A BROTHERLY EXHORTATION FROM THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND, To their BRETHREN in ENGLAND.

EDINBURGH, Printed by EVAN TYLER, Printer to the Kings most Excellent MAjESTIE, 1649.

A Brotherly Exhortation from the General Assembly of the Church ofScotland, to their Brethren in England.

THe many and great obligations which lie upon us in re­ference to our Brethren in England, who hold fast their integrity, and adhere to the Solemn League and Cove­nant, together with the desire which we have to testifie our Sympathie with them in their afflictions, and to preserve so far as in us lieth that fellowship and correspondence that hath been entertained betwixt the Church of Scotland and England these years past, do call upon us and constrain us not to be si­lent in this day of their trouble and distress.

Albeit the Lord (who hath his fire in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem) hath now for a long time past, afflicted these Kingdoms with many and sharp rods, and that his wrath seems not yet to be turned away, but his hand stretched out still; yet in all this, it becomes us who live in these Lands to stop our mouthes, neither can any impute iniquity to the most High.

It is rather a wonder, that any mercy should be continued, and that England and Scotland are not cut off from being Nati­ons, seeing the back-slidings and provocations of both has been so many and so gross; Although the Solemn League and Covenant was sworne and subscribed by both, yet have ma­ny in both despised the Oath of GOD, as appears by the late unlawfull Engagement against the Kingdom of England, contrived and carried on by a prevailing party of Malignants [Page 3] in this Land, and by the proceedings of the Sectaries in Eng­land, in reference to Religion and Government.

We shall not insist upon what hath been the condition and carriage of the Lords People in this Land in reference to the late unlawfull Engagement: As we desire to magnifie the power and loving kindnesse of the Lord, who enabled all the Judicatures of this Church, and a considerable part of the Parliament, and the body of the Land, to dissent from, and bear Testimony against the same, which made the House of Commons in their Letter directed to the last Gene­ral Assembly or their Commissioners, to declare, that that Engagement could not be looked on as a National breach; So we look upon it as a wonder of his Wisdom and Mercy, that he hath disposed and directed the same for the furtherance of his Work in our hand, and purging his House amongst us. All this cometh forth from the Lord of Hosts, who is wonder­full in Counsell, and Excellent in Working. Neither was it the least part of the Lords goodnesse to us, in that day of our strait that we were led in a plain path, and kept from comply­ance with Sectaries on the one hand, no less then with Ma­lignants on the other. We have obtained this mercy to be sted­fast to our old principles, in bearing free and faithfull Testi­mony against their proceedings, both in reference to Tolerati­on and Government, and the taking away of the Kings life.

And as the danger and judgement which threatens the Au­thors and Abettors of these things, doth affect our Spirits with horrour, and maketh us desire that it may be given to them of God to repent: So we should conceive our selves void of Christian affection and compassion toward those in England, who suffer for the truth and Cause of God, if we were not very sensible of all their present troubles and calami­ties. It is no small grief to us, that the Gospel and Govern­ment of Jesus Christ are so despised in that Land, that faithfull Preachers are persecuted and cryed down, that Toleration is [Page 4] established by pretext of Law, and maintained by Military power, and that the Covenant is abolished and buried in obli­vion. All which proceedings, cannot but be looked upon as directly contrary to the Oath of God lying upon us, and therefore cannot eschew his Wrath when he shall come in Judgement, to be a swift witnesse against those that swear falsly by his Name.

These things are the more grievous to us, because (beside many other wofull evils brought forth by them) they have in­terrupted the building of the Lords House in England; the foundation whereof was laid by Oath and Covenant with the most High God, and followed for some years with many De­clarations and Protestations of Faithfull adhering thereto, and with great expense of blood and Treasure: Which things were to all the godly in these Nations a branch of hope, that the Lord would bring to perfection the Work of Uniformity (so far advanced in all the parts thereof) in these three Kingdoms.

But the great obstructions and sad interruptions that have been made therein, by the strange and unexpected practises of many now in place and power in England, are to all the wel­affected in both Kingdoms, and in all the Churches abroad, the matter of their sorrow and humiliation. And it there be any place left for admonition, we Warn such as have forgotten the Covenant, and despised the Oath of God, and turned aside to lies and errour, to consider whence they are fallen, and to re­pent. Prosperity and success for a time are no warrantable evidences of a good Cause, nor sufficient guards against the wrath of God; It is no good use of the Lords mercy for such men under pretext of Liberty to make both themselves and others slaves to corruption, & to make all men both in Church and State like the fishes of the Sea, o [...] the creeping things that have no Ruler over them. Are these things according to the Word of God, and the pattern of the best Reformed Chur­ches? Or is that the endeavour to bring the three Kingdoms [Page 5] to the nearest uniformity that may be in Doctrine, Worship, Government, and Discipline; Or is that the maintaining of the union betwixt the three Kingdomes, when the straitest bond thereof is utterly dissolved and quite taken away, and the fundamentall Government by King and Parliament wholly overturned? The just God who is of pure eyes beholds these things, and shall with no lesse sury and indignation break the horn of these men, then he hath broken the power, and brought down the pride of Malignants before them, if repentance pre­vent not.

