Declaration: renewal of the Confession of Faith
The act of the generall assemblie ordeaning by ecclesiasticall authoritie the subscription of the faith and covenant

The generall assembly, considering the great happines which may flowe from a full and perfyt unione of this kirke and kingdome by joyneing of all in one and the same covenant with God, with the kingis majestie and amongst our selfis, haveing by our great oath declaired the uprightnes and loyalltie of our intentiones in all our proceedingis and haveing withall supplicated his majesties highe commissioner and the lordis of his majesties honorable privie counsell to injoyne by act of counsell all the leiges in tymecomeing to subscrybe the Confessione of Faith and covenant, which, as a testimony of our fidelity to God and loyalty to our king, wee have subscryveit, and sieing his majesties heighe commissioner and the lordis of his majesties honourable privie counsell have granted the desyre of our supplicatione, ordeaneing by civill authoritie all his majesties leiges in tymecomeing to subscrybe the foirsaid covenant that our union may be the more full and perfyte, we by our act and constitutione ecclesiasticall doe approve the foirsaid covenant in all the headis and clauss thairof; and ordeanes of new, wnder all ecclesiasticall censure, that all the maisteris of universities, colledges and schooles, all scolleris at the passing of thair degries, all persones suspect of papistrie or any other errour, and finally all the memberis of this kirke and kingdome subscrybe the same, with theise wordis prefixed to thair subscriptione: the article of this covenant which was at the first subscriptioun referred to the determinatione of the generall assembly, being determined, and thairby the fyve articles of Pearth, the governement of the kirke by beshopis, the civill place and power of kirkemen, wpoun the reassones and groundis conteind in the actis of the generall assembly, declaired to be wnlaufull within this kirke, we subscribe according to the determinatione foirsaid; and ordeanes the covenant, with this declaratione, to be insert in the registeris of the assemblies of this kirke, generall, provinciall and presbiteriell, ad perpetuam rei memoriam, and in all humilitie supplicatis his majesties heighe commissioner and the honourable estates of parliament by thair authoritie to ratifie and enjoyne the same wnder all civill paines, which will tend to the glorie of God, preservation of religioun, the kingis majesties honnour and perfyt peace of this kirke and kingdome.

The Confession of Faith subscryved at first by the kingis majestie and his houshold in the yeir of God 1580, thairefter by persones of all rankis in the yeir 1581 by ordinance of the lordis of the secreet counsall and actis of the generall assembly, subscrybed againe by all sortis of persones in the yeir 1590 by a new ordinance of counsell at the desyre of the general assemblie, with a generall band for mentinance of the true religioun and the kingis persone, and subscrybit in the yeir 1638 by ws noblemen, barrones, gentlemen, burgess, ministers and commounes then wnder subscrybing, togither with our resolutione and promeises for the causes efterspecified to menteine the said true religione and the kingis majestie according to the confessione foirsaid and actis of parliament, and now, wpon the supplicatione of the generall assembly to his majesties heighe commissioner and the lordis of his majesties honourable privie counsell, subscryveit againe in the yeir 1639 by ordinance of counsall and act of the generall assembly.

