Page images

ro been very paffive in the bufinefs." Butlet any perfon only read thefe Letters, and recollect the candour and fteadfastnefs of the man, and he will eafily perceive what a vile reflection upon his memory this would involve. Nor can it be pleasant either to his friends, or his connections to have fuch conjectures detailed, as would infinuate a dereliction of principle. His conduct while he lived was fair and unimpeachable; and now when he is gonę, we are warranted, only to conclude that he would have continued the fame steady advocate for our Confeffion, our Catechifms and Covenants, he had ever been.

Hear his fentiments and counfels addreffed to Students in divinity and to his younger children in the immediate profpect and expectation of appearing before his God and his Judge.


"You have ftated yourselves public witneffes for Jefus Chrift, who profefs to adhere to, and propagate his injured truths,-and to commemorate with thankfulnefs the remarkable mercies, which he hath bestowed on our Church and Nation,-and to teftify against and mourn over our own and our fathers' fearful backflidings from that Covenanted work of Reformation once attained in our land. See that you be judicious, upright, conftant and faithful in your profeffion I now approach death heartily fatisfied, with our excellent Westminster Confeffion of Faith, Catechifms and Form of Church Government, and cordially adhering to the Covenants, by which our fathers folemnly bound themselves and their pofterity to profefs the Doctrines and practife the duties therein contained. I look upon the Seceffion, as indeed the cause of God but fadly mifmanaged and dishonoured by myfelf and others.-- -Study to fee every thing with 'your own eyes but never indulge an itch after No

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]


Moft of those which are now esteemed fuch, are nothing but OLD ERRORS which were long ago justly refuted, varnished over with fome new expreffions.--If I mistake not the Churches are entering into a fearful cloud of apoftacy and trouble! But he that endureth to the end fhall be faved. Be ye faithful unto death and Christ shall give you a crown of life. But if any man draw back God's foul fhall have no pleasure in him"!!!

His advices to his children when dying conclude thus.

"Adhere conftantly, cordially and honeftly to the Covenanted Principles of the Church of Scotland, and to that Teftimony which hath been lifted up for them. I fear a generation is rifing up which will endeavour filently," (O how prophetic!)" to let flip these matters, as if they were afhamed to hold them faft, or even to speak of them. May the Lord forbid that any of you fhould ever enter into this confederacy against Jesus Christ and his caufe! This from a dying father and minifter, and a witnefs for Chrift." (Signed) "JOHN BROWN."

After fuch folemn admonitions, and published to the world, must not that man be a fool, or fomething worse, who would employ the name of Mr. Brown of Haddington, to recommend the very evils which he faw coming upon the Seceffion Churches, and against which he hath given fuch faithful warnings both to his pupils and his children? The righteous are often taken away from the evil to come. But had he lived to witness the late proceedings of Synod respecting the magiftrate's power in religion, and the obligation of our public Covenants on pofterity, are we not warranted to fay without any vaunt, that from the proteftations he has made in the preceding quotations, a most unequivocal pledge is given to

what fide of the queftion he would have chofen to have caft in his lot?

As to the fubject of the 2d Letter, the obligation of our public Covenants on pofterity, this doctrine muft ftand or fall, with what is maintained in the preceding one. The arguments adduced are clear and conclufive in its favour: and upon the obnoxious terms, "we fhall endeavour the extirpation of Popery and Prelacy," ufed in the Solemn League and Covenant, the few things he has said are fufficient to take off all objection to them, with any unprejudised mind. And whoever will be at the trouble of looking into the fermons, preached before the Parliament and Weftminster Affembly, at the taking of the Solemn League and Covenant, and upon other public occafions, he will find all ground of objection to the terms, as involving the deftruction of men's perfons, completely removed. If then the language ufed admit of a favourable interpretation, and the conduct of the Covenanters corieIpond with that interpretation, how exceedingly uncandid, at this diftant period, to dig up out of the ashes of the dead, where it had been fo formally and with all due honour laid to reft, an objection which can have influence upon no mind, but fuch as are unacquainted with the replies, by which it has been long ago repelled?

It only remains for me to apologize for the length of this paper, and to add my moft fervent defire, that thefe Letters be univerfally read, and read without prejudice; and that all who read them may receive the truth in the love of it, fo as either to be recovered out of error or farther established in the present truth.


Renton, 19th Sept. 1803.

[ocr errors]



On the Abfurdity of all Authoritative Toleration of grofs Herefy, Blafphemy or Idolatry.

The Question fairly stated,

page 1---17 Arguments against Authoritative Toleration of grofs Herefy, Blafphemy, &c. 17---43

Objections in favour of Toleration of grofs Herefy, Blafphemy, and Idolatry, Anfwered.

i. God alone is the Lawgiver and Lord of men's confcience, 44 2. Every man has a natural right to judge for himself---He is to follow the dictates of his own confcience. Even the law of God is a rule to him as he understands it in his own confcience. To force him to do any thing contrary thereto, is to force him to fin; and to punish him for following its dictates is to punish him for doing his duty,


3. To allow magiftrates such power---is to render Christians the fervants of men,


4. To restrain men from what they think right in religion, and efpecially to punifh them for it, is contrary to that Christian charity which fuffereth long and is kind--50

5. Even under law, Mofes tolerated men's divorcing of their wives for flight caufes; much more does the gofpel difpenfation call for liberty to men, 31

6. Gamaliel's counfel, Refrain from these men---was certainly prudent,


7. Under the Gospel it is promifed, that--there fhould be none to hurt or destroy in God's holy mountain, 53

8. Our Saviour commands his fervants to let the tares grow with the wheat,


9 By rebuking his difciples, who would have commanded fire from heaven to confume thefe Samaritans who refufed him lodg ings---our benevolent Saviour plainly intimated, That under the gospel, magiftrates ought to lay no reftraint on heresy,



10. Chrift requires us not to judge others---to judge nothing be fore the time.--. We ought to believe our own opinions in religion to be as probably erroneous as those of our opponents, &c. 55 11. Men ought to be perfuaded, not forced into holinefs,--


12. Such is the reasonableness and glory of divine truths, that if
they be but freely, clearly and diftinctly preached, their native
luftre will render them victorious---


13. Chrift---hath appointed for his Church, rulers of her own,

who govern her in every duty of religion,

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »