THE NULLITY OF THE P …

THE NULLITY OF THE PRETENDED-ASSEMBLY At Saint ANDREWS & DƲNDEE: Wherein are contained, The Representation for Adjournment, the Protestation & Reasons therof.

Together with A REVIEW and Examination of the VINDICATION of the said P. ASSEMBLY. Hereunto is subjoyned the solemn Acknowledgment of Sins, and Engagement to Duties, made and taken by the Nobility, Gentry, Burroughs, Mini­stry, and Commonalty, in the year 1648. when the COVENANT was Renewed.

With sundry other Papers, related unto in the foresaid REVIEW.

Printed in the Yeer, 1652.

REader, We have here observed some few Escapes of the Press: some more gross Errors thou wilt find in the Vindication, for which, neither the Printer, nor theje who gave him the Copy can be blamed: for the truth is, a Letter was written to the Moderator of the late p. Assembly at Edinburgh, desiring a perfect Copy of the Vindication, by which any Error in that Copy which had come to our hands, might have been corrected: And in that same Letter there was desired a copy of the Kings Letter to the p. Assembly at St. Andrews, with the Commissioners speech (seeing the Vindication doth refer to these, although it hath been spread alone, and these copies kept up) but to neither of these desires was there any answer returned.

ERRATA:

PAge 4, for nonformists, read nonconformists. pag. 7. f. whom, r. wherein: f. tenents, r. tenets. pag. 8. f. too sharp-sighted, r. to be &c. pag. 15. f. may, r. nay. pag. 17. f. required, r. being required. pag. 30. l. 25. r. which seemeth. pag. 37. l. 1. r. Gentleman. pag. 58. r. as for and ibid. l. 29. r. no evil before them in. pag. 59. l. 13. f. then, r. when. pag. 62. r. these after against: ibid. f. accept, r. except: ibid. r. patiar f. patior: ibid. r. defections f. desertions. pag. 63. r. for, after why. pag. 67. r. Quaries. f. Presbyteries, r. Prelacies. pag. 170. l. 8. r. men, and this. ibid. l. 9. r. as appears. p. 171. l. 19. r. concession.

TO THE CHRISTIAN-READER

Christian-Reader,

THat thou mayest with understanding read this Book, and the Debates contained there­in; Thou art to take notice, that in the year 1651. in the month of July, many of the Commissioners from Presbyteries meeting at St. Andrews, did proceed to constitute themselves into, and to act as a General Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland; against the constitution of which Assembly, sun­dry of the Ministers who had formerly born testimony against the employing and intrusting of the Malignant party, with the Cause and Kingdom did enter a publick Protestation in wri­ting, subscribed by their hands as not being a free and lawful General Assembly: within a few weeks thereafter one (as it seems of those Protesters) did pen a Paper, for strengthning and cleering the grounds of that Protestation, and taking off such Objections as are usually made against the same. In An­swer to both these, a Member (as I take it of that Assem­bly at St. Andrews) did within few months after write a Treatise intituled, a Vindication of the freedom and lawful­ness, and so of the Authoritie of the General Assembly met at St. Andrews, &c. To which Treatise in the month of May last, there was a Reply written, bearing the name, of the Nullity of the Assembly at St. Andrews; or, A Review of a Vindication &c. which doth set down and make Answer unto that Vindication by Parcels and Sections. All these four are [Page] now offered to Thee in this Book, and in that order in which they were first penned, to wit, The Protestation a­gainst the Meeting at St. Andrews in the first place; the Reasons for strengthening and cleering thereof in the second place; the Vindication and the Review thereof together in last place. There are also added some other Papers upon the by, for clearing of some things in the debate. The LORD give unto Thee a spirit of Judgment and understanding in reading, that Thou mayest Judge true and righteous Judg­ment, condemning the Guilty, and absolving the Innocent.

UNTO THE MODERATOR & BRETHREN Assembled at St. Andrews. The humble Representation and Desire of the Ministers of the Gospel, under subscribed.

AMongst the many sad tokens of the Lords indig­nation and wrath against this Church, the pre­sent unhappy differrences of His Servants of the Ministry is looked upon by Us, and We be­leeve by all the Godly of the Land, as one of the greatest: And as We hold it a Duty lying upon Us to be deeply humbled before the Lord in the sence thereof, and in our Stations and Callings to endeavor by all lawful and fair means the remedy and removal of the same; so we acknowledge a free Gen. Assembly, lawfully called, and rightly constitute, and meeting together in the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ, and proceeding with Meekness and Love according to the Rule of His Word, and Constitutions of this Church, to be amongst the first and most effectual Remedies appointed of God, for attain­ing of these ends. Therefore considering that the Election of Commissioners for the Assembly hath been in many places limited and prejudiced in the due liberty and freedom thereof, by the Let­ter and Act of the Commission of the last Gen. Assembly, to Pres­byteries appointing such as remain unsatisfied with, and bear testi­mony against the Publick Resolutions, to be cited to the General Assembly; which upon the matter, hath in many Presbyteries re­ally obstructed the Electing of such, though otherwise men of ap­proven abilities, and constant faithfulness and zeal for the Work of Reformation since the begining thereof: and that many Elections are questionable, some as containing persons not in a capacity to be chosen by the Acts of this Church, and some as not being made in [Page 2] a due order and right way; and that many Commissioners of Pres­byteries and Burroughs are absent, some of them wanting free ac­cess, by reason of the English lying in the Country, and some up­on other impediments and occasions; And remembring that such Reasons have formerly had weight in point of Discussion of the validity of some Assemblies, and may still be looked upon as impor­tant and weighty, by these who may happen not to be satisfied in their consciences with your proceedings. We did with all humble earnestness, and in the bowels of the Lord Jesus Christ, desire and beseech you for Truth and Peace sake; and that further mistakes and divisions may not be increased unto the prejudice of the Lords Work, and rejoycing of Enemies, and sadding the hearts of His People, That the Diet of the Gen. Assembly may by the common consent and advice of the Brethren now met together be adjour­ned for some competent time; and that by the same mutual advice and consent it may be declared, That the Letter and Act of the Commission ought not to be any prejudice to these who remain unsatisfied with the Publick Resolutions, why they may not be chosen Commissioners to the General Assembly; And that such Presbyteries as shall think fit, may make their Elections of new a­gain, especially these Presbyteries whose Elections or Commissi­oners are questionable, to whom we desire it earnestly to be reco­mended, that they would in an unanimous way make choice of men of approven abilities and integrity, and against whom there can be no exception by the Acts and Constitutions of this Church. And in the last place, We do humbly represent and desire, that in the interval of time betwixt this and the Dyet, to which the Assembly shall be adjourned, there may be a Solemn Publick Humiliation throughout the Land, wherein God may be intreated to shew us why He contends with us, and to give light and clearing on all hands concerning the present differences of judgment, and distem­pers of spirit that are amongst us, that we may be of one mind, and one heart, for the carrying on of the Work of God amongst His People; And Your Wisdoms Answer.

Subscribed by sundry Ministers of the Gospel.

St. Andrews, July 18. 1651.

HOw gracious the Lord hath been to the Church of Scot­land, in giving to her pure Ordinances, we trust shall be acknowledged by us whilest we live, with thankfulness to the Most High, of whom we desire mercy and grace to adhere unto the Doctrine, Worship, Discipline and Government e­stablished in this Land: Amongst the many sad tokens of the Lords Indignation against this Church, The present Differences of His Servants of the Ministry is looked upon by us as one of the greatest: And as we hold it a duty to be deeply humbled before the Lord in the sence thereof, and by all lawful and fair means within the com­pass of our power and station to endeavor the remedy thereof; so we do ackdowledge a free General Assembly, lawfully called, and rightly constituted, and proceeding with meekness and love in the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ, according to the Rule of the Word, and the Acts and Constitutions of this Church, to be amongst the first and most effectual means appointed of God, for attaining this end, and for preserving the purity, and advancing the power of the Work of Reformation in this Age, and transmitting the same to our Posterity, and to the Ages and Generations that are to come. But as the faithful Servants of God in this Church in former times, did by His good Hand upon them in the right administration of free and lawful Assemblies, bring the Work of Reformation in Scotland unto a great perfection, and neer conformity with the first pattern: So, unfaithful men minding their own things more then the things of Christ, and usurping over their Brethren, and over the Lords In­heritance, did deface the beauty thereof, first by encroaching upon the liberty and freedom of Assemblies; afterwards by taking away the Assembly themselves. Therfore, remembring the many bonds and obligations that lie upon us before the Lord, and being desirous to be found faithful in this day of temptation, and to exoner our [Page 4] consciences as in His sight, and to avoid accession to that guiltiness in which many have involved themselves, and conceiving that this present Meeting is not a free lawful Gen. Assembly of the Church of Scotland, in regard that the Election of Commissioners to the same hath been pre-limited and prejudiced in the due liberty and freedom thereof, by a Letter and Act of the Commissioners of the last Gen Assembly sent to Presbyteries appointing such Brethren as after conference remain unsatisfied with, and continue to oppose the Publick Resolutions, to be cited to the General Assembly; And in regard that Commissioners from many Burroughs and Presbytries are absent, as wanting free access, by reason of the motion of the —; and in regard that many of the Commissioners of the for­mer Assembly, who have carried on a course of defection, contrary to the trust committed to them; and who in their Remonstrances and Papers have stirred up the Civil Magistrate against such who are unsatisfied in their consciences with their proceedings, and who have by their Letter and Act prelimited the Assembly, are admit­ted to sit and vote as Members of the Assembly, and their Modera­tor appointed to be Moderator of the Assembly, notwithstanding that timous exception was made against them, that they ought not to be admitted as Members of the Assembly, until their proceedings were first tried and approven by the Assembly; And in regard that his Majesty by his Letter, and his Majesties Commissioner by his Speech to the Assembly hath incited to hard courses against those who are unsatisfied in their consciences with the proceedings of the Commission. Before these proceedings be tried and approven by the Assembly it self. We do upon these and many other important grounds and Reasons to be propounded and given in, in time and place convenient, protest in the Name of the Church of Scotland, and in our own Names and in the Name of all Ministers, Ruling-El­ders and Professors of this Church, who do, or shall adhere to us a­gainst the validity and Constitution of this Assembly, as not being free and lawful, and that they may not arrogat nor assume to them­selves any authority, nor exercise any power or jurisdiction for de­termining of Controversies, making of Acts, emitting of Declarati­ons, judging of Protestations or Appeals, or proceedings of Synods or inferior Judicatures, or censuring of Persons or Papers, or issuing of Commissions of whatsoever sort, to any persons whatsoever; and particularly we protest, that they may not proceed unto the appro­ving [Page 5] or ratifying of the proceedings of the former Commission, not only because of their want of just power and authority so to do, but also because these proceedings contain many things contrary to the trust committed to these Commissioners, especially the allowing and carrying on of a conjunction with the Malignant party, and bringing them in to places of Power and Trust in the Army, and in the Judicatures, contrary to the Word of God, the Solemn League and Covenant, the Solemn Confession of Sins and Engagement to Duties, the constant tenour of the Declarations, Warnings, Remon­strances, Causes of Humiliations, Letters, Supplications and Acts, and Constitutions of this Church, and the laying of a Foundation for the Civil Magistrate to meddle with Ministers in those things which concern their Doctrin and the exercise of Ministerial Duties before they be cited, tried and censured by the Judicatories of the Church. And we protest that whatsoever Determinations, Acts, Ratifications, Declarations, Sentences, Censures or Commissions that shall be made, or given out by them, may be void and null, and may be interpreted as binding to the Church of Scotland, and that notwithstanding thereof it may be free for us, and such as adhere to us, to exercise our Ministerie, and enjoy the warrantable Christian liberty of our consciences according to the Word of God, the Nati­onal Covenant, and Solemn League and Covenant, and Solemn En­gagement to Duties, and all the Acts and Constitutions of this Church; and that there may be liberty to chuse Commissioners, and to conveen in a free lawful General Assembly, when there shall be need, and the Lord shall give opportunity, and to add what fur­ther Reasons shall have weight for shewing the nullity of this As­sembly, and the unwarrantableness of the proceedings of the Com­mission of the former Assembly. And that these Presents may be put upon Record by the Clerk in the Regesters of the Assembly, to be extant ad futuram rei memoream, and that we may have sub­scribed Extracts thereof under the Clerks hand.

This following Paper was inclosed in a Letter from the Lord Wa­riston, to the Meeting at S. Andrews; which Letter, although it could not be gotten printed, yet we have published the in­closed; both, because it tendeth very much to clear, That the way of protesting against every encroachment upon the liber­ties of this Church, is no new thing, but hath been the con­stant practice of our faithful Predecessors, from the beginning of the work of Reformation: And also, because it doth con­tain a particular Testimony against the Ratification of the Pa­per, given by the Commission of the Kirk, to the Parliament, anent the confinement of the Ministers of Sterline, and of all other Papers prejudicial to the Covenant and Cause of Jesus Christ.
The Paper inclosed within the Letter, containing a Narration of some former Protestations; with My present Protestation subjoyned thereto.

ANent the Protestation it may be remembred, that the Do­ctrine and Discipline of the Kirk of Scotland, sworn to by the Covenants, is clear anent th [...]s R [...]ght and Priviledge, ac­knowledged even by King and Parliament, That none of her Pastors can be judged or troubled by King, Councel or Parliament for their preaching and Ministerial Duties, [...]nless the Assemblies of the Kirk, the on [...]y competent Judges thereof, had first cited, tried and censured them therefore, and had upon their disobedience cra­ved the concurrence of the Civil Magistrate; for clearing whereof, remember, that this having been mightily debated betwixt the Kirk and the State, it was not only thereupon maintained and de­clared by the General Assembly in 1581. immediatly after rat [...]fy­ing the Book of Discipline, and swearing the National Covenant; but also is acknowledged by the King and the Councel, in the Case of Mr. Walter Balcanquel, who had been challenged for a Sermon as seditious; thereafter in the Assembly 1582. John Dury, being challenged by King and Councel for his Sermon, as seditious; and being advised by his friends to retire; and seeking the Assemblies [Page 9] advise, seeing his Doctrine accused to the Councel, was justified by his Presbytery and Session, he was directed to the Assembly, to abide rather the charge of Horning and Caption, and give his testi­mony against their Procedor, then privatly to retire. And the whol Assembly gives in their Grievances to the King, and to the Estates, complaining, that this their Procedor is one erection of a Popedome in the Kings Person, and a wronging of Jesus Christ the only King of the Church (wherein the spirits of the Prophets are subject to the Prophets) and a confounding of the Spiritual and Temporal Jurisdiction which God hath divided. Thereafter when the first Act of the Eighth Parliament 1584. giving power to the Kings Councel to enquire and examin anent these things, was proclamed; it was protested against by the Ministers of Edinburgh, in the Name of the Kirk of Scotland, who in that hour of darkness was put to Banishment; and thereafter Mr. David Blake, and Mr. Andrew Melvin, being cited for their Doctrine before the King and Coun­cel, declined from both, and entred a Protestation, and in the Gen. Assembly, June 1587. the King & the Estates in the case of M. John Couper, and Mr. James Gibson Ministers, acknowledged the As­sembly to be the only competent Judges, and desires them to try, and judge. And such like thereafter in the case of John Rosse in the Assembly 1594. and the King and Parliament 1592. in end of the first Act, which is anent Assemblies Repealed the foresaid Acts 1584 in so far as they were prejudicial to the Priviledges, which God hath given to his Spiritual Office-bearers in His Church: The As­semblies 92. and 94, 95, 96. gives most free admonitions to the King and Estate to abstain from such Procedors, lest they commit High-Treason against Jesus Christ the only Monarch of His Church, for whom they behoved to fight by the Spiritual Armor, granted to them of God, and potent in Him, for overthrowing all strong holds and bulwarks, set up against His Kingdom; amongst which it was a main one to have the freedom of the Spirit of God in the rebuke of sin, restrained in the mouth of His Servants, and to extinguish the light which would shew the unlawfulness of their proceeding, and stop (under the name of vice, of stirring up sedition and tumult) the liberty of preaching. When Mr. John Craig, and Mr. Andrew Melvin were threatned for their Declinator and free speech against the Acts 84. by Chancelor Arrane at the Councel-Table with stob­bing; they instantly unloosed their Buttons, and laid their Breasts [Page 10] open and bare▪ saying, They durst receive, if he durst strike; and then publickly fore told the Judgment which God brought to pass upon him shortly thereafter: And Mr. Nichoal Daglish spoke no less resolutely when the Scaffold was erected for him: and so did Mr. Welsh and his collegs 1606. both when they declined, and pro­tested against the King and the Councel, and when they were pa­nold and condemned at Lithgow. I need not insist on the large De­claration, and the Reasons thereof, emitted in this very point against the States proceedings by the Grand Commission of the Assembly 1596. appointed on purpose, Ne quid detrimenti Ecclesia capiat: Nor yet to insist on the Fourth Act of the Parliament 1640. anent the Assemblies determining all Ecclesiastick matters: Nor the Sixth Act Rescissorie, which establisheth that of the 92. &c. And in the end rescinds all Confinements, Banishments, Deprivations made in the times of defection; which Two Acts were ratified in the large Treaty: Neither need I to remember the end of the Kings Oath, prescribed in 1567. and sworn by his Majesty lately at his Corona­tion: Nor the beginning of the Parliaments Oath: Nor one of the main Articles of the late Treaty with this King, anent the Determi­nation of matters Ecclesiastical: Neither need I transcribe the three last Leavs of the Commission of the Kirks Vindication of their pro­ceedings from the Parliaments Letter May 11. 1648. which speaks fully to this point: Neither need I transcribe the sixth Page of the Committee of Estates Observations upon the Assemblies Declara­tion 1648. wherein they claim power to challenge Ministers for se­ditious Doctrine: Whereunto the Commission of the Kirk, in their Reply page 14. say, That the judgment of Ministers Doctrine be­longeth to the Judicatories of the Kirk, both by Divine-Right, and by the Law of the Land; and we hope your Lordships do not in­tend under colour of quarelling sedition, a new way of judging and trying Ministers Doctrine, nor to assume to themselves the exerci­sing of the same Power over all persons of whatsoever state, degree, function or condition they be of, in all matters wherein they shall be charged to answer a power once granted to the Councel in 129. Act Parl. 8. James 6. Anno 1584. but was afterward abrogated in the 114 Act Parl. 12. James 6. Anno 1592. as likewise in the Act Rescissory: I need not insist either on the Kirks Protestation, or on the Dissenters Protestation against the States medling in these things without the Kirks concurrence, insert and approven in the [Page 11] repealing Act 1649. no [...] on what was said, written and preached against the 23 Act Parl. 48. ordaining Ministers to exhort the peo­ple to obedience to the Laws of the Kingdom, and assuring them of their Stipends now; nor on the dangerousness of this present pre­parative and practice, which from the strait may be as terrifying as the other was alluring, and may at one time or other meet with any who indirectly procured this: Neither need I insist, that this argu­ment of the Doctrine and Discipline of the Kirk of Scotland, as ac­knowledged by the King and Parliament, and sworn to in the se­cond Article of the Covenant, is the bar and bond that hinders Gen. CROMWEL from stopping the mouthes of the honest free Preachers in Edinburgh, and the places by south Forth, where he thinks he hath as much Civil Command and may readily change his practice, as soon as he sees the State here to change theirs: Neither need I remember what good ground there is to fear the sprouting and spreading of Erastianism in our Statesmen, seeing this is a main branch thereof, it will be a strange thing to me if the Commission of the Kirk, for the Kirks interest, testify not against this Procedor, and dangerous preparative; and the rather, that it seems to be foun­ded upon what hath proceeded betwixt the Commission and the Ministers of Sterline, whereof the State could not take notice, un­less there had been a Process, and a Sentence from the Kirk (which the Commission it self denies, and therefore complains of the Ap­peal as from a meer desire, and which sentence they could not have given at St. Andrews, it being neither their Quarterly Meeting, nor after Process, nor a Trial of their Doctrine, and least of all because it agrees not with their Commission to censure these who preached according to the Acts of all our General Assemblies, from 1560. til 1650. in above 200. several places and passages, and which if they did not preach, they might be censured and deprived, according to the Acts of the Assembly 1648.) and had desired the States concur­rence against them for their disobedience, otherwise this Procedor is de facto like King James his practice and threatning to Mr. Da­vid Calderwood at St. Andrews 1617. That if he would not ac­knowledg his power of spiritually suspending him, he would suspend him corporally; and if h [...] would not abstain from preaching and writing against the five Articles, he would banish him, as he did; and thereafter in 1606. and 1608. he called for Mr. William Scot, and sundry other worthy men of the Ministry, unto London, and [Page 12] detained them there until he caused hold the corrupt Assembly at Lith­gow; and this hath been often called since in the publick Declarations and Warnings of the Church of Scotland; a persecution of the Mini­stry and of the Gospel, which would, and did grow to a great height, and both in Law and Reason, and in the words of our two Covenants, and solemn Acknowledgment, quod non licet directe, non licet indirecte; and as I might lawfully protest against the States direct doing of it, so against their indirect doing of it. And now for the point of protestati­on, Cui libet licet protestari supplicare mendicare, as the common proverb goes: But it is most remarkable that the Lord by these legal means of Protestations hath preserved in all times of Defection and houres of darkness (as betwixt 1571. and 1575. betwixt 1582. & 1587. betwixt 1597. and 1638.) the Church of Scotland from a total and universal back-slyding and breach of Covenant, and so from His Wrath and Judgment against the whol, but keeped ever a remnant in Covenant with Him and Him fast to Them, and thereby they keeped God in the Land; and the Lord in all times of their reviving and recovery of light and life made their successors, as it were, enter heirs by these Protesta­tions to the Interests of the Church of Scotland in God, and His Interest in Her, and so hath He made us in our two Covenants and solemn Ac­knowledgment per ipsa verba, to be, as it were, served and retoured to all the former Protestations; And who knows what successors may be to these that are now necessary? It is worth remembring at this time, that in the Gen. Assembly 1586. when they were drawn on by the Kings Court to absolve M. Patrick Adamson, that Mr. Andrew Melvin and Mr. Andrew Hunter, in the name of the whol Synod of Fife, entred their Protestation against it, as before the Almighty God. His holy Angels and Saints, that seeing he had given no real signs and evidences of true Repentance, they had no assurance in Gods Word, or in the sincere custom of this Kirk, and in conscience to allow this his Absolvitor, and therefore until the time they perceived his conversion to be true and ef­fectual, they cannot but hold him a man justly delivered up to Satan; which is too like to the present receiving of the Malignant party, then in the Assembly 1597. when the King carries in it the Commissioners of the Kirk with caveats to have vote in Parliament: but M. Jo. David­on entred his Protestation, so did some Ministers at Perth in the Null-Assembly 1617, so did they in the name of the Kirk of Scotland, give in a Protestation to the Parliament 1584. 1597. 1606. 1612. 1617. 1621. and 1633. against all these Procedors, to the prejudice of the Kirk of Scotland, and so they preserved and transmitted by Protesta­tions (which was first given in by our Reformers to the Parl. 1560.) unto this Generation 1638. and 1640. Jura Ecclesiae Scoticanae intacta in jure quamvis, frequentur violata de facto, which I pray God we may preserve and transmit with as great fidelity and boldness to our poste­rity, [Page 13] I will only add to this point the remembrance, that in Novemb. 1646. Mr. Rob. Duglas and Mr. Rob. Blair upon their hearing of some expressions in a report of Parliament anent their peace made with the Rebels, importing as if these Ministers had not opposed the same, but by silence consented thereto, which they disclaimed in face of Parlia­ment, and entred their protestation, That all the Judicatories of the Kirk were free of it, and that the Acts of Parliament approving it should be without any prejudice of the liberty of the Kirk, and of any servant of Jesus Christ to exoner their consciences according to His Wo [...]d and the Principles and Declarations of this Kirk against it, notwithstanding of the Act of Parliament, which Protestation was ap­proven by the Commission of the Kirk, and inserted in their Records; and good reason is there for such Protestations, especially in Scotland, because not only by Gods Word, but also by our National Covenant, solemn League and Covenant, and solemn Acknowledgment, all In­terest of King or Parliament or Kingdom are subordinate to the Inte­rest of Christ and all duties to men subordinate to our duty unto God, In hoc foederato regno federati Dei, according to the 2 Kings 11.17. and 2 Chron. 23.16. in both which the substance of that Covenant and our Covenant is, that we should be Gods people, and all other relations subserviant to that: sit ergo gloria Christi, & salus Eclecsiae suprema Lex nostra; and whensoever we see it in any hazard or contest and any thing in competition with it, let us, according to our calling, at least protest, that our Lord and our Mother may get right, which will lega­ly preserve it to another Judgment, and if they get wrong thereby they will have witness of it, which is the least which we should do for Him (though we suffer for it) who hath done and suffered so much for us, and who puts a great favor and honor upon any whom He calls to be witnesses to and for Him; and where one hath a necessity to protest for his particular right, or place in Parliament, we see they do it ordi­narily, and in all Acts of Parliament the last is, savo jure cujuslibet; and why not far rather, solvo jure Christi ac Ecclesiae? Which Protesta­tion by communicating of this Paper I do enter against the Ratification of the Paper given in by the Commission to the Parliament, anent the confinement of the Ministers of Sterling for their preaching, or of any other Paper of theirs prejudicial to the Covenant and Cause of Jesus Christ.

REASONS PROVING, That the late Meeting at St. Andrews is not a Lawful Free GENERAL-ASSEMBLY Of the KIRK of SCOTLAND, With ANSWERS to the OBjECTIONS on the contrary

THat is not a lawfull free Generall Assembly, the election of whose Commissioners is so preju­diced and pre-limited in the due liberty and freedom thereof, that many Ministers of Pres­byteries in a capacity of deserving to be chosen for their abilities and faithfulnesse, are by the Presbyteries at the order and appointment of a superior Judicatory, past by and set aside in the election, and ren­dered incapable to be Members of the Assembly; but the late meet­ing at St. Andrews was such: Therefore, &c. The first Proposition albeit (as we conceive) unquestionable, yet shall afterwards be alittle further spoken to The second is proved by Presbyteries proceed­ing according to the Letter, and Act of the Commission of the former Assemblie, sent unto them about the time of their choosing Commissioners, appointing that such as after conference should re­main unsatisfied with, and continue to oppose the publick resoluti­ons, to be cited to the Generall Assembly, which Act doth upon the matter include these Four things. 1. A direction that Presby­teries [Page 7] should choose none to be Commissioners, but such as did concur with the publick resolutions. 2. An intimation of the Com­missions mind, that Dissenters from the publick resolutions were so farre from being in a capacity to be chosen Commissioners, and to sit as Judges of the matter in the Gen. Assembly, that they ought to be looked upon as guilty persons, who were for their guiltinesse to be cited and judged. 3. A Declaration that if they should be cho­sen, they could not be admitted to sit upon the Bench as Judges, but behoved to stand at the Barre and answer as rei. 4. That if the Presbyteries should choose them, they were to be esteemed dis­obedient, and looked upon as persons having no respect to publick orders of the Kirk; which things do cleerly enough prove that there was such a prelimiting of the election as is formerly spoken of.

Object. The Commissioners of the General Assembly in the yeer 1648. did by a Letter written to the severall Presbyteries, appoint such Ministers as refused to declare their judgement against the Engagement, which was then carried on, or did declare themselves satisfied there with to be refered by their severall Presbyteries to the General Assemblie, which upon the matter is equivalent to a citation; and yet was not that judged a pre-limitation of the freedom of the Assembly. Answer. To say nothing of the diffe­rence of a Reference and Citation, neither yet of the difference of a Letter and an Act: We desire these things to be considered in answer to what is objected. 1. That in the yeer 1648. when a little before the election of Commissioners by the Presbyteries to the General Assembly; it was moved by some in the Commission, that some thing might be written to Presbyteries to chuse none but such as were against the engagement; it was opposed as savouring away of pre-limitation, and so only a Letter was written, giving them an accompt of the Commissions proceeding, and exhorting them to their duty and to chuse able and faithfull men. 2. That that Let­ter which is mentioned in the objection, was not written by the Commission (as we remember) untill most part, if not all the elections in Presbyteries were past, wil be cleered by the date there­of. 3. That before the writing of that Letter, the whole Kirks of Scotland, almost in all the Presbyteries and Synods thereof had de­clared themselves unsatisfied in conscience with the Engaegment, excepting a very few Ministers scatered here and there in Presbyte­ries, which few were also known to have been either opposers of [Page 8] the work of God, or neutrall and indefferent therein from the be­gining. 4. That the resolutions of the Commission were then agree­able to the Covenant and Act; and constitutions of former Gene­rall Assemblies, which things being put together make a vive dif­ference betwixt that which was then done, and that which the Commission hath now done, because the Letter and Act of the Commission this year was previous to most part of the elections in Scotland, and whilst many Presbytries were bearing testimony a­gainst their Resolutions, and the most part of the godly of the Land remain unsatisfied therewith, and many p [...]ecious, able, and faithful men in the Ministry, who are known to have been straight and zealous in the work of God from the begin [...]ing were bearing record against it, and whilst the Resolutions of the Commission were point-blank contrary to the Covenant, and to the former Acts and Constitutions of this Kirk.

Objection. It was not only in the power of the Commission to appoint those who did oppose th [...] publick Resolutions, to be cited to the General Assembly, but also to have Censured them, because there is a Clause in their Commission which gives them power to Censure such as oppose them in their proceedings, as if they oppo­sed the Assembly it self: and therefore seeing the Commission hath been so far from excluding that they have keeped themselves fair within the limits and bonds of that power given them by the As­sembly; it cannot be said, That their Letter and Act doth import any prelimitation of the Assembly, or any prejudice to the freedom of Election, or any wrong to these, who were ordainned to be cited. Answ. We deny that the Commission had any power either to cen­sure or cite these who opposed the publick Resolutions now in Controversie. The clause of the Commission in 1648. (to which we suppose theirs to be consonant) is that all opposers of the Au­thority of the Commission in matters intrusted to them, shall be holden as opposers of the Authority of the General Assembly, but was never int [...]usted to them to bring in the Malignant Party: nay, a great part of their Trust was, to keep them out. But for further cleering of the business, we desire that it may be considered, That as the light of Nature and common Reason teaches all superior Ju­dicatories to limit any to whom they give Delegations and Com­missions to a certain Rule, according to which they are to walk in [Page 9] their administrations, to wit, the known standing Laws of the in­corporations, to which the Judicatories do belong, and to a cer­tain end which they are to have before them in all their actings, to wit, The good and preservation of the whole Body to whom they belong: so unless we will speak grosse absurdities, it is undeniable, that the Commission of the General Assembly were in all their a­ctings to have walked according to the Acts of former General As­semblies, and to have had before them the preserving and promo­ving of the work of Reformation, and the keeping of the Liberty and Priviledges of the Kirk intire and untouched, ne quid deure­menti capiat Ecclesia: having been the main end why Commissio­ners from General Assemblies were at first appointed: but so it is that their Resolutions and Proceedings in order to the taking in of the Malignant party were not only without the warrant of any Act of Assembly, and not only not contributive for the preserving and advancing of the work of Reformation, but expresly contrary to the clear Letter of the Covenant, and of multitude of Acts, and destructive to the work, and therefore had they no power at all ei­ther to Censure or Cite such as did oppose them therein, and stand for the Covenant and Acts of the Assembly; and by assuming to themselves such a power they did not only beyond the bonds of their Commission, but destroy the very end for which their Com­mission was given them, to wit, The preserving the Liberties and Priviledges of the Kirk, for by this means they brought the Gen. Assembly it self into servitude and bondage, by excluding all such there-from as would not be consenting to that course of Defection which they had carried on, a very dangerous and damnable prepa­rative which laies a foundation, First, for the total overthrow of the Disciplin of this Kirk, then of the Doctrin and Worship: for by this means if the Commission once be corrupted, though it were so far as to the introducing of Prelacy and the Service-Book; nay, though it were to the bringing in of the Popes Supremacy and the whole Body of Popery; there is no remedy left, none can vote in a Gen. Assembly where the remedy is to be expected, but such as Concur with them in Judgment; others, who Differ and Oppose, are to be Cited and Censured.

Object. Albeit the Commission did send such a Letter and Act as is spoken of, yet it doth not from thence follow that thereby E­lection of Commissioners in Presbyteries to the Assembly is prelimi­ted [Page 10] or pre-judged in the due liberty and freedom thereof. 1 Be­cause it was free to Presbyteries, notwithstanding thereof, to chuse whom they pleased. 2 A Citation to the General Assembly doth not bar a man from being chosen Commissioner thereto, nor exclude him when he is chosen from voting therein. 3 Because that Letter and Act had little or no influence upon Presbyteries in the choice of their Commissioners, but notwithstanding thereof several Presby­teries did chuse men who were unsatisfied with the Publick Resolu­tions. 4 None who were unsatisfied with the Publick Resolutions, and were Commissioners, were upon that accompt, of their not be­ing satisfied; or being cited, denied a Voice in the Assembly. Answ. As to the First, it is true, That Presbyteries were physi­cally free, notwithstanding of that Letter and Act to chuse whom they pleased, That is, the Letter and Act put no external coaction and constraint upon them by any coersive power upon the outward man; but they were not morally free, that is, they were not free from a moral over-awing power, having influence upon their will, to wit, the authority of the Commission, commanding them upon the matter to chuse none such, and upon the matter threatning them if they should do otherwise. They were so far bound as the Commission could bind them: and who knows not what influ­ence the Direction and Commands thereof have upon Presbyteries to determine them in their actings. As to the Second, Though e­very Citation, or Citations of all kinds, do not exclude a man from being chosen a Commissioner, or sitting a Member of the Assembly, yet we think that it will not be denied, that a Citation in matter of scandal, either in Doctrine or manners, will, and ought to exclude him from being chosen Commissioner to, or sitting in a Gen. Assem­bly. The Assembly, since the first Reformation, and that upon good grounds, having alwaies taken care that all her Members should be free of scandal, and of a good report: and that this is a scandal more then ordinary in the judgment of the Commission, both in Doctrin and manners, is cleer from their Papers and Warnings, wherein they do not only loaden it with many grievous imputations, but stir up the Civil Magistrate to punish such as are guilty of it, and gives di­rections to Presbyteries for censuring them with Ecclesiastical Cen­sures: Besides, it is unquestionable that all citations do exclude men from being Judges in the matter for which they are cited; and therefore though they might have been admitted to sit as Judges [Page 11] in the Assembly in other particulars, which yet is not granted for the reason above mentioned, yet it is above controversie that they could not have sitten in this: and therefore it still follows, that as to this particular, which was indeed the main thing, if not in a sort, all that was to be handled in the Assembly, it was prelimited. As to the Third, That that Letter and Act had no influence upon Pres­byteries in the choice of their Commissioners: it is spoken against the truth, as will appear by these Instances: 1 All those Ministers who oppose the Publick Resolutions are known to be honest and faithful men, and most of them as had wont (ordinarily these years past, because of their abilitie and integrity) to be chosen Commissi­oners; but few of these were chosen in Presbyteries this year to be Commissioners to the Assembly; and if any such were chosen, it was where the whole Presbytery was unanimous against the Pub­lick Resolutions; or if the Presbytery were divided in their judg­ments, then was there, for most part, either two Elections, or else dissents from, and Protestation against the Election of such as were unsatisfied with the Publick Resolutions; or else both, as in the E­lections of Glasgow and Sterline; of all which no Reason can be given, except the Letter and Act of the Commission. 2 The Pres­bytery of Dunkel having chosen their Commissioners to the Gen. Assembly, and one of their number who was a member of the Com­mission having dissented from, and protested against the Election; because such as were chosen were unsatisfied with the Commis­sions proceedings: the Synod of Perth meeting a little thereafter, and receiving the Letter and Act of the Commission did thereupon sustain the Dissent and Protestation of that man of their number, and appointed the Presbytery of Dunkel to chuse their Commissio­ners anew again. As to the Fourth, That none were denied a voice in the Assembly upon the accompt of their not being satisfied, or being cited: albeit that were true, yet it doth not make void what is said for pre-limiting the Elections by the Letter and Act of the Commission, because the Elections were primo instanti, pre­judged in Presbyteries, by barring those from being chosen who o­therwise were in a capacity and likelihood to have been chosen, by which it having come to pass that few such were chosen; Policy taught the Assembly not to deny such of them as were chosen, a vote upon that accompt, the votes of so few a number not being like to prove so great a disadvantage to their business as the profest de­nial [Page 12] of them a vote would have done: But in order to this particu­lar, we do further offer these two things for one Answer. 1 That the discussing and judging of the Commissions of these in the Presby­tery of Glasgow, who were unsatisfied with the Publick Resoluti­ons, was laid aside upon this consideration, only, because the Reason of Mr. Rob. Ramsay his Protestation against the Election, taken from their dissatisfaction with the Publick Resolutions, could not (as was alleadged) be discussed till these Resolutions were either con­demned or approven, which was in effect to exclude them from vo­ting, because of their not approving the Publick Resolutions: And this is so much the stronger, if we shall consider that it was refused to lay aside the Commissions of these who had carried on these Re­solutions in the Commission of the Assembly, until their procee­dings should be tried and approven. 2 It is to be considered, that the Assembly did sustain and approve the Letter and Act of the Commission for citing such as were unsatisfied, which was a real excluding of all these who were cited upon dissatisfaction, at least from being made Judges in that particular.

Reas. That cannot be, or is not accompted a lawful free Gen. Assembly, in which relevant Exceptions being timously propoun­ded against many of the Members thereof, and offered to be verified and instructed, were refused to be taken in consideration; but, not­withstanding of the timous proponing of these Exceptions, and of­fering to instruct the same, these Members were allowed to sit and vote before these Exceptions were taken in consideration and dis­cussed: But the Meeting of St. Andrews was such, because it be­ing propounded and urged by sundry in that Meeting, that such of the Commission as had hand in the Publick Resolutions should not be permitted to sit and vote in the Assembly, they being under a scandal and guilty of the promoting a course of Defection which was offered to be instructed until such time as they should be tried: yet it was refused to take any such Exception in consideration, or to remove them till this should be tried and discussed. Therefore, &c. For further clearing and confirming of this Argument, it is needful to speak to these two things. 1 To shew, that it was incumbent in duty to the Assembly to have removed from their Meeting all persons under scandal (the same being made known unto them) un­til they were purged thereof. 2 To shew, that the persons obje­cted against were under such scandals as is alleadged for the first; [Page 13] albeit (as we conceive) no great controversie will be made about it, yet we offer these things for proof of it: 1 That the light of Na­ture, and the Word of God speaks for it. 2 That some clauses both of our National Covenant, and Solemn League and Covenant, and Eight Desires of the Commission in the year 1648. and of the so­lemn Engagement in the same year, and all the Church Remonstran­ces for purging of Armies and Judicatories, even the late Papers gi­ven in by the same Commissioners to the Parliament at Sterlin [...] a­bout the Act of Classes for excluding of scandalous persons from being Members of our Judicatories. 3 There is a Rule and Order set down in the Third Gen Assembly of this Kirk in July 1562. That at the entry of every Assembly, the first work is to be anent trying and purging of the Members thereof; where men are ap­pointed to be charged in Gods behalf, to declare their consciences to [...]ching their Doctrin, Life and execution of their Office, if therein they be scandalous: like as it is appointed that any to whose charge any thing is laid, ought to be removed out of the Assembly, until his cause be tried; and if he be convicted, he can have no Voice until the Kirk receive satisfaction, and in the common order of procee­ding set down in subsequent Assemblies, set down by the Assembly in March 1568. It is appointed, that before any meddle with any business they shall f [...]ll unto the tryal of their Members. The same is to be found in the Assembly 1578. August 6. at Edinburgh, and in the Assembly 1580. and in the Assembly 1581. which two last Assemblies, as the one of them condemned the O [...]fice of Episcopa­cie and p [...]t out the Bishops; and the other established Presbyteries and the Book of Policie, and the short Confession of Faith, or our National Covenant: so were they so exact and diligent in this try­ing, purging work of their Members, that at their very entry they require all men as they render the Glory of God and the weale of this Kirk, and as they shall be answerable to God upon their con­sciences, that they delat and give in the Names and Faults of any of their number, to the removing of the slander which arises to the whol Kirk by their admitting of such Members; which custom and practice was exactly kept for above twenty Assemblies, and twenty years together. 4 All the Assemblies of this Kirk, since the late Reformation in the year 16 [...]8. have upon the objection of scandal against any of their Members in the time of the Constitution of their Meeting, removed these Members until the Exception were tri­ed [Page 14] and discussed; nay, this same Meeting at St. Andrews upon like exception and objection, that the scandal of the Laird of Blake­ter and some others, their accession to the unlawful Engagement was not yet sufficiently purged, by notifying their repentance to the Assembly, and approving the same where they were removed from sitting as Members: And we would have any man in the world to bring a reason why some Members, upon Exceptions propounded, should have been removed, till these were tried and discussed; and yet other Members admitted against them as relevant? nay, more relevant Exceptions were propounded before the trying and discus­sing of them. For the Second, That the persons objected against, were under scandal of carrying on a course of Defection: It is ma­nifest, not only from hear-say and common report, the first where­of in the 13. of Deuteronomy and 12. Verse, is made a ground for enquiring and making search, and asking diligently after these who seduce to false-worship: And the other ground of proceeding a­gainst the incestous person 1 Cor. 5.1. 2 Thes. 3.11. But also from these Four Particulars. 1 The offence and stumbling, and sad complaint of the plurality of the godly in the Land against their proceedings. 2 The Testimony and Letters of many Presbyteries bearing their stumbling and dissatisfaction with such courses. 3. The clear standing Acts, Remonstrances, and Declarations of for­mer General Assemblies, unto the which these proceedings were di­ametrally opposit. 4 The Testimony of sundry Brethren of the Assembly offering to instruct what was alleadged.

Objection. The Commissioners of former Assemblies have al­wayes such of them as was chosen by Presbytries being admitted to be Members, before the tryal, and approbation of their procee­dings. Answer. It is true, That the Commissioners have been al­lowed to sit until their proceedings come to be tryed and judged; but it is as true that such Exception and Objection being proponed, was never rejected; There was since the late Reformation, no cause to propound any such thing: the Commissioners till this year ha­ving alwayes carried themselves faithfully, but upon supposal they had done otherwise, it cannot in reason be denied, but that there was reason both to propound it, and take it in consideration: In order to this particular, it is to be remembred, that upon occasion of the great Debate in the Assembly 1597. concerning the carriage and proceedings of the Commission of the Gen. Assembly who had [Page 15] led the Church into defection in the interval betwixt Assemblies by taking upon them to give in Petitions to the Parliament for Vote in Parliament to the Ministers that should be provided to Prelacies and representing the true Kirk of God, and being the Third Estate of the Realm; the next Assembly which sate in the year 1601 did make an Act appointing the Commissioners of the preceding As­sembly to give an accompt of their whole proceedings in the begin­ning of the next, before any other cause or matter be handled, and their proceeedings be allowed, or dissallowed, as the Assembly shall think expedient; which Act was renewed in the year 1648. and doth necessarily infer, That they are not to be admitted to sit as Members of the Assembly, though there be no scandal nor excepti­on propounded therupon, till their carriage be first tryed and appro­ven: muchless they are to be admitted when there is scandal and exception propounded thereupon.

Object. It was sufficient to remove them, when the Report of their proceedings come in to be judged, or not to admit them as Judges of the things wherein they were to be tryed; and as this was done in former Assemblies, so it was also done in this. Answ. That was not sufficient, because it being objected and offered to be instructed, that they were under a scandal, and that of a very high nature, they ought not to have sitten as Members until they had first been purged thereof, unless we may say that any scanda­lous man may judge in any thing, except in the matter of his own scandal. 2. There was a manifest prejudice to the judging of their own proceedings by their sitting, because they had a hand in nomi­nating, and appointing men, who did consider their proceedings, and make Report thereof to the Assembly: nay, their Moderator and Clerk, being Moderator and Clerk of the Assembly, did nomi­nate all these men, and were so grosse therein, that except one man, they nominated none to be upon the Committee, except such as were of their own judgment, though some few dayes after they did adde some few others, after it was taken notice of, and regrai­ted in private Conference with the Moderator.

Object. If the propounding of one Exception was reason suffi­cient to have removed so many considerable Members of the As­sembly, then might the whole Members one after another, have been removed by propounding Exceptions against them, and so not only that Assembly, but all Assemblies whatsoever, might by any [Page 16] contentious of malevolous person be brought to nothing, because they might propound Exceptions against each of the Members, and alleadge, That they could not sit until these were first tryed and discussed, otherwise it were not a lawful free General Assembly. Answ. This Objection strikes against the propounding and hearing of any Exception whatsoever, against any constituent Member of a Judicatory, as well as against the present case; and therefore if the makers of it admit Exceptions against constituent Members in any case, they are bound no less then we are, to frame an Answer thereto, which answer in the present Case, as in others, they would not grant. But to the thing it self, we say, That it is not sufficient for removing of Members of Judicatories simply to pro­pound and offer Exceptions against them; but these two things are requisite in the Exception propounded and offered. 1. That for the matter it be such as prima fronte, at least seems relevant in law. 2. That for the truth of the fact in application to the persons against whom it is made there be a scandal, or some presumptions, or some offering to instruct and make it out; now in the present case it is clear that the exceptions propounded was relevant in jure: if there be any relevant, why a man should not sit in the General Assembly, this certainly is one, that he hath betrayed his former Trust, hath made defection from the covenant and cause, and being instrumen­tal to carry on a course of defection throughout the Kirk and King­dom; and as to the truth of the Fact in reference to these against whom the exception was made, all these three did concur a flagrant scandal, pregnant presumptions, and persons in the Judicatory of­fering to instruct and verifie what was alleadged.

Object. No Exception could be taken in consideration, nor dis­cussed until the Judicatories was first constituted, and a Moderator chosen, and therefore it is nothing against the freedom of the Mee­ting, that the Assembly not yet being constitute, and a Moderator not chosen, that they did refuse to fall upon the tryal and discus­sing of that Exception against the Commissioners of the former As­sembly. Answ. If the Assembly had immediatly, upon the choice of the Moderator, fallen upon the tryal and discussing of that Ex­ception, and removed these against whom it was made, from sitting in the Assembly as Judges in any thing until that had been done, though it could not have loosed, yet it would have lessened the difficulty and strength of the Argument; but even after the Mo­derator [Page 17] was chosen, and the Assembly now formally constitute, these men were all allowed to sit as Members, and to be Judges in every thing that come before the Assembly for many dayes together before the Assembly had judged of the exception; nay, which is more, before their proceedings were approven by the Assembly, they sate as Judges to give vote and sentence upon this very exception propounded against themselves, the same being one of the speciall reasons contained in the Protestation, which was condemned before the proceedings of the Commissioners were reported and approven, we said that it would not have loosed the difficultie, because the thing which was Desired, was not the Tryall and Discussion of the Exception instantly before the choice of a Moderator, but that accordingly as was done in reference to other Members excepted against, so these should be laid aside, and not allowed to vote untill the Assembly being constitute, take in consideration, and discusse the the same, which they were so far from doing, that they did peremp­torily reject it, and admit him to vote, which was in effect to reject the exception wholly, and to determine either that it was not rele­vant, or else that it was false, both which were absurd. 1. Because to say that it was not relevant, was to contradict most clear light of reason, and to say it was false, was to approve the Commissions proceedings before tryall of them, or hearing what was to be said for verifying the exception.

Object. They could not be debarred untill they were found ju­dicially scandalous, 1. Because they were many of them, men of approven integrity in all their former carriage. 2. This had been to fasten an imputation, nay a kind of censure upon them before they were found guilty. 3. It had been to make way for a bad preparative, to remove a number of able and faithfull men out of a Judicatory whensoever it should please any to come in against them with any such alleadgeances. Ans. All these things are clearly enough answered already, yet for further satisfaction, we shortly reply, that though a Judiciall tryall and sentence may haply be re­quired for removing one who is already a received member of a constitute Judicatory, yet its not in regard of the members of a Judicatory yet to be constituted, or in regard of members yet not admitted; for if it were so, then it would follow, either that no Judicatory could constitute it self, but behaved to have some other Judicatory to judge of the constituent Members [Page 18] of it, or else that it behoved to constitute it self of scandalous per­sons: notwithstanding of timeous information given of these scan­dals and exceptions propounded against the persons under the same, why they could not sit till these scandals were purged. 2. It de­stroyes the common order and directorie of procedour in the con­stitution of all Judicatories. 3. It contradicts the current and constant tenor of the practices and proceedings of the Generall As­semblies of this Kirk, in order to their constitution, who have al­wayes removed persons against whom exceptions were made, till they took tryall of the same, though there were no Judiciall sen­tence at the propounding of them produced for verifying of them. As for their former integrity, we shall not deny to sundry of them that testimony. But as it is not the first time in the Kirk of Scot­land, that men of understanding have fallen to prove others so, nei­ther did their former carriage when they fell from their stedfastnes, perswade others to wink or be silent at their defection, and for the fastening an imputation or kind of censure upon them. It was much better and more safe and reasonable (supposing what is alleadged) to fasten a just imputation upon them, then to fasten an unjust and remeadilesse prejudice upon the cause. But would not their being vindicated after triall, have made their righteousnesse shine more brightly. And for the preparative, it is already answered, That it is not sufficient to propound things by way of exception, but that they must be relevant for the matter, and probable for the truth, be­cause of scandal or presumptions, or persons offering to verifie and instruct: All which were in the present case.

3. Reason. That is not a lawfull f [...]ee Assembly, where there is not liberty and freedom to vote in the matters agitated and deba­ted therein: But the Meeting at S. Andrews had no liberty nor freedom in the chief matters that came in consideration, to wit, the Publick Resolutions and Proceedings of the Commission, as it is manifest from these particulars. 1. The Commission had in their Remonstrances and Papers, stirred up the Civill Magistrate against such as did differ from them in these Resolutions and Proceedings, and accordingly the Civill Magistrate had confined some Ministers, to wit these of Sterlin, upon that accompt, and had made Lawes and Acts of Parliament, appointing all such to be proceeded against as Enemies to Religion and the Kingdome. 2. The Commission had by their Warnings and Papers to Presbyteries, stirred up Pres­byteries [Page 19] to censure such, and cite them to the Generall Assembly, and accordingly the Presbyteries did cite many of them. 3. The Kings Majesty wrote to the Assembly, a Letter inciting and stir­ring up to punishment and censure these who differed from the Pub­lick Resolutions; and his Commissioner did second the same by a Speech to the Assembly, intimating that he hoped that such a course should be taken with them, as that all others might be deterred from doing the like hereafter: none of all which things that Meeting did resent, but first were silent thereat, and afterwards did approve them.

Object. It was not any prelimiting of the Assembly in the free­dom of their voices for the King and his Commissioner to stir them up to their duty against these who differed, and should not obey the Assembly: Nay, it was incumbent to the King and his Commissio­ner to do so, as it is incumbent to the Judicatories of the Kirk to stir up the Civil Magistrate to his duty. Ans. If the King and his Commissioner had kept themselves within the bounds spoken of in the Objection, lesse could have been said; but whilst the Assembly had not yet medled with the Publick Resolutions and proceedings of the Commission either to condemn or approve them, they stirred up of the Assembly to punish and censure, not these who shall differ from the Assembly in their Acts and Conclusions, but these who differ from the Commission in their Acts and Conclusions.

4. Reason. That is not a free Assembly wherein persons allowed by the Acts and Policie of the Kirk to speak their Consciences are denied liberty so to do. But so it was in the Assembly at S. An­drews, that such persons were denyed that liberty. Persons allowed to speak in an Assembly, are not onely Ecclesiastick persons having calling and power to vote therein; but others also are allowed to propone hear and reason, as is evident from the Policie of the Kirk, and Acts of Assembly 1581, and 1586, and 1596. all which expres­ses this as a part of the freedom of the Generall Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland, and it was the usuall practice of this Kirk, to de­sire any judicious Member of the Kirk to present unto the Assem­bly in writing their thoughts of any dangers to Religion, or to the Kirk, and of the best remedies of the same, as is evident from the Records of the Assemblies 1567, 1587, 159 [...], 1594, 1595 and especially in the time of any trouble or difference. Yet notwithstanding of all these things, Sir Archibald Johnstou [...] Clerk of the Generall Assembly, a man to this time undeniably faithfull, [Page 20] and singularly acquainted with the acts and proceedings of this Kirk, and with the matters presently in controversie and debate, and who hath been useful above many in all the tract of the work of Refor­mation from the begining throughout all the steps thereof, both at home and abroad; having written his mind to the Meeting (not being able to come himself) about the things which were to be a­gitat in the Assembly, and holden out much clear light from the Scriptures, and from Acts of former Assemblies in these particulars; albeit the Letter was delivered publickly to the Moderator in the face of the Assembly, and urged to be read by him who presented it, that then the Moderator did break it up, and promised to cause read it; and that many Members did thereafter upon several occasions, and at several Diets press the reading of it, yet could never the reading thereof be obtained, but it was smothered together with a Ptotestation which was contained therin against a Paper given in by the Commission to the Parliament, approving what was done by the King and the Committee of Estates against the Ministers of Sterline.

5 Reas. That cannot be accompted a free Assembly to which there was not free access and recess: But there was not free ac­cess to this Assembly by reason of two Armies being interjacent be­wixt the place of meeting, and the dwellings of many of the Com­missioners; these Armies in the very time when the Commission­ers should have come to the Assembly, being pursuing one another hotly, and having their parties roving abroad every where, There­fore many Members were absent, above the one half of the Bur­roughs, and many Presbyteries, to the number of nine or ten: Nei­ther was there free recess from it, not only because of the former reason, but also because the King and the Committee of Estates did detain and keep under a kind of confinement at Sterling, several Members thereof, as they were returning to their own home, ha­ving nothing, nor alleadging any thing to challenge them of, unless it were their carriage at the Assembly.

6 Reas. That is not a lawful free Assembly, in which persons lawfully under the trial thereof, are admitted to sit as Judges in the same thing for which they are under trial. But the Meeting at St. Andrews and Dundee is such, because the Commissioners of the Gen Assembly were, before the approbation of their proceedings by the Assembly, admitted to sit as Judges of the Protestation, a part [Page 21] whereof was, that their proceedings should not be ratified, because they did involve a conjunction with the Malignant Party; which is contrary to the Word of God, the Solemn League and Covenant, the Solemn Engagement, many Acts, Warnings and Declarations of this Kirk &c. Yea, not only did they before the approving of these proceedings by the Assembly, judge the Protestation, whereof their own proceedings were a part, but did also before the appro­ving their proceedings, judge the persons who had given it in, and gave their voices amongst others who of them should be cited, in order to Censure; nay, the Committee wherein that business rela­ting to the Protestation and the in-givers of it was handled, and up­on whose report thereanent the Resolutions of the Assembly there­in did mainly hang, was for most part made up of those who had been Members of the Commission; which things, when they are impartially considered by indifferent men, I beleeve will be acknow­ledged to be very unsutable and inconsistent with the liberty of a free Assembly. There be two things, as to the matter of Fact needful to be verified in this Argument: one is, That the Protesta­tion was judged and condemned, and the five Members appointed to be cited before the approving of the Commission-Book. Another is this, That the Members of the Commission had voice in these things. Of the truth of both these we are informed by some, but if any doubt, we shall desire him to lay no weight upon the Argu­ment until he get the certaintie; and we our selves do not lay any weight upon it, but as these things shall be found true.

Object. Albeit these Reasons do indeed hold forth some kind of encroachment upon the liberty and freedom of the Assembly, yet do they not prove the Nullity thereof: Every degree of encroach­ment is not such as destroies an Assembly, and makes it no Assembly; but it were hard ever to find a lawful free Assembly in the World. Ans. It is true, That every encroachment upon the liberty of an As­sembly does not destroy it and make it no Assembly, but we deny that these encroachments contained in our arguments doth it not, and we give these two Reasons of our denial: 1 Because the things mentioned destroy almost all the essential requisits of a free Assem­bly; freedom of Elections, freedom of Voicing, free access & recess, and free hearing of what is offered for light, impartial hearing and discussing of Exceptions against constituent Members, admitting parties, or these who are under trial, to be Judges in the same thing. [Page 22] 2 Because these are such encroachments as moved the General As­sembly in the year 1638. because of the like, to judge several of the former Assemblies of this Kirk to be null, as may be seen in the Acts of that Assembly. We beleeve, that there is none of these pretended Assemblies for the Nullity of which stronger Reasons are brought then these are which we have brought for the Nullity of this, and will appear to those who shall take but a little pains to compare them together.

Object. If so be this Assembly had proceeded right upon the matter, or according to the mind of these who oppose the Publick Resolutions, it is not like that they would have thought that the Reasons alleadged did prove the Nullity of it; and if so, why then should such things be made use of to prove the nullity of it, because some men are not satisfied with the proceedings and acts thereof. A. Albeit there were no such Reasons as is alleadged, nor any thing relating to the point of form, yet conceive, and that with much ap­pearance of Reason, that any Assembly proceeding wrong upon the matter, is a Null Assembly; because Kirk Judicatories have no po­wer to destruction, but all their power is to Edification. But what­soever power the Commissioners in a Gen. Assembly have, it is by Commission from their Presbyteries, which Cōmission limits them to the Word of God and the Covenant, and Acts of former Assem­blies; therefore in so far as they do any thing contrary to these, in so far they may be declined, as having no power nor authority for doing any such thing; which furnishes another considerable reason for declining of this Assembly, not before alleadged, because they have in most of all, and the most material of their proceedings, pro­ceeded contrary to the trust committed unto them by Presbyteries. 2. Albeit they had proceeded right upon the matter, yet would there still have been reason to have insisted upon the Objecting of these things, for preserving and vindicating the liberty of Assem­blies; and if any had, even in the case of their right, proceed or stuck closely to these things, we see not what cause there was to blame him for so doing, though yet we beleeve that men in the case of right procedor, upon the matter would have more easie dige­sted faults; in the forme we must suppose it to be in these things as in the case of two Ministers, both of them for the same fault, de­serving deposition in stricto jure; and the one, as a man who is known not to Edifie, but Destroy; the other, known to Edifie, [Page 25] though guilty of these faults: Will not men think that they may with some good conscience spare the one, when they depose the o­ther? We take it to be not without special providence, that the Lord hath trysted together in this Assembly so much illegality in Forme, and so much iniquity in Matter, and these being joyned to­gether, do convincingly prove, That it is none of the lawful free Courts of Jesus Christ, nor to be reckoned amongst the free Gen. Assemblies of the Kirk of Scotland.

Object. It is without precedent, that the Constitution of a Gen. Assembly hath been Protested against in the Kirk of Scotland: Answ. It is the Ignorance of the History and Acts of the Kirk that makes men speak so, we shall give but one instance, because it doth most quadrat to the present case in the year, 1597. it being carried by plurality of voices in the Assembly, that the Petition of the Com­missioners of the former Assembly, given in to the Parliament, for Ministers voting in Parliament in name of the Kirk, and as the third Estate of the Kingdom, should be approven; and that the Paper of Greivances which was given to the Assembly against that Petition by several Members thereof, should be buried and obliterate for the continuance of Peace and Quietness in the Kirk; Mr. John David­son for himself, and in the Name of the Brethren, entered his Prote­station in these tearms, That this present Assembly is not a free General Assembly; and desired it be inserted in the Books of the Assembly.

Object. It seems that the Protesting against this Assembly hath in it no good nor profitable use at all, because protesting against their proceedings, had been testimony enough for the truth, though there had been no Protestation against the Assembly; yet the next being such as it ought, might have taken the Constitution of this in consideration, and declared it Null. Answ. If the latter part of what is alleadged have any weight, it speaks also against any Pro­testation against the matter of their proceedings: But the Lord calls for Protestation against both the matter and manner, and it hath these goods in it, besides many other: 1. Our exoneration of our Consciences to the duty and respect which we owe to Jesus Christ, in maintaining the liberty and freedom of his Courts, unvio­lated. 2. Ground of conviction upon the Consciences of these who have incroached upon the same. 3. A keeping of the whole Kirk of Scotland free of such guiltiness. 4. Preserving a legal right and fair [Page 26] regress to these outward Priviledges of Christs visible Kingdom. 5. One example of the like faithfulness and zeal to others in this, and the following generations.

Object. This Protestation seemeth to have two great evils in it, 1. Is a discovery of our Nakedness before the face of the Enemy, who is now in the Land, and doth insult, and rejoyce, in these our Divisions; and takes occasion thereby, to speak evil of the Go­vernment and Discipline of our Kirk. 2. It casts loose the whole Frame of our Kirk-Government, and puts out of capacity of ha­ving any more Assemblies. Answ. It is not the Protesting that hath discovered our Nakedness, or made the Enemy speak evil of, or despise our Government, but it is the grosse miscarriages which are Protested against: The Protestation is rather a covering of our Nakedness, and making up of the Breach, and stopping of the mouthes of Enemies, when they hear that all are not involved, nor give not way to these corruptions of Government, but that many bear testimony against the same: Neither doth it cast loose the Form of Kirk-Government, or put us out of a capacity of ha­ving Assemblies, because it is not a Protestation simply against Gen. Assemblies, but against the Constitution of this Assembly: The Doctrine, Discipline, Worship, and Government of the Kirk of Scotland is fully and clearly acknowledged and asserted in the Pro­testation, and General Assemblies rightly constituted, and proceed­ing rightly, are acknowledged to be amongst the effectuall means for remeding the present differences and distractions; and there are severall wayes and capacities left unto us, by which a Generall As­sembly may again be called, one is by the mutuall consent of Pres­byteries; a second is by the Commission of the former Assemblie, which seems to be in force until another lawful free Gen. Assembly do sit: a third is by the Civil Magistrate, and others also there be which providence may offer. But it may be said, That by the Pro­testation the exercise of the Government is suspended, which may consequently prove dangerous and destructive; To which we reply, 1 That the exercise of the Government is preserved in the inferior, Judicatories. 2 It is much better that these who assume power to themselves and exercise it to destruction, that they should want it, and not have it; Better no General Assembly then a preten­ded one, which destroies instead of edifying: as better no Minister then one Usurper over the Flock, who poysons instead of feeding.

[Page 27] Object. To protest against a General Assembly hath alwaies been looked upon in this Kirk as a thing very censurable; and there­fore in the year 1582. there is one Act of the General Assembly, ap­pointing such as decline the General Assembly, to be summarily ex­communicated. Answ. To make such an act were, either to suppose that a General Assembly could not be wrong constitute, and could not err in their proceedings; or else, that suppose they should be wrong constitute and err, yet they ought not to be declined or protested against, both which are equally absurd, and therefore we cannot think that the Kirk of Scotland hath at any time made any such Act in so general and unlimited terms. As to that in the year 1582. it is grosly mistaken, because it is no waies anent declining of unlawful Assemblies, but against appealing from lawful Assem­blies to the Civil Magistrate in Ecclesiastick causes, for stopping Ec­clesiastick Discipline against the persons appealers, as is further evi­dent by the occasion thereof: Mr. Robert Montgomery Bishop of Glasgow, his producing Letters of Horning from the King & Coun­sel, charging the Assembly to desist from his Process, and suspen­ding their Sentence in the mean time, till the King and Counsel con­sider the same; against which the Kirk entred a Protestation. From these things it may appear how unwarantably the Meeting at Dundee did upon alleadgance of this Act fall upon debate of the summar Excommunication of these who had protested.

A VINDICATION OF THE …

A VINDICATION OF THE Freedom and Lawfulnesse, and so of the Authority of the late GENERALL ASSEMBLY, Begun at St. Andrews, and continued at Dundee, in Answer to the Reasons alleadged against the same in the Protestation and Declinator given in by some Brethren at St. Andrews; and in another Paper lately contrived by some, &c. 1651.

Together with a Review of the said Vindication, plainly holding forth the Nullity and unlawfulnesse of that pretended Generall Assembly: In which the aspersions cast upon the Protesters in that Vindication are taken off: And the Answers brought unto the Reasons contained in the Protestation, against the freedome and lawfulnesse of that Meeting and in the Paper afterwards penned for clearing and confirming thereof are discussed, and the strength of these reasons established to be a Null Assembly.

By a Friend of the Protesters cause.

Gal 5.1.

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

2. Cor. 10.8.

Our authority which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction.

For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.

Printed Anno Dom. 1652.

The Inscription of the Vindication.

A Vindication of the freedom and law­fulnesse, and so of the authority of the late Generall As­sembly begun at S. Andrews, and continued at Dundee, in Answer to the Reasons alleadged against the same in the Protestation and Declinator given in by some Bre­thren at S. Andrews, and in another Paper lately con­trived by some practizing to foment divisions, and to fix a Schisme in this Kirk; and for that effect, spread a­broad onely into the hands of such as they conceive wil be inclinable to follow their way, but keeped up from all others.

The Review of the Inscription,

IN this Title, some things are insinuated, and others are asserted. It is insinuated, that the Protestation was given in but by a few, for he calls them some Brethren; I acknow­ledge, that the multitude and greater number are upon the other side, yet that is not a thing wherein they have cause to boast, or the Protesters need to be ashamed; it seldome falls out, especially in declining times, that the followers of the truth are the most numerous; yet were these even for their number, many moe then by the Law are accounted witnesses sufficient to attest a truth; and many there be throughout the Land, who put to their seal to their Testimony as true; Ministers, Elders and Pro­fessors; yea, the Generality of the Generation of the Righteous, and such as know GOD, and live godly in the Land. It is asser­ted [Page 4] first, That the other Paper was lately contrived, that is, a litle while before the writing of this Vindication: But if the Vindication was not written many moneths before it came a­broad, the Author thereof is mistaken in this, because this Paper was contrived within a very few weeks, three or four at most, after the Protestation it self, it may be that it came but lately to his hand, but it was abroad long before his Vindication was heard of. 2. It is asserted, that this Paper was contrived by some, practizing to foment divisions, and to fix a Schisme in this Kirk. But their hearts bear them record, that the fomenting or fixing of division or schisme justly so called, as it never was, nor is their purpose, so hath it been far from their practice, either in that or any other particular This indeed they do acknowledge, that they are unwilling to suffer themselves to be divided from the truth formerly received and professed by the Church of Scotland; and that they conceive themselves bound in their stations and Cal­lings, to bear testimony against the course of back-sliding, carried on in the Land, of which they judge the common Constitution and Acts of that Assembly to be no small part; and though to foment divisions and fix a Schisme in the Church, be a heavy im­putation, yet being conscious to themselves of their own inno­cencie, they are not much moved with it, remembring that it is the common Topick whence decliners in all the Ages of the Church have argued against these who would not be consenting unto, or did testifie against their defection; Peace and unity hath been their plea, and sedition, division and schisme their charge against their opposers; upon this accompt doth the Lord Jesus and his Apostles, by the Scribes and Pharisees and Elders of the Jewes, Luther and Calvin, and our first Reformers by the Pope and his Clergy; Nonformists by the Prelats and their adherents, stand recorded in the Catalogue of these who practized to fo­ment divisions, and fix a schisme in the Church. 3. It is asserted, That this Paper was spread abroad onely into the hands of such as they conceive will be inclineable to follow their way, but kee­ped up from all others. If they had directly sent Copies to these of a contrary judgment, it might haply been thought a piece of vanity and presumption; and if the Author of this Vindication thought such a thing incumbent to them, why did he not send a [Page 5] Copy of his Answer to the contrivers of these Papers, whom (as he afterwards bears us in hand) he doth very wel know, or hath he spoken with, or received evidence from all others, who were not inclinable to follow that way that he doth so confidently as­sert that Paper to have been kept up from all of them; I will assure him, it was not so as he affirmes; As the contrivers did not vainly nor boastingly spread it to the provoking of any, so did they not purposely keep it up from any of whatsoever judgment, but were willing and desirous that it should go abroad, for edi­fying of as many as the Lord should be pleased to blesse it unto; And therefore did they not onely give Copies to such as did desire them, but also did use some means to have gotten it Printed, and could get none to undertake it.

VINDICATION.

Before I fal upon the Examination of the Reasons brought against, and the discovery of the false Aspersions cast upon the Assembly by these Papers mentioned; I do obtest the Reader, whosoever he be, into whose hands this Vin­dication shall come in the fear of God, and as thou loves not to be led away with errour, but to know, debate, and for thy edification decern on what side Truth and Justice is; thou would take heed that thy Judgement be not either blindfolded, or byassed and fixed in prejudice by somewhat which may have strong influence this way, and that is meer­ly extrinsecall to the Cause, as to truth or falshood, justice or injustice.

There be three things, one or moe, have (I doubt not) had influence on the misleading of some already in this matter, and may yet I suspect miscarry others, and fix some that come to the reading of this Paper, with a minde pre-occu­pyed with one of these Extrinsecall respects.

REVIEW.

I shall not contend with the Author about the truth of that General Assertion: That things extrinsecal to a Cause may have [Page 6] influence upon mens judgements, to byasse them against the weight of reason; It doth indeed oft-times fall out so to be, espe­cially in things that relate to Religion, neither shall I make any application to himself, or to the owners and fallowers of the Cause which he defends. I wish that all of us, on all hands may from the reall sense of the great blindnesse that is in our understandings, and many byasses that are in our hearts, with much trembling and fear, make humble, serious and frequent addresses unto God, that he would give us rightly to know, and in singlenesse of heart to judge of the truth in these things, without laying weight on any thing that will not bear weight in the ballance of the Sanctuary. But haply indifferent men would have accounted it fairer dealing, if not more prudence if he had left the Cause simply to be determined by the weight of his Answers and Rea­sons; and had not so operously and industriously laboured to bring the Reader in dislike with the Protesters, by charging some of them with high crimes, and endeavouring to weaken the Reputation of all of them, by a long deduction, and many farre fetched Instances of things on the by; If his Answers be strong enough for a batterie, what needed these undermindings? But its fit to take some View of these misleading Principles, wherewith he chargeth the Protesters, and their adherents, and of which he desires others to beware least they be thereby also insnared; onely this advertisement I give, that his charge in all these things runneth onely upon the Principles and Practises of some of the Protesters; Now upon supposall that all his al­legeance were true, what a poor way of arguing would these that are for the Publick Resolutions, and for the Assembly at St. Andrews and Dundee account it, to tell them over some few of the many grosse Principles, and Practices holden and acted by some of their party, and from thence to conclude against their pro­fessions, and to the prejudice of their Cause.

VINDICATION.

First selfish Interest, it is far from my thoughts to charge this upon all who have concurred in Protesting against, and declining this Assembly as the motive that led them thereupon; I am per­swaded [Page 7] of many of them that they followed that course in the sim­plicity of their hearts; yet I leave it to all judicious indifferent men to consider & give their judgment, if it be not very apparent that somewhat of this kind was the spring that moved some, the prime contrivers and sticklers in this businesse, who having ad­ventured upon such high courses and attempts, tending to the violation of the Nationall Faith, renting and ruining the King­dom, trampling upon Authority, and carrying with them te­nents, contrary to the minde and Practice of all Orthodox Kirks, and to the Faith, and not being able to abide triall in these things by an Assembly, who in themselves was not able to bear the sway, and carry things to their minde, and finding others in sim­plicity of heart with them disliking some Publick Resolutions and Actings, and so apt to be led on with them upon any course that could be presented with the colour of a Testimony against these Resolutions and Actings, found it safest; for they rather alto­gether do disclaim the authority of the Assembly, then to ha­zard upon a fair and orderly tryall of their matters; yea, have we not seen some already ship in, and land out of, and ship in again in that Protestation, according as they conceived the winde of af­fairs then in the time to blow with, or against it, to credit, or dis­credit, advantage or disadvantage; conscientious men would beware now that this same motive or interest, do not prevail over them, to neglect due Examination of the grounds of that Pro­testation, or to close their eye against such light as might hap­ly be holden forth in this matter, to the discovery of the light­nesse and non-relevancy of these grounds and reasons; There­fore put reputation and dis-reputation in the estimation of men, advantage, or dis-advantage worldly to thee and thy con­dition, put off thy sight for a while, untill thou hast pondered and compared reason with reason.

REVIEW.

In the Application of this Principle of selfish interest, the Au­thor assoils some, conceiving them to be led on in the simplicity of their hearts, by the subtilty and misguiding of others, whom he charges with adventuring on high courses and attempts, tending [Page 8] to the violation of the Nationall Oath, renting and ruining the Kingdom, trampling on Authority, and carrying with them te­nets contrary to the minde and practice of all Orthodox Churches and to the Faith, &c What is all this, but the way, if not very near the words of the Prelaticall and Malignant party, against the Instruments of the Work of Reformation Anno 1638 and there­after, who because the Integrity of some of these Instruments was above exception, they did cast the appearing of these in that Work upon their simplicity, and did charge others with falling on a course of rebellion, as not being able to endure triall in the high crimes, whereof (as they said) they were guilty; but the Lord ere long did make their righteousnes break forth as the mor­ning, and their clearing as the noon day, and I trust that he who knowes the Innocency of these Protesters upon whom the like things are charged, shall also shew them the like mercy in Vindi­cating them from all the reproach that hath been unjustly cast upon them. But to the point if these prime Contrivers, and sticklers in the businesse, had before that time adventured on such high courses, and were guilty of such grievous crimes as the Au­thor chargeth them with, then surely these simple ones of whom he speaks, were simple exceedingly, who could see nor discern none of these things that were so obvious to the view of others; but notwithstanding of what he sayes, they are known to sharp sighted decerning men, and for learning, circumspecti­on, judgement prudence and experience in the things of God, and the Affairs of his house to be far beyond these whom he takes for the prime contrivers and sticklers in the businesse, and to be inferior to none of their opposers; yea, if there be any who deserve the name of the prime contrivers and sticklers in the mat­ter of the Protestation it is some of these who had no hand in these high courses which he mentions, and who upon his accompt are among the simple ones. These crimes which he doth so po­sitively, and without hesitation charge upon some, especially be­ing so hainous and great: It would seem, that both charity and and justice would have required that he had brought some good evidence of them, least haply his Reader trust not his naked As­sertion, in that which doth not onely reach the reputation, but also the life and being of others; And if he would have men to [Page 9] believe their tenets to be contrary to the minde and practice of all Orthodox Churches, and to the Faith; he would do well to prove them to be so, untill he do it, he will I hope allow chari­ty to these who deny it: Some of the greatest Divines of this Church, and of this age whose praise is in all the Reformed Churches do affirm and have proved the contrary, and if the Au­thors Assertion be true, I fear not to say, that the minde and practice of this Church these years past hath not been Orthodox nor agreeable to the faith in order to these tenets, because they have been clearly taught and practised by this Church these years past, and a man but slenderly seen in the Doctrine thereof may bring forth these tenets asserted by this Church in the same let­ters and sillabes; and may give clear instances of her practices a­agreeing with the same; It hath been done already by some in a more convincing way then the sharpest opposers of these tenets have as yet satisfyingly answered. I would fain know what ground the Author had to say, that the prime contrivers and stick­lers found it safest for them rather altogether to disclaim the Au­thority of the Assembly, then to hazard upon a fair and orderly trial of their matters. Their consciences do bear them record, that it was not upon any jealousie or suspition they had of their Cause as not being able to endure the light; & reason may perswade indifferent men to think, that they did not look upon protesting against the Assembly as the safest course otherwise then in order to their duty, for if we take safety as it might concern their persons, they could hardly have done any thing that could have more endan­gered these: It was a speedy way to expose them to the censures both of Church and State, as did appear in the sequel, some of them because of their Protesting being deposed by that Assembly, and others of them confined by the civil Magistrate, and there is ground to presume that they would have been proceeded against with further censures, both civil and Ecclesiastick, if the Lord had not stopt the current of these things; If this was their safest way, why do men of his own judgment so frequently say, that if the Protestation had been forborn, the Assembly would not have censu­red any, no not in the case of their adhering to their judgment, and dissenting from the judgment of the Assembly in the matters of the Publick Resolutions. If we shal take safety in order to the cause, [Page 10] they could not be so dull as to think, that their Protesting against the Assembly would keep the Assembly from trying and judging of their cause, or other indifferent men from searching into the same, and if before the Protestation, it could not abide the triall, it did but put them in a much worse condition to Protest upon an unwarrantable ground, it being worse to defend two evill causes then one: And therefore it doth not appear from these things that self-interest was the spring from whence these Actings did flow; yea, the contrary (if any thing) is manifest, because by such a way they could expect nothing but the hightning of all former reproaches cast on them, the exposing of themselvs to the censures both of Church and State, if men that in all their precious inte­rests must be sufferers because of their doing of such things, be led to act therein upon a principle of selfish interest, we leave it to judicious and indifferent men to consider and give their judge­ment, whether it be very apparent, yea, or not? It is true that some two or three did partly by the perswasion, and partly by the threatning of some at Dundee, resile a little from the Testi­mony which they had given at St Andrews in the matter of the Protestation, which within a short time thereafter they did re­pent of, and again adhered to their former Testimony, not upon any selfish-interest, or eye to credite or advantage (as the Au­thor affirmes) there being no appearance first or last, that by adhering to the Protestation they could gain any of these things, but on the checks of their own consciences, and the voice they heard behind them, saying, this is the way walk ye in it, when they had turned aside, some of them are since that time taken out of the land of the living, and I trust are now in glory, and I can assure the Author and all others, and if it be doubted, I wil get it attested under the hands of famous witnesses; that after their resiling from that testimony they had no peace nor quietnes in their spirits for a long time, but went down mourning to their graves, because they had so done, and upon their death beds did often and sadly be­moan it, that they had missed the opportunity to give some publick Testimony and Declaration with others of their sorrow for the same, and of their purpose and resolution to adhere to the Pro­testation. It had been no losse to the Author nor his cause, to have spared such sharp (let me not say bitter) and personal [Page 11] reflections upon conscientious and godly men, as he many times needlesly useth, he and all others whose eyes God hath opened, to see their way, cannot but be conscious to themselves of their own wandrings, and how much they owe to the exceeding riches of the mercy and free grace of God, that hath recovered them out of snares.

VINDICATION.

SEcondly, estimation of the persons, the Authors or Abbet­tors of this Protestation▪ God forbid I should think, say, or ad­vise any thing to the prejudice or disadvantage of godlinesse or godly persons, neither shall I question their godlinesse, my judge­ment concerning some, yea many of them is very positive; having by experience and acquaintance seen, I must say, much of the image of JESUS CHRIST in them, as for others what ever they have been every whit, I take not on me to judge them, nor yet think I it pertinent or fit so to do; That there are godly men, not a few on the other side too, is manifest, some that were in Christ before them, and men that hath suffered for the Truth and Cause of God, when others had not the honor to be doers for it; and are ready to suffer, if he shal call them to it, though some uncharitably and rashly (to say to the best of it) spares not to traduce them as Apostates and backsliders; but this is it I would say, that men should take heed that they make not a snare of their opinion; yea, or the reall conviction of the godlinesse they have of any persons by approving, taking up, or following their sayings, opinions or practices, without due examination and triall upon this accompt, because they are godly persons from whom such things proceeds.

It is well and expedient for such as would in this dangerous time walk circumspectly, and shun snares, to remember as to this present caution two things: 1. That true godlinesse is not of such perfection in any on this side of eternity, as doth exempt them from all erring, whether in judgement or practice, nor yet from stiffe maintaining mistakes, when once they have turned aside unto them. Luther was a godly man, and had much of CHRIST in him; I think none of them interessed in the present businesse will compare with him, yet who knoweth not what great [Page 12] errouns he held in the matters of God, and maintained not only stiffely, but violently to the great prejudice of Religion, and ob­struction of the work of Reformation, under which the Reformed Kirks do groan yet unto this day. 2. How wofull a snare; this (I mean not godlinesse, but the overweighing conceit of persons reputed to be godly) hath proved in the neighbour Nation and Kirk; Hath not this been one of the chiefest stratagems and en­gines whereby Satan hath prevailed, to mar the fair work of Reformation, so happily and hopefully once begun there, and sil­led that Land with unparalelled confusions under which now it groans? Foelix quem faciunt aliena pericula cautum. It were good for us to learn wisedome by other mens dangers, and to be warned by the beacons which others shipwrack hath set up to us, lest we also make shipwrack upon the the same schelves; and then say, but too late, non putavimus, proverb, still Scottish men, wise behinde the hand, prove all things, from whatsoever hand they come, and hold fast that which is good.

