THE COVENANT: WITH A Narrative OF The Proceedings and Solemn Manner of Taking it by the Honourable House of COMMONS, and Reverent Assembly of DIVINES the 25th day of Septem­ber, at Saint Margarets in Westminster.

ALSO, TWO SPEECHES Delivered at the same time; The one By Mr. Philip Nye, The other By Mr. Alexander Hendersam.

Published by speciall Order of the House.


Printed for Thomas Vnderhill at the Bible in Wood-Street, 1643.

THE COVENANT, That was read, svvorn unto, and subscribed by the Honourable House of Commons, and Reverend Assembly of DIVINES, the 25. of September.

WE Noblemen; Barons, Knights, Gentlemen, Citizens, Burgesses, Ministers of the Go­spell, and Commons of all sorts in the Kingdomes of England, Scotland, and Ire­land, by the providence of God, living under one King, and being of one Reformed Religion; Having before our eyes, the glory of God, and the advancement of the Kingdome of our Lord and Saviour Iesus Christ, the Honour and happinesse of the Kings Majestie, and His [Page 2] posterity; and the true publique Liberty, Safety, and Peace of the Kingdomes; wherein every ones private condition is included: And calling to minde the trea­cherous and bloody Plots, Conspiracies, Attempts, and practises of the enemies of God, against the true Religi­on, and Professors thereof, in all places, especially in these three Kingdomes, ever since the Reformation of Religion: And how much their rage, power, and pre­sumption, are of late, and at this time encreased, and ex­ercised, whereof the deplorable Estate of the Church and Kingdome of Ireland, the distressed Estate of the Church and Kingdome of England, and the dangerous Estate of the Church and Kingdome of Scotland, are pre­sent and publique Testimonies: We have now at last (after other meanes of Supplication, Remonstrance, Protestations, and Sufferings)▪ for the Preservation of our selves, and our Religion, from utter ruine and destru­ction, according to the commendable practise of these Kingdoms in former times, and the example of Gods people in other Nations, after mature deliberation, re­solved and determined, to enter into a mutuall, and so­lemne League, and Covenant, wherein we all subscribe; And each one of us for himselfe, with hands lifted up to the most high God, doe sweare:

1 That wee shall sincerely, really, and constantly, through the Grace of God, endeavour in our severall Pla­ces, and Callings, the preservation of the Reformed Religion in the Church of Scotland in Doctrine, Wor­ship, Discipline, and Government against our common enemies; The Reformation of Religion in the King­domes of England, and Ireland, in Doctrine, Worship, Discipline, and Government, according to the Word [Page 3] of God, and the example of the best Reformed Chur­ches. And shall endeavour to bring the Churches of God in the three Kingdomes, to the neerest Con­junction and Vniformity in Religion, Confession of Faith, Forme of Church Government, directory for Worship, and Catechizing, That we and our Posterity after us, may as Brethren, live in Faith and love; and the Lord may delight to dwell in the midst of us.

2 That we shall in like manner without respect of persons, endeavour the extirpation of Popery, Prelacy, (that is, Church-government by Arch-Bishops, Bi­shops, their Chancellours and Commissaries, Deanes, Deanes and Chapters, Arch-deacons, and all other Ecclesiasticall Officers, depending on that Hierarchy) Superstition, Heresie, Schisme, Prophanenesse, and what­soever shall be found to be contrary to found Doctrine, and the power of Godlinesse; lest we partake in other mens sinnes, and thereby be in danger to receive of their plagues: And that the Lord may be one, and his Name one in the three Kingdomes.

3 We shall with the same Sincerity, Reality, and Constancy, in our severall Vocations, endeavour with our Estates, and Lives, mutually, to preserve the Rights and Priviledges of Parliaments, and the Liberties of the Kingdomes: And to preserve, and defend the Kings Ma­jesties Person, and Authority, in the preservation and defence of the true Religion and Liberties of the Kingdome: That the World may beare witnesse with our Consciences, of our Loyalty; And that we have no thoughts, or intentions to diminish His Majesties just Power and Greatnesse.

4 We shall also with all faithfulnesse endeavour [Page 4] the discovery of all such as have beene, or shall be Incen­diaries, Malignants, or evill Instruments, by hindering the Reformation of Religion, dividing the King from his People, or one of the Kingdomes from another, or making any Faction, or Parties amongst the People, con­trary to this League and Covenant; that they may be brought to publicke tryall, and receive condigne punish­ment, as the degree of their offences shall require, or deserve: Or the supreame Judicatories of both King­domes respectively, or others having power from them for that effect, shall judge convenient.

5 And whereas the happinesse of a blessed Peace be­tweene these Kingdomes, denyed in former times to our Progenitors, is by the good providence of God granted unto us, and hath beene lately concluded and setled by both Parliaments; We shall each one of us according to our Place and Interest, endeavour▪ That they may re­maine conjoyned in a firme Peace and Vnion to all po­sterity; And that Justice may be done upon the wilfull opposers thereof in manner expressed in the precedent Article.

6 We shall also according to our Places and Callings in this common Cause of Religion, Liberty, and Peace of the Kingdomes, assist and defend all those that en­ter into this League, and Covenant▪ in the maintenance and pursuing thereof; And shall not suffer our selves, directly, or indirectly, by whatsoever Combination, Perswasion, or Terrour▪ to be divided, or withdrawn from this blessed Vnion, and Conjunction; Whether to make defection to the contrary part; Or to give our selves to a detestable indifferency, or neutrality in this Cause, which so much concerneth the Glory of God, the good [Page 5] of the Kingdomes, and Honour of the King; But shall all the dayes of our lives, zealously and constantly con­tinue therein, against all opposition; And promote the same according to our power, against all Lets, and Im­pediments whatsoever: And what we are not able our selves to suppresse, or overcome, we shall reveale, and make knowne, that it may be timely prevented or remo­ved. All which we shall doe as in the sight of God.

