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to the abdicated, or, in the Stile of our Acts of Parliament, the forfeited King James; and, fince his Death, to the Pretender unto the British Crown; except it can be proved, that we acknowledge that the Pretender hath a juft and legal Authority of the fupreme Magiftrate, which, becaufe of his Infidelity, we make void: This were indeed to contradi&t the alledged Articles of the Westminster Confeffion. But fince we are perfwaded that he hath no Right or Title whatfomever, that he is not a Magiftrate, and hath no manner of Authority in thefe Iflands, the People whereof owe him not the leaft Obedience; it may be alledged that we injure him: But there is not the fmalleft Colour for charging us with contradicting the Principles of our own Confeffion, when we utterly renounce and difclaim his imaginary Kingship.
It is not fimply because he is a Papift, that we pay no Allegiance to that pretended King; but because he hath now no Right to the British Throne, whatever be his Religion; any Title which otherwife he might have had being vacated and anulled, by those, who, according to our Principles, had an undoubted Power to limit the Succeffion of the Crown, as appeared neceffary for the publick Good: As all the Plea which the late King James could have made for himfelf and his Pofterity, was entirely deftroyed by his tyrannical Invafion of the fundamental Laws and Conftitutions of Government, whereby he was expofed to a juft and neceffary Forfei
Wherefore, though, no doubt, his embracing that abominable Idolatry, and being fo deeply impreffed with the cruel and impious Maxims of that falfe and bloody Religion, gives us a higher Relifh of the infinite Goodnefs of a merciful God, in eftablishing upon the Throne our prefent excellent Sovereign KING GEORGE and infpires, with a greater Ardour, our fincere Wishes for the Stability and Glory of his Reign; fhows us, in a more fhining Light, the Bleffings of the Proteftant Succeffion in his illuftrious Family; and increafes our Horror at the difmal Profpect of Things, If ever an avenging God fhould fend the Pretender to be a Scourge unto thefe Nations: Yet we do not change our Principles, by pretending that his Infidelity makes void his juft and legal Authority; for to us there does not appear fo much as the leaft Shadow of any Authority, which that Perfon can lay claim to in Britain, but very plain Demonstrations of the contrary.
We have now given an Account of all the different Ufes and Purpofes of Confefions of Faith, which we thought of any Impor tance; have endeavoured to illuftrate, explain and vindicate them and to confider all the material Objections, which, we could imagine, might be brought against them: And fo we have finished alt that was at firft propofed in this Effay. What particularly relates to this Edition of our Confeffions, &c. will be accounted for in a feparate Advertisement,
Addenda Page xci. 1. 47.
Yea fo extremely abfurd is this Scheme, that according there to it would be impoffible to frame a Confeffion, or an Acknowledgment of a Minifter's or a private Chriftian's Faith, which the Church might expect an Affent to, even in the Original Greek and Hebrew Texts of Scripture, fuppofing that the Perfons fully understood thefe Languages. For if a Minifter fhould, for Inftance, doubt whether the Text of Scripture, that fpeaks moft plainly of the Divinity of our Saviour, ought to be understood of him; and thinks it rather fhould be applied otherwife, he cannot poffibly fubfcribe the original Words of that Text, fo as they may be a Teft of his Orthodoxy in this Particular; and the Church which fhould determine their Application to Jefus Chrift,and require a Minifter or Chriftian, in order to his Admiffion among them, to give his Affent to thefe Scriptural Phrafes fo understood, would, equally with us, expofe it felf to all the clamorous Objections which are made against bumane Creeds.
This will appear further, if we confider the feveral various Readings which are to be found in the Sacred Writings, one of which alone is genuine, and must have the fole Claim to the Dignity and Authority of infpired Words. Now it feems according to the Prin ciples of our Adverfaries, that no Church could fix upon this genuine Reading, and require an Affent to it from their publick Teachers, fince that were indeed to determine what were Scripture, what not, and the demanding an Affent to fuch a Determination, would be exclaimed against as an arbitrary Impofition; as a native Confequence of which, no publick Confeffion of Faith, could be compofed in the Words of fuch Texts of Scripture as admit of various Readings, whereby a great many Paffages of the Holy Oracles will be neceffarily excluded.
