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CHAPTER XX.

GENERAL ASSEMBLIES.

THE SOLEMN LEAGUE AND COVENANT, PRESBYTERY, AND THE GRAND

REBELLION.

1645.-Meeting of parliament-message from the commission.- A General Assembly.—Letter from the Scots commissioners at London.—The Directory.Petition from the Assembly—solemn and seasonable warning—the observance of Christmas, &c. abolished.-A remonstrance to the king.–Directory ratified.-A remonstrance to parliament.--Forfeitures.-Montrose appears at the head of some troops, and is forfeited-his successes-appointed captain-general. -Battle of Philipshaugh-massacre of the prisoners.-Other executions.Meeting at Perth-ministers petition for the execution of the prisoners.Executions at Glasgow.-Meeting of parliament-petitions for more executions.- 1646.-Several declared guilty of high treason.—Sir Robert Spottiswood.-Preaching to the times.-Lord Oglevie's escape.-Executions.-Mr. Murray and Sir R. Spottiswood beheaded-their speeches and behaviour on the scaffold.- Petitions for more blood.-Letter from the Westminster Assembly, Oppression of parliament—their transactions.-Montrose escapes to Norway.-Meeting of Assembly-excommunications-corruptions in the kirk—the royalists threatened with kirk censures and civil penalties.-Letter from the London commissioners.-Assembly's letter to the lord mayor.-Ministers sent to the king at Newcastle.—Commission of the kirk excommunicates some royalists.- Negociations with the king, and the Long Parliament.-Sale of the king.-Revenues of the chapel-royal bestowed on Blair.-Meeting of parliament.-Hamilton's procrastination.-Seasonable and necessary warning:

Transactions of the Long Parliament. 1647.—The price paid, and the king delivered up. The Scottish army retreat.—The act of a faction.-Eikon Basilike.-Purging the army.—Distribution of the blood-money.--The Gordons subdued-a massacre--and at Duniveg.-John Nevay.-Cromwell seizes the king's person, and revolutionises the English government.-General Assemblytheir brotherly exhortation to their English brethren-defection of the kirkact against withdrawing from parish kirks-Confession of Faith approved offears from the independents-- Erastianism-pastoral letter-acts of Assemblyits dissolution.-The royalists oppressed-lord Napier-executions-Huntly arrested.- 1648.-The king imprisoned at the Isle of Wight, Eikon Basilike.—Loudon's speech before the committee.-The king's further concessions unsatisfactory to the kirk.—Commissioners from the Long Parliament.-Marshall preaches before the king.-Meeting of parliament-commission oppose the engagement-a sham duel-an oath-demands of the commission.-Mes.

senger from the queen.-Demands sent to the Long Parliament-objections of the commission—their petition to parliament-counter petitions—manifesto of the parliament.—THE ENGAGEMENT.-The act of PostURE.—The commanders appointed. Opposition to the engagement-the commissioner's remonstrance, counter declaration, and vindication.—Dispute with the parlia. ment-petition-Argyle's opposition to the levies.-Riot in Edinburgh.Measures of the commission. -The marquis of Huntly.- Presbyterians “ draw to a head” at a communion-an action—the presbyterians defeated.

1645.—ON TUESDAY, the 7th of January, the parliament met in Edinburgh, and Robert Douglas preached from Isaiah iii. 10. There was no commissioner from the king," whereof,” says Spalding, “ parliament did not care much ;” but the earl of Lauderdale was elected president. Committees were appointed for raising troops; prosecuting the malignants, or loyalists, and levying money on their estates; for prosecuting the war both at home and in England; and other things connected with the usurped government. On the 10th, the commission of Assembly sent a message to the house,“ to shew them that, according to that laudable custom, ever used heretofore in the kirk in keeping correspondence with the estates, they intended to proceed to the censures of the church against the public enemies of the church and kingdom, and that the church did seriously recommend to their lordships, to take order with such as walked up and down the street with remission, who had embrued their hands in the blood of the people.”

The last Assembly appointed that for this year to meet in May. but, as the plot was thickening, the commission, which now assumed the supreme government of the kirk, had summoned the members of Assembly to meet on the 23d of January, concurrent with the parliament. It seems the commission had applied to the king to appoint a commissioner ; but he took no notice of their application, and Robert Douglas was elected moderator. Baillie, Gillespie, and Johnston, who, being now one of the judges, was called lord Warriston, had returned and brought a letter from the commissioners at London, dated Worcester-house, 6th January, in which they say, they “are not without the feeling of the distresses of our native country, and of the troubles of our dear brethren, especially that the hand of the Lord is stretched out against you, not only by in vasion from without of the basest of the children of men, but also by the unnatural treachery of some within, who have dealt perfidiously in the covenant and cause of God . . . and

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we beseech the Lord to keep that kirk free of such sects, and monsters of opinions, as are daily set on foot and multiplied in this kingdom, through the want of that church-government by assemblies, which hath preserved us, and we hope shall cure them ?." They also presented the Directory for worship, drawn up by the Westminster assembly, and which the Scots assembly approved, and ordered to be put in execution; with an exception to the clause respecting the communicants sitting about the table, that it might not be thought a thing indifferent, but of force, and that they enjoined the communicants to divide the elements among themselves, and not to receive them from the hands of the minister. The commissioners likewise brought a letter from the Westminster divines, containing nothing of importance, only it innocently enough escapes them, that they “ had spent diverse months in the search of the Scripture to find out the mind of Christ concerning a form of churchgovernment, wherein we could not but expect the greatest difficulty 2.” It looks very unlike that wisdom from above, which ought to characterise ministers of religion, to knock down and extirpate the government which had uninterruptedly existed in England for nearly seventeen centuries before they had determined on one to substitute for it, and, after so many years, to be only now endeavouring “ to find out the mind of Christ !”

