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in so far as they are unregenerate, carnal, earthly, proud, unmortified (for 'who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin,' Prov. xx. 9)?"1 The divisions of the Church are a great hindrance to the revival of the discipline of the Reformation, still the Churches could do much to restore its exercise. These divisions cannot excuse the want of it, more especially since they were mainly caused by its relaxation. The abounding iniquity and fearful apostasy of the present day call loudly for its revival. “ Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, we will not walk therein."
Dr. Ross says, that, “ The leaders, both of the First and Second Reformation in Scotland, .... did not attempt to legislate for all time as to the methods to be employed for securing the great ends they wished to bring about. It is distinctly laid down in the Second Book of Discipline that the assemblies of the Church have power 'to abrogate and abolish all statutes and ordinances concerning ecclesiasticall matters that are found noysome and unprofitable, and agrie not with the time, [the italics are his) or are abusit be the people.' There are sticklers for old forms and methods in the present day, who would be considered sad laggards by the very men whom they profess so greatly to revere. It might be asked, whether this taunt was thrown out to screen the defections of the Free Church, or to reproach the small Presbyterian bodies, who-keeping their garments clean,-have faithfully testified for the whole covenated work of Reformation? It is to be feared that the sentence quoted from the seventh chapter of the Second Book of Discipline, is often quite misunderstood. It must be taken with the parallel passages in the Confession of 1560, and in the Westminster Confession. In the 20th article of the old Scotch Confession it is stated :-“Not that we think, that any policie, and an order in ceremonies, can be appointed for all ages, times and places : for as ceremonies, such as men have devised, are but temporall : so may and ought they to be changed, when they rather foster superstition, than edifie the Church, using the same.” Calderwood says, these “words are not so to be taken, as if the Kirk had power to institute sacred rites ; but only to make institutions of order and decencie, in the ministration of such rites and parts of divine service, as the Lord had already instituted: As may be seen in the [First] Book of Discipline, where in the heads of the policie of the Kirk, they distinguish betwixt things necessarie to be observed in every Kirk, and things variable, to be ordered by every congregation; and allow every particular Kirk to have a particular policie of her own, without prejudice of the common or general; as for example; whether the congregation should assemble this or that day of the week, or how many dayes in the week, or if but once. In this or the like, every particular Kirk may appoint their own policie. The [First] Book of Discipline was accomodat to the time, in some points; and liberty was reserved to the posterity to establish a more perfect, as you may see in Mr. Knox his historie. That which was temporary may be discerned from that which they esteemed not to be alterable, by some reason or respect alledged. And indeed we may safely say, that the whole was recommended to be perpetually observed, except some few things, as the office of Superintendents, Exhorters, Readers, and some other things, whereunto they were forced, as they thought, through necessity; the policie of the Kirk being so defaced before, in the time of Popery, that it could not be perfectly repaired in haste."! The Westminster Confession, (chap. i. sect. 6)
1 Gillespie's sermon to the House of Lords, 27th August, 1645.—The Erastians held that Church censures should be "put forth only upon heretics, apostates, or such as are unsound in the faith, but not upon profane livers in the Church.” This seems to have originated in the popish opinion, that “the Pope might be deposed for heresy, but not for a scandalous life.” On the other hand, Arminians and English Sectaries held, that the censure of excommunication should be " upon loose and scandalous livers within the Church, but not for those things which the reformed churches call heresies." Treatise of Miscellany Questions, chap. xii.
2 Pastoral Work in the Covenanting Times, p. 106. —Notwithstanding the blots we have pointed out in this book, it is an excellent volume, and one that was much wanted. Every true blue Presbyterian who reads it, will find in it a great
al to please, profit, and instruct. Gillespie, in replying to the Bishop of Edinburgh, shows that the word cere
put forth i Calderwood's History, p. 25.