This Difficulty will prove of greater Extent and Importance, with refpect to thefe who deny the divine Authority, of fome of thefe Books of the New Teftament, which have been generally received by Chriftians: As on the other Hand, were this novel Scheme of Confeffions allowed, fuch People as Mr. Whiten, who would obtrude upon the Church a new Set of pretended inspired Wri tings, might alledge, That a Profeffion of their Faith, in the Phrafes of thefe Books adopted by them, and embraced as the Word of God, were fufficient to all the Privileges of Chriftian or minifterial Communion; and that it were a manifeft Invafion of their religi ous Freedom, to require any other Tefts of Orthodoxy from them; and furely it feems to argue every way as great an Authority in Matters of Faith, for a Church to determine what Books fhe thinks divinely inspired, and which must accordingly be owned as fuch by her Members, as it is for the fame Church, to declare what Doarines the judges to be the fundamental Principles of Chriftianity, unto which all ought to give their Affent, who lay claim to Church Privilezes, or at leaft pretend to the Office of a publick Teacher.
A Divifion of the Whole into three Parts according to the different Ufes and Ends of Creeds and Confeffions
Ontaining thofe Purpofes of Confeffions, which were of the moft general and extenfive Nature, and had a regard not only to the Members of the particular Churches which framed them, but to the whole World
First End propofed by Churches in publishing their Confeffions, to give a fair and authentick Account of the Doctrine maintained by them; and clear the Mifreprefentations made of them, and the Calumnies wherewith they were blackned The Opinions of Adverfaries generally placed in a very unfair Light, which makes it more neceffary to publish authentick Confeflions of their Faith
This End of Creeds illuftrated and applied to the State of the pri mitive Chriftians
And of the Proteftant Churches at the Reformation
This End of peculiar Advantage to the Church of Scotland, the Principles, Worship and Government whereof are, in a particular Manner, loaded with Calumnies and unfair Mifreprefentations The Occafion hereof accounted for, from the Circumftances of Things during the Civil War, when the Westminster Confeffion was compofed
II, 12, 13 At the Reftauration, and till the prefent Time 14 Whence not only the more ignorant and angry, but Writers of a better Character, are very partial in their Accounts of what relates to this Church
14, IS The Injuftice of charging the Notions of one or two particular Members upon the whole Body
IS And the plain Equity of judging concerning their Sentiments according to their publick Confeffions, Catechifms, &c. How much the Falfhood of thefe Calumnies would appear by a juft Confideration of our Confeffion, inftanced with refpect to our alledged Principles concerning both Civil and Ecclefiaftical Government 16, 17, 18
And the Doctrines of Predeftination, Juftification, &c. 19, 20 The Injuftice of imputing to Perfons fuppofed Confequences of their Opinions, which they deny
The great Mifchiefs of Anger, Imperioufnefs, and Uncharitablenefs in managing Controverfies
A palpable Miftake of Sir Richard Steil noted, no Degree of Perfecution in Scotland
The Second Defign of publishing Creeds, That Chriftian Societies might in the moft folemn Manner make Profeffion of the true Religion, and glory in it before the World
This is the Duty of the Church. The Bleffings of pure Religion beftowed on the Church of Scotland in a diftingui hing Manner, and preferved to her by a Train of extraordinary Providences
24, 25 That it is the Duty of a Church, in the more folemn and publick Manner, to own the Truth, when it is ridiculed and defpifed in the World, and deferted by other Churches This practifed by the Church of Scotland The uncommon Advances of the Reformation with respect to the Worship and Government of the Church of Scotland, with Remarks thereupon 26, 27, 28 A Conjecture concerning the Caufes hereof, and of the different Turn which the Reformation took in England, &c. 28, 29, 30
A Third Defign of Confeffions, to maintain Union and Fellow fhip among the feveral Churches, which profeffed the true Religion; and to contribute to their mutual Comfort and Edifica
All the Churches of Chrift are but one Body, whence arifeth the great Obligation to Love and Harmony