by Rev. Samuel Rutherford
Who doubteth (Christian Reader) but innocency must be under the courtesy
and mercy of malice, and that it is a real martyrdom to be brought under the
lawless inquisition of the bloody tongue. Christ, the prophets, and apostles of
our Lord, went to heaven with the note of traitors, seditious men, and such as
turned the world upside down: calumnies of treason to Cæsar were an
ingredient in Christ's cup, and therefore the author is the more willing to
drink of that cup that touched his lip, who is our glorious Forerunner: what,
if conscience toward God, and credit with men, cannot both go to heaven with
the saints, the author is satisfied with the former companion, and is willing
to dismiss the other. Truth to Christ cannot be treason to Cæsar, and for
his choice he judgeth truth to have a nearer relation to Christ Jesus, than the
transcendent and boundless power of a mortal prince.
He considered that popery and defection had made a large step in
Britain, and that arbitrary government had over-swelled all bans of law, that
it was now at the highest float, and that this sea approaching the farthest
border of fancied absoluteness, was at the score of ebbing: and the naked truth
is, prelates, a wild and pushing cattle to the lambs and flock of Christ, had
made a hideous noise, the wheels of their charriot did run an equal pace with
the blood-thirsty mind of the daughter of Babel. Prelacy, the daughter planted
in her mother's blood, must verify that word, As is the mother, so is the
daughter: why, but do not the prelates now suffer? True, but their sufferings
are not of blood, or kindred, to the calamities of these of whom Lactantius
saith, (1. 5, c. 19,) O quam honesta voluntate miseri erant. The causes
of their suffering are, 1st, Hope of gain and glory, steering their helm to a
shore they much affect; even to a church of gold, of purple, yet really of clay
and earth. 2nd, The lie is more active upon the spirits of men, not because of
its own weakness, but because men are more passive in receiving the impressions
of error than truth; and opinions lying in the world's fat womb, or of a
conquering nature, whatever notions side with the world, to prelates and men of
their make are very efficacious.
There is another cause of the sickness of our time, God plagued heresy
to beget Atheism and security, as atheism and security had begotten heresy,
even as clouds through reciprocation of causes engender rain, rain begat
vapours, vapours clouds, and clouds rain, so do sins overspread our sad times
in a circular generation.
And now judgment presseth the kingdoms, and of all the heaviest
judgments the sword, and of swords the civil sword, threateneth vastation, yet
not, I hope, like the Roman civil sword, of which it was said,
Bella geri placuit nullos habitura triumphos.
I hope this war shall be Christ's triumph, Babylon's ruin.
That which moved the author, was not (as my excommunicate adversary,
like a Thraso, saith) the escapes of some pens, which necessitated him to
write, for many before me hath learnedly trodden in this path, but that I might
add a new testimony to the times.
I have not time to examine the P. Prelate's preface, only, I give a
taste of his gall in this preface, and of a virulent piece, of his agnosco
stylum et genium Thrasonis, in which he laboureth to prove how inconsistent
presbyterial government is with monarchy, or any other government.
- He denieth that the crown and sceptre is under any co-active
power of pope or presbytery, or censurable, or dethroneable; to which we say,
presbyteries profess that kings are under the co-active power of Christ's keys
of discipline, and that prophets and pastors, as ambassadors of Christ, have
the keys of the kingdom of God, to open and let in believing princes, and also
to shut them out, if they rebel against Christ; the law of Christ excepteth
none, (Mat. xvi. 19; xviii. 15, 16; 2 Cor. x. 6; Jer. i. 9,) if the king's
sins may be remitted in a ministerial way, (as Job xx. 23, 24,) as prelates and
their priests absolve kings; we think they may be bound by the hand that
loosed; presbyteries never dethroned kings, never usurped that power. Your
father, P. Prelate, hath dethroned many kings; I mean the pope whose power, by
your own confession, (c. 5, p. 59,) differeth from yours by divine right only
When sacred hierarchy, the order instituted by Christ, is
overthrown, what is the condition of sovereignty? — Ans. —
Surer than before, when prelates deposed kings. 2. I fear Christ shall never
own this order.
