Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

know how evil and bitter a thing it is to depart away from him, by breaking the oath and covenant which we have made with him; and that we may be humbled before him, by confelling our sins, and forsaking the evil of our ways.

Therefore being pressed with so great necessities and straits, and warranted by the word of God, and having the example of God's people of old, who in the time of their troubles, and when they were to seek delivery and a right way for themfelves, that the Lord might be with them to prosper them, did humble themselves before him, and make a free and par ticular confession of the fins of their princes, their rulers, their captains, their priests and their people, and did engage themselves to do no more fo,but to reform their ways, and be ftedfast in his covenant : Andremembring the practice of our predecessors in the year 1596, wherein the general assembly, and all the kirk-judicatories, with the concurrence of many of the nobility, gentry and burgesses, did with many tears, acknowledge before God the breach of the national covenant, and engaged themfelves to a reformation ; even as our predes ceffors and theirs had before done, in the general assembly and convention of estates, in the year 1 567 : And perceiving that this duty, when gone about out of conscience and in fin. cerity, hath always been attented with a reviving out of troubles, and with a bleffing and fuccess from heaven ; We do humbly and sincerely, as in his fight, who is the searcher of hearts, acknowledge the many fins and great transgressions of the land; We have done wickedly, our kings, our princes, our nobles, our judges, our officers, our teachers, and our people. Albeit the Lord hath long and clearly spoken anto us, we have not hearkned to his voice; albeit he hath followed us with tender mercies, we have not been allured to wait upon him, and walk in his way; and tho he hath stricken us, yet we have not grieved ; Nay, tho' he hath consumed us, we have refused to receive correction, we have not remembred to render unto the Lord according to his goodness, and according to our own vows and promises,but have gone away backward by a continued course of backdiding,and have broken all the articles ofthat folemn league and covenant, which we fwore before God, angels and men.

Albeit there be in the land many of all ranks, who be for a testimony unto the truth, and for a name of joy and

praise

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

praise unto the Lord: by living godly, studying to keep their garments pure, and being stedfalt in the covenant and cause of God; yet we have reason to acknowledge, that most of us have not endeavoured, with that reality, sincerity and constancy that did become us, to preserve the work of reformation in the Kirk of Scotland: Many have satisfied themselves with the purity of the ordinances,neglecting the power thereof; yea, fome have turned aside to crooked ways, deItructive to both. The profane, loose and insolent cariage of many in our armies who went to the assistance of our brethren in England, and the tamperings and unstraight dealing of some of our commissioners, and others of our nation, in London, the isle of Weight, and other places of that kingdom, have proved great lets tothe work of reformation, and settling of Kirk government there, whereby Eerror and schism in that land, have been increased, and fectaries harderied in their way: we have been fo far from endeavouring the extirpation of profaneness,and what is contrary to the power of Godliness, that profanity hath been much winked at,and profane persons much countenanced and many times employed, until iniquity and ungodliness have gone over the face of the land as a flood; nay, fufficient care hath not been had to seperate betwixt the precious and the vile, by debaring from the facrament all ignorant and fcandelous persons, according to the ordinances of this kirk,

Neither have the privileges of the parliament, and liberties of the subjects been duly tendered; but some amongst ourfelves have laboured to put into the hands of our King an are? bitrary and unlimited power, destructive to both and many of us have been accessory of late to those means and ways whereby the Freedom and priveleges of parlaments have been incroached upon, and the subjects oppressed in their consciences, persons and estates; neither hath it been our care to avoid these things which might harden the king in his evil way; but upon the contrary he hath not only been permitted but many of us have been instrumental, to make him exercise his power, in many things tending to the prejudice of reli-" gion and of the covenant, and of the peace and fafety of these kingdoms : which is so far from the right way of preserving his Majesty's person and authority, that it cannot but provoke the Lord against him, unto the hazard of both :

Nay,

er

nay, under a pretence of relieving and doing for the king whilft he refuses to do what was necessary for the house of God, fome have ranversed and violated most of all the articles of the covenant.

Our own consciences within, and God's judgment upon us without, to convince us of the manifold wilful renewed breaches of the article, which concerneth the discovery and punishment of malignants, whose crimes have not only been connived at, but dispensed with and pardoned, and themselves received into intimate fellowship with ourfelves, and intruft. ed with our councils, admitted unto our parliaments, and put. in places of power & authority, for managing the public affairs of the kingdom;whereby,in God's justice,they got at last into their hands