And because these Kingdomes are guilty of many sinnes and provocations against God, and his Sonne Iesus Christ, as is too manifest by our present distresses▪ and dangers, the fruits therof; We professe and declare before God and the world, our unfained desire to be humbled for our owne sinnes, and for the sinnes of these Kingdomes, especially, that we have not as we ought valued the inestimable benefit, of the Gospel; That we have not labored for the purity and power thereof, and that we have not endeavored to receive Christ in our hearts, nor to walk worthy of him in our lives, which are the causes of other sinnes and transgressions, so much abounding amongst us; And our true and unfained purpose, desire, and endeavour for our selves, and all others under our power and charge, both in publicke and in private, in all duties wee owe to God and man, to amend our lives, and each one to goe before another in the example of a reall Reformation, that the Lord may turne away his wrath, and heavy indignation, and establish these Churches and Kingdomes in Truth and Peace. And this Covenant we make in the presence of Almighty God, the searcher of hearts, with a true intention to perform the same, as we shall answer at that great day when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed: Most humbly beseeching the Lord to streng­then us by his Holy Spirit for this end, and to blesse our de­sires [Page 6] and proceedings with such successe, as may be delive­rance and safety to his people, and encouragement to other Christian Churches groaning under, or in danger of the yoak of Antichristian Tyranny, to joyne in the same, or like Associ­ation and Covenant, to the glory of God, the enlargement of the Kingdome of Iesus Christ, and the Peace and Tranquil­lity of Christian Kingdomes and Common-wealths.

The Proceedings of the Covenant, with the manner of taking thereof by the Honourable House of COMMONS, and the Reverend Assembly of DIVINES.

THe Commissioners sent from the Honourable Houses of Parliament to the Kingdome of Scot­land, having (besides other weighty Affaires) in­structions to take into consideration whatsoever might be effectuall for bringing the two Kingdoms to a more neer Conjunction and Union, there was a Committee of the Honourable Convention of Estates in Scotland, and another Committee of the Generall Assembly of the Church designed to joyne with them in this great and necessary consultation, in which, after much agitati­on, the result and conclusion was, that a solemne League and Covenant taken mutually by both Kingdomes, would be the most conducing meanes to such a happy Vnion. Thereupon a form of Covenant by their Com­mon [Page 7] assent was agreed upon, and presented to bee read and considered of, in the Generall Assembly; where it had assent and approbation: and was thence recommen­ded to the Convention of Estates, by an Order of the Assembly, as followeth.

Edenb. August. 17. 1643. Sess. 14.

THe Assembly having recommended unto a Committee appointed by them to joyne with the Committee of the Honourable Convention of Estates, and the Commissioners of the Honourable House of the Parliament of England, Certaine Propositions presented unto them by the aforesaid Commissioners of the Honourable House of the Parliament of England, for bringing the two kingdoms to a more neere Conjunction and Vnion, received from the aforesaid Commit­tees, the Covenant under-written, as the result of their Con­sultations; And having taken the same as a matter of so pub­like concernment, and of so deep importance, doth require unto their gravest consideration, Did with all their hearts and with the beginnings of that joy which they did finde in so great measure upon the Renovation of the Nationall Co­venant of this Kirk and Kingdome, All with one voice ap­prove and embrace the same, as the most powerfull meane by the blessing of God for setling and preserving the true Protestant Religion with perfect Peace in His Majesties Dominions, and propagating the same to other Nations, and for establi­shing his Majesties Throne to all Ages and Generations. And therefore with their best affections recommend the same to the Honourable Convention of Estates, that being exami­ned and approved by them, it may be sent with all diligence unto the Kingdome of England, That being received and [Page 8] approven there, the same may be with publick humiliation, and all religious and answerable solemnity sworne and subscribed by all true Professors of the Reformed Religion, and all His Majesties good Subjects in both Kingdomes.

Ar. Jhonston Cler. Eccl.

From that Honourable Convention it obtained like approbation, with a recommendation to the Kingdom of England, as in this Order of theirs appeareth.

At Edinburgh. 17. of August, 1643.

THe Noblemen, Commissioners of Shires and Bur­roughs now convened, having received the Covenant above-written from their Committee as the result of their consultations with a Committee of their generall Assembly and the Commissioners of both Houses from the Parliament of England, and having taken the Covenant into their gravest consideration, did with all their hearts, and great ex­pressions of joy and unanimity approve and embrace the same as the most powerfull meane, by the blessing of God, for setling and preserving the true Protestant Religion with a perfect peace in all his Majesties Dominions, and propaga­ting the same to other Nations, and for establishing his Majesties Throne to all ages: And being very confident that their Brethren in the Kingdome of England will hear­tily receive and approve the same; Therefore according to the earnest recommendation of that venerable Assembly of this Kirk now thinks it most necessary for the good ends afore-said, that it be sent into that Kingdome with all dili­gence, that being received and approved by their Brethren [Page 9] there, the same may be with all religious solemnities swerne and subscribed by all true Professours of the Reformed Re­ligion, and all his Majesties good Subjects in both King­domes. Extract.

Arch. Primrose, Cler. Conven.

Some Commissioners also, were sent from the Gene­rall Assembly of the Church of Scotland, with instructi­ons for furthering the Covenant and the intended union of the Churches of both Kingdoms. This Covenant be­ing presented to the Honourable House of Commons, and considered by them in the severall branches and Arti­cles thereof, was recommended to a Committee to be chosen of their own Members, and sorne of the Divines of the Assembly, together with the Commissioners sent from Scotland, to the intent that some expressions might be farther explained, and that the Kingdome of Ireland also might bee expresly taken into the same league and Covenant with us: Which being done with great care and diligence by those Committees and Commissio­ners, It was then read in the Assembly of Divines, and afterwards in the House of Commons, and received a most full and universall assent from the Members of both, Nemine contradicente. This form of Covenant was pre­sented also to the House of Lords, by whom likewise it was taken into consideration, and approved of, as fit to be entred into by the three Kingdomes.

