« AnteriorContinuar »
tions, until we be taught to 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 confessing our sin, and forsaking the evil of our way.
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 themselves, that the Lord might be with them to prosper them, did humble themselves before him, and make a free and particular confession of the sins of their princes, their'rulers, their captains, their priests, and their people; and did engage themselves to do no more so, but to reform their ways, and be stedfast in this covenant; and remem. bering the practice of our predecessors in the year 1596, where in 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 themselves to a reformation; even as our predecessors and theirs had before done, in the General Assembly and Convention of Estates, in the year 1567 ; and perceiving that this duty, when gone about out of conscience and in sincerity, hath always been attended with a reviving out of troubles, and with a blessing and success from Heaven; we do humbly and sincerely, as in his sight, who is the Searcher of hearts, acknowledge the many sins and great transgressions of the land : we have done wickedly, our kings, our prince's, our nobles, our judges, our officers, our teachers, and'our people. Albeit the Lord hath long and clearly spoken untó us, we have not hearkened to his voice; albeit he hath followed us
૬ with tender mercies, we have not been allured to 'wait upon him, and walk in his way; and though he hath stricken us, yet we have not grieved; nay, though he hath consumed us, we have refused to receive correction : we have not remembered to render unto the Lord according to his goodness, and according to our own vows and promises ; bat have gone away backward by a continued course of backsliding, and have broken all the articles of that Solemn League and Covenant, which we swore before God, angels, and men.
Albeit there be in the land many of alt ranks, who be for al
s testimony unto the truth, and for a name of joy and praise
unto the Lord, by living godly, studying to keep their garments pure, and being stedfast 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 con. stancy, 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, some have turned aside to crooked ways, destructive to both. The profane, loose, and insolent carriage 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 Wight, and other places of that kingdom, have proved great lets to the work of reformation and settling of kirk-government there, whereby error and schism in that land have been increased, and sectaries hardened in their way. We have been so 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 employe ed, until iniquity and ungodliness hath gone over the face of the land as a flood ; nay, sufficient care hath not been had to separate betwixt the precious and the vile, by debarring from the sacrament all ignorant and scandalous persons, according to the ordinances of this kirk.
Neither have the privileges of the Parliaments and liber. ties of the subject been duly tendered; but some amongst ourselves have laboured to put into the hands of our King an arbitrary and unlimited power, destructive to both; and many of us have been accessory of late to those means and ways, whereby the freedom and privileges of Parliaments have been encroached upon, and the subjects oppressed in their con. sciences, persons, and estates ; neither hath it been our care to avoid these thivgs 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 religion, and of the Covenant, and of the peace and safety 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 ti
hazard of both ; nay, under a pretenče, of relieving and doing for the King, whilst he refuses to do what was necessary for the house of God, some have ranversed and violated most of all the articles of the Covenant.
Our own conscience within, and God's judgments upon us without, do convince us of the manifold wilful renewed breaches of that 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 ourselves, and intrusied with our counsels, admitted into our Parliaments, and put in places of power and authority, for managing the publick 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 engagement in war against the kingdom of England, notwith. standing 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 warnings of the servants of God; of the sup: plications of many synods, presbyteries, and shires; and of the declarations of the General Assembly and their Commis. sioners to the contrary ; which engagement, as it hath been the cause of much sin, so also of much misery and calamity unto this land ; and holds forth to us thé grievousness of sin, 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 set so 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 men's yoke from off our necks, and putting us again into a capacity to, act for the good of religion, our own safety, and the peace and the safety of this kingdom, should we again break this commandment and covenant, by joining once more with the people of these aboininations, and taking into our bosom those serpents, which had formerly stung us almost unto death; this, as it would argue great madness and folly upon our part, so, no doubt, if it be not avoided, will provoke the Lord against us, to consume us, until there be no remnant nor escaping in the land.
And albeit the peace and union betwixt the kingdoms bę a great blessing of God unto both, and a bond which we are obliged to preserve unviolated, and to endeavour that jus, tice may be done
thereof; vet some in this land, who have come under the bond of the Covenant have made it their great study how to dissolve this union; and few or no endeavours have been used by any of us for punishing of such.
We have suffered many of our brethren, in several parts of the land, to be oppressed by the common enemy, without compassion or relief. There hath been great murmuring and repining, because of expence, of means, and pains in doing of our duty. Many, by persuasion or terror, have suffered themselves to be divided and withdrawn, to make defection to the contrary part : many have turned off to a detestable indifferency 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 study to walk so, as they might comply with all times, and all the revolutions thereofer: It hash not been our care to countenance, encourage, intrust, and employ such only, as from their hearts did affect and mind God's work ; but the hearts of such many times have been discouraged, and their hands weakened, their sufferings neglected, and themselves slighted ; and many, who were once open enemies, and always secret underminers, countenanced and employed : nay, even those who had been looked upon as incendiaries, and upon whom the Lord has set marks of desperate malignancy, talsehood, 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 secret, what of themselves they were not able to suppress 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 wish his wrath to be turned away from us; so 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 ourselves, and friends and followers, with those things which concern the
publick good ; but many times preferring suci to the honor of God; and good of his cause, and retarding God's work, until we might carry along with us our'own interests and designs. It hath been our way to trust in the means, and to reJy upon the arm of Aesh for success, albeit the Lord hath many times made us meet with disappuintment 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 flesh and blood, and walked more by the rules of policy than piety, and have hearkened more unto men than unto God.
Albeit we made solemn publick profession before the world, of our unfeigned desires to be humbled before the Lord for our own sins, and the sins of these kingdoms, eg. pecially for our undervaluing of the inestimable benefit of the gospel, and that we have not laboured for the power thereof, and received Christ into our hearts, and walked worthy of him in our lives; and of our true and unfeigoed purpose, desire, and endeavour, for ourselves, and all others under our power and charge, both in publick and private, tn 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 turu away his wrath and heavy indignation, and establish these kirks and kingdoms in truth and peace; yet we have refused to be reform. ed, and have walked proudly and obstinately against the Lord, not valuing his gospel, nor submitting ourselves unto the obedience thereof; not seeking after Christ, not study. ing to honour him in the excellency of his person, nor em. ploy him in the virtue of his offices ; nor making conscience of publick ordinances, nor private por 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 No. blemen, 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 and great ones, ever to this day, could be persuaded to perform family-duties themselves, and in their own persons ; which makes so necessary and useful a duty to be misregarded by others of inferior rank; nay, many of the Nobility, Gentry, and Burrows, who should