Page images
[blocks in formation]

Rev. vii. 14. These are they wbich came out of great tribulation, and have

wasbed their robes, and made bem wbite in the blood of the Lamb.




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


Chriflian Reader.

HE glorious frame and contrivance of religion, face or person of Jesus Christ, for the recovery of lost mankind into a state of favour and reconcilement with himself, is lo excellently ordered in the councils of. infinite wisdom, and exactly adjusted to the real delight, contentment and happiness of the rational world ; that it might justly be wondered why fo many men in all ages, have not only had a secret disgust thereat themselves, but laboured to rob others of the comfort and benefit of it, and make the world a chaos of confusion, by persecutions raised against it; had not the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures la id open the hidden springs of this malice and en. mity, which exerts itself in so many of the children of men. We are told in these divinely inspired writings, that the first fource of this opposition that the true religion meets with in the world, Aows originally from Satan, that inveterate enemy of God's glory, and man's happiness, who having himself left his original state of obedience to, and enjoyment of God his Creator, hath no other alleviament of his inevitable miseries, but to draw the race of mankind into the like ruin, which is the only satisfaction that malicious spirit is capable of. This restless adversary perceiving, that through the grace and love of God manifested in Chrilt, a great number of these whom he thought he had secured to his flavery are redeemed, and called by the gospel out of that intolerable fervitude into a glorious liberty, and fecured by faith to salvation, labours by two great engines of open force and secret fraud, to keep tliem in, or regain them to his obedience ; hence the sacred Scriptures descrix him, both as a dragon for cruelty, and a serpent for fubtilty. But, because he either cannot, or thinks not fit to do this visibly in person, therefore he does it more invisibly, and so more successfully by his agents, in whom he works ; who, because of their unreasonable


a 2

unbelief, are called children of impersuasion. These he acts and animates as it were so many machines, to endeavour by crafty seduction, or violent persecution, to draw or drive the followers of the Lamb from their subjection, obedience, and loyalty, to the Captain of their salvation, that he may drown them in perdition and des. truction. This is the latent origin of all perfecution, the mint where all the other more visible causes of the bloody violence the people of God meet withal are struck and framed. This is the grand design to which they tend to root out the obedience of faith out of the world, and deprive the Son of God of his rightful dominion over his subjects whom he hath chofen, redeemed and fan&ified for himself.

As this holds true of all the perfecutions raised against the church and truths of God, whether in the persons of Jews or Christians, by whatever hands, Pagan or Antichriftian, so it is eminently verified of the perfecutions of the Church of Scotland, prosecuted by a profane wicked generation of malignant prelatifts, during the reigns of the late kings Charles II. and James VII. For as the other persecutions weve'all levelled against fome point of truth or other, wherein the obedience of faith was concerned, respecting either the existence and wor. Thip of the true God, or the person, natures or offices of Jesus Christ, &c. fo this perfecution was directly bended against that office and authority of Jesus Christ, whereupon his formal claim to the obedience of his church is founded, viz. His headship over his Church.

Jesus Christ, the only begotten of the Father, having received the Church of Scotland, as one of the utmolt ises of the earth for his poffeffion, by folemn grant from JEHOVAH, was pleased, as to call her from the deplo. rable state of Pagan, and reform her from the ruinous condition of Antichristian darkness; fo to dignify her in a peculiar manner, to contend and suffer for that truth, that he is king and lawgiver to his church, having power to institute her form of government, to give her laws, officers, and cenfures, whereby the should be governed, and hath not left it ambulatory and uncertain, what government he will have in force for the ordering of his house, but hath expressly determined in his word every necessary part thereof, and hath not put any power into the hands of any mortal, whether pope, prelate,

prince, prince, or potentáte, as a vicarious head in his personal abfence, whereby they may alter the form of government at their pleasure, and make what kind of officers, canons, and censures, they please ; but all the power that this king hath left in his church, concerning her government, is purely and properly ministerial, under the direction and regulation of his sovereign pleasure, revealed in his written word.

This is the most radiant piarl in the Church of Scotland's garland ; that the hath been honoured valiantly to stand up for the headship and royal prerogative of her King and Husband, Jesus Christ, in all the periods of her reformation. For no sooner had the thrown off the yoke of the pope's pretended jurisdiction and authority, but presently, while she was labouring by means of thete censures that Christ had institute, to root out the damnable heresies which that enemy had fown, all on a fud. den King James VI. naturally ambitious, and instigate by intereited and projecting counsellors, attempts a rape upon her chastity and loyalty to her husband and Lord; and by his royal order stops her freedom of fitting, voting, and acting in her fupreme courts, imprisons some of her most zealous and faithful ministers, calls them before his council, indiets them of treason and leese majesty, for their making use of the freedom. Christ had given them ; and after their declining his and his council's usurped authority in spiritual matters, and fo witnessing, a good confession for the royal dignity of their Master, banish them their native country..

But the church's fun of prosperity is foon at the tropic: Scarce was that spring time well begun to bloffom and bud, when behold a world of malignant vapours, arifing out of the earth, clouded all her sky again, and turned her fpring to a deplorable winter. Various herefies in England, growing popery in Ireland, public refolutions for advancing malignants to places of power and trust in Scotland, like fo many inundations breaking in upon the church of Christ, laid all her pleasant things walte, And no sooner was Charles II. advanced to the exercise of the royal authority, but drowning the sense of all facred obligations with a glut of fensual pleasures, he authorised a malignant crew of statesmen to persecute and destroy the people of God for their adherence to the coverants, which himself had entered into as the funda

a 3.


« PreviousContinue »