We, all and everie one of ws wnderwrittine, protest that, after long and due examinatione of our owne consiences in materis of trewe and false religione, wee are now throughly resolved of the treuth by the word and spirit of God, and thairfor we belive with our heartis, confess with our mouthes and subscryve with our handis and constanlie affirme befor God and the whole world that this onlie is the true Christiane faith and religione pleasing God and bringing salvatione to man, which now is by the mercy of God revealed to the world by the preaching of the blessed evangell and received, belived and defended by many and sindrie notable kirkis and realmes, but cheifly by the kirke of Scotland, the kingis majestie and the thrie estates of the realme as Godis eternall treuth and onlie ground of our salvatione, as more particularlie is expressed in the confessione of our faith stablished and publicklie confirmed by sundrie acts of parliamentis, and now of a long tyme heath beene oppinlie professed by the kingis majestie and whole body of this realme, both in burghe and land, to the which confessione and forme of religion wee willinglie agrie in our consiences in all poyntes as wnto Gods wndoubted treuth and veritie, groundit only upoun his writtin word. And thairfor wee abhore and detest all contrairie religione and doctrine, but cheiflie all kynd of papistrie in generall and particular headis, evine as they are now damned and confuted by the word of God and kirke of Scotland, but in speciall we detest and refuise the wsurped authoritie of that Romane anti-Christ wpoun the scriptures of God, wpon the kirke, the civill magistrat and consiences of men, all his tyrannous lawes mad wpon indifferent thingis against our Christian libertie, his erroneous doctrine against the sufficiency of the wrettine word, the perfectione of the lawe, the office of Christ and his blissed evangell, his corrupted doctrine conserneing originall sine, our naturall inabilitie and rebellione to Godis law, our justification by fath only, our imperfyte sanctificatione and obedience to the law, the nature, nomber and use of the holy sacramentis, his five bastard sacramentis, with all his ryits, cerimonyes and false doctrine added to the ministratione of the true sacramentes without the word of God, his cruell judgment against infants depairting without the sacrament, his absolute necessitie of baptisme, his blasphemous opinione of transsubstantiatioune or reall presence of Christis body in the elementis and receaveing the same by the wicked or bodies of men, his dispensationis with solemne oathes, perjuries and degrees of mariage forbiddin in the word, his crueltie against the innocent divorced, his divellish masse, his blasphemous preisthood, his profane sacrifices for the sines of the dead and quicke, his canonization of men, calling wpon angellis or sanctis depairted, worshiping of imagrie, relictis and crosses, dedicating of kirkis, alters, dayes, vowes to creaturis, his purgatorie, prayeris for the dead, praying or speaking in a strange language, with his processiones, blasphemous letanie and multitud of advocatis or mediatouris, his manifold orderis, auricular confessione, his desperat and wncertane repentance, his generall and doubtsome faith, his satisfactiones of men for thair sines, his justificatione by workis, opus operatum, workis of supererogatione, meritis, pardones, peregrinationes and stationes, his holy water, bapteizing of bellis, conjureing of spirites, crossing, saneing, anoynting, conjureing, halloweing of Godis good creaturis with the superstitious opinione joyned therwith, his worldlie monarchie and wicked hierarchie, his three solemne voues with all his shavellings of sindrie sortes, his erroneous and bloody decrees made at Trent withall the subscryveris and approveris of that cruell and bloody band conjured against the kirke of God, and finally wee detest all his vaine allegories, rites, signes and traditiones brought in the kirke without or against the word of God and doctrine of this reformed kirke, to the which we joyne our selffis willinglie in doctrine, faith, religion, discipline and use of the holy sacramentis as lyvelie memberis of the same in Christ our head, promeising and sueiring by the great name of the Lord our God that we shall continowe in the obedience of the doctrine and discipline of this church and shall defend the same according to our vocatione and power all the dayes of our lyves, wnder the paines conteyned in the law and danger both of body and soule in the day of Godis fearfull judgment. And seeng that many are stirred up by Sathane and the Romane ante-Christ to promeise, sueire, subscryve and for a tyme wse the holy sacramentis in the church deceitfully against thair owne consiences, mynding thairby first wnder the externall cloake of religione to corrupt and subvert secreitlie Godis treue religione within the kirke, and afterward, when tyme may serve, to become oppine enymies and persecuteris of the same wnder vaine hope of the popes dispensatione, devysed against the word of God, to his greater confusione and thair double condemnatione in the day of the Lord Jesus, we thairfor, willing to take away all suspition of hiprocrisie and of suche dowble dealing with God and his kirke, protest and call the searcher of hartes for witness that our myndis and heartis doe fullie agree with this our confessione, promeise, oath and subscriptione so that we are not moved for ony worldlie respect, but ar persuaded only in our consiences throw the knowledge and love of Gods true religione prented in our heartis by the Holy Spirit as we shall ansuer to him in the day when the secreetis of all heartis shall be disclosed; and because we perceive that the quietnes and stabilitie of our religione and kirke doeth depend upon the saiftie and good behaviour of the kingis majestie, as upoun a comfortable instrument of Godis mercy granted to this cunttrie for the menteaneing of his kirke and ministratione of justice amongest ws, wee protest and promeise with our heartis wnder the same oath, hand writ, and paines that wee shall defend his persone and authoritie with our goodis, bodies and lyves in the defence of Christ, his evangell, liberties of our cuntrie, ministratione of justice and punishment of iniquity against all enemyes within this realme or without, as we desyre our God to be a stronge and mercifull defender to ws in the day of our death and comeing of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom, with the Father and Holy Spirit, be all honnour and glory eternally.

