« PreviousContinue »
The ACT of the Commission of the General Asembly, for renewing the Solemn
League and Govenant.
Edinburgh, October 6. 1648. HE commission of the General Aflembly considering, that a great part of this land have involved themselves in
and gross breaches of the Solemn League and Covenant; and that the hands of many are grown flack in following and pursuing the duties contained therein ; and that many, who not being come to fufficient age when it was first sworn and subscribed, have not hitherto been received into the fame; Do, upon these, and other grave
and important considerations, appoint and ordain the Soleinn League and Covenant to be renewed throughout all the congregations of this king. dom. And, because it is a duty of great weight and consequence, ministers, after the fight hereof, would be careful to take pains, in their doctrine and otherwise, that their people may be made sensible of these things wherein they have broken the Covenant, and be prepared for the renewing thereof with suitable affections and difpofitions: And, that these things may be the better performed, we have thought it necessary to condescend upon a solemn acknowledgment of public fins and breaches of the covenant, and a folemn engagement to all the duties contained therein, namely, those which do in a more special way relate unto the dangers of these times: And this folemn acknowledgment and engagement, sent herewith, shall be made use of, and the League and Covenant shall be renewed in such manner as follows: First, There shall be an intimation of a soleinn public humiliation and fast the second Sabbath of December, to be kept upon the next Thursday, and the Lord's day thereafter ; at which intimation, the League and Covenant, and the public acknowledgement of Sins; and engagement unto duties, are to be publicly read by the minister, in the audience of all the people; and they are to be exhorted to get copies thereof, that they may be made acquainted therewith; and the humiliation and fast is to be kept the next Thurfday thereafter, in reference to the breaches of the Covenant, contain, ed in the folemn public acknowledgment, as the causes thereof; and the next Lord's day thereafter, which is also to be spent in public humiliation and fasting, immediately after the sermon, which is to be applied to the business of that day, the public acknowledginents and engagement is again to be publicly read; and thereafter prayer is to be made, containing the confeffion of the breaches mentioned therein, and begging mercy for these fins, and strength of God for renewing the Covenant in sincerity and truth; after which prayer the Solemn League and Covenant is to be read by the minister, and then to be sworn by him and all the people, who are to engage themfelves for performance of all the duties contained therein ; namely, these which are mentioned in the public acknowledgment and enSagement, and are oppofite unto the suis therein confelled : And the
action is to be closed with prayer to God, that his people may be enabled in the power of his strength, to do their duty, according to their oath, now renewed in so folemn a way. It is also hereby provided, That all those who renew the League and Covenant, shall again fubfcribe the same; and that none be admitted to the renewing or subscribing thereof, who are excluded by the other act and direction sent herewith.
The ACT of the Committee of Estates of Parliament, for renewing the So
lemn League and Covenant.
Edinburgh, October 14. 1648. T
HE Committee of Estates, being very sensible of the grievous
backslidings of this land, in the manifold breaches of the Solemn League and Covenant, made and sworn to the most high God; do therefore unanimously and heartily approve the seasonable and pious resolution of the commission of the General Assembly, for a folemn acknowledgement of public fins and provocations, especially the breaches of the Covenant, and a folemn engagement to a more confcionable performance of the duties therein contained, and for renewing the solemn League and Covenant; and do require and ordain, That the directions of the said commission of
Assembly, in their act of the 6th of this month, for a public acknowledgement of sins, and engagement to duties, be carefully followed; that the fast and humiliation, appointed by them, be religiously observed; and that the Solemn League and Covenant be sincerely and cordially renewed and subscribed, in the manner they have prescribed in their faid a St. Extractum,
Mr Tho. HENDERSON.
Solemn ACKNOWLEDGMENT of PUBLIC SINS,
and Breaches of the COVENANT ;
Solemn ENGAGEMENT to all the DUTIES con
tained therein, namely those which do in a more special Way relate unto the DANGERS of these Times.
