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weaken the spirits for a time. Thus it is also with the best of reproofs and censures upon the minds of natural men, Verbum sapienti satis est. The Lord direct us wisely to walk in the light, and, by the power of it, to dispel the power of darkness, that we may shine without blame in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. Let us pray for the spirit of promise, which will direct us in all truth, and the God of truth and peace be with you: In him I shall rest
Your assured friend in Christ,
The vow which J. D hath made, and the covenant which he doth enter into with God, in reference to the national covenant of the kingdoms. Sent to London from the Hague, the 21st of December, 1643, '. •
THE tie of my conscience to the profession of the gospel, whereby I am made a subject of Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, partaker of the privileges of the kingdom of heaven, and a free citizen of the spiritual Jerusalem, doth bind me to bear witness unto the truth, to join myself unto the professors thereof, and to subscribe my name unto the Lord, to serve under his banner, for the preservation and enlargement of his church, till he receive all the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession. Therefore, according to the nature of the ministerial function, wherein God hath set me, and the vows which I have formerly made, to express my faithfulness towards him, and my blameless dealing free from partiality towards all men, and chiefly towards those of the houshold of faith: I conceive myself obliged to answer the call which is given me, whereby I am required to contribute help towards the publick edification of the church, whereof I am a member.
I declare then in the presence of Almighty God, who shall judge the quick and the dead, at the day of his glorious appearing, that I have no euds in this undertaking, but these:
First,To satisfy my conscience in the duties which I owe to Christ in his kingdom among all, and chiefly evangelical Christians, and more particularly amongst those of my national church.
Secondly, To shew my fidelity unto my lawful sovereign, to the kingdoms, and to the peace of both in the profession of the gospel. And,
Thirdly, To endeavour the edification of all my evangelical brethren at home and abroad, who are distressed for want of mutual love, and peaceable affections, and distracted by reason of uncharitable jealousies, passionate injuries, and injurious mistakes. Therefore my aim, in this enterprise, is, and shall be, without all mixture of human respects, to procure, so far as God shall enable me in the way of my spiritual calling, a remedy to these evils; and, to this effect, having renewed my covenant with Almighty God, and the vows by which I am solemnly obliged to the rules of my profession; I have answerably to the same lifted up my hand to heaven, and sworn to the most high God, as followeth;
First, Tbat in the ministry of the new covenant of everlasting life and peace,which God hath graciously erected with mankind in Jesus Christ, and, according to the analogy of Christian faith, clearly taught, and the rules of Christian duties, expresly commanded in holy scripture; and, by the undoubted principles of sincere dealing, manifestly revealed in the conscience of every one, and useful for edification, and avoiding of offence in the communion of saints: I shall sincerely, really, and constantly, through the grace of God, endeavour to preserve every where, but more especially in the church of Scotland, and to advance towards perfection, in the church of England and Ireland, the reformed religion, in the free and publick profession and practice of the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, according to the word of God, and the example of the best reformed churches;and shall, by the means aforesaid, furthermore endeavour, as I shall find opportunity, to bring the churches of God in the three kingdoms to the nearest conjunction and uniformity that may be evangelically obtained in religion, confession of faith, form of church-government, directory for worship and catechisings, that they, and their posterity, may as brethren, live in unity of the spirit, through the bond of peace, in faith, and love amongst themselves, and correspond amiably with foreign protestants, that the God of peace, love, and unity, may delight to dwell in the midst of them.
