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of Christ unto them; and I have some satisfying hope and persuasion, that I want not some seals of my ministerial work, and of my call to the same, among the
peo. ple of this congregation. Therefore, as this deed is an áttempt to separate what God has been joining these thirty years, and a rending of my people and me asunder, in the midst of my ministerial work amongst them: so it is a giving way to their incurring the guilt of a notorious breach, on their part, of that mutual covenant between them and their lawful pastor, to whose ministry they had professed submission for thirty years space. And, if ever there was a call scriptural, harmonious and unanimous, fixing the pastoral relation to a people; if ever there was a call that had all the evidences of its being the call of God, it is that which now the said Presbytery of Dunfermline attempt to annul.
IV. This present deed involves in it the guilt of all the corruptions and defections of the time; in so far as it is a putting to their hand to slay the witnesses for a covenanted reformation in Scotland, relating to the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government of Christ's house therein : for which I know not now of any judicial testimony, save what is in the hands of those that are associate for the defence of it, on which account some ignorantly reproach us as schismatics. The authors of this present deed have shewn themselves ene. mies to the work of God, and the testimony of the day, , by casting out one of those that are lifting it up.
Therefore, and for all these and the like grounds and reasons, I do, in the great name of our Lord God, whose I am, and whom I desire to serve in the gospel of his Son, admonish and warn the people of this congregation, that they give no manner of countenance to the ministry of such as are thus sinfully obtruding themselves upon my charge, robbing you and me of our rights, lest you thereby involve yourselves in the guilt of homologating and approving of that sinful sentence of Assembly 1740, in killing the witnesses for Scotland's covenanted reformation; and lest you involve yourselves in in the sin and guilt of the Presbytery of Dunfermline, in abusing their authority, for supporting of
that unjust and unlawful sentence, and in doing thus what in them lies, to cast a testimony for Christ, and for Scotland's covenanted reformation, out of the church of Dunfermline: Again, lest you involve yourselves in the guilt of justifying an intrusion upon my ministerial labours, and so of trampling upon my commission and ministry that God hath given me amongst you; and of bearing down a testimony, which I hold in conjunction with others, for the honour of Christ, and the rights of his injured crown and kingdom. And finally, lest you be found guilty of joining with those that are evidently crucifying Christ, in his cause and truth, at this day, wherein the anger of the Lord is great, and his awful judgments are going round. For all these reasons, I warn and admonish all the people of this congregation, to beware of countenancing those that do, or shall continue afterwards to occupy the charge that belongs to me, invading my pulpit, excluding me from my ministry therein, and obtruding a ministry upon you without your call and consent; lest, by countenancing them., and partaking with others in their sin, you come also to share with them in their judgments.
I refer the conduct of the Presbytery of Dunferm. line, and of such as, by their orders, do now, or shall hereafter, obtrude themselves upon my pulpit and ministry here, to be judged and cognosced by the chief Shepherd of the sheep, our Lord Jesus Christ, at the day of our compearance before his glorious tribunal.
· In this testimony and warning, however it may be mocked at and ridiculed by some, galling and vexing to others, and tormenting to them that dwell upon the earth : yet therein I have endeavoured to exoner niy. self, to discharge my duty, and deliver my soul, and the souls of others that hear ine. And though this warning should, through ignorance, be disregarded by some; or, through wickedness, be despised by others; yet 1 incline to follow the example of our glorious Master, who said, “ Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Even so I desire to pray, Lord, forgive them, and lay not their iniquity to the charge of this congregation.
A WARNING offered by Mr RALPH ERSKINE to
the Congregation of DUNFERMLINE, Sabbath, Aug.