Amidst those fears and griefes, it is unto us matter of rejoy­cing, that there be many in England who mourn for all these abominations, and labour to keep their garments pure by re­fusing to comply with that course of backsliding, and by bea­ring testimony against the same. And we hope the expectati­on of such, shall not be disappointed, but that the Lord will open to them a doore of hope for carrying on of his work, and making the lying spirit to passe out of that land.

And albeit many think no otherwise of the Covenant and work of Reformation, then as a mean to further their own ends; yet we are confident, that none who holds fast their in­tegrity, have so learned Christ, but are carefull to make con­science of the oath of God lying on them; And we are sure (whatever be the base thoughts and expressions of back sliders from the Covenant) it wants not many to owne it in these Kingdomes, who (being called thereto) would seale the same with their blood.

Although there were none in the one Kingdome who did adhere to the Covenant, yet thereby were not the other King­dome nor any person in either of them absolved from the bond thereof, since in it we have not only sworne by the Lord, but also covenanted with him. It is not the failing of one or more that can absolve others from their duty or tye to him; Besides, the duties therein contained, being in themselves law­full, [Page 6] and the grounds of our tye thereunto moral, though others doe forget their duty, yet doth not their defection free us from that obligation which lyes upon us by the Covenant in our places and stations. And the Covenant being intended and en­tred into by these Kingdoms, as one of the best means of sted­fastnesse, for guarding against declining times; It were strange to say that the back sliding of any should absolve others from the tye thereof, especially seeing our engagement therein is not only nationall, but also personall, every one with uplifted hands swearing by himselfe, as it is evident by the tennor of the Covenant.

From these and other important reasons, it may appear that all these Kingdomes joyning together to abolish that oath by law, yet could they not dispense therewith; Much lesse can any one of them, or any part in either of them doe the same. The dispensing with oathes hath hitherto been abhorred as Anti­christian, and never practised and avowed by any, but by that man of sin; therefore those who take the same upon them, as they joyn with him in his sin, so must they expect to partake of his plagues.

As we shall ever (God willing) be mindfull of our duty to the faithfull that adhere to the Covenant in England, having them alwayes in our hearts before the Lord, so we desire to be refreshed with their singlenesse and boldnesse in the cause of God, according to their places. This is the time of their triall, and the houre of tentation among them; blessed shall they be who shall be found following the Lamb, and shall not be asha­med of his testimony. We know in such dark houres, many are drawne away with the multitude, when the Lord will a­gain purge and make white; And we doubt not but many such are in England, whom the bold and clear preaching of Christ may reclaim; Much therefore lieth upon the Wath-men at this time, that their Trumpet may give a certain and distinct sound, warning and exhorting every one, as those that must give ac­count; [Page 7] And blessed shall those servants be, who shall be found faithfull in their Lords house, distributing to his houshold what is meet for this season, and can say they are free of the blood of all men, having shewen them the whole Counsell of God, being in nothing terrified of the threats of their adversaries; And blessed and happy shall that people be, that walk in the light holden forth by them, and staye upon the Lord in this dark time, harkning to the voyce of his servants, and walking in the light of his word, and not in the sparks of their owne kindlings, which will end in sorrow. How inexcusable will England be, having so foulie revolted against so many faire te­stimonies, which the Lord Christ hath entred as Protestations to preserve his right, in these ends of the earth long since given unto him for his possession, and of late confirmed by Solemne Covenant. Christs right to these Kingdomes is suer then that he should be pleaded out of it by pretended liberty of Consci­ence, and his begun possession is more pretious to him, then to be satisfied with a dishonourable toleration. All that yet we have seen, doth not weaken our confidence of the Lords glori­fying the house of his glory in these lands, and of his sonnes taking unto him his great power, and raigning in the beauty and power of his Ordinances in this Island. His name is won­derfull, and so also are his works, we ought not therefore to square them according to our line, but leave them to him who hath the government laid upon his shoulder, all whose wayes are judgement, and whose ruling these Kingdomes had never yet reason to decline. It is good for us to be stedfast in our du­ty, and therein quietly to wait and hope for the salvation of God. The word of promise is sure, (and hath an appointed time) that he that will come shall come and will not tarry. There is none hath cause to distrust the Lords word to his peo­ple; It hath often to our experience been tryed in the fire, and hath ever come forth with a more glorious lustre. Let not therefore these that suffer in England cast away their confidence,

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. Searching, reading, printing, or downloading EEBO-TCP texts is reserved for the authorized users of these project partner institutions. Permission must be granted for subsequent distribution, in print or electronically, of this EEBO-TCP Phase II text, in whole or in part.