates to "advance the building of the
house of God, remembering always that there is no absolute and undoubted
authority in the world excepting the sovereign authority of Christ the
King, to whom it belongeth as properly to rule the Kirk according to the
good pleasure of His own will, as it belongeth to Him to save the Kirk
by the merit of His own sufferings." The attempt to impose Laud's
liturgy gave opportunity for an outburst of the slumbering flame of
discontent. Janet Geddes flung a stool at the head of the officiating
Dean, and the tumult that ensued extended far and wide. A tablet,
recently erected to her memory in St. Giles, states that "she struck the
first blow in the great struggle for freedom of conscience." The
proclamation by the Council of the State, condemning all meetings
against the Episcopal Canons and Service Book, brought the Reformers
accessions from all parts of the kingdom. Could an oppressed people bear
the tyranny longer? But, will they take up arms and scatter carnage and
blood throughout the land? No, their weapons will not be carnal, but
mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. They will go to
the Covenant God of the kingdom, and they will stand before Him, saying,
"Thine are we, David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse." Scotland will
renew her covenant with God.

The National Covenant of 1580 was produced. An addition was made, in two
parts. The part summarizing the Acts of Parliament, condemning the
papacy and ratifying the confessions of the Church, was drafted by
Warriston; that with special religious articles for the time was by
Henderson. The spot chosen for the solemnities of the first subscription
was the Churchyard of Greyfriars, Edinburgh. "The selection," writes the
historiographer-royal for Scotland, "showed a sound taste for the
picturesque. The graveyard in which their ancestors have been laid from
time immemorial stirs the hearts of men. The old Gothic Church of the
Friary was then existing; and landscape art in Edinburgh has by repeated
efforts established the opinion that from that spot we have the grandest
view of the precipices of the Castle and the national fortress crowning
them. It seemed a homage to that elevating influence of grand external
conditions which the actors in the scene were so vehemently
repudiating." In that memorable spot the Reformers gathered "the
legitimate charters" of their nation into one document and presented
them before heaven. Johnston unrolled the parchment in which these
Scottish charters were inscribed, and read them in a clear, calm voice.
"When he had finished, all was still as the grave. But the silence was
soon broken. An aged man of noble air was seen advancing. He came
forward slowly, and deep emotion was visible in his venerable features.
He took up the pen with a trembling hand and signed the document. A
general movement now took place. All the Presbyterians in the Church
pressed forward to the Covenant and subscribed their names. But this was
not enough; a whole nation was waiting. The immense parchment was
carried into the churchyard and spread out on a large tombstone to
receive on this expressive table the signature of the Church. Scotland
had never beheld a day like that." "This," says Henderson, "was the day
of the Lord's power, in which multitudes offered themselves most
willingly, like dewdrops of the morning. This was, indeed, the great day
of Israel, wherein the arm of the Lord was revealed--the day of the
Redeemer's strength, on which the princes of the people assembled to
swear their allegiance to the King of kings." Charles I. understood well
the force of that mighty movement when, on hearing of it, he said, "I
have no more power in Scotland than a Doge of Venice." The renewal of
that covenant, 28th February, 1638, was a thunderbolt against despotism
in Scotland, and the world over. "The chariots of God are twenty
thousand."

The covenant was transcribed into hundreds of copies, carried throughout
the country from north to south and east to west, and subscribed
everywhere. The spirit that thrilled the thousands filling and
overflowing Greyfriars Church and churchyard, spread with rapidity over
the whole land. It combined the "whole nation into one mighty phalanx of
incalculable energy." The last sparks of the King's fury burst out in
secret instructions to his followers to use all power against the
"refractory and seditious," and in a threat to send his army and fleet
to Scotland, but these soon died away. The "refractory and seditious"
king eventually surrendered to the Covenanters, abolished courts,
canons, liturgies, and articles, and consented to the calling of a
General Assembly. This was the first free General Assembly of the Church
of Scotland for the last forty two years. It was held in Glasgow, on
21st November, 1638; and its work in the overthrow of Prelacy and the
royal supremacy and in the re-assertion of the spiritual independence of
the Church, was one of the most signal successes in the still
progressing conflict of the second Reformation.

Meanwhile, Charles II. was endeavouring to secure the recognition of his
absolute monarchy in England. There also he rigorously demanded
submission to despotic claims. By abolishing Parliaments, annulling
charters, appointing the star chamber, he introduced a reign of terror.
In the room of those legislative bulwarks of liberty, which the nation
had constructed through the skill and experience of generations, a "grim
tyranny," writes Dr. Wylie, "reared its gaunt form, with the terrible
accompaniments of star chamber, pillory, and branding irons. It reminded
one of sunset in the tropics. There the luminary of the day goes down at
a plunge into the dark. So had the day of liberty in England gone down
at a stride into the night of tyranny." The oppressed people turned to
the Covenanters of Scotland for sympathy and counsel. The negotiations
resulted in the preparation of an international league in defence of
religion and liberty. Against the banner of the King they raised the
banner of the Covenant. Alexander Henderson drafted the new Bond. The
document breathed the spirit of the National Covenant of Greyfriars,
condemned the Papal and Prelatic system, pled for a constitutional
monarchy, and outlined a comprehensive programme for future efforts in
extending the principles of the Reformation. On September 25, 1643, it
was subscribed in St. Margarets Church, Westminster. The members of
Parliament in England and the Westminster Assembly of Divines stood with
uplifted hands, and, as article after article was read, they took this
Oath to God. The Commissioners from Scotland to the Westminster Assembly
united with the people of England in the solemnity of the day. Thus the
representatives of the two nations stood before the Lord. This was the
Solemn League and Covenant, "the noblest in its essential features,"
writes Hetherington, "of all that are recorded among the international
transactions of the world." The Parliament and Westminster Assembly
issued instructions for its subscription throughout the kingdom. The
classes and the masses in England, Scotland, and Ireland received it
with gladness. In the face of a despotism unexampled in the history of
these lands, high and low, rich and poor, bowed themselves as one before
the throne of God. "For at that time day by day there came to David to
help him, until it was a great host like the host of God." Through this
League and Covenant, the people of the British Isles were protected by
Omnipotence, and were as invincible against the despotic forces that
assailed them as were the white cliffs of their native shores against
the huge galleons of the invincible Armada.

    "To Thine own people, with Thine arm,
      Thou didst redemption bring;
    To Jacob's sons and to the tribes
      Of Joseph that do spring."

These Covenants were prepared and subscribed in a spirit of deep piety.
But for the sterling spirituality of the Reformers there would never
have been a Covenanted Reformation. The work of Covenanting is itself a
lofty spiritual exercise, and requires a people possessing much of the
Spirit of the living God. Every public act for the sake of Christ should
be the outcome of an impassioned devotion. The reading of even the scant
records of those times of Covenanting, telling of the prayers, and
tears, and love, and courage of those who gave themselves to God, is
fitted to inspire the coldest heart with noblest emotions. Their inward
piety made them men of power, and enabled them to bear down every
barrier to the kingdom of their Lord erected by the craft of prince and
priest. It is when Israel would call her Lord, Ishi, my Husband, that
"the names of Baalim would be taken out of her mouth and be remembered
no more." It was when the Christians of the Mearns had communion at "the
table of the Lord Jesus," ministered by Knox, that they "banded
themselves to the uttermost of their power to maintain the true
preaching of the Evangel of Christ." The historian, Burton, describes
the movement that resulted in the subscription of the National Covenant
as the fruit of "a great religious revival," and the Reformation as "the
great revival." And Kirkton says, "I verily believe there were more
souls converted to Christ in that short time than in any other season
since the Reformation." Their intense piety prepared the Covenanters for
the persecutions to follow and for crowns of martyrdom. In and around
their whole Covenanting procedure, there was the atmosphere of a
paradise of communion with God.

These Covenants exhibited the great ecclesiastical breadth of the
Covenanters. The enthronement of the Word of God over the Church was one
of the commanding objects of the Reformers. If only the Church would
hear and honour Christ, her King, speaking in that Word, then would she
be clothed with the sun, and have on her head a crown of twelve stars.
The Reformers resolutely set themselves to apply the Word to the Church,
in all her departments; she must be such an institution as her Lord had
instructed. The will of priest, and prince, and presbyter, and people,
must be set aside in the presence of the will of her sole Sovereign. The
works of demolition and reconstruction must go on together. Built
according to the design of her Lord, her bulwarks, and towers, and
palaces shall command the admiration of the world. The pattern was not
taken from Rome, nor "even from Geneva, but from the blessed Word of
God." No quarter shall be given to hierarchy of Pope or prelate in the
government of the Church, to the "commandments of men" in the doctrine
of the Church, or to unscriptural rites in the worship of the Church. So
great was their success that the Reformers could say that they "had
borrowed nothing from the border of Rome," and had "nothing that ever
flowed from the man of sin." Often the battle raged most fiercely round
the standard of the independence of the Church, but ever the Covenanters
emerged from the struggle victorious. Valorously did they maintain that
Christ ought to "bear the glory of ruling His own kingdom, the Church,"
and fearlessly they defied the monarchs in their invasions of Messiah's
rights. Besides, they were not satisfied with the attainment of a united
Church in their own kingdom alone. They were filled with the spirit of
the Saviour's prayer, "That they all may be one." In the present times,
those who publicly contend for the reunion of a "few scattered
fragments" of the Reformed Church are belauded as men of large hearts
and liberal aims. The Covenanters embodied in their Solemn League and
Covenant an engagement to "bring the Churches of God in the three
kingdoms to the nearest conjunction and uniformity;" and they also
subsequently included the Churches on the Continent in their efforts for
ecclesiastical union. For the purposes of these ecclesiastical unions,
the Westminster Assembly sat for five years in Westminster, after
signing the Solemn League, and framed a basis for union in the standards
they produced--which still testify that the members of that Assembly
were in advance of their times. Yes, the Covenanters were not narrow,
sectarian, bigoted; but large, liberal, Catholic.

These Covenants were deeds of lofty imperial significance. The
reformation of the Church, however complete, would have been a limited
Reformation. There are two powers ordained of God and both must be
reformed. The comprehensive aims of the Covenanters embraced both State
and Church. Their deeds were civil as well as ecclesiastical. A Church
thoroughly reformed and Christian in a State unreformed and
anti-Christian, would never have satisfied the Reformers. The State also
must be no longer a vassal of the Pope, it must be a servant of the
blessed and only Potentate. God in His word here also as in the Church
must be joyfully granted the exclusive supremacy. The Covenanters vowed
to defend the King in the defence and preservation of the reformed
religion. They secured the recognition of the Church by Parliament. The
members of Parliament themselves became Covenanters. In short,
Christianity pervaded and adorned the constitution and administration of
civil government in the United Kingdom. The Covenanters were convinced
that no power, except that provided by the Word of God, could possibly
resist the arbitrary claims of the monarchs, secure the safety of the
State, and promote civil liberty in the land. Religion in the realm of
citizenship is the very crown of any realm. In the face of the
despotisms of Pope and Monarch, it would not have been surprising had
the Covenanters invented and endeavoured to apply to the State the
modern theory of religious equality, which denies the right of the State
to even acknowledge the Prince of the kings of the earth. If ever they
dreamt of such a theory, their thought of the supremacy of Jesus would
make it vanish as a dream. Much less would they ever admit the
possibility of deliverance by the theory of a concurrent recognition of
all religions, as this would lower a nation to the position of
heathenism with its "gods many," and would soon involve the strongest
empire in disaster. Papalism in the State in the ascendancy, absolute
Monarchism in the State, Secularism in the State, Polytheism in the
State--these are four despotisms, and must be flung with detestation out
of all Christian lands. The State that is not on the side of Christ, and
Christ alone, is in antagonism to all the moral forces of the universe.
Its throne is against the throne of the Highest. The Scottish
Covenanters placed the crown of the State on the Head of its rightful
Monarch, and so lifted their kingdom to imperial grandeur.

There are some spots of this world that have secured undying memorials,
as they have been stages for the settlement of questions of momentous
importance in the destinies of nations. There is Marathon in Greece,
Waterloo in France, Sadowa in Austria, and Trafalgar on the sea, but
probably the scenes associated with these pale in glory in the presence
of Greyfriars and Westminster, where nations won unparalleled victories
in the surrender of themselves to their Covenant God. These two spots
were the earthly centres of spiritual movements of mighty magnitude, and
possess in the eyes of the God of Heaven and of the principalities about
His Throne a splendour not eclipsed by any that ever shone on a
battlefield. When the day of millennial glory comes, the people of the
new Era will not look to the Sadowas and the Sedans, but to such spots
as these where the greatest heroes of the pre-millennial times reflected
millennial light and anticipated millennial triumphs. For there, by an
army without sword or spear, the absolutism of Monarchies and the
tyranny of Hierarchies were scattered like chaff before the wind. As the
Covenanters entered into and rejoiced in their vows to God, the
Imperialism of King Jesus conquered the Imperialism which prince and
priest had been enforcing with rigour; and this Imperialism shall be in
the ascendancy yet the world over when the empires of earth shall crown
the Christ of God as King of the Church and King of nations.

But the Covenanters have scarce time to estimate and enjoy the benefits
of their conquests before a tempest burst forth suddenly and threatened
the destruction of all the attainments of the past. In a moment of
national infatuation the Stuart dynasty was restored to the throne, and
Charles II. instantly proceeded to set up once more the Dagon of the
Royal Supremacy and enforce its recognition by all his power. On two
occasions he had subscribed the Solemn League, and he had issued
instructions in its favour, professing warm admiration of both Covenants
and of the Reformation. But now the perjured monarch employed all his
craft and power to overthrow the whole Covenanted Reformation in Church
and State. Parliament, the slave of his behests, passed the Act of
Supremacy, giving legislative sanction to all the rights he claimed. The
Acts Rescissory followed, declaring the Covenants unlawful and seditious
deeds, and repealing all Parliamentary laws in their favour. Then came
the abolition of Presbyterianism, Indulgences, the restoration of
Prelacy, the appointment of High Commission Courts, the ejection of all
ministers who would not obey the royal mandates, and the erection of
scaffolds. The monarch seemed determined to extinguish every spark of
liberty in the kingdom. The reign of peace was supplanted by a reign of
terror. The Covenants were broken, burnt, buried, by public orders. The
Covenanters met to worship God in the moorlands and dells, setting a
watch for the dragoons of Claverhouse. Thousands upon thousands of the
noblest patriots were imprisoned, tortured, mangled, shot. At times
their indignation burst forth through arms, as at Rullion Green,
Drumclog, and Bothwell Bridge. Their most brilliant victories were on
the scaffold when they passed triumphantly to the crown; for there was
"a noble army" of martyrs, from Argyle the proto-martyr of the "Killing
times," down to the youthful Renwick, last of the white-robed throng.
The ruin wrought by Charles I. in England "we have likened," says Dr.
Wylie, "to a tropical sunset, where night follows day at a single
stride. But the fall of Scotland into the abyss of oppression and
suffering under Charles II. was like the disastrous eclipse of the sun
in his meridian height, bringing dismal night over the shuddering earth
at the hour of noon."

    "The hills with the deep mournful music were ringing,
    The curlew and plover in concert were singing;
    But the melody died 'midst derision and laughter,
    As the hosts of ungodly rushed on to the slaughter.

    "When the righteous had fallen and the combat had ended,
    A chariot of fire through the dark cloud descended;
    The drivers were angels on horses of whiteness,
    And its burning wheels turned on axles of brightness.

    "On the arch of the rainbow the chariot is gliding;
    Through the paths of the thunder the horsemen are riding;
    Glide swiftly, bright spirits, the prize is before you,
    A crown never fading, a kingdom of glory."

Throughout the long thirty years of persecution, the decimated
Covenanters still lived. The Banner for Christ's Crown and Covenant was
still waved by them through the blood-stained land. Oftentimes they
issued declarations and protests against the tyranny of their
oppressors, many of which concluded with those inspiriting words at the
close of the last of them, "Let King Jesus reign and all His enemies be
scattered." The most famous of these papers was the Sanquhar
Declaration. On the 22nd of June, 1680, twenty horsemen rode into the
burgh of Sanquhar, and at the market cross read their declaration, in
which they "disowned Charles Stuart that has been reigning (or rather
tyrannizing as we may say) on the throne of Britain these years bygone,
as having any right, title to, or interest in the said Crown of Scotland
for government, as forfeited several years since by his perjury and
breach of Covenant both to God and His Kirk, and usurpation of His Crown
and Royal Prerogatives therein." That courageous act of those twenty
patriots proclaimed the doom of the House of Stuart.

    "Men called it rash, perhaps it was crime:
    Their deed flashed out God's will, an hour before the time."

A few years afterwards, the nations of England and Scotland endorsed the
action of Richard Cameron and his compatriots. The blood of Guthrie, and
Cargill, and MacKail had cried for vengeance, and the God of the
Covenanters hurled the Stuart dynasty from the throne. "Alas! is it not
true?" writes Carlyle in his _Heroes_, "that many men in the van do
always, like Russian soldiers, march into the ditch of Schwiednitz, and
fill it up with their dead bodies, that the rear may pass over them
dry-shod, and gain the honour? How many earnest, rugged Cromwells,
Knoxes, poor peasant Covenanters, wrestling, battling for very life, in
rough, miry places, have to struggle and suffer and fall, greatly
censured, bemired, before a beautiful Revolution of eighty-eight can
step over them in official pumps and silk stockings, with universal
three-times-three!"

The stedfast followers of the Covenanters expected that, on the
cessation of the persecution, there would be the restoration of the
whole Covenanted Reformation in Church and State. But their just
expectations were doomed to bitter disappointment. Neither by Church nor
State was any proposal ever seriously entertained of renewing the
national Covenants with God, as at the commencement of the Second
Reformation. Instead, the Acts Rescissory were permitted to remain on
the Statute-book, and the Covenants to lie under the infamy to which the
King and the Royalists had consigned them. The State exerted an Erastian
control of the Church, and the Church yielded submission. Her standards
were assigned her before she met; her assemblies were summoned and
prorogued at the sovereign's pleasure; Presbyterianism was established,
not because it possessed a _jus divinum_ but because the people willed
it; her government was controlled through the admission into her
ministry, by royal request, of many who had accepted indulgences and
were supporters of Prelacy. The whole period of the Second Reformation
was almost annihilated by the settlement of the Church, not according to
the periods, 1638 and 1643, but according to 1592. The Acts of the
Assemblies of the Revolution Church never once mention the Solemn League
and Covenant. Ministers who pled for its recognition exposed themselves
to the censures of their brethren. An attempt by the Church, soon after
the Revolution to assert the supremacy of Christ and the Church's
independence under Him, issued in the dissolution of the Assembly by the
royal Commissioner. And this departure of the Church and State at the
Revolution was strikingly and sadly endorsed when, at the Union with
England, Scotland consented that the Prelatic Establishment in England
should be allowed to remain "inviolable for ever." A few "stones had
been gathered from the wreck of the Reformation to be incorporated with
the new structure, but the venerable fabric itself was left in ruins."

Yes! the Revolution came but not the Reformation. The sword was returned
to its scabbard, but Church and State did not return to their Covenant
God. Into sympathy and fellowship with institutions founded on
principles subversive of those they had vowed to maintain, the faithful
followers of the Reformers and Martyrs could not enter. The banner for
Christ's Crown and Covenant had waved over the fields of Scotland when
the storms of persecution had raged most fiercely, and how could they be
justified in dropping it now when the God of Zion was pleased to command
a calm. The minority who thus preserved an unbroken relationship with
the pre-Revolution and Martyr period continued to meet in "Societies"
for sixteen years, when they were joined by a minister--Rev. John
M'Millan--who was driven out of the Revolution Church because of his
testimony for the whole Covenanted Reformation. Some years afterwards,
another minister espoused the cause then represented by Mr. M'Millan and
the United Societies, and this union resulted in the constitution of the
Reformed Presbytery. Two years afterwards, in 1712, the members of the
Reformed Presbyterian Church engaged in the work of Covenant Renovation,
at Auchensaugh, near Douglas, in Lanarkshire. Since that time this
Church has had an unbroken history, excepting a disruption in 1863, when
a majority departed from her distinctive position.

But what is the bearing of Scotland's Covenanted Reformation of three
centuries ago, on the Scotland of the present times? Has it no
instruction for all times? Is the whole prolonged struggle, with all its
chequered scenes, but a panorama on which spectators may gaze with but
passing emotions? Is it all but a story with interest, however
thrilling, for the study of the antiquarian? If so then the whole
contendings of Reformers and Covenanters and Martyrs sink into
insignificance indeed; they have been assigned a magnitude far beyond
their desert. If the doctrines and principles for whose application in
Church and State they fought and suffered, were unscriptural, then let
an enlightened posterity bury with shame the story of their warfare. Or,
if they were of mere temporary importance, then the Covenanters merit no
higher admiration than that accorded to those who, like the Armenians
now in Turkey, cry out against the oppressions of the civil power. But
these doctrines and principles were brought from the Word of God and
possess imperishable excellency. Their glory was not temporal; it is
eternal. And they shall yet undergo a resurrection and receive
universally a joyous recognition.

The obligation of these national Covenants on the British nation still
has been oftentimes demonstrated by indisputable arguments. The Word of
God teaches in the most pointed manner this principle of devolving
Covenant obligation. The God of Israel threatened His people with
chastisement for breaking the Covenant He had made with their fathers
four hundred years before. The Covenanters themselves bound their
posterity to God by express words in their bonds. The renovation of
Covenants at various times proceeded on this principle. In the time of
persecution, the sufferers again and again declared that they and others
were bound by the vows of their fathers. "God hath laid engagements upon
Scotland," said Argyle on the scaffold, "we are tied by Covenants to
religion and Reformation; and it passeth the power of all the
magistrates under heaven to absolve from the oath of God." The
scriptural character of their contents infers the perpetual obligation
of these Covenants. All who accept the Scriptures as the Word of God,
must renounce the errors condemned by the Covenants and contend for the
truths those who subscribed them pledged themselves to maintain. No
Christian should ever dare to seek relief from the claims of Christ; it
is his honour to acknowledge and live and die for them. These deeds were
as national as any in the statute-book and therefore they are obligatory
still, for the nation in its corporate character is the same now as
three hundred years ago. Their perpetual obligation may be resisted, as
it often is, on the plea that a people have no right to bind posterity.
But should such a plea be declared valid, then society would be thrown
into the wildest disorder and temporal ruin would overtake millions.
Heirs could be justified in refusing to fulfil the instructions of
testators; young people could condemn the baptismal vows taken by
parents; governments and cabinets could tear up the treaties of their
predecessors; and the nation itself could repudiate the national debt.
Those who enter into the possession of valuable estates, secured for
them by the toil and struggles of ancestry, do not renounce their
estates because they themselves were not consulted in the execution of
the title deeds. These deeds of the Covenanters, and the heritage
secured by them, were obtained through the noblest sacrifices. They were
deeds presented before the Throne, and registered in the Court of
heaven, and those who repudiate them incur the risk of an awful
forfeiture.

The present conditions in Church and State throughout the British Isles,
force upon the minds of all who admire the Reformation the facts that
the doctrines and principles of those Reformations are even now ignored
and despised, and that the systems which were cast out by the whole
nation through their Covenants are now in power. The objects sought by
the Covenants have not yet been realized. In several sad respects, both
Church and State are in positions of acute antagonism to those great
catholic objects. An ecclesiastical supremacy in the British sovereign
rears its head over these Covenanted kingdoms; for, as Blackstone
writes, this supremacy is "an inherent right of the British Crown." The
"Anti-Christian" hierarchy of Prelacy is implanted in the national
constitution and sustained by the whole prestige of the realm. Under its
lordly bewitchery, Erastianism prevails in the Established Churches of
the kingdom. The Oath of Allegiance implicates all who take it in an
acknowledgment of the ecclesiastical supremacy of the sovereign as "by
law established," and this Oath must be taken by every member of
Parliament before he can sit and vote in the House, under a penalty of
five hundred pounds. The basis of qualification for membership in
Parliament has been so much altered in recent times that Roman
Catholics, atheists, and now idolaters are admitted--changes which have
been demanded by the vast majority of the non-established Churches, who
are pleading for the exclusion of religion from all State institutions.
The Papacy, through its various agencies, is in receipt of more than a
million and a quarter pounds annually from the national funds. A
wide-spread reaction in favour of the Romish religion is going forward,
and is being powerfully assisted by the Romanizing movement in the
Church of England, and the Ritualistic in the Presbyterian Churches
throughout the kingdom.

Had the two nations and their Churches adhered to their National
Covenants and the Solemn League and Covenant, and to the formularies
prepared by the international Assembly at Westminster, the lovers of the
Covenanted Reformation would not have had these portentous conditions to
deplore to-day. Would their adherence to those deeds and documents have
done them any dishonour? And would it not be to the lasting honour of
their posterity now, if a movement were originated and carried through
to reproduce with all possible fulness the scenes of the past--another
Greyfriars, Edinburgh, and another St. Margarets, Westminster. But, even
apart from the historical aspect of the whole matter, the question may,
in the presence of these monstrous evils, be pressed upon the attention
and heart of all the people throughout the land? What ought to be done
to remove these evils and avert the disaster which their continuance
must entail? What ought the British subject, if a patriot, do, in the
face of evils which threaten the ruin of his kingdom? What ought the
Protestant to do, in the presence of a government and administration
which are daily advancing the court of Rome to power? What the
Presbyterian, who cannot take the Oath of Allegiance without committing
himself to the hierarchy of Prelacy? What the Christian, in the presence
of systems in imperial politics which have already dethroned Christ and
are hastening to expel Him from all national institutions? Is there no
means by which the Christian citizen can exonerate himself from
national sins, and free himself of all responsibility for national
calamity? Must he still exercise his right to vote and give his support
to governments which, in the hands of both political parties, are
augmenting rather than diminishing the existing evils? If the members of
one political party secede from that party, when changes they cannot
accept are welcomed to their programme, and henceforth refuse them their
support at the polling-booth, would it not be proper that men, sensible
of the utter inadequacy of the performances of both parties to meet the
evils under which the nation lies, should stand aloof from both
government and opposition? The leading Unionists in Ireland again and
again declared that they could not possibly enter into the proposed
Parliament under Home Rule which would be set up in Dublin, and their
declarations awakened universal sympathy. For reasons similar, should
not all Christian electors refuse to identify themselves with a
constitution and government which are based on principles subversive of
independence and liberty? Protests against existing evils are not
sufficient. Practical political dissent is imperatively demanded in the
interests of patriotism and Christianity. If even one-tenth of the
electors in the United Kingdom prepared a paper of grievances, setting
forth the present dishonours done to Christ nationally, and calling for
the abandonment of all that is unscriptural in the public policy, and
the adoption of what is scriptural and honouring to Christ, and
accompany this manifesto with a declaration that they cannot violate
their convictions by identifying themselves with the government till
reforms be conceded, would not such a movement touch the mind and heart
of the nation as no question in party politics has done for generations?
Their attitude of separation would carry extraordinary dignity and
power. And they could plead too that the evils of which they complained
were abjured by the nation universally, when the National Covenants
were taken in Scotland, England, and Ireland, and when Sovereigns and
Members of Parliament again subscribed them as a condition of the high
offices to which they were called. How could they loyally support a
Constitution now so opposite to the ancient Scriptural and Covenanted
Constitution of the realm? The Reformed Presbyterian Churches of
Scotland and Ireland are the only Churches within the British Dominions
that take this position of political dissent. Their fathers took it at
the Revolution settlement, and they have maintained it all through these
centuries till now; and they have done so not because they love the
nation less, but Christ more. If this position were assumed by larger
numbers throughout the land, who knoweth whether they would "not come to
the kingdom for such a time as this?" "Shall the throne of iniquity have
fellowship with Thee, that frameth mischief by a law?" "Wherefore, come
out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord."

    "Hope thou not, then, earth's alliance,
      Take thy stand behind the cross;
    Fear, lest by unblest compliance,
      Thou transmute thy gold to dross.
    Stedfast in thy meek endurance,
      Prophesy in sackcloth on;
    Hast thou not the pledged assurance,
      Kings one day shall kiss the Son."

The popular acceptance of these doctrines and principles by the State
and the Churches at present, would imply a vast mental upheaval--a vast
moral revolution. But the best hopes and wishes for the nation at large
are that it will come and come soon, and the present evils, however
great, must not be allowed to produce a pessimistic tone. Very hopeless
seemed the prospects before the first Reformation, but that Reformation
came. Very hopeless seemed the prospects before the second Reformation,
but that Reformation came. And however dark the prospects now before a
third Reformation, that Reformation shall come! The world is nearing the
last stage of its history, as pointed out by Daniel in the dream of the
monarch of Babylon, prior to the overwhelming and triumphant progress of
the stone-kingdom, cut out of the mountain. That immense image of
Nebuchadnezzar, in its gold and silver and brass and iron, represented
those four vast monarchies which, in their successive periods, swayed
the government of the world. But in the fact that the image was in the
form of a man, the spirit that actuated these four empires of earth is
strikingly emphasized--the spirit of the idolatry of humanity. They were
all embodiments of the man-will: Babels for the incarnation of
heaven-daring human aspirations, and so carried within even their
colossal proportions the elements of confusion and death. A similar lust
of humanity for supremacy characterises those Kingdoms, represented by
the ten toes of the image, into which the fourth Roman monarchy parted.
But soon now, therefore, must sound out the last blast of the seventh
trumpet, when the idolatry of humanity in earth's kingdoms shall fall,
and the spirit and will of Christ pervade and beautify all the
institutions, ecclesiastical and imperial, of the world. Yes, the
kingdom "not in hands" shall shatter yet all the usurped rights of the
world-powers. There shall be a glorious reversal of the disaster in
Eden. That old Adamic principle of a legislative sovereignty in man,
which has convulsed the nations for six thousand years, shall be utterly
renounced and crucified the world over. Ruin irreparable shall befall
the entire empire of Satan, who shall be chained in his lake, as the
pealing note of that trumpet of God shall swell over all the earth. The
throne of God and the Lamb shall be erected by public consent as the
unifying source and centre for people, churches, and empires. The whole
world of humanity shall be redeemed from sin and its curse, be animated
by one Spirit, and triumphant in one Lord.

May not the true Christian, then, as he thinks of the idolatrous form in
the dream of the monarch of Babylon, and looks in the watches of the
night for the dawn, when Christ Jesus his Lord shall be honoured
throughout the world, behold rising before his eyes in his dream another
colossal figure; and its head is gold, and its breasts and arms gold,
and its belly and thighs gold, and its legs and feet and toes gold; yea
all of it "is as the most fine gold;" and the head representing the
powers of the great American Continents; the breast and arms, Asia; the
belly and thighs, Africa; the legs and feet, Europe, and the toes the
Isles of the Sea--the British Isles with the rest. And the form of the
great earth-filling figure is that of Jesus of Nazareth, the Man of
Jehovah's right hand. And lo! "I saw heaven opened, and I heard as it
were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters,
and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia, for the Lord
God Omnipotent reigneth."

    "Come, then, and, added to Thy many crowns,
    Receive yet one, the crown of all the earth,
    Thou who alone art worthy! It was Thine
    By ancient covenant, ere nature's birth;
    And Thou hast made it Thine by purchase since
    And overpaid its value with Thy blood.
    Thy saints proclaim Thee King! And in their hearts
    Thy title is engraven with a pen
    Dipp'd in the fountain of eternal love."



THE NATIONAL COVENANT



[Illustration: GREYFRIARS CHURCHYARD, EDINBURGH.]

THE NATIONAL COVENANT

OR,

THE CONFESSION OF FAITH.


_Subscribed at first by the King's Majesty and his household, in the
year of God 1580; thereafter by persons of all ranks in the year of God
1581, by Ordinance of the Lords of Secret Council, and Acts of the
General Assembly; subscribed again by all sorts of persons in the year
of God 1590. Secondly: And with Ordinance of the Lords of Secret
Council, and Acts of General Assembly, subscribed again by all sorts of
persons in the year of God 1590. Thirdly: And with Ordinance of Council,
at the desire of the General Assembly; with their general bond for
maintenance of the true religion, and of the Kings Majesty; and now
subscribed in the year of God 1638, by us, Noblemen, Baronets,
Gentlemen, Burgesses, Ministers, and Commons under subscribed; and,
together with a resolution and promise, for the causes after expressed,
to maintain the true, religion and King's Majesty, according to the
Confession aforesaid, and the Acts of Parliament, the so much of which
followeth:--_

We all and every one of us under-written, protest, That, after long and
due examination of our own consciences in matters of true and false
religion, we are now thoroughly resolved in the truth by the Spirit and
Word of God: and therefore we believe with our hearts, confess with our
mouths, subscribe with our hands, and constantly affirm, before God and
the whole world, that this only is the true Christian faith and
religion, pleasing God, and bringing salvation to man, which now is, by
the mercy of God, revealed to the world by the preaching of the blessed
evangel; and is received, believed, and defended by many and sundry
notable kirks and realms, but chiefly by the Kirk of Scotland, the
King's Majesty, and three estates of this realm, as God's eternal truth,
and only ground of our salvation; as more particularly is expressed in
the Confession of our Faith, established and publicly confirmed by
sundry Acts of Parliaments, and now of a long time hath been openly
professed by the King's Majesty, and whole body of this realm both in
burgh and land. To the which Confession and Form of Religion we
willingly agree in our conscience in all points, as unto God's undoubted
truth and verity, grounded only upon His written Word. And therefore we
abhor and detest all contrary religion and doctrine; but chiefly all
kind of Papistry in general and particular heads, even as they are now
damned and confuted by the Word of God and Kirk of Scotland. But, in
special, we detest and refuse the usurped authority of that Roman
Antichrist upon the Scriptures of God, upon the Kirk, the civil
magistrate, and consciences of men; all his tyrannous laws made upon
indifferent things against our Christian liberty; his erroneous doctrine
against the sufficiency of the written Word, the perfection of the law,
the office of Christ, and His blessed evangel; his corrupted doctrine
concerning original sin, our natural inability and rebellion to God's
law, our justification by faith only, our imperfect sanctification and
obedience to the law; the nature, number, and use of the holy
sacraments; his five bastard sacraments, with all his rites, ceremonies,
and false doctrine, added to the ministration of the true sacraments
without the word of God; his cruel judgment against infants departing
without the sacrament; his absolute necessity of baptism; his
blasphemous opinion of transubstantiation, or real presence of Christ's
body in the elements, and receiving of the same by the wicked, or bodies
of men; his dispensations with solemn oaths, perjuries, and degrees of
marriage forbidden in the Word; his cruelty against the innocent
divorced; his devilish mass; his blasphemous priesthood; his profane
sacrifice for sins of the dead and the quick; his canonization of men;
calling upon angels or saints departed, worshipping of imagery, relics,
and crosses; dedicating of kirks, altars, days; vows to creatures; his
purgatory, prayers for the dead; praying or speaking in a strange
language, with his processions, and blasphemous litany, and multitude of
advocates or mediators; his manifold orders, auricular confession; his
desperate and uncertain repentance; his general and doubtsome faith; his
satisfactions of men for their sins; his justification by works, _opus
operatum_, works of supererogation, merits, pardons, peregrinations, and
stations; his holy water, baptizing of bells, conjuring of spirits,
crossing, sayning, anointing, conjuring, hallowing of God's good
creatures, with the superstitious opinion joined therewith; his worldly
monarchy, and wicked hierarchy; his three solemn vows, with all his
shavellings of sundry sorts; his erroneous and bloody decrees made at
Trent, with all the subscribers or approvers of that cruel and bloody
band, conjured against the Kirk of God. And finally, we detest all his
vain allegories, rites, signs, and traditions brought in the Kirk,
without or against the word of God, and doctrine of this true reformed
Kirk; to the which we join ourselves willingly, in doctrine, faith,
religion, discipline, and use of the holy sacraments, as lively members
of the same in Christ our head: promising and swearing, by the great
name of the LORD our GOD, that we shall continue in the obedience of the
doctrine and discipline of this Kirk, and shall defend the same,
according to our vocation and power, all the days of our lives; under
the pains contained in the law, and danger both of body and soul in the
day of God's fearful judgment.

And seeing that many are stirred up by Satan, and that Roman Antichrist,
to promise, swear, subscribe, and for a time use the holy sacraments in
the Kirk deceitfully, against their own conscience; minding hereby,
first, under the external cloak of religion, to corrupt and subvert
secretly God's true religion within the Kirk; and afterward, when time
may serve, to become open enemies and persecutors of the same, under
vain hope of the Pope's dispensation, devised against the Word of God,
to his greater confusion, and their double condemnation in the day of
the Lord Jesus: we therefore, willing to take away all suspicion of
hypocrisy, and of such double dealing with God and His Kirk, protest,
and call the Searcher of all hearts for witness, that our minds and
hearts do fully agree with this our Confession, promise, oath, and
subscription: so that we are not moved with any worldly respect, but are
persuaded only in our conscience, through the knowledge and love of
God's true religion imprinted in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, as we
shall answer to Him in the day when the secrets of all hearts shall be
disclosed.

And because we perceive that the quietness and stability of our religion
and Kirk doth depend upon the safety and good behaviour of the King's
Majesty, as upon a comfortable instrument of God's mercy granted to this
country, for the maintaining of His Kirk and ministration of justice
amongst us; we protest and promise with our hearts, under the same oath,
hand-writ, and pains, that we shall defend His person and authority with
our goods, bodies, and lives, in the defence of Christ His evangel,
liberties of our country, ministration of justice, and punishment of
iniquity, against all enemies within this realm or without, as we desire
our God to be a strong and merciful defender to us in the day of our
death, and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; to whom, with the Father,
and the Holy Spirit, be all honour and glory eternally. _Amen._

Likeas many Acts of Parliament, not only in general do abrogate, annul,
and rescind all laws, statutes, acts, constitutions, canons civil or
municipal, with all other ordinances, and practique penalties
whatsoever, made in prejudice of the true religion, and professors
thereof; or of the true Kirk, discipline, jurisdiction, and freedom
thereof; or in favours of idolatry and superstition, or of the
Papistical kirk: As Act 3, Act 31, Parl. 1; Act 23, Parl. 11; Act 114,
Parl. 12, of King James VI. That Papistry and superstition may be
utterly suppressed, according to the intention of the Acts of
Parliament, repeated in the 5th Act, Parl. 20, King James VI. And to
that end they ordain all Papists and Priests to be punished with
manifold civil and ecclesiastical pains, as adversaries to God's true
religion preached, and by law established, within this realm, Act 24,
Parl. 11, King James VI.; as common enemies to all Christian government,
Act 18, Parl. 16, King James VI.; as rebellers and gainstanders of our
Sovereign Lord's authority, Act 47, Parl. 3, King James VI.; and as
idolaters, Act 104, Parl. 7, King James VI. But also in particular, by
and attour the Confession of Faith, do abolish and condemn the Pope's
authority and jurisdiction out of this land, and ordains the maintainers
thereof to be punished, Act 2, Parl. 1; Act 51, Parl. 3; Act 106, Parl.
7; Act 114, Parl. 12, King James VI.: do condemn the Pope's erroneous
doctrine, or any other erroneous doctrine repugnant to any of the
articles of the true and Christian religion, publicly preached, and by
law established in this realm; and ordains the spreaders and makers of
books or libels, or letters or writs of that nature to be punished, Act
46, Parl. 3; Act 106, Parl. 7; Act 24, Parl. 11, King James VI.: do
condemn all baptism conform to the Pope's kirk, and the idolatry of the
mass; and ordains all sayers, wilful hearers and concealers of the mass,
the maintainers and resetters of the priests, Jesuits, trafficking
Papists, to be punished without any exception or restriction, Act 5,
Parl. 1; Act 120, Parl. 12; Act 164, Parl. 13; Act 193, Parl. 14; Act 1,
Parl. 19; Act 5, Parl. 20, King James VI.: do condemn all erroneous
books and writs containing erroneous doctrine against the religion
presently professed, or containing superstitious rites and ceremonies
Papistical, whereby the people are greatly abused, and ordains the
home-bringers of them to be punished, Act 25, Parl. II, King James VI.:
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.

Likeas many Acts of Parliament are conceived for maintenance of God's
true and Christian religion, and the purity thereof, in doctrine and
sacraments of the true Church of God, the liberty and freedom thereof,
in her national, synodal assemblies, presbyteries, sessions, policy,
discipline, and jurisdiction thereof; as that purity of religion, and
liberty of the Church was used, professed, exercised, preached, and
confessed, according to the reformation of religion in this realm: As
for instance, the 99th Act, Parl. 7; Act 25, Parl. 11; Act 114, Parl.
12; Act 160, Parl. 13, of King James VI., ratified by the 4th Act of
King Charles. So that the 6th Act, Parl. 1, and 68th Act, Parl. 6, of
King James VI., in the year of God 1579, declare the ministers of the
blessed evangel, whom God of His mercy had raised up, or hereafter
should raise, agreeing with them that then lived, in doctrine and
administration of the sacraments; and the people that professed Christ,
as He was then offered in the evangel, and doth communicate with the
holy sacraments (as in the reformed kirks of this realm they were
presently administrate) according to the Confession of Faith, to be the
true and holy kirk of Christ Jesus within this realm. And decerns and
declares all and sundry, who either gainsay the Word of the evangel
received and approved as the heads of the Confession of Faith, professed
in Parliament in the year of God 1560, specified also in the first
Parliament of King James VI., and ratified in this present Parliament,
more particularly do express; or that refuse the administration of the
holy sacraments as they were then ministrated--to be no members of the
said Kirk within this realm, and true religion presently professed, so
long as they keep themselves so divided from the society of Christ's
body. And the subsequent Act 69, Parl. 6, of King James VI., declares,
that there is no other face of kirk, nor other face of religion, than
was presently at that time by the favour of God established within this
realm: "Which therefore is ever styled God's true religion, Christ's
true religion, the true and Christian religion, and a perfect religion;"
which, by manifold Acts of Parliament, all within this realm are bound
to profess, to subscribe the articles thereof, the Confession of Faith,
to recant all doctrine and errors repugnant to any of the said articles,
Acts 4 and 9, Parl. 1; Acts 45, 46, 47, Parl. 3; Act 71, Parl. 6; Act
106, Parl. 7; Act 24, Parl. 11; Act 123, Parl. 12; Acts 194 and 197,
Parl. 14, of King James VI. And all magistrates, sheriffs, &c., on the
one part, are ordained to search, apprehend, and punish all
contraveners: For instance Act 5, Parl. 1; Act 104, Parl. 7; Act 25,
Parl. 11, King James VI.; and that notwithstanding of the King's
Majesty's licences on the contrary, which are discharged, and declared
to be of no force, in so far as they tend in any wise to the prejudice
and hinder of the execution of the Acts of Parliament against Papists
and adversaries of true religion, Act 106, Parl. 7, King James VI. On
the other part, in the 47th Act, Parl. 3, King James VI., it is declared
and ordained, Seeing the cause of God's true religion and his Highness's
authority are so joined, as the hurt of the one is common to both, that
none shall be reputed as loyal and faithful subjects to our Sovereign
Lord, or his authority, but be punishable as rebellers and gainstanders
of the same, who shall not give their confession and make their
profession of the said true religion: and that they who, after
defection, shall give the confession of their faith of new, they shall
promise to continue therein in time coming, to maintain our Sovereign
Lord's authority, and at the uttermost of their power to fortify,
assist, and maintain the true preachers and professors of Christ's
religion, against whatsoever enemies and gainstanders of the same; and
namely, against all such, of whatsoever nation, estate, or degree they
be of, that have joined or bound themselves, or have assisted, or
assist, to set forward and execute the cruel decrees of the Council of
Trent, contrary to the true preachers and professors of the word of God;
which is repeated, word by word, in the articles of pacification at
Perth, the 23rd of February, 1572; approved by Parliament the last of
April, 1573; ratified in Parliament 1587, and related Act 123, Parl. 12,
of King James VI.; with this addition, "That they are bound to resist
all treasonable uproars and hostilities raised against the true
religion, the King's Majesty, and the true professors."

Likeas, all lieges are bound to maintain the King's Majesty's royal
person and authority, the authority of Parliaments, without the which
neither any laws or lawful judicatories can be established, Acts 130 and
131, Parl. 8, King James VI., and the subjects' liberties, who ought
only to live and be governed by the King's laws, the common laws of this
realm allenarly, Act 48, Parl. 3, King James I.; Act 79, Parl. 6, King
James IV.; repeated in the Act 131, Parl. 8, King James VI.; which if
they be innovated and prejudged, "the commission anent the union of the
two kingdoms of Scotland and England, which is the sole act of the 17th
Parl. of King James VI., declares," such confusion would ensue as this
realm could be no more a free monarchy; because, by the fundamental
laws, ancient privileges, offices, and liberties of this kingdom, not
only the princely authority of his Majesty's royal descent hath been
these many ages maintained, but also the people's security of their
lands, livings, rights, offices, liberties, and dignities preserved. And
therefore, for the preservation of the said true religion, laws, and
liberties of this kingdom, it is statute by the 8th Act, Parl. 1,
repeated in the 99th Act, Parl. 7, ratified in the 23rd Act, Parl. 11,
and 114th Act, Parl. 12, of King James VI., and 4th Act, Parl. 1, of
King Charles I.--"That all Kings and Princes at their coronation, and
reception of their princely authority, shall make their faithful promise
by their solemn oath, in the presence of the eternal God, that enduring
the whole time of their lives, they shall serve the same eternal God to
the uttermost of their power, according as He hath required in His most
holy Word, contained in the Old and New Testament; and according to the
same Word, shall maintain the true religion of Christ Jesus, the
preaching of His holy Word, the due and right ministration of the
sacraments now received and preached within this realm, (according to
the Confession of Faith immediately preceding,) and shall abolish and
gainstand all false religion contrary to the same; and shall rule the
people committed to their charge, according to the will and command of
God revealed in His foresaid Word, and according to the laudable laws
and constitutions received in this realm, nowise repugnant to the said
will of the eternal God; and shall procure, to the uttermost of their
power, to the Kirk of God, and whole Christian people, true and perfect
peace in all time coming: and that they shall be careful to root out of
their empire all heretics and enemies to the true worship of God, who
shall be convicted by the true Kirk of God of the foresaid crimes."
Which was also observed by his Majesty, at his coronation in Edinburgh,
1633, as may be seen in the order of the coronation.

In obedience to the commandment of God, conform to the practice of the
godly in former times, and according to the laudable example of our
worthy and religious progenitors and of many yet living amongst us,
which was warranted also by Act of Council, commanding a general band to
be made and subscribed by his Majesty's subjects of all ranks; for two
causes: one was, For defending the true religion, as it was then
reformed, and is expressed in the Confession of Faith above written, and
a former large Confession established by sundry acts of lawful General
Assemblies and of Parliaments, unto which it hath relation, set down in
public Catechisms; and which hath been for many years, with a blessing
from Heaven, preached and professed in this Kirk and kingdom, as God's
undoubted truth, grounded only upon His written Word. The other cause
was, For maintaining the King's Majesty, his person and estate; the true
worship of God and the King's authority being so straitly joined, as
that they had the same friends, and common enemies, and did stand and
fall together. And finally, being convinced in our minds, and confessing
with our mouths, that the present and succeeding generations in this
land are bound to keep the foresaid national oath and subscription
inviolable,

We Noblemen, Barons, Gentlemen, Burgesses, Ministers, and Commons
under-subscribing, considering divers times before, and especially at
this time, the danger of the true reformed religion, of the King's
honour, and of the public peace of the kingdom, by the manifold
innovations and evils, generally contained, and particularly mentioned
in our late supplications, complaints, and protestations; do hereby
profess, and before God, His angels, and the world, solemnly declare,
That with our whole hearts we agree, and resolve all the days of our
life constantly to adhere unto and to defend the foresaid true religion,
and (forbearing the practice of all novations already introduced in the
matters of the worship of God, or approbation of the corruptions of the
public government of the Kirk, or civil places and power of kirkmen,
till they be tried and allowed in free Assemblies and in Parliament) to
labour, by all means, to recover the purity and liberty of the Gospel,
as it was established and professed before the foresaid novations. And
because, after due examination, we plainly perceive, and undoubtedly
believe, that the innovations and evils contained in our supplications,
complaints, and protestations, have no warrant of the Word of God, are
contrary to the articles of the foresaid Confession, to the intention
and meaning of the blessed reformers of religion in this land, to the
above-written Acts of Parliament; and do sensibly tend to the
re-establishing of the Popish religion and tyranny, and to the
subversion and ruin of the true reformed religion, and of our liberties,
laws, and estates; we also declare, That the foresaid Confessions are to
be interpreted, and ought to be understood of the foresaid novations and
evils, no less than if every one of them had been expressed in the
foresaid Confessions; and that we are obliged to detest and abhor them,
amongst other particular heads of Papistry abjured therein. And
therefore, from the knowledge and conscience of our duty to God, to our
King and country, without any worldly respect or inducement, so far as
human infirmity will suffer, wishing a further measure of the grace of
God for this effect; we promise and swear, by the GREAT NAME OF THE LORD
OUR GOD, to continue in the profession and obedience of the aforesaid
religion; and that we shall defend the same, and resist all these
contrary errors and corruptions, according to our vocation, and to the
uttermost of that power that God hath put in our hands, all the days of
our life.

And in like manner, with the same heart, we declare before God and men,
That we have no intention nor desire to attempt any thing that may turn
to the dishonour of God, or to the diminution of the King's greatness
and authority; but, on the contrary, we promise and swear, That we
shall, to the uttermost of our power, with our means and lives, stand to
the defence of our dread Sovereign the King's Majesty, his person and
authority, in the defence and preservation of the foresaid true
religion, liberties, and laws of the kingdom; as also to the mutual
defence and assistance every one of us of another, in the same cause of
maintaining the true religion, and his Majesty's authority, with our
best counsel, our bodies, means, and whole power, against all sorts of
persons whatsoever; so that whatsoever shall be done to the least of us
for that cause, shall be taken as done to us all in general, and to
every one of us in particular. And that we shall neither directly nor
indirectly suffer ourselves to be divided or withdrawn, by whatsoever
suggestion, combination, allurement, or terror, from this blessed and
loyal conjunction; nor shall cast in any let or impediment that may stay
or hinder any such resolution as by common consent shall be found to
conduce for so good ends; but, on the contrary, shall by all lawful
means labour to further and promote the same: and if any such dangerous
and divisive motion be made to us by word or writ, we, and every one of
us, shall either suppress it, or, if need be, shall incontinent make the
same known, that it may be timeously obviated. Neither do we fear the
foul aspersions of rebellion, combination, or what else our adversaries,
from their craft and malice, would put upon us; seeing what we do is
well warranted, and ariseth from an unfeigned desire to maintain the
true worship of God, the majesty of our King, and the peace of the
kingdom, for the common happiness of ourselves and our posterity.

And because we cannot look for a blessing from God upon our proceedings,
except with our profession and subscription we join such a life and
conversation as beseemeth Christians who have renewed their covenant
with God; we therefore faithfully promise for ourselves, our followers,
and all others under us, both in public, and in our particular families,
and personal carriage, to endeavour to keep ourselves within the bounds
of Christian liberty, and to be good examples to others of all
godliness, soberness, and righteousness, and of every duty we owe to
God and man.

And, that this our union and conjunction may be observed without
violation, we call the LIVING GOD, THE SEARCHER OF OUR HEARTS, to
witness, who knoweth this to be our sincere desire and unfeigned
resolution, as we shall answer to JESUS CHRIST in the great day, and
under the pain of God's everlasting wrath, and of infamy and loss of all
honour and respect in this world: most humbly beseeching the LORD to
strengthen us by His HOLY SPIRIT for this end, and to bless our desires
and proceedings with a happy success; that religion and righteousness
may flourish in the land, to the glory of GOD, the honour of our King,
and peace and comfort of us all. In witness whereof, we have subscribed
with our hands all the premises.

The article of this Covenant within written and within subscribed, which
was at the first subscription referred to the determination of the
General Assembly, being now determined, on the fifth of December, 1638,
and hereby the five articles of Perth, the government of the Kirk by
bishops, being declared to be abjured and removed, and the civil places
and power of kirkmen declared unlawful, we subscribe according to the
determination of the said lawful and free General Assembly, holden at
Glasgow.



THE NATIONAL COVENANT:

EXHORTATION TO THE LORDS OF COUNCIL.[1]


_May it please your Lordship_,

We, the ministers of the Gospel, conveened at this so necessary a time
do find ourselves bound to represent, as unto all, so in special unto
your lordship what comfortable experience we have of the wonderful
favour of God, upon the renewing of the Confession of Faith and
Covenant; what peace and comfort hath filled the hearts of all God's
people; what resolutions and beginnings of reformation of manners are
sensibly perceived in all parts of the kingdom, above any measure that
ever we did find, or could have expected; how great glory the Lord hath
received hereby, and what confidence we have (if this sunshine be not
eclipsed by some sinful division or defection) that God shall make this
a blessed kingdom, to the contentment of the king's majesty, and joy of
all his good subjects, according as God hath promised in His good Word,
and performed to His people in former times: and therefore we are
forced, from our hearts, both to wish and entreat your lordship to be
partaker and promover of this joy and happiness by your subscription,
when your lordship shall think it convenient; and in the mean time, that
your lordship would not be sparing to give a free testimony to the
truth, as a timely and necessary expression of your tender affection to
the cause of Christ, now calling for help at your hands. Your lordship's
profession of the true religion, as it was reformed in this land; the
national oath of this kingdom, sundry times sworn and subscribed,
obliging us who live at this time; the duty of a good patriot, the
office and trust of a privy councillor, the present employment, to have
place amongst those that are first acquainted with his majesty's
pleasure; the consideration that this is the time of trial of your
lordship's affection to religion, the respect which your lordship hath
unto your fame, both now and hereafter, when things shall be recorded to
posterity; and the remembrance, that not only the eyes of men and angels
are upon your lordship's carriage, but also that the Lord Jesus is a
secret witness now to observe, and shall be an open judge hereafter, to
reward and confess every man before His Father, that confesseth Him
before men: all of these, and each of them, beside your lordship's
personal and particular obligations to God, do call for no less at your
lordship's hands, in the case of so great and singular necessity: and we
also do expect so much at this time, according as your lordship at the
hour of death would be free of the terror of God, and be refreshed with
the comfortable remembrance of a word spoken in season for Christ Jesus,
King of kings, and Lord of lords.



THE NATIONAL COVENANT.

SERMON AT ST. ANDREWS.

_BY ALEXANDER HENDERSON._[2]

"Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power, in the
beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning; Thou hast the
dew of thy youth."--_Psalm_ cx. 3.


It is, beloved in the Lord, very expedient, and sometimes most necessar,
that we turn away our eyes from kings and their greatness, from kirkmen
and men of state, and that we turn them towards another object, and look
only to Jesus Christ, who is the great king, priest, and prophet of His
kirk. The godly in former times, who were kings, priests, and prophets
themselves, used to do this, and that before Christ; and mickle more is
it required of us now in thir days, seeing we live in troublesome times;
for there is a comfort that comes to the children of God that way. The
first part of this psalm expresses to us the threefold office of Christ,
and the second part of it expresses the valiant acts our Lord Jesus does
by these His three offices, but especially by His Princely office; whilk
indeed is His worst studied office by many men in the world. We would,
many of us, willingly take Him for our prophet to teach us, and for our
priest to intercede for us, and be a sacrifice for our sins, but when
it comes to His Princely office, to direct us what we should do, then we
would be at that whilk seems best in our own eyes.

His Princely office is described unto us here three ways. 1. In relation
to God Himself; "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at My right hand."
2. In respect of His enemies; "The Lord sall send the rod of thy
strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thy enemies." Were His
enemies never so many, and never so despiteful against Him, yet He sall
rule in the midst of them. And indeed this is a very admirable part of
His kingly office, that even in the midst of His enemies He sall have a
kingdom for Himself, in despite of them, and all that they can do or say
against it. 3. The third, wherein the glory of His kingly office
consists, is in thir words that I have read to you: and that is in
relation to, and in respect of the subjects of the kingdom of Christ.
And they are described here to be a people belonging to Jesus Christ; to
be a people on whom God manifests His power; and they are a most willing
people, a people who count holiness to be their chiefest beauty. And
they are so marvellously multiplied, that it is a wonder to consider of
it: there is no more drops of dew will fall, nor they will not fall any
faster in a morning than the Lord will multiply them, when He is pleased
to do so. And although the Lord sometimes multiply them in a secret
manner, yet still the multitude stands to be true.

That the purposes may be the better tane up by you who will take heed to
them, consider of these parts in the words. 1. The persons of whom the
Psalmist speaks here. "Thy people." 2. The properties of these people in
this day: They sall be a willing people; a holy people; a people who
sall be miraculously multiplied. And so their properties is willingness,
holiness, and multiplication.

Many proofs has been of the truth of this prophecy since the
beginning--that the Lord's people sall be willing in the day of His
power, in the beauties of holiness; from the womb of the morning thou
hast the dew of thy youth. There were many evident proofs of the truth
of this since the beginning of the plantation of the gospel into the
world. And surely we know not a more evident and notable proof of it
than this same that is presently into this land, nor think I that there
be any who can show the parallel of it. The Lord has made them willingly
to offer up themselves, and all that they have, for Him. And they are a
people of holiness; albeit it is true, indeed, many has been brought to
it from this quarter and that quarter of the land, since the beginning,
to be more holy than they used to be. And if the multiplication of them
be not wonderful, I cannot tell what ye will tell me of that is more
wonderful; so that indeed it is a miracle to all who hear of it. In the
time while Christ was upon the earth there were two sorts of miracles to
be seen;--first, Christ made the dumb to speak, the blind to see, the
lame to walk, &c.: this indeed was a great miracle. The second sort of
miracles was of him who did see these things wrought by Christ, and yet
for all that, did not believe in Him who did work them. Even so there
are two sorts of wonders in this same time wherein we live;--first, how
the Lord has multiplied His people, and made them to be so many,
whereas, at the first, we thought them to be but very few; secondly, we
cannot but wonder at these who observes not God's hand into it: and
indeed we cannot but wonder that any can be so blind that they observe
not the very hand and finger of God in the work. Ay, we who have been
witnesses to it, for the most part, we cannot but wonder at the work of
God in it. It has not been man's wit has done the work, and multiply so,
but only God has done it; and we cannot tell how; but only we see that
there are numbers continually multiplied.

I. "Thy people." Here is a note of property, and a note of distinction.
First, it is a note of property. They are God's people--God has absolute
right over a people, and there is none who has any right over them but
He alone. It's true all people are under Him, but He calls not all His
people after this manner. All things are for God, and subordinate to
Him; the absolute power to rule and to command these people is in God's
hand, and He will not give that power to any other over them: and He has
good reason so to do. 1. Because He was thinking upon His people from
all eternity; and there was none who did that but only He. 2. He made us
and fashioned us in time; and neither any authority or magistrate did
that. 3. Who is it that provides means for their sustenance daily, and
makes these means effectual, but only the Lord? A man cannot make one
pyle (blade) of grass, or one ear of corn, to grow for thy
entertainment, but only the Lord: and when thou hast gotten these
things, it is the blessing of God that makes them effectual. For when ye
say the grace to your meat, say ye it to man? No, ye say it only to God.
So that every way ye are God's people. And then, whilk is more, and
therefore we are bound to be His people, no man can redeem the life of
his brother, nor give a price sufficient for his life, let be (let
alone) for his soul, and yet the Lord, He has redeemed us from hell, and
from the grave; and therefore we belong to Him. Then is it not the Lord
who enters in covenant with thee, and says, I will remember thy sins no
more? Then albeit all the world should remember thy ill deeds, yet if
the Lord remember them not, then thou art blessed. It is He who says, I
will write My laws in your hearts, to lead you here: it is He who puts
us in the estate of grace while we are here, and so puts us in hope of
glory after this life. It is He who sall be our judge at that great day.
And so ye are the Lord's people, by way of property.

And this was it that made the apostles so bold, when it was alleged
that they had done that whilk was not right: they made the enemies
themselves judges, and says, "Whether it be right in your sight to obey
God rather than man, judge ye." As if they had said, It's true indeed we
are mickle obliged to man, but we are more obliged to God than to all
men; for what is it that man can do to us, either good or ill, but God
can do that als (also) and more? And upon this ground, in the next
chapter, they draw this conclusion,--It behoveth us rather to obey God
than man. And so, first, they reason with the adversars themselves upon
it; and seeing that they could not deny it, upon that they draw up their
conclusion. I mark this for this end, that whenever ye are enjoined to
do anything by any man, that then ye would not forget this dignity and
power that God has over you, and that ye are the people of Jesus Christ;
and therefore no man ought to enjoin anything to be done by you, but
that for the whilk he has a warrant from God. There is a great
controversy now about disobedience to superiors, and the contempt of
those who are in authority; but there is not a word of that, whether God
be obeyed or not, or if He be disobeyed by any. Fy, that people should
sell themselves over to the slavery of man, when the Lord has only
sovereign power over them! I would not have you to think that a whole
country of people are appointed only to uphold the grandeur of five or
six men. No, they are ordained to be magistrates for your good. And sall
we think that a ministry shines into a land for the upholding of the
grandeur of some few persons. No, all these things are ordained for the
good of God's people; and, seeing that it is so, sall ye then make
yourselves like to asses and slaves, to be subject to all that men
pleases to impose upon you? No, no; try anything that they impose upon
you, before ye obey it, if it is warranted by God or not; because God is
the only superior over you.

2. Secondly. "Thy people." This also is a note of distinction; for every
people are God's people, but there is a distinction among them. All
people, it's true, are God's people by right of creation: why therefore
says he, _Thy_ people, and not _all_ people? Because all people belong
not to Christ. God has authority over all indeed, but in a special
manner He enters into covenant with some. All people who are subject to
Him in His providence are not His peculiar people, His royal nation, His
holy priesthood, His chosen generation, but only those of them who
belong to Christ; those are properly termed to be His people. And we
should remember of this, that those who are the people of God, they have
notable privileges; they have all things that any people should have,
and, whatever we should be, they have that. Where any are the people of
God, there there is blessedness indeed, for they have His truth for
their security, they have His love for their comfort, His power for
their defence. The Lord God, He takes His people into His bosom, and
with every soul He does so, and says, "I the Lord thy God enters in
covenant with thee, and renews the covenant that before I made with
thee." And then He lays a necessity upon thee, by His providence, that
thou must enter into covenant with Him; and then He says to thee, "I
will not remember thy sins any more; I know they are heinous, great, and
many, but because thou desires that they should not be remembered,
therefore I will not remember them. And because when ye have renewed
your covenant with Me, ye will be aye in a fear to break it again,
therefore I will write My law in your hearts. And so whatever I promise
to you, I will perform it freely when ye are in covenant with Me; and
whatever ye promise to Me, being in covenant with Me, I sall perform it
for you also, at least I sall give you strength to perform it." And
therefore to the end that ye may be perfectly blessed, enter into a
covenant with God; and without ye be in covenant with Him, ye sall be
in nothing but perpetual misery. I would have all of you to think this
to be your only health, wealth, and peace, and your only glory in the
world, to be in covenant with God; and so that ye are the people of God,
I would not have you to count men to be rich and glorious men by their
estates in the world--that he can spend so many chalders of victual
yearly, or so many thousand merks. O, a silly, beggarly glory is this!
Naked thou came into the world, and naked thou must go out of it again.
But see how mickle thou has of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, how far
thou art forward in the work of repentance, faith, &c., and such good
actions. Learn to set your affections on things that are above, and
testify it by your actions.

II. "In the day of Thy power." This is the time when the people of God
sall be willing, even in the day of His power; that is, in the day of
the power of Jesus Christ. The day of His own resurrection from the dead
was one day of His power: He says, "I have power to lay down My life,
and I have power to take it again;" "Destroy this temple, and I will
build it up again in three days;" He meant of the temple of His body:
and indeed there was none who could raise His dead body out of the
grave, but only Himself. A second day of His power sall be the day of
the resurrection of our bodies out of the dust. But there is another day
that is meant of here than any of these, and that is the day of our
first resurrection out of the grave of sin, by the preaching of the
gospel. And there is good reason for it, why this should be called a day
of His power. First, because it is the power of Jesus Christ that brings
the purity of the gospel into a land; and we may indeed say that it was
only His power that brought the gospel into this land. It had not
authority then to countenance it, for all those that were in authority
were against it; and counsel and policy, and all the clergy, and the
multitude, all of them, were against it; and yet, for all that, the
Lord brought in the purity of the gospel into this land, and established
it here against all these. Secondly, when the purity of the gospel is
into a land, it is only the power of God that makes it effectual for
turning of souls unto Himself, and raising them out of the grave of sin,
wherein they are so fast buried. So when the Lord first sends the
gospel, we are lying into the grave of sin; and the devil, and the
world, and all these enemies they are watching the grave, to see that we
rise not out of it; and when we are beginning to rise they are busy to
hold us down. And think not that we can rise, and lift up ourselves from
so base to so high ane estate, without the power of God. No, no. Third.
When the gospel is into a land, it is only the power of Jesus Christ
that makes it to continue, for if the Lord make not the gospel to
continue into a land, it will not stay there. And there is no less power
required either to bring the gospel into a land, or to make it
effectual, or to make it to continue, than was required to raise the
dead body of Christ out of the grave, or will be required to raise ours.

I would have you consider here, that all times are not alike, but there
is a time of the Lord's power; that all days are not alike, but there is
a day of the Lord's power; a time when the saints of God sall be weak, a
time when they sall be strong; a time when some sall rise up to
persecute the saints, a time when others sall rise up to help them; a
time when the Lord withholds His power, and a time when He kythes (shews
it); a time when the people draws back from the Lord, and a time when
they turn to Him again. There has been a day of defection in this land
this time past, and now there is a time of the Lord's power in bringing
back this defection again: and indeed this very instant time that now is
is ane hour of that day of the Lord's power, and I will shew you two or
three reasons for it. 1. The Lord did arise and manifested His power
when the enemies were become insolent, and when they had determined that
they would set up such a mode of worship as they thought meet, and
noways according to the pattern shown upon the mount. And indeed the
Lord, He uses ordinarily to do this, that even when the enemies of His
people are become insolent, and they have determined that they will do
such a thing instantly, then He takes them in their own snare. 2. To
show that it is the Lord's power only that works a work, He uses to
begin at very small beginnings; and so the Lord did in this same
work;--He began at first with some few, and these not honourable, and
yet now He has made it to cover the whole land through all the quarters
thereof. 3. This is also a note of the power of God, that He has touched
the hearts of people, that there was never such a howling and a weeping
heard amongst them this long time as there is now; and yet it is not a
weeping for sorrow, but a weeping for joy. How oft has there been
preachings in the most part of the congregations of this land this long
time past, and yet people have never found the power of it in working
upon their hearts; and yet within this short space, when the Lord has
renewed His covenant with them, and they with Him, He has displayed His
banner, and made His power known in working upon the hearts of people.
4. In this the power of God is manifestly to be seen in this work, that
the Lord has made all the devices and plots of the adversars, that they
have devised to further their own ends, to work contrair to these ends,
and to work for the good of His own work. And, indeed, we may say that
it has not been so mickle the courage and wisdom of these, that has been
for this cause, that has brought it so far on, but the very plots and
devices of the adversars that they have devised for their own good. This
also is ane evident token of the Lord's power.

And now since the Lord did arise when the enemies were become insolent,
since He began at so small beginnings and has brought it so far, since
the Lord has wrought so on the hearts of people now, and since He has
made all the plots of the enemies to work against themselves, and for
His people, let us give this glory to God, and reverence Him, and say
that it is only by His power that the work is done, and that He has been
pleased to manifest Himself into the work. Beloved, we may comfort
ourselves in this, if all this has been done by the power of God, then
we need not to fear the power of men; men can do nothing against God.
The Lord may indeed put His kirk to a trial, but He will not suffer her
to be overthrown by any. And indeed, any who hears and knows what the
enemies are doing here may see that they are not fighting against men,
but against God, and that they are kicking against the pricks.

III. Now, for the properties of thir people. The first of them is
_willing_. The Lord's people are a people of willingness in the day of
His power: and indeed thir three go very well together, the people of
God, the power of God, and a willing people. When the power of God works
upon His people then He makes them to be a willing people. And indeed,
it is no small matter to see a people willing in a good cause, for by
nature we are unwilling, and naturally we are not set to affect anything
that is right, except it be through hypocrisy. Our hearts they are
contrary to God; they are proud, disobedient, rebellious, and he who
sees and knows his own heart sees all this to be in it; and he knows
that it is the Lord who cries upon him, in the day of His own power, and
frames his heart in a new mould, and makes it to be so nimble and
cheerful in any good work,--that albeit they had been before running
with all their speed to the devil, yet He makes them to stand still in
the way and look about them, and consider what they have been doing, and
then to turn about again. Albeit thou were like to Paul, persecuting the
Church, yet He can then make a preacher of thee, and so affright thee
that thou sall not know where thou art, but say, "Here am I, Lord:" and
albeit thou were as unwilling to go as the prophet Moses, yet He will
make thee to say, "Here am I, Lord, send me," and be as Elisha, when
Elias cuist (cast) his mantle about him, then he could not stay any
longer. And when Christ comes to Peter, and calls upon them, they cannot
stay any longer, but incontinent they leave all and follows Him. I will
not now begin to make any large discourse of the invincible power of
God; I say no more of it now but only this for your use. If ye kent this
power of God, it would make you ready and willing to give a confession
to Him this day, and even to confess Him before men, and to forsake all
and follow Him. Ye who are ignorant of the power of God, take heed to
this,--it is the Lord who commanded light to come out of darkness, who
must make you to see Christ; He who takes His rod in His hand to beat
down the hard and humble the haughty heart, He must do this also. O if
ye felt this power of God, ye would think nothing to forsake all and to
follow Him. He has suffered more for us nor we can suffer for Him; and
if we suffered anything for Him, He would not suffer any of us yet to be
a loser at His hand: but we cannot put Him to a trial.

Now for this unwillingness of these people, it is well expressed here.
They are called a people of willingness. And yet He thinks not this
satisfactory, to call them a willing people, but He calls them a people
of willingness, a noble, generous, high-minded people. And all this is
to shew that when the people of God is wakened up in the day of His
power, there is none who is able to express their willingness. They are
so willing that if they had a thousand minds they would employ them all
for Him, and if they had a thousand faces, they would not let one of
them look down, but they would hold them all up for the Lord; if every
hair in their head were a man, they would employ them all in His
service. Their willingness, indeed, it cannot be expressed. They cry to
the Lord, because they think they cannot run fast enough, "Draw me and I
sail run after Thee:" they are flying together, as the dowes does to the
holes of the rocks before a tempest come. In the Canticles, Christ says,
"My soul made Me as the chariots of My noble people;" and, indeed, to
see a people running through the land, to meet together to keep
communion with the Lord, this is the best chariot that can be. And this
willingness has been so great at some times in the children of God that
they have fallen in a paroxysm, or like the fit of a fever, with it: as
it is Acts xvii. Paul's spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the City
of Athens given to so much base idolatry as to worship the UNKNOWN GOD.
And Lot, also, he had such a fit as this; he vexed his righteous soul
with the iniquities of Sodom, that is, he tortured his soul with their
sins, he never saw them committing sin but it was a grief to him. And,
indeed, the children of God this while past have been grieved and vexed
to behold the sins that has been committed into this same land. I insist
upon this the rather because I would wish from my heart that ye would be
thus willing, and that ye would be as forward for the glory and honour
of God as ever any was. And then, indeed, it should do good to others
also, when they should hear tell that the people of St. Andrews were
such a willing people. And, indeed, ye have just reason to be willing
now.

1. 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. And it has been
still in use yearly to be subscribed and sworn to in some parts, among
some in this land, to this day. And I think it would have been so in all
the 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 ane
interpretation of the former part; and if men will be willing to see the
right, they may see that there is nothing in the latter part but that
whilk may be deduced from the first. And in the making of a Covenant we
are not bound 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. For it is not necessar for us to abjure Turkism or
Paganism, because we are not in fear to be troubled with that; but the
thing that we are in danger of is Papistry, and therefore we must abjure
that.

2. A second reason to make you willing is, because this matter concerns
you in all things,--in your bodies, in your estates, in your lives, your
liberties, in your souls. I may say, if in the Lord's providence this
course had not been taken, ye would have found the thraldom whereinto
that course, wherein ye were anes (once) going, would have brought you
to or (ere) now, even ye who are most averse from it.

3. A third reason to make you willing is, ye have the precedency and
testimony of the nobility in the land to it, and of all sorts of
persons, noblemen, barons, gentlemen, burgesses, ministers, and commons;
and wherefore, then, should not ye be willing to follow their example?
And then, I may say, ye have the prayers of all the reformed kirks in
Europe for you, who have ever heard of the perturbations that has been,
and yet are, into this land. And, moreover, beloved, whom have ye
against you in this course? All the atheists, all the papists, and all
the profane rogues in the country; they draw to that side, and it is
only they who hate this cause. And should not all these make you willing
to swear to it, and to hazard for it? And I may say, if ye be but
willing to hazard all that ye have, that may be the heaviest distress
that ever ye shall be put to. And if so be that ye had been willing at
first, the Lord would have touched the king's heart, and made him
willing also; but because he is informed by some that the most part are
not willing, that is a great part of the cause why he is not willing.

The second property of God's people is holiness. "In the beauties of
holiness;" a speech that is borrowed from the priest's garments under
the law. Sometimes they were broidered with gold, sometimes they were
all white, especially in the day of expiation. Not that ministers under
the New Testament should have such garments as these, for these were
representations to them, both of their inward holiness and of their
outward holiness, by (beyond) others; but now all believers are priests
as well as ministers are, and therefore such garments as these are not
necessar. Indeed, if such garments as these had been necessar, then
Christ and His apostles had done great wrong to themselves, who never
used the like; and they had done great wrong to the kirk also in not
appointing such garments to be worn by ministers. There be garments of
glory in heaven, and garments of grace in the earth; that party-coloured
garment spoken of in the Colossians, and this holiness whilk is spoken
of here. Concerning whilk we will mark two things:--First, as people are
a people of willingness in a good cause, so they must also be a people
of holiness, or otherwise their willingness is only but for some worldly
respects: therefore, I would have you with willingness to put on
holiness. And, indeed, if we saw what holiness were, we needed not to be
persuaded to put it on, we would do it willingly. For it has three parts
in it--1. A purgation from former filthiness. 2. A separation from the
world. If thou will be holy, then thou must be separate from the world;
thou must strive to keep thyself from those whose garments are spotted
with the flesh. 3. Holiness requires devotion or dedication to the Lord.
When there is purgation from filthiness, separation from the world, and
dedication to the Lord, there there is holiness and nowhere else.

Now, is there any of you but ye are obleist (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 corruptions of the time, and ye must devote yourselves only to serve
and honour God. And your Covenant, that ye are to swear to this day,
oblishes you to this; and it requires nothing of you but that whilk ye
are bound to perform. And, therefore, seeing this is required of you,
purge yourselves within, flee the corruptions of the time, eschew the
society of those whom ye see to be corrupt, and devote yourselves only
to the Lord. Yet this is not that we would obleish 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 join a resolution and a purpose, and say to Him,
Lord, I sall prease (earnestly endeavour) to do als far as I can. And,
indeed, there is no more in our covenant but this, that we sall
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 by your
baptism. And, therefore, think not that we are precisians, (or these who
has set down this covenant), seeing all of you are bound to do it.

Secondly, "The _beauties_ of holiness." Consider here that as holiness
is necessar for the saints of God, so all God's courtiers they are full
of beauty. God Himself is full of beauty, and we have no power, beauty
nor holiness but in His power, beauty, and holiness. Holiness, it is the
beauty of the Son of God, Jesus Christ; and to Him it is said in Esay,
"Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty": and the Holy Ghost has this style
to be called Holy. And the angels in heaven, they are clothed with
holiness; and the saints who are in heaven, this is the long white
robes wherewith they are clothed. And they who are begun to be
sanctified here, they strive to be more and more clad with holiness.
Beloved, I would have you to count this to be your beauty, even
holiness; for if ye have not this beauty, then all your other beauty
will degenerate in a bastard beauty.

Now follows the marvellous _multiplication_ of thir people. "From the
womb of the morning thou hast the dew of thy youth." The words are
somewhat obscure even to the learned ear, but look to the 133d Psalm,
and there ye will see a place to help to clear them. Always (however)
observe here, "from the womb of the morning thou hast the dew of thy
youth," that as in a May morning, when there is no extremity of heat,
the dew falls so thick that all the fields are covered with it, and it
falls in such a secret manner that none sees it fall, so the Lord, in
the day of His power, He sall multiply His people, and He sall multiply
them in a secret manner; so that it is marvellous to the world, that
once there should seem to be so few or none of them, and then
incontinent He should make them to be through all estates.

We have first to learn here, that the Kirk of God, she has a morning;
and in the morning the dew falls, and not in the night, nor in the heat
of the day. So it is not in the night of defection, nor in the heat of
the day of persecution, when the Lord's people are multiplied, but it is
in the morning of the day. Beloved, I wish you may be a discerning
people, to know the Lord's seasons. Sall we be as those, of whom our
Saviour complains, who can discern the face of the sky, but cannot
discern the day of the Lord's merciful and gracious visitation towards
them? Men indeed may be very learned and know things very well, and yet
in the meantime be but ignorant of this; for there are sundry gifts
bestowed upon men, and ilk are has not this gift, to discern the Lord's
merciful visitation. And therefore happy are ye, albeit ye be not great
in other gifts, if so be that ye know this; for the Lord, He has some
gifts of His own bestowing allanerly (only), whilk He will bestow upon
the meanest, and yet He will deny them to the proudest; even as the tops
of the mountains, they will be dry and have no dew, while as the valleys
will be wet with it. So those who exalts themselves high, and boasts
themselves of their other gifts, of their knowledge, learning,
experience, &c., the Lord will, for all that, ofttimes leave them void
of saving and sanctifying grace.

"From the womb of the morning thou hast the dew of thy youth." That is,
as the dew is multiplied upon the earth, so sall thy people be. This is
are ordinar phrase in Scripture. Hushai says to Absalom, "Convene the
people from Dan to Beersheba, and then we sall light upon David as the
dew lighteth upon the ground; and then there sall not be left of him and
of all the men that are with him so much as one." And this phrase is
well set down, Is. liv., "Rejoice, O barren, and thou that didst not
bear, break forth into singing and cry aloud, thou that didst not
travail with child; for more are the children of the desolate than the
married wife." And therefore He uses this form of speech, v. 2, "Enlarge
thy tents, and let them stretch the curtains of thy habitations;
lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes." And all these things are
requisite to be done when the people of God are multiplied thus.

Let us observe here, if the Word of God continue in this land, in the
purity thereof, and the sacraments be rightly administrate, the people
of God will then multiply exceedingly here. The chiefest city in this
land, they are forced to marvel where the people has been in former
times that are in it now, so that they cannot get kirks to contain them.
And they think, if the gospel continue in the purity thereof, all the
kirks that they are building, with the rest, sall have enough ado to
contain them. And it is a marvel to consider how the Lord has
multiplied His people, at this time. This is not that we are to glory in
multitudes, but to let you see the great work of God, Who has multiplied
His people thus. And as it was at the beginning of the plantation of the
Christian religion, there was three thousand converted at one preaching
of the apostle, I will not say that there has been three thousand
converted at a preaching here, but I may say this, that at one preaching
there has been some thousands wakened up, who had not been so for a long
time before. And will it not be a hard matter, seeing that it is so,
that Saint Andrews sall be as Gideon's fleece; that all the kingdom
about it sall be wet with the dew of heaven, and it sall only be dry?
Even so, will it not be a shame, that all others sall be stirred up, and
ye not a whit stirred up in this day more than if there were not such a
thing? And, therefore, beloved, I would have you to join yourselves with
the rest of the people of God in this cause.

