Re: The James Begg Society
- --- In covenantedreformationclub@y..., "Jerry" <ragingcalvinist@c...>
>The Resolutioners agreed with the Resolutions whichoffice
> were passed that allowed "malignants" (open enemies of the
> Reformation, covenant-refusers, and covenant-breakers) to hold
> in Church and State.Men
> 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 wereJust to further clarify the issues involved in the Protester /
> some notable Protestors.
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.
THAT THE PRESENT PUBLIC RESOLUTIONS, EXPRESSED IN THE COMMISSION'S
ANSWER TO THE PARLIAMENT'S QUERY,18 AND THE ACT OF THE LEVY,19 DO NOT
EXCLUDE THAT PARTY.
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
"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