the whole power and strength of the kingdom, both in judicatories and armies ; and did employ the same | unto the enacting and prosecuting an unlawful engagment in war against the kingdom of England, notwithstanding of the dissent of many considerable members of parliament, who had given constant proof of their integrity in the cause from the beginning; of many faithful testimonies, and free war. nings of the servants of God; of the fupplications of many fynods, presbyteries and fhires and of the declarations of the general assembly and their commissioners to the contrary: which engagment, as it hath been the cause of much fin, fo alfo of much misery and calamity unto this land ; and holds forth to us, the grievousness of our fin, of complying with Malignants, in the greatness of our judgment, that we may be taught never to split again upon the same rock, upon which the Lord hath fet fo remarkable a beacon. And after all that is come to pass unto us, because of this our trespass; and after that grace hath been shewed unto us from the Lord, our God, by breaking these mens yoke from of our necks, and putting us again into a capacity to act for the good of Religion, our own fafety, and the peace aud safety of this kingdom, should we again break his commandment and covenant, by joining once more with the people of these abominations, and taking into our bofom those serpents, which. had formerly stung us almost unto death; this, as it would argue great madness and folly upon our part, fo no doubt, if it be not avoided, will provoke the Lord against us, to con. fume us, untill there be no remnant nor escaping in the land

And

[ocr errors][merged small]

And albeit the peace and union betwixt the kingdoms be a great bleffing of God unto both, and a bond which we are obliged to preserve unviolated, and to endeavour that justice may be done upon the opposers thereof; Yet some in this land, who have come under the bond of the covenant, have made it their great study how to diffolve this union, and few or no endeavours have been used by any of us for punishing of fuch.

We have fuffered many of our brethren, in several parts of the land, to be oppreffed by the common enemy, without compafsion or relief: There hath been great murmuring and repining, because of expence of means, and pains in doing of our duty: many, by perswafion or terror, have fuffered themfelves to be divided and withdrawn, to make defection to the contrary part: many have turned off to a detestable in differency and neutrality in this cause, which so much concerneth the glory of God, and the good of these kingdoms; nay,many have made it their ftudy to walk fo, as they might comply with all times,and all the revolutions thereof. It hath not been our care to countenance,encourage,entrust and employ such only,as from their hearts did effect and mind God's work; but the hearts of fuch many times have been discour aged, and their hands weakned, their fufferings neglected, and themselves flighted; and many, who were open enemies, and always secret underminers countenanced and em ployed : Nay, even those who had been looked upon as incendiaries, and upon whom the Lord had fet marks of deSperate malignancy, falfhood and deceit, were brought in,as -fit to manage public affairs: many have been the lets and impediments that have been cast in the way, to retard and obstruct the Lord's work, and some have kept fecret,what of themselves they were not able to suprefs and overcome.

Besides these and many other breaches of the articles of the covenant in the matter thereof, which it concerneth every one of us to search out and acknowledge before the Lord, as we would with his wrath to be turned away from us'; fo have many of us failed exceedingly,in the manner of our following and pursuing the duties contained therein; not only seeking great things for ourselves and mixing of our private interests and ends concerning our selves, and friends, and followers, with those things which concern the public good; but many

times preferring such to the honour of God, and good of his cause, and retarding God's work, until we might carry ar long with us our own interests and designs. It hăth been our way to trust in the means, and to rely upon the arm of flesh for success, albeit the Lord hath many times made us meet with dissappointment therein, and stained the pride of all our glory, by blasting every carnal confidence unto us: We have followed for the most part the counsels of Aesh and blood, and walked more by the rules of policy than piety, and have hearkned more unto men than unto God.

Albeit we made folemn public profession before the world, of our unfeigned desires to be humbled before the Lord for our own fins, and the sins of these kingdoms, especially for our undervaluing of the inestimable benefit of the gospel, and that we have not laboured for the power thereof, and received Christ unto our hearts, and walked worthy of him in our lives; and of our true and únfeigned purpose, desire and endeavour for ourselves, and all others under our power and charge, both in public and private, in all the duties which 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 might turn away his wrath and heavy indignation, and establish these kirks and kingdoms in truth and peace : Yet we have refused to be řeformed, and have walked proudly and obstinately against the Lord, not valuing his gospel, nor submitting ourselves unto the obedience thereof; not seeking after Christ, nor studying to honour him in the excellency of his person, nor employ him in the virtue of his offices; nor making conscience of public ordinances, nor private nor secret duties; nor studying to edify one another in love. Ignorance of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ, prevails exceedingly in the land; the greatest part of masters of families, amongst noblemen, barons, gentlemen, burgesses and commons, neglect to seek GOD in their families, and to endeavour the reformation thereof;

and albeit it hath been much pressed, yet few of our nobles it and great ones, ever to this day, could be perswaded to

perform family-duties themselves, and in their own persons; which makes fö' necessary and useful a duty to be misregarded by others of inferior rank : Nay, many of the nobiliry, gentry and burrotvs, who should have been examples'.

of

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »