The Protestation of the Noblemen, Barons, Gentlemen, Borrowes, Mi∣nisters, and Commons, &c.
WEE Noblemen, Ba∣rons, Gentlemen, Burgesses, Ministers, and Commons, His Majesties true and loy∣all Subjects, that whereas our continuall supplicati∣ons, complaints, articles, and informations presented first to the Lords of His Majesties privie Counsell, Next, to His sacred Majestie; and last from time to time to His Majesties Commissionar, our long attendance and great patience this twelve moneth bygone in wait∣ing for satisfaction of our most just desires, Our zeale to remove all rubs out of the way, which were either mentioned unto us, or could be conceaved by us, as hin∣derances of our pious intentions, aiming at nothing but the good of the Kingdome, and preservation of the Kirk, which by consumption or combustion is liklie to expire; delighting to use no other meanes but such as are legall, and have beene ordinarie in this Kirk, since the reformation, and labouring ac∣cording to our power and interesse, that all things might Page [unnumbered] be caried in a peaceable manner worthie of our Pro∣fession and Covenant, Our Protestation containing a heartie thanksgiving for what his Majestie in his pro∣clamation from his justice had granted of our just de∣sires; and our Protests and hopes for somuch as was not as yet granted. All these made us confidentlie to expect from his Majesties royall and compassi∣oned disposition towards this his native kingdome, that a free generall assemblie, and parliament should have beene indicted, as the ordinare and most proper remedies of our greevances, and did constraine us to renew our petition, earnestlie intreating, that His Majesties Commissionar, would be pleased to repre∣sent unto His Majestie the condition of this Kirk and kingdome, crying in an extreame exigencie for present helpe, with the lawfulnesse of the remedies prescrib∣ed by his Majesties lawes, required by us, and pre∣sented to him in some particular articles, which his Grace promised to recommend to his Maiestie, and to doe his best indeavours for obtaining the same; especiallie the first article, that there might bee in∣dicted a full and free generall assemblie, without pre∣limitation, either in the constitution and members thereof, in the order and manner of proceeding, or in the matters to be treated: and if there should be any question or doubt about one of these, or such like particulars, that the determination thereof might bee remitted to the assemblie it self, as the only proper and competent judge. And now after so many su∣plications, complaints, articles, and informations, af∣ter our necessarie protestation, expressing the humble thankfulnesse and continued desires of our hearts, af∣ter so long expectation and so much dealing, having Page [unnumbered] with open ears, and attentive mindes heard his Majesties proclamation, it is our desire, purpose, and endevour so to proceede, that we may upon the one part still be thankfull to God, and the King, for the least blinke of His Majesties countenance, and the smallest crums of comfort that fall unto us from His Majesties roy∣all hands, beseeching the Lord, yet further to enlarge his Majesties heart, for our full satisfaction, and re∣joiceing to the honour of God, the good of this kirk and kingdome, and his Majesties never dying fame and glorie, that his wife government & zeal to the service of God, may be a measure and patern of desires to all generations heereafter, when they shall bee wish∣ing for a religious and righteous King. And on the other part, that Christ our Lord, the King of kings, through our neglect or lukewarmnesse, may want no part of his Soveraignitie and Dominion; and that in our religion, which is more deare unto us then our lives, we deceive not our selves, with that which can not satisfie, and make up the breach of this kirk and kingdome, or remove our feares, doubts, and suspiti∣ons, of the innovations of religion: This hath made us to observe, and perceave, that his Majesties procla∣mation doeth ascribe all the late distractions of this Kirk and Common-wealth, to our conceaved seares of the innovation of religion and law, as the cause and occasion thereof, and not to the innovations them∣selves, with which wee have beene for a long time, and especially of late heavily pressed and grieved, as if the cause were rather in apprehension and fancie, then in realitie and substance. That the service book and book of Canons are not so far discharged by this proclamation, as they have beene urged by preceed∣ing Page [unnumbered] proclamations; for this proclamation onely dis∣chargeth the practice of them, and rescinds the actes made for establishing their practise, but doeth not rescinde the former proclamations, namely that of the 19. of Februar, at Stirling, and that of the fourth of Julie at Edinburgh, which give an high approbation to these books, as fit meanes to maintaine religion, and to beate downe all superstition, and withall, declares his Majesties purpose, to bring them into this kirk in a fair and legall way; and thus both our feares, that they may be introduced heereafter, must still remaine, and the libertie of the generall Assemblie, by such a declaration of his Majesties judgement, is not a little prejudged, in the mindes of so many as wisely consi∣der, and compare the preceeding proclamations with this which we now hear, although others who looking upon one step, and not upon the whole progresse, run on rashly, and neither considering what they are doing, nor with whom they are dealing, may bee easily deceived, Qui pauca videt, cito judicat, a short sight maketh a suddaine judgement.