On Friday the 22. of September it was concluded by the House, this Oath and Covenant should be solemnly ta­ken publikely in the Church at Westminster, called Saint Margarets Church, the Monday following, by the House of Commons and the Assembly of Divines: To which [Page 10] purpose an Order was sent to the Assembly from the House to give them notice thereof; and that some of the Assembly be appointed to pray and to exhort, for the more solemn celebrating of so serious and weighty a service. The Assembly appointed Mr. Philip Nye to make the exhortation, Mr. Iohn White to pray before, and Mr. Dr. Gouge to pray after the exhortation. The House met at the usuall place, and thence went with their Speaker to the Church; the Assembly also at the same time with their Prolocutor. A Psalme being sung, so­lemne prayer was made, after the prayer an exhortation to the Honourable House and Reverend Divines en­couraging them to this work as a work of a marvellous high nature and concernment. This being ended, Mr. Alexander Hendersam, one of the Commissioners sent from the Assembly of the Church of Scotland, being also desired thereunto, made a Speech to the like purpose.

Then the Covenant was read, notice being first given to the Assembly, that after the hearing of it, each per­son should immediately by swearing, worship the great Name of God, and testifie so much outwardly by lifting up their hands: which was all done very so­lemnly and with so much joy seen in their countenances, and manifested by clapping of their hands, as was suta­ble to the gravity of such a worke, and the sadnesse of the present times.

Both Assemblies having thus sworn, with whom the Commissioners from Scotland joyned, the Speaker with the Members of the House of Commons, went up into the Chancell, and there subscribed their names in a Roll of Parchment provided for that purpose, in which this Covenant was fairly written, and afterward the Prolocu­tor, [Page 11] the Commissioners from Scotland, and the Members of the Assembly of Divines did the like in another Roll, which being finished, the Name of God was again solemnly invocated, and praises returned for vouch­safing this Church and Kingdome so happy and joyfull a day; a Psalme was sung, and then the Assembly dis­missed.

An Exhortation made to the Honoura­ble House of Commons and Reverend Di­vines of the Assembly, by Mr. Nye before he read the Covenant.

A Great and solemn work (Honourable and Reve­rend) this day is put into our hands, let us stir up and awaken our hearts unto it. We deale with God as well as with men, and with God in his great­nesse and excellencie, for by him we sweare, and at the same time we have to doe with God and his good­nesse, who now reacheth out unto us a strong and sea­sonable arme of assistance. The goodnesse of God pro­curing succour and help to a sinfull and afflicted people (such are we) ought to be matter of feare and trembling even to all that heare of it, Ier. 33. 9. We are to exalt and acknowledge him this day who is fearefull in praises, sweare by that Name which is holy and reverent, enter into a Covenant and league that is never to bee forgot­ten by us nor our posterity, and the fruit I hope of it [Page 12] shall be so great, as both we and they shall have cause to remember it with joy; and such an Oath as for matter, persons, and other circumstances, the like hath not been in any age or Oath we read of in sacred or humane Sto­ries, yet sufficiently warranted in both.

The parties ingaging in this league are three King­doms, famous for the knowledge, and acknowledgement of Christ above all the Kingdoms in the world; to swear before such a presence, should mould the spirit of man into a great deale of reverence; what then to be engaged, to be incorporated, and that by sacred Oath, with such an high and Honourable Fraternity? An Oath is to be esteemed so much the more solemn, by how much grea­ter the persons are that sweare each to other: as in hea­ven when God sweares to his Son, on earth when Kings sweare each to other; so in this businesse, where King­domes sweare mutually.

And as the solemnity of an Oath is to bee measured by the persons swearing, so by the matter also that is to be sworne to; God would not sweare to the Covenant of works, he intended not to honour it so much, it was not to continue, it was not worthy of an Oath of his; but to the Covenant of grace, which is the Gospel, he swears and repents not of it. God sweares for the salvati­on of men, and of Kingdoms: And if Kingdoms sweare, what subject of an Oath becommeth them better then the preservation and salvation of Kingdomes, by establish­ing the Kingdome of a Saviour amongst them, even our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who is a Mediator and Saviour for Nations as well as particular persons?

The end also is great and honourable, as either of the former, Two is better then one, saith He who best knoweth [Page 13] what is best; and from whom alone every thing hath the goodnesse it hath. Association is of divine Off­spring; not only the being of Creatures, but the putting of them together: the cluster as well as the grape is the work of God: confort and harmony amongst men, especially amongst Saints, is very pleasing unto the Lord. If when but two or three agree and assent upon any thing on earth, it shall be confirmed in heaven; and for this, because they gather together in his name, much more when two or three Kingdomes shall meet and consent together in his name and for his name, that God may bee one, and his name one amongst them, and his pre­sence amidst them. That prayer of Christ seemeth to proceed from a feeling sense of his own blessednesse; Father, that they may be one, as thou in me, &c. Unity amongst his Churches and Children must needs there­fore be very acceptable unto him: For out of the more deep sense desires are fetcht from within us, the more pleasing will be the answer of them unto us. Churches and Kingdomes are deare to God, his patience towards them, his compassions over them, more then particu­lar persons, sheweth it plainly. But Kingdoms willingly engaging themselves for his Kingdome, his Christ, his Saints, the purity of Religion, his worship, and Govern­ment, in all particulars, and in all humility, sitting down at his feet to receive the law and the rule from his mouth; what a price doth hee set upon such? Espe­cially when (as we this day) sensible of our infirmity, of an unfaithfull heart not steddy with our God, but apt to start from the cause, if we feele the knife or the fire; who binde our selves with cords, as a sacrifice to the hornes of the Altar. We invocare the name of the great [Page 14] God, that his vowes, yea his curse may be upon us, if we doe not this; yea though we suffer for so doing: that is, if we endeavour not so farre as the Lord shall assist us by his grace, to advance the Kingdom of the Lord Je­sus Christ here upon earth, and make Jerusalem once more the praise of the whole world, notwithstanding all the contradictions of men.