REVIEW.

I do indeed believe, that the Author doth not intend to say or advise any thing to the prejudice or disadvantage of godlines, or godly men; yet do I desire him seriously, and in sobernesse of minde, as before the Lord, to consider, whether there hath been something in the late Publick Resolutions, and in the proceedings and Acts of the late Assembly at Dundee, to both which (if I mistake not) he had a great accession, that is prejudiciall to god­liness and to godly men: Respect to these did exceedingly abate with the Publick Resolutions; yea, enimity against these did ex­ceedingly grow with these resolutions; a thing so manifest, that they who did run, could not but read it; and did not the Acts at Dundee, wherein besides the censures that were inflicted on some, all, whether Ministers, Elders, Expectants, Schoolmasters, Students or Professors of whatsoever sort, who shall not acqui­esce to the Acts and Conclusions of that Assembly, and who after conference for their satisfaction, oppose the same, are appointed to be censured, do not (I say) these Acts import a prejudice to godliness and godly men, if prosecuted and executed, they would at last non-Office, and non-Church many Godly Church-Offi­cers [Page 13] and godly Church-Members; yea, I fear the greatest part of the Godly in the Land. His testimony concerning the godliness of many of the Authors and Abettors of this Protestation, I do willingly accept, as savouring of ingenuity, and having truth in it: I wish he had been as plain and positive in giving his judgment concerning others: Whilest he differences them from these to whose godliness he bears testimony, and saith, that what ever they have been every whit, he will not take upon him to judge; it seems that he would render them suspected, if not have them taken for persons naughty or little worth, what ever be his meaning in it, or his judgment of these others, I shal not stand to enquire into it; there be none of the Authors or Abettors of that Protestation, to whom many of the godly in Scotland will not give an honest testimony, neither will any thing that any of them have been, contradict the same, if at any time they have been in a wrong way, yet have they through grace repented of, and forsaken the same: And it concerns the Author, who hath been a sharer of the like precious mercy, not to upbraid them, but to acknowledge the goodness of the Lord both to them and to himself. I deny not, that there are godly men on the other side, and such as suffered for the Truth and Cause of God; but why he should say, that some of them were in Christ before the Pro­testers, and that they were sufferers for the truth, when others had not the honour to be deors for it, I do not well understand; sundry of the Protesters, for their being in Christ, and suffering for the Truth and Cause of God, are through grace, of a very old and longstanding, and famous & honorable in all this Church. I cannot reckon the moneths or years since the one or the other did begin to be in Christ, and had the honour to suffer for the truth, nei­ther do I desire to insist on the comparison, blessed be the Lord for all that are in Christ, and for all who suffers for his Cause, I wish and pray, that all of them may conquer and overcome, and if any of them be turned out of the way, the Lord may again re­cover them, and make their last dayes better then their first. It is true, some of the Protesters had not the honour to be doers for the Cause; yea, were opposers of it, when some of the other side were suffering for it; but what if they have obtained mercy, be­cause they did it ignorantly through unbelief: if not to be a doer [Page 14] for the Cause; yea, if to be bearers down and opposers of the Cause, when others were suffering for it, be a good plea against any of the Protesters, I fear most part of the late Assembly must leave their Benches and go to the Bar. I know none that tra­duces these godly men as Apostates; yea, I know and am per­swaded, that the Protesters have an high and honourable estima­tion of them for their piety and parts, and for the great things whereof the Lord hath made sundry of them instrumentall in his House; and though they cannot but testifie, unlesse they would be unfaithfull, that the course which these men have followed this while past in the matter of the Publick Resolutions, is a course of defection and back-sliding, yet do they not use to call them back-sliders, much lesse Apostates, and if any others do it, they are not therein approven or allowed by them. I joyn with the Author in his advice, that men should take heed that they make not a snare of the opinion; yea, or the reall conviction of the godlinesse they have of any persons by approving, taking up, or following their sayings, opinions or practices, without due ex­amination and tryall upon this accompt because they are godly persons, from whom such things proceeds, as being an advice wholesome and profitable in it self, and as having ground to think, that the estimation of some mens persons and judgements the last year, had influence upon some, to gain them to the Pub­lick Resolutions, and to the proceedings of the Assembly. I do also joyn with him in the substance of the two things which he adds for strengthning of this present caution, only desiring him to be impartial in the application of the first, and to look homeward aswell as abroad, and to guard well both in the first and last, that in discovering the errors or weakness of some who are truly god­ly, or the hypocrisie of others who pretend it, the hands of the prophane, and such as hate and mock at godliness, and insult o­ver the infirmities and blemishes of the Saints be not strengthe­ned, nor godliness nor godly men brought in contempt.

VINDICATION.

3. The pretences and big professions of good, upright and zealous intentions and affections towards the Cause of God and [Page 15] welfare of the Kirk of God in this Land. I shall, nor dare question the uprightnes of the intentions of some; yea, many of them may, I am verily perswaded of some of them, that they are far from do­ing any thing intentionally or formally and directly intend­ing the overthrowing or wronging any of the Ordinances of Jesus Christ setled in this Kirk, or the peace thereof: and that if they be led in any course in the matter prejudiciall to any of these, it is as many w [...]t out with Absolom, in the simplicity of their hearts. But fi [...]st it would be remembred, that many may be ve­ry zealous in their intentions for God, and yet that zeal be not according to knowledge: where there is much zeal for any end, there be also much mistake about mids towards that end: and where there is much and clear knowledge in many things, there may be much mistaking about some or moe particulars: a good intention is necessary, that a man may be approven before God in his actions; but it is not enough to make his actions good or imi­table by others: And certainly this is the chief thing to be con­sidered by thee, ere thou allow, follow, or comply with the course of any other man, not what good intention or zeal they do pro­fesse, but what good ground or reason they have for the course; ay, but may some great knowers say, This is poor, who knowes not this? this is a common known principle of acting, that we should not lippen to mens professions, of straight, honest and good inten­tions, but seek what warrant they have for their actions. It is true, it is a common known and plain principle; but common principles are better known, then made use of, and hath need to be pressed, that they may be hated in our actings, and amongst others, this especially in these times, Great Professions of ho­nest and straight purposes and intentions, especially made by men who are presumed to have much knowledge, and have been found in many things right, are ready to make others who are credu­lou [...] and more simple, oftentimes secure and negligent, to try and prove their actings, and so oftentimes suffer themselves to be led out of the way. 2. Albeit (as I said before) I do not question the uprightnes and sincerity of some profession, con­cerning their intention and their affection, yet I shall desire the Reader to compare the professions made in the Narrative of the Protestation in hand, with some late practices of some that had [Page 16] hand therein, and these not of the low form. First, they professe, that while they live it shall be acknowledged how gracious GOD hath been, in giving to this Kirk pure Ordinances, and that they desire mercy and grace to adhere to the Worship, Do­ctrine, Discipline and Government established in this Land. This indeed is a good Profession, but suppose that which is certain and evident, that when we speak of great estimation of, and adhering to the Discipline and Government established in this Kirk we must conceive this in relation to the Ordinances, not only in the abstract and dogmate, but also in concreto, and as they are in actu exercito, actually existing, and as they are exer­cised in Judicatories constituted accordingly, let a man pro­fesse what he will of soundnes and constancie in point of judg­ment concerning Discipline and Government established in the Kirk, yet if he be found a contemner of the exercise of that Discipline, and of the lawfull Judicatories invested with the Government, no wise man will acknowledge that man to have a due estimation of, or to be a constant adherer to these ordinances, except it may be in so far as he holds somthing of them in his own hand, and that is himself; nay, such professions are but [...], good words and fair speeches to deceive the hearts of the simple. This laid down, let any ingenuous and indifferent men take unto consideration but some practice of some of the Protesters, and judge how agreeable they are to the former profession, and adhering to the Discipline and Govern­ment setled in this Church; 1. Condemning Acts and Constitu­tions of the supream Judicatories of the Kirk most unanimous­ly concluded, (themselves being present and not contradicting, but positively by their votes consenting thereunto) and that not in a private way, but in a Remonstrance publickly emitted to the World, and presented to the State, without having so much respect to these Judicatories, as (which due estimation of, and adhering to the established Government of the Kirk did require) once to have had recourse to them, first by supplicati­on or desire to re-examine, or to take to their consideration a­gain these Acts and Constitutions; yea, refusing to apply them­selves to them in such a way, as that when advised and earnest­ly pressed thereunto, as orderly, by some to whom they had com­municated [Page 17] the design of the Remonstrance: the former part of this is evident from the Western Remonstrance, condemning the Treaty with the King, and closing thereof, allowed, approven and ratified by the Generall Assembly 1650. If it be said, that that Remonstrance was communicated to the Commission of the Kirk before it was presented to the Estate, that is true; But beside that, the Commission had not power to judge the Acts and Con­stisutions of the Assembly. It was presented unto them meer­ly to have had their concurrence in presenting it to the Estate, if that could have been obtained; but with no desire to advise and give their judgment upon the matter contained in it; yea, these that came with it, required, If they had any power com­mitted to them to change any thing of it; they plainly declared, that though some expressions might be changed, yet they had no power, and were not to alter one jote of the matter; so determi­ned were they of themselves, and antecedently to the cognition of the Publick Judicatories. The latter part is evident by Mr. John Carstaires Letters written to the Lord Register, a­bout the time of the contriving that Remonstrance from Edin­burgh, and intercepted at the Ferry of Airth, or thereabout.

REVIEW.

I Shall say nothing of the charity he alloweth many, and of the perswasion that he hath of some, that they are far from doing any thing intentionally, or formally and directly intending to over­throw or wrong any of the Ordinances of JESUS CHRIST, setled in this Church, or the peace thereof; he hath reason to allow them that and somewhat more, but this allowance of his to some, doth leave others under a hard construction, not onely in regard of their work, but also in respect of that which is their formall and direct intention, another years proof of them, may haply force better thoughts both of their intentions & actions, in the hearts of some who now for along time have mistaken them, because they could not join in the Publick Resolutions, which to them was to be found in the way of Egypt, and to drink the wa­ters of Sihor; in the mean while they are comforted in this, that their own hearts doth not condemn them, neither in their in­tentions [Page 18] or actions, what he saith of a zeal, not according to knowledge and of mistakes about midses and of a good intention, that it is not enough to make a mans actions good or imitable by others; but that is to be considered, what good ground or rea­son they have for their course, and of the applying of common principles which are better known then made use of. In all these things I do agree with him, and wishes, that they may be blessed of God unto his Readers and all others. But let us come to ex­amine the things whereby he endeavours to render the Professi­ons of the Protesters suspected, as not agreeing with some of their principles and actions; for making out of which, he desires the Reader to compare the professions made in the Narrative of the Protestation, with some late principle▪ of some that had hand therein, and these not of the lowest note. Fir [...], (saith he) they professe, that while they live, &c. I acknowledge, that I have no great skill of School tearms; but I conceive, that when in this place he speaks of the Ordinances in concreto, and as they are in actu exercito, actually existing, and as they are exercised in Judicatories constitute accordingly, he means not of every kinde of concretion and exercise of Ordinance quovis modo; for they may have an honest and honourable estimation of Ordinances, who bear testimony against the corruptions and mal-administra­tions of the abusers of them; otherwayes these who have been most zealous and straight-hearted for the Ordinances in all Ages, should be found among the despisers of Ordinan­ces, and none more then many of the gracious Wor­thies of this Land, who were ready to lay down their lives for the Ordinances, and yet did bear publick te­stimony both against the corrupt constitution and corrupt Acts of Assemblies, and all male-administrations that were of any importance to the prejudice of the Kirk, or any of the Or­dinances of Christ therein, which was so far from rendering their professions suspected, that it was a reall evidence of the truth and sincerity thereof. But I think he means of such a concre­tion and exercise of Ordinances, (though it had been fit to expresse it more clearly) as is agreeable to the rule of Gods Word, for so he seems to hint, when he sayeth, as they are Judicatories constitute accordingly; and in this sense the carri­age [Page 19] of the Protesters doth well stand with their Professiors, in reference to the Ordinances. Having laid down this ground and distinction of Ordinances, not onely in the abstract and dog­mate, but also in concreto, and as they are in actu exercito; he comes in the next place to give some instances of some practices of some of the Protesters, in setting down of which he hath been very industrious, to gather and put together a bundle of such things as he thinks may bring their Professions in suspicion and contempt; I shall not meet him with the like measure; if it were Christian and seasonable work, more haply might be hol­den forth of the practices, not of some only, but of many stick­lers for the Publick Resolutions, that goes cross their Profession to the Doctrine, Worship, Discipline and Government of the Church of Scotland, then the Author can or will answer; but because to recriminate, is not to answer, I come to the particular instances which he gives: The first is, their condemning Acts and Constitutions of the supream Judicatories of this Church. which he aggravates by many circumstances. First, that these Acts were most unanimously concluded. Secondly, that themselvs were present, and did not contradict. Thirdly, that they were positively consenting thereto by their Votes. Fourthly, that they condemned these Acts, not in a private way, but in a Re­monstrance, publickly emitted to the World, and presented to the State. Fifthly, that all this was done, without having so much respect to these Judicatories, as first to have recourse to them by supplication, and desire to re-examine, or take to consi­deration again these Acts and Constitutions. yea, refusing to ap­ply themselves to them in such a way, when advised and earnest­ly pressed thereto, as orderly, by some to whom they had com­municated the design of the Remonstrance. To all which I re­turn, that the Argument taken in its strength, doth not seem to conclude much for evacuating the Professions of the Protesters to the Doctrine, Worship, Discipline and Government of this Church, unlesse we lay this for a ground, that whosoever repre­sents and remonstrates his judgment against any one of the Acts of the Assembly of this Church, belyes the Profession which he makes of respect to the Doctrine, Worship, Government and Discipline thereof. [Page 20] Secondly, the Assembly was not sufficiently informed concer­ning these transactions with the King, but severall important particulars which would have contributed much for clearing of the businesse, were keeped up from, and not reported to the As­sembly; to wit, the first invitation given to the King, the Act appointing him to be restored to the exercise of his power, the Kings Letters to James Graham, the Kings taking the Sacrament after the order of the Service Book kneeling, from an Episcopall Doctor, and an Irish Bishop, notwithstanding that he had sig­ned the Treaty, and that intercessions were made to him both by word and write, to forbear the bringing to sea with the King all the English and Scots Malignants that were with him at Breda after the Commissioners had received the Letters and Acts both of Church and State, disapproving the Treaty at Breda: The way how the King was induced to subscribe the Covenant, and how immediatly before his taking it, being ready to land in Scotland, he was about to have made a Protestation, but that some of the Commissioners would not tender him the Covenant upon these terms. How lame the accompt was that was given to the Gene­rall Assembly of that businesse; some of the Commissioners con­fession before the Commission of the Church at Striveling af­ter Dunbar doth bear witnesse; it may be remembered that the Moderator then regrated, that the plain businesse was not made known to the Generall Assembly, and that most of what was spoken in that debate at Striveling tended rather to clear the Gen. Assembly then to justifie the Treaty; and indeed these af­ter discoverie; of hidden and sinfully concealed truths, may plead for a fair construction of what the Assembly did in approving their Commissioners proceedings, which belike they would not have approven if they had known all the truth: And do afford sufficient ground for the Remonstrators afterward to Remon­strate them, without reflecting upon the Assembly or upon their own professions of respect to the Doctrine and Government of this Church. Secondly, these acts were not so most unanimously concluded as the Author affirmes: It is true, that there was no Protestation nor open and plain dissent by any member of the Assembly against them, but severall members who had profest their dis-satisfaction with that matter in private, when it came to [Page 21] be voted in Publick, they did so qualifie their Vote, that it did relate onely to the approving of the diligence of the Commissi­oners, insinuating that they were not clear to approve of the mat­er; I acknowledge that it was a weaknesse that they did not plainly declare their minde (which some of them were requested to forbear) but this shews that there was not so great unanimi­ty in that matter as he speaks of: He is not ignorant that as that businesse was from the first to the last rashly transacted, and a­gainst the inclinations of the generality of the Godly in the land, whilst they yet did see the King continuing in his opposition to the work of God, so also against the inclination of many in the As­sembly, who yet could not find a ground to dissent oppenly from that conclusion, because of the fair representation of the matter made to them. Thirdly, before the Remonstrance was penned, there was palpable and clear discoveries of the hollownes of that trans­action in Holland; the King had given Commissions to the Ma­lignants to rise in Armes, and had himself deserted the Judicato­ries, and gone away to join with the Malignants, and severall o­ther things of that kinde were made known, before there was any meeting about the Remonstrance, let be any conclusion taken upon it. Fourthly, there could not be any address to these Judica­tories by way of supplication, or otherwise to desire them to re­examine, or to take to their consideration again these Acts and Constitutions, because the Gen. Ass. which (only by the Authors own acknowledgement) had power so to do, was not then sit­ting, nor to sit for eight or nine moneths thereafter; and the Lord having smitten us so sore, as at Dunbar, and being still threat­ning more wrath, it was no time to delay, nor dallie the represent­ing the grounds of his controversie. Fifthly, when that Remon­strance past, the Forces of the West, were enclosed between the English Forces at Glasgow, and those at Carlile, and resolved to lay down their lives in the defence of their Religion and Coun­try, and therefore thought themselves bound to exoner their consciences in a free and plain way, and to leave that Testimony behinde them concerning the guiltinesse of the Land, and the Ju­dicatories thereof. Sixthly, that Remonstrance was not the deed of some of the Protesters onely, but for the substance: First, the deed of one of the best, and most famous Synods of this Church, [Page 22] and afterwards both for substance and words, the deed of a very considerable number of Officers, gentlemen and Ministers, whose integrity and zeal for the Publicke Cause from the beginning was known and approven, not onely to the Judicatories of Church and State, but to all good men throughout the Land. Seventhly, that as it is true, that these who came with the Remonstrance to present it to the Committee of Estates, being required if they had any power committed to them to change any thing thereof, did plainly declare, that though some expressions might be changed, yet they had no power to alter any thing in the matter; So it is no lesse true, that these who did require them, if they had any such power, being told, that they had power to communicate the same unto them, before they gave it in to the Committee, and to take their advice and assistance therein, did not after the read­ing and hearing thereof, professe any dislike of the matter therein contained, much lesse did they use any arguments to diswade them from giving it in, which gave just ground to the other to think that they did approve thereof, they being men of such ripnesse of judgement, freedome, intimacy and friendlinesse with these who gave it in, that they could not but look upon their silence as an approving of their way. Eigthly, let it be considered, whether the Remonstrators, or these who were hugged by the Com­mission of the Church, and the Meeting at St. Andrews and Dundee, was their best friends, and most forward for the Pub­lick Resolutions, are this day most tender of the Liberties of Church and State; the latter consenting to all the demands of the present power, and the former every where refusing, as to that which is said to be proved by Mr. John Carstares his Letter to the Lord Register, how weakly is this alledged; Mr. John Car­stares was then a prisoner at Edinburgh, the Remonstrators were at Dumfreis: the Remonstrance was presented at Strive­ling; he knew not so much as either matter or forme of the Re­monstrance till it was presented, how then could he give advice therein? Or if his Letter was intercepted, how could that advice come to their hands that they might hearken thereto? If there had been any thing in that Letter that made for his purpose, why did not the Author cite the words of it after the intercepting thereof? It was shewed to Mr. Robert Dowglas, and diverse [Page 23] others, and as it did then, so if it were needfull to make it pub­lick, it would now prove, that there was nothing in it of which either Mr. John, or my Lord Register needs to be ashamed; and it would abundantly confute the calumnies of some, and correct the mistakes of others, particularly in the thing for which it is alledged.

VINDICATION.

SEcondly, publick vilifying of Acts of the Generall Assembly, as not to be pressed in matters of conscience, witnesse Mr. James Guthrie his Speach, uttered publickly in the Commission at Striveling, where in conference upon the Western Remonstrance when the Moderator did once and again presse the Act of the Generall Assembly approving the close of the Treaty with the King, and the Declaration of the same Assembly, emitted when the English Army entred the Land, against that part of the Re­monstrance, condemning the close of the Treaty, he publickly answered, Presse me not with humane constitutions in matters of Conscience; all that were present, who were many from severall parts of the Kingdome, besides Commissioners can well remem­ber this.

REVIEW.

IF Mr. Ja. Guthrie be a vilifier of the Acts of the Assembly, he seems to be neither so ingenuous nor prudent as need were, for none hath pleaded more Acts of Assemblies in all these publick dif­ferences, and (for any thing I know) hitherto without any satisfy­ing answer: as for that Speech of his, it was thus, in that meeting many Arguments being brought to confirm the Remonstrance, in that point, relating to the Treaty, and some continuing stil to argue against the Remonstrance in that particular; Mr. Ro. Ramsay summed up the arguments brought for strengthening the Re­monstrance into a Sylogisme, to which no reply was made, but the Authority of the Gen: Assembly was pressed in the mean while: some godly and tender men, who were Commissioners for the Church in Holland, did publickly and with much weight of spirit, declare themselves in the hearing of all the Meeting, that they by [Page 24] their mistakes in that matter, did conceive themselves accessory to all the misery that was come upon Scotland, & that they desired to repent thereof: and others having added somewhat concern­ing the smitings of their conscience in that particular, it was re­plyed by one in the Meeting, where were all these tender consci­ences at the Generall Assembly, and when he who made that Reply, and others did insist in pressing the Act of the Assembly, Mr. James Guthrie said, you would study to satisfie the scruples of mens consciences, otherwayes then by pressing on them the Act of the Assembly: was this speech thus circumstantiate, a pub­lick vilifying of the Acts of the Assembly. Let us take the words as the Author alleadges them, yet have they a very good meaning, because humane Constitutions as such do not binde the Consci­ence, ne (que) enim cum hominibus, sed cum uno Deo negotium est conscientiis nostris, saith a gteat Divine: and therefore unless men would strain the words of their brethren further then cha­rity or verity will allow them, there can be no weight laid upon these words for proving Mr. James Guthries practices to be contrary to his professions: We shall finde the Author haply be­fore the close of this Vindication, going as great a length as this speech will reach, in order to Acts of Generall Assemblies, and yet I believe he would think it hard measure to infer such conse­quences from his words.

VINDICATION.

THirdly, tumultuous deserting and running out of the pub­lick Judicatories of the Kirk, and threatning the same, because of some matters carried therein contrary to their own mind, witnesse their carriage at the Commission in Perth, No­vemb. 1650. where because of that moderate sense given them upon the Western Remonstrance, many of them did in a disorderly way, desert and leave the Commission, never daigning to come to any meeting thereof afterwards; some of them as they were go­ing out, threatning from an high place, with a loud voice and revenge flaming out of their eyes, in such words as these, We hope well we shall get our day about of them yet.

REVIEW.

THey did not tumultuously desert and run out of the Com­mission, much less did they threaten the same, because of some matters carried therein, contrary to their mind; such of them as did depart, did go away in a peaceable and quiet way, without any tumult and disorder, having now stayed for a considerable time, first at Sterlin, and then at Perth, and not knowing any further busines of importance that the Commission meant to medle with at that time. As for the instance given by the Author, seeing he is pleased in other places of his Paper to name particular persons, why did he not also name the persons who spoke these threat­ning words, with revenge flaming out of their eyes: I do indeed remember, that the spirits of many gracious men who were then present, were much weighted and sore grieved with the precipi­tant proceeding of the Commission at that time, and that a bro­ther did lay this seriously before the Commission, and did use some such expression, as the Author relates; but that it was in a threatning way, or with revenge flaming out of his eye, is more then can be made good: Such a word may be spoken with so­bernesse of minde, and to good purpose, without any threatning or desire of revenge: whither they did never daign to come to any meeting of the Commission thereafter, I cannot confidently speak to it either upon the one hand or on the other; but I can con­fidently say, that as they did never take any resolution not to come, so also that their staying a way was not so much occasio­ned by this proceeding against the Remonstrance, though that was a matter of stumbling and offence unto them, as by some­thing that followed thereafter, which did convince them, that their coming to the Commission might well encrease strife and debate, but that it would contribute little or nothing for their own edification, or the edification of others. Before we passe this point, I shall give the Reader a short accompt of this whole businesse. After the presenting of the Remonstrance unto the Committee of Estates at Sterline, it was thought fit both by the Committee of Estates, and Commission of the Assembly, that these respective Meetings should meet at Sterline, the [...] [Page 26] day of [...] to take into consideration what answer it was fit to give unto the Remonstrance, and what to do in other things that did concern the Defence of Religion, and of the Kingdom in that strait they then stood, and that therefore not only the Members of these Meetings but also severall others Gentlemen and Ministers should be advertised to keep the diet; notwithstanding of which appointment, the Committee of E­states did afterwards adjourn their Meeting to Pearth, where the King was for the time; the Commission of the Church, according to the first appointment, with severall other Mini­sters, having met at Sterline. The Remonstrators came there to understand their judgment of the matters contained in the Re­monstrance; which being read, and the chief heads thereof de­bated, the major part of the Commission then present, seemed to be satisfied therewith, and some were desirous to have a pre­sent determination upon it: The Moderator and some others, inclined to give no sense at all upon it, either for it, or against it: and the Committee of Estates which was then sitting at Perth, having now once and again written to the Commission; it was for peace sake condescended to on all hands, that no sense should be past on the Remonstrance by the Commission, and that the Meeting should be adjourned to Pearth, and that it should be their endeavour, that the States should declare nothing against it. This resolution being taken at Sterlin upon the Saturday, the Members of the Commission, and such other Ministers as was present, and the Remonstrators, did addresse themselves to Pearth. On the Monday morning, the Remonstrators after their coming thither, hearing that the Committee of Estates were about the condemning of the Remonstrance, they having it in Commission from these that sent them, and thinking it incum­bent to them in duty to desire an answer, and in such an exigent to professe their adherence thereto, did make application to the Committee of Estates for that effect; after which, the Com­mittee of Estates did pass severall Votes condemning the Re­monstrance, to the great grief of sundry of their own number, who did dissent from it, and protest against the same; and the sentence of the Committee being communicated to the Com­mission of the Church, and they also desired by them to give [Page 27] their judgement of the Remonstrance. These who were sent from the West, did earnestly supplicate the Commission, before they should give any sentence upon the Remonstrance, that they would be pleased to allow them some time, till they might return and communicate with these who had sent them, hoping that all of them would give such an explication or their mean­ing in the things which were stumbled at, as would satisfie the Commission; Which desire seemed so reasonable in it self, and necessary at that time, for preventing of differences, and the grie­ving of the spirits of many gracious and godly men, who had been faithfull and zealous in the Cause from the beginning, that many Members of the Commission, did earnestly presse that it might be granted, especially seeing they had met with so great disappointment in the carriage of the Committee of Estates in order to that business; yet notwithstanding hereof it was refu­sed, and the Commission did proceed also to condemne the Re­monstrance, and refer the further sentencing of it to the General Assembly; sundry of these who were at Sterlin being now gone, and some others come from places more Northward, which gave occasion to sundry at that time to apprehend that, which is now plainly profest by some considerable Members of the Committee of Estates, who were eager in condemning the Remonstrance, that if they had not been put upon it by some Members of the Commission, they would not have done [...]t from this vote of the Commission, a considerable number of their Members, about sixteen or seventeen, as I remember, did dissent and the persons interessed in the Remonstrance, did protest; and I fear not to say, that this peremptory precipitant, and needlesse haste of the plurality of the Commission in that particular, was a great occasion of all the division and rent that followed there­after. In the mean while the Malignants who had risen in Arms, were agreed with, and an Act of Indempnity was past to them, and Colonell Montgomerie was sent against the We­stern Forces, with directions to force them, if they would not willingly agree to the States demands; and it was no great wonder, if after so many dayes staying at Sterlin and Perth, they thought fit to return home, when not only the edge of the censures of Church and State, but of the Civill Sword, which [Page 28] was just now imployed against the Malignants that rose in Arms without any warrand, is on a sudden turned against the We­stern Forces which were raised by their special Warrant and en­couragement, exprest in diverse Acts and frequent Letters.

VINDICATION.

FOurthly, Taking upon them to determine matters of most publick and greatest concernment, antecedent unto, and without so much as once speaking or waiting for the judgment of the Publick Judicatories, to which the determination of such matters do belong; and private men and inferiour Judi­catories ought to have their recourse to, before they take upon them to e [...]it any determination thereanent; witnesse the We­stern Remonstrance, determining the exclusion of the Kings In­terest out of the quarrell of the Defensive War, before any ad­vice or sentence given thereupon, or once sought from any Pub­lick Judicatory.

REVIEW.

THe matter of most publick and greatest concernment which he alleadges, they take upon them to determine was, the exclusion of the Kings interest out of the quarrell of the defensiue War, before any advice or sentence given there­upon, or once sought from any publick Judicatory; but they did not determine the exclusion of the Kings interest out of the quarrell of the defensive war, otherwise then it had been be­fore that time determined, both by Church and State, by their joynt Declarations at the West Church of the date 13. of Aug. 1650. which at the time of the contriving of the Remonstrance, was standing unrepealed, and to which there was the more rea­son then to adhere, because the King had deserted the Pub­lick Counsels of the Kingdom, and joyned himself to the Malig­nant party. I know there are two things here alledged: 1. That that Declaration at the West Church was repealed, by the Kings subscriving the Declaration emitted by him at Dumfermeling, a litle thereafter. 2. That the Remonstrance goes a greater [Page 29] length in excluding the Kings Interest, then that Declaration at the West Chutch. To the first of these I answer, that the Kings emitting of his Declaration did not in the Judgement of the Committee of Estates, and Commission of the Church, re­peal the other; and therefore the other Declaration had been sent unto the English Army, before the King did emit his Decla­ration; so after that, upon the emitting and sending thereof to the Generall of the English Forces, he did make a return, im­porting their sense thereupon. The other Declaration at the West Kirk, with a Letter, was sent back, intimating, that we did still adhere unto, and intend to fight upon that state of quar­rell contained therin; to the other it was often offered by these who came from the West; that if there was any thing in the Re­monstrance that seemed to go a greater length in that particular then the Declaration at the West Church had done, they were willing to explain it, and to fight on that state of the quarrell that was contained in that Declaration, without adding altering, or diminishing, but that was not accepted of, and order was gi­ven a litle thereafter to Colonell Robert Mountgomery to desire or force them in the West to joyn under him, and fight for the Kings interest in all his Dominions, as afterwards the Meeting at Dundee did ratifie all the proceedings of the former Commis­sion excepting that Declaration of the 13. of August, which as it did insinuate a tacite condemning thereof, and of that state of our quarrell and cause, upon which we have fought these 13. years past, so did it insinuate a new state of quarrell in order to the Kings interest.

VINDICATION.

FIfthly, emitting causes of a Publick fast, and sending them abroad to all the Presbyteries and Congregations of the Kingdom, being but private men, and not having Authority, nor being a Publick Judicatory, witnesse the Fast appointed, and Causes thereof emitted from Striveling the 1. September 1650. wherein take these things to consideration, 1. The Meeting that emitted these Causes were no Publick Judicatorie, but some members of the Presbytery of the Army, and some of the Com­missioners. [Page 30] 2. That sundry godly and understanding men in that Meeting earnestly endeavoured that condescending upon Publick Causes of the wrath of God manifested in that defate at Dumbar, as Causes of a Fast might be delayed untill the week next following, that there might be a full Meeting of the Com­mission conveened together, to go about that purpose with Au­thority, and more deliberation, but were born down by the vehe­mency and head-strong forwardnesse of some who are chief men in this Protestation, professing so much respect to the established Government of this Kirk. 3. That there was no necessity of haste in emitting particular Causes (there was rather much danger in doing it upon so short deliberation) seing the publick calamity, and known publick sins was causes evident enough to all, of humiliation for the present, and within lesse then eight dayes, a Meeting of the Commission might have been conveened (as it was de facto conveened, within that space) to condescend upon particulars; all these things being considered, was it not usurpation and contempt of lawfull Authority, and the Govern­ment established in this Kirk; to say, that the Commission at their Meeting which followed, did approve of the causes emitted by them, it doth not avail to clear them from usurpation and con­tempt of the Government, for to say nothing of that that the Commission did both alter somethings in them, and adde to them, about recommending prayer for the King (as well as mourning for his sins) in the humiliation, which was seemed to have been purposely left out, as appeared by the debate made about it, when it was mentioned and desired in the Commission for the space of half an hour at least, by Mr. James Guthrie, and the Register, to say nothing of this, that which the Commission approved was the matter of these causes, and not the way of emission, where­with many of the Commission shewed themselves exceedingly dis-satisfied, as a practise without example, and a preparative tending to the overthrow of the Authority of Government, but did forbear to challenge it at that time for peace sake.

REVIEW.

THere is a great deal adoe here for little or nothing, which saith, that there must be some mystery in the bottom, be­fore [Page 31] I come to discover it, I shall make answer to the particulars alledged, First by a narration of the History, as it was in matter of fact, and then by taking off the things which are challenged by the Author: Our Army being defeat at Dumbar upon the Tuesday morning, and some of the scattered Forces having re­tired towards Striveling in the end of that week, a considerable number of the members of the Commission, and Presbytery with the Army did meet there, to take in consideration what was fit for them to do in that juncture of time & affairs, and after mutuall debate and advice, finding that in all appearance they might be driven from thence, and scattered one from ano­ther very suddenly, the Town then not being fenced, nor any furniture or provision in it, nor we having any bodie of standing Forces in the fields to interpose betwixt the Town and the Ene­my, and the hand of God laying heavy and sore upon the Army, and upon the whole Land, by that dreadfull stroak at Dumbar; they thought it expedient that there being one or two wanting to make a Quorum of the Commission, and these of the Commission who were present being also members of the Presby­tery of the Army, and sundry other Ministers who were also mem­bers of that Presbytery being present, that they should set down the heads of these things for which (as they conceived) the Lord had smitten us, & send them abroad to the Presbyteries through­out the land, with a Letter written from the Presbytery of the Ar­my, not injoining them as causes of a humiliation to be keeped by any Authority, but humbly representing them as their thoughts [...]n so sad a time, and desiring their brethren to join in a publick Fast and humiliation thereupon; What usurpation or contempt of lawfull Authority and the government established in this Church was here? As to the things challenged by the Author, they did not assume to themselves any authority, but onely write their humble advice, as their Letter did humbly shew, and this they might do; yea, it was expedient for them to do it, as things then stood; neither were they so private as the Author insinuates; the Author speaks a little diminutively of them, when he cals them some members of the Commission, and some members of the Presbytery of the Army; there wanted but one or two of a Quo­rum of the Commission, and the Presbytery of the Army was [Page 32] numerous and well conveened, as many certainly as gave them power to Act in any thing that was fit for the Presbytery to meddle with. These sundry godly and understanding men of who [...] he speaks who were for a delay, were but a few, and when the rest of their Brethren did not finde it expedient, they did not e [...]ter any dissent, which belike they would have done if they had thought it a busines of any such consequence as the Au­thor would [...]ow make it, when he sayeth, they were born down by the head strong forwardnesse of some, professing so much re­spect to the established government of this Church: He doth but shew himself like the man who wanting better weapons, did throw feathers at his adversary, which did manifest a great deal of desire to reach blows but drew no bloud; all the Protesters who were then present were two or three at most, and they had no more voices but their own; but it seems that in some mens judgement, where ever any Protesters are they must bear the blame of all the things that are conceived to be done amisse. As to the next, there was a necessity, because there was no appear­ance that they would get leave to stay together for to meet with any conveniency for a long time thereafter, let be that the Com­mission might meet within eight dayes as the Author asserts. It will be acknowledged by such as knew the truth, that if the English had at any time within eight dayes after Dumbar either advanced with their whole Army, or sent any considerable part thereof to Striveling, they had in all appearance gained that place, and so made an easie passe for themselves to overrun the whole Land, and was it not every bodies fear that they should so have done at that time; yea, did not all of us many time blesse God that they did it not: And what could be the danger of emitting these causes by way of humble desire, and brotherly re­presentation, seing they did medle with nothing but that which was palpable and manifest; yea, which for the matter had been condescended upon by the Commission, before that time, and was (as the Author himself acknowledgeth) such as the Com­mission did at their next Meeting approve; the onely thing that had any shadow of newness in it, was that of the crooked and pre­cipitant wayes that had been taken for carrying on the Treaty with the King, but neither was that new, because the Com­mission [Page 33] at Edinburgh, before the Kings home comming, had in a very large Letter to the Commissioners at Holland, holden forth their great dis-satisfaction with the Proceedings of that Treaty in many particulars; and the Commission at Leith, be­fore the defeat at Dumbar, had also holden forth the Malig­nant design that was then carryed on, and had given it in as a publick cause of humiliation to the Committee of Estates. It is true that the Commission was de facto conveened within eight dayes, but as we have already said: It was not propable at the time or emitting these cause, that it should so have been; and I pray the Author or any rationall men soberly, to think what motive but the sense of duety, and the pressing expediencie of the thing should have induced these Protesters of whom he speaks to be so headstrong and forward, to anticipate the Meet­ing of the Commission, seing they had ground to think, that the Commission at their Meeting were like to condescend on these things as causes of Gods wrath, which was verified thereafter, by the approving thereof; but the Author tels us that the Commission did both alter somewhat (of which I shall afterwards speak, and adde some thing; to wit, a Post­script, recommending prayer for the King; aswell as mourn­ing for his sins, which by the debate that was made against it by Mr. James Guthrie and the Register, for the space of half an hour (as he sayeth) seemed to have been purposely left out, and that which the Commission approved was the matter of these causes, and not the way of emission, wherewith many of the Commission shewed themselves dis-satisfied as a practice with­out example, and a preparative tending to the overthrow of the Government. The Commission did indeed adde that post­script concerning prayer for the King, against the expediency of which addition to be made at that time, Mr. James Guthrie and the Register did for a little debate, how the Author should know so exactly the measure of the time, I leave it for himself to answer, the ground of their so doing was not that which he alledgeth; the Register hath many living witnesses that he was no adversary to praying for the King; and Mr. James Guthrie having keeped that humiliation publickly in the Congregation at Striveling, before the Commission did meet or make any [Page 34] such addition, did pray for the King, and why should they have opposed that which was their own practice; the Author is a little beyond due bounds, when he sayeth, it seems to have been left out of purpose, their debating against the adding of it was, because at first they did not conceive that there was any necessity to make an expresse and distinct Article of that, more th [...]n of many other things which we were no lesse bound to pray for, it being a thing so obvious, common and ordinary, and that now to adde it was to minister occasion without ground, to make others conceive that it had been indeed formerly left out of purpose, and so to raise needl [...]e jealousies and supitions of some, as being disaffected to the King. Next, because they took it to be included in the causes formerly emitted, though not expresly; yet so as might be memorandum enough for de­cerning men not to omit it; he that mourneth rightly for the Kings sins, will also be an intercessor to God for him, to be­stow upon him the contrary graces and vertues. I shall not de­bate with the Author whether the Commission did approve only the matter, or also the way of emission of these causes; sure I am, they did not condemn the way of emission, and if he shall be pleased to look upon the tenour of the Letter that at that time was written by the Commission to the severall Pres­byteries, wherein these causes are mentioned, he will finde something that looks towards an approving of the way of emis­sion as well as of the matter; it is true that some of the Commis­sion shewed themselves exceedingly dis-satisfied; yea, more ex­ceedingly then was fit and beseeming their place and parts, or the gravity of such a meeting, but they were but some and not many; if it was a practice without example, it had also a ground without example: but if the Author shall be pleas­ed to peruse the Registers of the Church, I believe that he shall finde examples of particular Presbyteries sending their advice abroad concerning causes of a publick humiliation, and that the members of the Commission in things that were clear and unquestionable, and could not admit of a delay, have sometimes when they wanted one or two of their Quorum done some things of publick concernment; let him look upon the Registers of the Presbyterie of Edinburgh, and of the Com­mission [Page 35] and he will find ir so. That it was a preparative tending to the overthrow of government; I cannot see when I look upon it as impartially as I can, I know that he formerly called it an usurpation, and if it had been so, there were some ground for this new charge, but I trust, I have sufficiently vindicated it from usurpation, and therefore there is nothing brought that can bear the weight of this: But for the discovering of the mi­stery of all this businesse, upon which so great a stresse is laid, I desire the Reader to be informed, that when these causes of hu­miliation were first sent abroad, one of the Commissioners of the Church who had been imployed in Holland in the matter of the Treaty with the King, conceiving that his carriage in that imployment was reflected upon in that article, which speaks of the crooked and precipitant wayes that were taken for carry­ing on the Treaty with the King, as one of the causes for which the Land ought to be humbled; he did take it so impatiently, that not only did he declare that he could not read these causes as they were first emitted, and that if they should be read in the Congregation, wherein he had charge, he behoved to make some Protestation or bear some testimony against them; but also when he came te the Commission did sharply chalenge the way of emit­ing of them; the want of an article relating to prayer for the King, and that Article concerning the treaty, as reflecting upon the car­riage of the Commissioners of the Church imployed in Holland in that businesse, because the Article as it was first emitted, did mention the crooked and precipitant wayes that were taken by sundry for carrying on of the Treaty, without restricting the same to our Statesmen, therefore for peace sake, and to give him satisfaction, a Postscript was added to the Letter which was at that time written by the Commission, and sent to Prebyteries concerning prayer for the King, and the Article concerning the Treaty with the King was some what altered by restricting the sundry that are spoken therein to sundry of our statesmen, where­as before it was indefinite, and without any such restriction; and these are the additions and alterations that he speaks of. I write not these things for lesning the credi [...]e and reputation of that person, or bearing upon him more then upon others, any par­ticular guilt in the matter of the Treaty, but for the truthes sake [Page 36] and that he may be exhorted to consider yet again, whether the zeal of his own credite, which many times byasses the spirits e­ven of good men, have not too too much ingaged him in the de­fence of that businesse, and in exaggerating and challenging every thing that seems in the least measure to reflect on the same, which he hath the more reason to do, not onely because it is ingraven on the hearts of the generality of the godly in the Land, as with a pen of iron, and with the point of a Diamond, that this Land, and especially the Rulers and Minsters thereof, have sinned a great sin in that matter of the Treaty with the King; but also because sundry of the precious and godly men who were with him imployed in that matter, do bear such a conviction of the guiltinesse thereof upon their spirits, that they are not like to forget it whilst they live, and some of those who were most active and forward in the businesse, being now ta­ken out of the land of the living, did upon their death bed con­fesse their guiltinesse in this thing, and sadly bemoaned it be­fore the Lord in the hearing of faithfull witnesses who do bear record of it. I know that these things are no rule to him, but they may, and I hope shall provoke him to search this thing, and himself therein again and again.

VINDICATION.

SIxthly, Suffering some in their publick Meeting at Edin­burgh, contrary to solemn Declaration and oath made, both in our Nationall Covenant, and Solemn League and Covenant, by writ, to represent this as a main cause of wrath upon the Land, that we had bound and engaged our selves to Presbyteri­all Government, without any censure passed upon the said Pa­per or testimony given against it to this day, though now it be going abroad in Print.

REVIEW.

THe Meeting at Edinburgh did not omit any thing that was in their power, for the hindering of the giving in of that Paper, such of them as heard of it before it came in, shew­ed a great dislike of it, and dealt as seriously as they could with [Page 37] the Gentlemen who gave it in, to forbear it; and when it came in the Meeting shew their dislike of it, and did appoint some of their number to confer with him about it; who did accordingly confer with him, and endeavour to inform him of the errors contained therein, and in the Causes of the Lords wrath which were condescended upon by the Meeting at the same time; they did give a testimony against the matter of the errors contained in that Paper, though they did not expresse the particular words and articles thereof, conceiving it not fit so to do, seeing the Paper was not then publick, that it afterwards came in publick, was contrary to their desires and endeavors, & also to the knowledge & intention of him who gave it in, if we may trust his own testimony, which I believe the Author wil not question in matters of fact. But the Author stumbles at this, that we have given no testimony against it to this day: If he hath read the testimonies which we have since that time given a­gainst all things in that kind, that may import any prejudice to Presbyteriall Government, or to any part of the Doctrine, Worship, Discipline and Government of the Church of Scot­land, he doth us wrong to write so; & if he hath not read them, then he shall be pleased to do it, I hope in this he shal receive satisfaction: It becometh us not to boast of any thing that we do, it is through grace, and not of our selves; but when ground­less imputations are born upon us, to render the integrity of our Profession suspected, indifferent men will bear with us a little in our folly▪ if we say that in this day of temptation we have not been behind the greatest Zealots for the Publick Resolutions, in bearing testimony for the Doctrine, Worship, Discipline and Government of the Church of Scotland, and for all things relating to our Religion and Liberty, and yet not we, but the grace of God in us.

VINDICATION.

SEventhly, taking upon them judicially to determine a Gene­rall Assembly conveened, continued and closed, to be an un­lawfull constitute Assembly, and judicially to condemne the Acts thereof, which no power on earth could do, inferiour to [Page 38] another Gen. Assembly, and to assume unto themselves the autho­rity of a Publick Judicatory in the Kirk, as having Commission from another prior Assembly, before it was examined and deter­mined by a judge competent, whether the interveening Assembly, (whose meeting, if lawfull, did extinguish all Commission from a prior Assembly) was lawfull constitute or not, all the world shal not be able to clear this from usurpation. I shal adde no more instances to this purpose, though I might a [...]de not a few; and as for these I have brought, the Reader may perceive that they do not belong directly and formally to the matter of the questions in controversie between the Protesting Brethren, and the late Judi­catories of the Kirk, but that they are such at suppose the late Judicatories had gone wrong in some of these matters in con­troversie, yet they can never be cleared from contempt and wronging of the established Government of this Kirk, which in their carriage to the General Assembly did appear, which was not straight and according to their Profession and the established government, I leave it to be judged by what followeth in the examination of the Reasons they alleadge for what they did.

REVIEW.

I Shall not debate with the Author, whether they have ta­ken upon them judicially to determine the nullity of the Assembly at St. Andrews and Dundee, and judicially to con­demne the Acts thereof, though he take it for granted, it may be that he have some difficulty to prove it from any deed of theirs; but the hinge of this whole businesse in reference to that Assembly and the Acts thereof, and the setting up and pro­ceeding of the Commission of the Prior Assembly of the year 1650. is in this, whether that Meeting at St. Andrews was a lawfull free Generall Assembly; for if it was not so, then was it null ab initio, and the Commission of the prior Assembly are full in power; and therefore are not guilty of usurpation, or of the assuming of any authority, which is not competent for them, but do only exercise that which was given them, where­of they have still the just possession; and the case being thus, as I hope it shall be made to appear, notwithstanding of any thing [Page 39] the Author hath said to the contrary, might not the Com­mission being clearly convinced upon good grounds, of the un­lawfulnesse, unfreedome and corruptnesse of that Meeting, and the Acts thereof, with the advice of diverse Ministers from se­verall parts of the Land, agree upon this as one o [...] the Causes of the Lords controversie, and offer and advise the [...]ame to be made use of by all the Lords people in this Land Was it a fault in our non-conforming fore-fathers, to bear a testimony and give their judgment against the six corrupt Assemblies, and to reckon these Assemblies among the sins and guiltinesse of the Land, and to desire the Land to be humbled for them. If any of the Presbyteries of these times did passe a Presbyteriall judg­ment and sentence upon the nullity of any of those Assemblies, and the iniquity of their Acts, did they wrong in so doing? and was this more then any power on earth could do that is infe­riour to another Generall Assembly? If it be thus, the Church is like to be in an ill case, if a Generall Assembly once go wrong. I know that Inferiour Judicatories have not power over the Superior, as a Commission or Presbytery over a Ge­nerall Assembly, but this hinders not if any assume to themselvs the name and power of the Superior to whom they do not belong, and by the pretended authority thereof make unjust Acts; but the Inferiour may from the Word of God, and from the Acts and Constitutions of the Church, declare the nullity of these powers, and the iniquity of these Acts. The Author hath taught us, that an Assembly both wrong constitute and er­ring, or only wrong constitute, is no other wayes an Assembly, then a painted Man is a Man; and it can be no great fault for any living Man to discover the deceit of an Image, that others be not deceived thereby. He insinuates, that he could adde mo instances not a few: It is like that he hath brought forth these in which he conceived the greatest weight to lye; and if these being weighed in the ba [...]lance be found light, we need not be afraid of what is yet in his treasure. He saith true, that the in­stances which he hath brought, doth not belong formally and directly to the matter in question, but he hath fetched a great compass to get them in, supposing by these things to reach sore blowes to the Professions of the Protesters, and to discover the [Page 40] hypocrisie thereof; but how he hath proven his alleadgeance, I leave it to indifferent men to judge, who may also give sen­tence of their carriage to the Generall Assembly, after the per­usall of his Vindication and this Review.

VINDICATION.

THeir next pretention or profession is, that they look upon the present differences of the Lords servants of the Ministery, as one of the greatest tokens of the Lord his indignation against this Kirk, and that they hold it their duty to be humbled before the Lord in the sense thereof, and by all lawful and sure means, within the compass of their power and station, to endeavour the remedy. Verily, these differences are so to be looked upon, be­cause of the anger of the Lord, this Land is darkened; a man spareth not his brother, Ephraim is against Manasseh, and Manasseh against Ephraim, and both against Judah. And as all the Lords People and servants in the Land have cause to be humbled before the Lord in the sense thereof; so, some of these Brethren in a speciall way, as being the main Authors and promoters of these rents and divisions. Let impartiall men look back and consider the beginning and progresse, and every step of the present divisions in this Kirk and Kingdom, since the defeat at Dunbar, and see who have been the prime Agents thereof. I shall but point at some particulars, who were they who after the defeat at Dunbar, divided one part of the remnant of the Army from the other (which was the first appearing step of our divi­sions) and would never suffer them to joyn and unite together again, was not the contriving of the Western Remonstrance the next step of our division, and of it self a most divisive course; as containing positive determinations of matters of publick and high concernment, & cond [...]mning approven publick Acts, not on­ly of the State, but also of the Gen. Assembly by private men, without any advice had or sought from the Publick Judicato­ries either of Kirk or State; yea, containing also in the close thereof, a band engaging themselves to prosecute the matters of that Remonstrance according to their power, a thing judged always in this Kirk a most divisive thing for any privat men to do by themselves. Was it not some of these Brethren, who when [Page 41] the Conference was at Pearth upon the Remonstrance opposed by all means conjunction with the distracted Forces of the Kingdom, and when it was proponed in the Conference, if they injoying their own judgement concerning the dis-owning of the Kings Interest, yet upon other grounds of the quarrel, wherein they agreed with the rest of the Kingdom, would joyn with the rest of the Forces for defence against the common Enemy, did not some publickly and plainly professe, that they could not, and they would not joyn: Are not these Brethren the men (that be­cause the sense given upon the Western Remonstrance, though the most moderate, and with much tendernesse and respect of the persons having hand in it) with-drew themselves in a most tu­multuous and disorderly way, never daigning themselves to come to the Meeting thereafter, which was the next step of our divi­sions. Was it not a divisive course, when the Resolutions were given to the Parliaments Quare, concerning persons for to be employed in the defence of their Countrey, presently to emit and spread Papers through the Countrey (under pretence of wri­ting them onely as Letters to the Commission, expressing their scruples) condemning the said Resolutions as a defection from the Covenant and former principles, suppose they thought in their Consciences these Resolutions to be such: yea, suppose that really they had contained some matter of that kind, & that their Commission had erred (as humanum est labi) yet they shall ne­ver be able to clear themselves before indifferent Judges, and impartiall of divisive walking, in disdaining to come and pro­pone their doubts and reasons against that Resolution, in an a­micable and modest way in the Commission it self, and taking such a way of writing and sending abroad testimonies (as they called them amongst themselves, peremptorily condemning, traducing, and tending to the rendring odions, honest, faithful] and godly Brethren, and agenting as diligently as they could, to induce others through the Countrey to do the like. Many other instances, or divers motions may be given, but by this much let any man judge, if they have not cause to be deeply humbled for the divisions in the Land amongst the Lords servants.

REVIEW.

I Shall not deny, but some of these Brethren have in a spe­ciall way, reason to be humbled for the divisions of the Land, as they are the righteous judgments of the Lord upon their sins, which have been greater then the sins of many; nei­ther am I so zealous of their credit, as to say, that no circum­stance of their carriage in these things, could have been better ordered, they are but poor weak men, compassed with many infirmities, and subject to the like passions with others; but that they have reason to be humbled in a speciall way, upon the accompt of being the Authors, let be the main Authors and promovers of these rents and divisions, is a groundlesse and unjust charge, which no man is able to make out; the Author doth either unknowingly or willingly mistake in that which he calls the first step of the divisions, to wit, the dividing of one part of the remnant of the Army from the Army, by these Bre­thren: These Gentlemen who did remove from Sterlin im­mediatly after Dunbar, unto the West, did go thither by the order and approbation of the Committee of Estates, who did also appoint the Leavies of the West, and their Conducters, and designed their work to them from time to time, as can be made good by many Acts and Letters, under the Lord Chancellour and Clerk of the Committees hand, and they were therein also countenanced by the Commission of the Church, who wrote to them for their encouragement; yea, it was the counsell of some of these who were chief in the Assembly at Dundee, that these Gentlemen went West. That they did not joyn with the rest of the Forces of the Kingdom, was, because it was re­fused to state the War as it was formerly stated by the Decla­tion of the Church and State on the 13. of August, 1650. and to satisfie them in the conduct of the Army, by appointing a man qualified according to the solemn Engagement, to lead the Forces. What he sayeth of the Remonstrance, which he calls the next step of our division, is answered already, except that which he alleadges, that it doth in the close thereof con­tain a bond, engaging themselves to prosecute the matters of that Remonstrance, according to their power, which hath been [Page 43] often cleared by themselves, that it did contain no new bond to any new thing, but a declaration of their resolutions to keep their former bonds and engagements; in testimony whereof, they were willing, and did often offer to explain their meaning in this particular, for the satisfaction of these who doubted thereof. He doth (under favour) make a very lame relation of the Conference at Pearth. In that conference these Gentle­men and Ministers who were sent from the West, did often de­clare, that they were willing to fight upon that state of the quarrell holden forth in the Declaration of the 13. August, and to joyn under the leading Officer of the Forces of the King­dom, providing that he were a man qualified according to the solemn Engagement to duties, to wit, of a blamelesse and Chri­stian conversation, and of unquestionable integrity and affecti­on to the Cause of God; In neither of which, satisfaction was offered unto them, and therefore it is no wonder though they had refused to hearken to the Proposition which the Author speaks of. What he sayeth of their with-drawing themselves from the Commission, upon occasion of condemning the Re­monstrance, and of their not daigning to come again, I have al­ready answered somewhat unto it, and shall answer more here­after. For clearing of that which concerns the Letters written to the Commission, and testimonies given against the Commis­sions Answer to the Parliaments Quare, I shall first set down some thing of the matter of fact, then answer shortly to what the Author sayeth. After that the Party of Malignant and dis­affected men in the Land, who by subtility and fair pretences had got the power of the Judicatories and of the Army in their hand, Anno 1648. were defeat at Preston, the Kingdome and Kirk of Scotland taking in consideration how often they had been deceived by that Party, and how much they had sinned against God, and smarted under his hand by intrusting of them, and complying with them, did in a solemn publick way confess this sin, and did solemnly before the Lord, engage themselves to do no more so, but to be carefull to purge out all scandalous and malignant men out of the Judicatories and Army, and to endeavour that such as was intrusted therein, should be of a blamelesse and Christian conversation, and of constant integri­ty [Page 44] and affection to the Cause of God. In order to this solemn Confession and engagement, did many Supplications, Warn­ings, Remonstrances and Declarations issue from the Commis­sion of the Church, and severall Lawes and Acts from the Par­liament and Commitree of Estates, for purging and keeping pure the Judicatories & the Army, according to which, many endea­vours were used for putting the same in execution, which for some time went on with some measure of successe and blessing; but that so good and necessary a work, did very soon begin to be retarded and opposed; first closely, and in an undermining way by some who did again begin to owne Malignant Interests; and afterwards more openly and avowedly; yet was the sinfulnesse of complying with, and employing that Party so much abhor­red and feared by the Church of Scotland, that not onely did the Commission of the Generall Assembly of the year 1649. and the Generall Assembly it self 1650. in the very time when the Land was invaded by the English, declare the employing and intrusting of such to be unlawfull, even in the case of scar­city of men for the Lands defence, but also the Commission of the Generall Assembly of the year 1650. did after the defeat at Dunbar, once and again give publick warning to all the Land to beware of complyances with that Party, and to take heed that under a pretence of doing for the Cause, and for the King­dom, they get not power and strength in their hands for ad­vancing and promoting their old malignant designes; yea, the question being directly propounded by the King to the Com­mission, concerning the employing of these men, it was an­swered negatively in a Letter written to him for that effect; yet after all this, the Commission did at an occasional Meeting give that Answer to the Parliaments Quaere; by which a door was opened to the speedy taking in and employing of all that Party, first into the Army, and then into the Judicatories: Concerning which occasionall Meeting, I desire to be obser­ved, that notwithstanding of all that is formerly said, and that it was known that many members of the Commission, and many godly Ministers and Professors throughout the Land, were in their judgements opposite to the imploying and intrusting of these men, and that the resolving to imploy them before satis­faction [Page 45] given to mens consciences in the point could not but be matter of great stumbling and offence, and that a little before that time there had been one or two solemn Meetings of the Commission, and that there was a set Meeting of the Com­mission to be within a week or two thereafter, yet was there no mention of that businesse in these solemn frequent Meetings, and the other set Meeting was prevented by that occasionall Meeting called by the Moderators Letter, upon the desire of the Parliament, the leading men whereof at that time having long hunted after, and earnestly pressed that conjunction, did then on occasion of the defeat of the Forces at Hammilton, drive it ve­hemently on, under a pretence of necessity; and there were few above a Quorum of the Commission present at this occa­sionall Meeting, and many of these out of the Synod of Fife, who had gone far in the determination of that businesse in their Synod before that time; neither can it be alledged truly that the rest of the members of the Commission were advertised to keep the Diet, because no advertisement at all was sent to many in the North, who both might and ought to have been advertised; the businesse being of so great and common con­cernment, and so much scrupled in conscience; and the adver­tisements for Sterline, Dumblane, Glasgow, Dumbartan, Pasley, Hammilton, Irwine, Air, Lanrick and these places, where a great many of the Commissioners were, and who were most like to scrouple at the businesse, came but to Sterline on Tuesday about ten a Clock in the forenoon, to keep the Diet of the Commis­sion the next Thursday thereafter at Pearth; and no man can rationally say, that these advertisements could be transmitted from thence, and the Commissioners come thereupon timeous­ly to Pearth within the space of 48. houres, it being now the Winter season, and when the day was about the shortest; nay, though convenient speed was used in dispatching these Letters from Sterline, yet the Diet was circumduced before the adver­tisement came to several of the Commissioners hands: I am not ignorant that all this is coloured with the necessity of a present Leavy, because of the defeat of the Forces at Hammilton, but to say nothing; that that seems to presuppose a determination of the question in the affirmitive before it was either propounded [Page 46] or debated; neither yet to say any thing, that in the construction of too many who did drive on a conjunction with the Malignant party, the necessity of a present Leavy was not increased but rather diminished by the defeat at Hammilton, if there was such a necessity, then such a course ought to have been taken, as was most like to bring the businesse soonest to effect, which was to have done things in a fair way, and after mutuall debate and advice of all parties having interest, and not thus to have car­ried it without acquainting, let be hearing or satisfying of many who were no lesse interessed then they, and whom they knew to have many things to object against the imploying of these men; but after-carriages did make it plainly to appear, that there was no such pressing impressions of necessity as was pre­tended, because no great speed was made in the Leavies for sundry moneths thereafter, and nothing was acted for a long time after the Leavying of the Army, and untill the Act of Classes was rescinded, yea, and untill the Generall Assembly was set down to interpone their judgements in approving the Publick Resolutions, which was six moneths after giving the answer to the Quare; and could not that necessity that admit­ted of so many moneths before execution, have admitted of some weeks before resolution. The Commission having thus determined in this grave and important case, did presently write Letters to Presbyteries, requiring them to concur in their stations to make the Leavies effectuall, according to the Order and Re­solutions of the Parliament thereanent; which were founded upon the Commissions answer to the Quaere, wherewith ma­ny Presbyteries not being satisfied in their consciences, did write the ground of their stumbling and dis-satisfaction in their severall respective Letters, and sent the same to the Commission by some of their own number, which Letters were not spread abroad before they were communicated to the Com­mission, and if the Commission had given a satisfying answer, it is not like that they would have been spread at all, but Pres­byteries being still pressed to obedience, without satisfaction to their Consciences, they could not but make known the rea­son of their refusall, lest they should have seemed to others to be wilfull and obstinate, that they did amongst themselves call [Page 47] them Testimones (and amongst others too) I believe it to be true, and that incase they should not be satisfied, th [...]y did in­tend them as standing Testimonies of their duty in that particu­lar, which yet they thought more fit to do by Letter then any other more publick way, that they might therein shew them­selves the more tender and respective of the Commission. That they condemned the Publick Resolutions as a defection from the Covenant and former Principles, was that which their Duty and their Consciences called them unto; yet did they no other wayes condemn them then by asserting that they conceived them to be so, of which assertion they did give a reason from the Word of GOD, and from the Covenant, and Warnings, Declarations and Remonstrances of this Church, to which if the Commission had returned a satisfactory answer, they would have been quiet and said no more in the businesse. That they did not come themselves and propound their doubts was, because they were many in severall places, whole Presbyteries; & such a way as this seemed to them to savour rather of tumult and faction then the way which they took, and experience did prove, that no great satisfaction was to be expected in that way, because when the Ministers of Sterlin were called by the Com­mission to a conference at St. Andrews, and did not acquiesce to be silent & say no more against the publick resolutions, the Com­miss [...]on on did inform the King, and Committee of Estates there­of, who sent for them to Perth, and consined them a moneth in that place; and when the Synod of Glasgow by their Letters to the Commission, desired a Conference, no satisfaction was obtained in the point of the Publick Resolutions. That they did in these things traduce honest, godly, and faithful Brethren; I think they may with reason deny; These Letters contained no­thing that was personall, but only that which concerned the matter of these resolutions, which if it was evill on these Brethrens part who were Authors and abettors of the same; there is no cause to charge those who did endeavour the discovery thereof as traducers, or as the doers of these things that tend to render their Brethren odious. That they did a­gent diligently thorough the Country to induce others to do the like, is more then the Author can well prove; but though it had [Page 48] been so, was there not a cause to stop (if they could) the be­ginnings of backslidings and defections, which is as the break­ing out of waters, therefore are they well able to clear them­selves before indifferent and impartiall judges of divisive wal­king in this matter, notwithstanding of any thing that is said by the Author in the contrary.

VINDICATION.

AS for their Professions, by all lawfull and fair means within the compasse of their power and station to remead the divisions. It is the duty indeed of all who would prove live­ly Members of CHRISTS body, and lovers of the Prosperity of Sion; and happy were the man that could be the Peace-maker, and repairer of our breaches. But if the late and present pra­ctice of these our Brethren do well agree with Profession, let GOD, and indifferent godly men judge. I shall not now insist upon the carriage and motions of some of them, in the begin­ning of the late Assembly at St. Andrews (which were by a re­verend and judicious godly man, in their own hearing, said just­ly to be fiery motions, and petere jugulum pacis) nor yet upon the Protestation against the Assembly; as to this effect of which I am now upon, I shall onely say this for the present, had it not been a more probable and Christian like mean for the remeading of the divisions, to have dealt for a Meeting of judicious and godly men on both sides (which certainly was within the compasse of their power and station) for a brotherly and amicable confe­rence in equal terms about the differences: then they being but the one side, to take upon them the Authority of a publick Judicatorie, and by themselvs straight way to condemn the other side as guil­ty carrying on a course of defection, and that to be the main Cause of the Lords wrath on the Land, and to go on in that continued and assumed Authority, and acting by vertue there­of (as they declare peremptorily they will do in their answer given to the moderat and peaceable Paper sent to them by the Sy­nod of Lowthian in their late Meeting in November) whileas the most part of the Ministery in this Kingdom cannot in con­science but give Testimony against this as usurpation, which may heighten differences and render them more incurable; [Page 49] might not these things have been forborn without prejudice to themselves, for peace safety, at least till that other way had been essayed, I speak not now of the lawfulnesse of the late As­sembly, or of the Publick resolutions, but supposing these mat­ters to be sub judice, as they are at most betwixt us and them, could there have been a way more obstructive to union between the parties differing, or more effectuall to render the divisions desperate then for the one party, and that the far lesse party by more at ten to one to condemn the other in a Publick way, and represent them as the main procurers of the wrath of GOD upon the Land, and to take upon them at their own hand to be judges over their Brethren; GOD will not be mocked, this is not agreeable to their Profession and endeavors, by all lawfull and fair means to use Remedies of Peace. What these our Bre­thren wil do hereafter towards Peace, I wil not n [...]w take upon me to predetermine nor to prepossess any with prejudices against them; many of them I am perswaded are men fearing God, and not only loving the Peace of Sion, but also are learned and understanding in these things that belong to the Peace of the Kirk, yet cer­tainly it is feared by many both godly and wise, that some a­mongst them, for all the businesse that is made about Conferences upon differences (which indeed are not to be rejected, but to be followed by all means) and professions made of aims and desires thereby to have all divisions removed, yet hath no other purpose but so far as they can to strengthen their own way in every point, and to fix the division from the most part of the Kirk of Scotland, the good Lord avert this; but if this appear at last, we hope that men of understanding and soundnesse upon that side of the differences wil remember and make use of what they have learn­ed and know and have professed concerning the Church Consti­tution and of schisme, and separation against independents and separatists.

REVIEW.

THere is nothing said here of the Protesters that doth infringe the integrity of their Profession, and resolution by all lawful and fair means within the compass of their power and station to endeavor the remedy of the divisions: it is true that one [Page 50] of the members of the Commission to whom I do not deny the Testimony of a reverend, judicious and godly man, did call the exceptions propounded against those members of the Assembly who had been members of the Commission, a firy motion, and such a thing as petit jugulum pacis, which was not then more sharply spoken then it was modestly taken; but to say nothing that in that particular, he was a party that speaks so (pace tanti viri) there was no just reason to call it so, the exception, being so wel grounded as it was. I wish the Author may lay as much weight upon the words of that worthy man in other things con­cerning the Publick resolutions, as he doth in that speach of his. As to the Authors discourse concerning their taking upon them the Authority of a Publick Judicatory, and declaring perempto­rily that they will so do, and condemning the other side, they be­ing by far the fewer number, and whilest the matter was yet sub judice, when he shall be pleased to give us an answer con­cerning his and other mens taking upon them to be an Assembly and to make acts not onely condemning their Brethrens judge­ment but also censuring them with the sentences of suspension & deposition, then shal an answer be given him concerning this. If it be said that they were an lawfull Assembly, but the other was no lawfull Commission, that is the question, and if truth be on his side, as to the freedome and lawfulnesse of the Assem­bly what he sayeth of their setting up of the Commission hath weight; but if that Assembly was no Assembly, then was the former Commission still standing, and they were in no fault to conveen and exercise the same; it is true that the matter is sub judice: but was not the matter also sub judice betwixt the Meeting at Dundee, and the Protesters when that Meeting took upon them, notwithstanding of the Protestation to be an Assembly, and did make acts, censuring some, and laying an foundation for the censuring of all these that should refuse to acknowledge their constitution, or after conference oppose their Acts. In answer to the rest of his discourse upon this head, I desire the Reader to take notice, that after severall essayes of a conference with the Commission by the Synod of Glasgow to litle or no effect, at the Meeting at St. Andrews, these who were dissatisfied with the Publick resolutions, did offer to the Meeting a humble [Page 51] suppcation, desiring them to forbear to constitute them­selves in an Assembly, and to adjurne the Meeting untill peaceable and fair means should be used for composing of dif­ferences, which was altogether refused to be read; then after that the Meeting had constitute themselves in an Assembly, it was desired by these brethren that they would appoint some of their number to confer with them about differences, which was long & tenaciously opposed, as carrying with it a reflection upon these of the Commission who had carried on the Publick Resolutions, and a prejudice to the Assembly in judging of these resolutions; at last the result was this, that such of the Assembly as they de­sired to confer with might speak with them, but that no par­ticular person should be nominated, nor any thing written thereof in the minutes of the Assembly: In prosecution of this desire, some of the unsatisfied Brethren did meet with the Mo­derator of that Assembly, and some other eminent men mem­bers of the Commission at Mr. Robert Blair his chamber two several diets, and after some conference to and fro, did earnestly beseech and presse upon them (some with tears) that they would be pleased to be instrumental in adjourning the Assembly, and in delaying to ratifie the Publick Resolutions; but they were not pleased to condescend so much as to undertake to be assisting to these brethren in obtaining their desire, & that night in which the Meeting was adjourned from St. Andrews to Dundee, the dis-satisfied Brethren did again publickly presse that the Assem­bly migh be adjourned till some considerable time, till pains might be taken in an amicable way for composing of differences, which being refused, they were necessitated to Protest, as se­ing no other remedy against the current of backsliding; notwith­standing of this Protestation, the Meeting at Dundee went on, not onely to the ratifying of the publick resolutions, but to the condemning of the Protestation, censuring of some of the Pro­testers, and making of Acts declaring all of these censurable who shall not acknowledge their constitution, and submit to their Acts, and appointing Presbyteries and Synods in their re­spective bounds to proceed to the execution thereof, and giving power to their Commission for that effect where Presbyteries were negligent. What length their Commission was gone, and [Page 52] what they had in consideration against the Protesters, when they were interrupted and broken off by the surprizall at Eliot them­selves best know. After that time the Lord was pleased to ex­ercise the Land with so sad dispensations, as for a good while made all Publick Meetings of Ministers very difficult and dan­gerous, untill the Country being somewhat quieted, about the midst of October, these who had Protested against the Meeting at St. Andrews and Dundee, as not being a lawfull and free Generall Assembly, with many other Ministers and Elders from severall parts of the Country, did meet at Edinburgh, where after some dayes spent together in Prayer, and suppli­cation, and in confessing of their sins to God, and one to an­nother, they did in the next place after conference, and mu­tuall communication of Light one with another, set down their thoughts concerning the Causes of the Lords wrath against the Land, that in that time of darknesse, there might be some light and directory in these things to such as were willing to re­ceive and make use thereof; amongst these causes of wrath, they did condescend upon and reckon the Publick Reso­lutions of Church and State, for bringing the Malignant party, first to the Army, and then to the Judicatories, and the actuall intrusting of them with the power of the Kingdom both Military and Civil, and the prelimiting and corrupting of the Generall Assembly in the free and lawfull constitution thereof; and its ratifying of the Publick Reso­lutions, which did involve a defection from the Cause, and laying a foundation for censuring of all such who did not approve of the constitution of that Assembly, and submit to the Acts there of; and finding themselves more and more convinced of the nullity of that Assembly at Dundee, and how needfull it was to preserve the Church of Scotland in the possession of her due priviledges, and to keep together a remnant, who might be as a branch of hope (if so be the Lord would be favourable to them, and take pleasure in them) for repairing of the breach, such of them as were Members of the Commission of the Gen. Assembly, did find themselves warranted and called of God, to take possession of the power and trust committed unto them by the Assembly 1650. yet so, as they did not authorita­tively, [Page 53] impose or require obedience to any of their Emissions concerning the causes of the Lords wrath (which was the only thing they medled with) but having agreed upon these Causes, with the advice of diverse Brethren from severall parts of the Kingdom, did offer and advise the same to be made use of by all the Lords people in the Land leaving place to adde, as the Lord should make further discoveries thereafter. At the same time all the Brethren who were met, did write Letters to sundry reverend and godly men in the Ministery, of a diffe­rent judgment, desiring an amicable Conference with them; and conceiving that they could not well be brought together to one place in such a season of the year, and when travelling was so difficult, they did appoint some of their number to wait upon some of them at St. Andrews, and upon others of them at Glasgow, who might hold forth unto them what in their judgments was the most conducible means for union and peace both with God and among our selves, and to hear what should be offered unto them by these Brethren; what passed in these Conferences, I leave it to these who were present to re­late, hoping that none who were present will say, that the de­sires and endeavors of union did break off upon our side; those of our number not only professing themselvs willing to confer & hear what should be offred unto them, but to attend at any other diet that should be appointed, and to endeavour if it were desired, a more numerous and frequent meeting of Brethren of both sides: From all which it doth appear, that the Protesters all along, have been pursuers of peace, and not promoters and fo­sterers of division. The Author propounds the question, If it had not been a more probable and Christian like mean for re­medying the divisions, to have dealt for a meeting of judicious and godly men on both sides, and for an amicable and brotherly Conference on equal tearms about the differences, then that the Protesters being but the one side, should have taken upon them­selves the authority of a Publick Judicatory, and by themselvs straightway to condemne the other side as guilty. In answer to which, beside what is already said, I would first ask the Au­thor, Whether it be fair dealing, that these at St. Andrews, af­ter they were earnestly entreated of their Brethren, to adjourn [Page 54] and delay the ratifying of the Publick Resolutions, shall first take upon them the Authority of a Generall Assembly, to rati­fie the Publick Resolutions, condemne their Brethren who protest against them, censure some of them with Suspension, and others of them with Deposition for that very thing, and lay a foundation for censuring all of them, and all others in the Church of Scotland, who should continue to differ from them, and oppose them in these things, and then afterwards cry out upon their Brethren, who hold forth the sin and iniquity of such proceedings, as upon men who are not for peace, and do not take the most probable and Christian-like mean for reme­dying the divisions; The Author knowes who were in the Church of Scotland, who did tread these steps not long ago: Next, they did conceive it to be the most pro­bable and Christian-like mean for remedying the divisi­ons, to fall upon the root of the matter, by holding ing forth that which had divided us from God, and God from us, and one of us from another, taking this for the most genuine and sound, & safe, & Christian method of proceeding, yet walk­ing so therein, as that they did onely soberly and by way of ad­vice hold forth their judgmnts, and not impose upon any; and as they left an open door to others, to adde what further disco­veries of guiltiness the Lord should make known to them, so were they as sharp and searching against themselves, as against any others. What dissonancie from their Profession is in all this, and if it be but a mocking of God (as the Author insinuats) I hope and pray, that the Lord will reveal it unto them, seeing they did it in the simplicity of their hearts, looking upon the same as a speciall and necessary point of their duty, in this day of indignation and back-sliding; but if it was acceptable ser­vice to God, as I trust it was, I hope the Lord wil countenance and follow it with a blessing from Heaven, that there may be a profitable fruit thereof to his poor servants, and to his poor Church. I know not well who these be of whom the Author speaks, who notwithstanding of all the businesse that is made upon conferences about differences &c. yet if the fears of ma­ny, both godly and wise may have weight, have no other pur­pose but so far as they can to strengthen themselves in their [Page 55] own way, and to fix the division from the most part in the Church of Scotland. If any professe what he doth not intend, he may abuse others, but he doth but encrease his own guilti­nesse. I dare say, that the desires of Union upon the Protesters side in the Meeting at Edinburgh, wh [...]ch was profest to be cal­led in order to Union, were reall, and in their hearts as well as in their mouths; as it was to them a matter both of grief and wonder, when the Commissioners who came from the severall Synods, did not only refuse to delay, till Brethren of a different judgment (who were absent because they had no calling or invitation to come, and could not intrude themselves) might be gotten conveened, but also without any previous right un­derstanding, or any Overture in order thereunto, did resolve up­on keeping an Assembly, according to the Indiction at Dundee the last year, which gives just occasion of suspition to many godly and wise to conceive that the zealotes of the Publick Resolutions, had more in their eye the strengthening of them­selves in their own way, and bearing down and censuring of their Brethren who differ from them, then any union and right understanding with them; the Commissions that some who came to that Meeting were cloathed with, and the Letter and Articles that others of them did so much magnifie, and do so closely stick to, do confirm them therein, and this brings forth in them this fear, that as the strict adhering to the Publick Re­solutions, and to the Constitution and Acts of the Assembly at Dundee, shall obstruct the purging of this Church from cor­rupt Officers and corrupt Members, and bear down and drive out many precious ones, who cannot be consenting unto, but most bear testimony against these things; so also that it shal make many of the godly in the land to stumble exceedingly at the go­vernment of our Church, and from a despair ever to see this Church purged, to think of separating from it, in which though they may do what they ought not to do, yet it doth exceedingly concern the Author and others of his way to consider of this, and to take heed that they do no more offend the little ones, nor tempt them above what they are able to bear.

VINDICATION.

IT should now follow that we come to the examination of the Reasons alleadged against the Assembly, but that there is one passage more in the Narrative of their Protestation, which can­not be passed by without some inquiry upon it, it is in these words: But as the faithfull servants of Jesus Christ in this Kirk in former times, did by the good hand of God on them, bring the Work of Reformation unto a great perfection and near conformity with the first patern, some unfaithful men minding their own things more then the things of Christ, & usurping over their Brethren and the Lords Inheritance, [...]id deface the beau­ty thereof, first by encroaching on the liberty and freedom of the Assembly; afterward by taking away the very Assembly them­selves, therefore remember, &c. I shall not stay here to examine the Gramar and Logick of this passage in relation to antecedents and consequents, wherein (it seems) whileas they have been too forward and earnest to let out indirectly a blow at honest men, they have somewhat overseen themselves, as might be clearly evidenced; but this is not worth the while, nor shall I insist upon it to enquire the mystery. It may be insinuat there, where they say, that the faithfull Ministers of Jesus Christ in former times brought the Work of Reformation to a great perfection, and to a near conformity with the first patern; for these epithets of great and near cannot be looked on in this place, but as termini dimi­nuentes, because perfection & conformity to a rule, are in them­selves and their own pure signification, such terms as no epi­thet of quantity in the meer positive degree can be added to them without diminution of the thing signified by them When you say, an action is come to a great perfection, and to a conformi [...]y with. You say not so much as if you said simply, it is come to perfection and conformity with its rule; now the Work of Reformation here being meant the outward Ordinances; the brethren would do well to tell, and it were wisdome for every honest professor to en­quire what they judge wanting of perfection and conformity to the patern, in a Reformation of outward Ordinances, carryed on by the good hand of God upon these his servants; for my own [Page 57] part, I am not given to be jealous, yet I think it is safe now to take heed ne lateat anguis in herba, the rather, knowing that it hath bin the way of some of these lands since the work of Vnifor­mity began in them, to say, that the Work of Reformation in Scotland was a good way on; but that there are yet further at­tainments then it was brought to, & now it is begun boldly to be presented into a Meeting, pretended to be the publick Commis­sion of the Kirk, that the taking of Presbyterian Government is the greatest perfection attainable in Church-government, and that the maintaining lesse then positive evidences of Grace, is sufficient for constituting one a member of the visible Kirk, and sundry other weighty points of the Doctrine and Government of the Church of Scotland, are chief causes that have brought the present judgments on the Land; which I dare say, the presenter of them would never hazarded to have presented, had he not known of some good liking of them in some Ministers; nay, I will say further, though the man be understanding as to his station, be­yond many others, yet who ever knows him best, and will consider the stile, contrivance & conceptions in those articles now extant in Print, will (I doubt not) say, there hath been the hand of Joab, another head and pen in them then his own. This by the way, that which I would have especially observed in this passage, is to what purpose in this place are brought in these unfaithfull men the Prelats, who minding their own things, &c. and all this made an antecedent, wherupon is inferred the Protestation against the late Assembly, for immediatly it followeth; therfore remem­bring &c. whereunto tendeth all this, but to bear all in hand that shal happen to read this Protestation, that the Brethren that have been lately, & are opposite to them, the professors have been, and are treading the steps of these unfaithfull men the Prelats, and their mentioned practices? a shreud suggestion (to say no more) against their Brethren, many of them not only such as yet they dare not but professe to esteem highly of, but even many others whom they despise, have been honoured of God to stand constant against the Prelats usurpations for the liberry of As­semblies, when few of their accusers have had the honour to have had their hand at the work; yea, some (it may be these from whom the suggestion issued) were taking unwarrantable [Page 58] orders from Prelats, and doing more too? How can honest Christian hearts admit so slanderous a suggestion against so ma­ny honest men, whose faithfulness, integrity, honesty & constancy in the truth, hath been so wel known and sealed by God, quis tule­rit Graechos (I speak not of them all) de seditione loquentes? if need be it will be easie to discover, or rather to name (for they are not hidden in the dark, the Prelaticall steps that some have trod these years last by-past.