That it is declared in this proclamation, that His Majestie neither intendeth to innovate any thing in religion or laws, or to admit of any change or alte∣ration in the true religion alreadie established and pro∣fessed in this kingdome: and withall, this is interpo∣sed, that the articles of Pearth are established by the acts of parliament, and generall assemblie, and dispen∣sation of the practice only granted, and discharge gi∣ven, that no person be urged with the practice there∣of; and consequently, His Majesties intention for the standing of the acts of the Assemblie and Parliament, appointing the articles of Pearth, is manifest, which Page [unnumbered] is no small prejudice to the freedome of the generall Assemblie, That while the Proclamation ordaineth all his Majesties subjects to be lyable to the tryall and censure of the Judicatories competent, and that none of them shall use any unlimited and unwarran∣ted power; likewise that no other oath bee admini∣stred to Ministers at their entrie, then that which is conteined in the Act of Parliament, in both these articles the bishops are meaned, who are only there∣by for the present curbed, against their exorbitancie and enormities, in exercing their office; but the office of bishops is thereby not only presupposed as it que∣stionable, but also so strongly established, that His Maiestie declareth for the present his intention, to admit no innovation therein, which is more evident by the indiction of the Parliament, warning all pre∣lats to bee present, as having voice and place in Par∣liament: and by the indiction of the assemblie, war∣ning all archbishops and bishops (for so are their di∣verse degrees and offices Ecclesiasticall here designed and supposed) to bee present; as having place and voice in the Assemblie, contrare to the caveats, acts of the Kirk, and our declinator; and thus a third and great limitation is put upon the generall Assemblie. The Proclamation by reason of these many reall li∣mitations, and preiudices of the libertie of the As∣semblie in the very points, which have wrought so much woe and disturbance in this Kirk and King∣dome, and wherein the libertie of the Assemblie is most usefull and necessarie at this time, can neither satisfie our grievances and complaints, nor remove our feares and doubts, nor can not without prote∣station bee admitted by us his Maiesties subiects, who Page [unnumbered] earnestly desire that Trueth and Peace may bee esta∣blished, and that for the reasons following,
1. TO keepe silence in any thing, that may serve for the good of the Kirk, whether it bee in preaching, prayer, or in proposing, and voiceing in a lawfull Assemblie of the Kirk, is against the word of God, Esai. 62. 6. Yee that are the Lords remembrance∣ers, keepe not silence, and give him no rest, till he esta∣blish, and till hee make Ierusalem a praise in the earth: 1 King. 18. 21. Like the halting of the people be∣tweene two opinions, and their not answering a word, when the LORD called them to give a testimonie; Act. 20. 20. I have keeped backe nothing that was profitable unto you: And againe, 1 Cor. 12. 7. Math. 15. 18. Rom. 1. 18. Revel. 2. 14. 20. and 3. 15, and therefore to keepe silence, or not to medle with cor∣ruptions, whether in doctrine, sacraments, worship, or discipline, in a generall Assemblie of the Kirk, con∣veened for that end, were the readie way to move the Lord to deny his Spirit unto us, and to provoke him to wrath against our proceedings, and might be imputed unto us for preiudice, for collusion, and for betraying our selves, and the posteritie.
2. This predetermination is against our supplica∣tions, and protestations, wherein wee have showne our selves so earnest for a free generall Assemblie, contrare to every limitation of this kinde, so far pre∣iudging the libertie thereof, is against the Confession of Faith, registrated in the Parliament 1567. declar∣ing, that one cause of the councels of the Kirk is for good policie and order to bee observed in the Kirk, and for to change such things as men have devised, Page [unnumbered] when they rather foster superstition then edifie the Kirk, using the same, and is against our late Con∣fession, wherein wee have promised to forbeare all novations till they bee tryed, which obligeth us to forebeare now, and to trye them in an Assembly & by all lawfull meanes to labour to recover the for∣mer puriue and libertie of the Gospell to which this limitation is directly repugnant, our libertie in age∣nerall assembly beeing the principall of all lawfull meanes serving to that end.
