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Rev. vii. 14. These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have
wafbed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.





Chriflian Reader.


HE glorious frame and contrivance of religion,. revealed by the ever Bleffed JEHOVAH, in the face or perfon of Jefus Chrift, for the recovery of loft mankind into a state of favour and reconcilement with himself, is fo excellently ordered in the councils of infinite wifdom, and exactly adjufted to the real delight, contentment and happiness of the rational world; that it might justly be wondered why fo many men in all ages, have not only had a fecret difguft thereat themselves, but laboured to rob others of the comfort and benefit of it, and make the world a chaos of confufion, by perfecutions raised against it; had not the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures laid open the hidden springs of this malice and enmity, which exerts itself in fo many of the children of men. We are told in thefe divinely inspired writings, that the first fource of this oppofition that the true religion meets with in the world, flows originally from Satan, that inveterate enemy of God's glory, and man's happiness, who having himself left his original ftate of obedience to, and enjoyment of God his Creator, hath no other alleviament of his inevitable miseries, but to draw the race of mankind into the like ruin, which is the only fatisfaction that malicious fpirit is capable of. This reftlefs adverfary perceiving, that through the grace and love of God manifefted in Chrift, a great number of these whom he thought he had fecured to his flavery are redeemed, and called by the gofpel out of that intolerable fervitude into a glorious liberty, and fecured by faith to falvation, labours by two great engines open force and fecret fraud, to keep them in, or regain them to his obedience; hence the facred Scriptures defcri him, both as a dragon for cruelty, and a ferpent for fubtilty. But, because he either cannot, or thinks not fit to do this vifibly in perfon, therefore he does it more invifibly, and fo more fuccefsfully by his agents, in whom he works; who, becaufe of their unreasonable unbelief,,


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unbelief, are called children of imperfuafion. These he acts and animates as it were fo many machines, to endeavour by crafty feduction, or violent perfecution, to draw or drive the followers of the Lamb from their fubjection, obedience, and loyalty, to the Captain of their falvation, that he may drown them in perdition and deftruction. This is the latent origin of all perfecution, the mint where all the other more vifible caufes of the bloody violence the people of God meet withal are struck and framed. This is the grand defign to which they tend to root out the obedience of faith out of the world, and deprive the Son of God of his rightful dominion over his fubjects whom he hath chofen, redeemed and fanctified for himself.

As this holds true of all the perfecutions raised against the church and truths of God, whether in the perfons of Jews or Chriftians, by whatever hands, Pagan or Antichriftian, so it is eminently verified of the perfecutions of the Church of Scotland, profecuted by a profane wicked generation of malignant prelatifts, during the reigns of the late kings Charles II. and James VII. For as the other perfecutions were all levelled against fome point of truth or other, wherein the obedience of faith was concerned, refpecting either the existence and worship of the true God, or the perfon, natures or offices of Jefus Chrift, &c. fo this perfecution was directly bended against that office and authority of Jefus Chrift, whereupon his formal claim to the obedience of his church is founded, viz. His headship over his Church.

Jefus Chrift, the only begotten of the Father, having received the Church of Scotland, as one of the utmost ifles of the earth for his poffeffion, by folemn grant from JEHOVAH, was pleafed, as to call her from the deplorable state of Pagan, and reform her from the ruinous condition of Antichriftian darknefs; fo to dignify her in a peculiar manner, to contend and fuffer for that truth, that he is king and lawgiver to his church, having power to inftitute her form of government, to give her laws, officers, and cenfures, whereby the fhould be governed, and hath not left it ambulatory and uncertain, what government he will have in force for the ordering of his houfe, but hath exprefsly determined in his word every neceffary part thereof, and hath not put any power into the hands of any mortal, whether pope, prelate,


prince, or potentáte, as a vicarious head in his perfonal abfence, whereby they may alter the form of government at their pleasure, and make what kind of officers, canons, and cenfures, they pleafe; but all the power that this king hath left in his church, concerning her government, is purely and properly minifterial, under the direction and regulation of his fovereign pleasure, revealed in his written word.

This is the most radiant pearl in the Church of Scotland's garland; that the hath been honoured valiantly to ftand up for the headship and royal prerogative of her King and Husband, Jefus Chrift, in all the periods of her reformation.. For no fooner had the thrown off the yoke of the pope's pretended' jurifdiction and authority, but prefently, while fhe was labouring by means of thele cenfures that Christ had institute, to root out the damnable herefies which that enemy had fown, all on a fud. den King James VI. naturally ambitious, and inftigate by interested and projecting counsellors, attempts a rape upon her chastity and loyalty to her husband and Lord; and by his royal order stops her freedom of fitting, voting, and acting in her fupreme courts, imprisons some of her most zealous and faithful minifters, calls them before his council, indicts them of treafon and leese majesty, for their making ufe of the freedom Chrift had given them; and after their declining his and his council's. ufurped authority in fpiritual matters, and fo witneffing. a good confeffion for the royal dignity of their Master,, banish them their native country.

But the church's fun of profperity is foon at the tropic: Scarce was that fpring time well begun to bloffom and bud, when behold a world of malignant vapours, arifing out of the earth, clouded all her fky again, and turned her fpring to a deplorable winter. Various herefies in England, growing popery in Ireland, public refolutions for advancing malignants to places of power and truft in Scotland, like fo many inundations breaking in.upon the church of Chrift, laid all her pleasant things wafte. And no fooner was Charles II. advanced to the exercise of the royal authority, but drowning the fense of all facred obligations with a glut of fenfual pleasures, he authorised a malignant crew of ftatefmen to perfecute and destroy the people of God for their adherence to the covenants, which himfelf had entered into as the funda-


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