22d, 1742. UNDERSTANDING that the pretended Presbytery of Dunfermline have, on Wednesday last, taken some steps, in concurrence with some in the Parish applying to them, toward the calling of a minister, in my room and place, to this congregation, as if that place were lawfully voided; or, by divine allowance, vacant, and could be lawfully, and by divine allowance, supplied with another minister as long as I live, and continue in the exercise of the ministry, to which I was regularly and unanimously called by this congregation; and fearing lest many in this place, either through ignorance, or inadvertency, be not aware of the danger they are in, if they shall give their assent or consent, by their subscription for, or submission to, another minister in my room, I thought it my duty at present to represent the danger thereof, and to give them fair warning. Let it therefore be considered,
1. That none can have a hand in calling another mi. nister in my room, as matters at present stand, without involving themselves in the sin and guilt of those pretended judicatories, that have first passed, and then executed a wicked sentence against the associate ministers for maintaining reformation-principles against a course of defection therefrom: pretending to depose them from their ministry, in the several charges to which God had called them, and me among the rest. And since the calling of another minister in my room, must be upon the ground of a supposed vacancy, ocasioned by the said sinful sentence, and sinful execution thereof, none of this Parish can give consent to such a call, without being involved in that sin and guilt, and, upon the matter, consenting to my being deposed, and excluded from my ministerial charge and work in this congregation.
II. Those that shall have a hand in calling another minister, in my room in this congregation, become guilty of a very great inconsistency with themselves, if they consider the
ground upon which I am persecuted, and excluded from my charge by the said judicatories, namen
ly, the ground upon which I engaged to stand when I was licensed and ordained minister here, viz. the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government of the church of Scotland, grounded upon the word of God, and sworn to by our covenants, national and solemn league. Before the Presbytery then in being, (which looked indeed like a reforming Presbytery ; and, were they not all now in the dust, they could witness that before them) I owned the binding obligation of these covenants; and declared my resolution, through grace, to stand to these covenanted and reformation principles. And my continuing to stand upon that ground, from which the present judicatories have gone off, is the present persecuting violence against me. And if any in this congregation, by calling another minister, consent to the deed of the present judicatories, they act so inconsistently with themselves, as to reject me for the rea. son and ground upon which they received me, and upon which they have been remaining under my ministry these thirty years and more; for 1 stand upon no other ground than I did at first, and have done all along. I have no new Bible, no new Confession, no new principles, no new terms of people's communion with me; but the very same covenanted principles as before : and why I should be rejected now, more than before, let those that are disposed to do so, consider, and see how they shall answer to God for such inconsistency with themselves.
This, by the bye, answers the ignorant objection of some, Why, you have left the kirk, and her judica“tories; you have left the presbytery, that is now car
rying on the call for another." It is easy to answer, from what I have said, That by no means did I leave them, till they left me standing upon the very ground upon which their predecessors set me: But they have left both their predecessors and me, by rejecting a testimony, given in to them judicially, against the present defections from these reformation-principles. If a great overflowing stream should carry down a vast company of people, and leave but a few of them standing where they were, How ridiculous would it be to say, that these that are standing have made a schism, by leaving or separating from their brethern that are carried down the stream ? Even so absurd is it to say, that those are guilty of schismatical separation from, or leaving their brethren, who are standing where they were, to their old presbyterian principles, and the rest carried down the stream of defection from them: And if I be standing where I was, only with a new testimony in my hand, for my former old principles, those that now shall discard me as their minister, by calling in another in my room, can never reconcile themselves now, with themselves formerly, but by owning practically that they are content to be carried down the stream of defection with the rest of the present backsliding generation.
Ill. Those that consent to the calling of another mi. nister to this place, in my room, will involve themselves in the guilt of perjury and covenant-breaking ; for mi. nister and people, once married together by a regular gospel-call, such as mine was, are bound by covenant, before the great God, to mutual fidelity one toward another; he to a faithful discharge of his ministerial work among them, and they to a continued submission to him in the Lord: And whom God hath thus joined, it is not lawful for men to put asunder, unless there were lawful and scriptural grounds for a divorce.
Now, perjury and covenant: breaking, in such a case as this, where the relation is sacred and spiritual, must run very deep: And the longer the relation has subsisted, the more aggravated will their sin be that endeavour the dissolving of it; since the longer it has stood, the more firm and nuinerous are the bonds by which it has been established. If my ministry has been blessed, to the conversion of some, and, from time to time, to the edification of converts; or even to the awakening and alarming of others in this congregation, so as that they are conscious to themselves of its having been useful, at sundry times, for touching and reaching their hearts and consciences, as well as enlightening their minds and understandings; then their giving consent to the extruding of me, and the intruding of any other in my room, while this relation is not lawfully dissolved, must be a sin against all such light as they have seen, and all such experience as they have felt under my ministry: and a sin of this sort must run deeper than they are aware