Declaration: remonstrance of the general assembly

The quhilk day Mr Robert Douglas, in name of the comissioners of the general assemblie, gave in to the estats the remonstrance following, quherof the tenor followeth:

Remedies of the dangers of religion

To the honorable conventioun of estaits, the humble remonstrance of the commissioners of the generall assemblie concerneing the remedies of the present danger of religioun.

Althouch it be more easie, especiallie in ane tyme of many corruptiounes and greate difficultie, to complaine of diseases and dangers than to find out the richt cure and remedees, yet from our conscience of dewtie in the charge committed unto us at this tyme from our confidence in God, whois providence hath discovered the dangeres and will in his own tyme provyde sufficient remedies by the example of the generall assemblies of this kirk, and in obedience to your lords commandis, we find a necessitie layed upoun us and are most willing according to our knowledge to show what we conceave to be the best remedies, leaveing the furder consideratioun of them to your lords wisdome. Pollitick and worldlie men are indifferentlie disposed towards everie religioun, and doe conceave that the knowledge of a few principles joyned with the profession of religion is sufficient for salvatioun, without discending into particular differences and contraversies. But this cannot be a remedie, for we know that herresies and sects have bein of old and most still be, that those who are approved may be made knowen reconceilleres, who, under the specious pretext of pacificatione betuixt Protestants and papists, intend no uther thing but in a subtile and craftie way to reduce the Protestant kirks into antichristian servitude, and, in the golden cup of the whore of Babell, to propine agane unto us all thair abominatiounes and filthienes. These are also to be rejected and abhorred as presenting us with deidlie poysone insteid of remedeis, a third thair is but ane unsufficient remedie. We doe with all thankfulnes and reverence as becometh good subjects receave the king's maties declaratioune of his intentioune for mantaining our religioun, and esteim it no small happines to leive under a prince orthodox in the faith and a nursefather of the kirk; but his maties dispositione to religioun can nather obleidge his roayell successoures (as the frequent change of religioune in Ingland and other kingdomes with the change of thair princes hath taucht us), nor can it preserve us frome the plottis and power of papistes, as we have even now learned by the conspiracie of the Irisch, Inglische and Scottisch papistes. If thei have bein devyseing mischeiff against us in the verie tyme of his maties declaratioun, what may be in all reasoun expected efterward from thair immortall haitreid and uncessant working? And what may we looke for presentlie if, whill they are now in airmes, thair furie shall have successe and they suffered to prevail? We pray God save the king, but we may say cursed be thair anger, for it is feirce and thair wraith for it is cruell. The first true remedie, which Christian pietie and prudence minister unto us, is to receave the love of the treuth, and to labour for the power of godlienes. It is never eneuch observeit that papistrie, Arminianisme and diversitie of sects are the just judgement of God upon many in the reformed kirks for thair formalitie in religioun; without this on[e] remedee, all other remedies will want the blissing of God and prove unproffitable.

A second remedie is to abhorre and detest poperie, not upoun conceatt or common opinion, but from the particular and distinct knowledge of the grosse heresies in doctrine, manifold idolatrie in worship and cruell tyrrannie in governement which it teacheth, defendeth and practiseth, from which the Lord in a wonderfull mercie hath delyvered us. Against which so many thousandis of the holy and faithfull martyres of Chryst have borne record of the word of God and of the testimonie of Jesus Chryst, and waschen thair robbes in the bloode of the lamb, and by which the Lord sufferreth us and other reformed kirkes this day to be threatned again becaus we have bein unthankfull for our delyverance, not knowing the greatnes of the ill from which we have bein delyvered, nor considering the heavines of that antichristian yock if it salbe again wraithed upon our neckes, which would to God all kings, princes, reipublicts and people would tak to hearte.

The third is that all trew patriots and professors of the reformed religioun may learne to discerne and know the enemies of the kirk, which wilbe fund not to be papists only but malignants also, who, under culour of the same professioun with us, oppose themselffis to the preservatioun of religioun heire unto the reformatione of religioun into Ingland, no lesse then papistes, who mak bands contrairie or prejudiciall unto our Nationall Covenant; who frame and present petitiounes crossing the petitiounes of the commissioneres of the generall assemblie; give informatione to the king's matie, contrairie to the informationes of the kirk and kingdome; doe oppose the publisching of the necessarie declarationes of the kirk, reid paperes in the assemblies of God's people without warrant from the kirk, and offer to presbetries in all the quarteres of the kingdome papers contrairie to the declaratiounes of the commissioneres of the assemblie; doe hold thair meitings against the conventioun of estaits, and if thei could find ministers to joyne with them, wald keip ecclesiasticall assemblies against the assemblies of the kirk, which is the most factious, the most scandelous and the most dangerous way of devisioun and separatioun that haith bein hard of in any kirk or kingdome, and thairfoir by ecclesiastick censures and civill punischments to be speidilie and powerfullie suppressit as a most pernitious practise, tending to the destructione both of religioune and peace of this kingdome and directlie opposite to the propogatioune of the Gospell and reformatioun of other kirks, which God by his providence is bringing to passe, and is ardentlie desyred and constantlie hoped for by all the godly.

