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As all that is solid melts to air and everything holy is profaned...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

An Informatory Vindication Anno MDCLXXXVII

By way of a short reply to a comment made about 'Magic of Chaotes'... this was the faith of my ancestors...

An Informatory


A Poor, wasted, misrepresented, Remnant of the Suffering, Anti-Popish, Anti-Prelatick, Anti-Erastian, Anti-Sectarian, True Presbyterian Church of Christ in
S C O T L A N D,
United together in a General Correspondence;
By way of Reply to Various Accusa-
tions, in Letters, Informations &
Conferences, given forth a-
gainst them.


We shall now therefore, in the first place, give a short Declaration of Our Testimony: Shewing first, what we maintain, & positively own, as the matter {25} of it: And secondly, what we disown as prejudicial thereunto, & inconsistent therewith.

As to the First, we sincerely, unanimously, & constantly Testify & Declare, our hearty embracing of & adherence unto the written Word of God, contained in the Scriptures of the Old & New Testaments, as the only rule of faith & manners, & whatsoever is founded thereupon & consonant thereunto; Such as the Confession of Faith, our Catechisms Larger & Shorter, our Covenants National & Solemn League, the Acknowledgement of sins & Engagement to duties, the Causes of God's Wrath, the ordinary & perpetual officers of the Church by Christ's own appointment; such as Pastors, Doctors, Elders, & Deacons, & the Form of Church Government which is commonly called Presbyterial, either in Congregational, Presbyterial, or Synodical Assemblies, whether Provincial, National or Ĺ’cumenical; together with all the Acts & proceedings of our General Assemblies, (especially from the year 1638 to 1649 inclusive) yea & every piece of the attained unto Reformation of the Church of Scotland. In like manner we Testify & Declare, our cordial adherence unto all the faithful Contendings, that have been owned & prosecuted by Ministers or Professors, for promoval & defence of Reformation in former times; as these against the Publick Resolutions, Cromwell's usurpations, the vast Toleration of Heresies & Sects in his time; as also to all the faithful Contendings of Ministers & Professors since the unhappy Restoration of Charles the Second (when the work of Reformation was overturned) unto this very day; whether against the Sacrilegious Usurpation & Tyranny of the Malignant party, or against the Compliances, Defections, {26} & Unfaithfulness of Ministers & Professors: More Particularly, unto all faithful Protestations, Testimonies, & Declarations, that have been given in these latter times, for the work of the Reformation, & against all Usurpations of & Encroachments upon the Prerogatives of Christ's Crown & Privileges of his House, & anything else of whatsoever sort prejudicial to the Reformation: & expressly we declare our adherence unto the Declarations published at Rutherglen, Sanquhar, (first & last) & at Lanerk, together with the Apologetical Declaration, affixed upon some market Crosses & several Parish Church doors, for the matter, substance, & scope of them, as accommodated to the times wherein they were exhibited, according as we explain them afterward, Head 2. Finally we Testify and Declare, our cordial owning & approving of the faithful & free preaching of the Gospel in the open fields, as well as in houses, both before & since Bothwell; & of the duty of defending the Gospel & ourselves by arms, & the Lawfulness of Defensive war against Usurpers of our Ecclesiastical & Civil Liberties; & consequently, all these appearances in a Martial manner against the publick Enemies of this Church & Kingdom, at Pentland, Drumclog, Bothwell, & Airs Moss: And also our adherence unto the Testimonies given by Martyrdom on the fields, scaffolds, & Seas; or otherwise, by Banishment, Imprisonment, Stigmatizings, Tortures, or suffering any other ways, for their adherence unto the Reformation, & noncompliance with the God-provoking courses of the time, & for not owning the Authority or rather Tyranny of Usurpers, in place of magistracy qualified according to the word of God. {27}

As to the Second, We sincerely, Unanimously, & Constantly Testify & declare, our rejecting of whatsoever is contradictory or contrary unto the Written Word of God, or not founded thereupon, either expressly or by direct near or necessary consequence: And more particularly, in like manner, we Testify & Declare our Rejecting & Disowning of Popery, Quakerism, Libertinism, Antinomianism, Socinianism, & all other Heresies under whatsoever designation, together with the Blasphemies, Heresies, & wild extravagances of John Gib: All errors upon the right hand, such as Anabaptism, Independency, Millenarism [Premillenialism], & all other sects & Schisms, together with the divisive courses followed by any others, especially in our day, & the Usurping of any upon the Ministerial Function not duly called thereunto, as upon this ground (beside other reasons) we have excepted against Mr. John Flint; And all Errors upon the left hand, as Prelacy & Erastianism (against which our Church hath had much wrestling & contending) together with all kinds of Idolatry, Superstition, & Prophaneness, & whatsoever else is found contrary to sound Doctrine & the power of Godliness.