-“There are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the Church, common to buman actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the word, which are always to be observed.” Gillespie says : “ There is nothing which any way pertaineth to the worship of God left to the determination of buman laws, beside the mere circumstances, which neither have any holiness in them, for as much as they have no other use and praise in sacred than they have in civil things, nor yet were particularly determinable in Scripture, because they are infinite." 3 These extracts show how much (or rather how little) power, the Remonies in this article, “must be understood of alterable circumstances, unto which the name of ceremonies is but generally and improperly applied.” English Popish Ceremonies, part 4, chap. 8, sect. 6.
? The general rules of the word are in i Cor. x. 31 ; xiv. 26; Rom. xiv. 5 14, 21,
8 Preface to English Popish Ceremonies, admonition 8.
formers believed the Church to have in making “statutes and ordinances concerning ecclesiastical matters.” As for the abrogating and abolishing things that “are abusit be the people,” the abuse cannot take away the use where the thing itself is necessary, it is enough that they be purged from the abuse, for, has the Lord's supper, the ordination of ministers, and other ordinances of the gospel, not been perniciously abused? “Yet who will say that things necessary (whether the necessity be that of command, or that of the means or end), are to be taken away because of the abuse ?”Gillespie's argument is this :-“ All things and rites which have been notoriously abused to idolatry, if they be not such as either God or nature hath made to be of a necessary use, should be utterly abolished and purged away from divine worship, in such sort that they may not be accounted nor used by us as sacred things or rites pertaining to the
Not only is the correction and punishment of offenders included among the things which are “utterly necessary," in the First Book of Discipline (ninth head); but in the 18th Article of the Confession of 1560, “ ecclesiastical discipline uprightly ministered as God's Word prescribeth, whereby vice is repressed and vertue nourished," is given as one of the three notes whereby the true Kirk is discerned from the false. It cannot be said of discipline at least, that it is abused by the people, for they do not know what it is. And contrariwise, the very things, which are abused by the people to superstition and idolatry, are now thought to agree with the times.
In the dying words of the noble Marquis of Argyle--the protomartyr of the Covenant—“God hath laid engagements upon Scotland; we are tyed by covenants to religion and reformation ; these that were then unborn are yet engaged ; and in our baptism we are engaged to it. And it passeth the power of all the magistrats under heaven to absolve them from the wise oath of God." The National Covenant binds us to continue in the discipline, as well as in the doctrine of the true reformed Church of Scotland. For this is the form of the oath, "Promising and swearing, by the great name of the LORD our GOD, that we shall continue in the obedience of the doctrine and discipline of this Kirk, and shall defend the same, according to our vocation and power, all the days of our lives; under the pains contained in the law, and danger both of body and soul in the day of God's fearful judgment.” “And without all doubt, they who sware the oath meant by discipline that whole policy of the Church
1 One hundred and eleven Propositions, prop. 28.
which is contained in those books (i.e. the two Books of Discipline]. Gillespie also says :-“No reformed Church in Europe is strictly tied by the bond of an oath and subscription, to hold fast her first discipline and use of the sacraments, and to hold out popish rites, as is the Church of Scotland. And who knoweth not that an oath doth always oblige and bind, when it is taken concerning things sure and possible, truly and without deceit, with deliberation and with judgment, justly, for the glory of God and the good of our neighbour ?'? What one of all those conditions was here wanting? Can we then say any less than a pope said before us : It is not safe that any person whatever should act contrary to his oath, unless it be such as, when kept, would lead to the loss of eternal salvation?'? O damnable impiety, which maketh so small account of the violation of the aforesaid oath, which hath as great power to bind us as that oath of the princes of Israel made to the Gibeunites, had to bind their posterity (2 Sam. xxi. 1, 2); for it was made by the whole incorporation of this land, and hath no term at which it may cease to bind. Nay (in some respects) it bindeth more straitly than that oath of the princes of Israel. For, 1. That was made by the princes only; this by prince, pastors, and people : 2. That was made rashly (for the text showeth that they asked not counsel from the mouth of the Lord); this with most religious and due deliberation : 3. That was made to men; this to the great God : 4. That sworn but once; this once and again."3
Again, the Solemn League and Covenant binds us to endeavour, “the preservation of the reformed religion in the Church of Scotland, in doctrine, worship, discipline, and government, ... the reformation of religion in the kingdoms of England and Ireland, in doctrine, worship, discipline, and government, according to the word of God, and the example of the best reformed Churches ;” and to “endeavour to bring the Churches of God in the three kingdoms to the nearest conjunction and uniformity in religion, confession of faith, form of church-government [this means corrective government], directory for worship and catechising." “Now, setting aside the circumstantials,
1 “Quando e't factum de rebus certis et possibilibus, vere oc sine dolo præmeditate ac cum judicio, juste, ad gloriam Dei, et bonum proximi.”
