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bidden to lecture on any part of scripture before sermon; they were prohibited from departing out of the bounds of the parish where they resided, without being permitted by the bishop of the diocess; from preaching in any other places than kirks; and from admitting to their communion, or pulpit, any minister not indulged under pain of being deposed by the bishop of the diocess. And while they were strictly forbidden in these indulgences to utter any seditious expressions in the pulpit or elsewhere, it is plain from the acts of the parliament and council at this time, that faithful ministerial freedom in testifying against the perfidy and treachery of all ranks of persons in the violation of the solemn league, was forbidden under the name of seditious expression.

The Judicial Testimony admits, that many of those, who were inshared by these indulgences, were otherwise eminent lights. But their godliness could neither justify their acceptance of such indulgences, nor remove the guilt in which the land was thereby involved. A most faithful and zealous minister, Mr. M’Ward, in a letter subjoined to his “ Earnest Contendings," says of these indulged ministers; “ All “ of us will grant, that many of them are godly men; but, alas! their “godliness, as it has been pleaded, is more prejudicial to the work “ and interest of Christ, than the ungodliness of all the prelates and « curates.”

Alex. It may be granted, that this indulgence, on the magistrate's part, was a sinful encroachment upon Christs headship over his church But as to worthy ministers, who, as Mr. Willison says, always refused, that they accepted the indulgence upon the terms of the king and council, though they preached in the churches assigned them by these rulers,) and who did not observe these terins; and whọ, on that account, were afterwards turned out; it would be hard to charge them with approving the king's usurped supremacy.*

Ruf. The act of the privy council concerning the indulgence specified the terms on which it was granted; and therefore the sin of ministers in accepting the indulgence is not disproved, but acknowledged ; when it is said, that they did not approve nor observe the terms on which it was offered. For it is plain, that they ought not in that case to have accepted it. The declaration of Alexander Blair minister at Galston when called before the council, was highly proper. Letting the copy of the instructions, which they had given him, drop out of his hand, he said, “ That he could receive no instructions from them to “ regulate him in the exercise of his ministry; as, in doing so, he would 66 not be Christ's ambassador, but theirs.”+

Alex. Mr. Willison adds, That God was pleased to glorify his sovereign grace in giving remarkable success to the ministry of those indulged in churches as well as to that of those who preached in the fields; between whom there continued much love and peace for many years; until some began to condemn the indulged so far as to preach separation from them: upon which followed many unwarrantable divisions, the fruits of which continue to this day.

Ruf. The success of these ministers in preaching the gospel will not prove that their acceptance of the indulgence was not sinful. For, as Mr. Willison himself intimates, this success is to be ascribed to the

Impartial Test page 47. + Crookshank's Flistory, part 1. chap. 9.

Divine good pleasure, and to free and sovereign grace. The rule, by which we are to judge, whether any practice is right or wrong, is not eventual success, but the word of God.

This compliance, however, with the persecutors of the Lord's wit. Resses, at that time, tended to hinder, and not to promote, the success of the gospel ; particularly, as it was designed to suppress the preaching of the gospel in the fields, which was then most faithful and successful. Many have entertained an opinion of this matter, very dif. ferent from Mr. Willison's. I could name, says Patrick Walker, an honest sufferer for truth in that period, some of those indulged ministers, who, when dying, confessed, that from the time in which they were taken in that snare, it was never with them as it was formerly; and who doubted whether, after that, they had been instrumental in edifying one soul, or in any public good. He adds, that many people, who had heard them, avowed, that the persecuted gospel in the fields, had another sort of relish and sweetness.*

It is very unjust to reproach those who bore testimony against the ac. ceptance of the indulgences, such as, Messrs. Brown, M'Ward, Cargil and Cameron, as causing mournful divisions among the professed friends of the covenanted reformation. But a principal cause of these divisions, both in the intention of the enemies of reformation, and, in fact, was the acceptance of the indulgences: the bitter fruit of which acceptance was, the defection continued to this day, from the reformation which had been attained. On the other hand, it was, in a great measure, by means of these faithful ministers and people, who con. tended earnestly against the acceptance of the indulgences, that the ordinances of the gospel have been transmitted to us in purity.

On the whole, it cannot well be denied, that the acceptance of the indulgences, at that time, whether considered in itself or in its conse, quences, is justly represented as a ground of humiliation, and, while the evil of it is not duly acknowledged and lamented, of God's controversy with his people.