REVIEW.

THe first thing which the Author challenges in that passage of the Narrative of the Protestation is, the Grammar and Logick of it in relation to antecedence and cons [...]quence, con­cerning which he thinks that too great forwardnes to let out indirectly a blow at honest men, is made, the Protesters some­what to over see themselves, but he spares the clearing of it, and not being worth the while till it b [...] c [...]e [...]ed, these who see it cannot take with it. In the next place, albeit he professes himself not to be given to be jealous, yet It is too great jealou­sie and prejudice that raises so great a stir about so innocent and harmlesse an expression as this. That the fa [...]thfall Mini­sters of Jesus Christ in former times brought the Work of Re­formation in Scotland to a great perfection and near confor­mity to the Word of God; What mystery is here? have not the like expressions been used heretofore in the Pa­pers and Books of the Relaters and Asserters of Reformation and Government of this Church; but (saith the Author) great and near are here diminishing terms, and imports yet somthing to be wanting to perfection and conformity to the patern; and therefore he thinks the Brethren would do wel to tel, & that it were wisdom for every honest professor to enquire what that is that is yet wanting The brethren do tel. & all honest Professors may be perswaded to believe, that they had no wil before them that expression, and that they do willingly subscribe to the te­stimony of a worthy man in this Church, whose love unto, and estimation of the Work of Reformation, is above all excepti­on, to wit, that the Church of Scotland, after the Reformation, did by degrees attain to as great perfection both in Doctrine [Page 59] and Discipline, as any other R [...]formed Church in Europe: But it may be this will not satisfie the Author, because his Logick teaches him that by saying great perfection and near confor­mity; they have said lesse then if they had said simply, it is come to perfection and conformity. To say nothing, that the Work of Reformation is capable of a greater grouth in the pra­cticall use of the things that are known and profest, and of a discovery of further degrees of light and perswasion in these things. Will the Author say, that nothing at all, no not the least pin or circumstance of perfection & conformity with the first pa­tern, was then wanting to the work of reformation in Scotland, if so we desire him to tell us, what kind of power it is that is exercised by the Magistrates and Councels of Burghs then they choose Commissioners to the Generall Assembly, and what is the extent of the Doctors Office? I ask not these things to cast any blemish on the Work of Reformation, which I do willingly acknowledge to be such as may compare with any of the Reformed Churches, and in some respect (so far as I know) hath the pre-eminence, but to satisfie the Authors need­lesse curiosity, these things being considered, makes it to appear, that these words even when streached upon the tenter-hooks of the Authors nicety, do yet bear a convenient and true mean­ing, and that none needs thence to fear a serpent lurking in the bush. I acknowledge that it hath been the way of some in these Lands since the Work of Reformation began in them, to say, that the Work of Reformation in Scotland, was a good way on, but that there are yet further attainments then it was brought unto; but it was apparent from others of their ex­pressions, and from the whole tenor of their carriage, that they had therein a bad meaning, to wit, that we should not hold fast the things which we have already, nor walk by the same rule, but that we should make an alteration and change thereof; and therefore there is reason to be jealous over such; but to be jea­lous over these whose expressisions & carriage gives no ground for it, is but to torment our selves with needlesse fears, and to wrong others. I have already given some accompt of the Paper presented to the Meeting at Edinburgh, (which the Author doth here repeat again) and shall now adde these [Page 60] few things in answer to some circumstances of his discourse. First, that Paper was not presented to a Meeting that either re­ally was or did pretend to be the Commission of the Church, but onely to a Meeting of Ministers and Professors, acting not in the capacity of any Judicatory reall or pretended. Secondly, that all the Ministers who were there, did testifie their dislike of that Paper, and even these whom the Author and some others do haply most suspect, did seriously disswade from the in-giving of it. Thirdly, I know not who is the Joab he means of; but I do well know, that the men of that Meeting who are most slandered as the plotters and contrivers of such things, had nei­ther head, nor hand, nor heart in that Paper; and if I rightly re­member, I heard it asserted by the Author of it, there was no o­ther head nor pen in it but his own; these who know him wel, may think that he hath that much ability as to reach the stile, contrivance and concept [...]ons in these Articles; and therefore whilest the Author speaks these things by the way, he hath gone a little out of the way. That which he would have chiefly observed in this passage, is, To what purpose in this place are brought in these unfaithfull men the Prelates, who minding th [...]i [...] own things, &c. and such an inference made there­upon, as tendeth to bear all in hand that shall happen to read the Protestation, that the Brethren that have been lately, and are opposite [...]o the Protesters, have been, and are treading the steps of these unfaithfull men the Prelates, and heir mentioned practises and shrewd suggestions, as he cals them, on which he w [...]xeth hot in the Vindication of his Bre­thren, and in recriminations upon others; but I desire him and others who read these things in sobernesse of m [...]nde, to con­sider first that the estimation which the Protesters have of the a­bility and godlinesse of sundry of the Brethren, who have been and are opposite to them in the Publick Resolutions, is above exception and manifest, I hope, to the Consciences of these Brethren themselves. 2. That this needs not, nor ought not to hinder them to give their judgement of their way in order to the Publick Resolutions, if so be it be done without personal re­flections, so far as is possible. 3. That (as the Author hath distinguished before) there is a difference between mens in­tention [Page 61] and their work; men may be treading the steps of de­fection, as these unfaithfull men the Prelats did, who yet do it not with an unfaithful and prelatical mind, even as in these same very times of the course of defection that was carried on by the Prelats, there was sundry able and godly men ingaged therein, without whose help it could not have been so easily, nor unob­servedly to many, carryed on by the multitude of carnall and corrupt men, who would have been but a small credite with­out these other. 4. That if the Protesters had had to do with these onely whose faithfulnesse, integrity, honesty and con­stancy in the truth have been so wel known and sealed by God, they had haply expressed themselves some other way; but they had to do in this particular with all those who owned the pub­lick Resolutions, and amongst these were many; yea, not a few active leading men, members of, or assisting unto the Com­mission in these things, and in the Meeting at Dundee, who were deeply engaged in the Prelaticall way, as not onely their sub­scriptions in the Bishops black Book, which is yet extant, and can be produced if need were, but also the tenour of their car­riage for a long time did witnes; and I fear it of not a few, that though they seemed to forsake these things with the changes of the time, yet have they not repented thereof unto this day; not that I would fetch all those whose names are in that black Book, and others the like books, and who were involved in these courses under that compasse; I know that sundry of them have from their very hearts repented of, and do from their souls abhor that way; I mean even of these who are for the Publick Resolutions, but this Church hath been so s [...]nsible that there is cause to think otherwise, that she hath several times given war­ning thereof in her publick Papers; and who knoweth not that throughout all the Land, these who had been most indifferent, and luke-warm in the Cause of God, greatest underminers of it, most Prelaticall in the times of the Bishops, most Malignant in James Grahams time, and in the time of the unlawfull En­gagement, and most designing and active to carry on the Treaty with the King, in a wrong way, and without security to Religion; yea, and such as were scandalous in their life and conversation were for the most part amongst the most [Page 62] zealous and violent for the Publick Resolutions, and are so still, now the course it self being evill▪ and envolving a foundation of defection, owned and countenanced, and zealously promoted, by all the lukewarm Prelaticall, and Malignant scandalous men in the Land; was there not doolfull experience of such backsliding in the time of the Prelates, to be stirred up in our selves, and to Protest and testifie to others against things, though sundry godly men were engaged therein; nay, the more need there was to speak plainly, least their ability and godlinesse should be a snare to any. 5. What­ever the Author is pleased to alledge, the Protesters do not de­spise any of those who have been honoured of God, to stand constant against Prelats usurpations, and for the Liberties of Assemblies, they acknowledge that they owe much to such, and though they cannot but testifie against the ill of the Publick Resolutions, yet they do retain a honourable Impression of these persons, and of what is good in them. 6. If it were fit to com­pare, sundry of the Protesters are in nothing; yea, in none of these things which the Author mentioned as praise worthy, behinde with the very chief of these who have appeared for the Publick Resolutions, but both of them are by the grace of God, that that they are. 7. That none of the Protesteers for any thing that I know, did take unwarrantable orders from the Prelats, and do more to accept one who hath often in private, and in Publick acknowledged, and is still ready to acknowledge the sin of that way in which he was bred up from his youth, and therefore did it ignorantly through unbelief, who because of the exceeding riches of the mercy of God, in recovering him out of that snare holds himself the more bound to be vigilant and zealous against all desertions for the time to come; this man hath forbidden me to say any more to the Author, in answer to these things; but these words, dignus ego qui patior indig­nus tu qui faceres tamen, and to leave the explication to his own conscience. 8. It had been fairer dealing in the Author, to have discovered or named the Prelaticall steps that some of the Protesters have troden these years past, and not thus to have asserted without any proof or instance, which he thinks a fault in matters of lesse moment: The steps that these men have tro­den [Page 63] these years past in their Publick Actings (for of these I take the Author to mean) were for the matter the same that were troden by himself, and by sundry leading men in the Pub­lick Resolutions, who were also leading men in all these steps from the highest to the lowest; and I do not think (though not a few be) he is come that length to condemn these things and for the manner of their Actings, they acknowledge them­selves to be men subject to the like passions with others, but knowes no cause why for these the trading of Prelaticall ste [...]s should be changed rather upon them th [...]n upon others, some in the following of their duty are more emiss, and others more forward, but as long as they do straitly and honestly own their duty, it is hard either because of the one or of the other, to charge them with so heavy impu [...]ations.

VINDICATION.

WE shall now weigh these reasons whereupon the Pro­testation is built, and which have been added lately, as batterages to hold it up; surely the grounds whereupon men would adventure on such an Act, or others would joyn in ap­proving of it, had need to be weighty in themselves and relevant, and also clear in mens Consciences: To Protest, against [...]r dissent from some particular acts and constitutions of a Gen. Assembly is a thing which may be done without schisme, and derogation to the Authority and being of Government; but when a Gen. A [...]sembly it self is protested against, and declined as unlawfull, and hav­ing no authority at all; who sees not how sad the consequences must readily be in hat Kirk, hardly can it be by any outward means, but turne to a fixed schisme, which thing how have godly, orthodox christian, in all ages of the Kirk, detested and abhorred, choosing rather ever to tollerate great offences (which they did see, but could not mend) rather then to a [...]vide the Kirk of Christ, and then it would be seriously considered, if the reasons and grounds of such an Act be not clear and relevant, how high an attempt it against the Kingly Office of Christ, to trample under foot his Supream externall Court, in a Nation­all Kirk. Come we then and ponder the Reasons alleaged for [Page 64] this Protestation, and declinature whether they be found weigh­ty or light, vincat veritas.

REVIEW.

I Shall not stand to discuse the relevancy of all that is asserted in this generall discourse, but returns this answer thereunto: It seems the Author doth not deny that it is lawful, and in some cases necessary, to Protest against, and decline some Gen. As­semblies, and that it would be so in our Hypothesis if the grounds were clear and relevant, whatsoever will plead for a Prote­station against particular Acts that are wrongthe same & greater reason, will plead for a Protestation against a wrong constituti­on, because the errour of a wrong constitution is of greater consequence, as importing more prejudice to the work and Peo­ple of God, and being a higher attempt against the Kingly Office of Jesus Christ, then many wrong acts are, and therefore there is the greater reason to prevent the same in Jure, where it can­not be done in facto, even as men by such like Protestations pre­serve their Rights jure, when by the spate of a declining Judi­catory they are like to be oppressed de facto, and therefore have Orthodox Christians in all ages born Testimony, and Protested a­gainst corrupt councels as wel as corrupt acts; we shal not go far back to seek instances: It is known what the Protestant Church did against the Councel of Trent, and how often faithfull men in the Church since the Reformation from Popery have born Testimony and protested against unlawfull Assemblies, as well as against unwarrantable acts, neither doth it cause schisme in the Church, or derogate any thing from the Authority and be­ing of Government, to Protest against usurpers, corrupters, or perverters of it, in a false court, but it is the lawfull, and hath been the usuall mean in this Church, blessed unto her of the Lord, to prevent and remead schisme, and to preserve the Au­thority and being of Government, with the purity and Liberty of all the Ordinances, and whatsoever sad consequences can be ima­gined to follow upon it, do lye at the doors of these who by declining from their Principles, carries on, and cleaves to a cor­rupt constitution of an Assembly, and not on these who adhe­ring [Page 65] to sound Principles, do from the conscience of their duty bear Testimony against the same. It hath been often and truly said, that the side wall which fals, and not the gevill which stands is to blame for the rent and ruine of the House; I do wil­lingly acknowledge that it is an high attempt against the King­ly Office of Jesus Christ, to trample under foot his Supream ex­ternall Court in a Nationall Church, but as the Protesters are guilty of this high attempt, if they have Protested against the Meeting at St. Andrews and Dundee without a cause, and up­on grounds that are not relevant; so if the Authors and abet­tors of the Publick Resolutions have corrupted this Court in the free and lawfull constitution thereof, and have taken upon themselves to be an Assembly wh [...]lest they were none, then wil they, and not the other be found guilty of this high attempt: Let us therefore come to the discussing and clearing of the rea­sons that the Protesters plead for themselves.

VINDICATION.

THeir first reason for unfreenesse, and unlawfulnesse of the Assembly, that the Election of Commissioners to the same was prelimited and prejudged in the due liberty thereof, by an Act & Letter of their Commission of the last Assembly sent to Presby­teries, appointing such Brethren as after Conference remained unsatisfied with, and continued to oppose Publick Resolutions to be cited to the Gen. Assembly. Thus it is briefly proponed in the Protestation. In the late larger paper emitted and spread abroad since, wherein as may be conceived, are mustered all the Forces that could be gathered together against that Assembly, and many heads have been imployed in that one, every man that readeth it decerneth whose Pen hath given the forme and frame to it; and any decerning man also may perceive in it something of School, and something of Law and registers which the former behoved to have from these quarriers. It is put in a Sy logistick form thus: That it is no free Generall Assembly, the Election of whose Commissioners is so prejudged and pre-limited in the due freedom and liberty thereof, that many Ministers of Presbyteries in a capacity to be chosen, for their ability and faithfulnesse are by [Page 66] the Presbyteries at the order of the Supream Judicatory past by and set aside in the Election, and rendred uncapable to be members thereof; But the late Meeting is such: Therefore, &c. We wil not follow out foot for foot the tract of many objections which the con­trivers of this Paper have either found some way made by others, or have formed themselves at their own pleasure against this and other following reasons, and their replyes thereunto. But shall propone such reasens as we conceive discovers the nullity of these and other reasons, not omitting the consideration of any thing contained in this Paper which shall seem to meet with what we shall bring as occasion shall be offered without tying our selves to the order of this Paper: For answer then to this first ground. 1. As it lyeth in the Protestation, it could have no force to prove any illegality or nullity of the Assembly at the time of the Pro­testation; suppose that the Commissioners Act & Letter sent to Pres­byteries and indeed contained under Prelimitation, because this fault of the Commission could not be imputed to the Assembly to nullifie it, while as yet it was to the knowledge of the Assem­bly, but an aliedgance not proven, that such under pre-limitati­on had been used in the election of Commissioners, and that they had not as yet determined nor approven the deed of the Com­mission, nor deed of Presbyteries done thereupon in elections; at the giving in of this Protestation the Assembly had not as yet con­sidered the Commissioners Proceedings, neither indeed was it in their power to cognosce upon exceptions against the Commission, without change of the Order of proceeding that had been used constantly in all bygone time, and upon a great debate with the Parliament it self in the Assembly 1648. had been established by a formall act, as the Protesters themselves well understood and acknowledged, and therefore it was, that upon this they offer­ed to the Assembly, before the choosing of a Moderator, a Paper pressing the changing, and reform the order of proceeding in the Generall Assembly, which before had alwayes been in use, as if some of themselves had not been the main maintainers and pro­curers of the establishment of that order before, when it made for them. And as the Assembly as yet but in heap of the matter, and not constitute into a Judicatory, could have taken into consi­deration, and have altered the practice and constitution of for­mer [Page 67] Assemblies. The Assembly therefore did offer to call in this exception, and to give unto it all due considerations as soon as possibly they could win at it.

REVIEW.

WHat needs all this wast of words, concerning the ga­thering and mustering of forces, and the imploying of many heads, and the pen that gave the forme, and some thing of School, and something of Law, and Registers, which the former behoved to have from these Q [...]aerees? The truth is, that if it were a purpose to tell it, there were very few heads imployed in that businesse; haply as few as about the Vindicati­on, and there was little gathering of forces for it, the difficulty of correspondence and shortnesse of time wherein it was penned admitting of very little communication of thoughts; and the Author is mistaken when he speaks of two Quaeres, one of School, another of Registers and of Law, out of which the former behoved to have his materials, and haply also concern­ing the pen that gave it the frame, as some others have been be­fore him; but what though all these things were true which he alleadgeth: Is it any fault in weak Souldiers to call in their fel­lows to their help, and to strengthen one another in maintaining of their ground against many and strong Adversaries; or doth he hunt after commendation and applause, by setting forth the pre­parations, and multitude and strength of his opposites, whom yet he by himself alone supposeth to have defeat. It was free for the Author in answering the reasons contained in the Pro­testation, and the other Paper relating to it, to choose such a me­thod as seemed best to him, though it would have seemed to be more easie for his readers, if he had followed foot for foot what is contained in these Papers; I do more wonder that he hath left many things of importance unanswered, not so much as once touching them. But let us come to the answers which he gives, which I shall take as they ly in the Vindication, upon supposal that the Letter and act sent by the Commission to Presbyteries, did contain an under-prelimitation; the first ground as it lyeth in the Protestation, hath force to prove the illegality, or nudi­ty in the Assembly, notwithstanding of any thing the Author saith to the contrary. First, he seems to lay this ground, that [Page 68] nothing can be of force to prove the illegality, or nullity of the Assembly, but that which can be imputed to the Assembly it self; but I fear that this ground which is here hinted at by him, and much made use of by some others in this particular, shall fail all who lean thereupon: I suppose that by a Letter and Act of the Commission, and a deed of the Presbyteries done there­upon, elections had been so pre-limited, that al [...] Ruling Elders had been excluded, and Ministers onely chosen, or the one half of the Ministers excluded, without a just cause from having voice in the elections, or from being chosen Commissioners; would not these pre-limitations have force to prove a nul Assembly, the same being proponed and rejected as not relevant exceptions, when the Commissioners did meet to constitute themselves in­to an Assembly; it seems by the Authors ground they could not, because they are but alledgeances not yet proven, and they have not determined therein, no approven thereof, because it is not in their power to cognosce upon exceptions against the Com­mission, without change of the order of Proceedings to the Ass. which had been constantly used in all time by gone; there may be many things done in Commissions & Presbyteries in prelimiting and perverting the elections, that cannot be imputed; yea, which the Assembly may condemn, that may make an illegall and null Assembly; and therefore upon supposall that the Letter and Act sent to Presbyteries did contain an under-pre-limitation, it might have force at the time of the Protestation to prove a null Assem­bly, though it could not be imputed to the Assembly it self: But how doth he prove that it could not be imputed to the Assembly? first, it was (saith he) to the knowledge of the Assembly, but an al­ledgeance not proven; it seems the Author doth not question the relevancie of it in Jure, if the truth of the fact had been proven, but it being relevant in Jure (as upon his supposall it needs must) and offered to be proven in facto; yea, the matter of fact, as to the presumption of it, being manifest to the consciences of ma­ny of the Assembly, ought they not before constituting themselvs in an Assembly, either to have tryed and discussed the same, or else to have laid aside the persons against whom it was pro­pounded, from sitting as Members in the Assembly, untill it might have been gotten tryed and discussed; but they did nei­ther [Page 69] of these, and was not this to be imputed to the Assembly? Next, he sayeth, that the Assembly had not yet determined in, nor approven the deed of the Commission, nor the deed of Pres­byteries done thereupon in Elections, at the giving in of the Protestation: B [...]t in this he is much mistaken, because the As­sembly by admitting the Commissioners from Presbyteries so elected, did as really approve these limited Elections, and so the deed of the Commission and Presbyteries done thereupon, as ever any preceeding Assem. used to approve the most free Ele­ctions; to wit, onely by admitting the Commissioners; yea, the Assemb. rejecting of the exceptions, and allowing the Commis­sioners against whom it was propounded, to sit notwithstand­ing the propounding thereof, was a real approving of the Com­mission, and of what the Presbyteries did thereupon, as we shal afterwards Godwilling clearly shew. Thirdly, he sayeth, that the Assembly had not yet considered the proceedings of the Commission, neither was it in their power to cognosce upon exceptions against the Commission, without change of the order of proceedings, which had been used constantly in all time by-gone, This is a pretty fancie to defend an ill cause: the Church of Scotland have found it necessary in the intervall betwixt Generall Assemblies, to have her Commis­sion, whose trust should be to preserve the Liberties of the Church and to take care of some things of more General con­cernment committed unto them, and that in all these things they should keep themselves within the bounds of their Com­mission, and proceeding according to the standing Acts of for­mer Generall Assemblies, and that in the next ensuing Assem­bly they shall give an accompt of their proceedings during the whole time of their Commission in the beginning of the As­sembly, before any other Cause or matter be handled, and their proceedings to be allowed or dis-allowed, as the Assembly shall think expedient. Now, saith the Author, this matter of pre-limitation being an exception against the Commission, could not be taken in consideration, without the change of this order. I shall not say, that it might have been done with­out any shadow of change of order; But I desire to be consi­dered, that it never was the intention, nor did it ever come in­to [Page 70] the mind of any free lawfull Generall Assembly of the Church of Scotland, to give power to their Commissioners to give Lawes concerning the constitutng of an Assembly; these are clearly set down in the Policy and Acts of the Church, according to which, the Commission ought to walk in all things committed to their trust, not medling with any thing not committed unto them, much less medling with it in a way contrary to that Policy & these Acts: and therefore did they appoint the proceedings of these Commissioners to be try­ed, and allowed or dis-allowed in the next Assembly, before the doing of any thing else. Now a Commission contrary to their trust, doth meddle with the Constitution of an Assembly, and by their Letter and Act, and the deed of Presbyteries thereupon, the elections are prelimited (as the Author is content to suppose) and when the Assembly meets, and this is proponed as an exce­ption to be taken in consideration against such Members of the Ass: as was Members of that Commission; he tels us, it cannot be considered without change of order, being an exception against the Commissioners proceedings. What a sad case the Church is brought to by this means, that [...]s, to suffer the constitution of her Assemblies to be corrupted by her own Commission, and that without remedy; or why it must, as to the Constitution of the Assemb. be taken in consideration before the admitting of these Commissioners to fit as Members, or else not at all, because if if the Commissioners be once received, the Members admitted, and the Assemb: constituted hoc ipso, that these things are done, that prelimitation is approven; or why the Assem: hath already constituted & found themselvs a lawful Assem. with these Com­missioners inclusive, notwithstanding of that exception. That the matter may be yet further cleared, it would be considered, that against the constitution of Judicatories in their Members, there may be exceptions of severall sorts, some that are more perso­nall or particular, relating to one or two, or some few upon personall scandals and miscarriages; Some more common and universall, that concerns all or many; a Judicatory may pro­ceed to constitute it self, and act as a Judicatory before discus­sing [...]xceptions of the first sort; having laid aside the Members against whom these exceptions are propounded, till conveni­ently [Page 71] they may be gotten tryed and discussed, because there is no exception but against a few, and upon particular and perso­nall s [...]andals; the far greater part being Members uncontrol­able and rightly qualified, but they cannot proceed to constitute themselves and act as a Judicatory before discussing of excep­tions of the second sort, unlesse we would suppose, that after constituting themselves into a Judicatory, or finding themselvs to be a Judicatory, they might again find themselvs to be no Ju­dicatory. Exceptions of a more common and universal influence against causa causae, of the Constitution of an Assembly, to wit, against Elections, which is the ground of the Commissions; as the Commissions are of the constitution of the Assembly, ought to be considered before constitution be declared; for unfree E­lections make null Commissions, and all, or a great many null Commissions, make a null Assembly. From these things, I trust it is manifest, that the exceptions against the freedome of Election, because of the Act and Letters of the Commission, and the deed of the Presbyteries following thereupon, ought to have been taken in consideration before the Meeting did con­stitute themselves in an Assembly, and that the Commissioners whom that exception did concern, ought not to have been ad­mitted to sit as Members, before the trying and discussing thereof: as to that of the change of the order of proceeding, which had been used constantly, upon which the Author seems to lay so much weight, besides what is answered already, I say, there needed no change in that Order, in discussing of any thing that was intrusted to the Commission; for this was not within the compass [...] of their power and trust, but diametrally opposite to the same; and therefore the Commission having so far exceeded their bounds, as to meddle with Constitutions of the Assembly, by prelimiting of the Elections; this did unavoid­ably necessitate the cognition and consideration of that part of th [...] Commissions proceeding, so far as it did relate to the Con­stitution of the Assembly, though not formally, as it did concern their carriage. I know not to what purpose the Author al­leadges, that that order was on a debate w [...]th the Parliament it self in the year 1648. established by a former Act, as the Prote­sters themselves well understood; would he by this insinuate, [Page 72] that there was a debate betwixt the Parliament and the Assem­bly, concerning the Commissions pre-limiting of Elections, and that the Parl. desired this to be considered of before the Assem­blies constituting themselves into a Judicatory, and that the As­sembly did refuse it, and afterwards established the Act which he speaks of? O [...] that the Parliament did desire the Commissi­oners of the former Assembly should be removed from sitting as Members in the Assembly 1648. untill the Exceptions pro­pounded against them, by them should be taken in considerati­on and discussed? If he mean any of these, he is much mista­ken, because there was no such debate betwixt the Parliament and the Assembly, nor betwixt the Assembly and any persons whatsoever in the year 1648. as we shall afterwards convin­cingly clear: And he is no lesse mistaken when he sayeth, that it was acknowledged by the Protesters, and that upon this they offered to the Assembly at St. Andrews, before the choosing of a Moderator, a Paper pressing the chan­ging and reforming the order of proceeding in the Generall Assembly, which before had always been in use. The Prote­sters might haply acknowledge an Act of the Assembly concer­ning the trying, and allowing and dis-allowing the proceed­ings of the Commission before the handling of any other Cause or matter. If there was any question about that Act, it could not but be readily acknowledged by the Protesters, having been so lately revived in the Assem. 1648. but that there was any such acknowledgment as the Author insinuates, is alleadged without all ground; as also that which he sayeth of their offe­ring a Paper for changing of their former order; They did ne­ver offer any such Paper, nor did they ever pen or draw up any such Paper; and the Author doth wrong them not a little, and himself more, when he doth affirm it: They did indeed offer a Paper to the Assembly, before the choosing of the Moderator, but there was not one title therein concerning the changeing and Reforming of the order of proceeding formerly used by the Assembly; but upon knowledge and conscience of the main weight that lay against that Meeting, why they could not be a lawfull, free Generall Assembly; the Protesters did offer a Paper unto them for choosing of the Moderator, con­taining [Page 73] a humble desire, and some reasons to perswade them to adjourn their Meeting, and to forbear to constitute themselves in an Assembly; the Paper is yet extant under the hands of all the Protesters, and may be seen by any who please. If the Meeting at that time had been pleased to read and hear­ken to the desire of that Paper, many things that have followed since, might have been prevented; but many, whether from a fear of missing a ratification of the Publick Resolutions, or up­on any other ground, themselves best know, did shew themselvs so zealous against the very offer of it, that the Meeting would not so much as read or hear it; and therefore whilst the Au­thor thought to have reached a great blow to the Protesters, in fastening upon them the pressing of the changing & reforming the order which themselves not long ago (as he alleadges) had been the main maintainers and procurers of, to get it establish­ed before, when it made for them, he hath quite missed them, and wounded himself by alleadging things that are not true.

VINDICATION.

BƲt come we to the Argument as it lieth in its full form and strength in the later Paper. Passing the first Propo­sition thereof, let us come to the tryall of the second, or the As­sumption. That the election of Commissioners to the Assembly was prejudged and prelimited in the due freedom thereof: That this alleadgeance might be verified, it was necessary to have made clearly out; First, That the Commissioners Act and Letter exclude and discharge many Ministers to be chosen. Secondly, That the Presbytery in the Election, were possibly pre­limited by the Letter of the Commission, i. e. admitted the pre­limitation of the Commissioners, and did not use their own free­dom in electing, but meerly followed the direction of the Commis­sion; let the Commission be never so guilty, and their brethren never so unduely prelimited, yet if the Presbyteries who are the only Electors used their own freedom, their election is free and valid, and nothing can be forced against the Assembly as unfree and unlegall in the constitution of it, because of any such Act or Letter of the Commissions, as solicitation active of Judges and [Page 74] Members of any Judicatory, proves not a Judicatory corrupt, unlesse it can be evidenced, that they have excepted and yeelded unto the solicitation. Now, doth this Paper prove either of these as it undertakes, and would bear the Reader in hand, when it sayeth, The second Proposition is proven, &c. good and inge­nuous Reader; consider if it do so. And first for the latter of these particulars what sayeth it? The second is proven by the Presbyte­ries proceeding according to the Letter and Act of the Commis­sion sent unto them about the time of choosing the Commissioners appointing that such, &c. Answer. Did the Writer of this Paper at the emitting of it, think, that it should ever come under the consideration of decerning and impartiall judgements, that would try ere they trust; or rather hath he purposed that it should come to none b [...]t such as were pre engaged, or pre-inclined to take any thing off his hand for good coyn, proof good enough? For here as to that part of the Assumption on the which we are for the present, there is nothing but a naked petitio Principii, a naked affirming of the same which was alleadged before in the first [...]etting down of the Assumption; for what is it else that is said, Presbyteries proceeding according to the Letter and Act of the Commission about the time &c. but the same that was al­leadged there, that Presbyteries at the order and appointment of a Supream Judicatory passed by. &c. and therefore whatever the writer say afterward in the pretended proof of that Assum­ption, concerning things included in the Commissions Act and Letter, to shew that they intended prelimitation of the election of Commissioners, let all be never so true. It is but words he gives his Reader in the close of that Section, saying these things do clearly prove that there was such a prelimitation of Election as is formerly spoken of; For, let these things be never so clear spoken of the Commissions Act and Letter, yet for ought that he said as yet, it is not clear, that Presbyteries proceeded accor­ding to these, or were positively prelimited by them, that they did not use their own liberty in election, and so the second Propositi­on is not yet proved.

REVIEW.

SEing he is pleased to passe the first Proposition of the Argu­ment, as it lyeth in the second Paper. I shall also passe it, conceiving that he takes it for a truth, as indeed it is. To the Assumption he sayeth many things, which I shall take in order as they lye. Let it be yeelded to him, that for verification of the alleadgeance contained therein, that these two things which he mentions are to be made out, viz. that the Letter and Act of the Commission did exclude and discharge many Ministers to be chosen, and that the Presbyteries did admit of that prelimi­tation, or were passively prelimited by that Letter and Act, yet with these animadversions upon that which he speaks in the explication of his passive prelimitation: First, that he con­fines his passive prelimitation within too narrow a bounds, and he will not have it extended to the Presbyteries, unlesse they did meerly follow the Election of the Commission in that matter that is as I take his meaning, go quite contrary to their own inclination and judgment, so as they were but meer pati­ents in that business, (upon which accompt a wrangler might haply deny that there is any prelimitation at all of Elections: for if men be suffered to make any election, or so patients in it, that if they had been left to themselves, they would have taken another course: But what if they had some inclinations that way, yet were not herein fully determined, but were hovering and suspending the ultimate determination of their judgment, untill they should hear the matter debated in their Presbyte­ries, or advise and confer with others of their Brethren abroad, and then the Letter and Act of the Commission comes unto them, and by the authority hereof, determines that judgment, and shuts out all that thereafter could be said by any to the contrary. Was there not a passive prelimitation here, though such persons did not meerly follow the direction of the Com­mission, but also in some part their own inclination, which I think indeed was the case of many of the Presbyteries. Next, when he sayeth, that if the Presbyteries who are the onely E­lectors used their own freedome, their Election is free and va­lide. [Page 76] If he meaned as to any prelimitation from without, it is true; but if he meaned simply, and in all cases wherein they use their own freedome, I deny that the Election is alwayes free and val [...]de: If the Presbyteries had freely and by mutuall agreement amongst themselves, or two or three Presbyteries▪ or one Presbytery for the plurality of it, have agreed to ex­clude all these from voycing in the Elections, or from being e­lected, who were for, or those who were against the Publick Resolutions, would these Elections have been free and valid? May not Presbyteries themselves unwarrantably [...]n [...] rench up­on the freedome of their own Election is, as well as it may be done by others from without. Th [...]rdly, I desire that to be ta­ken notice of, which he sayeth, for illustrating the bu [...]inesse, that solicitation active of Judges and Members of a [...]y Judica­tory, proves not a Judicatory corrupt, unlesse it can [...]e eviden­ced that they have accepted and yeelded to the solicitation. Well then, if their acceptance and y [...]elding can be evidenced, it proves them corrupt by the Authors own grant. Whether the Paper proves either of these as it under-takes, we shall see anon. For verifying the last of these, the Paper sayeth, That it is proven by the Presbyteries proceeding, according to the Act and Letters of the Commission sent to them, about the time of choosing the Commissioners, appointing that such, &c. Over this probation, the Author makes a great deal of busi­nesse upon the Writer. To all which, I say, that he was not so simple as to entertain himself with such thoughts and purposes as the Author speake of; he did wel enough know that what he said in this matter, would come under the considerati­on of decerning, and both impartial and partia [...] judgments, and did expect contradiction either from the Author, or some other of his mind, and therefore these things need not; but it is no pro­bation but petitio principii, saith he, a naked affirming of the same which was alleadged before, under favour it is not so; It is not the same thing to say that Presbyteries at the order and ap­pointment of Judicatories passed by, &c. and to say that Presby­teries proceeded according the Letter and Act of the Commis­sion; the second specifies what Supream Judicatory it was, not the absolutly or firstly Supream in this Church; to wit, the As­sembly [Page 77] but the Supream, by delegation in things committed to them; to wit, the Commission, and it speaks also what order and appointment it was, condescending upon it in particular, that it was a Letter and Act for this purpose, so that the last brings clearer light and evidence in both these particulars then the first, and therefore it is not petitio principii, or a naked af­firming of the same thing, though it be not so full a proof of the whole matter, which the writer thought not so needfull all at once, because he was to speake of it afterwards in answer to the objections which were brought in of purpose, that the whole busines might be cleared and confirmed; but let all be never so true which [...]s said afterwards for pro [...]f of the assumption, the Au­thor wi [...] have nothing to be said or given to the Reader here but words. If it be true which is said afterwards (as I hope it shal after tryall be found) it is no great matter though he be suffer­ed to enjoy his opinion in this.

VINDICATION.

I Affirm and make good that Presbyteries were not positive­ly pre-limited, but did choose freely: 1. A great part of the Presbyteries, I may say without overreaching, four parts for five at that time had no opposite to the Publick Resolutions amongst them, and so were not capable by pre-limitation to exclude whom they had not. 2. Of these Presbyteries who had any opposite to the Resolutions, the far most part did choose such, and no other for the Commissioners, some choosed such, and otherwise minded indifferently (as will appear by the Rolls of the Assembly, and the consideration of the mindes of Presbyteries at that time, and these very few who did pass them by, in their Election, we rea­dily avow, they did it meerly of their own accord, following the freedom of their own minde, without all pre-limitation by any from without, the contrary is not proven, and we can instruct the affirmitive of some who did pass by such ere that Act or Let­ter came to them, or were made known to them.

REVIEW.

LEt us examine these things upon which the Author is bold to affirm, and promises to make good, that Presbyteries [Page 78] were not passively prelimited, but did choice freely: The first is, that a great part of the Presbyteries four parts of five at that time had no opposite to the Publick Resolutions amongst them, and so were not capable by prelimitation to exclude whom they had not; what though it were true that as many Presbyteries as he speaks of had no opposit at that time to the Publick Resoluti­ons, yet what if all, or some of these Presbyteries had in them some few or many, who were as yet indifferent, and not de­termined in the businesse; but were afterwards overswayed with the Authority of the Commissioners Letter and Act; was there not a prelimitation upon them in their voicing in the e­lection of Commissioners, because overswayed by the Letter and Act of the Commission to chose these who did approve of the Publick Resolutions, which before the influence that that Letter and Act had upon them, they were not determined in, but might haply have been determined in the contrary, up­on supposal that many were indifferent at that time in the mat­ter of the Publick Resolutions, as indeed not a few were if we may judge by their carriage, because they had not declared their judgements for or against them; who knowes but they might before the elections, have been determined against them? If by the Letter and Act of the Commission that gave evidence of processing such, they had not been prelimited in their choice, and so there should have been some opposite to the Publick Re­solutions in these Presbyteries, had it not been for that prelimi­tation. 2. I think he will not deny, but some Presbyteries had in them opposites to Publick Resolutions; Let us take (as it would seem he would grant it) a fifth part, there might be a prelimitation upon these, and to prelimite the elections in every fifth Presbytery of the Church of Scotland, is certainly a great blow to the freedome of the Assembly. But 3. I affirm and make good, that it is not true that four parts of five of the Pres­byteries at that time had in them no opposite to Publick Reso­lutions; yea, on the contrary, that the one half of the Presby­teries in Scotland and above, had in them at that time some opposites to Publick Resolutions. When I did read the confident Preface of the Author to this assertion of his, in which he saith he doth not overreach; and the assertion it self I did suspect, lest I [Page 79] had mistaken the meaning, and therefore read again and again but the words being plain, I did apprehend, that they might be w [...]ong transcribed, and therefore I sought for another Copy, in which I found it also so written, that it may appear to him and others, how grosse an overreaching there is in that assertion. I desire that it may be considered, that there be in Scotland of standing Presbyteries 65. or thereabouts, four parts of which makes 52. none of which 52. by his assertion, had at that time any oppo­site to the Publick Resolutions, and 13. onely do remain, who can be supposed to have had any such in them, but there were at that time nigh 40. Presbyteries, who to my knowledge had in them some opposites to the Publick Resolutions, and moe, I doubt not to the knowledge of some other men, at least some other Presbyteries which are not here named; the truth whereof w [...]ll appear by the following Table, in which are set down both the names of these Presbyteries, and names of some one or other in them, who were at that time opposits to the bublick Re­solutions.

  • Stranrauer, M. Alex. Turnbull.
  • K [...]lcudor. Mr. Samuel Row.
  • Wigtoun, Mr. Robert Richison.
  • Air, Mr. Thomas Wylie.
  • I [...]wine, Mr. Math. Mowet.
  • Dumbert. Mr. Hen. Semple.
  • Pasl [...]y, Mr. Alex. Dunlop.
  • Glasgow, Mr. Patr. Gillespie.
  • Hammilton, Mr. Ja. Nesmith.
  • Lenrick, M [...]. Wil. Simervail.
  • Dumfreice, Mr. Hen. Hen­derson.
  • Penpont, Mr. Sam. Austine.
  • Loch-maben, Mr. Thomas Henderson.
  • Midebey, Mr. David Lang.
  • Jedburgh, Mr. Jo. Livingston.
  • Turreffe, Mr. Arthur Mitchel.
  • Gerioch, Mr. George Tellifer.
  • Kelso, Mr. John Simervail.
  • Aifiltoun, Mr. John Veatch.
  • Jernsyde, Mr. Thomas Ram­say.
  • Edinburgh, Mr. Robert Trail.
  • Lithgow, Mr. Ephraim Mel­vill.
  • Bigger, Mr. Alex. Livingston.
  • Da [...]keith, M. John Sinclare.
  • Sterline, Mr. James Guthrie.
  • Auchterardor, Mr. Geo. Mur­ray.
  • Perch, Mr. Alex. Rollock.
  • Dunke [...]l, Mr. John Hart.
  • Dumf [...]r [...]ne, Mr. Wil. Oliphant.
  • Kirkaldie, M. Alex. Mount­crief.
  • Couper, M. John Maggill.
  • St. Andrews, Mr. Sa. Ruther­ford.
  • Fo [...]farre, Mr. David Lind­say. &c.
  • Arbroth, Mr. Alex. Reynolds.
  • [Page 80]Aberdeen, Mr. Andr. Cant.
  • K [...]ncardine, Mr. Alex. Cant.
  • Dear, Mr. Robert Keith.
  • Elegine, Mr. Joseph Brodie.
  • In [...]rarey, Mr. Alex. Gordoun.
  • Dundee, Mr. Andr. Oliphant.

THere be some of these Presbyteries, the whole members whereof were at that time opposite to the Publick Resolu­tions, and others of them, the plurality whereof were oppo­site to these Resolutions, and others of them, who had in them sundry opposites, both Ministers and Ruling Elders; but we have named one Minister onely in every Presbytery, because this was enough to make such an assertion ashamed, and to hide it self that it might never again be heard abroad. It may be the Author will question whether all these were opposite at that time to the Publick Resolutions: But I believe the truth of this, concerning as many of them as will make him after sup­pu [...]ation see that he did far over-reach, when he said that four parts of five had at that time no opposite to the Publick Resolu­tions, is sufficiently known to himself by their testimony sent to the Commission, or their Letters written to particular mem­bers thereof, or occasionall Conference with themselves or their Sermons, or constant and uncontrolled report of their judge­ment and carriages; Let it be true but of 20. of them, it doth abundantly confute his assertion; but if he or any other doubt of what is said, it shall be no difficill matter to get it attested un­der their own hands, and the hands of others, that they were at that time not only dis-satisfied in their judgements with the Publick Resolutions, but also did bear testimony against them. The Coppie which I have in this place wants some words, and hath something wrong written, of which I cannot well make sense, but these words which I have cited are plainly set down in it. The 2. thing that he brings that Presbyteries were not positively pre-limited, is, that of these Presbyteries who had opposites to the Publick Resolutions, the far most part did choose such, and that few did passe by them in the elections, But this overshuts as far as the other, as will appear by view­ing the number of Presbyteries, in wich there were some oppo­sites to the Publick Resolutions; and considering how many of these were, in which there were any chosen who were against these Resolutions, which I believe shall not be found above 20. [Page 81] or very little more, if they come to that number; but let us sup­pose them to be more, they are not the far most part of the Presbyteries who [...]ad in them opposites to the Publick Resolu­tions, and these who remain will not be few of that number. The Author doth readily avow, that where Presbyteries did pass by such they did it meerly of their own accord, follow­ing the freedome of their own minde, without all pre-limita­tion from without; if he had so readily avowed it, he should have brought good proof of it, that men might have been per­swaded that he did avowe a truth; his proof is, that the contrary is not proven: Though it were so, that it is not good proof of what he avows. Next he saith, that he can in­struct the affirmitive of some who did passe by such ere that Act and Letter came unto them, but how many they are he tels us not, lest the paucity of them being known, should make little to the purpose, very few elections in Scotland were past, before that Letter and Act came unto them, it being issued be­fore the ordinary time of election, and great diligence and care being used in the dispatch thereof, so that came to the hands of the most remote Presbyteries, who lay under the feet of the Enemy, such as these of Merse, Tividale, Dumfriece and Gallo­way before their elections, that in some few places the electi­ons was made before it came, is far from proving what he doth readily avow, as the comming of an swallow is far from pro­ving the spring in some places, some were acquainted that there was such a purpose and design, before it was jud [...]c [...]ally con­cluded or emitted; and therefore some Ministers of the Presby­tery of Glasgow, before the issuing of that Resolution, did op­pose the election of Commissioners at one diet, and presse a de­lay till another diet, upon this reason among others, that there were some directions to come from the Commission of the Generall Assembly, concerning their Proceedings in the electi­on of their Commissioners, & that it was fit that they should not proceed till they got these directions, which though it was not put among the written reasons of their Protestation, yet can be testified by many living witnesses who were present. God wil­ling before this debate close, it shall be made to appear, that notwithstanding of all these evasions, the Letter and Act of the [Page 82] Commission did in many places pre-limite the Elections, by excluding those who were for ability and faithfulnesse in a ca­pacity to be chosen, and if it was (as the Author saith) that a great part of the Presbyteries, four parts of five had at that time no opposite to the Publick Resolutions, and that this was known to the Commission; to me it is a wonder, and I believe will be so also to others, that the Commission should have been so imprudent, as to give so great an advantage against them­selves, and so much matter of gainsaying to the opposites of Publick Resolutions, and have laid so great a stumbling in the way of many who had already stumbled at their Proceedings, which were now to fall under the examination and judgement of the Generall Assembly.

VINDICATION.

AGainst the second somewhat may seem to be said in the writers reply to the third objection he formes, against this objection of the Assemblies nullity; where, in the objection among other particulars alleadged; it is said in the third, that the Letter and Act had little or no influence in Presbyteries in the choose of Commissioners, to which is replyed by the Writer, that is spoken against the truth, for proof whereof he gives instances. 1. All the Ministers who oppose the Publick Resolutions are known to be faithfull and honest, most of them such as had wont these years past, because of their integrity and ability to be cho­sen Commissioners, but few of them were chosen this year to the Assembly, and if any such were chosen it was where the whole Presbyteries was unanimous against the Reso­lutions, or if the Presbytery was divided in their judg­ments, then were there for the most part either two elections, or dissents, or Protestations against the election of such as were un­satisfied with the Publick Resolutions or else both, as in the elections at Sterline and Glasgow, of all which no reason can be given, except the Act and Letter of the Commission. To the matter of this instance, we say these things: 1. It is too wide a word, All the Ministers who oppose the Publick Resolutions are known to be, &c. And how ever, many of them will not be questioned to be such; yet we must say some, even of these were not so faithfull as they should have been this last year by past, in [Page 83] the particular of defence of Countrey and Covenant in all the sworn Articles thereof; This the Nation feels to day, and the posterity when this generation is dead and rotten, will give im­partiall judgement of it. 2. Be it so, that some were wont to be chosen Commissioners were not now chosen, yet this is for little purpose to the point, that the election was carried by in­fluence of the Commissions Letter, that these same men have wont to be often chosen without intermission to be Commissi­oners, the whole Kirk was growing sensible of this thing as dangerous, whereby the whole power of Publick Government was nigh by become settled in the persons of some particular men, and these but a few as constant Commissioners of the Kirk. If ever the Lord shall be pleased to grant again to this Kirk the Liberty of a generall Assembly, it were necessary that Pres­byteries be pre-limited indeed, that they make not such an use and wont. 3. That few opposites were chosen; it is no wonder because they were but few in comparison of the rest of the Mi­nistery of Scotland. 4. Even where neither whole societies were unanimous against the Resolutions, nor yet the plurality were opposers, yet some unsatisfied were chosen Commissioners with­out a certain election, and without Protestation (dissenting in the enumeration is idlely reckoned up) as is evident from the Commissioners, both of the Presbytery and university of Aberdeen. There was indeed a Protestation against the opposing Brother, but it was taken up and passed from and the election unanimously approven afterwards in the Presbytery, so there is something against the truth clearly. 5. The writer makes enumeration of elections of Presbyteries divided in judg­ment, some doubted, some dissented from, or Protested against, some both wayes, but gives no particular instances of all these sorts but onely of two, these of Glasgow, and Sterline; and I suspect he can give us no more or very few. But sixthly to the main drift of this instance expressed in the last words thereof, of all which no reason can be given, except the Act and Letter of the Commission: We answer, this is a very poor way of proving, that the Letter and Act of the Commis­sion had much influence upon the election of Commissioners, a­gainst a man denying it, to say no other reason can be given [Page 84] of these elected, and these not elected, and this or that done a­gainst the election of some opposers of the Publick Resolutions, at the Letter and Act of the Commission; What is this but to begge the question, and when you have affirmed a thing, and taken upon you to prove it, to do no more for the proof of it, but to say the Adversary cannot prove the negative, whereas affir­manti incumbit probatio, and yet we say another reason may be given of these things then what the writer alleadgeth, see page 19.

REVIEW.

BEcause something seems to the Author to be said again what is now alleadged in the Writer his Reply to the third Objection that he forms against his own Argument. The Author takes these things in consideration, and gives some An­swers unto them, but let us see what they are. First, he thinks it too wide a word to say, That all the Ministers who did op­pose the Publick Resolutions, are known to be faithfull and honest, and he gives an instance in the carriage of some of them that seems to weaken this testimony, his instance is, that some of these were not so faithfull as they should have been this last year past in the particular of the Defence of the Countrey and Covenant: but what is this but a branch of the thing that is in Controversie? These Ministers are perswaded in their Consci­ences before the Lord upon good reason, that it would have been in them great unfaithfulnesse to have allowed of that way of the Defence of the Countrey and Covenant holden forth in the Publick Resolutions, and that besides all their provocations which are great and many, they would by this also have been accessory to what the Nation smarts under this day, as the righ­teous reward of such revolting from God; and therefore if ye have no more to instance but this, it doth not prove, but that they may all of them be still called faithfull and honest men. Secondly he sayeth, Be it so that some were wont to be chosen Commissioners, who were not now chosen, yet this is litle to the point, that Elections was carryed by influence of the Com­missions Letter and Act. But granting that Presbyteries did [Page 85] upon that Letter and Act, leave their wonted way these years past in th [...]ir Election, it is to the point in hand, because it is praesumptio juris, & de jure; that this change flowed from the influence that the Letter and Act had upon them, the Author seeing somewhat of this, intimates another cause that moved that change, to wit, that the whole Kirk was growing sensible of this thing, as dangerous, whereby the whole power of Pub­lick Government, was near become settled in the persons of some particular men, and these but a few, as constant Com­missioners, in which he thinks there will be need to pre-li­mite Presbyteries, that they make not an use of it. If the Lord shall be pleased again to grant the Liberty of an Assembly. But to say nothing, that this was the language which was wont to be spoken by dis-affected men these years past, especi­ally dis-affected Ministers, who fell under the censures of the Church, whose pretences and alleadgeances in this particular have strength added unto them by the Authors asserting the same thing: It is non causa pro causa, as will appear by these two things; First, there were a good many of these who were for the Publick Resolutions, who had wont to be Commissio­ners these years past, and who had a great, some of them a grea­ter swey in Government than the other, and yet most, if not all of these were chosen also the last year. Now, if that was the cause which the Author speaks of, why did it not bring forth the like effect in regard of both, seeing both were alike lyable to that exception. Next, if the whole Church was so grown in the sense of that evill, why did they not provide the remedy at the last Assembly, it being in their power so to have done, and the Commissioners (as the Authors assertion will import) having such an impression of the same upon their spirits? If the Author will speak his Conscience, I think he will not deny, but if these men whom he saith to have been excluded upon that ground, have been for the Publick Resolu­tions, even these amongst them whom that ground might have been conceived to reach most, would have been chosen and ad­m [...]tted Commissioners as well as others. If the whole Church was growing sensible of this thing, surely the Meeting at St. Andrews did litle regard or expresse it, when they choosed [Page 86] one to be their Moderator, who not onely had been Moderator of the former Commission, whose proceedings were then in question, and to be examined, but also in many preceding Com­missions and A [...]len bi [...]es, and who had been a chief A [...]tor all that while in all these things that concern Publick Govern­ment, which I speak not to bear any pa [...]ticular blame upon him, or upon his carriage, but to let see that either the whole Church was not growing sensible of this, as the Author insinu­ates, or else that h [...]r sense of it in her Representative, was let out, or holden in upon men, according to their judgment and carriage in the Publick Resolutions; and so was not the cause of the Presbyteries, not, choosing such as they were wont to choose. Thirdly, Tha [...] few opposers were chosen; he thinks it is no wonder, because they are but few in comparison of the rest of the Ministery of the Land. How few soever they were in comparison of th [...] rest of the Ministery in the Land, yet these of them who were formerly wont to be chosen Commission­ers, were not few in respect of the rest of the Commissioners, neither yet were they so few as the Author reckons them, when he sayeth, that four parts of five of the Presbyteries, had in them at that time no opposers to the Publick Resolutions; nay, they were and are still a very considerable number; and whensoever an exact calculation shall be made by a particular list of the whole Ministery in the Land, and of these who were against the Publick Resolutions at the time of the Elections, and of the whole Commissioners of the Assembly at S. Andrews and Dun­dee, I believe it shall be found, that the number of Commissio­ners who were chosen from among these who were against the Publick Resolutions, wa [...] no way in proportion answerable to the number of the other: That some unsatisfied, were chosen without another Election, and without Protestation, even when neither whole Societies were unanimous against the Resolutions, not yet the plurality were opposers, he doth affirm it, but doth not prove it: for the instances which he gives of the Commissioners, both of the Presbyte [...]y and University of Aberdeen prove nothing lesse: For the University, the Letter and Act came not to it, at least, were not read in it, and the plu­rality there were opposers of the Publick Resolutions: And [Page 87] for the Presbytery, by his own grant, there was a Protestation against the opposing Brother who was chosen, which was ta­ken up again with much difficulty, and by earnest dealing of some of the Brethren, opposite to the Publick Resolutions, whose desire was condescended unto, with condition, that their should be a third Commissioner, it being in the mean while suggested in private, that he who had first appeared in the Protestation against the opposers, might be the man, which I relate not upon hear-say, but upon the subscribed testimony of these who were witnesses to the matter of fact. So I hope, that nothing against the truth hath been asserted by the Wri­ter in this part of his Answer. The Author sayeth in a Paren­thesis, that dissenting in the enumeration, is idlely reckoned up. Why he should say so, I do not conjecture, unlesse that it be he thinks dissenting and protesting the same thing which they are not, as appears clearly from an Act of the Assembly 1644. concerning dissent and Protestations in Presbyteries. He seems unsatisfied with the Writer, that whilst he makes enumeration of elections of Presbyteries divided in judgment, some doubted, some dissented from, or protested against, some both wayes, that he gives no particular instances of all these sorts, but only two, and he tells his Reader, that he suspects he can give no more, or very few. But he is suspicious without cause, moe can be given and are given by the Writer in that very Paper that the Au­thor is replying to, and moe then all these can yet be given if need be: And though they were but few, this is no great wonder, because there was but few Presbyteries did choose any opposite to the Publick Resolutions, or according to the Author, could choose any such, because they had none such amongst them. Whereas he sayeth, that it is a poor way of proving the Act and Letter of the Commission to have had much influence upon the Election of Commissioners, to say, that of all this, no other reason can be given, because it is no more; but when you have affirmed a thing, to say, that the Adversary cannot prove the negative, whereas affirme [...]ti in­cumbit probatio. If the way of proving be poor, yet [...]s can­dide and ingenuous, by putting an advantage in the hand of gain-sayers, if they can give another reason, which the Author [Page 88] sayes may be given, and shall be considered in this place; But Jurists will tell him, that illi non nobis incumbit probatio, be­cause we have praesumptionem Juris, & de Jure quae nos rele­vat ab onere probandi, & probationem devolvit in adversa­rium.

VINDICATION.

AS for the elections mentioned here a word of them, and then we passe on to the next instance; for that of Sterline it is known that the first Protestation there, was not against the election of opposers of the Resolutions, but against no opposers when at the Di [...]t of the Presbytery appointed for election of Commissioners to the Assembly, the matter was put to voice, and Commissioners chosen by plurality of votes, some of the Brethren of that Presbytery, the fewer part in number dis­sented, and the election held a new Meeting by themselves without the present Moderator and Clerk, and made a new election of the opposers of the Resolutions to be Commissioners, was there not reason enough to Protest against that election (if it was Protested against) beside the Act and Letter of the Commission. As for that of Glasgow be it so, that the Let­ter and Act was a reason that moved some Brethren of that Presbytery to Protest against the first election, being opposers of the Resolutions, yet it was not the reason that moved them to Protest; they had sundry other weighty motives besides that as is known; yea, it was evident, that it had the least in­fluence in that matter of any; for in the election that these same Brethren made afterward, they choosed one of these same oppo­sers to be a Commissioner, notwithstanding of the Act and Let­ter of the Commission; and I verily think, that there was none that at that time in Elections passed by any opposers or dissen­ters from the Election of any of them; but they would have pas­sed by these same, and dissented from these same, thogh there had not at all such a Letter and Act come from the Commission, they conceived in it self a duty at that time, and they looked upon the Act and Letter but as a warning, the more to make them mindfull of their duty.

REVIEW.

THe Author doth much mis-represent the instance of Ster­line in severall important circumstances: First, he sayeth, that the Commissioners in the first Election were chosen by plurality of votes; There were that day but thirteen Members of the whole Ministers and Ruling Elders present in the Pres­bytery, and but six of these voted to the choice of these Com­missioners, and six are not the plurality of thirteen. Secondly, in that he sayeth, That the fewer part in number, discontent at the Election, held a new Meeting by themselves, without the present Moderator and C [...]e [...]k. There was no Election at all for which they could be discontented; neither were they the fewer part in number, neither did they meet by themselves without the present Moderator and Clerk, but the whole Pres­bytery met at the ordinary diet, with the present Moderator and Clerk, though a long time after the Meeting, the Clerk fal­ling sick, did with-draw; and whilst the Moderator was present, it was found very clear in the minutes of the Presbytery, that there had been no Election at the former diet, and the Presby­tery did by plurality of voices, the Moderator and all the friends of the Publick Resolutions of their number being present, con­cluds, that they should then proceed to the election of Com­missioners, in which votes four only of the whole number did voice in the Negative; after which, the Moderator and these of his mind, removed upon a discontent; after whose going, the Presbytery did proceed to the election of Commissioners. These things as to the truth of them, needs not to be questio­ned, because they are agreeable to the Registers of the Presby­tery, which are patent to any who desires to be informed there­of. A [...]f [...]r that of Glasgow, the Author yeelds, that the Act was a reason that moved some Brethren in that Presbytery to protest against the first Election, but sayes, that it is not the only reason that moved them, they had sundry other weighty motives besides. If it was a reason, then certainly it had influence upon their judgments, against the chusing of such as were opposers of [Page 80] the Publick Resolutions, and so here was a pre-limitation by the Act and Letter of the Commission. That they choosed one of these opposers to be a Commissioner, notwithstanding of the Act and Letter: That doth not make it evident, that the Act and Letter had the least influence on them in excluding of others; there might be, and there was another reason of their so doing. As to that person that made them dispense with the Letter and Act of the Commission: He was precious and dear to the godly who knew him in all parts of the Land for his tendernesse and piety, and was but lately loosed from the bonds of his captivity, and if they had rejected him, it would have been a great imputation upon them, to say nothing that their designe had been more open and manifest: yet the Au­thor cannot but remember, that notwithstanding he was cho­sen both by them, and also in the first election, yet was it refu­sed to let him sit in the Assemblie, till that reason sh [...]uld be first discussed, though it was propounded and urged by a very Honourable Person, a Member of the Assembly; I cannot subscribe to that which the Author thinks, that there was none at that time, who in Elections passed by any opposers, or dissen­ted from the Elections of any of them; but they would have passed by these same, and dissented from these same, though there had not at all such an Act and Letter come from the Commission. If there were no more to prove, that such a thought is not well bottomed, but this one thing, that some in the Presbytery of Dunkel, dissented from the election of these who were opposite to the Publick Resolutions, meerly and on­ly upon the Letter and Act of the Commission, as may be seen in rhe reasons of their dissent given unto the Synod, it is enough to do it.

VINDICATION.

THe first Instance to prove the great influence that the Let­ter and Act had upon elections, the Presbytery of Dunkel having chosen then Commissioner one of that number who was a Member of the Commission; having protested against the E­lection, because such as were chosen were unsatisfied with the [Page 81] Commissions proceedings. The Synod of Pearth meeting a little after, and receiving the Act and Letter of the Commission, did thereupon sustain the dissent and Protestation of that man in their number, and did appoint the Presbytery of Dunkel to choose the Commissioners new again. Ans. This is the onely In­stance alleadged with some colour to evidence some influence of the Commissions Letter and Act; but yet when it is discussed, there will be litle to the purpose found in it; but let it be so, that the Synod sustained the Protestation on that ground, and appoin­ted a new Election: yet it is known that the Presbytery in the second Election, still did choose Brethren dis-satisfied with the Resolutions, and as I believe these same whom they had chosen before, who were admitted in the Assembly without any questi­on, and reasoned and voted therein according to their minde, without any restraint or hindrance; so that if there was any fault here, it might be well in the Synods Act, but not in the Presby­tery, which was the onely Act about this businesse, capable of, & chargeable with the fault of pre-limitation but this was done with freedom. This much to the one part of the Assumption, wher­by it may appear, that whatever prelimitations were, or might be in the Commissions Act or Letter: yet the Elections were free, because Presbyteries therein were not passively pre-limited, but choosed freely according to their own minde. Were there no more to be said, this much may make the Protesters bethink themselves better in their second thoughts of their rash adventu­ring upon so high an Act as a Protestation and Declinature of a Generall Assembly, as unfree and unlawful, and may make others advise better ere they adjoyn themselves to it by approbation.

REVIEW.

ALbeit this Instance seem to the Author to be alleadged with some colour to evidence some influence of the Com­missions Letter and Act; yet he thinks when it is discussed, there will be found litle to the purpose in it, and his reason is, because it is known that the Presbytery at the second Election still did choose Brethren dis-satisfied with the Resolutions, and [Page 82] as he believes these same whom they had chosen before, &c. But notwithstanding of all the Author says, there is very much to the purpose in it. First, there is this in it to the purpose, that the judgments and voices of some of the Members of the Presbytery, viz. of these who did dissent from the first election were pre-limited by the Letter and Act of the Commission, they giving these onely for the reason of their dissent. Secondly, there is this in it to the purpose, that the judgment of the whole Synod, which doth include five Presbyteries (except a few who did dissent from, and Protest against the Synod, sustai­ning the dissent of these in Dunkel from the Election upon that ground) was by the same Letter and Act pre-limited to the declaring of that Election void and null, meerly upon this reason, that they had proc [...]eded contrary to the Letter and Act of the Commission. Thirdly, there is this to the purpose in it, that the whole Presbyterie was so pre-limited by an Act of the Synod, founded on the other Act and Letter, as to be neces­sitate to passe from the first Election which was lawfully made, and against which no exception was made, but the Letter and Act; and to make a new Election, that they did again choose persons opposite to the Publick Resolutions, was from the over­bearing Conscience of their duty. That they were admitted in the Assembly without any question, is not true; their admit­tence was questioned by a Member of the Commission, then a Member of the Assembly, a man zealous for the Publick Reso­lutions; and the Moderator perceiving that others opposite to the Publick Resolutions were like to take advantage by it, he did handsomely wave it. Now, these things being examined which the Author sayeth to the first part of the Assumption, I leave it to be judged whether he had cause to say, that what­ever pre-limitations were in the Commissions Act and Letter, yet the Elections were free, because Presbyteries therein were not passively pre-limited but chosen freely according to their own minde; and whether he had cause to draw so strong in­sulting lines as he subjoyns thereto. If there be no more to say then he hath yet said, I professe ingenuously, I see no cause why the Protesters should bethink themselves better in their second thoughts of their adventuring on such a high Act, as to pro­test [Page 83] against, and decline from that Meeting at St. Andrews, and Dundee as not being a lawfull free Generall Assembly, or why others should have advised better, ere they had joyned them­selves to [...] by approbation; it seems a little beyond the bounds of modesty for men to drive and vent such conclusions upon their own reasonings, though haply they might bear them; It being fit to leave these things to the judicious and unbyassed Readers, to give judgement as they find cause.

VINDICATION.

IT is true that for proof of the unlawfulness of these pretended Assemblies, condemned by the Assembly at Glasgow 38. amongst other reasons the want of freedome in the matter of election of Commissioners is alleadged as a main and principal one, but there the matter was not meerly alledged, but clearly evidenced, that the Commissioners sent to these Meetings were not indeed elected by Presbyteries, but nominated by the Kings Letters, See Session 12. Reas. against the pretended Assembly, at Lithgow 1606. and at Glasgow 1610.

REVIEW.

THe Author for taking off of this prejudice, and reason which stood in the way of the Assembly at Glasgow 38. who prove the unlawfulnesse of these pretended Assemblies by the want of freedome in the matter of election of Commissi­oners saith, that their matter was not meerly alleadged, but clearly evidenced that the Commissioners sent to these Meet­ings were not indeed elected by Presbyteries, but nominate by the Kings Letters, if he mean that they were not freely elected by Presbyteries proceeding meerly ex proprio motu; It is true because the King and the Bishops Letters had influence upon them to pre-limite their elections, but if he mean that they were not all elected by Presbyteries, nor had any Commissi­on from them, but came meerly upon the Kings Letters, it is not true; because albeit the reason against the pretended As­sembly at Lithgow 1606. seems to favour this, yet that against [Page 84] the pretended Assembly at Glasgow 1610. intimateteth that they were chosen and had Commissions, because it saith First, that the elections were not free; an election then there was, but not a free election; if there had been no election, the Assem­bly 38. would, no question, have so expressed it, as importing a reason of nullity more clear and strong. Next, that the Bishop of St. Andrews required them to send such Commissioners as the King had nominate, assuring them that no other would be accepted; If the Presbyteries did send them as their Commis­sioners, then some sort of election there behoved to be, as indeed there was, both to that Assembly at Lithgow 1606. and that of Glasgow 1610. For clearing of which, it would be re­membred, that there is an election materiall, when persons are instructed and authorized by us as our Commissioners, though we have not nominate and formally chosen them for that effect, and an election formal, when we do formally nomi­nate and choose, an election materiall there was at Lithgow, because those who were nominate by the Kings Letter, were instructed and authorized by the Presbyteries as their Commis­sioners; and therefore in the 4. reason for nullifying of that As­sembly, there is mention of the power which these Ministers had, and of the limitation thereof by their Presbyteries; but there was no formal nomination of these men by the Presbyteries, therefore it is said in the 2. reason, that they were not at all e­lected by their Presbyteries: but at Glasgow 1610. there was both a materiall and formall election, though not free but pre-limi­ted, because the King and the Bishops had designed the per­sons whom they would have them to send; and let it be con­sidered, whether upon the matter there be not the like and as realll a pre-limitation, by the Act and Letter of the Com­mission: In the year 1606. and 1610. the King and the Bishops nominate who shall come and design, whom the Presbytery shall send, without leaving them to choose such of their num­ber as they thought fit, and in the year 1651. the Commission designes who of their number they shall not send, to wit, none that were opposite to the Publick Resolutions (for this much their Act wherein they require them to be cited to the Assembly doth import, as afterwards shall be cleared) not [Page 85] leaving Presbyteries to their own freedome, choose such of their number as they thought fit, and is not the one of there a pre-limitation, and hinders a free choice as wel as the other? Doth not he pre-limite who saith that you shall not choose such men of your number, as well as he who saith you shall choose such men of your number; in the mean while it is to be observed, that the Assembly 38. hath no such distinction as that of active and passive solicitations, but infers the last Presumpti­on juris & de jure from and upon the first, and not without good reason, because none doubt of the influence of commands of Superiors, when the desire is granted, and the direction is followed by the inferior, especially when the effect is contrary to the former custome and practise when they were free: Be­cause the Author hath endeavoured to darken as much as he can the pre-limiting of the elections in Presbyteries, by the Letter and Act of the Commission, by his distinction of active and passive pre-limitation, therefore upon supposall that the Letter and Act of the Commission, did contain a pre-limita­tion of the elections, which shall be afterwards cleared; I rea­son thus: For proving that Presbyteries were passively pre-limited in their elections by that Letter and Act; who so in their elections accepts of, and yeelds obedience unto a Letter and Act containing a pre-limitation of their elections; are pas­sively pre-limited in their elections: But the Presbyteries did accept of, and yeeld obedience to such a Letter and Act, ergo, &c. The first Proposition is a clear truth, and agreeable to the Authors own words when he is explaining passive pre-limita­tion, active solicitation of Judges and members of a Judicatory saith he, proves not a Judicatory corrupt, unlesse it can be evi­denced, that they have accepted and yeelded unto the soli­citation. The second Proposition to wit, That the Presbyteries did accept of, and yeeld obedience unto that Letter and Act, because it was not onely received and read in the most part of Presbyteries before their elections, without any testimony given against it, but also appointed to be put upon record in their books in testimony of their approving thereof, and as the ground and order of their proceedings in the things contained therein, and obedience was given thereto in most places, by forbearing to choose any such as appears by the Rolls of the Commissioners, [Page 86] in same places ranversing former elections, and appointing new ones to be made up on that ground, as appears in the electi­ons of the Presbytery of Dunkell; in some places opposing the choosing of such as were opposite to the Publick Resolutions, and dissenting from, and Protesting against their being chosen, as in the Elections of Glasgow, in such places intimating to such as were choosing in their absence, that they might not ad­mit them unlesse they did declare themselves satisfied with the Publick Resolutions, as in the presbytery of Mearnes: for ve­rifying of which, I desire it to be taken notice of, that that Pres­bytery having chosen the Lord Arburthnet to be Ruling Elder to the Generall Assembly, they did afterwards writ unto him a Letter, and sent by some of their own number, in which Letter are contained these words: We have sent two of our number who will take your Lordships Declaration when you accept and give your oath to discharge your trust faithfully, whether your Lordship is satisfied with the Publick Resoluti­ons; but if you have any hesitation and scrouple therein (as we hope you have not) we must make choice of another, and in some places refusing upon that accompt to subscribe and ap­prove the Commission of these who were sent from Burghes, as in the Presbytery of Kirkaldie, who after the reading the said Act and Letter of the Commission, did refuse to subscribe the Commission given by the Burgh of Bruntiland to Magnus Aitoun. because he compeared not with the Commission himself to declare his minde anent the Publick Resolutions. These may be instances enough to prove their obedience; If it were needfull to take up time in so clear a businesse, we could bring sundry moe which we now delay, because they may be subjoyned to the end of this Paper; but to say no more of this purpose, the Synods and Presbyteries citing of such to the Ge­nerall Assembly as did oppose the Publick Resolutions by the order of the Letter and Act (which order for citation did by necessary consequence incapacitate them to be Commissioners) is an undenyable testimony that they accepted of, and yeelded obedience thereunto.

VINDICATION.

BƲt let us prove it further in the discovery of the nullity of the first reason, and for that purpose consider the other par­ticular thereof, which concerns the Commissions Act and Let­ter: As to the matter in Generall, the Protesters themselves nor any other judicious or sound Christian will say and think, that the election of Commissioners in Presbyteries ought to be of such a lax liberty as is bounded with no limitations at all; this was the loose way pleaded for by the Arminians at the Synod of Dort, and which would tend to the subversion of true Reli­gion; certain it is, that Presbyteries are so far limited in this that they must not choose any to be Commissioners to a General Assembly, that teaches Doctrine contrary to the word of God, and Constitution of the Kirk agreeable thereunto, and there­fore if a Commission of the Gen. Assembly, or any other Kirk Judicatory, according to their interest, perceiving Ministers throughout the Kirk teaching contrary to the truth, or practising to the prejudice of the true Religion, should writ to Presbyteries desiring them not to choose any such Commissioners to a Gene­rall Assembly, this were no undue pre-limitation or prejudging their Liberty in election, but a necessary and lawfull warning puttting them in minde of, and stirring them to a duty where­unto they were bound, though no such direction were sent to them; This laid down in generall, as to that Act and Letter of the late Commission sent to Presbyteries, we say first, That the Commission did nothing therein but that which other Kirk-Meetings and Commissions had done before them in the same matter, in relation to the election of Commissioners to the Ge­nerall Assembly, all which must fall unto the ground as null, unfree and unlall, if the late Generall Assembly be un­free and unlawfull in its constitutions; Ʋpon this accompt We must look back to the Generall Assembly at Glasgow 38. it self, what directions were sent from the Tables then at Edin­burgh in relation to electing Commissioners thereunto. Next, we must refer also to the Letters sent to Presbyteries by the Kirk Commission annis 1639. 40. 41. concerning Commissi­ons to Brethren to these Generall Assemblies, all which are [Page 98] yet extant in Presbytery Books, but we shall content our selves to hold near hand; the late Commission did nothing but what the Commission did in the year 48. wherein the chief Protesters had a chief hand, and yet maintain the lawfulnesse of that deed, and the freedome and lawfulnesse of the constitution of that As­sembly that followed thereupon; To this the writer of the large Paper replyeth sundry things in answer to Objection 1. But nothing to take away the force thereof: First, he hints at two differences between the one and the other, as he would have the reader think he might make use of, but passeth by, as having to say beside; To say nothing (saith he) of the diffe­rence of reference and citation, neither yet of the difference of a Letter and Act importing that there is a considerable diffe­rence between these things, and that the Commission 48. ap­pointed persons dissentient from them onely to be referred, and did send a letter onely; whereas, the Commission 50. made an Act also, and appointed Persons also to be cited to the Gene­rall Assembly; to which we oppone first, the difference between a citation and a reference, when the reference of a person to be tryed and judged on a fault, and the person is present at the reference is just nothing, see Assembly 1643. Session 2. Aug. 3. Overtures anent Bils, &c. And I desire the Writer to say if it was not the purpose of the Commission 48. when they did require Presbyteries to refer such to the Gen. Assembly, that there should be laid on them an obligation legal to compear perso­nally before the Gen. Assembly for tryal and sentence upon them, and what else is the end of a citation and summonds, nor yet is the more difference betwixt the Act of the Commission and persons to be referred or cited by Presbyteries, and a Letter requiring it to be done, for is there not an Act for such a Letter, and the matter of it, and hath the Letter it self the force of an Act; would not the refusing of what is desired be counted disobedience to the Commission? But it seemeth the Writers memory hath failed here; behold an Act in terminis, as it stands registrate in the Commission book the 5. of June 1648. The Commission of the Generall Assembly recommends earnestly to Presbyteries to take speciall notice of every Brothers carriage in the Publict business that if any be found that do not declare themselves a­against [Page 99] the present Malignant course, nor joyn with their Bre­thren in the Common Resolutions thereof, they be referred to the next Generall Assembly, and if any of them have already de­clared for it, that they be presently censured, fic sub. Andrew Ker. This may make us doubt the more of alledgances of this kinde, afterwards in matters of fact, when we see not clear and circumstantiat testimonies of Registers brought forth.

REVIEW.

IN answer to what is here said by the Author, I acknowledge that the elections of Commissioners in Presbyteries ought not to be such as is bounded with no limitations, and that if any Commission of a Generall Assembly, or any other Church Ju­dicatory, according to their interest, perceiving Ministers throughout the Church teach [...]ng contrary, or practising to the prejudice of the Truth should write to Presbyteries desi [...]ing not to choose any such Commissioners to a Generall Assembly, this were no undue pre-limitation or prejudging their liberty in e­lection; I believe that none of the Protesters will differ from the Author in this: That Presbyteries ought not to choose any to be Commissioners that teaches doctrine contrary to the word of God, and Constitutions of the Kirk agreeable thereto, and if the Commission in their Letter and Act had terminated themselves within these bounds, no Protester would have con­troverted with them about it, and I think neither will he con­trovert with them in this, that if a Commission, or any other Kirk Judicatory teach doctrine contrary to the word of God, and to the constitution of the Church agreeable thereunto, and write to Presbyteries to choose none to be Commissioners to the General Assembly who doth oppose such doctrine, that this is a pre-limiting and prejudging of Presbyteries in the liberty of their elections, according to these condescentions. The Commission in the 51. having sent to Presbyteries a Letter and Act before their elections relating thereto; It seems unavoidably to follow, that some limitation and direction there was in that Letter and Act concerning the elections: But all the question is, whether it was a limitation warrantable or unwarrantable: Now if so, why hath the Author so cautiously, and so much [Page 100] wrastled to deny that that letter and Act had any influence upon the elections in Presbyteries; if it was nothing but a necessary & lawful warning, putting them in mind of, and stirring them up to a duty whereto they were bound, though no such direction had been sent unto them, then there was no cause to be affraid of the loosing of any ground by acknowledging of its influence, the Authors long wrangling about that, doth either seem to say that he is suspicious of the limitation contained therein, as not being warrantable, or else that he hath too great goodwil to dis­pute, seing this would have been a short and satisfying an­swer. The Commission in their Letter and Act did put no bonds on Presbyteries in the election of Commissioners, but such as are well warranted by the word of God, and Acts and Constitutions of this Church, and therefore as the one did no­thing but their duty in holding forth the same, so the other did nothing but their duty in accepting thereof, and giving o­bedience thereto. His long and operous disputation gives his readers occasion to think, that he is jealous of so open and plain a defence: His next and great refuge is, that the Commission did nothing therein but what other Commissions and meetings had done before them in the same matter, in relation to the e­lection of Commissioners, which I do confidently deny, for the instances which he names in the years 1638. 39. 40. and 41. Because he doth but name them without condescending upon any particular, which it is like he would have done, if he had found them much to his purpose; I passe them with these considerations, that what was done in 38. was no authoritative direction, but a friendly information and advice, and that not in a Church adhering to Reformation, but in a Church that had made defection therefrom, and what was done 39. 40. and 41. was agreeable to the Word of God, and constitutions of the Church: But what was done in the 51. was an authorita­tive direction in a Church now reformed from corruptions, and was contrary to the word of God, and constitutions of this Church. As to the instance of the Commission 1648. which he makes his great refuge, and the things which he saith thereof: First, I do not know who are the chief Protesters, they are all joyned as yoak-fellows in one and the same duty, and I think [Page 101] he doth as little know who had a chief hand in that of the 48. but I believe, all of the Protesters do own it, and maintain both the lawfulnesse of that deed, and the freedome and lawfulnesse of the Constitution of that Assembly, and yet do no ways there­by hold themselves bound to maintain the deed of the Com­mission 1651. or the freedom and lawfulnesse of the Assembly of that year, because of the great differences betwixt these two deeds, which doth still yet stand unreconciled, notwithstanding all the pains the Author hath taken to make them speak the same thing. As to pre-limitation, I shall not wrangle with him about the difference of a Reference and a Citation, whether it be considerable or not; onely this, the Reference in the 48. was not a Reference of particular concernment, (of which sort only the Assembly 1643. Sess. 2. Aug. 3. speaks, making it equi­valent to a Citation if the person be present) or in order to a sentence upon the persons, and therefore requires no Citation in case of their absence, but of generall concernment, that the As­sembly might after hearing such of themselves as did appear be­fore them, advise what course to prescribe to Presbyteries anent them; and if a Reference and a Citation (as he states it) be a­lone, why did the Commission of the 51 require them not on­ly to be referred, but also to be cited. If he say, because they might happen to be absent from the Presbytery, then either the Commission in the 48 and their Clerk, did not understand these Legalities, or else they meaned not to have them cited, in case of their absence from the Presbytery. As to his desire to the Writer, I have spoken with him concerning his knowledge of the purpose of the Commission in the year 1648. when they did desire Presbyteries to referre such to the Generall Assem­bly, and he desires me to return the Author this answer, That to the best of his knowledge, and so far as he doth remember, the Commission had not that purpose, that there should be laid on these who were referred, an obligation legall, to compeare personally before the Generall Assembly, for tryall and sen­tence upon them; and he seems to me therein to speak truth: First, because there is no mention in the Act of using any Cita­tion to those who shall be absent from the Presbyteries, with­out which there could be in that case no obligation upon them [Page 102] to compear. Secondly, because they lay no legall obligation upon the Presbyteries, either to cite or referre them, but recom­mends onely to referre them; and I do not see how any Pres­byteries refusing what was desired, could have been sentenced for disobedience. I know that when any Judicatory writes a Letter, there is an Act for it, and for the matter of it; but the Author is a litle wide in his Criticks, when he sayeth, That the Letter it self hath the force of an Act. If he mean it of every Letter from a Judicatory, wherein any thing is recommended or desired to be done, and of an Act laying on a legall obligati­on; but behold (sayeth the Author) an Act in terminis, as it stands registrate in the Commission-Books the 5. of June, 1648. The Commission of the Generall Assembly recom­mends earnestly to Presbyteries, to take speciall notice of every Brothers carriage in the Publick businesse, that if any be found that do not declare themselves against the present Malignant course, nor joyn with their Brethren in the common Resoluti­ons thereof, they be referred to the next Generall Assembly; and if any of them have already, declared for it, that they be presently censured, sic subscribitur Andrew Ker. For all the Authors exclamation, here is yet no Act, I mean nothing au­thoritative and importing a legall obligation, but a meer recom­mendation; whio so peruses the Commissions Books, will find their Acts by which they mean to lay on legal obligations upon these whom they concern, casten in another mould, they do or­dain, appoint or require, as is evident from the Letters and Acts from the Commission 51 relating to the opposits of the Publick Resolutions. And albeit the Authors memory hath failed him in a word, in calling it a Letter, yet it hath failed him nothing upon the matter, seeing it is clear, that his meaning was, that it was nothing authoritative for laying on a legall obligation; but a Letter, or such a thing as a Letter, that usually doth onely re­commend or desire, and therefore this so small a mistake, needs not make any to doubt the more of alleadgeances of this kind afterwards in matters of fact, though haply clear and circum­stantiall testimonies of Registers be not brought forth; and if the Author will be content to be weighed in his own ballance, there shall upon this ground be just occasion to doubt of many [Page 103] things which he sayeth, because he doth oft-times in matters of fact, assert things that never had a being, let be to mistake the name of a Paper, by calling it a Letter, when it is an Act. From what hath been said, it appeares that there is a conside­rable difference betwixt what was done in the Commission 48, and the Commission 51. In the 48 there is no more but a meer recommendation to referre to the Assembly, which doth not lay any legall obligations upon the Presbyteries to do it; nor upon the persons to compeare incase of their absence from the Presbytery, and not being cited: But in the 51 there is a formal authoritative Act, requiring them to be referred and cited.

