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ruin, which is the only satisfaction that malicious spirit is capable of. This restless adversary perceiving that, through the grace and love of God manifested in Christ, a great number of these whom he thought he had secured to his slavery are redeemed, and called by the Gospel out of that intolerable servitude into a glorious liberty, and secured by faith to salvation, labours, by two great engines, open force and secret fraud, to keep them in, or regain them to his obedience ; hence the sacred Scriptures describe him-both as a dragon for cruelty and a serpent for subtilty.
But because he either cannot, or thinks not fit, to do this visibly in person;
therefore he does it more invisibly, and so more successfully, by his agents in whom he works, who, because of their unreasonable unbelief, are called children of impersuasion. These he acts and animates, as it were so many machines, to endeavour by crafty seduction, or violent persecution, to draw or drive the followers of the Lamb from their subjection, obedience, and loyalty to the Captain of their salvation, that he may drown them in perdition and destruction. This is the latent origin of all persecution, the mint where all the other more visible causes of the bloody violence which the people of God meet withal, are struck and framed. This is the grand design to which they tend—to root out the obedience of faith out of the world, and deprive the Son of God of His rightful dominion over His subjects, whom He hath chosen, redeemed, and sanctified for Himself.
As this holds true of all the persecutions raised against the Church and truths of God, whether in the persons of the Jews or Christians, by whatever hands, Pagan or Anti-Christian, so it is eminently verified of the persecutions of the Church of Scotland, prosecuted by a profane, wicked generation of malignant Prelatists, during the reigns of the late King Charles II. and James VII. For, as the other persecutions were all levelled against some point of truth or other wherein the obedience of faith was concerned, respecting either the existence and worship of the true God, or the person, natures, or offices of Jesus Christ, etc. ; so this persecution was directly bended against that office and authority of Jesus Christ, whereupon His formal claim to the obedience of His Church is founded, viz., His headship over His Church. This was the peculiar depositum concredited to the Church of Christ in Scotland, and her distinguishing dignity, to have the royal supremacy of the King of Zion to defend against the kings of the earth; who, not content with tne princely authority of ruling the persons of their subjects, according to the laws of God and the realm, would needs usurp a blasphemous sacrilegious prerogative of ruling the Church and consciences of men in room of the Mediator, by what laws and statutes they pleased, and found most subservient to their lust, for advancement of Popery and arbitrary government.
ESUS CHRIST, the only begotten of the Father, having re
ceived the Church of Scotland, as one of the utmost isles of
the earth, for His possession, by solemn grant from Jehovah, was pleased, as to call her from the deplorable state of Pagan, and reform her from the ruinous condition of anti-Christian darkness, so to dignify her, in a peculiar manner, to contend and suffer for that truth, “ that He is a King and Lawgiver to His Church ;" having power to institute her form of government, to give her laws, officers, and censures, whereby she should be governed; and hath not left it ambulatory and uncertain, what government He will have in force for the ordering of His house, but hath expressly determined in His Word every necessary part thereof, and hath not put any power into the hands of any mortal, whether Pope, Prelate, prince, or potentate, as a vicarious head in His personal absence, whereby they may alter the form of government at their pleasure, and make what kind of officers, canons, and censures they please ; but all the power that this King hath left in His Church, concerning her government, is purely and properly ministerial, under the direction and regulation of His sovereign pleasure, revealed in His written Word.
This, this is the most radiant pearl in the Church of Scotland's garland; that she hath been honoured valiantly to stand up for the headship and royal prerogative of her King and Husband, Jesus Christ, in all the periods of her Reformation. For no sooner had she thrown off the yoke of the Pope's pretended jurisdiction and authority, but presently, while she was labouring, by means of these censures which Christ had instituted, to root out the damnable heresies which that enemy had sown, all on a sudden King James VI., naturally ambitious, and instigated by interested and projecting counsellors, attempts a rape upon her chastity and loyalty to her Husband and Lord, and by his royal order stops her freedom of sitting, voting, and acting in her Supreme Courts, imprisons some of her most zealous and faithful ministers, calls them before his Council, indicts them of treason and lese majesty for their making use of the freedom Christ had given them, and, after their declining his and his Council's usurped authority in spiritual matters, and so witnessing a good confession for the royal dignity of their Master, banishes them their native country; See “Calderwood's History," from page 491, to page 536, and downward. [Wodrow Society Edition, vol. vi., p. 590.) Upon the same bottom of a pretended royal jurisdiction over the Church, he attempted, and in a great measure effected, the establishment of a Popish hierarchy and Romish ceremonies, by setting up Prelates, and bringing in the Perth articles, flattering some, and overawing others of the ministry into a compliance therewith, persecuting the zealous and faithful contenders for Christ's headship, and the government of His Divine institution, with vexatious prosecutions before High Commission Courts, suspensions from their office, wanderings, confinements, etc.