Alex. I shall now propose the instances by which Mr. Willison endeavours to support his charge against the Judicial Testimony of the associate presbytery.

$ 18. The first, I take notice af, is their condemning all the old persecuted Presbyterian ministers, who accepted of the liberty of preaching under James' toleration, as involving the land in heinous guilt; which he says, is a most rash and uncharitable censure of those worthies, who were honored to be great sufferers for truth; men of eminent piety and tenderness, who were signally owned of God during that liberty; and who never saw cause to repent of it to their dying hour.t

Ruf. The memory of several of these ministers is indeed precious and savoury. So is the memory of many other christians, in whose conduct some things may be justly blamed. There have been

many ministers in the Episcopal and Independent communions, who have shown piety and tenderness of conscience, whom God has made instrumental in winning souls, and who never

* Remarkable Passages of the Lives of Messrs. Peden, Semple, Cameron, &c. p. 218 | Imp. Test, page 222.

saw cause to repent of their errors in relation to church government. Some of the saints practised polygamy for which we do not read, that they ever exercised any particular repentance. Whatever any of the saints have attained, and however useful they were through the sovereign grace of God, it is warrantable to compare their conduct in the house of God with his word, and to disapprove any part of it which we find to be not according to that Supreme rule. Hence, it is evident, that however just the character be, which Mr. Willison gives of these old persecuted ministers, it ought not to hinder us from attending to the reasons why their acceptance of king James' toleration with ad. dresses of thanks, was acknowledged by the associate presbytery to be a public evil. These reasons are chiefly two.

The first is, that this toleration proceeded, as Mr. Willison himself observes, from a vile spring, namely, the king's absolute dispensing power. If the parliament had abrogated their own penal statutes against the genuine members of the church of Scotland, it would have been a mercy to be gratefully acknowledged. But that which these ministers accepted, and for which they gave addresses of thanks, was a very different thing: it was the king's proclamation, in which he claimed and exercipou an absolute power of suspending and disabling all the laws against the papists. No sincere protestant or lover of civil liberty, ought to reckon the associate presbytery rash or unchari. table for their disapprobation of the countenance given by these minis, ters to what came from such an execrable fountain, and tended, as the historian Rapin tells us, to establish the popish, upon the ruins of the protestant religion.

The second reason why this toleration ought not to have been accepted, (much less praised, in an address of thanks, as a gracious and surprising favour,) is, that it was granted upon this express condi, tion, that they were not to teach what might anywiśe tend to alien, 6 ate the heart of the people from the king or his government;" that is, they were not to preach against popery or arbitrary power. Mr. Willison, in his Testimony, grants, that if this was the meaning of the words now mentioned, (and that it was so, no one acquainted with the history of James' reign can doubt,) it was sinful in any man to comply with this condition. “Ah!" says he, speaking of this very matter, we and our fathers have sinned, and we have cause to be “deeply humbled, both for their sins and our own."* Thus, if it was rash and uncharitable to acknowledge the sinfulness of the conduct of these ministers, Mr. Willison himself is blameable as well as the associate presbytery; for he makes the same acknowledgment. We have here only to lament his inconsistency, and the prejudice he discovers against the associate presbytery.

$ 19. Alex. Mr. Willison says, the associate presbytery, in their Act and Testimony, have cast slanders on their worthy ancestor and their mother church. One of these slanders is, Their alledging that the assembly in 1690, which consisted of many confessors and old sufferers, made no particular acknowledgment of the backslidings of the land under prelacy.t

Ruf. I shall read the whole passage, as it stands in their Declaration and Testimony. “It was the laudable practice, in reforming * times, to condemn all.steps of defection; and duly to censure such 6 as were guilty of public backsliding. Accordingly, by the assembly u that met in the year 1638, all the prelates, being ringleaders in the 6 apostacy, were deposed ; and some of them excommunicated. Also, “ in the said reforming period, they returned to the Lord, by a par6 ticular acknowledgment and confession of the sins of the ministry, 66 and of the whole land; -and by renewing their solemn covenant en6 gagements. But the general assembly, that met in the year, 1690, 6 made no particular acknowledgment of the many heinous backslid 6 ings of the former period. But, on the contrary, when many lamen“ table steps of defection and apostacy were complained of in a large “ paper offered to the foresaid assembly in 1690, by Mr. Alexander « Shields and other two ministers; the said assembly was so far from * attempting the redress of their grievances, that they approved the 66 report of their committee of overtures, calling the contents of that “paper; unreasonable and impracticable proposals, uncharitable and

