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Popish enemy, it was abundantly natural, as I was not acting the mere historian, to approve or disapprove of what they did. 'Hence, in the doctrinal part of the subject, I mentioned their conduct with an air of approbation; not with respect to it's every punctilio, but in regard of the motives wherewith they were animated, and the great lines which run, as a visible vein, through what they did.

When improving that part of the subject in which the covenants of our ancestors were mentioned, I was neither ashamed nor afraid to teach the lawfulness of national covenanting ; endeavouring to prove it from Isaiah xix. 18,--21. and xliv. 5.: nor did I hear of the least whifper against my doctrine, as either unfound or unseasonable.

In attempting to establish the lawfulness of covenanting, I preached none other doctrine than what I judged agreeable to the Westminster confession of faith, which, by ordination and admiffionties, I am solemnly bound to maintain *: and no other than what I had believed from my youth; and from which I have never seen cause to resile.

Had I meant to handle the subject at large, I would have taken a much more extensive range, in adducing a greater variety of arguments for, and in answering the numerous and plausible objections against, public covenanting : But this was not my purpose.

* The second Question put to Probationers for the ministry, and to Ministers at their ordination, is, “Do you sincerely own cs and believe the whole doctrine of the Confession of faith ? • and do you own the whole do&rine therein contained, as the - consellion of your faith?” Averse as I am to innovations, I could wish a previous question were put, viz. “ Have you " read, and confidered the Confession of Faith ?”

Approving in general of what our pious progenitors did, I disclaimed the coercive methods they, at any time, used to promote reformation-work. I am as much convinced of the unlawfulness of these, as of the lawfulness of covenanting: fully persuaded, that while in the most public manner we may give ourselves to the Lord, we must not force others to do the like.

No: a forced religion is as great a contradiction in morals, as a square circle in mathematics. There are none but volunteers in Mefliah's army: no impressed men, Pfal. cx. 3. Compulsion makes men hypocrites, not true Christians. At the same time, I candidly confess, that tho' our ancestors could not lawfully enjoin the covenants, under civil pains; yet they might very lawfully tie up the hands of Papists and malignants by such means.

Though they could force none to build Jerusalem's wall, they might, by force, prevent declared enemies from throwing it down. These are things totally distinct; and pity it were that ever they should be confounded. Wide is the difference between those who, through scruples of conscience, cannot go all the lengths with others in building the sanctuary, and those who break down it's caryed work, at once, as with axes and hammers, Pfal. lxxiv. 6.— The very venerable Assembly, at Westminster, paid great regard to this distinction. See the order of proceeding to excommunication, parag. 3•

On revising my papers, with a view to the préfent publication, I found it necessary to make confiderable alterations and additions, in a great many places; and particularly on the subject of covenanting, which I threw into the form wherein it now

It seemed necessary not only to give my appears. judgment on this head, but the reasons which induced me to be of such a judgment. Personal covenanting, or engagement to duty, I considered as an unanswerable argument for the lawfulness of public. Elihu taught of old, Surely it is meet to be said unto God;I will not offend any more, Job xxxiv. 31.: and if meet to be said, it cannot be sinful to be sworn, Psal. cxix. 8, 106. The old-testament expressions, Giving the hand to the Lord, 2 Chron. xxx. 8.; joining ourselves to the Lord, Jer. 1. 5. perfectly coincide with the new, Giving ourselves to the Lord, 2 Cor. viii. 5.: and all of them imply, dedication and engagement.

When insisting on covenanting, I have frequently quoted the Confession of Faith, in support of my sentiments. It undeniably teacheth, That as the moral law binds us to the obedience thereof; fo by

a vow, we more fridly bind ourselves to necessary duties, Confeff. chap. xix. 5. xxii. 6.

Such a vow, therefore, seems to me to be itself a necefsary duty: For, if a vow to do sinful things, be sinful; if a vow to do cereinonial things, was ceremonial; analogy seems to require, that a vow to perform moral duties, should also be moral. By it we are devoted to the fear of the Lord, Pfal. cxix. 38.Agreeable to this, the very venerable Assembly at Westminster teach, That vowing unto God is a duty required in the fecond commandment of the moral law, Larg. Cat. 2. 108.

It is undeniable, that a purpose, or resolution, to obey God, is a moral duty; and lies as at the bottom of all holy and acceptable obedience, Psalm xvii. 3. Luke xv. 18. Acts xi. 23. Now, what is a vow, but such a purpose expressed in words before the Lord ? Gen. xxviii. 20,-22.

I am sensible, that what I have said concerning covenanting, cannot be very pleasing to the present age. Popery, baneful Popery, against which the covenants were directly intended, has now the ear of many. They have got very favourable impresGons of it; they scruple not to pronounce it quite another thing than once it was; and, at the same time, baptize those with the name of fools, or worse, who cannot subscribe their Creed. But while se veral of the courtly clergy have harangued on the innocence of Popery, as if the harlot had lost her

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thirst after the blood of the saints, the Popish bishop himself, G. H. has tried to vindicate the burning of Huss; and to answer Dr. A. D's arguments for the toleration of heretics.--Now, can it be a question, whether he or they are best acquainted with the true spirit of Popery? Shall we not credit the testimony of a son, beyond that of strangers ?

As the covenants were chiefly levelled against the Roman beast, and by them his head was wounded in these lands; fo now, that his wound is a healing, they are fallen into great disrepute among all ranks. Facts are obstinate things, and ready to make deeper impressions, than specious and finespun reasonings can. It is undeniable, that in the covenanting periods, Popery was falling, whereas in this, it is rising faft. However this phenomenon may be accounted for, one thing is evident, that the covenants and Popery are contraries.

I cannot conceal my apprehensions, that as this, so other Protestant nations are on their return to Rome: whether they have reached the Rubicon, is not for me to say. I am afraid that the Proteftant Interest shall grow weaker and weaker, while that of Rome shall grow stronger and stronger, till it. swallow up the witnesses themselves.

Instead of two, there shall not be one publicly to support the truth. Black and dark the night indeed! When Christ was crucified in person, there was one witness to aver his innocence, and to acknowledge his

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