3, This were directly contrarie to the nature and ends of a generall assembly, which having authority from GOD, beeing conveened according to the lawes of the Kingdome, and receiving power from the whole collective bodie of the Kirk, for the good of Religion, and safety of the Kirke; What-so-ever maye conduce for these good ends in wisedome and modestie should bee proponed, examined, and de∣termined without Prelimitation, either of the mat∣ters to be treated, or of the libertie of the members thereof. It beeing manifest, that as farre as the as∣sembly is limited in the matters to bee treated, and in the members to bee used, the necessarie ends of the Assembly, and the supreme Law, which is the safetie of the Kirk, are as farre hindered, and pre∣judged.
This limitation is against the Discipline of the Kirk, which booke 2. chap. 7. declareth this to be one of her liberties, That the Assembly hath power to ab∣rogate and abolish all Statuts and ordinances concer∣ning ecclesiasticall matters that are found noysome and unprofitable and agree not with the time, or are ab∣used by the people, and against the acts of the gene∣rall Page [unnumbered] assembly. Like as the pretended Assembly 1610. declareth for the common affaires of the Kirke (with∣out exception or limitation) it is necessare that there bee yearely generall Assemblies, And what order can bee hoped for heere-after if this assembly indicted after so long intermission, and so many grosse corrup∣tions bee limited, and that more than ever any law∣full Assembly of the Kirk was, when it was yeare∣ly observed.
5. It is ordained in Parl. 11. act 40. K. Iames 6. anent the necessare and lawfull forme of all Par∣liaments that nothing shall bee done, or command∣ed to bee done, which maye directly or indirectly prejudge the libertie of free voycing or reasoning of the Estates, or any of them in time comming. It is also appointed in Parl. 6: act 92. K. Iames 6. that the Lordes of Counsell and Session proceed in all civill causes intended or depending before them, or to bee intended, to cause execute their decrees not∣withstanding any private wryting, charge, or com∣mand in the contrare, and generally by the acts of Par∣liament appointing everie matter for its owne judi∣catorie, and to all judicatories their owne freedome. And therefore much more doeth this libertie belong to the supreme judicatorie ecclesiastick in matters so important as concerneth GOD'S honour and wor∣ship immediatly, the salvation of the peoples Soules & right constitution of the Kirk whose liberties & pri∣ledges are confirmed Parl. 12. K. Iames. 6. Parl. 1. K. Charles.▪ for if it be carefully provided by diverse Acts of Parliament, especially Parl. 12. act 148. K. Iames 6. That there bee no forstalling or regrat∣ing of thinges pertaining to this naturall life: What Page [unnumbered] shall bee thought of this spirituall forstalling and re∣grating which tendeth to the famishing or poysoning of the soules of the people both now and in the generations afterward.
6. It were contrare to our Protestations, proceedings and complaints against the late innovations. And it might bee accompted an innovation and usurpation as grosse and dangerous to us, and the posteritie, and as prejudiciall to Religion as any complained upon by us, to admitt limitations, and secret or open de∣terminations, which belongeth to no person or judi∣catorie, but to an Asembly, Or to consent to, and approve by our silence the same praedeterminations It were to be guiltie of that our selves, which we cōdemne in others Wee maye easilye judge how the Apostles before the Counsell of Ierusalem, the Fathers bee fore the Nicene Councell, and our Predecessors be∣fore the assembly▪ holden at the Reformation, and af∣terwards would have taken such dealing.
That this Proclamation commandeth all his Ma∣jesties Subjects for maintenance of the Religion al∣ready established to subscribe and renew the Confes∣sion of Faith subscribed before in the yeere 1580 and afterward. And reqyreth the Lords of privie Coun∣sell to take such course anent the same, and the ge∣nerall Band of Maintenance of the true Religion, and the Kings person, that it may bee subscribed, and re∣newed throughout the whole Kingdome with all pos¦sible diligence, which cannot now be performed by us. For although of late wee would have beene glad that our selves and other his Majesties Subjects had beene commanded by authoritie to sweare, and subscribe the generall Confession of Faith against Po∣pish Page [unnumbered] errous, and superstitions: and now would bee glad that all others should joyne with us in our late Co∣uenant and Confession, descending more specially to the novations and errours of the time, and obliging us to the defence of Religion; & of the Kings Maje∣sties person, and authoritie, and for these endes to the mutuall defence everie one of us of another, Yet can wee not nowe after so necessarie. and so so∣lemne a specification returne to the generall for the reasons following.