"Thy youth." That is, _thy young men_. Those that are renewed by grace
they are called young, albeit they were never so old, because their age
is not reckoned by their first, but by their second birth. Ay, moreover,
still the older that the children of God grow in years, and the weaker
in the world, they grow younger and stronger in grace. Secondly, they
are called young, because of the strength that they have to resist
temptations. Before they be renewed by grace and born again that way,
they are like bairns, that every temptation prevails with them; but then
they are as young men, who are able to resist temptations to sin, so
that sin gets not liberty to exercise dominion over them. Thirdly, they
are called young, because they will contend with all their power and
might for the faith. I would have all of you to be young in these
respects, and labour to get ane evidence of your new birth by these,
that ye are growing in grace, gaining still more strength to resist
temptations, and by contending earnestly for the faith; even be bold in
this, especially in contending for the truth. Strive for the truth, for,
if ye anes lose it, ye will not get it so easily again. And this same is
the covenant of truth whilk ye are to swear to; for as our Covenant is
renewed, so also it is exponed (explained) according as the exigencies
of the time requires, and it is applied to the present purpose.

Beloved, I told you already that ye have no cause of fear, for I avow
and attest here before God, that what ye do is not against authority,
but for authority, let some men who are wickedly disposed say what they
will; but what ye do is for authority. And I told you of the obligations
whereby authority are bound to this. And for the words of it, because
they are conceived in a terrible manner, ye need not to stand in awe for
this; and it were good that ye should read them over again, and think
upon this wrath of God whilk we pray for to come upon us, if we do
intend anything against authority.

_Objection._ We have oblished ourselves by our subscription already;
what then needs us to obleish ourselves over again by our oath? _Ans._
It's true, I grant, many of you has subscribed it already, and so ye are
bound; but now ye are to swear also, that so through abundance of bands
to God ye may know yourselves to be the more bound to Him. David says, I
have purposed, I have promised, I have sworn, and I sall perform Thy
righteous statutes. There be also here sundry Acts of Parliament, that
are all of them made within this same kingdom for the maintainance of
the true religion; and for thir, they speak for themselves. And I would
have these who say we do anything against law and against our superiors,
to see and try if there be anything against them, and not all directly
for them.

Beloved, I hope that it will not be necessar for us to spend mickle time
with you in removing of scruples. Good things I know has over many
objections against them from the devil, the world, and our own ill
hearts. And I know some of them who are accounted the learnedst in the
land, have assayed their wits and used their pens to object against
this. But truly these who are judicious, they have confessed that they
have been greatly confirmed by that whilk they have objected; and the
reason of it was, because they who were the most learned assayed
themselves to see what they could say, and yet when all was done, they
had nothing to say that was worth the hearing.

For the first part of this Confession of faith, there is not a word
changed in it; and if so be that men had keeped that part of it free of
sinistrous glosses, and had applied it according to the meaning of those
who were the penners thereof, there needed not to have such a thing ado
as there is now; but because they have put sinistrous glosses upon it
now and misapplied it, therefore it behoved to be explained and applied
to the present time.

The first thing that ye swear to is, That with your whole hearts ye
agree and resolve, all the days of your life, constantly to adhere unto
and defend the true religion. There is no scruple here. 2. That ye
suspend and forbear the practice of all novations already introduced in
the matters of the worship of God, or approbation of the corruptions of
the public government of the kirk, or civil places and power of kirkmen,
till they be tried and allowed in free assemblies and in parliaments.
Now, I know there be some who make scruples here. How can we, say they,
bind ourselves to forbear the practice of that whilk Acts of Assembly
allows, and Acts of Parliament commands? _Ans._ We do not herein condemn
the Act as altogether unlawful, whatever our judgment be of it, but this
is all what we do. Because such ills has followed upon these novations,
therefore we think it meet now to forbear the practice of them till they
be tried by Assembly and Parliament.

And this is not a breach of the Act, when all is done. Because the Act
is not set down in the manner of a command, but only as a counsel; for
so the Act of the pretended Assembly bears. The words is, "The Assemblie
thinks good," &c., "because all memory of superstition is now past,
therefore we may kneel at the communion." Then, if there be any danger
of superstition, by the very words of the Act we may gather this, that
we should not kneel: and so they who practice now keep the letter of the
Act, but they who forbear keep the meaning thereof more nearly than the
practisers. 3. We promise and swear against the Service-book, Book of
Canons, and High Commission, with all other innovations and ills
contained in our Supplications, Complaints, and Protestations. Now for
the Service-book, I find every one almost to be so inclined willingly to
quite (be done with) it. But let me attest your own consciences, if it
had gone on for a while, and been read among you, as it was begun to be,
if it had not been as hard for you to have quat it as to quit the
Articles of Perth; and therefore, do not deceive yourselves, to let such
things be practised any more. It is a pitiful thing, that those who are
wise otherways should deceive themselves in the matters of God's service
and worship, and suffer others to deceive them also. 4. Ye promise and
swear, to the uttermost of your power to stand to the defence of the
king's majesty, in the defence and preservation of true religion: as
also, every one of you to the mutual defence of another in the same
cause. Now there be a number who says, that in this we come under
rebellion against the king, and we join in a combination against him,
when we join ourselves thus, every one for the defence of another. I say
no more of it but this. It is not disputed here, ye see, whether it be
lawful for subjects to take up arms against their prince or not, whether
in offence or defence; but that we will maintain the true religion, and
resist all contrary corruptions, according to our vocation. And every
one of us oblishes ourselves for the defence of another, only in
maintaining the cause of true religion, according to the laws and
liberties of this kingdom. And indeed, this is very reasonable to be
done, albeit not asked of; for when your neighbour's house is burning,
ye will not run to the king to speir (ask) if ye should help him or not,
before it come to your own; but ye will incontinent put to your hand,
both to help him, and to save your own house. Ye may not say, neither,
that because we may not oppose against authority, that we may not oppose
against Papists or against Prelates; for that were to make ourselves
slaves to men. And the very law of nature binds every one of us to help
another, in a lawful manner, for a good cause. 5. Ye swear, because ye
cannot look for a blessing from God upon your proceedings, except that
with your confession and subscription ye join such a life as becomes
Christians who has renewed their covenant with God,--therefore ye
promise to endeavour at least, for yourselves and all that are under
you, to keep yourselves within the bounds of your Christian liberty, and
to be good ensamples to others in all godliness, soberness, and
righteousness, and of every duty we owe both to God and man. And there
is none who needs to skarre (be frightened) at this; for we are not
hereby to tie any to the obedience of the law, but to the obedience of
the Gospel: and I am sure all are bound at least to please to (strive
after) this. And therefore I would have you to labour to it; and when ye
find that ye cannot get it done, then run to Christ, and beseech Him to
teach you to do it; and to give you strength, according to His promise
made in His new covenant; and so ye sail give glory to God and get good
to your own souls. And, indeed, all of you are obleist to amend your
lives, and to live otherwise than ye have done. And last of all, there
is the _Attestation_.

Now, I hope all these things be so clear to you, that there is not any
scruple in any of your minds. And therefore, that this work may be done
aright, and may be accompanied by the power of God, I would have all of
you to bow your knees before that great and dreadful Lord, and beseech
Him that He would send down the Holy Ghost, and the power of His Spirit,
to accompany the work, that so ye may do it with all your hearts, to His
glory and honour, and to your comfort in Jesus Christ.



THE NATIONAL COVENANT:

EXHORTATION AT INVERNESS.

_BY ANDREW CANT._[3]


Long ago our gracious God was pleased to visit this nation with the
light of His glorious Gospel, by planting a vineyard in, and making His
glory to arise upon Scotland. A wonder! that so great a God should shine
on so base a soil! Nature hath been a stepmother to us in comparison of
those who live under a hotter climate, as in a land like Goshen, or a
garden like Eden. But the Lord looks not as man: His grace is most free,
whereby it often pleaseth Him to compense what is wanting in nature:
whence upon Scotland (a dark obscure island, inferior to many) the Lord
did arise, and discovered the tops of the mountains with such a clear
light, that in God's gracious dispensation, it is inferior to none. How
far other nations outstripped her in naturals, as far did she out-go
them in spirituals. Her pomp less, her purity more: they had more of
antichrist than she, she more of Christ than they: in their reformation
something of the beast was reserved; in ours, not so much as a hoof.
When the Lord's ark was set up among them, Dagon fell, and his neck
brake, yet his stump was left; but with us, stump and all was cast into
the brook Kidron. Hence king James his doxology in face of parliament,
thanking God who made him king in such a kirk that was far beyond
England (they having but an ill-said mass in English) yea, beyond Geneva
itself; for holy-days (one of the beast's marks) are in part there
retained, which (said he) to day are with us quite abolished. Thus to a
people sitting in darkness, and in the shadow of death, light is sprung
up. Thus, in a manner, the stone that the builders refused is become the
head of the corner. The Lord's Anointed (to whom the ends of the earth
were given for a possession and inheritance) came and took up house
amongst us, strongly established on two pillars, Jachin and Boaz, and
well ordered with the staves of beauty and bands, and borrowing nothing
from the border of Rome. Her foundation, walls, doors, and windows were
all adorned with carbuncles, sapphires, emeralds, chrysolites, and
precious stones out of the Lord's own treasure. God Himself sat with His
beauty and ornaments therein, so that it was the praise and admiration
of the whole earth. Strangers and home-bred persons wondered. Such was
the glory, perfection, order, and unity of this house, that the altar of
Damascus could have no peace, the Canaanite no rest, heresy no hatching,
schism no footing, Diotrephes no incoming, the papists no couching, and
Jezebel no fairding. Our church looked forth as the morning, fair as the
moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners. Then God's
tabernacle was amiable, His glory filled the sanctuary, the clear fresh
streams watered the city of our God; the stoutest humbled themselves,
and were afraid. If an idiot entered the Lord's courts, so great power
sounded from Barnabas and Boanerges, the sons of consolation and
thunder, that they were forced to fall down on their face, and cry,
"This is Bethel, God is here."

But alas! Satan envied our happiness, brake our ranks, poisoned our
fountains, mudded and defiled our streams; and while the watchmen slept,
the wicked one sowed his tares: whence these divers years bygone, for
ministerial authority, we had lordly supremacy and pomp; for beauty,
fairding; for simplicity, whorish buskings; for sincerity, mixtures; for
zeal, a Laodicean temper; for doctrines, men's precepts; for wholesome
fruits, a medley of rites; for feeders we had fleecers; for pastors,
wolves and impostors; for builders of Jerusalem, rebuilders of Jericho;
for unity, rents; for progress, defection. Truth is fallen in the
streets, our dignity is gone, our credit lost, our crown is fallen from
our heads; our reputation is turned to imputation: before God and man we
justly deserve the censure of the degenerate vine; a backsliding people,
an apostate perjured nation, by our breaking a blessed covenant so
solemnly sworn.

Yet, behold! when this should have been our doom, when all was almost
gone, when we were down the hill, when the pit's mouth was opened, and
we were at the falling in, and at the very shaking hands with Rome; the
Lord, strong and gracious, pitied us, looked on us, and cried, saying,
"Return, return, ye backsliding people; come, and I will heal your
backslidings." The Lord hath been so saving, and the cry so quickening,
that almost all of all ranks, from all quarters and corners, are
awakened and on foot, meeting and answering the Lord, saying, "Behold we
come unto Thee, for Thou art the Lord our God, other lords besides Thee
have had dominion over us, but by Thee only will we make mention of Thy
name." All are wondering at the turn, and looking like them that dream,
and are singing and saying, "Blessed be the Lord who hath not given us
for a prey to their teeth; our souls are escaped as a bird out of the
snare of the fowler, the snare is broken, and we are escaped: our help
is in the name of the Lord who made the heaven and the earth." Who
thought to have seen such a sudden change in Scotland, when all second
causes were posting a contrary course? when proud men were boasting and
saying, "Bow down that we may go over;" and we laid our "bodies as the
ground, and as the streets to them that went over." But now, behold one
of God's wonders! So many of all ranks taking the honour and cause of
Christ to heart; all unanimously, harmoniously and legally conjoined as
one man in supplications, protestations and declarations against
innovations and innovators, corruptions and corrupters. Behold and
wonder! That old covenant (once and again solemnly sworn and
perfidiously violated) is now again happily renewed, with such
solemnity, harmony, oaths and subscriptions, that I dare say, this hath
been more real and true in thee, O Scotland, these few weeks bygone,
than for the space of thirty years before. I know Pashurs that went to
smite Jeremiahs, are become at this work Magor-missabib, terror round
about; Zedekiahs that went to smite Micaiahs, seek now an inner chamber
to hide themselves. Tobiah and Sanballat gnaw their tongues, laugh and
despise us, saying, "What is this ye do? Will ye rebel against the king?
Will ye fortify yourselves? Will ye make an end in a day? Will ye remove
the stones out of the heaps of rubbish that is burnt?" Rehum the
chancellor, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their companions, cease
not to fill the ears of a gracious prince with prejudice, saying, "Be it
known to thee, O king, if this city be built, and the walls thereof set
up again, that they will not pay toll, tribute or custom." But to these
we answer, "Let the king live, and let all his enemies be confounded,
let all that seek his damnation be put to shame here and henceforth: but
as for you, ye are strangers, meddle not with the joy of God's people;
ye have no portion, right, nor memorial in God's Jerusalem." If the
begun work vex them, it is no wonder; it does prognosticate the ruin of
their kingdom, and that Haman, who hath begun to fall before the seed
of the Jews, shall fall totally: the Lord is about to prune His
vineyard, and to drive out the foxes that eat the tender grapes; to
pluck up bastard plants, and to whip buyers and sellers out of the
temple. The Lord is about to strike the Gehazis with leprosy, and to
bring low the Simon Maguses who were so high lifted up by Satan's
ministry. The Lord is calling the great ones to put too their shoulder,
and help His work; He hath been in the south, saying, "Keep not back,"
and blessed be God, they have not. He hath now sent to the north,
saying, "Give up, bring My sons from afar, and My daughters from the
ends of the earth:" contend for the faith once delivered to Scotland.

There is one Lord, one faith, one cause that concerns all. Though this
north climate be cold, I hope your hearts are not, at least they should
not be. The earth is the Lord's and its fulness, the world and they that
dwell therein; the uttermost parts of the earth are given to Christ for
a possession; His dominion is from sea to sea, and from the river to the
ends of the earth. Come then, and kiss the Son; count it your greatest
honour to honour Christ, and to lend His fallen truths a lift; come and
help to build the old wastes, that ye may be called the repairers of the
breach; and then shall all generations call you blessed; then shall God
build up your houses, as He did to the Egyptian midwives, for their
fearing God, and for their friendship to His people Israel. Be not like
the nobles of Tekoa, of whom Nehemiah complained, that they would not
put their necks to the work of the Lord. Be not like Meroz, whom the
angel of the Lord cursed bitterly, for not coming to the help of the
Lord against the mighty. Neither be ye like these mockers and scorners,
at the renewing of the Lord's covenant in Hezekiah's days, but rather
like those whose hearts the Lord humbled and moved. Be not like those
invited to the king's supper, who refused to come, and had miserable
excuses, and therefore should not taste of it. We hope better things of
you; God hath reserved and advanced you for a better time and use: but
if ye draw back, keep silence, and hold your peace, God shall bring
deliverance and enlargement to His church another way; but God save you
from the sequel. Nothing is craved of you but what is for God and the
king; for Christ's honour, and the kirk's good, and the kingdom's peace.
God give to your hearts courage, wisdom and resolution for God and the
king, and for Christ and His truths. _Amen._



THE NATIONAL COVENANT

SERMON AT GLASGOW.[4]

_By ANDREW CANT._

"The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, who made a marriage
for his son: and he sent forth his servants to call them that were
bidden to the wedding; and they would not come," etc.--_Matt._ xxii. 2,
3, 4, 5, 6.


I purpose not to handle this parable punctually, because it stands not
with the nature of a parable, neither will the time suffer me so to do.

The parable runs upon an evident declaration and clear manifestation of
God's sweetest mercies, in offering the marriage of His Son, His own
Son, His well-beloved Son, the Son of His love, the Son of His bosom,
the Son as good as the Father, the Son as great and as glorious as the
Father, the Son whose generation none can declare. The Father offers
this His Son in marriage: 1. To the Jews, as you have in the first seven
verses of the parable. 2. To the Gentiles, in the rest of the parable.

1. To the Jews, not because of their worthiness; "But even so, O Father,
for so it seemed good in Thy sight." This offer was the effect of no
merit, neither of congruity nor of condignity in the Jews; for they were
like that wretched and menstruous infant, Ezek. xvi. 3, 4, unswaddled,
unwashen, uncleansed, "lying in its blood, its navel not cut, nor
salted at all, nor swaddled at all, cast out in the open field, having
no eye to pity it."

2. As for the Gentiles, ye may see what case they were in, if ye read
this same parable, Luke xiv. 20. "Go ye out into the streets and lanes
of the city, and call the poor, the lame, blind and maimed," etc. Some
were cripple, some poor and blind, and withered, and miserable, and
naked, and leper, unworthy to come to our Lord's gates, let be to have
them opened wide to us; unworthy to be set down at His table, let be to
be admitted to His royal marriage feast, and to get Christ our Lord to
be our match, and to be the food and cheer of our souls: and therefore
let all souls, let all pulpits, let all schools, let all universities,
let all men, let all women, let all Christians cry, grace, grace, grace,
praise, praise, praise, blessing, blessing, for evermore to the Lord's
free grace. Fy, fy, upon the man; fy, fy, upon the woman, that is an
enemy to the Lord's free grace. The fullest, and the fairest, and the
freest thing in heaven or earth is the free grace of God, to our poor
souls: "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name be the
glory."

At another occasion I handled the parable after a more general manner,
and propounded these points unto you: 1. Who was this great king? 2. Who
was the Son of this great king?

1. This great King is God Himself, "the King of kings, and Lord of
lords." Then for the Lord's sake, stand in awe of Him, love Him and fear
Him. And I charge you all here before that great and dreadful Lord, that
ye humble yourselves under His mighty hand, and that ye prostrate and
submit yourselves under His almighty hand, and come away as ye promised.
Kiss the Son, and embrace Him, and then shall wrath be holden off you;
and a shower of God's mercy shall come down upon you. Then the King is
God.

2. The King's Son is Christ. Then there follows a dinner, "I have
prepared my dinner." Yea, I have a supper also, for Luke says, He
"prepared a great supper." I told you in what respects it is great. 1. I
told you it was great in respect of the author of it, God. 2. I told you
it was great in respect of the matter of it. Ye know the matter of it,
as holy Scripture tells. Whiles it gets base, silly, simple names, and
is delineated and expressed under common terms: but the most common term
it gets is so considerable that our case would not be good if it were
wanting. Whiles 'tis called "a feast of fat things full of marrow, of
wine on the lees well refined." Whiles it is called "gold." Whiles it is
called "fatlings, and a fatted and fed calf." Whiles 'tis "honey and
milk." Whiles it is called "oil and wine." Whiles it is called the
"bread of life." In a word, to tell you what this feast is, it is this
Christ and all His saving graces freely given to thy soul. Then, 3. It
is great in respect of the manner of its preparation: I confess, this
feast, though prepared in silver, is often administered in earthen
vessels, and clay dishes: and, though it be mingled with butter and
honey, yet this makes the natural man, when he looks upon it, not to
think much of it, because he looks on the outside of it only. But would
to God your eyes were opened to see the inside of it, and not to be like
proud Naaman, who said, "What better is this water of Jordan than the
water of Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus?" As some say, What
better is this feast than the feast we have at home? As the man of God
prayed for his servant, "Lord, open his eyes that he may see;" and the
Lord opened his eyes, and he saw another sight, even the mountain full
of horses and flaming chariots of fire; so, I pray the Lord open all
your eyes, that ye may see the many differences between this feast and
all other feasts; for other feasts are but feasts for the body, and they
are but feasts for the belly; an Esau may have them, a reprobate may
feed upon them. These are nothing else but the swine's husks, whereon
the prodigal fed for a time, and scarce could get them; but when he came
back again to his father's house, then he fed upon the fatted calf; and
then he got a feast, and then was there plenty, then did his well run
over, then was his cup to the brim, and overflowing. O that ye knew your
Father's house, and the fatness, the fulness, the feast, and the plenty
that are there, ye would all hunger after it, and would then say, alas!
I have been feeding on husks too long, "now will I arise and go to my
father's house, where there is bread enough." All the Lord's steps drop
plenty and fatness. 4. I told you that this supper is a great feast in
respect of the great number that are called unto it. The poorest thing
in all the land is called unto it: the Jews are called, the Gentiles are
called, yea the poorest thing that is hearing me is called; such as a
great man would not look on, but he would close the gates on such an
one; a great man would not deign himself to look on them in his kitchen;
yet come ye away to this feast, the King of kings has His house open,
and His gates patent, He has a ready feast, and a room house, and fair
open gates, and every body shall be welcome that will come. "Whosoever
thirsts; let him come, and take of the water of life freely." And now
through all the nooks and corners of this kingdom of Scotland, Christ is
sending out His servants, and I am sent out unto you this day, crying
unto you, "Come away, His oxen and fatlings are killed, His wine is
drawn, and His table furnished, and all things ready." 5. I told you it
was a great feast, in respect of the place where it is kept. There are
two dining-rooms:--(1) A dining-room above. (2) A dining-room below. A
dining-room above, that is a high dining-room, that is a fair house,
that is a trim place. O the rivers of the Lord's consolations that run
there: I confess, in this lower dining-room of the church, the waters
come first to the ankles, then to the mid-leg, then to the knees, then
to the thigh, and then past wading; but then shall ye get fulness, when
ye come up to that dining-room. And when ye come there, there shall be
no more hunger, no more thirst, there shall be no more scant nor want,
nor any more sour sauce in your feasts, neither any more sadness, nor
sorrowful days; but eat your fill, and drink your fill. And many shall
come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the
south, and shall sit down at the royal and rare covered table, with
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and get their fill to their hungered--"When I
awake (says David) I shall be filled with Thy likeness." Poor soul, thou
canst never get thy fill; I wish to God thou got a sop and a drop to set
thee by till then. Indeed, if thou hadst a vessel, thou shouldst get thy
fair fill even in this life. And I dare say, if thou wouldst seek, and
seek on, and seek instantly, the Lord would one day or other make thee
drink of the new wine of the gospel; He would give thee a draught, a
fair draught, a fill, a fair fill of the wine of His consolation, He
would make you suck the milk at the breasts of His consolation; but He
will aye keep the best wine hindmost, as He did at the marriage of Cana.
Therefore, poor thing, lift up thy head, and gather thy heart; ere it be
long thou shalt get a draught of the best wine in thy Father's house,
where there are many mansions, and many dwelling-places. "I go (says
Christ) to prepare a place for you:" and He will come again, and receive
you to Himself, where ye shall drink abundantly of the new wine of the
gospel. _Lastly_, This supper is a great one in respect of the
continuance of it; it lasts not for one day, but for ever; it lasts not
for a hundred and four-score days, but for ever, and evermore. Poor
thing, who possibly gets some blyth morning blinks in upon thy soul, and
possibly gets a taste of this cup in the morning, and long ere even thou
art hungering and thirsting again, and thou wots not where to meet thy
Lord, and all the thing thou hast gotten is forgotten; in the day that
He shall come, then thou shalt feast constantly and continually in thy
Father's house, where thou shalt never want thy arms full, thou shalt
never want thy Lord out of thy sight, neither shall thy Lord ever want
thee, but He shall ever be with thee, and thou with Him; thou shalt
follow the Lamb whithersoever He goes.

"Behold I have prepared my dinner." All this feast was for a marriage;
and here is a wonder, a world's wonder, a behold, which notes divers
things: 1. Behold it for an admiration. 2. Behold it for an excitation.
3. Behold it for consolation. 4. Behold it for instruction. Behold, and
be awakened; behold, and be excited; behold, and be comforted; behold,
and admire; behold, and wonder, that the King of heaven's Son will marry
your soul! Then behold, and come away to your own marriage; behold, lost
man shall get a Saviour, behold, the King's Son will be a Saviour to a
slave; behold, the King's Son will drink the potion, and the sick shall
get health; behold, the King's Son will marry Himself upon thee! "I will
marry thee unto Me in faith and in righteousness." "Thou that was a
widow and reproached," like a poor widow that has many foes, but few
friends; yet, says the Lord, "Thou shalt not remember the reproach of
thy widow-hood any more." Then behold, and come away to the marriage.
Now, "Who are these that are invited to the marriage?" I told you, 1.
The Jews are invited. 2. The Gentiles are invited; yea, you are invited;
I thank the bridegroom you are invited; I shall bear witness of it, when
I am gone from you, you are invited. And I thank the Lord, I have more
to bear witness of; yea, that which comforts my soul, by all appearance
the greatest part of you are come in, and by all good appearance ye have
the wedding garment. I hope God has a people among you; this I shall
bear witness of, when I am gone from among you; the greatest part has
lent an ear; the Lord bear it in upon your hearts with His own blessed
preference.

1. "He sent His servants forth." He gives many a cry Himself, and many a
shout Himself. Is not that one of God's cries, "Come unto Me, all ye
that are weary and laden, and I will ease you." O but that is a sweet
word, thou art a weary thing, with a sore load of sin upon the neck of
thy soul, and thou art like to sink under it, and art crying, what will
come of thee? He is bidding thee come away, and get a drink of the
marriage-wine to cheer thy fainting spirit; and if thou be weary, He
shall ease thee.

_Object._ Alas! Sin hinders me, that I cannot come; sin is so black and
ugly upon me, and so heavy, that I cannot come. _Ans._ "Come (says the
Lord) I will reason with you," that is, I will have your faults
discovered, and I will have you convicted of your faults; but when I
have reasoned with you, will I cast you away? Nay, but though your sins
were red as "crimson, they shall be made white as snow or wool."

_Object._ 2. Alas! but my sins are many, how can the Lord look upon me
or pardon me? _Ans._ "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the
unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, for He
will abundantly pardon; for My ways are not your ways, neither My
thoughts your thoughts; but as the heaven is high above the earth, so
are My thoughts, (in pardoning) higher nor yours" (in sinning). Come
away, poor thing, then, and get thy heart full of mercy; and because
such a fair offer is hard to be laid hold on, therefore He goes to the
market-cross, like an herald with a great O yes, that all men there may
be awakened. It is not little that will awaken sleeping sinners,
therefore He puts too an O yes. "Ho, come every one that thirsteth, buy
wine and milk without money, and without price. Why do ye spend your
money for nought?" Ye have spent your strength too long in vain; ye have
been feeding on husks too long; ye have forsaken mercy and embraced
vanity too long. Come away, and He "will make an everlasting covenant
with you, even the sure mercies of David."

2. "He sent forth His servants." This is a great wonder, that He calls
on His servants, and sends them to them; this is wonderful! He stood not
on compliments, who should be first in the play: ye would never have
sought Him, if He had not sought you; ye would never have loved Him, if
He had not loved you with the love of Christ. I would say a comfortable
word to a poor soul; is there any soul in this house this day, that has
chosen the Lord for the love and delight of his soul? Thou wouldst never
have chosen Him, if that loving and gracious God had not chosen thee. Is
there any soul in this house this day, that is filled with the love of
Christ? Thou wouldst never have loved Him if He had not loved thee
first. Is there any soul that is seeking unto Him in earnest? Be
comforted, He is seeking thee, and hast found thee, and gart thee seek
Him. I might produce scripture for all these, but the points are plain.

3. Lo, a greater wonder! "He sent forth His servants." Ye would think,
if any had wronged you, it were their part to seek you, and not yours to
seek them; or if any baser than another had done a wrong, it beseemed
him to be the most careful to take pains, and seek to him whom he had
wronged. But behold here a wonder! The great God seeking base man! the
offended God seeking offending man! And is this because He has need of
you? Nay, canst thou be a party for Him? Canst thou hold the field
against Him? Nay, "Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, Why
hast Thou made me thus?" Shall the crawling worm and the pickle of small
dust fight against the King of kings? Art thou able to stand out against
Him, or pitch any field against Him? Nay, I tell thee, O man, there is
not a pickle of hair in thy head, but if God arise in anger, He can
cause it seem a devil unto thee, and every nail of thy fingers, to be a
torment of hell against thee. O Lord of hosts, and King of kings, who
can stand out against Thee? And yet thou hast offended Him, and run away
from Him, and miskent Him, and transgressed all His commandments, and
hell, and wrath, and judgment is thy portion which thou deservest, and
yet the Lord is sending out His servants, to see if they can make an
agreement. Then, for God's sake, think on this wonder: for all this text
is full of wonders, all God's works are indeed full of wonders, but this
is the wonder of wonders. We then are God's ambassadors, I beseech you
to be reconciled to God. Should not ye have sought unto Him first, with
ropes about your necks, with sackcloth upon your loins, and with tears
in your eyes? Should not ye have lain at His door, and scraped, if ye
could not knock? And yet the Lord hath sent me to you, and our faithful
men about here, crying, Come away to the marriage: Come away, I will
renew My contract with you; I will not give you a bill of divorcement,
but I will give My Son to you; and your souls that are black and blae, I
will make them beautiful. Behold yet another wonder! When He has sent
out other servants, and they got a nay-say; yet He will not take a
nay-say. Ye know a good neighbour, when he has prepared a dinner for
another of his neighbours, sends out his servants, intimating that all
things are ready, the table is covered, and dishes set on; if once
warned, he refuses, he might well send once or twice to him, but at last
he would take a displeasure, and not send again: but behold a wonder! He
sends out His servants, in the plural number. But behold a great wonder!
After one servant is abused, He sends out others, and when they are
slain, and spitefully used by these who should have followed their call,
and come in; what does the Lord? Read the chapter before, and ye shall
see a great wonder; "He sent out His own SON:" when Moses cannot do it,
when the prophets cannot do it, when John the Baptist cannot do it;
well, says the Lord, I will see if My Son can do it; I have not a Son
but one, and that is the Son of My love, and I will make Him a man, and
send Him down among them, and see how they will treat Him: and when He
comes, they cry out, "There is the heir, let us kill him." But behold a
greater wonder! That after these servants are abused, and spitefully
handled; and after the Son Himself is come, and has drunken of the same
cup, after He has died a shameful death, and after they had put their
hands on the heir; yet, when all is done, the Lord sends servants upon
servants, preachers upon preachers, apostles upon apostles to call in
the people of the Jews, to see if they will marry His Son. Then behold
and wonder at all these wonders! and let all knees bow down before God.
Lord stamp your hearts with this word of God: God grant you could be
kind to Him, as He has been kind to you, and testified the same, by
putting salve to your soul, and bringing it into the wedding.

"He sent forth His servants." We may learn from this, that we who are
the brethren in the ministry must be servants, and not lords. I wish at
my heart, that we knew what we are, and that we knew our calling, and
what we have gotten in trust; for we serve the best Master in the world;
but I'll tell you He is the strictest Master that can be. I'll tell
thee, O minister, and I speak it to thee with reverence, and I speak it
to myself, There is a day coming, when thou must answer to God for what
thou has got in charge, thou must answer to God for all the talents thou
hast got, whether ten or two; for all have not got alike. But, dear
brethren, happy is the man, if he had but one talent, that puts it out
for his Lord's use; and Lord be thanked, that He will seek no more of
me than He has given me. There are many things to discourage a faithful
minister; but yet this may encourage us, that we serve the best Master,
and that is a sure recompence of reward that is abiding us. Indeed He
has not sent us out to seek ourselves, or to get gain to ourselves, He
has not sent us out to woo a bride to ourselves, or to woo home the lord
to our own bosom only: but He has sent us to woo a bride, and to deck
and trim a spouse for our Lord and Master. And ye that are ministers of
Glasgow ye shall all be challenged upon this; whether or not ye have
laboured to woo and trim a bride for your Lord: but I know that you will
be careful to present your flocks as a chaste spouse to Him. And we also
that are ministers in landwart, we are sent out for this errand, it
matters not what part of the world we be in, if we do our Master's
service; and the day is coming when thou must answer to God for thy
parish, whether thou hast laboured to present it as a chaste spouse to
Christ. It may gar the soul of the faithful minister leap for joy, when
he remembers the day of His Majesty's faithful meeting and his, when he
shall give up his accounts, and then it shall be seen who has employed
his talent well: then shall He say, "Well done, good and faithful
servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee
ruler over many things; enter thou into thy Master's joy." Or rather
"Let thy Master's joy enter into thee, and take and fill thy soul with
it." Many a sad heart has a faithful watchman; but there is a day coming
when he shall get a joyful heart. But for whom especially is this joy
reserved? It is even for those "who convert many to righteousness; they
shall shine like the stars in the firmament, in the kingdom of their
Father." It is plain this belongs not to thee, O faithless watchman.
What hast thou been doing? Busking a bride for thyself? Busking a bride
for the Pope of Rome, the bishop of Rome, even for antichrist? becking
and bingeing to this table and that altar, bringing in the tapistry of
antichristian hangings, and endeavouring to set the crown on another
man's head, nor Christ's? But thou that wilt not set on the crown on His
head, and labour to hold it on, thou O preacher, the vengeance of God
shall come upon thee, the blood of souls shall be upon thee. Many a
kirk-man eats blood, and drinks blood; Lord deliver our souls from
blood-guiltiness. Dear brethren, let us repent, let us repent: I trow we
have been all in the wrong to the Bridegroom; shame shall be upon thee
that thinks shame to repent. I charge you all, before the timber and
stones of this house, and before that same day-light that ye behold, and
that under no less pain nor the loss of the salvation of your souls,
that ye wrong not the Bridegroom nor his bride any more. But we come to
our point:

We are servants and not lords. I see never a word in this text, nay, nor
in all the scripture that the Master of the feast sent out lords to woo
home his bride; He "sent out His servants," but not His lords. Read all
the Bible from the beginning to the ending, you shall not find it. Daft
men may dispute, and by respect may carry it away; but read all the Old
and New Testament both, and let me see if ever this lord prelate, or
that lord bishop, was sent to woo home his bride.

_Object._ 1. We have our prerogative from Aaron, from Moses, from the
apostles, from Timothy. _Ans._ I trow ye be like bastard bairns that can
find no father. So they shall never be able to get a father, for man has
set them up, and man is their father.

_Object._ 2. Find we not the name of bishop under the New Testament?
_Ans._ Yes; but not the bishop of a diocese, such as my Lord Glasgow,
and my Lord St. Andrew's; but we find a pastor or a bishop over a flock.
It is a wonderful matter to me, that men should think to reason this
way; for in the Old Testament there is not an office, nor an
office-bearer, but is distinctly determined in the making of the
tabernacle; there is not a tackle, nor the quantity of it, not a
curtain, nor the colour thereof, not a snuffer, nor a candlestick, nor a
besom that sweeps away the filth, nor an ash-pan that keepeth the ashes,
but all are particularly set down; yet, ye will not get a bishop, nor an
archbishop, nor this metropolitan, nor that great and cathedral man, no
not within all the Bible. The Lord pity them; for indeed I think them
objects of pity, rather than of malice. Christ is a perfect king, and a
perfect prophet. Thou canst never own Him to be a perfect priest and
king, that denies Him to be perfect prophet; and a perfect prophet He
can never be, except He has set down all the offices and office-bearers
requisite for the government of His house; but so has He done, therefore
is He perfect.

_Obj._ 3. But they will call themselves servants. _Ans._ 1. The fox may
catch a while the sheep, and the Pope may call himself _servus
servorum_, the servant of servants: and they will call themselves
brethren, when they write to us; but they will take it very highly and
hardly, if we call them brethren, when we write back to them again: but
men shall be known by their fruits, and by their works, to be what they
are, and not what they call themselves. But if they will be called
servants and yet remain lords, let them take heed that they be not such
servants, as cursed Canaan was, "a servant of servants shall he be."
Take heed that they be not serving men's wrath and vengeance, and not
servants "by the grace of God, and by the mercy of God," as they style
themselves. 2. Let them take heed that they be not such servants as
Gehazi was; he was a false servant, he ran away after the courtier
Naaman, seeking gifts, and said his master sent him, when (God knows)
his master sent him not; at the time he should have been praying to the
Lord, to help his poor kirk and comfort her; the curse and vengeance of
God came upon him, and he was stricken with leprosy for his pains; such
servants are these men who now sit down on their cathedral nests,
labouring to make themselves great like Gehazi: let them take heed that
their hinder end be not like his. 3. Let them take heed that they be not
such servants as Ziba was to Mephibosheth, who not only took away what
was his by right, but also went to the king with ill tales of poor
cripple Mephibosheth: such servants are these who not only rob the
church of her privileges and liberties, but also run up to the king with
lies and ill tales of poor Mephibosheth, the cripple kirk of Scotland.
4. Let them take heed that they be not such servants as Judas was, an
evil servant indeed; he sold his Master for gain, as ill servants do. Or
like these that strike the bairns when they are not doing any fault: and
they are ill servants who busk their master's spouse with antichrist's
busking. Wo unto them, and the man who is the head of their kirk, whose
cross and trumpery they would put on the Lord's chaste spouse. But if
they will call themselves servants, and yet remain lords, let them take
heed that they be not of this category that I have reckoned up. The Lord
make us faithful servants, and the Lord rid His house of them.

Time will not suffer me to go through the rest of the text, only I will
take a glance of some things which make for your use at this time.

_Quest._ How are their servants treated? _Ans._ Some of them get
_nolumus_ upon the back of their bill: some of them are beaten, and
spitefully used and slain. Dear hearts, know ye not how Moses was used?
how Aaron and Jeremiah, &c., were used? how Zechariah was slain between
the porch and the altar? how Jeremiah was smitten; and he that did it,
got his name changed into Magor Missabib, _terror round about_? Know ye
not that Zedekiah struck Micaiah; and how his threatenings against him
came to pass? Always we may learn from this, that the Lord's best
servants have been, and will be abused, and spitefully used? This is a
great sin lying upon Scotland, England and Ireland. Many faithful
servants in the three kingdoms have been spitefully used; their cheeks
burnt, their noses ript up, their faces marked; some of them put into a
stinking prison, where they had not an hour's health, and many of them
rugged from their flocks, and their flocks from them. Look over to the
kingdom of Ireland, the many desolate congregations that are there; many
a dear one there, that would have had a blyth soul, to have had your
last Sunday, or seen it, or to have assurance of such a day before they
come into Heaven. Pray for the peace of Zion, and pity those poor things
who would be content to go from one sea-bank to the other, to be in your
place to-day. And truly the blood of these poor things is crying for
vengeance to light where it should light; for the blame lies upon none
but the proud prelates. If I would pose you with this question, as you
will answer to God, Who have been the instruments of all this mischief?
I am sure the most ignorant among you can answer, None but the proud
beasts the prelates. The Lord give them repentance.

I know not how you have handled your pastors in this town, because I am
but a stranger; but trow ye that two silly men that came among you can
do any thing, if your own pastors had not laid the foundations: but, for
God's sake, honour and respect your pastors, I mean those of them that
keep the covenant of Levi. And ye that have broken it, and will not come
to renew it again, shame and dishonour will be upon you for evermore. I
have my message from the 2nd of Malachi, "I will pour contempt upon them
who have broken the covenant of Levi." Therefore let pastors and people
enter both within this covenant; for it is the sweetest thing in the
world, to see pastors and a people going one way. Therefore come away
all of you unto the wedding, come and subscribe the contract, put your
heart and hand to it. Blessed be God for what already ye have done.

Some of the servants got a nay-say, and some of them were beaten; hence
we learn, that every minister will not be beaten, nor will get the
stroke to keep; but if a minister get a nay-say, it will make him as sad
as if he had gotten sore strokes. If a minister get a nay-say that has
been travailing these many years in the ministry, and yet cannot get one
soul brought unto the Lord, that will make him as sad as sore strokes
will do. When an honest minister has laboured many years painfully in
the sweat of his brows, and has never had another tune, but, Come away,
come away unto the marriage; and when he walks among them, and sees
never one coming in, nor never one that has on the wedding garment, what
will be the complaint of the poor man? O then he will cry out with
Isaiah, "Lord, who believes my report, and to whom has the arm of the
Lord been made naked? Lord, I have laboured in vain, and spent my
strength for nought." What will come of me, after so many years' travail
in the ministry? I have not brought forth one child. The Lord forbid
that ye our people break your ministers' hearts. And as for you,
brethren, be more watchful over your flocks, be more busy in catechising
and exhorting them. And urge the duty of the covenant upon them, and
when they are on foot, hold them going; lead them to the fountain and
cock-eye. Lead them to the well-spring; and make meikle of them; feed
the Lord's lambs, as Christ said to Peter, "If thou lovest Me, feed My
sheep; lovest thou Me? I say, feed My sheep." Minister, lovest thou me?
feed my bais'd sheep: lovest thou me? feed my lambs. You must be
feeders, and not fleecers; pastors, but not wolves; builders, but not
destroyers; and come away, and help up the broken-down wall of
Jerusalem. For if one of you can bring timber here, another bring
mortar, a third bring stones, and make up a slap in Zion; and I hope we
that came here shall go home with blyth news to our congregations, that
we cannot say we have got a cold welcome; so I hope ye will think it
your greatest comfort, and your greatest credit also. Venture in
covenant with God, and whosoever thou be, that wilt not enter in
covenant, we will have thy name, and we will pour out our complaints
before God for thee; for we that are ministers must be faithful to our
Master; and I take you all to witness, that we have discharged our
commission faithfully; and I hope the blessing of the Lord shall be upon
them that have given us an invitation of this kind: and it may be your
greatest comfort, that now ye may go homely unto the Lord, being
formerly in covenant with Him; and your greatest credit also, for ye
never got such a credit, as to lend your Master's honour a lift. We come
to the excuses.

"But they went their way, one to his farm, and another to his
merchandise." Luke is more large in this, and saith, "I have bought a
piece of ground, and must needs go see it;" another said, "I have bought
five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them;" and the third said, "I have
married a wife and therefore I cannot come." 1. We learn here, that
never a man refuses Christ but from some by-respects, such as a farm,
oxen, and marriage. I never saw a man staying back from the covenant,
but from some by-respects; either some respect to the world, or to men,
or to the court, or such bastard by-respects to some statesmen, or to a
prelate, or to the King himself, who, we trust, ere it be long, shall
think them the honestest men that came in soonest; therefore cast away
all by-respects. The apostle John includes their excuses under three
different expressions, "The pride of life," including the farm; "The
lust of the heart," including the merchandise; and "The lust of the
flesh," including the marriage. Therefore let every soul that would love
and follow Christ, deny himself, and lay aside excuses. Deny thy own
wit, will, and vanities, and lay aside all by-respects, and I shall
warrand thou shalt come running, and get Christ in thy arms. 2. Is it a
respect to prelacy that hinders thee, O Scotland? cursed be the day that
ever they were born. 3. Is it a respect to the novations already come
into Scotland? I may say cursed be these brats of Babel. It had been
best to have rent them at the beginning, for many woful days have they
brought on, and woful divisions have they brought in, and woful
backslidings have they occasioned. Therefore away with these
by-respects. 4. Is it a respect to the king? The Lord bless our king.
Says not the covenant enough for the maintenance of the king? As for the
word which they call combinations, it reserves always the honour of God,
and the honour of the king; protesting, that we mind nothing that may
tend to the diminution of the king's greatness and authority. Yea, I
know no other means under heaven to make many loyal subjects, but by
renewing our covenant.

I would have had the men that made these excuses framing them another
way; I would have had him that married the wife, saying, My wife has
married me; and he that bought his oxen, saying, My oxen have bought me;
and he that went to his farm, saying, My farm has bought me. And if ye
will mark the words, ye will find them run this way. 1. Marriage is
lawful; but when a man beasts himself in his carnal pleasures, then the
wife marries the man; "therefore let them that have wives, be as though
they had them not, and them that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not."
2. Buying of farms is lawful, but when a man becomes a slave to his own
gain, it takes away the soul of him, the farm buys the man; likewise
husbandry is lawful, but when a man yokes his neck under the world, it
trails and turmoils him so, that he cannot take on the yoke of Jesus. 3.
Thus also the merchandise buys the man. Then, for Jesus Christ's sake,
cast away all excuses, and come away now, and marry Christ. 1. Away with
thy bastard pleasures. 2. Away with thy bastard cares, and come away to
Christ, and He shall season all thy cares. 3. Away with thy falsehood,
thy pride, vanity, &c. Away with thy corn, wine and oil, and come to
Christ, and He shall lift up His countenance upon thee. The Lord give
thee a blink of that, and then thou wilt come hopping with all thy
speed, like unto old Jacob, when he saw the angels ascending and
descending, then he ran fast, albeit he was tired, and had got a hard
bed, and a far harder bolster the night before, yet he got a glorious
sight, and his legs were soupled with consolation, which made him run.
Lord blink upon thy lazy soul with His amiable countenance, and then
thou shalt rise and run, and thy fainting heart will receive strength,
when the Lord puts in His hand by the key-hole of the door, and leaves
drops of myrrh behind Him, then a sleepy bride will rise and seek her
Beloved. But to our point.

Marriage is lawful, merchandise is lawful, husbandry is lawful, but
never one of these is lawful when they hinder thee from the Lord.
Neither credit, pleasure, preferment, houses nor lands are lawful, when
they hinder thee from the Lord's sweet presence. Jerome said well,
"Though my old father were hanging about my neck, and my sweet mother
had me in her arms, and all my dear children were sticking about me, yet
when my Lord Jesus called upon me, I would cast off my old father, and
throw my sweet mother under foot, and throw away all my dear children,
and run away to my Lord Jesus." Lord grant, my beloved, that what ye
have heard of Christ may sink in your souls: and when ye have seen poor
things running here and there, to get a prayer here, and a prayer there,
and ye wonder what they are seeking, they are seeking their Beloved; and
if ye ask, "What is their Beloved more than another?" They will answer,
my Beloved is the fairest and trimmest, and the highest and honourablest
in the world; He has the sweetest eyes, the sweetest cheeks, the
sweetest lips, and trimmest legs and arms, "yea He is altogether
lovely;" and then they will be made to cry out, "O thou fairest among
women, tell us whither is thy Beloved gone, that we may seek Him with
thee?" O if we knew Him! Lord work upon you the knowledge of Him. O what
a business would you make to be at Him! Lord grant that our ministry may
leave a stamp upon your hearts. Then had we gotten a rich purchase.
Would to God ye were like that marquis in Italy, who fled from thence to
Geneva, being persecuted by the Jesuits; and when they followed him, and
offered him sums of gold, he answered, "Let those perish forever who
part with an hour's fellowship with Christ, for all the gold under
heaven." And sundry of the martyrs being at the stake, having this and
that offered to them, they had still this word, None but Christ, none
but Christ: and when they were bidden, Have mind of your well favoured
wife, and your poor children; they answered, "If I had all the money and
gold in the world, I would give it to stay with my wife and poor
children, if it were but in a stinking prison; but sweet Christ is
dearer unto me than all." Then cast away all excuse. Would to God we
were like that woman, when going to the stake; "I have borne many
children, (says she) and yet notwithstanding of all these pains, I would
suffer them all over again, for one hour's fellowship with my Lord."
Then come away, come away, cast away all excuses, come away; as the
Saviour says, "The storm is past and over, the winter is away, the time
of singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our
land; arise, my fair one, and come away." God be thanked, there is a sad
winter over Scotland's head, and our figs are blossoming, and our trees
are budding, and bringing forth fruit, now is the turtle singing, and
his voice is heard in our land: now is Christ's voice heard, now is our
Bridegroom standing waiting on our way-coming; and here am I in His
name, crying unto you, Come away: here am I to honour my Master: all
honour be to Him for ever and ever. Come away then, for the winter is
going, the summer is approaching, our vines are blossoming, in token of
a fair summer: arise, arise, and come away.

Ver. 9. "Go ye, therefore, out to the highways:" as if He would say,
Well, I see the Jews will not come in; "therefore go your ways and fetch
in the Gentiles." Yet I hope in God, there shall many of the Jews come
in shortly. They spake for you, when ye could not speak for yourselves;
they said, "We have a little sister, and she has no breasts; what shall
we do for her in the day she shall be spoken for?" Now pray ye for them.
Always they refused to come in, as ye heard; and not being worthy, they
would not come to Him, to make them worthy.--Always, says the Lord, go
out, and call in the Gentiles to My table, My Son may not want a wife:
He is too great a king to want a spouse, and My supper is too good cheer
to be lost; therefore go and fetch in the Gentiles. I thank the Lord
that ye are come in. I know not a town in the kingdom of Scotland that
is not come in, except one, and I am afraid for the wrath of God to
light on that shortly. Always God hath His own time. But trow ye, that
God will give that honour to every one? Nay. I protest in my own silly
judgment (howbeit I cannot scance upon kings crowns) that it were the
greatest honour that ever king Charles got, to subscribe the covenant.
But trow ye that every minister and every burgh will come in? Nay: if
you will read the history, 2 Chron. xxx. 10, you will see the contrary;
when Hezekiah was going to renew the covenant, and to keep the passover,
the holy text says, that numbers mocked, and thought themselves over
jelly to come in; but those whose hearts the Lord had touched, they came
in and kept the blyth day. Indeed I was afraid once, that Christ would
have left old Scotland, and gone to new Scotland, and that He would
have left old England, and gone to new England: and think ye not but He
can easily do this? Has He not a famous church in America, where He may
go? Indeed I know not a kingdom in all the world, but if their plots had
gone on, they had been at antichrist's shore ere now; but all his limbs
and liths, I hope shall be broken, and then shall our Lord be great:
therefore come away in with your wedding garment, and ye that have not
put it on, now put it on, and come away to the marriage: and I thank the
Lord, that ye are prevailed with, by God's assisting of our faithful
brethren to bring you in; the Lord grant that ye may come in with your
wedding garment. It is but a small matter for you to hold up your hand;
and yet, I suspect, some of you when it was in doing took a back-side. I
tell you that it is no matter of sport, to board with God: therefore
come away with your wedding garment; for the Master of the feast sees
you, and knows all that are come to the marriage feast. I know you not,
but my Master knows you every one: He knows who came in on Sabbath and
who came in yesterday, and who will come in to-day, and who are going to
put on their wedding garment, and cast away their duds. Away with your
duds of pride, your duds of greed and of malice; away with all these
duds, and be like the poor blind man in the gospel, who when he knew
that Christ called him, he cast his old cloak from him, and came away;
so do ye, cast aside all excuses, and come to the wedding. And now with
a word of the wedding garment I will end.

This wedding garment consists of three pieces: 1. There is one piece of
it looks to God, and that is holiness. 2. There is another piece of it
looks to ourselves, and that is sobriety. 3. Another piece of it looks
to our neighbour, and that is righteousness.

The first is holiness; I charge you to put it on: ye that are the
provost and bailies, I love you dearly, and all the members of the
town; gentlemen, and all gentlewomen, and all of you I love you dearly;
and therefore I charge you all before God, in my last farewell unto you,
to be holy, according as ye have sworn in your covenant.

2. Be sober. Howbeit I be a stranger, yet I like brotherly love and
Christian fellowship well; but drunkenness and gluttony, feasting and
carousing I hate, especially now when the kirk of Scotland is going in
dool-weed: therefore be sober. 1. Be sober in your apparel; I think
there is too much of gaudy apparel among you. 2. Be sober in your
conceits. 3. Be sober in your judgments. 4. Be sober in your
self-conceiting. 5. Be sober in your speaking. 6. Be sober in your
sleeping. 7. Be sober in your lawful recreations. 8. Be sober in your
lawful pleasures: and finally be sober in all respects; that it may be
seen ye are the people that have renewed your covenant.

3. Be righteous. I know not if ye have false weights and balances among
you; but whether there be or not, I give you all charge, who have sworn
the covenant, to be righteous.

In a word, this wedding garment is Jesus Christ; "Put ye on the Lord
Jesus Christ." I cannot give you a better counsel nor Christ gave to
Martha; forget the many things, and choose that one thing which is
needful; and with David, still desire that one thing, "To behold the
beauty of the Lord in His temple;" and with Paul, "Forget the things
that are behind, and press forward to the prize of the high-calling
thro' Jesus Christ." The Lord fill your hearts with the love of Christ.

If thou askest, What will this garment do to thee? I answer, This
garment serves, 1. For necessity. 2. For ornament. 3. For distinction.

1. For necessity. And this is threefold. 1. To cover thy nakedness, and
hide thy shame. 2. To defend thy body from the cold of winter, and heat
of summer. 3. For necessity, to hold in the life of the body. So put on
Jesus Christ this wedding garment; and, 1. He shall cover the shame of
thy nakedness with the white linen of His righteousness. 2. He shall
defend thee when the wind of trial begins to blow rough and hard, and
when the blast of the terrible One is arising, to rain fire and
brimstone upon the world; "Then He shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in
the day time from the heat, and a place of refuge for a covert from
storm and from rain." "A refuge from the storm, and shadow from the
heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the
wall." When men are pursuing, He shall be a brazen wall about thee; and
when they pursue thee, He shall keep thee in His bosom.

2. A garment is for an ornament. Who is the best favoured body; and the
trimmest soul? Even the poor soul that has put on the bridegroom Jesus:
that soul is fair and white, and altogether lovely, "There is no spot in
it," because the Lord hath put upon it, "Broidered work, bracelets and
ornaments."

3. A garment is for distinction. There must be a distinction among you,
between you and the wicked world, because ye have renewed your covenant
with God: and this distinction must not only be outwardly (for an
hypocrite may seem indeed very fair) but it must be by inward
application. I desire you all that are hearing me, not only to put it
on, but to hold it on: put it on, and hold it on; for it is not like
another garment, neither in matter, nor shape, nor in use, nor in
durance. I may not insist to handle it, but it is not like other
garments, especially it is not like a bridegroom's garment, which he has
on to-day, and off to-morrow. Therefore I charge you all your days, to
hold it on. Ay, that which ye had on upon Sabbath last, and yesterday,
and which you have on this day, see that ye cast it not off to-morrow.
What heard you cried on Sabbath last, and yesterday, and this day?
Hosanna, hosanna. And wherefore cried ye yesterday and this day,
Hosanna, hosanna? Look that when we are away, and your ministers not
preaching to you, that ye cry not, "Crucify Him, crucify Him." I fear
that many who last Sabbath, yesterday and this day, have been crying
Hosanna, hosanna, shall, long ere the next Sabbath, cry, "Crucify Him,
and hang Him up." But I charge you, O sons of Zion, and ye daughters of
Jerusalem, that your tongues never cease in crying, Hosanna, till Christ
come and dwell in your soul.

Ye that are masters of this college, if ye count me worthy to speak to
you, I would have you keep your garments clean, and take heed that ye be
not spotted with uncovenanted spots. Ye that are scholars, take heed
what sort of learning and traditions ye drink in, and hold your garments
clean. We hear of too many colleges in the land, that are spotted; but
we hope in God that ye are yet clean: and young and old of you, take all
heed to your garments, that they be white, and clean, and beautiful.

For the Lord's sake, all ye that are hearing me, take heed to your
garments, but especially ye that have subscribed your covenant, take
heed to your garments; for blyth will your adversaries be, to see any
spot on them. And therefore, for the Lord's sake, study to be holy;
otherwise papists will rejoice at it, and the weak will stumble at it:
and so ye will wound and bore the sweet side of Christ. And therefore
put on your wedding garment, hold it on, and hold it clean; walk wisely
and before the world.

Now I commend you to Him Who is able to strengthen, stablish and settle
you: to Him be glory, honour and dominion, for ever and ever. Amen.



[Illustration: Fac-simile of old Title page of following Sermon.]

_The Evil and Danger of_ Prelacy.

A

SERMON

PREACHED AT A

GENERAL MEETING,

IN THE

_Black-Fryar-Church_ of _Edinburgh_,

Upon the 13th Day of _June_, 1638,

AT

The Beginning of our last Reformation from _Prelacy_, after the
Renovation of the National Covenant.

By the Reverand Mr. Andrew Cant, sometime Minister of the Gospel at
Aberdeen.

1 Peter v 3, _Neither as being Lords over God's Heritage: but being
examples to the Flock._

GLASGOW,
Printed for George Paton, Book-seller in _Linlithgow_. MDCCXLI.


SERMON AT EDINBURGH.[5]

_BY ANDREW CANT._

"Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou
shalt become a plain, and he shall bring forth the head-stone
thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it."

--_Zech._ iv. 7.


I perceive that God will have His temple built, which had been long
neglected; partly by the worldliness of the people, who had greater care
of their own houses, than of the house of God; as appears by the prophet
Haggai, chap. i. 3,4. He reproves them for this fault, that they cared
more for their own houses than for the house of God; partly, because of
the great impediments and difficulties they apprehended in the work. Yet
God, having a purpose to have it builded, sends His prophets to stir
them up to the building of it. As for impediments He promises to remove
them all, and assures them of this by Haggai and Zechariah; yea, He
shews to Zerubbabel and the people, that although impediments were as
mountains, yet they should be removed.

I need not stand upon introductions and connections: this verse I have
read, shows the scope of the prophet; viz. God will have His work going
on, and all impediments removed. These times require that I should
rather insist upon application to the present work of reformation in
hand, than to stand upon the temple of Jerusalem, which we know well
enough was a type of Christ's kirk, which in this land was once built,
but now hath been defaced by the enemies of Christ: we have long
neglected the re-edifying of it; partly, men being given more to build
their own houses, nor the house of Christ; and partly, because of the
great impediments that have discouraged God's people to meddle with it.
Now, it hath pleased God to stir up prophets, noblemen, and people of
the land, to put their hands to this work. And I think God saith to you
in this text, "Who art thou, O great mountain? thou shalt become a
plain."

There are two parts in this text; 1. An impediment removed, under the
name of a mountain, "Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel,
thou shalt become a plain." 2. In the second part of the text, the work
goeth up, and is finished, the impediment being removed, "He shall bring
forth the head-stone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace be
unto it."

But that ye may take up all that is to be said in order and method;
there are six steps in the text, three in the mountain, impeding the
work, and three in the work itself. The three in the mountain are these;
1. It is a mountain seen, "O great mountain!" 2. A mountain reproved,
"Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel." 3. A mountain
removed, "Thou shalt become a plain." The three in the work are; 1. A
work growing and going up. 2. A work finished, "He shall bring forth the
head-stone thereof." 3. A work praised, "He shall bring forth the
head-stone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace be unto it." I
shall speak of all these, God willing, and apply them to the time.

As for the three in the mountain. 1. It is a mountain seen; it is
called a _great mountain_; under this are comprehended all impediments
and difficulties impeding the building; all being taken together make up
a great mountain, which is unpassable; the enemies who impede this work
were this mountain: look and ye will see the adversaries of Judah become
a great mountain in the way of that work.

That ye may take up this mountain the better, I find that kings are
called mountains in Scripture; and good kings are so called, for these
three, 1. For their sublimity; as mountains are high above the valleys,
so are kings lifted up in majesty above their subjects: some apply that
place to kings, "Hear ye, O mountains, the Lord's controversy, and ye
strong foundations of the earth." 2. They are called mountains for their
strength to guard their people. David saith, "God hath made my mountain
strong." 3. Good kings are called mountains, by reason of their
influence for peace to the people: "The mountains shall bring peace to
the people, and the little hills by righteousness." I find also, that
the strong enemies of the church are called mountains, because of the
great impediments to the kirk's building that are made by them, as ye
may see in Psalm cxliv.

This mountain (that I may speak more plainly) is Prelacy, which hath
ever been the mountain in the way of our reformation. It may be, some of
you that hear me, are not of my judgment concerning episcopacy; for my
judgment, I ever condemned it, as having no warrant for it to be in
Christ's house; yet I am sure, that all of you that are here this day,
will agree with me in this, that prelacy being antichristian, is
intolerable: but such is the prelacy of this kirk, it is antichristian.
I may easily prove, that amongst many marks of antichrist, these two are
most evident, false doctrine and tyranny in government: where antichrist
is, there is tyrannical government, imposing laws upon the consciences
of God's people; where antichrist is, there is idolatry, superstition
and error; these two are clearly in our prelacy: their idolatry,
superstition, and error may be seen in their service-book, their tyranny
may be seen in their book of canons. I think there are none here, but
they may see this mountain: no greater tyranny hath ever been used by
antichrist, than hath been used by our prelates, and exercised upon this
kirk.

This mountain being seen by you all; I would have you take a view of the
quality of it. I find in Scripture, that the enemies of the kirk being
called mountains, are so called, because of these three qualities: the
first is in Psalm lxxvi. 4. they are called "mountains of prey;" so
called, because from them the robbers rush down to the vallies, and prey
upon the passengers. The second is in Jer. li. 25, Babylon, a great
enemy to God's kirk, is called a "destroying mountain;" the word in its
own language, is called a _pestiferous_ mountain, (so called) because
the pest destroys. The third is in Isa. ii. 14, they are called
"mountains of pride;" compared with the twelfth verse, you will find
these mountains called "mountains of pride."

Our mountain of prelacy hath all these three bad qualities: 1. It is a
mountain from which they have, like robbers, made a prey of the kirk of
Christ. Tell me, I pray you, and I appeal to your own consciences, who
are my brethren, if there be any privilege or liberty that ever Christ
gave us, but they have taken it from us, and made a prey of it. 2. This
mountain is a pestiferous mountain; it hath been the mountain that hath
been as a pest, to infect the kirk of Christ with superstition, heresy
and error; and withal, it hath been a destroying mountain; for they have
destroyed the fair carved work of our first reformation. 3. They are
mountains of pride; for greater pride cannot be, than there is upon this
mountain; they rule as tyrants over their brethren, and as lords over
God's inheritance.

Ye that are noblemen are the natural mountains of this kingdom,
descended of noble predecessors who have been as mountains indeed,
defending both kirk and commonwealth. These men were but low vallies,
and now are artificial mountains, made up by the art of man; at first,
as low as their brethren sitting there; but piece and piece, they have
mounted up; at first, commissioners for the kirk, and then obtained vote
in parliament, and then they usurped all the liberties of the kirk
benefices, and then constant moderators to make up this mountain; and at
last, the high commission is given to make the mountain strong; it is
like to Daniel's tree. "The tree grew, and was strong;" and from it, we
that are ministers of Christ have our wreck.

And let me speak to you noblemen, these artificial and stooted mountains
have over-topped you who are the natural mountains; and if they have not
done so, What means the great seal then? and if way could have made for
it, they should have carried the white wand and privy-seal also: and
this is just with God, that they have over-topped you; for every one of
you came with your own shovel-ful, to make up this mountain. It was
thought expedient to rear up this mountain, to command and bear down
poor ministers. Albeit, it is true, we have been borne down by them; yet
ye that are the high mountains, have not been free from their hurt: it
is very like to Jotham's parable, "The trees of the forest will have a
king over them; they come to the olive-tree, and say, Be thou king over
us: the olive saith, I will not leave my fatness to be king: they came
to the fig-tree, and said, Be thou our king; the fig-tree saith, I will
not leave my sweetness to be king: they come likewise to the vine, and
say, Be thou our king; the vine saith, I will not leave my strength to
be king: they come to the bramble and said, Be thou our king; then said
the bramble to the trees, If indeed ye anoint me king over you, then
come and put your trust under my shadow; and if not, let fire come
forth of the bramble, and devour the tall cedars of Lebanon." The
olive-trees of the ministry would not leave the fatness of God's grace,
wherewith they were endued, to rule over the kirk: the fig-trees of the
ministry would not leave the sweet fruits of their ministry, to bear
rule in the kirk: the vines of the ministry would not leave the strong
consolations of God, whereby many souls were comforted, to bear rule in
the kirk: yet the brambles have taken this, and ye helped to exalt them,
upon condition to trust under their shadow; and if fire hath not come
forth from these brambles upon the tall cedars of this land, I leave to
your own thoughts to judge. Always this is the mountain which ye see all
reared up this day, and standing in the way of our reformation.

2. The second thing in this great mountain is this, It is a mountain
reproved: "Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel." When he
saith of Zerubbabel, it is not only meant of Zerubbabel, but of the rest
of God's people. There, Zerubbabel, Joshua, and the rest of God's people
obeyed the voice of the Lord; and in the 14th verse, all these are said
to work in the house of the Lord: so under Zerubbabel, all the rest of
the people are comprehended; even so in this work of ours, all that are
joined to this work, for the building of this work, are to be accounted
workers; and for them also is this mountain reproved, "Who art thou, O
great mountain?" Who art thou, who will impede this work, or shall be
able to impede it, seeing God will have it forward. It is impossible for
thee to impede it, in these three respects: 1. In respect of the work
itself. 2. In respect of the workers. 3. In respect of the impeders.

1. In respect of the work itself. It is God's work; for the house is
His, and He is in it. The Lord saith, "Be thou strong, Zerubbabel, and
Joshua, and the remnant of the people and work, for I am with you, saith
the Lord of hosts." If God be with a work, who is he that will let or
impede it? God is with this work of reformation, as ye yourselves can
witness; and by all our expectations this mountain is shaken, and (God
be praised) the difficulties are not so unpassable as they were.

2. No man is able to impede this work, in respect of the workers. It is
said, "that God stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel, and of Joshua, and
of the people, and they came and wrought in the house of the Lord." When
God stirs up men to do a good work, nothing on earth can stay it: I am
sure if ever God stirred up men to a good work, He hath stirred us up to
this, both noblemen, ministers and people. Wherefore, "Who art thou, O
great mountain" before God's people, that thinks to impede such a work?

3. In respect of the impeders: what are they but men, and wicked men, as
ye may see in the adversaries of the Jews. Who are they that impede our
work? Even men that seek honour and preferment of this world, enemies to
religion, fighting against God; to whom, I may say that word in Job,
"Who hath hardened himself against God, and prospered?" With one word
more I will reprove this mountain, and go forward.

"Who art thou, O great mountain?" Wilt thou search thyself who thou art:
art thou of God's building or not? I trow you are not _juris divini_,
but _humani_; God nor Christ hath never built thee: thou art only a hill
of man's erecting; knowest thou not that Zion, against which thou art,
is a hill of God's building. I will say to you then that word, "The hill
of God is a high hill, as the hill of Bashan: why leap ye, ye hills?
This is the hill that God desireth to dwell in; yea, and will dwell in
it forever." And think ye to prevail against the people of Zion? She
hath stronger mountains to guard her than ye have, "As the mountains are
round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about His people, from
henceforth and forever."

3. The third thing in this mountain, is, It is a mountain removed,
"Thou shalt become a plain;" that is, God shall remove all impediments
before Zerubbabel, and his people; God is able to remove all that
impedes His work; even the mightiest enemies that oppose themselves to
the work of God. Ye may observe a fourfold power of God against these
mountains.

1. A _determining power_, whereby He sets such bounds to the greatest
mountains, that ye see they fall not upon the vallies, albeit they
overtop them. The Lord hath set bounds to the great kings in the world
which they could not pass, when they have set themselves against the
Lord's people. We may see an example of this in Sennacherib. "Therefore
thus saith the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come up
to this city, nor shoot an arrow against it, nor come before it with
shield, nor cast a bank against it." Ye are afraid of the king, that he
come against you: fear not, the Lord by His restraining power is able to
keep him back, that he shall not shoot so much as a bullet against this
city.

2. God removes impediments by His _assisting power_, as He promised to
do before Cyrus. "I will go before thee, and make the crooked places
straight; I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder
the iron bars." Albeit for any thing we see, there be brazen gates, and
iron bars, closing out a reformation: yet let not this discourage you;
God is with you by His assisting power to go before you, to make all
crooked places straight, and to break the brazen gates, and to cut in
sunder the iron bars.

3. God hath a _changing power_, whereby He makes mountains plain: how
easy is it with God, to make the highest mountain that impedes His work
a plain? "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of
waters, to turn it whithersoever He will." Lord make our mountains thus
plain.

The 4th way how God removes mountains, is by an _overthrowing power_:
If there be no change yet, God will bring it down. "Every one that is
lifted up shall be brought low."

By this which hath been said, ye may understand how a mountain may be
made plain. God makes mountains plains, either in mercy or in wrath. 1.
In mercy, when He takes a grip of the heart, and of a proud haughty
heart, makes it toward and plain: we have seen such a change by
experience. This work had many enemies at the beginning, that impeded
it, whom God hath taken by the heart, and made plain; yea, He hath made
them furtherers of the work.

2. There is another way of making mountains plain, to wit, making plain
in wrath; when God overthrows the mountains that stand up impeding His
work. Assure yourselves, if God bring not down this mountain we have to
do with, in mercy, He shall overthrow it in wrath, and make it waste.
That I may make this mountain more plain, ye shall consider how it shall
become a plain, and how easily it may be made a plain.

1. I see you looking up to the height of it, and ye are saying within
yourselves, How shall it come down? Ye must not think that it will come
down of its own accord; God useth instruments to pull down. I find that
God hath made His own people instruments to pull down such mountains:
"Fear not, worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel, I will help thee, saith the
holy One and thy Redeemer, behold I will make thee a new threshing
instrument having teeth; thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them
small, and shalt make the hills as chaff; thou shalt fan them, and the
wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them." Mark
these words, although Jacob be a worm, despised by the great ones of the
world, yet God will make him a threshing instrument, to beat these
mountains in pieces. The professors of this land are despised by the
mountains; yet fear not, for the sharp threshing instrument is made, I
hope it shall beat the mountains in pieces. We think them very high, but
if we had faith, that word would be verified. "Ye shall say to this
mountain, remove to yonder place, and it shall be removed, and nothing
shall be impossible unto you."

But one is saying, I have not faith, that all that are joined this day
against the mountain shall continue. I hope they shall continue, I hope
they shall; but if they do not, we trust not in men, that they shall
bring down this mountain, but in God, who hath said, "Behold I am
against thee, O destroying mountain, I will stretch out My hand upon
thee, I will roll thee down from the rocks, and make thee a burnt
mountain; they shall not take of thee a stone for a corner, nor a
foundation; thou shalt be desolate for ever." This mountain ye see so
exalted, although men would hold it up, yet God will bring it down, and
make it a burnt mountain: even so, O Lord, do.

2. In the second place consider how this mountain may be made a plain: I
told you it was but an artificial mountain, a stooted mountain, standing
upon weak pillars; if ye would take a look of the whole frame of the
mountain, it stands upon two main pillars; and upon the top of the
mountain stands the house of Dagon, an house of false worship, and take
me the pillars from episcopacy, and it shall fall; take episcopacy away,
and the house of Dagon shall fall. The two main pillars that prelacy
stands on are a civil and secular arm, and an ecclesiastical tongue, so
to speak.

1. The _secular arm_ is the authority of princes, which have ever
upholden that mountain: ye know secular princes uphold antichrist, and
prelacy in this land is upholden by the secular power. 2. The second
pillar I call _ecclesiastical_, that is, prelacy in this land hath been
upholden by the tongues of kirkmen, preaching up this mountain, or, by
their pens, writing up this mountain: and these are the two pillars
whereupon our mountain of prelacy is stooted, the secular power, and the
tongues of kirkmen. Let the king withdraw his power and authority from
the prelates, and they shall fall suddenly in dross; let kirkmen and
ministers withdraw their tongues and pens from them, and our mountain
(ere ye look about you) shall become a plain. As these two stoot up this
mountain, so upon this mountain all false worship in the kirk is built,
even Dagon's house. "Lead me," says Samson, "to the pillars that Dagon's
house stands on, that I may be avenged for my two eyes." The Philistines
were never more cruel to Samson in pulling out his eyes, than our
prelates would have been to us: they pressed to put out our eyes, and
ere ever we were aware, they thought to lead us to Dagon's house, even
to the tents of popery and idolatry. Let us come to this main pillar of
Dagon's house, and apply all our strength to pull it down; that we may
not only be avenged for our eyes, which they have thought to pull out,
but also that the house of false worship, which is erected upon this
mountain, may fall to the ground.

I hear some say, Minister, for all you are saying, the mountain will not
come down at this time; ye think nothing but it will come down. I assure
you, I would have it down, but ye must not think us that silly, as to
think it will come down, because we have many for us; we trust not in
men, but in God; and if this be the time that God will have it down,
although ye should lay all your hands about their head, they shall come
down: it appears they will come down, if there were no more but their
pride, avarice, cruelty, and loose living to pull them down, especially
when all these are come to height, as they are come to in them. And so
much for the mountain; ye see we have reproved it, God remove it.

I come now to the three in the work, the mountain being removed, 1. It
is a work growing and going up; "He shall bring forth." 2. It is a work
finished; "He shall bring forth the head-stone thereof." 3. It is a work
praised; "He shall bring forth the head-stone thereof with shouting,
crying, grace, grace, be unto it." We shall speak of all these three
shortly.

1. It is a work going up; it was impeded, but now it is going up. There
is something here very considerable; the work goes not up until the
mountain be made a plain. The mountain must not be pared or topped, but
it must altogether become plain, otherwise the work cannot go up, the
mountain of prelacy must not be pared nor topped, something taken away,
but it must be brought down wholly, otherwise the work of Reformation
cannot go on, neither Christ's house go up.

It will be said, What ails you? You shall have your desires, but the
estate of bishops must stand; it is impossible to bring it down
altogether; the king may not want an estate, (truly a good one both to
kirk and commonwealth) ye shall have them brought within the old bounds
and caveats set down to them; they shall not hurt the kirk any more. The
Lord knows how loath I was to speak from this place; but seeing God hath
thrust me out, I must speak the truth.

I say to you these quarters are not to be taken, because the mountain is
not of God's making, but of man's; therefore make it what ye will, God
will be displeased with it; yea it is impossible to set caveats to keep
them. I appeal to all your consciences, Is it possible to set caveats to
their pride and avarice? Their pride and avarice will break through ten
thousand caveats. I will clear this impossibility by similitudes. Tell
me, if a fountain in the town of Edinburgh were poisoned, whether were
it more safe to stop up the fountain, than to set a guard to keep it,
that none draw out of it, for there is hope the poison would do no harm?
There is no man of a sound judgment, but he will think it more safe to
stop up the fountain, than to guard it: this prelacy is the poisoned
fountain, wherefrom the kirk of Christ hath been poisoned with the
poison of error and superstition. Now the question is, Whether it be
safer to stop it up than to guard it? Surely it is safer to stop it up;
for all the caveats in the world will not keep the kirk unpoisoned, so
long as it remains. I will give you another similitude: If the town of
Edinburgh were (as many towns have been, and are) taken and possest by
cruel and obstinate enemies, who would take all your liberties from you,
would not suffer your magistrates to judge, and would spoil you of your
goods, and use all the cruelty that could be devised against the
inhabitants, if God give you occasion to be free of such a cruel and
obstinate enemy: what would you do if this were proponed to you? Why may
not you suffer the enemy to abide within the town? We shall take all
their weapons from them, they shall never hurt you any more. Would ye
not think it far better to put them out of the town altogether; both
because the inhabitants would be in fear, so long as they were in the
town, and because the town would never be sure: for there might be
traitors among yourselves, who would steal in weapons for their hands;
and so they would bring you under the former tyranny, yea under a
greater. Even so it is in this case; the crudest and greatest enemies
that ever the kirk of Scotland saw are those prelates; they have spoiled
us of all our liberties, and exercised intolerable tyranny over us. Now
the Lord is shewing a way how to be quit of them: consider the condition
offered. What ails you? May ye not let them abide within the kirk: we
shall take all their weapons from them; as admission of ministers,
excommunication, and that terrible high commission; they shall never
hurt you again. This is but the counsel of man; the counsel of God is,
to put them out of the kirk altogether, otherwise the kirk can never be
secure; yea, I assure you, there are as many traitors among ourselves,
as would steal in the weapons again in their hands; then shall our
latter estate be worse than our first: if our yoke be heavy under them
now, it shall be heavier then; if they chastise us now with whips, they
shall chastise us then with scorpions. I think I hear men speak like
that word, "Hew down the tree, cut down his branches, shake off his
leaves, scatter his fruits; nevertheless leave the stump of his roots
with a band of iron and brass." The interpretation of that part of the
vision is set down in the 26th verse; "Thy kingdom shall be sure unto
thee, after that thou hast known that the heavens bear rule." I hear men
say, Hew down the tree, cut off his branches, shake off his leaves,
scatter his fruits; ye shall be quit of all that; but the stump must be
left banded with iron. (If it were till they knew God, it were
something, but there is no appearance of that.) Consider, O man, who
saith that. "No man, but the watcher, and the holy One, even He that
made Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom sure to him." If God had made this estate
sure to them, it would and should stand; and if God would bind down the
stump of it with iron bands, we would never fear the growth of it, nor
the fruit of it; but seeing they are only bands to be laid on by men,
albeit the tree were hewed down, it would grow again in all the branches
of it, with all the leaves of its dignity, and we should taste of the
bitter fruit of it: ye that are covenanters, be not deceived, if ye
leave so much as a hillock of this mountain in despite of your hearts it
shall grow to a high mountain, which shall fill both kirk and
commonwealth. If the kirk would be quit of the troubles of it, and if ye
would have this work of reformation going up, this mountain must be made
a plain altogether, otherwise the Spirit of God saith, Ye shall never
prosper.

The second thing in this is a work finished; "He shall bring forth the
head-stone thereof." When a head-stone is put on a house, the house is
finished: ye who are reverend fathers in the kirk, who have seen the
work of our first reformation, ye saw it going up, and brought to such a
perfection, that the cope-stone was put on; purity of doctrine, and
administration of sacraments, and sweetness of government, whereby the
kirk was ruled; but woe's us all, we see with you now the roof taken
off, the glorious work pulled down, and lying desolate. Now, it hath
pleased God to turn again, and offer a re-edifying of this work, as He
did here to the people of this temple: seeing therefore the Lord hath
stirred up our spirits, to crave a re-edifying of Christ's kirk, let us
never take our hands from it, till Christ have put the cope-stone on it.

I hear some say, There is more ado ere that be done; ye sing the triumph
before the victory; ye will not see it go up at leisure. Ye are
deceived; we sing not the triumph before the victory; some of us are
afraid that it go not up so suddenly. I must say to you, if it be God's
work, (as it is indeed) all the powers of the world shall never be able
to hinder the putting on of the cope-stone. Ay, but say ye, It will be
hindered; ere ye get the work forward, ye will find the dint of the fire
and sword. Let it be so, if God will have it so, that will not impede
the work: if our blood be spilt in this cause, the cope-stone shall be
put on with our blood; for the kirk of God hath never prospered better
nor by the blood of saints. Fear not, beloved, this work, whether it be
done peaceably or with persecution, the cope-stone shall be put on it.
Ye know in the beginning of the reformation, there was small likelihood
that the work should go up, and be finished, because of the great power
that was against it; yet the Lord brought it forward against all
impediments; and put the cope-stone on it: that same God lives yet, and
is as able to put the cope-stone on this work, as He was then, if ye
believe.

The third thing in this work is a work praised; "He shall bring forth
the head-stone thereof with shoutings, crying, grace, grace unto it."
All ye that build and behold the work, will love the work, and will all
wish it well. He alludes by appearance, who, when the foundation of a
common work is laid, rejoices, and when it is finished, rejoices. Ye may
see this clear in Ezra iii. 11: at the laying of the foundation of this
temple, the people shouted with a great shout: if they did that at the
laying of the foundation, much more shall they do it at the bringing
forth of the head-stone thereof; as is said here, the words they cry,
grace, grace. The phrase comprehends under it these three things:

1. A wish of the people of God, whereby they wish prosperity to the
work. Ye may see it was a common wish. "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, As
ye shall use this speech in the land of Judah, and cities thereof, when
I shall bring again their captivity: the Lord bless thee, O habitation
of justice, and mountain of holiness."

2. It comprehends under it a thanksgiving; the workers give all praise
to the work. When the builders laid the foundation of the temple, they
set the priests with their trumpets, and the Levites with their cymbals,
to praise the Lord, after the ordinance of David: "They sang by course,
praising God, and giving thanks unto the Lord, because He is good, and
His mercy endureth forever."

3. The third thing it comprehends under it, is a faithful acknowledgment
that the work is built and finished, by no power and strength of men,
but by the grace of God. Look the verse preceding the text, and ye will
find it thus, "Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the
Lord of hosts:" ye may easily apply this. Our work that God is bringing
up, and will finish, should be a praised work, our wishes should be to
it: "The Lord bless thee, O habitation of justice, and mountain of
holiness." Our song of thanksgiving should be in our mouths, "God is
good, and His mercy endureth forever."--Albeit it go up, let us not
ascribe any thing to ourselves, but let us ascribe all to the grace of
God; and this will stop all the mouths of disdainers, who say, "Who are
ye, who think to finish such a work?" We answer, "It will be finished,
not by might, nor by strength of man, but by the Spirit of the Lord of
hosts."

There are three sorts looking to this work, and to the going up of it:
1. Evil-willers. 2. Well-wishers. 3. Neutrals. 1. The evil-willers are
Edom; and he was Jacob's brother; yet in Psalm cxxxvii. he cries, "raze,
raze this work to the foundation." There is a number that is crying,
raze, raze this work to the foundation. 2. There is a second sort that
are well-wishers, crying, grace, grace be unto it. In those former
years, the shout of raze, raze, hath been louder than grace, grace; but
now, God be praised, the shout of grace, grace, is louder than raze,
raze. 3. There is a third sort gazing upon this work, who dare not cry,
raze, raze, because they are borne down with grace, grace; they dare not
cry grace, grace, for fear of authority. What shall I say to these
neutrals? They are so incapable of admonition, that it will be a
spending of time to crave their concurrence to the work. To whom shall I
speak then? My text is an apostrophe, if I may use one; that which I
shall use first is God's own words from Isaiah, "Hear, O heavens,
hearken, O earth, for the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought
up children, and they have rebelled against Me."

I will next turn me to strangers and foreigners. All ye of reformed
kirks (What! have I said strangers? These men who are brought up in the
kirk, are strangers from the womb; but) ye are joined with us in a
corporation; come therefore with your fellow-feeling, let us hear your
shouts and cries of, grace, grace, be unto the Kirk of Scotland; and let
your wishes condemn these ungrateful neutrals, who profess themselves
children of this kirk, and yet will not rejoice with us for the good of
our mother.

Now, ye have heard this text in all these six steps. 1. A mountain
seen. 2. A mountain reproved and disdained. 3. A mountain to be removed.
4. A growing work. 5. To be finished. 6. With great applause of all
well-willers, wishing grace unto the work. And seeing I have ado with
this great mountain; both with mountains that impede this work, and all
ranks of persons, removers of the work, I will direct my speech to these
with the apostrophe in the text.

And first, To the mountains lying in the way of this reformation: I rank
them in two sorts, viz., prelates, and upholders of prelates. O
prelates, if I had hope to come speed with you, I would exhort you in
the name of Christ, to lay down your worldly dignity, and help us to
exalt the kirk of Christ: but I fear ye have hardened yourselves so
against the truth, that nothing will prevail with you, except ye keep
your worldly monarchy; yet ye shall be forced to take up my apostrophe,
"O mountains of Gilboa, on whom the anointed of the Lord is fallen,
neither come dew nor rain upon you." Ye are these mountains, upon whom
Christ and His Anointed have been slain; the dew and rain of God's grace
are not on you: ye may well receive fatness from beneath, to make you
great in this world; but from above, ye are not bedewed with the grace
of God, without which, whatever your bodies be, ye have clean souls.
Under this curse I leave you, and turn to you, O great mountains; great
men, who are putting your shoulders to hold up this mountain of prelacy;
I beseech you, if ye have any love to Christ, to take your shoulders,
and help from this pestiferous mountain the wreck of Christ's kirk. And
if exhortance will not prevail with you, I charge you in the name of the
great God, and His Son Jesus Christ, to whom one day ye must give your
account, that ye in nowise underprop this mountain; the which if ye
obey, I am sure the Lord will bless you, and your posterity; but if ye
will not, though ye were never so high a mountain in this kingdom, ye
shall become a plain.

In particular, I speak to all ranks of persons. O noblemen, who are the
high mountains of this kingdom, bow your tops, and look on the kirk of
Christ, lying in the vallies, sighing, groaning, swooning and looking
towards you with pitiful looks: if the Sun of Righteousness hath shined
on you, let her have a shadow, as ye would have God to be a shadow to
you in the day of your distress.

Barons and gentlemen, who are as the pleasant hills coming from the
mountains (I speak to you for the relation that is betwixt you and the
mountains, for by your descent ye are hewn out of the mountains) my
heart is glad to see you lift your tops, as the palms of your hands
reached to the mountains, that they and ye may be as a shelter for the
kirk of Christ. I pray you separate not your hands from theirs, till our
work be brought forth with shouting.

Burrows (Burghs), who are as the vallies God hath blessed with the
fatness of the earth, and the merchandise of the sea; the mountains and
hills are looking to you, and ye to them: join yourselves in an
inseparable union, and compass the vineyard of Christ; be to her a wall
of defence, lest the wild beasts of the wood waste it, and the wild
beasts of the forest devour it.

Ministers, and my faithful brethren in Christ, whose feet are beautiful
upon the mountains, say unto Zion, "Behold thy God reigneth." I tell
you, within these two years, an honest man's feet were not beautiful
upon the streets of Edinburgh. We might have gone home to our houses
again, and shaken the dust off our feet for a conviction against this
unthankful generation; but now (God be praised) they are beautiful, and
we are comely in their eyes, not for any thing in us, for we lay all
down at the feet of Christ; but because we are gone up upon mount Zion,
and as the Lord's messengers, have cried, "Behold thy God reigneth." I
pray you, if ye have any love to the kirk of Christ, withdraw both your
tongues and pens from this mountain, and apply them against it; apply
your wits, engines, spirits, and all your strength to beat down this
mountain; yea, tread upon it, and use the sharp threshing instruments
which God hath put into your hands, and thresh upon that mountain, till
it be beaten small as the chaff.

Shall I pass you that are commons? Truly my delight hath not been so
great upon this mountain, as to make me overlook you. My good people,
beloved in Christ, have ye nothing to contribute for this work? Have ye
not so much power as the mountains and hills have? Or, have ye not such
substance as the vallies? Yet something ye have, give it, and it will be
acceptable, something against the mountain, and something for the work.
If ye have no more against the mountain, let me have your tears,
prayers, and strong cries; I am sure there is as great value in them, as
in the rams' horns that blew down Jericho: send up your prayers, and cry
with the Psalmist, "Bow thy heavens, O Lord, and come down, touch the
mountains, and they shall smoke; cast forth lightning, and scatter them;
shoot out thine arrows, and destroy them; send thine hand from above,
and deliver me out of the great waters, from the hand of strange
children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, their right hand is a right hand
of falsehood." As ye have your tears and prayers against this mountain,
lend me also what ye have for the going up of this work: if ye have no
more, let us have your shouts and hearty crying, "grace, grace be unto
it." Time will not suffer me to speak any more, yet time shall never
bereave you or me of this. Let us all resolve so long as our life is in,
even to the last gasp, as God will help us, that this shall be our last
cry, Grace, grace be unto this work of reformation in the kirk of
Scotland.

To this grace I recommend you, and close with that wish of the Apostles
in the New Testament. _The grace of God be with you all._ Amen.



THE SOLEMN LEAGUE AND COVENANT.

[Illustration]



THE SOLEMN LEAGUE AND COVENANT:


_For Reformation and Defence of Religion, the Honour and Happiness of
the King, and the Peace and Safety of the Three Kingdoms of Scotland,
England, and Ireland; agreed upon by Commissioners from the Parliament
and Assembly of Divines in England, with Commissioners of the Convention
of Estates, and General Assembly in Scotland; approved by the General
Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and by both Houses of Parliament and
Assembly of Divines in England, and taken and subscribed by them_, Anno
1643; _and thereafter, by the said authority, taken and subscribed by
all Ranks in Scotland and England the same year; and ratified by the Act
of Parliament of Scotland_, Anno 1644: _And again renewed in Scotland,
with an Acknowledgment of Sins, and Engagement to Duties, by all Ranks_,
Anno 1648, _and by Parliament_ 1649; _and taken and subscribed by_ King
Charles II. at Spey, June 23, 1650; and at Scoon, January 1, 1651.

We Noblemen, Barons, Knights, Gentlemen, Citizens, Burgesses, Ministers
of the Gospel, and Commons of all sorts in the kingdoms of Scotland,
England, and Ireland, by the providence of GOD, living under one King,
and being of one reformed religion, having before our eyes the glory of
God, and the advancement of the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus
Christ, the honour and happiness of the King's Majesty and his
posterity, and the true publick liberty, safety, and peace of the
kingdoms, wherein every one's private condition is included: And calling
to mind the treacherous and bloody plots, conspiracies, attempts, and
practices of the enemies of GOD, against the true religion and
professors thereof in all places, especially in these three kingdoms,
ever since the reformation of religion; and how much their rage, power,
and presumption are of late, and at this time, increased and exercised,
whereof the deplorable state of the church and kingdom of Ireland, the
distressed estate of the church and kingdom of England, and the
dangerous estate of the church and kingdom of Scotland, are present and
public testimonies; we have now at last, (after other means of
supplication, remonstrance, protestation, and sufferings,) for the
preservation of ourselves and our religion from utter ruin and
destruction, according to the commendable practice of these kingdoms in
former times, and the example of GOD'S people in other nations, after
mature deliberation, resolved and determined to enter into a mutual and
solemn League and Covenant, wherein we all subscribe, and each one of us
for himself, with our hands lifted up to the most High GOD, do swear,

I. That we shall sincerely, really, and constantly, through the grace of
GOD, endeavour, in our several places and callings, the preservation of
the reformed religion in the Church of Scotland, in doctrine, worship,
discipline, and government against our common enemies; the reformation
of religion in the kingdoms of England and Ireland, in doctrine,
worship, discipline, and government, according to the Word of GOD, and
the example of the best reformed Churches: and shall endeavour to bring
the Churches of God in the three kingdoms to the nearest conjunction and
uniformity in religion, confession of faith, form of church-government,
directory for worship and catechising; that we, and our posterity after
us, may, as brethren, live in faith and love, and the Lord may delight
to dwell in the midst of us.

II. That we shall, in like manner, without respect of persons endeavour
the extirpation of Popery, Prelacy, (that is, church-government by
Archbishops, Bishops, their Chancellors, and Commissaries, Deans, Deans
and Chapters, Archdeacons, and all other ecclesiastical Officers
depending on hierarchy,) superstition, heresy, schism, profaneness, and
whatsoever shall be found to be contrary to sound doctrine and the power
of godliness, lest we partake in other men's sins, and thereby be in
danger to receive of their plagues; and that the Lord may be one, and
His name one, in the three Kingdoms.

III. We shall, with the same sincerity, reality, and constancy, in our
several vocations, endeavour, with our estates and lives, mutually to
preserve the rights and privileges of the Parliaments, and the liberties
of the kingdoms; and to preserve and defend the King's Majesty's person
and authority, in the preservation and defence of the true religion, and
liberties of the kingdoms; that the world may bear witness with our
consciences of our loyalty, and that we have no thoughts or intentions
to diminish his Majesty's just power and greatness.

IV. We shall also, with all faithfulness, endeavour the discovery of all
such as have been or shall be incendiaries, malignants, or evil
instruments, by hindering the reformation of religion, dividing the king
from his people, or one of the kingdoms from another, or making any
faction or parties amongst the people, contrary to this League and
Covenant; that they may be brought to public trial, and receive condign
punishment, as the degree of their offences shall require or deserve, or
the supreme judicatories of both kingdoms respectively, or others having
power from them for that effect, shall judge convenient.

V. And whereas the happiness of a blessed peace between these kingdoms,
denied in former times to our progenitors, is, by the good providence
of GOD, granted unto us, and hath been lately concluded and settled by
both Parliaments; we shall each one of us, according to our place and
interest, endeavour that they may remain conjoined in a firm peace and
union to all posterity; and that justice may be done upon the wilful
opposers thereof, in manner expressed in the precedent article.

VI. 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 and 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.

And, because these kingdoms are guilty of many sins and provocations
against GOD, and His Son JESUS CHRIST, as is too manifest by our present
distresses and dangers, the fruits thereof; we profess and declare,
before GOD and the world, our unfeigned desire to be humbled for our own
sins, and for the sins of these kingdoms; especially, that we have not
as we ought valued the inestimable benefit of the Gospel; that we have
not laboured for the purity and power thereof; and that we have not
endeavoured to receive CHRIST in our hearts, nor to walk worthy of Him
in our lives; which are the causes of other sins and transgressions so
much abounding amongst us: and our true and unfeigned purpose, desire,
and endeavour for ourselves, and all others under our power and charge,
both in public and in private, in all duties we owe to GOD and man, to
amend our lives, and each one to go before another in the example of a
real reformation; that the Lord may turn away His wrath and heavy
indignation, and establish these churches and kingdoms in truth and
peace. And this Covenant we make in the presence of ALMIGHTY GOD, the
Searcher of all hearts, with a true intention to perform the same, as we
shall answer at that great day, when the secrets of all hearts shall be
disclosed; most humbly beseeching the LORD to strengthen us by His HOLY
SPIRIT for this end, and to bless our desires and proceedings with such
success, as may be deliverance and safety to His people, and
encouragement to other Christian churches, groaning under, or in danger
of, the yoke of antichristian tyranny, to join in the same or like
association and covenant, to the glory of GOD, the enlargement of the
kingdom of JESUS CHRIST, and the peace and tranquility of Christian
kingdoms and commonwealths.



THE SOLEMN LEAGUE AND COVENANT.

ACT OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND.

_At Edinburgh, August 17th, 1643, Sess._ 14.


The Assembly having recommended unto a committee, appointed by them to
join with the committee of the honourable Convention of Estates, and the
commissioners of the Honourable Houses of the Parliament of England, for
bringing the kingdoms to a more near conjunction and union, received
from the aforesaid committees the covenant after-mentioned, as the
result of their consultations: and having taken the same, as a matter of
so public concernment and of so deep importance doth require, unto their
gravest consideration, did with all their hearts, and with the
beginnings of the feelings of that joy, which they did find in so great
measure upon the renovation of the National Covenant of this kirk and
kingdom, all with one voice approve and embrace the same, as the most
powerful mean, by the blessing of GOD, for the settling and preserving
the true protestant religion, with perfect peace in his majesty's
dominions, and propagating the same to other nations, and for
establishing his majesty's throne to all ages and generations. And
therefore, with their best affections, recommended the same to the Hon.
Convention of Estates, that being examined and approved by them, it may
be sent with all diligence to the kingdom of England, that being
received and approven there, the same may be, with public humiliation,
and all religious and answerable solemnity, sworn and subscribed by all
true professors of the reformed religion, and all his majesty's good
subjects in both kingdoms.



THE SOLEMN LEAGUE AND COVENANT.

EXHORTATION AT WESTMINSTER.

_BY PHILIP NYE._[6]


A great and solemn work (Honourable and Reverend) this day is put into
our hands; let us stir up and awaken our hearts unto it. We deal with
God as well as with men, and with God in His greatness and excellency,
for by Him we swear; and at the same time we have to do with God and His
goodness, Who now reacheth out unto us a strong and seasonable arm of
assistance. The goodness of God procuring succour and help to a sinful
and afflicted people (such are we) ought to be matter of fear and
trembling, even to all that hear of it. We are to exalt and acknowledge
Him this day, Who is fearful in praises, swear by that name which is
holy and reverend, enter into a covenant and league that is never to be
forgotten by us nor our posterity, and the fruit I hope of it shall be
so great, as both we and they shall have cause to remember it with joy;
and such an oath as for matter, persons, and other circumstances, the
like hath not been in any age or oath we read of in sacred or human
history, yet sufficiently warranted in both.

The parties engaging in this league, are three kingdoms, famous for the
knowledge and acknowledgment of Christ above all the kingdoms in the
world; to swear before such a presence should mould the spirit of man
into a great deal of reverence. What then to be engaged, to be
incorporated, and that by sacred oath, with such an high and honourable
fraternity? An oath is to be esteemed so much the more solemn, by how
much greater the persons are that swear each to other; so in this
business, where kingdoms swear mutually.

And as the solemnity of an oath is to be measured by the persons
swearing, so by the matter also that is to be sworn to. God would not
swear to the covenant of Works, He intended not to honour it so much, it
was not to continue, it was not worthy of an oath of His; but to the
Covenant of Grace, which is the Gospel, He swears, and repents not of
it. God swears for the salvation of men, and of kingdoms: and if
kingdoms swear, what subject of an oath becometh them better than the
preservation and salvation of kingdoms, by establishing the kingdom of a
Saviour amongst them, even our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Who is a
Mediator and Saviour for nations as well as particular persons?

The end also is great and honourable, as either of the former. "Two are
better than one," saith He, Who knoweth what is best, and from Whom
alone every thing hath the goodness it hath. Association is of divine
offspring; not only the being of creatures, but the putting of them
together. The cluster as well as the grape is the work of God. Consort
and harmony amongst men, especially amongst saints, is very pleasing
unto the Lord. If, when but two or three agree and assent upon any thing
on earth, it shall be confirmed in heaven, and for this, because they
gather together in His name; much more when two or three kingdoms shall
meet, and consent together in His name, and for His name, that God "may
be one, and His name one amongst them," and His presence amidst them.
That prayer of Christ seemeth to proceed from a feeling sense of His own
blessedness, "Father, that they may be one, as Thou in Me." Unity among
His churches and children must needs therefore be very acceptable unto
Him: for out of the more deep sense desires are fetcht from within us,
the more pleasing will be the answer of them unto us. Churches and
kingdoms are near to God, His patience towards them, His compassions
over them more than particular persons sheweth it plainly. But kingdoms
willingly engaging themselves for His kingdom, His Christ, His saints,
the purity of religion, His worship and government, in all particulars,
and in all humility sitting down at His feet to receive the law, and the
rule from His mouth: what a price doth He set upon such? Especially,
when (as we this day) sensible of our infirmity, and of an unfaithful
heart not steady with our God, but apt to start from the cause, if we
feel the knife or the fire; who bind ourselves with cords, as a
sacrifice to the horns of the altar; we invocate the name of the great
God, that His vows, yea, His curse may be upon us, if we do not this;
yea, though we suffer for so doing, that is, if we endeavour not so far
as the Lord shall assist us by His grace, to advance the kingdom of the
Lord Jesus Christ here upon earth, and make Jerusalem once more the
praise of the whole world, notwithstanding all the contradictions of
men.

What is this but the contents and matter of our oath? What do we
covenant? What do we vow? Is it not the preservation of religion, where
it is reformed, and the reformation of religion, where it needs? Is it
not the reformation of three kingdoms, and a reformation universal, in
doctrine, discipline, and worship, in whatsoever the word shall discover
unto us? To practise is a fruit of love; to reform, a fruit of zeal; but
so to reform, will be a token of great prudence and circumspection in
each of these churches: and all this to be done according to God's
word, the best rule, and according to the best reformed churches, and
best interpreters of this rule. If England hath obtained to any greater
perfection in so handling the word of righteousness, and truths that are
according to godliness, as to make men more godly, more righteous: and,
if in the churches of Scotland any more light and beauty in matters of
order and discipline, by which their assemblies are more orderly: or, if
to any other church or person, it hath been given better to have learned
Christ in any of His ways, than any of us, we shall humbly bow, and kiss
their lips that can speak right words unto us, in this matter, and help
us into the nearest uniformity with the word and mind of Christ in this
great work of Reformation.

Honourable and reverend brethren, there cannot be a more direct and
effectual way to exhort and persuade the wise, and men of sad and
serious spirits (and such are you to whom I am commanded to speak this
day) than to let into their understandings the weight, and worth, and
great importance of the work, they are persuaded unto. This oath is
such, and, in the matter and consequence of it, of such concernment, as
I can truly say, It is worthy of us; yea, of all these kingdoms; yea, of
all the kingdoms of the world; for it is swearing fealty and allegiance
unto Christ, the King of kings; and giving up of all these kingdoms
which are in His inheritance, to be subdued more to His throne, and
ruled more by His sceptre, upon whose shoulders the government is laid,
and "of the increase of whose government and peace there shall be no
end." Yea, we find this very thing in the utmost accomplishment of it,
to have been the oath of the greatest angel that ever was, who setting
his feet upon two of God's kingdoms, the one upon the sea, the other
upon the earth, lifting up his hand to heaven, as you are to do this
day, and so swearing. The effect of that oath you shall find to be this,
"That the kingdoms of the world become the kingdoms of the Lord and His
Christ, and He shall reign forever." His oath was for the full and final
accomplishment, this of yours for a gradual, yet a great performance
towards it.

That which the apostles and primitive times did so much and so long pray
for, tho' never long with much quietness enjoyed; that which our fathers
in these latter times have fasted, prayed and mourned after, yet
attained not; even the cause which many dear saints now with God, have
furthered by extremest sufferings, poverty, imprisonment, banishment,
death, even ever since the first dawning of reformation: that and the
very same is the very cause and work that we are come now, through the
mercy of Jesus Christ, not only to pray for, but swear to. And surely it
can be no other, but the result and answer of such prayers and tears, of
such sincerity and sufferings, that three kingdoms should be thus born,
or rather new-born in a day; that these kingdoms should be wrought about
to so great an engagement, than which nothing is higher. For this end
kings reign, kingdoms stand, and states are upheld.

It is a special grace and favour of God unto you, brethren, (Reverend
and Honourable) to vouchsafe you the opportunity, and to put into your
hearts, as this day, to engage your lives and estates in matters so much
concerning Him and His glory. And if you should do no more, but lay a
foundation stone in this great work, and by so doing engage posterity
after you to finish it, it were honour enough: but there may yet further
use be made of you, who now are to take this oath. You are designed as
chief master-builders, and choice instruments for the effecting of this
settled peace and reformation; which, if the Lord shall please to finish
in your hands, a greater happiness on earth, nor a greater means to
augment your glory and crown in heaven, you are not capable of. And
this, let me further add for your encouragement, of what extensive good,
and fruit in the success of it, this very oath may prove to be, we know
not. God hath set His covenant like the heavens, not only for duration,
but like also for extension. The heavens move and roll about, and so
communicate their light, and heat, and virtue, to all places and parts
of the earth; so doth the covenant of God; so may this gift be given to
other covenants, that are framed to this pattern. How much this solemn
league and oath may provoke other reformed churches to a further
reformation of themselves; what light and heat it may communicate abroad
to other parts of the world, it is only in Him to define, to whom is
given the utmost ends of the earth for His inheritance, and worketh by
His exceeding great power great things out of small beginnings.

But however, this I am sure of, it is a way in all probability most
likely to enable us to preserve and defend our religion against our
common enemies; and possibly a more sure foundation this day will be
laid for ruining popery and prelacy, the chief of them, than yet hath
been led unto in any age. For popery hath been a religion ever dexterous
in fencing and mounting itself by association and joint strength. All
sorts of professors amongst them are cast into fraternities and
brotherhoods; and these orders carefully united by vow one with another,
and under some more general notion of common dependence. Such states
also and kingdoms, as they have thus made theirs, they endeavour to
improve and secure by strict combinations and leagues each to other;
witness of late years that _la sainte ligue_, the holy league. It will
not be unworthy your consideration, whether, seeing the preservation of
popery hath been by leagues and covenant, God may not make a league or
covenant to be the destruction of it. Nay, the very rise of popery
seemeth to be after such a manner, by kings, that is kingdoms assenting
and agreeing perhaps by some joint covenant (the text saith, "with one
mind," why not then with one mouth) to give their power and strength
unto the beast, and make war against the Lamb. For you read, "the Lamb
shall overcome the beast," and possibly with the same weapons. He is the
Lord of lords, and King of kings, He can unite kings and kingdoms, and
give them one mind also to destroy the whore, and be her utter ruin. And
may not this day's work be a happy beginning of such a blessed
expedition?

Prelacy, another common enemy, that we covenant and swear against. What
hath been, or what hath the strength of it been, but a subtile
combination of clergymen, formed into a policy or body of their own
invention, framing themselves into subordination and dependence one upon
another; so that the interest of each is improved by all, and a great
power by this means acquired to themselves, as by sad experience we have
lately found. The joints and members of this body, you know, were knit
together by the sacred engagement of an oath, the _Oath of Canonical
Obedience_, as they called it. You remember also, with what cunning
industry they endeavoured lately, to make this oath and covenant more
sure for themselves and their posterity, and intended a more public,
solemn and universal engagement; than since Popery, this cause of
theirs, was ever maintained or supported by: and questionless, Ireland
and Scotland also must at last have been brought into this holy league
with England. But blessed be the Lord, and blessed be His good hand, the
parliament that, from the indignation of their spirits against so horrid
a yoke, have dashed out the very brains of this project, and are now
this day present before the Lord, to take and give possession of this
blessed ordinance, even an oath and covenant, as solemn, and of as large
extent, as they intended theirs; uniting these three kingdoms into such
a league and happy combination, as will doubtless preserve us and our
reformation against them, though their iniquity, in the mysteries of it,
should still be working amongst us. Come, therefore (I speak in the
words of the prophet) "let us join ourselves to the Lord," and one to
another, and each to all, "in a perpetual covenant that shall not be
forgotten."

We are now entering upon a work of the greatest moment and concernment
to us, and to our posterity after us, that ever was undertaken by any of
us, or any of our forefathers before us, or neighbouring nations about
us; if the Lord shall bless this our beginning, it will be a happy day,
and we shall be a happy people. An oath is a duty of the first
commandment, and therefore of the highest and noblest order and rank of
duties, therefore must come forth attended with choicest graces,
especially with these two, humility and fear.

Fear, not only of God, which ought to be in an eminent measure. Jacob
sware by the fear of his father Isaac, as if he coveted to inherit his
father's grace, as well as his father's God: but also, fear of an oath,
it being a dreadful duty, and hath this peculiar, it is established by
the oath of God, "I have sworn, that unto Me every tongue shall swear."
It is made the very character of a saint, he fears an oath.

Humility is another grace requisite. Set your hearts before God in an
humble obedient frame. "Thou shall fear the Lord thy God, and serve Him,
and swear by His name." The apostle Paul was sensible of this
engagement, even in the very act of this duty. "I call God to witness,
whom I serve in my spirit:" although it be a work of the lips, yet the
heart, and the whole man must be interested, if we expect this worship
to be acceptable. "Accept the free-will offering of my mouth, and teach
me Thy judgments."

Also it must be done in the greatest simplicity and plainness of spirit,
in respect of those with whom we covenant; we call God as a witness
betwixt us, who searcheth the heart: "With Him is wisdom and strength,
the deceived and deceiver are His." He hath wisdom to discover, and
strength to punish, if our hearts be not upright to our brethren in
this matter. Let us be contented with this, that the words of our
covenant be bands; it may not be, so much as in the desire of our
hearts, that they should become snares, no not to the weakest and
simplest person that joineth with us. On the whole work make your
address unto God, as Jacob did to his father Isaac, and let there be the
like fear and jealousy over your spirits. "My father peradventure will
feel me, and I shall seem to Him as a deceiver, and I shall bring a
curse upon me, and not a blessing."

I take liberty with more earnestness to press this care upon you,
because I have observed oaths and covenants have been undertaken by us
formerly, and by the command of authority, the fruit whereof, though
great, yet answered not our expectation; the Lord surely hath been
displeased with the slightness of our hearts in the work. I beseech you
be more watchful, and stir up your hearts with more industry this day
than ever before. As it is the last oath you are likely to take in this
kind, so it is our last refuge, _Tabula post naufragium_. If this help
us not, we are likely to remain to our dying day an unhappy people; but
if otherwise, "You will indeed swear with all your hearts, and seek the
Lord with your whole desire, God will be found, and give you rest round
about."

And having sworn, and entered into this solemn engagement to God and
man, make conscience to do accordingly; otherwise it is better thou
shouldst not vow. As is said of fasting, "It is not the bowing down of
the head for a day;" so of this solemn swearing, It is not the lifting
up of the hand for a day, but an honest and faithful endeavouring after
the contents of this covenant, all our days. A truce-breaker is reckoned
up amongst the vilest of Christians, so a covenant-breaker is listed
amongst the worst of heathens, but he that sweareth and changeth not,
tho' he swear to his hurt, that is, he that will keep his covenant and
oath, tho' the contents of it prove not for him, nay possibly against
him, yet he will keep it for his oath's sake, such an one "shall have
his habitation with the most High, and dwell in His tabernacle." And as
for you, reverend brethren, that are ministers of the gospel, there is
yet another obligation will lie upon you: let us look to ourselves, and
make provision to walk answerable to this our covenant, for the gospel's
sake: it will reflect a great aspersion upon the truth of the gospel, if
we should be false or inconstant in any word or purpose, tho' in a
matter of less consequence, as you can easily collect from that apology
of Paul. How much more in such a case as this is, if we should be found
to purpose, nay more, to vow, and covenant, and swear, and all this
according unto the flesh, and with us there should be, notwithstanding
all these obligations, yea, yea, and nay, nay.

That we may all, who take the covenant this day, be constant,
immoveable, and abound in this work of the Lord, that we may not start
aside, or give back, or go on uncomfortably, there is a twofold grace or
qualification to be laboured after.

1. We must get courage, spirits that are bold and resolute. It is said
in Haggai, that "the Lord stirred up the Spirit of Zerubbabel, governor
of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua, the high priest, and the spirit of
all the remnant of the people, and they came and did work in the house
of the Lord." The work of God's house, reformation work especially, is a
stirring work: read history, you find not any where, reformation made in
any age, either in doctrine or discipline, without great stir and
opposition. This was foretold by the same prophet, the promise is, "He
will fill His house with glory." But what goeth before. "Yet once it is
a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the
sea, and the dry land," that is, all nations, as in the words following.
This place is applied to the removing Jewish rites, the moveables of
God's house. The like you find in the apostles' times, the truth being
preached, some believed, others did not. Here beginneth the stir. Those
that believed not, "took unto themselves certain lewd fellows of the
baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city in an uproar;"
and when they had done so, complained of the brethren to the rulers, as
men that turn the world upside down. In such a work therefore, men had
need be of stout, resolute and composed spirits, that we may be able to
go on in the main, and stir in the midst of such stirs, and not be
amazed at any such doings. It may possibly happen, that even amongst
yourselves, there will be outcries: Sir, you will undo all, saith one;
You will put all into confusion, saith another; If you take this course,
saith a third, we can expect nothing but blood. But a wise statesman,
like an experienced seaman, knoweth the compass of his vessel, and tho'
it heave, toss, and the passengers cry out about him, yet in the midst
of all, he is himself, turneth not aside from his work, but steereth on
his course. I beseech you, let it be seriously considered, if you mean
to do any such work in the house of God, as this is; if you mean to
pluck up what many years ago was planted, or to build up what so long
ago was pulled down, and to go thro' with this work and not be
discouraged, you must beg of the Lord this excellent spirit, this
resolute, stirring spirit, otherwise you will be outspirited, and both
you and your cause slighted and dishonoured.

2. On the other hand, we must labour for humility, prudence, gentleness,
meekness. A man may be very zealous and resolute, and yet very meek and
merciful: Jesus Christ was a Lion, and yet a Lamb also; in one place, He
telleth them He cometh to send "fire on the earth:" and, in another
place, rebuketh His disciples "for their fiery spirits." There was the
like composition in Moses, and in Paul; and it is of great use,
especially in this work of reformation. I have not observed any disputes
carried on with more bitterness in men's writings, and with a more
unsanctified heat of spirit, yea, and by godly men too, than in
controversies about discipline, church government, ceremonies, and the
like. Surely, to argue about government with such ungoverned passions,
to argue for reformation with a spirit so unreformed, is very uncomely.
Let us be zealous, as Christ was, to cast out all, to extirpate and root
out every plant His heavenly Father hath not planted; and yet let us do
it in an orderly way, and with the Spirit of Christ, whose servants we
are. "The servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle to all men,
apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose." We
solemnly engage this day our utmost endeavours for reformation; let us
remember this, that too much heat, as well as too much coldness, may
harden men in their ways, and hinder reformation.

Brethren, let us come to this blessed work with such a frame of heart,
with such a mind, for the present, with such resolutions for the time to
come; let us not be wanting to the opportunity God hath put into our
hands this day; and then I can promise you, as the prophet, "Consider
this day and upwards, even from this day, that the foundation of the
Lord's work is laid, consider it, from this day will I bless you saith
the Lord." Nay, we have received, as it were, the first fruits of this
promise; for, as it is said of some men's good "works, they are manifest
before-hand." Even so may be said of the good work of this day, it is
manifested before-hand. God hath, as it were before-hand, testified His
acceptance; while we were thinking and purposing this free-will
offering, He was protecting and defending our army, causing our enemies,
the enemies of this work, to flee before us, and gave us a victory, not
to be despised. Surely this oath and covenant shall be Judah's joy, the
joy and comfort of this whole kingdom, yea, of all the three kingdoms.

Jesus Christ, King of the saints, govern us by His Spirit, strengthen us
by His power, undertake for us according as He hath sworn, even the
"oath which He sware to our father Abraham, that He would grant unto us,
that we being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, might serve Him
without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of
our life." Grant unto us also, that when this life is finished, and we
gathered to our fathers, there may be a generation out of our loins to
stand up in this cause, that His great and reverend name may be exalted
from one generation to another, until He Himself shall come, and perfect
all His own wisdom: even so come Lord Jesus, come quickly. Amen.



THE SOLEMN LEAGUE AND COVENANT.

ADDRESS AT WESTMINSTER.[7]

_BY ALEXANDER HENDERSON._


Although the time be far spent, yet am I bold (honourable, reverend, and
beloved in the Lord) to crave your patience a little. It were both sin
and shame to us in this so acceptable a time in this day, which the Lord
hath made, to be silent and to say nothing. If we should hold our peace,
we could neither be answerable to God, whose cause and work is in hand,
nor to this church and kingdom, unto which we have made so large
profession of duty, and owe much more; nor to our native kingdom, so
abundant in affection towards you; nor to our own hearts, which
exceedingly rejoice to see this day. We have greater reason than the
leprous men sitting in a time of great extremity at the gates of
Samaria, to say one to another, "We do not well, this day is a day of
good tidings, and we hold our peace." It is true, the Syrians are not
yet fled; but our hope is through God, that the work begun this day,
being sincerely performed, and faithfully pursued, shall put to flight,
not only the Syrians and Babylonians, but all other enemies of the
church of God, of the king's honour, and of our liberty and peace.

For it is acceptable to God, and well pleasing in His sight, when His
people come willingly in the day of His power (and how shall they not be
willing in the day of His power?) to enter into a religious covenant
with Him, and amongst themselves, whatsoever be the condition of the
people of God, whether in sorrow and humiliation before deliverance, or
in rejoicing and thanksgiving after deliverance. This is it which the
Lord waits for at their hands, which they have been used to perform, and
with which He hath been so well pleased, that it hath been the fountain
of many deliverances and blessings unto them. When a people begin to
forget God, He lifteth up His hand against them, and smiteth them: and
when His people, humbled before Him, lift up their hands, not only in
supplication, but in covenant before the most high God, He is pleased
(such is His mercy and wonderful compassion) first, to lift His hand
unto them, saying, "I am the Lord your God;" as we have it three times
in two verses of the 20th of Ezekiel: and next He stretcheth out His
hand against His enemies and theirs. It is the best work of faith, to
join in covenant with God, the best work of love and Christian
communion, to join in covenant with the people of God; the best work of
the best zeal, to join in covenant for reformation, against the enemies
of God and religion; the best work of true loyalty, to join in covenant
for the preservation of our king and superiors; and the best proof of
natural affection, (and to be without natural affection is one of the
great sins of the Gentiles) to join in covenant for defence of our
native country, liberties and laws: such as from these necessary ends do
withdraw, and are not willing to enter into covenant, have reason to
enter into their own hearts, and to look into their faith, love, zeal,
loyalty, and natural affection.

As it is acceptable to God, so have we for it the precedent and example
not only of the people of God of old, of the reformed churches of
Germany, and the low countries; but of our own noble and Christian
progenitors in the time of the danger of religion, which is expressed in
the covenant itself. The defect was, they went not on thoroughly to
enter into a solemn covenant, an happiness reserved for this time, which
had they done, the corruptions and calamities of these days might have
been prevented. And if the Lord shall be pleased to move, loose, and
enlarge the hearts of His people in his majesty's dominions to take this
covenant, not in simulation, nor in lukewarmness, as those that are
almost persuaded to be Christians, but as becometh the people of God, it
shall be the prevention of many evils and miseries, and a means of many
and rich blessings, spiritual and temporal, to ourselves, our little
ones, and the posterity that shall come after us, for many generations.

The near and neighbouring example of the church and kingdom of Scotland,
is in this case worthy of our best observation. When the prelates there
were grown by their rents, and lordly dignities, by their exorbitant
power over all sorts of his majesty's subjects, ministers and others, by
their places in parliament, council, college of justice, exchequer, and
high commission, to a monstrous dominion and greatness, and, like
giants, setting their one foot on the neck of the church, and the other
on the neck of the state, were become intolerably insolent. And when the
people of God, through their oppression in religion, liberties and laws,
and what was dearest unto them, were brought so low, that they choose
rather to die, than to live in such slavery, or to live in any other
place, rather than in their own native country: then did the Lord say,
"I have seen the affliction of My people, and I have heard their
groaning, and am come down to deliver them." The beginnings were small
and contemptible in the eyes of the presumptuous enemies, such as used
to be the beginnings of the greatest works of God; but were so seconded
and continually followed by the undeniable evidences of divine
providence, leading them forward from one step to another, that their
mountain became strong in the end. No tongue can tell what motions
filled the hearts, what tears were poured forth from the eyes, and what
cries came from the mouths of many thousands in that land, when they
found an unwonted flame warming their breasts, and perceived the power
of God, raising them from the dead, and creating for them a new world,
wherein shall dwell religion and righteousness. When they were destitute
both of monies and munition, which, next unto the spirit and arms of
men, are the sinews of war, the Lord brought them forth out of His hid
treasures, which was wonderful in their eyes, and matter of astonishment
to their hearts: when they were many times at a pause in their
deliberations, and brought to such perplexity, that they knew not what
to choose, or to do for prosecuting the work of God, only their eyes
were towards Him; not only the fears and furies, but the plots also and
policies of the adversaries opened the way unto them, their devices were
turned upon their own heads, and served for promoting of the work of
God. The purity of their intentions elevated above base and earthly
respects, and the constant peace of their hearts in the midst of many
dangers, did bear them out against the malicious accusations and
aspersions put upon their actions: all which were sensible impressions
of the good providence of God, and legible characters of His work; which
the church and kingdom of England, exercised at this time with greater
difficulty than theirs, have in part already found; so shall the
parallel be perfected to their greater comfort in the faithful pursuing
of the work unto the end.

Necessity, which hath in it a kind of sovereignty, and is a law above
all laws, and therefore is said to have no law, doth mightily press the
church and kingdom of Scotland at this time. It is no small comfort unto
them, that they have not been idle, and at ease, but have used all good
and lawful means of supplications, declarations and remonstrances to his
majesty, for quenching the combustion in this kingdom: and after all
these, that they sent commissioners to his majesty, humbly to mediate
for a reconcilement and pacification. But the offer of their humble
service was rejected from no other reason, but that they had no warrant
nor capacity for such a mediation; and that the intermixture of the
government of the church of England, with the civil government of the
kingdom, was such a mystery as could not be understood by them. Although
it be true, which was at that time often replied, that the eighth demand
of the treaty, and the answer given thereunto, concerning the uniformity
of religion, was a sufficient ground of capacity; and the proceedings of
the houses of parliament against episcopal government, as a stumbling
block hindering reformation, and as a prejudice to the civil state, was
ground enough for their information. The commissioners having returned
from his majesty without success, and the miseries of Ireland, and the
distresses of England, and the dangers and pressures of the kingdom of
Scotland, growing to greater extremity; such as were intrusted with the
public affairs of the kingdom, were necessitate, according to the
practice of former times, his majesty having denied a parliament, to
call a convention of the estates, for considering of the present
affairs, and for providing the best remedies: which, immediately upon
their meeting, by the special providence of God, did receive information
of divers treacherous attempts of papists, in all the three kingdoms, as
if they had been called for that effect. And by the same providence,
commissioners were sent from both houses of parliament, to consider with
the estates of the kingdom of Scotland, of such articles and
propositions, as might make the conjunction betwixt the two nations more
beneficial and effectual for the securing of religion and liberty
against papists and prelates, with their adherents. Their consultations
with the commissioners of the General Assembly did in the end bring
forth a covenant, as the only means after all other had been essayed,
for the deliverance of England and Ireland out of the depths of
affliction, preservation of the church and kingdom of Scotland from the
extremity of misery, and the safety of our native king and his kingdoms,
from destruction and desolation. This is the manifold necessity which
nature, religion, loyalty and love hath laid upon them.

Nor is it unknown in this honourable, reverend and wise audience, what
errors and heresies in doctrine, what superstition and idolatry in
worship, what usurpation and tyranny in government, what cruelty against
the souls and bodies of the saints have been set on foot, exercised and
executed for many generations, and now of late by the Roman church: all
which we hope, through the blessing of God upon this work, shall be
brought to an end. Had the Pope at Rome the knowledge of what is doing
this day in England, and were this covenant written on the plaster of
the wall over against him, where he sitteth, Belshazzar-like in his
sacrilegious pomp, it would make his heart to tremble, his countenance
to change, his head and mitre to shake, his joints to loose, and all his
cardinals and prelates to be astonished.

When the reformed churches, which by their letters have been exciting us
to Christian communion and sympathy, in this time of the danger of
religion and distress of the godly, shall hear of this blessed
conjunction for uniformity in religion, according to the Word of God,
and the defence thereof, it shall quicken their hearts against the
heaviness of oppressing sorrows and fears; and be no other than a
beginning of a jubilee and joyful deliverance unto them, from the
antichristian yoke and tyranny.

Upon these and the like considerations, we are very confident that the
church and kingdom of Scotland will most cheerfully join in this
covenant; at the first motion whereof, their bowels were moved within
them. And to give testimony of this our confidence, we who are
Commissioners from the General Assembly, although we have no particular
and express commission for that end (not from want of willingness, but
of foresight) offer to join our hearts and hands unto it, being assured,
that the Lord in His own time will, against all opposition, even against
the gates of hell, crown it with a blessing from heaven. The Word of God
is for it, as you have been now resolved by the consent and testimony of
a reverend assembly of so many godly, learned and great divines. In your
own sense and experience, upon seeking God in private or public, as in
the evening of a well spent Sabbath or day of fast and humiliation, the
bent and inclinations of your hearts will be strongest to go through
with this work. It is a good testimony that our designs and ways are
agreeable to the will of God, if we affect them most when our hearts are
farthest from the world, and our temper is most spiritual and heavenly,
and least carnal and earthly. As the Word of God, so the prayers of the
people of God in all the reformed churches, are for us. That divine
providence also which hath maintained this cause, and supported His
servants in a marvellous manner unto this day, and which this time past
hath kept things in an equal balance and vicissitude of success, will,
we trust, from this day forth, through the weight of this covenant, cast
the balance, and make religion and righteousness to prevail, to the
glory of God, the honour of our king, the confusion of our common
enemies, and the comfort and safety of the people of God; which, may He
grant who is able to do above any thing that we can ask or think.



[Illustration: Fac-simile of old Title page of following Sermon.]

_The Heart's Engagement._

A

SERMON

PREACHED AT

St. _Margaret's Westminster_,

At the publick Entering into the

COVENANT,

BY

I. _Some of the Nobility, Knighthood and Gentry._
II. _Divers Colonels, Officers and Soldiers._
III. _Those of the_ Scotish _Nation about the City._
IV. _Many Reverend Divines here residing._

September 29th, Anno 1643.

By the Reverend Mr. Thomas Coleman, one of the Members of the
_Westminster_ Assembly of _Divines_.

Preached and published according to the several Orders of the
Honourable House of Commons.

Nehem. x. 28, 29. _The people ... entred into a curse, and into an
oath to walk in God's law,_ &c.

GLASGOW,
Printed for George Paton, Book-seller in _Linlithgow_. MDCCXLI.


THE SOLEMN LEAGUE AND

COVENANT.

SERMON AT WESTMINSTER.

_BY THOMAS COLEMAN._

"For who is this, that engaged his heart to approach unto Me,
saith the Lord?"--_Jerem._ xxx. 21.


Two things in this clause cause some obscurity: _First_, The uncertainty
of the subject. _Second_, The ambiguity of one phrase.

1. The uncertainty of the subject, or person of whom the prophet speaks
here: whether of Christ, by way of prophecy, or of some particular
person, by way of story, or indefinitely of every one, by way of duty.

2. The ambiguity of that phrase, _engaged;_ which, according to the
variety of its signification, is or may be variously rendered. _He
adorned His heart; He applied His heart; He directed His heart; He
engaged His heart._

Hereupon the sense becomes various.

1. Who is he, _viz._ Christ, hath appointed his heart? Can there be
found a parallel to Christ in the world, that hath so given himself up
to God? made Him and His ways his meat and drink, yea more than his
ordinary food?

2. Who hath fitted and adorned his heart? Is there any that can adorn
and prepare himself to approach unto God, without God?

3. To omit others of like nature: it may be true, that it is chiefly
spoken of Christ: the titles in the beginning of the verse look this
way; his noble One, his Ruler; but seeing Christ is the head of the
body, and one with His body, it may secondarily, and by way of
communication, be also affirmed of His members; and to them we extend
it.

The clause therefore seems dependent, and as it is applied to man, hath
reference to that which is an act of God, and seems to be a reason
thereof. "I will cause him," saith God, "to draw nigh, and he then shall
approach; for who is this that hath engaged his heart?" The force of
which inference may look two ways.

1. Shewing the impossibility in man to begin the action: "I will cause
him to draw nigh; for who is this, that hath engaged his heart?" Where
is the man that can direct his heart, approach to Me of himself, by his
own power? Not any, not one: "Without Me you can do nothing."

2. Approving the endeavour to continue; I will cause him to draw near,
that he may approach, and stay with Me: he doeth his best, according to
his strength; "he engageth his heart," I will help on with the work;
"for who is this?" Oh this is an excellent one; there are not many so;
that any, that this is so, is beyond expectation, worthy of
commendation. What an one is this? "Who is it that hath engaged," tied,
bound his heart from starting aside like a broken bow, to approach to,
and to continue with Me, saith the Lord?

In the words (to proceed methodically and clearly) I offer the sum of my
thoughts, to be considered under four general heads, or parts.

    I. The opening of the phrases.
    II. The propounding of the point.
    III. The viewing of the duty.
    IV. The encouragement to the practice.

In and through these we shall walk, as travellers, who speed their pace
in those fields which yield no novelties, no fruit, no delight, but
where they meet with varieties to delight the senses, fruitful places,
green pastures to refresh themselves and beasts, they rest themselves
and bait: so in some of these we shall only take and offer a taste, on
others insist, as God shall direct; wherein an engagement of the
attentions in the handling to me, may, through God's mercy, beget an
engagement of the heart to God in the applying of them in order.


I.--_The opening of the phrases._

For the fuller understanding of the prophet's drift, three words or
phrases in this short sentence are a little to be cleared; for it
containeth three parts: 1. An action of piety. 2. The object of this
action. 3. The inquiry into both: and these are expressed in so many
several particles.

1. The action of piety, engaging the heart. The heart may prove loose
and wandering without an engagement: the engagement may be hypocritical
and sinister, if it be not of the heart; but the one implying stability,
the other sincerity, both together complete it as an action of piety.

2. The object of this action, "to approach unto Me." Sin may be the
object pursued, and God may be beheld at a distance: in this, we do not
approach; in that, we approach not to God; but either is needful. God
abhors those that approach to sin: He minds not those that look to Him
at their distance: except then thou approach, and approach unto God, thy
endeavour is either cold or cursed.

3. The inquiry into both, who is this? into the act of engagement,
because it is not usual, into the part engaged, because it is subtile;
and what we seldom see, or groundedly suspect, we have cause to inquire
after.

Of the first; this engagement is a degree of the heart's motion towards
any object, good and bad; for it was an engagement, though a bad one,
when more than forty men bound themselves with an oath from eating and
drinking, till they had killed Paul. To this degree of engagement we
ascend by these steps, and the heart of man perfects a motion towards
God and good things thus gradually.

1. By an inclination or hankering, a propensity in the mind to this or
that: this naturally is evil, and to evil; he that follows his
inclination goes wrong, the whole frame of a man's disposition being
continually ill-disposed. It is called in scripture the speech or saying
of the heart, and used indifferently both of good and bad, yet with a
notable mark of diversity in the original, though translations mind it
not. Eight times in the Old Testament is this phrase, "Said in his
heart," used: four times by the wicked, and as oft by the righteous; but
constantly, whensoever a wicked man useth it, as David's fool, Esau,
Haman, Satan, it is in his heart; when a good man, as Hannah, David, it
is to his heart; and teacheth: 1. That the heart and courses of a wicked
man are subject to his inclinations; they dictate to him; they command,
and he obeys. 2. But the inclinations of a good man are subject to him;
he dictates to them, commands them as things subdued, and fit to be kept
under.

Both these different inclinations, different, I say, in respect of
subject and object, are strengthened with nothing more than the often
reiteration of suitable acts; an evil inclination with evil acts, a good
with good. 1. Sin gathereth strength by frequency of committing, and at
last becomes as natural as meat or sleep. "By following vanity, they
became vain." 2. A good inclination is furthered by good actions;
frequency in performance turns to a habit: therefore the Jews, to
habituate their heart to mourning, do always, for the space of three
days before the memorial of the temple's desolation, in their public
meetings, read chapters of mourning; for (say they) three acts make a
habit. And hereupon it was: that Israel, above and before other nations,
became a blessed people; blessings being even naturalized upon them by
the holiness of the three patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
immediately succeeding one the other.

2. By a desire, which is an inclination augmented and actuated, carrying
on the party to the thing desired, grounded on, or inclined by some
external enforcements. This was in Paul, who by that relation to, and
interest that he had in, the Thessalonians, endeavoured abundantly with
much desire to see their face, which put him to the essay once and
again.

3. A purpose, a determination to effect, to accomplish his desire. I
have purposed, saith David, "that my mouth shall not transgress," which
purposing, before it be taken up, should be well grounded, and, when
taken up, not lightly altered. For see, how a change in such a purpose,
put the apostle to a serious apology; he was minded to have visited
them, he did not; he foresaw they might, they would tax him of
lightness, as either not minding, or not being master of his own
determinations, and so consequently his ministry, and therein the gospel
might be blemished: the fear of which struck his heart, the prevention
of which moved his spirit, that both they might be satisfied and himself
remain without blame.

4. A resolve, a purpose settled; Daniel was fully resolved, he had laid
this charge upon his heart, that he would not defile himself with the
king's meat.

5. A tie or obligation, whereby the heart, otherwise shifty, is bound to
the work intended, sometime by a single promise, sometime by an oath or
vow, and sometime more publicly by a solemn covenant. And this last and
highest degree is that which the prophet speaks, at least in this sense
I take it. This is that engagement of soul, whereby a man prevents his
starting aside: and this is that first phrase that was to be opened.

Of the second; "to approach unto Me."

This is the object, and this approachment is threefold: 1. In his inward
man. 2. In his outward man. 3. In both. 1. In his inward man; in heart,
by drawing close to God, enjoying a sensible and blessed communion with
Him, which is comfortable in such a degree that, where it is felt, it
needs no bidding to make an engagement. 2. In his outward man, in his
person approaching to God in the practice of all duties commanded; God
in His ordinances is powerfully present, man in their use stands within
this presence. 3. In both, in all his abilities approaching to Him in
managing His holy cause; and therefore holy, because His. God walks in
the midst of His people's armies: when thy sons, O Zion, "are armed
against thy sons," O Greece, "the Lord God is seen over them." These are
those approachings of the saints to their God: the first is their
happiness, the second their duty, the third their honour. It is a happy
thing to enjoy God's comforts in soul; it is our enjoined duty to obey
Him in His ways, and it is an honour to be found standing for the way of
righteousness.

Of the third. The inquiry, "who is this?"

Scripture questions are of several uses, hold forth several senses; here
it seems to be an approbation of the action spoken of. Who is this? What
one is this, that so carefully engageth his heart? This is not ordinary
among men, nor of an ordinary degree in man; few move, fewer engage
themselves to move towards God. This approbation hath, 1. Its foundation
in a duty: I approve this engaging, and the man because he engageth. 2.
Its direction from the subject, heart. The engagement of the outward man
may have wrong principles: that it may be right, let the heart, soul,
inward parts, all that is within us be engaged to bless His holy name.
3. Its limitation from the object, to approach unto me: to engage the
heart to sin, to the creature, to vanity, is neither commendable, nor
approvable; but to close with God, to come to, stay with, and act for
Him, this is that which the prophet, and God in the mouth of the prophet
ever approves. And this brings us to,


II.--_The propounding of the point, and that in these words._

God observes with the eye of approbation, such as engage and tie
themselves to Him; He looks with an approving eye upon this carefulness:
for such an engagement of soul is, 1. Needful. 2. Helpful; needful for
the heart, helpful to our graces.

The needfulness is evident. The heart is slow and subtile, backward and
deceitful; except it be drawn with the cords of such an engagement, it
puts slowly forward; and when thus drawn, it will fall quickly off. Days
of desolation beget resolves, times of terror produce engagements, which
the heart (the storm past) will wilily and wickedly seek to evade. David
suspected this cozenage in himself, when he cries out, Oh! I have many
good thoughts, but a naughty heart; many holy purposes, but a deceitful
spirit: thou hast cause, as a Creator, not to believe the tender of my
obedience, nor as a just God, the promise of submission; but I call to
Thy mercy to give assistance. "Be surety for Thy servant for good:" for
the performance of all good I promise. And Hezekiah in his sickness was
not without fear of this deceitfulness: "Oh Lord, I am oppressed,
undertake for me;" I shall never keep my word, that word which my lips
have spoken; and I have none dare pass his word for me: "do thou, O
Lord, undertake for me."

2. The helpfulness is undeniable; a heart from this engagement may fetch
renewed strength continually. This engagement is a buckler of defence to
arm us against Satan's enticement, is armour of proof to withstand the
world's inducement; it makes us without fear or failing stand upon our
own ground, and renew our courage like the eagle. Job was probably
sometimes seduced with such foolish persuasions, to courses not less
foolish, but he yielded not: what helped him? even his engagement: "I
have made a covenant with mine eyes, how then shall I look on a maid?"
Constancy in good is well-pleasing to God; "If any draw back, His soul
hath no pleasure in them." Whatsoever then is needful for it, or helpful
to it, He both prescribes and approves. O let us engage our hearts to
this approachment, a duty enjoined, a sacrifice accepted.

But there is one scripture that fully showeth the point, and the truth
of it in all particulars. Consider then. Three things may seem necessary
herein to be noted; the act, the approbation, and the reason; and here
we have them all.

1. The act, engaging; or the persons, the engagers of themselves. Thou
hast avouched, set up God this day to be thy God, not only in thy
conscience by the act of faith, but even by thy mouth thou hast uttered
this, probably in some solemn league and covenant. "Thou hast made to
say:" so much the Hebrew word imports.

2. The approbation; and God answers thee accordingly, He hath avouched,
set up thee to be His people; particularly to two privileges; 1. To be
His peculiar people, the people of His own proper possession, joined so
high, united so near, that they are admitted to a participation of many
heavenly privileges; the actions of the one being communicated to the
other; man's prayer is called God's, "I will make them glad in the house
of My prayer," God's people called man's, Moses's people, Moses's law:
so in the law of God, and in his law, that is, the righteous man's law.
2. To keep His commands: this seems rather to be a duty than a
prerogative, yet a prerogative it is for a Christian to be holy,
obedient, righteous: both directly, and accidently. 1. Directly; the
scripture teacheth so. The fruit of a Christian's being made free from
sin is unto holiness. "If you will fear the Lord and serve Him" (these
are Samuel's words to the people) "and not rebel:" what then? what shall
we have? "Then shall you and your king continue to follow the Lord."
Solomon, setting down the recompence of a righteous person, saith, his
reward shall be double, in himself, and in his posterity; in himself,
"he shall walk on in his integrity," in his posterity, "they shall be
blessed after him." 2. Accidently: holiness is a privilege, as well as a
duty; it is a reward, a benefit to him who walks therein. It may, and
oft doth daunt their persecutors, that otherwise would have taken away
their lives. The heathens observe that the majestic presence of a prince
hath dashed the boldness, and so prevented the execution of some
villanous attempt by a base traitor against their persons: and
Christians know that the power of holiness is able to dazzle the
proudest spirits. Herod, saith the text, "feared John," and so a long
while did him no hurt. And the emperor Adrian ceased his persecution
against the Christians of his time, when he understood of their holiness
of life. So true it is both ways, that the punishment of sin is sin, and
the reward of the command is the command.

Both these privileges are again repeated, and further are evidenced in
the following verse; "Thou art His peculiar people, therefore will He
make thee high above all nations, in praise, name and honour, of more
esteem than any; and, thou keepest His commandments, and so He advanceth
thee to be a holy people unto the Lord thy God:" all this evidenceth
God's approbation of an engaging heart.

3. The reason and ground of God's approving this act, they are two. 1.
Because the matter or duties, to which by this bond the heart is tied,
are such as God directly observes with an approving eye. The particulars
are three here specified, and all elsewhere expressly subjected to this
eye of God. _1st._ Thou obligest thyself to walk in His ways, in the
practice of all the duties of the second table; and upon such as depart
from evil, and do good, upon such righteous ones, the eyes of the Lord
are fastened, not His omniscient eye, but His protecting, blessing eye,
that eye the seeing whereof is of the same temper with the open ear
following: "His eye is upon the righteous, and His ear open to their
cry;" that eye which stands in opposition to His face, which is against
the wicked. _2d._ And to observe His ordinances and judgments,
reverently to practise all the duties of the first table to God, and to
such also God casts His eye of respect: "The eye of the Lord is upon
those that fear Him, and that hope in His mercy." _3d._ And to hearken
to the means of both, to hear His voice: "When I counsel thee and
instruct thee in the way that thou shouldst go, Mine eye is upon thee,
both to keep thee to it, and to bless thee in it." 2. Because this
engagement is a means to accomplish His promise: because thou hast
avouched God, God hath avouched thee, and will do as He hath said, and
again, as He hath said; the repetition whereof seems to argue
contentedness in God, in that, by this avouchment, a way was opened for
the accomplishment of His promise. "God is well pleased for His
righteousness sake," delights, when He can evidence Himself to be
righteous and just, for the law and words of His mouth He will magnify
and make honourable in the faithfulness of their accomplishment. Mercy,
the acts of mercy please Him. God finds in a righteous man rest of
spirit, because by him He sends down a full influence of His favour upon
the world. "If the world knew (say some Hebrew doctors,) of what worth a
righteous man was, they would hedge him about with pearls." His life is
beneficial to all, even in some sort to God Himself; for by him mercy is
shewn to the world: his death therefore is of great consequence; a
greater affliction than those curses mentioned; "I will make thy plagues
wonderful; thy heavens shall be brass, they shall distil no dew nor
rain to water the earth; but I will do a marvellous thing, a marvellous
and strange, a good man, a wise man shall be taken away; and I can send
no more blessings upon you:" There remains not a heart engaged, to whom
I delight to approach; whiles such were, mine eye was satisfied with
seeing good, my heart with doing good; now the one is removed, the other
stopped. O where is he that engageth his heart to approach to his God!


III.--_The examining of the Duty._

This engagement being thus approved, and therefore to be entered on; let
us a little examine the duty, and mind two things. 1. What particulars
do engage us, by what acts or thoughts doth the heart become engaged?
And, 2. What hinders this engagement, and stops our entrance thereupon?

I. Several and many ways doth the heart become engaged to God: no
consideration can enter our hearts, no occurrent happen in our lives,
but it offers reasons enforcing this duty. We are engaged to God by our
being, by our receiving, by our doing: mind either, and acknowledge
thyself engaged.

1. Our being what we are, engageth us: _1st._ That we are creatures, and
so not forgotten in the everlasting night of a not-being: that we are
men, and not beasts; that we are Christians, and not heathens; all are
engagements. _2d._ But our being thus and thus; men of gifts and parts:
placed in such callings; qualified with such endowments: interested in
such privileges: these are engagements indeed.

2. What we have. _1st._ Every thing we have received binds us; all the
acts of God's providence over us; all the effects of God's goodness to
us: health, food, callings, trades, friends, families, clothes, the
service of the creatures; sun, rain, fruits of the earth: all, all these
are bonds. _2d._ But especially, our more peculiar favours; inward
experience of His love, and fruition of soul-communion with Him: Oh,
who would not be engaged for this!

3. What we do, even our own actions become our obligations; and that
which comes from us binds us. _1st._ Our feeling prayers. Who dare
practise what he prays against? A prayer against the power of sin,
obliges to walk in the power of that prayer; neither will any lightly
omit what but late as an evil he hath confessed to God. _2d._ But
especially (which is our present work) our solemn and serious vows,
protestations, promises; our covenant in baptism, our particular
covenants entered into, upon the apprehension of some approaching
calamity, upon a day of humiliation, at a piercing sermon, or
soul-searching prayer before a sacrament, or the like. If we have spoken
with our lips, we cannot go back, we are engaged.

II. As for such things that may hinder, we should both note and avoid.
1. Ignorance: "If thou knewest the gift of God," saith Christ to the
Samaritan woman: want of praying comes from want of knowing. "Have you
received the Holy Ghost?" was Paul's question, but the reply was, that
could not be; we "have not so much as heard, whether there be a Holy
Ghost, or no." Have you engaged your souls in a solemn league? Let this
be our querry, and the answer will be, We have not so much as heard,
whether there be such a duty, or no. Ignorance hinders this bond. 2.
Wretched profaneness, which slights and sets at nought all duties,
ordinary, extraordinary; such mind sin, and the fulfilling thereof; and
bind themselves to mischief with cords of vanity; whilst in the mean
time they are contented to sit loose from God. 3. Wicked policy, both to
avoid the taking, and to evade the keeping: scruples of conscience shall
be pretended by such as know not what conscience means. Scripture shall
be alleged, by such as are little versed therein; this sentence shall be
thus explained: this releasement shall be thus pretended: all is but
seemingly to stop the mouth of conscience, that saith, they must both
make and pay vows unto God. Yet the wilfully ignorant will neglect it;
the wretchedly profane will contemn it; the wickedly politic will avoid
it; so the heart shall be left to its own swing, open to all corruption
that breaks in like a flood. For the prevention whereof, let us come on
to


IV.--_Encouragements to the practice._

The point thus propounded, and in several particulars described, wherein
and whereby the soul may be engaged; there is nothing remaining, but the
practice of it, and that is yours. Up then, and be doing; disoblige
yourselves, and be no longer servants to the world, to sin, to obey
either in the lusts thereof; but be ye bound to serve righteousness, and
the God of righteousness; for His service is perfect freedom. In this
encouragement to this work, that I might do as much as I can, in this
little time granted, and gained for preparation and delivery; I would
advise, exhort, resolve, and so prevent irreverence, backwardness, and
doubting; that neither the ignorant may profane, nor the refractory
contemn, nor the scrupulous question this holy ordinance of God, as
unholy needless, ambiguous. Let this encouragement then be received in
words: 1. Cautionary. 2. Hortatory. 3. Satisfactory.

1. _Cautionary._--Let this great work be done judiciously, cautiously,
and as an ordinance of God. Take we heed therefore, 1. To the manner. 2.
To the matter. 3. To the consequence.

1. _To the manner._ See that it be done; 1. Cheerfully. 2. Religiously.

_First_, Cheerfully and willingly; for so did the people of Israel in
their covenanting with God: "They swore unto the Lord with a loud voice,
with shoutings, and trumpets, and music, and they rejoiced because of
the oath." God loves a cheerful giver, His heart is toward those that
willingly offer themselves to the work of the Lord. And here, let me
not conceal the mercy of the Lord to us, in the work now in hand; for
why should not the Lord have the glory of all His favours? God hath
directed our hearts to this duty, cheered up our affections to this
engagement. Who almost sees not His hand in all this? This cheerfulness
and forwardness I now call for, I did, I do, I hope, I shall see.

1st. _I did see._ Which of us, brethren, hath not his heart yet
rejoicing, but even to think upon this work, this last Monday in this
place? Here was cheerfulness: who was not glad to see it? Who was not
encouraged to it? Here was a willing people freely offering themselves
to be bound to the Lord. Here was rejoicing; 1. In the performance: The
like duty was never seen in our days within this land. It was, I am
persuaded, the very birth-day of this kingdom, born anew to comfort and
success; our hearts were then so elevated, they are not settled yet. 2.
For the performance of such a duty, in such a manner, by such persons.
You might here have seen the Hon. House of Commons, unanimously, with
hearts and hands lifted up to the heavens, swearing to the Most High
God. Here might you have seen our dear brethren, the noble and learned
Commissioners of Scotland, willingly coming into this covenant of truth,
as the representatives of, and a pledge for the whole kingdom. Here
might you have seen the grave and reverend Assembly of Divines,
forwardly countenancing others, willingly submitting themselves to this
bond of the Lord. What I then saw, and now rehearse, most of you can
attest. Ask your fathers, consult with the aged of our times, whether
ever such a thing were done in their days, or in the days of their
fathers before them.

2d, _I do see;_ and believe the like now: I have ground to be persuaded,
that you also come with alacrity to this service. 1. The order for the
taking, honours you with this, that you were desirous of yourselves,
without compulsion, to take this upon you: blessed therefore be you of
the Lord, and blessed be the Lord for you. 2. The fulness of this
present assembly, called only for this end, for this duty. The nature of
your persons. Nobles, knights, gentlemen, submit themselves to the yoke
of the Lord. Colonels, captains, officers in the army, soldiers; even
these also stand not off from, but close to, and for this work in hand.
Those of the Scots nation within this city, by their willingness, do
give a check to this cavil raised by some, who have nothing else to say,
yet say this, perhaps the kingdom of Scotland will not take it. We can
instance in none, none that I know here. The ministers of the Lord, that
have refuged themselves to this little sanctuary, both increase and
honour the number of them that swear, their own callings, and
themselves. All these, as they have forwardly offered, so doubtless will
earnestly repair, in their lot, the breaches made in the Lord's house.
Here is cheerfulness.

3d, I hope, I shall see and hear, the next Lord's day, or the next
convenient time, all our people readily coming into this bond; that so,
both English and Scots, parliament and assembly, nobility and city, may
all rejoice together.

_Second_, Religiously: godly works must be done in a godly manner, that
the act done for God's glory may be sanctified with God's presence. With
what serious humiliation, and hearty prayers did Nehemiah begin this
duty? What a number of able men did Josiah collect together? And how
reverently did they read in the Scriptures, and speak of the nature of
the covenant? Both Nehemiah by praying, and Josiah by reading, desired
in this holy business to approve themselves followers of holiness in the
sight of God. And at the last taking in this place, who was not touched
with that feeling prayer, made by that man of God[8]; that godly
exhortation, which followed from another[9]; that pithy relation by
that man of name[10]; that soul-affecting thanksgiving, wherewith a
godly doctor closed the day[11]? and, that no less piety and love of God
might appear in you, after you resolved upon the work; you desired that
the ordinance might be sanctified to you by the word of God and prayer;
you moved me to this employment, and got it ordered accordingly: and
now, I doubt not, but in the action, you will do it with such reverence
of God's majesty, such awfulness of heart, that in lifting up your hands
to the most high God, He may be pleased to accept the sacrifice, and
make it comfortable. Thus to the manner.

II. To the matter. For the matter, that it be lawfully warranted by the
Word of God. To examine these particularly, in all and several parts
thereof, were the work of a volume, not of one sermon; that will be done
by others: but to do something, and what we may for this time; it is not
difficult to parallel from Scripture this covenant in all the parts of
it. The lawfulness of covenanting, I suppose not questionable, as a
furtherance and help to a spiritual progress; we find it oft used: the
New Testament affords but rare instances, the church then in its infancy
having little occasion, and as little need of such combining, fasting
and days of prayer, which are of the same nature, we find often; and the
angel "lift up his hand, (a covenanting gesture) and swore by Him that
liveth," (a covenanting act,) but the Old Testament is full. Take then
this as granted, and come to the particular materials, and in every
part, for every article, we can find an instance. The articles in this
covenant are six: the preamble sets forth, 1. The occasion; their aim at
God's glory, their enemies aim at their ruin. 2. The pattern; the
commendable practice of those kingdoms, and the example of churches in
all ages. The close containeth their resolution against all impediments
that may either stop the taking, or disable the keeping of this league,
their own sins. The body of the covenant contains the articles; the
lawfulness of which seems thus to be warranted.

The first is the reformation of the false, and the preservation of the
true worship of God, and the uniting of all the kingdoms in that truth
thus reformed. Such a covenant took Asa, and his people. The first is
for the reformation of religion decayed. He purged away all the dross,
and removed all the defects. He repaired the altar of the Lord, the main
part of their ceremonial covenant. Then for the uniting of the kingdoms
in the embracing of this truth. Asa gathered all Judah and Benjamin,
this was his own people, the subjects of one kingdom; and with them the
strangers, that is, the inhabitants of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon,
these were the people of another land. So here are the persons
covenanting, the matter covenanted to. The persons, the subjects, two
several kingdoms; the matter, reformation, and to seek the God of their
fathers; to this they all swear, like as the inhabitants of England,
Scotland and Ireland, meet all in one duty, even a covenant, and that to
one end, to seek and serve God in the purity of His ways, after the
purity of His will; to this, as Asa and his people, we swear.

The second is the extirpation of idolatry and wickedness, and all things
contrary to truth, not according to godliness, the proper and perpetual
matter of all covenants. So did Asa, so did Joash, so did Josiah, so did
Nehemiah. 1. Asa took away all abominations. He was impartial, sparing
neither sin, place, nor person: not sin, he removed all abominations;
not place, from all places, towns of his inheritance, and of his
conquest; not person, he deposed his mother, or rather grandmother from
her state for her idolatry. 2. Joash, or his covenanters. Indeed the
people of the land, (for such usually are most zealous) they ruined the
altars, house and all. They broke down all the monuments of idolatry,
all to pieces, thoroughly, to some purpose, priest and all. They slew
Matthan priest of Baal with the sword. 3. Josiah purged the whole
kingdom: and Nehemiah with zeal, extirpated the strange wives Here is a
covenant that rooted out idolatry, popery, the Baalistical prelate
Matthan, and all his prelatical faction the Chemarim, and all this, for
this end, that the Lord might be one, and His name one.

The third is, the preservation of the liberties of the kingdom and the
king, for matters merely civil. Such was that covenant that Jehoiada
established, after their engagements for spirituals to God. He made a
covenant between the king and people, that he should preserve their
liberties, they his authority, and both each other mutually.

The fourth, for the discovery and punishment of malignants, that
increase or continue our division. Without a covenant such a discovery
did Mordecai make of Bigthan and Teresh, the king's eunuchs. Such a
discovery made the Jews of Sanballat, and his fellows to Nehemiah.
Josiah was not without his informers. But with a covenant was the
punishment of such varlets settled. Whosoever would not seek the Lord
God of their fathers, should be slain without sparing, be he whom he
would be, small or great, man or woman. For why should not every one
value the public above the private, the common good before his own?

The fifth, the preservation of the union, and of the pacification
between the two kingdoms. This is the matter of all civil leagues. Such
a league made Isaac with Abimelech, Jacob with Laban, David with Hiram.
But chiefly such a pacification doth God promise to make between Israel
and Judah. They should both live under one king, so do the English and
Scots: and both dwell in one land, so do the English and Scots: they
shall have the same ministry and religion; so do labour the English and
Scots: and a pacification will God make between them, and that by
covenant, and such a covenant, as should never be forgotten or broken;
such a thing are we doing now, and then God's sanctuary shall be placed
among us, the sanctuary of His presence, service, protection, which is
our expectation and our hope.

Lastly, The firm adhering to this covenant, and continuance in the same
notwithstanding all opposition, contradiction, dissuasion to the
contrary whatsoever. All the people stood to the covenant. This was
Josiah's care not only for himself, but for his people; "He made all
that were found in Judah and Benjamin to stand to it; so all his days
they turned not back from the Lord God of their Fathers." This is the
covenant, and this is a general view of the general matter; this is
according to the aim of those that made it, take it, swear to it. Who
but an atheist can refuse the first? who but a papist the second? who
but an oppressor, or a rebel, the third? who but the guilty, the fourth?
who but men of fortune, desperate cavaliers, the fifth? who but light
and empty men, unstable as water, the sixth? In a word, the duty is
such, that God hath ordained; the matter is such, as God approveth; the
taking such, as God observeth; and the consequences such, as God hath
promised. And in them stands my third caution, to which I now come.

III. To the consequences. For the consequences, and issues that do or
must follow upon the taking, be also cautelous; take heed that after
this heart-engagement to God, none start back like a broken bow. See
that you neither, 1. Falsify the oath; or, 2. Profane the oath.

I. Do not falsify the oath, making the actions of the outward man
contrary to this action of the heart. An oath is one of the two
immutable things, wherein it is impossible that God should lie; not
fitting, that man should. The people's forementioned example teaches
constancy, they stood to it. The covenants ordinary epithet
[everlasting] implies continuance: neither can God, nor should man play
the children, say and unsay. All our covenants in Him should be yea; not
yea, and nay. If we prove loose, we prove false, and lie unto God that
made us. Take heed to your covenant. This stone, these walls, these
pillars, these seats shall witness against you, that ye denied Him: to
falsify the engagement, is to deny our God; His power, His revenging
justice, His word, His presence, and the like; if you wilfully falsify
this oath wherewith you are bound, as much as in you lies, you make God
any thing but a God. Keep truth and fidelity for ever.

II. Do not profane it by a slight esteem, by an irreverent taking, by an
unholy life.

_First_, By a slight esteem, as a matter of no moment. Can that be a
trifle, which is the fruit of the judicious consultations of the agents
of both kingdoms, as the only means to perpetuate the union? Can that be
a trifle, which was produced by such, who had merely the glory of God
before their eyes as conducing much thereto? Can that be a trifle, which
is published as the main and sole preventive of all the bloody plots of
God's enemies against the truth? Can that be a trifle, which is now
cleaved to as a means more effectual, and a degree above supplications,
remonstrances, protestations, to preserve ourselves, and our religion?
All this and more the preamble speaks.

_Second_, By irreverent taking. It was resolved on after mature
deliberation. It is a lifting up of the hand to the most high God, and a
swearing by His name, and God's name must not be taken in vain: such
will God not hold guiltless. But of this before.

_Third_, By an unholy life. Such a thing would mar all we have done;
though defiled with former sins, yet now sin no more: our covenant
forbids it: our state now stands thus. Either by our sins we shall make
a breach into our covenant, or by our covenant make a breach from our
sins. In the close of the covenant, we resolve on the endeavour that
this covenant may have its desired fruit. We desire to be humbled for
our own sins, the land's sins, undervaluing the gospel, neglecting the
power, and purity of it, no endeavour to receive Christ into our hearts,
no care to walk worthy of Him in our lives. Such and the like sins a
godly covenanter must shun, lest he profane it. Let us then prize it as
an effectual means of good, take it with a reverend fear of God, honour
it in holiness of life for ever. Let us both verify it, and sanctify it
by continuing to stand in it, by endeavouring to live by it to God's
glory, that this taken covenant may be for the name, the honour, the
praise of the great Jehovah for ever.

II. _Hortatory._ These cautions being observed; come all, and let us
enter into an everlasting covenant with the Lord; come on, and let us
engage our hearts unto our God: we have a propensity to keep off; let a
covenant keep us close: our hearts would be wandering; let a covenant
bind them. Will you trust yourselves without a tie? Do you know
yourselves? Come to this work, with a heart, with a heart lifted up, as
well as a hand, as high as a hand; "Let us lift up our hearts to our
hands;" let the ardency of our affection raise up our spirit to meet the
Lord, to whom we adjoin ourselves for ever. To you I cry, to whom the
order speaks, to every one of you I call, come engage your hearts.

_First_, Nobles, both greater and lesser, think not the duty below you,
too mean for you. There is but one way to heaven for all. Scorn not to
join with inferiors in this work. In Christ there is neither male nor
female, no respect of persons. The same way that the soul of the poorest
is refreshed, is the soul of the richest. Poor men pray, and princes
must pray; common men humble their souls, and repent, and crowned kings
must do so too. The people of God, they walk aright, and all men, great
and small, must follow them alike: the eye of every ordinary man must be
towards the Lord. So as the tribes of Israel are, and the same way must
Tyre and Sidon look, though they be very wise. No largeness of parts,
greatness of place, eminency in gifts, of wisdom, learning, wit, not
amplitude of rule, nor any high thoughts can exempt; but he must subject
himself to the condition and courses of the lowest sort. Heaven regards
not the goodliness of the person, looks not as man looks; for God
regards the heart.

_Second_, Soldiers, for you also are engagers. This says, you have a
noble pattern; but I hope I may say, you outwrite your copy. They came
to John Baptist, and to the place, where he baptized. You come to the
presence of God, and the place, where the heart is to be engaged. They
came to be directed what to do; you to do what has been directed. Ride
you on prosperously in this righteous truth. It lies mainly upon you to
be holy, yea, more than upon others. Your adventures are more hazardous,
your dangers more probable; yea, your deaths perhaps more near.
Therefore,

1. You must remove from you wickedness, and wicked men. Wickedness from
your hearts, wicked men from your armies. Let both your persons be holy,
and your companies holy. God Himself commands the former, the prophet
from God the latter. "When the host goeth forth, then, and then chiefly,
thou shalt keep thee from every evil thing." When Judah's king marched
out, assisted with Israelitish auxiliaries, which were idolaters; let
not (saith the prophet) "the men of Israel go with thee, for God is not
with Israel:" if thou do, thou shalt not prosper. If there were no evil
sin in your hearts, no evil man in your hosts, God would be with you,
with a shout, even the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.

And 2. Your success depends on God's presence. When thou seest
multitudes of armies encircling thee, fear not, for God is with thee,
and God is with thee to save thee; He walks with thee to fight for thee,
and to prosper thee. We shall be cast back, yea, quite off, if God go
not forth with our armies; or, in our armies; the word bears either:
when God goes not in our armies, rules not in our hearts, lives,
conversations, by holiness; then He goes not forth with our armies by
victory and success.

3. The want of godly agents, to manage a godly cause, a great
lamentation. "Help, Lord, save, O God, for the godly fail, and the
faithful cease from among men:" were there any such in being, they would
bear rule with God, and be faithful for the saints, their persons and
prayers would gain prevalency with God, their endeavours and constancy
would show fidelity to the saints, and then in Judah, our land, would
things go well: and as once Ezekiel of the scarcity of fit governors to
rule, so we of fit men to fight, when corruption and looseness hath so
possessed the hearts, and lives of our men of war, that there remains no
sanctified and godly man to make a soldier; "This is a lamentation, and
shall be for a lamentation."

4. What ground have we to expect good? When the sons of darkness go to
cast out the prince of darkness, is this possible? Can Satan cast out
Satan? It is a satisfactory answer, that we rest in, and stops the
mouths of all not incurably blinded, when we hear of protestations, and
promises to maintain the protestant religion and laws of the land; when
we see, that the effecting of the one is by the sword of papists, of the
other, by the hand of delinquents; except we should think, that man can
(as God) work happy ends by contrary means. For we say, how can Satan
cast out Satan? So to ourselves, 'tis not very likely, that, if Satan
keep the hold he hath of our souls, you should dispossess him of that
strong hold he hath of our land. But you know so much, and therefore by
engaging your heart this day to God you first endeavour to expel Satan
out of your own consciences; and then shall you see clearly to drive him
from our kingdom.

_Third_, Our brethren of Scotland, come you, and enter into this sure
covenant. Lay the foundation of such an eternal league and peace, that
the sun shall never see broken: all your countrymen, your kingdom are
not here. Let your forwardness to this work tell us, what they would do,
if they were. Some having nothing else to say, yet cannot withhold to
question, whether the Scots will enter into it or no? As the question is
without any ground, so shall it be without any other answer for the
present, than this; all of that nation in town have been ready to this
great work. Can you instance in any that have been backward to swear
unto the Lord? If in none, then put away prejudicate thoughts, and
entertain in their place earnest desires, that this covenant now by both
kingdoms entered into, may be like Ezekiel's sticks, which resembled the
divided houses of Judah and Israel; which, as the prophet held them,
became one in his hand. So this national covenant taken into the hand of
God's merciful approbation, may this day, this year become one, and for
ever remain one: so that (as Israel and Judah after this typical union
in two sticks) England and Scotland after this religious union in one
covenant, may for ever be one people in this island of Great Britain;
and that one king may continue king to them both; and that henceforth
they may no more be two peoples, nor divided into kingdoms; that our
religion be corrupted no more, as of late; but being cleansed, we may be
the Lord's people, and He may be our God for ever: that Jesus Christ may
bear rule, and we both may have one ministry, and enjoy that truth,
which Christ, when He ascended up on high, gave as a gift to men, during
our days, and the days of our posterity; we, and our sons, and our sons'
sons, from this time forth, and for evermore: that the Lord would plant
His sanctuary among us, and make these two people His dwelling-place
continually: that this covenant may be a covenant of peace, and a
covenant of truth, and a covenant for everlasting. And let all that
desire it, daily pray for it, and now express it, and with cheerfulness
of heart say, Amen, Amen.

