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Re: The James Begg Society

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  • thebishopsdoom
    ... office ... Men ... Just to further clarify the issues involved in the Protester / Resolutioner struggle... The public resolutions declared that for the
    Message 1 of 10 , Oct 1, 2002
      --- In covenantedreformationclub@y..., "Jerry" <ragingcalvinist@c...>
      >The Resolutioners agreed with the Resolutions which
      > were passed that allowed "malignants" (open enemies of the
      > Reformation, covenant-refusers, and covenant-breakers) to hold
      > in Church and State.
      > The Protestors took the contrary view, which was that the Covenants
      > sworn by both Church and State did NOT allow such a resolution.
      > like Patrick Gillespie, Samuel Rutherford, and James Guthrie were
      > some notable Protestors.

      Just to further clarify the issues involved in the Protester /
      Resolutioner struggle...

      The public resolutions declared that for the raising of the army, men
      could be put into public trust and in the army provided they are not
      forfeited (forget what that meant offhand), notoriously profane,
      excommunicated, nor at the present time declared enemies to the
      covenants and the cause of God. I think that taking of the covenant
      was still a requirement as well.
      However, despite these qualifications, the resolutions represented a
      change from the previous acts of Scottish General Assembly, and the
      evidence of actual repentance was also apparently frequently not
      there before such were put into public trust or in the army, and yet
      those who questioned what was going on faced the threat of censure.
      Hugh Binning:

      "SECTION II.
      IN the next place, upon supposal and proof, that there is a malignant
      party and faction still in the land, it is needful to examine,
      whether the exceptions contained in the answer of the Commission to
      the Parliament's Query, and inserted into the Act of Levy, be so
      comprehensive as to include all that party. The exceptions be four.
      1. Such as are excommunicated.
      2. Such as are forfaulted.
      3. Such as are notoriously profane or flagitious. And,
      4. Such as have been from the beginning, and continue still, or at
      this time are, obstinate enemies and opposers of the covenant and
      cause of God.
      That these are not comprehensive of the whole malignant party in the
      land, appears. First, The rules of the General Assembly framed for
      the exclusion of all such as ought not to be employed in our armies,
      are far more comprehensive. The rule is for employing of such only as
      are of a Christian and blameless conversation, which is turned over
      by their commissioners into a negative, all that are not notoriously
      profane or flagitious.
      Another is, for intrusting only these who have been of known
      integrity and constant friends to the cause of God from the
      beginning, which is also turned over into a negative, all that have
      not been constant enemies. All such, by the Answer, are capable of
      some trust and employment. The rules agreed upon by the assembly, and
      ratified by act of parliament, anno 1649, and renewed upon occasion
      of this invasion, were that no officer nor soldier that followed
      James Graham should be permitted in the army, nor any officer that
      was in the Engagement, except such as, upon real evidence of
      repentance, were particularly recommended by the church, nor any
      common soldier, but upon sufficient testimony of his repentance.
      Now, since it is proved that the most part of all such continue still
      malignants, and retain their old principles, and that the bulk and
      body of the people are called forth by the public resolution, without
      such exceptions as were conceived before necessary, for the exclusion
      of that party, it follows clearly, that the malignant party is not
      excepted in the present resolutions."


      "Objection 2. The most part of these who were formerly malignant,
      have now repented of that sin, and make profession of their
      resolution to adhere to the covenant and cause of God, and to bestow
      their lives and estates in defence thereof. Therefore they are not
      now to be esteemed malignants.
      Answer. We would wish from our hearts that we had no answer to this
      argument; then should we yield the point in hand, and yield it
      cheerfully, that there is no malignant party now in Scotland. But,
      alas! that we have so much evidence convincing our consciences and
      persuading them to deny what is objected. We acknowledge some have
      indeed repented, and such we desire to embrace and receive with all
      tenderness and love, as godly Christians, worthy to be intrusted. But
      yet the most part of them do still bring forth the same malignant
      fruits. Their ungodly and wicked practices testify to their face that
      they have nothing to do to take his covenant in their mouth, seeing
      they hate to be reformed. The late rising in arms, contrary to their
      solemn and particular engagements, their bearing down and reproaching
      the godly, and such as are of known integrity, their studying to fill
      places of trust with men formerly enemies or underminers, their
      continuing in their profane and loose walking, - all these are more
      convincing evidences of their retaining their old principles than any
      extorted confessions or professions; for sinister respects and ends
      can be no probable signs of their repentance and change."

      David Lachman (preface to Durham on Scandal in the Naphtali edition)
      mentions about further controversy that had erupted in the
      Protester / Resolutioner controversy:

      "The Commission of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
      (which met and acted for the General Assembly between meetings, in
      much the same way as did the Committee of Estates for Parliament)
      acknowledged the Remonstrance contained some sadd trueths, but, in
      view of the great and evident necessity occasioned by the presence of
      enemy troops in the kingdom, could not oppose the raising of all but
      the excommunicated, the notoriously profane and those who
      continuously have opposed and still oppose the Covenant and cause of
      God. In the ensuing months the Commission urged the church not to
      give comfort to the enemy by speaking disrespectfullie of the public,
      just, and necessarie Resolutions and justified their support of
      allowing all but a few to join in the defense of the kingdom by
      various arguments from Scripture and sanctified prudence.
      In December Parliament asked the General Assembly's Commission what
      persons were to be admitted to join in the defense of the kingdom and
      in March sent the Commission a letter inquiring if the Act of
      Classes, which obstructed unanimity in defense of the kingdom, might
      not be rescinded. The Commission answered that they could not be
      against raising all fencible persons and agreed the Act of Classes
      might be repealed. Their approval of these `Public Resolutions' of
      the Estates of Parliament led them to advise the presbyteries to
      censure any who persuade or preach contrary to them and to summon any
      such to appear before the next General Assembly.
      "Acknowledging the need for caution against the malignants, they
      believed the Sectaries the main threat. That some who joined in the
      cause were malignants did not, they urged, make them sinful in doing
      their duty.
      "The General Assembly met in July at St. Andrews, adjourned hastily
      after two days, met again briefly in the relative safety of Dundee
      (north of the Tay) and then dispersed lest all be captured by the
      advancing English army (as some, including the moderator and the
      clerk, in fact were). It was a badly attended meeting from the start;
      the English occupied considerable portions of the country and travel
      to the General Assembly was difficult for many and impossible for
      some. From the start of the Assembly there were disagreements,
      particularly about contested elections, about the approval of the
      Commission's actions and even about the legality of the Assembly
      itself, granted the instructions of the Commission to presbyteries
      that any who opposed the Public Resolutions should not be elected,
      but rather censured.
      "These differences issued in a Protestation handed in shortly before
      the Assembly left St. Andrews. Signed at first by twenty-two
      ministers, including James Guthrie and Samuel Rutherford, it
      complained against the validity and constitution of this Assembly, as
      not being free and lawful, of the allowing and carrying on of a
      conjunction with the Malignant Party contrary to the Word of God and
      the Covenant, and protested that any actions taken by such an
      Assembly were void and null.
      "When the Assembly reconstituted itself at Dundee more than half did
      not appear, including all of those who had signed the Protestation.
      Although the Protestation was at first committed, lest unripe
      thoughts should be vented concerning it, the decision was to cite
      five of the signers to appear and to commend highly the actions of
      the preceding Commission. The Assembly further called on presbyteries
      and synods to censure them [the signers] according to the degree of
      their offense and obstinacie to the Acts of this Assembly and to
      remove all privileges from such candidates for the ministry as
      opposed the Public Resolutions and declined the authority of the

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