« AnteriorContinuar »
noble work. These, or such as had been ordained by them, formed the greater part, by much, of the ministers of the Church of Scotland. The indulged seem to have been a rump of the ancient resolutioners; of consequence, political maxims, which too frequently governed their conduct, prevailed with them, at this time, to supersede that work. The few who returned from their lurking places were out-voted, and borne down by the persuasion and address of others. The Synod of Galloway was the only one, if I mistake not, which took any steps for the renovation of their sacred engagements; but as much Court-water was procured as extinguished their, desires. The perpetual obligation of our Covenants, however, was maintained by the grearer part of Presbyterians; and ministers, when laying the baptismal vows on parents, mentioned both the National Covenant and Solemn League, in express terms. Individual ministers likewavs made some appearance in behalf of our national vows: Mr Hog appeared their steady friend on the north side of the Forth; Mr Boston's sermons, which he delivered in this country, sliew his sentiments on that subject; and to him were joined Messrs Wilson and Davidson, as well as various other ministers of inferior reputation; prior unto these, Mr Gabriel Scruple, who came out of the furnace of persecution, had patronized the same cause: But the most vigorous and explicit testimony, in favour of our Solemn Covenants, at that time, was reserved for Mr John Hepburn, minister at Orr. It is not pretended that every step of management taken by him, and such as joined with him, was unexceptionable; but it is certain, that his labours, by the blefling of God, sowed the feeds of found principles among many, so far as they extended; and multitudes, as far as we can judge, of gracious persons, yea lively Christians, formed the societies which he superintended. As many ministers and people were dissatisfied with manv things in the constitution of the Revolution Church; so the judicatories added new grounds of offence in the steps of administration. These are enumerated in the Judicial Act and Testimony, and the Acknowledgment of Sins prefixed to the bond which is now in use among covenanters.
Prior to the year 1732, various testimonies had been given, by protest and otherways, against these steps of mal-administration: But, after that period, the highest ecclestastic authority was iuterposed to put a period unto them. Upon this, Mr Ebenezer Erikine, in a sermon delivered before the Synod of Perth, turned the edge of his doctrine against the growing evil. This was highly resented by the courts. He maintained what he was persuaded to be the cause of Truth, with undaunted courage. Three other ministers took
part part with him in framing various papers respecting the grievances of the Church aud her members, one of which bore the designation of a Testimony. In the year 1737, the ministers who befriended a Covenanted Reformation, and maintained a testimony for it in connection with Mr Erikine, having previousty constituted themselves into a Presbytery, entered more minutely into a consideration of the national apostacy from a Covenanted Reformation: They recount the most capital steps of it, and condemn them: They avow their attachment unto every former attainment; and their resolution to prosecute the ends of their testimony in connection wifli every one who should choose to join them. This testimony was received with avidity by many. It was peculiarly tormenting to the leaders of the National Church: They drew the ecclesiastic sword against its authors: They did not spare their treasures in hiring a servile writer to confute it. These things contributed their part to increase its number and respect. The blessing of God succeeded the labours of his servants; and their number was increased both by ordinations and new accessions from the Establifliment. The ministers and people were unanimous in the advancement of a Covenanted Reformation. As errors were still upon the; increase in the land, they proceeded to publisli an Act, entitled The Doctrine Of Grace, for their more explicit condemnation: And, confid erinosideringthe calls of both Word and Pro videitcey they proceeded to frame-an Acknowledgment of Sins, consisting of an enumeration of those things which were a violation of former covenant engagements; and, at the lame time, made out a bond, the tenor of which follows:
"WE, ALLAND E V E R Y- ON E 0 F US, though
sensible of the deceitfulness and unbelief of our own hearts, and however frequently perplexed with doubts and fears anent our actual believing, yet desiring to essay, in the Lord's Strength, and in obedience to his command, to glorify God, by believing his word of grace, contained in nis covenant of promise, to devote ourselves unto the Lord in a covenant'of duty; We Do, with our hands lifted up to the MOST HIGH GOD, hereby profess, and, before God, angels, and men, solemnly declare, That, through the grace of God, and according to the measure of his grace given unto us, we do, with our whole hearts, take hold of the LOUD JESUS CHRIST, as the only propitiation for our sins; his RighteOusness, as the only foundation of our access to, and acceptance with God; his CoveNant of free and rich promises, as our only charter for the heavenly inheritance; hisWord,Tor our perfect and only rule of faith and practice ; his SPIRIT, for our alone guide, to lead us into all truth revealed in his holy Word, imto which nothing, at any time, is to
be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions or' men. We avouch the LOUD to be our COD; and, in the strength 6£ his promised grace, we Promise and svtUi by the GREAT NAME OF THE LORD OUR GOD, That we (hall walk in his way, keep his judgments and commandments, and hearken to his voice: And, particularly, that we shall* by the Lord's grace, continue and abide in the profession, faith, and obedience of the fores aid true Reformed religion, in doctrine, worship, Presbyterial Church-government and discipline; and that we sharl, according to our several stations, places, and callings, contend and testify against all contrary evils, errors, and corruptions, particularly, Popery, Prelacy* Deism* Arianism, Arminianiskij and every error subversive to the Doctrine of Grace; as also, Independency, Latitudiharian tenets, and the other evils named in the above confession of sins.
In like manner, vf E p aowis E And Swear, That, by all means, which are lawful and-warrantable /or us, according to the Word of God, the approven and received standards of this Church, and our known principles, we shall, i« our several stations and callings, endeavour the Reformation of religion in England and Ireland, in doctrine, worship, discipline, and government, according to the Word of God j :lnd to promote and advance our covenanted conjunction and uniformity in religion, confes* I'l'PP I'011