_Fourth_, You, my brethren of the ministry, your hearts are to be
engaged too, that you also may gain God by the engagement: be not you
behind the very forwardest of the Lord's people; you are not an
inconsiderable party in this land. The joy and happiness of Israel was
because of the Levites that waited, that were diligent in their duties,
and diligently attended upon the Lord. "I will cause the horn of Israel
to flourish, saith God:" by what means? "I will give thee, Ezekiel, an
open mouth." That God may give you a heart to teach knowledge, come,
engage your hearts as a gift to God. O, saith Moses, "that all the
Lord's people were prophets!" O, say we, that all this land's people had
prophets, but prophets of the Lord, that might feed them with wisdom and
understanding, that they all might know the Lord, from the greatest to
the least of them! But ah? Lord God, the eye of this kingdom is
distempered, dim, and dark; and then how great is this darkness! our
prophets have prophesied lies, and our priests have pleaded for Baal,
and they have rejected the word of the Lord; and what wisdom is in them?
Instead of standing for God, they have stood against Him; and instead of
being the best, they are become the basest: the prophet that teacheth
lies, he is the tail. If God should come, as once, to seek for a man,
that should stand in the gap, and make up the breach; among these He
would find the fewest: in this respect our state may be like that which
we find described. Christ comes to make a perfect description of His
church, and so consequently, a comfortable expression of Himself to His
church: and whereas the eyes are the chiefest seat of beauty, and
therefore likeliest to be stood upon, he begins thus. "Turn away thine
eyes from me, for they have overcome me." By eyes, understand the
ministry; I come to speak comfortable things to My people, but set away
the ministers out of My sight, for they have overcome My patience, and
filled Me with fury: now these being removed, the description doth
lovingly go on. Thy hair, thy young professors, are like a flock of
goats; thy teeth, thy civil officers, like a flock of sheep; thy
temples, thy ordinary and common Christians. All right but the eyes, the
eyes I cannot endure. But let none of us provoke this complaint, nor
hold off any longer from the Lord that invites. What say you? Are you
willing to this engagement? Will you bind yourselves to the Lord? Let me
extend my speech to all, and dispatch the remains of this point, and my
meaning thus: that you may be encouraged to engage, consider two things.

_First_, The seasonableness.

_Secondly_, The success of such engagements.

_First_, The seasonableness: there is a time for all purposes, and every
word and action is beautiful in his own time. A public engagement is
then seasonable, 1. When a land hath been full of troubles: God by such
troubles prepares a people for Him in this duty. "I will cause you to
pass under the rod, and so I will bring you into the bond of the
covenant." And we know, we feel God hath chastised us sore of late; but
in them He hath not given us over to death, that by them He might
prepare us for Himself. When a land hath been full of corruptions, and a
shrewd decay hath been in spirituals: by a covenant hath such a people
recovered themselves, and regained their God. After the great apostasy
by Athaliah, Jehoiada renewed their interest by a covenant. When
Manasses and his son had suffered destruction from God, and advanced
idolatry with or above God; Josiah purged all by a covenant. Our decays
are evident, our corruptions destructive; our covenant therefore
seasonable. Come, let us engage our hearts to approach to God. 3. When
the enemy begins to fall, and God begins to shine upon His own. Asa
returning from a victory, called his land to a covenant. When Athaliah
was slain, the league was sworn, by Joash and his kingdom. Since this
motion of a covenant is come among us, God hath, as it were, begun to
draw near, in the siege of Gloucester raised, in the success at Newbery,
gained. God is worming out His and our adversaries, which He will do by
little and little, till they be consumed. The covenant is seasonable.

_Second_, The success. Come and see the works of the Lord, what wonders
He hath wrought, when a people hath thus bound themselves to be His. 1.
A king injuriously put from his right by an usurping hand, after such a
covenant was re-established, "He sat him down on the throne of the
kings." 2. A land miserably put from its peace, after such a covenant,
was re-settled, peace was re-obtained; and that as a fruit of prayer,
and so acknowledged, "Israel had sworn, and sought God; God was found of
them: and the Lord gave them rest round about." 3. Religion craftily,
and wickedly put from its purity after such a covenant, was reformed;
after such a reformation continued. The engagement being made, "all
Josiah's days they returned not back from the Lord God of their
fathers." 4. Rebels and rebellion, basely and bloodily backed and
managed against the Lord and His ways, against His people and their
practices; after such a covenant, have been overthrown and subdued, "I
will bring you into the bond of the covenant." Then I will sever from
among you the rebels; I will chase them from their own land, and hinder
that they shall not enter into the land of Israel. The Lord give this
success concerning Ireland, sever out the rebels there from true
subjects; chase them from their own land; and yet keep them from ever
entering into our land, the land of the inheritance of the Lord.

Now these successful effects of covenanting well minded,

_First_, May hint to us a satisfactory reason, in case peace comes not
presently. God hath some more adversaries to overthrow, to worm out; His
sword hath not eaten flesh enough; neither are His arrows drunk with
blood yet; with the blood of such earthly men, whom He hath appointed to
destruction. The hearts of the Philistines were so hardened, that they
never sought after peace, "For it came of the Lord, to the intent that
they might be utterly destroyed." Who knows, whether our peace hath been
denied; our propositions cast out; our treaties fruitless, for such an
end as this? It was of the Lord, who hath a purpose to destroy more. God
lays afflictions on His people, and they continue upon them; but in the
mean space to quiet their spirits, He teacheth them out of His law, that
these troubles must stay only "till a pit be digged for the wicked."

_Second_, May encourage us to go on. You have now armour of proof, such
armour as is not ordinary, armed with a covenant: Go, saith the angel to
Gideon, in this thy might. Go (say I, to every one) in this thy might,
the strength of this thy covenant, and the effect will be such, as is
not ordinary. When the Philistines perceived that the Israelites had
brought the ark of the covenant into the battle, they cried out, "Woe
unto us; for it hath not been so heretofore: woe unto us; who shall
deliver us out of the hands of these mighty gods?" When your enemies
shall perceive, that you come armed with the armour of a covenant with
God, I hope they, struck with amazement, shall cry, "Woe unto us; we
were never so opposed before: woe unto us; who shall deliver us out of
the power of this mighty prevailer?" If it will thus daunt, take it with
you, be strong. Again, I say, Go in the might thereof, and God shall
prosper thee for ever.

III. _Satisfactory._ According to the condition of the person, such is
the nature of the objection. One out of the malignity of his spirit,
cavils against the work; another out of tenderness of conscience,
scruples the taking. I shall briefly touch upon one or two, and wind up
all in a few words. The queries I have met with, are such as these: two
objections when I was designed to this service, were sent me in writing,
which, when thoroughly viewed, I perceived nothing at all to concern our
case, or covenant.

_Obj._ 1. Whether by any law, divine or human, may reformation of
religion be brought in by arms? _Ans._ 1. What is this at all to the
covenant, where there is no mention of arms at all? 2. What is this to
our present condition, where reforming by arms is not at all the
question? For if reformation of religion be the case of our affairs;
then either the parliament are they that do it, or the cavaliers: not
the cavaliers, for they are on the defensive: witness all their
declarations. Not the parliament, for then the cavaliers will be found
fighters against religion, and resisters of God. 3. I answer negatively,
it is not. The sword is not the means which God hath ordained to
propagate the gospel: "Go and teach all nations;" not, go and subdue all
nations, is our Master's precept.

_Obj._ 2. Whether to swear to a government that shall be, or to swear
not to dissent from such a future government, be not to swear upon an
implicit faith? _Ans._ 1. This is nothing to the covenant, neither can I
see upon what ground any should raise such an impertinent scruple. 2. It
is, he that so swears, swears upon an implicit faith: for one reason
against the articles of the prelates was, that they forced us to swear
to the homilies that shall be set out. But these things are extravagant.

Other objections by word of mouth have been propounded, some whereof I
will here touch upon.

_Obj._ 1. One would make a stand at the phrase, [in our callings,] as if
some politic mystery were therein involved, and would have it changed,
[according to our callings, or so far forth as they extend.] There is an
identity in the phrase, an action enjoined to be done in such a place,
every corner, as far as that place extends, is that place, and no other.
All is one.

_Obj._ How if the parliament should hereafter see a convenience in
prelacy for this kingdom, were not this oath then prejudicial, either to
the parliament's liberty, or kingdom's felicity? _Ans._ This objection
supposes,

_First_, That the most wicked antichristian government may be a lawful
government in point of conscience.

_Second_, That it is possible, that this prelatical government may be
convenient for a state or kingdom. When as 1. They have been burdensome
in all ages; what opposites in England have they been to our kings, till
their interests were changed? 2. All reformed religions in the world
have expelled them, as incompatible with reformation. 3. They have set
three kingdoms together by the ears, for the least, and worst of causes,
which now lie weltering in their own blood, ready to expire. 4.
Experience now shows, there is no inconvenience in their want; either in
Scotland, or in England.

_Obj._ But what, if the exorbitances be purged away, may not I,
notwithstanding my oath, admit of a regulated prelacy? _Ans._ 1. We
swear not against a government that is not. 2. We swear against the
evils of every government; and doubtless many materials of prelacy must
of necessity be retained, as absolutely necessary. 3. Taking away the
exorbitances, the remaining will be a new government, and no prelacy.

_Obj._ For the discovery of all malignants, all that have been; whether,
if I have a friend, that hath been a malignant, and is now converted, am
I bound to discover him? _Ans._ This his malignity, was either before
the covenant, or since; if before, no. For then this league had no
being, and a _non-ens_ can have no contrariety. If since, the discovery
must be at the first appearance of malignity, whilst he is so.

_Obj._ What if one make a party to uphold prelacy, whilst it stands by
law, must I oppose him, or discover him by virtue of this oath? Doth the
oath bind me to oppose legal acts? _Ans._ i. Quer. Whether there be any
particular law for prelacy? 2. Quer. Whether the making a party be
legal? 3. Quer. Whether any thing, the extirpation of which is sworn by
an ordinance of parliament, can be said to stand by law?

These are some queries I have met with. I heartily wish that the same
tenderness of conscience in all things may be seen, which if not, it
will hardly be called a scruple of tenderness, but a cavil of malignity.
What now remains but only prayers, that the great God of our judgments
and consciences, would so clear and satisfy our souls in these leagues
and bonds, that without reluctancy we may all swear to God, and, having
sworn, we may have a care to keep the oath inviolable; that as once
Israel, so all England may rejoice because of the oath: and God may be
established, and His kingdom settled; that His presence may dwell among
men, and His protection among the sons of men; that He may be near in
our covenanting, found in our prayers, and give us rest; and that we
being engaged, may live to Him, and not to others, henceforth and for
ever.



THE SOLEMN LEAGUE AND COVENANT:

SERMON AT WESTMINSTER.

_BY JOSEPH CARYL.[12]_

"And because of all this, we make a sure covenant, and write it; and our
princes, Levites, and priests, seal unto it."

--_Nehemiah_ ix. 38.


The general subject of this verse, is the special business of this day.
A solemn engagement to the Lord, and among ourselves, in a sure
covenant. Wherein we may consider these five things.

_First_, The nature of a covenant, from the whole.

_Secondly_, The grounds of a covenant, from those words, "because of all
this."

_Thirdly_, The property of a covenant, in that epithet, Sure--"we make a
sure covenant."

_Fourthly_, The parties entering into, and engaging themselves in a
covenant, expressed by their several degrees and functions, Princes,
Levites, priests. And were these all? All whom this verse specifies, and
enow to bring in all the rest? Where the governors and the teachers go
before in an holy example, what honest heart will not follow? And the
next chapter shews us, all who were honest hearted, following this holy
example, verse 28: "And the rest of the people, the priests, the
Levites, the porters, the singers, the Nethinims, and all they that had
separated themselves from the people of the lands, unto the law of God,
their wives, their sons, and their daughters, every one having
knowledge, and having understanding: They clave unto their brethren,
their nobles, and entered into," &c.

_Fifthly_, The outward acts by which they testified their inward sincere
consent, and engaged themselves to continue faithful in that covenant:
First, writing it. Second, sealing to it. Third, (in the tenth chapter,
ver. 29.) "They entered into a curse." Fourth, "Into an oath, to walk in
God's law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe
to do all the commandments of the Lord their God, with the statutes and
judgments. And that they would not give their daughters to the people of
the land," &c: with divers many articles of that covenant, tending both
to their ecclesiastical and civil reformation.

I begin with the first point, the nature of a covenant. Concerning
which, we may receive some light from the notation of the original
words; 1. For a covenant. 2. For the making of a covenant. The Hebrew
_Berith (a covenant)_ comes from _Barah_, which signifieth two things:
_First_, To choose exactly, and judiciously. _Second_, To eat
moderately, or sparingly. And both these significations of the root
_Barah_, have an influence upon this derivative _Berith_, a covenant:
the former of these intimating, if not enforcing, that a covenant is a
work of sad and serious deliberation, for such are elective acts.
Election is, or ought to be made, upon the rational turn of judgment,
not upon a catch of fancy, or the hurry of our passions.

Now, in a covenant, there is a double work of election: _First_, An
election of the persons, between whom. _Second_, An election of the
conditions, or terms upon which the covenant is entered. As God's
covenant people are His chosen people, so must ours. Some persons will
not enter into covenant, though invited; and others, though they offer
themselves, are not to be admitted. They who are not fit to build with
us, are not fit to swear with us. Some offered their help to the Jews in
the repair of the temple, "Let us build with you, for we seek your God."
But this tender of their service was refused. "Ye have nothing to do
with us, to build an house unto our God; but we ourselves together will
build." What should we do with their hands in the work, whose hearts, we
know, are not in the work? The intendment of such enjoining, must be
either to build their hay and stubble with our gold and silver, or else
to pull down by night what they build by day, and secretly to undermine
that noble fabric, which seemingly they endeavoured to set up. We find
in this book of Nehemiah, that the persons combining in that covenant,
were choice persons. The text of the tenth chapter, sets two marks of
distinction upon them. _First_, "All they that separated themselves from
the people of the lands, unto the law of God." _Second_, All "having
knowledge, and having understanding." Here are two qualifications,
whereof one is spiritual, and the other is natural. The plain English of
both may be this, "that fools and malignants, such as (in some measure)
know not the cause, and such as have no love at all to the cause, should
be outcasts from this covenant." Such sapless and rotten stuff will but
weaken, if not corrupt this sacred band.

The tenor of the covenant now tendered, speaks thus respecting the
persons. "We noblemen, barons, knights, gentlemen, citizens, burgesses,
ministers of the gospel, and commons, of all sorts, in the kingdom of
England, Scotland, and Ireland." And doth not this indistinctly admit
all, and all, of all sorts? I answer, no. For the words following in
the preface, shew expressly, that only they are called to it, who are of
one reformed religion; which shuts out all papists, till they return.
And the articles pass them through a finer sieve, admitting only such as
promise, yea, and swear, that through the grace of God, they will
sincerely, really, and constantly endeavour the preservation of the
reformed religion, against the common enemy in the one kingdom, the
reformation and extirpation of what is amiss in the other two; as also,
in their own persons, families, and relations. They who do thus, are
choice persons indeed, and they who swear to do thus, are (in charity
and justice) to be reputed so, till their own acts and omissions falsify
their oaths. Thus our covenant makes an equivalent, though not a formal
or nominal election of the persons.

_Second_, There must be a choice of conditions in a covenant; as the
persons obliged, so the matter of the obligation must be distinct. This
is so eminent in the covenant offered, that I may spare my pains in the
clearing of it; every man's pains in reading of it, cannot but satisfy
him, that there are six national conditions about which we make solemn
oath, and one personal, about which we make a most solemn profession and
declaration, before God and the world. And all these are choice
conditions: such as may well be held forth to be (as indeed they are)
the results and issues of many prayers, and serious consultations, in
both the kingdoms of England and Scotland. Conditions they are, in which
holiness and wisdom, piety and policy, zeal for God in purging His
church, and care for man in settling the commonwealth, appear to have
had (in a due subordination) their equal hand and share.

Thus much of a covenant, from the force of the word in the first sense,
leading us to the choice both of persons and conditions.

_Second_, The root signifies, to eat moderately, or so much as breaks
our fast. And this refers also to the nature of a covenant, which is to
draw men into a friendly and holy communion, and converse one with
another. "David describes a familiar friend, in whom he trusted, to be
one, that did eat of his bread." And the apostle Paul, when he would
have a scandalous brother denied all fellowship in church-covenant, he
charges it thus, "With such a one, no not to eat." Hence it was a custom
upon the making up of covenants, for the parties covenanting, soberly to
feast together. "When Isaac and Abimelech sware one to another, and made
a covenant; the sacred story tells us, that Isaac made them a feast, and
they did eat and drink." A covenant is a binder of affection, to assure
it, but it is a loosner of affection, to express it. And their hearts
are most free to one another, which are most bound to one another. How
unbecoming is it, that they who swear together, should be so strange as
scarce to speak together? That which unites, ought also to multiply our
affections.

Further, the word hints so to converse together as not to sin together;
for it signifies moderation in eating. As if it would teach us, that at
a covenant-feast, or when covenanters feast, they should have more
grace, than meat at their tables: or if (through the blessing of God)
their meat be much, their temperance should be more. The covenant yields
us much business, and calls to action: excess soils our gifts, and damps
our spirits, fitting us for sleep, not for work. In and by this
covenant, we (who were almost carried into spiritual and corporal
slavery) are called to strive for the mastery. Let us therefore (as this
word and the apostle's rule instruct us) "Be temperate in all things."
Intemperate excessive eaters will be but moderate workers, especially in
covenant-work. A little will satisfy their consciences, who are given up
to satisfy their carnal appetites. And he who makes his belly his god,
will not make much of the glory of God.

So much concerning the nature of a covenant, from the original word;
for a covenant, signifying both to chuse, and to eat. We may take in
some further light to discover the things from the original word, which
we translate "make"--"Let us make a covenant."

That word signifies properly to cut, to strike, or to slay. The reason
hereof is given, because at the making of solemn covenants, beasts were
killed and divided asunder, and the covenant-makers went between the
parts. When God made that first grand covenant with Abraham, He said
unto him, "Take an heifer of three years old, and a she-goat of three
years old. And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the
midst, and laid all those pieces one against another." "Behold, a
smoking furnace, and a burning lamp" (which latter was the token of
God's presence for the deliverance of His people) passed between those
pieces. In Jeremiah we have the like ceremony in making a covenant,
"They cut the calf in twain, and passed between the parts thereof." Upon
this usage the phrase is grounded of cutting or striking a covenant.
Which ceremony had this signification in it, that when they passed
between those divided parts of the slain beast, the action spake this
curse or imprecation, "Let him be cut asunder, let his members be
divided, let him be made as this beast, who violates the oath of this
covenant."

From these observations about the words, we may be directed about the
nature of the thing: and thence collect this description of a covenant.
A covenant is a solemn compact or agreement between two chosen parties
or more, whereby with mutual, free, and full consent they bind
themselves upon select conditions, tending to the glory of God, and
their common good.

A covenant strictly considered, is more than a promise, and less than an
oath; unless an oath be joined with it, as was with that in the text,
and is with this we have now before us. A covenant differs from a
promise gradually, and in the formalities of it, not naturally, or in
the substance of it. God made promises to Abraham, Gen. xii. and Gen.
xiii. but He made no covenant with him, till chap. xv. ver. 18. "In that
day the Lord made a covenant with Abraham." And the work of the Lord in
that day with Abraham, had not only truth and mercy in it, but state and
majesty in it. A covenant day, is a solemn day. As the collection of
many stars makes a constellation, so the collection of many promises
makes a covenant. Or, as in the first of Genesis, "The gathering
together of the waters, was by the Lord called seas:" so we may call the
gathering together of promises, or conditions, a covenant. The Lord doth
(as it were) rally all the promises of mercy made to us, which lie
scattered up and down through the whole volume of the scriptures, and
puts them together into a covenant: and we do (as it were) rally all the
promises of duty which we owe unto God, and to one another, and put them
together in a covenant. Such a bundle of duty is tied up in this present
covenant; what duty is there which we owe to God, to His churches, or
these commonwealths whereof we make not promise, either expressly, or by
consequence in the compass of this covenant? And how great an obligation
to duly doth this contain, wherein there is an obligation to every duty?

Seeing then this covenant, being taken, carries in it so great an
obligation, it calls for great preparation before we take it. A
slightness of spirit in taking this covenant, must needs cause a
slightness of spirit in keeping it. All solemn duties, ought to have
solemn preparations; and this I think, as solemn as any. A Christian
ought to set his heart (as far as he can through the strength of Christ)
into a praying frame, before he kneels down to prayer. And we ought to
set our hearts in a promising frame, before we stand up to make such
mighty promises. "Take heed how ye hear," is our Saviour's admonition in
the gospel; surely then we had need take heed how we swear. "Let a man
examine himself (saith the apostle Paul) and so let him eat of that
bread, and drink of that cup;" let him come examined to the sacrament:
so I may say, "Let a man examine himself, before he lift up his hand, or
write down his name;" let him come examined to the covenant.

I shall briefly propose three heads of preparatory examination,
respecting our entrance into this covenant.

_First_, Examine your hearts, and your lives, whether or no you are not
pre-engaged in any covenant contrary to the tenor and conditions of this
covenant? If any such upon inquiry be found, be sure you avoid it,
before you engage yourselves in this. A super-institution in this kind,
is very dangerous. Every man must look to it, that he takes this
covenant _(corde vacante)_ with a heart emptied of all covenants which
are inconsistent with this. For a man to covenant with Christ and His
people for reformation, while he hath either taken a covenant with
others, or made a covenant in his own breast against it, is desperate
wickedness. Or if upon a self-search, you find yourselves clear of any
such engagements, yet search further. Every man by nature is a
covenanter with hell, and with every sin he is at agreement: be sure you
revoke and cancel that covenant, before you subscribe this. "If I regard
iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear my prayer;" that is, He
will not regard my prayers, (saith David). And if we regard iniquity in
our hearts, the Lord will not hear us covenanting; that is, He will not
regard our covenant. Woe be unto those who make this league with God and
His people, while they resolve to continue their league with sin: which
is (upon the matter) a league with Satan. God and Satan will never meet
in one covenant. "For what communion hath light with darkness? and what
concord hath Christ and Belial?"

_Second_, Before you enter into this covenant with God, consider of, and
repent for this special sin, your former breaches and failings in God's
covenant. "We who were sometimes afar off, aliens from the commonwealth
of Israel, and strangers from the covenant of promise, are made nigh by
the blood of Jesus," even so nigh, as to be in covenant with God. Some
who pretend to this privilege, will be found "Such as have counted the
blood of the covenant to be an unholy thing." And where is the man that
walketh so holily in this covenant as becomes him, and as it requires?
Labour therefore to have those breaches healed by a fresh sprinkling of
the blood of Christ upon your consciences, before you enter this
covenant: If you put this new piece to an old garment, the rent will be
made worse: If you put this new wine into old bottles, the bottles will
break, and all your expected comforts will run out and be lost. If you
should not feel and search your own hearts, without doubt the Lord will.
"And if you be found as deceivers, you will bring a curse upon
yourselves, and not a blessing." This is a covenant of amity with God:
reconciliation must go before friendship, you can never make friendship
till you have made peace, nor settle love, where hostility is unremoved.

_Third_, Inquire diligently at your own hearts, whether they come up to
the terms of this covenant? You must bid high for the honour of a
covenanter, for a part in this privilege. "Which of you," saith our Lord
Christ to His hearers, "intending to build a tower, sitteth not down
first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
Lest haply after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish
it, all that behold it, begin to mock him, saying, this man began to
build, and was not able to finish." We are met this day to lay the
foundation of one tower, and to pull up the foundation of another; we
are pulling up the foundation of Babel's tower, and we are laying a
foundation for Zion's tower. We have seen some who have heretofore done
as much, but they have done no more; when they had laid a foundation
for those noble works in taking a solemn oath and covenant, they have
never moved a hand after either to build or to pull down, unless it were
quite cross to their own engagements, for the pulling down of Zion's
tower, and the building of Babylon.

And what was the reason of this stand, or contrary motion? this surely
was one, they did not gage their own hearts before hand, neither did
they sit down to count the cost of such an undertaking. And therefore
when they perceived the charge to arise so high, they neither could
finish, nor would they endeavour it, but left the work before it looked
above the ground; and are justly become a mock and a scorn and a
reproach in Israel, these are the men that began in a solemn covenant to
build, but could not finish; they had not stock enough either of true
honour or honesty (tho' their stock of parts and opportunities was
sufficient) to finish this work.

Let us therefore sit down seriously and count the cost; yea and consider
whether we be willing to be at the cost. To lead you on in this, my
humble advice is, that you would catechise your hearts upon the articles
of this covenant. Put the question to your hearts, and let every one say
this unto himself:

Am I indeed resolved sincerely, really and constantly, through the grace
of God, in my place and calling, to endeavour the preservation of the
reformed religion in the church of Scotland? The reformation of religion
in the kingdoms of England and Ireland?

Am I indeed resolved in like manner, without respect of persons, to
endeavour the extirpation of popery, prelacy?

Am I indeed resolved never to be withdrawn or divided by whatsoever
terror or persuasion from this blessed union and conjunction, whether to
make defection to the contrary part, or to give myself to a detestable
indifferency or neutrality in this cause of God?

Am I indeed resolved to humble myself for my own sins, and the sins of
the kingdom? to amend myself, and all in my power, and to go before
others in the example of a real reformation?

According to these hints, propose the question upon every clause of this
covenant. And then consider what the cost of performing all these may
amount to, and whether you are willing to go to that cost.

But it may be, some will say, what is this cost? I answer, the express
letter of the covenant tells you of one cost which you must be
constantly at, and that is sincere, real, and constant endeavour. Pains
is a price, I am sure real pains is. The heathens said, "That their gods
sold them all good things for labour." The good things of this covenant
are sold at that rate; yea, this is the price which the true God puts
upon those things which He freely gives. To consent to this covenant, to
wish well to this covenant, to speak well of this covenant, come not up
to the price; you must do these, and you must do more, you must be
doing, so the promise of every man for himself runs, I will through the
grace of God endeavour. Yet every endeavour is not current money,
payable as the price of this covenant: there must be a threefold stamp
upon it. Unless it bear the image and superscription of sincerity,
reality, and constancy, it will not be accepted. For so the promise
runs, "I will sincerely, really, and constantly endeavour."

Neither yet is this all. Such endeavours are virtually money; but as
this covenant calls also for money formally, as the price of it, he that
really endeavours after such ends, as here are proposed, must not only
be at the cost of his pains, but also at the cost of his purse for the
attainment of them. He must open his hand to give and to lend as well as
to work and labour. Unless a man be free of his purse as well as of his
pains, he bides not up to the demands of this covenant, nor pays up to
his own promise when he entered into it. Can that man be said really to
endeavour the maintenance of a cause while he lets it starve? or, to
strengthen it while he keeps the sinews of it close shut up? Would he
have the chariot move swiftly, who only draws but will not oil the
wheels? Know then and consider it that the cost you must be at is both
in your labours and in your estates. The engagement runs to both these:
and to more than both these.

The covenant engages us not only to do but to suffer, not only to
endeavour but to endure. Such is the tenor of the sixth article where
every man promises for himself that he will not suffer himself to be
withdrawn from this blessed Union by any terrors. If not by any terror,
then not by any losses, imprisonments, torments, no, nor by death, that
king of terrors. You see, then, that the price of this covenant may be
the price of blood, of liberty, and of life. Sit down and consider. Are
you willing to be at this cost to build the tower? Through the goodness
of God in ordering these great affairs, you may never come actually to
pay down so much, haply, not half so much, but except you resolve (if
called and put to it by the real exigencies of this cause) to pay down
the utmost farthing, your spirits are too narrow and your hearts too low
for the honour and tenor of this covenant. If any shall say these
demands are very high and the charge very great, but is a part in this
covenant worth it? Will it quit cost to be at so great a charge? Wise
men love to see and have somewhat for their money; and when they see
they will not stick at any cost so the considerations be valuable.

For the answering and clearing of this, I shall pass to the Second point
which holds forth the grounds of a covenant from those words of the
text, "And because of all this." If any one shall be troubled at the
"All this" in the price, I doubt not but the "All this" in the grounds
will satisfy him. Because of all this, we make a sure covenant. Here
observe:

1. A covenant must be grounded on reason: we must shew the cause why.
God often descends, but man is bound, to give a reason of what he doeth.
Some of God's actions are above reason, but none without reason. All our
actions ought to be level with reason and with common reason, for it is
a common act. That which men of all capacities are called to do, should
lie in the reach of every man's capacity. Observe:

2. A covenant must be grounded on weighty reason; there must be much
light in the reason (as was shewed before) but no lightness. "Because of
all this" saith the text. There were many things in it, and much weight
in every one of them.

And the reasons, in their proportion, must at least be as weighty as the
conditions. Weighty conditions will never be balanced with light
reasons. If a man ask a thousand pounds for a jewel, he is bound to
demonstrate that his jewel is intrinsically worth so much, else no wise
man will come up to his demands. So when great things are demanded to be
paid down by all who take part in this covenant, we are obliged to
demonstrate and hold forth an equivalent of worth in the grounds and
nature of it. Hence observe

3. That the reasons of a covenant must be express, "Because of all
this." _This_ is demonstrative. Here's the matter laid before you,
consider of it, examine it thoroughly. This is fair dealing, when a man
sees why he undertakes, and what he may expect, before he is engaged.
And so may say, "Because of this, and this, because of all this," I have
entered into the covenant.

But what were the particulars that made up the gross sum of all this? I
answer, those particulars lie scattered throughout the chapter, the
attentive reader will easily find them out; I shall in brief reduce
them unto two heads. 1. The defection and corruptions that were crept
in, or openly brought in among them. 2. The afflictions, troubles, and
judgments that either were already fallen, or were feared would further
fall upon them.

The former of these causes is laid down in the 34 and 35 verses of this
chapter. "Neither have our kings, our princes, our priests, nor our
fathers kept Thy law, nor hearkened to Thy commandments, and Thy
testimonies, wherewith Thou didst testify against them. For they have
not served Thee in Thy kingdom, and in Thy great goodness."

The latter of these reasons is contained in the 36 and 37 verses.
"Behold, we are servants this day; and for the land which Thou gavest
unto our fathers, to eat the fruit thereof, and the good thereof,
behold, we are servants in it." The close of all is, we are in great
distress. From this narrative of the grounds, the making of a covenant
is inferred as a conclusion, in the immediate subsequent words of the
text, "because of all this." As if he had said, "because we are a people
who have so departed from the laws and statutes of our God, and are so
corrupted both in worship, and in practice; because we are a people so
oppressed in our estates, and liberties, and so distressed by judgments
and afflictions: therefore, because of all this, we make a sure
covenant."

And if we peruse the records of the holy Scripture, we shall find, that
either both these grounds conjoined, or one of them, are expressed as
the reasons at any time inducing the people of God, to enter into the
bond of a covenant. This is evident in Asa's covenant, 2 Chron. xv. 12,
13. In Hezekiah's, 2 Chron. xxix. 10. In Josiah's, 2 Chron. xxxiv. 30,
31. In Ezra's, chap. x. 3. To all which, I refer the reader for
satisfaction. And, from all consenting with this in the text, I observe:

That when a people are corrupted or declined in doctrine, worship, and
manners; when they are distressed in their liberties, livelihoods, or
lives; then, and at such a time they have warrantable and sufficient
grounds to make and engage themselves (as their last and highest resort
for redress) in the bonds of a sacred solemn covenant.

What engagement can be upon us, which these reasons do not reach and
answer? The liberty of our persons, and of our estates, is worth much;
but the liberty of the gospel and purity of doctrine and ordinances, are
worth much more. Peace is a precious jewel, but who can value truth? The
wise merchant will sell all that he hath with joy to buy this, and
blesses God for the bargain.

And because of all this, we are called to make a covenant this day.
Truth of doctrine and purity of worship were going, and much of them
both were gone. The liberty of our persons, and property of our estates,
were going, and much of them both were gone; we were at once growing
popish and slavish, superstitious and servile; we were in these great
distresses, "And because of all this we make a covenant this day." That
these are the grounds of our covenant, is clear in the tenor of the
covenant. The preamble whereof speaks thus:

"We calling to mind the treacherous and bloody plots, conspiracies,
attempts, and practices of the enemies of God, against the true religion
and professors thereof, in all places, especially in these three
kingdoms, ever since the reformation of religion; and how much their
rage, power and presumption are of late, and at this time increased and
exercised, whereof the deplorable estate of the church and kingdom of
Ireland, the distressed estate of the church and kingdom of England, and
the dangerous estate of the church and kingdom of Scotland, are present
and public testimonies: we have now at the last, for the preservation of
ourselves, and our religion, from utter ruin and destruction, after
mature deliberation resolved and determined to enter into a mutual and
solemn league and covenant."

So then, if we be asked a reason of our covenant, here are reasons,
clear reasons, easy to the weakest understanding, yea, open to every
man's sense. Who amongst us hath not felt these reasons? and how many
have smarted their proof unto us? And as these reasons are so plain,
that the most illiterate and vulgar understandings may conceive them; so
they are so weighty and cogent, that the most subtile and sublime
understandings cannot but be subdued to them; unless, because they are
such masters of reason, they have resolved to obey none. And yet where
conscience is indeed unsatisfied, we should rather pity than impose, and
labour to persuade, rather than violently to obtrude. Now seeing we have
all this for the ground of a covenant, let us cheerfully and reverently
make a sure covenant, which is the third point in the text, the property
of this covenant: we make a sure covenant.

In the Hebrew, the word covenant is not expressed. The text runs only
thus, we make a sure one, or a sure thing. Covenants are in their own
nature and constitution, things of so much certainty and assurance, that
by way of excellency, a covenant is called, a sure one, or an assurance.
When a sure one is but named, a covenant must be understood. As, the
"Holy One" is God, and the "Holy One and the Just," is Christ. You may
know whom the Holy Ghost means, when He saith "The Holy One and the
Just." So the sure one, is a covenant. You may know what they made, when
the Holy Ghost saith, they made a sure one. Hence observe, that

A well grounded covenant is a sure, a firm, and an irrevocable act. When
you have such an _all this_, (and such you have) as is here concentrated
in the text, to lay into, or for the foundation of a covenant, the
superstruction is _æternitati sacrum_, and must stand for ever.

A weak ground is but a weak obligation; and a sinful ground is no
obligation. There is much sin in making a covenant upon sinful grounds,
and there is more sin in keeping of it. But when the preservation of
true religion, and the vindication of just liberties meet in the
groundwork, ye may swear and not repent; yea, if ye swear, ye must not
repent. For because of all such things as these, we ought (if we make
any, and that we ought) to make a sure covenant.

The covenant God makes with man is a sure covenant. Hence called a
"Covenant of salt," because salt preserves from perishing and
putrefaction. The covenant of God with man about temporal things, is
called a "Covenant of Salt, and a covenant forever." For tho' His
covenant about temporal things (as all temporals must) hath an end of
termination, yet it hath no end of corruption: time will conclude it,
but time cannot violate it. But as for His covenant about eternal
things, that, like eternity, knows not only no end of corruption, but
none of termination. "Altho' my house (saith gasping David) be not so
with God; yet He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in
all things and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire,
altho' He make it not to grow." And what is it that makes the covenant
of God with man thus sure? sure not only in itself, but (as the apostle
speaks) to all the seed. Is it not this, because it hath a strong
foundation, a double, impregnable foundation? _First_, His own free
grace. _Second_, The blood of Christ; which is therefore also called,
the blood of the covenant. Because of all this, this all, which hath an
infinity in it, the Lord God hath made with us a sure covenant.

Now, as the stability and everlastingness of God's covenant with His
elect, lies in the strength of the foundation, "His own love, and the
blood of His Son:" so the stability and firmness of our covenant with
God, lies in the strength of this foundation, the securing of the
gospel, and the asserting of gospel-purity in worship, and privileges
in government; the securing of our lives, and the asserting of our
common liberties. When at any time ye can question, and, from the
oracles of truth, be resolved, that these are sufficient grounds of
making a covenant, or that these are not ours, ye may go, and unassure
the covenant which ye make this day.

_Application._ Let me therefore invite you in the words of the prophet
Jeremiah, "Come let us join ourselves to the Lord, in a perpetual
covenant that shall never be forgotten." And do not these look like the
days wherein the prophet calls to the doing of this? "In those days, and
at that time, saith the Lord." What time, and what days were those? the
beginning of the chapter answers. "The word that the Lord spake against
Babylon, declare ye among the nations, and publish, and set up a
standard, publish and conceal not: say, Babylon is taken, Bell is
confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces; her idols are confounded, her
images are broken in pieces: for out of the north there cometh up a
nation against her, which shall make her land desolate." Then follows,
"In those days and at that time saith the Lord, the children of Israel
shall come. And 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."

Are not these the days, and this the time (I speak not of time to a day,
but of time and days) wherein the Lord speaks against Babylon, and
against the land of the Chaldeans: wherein He saith, "Declare among the
nations, and publish, and set up the standard." Are not these the days,
and this the time, when out of the north there cometh up a nation
against her? As face answers face in the water, so do the events of
these days answer, if not the letter, yet much of the mystery of this
prophecy. There seems wanting only the work which this day is bringing
forth, and a few days more (I hope) will bring unto perfection, the
joining of ourselves in a perpetual covenant, never to be forgotten. It
is very observable, how the prophet, as it were, with one breath saith,
"Babylon is taken." And, "Come let us join ourselves in covenant." As if
there were no more in it but this, take the covenant, and ye take
Babylon. Or, as if the taking of a covenant were the ready way, the
readiest way to take Babylon. Surely at the report of the taking of this
sure covenant, we in our prayer-visions (as the prophet Habakkuk), "May
see the tents of Cushan in affliction, and the curtains of the land of
Midian tremble." Or, as Moses in his triumphant song, "The people shall
hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold of the inhabitants of
Palestina. The dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab,
trembling shall take hold upon them; the inhabitants of Canaan (who are
now the inhabitants of Babylon) shall melt away. The towers of Babylon
shall quake, and her seven hills will move. The great mountain before
our Zerubbabel, will become a plain, and we shall bring forth the
head-stone (of our reformation) with shouting, crying, grace, grace unto
it." Why may we not promise to ourselves such glorious effects (and not
build these castles in the air) when we have laid so promising a
foundation, this sure covenant, and have made a perpetual covenant,
never to be forgotten?

The three things I shall propose, which this covenant will bring in, as
facilitating contributions to so great a work:

1. This covenant will distinguish men, and separate the precious from
the vile. In the twentieth chapter of Ezekiel, the Lord promiseth His
people, after this manner, "I will cause you to pass under the rod, and
I will bring you into the bond of the covenant." The phrase of causing
to pass under the rod, is an allusion to shepherds, or the keepers of
cattle, who when they would take special notice of their sheep or
cattle, either in their number to tithe them, or in their goodness to
try them, they brought them into a fold, or some other inclosed place,
when letting them pass out at a narrow door, one by one, they held a rod
over them, to count or consider more distinctly of them. This action was
called a "passing of them under the rod," as Moses teaches us, "And
concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever
passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord." The
learned Junius expounds that text in Ezekiel by this in Leviticus,
giving the sense thus, "As if the Lord had said, I will prove and try
the whole people of Israel, as a shepherd doeth his flock, that I may
take the good and sound into the fold of My covenant, and cast out the
wicked and unsound." Which interpretation is not only favoured, but
fully approved, in the words immediately following, "I will bring you
into the bond of the covenant, and I will purge out from among you the
rebels, and them that transgress against Me."

A covenant is to a nation, as a fan to the floor, which purges away the
chaff and purifies the wheat. It is like the furnace to the metal, which
takes away the dross and shews you a refined lump. It is a Shibboleth,
to distinguish Ephraimites from Gileadites. And who knows not how great
an advantage it is for the successful carrying on of any honourable
design, to know friends from enemies, and the faithful from false
brethren? Some have thought it unpolitical to set-a-foot this covenant,
lest it should discover more enemies than friends, and so holding out to
the view more than otherwise can be seen, the weakness of a party may
render them, not only more obnoxious, but more inconsiderable.

To this I answer, in a word, invisible enemies will ever do us more hurt
than visible; and if we cannot deliver ourselves from them, when they
are seen and known, doubtless unseen and unknown, they will more easily,
tho' more insensibly devour us. And I verily believe, we have already
received more damage and deeper wounds from pretended friends, than
from professed and open enemies. The sad stories of Abner and Amasa
inform us, that there is no fence against his stroke, who comes too near
us, who stabs while he takes us aside to speak kindly to us, who draws
his sword, while he hath a kiss at his lips, and art thou in health, my
brother, at his tongue. Let us never think ourselves stronger, because
we do not know our weakness; or safer, because we are ignorant of our
danger. Or that our real enemies and false friends will do us less hurt,
because they are less discovered. I do not think, that a flock ever
fared the better, because the wolves that were amongst them, went in
sheep's clothing. Rather will our knowledge be our security, and the
discovery which this covenant makes, help on both our deliverance and
our business. For as, possibly, this covenant may discover those who are
faithful to be fewer, than was supposed before this strict distinction
from others; so it will certainly make them stronger than they were
before, by a stricter union among themselves. And this is

2. The second benefit of this covenant, which I shall next insist upon.
As it doth separate those who are heterogeneal, so likewise it will
congregate and embody those who are homogeneal. And therefore it cannot
but add strength unto a people; for whatsoever unites, strengthens. A
few united, are stronger than a scattered multitude. Tho' they who
subscribe this covenant should be, comparatively, so few, as the prophet
speaks, "That a child may write them;" yet this few thus united are
stronger than so many scattered ones, as exceed all arithmetic, whom (as
John speaks,) "No man can number." Cloven tongues were sent, to publish
the gospel, but not divided tongues, much less divided hearts: the
former hindered the building of Babel, and the latter, tho' tongues
should agree, will hinder the building of Jerusalem. Then a work goes on
amain, when the undertakers, whether they be few or many, all speak and
think the same thing. A people are more considerable in any work,
because they are one, than because they are many. But when many and one
meet, nothing can stand before them. So the Lord God observed, when "He
came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men
builded." And the Lord said, "Behold, the people is one, and they have
all one language: and this they begin to do; and now nothing will be
restrained from them, which they have imagined to do." Men may do as
much as they can think, while they all think and do as one; and not only
can such do great things, if let alone; but none can let them in doing
what they intend; so saith the Lord, "They have begun to do, and nothing
will be restrained from them, which they have imagined." Nothing could
restrain, or let them from their work, but His power, who "will work,
and none can let it." Thus it is apparent that union is our strength.
And it is as apparent that this covenant, through the blessing of God
upon it, will be our union. To unite, is the very nature of a covenant.
Hence it is called "the bond of the covenant, I will bring you into the
bond of the covenant," saith the Lord. Junius and some others render it,
I will bring you _(ad exhibitionem foederis)_ to the giving or tendering
of the covenant: deriving the word from _Masar_, signifying, to exhibit
or deliver. Whence (to note that in passage) the traditionary doctrine
among the Jews is called _Masora_, or _Masoreth_. Others (whom our
translators fellow, and put the former sense, delivering, in the margin)
others, I say, deriving the word from _Asar_ to bind, render it the bond
of the covenant.

And this covenant is the bond of a twofold union. _First_, It unites us
of this kingdom among ourselves, and this kingdom with the other two.
_Second_, It makes a special union of all those who shall take it holily
and sincerely throughout the three kingdoms with the one-most God. Weak
things bound together, are strong, much more then, when strong are bound
up with strong: most of all, when strong are bound up with Almighty. If
in this covenant, we should only join weak to weak, we might be strong.
But, blessed be God, we join strong, as creatures may be accounted
strong, with strong. The strong kingdoms of England and Ireland, with
the strong kingdom of Scotland. A threefold cord twisted of three such
strong cords, will not easily, if at all, be broken. They which single,
blessed be God, have yet such strength, how strong may they be when
conjoined? as the apostle writes, "I speak after the manner of men,
because of the infirmity of your flesh:" so I speak now after the manner
of men, concerning the strength of our flesh, outward means, in these
kingdoms. For as the apostle Peter speaks in like phrase, tho' to
another occasion, "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some
men count slackness:" so I may say, no man, no kingdoms, are strong to
any purpose, as the Lord counts strength.

And therefore, I reckon this the least part of our strength, that these
three strong kingdoms will be united by this covenant. Nay, if this were
all the strength, which this union were like to make, I should reckon
this no strength at all. Wherefore, know that this covenant undoubtedly
is, and will be a bond of union between strong and Almighty: between
three strong nations, and an Almighty God. This covenant engages more
than man, God also is engaged; engaged, through His free grace, in His
power, wisdom, faithfulness, to do us good, and much good, tho' in and
of ourselves unworthy of the least, unworthy of any good.

All this considered, this covenant will be our strength: our brethren of
Scotland have, in a plentiful experience, found it so already. This
covenant, thro' the blessing of God upon their councils and endeavours,
hath been their Samson's lock, the thing in fight, wherein their
strength lieth. And why should not we hope, that it will be ours; if we
can be wise, as they, to prevent or overcome the flattering enticements
of those Delilahs who would lull us asleep in their laps, only for an
opportunity to cut or shave it off? Then indeed, which God forbid, we
should be but weak like other men, yea, weaker than ourselves were
before this lock was grown, having but the strength of man; God utterly
departing from us, for our falseness and unfaithfulness in this
covenant.

3. This covenant observed will make us an holy people, and then, we
cannot be an unhappy people. That which promotes personal holiness, must
needs promote national holiness. The consideration that we are in the
bonds of a covenant, is both a bridle to stop us from sin, and a spur to
duty. When we provoke God to bring evil upon us, He stays His hand by
considering His covenant. "I will remember My covenant, saith the Lord,
which is between Me, and you; and every living creature of all flesh;
and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh." As if
the Lord had said, It is more than probable, that I shall quickly see as
much cause, "all flesh corrupting all their ways before Me," to drown
the world with a second deluge, as I did for the first: the foulness of
the world, will quickly call for another washing. But I am resolved,
never to destroy it by water again; for, "I will remember My covenant."
Hence also in the second book of the Chronicles, chap. xxi. where the
reign and sins of Jehoram are recorded; such sins as might justly put a
sword into the hand of God to cut him off root and branch; howbeit,
saith the text, "The Lord would not destroy the house of David, because
of the covenant that He had made with David, and as He promised to give
a light to him, and to his sons forever." Now, as the remembrance of the
covenant on His part, stays the hand of God from smiting; so the
remembrance of the covenant on our part, will be very effectual to stay
our hands, and tongues, and hearts from sinning. A thought of that will
damp and silence our lusts and passions, when they begin to move or
quest within us: it will also break the blow of Satan's temptations,
when he assaults us. The soul in such cases will answer, True, I am now
as strongly tempted to sin as ever, I have now as fair an opportunity to
commit sin as ever, I could now be false to, and desert this cause with
as much advantage, upon as fair hopes and promises as ever: O! but I am
in covenant, I remember my covenant, I will not, I cannot do it; and so
he falls a praying against the temptation: yea, he begs prayers of
others, that he may be strengthened against, and overcome it. I read you
an instance of this effect. Before the sermon, a paper is sent to this
congregation, containing this request: "One who through much passion
oftentimes grievously offends the Majesty of God by cursing and
swearing, and that since his late taking the covenant, desires the
prayers of this congregation, that his offence may be pardoned, and that
he may be enabled to overcome that temptation from henceforwards." This
is the tenor of that request, to a letter and a tittle, and therein you
see how the remembrance of the covenant wrought. Probably this party
(whosoever he was) took little notice of, or was little troubled at the
notice of these distempers in himself before; least of all sought out
for help against them. And I have the rather inserted this to confute
that scorn which, I hear, some have since put upon that conscientious
desire. As if one had complained, that since his swearing to the
covenant he could not forbear swearing, and that this sacred oath had
taught him profane ones. But what holy thing is there which swine will
not make mire of, for themselves to wallow in? I return; and I nothing
doubt, but that this covenant, wherein all is undertaken through the
grace of Christ, will make many more gracious who had grace before, and
turn others, who were running on amain in the broad way, from the evil
and error of their ways, into the way which is called holy, or into the
ways of holiness. Every act wherein we converse with an holy God, hath
an influence upon our spirits to make us holy. The soul is made more
holy in prayer, tho' holiness be not the particular matter of the
prayer: a man gets much of heaven into his heart, in praying for earthly
things, if he pray in a spiritual manner; and the reason is because, in
prayer, he hath converse with, and draws nigh to God, whatsoever lawful
thing he prays about. And the same reason carries it in covenanting,
tho' it were only about the maintenance of our outward estates and
liberties, forasmuch as therein we have to do with God. How much more
then will holiness be increased through this covenant which, in many
branches of it, is a direct covenant for, and about holiness? And if we
improve it home to this purpose, for the subduing of those mystical
Canaanites, those worst and indeed most formidable enemies, our sinful
lusts: if we improve it for the obtaining of more grace, and the making
of us more holy: tho' our visible Canaanites should not only continue
unsubdued by us, but subdue us; though our estates and liberties should
continue, not only unrecovered, but quite lost; tho' we should neither
be a rich, nor a free, nor a victorious people; yet if we are an holy
people, we have more than all these, we have all, He is ours, "Who is
all in all." So much of the first general part of the application.

The second is for admonition and caution, in three or four particulars.

1. Take heed of "profaning this covenant," by an unholy life. Remember
you have made a covenant with heaven; then do not live as if you had
made a "covenant with hell or were come to an agreement with death," as
the prophet Isaiah characters those monsters of profaneness. Take heed
also of "corrupting this covenant," by an unholy gloss. Wo be unto those
glossers that corrupt the text, pervert the meaning of these words: who
attempt to expound the covenant by their own practice, and will not
regulate their practice by the covenant. The apostle Peter speaks of
Paul's writings, "That in them some things are hard to be understood,
which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the
other scriptures, to their own destruction." We may fear, that tho' the
text of this covenant be easy to be understood, yet some (who, at least
think themselves learned), and whom we have found not only stable but
stiffened in their own erroneous principles and opinions, will be trying
their skill, if not their malice, to wrest, or, as the Greek imports, to
torture and set this covenant upon the rack, to make it speak and
confess a sense never intended by the composers, or proposers of it: and
whereof (if but common ingenuity be the judge) it never will, nor can be
found guilty. All that I shall say to such is that in the close of the
verse quoted from the apostle Peter, let them take heed such wrestings
be not (worst to themselves, even) to their own destruction.

2. Take heed of delaying to perform the duties of this covenant. Some, I
fear, who have made haste to take the covenant, will take leasure to act
it. It is possible, that a man may make too much haste (when he swears,
before he considers what it is) to take an oath; but, having taken it
upon due consideration, he cannot make too much haste to perform it. "Be
not rash with thy mouth," saith the preacher. That is, do not vow
rashly, but, "When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it: for
He hath no pleasure in fools (slow performance is folly); pay that which
thou hast vowed." Speedy paying (like speedy giving) is double payment;
whereas slow payment is no payment or as bad as none, for it is foolish
payment. A bond, if I mistake not, is presently due in law, if no day be
specified in the bond. It is so I am sure in this covenant; here is no
day set down, and therefore all is due the same day you take it. God and
man may sue this bond presently for non-payment: the covenant gives no
day, and therefore requires the next day, every day. It is not safe to
take day for payment, when the obligation is _in terminis de præsenti_,
and none is given.

3. Take heed of dallying with this covenant. It is more than serious, a
sacred covenant. It is very dangerous jesting with edged tools. This
covenant is as keen as it is strong. Do not play fast and loose with it,
be not in and out with it; God is an avenger of all such: He is a
jealous God, and will not hold them guiltless, who thus take His name in
vain. They who swear by, or to the Lord, and swear by Malcham, are
threatened to be cut off. To be on both sides, and to be on no side;
neutrality and indifferency differ little, either in their sin or
danger.

4. Above all, take heed of apostatizing from, or an utter desertion of,
this covenant. To be deserted of God, is the greatest punishment, and to
desert God, is the greatest sin. When you have set your hands to the
plough, do not look back: remember Lot's wife. Besides the sin, this is,
_First_, Extremely base and dishonourable. It is one of the brands set
upon those Gentiles whom "God had given up to a reprobate mind, and to
vile affections," that they were covenant breakers. And how base is that
issue which is begotten between, and born from vile affections, and a
reprobate mind? where the parents are such, it is easy to judge what the
child must be. _Second_, Besides the sin and the dishonour, this is
extremely dangerous and destructive. We are said in the native speaking,
to cut a covenant, or to strike a covenant, when we make it; and if we
break the covenant when we have made it, it will both strike and cut us,
it will kill and slay us. If the cords of this covenant do not bind us,
the cords of this covenant will whip us; and whip us, not as with cords,
but as with scorpions. The covenant will have a quarrel with, and sends
out a challenge unto such breakers of it, for reparation. And (if I may
so speak) the great God will be its second. As God revenges the quarrel
of His own covenant, so likewise the quarrel of ours. He hath already
"Sent a sword to revenge the quarrel of His covenant." He will send
another to revenge the quarrel of this upon the wilful violators of it.
Yea, every lawful covenant hath a curse always waiting upon it, like a
marshal or a sergeant, to attack such high contemners of it. It was
noted before from the ceremony of killing, dividing, and passing between
the divided parts of a beast, when covenants were made, that the
imprecation of a curse upon the covenanters was implied, in case they
wilfully transgressed or revolted from it. Let the transgressors of, and
revolters from this covenant, fear and tremble at the same curse, even
the curse of a dreadful division: "That God will divide them and their
posterity in Jacob, and scatter them in our Israel; yea, let them fear,
that God will rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be
chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling
wind before the whirlwind. This is (their portion, and) the portion of
them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us." And if so, is not
their lot fallen in an unpleasant place? have they not a dreadful
heritage? to be under any curse is misery enough; but to be under a
covenant curse, is the greatest, is all misery. For as the blessings we
receive are most sweet, when they pass to us through the hands of a
covenant; a mercy from a promise is far better than a mercy from bare
Providence, because then it is sprinkled with the blood of Christ: so on
the other side, the curse which falls upon any one is far more bitter
when it comes through a covenant, especially an abused, a broken
covenant. When the fiery beams of God's wrath are contracted into this
burning glass, it will burn as low as hell, and none can quench it. That
alone which quenches the fire of God's wrath is the blood of Christ. And
the blood of Christ is the foundation of this covenant. Not only is
that covenant which God hath made with us founded in the blood of
Christ, but that also which we make with God. Were it not by the blood
of Christ, we could not possibly be admitted to so high a privilege.
Seeing then the blood of Christ only quenches the wrath of God, and this
blood is the foundation of our covenant, how shall the wrath of God
(except they repent, return and renew their covenant) be quenched
towards such violators of it? And, as our Saviour speaks upon another
occasion, "If the light which is in them be darkness, how great is that
darkness?" So, I say, if that which is our friend turn upon us as an
enemy, how great is that enmity; and if that which is our mercy be
turned into wrath, how great is that wrath, and who can quench it? It is
said of good king Josiah, that when he had made a covenant before the
Lord, "he caused all that were present in Jerusalem, and in Benjamin, to
stand to it." How far he interposed his regal authority, I stay not to
dispute. But he caused them to stand to it; that is openly to attest,
and to maintain it. Methinks the consideration of these things, should
reign over the hearts of men, and command in their spirits, more than
any prince can over the tongues or bodies of men, to cause them to stand
to this covenant. Ye that have taken this covenant, unless ye stand to
it, ye will fall by it. I shall shut up this point with that of the
apostle, "Take unto you the whole armour of God, that you may be able to
withstand in the evil day, and, when ye have done all, to stand," (Eph.
vi. 13). Stand, and withstand, are the watchword of this covenant, or
the impress of every heart which hath or shall sincerely swear unto it.

For the helping of you to stand to this covenant, I shall cast in a few
advices about your walking in this covenant, or your carriage in it,
which, if followed, I dare say, through the mercy of the Most High, your
persons, these kingdoms, and this cause, shall not miscarry.

1. Walk in holiness and uprightness. When God renewed His covenant with
Abraham, He makes this the preamble of it, "I am the Almighty God, walk
before Me, and be thou perfect, and I will make My covenant between Me
and thee." As this must be a covenant of salt, in regard of
faithfulness; so there must be salt in this covenant, even the salt of
holiness and uprightness. The Jews were commanded in all their offerings
to use salt; and that is called the salt of the covenant, "Every
oblation of thy meat-offering shalt thou season with salt, neither shalt
thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking." What is
meant by salt on our parts, is taught us by Christ Himself, "Have salt
in yourselves, and have peace one with another." Which I take to be
parallel in sense with that of the apostle, "Follow peace with all men
and holiness." As salt, the shadow of holiness, was called for, in all
those Jewish services; so holiness, the true substantial salt, is called
for in all ours. As then it was charged, "Let not the salt of the
covenant of thy God be lacking:" so now it is charged, "Suffer not the
salt of thy covenant with God and His people to be lacking." Seeing we
have made a covenant of salt, that is, a sure covenant, let us remember
to keep salt in our covenant. Let us add salt to salt, our salt to the
Lord's salt, our salt of holiness to His salt of faithfulness, and we
shall not miscarry.

2. Walk steadily or stedfastly in this covenant. Where the heart is
upright and holy, the feet will be steady. Unstedfastness is a sure
argument of unsoundness, as well as a fruit of it. "Their heart was not
right with Him; neither were they stedfast in His covenant." As if He
had said, would you know the reason why this people were so unstedfast?
It was, because they were so unsound. "Their heart was not right with
Him." We often see the diseases of men's hearts breaking forth at their
lips, and at their finger ends, in all they say or do.

God will be steady to us; why should not we resolve to be so to Him? and
this covenant will be stedfast and uniform unto us, why should not we
resolve to be so too, and in this covenant? The covenant will not be our
friend to-day, and our enemy to-morrow, do us good to-day, and hurt
to-morrow, it will not be the fruitful this year, and barren the next;
but it is our friend to do us good to-day, and ever. It is fruitful and
will be so for ever. We need not let it lie fallow, we cannot take out
the heart of it, tho' we should have occasion to plough it, and sow it
every year. Much less will this covenant be so unstedfast to its own
principles, as to yield us wheat to-day, and cockle to-morrow, an egg
to-day, and to-morrow a scorpion; now bread, and anon a stone; now give
us an embrace, and anon a wound; now help on our peace, and anon embroil
us; now prosper our reformation, and anon oppose, or hinder it;
strengthen us this year, and weaken us the next. No, as it will never be
barren, so it will ever bring forth the same fruit, and that good fruit;
and the more and the longer we use it, the better fruit. Like the
faithful wife, "It will do us good, and not evil, all the days of its
life." It is therefore, not only sinful, but most unsuitable and
uningenuous, for us to be up and down, forward and backward, liking and
disliking, like that double minded man, "Unstable in all our ways,"
respecting the duties of this covenant.

3. Walk believingly, live much in the exercise of faith. As we have no
more good out of the covenant of God, than we have faith in it; so no
more good out of our own, than (in a due sense) we have faith in it.
There is as much need of faith, to improve this covenant, as there is of
faithfulness. We live no more in the sphere of a covenant, than we
believe. And we can make no living out of it but by believing. All our
earnings come in here also, more by our faith, than by our works. Let
not the heart of God be straitened, and His hand shortened by our
unbelief. Where Christ marvelled at the unbelief of a people, consider
what a marvel followed: Omnipotence was as one weak. "He could do no
mighty works among them." Works less than mighty will not reach our
deliverances or procure our mercies. The ancient worthies made more use
of their faith, than to be saved, and get to heaven by it. "By faith the
walls of Jericho fell down. By faith they subdued kingdoms, wrought
righteousness, (or exercised justice) stopped the mouths of lions. By
faith they quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword,
out of weakness they were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to
flight the armies of the aliens." We have Jerichos to reduce, and
kingdoms to subdue, under the sceptre and government of Jesus Christ: we
have justice to execute, and the mouths of lions to stop: we have a
violent fire to quench, a sharp edged sword to escape, Popish alien
armies to fight with; and we (comparatively to these mighty works) are
but weak. How then shall we out of our weakness become strong, strong
enough to carry us through these mighty works, strong enough to escape
these visible dangers? If we walk and work by sense, and not by faith?
And if we could get through all these works and dangers without faith,
we should work but like men, not at all like Christians, but like men in
a politic combination, not in a holy covenant. There's not a stroke of
covenant work (purely so called) can be done without faith. As fire is
to the chemist, so is faith to a covenant people. In that capacity, they
can do nothing for themselves without it; and they have, they can have,
no assurance that God will. Seeing then we are in covenant, we must go
to counsel by faith, and to war by faith; we must pull down by faith,
and build by faith; we must reform by faith, and settle our peace by
faith. Besides, to do a work so solemn and sacred, and then not to
believe and expect no fruit; yea, then to believe and expect answerable
fruit, is a direct taking of God's name in vain, and a mock to Jesus
Christ. And if we mock Christ by calling Him to a covenant, which we
ourselves slight, as a thing we expect little or nothing from: "He will
laugh at our calamity," and "mock when our fear cometh." Wherefore to
close, "If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established," no,
not by this sure covenant. But, "believe in the Lord your God, in
covenant, so shall you be established; believe His prophets, so shall
you prosper."

4. Walk cheerfully. So it becomes those that have God so near them.
Such, even in their sorrows, should be like Paul, "As sorrowful, yet
always rejoicing." The (as) notes not a counterfeiting of sorrow, but
the overcoming of sorrow. On this ground David resolves against the fear
of evil, tho' he should see nothing but evil; "Tho' I walk in the valley
of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me." In a
covenant, God and man meet; He is with us who is more than all that are
against us: and when He is with us, who can be against us? For then all
things, and all persons, even while (to the utmost of their skill and
power) they set themselves against us, work for us; and should not we
rejoice? If we knew that every loss were our gain, every wound our
healing, every disappointment our success, every defeat our victory,
would we not rejoice? Do but know what it is to be in covenant with God;
and be sad, be hopeless, if you can. It is to have the strength and
counsels of heaven engaged for you; it is to have Him for you, "Whose
foolishness is wiser than men, and whose weakness is stronger than men."
It is to have Him with you, "who doeth according to His will in the army
of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay His
hand, or say unto Him, what doest thou?" It is to have Him with you,
"who frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh the diviners mad,
who turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish." It
is to have Him with you, before whom "the nations are as the drop of a
bucket, and as the dust of the balance, who taketh up the isles as a
very little thing." In a word, it is to have Him with you, "who fainteth
not, neither is weary; there is no searching of His understanding. He
giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might, He increaseth
strength." This God is our God, our God in covenant; "This is our
beloved and this is our Friend, O daughters of Jerusalem." And shall we
not rejoice? Shall we not walk cheerfully? Tho' there be nothing but
trouble before our eyes, yet our hearts should live in those upper
regions, which are above storms and tempests, above rain and winds,
above the noise and confusions of the world. Why should sorrow sit
clouded in our faces, or any darkness be in our hearts, while we are in
the shine and light of God's countenance? It is said, "That all Judah
rejoiced at the oath; for they had sworn with all their heart:" If we
have sworn heartily, we shall rejoice heartily. And for ever banish base
fears, and killing sorrows from our hearts; and wipe them from our
faces. They, who have unworthy fears in their hearts, give too fair an
evidence that they did not swear with their hearts.

5. Walk humbly and dependently; rejoice, but be not secure. Trust to God
in covenant, not to your covenant. Make not your covenant your Christ;
no, not for this temporal salvation. As a horse trusted to, is a vain
thing to save a man, so likewise is a covenant trusted to; neither can
it deliver a nation by its great strength: tho' indeed the strength of
it be greater than the strength of many horses. "In vain is salvation
hoped for from this hill, or from a multitude of mountains," heaped up
and joined in one by the bond of this covenant. Surely in the Lord our
God, our God in covenant, is the salvation of England. We cannot trust
too much in God, nor too little in the creature; there is nothing breaks
the staff of our help, but our leaning upon it. If we trust in our
covenant, we have not made it with God, but we have made it a god; and
every god of man's making, is an idol, and so nothing in the world: you
see, pride in, or trust to this covenant will make it an idol, and then
in doing all this, we have done nothing; for "an idol is nothing in the
world." And of nothing, comes nothing. By overlooking to the means, we
lose all; and by all our travail shall bring forth nothing but wind: it
will not work any deliverance in the land. Wherefore, "rest not in the
thing done, but get up, and be doing," which is the last point, and my
last motion about your walking in covenant.

6. Walk industriously and diligently in this covenant. You were
counselled before to stand to the covenant, but take heed of standing in
it. Stand, as that is opposed to defection; but if you stand as that is
opposed to action, you are at the next door to falling. A total neglect
is little better than total apostasy.

We have made a perpetual covenant, never to be forgotten, as was shewed
out of the prophet. It is a rule, that words in scripture, which express
only an act of memory, include action and endeavours. When the young man
is warned to "remember his Creator in the days of his youth," he is also
charged to love, and to obey Him. And while we say, this covenant is
never to be forgotten; we mean, the duties of it are ever to be pursued,
and, to the utmost of our power, fulfilled. As soon as it is said that
Josiah made all the people stand to the covenant; the very next words
are, "and the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of
God, the God of their fathers." They stood to it, but they did not, like
those, "stand all the day idle;" they fell to work presently. And so let
us. Having laid this foundation, a sure covenant, now let us arise and
build, and let our hands be strong. Do not think that all is done, when
this solemnity is done, It is a sad thing to observe how some, when they
have lifted up their hands, and written down their names, think
presently their work is over. They think, now surely they have satisfied
God and man for they have subscribed the covenant.

I tell you, nay, for when you have done taking the covenant, then your
work begins. When you have done taking the covenant, then you must
proceed to acting the covenant. When an apprentice has subscribed his
name, and sealed his indentures, doth he then think his service is
ended? No, then he knows his service doth begin. It is so here. We are
all sealing the indentures of a sacred and noble apprenticeship to God,
to these churches and commonwealths; let us then go to our work, as
bound, yet free. Free to our work, not from it; free in our work,
working from a principle of holy ingenuity, not of servility, or
constraint. The Lord threatens them with bondage and captivity, who will
not be servants in their covenant, with readiness and activity. "I,
saith the Lord, will give the men that have transgressed My covenant,
which have not performed the words of the covenant, which they had made
before Me, when they cut the calf in twain, and passed between the parts
thereof; the princes of Judah, and the princes of Jerusalem, the
eunuchs, and the priests, and all the people of the land, which passed
between the parts of the calf, I will even give them into the hand of
their enemies, and into the hand of them that seek their life, and their
dead bodies shall be meat to the fowls of the air, and the beasts of the
earth." Words that need no rhetoric to press them, nor any comment to
explain them: they are so plain, that every one may understand them; and
so severe, that every one, who either transgresses, or performs not, who
doeth any thing against, or nothing for the words of this covenant, hath
just cause to tremble at the reading of them: I am sure, to feel them
will make him tremble. Seeing then our princes, our magistrates, our
ministers, and our people, have freely consented to, written, and sworn
this covenant; let us all in our several places, be up and doing, that
the Lord may be with us; not sit still and do nothing, and so cause the
Lord to turn against us.

You that are for consultation, go to counsel; you that are for
execution, go on to acting; you that are for exhorting the people in
this work, attend to exhortation; you that are soldiers, draw your
swords; you that have estates, draw your purses; you that have strength
of body, lend your hands; and all you that have honest hearts, lend your
prayers, your cries, your tears, for the prosperous success of this
great work. And the Lord prosper the works of all our hands, the Lord
prosper all our handy-works. _Amen._



THE SOLEMN LEAGUE AND COVENANT.

SERMON AT LONDON.

_BY THOMAS CASE_[13]

"And I will bring a sword upon you that shall avenge the quarrel of My
covenant."--_Lev._ xxvi. 25.


Since covenant-violation is a matter of so high a quarrel as for the
avenging whereof, God sends a sword upon a church or nation: for which,
it is more than probable, the sword is upon us at this present, it
having almost devoured Ireland already, and eaten up a great part of
England also, let us engage our council, and all the interest we have in
heaven and earth, for the taking up of this controversy; let us consider
what we have to do, what way there is yet left us, for the reconciling
of this quarrel, else we, and our families, are but the children of
death and destruction: this sword that is drawn, and devoured so much
Christian protestant flesh already, will, it is to be feared, go quite
thro' the land, and, in the pursuit of this quarrel, cut off the
remnant, till our land be so desolate, and our cities waste, and
England be made as Sodom and Gomorrah, in the day of the fierce anger of
Jehovah.

Somewhat I have spoken already in the former use, to this purpose viz.
"To acknowledge our iniquities that we have transgressed against the
Lord our God." To get our hearts broken, for breaking the covenant; to
lay it so to heart, that God may not lay it to our charge. But this
looks backward. Somewhat must be done, _de futuro_: for time to come:
that may not only compose the quarrel, but lay a sure foundation of an
after peace between God and the kingdom. And for that purpose, a mean
lies before us; an opportunity is held forth unto us by the hand of
divine wisdom and goodness, of known use and success among the people of
God in former times; which is yet to me a gracious intimation, and a
farther argument of hope from heaven, that God has not sworn against us
in His wrath, nor sealed us up a people devoted to destruction, but hath
yet a mind to enter into terms of peace and reconciliation with us, to
receive us into grace and favour, to become our God, and to own us for
His people; if yet, we will go forth to meet Him, and accept of such
honourable terms as shall be propounded to us: and that is, by renewing
our covenant with Him; yea, by entering into a more full and firm
covenant than ever heretofore. For, as the quarrel was raised about the
covenant, so it must be a covenant more solid and substantial, that must
compose the quarrel, as I shall show you hereafter. And that is the
service and the privilege that lies before us; the work of the next day.
So that, me-thinks, I hear this use of exhortation, which now I would
commend unto you speaking unto us in that language; "Come, let us join
ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant that shall not be
forgotten." It is the voice of the children of Israel, and the children
of Judah, returning out of captivity. "The children of Israel shall
come, they, and the children of Judah together; seeking the Lord," whom
they had lost, and inquiring the way to Zion; from whence their idolatry
and adulteries had cast them out; themselves become now like the doves
of the valley, mourning and weeping, because they had perverted their
way, and forgotten the Lord their God. "Going and weeping they shall go,
and seek the Lord their God. They shall ask the way to Zion with their
faces thitherward." And if you inquire when this should be? The fourth
verse tells you, in those days. And if you ask again, what days those
are? Interpreters will tell us of a threefold day, wherein this prophecy
or promise is to be fulfilled; that is, the literal or inchoative,
evangelical or spiritual, universal or perfect day.

The first day is a literal or inchoative day, here prophesied of, and
that is already past, past long since; viz., in that day wherein the
seventy years of the Babylonian captivity expired; then was this
prophecy or promise begun in part to be accomplished: at what time the
captivity of Judah, and divers of Israel with them, upon their return
out of Babylon, kept a solemn fast at the river "Ahava, to afflict their
souls before their God." There may you see them going and weeping, "to
seek of Him a right way for them, and their little ones." There you have
them seeking the Lord, and inquiring the way to Zion with their faces
thitherward. And when they came home, you may hear some of their nobles
and priests, calling upon them to enter into covenant; so Shechaniah
spake unto Ezra, the princes, and the people, "We have sinned against
the Lord, ... yet now there is hope in Israel concerning this thing. Now
therefore let us make a covenant with our God." And so you may find the
Levites calling the people to confess their sins with weeping and
supplications, in a day of humiliation, and at the end of it, to write,
and swear, and seal a covenant with "the Lord their God." This was the
first day wherein this prophecy began to be fulfilled, in the very
letter thereof.

The second day is the evangelical day, wherein this promise is fulfilled
in a gospel or spiritual sense; namely, when the elect of God, of what
nation or language soever, being all called the Israel of God, as is
prophesied, "One shall say, I am the Lord's; and another shall call
himself by the name of Jacob, ... and surname himself by the name of
Israel." I say, when these in their several generations and successions
shall turn to the Lord their God, either from their Gentilism and
paganism, as in their first conversion to Christianity; as Tertullian
observes after the resurrection of Christ, and the mission of the Holy
Ghost; _Aspice exinde universas nationes ex veragine erroris humani
emergentes ad Dominum Deum, et ad Dominum Christum ejus_. From that day
forward, you might behold poor creatures of all nations and languages,
creeping out of their dark holes and corners of blindness and idolatry,
and betaking them to God and His Son Jesus Christ, as to their Law-giver
and Saviour; or else turning from Antichristian superstition, and false
ways of worship, as in the after and more full conversion of churches or
persons purging themselves more and more, from the corruptions and
mixtures of popery and superstitions, according to the degree of light
and conviction, which should break out upon them, and asking the way to
Zion, _i.e._, the pure way of gospel worship, according to the fuller
and clearer manifestations and revelations of the mind of Christ in the
gospel. This was fulfilled in Luther's time, and in all those after
separations which any of the churches have made from Rome, and from
those relics and remains of superstition and will-worship, wherewith
themselves and the ordinances of Jesus Christ have been denied.

The third day wherein this prophecy or promise is to be made good, is
that universal day, wherein both Jew and Gentile shall be converted
unto the Lord. That day of the restitution of all things, as some good
divines conceive when "ten men out of all languages of the nations,
shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go
with you; for we have heard that God is with you." And to what purpose
is more fully expressed in the former verses, answering the prophecy in
the text. "Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, it shall come to pass, that
there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: and the
inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily
to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of Hosts; I will go also.
Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of Hosts
in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord."

This I call the universal day, because, as you see, there shall be such
an abundance of confluence of cities, and people, and nations, combining
together in an holy league and covenant, to seek the Lord. And a perfect
day, because the mind and will of the Lord shall be fully revealed and
manifested to the saints, concerning the way of worship and government
in the churches. The new Jerusalem, _i.e._ the perfect, exact, and
punctual model of the government of Christ in the churches, shall then
be let down from Heaven. "The light of the moon being then to be as the
light of the sun, and the light of the sun sevenfold, as the light of
seven days, in the day that the Lord bindeth up the breach of His
people, and healeth the stroke of their wound."

By what hath been spoken, you may perceive under which of these days we
are: past indeed the first, but not yet arrived at the third day; and
therefore under the second day, that evangelical day; yet so, as if all
the three days were met together in ours, while it seems to me, that we
are upon the dawning of the third day: and this prophecy falling so pat,
and full upon our times, as if we were not got beyond the literal; a
little variation will do it. The children of Israel, and the children
of Judah: Scotland and England, newly coming out of Babylon,
antichristian Babylon, papal tyranny and usurpations, in one degree or
other, going and weeping in the days of their solemn humiliations,
bewailing their backslidings and rebellions, to seek the Lord their God,
to seek pardon and reconciliation, to seek His face and favour, not only
in the continuance, but in the more full and sweet influential
manifestations of His presence among them; and to that end, asking the
way to Zion with their faces thitherward; that is, inquiring after the
pure way of gospel worship, with full purpose of heart; that when God
shall reveal His mind to them, they will conform themselves to His mind
according to that blessed prophecy and promise, "He will teach us of His
ways, and we will walk in His paths." And that they may make all sure,
that they may secure God and themselves against all future apostasies
and backslidings, calling one upon another, and echoing back one to
another: "Come, let us join ourselves to the Lord, in a perpetual
covenant that shall not be forgotten."

You see by this time I have changed my text, tho' not my project; to
which purpose I shall remember that, in the handling of these words, I
must not manage my discourse, as if I were to make a new entire sermon
upon the text, but only to improve the happy advantages it holds forth,
for the pursuit and driving on of my present use of exhortation. Come,
let us join. To this end therefore, from these words, I will propound
and endeavour to satisfy these three queries, 1. What? 2. Why? 3. How?

I. What the duty is, to which they mutually stir up one another?

II. Why, or upon what considerations?

III. How, or in what manner this service is to be performed? And in all
these you shall see what proportion the text holds with the times. The
duty in our text, with the duty in our hands, pressing them on still in
an exhortatory way.

For the first. What the duty is?

_Answ._ You see that in the text; it is to join themselves to the Lord,
by a solemn covenant; and so is that which we have now in our hands, to
join ourselves to the Lord by a covenant; how far they correspond, will
appear in the sequel. This is the first and main end of a covenant
between God and His people, as I have shewed you, "to join themselves to
the Lord. The sons of the stranger that join themselves to the Lord, and
take hold of His covenant."

This, I say, is the first and main end of the covenant in the text: the
second is subordinate unto it; namely, to inquire the way to Zion,
_i.e._, to inquire the way and manner, how God would be worshipped; that
they might dishonour and provoke Him no more, by their idolatries and
superstitions, which had been brought in upon the ordinances of God, by
the means of apostate kings, and priests, and prophets, as in Jeroboam's
and Ahab's reigns, and for which they had been carried into captivity.

And such is the covenant that lies before us: in the first place, as I
say, to join ourselves to the Lord, to be knit inseparably unto Him,
that He may be our God, and we may be His people. And in the next place,
as subservient hereunto, to ask the way to Zion; to inquire and search
by all holy means, sanctified to that purpose, what is that pure way of
gospel worship; that we and our children after us may worship the God of
spirits, the God of truth, in spirit, and in truth. In spirit opposed to
carnal ways of will-worship, and inventions of men; and in truth,
opposed to false hypocritical shews and pretences, since the Father
seeks such to worship Him.

Now, that this is the main scope and aim of this covenant before us,
will appear, if you read and ponder it with due consideration; I will
therefore read it to you distinctly, this evening, besides the reading
of it again to-morrow, when you come to take it; and when I have read
it, I will answer the main and most material objections, which seem to
make it inconsistent with these blessed ends and purposes. Attend
diligently while I read it to you.

(The covenant was then read.)

This brethren, is the covenant before us; to which God and His
parliament do invite us this day; wherein the ends propounded lie fair
to every impartial eye.

The first article in this covenant, binding us to the reformation of
religion; and the last article, to the reformation of our lives. In
both, we join ourselves to the Lord, and swear to ask and receive from
His lips the law of this reformation. Truly, this is a why, as well as a
what, (that I may a little prevent myself) a motive of the first
magnitude. Oh! for a people or person to be joined unto the Lord; to be
made one with the most high God of heaven and earth, before whom and to
whom we swear, is a privilege of unspeakable worth and excellency.
"Seemeth it (said David once to Saul's servants) a small thing in your
eyes, to be son-in-law to a king," seeing I am a poor man? Seemeth it,
may I say, a small thing to you, for poor creatures to be joined, and
married, as it were, to the great God, the living God; who are so much
worse than nothing, by how much sin is worse than vanity? yea, to be one
with Him as Christ saith in that heavenly prayer of His; as He and His
Father are one. "That they may be one, as Thou Father art in Me, and I
in Thee; that they also may be one in us." And again, "that they may be
one, even as we are one." Yea, perfect in one; not indeed, in the
perfection of that unity, but in unity of that perfection; not made
perfect in a perfection of equality, but of conformity.

This is the fruit of a right managed covenant; and the greatest honour
that poor mortality is capable of. Moses stands admiring of it. You may
read the place at your leisure. But, against this blessed service and
truth, are there mustered and led up an whole regiment of objections,
under the conduct of the father of lies; though some of them may seem to
have some shadow of truth; and therefore so much the more carefully to
be examined. I shall deal only with some of the chief commanders of
them, if they be conquered the rest will vanish of their own accord.


OBJECTIONS PROPOUNDED AND ANSWERED.