What is this but the contents and matter of our Oath? What doe we covenant? What doe we vow? Is it not the preservation of Religion, where it is reformed, and the Reformation of Religion, where it needs? Is it not the Reformation of three Kingdomes, and a Re­formatiom universall, Doctrine, Discipline, and Wor­ship, in whatsoever the Word shall discover unto us? To practise, is a fruit of love; to reforme, a fruit of zeale; but so to reforme, will be a token of great prudence, and circumspection in each of these Churches. And all this to be done according to Gods word, the best Rule, and according to the best reformed Churches, the best interpreters of this Rule. If England hath obtained to any greater perfection in so handling the word of righteousnesse, and truths, that are according to godli­nesse, as to make men more godly, more righteous: And if in the Churches of Scotland any more light and beau­ty in matters of Order and Discipline, by which their Assemblies are more orderly: Or if to any other Church or person it hath beene given better to have learned Christ in any of his wayes then any of us; wee shall humbly bow, and kisse their lips that can speak right words unto us in this matter, and help us into the nearest uniformity with the word and minde of Christ in this great work of Reformation.

[Page 15]Honourable and Reverend Brethren, there cannot be a more direct and effectuall way to exhort and perswade the wise, and men of sad and serious spirits (and such are you to whom I am commanded to speak this day) then to let into their understandings the weight, and worth, and great importance of the work they are per­swaded unto. This Oath is such, and in the matter and consequence of it, of such concernment, as I can truly say, it is worthy of us, yea of all these Kingdomes, yea of all the Kingdoms of the World; for it is swearing fealty and allegeance unto Christ the King of Kings; and a giving up of all these Kingdomes, which are his in­heritance, to be subdued more to his Throne, and ruled more by his Scepter, upon whose shoulders the govern­ment is laid, and in the encrease of whose Government and peace there shall be no end, Esa. 9. Yea, we finde this very thing in the utmost accomplishment of it, to have been the Oath of the greatest Angel that ever was, who setting his feet upon two of Gods Kingdomes, the one upon the Sea, the other upon the Earth, lifting up his hand to heaven, as you are to doe this day, and so swearing, Rev. 10. The effect of that Oath you shall find to bethis, that the kingdoms of the world become the king­domes of the Lord and his Christ, and he shall reigne for ever, Rev. 11. His Oath was for the full and finall accomplishment, this of yours for a graduall, yet a great performance towards it.

That which the Apostles and Primitive times did so much and so long pray for, though never long with much quietnesse enioyed, that which our Fathers in these latter times have fasted, prayed and mourned after, yet attained not; even the cause which many deare Saints now with [Page 16] God, have furthered by extreamest sufferings, poverty, imprisonment, banishment, death, even ever since the first dawning of Reformation: That and the very same is the very cause and work that we are come now, through the mercy of Jesus Christ, not only to pray for, but sweare to. And surely it can be no other, but the re­sult and answer of such prayers and teares of such since­rity and sufferings, that three Kingdoms should be thus born, or rather new born in a day; that these Kingdoms should be wrought about to so great an engagement, then which nothing is higher, for to this end Kings raign, Kingdomes stand, and States are upheld.

It is a speciall grace and favour of God unto you Brethren, Reverend and Honourable, to vouchsafe you the opportunity, and to put into your hearts (as this day) to engage your lives and estates in matters so much concerning him and his glory. And if you should doe no more but lay a foundation stone in this great work, and by so doing engage posteritie after you to finish it, it were honour enough: But there may yet further use be made of you, who now are to take this Oath, you are de­signed as chiefe master Builders and choyce Instruments for the effecting of this settled Peace and Reformati­on; which if the Lord shall please to finish in your hands, a greater happinesse on earth, nor a greater means to augment your glory and crown in heaven, you are not capable of. And this let me further adde for your encouragement, of what extensive good and fruit in the successe of it, this very Oath may prove to be, wee know not. God hath set his Covenant like the Hea­vens, not onely for duration, but like also for exten­sion: The Heavens move and roule about, and so com­municate [Page 17] their light, and heat, and vertue, to all places and parts of the earth; so doth the Covenant of God, so may this gift be given to other Covenants that are framed to that pattern. How much this solémn League and Oath may provoke other Reformed Churches to a further Reformation of themselves; what light and heat it may communicate abroad to other parts of the world, it is only in Him to define to whom is given the utmost ends of the earth for his inheritance, and worketh by his exceeding great power great things out of as small beginnings.

But however, this I am sure of, it is a way in all proba­bility most likely to enable us to preserve and defend our religion against our common enemies, and possible a more sure foundation this day will be laid for ruining Popery and Prelacy, the chiefe of them, then as yet wee have been led unto in any age.