Lykeas many actis of parliament, not only in generall, doe abrogat, annull and reschind all lawes, statutes, actes, constitutiones, canons civill or municipall, withall other ordinances and practique penalties whatsoevir mad in prejudice of the trewe religione and professouris thairof, or of the true kirke, discipline, jurisdictione and freidome thairof, or in favouris of idolatrie and superstitione, or of the papisticall kirke, as act 3, act 31, parliament 1, act 23, parliament 11, act 114, parliament 12 of King James the Sixt; that papistrie and superstitione may be wtterlie suppressed according to the intentione of the actis of parliament, repeated in the 5 act, parliament 20 King James the Sext; and to that end they ordeane all papistis and preistis to be punished by manifold civill and ecclesiasticall paines as adversaries to Godis trew religione preached and by law established within this realme, act 24, parliament 11 King James 6; as commoun enemyes to all Christiane governement, act 18, parliament 16 King James 6; as rebelleris and gainestanderis of oure soverane lordis authoritie, act 47, parliament 3 King James 6; and as idolateris, act 104, parliament 7 King James 6. But also in particular (by and attour the Confessione of Faith) doe abolish and condemne the popis authoritie and jurisdictione out of this land and ordeane the menteeners thairof to be punished, act 2 parliament 1, act 51, parliament 3, act 106, parliament 7, act 114, parliament 12 King James 6; doe condemne the pope's erroneous doctrine or any other erroneous doctrine repugnant to any of the articles of the true and Christiane religion publictlie preached and by law established in this realme, and ordeane the spreaderis and makeris of bookis or lybellis or lettiris or wretis of that nature to be punished, act 46, parliament 3, act 106, parliament 7, act 24, parliament 11 King James Sext; doe condemne all baptisme conforme to the popis kirke and the idolatrie of the masse, and ordeane all sayeris, willfull heireris and concealeris of the masse, the menteiners and resetteris of the preistis, Jesuitis, traffiqing papists to be punished without ony exceptione or restrictione, act 5, parliament 1, act 120, parliament 12, act 164, parliament 13, act 193, parliament 14, act 1, parliament 19, act 5, parliament 20 King James 6; doe condemne all erroneous bookis and wretis conteineing erroneous doctrine against the religione presentlie professed or conteyneing superstitious rites and ceremonies papisticall, wherby the people are greatlie abused, and ordeane the home bringeris of theme to be punished, act 25, parliament 11 King James 6; doe condemne the monumentis and dregis of bygone idolatrie, as goeing to the crosses, observeing the festivall dayes of sainctes and such other superstitious and papisticall rites, to the dishonnour of God, contempt of trewe religione and fostering of great errour among the people, and ordeane the useris of them to be punished for the second fault as idolateris, act 104, parliament 7 King James 6.