VINDICATION.

NOw to our present purpose; if ye will compare this Act of the Commission 48, with the Act and Letter of the Com­mission 51 not in question. The Letter will be found much more moderate and sparing; for first, the Act and Letter of the Com­mission 51, doth not require the Presbyteries to censure any at all for opposing Publick Resolutions, but onely requires them to be referred and cited to the Generall Assembly, whereas the o­ther 48 requires, that all who did declare in the least against the Resolutions, be censured presently, sundry being deposed, namely for speaking some few words against the Commissions Declarat. against the engagement. 2. the Act & Letter of the Commission, requires not (as the other duty) any to be referred for meer si­lence, nor all that professed themselves unsatisfied with the Publick Resolutions, though after conference they remained unsatisfied, but only such as make opposition to the Publick Re­solutions. Yea, only such as continued in their opposition obsti­nate, all due means of satisfaction being offered and refused) to the hindering people from going forth to the present and ne­cessary defence of the Land, and not drawing others from it, which at that time was a most evident exposing of the Land without resistance to the power of the Enemy. This much to the second Difference hinted at, and professed to be past by.

REVIEW.

I Desire that in making of this comparison, it may be taken notice of, that the Commission in the year 1651. had long before the sending of that Letter and Act now upon debate sent to Presbyteries, not only Publick Warnings, wherein the opposits of Publick Resolutions are characterized as Ma­lignants, and holden forth upon the matter, as the betrayers of the Cause and Countrey, and animating the Civil Magistrate to use Civill Censures against them (as shall be afterwards proved from the Papers themselves) but also a Letter and Act requiring them to censure such, the tenour hereof followeth: Reverend and Welbeloved Brethren, finding that notwithstan­ding of our faithfull Warnings and great pains taken to satisfie all men to concur in their places for furthering of the Leavies, for defence of Religion, King and Kingdome, and all other our dearest Interests, many are so far from concurring, that they do very vehemently go about to obstruct the Work, by writing, preaching and perswading to the contrary: We do therefore require you, that you carefully enquire in your Presbyteries, what Ministers do preach, or otherwise perswade, contrary to our present publick and published Resolutions; and that you proceed to censure such as are in your own number; and if any Minister that travels among you, transgresse in that kind, let him not be permitted to preach in your bonnds; Sic subscribitur Pearth, March 20. 1651. It is not then to much purpose to tell us, that the Act and Letter of the Commission doth not re­quire the Presbyteries to censure any at all for opposing of Pub­lick Resolutions, seeing they had expressely done it long before that time in another Letter and Act sent for that purpose; and the second thing wherein he compares them, will also be found no wayes considerable, if we shall remember that these Warnings of which we spok, hath no distinction of such as professe themselves unsatisfied with Publick Resolutions, and such as do oppose them, but takes in both the one and the other; yea, and these who are silent too, and applys the Acts of former Generall Assemblies against them, as is evident from [Page 105] the Warning issued from Pearth, March 20, 1651. I wish the Author had told us how he differences such as professe themselves unsatisfied, and such as oppose. Can a man professe himself unsatisfied, and even after conference professe himself so, and yet be silent, and say nothing to the contrary? I believe he means not opposition by force; but a Ministers declaring his judgment, and bearing testimony against the course in his stati­on and calling, and how a man should professe himself unsatis­fied, and not to do this, I cannot tell, unlesse he should become neutrall and indifferent in the matter of his duty. He asserts sundry to have been deposed in the 48. namely, for speaking some few words against the Commissions Declaration against the Engagement, but doth not let his Reader know who these were, and by whom and when they were deposed; I do not remember of any (neither yet do others who were much im­ployed about these matters) that were deposed by the Com­mission for speaking against their Declaration against the En­gagement before the Assembly 1648. and if he mean it after the Assembly, it is not to the purpose. Which things make it appear, that the Author hath not found the Commission 48 so rigide and severe, that he hath any cause to preferre the Com­mission of the 51 unto them for moderation and sparingnesse, though there were no difference upon the matter, and in regard of the persons with whom they had to do.

VINDICATION.

NOw to the rest insisted on; First, saith the Paper in the year 48, when a little before the election of Commission­ers to the Generall Assembly, it was moved by some of the Commission, that something might be written to Presbyteries, requiring them to choose none but such as were against the En­gagement; it was opposed and refused by the Commission, as fa­vouring a way of pre-limitation of the Assembly, and all that was there done was a Letter written to Presbyteries, giving them accompt of their proceedings, and exhorting them to their duty, to choose able and faithful men. Answer. That more was done in the preceding Generall Assembly, we have made it evident. [Page 106] But what is all this said here to what was alleadged, that the late Commission had done nothing but what the Commission 48 had done before them? Did the Commission 51write to Presbyteries, requiring them not to choose any against, or oppo­site to their resolutions, to be Commissioners, not one word more or lesse of this? Or did not the Commissions Act 48, bear and import as much as the Act and Letter of the Commission 51, yea, as much and more both extensive and intensive, as was clea­red in the preceeding. But you will say (as it is in the Paper) in the Commission 48, about that time that a motion was made, that something should be written to require Presbyteries, not to choose any but such, &c. and was opposed and refused, as favou­ring pre-limittation. Answer. I will not say who made the motion; but I say, this is to little purpose; for, what if I shall say the like motion was made in the Commission 51, and opposed and refused too; But further I prove by the Writer of this Paper his grounds what the Commission 48 did upon the matter; that which they did, was really to pre-limitat Presbyteries, that they should choose none but such, as if they had written as much to them in formal expresse terms; for their Commission required Pres­byteries either to refer (or upon the matter to cite) to Generall Assemblies, or to censure presently these who were otherwise dis­posed without leaving any of them; First now such as were under any censure clear, could not be chosen Commissioners, & the wri­ter himself saith in answer to the 3 Objection, branch 2, That it cannot be denyed, that a citation in matter of scandal in doctrine or manners, will or ought to exclude a man from being a Com­missioner. Therefore upon the matter that the Commission did require, that Presbyteries should choose none but such as were against the Engagement, the Act and Letter of the Com­mission 51, if it did import exclusion of any from being Com­missioners, was not so wide by far; It required not all unsatisfied, but such as continued to oppose to be cited; and there were ma­ny unsatisfied at that time, who made no opposition, and there­fore might have been, for ought that can be any wayes drawen from the Act and Letter, chosen to be Commissioners, as sundry were de facto. Second consideration presented in answer to the former alleadgeance, is, that that Letter of the Commission 48, [Page 107] was not written by the Commission, as we remember, until most part, if not all elections in Presbyteries were passed, as will be cleared in the date thereof. Ans. So were many of the elections of Presbyteries past before the Letter of the late Commission came to them; but that all, or most part of elections were past be­fore that Letter was written 48 to Presbyteries, we cannot upon a naked assertion believe. The Writer would have done wel here to expresse the date of the Letter; for I doubt not but he might have had it out of some near Presbyterie Book; I cannot give a double of it for the present, but I shal give an evident presumpti­on that it was otherwayes then it is said here. First, in some Pres­byteries, I will take upon me to prove, that some Presbytery, dayes, ere they began to think on the Election of Commissioners some of their Members were upon that Letter of silence in the Publick busines, referred and cited to the Gen. Assembly. Next, look to the date of the Act of that Commission formerly set down here, it is upon the 5. of June. Now, it is evident, that this Act hath been made in order to that Letter, if it self was not al­so sent with it, and the Assembly did sit that year upon the 12. of July; so that betwixt the appointment of the Letter and the date of it could not be much after it, and the down-sitting of the Assembly, there interveened full five weeks. Now, allowing eight dayes for the dispatch thereof unto Presbyteries (to the most part to what Presbyteries it might sooner come) it might have been at Presbyteries twenty or twenty five dayes before the Assembly. Now, it is well known, that few Presbyteries, except it be such as are farthest distant, chooses their Commis­sioners so long before the Assembly.

REVIEW.

THat no more was done in the Commission of the 48, then writing of that Letter which gave the Presbyteries an ac­compt of their proceedings &c. is not asserted by the Writer; yea, he tells plainly enough, that more was done; for the thing which he saith, is, that no more was then done, h. e. when that motion was made, and within two or three lines he sub­joyns, that that Letter which is mentioned in the objection, was [Page 108] not writen by the Commission, until most part, if not all the ele­ctions in Presbyteries were past, and therefore the Author does wrong when he leaves out the circumstance of time, which the writer put in, and expounds him so to his reader, as if he had said that there was no more done at any time, neither then nor there­after; but he cannot understand what all that is said of this is, to that which was alledged that the late Commission had done nothing, but that which the Commission in the 48. had done before them. It is to that which was alledged, because it con­tributes for clearing of the Commission of the 48. as to the mat­ter of pre-limitation, because they did reject all mo­tions tending that way. It is true that the Act and Letter of the 51. did not expresly, and in the words bear that none who did oppose the Publick Resolutions should be chosen Commissioners; but it did by good and clear consequence import no lesse, and what ever the Author be pleased to say of the recommendation that was sent to Presbyteries in the 48. that it doth contain as much and more then the Letter and Act of the 1651. yet hath he not proven it. The Author tels us, that he will not say who made the motion in the Commission in the 48. for writing to Presbyteries to choose none but such as were against the engagement; And withall, what if he shal say that the like motion was made in the Commission 51. and opposed and refused; I believe as he will not say so, so he can­not say who made the motion, and the men whom haply by such hints he would render suspected, were not the makers, but the opposers of it. If the like motion was made and opposed in the Commission 51. why did he not speak it out? but con­ceiving these things to little purpose, he falls upon proving by the writers own grounds, that the Commission 48. did upon the matter that that did, as really pre-limitate Presbyteries, that they should choose none, but such as did oppose the en­gagement, as if they had writen as much to them in formall express termes. His proof of this point as he layes it down, may be thus drawen in form: Whosoever requires Presbyteries ei­ther to refer to the Generall Assembly, or to censure present­ly these who are otherwise disposed, they do by the writers grounds pre-limitate the Presbyteries in their elections: But [Page 109] the Commission of the Generall Assembly 1648. did so, ergo, &c. The first Proposition he makes out thus: Such as were under a clear censure could not be chosen Commissioners, and the writer himself saith in answer to the third Objection, 2. branch, that it cannot be denyed that a citation in matter of scandall, in doctrine or manners will or ought to exclude a man from being a Commissioner. I shall not in answer to this yeeld unto him all that he alledgeth, though it all might be yeelded without any prejudice to the Cause; because on sup­posall that there had been a limitation in that which was done by the Commission in the 48. it being a limitation agreeable to the Word of God, and constitutions of this Church, it was due and warrantable, which the other in the 51. was not; but leaving this to fall in its own place. I return answer first to the first Proposition, by distinguishing of the times when such a thing is done, whosoever before or in the time of elections requires this thing, it is true of them that they do pre-limite elections; but who so requires not this til the elections be first made; it is not true of these, and this was the case in the year 48. the elections being past in most places before it was done, and might be justly presumed to have been past in all, as shall afterwards be more fully cleared; but it was not so in the 51. what was then done, being previous to the elections. Next, I give clear answer by denying the minor, because the Commis­sion did not require such a thing, the most that they did was to recommend it, which is far from requiring, and therefore by the writers grounds the Author hath proven nothing at all. To the second consideration, that the Letter and Act of the Commission 48. was not writen untill most part, or all electi­ons in Presbyteries was past, he makes answer that so were ma­ny of the elections of Presbyteries before the Letter and Act of the Commission 51. came unto them: But that is not true, if we take the Authors own ground, to wit, that few Presbyte­ries, except it be such as are farthest distant chooseth their Com­missioners 20. or 25. dayes before the Assembly, and allowing 8. dayes for dispatch to Presbyteries, and take withall the date of the Letter and Act of the Commission 1651. which is the 28. day of May, and compare it with the day of the down sitting [Page 110] of the Assembly, which was the 16. day of July, the untruth of this will appear, because between the date of the Act, and the diet of the Assembly are 48. dayes, of which deducing 8. for the dispatch, there do remain 40. dayes till the Assembly, which do far exceed the time spoken of by the Author, for the other part of it, that most part of the elections 48. were past before the Letter and Act of the Commission came unto them; I do ap­peal to the Presbytery Books. There is little or no weight in the presumptions that the Author gives to the contrary. 1. He takes upon him to prove, that some Presbyteries did upon that Letter and Act refer and cite some of their members to the Ge­nerall Assembly, some Presbytery dayes before they began to think upon the election of Commissioners but he hath named none, and comprises them under the word some, haply lest it should be known how few there were, probably but one, that is, St. Andrews, in the matter of one of their university men, who was also a Minister. Next he makes a supputation but of 8. dayes for the dispatch of the Letter to Presbyteries, and that to the most part of Presbyteries, it might have soon come, and but of 20. or 25. dayes interveening betwixt the diet of the Assembly and the elections in most parts of Presbyteries; If the custome of dispatch had been by pasts hired, and dispatched to severall parts immediatly, after the writing of the Letter, and making of the Act, it might have come to the most part of Presbyteries in 8. dayes, but so it was not, neither in the 48. nor 51. but by occasionall bearers, and therefore would take more time, and I think it is said gratis, that few Presbyteries do make their elections 20. or 25. dayes before the Assembly; but there is no sure way of determining these differences about cir­cumstances of time, when neither the one nor the other Letter came to Presbyteries, but from the Presbytery books, and there­fore to these I do appeal to stand or fal in this matter, at their sentence, only remembering this, that it is clear that the date of the Letter and Act of the Commission 48. is but five weeks be­fore the Assembly, whereas the date of the other is 7. weeks before the Assembly.

VINDICATION.

THe third Consideration presented by the writer of this Pa­per, is, that before the writing of that Letter (by the Commission 48.) the whole Kirk of Scotland almost in all the Presbyteries and Synods thereof had declared themselvs in con­science unsatisfied with the engagement, excepting a very few Ministers scattered here and there in Presbyteries, which few were also known to be opposites to the work of God, or neutralls and indifferent therein from the beginning. Answer 1. If by the Kirk of Scotland be here understood, the collective Kirk, I can­not see how it is true that is said here, that the whole Kirk of Scotland for the most part, except a few Ministers had declared themselves unsatisfied with the engagement; certain it is, and too certain, that very many in the Kirk of Scotland in this sense of all ranks, in all quarters almost, were too evidently too active for it, as the censure civill and Ecclesiasticall which thereup­on followed do witnesse; if the Ministeriall Kirk be understood, it is true that the far greater part were dis-satisfied, but yet they were not so few Ministers that were of a contrary minde, they were too many, and in some places the greater part of whole Presbyteries. It may well be remembred what a summe they were like to have accompted to, at the time of the Generall As­sembly, and it seems to me too much, that all of them were ei­ther opposers of the work (whether hereby be understood the out­ward work of Reformation, or the power of Religion) or neu­trals, or indifferent from the beginning, the contrary is known of some of them; and I would not say so much of all them that were censured, though I acknowledge their censure was just. 2. A great part of the Kirk of Scotland, before the writing of the late Commissions Letter, had declared themselves satis­fied with the Commissions Resolutions, and dissatisfied with the course of the opposers thereof; and count when the writer will, he shall find that the dissenters from the Commission 48. were not fewer; yea, not so few as the dissenters from the Commissi­on 51. we know that the number of these amounted to at their greatest Meeting, at [...] of late, and howsoever moe of [Page 112] these then of the first be godly men, and had been more faith­full in the Cause formerly; yet their present course at that time being not faithfulnes to the Cause, but prejudiciall to it, and the whole Kirk and Country both; they might justly have been referred and called before the Gen. Assembly, to give an ac­compt of their way as wel as the former were, though they be more tenderly dealt with, as to themselves was evidently seen in the whole progress with them, and was also really apparent in the very Act and Letter of the Commission.

REVIEW.

I Think the Author did well enough know, that in setting down of the third Difference, the Writer did not mean of the Collective, but of the Ministeriall Church, of which not on­ly the greater part, but almost all had declared themselves un­satisfied in Conscience with the Engagement, excepting a few Ministers scattered here and there in Presbyteries, who were known either to be opposers of the Work of God, or neutrall and indifferent therein from the beginning; it is true, they were too many in regard of the evill course they were engaged into; yet were they but few in number who did not at that time in some outward way, at least, give some testimony against that Engagement, though (alas) some of these in these late Re­solutions, have now dissembled it in their words, and moe have betrayed it in their actions, that what they then did in condem­ning the Engagement, and afterwards approving the solemn Publick Confession of sins, and engagement to duties, was a­gainst their hearts; when the Author hath streatched their num­ber to the utmost, the most he dare say of it, is the great part of whole Presbyteries in some places; But these some places that he speaks of were so few, that it will be found they will come to a very poor accompt when they shall be named, they were so far from being like to amount to any number at the Ge­nerall Assembly. If he mean of these who were Members of the Assembly, that there were few (if any at all) who did not joyn in approving the Declaration of the Assembly against the Engagement: If he mean of these who subscribed the divisive [Page 113] Supplication, these were so few, that they did not all of them being put together, amount to the twentieth part of the Mini­stery of Scotland, and sundry even of these, did before the Ele­ctions, joyn with their Presbyteries and Synods, in bearing te­stimony against the Engagement; I will not blame him for his charity to some of these men: The Writer did not say, that all of them were known to be opposers, or neutrall, or indifferent in the Work of God from the beginning, but spoke indefinitly, meaning (as I take it) of the bulk and generality of them; and I believe the Author himself being judge, but few instances to the contrary can be given; It is true that a great part of the Church of Scotland before the writing of the late Commissions Letter, had declared themselves satisfied with the Commissi­ons Resolutions, and dissatisfied with the course of the oppo­sers thereof: But it is also true that there was a great part of the Church of Scotland, who had not declared themselves satisfi­ed with these Resolutions; yea, a great part who had declar­ed themselves dis-satisfied therewith; and it is a wonder to me that the Author should say, that count when the Writer will, he shall find that the dissenters from the Commission 1648. were not fewer; yea, not so few as dissenters from the Com­mission 1651. I hope he is speaking of the Ministeriall Church in regard of both, the question now being of pre-limiting the elections, and it being to no purpose to speak of any other, in regard of these; let him name if he can, any Synod, Presby­tery, or Kirk-Session in Scotland that did give any testimony or evidence of their dissent from the proceedings of the Com­mission against the engagement 1648. If he will believe the testimony of the Generall Assembly 1650. the whole Ministery and body of the People in the Land did joyn in their Prayers and Supplications in private and in Publick against the engage­ment, and the Ministers every where in their Sermons did bear clear testimony against it, and all the Church Judicatories, Sy­nods, Presbyteries and Sessions did petition the Parliament a­gainst it, and another declaration of the same Assembly, with­in a few dayes thereafter, in answer to a passage of the Decla­ration of the English Army, tels him somewhat to the same purpose; we do not remember, say they, that any of the Mi­nisters [Page 114] did preach and cry up a war against England, and as we know that the body of the Ministery were unanimous, and zealous in bearing a joynt testimony, both in their Sermons and otherwise, against that war, so these few that were silent have been censured for their silence; and the Committee of Estates at the same time in their Declaration testifie thus: Did not all the Judicatories of the Kirk unanimously oppose and declare against it? Did not the Ministers faithfully Preach and Pray against it, and generally all that feared God in the Land Pe­tition against it, and many such Passages are to be found in our Publick Papers, from the time of carrying on the engagement; yet the Author is so zealous to weaken every thing, that the writer saith, for differencing that which was done by the Com­mission 1648. and the Commission 1651. that he had rather retrench upon that which hath been often and truly declared by this Church of their being free of any accession to the un­lawfull engagement then not to do it; this deserves his second thoughts; but upon the other hand, beside the generality of these in the land who are of known approven godlinesse and piety, and are dis-satisfied with the Publick Resolutions, as will, I trust, be acknowledged by godly men of a contrary mind, speaking soberly, and without the heat of dispute: It is easie to give him some instances of some Synods, and of ma­ny Prerbyteries, besides many particular members in Presby­teries throughout all the corners of the Counrry, who were not onely silent in speaking for the Publick Resolutions, but who did bear testimony and speak openly against them: A thing so wel known that I need not stay to name the particu­lars, but they must stil be few in his catologue; we know saith he what the number of these amounted to at their greatest Meet­ing at Edinburgh of late; If he mean that all the Ministers of the Land who are of that judgement were at that Meeting, he is much mistaken, and if not so, it is not much to the purpose, there are many Ministers in the Land of that judgement, who were not at that Meeting, and yet there were very near a hun­dred Ministers at that Meeting who are approven in the Con­sciences of the godly throughout the Land. He acknowledges that many more of these then of the first were godly men, and [Page 115] had been faithfull formerly, but their present course at that time being not faithfulnes to the Cause, but prejudicial to it, and the whole Kirk and Countrey as he thinks, they might justly be referred and called before the Assembly as wel as the other. It is well that they were godly, and such as had been formerly faithfull; as for their unfaithfulnesse at that time, it is the point in question betwixt them and the Authors and abbettots of the Publick Resolutions, they are perswaded in their Consciences and have clearly holden forth the same unto others, that they were keeping the ground on which the Church of Scotland did run these many years past, for defending the Country and Cause against the enemies thereof; and if others did forsake their ground, they were not to be esteemed unfaithfull, nor to be charged with that crime, because they would not leave their Masters Colours; I shal not insist upon what he speaks of the tender dealing which they met with, because there may be op­portunity to speak to this afterwards, what is apparent in the Letter and Act of the Commission is already spoken unto.

VINDICATION.

THe fourth consideration proponed by the Writer, is, that the Resolutions then (viz. 48) were agreeable to the Covenant, Acts and Constitution of former Generall Assemblies, whereas the Resolutions of the late Commission were point blank contra­ry to the Covenant, and the former Acts and Constitutions of this Kirk. Answer, this is the onely materiall difference be­tween the two Acts taken, to wit, from the matter that the Commissions Resolutions 48. were right, but the other 51. wrong, and upon this alleadgance, that the Resolutions of the late Commission were contrary to the Covenant and Constitu­tions of this Kirk hangeth the strength of the most part of the rest of the arguments, brought to prove the unlawfulnesse of the late Assembly; I will not challenge the Writer that alleadg­ing the errour if these Resolutions, he so often mentions, onely the Covenant, and Acts and Constitutions of Assemblies, and seldome the Word of God or Scripture: For my part in speak­ing of the truth or errour of an opinion, in mattrrs of Consci­ence, or of the sinfulness or lawfulness of a course, I would not [Page 116] mention, regulas regulatas sine regula regulante, the subordi­nate rules without the Supream and Soveraign rules. But to the point 1. That the Resolutions of the late Commission were such as the writer saith, is as easily denied as he affirmeth it, the greatest part of the Land Ministers, and others als intelligent in Religion as he, did, and do this day judge otherwise of them then he, and he shall never be able to prove what he affirmes, and the late Commissioners were, and yet are content that their late Resolutions be examined, tryed and judged by the Kirk of Scotland, or all the Orthodox Chri­stian Churches of the world, by the Word of God, Covenant, and Constitutions of this Kirk.

REVIEW.

I Shall not contend whether the difference taken from the matter, be the onely materiall difference, it is certainly the mainly materiall difference, though the other differences of the time, and of Presbyteries & Synods, having declared themselvs, and that taken from the nature of the thing be also important. It is true, that much of the strength of severall other of the Argu­ments hangs on this Alleadgeance, that the Resolutions of the late Commission, were contrary to the Covenant and Resolu­tions of this Church, and (I hope) that this Aleadgeance will bear the strength of all the Arguments that are founded there­upon. These worthy Assemblies 1638, & 1639, joyned the mat­ter with the form in the reasons brought for nullifying of for­mer unlawfull Assemblies. Before the Author gives answer to the difference, he taxeth the Writer, that alleadging the er­ror of these Resolutions, he so often mentions onely the Cove­nant, Acts and Constitutions of the Assemblies, but seldome the Word of God or Scripture, and tells us for his part in speaking of the truth or error of an opinion in matters of Conscience, he would not mention regulatas sine regula regulante. Well, it seems some of the Protesters (if the Writer of this Paper be of that number) hath respect enough to the Acts and Consti­tutions of the Assembly; for the want of which, the Author challenged one of them not long ago, as saying, that he was not [Page 117] to be pressed with them in matters of Conscience; and it also seems that in matters of Conscience, the Author likes not the maintaining, much lesse the pressing of these with­out the Word of God; and some will perhaps think▪ that a man of that mind might bear with his brother, saying, Presse me not with humane Constitutions in matters of Conscience; sed multum interest quid loquatur. The reason why the Writer doth often mention only the Covenant, Acts and Consti­tutions of Assemblies, is, because when we speak of a defection in resolutions and actings from former Principles, it is the more near and convincing way to mention the former Acts and Constitutions of that Church, which immediatly must decide whether a delegated Commission, which is only intrusted to execute former Acts, and hath no power to make new ones, hath walked according to their trust, yea, or not: and a second Reason is, because the Writer took it for uncontroverted, as being acknowledged by all the Kirk of Scotland, that the Co­venant and Acts and Constitutions of this Church, did presup­pose and include the first and supreme rule, the Word of God; And the Author cannot but know, that though the Writer had not mentioned the Word of God further then it is included in the Covenant, and Acts and Constitutions of the Church, he hath great Patrons for his so doing, to wit, the Assembly at Glasgow 1638. which in their great Acts against Episcopacy, Five Articles of Pearth, Service Book, &c. do state, vote and print the Questions anent them, meerly upon their contrariety to the Nationall Covenant, and Acts and Constitutions of this Church, without mentioning Regulam Regulantem, that being presupposed by all as being included in Regula regulata. But to the point. First, the Author deny [...]s, that the Resolu­tions of the late Commission, were contrary to the Covenant and Constitutions of this Kirk, and sayes, that the greatest part of the Land, Ministers and others, as intelligent in Religion as the Writer is, did, and doth this day judge otherwise of them then he, and that he shall never be able to prove it. There hath been more said for the proof of it, then for ought I know hath been answered to this day, or can be answered, if men deal fair­ly and ingenuously; and therefore I shall not here stay, to re­peat [Page 118] and resume these things, I shall onely ask the Author a very few plain Questions, and desire a down-tight and plain Answer to them in order to this point: First, whether in the judgment of many of these who were by the Publick Reso­lutions of the Commission, 1651. admitted to trust in the Army and State, the Solemn League and Covenant, and former Acts and Constitutions of this Church, were not opposite to these Re­solutions. Secondly, whether in the judgment of many of the godly in the Land, these Resolutions and proceedings were not opposite to the Solemn League and Covenant, and the former Acts and Constitutions of this Church, and could not be recon­ciled therewith? Thirdly, whether it was not thought and spoken by no mean men, Members of the Commission 1651, and others who carried on the Publick Resolutions, that these who had hand in the penning of the Publick Papers of the Kirk these years past, had in reference to the matter then in de­bate foisted in many sentences and expressions in these Papers contrary to the true intent and meaning of the Judicatories of the Church, which they then made use of for their own ends. 4. whether the sin of imploying many Malignant & dis-affected men in our Armies, which is confest in the solemn Publick Con­fession of sins, be not comprehensive of imploying of such in our defensive war against James Grahame. Fifthly, whether the So­lemn Engagement in the 48, do not bind us to avoid all the sins that we acknowledged in the Solemn Confession, and all the snares and temptations that led thereunto, and to endeavour all the contrary duties? Sixthly, whether the Generall Assem­bly and their Commission, after the coming of the English Ar­my to invade this Land, did not positively, and oftener then once, determine and warn against the imploying and intrusting Malignant and dis-affected men in our Armies, even in the case of scarcity of men for the Lands defence? Seventhly, whe­ther at the time of the Commission its giving their answer to the Parliaments Quere, there was not a very numerous Party of Malignant and dis-affected men in the Land, who did adhere to their former principles? Eighthly, whether the Answer to the Quere, or any thing contained in the Publick Resolutions do acknowledge it, or hold it forth as sinfull and unlawfull to [Page 119] imploy and intrust Malignant and dis-affected men in the de­fence of the Cause and Kingdome? Or whether that Answer and these Resolutions, do acknowledge and hold it forth to be lawfull to imploy and intrust such? Ninthly, whether there be any Act, or Constitution, or Warning, or Declaration of this Church, or any Publick Evidence of her judgment before the Answer to the Quere, that speaks for the warranting and al­lowing the Publick Resolutions? or what it is, or where we may finde it? Tenthly, that the Commissioners are yet con­tent to have their late Resolutions tryed and judged by the Church of Scotland, is no great matter, when they have first pre-limited an Assembly, excluding many of these who were of a contrary mind, and constituting it mostly of these who are of their own judgment, and have made Acts for censuring of all who shall not acknowledge the Constitution of that Assem­bly, and after conference, submit to the obedience of these Acts; but if the Author would take the collective Church of Scotland to sit as Judges upon the late Resolutions of the Commission; and state the question thus, whether are the late Resolutions of the Commission, agreeable to the Solemn League and Cove­nant, and to former Acts, Constitutions, Warnings and Declara­tions of this Church, I fear the determination should be in the negative; ye [...], if the whole Ministeriall Church should speak their hearts of that Question as before the Lord, I still fear it should be in the negative, all the Orthodox Churches in the World is a broad word, and I say no more of it, but that men well skilled in their doctrine, and to whom (I believe) the Au­thor himself in this respect, and for piety and learning will not deny an honourable testimony, do teach us otherwayes. The matter is already pleaded by the Word of God, and Acts and Constitutions of this Church, and I shall now speak no more thereof.

VINDICATION.

BƲt secondly, whatever be to be said to the nature of these Resolutions, yet the matter was at least alike to the Gene­ral Assembly at the time of the constitution of the Assembly, [Page 120] and the Protestation against the same; for the resolutions and proceedings of the Commission 48. were no lesse quarrelled by an opposit Party, then were the resolutions of the Commission 51. the Party quarrelling 48, being no lesse then the Parlia­ment, and in this onely few Ministers, and the reasons of the former were a great deal stronger and harder to be loosed; the Generall Assembly was here Judge to both, as in the first quar­rell, the Commission would not be absolved from the accusation charged upon them untill all was heard and tryed, so the Com­mission 51, could not be condemned for the exceptions and al­leadgeances of a few Brethren, before that any of them were or could be cognosced upon. By all this which hath been spoken, that what the Writer saith, shutting up the same, that these things being put together, make up a wide difference between that which was then done 48, and that 51 was but a groundlesse as­sertion; we have evidently showen that there is no difference betwixt the one deed and the other (so that if the one was guil­ty of pre-limitation of election of Commissioners, so was the other no less) except that the deed of the Commission 51, was a great deal more sparing and moderate. So we have vindicated that particular answer to the first reason against the freedome and lawfulness of the late Assembly, alleadging pre-limitation of the election of Commissioners, viz. that the Commission did nothing therein but what was done by the Commission 48, whose deed the Protesters maintains with us.

REVIEW.

IT is easie to give sundry materiall differences: 1. These Re­solutions at the time of the Constitution of the Assembly, and the giving in of the Protestation; besides that, they were against the clear Letter of Acts of former Assemblies. So were sundry standing up in the Assembly, and offering instantly to ve­rifie that it was so; but in the 48, the proceedings were agree­able to the Acts of the Assembly; and albeit there were some who desired that these proceedings might not be approven till they were heard; yet none did offer instantly, or at all to ve­rifie, thathey had carryed on a course of defection, contrary to [Page 121] the Covenant, and Acts and Constitutions of the Church. Secondly, in the 48, the proceedings of the Commission were not testified against, by Presbyteries and Synods, much lesse dissented from, and protested against by many in the Commission it self: but so it was in the 51, not onely did Presbyteries and Synods bear testimony against these things, but a great part of the Commission; yea, so great a part, that whoso shall reckon, I believe, shall find them very near, if not equall the one half of the number, to whom the trust of these things were committed by the Generall Assembly. Thirdly, in the 48, there was no exception at all proponed from the un­freedome of Elections, or from persons under scandall, because of defection and back-sliding from former principles; but so it was in the 51. These things evidence a very great difference between the one and the other at the time of the Constitution of the Assembly, & the Protestation against the same, and to take off any thing that the Author saith, for proving them to be a­like, I do desire it further to be considered, That as in the 48, it was not the Parliament who was the party quarrelling the Commission before the Assembly, the Parliament being risen a good while before the Assembly sate down: So, in all this bu­sines of the quarrelling that was made against the Commission in the Assembly 48, is much mis-taken and mis-represened by the Author all alongs his Vindication, as shall in its proper place be cleared. Secondly, that it was not desired (as the Author doth insinuate) that the Commission 51, should be condemned for the exceptions and alleadgeances of a few bre­thren before that any of these Resolutions were or could be cognosced upon, but onely that they should not be admitted to sit as Members of the Assembly, untill the exceptions propo­ned against them were tryed and discussed. Thirdly, that in the 48, as the party quarrelling did not either at the time of the Constitution of the Assembly, or afterwards before the trying and approving of the Proceedings of the Commision, offer any reasons to the Assembly against these Proceedings; so the rea­sons which they did afterwards offer, were not very strong nor hard to be loosed, much lesse stronger and harder to be loosed, then the reasons offered in the 51, by these Ministers, the last [Page 122] being founded upon the Word of God and the Covenant, and the clear Acts and Constitutions of this Church, and the other not so; These things being thus discussed, it still appears that the Writer had good reason to say, that there is a wide diffe­rence betwixt that which was done by the Commission 1648, and that which was done by the Commission 1651. as to the pre-limiting of the Assembly, and that the Prote­sters have reason to condemne the last, though they main­tain the first.

VINDICATION.

WE shall adde some further considerations in answer to the first Reason; But ere we proceed, a word upon what the Writer of the 2. Paper hath upon the 2. Objection, which either he hath formed to himself, or found I know not where, viz. That it was in the Commissions power, not onely to appoint these who opposed the Publick Resolutions to be cited to the Generall Assembly, but also to have censured them by vertue of a clause contained in the Commission; and that therefore having keeped themselves far within the bounds of the Commis­sion, &c. The Writer of this Paper for clearing of this business, runs out in a discourse concerning the nature of delegated Ju­dicatories, that they are and must be from the light of nature and common reason, limited to a certain rule in all their admi­nistrations, to wit, to standing Lawes of the Incorporations to which they do belong, and to a certain end, viz. the good and pre­servation of the whole body, and in application unto, or accusa­tion against the late Commissioners of the Generall Assembly their Resolutions: He affirms, they were not onely without the warrant of an Act of the Assembly (which should have been their rule) and not only not contributive for the preserving and advancing of the Work of Reformation, but expresly contrary to the clear letter of the Covenant, and multitudes of Acts, and destructive to the Work; and that therefore assuming to them­selves a power to censure or cite such as did oppose them; they did not onely go beyond the bounds of their Commission, but de­stroyed the very end of it, viz. the preservation of the Liberties of the Kirk, in bringing Generall Assemblies to bondage, by ex­cluding [Page 123] all such as would not consent to the course of defection, a dangerous and damnable preparative, laying a foundation for the totall over-throw of Discipline, yea of Doctrine and Wor­ship; yea, the Commission being once corrupted, the introducing of Prelacie, Service-Book, Popes supremacy, the whole body of Poperie. Here certainly, the Writer hath filled his Pen nigrae succo fuliginis, to render the Commissioners odious and detest­able to all. But to these briefly: First, if it was another man that proponed the Objection then the Writer himself. I verily think, he did not mean that the Commissioners had power by their Commission to cite and censure opposers of any Resolutions made by themselves, right or wrong (neither doth the Objection as set down by the Writer himself import any such thing) but opposers only of their just and right resolutions, such as (I doubt not) he took the late resolutions to be, and therefore all the Wri­ters running out upon the nature of a delegated Judicatory, &c. as to that Objection, is but a fighting against his own sha­dow. Secondly, we know and acknowledge, that delegated Ju­dicatories are limited to a certain end, and a certain rule; yea, we think further, that Judicatories not delegated, but having power originally in themselves humane are so limited too. But that the late Commissioners did in their Resolutions carry on a course of defection, contrary to the express letter of the Cove­nant and multitude of Acts of this Kirk, and destructive to the Work of Reformation, and that they destroyed the Liberties of the Kirk, brought the Generall Assembly to bondage, is said, but was never, nor will never be proven; and so but a foul ca­lumnie and false accusation of the Brethren, of which that un­charitable expression, calling what the Commissioners did, damnable, (which being used for aggravation here, cannot simply mean onely, that the thing done was worthy to be con­demned, as every errour even the least is but also damnable to the doers) I pray the Lord give the Writer repentance and forgiveness.

REVIEW.

TO all this I return, That albeit the maker of the Obejecti­on concerning the Commissions power took their Reso­lutions to be right and just, yet doth not the Writer fight with his own shadow, because the objector and the Commission both in the matter of these Publick Resolutions takes wrong for right, and unjust for just, and upon this mistake conceives them to have power where they have none, which mistake the Author discovers by holding forth the discordance of these Resolutions, with the rule according to which they were bound to proceed, both upon the matter, and by vertue of their Com­mission which the Author is pleased to call a foul calumny, and uncharitable accusation of the Brethren, that never was, nor never shall be able to be proven: But I desire him soberly to re­member 1. That neither he, nor any of his judgement to this day have so far befriended their own cause, or satisfied these who stumble and gainsay, as to bring forth any Act of this Church prior to these Resolutions for justifying thereof, though it often hath been called for. 2. That many Acts of this Church hath been brought forth, speaking plainly against these Resolutions, to which all the answers which hath been retur­ned may (as I take it) be comprehended in one of these two, Either denying that the Malignant party were joyned with, a­bout the defence of which denyall the Author and others may exercise their ingines, but shall never be able to satisfie the consciences of the godly in it, and I fear nor their own fully; or else in telling us that it was a new case, which we never before had to do with, or occasion to detemine, to wit, the case of the defence of Cause and Kingdom against a forrain in­vasion; but it hath been often told him and others (and I wish they would once consider of it) that even in the case of the Cause and Kingdomes defence against forrain invasion, the un­lawfulnesse in joyning with the Malignant party; hath been often determined by this Church; yea, in that very case which is the present question, and in the highest advantage they can have in the stateing of it, that is the case of scarcenesse of men [Page 125] as to his great exception against the word damnable; I can­not think that the Writer meant it of bringing with it damna­tion to the Writer; he cannot be so grosse as to take it for the sin against the holy Ghost; yea, he will, I believe, allow as much in the matter of Salvation to some of these as to any o­thers, and desires to think charitably of all men; I dare say, all his meaning was, that it was a thing worthy to be condemned but so (saith the Author) is every errour, even the least; and I would aske him, is not every errour even the least dam­nable, both in it self, and if mercy prevent not, also to the do­ers, though some be more damnable then others: If I under­stand any thing of common language, the meaning of that phrase, a damnable preparative is ordinarily this, it is a pre­parative worthy to be condemned; and I think the Writer might think himself in no ill condition, if he had no more to repent of then the calling of that practice of the Commis­sion such.

VINDICATION.

NOw further in answer to that first reason against the late Assembly as not free, and unlawfull, grounded upon the Commissioners Act and Letter sent to Presbyteries; Consider in the next place, first what we touched at before, that the Act and Letter did not require Presbyteries to presse all who were unsatisfied with the Publick Resolutions, nor yet who after Con­ference remained unsatisfied, and continued to oppose, to wit, in their Publick Doctrine and active practising, to the hindering of people from going forth unto, or withdrawing them from the present just and necessary defence of the Land, so that for any thing that could be imported in that Act and Letter; yet who­ever were unsatisfied in their judgements with the Publick Re­solutions, but did abstain from opposition and acting against the execution of, might been chosen Commssioners to the Assem­bly, and many such were in the Land, who wisely and Christi­anly considering the integrity of the Commission in the end they had before them, conceived the difference about the means re­solved upon, not to be such for which they should any way hinder the present necessary defence of the Land, and sundry such Mi­nister [Page 126] were chosen Commissioners, and did sit and vote in the Assembly freely according to their judgement. 2. That the main end of the Commissioners Act and Letter sent to Presby­teries was meer tendernesse towards some men, who have given an evill requittall for it. The Commission upon some prior Pa­pers, finding some Presbyteries ready enough to have put sharp censures upon some, who hath been too busie sticklers against Church and State, to stop them and take them off, sent that Act and Letter for referring all their questions to the Generall As­sembly; But as for pre limiting the elections, not a word more or less in them. 3. Is not onely sundry unsatisfied with the Pub­lick Resolutions who were not within the compasse of that Order for citation contained in the Letter, but also some were con­stant continuing opposers, who were chosen Commissioners to the Assembly. 4. There was not so much as one mans Com­mission excepted against, let be rejected in the Assembly for be­ing unsatisfied with the Publick Resolutions; yea, on the con­trary, sundry most eminent opposers were not onely admitted to be members without any quarrell, but sate Moderators and Clerks of Committees, so long as they were pleased to stay.

REVIEW.

TO these things I do joyn first, That the Author for strain­ing of the Commissions Act, to make it comprehensive of as few he can, confines opposing to Publick Preaching, and active practising, to the hindering of people from going forth unto, or withdrawing them from the present just and necessary defence of the Land; but are there no more kindes of opposing but these two? What if a man after Conference had continued to pray against the Publick Resolutions, as a course of defection, or in private discourse holden forth the sinfulnesse of them, or wri­ten to the Presbytery or Commission that he was no more sa­tisfied then at the beginning, and before the Conference; would not the Act have reached these, and such as these, though they had not been Publick Preachers, or active practisers against the Publick Resolutions; we see not why the Author should draw it so narrow, [...] distinguend [...] est, [...]ilex non distinguit: the [Page 127] Act speaks indefinitely of all who after Conference remain un­satisfied, and continue to oppose, how then can he restrict it to two sorts of opposers onely, when there may be, and I know are severall other sorts. 2. Taking the Act as he expounds it, it doth at least as to these include a pre-limitation, by exclud­ing them in the elections, and these might have been many, be­cause there were very few who did once professe dissatisfaction with the Publick Resolutions, that by Conferences, or other means then used by Presbyteries, and Synods, came to be sa­tisfied; yea, there were not a few; who before the elections were conferred with, and yet did still continue to oppose. 3. I desire that it may be marked, That the Author grants that there were many in the Land who were unsatisfied in their judgements with the Publick Resolutions, beside these who did oppose and Act against the execution of them; by which many, he must mean many members of Presbyteries, and such as were in a capacity to be elected Commissioners to the Generall Assembly, otherwise it were not to the purpose; it is after wards cleared by himself, when he saith sundry such Ministers were chosen Commissioners, and sate and voted in the Assem­bly; and if there were many unsatisfied with the Publick Re­solutions, who did abstain from opposing (as he himself after­teth) and many who did oppose, by testifying Publickly a­gainst them, as (we have proven) it seems that the number who did approve of them were not so great, and that Presby­teries and Synods were not so harmonious about them as is of­ten given out. 4. That there is not so much as probability, let be good evidence for that which the Author asserts, that the main end of the Commissions Act and Letter sent to Presbyte­ries, was meer tendernesse to keep Presbyteries from censuring of some who had been too busie sticklers against Church and State: I give these probable evidences to the contrary: 1. These too busie sticklers against Church and State, by the Authors ac­compt, were very few, and in very few Presbyteries, but that Letter and Act was sent to all the Presbyteries in the Land, if it be true which the Author said before, that at that time there were four parts of five of Presbyteries that had no opposite to the Publick resolutions, there was no hazard of untender dealing [Page 128] there against too busie sticklers, nor could that be the scope and end that the Commission did propone to themselvs, in sending their Letter and Act to these. 2. Albeit I know that there were some in the Commission who did tenderly affect the op­posers of Publick Resolutions, and did study to keep stroaks off them, yet to make it appear that the plurality in their actings towards these who were unsatisfied with, and did oppose the Publick Resolutions were not led with any such tender spirit, as the Author here and elsewhere hints; I shal set down some Acts and orders of the Commission which are hinted at by the Author himself, under the name of some prior Papers: 1. In a Letter written from Perth, Jan. 16. 1651. They gave this Order, And further we do hereby require and exhort you to take no­tice of them, of whatsoever place or station, who do obstruct, speak against, disswe [...]e, privately or Publickly from the present Leavy, or who having a calling to speak for it, are silent there­in, and to make report thereof at the next Meeting of our Com­mission at St. Andrews, Jan. 21. and in their warning from Perth March the 20. after they have applyed many of the Characters of the old Malignants which are set down in for­mer Publick Papers of the Church, to these who were unsatisfi­ed with & did oppose the Publick Resolutions, and cited sundry of the Acts made for censuring them, they close thus: Therefore for execution of the foresaid Acts of Assemblies, &c. We do in the Name of God inhibit and discharge all Ministers to Preach, and all Ministers and Professors to detract, write, or speak against the late Publick Resolutions, and Papers of the Commission of the Generall Assembly, in order to the calling forth of the people; and we do seriously recommend to Presbyteries, that with all vigilancy they take speciall notice, and tryall of such persons within their bounds, whether such as have station there, or such as in this troublesome time, have their present residence, Ministers or others, and impartially to proceed a­gainst them as they will be answerable; and least this should not be effectual enough, as being but a recommendation, though yet with a certificate, therefore at the same time, they did send this particular following order to Presbyteries. Reverend, and welbeloved Brethren, finding that notwithstanding of our [Page 129] faithfull Warnings, and great pains taken to satisfie all men to con­cur in their places, for furthering of the Leavies, for defence of Religion, King and Kingdom, and all other our dearest Interests: many are so far from concurring, that they do very vehemently go about by Preaching, Writing, and perswading to the contrary to obstruct the Work; we do therefore require you, that you care­fully enquire in your Presbyteries what Ministers doth Preach, or otherwise perswade, contrary to our present Publick and publish­ed Resolutions, and that you proceed to censure such as are in your own number, and if any Ministers that travell among you, transgresse in that kind, let them not be permitted to Preach in your bounds; here is no great tendernesse, that would not spare so much as these gracious Ministers of Ireland, who were driven from their stations, and forced to retire to this Land, and some o­ther faithfull men among our selves, who were also necessitate to retire from their charges at that time; these were the travellers who could not be permitted to Preach, sundry of them being then Preaching in vacant Congregations in the West, and some in Fife, neither was the Commission satisfied with these things, but did also stir up the Civill Magistrate against them, as afterwards shall be made to appear from their own Warning and Remonstances. 3. consider the thing in it self; is it tender dealing to be taken out of the hands of a Presbytery, and to be brought before the highest and most publick Judicatory of the Church; the Apostle layes weight upon being reboked by many. Next, as the Author tells us that the end of the Commissions Act and Letter, was tender­nesse to some men, so also he tels us that there was not one word more or lesse in them for pre-limiting the elections: But what though the words be in them, yet if they do infer the thing by good and necessary consequence, is not the matter there? It is not much to the purpose, that sundry unsatisfied with the Publick Resoluti­ons who were not within the compasse of that order for citation, and also some who were constant continuing opposers, were cho­sen Commissioners to the Assembly, because some such were cho­sen in Presbyteries, which were wholly opposite to the Publick Resolutions, and some in Presbyteries where the greater part were opposite, yet not without dissents or Protestations, or double e­lections. The Author doth not well to say, that no mans Com­mission [Page 130] was excepted against, because of the Publick Resolutions; I told him before that the Commission of the Presbytery of Dun­kell was excepted against upon that accompt, and that the Com­mission of the first election in Glasgow was not onely upon that accompt excepted against; but after long and serious debate untill the Commissions Proceedings should be first tryed, which not on­ly refuteth what the Author saith, but doth also prove another thing, which all along he seems to deny, to wit, that the Letter and Act of the Commission concerning citation, did import these mens being excluded from being Commissioners to the Assembly, otherwise let them render a reason, why the objecting against them, upon the Letter and Act to cite them, should have enforc­ed the laying of them aside, untill the Commissions Proceedings should be first tryed, if the Assembly had taken it for granted, that it did not import this, they could not have admitted this as a rea­son to exclude them for an houre; That sundry most eminent op­posers were admitted to be members without any quarrelling, and to be Moderators and Clerks of Committees, the Writer gave the reason of it to be Policy, and I shal take in consideration in its own place what the Author answereth thereunto: But suppose all this to be true, will this make a free Assembly, or Vindicate the electi­ons from pre-limitation? The pre-limitation which is now in question is, that of the elections in Presbyteries, which would stil have been a pre-limitation of the Assembly, as to its constituent members, though the Assembly had condemned it, much more was it so when they did approve and allow of it; but of the ground of this mistake I spake before.

VINDICATION.

TO the two latter particulars something may seem to be said in that latter Paper; to the former that which is upon the second branch of the third Objection, though every citation doth not ex­clude a man from being chosen a Commissioner, or sitting as a mem­ber in a Generall Assembly, yet we think it will not be denyed that a citation in matter of scandall, in doctrine or manners, will or ought to exclude a man from being a Commissioner, or sitting as a member in an Assembly, and such was the citation appointed by [Page 131] the late Commissioners, viz. in matter of scandall more then or­dinary (in the judgement of the Commission) both in Doctrine and manners; Besides, it is unquestionable that all citations do exclude men from being judges in the matter for which they are cited, therefore though they might have sitten in the Assembly as judges in other matters, yet not in this; Therefore it followeth, that as to this particular which was the main, if not all to be hand­led, the Assembly was prelimited. Answer 1. To the latter part of this reply, I profess not much skill in the matter of legall exceptions, and constitution of Judicatories: but so far as common sense and reason can lead me. It seems to me a strange assertion that some few persons having opposed themselves to a course taken by a Judi­catory, intrusted with the Publick affairs of the Kirk consisting of men to that time judged faithfull, and still professing faithfulness therein, as in the sight of God, and accusing this Judicatory for that course they have taken, as guilty of defection, and destroyers of the Cause of Religion, if I say, these few men being cited to be tryed by a Generall Assembly, and consequently excluded from judging in that particular matter which is in controversie; the Assembly is in this to be judged pre-limited in that matter, al­though there be besides these excluded a competent number of mem­bers lawfully authorized: (For such we may suppose all the rest, to be for any thing that is said in this particular that we are upon the answer of) to make up a competent Judicatory, to cognosce, and judge upon the matter in controversie, according to the rule of Gods Word, and the Constitutions of the Kirk, which they are bound by their Commissions and oaths to judge by; I desire no proof of this, for it is principall clear and evident, exterminis, and the Writers assertion is no warr and to receive it for an unquestionable truth; I doubt not, but if the Writer shall assay to prove this, that he shall fall upon that same exception which the Remonstrants made against the Synod of Dort, that the most part of the Synod were their adverse party; having declared their judgement contrary to their doctrine; which was rejected as a null exception by all Orthodox Divines in that Synod.

REVIEW.

BEfore the Author come directly to speak to what is alleadged by the Writer, he seems first to answer by denying that there was any pre-limitation of the Assembly, even upon supposall that these men were by that Citation excluded from sitting Members thereof; But let us consider the Reasons of his denyall. The first is, that there were but some few persons opposing themselves to a course taken by a Judicatory intrusted with the Publick Af­fairs of the Church, consisting of men (till that time) judged faithfull, and still professing faithfulnesse therein, as in the sight of God, and accusing that Judicatory for that course they had taken, as guilty of defection, &c. although they had been but few, yet their Testimony against the proceedings of that Judicatory, as a­gainst the course of defection, notwithstanding of any thing that that Judicatory had formerly been, and was then professing, being true and clearly consonant to the doctrine and determinations of this Church, it was a pre-limitation of the Assembly, because of that Testimony to exclude them: But I have often told him, and made it to appear, that they were not few, but many. It is true, that the Commission till that time had been judged faithfull; but it is also true, that a great part of these to whom that Testimony was due, did with-draw from the Commission upon occasion of that defection, and gave open testimony against the same. And though some eminent men did abide with them, yet the plurality were such who had not been much conversant in, nor well ac­quainted with the Publick Affairs of the Church. The other part of his Answer is, that there were besides these excluded, a compe­tent number of Members lawfully authorized (for such as he sup­poseth the rest to be for any thing that is said in this particular, that he is now upon the answer of) to make up a competent Ju­dicatory, to cognosce and judge upon that matter and controver­sie, according to the rule of Gods Word, and the Constitution of the Kirk, which they are bound by their Commissions and oath to judge by. Yeelding all this, yet may there still be a pre-limi­tation, incase others no lesse in capacity to be chosen to sit as Judges, be excluded. If the Presbyteries by order of the Com­mission, [Page 131] shall exclude a great many of their Members in a capacity to be chosen from being Commissioners, though they send a com­petent number of others, is not the Assembly pre-limited in the e­lection of its constituent Members, even as if the Barrons and Burghs should exclude from their Elections many of their num­ber, in a capacity of being chosen Commissioners to the Parlia­ment, and yet send the ordinary number of Commissioners, would not the Parliament because of this thing be pre-limited in the ele­ction of its constituent Members? But in order to that which he saith of a competent Judicatory to cognosce and judge upon the matter, according to the rules of Gods Word and Constitutions of the Kirk, and of the exceptions of the Remonstrants made against the Synod of Dort: I desire him to consider first, of that which is said of Mr. David Catherwood, a witness that deserved well of the Kirk of Scotland, and whom (I believe) he will not except in this matter on his nullities against Pearth Assembly, and in his Tra­ctate against confused Communions, concerning competent Jud­ges in a time of defection, and of what is said of the same purpose, by the reforming Party in their Publick Papers in the year 1637. & 1638. to whose judgments, I believe, the Protesters will submit in the matter of a competent Judge. Secondly, that if the exception of the Remonstrants of the Synod of Dort had been this, that the Members constituent of that Synod had declared their judgments not onely contrary to the doctrine of the Remonstrants, but con­trary to the Word of God, and to the clear doctrine and constitu­tion of the Belgick Churches, it would in jure have been a rele­vant exception, and being true in facto, had sustained as well a­gainst that Synod, as the like exception against the Councell of Trent, which is to this day counted valid by all the Protestant Di­vines. Thirdly, let us suppose hâc eadem viâ, ac modo & metho­do, that the Commission had brought in the Prelaticall or Popish Party, as they did the Malignant Party, and had by-Presbyteries o­beying their order there anent, excluded all such from being Mem­bers of the Assembly as did bear testimony against them, whose number we shall also suppose to be as few as the opposers of Pub­lick Resolutions, and the number of the other as many as these who are for them; whether would this have been a pre-limited Assembly, yea or not, and a Competent Judicatory to judge that [Page 134] matter according to the Word of God and Constitutions of the Church? All these things being put together, make it to appear that the Writer hath brought in no such straits in the busines, as the Author supposeth.

VINDICATION.

SEcondly, To the former part of the Reply, I confesse that it is probable, that a man being cited to the Generall Assembly upon a scandall in doctrine and manners where the scandall is uncontro­verted, and already particularly determined quoad jus, or in point of Law, and the question is only about the fact, ought not to be cho­sen Commissioner to the Assembly, at least not to sit and vote untill he be tryed and judged; for I doubt, if he may not be chosen Com­missioner, if there be not some probable presumptions of the fact. But if the scandal be yet controversi & indeterminati juris, contro­verted, and as yet not a determined case in point of Law by the do­ctrine of the Kirk, I see not but a man cited upon such a ground, may be chosen a Commissioner to the Assembly, and sit and vote as a Member in other matters, except that thereupon he was cited; and do remember well, that upon this very ground anno 48, upon the putting off of some from the List to be Commissioners to the Assembly, who had been referred and cited to the Assembly for silence at that time, according to the direction of the then Commis­sion, exception was made by some, that such persons could not be chosen Commissioners, and consequently could not be upon a List. This motion was rejected by some judicious and pious, affirming indeed, that such persons could not well vote in the Assembly, until their matter was tryed, but that that reference could not hinder them to be upon a List for elections, and consequently not from be­ing elected to be Commissioners. Now, such was the case of the Citation in hand, it was upon alleadgeance of scandall, as yet con­troversi juris, as to any particular determination thereanent by the publick judgment of the Kirk, and therefore both the persons cited, and these that ordained them to be cited, were to be tryed and judg­ed by the Assembly, and for that removed in that particular, not only about the fact, but also about the matter Juris of Law. How­ever if this please not the Writer, let him answer what he will for [Page 135] clearing the order of the Commission 48, and it will serve as well the order of the Commission 51. As to any illegality relating to the Constitution of the Assembly; for upon the form clearly both were alike, except in what wil make for the advantage of the later, and as for the matter in both it was alike, as to the Generall As­semblies judgment at the time of the Protestation, and also in re­ipsâ, which we take upon us to make good.

REVIEW.

ALbeit this be more then probable, as appears from the con­stant tenor of the proceedings of Assemblies in the matter of Commissioners, which was intimated by the Writer, yet I am con­tent to take what the Author gives. He distinguishes betwixt a scandal, which as to the ground of it is controversi juris, & a scan­dall which is determinati juris, and makes the scandall of opposing the Publick Resolutions to have been only controversi juris, as to any particular determination thereof by the publick judgment of the Kirk, and thence infers, that the opposers of Publick Resoluti­ons might have been chosen, this notwithstanding, and admitted to sit as Judges in the Assembly, though not in this particular; and I offer these particulars hereanent: First, That by the Authors own grant, they are still excluded from sitting as Judges in that particular, and therefore as to a competent Judge in this particular, which was the main, if not the all of the Assembly, the Assembly was pre-limited. Secondly, That this was not a busi­nesse which was controversi juris, but as clearly determinati juris as any thing could be; I mean, that the opposing of the Publick Resolutions, was no fault, but a duty clearly determined by the Church of Scotland; I confesse, men may question any thing, even the clearest truths, but there is no case oftener or more clearly de­termined by this Kirk, then that of the unwarrantablenesse of joyn­ing in Counsel or Arms with the Malignant Party, for the defence of the Cause and Kingdome, and of the obligation that lyeth upon Ministers, especially to bear testimony against the same; and there­fore a notable injury was done, and a grosse pre-limitation com­mitted, by citing them upon that accompt. Thirdly, suppose it had not yet been determinati juris as to the publick judgment of the Church in an Assembly; yet as to the judgment of the Commissi­on [Page 134] and Presbyteries who did hear and obey them, it was determi­nati juris, and men were excluded from Elections, and cited to the Assembly there-upon, as upon a thing that was deter­minati juris: Therfore as there was thereby a pre-limitation in regard of these, who though they were chosen, yet could not sit in that particular, because of the Citation; so also in regard of o­thers, who were therby excluded from being chosen. 4. If this scan­dal was not (Determinati Juris) by the Publick Judgment of the Church, the Author would let us know why the Commission in their Warnings at Perth, March 20 by applying many former Acts and Remonstrances of Gen. Assemblies against it, do define it to be so: And what Warrant the Commission had by their trust from the Gen. Assembly, not only to declare the opposers of their Resolutions to be guilty of practices leading to encourage the hearts, and stren­then the hands of Enemies, in prosecuting their wicked purposes to make faint the hearts, and feeble the hands of Gods People, and to seduce their minds with devisive and separating Counsels and Prin­ciples, and thereupon, not only to require Presbyteries to censure them, but also to stir up the Civil Magistrate against them. Sure­ly, if the Commission did all this without any Publick Judgment of the Kirk (that is of former General Assemblies defining these things to be scandal) they did as to these things act without a Commissi­on, and without Authority, and were beyond their bounds, and led with no spirit of tenderness. The Author did a little while agoe seem to say, That the Commission had no power to cite or to cen­sure the opposers of any Resolutions made by themselves; and yet here he tels, that these things, as to the Publick Judgement of the Kirk, were controversi juris: And if so, they were as yet but Re­solutions of their own, and they had no power to cite or censure any, or to give Order to cite or censure any for opposing thereof. That the Publick Resolutions were controversi, and not determi­nati juris by the publick judgement of the Kirk: That the Com­mission had no power for citing or censuring any Opposing Resolu­tions made by themselves; That they gave Order to Presbyteries to censure and cite the opposers of Publick Resolutions, are things that I cannot reconcile. I wil not say but the Authors ingyne may find a shift, but if he extricate these things to the clear capacity of plain and ordinary understandings, is more then at present my weak [Page 137] eyes do see. As for that he tells us concerning the rejecting the motion of putting off of some from the List to be Commissioners, who had been referred and cited to the Assembly in the year 1648. I can say little to it, as not knowing it nor the circumstances ther­of. I beleeve it be an instance of a particular person in a Pres­bytery giving his judgment anent the listing of another, but when it is all granted it yeelds a great part of the cause, to wit, That these persons could not sit in the Assembly as Judges in that particular; And if I be not mistaken in my conjecture about the persons, I think I may say, if that judicious and pious man who rejected that mo­tion had been in any fear that these persons would be chosen, be­like he would have holden his peace, and sufferred the motion to passe uncontrolled. But the Author (if this please not the wri­ter) desires him to answer what he will for clearing of the Order of the Commission 48. and it will serve aswell the Order of the Commission 51. as to any illegality relating to the Constitution of the Assembly; because, saith he, upon the form both clearly were alike, excepting what will make for the advantage of the latter; and as for the matter in both it was alike, as to the General Assemblies Judgment at the time of the Protestation, and also in reipsa, as he takes upon him to make good. It seems that it doth not please the Author himself very wel, and I think it wil please the Writer much worse, because of the things which I have mentioned, and other things as weighty which may occur to him, as to that of the 48. I have already given clear answers for the writer, or rather vin­dicated his own, that there was a vast difference both in the form as also in the matter; and that both, as the Assemblies judgement at the time of the Protestation (unless they were not to admit the judgment of former Assemblies in these particulars) as also in re­ipsa, and he shall but lose his labor, and not be able to make good what he undertakes.

VINDICATION.

THat which may seem to say somewhat against the other Par­ticular (viz. That no mans Commission was rejected, nor any man chosen to be a Commissioner was refused to have vote in the Assembly upon that accompt, that he was unsatisfied with the Re­solutions) is in the Answer to the 3. Objection, Branch 4. First, [Page 138] (beside somthing that hath been answered already) he saith, Poli­cie taught the Assembly so to do: The votes of so few a number not being likely to prove so great disadvantage to the businesse, as the professed denying to them a vote would have done. Answer, If the Writer had used so much modesty and respect to the Assembly as to have said, That possibly Policy might have taught them to do this, or it may be probably thought it was thus, it had been somewhat tolerable: But I must say it is too much boldnesse thus to have said, positively, That Policy did teach them it. Good Sir, did you see into the hearts of men in the Assembly, to see this poli­tical design moving them to do this? Or can you bring a demon­stration from any evidence without, that their doing of it, did a­rise from no other principle or motive but this? But if it be so that they did it upon a political motive and end: yet if it was so really as none was rejected or refused, to have vote upon the ac­compt of dissatisfaction, that exception is to no purpose to the point. We are upon the freedom of the Assembly, which is to be measured by the acts done about the Constitution and managing of it, con­sidered according to the Matter of them, and not according to the Intentions and Moral Motives whereupon men does them. But the Writer does add two things further for Answer. 1. That the discussing and judging of the Commissions of these in Glasgow and Sterling, who were unsatisfied with the publick resolutions, were laid aside; because Mr. Rob Ramsay his Protestation against the Election, taken from their Dissatisfaction, could not be discus­sed, until these Resolutions were either condemned, or approven, which was in effect to exclude them from voting, because of not approving the Publick Resolutions; and this is so much the stron­ger, considering that it was refused to lay aside the Commissions of these that carried on the Resolutions until their proceedings should be tryed and approven. Answ. 1. Besides that Mr. R. Ramsay his Protestation was not against these of Sterling at all, so that it is impertinent to say, that their Commission was laid aside becaus of that Protestation: And besides, that the Commissions of others controverting with them, and pretending by as probable reasons their Commission as these, was laid aside also. It followeth not hence that they were simply excluded from voting, but suspended from voting for a time, and had not vote in that particular which might well had been without imputation of pre-limitation on the [Page 139] Assembly, as hath been shewen before. 2. The Consideration added for confirmation is very inconsiderable; because the Com­missions of these of Glasgow and Sterling were controverted in the very Election, and therfore their Commission could not but be laid aside untill the grounds of the Controversie should be discussed, that it might be seen whether they were orderly elected, or not; but these others had their Commission by Elections orderly and uncontrover­ted in the Presbyteries that sent them; yet neither were they to have vote in the matter of the Resolutions. What is said from the Exception made against their Admission to vote at all, given in to the Assembly, shall be answered afterwards. Secondly (saith he) it is to be considered, That the Assembly did sustain & approve the Letter and Act of the Commission for citing such as were unsa­tisfied, which was a real excluding of all these upon their dissatis­faction, at least from being Judges in that particular. Answ. 1. The Writer doth here, as all along this Paper, bear his Reader in hand, that the Commission hath given order for citing such as were unsatisfied indefinitly, which is contrary to the truth; for only such (as all means used, do continue in opposing) were to be cited, as is evident by the Act and Letter. 2 It is true, after tryal and examination of the Commissions proceedings, they did approve that Act and Letter: But did not the Assembly, 48. do the same in relation to the Letter and Act of the then Commission of the like nature? But yet further, Did not all Commissioners from Pres­byteries, who were unsatisfied (excepting such only whose Commis­sions were controverted in the very Election) were yet undiscussed, and were pleased to stay in the Assembly, sit and vote in that same very particular; I mean the Resolutions of the Commission, how then could they be really excluded from being Judges in that par­ticular wherein they really did sit Judges; or were any of them excluded after the Act and Letter was approven? If it be said, That the approving of that Act and Letter did import, that they ought in the judgment of the Assembly to have been excluded. I answer, 1. Yet though this may say somewhat, that the Assem­blies determination in this point de jure did not agree wel with that pre-ceding fact in admitting such Members to judge in that par­ticular, yet it saith nothing to the point in hand, seeing these Mem­bers of whom we speak did really and actually without any Letter or exception made against them Judg, not only in other matters, but [Page 140] also in that very particular. Thus much in answer to the first Reason against the late Assembly, and what is brought in that Pa­per for confirming and upholding of it: If it have any force Ma­lignants may think themselves obliged to the Protesters for tea­ching them, if ever they shall have power again, how to call in question and condemn their Assembly 48. yea, and if they find it make for their purpose, even other Assemblies too, even that Solemn Assembly 38. as unfree and unlawful, because of pre limitation in the election of Commissioners.

REVIEW.

THe Author here passing by a great and material part of the Writers Answer, to wit, That albeit all that were true, yet it doth not make void what is said for prelimiting the Elections by the Letter and Act of the Commission, because these were prelimi­ted in Presbyteries, by barring sundry from being chosen, who o­therwise were in a capacity to be chosen, falleth upon sharp censu­ring of him, for saying, That Policy taught the Assembly so to do. But I conceive that though the writer did not see into the hearts of men in the Assembly, yet he had reason thus to speak, because their admitting some of them to sit, was not consonant nor homo­genious neither to the Letter and Act for citing of them, which by the Authors own grant did infer the barring of them from sitting til their matters should be tryed; nor yet to the Assemblies aproving of the Letter and Act which did exclude them, which the Author also confesses; it was either great policy, or great simplicity that did lead them in so contrary and discordant parts; But as the Author els-where speaks, they were no children; neither was it so really that none were rejected or refused to have vote upon the accompt of dis-satisfaction, because as some of them were rejected de facto, to wit, the Commissioners of the first Election in Glasgow; so all of them were rejected de jure as we shall hear anone. It could not but flow from some strange principle, and be matter of wonder to the beholders, That at the same time, in the same Judicatory, some should be standing at the Bar, as rei, and cited to be tryed and jud­ged, and others no less guilty of the same Crime should be admit­ted to sit upon the Bench as Judges of that very particular. I be­leeve the Author shal not find many presidents nor paralels of such [Page 141] a practice as this in any well constitute and rightly proceeding Ju­dicatory Civil or Ecclesiastick; so that measuring the freedom of the Assembly by the Acts done about the constitution and mana­ging of it according to the matter of it, and not according to the intentions or moral motives upon which men did them: There is still reason to say, that it was not free, notwithstanding that some were admitted to sit and vote, who were unsatisfied with, and op­posit to the publick resolutions. As to that which he sayeth in Answer to the other two particulars: To the first of them I desire it to be considered. 1. That the impertinency is on his own side, when he saith, that Mr. Rob. Ramsay his Protestation was not a­gainst these of Sterling at all▪ because the Writer did not at all say in writ that it was so, or that the Commission of Sterling was laid aside, because of that Protestation; if he found it so written in any Copy, it had savoured a little more of cha [...]iry to impute to the inadvertence of the Transcriber, seeing no man belike of com­mon sense would bring in Mr. Rob. Ramsay a Member of another Presbytery, and in another Province, protesting against the Election of Sterling. 2. Not to fall on the debate of the laying of the other Commissions aside, which were controverted with them, not upon the probableness, nor improbableness of the reasons they pretended, as not belonging much to the busines which we are now upon. The Author doth yeeld much of the cause when he saith, It followes not hence that they were simply excluded from voting, but suspen­ded from voting for a time, and had not vote in that particular; because he yeelds these two things: 1. That they had not, nor were not to have (de jure) any vote at all in the particular of the Publick Resolutions. 2. That (de facto) they had not, nor were not to have a vote in any particular till that ex­ception should be discussed, and so are they excluded for a long time, and from many particulars. But when the exception is discus­sed and sustained, are they not wholly excluded, both de jure, and de facto, and cannot at all be admitted, unless we will bring in the Assembly going over the belly of what she hath presently found just and reasonable; neither is it so inconsiderable as the Author would make it, which is added by the Writer for Confirmation, but is very considerable to evince the pre-limiting of the Assembly. That which was added is this, and this is so much the stronger, if we shall consider that it was refused to lay aside the Commissions [Page 142] of these who had carried on these Resolutions in the Commission of the Assembly, until their proceedings should be tryed and appro­ven. To which the Authors Answer is, That it is not considera­ble, because the Commission of the one was controverted in the E­lection, but so was not the other; and because they were not to have vote in the matter of the Resolutions; but this doth not at all loose the difficulty. One of the grounds upon which the Com­mission of the one was controverted in the Elections, was, because the persons elected were opposers of the Publick Resolutions, and that ground aswel as others, did to themwards sustain as a relevant exception in jure to keep them from sitting and voting in the Assem­bly, not only in that, but also in any particular else, until it should be discussed; yea, some of the Commissioners were suspended from having a vote in any thing till that should be discussed, meerly and allenerly upon that ground, to wit, That Brother who was nomina­ted in both the Elections; Now was not to be the Author or A­better of the Publick Resolutions, involving a course of defection, being objected at the down-sitting of the Assembly, an exception as relevant in jure to bar those who were chosen by their Presby­tery, without any controversie in the Presbytery it self, from sitting and voting in the Assembly in any particular until that Exception should be tryed as the other was, though objected in the Presby­tery at the time of the Election. Let us take the Authors ground (to wit) That the matter was controversi, and not determinati juris, and let him or any man else vindicate it from partiality and pre-limitation, that exceptions being propounded hinc inde, he who carries on Publick Resolutions shall be admitted to sit in all other particulars, except in the trying and judging of these, and he who opposes them shall be suspended from sitting in any particular til these be tryed and Judged. On what he saith to the second par­ticular I offer, [...]. That the Writer doth not all along this Paper bear his Reader in hand (as the Author alleadges) that the Com­mission had given order for citing such as were unsatisfied indefi­nitly, because the very first time that he mentions the Letter and Act of the Commission he saith, That it was a Letter and Act ap­pointing, That such as after conference should remain unsatisfied with, and continue to oppose the Publick Resolutions, should be cited; and having thus once set down the true nature and extent of it, it was needless as often as he spake of it to repeat the same [Page 243] words, and was enough qualicun (que) modo to circumscribe it; therefore the Author doth more harm to himself then the Writer, when he taxeth him as speaking contrary to the truth in this. 2. That it helps him not to say, That as the Assembly 51. did ratify the Letter and Act of the Commission, so also did the Assembly 48. because of the many differences already established betwixt the one and the other. To which I shall now add this as to the point of Ratification, That the Act and Letter 48. was not contro­verted by any, nor any Elections because of it, nor any Excepti­on proponed thereupon against the freedom of the Assembly; nor indeed well could be, it being clothed with such circumstances as we have formerly spoken of which needs not now to be repeated; but in 51. it was controverted, and Elections therupon were questi­oned, and Exceptions thereupon proponed against the freedom of the General Assembly, which were rejected, notwithstanding of contrary circumstances wherewith the Letter and Act were clo­thed. 3. That the Author by yeelding, that the Assemblies ap­proving of the Letter and Act of the Commission (which he is ne­cessitate to yeeld because it was so) doth import, that notwith­standing Opposers did sit [...] yet they ought in the Judgment of the Assembly to have been excluded; puts himself to the disadvantage many waies. 1. Because the Assemblies approving simul & semel all the Acts, Warnings, Declarations and Remonstrances of the Commission against Opposers of the Publick Resolutions, did not only judge, that such by that Letter and Act ought ab initio to have been debarred from sitt [...]ng in the Assembly in that particular, but also in all other particulars, yea not at all to have been chosen. 2. This goes far to nullify the Assembly another way, because it ac­knowledges that de facto they allowed many scandalous men to sit as Members therof, who de Jure and by a Law approven of them­selves, ought to have been removed. 3. It holds forth a grosse contradiction betwixt the Assemblies Principle and their Practice, and so makes more then probable what the Writer said for admit­ting some to sit upon Policy and designs. 4. It holds forth a great solicism in the matter of Justice; that is; Socij criminis, to sit as Judges to give sentence on their complices, to wit, other opposers of the Publick Resolutions, who were cited, and now standing as rei before the General Assembly. All these things which the Au­thor hath brought in Answer to the first Reason against the late [Page 144] Assembly, and what is set down for confirming and upholding of it in the other Paper, being now fully discussed, I leave it to the Reader to judge, whether that Reason of the Protestation doth not still stand strong against the freedom and lawfulness of that Assembly, and how little cause he hath to say, That if it have any force, Malignants may think themselves obliged to the Protesters for teaching them, if ever they shall have power again, how to call in question and condemn the Assembly 1648. yea, and if they find it move for their purpose, even other Assembles too, even that so­lemn Assembly 1638. as unfree and unlawful, because of the pre-limitation of Election of Commissioners thereto. The Malignants are in themselves prone enough to evil inventions though they be not taught them by others, but I beleeve (themselves being Jud­ges) they had rather, as to the matter of constitution of Assemblies, and the interpretation of their Acts, be Disciples to the Authors and Abetters of the Publick Resolutions then to the Protesters; for they have there in a little time learned the way how (notwithstan­ding of all former Acts excluding them) to be admitted to all the priviledges of the Church, and to be imployed both in the Army and Judicatories, and by complying with the Commission to get an Assembly after their own mind for ratifying and approving all these things which would never have been taught unto them by the Protesters, who studies to hold fast the Acts of Assemblies in refe­rence to Malignants in the genuine and litteral sense and meaning thereof, and to prevent and oppose all corrupt constitutions of As­semblies, and that they may be composed of such as do adhere to former Principles, which being attained, there is no cause to fear that Malignants shall easily ranverse either the Assembly 48. or the Assembly 38. or any other lawful free General Assembly of this Church. I shal close this whol busines annent the pre limiting of the Elections, and the excluding of those who opposed the Publick Resolutions, with one sentence of the Britane Divines in the Synod of Dort, who in answer to the Protestation of the Remonstrants speak thus, Quae ratio reddi potest cur suffragiorum Jure priven­tur omnes illi Pastores, qui ex officio receptam Ecclesiae Doctri­nam propugnantes, secus docentibus adversati sunt, si hoc obtine­re nova dogmata spargentibus nemo obsisteret ne ipso facto jus om­ne post modum de illis controversiis judicandi amitteret.

VINDICATION.