For Popery, it hath beene a Religion ever dexterous in fencing and muniting it selfe by association and joynt strength; all sorts of Professors amongst them are cast into Fraternities and Brother-hoods, and these Orders carefully united by Vow one with another and under some more generall notion of common dependency. Such States also and Kingdoms as they have thus made theirs; they endeavour to improve and secure by strict combinations and leagues each to other, witnesse of late yeares that La Sainte ligue, the holy league. It will not bee unworthy your consideration, whether seeing the preservation of Popery hath beene by Leagues and Covenants, God may not make a League or Covenant to be the destruction of it▪ Nay, the very rise of Popery seemeth to be after such a manner by [Page 18] Kings, that is, Kingdomes assenting and agreeing per­haps by some joynt Covenant (the Text saith, with one minde, why not then with one mouth?) to give their power and strength unto the Beast, and make war against the Lamb, Rev. 17. where you read the Lamb shall over­come the Beast, and possibly with the same weapons, he is the Lord of Lords, and King of Kings, he can unite Kings and Kingdomes, and give them one minde also to destroy the Whore and be her utter ruine; And may not this dayes work be a happy beginning of such a bles­sed expedition?

Prelacie another common enemy, that we Covenant and sweare against, what hath it been, or what hath the strength of it been, but a subtile combination of Clergy­men formed into a policy or body of their own inven­tion framing themselves into Subordination and De­pendencie one upon another, so that the interest of each is improved by all, and a great power by this meanes acquired to themselves; as by sad experience we have lately found: The joynts and Members of this body, you know were knit together by the sacred engagement of an Oath, the Oath of Canonicall obedience as they cal­led it: You remember also with what cunning and in­dustrie they endeavoured lately to make this Oath and Covenant more sure for themselves and their posterity▪ And intended a more publike, solemn and universall en­gagement, then since Popery this cause of theirs was ever maintained or supported by. And questionlesse▪ Ireland and Scotland also must at last have been brought into this holy league with England. But blessed be the Lord, and blessed be his good [...]and the Parliament, that from the indignation of their spirits against so horrid a [Page 19] yoke, have dashed out the very braines of this project; and are now this day present before the Lord to take and give possession of this blessed Ordinance, even an Oath and Covenant as solemn and of as large extent as they intended theirs; uniting these three Kingdoms into such a League and happy combination as will doubtlesse preserve us and our Reformation against them, though their iniquity in the mysteries of it should still be working amongst us. Come therefore (I speak in the words of the Prophet) let us joyne our selves to the Lord, and one to another, and each to all, in a perpetuall Covenant that shall not be forgotten.

We are now entring upon a work of the greatest mo­ment and concernment, to us and to our Posteritie after us, that ever was undertaken by any of us, or any of our fore-fathers before us, or neighbouring Nations about us; if the Lord shall blesse this our beginning, it will be a happie day, and we shall be a happy people. An Oath is a duty of the first Commandment, and therefore of the highest and noblest order and rank of duties; there­fore must come forth attended with choycest graces; especially with these two, humility, and feare.

Feare, not onely of God, which ought to be in an emi­nent measure, Gen. 31. 53. Iacob sware by the feare of his father Isaac, as if he covered to inherit his fathers grace, as well as his fathers God: But also feare of an Oath, it being a dreadfull duty, and hath this peculiar, its established by the Oath of God, I have sworne that un­to me every tongue shall sweare, Isa. 45. 23. Its made the very Character of a Saint, he feares an Oath, Eccles. 9. 2.

Humility is another grace requisite, set your hearts [Page 20] before God in an humble obedient frame, Deut. 6. Thou shalt feare the Lord thy God, and serve him, and sweare by his Name. The Apostle Paul was sensible of this en­gagement, even in the very act of this duty, Rom. 1. 9. I call God to witnesse, whom I serve in my spirit; Although it be a work of the lips, yet the heart and whole man must be interessed if we expect this worship to be acceptable, Psal. 119. 108. Accept the free-will offering of my mouth, and teach me thy judgements.

Also it must be done in the greatest simplicity and plainness of spirit, in respect of those with whom we co­venant; We call God as a witnesse betwixt us who search­eth the heart: With him is wisedome and strength, the de­ceived and deceiver is his, Iob, 12. 19. He hath wisedome to discover, and strength to punish, if our hearts be not upright to our brethren in this matter. Let us be con­tented with this, that the words of our Covenant bee hands; it may not be so much as in the desire of our hearts, that they should become snares, no not to the weakest and simplest person that joyneth with us. In the whole worke make your addresse unto God, as Iacob did to his father Isaac, and let there bee the like feare and jea­lousie over your spirits, Gen. 27. 12. My father perad­venture will feel me, and I shall seeme to him as a deceiver, and I shall bring a curse upon me, and not a blessing.

I take liberty with more earnestnesse to presse this care upon you, because I have observed Oathes and Cove­nants have been undertaken by us formerly, and by the command of Authority, the fruit wherof, though great, yet not answered our expectation, the Lord surely hath beene displeased with the slightnesse of our hearts in the worke. I beseech you be more watchfull, and [Page 21] stirre up your hearts with more industry this day then ever before: As it is the last oath you are likely to take in this kinde, so is it our last refuge, tabula post nat [...]fragi­um: If this help us not, we are likely to remaine to our dying day an unhappy people, but if otherwise, You will indeed sweare with all your hearts, and seeke the Lord with your whole desire, God will be found, and give you rest round about, 2 Chor. 15. 15.