Lykeas many actis of parliament are conceived for mentinance of Godis true religioun and the puritie therof in doctrine and sacramentis of the trewe churche of God, the libertie and friedome therof in hir nationall and sinodall assemblies, presbetries, sessiones, policie, discipline and jurisdictione thairof, as that puritie of religione and libertie of the church was used, professed, exerceised, preached and confessed according to the reformatione of religione in this realme, as for instance the 99 act, parliament 7, act 23, parliament 11, act 114, parliament 12, act 160, parliament 13 of Kinge James 6, ratified by 4 act of King Charles, so that the 6 act, parliament 1 and 68 act, parliament 6 of King James 6 in the yeir of God 1579 declare the ministeris of the blessed evangell, whom God of his mercy had raised wp or heirafter should raise, agreeing with them that then lived in doctrine and administratione of the sacramentis and the people that professed Christ as he was then offered in the evangell and doeth communicat with the holy sacramentis (as in the reformed kirkis of this realme they ware publictlie administrat) according to the Confessione of Faith to the true and holy kirke of Christ Jesus within this realme, and descerne and declaire all and sundrie who either gainesay the word of the evangell, received and approved as the headis of the Confessione of Faith professed in parliament in the yeir of God 1560, specified also in the first parliament of King James 6 and ratified in this present parliament, more particularlie doe specifie, or that refuises the administratione of the holy sacramentis as they ware then ministrated, to be no memberis of the said kirke within this realme and the true religioune presentlie professed, so long as they keepe themselves so devydit from the societie of Christis body. And the subsequent act 69, parliament 6 of King James 6 declaires that ther is none other face of kirke nor other face of religioun then wes presentlie at that tyme by the favour of God established within this realme, which thairfor is ever stylled Godis true religione, Christis true religione, the true and Christiane religione and a perfect religione, which by manifold actes of parliament all within this realme are bund to profess to subscrybe the articles therof, the Confessione of Faith, to recant all doctrine and errouris repugnant to any of the said articles, act 4 and 9, parliament 1, act 45, 46, 47, parliament 3, act 71, parliament 6, act 106, parliament 7, act 24, parliament 11, act 123, parliament 12, act 194 and 197, parliament 14 of King James 6. And all magistratis, sherreffis etc. one the one pairt are ordeeaned to search, apprehend and punish all contraveeneris, for instance, act 5, parliament 1, act 104, parliament 7, act 25, parliament 11 of King James 6, and that notwithstanding of the kingis majesties licences one the contrarie, which are dischairged and declaired to be of no force in so farr as they tend in onywayes to the prejudice and hinder of the executione of the actes of parliament against papistis and adversaries of trewe religion, act 106, parliament 7 King James 6. One the other pairt, in the 47 act, parliament 3 of King James 6, it is declaired and ordeaned, seing the cause of Godis trewe religione and his heighnes authoritie are so joyned as the hurt of the one is commone to both, and that none shall be reputed as loyall and faithfull subjectis to our soverane lord or his authoritie bot be punisheable as rebelleris and gainestanders of the same who shall not give thair confessione and make thair professione of the said trewe religione, and that they who after defectione shall give the confessione of thair faith of new, they shall promeise to continow thairin in tymecomeing to menteene our soverane lordis authoritie and at the wtermost of thair power to fortifie, assist and menteene the trewe preacheris and professouris of Christis evangell against whatsoevir enymies and gainstanderis of the same, and namlie against all such (of whatsoever natione, estat or quality they be of) that have joyned and bund themselves or have assisted or assist to set forward and execut the cruell decrees of the Counsell of Trent, contrary to the true preachers and professouris of the word of God, which is repeited word by word in the article of pacificatione at Pearth, the tuentie thrid of February 1572, approved by parliament the last of Apryle 1573, ratified in parliament 1587 and related act 123, parliament 12 King James 6, with this addition: that they are bund to resist all treassonable wproris and hostilities raised against the true religione, the kingis majestie and the true professoures. Lykas all leiges ar bund to menteene the kingis majesties royall persone and authoritie, the authoritie of parliaments, without the which neither any lawes nor laufall judicatories can be established, act 130 and 131, parliament 8 King James 6, and the subjectis liberties who ought only to live and be governed by the kingis lawes, the commoun lawes of