1. No meanes have beene left unassayed against our late Confession of Faith and Covenant so solemnely sworne and subscribed. For first wee were prest with the rendering and rescinding of our Covenant. Next an alteration in some substantiall pointes was urged, 3, a Declaration was motioned, which tended to the enervation thereof, and now wee finde in the same straine, that wee are put to a new tryall, and the last meane is used more subtile than the former: That by this new subscription our late Covenant, & Confession maye bee quite absorbed and buried in oblivion, that where it was intended and sworne to bee an everlasting Covenant never to bee forgotten, it shall bee never more remembred, the one shall bee cryed up, and the other drowned in the noyse thereof, And thus the new subscription now urged (although in a different waye) shall prove equiva∣lent to the rendering of the Covenant, or what of that kinde hath before beene assayed. Like as the reasons against the rendering of the Covenant, doe militate directly against this new motion.
3. If we should now enter upon this new Subscri∣ption, wee would thinke our selves guiltie of mock∣ing Page [unnumbered] God, and taking his Name in vaine, for the tears that began to be poured forth at the solemnizing of the Covenant are not yet dryed up & wyped away, & the joyfull noyse which then began to sound hath not yet ceased▪ and there can bee no new necessitie from us, and upon our part pretended for a ground of ur∣ging this new subscription, at first intended to be an abjuration of Popery upon us who are knowne to hate poperie with an unfained hatred, and have all this yeere bygone given large testimonie of our zeale a∣gainst it. As wee are not to multiply miracles upō Gods part, so ought wee not to multiplie solemne oathes and Covenants upon our part, and thus to play with oathes, as children doe with their toyes, without necessitie.
3. Neither would wee in giving way to this new subscription think our selves free of perjurie: for as wee were driven by an undeclinable necessitie to en∣ter into a mutuall Covenant, so are wee bound, not onely by the law of GOD and nature, but by our solemne oath and subscription, against all divisive motions to promove and observe the same without violation: and it is most manifest, that having al∣ready refused to render, alter, or destroye our Co∣venant, nothing can bee more contrarie and adverse to our pious intentions and sincere resolutions, than to consent to such a subscription and oath, as both in the intention of the urgers, and in the nature and condition of the matter urged, is the readie waye to extinguish, and to drowne in oblivion the Band of our union and conjunction that they bee no more remembred. In this case we are called to lay seriously to our hearts. 1, That wee have sworne that wee Page [unnumbered] shall neither directly, nor iudirectly suffer our selves to bee divided and with-drawne from this blessed & loyall conjunction, which consisteth not only in the generall Confession but also in our explanation, and application thereof, but on the contrarie, shall by all lawfull meanes, labour to further and promove the same. 2. That our union and conjunction may bee observed without violation, (and so without mutilation of our application) wee call the living LORD to witnesse, as wee shall answere to Christ in the great Day, &c.
4. This new subscription, in stead of performing our vowes, would be a reall testimonie and confessi∣on before the World, That wee have beene trans∣gressours in making rash vowes, that wee repent our selves of former zeale and fordwardnesse against the particulars exprest first in our Supplications, Com∣plaints, and Protestations, & next abjured in our Co∣venant, that wee in our iudgment prefer the general Confession unto this, which necessarly was now made more speciall; & that we are now under the fair pre∣text and honest cover of a new oath recanting and undoing that, which upon so mature deliberation wee have beene doing before, This beside all other evills, were to make waye and open a doore to the re-entry of the particulars abjured, and to repent our selves of our chiefest consolations, and to lie both against God and our owne soules.
5. It hath beene often objected, that our Confessi∣on of faith, and Covenant was unlawfull, because it wanted the warrants of publick authoritie, and it hath beene answered by us, that wee were not de∣stitute of the warrant civill and ecclesiasticall which Page [unnumbered] authorized the former Covenant. And although wee could have wished that his Majestie had ad∣ded both his subscription and authoritie unto it, yet the lesse constraint from authoritie and the more libertie, the lesse hypocrisie, and more sin∣ceritie hath appeared: But by this new subscription urged by authoritie wee both condemne our former subscription as unlawfull. because alleadged to bee done without authoritie, and precondemne also the lyke laudable course in the like necessitie to bee taken by the posteritie,
6. What is the use of merch-stones upon borders of Lands, the like use hath Confessions of Faith in the Kirke, To disterminate and divide betwixt Trueth and errour: and the renewing and applying of Confessions of Faith to the present errours and corruptions, are not unlike ryding of merches And therfore to content our selves with the generall, and ro returne to it, from the particulare application of the Confession necessarlye made upon the invasion or creeping in of errours with∣in the borders of the Kirke, if it bee not a removeing of the merch stone from the owne place, It is at least the hyding of the merch in the ground that it bee not seene, which at this time were verie unseasonable for two causes. One is▪ because Poperie is so pregnant, and powerfull in this land, as wee have learned of late.