Moreover, considering what heinous & God-provoking sins have been committed in this Land against God, in contempt of & with prejudice to his Cause & Covenants, since we began to turn away from Him, we shall briefly enumerate some of these, Declaring our detestation & abhorrence of the same. Therefore in the first place, we declare our Testimony against all Compliances with the iniquities of this time established by Law, in obedience to their Cursed commandments directly or indirectly; {28} All countenancing of & complying with Prelacy, Supremacy, or Tyranny, or any Usurpation on Church or state made by this Malignant Enemy, All hearing of Curates or Indulged, or paying either of them Stipends exacted by iniquous [unjust] Law setting them up; All answering to the Courts of Persecutors, Taking any of their Oaths as the Declaration renouncing the Covenants, the Oaths of Supremacy & Allegiance, the Test, the Oath of Abjuration, The Oath Super inquirendis, and all others of like nature; particularly the late new contrived oath of Allegiance, substitute in the place of all former, & comprehending in its bosom the extract of all their iniquities, requiring the acknowledgement & Maintenance of the most open faced & declared absolute Tyranny of the Duke of York, in his invading the Sovereignty of the Most High, & all his subservient Popish & Atheistical designs, which is contained in the late Proclamation for the abominable Toleration; Likewise all subscribing any of their Bonds, imposed to fetter & defile the Conscience, as the Bond of peace, Bond of Regulation, The Bond of Compearance, & all others partaking of affinity with these; As also the paying any of their wicked Impositions for bearing down the Gospel & work of Reformation, as Militia money, Cess, Locality, Fines, or stipends, or anything that may strengthen the hands of such evil doers: and in like manner, we declare our Testimony against all the steps of defection, declining from or contradictory unto the Covenanted Reformation of the Church of Scotland; And therefore we disown, as inconsistent with our Ancestors Testimony, that promiscuous Association in the late {29} Expedition 1685, & all Associations & Confederacies whatsoever with Sectaries & Malignants, & any other thing that opens the door for their introduction & toleration, or whereby the state of the quarrel is not proposed according to the ancient plea, against both right & left hand opposites.

But more particularly, because our principles are most suspected upon the Ordinances of Magistracy & the Ministry; Therefore we shall plainly unbosom our hearts about these also. We profess then concerning Magistracy (to obviate the suspicion of any unfriendliness towards that Ordinance, & disloyalty to rightful Magistrates) & Declare our minds in these Assertions. (1.) As we distinguish between Magistracy, or the Office (in the abstract) & the Persons invested with the Office; so of Magistracy in itself considered, we say, that as it is not subjectively founded upon grace, so it is a holy & Divine institution, for the good of human Society, the encouragement of Virtue & Piety, & curbing of Vice & Impiety, competent unto & honourable amongst both Christians & Heathens. (2.) As for such Magistrates as, being rightly and Lawfully constitute over us, do act as the Ministers of God, in a direct line of subordination to God, in the defence of our Covenanted Reformation, & the subjects' Liberties; We declare, whensoever we can obtain & enjoy such rulers, we will own, embrace, obey, & defend them to the utmost of our power, & prove encouraging, subject, & obedient to them in our places & stations. (3.) In things Civil, though we do not say that every Tyrannical act or action doth make a Tyrant, yet we hold, that habitual, obstinate, & declared opposition to, & {30} overturning of Religion, Laws & Liberties, & making void all contracts with the Subjects, or when he usurps a power without any compact, or giving any security for Religion & Liberties, or when he is such as the Laws of the Land do make incapable of Government; These do sufficiently invalidate his Right & Relation of Magistracy, & warrant subjects, especially in Covenanted Lands, to revolt from under & disown allegiance unto such a power. In such a case, when the body of a Land collectively considered, or the more faithful & better part of that Land, in the time of National & universal Apostacy, & complete & habitual Tyranny, adhering closely to the fundamental constitutions & Laudable practices of that Covenanted Land (when the fundamental Laws of the Kingdom are directly overturned, & the essential conditions of the mutual Compacts are broken, & such as cleave closely to the Reformation & Liberties of the Kingdom are accounted Rebels, & prosecuted as such) may reject and refuse the Magistratical Relation between the Tyrant & them: yet, before the erection of formal Magistracy, they may not Lawfully arrogate to themselves that Authority which the Tyrant hath forfeited, or claim to themselves the Authority of Judges; though radically they have the Authority of the Law, by their Natural right, & fundamental power, which God allows & is Nature's attendant; & the Municipal privilege of these subjects; but they cannot act judicially, in either Civil or Criminal Courts, only in the interim they may Lawfully do that which may most conduce to the securing of themselves, Religion, & Liberty. (4.) In Church affairs, we allow the Magistrate a power over the outward things of the Church, viz. {31} what belongs to the bodies of Church officers & members; but not over the inward things of the Church, such as Doctrine, worship, discipline, & Government: We own he may & ought to preserve both Tables of the Law, & punish by corporal & temporal punishment, whether Church officers or members, as openly dishonour God by gross offences, either against the first or second Table; but this he may not do every way, but after his own manner, not intrinsically, but extrinsically, not under consideration of a scandal, but of a crime: We grant he may order such things as are for the well-being & subsistence of the Church, & for that end may Convocate Synods in some cases of the Church, pro re nata [according to exigences], beside their ordinary Meetings (according as that part of Article 2, chapter 31, of our Confession of Faith, is fully and clearly explained by the Act of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, convened at Edinburgh, Aug. 27, 1647, Session 23, approving the foresaid Confession of Faith) & may be present there in external order; but not preside in their Synodical debates & resolutions; He may add his Civil Sanction to Synodical results, but we deny him any power to restrain Church Officers in Dispensing of Christ's ordinances, or forbid them to do what Christ has given them in Commission: We own that as he ought to take care of the maintenance of the Ministry, Schools, & poor, so imperatively he may Command Church officers to do their duties; yet we deny him an elicitive power, either to do himself what is incumbent to Church officers, or to Depute others to administer Ordinances in his name, or by any Ministerial power received from him: Finally we allow him a Cumulative {32} power, whereby in his own way he assisteth, strengtheneth, & ratifieth what Church officers do by virtue of their office; but we deny unto him a Privative power, which detracteth any way from the Church's Authority, for he is a Nursing father & not a step-father. In sum, we grant this to be the full extent of the Magistrate's Supremacy in the Church affairs, to order, whatsoever is commanded by the God of Heaven that it be diligently done for the house of the God of Heaven, Ezra 7.23. And what further he may Usurp, we Disown & Detest.