this realme allenerly, act 48, parliament 3 King James 1, act 79, parliament 6 King James 4, repeited in the act 131, parliament 8 King James 6, which if they be innovated or prejudgeit, the commissioun anent the unione of the tuo kingdomes of Scotland and England, which is the sole act of the 17 parliament of King James 6, declaires such confusione would ensue as this realme could be no more a frie monarchie because by the fundamentall lawes, ancient priviledges, offices and liberties of this kingdome not only the princly authoritie of his majesties royall discent hath beene these many ages menteend but also the peoples securitie of thair landis, liveingis, rightis, offices, liberties and dignities preserved. And thairfor, for the preservatione of the said true religione, lawes and liberties of this kingdome, it is statut by the 8 act, parliament 1, repeited in the 99 act, parliament 7, ratified in the tuentie thrid act, parliament 11 and 114 act, parliament 12 of King James 6, and 4 act of King Charles, that all kingis and princes at thair coronatione and receptione of thair princlie authoritie shall make thair faithfull promeise by thair solemne oath in the presence of eternall God, that enduring the whole tyme of thair lyves they shall serve the same eternall God to the wttermost of their power, according as he heath requyred in his most holy word conteyned in the old and newe testament, and according to the same word shall menteene the trewe religioun of Jesus Christ, the preaching of his holy word, the due and right ministratioun of the sacramentis now received and preached within this realme, according to the Confessioune of Faith immediatlie preceiding, and shall abolishe and gainestand all false religioun contrary to the same, and shall reule the people committed to thair chairge according to the will and command of God revealed in his foirsaid word and according to the laudable lawes and constitutiones received in this realme nowayes repugnant to the said will of the eternall God, and shall procuire to the wttermost of thair power to the kirke of God and whole Christiane people true and perfyt peace in all tymecomeing, and that they shall be cairfull to root out of thair empyre all heretickis and enymyes to the true worshipe of God who shall be convicted by the true kirke of God of the foirsaid crymes, which was also observed by his majestie at his coronatione at Edinburgbe 1633, as may be seine in the order of the coronatione.

In obedience to the commandement of God, conforme to the practeise of the godly in former tymes and according to the laudable example of our worthie and religious progenitoures and of many yit liveing amongest ws, which was warranted also by act of counsell commanding a generall band to be mad and subscryved by his majesties subjectis off all rankis for two causes, one was for defending the true religione as it was then reformed and is expressed in the Confessione of Faith abowewrittin and a former large confessione established by sundrie actes of laufull generall assemblies and of parliament, wnto which it heath relatione set doune in catechisms and which had beene for many yeires, with a blissing from heavine, preached and professed in this kirke and kingdome as Godis wndoubted treuth grounded only wpoun his writtine word, the other cause was for menteaneing the kingis majestie, his persone and estat, the true worshipe of God and the kingis authority being so straitlie joyned as they that had the same freendis and commoun enymyes and did stand and fall togidder; and finally being convinced in our myndis and confessing with our mouthes that the present and succeiding generationes in this land are bund to keepe the foirsaid nationell oath and subscriptione inviolable, wee noblemen, barrones, gentlemen, burgess, ministeris and commons wndersubscrybeing, considering diverse tymes before, and especially at this tyme, the danger of the true reformed religioun, of the kingis honnour and of the publict peace of the kingdome by the manifold innovationes and evillis generally conteyned and particularlie mentioned in our lat supplicationes, complaintes and protestationes, doe heerby profess and befor God, his angellis and the world solemnlie declair that with our whole heartis wee agree and resolve all the dayes of our lyffe constantlie to adhere wnto and to defend the foirsaid true religione and (forbeiring the practeise of all novationes allreddie introduced in the materis of the worshipe of God or approbatione of the corruptiones of the publicke governement of the kirke or civill places or power of kirkemen till they be tryed and allowed in frie assemblies and in parliamentes) to labour by all meanes laufull to recover the puritie and libertie of the Gospell, as it was established and professed befor the foirsaid novationes. And because after dewe examinatioun wee plainlie perceive and wndoubtedlie belive that the innovationes and evillis conteyned in our supplicationes, complaintes and protestationes have no warrant of the word