The mitre cannot suffer, and the diadem be secured. —
Ans. — Have kings no pillars to their thrones but antichristian
prelates. Prelates have trampled diadem and sceptre under their feet, as
histories teach us.
Do they not (puritans) magisterially determine that kings are
not of God's creation by authoritative commission; but only by permission,
extorted by importunity, and way given, that they may be a scourge to a sinful
people? — Ans. — Any unclean spirit from hell, could not speak
a blacker lie; we hold that the king, by office, is the church's nurse father,
a sacred ordinance, the deputed power of God; but by the Prelate's way, all
inferior judges, and God's deputies on earth, who are also our fathers in the
fifth commandment style, are to be obeyed by no divine law; the king, misled by
p. prelates, shall forbid to obey them, who is in downright truth, a mortal
civil pope, may loose and liberate subjects from the tie of a divine law.
- His inveighing against ruling elders, and the rooting out of
antichristian prelacy, without any word of Scripture on the contrary, I pass as
the extravagancy of a malcontent, because he is deservedly excommunicated for
perjury, popery, Socinianism, tyranny over men's conscience, and invading
places of civil dignity, and deserting his calling, and the camp of Christ,
None were of old anointed but kings, priests, and prophets;
who, then, more obliged, to maintain the Lord's anointed, than priests and
prophets? The church hath never more beauty and plenty under any government
than monarchy, which is most countenanced by God, and magnified by Scripture.
— Ans. Pastors are to maintain the rights of people, and a true
church, no less than the right of kings; but prelates, the court parasites, and
creatures of the king, that are born for the glory of their king, can do no
less than profess this in words, yet it is true that Tacitus writeth of such,
(Hist. 1. 1,) Libentius cum fortuna principis, quam cum principe
loquuntur: and it is true, that the church hath had plenty under kings, not
so much, because they were kings, as because they were godly and zealous:
except the P. P. say, that the oppressing kings of Israel and Judah, and the
bloody horns that made war with the lamb, are not kings. In the rest of the
epistle he extols the Marquis of Ormond with base flattery, from his loyalty to
the king, and his more than admirable prudence in the treaty of cessation with
the rebels; a woe is due to this false prophet, who calleth darkness light, for
the former was abominable and perfidious apostacy from the Lord's cause and
people of God, whom he once defended, and the cessation was a selling of the
blood of many hundred thousand protestants, men, women, and sucking
This cursed P. hath written of late a treatise against the presbyterial
government of Scotland, in which there is a bundle of lies, hellish calumnies,
and gross errors.
- The first lie is, that we have lay elders, whereas, they are
such as rule, but labour not in the word and doctrine (1 Tim. v. 7, p. 3).
- The second lie, that deacons, who only attend tables, are joint
rulers with pastors (p. 3).
- That we never, or little use the lesser excommunication, that
is, debarring from the Lord's Supper (p. 4).
- That any church judicature in Scotland exacteth pecuniary
mulcts, and threaten excommunication to the non-payers, and refuseth to accept
the repentance of any who are not able to pay: the civil magistrate only fineth
for drunkenness, and adultery, blaspheming of God, which are frequent sins in
- A calumny it is to say that ruling elders are of equal
authority to preach the word as pastors (p. 7).
- That laymen are members of presbyteries or general assemblies.
Buchanan and Mr. Melvin were doctors of divinity; and could have taught such an
ass as John Maxwell.
- That expectants are intruders upon the sacred function,
because, as sons of the prophets, they exercise their gifts for trial in
- That the presbytery of Edinburgh hath a superintending power,
because they communicate the affairs of the church and write to the churches,
what they hear prelates and hell devise against Christ and his church.
- That the king must submit his sceptre to the presbytery; the
king's sceptre is his royal office, which is not subject to any judicature, no
more than any lawful ordinance of Christ; but if the king, as a man, blasphem
God, murder the innocent, advance belly-gods, (such as our prelates, for the
most pare, were,) above the Lord's inheritance, the ministers of Christ are to
say, “The king troubleth Israel, and they have the keys to open and shut
heaven to, and upon the king, if he can offend.”