WE E Noblemen, Barons, Gentlemen, Burgeffes, Ministers of the
Gospel, and Commons of all forts within this kingdom, by the good hand of God upon us, taking into ferious consideration the many fad afflictions and deep distrefies wherewith we have been exercised for a long time past, and that the land, after it hath been fore wasted with the fword and the pestilence, and threatened with famine; and that shame and contempt hath been poured out from the Lord against many thousands of our nation, who did in a finfal way make war upon the kingdom of England, contrary to the ceftimony of his servants, and desires of his people ; and that the remnants of that army, returning to this land, have spoiled and oppreffed many of our brethren ; and that the malignant party is still att merous, and, retaining their former principles, wait for an oppor. tunity to raise a new and dangerous war, not only unto the rending of the bowels of this kingdom, but unto the dividing us froin England, and overturning of the work of God in all the three kingdoms: And considering also, that a cloud of calamities doth Itill hang over our heads, and threaten us with fad things to come, we cannot but look upon these things as from the Lord, who is righteous in all his ways, feeding us with the bread of tears, and making us to drink the wa. ters of afflictions, until we be taught to know how evil and bitter a thing it is to depart away from him, by, breaking the Oath and Cove; nant which we have made with him; and that we may be humbled before him, by confeffing our sin, and forsaking the evil of our way:
Therefore being prefied with fo great neceflities and straits, and warranted by the word of God, and having the example of God's people of old, who, in the time of their troubles, and when they
Were to seek delivery, and a right way for themselves, that the Lord might be with them to prosper them, did humble themselves before him, and make a free and particular confession of the fins 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 ways, and be ftedfast in this covenant: And remembering the practice of our predeceflors in the year 1596, wherein the General Asembly, and all the kirk-judicatories, with the concurrence of many of the nobility, gentry, and burgesles, did, with many tears, acknowledge before God the breach of the National Covenant, and engaged themselves to a reformation ; even as our predeceffors and theirs had before done, in the General Allembly and Convention of Estates, in the year 1567: And perceiving that this duty, when gone about out of conscience and in sincerity, hath always been attended with a reviving out of troubles, and with a blessing and fuccefs from Heaven; We do humbly and fincerely, as in his fight, who is the Searcher of hearts, acknowledge the many sins ånd great transgreffons of the land: We have done wickedly, our Kings, our Princes, our Nobles, out 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 ftricken us, yet we have not grieved; nay, though he hath confumed 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 vows and promises, but have gone away backward by a continued course of backsiiding, and have broken all the articles of that Solemin 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, and for a name of joy and praise unto the Lord, by living godly, studying to keep their garments pure, and being ftedfast in the covenant and cause of God; yet we have reason to acknowledge, that most of us have not endeavoured, with that reality, fincerity, and constancy that did become us, to preserve the work of réformation in the kirk of Scotland: Many have fatisfied themselves with the purity of the ordinances, neglecting the power thereof; yea, fome have turned afide to crooked ways, destructive to both. Thé profane, loose, and infolent carriage of many in our armies, who went to the assistance of our brethren in England, and the tamperings and unftraight dealing of fome of our Commissioners, and others of our nation, in London, the ifle of Wight, and other places of that kingdom, have proved great lets to the work of reformation and settling of kirk-government there, whereby error and fchifm in that land have been encreafed, and sectaries hardened in their way. We have been fo far from endeavouring the extirpation of profanenefs, and what is contrary to the power of godliness, that profanity hath been much winked at, and profane persons much countenanced, and many times employed, until iniquity and ungodliness hath gone over the face of the land as a food; nay, fufficient care
hath not been had to separate betwixt the precious and the vile, by debarring from the facraments all ignorant and scandalous persons, ac cording to the ordinances of this kirk.
Neither have the privileges of the Parliaments and liberties of the subject been duly tendered; but some amonglt ourselves have laboured to put into the hands of our King an arbitrary and unlimited power, destructive to botlı; and many of us have been accessory of sate to those means and ways, whereby the freedom and privileges of parliaments have been encroached upon, and the subjects opprefsed in their consciences, perfons, 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 Cove. nant, and of the peace and fafety of these kingdoms; which is so far from the right way of preserving his Majesty's 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 neceflary for the the House of God, some have ranversed and violated most of all the articles of the Covenant.
Our own conscience within, and God's 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 difpensed with and pardoned, and themselves received into intimate fellowship with ourselves, and intrusted with our counfels, admitted unto our Parliaments, and put in places of power and authority, for managing the public affairs of the kingdom; whereby, in God's justice, they got at last into their hands the whole power and strength of the king. dom, both in judicatories and armies ; and did employ the same funto the enacting and profecuting an unlawful engagement in war a. gainst the kingdom of England, notwithstanding of the diffent 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 fupplications of many fynods, presbyteries, and thires; and of the declarations of the General Aflembly, and their Commiffioners to the contrary ; which engagement, as it hath been the cause of much fin, 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 saine rock, upon which the Lord hath set fo remarkable a bcacon. 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 the safety of this kingdom, fhould we again break this commandment and covenant, by joining once more with the people of these abominations, and taking into our bofom