The other, because the Papists who upon the ur∣ging of the Service booke, and Canons,〈…〉 of our returne to Rome, will upon this our subscription aryse from their dispareing of us, unto their 〈◊〉 presumption. None of us will denye, but the 〈◊〉Confessionn of Faith registrated in the Acts of Parlia∣ment, doeth by consequence containe this short con∣fession Page [unnumbered] and abjuration: Yet were it not sufficient against Poperye to subscribe the one without the other. how then shall wee thinke that the more generall Confession and abjuration at this time, when the urging of such Popish books hath extorted from us so necessarie an ap∣plication, and doth still call for a testimonie, to bee compleet eneugh without it.
7. The Papists shall heereby bee occasioned to re∣new their old objection against us, Annuas & men∣struas sides de Deo decernunt. That our Faith chang∣eth with the Moone, or once in the yeere. Other re∣formed Kirkes might justly wonder at our inconstancie in changing our Confession without any reall necessitie, & that in one & the same yere it commeth forth larger, & more particulare, then shorter, and more generall: and our Adversaries will not faile to traduce us as troublers of the peace of the Kirke and Kingdome without anye necessar cause.
8. It will likewise prove a confirmation of their er∣rour, who think they maye both subscribe the Confes∣sion of Faith, and receive the Service booke, and Ca∣nons, which is not onely a direct scandaling of them, but also a readie waye to put a weapon in their hands against our selves, who maintaine and professe that these and such other evills are abjured in the Con∣fession of Faith.
9. It wee should now sweare this Confession wee should bee obliged by our oath to maintaine Perth ar∣ticles, which are the innovations already introduced in the worship of God, and to maintaine Episco pacie, with the civill places, and power of Kirkmen. Because wee are bound to sweare this Confession by vertue of and conforme unto the Kings command signed by his sacred Majestie of the date September 9. 1638. Page [unnumbered] (These are the very words subjoined to the Con∣fession and Band, and prefixed to the Subscriptions) and it cannot bee denyed, but any oath ministred unto us, must either bee refused; or else taken ac∣cording to the known minde, professed intention, and expresse command of Authoritie urging the same: And it is most manifest, that His Majesties minde, intenti∣on, and Commandement, is no other, but that the Confession bee sworne, fot the maintenance of reli∣gion, as it is alreadie or presently professed, (these two being coincident, altogether one and the same, not only in our common forme of speaking, but in all His Maiesties proclamations) and thus as it in∣cludeth, and conteineth within the compasse there∣of, the foresaids novations and Episcopacie, which under that name were also ratified, in the first Parli∣ament holden by his Maiestie. And where it may be objected, that the Counsellours have subscribed the Confession of Faith, as it was professed 1580. and will not urge the Subscription in an other sense upon the Subjects. We answere, First, the Act of Coun∣sell containing that declaration, is not as yet publish∣ed by Proclamation. Secondly, if it were so pu∣blished, it behooved of necessitie either be repugnant to His Majesties declared Judgement and Command, which is more not to sweare without warrand from Authoritie (a fault although unjustly often objected unto us) or else wee must affirme the Religion in the yeare 1580. and at this time to bee altogether one and the same▪ and thus must acknowledge, that there is no novation of Religion, which were a for∣mall contradiction to that we have sworn. 3. By ap∣proving the Proclamation anent the Oath to be ad∣ministred Page [unnumbered] to Ministers, according to the Act of Par∣liament, which is to sweare simple obedience to the Diocesan Bishop, and by warning all Archbishops and Bishops to bee present; as having voice and place in the Assemblie: They seeme to determine, that in their Judgement the Confession of Faith, as it was professed 1580. doeth consist with Episcopacie, where∣as Wee by our oath have referred the tryall of this or any other question of that kinde to the generall Assemblie and Parliament.