And having sworn, and entred into this solemn en­gagement to God and man, make conscience to doe accordingly, otherwise it is better thou shouldest not vow, Eccles. 5. As is said of fasting, it is not the bowing down of the head for a day, so of this solemn swearing, it is not the lifting up of the hand for a day; but an honest and faithfull endeavouring after the contents of this Covenant all our dayes; A truce-breaker is reckoned up amongst the vilest of Christians, 2 Tim. 3. 3. so a Covenant-breaker is listed amongst the worst of Hea­thens, Rom. 1. 31. But he that sweareth and changeth not, though he sweare to his hurt, that is, he that will keep his Covenant and Oath though the contents of it prove not for him, nay possibly against him, yet he will keep it for his Oaths sake; such a one shall have his habitation with the most High and dwell in his Tabernacle, Psal. 15. And as for you Reverend Brethren, that are Ministers of the Gospel, there is yet another obligation will lie upon you; let us look to our selves, and make provisi­on to walk answerable to this our Covenant for the Gospels sake; it will reflect a great aspersion upon the truth of the Gospel, if we should be false or uncon­stant in any word or purpose, though in a matter of lesse consequence, as you can easily collect from that [Page 22] apology of Paul, 2 Cor. 1. 17, 18. how much more in such a case as this is, if we should be found to purpose, nay more, to vow, and covenant, and sweare, and all this ac­cording unto the flesh, and with us there should be, not­withstanding all these obligations, yea yea, and nay nay?

That we may all who take the Covenant this day, be constant, immoveable, and abound in this work of the Lord, that we may not start aside, or give back, or goe on uncomfortably, there is a twofold grace or qualifica­tion to be laboured after.

1. We must get courage, spirits that are bold and resolute. It is said in Haggai, that the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel Governour of Iudah, and the spirit of Ioshua the high Priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people, and they came, and did work in the house of the Lord, the work of Gods house: Reformation-work especially, is a stirring work: read Stories, you find not any where, Reformation made in any age, either in Doctrine or Discipline, without great stirre and oppo­sition. This was foretold by the same Prophet, cap. 2. vers. 7. the promise is, He will fill his house with glory; but what goeth before? vers. 6. Yet once it is a little while and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; that is, all Nations, as in the words follow­ing. This place is applied Heb. 12. to the removing Jewish Rites, the moveables of Gods house. The like you finde in the Apostles times, Acts 17. the truth being preached; some beleeved, others did not; here beginneth the stirre, vers. 6. those that beleeved not, took unto themselves certaine lewd fellowes of the baser sort, and ga­thered a company, and set all the City in an uproare: and when they had done so, complained of the brethren to [Page 23] the Rulers, as men that turne the world upside downe, ver. 6. Read also Acts 21. 27, 30, 31. In such a work therefore men had need be of stout, resolute, and composed spi­rits, that we may be able to goe on in the maine, and stirre in the middest of such stirres, and not be amused at any such doings. It may possibly happen, that even amongst your selves there will be out-cries; Sir, you will undoe all, saith one; you will put all into confusion saith another; if you take this course, saith a third, we can expect nothing but blood: but a wise States-man, like an experienced Sea-man, knoweth the compasse of his vessell, and though it heave and rosse, and the passengers cry out about him, yet in the middest of all▪ he is him­selfe, turneth not aside from his work, but steereth on his course. I beseech you let it be seriously considered, if you meane to doe any such work in the house of God as this is; if you meane to pluck up what many yeares agoe was planted, or to build up what so long agoe was pulled downe, and to goe thorough with this work, and not be discouraged, you must begge of the Lord this excellent spirit, this resolute stirring spirit, otherwise you will be out-spirited, and both you and your cause slighted and dishonoured.

2. On the other hand we must labour for humility, prudence, gentlenesse, meeknesse. A man may be very zealous and resolute, and yet very meek and mercifull: Jesus Christ was a Lion, and yet a Lambe also; in one place he telleth them he commeth to send fire on the earth: and in another place rebuketh his Disciples for their fiery spirits, Luke 9▪ 54. There was the like com­position in Moses, and in Paul, and it is of great use, espe­cially in this work of Reformation. I have not obser­ved [Page 24] any disputes carried on with more bitternesse in mens writings, and with a more unsanctified heat of spi­rit, yea and by godly men too, then in controversies about Discipline, Church Government, Ceremonies, and the like. Surely to argue about Government with such ungoverned passions, to argue for Reformation with a spirit so unreformed, is very uncomely. Let us be zealous, as Christ was, to cast our all, to extirpate and root out every plant his heavenly Father hath not planted; and yet let us doe it in as orderly way, and with the spirit of Christ, whose servants we are. The ser­vant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle to all men, apt to teach, patient, in meeknesse instructing those that op­pose, 2 Tim. 2. 24, 25. We solemnly engage this day our utmost endeavours for Reformation; let us remember this, that too much heat, as well as too much coldnesse, may harden men in their wayes, and hinder Refor­mation.

Brethren, let us come to this blessed work, with such a frame of heart, with such a minde for the present, with such resolutions for the time to come; let us not bee wanting to the opportunitie God hath put into our hands this day; and then I can promise you, as the Pro­phet, Consider this day and upwards, even from this day, that the foundation of the Lords work is laid, Consider it, from this day will I blesse you, saith the Lord: Nay, wee have received as it were the first fruits of this promise, for as it's said of some mens good works, they are manifest be­fore hand, 1 Tim. 5. Even so may be said of the good work of this day, it's manifest before hand, God hath as it were before hand testified his acceptance; while wee were thinking and purposing this free will [Page 25] Offering; he was protecting and defending our Armie; causing our enemies the enemies of this work to flie before us, and gave us a victory, not to be despised. Surely this Oath and Covenant shall bee Iudahs joy, the joy and comfort of this whole Kingdome; yea, of all three Kingdoms.

Jesus Christ King of the Saints govern us by his Spirit, strengthen us by his power, undertake for us ac­cording as hee hath sworn, even the Oath which hee sware to our Father Abraham, that hee would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, might serve him without feare in holinesse and righteous­nesse before him all the dayes of our life, Luke 1. Grant unto us also, that when this life is finished, and we ga­thered to our Fathers, there may be a generation out of our loynes to stand up in this cause, that his great and reverent Name may be exalted from one gene­ration to another, untill he himself shall come, and perfect all with his own hand by his own wisdom; even so come Lord Je­sus, come quickly,


A SPEECH Delivered by Mr Alexander Hendersam, immediately before the taking of the Cove­nant by the House of COMMONS, and Assembly of DIVINES.