2 "Non est tutum quemlibet contra juramentum suum venire, nisi tale sit, quod servatum vergat in interitum salutis æterna."
3 English Popish Ceremonies, part 4, chap. 8, sect. 2, 8.
4“In Mr. Crofton's sense, and in the sense of the Presbyterian covenanters in England, the government engadged unto in that article, is that platforme of Presbyterian government contained in these two books of discipline, which adversaries themselves do grant to comprehend an intire frame of Presbyterian government.” Rectius Instruendum, part 2, p. 63.
there is not any substantial part of the uniformity according to the covenant which is not either expressly grounded upon the word of God, or by necessary consequence drawn from it, and so no commandment of men, but of God.” When the English Parliament ratified the Westminster Confession, they did not reject, but recommitted “particulars in discipline," but as the Parliament was dissolved by Cromwell, the report of the committee was never returned. These particulars are said to bave been the thirtieth and thirty-first chapters, and the fourth section of the twentieth chapter. But at any rate when the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland approved of the Directory for Public Worship; the Form of Presbyterial Church Government; and the Confession of Faith, it was provided that the former should“ be no prejudice to the order and practice of this Kirk, in such particulars as are appointed by the Books of Discipline, and Acts of General Assemblies, and are not otherwise ordered and appointed in the Directory ;"3 the second was approved (10 Feb. 1645) not only because they desired, "an Uniformity in Kirk-government betwixt these Kingdomes," but from a solicitation to preserve "the Form of Kirk-government in this Kingdome, according to the Word of God, Books of Discipline, Acts of General Assemblies, and Nationall Covenant ; ”4 and the latter was “found by the
1 Treatise of Miscellany Questions, chap. 15.
* Records of the Kirk of Scotland, p. 422. The General Assembly and the Parliament of Scotland approved the Propositions concerning Kirk-government and Ordination of Ministers (now called, the Form of Presbyterial Church Government), " as a ground-work of the intended Uniformity in Kirk-government according to the Covenant ;” and earnestly desired and expected that the remanent parts of Uniformity would be expedited, especially that the materials of Kirk. government which had been so long in the hands of the Assembly of Divines, might be “formed into a practical Directory with all possible diligence.”—Minutes of Westminster Assembly, foot-note, pp. 80, 81.–At length, "A Directory for Church Government, Church censures, and ordination of Ministers was agreed upon by the Westminster Assembly, and which the General Assembly, in 1647, ordered to be printed, that it might be "examined by Presbyteries against the next Assembly.” In 1648, it was continued to the next Assembly ; and in 1649 it seems to have been again referred to the next General Assembly ; but alas ! in 1650 the Church was divided. See Records of the Kirk of Scotland. pp. 482, 519, 555.-A collection of confessions published in Edinburgh, in 1725, contains this Directory, reprinted from that issued by the General Assemhly in 1647. In most respects it is substantially the same as the Form of Presbyterial Church Government though the arrangement is slightly different, and some parts are enlarged. It also includes a Directory for Church Censures, which fills six closely printed pages in 12mo, and is not in the Form of Presbyterial Church Government at all. Many of its phrases and sentences bear a striking resemblance to those of the Order of Excommunication and of Public Repentance, in o'r Book of Common Order ; indeed, it may almost be described as a concise epitome of it.