That, by the means aforesaid, I shall in like manner, without worldly respects, and respecting of persons, endeavour the rooting out of all plants, which the heavenly Father hath not planted, and more particularly that I shall labour to extirpate all human usurped power over the church of God, and the consciences of men, tending to lead them in a lordly, tyrannical way to depend upon'thc will of man, by a blind credulity, and forced obedience in matters of faith, and religious practice, whether it be called now popery or prelacy, by the titles of archbishops, bishops, their courts, chancellors, commissaries, deans, and chapters, archdeacons, and such like ecclesiastical officers depending upon that hierarchy, or by what name soever it may or shall be called hereafter. And that, in like manner, I shall labour to extirpate all superstition, and all heresies condemned by the primitive general councils of the true ancient church; all schism, chiefly amongst evangelical protestants, who hare cast off the papal yoke; all prophaneness, and whatsoever shall be found contrary to sound doctrine, and the power of godliness, lest I partake of other men's sins, and be in danger to receive of their plagues, that the Lord may be one, and his name one, not only in the three kingdoms, but in all the kingdoms of the earth.
Thirdly, That I shall by the means aforesaid, in the same sincerity, reality, and constancy, according to my calling, endeavour, with my estate and life, to preserve the rights and privileges of the parliaments, and the liberties of the kingdoms, which are fundamental and necessary for the conservation of the publick state; and that I shall also preserve and defend, with my estate and life, the King's Majesty's person and authority, to which I am bound by the oath of allegiance, as to the head of the publick state, in the preservation and defence of the true
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religion and liberties of the kingdoms, that the world may bear witness with my conscience of my loyalty, and that I have no thoughts or intentions to diminish his Majesty's just power and greatness.
Fourthly, That I shall, with all faithfulness, endeavour the discovery of all such as have been, or shall be incendiaries, malignants, or evil instruments, by hindering the reformation of religion, dividing the King from his people, or one of the kingdoms from another, or making any factions or parties among the people, contrary to the tenor of the national league or covenant, that they may be drawn from the error of their ways, and brought to repentance, or otherwise to publick tryal, and receive condign punishment, as the degree of their offence shall require or deserve, or supreme judicatories of both kingdoms respectively, or others having power from them to that effect, shall judge convenient.
Fifthly, And whereas the happiness of a blessed peace and union between the kingdoms, denied in former times to our progenitors, is, by the good providence of God, granted to us, and hath been lately concluded and settled by both parliaments, I shall, according to my place and interest, endeavour that the kingdoms may remain conjoined in a firm peace and union to all posterity, and that justice may be done upon the wilful opposers thereof, in manner expressed in the precedent articles.
Sixthly, I shall, also, according to my place and calling, in the common cause of religion, liberty, and peace of the kingdoms, assist and defend all those that enter into the national league and covenant, in the maintaining and pursuing thereof, and shall not suffer myself, directly or indirectly, by whatsoever combination, persuasion, or terror, to be withdrawn and divided from this blessed union and conjunction, whether to make defection to the contrary part, or to give myself to a detestable indifferency, or neutrality, in this cause, which so much concerns the glory of God, the good of the kingdoms, the honour of the King, and the welfare of all evangelical churches, which I shall labour to bring to a good correspondency, and brotherly affection with the churches of the kingdoms, and one with another; and so, all the days of my life, shall zealously and constantly continue, against all opposition, in this endeavour of publick edification, peace, and reconcilement of protestants, not leaving off to promote more particularly the national cause according to my power, against all lets and impediments whatsoever; and what I am not able to suppress or overcome by myself, I shall reveal and make known, that it may be timely prevented or removed. All which I shall do as in the sight of God.
Seventhly, And, lest, in the use of the foresaid means for the prosecuting of these endeavours, as well towards those of my nation, as towards other evangelical churches, I might either unadvisedly give, or others might colourably take offence and scandals at me, from whence inconveniencies in this work, as tares in a good field, may grow up, and choak the fruits thereof, for want of circumspection and care, to determine the way and manner of proceeding, by necessary rules tending to edification; therefore, I shall faithfully endeavour to shape my course in all things conformable to the life of Jesus Christ, the captaia of this warfare, whose footsteps I am bound to follow, and whose life is the rule of righteousness; and, to speak more particularly of this, I shall order the ways of my proceedings by these rules:
I. I shall walk in the light, doing all things openly; and being desirous to come to the light, and approve my ways to the conscience of every one, I shall reject all hidden things of darkness, and the tricks of worldly wisdom.
