The Apologetic Declaration, and Admonitory Vindication of The True Presbyterians of the Church of Scotland: Especially anent intelligencers and informers. 26 October 1684.
Albeit we know that the people of God in all ages have been cruelly persecuted and maliciously reviled, by apostates from, and enemies to, the truths of our Lord Jesus Christ; yet such hard usage and virulent reproachings, hath not (at least ought not) to have abated the zeal oftender hearted Christians, in the prosecution of holy and commanded duties. Therefore as hitherto (through grace assisting) we have not been driven to lay aside necessary obliging duties, because of the viperous threatenings of men, who are given up of a holy and wise God to lay out all their might, and power, for promoting a course of wicked profanity, by virulent persecution and ignominious calumnies (to all of whom nevertheless that are reconcilable unto God we heartily wish eternal salvation) So we declare our firm resolution of constant adherence to our covenants and engagements; whereby we are bound to have common friends and foes with our covenanted reformation, and to look upon what is done to one as done to all of us; and also our unanimous adherence to our faithful declarations, wherein, we have disowned the authority of Charles Stewart (not authority of God's institutions, either among Christians or Heathens) and all authority depending upon him, for reasons given elsewhere; (disclaiming all such
things as infer a magistratical relation betwixt him and us) and wherein also we have declared war against him and his accomplices, such as lay out themselves to promote his wicked and hellish designs. Therefore, that therein our mind may be the more clearly understood, and for preventing further mistakes anent our purposes, we do hereby jointly and unanimously testify and declare, that as we utterly detest and abhor that hellish principle of killing all who differ in judgement or persuasion from us, it having no bottom upon the word of God, or right reason; so we look upon it as a duty binding upon us, to publish openly unto the world, that forasmuch as we are firmly and really purposed not to injure or offend any whomsoever, but to pursue the ends of our covenants, in standing to the defence of our glorious work of reformation, and of our own lives: yet (we say) we do hereby declare unto all, that whosoever stretch forth their hands against us, while we are maintaining the cause and interest of Christ against his enemies, in defence of the covenanted reformation; by shedding our blood actually, either by authoritative commanding, such as bloody counsellors (bloody we say, insinuating clearly by this and other adjective epithets, an open distinction, betwixt the cruel and blood-thirsty, and the more sober and moderate) especially that (so called) justiciary, general of forces, adjutants, captains, lieutenants, and all in civil and military power, who make it their work to embrue their hands in our blood, or by obeying such commands, such as bloody militia men, malicious troopers, soldiers, and dragoons; likewise such gentlemen and commons, who through wickedness and ill will, ride and run with the foresaid persons to lay search for us; or ho deliver up any of us into their hands to the spilling of our blood; by enticing morally, or stirring up enemies to the taking away of our lives, such as designedly and purposedly advise, counsel, and encourage them to proceed against us to our utter extirpation; by informing against us wickedly, wittingly, and willingly, such as viperous and malicious bishops and curates, and all such sort of intelligencers, who lay out themselves to the effusion of our blood, together with all such, as in obedience to the enemies commands, at the sight of us, raise the hue and cry after us; yea, and against all such, as compearing before the adversaries courts upon their demand, delate us and any who befriend us, to their and our extreme hazard and suffering; we say, all and every one of such shall be reputed by us enemies to God and the covenanted work of reformation, and punished as such, according to our power and the degree of their offence; chiefly if they shall continue after the publication of this our declaration, obstinately and habitually, with malice to proceed against us any of the foresaid ways; not at all exeeming from present punishment, such as formerly have been chief ringleaders and obstinate offenders; and withal leaving room for civil and ecclesiastic satisfaction before lawful and settled judicatories, for the offence of such persons as our power at this time cannot reach, or the degree of their punishment according to their offences is hard for us to be determined. Finally, we do hereby declare, that we abhor, condemn, and discharge any personal attempts, upon any pretext whatsomever, without previous deliberation, common or competent consent, without certain probation by sufficient witnesses, the guilty person's confession, or the notoriousness of the deeds themselves. Inhibiting also and discharging any of our emissaries whomsoever, to stretch forth their hands beyond the certainly known degrees of any of the foresaid persons offences.
Now let not any think (our God assisting us) we will be so slack handed in time coming, to put matters in execution, as heretofore we have been, seeing we are bound faithfully and valiantly to maintain our covenants and the cause of Christ: Therefore let all these foresaid persons be admonished of their hazard. And particularly all ye intelligencers, who by your voluntary informations endeavour to render us up to the enemies bonds, that our blood may be shed: for by such courses ye both endanger your immortal souls, if repentance prevent not, seeing God will make inquisition for shedding the precious blood of his saints, whatever be the thoughts of men, and also your bodies, seeing ye render yourselves actually and maliciously guilty of our blood, whose innocency the Lord knoweth: however, we are sorry at our very hearts, that any of you should chuse such courses, either with bloody Doeg to shed our blood, or with the flattering Ziphites to inform persecutors where we are to be found. So we say again, we desire you to take warning of the hazard that ye incur, by following such courses: for the sinless necessity of self-preservation, accompanied with holy zeal for Christ's reigning in our land, and suppressing of profanity, will move us not to let you pass unpunished. Call to your rememberance, all that is in peril is not lost, and all that is delayed is not forgiven. Therefore expect to be dealt with as ye deal with us, so far as our power can reach; not because we are acted by a sinful spirit of revenge for private and personal injuries; but mainly because, by our fall, reformation suffers damage, yea, the power of godliness, through ensnaring flatteries, and terrible threatening, will thereby be brought to a very low ebb, the consciences of many more dreadfully surrendered, and profanity more established and propagated. And as upon the one hand we have here declared our purposes anent malicious injurers of us, so upon the other hand, we do hereby beseech and obtest, all you who wish well to Zion, to shew your good-will towards us, by acting with us, and in your places and stations, according to your ability, counselling, encouraging and strengthening our hands, for this great work of holding up the standard of our Lord Jesus Christ. Think not that in any ways you are called to lie by neutral and indifferent, especially in such a day; for we are a people by holy covenants dedicated unto the Lord, in our persons, lives, liberties, and fortunes, for defending and promoting this glorious work of reformation, notwithstanding all opposition that is or may be made thereunto, yea, and sworn against all neutrality and indifferency in the Lord's matters: and moreover we are fully persuaded, that the Lord who now hideth his face from the house of Jacob will suddenly appear, and bring light out of darkness, and perfect strength out of weakness, and cause judgement return again to righteousness. Thus having declared our deliberated, lawful, and necessary purposes, concerning this matter, in order to the publication of the same, we do hereby statute and ordain, that upon the eighth day of November copies of this our declaration be affixed upon a sufficient and competent number of the public market crosses of the respective burghs, and of the patent doors of the respective kirks within this kingdom.
Given upon the 28th October 1684.
Let King Jesus Reign, and all his enemies be scattered.