of God, are contrary to the articles of the foirsaid confessiones, to the intentioune and meaneing of the blessed reformeris of religioun in this land, to the abovewrittin actes of parliament, and doe sensiblie tend to the reestablishing of the popish religioune and tiranny, and to the subversioun and ruine of the true reformed religione and of our liberties, lawes and estates, wee also declair that the foirsaid confessiones are to be interpreted and ought to be wnderstood of the foirsaid novationes and evillis no lesse then if everie one of them had beene expressed in the foirsaid confessions, and that wee are obleidged to detest and abhore theme amongest wther particular headis of papistrie abjured thairin. And thairfor, from the knowledge and consiences of our duetie to God, to our king and cuntrie, without ony worldlie respect or inducement so farr as humane infirmity will suffer, wishing a further measure of the grace of God for this effect, wee promeise and sweir by the great name of the Lord our God to continewe in the professioune and obedience of the foirsaid religione, that we shall defend the same and resist all these contrary errouris and corruptiones according to our vocationes and to the wtermost of that power that God heath put in our handis all the dayes of our lyffe, and in lykemaner, with the same heart, wee declaire before God and men that wee have no desire to attempt any thing that may turne to the dishonour of God or to the deminutioun of the kingis greatnes and authoritie, bot one the contrary wee promeise and sueir that we shall to the utermost of our power with our meanes and lyves stand to the defence of our dread soverane, the kingis majestie, his persone and authority, in the defence and preservatione of the foirsaid true religioun, liberties and lawes of the kingdome, as also to the mutuall defence and assistance everie one of ws of another in the same cause for menteyneing the true religione and his majesties authority with our best counsell, our bodies, meanes and whole power against all sortes of persones whatsoevir, so that whatsoevir shall bee done to the least of us for that cause shall be takine as done to ws all in generall and to everie one of ws in particular. And that we shall nather directlie nor indirectlie suffer ourselves to be devydit or withdrawne by whatsoever suggestioune, allurment or terrour from this blissed and loyall conjunctione nor shall cast in any let or impediment that may stay or hinder any suche resolutione as by commone consent shall be fund to conduce for so good endis, bot one the contrarie shall by all laufull meanes labour to further and promove the same, and if any such dangerous and divisive motioune be mad to ws by word or writ, wee and everie one of ws shall ather suppress it, or if neid bee shall incontinent make the same knowne that it may be tymeouslie obviated. Nather doe we feir the foule aspersiones of rebellione, combinatione or what ells our adversaries from thair crafte and malice would put upon ws, sieing what we doe is so weell warranted and aryseth from ane wnfanyed desyre to menteene the true worshipe of God, the majestie of our king and peace of the kingdom for the commone happines of our selves and the posteritie. And because we cannot looke for a blissing from God upoun our proceedingis, except with our professione and subscriptione we joyne such a lyffe and conversatione as beseemeth Christianes who have renewed thair covenant with God, wee therfor faithfullie promeise, for our selves, our falloweris and all other wnder ws, both in publicke, in our particular famelies and personall cariage, to endevour to keepe our selves within the boundis of Christiane libertie and to be good examples to otheris of all godlines, sobernes and righteousnes and of every dutie wee owght to God and man, and that this our unione and conjunctione may be observed without violatione, wee call the liveing God, the searcher of our heartis, to witnes who knoweth this to be our sincere desyre and wnfaned resolution, as wee shall ansuer to Jesus Christ in the great day and wnder the paine of Godis everlasting wrath and of infamie and losse of all honnour and respect in this world, most humbly beseiking the Lord to strenthen ws by his Holy Spirit for this end and to bliss our desyris and proceedingis with a happie success, that religioune and righteousnes may floorishe in the land to the glorie of God, the honnour of our king and peace and comfort of ws all. In witness wherof, we have subscryved with our handis all the premisses.

The article of this covenant, which was at the first subscription referred to the determinatione of the generall assembly, being determined, and thairby the fyve articles of Pearth, the governement of the kirke by beshopis, the civill places and power of kirkemen, upoun the reassones and groundis conteened in the actes of the generall assemblie, declaired to be wnlaufull within this kirke, wee subscryve according to the determinatione foirsaid.

  1. NAS, PA2/22, f.25r-30r. Back