And in like manner, Charles I., following his father's example and instructions, endeavoured, upon pretence of the same prerogative, to improve upon what his father had begun, and complete the Church's slavery, by obtruding upon her a liturgy and canons, formed a la mode d'Angleterre, collected out of the Romish mass-book and canon law, which put the faithful sons of the Church of Scotland to much wrestling and contending, partly by humble and submissive, yet zealous and faithful addresses, supplications, remonstrances, and representations, partly by more bold and daring protestations and associations for mutual defence, even till they were forced to take arms for defence of religion and the liberties of their country. Which contendings for Christ's royal authority, and His Church's liberties, at length, by the blessing of God, issued in a glorious Work of Reformation through Britain and Ireland, wherein the Churches of Christ in these lands not only revived their former beautiful order, shining purity, and precious liberty, but also had several degrees of new attainments in purity and uniformity of religion added thereto.
But the Church's sun of prosperity is soon at the tropic. Scarce was that spring-time well begun to blossom and bud, when, behold, a world of malignant vapours, arising out of the earth, clouded all her sky again, and turned her spring to a deplorable winter. Various heresies in England, growing Popery in Ireland, public resolutions for advancing malignants to places of power and trust in Scotland, like so many inundations breaking in upon the Church of Christ, laid all her pleasant things waste.
sooner was Charles II.
advanced to the exercise of the royal authority, but, drowning the sense of all sacred obligations with a glut of sensual pleasures, he authorised a malignant crew of statesmen to persecute and destroy the people of God for their adherence to the Covenants which himself had entered into as the fundamental stipulation of government, and to that Reformation which he had sworn to maintain and practise, and for their bearing witness against the grand principle and foundation upon which he built his power of overthrowing religion, and setting up a new frame thereof in Britain, namely, the blasphemous headship of Ecclesiastical Supremacy.
Hence it is evident to a demonstration, that the grand state of the quarrel upon which the martyrs laid down their lives during the late tyrannical reigns, was really one and the same with that for which the zealous and faithful ministers suffered such hardships in the time of King James VI., and afterwards; this being the precise foundation upon which all the other acts and oaths were built, which the enemies made a handle of to involve honest people into the crime of treason and rebellion against the State, as it was then determined by their iniquitous laws. For, as this was still the principal question put to them, “ Own ye the king's authority ?" and the chief article of indictment if they either answered in the negative or kept silence, so it is evident that, by this question, they really meant not his civil authority only, but also his pretended claim to supreme headship over the Church.
For no sooner had he authorised a Parliament to meet at Edinburgh, under the inspection of that malignant wretch, John Earl of Middleton, anno 1661, but that generation of enemies to the work of God, intending the utter ruining thereof, set up this Dagon of the Royal Prerogative, not only with respect to things civil, as “in the choice of his officers of State, counsellors and judges” (Act ii.), in " the calling and dissolving of Parliaments, and making laws ” (Act iii.) in “the militia, and in making peace and war” (Act v.); which were great invasions upon the national liberties of the subjects; but also in things sacred, “ in making of leagues, and the conventions of the subjects” (Act iv.), wherein all the former work of Reformation is condemned, and the Covenants made for its defence are declared treasonable and rebellious actions against the royal prerogative ; and in consequence hereof, it is declared that the League and Covenant is not obligatory upon this kingdom, nor doth infer any obligation on the subjects thereof, to meddle or interpose in any
thing concerning the religion and government of the Churches of England and Ireland ; and all the subjects are discharged "to renew the same, as they will answer at their highest peril" (Act vii.); and and in the oath of allegiance and acknowledgment of his majesty's royal prerogative (Act xi. of the said Parliament), all persons, of whatsoever trust, post, office, or employment, are obliged to swear, that they “acknowledge the king only supreme governor of this kingdom, over all persons and in all causes ;” and that they “ do with all humble duty acknowledge his majesty's royal prerogative, in all the particulars, and in the manner aforementioned.”
And to make the matter clearer, what they meant by the King's authority, in the preamble of the first Act of the second session of the same first Parliament, they assert, that "the ordering and disposal of the external government and policy of this Church doth properly belong unto his majesty, as an inherent right of the crown, by virtue of his royal prerogative and supremacy in causes ecclesiastical."
this bottom, he, with advice and consent of the estates of Parliament, sets up the Episcopal form of Church-government, the jurisdiction of bishops and archbishops over the inferior clergy, with their concomitant of patronages, and “doth rescind, cass, and annul all Acts of Parliament, by which the sole and only power and jurisdiction within this Church doth stand in the Church, and in the general, provincial, and presbyterial Assemblies, and Kirk Sessions, and all Acts of Parliament or Council, which may be interpreted to have given any church power, jurisdiction or government, to the office-bearers of the Church their respective meetings, other than that which acknowledgeth a dependence upon, and subordination to, the sovereign power of the king as supreme." And in pursuance hereof, in the second Act of the foresaid session, entitled, “Act for preservation of his majesty's person, authority, and government,” he doth, with the advice of his estates of Parliament, declare, “That the assembly kept at Glasgow in the year 1638, was in itself (after the same was by his majesty discharged, under the pain of treason), an unlawful and seditious meeting ;” 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 (thus they call the work of Reformation) were unlawful and seditious; and particularly that these oaths, whereof the one was commonly called the National Covenant, and the other a Solemn League and Covenant, were, and are in themselves unlawful oaths ;” and therefore declares