WE go on now to the second in order of the Protestation, which is this; Because of the absence of Commissioners of many Burghs, as wanting free accesse because of the motions of the Enemy, in the order of the late Paper, wherein other reasons are added to these in the Protestation, this is set down in the 5. place and is cast in [...] with some addition to the matter, because as first proponed it hath not seemed fast enough thus: That cannot be a free Assembly, to which there is no free access and recess, but there was no free accesse to the Assembly by reason of two Armies interjacent between the place of the meeting and the dwel­ling of many of the Commissioners, and being pursuing one another very hotely, having their parties comming abroad every where at the time they should had come to the Assembly, and therefore ma­ny were absent about the one halfe of the Burghs, many Pres­byteries to the number of 9. or 10. neither was there free recess from it, not onely because of the former reason, but because the King and Committee of Estates did detain and keep under a kind of confinement, severall numbers thereof, at their returning to their own homes, having nothing, nor alleadging any thing to challenge them for, but their carriage at the Assembly. Answer, I must profess ingenuously, when at first I did read the Protestation, I wondred much how men, especially Ministers of the Gospell, ma­king so solemn and high profession and attestation as they do in this Protestation, viz. That they made one of the grounds contained there­in, as being desirous to be faithful in the day of tentation, and to exoner their consciences as in the sight of the LORD, could alleadg this as ground to disclaim the late Assembly, as not a free and law­ful Assembly of this Kirk. I confess my wondring is not a whit abated, but increased by this second propounding Argumentation of it. For first, As to the proposal of it in the Protestation, suppose that a good many Commissioners of Broughs and Presbyteries had been absent then: this might have been alleadged with some appea­rance of reason to show that the Assembly was not so ful in partibus integralibus, so numerous as could have been wished, yet with no co­lour could it be alleadged, that it was not free, legal [...] essen­tial requisit for the constitution therof, unles it could be demonstrat [Page 146] either that their absence was for want of timous advertisment con­cerning the time and place of it, which cannot be alleadged (the time being known by the preceding Assembly, and advertisment concerning the place having been given timously by the Commissi­on) or that there was some appearance that some in the Assembly might have been inclined to act favourably for the enemy, or that the enemy might have some influence on the Assembly to corrupt or pervert it, which I conceive the Protestors wil not say. I know that the absence of many Commissioners is alleadged as one ground anulling this pretended Assembly condemned at Glasgow 38. but it is as wel known that the absence of Commissioners was caused by untimous indiction and advertisment or some other internal cause, having influence upon the corruption of this Assembly. 2. It had been requisit the Writer of the last Paper had condescended namely upon these 9. or 10. Presbyteries absent; which had he done, I doubt but it would have been found that some of them were absent, because they had none to send, or were not Presbyteries existing at all at that time, as Orknay and Caithness. 2. It should be found that some of these Commissioners of Presbyteries came within short space to the place where the Assembly was sitting, and would not come for­ward to it, as for instance these of Hambleton. 3. Commission­ers came to the Assembly, between whom and the place of the As­sembly the Armies were as interjacent, as to those that came not; for did not Commissioners from Presbyteries of Mer [...]e and Tevi­dale, Galloway, Glasgow, West Country; yea, the Commissioners of the Presbyteries of farthest parts off lying that way were pre­sent, and that others came not it may seem to have proceeded out of negligence, rather then from a necessity: Why then should the Assembly be counted null, for the absence of such; it is known that Commissioners came not from Burghs, and yet Ministers came out of these same Burghs. So, if because of the absence of some Commissioners, for fear of the motions of the Enemy, or because of lying of Armies through the Countrey, the late Assembly be judg­ed unfree and unlawfull; Then, by as good reason must the Assem­bly in the time of James Graham his reigning and raging through the Countrey, be holden unfree; for as many, if not m [...]e Commissi­oners were upon that occasion absent from the same Assembly; then see here again how good friends our Brethren proves to the former Assembly, by devising arguments against the late Assembly, wher­by [Page 147] they plainly teach Malignants who were censured by this As­sembly, how to cast them as nul upon grounds of conscience. Sixthly, let the Rols of this Assembly, be compared with the Rolls of former unquestioned Assemblies, and it shall be found to have been more numerous and full, then sundries of them; yea, we know, that at the Assembly of Aberdeen 1650. there were but about twenty per­sons present, which notwithstanding is owned by the Kirk of Scot­land as a free and lawfull Generall Assembly, and it cannot be said, that any such excuse as this was made in that Assembly for the absence of any, and granting that the motions of the Enemy had hindered some, yet here being so inconsiderable a number in com­parison of this Assembly, these who were conveened, should not, nor could not lawfully be holden an Assembly, and gone about their du­ties. Seventhly, as for what was said about the want of freedom of recess, the first part is certain and clear in common sense, that if any Assembly may sit, or do sit out its time, and conclude freely, though there be danger to the Members in their recess, this can­not in any way reflect upon the constitution of the Assembly, how many Members of the Assembly in James Grahames time were there that had not safe recess to their own homes. For the other part of these Members spoken of here, had protested against, and declined the Assembly, and deserted (which the Writer wisely pas­ses in silence, and saies only they were returning to their own homes: as if for sooth the Assembly had been closed, or that they had taken fair leave before the close) And might not the King and the Com­mittee do all this? They say unto them, until they had been infor­med upon what ground they had come away so untimously without any imputation to the freedom and lawfulness of the Assembly: Did not the Commissioners of the States at the Assembly of Dort when the Remonstrants proceeded against, and declined that Synod, presently confined and charged them to bide within that City un­til they should answer unto the Assembly, without any imputation to the freedom of that Assembly. But again, the truth is this, upon the Protesters deserting of the Assembly, and going through the Army towards the West, the report was, That they had made a broil in the Assembly, and were come to trouble the Army, and hinder the Le­vies appointed in the said places, whither they were going: here­upon the King and the Committee required some to keep their Chambers til their carriage in the Assembly might be known. But [Page 148] so soon as the Assembly heard of this, they dispatched unto the King, who presently sent them all to their own homes, excepting that they did require such of them as were cited to the Assembly to return to it, and answer for themselvs (which yet I cannot say, was certain­ly done) without one cross word given to them. These things being considered, impartial judicial Readers will acknowledge that there hath not bin much ingenuity or conscience either in alleadging this reason for annulling the late Assembly, and cannot but think the al­leadgers themselves wil blush that here have propounded it for ju­stifying their own protesting, and hold it forth to others to induce them to joyn with them as a ground of conscience whereof they could not but exoner their conscience.

REVIEW.

THe Author ushers in and closes his Answer to this reason with a great deal of wondering, and many exclamations against the want of ingenuity and conscience in the Protesters, be­cause of alleadging this reason against the freedome and lawful­nesse of the Assembly; and he is so confident as to think, when his Answers are considered, not onely will his Readers be of one minde with him in this, but that the Protesters themselves will blush that they have proponed it: We have a proverb, That great words flyeth bairns; and so we may also say, Great words per­swades women and children, but men of reason and understand­ing will ponder what is said. Albeit the Protesters did not lay all, nor most of the weight of their Protestation against the Assem­bly upon this, yet they did ingenuously and conscientiously con­ceive, that there was weight in it, and do think so still, notwith­standing of all the Authors great words: I wish he had taken the Propositions of the Arguments as they lay, and answered them se­verally and distinctly; he doth not (so far as my weak decerning can reach) tell us his mind plainly and directly, either of the first or second Proposition of the Argument, but speaks directly onely to these things that are brought by the Writer, for confirmation of the second Proposition; and to that part of the first Propositi­on that relates to freedome of recesse; I shall first speak a little to the first Proposition of the Argument, and then to the application of it. The medium is none of the Protesters inventing, but hath [Page 149] been generally received and made use of by Divines, to prove the unfreedome of Councels where there was truth in it; as to the matter of fact, as appears first from the learned Review of the Councell of Trent, in which this Argument is cleared and con­firmed at large. Secondly, In the Book intituled Adversus Sy­nodi Tridentini restitutionem seu continuationem a Pio Quarto Pontifice indictam opposita gravamina quibus causae necessariae & gravissimae exponuntur, quare ea Electoribus caeteris (que) Imperii Principibus & Ordinibus Augustanae Confessionis neque agnos­cenda neque a [...]eunda fuerit. Which Book I do the rather cite, be­cause it doth contain the joynt judgment of many choise and fa­mous Divines and Lawyers of that time. Whoso shall be pleased to look either upon the Review of the Councell of Trent, or up­on these gravamina, as they are cleared and confirmed by these Divines and Lawyers, shall find this Argument cleared and con­firmed at large, and so much said of it, as would be tedious to transcribe. Thirdly, the Divines of Breme in the Councell of Dort answering to the Protestation of the Remonstrance, think it not enough to say, nullae hic vel insidiae struuntur, vel ullum peri­culum intenditur; but also adds, Quinimo securitas publica om­nibus ad accessum commorationem & recessum prostatur. As to the Assumption, I shall onely adde to what is said in the Protesta­tion and the other Paper for verify [...]ng of it; That severall Presby­teries, because of the tumults of these times, could not meet with­in their own bounds to choose Commissioners, but made their Elections in places far remote, as these of the Presbyteries of Edinburgh and Hadingtoun. Secondly, That many Ministers thought it not safe to stay with their own flocks, and therefore re­tired Northwards, some to one place, some to another. Thirdly, None could at that time travell safely on the South-side of Forth without a Pass from the English, which was not easie to be pur­chased, and could not be taken without suspicion; and therefore though sundry did hazard to steal through, yet some were taken prisoners and sent back, as sundry Ministers in the Presbyterie of Lithgow. 4. To say nothing of these many reproches that were cast upon, & many threatnings that were used against sundry of the op­posers of Publick Resolutions, by the Souldiours in their journey to St. Andrews, and in the place, and in their returning from it, all of them were before that time declared Enemies both to Church [Page 150] and Kingdome, and Laws made by the Parliament, and Acts issued by the Commission to proceed against them with punishments and censures; and doth not the Author in this his Vindication tell us, that therefore the Clerks Papers which he sent to the Assem­bly, were not read, least they should have inferred hazard and dan­ger to him; if then he had been there personally, and spoken the same things in the Assembly that he wrote unto it, which no doubt if he had been present, he would have thought himself bound in Conscience to do, he could not have done it with safety, and yet these were things relating to the Publick Resolutions. All these things being put together, do make it to appear, that accesse to the Assembly wes not safe, but full of hazard and danger. But I come to the Author his Answers, and in order thereto, desire it to be considered: First, That as the want of integrant parts sometimes may be so great, that it doth destroy the very being of the body; so, when a considerable number of integrant parts are wanting, it renders the body weak in its functions and operations, and drawes along with it many other inconveniences. I doubt not but the Author will grant, that the number of Commissioners coming to an Assembly, may be so few, that they cannot make a lawfull and free Assembly; as upon the other side I shall willingly yeeld, that it is not every want of Members constituent, that makes an unfree or unlawful Assembly, if either the one or the other should be denied: As two or three Commissioners might make an Assembly, so the want of two or three might unmake it. I think he will also grant that when many Commissioners are absent, especially not negli­gently, but upon relevant causes that it is not fit to adjourn it till another time, then to proceed to constitute themselves or act as an Assembly. So our VVorthy Reformers adjourned the Assembly 1568. from Decemb. 25. to Feb. 25. because many were absent by reason of the troubles of the time: and upon the same ground the Assembly 1569. was adjourned from February to March, from Sterling to Edenburgh. And if the Meeting at S. Andrews had been pleased to read and condescend unto the Supplication that was offered to them under the Hands of many Brethren for an adjourn­ment before their Constitution, there had been no cause for these Debates. 2. It seems to be yeelded by the Author, that wher it can be demonstrated that a good many Commissioners are absent, for want of timous advertisment, concerning the time and place of the [Page 151] Assembly, there is cause upon that ground to except against the Assembly, as not free and lawful. And the Assembly at Glasgow did put it above question for anulling the pretended Assemb. at Lithgo 1606 & that at Aberdeen 1616. And is it not equivalent to this, if by reason of external force Presbyteries after advertisment given unto them cannot meet and choos their Commissioners, or if those who are chosen cannot come because of force keeping them back, VVhat is the cause why undue advertisment of many Presbyteries and Bu [...]ges makes a nul Assembly? Is it not because many of these who are in a capacity to send Commissioners, are by an invincible impediment kept back from doing of it; and hath not this also place in the other case? If Presbyteries neglect to chuse Commis­sioners, or if they being chosen shall neglect to come, that alters the case and puts the fault wholly upon them who neglect their duty, but if they be k [...]pt back by violence from without [...]t is equal to their not being advertised at all, or their not being timously ad­vertised; or if they cannot chuse, or being chosen cannot come, to what purpose is the advertisment, or how can it put them in a worse case then if they had not been advertised, or not timously advertised. Though the Presbyteries of Orknay and Caithness be deduced, and others too which are wanting and have no Com­missioners to send: yet if the Author shal be pleased to consult the Rolls of the Assembly, it haply may be still found that nine or ten Presbyteries were absent, and thirty Burroughs if not above: for these of Hamelton who came afterwards to the place where the Assembly was siting, and would not come forward, as they came thither with hazard and difficulty, so did they not think it a duty to come forward, being convinced of the nullity of the As­sembly, which made them send their testimony against it; It is true that Commissioners came to the Assembly, betwixt whom and the place of the Assembly the Armies were interjacent, and from severall parts besouth Forth; but it is as true, that some comming from these places were taken prisoners, and that others offered not to come from home as being hopelesse to passe thorough the danger, bring so apparent and reall, which it seems the Author hath been somewhat convinced of, when he speaks so mincingly as to say that it might have seemed to have proceeded of negli­gence, rather then of any necessity: He tels us that Commissio­ners came not from Burghes, and yet Ministers came from the same Burghs, but that proves not that there was free accesse [Page 152] to the Commissioners of Burghs who stayed away; to say nothing that there was few Burghs whose Commissioners were absent, whose Ministers were Commissioners and came to the Assembly; I know not any Assembly so impeded and indangered in Ja. Grahams time; there was no Assembly that sate from the time of his invading the Land by the Irishes till the time of his defeat except one, and that sate in Jan. at which time he was not reigning or raging thorough much of the Country, but was forced to keep himself in the Highlands, and in the places of the Country lesse inhabited, whence few Commissioners were come: If the Author prove it, by bringing forth the Rolls ot both Assemblies, that as many were absent from that Assembly if not more, then it shall appear that he had just cause so to assert; but until that time he will give us leave to suspend our assent to the truth of this. He will stil have the Pro­testers to be unfriends to former Assemblies, and to be teachers of Malignants how to cast them as null upon grounds of Conscience; but the Protesters do disclaim them for Scollers, and so do they the Protesters for masters or teachers; and as there is nothing taught by the Protesters that can give them any just ground upon which to quarrell or cast the censures of that Assembly, so were it super­fluous for them now to be at the pains to learn it, seeing the Au­thors and abbettors of the Publick Resolutions hath eased them of the pain of this censure already, albeit the Rolls of this Assembly were more numerous then the Roll of some unquestionable Assem­blies that would not much help him, because absents from this As­sembly in many was not voluntary, but by want of free accesse, but so doth it not appear to have been in other Assemblies, and whatever the Author talks of the Roll of this Assembly; yet I be­lieve before they come to the ratifying of the Publick Resolutions which was their great businesse, they were but a thin Meeting, ma­ny of their number having left them, some out of discontent and dissatisfaction with their proceedings, and others fearing to be surprized by parties of the English: As to the Assembly at Aber­deen, in which there was but twenty persons present which not­withstanding is owned by the Church of Scotland as a free and lawfull Generall Assembly; it is so owned as that these who met being lawfully Commissionated from their Presbyteries, and ha­ving met at the time and place appointed for holding the Assem­bly, are accounted sufficient to adjourn the Assembly, and to pre­serve [Page 153] and Vindicate the Liberties of the Church against the en­croachments that then were made upon them by the King and his Commissioners: So I believe the Author will not say that these twenty could have proceeded to make Acts of Generall concern­ment to the whole Church of Scotland, or that if they had so done, these acts would have been authoritative & binding. What the Wri­ter speaks of want of freedome, in regard of recesse is not upon any emergent after the down-sitting or close of the Assembly, but up­pon causes known at the time when the Commissioners should have come from home, and therefore he doth not urge it as a re­levant Argument apart by it self, but joynes it with the want of freedome of accesse, and it is very agreeable to common sense for men to think that Assembly not free, to which there is no free­dome in comming to exoner their Consciences; nor any freedom in going after they have done it. He justifies the confinement of the Ministers of Sterline. In this particular at Sterline 1. He chal­lengeth the Writers passing in silence, these Ministers Protesting against the Assembly, but though the Author think this wisdome yet I hardly believe that the Writer did it upon deliberation, the thing being so manifestly known, there was no need to mention it; The Author asks the question, whether the King might not have confined these men, without any imputation to the freedome of the Assembly, untill he had been informed upon what ground they came away so untimeously. It seems that as the case was circum­stantiat, it could not well be done without an imputation of the freedome of the Assembly; may the King and Committee confine every one who comes away untimeously, untill they be informed upon what ground they come away, illud possumus quod Jure pos­sumus: But where is there such law, for censuring these by con­finement that come away untimeously from the Assembly; but it seems they were informed of the cause of their comming away, o­therwise his instance of the Commissioners of the Estates at the Assembly of Dort, their confining of the Remonstrants, and char­ging them to bide within the City till they should answer to the Assembly, after they had Protested against, and declined the same, will not make much to the purpose to justifie the confinement at Sterline, because that at Dort was not but upon certain knowledge and information of the fact, and if the King or Committee did know that these Ministers had Protested, how doth the Author insinuate that it was done untill they should [Page 154] learn upon what ground these Ministers came away, or whence had they their information, he tels us the truth is this: Upon the Protesters deserting the Assembly, and going thorough the Army towards the West, the report was, that they had made a br [...]l in the Assembly, and were come to trouble the Army, and hinder the Leavy in these places whether they were going: But to say nothing that he either wisely or carelesly passes over this, that they were going to their own homes, they having their charges and stations in the West: will he be answerable to his Readers, that what he hath told in this is truth, and nackedly told; I doubt he can, and that it be but a devised fancy, the very tearmes whereof seems to discover he vanity of it, and that he had told more of the truth, if he had said the information came from the place where the Assem­bly sate, and from persons who had an oversweying hand in it; I shal not contradict in what he saith: That so soon as the Assembly heard of this they dispatched to the King, who presently sent them to their own homes, excepting that they had required such of them as had deserted the Assembly to return to it, and answer for them­selves; which yet he cannot say was certainly done, till he may inform himself about it; I wil tell him somewhat in this particular that was certainly done, that I doubt he will be able to Vindicate from being some imputation upon the freedome of the Assembly, to wit, that whilest these Ministers were thus confined at Sterline, the Assemb. did cite several of them to compear before them at Dundee, and that notwithstanding that their confinment was not taken off, til the very day of their appearance; and that there was 40. miles di­stance between the place of their confinement, and the place where the Assembly sate; yet that same day did the Assembly, to whom (by the Authors own confession) their confinement was known, pro­ceed against them, and sentence them, some with deposition, and others with suspension from their Ministery; he may remember that they were cited to the [...] day of [...] being Tuesday; the same day did the King and his Army depart from Sterline, and not till a litle before his departure did he take off that confinement as can be testified by many witnesses; as to the Authors instance of the Commissioners of the Estates confining the Remonstrants at Dort, it doth not meet with the present case. First, because to say nothing that the Remonstrants of Dort had Protested against, and declined a lawfull Assembly, which the Protesters at St. Andrews [Page 155] had not done; neither yet to say any thing, that I can finde no such confinement in charge as the Author speaks of, put upon the Remonstrants in the Printed Records of that Synod; these Commis­sioners had certain knowledge and information of the matter of fact, but so had not the King and Committee of Estates. Secondly, because the Protestation and declinature at Dort was now judged, and found ir-relevant, and the Commissioners themselves being present, but not so in the other.

VINDICATION.

THe third Reason according to the order of the Protestation, and secondly in the order of the late Paper is this in summe: that the late Assembly cannot be counted a free lawfull Generall Assembly; because relevant exceptions being timeously proponed and offered to be instructed and verified against many of the mem­bers thereof; viz. Such of the late Commission as had hand in the Publick Resolutions, that they should not be permitted to sit and Vote in the Assembly, as being under a scandall, and guilty of pro­moting a course of defection, and untill such time as they should be tryed, yet it was refused to take any such exceptions into considera­tion, until they should be tryed and discussed. For clearing & confirming this argument, the Writer undertaks upon him to show 2. things: 1. That it was a thing incumbent in duty to the Assembly to have removed from their Meeting all persons under scandall (though some being known to them) untill they were purged thereof. 2. That the persons objected against were under such scandal as is al­leadged, for the former he alleadgeth first: That it is without con­troversie, and next he brings four things for the proof of it. 1. The light of nature, and the Word of God, but names not one passage of it. 2. Some clauses of both Covenants, the desires of the Commission 48 & of the solemn engagment that same year, & all the Remonstrances for purging of the Armies and Judicatories, even the late Papers given by this same Commission to the Parliament at Sterline, about the Act of Classes, for removing of scandalous persons from be­ing members of the Judicatories (It is good that the Writer yet even in this heat against the Commission finds something right in their Papers, but he tels not all the truth that he might have done here, in their Papers they held forth not onely scandalous, but po­sitively [Page 156] all such as were not qualified should be debarred from being members of Judicatories. 3. A rule and order set down in the Assem­bly 1562. to be found also in the Assembly 1575. 1580. 1581. and exactly keeped for above 20. Assemblies, and 20. years to order; viz. at the entry of every Assembly: The first work is to be about pur­ging the members thereof, and other men appointed be charged to declare their consciences, touching their Doctrine and life, and exe­cution of their Office, if therein they be scandalous, and it is appoint­ed, that any to whose charge any thing is said ought to be removed out of the Assembly, untill his cau [...]e be tryed, and if he be convict he can have no vote untill the Kirk find satisfaction. 4. That all the Assemblies since the late Reformation began 38. have upon the objection of scandal against any of the members in the time of the constitution of the Meeeing, removed these members untill it was tryed and discussed; yet in this sam [...] Meeting at St. Andrews upon the objection that the scandal of Blaketers, and others accessions to the unlawful engagement was not sufficiently purged by notification and approbation of their repentante in the Assembly, they were remov­ed from being members, and the Writer magno h [...]atu bids any man in the world bring a reason why some upon such exceptions have been removed, and others against whom were as relevant exceptions ad­mitted; for the other particular that the persons objected against were under a scandall of carrying on a c [...]urse of defection, he saith that it is manifest, not onely from common report, the first where­of is made Deut, 13.12. A ground of search, and the other a ground of proceeding against the incestuous person: 1 Cor. 5. we may see by this what doom the late Commissioners likely might have gotten, had the Writer of this Paper been judge, excommunication summary from this Church, and destruction by the sword from the Civill Magistrate, such considering the crime he charges on them, and the place cited is not on­ly hinted at (but blessed be GOD that so illwilled a Cow had so short hornes) But also from those four. 1. The stumbling and sad complaints of the godly against their Proceedings. 2. The testimonies and Letters of many Presbyte­teries bearing their stumbling and dissatisfaction with the same. 3, The clear standing Acts, Remonstrances and Declarations of former Assemblies, unto which these were diametrally opposite. 4. The testimony of sundry Brethren in the Assembly offering to prove it.

REVIEW.

BEfore I come to the discus [...]g of the Authors Answers to this reason, I cannot but take notice of a few interlud [...]s of his in repeating of these things which the Writer brings in for clearing and con [...]rming of it: First, these words of h [...]s for the for­mer, he alleadges first, that it is without controversie; and next he brings four things for the proof of it, the light of Nature, and the Word of God, but names not one passage of it. The Writer said not, that it was without controversie; but his words be these; al­beit (as we conceive) no great controversie will be about it: And although he had said, that it is without controversie, was it a fault to bring something for strengthening assent to the truth of it. That he named no passage of the Word of God was, because he took it to be lippis & tonsoribus notum amongst Christians, that an El­der should be blamelesse, and of good report. A second is, That it is good that the writer, yea even in this heat of disputation, finds something right in the Commissioners Papers, out that he tells not all the truth. The Writer desires not at any time to be so hot against the Commission, as not to acknowledge and commend what is right in their Papers and actings; and why should it be made a matter of challenge against him, that he tells not all the truth, seeing he had not to do with any more then he tells; his point was to tell, that the persons under scandall, ought to be re­moved from the Assembly, and not the positive qualifications to be required in these who are to be admitted to fit a Members. If the Author think that that can contribute any thing either for streng­thening what the Writer intends to prove, or for clearing of the Commission, he doth well allow it to be told. Thirdly, These words of his, The Writer magno hiatu bids any man in the world bring a reason: his magno hiatu are not words very beseeming that sobernesse and gravity that becomes a man of his place and parts, he may remember that he useth the like expressions himself; all the world (saith he in a certain place of his Vindication shall not be able to clear this from usurpation; and is there not need of as wide a mouth for the one of these as for the other. But that which is most observable, is the strange inference which he drawes from the Writer, citing Deut. 13.12. to prove that com­mon report is made a ground of search: 1 Cor. 5. to prove that it is made a ground of proceedings, we may see by this what [Page 158] doom the late Commiss. likely might have gotten, had the Writer, of this been Judge, Excommunication summarly from [...]his Church and destruction by the Sword from the Civill Magistrate, consi­dering the crime he charges on them, and the place cited is not onely hinted at, (but blessed be God that so ill-willed a Cow had so short horns) but also from the 2. Thess. 3.11. The Author told us above, that he is not given to be jealous, but this favours too too much of jealousie, and of the want of Charity, which thinketh not evill. I would fain know from what Topick he wil (from all that the Writer hath said) frame a probable argument, that it is like, that if the Writer were Judge, the Commissioners doom would be sum­mar Excommunication from this Church, and destruction by the Sword from the Civill Magistrate: I know him to be a man that hath good ability in argumentation, but it will surpasse all his in­gyne, by any probable consequence, to infer this conclusion from the Writers citing of these places of Scripture, to prove that com­mon report is made a ground of search and proceeding; and I am confident, that as he shall not be able to bring any probable evi­dence of what he hath alleadged, so also that it did never enter in­to the Writers heart to have such a thought.

VINDICATION.

THus far the Writer; So we have now before us at one view this Argument so operous and large, as full and strong as it could be made, to which a very short answer might be made; for all hangs upon this, that the late Commissioners were under a scandall of carrying on a course of defection, and this hangs necessarily upon the third particular last mentioned, which the Writer onely dictats magisterially we deny, which alone layes the whole argument in the hollow, and suspends assent to the conclusion thereof, untill the Writer shall in a new Edition follow out his Argu­ment, and make that particular good, which he shall never be able to do: But for clearer satisfaction to all honest Christians about this matter, we present this consideration in answer to this argu­ment. 1. The very like accusation & exception came into the Assem. 48, from the very Parliament, against the Members of their Com­missioners, who were Commissioners to the Assembly, and yet af­ter a long and serious debate, it was found (by none more then our present Protesters, and concluded that none of them could be re­moved from sitting in the Assembly, and voting in other matters [Page 159] untill their proceedings were first heard and tryed, when the Writer, shall shape an answer to justifie the Constitution of that Assembly, notwithstanding this that was [...]one, then we doubt not but it shall [...] the late Assembly; so we see that it is contrary to the truth which the Writer alleadgeth in answer to the first Ob­jection against this Argument, when he sayeth, that though it be true, that the Members of the Commission have been allowed to sit untill their Proceedings were tryed and judged, yet that is as true, that such Objections and exceptions being proponed, was ne­ver rejected. We have given a fresh and recent instance to the con­trary what he addeth there, viz. that since the late Reformation, there was no cause to propone such thing; the Commissioners til this year, having carryed themselves faithfully, we grant the former did carry themselves faithfully, and that there was no just cause of proponing that exception against the Commission 48; and we affirm, that the Commission 51, carryed themselves faith­fully, and that there was no just cause of proponing that exception against them which the Protesters made, but whether it was so or o­therwayes in reipsâ in the very deed it self, since both exceptions at the time they were made, were alike to the Assembly, and therefore (to borrow the word of the Writer we desire any man in the world to bring a reason why the one Assembly should be condemned for re­jecting such an exception before the proceeding of the persons ex­cepted against, were tryed and judged when as the other Assembly which rejected the like exception is maintained. But good Reader, look forward upon the Writers following of his Answer to the Obje­ction mentioned, and see a mystery, and judge thou, if it be not of ini­quity against all the late Generall Assemblyes of this Kirk; he tells us of an Act made anno 1601, and renewed 1648, and sayeth, that it doth necessarily infer, that the Commissioners of a former As­sembly, should not be admitted as Members in the succeeding As­sembly, although there be no scandall or exception proponed upon their proceedings untill they be tryed, much lesse when a scandall or exception is proponed. This is a fair blow, by one str [...]ak given to the late Constitutions of all the Assemblies of this Kirk, posterior to that Assembly at Glasgow, without exception, and most of all to the Assembly 48, for in all of them, Commissioners of the precee­ding Assemblies respective have been admitted to sit as Members, before their proceedings were tryed and judged, and in that Assem­bly [Page 160] 48, they were admitted to sit, notwithstanding exception being made against their sitting by the supream Civill Power of the Land. This is remarkable, that the Writer, to the effect he might pull down the late Assembly 51, he would put down all the rest with it. But the truth is, the Writer is somewhat rash in his assertion concerning the consequences of that Act mentioned, look the tenor of it as it is extant in the Assembly 48, Sess. 6. It sayth only this much, That the Commissioners of former Assemblies shall give an accompt of their proceedings in the beginning of the Assembly, be­fore any other matter or cause be handled, and their proceedings to be allowed or dis-allowed, &c. from which I confesse, this much may be inferred by one sticking precisely to the letter of the word, that after the Assembly is constitute, the handling of all other matters should be suspended, untill the Commissioners proceedings should be tryed and put to a point, during which tryal, the Commis­sioners that are members vi materiae, must be removed, because the same persons cannot try their own proceedings, but that they may not be admitted in any wayes to be Members of the Assembly, not so much as to vote in the Election of a Moderator, (which was the thing required by the Protesters) cannot be inferred from thence, if it were other wayes it seems strange to me, that that same Assem­bly 48, which did renew that Act, did at the same very time, admit the Commissioners of the preceding Assembly (sundry of the pre­sent Protesters, and amongst the rest, none more then the Writer of this Paper, and the suggester to him of this consideration, being chief actors in the busines) to sit as Members of the Astembly, be­fore their proceedings were tryed; yea, and to vote in sundry other matters during the time of their tryall; and that whenas there was exception made against them, but beside this retortion of the Argu­ment, which the Protesters are obliged to answer.

REVIEW.

ALbeit the Author is pleased to say, That the Writer shall never be able to make good, that the Publick Resolutions were dia­metrally opposite to clear standing Acts, Remonstrances, and De­clarations of former Assemblies, yet he, or some others in his room hath often made this good, out of these Acts, Remonstrances, De­clarations, &c. wherein the very contradictory of the Publick Reso­lutions, is clearly set down upon the very circumstantiat case of defending the Cause and Countrey against forraign Invasion; and [Page 161] therfore though there were no more to uphold the Argument but this, the conclusion thereof may safely be assented to, without any new Edition of the Writers in following his Argument: I am glad that the Author is brought to acknowledg, that all hangs upon this, and doubts that some of his friends who quarrell at sundry former Acts, Remonstrances and Declarations, as not knowing how to reconcile them with Publick Resolutions, approve him in this. He would remember, & others would be informed, that in the be­ginning of the Meeting at St. Andrews, this point was offered to be instantly verified out of the Records of the Church under the Clerks hand, who is general [...]y acknowledged to know them best of a [...]y, and was bound by his place and particular Acts of Assem­blies, to offer them unto them, and yet they could not be heard; and the exception being relevant in it self (as is acknowledged by the Author) and rejected when offered to be instructed: as to the matter of fact it is alike as if it had been proven, for it stands for proven in Law, as to the Judge who refuses to admit probation to be instantly produced ex actis suis. To his first particular answer I reply. First, That no like accusation nor exception came into the Assembly 1648, from the very Parliament (or any other) against the Members of the Commission who were Commissioners to the Assembly; neither after a long and serious debate was it found (ei­ther by our present Protesters or any others) and concluded that none of them could be removed from sitting in the Assembly, and voting in other matters, until their proceedings were first heard and tryed. There was in the Assembly 1648. no such accusation nor ex­ception, nor debate, nor conclusion, which is a short and clear an­swer for justifying that Assembly, and for vindicating the truth of that which is alleadged by the Writer in answer to the first Obje­ction, to wit, That such exceptions being propounded, were never rejected; and doth withal give a clear reason why the one Assembly should be condemned, though the other be justified; because the one Assembly rejected so releuant an exception, which the other did not, it being never propounded unto them. In all this business the Author is greatly mistaken, and (whether through mis-informati­on, or how I know not) doth assert that for a truth which never had a being, and therefore all his defences built upon it do at one instant fall to the ground. The story which as it seems he hints at in the 48. was briefly this▪ In the year 1648. the Assembly being [Page 162] met and constituted without any exception propounded or mentio­ned by any person or party whatsoever, against these who had been Members of the former Commission, and were now Members of the Assembly, after they had sitten five or six dayes, as is evident from comparing the date of their first Session with the date of the Papers after mentioned, the Committee of Estates (for the Parliament was adjourned a good while ere then, as is evident from the printed Acts therof) hearing that the Assembly were now gone a good length in the tryal of the proceedings of the Commission, sent in the Earle of G [...]encarn the Treasurer-Depute, and Archibald Sydeserf to the Assemblie with a Paper wherein they did desire, 1. That the As­sembly would be pleased to appoint some of their number to meet with such as should be appointed by the Committee of Estates, for composing of mis-understandings betwixt Kirk and State, and for clearing the Marches betwixt the Civil and the Eclesiastick Power, and these Questions which had been debated betwixt the PAR­LIAMENT and the COMMISSIONERS of the GEN. ASSEMBLY. 2. That they would be pleased to for­bear the emitting of any Declaration, either to this Kingdom, or the Kingdom of England, relating to the then Engagement and pro­ceedings. 3. That before the General Assembly did proceed to any approbation of the actions of the Commissioners of the former As­semblies, that in these things which might relate to the then En­gagement, and to these Questions that had been debated betwixt the Parliament and them, they might be first heard. In order to these desires there passed several Papers betwixt the General Assembly, and the Committee of Estates: But in none of these is there any Exception propounded by the Committee of Estates against any of the Commissioners of the former Assemblies, nor any desire there­upon, that they might be removed until these Exceptions should be tryed and discussed: But all the Objections and Exceptions they speak of, is, Objections & Exceptions against the proceedings of the Commission in reference to the Engagement, which though they were a good while waited for, and again and again desired, yet did not the Committee of Estates offer one tittle of particular Objecti­on or Exception against the proceedings of the Commission in the matter of the Engagement, before the tryal and approbation of these proceedings by the General Assembly, much less did they offer any Objection or Exception against the Members of the Commission, [Page 163] who were Members of the Assembly. The Committee of Estates did afterwards print and publish very sharp and reflecting Papers a­gainst that Assembly, and their Declaration, wherein as was pro­bably conceived, they had the help or some very able Ministers and Lawyers, and yet in all these they do not so much as once insinuate any thing of this kind that they did propound such an Exception a­gainst the Members of the Commission, who were Members of that Assembly, which doubtless they would not have omitted if any such thing had been: But if the Author will not trust none of these things, which if need were can be attested by many who were eye & ear witnesses therto. To the effect that there be no place for gain­saying in this matter, I have set down after the close of this Review, the true Copy of the Papers that past betwixt the Committee of Estates and the General Assembly at that time in that business, extra­cted faithfully out of the Registers of the Committee of Estates; a­gainst which no flying report that he hath heard, and taken impres­sion from, can bear any weight. That Mystery of Iniquity which the Author supposes to have found against all the late Gen. Assem­blies of this Church, is but a Mystery of his own very groundless and uncharitable fansie, wherein he may haply please himself, but brings no edification to his Readers, nor advantage to his Cause thereby: It were better for him to be exercised in discovering true Mysteries of Iniquity, which are nearer home, and as yet a vail to his eyes, then thus to stretch his ingyne and spend his time to find a knot in a Rush. But what is that Mystery? The Writer tels us, saith he of one Act made anno, 1601. and renewed anno, 1648. and saith, That it doth necessarily infer, that the Commissioners of a former Assembly should not be admitted as Members of a succee­ding Assembly, though there be no scandal nor exception propoun­ded upon their proceedings until they be tryed; much less when a scandal or except on is propounded. This saith the Author, is a fair blow by one stroke given to the late constitutions of all the Assem­blies of this Church Posterior to that Assembly at Glasgow without exception, and most of all to the Assembly 48. for in all of them Commissioners of the preceding Assemblies respective have been admitted to sit as Members, before their proceeeings were tryed and judged; and in that Assembly 1648. they were admitted to sit, notwithstanding exceptions being made against their sitting, by the Supream Civil Power of the Land. But if this be candid and con­cludent [Page 164] reasoning, I desire leave of him to discover another Myste­rie of Iniquity in his own words, before he close this purpose that gives as great a blow to all the late Constitutions of all the Assem­blies of this Church since the 38. none excepted; his words are these, I confess that thus much may be inserted by one sticking precisely to the Letter of the Act, That after the Assembly is consti­tuted, the handling all other matters should be suspended until the Commissioners proceedings be tryed and put to a point, during which tryal the Commissioners that are Members vi materiae must be removed; because the same persons cannot try their own pro­ceedings. But so it is, that though the Letter of the Act and vis materiae do infer these things, yet after the constituting of the As­sembly, Commissioners of all the preceding Assemblies respective since the 38. have been admitted to sit as Members of the Assem­bly, before the tryal and discussing of their proceedings: Therfore there is one Mystery of Iniquity in the Authors words, which pulls down all these Assemblies of the Church. What Mystery of Ini­quity imaginable that reaches unto the pulling down of the Assem­blies can be found in the Writers words, but this, That these Acts 1601. & 1648. do cross the ordinary practice of all these Assemblies in this particular, concerning the trying and discussing of the procee­dings of the Commissioners, or that the proceeding of all these As­semblies in this particular have not been agreable unto, but dissonant from the Rule holden forth in these Acts: And doth not the Au­thor yeeld, That both by the Letter of the Act, and vi materiae, that they ought to have been removed? But so have they not been in any of these Assemblies before the judging of their proceedings: Doth not then that Mystery of Iniquity work in him, as well as in the Writer? But he tels us, that it cannot be inferred from thence that they may not be admitted in any waies to be Members of the Assembly, not so much as to vote in the Election of a Moderator, which was the thing required by the Protesters (if he had dealt fair­ly he should have said, which is the thing inferred by the Writer; but perhaps he saw some disadvantage in that) be it so, That that inference cannot be made from thence, yet may this inference well be made from thence, That after the chusing of the Moderater they cannot be admitted to sit and vote in any business in the Assembly before their proceedings be allowed or disallowed, and that if they be admitted before that time, these Acts of the Assembly are clearly [Page 165] crossed and contradicted, which being done by all these Assemblies since 38. they are to be pulled down as null. When the Author shal extricate himself and his Readers out of this Mystery of Iniqui­ty, he shall also help the Writer how to clear himself of the other. The truth is, though there hath been some crossing between these Assemblies and the practice of the Assembly since the 38. both the one way and the other, by the sitting of the Commissioners of the former Assembly, not only till the Assembly was constitute and in the choice of a Moderator, but also afterwards in the debating and voting of other business before the allowing or disallowing of their proceedings; yet doth not this reach any blow to the constitutions of these Assmblies, because the Act of the Assembly 1601. till the year 1648. was almost inter non cognita, & non apparentia; yea, there was no cause to urge it, the Commissioners of all these As­semblies carrying themselves faithfully, and not being under any scandal or any exception therupon proponed against them. And al­beit things belonging to former order being propounded and urged (especially in cases of consequence upon the matter) cannot be past by, unless they be formally repealed; yet if through inadvertency or custom they come to be omitted, there being no particular emer­gent giving occasion to urge them, yet doth not this give any blow to the Judicatory wherein these forms should be used; neither doth he, who saith, that their own Laws prescribes such a form, prove guilty of any Mystery or Iniquity. But the Author insists, That the Assembly 48. which did renew that Act, did at the very same time admit the Commissioners of the preceding Assembly, sundry of the present Protesters, and amongst the rest none more then the Writer of this Paper, and the Suggester to him of this Considerati­on, being chief actors in the business, to sit as Members of the As­sembly, before their proceedings were tryed: yea, and to vote in sun­dry other maters during the time of their tryal, and that whereas there was exception made against them. I pass his rubbing upon the Writer of the Paper, and I know not that Suggester to him of that consideration, as being a thing ordinary to him in all this Debate, & yet little either for his own honor, or for the edification of others: I think these now are not ashamed to give their mutual help and a­sistance one to another either by suggesting or digesting as God hath gifted them, what may contribute for the defence of the Truth. But sure I am, though he may speak his fansie, and vent his reflecting [Page 166] conjectures that he neither knows who writ the Paper, or if any, or who suggested that consideration to him, or what their acting was in that business in the Assembly 48. If he shall take into considera­tion the circumstances of proceedings in the Assembly 48. which revived the act of the Assembly 1601. he will not need to think it strange that they did admit the Commissioners of the former As­sembly to sit & vote in other matters before their proceedings were tryed and judged, because the motion of reviving that act was not made till a very little time before the report of their proceedings by the Committee of the Assembly, to whom the inspection of the Commission-Book was committed: any who looks upon the acts of the Assembly will find, that the act 1601. was revived, and the Commissions proceedings approven both in one day, the one in the fore-noon, and the other in the after-noon; and I beleeve that he shall not find that in the interval betwixt these two Acts, any thing was voted in the Assembly. He insinuates, as if at that time there had been a debate about the removing of the Commissioners, upon exception made against them; but in this he is mistaken still: There was no exception made against them, nor any debate thereupon, as we have already cleared. If it be asked, what then was the reason of reviving the Act 1601. the reason was, because the Committee of Estates did the day before the report made of the proceedings of the Commission) desire that the Assembly would not proceed to the approbation of these proceedings before they might be heard in these things that did relate to the Engagement (as we have already shown) And the Assembly knowing that this was but a shift to gain time, and to devide the Assembly, as they thought fit to call the Committee, if they had any new Objections against the proceedings of the Commission, or only the same Objections made by the Par­liament or their Committees before; and upon the Reply of the Committee of Estates, that they had just and material Exceptions, besides any formerly made, to continue til the next day at 10. hours, and to appoint that time for hearing these Exceptions; so for pre­venting of the like inconveniences for time to come they thought fit to renew the Act 1601. But it wonders me that in all the Authors Answer to this point, he doth not so much as once touch upon the parity of the reason brought by the Writer for making of the Act in the Assembly 1601. and urging it in the Assembly 1651. there be­ing in both these Assemblies a scandal of defection upon the Com­missioners [Page 167] of the Kirk; upon the first, for taking upon them to give in Petitions to the Parl. for votes in Parlament to the Ministers that should be provided to Presbyteries, as representing the true Church of God, and being the Third Estate of the Realm; upon the latter, for taking upon them to bring in the Malignant party, which did not fal out (nor the like in any of the Assemblies since the 38.) and there­fore there is no reason to question the Constitution of these Assem­blies, for not proceeding according to that Rule, it neither being urged, nor there being any cause to urge the same.

VINDICATION.

IN the next place to come to a more direct Answer: It is certain, That every propounding of Exceptions or Alleadgance of scandals against persons, and offering to prove them, is not sufficient to deprive them from being Mem­bers of, or sitting in the General Assembly: for were it so, perverse and bold men might return and disappoint the Church of all Gen. Assemblies for ever: this the Writer of the late Paper acknowledges in answer to Objection 3. a­gainst the present Argument and therfore he proceeds to qualifie the Excep­tion which may be sufficient for that effect, by setting down three Conditions requisit in it, wherein [...]e speaks not altogether amiss, of which we shall make our use (we hope) for our advantage, having added a little before for further clearing. First then we humbly conceive, that as to the admitting to, or remo­ving from sitting in the General Assembly: of necessity there must be diffe­rence acknowledged betwixt Exceptions made in Presbyteries or societies, by whom Commissioners are chosen to a General Assembly, against the election of such or such persons, nominated to be Commissioners, and the Exceptions made in the Assembly it self against such as have been chosen by Societies from whence they came without, question, exception or contradiction, and have a formal and regular Commission; the former [...]l confesse being followed, and being presented, doth suspend persons from being admitted to sit as Members in the Assembly, until the exceptions be tryed, because it is as yet under que­stion whether they be elected and commissionated, which must be known be­fore they sit as men clothed with authority, clothed to judg, but the other cannot alwaies: I grant it may and ought when (as the writer qualifies) first the ex­ception for the matter prima fronte appears to be relevant in Law, an evi­dent, and undoubted fault. Secondly, that for the truth of the fact in appli­cation to the persons against whom it is made there be a scandal of some pre­sumptions for it if either of these be wanting (I cannot in any ways accord with the Writer in that alternative which he addeth in the second condition, or som offering to instruct and make it out; suppose the matter be relevant clearly in Law; for grant that, and still the abused consequence followeth of a ready [Page 168] way made for perverse and bold persons to disappoint the Kirk of all-Assem­blies for ever) if either (I say) of these be wanting, the exception is not relevant to remove persons from sitting as Members in the Assembly before the Ex­ception be tryed and judged; though it be true, that the Assembly being con­stitute, the exception and grounds thereof ought to be tryed with all convenient diligence and expedition which was offered to the Protesters in the present case and debate.

REVIEW.

I Do humbly conceive that the Author by distinguishing and diffe­rencing of exceptions made in the Presbytery, and exceptions made in the Gen. Assembly, and granting that the first doth exclude from sitting in the Assembly, but not the last, except where the ex­ceptions prima fronte, at least are relevant in Law, and that for the matter of fact, theirs being a scandall of some presumptions, doth but darken a clear businesse, because if we shall take the same exceptions, and in the same case they have alwayes ai [...]ke force to exclude persons nominate to be Commissioners, whether they be first proponed in the Presbytery at the time of the election, and af­terwards followed in the General Assembly, or not at all proponed till it come to the Assembly: All exceptions against Commissio­ners whether made in Presbyteries, or in the Assembly, may con­veniently be reduced to that compasse, as to lye in somewhat that concerns the Commission, as not being formall and regular, as the Author speaks; for if we take a formall and regular Commission in all the causes and requisits of it, it doth comprehend all these things against which any exception doth ly; but for the better under­standing of the businesse, it is to be considered, That almost all ex­ceptions against Commissioners ly in one of these, either because they are Commissionated by these who have no power, or because the elections was not free, or because the Commission doth not con­tain its due powers; or because the persons chosen are not capable to be Commissionated; now let us take exceptions of any of these kinds, or of any other kind that may be instanced besides these: have they not the same weight, being proponed primo instanti, in the Assembly, as if they had been at first proponed in the Presby­tery, and afterwards followed in the Assembly? Hath not every member of the Assembly liberty before the Constitution of the As­sembly [Page 169] to propone exceptions of all or any of these kinds, as well as any person in the Presbytery, or comming from the Presbytery, and is not the Assembly without reference, or appeal, or dissent, or Protestation made in the Presbytery primo instanti a judge compe­tent to take in and judge these exceptions being proponed; The Au­thor gives a difference, to wit, because exceptions of the first kind being followed and presented, put under question whether they be elected and commissionated, which must be known before they fit as men cloathed with Authority; but to passe that, it seems to be insinuate that the election cannot be questioned in the Assembly, if it hath not been que [...]tioned in the Presbytery, do not excep­tions of the last kinde put in question whether they be men capable of authority, and is it not as relevant to exclude a man from being a judge, that he is not capable to receive authority, as that no authority hath been given him: That he is not capable to be elected, as that he is not elected, that he is not rightly Commissio­nated, as that he is not Commissionated at all; notwithstanding of this distinction made by the Author (which for my part I see little or no less of in this matter) yet he grants that exceptions, at least prima fronte do appear to be relevant in Law, and concerning which there are scandalls of presumption as to the matter of fact, are re­levant to exclude persons from sitting in the Assembly, till they be first tryed and judged, and onely denyes the third branch, to wit, That it is enough if there be some persons offering to make out what is alleadged; in order to which, I would first ask, whether upon supposall that at the time of the election, some persons of the Presbytery offered to instruct, and because of their not being heard there, had afterwards come and offered it to the Assembly before their constitution, would it then be a relevant exception to exclude them from sitting till it should be first tryed and judged? If he say it would, then say I, it would also have been relevant, though it had not been proponed untill the Assembly, and if it be denyed? I would know the reason of the difference, if he say it would not have been relevant, then I desire it to be considered, whe­ther the offer of some persons undertaking instantly to verifie what they do alleadge; be not of as great weight as some presumptions of the fact, let be a scandall of some presumptions of the fact, which is granted by the Author to be sufficient, if the matter be relevant in Law: But granting this, he cannot see but still the abused conse­quence [Page 170] followes, to wit, the making a ready way for perverse and bold persons to disappoint the Church of all Assemblies for ever. Upon supposall that there were some occasion given hereby to fear such a thing, yet if another as evill a consequence do more probably follow upon denying this: That is remeadiless corrupting of As­semblies in their constitution; what shall be done in that case? That this consequence will follow, especially where the exceptions do concern many, and leading menare, is of a more common and uni­versall influence, appears, because if these persons be admitted to sit as members after the proponing of these exceptions, before tryall of them, there can be no regress to the removing of them after­wards upon that ground, unless we say that the Assembly may af­terwards undoe that which formerly they did approve, in for [...] con­tradictorio, and that those that were once found members, not­withstanding of these exceptions, yet afterwards by the same ex­ceptions may be found no members; that the one consequence doth more probably follow then the other, appears not onely from this, that it is not ordinary for men of common sense and reason, not al­most for the most perverse and irrationall men, to offer that to a Judicatory, against their constituent members, which they have no probable hope to verifie; but also from the doolfull experience of this Church. When did it ever fall out in the Church of Scotland, that a Generall Assembly was disappointed by perverse and bold men, offering to prove exceptions relevant in Law, but fals in fact against the constituent members thereof? who can give any instance thereof, unless men will bring the Assembly 51. (which is to bring the thing in question) for an instance: But upon the other hand, the admitting of men to sit against whom such exceptions were, or might have been proponed, hath been one of the main causes of corruptions of Assemblies, and defection in this Church, as is known in the time of the Prelates, and it is the duty of wise men to provide most against that which ut plurimum is their danger: But as I do not see how the last consequence by the Authors way, can be pre­vented, so I do not see how the first consequence doth follow, because these perverse & bold persons who propones the exceptions, & of­fers to verifie them instantly, doth not suppose that all the Meeting to whom they offer the exceptions are guilty; for if they did suppose that they could not propone any exceptions to be tryed by them, but behoved primo instanti to decline them all as judges, reserving [Page 171] the verification of their alleadgances to a judge competent. Now if they do thus, the Assembly is not disappointed by perverse and bold persons, offering to verifie exceptions, because in this case they do not make any offer of verification of any exception, before that Meeting; upon the other hand, if they do acknowledge a part of them as persons competent, and fitly qualified to try and discuss these exceptions which they offer to verifie, then the persons against whom they except being removed, and the exceptions taken in, and cognosced upon, according to the verification offered, they are found either true or false; if they be found false, the Assembly is not disappointed, but may proceed to its Constitution, having found their members blamelesse, and having stopped these mens mouths. If the exceptions be found true of such a number, with­out whom the rest cannot make an Assembly, there is a great ad­vantage in stead of a feared disadvantage, that is the prevention of a corrupt Meeting, constituting themselves in an Assembly; if but a fewer number, the corrupt are removed, and the blamelesse are admitted, and the Assembly goes on: Besides all this, it may by way of Commission, without any disadvantage to the Protesters cause be yeelded to the Author; that it is to be looked to that the Persons offering to verifie these exceptions be not perverse persons, but men of a good report, and such as are known to walk honestly, and not to act upon a Principle of malice or il-will against the per­sons whom the exceptions do concern, all which was true in the Pro­testers cas [...], they being sundry of them members of that Meeting, to whom it was incumbent ex officio to propone any exception con­sisting in their knowledge, and allowed to sit as Members of the As­sembly (a priviledge not belonging to pervers men) and all of them men of good report, & of a blameless conversation, and such as are known to be so far from malinging the Commissioners, against whom they did except, that they then had and stil have them in esti­mation, and do love them as brethren. The Author yeelds that the Assembly being constitute, the exception and grounds thereof are to be tryed with all convenient diligence and expedition, and al­leadges that this was offered to the Protesters in the present case and debate. That such an offer was made, I shall not contradict; I believe it was so, but to pass by that, even this which he himself thinks reasonable, though offered, yet was not well performed, be­cause most of the time that the Assembly sate, was past before that [Page 172] exception and the grounds thereof were tryed, these men all the while, and for a good many dayes, sitting and voycing in all things that past in the Assembly, even in these things that did concern the proponers of the exception: The Protesters could not accept of this offer, not onely because it did suppose their sitting in the Assembly as members before the trying of the exception, but also because the exception was not an exception against one or some few parti­cular persons in the case of some particular or personal scandals, but an exception of common concernment to many in things relating to the discharge of their trust in the Cause.

VINDICATION.

BƲt saith the writer in hand (both these were clear in the present case, to wit, the exception made against the late Commissioners, it was relevant in jure, if there be any relevancie why a man should not sit in the Generall Assembly, this certainly is one that he hath betrayed his former trust, hath made defection from the Covenant and Cause, and being instrumentall to carry on a course of defection throughout the Kirk and Kingdom, and as to the truth of the fact, in reference against whom the exception was made, all these did concur a flagrant scandall, pregnant presumptions and persons in the Judicatory, offering to instruct and verifie what was allead­ged) by this the Writer believes that he hath cleared as with a Sun beam, and gained his point, but we hope it shall be made to ap­pear, that he hath left the matter yet in the mist, and gained never a white. Its true indeed that for Commissioners to betray their trust, to make defection from the Covenant and Cause, &c. is in jure a relevant cause to exclude any man from sitting in the Gene­rall Assembly as a member, and deserves more (as I doubt not but the Writer, and some others intended the challenge of it against the Commissioners for more) but that the Commissioners for the mat­ter of fact had betrayed their trust, &c. There might have been and was indeed by some spread a flagrant scandall, but there was no flagrant scandall (these same who afterwards accused them in the Assembly) I mean presumptions objective by any thing they did though there was presumptions enough in some men against them, and as for some persons offering to instruct it, that is to little pur­pose to argue them scandallous, but the great sophism in this whole discourse (whereinto I will not determine, whether out of inanim­advertency or willingly the Writer hath run) lyeth in this, that [Page 173] the main and principal question de jure, which should have been clea­red to the effect that scandall might been justly charged upon the Commissioners, was not the Generall or thesis, whether betraying of trust or making defection from the Covenant and Cause, if it be such a fault as deserveth exclusion from sitting as a Member in a Gene­ral Assembly, but this particular hypothesis, whether the resolving that all persons in the land, excepting such as are notoriously &c. maybe admitted to joyn in Arms for just & necessary defence of the Kingdom, when otherwayes there cannot be Forces had otherways in warrantable prudence for defence of it, item resolving that the time of civill censures inflicted by the Parliament upon persons accessory to former malignant courses, as the sinfull Engage­ment, might be dispensed with and taken off by the Parlia­ment, with this provision, that none should be admitted to places of power and trust, but such as are qualified po­sitively according to the rules of the Word of God, in that case held in our Solemn Engagement, item ordaining Presbyteries to pro­ceed with persons formerly guilty of malignant courses, for admis­sion of them unto publick repentance, in a way conform to the rules set down by the Generall Assembly, for admitting of such upon te­stimonials from Presbyteries, bearing satisfaction given by them conform to these rules; whether these things (I say) contains defecti­on from the Covenant & Cause, & consequently doth import betray­ing of trust in a Commission intrusted with the care of preserving the Covenant and Cause; this is a question in jure, that the Writer should have alleadged to have been clear, I mean in the affirmative of it, ere he alleadged that there was upon the late Commissioners, a scandall of some presumptions, that they had betrayed their trust, made defection from the Covenant and Cause; but the Writer pas­seth by this in silence. Now, though we might say, and are able in the Lords strength to make it good, that these things contained not any defection from the Covenant and Cause, yet now we shall say but this, that this was not at the time of the Protestation clear to the Assembly, because as yet there was not any particular deter­mination thereanent in former Generall Assemblies, wherefore for further clearing of this matter that we are upon, the excluding the persons chosen by their Presbyteries without contradiction, to be Commissioners from sitting as Members in the Assembly upon al­ledgance of scandal against them, it should be observed by all honest [Page 174] and ingenuous Readers, that when the imputation of scandal upon them depends upon a particular hypothesis, which at least is questi­onable, and the very point of controversie betwixt them and their accusers, is against all reason and equity that they should be holden to be under a presumption of scandall, untill that hypothesis should be discussed and cleared, and therefore untill that be done, the Ad­versaries alleadgeance of scandall against them is to be held but a meer alleadgeance, which by the Writers own confession is not a sufficient ground whereupon to exclude persons from being admit­ted to sit as Members in a Generall Assembly, untill their cause be tryed and judged.

REVIEW.

I Shal pass the Authors interludes, of the Writers believing that he hath cleared as with a Sun beam, and gained his point; and of that he doubts not but that the Writer and some others did in­tend to challenge for more; and that there was a flagrant slander spread by some; and that there was presumption enough in some men; and come unto the discussing of that Sophisme (as he is pleased to call it) whereinto he will not determine, whether out of inanimadvertencie or willingly the Writer (as he alleadges) hath run. But let us hear what this Sophisme is; The main and principal question de jure (which should have been cleared (saith he) to the effect that scandal might have been justly charged up­on the Commissioners, was not the Generall or Thesis whe­ther betraying of trust, and making defection from the Covenant, &c. be such a fault as deserves exclusion from sitting as a Member in a Generall Assembly; but this particular Hypothesis, whether the resolving that all persons, excepting such as are notoriously prophane, &c. may be admitted to joyn in Arms for just and ne­cessary defence of the Kingdom, when otherwise there cannot be Forces had in warrantable prudence, sufficient for the defence of it, &c. If the right stating of the Hypothesis were the thing now directly in question, it were needfull to consider more largely of the Authors stating of it; but because it comes in on the by, I shall onely desire these few things to be taken notice of in the state of the question which he gives; first, That it doth suppose something untrue, to wit, That Forces (in warrantable prudence) sufficient for defence of the Kingdom, could not otherwise be had, unlesse all persons in the Land (excepting these included in the excepti­ons set down in the answer to the Quaere) were brought forth. [Page 175] If we may suppose, that Forces equall in number to those who were invading the Land, were Forces sufficient in warrantable prudence to defend the Land, that number, yea the double of it were to be found be North Forth, (to speak nothing of other parts in the Land, out of which there were also Leavies made both of Horse and Foot) though all the persons in question for their Malignancie and dis-affection to the Cause, had been laid aside. The Forces which by these Resolutions was leavied, were by the acknowledgment of all who knew both the Armies as numerous, if not more numerous than the Forces of the Adversaries, and yet the Leavies in many places was but the fourth Fensible man, and in few or no places beyond the third; whence it will follow, that either the two part of the persons in these places where the Lea­vies were made, were such as did fall within the exceptions con­tained in the Commissions Answer to the Quaere, or else that there was no such necessity of an universall coming forth, as was allowed in that Answer, and that therefore the necessity that was alleadged for imploying of these men who were formerly exclu­ded, was but meerly pretended. Secondly, That there were no such Items (as he adds) in the Commissions answer to the Quaere, which was the foundation of the Publick Resolutions, and the main thing in debate betwixt the Commission and the opposites of these Publick Resolutions; The first Item resolving, that the time of Civill censures inflicted by the Parliament upon persons accessorie to former Malignant courses, as the sinfull Engagement might be dispensed with and taken off by the Parliament, with this provision, That none should be admitted to places of power and trust but such as are qualified positively according to the rule of the Word of God in that case holden forth in our Solemn En­gagement, (To passe by the way of carrying of it, which was palpable and obvious to the whole Land) was not added until the Forces were almost compleatly leavied, and the bulk of the Ma­lignant Party brought into employment, and places of power and trust in the Army. The second Item, ordaining Presbyteries to proceed with persons formerly guilty of malignant courses, for ad­mission of them into Publick repentance, in a way conform to the rules set down by the Generall Assembly, for admitting such upon testimonies from Presbyteries, bearing satisfaction given by then, conform to these rules, was not at all included in the Com­missions [Page 176] answer, neither was there so much of it as one word in that large Warning of the 7. of Jan. 1651. emitted by the Commis­sion for strengthening of that Answer, and when anything of that kind in latter Warnings, Acts and Letters came to be added, was alwayes holden forth but as expedient, in order to the em­ploying of these men, but never was pressed in any of these Papers as a necessary duty to exclude all these from being employed for defence of the Cause and Kingdom, who did not give evidence of their repentance, according to the Acts of the Generall Assem­bly; nay, it could not be so pressed, unlesse they had destroyed the foundation which they had laid in their answer to the Quaere, and in that Warning. The truth is, what was done in the matter of repentance, in order to the employing these men, was upon the stumbling and out-crying of many against the Publick Resoluti­ons, as they came first forth, and yet so as the first ground was al­wayes holden fast as to the matter of judgment; and for practice, the businesse was hereby rather made worse before the Lord, and to the point of guiltinesse, then it was before; The Commission not only ranversing former Acts made by themselves for exclu­ding these from the Sacrament of the Lords Supper who were in the rebellion after Dumbar, till the next Generall Assembly, and making new Acts for receiving of them; but receiving promis­cuously such as came unto them, and by their example teaching Presbyteries to do the like, by which was produced a fearfull mocking of the Ordinance of God in publick Repentance, which no doubt hath been one of the provoking causes of the Lords wrath, to draw on these dreadfull stroaks wherewith he hath a­gain smitten our Armies and our whole Land. But to the hypo­thesis it self, granting to the Author that which he alleadges, that this hypothesis was not clear at the time of the Protestation, be­cause as yet there was not any particular determination therea­nent in former Generall Assemblies. First, I doubt of that as­sertion of his, That when an imputation of scandall depends up­on a particular hypothesis which at least is questionable, and the very point in controversie betwixt them and their accusers, it is against all reason and equity, that they should be holden to be un­der a presumption of scandall, untill that particular hypothesis be discussed and cleared, and therefore untill that be done, the adver­saries alleadgeance against them, is to be held but as a meer al­leadgeance, [Page 177] upon which they are not to be excluded from sitting as Members in the Assembly, until their cause be judged and tryed. I suppose that some Commissioners to the Assembly should object a­gainst other Commissioners that had comitted murder, and should offer instantly to verifie the same, and desire that the persons against whom it is propounded should be removed from sitting as Members until it migbt be tryed; and they in the mean time should say, that it was true, they had taken the life of such persons, but in their own just and necessary defence, and therefore they could not be holden under a scandal of murder, nor be thereupon removed from sitting in the Assembly, till that particular Hypothesis were first determi­ned: Would the Author think it a wrong done to these persons, or rather a duty in reference to the constitution of the Assembly to re­move them t [...]l the matter should be cognosced upon? 2. I do af­firm, That not only former Assemblies, but the Assembly 1651. did remove Commissioners upon Exceptions propounded against them, the grounds wherof was not yet clearly determined in Law; for instance, The Commissioners of the first Election of the Pres­byterie of GLASGOVV, who were laid aside (as for other Reasons, so also for this as one, in foro controdicto­rio, sustained to be relevant) because of the Exception of the opposing of Publick Resolutions propounded against them. Next, Mr. Robert Cauden Commissioner from the Presbytery of Dunce, was removed upon the propounding of this exception, that there were but three or four Ministers in that Presbyterie to chuse Commissioners, all the rest of the Churches thereof being vacant; and can any Determination of this Kirk be produced, that three or four Ministers in a Presbytery, where the rest of the Churches of that Presbytery are vacant, cannot chuse Commissioners to the Ge­neral Assembly. 3. I do upon the ground which the Author him­self laies down, prove the carriage of the Commissioners to have been scandalous, and such as did minister just ground of excepting against them, why they should not sit as Members in the Generall Assembly, till their carriage should be first tried: my Argument is this, Whosoever Commissioners of the General Assembly being in their trust and carriage in the Publick Affairs of the Kirk limited and tyed to proceed according to Acts of former General Assem­blies, does upon the accompt of the discharge of their trust, declare many godly Ministers in the Church of Scotland (till then of un­questionable [Page 178] integrity and faithfulness in the work of GOD) to be Malignants and unfaithful in the cause, &c. and requires Presbyte­ries to censure them, and to refer and cite them to the General As­sembly, because of their opposing of Resolutions taken and issued by them, concerning which there is no particular Determination in any former Assembly: They give scandal and offence in the discharge of their trust, and may justly because thereof be excepted against, as not fit to sit in the General Assembly as Members thereof, before their carriage be tryed: But the Commissioners of the Assembly 1651. who were Members of the Commission, were such; Ergo, &c. The assumption is clear, the matters of fact contained therein being evident from their own Papers, and that they were not war­ranted by any Act of the Assembly so to do; is the Authors own ground. The first Proposition I prove thus: Whosoever so far transgresses the bounds of their Commission, as upon the accompt thereof, to declare many formerly faithful, to be Malignants, un­faithful, and ordains them to be censured and cited, when they have no warrant thereby so to do, gives scandal and offence in the dis­charge of their trust: But the Commissioners by so doing did so far transgress the bounds of their Commission, &c. Ergo what the Author will here answer I do not well know; But I would faine have him to tel a reason why the Commission dealt so sharply with many godly men, as to issue such Declarations and Warnings against them, and to appoint them to be censured and cited, and to stir up the Civil Magistrate against them, because of their opposing of Pub­lick Resolutions; whilest, by his own acknowledgment, there was, as yet, no determination of the Church in favours of these Resolu­tions, or against the opposers of them: I thought it had been his mind that the Commission could not censure any, or ordain any to be censured for opposing Resolutions of their own, not yet deter­mined nor approven in a General Assembly; and I would have him to give a reason, why he accompts it against all equity that when the imputation of scandal against the Commissioners depends upon a particular hypothesis, which at least is questionable, and the very point of controversie betwixt them and their accusers (as he calls them, though unjustly, because they, as Members of the Assemblie, were doing of that duty which is common and competent to every Member of the Assembly, that is, to object what they know of scan­dal against any other Member, that the Assembly might be consti­tuted [Page 179] of persons rightly qualified) they should be holden to be un­der a presumption of scandal until that hypothesis be discussed and cleared, and why it should be agreeable to equity and reason, that upon such a particular hypothesis, which at the least is questionable, and the very point in controversie betwixt the Commission, and many faithful men, and some Synods, and not a few Presbyteries in the Land, should be holden not only to be under a presumption of scandal, but also such as did deserve to be publickly declared a­gainst as Malignant and unfaithful, and appointed to be censured and cited: It seems that whilst the Author reasons thus about his hypothesis, that what he gains one way he loseth another. I see not how by his questionable hypothesis he can defend the equity of the Commissions proceedings in their Warnings, Remonstrances, and Acts against these who were unsatisfied with, and did oppose the Publick Resolutions; and when he shall do it, I hope his own grounds shall help the Protesters to prove the equity and reason of removing Commissioners, even upon supposal that it was but a que­stionable hypothesis. 4. I desire to know of the Author, by what power, or in what capacity the Commission did look upon them, to determine this questionable hypothesis: as a Commission they could not do it, because there is no clause in their Commission that gives them power or warrant to determine any point of Doctrine not formerly determined by the Church of Scotland; but their Commission ties them in all things to walk according to former De­terminations, Acts and Constitutions of General Assemblies; and I think he will not say that by vertue of any other power or capaci­ty they either did it, or could do it. The Author hath by his own confession and ground, brought the Commission a greater length in the exercise of their power, then ever the Gen. Assembly did give to them, or (for any thing I know) did mean to give unto them, that is, To determine points of Doctrine of great importance and consequence; as to the security of Religion, and of the Cause and Covenant, not formerly determined by this Church in any of her Gen. Assemblies, & upon these Determinations to declare such as are unsatisfied with, and do oppose the same, not only to be censurable, but also appoint them to be censured: I thought if any thing had been the proper work of a Gen. Assembly this had been it. But more directly to the point: I do affirm that this Hypothesis, the Publick Resolutions determined by the Commission of the General Assem­bly [Page 180] 1650. and issued to this Kirk in their Publick Warnings, Letters, Remonstrances &c. do contain and involve a course of defection, was at the time of the Protestation clearly determined in former General Assemblies, because the General Assemblies of this Kirk had often before that time determined an association in Councel and Armes with the Malignant partie, even in the ca [...]e of the defence of the Kingdom against forraign invasion; to be sinful and unlawful, as will appear to any who shall be pleased to read the Declarations, Warnings and causes of Humiliations, and Publick Papers of this Church these years past; and particularly the Solemn Publick Con­fession of Sins, and Engagement to Duties; and the Declarations and Warnings issued by the General Assembly 1650 upon the Eng­lish invading of this Land: But these Resolution did involve such a Conjunction, because they did involve a Conjunction with all the Subjects in the Land, excepting these few included in the Excepti­ons contained in the Answer to the Quaere; but amongst these was the very body and bulk of the Malignant party, who are by these Resolutions allowed to be taken in and employed in the defence of the Kingdom, without any repentance or forsaking of their malig­nant waies, as a thing necessarily previous to the employing of them, and without which they could not be employed. These were the things which the Protesters alleadged and offered to verifie, not only the general, that the Commissioners had made defection from the Cause and Covenant; but that these particular Resolutions con­cluded and carried on by them, did involve a defection from the Cause and Covenant; this (I say) they offered to instruct from for­mer Acts of Assemblies speaking clearly and positively there anent; which yet were refused to be heard by the Meeting until they first should constitute themselves in an Assembly including these Mem­bers, against which the Exception was propounded, a greater im­putation upon their freedom then they will easily wipe off.

VINDICATION.

IT is known that the Belgick Remonstrance in the Protestati­on against the Synod of Dort alleadged a matter of Scandal a­gainst the most part of the Members thereof, viz. That they had made a Schism, and were Schismatick; The point de jure in thesi, That Schism was a foul scandal, and such as made them unfit to sit [Page 181] in that Judicatory as Members, I suppose was cleer, and the Re­monstrants brought many plausible Presumptions that they were guilty of it more plausible a great deal then this Writer al­leadges against the late Commissioners, they bring Particular instances of Facts, as keeping separated Congregations and Pres­byteries from the Remonstrant refusing to joyn in Prayers or Sa­craments with them: whereas our Writer alleadges nothing but Generals, offence of many godly, pregnant presumptions, men un­dertaking to instruct, &c. But here was a Question in Hypothesi, Whether it be a schism to keep separated Congregations and Pres­bytries from, and to refuse to joyn in Prayers and Sacraments with men that had departed in their doctrin from such and such Articles of the Doctrin of that Reformed Kirk as the Remon­strants had done? And therefore these Ministers accused by them, could not be held as under scandal of Schism, or Presumption thereof, until the Points in Controversie were tryed, Whether the Remonstrants Tenents were Erroneous, and of what consequence and importance they were; and until then, the Remonstrants Challenge of Schism against them could not be reputed but a meer Alleadgance. I know other things were Answered to this Reason of that Protestation by the forrain Divines from the Members themselves in Controversie betwixt the one and the other; but it may be evidently perceived in sundry of their judgments upon that Protestation that they had all one Eye to this that we have said. Hence is it that of the judicious Brittain Divines in the second Branch of their Answer to that Accusation, Constat haec Sy­nodus ex personis nulla censura Ecclesiastica notatis nullo publico aut legitimo judicio de Scismate convictis unquam aut condem­natis Protestatio autem Remonstrantium facta in contrarium vim, latae sententiae habere non debet. And that of the Nas [...]ean Divines Est veneranda & sancta haec Synodus Congregata in eum finem ut doctrinam Remonstranium propositam defensamque audiat, ad Dei verbum probe examinet de ejus veritate vel falsitate pro­nunciet eousque igitur sententiam de scismate ejusque authoribus suspendendam esse sentiamus. So say we, The many businesse of the late General Assembly was to Hear, Try, and Examine the Pro­ceedings and Resolutions of the late Commissioners whether they were conform to the Word of God, the Covenant, and Constitutions of this Kirk, and what could be said for, or against them; and [Page 182] therefore until then was the matter of Defection objected against them to be suspended. From all this that hath bee said, it is evident, That seeing the Assembly was to go about the Tryal of the Com­missions proceedings with all convenient expedition, it is no wayes a relevant exception against the Freedom and Constitution of the Assembly that they were admitted to sit as Members notwith­standing the Exception that was alleadged against their sitting: And as for the same Objection, it was so far from sticking upon the Protesters themselves at first, That Mr. Andrew Cant with the good-liking of all of them, so far as could be perceived, did put Mr. Robert Blair, and Mr. William Ret upon the List of Mode­ration; and sundry of them gave their Vote to Mr. Robert Blair To be Moderator, Let be to fit as an ordinary Member of the Assembly.

REVIEW.

THis Instance which the Author gives of the Belgick Re­monstrance in their Protestation against the Synod of Dort, is quite differing from our case in severall respects; First, The hypo­thesis that was in question betwixt the Remonstrants and the An­ti-Remonstrants, whom they desired to be removed out of the Sy­nod, as they were determined in the Confessions and Catechismes of the Belgick and other Reformed Churches; So did the Anti-Remonstrants which were Members of that Synod, adhere to these determinations, and were willing that their Doctrine should be judged thereby; whereas the Remonstrances did decline the Doctrine of the Belgick and Reformed Churches in their Cate­chismes and Confessions, and do require it as one of the Conditi­ons of the Synod, that every man should give his oath, that he should have no regard in this businesse to Confession or Cate­chisme, but onely to the Word of God, as appears from their own words, which be these; Ideo (que) quis (que) sub fide juramenti coram Deo sanctè praestandi promittat se non respecturum in hoc negotio ad Confessionem Catechismum aut ullum aliud humanae authori­tis scriptum scriptoremque, sed ad solam Scripturam quae pro solâ fidei norma haebetur. But the Commissioners of the Generall As­sembly, as they do deny their resolutions to have been formerly determined by this Church, and so upon the matter do handsome­ly [Page 183] decline to be judged in these things by the Acts thereof, as not being quadrant to their case: So do they cry out upon the opposers of Publick Resolutions, for citing these Acts so often against them, and for insisting so little upon the Word of God, which they call for as the onely rule whereby they will be judged in these things, to be determined by former Assemblies, so were they most willing and desirous, that they and the Commissioners in their judgments and actings upon these things, should be judged thereby. Second­ly, The Remonstrants did accuse the Anti-Remonstrants of Schisme, and as Schismaticks most unjustly, of which we shall give the reason in the words of the Brittain Divines then in the Synod; Quia ipsi remonstrantes recedendo à doctrinā cemmuniter recepta, initium & causatio hujus separationis exti­terum, nam veritas habetur, quod â primordio in Ecclesiâ aliquâ traditum & receptum fuerit, erpor reputatur quod postea induci­tur, donec habito legitimo examine & Judicio contrarium conclu­datur, quo etiam accedit quod illi dici non possunt a doctrinâ Re­monstrantium recessisse (quod in schismate praesupponendum est) qui illam nunquam receperint sed ab initio sibi propositam rejece­rint & condemnârint, (words worthy of observation in order to the whole debate upon the Publick Resolutions) but these who did except against the sitting of the Commissioners in the Gene­rall Assembly, upon their making defection from the Cause and Covenant, did it justly, because of their departing from the recei­ved Doctrine of this Church, and the bringing in of new and strange Doctrine in that point which the other offered to verifie. Thirdly, The thing which the Remonstrants did desire, was, That the Anti-Remonstrants should be removed wholly out of the Sy­nod, and be set to the Bar to answer as guilty of Schisme, and as Parties against the Remonstrants in this business; and hence are these sentencet of the Britain and of the other Divines which are cited by the Author, But the thing desired by these who excep­ted against the Commissioners, was not that they should be remo­ved wholly from the Assembly, or holden as guilty before tryall, but that their sitting in the Assembly might be suspended untill it were tryed whether they were guilty, yea or not, and therefore the Author in citing and expounding these sentences as he doth, hath not onely done wrong to the Protesters, but also to the constant received Order of this Church in the constitution of her Assem­blies, [Page 184] because if these sentences be exponed not onely against the removing wholly out of the Assembly, but also against the remo­ving of them for a time till they be tryed, then have all the Assem­blies of this Church followed a wrong method, who did ordina­rily upon exceptions proponed, remove sundry of their number, though they were not as yet convicti nor condemnati; and though they did suspend their sentence about removing of them wholly, yet did they not suspend their sentence about removing them for a time, untill the exception should be tryed, this being the very way established, and constantly followed in all the free and law­full Assemblies of this Kirk for keeping of her Assemblies pure. If the Author will not admit of the removing of any till he be con­vict, and will have those Divines at Dort so to be exponed, then let him tell us how he will reconcile them and our Church in this particular; But it is easie by the answer which we have given, so to do; yea, it is manifest from the whole scope of the business at Dort, that these Divines speak in order to a totall removall, which was never desired by the Protesters in reference to the Commissi­oners. But let us turn the Schene a little, and suppose that the Belgick Churches had chosen and sent to the Synod of Dort the Remonstrants as their Commissioners, and that the Anti-Remon­strants had been cited before the Synod, and had proponed as an exception against the Remonstrants sitting in the Synod, that they were under a scandall of erroneous and corrupt doctrine, which they did offer instanily to prove by comparing their Doctrine with the Doctrine of the Belgick and Reformed Churches in their Confessions and Catechismes, and thereupon desired that they might be removed from sitting as Members in the Synod, untill this exception were tryed: Doth the Author think that the rest of the Synod, would or could in reason have refused to grant this desire. From all these things I hope it doth appear, that not­withstanding of any thing answered by the Author, it is a relevant exception against the freedome and right constitution of the As­sembly, that they did before trying of the Commissioners procee­dings admit them to sit as Members of the Assembly, notwith­standing of the exception of scandall upon them timeously pro­poned and offered to be instructed. As for that which the Au­thor saith of the Protesters suffering Mr. Andrew Cant with good liking of all of them so far as could be perceived, to put Mr. Robert [Page 185] Blair and Mr. William Reate upon the List to be Moderator, and that sundry of them gave their vote to Mr. Robert Blair to be Moderator, let be to sit as an ordinary Member of the Assembly: I answer, There were many of the Protesters who had no place to speak in making of the L [...]st, as not being Members of the Meeting, and I believe, that these did give no token either of their good or ill liking of what Mr. Andrew Cant did in that particular: These who voted, though they would not refuse to vote in the election of a Moderator, as they did afterwards for some time in other par­ticulars, not yet despairing of some reasonable satisfaction to their desire of adjourning the Assembly, and that they voted to Mr. Rob. Blair, as one of the most pious, prudent, & peaceable of that way, there being none else upon the List, yet did they vote with a Prote­station; and though they had made no Protestation, the most that it would prove, were this, that from loathnesse to be heard, and hopes of satisfaction in a peaceable way, they went further with the Assembly, then adhering strictly to their right they should have done, and (I believe) a passionate desire of peace did also move Mr. Andrew Cant to put these men upon the List, though afterwards when it could not be obtained without prejudice to the truth, he saw good cause to Protest against the Assembly, as not free, and as unlawfull.

VINDICATION.

AS for the particulars contained in the Writers large prose­cution of this Argument, we shall not need to insist much up­on them, nor yet will we follow him in Answers to his Objections, onely somwhat briefly to some particulars; and first what is allead­ged from the Assembly 1562, 80, 81. First it had been good the Wri­ter had set down the very Acts, related in their full and formar words, that we might have seen, (for every one of us are not keep­ers of the Registers, nor have Copies of them beside us) whether they meaned all persons against whom any scandal was alleadged, should be removed even before the Assembly be constitute into a Judica­tory, which was the thing pretended by the Protesters, and because not done, was the ground of the quarrell; for we see not this by any thing that is brought here. Secondly, we suppose it could not be the minde of these Assemblies, that alleadgeance of scandals against [Page 186] persons, should be a cause to remove them from sitting in that As­sembly as Members altogether, unlesse the scandall were clear and unquestionable, for the point de jure, and so their appointment comes not home to our present case. Next, for the grounds brought to prove, that the Commissioners were under scandall of defection; first we grant that hearing of a common report may be a ground of enquiry concerning a matter of scandall; but this was not refused about the present case in question. Secondly, As for that cited from the 1. Cor. 5, 1. that proceeding ordered there, was an order to present c [...]nsure; so we may see that the Brother that writeth this, is of that minde, that the Commissioners upon that common report which he alleadgeth to have been passing upon them, should have been without more ado sentenced to censure, Good Sir, hold your hand, for my part I cannot wonder enough that he should have al­leadged from the Apostles words so generally without any qualifi­cation, that common report may be a ground of present sentence a­gainst persons, as he doth here certainly this ought to have been wel qualified and limited, otherwayes a wide door is opened to injustice and undoing the innocent and guiltless men; for, cannot one or two, or some few ill tongues spread an ill report of very honest men, and how easily shall that report become common, if that of the Poet be true, as it is most certainly,

Fama malum quo non aliud velociùs ullum,
Mobilitate viget, v [...]resque acquirit eundo.

