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may be, hard bestead, with a borrowed bed, and a borrowed fireside, and live upon providence. We wot [i.e., know) well, there are some of you that can say, to your sweet experience, that you never lived better than on God's providence; although now you have rejected and betaken yourselves to the world. Have you done so? Well, you may be doing; but ere long you will rue it. Remember we told you it, when we were going into eternity, that you would meet with much woe and sorrow, for what you have done against the honour of God, if you repent not.
"2. You say, It is not a Presbyterian principle to own that party that is jeoparding their lives for the honour of God, and witnessing for His despised truths, that this day is so abused, and nicknamed by you and others.
"But we say, It is; and maintain it to be a Presbyterian principle, to own that despised party; for they are the party that are only designing the glory and honour of God, and have no other view before them but His sweet truths, which are dear to them; and they will quit with life and liberty, before they quit with an hoof of truth, which has been made out by their valiant sufferings. Oh! but truth has been sweet and dear to them! They have not counted their lives dear unto them, on the account of it. They have cheerfully gone to the scaffold for truth, and have been honourably carried through, and the Lord's presence seen in their through-bearing; as we hope, shall be made out on us, ere it be long. Also, they study to spend their time and strength for God. When all other means have failed them, they study to keep up that mean of reading, singing, and praying, as the Lord will assist and help them: although the Indulged and their comforts have a great envy at them, and do what they can to get them off the earth. For they are the main actors in taking of that poor party. And all is, because their practices condemn theirs; although they take the Scripture for their rule, and study to walk so as they may get God's approbation in the day of accompts [i.e., accounts).
"3. You say, It is not a Presbyterian principle to own these papers, that our worthies have set out, or the work that they have done, which many of them have sealed with their blood.
"But we say that it is a Presbyterian principles because all that they did was agreeable to the Word of God, and our Covenants. For, consider these papers when you please, you will find them consonant to the Scriptures, and just and lawful for Presbyterians to own. And, say the contrary who will, we do not think them Presbyterians, nor yet Covenanters, that will not own them; for there is nothing in them, but what we will with all our hearts seal with our blood as Presbyterians, and as having these principles.
"4. You say, It is not a Presbyterian principle, to confess all these things.
"But we say it is a Presbyterian principle to confess and avouch Him and His truths, before this adulterous generation. Now, when the quarrel is thus stated, we should not put them to prove what is truth. Stephen made a free confession of his faith, and so have all our worthies. And now, seeing we own these things, and they being the controverted truths of the day, and the Lord calling us to own and maintain them, we never thought it our part to smother and hide them, but with courage to avouch them, to the losing of our lives in the quarrel; we seeing our dearest Lord's truths so trampled on, and a pack of you that seemed to be fair before the wind for owning of truth, and witnessing for Him, never so much as putting to your hand to help, but turning your back on truth and the way of God. Indeed, we fear, that ye shall never be honoured to witness for God any more. It is like you care not for that honour. But we tell you that you will rue it, when you will not get it mended. And remember, we tell you here, as dying witnesses for truth, you will meet with as sad a judgment as ever a shire met with, if you repent not; your judgment will be unparallelable for your denying Him before men.
"We are come here this day to witness freely and faithfully against you and all others, for their complying with the enemies against the work of God. And we say, as in the sight of a living God, you will count for it ere it be long, Oh! but we think it a sweet thing to be honoured this day to contend for truth, and to be overcome" by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of our testimony. Indeed, we are called to it, to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. And we think, if we had not been free and faithful before these bloody wretches, we would have held our life no more of God, if we did not speak for His truths before them, when He bade us speak; for He sought a proof of our love to Him, and His nick-named, despised way, and to poor Zion, whom no man is seeking after.
"And think you that we durst hold our tongue and not speak when He bade us? Indeed, our life was not dear to us when His truth came in question. We might have gone away with our life, and the broad curse of God upon it to go with us; if we had denied Him at this time, we would have held our lives no more of Him, of whom we held it all our days ; and now we might cheerfully lay it down at His command and bidding: for this we knew, that devils or men could not stir a hair of our head, without our Lord's determination, and therefore we are the less afraid of what they could do.
"And now, as dying men, we charge you not to speak of that poor party, that this day is so reproached and spoken against by a party of them that are called ministers and professors. Oh! take shame to you altogether; and as you will be answerable in the day of accounts, we tell you not to have a wrong thought of them, for all the reproaches that can be said against them; for they are a godly people, and have much of His mind."
"And if you go on with enemies and others that have turned their backs on the way of God, go your ways; but it were better that a millstone were hanged about your neck, and ye cast into the midst of the sea, than that ye should speak at such a rate as ye do; for let you and others reproach as ye will, they design nothing but the honour of God, and have the Scripture to be their rule, and walk as becomes the Gospel; and they study a holy carriage.