_Object._ 1. If this were the end of this service, yet it were needless:
since we have done it over and over again, in our former protestations
and covenants; and so this repetition may seem to be a profanation of so
holy an ordinance, by making of it so ordinary, and nothing else, but a
taking of God's name in vain. To this I answer.

_Answ._ 1. It cannot be done too oft; if it be done according to the law
and order of so solemn an ordinance. 2. The people in the text might
have made the same objection; it lay as strong against the work, to
which they encourage one another: for surely, this was not the first
time they engaged themselves to God by way of covenant; but having
broken their former covenants, they thought it their privilege, and not
their burden to renew it again, and to make it more full, stable, and
impregnable than ever; "a perpetual covenant that shall not be
forgotten"; which hints 3. And that is, there was never yet so full and
strict a covenant tendered to us since we were a people. Former
covenants have had their defect and failings, like the best of God's
people: but I may say of this in reference to other covenants, as
Solomon of his good house-wife, in reference to other women; "Other
daughters have done well, but thou hast exceeded them all." Other
covenants have done well, but this hath exceeded them all; like Paul
among the apostles, it goes beyond them all, though it seems to be born
out of due time. Now, if your leases and covenants among men be either
lame or forfeited; need men persuade you to have them renewed and
perfected? Of how much greater concernment is this, between God and us,
O! ye of little faith? 4. You receive the sacrament of the Lord's supper
once a month, and some will not be kept off, tho' they have no part, nor
portion in that mystery, say the ministers of Christ what they can; and
the sacrament is but the seal of the covenant; consider it, and be
convinced.

_Object._ 2. But secondly, it is objected there be some clauses in this
covenant, that serve rather to divide us farther from God, than join us
nearer to Him; as binding us to inquire the way to Zion of men rather
than of God; to receive the law of reformation from Scotland, and other
churches, and not from the lips of the great prophet of the churches.

In the article, we swear first to maintain the religion, as it is
already reformed in Scotland, in doctrine, government, and discipline;
wherein, first, the most shall swear they know not what; and secondly,
we swear to conform ourselves here in England, to their government and
discipline in Scotland which is presbyterial, and for ought we know, as
much tyrannical, and more antichristian than that of prelacy, which we
swear to extirpate; yea, some have not been afraid to call it the
Antichrist that is now in the world.

_Answ._ 1. To whom I first answer, beseeching them in the bowels of
compassion, and spirit of meekness, to take heed of such rash and
unchristian censures, least God hear, and it displease Him; and they
themselves possibly be found to commit the sin and incur the woe of them
that "call evil good, and good evil." 2. Whereas they object that many
shall swear they know not what, the most being totally ignorant of the
discipline of Scotland, and very few understanding it distinctly. I
would have these remember and consider two examples in Scripture the one
of king Josiah, the other of the women and children in Nehemiah's time.
Josiah (as the text tells us) not being above eight years of age, "While
he was yet young, began to seek after the Lord God of David his father;
and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem." And this
purging and reformation he did by covenant, wherein he swore, to "walk
after the Lord, and to keep His commandments, and His testimonies, and
His statutes." Which surely, at that age, we cannot conceive he did
distinctly and universally understand; no more could all the men, their
wives and their sons, and their daughters, that took the covenant (in
Nehemiah's time) understand all things in particular to which that
covenant did bind them; since they did enter into a curse, and an oath,
not only to refuse all intermarriages with the heathen, but also to walk
in God's law, which was given by Moses, and to observe and do all the
commandments of the Lord, and His judgments, and His statutes.

Surely there were in this multitude, not an inconsiderable number that
were not acquainted with all the moral precepts, judicial laws, and
ceremonial statutes, which God commanded the people by the hand of
Moses.

There be two things I know, that may be replied against these instances.
1. That of those women and children in Nehemiah, it is said in the same
place, they were of understanding, "Every one having knowledge, and
having understanding; they clave unto their brethren, their nobles, and
entered into a curse." 2. That there is a great difference between the
laws and statutes to which they swore, and this government and
discipline to which we swear in this covenant. Those laws and statutes
were ordained immediately of God Himself; and therefore being infallibly
right, unquestionably holy, and just, and good, Josiah and the people
might lawfully swear observance to them with an implicit faith; but not
so in a government and discipline set up by man, by a church, be it
never so pure and holy: for their light being but a borrowed light, and
they not privileged with an infallible Spirit (as the apostles) their
resolutions and ordinances may be liable to mistake and error; and
therefore, to swear observance to them by an implicit faith, is more
than comes to their share, and as unwarrantable as it is unsafe for a
people or person to do, who are yet ignorant or unsatisfied in the
whole, or in any particular.

To these objections I rejoin: _first_, that that description of the
covenanters in Nehemiah, that "they were of understanding, and
knowledge," supposeth not a distinct actual cognizance of every
particular ordinance, judgment, statute, and provision, in all the three
laws, moral, judicial, ceremonial, in every one that took the covenant;
that being not only needless but impossible; but it implies only a
capacity to receive instruction and information in the things they swore
unto, tho' at present they were ignorant of many of the severals
contained in that oath. And so far this rule obtains among us; children
that are not yet come to understanding, and fools, being not admitted to
this service, as not capable of instruction.

_Answ._ 2. To the second (tho' more considerable) yet the answer is not
very difficult: for,

_First_, We do not swear to observe that discipline, but to preserve it:
I may preserve that, which in point of conscience I cannot observe, or
not, at least, swear to observe. _Second_, We swear to preserve it, not
in opposition to any other form of government that may be found
agreeable to the Word, but in opposition against a common enemy, which
is a clause of so wide a latitude, and easy a digestion, as the
tenderest conscience need not kick at it; this preservation relating not
so much to the government, as to the persons or nation under this
government; not so much to preserve it as to preserve them in it,
against a prelatical party at home, or a popish party abroad, that
should attempt by violence to destroy them, or to force another
government upon them, that should be against the Word of God; under
which latitude, I see not but we might enter into the like covenant with
Lutherans, or other reformed churches, whose government, discipline, and
worship, is yet exceedingly corrupted with degenerate mixtures.

_Third_, Neither in the preservation of their government, nor in the
reformation of ours, do we swear to any thing of man's; but to what
shall be found to be the mind of Christ. Witness that clause, article 1:
"According to the word of God:" so that upon the matter, it is no more
than Josiah and the people in Nehemiah swore to; namely, "what shall
appear to be the statutes and laws which Christ hath left in His Word,
concerning the regimen of His church?"

_Fourth_, Nay, not so much; for we are not yet called to swear the
observation of any kind of government, that is or shall be presented to
us, but to endeavour the reformation of religion in doctrine, worship,
discipline, and government, according to the Word of God.

In the faithful and impartial search and pursuit whereof, if Scotland,
or any of the reformed churches, can hold us forth any clearer light
than our own, we receive it not as our rule, but as such an help to
expound our rule, as Christ Himself hath allowed us. In which case, we
are bound to kiss not the lips only, but the very feet of them that
shall be able to shew us "the way to Zion."

So that still, it is not the voice of the churches but of Christ in the
churches, that we covenant to listen to, in this pursuit; that is to
say, that we will follow them, as they follow Christ: and when all is
done, and a reformation (through the assistance and blessing of the Lord
Jesus Christ, that great king and prophet of His church) resolved on
according to this rule thus interpreted, under what notion or obligation
the observation of it shall be commended to us, _sub judice lis est_,
it is yet in the bosom and breast of authority; we are as yet called to
swear to nothing in this kind. So much in reference to the instances.

_Answ._ 3. I answer further to the satisfying of this second doubt, that
by this covenant, we are bound no more to conform to Scotland, than
Scotland to us: the stipulation being mutual, and this stipulation
binding us not so much to conform one to another, as both of us to the
Word; wherein, if we can meet, who would not look upon it, as upon the
precious fruit of Christ's prayer: "That they might be one, as we are
one?" and the beauty and safety of both nations, and of as many of the
churches as the Lord our God shall persuade to come into this holy and
blessed association?

_Object._ 3. A third objection falls upon the second article or branch
of this covenant; wherein it is feared by some, that we swear to
extirpate that which, for ought we know, upon due inquiry, may be found
the way to Zion, the way of evangelical government, which Christ and His
apostles have set up in the church.

_Answ._ Where lies that, think you? In what clause or word of the
article? Who can tell? Surely not in popery; or if there be any that
think that the way, I would wish their persons in Rome, since their
hearts are there already. Is it in superstition? Nay, superstition
properly consisteth in will-worship, "teaching for doctrine the
traditions of men;" this cannot be the way to Zion, which Christ hath
chalked out to us in His word. No more can heresy, which is the
opposition to sound doctrine; nor schism, which is the rent of the
church's peace; nor profaneness, the poison of her conversation. None
but superstitious heretics, schismatics, profane persons, will call
these the way to Zion; nor these neither, under the name and notion of
superstition, heresy, schism, profaneness; for the heretic will not call
his doctrine heresy; nor the superstitious, his innovation superstition;
nor the schismatic, his turbulent practices schism; nor lastly, the
profane person, his lewdness profaneness; tho' they love the thing, they
hate the name.

And this, before we go further, occasions another objection, which you
must give me leave both to make and answer in a parenthesis, and then I
will return.

_Object._ How can we swear the extirpation of these, since, who shall be
judge? While some will be ready to call that schism and superstition,
which is not; and others deny that to be heresy, superstition, schism,
which is?

_Answ._ 1. To which I answer, By the same argument, we ought not to
covenant against popery and drunkenness, sabbath-breaking, nor any other
sin whatsoever, there being nothing so gross but it will find some
friends to justify, and plead for it; which if we shall not condemn till
all parties be agreed on the verdict, we shall never proceed to
judgment, while the world stands. 2. The word must be the rule and the
judge, say men what they please, _pro_ or _con_. 3. And if the matter be
indeed so disputable, that it lies not in my faculty to pronounce
sentence, I have my dispensation to suspend, till the world determine
the controversy.

I now return; if then in none of these, the doubt must of necessity lie
in that word prelacy. And is that indeed the way of gospel government?
Is that it indeed which bears away the bell of _jure divino_? What is it
then that hath destroyed all gospel order, and government and worship,
in these kingdoms, as in other places of the Christian world, even down
to the ground? Hath it not been prelacy? What is it that hath taken down
a teaching ministry, and set up in the room a teaching-ceremony? Is it
not prelacy? What is it that hath silenced, suspended, imprisoned,
deprived, banished, so many godly, learned, able ministers of the
gospel; yea, and killed some of them with their unheard of cruelties,
and thrust into their places idol, idle shepherds; dumb dogs that
cannot bark (unless it were at the flock of Christ; so they learned of
their masters, both to bark and bite too) greedy dogs that could never
have enough, that did tear out the loins and bowels of their own people
for gain, heap living upon living, preferment upon preferment; swearing,
drunken, unclean priests, that taught nothing but rebellion in Israel,
and caused people to abhor the sacrifice of the Lord: Arminian, popish,
idolatrous, vile wretches, such as, had Job been alive, he would not
have set with the dogs of his flock; who, I say, brought in these? Did
not prelacy? What hath hindered the reformation of religion all this
while in doctrine, government, and worship? Prelacy, a generation of men
they were, that never had a vote for Jesus Christ; yea, what hath
poisoned and adulterated religion in all these branches, and hath let in
popery and profaneness upon the kingdom like a flood, for the raising of
their own pomp and greatness, but prelacy? In a word, prelacy it is,
that hath set its impure and imperious feet, one upon the church, the
other upon the state, and hath made both serve as Pharaoh did the
Israelites, with rigour. Surely, their government hath been a yoke which
neither we nor our fathers were able to bear.

Now, that which hath done this, and a thousand times more violence and
mischief to Christ and His people, than the tongue or pen of man is able
to express; can that be the way of or to Zion? Can that be the
government of Christ and His Church?

_Object._ Aye, but there be that will tell us, these have been the
faults of the persons, and not of the calling?

_Answ._ 1. So cry some indeed, that ye like the men, as well as their
calling, and would justify the persons as well as the office, but that
their wickedness is made so manifest that impudency itself cannot deny
it. But is it indeed only the fault of the men, not of the calling? What
meant then that saying of queen Elizabeth, "That when she had made a
bishop, she had spoiled a preacher?" Was it only a jest? 2. And I wish
we had not too just cause to add, the man too. Surely of the most of
them we may say, as once Arnobius spake of the Gentiles, _apud vos
optimi censentur quos comparatio pessimorum sic facit_. Give me leave to
vary it a little: he was a good bishop, that was not the worst man; but
if there were some of a better complexion, who yet, _apparent rari
nantes in gurgite vasto_, were very rarely discovered in their episcopal
see; yet, 3. Look into their families, and they were for the most part
the vilest in the diocese, a very nest of unclean birds; and, 4. If you
had looked into their courts and consistories, you would have thought
you had been in Caiaphas' hall, where no other trade was driven but the
crucifying of Christ in His members. 5. But fifthly, produce me one in
this last succession of bishops (I hope the last) that had not his hands
imbrued more or less in the blood of the faithful ministry, (I say not
ministers, but ministry) produce a man amongst them all, that durst be
so conscientious as to lay down his bishoprick, rather than he would lay
violent hands upon a non-conforming minister, though he had failed but
in one point of their compass of ceremonies, when their great master,
the pope of Canterbury, commanded it, although both for life, learning,
and orthodox religion, their consciences did compel them to confess with
Pilate, "we find no fault in this just person." I say, produce me such a
bishop amongst the whole bunch, in this latter age, and I will down on
my knees, and ask them forgiveness. Oh! it was sure a mischievous
poisoned soil, in which, whatsoever plant was set did hardly ever thrive
after. 5. But yet further, was not the calling as bad as the men? You
may as well say so of the papacy in Rome, for surely the prelacy of
England, which we swore to extirpate, was the very same fabric and model
of ecclesiastical regimen, that is in that Antichristian world; yea,
such an evil it is that some divines, venerable for their great
learning, as well as for their eminent holiness, did conceive sole
episcopal jurisdiction to be the very seat of the beast, upon which the
fifth angel is now pouring out his vial, which is the reason that the
men of that kingdom "gnaw their tongues for pain, and blaspheme the God
of heaven."

_Object._ Aye, but it is therefore pleaded further against this clause,
that although it may be prelacy with all its adjuncts and accidents of
archbishops, chancellors, and commissaries, deans, &c., may have haply
been the cause of these evils that have broken in upon us, and perhaps
Antichristian; yet should we therefore swear the extirpation of all
prelacy, or episcopacy whatsoever; since there may be found perhaps in
scripture an episcopacy or prelacy, which, circumcised from these
exuberant members and officers, may be that government Christ hath
bequeathed His church in the time of the gospel?

_Answ._ Now we shall quickly close this business. For, 1. It is this
prelacy, thus clothed, thus circumstanced, which we swear to extirpate;
read else the clause again, prelacy, that is, church government by
archbishops, bishops, their chancellors. Not every, or all kinds of
prelacy; not prelacy in the latitude of the notion thereof. 2. And
secondly, let us join issue upon this point, and make no more words of
it; if there be an episcopacy or prelacy found in the Word, as the way
of gospel-government, which Christ hath bequeathed the churches, and
this be made appear, we are so far from swearing to extirpate such a
prelacy, as that rather we are bound by virtue of this oath to entertain
it, as the mind and will of Jesus Christ. And this might suffice to
warrant our covenanting to extirpate this prelacy, save that only.

Yet some seem conscientiously to scruple this in the last place.
_Object._ That they see not what there is to warrant our swearing, to
extirpate that which is established by the law of the land, till the
same law have abolished it. To which I answer, 1. If the law of the land
had abolished it, we need not swear the extirpation of it. 2. In this
oath, the parliaments of both kingdoms go before us, who, having the
legislative power in their hands, have also _potestatem vitæ et necis_,
over laws, as well as over persons, and may as well put to death the
evil laws that do offend against the kingdom and the welfare of it, as
the evil persons that do offend against the laws. 3. Who therefore,
thirdly, if they may lawfully annul and abolish laws that are found to
sin against the law of God, and the good of the kingdom may as lawfully
bind themselves by an oath, to use the uttermost of their endeavours to
annul and abolish those laws; their oath being nothing else but a solemn
engagement to endeavour to perform what they have warrantably resolved
upon; and with the same equity may they bind the kingdom to assist them
in so doing. 4. Which is all that the people are engaged to by this
covenant. Not to outrun the parliament in this extirpation, but to
follow and serve them in it, by such concurrence as they may expect from
each person in their stations and callings; for that clause, expressed
in the first and third article, is to be understood in all.

_Object._ If it be yet objected, that the members of parliament have, at
one time or other, sworn to preserve the laws; and therefore to swear to
endeavour the extirpation of prelacy, which is established by law, is to
contradict their own oath and run the hazard of perjury: it is easy for
any one to observe and answer. 1. That by the same argument, neither may
king and parliament together change or annul a law, though found
destructive to the good of the kingdoms, since his majesty, as well as
his subjects, are bound up under the same oath at his coronation. 2. But
again, there is a vast difference between the members of parliament,
simply considered in their private capacities, wherein they may be
supposed to take an oath to maintain the laws of the land; and that
public capacity of a parliament, whereby they are judges of those laws,
and may, as I said before, endeavour the removal of such as are found
pernicious to the church or state, and make such as will advantage the
welfare of others; his majesty being bound by his coronation-oath, to
confirm these laws, which the commons shall agree upon and present unto
his majesty.

_Object._ Aye, but it seems this objection lies full and strong upon
them that stand in their single private stations. I answer, that if
there be any such oath, which yet I have never seen nor heard of, unless
the objection mean that clause in the late parliament protestation,
wherein we vow and protest to maintain and defend the lawful rights and
liberties of the subject; surely, neither in that nor this, do we swear
against a lawful endeavour to get any such laws or clause of the law
repealed and abolished, which is found a wrong, rather than a right, and
the bondage, rather than the liberty of the subject, as prelacy was. Had
we indeed taken the bishop's oath, or the like, never to have given our
consent to have the government by episcopacy changed or altered, we had
brought ourselves into a woful snare; but, blessed be God, that snare is
broken, and we are escaped; while, in the mean time without all doubt,
the subject may as lawfully use all lawful means to get that law
removed, which yet he hath promised or sworn to obey, while it remains,
when it proves prejudicial to the public safety and welfare; as a poor
captive, that hath peradventure sworn obedience to the Turk, (while he
remains in his possession) may notwithstanding use all fair endeavours
for an escape or ransom. Or a prentice that is bound to obey his master;
yet, when he finds his service turned into a bondage, may use lawful
means to obtain his freedom.

But once more to answer both objections; it is worth your inquiry,
whether the plea of a legal establishment of this prelacy, sworn against
in this covenant, be not rather a tradition, than any certain or
confessed truth. Sure I am, we have it from the hands of persons of
worth and honour; the ablest secretaries of laws and antiquities in our
kingdom, that there is no such law or statute to be found upon the file,
among our records. Which assertion, if it cannot find faith, we will
once more join issue with the patrons or followers of this prelacy, upon
this point, that when they produce that law or statute which doth enact
and establish prelacy, as it is here branched in the article, we will
then give them a fuller answer, or yield the question.

To conclude therefore, since this prelacy in the article, this many
headed monster of archbishops, bishops, their chancellors and
commissaries, deans, deans and chapters, archdeacons, and all other
ecclesiastical officers depending on that hierarchy, is the beast,
wherewith we fight in this covenant, which hath been found so
destructive to church and state; let us not fear to take this sword of
the covenant of God into our hands, and say to this enemy of Christ, as
Samuel said once to Agag, (at what time he said within himself, "surely
the bitterness of death is past") "As thy sword hath made women
childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women." So hath
prelacy flattered itself, finding such a party to stand up on its side
among the rotten lords and commons, the debauched gentry, and abased
people of the kingdom: "Surely the bitterness of death is past." "I sit
as a queen, and shall not know widow-hood, or loss of children." In the
midst of this security and pride, the infallible forerunners of her
downfall, let us call her forth, and say, as thy sword, prelacy, hath
made many women childless, many a faithful minister peopleless,
houseless and libertyless, their wives husbandless, their children and
their congregations fatherless, and pastorless, and guideless; so thy
mother, papacy, shall be made childless among harlots, your diocese
bishopless, and your sees lordless, and your places shall know you no
more. Come, my brethren, I say, and fear not to take this Agag,
(prelacy, I mean, not the prelates) and hew it in pieces before the
Lord.

_Object._ 4. A fourth and main objection that troubles many, is, that in
the following article there are divers things of another nature that
should fall within the compass of such a covenant, as that which the
text holds forth, "to join ourselves to the Lord." There be
state-matters, and such too, as are full of doubt, and perhaps of
danger, to be sworn unto. I shall answer, first, the general charge, and
then some of the particulars which are most material. In general, I
answer, there is nothing in the body of this covenant which is not
either purely religious, or which lies not in a tendency to religion,
conducing to the securing and promoting thereof. And as, in the
expounding the commandments, divines take this rule, that that command
which forbids a sin, forbids also all the conducibles and provocations
to that sin, all the tendencies to it: and that command which enjoins a
duty, enjoins all the mediums and advancers to that duty; circumstances
fall within the latitude of the command: so in religious covenants, not
only those things which are of the substance and integrals of religion,
but even the collaterals and subserviences that tend either to the
establishing or advancing of religion, may justly be admitted within the
verge and pale of the covenant. The cities of refuge had their suburbs
appointed by God, as well as their habitations, and even they also were
counted holy. The rights and privileges of the parliaments, and the
liberties of the kingdom, mentioned in the third article; they are the
suburbs of the gospel, and an inheritance bequeathed by God to nations
and kingdoms, and, under that notion, holy. Concerning which a people
may lawfully reply to the unjust demands of emperors, kings, or states,
as Naboth once to Ahab, when demanded to yield up his vineyard to his
majesty: "God forbid, that I should give the inheritance of my father."
These be the outworks of religion, the lines of communication, as I may
so say, for the defence of this city; which the prelates well knew, and
therefore you see, it was their great design first, by policy to have
surprised, and, when that would not do, then, by main strength of
battle, to storm these outworks: well knowing, that if they once had won
these, they should quickly be masters also of the holy city, religion
itself, and do what they listed. And, therefore, the securing of these
must of necessity be taken into the same councils and covenant with
religion itself.

This premised in general, we shall easily and apace satisfy the
particular scruples and queries as I go.

1. _Scruple._ The most part that swear this covenant are in a great
degree, if not totally, ignorant what the rights and privileges of the
parliament, and the liberties of the kingdoms are, and how can they then
swear to maintain they know not what?

1. By the same argument no man, or very few, might lawfully swear to
maintain the king's prerogatives in the paths of allegiance and
supremacy; nor the king himself swear to maintain the liberties of the
subject, as he doth in his oath at his coronation. 2. But there is
hardly any person so ignorant but knows there are privileges belonging
to the parliaments, and liberties belonging to the subject. 3. And that
it is the duty of every subject, according to his place and power, to
maintain these; so that, in taking of this covenant, we swear to do no
more than our duty binds us to; in which there is no danger, tho' we do
not in every point know how far that duty extends in every branch and
several thereof. 4. In swearing to do my duty, whether to God or man, if
I be ignorant of many particulars, I oblige myself to these two things.
1. To use the best means to inform myself of the particulars. 2. To
conform myself to what I am informed to be my duty. Which yet, in the
case in hand, doth admit of a further latitude, namely, that which lies
in the very word and letter of this article (as in most of the rest) in
our several vocations; which doth not bind every one to the same degree
of knowledge, nor the same way of preservation: as for example, I do not
conceive every magistrate is bound to know so much, no, nor to endeavour
to know so much, as parliament-men; nor every member of parliament so
much as judges; nor ministers so much as the lawyers; nor ordinary
people so much as ministers; nor servants so much as masters; nor all to
preserve them the same way; parliament-men by demanding them, lawyers by
pleading, judges by giving the sense and mind of the law, ministers by
preaching, magistrates by defending, people by assisting, praying,
yielding obedience. All, if the exigencies arise so high, and the state
call for it, by engaging their estates and lives, in case they be
invaded by an unlawful power. And in case of ignorance, the thing we
bind ourselves to is this, that if at any time any particular shall be
in question, what the parliament shall make appear to be their right or
the liberty of the subject, we promise to contribute such assistance for
the preservation or reparation thereof, as the nature of the thing, and
wisdom of the state shall call for at our hands, in our several places.

2. _Scruple._ But some are offended, while they conceive in the same
article, that the clause wherein we swear the preservation and defence
of the king's person and authority, doth lie under some restraint, by
that limitation; in the preservation and defence of the true religion,
and the liberties of the kingdom. To which we reply. 1. It maintains him
as far as he is a king: he may be a man, but sure no king, without the
lists and verge of religion and laws, it being religion and laws that
make him a king. 2. It maintains his person and estate, as far as his
majesty himself doth desire and expect to be defended; for, sure his
justice cannot desire to be defended against, but in the preservation of
religion and laws; and his wisdom cannot expect it, since he cannot
believe that they will make conscience of defending his person, who make
no conscience of preserving religion and the laws; I mean, when the ruin
of his person and authority may advance their own cursed designs. They
that, for their ends, will defend his person and authority against
religion and liberties of the kingdom, will with the same conscience
defend their own ends against his person and authority, when they have
power in their hands. The Lord deliver his majesty from such defenders,
by what names or titles soever they be called. 3. Who doubts but that
religion and laws, (wherein the rights and liberties of kingdoms are
bound up) are the best security of the persons and authority of kings
and governors? And the while kings will defend these, these will defend
kings? It being impossible that princes should suffer violence or
indignity, while they are within the munition of religion and laws; or
if the prince suffer, these must of necessity suffer with him. 4. I make
a question, whether this limitation lie any more upon the defence of the
king's person and authority, than it doth upon the rights and privileges
of parliaments, and the liberties of the kingdom, since there is no
point or stop in the article to appropriate it more to the defence of
the king's person and authority, than to the preservation of the rights
and privileges of the parliaments, and the liberties of the kingdoms? 5.
And lastly, this clause is not to be understood exclusive, as excluding
all other cases wherein the kingdoms stand bound to preserve his
majesty's person and authority, but only as expressing that case wherein
the safety of his person and authority doth most highly concern both
king and kingdoms, especially at such a time as this is, when both are
so furiously and implacably encountered by a malignant army of
desperate parricides, papists, and their prelatical party.

These objections answered, and difficulties removed, we proceed to the
examining of the rest of the particulars, in the following articles.

The discovery of incendiaries or malignants that have been, or shall be,
to which the fourth article binds us: doth it not lie also in a
necessary tendency to the securing and preserving of this covenant
inviolable with the most high God, in point of reformation? For can we
hope a thorough reformation, according to the mind of Christ, if
opposers of reformation may escape scot-free, undiscovered and
unpunished? Or, can we indeed love or promote a reformation, and in the
mean time countenance or conceal the enemies of it? This is clear, yet
it wants not a scruple, and that peradventure which may trouble a
sincere heart.

_Object._ It is this, having once taken this oath, if we hear a friend,
or brother, yea, perhaps a father, a husband, or a wife, let fall a word
of dislike of the parliament, or assembly's proceedings in either
kingdom; or that discovers another judgment, or opinion; or a word of
passion unadvisedly uttered, and do not presently discover and complain
of it, we pull upon ourselves the guilt or danger of perjury, which will
be a mighty snare to thousands of well affected people.

To which I answer. 1. The objection lays the case much more narrow than
the words of the article, which distinguisheth the incendiary or
malignant, which is to be discovered by a threefold character, or note
of malignity. _First_, Hindering the reformation of religion.
_Secondly_, Dividing the king from his people, or one kingdom from
another. _Thirdly_, Making any faction or parties amongst the people,
contrary to the league and covenant. Now, every dislike of some passage
in parliament or assembly's proceedings; every dissent in judgment and
opinion; every rash word or censure, that may possibly be let fall
through passion and inadvertency, will not amount to so high a degree of
malignity as is here expressed, nor consequently bring one within the
compass of this oath and covenant. A suitable and seasonable caution or
conviction may suffice in such a case.

2. But, suppose the malignity to arise to that height here expressed in
any of the branches thereof; I do not conceive the first work this oath
of God binds us to, is to make a judicial discovery thereof; while,
without controversy, our Saviour's rule of dealing with our brethren in
cases of offence is not here excluded; which is, 1. To see what personal
admonition will do; which, toward a superior, as husband, parent,
master, or the like, must be managed with all wisdom and reverence. If
they hear us, we have made a good day's work of it; we have gained our
brother; if not, then the rule directs us yet. 2. In the second place,
to take with us two or three more; if they do the deed, thou mayest sit
down with peace and thankfulness. 3. If, after all this, the party shall
persist in destructive practices to hinder reformation, to divide the
king from his people, or one kingdom from another; or lastly, to make
factions or parties among the people; be it the man of thine house, the
husband of thy youth, the wife of thy bosom, the son of thy loins: "Levi
must know neither father nor mother," private relations must give way to
public safety; thou must with all faithfulness endeavour the discovery,
thine "eye must not pity nor spare." It is a case long since stated by
God Himself; and when complaint is made to any person in authority, the
plaintiff is discharged, and the matter rests upon the hands of
authority. Provided, notwithstanding, that there be, in the use of all
the former means, that latitude allowed which the apostle gives in case
of heresy; "A first and second admonition." This course, not only the
rule of our Saviour in general, but the very words of the covenant
itself, doth allow, for, though the clause be placed in the sixth
article, yet it hath reference to all, viz., "What we are not able
ourselves to suppress or overcome, we shall reveal and make known." So
that, if the malignity fall within our own or our friends' ability to
conquer, we have discharged our duty to God and the kingdoms, and may
sit down with comfort in our bosoms.

That which remains in the other two articles, I cannot see how it
affords any occasion of an objection; and the reference it hath to the
reformation and preservation of religion, is easy and clear to any eye,
that is not wilfully blind; the preservation of peace between the two
kingdoms, in the fifth article, being the pillar of religion; for how
can religion and reformation stand, if any blind malignant Samson be
suffered to pull down the pillars of peace and union? Besides, it was a
branch of that very covenant in the text, as well as of that in our
hands. The children of Israel and Judah, which had a long time been
disunited, and in that disunion had many bloody and mortal skirmishes
and battles, now at length by the good hand of God upon them, take
counsel to join themselves, first one to another, and then both unto
God. Let us "join ourselves," and then to "the Lord, in a perpetual
covenant." Surely, not only this copy in the text, but the wormwood and
the gall of our civil combustions and wars, which our souls may have in
remembrance to our dying day, and be humbled within us, may powerfully
persuade us to a cheerful engagement of ourselves, for the preservation
of a firm peace and union between the kingdoms, to all posterity.

And lastly, as peace is the pillar of religion, so mutual assistance and
defence of all those that enter into this league and covenant, in the
maintaining and pursuance thereof, (mentioned in that sixth and last
article) is the pillar of that peace, _divide et impera_; desert one
another, and we expose ourselves to the lusts of our enemies. And who
can object against the securing of ourselves, and the state, against a
detestable indifferency or neutrality, but they must, _ipso facto_,
proclaim to all the world that they intend before-hand to turn neutrals
or apostates?

To conclude, therefore, having thus examined the several articles of the
covenant, and the material clauses in those articles; and finding them
to be, if not of the same nature, yet of the same design with the
preface and conclusion; the one whereof, as I told you, at the entrance,
obligeth us to the reformation of religion; the other, of our lives, as
serving to the immediate and necessary support and perfecting of these
blessed and glorious ends and purposes: I shall need to apologise no
further in the vindicating and asserting of this covenant before us.
Could we be so happy, as to bring hearts suitable to this service: could
we set up such aims and ends as the covenant holds forth; the glory of
God, the good of the kingdoms, and honour of the king, to which, this
covenant, and every several part thereof, doth humbly prostrate itself,
all would conspire to make us and our posterity after us, an happy and
glorious people to all generations.

To them that object out of conscience, these poor resolutions may afford
some relief, if not satisfaction; or, if these slender endeavours fall
short of my design, and the reader's desires herein, I shall send them
to their labours, who have taken more able and fruitful pains in this
subject. To them that object out of a spirit of bitterness and
malignity, nothing will suffice. He that is resolved to err, is
satisfied with nothing but that which strengthens his error. And these I
leave to such arguments and convictions, which the wisdom and justice of
authority shall judge more proper; while I proceed to the second query
propounded, for the managing of this use of exhortation; Why? Or, upon
what considerations we may be persuaded to undertake this service? To
enter into this holy covenant.

And the first motive that may engage us hereunto is the consideration,
how exceedingly God hath been dishonoured among us, by all sorts of
covenant-violation, as hath been formerly discovered at large; in the
avenging whereof, the angel of the covenant stands, as once at the door
of paradise, with a flaming sword in his hand, ready to cut us off, and
cast us out of this garden of God--this good land wherein He hath
planted us thus long. I may say unto you therefore, concerning
ourselves, as once Moses in another case, concerning Miriam; "If her
father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed?" If our
father had but spit in our face by some inferior correction, should we
not be ashamed? Ought we not to be greatly humbled before Him? How much
more, when "He hath poured out upon us the fury of His wrath, and it
hath burned us; and the strength of battle, and it hath set on fire
round about?" Should we not lay it to heart, and use all means to pacify
the fierceness of His anger, lest it burn down to the very foundations
of the land, and none be able to quench it?

Yea, secondly, a wonderful mercy, and an high favour we may count it
from God, that yet such a sovereign means is left us for our recovery
and reconciliation. Infinite condescension and goodness it is in our God
that, after so many fearful provocations by our unhallowed and
treacherous dealing in the covenant, He will vouchsafe yet to have any
thing to do with us, that He will yet trust or try us any more, by
admitting us to renew our covenant with His Majesty, when He might in
justice rather say unto us, as to the wicked, "What have you to do, that
you should take My covenant into your mouths, seeing you hate
instruction, and cast My words behind you?" Certainly, had man broken
with us, as oft as we have broken with God, we should never trust them
any more, but account them as the off-scouring of mankind, the vilest,
the basest that ever trode upon God's ground; and yet that after so many
unworthy and treacherous departures from our God, after so much
unfaithfulness and perfidiousness in the covenant, (such as it is not in
the capacity of one man to be guilty of towards another) that God should
say to us, as once to His own people, "Thou hast played the harlot with
many lovers; yet return to Me, saith the Lord:" Oh, wonder of free
grace! Oh, might this privilege be offered to the apostate angels, which
kept not the covenant of their creation, nor consequently their first
estate, and to the rest of the damned souls in hell! Would God send an
angel from heaven to preach unto them a second covenant, upon the laying
hold whereon, and closing wherewith, they might be received into grace
and favour; how would those poor damned spirits bestir themselves! what
rattling of their red-hot chains! what shaking of their fiery locks! In
a word, what an uproar of joy would there be in hell, upon such glad
tidings! how many glorious churches, as Capernaum, Bethsaida, the seven
churches of Asia, with others in latter times, who have for their
covenant-violation been cast down from the top of heaven, where once
they sat in the beauty and glory of the ordinances, to the very bottom
of hell, a dark and doleful condition; and God hath never spoken such a
word of comfort, nor made any such offer of recovery, and reconciliation
unto them, as He hath done to us unto this day? "Surely He hath not
dealt so with any people." Let it be our wisdom, and our thankfulness,
to accept of it, with both hands; yea, both with hands and hearts. If
God give us hearts suitable to this price that is in our hands,
covenanting hearts, as He gives us yet leave and opportunity to renew
our covenant, it will be to me a blessed security that we are not yet a
lost people; and a new argument of hope, that He intends to do England
good. If neglected and despised, whether this may not be the last time
that ever England shall hear from God, I much doubt, unless it be in
such a voice as that is, "I would have healed England, and she will not
be healed; because I would have purged thee, and thou art not purged,
thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more, till I have
caused My fury to rest upon thee." The Lord forbid such a thing: "for,
how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?"

_Thirdly_, We may be mightily encouraged to this service, in as much as
it is prophesied of, as the great duty and privilege of gospel-times.
You see the evangelical day, is one of those days wherein this prophecy
and promise must be fulfilled. And it is the same privilege and
happiness which was prophesied of, under the type of the sticks made
one, in the hand of the prophet Ezekiel, (Ezek. xxxvii. 16. 22.) For,
though in the literal sense, it be to be understood, as it is expressed,
of the happy reunion of that unhappy divided seed of Jacob, Joseph and
Ephraim, Israel and Judah; yet in a gospel sense, it is to be applied to
the churches of Jesus Christ, in the latter days, which tho' formerly
divided and miserably torn by unnatural quarrels, and wars, yet Christ,
the King of the Church, hath a day wherein He will make them one in His
own hand: the great and gracious design which we humbly conceive Christ
hath now upon these two nations, England and Scotland, even after all
their sad divisions and civil discords, to make them one in His right
hand, to all generations. And this gives me assurance, that the work
shall go on and prosper, yea, prosper gloriously, it having a stronger
foundation to support it than heaven and earth, for they are upheld but
by a word of power. But this work, which is called the new heavens and
the new earth, is upheld by a word of promise; for "we, according to His
promise, look for new heavens, and a new earth, wherein dwells
righteousness." I say, by a word of prophecy and promise, which, it
seems, is stronger than God Himself; for His word binds Him, so that He
can as soon deny Himself, as deny His promise. There shall be therefore
an undoubted accomplishment of these things, which are told us from the
Lord. God will find, or make a people, who shall worship Him in this
holy ordinance; and upon whom He will make good all the mercy and truth;
all the peace and salvation which is bound up in it: only therefore let
me caution and beseech you, not to be wanting to yourselves and your own
happiness: "Judge not yourselves unworthy of such a privilege," nor
"reject the counsel of God against your own souls; sin not against your
own mercies," by withdrawing yourselves from this service, or rebelling
against it. "God will exclude none, that do not exclude themselves."
Yea, further, this seems to speak an argument of hope, that the calling
of the Jews, and the fulness of the Gentiles, is not far behind;
inasmuch as God begins now to pour out His promise in the text upon the
churches, in a more eminent manner than ever we, or our fathers, saw it
in a gospel sense: and, surely, gospel performance must make way for
that full and universal accomplishment thereof, which shall unite
"Israel and Judah, Jew and Gentile, in one perpetual covenant unto the
Lord, that shall never be forgotten." The gospel day is nothing else but
the dawning of that great universal day in the text, wherein God will
make one glorious Church of Jew and Gentile; the day star whereof is now
risen in our horizon: so that I am humbly confident that the same shores
shall not bound this covenant, which bound the two now covenanting
nations; but, as it is said of the gospel, so it will be verified of
this gospel covenant; "The sound thereof will go into all the earth, and
the words of it to the ends of the world." There is a spirit of prophecy
that doth animate this covenant, which will make it swift and active;
swift to run: "His word runs very swiftly." And active, to work
deliverance and safety not only to these two kingdoms, but to all other
Christian churches groaning under, or in danger of, the yoke of
Antichristian tyranny, whom God shall persuade to join in the same, or
like association and covenant. So that, me-thinks, all that travail with
the Psalmist's desire "of seeing the good of God's chosen, and rejoicing
in the gladness of His nation, and glorying with His inheritance," will
certainly rejoice in this day, and in the goodness of God which hath
crowned it with the accomplishment of such a precious promise as here
lies before us: while none can withdraw from, much less oppose, this
service, but such as bear evil will to Zion, and would be unwilling to
see the ruin and downfall of Antichrist, which this blessed covenant
doth so evidently threaten.

_Fourthly_, This hath been the practice of all the churches of God,
before and since Christ; after their apostasies, and captivities for
those apostasies, and recoveries out of these captivities, the first
thing they did was to cement themselves to God, by a more close, entire,
and solemn covenant than ever. Nehemiah, Ezra, Hezekiah, Jeremiah,
Josiah, will all bring in clear evidences to witness this practice.
This, latter churches have learned of them, Germany, France, Scotland.
But what shall I need to mention the churches, whenas the God of the
churches took this course Himself; who, when He pleases to become the
God of any people or person, it is by covenant; as with Abraham,
"Behold, I make a covenant with thee." And whatever mercies He bestows
upon them, it is by covenant. All the blessings of God's people are
covenant blessings: to wicked men, God gives with His left hand, out of
the basket of common providence; but to His saints, He dispenseth with
His right hand, out of the ark of the covenant. "I will make an
everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David."

Yea, which is yet more to our purpose, when the first covenant proved
not, but miscarried, not by any fault that was in the Covenant-Maker,
no, nor simply in the covenant itself; for, if man could have kept it,
it would have given him life; I say, when it was broken, God makes a new
covenant with His people. "Not according to the covenant which I made
with their fathers, which My covenant they brake.... But this shall be
the covenant, ... I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it
in their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be My people."
Because they could not keep the first covenant, God made a second that
should keep them. Oh! that while we are making a covenant with our God,
He would please to make such a covenant with us; so would it be indeed a
"perpetual covenant, that should not be forgotten." Well, you see we
have a covenanting God, a covenant-making God, and a covenant-renewing
God; be we "followers of God, as dear children:" let us be a covenanting
people, a covenant making, a covenant-renewing people; and as our God,
finding fault with the first, let us make a "new covenant, even a
perpetual covenant, that shall never be forgotten."

A _fifth_ motive to quicken us to this duty, may be even the practice of
the Antichristian state and kingdom; popery hath been dexterous to
propagate and spread itself by this means. What else have been all their
fraternities and brotherhoods, and societies, but so many associations
and combinations politic, compacted and obliged, by oaths and covenants,
for the advancing of the Catholic cause, whereby nations and kingdoms
have been subdued to the obedience of the Roman mitre? And prelacy (that
whelp) hath learned this policy of its mother papacy (that lioness) to
corroborate and raise itself to that height, we have seen and suffered
by these artifices; while, by close combinations among themselves, and
swearing to their obedience, all the inferior priesthood, and
church-officers, by ordination engagements and oaths of canonical
obedience, a few have been able to impose their own laws and canons,
upon a whole kingdom; yea, upon three kingdoms, it being an
inconsiderable company, either of ministers or people (the Lord be
merciful to us in this thing) that have had eyes to discover the mystery
of iniquity, which these men have driven; and much more inconsiderable,
that have had hearts to oppose and withstand their tyranny and
usurpations. And why may not God make use of the same stratagem to ruin
their kingdom, which they used to build it? Yea, God hath seemed to do
it already, while in that place where they cast that roaring canon, and
formed their cursed oath, for the establishing their Babel prelacy, with
its endless perpetuity. In the very same place hath this covenant been
debated and voted, once, and a second time, by command of public
authority, for the extirpation of it root and branch, and the casting of
it out for ever, as a plant which "our heavenly Father hath not
planted." And who knows, but this may be the arrow of the Lord's
deliverance, which, as it hath pierced to the very heart of prelacy, so
it may also give a mortal wound to the papacy itself, of which it will
never be healed by the whole college of physicians (the Jesuits), who
study the complexion and health of that Babylonian harlot.

In the sixth and last place, the good success this course hath found in
the churches, may encourage us with much cheerfulness and confidence to
undertake this service. It hath upon it a _probatum est_, from all that
ever conscientiously and religiously used this remedy. It recovered the
state and church of the Jews, again and again, many a time, when it was
ready to give up the ghost; it recovered and kept a good correspondency
between God and them, all the time it was of any esteem and credit
amongst them. It brings letters of testimonial with it, from all the
reformed churches; especially from our neighbour nation and church of
Scotland, where it hath done wonders in recovering that people, when all
the physicians in Christendom had given them over. It is very
remarkable. God promiseth to bring them "into the bond of the covenant;"
and in the next verse it follows, "and I will purge out the rebels from
among you." There is an [and] that couples this duty, and this mercy
together; "I will bring you into the bond," "And I will purge out." The
walls of Jericho have fallen flat before it. The dagon of the bishop's
service-book broke its neck before this ark of the covenant. Prelacy and
prerogative have bowed down, and given up the ghost at its feet. What a
reformation hath followed at the heels of this glorious ordinance! and
truly, even among us, as poorly and lamely, and brokenly, as it hath
been managed among us. I am confident, we had given up the ghost before
this time, had it not been for this water of life. Oh! what glorious
success might we expect, if we did make such cheerful, such holy, such
conscientious addresses, as become the law of so solemn an ordinance!
truly, could I see such a willing people in this day of God's power, as
are here in the text, encouraging and engaging one another, in an holy
conspiracy; "Come, let us join ourselves to the Lord, in a perpetual
covenant;" I have faith enough to promise and prophesy to you in the
name of the Lord, and in the words of His servant Haggai, "From this
very day I will bless you." And that you may know of what sovereignty
this ordinance is; take notice of this, that this is the last physic
that ever the church shall take or need; it lies clear in the text; for
it is an everlasting covenant; and therefore the last that ever shall be
made. After the full and final accomplishment of this promise and duty,
the church shall be of so excellent a complexion, that "the inhabitant
shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein, shall be
forgiven their iniquity." The Lord make it such physic to us for
Christ's sake.



THE SOLEMN LEAGUE AND COVENANT.

SERMON AT LONDON.

_BY THOMAS CASE._


I come now to the third query, how? And this inquiry divides itself into
two branches--How to (I.) Acceptation and (II.) Perpetuity? For the
satisfying of both which, I will fetch as much as may be out of the
text, that so you may yet further behold what proportion there is
between the duty there, and that which lies before us this day.

In the first place, we must inquire how this duty may be so managed,
that God may accept of us in the doing of it? How to acceptation?

Now, in the general, we must know that this service, being an ordinance
of God, must be undertaken and managed with an ordinance frame of heart,
_i.e._ according to the laws and rules of divine worship; and by how
much the more sacred and solemn this ordinance is, by so much the more
ought we to call up and provoke the choicest, and heavenliest of those
affections and dispositions of spirit, wherewith we make our
addressments to the holy things of God.

In particular, _First_, We are to come to this service, with the most
ponderous advisedness, and most serious deliberation of judgment, that
may be. It is one of those grand qualifications which God Himself calls
for to an oath. "Thou shalt swear in truth, in judgment, and in
righteousness." In truth for the matter, and that we have already
examined in the former sermon in righteousness, in reference to the
keeping of the oath (of which hereafter) and in judgment, in respect of
the taking or making of the oath, the thing which we are now about, that
we should well consider what we do. And indeed, if at any time, and in
any undertaking, that advice be useful, "Ponder the path of thy feet,"
"And keep thy foot when thou enterest into the house of God;" then
certainly it is most seasonable, when a people or person draw near to
make or renew their covenant with the most high God. And it seems, in
the latter of those two Scriptures now quoted, the Holy Ghost doth
principally refer to this duty of making vows and covenants with God;
the second verse doth intimate such a business, "Be not rash with thy
mouth, and let not thy heart be hasty to utter anything before God." To
utter what? The fourth verse is express, "when thou makest a vow unto
God." So that it is clear, the purpose of the Holy Ghost in that place
is, as in all our holy services, so especially in this of vows, to
caution all the people of God, when they draw near to utter their vows
unto the Lord, to manage it with the greatest deliberation, and
solidness of judgment that is possible; to sit down and consider with
ourselves before hand, with whom we have to deal? What we have to do?
Upon what warrant? By what rule? To what end? "The lame and the blind,"
God's soul hates for a sacrifice, The lame affections, and the blind
ignorant judgment. And well He may; for certainly, they that do not
swear in judgment, will not, cannot swear in righteousness; they that do
not make their vows in judgment, will not, cannot pay, or perform them
in righteousness. He that swears he knows not what, will observe he
cares not how. Incogitant making, will end in unconscionable breaking of
covenant; and, if need be, in a cursed abjuration of it; for rash
swearing is a precipice to forswearing. And therefore, if any of you
have not well weighed this service, or be any ways unsatisfied, in
whole, or in parts, I advise you to forbear, till your judgments be
better informed. "Whatsoever is not of faith, is sin." Provided, that
this be not done merely in a pretence to evade and elude this service,
to which God and the two nations call you, as here in the text. "Come,
let us join." Take heed of casting a mist of willing prejudice and
affected ignorance, before your own eyes; such the apostle speaks of, to
no other purpose, but that your own malignity may steal away in that
mist undiscovered; for be sure, your sin will find you out. An ingenious
ignorance and truly conscientious tenderness, is accompanied with an
ingenuous and conscientious use of all means, for information and
satisfaction; and to such, I make no question, the ministers of Christ
will be ready to communicate what light they have, for resolving doubts,
removing scruples, and satisfying conscience, whensoever you shall make
your addresses for that purpose. In the mean time, if there be any that,
under pretence of unsatisfiedness, do shun the duty and information too;
they will be found, but to mock God and authority; to whose justice and
wisdom therefore I must leave them. God tells His people, when He joins
Himself to them, "I will marry thee to Myself, in righteousness, and
judgment." How in judgment? Because God considers what He does, when He
takes a people or person to Himself; not that God chuseth for any wealth
or worth in the creature, faith foreseen, or works foreseen; but that
finding it (on the contrary) poor and beggarly, and undone, and
foreseeing what it is like to prove, crooked and froward, unteachable
and untractable; He sits down to speak after the manner of men, and
considers, what course to take, and what it is like to cost Him, to make
them such a people, as He may delight in, and then consulting with His
treasures, and finding He hath wherewithal to bear their charges, and
to bring about His own ends; He resolves to take them, and marry them to
Himself, whatsoever it cost Him. The result of such a consultation you
may read, dropped from God's own pen, "And I said, how shall I put thee
among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of
the hosts of nations?" Here is God's wise deliberation on the matter:
"how shall I put thee?" That is, how shall I do this? But I must do it
to Mine own dishonour; for I see before-hand what thou wilt prove; thou
wilt be the same that ever thou wast; as idolatrous, as adulterous, as
unstable, as backsliding as ever. It is not a pleasant land, a goodly
heritage, that will make thee better. Well, after some pause, God was
resolved what to do: and I said, hear His resolution, "Thou shalt call
Me, my Father, and shalt not turn away from Me:" that is, as if He had
said, I will take this course with thee, I will first give thee the
heart of a child, "thou shalt call Me, Father:" and then I will give
thee the inheritance of a child, "a goodly heritage." And when I have
done; I will not leave thee to thyself, but I will knit thee to Myself,
by an indissoluble union. "I will put My Spirit into thee." "And thou
shalt not turn away from Me." There is God's wise resolution; He
resolves to do all Himself, and then He is sure it will not fail His
expectation; He undertakes it. "Thou shalt call Me, my Father, and shalt
not turn away from Me." Thus God, when He marrieth His people to
Himself, doeth it in judgment. Now therefore, "be ye followers of God,
as dear children." And since you come now about the counterpart of the
same work; namely, to join or marry yourselves to God, do it in
judgment. Consider well what you do; and, among other things, since you
are so poor, and nothing in yourselves, as you have seen in the opening
of this precious Scripture; bethink yourselves where you will have
strength and sufficiency, to make good this great and solemn engagement
with your God. But of this more hereafter.

_Secondly_, See that you come to this service with a reverential frame
of spirit, with that holy fear and awe, upon your hearts, as becomes the
greatness and holiness of that God, and that ordinance, with whom you
have to do; remembering that you are this day to swear before God, by
God, to God: either of which, singly considered, might justly make us
fear and tremble; how much more may this threefold cord bow and bind our
hearts down in an humble, and holy prosternation? It is said of Jacob,
"He sware by the fear of his father Isaac." Jacob in his oath chooseth
this title of fear, to give unto God, to shew with what fear he came;
but to swear by this God, what should we do; when, as I say, we come to
swear by Him, and to Him? Surely, when He is so especially the object of
our oath, He should then especially be the object of our fear. The
consideration of that infinite distance between God and us, may
wonderfully advantage us towards the getting of our hearts into this
holy posture. Great is that distance that is between a king and a
beggar; and yet, there is but creature and creature; greater is that
distance between heaven and earth; and yet these, but creature and
creature; and yet, greater is the distance between an angel and a worm;
and yet still, there is but creature and creature. But now, the distance
that is between God and us, is infinitely wider; for behold, there is
the "Mighty, Almighty Creator, before whom all the nations are but as a
drop of a bucket, and the small dust of the balance." And the poor
nothing creature, "vanity, and altogether lighter than vanity." And yet,
this is not all; yea, this is the shortest measure of that distance,
whereof we speak; the distance of Creator and the creature; lo, it is
found between God and the angels in heaven, and the "spirits of just men
made perfect;" in respect whereof, the Psalmist saith of God, "He
humbleth Himself to behold the things that are in heaven." It is a
condescension for that infinitely glorious being, who dwells in Himself,
and is abundantly satisfied in the beholding of His own incomprehensible
excellencies, to vouchsafe to look out of Himself, and behold the things
that are in heaven; the best of those glorious inhabitants that stand
round about His throne; who therefore, conscious of that infinite
distance wherein they stand, make their addresses with the greatest
self-abasements, "covering their faces, and casting themselves down"
upon those heavenly pavements. But, behold! upon us, poor wretches, that
dwell here below, in these houses of clay, there is found that which
widens this distance beyond all expression or apprehension; sin sets us
farther beneath a worm, than a worm is beneath an angel. I had almost
said (bear with the expression, I use it, because no other expression
can reach it) sin sets us as much beneath our creatureship, as our
creatureship sets us beneath the Creator. Surely there is more of God to
be seen in the worst of a creature, than there is of a creature to be
seen in the best of sin; there is nothing vile and base enough under
heaven, to make a simile of sin.

And now, therefore, if it be such a condescension for the great God to
behold the things that are in heaven, how infinite condescension is it,
to behold the sinful things that are on earth! and if sinless saints,
and spotless angels do tender their services, which yet are as spotless
as their persons, with such reverential deportment; what abhorrency and
self-annihilation can be sufficient to accompany our approaches to this
God of holiness, in such high and holy engagements, in whom, when God
looks out of Himself, He can behold nothing besides our creatureship, of
our own, but that which His soul hates! "Let us therefore have grace,
whereby we may serve God acceptably," in this so excellent an ordinance,
"with reverence and godly fear; for our God is a consuming fire." The
acceptable serving of God, is with reverence and godly fear. The Lord
teach us to bring fear, that so we may find acceptation.

Again, _Thirdly_, to that end, labour to approve yourselves to God in
this service, in the uprightness and sincerity of your hearts. The want
of this, God lays oft to the charge of the Israelites, as in other
duties, so especially in this, which is now before us, "They lied to Him
with their tongues: for their heart was not right with Him; neither were
they stedfast in His covenant." And this stood between them and their
acceptance: God tells the prophet Ezekiel as much; "Son of man, these
men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put the stumbling-block
of their iniquity before their face; should I be inquired of at all by
them?" They come with their hearts full of their lusts; so many lusts,
so many idols; and for this God refuseth to be inquired of by them:
"should I be inquired of?" is as much as, "I will not be inquired of."
It is a denial with disdain; "should I?" Or, if they be so impudent to
inquire, He will not answer; or if He give them an answer, it shall be a
cold one; He will give them their answer at the door; better none; "I
will answer them according to the multitude of their idols," _i.e._
according to the merit of their idolatry: they bring the matter of their
own damnation with them, and they shall carry away nothing else from Me,
but the answer or obsignation of that damnation. Oh! it is a dangerous
thing, to bring the love of any sin with us to the ordinances of God,
"If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear my prayer."
And so may we say to our own souls; if I regard iniquity, the Lord will
not accept my person, He will not regard my covenant. If God see
anything lie nearer our hearts than Himself, He will scorn us, and our
services. If, therefore, you would be accepted, "out with your idols;"
cast out the love of sin, out of your hearts; and be upright with your
God in this holy undertaking. It is the main qualification in the text,
"they shall inquire the way to Zion, with their faces thitherward,"
_i.e._, in sincerity, with uprightness of spirit, with the full set and
bent of their souls: as it is said of Christ, when He went to His
passion; "He stedfastly set His face to go up to Jerusalem." He went
with all His heart to be crucified; with a strong bent of spirit.
Beloved, we are not going to "crucifying work," (unless it be to crucify
the flesh with the affections and lusts) but to marriage work; "to join
ourselves to the Lord, in an everlasting covenant." Let us do it "with
our faces Zion-ward;" yea, let us stedfastly set our faces
reformation-ward and heaven-ward, and God-ward, and Christ-ward, with
whom we enter covenant this day. A man may inquire the way to Zion, with
his face towards Babylon; a people or person may enter covenant with
God, with their hearts Rome-ward, and earth-ward, and sin-ward, and
hell-ward. Friends, look to your hearts. "Peradventure, said Jacob, my
father will feel me, and I shall seem to him as one that mocks, and I
shall bring a curse upon me, and not a blessing." Without all
peradventure, may we say, our Father will feel us; for He searcheth all
hearts, and understandeth the imagination of the thoughts. If we be
found as they that mock, shewing much love with our mouths, while our
hearts are far from Him, we shall bring a curse upon ourselves; yea, and
upon the kingdoms also, and not a blessing. It is reported to the honour
of Judah, in the day of their covenanting with their God; "they had
sworn with all their heart, and with their whole desire." And their
success was answerable to their sincerity; for so it follows, "And the
Lord was found of them, and gave them rest round about." Oh! that this
might be our honour and happiness in this day, of our lifting up our
hands to the most high God, that God might not see in us a double heart,
an heart and an heart, as the Hebrew expresses it, _i.e._ one heart for
God, and another for our idols; one heart for Christ, and another for
Antichrist,: but He might see us a single, upright hearted people,
without base mixtures and composition; for He loves truth, _i.e._
sincerity, in the inward parts; that He finding such sincerity as He
looks for, we also might find such success as we look for; safety and
deliverance to both the nations; yea, that both in respect of our
sincerity and success, that might be made good upon us that is spoken to
the eternal honour of that good king Hezekiah, "And in every work that
he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the
commandments to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and
prospered." Universal sincerity is accompanied with universal
prosperity; in all he did, he was upright, and in all he did, he
prospered. Brethren, whatever you want, be sure you want not sincerity;
let God see you fully set in your hearts to take all from sin, and to
give all to Jesus Christ; me-thinks I hear God saying unto us,
"according to your uprightness, so be it unto you."

In the _Fourth_ place, if you would be accepted by God in this holy
service, labour to make God your end. It is your pattern in the text,
"they shall go and seek the Lord;" it was not now "howling upon their
beds for corn and wine," as formerly; of which God says, "they cried not
unto Me," _i.e._, they did not make God the end of their prayers; as
elsewhere God tells them: "When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and
seventh month, even those seventy years, did ye fast to Me, even unto
Me?" In seventy years, they kept sevenscore fasts in Babylon; and yet,
amongst them all, they kept not one day unto God; for though the duty
looked upon God, they that did the duty did not look upon God; that is,
they did not set up God, as their chief end, in fasting and praying:
they mourned not so much for their sin, as for their captivity; or, if
for their sin, they mourned for it not so much as God's dishonour, as
the cause of their captivity; they were not troubled so much, that they
had by their sins walked contrary to God, as that God, by His judgments,
had "walked contrary to them." They fasted and prayed, rather to get off
their chains than to get off their sins; to get rid of the bondage of
the Babylonians, than to get rid of the servitude of their own base
lusts. But now, blessed be God, it was otherwise: "the children of
Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together" to what end?
"They shall seek the Lord," _i.e._ they shall seek God for Himself, and
not only for themselves; "going and weeping;" why? Not so much that He
hath offended them, as that they have offended Him; for their sins, more
than for their punishments; so it is more distinctly reported, "A voice
was heard upon the high places, weeping and supplications of the
children of Israel; because they have perverted their way, and have
forsaken the Lord their God." They had forgotten God before, not only in
their sins, but in their duties; "they cried not to Me; they fasted not
to Me; not at all unto Me." But now they remember the Lord their God;
they seek His face; they labour to atone Him; yea, they seek Him to be
their Lord, as well as their Saviour; to govern them, as well as to
deliver them; "they ask the way to Zion;" they require as well, and
more, how they should serve Him, as that He should save them. "The Lord
is our judge, the Lord is our law-giver, the Lord is our king, He will
save us." Beloved Christians, let us write after this copy, and in this
great business we have in hand, let us seek God, and seek Him as a
fountain of holiness, as well as a fountain of happiness. Take we heed
of those base, low, dung-hill ends, which prevailed upon the Shechemites
to enter into covenant with the God of the Hebrews, "shall not their
cattle and substance be ours?" Let the two nations, and every soul in
both the nations, that lift up the hand to the most high God, in this
holy league and covenant, take heed of, and abhor such unworthy
thoughts, if they should be crowding in upon this service, and say unto
them, as once Christ to Peter, "get thee behind me, Satan; thou
savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men."
You may remember how it fared with Hamor, and his son Shechem, and their
people, to whom they propounded these base ends. God did not only
disappoint them of their ends, but destroy them for them; their aims
were to get the Hebrews' substance and cattle; but they lost their own,
with lives to boot; "For it came to pass on the third day, when they
were sore, two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, came upon the city
boldly, and slew all the males. And the sons of Jacob came upon the
slain, and spoiled the city; they took their sheep, and their oxen, and
all their wealth." A most horrid and bloody treachery and cruelty in
them, which stands as a brand of infamy upon their foreheads to this
day; but a most just and righteous censure from God, and a caution to
all succeeding generations, of prostituting heavenly and holy ordinances
to earthly and sensual ends. Oh! let it be our "admonition, upon whom
the ends of the world are come, to the end, that we may not tempt God,
as they also tempted." For, if God so much abhorred, and so severely
punished these worldly respects in the men of the world; if God was so
angry with poor purblind heathen, who had no other light for their
guide, but the glimmering light of nature; how will His anger not only
kindle, but flame in the avenging of such baseness upon Christians, a
people of His own, who have the glorious light of the gospel of Jesus
Christ, to discover to them higher and heavenly ends and references? So
that such a kingdom, people, or person, that should dare to bring such
base carnal ends, to so spiritual and divine a contract, should be made
a monument of the wrath and vengeance of divine justice; and while they
propound to themselves safety, or riches, or greatness, from such an
excellent ordinance, God makes it by a strange but a righteous hand, an
occasion of misery and ruin to them and their posterity, to many
generations.

Christians, labour to set up God in this day and duty, wherein you
engage yourselves so nigh unto Him; and if you would have heavenly
blessings, see that you propound and pursue heavenly ends and aims;
lest, while you come to make a covenant with God, you commit idolatry
against Him. Whatsoever we make our ultimate and highest end, we make
our God. If therefore you cannot make God your sole, your only end, yet
be sure you make Him your choicest, your chiefest end; keep God in His
own place; and let all self-respects whatsoever vail to His glory,
according to that great rule, "whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever
ye do, do all to the glory of God."

_Fifthly_, To do this business to acceptation, we must do it cheerfully:
as God loves a cheerful giver, so He loves a cheerful hearer, a cheerful
petitioner, and a cheerful covenanter; and you have it in the text too,
"come let us;" there is their readiness and cheerfulness to the work; as
it was that for which the apostle doth commend his Macedonians in
another service. "This they did, not as we hoped, but first gave
themselves to the Lord." So these, they give themselves to God of their
own accord, "come let us." Oh! that the ministers of the Gospel might
have occasion to make the same boast of you, concerning this solemn
ordinance before you, that they might say and rejoice, that you were a
people, "that gave yourselves to the Lord," and unto the work of
reformation, not by a Parliamentary fear, or by our ministerial
compulsions; but, above our hopes, and beyond our expectations; of your
own accord. See what a wonder, not only of cheerfulness, but of joy and
triumph, is recorded of the Jews in king Asa's time, in their taking of
the covenant. "They sware unto the Lord with a loud voice, and with
shouting; and with trumpets, and with cornets. And all Judah rejoiced at
the oath; for they had sworn with all their hearts." There was indeed a
severe mulct, a capital censure enacted, against those that should
refuse, and reject this ordinance. "They should be put to death, whether
great or small, whether man or woman." A very grievous censure; but it
seems there was neither need, nor use for it; "for all Judah rejoiced at
the oath;" the people looked upon this service, not as their pressure,
but as their privilege; and therefore came to it, not with contentedness
only, but an holy triumph, and so saved the magistrate and themselves
the labour and charges of executing that sentence on delinquents. Oh!
that this may be your wisdom and honour; that whatever penalty the
honourable Parliaments of either nation, shall in their wisdom think fit
to proportion to the grievous sin of rebelling against this covenant of
the Lord; (and it seems by the instance before, that whatsoever penalty
they shall ordain less than death, will not be justice only but
moderation) I say, whatever it shall be, it may be rendered useless and
invalid by the forwardness and rejoicings of an obedient people; that
all England, as well as Scotland, would rejoice at the oath, and swear
with all their hearts. For certainly it will not be so much our duty as
our prerogative, as I have shewed you before, to enter into covenant
with God and His people. It is the day of God's power: the Lord make you
a "willing people." And, as a testimony of this willingness and joy,
imitate the people here in the text, and stir up one another, and
provoke one another to this holy service. "Let us join ourselves to the
Lord." They express their charity, as well as their joy; they would not
go to Zion alone; they call as many as they meet with them; "come let us
join ourselves to the Lord." Oh, that this might be your temper! It is
the very character of the evangelical church; as both Isaiah and Micah
have described it; their words be the same. "Many people shall go and
say, come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord." Oh! that
while neutrals and malignants do discourage one another, and set off one
another, and embitter one another's spirits; God and His ministers might
find you encouraging each other, and provoking one another, and
labouring to oil one another's spirits, to this (as other) Gospel duty
and prerogative; God could not choose, but be much pleased with such a
sight. I might have made this a distinct qualification, but for
brevity's sake, I couch it under this head. I come to the last. If you
would be accepted, bring faith with you to this service: and that in a
fourfold reference; 1. God. 2. The ordinance. 3. Ourselves. 4. Jesus
Christ.

_First_, In reference unto God; "for he that will come to God," in any
ordinance, "must believe that God is and that He is a rewarder of them
that diligently seek Him." There is nothing God takes better at His
people's hand, than when they come with their hearts as full of good
thoughts of God as ever they can hold; such as, "Lo, this is our God, we
have waited for Him, and He will save us; we have waited for Him, we
will be glad, and rejoice in His salvation." "He will save," "we will be
glad," _i.e._, God will undoubtedly give us occasion of gladness and
triumph in His praises. Oh, sweet and blessed confidence of divine
goodness! how well doth this become the children of such a father, who
hath styled Himself the Father of mercies? Good thoughts of God do
mightily please, and even engage God to shew mercy to His people. "Let
us therefore come with boldness to the throne of grace;" even in this
ordinance also, "that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help us in
this time of our need."

_Secondly_, Let us bring faith in reference to the duty; as we are to
believe well of God, so we are to believe well of the duty, that it is
an ordinance wherein God will be sanctified, and found of them that seek
Him. It is not enough, that we seek Him in His ordinance, but that we
believe it to be His ordinance. "Whatever is not of faith, is sin;" He
speaks not of a faith that doth justify the person; but of a faith that
doth justify the performance; that is, a thorough conviction of
conscience, that the work, whatsoever it is, is such that the word will
bear me out in it, such as God Himself doth approve. To do doubtfully,
is to do sinfully; an ignorant person cannot please God.

_Thirdly_, Bring faith in reference to your own persons; believe that
God will accept of them in this ordinance; whatever your success shall
be in regard of the kingdom, yet you shall find acceptance in regard of
your persons: so the church. "Thou meetest him that rejoiceth, and
worketh righteousness, those that remember Thee in Thy ways." When a
people or person can say, as the church in another place, "In the way of
Thy judgments, have we waited for Thee, O Lord; the desire of our soul
is to Thy name, and to the remembrance of Thee," God will not stay till
they come unto Him, but He will meet them half-way; "thou meetest him,"
like the father of the prodigal, while they are yet half-way, He will
see, and run, and meet, and fall upon their neck; and while they weep at
His feet, tears of contrition; He will weep over their necks, the tears
of compassion: Oh! stir up yourselves, and engage your faith to believe,
and expect a gracious entertainment. If God see you coming in the
integrity and uprightness of your hearts, to enter into covenant with
God, to take Him as your God, and to give up yourselves to be His
people, to take away all from sin, and to give all to Jesus Christ; He
will certainly take it well at your hands, and say unto you, "come, my
people, and welcome; I will be your God, and you shall be my people;"
which that you may not miss of,

In the _fourth_ place, come believingly, in reference to Jesus Christ;
be sure you bring a Christ with you; for "He hath made us accepted in
the Beloved." Come without a Christ, and go without acceptance.

The day of atonement among the Jews was called the day of expiation; and
the word _kippurim_ is derived from an Hebrew root, that signifies to
cover; and so the day of atonement was as much as to say, "the day of
covering; the covering of nakedness: and the covering of sin." "Blessed
is the man whose transgression is forgiven, and whose sin is covered."
In which very name of the day, the ground or reason is held forth, why
it was called a day of atonement, because it was a day of covering:
wherein Christ was typified, Who is the "the covering of the saints; the
long white robes of His righteousness" covering both their persons and
performances; so that the nakedness of neither doth appear in the eyes
of His Father; "He hath beheld no iniquity in Jacob, neither hath seen
perverseness in Israel." Why? Not because there was no "iniquity in
Jacob, nor perverseness in Israel," for there was hardly any thing else;
but because their iniquity and perverseness were hid from His eyes,
being covered with the mantle of His Son's righteousness, the Messiah,
which He had promised, and they so much looked for. Let us therefore in
this service, as in all, "put on the Lord Jesus." That as Jacob in the
garments of his elder brother Esau, so we in the garments of our elder
brother Jesus, may find acceptance and obtain the blessing. And thus
much be spoken concerning the first branch of this third query, how to
acceptation?

I come now to the Second branch of it, and that is, How to perpetuity?
Or, how may we perform this service so that it may be "an everlasting
covenant, that may never be forgotten?" To that end, take these few
brief directions, and I have done.

_First_, Labour to come to this service with much soul-affliction for
former violation of the covenant, either in refusing, or profaning, or
breaking thereof: the foundations must be laid low, where we would build
for many generations. In what deep sorrows had you need to lay the
foundations of this covenant, which you would have stand to eternity,
that it may be "an everlasting covenant." This you have in the text;
"they shall seek the Lord, going and weeping;" weeping in the sense of
their former rebellions and apostasies, whereby they forfeited their
faith, and brake their covenant with the Lord their God; and it was no
ordinary slight business they made of it. "A voice was heard upon the
high places, weeping and supplication." They were not a few silent
tears: no, they "lift up their voices and wept," as was said of Esau.
They cried so loud, that they were heard a great way off. "A voice was
heard upon the mountains;" and it was as bitter, as it was loud; "a
great mourning, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of
Megiddon," when all Judah, Jerusalem, Jeremiah the prophet, and all the
singers, bewailed the death of their good king Josiah, with a grievous
lamentation, "and made it an ordinance forever." Oh! that as we have
their service in hand, so we had their heads and their hearts, to manage
it with rivers of tears, for our former vileness: that we could weep
this day together, and afterward apart, as it is prophesied, "Every
family apart, and our wives apart;" yea, and every soul apart, that we
have dealt so evilly with so good a God, so unfaithfully with so
faithful a God; that we could put our mouths in the dust, and smite upon
our thigh, and be ashamed and confounded, for all the wickedness we have
committed against God and His covenant, in any, or all these ways. Such
a posture God will see us in, before He will shew us "the way to Zion;"
before He will reveal to us the model and platform of reformation; for
so was His charge to Ezekiel, "If they be ashamed of all that they have
done, shew them the forms of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the
goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms
thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and
all the laws thereof, and write it in their sight." Surely, this
blessed prophecy hath an eye upon our times, for this is one of those
days, as I told you before, wherein God will make good these gracious
words unto His people; and God hath called together His Ezekiels, His
ministers, to "shew the house," _i.e._, the form and pattern of the
evangelical house or church, unto the house of England and Scotland.
"Shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed." That
is, shew them the outside thereof, shew them "that there is such a
house," which they never yet beheld with their eyes, that they may be
humbled and ashamed of their former idolatries. And thus do our Ezekiels
tell us, there is a way of gospel government, of such beauty and
excellency, as our eyes never yet beheld, nor the eyes of our
forefathers; to the end, that we may be ashamed of all our former
idolatries and superstitions, our monstrous mixtures of popery and
will-worship in the ordinances of Christ; and that we have not sooner
inquired after the mind of Christ, how He will be worshipped in His
house; but now, unless we be ashamed, _i.e._, deeply and thoroughly
humbled, for all that we have done unworthy of Christ and His worship,
and the covenant of our God, we shall never see the inside, that is, the
laws and the ordinances, and the forms of this house, which are both
various and curious; for so the variety and repetition of the words
imply. The prophets are not to reveal these unto us, unless we be
ashamed; God will either withdraw them from us, or, which is worse,
withdraw Himself from them; so that our eyes shall never behold the Lord
in the beauty of holiness; we shall not be admitted to see the beauty
and glory of such a reformation, as our souls long for. And as God will
see us in this posture, before He reveal to us the model and platform of
reformation; so also, till we be in such a posture of deep humiliation,
for our former abominations, we shall never be stedfast and faithful in
the covenant of God. Till our hearts be throughly broken for
covenant-breach, we will not pass much for breaking covenant, upon every
fresh temptation. Yea, till that time we be humbled, not for a day only,
and so forth: but unless we labour to maintain an habitual frame of
godly sorrow upon our hearts for our covenant-violations, shall we ever
be to purpose conscientious of our covenant? A sad remembrance of old
sins is a special means to prevent new. When every solemn remembrance of
former vileness, can fetch tears from our eyes, and blood from our
hearts, and fill our faces with an holy shame, the soul will be holily
shy of the like abominations, and of all occasions and tendencies
thereunto: "Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and
the gall. My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled within
me." When old sins cost dear, new sins will not find an easy
entertainment. When old sins are new afflictions, when the remembrance
of them is as wormwood and gall, the soul will not easily be bewitched
to drink a new draught of that poisoned cup any more. Christian, believe
me, or thou mayest find it by experience too true, when thou hast forgot
old sins, or canst remember them without new affliction of soul, thou
art near a fall; look to thyself, and cry to God for preventing grace.
There will be great hopes we shall be faithful in our new covenant, when
we come with a godly sense and sorrow for our abuse of old, and labour
to maintain it upon our spirits.

_Secondly_, If you would have this covenant to be a perpetual covenant,
labour to see old scores crossed; do not only mourn for thy
covenant-unfaithfulness; but labour to get thy pardon written and sealed
to thee in the blood of the covenant. There is virtue enough in the
blood of the covenant, to expiate the guilt of thy sins against the
covenant. "I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean;
from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you."
Their sins of idolatry, were sins especially against their covenant;
idolatry being the violation of the marriage-knot, between God and a
people; yet even from them doth God promise to cleanse them, upon their
repentance and conversion. The blood of the covenant, compared to water
for the cleansing virtue thereof, should cleanse them from their
covenant defilements. "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all
sin." "Thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet, return again
to me, saith the Lord." It is a mighty encouragement to renew our
covenants with God, that He is so ready to pardon the breach of old; and
the sense of this pardon is a mighty engagement and strengthening, to
keep our new covenants. Oh! for God to say to a poor soul, "be of good
cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee." "And I have blotted out thy sins as a
cloud, and thy transgressions as a thick cloud." All thy unkindnesses
and unfaithfulnesses, thy treacherous dealings against the covenant,
shall be forgotten; they shall do thee no harm. This will mightily
strengthen the hands, and fortify the heart, and even make it
impenetrable and impregnable against all the solicitations and
importunities of old temptations: see a notable instance of this, "I
will heal their backslidings, I will love them freely; for mine anger is
turned away from him." "I will be as the dew to Israel." "His branches
shall spread." "They that dwell under His shadow shall return." What
follows these gracious promises? Why, Ephraim shall say, "What have I to
do any more with idols?" He that before was so inseparably joined to
idols, that he could not be divorced from them; "Ephraim is joined to
idols." All the blows that God gave him, tho' God should have beaten him
to pieces, as he himself afterward confessed, could not beat him off
from his idols; insomuch, that God at length gave him over, as an
hopeless child. "Ephraim is joined to idols, let him lone." Yet, no
sooner doth this Ephraim hear of a pardon, and of the love of God to
him, but the bonds between him and his idols are dissolved, and away he
thrusts them with indignation. Ephraim shall say, "What have I to do
with idols?" Or as the prophet Isaiah expresseth it, "Ye shall defile
the covering of the graven images of silver, and the ornament of thy
molten images of gold; thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth,
thou shalt say unto it, get thee hence." And thus it is with a people,
or a person, when once "God sheds abroad His Spirit in their hearts,"
and makes them "hear joy and gladness," in speaking, or sealing, a
pardon upon their souls; they that before were joined to their idols,
drunkenness, uncleanness, covetousness, pride, ways of false worship,
old superstitious customs, and ceremonies, and the like; so that there
was no parting of them; or those who had long been grappling and
conflicting with their strong corruptions and old temptations, and in
those conflicts had received many a foil, and got many a fall to the
wounding of their consciences, and cutting deep gashes upon their souls;
now they stand up with a kind of omnipotence among them, no temptation
is able to stand before them; they say to their idols, whether sinful
company, or sinful customs, "get ye hence, and what have I to do any
more with idols?" What have I to do with such and such base company?
What have I to do with such base filthy lusts? "I am my beloved's, and
my beloved is mine." Christ is mine, and I am His. The reason of it is,
because pardon begets love; "she loved much, because much was forgiven
her." And love begets strength: "for love is as strong as death": yea,
stronger than sin or death; "They loved not their lives to the death,"
and "I count not my life dear," says Paul, when once the man had tasted
of the free grace of God in the pardon of his sins, "who before was a
blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious." He could find in his
heart, not only to lay down a lust, but to lay down his life too for
Jesus Christ: "for whose sake, (saith he), I have suffered the loss of
all things; and I count not my life dear, so that I might finish my
course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord
Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God."

My beloved Christians, if you would be faithful in the covenant of God,
into which you are now entering, sue out your pardon for what is past;
yea, entreat the Lord, not only to give a pardon, but to speak a pardon,
and seal a pardon upon your hearts; and never give the Lord rest, till
the Lord have given rest to your souls. "The joy of the Lord is your
strength."

_Thirdly_, If you would make an unchangeable covenant, with an
unchangeable God, come furnished with and maintain upon your hearts, an
abundant measure of self-distrust; labour to be thoroughly convinced of
your own nothingness and disability. "By his own strength shall no man
prevail." Surely, thine own treachery may inform thee, and thine own
backslidings may convince thee, to confess with Jeremiah, "O Lord, I
know (I know it by sad experience) the way of man is not in himself: It
is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." Staupitius confessed to
Luther, that he thought in his very conscience he had above a thousand
times renewed his covenant with God, and as many times broken it: a sad
confession, and yet how many among us may take up the like lamentation!
Be convinced of it, I beseech you, and maintain the sense of this
conviction upon your spirits. Say oft within yourself, I am nothing,
worse than nothing. This treacherous heart of mine will betray me into
the breach of my covenant, if the Lord leave me to myself, I shall one
day fall by the hand of my corruptions. He that walks tremblingly, walks
safely.

In the _Fourth_ place, be often renewing your resolutions. It was the
exhortation of that good man to the new converts at Antioch, where they
were first called Christians, "that they should cleave unto the Lord
with full purpose of heart." This covenant, I have shewed you, is the
ordinance whereby you cleave unto the Lord, the joining ordinance. Oh!
do it with full purpose of heart, and be often putting on fresh and
frequent resolutions, not to suffer every base temptation of Satan,
every deceitful, or malignant solicitation of the world, every foolish
and carnal suggestion of the flesh, to bribe and seduce you from that
fidelity which you swear this day to Jesus Christ and the kingdoms. A
well grounded resolution is half the work, and the better half too; for
he that hath well resolved, hath conquered his will; and he that hath
conquered his will, hath overcome the greatest difficulty: no such
difficulty in spiritual things, as to prevail with one's own heart. With
these cords, therefore, of well bottomed resolutions, be oft binding
yourselves to your covenant, as once Ulysses did himself to his mast,
that you may not be bewitched by any Syrenian song of the flesh, world,
or the devil, to violate your holy covenant, and drown yourselves in a
sea of perdition. And to that end, it would not be altogether useless,
to fix your covenant in some place of your houses, or bed-chamber, where
it may be oftenest in your eyes, to admonish you of your religious and
solemn engagements, under which you have brought your own souls. The
Jews had their "phylacteries, or borders upon their garments," which
they did wear also upon their heads, and upon their arms; which, tho'
they abused afterward, not only to pride, making them broader than their
first size or pattern, in ostentation and boasting of their holiness,
our Saviour condemns in the scribes and pharisees. And to superstition,
for they used them as superstitious helps in prayer, which they coloured
under a false derivation of the word in the Hebrew, yet God indulged
them in this ceremony, as an help for their memories, to put them in
remembrance to keep the law of the Lord. And God Himself seems to use
this art of memory, as it were, when, comforting His people, He tells
them, "behold I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands, thy walls
are continually before Me."