Therefore a common report that may be ground of so short and summary proceeding, must be such as first is of a matter that in point de jure is clear and unquestionably a scandall. Secondly, For the fact in a manner universall, uncontrolled either by the party, or any that hath best and nearest notice of his actions, both were in that matter of the Corinthian, the matter was in jure clearly a hainous cryme, Incest, viz. having his fa­thers wife, and for the fact, the Report that had come to Paul was such as we have said, omnino anditur, as the Arab inter­preter marked by Beza hath it, passim & in tota achaia; and another interpreter on the same place in Marlorat q.d. Sine negatione sine tergiversatione non dubius est rumor sed res manifesta, passim cum magno offendiculo publicata. In the present case in hand, both con­ditions were wanting, the matter was not clear de jure in the main question of it; its report was not so common as the contradi­ction [Page 187] thereof. 3. the offence and stumbling of the godly, at the Pro­ceeding of the Commissioners might have been, and was indeed not given by these Proceedings of themselves, but caused and born up­on them by the information, and mis-representation of them, by some of the same persons who are the alleadgers and accusers, and will be made good before any impartiall judge in the world, by a right information and discovery of the Proceedings themselves, and of the practisings of the accusers against them, and therefore this can be no argument of the Commissiones being under scandal. 4. There were more testimonies by very far from Presbyteries and Synods for them then against them, and these testimonies given against them were really and in themselves scandals, tending most evidently to the exposing of the Kingdom and Cause to the power of the invaders, whereof the invaders themselves were very sensible, and for that cause were some of the testimonies sooner put in their hands then communicate to the Commissioners, and they in thankfulnesse was very carefull to cause Print them. The third particular is a poor mans argument, the begging of the very principal Question, and this very begged Question is the onely main sum of this whole Paper repeated over and over again, this the Assembly was to try and examine, and till it was tryed, a nay-say was good enough answer to this Affirmative. 6. The Brethren who in the Assembly offered to prove the alleadgance, were some of the same who had been chief in spreading the testimonies, and bearing the offence upon the godly, and had defamed the Commissioners, and were interessed to have had them noted as under scandall; its against all equity that for the accusation of such they should have been reputed scandalous, It was a word of Justice uttered by Haman otherwise wicked: Julian the Appostate, Quis innocens esse poterit si accusare sufficat.

REVIEW.

THe Author doth handsomely wave many things in the Writers Paper that are of importance, and I think his Readers will do him no wrong to take for granted in that Paper, what he doth not answer nor contradict: What is there set down clearly and at large by the writer out of the Acts of the Gen. Assembly, he turns off with a few words. 1. He tels us it had been good that the wri­ter [Page 188] had set down the very Acts which are cited in their full and formall words (because every one are not keepers of the Registers, nor have not Coppies of them beside them) that it might have been seen whether they mean that all persons against whom any scandall is alleadged, should be removed even before the Assem­bly be Constitute into a Judicatory: To which I Reply, that these Acts even in the full and formall words thereof were offered unto him & others at the Meeting at S. Andrews under the Clerks hand, and they would not do so much as daigne themselves to hear them, or to read them, or to collation them with the Principle Registers which they then had in their power, but are now delivered into the hands of the English, or dispersed, I know not whether. But are not the citations for the matter clear and home to the point? If the Author think there is wrong done in any of them; I believe if he will call to the Clerk of the Assembly, he may yet find the means to get him the double of the very words of the Acts asserted under his hand; It is true that every one is not a keeper of the Re­gisters, nor hath Copies of them besides us: But shall they not therefore be trusted who are keepers of them? or have Copies; It had been belike good for the Church of Scotland, that the Author & some others who have been so actively instrumental for the Pub­lick Resolutions had been keepers of the Regi [...]ters, or ha [...] had Co­pies of them beside them, then haply knowing these things more perfectly they should not have walked so crosse therto in their late Proceedings, nor have questioned them when they are cited. It is certainly a thing blame worthy in not a few Ministers of the Kirk of Scotland, that they are too great strange [...]s to the Acts of As­semblies of the Kirk, which is a fault so much the greater, because there was no lack of opportunities these 14. years to have acquain­ted themselves therewith, and to have had Copies of them besides them: The Acts are vailed with no such mist as the Author would cast upon them, either in the first particular which he mentions, whether they mean all persons against whom any scandall is al­leadged should be removed even before the Assembly be constitute; or in the second, that it cannot be meaned by them that alleadg­ance of scandals against persons should be cause to remove, unlesse the scandall were clear and unquestionable, for the point de jure, they speak clear & home, that at the entry of every Assembly their first work shal be the trying and purging of all their Members, and [Page 189] men are appointed to be charged in Gods behalf to declare their Conscience tonthing their Doctrine, life and execution of then Of­ficers, if therein they be scandalous; and that any to whose charge any thing is laid ought to be removed out of the Assembly, ti [...]l this cause be tryed, and that if he be convict, he may have no voice untill the Kirk receive satisfaction. Here is no distinction of que­stionable hypothesis, nor allowance to him to sit before the tryall of his cause, but when any other of the Commissioners to the As­sembly charges him with any thing, in his Doctrine, life, or exe­cution of his Office, he is to be removed till it be tryed: But saith the Author, it is not clear that this is to be done before the Assem­bly be constitute into a Judicatory, which was the thing pretend­ed by the Protesters, and because not done, was the cause of this quarrell. This is clear that they are to be removed immediatly af­ter they are charged with any thing, untill they be tryed, which was the thing refused by the Assembly) and therefore if the ob­jection be moved before the constitution, they are to remove be­fore the constitution of the Assembly. 2. It is clear that this is ap­pointed to be their first work, at the entry of every Assembly, and if any would say, That the Assembly must first enter by being con­stitute, I give these two things for clearing, that it is meaned be­fore the constitution: First, because this Act and practice which concerns the purging of the Assembly from scandalous persons is previous in time to the Act and practice of choosing a Moderator, as will be obvious to any who looks upon the Records: 2. Be­cause it hath been the constant practice in all the Assemblies of this Kirk from the very first Reformation, to propone exceptions of scandall, and to remove persons upon proponing thereof, be­fore the choice of a Moderator, as also obvious in the mind [...]s al­most of every Assembly, and cannot but be known to the Author, and all such as have been frequenting our Assemblies, and obser­ving the order thereof, and therefore the Author doth but seek out inventions to darken clear and manifest truths: To the answer which he brings to the grounds of proof brought by the Writer, as to the matter of scandall, I return these replyes: That by granting that the hearing of a common report may be a ground of enquiry, if he deal candidly therein, according to the meaning of the place cited by the Author, Deut. 13.14. It must be of diligent enquiry, for so it is expressed there, Chapter 17. v. 4. and 19.18. which [Page 190] imports that it should be an enquiry without delay, but this was refused about the present case in question, and notwithstanding of this common report, and objecting the scandall thereof in the Assembly, the enquiry was delayed untill the Assembly was con­stitute, and no more diligence was used in it, then if there had been no such report at all; he doth injury to the Writer, by labouring to bear upon him, and upon others, that he is of that minde, that the Commission upon that common report which he alleadges to have been passing upon them, should have been without more a­doe sentenced to censure. The utmost that the Writer all along hath pleaded in this hath been, that the Commissioners ought to have been removed till their carriage were tryed: But two grounds he layes to prove this to have been the Writers minde: 1. That the Proceeding ordered, 1 Cor. 5. 5. was in order to present censure, 2. That he alleadgeth the Apostles words so generall, without any qualification, I shall not stand upon the first, but the Writer not being upon the handling of that point, what common report, or how qualified, was needfull to be a ground of sentence, but onely shewing that sometimes common report may be so; he thought it enough to cite the Apostles words without qualifying of them, and if the Author will make this a ground of challenge a­gainst the Writer, he may make it against the Apostle him­self, for he sets down the words generally, without any such qua­lification, and the Writer doth not extend them to any other case then that of which the Apostle is treating: He only saith that com­mon report is made a ground of proceeding against the incestuous Corinthian, without making any application of it to the Commissions case, or saying that it should also be a ground of proceeding against them; if it be asked to what purpose then it was cited, the answer is very obvious and clear from the whole drift of the Writers discourse, which is to shew that the persons objected against, were under a scandall, and this he doth: 1. By shewing that there was a hear-say and common re­port of it, upon which the Scriptures layes so much weight, as sometimes to make it a ground of tryall: As Deut. 13. Sometimes a ground of proceeding, as 1 Cor. 5. It is true that the Scriptures doth not make every hear-say and common report a ground to ac­compt men under a scandall, or to proceed against them, other­wise honest men indeed might be in an ill condition, but the qua­lification [Page 191] of these things are to be drawn from the circumstances of the facts whereunto they are applyed, and of these we have spo­ken in the fact of the Commissioners, and therefore the Author in this particular doth but trouble himself and others without cause, yet must I say, that though for any thing I know or can be collected from the writers words, the utmost that he pleads for being a delay of their admission to be members of the Assembly, which could not be accompted a sentence against them, more than against o­thers, who were delayed upon exceptions to be admitted, that his meaning was not, That the common report that past upon the Commissioners, was sufficient to be a ground of present sentence against them, yet when the Author hath streached himself to the utmost, h [...] ha [...]h proven no good advocate for the Commissio­ners to exeem them from present censures: He tels us that a com­mon report that may be a ground of so short and summary pro­ceeding, must be such as first is of a matter that [...]n point de jure is clea [...]y and unquestionably a scandall. 2. For the fact in a manner universal [...]y uncontrolled, e [...]her by the p [...]ty, or any that hath best or nearest notice of his actions; in the present case (saith he) both [...]hese cases were wanting, the matter was not clear de jure in the main question of it, its report was not so common as the contradiction of it; But I say, the matter was clear de jure in the main question of it determined verbatim in former Acts of Assemblies; and the fact was not at all controverted or controlled by any, but taken with both by the party, and known and acknowledged by these that had best and nearest notice of their actions: The quality of the fact might be controverted, whe­ther right or wrong, which is a point belonging to the jus of it, but the fact it self was not contradicted, either by the Commissioners, or any other, and his omnino auditur; and passim & in tota achaia &c. and res manifesta passim cum magno offenaiculo publicata, as to the matter of fact was true of that which the Commissione [...]s had done; the offence and stumbling of the godly was not causeless & born upon them by the mis-information and mis-representation of the Commissioners proceedings, by some of the same persons who are the alleadgers; the Author there doth a double wrong to the godly in Scotland: 1. That he makes them to have stumbled without a cause, whereas there was very reall causes of stumbling given unto them, both in regard of that which was done, and for the [Page 192] maner of doing. That which was done was, employing of the whole Body of the Land promiscuously (a very few persons being excepted) amongst whom were many Malig­nant and dis-affected men, who had been formerly exclu­ded, and with whom the Lords people in the Land had lear­ned from the Word of God, and from the constant tenour of the doctrine of all the faithfull Ministers of this Church, to keep a di­stance as to imploying them in the defence of the Cause and King­dom; As this was a main occasion of contriving the League and Covenant, so is there a speciall Article therein relating thereto; the breach whereof was one of the speciall and main sins confest in the Solemn acknowledgment of [...], and the contrary duty, one of the main things to which we engage our selvs in our solemn En­gagement. It is true, that the Commission having done this, & find­ing many to stumble, did afterwards finde out some evasions and distinctions to save their own credit: but the contradiction be­tween their resolutions and former principles & proceedings, was primâ fronte so palpable and obvious, that men of all sorts, both well-affected and ill-affected, did see it so, as the one did rejoyce, and the other mourn; the Godly did not more stumble then the Malignant and prophane were glad, and both the one and the other as to the generality of them, did then, and do at this day a­gree in this, That the publick Resolutions are not agreeable to former principles and proceedings. There was cause of stumbling given also to the Godly in regard of the Commissioners their ma­ner of proceeding, because a Quorum very few moe of the Com­mission did lay the foundation of these resolutions, not only with­out the rest of their number, but also without advertising a great many of them: And so many being absent and not adverti­sed, they did in a day or two determine that most grave case, which had often before that time been determined in the nega­tive, and sent abroad their Determinations to Presbyteries, requi­ring obedience, and upon mens offering the grounds of their dis-sa­tisfaction, and professing their adherence thereto, till satisfaction should be given, did issue such Warnings and Acts as we have for­merly spoken of. I appeal the Author himself, whether at the time of the giving of the Answer to the Quaere, it was not known to the Commission, that many godly and faithfull Ministers and Professors in the Land, were averse from employing these men in [Page 193] the Army, and had great scruples about it; and that many Mem­bers of the Commission, who were not to be despised, had often pro­fest their dislike of it; albeit the matter had been lawful, surely there was great precipitancy and rashness in the first Resolution, which is acknowledged by sober men, even of the same judgment; but such was the zeal and forwardness of the Court, and of some Parliament men on the one hand, and the readiness of sundry of the Commission (who had before that time declared themselves for that way) on the other hand to hearken unto them, and the faintness of any that were present to oppose it, that hold was taken of the op­portunity to do it quovis modo, whereby real offence was given to the godly in the Land; Si quid importuna levitate, aut lascivia, aut temeritate non ordine nec suo loco facias quo imperiti imbecilles (que) offendantur, scandalum abs te datum dicetur, quoniam tua culpa factum fuit; ut ejusmodi offensio suscitaretur, ac omnino scanda­lum in re aliqua datum dicitur cujus culpa ab Autore rei ipsus profecta est: are the words of a great Divine, speaking of scandals very applicable to this case. Next he doth a wrong in making them so ignorant, simple and facile as in these things to be led away, with the mis-representations and mis-informations of others: Many of the most judicious decerning Christians in the Land were stumbled at the Commissions proceedings, upon the first hearing of them; & be­fore the Protesters did make either right or wrong Representations of them: I will not say but they were confirmed in the dislike of these proceedings, by conference with the Protesters & other Mini­sters of that judgment, as they also were mutually edified and confir­med by them, but that all the stumbling and dislike did arise from the suggestions and practisings of some or all of the same persons, whom the Author calls the Alleadgers and Accusers, is not true; yea, I dare say, that albeit all the Protesters, and all the Ministers in Scotland had been of one mind with the Commission in the matter the Publick Resolutions, yet many of the godly in Scotland would have stumbled thereat: It would have been in this case as in the bu­siness of the Treaty, wherwith many of the godly in Scotland were dissatisfied, notwithstanding that there seemed to be a harmony and consent amongst the Ministry there anent. That there were more Testimonies for the Commissioners from Presbeteries and Synods then were against them is no great wonder; multitudes commonly inclining to the worst side in the day of tentation, and they being [Page 194] but few who keep their garments pure: yet did not the strength of the Testimonies upon the one hand or on the other ly in the num­ber of the Witnesses, but upon the truth and clearness of their Evi­dence: what was testified by the opposers of the Commission was confirmed by clear Evidence from the constant Doctrine of this Church grounded upon the Word of God, and set down in the Co­venant and Solemn Acknowledgment of Sins, and Engagement to Duties, and Publick Warnings, Declarations, Remonstrances, &c. but not so much as a tittle of these for Evidence on the other side. It is acknowledged by the Author himself, That the Publick Reso­lutions was a case not formerly determined by any Publick Judge­ment of this Kirk, and if so there could no evidence be brought from the Doctrine of this Church for clearing and confirming of these Resolutions. The Author is pleased to call the Testimonies given against the Publick Resolutions, really and in themselves Scandals, tending most evidently to the exposing of the Kingdom and of the Cause to the power of the Invaders: He was pleased a little above to call them Slanders, and so all the godly in Scotland who speak against these Resolutions are upon his accompt Slanderers. But these Testimonies, were neither Slanders, nor Scandals, they did contain real Truths, and were Duties to which the givers of them were obliged in a backsliding time for de­livering of their own souls, and preserving the Cause of God from being overborn with a spate of defection; and though in many things they acknowledge themselves to be amongst the most sinful, yet in this they were so far from exposing of the Kingdom & Cause to the power of the Invaders, that they hold themselves bound to bless the Lord while they live who gave them mercy to be kept free from that carnal sinful course that did provoke the Lord to give so great a stroak to the Kingdom and the Cause, in those dreadful Rods wherewith he hath smitten us since these Resolutions. What was the sense that the Invaders themselves had of this, I do not well know, but this it's like enough they rejoyced in our Divisions: But it was not the opposing of the Publick Resolutions wherein they did directly rejoyce: Nothing from us-ward would have been matter of so great terror to them, as to have seen us unani­mous in separating from, and opposing of all Malignant Interests: As it was upon the other hand, the matter of their confidence and joy, that their former quarrel seemed to be justified by the Pub­lick [Page 195] Resolutions, which did so much strengthen and promove Ma­lignant Interests, if we may beleeve their own Expressions and Letters, written from some of the Chief of them to the Higher Po­wers in England. He tels us, That for that cause some of the Te­stimonies were sooner put into their hands, then communicated to the Commissioners; and they in thankfulness were very thank­ful, to cause print them. This is a crimination of no smal consequence to the Name and Fame of these of whom the Author speaks; and therfore if he had dealt candidly and spoken truth up­on perswasion and evidence, he should have told us of what Te­stimonies he meaned, and who it was that put them into their hands, that these men might have been noted & known. I doubt not but if he could have done it, he would have done it, seeing he spares not to put Imputations upon men by Name and Sirname, when he conceives himself to have any ground for it, and that it will bring any advantage to his cause. But whilest he would fain render some of the opposers of the Publick Resolutions, odious, and yet hath not ground upon which he can confidently do it: He speaks so indefi­nitly some of the Testimonies were put &c. neither telling us what Testimonies, nor by whom they were put in their hands, that if he be challenged for it, he may have a shift to make his retreit. But I doubt that this way of defaming his neighbors will be found straight before God. If I may conjecture of what Testimonies he speaks, it seems to be the Letter of the Presbytery of Sterling, for that, so far as I know, was the only Testimony printed by the English; and if he mean of that, he speaks untruly, when he saith, that it was sooner put into their hands, then sent unto the Commissio­ners; I can confidently assure him, and all others, that it was sent unto the Commissioners, before any copy of it was given, or sent to any who were not Members of the Presbytery; and I can as confidently say, That none of these had any hand directly or in­directly in conveying that Letter to the English: The man amongst them who was most slandered hath given me warrant to say, (and I trust that he will abide by it) That his conscience doth bear him record, that he was inocent of that, as of all things of that kind; and that to this day he knows not how that Letter was put into their hands, unless it was by occasion of intercepting the Copie thereof by the English, with Mr. Andrew Ker the Clerk of the Commission; his Servant who was sent over the Water to some [Page 196] of his friends unto Edinburgh from Perth immediately after that Meeting of the Commission, to which the Letter of the Presbytery of Sterling was sent. That the English did print these Testimo­nies is no great wonder: it is very like that they would print any thing that did hold forth our defection, and owning of the Malig­nant Interest. The Third Particular is in the Authors Judgment, a poor mans Argument: But poor men, through mercy, oft-times obtains more sollid discoveries of Divine Truths in a day of tentati­on, then the Learned and the Rich do: Neither is it yet a begging of the principal Question, because what was offerred in this, was offered to be instructed out of the Registers; and they who made the offer were Members of the Assembly, who in conscience and duty, and by the Acts of the Assembly which relate to the Constitution thereof (as we have already shown) were bound to declare their conscience, touching others who were called to be Constituent Members thereof in their Doctrine, Life and execution of their Of­fice; and for the point of that Interest it is the same thing that was objected by the Remonstrants against the Anti-remonstrants at the Synod of Dort; and by the Prelats in their Declinator 1638. To which we return no other Answer, but that of the Brittane Di­vines at Dort, Veritas communis Ecclesiae Thesaurus est, nec po­test ullo pacto fieri peculium, singularum personarum, Dei & Ecclesiae Publica causa est non sua cujus (que) quae in Synodis agitur. In the close of this discourse, as all along, he speaks of these who moved this Exception, as of the Commissioners Accusers, and cites that of Julian, Si accusasse sufficiat quis inocens erit. But that they weee not Accusers, neither yet to be called so, I have already shewed. Why should they be esteemed, or called Accusers more then others, propounding Exceptions against Constituent Members of the Assembly? neither was it ever desired that the propounding of the Exception should be taken for a verification of it; or to speak in the Authors language, That the accusing of them should be the holding of them for guilty; but only that the Commissio­ners should be removed from sitting as Members in the Assembly, till the Exception were tried; and therfore that of Julian can have no place in this case.

VINDICATION.

IT is alleadged by the Writer, That the same Assembly at St. An­drews upon the like exception and objection, others were re­moved from sitting as Members, as Blacketer and others, because the scandal of their accession to the unlawful Engagement was not sufficiently purged, &c. and he would have any man in the world give a reason why these were excluded, and not others, against whom were as relevant, yea more revelant exception. Answer. I think any man in the world that hath common sense informed of both Cases may give a reason, and may perceive that the Writer hath been rash when he hath wrote these words upon the like Ex­ception and as relevant, yea more relevant Exception: For Blacketer and others: 1. Their scandal was cleer in the Law. 2. They had been convicted of the fact. yea, 3. They had been actually censured, and were yet lying under the Censure. 4. A part of their censure was exclusion from being members of Kirk Judicatories. 5. There was one expresse Act of a Gen. Assembly, That they should not be liberat from that censure, nor be capable to be members of any in­ferior Kirk-Judicature until their satisfaction should be first no­tified unto, and approven by a Gen. Assembly. Now let any man in the world tell me if the exception against the one and the other was alike, or if there was more relevancy in the exception against the Commissioners, then in the exception against these for their Ex­clusion from being Members: the matter of Exception might haply (considered in abstracto,) be of greater importance, but we speak now of the exception in relation to Persons and Circum­stances as it is to have effect or not, to have effect upon the Judge for Censuring and Noting, or not Censuring and Noting the Persons.

REVIEW.

THe Author in Answering the Instance concerning Blacketer, seems to himself to have gotten a great advantage of the Writer his rashness; but though his advantage were as great as he takes it to be, in that particular, it would not better his Cause, because multitudes of Instances can be given from time to time in [Page 198] the Gen. Assembly of this Church, of removing persons upon ex­ceptions of scandal before any conviction of the Fact, or censure for the same; yea, in the same Assembly 1651 several persons were laid aside upon exceptions before any legal conviction or sentence past upon the Fact, as the Commissioners of some Presbyteries, who were protested against because of opposing publick Resolutions: And the Commissioners of the presbytery of Dunse, whose Case was not cleer in Law, neither yet legally found true as to the mat­ter of Fact. But let us see what it is that he hath gained in the In­stance concerning Blaketer. It is agreed on al hands, That Blaketer upon proponing of one Exception against him, was removed: the matter then is, To give a Reason why he was excluded, and the Commissioners admitted notwithstanding of exceptions proponed also against them. The Writer saith, No man in the world can give a Reason of it, seeing the exceptions on the one hand were as relevant (if not more relevant) then the other. This the Author opposes, That they were not so relevant: and he brings 5. Diffe­rences for proving of it, which may be all reduced to these Two, 1 That the scandal of the one Case was cleer in Law, but so was not the other. 2 That for matter of Fact, there was Conviction and Censure put upon it; but to pass that the Assembly did not give any the least intimation or hint that in excluding the one, and ad­mitting the other, they found these Differences of which the Au­thor speaks. I Answer, The scandal of the Commissioners Case was also cleer in Law, unless we will deny that the same Laws which condemned conjunction with, and imploying of Malignants for the time past, do also condemn them for the time to come, Tempora mutantur, et nos mutamur in illis: But Duties com­manded by God, and Covenanted by us; and Sins prohibited by God, and engaged against by us, are the same in the yeer 1648, and in the yeer 1651. As to the matter of Fact, if Blaketer was before that time particularly convicted and censured, this is indeed eatenus, a difference betwixt the one Case and the other: but the Author hath alleadged that, without bringing any evidence of the truth of it, and I beleive it shall be hard for him to do it. Some who are Members of that Presbytery, whom I have enquired co­cerning this businesse, do profess, That they do not remember of a­ny formal censure past upon him for his subscribing the band 1648, neither did the Assembly at St. Andrews at the time of the propo­ning [Page 199] of that Exception, give any intimation that they did remove him, because he had been already convicted and censured for that Fact: But the Exception being relevant in Law, and the Fact as to his particular concernment therein being alleadged by one of the Meeting, the Assembly did lay him aside until it should be tryed, without further enquiring of the business at that time.

VINDICATION.

WE said we would not follow the several Objections where­with the Writer meets, nor need we; only there is some­thing in the Answer to the Fourth Objection, whereto we shall speak a word: It being Objected by the Writer himself, or some other (it matters not by whom) That the Exception could not be taken into consideration until the Judicatory was first con­stituted, and a Moderator chosen, and that therefore it was not against the freedom of the Assembly, that they did refuse to fall upon it before that was done: He Replies so, as he would seem to fasten sundry points of iniquity upon the Assemblies carriage in this matter; if saith he, the Assembly had immediatly upon the chusing of the Moderator fallen upon the tryal of that exception, and removed these excepted against, it would not have loosed, though it might have lessened the strength of the Argument, but even after that they were allowed to sit as Members, and to be Judges in every thing else, many dayes together, before the Judg­ing of that Exception: nay, which is more, before their procee­dings were approven, they sate as Judges to give vote and sen­tence upon the very Exception proponed against themselves, the same being one of the principal reasons of the Protestation which were condemned before these prcoeedings were approven: yet that would not, saith he, loosed the difficulty, because the thing desired was not the trial and discussing of the exception instantly before the choosing of the Moderator, but that (as it was done to other Members excepted against) so these should be laid aside until the Assembly were constituted and take the same into Consideration: This the Assembly peremptorily refused, and permitted them to vote which was in effect to reject the exception, either as not rele­vant, or as false both which were absurd, the former would have been to contradict clear light of Reason: the latter had been to [Page 200] approve the proceedings before their tryal or hearing what was to be said for verifying the exception: Answer, we stay not much upon the objection, but especially what is said here to render the procee­dings of the Assembly odious like in this matter. 1. The Assemb. im­mediatly after the chusing of the Moderator, did fall upon the tryal of that exception, having set a part a Comittee for that very pur­pose to go about it with all diligence, & that the Comissioners did in the mean time sit & vote in the Assem. in other matters for sun­dry dayes, was, because the Assembly could not adjourn and be idle all the time that that Committee was to be upon that business, and it had been the constant practice of the preceeding Assemblies since 38. to admit the preceeding Commissioners to sit and vote in other matters during the time that their proceedings were under tryal and examination: yea, even when exception hath been made a­gainst them as is evident in the Assembly 48. Secondly in that which is brought in as an absurdity with a quod majus est, that before their proceedings was allowed, the Commissioners did sit as Judges upon the very Objection proponed against themselves, it being the principal reason of the Protestation, that containeth a a gross Paralogism which can beguile none but such as are too simple, and too willing to be beguiled, since in judging the Protesta­tion (whereof a reason was the exception against the Commissio­ners sitting in the Gen. Assembly before the tryal of their Procee­dings, Judgment was not given upon the truth or falshood of the thing contained in it, whether the proceedings of the Commissio­ners were right or wrong, contained in them a course of defection or not: but only, Whether the Assembly refusing to remove the Commissioners when it was alleadged against them in the way that it was alleadged, and before the alleadgance was tryed did any thing contrary to the duty and freedom of the Assembly, or if the Protesters did wrong the Assembly in declyning it upon that ground, now for the Commissioners sitting and voting as Judges in this matter, was no irregularity, or else the As­sembly 48. also was irregular, wherein as the Protesters may well remember, the Commissioners voted as well as other Members upon the relevancy of the exception given in by the Parliament a­gainst themselues; and the truth is, Their voting in that matter of the Protestation, being no other thing but that which we have said was no prejudice for their advantage in the matter of their [Page 201] proceedings for their alleadgance of their carrying on in their proceedings a course of defection at the time & in the manner that it was alleadged, might have been found a non-relevant exception, for their removal from being members before the tryal of their proceedings, and consequently the refusing to admit it as an Ex­ception to that effect a non-relevant ground of Protesting against the Assembly, and yet haply afterwards their proceedings might be judged to be such indeed as they were alleadged to be, without a­ny crossing and contradiction between the one Act and the other.

REVIEW.

THE Author studies in this place to take off some things al­leadged by the Writer in order to the proceedings of the As­sembly, but let us see how he doth it: 1. It is yeelded that notwith­standing of the Exception proponed against the Commissioners, they were not only admitted to sit and Vote in the choice of a Modera­tor, but also afterwards in every thing that came before the As­sembly for many dayes together before the trying of their procee­dings; yea, that before that tryal they sate as Judges to give vote and sentence upon the Protestation, one Reason whereof was the Assemblies refusing to remove them, till the Exception proponed against them should be discussed; for the defence whereof he al­leadges, 1 That the Assembly immediatly after the choice of the Moderator, did fall upon the tryal of that Exception: but as that was not enough, because by the Acts of the Assembly already ci­ted, and constant practise of Assemblies in the matter of Excepti­ons; Persons excepted against, are immediatly to be laid aside till the matter be tryed: So was it also defective in this, That during the time of the tryal, the Commissioners did sit and Vote in the Assembly. 2 He saies, That the Assembly could not adjourn and be idle all the time that the Committee was to be on that business: but could not the Assembly have sitten, and be imployed about bu­siness, unless these who were Members of the Commission did sit and vote in such business as came before them? were they Members sine quibus non? 3. He alleadges, That it had been the practise of the preceding Assemblies since 38. But neither doth that loose the difficulty, because in none of these Assemblies was there any Ex­ception proponed against the Commissioners, nor was there cause [Page 202] for it: He is mistaken in his Instance in the Assembly 48, as we have already cleered, and therefore he must seek for another De­fence. But in that which follows, he plaies the acurate Logician, and finds the Writer in a gross Paralogism, which he thinks can beguile none but these, who are too simple, and too willing to be beguiled. I would not willingly be beguiled, yet I must profess my self so simple, that when I have put on the Authors Spectacles, and looked throw them as attentively as I can, I cannot discover the Paralogism nor the Sophistry thereof, but to me it still seems to be a plain and convincing Argument. The Writer alleadges, That the Members of the Commission sate as Judges to give Vote and Sentence upon the Exception proponed against themselves before the Assembly did judge of their proceedings; and he brings this for proof of his alleadgance, That before any Judgment given a­nent their proceedings, they sate as Judges upon the Protestation, whereof the rejecting of that Exception was a special Reason. To this the Author Answers, That it is a Paralogism because the thing which was judged, was not the truth or falshood of the thing con­tained in it; to wit, Whether the Commissioners proceedings were right, or wrong; but only whether the Assembly refusing to re­move the Commissioners when this Exception was alleadged a­gainst them, in the way that it was alleadged, and before the al­leadgance was tryed, did any thing contrary to the freedom and du­ty of the Assembly, or if the Protesters did wrong the Assembly in declining it upon that ground, I shall not now trouble my self to prove that by judging of that Reason of the Protestation they did judge of the proceedings of the Commissioners right or wrong, because this will fall in afterwards, more directly in the last Argu­ment; but taking what the Author grants, I Reason thus, Who so judges of the relevancy, or non-relevancy of one Exception in order to their own sitting, or not sitting Judges of one Exception against themselves: But the Commissioners before the approving of their proceedings did judge of the relevancy, or &c. Ergo, the First Proposition is cleer, and may be illustrated by Instances. I suppose the Author in one assembly should object against some men that they cannot sit as Members till they be tryed, because they are Papists, or Murderers, or Adulterers, which he offereth to in­struct, and when the Assembly comes to judge upon the point & ex­ception relevant or not relevant to remove these men, if these men [Page 203] themselves should sit and Vote in this question, were not this to ad­mit them to be Judges of one Exception proponed against them­selves. The Second Proposition is the Authors own grant, for be­sides other things to that purpose, he saith, The Commissioners sit­ting and Voting as Judges in this matter was no irregularity, or else the Assembly 48 was also irregular, wherein the Protesters may well remember the Commissioners voted as well as other Members upon the relevancy of the Exception given in by the Parliament a­gainst themselves: Well then, the Commissioners in the Assem­bly, 51. did Vote upon the relevancy of the Exception given in a­gainst themselves. If any would deny it, it is easie to prove it thus, Who so were admitted to judge of the relevancy or non-re­levancy of the grounds of the Protestation were admitted to judge of the relevancy or non-relevancy of that Exception, because it was one of the main grounds of the Protestation: But the Mem­bers of the Commission, &c. Ergo. The Author, or some others, wil haply think, What need all this? it is granted that it was so, and the thing that is denied is, That they did not sit as Judges to give sentence of the right or wrong of their own proceedings: Perhaps ere all be done, we shall also find them doing that, but if it be gran­ted, That they did judge of the relevancy of that Exception, all is granted that was alleadged by the Writer, to wit, That they sate as Judges to give Vote and Sentence upon the very Exception pro­poned against themselves; and so he hath committed no Paralogism, but by the Authors own concession which he cannot get avoided: It is proved that the writer did alleadge which was not that they did judge of the right or wrong contained in the exception (though that also might have been alleadged) but that they did judge of the Exception proponed against themselves, before any judgment given by the Assembly upon their proceedings; and now its granted that they did judge of the relevancy thereof, as to their sitting or not sitting; and was not this to be both Judge and Party? who then is guilty of the Paralogism the Writer or the Author? The Wri­ter saith, They were admitted to judge of the Exception proponed against themselves; and this by the Authors grant hath a real truth in it, because they were admitted to judge the relevancy or irre­levancy of it as to their sitting or not sitting (yea the Commissio­ners did oftner then once judge this before their proceedings were judged by the Assembly. First, They judged it at the first proponing [Page 204] and rejecting thereof by the Assembly before the choice of the Mo­derator, for none of them were then removed, neither was less weight laid upon what was spoken by them, as to the rejecting of that Exception then upon what was spoken by any other Member of the Assembly who was not questioned. 2 They judged it in judging of the Protestaion, at which time they did approve of what the Assembly had formerly done in rejecting of it, and did condemn the Proposers of it, as doing wrong to urge it, and to decline the As­sembly thereupon. The Author saith, They were not admitted to sit as Judges in that Exception, because they did not judg of the right or wrong of the things contained therein; and this is a non-sequitur, because they were admitted to judge of the relevancy thereof which did as well concern them, the exception being pro­poned against themselves, as the right or wrong of the things con­tained therein. But he alledgeth, 1 That this was no irregula­rity, or else the Assembly 48. was as irregular. He doth often make his retreat upon that Assembly when he is straited, but it wil allow him no help in this particular, because there was no such ex­ception proponed nor judged in that Assembly. 2 He alleadges, That their Voting in that matter of the Protestation, being no other thing then that which he hath said, was no prejudice or advantage in the matter of their proceedings, because the alleadgance of their carrying on in their proceedings a course of defection at the time, and in the manner that it was alleadged might have been found one un-relevant exception for their removal from being Members before the tryal of their proceedings, and consequently the refusing to ad­mit it as one exception to that effect an un-relevant ground of Ex­ception against the Assembly, and yet haply afterwards their pro­ceedings might have been judged to be such as they were alleadged to be without any Crossing or Contradiction betwixt the one Act and the other. I suppose that all were true which is here spoken of, yet what is this to prove that they did not at all judge of the exceptions proponed against themselves: It is already yeelded, That they did judge of it as to the irrelevancy of it for removing of them before trial. But that the determining of the one, did pre­judice the determination of the other: Yea, go far to determine it, I prove First thus, If so be the exception as to the relevancy there­of did include many Points de Jure, the cleering and discussing whereof did belong most intimately and essentially to the verifying [Page 205] or falsifying of the exception upon the matter itself; then did the determining of the one, bring a prejudice to the determination of the other, if not go far to determine: But the First is true, and agreeable to the Authors own words in the next Page of his Vin­dication. Ergo, also the last, The Conexion seems cleer because the determining of the relevancy or irrelevancy of the exception did al­so determine these point [...] de Jure, which did belong most intimat­ly and essentially to the verifying or falsifying of the exception up­on the matter; as for Instance, the Assemblies determining that the Protesters objecting against the Commissioners that their Re­solutions did involve a course of defection was not a relevant ex­ception whereupon to remove them, was also a determining of this Point de jure, that these Resolutions did not involve a course of de­fection, this did indeed belong most intimately and essentially to the falsifying of the exception upon the matter, and so to the pre­judging of the determination; yea, to the determining of the o­ther question: Or more cleerly thus, If so be the exception could not be determined as relevant or irrelevant till the questionable hy­pothesis of the publick Resolutions was first determined, then did the determining of the relevancy or irrelevancy of the exception in­volve a determination of the right or wrong of their Resolutions: But the First is manifest from the Authors own words, where he saith, That the main and principal question de jure which should have been cleered that that scandal might have been charged upon the Commissioners was the particular hypothesis, if this scandal could not be charged upon the Commissioners, but by clearing of this hypothesis: How could the Commissioners be cleered of that scandal, and found such as were fit to sit in the Assembly notwith­standing of the exception thereof proponed against them without cleering that hypothesis. In these things I deal fairly and candid­ly so far as my light reaches, without detaining the truth in unrigh­teousness, or seeking to darken or pervert the same so far as my un­derstanding doth reach; and I think I may refer it to the Consci­ences of these who Condemn the Protestation, and that exception as irrelevant if they would have so done but upon perswasion that the Commissioners proceedings were right, and if after the Vote of Condemning the Protestation, they could notwithstanding ther­of have also condemned their Proceedings.

VINDICATION.

THirdly, Howsoever it be true, that the thing which was desi­red by the Protesters in the entry of the Assembly, before the choice of the Moderator was not expresly and formally the trial and discussion of the Exception given against the Commissioners, as to the truth alleadged therin, 1. Whether the Commissioners indeed had carried on a course of defection from the Covenant and Cause, but that the Commissioners should have been laid aside until the As­sembly had been constituted to take that into consideration; yet cer­tain it is that they having been chosen to have been Commissioners unquestionably by the Society they came from (and that some of them by the express vote & consent of some of the Protesters them­selves, as Mr. Robert Blaire in the Presbytery, and Mr. James Wood in the Ʋniversity of St. Andrews, by Mr. Samuel Ruther­ford) and having a formal Commission, and so the Exception be­ing personal (as in relation to that Assembly) and not propounded against their being Commissioners: But now in the Assembly con­veened of necessity, the Exception behoved to have been tryed and discussed and judged, as to the relevancy of it, for their present re­moving, and laid aside until it should be tried and discussed as to the truth of the thing contained in it; for the Writer himself con­fesses, that every Exception upon alleadgance of Scandal is not a sufficient and relevant ground to that effect: Now there was a great Question about that Exception, namely, concerning a Que­stion de jure belonging to it, as we have before cleared. Now tell me, if the Assembly before the Election of the Moderator, and be­fore it was constitute into a Judicatory, could try, discuss, and judge that Question (which of necessity it behoved to do, ere it could be clear about the relevancy of their exception for their removing, because, as the Writer grants, the exception relevant to remove per­sons, must be prima fronte, clear in the Law) Certainly it could not, and therfore of necessity they could not upon that exception be removed before the election of the Moderator, and constitution of the Judicatory; As for their Members excepted against, and ther­upon removed, there was a wide difference, the exceptions against them were, as to the relevancy for their removing, in cases every way clear and determined before, in so far as was requisit for that, [Page 207] to wit, Protestations in Presbyteries against their election, stan­ding censures excluding them from all Kirk Judicatories unrepea­led. So we see the exception wherewith the Writer meets here, may stand good with a little exception, viz. That no Exception questi­onable could be discussed until the Judicatory were first constitute, and the Moderator chosen; and therfore it makes nothing against the freedom of the late Assembly, that before it was constitute, and the Moderator chosen, the Commissioners were not removed upon the Exception made against them, because the relevancy of the Exception was questionable in many points de jure belonging ther­unto, being controverted, at least not prima fronte: The clearing and discussing thereof did belong most intimatly and essentially to the verifying or falsifying of the Exception upon the matter it self, wherwith a meeting not constitute into a Judicatory could not med­dle. 4. As to the Writers Dilemma in the end, That the refu­sing to remove the Commissioners upon the Exception made against them, was to determine, either that the Exception was not relevant or that it was false, and both were absurd. We Answer, it was in­deed to be determined that it was not relevant in that circumstance of time when it was proponed for removing them off the Assem­bly; and whereas he saith this were to contradict clear reason, this is but a naked assertion, and we have cleared the contrary.

REVIEW.

FIrst, I desire it to be considered, That he yeelds that the thing which was desired by the Protesters at the entry of the Assem­bly, before the choice of the Moderator, was not expresly and for­mally (yea, nor implicitly nor materially) the trial and discussing of the Exception, as to the truth alleadged therein; but that the Commissioners should have been laid aside until the Assembly had been constitute to take the same into consideration, which clears 2. things formerly asserted, 1. That it was not desired that any sentence should be past upon the Commissioners by the Assembly, before the constitution thereof. 2. That the Commissioners (before the judg­ing of their proceedings by the Assembly) did judge and give sen­tence upon the relevancy of a desire made against themselvs, to wit, That they might be removed till their proceedings should be first judged. 3. I deny not but this Exception behoved to have been tried and discussed, as to the relevancy of it, so far as was needful [Page 208] for laying aside of the Commissioners till further trial: and to that which the Author saith, That it could not be done because it did involve a great Question de jure, which was yet questionable, and not clear; whereas it is yeelded by the Writer, that the Exception ought to be relevant in Law, at least such as prima fronte seems re­levant. I answer. That that Question was (prima fronte) re­levant in Law, because prima fronte agreeable to the ve­ry letter of the Law. I may appeal to himself, if the Publick Resolutions do not prima fronte seem to be contrary to many things formerly exprest in the Acts, Constitutions and Publick Pa­pers of this Church; and though he would deny it, yet sure I am all indifferent men will acknowledg it, that whatsoever may be in the matter it self, yet there is at least a seeming contrariety betwixt these: I shall remember him of the speech of a judicious and godly man (whose words are cited by himself in his Vindication in another case) who in a Conference at St. Andrews about the Publick Reso­lutions, when the Acts, Warnings and Declarations of the Assem­bly was objected against these Resolutions, said, I confess that you have the Sough of the Assemblies for you: yea, in this thing that prima fronte it seems to be so, we have the universal consent almost of the whole Land, as wel these who are for the Publick Resoluti­ons, as those who are against them; else what meant that which was so frequent in the mouths of some of the Commission, and ma­ny others the last year, who when Acts of Assemblies and Pub­lick Papers were objected, said, That some men who had hand in the penning of these Papers had upon design foisted in many things in them, which they now made use of against the Publick Resolutions; and that which was then, and is still frequenaly spoken by the ge­nerality of malignant and disaffected men in the Land, to wit, The Church is now come to us, and we are not gone to them. These things are more palpable and better known then that they can with any colour of truth be denied. But 3. Was not the Exception pro­pounded by the Protesters against the Commissioners discussed by the Assembly, as to the relevancy thereof, before the election of the Moderator? Did they not, after the propounding of it, suffer the Commissioners to sit? which they could not have done unless they had rejected it: And how could they reject it, unless they had found it irrelevant? Was not the allowing of the Commissioners to sit, after propounding of, and debate upon that Exception, as real a judg­ing [Page 209] of the irrelevancy thereof, as the removing of other Commis­sioners upon Exceptions propounded against them, was a judging of those Exceptions to be relevant? yea, doth not he himself expresly say in answer to the Writers Dilemma, That it was indeed to be determined, that it was not relevant in that circumstance of time? 4. I see not to what purpose it is, that he tels us, That the election of Commissioners was not questioned in their Presbyteries, that some of the Protesters voted and consented to the chusing of them: That they had a formal Commission, and that the Exception was perso­nal as to that Assembly, & not propounded against their being Com­missioners, but now in the Assembly conveened: What is all this as to the keeping of the Assembly from considering and discussing of the same? VVere there not others who had a formal and uncon­troverted Commission, not objected against in the Presbytery, who yet upon personal exceptions propounded in the Assembly, were re­moved til these exceptions should be discussed and tried? And was it not as free to propound personal exceptions in the Assembly as in the Presbytery? and being propounded there, were they not of as great weight as if propounded els-where? And ought not the As­sembly to have taken them in consideration? VVere they not pri­mo instanti, the proper Judges of them, as well as the Presbytery? That some of the Commissioners were chosen by express vote and consent of some of the Protesters themselves, as Mr. Robert Blaire in the Presbytery of St. Andrews, Mr. James Wood in the Univer­sity of St. Andrews by Mr. Sam. Rutherford; it may be true, Mr. Sam. Rutherford his desire of Peace and testifying of respect to these men being such as it is, together with the hopes that he had of their being instrumental to accommodate things in a right way at the As­sembly: but that hinders not why the Protesters might not war­rantably propound the Exception at the Assembly. Another branch is, That the Assembly had not as yet chosen their Moderator, and was not yet constitute, and therefore could not discuss that que­stion, &c. But not to repeat that they did discuss the relevancy of other Exceptions, yea, of that same that was propounded against the Commissioners, as to their sitting, or not sitting till the matter should be further tried: It is to be considered, that if controverted Commissions and Members, upon Exceptions propounded against them, be laid aside till trial, which hath alwaies been the custom of the Assemblies of this Church. It is not so very material whether [Page 210] the ful discussing of the Exception be before the chusing of the Mo­derator or after it; there are practises and instances of both wayes; some Assemblies first discussing the controverted Commissions and Members, and then chusing the Moderator; others laying aside these things til the Moderator be first chosen; and then immediatly before the doing of any thing else, falling upon the discussing of them; though it seems the most regular way, that the controverted Commissions and Members be laid aside, the uncontroverted ones being a competent number, should proceed to the choice of a Mode­rator, and thereafter, before the doing of any thing else, put that to a point which concerns the rest of their constituent Members. In the case now in question both were desired, either to discuss the Excep­tion, as to the truth or falshood of the alleadgance before the chu­sing of a Moderator; or else, to lay aside the Commissioners, and to do it immediatly thereafter: but both were refused, which was the more considerable, because the Exception propounded against them, was but meerly personal, or upon personal or particu­lar scandals, but of more common concernment, and in things re­lating to the Cause, as breach of Publick Trust, defection from the Cause and Covenant, which did require consideration before the ad­mitting these persons. I would ask the Author this one Question: Upon supposal that the Assembly after the Commissioners sitting and voting therein many dayes; yea, even in the condemning of the Protestation, and citing of the Protesters; should have found their proceedings to involve a course of defection from the Cause and Covenant, and therupon have removed and censured them: Could Beholders have looked upon this as a handsom way of proceeding, that they would not take into consideration an Exception deserving such things, when it was first propounded unto them, and offered to be instructed; but would judge the Exception irrelevant, censure others for protesting, because of refusing to accept of it: admit the Cōmissioners to be fellow-Judges in condemning that Protestation & after al this find these Cōmissioners guilty of the thing alleadged in that same very Exception when ffrst proponed, & remove & cen­sure them upon it; Are things handsom? or do they wel cohere? or can a tender eye look upon them without offence? How much fairer had it been, first to remove them, and presently or immediately after the choice of the Moderator, to discuss the Exception? There is more danger to the Cause, & offence to God & his People in rash [Page 211] admiting such as are guilty, then in cautious delaying even of inno­cent persons when legally challenged: If innocent, they may after­wards be admitted with more honour and respect; but if guilty, ei­ther they shal be continued Members with much detriment to the cause, or else shalbe casten out with more shame both to themselvs and to the Assembly, who at first refused to lay them aside till they were tryed. Because the Author saw that an objection might be moved against what he hath said from the Assemblies removing of other Members who were excepted against before the choice of the Moderator; therefore for preventing of it he tells us, that there was a wide difference, because the exceptions against them, were as to their relevancie for their removing, in cases every way clear and determined before, in so far as was requisite for that, to wit, Protestations in Presbyteries against their election, standing cen­sures, excluding them from all Church-Judicatories unrepealed: To which I return these particulars; First, Some even before the choice of the Moderator were removed upon exceptions against whose elections there was no Protestation, and who were under no standing censure either of one kinde or another, to wit, Mr. Ro­bert Canden Commissioner from the Presbytery of Dunce, who was removed upon this exception, that that Presbytery could not choose Commissioners, being so few in number as they were; here was no Protestation, the man under no censure, yea nor the ground of the exception clear and unquestionable in Law as to a­ny act of any former Assembly, onely primâ fronte, it seemed rele­vant that two or three could not choose; therefore was be there­upon removed, though afterwards, (if my information hold) he was again (as seems upon not finding the exception not relevant) admitted. Secondly, Neither was a Protestation against the ele­ction, sufficient to make it clear upon the Authors grounds. I sup­pose that it had been alleadged, that the ground of the Protestation was not clear, but questionable; as to the relevancy of it by his ground such a Protestation against the election, would not have been enough to lay the Commissioners aside, till the matter had been tryed. To come nearer the case, let us suppose that some of the opposers of Publick Resolutions had in the Presbyterie or in the Universite of St. Andrews protested against the election of the Commissioners there, upon this ground, that these who were ele­cted, were instrumentall in the Publick Resolutions, will the Au­thor, [Page 212] say, this had been sufficient to lay these Commissioners aside, from sitting as Members of the Assembly, till the matter had been tryed: If so, why then was not the proponing of that exception in the Assembly against all these who were Members of the Com­mission, and had hand in these Resolutions, sufficient to lay them aside: Os, if that be denyed, I would desire to know a reason of the difference, if it be said, that all the Commissions which were laid aside, because of Protestations against them, were such as were pro­tested against upon clear & unquestionable grounds. I answer, that it was not so, as appears by the instance already given, to which I adde another, to let see what partiality of proceeding there was in these things even upon the Authors own grounds: Did not the Assembly lay aside the Commission of these who were first chosen by the Presbytery of Glasgow upon this ground, that the Commis­sioners were opposers of the Publick Resolutions, which (if we may believe the Author) was yet a questionable hypothesis in ju­re. Thirdly, I suppose that in these cases which (he saith) were clear, any persons interested should have objected, that the Prote­station was false and fictitious; or that their being uoder censure, was a meer alleadgance, or that the ground of the Protestation and censure was an hypothesis not yet determined in jure. I ask him, whether the Assembly in these cases, was to admit the per­sons, or to lay aside the Commissions, and remove the persons, till the matter should be tryed? If he say, they were not to be ad­mitted, then they behoved to refuse to hear all Parties interessed, and to take a questionable case for clear and granted, before they hear and try which seems to be absurd. If he say, that they were to fall upon the discussing of questions and objections hinc inde, then I pray you, why not one questionable exception as well as an­other? Why not the questionable exception proponed against the Commissioners, as well as the questionable exception contain­ed in the Protestation against the election in Presbyteries? And if he say, that it was not absurd to lay aside the persons, notwith­standing of their alleadging that the Protestation was false and fi­ctitious, &c. but that the matter being questionable, they were to be laid aside till it should be tryed and cleared; then why not also the Commissioners upon the exception of a scandall of defection proponed against them notwithstanding of their denying thereof, and asserting the contrary, seeing (by his own ground) the mat­ter [Page 213] was not yet clear to the Assembly, either upon the one hand or the other. By these things we may see what will come of the Au­thors conclusion, to wit, that no exception questionable could be discussed, until the Judicatory were first constituted, and the Mode­rator chosen; and that therefore it makes nothing against the free­dom of the late Assembly, that before it was constituted, and the Moderator chosen, that the Commissioners were not removed up­on the exception made against them, because the relevancy of the exception was questionable in many things de jure, belonging thereunto, being controverted at least, and not primâ fronte clear; the clearing and discussing whereof, did belong most intimately and essentially to the verifying or falsifying of the exception upon the matter it self; whereupon the Meeting not constitute into a Judicatory could not meddle; upon which Conclusion I ask these questions. First, If no exception questionable could be discussed untill the Judicatory were constitute, and the Moderator chosen, then, how did the Meeting at St. Andrews before the constituting of the Judicatory, and choosing of the Moderator, reject the ex­ception proponed by the Protesters against the Commissioners, as not relevant to remove them, was not that to discusse an exception questionable, as to the relevancie of being a ground of removing or not removing. Secondly, I ask how it came to passe that they removed the Commissioners of Glasgow upon the exception of their opposing the Publick Resolutions, was not that also to dis­cusse an exception questionable, as to the relevancie of being a ground, as before. Thirdly, If the relevancy of the exceptions was questionable in many points De jure belonging thereunto, the clearing and discussing whereof, did belong most intimatly and essentially to the verifying or falsifying of the matter it self, how could it be judged and discussed as to the relevancy thereof, and yet this be no prejudice to a judgement upon the matter contained therein? or how could the exception be found non-relevant, and the Commissioners proceedings be also found to involve a course of defection. Fourthly, If the clearing and discussing of that exce­ption had such connection with the matter of the Commissioners proceedings that first when it was proponed, it could not be judg­ed before the judging of the questionable hypothesis of their pro­ceedings, how came it to pass that the Assembly afterward did judge it, and admitted the Commissioners themselves to sit as jud­ges [Page 214] therein before the judging of that hypothesis. Fifthly, If the exception was so questionable in jure, how could the Assembly be­fore the discussing of the Commissioners proceedings, so severely reprove the dissenters for proponing of it, and condemne the Protestation founded thereupon. These things to my weak un­derstanding seems inconsistent, and such as ordinary Readers can­not reconcile. In the last place he labors to give answer to the wri­ters Dilemma, to wit, at the refusing to remove the Commission­ers upon the exception proponed against them, was to determine either that the exception was not relevant, or it was false, but both were absurd. His answer is, That it was indeed to be determined, that it was not relevant in that circum­stance of time when it was proponed for removing of them from the Assembly, and this he denyes to have been absurd or to con­tradict clear reason, and tells us, that he hath cleared the contrary. When I had read these words again and again, I could not with any perswasion, fall upon the Authors meaning, his way of expres­sion being dubious, he saith, it was to be determined, which makes me suspect that he may haply point at the determination which was afterwards made by the Assembly, when the relevancy of that exception was condemned in the Protestation: If that be his mea­ning, he hath but covered himself with fig-tree leaves, because the rejecting of it was the actuall determining of the irrelevancy of it, as to the being a ground of removing the Commissioners out of the Assembly; but if he mean that it was determined not relevant when proponed; I would know why it was not relevant in that circumstance of time, whether because of the matter contained therein, as not being relevant in jure, or because the Assembly could not judge thereof, the Moderator not being yet chosen, nor the Assembly constituted? If he say, not relevant upon the matter at that circumstance of time, then this non-relevancie was either because the exception was founded upon things done by the Com­missioners agreeable to the Law, and so no matter of exception, but matter or commendation, or else because founded upon things questionable, and yet not determined in jure: Not the first, because that had been to determine the Commissioners proceedings to be agreeable to the Law before the trying of them: Not the last, be­cause that had been to determine, that the proceedings of the Commissioners were not yet determined by the doctrine of the [Page 215] Church of Scotland, before the trying and judging of these pro­ceedings. The truth is, the Assembly gave no such judgment upon that exception, nor no such reason of their rejecting of it; but the only reason that was spoken of, and did carry the businesse in the Assembly was, that the Assembly could not fall upon the try­all of it, the Moderator not yet being chosen, and the Assembly not constituted; & if this be the Authors meaning, when he saith it waa indeed to be determined not relevant in that circumstance of time when it was proponed. It is no answer at all; First, Because the Assembly could have judged thereof before the choosing of the Moderator, other Assemblies severall times having so done; and this same Assembly did judge the relevancy of sundry exceptions, as to the laying aside of the Commissioners; yea the irrelevancy of this same exception by the Authors own concession in these very words; by what authority they could judge the relevancy of one exception, by the same authority they might have judged the re­levancy of another, and by what authority they could reject it as irrelevant, by the same authority they could have discussed it re­levant or not relevant. Secondly, Because it was also urged af­ter the choosing of the Moderator, but was not then condescended unto; but the Commissioners against whom it was proponed, were still allowed to sit as Members of the Assembly, without ha­ving any regard to that exception, which gave probable grounds to think, that the rejecting of it before the choice of a Moderator upon that pretext, was but a meer pretext: because a Moderator now being chosen, it was still rejected; and therefore rejected as simpliciter irrelevant, without reference to any circumstance of time, as appeareth by condemning it in the Protestation. But it may haply be said, That by the circumstance of time when it was proponed, he means all the intervall of time that was between the proponing of it, and the judging of the Commissioners proceed­ings. If so it was relevant in no circumstance of time, it being proponed meerly in order to their removall for that intervall of time, when their proceedings were now approven and condem­ned, it would have been very impertinent and uselesse to propone any such exception. He would let his Readers know in what circumstance of time it was relevant. As to the removing of the Commissioners before judging of their proceedings; for if any circumstance of that time it was relevant, the Assembly did wrong [Page 216] in not finding it to be so; and if in no circumstance of that time it was relevant as to that effect, he doth but triffle with his Readers in telling them that it was not relevant in that circumstance of time it was proponed, it had been candide and fair dealing to have told them that it was relevant in no circumstance of that time, or not relevant at all, but this would not have been well digested.

VINDICATION.

SO we shall now passe to the next ground of the Protestation, what is contained in the Writer of the second Paper his replyes to the first objection; or other Objections is either nothing to the infrin­ging of our answer, or cleared by what hath been said already, only this much I adde, These men who he saith hath fallen from their stedfastnesse, and made defection, at which others could not wink, because of their former integrity; some of them have been stedfast in the truth and Cause of God, when others that accuses them knew it not: some of them we doubt not will by Gods grace give testimony of their stedfastnesse in it in their suffering condition, when some that accuses them may be will be found, or already are tampering about and devising glosses how they may with some colour shuffell them­selves loose from Articles of the Covenant; And the Writer shal never be able to instance that they have made defection in their late Resolutions, either from any Article of the Covenant, or from the truth of Religion in any head thereof, Doctrine, Worship, Discipline and Government received and established in this Kirk, or from practising according to that truth, I mean by any Publick allowed practise or course contrary thereunto, for as for person all failings add short commings in particular duties, they know themselves to be but men compassed with a body of death, and we doubt not but they are as far from Pharisaicall justifying of themselves as others. As to the other partculars mentioned in the Protestation 'that they stirred up the Civill Magistrate against such as were unsatisfied with their Proceedings; Its contrary to truth as shall be cleared afterwards, there alleadged prelimitating of the Assembly, is cleared before, as it formed and inlarged in the second Paper. The Meeting at St. Andrews had no liberty nor freedome to vote in matters agitated and debated therein, which is alleadged to be manifest from the particulars, that the Commission had in their Remonstrances and Papers stirred up the Civill Magistrate against such as did differ from them in their Resolutions and Proceedings, [Page 217] and accordingly the Magistrate had confined some Ministers; viz. those of Sterline upon that accompt, and had made Laws and Acts of Parliament ordaining all such to be proceeded against as ene­mies to Religion and the Kingdom. 2. The Commissioners had by their Warnings and Papers to Presbyteries, stirred up the Pres­byteries to censure such, and cite them to the Generall Assembly, and accordingly the Presbyteries did cite many of them. 3. The Kings Majesty wrote to the Assembly a Letter moving and stirring them up to punish and censure those who differed from the Publick Resolutions, and the Commissioner did second the same by his speech to the Assembly, intimating, that he hoped such a course should be taken with them, that all others may be deterred from the like thereafter, none of these things that Meeeing did resent, but were silent thereat, and afterwards did approve. I Answer, To the first particular, it is contrary to the truth that the Commission had in their Papers stirred up the Civill Magistrate against such as did differ from them about their Resolutions and Proceedings; the Wri­ter if he would have dealt ingenuously and faithfully, either with the Commissioners, or with such as was to read this Paper, he should have instanced or produced some, at least one or two (for he speaks as if this had been done in sundry Papers) passages out of their Pa­pers bearing this. 2. That the Civill Magistrate did confine (as the Writer termeth, their requiring them to stay at Perth for a space, untill their businesse should be cognosced) the Ministers of Sterlin being stirred up thereunto by the Commissioners, and that he confined them upon that accompt, viz. That they differed from the Publick Resolutions, both are affirmed wrongfully and contrary to the truth, the real story of that businesse was this in summe: The Committee being informed that the Ministers of Sterlin were in their publick Doctrine, and otherwise practising the hindering of the Leavies, according to Publick Resolutions, and moving sundry persons in the Garrison of Sterlin to quite and desert their charge, which tended to the endangering of the whole Land, and particu­larly that Garrison, the only Bulwark of the whole land under God, the Committee represented the matter to the Commission of the Generall Assembly, shewing them that they could not permit that Garrison to be endangered, yet in regard they were Ministers, they desired the Commission to take a dealing with them first, and required the Commission to make report to them what effect their [Page 218] dealing with their brethren should take. The Commissioners accord­ingly having met at St. Andrews, and having had a Conference with these Brethren, & having found by their own acknowledgment that in Publick they had practised against Publick Resolutions, & in pri­vate had given to some persons as they said, asking their advice, resolution that it was not lawfull to continue in that service being in such a conjunction as the Resolutions carried: First they la­boured to give them satisfaction about their resolutions, but having effectuated nothing therein, at last they dealt with them in most earnestnesse and tenderness, both publickly and privatly to give assurance that they would not proceed to do or speak any thing in their Publick Doctrine, or in private to the hindering and obstructing of the Leavies which were going on, according to the Resolutions; or might tend to the moving of any of the Garrison to quite their charge, which they refused peremptorily to do, and so departed home from the Conference: The Commission having sent a meer report and narration; rei gestae, without more or less to the Committee of Estates, according as they were required; the Committee required these Brethren by Letter to come to Perth, that some course might be taken in relation to them for securing the Garrison of Sterlin from danger. The Brethren having come to Perth, but not at the first Diet appointed to them, the Commit­tee required them to attend at Perth, or at Dundee, untill the Kings return from Aberdeen, that there might be a more ful Meet­ing of the Committee, a great part of the most considerable mem­bers thereof being with him, after the Kings return, a Paper being sent in by the Committee of Estates to the Commission of the Kirk, requiring the Commissions advice as about other Passages that had passed between them and these Brethren, what should be done with these Brethren in relation to securing of the Garrison of Ster­line, the Commission declared in their answer as to this, they could not take upon them to determine, the matter being meerly Civil, but that they desired and expected that the Committee would deal with them in tendernesse and respect, as being Ministers of the Gos­pel; this is the truth of the businesse in sum, so it doth appear evi­dently, that the Civill Magistrate did confine them (as they are so pleased to term it) neither being stirred up thereunto by the Com­missioners, nor yet upon their accompt of meer difference from the Commission, and Publick Resolutions, but upon the accompt of [Page 219] their active opposing of their Resolutions to the obstruction of the Leavies, and endangering the Garrison, and their refusing to de­sist from that opposition; but neither must it be forgotten here what was the time of that confinment (as the Writer termeth it) and compearing of these Brethren before the Committee: If the Wri­ter be ignorant of it, let him know it was this, Mr. Robert Dowglas, and Mr. James Wood being dealt with by some of these Brethrens intimate friends, to interceed with the Parliament that was then conveened to passe from calling them further, did readily undertake it & obtained their desire, so that they were dismissed presently, and then one of these Brethren came and acknowledged to these two their kindnesse done in their behalfe, yet now in the Protestation, and in this second Paper it is requited with a slander, that they with other Commissioners stirred up the Civill Magistrate a­gainst them for differing from Publick Resolutions.

REVIEW.

BEfore the Author come to answer the next ground of the Pro­testation; he takes notice of somethings, and but of some­things, (passing by many others) spoken of by the Writer in his answer concerning the Commissioners, their stedfastnesse and fal­ling off from it. To which I reply, that though it may be true that some of them have been stedfast in the Truth & Cause of God, when others whom he calls their accusers knew it not, that will neither justifie the one nor condemn the other; In the things of God it doth sometimes fall out, that the first are last, and the last first; though yet if he make an impartiall reckoning, I believe that neither he nor his party have reason to prefer themselves be­fore the Protesters for men of integrity, and old standing in the Cause of God, nor yet to boast themselves, as though there were none among them who had but lately come to know the Cause of God; I hope no Protester doth, or shall envy some of these mens giving testimony of their stedfastnesse for the time to come in their sufferings. The Lord fit them & all his people so to do: But it is not enough for the Author to speak thus promisingly of them, unles up­on his may bees he do also prognosticat evil of others: He tels us, that when some of these accusers it may be wil be found tampering, or already are tampering about or devising glosses how they may [Page 220] with some colour shufle themselvs loose from Articles of the Cove­nant, some of them wil give testimony of their stedfastnes in it. This measure wherewith the Author repayeth the Protesters, is more then an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth; they did not except against the Commissioners upon may bees, but upon things really and already done, and to his may be, I say: That though this be a hour of temptation, wherein many turn aside both to the left hand and to the right; yet I hope that by the Lords grace, the genera­lity of those who have born testimony against the Publick Resolu­tions, shal be found among the most stedfast in the Land in the Co­venant and Cause of God: What if I should tell him that it may be when opposers of Publick Resolutions are keeping their integrity, and cleaving to the Covenant, some men of no small note who have been, and still are zealous for these Resolutions, will be lick­ing up the vomite of Malignancy and Prelacy, or if that be to fish too far before the net; I am content to appeal to himself who are the greatest tamperers of this time, whether the followers of the Pub­lick Resolutions or the opposers of them. I do not resolve to de­ny an honourable testimony to not a few of these who are for the Publick Resolutions, in their love unto, and stedfastnes in, and zeal for the truth in other things, nor yet to justifie the turnings aside of others who have been opposers of the Publick Resolutions; yet I think it will not be questioned that the generality of these who have given up the Interests both of Church & State into the hands of strangers, are such as were affectionatly zealous for the publick re­solutions, which is too probable an evidence that their professions of Repentance the last year, and of zeal for the Covenant and work of Reformation, and of love to the King, and of desire to preserve our Liberties were not straight and upright; and that the Commis­sion of the Church who after so many experiences of their turning aside, did trust them, and were instrumentall to imploy them in de­fence of the Cause and Kingdom, hath cause to think that they were a little too credulous. I shal not insist upon what the Author saith of the Writers never being able to prove what he asserts anent the Commissioners their making defection; This as to the matter of the Publick Resolutions, hath been sufficiently proven either by him or others, and needs not here to be repeated; Therefore I come to what he brings in answer to these things which are brought by the [...] that there was not liberty of free voting in the As­sembly. [Page 221] The Writer for proving this, alleadges, that the Commissi­on had stirred up the civill Magistrate against such as did differ from them in the Publick Resolutions in their Warnings and Re­monstrances; This the Author denyes as being contrary to truth and calls for proof of it out of these Warnings and Remonstrances; These Warnings and Remonstrances being Publick and common, I conceive that the Writer thought it not needful to cite the places, nor to insist much upon proof of the business other ways then in in­stancing the reall effects of it; but because he desires evidence from these Papers he shall have it: 1. The Commission in their short exhortation to the Ministers and Professors of this Kirk, March 20. 1651. expresse themselves thus in order to these who are un­satisfied with, or do oppose the Publick Resolutions; The Conscience of our duty (according to the trust committed to us, and the carriage of some who either opprest with a lethargy ly stil or seased upon by a benumming coldnes move slowly, or carried a­bout with the winde of strange Doctrine, as children are tossed to & fro & move contrarily) doth constrain us to lift up our voices, & from the watch tower whereon we are set to give Warning to the Professors & Ministers throughout the Land, & to wacken them up to their duty, as they would avoid the displeasure of the Al­mighty, and escape the deserved punishments and censures which may be inflicted by Judicatories Civill and Ecclesiastick respective upon dificients in, and Delinquents against duty, according to the degree of their offence, and again in the same Warning, having ap­plied the charecter of Malignants to such as through dissatisfacti­on with Publick Resolutions, were silent or did oppose; they use these words, we wish it may be the care of all to shun the ways that may bring them under these foul charecters, and wherby they may run themselves under the hazard of the displeasure of God, and the censures of the Church, and no doubt of civil punishments also to be inflicted by the State; From these passages these two things are manifest: 1. That in the judgement of the Commission, defici­ency in the Publick Resolutions, by not moving at all, or slow moving, or contrary moving, was deservably lyable to punish­ment by the Civill Magistrate. 2. That they did make no doubt but that civill punishment would be inflicted by the State: To these two things adde, That this exhortation and Warning is di­rected to all the Ministers and Professors of this Kirk, and so to the [Page 222] civil Magistrat among others in their place & station; yea, no doubt before the emitting thereof, it was by way of correspondencie, according to the constant custome kept in these things communi­cated unto the State; let any indifferent man then judge whether this be not a stirring up of the Civill Magistrate against them, when it is declared to the Civill Magistrate in a publick exhortation and Warning to duty, that punishment from the Civill Magistrat is by these men deserved, and that the State will no doubt inflict that civil punishment in answering the instances of the Civil Magistrate his Proceeding accordingly: The one of them, to wit, their making of Lawes and Acts of Parliament, appointing such to be pro­ceeded against as enemies to Religion, and to the Kingdom, he doth not so much as once touch, and the other concerning the confining the Ministers of Sterline, he doth in many things mince and pervert, therefore for informing of the Readers, and ju­stifying of what is said by the Writer in this particular; I shal short­ly and truly set down the matter of fact so far as is needfull, and make some remarks upon what the Author saith in this busin [...]sse; First to the matter of fact, it was thus: After that the Ministers of Sterline did return to their stations from the Conference with the Commission at St. Andrews, the Committee of Estates be­ing informed by the Commission of the result of that Confe­rence, and hearing that the Ministers of Sterline did continue to Preach against the Publick Resolutions, did resolve upon a Letter containing a citation, to come to Perth to be written from the Committee to these Ministers, which being past and approven in the Committee, was immediatly thereafter by some of their num­ber communicated to the Commission of the Kirk, to whom it was publickly read, without so much as the least signification made by them of their dislike thereof, which did clearly enough import their approbation of the same, because it was the custome of the Commission these years past, when any thing was communicated unto them by the Parliament or Committee of Estates, with which they were not satisfied, either to represent their dissatisfaction in a humble way by Writing, or else to desire a Conference thereupon, and when they were silent, it was always exponed to import their satisfaction; This Letter being dispatched from Perth where the Committee of Estates then sate, to the Ministers of Sterline, it came not to their hands before the Tuesday at night, notwithstanding [Page 223] that it had been writen a good many dayes before, and that it did require them to compear before the Committee the next day after recept thereof: The one of the Ministers being somewhat sickly, answer was returned from both to the Lord Chancelor President of the Committee, that by reason of his weaknesse, they could not well keep the Diet mentioned in the Letter, but that in the case of his being able to travell, both of them should be at Perth that week, or that if he could not travell, the other should come with­out fail, and intreating the Lord Chancelor to make their excuse to the Committee, and that it might not be interpreted as any sign of dis-respect, or disobedience, that they did not come instantly upon the recept of the Letter, seing the one of them was not at that time able to travell: This Letter being communicated by the Lord Chan­celor to the Committee upon the Thursday, they were pleased notwithstanding thereof, and before the comming or hearing of these Ministers, to order another Letter to be sent unto them, or­daining them to come to Perth before the next Saturnday at night, and to stay there, or at Dundee til the Kings return from Aberdeen, whether he was then going; before this second Letter came to their hands, these Ministers came to Perth upon the Friday at night upon the first Letter, and making application to the Com­mittee of Estates on the Saturday morning, did (after Protesta­tion that they did not acknowledge them as judges in the matter of their doctrine) profest themselves willing and ready to hear and to answer what the Committee of Estates had to challenge them of, upon which the Committee did intimate unto them the order contained in their second Letter, and caused the Clerk deli­ver the same unto them; the Ministers of Sterlin after hearing the order contained therein, did earnestly beseech the Committee of Estates that (upon surety to compear when they should be cal­led for) they might have liberty to return to their Charges, which being denyed, they did in the next place desire, that seing they had no purpose to go unto Dundee, they might be permitted to go 3. or 4. miles without Perth for refreshing of themselves, which favour was at first granted, and within a little space thereafter, they being gone to their lodgings, was recalled, and they were sent for to come back to the Committee of Estates; and when they came it was intimated unto them, that the Committee could not take it upon them to allow them that liberty; therefore were they [Page 224] constrained either to be transgressors of the Committees order, or else to abide within the Town of Pearth, which they did for some weeks, untill the King and others of the Committee, having retur­ned from Aberdeen upon the Friday afternoon, and a report being made in the Committee of Estates what had past concerning the Ministers or Sterline, they did that same night appoint another or­der to be sent unto them, ordaining them to stay in the Town till the Commission of the Church should meet, and that it might be thought upon, what course was to be taken in these things, which was accordingly done, and the Parliament meeting at Perth the next week thereafter, they did send unto these Ministers two Mas­sers, commanding them to stay that week; which being expired, they sent unto them another person, commanding them to stay their further order. During this time the Commission of the Church met at Pearth, to whom all that had past betwixt the Com­mittee of Estates and these Ministers, was communicated first by these Ministers themselves, and afterwards by the Parliament, who desired to know the Commissions judgment of two Protestations given in to the Committee of Estates by these Ministers, the sum whereof was, that their compearing before them to answer in these things that did relate to their Doctrine and discharge of their Ministeriall function, might not import that they did acknow­ledge them to be competent Judges thereof; and that incroach­ment was made upon the due liberty of the Subject, by a sentence of Confinement past upon them, without hearing them after they were called to be heard; Which Protestations being taken in consideration by the Commission, they did give their judgment thereof in a large Paper condemning the same, without so much as calling these Ministers, to ask a reason of their judge­ment anent the things contained therein, notwithstanding that they were in Town, and had communicated the same unto them, and all that past betwixt the Committee of Estates and them, by this narration, which can be verified from the Registers and Pa­pers themselves, as to the substance and most of the Circumstances of it, and (which cannot be justly contradicted in any circum­stance thereof, for if it should, can be attested by witnesses) it ap­pears that there was a legall sentence of Confinement past, and often renewed upon these Ministers, before hearing of the Party, and that this Confinement was for a Moneths time, and that with [Page 225] was done therein (as to the substance of it) was done with the knowledge and connivance, if not direct approbation and allowance of the Commission. The Author in his Relation first carps at the word of Confinement. But I would know of him what was here wanting of a Confinement, properly so called, was there not a Judicial Sentence, tying those Ministers to such a place, for such a time and, restraining them in the use of their liberty from going to their own homes and stations, or to any place else, except these places mentioned in the Order of the Committee of Estates. 2. He alleadges, that it is affirmed wrongfully and contrary to the truth, that the Commissioners stirred up the Civil Magistrate against the Ministers of Sterline, or that they were confined upon the accompt of their differing from the publick Resolutions. The Writer did not speak of any particular instigation coming from the Commissi­oners to the civil Magistrate in the particular of these Ministers, but gives one Instance therin of the Magistrates proceedings according to the general warnings of the Commission wherin they do declare their Judgment of the desert of such things, and that the state will no doubt inflict civil punishment upon them, though yet be­sides any thing that is already spoken that the Commission was ac­quainted with these things; and did in every bodies construction allow therof: Somewhat more could be told him concerning some leading men in the Commission, which I am now content to sup­press. When I read the other particular, to wit, his affirming it to be contrary to truth, that they were confined upon accompt of differing from the publick Resolutions: I did somewhat wonder what could make him write so, were they not Confined, because of their publick Preaching and expressing their dissatisfaction in publick and private with these Resolutions. The Author cals it, Their opposing and practising against publick Resolutions, and their active disposing of their Resolutions to the obstructing of the Lea­vies, and indangering of the Garrison, and their refusing to desist from that Opposition, let him give it as many names as he will, and aggravate it by all the Circumstances that he can, it is still upon the accompt of their differing from the publick Resolutions, doth he (when he hath strained himself to the utmost) give instance of any other thing, or of any thing that they did in this, that was not su­table for Ministers to do in the discharge of their ministerial Functi­on. Upon supposal that these Resolutions were wrong, they write [Page 226] publickly to the Commission against the Publick Resolutions, they Preached publickly against them, they gave their advice to such as asked it, they refused to de [...]st; what was in al this that would have been blamed in a Minister in the unlawful Engagement in the 48. and this is all that is alleadged. As for their indangering of the Gar­rison, which he is pleased to call the only Bulwark of the whole Land under God: I wish that it may be remembered, and laid to heart, That the Lord was graciously pleased (as long as these Ministers were there) to preserve that Garrison without any appearance of danger or hazard, and that after they were dri­ven away it was first abandoned by our Army, when men were a­mong them who preached according to their heart; and afterwards, whithout any opposition, given up to the hands of the English by these who had slandered these Ministers, as compliers with them, and had been instrumental upon the accompt of their oppo­sing the Publick Resolutions to drive them from their stations. 3. To pass by that which he saith, that they found by their own ac­knowledgement, that they had given Resolution to some persons, seeking advice, that it was not lawful for them to continue in that service, being in such a conjunction as the Publick Resolutions car­ried: I take notice of what he sets down, that the Brethren came not to Perth at the first Dyet appointed to them; and afterwards the Committee required them to attend at Perth or Dundee, un­til the Kings return from Aberdeen that there might be a more full Meeting of the Committee, a great part of the most considerable Members of it being with him, how could they come at the first Dyet? the advertisment being so exceedingly short, from the time of their receipt of the Letter, to that time of their comperance; and the one of them being somewhat sickly and not able to travel. The Committees appointment for them to stay at Perth, was before their coming, and before the Kings departure, when the Committee was full and numerous, though he doth insinuate it to have been otherwaies; and there was a Quorum of the Committee of Estates still at Perth after the Kings departure, who yet would not med­dle in that business, and said, They could not. The truth was, the men who were the great sticklers in it (whom the Author calls the most considerable Members of the Committee) were absent, and they had before their departure taken such course that the bu­siness should not be medled with, till the Kings return from Aber­deen. [Page 227] 4. I take notice of that which he saith, That when the Committee of Estates did require the Commissions advice what should be done with these Brethren, in relation to the securing of the Garrison of Sterling, That as to this they could not take on them to determine the matter, being meerly Civil; but that they desired & expected that the Committee would deal with them in tenderness, as being Ministers of the Gospel, was the business, as to the interest of their carriage in it, and the ground upon which they were cited, meerly Civil; Was it any other thing then the discharge of their consciences in their Ministerial functions, as Ministers of the Congregation of Sterling? It is true, that there was such a desire of tenderness in the close of the Commissions Paper, but there was so much said in the body of it for exaggerating their carriage, that a greater punishment then a continued confinement might have been thought tender dealing to such men. That Paper was of such a nature, that not a few of these to whom it was given in, who were none of the greatest friends to the Ministers of Sterling, were not well satisfied therewith, if it may be beleeved what was then con­fidently reported to these Ministers at Perth, by some who did profess to know it. 5. I take notice of that which he speaks upon their dimission, what dealing there was by some of their intimate friends with Mr. Rob. Douglas and Mr. James Wood, to intercede with the Parliament, to pass from calling them further. I do not know unless he mean of Mr. James Durham (who had from the begining been against such away of proceeding with them) his dealing with these two, that the Parliament might not meddle fur­ther with these Ministers, but suffer them to go to their Charges; and though they do willingly own him as a friend, yet what he did in that particular, was not only out of respect to them, but also from respect to the Commission, and to the Parliament, conceiving it not to be for their advantage to meddle with these Ministers in such a way; and though these Ministers did not affect to come to a Publick Hearing before the Parl. yet would they have chused that and more too, rather then to wrong their consciences in the thing whereof they were challenged: and as at their first appearing before the Committee of Estates they shewed themselves ready and wil­ling to give an accompt of their Doctrin and carriage in that parti­cular, so (the Lord assisting them) they would have been neither ashamed nor afraid to have done it before the Parliament, if they [Page 228] had been called thereunto. That Mr. Robert Douglas and Mr. James Wood did so readily obtain their desire, it was a token that they had power in that particular. That one of these Brethren came and acknowledged to these two kindness done in their behalf, is more then that Brother doth take with. He saith, that he came in­deed to Mr. Rob. Douglas and said to him, that he hoped to have no cause to repent of what he had done: but what, suppose both of them had come to both and done so? That which is less then ju­stice and equity, to wit, a breaking off of oppression and iniquity may be acknowledged by the oppressed for courtesie and kindness without hypocrisie and dissimulation, and it makes no bad requital nor slander afterwards to tell the truth how far men were accessory to the oppressing and afflicting of them.