ALthough the time be farre spent, yet am I bold (Honourable, Reverend, and Beloved in the Lord) to crave your patience a little; It were both sinne and shame to us in this so acceptable a time, in this day, which the Lord hath made, to be silent and to say nothing: If we should hold our peace, wee could neither be answerable to God, whose cause and work is in hand; nor to this Church and Kingdome, unto which we have made so large profession of duty, and owe much more; nor to our native Kingdom, so abundant in affection toward you; nor to our own hearts, which ex­ceedingly rejoyce to see this day: We have greater rea­son then the leprous men sitting in a time of great ex­tremity at the gate of Samaria, to say one to another, We doe not well, this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace? It is true the Syrians are not yet fled; but our hope is through God, that the work be­gun this day, being sincerely performed and faithfully [Page 27] pursued; shall put to flight, not only the Syrians and Babylonians, but all other Enemies of the Church of God; of the Kings honour, and of our liberty and peace.

For it is acceptable to God and wel-pleasing in his sight, when his people come willingly in the day of his power (and how shall they not be willing in the day of his power?) to enter a religious Covenant, with him, and amongst themselves. Whatsoever be the con­dition of the people of God, whether in sorrow and humiliation before deliverance; or in rejoycing and thanksgiving after deliverance; this is it, which the Lord waits for at their hands, which they have been used to performe, and with which he hath been so well pleased, that it hath been the fountaine of many deliverances and blessings unto them. When a people beginneth to forget God, hee lifteth up his hand against them and siniteth them: And when his people, humbled before him, lift up their hands, not only in supplication, but in Covenant before the most high God; he is pleased (such is his mercy and wonderfull compassion) First, to lift his hand unto them, saying, I am the Lord your God; as we have it three times in two verses of the 20th of Ezekiel; And next he stretcheth out his hand against his Enemies and theirs. It is the best work of Faith, to joyn in Covenant with God; the best work of love and Christian Communion, to joyn in Covenant with the people of God; the best work of the best zeale, to joyne in Covenant for Reformation, against the Enemies of God and Religion; the best work of true loyalty, to joyn in Covenant for the preservation of our King and Su­periours; and the best proofe of naturall affection (and [Page 28] to bee without naturall affection, is one of the great sinnes of the Gentiles) to joyn in Covenant for de­fence of our Native Countrey, Liberties, and Lawes; Such as for these necessary ends doe withdraw and are not willing to enter into Covenant, have reason to enter into their own hearts, and to look into their faith, love, zeale, loyalty, and naturall affection.

As it is acceptable to God, so have we for it the pre­cedent and example, not onely of the people of God of old, of the Reformed Churches of Germany, and the Low-Countreys; but of our own Noble and Christian Progenitors in the time of the danger of Religion, which is expressed in the Covenant it selfe. The defect was; They went not on throughly to enter in a Solemn Covenant; an happinesse reserved for this time: which had they done, the corruptions and calamities of these dayes might have been prevented: And if the Lord shall be pleased to move, loose, and enlarge the hearts of his people in his Majesties Dominions to take this Cove­nant, not in simulation, nor in luke-warmnesse, as those that are almost perswaded to be Christians, but as becommeth the people of God, it shall be the pre­vention of many evils and miseries, and a meane of many and rich blessings, spirituall and temporall, to our selves, our litle ones, and the Posterity that shall come after us for many Generations.

The neere and neighbouring example of the Church and Kingdome of Scotland, is in this case worthy of our best observation: When the Prelats there, were grown by their rents, and Lordly Dignities, by their ex­orbitant power over all sorts of his Majesties Subjects, Ministers and others, by their places in Parliament, [Page 29] Councell, Colledge of Justice, Exchequer, and High Commission, to a monstrous dominion and greatnesse, and like Gyants, setting their one foot on the neck of the Church, and the other on the neck of the State, were become intolerably insolent; and when the peo­ple of God through their oppression in Religion, Liber­ties, and Lawes, and what was dearest unto them, were brought so low, that they chused rather to die, then to live in such slavery, or to live in any other place, rather then in their own native Countrey; Then did the Lord say, I have seene, I have seene the affliction of my people, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them. The beginnings were small, and contemptible in the eyes of the presumptuous Enemies, such as use to be the beginnings of the greatest works of God; but were so seconded and continually followed by the un­deniable evidences of Divine Providence, leading them forward from one step to another, that their Mountaine became strong in the end. No tongue can tell what mo­tions filled the hearts, what teares were poured forth from the eyes, and what cryes came from the mouthes of many thousands in that Land, when they found an unwonted flame warming their breasts, and perceived the power of God raising them from the dead, and crea­ting for them a new world, wherein should dwell Religi­on and Righteousnesse. When they were destitute both of moneys and munition, which next unto the spirits and armes of men, are the sinewes of Warre, the Lord brought them forth out of his hid treasures; which was wonderfull in their eyes, and matter of astonishment to their hearts: When they were many times at a pause in their deliberations, and brought to such perplexity, [Page 30] that they knew not what to chuse or to do, for prosecu­ting the work of God, only their eyes were toward him; not only the feares and furies, but the plots also and policies of the Adversaries, opened the way unto them, their devices were turned upon their own heads, and served for the promoting of the work of God. The puritie of their intentions elevated above base and earthly respects, and the constant peace of their hearts in the midst of many dangers, did beare them out against the malitious accusations and aspersions put upon their actions; all which were sensible impressions of the good providence of God, and legible characters of his work: which as the Church and Kingdom of England exerci­sed at this time with greater difficulties then theirs, have in part already found, so shall the Parallel be per­fected to their greater comfort in the faithfull pursuing of the work unto the end.