* Inap. Tes%. pages 50, 51. + Ibid. page 169.

injurious reflections, tending rather to kindle contentions than to compose

divisions." The associate presbytery is here comparing the conduct of the assembly in 1638 with that of the assembly in 1690. The former acted as men resolved upon a thorough reformation; the latter, as men afraid of proceeding farther than they could, consistently with their interest or their ease. The former were explicit and particular in confessing the defections, that had taken place in the preceding period, that is, from 1596 to the year 1638, as breaches of their covenant with God; but the latter neglected to make any such particular confession of the manifold instances of Scotland's apostacy and perfidy in the reigns of Charles the second and his brother.

Alex. Mr. Willison tells us, that the general assembly which met in October 1690, (about two years after the revolution) appointed a national fast; in the causes of which they enumerated a great many sins of the land both in the former and present times: and among other sins of the preceding period, the introducing of prelacy, the imposing and taking of unlawful oaths, the shedding of innocent blood, the general fainting under the late persecutions. **

Ruf. Though, in these causes of a fast, the introduction of prelacy is acknowledged as a sin; yet it is not declared to be contrary to their national oath and confessions of faith. Again, it is mentioned in these causes of a fast, that much innocent blood had been shed; but it is not said to be the innocent blood of the witnesses of Jesus ; blood, that was shed for the testimony which they held. These causes make no mention of some of the most notorious evils of the period between 1650 and 1688 ; such as, the public resolutions; the breaking, burning and burying of the solemn covenants, which the nation had sworn; the sin of ministers in accepting of indulgences. Nor, in these causes of a fast, was there any approbation given of the testimonies and sufferings of a faithful remnant in that trying period for a covenanted reformation. Nay, the following remark inserted in this paper is too much in the style of the enemies of these witnesses : some managed their zeal with too little discretion and meekness. But it is not said who were liable to this charge. In short, it is evident, that these causes of a

. Imp. Test. page 58.

fast were, by no means, such a particular acknowledgment of the many heinous backslidings of the former period, as accorded with the example of that faithful reforming assembly at Glasgow. Even Mr. Willison expresses a wish, that these causes had been more full.*

Alex. Mr. Willison says, that when Messrs. Linning, Shields and Boyd were received into fellowship with the church of Scotland and her judicatories after the revolution, these ministers gave in a long paper for the exoneration of their consciences, bearing testimony to what they judged right, and against what they believed to be wrong.

Ruf. Mr. Willison, when he professed to give a fair and impartial testimony against the sins of the church at that time, ought not to have passed over this paper, and the treatment it met with, so slightly. The particulars stated in it were of such importance, " that, if they “ should be neglected,” said these three honest ministers," the revo& lution settlement will be death to us, instead of a reviving."

“ 1st, It was proposed, that the assembly should enquire into the “ various degrees of compliance with the introduction of abjured pre* lacy in the preceding reigns; particularly, by hearing, or, in other66 wise owning, the Episcopal ministers."

“ 2dly, That they should enquire into the scandalous violation of

the covenants, national and solemn league, in the preceding reigns ; * particularly by subscribing or swearing tests or bonds contrary to 6 the covenanted reformation.”

66 3dly, That they should consider the encroachments that had been " made by the civil magistrate upon the rights and liberties of the gos“pel church; and how far any ministers had submitted to, or approved, « these encroachments by their acceptance of what was called the 6 indulgence; or by their censuring the faithful for discovering the 6 sinfulness of it.”

6 4thly, That they should review the conduct of those ministers who « had sent addresses of thanks to James the second for his toleration, 6 in which he avowed the exercise of despotic power in dispensing s with the laws of the nation, and suspended the liberty of preaching " the gospel upon this condition, that ministers should say nothing that “ would have any tendency to alienate the minds of the people from “ a popish and tyrannical government."

6 5thly, That they should take into consideration the sinfulness of “ neglecting the renovation of the buried national covenants, and the 6 assertion of the obligation of them: and that the national covenant 6 and solemn league should be renewed in an accommodation of them 6 to the present time, with a solemn acknowledgment of the public breaches of these covenants." 66thly, That they should testify against the silence of many, or

their ambiguous way of speaking, about the wickedness of the perse6 cuting laws; by which so many, great and small, were involved in

the guilt of persecution; and the land was defiled with blood.” “ Lastly, That enquiry should be made into a prevailing report, that some were admitted to sealing ordinances in this church, who had

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