VINDICATION.

TO the Second particular, the Commission in their Act and last Letter to Presbyteries, did restrain Presbyteries from Cen­suring any of them; they did not so much as desire any of them to be refered or cited to the General Assembly for differing from them in their Resolutions, but only such as continued to oppose, Presbyteries cited but few, and some of them as will be found by the Registers of the Assembly, were chosen Commissioners to the Assembly, but was there not far more done in 48. did not the Commission stir up all Presbyteries to cite all that were in the meanest degree of diffe­ring from them: Such viz. as were only guilty for silence and not speaking with them, and to censure forthwith all that opposed: will the Writer therfore say that voycing in these matters was not free in that Assembly; if not, why then doth he use double weights?

REVIEW.

WHat though it were true that the Commission in their Act and last Letter to Presbytries, did restrain Presbytries from censuring any of them, yet what is that to contradict or refute what is alleadged by the Writer, That the Commission did in their Warnings and Papers stir up Presbyteries to censure such, and cite them to the Gen. Assembly: these are more evident truths then can be denied, and even that Act and last Letter doth verifie [Page 229] that point of the Alleadgance concerning the citing of them to the Assembly; which Citation as it did exclude these who were cited, from a Vote at least in that particular; so was it (in the nature of it) apt to obstruct the freedom of others in voicing. He tells us, they were but few who were cited: well then, some there were, yea many were cited; the Synod of Perth did at one Dyet, upon the accompt of that Letter, cite, not a few of their number who were present, and did direct Summons to others who were absent; the Presbytry of Jeaburgh did cite three of their number; sundry al­so in the Presbytery of Glasgow, Chyrnside and else-where were cited. He repeats again his distinction of such as differed from Publick Resolutions, and such as continued to oppose them; the last whereof only, as he insinuates, were cited. But to pass by the distinction it self, (which seems to teach men a way that doth not seem well to become the Ministers of the Gospel, h. e. to differ in such things as concerns the judgement and practice of the people committed to their charge, in matters of special interest to the cause of God, and yet to be silent and cease to give testimony thereof, either for their own exoneration, or information of their People (which was one of the desires and overtures prest upon the Mini­sters of Sterling at St. Andrews) Who so will look upon the Com­missions Paper March 20. will find that in reference to censure, it takes in, not only such as continue to oppose and move contrarily, but also such as move not at all or move slowly; as well these who are indifferent and neutral, as these who oppose, see Pag. 2. & 5. ther­of. That some of them were chosen to the Assembly, we have al­ready cleared, how it was done, as also that which was done in the year 48. betwixt which, and that which was done in the year 51. there are many real and important differences formerly spoken of and cleared, and therefore doth the Writer use no double weights.

VINDICATION.

TO the Third Particular, concerning the Kings Letter, and the Commissioners Speech to the Assembly, there was not one word in them more or less for Punishing or Censuring any that Differed from the publick Resolutions, but if any thing of that kind was desired it was for opposing & weakning of the hands of the king­dom and strengthning the hands of the Enemy joyned with expressi­ons [Page 230] of earnest desire to endeavour by all fair means to gain all that differed, to unity: did this take away the freedom and liberty of voycing especially considering this which was desired was proponed by way of meer desire, without any threatning or alurement to be byassed by mens voting, but that the honest Reader may be able the better to give his Judgment of this matter, he may reade the Commissioners Speech (the Coppie of the Kings Letter I have not, but both were to one purpose on the matter) set down at the end of this Paper faithfully as it was delivered, alwayes whatever was in the Letter, I dare affirm, that in that Assembly, there was as great freedom and liberty in Speaking and Voting about these Re­solutions in debate, as well as in any other, as well contra as pro, as was in any Assembly these years by-past, yea, more then was in some of them, wherein it was well known, that oftentimes to the grief of men in the Kirk, most eminent for Grace, Gifts, Gravity, and Experience, some who now unadvisedly accuses this Assembly of want of freedom and liberty, have endeavoured to carry mat­ters with a strong hand, cutting down with sharp reflections, and flouting such as any wayes dared to speak and vote in a different way from them, which (if report may be beleeved, some of them hath acknowledged in their late Confessions.) The Writer after the propounding of the Argument, meets with one Objection a­gainst it; We shall not stand upon the discussing of his Reply as it relates unto that Objection, but shall speak one word to that which he chargeth upon the Kings Letter as inorderly and irregular. viz. That when as the Assembly had not yet medled with the pub­lick Resolutions, to condemn and reprove them, he should have stirred up the Assembly to Censure such as differed from them. Answ. Besides that as hath been already said, the Assembly was not desired to Censure any for differing from the publick Resoluti­ons simply. First, It was not desired that the Assembly should cen­sure them without any trying or approving of their resolutions, nor was it desired that the Assembly should approve without due tryal, but the King supposing them to be right and just in themselves, and that the Assembly upon due tryal finds them to be such, desi­red, that such as had opposed them (howbeit it could not be but to the prejudice of the defence of the Cause and Kingdom) might be dealt with to be reclaimed, or if that could not be obtained, Cen­sured. Secondly, Consider what a case he was in then, he was ob­leidged [Page 231] by Treaty to follow the Advice of the Commission of the Kirk in the intervals of Assemblies in matters Ecclesiastick, he had sought and gotten then Advice in these matters questioned, and no men in Scotland were more earnest to have that Condition in the Articles of the Treaty then they who accuses him here: But it may be he should have used his judgment of discretion upon any re­solutions given by the Commission. I confess that is true, yet any man may perceave that the words in that Article of the Treaty are very peremtory and general in the later, for no more is said, but that he should follow the Advice of the Commission; and it was well known when it was mentioned, that it should be expresly added, A­greeable to the Word of God, and Doctrine, and Constitutions of this Kirk: The Motion was opposed and stopped by some of the Accu­sers: This I speak not to say that he was bound to give blind obe­dience, but to shew that he was in a right ticklish case here: But leaving this, the civil Magistrate being convinced in his Consci­ence, upon good, true, and solid grounds of the Errour of some Doctrine, or Practice of some Ministers which hath not been par­ticularly determined in hypothesi by the constitution of the Kirk, and of evil that they have done to the Publick in following it, may he not exhort one general Assembly being conveened even in the en­try thereof, to Censure such without praelimitation, or encroching upon the liberty and freedom of the Assembly in judging and vo­ting upon it? I doubt if he may not, but suppose he cannot with­out encroaching and praelimitation active upon his part, yet sure these can not prove the Assembly not free in Voting and Judging, unless there can be some evidence given of the impression and effect of it on the Members in their Voting and Judging. A Judge may be tempted and sollicited, and yet may be unquestionable, uncor­rupted and free in his judging.

REVIEW.

THe Author doth not deny, and I beleeve he cannot, but that the Kings Letter, and the Commissioners Speech, did contain somewhat relating to Punishment and Censure; but seeks a shift by telling us, That if any thing of that kind was, it was for Op­posing the Leavies, and weakning the hands of the Kingdom, and strengthning the hands of the Enemy. If either the Letter or the [Page 232] Speech had been exhibited, they had spoken best for themselves; none of them is subjoyned to that Coppy of his Vindication, which is come to my hands. But upon supposal that it was as he saith (of which yet he seems not to be very confident, and therefore after­wards helps himself with his wonted word, That it was not for differing from the publick resolutions simply or meerly) what bet­ter is it then it was? Did not all the Assembly to whom that Let­ter was written and that Speech spoken know, that the opposing of Leavies, and weakning the hands of the Kingdom, and strengthning the hands of the Enemy which was meant of, was Preaching and bearing Testimony against the publick Resolutions, neither doth it take off the difficulty. That it was joyned with expressions of ear­nest desire to endeavour by all fair means to gain them: These de­sires could very well stand with incitations to Censures, and that whatever was the way of proponing, whether by way of meer de­sire (as the Author alleadges) or otherwayes, yet was it not with­out threatning speeches, upon the matter of which, I am content that Judgment may be given by the Letter and Speech themselves: He dare affirm, That in Speaking & Voting about these Resolutions there was as great Freedom and Liberty as was in Assemblies these years past, yea, more then was in some of them, but in this he is too daring: Was there any Assembly these years past, that had so many bonds and restraints upon them (as we have already instan­ced) all that he instances is, That some of these who accuses this As­sembly of the want of Freedom and Liberty, have in other Assem­blies endeavoured to carry matters with strong hand, calling down with sharp reflections, and flouting such as any way dared to speak and vote in a different way from them: For proof of this, he gives us, It is well known: and the acknowledgment of some of them­selves in their late Confessions. I think indeed that it is wel known that too often in most of our Kirk Judicatories, there was in most men that sate therein, too much of a carnal Spirit, and too little of the sober, holy, grave, spiritual, meek way of the holy Ghost: And some of these men have, as to their own carriage in Judicatories, acknowledged this, and are indeed convinced of it, before the Lord, desiring mercy in his sight, and grace, That if ever it shall be again allowed them to sit in Judicatories, there may be more of the beauty and image of the Lord upon them, and their way. But that they cryed down such with sharp reflections, and flouting as da­red [Page 233] to speak or vote otherwayes then they did, is that which no man is able to make good, & which (I t [...]ow) their own consciences doth not accuse them of: haply some would have expected that the Author would have spared to have reflected upon these per­sons in their confessions, seeing he is a man subject to the like Pas­sions that others be; and I doubt not to the same convictions and confessions upon them His defence of the Kings Letter is such, that I fear shall satisfie few. 1. He repeats, that it was not therin desired to censure any for differing from the publick resolutions simply, to what I have spoken already. Next it is but a subterfuge, which he saith, That it was not desired that the Assembly should censure them without trying or approving their resolutions; but the King supposing them to be right and just in themselves, and after the As­sembly should after due triall finde them to be such, desired that such as had opposed them (howbeit it could not be but to the pre­judice of the defence of the Cause and Kingdom) might be dealt with to be reclaimed, or if that could not be obtained, censured. There is nothing here for answering what is alleadged by the Writer, to wit, that the Assembly whilest they had not yet med­led with the publick resolutions, and had not found them right, were stirred up to censure these that could not be reclaimed from them; and taking it as the Author doth alleadge, That the King did suppose them to be right, and withall, that he spake nothing to the Assem­bly to allow a fair hearing to these of a contrary minde, or to search whither they were right or wrong. It saith that the Kings Letter did contain a clear intimation of his minde to the Assembly, not only in order to these who should continue to oppose, or could not be reclaimed, but also in order to these who should vote pro or contra in the Assembly; that Letter and that Speech were but an expresse of the Commissions Warnings and Acts, and Acts of Par­liament made there anent, in order to the furthering the execution thereof, by getting them backed with a new Act of the Assembly to the same purpose as afterwards they were: I cannot well decern whither the parenthesis cast in by the Author in these words; how­beit it could not be but to the prejudice of the defence of the Cause and Kingdom, be cited by him as the Kings words, or interlined as his own, and therefore shall not give judgement of them. 2. His next defence, That the King was bound by the Treaty to follow the advice of the Commission of the Kirk, in matters Ecclesiastick, in [Page 234] intervalls of Assemblies; which he looseth himself by acknowledging that he should have used his judgement of discretion upon any re­solutions given him by the Commission; but because the Author interlaces in order to this, severall particulars; therefore in answer to what he saith in this part of his defence, I offer these things. First, That there is nothing here spoken by the Author that makes for the vindication of the Kings Letter; It speaks indeed to the vin­dicating, at least to the excusing of the King himself in writing such a Letter, because he was advised by the Commissions, as to the pub­lick Resolutions, but that doth not say, that the Letter did not contain such things as were apt to hinder liberty of voting in the Assembly. Secondly, I acknowledge that the King was indeed in a right ticklish condition; But who had put him in that condi­tion, but the Authors and Abettors of the Publick Resolutions, who after an expresse Article of the Treaty for removing of Ma­lignants from him, and expresse desires from the Generall Assem­bly and their Commission renewed again and again, and expresse Answers to the Quaere proponed by himself, of bringing in the Malignant Party; In the negative did advise him to imploy and bring in that Party for his own defence, and the defence of the Cause and Kingdom. Thirdly, As to the peremptorinesse of some to have in that condition in the Articles of the Treaty; I know it not, but though it was so, it was no more then his Predecessors was used to be tyed unto before the Reformation in the old Oath of Coronation, and which his own Father had condescended unto in the Treaty at the Bricks, as appears in the Acts of the Assem­blies, and the Acts of Parliament 1639, and 1640. Forthly, As to the Authors quarrelling of the words of the Article as peremp­tory and generall in the Letter, because no more is said, but that He should follow the advice of the Commission; and his quarrelling some for opposing and stopping of a motion made by others, that it should be expresly added, agreeable to the Word of God, and Do­ctrine and Constitutions of this Church: He should have told the circumstances of time and place, and persons; For my part I pro­fesse ingenuously, I remember no such things, and others also who may be presumed to know it, say the same. But let it be so, they did in this but adhere to the former way, which (as also this Ar­ticle) did suppose that addition which the Author speaks of, though neither Kirk nor State thought fit to expresse it, lest occa­sion [Page 235] of jangling should have been given thereby. But the Au­thor by this his carping shews, that when he pleases, he can quar­rell with some things in the Treaty, and with the Acts of Assem­blies thereanent, as well as others; and I believe, he would think it hard measure to have it inferred from this, that he doth vilifie the Acts of the Assembly, and that his professions to the Govern­ment, Discipline and Constitutions of this Kirk, are not straight nor upright: I shall not charge him with unfaithfulness, but if he was one of those who was instructed by this Church in the Trea­ty at the Hague, he hath (by that which is fallen from his Pen) here furnished some occasion to his Readers to think that he hath some hand in, or some way winked at the first modell of the Trea­ty, as it was first settled and transacted between the King and the Commissioners; wherein notwithstanding that there was an ex­press instruction, that his Majesty should not onely consent and a­gree, that all matters Ecclesiasticall should be determined by the Generall Assemblies, and such as in the intervalls of Assemblies should be authorized by them; but that his Majesty in things Ec­clesiastick, should follow the advice of the Gen. Assem. of this Kirk, and such as should be authorized by them; yet the matter was so transacted, as that these 2 clauses of the Kings following the advice of the Assembly, & such as should be authorized by them, and of his being content that in the Intervals betwixt Assemblies, things Ec­clesiastick should be determined by such as should be authorized by them, were wholly left out: And if he had any hand in, or did wink at the omitting of this Article of the Treaty at the Kings Coronation: That it should not be prest upon the King to declare according thereto, albeit by the Treaty he was expresly bound so to do, he would either forbear to press the Treaty so much upon others; or learn to be more tender thereof himself. Fourthly, as to his Question, what a Civill Magistrate may do in a point of do­ctrine wherein he himself is convinced in Conscience upon good grounds, of the error of some doctrine and practice of some Mini­sters, which hath not been particularly determined in h [...]pothesi by the Constitution of the Kirk, whether he may not exhort a Gene­rall Assembly being conveened, to censure such without prelimi­tation, for encroaching on the liberty and freedom of the Assem­bly in judging and voting in it? I shall not debate, it seems that he himself doubts of it; but this was not our question, the point [Page 236] was determined by the Constitutions of this Kirk, and this answer was once given to the King by the Commission of the Kirk, upon his moving the question; and they did exceedingly wrong him, who by contrary Answers did draw him in many snares, and put him upon many rocks. Fifthly, as to his great answer of active and passive prelimitation, it will not serve him much stead in this particular, because the Assembly did really vote, act and censure according to the desire of that Letter, which is evidence sufficient to prove, that the prelimitation was both active and passive. It is not evidence enough to prove, that a desire hath impression upon me that I grant the same, and do accordingly; what other proof doth the Assembly at Glasgow 1638, bring to verifie the passive prelimiting of the Assembly at Glasgow 1610, and at Pearth 1618, by the King his threatning Letters and Commandments; but this, that the Letters came to the Assembly, and that the As­sembly did proceed according to the desire thereof; will the Au­thor admit of no proof of passive prelimitation, unless evidence can be brought from a mans own breast. That this very thing, and nothing else was the thing that weighed with him for approving the Publick Resolutions, censuring the Protesters, and laying a foundation for censuring all, both Ministers and Professours, that should continue to oppose these Resolutions. I close this pur­pose with the words of these Divines and Lawyers, cited before in the book containing their gravamina against the Councel of Trent: Manifestimum est Tridentinam hanc Synodum nequaquam esse aut dici posse liberum Concilium, sed servum potius & multis no­minibus durissimè obstrictum atque captivum. Liberum etenim di­citur, quod metu omni & coactione caret, ubi Concilia omnia om­nesqueres non ex aliena vel voluntate vel gratia, vel etiam ex permissu alterius aut imperio pendent, sed ab his omnibus expeditae sunt & integrae, nec cujusquam aut odium aut invidia, aut minae extimescendae sunt, nec res ulla sit quae plus polleat apud eum qui dicit sententiam, quod ipsius honesta voluntas & judicium minimè coactum. Denique ubi quae salutaria quisque & veritati consenta­nea esse, intus, & apud animum intelligit, eadem etiam sine ullius periculi metu in medium proponere liberè & in faciem cuivis mo­destè dicere liceat, cujus rei praeclarum exemplum in Paulo Aposto­lo nobis propositum est, qui (ut ad Gal. 2. ipse scribit) Petro Aposto­lo in faciem oblocutus erroris eum in Antiochensi Synodo publicè arguit.

VINDICATION.

THe next Argument proper to the second Paper is, because in the Assembly at St. Andrews, persons allowed by the Acts and Policy of this Kirk, to speak their Consciences were denyed liberty so to do, and to prove this, the Author taketh much pains to shew from eight old Assemblies of this Kirk, that not onely persons Ec­clesiastick having calling power to vote, but others also are allow­ed to propone and reason, yea to present their thoughts in Writing to the Assembly, but he needed not to have been at so much pains in casting over so many Assemblies for this purpose; the point is ge­nerally confessed in all Orthodox Kirks, and knows to all who have read the Common head De Conciliis in their Systems. Secondly he saith, that Sir Archibald Johnstone (whom he mentions with many Encomia, to make the matter he hath to speak more bulk­some) having written his minde to the Meeting, not able to come himself, about the matters to be agitated in the Assembly, hold­ing forth much clear light from Scripture and Acts of former As­semblies in these particulars, (if it was much light he herd forth in some of these same particulart in conference at Pearth, it was but very little, and no much to be feared by any of the contrary mind) also the Letter was publickly delivered and required to be read by him that presented it; the Moderator having broken it up, promi­sed to cause read it, and many Members did at sundry occasions press the reading of it, yet it could never be obtained, but was smo­thered together with a Protestation contained therein, against a Paper of the Commissioners to the Parliam. approving what was done by the King and Committee of Estates to the Ministers of Sterlin. Answer. Here is much want of ingenuity, and nothing of the truth of the matter making against the freedome of the As­sembly; the Assembly never refused to have it read: Most part of the whole Assembly was earnestly desirous to have it read, and now more then the most part of these whom the Reader would insinuate to be Readers unacquainted with the business, to have been the oppo­sers of the reading of it, and smotherers of it, as being of a different judgment from Sir Archibald, and feared for the pith of his Pa­pers. The truth of the busines was this, as I doubt not but the Wri­ter knows in his Conscience, had he been so ingenuous as to tell it [Page 238] to some persons in the Assembly, hearing much respect and tendernes to Sir Archibald, partly because of intimate friendship with him, partly because of many former good services, did plead for a delay, alleadging that it was unreasonable that the Assemblies precious time whereof they knew not how short liberty they might have, should be spent in reading any particular mans Letters, whereas the Committees were not as yet nominated and constituted, and the proceeding of the Commission which (by the appointment of former Assemblies) ought to be the first busines taken to consideration, were not so much as once looked upon, and indeed the Papers which were sent and desired to be read concerning his minde, amounted to such a volume, as the reading thereof might have taken up all the time that the Assembly could probably expect for sitting, though never any other busines had been touched. There was (if my memory fail me not) a Letter of four or five sheets of thick Writ, and other Papers with it, required to be read before the Assembly did enter upon the first Action, the appointing of Committees, amounting to an hundred sheets at least, and must it be such a crime as for which the Assembly must be judged null, that such a motion was referred and delayed to a more convenient time, which was the onely thing the Assembly did, and that not of their own inclination, but upon much entreaty and pleading of some of his best wel-wishers in the Assembly, who although they alleadged the cause we have only mentioned in publick, yet had another cause of their pleading so earnestly for this which they did in a private way communicate to some who were desirous they should be read, whereby they moved them to desist from urging so earnestly the reading of them, not out of fear to his Papers, or dis-respect to his Lordship, but out of meer kindnes and respect, because viz. they did perceive by looking on them (I believe) in private sundry high reflections against the Supream Powers of the Kingdom, both King and Estates, which could not but have brought him in present trouble. This is the true story of that busines, judge thou now (ingenuous Reader) impartially, if this was a conscientious or relevant argument, to nullifie that Assemb. but adde to that other in the Assembly 48 or 49. (I did not distinctly remember which, but the thing is certain, and the Writer will remember better) a Paper then, concerning matters then in de­bate given to the Assembly, and desired to be read, was publickly laid aside and refused to be read, and yet the lawfulnes of that As­sembly, [Page 239] is not questioned. The Writer in the close of this argument, would insinuate to his Reader, that the Commissioners had been Authors of smothering these Papers of Sir Archibald Johnstons, because of a Protestation therein contained, against a Paper of theirs, approving what was done by the King and Committee to the Ministers of Sterlin; but if he meaneth so, it is a wrongfull slandering of them, the Commissioners were far from desiring them to be smothered, though one or two out of tender respect to his Lord­ship, were unwilling that he should be brought in trouble by them, nor feared they his Protestation against that Paper of theirs, a­gainst which, neither he, nor any for him, could have any just ground of challenge; the summe and substance whereof was nothing else but a clearing of the Committees calling before them the Mini­sters of Sterlin (after they had been dealt with by the Commission of the Kirk about their preaching and practizing to the obstru­cting of the Leavies according to Publick Resolutions, and occasi­oning some to relinquish their charge in the Garrison of Sterlin, and they refused to desist) that some convenient course might be ta­ken in relation to them, in securing the Garrison from danger from the guilt of encroaching upon the Liberties of the Kirk charged upon them by a Protestation of these Ministers of a very high strain, and together approving these Brethrens protesting in so far as it was provisionall for the Liberties and Priviledges of the Kirk, and expriming that these Brethren might be dealt with by the King and Committee in a tender and respectfull way as Mini­sters of the Gospel.

REVIEW.

SOmetimes the Author offends when pains is not taken to prove things that are generally confessed, as for instance to prove from the Word of God, that all scandalous persons ought to have been removed from the Generall Assembly, and here he seems to carp at his taking pains to prove from the policy and Acts of this Kirk, that not onely persons Ecclesiastick having calling and power to vote, but others also are allowed to propone, hear, read and debate; yea, to present their thoughts in Writing to the Assembly: But albeit the point be generally confest by all Ortho­dox Churches, and known to all who have read the head de Con­ciliis [Page 240] yet was it to purpose for the Writer to take pains to prove it from the Acts of the Assemblies of this Kirk, because he had to do not only with these who are acquainted with the head de Conciliis but also with others who are not wel acquainted with that head, I mean sundry Professors in the Land, who had need to have the ground and relevancy of this Argument cleared unto them, and it was a nearer and more convincing way to clear it from the recei­ved Doctrine of our own Church, then from the Doctrine of other Churches. Doth not Sir Archibald Johnstone by the testimony of unquestionable witnesses deserve all the commendation that is given him? Why then should it be carped at, if the things that are said of him be true (as they are) they do indeed make the Ar­gument more bulksome; the Author doth once and again under­value the light held forth by him, and pith of his Papers: I shall not deny the Author the testimony of Learning and ability, and wishes that the Lord may more & more increase, and more & more sanctifie it unto him, that it may be improven for the Edification of many; But there is much of a Thrasonick spirit that as a vein runs through all this Vindication; the man whose light and pith he doth set so low hath (by the Grace of God) been instrumen­tall to hold forth very much light to the Kirk of God in Scotland, in things relating to the work of Reformation, and his pith (by the power of the Lord) hath been acknowledged in both Nations. The Writer in relating of the businesse of the smothering of Sir Archibald Johnstons Letter, is challenged by the Author of much want of ingenuity, and speaking nothing of the truth; But let us see how this great challenge is made out? 1. He saith the Assem­bly never refused to have it read; but was it ever read? Was not the Assembly often desired to cause read it? Was there not often much debate about the reading of it? And was it not for a long time waved from diet to diet, & at last buried? I fear not but this in the accompt of ingenuous men wil amount to a refusal: But saith the Author, most part of the whole Assembly were earnestly de­sirous to have it read; if it was so, then were there some few who did carry it otherwise, notwithstanding of the earnest desires of the most part of the Assemblie, and it argues no great freedome, when the earnest desires of the most part cannot prevail to gain the reading of a Letter, because of the opposition of some few, who are otherwise minded. He doth withall intimate unto us, That [Page 240] none were more desirous to have it read then the most part of these whom the Writer would insi [...]uae (to be Readers unacquainted with the businesse) to have been opposers of the Reading of it; I would ask him who were the opposers of the reading of it? men for the Publick Resolutions, or men against them; I believe he will not deny but all the opposers of the Publick Resolutions who were in the Assembly did earnestly seek to have it read, and that all the men who opposed the reading of it were such as were for the Publick Resolutions, and some of them such as did belong to the Commission, and had hand in the contriving and carrying on these Resolutions; this seems not to be denyed, but for taking off the weight off it, he comes to tell us that which he calls the truth, which he doubts not but the Writer knew in his Conscience, had he been so ingenuous as to tell it; But I can answer him by war­rant from the Writer, that he concealed nothing concerning which he had any perswasion in his Conscience, as to the truth of it, in that which the Author speaks of: The matter alleadged by him, is that all this was from tendernesse and respect to Sir Archibald Johnston, by some of his friends in the Assembly who did perceive by looking on his Papers sundry high reflexions against the Su­pream powers of the Kingdom, both King and Estates, which could not but have brought him in present trouble. This necessitates the telling more of the truth, which the Writer formerly spared to his own disadvantage: The Letter was delivered to the Moderator Publickly, in the face of the Assembly, in the forenoon, a little after the sitting down of the Assembly; upon the delivery thereof, the Moderator promised that it should be read, and brack it open (being open in the hand of him that was Clerk to the Publick Resoluti­ons, and was now Clerk to the Assembly, opportunity was given to him, and sundry of these who were for the Publick Resolutions, and were the men who opposed the reading of it in the Assembly to read it in private) after which it was pressed to be read with much earnestnesse and importunity at severall Diets of the Assem­bly, and much debate there was to and fro at severall occasions about the reading of it, but the result was alwayes carried to a delay, untill at last the Protesters leaving the Assembly, there was little or no more heard of it. That this was done out of meer kind­nesse, and respect to my Lord Wariston from whom the Letter came is not likely: 1. Because not onely did he himself in the very bo­some [Page 242] of it earnestly beseech; yea, obtest and adjure in the Name of Christ, that what he wrote to the Assembly might be read and considered, but the nearest and most intimate friends he hath in the world, who were like to be tender of his danger (if any) did presse the reading of it, I mean not onely these in the Assembly who were of his intimate acquaintance, and intimatly engaged with him in the defence of the same Cause; but also his own wife who came to St. Andrews of purpose with that Letter; and that notwithstanding she was dealt with by sundry of these who were for the Publick Resolutions to take it up, and not to presse the reading of it (that there might be some handsome shift for the not reading of it) refused to do it, and Women are known to be as tender of their husbands dangers as others. 2. The Lord Wari­stons Judgement and expressions in all these things were well e­nough known before that time, to the King and to the Committee of Estates, and the reading might well have been a confirmation of the same thing, but would have furnished little or no new mat­ter of ditty 3. There were no reflections in that Letter against the King & Committee of Estats, but in order to a conjunction with the Malignant party, and if the reading of these in the Assembly would have brought him present trouble, then surely it was not free nor safe for men who were of that opinion that the Publick Resoluti­ons did involve such a conjunction, to speak their judgement free­ly in the Assembly upon these Resolutions, seeing his freedome of writing in these things would by the Authors own concession have brought him to present trouble. 4. This was not the way to keep off the danger, but rather to fetch it on, because it was the way to fil the Country with the noise of the Lord Waristons writing such a Letter to the Assembly, which some that loved him after the delivery thereof, Publickly did smother and keep back from being read, notwithstanding it was earnestly prest by most part of the Assembly, which report comming to the King, and to the Commissioners, would in all appearance have occasioned them to call for the letter, which could not have been denyed nor put out of the way, being now publickly delivered, and so much debate made thereupon in the Assembly: But upon supposall that it was friendship and tender respect of some (which yet upon the former considerations may be justly doubted of, at least it was all, or their most weighty reason) to the Lord Wariston; yet to say nothing [Page 243] of their being more moved with the fear of his danger, then the prejudice of the publick Cause, which could not but suffer two ways by smothering of the Letters and Papers therewith sent, both by the want of the light held forth therein, and by the imputation of smothering of it; I wonder that the Assembly should have been so easily moved with these alleadgances which he speaks of, to wit, that the Assemblies precious time, whereof they knew not how short liberty they might have, should be spent in reading a particular mans Letter, whereas the Committees were not yet no­minate, nor the Commissions Proceedings which is the first bu­sinesse that ought to be tryed, yet looked upon, and that the Pa­pers offered to be read did amount to a volume which would have taken up all the Assemblies time, though there had been no other businesse, they being of a hundreth Sheets, and the Letter being of four or five sheets of thick Write. There was more time spent up­on the debate of reading of the Letter, then it would have been read in to, it being not above the halfe of these sheets which the Author speaks of; if his testimony who wrote it may be believed; neither was the Assembly so much straitned with time, else they were no good husbands of it, because the first day they refused to read the Letter, they spent a great part of a Session more then would have served for reading of the Letter, debating about a Ministers mans and his gleeb, as many honest witnesses can testifie; and the Letter was urged and pressed to be read, not only before, but also after the nominating & setling all the Committees, both that which concern­ed the proceedings of the Commission, and all others. It was not a particular mans Letter, if by a particular man he mean a private person writing of businesses of his own; but it was the Letter of a publick servant of the Assembly, writing of the publick businesses of the Assembly; I mean the Clerk who was by his place bound to offer unto the Assemb. from their Acts & Records what he knew to be contributive for clearing of their proceedings, especially in bu­sinesses of common concernment of the Church; and this Letter did contain only purpose and businesse of that nature, and nothing at all of private or personall concernments: Amongst other things, there was therewith sent an Extract of many Acts of former As­semblies extracted out of the Registers of the Kirk, contradicting the Publick Resolutions. For the length of the other Papers, they were not so long, but they might have been read in a day or two at [Page 244] most, or if the Assembly would not have read them, they might have committed them to some of their number to take inspection if there was any thing therein that might contribut to give light to the Assembly in the matter of the Publick Resolutions. It is some­what strange, that the Assembly being upon the consideration and debate of these Resolutions, whether they were agreeable to the Word of God, the solemn League and Covenant, the solemn en­gagement to Duties, and other Acts and Constitutions of the Kirk, that they should have refused to take in consideration, or to read what was timeously offered to them in the contrary, by their own Clerk; and it is more strange, that notwithstanding of this, they will in the Act wherein they approve these Resolutions Preface thus, after due examination, long and much debate and mature deliberation, but must it (saith the Author) be such a crime for which the Assembly must be judged null, that such a motion was referred and delayed to a more convenient time. It was not a de­lay to a more convenient time, but a delay altogether; let the Au­thor tell us, if he can, when that convenient time came, or whe­ther the Letter was not wholly laid aside, though not by a positive and formall resolution, yet waved from Diet to Diet, and never read, which is the more considerable, that the reading of it before the Protestation being so much urged, and the Protestation contain­ing reasons against the unlawfulnesse of the Assembly, because of the want of freedome; yet even after that the Assembly went on, and approved the Commissioners Proceedings, without reading of that Letter, whatever the Author make of it; I doubt all circumstances being considered, if such an instance can be given in any free Assem­bly, the refusing to read former Acts and constitutions of Assem­blies, and other things timeously offered unto them from the word of God, and the Covenant and Publick Papers of the Kirk by their own Clerk out of their own Registers for clearing of the Commissi­ons proceedings which were now in debate, and if the term of re­fusall please not the Author, the Assemblies proceeding to ratifie the procedings of the Commission, without reading or taking in consideration these things offered unto them by their own Clerk, out of the Word of God, and their own Registers for clearing of these proceedings, notwithstanding that the same was timeously offered, and earnestly pressed by many members of the Assembly, and promised by the Moderator to be read; I believe common rea­son [Page 245] teaches, and these who treat of the nullity of Judicatories, and sentences tel us that it is a relevant groud of a declinator, or appeal, if the judge give sentence, without hearing what is timeously of­fered unto him out of his own Acts; and the Laws by which he is bound to judge, for clearing of the cause. As to that instance gi­ven by the Author of a Paper laid aside in the Assembly 48. or 49. The Writer saith, that he is so far from remembring it well, that he doth not remember it at all; neither yet doth others whose memories are better then his; Its strange that the Author should know it for certain, and yet should neither know what Assembly it was, not what the businesse was, nor who the persons were; yet because he affirms it for certain, I shal not deny it, nor say that it is untrue, but till he tell us the particular circumstantiat case, and make it to appear that it is a paralel of the case now in question; I think he wil alow us not to lay weight upon it. Before he close his Answer to this Argument, he labours to Vindicate the Commissi­oners from being Authors of smothering a Paper of Sir Archibald Jonstons, because of a Protestation therein contained, against a Paper of theirs, approving what was done by the King and Com­mittee or Estates against the Ministers of Sterline, and tells if the Writer meant so, it is a wrongfull slandering of them: The Wri­ter hath said nothing that may import that which the Author cals a slander: He thinks that it is insinuate; but I think he hath more insinuated it himself, whilest he saith the Commissioners were far from desiring them to be smothered, though one or two out of tender respect to his Lordship were unwilling that he should be brought to trouble. But was there any thing in that Protestation that would have brought him in trouble? I think it will not be alleadged; why then should that have been smothered, where even the reason which is alleadged to have been the true rea­son of smothering these Papers did fail? VVhat ground of challenge there was against the Commissions Paper doth not properly belong to this debate, and I shal not now meddle much with it, but leave it to the Ministers of Sterlin whom it doth concern; yet did some ju­dicious men, even some of those of the Civill Judicatory to whom it was given in, think that the Commission had gone too far there­in, to give wound to the liberties of the Kirk in these things, which many worthy faithfull Ministers of this Kirk have been zealous to maintain and suffer for; I mean refusing to subject Mi­nister [Page 246] Doctrine to the Civill Magistrate as the proper and imme­diate judge thereof; He gives the summe of that Paper in some par­ticulars: The first is the clearing of the Committees calling before them the Ministers of Sterlin; he should have said the Committees citing and confining of them because of their Preaching a­gainst the Publick Resolutions; and that before they were cited and sentenced, by any other Judicatories of the Kirk; yea, before there was (by the Authors confession) any determination of the Church in that particular case; yea, when there was clear and positive de­terminations of the Church upon their side, and Acts binding them (under the pain of censure) not to be silent, nor to speak ambiguously, but to bear testimony against such courses, which al­so by the Oath of God in the Covenant, they were bound to reveal and make known. As to that practising of the obstruct­ing of the Leavies, which he so frequently mentions, he would tell what it was beyond the bounds of their Calling, left his Readers think that he would fain have them to believe somewhat of these Ministers, that did not become the Ministers of the Gospel, but cannot tell what it is. He saith, that the end why they were called, was, That some convenient course might be taken in rela­tion to them, and securing the Garrison from danger, but hath not told us what that convenient course was, or could have been; nei­ther (I think) can he tell us, but by justifying the course that was taken, that is, the detaining of these Ministers from their charges by Confinement. What convenient course could the Committee of Estates take in order to these Ministers, in an orderly way for preventing any pretended or apprehended danger that was like to come to the Garrison by their preaching, they having now de­clared themselves that they could not, but for the discharging of their consciences, continue to give warning against the sinfulnes of these resolutions; they could not sentence them with any Ecclesia­stick censure, & to confine or imprison upon points of their doctrin and Miniestriall Calling, without any Ecclesiastick processe going before in a Kirk settled in her Judicatories, Government and Disci­pline. I know not if the Author will justifie it as orderly, The next thing done in the Paper was, to vindicate the Committee from the guilt of encroaching on the Liberties of the Church, charged upon them by a Protestation of these Ministers, which (as he alleadges) was of a very high strain. I confess that the Com­mission [Page 247] was concerned to endeavour the vindication of the Com­mittee, because they were accessory to what was done, as we have shewed before; but how they have acquitted themselves in that Vindication, shall not now be insisted upon, neither yet the strain of the Protestation, which is no higher then the truth will bear; but to make up all that Paper, did also approve these Bre­threns Protesting, in so far as it was provisionall for the Liberties and the expresse desires that these Brethren might be respectfully used as Ministers of the Gospel. To which I shall say nothing, but leave to these that can have opportunity to read that Paper, and then they will be best able to judge what that approbation was, and what arguments are used in the body of the Paper for enforcing the desire in the Conclusion concerning their usage.

VINDICATION.

THe last Argument is, that it cannot be a lawfull free Assembly in which persons under tryall are admitted to sit as judges in the same thing for which they are under tryall: But the Meeting at St. Andrews and Dundee was such, the Com­missioners therein were admitted to sit as judges in the self same things for which they were under tryal: This is absolutly denyed, but the Writer goes about to prove it by the instance of some parti­culars: 1. Because the Commissioners before the approbation of their Proceedidgs, did sit as judges of the Protestation, a part whereof was, that their Proceedings should not be ratified, because they did involve a conjunction with the Malignant party, contrary to, &c. 2. They did also before the approbation of their Proceedings judge the persons who had given it in, and did give their votes amongst others, who of them should be cited in order to censure. 3. Nay the Committee wherein that businesse relating to the Protestation and in giving of advice was handled, was for the most part of it made up of Members of the Commission, which thing will be ac­knowledged we believe (saith he) by indifferent men very unsuitable and unconsistent with the liberty of a free Generall Assembly, and then he addeth, that neither would he have others, nor do they themselvs lay much weight upon this argument, unlesse two points of fact upon which it is grounded be found true: First, that the Protestation was judged, and the five Members (it is yet questi­onable whether they were Members or not; their Commission [Page 248] being controverted, unlesse he thinks them essentially members) were appointed to be cited before the approving of the Commission of the Kirk. Secondly, that the members of the Commission had voice in these things, insinuating, that if these matters of fact be clear, as they were informed; the Argument is voted to bat­ter down that Assembly, as not free, and as null. Answer: It is true these five persons were appointed to be cited before the ap­probation of the Proceedings of the Commission, but not in relati­on to censure, absolutly and peremptorily; but to answer for their deed of Protesting, and in case they should not justifie it, or passe from it to be censured; whether the Protestation it self was judged before the approbation of the Commission, my memory serveth me not to say positively, I suppose it was, yet let it be clea­red by the Minutes of the Assembly; but give me leave to say it humbly, that granting both these matters of fact, yet the argu­ment will be found by any indifferent judicious man in the world, able to bear little weight, and in effect but a meer paralogisme in the whole probation of the Assumption, viz. that the Commissio­ners did fit Judges in the very thing in which they were under try­all: For as to the first particular, might not the Assembly have judged the Protestation before the approbation of the Commission, and yet in judging of it, not have judged the matter wherein the Commissioners were yet under tryall: yea verily they might; for why? they might as to that part of it, that is alleadged in this ar­gument, viz. that the Commissioners proceedings should not be ra­tified, have judged that they should go on to try them, and if they did find them right and agreeable to the Word of God, and the Constitutions of this Kirk in that case to ratifie them; and I dare take it upon me, that if they did judge the Protestation before the approbation of the Commission, they did no other thing in relation to that particular. Now to judge that they should go on in the tryall of the proceedings of the Commission to approve them as it should be found, as said is, and to judge in the thing wherein the Commission was under tryall, to judge upon the proceedings, whe­ther they were agreeable, as said is, or not, in themselves, are not the same but very different things, as any that hath half an eye may see and decern. And did not the Members of the Commissi­on 48. judge and vote with others, that that Assembly should go on in trying the proceedings, ratifie them if they should be found right [Page 249] and yet will he not say for that, nor can it in truth be said, that they judged and voted in that thing wherein they were under tryall; and therefore it is evident, the Commissioners might sit as Judges of the Protestation, even before the approbation of their proceedings, and yet it no wayes followes they did as Judges in the same thing wherein they were under tryall, whether the Writer hath reasoned thus loosely out of mistake, or on purpose, I cannot tell, I can hardly suppose the former of them, considering that this Paper evi­dences he is no child, if the latter be true, he hath sure promi­sed himself very undecerning Readers, and his carriage is the more foul. To the second, the Commissioners might also have given vote with others, who of the Protesters should be cited and judged them also, and that before the approbation of their own proceedings, and yet so as it could follow no ways that they had sitten as judges in the same, wherein they were under tryall, i.e. their own proceedings: for why they might have voted with others, & they did in no other maner of ways vote in the matter of these persons citation, but that they should be cited to answer and be tryed upon the grounds of the Protestation, and they might also with others judge the grounds of the Protestation, and found them not relevant, and thereupon sen­tenced them for protesting and declining the Generall Assembly upon such grounds, and yet the Assembly might have found upon tryall the proceedings of the Commission afterward wrong and censurable without any contradiction. There is not a ground of the Protestation, but it might have been found non-relevant for protesting against the Assembly, before the tryall of the Commis­sions proceedings, and yet nothing being thereby imported more for approbation then for condemnation of the proceedings of the Com­mission. As to the third particular, the force of it fals to the ground with the two former, for it containeth no new grounds, but only a seeming aggravation of them, if they might sit in the Assembly in plenâ Curiâ, and judge decisivè, they might as well in a Committee both deliberative and praeparatoriè, In these matters, viz. upon the Protestation and Protesters, and yet not judge any thing in the thing wherein themselves were under tryall, nor yet done any thing therein that could be any prejudice for approving or dis-approving of their own proceedings. Nay, I dare affirm it, that neither the Wri­ter, nor any that was in the Assembly, shall be able to instance, that any of the Commissioners did judge or vote either in the Assembly, or any Committee of the Assembly, or any Act of it importing ei­ther [Page 250] formally, or by way of consequence, approbation or continuance of their own proceedings. I shall here but adde one word that any of the Commissioners did vote in the Assembly in the matter relating to the persons of the Protesters, or were on any Committee for that purpose: It was not their prejudice or to their advantage, but be­ing a thing well known, I believe, to their own consciences, that some of these Commissioners were persons most tenderly affected towards them of any, and so did carry themselves. Now I leave it to the impartiall understanding Reader to be judged if this last Argu­ment against the Assembly is able to bear much weight, give it all the props the Writer requireth to sustain it.

REVIEW.

THe Author in his Answer to this Argument, doth not deny any of these two particulars in the matter of fact, the truth whereof was acknowledged as necessary by the Writer for laying weight on the Argument, to wit, that the Protestation was judged and condemned, and the five Member, appointed to be cited before the approving of the Commission-Book; and that the Members of the Commission had vote in these things; But yeelding both, he doth justifie what was done as just and orderly; For my pa [...]t, I wonder of the Commissions modesty, and of the Assemblies wisdome in it, that needlesly would put themselves upon these rocks, which have so uncomely a fronticepiece, that I doubt exceedingly if either the Author, or any man else when they have exercised their ingines to the utmost, shall ever be able to vindicate it from the appearance of evill, to say no more. But let us hear his answer to the particulars instanced by the Writer. It is true (saith he) that these five Members were appointed to be cited, before the approbation of the proceedings of the Commis­sion, but not in relation to censure absolutely and peremptorily; but to answer for their deed of protesting, and in case they should not justifie it, or passe from it, to be censured. To which I re­turn first; 1. To pass by the debates that were previous to the citation concerning summar Excommunication, wherein (I be­lieve) the Commissioners sa [...]e as Judges as well as others. The citation was in relation to censure absolutely, as appeared not on­ly from the tenor of the summonds, which hath no such caveats and provisoes in it, as the Author speaks of, but also from this, that the Protestation was judged and condemned to be a crime [Page 251] before issuing of the summonds; and therefore the Author hath through inadvertence or willingly mistaken, when he insinuates, that there was place left for defending or justifying of their deed when they should compear. It were a strange method of proceeding, if the Commission should first condemn their deed, before hearing of what they had to say for justifying of it, and af­terwards cite them in order to censure, yet with this proviso, that they would hear them to justifie their deed; and it is little to pur­pose that they might passe from it, their passing from it did not ex [...]em them from censure, unless it had been ex gratia, and by the mercy of their Judge; But upon supposall that the summonds had not been peremptory for censure, what is that to the pur­pose to refute what is alleadged by the Writer, that the Commis­sioners were not Judges of the Protesters, before the approving of their proceedings. Is it not ejusdem citare & sententiam ferre? And did not their voice in the citation of the persons of whatso­ever nature it was irrefragably say, that they might warrantably be Judges of their censure. It seems the Author saw somwhat of this, & therfore afterwards he answers, that the Commissioners might have given vote with others, who of the Protesters should be ci­ted, and judged them also; and that before the approbation of their own proceedings, and yet so as it could follow in no wayes, That they had sitten as Judges in the same thing wherein they were under tryall, i. e. their own proceedings; for why (saith he) they might have voted with others, (and they did no other manner of way vote in the matter of these persons citation) but that they should be cited to answer and be tryed upon the grounds of the Protestation, and found them not relevant, and thereupon sentenced them for protesting and declining the Generall Assem­bly upon such grounds, and yet the Assembly might have found upon tryall, the proceedings of the Commission afterward wrong and censurable, without any contradiction: for why, if we will believe the Author, there is not one ground of the Protestation, but it might have been found not relevant for protesting against the Assembly, before the tryall of the Commissions proceedings, and yet nothing been thereby imported, more for approbation then for condemnation of the proceedings of the Commission. To these things I have answered before; but because the Author is pleased to repeat them, I shall first offer an argument for proving that the Cōmissioners by judging of the Protestation, were Judges [Page 252] of their own proceedings, and then another Argument for proving that the condemning of their Protestation could not wel stand with the condemning of their proceedings. The First Argument is, who so judges upon the irrelevancy of the Exceptions grounded upon their own proceedings; Judges of their own proceedings: But the Commissioners in judging of the Protestation, did judge of the irrelevancy of Exceptions grounded upon their own procee­dings, Ergo. in judging of the Protestation they judged of their own proceedings. The Second Proposition, I hope, will not be de­nied, because the Protestation could not be judged irrelevant but by judging of the Exceptions propounded against the Commissio­ners irrelevant, as the Author himself did formerly acknowledge; and that these Exceptions were grounded upon these proceedings is manifest: the exception of prelimiting of the Assembly being grounded upon thair Letter and Act sent to Presbytries which was a part of their proceedings; and the Exception of their being scan­dalous being grounded upon the publick Resolutions which was a­nother part of their proceedings. The first Proposition seems to be cleer from the intimat connexion, that is, betwixt the one and the other of which the Author himself gave a hint before: But I prove it thus, Who so judgeth of the irrelevancy of Exceptions grounded on their own proceedings must find these exceptions irrelevant, ei­ther because they have no weight in law as not being contrary but consonant to the law, or not as yet being determined by the law, or else because they are not true, or the truth of them, not being yet made to appear, but they cannot judge of any of these with­out judging of their own proceedings, Ergo, &c. The businesse shall be cleer by applying it to the things in hand: There is one ex­ception proponed in the Assembly against the Commissioners, That they are scandalous, because of carrying on a course of Defection in publick Resolutions: This exception is by the Commissioners themselvs together with the rest of the Assembly judged irrelevant; now I desire to know upon what ground, either because to car­ry on such a course in the publick Resolutions is no relevant ground to make men scandalous; and if so, either because these procee­dings are not contrary to the Law, or else because they are not yet determined in law, or if they judge it irrelevant in reference to the Fact, it must be either because they judge the Fact false, or else be­cause they judge it not yet proven; so that take it what way we will, it still follows that they passed judgement upon these pro­ceedings [Page 253] after that judgment, these proceedings are not contrary to the Law: or thus, these proceedings are not yet determined by the Law: or thus, these proceedings are false in fact: or thus, these proceedings are not yet proven to be true in fact, and therefore the Exception founded upon them is not relevant to look upon the Commissioners as under a scandal, so also in application to that ex­ception proponed against them because of the prelimiting of the Assembly by their Letter and Act; That exception is judged irre­levant by themselves and others, either because there was no such Letter and Act to be found among their proceedings: or because such a Letter and Act did include no prelimitation but such as agrees to law: or else because it is not yet determined as to the point of law, or not proven as to the matter of fact: and so take it what way we will, it still includes a judgment upon the proceedings, for which they are under tryal. The Argument which I offer for proving of the other Point, is this, Who so once judges the Commissioners proceedings to be consonant unto, or not to be con­demned by the Law according to which they ought to be tryed and judged, cannot afterwards condemn the same proceedings, or find them wrong: But who so judges these Exceptions proponed a­gainst their proceedings to be irrelevant, judges these proceedings to be consonant unto, or not to be condemned by the law accor­ding to which they ought to be judged. Ergo, &c. The First Propo­sition seems clear and undeniable: The Second is proven, because Exceptions that are proponed upon matters of fact that are true & manifest as to the existence of them, cannot be found irrelevant but upon one of these two grounds; either because these Facts are con­sonant to the law, or not condemned by the law, and what is once found by the Judge to be consonant to the law, or not condem­ned by the law, cannot be afterwards (unless we would make him judge contrary judgment) found to be wrong, because what is wrong is contrary to the law. The application of the Argument may help the Reader to the clear understanding of it, when the Commissioners with other Members of the Assembly, by Con­demning the Protestation, Judges and Condemns the Exceptions contained therein as irrelevant, they must upon supposal of the truth of the Facts which are manifest and acknowledged, find these Exceptions irrelevant, either because, these Facts upon which they are founded, are consonant to the law by which they are to be [Page 254] judged; to wit The Word of God, and Acts of the General As­sembly. or because they are not condemned therby: If they judge them consonant to the law, they cānot afterwards find them wrong by that law, because they have already by the same law found them right; If not condemned, neither can they find them wrong, because that were to find them condemned by the law, by which they have already found them not condemned. If it be said, which for any thing my weakness reaches, is the only thing that can with any colour be said. That they might find these Facts as to the relevancy or irrelevancy of them not condemned, nor determined by any Act of any General Assembly, and so no grounds of relevant Exception, when they were offered unto the Assembly, and yet might after­wards find them condemned by the Word of God, and so find them wrong. I return, 1. That by this Answer it is granted, That these could never be found wrong by any Act of the Assembly, which then was in being. 2. That the Commissioners and the Assembly when they judged of them in order to the relevancy of the Ex­ception founded upon them, did not only neglect to give a judge­ment on them according to the just and infalible rule, by which they are bound in the first place, and by their oath, to square all their proceedings, to wit, the Word of God; but also gave a judgment of them contrary to the Word of God, to wit. That they were not relevant grounds of Exceptions, which is a judgment contrary to the Word, because the things being in themselves wrong by the Word, cannot but be relevant grounds of Exception. If it be said, That all that they judged was that it was not yet manifest by the Word that they were relevant grounds of Exception; That still i [...] but a poor shift to defend an ill Cause, because this follows, That they did condemn them, before they knew whither the Word of God did condemn them, or approve them: and this is indeed to my understanding the up-shot of the business, That it must ei­ther be yeelded that the condemning of these Exceptions, was the approving of these proceedings, or else that men in condemning of them, went on blindly, not knowing whether they did therin judge according to the Word of God, or against it; Because what I have already said, doth cleer and take in what is material and of conse­quence to this businesse: Therefore I shall be the sho [...]ter upon his Answers to the other two Particulars mentioned by the Writer: He doth not deny, but the Protestatian was judged before the ap­probation [Page 255] of the Commissioners proceedings: and surely if so, this was no handsome work, not only because the Commissioners sate as Judges to condemn the Exceptions propounded against them­selves: but also because a part of the Protestation was that the Commissioners proceedings should not be approven as involving a conjunction with the malignant party &c. And it is somwhat strang that they should condemn a Protestation against the approving of these Resolutions before they find these Resolutions approvable: & that the men who were under tryal in order to these Resolutions, should sit as Judges, in condemning a Protestation against the ap­proving of them. The Author thinks, that the Argument will be found by any indifferent judicious men in the World, to bear little weight, and to be a meer Paralogism in the whole probation of the assumption; to win, That the Commissioners did sit as Judges in the very thing for which they were under tryal: I hope before this time judicious men may see something in it that will bear weight, and that there is no Paralogism in the probation of the assumption. The first part of his Answer to the First Particular, [...]s à posse ad esse, that the Assembly might have done so, therefore they did so; that the Assembly might have judged the Protestation before the appro­bation of the Commission: and yet in judging of it, not judged the matter whereof the Commissioners were yet under tryal: yea, verily they might (saith he) for why they might as to that part of it which is alleadged in this Argument, viz. That the Com­missioners proceedings should not be ratified, have judged that they should go on to try them, and if they did find them right and agree­able to the Word of God and Constitutions in this Kirk, in that case to ratify them; whether they might have done this is not now the Debate: It seems by what is said, That they could not have done it, but he dare take it on him, That if they did judge the Protesta­tion, before the approbation of the Commission, they did no other thing in relation to that particular: Now saith he, that they should go on in the tryal of the Commissions to approve them if it should be found as said is, and to judge in the thing wherin the Commis­sion was under tryal, &c. are not the same, but very different things, as any man that hath half an eye may see and d [...]scern. This seems to suppose that when the Assembly did first condemn the Protestation, they did not condemn it all, but only a part of it, to wit, That part that was against the lawfulness and freedom of the [Page 256] Assembly, leaving a reserve for the other part, against the ratifying of the Commissions proceedings, until these proceedings should be tryed: but I cannot take this for granted, until he verify it by the Act it self, which doth condem the Protestation, whereof I doubt exceedingly if it do contain any such limitation; if it had, it is like that he would have told us directly of it, but upon supposal that it did, yet that doth not take off the difficulty, nor Answer the Argument, because as we have already shewen, the Cōmissioners, by judging the relevancy of the exception proponed against themselves (which they judged of, when they condemned the first part of the Protestation, against the lawfulnes & freedom of the Assemb.) they judged their own proceedings, wherof no such instance can be given either in the 48. or any other lawful free Assem. of this Kirk, As to that of the 48. we have often shewed that in al that busines he goes upon mistakes, to wit, That the Parliament did except against such Members of the Assembly as were Members of the Comission. As to his judgment of the Writers reasoning, it is such as doth make it appear, that he had rather chuse to allow to him the testimony of some ability, then not to fasten the imputation of a foul miscarri­age upon him; For he saith he cannot tell whether the VVriter hath reasoned this loosly out of mistake, or of purpose; he can hardly suppose the former, considering this Paper evidences that he is no Child: If the latter be true, he hath surely promised himself very undecerning Readers, and his carriage is the more foul. It seems the Authors judgement of the Writer towards the end of his Vindication differs a little from what it was of him not far from the begining of it, or else he speaks of him so as may contri­bute most for making him contemptible. There he brings him in as one that in the pening of his Paper must have the help of others, for the School and for the Law of it, that he may be looked upon as a weak man, and here he stiles him as one that is no Child, that he may be looked upon as a Sophister: But I beleeve the Writer will rather chuse rather to be accompted weak, then wicked; rather a Child, then a Deceiver; and he hath upon this accompt, and upon the accompt of his own inocency in this particular, warranted me to tell the Author, and all others who reads these Debates, That if in the proof of the minor of this Argument (that the Commissioners sit as Judges in their own proceedings) he hath reasoned loosly, he hath the testimony of his own conscience bearing witness to his in­tegrety, [Page 257] that he hath not done it of purpose, but out of mistake; not wilfully, but in simplicity; and withal, that he is so far from being convinced of any mistake in this, by any thing that is yet said, that he is more and more cleared and confirmed that they did sit as Jud­ges in their own proceedings, for which they were under trial, not­withstanding of any thing that is said by the Author for clearing of them; but of this I leave the judgment to the Readers. As to the third particular, I acknowledge, that if the other two had been sa­tisfyingly answered, the force of it would have fallen to the ground, it being indeed but an aggravation of the former; yet such an ag­gravation as adds not a little weight to it; for all men know what influence the preparations and deliberations of Committees have upon the Judicatories, whose Committees they are. But these two particulars being established, and it being true (as it is not denied by the Author himself) that the Committee wherein the Protestati­on, and that which concerned the citing of the Protesters was han­dled, was for most part made up of these, who had been Members of the Commission; no question they had in all this business a great influence upon the determination of the Assembly, and did bring a prejudice to the judgment, relating to their own proceedings, yea did that, that did involve an approbation of their proceedings, at least a judgment that they could not be condemned or found irrelevant; and therefore the Author dares to affirm too much, when he saith, That he dare affirm it that neither the Writer nor any that were in the Assembly shall instance, that the Commissioners did sit and vote either in the Assembly, or in any Committee of the Assembly, or any Act of it importing either formally, or by way of consequence, ap­probation or condemnation of their own proceedings; we having made the contrary to appear, what was the carriage of the Com­missioners in these things that past in the Assembly towards the Protesters, whether their voting and judging in that matter was to their prejudice or disadvantage; if he mean in order to censure I do not know, as never having had the opportunity to be perfect­ly informed about it; I do indeed beleeve that some of the Com­missioners were tender, as to the matter of censures, both in re­gard of the censure, and of the number of persons who were to be picked out for censure; But to say nothing that all of them were not so, and for any thing I know none of them were free of laying the ground of their censure h. e. of [Page 258] condemning the Protestation, and declaring it to be censurable, it doth not contribute any thing, for answering of the thing that was objected, that is, that they were admitted to sit as Judges of their own proceedings, for which they were under trial; and ther­fore notwithstanding this, or any thing that is said to the Argu­ment, it still hath weight against the Assembly, of which I am con­tent that all impartial understanding Readers should judge: I do in reference to this Argumenr, and the Argument of pre-limitation, and that of the rejecting of the Exceptions propounded against the Commissioners close with the words of these Divines and Lawyers in their Greivances against the Councel of Trent, Quale vero hoc Concilium futurum sit, aut quid tandem libero Concilio simile ha­biturum, in quo litigatorum altera pars, & quidem rea, cum con­sortibus eodem judicio personam judicis quo (que) sibi sumit, & judi­cii adsessores sub arbitratu deligit, judicium (que) pro sua libidine constituit, quaerelam & accusationem nullam audire vult; Imo ac­cusatores inaudita causa, & priusquam judicii compareant, pro­tinus damnet id (inquam) judicium quid judicij simile habiturum sit facile cui vis sine longiore commemoratione nostra estimare po­terit.

VINDICATION.

ANd now upon all that hath been said, let every one judge in the fear and sight of God, whether or no all the Reasons con­tained in the Protestation it self, or in the latter Papers, be rele­vant grounds to protest against, or nullifie the late Assembly as un­free and unlawful in the Constitution and manner of proceeding therin: or if in the Constitution or manner of procedor therin there was such encroachments upon the liberty & freedom of Assemblies as which the Writer boldly affirms in answer to his first general Objection formed against himself, as destroyed almost all the Es­sentials of an Assemblies freedom in Election, Voting, &c. or such incroachments as moved the Assembly 38. to judge null the pre­tended Assemblies condemned therein, or if the Arguments brought against the late Assembly be as strong as any brought against these: both which the Writer affirms too boldly ibidem, but puts their trial over upon the Reader, wherein I think he did wisely, for I Am perswaded had he taken the pains to make a particular paralel faithfully comparing the one with the other, he should evi­dently [Page 259] fail in the proof, and wrong his credit by so discovering the rashness of his Assertion. As we have cleared the Reasons brought against the Assembly, so we have been at a little pains, according to his desire, to take a view of the Reasons brought against these Assemblies, and shall also be at the pains to set down some of them here, that the Reader of the Vindication (who it may be hath not the Acts of that Assembly at hand) may consider them; as 1. Lith­gow 1606. but seven dayes; Aberdeen 1606. but 20. dayes before; Perth 1608. but 20 dayes before, contrary to clear & express Law, and causing the absence of many Commissioners. 2 Commissioners from Presbyteries not elected, but enjoyned to come by the Kings or Bishops Letters, or both Lithgow 1606. first & second; Glas­gow 1610. first Session. 3. Many voters, as Judges having no Commission from the Kirk, Lithgow 1608. only 22. men, Officers of State, Counsellers, Barrons and Bishops: Glasgow 1610. 30. Noblemen and Barrons, beside the pretended Bishops. Aberdeen 1616. 25. Noblemen & Gentlemen. Perth 1618. 19 Noblemen and Barrons: 11 Bishops. 4 Many Supernumerary Commissioners for Presbytries, Burroughs in sundries of them. 5 Threatning of Com­missioners to vote as the King would, Glasgow 1610. 3 Perth 1618. with the wrath of Authority, Imprisonment, Banishment, Depriva­tion of Ministers, utter subversion of the Estate; yea, that whether reasoning or number of votes should carry the matter. Bribing of Commissioners, Glasgow 1610. 3, 5, 7. no election of a Moderator, but usurpation of that place by the Bishops, Aberdeen 1616. Reas. 1 Perth 1618. 2. 8. No Ruling Elders sent from Presbyteries, Glas­gow 1610. Reason first, 9. Grounds of proceeding in voting not in the Word of God, Confession of Faith, Acts of the Assemblies: but the Kings Commands Perth 1618. Reason 9. Now Reader com­pare these with what hath been said in the Examination of them, and jugde thou impartially, if no stronger Arguments was brought for the nullity of these pretended Assemblies then this Writer hath brought against this.

REVIEW.

IT is indeed fit that in a matter of such consequence, men apply themselvs seriously to search out the truth, and to judge there­of in the fear and sight of God; and therefore without opposing confidence to confidence, I leave men so to do upon all that hath [Page 260] been said, and then to give sentence whether the Reasons contai­ned in the Protestation, and in the latter Papers, be not relevant grounds, to protest against & to nullify the late Assembly as unfree and unlawful in the Constitution & manner of proceeding; & whe­ther the Writer had not reason to affirm, that there was such en­croachments upon the Constitution thereof, and right manner of proceeding therein, as did destroy almost all the essential requisits of a free Assembly; freedom of Election, free Voting, free access and recess, free hearing of what was offered for light, impartial hearing and discussing of Exceptions against Constituent Members; admitting of Presbytries, who were under trial, to sit as Judges upon particulars relating to themselves: and whether there was not such encroachments as moved the Assembly 38. because of the like to judge several of the former Assemblies to be null; or whe­ther stronger Reasons are brought for nullifying any of these pre­tended Assemblies then of this. The Author thinks these to be too bold Assertions in the Writer: but I hope they are not more bold then true; and viritas non quaerit angulos. That the Writer did not make any particular paralel of the Reasons of the nullity of this Assembly, with the Reasons of the nullity of these Assemblies, was upon no such politick principle as the Author insinuats, to wit, The fear of wronging his credit, or the discovering of the rashness of his Assertion; but to spare (as I conceive he thought) needless pains, the Acts of the Assembly being so common, and the paralel being so easie to every Reader of ordinary capacity and understan­ding: and if it was a fault in the VVriter, not to make a particu­lar paralel, faithfully comparing the one with the other, and weigh­ing Reason with Reason; the Author can much less be blameless who seems to undertake it, and yet doth little as to the perform­ing of it, only he makes a short recapitulation of the Reasons of the nullity of these Assemblies, and leaves the Reader to make the paralel & comparison; and in this, what hath he done more then the Writer? except that he hath been at the pains to make some com­pend of these Reasons, which are more clearly set down in the prin­ted Acts that are common. It is to be marked, that it is not as­serted by the VVriter, that all the Reasons brought for anulling of all, and every one of these Assemblies, are quadrant to this As­sembly; but that there is none of these Assemblies, for the nullify­ing of which stronger reasons are brought, and therefore though [Page 261] some breaches of the right Rules of Constitution may haply be found in some of these Assemblies, which are not instanced in this Assembly, it makes nothing against this Assertion, nor for justify­ing this Assembly more then these, because there is none of these in which moe or more weighty breaches of the Rules of Constitu­tion can be found, then can be found in this. But let us take a view of the most considerable Reasons brought for nullifying these As­semblie [...], and compare them with the Reasons which are brought for nullifying this: the first is, The want of timous indiction which caused the absence of many Commissioners. To this there was something equivalent in this Assembly that caused the absence of many Commissioners, to wit, The troubles of the times which in some places hindred the Elections, and in others hindred the Com­missioners from coming. The second is, want of freedom in the Election of Commissioners in Presbyteries, because of Letters from the King and the Prelats, requiring them to chuse such and such. To which was equivalent in this Assembly, the pre limiting of Ele­ctions of their freedom by the Letter and Act of the Commission, excluding all those who were opposit to the Publick Resolutions. The third is, the admitting many to voice in the Assemblies, who had no Calling nor Commission so to do; to which is equivalent in this Assembly, the admitting the Commissioners to voice, not­withstanding of just Exceptions proponed against them, before the discussing of these Exceptions, and the admitting them to voice in the discussing of them. The fourth is, the want of freedom in voicing, because of threatnings under no less pains then the wrath of Authority, Imprisonment, deprivation of Ministers, &c. To which was equivalent in this Assembly, the Kings Letter, and the Commissioners Speech, with the previous warnings, Remonstran­ces, Letters and Acts of the Commission characterizing those who were against Publick Resolutions as Malignants, and appointing them to be censured, and stirring up the Civil Magistrate against them, together with the Acts of Parliament made against such, which Acts did involve more and more certainly against the oppo­sers of Publick Resolutions then any of these threatnings could do, because there was no Law, as yet, for executing of them. The fifth is, the practising some of the Articles concluded in these Assemblies before the Assembly it self, notwithstanding that these Articles were formerly condemned by the Church, by which their Voices [Page 262] were pre-judged by the practice or these Articles before condem­ned by the Church, and therefore they should have been seclu­ded from voicing. To which in this Assembly is equivalent, the practising the Publick Resolutions by many Members of the Assem­bly before the Assembly concluded the same, notwithstanding they were before that time clearly condemned by the Church: I dare say as clearly as ever kneeling at the Communion, or feastval-daies, were condemned by this Church, before the Assembly did conclude them to be practised. The sixth is, the limiting of Commissioners of their power and Commission given unto them by their Presby­tries, which was also done upon the matter by Presbytries, sending Commissioners to this Assembly: For besides that many Presby­tries, in obedience to the Letter and Act of the Commission, did chuse none but such as was for the Publick Resolutions passing by all such as were against them: so some Presbytries did expresly discharge some who were chosen because they were opposit to the Publick Resolutions; of which I have given two clear instances already, one in the Presbytry of the Mearnes who did by a Let­ter intimate the Lord Arburthnet (whom they had chosen to be Ruling Elder to the General Assembly) that if he had any hesita­tion or scruple to declare himself satisfied with the Publick Reso­lutions, they behoved to make choice of another: Another in the Presbytery of Kirkaldy discharging the Ruling Elder chosen for the Town of Burnt-Island, upon the accompt of his being opposit to the Publick Resolutions. Besides these Reasons, there be also others mentioned and cleared, in the Debate that contribute for proving the nullity of this Assembly; and when all these are put together, I beleeve it shall not be found that there were moe, or more material Reasons brought by the Assembly at Glasgow, for nullifying of any of these 6. pretended Assemblies, then are brought for nullifying of this; and therefore the Writer hath done no wrong to his credit, nor shown himself rash in affirming so.

VINDICATION.

AFter all these Arguments brought to nullifie the late Assembly, the Wri­ter brings some general Objections against their protesting against the Assembly, formed at his own pleasure, and Answereth them. He need­ed not been at this pains, I doubt not, honest and understanding men interessed, in time convenient, will represent Reasons enough against it themselves, [Page 263] nor will we stay to trace him in these, considering how fectless and weak the grounds were whereupon the Protestation was built. The Authors of it, though I question not their finding mercy at Gods hands, yet shall they never be able to wipe away before the eyes of impartial men of this and succeding generations who shall be rightly informed of it, the blot of Dividing this Kirk, and expo­sing our Government to be reproached of the Enemy, by needless p [...]pming of, and of the bloody unseasonableness of it; it may sting them to remember what a time it was they gave it in, wherein the Blood of their Brethren shed in De­fence of their Countrie, was as yet [...]eeking from the ground, and what content­ment and insultations many of them [...]thed in their countenances and speech, at the very circumstance of time; and that they would not delay the in-giving of it one day, though Hearing and admittance was promised to them; and if they could not at all be present personally, might have been presented in their name, but they would needs give it then though it was near midnight, and the translation of the Assembly was voted before. I shall add but a word or two more, one is this: I put it to some of their consciences if it was not apprehen­sion that the Assembly would approve the proceedings of the Commissioners, together with the occasion of that dayes event that moved them indeed to give that Protestation more then conscience of any weight of the grounds whereon it was built. I give only these two Evidences of this, 1. That they did so ear­nestly press the Assembly to be but adjourned upon that ground, that there were such differences about these proceedings. 2. That until that day some of themselves had sitten and voted in it, as in an Assembly lawfully constitute, compeared in Committees of the Assembly, yea, sitten as Members in them, some of them being Moderators and Clerks of these Committees cognosced up­on matters that came before the Assembly, made reports to the full Assembly, concurred with votes in making sundry Acts of the Assembly, until that very day the blow was given at Inerkeithen; and even then when the Assembly met at night to advise about translation, they voted in that business; It's true, They voted not for translation, but for adjourning of it: But that same did necessarily import their acknowledgment of it for the present as a lawful As­sembly; however now they do profess that that was an error and fault: Yet these things do clearly enough evidence, that at the time of the in-giving of be Protestation, it was not conscience of the weight of the grounds whereon it was built (as they pretended in the Protestation) but some other thing, even that which was said before, that moved them to protest against the Assembly.

REVIEW.

THe Author is pleased handsomly to wave the answer brought by the Writer to these objections, though many of them be home to the purpose: He brings for his Reasons, that the grounds of the Protestation are weak and fectless. But the sentence of one [Page 264] who is party, is justly liable to the suspition of partiality. If there be no more to be said against the grounds of the Protestation then is in his Vindication, they may haply be found strong enough not­withstanding both of his underminings and batteries: I shall the less wonder at his big words, to wit, That the Protesters shall never be able to wipe away, before the eyes of impartial men of this and succeeding generations, who shall be rightly informed of it: The blot of dividing this Kirk and exposing our Government to the re­proach of the Enemy by needless proponing of it; because it is of his interest and concernment to put these things from his own door and the door of his complices. But in this the Protesters with much trembling and fear do make their humble appeal to the Lord Jesus Christ, desiring Him in mercy both to the one and to the o­ther, to bear testimony at whose door the guilt of these things doth mainly lie, whether at theirs who on a sudden do change both their principles and party, or at theirs who adhering to their former prin­ciples have born testimony against that change, and have studied, though in much weakness and with many failings and infirmities to preserve their Union cum Deo, cum Foedere, cum Pristina Ecclesia Scoticana; and to preserve the Liberty of the Kirk of Scotland [jure] by protestation, when they could not do it [facto] by any other lawful means. As for the rest of the things which he saith in this Paragraphe concerning the bloody unseasonable­ness of it (as he calls it) When I read these things, that of Da­vid 2 Sam. 16.12. when much like imputations were cast upon him, occurred unto me; not that I mean to compare the Author to Shimei, though yet I wish he had been more modest in these things; but desires the Protesters to be comforted in their own in­nocency against unjust imputations. I see no cause why he should desire them to remember at what a time they gave it in; from any guilt they had in the in-giving of it, the consideration of the Lords trysting that doolful stroak at Inerkeithen, with the more doolfu [...] defection of the Church of Scotland, doth indeed afflict them and wound their hearts as often as they remember of it; But in the in-giving of the Protestation they have peace, as having done their duty therein: That any of them did kythe contentment and insul­tation in their countenance and speech at the very circumstance of time is a causeless reproach, and more then he or any others shall e­ver be able to make good, or hath any just ground to alleadge: He [Page 265] had dealt fairly if he had set down these speeches that gave evi­dence of their insultations, their own breasts best know what was the frame of their spirits, and no man under Heaven can bring any evidence of their contentment, or insultation in their countenance and speech. That they would not delay the in-giving of it, was up­on these grounds: 1 Because they did perceive they were already put to disadvantages by delay. 2 Because they did suspect that it was not safe for them to go to Dundee, which suspition was afterwards verified not to be groundless, by the usage that some of their num­ber met with in that place. 3 Because they doubted if the As­sembly should have liberty to transport themselves to sit els-where, the English now being Master of the Fields,. That it was given in when it was near midnight, and after the adjournment of the Assembly, are no agravating circumstances of the business; but the reason was, they delaied as long as possibly they could, being loth to fall upon this last remedy till they have the utmost. As for that Question that he puts to the consciences of the Protesters, I shall give a consciencious and ingenious Answer thereto in both the parts of it, expecting that he will do the like upon Questions put to him after this manner. As to the first part of it I do indeed think that the apprehension, or rather the almost certain knowledge, that the Assembly would approve the proceedings of the Commissio­ners, had weight with the Protesters, both to look more narrow­ly to the lawfulnes and freedom of the Assembly, and to think more seriously upon a Protestation then otherwise they would have done if the Assembly had been like to improve their power (whatever it was) unto Edification: many things may be born with and winked at in legalities and forms, and wayes of proceeding in Judicatures, when their proceedings for the matter are right, which yet may be justly censurable in themselves, and which others may be stirred up to take notice of by things relating to the matter: But that the apprehension of the Assemblies approving of the proceedings of the Commission did make them hazard upon a Protestation against the Assembly, upon such grounds as to their consciences were not weighty and relevant, I will assure him is an untruth; they were convinced in their consciences before the giving in of that Protesta­tion, that these grounds were relevant, and their light and convi­ction is from day to day more and more encreased in this thing, al­beit it was, and is unto them a matter of great sadness to see a Gene­ral [Page 266] Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland corrupted in the Constitution and actings of it, yet they did, and do look upon it as a wonderful providence of God, that as all the former Assemblies that carried on courses of defect on in this Church, were also corrupt in their Con­stitution; So this Assembly which did ratifie the Publick Resoluti­ons that do involve a course of defection, & make sundry dangerous and destructive Acts, was, as to the Constitution of it, unfree and unlawful, and therefore no Assembly at all. As to the other part of the Question, That it was the occasion of that dayes event that moved them to give in that Protestation, more then the conscience of any weight of the grounds whereon it was built. He that is the searcher of hearts knows that it was not so, and that that dayes event had no influence at all upon the Protesters in giving in of that Protestation, otherwise then that the dayes event occasi­oning the adjournment of the Assembly from St. Andrews did oc­casion the giving in of that Protestation before their rising, lest there should not be another opportunity. And to make it to ap­pear that it was not the occasion of that daies event that moved them to give it in, I desire these particulars to be taken notice of: 1 That it was resolved upon and subscribed 48. hours before there was any report of that daies event at St. Andrews; it was subscri­bed upon the Friday, and the report of that event came not till Sun­day at night late. 2 When it was subscribed, it was earnestly prest by some, that it might presently after the subscribing thereof, or the next day without further delay be given in to the Assembly: and upon this very reason among others, lest if our Forces should be defeated, before the in-giving of it, it might open the mouths of some to say, that which is now spoken by the Author. If it be as­ked, Why it was then delaied? The reason was, because some was absent who had been upon the debate of it, and were like to sub­scribe it; therefore it was resolved, that it should be delay­ed until Monday, till they might be present to put to their hands, and that on that day without further delay, it should be gi­ven-in without respect to any events, yet so, as if that the Assem­bly should be adjourned before that time, of which there was a constant rumor because of the fear of the approach of a Party of the English, that it should be given in at the time of the adjour­ning the Assembly, and accordingly some of the number were na­med to waite on and to do it upon that exigent. The things which [Page 267] the Author brings for verifying his alleadgances are soon Answe­red. The p [...]e [...]sing to adjourn the Assembly upon that ground that there was such differences about these proceedings, was because they did rather incline to strain themselves to the utmost▪ and to except of any tolerable remedy, then that the Assembly should go on to ratifie a course of Detection, and to lay a foundation of bea­ring down oppose [...]s of publick Resolutions, by making Acts for censuring of them, as afterwards they did: yet so, that if the o­verture of adjournment had been hearkned to, they would not have been satisfied, but with such provisions as might have been remedy at least for the future, for preventing such things as were wrong in the Constitution, and might have given some probable hope of right composing of Differences: That till that day some of themselves did sit and vote in it, as one Assembly lawfully Constituted, is an al­leadgance without a bottom. They did indeed sit and vote in it se­veral dayes, but with a Protestation oftentimes renewed both be­fore and after the chusing of the Moderator to be heard upon the Constitution of the Assembly without satisfaction, in which they could not acknowledge the Assembly. And the reason why they did sit and vote till the day of Inerkeithing, was that which I have told already, because they were loath to use the last remedy, till there was no hope, That any other could be effectual to bring things to any tolerable condition: the Author cannot but remember that there was Conference both upon the Thursday, and upon the Fri­day, betwixt some of the Commissioners and some of the Prote­sters in order to a good understanding, and some right way of com­posing Differences, and preventing of further Divisions, and of a wi­der breach; and how much and how earnestly some did with tears press the Commissioners, that they would be instrumental to get the Assembly adjourned, and how peremptorily they did refuse, so much as once to speak in it. Their salvo in the Assembly was also salvo enough for them to be in Committees: and for their voting in the adjournment. I have told upon what ground they did it, it doth but at the utmost say, that they did strain themselves to the utmost, and further then otherwise could have been convenient, un­till necessity forced them to use the last remedy of Protesting: From all which it may appear, notwithstanding of any thing said by the Author to the contrary, That it was the conscience of the weight of the grounds whereupon it was built, and not that which [Page 268] alleadged by the Author that moved these men to protest against the Assembly: The Author is a very bold and uncharitable Cen­surer of the Protesters, not only as to the matter of their actions, but as to the motives and inducements of their actings. In the be­ginning of his Vindication, he hath holden forth some of them, as acting upon Byassed and Self-interst, and as belying all their great Profession, of respect to the Government of this Kirk by their A­ctions. Now in the close of it, he holdeth forth all of them as men void of conscience in this particular, and acting upon other grounds, notwithstanding of their pretending to Conscience: I thought that whatever had been his Opinion of some of them, yet that he had had a better and more Honorable estimation of others of them.

VINDICATION.