10. This Subscription and oath in the minde and intention of authoritie, and consequently in our swear∣ing thereof, may consist with the corruptions of the Service book and Canons, which wee have abjured as other heads of Poperie: For both this present pro∣clamation, and his Majesties former proclamations at Linlithgow, Striveling, Edinburgh; The Lords of pri∣vie Counsell in their approbation of the same; and the prelates and doctors who stand for the Service book and Canons, Doe all speake plainly, or import so much, That these bookes are not repugnant to the Confession of Faith, and that the introduceing of them is no novation of religion or law: And there∣fore wee must either refuse to subscribe now, or we must confesse contrarie to our late Oath, and to a cleare Trueth, that the Service booke and Canons are no innovations in Religion. And, although the present bookes bee discharged by proclamation, yet if wee shall by any deed of our owne testifie, that they may consist with our Confession of Faith, with∣in a very short time, either the same books, or some other like unto them, with some small change, may bee obtruded upon us, who by Our abjuration Page [unnumbered] (if wee adhere unto it) have fred both our selves, and the posteritie of all such corruptions, and have laide a faire foundation for the pure worship of God in all time coming.
11. Although there be indeed no substantiall dif∣ference betweene that which Wee have subscribed, and the Confession subscribed 1580. more then there is betweene that which is hid, and that which is re∣vealed. A march stone hid in the ground, and un∣covered, betwixt the hand closed and open, betwixt a sword scheathed and drawn, or betwixt the large Confession, registrat in the Acts of Parliament, and the short Confession, or (if we may with reverence ascend yet higher) betweene the Old Testament and the New, yet as to scheath our sword when it should bee drawne, were imprudencie; or at the command∣ment of Princes, professedly popish in their domini∣ons, after the Subjects had subscribed both Confes∣sions, to subscribe the first without the second▪ or at the will of a Jewish Magistrate, openly denying the New Testament, to subscribe the Old alone, after that they have subscribed both, were horrible impietie against God, and treacherie against the Trueth: Right so, for Us to subscribe the former a-part, as it is now urged and framed, without the explanation and ap∣plication thereof at this time, when ours is rejected; and the subscribers of the former refuse to subscribe ours, as containing something substantially different, and urge the former upon us, as different from ours, and not expressing the speciall abjuration of the evils, supplicated against by us, were nothing else, but to deny and part from our former subscription, if not formally, yet interpretatively. Old Eleazar, who Page [unnumbered] would not seeme to eat forbidden meat, and the Con∣fessors and Martyres of old, who would not seeme by delivering some of their papers, to render the Bible, or to deny the Trueth, may teach us our duetie in this case, although our lives were in hazard for re∣fusing this Subscription: And who knoweth, but the LORD▪ may bee calling His people now, who have proceeded so farre in professing His Trueth at this time, to such Trials and Confessions, as His faithfull Witnesses have given of old; that in this point also our doing may bee a document both to the succeeding ages, and to other Kirks to whom for the present wee are made a spectacle.
12. If any bee so forgetfull of his oath (which God forbid) as to subscribe this Confession, as it is now urged, he doeth according to the proclamation acquiesce in this declaration of his Majesties will, and doeth accept of such a pardon as hath need to bee ratified in parliament, And thus doeth turn our glorie unto shame, by confessing our guiltinesse, where God from Heaven hath made us guiltlesse, and by the fire of His Spirit from Heaven hath ac∣cepted of our service, And doeth depart from the commandement of God, the practise of the Godly in former times, and the worthie and laudable ex∣ample of our worthie and religious progenitours, in obedience whereof, and conforme to which Wee made profession to subscribe: for there is no particular Act required of us, to whom the pardon is presen∣ted in this proclamation, but this new Subscription allanerlie.
13, The generall band now urged to be subscri∣bed, as it containeth many clauses not so fitting the pre∣sent Page [unnumbered] time as that wherein it was subscribed, so is it deficient in a point, at this time most necessarie, Of the reformation of our lives, that we shall answerablie to our profession, be examples to others, of all Godlinesse, sobernesse and righteousnesse and of every duetie wee ow to GOD and man; without which we can not now sub∣scribe this Confession, least we loose the bands to wicked∣nesse, seeme to repent of our former resolutions and pro∣mises, and chose to have our portion with hypocrites, professing and sweareing that we know GOD, but in our workes denying him, being abominable, disobedient, and unto every good worke reprobate.