I must confess, the nature of man is very prone to abuse and pervert
such natural helps to idolatry and superstition. This instance of the
Jews, wretchedly improving their phylacteries to superstitious purposes,
their idolizing of the brazen serpent; and thereby of a cure, turning it
into a plague, a snare, with the like, are sufficient testimonies. And
we see how the papists have abused and adulterated the lawful use of
natural mediums, to the unlawful use of artificial mediums of their own
inventions; images and crucifixes, first to help their memories, and
stir up their devotions in their prayers, and then to pray unto them, as
mediums of divine worship. The more cautious had Christians need be in
the use of those mediums, which either God hath ordained by special
command for the help of our memories, and stirring up of our graces, as
the visible elements in the sacraments; or such natural advantages,
which moral equity allows us for the help of our understandings and
memories in spiritual concernments; such is this, we are now speaking
of; it being the same with the use of books and tables. Tertullian tells
us of a superstitious custom among the ancient Christians, that they
were wont to set up images over their doors and chimneys, to keep
witches when they came into their houses from bewitching their children;
and so by a little kind of witchcraft, prevented witchcraft. But surely,
to set up this covenant, where we might often see and read what
engagements we have laid upon our souls, (and I could heartily wish
Christians would do it at least once a week) it will be an innocent and
warrantable spell, to render the witchery of the flesh, world, and
devil, fruitless and ineffectual upon our spirits, while the soul may
say with David, "Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praise unto
Thee."

But _Fifthly_, consider often and seriously, who it is that must uphold
your resolutions; even He that upholds heaven and earth: no less power
will do it; "for you are kept by the power of God through faith unto
salvation." It is God that first gives the resolution, and then must
uphold, and bring it into act; "It is God that worketh in you, both to
will and to do of His good pleasure," and therefore labour, I beseech
you, to do these two things.

_First_, Put all your resolutions into the hands of prayer: David was a
man of an excellent spirit, full of holy resolves. "I will walk in mine
integrity," "And I will keep Thy testimonies." And again, "I have sworn,
and I will perform it, that I will keep Thy righteous judgments." And
yet again, "do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate Thee?" "I hate them
with a perfect hatred." A thousand such sweet resolutions doth that
precious servant of God breathe out all along the Psalms; and yet so
jealous the holy man is of himself, that he never trusts himself with
his own resolutions; and therefore shall you find him always clapping a
petition upon a resolution, as in the quoted places. "I will walk in
mine integrity. Redeem me, and be merciful unto me. I will keep Thy
testimonies, oh! forsake me not utterly." Though Thou hast let me fall
fearfully, suffer me not to fall finally. And so when he had said, "I
have sworn, and will not repent," he presently adds (within a word or
two), "quicken me, O Lord, according to Thy word." And again, "accept, I
beseech Thee, the free-will offerings of my mouth, O Lord, and teach me
Thy judgments." God must teach him, as to make, so to make good the
free-will offerings of his mouth, _i.e._, his promises and vows. And so,
when he had made that appeal to God, "do not I hate them that hate Thee,
Lord?" he presently betakes himself to his prayers, "search me, O God,
and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts. And see if there be any
wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Mark, I pray,
"search me, try me, know my heart, know my thoughts, see whether there
be any wicked way, lead me." He will neither trust himself for what he
is, nor for what he shall be; "try me," he dares not trust his own
trial: "lead me," he dares not trust his own resolutions: such a sweet
holy jealousy of himself doth he breathe forth, with all his heavenly
purposes and resolutions. Oh! all you that would make an everlasting
covenant with God, imitate holy David, upon every holy resolution, clap
an earnest petition, say, I will reform my life; oh! redeem me, and be
merciful unto me. I will set up Christ in my heart, I will labour to
walk worthy of Him in my life: oh! forsake me not utterly, Lord; leave
me not to myself, I have sworn, and am utterly purposed in all my duties
I owe to God and man, to amend my life, and to go before others in the
example of a real reformation. O Lord, teach me Thy judgments: quicken
me, O Lord, according to Thy word. Thy vows are upon me, that I will,
according to my place and calling, endeavour to preserve reformation in
Scotland, to procure reformation in England; that I will in like manner
endeavour the extirpation of popery and prelacy; to preserve the rights
and liberties of parliaments; discover incendiaries; endeavour the
preservation of peace between the two kingdoms; defend all those that
enter into this league and covenant, that I will never make defection to
the contrary part, or to give myself to a detestable indifferency or
neutrality. And this covenant I have made in the presence of Almighty
God, the searcher of all hearts, with a true intention to perform the
same, as I shall answer at that great day. But now, add with David,
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts, and
see if there be any way of wickedness in me, and lead me in the way
everlasting." In a word, put your covenant into frequently renewed
resolutions: resolutions into prayer, and prayer, and all into the hands
of God. It is God that must gird thee with strength, to perform all thy
vows. This, the close of this blessed covenant, into which we enter this
day, doth teach us. "Humbly beseeching the Lord to strengthen us by His
Spirit; for this end, and to bless our desires and proceedings." And the
covenant in the text, was surely inlaid with prayer, while they engage
themselves to seek the Lord, not only to shew them the way to Zion, but
to give them strength to walk in that way.

Let it be your wisdom and piety, my brethren, to imitate both; oh pray,
and be much in prayer, and be often in prayer: pray daily over the
covenant; as you this day lift up your hands to swear to the most high
God in this covenant, so lift up your hands every day to pray to that
God for grace to keep this covenant. Let sense of self-insufficiency
keep open the sluice of prayer, that that may let fresh streams of
strength every day into your souls, to make good your vows; when you be
careless to pray over the covenant, you will be careless to keep the
covenant; when you cease to pray, you will cease to pay. If you will be
watchful in praying over your vows, prayer will make you watchful in
paying your vows. If you will be faithful in crying to God, God will be
faithful in hearing and helping. Pray therefore, pray over every good
purpose and resolution of heart towards the covenant of God which
conscience shall suggest, or the Spirit of God shall breathe into your
bosoms, at this present or any time hereafter; as David once prayed over
that good frame of spirit, which he observed in his people; what time
they offered so willingly and liberally to the preparing for the house
of God; "O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Jacob, our fathers, keep
this for ever, in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart, and
prepare their heart unto Thee." To every command, God is pleased to add
a promise; so that what is a command in one place, is a promise in
another. "Circumcise the foreskin of your heart." But it is a promise,
"The Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy
seed to love the Lord." Again, "make you a new heart." So saith the word
of command: "a new heart will I give you:" so speaks the word of
promise. Once more, "little children abide in Him," that is the command.
Which in the immediate verse before is a gracious promise, "you shall
abide in Him." Divers more such instances I could give you; and why
thus? Surely, the command teacheth us our duty, the promise our weakness
and insufficiency to perform that duty. The command finds us work; the
promise finds us strength: the command is to keep us from being idle;
the promise to keep us from being discouraged. Well, let us imitate God,
and, as He couples a command and a promise, so let us couple a
resolution and a petition. As God seconds and backs His command with His
promise, so let us second and back our promises with our prayers; the
one in sense of our duty, the other in sense of our weakness; by the
one, to bring our hearts up to God: by the other, to bring God down to
our hearts: resolve and petition, promise and pray, and the Lord
"prepare your heart to pray, and cause His ear to hear."

_Secondly_, Since God only must uphold your desires, walk continually as
in His presence; stability is only to be found in the presence of God;
so far we live an unchangeable life, as we walk and live in the presence
of an unchangeable God. The saints in Heaven know no vicissitudes, or
changes in their holy frame and temper of spirit, because they are
perfected in the beholding of His face; "with whom is no variableness,
nor shadow of changing:" and so far as the saints on earth can keep God
in their presence so far the presence of God will keep them. "I have set
the Lord always before me; and because He is at my right hand, therefore
I shall not be moved," sang David of himself literally, and in the
person of Christ typically: the privilege was made good to both, so far
as either made good the duty. David, according to his degree, and
proportion of grace, set God before him, placed Him on his right hand;
and so long as he could keep God's presence, the presence of God kept
him; it kept him from sin, "I have kept myself from mine iniquity." How
so? Why, "I was upright before Him," in the former part of the same
verse. So long as he walked before God, in God's presence; so long he
walked upright, and kept himself from his iniquity; or rather God's
presence kept him: and, as it kept him from sin, so it kept him from
fear also; "tho' I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I
will not fear." Mark what he saith, though he walk, not step; and walk
through, not step across; and through, not a dark entry, or a churchyard
in the night-time, but a valley, a large, long, vast place; how many
miles long I know not; and this not a valley of darkness only, but of
death, where he should see nothing but visions of death, and not bare
death, but the shadow of death: the shadow is the dark part of the
thing; so that the shadow of death, is the darkest side of death; death
in its most hideous and horrid representations; and yet behold, when he
comes out at the farther end, and a man would have thought to have found
him all in a cold sweat, his hair standing upright, his eyes set in his
head, and the man beside himself. Behold, I say, he doth not so much as
change colour, his hand shakes not, his heart fails not; as he went in,
he comes out; and though he should go back again the same way, he tells
you, "I will not fear." How comes this to pass? How comes the man to be
so undaunted? Why, he will tell you in the very same verse, speaking to
God, "For Thou art with me." God's presence kept him from fear, in the
midst of death and horror. Thus it was, I say, with David, while he
could keep God in his presence, he was immoveable, impregnable; you
might as soon have stirred a rock, as stirred him, "I shall not be
moved." Indeed, so long as he was upon the rock, he was as immoveable as
the rock itself; but alas! sometime he lost the sight of his God, and
then he was like other men; "Thou didst hide Thy face from me, and I was
troubled." When God hid His face from him, or he hid his eyes from God;
then how easily is he moved? Fear breaks in, "I shall one day fall by
the hand of Saul." Sin breaks in, yea, one sin upon the heels of
another; the adulterous act, upon the adulterous look, and murder upon
adultery, as you know in that sad business of Uriah the Hittite; once
off from his Rock, and he is as weak as dust, not able to stand before
the least temptation of sin or fear; and therefore as soon as he comes
to himself again, he cries, "Oh! lead me to the Rock that is higher than
I;" to my Rock, Lord, to my Rock. But now, the Lord Jesus, the antitype
of David here in this Psalm, because he made good this, (duty shall I
call it?) "For in Him dwelt the fulness of the God-head bodily." To Him
therefore was this privilege made good perfectly in the highest degree;
for tho' He had temptations that never man had, and was to do that which
never man did; and to suffer that which never man suffered; the
contradiction of sinners; the rage of hell; and the wrath of God: yet,
because He set the Lord always at His right hand; yea, indeed was always
at the right hand of God; therefore He was not moved, but overcame even
by suffering.

Beloved, you see where stability in covenant is to be had; even in the
presence of God. Labour, I beseech you, to walk in His presence, and to
set Him always at your right hand; behold, it shall keep you, so that
you shall not be moved; or, if you be moved, you shall not be removed;
if you stumble you shall not fall; or, if you fall, you shall not fall
away; you shall rise again. There is a double advantage in it. _First_,
It will keep your hearts in awe; he that sets God in his presence, dares
not sin in His presence: "God sees," will make the heart say, "How shall
I do this great evil, and sin against God?" _Secondly_, There is joy in
it; "In Thy presence is fulness of joy." It is true, in its proportion
of grace, as well as of glory; and joy will strengthen and stablish, as
I shewed you before, "The joy of the Lord is your strength." As long as
the child is in its father's eye, and the father in its eye, it is
secure. "Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the
Most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee." It will
hold as well in the evils of sin, as in the evils of punishment: well,
the Lord make you know these precious truths in an experimental manner.
I have held you too long; but the business requires it. Remember, I
beseech you, it is God that must uphold your desires and resolutions;
and therefore, 1. Be much in prayer. And, 2. Set yourselves in the
presence of God. He lives unchangeably that lives in the unchangeable
God.

In the _Sixth_, and last place, if thou wouldst make an everlasting
covenant with God, that shall never be forgotten, look up to Jesus
Christ, go to Jesus Christ. He must help, and He must strengthen, and He
must keep thee, or else thou wilt never be able to "keep thy covenant;"
hear Him, else, "without me ye can do nothing." And as Christ speaks
thus in the negative; so you may hear the apostle speaking by blessed
experience in the affirmative; "I can do all things through Jesus
Christ, Who strengtheneth me." Observe, I pray, "Without Me ye can do
nothing. Through Christ I can do all things." Nothing, all things. There
is a good deal of difference between two men; take one without Christ,
and, be his parts never so excellent, his resolutions never so strong,
his engagements never so sacred, "he can do nothing;" unless it be to
"break his covenant and vows," as Samson brake his cords like threads
scorched with the fire; and, take the other with a Christ standing by
him, and be he in himself never so weak and mean, unlearned and
ungifted, lo, as if he were clothed with omnipotency, "he can do all
things," he can subdue such corruptions, conquer such temptations,
perform such duties, and in such a manner, do such things, suffer such
things, (and in all these keep his covenant with God) as to other men,
and to himself before, were so many impossibilities; he could not
before, now He can. Nothing before, all things now. All things fit for
an unglorified saint to do; all things God expects from him; all things
in a gospel sense; all things comparatively to other men, and to
himself, when he was another man. See, I beseech you, how without a
Christ, and thro' a Christ, makes one man differ from another; yea, and
from himself, as much as can and cannot; all things and nothing;
impotency and omnipotency, "Without me ye can do nothing." "Through
Christ I can do all things." If therefore you would make a covenant with
Eternity to eternity, study Christ more than ever, labour to "know
nothing but Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." And therein these two
things,

_First_, Labour to get interest in Christ. Interest is the ground of
influence; union the fountain or spring of communion; so Christ, "as the
branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more
can ye, except ye abide in Me." There you have the truth and the simile
of it; no fruit from Christ, without being and abiding in Christ; there
is truth: illustrated and proved by the vine and the branch; there the
simile, which is prosecuted and enlarged by our Saviour.

And, as all communion ariseth from union, so look what the union is,
such is the communion; Christ was filled with the fulness of God because
united to God; the saints receive of the fulness of Christ, because
united to Christ. "I in them, and Thou in Me." Only here is the
difference. Christ's union with His Father was personal, infinite, and
substantial, and therefore the communications were answerable, "For God
gave not the Spirit by measure unto Him." But the saints' union with
Christ, being of an inferior nature; their communications also are
proportional; yet such as serve poor creatures to all blessed saving
purposes. And therefore with Paul, labour to "be found in Christ," that
so you may know experimentally the power of His resurrection, and the
fellowship of His sufferings. All the power and virtue that are in Jesus
Christ, are only for them that are in Him, as the branch in the root, as
the members in the body.

Christ is called the covenant of God. "I will give thee for a covenant
of the people." As Calvin well expounds it, _sponsor foederis_, the
surety or undertaker of the covenant, of that second new covenant,
between God and His people, not the Jews only, but the Gentiles also. A
surety on both sides: the surety of God's covenant to them; "For all the
promises of God are in Him, yea, and in Him, Amen." He sees them all
made good to the heirs of promise. And Christ again is the surety of
their covenant unto God; for He undertakes to make good all their
covenants, and vows, and promises unto God. "Those that Thou gavest Me,
I have kept," saith Christ. "And I live (saith Paul), yet not I, but
Christ liveth in me." So that it is Christ who makes the covenant good
on both sides, as God's to His people, so His people's to God; and so it
follows in that place of Isaiah, "I have given thee for a covenant to
the people, to establish the earth;" establishment must come from
Christ, the undertaker, the surety of the covenant; as He paid the debt
for the time past, so He must see the articles of the covenant kept for
the time to come. For want of such an undertaker or surety, the first
covenant miscarried: It was between God and the creature, without a
mediator; and so the creature changing, the covenant was dissolved; but
the second, God meant should not miscarry, and therefore puts it into
sure hands; "I have laid help upon One that is mighty," speaking of
Christ, and "I will give Thee for a covenant to the people." God hath
furnished Christ wherewithal to be a surety; to make good His covenant
to His people, and their covenant to Him.

But now, He hath this stock of all-sufficiency for none but these that
are His members, He actually undertakes for none but those that are
actually in Him; "These that Thou hast given Me I have kept." He keeps
none but them whom the Father hath given Him; given Him so as to be in
them, and they in Him. "I in them, they in Me." Well, if thou wouldst be
unchangeable in thy covenant, get interest in Christ who is the
covenant; the unchangeable covenant; "The Amen, the faithful and true
witness." "Yesterday and to-day, and the same for ever." Get interest,
"count all things loss and dung, that thou mayst win Christ, and be
found in Christ." Yea, do not only labour to get interest, but prove thy
interest. Take not up a matter of so infinite concernment upon trust:
all that thou dost covenant to God, and that God doth covenant to thee,
depends upon it; and therefore, "work it out with fear and trembling,
and give all diligence to make it sure unto thy soul." Study evidences,
and be content with none but such as will bear weight in the "balance of
the sanctuary;" such as the word will secure; such as to which the word
will bear witness, that they are inconsistent with any Christless man or
woman, whatsoever; and pray with unwearying supplications that God will
not only give thee interest, but clear thy interest, and seal up
interest upon thy soul and thee, to the day of redemption.

_Second_, study influence when in Christ, then hast thou right to draw
virtue from Christ, for behold, all the fulness that dwells in Christ is
thine; all that life, and strength, and grace, and redemption, that is
held forth in the promise, it is all laid up in Christ, as in a
magazine; and by virtue of thy interest in, and union with the Lord
Jesus, it is all become thine. Hence you hear the believing soul making
her boast of Christ, as before, for righteousness so also for strength.
"In the Lord have I righteousness and strength." As righteousness for
acceptance, so strength also for performance of such duties, as God in
His covenant doth require and expect at the believer's hands: I have no
strength of mine own, but in Christ I have enough; "In the Lord I have
righteousness and strength." Christ is the lord-keeper, or lord high
steward, or lord treasurer; to receive in and lay out, for and to all
that are in covenant with the Father. And this is one main branch of
God's covenant with the Redeemer, that He gives out to the heirs of
promise, wherewithal to "keep their covenant with God;" so that they
never depart from Him. "As for Me, this is My covenant with them, saith
the Lord, My Spirit that is upon thee, and My words which I have put in
thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of
thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from
henceforth and for ever." These be the words of God the father to the
Redeemer, concerning all His spiritual seed; "the Redeemer shall come to
Zion." And that Spirit, and these words of life and grace which were
upon the Redeemer, must be propagated to all His believing seed; by
virtue whereof, their covenant with God, shall in its proportion be like
God's covenant with them (for indeed the one is but the counterpart of
the other) unchangeable, everlasting. "I will make an everlasting
covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them to do them good;
but I will put My fear in their hearts, and they shall not depart away
from Me."

Now therefore, my brethren, since there is enough in Christ, study how
to draw it out: indeed it will require a great deal of holy skill to do
it; it requires wisdom to draw out the excellencies of a man: "Counsel
in the heart of a man is deep, but a man of understanding will draw it
out." It is a fine art to be able to pierce a man, that is like a vessel
full of wine, and set him a running; but to draw out influence and
virtue from the Lord Jesus is one of the most secret hidden mysteries in
the life of a Christian: indeed we may complain, "the well is deep, and
we have nothing to draw withal." But labour to get your bucket of faith,
that you may be able to "draw water out of this well of salvation."
Labour by vital acts of a powerful faith; set to work in meditation and
prayer, to draw virtue and influence from Jesus Christ; the mouth of
prayer, and the breathings of faith from an heart soakt and steept in
holy meditations, applied to Jesus Christ, will certainly (tho' perhaps
insensibly) draw virtue from Him. Behold, faith drew virtue from Christ
by a touch of His garments: shall it not much more draw out that rich
and precious influence, by applying of Him in the promises, and in His
offices unto our souls? Consider, O Christian, whoever thou art, even
thou that art in Christ, consider, God hath not trusted thee with grace
enough before hand, for one month, no, not for a week, a day; nay, thou
hast not grace enough before hand for the performance of the next duty,
or the conquering of the next temptation; nor for the expediting thyself
out of the next difficulty; and why so? But that thou mayest learn to
live by continual dependence upon Jesus Christ, as Paul did, "The life
that I now live in the flesh, I live it by the faith of the Son of God."
Paul lived by fresh influence drawn from Christ by faith, every day and
hour; study that life, it is very mysterious, but exceeding precious.
Had we our stock before hand, we should quickly spend all, and prove
bankrupts: God hath laid up all our treasure of "wisdom, righteousness,
sanctification, and redemption in Jesus Christ," and will have us live
from hand to mouth, that so we might be safe, and God's free grace be
exalted: "It is of faith, that it might be by grace, to the end your
promise might be sure to all the seed." Wherefore, holy brethren,
partakers of this heavenly calling, look up to Jesus Christ, who is the
covenant of His Father, and your covenant; lo, He calls you. "Look unto
Me, and be ye saved all the ends of the earth." Surely they are worthy
to perish, who will not bestow a look upon salvation: oh, look humbly,
and look believingly, and look continually; look for interest, look for
influence, look for righteousness, look for strength; and let Jesus
Christ be all in all to thy soul: thou wilt never be any thing, nor do
any thing in Christianity, till thou comest to live in and upon Jesus
Christ, and Him only: humbly entreat the Lord, and give Him no rest,
that He will make a covenant with thee in Christ, which shall keep thee,
and then thou wilt be able to keep thy covenant: look up to Christ for
covenant grace, to keep covenant-engagement, and so shalt thou do this
service in a gospel sense, to acceptation, to perpetuity.

I have now done with these three queries; What? Why? How? How to (1)
Acceptation? and (2) Perpetuity? I know much more might be added, but
the work to which we are to address ourselves, will take up much time;
the Lord set home what hath been spoken.

Only give me leave to tell you thus much in a word, for the close of
all; as this covenant prospers with us, so we are like to prosper under
it; the welfare of the kingdom and of thy soul, is bound up now in this
covenant: for I remember what God speaks of the kingdom of Israel,
brought into covenant now with the king of Babylon, to serve him, and to
be his vassals; that "by keeping covenant it should stand." And the
breaking of that covenant was the breaking of Zedekiah and his whole
family and kingdom. Now was covenant-breach, or fidelity the foundation
of stability or ruin to that kingdom, which was struck, but with a dying
man; how much more is the rise and fall of this kingdom; yea, of these
two kingdoms, bound up in the observation or forfeiture of this
covenant, which we make this day with the living God? You that wish well
to the kingdoms, that would not see the downfall and ruin thereof; be
from henceforth more conscientious of your covenant, than ever
heretofore; for surely, upon the success of this covenant we stand or
fall; as we deal with the covenant, God will deal with us; if we slight
the covenant, God will slight us; if we have mean thoughts of the
covenant, God will have mean thoughts of us; if we forget the covenant,
God will forget us; if we break the covenant, we may look that God shall
break these two nations, and break us all to pieces; if we reject it,
God will reject us; if we regard our covenant, God will regard His
covenant, and regard us too; if we remember the covenant, God will
remember His, and remember us; if we keep the covenant, the covenant
will keep us, and our posterity for ever.

There are a people of whom I hear God speaking gracious words. "Surely
they are My people, children that will not lie." My people, Mine by
covenant; I have brought them into the bond of the covenant; I have made
My covenant with them, and they have made their covenant with Me: and
they be children that will not lie; I know they will deal no more as a
lying and treacherous generation with Me, but will be a faithful people
in their covenant; and I will be a faithful God unto them; "I will be
their Saviour, they will serve Me, and I will save them."

Now the Lord make us such a people unto Him, children that will not lie,
and He be such a God to us; He be our Saviour, a Saviour to both
kingdoms, and every soul that makes this covenant; to save us from sin,
and to save us from destruction; to save us from our enemies without,
and to save us from our enemies within; to save us from the devil, and
to save us from the world, and to save us from ourselves; to save us
from the lusts of men, and to save us from our own lusts; to save us,
and to save our posterity: to save us from Rome, and save us from hell;
to save us from wrath present, and from wrath to come; to save us here,
and to save us hereafter; to save us to Himself in grace, and to save us
with Himself in glory, to all eternity, for Christ's sake, Amen, and
Amen.



THE SOLEMN LEAGUE AND COVENANT:

AN ORDINANCE OF THE LORDS AND COMMONS,

_Issued February 2, 1644._


Whereas a covenant for the preservation and reformation of religion, the
maintenance and defence of laws and liberties, hath been thought a fit
and excellent means to acquire the favour of Almighty God towards the
three kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland; and likewise to unite
them, and by uniting, to strengthen and fortify them against the common
enemy of the true reformed religion, peace and prosperity of these
kingdoms: and whereas both houses of parliament in England, the cities
of London and Westminster, and the kingdom of Scotland, have already
taken the same; it is now ordered and ordained by the Lords and Commons
in Parliament, that the same covenant be solemnly taken in all places
throughout the kingdom of England, and dominion of Wales. And for the
better and more orderly taking thereof, these directions ensuing are
appointed and enjoined strictly to be followed.


_Instructions for the taking of the Solemn League and Covenant
throughout the Kingdom._

1. That the speakers of both Houses of Parliament do speedily send, to
the lord general, and all other commanders in chief, and governors of
towns, forts, castles, and garrisons; as also to the earl of Warwick,
lord high admiral of England, true copies of the said Solemn League and
Covenant, to the end it may be taken by all officers and soldiers under
their several commands.

2. That all the knights and burgesses now in parliament, do take special
care, speedily to send down into their several counties (which are, or
shall hereafter be under the power of the parliament) a competent number
of true copies of the said league and covenant, unto the committees of
parliament in their several counties; and that the said committees do
within six days at the most disperse the said copies to every
parish-church or chapel in their several counties, to be delivered unto
the ministers, church-wardens, or constables of the several parishes.

3. That the said committees be required to return a certificate of the
day when they received the said copies, as also the day they sent them
forth, and to what parishes they have sent them; which certificate they
are to return to the clerk of the parliament, appointed for the commons'
house, that so an account may be given of it, as there shall be
occasion.

4. That the several ministers be required to read the said covenant
publicly unto their people, the next Lord's day after they receive it,
and prepare their people for it, against the time that they shall be
called to take it.

5. That the said league and covenant be taken by the committees of
parliament, in the place where they reside, and tendered also to the
inhabitants of the town, within seven days after it comes to the said
committee's hands.

6. That the said committees after they have taken it themselves, do
speedily disperse themselves through the said counties, so as three or
four of them be together, on days appointed, at the chief places of
meeting, for the several divisions of the said counties: and summon all
the ministers, church-wardens, constables, and other officers unto that
place, where, after a sermon preached by one appointed by the committee
for that purpose, they cause the same minister to tender the league and
covenant unto all such ministers, and other officers, to be taken and
subscribed by them, in the presence of the said committees.

7. That the said committees do withal give the said ministers in charge,
to tender it unto all the rest of their parishioners the next Lord's
day, making then unto their said parishioners some solemn exhortation,
concerning the taking and observing thereof: and that the said
committees do also return to the several parishes, the names of all such
as have taken the covenant before them, who yet shall also subscribe
their names in the book or roll with their neighbours, in their several
parishes: and if any minister refuse or neglect to appear at the said
summons, or refuse to take the said covenant before the committee, or to
tender it to his parish, that then the committees be careful to appoint
another minister to do it in his place.

8. That this league and covenant be tendered to all men, within the
several parishes, above the age of eighteen, as well lodgers as
inhabitants.

9. That it be recommended to the earl of Manchester, to take special
care, that it be tendered and taken in the university of Cambridge.

10. That for the better encouragement of all sorts of persons to take
it, it be recommended to the assembly of divines, to make a brief
declaration, by way of exhortation, to all sorts of persons to take it,
as that which they judge not only lawful, but (all things considered)
exceeding expedient and necessary, for all that wish well to religion,
the king and kingdom, to join in, and to be a singular pledge of God's
gracious goodness to all the three kingdoms.

11. That if any minister do refuse to take, or to tender the covenant,
or any other person, or persons, do not take it the Lord's day that it
is tendered, that then it be tendered to them again the Lord's day
following, and if they still continue to refuse it, that then their
names be returned by the minister that tenders it, and by the
church-wardens, or constables, unto the committees, and by them to the
house of commons, that such further course may be taken with them, as
the houses of parliament shall see cause.

12. That all such persons as are within the several parishes, when
notice is given of the taking of it, and do absent themselves from the
church at the time of taking it, and come not in afterwards, to the
minister and church-wardens or other officers, to take it in their
presence before the return be made, be returned as refusers.

13. The manner of the taking it to be thus; "The minister to read the
whole covenant distinctly and audibly in the pulpit, and, during the
time of the reading thereof, the whole congregation to be uncovered, and
at the end of his reading thereof, all to take it standing, lifting up
their right hands bare, and then afterwards to subscribe it severally by
writing their names, (or their marks, to which their names are to be
added) in a parchment roll, or a book, whereinto the covenant is to be
inserted, purposely provided for that end, and kept as a record in the
parish."

14. That the Assembly of Divines do prepare an exhortation for the
better taking of the covenant: and that the said exhortation, and the
declaration of the kingdoms of England and Scotland, joined in the
armies for the vindication and defence of their religion, liberties and
laws, against the popish, prelatical and malignant party, and passed the
thirty of January last, be publicly read, when the covenant is read,
according to the fourth and fifth articles: and that a sufficient number
of the copies of the said declaration be sent by the persons, appointed
to send the true copies of the said covenant, in the first and second
articles.



THE SOLEMN LEAGUE AND COVENANT:

EXHORTATION BY THE WESTMINSTER ASSEMBLY.


If the power of religion or solid reason, if loyalty to the king and
piety to their native country, or love to themselves and natural
affection to their posterity, if the example of men touched with a deep
sense of all these, or extraordinary success from God thereupon, can
awaken an embroiled, bleeding remnant to embrace the sovereign and only
means of their recovery, there can be no doubt but this solemn league
and covenant will find, wheresoever it shall be tendered, a people ready
to entertain it with all cheerfulness and duty.

And were it not commended to the kingdom by the concurrent encouragement
of the honourable Houses of Parliament, the Assembly of Divines, the
renowned city of London, multitudes of other persons of eminent rank and
quality in this nation, and the whole body of Scotland, who have all
willingly sworn and subscribed it, with rejoicing at the oath, so
graciously seconded from heaven already by blasting the counsels, and
breaking the power of the enemy more than ever; yet it goeth forth in
its own strength, with such convincing evidence of equity, truth and
righteousness, as may raise in all (not wilfully ignorant, or miserably
seduced) inflamed affections to join with their brethren in this happy
bond, for putting an end to the present miseries, and for saving of both
king and kingdom from utter ruin, now so strongly and openly laboured by
the popish faction, and such as have been bewitched and besotted by
that viperous and bloody generation.

For what is there almost in this covenant, which was not for substance
either expressed, or manifestly included in that solemn protestation of
May 5th, 1641, wherein the whole kingdom stands engaged until this day?
The sinful neglect whereof doth (as we may justly fear) open one
floodgate the more to let in all these calamities upon the kingdom, and
cast upon it a necessity of renewing covenant, and of entering into
this.

If it be said, the extirpation of prelacy, to wit, the whole
hierarchical government (standing, as yet, by the known laws of the
kingdom) is new and unwarrantable: this will appear to all impartial
understandings, (tho' new) to be not only warrantable, but necessary; if
they consider (to omit what some say, that this government was never
formally established by any laws of this kingdom at all) that the very
life and soul thereof is already taken from it by an act passed in this
present parliament, so as (like Jezebel's carcase of which no more was
left but the skull, the feet, and the palms of her hands) nothing of
jurisdiction remains, but what is precarious in them, and voluntary in
those who submit unto them: that their whole government is at best but a
human constitution, and such as is found and adjudged by both houses of
parliament, (in which the judgment of the whole kingdom is involved and
declared) not only very prejudicial to the civil state, but a great
hindrance also to the perfect reformation of religion. Yea, who knoweth
it not to be too much an enemy thereunto, and destructive to the power
of godliness, and pure administration of the ordinances of Christ? Which
moved the well-affected, almost throughout this kingdom, long since to
petition this parliament (as hath been desired before, even in the reign
of queen Elizabeth, and of king James) for a total abolition of the
same. Nor is any man hereby bound to offer any violence to their
persons, but only in his place and calling, to endeavour their
extirpation in a lawful way.

And as for those clergymen, who pretend that they (above all others)
cannot covenant to extirpate that government, because they have (as they
say) taken a solemn oath to obey the bishops, _in licitis et honestis:_
they can tell, if they please, that they that have sworn obedience to
the laws of the land, are not thereby prohibited from endeavouring by
all lawful means the abolition of those laws, when they prove
inconvenient or mischievous. And if yet there should any oath be found,
into which any ministers or others have entered, not warranted by the
laws of God and the land, in this case they must teach themselves and
others, that such oaths call for repentance, not pertinacity in them.

If it be pleaded, That this covenant crosseth the oaths of supremacy and
allegiance; there can be nothing further from truth; for, this covenant
binds all and more strongly engageth them to "preserve and defend the
king's majesty's person, and authority, in the preservation and defence
of the true religion and liberties of the kingdoms."

That scruple, That this is done without the king's consent, will soon be
removed, if it be remembered, that the protestation of the fifth of May,
before-mentioned, was in the same manner voted and executed by both
houses, and after (by order of one house alone) sent abroad to all the
kingdom, his majesty not excepting against it, or giving any stop to it,
albeit he was resident in person at Whitehall.

Thus Ezra and Nehemiah (Ezra x. Neh. ix.) drew all the people into a
covenant without any special commission from the Persian monarchs (then
their sovereigns) so to do, albeit they were not free subjects, but
vassals, and one of them the servant of Artaxerxes, then by conquest
king of Judah also.

Nor hath this doctrine or practice been deemed seditious or
unwarrantable, by the princes, that have sat upon the English throne,
but justified and defended by Queen Elizabeth of blessed memory, with
the expense of much treasure and noble blood, in the united provinces of
the Netherlands combined not only without, but against the unjust
violence of Philip, king of Spain; king James followed her steps, so far
as to approve their union, and to enter into a league with them as free
states; which is continued by his majesty now reigning, unto this day;
who both by his expedition for relief of Rochel in France, and his
strict confederacy with the prince of Orange, and the states general,
notwithstanding all the importunity of Spain to the contrary, hath set
to his seal that all that had been done by his royal ancestors, in
maintainance of those who had so engaged and combined themselves, was
just and warrantable.

And what had become of the religion, laws, and liberties of our sister
nation of Scotland, had they not entered into such a solemn league and
covenant at the beginning of the late troubles there? Which course
however it was at first, by the popish and prelatic projectors,
represented to his majesty, as an offence of the highest nature, justly
deserving chastisement by the fury of a puissant army; yet when the
matter came afterwards in cool blood to be debated, first by
commissioners of both kingdoms, and then in open parliament here, (when
all those of either house, who are now engaged at Oxford, were present
in parliament, and gave their votes therein) it was found, adjudged and
declared by the king in parliament, that our dear brethren of Scotland
had done nothing but what became loyal and obedient subjects, and were
by act of parliament publicly righted in all the churches of this
kingdom, where they had been defamed.

Therefore, however some men, hoodwinked and blinded by the artifices of
those Jesuitical engineers, who have long conspired to sacrifice our
religion to the idolatry of Rome, our laws, liberties and persons to
arbitrary slavery, and our estates to their insatiable avarice, may
possibly be deterred and amused with high threats and declarations,
flying up and down on the wings of the royal name and countenance, now
captivated and prostituted to serve all their lusts, to proclaim all
rebels and traitors who take this covenant; yet, let no faithful English
heart be afraid to join with our brethren of all the three kingdoms in
this solemn league, as sometimes the men of Israel, although under
another king, did with the men of Judah, at the invitation of Hezekiah.

What though those tongues set on fire by hell do rail and threaten? That
God who was pleased to clear up the innocency of Mordecai and the Jews,
against all the malicious aspersions of wicked Haman to his and their
sovereign, so as all his plotting produced but this effect, that (Esther
ix.) "When the king's commandments and decree drew near to be put in
execution, and the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them, it
was turned to the contrary, and the Jews had rule over them that hated
them, and laid hands on such as sought their hurt, so as no man could
withstand them;" and that same God, who, but even as yesterday
vouchsafed to disperse and scatter those dark clouds and fogs, which
overshadowed that loyal and religious kingdom of Scotland, and to make
their righteousness to shine as clear as the sun at noon-day, in the
very eyes of their greatest enemies, will doubtlessly stand by all those
who, with singleness of heart, and a due sense of their own sins, and a
necessity of reformation, shall now enter into an everlasting covenant
with the Lord, never to be forgotten, to put an end to all those unhappy
and unnatural breaches between the king and such as are faithful in the
land; causing their "righteousness and praise to spring forth before all
the nations," to the terror and confusion of those men of blood, the
confederate enemies of God and the king, who have long combined, and
have now raked together the dregs and scum of many kingdoms, to bury all
the glory, honour and liberty of this nation in the eternal grave of
dishonour and destruction.



THE SOLEMN LEAGUE AND COVENANT.

SERMON AT LONDON.

_BY EDMOND CALAMY._[14]

"Truce-breakers (or covenant-breakers)."--2 _Tim._ iii. 3.


In the beginning of the chapter, the apostle tells us the condition that
the church of God should be in, in the last days. "This know also, that
in the last days perilous times shall come." In the second verse, he
tells us the reason why these times should be such hard and dangerous
times; "for men shall be lovers of themselves, covetous," &c. The reason
is not drawn from the miseries and calamities of the last times, but
from the sins and iniquities of the last times. It is sin and iniquity
that make times truly perilous. Sin, and sin only, takes away God's love
and favour from a nation, and makes God turn an enemy to it. Sin causeth
God to take away the purity and power of His ordinances from a nation.
Sin makes all the creatures to be armed against us, and makes our own
consciences to fight against us. Sin is the cause of all the causes of
perilous times. Sin is the cause of our civil wars. Sin is the cause of
our divisions. Sin is the cause why men fall into such dangerous errors.
Sin brings such kinds of judgments, which no other thing can bring. Sin
brings invisible, spiritual, and eternal judgments. It is sin that makes
God give over a nation to a reprobate sense. Sin makes all times
dangerous. Let the times be never so prosperous, yet if they be sinful
times, they are times truly dangerous. And if they be not sinful, they
are not dangerous, though never so miserable. It is sin that makes
afflictions to be the fruits of God's avenging wrath, part of the curse
due to sin, and a beginning of hell. It is sin, and sin only, that
embitters every affliction. Let us for ever look upon sin through these
scripture spectacles.

The apostle, in four verses, reckons up nineteen sins, as the causes of
the miseries of the last days. I may truly call these nineteen sins,
England's looking-glass, wherein we may see what are the clouds that
eclipse God's countenance from shining upon us; the mountains that lie
in the way to hinder the settlement of church-discipline: even these
nineteen sins, which are as an iron-whip of nineteen strings, with which
God is whipping England at this day; which are as nineteen faggots, with
which God is burning and devouring England. My purpose is not to speak
of all these sins; only let me propound a divine project, how to make
the times happy for soul and body. And that is to strike at the root of
all misery, which is sin and iniquity: to repent for and from all these
nineteen sins, which are as the oil that feeds and increases the flame
that is now consuming of us. For, because men are lovers of themselves,
_usque ad contemptum Dei et republicæ_; because men drive their own
designs, not only to the neglect, but contempt of God and the
commonwealth. Because men are covetous, lovers of the world, more than
lovers of God. Because they are proud in head, heart, looks and apparel.
Because they are unthankful, turning the mercies of God into
instruments of sin, and making darts with God's blessings to shoot
against God. Because men are unholy and heady, and make many covenants,
and keep none. Because they are (as the Greek word _diaboloi_
signifieth) devils, acting the devil's part, in accusing the brethren,
and in bearing false witness one against another. Because they have a
"form of godliness, denying the power thereof." Hence it is that these
times are so sad and bloody. These are thy enemies, O England, that have
brought thee into this desolate condition! If ever God lead us back into
the wilderness, it will be because of these sins. And therefore, if ever
ye would have blessed days, you must make it your great business to
remove these nineteen mountains, and repent of these land-devouring and
soul-destroying abominations.

At this time, I shall pick out the first and tenth sin to speak on. The
first is, _Self-love;_ which is placed in the forefront, as the cause of
all the rest. Self-love is not only a sin that makes the times perilous,
but it is the cause of all these sins that make the times perilous; for,
because men are lovers of themselves, therefore they are covetous,
proud, unholy. The tenth sin is, _Truce-breakers_, and, for fear lest
the time should prevent me, I shall begin with this sin first.

The tenth sin then is truce-breakers; or, as Rom. i. 31.,
"Covenant-breakers." The Greek word is _aspondoi_, which signifieth
three things; _First_, Such as are _foederis nescii_, as Beza renders it;
or, as others, _infoederabilis_; that is, such as refuse to enter into
covenant. Or, _Secondly_, Such as are _foedifragi, qui pacta non
servant_, as Estius hath it, or _sine fide_, as Ambrose; that is, such
as break faith and covenant. Or, _Thirdly_, Such as are _implacabilis_;
or, as others, _sine pace_; that is, such as are implacable, and haters
of peace. According to this threefold sense of the word, I shall gather
these three observations.

Doctrine 1. That to be a covenant-refuser is a sin that makes the times
perilous.

Doct. 2. That to be a covenant-breaker is a sin that makes the times
perilous.

Doct. 3. That to be a peace-hater, or a truce-hater, is a sin that makes
the times perilous.

Doct. 4. That to be a covenant refuser is a sin that makes the times
perilous; to be _foederis nescius_, or _infoederabilis_. For the
understanding of this, you must know that there are two sorts of
covenants, there are devilish and hellish covenants, and there are godly
and religious covenants. First, There are devilish covenants, such as
Acts xxiii. 12, and Isa. xxviii. 15, such as the holy league, as it was
unjustly called in France, against the Huguenots, and that of our
gun-powder traitors in England. Now, to refuse to make such covenants is
not to make the times perilous, but the taking of them makes the times
perilous. Secondly, There are godly covenants, as Psal. cxix. 106, and
as 2 Chron. xv. 14: and such as this is which you are met to take this
day. For you are to swear to such things which you are bound to
endeavour after, though you did not swear. Your swearing is not _solum
vinculum_, but _novum vinculum_, is not the only, but only a new and
another bond to tie you to the obedience of the things you swear unto;
which are so excellent and so glorious, that if God gave those that take
it a heart to keep it, it will make these three kingdoms the glory of
the world. And as one of the reverend commissioners of Scotland said,
when it was first taken in a most solemn manner at Westminster, by the
parliament and the assembly, "That if the pope should have this covenant
written upon a wall over against him sitting in his chair, it would be
unto him like the hand-writing to Belshazzar, causing his joints to
loose, and his knees to smite one against another." And I may add, that
if it be faithfully and fully kept, it will make all the devils in hell
to tremble, as fearing lest their kingdom should not stand long. Now
then, for a man to be an anti-covenanter, and to be such a
covenant-refuser, it must needs be a sin that makes the times perilous.

And the reasons are, 1. Because you shall find in scripture, That when
any nation did enter into a solemn religious covenant, God did
exceedingly bless and prosper that nation after that time, as "That thou
shouldst enter into covenant with the Lord thy God, that He may
establish thee to-day for a people to Himself, and that He may be unto
thee a God." And therefore to be a covenant-refuser, is to make our
miseries perpetual. 2. Because it is the highest act of God's love to
man, to vouchsafe to engage Himself by oath and covenant to be his God;
so it is the highest demonstration of man's love to God, to bind himself
by oath and covenant to be God's. There is nothing obligeth God more to
us, than to see us willing to tie and bind ourselves unto His service:
and therefore, they that in this sense are anti-covenanters are sons of
Belial, that refuse the yoke of the Lord, that say, "Let us break His
bands asunder, and cast away His cords, from us;" such as _oderunt
vincula pietatis_, which is a soul-destroying, and a land-destroying
sin. 3. Because that the union of England, Scotland and Ireland, into
one covenant, is the chief, if not the only preservative of them at this
time. You find in our English chronicles, that England was never
destroyed, but when divided within itself. Our civil divisions brought
in the Romans, the Saxons, Danes and Normans; but now the
anti-covenanters divide the parliament within itself, and the city
within itself, and England against itself; they are as stones separated
from the building, which are of no use to itself, and threaten the ruin
of the building. Jesus Christ is called in Scripture, the
"Corner-stone," which is a stone that unites the two ends of the
building together. Jesus Christ is a stone of union: and therefore they
that sow division, and study unjust separation, have little of Jesus
Christ in them. When the ten tribes began to divide from the other two
tribes, they presently began to war one against another, and to ruin one
another: the anti-covenanter, he divides and separates and disunites.
And therefore he makes perilous times.

My chief aim is at the second doctrine,

Doctrine 2. That for a covenant-taker to be a covenant-breaker, is a sin
that makes the times perilous. For the opening of this point, I must
distinguish again of covenants. There are civil, and there are religious
covenants; a civil covenant is a covenant between man and man; and of
this the text is primarily, though not only, to be understood. Now, for
a man to break promise and covenant with his brother, is a
land-destroying, and a soul-destroying abomination. We read, 2 Sam.
xxi., that because Saul had broken the covenant that Joshua made with
the Gibeonites, God sent a famine in David's time, of three years'
continuance, to teach us that, if we falsify our word and oath, God will
avenge covenant-breaking, though it be forty years after. Famous is that
text in Jeremiah. Because the princes and the people brake the covenant
which they had made with their servants, though but their servants, God
tells them, "Because ye have not hearkened unto Me, in proclaiming
liberty every one to his brother.... Behold, I proclaim liberty for you,
saith the Lord, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine: and
I will make you to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth." We
read also, that God tells Zedekiah, because he brake the covenant he had
made with the king of Babylon, that therefore, "He would recompense upon
his head the oath that he had despised, and the covenant that he had
broken, and would bring him to Babylon, and plead with him there for the
trespass which he had trespassed against the Lord." David tells us, that
it is a sin that shuts a man out of heaven. The Turkish history tells
us of a covenant made between Amurath, that great Turk, and Ladislaus,
king of Hungary, and how the pope absolved Ladislaus from the oath, and
provoked him to renew the war: in which war the Turk, being put to the
worst, and despairing of victory, pulls out a paper which he had in his
bosom, wherein the league was written, and said, "O Thou God of the
Christians, if Thou beest a true God, be avenged of those that have,
without cause, broken the league made by calling upon Thy name." And the
story says, that after he had spoken these words, he had, as it were, "a
new heart, and spirit put into him and his soldiers," and that they
obtained a glorious victory over Ladislaus. Thus God avenged the quarrel
of man's covenant. The like story we read of Rudolphus, duke of Sweden,
who, by the pope's instigation, waged war with Henry IV., emperor of
Germany, to whom he had sworn to the contrary. But, in the fight it
chanced that Rudolphus lost his right hand, and falling sick upon it, he
called for it and said, "Behold this right hand with which I subscribed
to the emperor, with which I have violated my oath, and therefore I am
rightly punished." I will not trouble you with relating that gallant
story of Regulus, that chose rather to expose himself to a cruel death,
than to falsify his oath to the Carthaginians. The sum of all is, if it
be such a crying abomination to break covenant between man and man; and
if such persons are accounted as the off-scouring of men, not worthy to
live in a Christian, no, not in a heathen commonwealth: if it be a sin
that draws down vengeance from heaven; much more for a man to enter into
covenant with the great Jehovah, and to break such a religious
engagement: this must needs be a destroying and soul-damning sin. And of
such religious covenants I am now to speak.

There are two covenants that God made with man, a covenant of nature,
and a covenant of grace. The covenant of nature, or of works, was made
with Adam, and all mankind in him. This covenant Adam broke, and God
presently had a quarrel against him for breaking of it. And, to avenge
the quarrel of the covenant, he was thrust out of paradise, and there
was a sword also placed at the east end of the garden of Eden, to avenge
covenant-breaking. And by nature we are all children of wrath, heirs of
hell, because of the breach of that covenant. And therefore we should
never think of original sin, or of the sinfulness and cursedness of our
natural condition, but we should remember what a grievous sin
covenant-breaking is.

But, after man was fallen, God was pleased to strike a new covenant,
which is usually called a covenant of grace, or of reconciliation. This
was first propounded to Adam by way of promise, "The seed of the woman
shall bruise the serpent's head." And then to Abraham by way of
covenant, "In thy seed shall all the nations of the world be blessed."
And then to Moses by way of testament. It is nothing else but the free
and gracious tender of Jesus Christ, and all His rich purchases to all
the lost and undone sons of Adam, that shall believe in Him: or as the
phrase is, "That shall take hold of the covenant." Now you must know
that baptism is a seal of this covenant, and that all that are baptised
do, sacramentally at least, engage themselves to walk before God, and to
be upright; and God likewise engages Himself to be their God. This
covenant is likewise renewed when we come to the Lord's Supper, wherein
we bind ourselves, by a sacramental oath, unto thankfulness to God for
Christ. Add further, that besides this general covenant of grace,
whereof the sacraments are seals, there are particular and personal, and
family and national covenants. Thus, Job had his covenant; and David.
And when he came to be king, he joined in covenant with his people to
serve the Lord. Thus Asa, Jehoiada, Josiah, and others. Thus the people
of Israel had not only a covenant in circumcision, but renewed a
covenant at Horeb and Moab, and did often again and again bind
themselves to God by vow and covenant. And thus the churches of Christ.
Christians, besides the vows in baptism, have many personal and national
engagements unto God by covenant, which are nothing else but the
renovations and particular applications of that first vow in baptism. Of
this nature is that you are to renew this day.

Now give me leave to shew you what a sword-procuring and soul-undoing
sin, this sin of covenant-breaking is; and then the reason of it. Famous
is that text, "And I will send My sword, which shall avenge the quarrel
of My covenant." The words in the Hebrew run thus, "I will avenge the
avengement," which importeth this much, that God is at open war and at
public defiance with those that break His covenant: He is not only angry
with them, but He will be revenged of them. "The Lord hath a controversy
with all covenant-breakers." "The Lord will walk contrary to them."
First, God takes His people into covenant, and then He tells them of the
happy condition they should be in, if they did keep the covenant; but if
they did break covenant, He tells them, "that the Lord will not spare
him; but the anger of the Lord and His jealousy shall smoke against that
man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon
him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven, and the
Lord shall separate him. And when the nation shall say, Wherefore hath
the Lord done thus unto the land? What meaneth the heat of this great
anger? Then shall men say. Because they have forsaken the covenant of
the Lord God of their fathers." This was the sin that caused God to send
His people Israel into captivity, and to remove the candlestick from the
Asian churches. It is for this sin, that the sword is now devouring
Germany, Ireland, and England. God hath sent His sword to avenge the
quarrel of His covenant.

The reasons why this sin is a God-provoking sin, are, First, because
that, to sin against the covenant is a greater sin than to sin against a
commandment of God, or to sin against a promise, or to sin against an
ordinance of God. 1. It is a greater sin than to break a commandment of
God; for the more mercy there is in the thing we sin against, the
greater is the sin. Now there is more mercy in a covenant than in a bare
commandment. The commandment tells us our duty, but gives no power to do
it. But the covenant of grace, gives power to do what it requires to be
done. And therefore, if it be a hell-procuring sin to break the least of
God's commandments, much more to be a covenant breaker. 2. It is a
greater sin than to sin against a promise of God; because a covenant is
a promise joined with an oath. It is a mutual stipulation between God
and us: and therefore, if it be a great sin to break promise, much more
to break covenant. 3. It is a greater sin than to sin against an
ordinance, because the covenant is the root and ground of all the
ordinances. It is by virtue of the covenant that we are made partakers
of the ordinances: the word is the book of the covenant, and the
sacraments are the seals of the covenant. And if it be a sin of an high
nature to sin against the book of the covenant, and the seals of the
covenant, much more against the covenant itself. To break covenant, is a
fundamental sin; it razeth the very foundation of Christianity, because
the covenant is the foundation of all the privileges, and prerogatives,
and hopes of the saints of God: and therefore we read that a stranger
from the covenant is one "without hope." All hope of heaven is cut off,
where the covenant is willingly broken. To break covenant is an
universal sin, it includes all other sins. By virtue of the covenant, we
tie ourselves to the obedience of God's commandments, we give up
ourselves to the guidance of Jesus Christ, we own Him for our Lord and
King; all the promises of this life, and that which is to come, are
contained within the covenant. The ordinances are fruits of the
covenant: and therefore they that forsake the covenant, commit many sins
in one, and bring not only many but all curses upon their heads. The sum
of the first argument is, "If the Lord will avenge the quarrel of his
commandments," if God was avenged upon the stick-gatherer for breaking
the Sabbath, much more will he be avenged upon a covenant-breaker. If
God will avenge the quarrel of an ordinance; if they that reject the
ordinances shall be punished, "of how much sorer punishment shall they
be thought worthy, that trample under their feet the blood of the
covenant?" If God was avenged of those that abused the ark of the
covenant, much more will He punish those that abuse the Angel of the
covenant.

The Second reason why covenant-breaking is such a land destroying sin
is, because it is a solemn and serious thing to enter into covenant with
God; a matter of such great weight and importance, that it is impossible
but God should be exceedingly provoked with these that slight it, and
disrespect it. The vow in baptism is the first, the most general, and
the solemnest that any Christian took, saith Chrysostom; wherein he doth
not only promise, but engage himself by covenant in the sight of God,
and His holy angels, to be the servant of Jesus Christ; and therefore
God will not hold him guiltless, that breaks this vow. The solemnity and
weightiness of covenant-taking consisteth in three things. 1. Because it
is made with the glorious majesty of heaven and earth, who will not be
trifled and baffled withal; and therefore, what Jehoshaphat said to his
judges, "Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for men, but for the
Lord, who is with you in the judgment. Wherefore now, let the fear of
the Lord be upon you," the like I may say to every one that enters into
covenant this day; "Take heed what ye do; for it is the Lord's covenant,
and there is no iniquity with the Lord: wherefore now, let the fear of
the Lord be upon you; for our God is a holy God, He is a jealous God,
He will not forgive your transgressions, nor your sins." 2. Because the
articles of the covenant are weighty, and of great importance. In the
covenant of grace, God engageth Himself to give Christ, and with Him all
temporal, spiritual, and eternal blessings, and we engage ourselves to
be His faithful servants all our days. In this covenant, we oblige
ourselves to do great matters, that nearly concern the glory of God, the
good of our souls, and the happiness of the three kingdoms. And in such
holy and heavenly things, which so nearly concern our everlasting
estate, to dally and trifle must needs incense the anger of the great
Jehovah. 3. The manner used both by Jews, heathens and Christians in
entering into covenant, doth clearly set out the weightiness of it, and
what a horrible sin it is to break it. The custom among the Jews, will
appear by divers texts of scripture. It is said, "And I will give the
men that have transgressed my covenant, which they had made before me,
when they cut the calf in twain, and passed between the parts thereof."
The words they used when they passed between the parts, were "So God
divide me, if I keep not covenant." Nehemiah took an oath of the
priests, and shook his lap, and said, "So God shake out every man from
his house, and from his labour, that performeth not this promise; even
thus be he shaken out and emptied. And all the congregation said, Amen."
Abraham divided the heifer, and she-goat, and a ram. "And when the sun
was down, a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp, passed between these
pieces." This did represent God's presence, saith Clemens Alexandrinus,
and as if God should say, "Behold, this day I enter into covenant with
thee, and if thou keepest covenant, I will be as a burning lamp to
enlighten, and to comfort thee: but if thou breakest covenant, I will be
like a smoking furnace to consume thee." Thus also Moses makes a
covenant with Israel, and offers sacrifices, and takes the blood of the
sacrifices and divides it, and half of it he sprinkles upon the altar,
(which represents God's part) and the other half he sprinkles upon the
people, as if he should say, "As this blood is divided, so will God
divide you, if ye break covenant." This was the custom among the Jews,
amongst the Romans. Sometimes they make covenants by taking a stone in
their hands, and saying, "If I make this covenant seriously and
faithfully, then let the great Jupiter bless me; if not so, let me be
cast away from the face of the gods, as I cast away this stone." This
was called _jurare per Jovem lapidem_. All these things are not empty
notions and metaphorical shadows, but real and substantial practices;
signifying unto us, that God will and must (for it stands with His
honour to do it) divide and break them in pieces that break covenant
with Him. This day you are to take a covenant by the lifting up of your
hands unto the most high God, which is a most emphatical ceremony,
whereby we do as it were call God to be a witness and a judge of what we
do, and a rewarder or revenger, according as we keep or break this
covenant. If we keep it, the lifting up of our hands will be as an
evening sacrifice; if we break it, the lifting up our hands will be as
the lifting up of the hands of a malefactor at the bar, and will procure
woe and misery, and wringing of hands at the great day of appearing.

The Third reason why God will be avenged of those that are
covenant-breakers, is: Because that a covenant is the greatest
obligation and the most forcible claim that can be invented to tie us to
obedience and service. God may justly challenge obedience without
covenanting, by virtue of creation, preservation and redemption: He hath
made us, and, when lost, He hath purchased us with His blood. But being
willing more abundantly to manifest His love, that we be the more
fastened to Him, He hath tied Himself to us, and us to Him, by the
strong bond of a covenant: as if God should say, Oh ye sons of men! I
see you are rebellious and sons of Belial, and therefore, if it be
possible, I will make sure. I will engage you unto Me, not only by
creation, preservation and redemption, but also by the right of covenant
and association. I will make you Mine by promise and oath. And surely he
that will break these bonds is as bad as the man possessed with the
devil in the gospel, whom no chains could keep fast. When we enter into
covenant with God, we take the oath of supremacy, and swear unto Him,
that He should be our chief lord and governor, and that we will admit of
no sovereign power or jurisdiction, but that God shall be all in all. We
likewise take the oath of allegiance, to be His servants and vassals,
and that He shall be our supreme in spirituals and temporals. Now, for a
Christian that believes there is a God, to break both these oaths of
allegiance and supremacy, it is cursed treason against the God of
heaven, which surely God will be avenged of. Amongst the Romans, when
any soldier was pressed, he took an oath to serve the captain
faithfully, and not to forsake him, and he was called _miles per
sacramentum_. Sometimes one took an oath for all the rest, and the
others only said, the same oath that A.B. took, the same do I. And these
were called _milites per conjurationem_. And when any soldier forsook
his captain, he had the martial law executed upon him. Thus it is with
every Christian: he is a professed soldier of Christ, he hath taken
press-money, he hath sworn and taken the sacrament upon it to become the
Lord's, he is _miles per sacramentum_, and _miles per conjurationem_:
and if he forsake his captain and break covenant, the great Lord of
Hosts will be avenged of him, as it is written, "Cursed be the man that
obeyeth not the words of the covenant." To break covenant is a sin of
perjury, which is a sin of an high nature; and if for oaths the land
mourneth, much more for breach of oaths. To break covenant is a sin of
spiritual adultery; for by covenanting with God, we do as it were,
"join ourselves in marriage to God," as the Hebrew word signifieth. Now,
to break the marriage knot is a sin for which God may justly give a bill
of divorce to a nation. To break covenant is a sin of injustice; for by
our covenant we do enter, as it were, into bond to God, and engage
ourselves as a creditor to his debtor; now the sin of injustice is a
land-destroying sin.

The Fourth reason why God must needs be avenged on those that are
covenant-breakers, is, It is an act of the highest sacrilege that can be
committed. For, by virtue of the covenant, the Lord lays claim to us as
His peculiar inheritance. "I sware unto thee, and entered into covenant
with thee, and thou becamest Mine." "I will be their God, and they shall
be My people." It is a worthy observation, that in the covenant there is
a double surrender, one on God's part, and another on our part. God
Almighty makes a surrender of Himself, and of his Son, and of the Holy
Ghost. Behold, saith God, I am wholly thy God; all My power, and mercy,
and goodness, all is thine; My Son is thine, and all His rich purchases;
My Spirit is thine, and all His graces: this is God's surrender. On our
part, when we take hold of the covenant, we make a delivery of our
bodies and souls into the hands of God; we choose Him to be our Lord and
Governor, we resign up ourselves into His hands. Lord, we are Thine at
Thy disposing: we alienate ourselves, and make a deed of gift of
ourselves, and give Thee lock and key of head, heart, and affections.
This is the nature of every religious covenant, but especially of the
covenant of grace. But now, for a Christian to call in, as it were, his
surrender, to disclaim his resignation, to steal away himself from God,
and lay claim to himself after his alienation; to fulfil his own lusts,
to walk after his own ways, to do what he lists, and not what he hath
covenanted to do, and so to rob God of what is His: this is the highest
degree of sacrilege, which God will never suffer to go unpunished. And
surely if the stick-gatherer, that did but alienate a little of God's
time; and Ananias and Sapphira, that withheld but some part of their
estate: and if Belshazzar for abusing the consecrated vessels of the
temple, were so grievously punished; how much more will God punish those
that alienate themselves from the service of that God to whom they have
sworn to be obedient? It is observed by a learned author, of the famous
commanders of the Romans, that they never prospered after they had
defiled and robbed the temple of Jerusalem. First, Pompey the Great,
went into the _sanctum sanctorum_, a place never before entered by any
but the high-priest, and the Lord blasted him in all his proceedings,
"that he that before that time wanted earth to overcome, had not at last
earth enough to bury him withal." The next was Crassus, who took away
10,000 talents of gold from the temple, and afterward died, by having
gold poured down his throat. The third was Cassius, who afterwards
killed himself. If then God did thus avenge Himself of those that
polluted His consecrated temple; much more will He not leave them
unpunished, that are the living temples of the Holy Ghost, consecrated
to God by covenant, and afterwards proving sacrilegious, robbing God of
that worship and service, which they have sworn to give Him.

The Fifth reason why this sin makes the times perilous, is; Because
covenant-breakers are reckoned amongst the number of those that have the
mark of reprobation upon them. I do not say that they are all
reprobates, yet I say, that the apostle makes it to be one of those sins
which are committed by those that are given up "to a reprobate mind."
The words are spoken of the heathen, and are to be understood of
covenants made between man and man; and then the argument will hold _a
fortiori_. If it be the brand of a reprobate to break covenant with man,
much more a covenant made with the great Jehovah by the lifting up of
our hands to heaven.

The Last reason is, because it is a sin against such infinite mercy. It
is said, "Which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto
them;" that is, although I had chosen them for my spouse, and married
myself unto them with an everlasting covenant of mercy, and entailed
heaven unto them, yet they have broken my covenant. This was a great
provocation. Thus, "When thou wast in thy blood, and no eye pitied thee,
to have compassion upon thee, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy
blood, Live: Yea, I said unto thee, Live." It is twice repeated. As if
God should say, "Mark it, O Israel, when no eye regarded thee, then I
said unto thee, Live." Behold, saith God, "Thy time was the time of
love." Behold, and wonder at it. "And I spread my skirt over thee, and
covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into covenant
with thee, saith the Lord, and thou becamest Mine." And yet for all
this, thou has sinned grievously against Me. "Wo, wo unto thee, saith
the Lord God."

There is a fivefold mercy in the covenant, especially in the covenant of
grace, that makes the sin of covenant-breaking to be so odious.

1. It is a mercy that the great God will vouchsafe to enter into
covenant with dust and ashes. As David saith in another case, "Is it a
light thing to be the son-in-law of a king?" So may I say, "Is it a
light matter for the Lord of heaven and earth to condescend so far as to
covenant with His poor creatures, and thereby to become their debtors,
and to make them, as it were, His equals?" When Jonathan and David
entered into a covenant of friendship, though one was a king's son, the
other a poor shepherd, yet there was a kind of equality between them.
But this must be understood warily, according to the text. "Blessed be
God, who hath called us unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our
Lord." He is still our Lord, though in fellowship with us. It is a
covenant of infinite condescension on God's part, whereby He enters into
a league of friendship with His people.

2. The mercy is the greater, because this covenant was made after the
fall of Adam. After we had broken the first covenant, that the Lord
should try us the second time, is not only an act of infinite goodness
of God, but of infinite mercy. There is a difference between the
goodness and the mercy of God. Goodness may be shewed to those that are
not in misery: but mercy supposeth misery. And this was our condition
after the breach of the first covenant.

3. That God should make this covenant with man, and not with devils.

4. This sets out the mercy of the covenant, because it contains such
rare and glorious benefits, and therefore it is called a covenant of
life and peace. "An everlasting covenant even the sure mercies of
David." It is compared to the waters of Noah, Isa. liv. 6. Famous are
those two texts; Exod. xix. 5, 6; Jer. xxxii. 40, 41--texts that hold
forth strong consolation. By virtue of the covenant, heaven is not only
made possible, but certain to all believers, and certain by way of oath.
It is by virtue of the covenant that we call Him Father, and may lay
claim to all the power, wisdom, goodness and mercy, that are in God. As
Jehoshaphat told the king of Israel, to whom he was joined in covenant,
"I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses:" so
doth God say to all that are in covenant with Him, "My power is thine,
My holiness is thine." By virtue of this covenant, whatsoever thou
wantest, God cannot deny it thee, if it be good for thee. Say unto God,
Lord, Thou hast sworn to take away my heart of stone, and to give me a
heart of flesh, Thou hast sworn to write Thy law in my heart, Thou hast
sworn to circumcise my heart, Thou hast sworn to give me Christ, to be
my king, priest and prophet. And God cannot but be a covenant-keeper.
By virtue of this covenant, God cannot but accept of a poor penitent
sinner, laying hold upon Christ for pardon. In a word, we may challenge
pardon and heaven by our covenant. God is not only merciful but just to
forgive us; we may challenge heaven through Christ, out of justice. And

5. That the condition of the covenant on our part should be upon such
easy terms, therefore it is called a covenant of free grace, and all
that God requires of us is to take hold of this covenant; to receive
this gift of righteousness; to take all Christ, as He is tendered in the
covenant; and, that which is the greatest consolation of all, God hath
promised in His covenant to do our part for us. Therefore it is called a
testament, rather than a covenant. In the New Testament, the word
_diatheke_, is always used by the apostle, and not _syntheke_. Heaven is
conveyed into the elect by way of legacy. It is part of God's testament,
to write His law in our hearts, and to cause us to walk in His ways. Put
these together, seeing there is such infinite mercy in the covenant. A
mercy, for God to enter into covenant with us, to do it with us, and not
the angels; with us fallen, with us upon, such easy terms, and to make
such a covenant that contains so many, and not only so but all blessings
here and hereafter, in the womb of it. It must needs be a
land-destroying, and soul-destroying sin, to be a covenant-breaker.

The use and application of this doctrine is fourfold. 1. Of information.
If it be such a land-destroying sin to be a covenant-breaker, let us
from hence learn the true cause of all the miseries that have happened
unto England in these late years. The womb out of which all our
calamities are come--England hath broken covenant with God, and now God
is breaking England in pieces, even as a potter breaks a vessel in
pieces. "God hath sent His sword to avenge the quarrel of His covenant,"
as Christ whipped the buyers and sellers out of the temple, with whips
made of the cords which they had brought to tie their oxen and sheep
withal. A covenant is a cord to tie us to God; and now God hath made an
iron whip of that covenant which we have broken asunder, to whip us
withal.

We are a nation in covenant with God, we have the books of the covenant,
the Old and New Testament; we have the seals of the covenant, baptism,
and the Lord's supper; we have the messengers of the covenant, the
ministers of the Gospel; we have the angel of the covenant, the Lord
Jesus Christ, fully, freely, and clearly set out before us in the
ministry of the word: but alas! are not these blessings amongst us, as
the ark was amongst the Philistines, rather as prisoners, than as
privileges, rather _in testimonium et ruinam, quam in salutem_; rather
for our ruin, than for our happiness? May it not be said of us, as
reverend Mulin said of the French protestants, "While they burned us
(saith he) for reading the scriptures, we burned with zeal to be reading
of them; now with our liberty is bred also negligence and disesteem of
God's word." So is it with us, while we were under the tyranny of
bishops; Oh! how sweet was a fasting day? How beautiful were the feet of
them that brought the gospel of peace unto you? How dear and precious
were God's people one to another? But now, how are our fasting days
slighted and vilified? How are the people of God divided one from
another, railing upon (instead of loving) one another? And is not the
godly ministry as much persecuted by the tongues of some that would be
accounted godly, as heretofore by the bishop's hands? Is not the Holy
Bible by some rather wrested than read? Wrested, I say, by ignorant and
unstable souls, to their own destruction? And as for the seals of the
covenant, 1. For the Lord's supper, how oft have we spilt the blood of
Christ by our unworthy approaches to His table? And hence it is, that He
is now spilling our blood; how hard a matter is it, to obtain power to
keep the blood of Christ from being profaned by ignorant and scandalous
communicants? And can we think, that God will be easily entreated to
sheath up His bloody sword, and to cease shedding our blood? 2. For the
sacrament of baptism; how cruel are men grown to their little infants,
by keeping of them from the seal of entrance into the kingdom of heaven,
and making their children to be just in the same condition with the
children of Turks and Infidels? I remember, at the beginning of these
wars there was a great fear fell upon godly people about their little
children, and all their care was for their preservation and their
safety; and for the continuance of the gospel to them. But now, our
little children are likely to be in a worse condition than ever. And all
this is come upon us as a just punishment of our baptismal
covenant-breaking. And as for Jesus Christ, who is the angel of the
covenant: are there not some amongst us that ungod Jesus Christ? And is
it not fit and equal that God should unchurch us and unpeople us? Are
there not thousands that have sworn to be Christ's servants, and yet are
in their lives the vassals of sin and Satan? And shall not God be
avenged of such a nation as this? These things considered, it is no
wonder our miseries are so great, but the wonder is that they are not
greater.

2. An use of examination. Days of humiliation ought to be days of
self-examination. Let us therefore upon such a day as this, examine,
whether we be not amongst the number of those that make the times
perilous, whether we be not covenant-breakers? Here I will speak of
three covenants; 1. Of the covenant we have made with God in our
baptism. 2. Of the covenant we have made with God in our distresses. 3.
And especially of this covenant you are to renew this day.

1. Of the covenant which we made in baptism, and renew every time we
come to the Lord's supper, and upon our solemn days of fasting. There
are none here, but I may say of them, "the vows of God are upon you."
You are _servi nati, empti, jurati_, you are the born, bought, and sworn
servants of God, you have made a surrender of yourselves unto God and
Christ. The question I put to you is this: How often have you broken
covenant with God? It is said, "The sinners in Zion are afraid; who
shall dwell with everlasting torments? Who shall dwell with devouring
fire?" When God comes to a church-sinner, to a sinner under the Old
Testament, much more to a Christian sinner, a sinner under the New
Testament, and layeth to his charge his often covenant-breaking,
fearfulness shall possess him, and he will cry out, "Oh! woe is me, who
can dwell with everlasting burnings? Our God is a consuming fire, and we
are as stubble before Him; who can stand before His indignation? Who can
abide in the fierceness of His anger? When His fury is poured forth like
fire, and the rocks are thrown down before Him. Who can stand?" Of all
sorts of creatures, a sinful Christian shall not be able to stand before
the Lord, when He comes to visit the world for their sins. For when a
Christian sins against God, he sins not only against the commandment but
against the covenant. And in every sin he is a commandment-breaker, and
a covenant-breaker. And therefore, whereas the apostle saith,
"tribulation and anguish upon every soul that sinneth: but first upon
the Jews," I may add, first, upon the Christian, then upon the Jew, and
then upon the Grecian, because the covenant made with the Christian is
called a better covenant: and therefore his sins have a higher
aggravation in them. There is a notable passage in Austin, in which he
brings in the devil thus pleading with God, against a wicked Christian
at the day of judgment. Oh! Thou righteous Judge, give righteous
judgment; judge him to be mine who refused to be Thine, even after he
had renounced me in his baptism; what had he to do to wear my livery?
What had he to do with gluttony, drunkenness, pride, wantonness,
incontinency, and the rest of my ware? All these things he hath
practised, since he renounced the devil and all his works. Mine he is,
judge righteous judgment; for he whom Thou hast not disdained to die
for, hath obliged himself to me by his sins.

Now, what can God say to this charge of the devil's, but take him,
devil, seeing he would be thine; take him, torment him with everlasting
torments. Cyprian brings in the devil thus speaking to Christ in the
great day of judgment. I have not (saith the devil) been whipped, and
scourged, and crucified, neither have I shed my blood for those whom
Thou seest with me; I do not promise them a kingdom of heaven, and yet
these men have wholly consecrated themselves to me and my service.
Indeed, if the devil could make such gainful covenants with us, and
bestow such glorious mercies upon us as are contained within the
covenant, our serving of Satan and sin might have some excuse. But,
whereas his covenant is a covenant of bondage, death, hell, and
damnation; and God's covenant is a covenant of liberty, grace, and
eternal happiness, it must needs be a sin inexcusable to be willingly
and wilfully such a covenant-breaker.

2. Let us examine concerning the vows which we have made to God in our
distresses; in our personal distresses, and our national distresses. Are
we not like the children of Israel, of whom it is said, "When He slew
them, then they sought Him, and they returned and inquired early after
God. Nevertheless they did flatter Him with their mouth. For their heart
was not right with Him, neither were they stedfast in His covenant." Are
we not like little children that, while they are being whipped, will
promise any thing; but, when the whipping is over, will perform nothing?
Or like unto iron that is very soft and malleable while it is in the
fire, but, when it is taken out of the fire, returns presently to its
former hardness? This was Jacob's fault: he made a vow when he was in
distress, but he forgot his covenant, and God was angry with him, and
chastised him in his daughter, Dinah, and in his two sons, Simeon and
Levi; and at last God Himself was fain to call him from heaven to keep
covenant; and after that time God blessed Jacob exceedingly. We read of
David, that he professes of himself, "That he would go to God's house,
and pay the vows which his lips uttered, and his mouth had spoken, when
he was in trouble." But, how few are there that imitate David in this
thing.

3. Let us examine ourselves concerning this Solemn League and Covenant
which we are to renew this day. And here I demand an answer to this
question. Quest. Are we not covenant-breakers? Do we not make the times
perilous by our falsifying of our oath and covenant with God? In our
covenant we swear to six things.

1. "That we will endeavour to be humbled for our own sins, and for the
sins of the kingdom:" But where shall we find a mourner in England for
his own abominations, and for the abominations that are committed in the
midst of us? It is easy to find a censurer of the sins of the land, but
hard to find a true mourner for the sins of the land.

2. We swear "that we will endeavour to go before one another in the
example of a real reformation." But who makes conscience of this part of
the oath? What sin hast thou left, or in what one thing hast thou
reformed since thou didst take this covenant? We read, "That they
entered into a covenant to put away their wives and children by them,"
which was a very difficult and hard duty, and yet they did it. But what
bosom-sin, what beloved sin, as dear to thee as thy dear wife and
children, hast thou left for God's sake, since thou tookest this oath? I
read, That the people took an oath to make restitution, which was a
costly duty, and yet they performed it. But alas! where is the man that
hath made restitution of his ill-gotten goods since he took this
covenant? I read, that king Asa deposed his mother Maachah, her even,
from being queen, after he had entered into covenant: and that the
people, after they had sworn a covenant, brake in pieces all the altars
of Baal thoroughly. But where is this thorough reformation. We say, we
fight for a reformation, but I fear lest in a little time, we fight away
our reformation. Or, if we fight it not away, yet we should dispute it
away. For all our religion is turned into questions, in so much that
there are some that call all religion into question, and in a little
while will lose all religion in the crowd of questions. There was a time
not many years ago, when God did bless our ministry in the city, to the
conversion of many people unto God; but now there are many that study
more to gain parties to themselves, than to gain souls to God. The great
work of conversion is little thought on, and never so few, if any at
all, converted as in these days wherein we talk so much of reformation.
And is this to keep covenant with God?

3. We swear "to endeavour to amend our lives, and reform not only
ourselves, but also those that are under our charge." But where is that
family reformation? Indeed I read of Jacob that when he went to perform
his vow and covenant, he first reformed his family. And that Joshua
resolved, and performed it, "for himself and his family to serve the
Lord." And so did Josiah. And oh! that I could add, And so do we. But
the wickedness committed in our families proclaims the contrary to all
the world. What noblemen, what aldermen, what merchants, families, are
more reformed since the covenant than before? We speak and contend much
for a church-reformation, but how can there be a church-reformation,
unless there be a family-reformation? What though the church-worship be
pure, yet if the worshippers be impure, God will not accept of the
worship? And if families be not reformed, how will your worshippers be
pure?

4. We swear to endeavour "to bring the churches of God in the three
kingdoms to the nearest uniformity in religion confession of faith, form
of church government, directory for worship, and catechising." But are
there not some that write against an uniformity in religion, and call it
an idol? Are there not many that walk professedly contrary to this
clause of the covenant? There are three texts of scripture that people
keep quite the contrary way. The first is, "Take no thought what ye
shall eat; take no thought for to-morrow." And most people take thought
for nothing else. The second is, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and
His righteousness;" and most people seek this last of all. The third
text is, "Labour not for the meat that perisheth, but for the meat that
endureth for ever;" and most people labour not for the meat that
endureth for ever, but for the meat that perisheth. As these three texts
are kept, so do many people keep this part of the oath; for there were
never more divisions and differences in the church, never more
deformity, and pleading against uniformity, than now there is.

5. We swear "to endeavour the extirpation of popery, prelacy,
superstition, heresy, and schism." And yet, notwithstanding, there are
some that have taken the oath that contend earnestly for a toleration of
all religions.

6. We swear "against a detestable indifferency and neutrality in this
cause, which so much concerneth the glory of God." And yet how many are
there amongst us like unto Gallio, that care not what becomes of the
cause of God, so they may have peace and quiet? That will not be the
backwardest of all, and yet will be sure not to be too forward; for fear
lest, if the times turn, they should be noted amongst the chief of the
faction? That are very indifferent which side prevail, so they may have
their trading again? That say as the politicians say, That they would be
careful not to come too near the heels of religion, lest it should dash
out their brains: and as the king of Arragon told Beza, That he would
wade no further into the sea of religion, than he could safely return to
shore. In all these six particulars, let us seriously search and try our
hearts, whether we be not among the number of those that make the times
perilous.

The third use is for humiliation. Let the consideration of our
covenant-breaking be a heart-breaking consideration to every one of us
this day: let this be a mighty and powerful argument to humble us upon
this day of humiliation. There are five considerations that are
exceedingly soul-humbling, if God bless them to us.

