Page images
PDF
EPUB

feeeding us with the bread of tears, and making us to drink the waters of afflictions, 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 lin, 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 remembring the practice of our predecessors in the year 1996, wherein the general afsembly and all the kirk-judicators, 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 perceiring that this duty, when gone about out of conscience and in fincerity, 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 fight, who is the searcher of hearts, acknowledge the many fins and great transgressions of the land; We have done wickedly, our kings, our princes, our nobles, our judges, our officers, our teachers, and our people. Albeit the Lord hath long and clearly spoken unto us, we have not hearkened to his voice; albeit he hath followed us 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,

Ii 3

we

we have refused to receive correction: We have not remembred to render unto the Lord according to his goodness, and according to our own yows and promises, but have gone away backward by a continued course of backsliding, and have broken all the articles of that solemn league and covenant, which we sware before God, angels and men.

Albeit there be in the land many of all ranks, who be for a 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 stedfaft 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 constancy 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, fome have turned aside to crooked ways, destructive to both. The profane, loose and insolent carriage of many in our armies, who went to the afliftance of our brethren in England, and the tamperings and unstraight dealing of some of our commiflioners, and others of our nation, in London, the Isle of Wight, and other places of that kingdom, hare proved great lets to the work of reformation and settling of kirk

government there, whereby error and fchifm in that land. have been increased, and sectaries hardned in their way: We have been so far from endeavouring the extirpation of profaneness, and what is contrary to the power of gadliness, that profanity hath been much wioked at, and profane persons much countenanced, and many times employed, 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 facrament all ig. norant and scandalous persons, according to the ordinances of this kirk.

Neither have the privileges of the parliaments and liberties of the subject been duly tendred; but some amongst ourselves

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

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 consciences, perfons and estates; neither hath it been our care to avoid these things 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 fo far from the right way of preserving his majesty's person and authority, that it cannot but provoke the Lord against him, unto the hazard of both: nay, under a pretence 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 co

venant.

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 intrufted with our counfels, admitted unto 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 fame unto the enacting and prosecuting unlawful engagement in war against the kingdom of England, notwithstanding of the difsent 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 supplications of

many

Ii 4

many fynods, presbyteries, and shires; and of the declarations of the general afsembly and their commissioners 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 the grievousness of our sin, of complying with malignants, in the gseátness of our judgment, that ve may be taught never to split again upon the same rock, upon which the Lord hath fet 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 qur God, by breaking these mens 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 abo·minations, 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 con. sume us, until there be no remuant nor escaping in the land.

And albeit the peace and union betwixt the kingdoms be a great blessing of God unto both, and a bond which we are o bliged to preserve unviolated, and to endeavour that justice may be done upon the opposers thereof: yet fome in this land, who have come under the bond of the covenant, have made it their great study how to diffolve 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 perswalion or terror, have suffered themselves to be divided and withdrawn, to make defection to the contrary part: many have turned of to a detestable indifferen

CY

:cy and neutrrality 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 thereof. It hath 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 had set marks of desperate malignancy, falfhood and deceit, were brought in, as fit to manage publick 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 such to the honour 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 rely upon the arm of flesh for success, albeit the Lord hath many times made us meet with disappointment 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

heark.

« PreviousContinue »