14. Since the narrative of the generall hand is now changed, and some lines, expressing at length the Pa∣pists, and their adherents to be the partie from whom the danger to religion, and the Kings Majestie was threatned, are left out, and no designation made of the partie from whom the danger is now threatred, We are made either to thinke, that our subscription at this time is unnecessarie; or to suspect that we who have supplicated and entered in Covenant, are understood to be the partie; especially since the Lords of Coun∣sell have in the act September 22. ratifiing the Pro∣clamation, found themselves bound to use their best endeavours, that all his Majesties good Subjects may rest satisfied with his Majesties declaration, since also we have beene (although undeservedly challenged of disorders, distractions, and dangers to religion, and his Majesties authoritie, and since in the forsaid act and in the missive directed to his Majestie, the Lords of Councell offer their lives, and fortunes to his Majestie, in repressing all such, as shall hereafter prease to dis∣turbe the peace of this Kirk and Kingdome, which Page [unnumbered] being expressed in a generalitie is by many applyed to us and interpreted of our adhereing to our Cove∣nant; We should therefore, by our subscription of the Covenant, as it is now conceaved, both do di∣rectly against our owne mindes, in condemning our selves, wherein we are innocent, and should consent to our owne hurt to the suppressing of the cause which we maintaine, and to the repressing mutually one of us of another, directly contrare, to our former solemne oath and subscription.
15. The Subscribing of this Confession by the Lords of his Majesties privie Counsell, who by their place and high employment are publicke Peace-ma∣kers, and by others who have not subscribed the late Confession will make the breach wider, and the lamen∣table division of this Kirk more desperate then ever before; some haveing sworne to labour by all lawfull meanes to recover the former libertie, and puritie of re∣ligion▪ and others maintaining that for puritie, which is already established, some believing and professing that the evils supplicated against, are abjured in that Confession of Faith; and others maintaining the Con∣fession of Faith, and these corruptions (although for the present discharged by authority) not to be in∣consistent: and beside this many divisions and subdi∣visions will ensue to the dulefull renting of the Kirk and Kingdome, makeing way for the wrath and ma∣ny iudgements of God often threatned by his faith∣full servants, which all the Godly ought to labour by all means to prevent.
16. Wee represent also to the honourable Lords of privie counsell to bee considered, That the Do∣ctrine, Discipline, and Vse of Sacraments are sworn, Page [unnumbered] and the contrare abjured, according to the Word of God, and the meaning of the Kirk of Scotland, in the books of Discipline, and Acts of Assemblies, And that in the Oath there is no place left to the genera∣lity of any mans conception of the true Faith and Re∣ligion, nor to any private interpretation, or mentall reservation.
For these and the like considerations, In our own name, and in name of all who will adhere to the late Covenant, subscribed by us, and sealed from Hea∣ven, We from our duetie to God, our King, our na∣tive countrey, our selves, and the posteritie, least our silence import a satisfaction of our desires, and a stop∣ping of our mouth, from necessarie supplication for things yet to bee obteined from His Majesties just and gracious disposition, are constrained to declare and protest, First, That the cause and occasion of the distractions of the kirk and commonwealth, are no wayes to be imputed unto us, or our needlesse fears, but to the innovations and corruptions of Religion, which against the acts and order of this kirk, and the lawes of the kingdome have beene pressed upon us the people of GOD, and his Majesties loyall Subjects; who, although under great thraldome, were living in peace and quietnesse, labouring in all godlinesse and honestie to do our duety to God and man. Se∣condly, We protest, that all questions and doubtes that arise, concerning the freedome of the Assemblie whether in the constitution, and members thereof, or in the matters to bee treated, or in the manner and order of proceeding, be remitted to the determina∣tion of the assemblie it selfe, as the only proper and competent iudge; And that it shall be lawfull for Page [unnumbered] us, being authorized with lawfull commissions, as at other times when the urgent necessitie of the Kirk shall require, so in this exigence to assemble our selves at the diet appointed, notwithstanding any impediment or prorogation to the contrare. And being assem∣bled, against all qualifications and predeterminations, or presupposals, to propone, treat, reason, vote, and conclude, according to the Word of God, Confession of Faith, and acts of lawfull Assemblies, in all Ecclesi∣asticall matters; perteining to the assemblie, and tending to the advancement of the Kingdome of Christ and good of Religion.
Thirdly, since Archbishops and Bishops have no warrand for their office in this Kirk, since it is con∣trare both to reason and to the Actes of the Kirk, that any have place and voice in the Assemblie, who are not authorized with lawfull commissions: And seeing both in commoun equitie, and by the tenor of this Proclamation they are made lyable to the tryall and censure of the Assemblie, Wee protest, that they bee not present, as having place or voice in the Assemblie, but as rci to compeere, for under∣lying tryall and censure upon the generall complaints alreadie made; and the partiular accusations to bee given in against them; And that the warning given by His Majesties Proclamation, and this our Prote∣station, bee a sufficient citation to them, to compeer before the Assemblie, for their tryall, and censure in life, office, and benefice.