1. The consideration of the many commandments of God, that we have often
and often broken. 2. The consideration of the breaking of Jesus Christ
for our sins, how He was rent and torn for our iniquities. 3. The
consideration of the breaking of the bread, and pouring out of the wine
in the sacrament, which is a heart-breaking motive and help. 4. The
broken condition that the kingdoms of England, Scotland, Ireland, and
Germany, are in at this time. 5. The many vows and covenants that we
have broken; our sacrament-covenants, our fasting-covenants, our
sick-bed covenants; and especially the consideration of our often
breaking our national covenant, which you come this day to renew. This
is a sin in folio, a sin of a high nature: and if ever God awaken our
conscience in this life, a sin that will lie like a heavy _incubus_ upon
it. A greater sin than to sin against a commandment, or against an
ordinance. A sin not only of disobedience, but of perjury; a sin of
injustice, of spiritual adultery, a sin of sacrilege, a sin of great
unkindness, a sin that not only makes us disobedient, but dishonest; for
we account him a dishonest man, that keeps not his word. A sin that not
only every good Christian, but every good heathen doth abhor; a sin that
not only brings damnation upon us, but casteth such an horrible disgrace
and reproach upon God, that it cannot stand with God's honour not to be
avenged of a covenant-breaker. Tertullian saith, "That when a Christian
forsakes his covenant, and the colours of Christ, and turns to serve as
the devil's soldier, he puts an unspeakable discredit upon God and
Christ." For it is as much as if he should say, "I like the service of
the devil better than the service of God." And it is just as if a
soldier that hath waged war under a captain, and afterwards forsakes
him, and turns to another; and after that, leaves this other captain,
and turns to his former captain. This is to prefer the first captain
before the second. This makes God complain, "What iniquity have your
fathers found in Me, that they have gone far from Me?" And, "Hath any
nation changed their god, which yet are no gods? But My people have
changed their glory for that which doth not profit." Basil brings in the
devil insulting over Christ, and saying, "I never created nor redeemed
these men, and yet they have obeyed me and contemned Thee, O Christ,
even after they have covenanted to be Thine." And then he adds, "I
esteem this honouring of the devil over Jesus Christ at the great day,
to be more grievous to a true saint than all the torments in hell." A
saying worthy to be written in letters of gold. Seeing then that
covenant-breaking is so great an abomination, the Lord give us hearts to
be humbled for this great abomination this day. And this will be a
notable preparation to fit you for the renewing of your covenant. For we
read, that Nehemiah first called his people to fast before he drew them
unto a covenant: according to which pattern, you are here met to pray
and humble your souls for your former covenant-breaking; and then to
bind yourselves anew unto the Lord our God. As wax, when it is melted,
will receive the impression of a seal, which it will not do before: so
will your hearts, when melted into godly sorrow for our sins, receive
the seal of God abidingly upon them which they will not do when hardened
in sin.

Is every man that sins against the covenant to be accounted a
covenant-breaker, and a perjured sacrilegious person? By no means. For,
as every failing of a wife doth not break covenant between her and her
husband, but she is to be accounted a wife, till she, by committing
adultery, break the covenant: so, every miscarriage against the covenant
of grace, or against this national covenant doth not denominate us, in a
gospel account, covenant-breakers: but then God accounts us, according
to His gospel, to break covenant when we do not only sin, but commit sin
against the covenant; when we do not only sin out of weakness, but out
of wickedness; when we do not only fail, but fall into sin; when we
forsake and renounce the covenant; when we deal treacherously in the
covenant, and enter into league and covenant with those sins which we
have sworn against; when we walk into anti-covenant paths, and willingly
do contrary to what we swear; then are we perjured, and unjust, and
sacrilegious, and guilty of all those things formerly mentioned.

The fourth use presents unto you a divine, and therefore a sure project
to make the times happy; and that is, let all covenant-takers labour to
be covenant-keepers. It hath pleased God, to put it in your hearts to
renew your covenant, the same God enabled you to keep covenant. It is
said, "The king made a covenant before the Lord. And he caused all that
were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand to it. And the king
stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the Lord. And all the
people stood to the covenant." This is your duty, not only to take the
covenant, but to stand to the covenant; and to stand to it maugre all
opposition to the contrary, as we read, "And they entered into a
covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers. That whosoever would not
seek the Lord God of Israel, should be put to death, whether small or
great, whether man or woman." For it is not the taking, but the keeping
of the covenant, that will make you happy. God is styled, "A God keeping
covenant." O that this might be the honour of this city! That we may say
of it, London is a city keeping covenant with God. Great and many are
the blessings entailed upon covenant-keepers. "Now, therefore, if ye
will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a
peculiar treasure unto Me, above all people: for all the earth is Mine;
and ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation." "All
the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep His
covenant." There are three covenants, I shall persuade you in a special
manner to stand to.

1. The covenant you made with God in baptism. A Christian (saith
Chrysostom) should never step out of doors, or lie down in his bed, or
go into his closet, but he should remember the time when he did renounce
the devil and all his works. Oh, let us not forget that which we ought
always to remember! Let us remember to keep that covenant, as we ever
desire God should remember us in mercy at the great day.

2. The covenant we make with God in our afflictions. Famous is that
passage of Pliny in one of his epistles, to one that desired rules from
him how to order his life aright; I will (saith he) give you one rule,
which shall be instead of a thousand: That we should persevere to be
such, when we are well, as we promise to be when we are sick. A sentence
never to be forgotten: the Lord help us to live accordingly.

3. The covenant which you are to take this day. The happiness or misery
of England doth much depend upon the keeping or breaking of this
covenant. If England keep it, England by keeping covenant shall stand
sure. If England break it, God will break England in pieces. If England
slight it, God will slight England. If England forsake it, God will
forsake England, and this shall be written upon the tomb of perishing
England, "Here lieth a nation that hath broken the covenant of their
God." Remember what you have heard this day, that it is the brand of a
reprobate to be a covenant-breaker, and it is the part of a fool to vow
and not to pay his vows. And God hath no delight in the sacrifice of
fools. "Better not to vow, than to vow and not to pay." It is such a
high profanation of God's name, as that God cannot hold a
covenant-breaker guiltless; it is perjury, injustice, spiritual
adultery, sacrilege. And the very lifting up of our hands this day, (if
you do not set heart and hand on work to keep covenant) will be a
sufficient witness against you at the great day. We read "that Jacob and
Laban entered in covenant, and took a heap of stones, and they called
the place Mizpah, the Lord watch between me and thee," and made them a
witness, and said "this heap is a witness." "The God of Abraham judge
betwixt us." Such is your condition this day. You enter into covenant to
become the Lord's, and to be valiant for His truth, and against His
enemies, and the very stones of this church shall be witness against
you, if you break covenant; the name of this place may lie called
Mizpah. The Lord will watch over you for good, if you keep it, and for
evil if you break it; and all the curses contained in the book of the
covenant shall light upon a willing covenant-breaker. The Lord fasten
these meditations and soul-awakening considerations upon your hearts.
The Lord give you grace to keep close to the covenant and a good
conscience, which are both lost by breaking covenant.

There are four things I shall persuade you unto in pursuance of your
covenant. 1. To be humbled for your own sins, and for the sins of the
kingdom; and more especially, because we have not, as we ought, valued
the inestimable benefit of the gospel, that we have not laboured to
receive Christ in our hearts, nor to walk worthy of Him in our lives,
which are the causes of other sins and transgressions so much abounding
amongst us. Gospel sins are greater than legal sins, and will bring
gospel curses, which are greater than legal curses. And therefore let us
be humbled according to our covenant, for all our gospel abominations.
2. You must be ambitious to go before one another in an example of real
reformation. You must swear vainly no more, be drunk no more, break the
Sabbath no more. You must remember what David says. "But unto the wicked
God saith, What hast thou to do to take My covenant in thy mouth? Seeing
thou hatest instruction, and castest My words behind thee." To sin
willingly, after we have sworn not to sin, is not only to sin against a
commandment, but to sin against an oath, which is a double iniquity, and
will procure a double damnation. And he that takes a covenant to reform,
and yet continueth unreformed, his covenant will be unto him as the
bitter water of jealousy was to the woman guilty of adultery, which made
her belly to swell, and thigh to rot. 3. You must be careful to reform
your families, according to your covenant, and the example of Jacob and
Joshua, and the godly kings fore-mentioned. 4. You must endeavour,
according to your places and callings, to bring the churches of God in
the three kingdoms to the nearest conjunction, and uniformity in
religion. O blessed unity! how comes it to pass, that thou art so much
slighted and contemned? Was not unity one of the chief parts of Christ's
prayer unto His Father, when He was here upon the earth? Is not unity
amongst Christians one of the strongest arguments to persuade the world
to believe in Christ? Is it not the chief desire of the holy apostles,
that we "should all speak the same things, and that there should be no
division amongst us?" Is not unity the happiness of heaven? Is it not
the happiness of a city, to be at unity with itself? "Is it not a good
and pleasant thing for brethren to dwell together in unity?" How comes
it to pass then that this part of the covenant is so much forgotten? The
Lord mind you of it this day; and the Lord make this great and famous
city, a city of holiness, and a city of unity within itself: for if
unity be destroyed, purity will quickly also be destroyed. The church of
God is _Una_, as well as _Sancta_; it is but one church, as well as it
is a holy church. And "Jesus Christ gave some to be apostles, etc. till
we all come to the unity of the faith." The government of Christ is
appointed for keeping the church in unity, as well as purity. These
things which God hath joined together, let no man put asunder. That
government which doth not promote unity as well as purity, is not the
government of Christ. Oh, the misery of the kingdom where church
divisions are nourished and fomented! A kingdom or church against
itself, cannot stand. Would it not be a sad thing, to see twelve in a
family, and one of them a Presbyterian, another an Independent, another
a Brownist, another an Antimonian, another an Anabaptist, another a
Familist, another for Prelatical government, another a Seeker, another a
Papist, and the tenth, it may be, an Atheist, and the eleventh a Jew,
and the twelfth a Turk? The Lord in His due time heal our divisions, and
make you His choice of instruments, according to your places, that the
Lord may be one, and His name one in the three kingdoms.

_Quest._ But some will say, "How shall I do to get up my heart to this
high pitch, that I may be a covenant-keeper?" I will propound these
three helps. 1. Labour to be always mindful of your covenant, according
to that text, "God is always mindful of His covenant." It was the great
sin of the people of Israel, that they were unmindful of the covenant.
They first forgot the covenant, and afterwards did quickly forsake it.
He that forgets the covenant, must needs be a covenant-breaker. Let us
therefore remember it, and carry it about us as _quotidianum
argumentum_, and _quotidianum munimentum_. 1. Let us make the covenant a
daily argument against all sin and iniquity; and when we are tempted to
any sin, let us say, "I have sworn to forsake my old iniquity, and, if I
commit this sin, I am not only a commandment-breaker, but an
oath-breaker. I am perjured. I have sworn to reform my family, and
therefore I will not suffer a wicked person to tarry in my family; I
have sworn against neutrality and indifferency, and therefore I will be
zealous in God's cause." 2. Let us make this covenant a daily muniment
and armour of defence, to beat back all the fiery darts of the devil:
when any one tempts thee by promise of preferment to do contrary to thy
covenant, or threatens to ruin thee for the hearty pursuing of thy
covenant, here is a ready answer, "I am sworn to do what I do, and, if I
do otherwise, I am a perjured wretch." This is a wall of brass, to
resist any dart that shall be shot against thee for well-doing,
according to thy covenant. Famous is the story of Hannibal, which he
told king Antiochus, when he required aid of him against the Romans,
"When I was nine years old (saith he) my father carried me to the altar,
and made me take an oath to be an irreconcilable foe to the Romans. In
pursuance of this oath, I have waged war against them thirty-six years.
To keep this oath, I have left my country, and am come to seek aid at
your hands, which, if you deny, I will travel all over the world, to
find out some enemies to the Roman state." If an oath did so mightily
operate in Hannibal; let the oath you are to take this day work as
powerfully upon you; and make your oath an argument to oppose
personal-sins and family sins, and to oppose heresy, schism, and all
profaneness; and to endeavour to bring the church of God in the three
kingdoms to the nearest conjunction and uniformity. And let this oath be
armour-proof against all temptations to the contrary. And know this one
thing, that if the covenant be not a daily argument and muniment against
sin, it will become, upon your breaking of it, a daily witness against
you, as the book of the law was, and an "everlasting shame and
reproach" unto you and yours. 2. Let us have high thoughts of the
covenant. Actions and affections follow our apprehensions. If thy
judgment be belepered with a corrupt opinion about the covenant, thy
affections and actions will quickly be belepered also: and therefore you
ought to endeavour, according to your places, that nothing be spoken or
written that may tend to the prejudice of the covenant. 3. You must take
heed of the cursed sin of self-love, which is placed in the forefront,
as the cause of all the catalogue of sins here named; "Because men are
lovers of themselves, therefore they are covetous," etc., and therefore
they are covenant-breakers. A self-seeker cannot but be a
covenant-breaker: this is a sin you must hate as the very gates of hell.

And this is the second sin I promised in the beginning of my sermon to
speak on: but the time, and your other occasions will not permit. There
is a natural self-love, and a divine self-love, and a sinful self-love.
This sinful self-love is, when we make ourselves the last end of all our
actions, when we so love ourselves, as to love no man but ourselves,
according to the proverb, "Every man for himself." When we pretend God
and His glory, and the common good, but intend ourselves, and our own
private gain and interest; when we serve God upon politic designs. Where
this sinful self-love dwells, there dwells no love to God, no love to
thy brother, no love to church or state. This sinful self-love is the
caterpillar that destroyeth church and commonwealth. It is from this
sinful self-love that the public affairs drive on so heavily, and that
church-government is not settled, and that our covenant is so much
neglected. Of this sin, I cannot now speak; but, when God shall offer
opportunity, I shall endeavour to uncase it you. In the meantime, the
Lord give you grace to hate it as hell itself.



THE NATIONAL COVENANTS.



[Illustration: Fac-simile of old Title page of following Ceremony.]

THE

FORM and ORDER

OF THE

CORONATION

OF

CHARLES II.

King of _SCOTLAND_, _ENGLAND_, _FRANCE_, and _IRELAND_.

As it was acted and done at _SCOON_, the First Day of _January_, 1651.

By the Reverend Mr. Robert Douglas, Minister at _Edinburgh_, and one of
the Members of the _Westminster_ Assembly of _Divines_.

1 Chron. xxix. 23. _Then_ Solomon _sat on the Throne of the Lord as King,
in stead of_ David _his Father, and prospered, and all_ Israel _obeyed
him._

Prov. xx. 8. _A King that sitteth in the Throne of Judgment, scattereth
away all Evil with his Eyes._

Prov. xxv. 5. _Take away the Wicked from before the King, and his Throne
shall be established in Righteousness._

GLASGOW
Printed for George Paton, and are to be Sold at his Shop in _Linlithgow_,
and other Booksellers in Town and Country. 1741.


THE NATIONAL COVENANTS

CORONATION SERMON AT SCONE.[15]

_BY ROBERT DOUGLAS._


And he brought forth the king's son, and put the crown upon him; and
gave him the testimony, and they made him king and anointed him, and
they clapped their hands, and said, God save the king.

And Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord, and the king, and the
people, that they should he the Lord's people; between the king also,
and the people.--_2 Kings_ xi, 12, 17.

In this text of Scripture you have the solemn enthronizing of Joash, a
young king, and that in a very troublesome time; for Athaliah, the
mother of Ahaziah, had cruelly murdered the royal seed, and usurped the
kingdom by the space of six years. Only this young prince was preserved
by Jehosheba, the sister of Ahaziah, and wife to Jehoiada, the high
priest, being hid with her in the house of the Lord, all that time.

Good interpreters do conjecture, though Joash be called the son of
Ahaziah, that he was not his son by nature, but by succession to the
crown. They say, that the race of Solomon ceased here, and the kingdom
came to the posterity of Nathan, the son of David, because, 'tis said,
"the house of Ahaziah had no power to keep still the kingdom;" which
they conceive to be for the want of children in that house, and because
of the absurdity and unnaturalness of the fact, that Athaliah, the
grandmother, should have cut off her son's children. I shall not stand
on the matter, only I may say, if they were Ahaziah's own children, it
was a most unnatural and cruel act for Athaliah to cut off her own
posterity.

For the usurpation, there might have been two motives. _First_, It
seemeth when Ahaziah went to battle, Athaliah was left to govern the
kingdom, and, her son Ahaziah being slain before his return, she thought
the government sweet, and could not part with it, and because the royal
seed stood in her way, she cruelly destroyed them, that she might reign
with the greater freedom. _Secondly_, She was earnest to set up a false
worship, even the worship of Baal, which she thought could not be so
well done, as by cutting off the royal race, and getting the sole power
in her hand, that she might do what she pleased.

The business you are about this day, is not unlike: you are to invest a
young king in the throne, in a very troublesome time, and wicked men
have risen up and usurped the kingdom, and put to death the late king
most unnaturally. The like motives seemed to have prevailed with them.
_First_, These men by falsehood and dissimulation, have gotten power in
their hands, which to them is so sweet, that they are unwilling to part
with it; and because the king and his seed stood in their way, they have
made away the king, and disinherited his children, that the sole power
might be in their hand. _Secondly_, They have a number of damnable
errors, and a false worship to set up, and intend to take away the
ordinances of Christ, and government of His kirk: all this cannot be
done, unless they have the sole power in their hands, and this they
cannot have until the king and his posterity be cut off. But I leave
this, and come to the present solemnity; there's a prince to be
enthroned, good Jehoiada will have the crown put upon his head.

It may be questioned why they went about this coronation in a time of so
great hazard, when Athaliah had reigned six years. Had it not been
better to have defeated Athaliah, and then to have crowned the king? Two
reasons may be rendered why they delay the coronation. (1) To crown the
king was a duty they were bound to. Hazard should not make men leave
their duty; they did their duty, and left the success to God. (2) They
crowned the young king, to endear the people's affections to their own
native prince, and to alienate their hearts from her that had usurped
the kingdom. If they had delayed (the king being known to be preserved),
it might have brought on not only compliance with her, but also
subjection to her government, by resting in it, and being content to lay
aside the righteous heir of the crown.

The same is observed in our case; and many wonder that you should crown
the king in a dangerous time, when the usurpers have such power in the
land. The same reasons may serve to answer for your doing. (1) It is our
necessary duty to crown the king upon all hazards, and to leave the
success to God. (2) It appeareth now it hath been too long delayed.
Delay is dangerous, because of the compliance of some, and treachery of
others. If it shall be delayed longer, it is to be feared that the most
part shall sit down under the shadow of the bramble, the destroying
usurpers.

I come to the particular handling of the present text: and, to speak
from it to the present time, I have read the twelfth and seventeenth
verses, because of these two which meet together in the crowning of a
king, and his renewing the covenant. Amongst many particulars which may
be handled from this text, I shall confine myself to these five, 1. The
crown, "He put the crown upon his head." 2. The testimony, "He gave him
the testimony." 3. The anointing, "They anointed him." These three are
in the twelfth verse. As for that which is spoken of the people's joy,
we shall give it a touch when we come to the people's duty. 4. The
covenant between God and king and the people; "Jehoiada made a covenant
between God and the king and the people, that they should be the Lord's
people." 5. The covenant between the king and the people; "between the
king also and the people."

I. The First thing is the crown is put upon his head. A crown is the
most excellent badge of royal majesty. To discourse on crowns in a state
way, I shall leave unto statesmen, and lay only these three before you
of the crown.

I. In putting on of the crown, it should be well fastened, for kings'
crowns are oftentimes tottering, and this is a time wherein they totter.
There are two things which make kings' crowns to totter, great sins, and
great commotions and troubles; take heed of both.

1. There are many sins upon our king and his family: sin will make the
surest crown that ever men set on to totter. The sins of former kings
have made this a tottering crown. I shall not insist here, seeing there
hath been a solemn day of humiliation thro' the land on Thursday last,
for the sins of the royal family; I wish the Lord may bless it; and
desire the king may be truly humbled for his own sins, and the sins of
his father's house, which have been great; beware of putting on these
sins with the crown; for if you put them on, all the well-wishers to a
king in the three kingdoms will not be able to hold on the crown, and
keep it from tottering, yea, from falling. Lord, take away the
controversy with the royal family, that the crown may be fastened sure
upon the king's head, without falling or tottering.

2. Troubles and commotions in a kingdom make crowns to totter. A crown
at the best, and in the most calm times, is full of troubles; which, if
it were well weighed by men, there would not be such hunting after
crowns. I read of a great man who, considering the trouble and care that
accompanied the crown, said, "He would not take it up at his foot,
though he might have it for taking." Now, if a crown at the best be so
full of troubles, what shall one think of a crown at the worst, when
there are so great commotions, wherein the crown is directly aimed at?
Surely it must be a tottering crown at the best, especially when former
sins have brought on these troubles. As the remedy of the former is true
humiliation, and turning unto God; so the remedy of the latter, speaking
of David's crown, "Thou settest a crown of pure gold upon his head." God
set on David's crown, and therefore it was settled, notwithstanding of
many troubles. Men may set on crowns, and they may throw them off again;
but when God setteth them on, they will be fast. Enemies have touched
the crown of our king, and cast it off in the other kingdom, and have
made it totter in this kingdom. Both the king who is to be crowned, and
you who are to crown him, should deal earnestly with God, to set the
crown on the king's head, and to keep it on against all the commotions
of this cruel generation.

II. A king should esteem more of the people he reigneth over, than of
his crown. Kings used to be so taken up with their crowns, that they
despise their people. I would have a king following Christ the King of
His people, who saith of them, "Thou shalt be a crown of glory in the
hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God." Christ
accounteth His people, His crown and diadem; so should a king esteem the
people of the Lord, over whom he ruleth, to be his crown and diadem.
Take away the people, and a crown is but an empty symbol.

III. A king, when he getteth the crown on his head, should think, at
the best it is but a fading crown. All the crowns of kings are but
fading crowns: therefore they should have an eye upon that "crown of
glory that fadeth not away." And upon a "kingdom that cannot be shaken."
That crown and kingdom belongeth not to kings as kings, but unto
believers; and a believing king hath this comfort, that when "he hath
endured a while, and been tried, he shall receive the crown of life,
which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him."

II. The Second thing in this solemnity is the testimony. By this is
meant the law of God, so called, because it testifieth of the mind and
will of God. It was commanded, "When the king shall sit upon the throne
of his kingdom, he shall write him a copy of this law in a book, and it
shall be with him, that he may read therein all the days of his life."
The king should have the testimony for these three uses. 1. For his
information in the ways of God. This use of the king's having "the book
of the law" is expressed, "That he may learn to fear the Lord his God."
The reading of other books may do a king good for government, but no
book will teach him the way to salvation, but the book of God. Christ
biddeth "search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal
life, and they testify of Me." He is a blessed man, "who meditateth in
the law of the Lord day and night." King David was well acquainted
herewith. Kings should be well exercised in scripture. It is reported of
Alphonsus, king of Arragon, that he read the Bible fourteen times with
glosses thereupon. I recommend to the king to take some hours for
reading the Holy Scriptures; it will be a good means to make him
acquainted with God's mind, and with Christ as Saviour. 2. For his
direction in government. Kings read books that may teach them to govern
well, but all the books a king can read will not make him govern to
please God, as this book. I know nothing that is good in government, but
a king may learn it out of the book of God. For this cause, Joshua is
commanded "that the book of the law shall not depart out of his mouth;"
and he is commanded "to do according to all that is written therein." He
should not only do himself that which is written in it, but do, and
govern his people according to all that is written in it. King David
knew this use of the testimony, who said, "Thy testimonies are my
delight, and my counsellors." The best counsels that ever a king getteth
are in the book of God: yea, the testimonies are the best and surest
counsellors; because altho' a king's counsellors be never so wise and
trusty, yet they are not so free with a king as they ought: but the
scriptures tell kings very freely, both their sins and their duty. 3.
For preservation and custody. The king is _custos utriusque tabulæ_,
the keeper of both tables. Not that he should take upon him the power,
either to dispense the word of God, or to dispense with it: but that he
should preserve the word of God and true religion, according to the word
of God, pure, entire, and uncorrupted, within his dominions, and
transmit them so to posterity; and also be careful to see his subjects
observe both tables, and to punish the transgressors of the same.

III. The Third thing in this solemnity is the "anointing of the king."
The anointing of kings was not absolutely necessary under the Old
Testament, for we read not that all the kings of Judah and Israel were
anointed. The Hebrews observe that anointing of kings was used in three
cases. 1. When the first of a family was made king, as Saul, David. 2.
When there was a question for the crown, as in case of Solomon and
Adonijah. 3. When there was an interruption of the lawful succession by
usurpation as in the case of Joash. There is an interruption, by the
usurpation of Athaliah, therefore he is anointed. If this observation
hold, as it is probable, then it was not absolutely necessary under the
Old Testament; and therefore far less under the New.

Because it may be said that in our case there is an interruption by
usurpation, let it be considered that the anointing under the Old
Testament was typical; although all kings were not types of Christ, yet
the anointing of kings, priests and prophets, was typical of Christ, and
His offices; but, Christ being now come, all those ceremonies cease:
and, therefore, the anointing of kings ought not to be used in the New
Testament.

If it be said, anointing of kings hath been in use amongst christians,
not only papist but protestant, as in the kingdom of England, and our
late king was anointed with oil, it may be replied, they who used it
under the New Testament took it from the Jews without warrant. It was
most in use with the bishops of Rome, who, to keep kings and emperors
subject to themselves did swear them to the Pope when they were
anointed, (and yet the Jewish priests did never swear kings to
themselves.) As for England, although the Pope was cast off, yet the
subjection of kings to bishops was still retained, for they anointed the
king and swore him to the maintenance of their prelatical dignity. They
are here who were witnesses at the coronation of the late king; the
bishops behoved to perform that rite; and the king behoved to be sworn
to them. But now by the blessing of God, popery and prelacy are removed:
the bishops as limbs of Antichrist are put to the door; let the
anointing of kings with oil go to the door with them, and let them never
come in again.

The anointing with material oil maketh not a king the anointed of the
Lord, for he is so without it; he is the anointed of the Lord who, by
divine ordinance and appointment is a king. God called Cyrus His
anointed; yet we read not that he was anointed with oil. Kings are
anointed of the Lord, because, by the ordinance of the Lord, their
authority is sacred and inviolable. It is enough for us to have the
thing, tho' we want the ceremony, which being laid aside, I will give
some observations of the thing.

1. A king, being the Lord's anointed, should be thinking upon a better
unction, even that spiritual unction wherewith believers are anointed.
"The anointing ye have received of Him abideth in you." And "He that
hath anointed us, is God, who hath also sealed us." This anointing is
not proper to kings, but common to believers: few kings are so anointed.
A king should strive to be a good Christian, and then a good king: the
anointing with grace is better than the anointing with oil. It is of
more worth for a king to be the anointed of the Lord with grace, than to
be the greatest monarch of the world without it.

2. This anointing may put a king in mind of the gifts, wherewith kings
should be endowed, for discharge of their royal calling. For anointing
did signify the gifts of office. It is said of Saul, when he was
anointed king; "God gave him another heart." And "The Spirit of God came
upon him." It is meant of a heart for his calling, and a spirit of
ability for government. It should be our desire this day, that our king
may have a spirit for his calling; as the spirit of wisdom, fortitude,
justice and other princely endowments.

3. This anointing may put subjects in mind of the sacred dues of the
authority of a king. He should be respected as the Lord's anointed.
There are diverse sorts of persons that are enemies to the authority of
kings; as 1. Anabaptists, who deny there should be kings in the New
Testament: they would have no kings nor civil magistrates. 2. The late
Photinians, who speak respectfully of kings and magistrates, but they
take away from them their power, and the exercise of it in the
administration of justice. 3. Those who rise against kings in open
rebellion, as Absalom and Sheba, who said, "What have we to do with
David, the son of Jesse? To your tents, O Israel." 4. They who do not
rebel openly, yet they despise a king in their heart, like these sons of
Belial, who said of Saul, after he was anointed king, "Shall this man
save us? And they despised him, and brought him no presents." All these
meet in our present age. 1. Anabaptists, who are against the being of
kings, are very rife. You may find, to our great grief, a great number
of them in that army, that hath unjustly invaded the land, who have
trampled upon the authority of kings. 2. These are also of the second
sort, who are secretly Photinians in this point, they allow of kings in
profession; but they are against the exercise of their power in the
administration of justice. 3. A third sort are in open rebellion, even
all that generation which are risen up not only against the person of a
king, but against kingly government. 4. There is a fourth, who profess
they acknowledge a king; but despise him in their heart, saying "Shall
this man save us?" I wish all had David's tenderness, whose heart did
smite him, when he did but cut off the lap of Saul's garment, that we
may be far from cutting off a lap of the just power and greatness which
God hath allowed to the king, and we have bound ourselves by covenant
not to diminish.

I have gone through the three particulars contained in verse 12. I come
to the other two, in verse 17, which appertain also to this day's work;
for our king is not only to be crowned, but to renew a covenant with
God, and His people; and to make a covenant with the people. Answerable
hereto, there is a twofold covenant in the words, one between God, and
the king, and the people: God being the one party, the king and the
people, the other; another between the king and the people, the king
being the one party, and the people the other.

The covenant with God is the fourth particular propounded, to be spoken
of. The sum of this covenant, ye may find in Josiah's renewing the
covenant, "to walk after the Lord, and keep His commandments and
testimonies, with all the heart, and to perform the words of the
covenant." The renewing of the covenant was after a great defection
from God, and the setting up of a false worship. The king and the
people of God bound themselves before the Lord, to set up the true
worship, and to abolish the false. Scotland hath a preference in this
before other nations. In time of defection, they have renewed a covenant
with God, to reform all; and because the king, after a great defection
in the families, is to renew the covenant, I shall mention some
particulars from the league and covenant.

1. We are bound to maintain the true reformed religion, in doctrine,
worship, discipline, and government, established in this kingdom, and to
endeavour the reformation of religion in the other two kingdoms,
according to the word of God, and the example of the best reformed
kirks. By this article, the king is obliged, not only to maintain
religion as it was established in Scotland, but also to endeavour the
reformation of religion in his other kingdoms. The king would consider
well, when it shall please God, to restore him to his government there,
that he is bound to endeavour the establishment of the work of
reformation there, as well as to maintain it here.

2. According to the second article, the king is bound without respect of
persons, to extirpate popery, prelacy, superstition, heresy, schism, and
profaneness, and whatsoever shall be found contrary to sound doctrine,
and the power of godliness. And therefore popery is not to be suffered
in the royal family, nor within his dominions; prelacy once plucked up
by the root, is not to be permitted to take root again; all heresy and
error whatsoever must be opposed by him, to the uttermost of his power;
and by the covenant, the king must be far from toleration of any false
religion within his dominions.

3. As the people are bound to maintain the king's person and authority,
in the maintenance of the true religion, and liberties of the kingdom:
so the king is bound with them, to maintain the rights and privileges of
the parliament and the liberties of the subjects, according to the
third article.

4. We are bound to discover, and to bring unto condign punishment, all
such as have been, or shall be, incendiaries, malignants, or evil
instruments, in hindering the reformation of religion; dividing the king
from the people, or one of the kingdoms from another, or making any
faction, or parties amongst the people. Hereby the king is bound to have
an eye upon such, and neither allow of them nor comply with them; but to
concur according to his power, to have them censured and punished, as is
expressed in the fourth article.

I shall sum up all in this, that a king, in entering into covenant with
God, should do as kings did of old, when they entered in covenant; they
and their people went on in the work of reformation, as appeareth here.
"And all the people of the land went into the house of Baal, and brake
it down," &c. And godly Josiah, when he entered in covenant, made a
thorough reformation. There is a fourfold reformation in scripture, and
contained in the league and covenant. 1. A personal reformation. 2. A
family reformation. 3. A reformation of judicatories. 4. A reformation
of the whole land. Kings have had their hand in all the four; and
therefore I recommend them to our king.

1. A personal reformation. A king should reform his own life, that he
may be a pattern of godliness to others; and to this he is tied by the
covenant. The godly reformers of Judah were pious and religious men. A
king should not follow Machiavelli's counsel, who requireth not that a
prince should be truly religious, but saith, "that a shadow of it, and
external simulation, are sufficient." A devilish counsel; and it is just
with God to bring a king to the shadow of a kingdom, who hath but the
shadow of religion. We know that dissembling kings have been punished of
God; and let our king know that no king but a religious king, can please
God. David is highly commended for godliness; Hezekiah a man eminent
for piety; Josiah, a young king, commended for the tenderness of his
heart, when he heard the law of the Lord read; he was much troubled
before the Lord, when he heard the judgments threatened against his
father's house, and his people. It is earnestly wished that our king's
heart may be tender and truly humbled before the Lord, for the sins of
his father's house, and of the land; and for the many evils that are
upon that family, and upon the kingdom.

2. A family reformation. The king should reform his family, after the
example of godly kings. Asa, when he entered in covenant, spared not his
mother's idolatry. The house of our king hath been much defiled by
idolatry. The king is now in covenant, and to renew the covenant, let
the royal family be reformed; and, that it may be a religious family,
wherein God will have pleasure, let it be purged, not only of idolatry,
but of profanity and looseness, which hath abounded in it. Much hath
been spoken of this matter; but little hath been done in it. Let the
king and others, who have charge in that family, think it lieth upon
them, as a duty, to purge it. And if ye would have a family well purged,
and constitute, take David for a pattern, in the purgation and
constitution of his, "The froward heart, wicked persons, and slanderers,
he will have far from him: but his eyes are upon the faithful of the
land, that they may dwell with him." If there be a man better than
another in the land, he should be for the king, and his family: ye may
extend his reformation to the court. A profane court is dangerous for a
king. It hath been observed as a provoking sin in England, which hath
drawn down judgment upon king and court, as appeareth this day. It is to
be wished that such were in the court, as David speaketh of in that
psalm. Let the king see to it, and resolve with David, "That he who
worketh deceit, shall not dwell within his house: and he who telleth
lies, shall not tarry in his sight."

3. Reformation in judicatories. It should be carefully seen to, that
judicatories be reformed; and that men, fearing God and hating
covetousness, may be placed in them. A king in covenant, should do as
Jehoshaphat did. "He set judges in the land, and said, take heed what ye
do; ye judge not for men, but for the Lord, who is with you in judgment:
wherefore now, let the fear of the Lord be before you."

4. The reformation of the whole land, the king's eye should be upon it.
"Jehoshaphat went out through the people, from Beersheba to mount
Ephraim; and brought them back to the Lord God of their fathers." Our
land hath great need of reformation; for there is a part of it that hath
scarce ever yet found the benefit of reformation, they are lying without
the gospel. It will be a good work for a covenanted king, to have a care
that the gospel may be preached through the whole land. Care also should
be taken, that they who have the gospel may live suitably thereto. If a
king would be a thorough reformer, he must be reformed himself,
otherwise he will never lay reformation to heart. To make a king a good
reformer, I wish him these qualifications, according to the truth and in
sincerity, wherewith they report Trajan the emperor to have been endued;
he was, 1. Devout at home. 2 Courageous in war. 3. Just in his
judicatures. 4. Prudent in all his affairs. True piety, fortitude,
justice and prudence, are notable qualifications in a prince who would
reform a kingdom, and reform well.

I come now to the fifth and last particular; and that is the covenant
made between the king and the people: when a king is crowned and
received by the people, there is a covenant or mutual contract between
him and them, containing conditions, mutually to be observed: time will
not suffer to insist upon many particulars. I shall only lay before you
these three particulars. 1. It is clear from this covenant, that a king
hath not absolute power to do what he pleaseth: he is tied to conditions
by virtue of a covenant. 2. It is clear from this covenant, that a
people are bound to obey their king in the Lord. 3. I shall present the
king with some directions for the right government of the people who are
bound to obey.

1. It is clear, that the king's power is not absolute, as kings and
flattering courtiers apprehend; a king's power is a limited power by
this covenant; and there is a threefold limitation of the king's power.
1. In regard of subordination. There is power above his, even God's
power, whom he is obliged to obey; and to whom he must give an account
of his administration, (and yesterday ye heard that text, "by Me kings
reign.") Kings have not only their crowns from God, but they must reign
according to His will. He is called the "Minister of God;" he is but
God's servant. I need not stay upon this; kings and all others will
acknowledge this limitation. 2. In regard of laws, a king is sworn at
his coronation, to rule according to the standing received laws of the
kingdom. The laws he is sworn to, limit him that he cannot do against
them, without a sinful breach of this covenant between the king and the
people. 3. In regard of government, the total government is not upon a
king. He hath counsellors as a parliament or estates in the land, who
share in the burden of government. No king should have the sole
government: it was never the mind of those who received a king to rule
them, to lay all government upon him, to do what he pleaseth, without
controlment. There is no man able alone to govern all. The kingdom
should not lay that upon one man, who may easily miscarry. The estates
of the land are bound in this contract to bear the burden with him.

These men who have flattered kings to take unto themselves an absolute
power, to do what they please, have wronged kings and kingdoms. It had
been good that kings, of late, had carried themselves so, as this
question of the king's power might never have come in debate; for they
have been great losers thereby. Kings are very desirous to have things
spoken and written, to hold up their arbitrary and unlimited power; but
that way doth exceedingly wrong them. There is one, a learned man, I
confess, who hath written a book for the maintenance of the absolute
power of kings, called _Defensio Regis_, whereby he hath wronged himself
in his reputation, and the king in his government. As for the fact, in
taking away the life of the late king, (whatever was God's justice in
it) I do agree with him to condemn it, as a most unjust and horrid act,
upon their part who did it: but when he cometh to speak of the power of
kings, in giving unto them an absolute and unlimited power, urging the
damnable maxim, _quod libet licet_, he will have a king to do what he
pleaseth, _impune_, and without controlment. In this, I cannot but
dissent from him.

In regard of subordination some say, that a king is accountable to none
but God. Do what he will, let God take order with it; this leadeth kings
to atheism, let them do what they please, and to take God in their own
hand: in regard of laws, they teach nothing to kings but tyranny: and in
regard of government, they teach a king to take an arbitrary power to
himself, to do what he pleaseth without controlment. How dangerous this
hath been to kings, is clear by sad experience. Abuse of power and
arbitrary government, hath been one of God's great controversies with
our king's predecessors. God in His justice, because power hath been
abused, hath thrown it out of their hands: and I may confidently say
that God's controversy with the kings of the earth is for their
arbitrary and tyrannical government.

It is good for our king to learn to be wise in time, and know that he
receiveth this day a power to govern, but a power limited by contract;
and these conditions he is bound by oath to stand to. Kings are deceived
who think that the people are ordained for the king; and not the king
for the people; the Scripture sheweth the contrary. The king is the
"minister of God for the people's good." God will not have a king, in
an arbitrary way, to encroach upon the possessions of subjects, "A
portion is appointed for the prince." And it is said, "My princes shall
no more oppress My people; and the rest of the land, shall they give
unto the house of Israel, according to their tribes." The king hath his
distinct possessions and revenues from the people; he must not oppress
and do what he pleaseth, there must be no tyranny upon the throne.

I desire not to speak much upon this subject. Men have been very tender
in meddling with the power of kings; yet, seeing these days have brought
forth debates concerning the power of kings, it will be necessary to be
clear in this matter. Extremities would be shunned. A king should keep
within the bounds of the covenant made with the people, in the exercise
of his power; and subjects should keep within the bounds of this
covenant, in regulating that power. Concerning the last, I shall
propound these three to your consideration.

1. A king, abusing his power to the overthrow of religion, laws and
liberties, which are the very fundamentals of this contract and
covenant, may be controlled and opposed; and if he set himself to
overthrow all these by arms, then they who have power, as the estates of
a land, may and ought to resist by arms: because he doth, by that
opposition, break the very bonds, and overthroweth all the essentials of
this contract and covenant. This may serve to justify the proceedings of
this kingdom against the late king, who, in an hostile way, set himself
to overthrow religion, parliaments, laws and liberties.

2. Every breach of covenant, wherein a king falleth, after he hath
entered into covenant, doth not dissolve the bond of the covenant.
Neither should subjects lay aside a king for every breach, except the
breaches be such as overthrow the fundamentals of religion, and of the
covenant with the people. Many examples of this may be brought from
scripture. I shall give but one. King Asa entered solemnly into
covenant with God and the people. After that, he falleth in gross
transgressions and breaches. He associated himself and entered into
league with Benhadad, king of Syria, an idolater; he imprisoned Hanani,
the Lord's prophet, who reproved him, and threatened judgment against
that association, and at that same time he oppressed some of the people:
and yet, for all this, they neither laid him aside, nor accounted him an
hypocrite.

3. Private persons should be very circumspect about that which they do
in relation to the authority of kings. It is very dangerous for private
men, to meddle with the power of kings, and the suspending them from the
exercise thereof. I do ingenuously confess that I find no example of it.
The prophets taught not such doctrine to their people, nor the apostles,
nor the reformed kirks. Have ever private men, pastors or professors,
given in to the estates of a land as their judgment, unto which they
resolve to adhere, that a king should be suspended from the exercise of
his power? And, if we look upon these godly pastors, who lived in king
James's time, of whom one may truly say, more faithful men lived not in
these last times: for they spared not to tell the king his faults, to
his face: yea, some of them suffered persecution for their honesty and
freedom, yet we never read nor have heard, that any of these godly
pastors joined with other private men, did ever remonstrate to
parliament or estate as their judgment, that the king should be
suspended from the exercise of his royal power.

II. It is clear from this covenant, that people should obey their king
in the Lord: for, as the king is bound by the covenant to make use of
his power to their good; so, they are bound to obey him in the Lord in
the exercise of that power. About the people's duty to the king, take
these four observations.

1. That the obedience of the people is in subordination to God; for the
covenant is first with God, and then with the king. If a king command
any thing contrary to the will of God--in this case, Peter saith, "it is
better to obey God, than man." There is a line drawn from God to the
people, they are lowest in the line: and have magistrates inferior and
supreme above them, and God above all. When the king commandeth the
people that which is lawful, and commanded by God, then he should be
obeyed; because he standeth in right line under God, who hath put him in
his place. But if he command that which is unlawful, and forbidden of
God, in that he should not be obeyed to do it; because he is out of his
line. That a king is to be obeyed with this subordination, is evident
from scripture; take one place for all. At the beginning, ye have both
obedience urged to superior powers, as the ordinance of God, and
damnation threatened against those who resist the lawful powers.

It is said by some, that many ministers in Scotland would not have king
JESUS, but king Charles to reign. Faithful men are wronged by such
speeches. I do not understand these men. For, if they think that a king
and JESUS are inconsistent, then they will have no king: but I shall be
far from entertaining such thoughts of them. If they think the doing a
necessary duty for king Charles is to prefer his interest to Christ's,
this is also an error. Honest ministers can very well discern between
the interest of Christ, and of the king. I know no minister that setteth
up king Charles, with prejudice to Christ's interest.

There are three sorts of persons who are not to be allowed in relation
to the king's interest, 1. Such as have not been content to oppose a
king in an evil course, (as they might lawfully do) but contrary to
covenant vows and many declarations, have cast off kings and kingly
government. These are the sectaries. 2. These who are so taken up with a
king, as they prefer a king's interest to Christ's interest; which was
the sin of our engagers. 3. They who will have no duty done to a king,
for fear of prejudicing Christ's interest. These are to be allowed, who
urge duty to a king in subordination to Christ.

I shall desire that men may be real, when they make mention of Christ's
interest; for these three mentioned profess and pretend the interest of
Christ. The sectaries cover their destroying of kings with Christ's
interest; whereunto, indeed, they have had no respect, being enemies to
His kingdom. And experience hath made it undeniable. The engagers
alleged they were for Christ's interest; but they misplaced it. Christ's
interest should have gone before, but they drew it after the interest of
a king, which evidenced their want of due respect to Christ's interest.
As for the third, who delay duty for fear of preferring the king's
interest to Christ's, I shall not take upon me to judge their
intentions. I wish they may have charity to those who think they may do
duty to a king in subordination to Christ, yea, that they ought and
should do duty, whatever men's fears be of the prejudice that may
follow.

If to be against the suspending of the king from the exercise of his
power, and to be for the crowning of the king, according to the public
faith of the kingdoms, he first performing all that kirk and state
required of him in relation to religion, and civil liberties: if this
be, I say, to prefer a king to Christ, let all men that are unbiassed,
be judges in the case. We shall well avow, that we crown a king in
subordination to God and his interest, in subordination to Christ's,
which we judge, not only agreeable to the word of God, but also, that we
are bound expressly in the covenant, to maintain the king in the
preservation and defence of the true religion, and liberties of the
kingdom, and not to diminish his just power and greatness.

2. That the covenant between God and the king and the people, goeth
before the covenant between the king and the people; which sheweth, that
a people's entering covenant with God doth not lessen their obedience
and allegiance to the king, but increaseth it, and maketh the obedience
firmer: because we are in covenant with God, we should the more obey a
covenanted king. It is a great error to think, that a covenant
diminisheth obedience, it was ever thought accumulative. And indeed true
religion layeth strict ties upon men in doing of their duty. "Wherefore
ye must needs be subject not only for wrath, but also for conscience'
sake." A necessity to obey is laid upon all. Many subjects obey for
wrath, but the godly obey for conscience' sake.

3. That a king covenanted with God should be much respected by his
subjects. They should love him. There is an inbred affection in the
hearts of the people to their king. In the 12th verse it is said, that
"the people clapped their hands for joy, and said, God save the king."
They had no sooner seen their native king installed in his kingdom, but
they rejoiced exceedingly, and saluted him with wishes of safety.
Whatever be men's affections, or respects, this day, to our king,
certainly it is a duty lying on us both to pray for, and rejoice in his
safety. The very end that God hath in giving us kings maketh this clear.
"That we may live under them in godliness and honesty." And therefore,
prayers and supplications are to be made for all kings; even for those
that are not in covenant; much more for these that are in covenant. Ye
are receiving this day a crowned covenanted king, pray for saving grace
to him, and that God would deliver him and us, out of the hand of these
cruel enemies, and bless his government, and cause us to live a quiet
and peaceable life under him in all godliness and honesty.

4. That as the king is solemnly sworn to maintain the right of the
subjects against enemies, and is bound to hazard his life, and all that
he hath for their defence: so, the people are also bound to maintain his
person and authority, and to hazard life, and all that they have, in
defending him.

I shall not take the question in its full latitude, taking in what a
people are bound to in pursuing of a king's right in another nation,
which is not our present question. Our question is, what a people should
do when a kingdom is unjustly invaded by a foreign enemy, who seeketh
the overthrow of religion, king and kingdom. Surely, if men be tied to
any duty to a king and kingdom, they are tied in this case. I have two
sorts of men to meet with here, who are deficient in doing this
covenanted duty: 1. These who do not act against the enemy. 2. These who
do act for the enemy. 1. The first I meet with, are they who act not,
but lie by, to behold what will become of all: three sorts of men act
not for the defence of an invaded kingdom; 1. Those who withdraw
themselves from public councils, as from parliament or committee of
estates: this withdrawing is not to act. 2. These act not who, upon an
apprehension of the desperate state of things, do think that all is in
such a condition, by the prevailing of the enemy, that there is no
remedy: and therefore that it is best to sit still; and see how things
go.

They who do not act upon scruple of conscience. I shall ever respect
tenderness of conscience; and I wish there be no more but tenderness. If
there be no more, men will strive to have their consciences well
informed.

They may be supposed to scruple upon one of these grounds: 1. To act in
such a cause, for the king's interest; sure I am, this was not a doubt
before, but all seemed to agree to act for the king's interest, in
subordination to Christ's, and this day there is no more sought. We own
the king's interest only in a subordination to Christ's. Or, 2. To join
with such instruments as are enemies to the work of God. Our answer to
the estates' query resolves that such should not be entrusted: but we do
not count these enemies who profess repentance, and declare themselves
solemnly to be for the cause and the covenant, and evidence their
willingness to fight for them. If it be said their repentance is but
counterfeit, we are bound to think otherwise in charity, till the
contrary be seen: no man can judge of the reality of hearts: for we have
now found by experience, that men who have been accounted above all
exception have betrayed their trust. If any who have not yet repented of
their former course shall be intrusted, we shall be sorry for it; and
plainly say, that it ought not to be.

But I think there must be more in this, that men say they cannot act.
For myself, I love not that word in our case; it is too frequent, he
cannot act, and he cannot act. I fear there be three sorts of persons
lurking under this covert. 1. Such as are pusillanimous, who have no
courage to act against the enemy; the word is true of them, they cannot
act because they dare not act. 2. Such as are selfish men, serving their
idol credit: he hath been a man of honour, and now he feareth there will
be no credit to fight against this prevailing enemy: therefore he cannot
act, and save his credit. Be who thou wilt that hast this before thee,
God shall blast thy reputation. Thou shalt neither have honour nor
credit, to do a right turn in God's cause. 3. Such as are compilers, who
cannot act, because they have a purpose to comply. There are that cannot
act in an army, but they can betray an army by not acting; there are
that cannot act for safety of a kingdom, but they betray it by not
acting. In a word, there are who cannot join to act with those whom they
account malignants (I speak not of declared and known malignants; but of
such as have been, and are, fighting for the cause; yet by them esteemed
malignants), but they can join with sectaries, open and declared enemies
to kirk and kingdom. I wish subjects, who are bound to fight for the
kingdom, would lay by that phrase of not acting, which is so frequent in
the mouth of compliers, and offensive to them, who would approve
themselves in doing duty for endangered religion, king and kingdom.

That men may be the more clear to act, I shall offer to your
consideration some passages of Scriptures, about those who do not act
against a common enemy.

1. There are many reproved for lying still while an enemy had invaded
the land: as Reuben, with his divisions: Gilead, Dan, and Asher seeking
themselves, are all reproved for not joining with the people of God, who
were willing to jeopard their lives against "a mighty oppressing enemy."
But there is one passage concerning Meroz, which fitteth our purpose,
"The angel of the Lord said, Curse ye Meroz, curse ye bitterly the
inhabitants thereof; they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help
of the Lord against the mighty." What this Meroz was, is not clear: yet
all interpreters agree that they had opportunity and power to have
joined with, and helped the people of the Lord, and it is probable they
were near the place of the fight. They are cursed for not coming to the
help of the Lord's people. This may be applied to those in the land, who
will not help the Lord against the mighty.

2. Another passage you have. Reuben and Gad having a multitude of
cattle, and having seen the land of Gilead, that it was a place for
cattle, they desire of Moses and the princes, that the land may be given
them, and they may not pass over Jordan. Moses reproveth them in these
words, "Shall your brethren go to war; and shall ye sit still? Wherefore
discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel?" Reuben and Gad make
their apology, showing that they have no such intention to sit still,
only they desire their wives and little ones may stay there: they
themselves promise to go over Jordan, armed before Israel, and not to
return before they were possessed in the land. Then Moses said unto
them, "If you do so, then this shall be your possession. But, if ye do
not so, behold, ye have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sins
will find you out."

I may apply this to them that cannot act; will ye sit still, when the
rest of your brethren are to hazard their lives against the enemy? We
have reason to reprove you. If Moses, that faithful servant of God, was
still jealous of Reuben and Gad, even after their apology and promise to
act--for he saith, "If ye do not so"--have not honest and faithful
servants of God, ground to be jealous of their brethren who refuse to
act? Let them apologize what they will; for their not acting, I say,
they sin against the Lord, and their sins shall find them out. It will
be clearly seen, upon what intention they do not act.

3. A third passage. Saul hath David enclosed, that he can hardly escape.
In that very instant there cometh a messenger to Saul, saying, "Haste
thee, and come; for the Philistines have invaded the land." At the
hearing of this message, "Saul returned from pursuing after David, and
went against the Philistines." It is true, the Lord did provide for his
servant David's escape, by this means: but, if ye consider Saul, he took
it not so. Nothing moved him to leave this pursuit but the condition of
the land, by the invading of an enemy. Three things might have moved
Saul to stay and pursue David. 1. He hath him now in a strait, and hath
such advantage, that he might have thought not to come readily by the
like. 2. That altho' the Philistines be enemies, yet David is the most
dangerous enemy; for he aimeth at no less than the crown. It were better
to take conditions off the enemy, than to suffer David to live, and take
the crown. 3. He might have said, if I leave David at this time and
fight with the Philistines, and be beaten, he will get a power in his
hand to undo me and my posterity. These may seem strong motives; but
Saul is not moved with any of them. The present danger is the
Philistines invading the land, and this danger is to be opposed, come of
the danger from David what will. As if Saul had said, I will let David
alone, I will meet with him another time, and reckon with him: now
there is no time for it, the Philistines are in the land, let us make
haste against them. I wish that many of our countrymen had as great a
love to their country, and as public a spirit for it, as this profane
king had, then there would not be so many questions for acting, as men
make this day.

The objections I have been touching are in men's thoughts and heads.
First, some say, now the malignants are under, for this enemy is their
rod. It is best to put them out of having any power: yea, there are some
who would more willingly go to undo these, whom they account malignants,
than against the common enemy, who are wasting the land. If they had
Saul's resolution, they would say, the Philistines are in the land, let
them alone, we will reckon with them at another time; we will now go
against the common enemy.

They have also the second objection, the malignants are more dangerous
enemies than the sectaries. I shall not now compare them to equal
distance, and abstract from the present danger: but I shall compare them
to the present posture of affairs. I am sure the sectaries having power
in their hands, and a great part of the land in their possession, are
far more dangerous than malignants, who have no power for the present:
and therefore, the resolution should be, the sectaries have invaded the
land, and are destroying it, let us go against them.

3. The third observation weigheth much with many. The malignants, being
employed to fight for their country, may get such power in their hands
as may hurt the cause. For answer: 1. The resolution given the query of
the estates provideth against that, for therein is a desire that no such
power should be put in their hand. 2. This fear goeth upon a
supposition, that they do not repent their former course. This is an
uncharitable judgment. We are bound to be more charitable of men
professing repentance, for with such we have to do only. And, to speak
a word by the way to you who have been in a malignant course. Little
good is expected from you, I pray you be honest, and disappoint them. I
wish you true repentance, which will both disappoint them, and be
profitable to yourselves. 3. I desire it may be considered, whether or
not, fear of a danger to come from men, if they prevail against the
common enemy, being only clothed with a capacity to fight for their
country, be an argument against rising to oppose a seen and certain
danger, coming from an enemy, clothed with power, and still prevailing.
I conceive, it ought to be far from any, to hinder men to defend their
country in such a case. I confess, indeed, the cause which we maintain
hath met with many enemies, who have been against it, which requireth
much tenderness; therefore men are to be admitted to trust, with such
exceptions as may keep them out who are still enemies to the cause of
God, have not professed repentance, renounced their former courses, and
declared themselves for cause and covenant. I doubt not, but it shall be
found, that the admitting such to fight in our case as it standeth, is
agreeable to the word of God, and is not against the former public
resolutions of kirk and state.

The second sort of persons we are to meet with, are such as act for the
enemy, against the kingdom. If they be cursed who will not come out to
help the Lord against the mighty; what a curse shall be upon them, who
help the mighty against the Lord, as they do who act for the enemy?
Three ways is the enemy helped against the cause and people of God.

1. By keeping correspondence with them, and giving them intelligence;
there is nothing done against kirk or state, but they have intelligence
of it. A baser way hath never been used in any nation. Your counsels and
purposes are made known to them. If there be any such here (as I fear
they be), let them take this to them, they are of these who help the
mighty against the Lord, and the curse shall stick to them.

2. By strengthening the enemies' hands with questions, debates and
determinations, in papers tending to the justifying of their unjust
invasion. Whatever have been men's intentions in taking that way, yet
the thing done by them, hath tended to the advantage of the enemy, and
hath divided these who should have been joined in the cause, to the
great weakening of the power of the kingdom, and this, interpretatively,
is to act for the mighty against the Lord.

3. By gross compliance with the enemy, and going into them, doing all
the evil offices they can, against their native kingdom. If Meroz was
cursed for not helping, shall not these perfidious covenant-breakers and
treacherous dealers against a distressed land be much more accursed, for
helping and assisting a destroying enemy, so far as lieth in their
power? These words may be truly applied to them who are helping
strangers, enemies to God, His kirk, and religion, "Both he that
helpeth, shall fall; and he that is holpen shall fall down, and they all
shall fall together."

III. The third particular about this covenant remains to be spoken of;
_to wit_, Some directions to the king, for the right performing of his
duty, whereof I shall give seven.

1. A king, meeting with many difficulties in doing of duty, by reason of
strong corruption within and many temptations without: he should be
careful to seek God by prayer, for grace to overcome these impediments,
and for an understanding heart to govern his people. Solomon, having in
his option to ask what he would, he asked an understanding heart, to go
out and in before his people; knowing that the government of a people
was a very difficult work, and needed more than ordinary understanding.
A king hath also many enemies (as our king hath this day), and a praying
king is a prevailing king. Asa, when he had to do with a mighty enemy,
prayed fervently and prevailed. Jehoshaphat was invaded by a mighty
enemy, He prayed and did prevail. Hezekiah prayed against Sennacherib's
huge army and prevailed. Sir, you have many difficulties and oppositions
to meet; acquaint yourself with prayer, be instant with God, and He will
fight for you. Prayers are not in much request at court; but a
covenanted king must bring them in request. I know a king is burthened
with multiplicity of affairs, and will meet with many diversions; but,
sir, you must not be diverted. Take hours, and set them apart for that
exercise: men being once acquainted with your way, will not dare to
divert you. Prayer to God will make your affairs easy all the day. I
read of a king, of whom his courtiers said, "He spoke oftener with God,
than with men." If you be frequent in prayer, you may expect the
blessing of the Most High upon yourself, and upon your government.

2. A king must be careful of the kingdom which he hath sworn to
maintain. We have had many of too private a spirit, by whom
self-interest hath been preferred to the public; it becometh a king well
to be of a public spirit, to care more for the public than his own
interest. Senates and states have had mottoes written over the doors of
their meeting-places. Over the senate house of Rome was written, _Ne
quid respublica detrimenti capiat_. I shall wish this may be written
over your assembly-houses; but there is another which I would have
written with it, _Ne quid ecclesia detrimenti capiat_. Be careful of
both; let neither kirk nor state suffer hurt; let them go together. The
best way for the standing of a kingdom is a well constitute kirk. They
deceive kings who make them believe that the government of the kirk--I
mean presbyterial government--cannot suit with monarchy. They suit well,
it being the ordinance of Christ, rendering unto God what is God's, and
unto Cæsar what is Cæsar's.

3. Kings who have a tender care of the kirk are called nursing fathers.
You should be careful that the gospel may have a free passage through
the kingdom; and that the government of the kirk may be preserved entire
according to your solemn engagement. The kirk hath met with many
enemies, as papists, prelates, malignants, which I pass as known
enemies: but there are two sorts more, who at this time should be
carefully looked on. 1. Sectaries, great enemies to the kirk, and to all
the ordinances of Christ, and more particularly to presbyterial
government, which they have, and would have, altogether destroyed. A
king should set himself against these, because they are enemies, as well
to the king as to the kirk, and strive to make both fall together. 2.
Erastians, more dangerous snares to kings than sectaries; because kings
can look well enough to these, who are against themselves, and their
power, as sectaries, who will have no king. But erastians give more
power to kings than they should have, and are great enemies to
presbyterial government; for they would make kings believe that there is
no government but the civil, and derived from thence, which is a great
wrong to the Son of God, who hath the government of the kirk distinct
from the civil, yet no ways prejudicial to it, being spiritual, and of
another nature. Christ did put the magistrate out of suspicion, that His
kingdom was not prejudicial to civil government, affirming, "My kingdom
is not of this world." This government, Christ hath not committed to
kings, but to the office-bearers of His house, who, in regard of civil
subjection, are under the civil power as well as others; but, in their
spiritual administration, they are under Christ, who hath not given unto
any king upon earth the dispensation of spiritual things to His people.

Sir, you are in covenant with God and His people, and are obliged to
maintain presbyterial government, as well against erastians as
sectaries. I know this erastian humour aboundeth at court. It may be,
some endeavour to make you encroach upon that for which God hath
punished your predecessors. Be who he will that meddleth with this
government to overturn it, it shall be as heavy to him as the
burthensome stone to the enemies of the kirk. "They are cut in pieces,
who burden themselves with it." 3. A king in covenant with the people of
God, should make much of these who are in covenant with him, having in
high estimation the faithful ministers of Christ, and the godly people
of the land. It is rare to find kings lovers of faithful ministers and
pious people. It hath been the fault of our own kings to persecute the
godly. 1. Let the king love the servants of Christ, who speak the truth.
Evil kings are branded with this, that they contemned the prophets. When
Amaziah had taken the gods of Seir, and set them up for his gods, a
prophet came to him and reproved him; unto whom the king said, "Who made
thee of the king's council? Forbear, lest thou be smitten." This
contempt of the prophet's warning is a forerunner of following
destruction. Be a careful hearer of God's word; take with reproof;
esteem of it, as David did, "It shall be an excellent oil, which shall
not break my head." To make much of the faithful servants of Christ,
will be an evidence of reality. 2. Let the king esteem well of godly
professors. Let piety be in account. It is a fault very common, that
pious men, because of their conscientious and strict walking, are hated
by the profane, who love to live loosely: it is usual with profane men
to labour to bring kings to a distaste of the godly; especially when men
who have professed piety have become scandalous, whereupon they are
ready to judge all pious men to be like them; and take occasion to speak
evil of piety. I fear at this time, when men who have been commended for
piety, have fallen foully and betrayed their trust, that men will take
advantage to speak against the godly of the land; beware of this, for it
is Satan's policy to put piety out of request: let not this move any;
fall who will, piety is still the same, and pious men will make
conscience both of their ways and trust; remember, they are precious in
God's eyes who will not suffer men to despise them, without their
reward. Sir, let not your heart be from the godly in the land, whatever
hath fallen out at this time: I dare affirm, there are very many really
godly men who, by their prayers, are supporting your throne.

4. A king should be careful whom he putteth in places of trust, as a
main thing for the good of the kingdom. It is a maxim, that trust should
not be put in their hands who have oppressed the people, or have
betrayed their trust. There is a passage in a story meet for this
purpose: one Septimus Arabinus, a man famous, or rather infamous, for
oppression, was put out of the Senate, but re-admitted about this time;
Alexander Severus being chosen to the empire, the Senators did entertain
him with public salutations and congratulations. Severus, espying
Arabinus amongst the senators, cried out, _O numina! Arabinus non solum
vivit, sed in senatum venit_. Ah! Arabinus not only liveth, but he is in
the senate. Out of just indignation, he could not endure to see him. As
all are not meet for places of trust in judicatures, so all are not meet
for places of trust in armies. Men should be chosen who are godly, and
able for the charge.

But there are some who are not meet for trust. 1. They who are godly,
but have no skill or ability for the places. A man may be a truly godly
man who is not fit for such place; and no wrong is done to him nor to
godliness, when the place is denied to him. I wonder how a godly man can
take upon him a place, whereof he hath no skill. 2. They who have
neither skill nor courage, are very unmeet; for, if it be a place of
never so great moment, faint-heartedness will make them quit it. 3. They
who are both skilful and stout, yet are not honest, but perfidious and
treacherous, should have no trust at all. Of all these we have sad
experience, experience which should not move you to make choice of
profane and godless men, by whom a blessing is not to be expected, but
it should move you to be wary in your choice; I am confident such may
be had, who will be faithful for religion, king and kingdom.

5. There hath been much debate about the exercise of the king's power;
yet he is put in the exercise of his power, and this day put in a better
capacity to exercise it by his coronation. Many are afraid that the
exercise of his power shall prove dangerous to the cause, and indeed I
confess there is ground of fear, when we consider how this power hath
been abused by former kings: therefore, Sir, make good use of this
power, and see that you rather keep within bounds, than exceed in the
exercise of it. I may very well give such a counsel as an old counsellor
gave to a king of France; he, having spent many years at court, desired
to retire into the country for enjoying privacy fit for his age; and,
having obtained leave, the king his master required him to sit down, and
write some advice of government, to leave behind him, which he out of
modesty declined: the king would not be denied, but left with him pen
and ink and a sheet of paper; he, being alone, after some thoughts,
wrote with fair and legible characters in the head of the sheet,
_modus_; in the middle of the sheet, _modus_; and in the foot of the
sheet, _modus_; and wrote no more in all the paper, which he wrapped up
and delivered to the king; meaning that the best counsel he could give
him, was, that he should keep temper in all things. Nothing more fit for
a young king than to keep temper in all things. Take this counsel, Sir,
and be moderate in the use of your power. The best way to keep power, is
moderation in the use of it.

6. The king hath many enemies, even such as are enemies to his family
and to all kingly government; and are now in the bowels of this kingdom,
wasting and destroying; bestir yourself, according to vows and oaths
that are upon you, to be active for the relief of Christ's kingdom,
borne down by them, in all the three kingdoms; and for the relief of
this kingdom grievously oppressed by them. We shall earnestly desire
that God would put that spirit upon our king, now entered upon public
government, which He hath put upon the deliverers of His people from
their cruel oppressors.

In speaking of the king's behaviour to enemies, one thing I cannot pass.
There is much spoken of a treaty with this enemy: I am not of the
judgment of some, who distinguish a treaty before invasion and after
invasion, and say, treatying is very lawful before invasion; because it
is supposed that there is a little wrong done; but after invasion, when
a kingdom is wronged and put to infinite losses, then they say a treaty
is to be shunned; but in my judgment, a treaty may be lawful after
invasion and wrongs sustained; the end of war is peace, neither should
desire of revenge obstruct it, providing it be such a treaty and peace
as is not prejudicial to religion, nor to the safety of the kingdom, nor
to the undoubted right of the king, nor to the league and covenant,
whereunto we are so solemnly engaged.

But, I must break off this treaty with a story related in Plutarch. The
city of Athens was in a great strait, wherein they knew not what to do.
Themistocles in this strait said he had something wherein to give his
opinion, for the behoof of the state, but he thought it not fit to
deliver himself publicly. Aristides, a man of great trust, is appointed
to hear him privately, and to make an account as he thought meet. When
Aristides came to make his report to the senate, he told them that
Themistocles' advice was indeed profitable, but not honest, whereupon
the people would not so much as hear it. There is much whispering of a
treaty, they are not willing to speak publicly of it: hear them in
private, and it may be the best advice shall be profitable, but not
honest. If a treaty should be, let it be both profitable and honest, and
no lover of peace will be against it.

7. Seeing the king is now upon the renewing of the covenants, it should
be remembered that we enter into covenant, according to our profession
therein, with reality, sincerity, and constancy, which are the
qualifications of good covenanters. Many doubt of your reality in the
covenant, let your sincerity and reality be evidenced by your
stedfastness and constancy; for many have begun well, but have not been
constant. In the sacred history of kings, we find a note upon kings
according to their carriages: one of three sentences is written upon
them. 1. Some kings have this written on them, "He did evil in the sight
of the Lord." They neither begin well, nor end well; such an one was
Ahaz, king of Judah, and divers others in that history. 2. Others have
this written on them, "He did that which was right in the sight of the
Lord, but not with a perfect heart." Such an one was Amaziah king of
Judah. He was neither sincere nor constant: when God blessed him with
victory against the Edomites, he fell foully from the true worship of
God, and set up the gods of Edom. 3. A third sentence is written upon
the godly kings of Judah, "He did right in the sight of the Lord, with a
perfect heart." As Asa, Hezekiah, Jehoshaphat, and Josiah, they were
both sincere and constant. Let us neither have the first nor the second,
but the third written upon our king, "He did right in the sight of the
Lord, with a perfect heart." Begin well, and continue constant.

Before I close, I shall seek leave to lay before our young king, two
examples to beware of, and one to follow. The two warning examples, one
of them is in the text, another in our own history.

The first example is of Joash. He began well, and went on in a godly
reformation all the days of Jehoiada; but, it is observed, "That after
the days of Jehoiada, the princes of Judah came, and did obeisance to
the king, and he hearkened unto them." It appeareth, they had been lying
in wait till the death of Jehoiada; and took the opportunity to destroy
the true worship of God, and set up false worship, flattering the king
for that effect: for it is said, "They left the house of the Lord, and
served groves and idols;" and were so far from being reclaimed by the
prophet of the Lord that was sent unto them, that they conspired against
Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada, who reproved them mildly for their
idolatry, and stoned him with stones, and slew him at the king's
commandment. And it is said, "Joash remembered not the kindness that
Jehoiada his father had done to him, but slew his son." Sir, take this
example for a warning. You are obliged by the covenant to go on in the
work of reformation. It may be, some great ones are waiting their time,
not having opportunity to work for the present, till afterward they may
make obeisance, and persuade you to destroy all that hath been done in
the work of God, these divers years. Beware of it; let no allurement or
persuasion prevail with you, to fall from that which this day you bind
yourself to maintain.

Another example I give you, yet in recent memory, of your grandfather,
king James. He fell, to be very young, in a time full of difficulties:
yet there was a godly party in the land who did put the crown upon his
head. And when he came to some years, he and his people entered into a
covenant with God. He was much commended by godly and faithful men,
comparing him to young Josiah standing at the altar, renewing a covenant
with God; and he himself did thank God that he was born in a reformed
kirk, better reformed than England: for they retained many popish
ceremonies: yea better reformed than Geneva; for they keep some holy
days; charging his people to be constant and promising himself to
continue in that reformation, and to maintain the same. Notwithstanding
of all this, he made a foul defection: he remembered not the kindness of
them who had held the crown upon his head; yea he persecuted faithful
ministers for opposing that course of defection: he never rested till he
had undone presbyterial government and kirk assemblies, setting up
bishops, and bringing in ceremonies, against which formerly he had
given large testimony. In a word, he laid the foundation whereupon his
son, our late king, did build much mischief to religion, all the days of
his life. Sir, I lay this example before you the rather because it is so
near you, that the guiltiness of the transgression lieth upon the throne
and family, and it is one of the sins for which you have professed
humiliation very lately. Let it be laid to heart, take warning, requite
not faithful men's kindness with persecution; yea, requite not the Lord
so, who hath preserved you to this time, and is setting a crown upon
your head. Requite not the Lord with apostasy and defection from a sworn
covenant: but be stedfast in the covenant, as you would give testimony
of your true humiliation for the defection of these that went before
you.

I have set up these two examples before you, as beacons to warn you to
keep off such dangerous courses, and shall add one for imitation, which,
if followed, may happily bring with it the blessing of that godly man's
adherence to God. The example is of Hezekiah, who did that "which was
right in the sight of the Lord." It is said of him, "He trusted in the
Lord God of Israel, and he clave unto the Lord, and departed not from
following Him, but kept His commandments." And "The Lord was with him,
and he prospered whithersoever he went forth."

Sir, follow this example, cleave unto the Lord, and depart not from
following Him, and the Lord will be with you, and prosper you,
whithersoever you go. To this Lord, from whom we expect a blessing upon
this day's work, be glory and praise for ever. Amen.



CHARLES II. TAKING THE COVENANTS.


Sermon being ended, prayer was made for a blessing upon the doctrine
delivered. The king began to renew the covenants. First the National
Covenant and then the Solemn League and Covenant were distinctly read.
After the reading of these covenants, the minister prayed for grace to
perform the contents of the covenants, and for faithful stedfastness in
the oath of God: and then (the ministers, commissioners of the General
Assembly, desired to be present, standing before the pulpit) he
administered the oath unto the king, who, kneeling and lifting up his
right hand, did swear in the words following.

"I Charles, king of Great Britain, France and Ireland, do assure and
declare, by my solemn oath, in the presence of Almighty God, the
searcher of hearts, my allowance and approbation of the National
Covenant, and of the Solemn League and Covenant above written, and
faithfully oblige myself to prosecute the ends thereof in my station and
calling; and that I for myself and successors, shall consent and agree
to all acts of parliament enjoining the national covenant and the solemn
league and covenant, and fully establishing presbyterial government, the
directory for worship, confession of faith, and catechisms, in the
kingdom of Scotland, as they are approven by the General Assemblies of
this Kirk, and Parliament of this kingdom; and that I shall give my
royal assent, to acts and ordinances of parliament passed, or to be
passed, enjoining the same in my other dominions: and that I shall
observe these in my own practice and family, and shall never make
opposition to any of these, or endeavour any change thereof."[16]

After the king had thus solemnly sworn the National Covenant, the League
and Covenant, and the King's Oath, subjoined unto both, being drawn up
in a fair parchment; the king did subscribe the same, in presence of
all.

Thereafter the king ascended the stage, and sitteth down in the chair of
state. Then the lords, great constable, and marshal, went to the four
corners of the stage, with the lion going before them; who spoke to the
people these words, "Sirs, I do present unto you the king CHARLES, the
rightful and undoubted heir of the crown, and dignity of this realm:
this day is by the parliament of this kingdom appointed for his
coronation; and are you not willing to have him for your king, and
become subject to his commandments?"

In which action, the king's majesty stood up, showing himself to the
people, in each corner; and the people expressed their willingness, by
cheerful acclamations in these words, "God save the king, CHARLES the
Second."

Thereafter the king's majesty, supported by the constable and marshal,
cometh down from the stage, and sitteth down in the chair, where he
heard the sermon. The minister, accompanied with the ministers
before-mentioned, cometh from the pulpit toward the king, and requireth,
if he was willing to take the oath, appointed to be taken at the
coronation? The king answered, he was most willing.

Then the oath of coronation, as it is contained in the eighth act of the
first parliament of king James, being read by the lion, the tenor
whereof followeth:

"Because that the increase of virtue, and suppressing of idolatry,
craveth, that the prince and the people be of one perfect religion;
which of God's mercy is now presently professed within this realm:
therefore it is statuted and ordained, by our sovereign lord, my lord
regent, and three estates of this present parliament: that all kings,
princes, and magistrates whatsoever, holding their place, which
hereafter at any time shall happen to reign, and bear rule over this
realm, at the time of their coronation, and receipt of their princely
authority, make their faithful promise, in the presence of the eternal
God; that, enduring the whole course of their lives, they shall serve
the same eternal God to the uttermost of their power, according as He
hath required in His most holy Word, revealed and contained in the New
and Old Testaments; and, according to the same words, shall maintain the
true religion of Christ Jesus, the preaching of His holy Word, and due
and right ministration of the sacraments now received and preached
within this realm: and shall abolish and gainstand all false religions,
contrary to the same: and shall rule the people committed to their
charge, according to the will and command of God, revealed in His
foresaid Word, and according to the loveable laws and constitutions
received in this realm, no ways repugnant to the said Word of the
eternal God; and shall procure to the uttermost of their power, to the
kirk of God and whole Christian people, true and perfect peace, in time
coming. The rights and rents, with all just privileges of the crown of
Scotland, to preserve and keep inviolated: neither shall they transfer,
nor alienate the same. They shall forbid and repress, in all estates and
degrees, rife oppression, and all kind of wrong: in all judgments they
shall command and procure that justice and equity be keeped to all
creatures, without exception, as the Lord and Father of Mercies, be
merciful unto them: and out of their lands and empire they shall be
careful to root all heretics, and enemies to the true worship of God,
that shall be convict by the true kirk of God, of the foresaid crimes;
and that they shall faithfully affirm the things above written by their
solemn oath."

The minister tendered the oath unto the king, who, kneeling and holding
up his light hand, swore in these words, "By the Eternal and Almighty
God, who liveth and reigneth for ever, I shall observe and keep all
that is contained in this Oath."

This done, the king's majesty sat down in his chair and reposeth himself
a little.

Then the king riseth from his chair, and is disrobed by the lord great
chamberlain, of the princely robe wherewith he entered the kirk, and is
invested by the said chamberlain, in his royal robes.

Thereafter, the king being brought to the chair on the north side of the
kirk, supported as formerly; the sword was brought by Sir William
Cockburn of Langtown, gentleman usher from the table, and delivered to
lion king of arms; who giveth it to the lord great constable, who
putteth the same in the king's hand, saying, "Sir, receive this kingly
sword, for the defence of the faith of Christ, and protection of His
kirk, and of the true religion, as it is presently professed within this
kingdom, and according to the national covenant and league and covenant,
and for executing equity and justice, and for punishment of all iniquity
and injustice."

This done, the great constable receiveth the sword from the king, and
girdeth the same about his side.

Thereafter, the king sitteth down in his chair, and then the spurs were
put on him by the earl Marshall.

Thereafter, Archibald, Marquiss of Argyle, having taken the crown in his
hands, the minister prayed, to this purpose:

"That the Lord would purge the crown from the sins and transgressions of
them that did reign before him; that it might be a pure crown; that God
would settle the crown upon the king's head: and, since men that set it
on were not able to settle it, that the Lord would put it on, and
preserve it." And then the said Marquiss put the crown on the king's
head.

Which done, the lion king of arms, the great constable standing by him,
causeth an herald to call the whole noblemen, one by one, according to
their ranks, who, coming before the king, kneeling, and with their hand
touching the crown on the king's head, swore these words, "By the
Eternal and Almighty God, who liveth and reigneth for ever; I shall
support thee to my uttermost." And when they had done, then all the
nobility held up their hands and "swore to be loyal and true subjects,
and faithful to the crown."

The earl Marshall, with the lion, going to the four corners of the
stage, the lion proclaimeth the obligatory oath of the people; and the
people, holding up their hands all the time, did swear, "By the Eternal
and Almighty God, who liveth and reigneth for ever, we become your liege
men, and truth and faith shall bear unto you, and live and die with you
against all manner of folks whatsoever, in your service, according to
the National Covenant, and Solemn League and Covenant."

Then did the earls and viscounts put on their crowns, and the lion
likewise put on his. Then did the lord chamberlain loose the sword
wherewith the king was girded, and drew it, and delivered it drawn into
the king's hands; and the king put it into the hands of the great
constable, to carry it naked before him. Then John, earl of Crawford and
Lindsay, took the sceptre, and put it in the king's right hand, saying,
"Sir, receive this sceptre, the sign of royal power of the kingdom, that
you may govern yourself right, and defend all the Christian people
committed by God to your charge, punishing the wicked, and protecting
the just."

Then did the king ascend the stage, attended by the officers of the
crown, and nobility, and was installed in the royal throne by Archibald,
Marquiss of Argyle, saying, "Stand, and hold fast from henceforth the
place whereof you are the lawful and righteous heir, by a long and
lineal succession of your fathers, which is new delivered unto you by
authority of Almighty God."

When the king was set down upon the throne, the minister spoke to him a
word of exhortation as followeth.

"Sir, you are set down upon the throne in a very difficult time, I shall
therefore put you in mind of a scriptural expression of a throne. "It is
said, Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord." Sir, you are a king, and a
king in covenant with the Lord; if you would have the Lord to own you to
be His king, and your throne to be His throne, I desire you may have
some thoughts of this expression.

1. "It is the Lord's throne. Remember you have a King above you, the
King of kings, and Lord of lords, who commandeth thrones. He setteth
kings on thrones, and dethroneth them at His pleasure: therefore take a
word of advice; be thankful to Him who hath brought you through many
wanderings to set you upon this throne. Kiss the Son lest He be angry,
and learn to serve Him with fear who is terrible to the kings of the
earth.

2. "Your throne is the Lord's throne, and your people the Lord's people:
let not your heart be lifted up above your brethren. They are your
brethren, not only flesh of your flesh, but brethren by covenant with
God. Let your government be refreshing unto them as the rain upon the
mown grass.

3. "Your throne is the Lord's throne. Beware of making His throne a
throne of iniquity: there is such a throne, which frameth mischief by a
law; God will not own such a throne, it hath no fellowship with Him.
Sir, there is too much iniquity upon the throne by your predecessors,
who framed mischief by a law, such laws as have been destructive to
religion, and grievous to the Lord's people; you are on the throne, and
have the sceptre, beware of touching mischievous laws therewith: but, as
the throne is the Lord's throne, let the laws be the Lord's laws,
agreeable to His word, such as are terrible to evil-doers, and
comfortable to the godly, and a relief to the poor and oppressed in the
land.

4. "The Lord's throne putteth you in mind whom you should have about the
throne. Wicked counsellors are not for a king upon the Lord's throne;
Solomon knew this, who said, 'Take away the wicked from before the king,
and his throne shall be established in righteousness:' and 'A king upon
the throne scattereth away all evil with his eyes.'

5. "The Lord's throne putteth you in mind, that the judgment on the
throne should be the Lord's. Take the exhortation, 'Hear the word of the
Lord, O king of Judah, that sittest upon the throne, thou and thy
servants and thy people, execute ye judgment and righteousness, and
deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressors, and do no wrong,
do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless nor the widow, neither
shed innocent blood in this place. For if ye do this thing indeed, then
shall there enter by the gates of this house kings sitting upon the
throne of David. But, if ye will not hear these words, I swear by
myself, saith the Lord, that this house shall become a desolation.' And
'I will prepare destroyers against thee.'

"Sir, destroyers are prepared for the injustice of the throne. I entreat
you to execute righteous judgment, if ye do it not, your house will be a
desolation; but, if ye do that which is right, God shall remove the
destroyers: and you shall be established on your throne; and there shall
yet be dignity in your house, for your servants, and for your people.

"Lastly, If your throne be the throne of the Lord, take a word of
encouragement against throne adversaries. Your enemies are the enemies
of the Lord's throne: make your peace with God in Christ, and the Lord
shall scatter your enemies from the throne; and He shall magnify you yet
in the sight of these nations, and make the misled people submit
themselves willingly to your government.