The fourt is if efter all good meanes are useid to reduce the enemies of religion, whither papists or malignants, to repentance and obedience, the kirk be constrained by thair obstinacie to proceid to the sentence of excommunicatioune, some solide course may be takin that the civill punischment which is according to law may be reallie and tymeouslie inflicted, that nether the law be eludeit nor any delinquent for his greatnes or any other respect be exempted or spaired.

The fyft is becaus such want of sure and tymous intelligence, a greate pairt of the people are ather left to uncertane rumoures or slichted by the negligence of common beareres, or abuseit with malignant informationes, that thei nather know thair awin danger, nor the danger of religioun and cuntrey, a solide ordour would be set doun wherby intelligence may goe furth from Edinburgh to everie shyre and so to everie particular pastor, that the people may be informed both of ther danger and dewtie, and ane accompt takin of the faithfulnes of men to whom materes of so necessarie and publict concernement salbe committed, and of particular ministeres, how thei acquite themselffis in matteres of so greate traist.

The sext is that for the more speciall applyeing of some clauses of our Nationall Covenant against the present evell, certane articles may be framed to be subscryveit and consented unto by all the weill affected, that we may be more stronglie united amongst our selffis in the cause of God; and that all malignantis and secreit enemies who hyd themselffis under thair subscriptioune of the covenant may be discerned and discovered.

The sevent is that a remonstrance be sent to the king's matie from the honorable conventioune of estats, expressing the present dangeres of the kirk and kingdome, with a renewed supplicatioune for unitie in religioune and uniformetie of kirk governement, for disbanding of all papists forces, and for using of meanes for the queines conversioune.

The eicht is although we be verie weill assured of the wisdome and good affectioune of this honorable conventioune, for which, as a meane of greate happines to this kirk and kingdome at this tyme, we heartilie blisse the Lord, yet from the necessitie of our duetie, which enforceth us to exhort civill poweres to all vigilance and faithfulnes, and according to the laudable example of the generall assemblies of this kirk in former tymes of publict danger, we most creave leive to intreate and exceite your lords speidily to think and resolve upon the wayes for the saiftie and securitie of the kingdome against insurrectione of papists and malignantis from within and invasioun from without, which may also be a meane to try and discover the mynds of the disaffected; and to commit so greate trust to none but to such as are knowen to be zealous of the saiftie of religioun, of the king's honour and peace of the kingdome.

The nynt is becaus the heartis of people are secure and slow in apprehending of dangeres, and the enemies suggest that thair is not any greate cause of feare, whensoever any letters of negotiatione and traffiq betuixt papists or malignants heir and in other places are intercepted, or any plottis or conspiracies discovered, the same, without respect to any persounes quhatsoever, may be publisched in print and sent throuch the kingdome, that all may be wairned of the danger and be in readines to use the best meanes for thair saiftie; and that such wiked instrumentis may be censured and punisched.

The tent is that for the credite of the Gospell, for keiping the publict faith of the kingdome and for promoteing the desyred and intendit unitie in religioune and uniformitie in kirk governement, all the articles of the treattie of peace betuixt the tuo kingdomes be inviolablie observeit and justice done without partialitie upon the contraveineres. And forasmuch as at the tyme of reformatioune and in our lait declaratiounes and remonstrances in the tyme of our trubles and since the expressiounes of our desyres to unitie and amitie with the kingdome of Ingland have bein many and large, and we have many tymes from our feilling and feares made oppen professioune that the not reforming or indangering of religioune there hath ane influence upon our religioune and the mutuall peace of the kingdomes, wee doe humblie intreate, according to the example of the generall assemblies of this kirk, that this honorable conventioune may be pleaseit to tak into thair greatest consideratioune the renewing of the league and associatione with Ingland for defence of the religioune against the common enemie, and how farre the same may be extendit against prelacie and popisch ceremonies for uniformitie in externall worship and kirk governement.

Thus have we poynted at the principall remedies, which we humblie present to be more particularly resolved upon by this honorable conventioune as a mater worthie of the gravest deliberation and the greatest caire and diligence, wherin, as we shall be requyred, we shall most willinglie, according to our place and calling, contribute our counsells and indevoures, beseitching God, who never leaves his people when truble drawes neir, first to direct and nixt to fulfill all your counsells to his owin glorie and the publict good.

  1. NAS. PA8/1, f.47v-49v. Back