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HERE are no monuments of the Church,
in our native land, as far as I know, to inform us as to her practice prior to the rise of Antichrist. But, fince his begun downfall, the Church of Scotland hath not come behind other Reformed Churches in respect of her Foederal Transactions. At a time when MARY of Lorrain was violating every tic, and straining every nerve to wreath the irop yoke of Antichristian tyranny in the Church, and absolute government in the State, upon the neck of this land, the Lord was pleased to stir up a Kkkk 2
few friends to the civil and religious liberties of mankind, to form themselves into a ConGREGATION; upto whom, under God, we owe the preservation of our Liberties in the State, and the Reformation of Religion in the Church. To accomplish these purposes, they entered into a folemn Covenant as follows:
“WE, perceiving how Sathan, in his members, the antichrists of our time, cruelly do rage, seeking to overthrow and to destroy the Gospel of Christ and his Congregation, ought, according to our bounded duty, to strive, in our MaIter's cause, even unto the death, being certain of the victory in him. The which, our duty being well considered, we do promise, before the Majestie of God, and his Congregation, that we (by his grace) fall, 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, and his Congregation; and shall labour, at our poflibility, to have faithful masters, truly and purely to minister Christ's Gospel and Sacrainents to his people : We shall maintain them, nourish them, and defend them, the whole Congregation of Christ, and every member thereof, at our whole powers, and waging of our lives, against Sathan and all wicked power that doth intend tyranny or trouble against the foresaid Congregation. Unto the which holy word and Congregation wę do joyne us; and fo do
forsake and renounce the congregation of Sathan, with all the fuperftitious abomination and idolatry thereof; and moreover, thall declare our selves manifestly enemies thereto, by this our faithful promise before God, testifie I to his Congregation, by our subscription at these presents. At Edinburgh, the 3d day of December 1557 years,
God called to witness. A. Earl of Argyle; Glencarne ; Mortoun ; Archibald Lord of Lorne ; John Erskine of Dun," &c.
THE Occasions of the preceding Covenant were, The Danger of Persecution to which the preachers were exposed, from the bigotry of the Queen Regent: And the unsteadiness of the Reformers. Add to these, the importance of the Reformation itself: " Their country was in a miserable state of oppression; the bodies and fouls of the people being holden in bondage," "" In the cause which they had embraced (the Reformers rightly judged), they ought to be fervent and strenuous. The Almighty, speaking to their consciences, called upon them to hazard their lives for the deliverance of the nation, Were they to prefer their worldly rest to the glory of God? Or the friendship of the wicked to the salvation of their brethren ? And, while they were to receive honour and homage on earth, they expected eternal comfort and joy in heaven *.”
* Dr STUART's History of the Reformation, p. 88.
The next Federal Transaction runs thus :
" AT Perth, the last day of May, the year of God 1559 years, the Congregations of the West Country, with the Congregations of Fyfe, Perth, Dundee, Angus, Mearns, and Montrose, being conveened in the town of Perth, in the name of Jesus Christ, for forth setting of his glory, understanding nothing more necessary for the same than to keep a constant amity, unity, and fellowslip together, according as they are commaunded by God, are confederat, and become bounden and oblist, in the presence of God, to concur and allist together, in doing all things required of God in his Scripture that may be to his glory; and, at their whole powers, to destroy and away put all things that doth dishonour to his name; so that God may be trewly and purely worshipped. And, in case that any trouble be intended against the said Congregations, or any part or member thereof, the whole Congregation shall concur, affift, and conveen together, to the defence of the same congregation or person troubled; and Thall not spare labours, goods, substance, bodies, and lives, in maintaining the liberty of the whole Congregation, and every member thereof, against whatsoever power that shall intend the faid trouble, for' cause of religion, or any other cause depending thereupon, or lay to their charge, under pretence thereof, although it happen to be coloured with any other out
ward cause. In witnessing and testimony of the which, the whole Congregations aforesaid have ordained and appointed the noblemen, and perfons underwritten, to subscribe thir prefents. Arch. Argyle ; James Stewart; Glencarne; R. Lord Boid ; Wchiltree; Matthew Campbell of Tarmgannar.”
The alarms of the Congregation, with respect to Persecution from the Popish party and the Queen Regent, were but too well founded. The Archbishop of St Andrew's having, in vain, tried the force of addrefs on some of the heads of the Reformation, resolved on severity ; but he was equally unsuccessful. It was determined to pour out a flood of persecution on the chief of the Reformers, while the Church should exhaust all her thunder: But WALTER MILL, a priest, was the only victim which he dared to facrifice at this time, His Christian heroism on the one hand, and the barbarity of his execution on the other, struck the Reformed with unspeakable horror: “ yielding to the light of their conscience, they faw themselves exposed to a cruel death. By conforming to the established faith, they hazarded their salvation *." Subscriptions for mutual defence were taken. The covenant to establish the new form of religion extended from the few to the many. When the lead