II. I shall not meddle out of my spiritual calling, with matters of state, nor suffer my ministerial gifts to serve politicians for worldly ends.
III. My way shall be wholly evangelical, that is to say, fitted to prepare the minds of men to entertain the glad tidings of the gospel. And, to this effect,'
1 shall seek out and propose the counsels and means of peace by the truth, bearing witness thereunto, as it shall be revealed to me, and exhorting and persuading indifferently all to receive it.
I shall not strive, nor cry, nor lift up my voice in the streets: that is to say, I shall not entertain the contentious custom of bitter railings, and confused disputings, by odious censuring and condemning of others, to lay open their faults; but rather study by loving admonitions to redress them.
I shall not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoaking flax; that is to say, I shall bear with the weak and support the feeble, not pleasing myself, but, condescending to things of low degree, befitting the capacity of the simple and ignorant, I will labour to heal the breaches of their spirit, and carry their burthens, till God send forth judgment unto victory.
If I be wronged, 1 shall not intend revenge, or requite evil for evil, or give way to evil surmises, or make sinister reports of my evil will known, but rather shall cover their faults, so far as may be without detriment to the publick cause, and the necessary .clearing of my own innoceccy
In a word, I shall do nothing to another, which I would not have done, in the like case, unto myself; and what 1 would have done by others to myself, I shall first do it unto them.
Lastly, I shall always be ready to go without the camp, to bear the reproach, and partake of the cross of Jesus Christ.
And, because, not only the kingdoms, but all protestant churches and evangelical states, and every one that liveth therein, are guilty of many sins and provocations against God and his son Jesus Christ, as is too manifest by the present distresses and dangers, the fruits thereof befalling to all, as well at home as abroad; therefore, I propose and declare before God my unfeigned desire to be humbled for my sins, and for the sins of my brethren in these kingdoms, and in the churches at home and abroad; especially that we have not all valued, as we ought, the inestimable benefit of the gospel; that we have not laboured for the purity and power thereof, and that we have not endeavoured to receive Christ in our hearts, nor to walk worthy of him in our lives, which-are the cause of other sins and transgressions so much abounding among all. And my true and unfeigned purpose, desire, and endeavour, is fbrjmyself, and for all Others under ray power and charge, both in publick and in private, in all duties I owe to God and man, to amend my life and theirs, and to go before others in the example of a real reformation, that the Lord may turn away his wrath and heavy indignation from all his people, and establish the churches and the kingdoms in truth and peace.
And this covenant and vow I make in the presence.of Almighty God, the searcher of all hearts, with a true intention to perform the same unblameably, as I shall answer at the great day, when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed. Most humbly beseeching the Lord to strengthen me and all those that enter into the like resolution by his Holy Spirit for this end, and to bless all our desires and proceedings of this kind, with such success as may be deliverance and safety to his people, and encouragement to other Christian churches, groaning under, or in danger of the yoke of Antichristian tyranny, to join in the same or like association and covenant, to the glory of God, the enlargement of the kingdom of Jesus Christ, ahd the peace and tranquillity of all Christian kingdoms and commonwealths. Amen.
I have said and subscribe myself,
DEFICIENCY OF THE LAWS OF ENGLAND,
OR, LIBERTY WORKING UP TO ITS JUST HEIGHT.
Wherein is set down,
I. The standard, or measure of all just laws; which is threefold.
1. Their original and rise, viz. The free choice, or election of the people. 2. Their rule and square, viz. Principle; of justice, righteousness, and truth. 3. Their use and end, viz. The liberty and safety of the people.
II. The laws of England weighed in this three-fold balance, and found too light.
1. In their original, force, power, conquest, or constraint. 2. In their rule, corrupt will, or principles of unrighteousness and wrong. 3. In their end, the grievance, trouble, and bondage of the people.