- That king James said, a Scottish presbytery and a monarchy
agreeth as well as God and the devil, is true, but king James meant of a wicked
king; else he spake as a man.
- That the presbytery, out of pride, refused to answer king
James's honourable messengers, is a lie; they could not, in business of high
concernment, return a present answer to a prince, seeking still to abolish
Its a lie, that all sins, even all civil business, come under
the cognizance of the church, for only sins, as publicly scandalous, fall under
their power. (Matt. xviii. 15-17, &c.; 2 Thess. iii. 11; 1 Tim.
v. 20.) It is a calumny that they search out secret crimes, or that they ever
disgraced the innocent, or divided families; where there be flagrant scandals,
and pregnant suspicions of scandalous crimes, they search out these, as the
incest of Spotswood, P. Prelate of St Andrews, with his own daughter; the
adulteries of Whitefore, P. Prelate of Brichen, whose bastard came weeping to
the assembly of Glasgow in the arms of the prostitute: these they searched out,
but not with the damnable oath, ex officio, that the high commission put
upon innocents, to cause them accuse themselves against the law of nature.
- The presbytery hinder not lawful merchandise; scandalous
exhortation, unjust suits of law, they may forbid; and so doth the Scripture,
as scandalous to Christians, 2 Cor. vi.
- They repeal no civil laws; they preach against unjust and
grievous laws, as, Isaiah (x. 1) doth, and censure the violation of God's holy
day, which prelates profaned.
- We know no parochial popes, we turn out no holy ministers, but
only dumb dogs, non-residents, scandalous, wretched, and apostate
- Our moderator hath no dominion, the P. Prelate absolveth him,
while he saith, “All is done in our church by common consent” (p.
- It is true, we have no popish consecration, such as P. Prelate
contendeth for in the mass, but we have such as Christ and his apostles used,
in consecrating the elements.
- If any sell the patrimony of the church, the presbytery
censures him; if any take buds of malt, meal, beef, it is no law with us, no
more than the bishop's five hundred marks, or a year's stipend that the entrant
gave to the Lord Bishop. for a church. And whoever took buds in these days, (as
king James by the earl of Dunbar, did buy episcopacy at a pretended assembly,
by foul budding,) they were either men for the episcopal way, or perfidiously
against their oath became bishops, all personal faults of this kind imputed to
presbyteries, agree to them under the reduplication of episcopal men.
- The leading men that covered the sins of the dying man, and so
lost hissoul, were episcopal men; and though some men were presbterians, the
faults of men cannot prejudice the truth of God; but the prelates always cry
out against the rigour of presbyteries in censuring scandals; because they
themselves do ill, they hate the light; now here the prelate condemneth them of
remissness in discipline.
- Satan, a liar from the beginning, saith, The presbytery was a
seminary and nursery of fiends, contentious, and bloods, because they
excommunicated murderers against king James' will; which is all one to say,
prophesying is a nurse of bloods, because the prophets cryed out against king
Achab, and the murderers of innocent Naboth; the men of God must be either on
the one side or the other, or then preach against reciprocation of
- It is false that presbyteries usurp both swords; because they
censure sins, which the civil magistrate should censure and punish. Ilias might
be said then to mix himself with the civil business of the kingdom, because he
prophecied against idolators' killing of the Lord's prophets; which crime the
civil magistrate was to punish. But the truth is, the assembly of Glasgow,
1637, condemned the prelates, because they, being pastors, would be also lords
of parliament, of session, of secret council, of exchequer, judges, barons, and
in their lawless high commission, would fine, imprison, and use the sword.
- It is his ignorance that he saith, a provincial synod is an
associate body chosen out of all judicial presbyteries; for all pastors and
doctors, without delegation, by virtue of their place and office, repair to the
provincial synods, and without any choice at all, consult and voice there.
- It is a lie that some leading men rule all here; indeed,
episcopal men made factions to rent the synods; and though men abuse their
power to factions, this cannot prove that presbyteries are inconsistent with
monarchy; for then the Prelate, the monarch of his diocesan rout, should be
anti-monarchical in a higher manner, for he ruleth all at his will.
