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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 292 pages of information about Act, Declaration, & Testimony for the Whole of our Covenanted Reformation, as Attained to, and Established in Britain and Ireland; Particularly Betwixt the Years 1638 and 1649, Inclusive.
directly contrary to the nature and perverting the very ends of the magistrate’s office, which is to be custos et vindex utriusque tabulae; the minister of God, a revenger, to execute wrath on him that doeth evil.  Transgressors of the first table of the law may now sin openly with impunity; and, while the religious observation of the sabbath is not regarded, the superstitious observation of holy-days, even in Scotland, is so much authorized, that on some of them the most considerable courts of justice are discharged to sit.  Stage-plays, masquerades, balls, assemblies, and promiscuous dancings, the very nurseries of impiety and wickedness, are not only tolerated, but even countenanced by law.  And as these, with other evils, are permitted by the civil powers; so this church seems to have lost all zeal against sin.  No suitable endeavors are used to prevent the growth of atheism, idolatry and superstition:  and though Prelacy, as well as Popery, is growing apace in the lands, and organs publicly used in that superstitious worship; yet no testimony is given against them, but new modes introduced into the worship of God, for carnal ends, as a gradual advance toward that superstition.  Yea, so unconcerned about suppressing vice and extravagant vanity, &c, that not only are the forementioned nurseries of sin frequented by ministers’ children, but ministers themselves have countenanced them by their presence, to the great scandal of their office, and manifest encouragement of these seminaries of immorality.  And notwithstanding that by the late proclamation, the penal laws against vice and profanity seem to be revived (which is in itself so far good), yet this cannot supersede or remove the ground of the Presbytery’s testimony against church and state complexly, on the above account, or even against the thing itself, in the manner that it is gone about.  For besides that, notwithstanding of all former endeavors of this kind, since the overthrow of our scriptural and covenanted reformation, immorality and wickedness have still increased and overflowed all these banks; partly, because, after all their pretenses, the laws were not vigorously put in execution (and as good, no law nor penalty, as no execution), and partly, because these law-makers, being also themselves the law-breakers, have entrusted the execution to such as are generally ringleaders in a variety of gross immoralities; it is not likely, that ever God will countenance and bless such attempts, whereby (contrary to scripture and all good order) the ecclesiastical power is subjected to the civil, and ministers made the bare inspectors of men’s manners, and informers to inferior judges, without having it in their power to oblige such transgressors (if obstinate) to compear before church judicatories, and conform and submit to the laws of Christ’s house.  Nay, so far will God be from approving such Erastian methods of reformation, that he will certainly visit for this, among all our
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