But considering the God-contemning & Heaven-daring wickedness, Usurpation, & Tyranny, of the present & latter pretended Rulers over this Land, & what grievous affronts, bold & open defiances, they have given to the Most High God, & what unparalleled abuses they have done to the Ordinance of Magistracy; Therefore We disown, detest, & abhor the corruption, perversion, & eversion of that Ordinance in this Land; And in the first place, for the late Tyrant; As we do abhor the memory of his first erection, & unhappy restoration, after by many evidences he was known to be an Enemy to God & the Country; his nefarious wickedness in ejecting the Ministers of Christ from their Charges, & introducing abjured Prelacy; his atrocious arrogance, in rescinding all Acts of Parliament for the works of Reformation; his unparalleled perfidy & Perjury, in making void, & burning the Covenants; his Heaven-daring Usurpation, in arrogating to himself that Blasphemous & Christ dethroning Supremacy; his audacious & treacherous exerting of that usurped power, in giving Indulgences to outed Ministers, to divide & destroy the Church; {33} his arbitrarian & manifest Tyranny, over the consciences of poor people, pressing them to conformity with the time's abominations, contrary both to Religion & reason, & imposing upon them conscience-debauching Oaths; His absolute domination over the whole Land, in levying Militia & other Forces, Horse & Foot, for carrying on his wicked designs, of advancing himself to an arbitrary power, & bearing down the work of Reformation, & enslaving the people; particularly in sending an Host of Savage & barbarous High-landers several times, upon a poor innocent people, to waste & destroy them; And imposing wicked taxations for the maintenance of these forces, professedly required for suppressing Religion & Liberty, & preserving & promoting his Absoluteness over all matters & persons sacred and Civil; His cruelty over the bodies of Christians, in chasing, catching, & killing upon the fields, many, without sentence past upon them or time previously to deliberate upon death, yea & without taking notice of any thing to be laid against them, according to the worst of their own Laws; Drowning Women, some of a very young & some of an exceeding old age; Imprisoning, Laying in irons, exquisite torturing by Boots, Thumbkins, & Firematches, Cutting pieces out of the ears, Banishing & selling as Slaves old & young, men & women, in great numbers, bloodily butchering upon Scaffolds, Hanging some of all Sexes & ages, Heading Mangling, dismembering alive, Quartering dead bodies; oppressing many others in their Estates, Forfeiting their Possessions, Robbing, Pillaging their goods, Casting Men, Women, & Children out of their Habitations, Interdicting any to reset [receive, harbour] them, under the pains of {34} being treated after the same manner; & all this for their adherence unto the Covenanted work of Reformation, while in the mean time many murderers, Adulterers, & incestuous persons, Sodomites, witches, & other malefactors, were pardoned or passed without punishment: So for the continued & habitual tract of these, & many other, Acts of Tyranny, we have disowned, & yet adhere to our revolt from under, the yoke of the Tyranny of Charles the Second, & Declare that his whole Government was a complete & habitual Tyranny, & no more Magistracy than Robbery is a rightful possession. And in like manner, in the Next place, we disown the Usurpation of James Duke of York, succeeding & insisting in the same footsteps of Tyranny, Treachery, & Cruelty; with the same domineering over men & Women's Consciences, & cruelty towards their bodies, & Estates, & oppression over the Land; arrogating to himself an absolute power, more declaredly than any other formerly; & labouring to bring these Lands again in Subjection to the yoke of Anti-Christ; being a professed Papist; & therefore, what ever right he may pretend by lineal succession, suffrage of Iniquitous Laws & packed Parliaments, he hath no legal or lawful right to the crown; especially, seeing many Acts of ancient Parliaments, declare Papists altogether incapable of bearing any Rule, or any other whomsoever, except they be maintainers of the true Protestant Religion, according to the National Covenant, as it is Statute by the 8 Act. Parl. 1. repeated in the 99 Act. Parl. 7. ratified in the 23 Act. Parl. 11. & 114. Act. Parl. 12 of K. James 6. & 4. Act of K. Charles the first. And here we stand as to the point of Magistracy. {35}


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