The Assembly petitioned parliament“ to proceed with some speedy course of justice against such persons as are known to have joined themselves either actually in arms, or who by their counsel, supplies and encouragements, have strengthened the hands of the bloody enemies, whereby a cause of the controversy shall be removed; the land cleansed of the blood that is shed therein; the cruel and crooked generation disheartened ; the fainting hearts of the godly refreshed, and their feeble knees strengthened; and cheerfully and unanimously to resolve upon, and put in execution, all lawful and possible ways of speedy and active pursuing and extirpating these barbarous and unnatural enemies within the kingdom 3.” Thus the bloodthirsty disposition of these godly saints is seen in pleading for the course of justice—that is, the execution of the loyal adherents of the crown, whom they denominate malignants and enemies to the rebels. Modern covenanters are desirous that we should believe the word extirpation in the covenant means merely the convincing their adversaries by arguments; but the whole history of the times shews that it really meant

· Johnston's Collections, 249-251.

? Ib. 251-255.

3 Ib. 262-265.

the bloody extinction by the sword, not only of the prelates themselves, but of men of all ranks and conditions who were loyal to their sovereign, and faithful to God's holy church.

During their session, the Assembly issued “a solemn and seasonable warning” to all ranks of the people, as well as to the army, in which they make great protestations of their loyalty to the king; but the following clauses will shew the hypocrisy and utter worthlessness of such pretensions. The successes of the king and of Montrose alarmed them, and they considered them as rods of affliction; and so they say, “ that which the rod pointed at is not any guilt of rebellion or disloyalty in us, as the sons of Belial do slander and belie the solemn league and covenant of the three kingdoms, which we are so far from repenting of, that we cannot remember or mention it without great joy and thankfulness to God as that which hath drawn many blessings after it. . . . The danger (of our cause) is not less, but greater than before, and that from two sorts of enemies :- first, from open enemies; we mean those of the popish, prelatical, and malignant faction, who have displayed a banner against the Lord, and against his Christ, in all the three kingdoms, being set on fire of hell, and by the special inspiration of Satan, who is full of fury because he knows he hath but a short time to reign. The cockatrice, before hatched, is now broken forth into a viper. . . unless men will blot out of their hearts the love of religion and the cause of God, and cast off all care of their country, laws, liberties, and estates, yea, all affection to the preservation of themselves, their wives, children, and friends, and whatsoever is dearest to them under the sun, (all these being in danger of a present ruin and destruction,) they must now or never appear actively, each one stretching himself to, yea beyond his power. It is no time to dally, nor to go about the business by halves, nor by almost, but altogether zealous. Cursed be he who doeth the work of the Lord negligently, or dealeth falsely in the covenant of God! ... Whoever he be that will not, according to public order and appointment, adventure his person, or send out those that are under his power, or pay the contributions imposed for the maintenance of the forces, must be taken for an enemy, a malignant, and a covenant-breaker, and so involved both into the displeasure of God and the censures of the kirk, and, no doubt, into civil punishments also, to be inflicted by the state 1."

On the 13th of February they made an act for "censuring

1 Johnston's Collections, 271.284.

VOL. II.

we beseech the Lord to keep that kirk free of such sects, and monsters of opinions, as are daily set on foot and multiplied in this kingdom, through the want of that church-government by assemblies, which hath preserved us, and we hope shall cure them.” They also presented the Directory for worship, drawn up by the Westminster assembly, and which the Scots assembly approved, and ordered to be put in execution; with an exception to the clause respecting the communicants sitting about the table, that it might not be thought a thing indifferent, but of force, and that they enjoined the communicants to divide the elements among themselves, and not to receive them from the hands of the minister. The commissioners likewise brought a letter from the Westminster divines, containing nothing of importance, only it innocently enough escapes them, that they “ had spent diverse months in the search of the Scripture to find out the mind of Christ concerning a form of churchgovernment, wherein we could not but expect the greatest difficulty 2.” It looks very unlike that wisdom from above, which ought to characterise ministers of religion, to knock down and extirpate the government which had uninterruptedly existed in England for nearly seventeen centuries before they had determined on one to substitute for it, and, after so many years, to be only now endeavouring “to find out the mind of Christ!”

The Assembly petitioned parliament“ to proceed with some speedy course of justice against such persons as are known to have joined themselves either actually in arms, or who by their counsel, supplies and encouragements, have strengthened the hands of the bloody enemies, whereby a cause of the controversy shall be removed; the land cleansed of the blood that is shed therein; the cruel and crooked generation disheartened ; the fainting hearts of the godly refreshed, and their feeble knees strengthened; and cheerfully and unanimously to resolve upon, and put in execution, all lawful and possible ways of speedy and active pursuing and extirpating these barbarous and unnatural enemies within the kingdom 3.” Thus the bloodthirsty disposition of these godly saints is seen in pleading for the course of justice—that is, the execution of the loyal adherents of the crown, whom they denominate malignants and enemies to the rebels. Modern covenanters are desirous that we should believe the word extirpation in the covenant means merely the convincing their adversaries by arguments; but the whole history of the times shews that it really meant

Johnston's Collections, 249-251.

2 lb. 251-255.

3 Ib. 262-265.

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