"Sir, If you use well the Lord's throne on which you are set, then the
two words in the place cited, spoken of Solomon sitting on the throne of
the Lord, 'He prospered and all Israel obeyed him,' shall belong unto
you; your people shall obey you in the Lord, and you shall prosper in
the sight of the nations round about."

Then the lord chancellor went to the four corners of the stage, the lion
king of arms going before him, and proclaimed his majesty's free pardon
to all breakers of penal statutes, and made offer thereof: whereupon the
people cried, "God save the king."

Then the king, supported by the great constable and marshall, and
accompanied with the chancellor, arose from the throne, and went out at
a door prepared for the purpose, to a stage; and sheweth himself to the
people without, who clapped their hands, and cried with a loud voice a
long time, "God save the king."

Then, the king returning, and sitting down upon the throne, delivered
the sceptre to the Earl of Crawford and Lindsay, to be carried before
him: thereafter the lion king of arms rehearsed the royal line of the
kings upward to Fergus the First.

Then the lion called the lords one by one who, kneeling and holding
their hands betwixt the king's hands, did swear these words, "By the
Eternal and Almighty God, who liveth and reigneth for ever, I do become
your liege man, and truth and faith shall bear unto you, and live and
die with you, against all manner of folks whatsoever in your service,
according to the National Covenant and Solemn League and Covenant."

And every one of them kissed the king's left cheek.

When these solemnities were ended, the minister, standing before the
king on his throne, pronounced this blessing:

"The Lord bless thee, and save thee; the Lord hear thee in the day of
trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee; the Lord send thee
help from the sanctuary and strengthen thee out of Zion. Amen."

After the blessing was pronounced, the minister went to the pulpit and
had the following exhortation, the king sitting still upon the throne.

Ye have this day a king crowned, and entered into covenant with God and
His people; look, both king and people, that ye keep this covenant; and
beware of the breach of it. That ye may be the more careful to keep it,
I will lay a few things before you.

I remember when the Solemn League and Covenant was entered into by both
nations. The commissioners from England being present in the East kirk
of Edinburgh, a passage was cited out of Nehemiah, which I shall now
again cite. Nehemiah requireth an oath of the nobles and people, to
restore the mortgaged lands, which they promise to do; after the oath
was tendered, he did shake his lap, and said, "So God shake out every
man from his house, and from his labour, that performeth not this
promise, even thus be he shaken out and emptied. And all the
congregation said, Amen."

Since that time, many of those who were in the covenant, are shaken out
of it; yea, they have shaken off the covenant, and laid it aside. It is
true, they are prospering this day, and think that they prosper, by
laying aside the covenant; but they will be deceived. That word spoken
then shall not fall to the ground; God shall shake them out of their
possession, and empty them for their perfidious breach of the covenant.

The same I say to king and nobles, and all that are in covenant; if you
break that covenant, being so solemnly sworn, all these who have touched
your crown, and sworn to support it, shall not be able to hold it on;
but God will shake it off, and turn you from the throne: and ye
noblemen, who are assistant to the putting on of the crown, and setting
the king upon the throne, if ye shall either assist, or advise the king
to break the covenant, and overturn the work of God, He shall shake you
out of your possessions, and empty you of all your glory.

Another passage I offer to your serious consideration. After that
Zedekiah had promised to proclaim liberty to all the Lord's people, who
were servants, and entered into a covenant, he and his princes let them
go free, and according to the oath had let them go; afterwards they
caused the servants to return, and brought them into subjection. What
followeth upon this breach? "Ye were now turned, and had done right in
My sight, in proclaiming liberty; but ye turned, and made them servants
again." And therefore, "I will give the men who have transgressed My
covenant, who have not performed the words of the covenant, which they
made before me, when they cut the calf in twain, and passed between the
parts thereof; I will even give them into the hands of their enemies,
into the hand of them that seek their life, even Zedekiah and his
princes."

If the breach of the covenant made for the liberty of servants was so
punished, what shall be the punishment of the breach of a covenant for
religion, and the liberty of the people of God? There is nothing more
terrible to kings and princes than to be given into the hand of enemies
that seek their life: if ye would escape this judgment, let kings and
princes keep their covenant made with God: your enemies who seek your
life, are in the land; if ye break the covenant, it may be feared God
will give you over unto them as a prey: but, if ye keep the covenant, it
may be expected God will keep you out of their hands.

Let not the place ye heard opened, be forgotten, for in it ye have an
example of divine justice against Joash and the princes, for breaking
that covenant. The princes who enticed to that breach, are destroyed:
and it is said, "The army of the Syrians came with a small company of
men, and the Lord delivered a very great host into their hand;" because
they had forsaken the Lord God of their fathers: so they executed
judgment against Joash. "His own servants conspired against him and slew
him on his bed."

The conspiracy of servants or subjects against their king is a wicked
course: but God in His righteous judgment suffereth subjects to conspire
and rebel against their princes, because they rebel against God: and He
suffereth subjects to break the covenant made with a king, because he
breaketh the covenant made with God. I may say freely, that a chief
cause of the judgment upon the king's house hath been the grandfather's
breach of covenant with God, and the father's following his steps in
opposing the work of God, and His kirk within these kingdoms; they broke
covenant with God, and men have broken covenant with them: yea, most
cruelly and perfidiously have invaded the royal family and trodden upon
all princely dignity.

Be wise by their example: you are now sitting upon the throne of the
kingdom, and your nobles about you. There is One above you, even Jesus,
the King of Zion; and I as His servant, dare not but be free with you: I
charge you, Sir, in His name, that you keep this covenant in all points;
if you shall break this covenant and come against His cause, I assure
you the controversy is not ended between God and your family: but will
be carried on to the further weakening, if not the overthrow of it: but
if you shall keep this covenant, and befriend the kingdom of Christ, it
may be from this day God shall begin to do you good. Although your
estate be very weak, God is able to raise you, and make you reign,
maugre the opposition of all your enemies: and howsoever it shall please
the Lord to dispose, you shall have peace toward God, through Christ the
Mediator.

As for you who are nobles and peers of the land, your share is great in
this day of coronation; ye have come and touched the crown, and sworn
to support it; ye have handled the sword and the sceptre, and have set
down the king upon his throne.

1. I charge you to keep your covenant with God; and see that ye never be
moved yourselves to come against it in any head, or article thereof; and
that ye give no counsel to the king to come against the doctrine,
worship, government and discipline of the kirk, established in this
land, as ye would eschew the judgment of covenant-breakers. If the king
and ye who are engaged to support the crown, conspire together against
the kingdom of Christ, both ye that do support and he that is supported
will fall together. I press this the more, because it is a rare thing to
see a king and great men for Christ. In the long catalogue of the kings,
which ye have heard recited this day, they will be found few who have
been for Christ.

2. I charge you also, because of your many oaths to the king; that you
keep them inviolable. Be faithful to him, according to your covenant.
The oaths of God are upon you; if, directly or indirectly, ye do
anything against his standing, God, by whom ye have sworn, will be
avenged upon you for the breach of His oath.

And now, I will shut up all with one word more to you. Sir, you are the
only covenanted king with God and His people in the world; many have
obstructed your entry in it: now, seeing the Lord hath brought you in
over all these obstructions, only observe to do what is contained
therein; and it shall prove an happy time for you and your house. And
because you are entered in times of great difficulty, wherein small
strength seemeth to remain with you in the eyes of the world, for
recovering your just power and greatness; therefore take the counsel
which David when he was dying gave to his son Solomon, "Be strong, and
show thyself a man; and keep the charge of the Lord thy God: to walk in
His ways, and keep His commandments; that them mayest prosper in all
that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself."

After this exhortation, the minister closed the whole action with
prayer; and, Psalm xx. being sung, he dismissed the people with the
blessing.

Then did the king's majesty descend from the stage with the crown upon
his head; and, receiving again the sceptre in his hand, returned with
the whole train, in a solemn manner, to his palace, the sword being
carried before him.



THE ACTS RESCISSORY.

FIRST PARLIAMENT OF CHARLES II.

January, 1661.--7.--"_Act concerning the League and Covenant and
discharging the renewing thereof without his Majesties Warrand and
approbation._


"Forasmuch as the power of Armes, and entering into, and making of
Leagues and Bonds, is an undoubted privilege of the Crown, and a proper
part of the Royal Prerogative of the Kings of this Kingdom, and that in
recognisance of His Majesties just Right, the Estates of Parliament of
this His most ancient Kingdom of Scotland, have declared it high Treason
to the Subjects thereof, of whatsoever number, lesse or more, upon any
pretext whatsoever, to rise, or continue in Armes, or to enter into
Leagues and Bonds, with Forraigners, or among themselves, without His
Majesties special Warrand and Approbation, had and obtained thereto, and
have Rescinded and Annulled all Acts of Parliament, Conventions of
Estates, or other Deeds whatsoever, contrary to, or inconsistent with
the same; And whereas during these troubles, there have occurred divers
things, in the making and pursuance of Leagues and Bonds, which may be
occasion of jealousie in and betwixt his Majesties Dominions of
Scotland, England, and Ireland. Therefore and for preventing of all
scruples, mistakes or jealousies that may hereafter arise upon these
grounds, The King's Majesty with advice and consent of His Estates of
Parliament, doth hereby Declare, that there is no Obligation upon this
Kingdom by Covenant, Treaties or otherwise, to endeavour by Armes a
Reformation of Religion in the Kingdom of England, or to meddle with the
publick Government and Administration of that Kingdom. And the King's
Majesty with advice and consent foresaid, doth Declare, That the League
and Covenant, and all Treaties following thereupon, and Acts or Deeds
that do, or may relate thereto, are not obligatory, nor do infer any
obligation upon this Kingdom, or the Subjects thereof, to meddle or
interpose by Armes, or any seditious way, in any thing concerning the
Religion and Government of the Churches of England and Ireland, or in
what may concern the Administration of His Majesties Government there.
And further, His Majesty, with advice and consent of his Estates, doth
hereby Discharge and Inhibite all His Majesties Subjects within this
Kingdom, that none of them may presume upon any pretext of any Authority
whatsoever, to require the renewing or swearing of the said League and
Covenant, or of any other Covenants, or publick Oaths concerning the
Government of the Church or Kingdom, without His Majesties special
Warrand and Approbation; And that none of His Majesties Subjects offer
to renew and swear the same, without His Majesties Warrand, as said is,
as they will be answerable at their highest peril."


SAME PARLIAMENT.--_15.--"Act Rescinding and Annulling the pretended
parliaments in the years 1640, 1641, etc._

"The Estates of Parliament, considering that the Peace and Happiness of
this Kingdom, and of His Majesties good subjects therein, doth depend
upon the Safetie of His Majesties Person, and the maintenance of His
Royal Authority, Power, and Greatness: And that all the miseries,
confusions, and disorders which this Kingdom hath groaned under, these
twenty-three years, have issued from, and been the necessarie and
natural products of these neglects, contempts, and invasions, which, in
and from the beginning of these troubles, were upon the specious (but
false) pretexts of Reformation (the common cloak of all rebellions)
offered unto the Sacred Person and Royal Authority of the King's
Majesty, and His Royal Father of blessed memory. And notwithstanding,
that by the Sacred Right, inherent to the Imperial Crown (which His
Majesty holds immediatelie from God Almightie alone) and by the ancient
constitution and fundamental Laws of the Kingdom; the power of
convocating and keeping Assemblies of the Subjects; the power of
Calling, Holding, Proroguing and Disolving of Parliaments, and making of
Laws; the power of entering into Bonds, Covenants, Leagues and Treaties;
the power of raising Armes, keeping of Strengths and Forts are Essential
parts, and inseparable privileges of the Royal Authoritie and
Prerogative of the Kings of this Kingdom: Yet, such hath been the
madness and delusion of these times, that even Religion itself, which
holds the Right of Kings to be Sacred and Inviolable, hath been
pretended unto, for warrand of these injurious Violations and
Incroachments, so publickly done and owned, upon and against His
Majesties just Power, Authority and Government; By making and keeping of
unlawful Meetings and Convocations of the People; By entering into
Covenants, Treaties and Leagues; By seizing upon, and possessing
themselves of His Majesties Castles, Forts and Strengths of the Kingdom:
and by Holding of Pretended Parliaments, making of Laws, and raising of
Armes for the maintaining of the same; and that not only without
warrand, but contrary to His Majesties express Commands. And although
the late King's Majesty, out of His meer grace and respects to this His
native Kingdom, and the peace and quiet of His people, and for
preventing the consequences which such bad example and practice might
occasion, to the disturbance of the peace of his other Kingdoms, was
pleased in the year, one thousand six hundred and forty one, to come
into this Countrey, and by his own presence, at their pretended
Parliaments and other wayes, to comply with, and give way to, many
things neerly concerning the undoubted Interest and Prerogative of the
Crown, expecting that such unparalleled Condescentions should have made
His Subjects ashamed of their former miscariages, and the very thoughts
thereof, to be hatefull to them and their posteritie for ever. Yet, such
was the prevalencie of the spirit of Rebelion that raged in manie for
the time, that not content with that peace and happiness which, even
above their desires, was secured to them: nor of these manie Grants of
honour and profit, by which His Majestie endeavoured to endear the most
desperat of them to their duty and obedience, they then, when His
Majesty had not left unto them anie pretence or shaddow of anie new
desire to be proposed, either concerning themselves or the Kingdom, did
most unworthilie engage to subvert His Majesties Government, and the
publick peace of the Kingdom of England: For which purpose, having
joined in a League with some there, they, for the better prosecution of
the same, did assume unto themselves the Royal Power, kept and held
Parliaments at their pleasure; by the pretended Authoritie of which,
they laid new exactions upon the people (which in one month did far
exceed what ever by the Kings Authoritie had been raised in a whole
year) levied Armes, sent out Edicts, requiring obedience unto their
unlawful demands; and with all manner of violence pursued such as out of
duty to His Majesties Authoritie opposed them by fines, confinements,
imprisonment, banishment, death, and forfeiture of their property; and
with their Armie thus raised, invaded His Majesties Kingdom of England,
and joyned with such as were in Arms against His Majestie there. And
thus maintaining their usurped power, and violently executing the same
against all Law, Conscience, Honour and Humanity, have made themselves
instruments of much loss, shame and dishonour to their native Countrey,
and have justly forfeited anie favour they might have pretended to, from
His Majesties former concessions. And forasmuch as now it hath pleased
Almighty God, by the power of His own right hand, so miraculously to
restore the Kings Majestie to the Government of his Kingdoms, and to the
exercise of His Royal Power, and Soveraigntie over the same, The Estates
of Parliament do conceive themselves obliged, in discharge of their
dutie and conscience to GOD and the Kings Majestie, to imploy all their
Power and interest, for vindicating His Majesties Authoritie from all
these violent invasions that have been made upon it, and so far as
possible to remove out of the way everything that may retain anie
remembrance of these things, which have been so injurious to His
Majestie and His Authoritie, so predjudicial and dishonourable to the
Kingdom, and destructive to all just and true interests within the same.
And considering that, besides the unlawfulness of the Publick Actings
during the troubles, most of the Acts in all and every of the Meetings
of these pretended Parliaments, do highly encroach upon, and are
destructive of that Sovereign Power, Authority, Prerogative, and Right
of Government, which by the law of GOD, and the ancient Laws and
Constitutions of this Kingdom, doth reside in, and belong unto, the
Kings Majestie, and do reflect upon the honour, loyaltie, and reputation
of this Kingdom; or are expired, and serve only as testimonies of
disloyaltie and reproach upon the Kingdom, and are unfit to be any
longer upon Record. Therefore the Kings Majestie and Estates of
Parliament do hereby Rescind and Annull the pretended Parliaments, kept
in the years one thousand six hundred and fourty, one thousand six
hundred and fourty one, one thousand six hundred and fourty four, one
thousand six hundred and fourty five, one thousand six hundred and
fourty six, one thousand six hundred and fourty seven, and one thousand
six hundred and fourty eight, and all Acts and Deeds past and done in
them, and Declares the same to be henceforth void and null. And His
Majesty, being unwilling to take any advantage of the failings of His
Subjects during these unhappy times, is resolved not to retain any
remembrance thereof, but that the same shall be held in everlasting
oblivion: and that all difference and animosities be forgotten, His good
subjects may in a happy union, under His Royal Government, enjoy that
happiness and peace, which His Majestie intends, and really wisheth unto
them as unto himself, doth therefore, by advice and consent of His
Estates of Parliament, grant His full assurance and indemnity to all
persons that acted in, or by virtue of the said pretended Parliaments,
and other Meetings flowing from the same, to be unquestioned in their
Lives or Fortunes, or any Deed or Deeds done by them in their said
usurpation, or by virtue of any pretended Authority derived therefrom,
excepting alwayes such as shall be excepted in a general Act of
Indemnity, to be past by His Majestie in this Parliament. And it is
hereby declared that all Acts, Rights and Securities, past in any of the
pretended Meetings above written, or by virtue thereof, in favours of
any particular persons for their civil and private interests shall stand
good and valid unto them, untill the same be taken into further
consideration, and determined in this, or the next Session of this
Parliament."



SECOND SESSION OF FIRST PARLIAMENT OF CHARLES II.

Edinburgh, May, 1662.--_Act for preservation of His Majesties Person,
Authority and Government._


The Estates of Parliament, taking into their consideration the miseries,
confusions, bondage and oppressions, this Kingdom hath groaned under
since the year, one thousand six hundred and thirty seven years, with
the causes and occasions thereof: Do, with all humble duty and
thankfulness, acknowledge His Majesties unparrallel'd grace and
goodness, in passing by the many miscarriages of His Subjects, and
restoring the Church and State to their ancient Liberties, Freedom,
Rights and Possessions; and the great Obligations thereby lying upon
them to express all possible care and zeal in the preservation of His
Majesties person, (in whose honour and happinesse consisteth the good
and welfare of His people) and in the security and establishment of His
Royal Authority and Government, against all such wicked attempts and
practices for the time to come. And, since the rise and progress of the
late troubles did, in a great measure, proceed from some treasonable and
seditious positions infused into the people. That it was lawfull to
Subjects for Reformation, to enter into Covenants and Leagues, or to
take up Arms against the King, or those Commissionated by Him, and
such-like: And that many Wilde and rebellious courses were taken and
practised in pursuance thereof, by unlawful meetings and gatherings of
the people, by mutinous and tumultuous petitions, by insolent and
seditious Protestations against His Majesties Royal and just commands,
by entering into unlawfull Oaths and Covenants, by usurping the name and
power of Council Tables and Church Judicatories, after they were by His
Majesty discharged, by treasonable Declarations, that His Majesty was
not to be admitted to the exercise of His Royal power, untill He should
grant their unjust desires and approve their wicked practices, by
rebellions rising in Arms against His Majestie and such as had
Commission from Him; And by the great countenance, allowance and
encouragement given to these pernicious courses by the multitude of
seditious Sermons, Libels, and Discourses, preached, printed and
published in defence thereof: And considering that as the present age is
not full freed of those distempers; so posterity may be apt to relapse
therein, if timous remeed be not provided. Therefore the King's Majestie
and Estates of Parliament do Declare that these positions, That it is
lawfull to Subjects, upon pretence of Reformation, or other pretence
whatsoever, to enter into Leagues and Covenants, or to take up arms
against the King; or that it is lawfull to subjects, pretending His
Majestys Authority, to take up Arms against His person or those
Commissionated by Him, or to suspend Him from the exercise of his Royal
Government, or to put limitations upon their due obedience and
allegiance, Are Rebellious and Treasonable, And that all these
Gatherings, Convocations, Petitions, Protestations, and Erecting and
keeping of Council-tables, that were used in the beginning, and for
carrying on, of the late troubles, were unlawful and seditious: And
particularly, that these Oaths, whereof the one was commonly called The
National Covenant, (as it was sworn and explained in the year one
thousand, six hundred and thirty-eight, and thereafter) and the other
entituled, A Solemn League and Covenant, were, and are in themselves
unlawful Oaths, and were taken by, and imposed upon, the Subjects of
this Kingdom, against the fundamental laws and liberties of the same;
and that there lyeth no obligation upon any of the Subjects from the
saids Oaths, or either of them, to endeavour any change or alteration of
Government either in Church or State; And therefore Annuls all Acts and
Constitutions, Ecclesiastical or Civil, approving the said pretended
National Covenant or League and Covenant, or making any interpretations
of the same or either of them. And also, it is hereby Declared by His
Majesty and Estates of Parliament, That the pretended assemblie kept at
Glasgow in the year one thousand six hundred and thirty eight, was in
itself (after the same was by His Majestie discharged, under the pain of
Treason) an unlawfull and seditious Meeting; and that all Acts, Deeds,
Sentences, Orders, or Decreets past therein, or by vertue of any
pretended Authority from the same, were in themselves from the
beginning, are now, and in all time coming, to be reputed unlawful, void
and null; And that all Ratifications or Confirmations of the same, past
by whatsoever Authority or in whatsoever Meetings, shall from henceforth
be void and null. Likeas, His Majesty and Estates of Parliament,
reflecting on the sad consequences of these rebellious courses, and
being carefull to prevent the like for the future, have therefore
Statute and Ordained, and by these presents Statutes and Ordains, that,
if any person or persons shall hereafter Plot, contrive or intend
destruction to the King's Majesty, or any bodily harm tending to death
or destruction, or any restraint upon his Royal Person, or to deprive,
depose, or suspend Him from the stile, Honour and Kingly Name of the
Imperial Crown of this Realm, or any others His Majesties Dominions, or
to suspend him from the exercise of His Royal Government, or to levy War
or take up Arms against His Majesty or any commissionated by Him, or
shall entice any strangers or others to invade any of His Majesties
Dominions; and shall by writing, printing, preaching or other malicious
and advised speaking, express or declare such their Treasonable
intentions, every such person or persons, being upon sufficient
probation legally convicted thereof, shall be deemed, declared and
adjudged Traitors, and shall suffer forfeiture of life, honour, lands,
and goods as in cases of high Treason. And further, it is by His Majesty
and Estates of Parliament Declared, Statute and Enacted, That if any
person or persons shall, by Writing, Printing, Praying, Preaching,
Libelling, Remonstrating, or by any malicious and advised speaking,
express, publish, or declare any words or sentences to stir up the
people to the hatred or dislike of His Majesties Royal Prerogative and
Supremacy in causes Ecclesiastick, or of the Government of the Church by
Archbishops and Bishops as it is now settled by Law, or to Justifie any
of the deeds, actings, practices or things above-mentioned and declared
against by this present Act: that every such person or persons so
offending, and being, as said is, Legally convicted thereof, are hereby
declared incapable to enjoy or exerce any place or imployment, Civil,
Ecclesiastical, or Military, within this Church and Kingdom, and shall
be lyable to such further pains as are due by the Law in such cases;
Provided alwayes, that no person be processed for any of the offences
aforesaid, contained in this Act, (other than these that are declared to
be high Treason) unless it be by order from His Majesty, or by order of
His Privy Council for the time; neither shall they incur any of the
penalties above-mentioned, unless they be pursued within eight Months
after the offence committed, and sentenced thereupon within four Months
after the intenting of the Process. And it is also Declared, that if His
Majesty grant His pardon to any person convicted for any of the offences
contained in this present Act; after such pardon, the party pardoned
shall be restored to all intents and purposes, as if he had never been
pursued nor convicted any thing in this Act to the contrary,
notwithstanding.



THE TORWOOD EXCOMMUNICATION.[17]


After public worship, Mr. Cargill proceeded thus:--We have now spoken of
excommunication, of the nature, subject, causes, and ends thereof. We
shall now proceed to the action itself, being constrained by the
conscience of our duty, and by zeal for God, to excommunicate some of
those who have been the committers of such great crimes, and authors of
the great mischiefs of Britain and Ireland, but especially those of
Scotland. In doing this, we shall keep the names by which they are
ordinarily called, that they may be better known.

I, being a minister of Jesus Christ, and having authority and power from
Him, do, in His name and by His Spirit, excommunicate and cast out of
the true Church, and deliver up to Satan, Charles II., king, etc., and
that upon the account of these wickednesses:--

1st, For his high contempt of God, in regard that after he had
acknowledged his own sins, his father's sins, his mother's idolatry, and
had solemnly engaged against them in a declaration at Dunfermline, the
16th of August, 1650, he hath, notwithstanding all this, gone on more
avowedly in these sins than all that went before him.

2ndly, For his great perjury in regard that, after he had twice at least
solemnly subscribed that covenant, he did so presumptuously renounce,
and disown, and command it to be burnt by the hands of the hangman.

3rdly, Because he hath rescinded all the laws for establishing that
religion and reformation engaged unto in that covenant, and enacted laws
for establishing its contrary; and also is still working for the
introduction of Popery into these lands. And

4thly, For commanding armies to destroy the Lord's people, who were
standing in their own just defence, and for their privileges and rights,
against tyranny, and oppression and injuries of men, and for the blood
he hath shed on fields, and scaffolds, and seas, of the people of God,
upon account of religion and righteousness (they being willing in all
other things to render him obedience, if he had reigned and ruled
according to his covenant and oath), more than all the kings that have
been before him in Scotland.

5thly, That he hath been still an enemy to, and persecutor of, the true
Protestants; a favourer and helper of the Papists, both at home and
abroad; and hath, to the utmost of his power, hindered the due execution
of the laws against them.

6thly, For his bringing guilt upon the kingdom, by his frequent grants
of remissions and pardons to murderers (though it is in the power of no
king to pardon murder, being expressly contrary to the law of God), an
indulgence which is the only way to embolden men to commit murders, to
the defiling of the land with blood. And

Lastly, To pass by all other things, his great and dreadful uncleanness
of adultery and incest, his drunkenness, his dissembling both with God
and men, and performing his promises, where his engagements were sinful.
Next,

By the same authority, and in the same name, I excommunicate and cast
out of the true Church, and deliver up unto Satan, James, Duke of York,
and that for his idolatry (for I shall not speak of any other sin but
what hath been perpetrated by him in Scotland), and for setting up
idolatry in Scotland to defile the Lord's land, and for his enticing and
encouraging to do so. Next,

In the same name, and by the same authority, I excommunicate and cast
out of the true Church, and deliver up unto Satan, James, Duke of
Monmouth, for coming unto Scotland at his father's unjust command, and
leading armies against the Lord's people, who were constrained to rise,
being killed in and for the worshipping of the true God, and for
refusing, that morning, a cessation of arms at Bothwell Bridge, for
hearing and redressing their injuries, wrongs and oppressions. Next,

I do, by virtue of the same authority, and in the same name,
excommunicate and cast out of the true Church, and deliver up unto
Satan, John, Duke of Lauderdale, for his dreadful blasphemy, especially
for that word to the Prelate of St. Andrews, "Sit thou at my right hand,
until I make thine enemies thy footstool;" his atheistical drolling on
the Scriptures of God, and scoffing at religion and religious persons;
his apostasy from the covenants and reformation, and his persecuting
thereof, after he had been a professor, pleader, and presser thereof;
for his perjury in the business of Mr. James Mitchell, who being in
Council gave public faith that he should be indemnified, and that, to
life and limb, if he would confess his attempt on the Prelate; and
notwithstanding this, before the Justiciary Court, did give his oath
that there was no such act in Council; for his adultery and uncleanness;
for his counselling and assisting the king in all his tyrannies,
overturning and plotting against the true religion; for his gaming on
the Lord's day, and lastly for his usual and ordinary swearing. Next,

I do, by virtue of the same authority, and in the same name,
excommunicate, cast out of the true Church, and deliver up to Satan,
John, Duke of Rothes, for his perjury in the matter of Mr. James
Mitchell; for his adulteries and uncleanness; for his allotting of the
Lord's day to his drunkenness; for his professing and avowing his
readiness and willingness to set up Popery in this land at the king's
command: and for the heathenish, and barbarous and unheard of cruelty
(whereof he was the chief author, contriver, and commander,
notwithstanding his having engaged otherwise), to that worthy
gentleman, David Hackstoun of Rathillet, and lastly, for his ordinary
cursing, swearing, and drunkenness. And,

I do, by virtue of the same authority, and in the same name,
excommunicate, and cast out of the true Church and deliver up to Satan,
Sir George M'Kenzie, the King's Advocate, for his apostasy in turning
into a profligacy of conversation, after he had begun a profession of
holiness; for his constant pleading against, and persecuting unto the
death, the people of God, and for alleging and laying to their charge
things which in his conscience he knew to be against the word of God,
truth and right reason, and the ancient laws of this kingdom; for his
pleading for sorcerers, murderers, and other criminals, that before God
and by the laws of the land ought to die, and for his ungodly,
erroneous, fantastic, and blasphemous tenets printed in his pamphlets
and pasquils. And,

Lastly, I do by virtue of the same authority, and in the same name,
excommunicate, and cast out of the true Church, and deliver up to Satan,
Dalziell of Binns, for his leading armies, and commanding the killing,
robbing, pillaging and oppressing of the Lord's people, and free
subjects of this kingdom; for executing lawless tyrannies and lustful
laws; for his commanding to shoot one Findlay at a post at Newmills,
without any form of law, civil or military (he not being guilty of
anything which they themselves accounted a crime); for his lewd and
impious life, led in adultery and uncleanness from his youth, with a
contempt for marriage, which is an ordinance of God; for all his
atheistical and irreligious conversation, and lastly, for his unjust
usurping and retaining of the estate of that worthy gentleman, William
Mure of Caldwell, and his other injurious deeds in the exercise of his
power.

Now I think, none that acknowledge the word of God, can judge these
sentences to be unjust; yet some, it may be, to flatter the powers,
will call them disorderly and informal, there not being warning given,
nor probation led. But for answer: there has been warning given, if not
with regard to all these, at least with regard to a great part of them.
And, for probation, there needs none, their deeds being notour and
public, and the most of them such as themselves do avow and boast of.
And as the causes are just, so, being done by a minister of the Gospel,
and in such a way as the present persecution would admit of, the
sentence is just, and there is no king, nor minister on earth, without
repentance of the persons, can lawfully reverse these sentences upon any
such account. God being the Author of these ordinances to the ratifying
of them, all that acknowledge the Scriptures of truth, ought to
acknowledge them. Yet perchance, some will think that though they be not
unjust, yet that they are foolishly rigorous. We shall answer nothing to
this, but that word which we speak with much more reason than they that
first used it, "Should he deal with our sister, as with an harlot?"
Should they deal with our God as an idol? Should they deal with His
people as murderers and malefactors, and we not draw out His sword
against them?



ACT AGAINST CONVENTICLES.[18]


Forasmuch as the assembling and convocating of his majesty's subjects,
without his majesty's warrant and authority, is a most dangerous and
unlawful practice, prohibit and discharged by several laws and acts of
parliament, under high and great pains: and that notwithstanding
thereof, diverse disaffected and seditious persons, under the specious
but false pretences of religion and religious exercises, presume to
make, and be present at conventicles and unwarrantable meetings and
conventions of the subjects, which are the ordinary seminaries of
separation and rebellion, tending to the prejudice of the public worship
of God in the churches, to the scandal of the reformed religion, to the
reproach of his majesty's authority and government, and to the
alienating of the hearts and affections of the subjects from that duty
and obedience they owe to his majesty, and the public laws of kingdom.
For the suppressing and preventing of which for the time to come, his
majesty, with advice and consent of his estates of parliament, hath
thought fit to statute and enact, likeas they do hereby statute and
command, that no outed ministers who are not licensed by the council,
and no other persons not authorized, or tolerate by the bishop of the
diocese, presume to preach, expound scripture, or pray in any meeting,
except in their own houses, and to those of their own family; and that
none be present at any meeting, without the family to which they belong,
where any not licensed, authorized, nor tolerate as said is, shall
preach, expound scripture, or pray: declaring hereby, all such who shall
do in the contrary, to be guilty of keeping of conventicles; and that
he, or they, who shall so preach, expound, or pray, within any house,
shall be seized upon and imprisoned, till they find caution, under the
pain of five thousand merks, not to do the like thereafter, or else
enact themselves to remove out of the kingdom, and never return without
his majesty's license; and that every person who shall be found to have
been present at any such meetings, shall be _toties quoties_, fined
according to their qualities, in the respective sums following, and
imprisoned until they pay their fines, and further, during the council's
pleasure, viz., each man or woman, having land in heritage, life-rent,
or proper wadset, to be lined in a fourth part of his or her valued
yearly rent; each tenant labouring land, in twenty-five pounds Scots;
each cottar, in twelve pounds Scots, and each serving man, in a fourth
part of his yearly fee: and where merchants or tradesmen do not belong
to, or reside within burghs royal, that each merchant or chief tradesman
be fined as a tenant, and each inferior tradesman as a cottar: and if
any of the persons above-mentioned shall have their wives, or any of
their children living in family with them, present at any such meeting,
they are therefore to be fined in the half of the respective fines
aforesaid, consideration being had to their several qualities and
conditions. And if the master or mistress of any family, where any such
meetings shall be kept, be present within the house for the time, they
are to be fined in the double of what is to be paid by them, for being
present at a house conventicle. And it is hereby declared, that
magistrates of burghs royal are liable, for every conventicle to be kept
within their burghs, to such fines as his majesty's council shall think
fit to impose; and that the master or mistress of the house where the
conventicle shall happen to be kept, and the persons present thereat,
are to relieve the magistrates, as the council shall think fit to order
the same; it being notwithstanding free to the council to fine the
inhabitants of burghs for being present at conventicles within or
without burghs, or where their wives or children shall be present at the
same.

And further, his majesty understanding that divers disaffected persons
have been so maliciously wicked and disloyal, as to convocate his
majesty's subjects to open meetings in the fields, expressly contrary to
many public laws made thereanent, and considering that these meetings
are the rendezvouses of rebellion, and tend in a high measure to the
disturbance of the public peace, doth therefore, with advice and consent
foresaid, statute and declare, that whosoever, without license or
authority foresaid, shall preach, expound scripture, or pray, at any of
those meetings in the field, or in any house where there be more
persons than the house contains, so as some of them be without doors
(which is hereby declared to be a field conventicle) or who shall
convocate any number of people to these meetings, shall be punished with
death, and confiscation of their goods. And it is hereby offered and
assured, that if any of his majesty's good subjects shall seize and
secure the persons of any who shall either preach or pray at these
field-meetings, or convocate any persons thereto, they shall, for every
such person so seized and secured, have five hundred merks paid unto
them for their reward, out of his majesty's treasury, by the
commissioners thereof, who are hereby authorised to pay the same; and
the said seizers and their assistants are hereby indemnified for any
slaughter that shall be committed in the apprehending and securing of
them. And, as to all heritors and others aforesaid, who shall be present
at any of these field-conventicles, it is hereby declared, they are to
be fined, _toties quoties_, in the double of the respective fines
appointed for house conventicles; but prejudice of any other punishment
due to them by law as seditious persons and disturbers of the peace and
quiet of the kirk and kingdom.

And, seeing the due execution of laws is the readiest means to procure
obedience to the same; therefore, his majesty, with consent and advice
foresaid, doth empower, warrant, and command all sheriffs, stewarts of
stewartries, lords of regalities, and their deputes, to call before
them, and try all such persons who shall be informed to have kept, or
been present at, conventicles within their jurisdictions, and to inflict
upon these who shall be found guilty, the respective fines exprest in
this act; they being always countable to the commissioners of his
majesty's treasury, for the fines of all heritors within their bounds.
And his majesty, for the encouragement of the said sheriffs, stewarts,
and lords of regalities, to be careful and diligent in their duties
therein, doth allow to themselves all the fines of any persons within
their jurisdictions, under the degree of heritors; and requires the
lords of his majesty's privy council to take exact trial of their care
and diligence herein; and if the sheriffs, stewarts, and bailiffs, be
negligent in their duties, or if the magistrates within burghs shall be
negligent in their utmost diligence, to detect and delate to the council
all conventicles within their burghs, that the council inflict such
censures and punishments upon them as they shall think fit. And the
lords of his majesty's privy council are hereby required to be careful
in the trial of all field and house-conventicles kept since the first
day of October, one thousand six hundred and sixty-nine, and before the
date hereof, and that they punish the same conform to the laws and acts
of state formerly made thereanent. And lastly, his majesty, being
hopeful that his subjects will give such cheerful obedience to the laws
as there shall not be long use of this act, hath therefore, with advice
foresaid, declared that the endurance thereof shall only be for three
years, unless his majesty shall think fit that it continue longer.



THE SANQUHAR DECLARATION.[19]


It is not amongst the smallest of the Lord's mercies to this poor land
that there have been always some who have given their testimony against
every course of defection, (that many are guilty of) which is a token
for good, that He doth not as yet intend to cast us off altogether, but
that He will leave a remnant in whom He will he glorious, if they,
through His grace, keep themselves clean still, and walk in His way and
method, as it has been walked in and owned by Him in our predecessors of
truly worthy memory, in their carrying on of our noble work of
reformation in the several steps thereof, from popery, prelacy, and
likewise Erastian supremacy, so much usurped by him, who (it is true so
far as we know) is descended from the race of our kings, yet he hath so
far deborded from what he ought to have been, by his perjury and
usurpation in Church matters, and tyranny in matters civil, as is known
by the whole land, that we have just reason to account it one of the
Lord's great controversies against us, that we have not disowned him and
the men of his practices, (whether inferior magistrates or any other) as
enemies to our Lord and His crown, and the true Protestant and
Presbyterian interest in thir lands, our Lord's espoused bride and
Church. Therefore, although we be for government and governors such as
the Word of our God and our Covenant allows, yet we for ourselves and
all that will adhere to us as the representatives of the true
Presbyterian Kirk and Covenanted nation of Scotland, considering the
great hazard of lying under such a sin any longer, do by thir presents
disown Charles Stuart, that has been reigning (or rather tyrannizing as
we may say) on the throne of Britain these years bygone, as having any
right, title to, or interest in, the said Crown of Scotland for
government, as forfeited several years since, by his perjury and breach
of covenant both to God and His Kirk, and usurpation of His crown and
royal prerogatives therein, and many other breaches in matters
ecclesiastic, and by his tyranny and breach of the very _leges regnandi_
in matters civil. For which reason we declare, that several years since
he should have been denuded of being king, ruler, or magistrate, or of
having any power to act, or to be obeyed as such. As also, we, being
under the standard of our Lord Jesus Christ, Captain of Salvation, do
declare a war with such a tyrant and usurper, and all the men of his
practices, as enemies to our Lord Jesus Christ and His cause and
covenants; and against all such as have strengthened him, sided with, or
any wise acknowledged him in his tyranny, civil or ecclesiastic, yea,
against all such as shall strengthen, side with, or any wise acknowledge
any other in the like usurpation and tyranny, far more against such as
would betray or deliver up our free reformed mother-kirk unto the
bondage of antichrist, the Pope of Rome. And by this we homologate that
testimony given at Rutherglen, the 29th of May, 1679, and all the
faithful testimonies of these who have gone before, as also of these who
have suffered of late. And we do disclaim that Declaration published at
Hamilton, June, 1679, chiefly because it takes in the king's interest,
which we are several years since loosed from, because of the foresaid
reasons, and others, which may after this (if the Lord will) be
published. As also we disown, and by this resent the reception of the
Duke of York, that professed papist, as repugnant to our principles and
vows to the Most High God, and as that which is the great, though not
alone, just reproach of our Kirk and nation. We also by this protest
against his succeeding to the crown; and whatever has been done, or any
are essaying to do in this land (given to the Lord), in prejudice to our
work of reformation. And to conclude, we hope after this none will blame
us for, or offend at our rewarding these that are against us as they
have done to us as the Lord gives opportunity. This is not to exclude
any that have declined, if they be willing to give satisfaction
according to the degree of their offence.

_Given at Sanquhar, June 22nd, 1680._



PROTESTATION AGAINST THE UNION.[20]


It will, no doubt, be reputed by many very unseasonable to protest at
this time, against this Union, now so far advanced and by their law
established; but the consideration of the superabundant, palpable and
eminent sins, hazards, and destructions to religion, laws, and liberties
that are in it, and natively attend it, is such a pressing motive, that
we can do no less, for the exoneration of our consciences in shewing our
dislike of the same, before the sitting down of the British Parliament,
lest our silence should be altogether interpreted, either a direct or
indirect owning of, or succumbing to the same: and though, having
abundantly and plainly declared our principles formerly, and
particularly in our last declaration, May 21, 1703, against the then
intended Union; and waiting for more plain discovery of dissatisfaction
with, and opposition unto this abominable course, by these of better
capacitie, yet being herein so far disappointed in our expectations of
such honourable and commendable appearances, for the laudable laws, and
antient constitutions of this kingdom, both as to sacred and civil
concerns, all these appearances, whither by addresses or protestations
being so far lame and defective, as that the resolutions and purposes of
such have never been fairly and freely remonstrat to the contrivers,
promoters and establishers of this Union. The consideration of which,
and the lamentable case and condition the land already is, and may be
in, by reason of the same, hath moved us, after the example and in
imitation of the cloud of witnesses who have gone before us, to protest
against the same, as being contrar to the Word of God, and repugnant to
our former Union with England in the terms of the Solemn League and
Covenant.

And whereas it hath been the good will and pleasure of Almighty God, to
grant unto this nation a glorious and blessed reformation of the true
Christian religion, from the errors, idolatry, and superstition of
popery and prelacy, and there withall to bless us with the power and
purity of heavenly doctrine, worship, discipline, and government in the
Church of God, according to His will revealed in the Holy Scriptures;
and to let us have all this accompanyed and attended with many great and
singular blessings, in the conversion and comfort of many thousands, and
in reforming and purging the land from that gross ignorance, rudeness
and barbarity, that once prevailed among us. Wherefore our zealous and
worthy forefathers, being convinced of the benefit and excellency of
such incomparable and unvaluable mercies, thought it their duty, not
only by all means to endeavour the preservation of these, but also to
transmit to posterity a fair _depositum_ and copy in purity and
integrity, and as a fit expedient and mean to accomplish and perfect the
same, they entered into the National Covenant (no rank or degree of
persons, from the highest to the lowest excepted) wherein they bound
themselves to defend the reformation of religion in every part and point
of the same, with their lives and fortunes to the outmost of their
power, as may be seen in the National Covenant of this Church and
kingdom, which was five times solemnly sworn.

Likeas the Lord was so pleased to bless our land, and to beautify it
with His presence, that our neighbour nations of England and Ireland,
who beheld this, and were groaning under and likeways aiming at the
removal and abolishing of popery and prelacy, had sought and obtained
assistance from this nation to help them in their endeavours for that
end, and had been owned of God with success, they likeways thought it
fit to enter into a most Solemn League and Covenant with this Church and
kingdom for reformation and defence of religion, wherein, with their
hands lifted up to the most High God, they do bind and oblige themselves
to maintain, preserve and defend, whatever measure and degree of
reformation they had attained unto, and mutually to concurr, each with
another with their lives and fortunes in their several places and
callings, in opposition to all the enemies of the same, as may be seen
at large in the Solemn League and Covenant. By means of which, these
nations became (as it were) dedicated and devoted to God in a peculiar
and singular manner, above all other people in the world and that by an
indisolvable and indispensable obligation to perform, observe and
fulfill the duties sworn too, and contained therein, from which no power
on earth can absolve us. And so to prosecute and carry on the ends of
the same, and to evidence our firm adherance to it, with the outmost of
our endeavours, in opposition to every thing contradictory or contrar
unto or exclusive of these our sacred vows. We have from time to time
for these several years bypast, emitted and published several
declarations and publick testimonies against the breaches of the same,
as is evident not only from our declarations of late, but also from all
the wrestlings and contendings of the faithful in former times, all
which we here adhere to, approve of, and homologate, as they are founded
upon the Word of God and are agreeable thereto.

And in this juncture to perpetuat and transmit to posterity the
testimony of this Church, and to acquit ourselves as faithful to God,
and zealous for the concerns of religion, and every thing that's dear to
us as men and Christians. We here testify and protest against the
prompters to, promoters or establishers of, and against every thing that
hath tended to the promoting, advancing, corroborating, or by law
establishing such a wicked and ruining Union; and hereby we also declare
against the validity of the proceedings of the late Parliament with
reference to the carrying on, and establishing the said Union; and that
their acts shall not be look't upon as obligatory to us, nor ought to be
by posterity, nor any way prejudicial to the cause of God, and the
covenanted work of reformation in this Church, nor to the beeing,
liberty, and freedom of Parliaments, according to the laudable and
antient pratique of this kingdom, the which we do not only for
ourselves, but also in the name of all such as shall join or concurr
with us in this our protestation, and therefore we Protest.

In regard, That the said Union is a visible and plain subversion of the
fundamental antient constitutions, laws and liberties of this kingdom,
which we as a free people have enjoyed for the space of about two
thousand years, without ever being fully conquered, and we have had
singular and remarkable stepts of Providence preventing our utter
sinking, and preserving us from such a deludge and overthrow, which some
other nations more mighty and opulent than we, have felt, and whose
memory is much extinct: while by this incorporating Union with England
in their sinful terms, this nation is debased and enslaved, its antient
independency lost and gone, the parliamentary power dissolved which was
the very strength, bulwork and basis of all liberties and priviledges of
persons of all ranks, of all manner of courts and judicatories,
corporations and societies within this kingdom; all which, now, must be
at the disposal and discreation of the British Parliament, (to which, by
this Union, this nation must be brought to full subjection) and furder
the number of peers, who have many times ventured their lives for the
interest of their country, having reputation and success at home and
were famous and formidable abroad: and the number of barons and burrows
famous sometime, for courage and zeal for the interest of their country
(and, more especially in our reforming times) all these, reduced to such
an insignificant and small number in the Brittish Parliament, we say,
(as is also evident from the many protestations given in to the late
Parliament against this Union) how far it is contrary to the honour,
interest, foundamental laws, and constitutions of this kingdom, and a
palpable surrender of the soveraignity, rights and priviledges of the
nation; and how by this surrender of parliament and soveraignity the
people are deprived and denuded of all security, as to any thing that's
agreed to by this Union, and all that's dear to them, is daily in danger
to be encroached upon, altered or subverted by the said Brittish
Parliament, managed intirely by the English, who seldom have consulted
our well-fare, but rather have sought opportunity to injure us, and are
now put in a greater capacity with more ease to act to our prejudice:
and poor people to be made lyable to taxes, levies and unsupportable
burdens, and many other imminent hazards and impositions, all which we
here protest against.

As also that which is little considered (tho' most lamentable), how the
foundamental constitutions should be altered, subverted, and overturned,
not only, _renitente and reclamante populo_, but also by such men, who,
if the righteous and standing laws of the nation were put in execution,
are uncapable of having any vote or suffrage in any judicatory; seeing
the Covenants National and Solemn League, which had the assent and
concurrence of the three estates of Parliament, and the sanction of the
civil law, cordially and harmoniously assenting to, complying with, and
coroborrating the acts and canons of ecclesiastick courts in favour of
these covenants, whereby they became the foundation whence any had right
to reign or govern in this land, and also became the foundation,
limitation, and constitution of the government and succession to the
crown of this realm, and the qualification of all magistrats supreame,
and subordinate, and of all officers in church, state, or army, and
likewise the ground and condition of the peoples obedience and
subjection, as may be seen in the acts, laws, and practise of these
times: witness the admission of Charles II. to the government, _Anno_
1651. From all which it is evident how blind such men have been, who not
only have enslaved the nation, but have rendered themselves unfamous by
such an open and manifest violation of these solemn and sacred vows to
the most High God, to the obligation of which they as well as the rest
of the land, are indispensibly bound.

But ah! when we mention these Covenants, how notorious and palpable is
the breach of, and indignity done to these solemn vows by this sinful
Union, by means whereof they come to be buried in perpetual oblivion,
and all means for prosecuting their ends are so blockt up by this
incorporating Union with England, as that what ever is or may be done or
acted contrair thereunto, or in prejudice thereof by any of the enemies
of the same, cannot be remeided in a due and impartial exercise of
church discipline, and execution of the laws of the land against such
transgressors. And if we would open our eyes and consider a little with
reference to our national Covenant, we may clearly see that this
incorporating Union is directly contrar to that particular oath and vow
made to God by us in this kingdom, which we are obliged to fulfill and
perform in a national state and capacity, as we are a particular nation
by ourselves, distinct in the constitution of our government and laws
from these of England, and from all others: But now when we cease to be
a particular nation, we being no way distinct from that of England
(which is the very genuine and inevitable effect of this Union) how then
can we keep our national vows to God, when we shall not be a particular
nation, but only (by means of this incorporating Union) made a part of
another nation, whose government is manag'd, as is very well known, in
many things directly contrar to what is contained in this national
Covenant of this land; though we have charity to believe, there shall
multitudes be found in the land who will grant and acknowledge
themselves bound to the observation of that oath by an indispensibility,
which no power on earth can disolve.

And what a palpable breach is this wicked Union of our Solemn League and
Covenant, which was made and sworn with uplifted hands to the most High
God, for purging and reforming His house in these three nations from
error, heresie, superstition and profaneness, and whatever is contrar to
sound and pure doctrine, worship, discipline, and government in the
same: And so it involves this nation in most fearful perjury before God,
being contrar to the very first article of the Covenant wherein we swear
to contribute our outmost endeavours in our several places and callings
to reform England in doctrine, worship, discipline, and government; but
by this Union both we and they are bound up for ever from all endeavours
and attempts of this nature, and have put ourselves out of a capacity to
give any help or assistance that way; But on the contrar they came to be
hardened in their deformation, impious and superstitious courses. And
how far contrar to the second article, where we solemnly abjure prelacy
for ever, when by this Union, prelacy comes for ever to be established
and settled on the surest and strongest foundations imaginable, as is
evident from the ratification of the articles in the English Parliament,
with the exemplification of the same in the Scots Parliament, where the
prelatick government in England is made a foundamental article of the
Union: so it is also impossible for us to fulfill the other part of that
article, where we forswear schism, which a legal tolleration of errors
will infer and fix among us, as the native result and inevitable
consequence of this Union; and how far this is contrar to the Word of
God, and to our covenants, any considering person may decern. As to the
third article, any may see how far it is impossible for us to preserve
the rights, liberties, and priviledges of Parliament and kingdom, when
divested both of our Parliaments and liberties in a distinct national
way, or yet as according to the same article, where we are obliged to
maintain and defend the king, his majesty's person and government in
defence and preservation of the true religion; how can it be supposed,
that we can answer our obligation to this part of the Covenant, when a
corrupt religion is established, as is by this Union already done, when
prelatick government is made a foundamental thereof. And it is a clear
breach of the fourth article of the Solemn League and Covenant, where we
swear to oppose all malignants and hinderers of reformation and
religion, and yet by this Union, the prelats, who themselves are the
very malignants and enemies to all further reformation in religion are
hereby settled and secured in all their places of power and dignity,
without the least appearance or ground of expectation of any alteration
for ever.

How offensive and displeasing unto God this accursed Union is, may be
further evident by its involving this land in a sinful conjunction and
association with prelats, malignants, and many other enemies to God and
Godliness, and stated adversaries to our reformation of religion and
sworn-to principles in our Covenants National and Solemn League, and
particularly as this Union imbodys and units us in this land in the
strickest conjunction and association with England, a land so deeply
already involved in the breach of Covenant, and pestered with so many
sectaries, errors and abominable practices, and joins us in issue and
interest with these that are tollerators, maintainers and defenders of
these errors, which the Word of God strictly prohibits, and our sacred
Covenants plainly and expressly abjures. And further, how far and
deeply it ingages this land in a confedracy and association with God's
enemies at home and abroad in their expeditions and counsels; a course
so often prohibeted by God in His word, and visibly pleagued in many
remarkable instances of providences, as may be seen both in sacred and
historical records, and the unlawfulness thereof, on just and scriptural
grounds, demonstrate by famous divines, even of our own Church and
nation, and set down as a cause of God's wrath against this Church and
kingdom. And how detestable must such an Union be, whose native tendency
leads to wear off, from the dissenting party in England, all sight,
sense, consideration and belief of the indispensibility of the Solemn
League, and hardening enemies in their opposition to it, and these of
all ranks in the habitual breach of it: yea also, how shamefully it
leads to the obliterating and extinguishing all the acts of parliaments
and assemblies made in favours of these covenants and reformation,
especially between 1638 and 1649 inclusive. And not only so, but to a
trampling on all the blood of martyrs during the late tyrannical reigns,
and a plain burying of all the testimonies of the suffering and
contending party in this land, in their firm, faithful and constant
adherance to the covenanted work of reformation, and their declarations,
protestations, and wrestlings against all the indignities done unto, and
usurpations made upon the royal crown and prerogative of the Mediator,
and all the priviledges and instrinsick rights of this Church; we say,
not only burying these in perpetual oblivion by this cope-stone of the
land's sins and defections, but also opposing and condemning these as
matters of the least concern and trivial, as not being worthy of the
contending and suffering for, whereby these who ventured their lives and
their all, may be reputed to have dyed as fools, and suffered justly.

We cannot here omit also to declare and testify against the
constitution of the British Parliament, not only upon the consideration
of the foresaid grounds and reasons, but also upon the account of the
sinful mixture and unlawful admission of bishops and churchmen, to have
a share in the legislative power, or in any place in civil courts or
affairs, and thereto act or vote forensically in civil matters, a thing
expressly forbidden and discharged by Christ the only Head and Lord of
His own house, whose Kingdom, as Mediator, is not of this world, but
purely spiritual; and so the officers in His house must be spiritual; so
that the civil power of Church men is a thing inconsistent and
incompatible with that sacred and spiritual function. Upon which
consideration, how palpable a sin will it be to subject to, or accept of
any oath that may be imposed by the said British Parliament, for the
maintenance and support of such an Union, or for recognoseing, owning
and acknowledging the authority of the said Parliament, and that because
of our swearing, and promising subjection to the said Parliament, we do
thereby homologate the foresaid sinful constitution, and swear, and
promise subjection to the bishops of England who are a considerable part
of that Parliament, and so we shall be bound and oblidged to maintain
and uphold them in their places, dignities, and offices, which is
contrar to the Word of God and our covenants, while the very first
article of the Solemn League oblidges us to endeavour the reformation of
the religion in the kingdom of England, in doctrine, worship,
discipline, and government, according to the Word of God, as well as in
Scotland. And it is very well known that the government of bishops is
not according to the Word of God, but contrar to it, and likeways
contrar the second article of the Solemn League whereby we are obliged
to the extirpation of prelacy, that is, church government by
archbishops, bishops, &c., which we will be obliged by such an oath to
maintain and defend. And besides, from the consideration of the person
that by the patrons and establishes of this Union, and by the second
article of the Union itself, is nominated and designed to succeed after
the decease of the present Queen Anne, in the government of these
nations, to wit the Prince of Hanover, who hath been bred and brought up
in the Luthren religion, which is not only different from, but even in
many things contrar unto that purity, in doctrine, reformation, and
religion, we in these nations had attained unto, as is very well known.
Now, the admitting such a person to reign over us, is not only contrar
to our Solemn League and Covenant, but to the very Word of God itself;
requiring and commanding one from among their brethren, and not a
stranger who is not a brother, to be set over them: whereby undoubtedly
is understood, not only such who were of consanguinity with the people
of the land, but even such as served and worshipped the God of Israel;
and not any other, and that in the true and perfect way of worshipping
and serving Him, which He Himself hath appointed, as they then did, to
which this intended succession is quite contrary. And besides this, he
is to be solemnly engaged and sworn to the prelats of England, to
maintain, protect, and defend them in all their dignities, dominion, and
revenues, to the preventing and excluding all reformation out of these
nations for ever.

And upon the like and other weighty reasons and considerations (as
popish education, conversation, etc.) We protest against, and disown the
pretended Prince of Wales from having any just right to rule or govern
these nations, or to be admitted to the Government thereof: and whereas
(as is reported) we are maliciously aspersed by these who profess
themselves of the Presbyterian perswasion, especially the Laodicean
preachers, that we should be accessory to the advancement of him whom
they call the Prince of Wales to the throne of Britain: Therefore to let
all concerned be fully assured of the contrary, We protest and testifie
against all such so principled to have any right to rule in thir lands,
because we look upon all such to be standing in a stated opposition to
God and our covenanted work of reformation. Not that we contemn, deny or
reject civil government and governours (as our former declared
principles to the world make evident) but are willing to maintain, own,
defend and subject to all such governours as shall be admitted according
to our Covenants, and laws of the nation, and act in defence of our
covenanted work of reformation, and in defence of the nations ancient
liberties and priviledges, according to the laudable laws and practique
of this kingdom.

And further, We cannot but detest, abominate and abhor, and likeways
protest against the vast and unlimitted tolleration of error and
sectaries, which, as a necessary and native consequence of this Union,
will inevitably follow thereupon, and whereby a plain and patent way is
laid open for these errors, which will certainly have a bad influence
upon all the parts, pieces, and branches of the reformation, both in
doctrine, worship, discipline, and government, yea even upon the most
momentuous and fundamental articles of the Christian faith: For hereby
Anabaptists, Erastians, Socinians, Arminians, Quakers, Theists,
Atheists, and Libertines of all kinds, with many others (which abound
and swarm in that land) will come crouding and thronging in among us,
venting and vomiting up their damnable and hellish tenets and errors to
the destruction of souls, and great dishonour of God in many respects,
and that without any check or control by civil authority, as is evident
from the present practice of England, as having gotten full and free
libertie for all this by means of this accursed Union. How then ought
not every one to be affrayed, when incorporating themselves with such a
people so exposed to the fearful and tremendous judgments of God,
because of such gross impieties and immoralities (not that our land is
free of such hainous wickednesses as may draw down a judgment, but there
these evils are to a degree) for what unparalelled, universal, national
perjury is that land guilty of, both toward God and man (though there
were no more) by the breach of the Solemn League and Covenant that they
once made with this nation, for the defence and reformation of religion:
but also what abominable lasciviousness, licentiousness, luxury,
arrogancy, impiety, pride and insolence, together with the vilest of
whoredoms, avowed breach of Sabbath, and most dreadful blasphemies, yea,
the contempt of all that's sacred and holy; gets liberty to reign and
predomine without check or challenge, so that joining with such people,
cannot but expose us, as well as them, to the just judgment of God,
while continuing in these sins.

And here we cannot pass by the unfaithfulness of the present ministers
(not that we judge all of them to be cast in the same ballance) who at
the first beginning of this work seemed to be so zealously set against
it, and that both in their speeches, sermons and discourses (which was
duty). But yet in a very little after flinched from, and became
generally so dumb, silent, indifferent or ambiguous to the admiration of
many, so that people knew not what to construct.

But from what cause or motive they were so influenced, they know best
themselves: Sure their duty both to God and man was, to shew and declare
how shameful, hurtful, and highly sinful this course was as so
circumstantiat. And if ministers faithfulness and zeal to the concerns
of Christ had led them to such freedom and plainness, as was duty in
such a matter, and had discovered how contrary this Union was to the
fundamental laws and sworn principles, by all probability they might
have had such influence as to stop such an unhallowed and unhappy
project. But it seems their policy hath utwitted their piety, their
pleasing of Man in conniving at, if not complying with their design that
was carried on, hath weighed more with them, than the pleasing of God,
in their witnessing and testifying against it. (But to say no more) by
the negligence of ministers on the one hand, and the politicks of
statesmen on the other hand, this wicked and naughty business has been
carryed on and accomplished, to the provocking of God, enslaving the
nation, and bringing the same under manifest perjury and breach of
Covenant. But how to evite the judgments pronunced against such, we know
not, but by returning to their first love, taking up their first ground,
and standing to sworn Covenants, solemnly unto God, and adhereing to the
cause of God, and the faithful testimonies of this Church, and seeking
back unto the old path, abandoning and shaking off and forsaking all
these God-provoking and land-ruining courses; we say, We know and are
perswaded, there can be no mean to retrive us in this land, but by
unfeigned repentance, and returning unto Him from whom we have so deeply
revolted. And among the politicks of this Age, it could not but be
reckoned the wisdom of the nation, if ever they get themselves recovered
out of the snare, to animadvert upon all such, as have had any hand in
the contriving or manadging it, as being enemies both to God and their
country; which course, if it had been taken in former times, with such
who were enemies to religion and liberty, it would have deterred such
from being so active in this fatal stroak.

Upon these and many more weighty considerations, plain and demonstrable
evils in this complex mass of sin and misery, all the true lovers of
Zion who desire to be found faithful to God, to their vows and sworn
principles, and who seek to be found faithful in their generation and
duty of the day: and all such, who desire, love and respect the honour,
independency, liberty and priviledge of their native countrey,
especially in such a juncture, when long threatned judgments are so
imminent, and religion and liberty as it were, in their last breathing,
will easily find it to be their bound duty (as they would not conspire
with adversaries to religion and liberty) to show no favour or respect,
and give no encouragement or assistance that may tend to the upholding
or supporting this Union; but that it is their duty and concernment (as
well as ours) to testify and declare against the same, and to concurr
with their utmost endeavours to stop and hinder the same, and to deny
their accession to, connivance at, or complyance with any thing that may
tend to the continuing such an unsupportable yoke upon themselves or
their posterity.

And now to draw this, our protestation, to a conclusion, we heartily
invite, and in the bowels of our Lord Jesus Christ intreat all in both
nations, who tender the glory of God, the removing the causes of His
wrath, indignation and imminent judgments upon us, and who desire the
continuance of His tabernacle, gospel ordinances, and gracious presence
among us, and seek and contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to
the saints; and labour to follow the footsteps of these who throu' faith
and patience inherit the promise, the noble cloud of witnesses who have
gone before us; we say, we heartily invite and intreat such to consider
their ways, and to come and join in a harmonious, zealous, and faithful
withstanding all and every thing that may be like a hightning, or
cope-stone of our defections, and particularly to join with us
(according to our reformation, Covenants, Confession of Faith, and
testimonies of our Church, as agreeable to the sacred and unerring rule
of faith and manners, the Holy Scriptures) in this our protestation and
testimony. And for these effects, we desire that this our protestation
may be a standing testimony to present and succeeding ages, against the
sinfulness of this land-ruining, God-provoking, soul destroying and
posterity-enslaving and ensnaring Union, and this _ad futurum rei
memoriam_. And to evite the brand and odium of passing the bounds of our
station, and that this our protestation may be brought to the view of
the world; we have thought fit to publish and leave a copy of the same
at Sanquhar by a part of our number, having the unanimous consent of the
whole so to do.

_Given on the 2nd day of October, 1707._



SECESSION FROM THE REVOLUTION CHURCH.[21]


We, Mr. John Mackmillan, present minister of the Gospel at Balmaghie,
and Mr. John Mackneil, Preacher of the Gospel, being most odiously and
invidiously represented to the world as schismaticks, separatists and
teachers of unsound and divisive doctrine, tending to the detriment of
Church and State, and especially by Ministers with whom we were
embodied, while there remained any hope of getting grievances redressed.
Therefore, that both Ministers and Professors may know the
unaccountableness of such aspersions, let it be considered that this
backsliding Church (when we with others might have been big with
expectations for advancement in Reformation) continued in their
defections from time to time, still, as occasion was given, evidencing
their readiness to comply with every new backsliding course, instance
that of the Oath of Alledgance, and Bond of Assurance to the present
Queen; which additional step to the former gave occasion and rise to our
unhappy contentions and divisions. And now at this time, for the glory
of God, the vindication of truth and of ourselves (as conscience and
reason obligeth us), to make evident to the world the groundlesness of
these aspersions and calumnies as renters and dividers, and particularly
in the commissions late odious and malicious lybel, wherein are
contained many gross falsehoods, such as swearing persons not to pay
cess, and travelling throw the country with scandalous persons in arms,
which, as they are odious culumnies in themselves, so they will never be
proven by witnesses: and, as to our judgment anent the cess, we reckon
it duty in the people of God to deny and withhold all support, succour,
aid, or assistance that may contribute to the upholding or strengthening
the man of sin, or any of the adversaries of truth, (as the Word of God
instructs us) or for supporting any in such a way, as tending to the
establishing the kingdom of Satan, and bringing down the kingdom of the
Son of God, in a course tending this way, how deeply these nations are
engadged (contrar to the Word of God and our indispensible oaths and
covenants, whereby these lands were solemnly devoted to God) is too
palpable and plain, especially in the sinful terms of the late God
provoking, religion destroying, and land ruining union: we judge it most
necessary to give to the world a brief and short account of our
principles in what we own or disown (referring for larger, more ample
information, to several protestations and testimonies given by some of
the godly heretofore at different times and places) and hereby that
truth may be vindicated and our consciences exonered.

We declare to the world our hearty desire to embrace and adhere to the
written Word of God, contained in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New
Testament, as the only and compleat rule and adequat umpire of faith
and manners, and whatever is founded thereupon, and agreeable thereunto;
such as our Confession of Faith; Larger and Shorter Catechisms;
Directory for Worship; Covenants National and Solemn League; the
acknowledgment of sin and engagement to duties; causes of God's wrath,
and the ordinary and perpetual officers of Christ's appointment, as
pastors, doctors, elders and deacons, and the form of Church government,
commonly called Presbyterian.

Next, we declare our firm adherence to all the faithful contendings for
truth, whether of old or of late, by ministers and professors, and
against whatever sinful courses, whether more refined or more gross, and
particularly the public resolutions Cromwel's usurpation, the toleration
of sectaries, and heresies in his time, and against the sacraligious
usurpation and tyranny of Charles II., the unfaithfulness of ministers
and professors in complying with him, and accepting his indulgences
first and last. And in a word to everything agreeable to the matter of
this our testimony, as it is declared in page 25 and 26 of the
Informatory Vindication; printed _Anno_ 1687.

Likeways, we declare our adherence unto the testimony against the
abominable toleration granted by the Duke of York, and given in to the
ministers at Edinburgh, by that faithful minister and now glorified
martyr, Mr. James Renwick, January 17, 1688. And to whatever wrestlings
or contendings have been made, or testimonies given against the
endeavours of any in their subtle and sedulous striving to insinuate and
engadge us in a sinful confederacy with a malignant interest and cause,
contrar to the Word of God, our Solemn League and Covenant, and
testimony of this Church.

Next, we bear testimony against persons being invested with royal power
and authority in thir covenanted lands, without a declaration of their
hearty complyance with, and approbation of the National and Solemn
League and Covenant and engadgment to prosecute the ends thereof, by
consenting to and ratifying all acts and laws made in defence of these
Covenants, agreeable to the Word of God, and laudable acts and practise
of this kirk and kingdom in our best times.

Moreover, we bear testimony against all confederacies and associations
with popish prelats and malignants, contrary to the Word of God and our
solemn engadgments. The magistrats adjourning and dissolving of
assemblies, and not allowing them time to consider and exped their
affairs: their appointing them dyets and causes of Fasts, particularly
that in January 14: and the Thanksgiving Aug. 26, _Anno_ 1708, which is
a manifest encroachment upon, and destructive to the priviledges of this
Church: their protecting of curats in the peaceable exercise of their
ministry, some in kirks, others in meeting houses, yea, even in the
principal city of the kingdom, if qualified according to law by swearing
the Oath of Alledgance. Their not bringing unto condign punishment
enemies to the Covenant and cause of God, but advancing such to places
of power and trust: all which we here bear testimony against.

Next, we bear testimony against lukewarmness and unfaithfulness in
ministers anent the corruptions and defections the Church was guilty of
in the late times, not yet purged and removed by censures, and other
ways, as was duty. And their not leaving faithful and joint testimonies
against all the encroachments made upon the Church by the civil powers,
since the year 1690. And we bear testimony against the settling the
constitution of this Church, according as it was established in the year
1592. And the ministers not testifying against this deed, seems to
import a disowning all the reformation attained to betwixt 1638 and 1649
inclusive. At least cowardice in not daring to avouch the same, or their
being ashamed to own it, because many famous and faithful acts of
assemblies, especially about the year 1648, would have made them lyable
to censure, even to the length of silencing and deposition; for their
defection and unfaithfulness during the late times, of the lands
apostasie. Particularly, the weakning the hands and discouraging the
hearts of the Lord's suffering people, by their bitter expressions, and
aspersions cast on them for their zeal and tenderness, which would not
allow them to comply with a wicked, arbitrary and bloody council as many
of them did. Their not renewing the Covenant buried for upwards of fifty
years by the greatest part of the land, contrar to the former practise
of this Church, especially after some grosser steps of defection. Their
receiving of perjured curats into ministerial communion, without
covenant tyes and obligations and evident signs of their repentance,
contrary to the former practise of this Church. Their receiving some lax
tested men, and curates, elders, into kirk offices, without some
apparent signs at least of their repentance in a publick appearance,
contrar to the former practise of this Church in such like cases,
evident by the Acts of the Assemblies. Their not protesting formally,
faithfully and explicitly against the magistrate adjourning and
dissolving of Assemblies, and recording the same, contrar to the
practise of this Church in our reforming times. We are not concerned to
notice the protestation of some few persons at particular times, seeing
their precipitancy and rashness in this matter, (as they accounted it)
was afterward apologized for; and that it was not the deed of the
Assembly. Their not asserting in any explicit and formal act the divine
right of Presbytry, and the instrinsick power of the Church, though
often desired by many privat Christians, and some several members, their
not confirming and ratifying the Acts of the Assemblies that were made
in our best times for strengthening and advancing the work of
reformation, contrar to the former practise of this Church. Their
admitting in many places, ignorant and scandalous persons to the Lord's
table, contrar to the Acts of former Assemblies: Their not protesting
against the present sinful confederacy with papists, malignants, and
other enemies of religion and godliness; contrar to the Word of God, and
former practise of this Church: their offensive partiality in their
respective judicatories as to some particular members, where, the more
lax and scandalous are overlooked and past by, and the more faithful and
zealous are severely dealt with and handled, contrar to the rule of
equity and the former practise of this Church: Their refusing and
shifting to receive and redress the people's just and great grievances,
and little regard had to prevent the giving offence to the Lord's
people, and small endeavours to have these things removed that are
stumbling and offensive to them, contrar to the Apostle's rule and
practise, who became all things to all Men that by all means he might
save some: their not declaring faithfully and freely against the sins of
the land former and latter, without respect of persons, contrar to that
express precept, "Set the trumpet to thy mouth, and show My people their
transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sin."

Lastly, we bear testimony against Ministers sinful and shameful silence,
when called to speak and act by preaching and protesting against this
unhallowed Union, which, as it is already the stain, so we swear it will
prove the ruin and bain of this poor nation; though some of them, we
grant, signified their dislike thereof, before and about the time it was
concluded, yet there was no plain and express protestation, faithfully
and freely given in to the Parliament, shewing the sinfulness and danger
of this cursed Union, being contrar, not only to the honour, interest,
and fundamental laws, and constitutions of the kingdom, and a palpable
surrender of the sovereignty, rights and priviledges of the nation, but
also a manifest breach of our Solemn League and Covenant, which was
made and sworn with uplifted hands to the most high God, for purging and
reforming the three nations from error, heresy, superstition and
prophaneness, and whatever is contrar to sound doctrine, the power of
godliness, and the purity of worship, discipline and government in the
same. And so it involves this nation into a most fearful perjury before
God, being contrar to the first article of the Covenant, wherein we
swear to contribute with our outmost endeavours, in our several places
and callings, to reform England in Doctrine, Worship, Discipline and
Government; But by this Union we are bound up for ever from all
endeavours and attempts of this nature, and have put ourselves out of
all capacity to give any help or assistance that way, as ye may see more
fully in the late protestation against the Union, published at Sanquhar,
October 22, 1707.

Let none say, That what we have done here flows from ambition to exalt
ourselves above others, for as we have great cause, so we desire grace
from the Lord, to be sensible of what accession we have with others in
the land, to the provoking of His Spirit, in not walking as becomes the
Gospel, according to our Solemn Engagements, neither proceeds it from
irritation or inclination (by choice or pleasure) to discover our
mother's nakedness or wickedeness, or that we love to be of a
contentious spirit, for our witness is in heaven (whatever the world may
say) that it would be the joy of our hearts, and as it were a
resurrection from the dead, to have these grievances redressed and
removed, and our backsliding and breaches quickly and happily healed,
but it is to exoner consciences by protesting against the defections of
the land, especially of Ministers: and seeing we can neither with safety
to our persons, nor freedom in our consciences, compear before the
Judicatories, while these defections are not acknowledged and removed,
so we must, so long decline them, and hereby do decline them, as
unfaithful judges in such matters: in regard they have, in so great a
measure, yielded up the priviledges of the Church into the hands and
will of her enemies, and carried on a course of defection contrar to the
Scriptures, our Covenants, and the acts and constitutions of this our
Church. And hereby we further protest and testify against whatever they
may conclude, or determine, in their ecclesiastick courts by acts,
ratifications, sentences, censures, &c., that have been, or shall be
made or given out by them, and protest that the same may be made void
and null, and not interpreted as binding to us or any who desire firmly
to adhere to the Covenanted work of Reformation.

But let none look upon what we have here said, to be a vilipending or
rejecting of the free, lawful, and rightly constitute courts of Christ,
for we do acknowledge such to have been among the first most effectual
means appointed of God for preserving the purity and advanceing the
power of reformation in the Church of Christ; the sweet fruits and
blessed effects whereof, this Church hath sometimes enjoyed, and which
we have been endeavouring and seeking after, and are this day longing
for.

We detest and abhorr that principle of casting off the ministry,
wherewith we are odiously and maliciously reproached by these who labour
to fasten upon us the hateful names of schismaticks, separatists,
despisers of the Gospel: but, herein as they do bewray their enmity to
the cause we own, so till they bring in their own principles and
practices, and ours also, and try them by the law and testimony, the
measuring line of the sanctuary, the Word of God, and the practice of
this Church, when the Lord keeped house with, and rejoiced over her as a
bridegroom over his bride, they can never prove us schismaticks or
separatists from the kirk of Scotland upon the account of our non-union
with the backslidden multitude, ministers and others.

Finally, that we may not be judged by any, as persons of an infallible
spirit, and our actions above the cognisance of the judicatories of
Christ's appointment: we appeal to the first free, faithful and rightly
constitute Assembly in this Church, to whose decision and sentence in
the things, lybelled against us we willingly refer ourselves, and crave
liberty to extend and enlarge this our Protestation, Declinature, and
Appeal as need requires.

JO. MACKMILLAN.
JO. MACKNEIL.


BALMAGHIE MANSE, _Sept. 24th, 1708_.



"THE CHIEFEST AMONG TEN THOUSAND."



AIRD & COGHILL PRINTERS, GLASGOW.



FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: This Exhortation was prepared by "Reverend Ministers of the
Gospel," who met at Edinburgh, February, 1638, and "sent to every one of
the Lords of Council severally," inviting them to subscribe the
Covenant.]

[Footnote 2: Aberdeen, Crail and St. Andrews were the only burghs in
Scotland that had no Commissioners at the renewing of the National
Covenant in Edinburgh. Henderson was appointed to proceed to St. Andrews
to secure its approval of the movement, and his mission resulted in
complete success. This sermon was preached there about the end of March,
1638.]

[Footnote 3: The author of this "Discourse and Exhortation" and of the
two Sermons that follow, was ordained minister of Pitsligo, and in 1664
was inducted to St. Nicholas' Church, Aberdeen. Part of the inscription
on his tombstone is, "A Boanerges and Barnabas: a Magnet and Adamant."
He was a member of the Assembly at Glasgow, 1638. This Exhortation was
at the renewing of the National Covenant at Inverness, 25th April,
1638.]

[Footnote 4: This sermon was delivered in 1638, immediately after the
Renovation of the National Covenant and Celebration of the Lord's
Supper.]

[Footnote 5: This sermon was preached at a "General Meeting" in
Greyfriars Church, Edinburgh, on 13th June, 1638, after the Renovation
of the Covenant. In Erskine's edition, Black-Fryar is a misprint for
Gray-Fryar.]

[Footnote 6: Mr. Nye was an Independent and a distinguished member of
the Westminster Assembly. This Exhortation was given to the House of
Commons and the "Reverend Divines" of the Westminster Assembly before
they took the Solemn League and Covenant, and was published by order of
the House of Commons.]

[Footnote 7: This Address was given to the House of Commons and the
Westminster Assembly before taking the Covenant and was published by
order of the House of Commons.]

[Footnote 8: Mr. White.]

[Footnote 9: Mr. Nye.]

[Footnote 10: Mr. Henderson.]

[Footnote 11: Dr. Gouge.]

[Footnote 12: Mr. Caryl was a member of the Westminster Assembly. This
Sermon was given at Westminster "at that Publick Convention (ordered by
the Honourable House of Commons) for the taking of the Covenant, by all
such of all Degrees as wilfully presented themselves, upon Friday,
October 6, 1643." The House of Commons thanked Caryl for the Sermon and
ordered its publication.]

[Footnote 13: Mr. Case, a member of the Westminster Assembly, gave this
sermon and the one that follows, at the taking of the Covenant in Milk
Street Church, London; the former on Saturday evening, 30th September,
1643, and the other on 1st October, on "the Sabbath-day in the morning,"
immediately before the Covenant was taken. Both sermons, together with
one on the Fast, 27th September, wore dedicated to the Commissioners
from the Church of Scotland to the Westminster Assembly.]

[Footnote 14: This Sermon was delivered by Rev. Edmond Calamy, a member
of the Westminster Assembly, on January 14, 1645, "before the then Lord
Mayor of the City of London, Sir Thomas Adams; together with the
Sheriffs, Aldermen, and Common Council of the said City, being the day
of their taking the Solemn League and Covenant, at Michael Basenshaw,
London."]

[Footnote 15: The coronation of Charles II. took place at Scone, 1st
January, 1651. In the "chamber of presence," the nation's
representatives invited the King to accept the crown; to which the King
replied: "I do esteem the affections of my good people more than the
crown of many Kingdoms, and shall be ready, by God's assistance, to
bestow my life in their defence, wishing to live no longer than I may
see religion and this kingdom flourish in all happiness." Thereafter,
they proceeded to the "Kirk of Scoon, in order and rank, and according
to their quality." The "King first settles himself in his chair for
hearing of sermon. All being quietly composed unto attention, Mr. Robert
Douglas, Moderator of the Commission of the General Assembly, after
incalling on God by prayer, preached the following sermon." After the
Sermon, the king took the National Covenant and the Solemn League and
Covenant.]

[Footnote 16: This second coronation oath is inserted in the 15th act of
parliament, and in the parliament, Feb. 7th, 1649; and is, with the
first coronation oath following, insert and approven in the declaration
of the General Assembly 27th July, 1649.]

[Footnote 17: At Torwood, Stirlingshire, September 1660, Donald Cargill
pronounced this sentence of Excommunication against Charles II.; the
Dukes of York, Monmouth, Lauderdale, and Rothes; Sir George M'Kenzie,
the King's Advocate; and Dalziell of Binns.]

[Footnote 18: There were several acts for the suppression of field
preachings. This one was prepared by Archbishop Sharpe and issued in
1670.]

[Footnote 19: On June 22nd, 1680, this Declaration was read by Richard
Cameron at Sanquhar, amid the breathless silence of the inhabitants who
flocked to the spot. It marked "an epoch," writes Burton, "in the career
of the Covenanters."]

[Footnote 20: The faithful followers of the Reformers and Martyrs, who
could not identify themselves with the Church and State at the
Revolution, maintained their separate existence and testimony through
their "Societies," and they prepared and published this paper against
the Union with England. Its full title is "The Protestation and
Testimony of the United Societies of the witnessing Remnant of the
anti-Popish, anti-Prelatic, anti-Erastian, anti-Sectarian, true
Presbyterian Church of Christ in Scotland, against the sinful
incorporating Union with England and their British Parliament, concluded
and established, May, 1707."]

[Footnote 21: The Rev. John Mackmillan, minister of Balmaghie,
endeavoured for years to convince the Established Church that the Church
had submitted at the Revolution to invasions of her independence by the
State, and to persuade her to return to the attainments of the
Reformation. Bitter opposition to his efforts led to his secession from
the Church, after tabling this "Protestation, Declinature and Appeal."
Mr. John Mackneil joined in the Declinature. A tablet in memory of Mr.
Mackmillan has been recently erected in Balmaghie Church by his
great-great-grandson, Dr. John Grieve, Glasgow. Part of the inscription
is, "A Covenanter of the Covenanters: a Father of the Reformed
Presbyterian Church: a Faithful Minister of Jesus Christ."]





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