- The prime men, as Mr. R. Bruce, the faithful sevant of Christ,
was honoured and attended by al, because of his suffering, zeal, and holiness,
his fruitful ministry in gaining many thousand souls to Christ. So, though king
James cast him off, and did swear, by God's name, he intended to be king, (the
Prelate maketh blasphemy a virtue in the king,) yet king James swore he could
not find an honest minister in Scotland to be a bishop, and therefore he was
necessitated to promote false knaves; but he said sometimes, and wrote it under
his hand, that Mr R. Bruce was worthy of the half of his kingdom: but will this
prove presbyteries inconsistent with monarchies? I should rather think that
knave bishops, by king James' judgment, were inconsistent with monarchies.
- His lies of Mr R. Bruce, excerpted out of the lying manuscripts
of apostate Spotswood, in that he would not but preach against the king's
recalling from exile some bloody popish lords to undo all, are nothing
comparable to the incests, adulteries, blasphemies, perjuries,
Sabbath-breaches, drunkenness, profanity, &c., committed by prelates before
Our General Assemblyis no other
than Christ's court, (Acts xv.) made up of pastors, doctors, and brethren, or
- They ought to have no negative vote to impede the conclusions
of Christ in his servants.
- It is a lie that the king hath no power to appoint time and
place for the General Assembly; but his power is not privative to destroy the
free courts of Christ, but accumulative to aid and assist them.
- It is a lie that our General Assembly may repeal laws; command
and expect performance of the king, or then excommunicate, subject to them,
force and compel king, judges, and all, to submit to them. They may not force
the conscience of the poorest beggar, nor is any Assembly infallible, nor can
it lay bounds upon the souls of judges, which they are to obey with blind
obedience—their power is ministerial, subordinate to Christ's law;
and what civil laws parliaments make against God's word, they may
authoritatively declare them to be unlawful, as though the emperor (Acts xv.)
had commanded fornication and eating of bloos. Might not the Assembly forbid
these in the synod? I conceive the prelates, if they had power, would repeal
the act of parliament made, anno 1641, in Scotland, by his majesty personally
present, and the three estates concerning the annulling of these acts of
parliament and laws which established bishops in scotland; therefore bishops
set themselves as independent monarchs above kings and laws; and what they damn
in presbyteries and assemblies, that they practise themselves.
- Commissioners from burghs, and two from Edinburgh, because of
the largeness of that church, not for cathedral supereminence, sit in
assemblies, not as sent from burghs, but as sent and authorised by the church
session of the burgh, and so they sit there in a church capacity.
- Doctors both in academies and in parishes, we desire, and our
book of discipline holdeth forth such.
They hold, (I believe with warrant of God's word,) if the king
refuse to reform religion, the inferior judges, and assembly of godly pastors,
and other church-officers may reform; if the king will not kiss the Son, and do
his duty in purging the House of the Lord, may not Elijah and the people do their duty, and cast out Baal's
priests. Reformation of religion is a personal act that belongeth to all, even
to any one private person according to his place.
- They may swear a covenant without the king, if he refuse; and
build the Lord's house (2 Chron. xv. 9) themselves; and relieve and defend
one another, when they are oppressed. For my acts and duties of defending
myself and the oppressed, do not tye my conscience conditionally, so the king
consent, but absolutely, as all duties of the law of nature do. (Jer xxii. 3;
Prov. xxiv. 11; Isa. lviii. 6; i. 17.)
- The P. Prelate condemneth our reformation, because it was done
against the will of our popish queen. This showeth what estimation he hath of
popery, and how he abhorreth protestant religion.
- They deposed the queen for her tyranny, but crowned her son;
all this is vindicated in the following treatise.
- The killing of the monstrous and prodigious wicked cardinal in
the Castle of St Andrews, and the violence done to the prelates, who against
all law of God and man, obtruded a mass service upon their own private motion,
in Edinburgh anno 1637, can conclude nothing against presbyterial government
except our doctrine commend these acts as lawful.