I Shall in the next place speak a word to one or two passages con­tained in the general Objections, because in the one the Writer pretends to hold forth a new argument against the lawfulnesse of the Assembly, in the other through the sides of it, he strikes at the Assembly of Glasgow 38. it self: The former in the answer to the second Objection is this, Albeit there were nothing relating to the point of forme, viz. to the Constitution and manner of proceder of the Assembly, yet some conceive, and with much appearance of reason that an Assembly proceeding wrong upon matters is null, because Kirk Judicatories have no power to destruction, but all their power is to Edification, and all power Commissioners of a Ge­nerall Assembly have, it is by Commissions from Presbyteries which Commission limiteth them to the Word of God, the Cove­nant and Acts of former Assemblies, and therefore in so far as they do any thing contrary to these, in so far they may be declined as having no power for doing any such thing, which furnisheth a new argument, not before alleadged for declining the Assem­bly, because in the most of all the materials of their proceedings they proceed contrary to the trust committed to them by Presby­teries. Answer: We are not now disputing about the right or wrong of particular Acts and Constitutions of the Assemblie; the Writer doth but affirm they are wrong, and this saying is not to be holden for sententia l [...]ta, nor is it an Oracle; but to the pre­sent matter: 1. Supposing as the Writer doth, and we conceive we [Page 269] have in what goes before made a more clear supposition, nothing could be alleadged in the point of forme, that which indeed here maketh nothing for justifying the deed of the Protesters who Pro­tested against the lawfulnesse of the Assembly, when as it had not come to any of these Proceedings which the VVriter alleadgeth to be wrong in the matter, this sure I am cannot be justifiable: But se­condly, if the Writer by these some, who conceive, as he saith, meaneth any some Orthodox Writers, it had been fit he had named them and cited their words and Writings wherein they express that conception, that we might have had consideration of them: If he mean some of themselves, their Authority cannot have weight in this matter, being but a party without authority, speaking in their own cause, and for their own advantage, but for the thing it self which is as­serted here, that an Assembly against which nothing can be al­leadged in the point of forme, to wit, in the Constitution of it, for its manner of Proceeding is a null Assembly. 1. According to the state of the question in hand, a not having the being of an Assem­bly, but to be holden a meer meeting destitute of Authority, because proceeding wrong in the matter, id est, making some wrong Acts, is in my weak judgement a most dangerous and irrationall concep­tion, I confess indeed that a Gen. Assembly is not a Judicatory absolutly soveraign, whose Constitution is to be imbraced upon its bare and naked authority as Papists make their Councels to be, but Ministerial subordinate unto, and limited by a rule, and not unfal­lible, and therefore that inferior Judicatories, and private Chri­stians also must make use of the judgement of discretion to compare the Constitutions with the rule, and are not oblieged to receive them if they be contrary to, or dissentient from the rule; but to say that notwithstanding it be constitute so as nothing is wanting or amiss as to the point of forme requisite in such a Judicatory, yet if it make wrong constitutions upon the matter, that it is to be holden no Asembly at all; that is to open a gape to confusion, inferring that absurd consequence, that that Assembly is not compleatly constitute in the being of an Assembly, untill all the Acts of it be concluded and ended; and that untill it be concluded no man can acknowledge nor submit to it, but with a reserve, and if it shall be so, I see not how it can be avoided by the like reason, that acts wrong upon the matter must make a Presbytery not a Presbytery; yea, and a Mi­nister a non-Minister, which no man will not see to be most con­trary [Page 270] to the practise of CHRIST and his Appostles in relati­on to the Priests and Kirk Judicatories among the Jews while they were a Kirk; it is also remarkable, that that solemn Assembly of Glasgow in declaring the nullity of the six preceding Assemblies doth never take an argument to prove the nullity of any of them from the matter of the Acts made in them, while yet there was very fair oc­casion to have done, if that Assembly had been of the Writers minde. The second grounds upon which the Writer saith this conceit hath great appearance of reason, are of that sort of arguments that Ar­ristotle calls [...], id est, That hath appear­ance, but not solidity, id est, That Kirk Judicatories have no power for destruction, but all their power is for Edification; he might have taken a large subject to his denunciation, even all Ju­dicatories both Civill and Ecclesiasticall, for no Civill Judicatory nor Judge, nor Magistrate, more then Ecclesiastick hath his power [...] id est, morall power for destruction, but all is for edificati­cation, in their kind, viz, for the preserving and procuring the good and safty of the people, which is suprema lex by just acts. Is then that a good consequence, an Assembly that maketh destructive Acts is null, then its as good a consequence, a Parliament that ma­keth destructive Acts is no Parliament, and a King that maketh destructive Acts is no King. The truth is, an Assembly that makes wrong Acts dissenting from the rule it should walk by, Acts not as a lawful Assembly should do, nor are these Acts made obligatory, or to be obeyed, but yet for all that, it may be a true and lawful Assembly, as to the essence and being of an Assembly, and having lawfull authority as the Parliament 48. in carrying on the sinfull En­gagment, and many Acts destructive to the Commonwealth, and to the ends of Parliament, which people thought themselves not oblieged to obey, and were afterwards condemned; and yet that Parliament was never denyed to be a lawfull Parliament: It was a distinction at that time common and uncontradicted, and for my part I cannot see a reason why it should not have place in relation to an Assembly, that the acts of it may be unlawfull, and yet it self an lawfull Assembly. The other reason is never a whit more to the purpose more then the former; for to let that pass which he saith in the antecedent, that whatever power Commissioners of a General Assembly have, it is by Commission from, &c. (which deserves examination) and if he mean that Commissioners sitting [Page 271] together and voting in a Generall Assembly, have only a delegate power, and deputed power subordinate to Presbyteries, can hardly be reconciled with sound Doctrine, concerning Church Govern­ment) yet supposing it to be so, no more follows, but that in such acts as the Assembly makes, contrary to the limitations and rules con­tained therein, they may get no obedience, and that such acts may be declined and Protested against; and indeed the Writer himself in his consequent infers no more but this much, for getting in so short bounds what he had proponed as the point to be proven, for these are his very words: For in so far as they do any thing contra­ry to this, in so far they may be declined, as having no power or authority in doing such things: Which, what is it else but what we have said? But it doth not follow, that because they make acts contrary to the limitation of their Commission, therfore the Assembly may be declined and protested against absolutly, as not having the being of a lawful free Assembly, just as because, the members of a Parliament have all their power by Commission from the people of the Land, Commissioners of Shires from their Shires, and Commis­sioners of Burghs from their Burghs by a temporary election; & as I humbly conceive) Noblement [...] by a kind of election, heriditary from the Commonwealth, & they are limited to the laudable fundamental lawes of the Kingdome, and unto the common principles of Justice; it followes well that if they make acts contrary to these they are not obligatory unto obedience, and in so far they may be protested a­gainst: But it doth not follow, that therefore the Parliament that makes them may be absolutly declined and Protested against as no lawful or free Parl. I know there are many differences between these Judicatories in other things, but I think the Writer shall be hard­ly able to let us see a reason why the paralel of this should not hold good. This is it that takes away the force of the second ground, for proving the point that was intended, however the impertinency of this second ground as to the point it was intended for, is disco­vered before; and I hope by what hath been said, it is sufficiently evidenced that the Writer hath brought no new considerable reason for the nullity of the late Assembly, as to the being of a lawfull free Assembly, even suppose sundry of the acts and constitutions were wrong upon the matter (which yet is not granted, and he should have proven and not nakedly affirmed) but hath brought disad­vantage to himself and the Protestation.

REVIEW.

THe Writer is not positive in delivering his own judgement upon this point, that is here so much insisted upon by the Author, but onely saith that it is the opinion or conception of some with much appearance of reason, and therefore upon sup­posall that this opinion were not well grounded, he hath brought little or no disadvantage either to himself or to the Protestation, in alleadging the same; yea, I believe he will take it for an advan­tage to have the Truth discovered unto him, either in this or any other particular,: For my part, I am loath, neither do I intend to fall upon the debate of this question, or to deliver my judgement positively therein (because, (if I be not mistaken) it is a thorny question, and full of difficulties on both hands, yet I cannot but take notice of some things that are set down by the Author in his large Answer to what was said shortly by the Writer: First, He tels us that the Writer doth but affirm that the Acts and Constitu­tions of the Assembly are wrong; and that his saying is not to be holden for sententia lata, nor is it an Oracle: None speaks Oracles but God, and the Writer takes no more upon him but to speak his opinion as a poor weak man; but I believe the Author knows, that it is not only the opinion of the Writer, and of the Protesters, and of such Ministers and Professors as are unsatisfied with the Consti­tution of the Assembly, but also of many others, even of not a few of those who were no opposites to the Publick Resolutions; I have hitherto met with few or none in estimation for Piety and God­linesse that doth justifie and professe their adherence to all the Acts of that Assembly as things tending to Edification, and promoving the work of Reformation in the Land; and seeing he is pleased to make bold with others, I think he will not offend if I appeal his Conscience, whether he thinks these Acts of that Assembly that do relate to the censuring of all Ministers, Expectants, Students, Elders and Professors who do not acknowledge the Constitution of that Assembly, and submit to the Acts thereof, such Acts as in themselves tend to the furthering of the work of Reformation, and advancing of Piety and Godlinesse in the Land. Next, I take notice of that which he saith, that supposing as the Writer doth, that no­thing was wrong in the point of forme, that there is nothing in the [Page 273] matter that will justifie the deed of the Protesters, because they pro­tested against the lawfulnesse of the Assembly, when as it had not come to any of these Proceedings which the Writer alleadgeth to be wrong on the matter; in this the Author is mistaken, because the rejecting of relevant exceptions proponed against sundry of the Commissioners, both before and after the chosing of the Modera­tor was wrong on the matter, being prejudiciall to the right Con­stitution of the Assembly, and a preparative to the justifying of the Commissioners Proceedings. Thirdly I would have him to know that the Writer by these some, whom he speaks of, doth not mean any of the Protesters themselves, though the Authority of some of them be of as great weight in the Protestant Churches as any of the Divines of this age, and being prior to the Protestation, needs not, nor ought not to be looked upon as the testimony of a party, but he means som Orthodox Writers, and these of chief, not in the Protestant Churches, whom (as I conceive) he thought he needed not to name, as having no great purpose to insist much upon the businesse: But for the Authors satisfaction, and the satisfaction of others, I shall name some, First Calvin writing upon the 23. of the Acts hath these words, Nascitur quaestio, si honore non est privandus qui malè officio fungitur, peccavit Paulus Pontificem honore spolians? Responsio. Inter Magistratus Civiles & Ecclesiae Praesules aliquid est discriminis, quamvis enim Civilis Imperii confusa sit perversa (que) administratio, Dominus tamen vult subje­ctionem salvam munere, sed ubi spirituale regimen degenerat, sol­vuntur piorum conscientiae ne injustae dominationi pareant; prae­sertim si impii Sacerdotii titulum, falso ad evertendam salutis doctrinam praetexant, sibique dominationem arrogant qua ipse Deus in ordinem cogitur. And Paraeus upon the same place moves the same Question, and gives Answer to it in these words; Non sequitur à Magistratu Politico ad Ecclesiasticum, quia mag­na est dissimilitudo, magistratus politicus potest esse magistratus; quamvis sit impius ideoque ei obtemperandum quoad non praecipit quid impium; sed Ministri Ecclesiae deficientes à puritate doctri­nae, & spargentet falsa dogmata, jam non amplius sunt Ministri Christi; Paulus Magistratum quamvis impium agnoscit pro Magi­stratu; Impium vero pontificem non agnoscit pro pontifice. He will also finde moe writing upon that place speaking to the same pur­pose: as also upon the 2. Cor. 10.8. and 13.8. and 10. It is not [Page 274] now my purpose to fall upon the consideration of the extent of the meaning of those Divines in these places, it is enough that I give him their testimonies speaking as much clearly as the Writer said they did. 4. I doubt if for any thing that is said by the Author, this exception will be found so dangerous and [...]: First, He thinks that it is to open a wide gap to confusion, inferring that ab­surd consequence that that Assembly is not compleatly constitute in the being of an Assembly, till all the Acts of it be concluded and ended; and that till it be concluded, no man can acknowledge nor submit to it, but with a reserve. The reason of this consequence must be, because haply in the close they may make an Act wrong upon the matter, which one Act nullifies the Assembly, though they had done all other things well, but so said not the Writer, neither can any such thing rationally be gathered from his words; the most that he insinuates i [...], that an Assembly proceeding wholly wrong upon the matter, or in the most substantiall and materiall things, or in the rules of its constitutions of greatest concernment, or as that so far as an Assembly proceeds wrong upon the matter, it is so far without authority, as appears from his own words in the inference which he makes from the power which the Commissioners have committed unto them by their Presbyteries, and from the Conclu­sion that he makes in order to the Assembly now in question, to wit, That they having in most of all, and the most material of their proceeding proceeded contrary to the trust committed unto them by Presbyteries; It furnisheth another considerable reason for decli­ning of them. Secondly, He thinks that it will also infer the nul­lity of Presbyteries, and make Ministers no Ministers, if they shall proceed wrong upon the matter, which no man will not see to be contrary to the practice of Christ and his Apostles, in relation to the Priests and Church-Judicatories among the Jewes whilst they were a Church. But to say nothing of the difference between Mi­nisters, Parliaments, and Assemblies, the one being ordinary and fixed; the other not so, the most that it would infer would be this, That in so far as they proceed wrong, or that if in the most substantiall and materiall parts of their duty, they proceed wrong upon the matter, their authority is not to be acknowledged, and this seems not a very dangerous consequence. Thirdly, He thinks this contrary to the judgment of the Assembly of Glasgow, concerning which he thinks it remarkable, that in declaring [Page 275] the nullity of some preceding Assemblies, they do never take an Argument from the matter to prove the nullity of them, whilst yet (saith he) there was very fair occasion to have done it, if that the Assembly had been in the Writers mind. The Writer hath not yet positively declared his mind in this mat­ter: But the Author upon second thoughts will find his remark concerning the Assembly of Glasgow not well grounded, because that Assembly in proving the nullity of some preceding As­semblies, do reason not only from the form, but also from the mat­ter or grounds of their proceeding in their Acts, as appears in the last reason brought for nullifying the Assembly at Pearth, which is this, That the ground of their proceeding was not the Word of God, the Confession of Faith, and Acts of former Generall Assem­blies, but the Kings Commandment onely. For the question was thus stated, whether the Five Articles in respect of his Majesties Commandment should pass in Act or not, as the Records of that pretended Assembly bear, where it is declared; That for the reve­rence and respect which they bear to his Majesties Royal Command, they do agree to the foresaid Articles. And that the Church of Scotland had respect to the matter as well as to the form, in an­nulling these Assemblies, is manifest from that notable Act at E­dinburgh, in the year 1639. concerning the causes and remedies of the bygone evils of this Kirk, in which the fifth Cause is decla­red to be the keeping and authorizing corrupt Assemblies at Lith­gow 1606 and 16 [...]8; at Glasgow, 1610; at Aberdeen 1616; at St. Andrews 2617; at Pearth 1618; which Assemblies are de­clared to be null and unlawfull, as being called and constituted quite contrary to the Order and constitutions of this Kirk, received and practised eversince the Reformation of Religion, and withall labouring to induce Novations in this Church, against the order and Religion established. Whence it appears, that either the Au­thor hath not known, or else hath not considered, that this Kirk hath laid weight upon the matter for nullifying of these Assem­blies, as well as upon the form; and (I believe) Orthodox Di­vines arguing against corrupt counsels, do the same; any who doubt it, may be pleased to read that learned Review of the Coun­cell of Trent, and that Book of the Gravamina against the Coun­cell of Trent, in the last of which it is first proven by many instan­ces that many Councels both of old and late have erred, and from thence that conclusion is inferred; Ergo necessario ex hoc conse­quitur [Page 276] illud Concilium tantum recte dici & esse Christianum, in quo ex verbo Dei & non ex hominum traditionibus, constitutio­nibus, decretis, somniis, aut ulla denique quantumvis inveteratâ consuetudine, res religionis judicetur atque determinetur, quamvis magni in eo intersint viri. Etenim externam illam speciem au­thoritatis sapientiae humanae excellentiae & sanctimoniae detestatur & rejicit Propheta inquiens, Quomodo dicitis, sapientes sumus, & lex Domini apud nos est, attamen ecce mendacium operatus est stylus, falso & frustra scripserunt Scribae, pudefacti sunt sapientes perterriti & capti sunt, ecce verbum Domini repro­baverunt, quae ergo illis sapientia reliqua esse poterit, Jer. 8. Which words are applyed at length to the Councel of Trent, & the whole purpose closed thus; at (que) ex his quae de Christianorum Conciliorum proprietatibus breviter diximus hactenus planum fit & irrefraga­biliter efficitur Pontificiam Synodū quae Tridentî habetur, & nunc prope finita existimatur ne (que) generalis vel universalis, ne (que) liberi nec etiam Christiani concilii nomine dignam esse, a [...] (que) adeo Concilii nomine prorsus indignam, juxta regulam communem & vulgo tri­tissimam, Si re priveris nec nomen habere mereris, & quid opus est multis conjecturis in re plena & aperta cum ipsa forma proceden­di qua utuntur & Sessiones quas vocant, & quae ex his consequutae sunt determinationes Canones & decreta manifestissime doceant quam dissimilis sit Tridentina illa congregatio, pro libero & Chri­stiano Concilio, opus ipsum, artificem quod dicitur arguit, exitus etiam acta probabit. These passages and many such which may be cited from the Writings of Orthodox Divines make it appear, that they lay weight upon the matter as to the nullifying of Coun­cels. To that part of the Authors Reply which concerns the rea­sons brought by the Writer, to wit, that Kirk-Judicatories have no power for destruction, but that all their power is for edification, and that whatsoever power the Commissioners of a Generall As­semblie have, it is by Commission from their Presbyteries; which Commission limits them to the Word of God, and to the Cove­nant; and to Acts of former Generall Assemblies. I answer these few things: First, That he layes more upon the Writer, than the Writer doth assert or insinuate either as his own judgment, or the judgment of others, he hath neither said nor insinuate, that the making of some wrong Acts, doth make an Assembly null; Nei­ther do I think that he would say or insinuate any thing of this [Page 277] kind; he did as little deny the authority of the Parliament 48, as any other. But if there be no difference between the Assembly and the Parliament in these cases, and that no reason can be gi­ven why it should not have place in relation to the one as well as to the other, I shall desire him to reconcile his judgment with Cal­vin his Aliquid Discriminis, and with Pareus his Magna Dissi­militudo. The Author knowes that the Civill Power is Archi­tectonick and Despotick; the Ecclesiastick but Hyperetick or Dia­conick; the one Lordly, the other but stewardly and meerly Mini­steriall. The other reason (if we may believe the Author) is ne­ver a whit nearer to the purpose then the former; for (such he) to let pass what he saith in the antecedent. That what ever power Commissioners of a Gen. Assembly have, it is by Commission, &c. which deserves examination, and if he mean that Commissi­oners sitting together, and voting in a Generall Assembly, have on­ly a delegated and deputed power subordinate to Presbyteries, can hardly be reconciled with sound doctrine concerning Church-Government, yet supposing it to be so, no more followes, but that in such Acts as the Assembly makes contrary to the limitations and rules contained therein, they may get no obedience, and that such Acts may be declined and protested against, &c. The Author doth here grant, that the Writer infers no more but this much, forgetting (as he saith) in so short bounds what he intended to prove. It will be hard to make it appear that the Writer did in­tend to prove any more: The Author may strain that indefinite expression of his, an Assembly proceeding wrong upon the mat­ter, as though he had meant, that the least wrong Act in the least thing, did make an Assembly null, though to the constitution and Acts of it in all things else it were never so right: But so absurd an assertion can hardly be supposed to have entred in the thoughts of any rationall mau; and I think it is clear from the reason, that he bring, that this is not his meaning, because he says that Church-Judicatories have no power to destruction, but all their power is to edification; in these things then in which they imploy their pow­er to edification, and make right Acts (having other necessary re­quisites of lawfull constitution) they are not null, nor to be de­clined. The Author in repeating that reason tells us, that that which is said by the Writer, to wit, What ever power Commission­ers of a Generall Assembly have, it is by Commission from the [Page 278] Presbyteries, doth deserve examination; I wish he had also told us what stumbles him in this; as for that which he suspects to be the Writers meaning, that Commissioners sitting together, and vo­ting in a Generall Assembly, have onely a delegated and depu­ted power subordinate to Presbyteries, there is no cause to suspect him of such a meaning, as that there being nothing in his words that look that way. I also wish, that the Author in repeating of the Writers Argument had made mention not onely of limitati­ons and rules in generall contained in the Commission of the Pres­byteries, but of the particular limitations and rules specified by the Writer, that is, the Word of God, the Covenant, and Acts of former Generall Assemblies, because it is not upon the breach of limitati­ons and rules simply, but upon the breach of these limitations and rules set down in their Commission that the Writer layes weight. The Authors similitude of the Parl. and Ass. is answered already, and shewn what maybe conceived by some, why the paralel holds no [...], though as to this point, the difference betwixt him and the Writer, seems not to be so wide as he would give out. His conclu­sion is, That he hopes that by what hath been said, that it is suffi­ciently evidenced, that the Writer hath brought no considerable reason for the nullity of the late Assembly, even supposing sundry of the Acts and Constitutions thereof were wrong upon the mat­ter, he should have said, supposing the most of all its Acts, and the most materiall of them to be wrong upon the matter, for so it was supposed and affirmed by the Writer, and upon the supposall the Author should have told his judgment upon the point: The reason may be considerable enough, and such as brings no disadvantage ether to the Writer or to the Protestation, for any thing that is yet said by him for infringing thereof; yea, I wil assure him that it is most considerable & weighty in the hearts of most part of the god­ly in the Land, who do not stand so much to dispute and debate Le­gal forms, as they do look to Acts of the Assembly, and to what good or what ill is done by them for promoving or hindering the King­dome of Jesus Christ, and the good of souls, where they see not godlinesse advanced, and the hands of the godly strengthened, and their hearts made glad; but a wound given to Piety, and the hands of the wicked strengthened, and their hearts made glad; it is not externa species autoritatis, to use the words cited before, nor any thing that is in that, or can be said for it that will conciliat respect [Page 279] and authority to Assemblies in mens consciences; and if there were no more in the late Assembly at S. Andrews and Dundee, but the loosing of authority in the consciences of the godly in the Land by th [...]i [...] wrong Acts, it is that which concerns the Author and others who had hand in these Acts, exceedingly to think upon.

VINDICATION.

THe other passage we would speak a word to, is his Answer to the last Objection: He saith, To make an Act appointing such as decline a Generall Assembly, to be summarly excom­municate, were either to suppose that a Generall Assembly could not be wrong constitute, or could not erre in their proceed­ings, or else suppose they should be wrong constitute, and erre, yet they ought not to be declined and prote [...]ted against: both of which are equally absurd. There he saith, That the Act of the As­sembly 1582. alleadged for that purpose, is grosly mistaken, it be­ing nothing against declining unlawful Assemblies (he is as gros­ly mistaken, while he insinuateth, that such as speak for the late Assembly, do mean that such an Act should be against declining any Assembly lawfull or unlawfull [...] but against appealing from a lawfull Assembly to the Civill Magistrate, and then closeth, that from these things it may appear how unwarrantable the Meeting at Dundee (it must be still for ought he hath alleadged, the General Assembly at Dundee) did upon alleadgiance of this Act, fall in de­bate of the summary excommunication of these who had protested. Any debate that was in the Assembly, was no great or long debate upon that matter, and it was not so much out of any purpose or de­sire to do it, as to finde out what they might have done by the Con­stitutions of this Kirk, if they would have minded severity of cen­sure; neither was it that Act of Assembly 1582. so much that they looked to, as the Authority of the solemn Assembly of Glasgow 1638. which in the sentence of Excommunication against the pretended Bishops, and making there protesting and declining of that Assem­bly, one of the causes of their excommunication, which by the acts of Assembly is censurable with summary excommunication (whe­ther it doth mean that act 1582, or some others, could not be got­ten tryed at Dundee for want of the Registers then in the Basse; but such respect was had to the authority of that grave Assembly, that [Page 280] the truth of the relation made by it was not questioned) so that all the absurdities alleadged here by the Writter, strikes as wel against that Assembly, as against any man that alleadgeth such an act; and the Assembly at Dundee supposing themselves to be a free law­full Generall Assembly, alleadged no other ground in falling upon debate of that matter then which the Assembly of Glasgow alledg­ed (and the Assembly of Glasgow saith, there hath been such an act made) by a Dilemma, he is in a great mistake himself, for con­sidering that the act appointing such to be summarily excommuni­cate, who &c. is intended onely against protesting against, and de­clining of a General Assembly, not in any particular act or acts thereof (which we confess may be protested against) but against the very being of it as null in it self, and having no authority, there is no necessity either of the one supposition, or of the other fol­lowing upon it, not of the later; for the act we speak of saith, that decliners of a Generall Assembly should be excommunicate, but an Assembly wrong constitute and erring both, or only wrong consti­tute, is no otherwise an Assembly, then a painted man is a man: nor yet the former, for I shal give you a third, it supposeth a Gene­rall Assembly rightly constitute and not erring de facto, though not altogether infallible in it self, or rightly constitute in all things belonging to the being of a free and lawfull Assembly, though it may be erring in some particular Acts, and ordains excommuni­cation to be the censure of these that declineth and protesteth a­gainst such an Assembly, I mean as to the very being of it. Truly this dilemmatick argument of the Writers have been made aswell against that Act made by Jesus Christ, Math. 18.17. He that ne­glecteth to hear the Church, let him be as an heathen or publican, id est, Excommunicate: For, I suppose this canon, comprehends not onely such persons as having offended against particular Bre­thren comes by degrees of processe before the Church, but also such as should offend onely immediatly against that Church it self. 2. It is propounded in generall termes without any express distinction or limitation; he that neglects to hear the Church let him be ex­communicate; Just as this, he that declines a Gen. Assemgly, let him be excommunicate: Might not then those that heard that canon first propounded, reason it just as the Writer doth here (if his argument were good) to make such an one as that is unreasonable: For it were to suppose either that a Church cannot be corruptly constitute, and did erre, yet that it ought not to be disobeyed or declined, but the [Page 281] argument had been a Cavillation; for neither did follow necessari­ly to be supposed, there was a third, a Church univocally so cal­led, id est, a Church right constitute, and doing dutie though not unerrable in it self.

REVIEW.

THe first thing the Author takes notice of in his Answer to this Objection, is that which is said by the Writer, that the Act of the Assembly 1582. alleadged for the sum­mary excommunication of these who decline the Gen. Assembly is grosly mistaken, it being nothing against declining lawful or unlaw­ful Assemblies, to which he retorts that the Writer is as grossely mistaken, whilest he insinuats that such as speak for the late Assem­do mean that such an Act should be against declining any Assem. null or unlawfull. Wel then, supposing the Writer to have been grosly mistaken in the writing of such a thing, and that a wrong constitute and erring Assembly, or onely wrong constituted, is no otherways an Assem. then as a painted man is a man (as the Author speaks) afterwards, and that the Assem. at St. Andrews & Dundee is but an unlawful Assembly, wrong in the Constitution (as is proven) and erring in its Acts, then might it warrantably have been de­clined and protested against, notwithstanding of that Act 1582. or that Act 1638 or any other act of any of the Assemblies of this Kirk, as the six corrupt Assemblies upon the same reasons, upon which they were afterward repealed, might in the time when they were sitting have been warrantably protested against, as some other Assemblies which are instanced by the Writer, and past by the Au­thor in silence were protested against; and so all the debate that was in the Meeting at Dundee for making use of these Acts against the Protesters, was groundlesse and without warrant: But the Writer is not so grosly mistaken as the Author gives out, be­cause it hath past current, and doth still stick with not a few, that the Acts of a Generall Assembly could not be protested against, much lesse the Constitution thereof, though culpable and wrong, and the Author himself seems to come near the borders of it: That an Assembly cannot be well protested against in regard of its con­stitution [Page 282] though wrong, when in the same Vindication where he comes to weigh the reasons whereupon the Protestation is built, he saith, That where a Generall Assembly it self is protested a­gainst as unlawfull, and having no authority, who sees not how sad the consequences most readily be in that Kirk, hardly can it by any outward meanes but turn to a fixed schisme, which thing godly orthodox Christians in all ages of the Kirk have detested and abhorred, choosing rather ever to tolerate great offences which they did see, but could not amend, then to divide the Church of Christ: I know that he may say that he means not here of an As­sembly wrong in its constitution; but if so, what commodious sense in reference to that which he is speaking of, to wit, protesting a­gainst a Gen. Assembly will he put upon the rest of his words, concerning godly mens tolerating great offences, rather then to divide the Church, an Assembly right in its constitution is no of­fence, much lesse a great offence. He doth not deny that there was a debate at the Assembly at Dundee, concerning the summary excommunication of these who had protested, but tels us that it was not great nor long (If some who were present may be believed) it was prosecuted by sundry with a great deal of earnestnesse and forwardnesse, and though the Author (if I mistake him not) was none of the prosecuters of it; yet it seems by his Vindicati­on that his judgement is, That they might not onely have debated it, but also have done it by the constitutions of this Kirk, if they would have minded severity of censure, but it would have contri­bute somewhat for clearing of the Assembly in that debate, and for satisfying of others anent his judgement upon the point, if he had brought any act or constitution of this Kirk, that would have born the weight of summary excommunication against the Protesters, for the Writer hath made it clearly to appear that nei­ther the act 1582. nor the act 1638. doth at all meet with the Pro­testers case, and the Author hath replyed nothing to the differences of the cases, and therefore they may be still taken as granted, what act the meeting at Dundee did in their debate look unto, whether that of 82 or that of 38. themselves best know, but if it was the Act of the Assembly at Glasgow (as the Author saith) upon which they had their eye, the Writer hath shewed how that could not with any shadow of reason be applyed to this case. The de­declinator [Page 283] of the Bishops 38. striking at the essentiall constitution of the Government, and against the rule it self; and that of the Protesters acknowledging the government and the rule, and pro­testing onely against the constitution, because not agreeable to the rule. It seems that all that they had their eyes upon was, that they found in the act of Glasgow, that protesting against, and de­clining of the Assembly was by the acts of this Kirk censurable with summary excommunication, but should they not have found what the acts were, and whether they were applicable to the pre­sent case: The Author grants that it could not be gotten tryed whether it doth mean 1582. or some others for want of the Re­gisters, which were then in the Bass; I shall not say that this is some evidence that the members of that meeting were not very well acquainted with the acts of the Assemblies of this Church, and that it had not been much amiss for them to have read and perused these acts of Assemblies which were offered unto them a little after their down sitting under their Clerks hand, concerning the Publick Resolutions: If my information fail me not, a good part of the Registers, particularly the great Book of the old acts of the Assemblies, in which that act of the Assembly 1582. is in­sert, was then in Dundee, in the hand of their then Clerk, who took some pains to find out that act, but could not fall upon it: It may haply seem strange to some, that because they found these words which (to wit, declining and Protesting against the Assembly) by the Acts of the Assembly is censurable with summary excommu­nication in an act of an Assembly at Glasgow, that they will have such respects there to, without looking upon these acts, or con­sidering their grounds, or extent, thence to infer that these acts were applicaple to this case; this were to defer more respect to the authority of that grave Assembly then was fit, or they themselves would have taken with, if they had been sitting; for they did no­thing without viewing and perusing the Registers themselves, and proving and clearing every thing thereby, that they did alleadge therefrom, which Vindicates that Assembly sufficiently from the absurdities here alleadged by the Writer against these who alleadg­ed such an act. The Author thinks that the Writer is in a great mistake in his dilemma, but let us see what his mistake is: The wri­ter answering a common alleadgance, that there is an act of a Gen. [Page 284] Assembly appointing such as decline the Assembly to be summari­ly excommunicated, denyes that ever the Church in any of her As­semblies made any such act in so generall and unlimited termes; and he gives this for a reason of his denyall, that from hence it will fol­low, either that they thought that an Assembly could not be wrong in its constitutions, and could not erre, or else that though wrong in constitution, or erring, that they could not be protested against; both which he saith is absurd: To this the Author answers, that considering that the act appointing such to be summarily excom­municated, is intended only against protesting against, and decli­ning of a Generall Assembly, not in any particular acts or act there­of which he confesses may be Protested against, but against the ve­ry being of it, as null in it self, and having no authority; there is no necessity either of the one supposition or of the other follow­ing upon it; not of the latter, &c. But first to passe by, that he seem­eth in all this debate to suppose that there is such an act in so gene­rall and unlimited termes which I believe shall not be found, nor doth the words of the act of the Assembly 38. say or suppose any such thing. It deserves consideration, which he saith, that that act concerning the excommunicating such as protest against, or de­cline an Assembly, is intended onely against those who protest a­gainst the being of an Assembly, and not in any particular act or acts thereof, because as the Writer told him, the act 1582. which is the onely, act relating to that businesse (so far as I know, or can be informed by these who take most pains in the Records of the Assemblies) is not anent declining Assemblies, in their being and constitution, but against appealing from lawfull acts of lawful As­semblies to the Civill Magistrate in Ecclesiastick causes, for stop­ing of Ecclesiastick Discipline. Secondly, though an Assembly wrong constitute and erring both, or onely wrong constitute be no otherwayes an Assembly then a painted man is a man, that it is not really or truly, but seemingly only, yet it being seemingly an As­sembly, it gets ordinarily and in common expression, that denomi­nation; and as a painted man drawen by the hand of a cunning Painter may deceive these who have not discerning eyes, and be taken for a true man, so an Assembly wrong in the constitution and acts, or in the constitution onely, may by the vermilion of fair pretext put upon it passe with many for a true Assembly; yea, in or­dinary [Page 285] way of expression, an Assembly which hath any thing of the colour or shadow of the being of a lawfull and right proceed­ing Assembly is called an Assembly, though wrong in its constitu­tion, or also erring in its acts, and therefore to have said simp­ly in an act, that decliners of a Generall Assembly without any qualification, lawfull, or unlawfull, erring or unerring, or any thing in the act insinuating or expressing the same should be ex­communicated, it would follow, that though an Assembly should be wrong constitute and erre in its Proceedings, yet it could not be declined. As to the third, to passe by that the Generall As­sembly at St. Andrews and Dundee is none of these Assemblies, but an Assembly wrong both in its constitutions, and in its acts, The Act if it were so generall as that cited and answered by the VVriter, it would suppose more then any of these, to wit, a Generall Assembly which is onely such, nomine tenus and secun­dum apparentiam in regard of its constitution, and a Generall As­sembly right upon the constitution, and erring wholly even in the thing of greatest consequence upon the matter; as to this simile of his brought from the words of Christ, Math. 18. It doth not hold, because Christ never maintained it to be unlawfull to decline any Church, true or false, as these whom the VVriter speaks of in his objection. The truth is, that the VVriter meant of propounding and answering that objection, to remove a gross mistake that hath been ordinary in the mouths of many; that a Generall Assembly could not be declined nor protested against, because of an act of an Assembly appointing such to be summarily excommunicate which in the common construction that past upon it was so ex­pounded, that whosoever upon whatsoever ground did protest a­gainst a Generall Assembly of this Church, or any of the acts thereof right or wrong, were by the acts of the Assembly summa­rily to be excommunicated, which mistake the VVriter studieth to take off, by holding torch the absurd consequences, that would have followed upon such an act, as that thereby to make it appear that there is no such act in so absolute and il-limited termes as will reach these who protest against Assemblies wrong in their constitution, or also erring in their acts, and this being gained, he hath all that he did intend to prove and hold forth in this par­ticular.

Conclusion of the VINDICATION.

HEre I leave the Writer with these additionall reasons, and leaves all that hath been said hither til to be impartially pon­dered by the Christian Reader, and accordingly judged of. The Fa­ther of Lights give unto thee, and all his servants and people in the Land, Wisdome, even that which is from above, pure and peaceable.

REVIEW.

THe Author hath been pleased to leave the VVriter here with his additionall reasons, and other things contained in his an­swers to Objections; but if some of good judgment be not mistaken, he hath done it to the disadvantage of his cause, because he hath left him with many things that were brought by him in that Paper of additionall reasons unanswered, I shall not say what some have said, that if the things in that Paper which the Author hath not an­swered hold relevant and true, they would go far to justifie the Protestation, and annull the Assembly, albeit all his answers to the things which he hath taken notice of had not been satisfyingly ta­ken off; but I confess that I do somewhat wonder that the Author having taken so much pains to contend with no small earnestness and at length about many things that are in the by, and things that are of no such consequence in the cause, should yet passe in si­lence, not a few things of importance contained in that Paper, which did more concern him to have answered; I shal say no more, but wishes the Lord graciously to appear in the convincing and comfortable determination of this question to all his servants and people in this poor desolate and distracted Church, that our bruise which is sore, and our wound which is incurable may be bound up and healed by his hand who hath smiten us in his wrath, be­cause of the multitude of our iniquities; To the praise and glory of his free Grace in all the Churches. AMEN.

FINIS.
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INSTANCES of the Influence that the Letter and Act of the Commission of the Gen. Assembly 1650. had upon several Pres­byteries and Synods, and upon several persons therein, in the Election of Commissioners to the Assembly 1651. and in the Citing of these of their Number who were dis-satisfied with the Publick Resolutions as they are attested out of the Registers, or by Members of these Presbyteries and Synods, who were Witnesses to their Proceedings in these things.

1. Instance in the Presbytery of Jedburgh.

THe Letter and Act of the Commission of the Gen. Assembly 1650. concerning the Citing of such of their Number as were Opposite to the Publick Resolutions, came to the Presbytery of Jedburgh, before the chusing of their Com­missioners to the Assembly: At the time of the Election, the Presbitery after the reading ther­of, did in obedience thereto, make enquiry, who of their Number were not satisfied with the publick Resolutions; and finding that Mr. John Livingston, Mr. Ja. Ker, and Mr. Jo. Scot, were dis­satisfied with these Resolutions, they did appoint Conference with these Brethren in order to their satisfaction, by reading of some publick Papers, refusing any other way of Conference unto them; after which, they went on to the Election of their Commissioners, passing by these dis-satisfied Brethren, and Citing them by vertue of the Act of the Commission, to Compear before the General Assembly to be holden at St. Andrews the [...] day of July, 1651.

2. Instance in the Presbyterie of Dunkel.

THe Presbyterie of Dunkel having chosen such of their number to be Commissioners to the General Assembly 1651. as were in their judgments opposite to the publick Resolutions; some of the Presbytery dissented from the Election of these persons upon the ground of their being uncapable to be Commissioners, because of an Act of the Commission for citing of such to the Assembly, and [Page 390] urged, That the Dissent, and ground thereof, might be marked in the Presbytery-Book, to be judged by the Synod.

3. Instance in the Synod of Perth.

THe Synod of Perth, which met in June 1651. having received and read the Letter, and Act of the Commission, concerning the citing these who were opposite to the publick Resolutions, did find it incumbent unto them for satisfying the said Letter and Act, to appoint the several Presbyteries within their Bounds, and where the plurality of the Presbytery was dis-satisfied with the publick Resolutions, some nominated by themselves to Confer with dis-satisfied Brethren; and in case of their not receiving satisfaction by Conference, to cite them to the Gen. Assembly at St. Andrews, from which Act of the Synod, such dis-satisfied Brethren as were present, who were about eight or nine, did [...]assent, and were ther­fore cited apudacta by the Synod, to Compear before the Assem­bly, because of their opposition to the publick Resolutions: and concerning the rest who were absent, it was ordered by the Synod, That personal Summons should be sent unto some of them, and that others of them, in case of their not being satisfied by Conference, should be cited by their respective Presbyteries, and such as were appointed to Confer with them: At the same time, the Synod ta­king in consideration the Dissent of some of the Members of the Presbytery of Dunkel, and the grounds thereof, from the Election of their Commissioners did sustain the same, and appoint the Pres­bitry to make a new Election.

4. Instance in the Presbytery of Kirkaldie.

THe Presbyterie of Kirkaldie, having received and read the Letter and Act of the Commission, did thereafter and in or­der therto, refuse to subscribe the Commission of Magnus Aytoun, then chosen Commissioner to the General Assembly by the Town of Brunt-Iland, because when his Commission was presented to the Presbitery, he was not present to declare his judgment concer­ning the publick Resolutions. The same Presbytry did by vertue of the same Letter and Act find themselves oblidged to Refer or Sum­mon two of their Number, to wit, Mr. Alex. Muncreiff, and Mr. [Page 391] George Nairne to the General Assembly, because of their being dis-satisfied with the publick Resolutions, but remembring that these two had a little before that time Dissented from an Act of the Synod of Fife, appointing such Ministers in the Bounds of that Sy­nod as were dis-satisfied with the publick Resolutions, to be refer­red to the General Assembly, did find that they were obliged to compear before the Assembly, to give in the Reasons of their Dis­sent from that Act; and therfore the Presbytery did draw up a Pa­per mentioning their regard to the Act and Letter of the Commis­sion, and also bearing the Dissent of these two Brethren, and that they judged it not necessary to summon them, who were already by their Dissent obliged to compear; and this Paper they did deliver to their Commissioners, appointing them to present it to the As­sembly.

5. Instance in the Presbytery of Glasgow.

THe Presbytery of Glasgow did choose Commissioners to the General Assembly 1651. before the Letter and Act of the Commission came to their hands, from which Election some of their Number did Dissent upon this ground amongst others, because the persons chosen were of a contrary judgment to the publick Re­solutions, and that they knew that the Commission of the General Assembly was to send some publick Directions to the Presbitery a­nent that matter, and the dissenting part of the Presbitery, though the smaller number by many, did thereafter make a new Election of their own, and did cite some of these of the Presbitery who were opposite to the publick Resolutions, to compear before the Assembly upon the ground contained in the Letter and Act of the Commission; and some of the same Dissenting part of the Pres­bitery, who were frequently with the Commission, in promoting these Affairs, did send the Letter and Act of the Commission in­closed in a Letter of their own to two of the Brethren of the Pres­bitery of Lanrick, advising them, That before the Election of Commissioners in their Presbitery, they should cause read the Let­ter and Act of the Commission, and endeavor to carry on the E­lection accordingly; and that if they could not attain this, that then these of their Number who did approve of the publick Reso­lutions, should make a New Election amongst themselves, and leave [Page 292] it to the Assembly to judge which of the two Elections was valid; signifying withal unto them, that they had done so in the Presby­tery of Glasgow.

6. Instance in the Presbitery of Biggar.

THe Letter and Act of the Commission 1650. concerning such as did Differ from the publick Resolutions, came to the Pres­bytery of Biggar, and was publickly read therin before the chusing of their Commissioners to the General Assembly; and thereupon Interogators were made to the Brethren, for trying of their judg­ment anent the publick Resolutions, that these who profest them­selves dis-satisfied therewith, might be rendered uncapable to be chosen Commissioners to the General Assembly.

7. Instance in the Presbytery of the Merns.

THe Presbytery of the Merns, having chosen the Lord Arbuth­net in his absence from the Presbytery, to be Commissioner as Ruling Elder to the General Assembly 1651. did send two of their Number unto him to take his Oath to be faithful in that imploy­ment; and withal, to take tryal whether he were satisfied with the publick Resolutions; and to signifie to him, That if he were not satisfied with these Resolutions, the Presbytery could not be an­swerable to give him a Commission for sitting in the Assembly, but behoved to chuse another.

These Instances may suffice for verifying of what is alleadged in the former Debates concerning the influence that the Letter and Act of the Commission of the General Assembly had upon several Presbyteries and Synods and Persons therin, in the Electi­on of Commissioners to the Assembly 1651. and in Citing of these who were Dis-satisfied with the publick Resolutions, and therefore it shall not be needful to trouble our selves or the Reader with the bringing and setting down of more of this kind.

PAPERS betwixt the ASSEMBLY and COMMITTEE.
Offers and Desires from the Committee of Estates, Presented by the Earle of Glencarn, the Thesaurer, Depute, & Archibald Sydserf, to the Gen. Assembly.

AS we cannot but with sad hearts regrate that notwithstan­ding of the many endeavors of, and great pains taken by the Parliament and Committee of Estates, for removing of Dif­ferences, and offering all just satisfaction to the Desires of the Commissioners of the General Assembly concerning the neces­sity and lawfulness of this present Engagement; yet they have all hitherto proven ineffectual, and Divisions betwixt us are rather in­creased, then lessened; so we cannot but here promise to our selves better Success from the wisdom of this grave and venerable As­sembly, especially whilst our consciences bears us witness, that in all our undertakings we have nothing before our eyes but the glory of God in the first place; and in the second, the good and preservation of Religion; and next therunto, the safety of his Majesties Per­son now in danger, and the pursuance of the same ends of our Cove­nant which hath been sealed with the blood of so many of our friends and country men: And that our sincerity and reallity in all these may be manifested to all the world, we are content now again at this time, not only to renew all these offers which were former­ly made by the Parliament to the Commissioners of the Gen. Assem­bly, for the security of Religion; but hereby we offer to grant what further security the General Assembly shall be pleased to demand in reason of us for Religion: And although we cannot lay nega­tives and restrictions on the King, but must as obliged in conscience and duty, endeavor his Rescue, that he may come with honor, free­dom, and safety to some of his Houses, in, or about London; yet we are most willing to give what Assurance can be demanded for our selves and our Army, even by an solemn Oath, if so it shall be thought fit by the General Assembly, that we shall not be satisfied and lay down Arms, until Religion be secured in all his Majesties Dominions, according to the Covenant: Therfore out of the deep sense we have of the great danger that the further growth of these Divisions may bring to Religion, the Kings Majesty, and to these who doth sincerly wish the settling of Presbiterial Government in all his Majesties Dominions. We cannot but desire you seriously to weigh the sad Consequences may ensue, if at this time there be not [Page 294] found amongst you, some who will endeavor to heal, and not to make wider the Breaches betwixt Church and State, to remem­ber that no such effectual help can be yeilded at this time to that — as to have the hearts and consciences of the people preposessed with prejudices against the Resolutions of the Estates and their so pious and necessary Engagment. And for this cause, to the end these unhappy Differences may spread no further, we do intreat you would be pleased to appoint some of your Num­ber, to meet with such as shall be appointed by us, for Composing these mis-understandings betwixt Church and State: And likewise for so cleering the Marches betwixt the Civil and Ecclesiastick Po­wer in these Questions hath been Debated betwixt the Parliament and the Commissioners of the Gen. Assembly; as the Kirk may be freed of all scandals in medling with Civil Business, and the Estates from the scandals of Erastianism: And seeing our desires herein are only to remove all jealousies betwixt the Church and State, and to witness to the world our unfained intentions to do al that is in our powers for the most satisfaction of the Gen. Assembly, We do desire that ye would be pleased to forbear the emitting of any Declarati­on either to this Kingdom, or the Kingdom of England, relating to our present Engagement and proceedings, considering how unsea­sonable it may prove whilst our Army is in the Fields against the great obstructions of any Enemies to our Reformation, to do any thing may encourage and strengthen the hands and hearts of that — who doubtless will encourage them­selves in their own wayes, the more they have ours disapproven by you: And as their unhappy differences and divisions have already so wrought upon the hollow hearts of some of our Countrymen, as to move them to rise in Arms against the Parliaments Forces, and of some to run and joyn themselves with these — so much the more wil these — be strength­ned and encouraged against us by their hearing of our Divisions: We do likewise desire, That before the Gen. Assembly proceed to any approbation of the actions of the Commissioners of the Gen. Assembly, That in these things that may relate to the present En­gagement and to these Questions hath been Debated betwixt the Parliament and them, we may be first hard. All these we desire for no other end, but that these untimely Differences and Rents now grown to so great a height as that they threaten the ruin both of [Page 295] Church and State, may by the blessing of God in the spirit of Meek­ness be cu [...]ed and bound up, That neither Malignants on the one hand may have occasion to laugh at our Divisions, nor — on the other hand encouraged and strengthned against us: But that we (as formerly) may go on in one way, being all engaged in one Cause for one and the self-same Ends; And so may receive a bles­sing from the Lord of Peace and Order (which hates the instru­ments of Division and Confusion) upon all our endeavors, for ad­vancing the blessed work of Reformation, and for bringing to an happy end all the Miseries and Confusions now, which these Lands hath been so long toiled and consumed with.

Before the Assembly give any Answer to the Paper produced from the Honorable Committee of Estates, The Assembly thinks fit to enquire at the honorable Persons who presented the Papers, If the Committee of Estates have any new Objections against the Proceedings of the Commission of the late Assembly, or only the same Objections made by the Parliament, or their Committees be­fore. Sic subscrib. A. Ker.

The Committee of Estates do make this Return to the Paper of the Gen. Assembly, That they have just and material Exceptions a­gainst the proceedings of the Commissioners of the Gen. Assembly, besides any formerly made by Parliament or Committee of Estates.

The Assembly continues until the morn at ten hours that Ex­amination of the Proceedings of the Commission of the late As­sembly, and do appoint that time for Hearing any New Excepti­ons the Committee of Estates hath to give in against the Procee­dings of the said Commission.

PAPER sent into the ASSEMBLY.

WHereas it hath been the constant Care and Endeavor of the Parliament and Committee of Estates, To use all means for removing and setling the Differences betwixt the Church and the State; and in pursuance of that good way, The Commit­tee did yesterday give in some new Desires and Offers to the Gen. Assembly, That some might be appointed to meet and confer with [Page 296] such as should be appointed by the Committee therupon: But since instead of imbracing and laying hold of this opportunity of compo­sing Differences, The Gen. Assembly doth proceed toward an ap­probation of the proceedings of the Commissioners of the Assem­bly, wherby we conceive all hopes of making up the Breaches will be removed, and the prejudices will be great that will thereby en­sue to this cause and Kingdom; For preventing whereof, we hold our selves obliged again, to desire you, as you tender the furtherance of the work of Reformation, the Good, Peace, & union of the King­doms, and the composing of all Differences and Jealousies, that you would apply your selves to these our Desires, and appoint some of your Number to confer with us therupon for the Exceptions we have against the proceedings of the Commissioners of the Gen. As­sembly: We have confidence a Conference may preveen the same, and are more willing not to give them in at all, or at least only to give them in to those you shall appoint to confer with us, that if it be possible Differences may yet be removed, Then that we be ne­cessitate to appear in publick amongst them: And that this and our former Paper may remain as a testimony of our Desires for Unitie and Peace, we desire that they may be Recorded in the Books of the General Assembly.

The Assembly do give this humble return to the Papers sent this day from the Hon. Committee of Estates, That they are most wil­ling to appoint a conference with any of their Lordsh. number, but that according to the Order and Acts of former Gen. Asemblies, they conceive themselves obliged, first to examine the proceedings of the Commission of the late Gen. Assembly, and thereafter shall be willing to confer, being also now ready as of before to hear Ex­ceptions, if there be any against the proceedings of the said Com­mission. Subscrib. A. Ker.

The Committee of Estates understanding that the Gen. Assembly is to proceed to the examination of the proceedings of the Com­missioners of the late Gen. Assembly in order to an approbation be­fore they agree to a Conference; and the Committee being to give in their just exceptions against the proceedings of the said Com­missioners, do desire the Gen. Assembly to allow some few dayes delay to the Committee to prepare their Exceptions before the As­sembly proceed in the Business.

[Page 297] The Assembly continues the examination of the Proceedings of the late Gen. Assembly until four afternoon, and appoints that time for Hearing any new Exceptions the Honorable Com­mittee of Estates have to give in against the Proceedings of the said Commission. Subscrib. A. Ker.

The Committee of Estates finding it impossible in so short a time to prepare their Objections against such of the proceedings of the Commissioners of the General Assembly, as relates to their Engagement: and yet being most willing to essay all fair means for procuring an happy Understanding betwixt Kirk and State, are content to appoint some of their Number to meet with such as shall be appointed by the General Assembly for Compo­sing of Differences betwixt the Church and State, without pre­judice to them to use all their just Objections against the procee­dings of the Commissioners of the late General Assembly, if the Conference shall not produce these happy Effects they earnestly wish.

The General Assembly unto the Motion sent this afternoon from the Honorable Committee of Estates, Do return humbly this Answer, That they yeeld to their Lordships Desires of a Con­ference, and for this end appoints Mrs. David Calderwood, David Dickson, Robert Douglass, Andrew Cant, John Moncreif, John Smith, and John Mac Clelland, Ministers; and the Earl of Cassilles, the Earl of Louthian, Lord Balmernio, the Lairds of Moncreif and Freeland, with the Moderator to confer with any appointed by the Honorable Committee of Estates, at such time and place as shall be appointed by their Lordships, upon the pre­sent Dangers to Religion and the cause of God, the great preju­dices done to the Liberties of the Kirk, and the best remedies thereof: And to Report the Result of their Conference from time to time: And they have also Power to receive any Offers or Pa­pers from the Honorable Committee of Estates, and to present the same to the Assembly: Declaring that the proceedings of the Commission of the late Assembly being new exactly tryed, and unanimously approven, there is no place left for any Objections against the same. Subscrib. A. Ker.

Reasons why these who dis-approved the Publick Resolutions and Acts at Dundee, Ratifying the same, and ordaining censures to passe upon the opposers and unsatisfied, cannot keep the Assembly now indicted, nor be consenting unto the Election of Commissioners for that effect.

THe chief cause of many evils which have befallen this Church in time of defection under Prelacie being clearly determined by the Gen: Assembly at Edinburgh 1639. to have been the keeping and authorizing corrupt Generall Assemblies, it is of high concernment, that we take heed that we be not consenting nor concurring to the keep­ing and authorizing such Assemblies in this declining time amongst which the Assembly indicted by the Commissioners of the preten­ded Assembly at St. Andrews and Dundee, is to be reckoned, and consequently ought not to be keeped by any who have protested against, or are in their consciences unsatisfied with the Publick re­solutions and Acts of the Assembly at Dundee, establishing the same as involving defection and backsliding from the Cause of God and Covenant.

To speak nothing of the indiction of the ensuing Assembly, (which can neither be acknowledged by any who have protested against, or by any who doubts of the freedom [...], lawfulness and constitution of the Assembly at Dundee) but allanerly of the con­stitution thereof, in so far as it depends upon the Acts of that As­sembly. These reasons seem to warrand and require the forbea­rance and non-concurrence of all these (who disallow of the Acts of the pretended Assembly at Dundee) in the election of Commissioners unto a keeping the diet of the Assembly now in­dicted.

1. No man ought to be consenting unto the authorizing of Commissioners to keep an Assembly which is constitute by a cor­rupt rule. But in the judgment of such as approve not the Acts of [Page 299] the Assembly of Dundee, the ensuing Assembly is constitute by a corrupt rule: Ergo, The major Proposition is unquestionable, the minor is proved thus: It is to be constituted by the Acts of the pretended Assembly of Dundee as by a rule: Ergo, By a corrupt rule; the antecedent is manifest, because all the unrepealed Acts of former Assemblyes that do determine the qualification of Com­missioners, are especially the Acts of the Assem. immediatly prece­ding, are the rule by which the Assem. is to be constituted, as is ma­nifest from the Acts of the Assem. themselvs, old and late, and from the constant practice of this Kirk in all her Assemblies, and that the Acts of Dundee include a corrupt rule as to the judgements and consciences of those who condemn these Acts as involving a course of defection, is manifest, because they appoint all those who do not acquiesce and is obedient to the Acts and Constituti­ons of that Assembly, to be proceeded against with the censures of the Kirk, and so to be excluded from being capable of being ele­cted as Commissioners for sitting in the Assembly as Members rightly qualified.

2. No man ought to concur in any Election of Commissioners when the Election is not free, but ought rather to give testimony against the same: But the Election of Commissioners to the As­sembly indicted by the pretended authority of the Commissioners of the Assembly at Dundee cannot be free in the judgement of these who do not approve of the Acts of Dundee; Ergo, Nothing here needs confirmation but the Assumption, which may be pro­ved thus; That Election which is limited and restricted unto such only as are involved in a course of defection and back-sliding, and is exclusive of all other who have not been involved in the fore­said course, cannot be a free election, but the election of the Com­missioners of the ensuing Assembly is such, in the judgement of these who do not approve the Acts of Dundee; Ergo, The reason of the assumption is, because illud possumus quod jure possumus. Now, no Presbyterie, Session, or person acknowledging the con­stitution and authority of the Assem. of Dundee, and yet testifying against the Acts thereof relating to the approbation of Publick re­solutions, and to the censuring of the opposers, and such as do not acquiesce and give obedience thereto, can legally choose Commis­sioners, contrary to a standing unrepealed Act of an Assembly. Therefore the election of Commissioners to the ensuing Assembly [Page 300] must be limited and unfree in the judgments of these who protest against it in their consciences, or dis-approve the Acts of the As­sembly of Dundee, as involving the approbation of the course of defection.

3. No man ought concur in the election of Commissioners to an Assembly, unto which none are to be admitted Members, but such as are involved in a course of defection and back sliding from the Cause of God, and from the Covenant, but the ensuing Assembly is to be such in the judgements of these who dis-approve the Acts of Dundee; Ergo, the Proposition is granted on all hands, even the Assembly of Dundee, and the asserters of the authority thereof, grant the Nullity of an Assembly, when the authors and abettors of a course of defection are admitted to be constituent members. The assumption is proved, to wit, That Assembly now indicted, is to be such an Assembly that Assembly; unto which none can be ad­mitted Members, but such as approve the Publick Resolutions, and the Acts of Dundee ratifying the same, is in the judgment of these who dis-approve the Acts, but not the authority of the Assembly of Dundee, an Assembly unto which none can be admitted Mem­bers, but such as are involved in a course of defection: But unto the ensuing Assembly none can be admitted Members, but such as approve the Acts ratifying the Publick Resolutions: None but these can be admitted, because none can be admitted contrary to a standing unrepealed Law, and yet these are involved in a defecti­on in the judgment of them who dis-approve the Acts at Dundee.

4. No man ought to concur in keeping an Assembly from which many faithfull and godly Ministers and Ruling Elders be excluded for no other cause but for their being faithful in witnessing against the back-sliding of the Land: But from this Assembly, many such are excluded by the Acts of Dundee, and that for no other cause but for testifying against the defection of the Land, according to the judgment of these who condemn these Acts, and therefore these cannot concur in keeping this ensuing Assembly.

5. No man ought to concur in keeping an Assembly wherein the constituent Members are for the most part such as are either authors or approvers of the enacting a persecution of many godly men, but the ensuing Assembly is to be such in the judgment of these who dis-approve the Acts of the Assembly at Dundee; Ergo the Proposition will be granted by every man, the assumption is [Page 301] abundantly proved by the clearing of these things: 1. That en­acting the drawing forth of censures of the Church against godly man, (to speak nothing of that which is already executed) for that which is no fault in them, is the enacting of a persecution of godly men, cannot be denyed by any. 2. That the enacting to draw forth all the censures of the Kirk against these who do not approve the Acts and Constitutions of the Assembly of Dun­dee, to the enacting of drawing forth censures against godly men, for that which is no fault in them, but duty, is unquestionable in the judgment of these who dis-approve these Acts. 3. That the Assembly now indicted, is to be made up of such, is cleare from what is before spoken, and shall be further cleared immediatly.

Ob. How doth it appear that the Assembly now indicted, is to be constituted, as all these reasons do import, can we judge of the constitution of it before we see how it is constituted?

Ans. 1. It must be constituted according to the acts and rules constituting, which are not yet repealed, and therefore according to rules of the Assembly at Dundee, in the judgment of these who acknowledge the authority of that Assembly, and these acts can­not be repealed before the constitution of another Assembly. 2. That it must be so constitute, may appear from the tenaciousness of Synods and Presbyteries, to maintain the authority and acts of that pretended Assembly, who being involved in the approbation of the same, have given good evidence, that the ensuing Assembly must be so constitute, if it be urged as for instance the Letter of the instant Commissioners, which doth appoint the place of meeting of the future Assembly, do desire Presbyteries to choose Commis­sioners according to the known and ordinary rules of election; but these know and ordinary rules cannot be supposed to include the acts of the Assembly at Dundee: 1. Because these acts are not known, the same not being published, yea not extant, neither can they be called ordinary, being once onely done, and being questi­oned much by many, it is answered, These are poor shifts: 1. Be­cause these acts were formally concluded and voted, and do yet stand unrepealed. 2. Because if the authority of the Commissi­on who wrote this Letter, ought to be acknowledged and submit­ted unto, then ought these acts which flow from the same autho­rity to be acknowledged and submitted unto. 3. These acts are publick, and in the hands of the Presbyteries up and down the [Page 302] Land, and registrated in sundry of their Books, as also in the Books of some Synods; and some Presbyteries have processed some per­sons upon these acts, and they cannot be excluded from the ordi­nary rule, because but once done, because the meaning of the ordi­nary rule in this place must be, that these onely are ro be elected, when no standing act of the Kirk doth exclude, and yet it doth not make it cease to be a rule, so long as the authority of the Assembly stands, and the act it self stands unrepealed, how much soever it be questioned by some.

Ob. But we may probably suppose, that the Acts of the Assembly of Dundee, shall not be tenaciously stuck to in the constitution of the Assembly now indicted, but that Protesters against the consti­tution or Acts at Dundee, shal be admitted as Members in the constitution of this Assembly.

Answ. 1. Probably that may be the judgement of some godly and moderate brethren; but how few such are to be found, and how unequall to carry it so, against many that are otherwayes minded. 2. If one malicious instrument that desires not the heal­ing of these differences (whereof there is no pe [...]y) shall object the act of the Assembly of Dundee. It is impossible that any who acknowledge the authority of that Assembly, can repeal the ex­ception as irrelevant, as long as that act stands unrepealed, which cannot be before the constitution. 3. How improbable is that con­sidering the temper of the late Meeting at Edinburgh, the 12. of May, the instructions given by Synods to such as were sent thi­ther under a pretence of endeavouring the Union of the Church, but really to carry on a designe to have an Assembly depending on the authority of the pretended Assem. of Dundee, and constitute as that was, and considering the articles that came from the Com­mssion, viz. that no Union could be, except the authority, constitu­tion, acts, censures and Commissions issued from the said Assem. be acknowledged by all, and the Declinator past from, which articles are magnified by these men, and some Synods have not been so cautious as others to keep back a Synodicall instruction, to do no­thing in order to an Union, without the advice aforesaid. 4. If such a concession had been intended how easie had it been to the pretended Commission that takes upon them to indict this Assem­bly to have given some ground in their Letters to expect it, and not to have wrapt the rule of elections in ambiguous words, to say no [Page 303] worse. 5. Suppose a possibility of constituting the Assembly o­therwayes nor according to the acts at Dundee; yet how can any that have born testimony against the Publick Resolutions and acts ratifying the same as involving defection, sit with the authors and promoters of that course, and not propone that exception which is on all hands acknowledged to be relevant, and that such as are guilty of it, ought not to be admitted to sit in an Assembly; or if it be propounded, how shall it be satisfied once there is such diffe­rence of judgment about that matter.

Ob. 3. But is it not better to keep that Assembly, and bear te­stimony against unlawfull acts, and labour to keep off ill, then to forbear and let things be carried on without opposition?

Answ. If any can satisfie his own conscience, that he may with clear [...]ess concur, notwithstanding these and the like reasons he may do so, and we shall rejoyce to hear of his testimony and stan­ding, against a spate of back-sliding; but if he shall through casting himself in a temptation, be d [...]awn a farther length then he intend­ed, or shall approve himself in afterward, he shall sin against a Warning.

O [...] 4. By this means we shall have no Assemblies.

Ans. The reasons will indeed conclude, that we should have no corrupt Assemblies, such as are prelimited in the elections, cor­rupted in the constitution exclusive of many of the godly for their faithfulness, and made up for the most part, if not onely of such as are authors or approvers of the late defection, and to want such Assemblies is no wayes prejudiciall, but is a mercy to the Church in the judgment and language of the Generall Assembly, cited in the beginning of this Paper, neither is the running with the spate of defection the way to retain and preserve the priviledge of use­full Assemblies, but on the contrary the giving of testimony against a course of declining in the time thereof, hath by experience often proved a mercy and in the wise and gracious providence of God, the best ground of hope, and an open door for free Assemblies.

FINIS.

Because in these (as in other Papers relating to the present publick Differences) the solemn Acknowledgment of Sins, and Engagement to Duties are frequently mentioned (And it being conceived by the fearful slighting of the same, which of late hath appeared in the Land) that they are forgotten by the most part, and cast by as out of date; Therefore it was thought fit they should be hereunto subjoyned.

A Solemn Acknowledgement of publick Sins and Breaches of the Covenant; And a solemn Engagement to all the Duties contained therin, namely those which do in a more special way relate unto the Dangers of these Times.

WE Noblemen, Barons, Gentlemen, Burgesses, Ministers of the Gospel, and Commons of all sorts within this King­dom, by the good hand of God upon us, taking in serious consideration the many sad afflictions and deep distresses wherwith we have been exercised for a long time past, and that the Land after it hath been sore wasted with the Sword and the Pesti­lence, and threatned with Famine, and that shame and contempt hath been poured out from the Lord against many thousands of our Nation who did in a sinful way make War upon the Kingdom of England, contrary to the Testimony of his Servants and desires of his People, and that the remnants of that Army returning to this Land, have spoiled and oppressed many of our Brethren, and that the Malignant party is still numerous, and retaining their former Principles, wait for an opportunity to Raise a New and Dangerous War, not only unto the rending of the bowels of this Kingdom, but unto the dividing us from England, and overturning of the work of God in all the three Kingdoms: And considering also that a cloud of calamities doth still hang over our heads, and threaten us with sad things to come, We cannot but look upon these things as from the Lord, who is righteous in all his wayes, feeding us with the bread of tears, and making us to drink the waters of affliction, until we be taught to know. How evil and bitter a thing it is, to depart from him, by breaking the Oath and Covenant which we have made with him, and that we may be humbled before him by confessing our sin, and forsaking the evil of our way.

Therefore being pressed with so great necessities and straits, and warranted by the word of God, and having the example of Gods [Page 306] people of old, who in the time of their troubls, and when they were to seek delivery and a right way for themselvs, that the Lord might be with them to prosper them, did humble themselves before him, and make a free and particular confession of the sins of their Princes, their Rulers, their Captains, their Priests and their People, and did en­gage themselves to do no more so, but to reform their wayes, and be stedfast in his Covenant; and remembring the practise of our Pre­decessors in the year 1596. wherein the Gen. Assembly, and all the Kirk Judicatories, with the concurrence of many of the Nobility, Gentry & Burgesses, did with many tears acknowledge before God the breach of the National Covenant, & engaged themselves to a re­formation, even as our Predecessors and theirs had before done in the Gen. Assembly and convention of Estates in the year 1567. And perceiving that this Duty, when gone about out of conscience and in sincerity, hath alwaies been attended with a reviving out of trou­bles, and with a blessing and success from Heaven: We do humbly and sincerely as in his sight, who is the searcher of hearts, acknow­ledge the many sins and great transgressions of the Land: We have done wickedly, our Kings, our Princes, our Nobles, our Judges, our Officers, our Teachers, and our People: Albeit the Lord hath long and clearly-spoken unto us, we have not hearkened to his voice, al­beit he hath followed us with tender mercies, we have not been al­lured to wait upon him and walk in his way; and though he hath striken us, yet we have not grieved: nay, though he hath consumed us, we have refused to receive correction. We have not remembered to render unto the Lord according to his goodness, and according to our own vowes and promises, but have gone away backward by a continued course of back-sliding, and have broken all the Articles of that solemn League and Covenant which we swore before God, Angels and Men.

Albeit there be in the Land many of all ranks, who be for a Te­stimony unto the truth, & for a name of joy & praise unto the Lord, by living godly, studying to keep their garments pure, and being sted­fast in the Covenant and Cause of God; yet we have reason to ac­knowledge that most of us have not endeavored with that reality, sincerity, and constancy, that did become us, to preserve the work of Reformation in the Kirk of Scotland; many have satisfied them­selves with the purity of the Ordinances, neglecting the power ther­of; yea, some have turned aside to crooked wayes, destructive to [Page 307] both. The prophane, loose, and insolent carriage of many in our Ar­mies, who went to the Assistance of our Brethren in England, and the tamperings and unstraight dealing of some of our Commissioners and others of our Nation in London, the Isle of Wight, and other places of that Kingdom, have proved great lets to the work of Re­formation, and setling of Kirk government there, wherby Error and Schism in that Land have been encreased, and Sectaries hardened in their way. We have been so far from endeavoring the extirpation of Prophaness, and what is contrary to the power of godliness, that prophanity hath been much winked at, and prophane persons much countenanced, and many times imployed, untill iniquity and ungod­liness hath gone over the face of the Land as a flood; nay, sufficient care hath not been had, to separate betwixt the precious and the vile, by debarring from the Sacrament all ignorant and scandalous persons, according to the Ordinances of this Kirk.

Neither have the Priviledges of the Parliaments and Liberties of the Subject been d [...]ly tendered, but some amongst our selves have labored to put into the hands of our King, an arbitrary and unlimi­ted power destructive to both; and many of us have been accessory of late to those means and wayes, whereby the freedom and privi­ledges of Parliaments have been encroached upon, and the Subjects oppressed in their Consciences, Persons, and Estates: Neither hath it been our care to avoid these things which might harden the King in his evil way; but upon the contrary, he hath not only been per­mitted, but many of us have been instrumental to make him exercise his power in many things tending to the prejudice of Religion and of the Covenant, and of the Peace and safety of these Kingdoms; which is so far from the right way of preserving his Majesties Per­son and Authority, that it cannot but provoke the Lord against him unto the hazard of both; nay, under a pretence of relieving and do­ing for the King whilst he refuses to do what was necessary for the House of God, some have ranversed, and violated most of all the Articles of the Covenant.

Our own consciences within, and Gods judgments upon us with­out, do convince us of the manifold wilful renewed breaches of that Article which concerneth the discovery and punishment of Malig­nants, whose crimes have not only been connived at, but dispensed with and pardoned, and themselves received unto intimate fellow­ship with our selves, and entrusted with our Counsels, admitted un­to [Page 308] our Parliaments, and put in places of Power and Authority for managing the publick Affairs of the Kingdom, whereby in Gods justice they got at last into their hands the whole power and strength of the Kingdom, both in Judicatories and Armies, and did imploy the same unto the enacting and prosecuting an unlawful Engagement in War against the Kingdom of England, notwith­standing of the dissent of many considerable members of Parliament, who had given constant proof of their integrity in the Cause from the beginning, of many faithful testimonies and free warnings of the servants of God, of the supplications of many Synods, Presbyteries and Shy [...]es, and of the Declarations of the Gen. Assembly and their Commissioners to the contrary: Which engagement as it hath been the cause of much sin, so also of much misery and calamity unto this Land, and holds forth to us the grievousness of our sin of complying with Malignants in the greatness of our judgment, that we may be taught never to split again upon the same Rock, upon which the Lord hath set so remarkable a Beacon. And after all that is come to pass unto us because of this our trespass, and after that grace hath been shewed unto us from the Lord our God, by breaking these mens yoke from off our necks, and putting us again into a capacity to act for the good of Religion, our own safety, and the Peace and safety of this Kingdom, should we again break his Commandment and Covenant by joyning once more with the people of these abo­minations, and taking into out bosome those Serpents which had formerly stung us almost unto death: This as it would argue great madness and folly upon our part, so no doubt, if it be not avoided, will provoke the Lord against us to consume us until there be no remnant nor escaping in the Land.

And albeit the Peace and Union betwixt the Kingdoms be a great blessing of God unto both, and a Bond which we are obliged to preserve unviolated, and to endeavour that justice may be done upon the opposers thereof: Yet some in this Land, who have come under the Bond of the Covenant, have made it their great study how to dissolve this Union, and few o [...] no endeavors have been used by any of us for punishing of such.

We have suffered many of our Brethren in severall parts of the Land, to be oppressed of the common Enemy, without compassion or relief: There hath been great murmuring and repining because of expence of means and pains in doing of our duty; Many by per­swasion [Page 309] or terror, have suffered themselves to be divided and with­drawn, to make defection to the contrary part; Many have turned off to a detestable indifferency and neutrality in this Cause, which so much concerneth the glory of GOD, and the good of these King­doms; Nay, many have made it their study to walk so, as they might comply with all times, and all the Revolutions thereof. It hath not been our care to countenance, encourage, intrust and em­ploy such onely, as from their hearts did affect and minde Gods Work; But the hearts of such many times have been discouraged, and their hands weakened, their sufferings neglected, and themselves slighted, and many who were once open Enemies, and alwayes secret underminers countenanced and employed; Nay, even those who had been looked upon as Incendiaries, and upon whom the Lord had set marks of desperate Malignancy, Falshood and Deceit, were brought in, as fit to manage Publick Affairs; Many have been the lets and impediments that have been cast in the way to retard and obstruct the Lords Work, and some have keeped secret, what of themselves they were not able to suppresse and overcome.

Besides these and many other breaches of the Articles of the Co­venant in the matter thereof, which concerneth every one of us to search out and acknowledge before the Lord, as we would wish his wrath to be turned away from us; So have many of us failed ex­ceedingly in the manner of our following and pursuing the duties contained therein, not onely seeking great things for our selves, and mixing of private Interests and ends concerning our selves, friends and followers, with those things which concern the Publick Good, but many times preferring such to the Honour of God and good of his Cause, and retarding Gods Work, untill we might carry along with us our own interests and designes. It hath been our way to trust in the means, and to rely upon the Arm of Flesh for successe, Albeit the Lord hath many times made us meet with disappointment therein, and stained the pride of all our Glory, by blasting every car­nall confidence unto us: We have followed for the most part the counsels of flesh and blood, and walked more by the rules of Policie then Piety, and have hearkened more unto men then unto God.

Albeit we made solemn publick profession before the World of our unfained desires to be humbled before the Lord for our own sins, and the sins of these Kingdoms, especially for our under valuing of the inestimable benefit of the Gospel, and that we have not la­boured [Page 310] for the power thereof, and received Christ into our hearts, and walked worthy of him in our lives, and of our true and unfai­ned purpose, desire and endeavour for our selves and all others under our power and charge both in publick and private, in all duties which we owe to God and man, to amend our lives, and each one to go before another in the example of a Real Reformation, that the Lord might turn away his wrath and heavy indignation, and establish these Kirks and Kingdoms in Truth and Peace; Yet we have refu­sed to be reformed, and have walked proudly and obstinatly against the Lord, not valuing his Gospel, nor submitting our selves unto the obedience thereof, nor seeking after Christ, nor studying to honour him in the Excellencie of his Person, nor employ him in the vertue of his Offices, not making conscience of publick Or­dinances, nor private nor secret duties, nor studying to edifie one another in love. The ignorance of God and of his Son Jesus Christ, prevailes exceedingly in the Land; The greatest part of Masters of families amongst Noblemen, Barons, Gentlemen, Burgesses and Com­mons neglect to seek God in their Families, and to endeavour the Reformation thereof; And albeit it hath been much pressed, yet few of our Nobles and great ones ever to this day could be perswa­ded to perform Family duties themselves and in their own persons; which makes so necessary and usefull a duty to be mis [...]regarded by others of inferior rank; Nay, many of the Nobiiity, Gentry and Burrows who should have been examples of Godlinesse and sober walking unto others, have been ring-leaders of excesse and rioting. Albeit we be the Lords people engaged to him in a solemn way, yet to this day we have not made it our study, that Judicatories and Armies should consist of, and places of power and trust be filled with men of a blamelesse and Christian conversation, and of known integrity and approven fidelity, affection and zeal unto the Cause of God, but not onely those who have been neutrall and indifferent, but dis-affected and Malignant, and others who have been prophane and scandalous, have been intrusted, By which it hath come to passe that Judicatories have been the seats of injustice and iniquity, and many in our Armies by their mis-carriages have become our plague unto the great prejudice of the Cause of God, the great scandall of the Gospel, & the great increase of loosness & prophanity through­out al the Land. It were impossible to reckon up al the abominations that are in the land, but the blaspheming of the name of God, swea­ring by the Creatures, prophanation of the Lords day, uncleanness, [Page 311] drunkenness, excess & rioting, vanity of apparrel, lying & deceit, rai­ling & cursing, arbitary & uncontrolled oppression, & grinding of the faces of the poor by landlords & others in place and power, are be­come ordinary & common sins; And besides all these things, there be many other transgressions, whereof the land wherein we live is guilty: All which we desire to acknowledge and to be humbled for, that the world may bear witnes with us, that rightousnes belongeth unto God, and shame & confusion of face unto us as appears this day. And because it is needful for these who find mercy not only to confess, but also to forsake their Sin; therefore that the reality and sincerity of our repentance may appear, We do resolve, and solemnly engage our selves before the Lord, carefully to avoid for the time to come all these offences, whereof we have now made solemn pub­lick Acknowledgment, and all the snares and tentations which tend thereunto: And to testifie the integrity of our resolution herein, and that we may be the better enabled in the power of the Lords strength to perform the same, we do again renew our solemn League and Covenant, promising hereafter to make conscience of all the du­ties whereunto we are obliged in all the heads and Articles there­of, particularly of these which follow:

1. Because Religion is of all things the most excellent and pre­cious, the advancing and promoving the power thereof against all ungodliness and profanity, the securing and preserving the purity thereof against all error, heresie, and schism; and namely, Inde­pendency, Anabaptism, Antinomianism, Arminianism, Socinia­nism, Familism, Libertinism, Scepticism, and Erastianism, and the carrying on the work of uniformity shall be studied and endea­voured by us before all wordly interest, whether concerning the King, or our selves, or any other whatsoever. 2. Because many have of late labored to supplant the liberties of the Kirk, we shall maintain and defend the Kirk of Scotland, in all her liberties and priviledges, against all who shall oppose or undermine the same, or encroach thereupon under any pretext whatsoever. 3. We shall vindicate & maintain the liberties of the Subjects in all these things which concern their consciences, persons and Estates. 4. We shall carefully maintain and defend the union betwixt the Kingdoms, and avoid every thing that may weaken the same, or involve us in any measure of accession unto the guilt of those who have invaded the Kingdom of England. 5. As we have been alwaies loyal to our King, so we shall still endeavour to give unto God that which is [Page 312] Gods, and to Caesar the things which are Caesars. 6. We shall be so far from conniving at, complying with, or countenancing of Ma­lignancy, injustice, iniquity, prophanity, and impiety, that we shall not only avoid, and discountenance those things, and cherish and en­courage these persons, who are zealous for the Cause of God, and walk according to the Gospel; But also shall take a more effectual course then heretofore in our respective Places and Callings, for pu­nishing and suppressing these evils, and faithfully endeavor that the best and fittest remedies may be applied for taking away the causes thereof, and advancing the knowledge of God, and Holiness and Righteousness in the Land. And therefore in the last place, as we shall earnestly pray unto God, That he would give us able men fearing God, men of truth, and hating Covetousness, to judge and bear charge among his people, so we shall according to our Places and Callings, endeavor that Judicatories and all places of Power and Trust both in Kirk and State may consist of, and be filled with such men as are of known good affection to the Cause of God, and of a blameless and Christian conversation.

And because there may be many, who heretofore have not made conscience of the Oath of God, but some through fear, others by perswasion, and upon base ends, and humane interests, have entered therunto, who have afterwards discovered themselves to have dealt deceitfully with the Lord in swearing falsly by his name, Therefore we who do now renew our Covenant in reference to these duties and all other duties contained therin, Do in the sight of him who is the searcher of hearts, solemnly profess, That it is not upon any po­litick advantage, or private interest, or by-end, or because of any ter­ror or perswasion from men, or hypocritically and deceitfully, that we do again take upon us the Oath of God, But honestly and sin­cerly, and from the sence of our duty, and that therefore denying our selves and our own things, and laying aside all self interest and ends, We shall above all things seek the honor of God, the good of his Cause, and the wealth of his people, and that forsaking the coun­sels of flesh and blood, and not leaning upon carnal confidences, we shall depend upon the Lord, walk by the rule of his word, and hearken to the voice of his servants: In all which professing our own weakness, We do earnestly pray to God, who is the Father of mercies, through his Son Jesus Christ, to be merciful unto us, and to enable us by the power of his might, that we may do our duty unto the praise of his Grace in the Churches. Amen.

FINIS.

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