Fourthly, We solemnly protest, that We do con∣stantly adhere to our Oath and Subscription of the Confession of Faith and Covenant, lately renewed and approven, with rare and undenyable evidences Page [unnumbered] from heaven; of the wonderfull workeings of his Spi∣rit, in the hearts both of Pastors and people, through all the parts of the kingdome, And that we stand to all parts and clauses thereof, and particularly to the explanation and application, containing both our abjuration of, and our union against the particular evils and corruptions of the time, a duety which the Lord at this time especially craveth at our hands.
Fifthly, We also Protest, that none of us who have Subscribed, and doe adhere to our Subscription of the late Covenant, be charged, or urged, either to procure the subscriptions of others or to subscribe our selves unto any other Confession or Covenant, con∣teining any derogation there unto, especially that men∣tioned in the Proclamation, without the necessary explanation and the application thereof alreadie sworn by us for the reasons above expressed: And because, as we did in our former Protestation appeale from the Lords of His Majesties Counsell, so doe we now by these renew our solemne appeale, with all solem∣nities requisite unto the next free generall Assemblie and Parliament, as the only supreame nationall Judi∣catories competent, to judge of nationall causes and proceedings.
Sixthly, Wee Protest, That no subscription, whe∣ther by the Lords of Counsell or others, of the Con∣fession, mentioned in the Proclamation, and enjoin∣ed for the maintenance of religion, as it is now al∣readie▪ or at this present time established, and pro∣fessed within this Kingdome, without any innovation of religion or Law, be any manner of way prejudici∣all to our Covenant, wherein we have sworne to for∣beare the practise of Novations alreadie introduced, &c. Page [unnumbered] Till they be tryed in a free Assemblie, And to labour by all lawfull meanes, to recover the puritie and libertie of the Gospell as it was established and professed before the foresaid innovations: And in like manner that no subscription forsaid be any derogation to the true and sound meaning of our worthie predecessours at the time of their Subscription in the year 1581. and af∣terward. Withall warneing and exhorting all men who lay to heart the cause of religion against the coruptions of the time and the present estate of things, both to subscribe the Covenant as it hath been ex∣plained, and necessarely applied, and as they love the puritie and libertie of the Gospell to hold back their hands from all other Covenants, till the Assemblie now indicted be conveined, and determine the present differences and divisions, and preserve this countrey from contrarie oathes.
Seventhly, As his Majesties royall clemency ap∣peareth, In forgiving and forgetting what his Ma∣jestie conceaveth to be a disorder or done amisse, In the proceeding of any; So are we very confident of his Majesties approbation to the integritie of our hearts, and peaceablenesse of our wayes, and actions all this time past: And therefore, We Protest, that we still adhere to our former complaints, Protestations, lawfull meetings, proceedings, mutuall defences, &c. All which as they have beene in themselves lawfull, so were they to us, pressed with so many grievances in his Majesties absence from this native Kingdome most necessarie, and ought to be regarded as good offices, and pertinent duties of faithfull Christians, loyall Subjects, and sensible members of this Kirk and Common-wealth, As wee trust at all occa∣sions Page [unnumbered] to make manifest to all good men, especially to his sacred Majestie for whose long and prosperous government, that we may live a peacable and quiete life in all Godlinesse and Honestie, We earnestly pray.
WHereupon a Noble Earle, Iames Earle of Montrose, &c. in name of the Noble men, Master Alexander Gibson, younger, of Durie, in name of the Barons; George Porterfield Merchant Burges of Glasgow, in name of the Borrowes, Master Harie Rollogue Minister, at Edinburgh, in name of the Ministers, and Master Archbald Iohnston, reader heereof, in name of all who adhere to the Confessi∣on of Faith and Covenant, lately renewed within this Kingdome, tooke instruments in the hands of three Notars present, at the said mercat crosse of Edinburgh, being invironed with great numbers of the forsaid Noblemen▪ Barons, Gentlemen, Borrowes, Ministers and Commons, before many hundred witnesses, and craved the extract thereof: And in token of their duetifull respect to his Majestie, confidence of the equitie of their cause, and innocencie of their carriage and hope of his Majesties gratious acceptance, they offred in all humilitie with submisse reverence a copie thereof to the Herauld.