- What was preached by the servant of Christ, whom (p. 46) he
calleth the Scottish Pope, is printed and the P. Prelate durst not, could not,
cite any thing thereof as popish or unsound, he knoweth that the man whom he so
slandereth, knocked down the Pope and the prelates.
- The making away the fat abbacies and bishoprics is a bloody
heresy to the earthly-minded Prelate; the Confession of Faith commended by all
the protestant churches, as a strong bar against popery, and the book of
discipline, in which the servants of God laboured twenty years with fasting and
praying, and frequent advice and counsel from the whole reformed churches, are
to the P. Prelate a negative faith and devout imaginations; it is a lie that
episcopacy, by both sides, was ever agreed on by law in Scotland.
And it was a heresy that Mr Melvin taught, that presbyter and
bishop are one function in scripture, and that abbots and priors were not in
God's books, dic ubi legis; and is this a proof of inconsistency of
presbyteries with a monarchy?
- It is a heresy to the P. Prelate that the church appoint a
fast, when king James appointed an unseasonable feast, when God's wrath was
upon the land, contrary to God's word (Isa xxii. 12-14); and what! will this
prove presbyteries to be inconsistent with monarchies?
- This Assembly is to judge what doctrine is treasonable. What
then? Surely the secret council and king, in a constitute church, is not
synodically to determine what is true or false doctrine, more than the Roman
emperor could make the church canon, Acts xv.
- Mr Gibson, Mr Black, preached against king James' maintaining
the tyranny of bishops, his sympathizing with papists, and other crying sins,
and were absolved in a general Assembly; shall this make presbyteries
inconsistent with monarchy? Nay, but it proveth only that they are inconsistent
with the wickedness of some monarchies; and that prelates have been like the
four hundred false prophets that flattered king Achab, and those men that
preached against the sins of the king and court, by prelates in both kingdoms,
have been imprisoned, banished, their noses ript, their cheeks burnt, their
- The godly men that kept the Assembly of Aberdeen, anno 1603,
did stand for Christ's Prerogative, when king James took away all General
Assemblies, as the event proved; and the king may, with as good warrant,
inhibit all Assemblies for word ans sacrament, as for church discipline.
- They excommunicate not for light faults and trifles, as the
liar saith: our discipline saith the contrary.
- This assembly never took on them to choose the king's
counsellors; but those who were in authority took king James, when he was a
child, out of the company of a corrupt and seducing papist, Exme Duke of
Lennox, whom the P. Prelate nameth noble, worthy, of eminent endowments.
- It is true Glasgow Assembly, 1637, voted down the high
commission, because it was not consented unto by the church, and yet was a
church judicature, which took upon them to judge of the doctrine of ministers,
and deprive them, and did encroach upon the liberties of the established lawful
- This Assembly might well forbid Mr John Graham, minister, to
make use of an unjust decree, it being scandalous in a minister to
- Though nobles, barons, and burgesses, that profess the truth,
be elders, and so members of the general Assembly, this is not to make the
church the house, and the commonwealth the hanging; for the constituent
members, we are content to be examined by the pattern of synods, Acts xv. 22,
23. Is this inconsistent with monarchy?
The commissioners of the General Assembly, are,
- A mere occasional judicature.
- Appointed by, and subordinate to the General Assembly.
- They have the same warrant of God's word, that messengers
of the synod (Acts. xv. 22-27) hath.
The historical calumny of the 17th day of December, is known to
- That the ministers had any purpose to dethrone king James,
and that they wrote to John L. Marquis of Hamilton, to be king, because king
James had made defection from the true religion: Satan devised, Spotswood and
this P. Prelate vented this; I hope the true history of this is known to all.
The holiest pastors, and professors in the kingdom, asserted this government,
suffered for it, contended with authority only for sin, never for the power and
office. These on the contrary side were men of another stamp, who minded
earthly things, whose God was the world.
- All the forged inconsistency betwixt presbyteries and
monarchies, is an opposition with absolute monarchy and concluded with a like
strength against parliaments, and all synods of either side, against the law
and gospel preached to which kings and kingdoms are subordinate.
Lord establish peace and truth.
 Source says “Assemby”
 Source says “Eliah”
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