Necessitie, which hath in it a kinde of Soveraignty, and is a Law above all Lawes, and therefore is said to have no Law; doth mightily presse the Church and Kingdom of Se [...]tland at this time. It is no small comfort unto them that they have not been idle and at ease, but have used all good and lawfull meanes of Supplications, Declarati­ons, and Remonstrances to his Majestie, for quenching the combustion in this Kingdome: And after all these, that they sent Commissioners to his Majestie, humbly to mediate for a reconcilement and Pacification; But the offer of their humble service was rejected, from no other reason, but that they had no warrant nor capacity for such a Mediation; And that the intermixture of the Government of the Church of England with the Civill government of the Kingdom, was such a mystery as could [Page 31] not be understood by them. Although it be true, which was at that time often replyed, that the eighth demand of the Treatie, and the answer given thereunto concerning the Uniformity of Religion, was a sufficient ground of capa­citie; and the proceedings of the Houses of Parliament against Episcopall Government, as a stumbling block hindering Reformation, and as a prejudice to the Civill State, was ground enough for their information. The Commissioners having returned from his Majesty without successe, and the miseries of Ireland, the distresses of Eng­land, and the dangers and pressures of the Kingdom of Scot­land, growing to greater extremity; such as were intru­sted with the publike affaires of the Kingdom were ne­cessitate according to the practise of former times (his Majestie having denied a Parliament) to call a Con­vention of the Estates for considering of the present affaires, and for providing the best remedies: which immediately upon their meeting by the speciall pro­vidence of God, did receive information of divers trea­cherous attempts of Papists in all the three Kingdoms, as if they had been called for that effect: And by the same Providence, Commissioners were sent from both Houses of Parliament to consider with the Estates of the King­dom of Scotland, of such Articles and Propositions as might make the conjunction betwixt the two Nations more beneficiall and effectuall for the securing of Reli­gion & Liberty against Papists & Prelats with their Ad­herents. Their Consultations with the Commissioners of the Generall Assembly, did in the end bring forth this Covenant, as the only meane after all other have beene assayed, for the deliverance of England and Ire­land out of the deeps of affliction, preservation of the [Page 32] Church and Kingdom of Scotland from the extremity of misery, and the safety of our native King and his King­doms from destruction and desolation. This is the ma­nifold necessity which Nature, Religion, Loyalty, and Love hath laid upon them.

Nor is it unknown in this Honourable, Reverend, and wise Audience, what errors, and heresies in doctrine; what Superstition and Idolatry in Worship, what Usurpation and Tyranny in Government, what cruelty against the soules and bodies of the Saints have been set on foot, exercised, and executed for many Generations, and now of late, by the Roman Church; all which wee hope through the blessing of God upon this work, shall be brought to an end. Had the Pope at Rome the know­ledge of what is doing this day in England, and were this Covenant written on the Plaster of the Wall over against him, where he sitteth Belshazzar-like in his Sacri­ligious pomp, it would make his heart to tremble, his countenance to change, his head and Miter to shake, his joynts to loose, and all his Cardinals and Prelates to be astonied.

When the Reformed Churches, which by their Let­ters have been exciting us to Christian Communion and Sympathy in this time of the danger of Religion and distresse of the Godly, shall heare of this blessed con­junction for uniformity in Religion according to the Word of God and the defence thereof; it shall quicken their hearts against the heavinesse of oppressing sorrows and feares; and bee no other than a beginning of a Ju­bilee and joyfull deliverance unto them, from the Anti­christian yoke and tyranny.

Vpon these and the like considerations wee are very [Page 33] confident, that the Church and Kingdom of Scotland will most cheerefully joyne in this Covenant, at the first motion whereof, their [...] were moved within them▪ And to give testimony of this our confidence, we who are Commissioners from the Generall Assem­bly, although we have no particular and expresse Com­mission for that [...]nd, (not from [...]a [...]t of willingnesse, but of a fore-sight) offer to joy [...] our hearts and hands unto it, being a stored that the Lord in his own time will against all opposition even against the gates of Hell▪ crown it with a blessing from Heaven. The Word of God is for it, as you have been [...] [...] by the consent and testimonie of a Reverend Assembly [...] so many godly, learned, and grav [...] Divines. In your own sense and ex­perience you will finde, that although, while you are assaulted or exercised with worldly cares and fears, your thoughts may somwhat trouble & direct you; yet at other times, when upon seeking of God in private or publike, as in the evening of a well spent Sabbath, or day of Fast and Humiliation, your disposition is more spirituall, and leaving the world behinde you, you have found accesse unto God through Jesus Christ, the bent and in­clinations of your hearts will be strongest to go through with this work. It is a good testimony that our designes and wayes are agreeable to the will of God, if we affect them most when our hearts are furthest from the world, and our temper is most spirituall and heavenly, and least carnall and earthly. As the Word of God, so the prayers of the people of God in all the Refor­med Churches are for us, and on our side: It were more terrible then an Armie to heare that there were any ser­vent supplications to God against us; blasphemies, curses, [Page 34] and horrid imprecations there be, proceeding from ano­ther spirit, and that is all. That Divine Providence al­so which hath maintained this Cause and supported his Servants in a marvellous manner unto this day, and which this time past hath kept things in an equall bal­lance and vicissitude of successe, will we trust from this day forth, through the weight of this Covenant, cast the ballance, and make Religion and Righteousnesse to prevaile, to the glory of God, the honour of our King, the confusion of our common Enemies, and the comfort and safety of the people of God: Which he grant, who is able to doe above anything that we can ask or think.


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