"Although there be many among them that have an unsuitable carriage, by reason of whom the way of God is evil spoken of; yet the way of God is not an hair the worse to be liked. It may be there is a Judas among the twelve; and what of that? We say the rest are not to be cast at [i.e., objected to) for all that, seeing they keep the truth. We know there are many of you who say that we do not keep by the Scriptures. But we declare the contrary, for with all our heart we set to our seal and testimony to the holy Scriptures, which have been sweet to us; and our testimony to the National and Solemn League and Covenant, and to the Confession of Faith, as agreeable to the word of God; and to the Catechisms, Larger and Shorter, and to all that our worthies have done in the defence of the Gospel. We join our hearty testimony to all their appearances in the fields, both first and last.
"And we protest against all the actings of the enemies against the Lord's people in all their proceedings, both first and last, and everything that they have done against our worthies, when they were in defence of the Gospel; and we abhor and testify against Popery, Prelacy, Quakerism, Erastianism, Indulgency, and all the connivers with them, be who they will; and against Jesuitish principles, which you say we hold, which sect we most basely abhor, and give our testimony against all such erroneous sects and principles. We give our testimony against all you that say we have such principles, and that we have got new principles and new light. But we do say the contrary ; and declare that we do hold by these principles which ministers did teach both you and us to stand to in the defence of, until we had lost our lives and all in that quarrel.
"Now, you that say such things of us, we exhort you to repent, or else you will meet with a sore day of wrath; for it is not a light thing to speak of sufferers, as you do. Therefore, we obtest you in the bowels of Jesus Christ, to be sober in your speeches against that party, and make a right choice, and fairly side yourselves, and come out from among the tents of the wicked, and be separated from among them, and join yourselves to the poor suffering remnant, and be not at ease now in the day of Zion's trouble. Do not think that you will enjoy your ceiled houses, and your warm firesides, in such a day as this. If you be single for God, He will have you out from all these things, and denied to them all; for woe to him that is at ease when Zion is in trouble, and is not concerned in all the afflictions of Joseph! You must either now get a wakening, or else you will get a wakening when the wrath of an angry God comes on the land for sin.
"Indeed, sirs, we think that religion has not cost you much heart work. We think you have not been at much pains in seeking of God, for as fair a show as ye seem to have. Indeed, when the Gospel was in its purity, and many seeking to preachings, the Lord seemed to be kind to you, and you seemed to have much love to Him and His despised way, and you seemed as if you would have ventured your life in the defence of the Gospel. But when we would have looked through you at preachings, and going to them, and in coming from them, it would have made some of us a sore heart to see your unconcernedness and unsuitable carriage, even among you that seemed to be the heads of them. And when we would have been in some of your companies, either coming or going, your talk did aye [i.e., always] smell of the world, and so is come of it. Oh! repent and come out from among your lusts and idols that you are so wedded to, and take hold of a Mediator and seek the Lord with all your heart.
"Oh ! you town of Stirling and the shire, repent; for sentence is passed against you for what you have done, although it be not put in execution yet . But it will be put in execution ere long, if you repent not, though the Lord is seeing it fit to take us away from the evils which are coming on this land, for breach of Covenant and a slighted Gospel. We tell you, it may be you will find it when we are gone; it is better to endure all the torments that devils and men can inflict on you here, than to endure one drop of the wrath of an angry God, that will be poured out without mixture on all ranks that have not the work of the day upon their spirits, be who they will, ministers or professors, indulged or not indulged; for, if they be not taken up and concerned with the case of the Church of God this day, as it is stated, He will come and reckon with them all, and count them all turners aside, and will lead them forth with the workers of iniquity, when peace shall be on Israel. Therefore, we would desire you to have a care, and look well about you what you are doing, and beware of speaking against that party.
"There are some of you that say, they are of bloody principles. You should beware of speaking these things, for the contrary is known that they are not murderers, nor have any such intentions, as some of yourselves know, although you be speaking the contrary; for you never heard of their killing any, except it was in the defence of the Gospel, and their own defence.
"Likewise you say that we are cursers and criers for vengeance on the land. Now we must not stay to argue this out, we being this day to lay down our lives; but we think any that has tender love to the Son of God, and His cause, cannot but be grieved to see ministers and professors so avowedly betray the truth that is sweet and dear to us; yea, dearer than our lives. And, when we think on what you have done to the sweet truths of God, we cannot but pray against your courses. As for anything ye can do to us, we heartily forgive you. But the wrongs you have done to a holy God, we cannot get them borne, for they are weighty to us. If it were our enemies, we would bear with it; but when it comes from the like of you, we cannot get it borne.
"Truly, sirs, we think ye will embrace Popery ere it be long. Your entertaining of that excommunicate Duke of York, a professed Papist, says that you would do more yet. There was not one of you all in town or shire that moved your tongue against him; but, as if you had all been professed Papists, you let him come in among you, and kindly entertained him. We leave our testimony against your so doing.
[In the preceding month—the beginning of February 1681—the