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Plain Reasons for Presbyterians Dissenting from the Revolution Church of Scotland. Also Their Principles Concerning Civil Government, and the Difference Betwixt the Reformation and Revolution Principles (1731) by Andrew Clarkson

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Full Title:
Plain Reasons for Presbyterians Dissenting from the Revolution Church of Scotland. Also Their Principles Concerning Civil Government, and the Difference Betwixt the Reformation and Revolution Principles (1731)
Author:
Andrew Clarkson
Media:
Digital Download (Adobe PDF)
Searchable:
No
PDF Index:
None
Pages:
159
File Size:
19.70 MB
Publisher:
Still Waters Revival Books

Resource Description

An exceedingly rare and important book now back in print after 265 years!

The Contending Witness magazine (May, 1841) described Plain Reasons "as the single best volume penned defending the principles of the second Reformation." It sets forth "the grounds why Presbyterian Dissenters refused to hold communion with the revolution church and state," (Reformed Presbytery, Act Declaration and Testimony for the Whole of Our Covenanted Reformation, p. 154n).

The biblical principles contained in this book still apply today and thus Plain Reasons remains one of the best books explaining why (and when) an individual (church or citizen) should separate himself (or itself) from those (in church or state) who do not hold fast to all the attainments of our covenanted Reformation forefathers.

In this regard the session of the Puritan Reformed Church of Edmonton calls this the one book that best explains why faithful Covenanted Presbyterians must, for conscience sake, remain ecclesiastically separate from all Presbyterian denominations that have backslidden from second Reformation attainments. (This being the classic corporate Calvinistic application of such commands as "Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing" [Phil. 3:16, emphasis added].

It is also the acknowledgement that the Lord has clearly stated in his Word that he "requireth that which is past" [Eccl. 3:15]). Furthermore, the session of the PRC of Edmonton has noted that this book "clearly spells out the reasons why to unite with the Revolution Church (1689) or any of its descendants (The Free Church of Scotland, The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, and American Presbyterian Churches) is to undermine and subvert the work of the Second Reformation. The argumentation is cogent (with an abundant supply of documentation).

The reading can be divided up into 5-10 pages at a time. Reasons 8 and 9 (pp. 77-91) which speak to the issue of the covenants are very helpful, as is Reason 14 (pp. 138-140) which covers the matter of terms of communion. We might also highlight Clarkson's treatment of ecclesiastical dissent (pp. 172-221 wherein he discusses schism) and political dissent (pp. 221-280). This is the best apologetic we have read defending the necessity of Presbyterians to faithfully maintain the attainments of the Second Reformation" (emphasis added).

Moreover, Clarkson's section on schism, separation and the nature of the visible church (constitutionally considered) contains over 10 pages of notes and quotes taken from numerous Reformers including: Beza, Rutherford, Gillespie, Dickson, Durham, M'Ward (Rutherford's disciple), Marshall, Watson, Cotton, Owen, Burroughs, Fraser, and Case -- demonstrating that his ideas regarding dissent from corrupt and backsliding civil or ecclesiastical governments are not new, but merely classic Reformation doctrine.

The book also answers a multitude of pertinent and realistic objections in sections conveniently located directly after each reason for dissent. Moreover, the days of the revolution settlement were a time of civil and ecclesiastical confusion not unlike our own day -- the beast (civil and ecclesiastical) was attempting to devour the "woman in the wilderness" by a cunning mixture of half-truths that were designed to beguile an exhausted and persecution-weary remnant.

The consequences of the actions taken in these days, by both church and state "officials," have been amplified by time and apply directly to our contemporary civil and ecclesiastical situation ("That which hath been is now" [Eccl. 3:15]). The Reformed Presbytery's Act, Declaration and Testimony (p. 47) further explains the original historical context -- so germane to the thesis of this book -- regarding those deceptively trying days which followed the "killing times" and final martyrs' death of that period of persecution (being the death of the covenanted Presbyterian minister James Renwick, who sealed his testimony with his blood February 17, 1688).

Of the so-called "glorious revolution of 1688" and the overthrow of the Royalist tyranny the Reformed Presbytery's measured and discerning comments read, "for in a few months, God in his righteous judgement and adorable providence, overturned that (Royalist--RB) throne of iniquity on which they (the persecuting popish, prelatical, Erastian, antichristian [civil and ecclesiastical] "authorities" which were then wondering after the beast--RB) depended, and expelled that inhuman, cruel monster (the duke of York--RB), from his tyrannical and usurped power, upon the Prince of Orange's (William of Orange--RB) coming over into England, in the beginning of November that same year (1688--RB).

But although the Lord at this juncture, and by this means, rescued and delivered our natural and civil rights and privileges in a national way, from under the oppression and bondage of anti-christian tyranny, arbitrary and absolute power; yet the revolution, at this time, brought no real deliverance to the church of God; but Christ's rights (by these [rights--RB] are not meant the rights of Christ personal. It is not in the power of mortals, or any creature, to acquire and secure these to him; but the rights of Christ mystical, that is, of the church, or of his truth, true worship, and religion, and professors of it as such.), formerly acquired for him by his faithful servants, lay still buried under the rubbish of that anti-christian building of prelacy, erected on the ruins of his work in this land; and the spiritual liberties and privileges of his house remained, and do still remain under the bondage of Erastianism, supremacy, toleration, etc. For it is well known, that although this man (William of Orange--RB), Jehu-like, 'destroyed Baal out of Israel, yet he departed not from the sins of Jereboam, wherewith he made Israel to sin.'"

As a second witness to the testimony also given throughout Clarkson's Plain Reasons see pages 55 and following in the Act, Declaration and Testimony for more on "the grounds of the presbytery's testimony against the constitutions, both civil and ecclesiastical, at the late revolution, anno 1689; as also against the gross Erastianism and tyranny that has attended the administration both of church and state, since that memorable period; with various instances thereof, etc."

Since these momentous days Antichrist and his minions have sought to bury the covenanted Reformation and its attainments (upholding Christ's Kingship over both church and state) under the rubbish of democratic, humanistic, atheistic, tolerationism and a "detestable neutrality" in the cause of God and truth -- the same "detestable neutrality" so strongly inveighed against in the Solemn league and Covenant.

Commenting on this defection from within professing Christendom, Clarkson writes,

"It is also evident from this, that Schism from our covenanted Church consists in this, to wit, When the Members of the Church make Defection to the contrary part, that is in plain Terms, when they associate or incorporate with, assist and defend the Parties against whom the Covenant (Solemn League and Covenant--RB) was made and sworn, viz. Papists, Prelatist and their Underlings, Hereticks, &c. the common Enemies of Reformation; and fall from the Duties of Preserving and propagating the Reformation of the three Kingdoms; and refuse to join with, assist and defend those, who adhere to the Covenants, in the necessary Work of Renewing them, for Extirpation of Popery, Prelacy, Erastianism, Superstition, Heresy, Error and Profaneness, and whatsoever is contrary to sound Doctrine and the Power of Godliness; and for re-establishing, preserving, and propagating the covenanted Reformation, once happily established in these Lands, and sworn unto by our Covenants. Furthermore, Schism from our covenanted Church consists in this, viz, When Members, Ministers or others, give themselves to a detestable Indifferency and Neutrality, in the Cause of God, namely, in the preserving and propagating the covenanted Reformation of these three Kingdoms; that is to say, When Men are like so many Gallio's in the Cause of God, preferring worldly Ease, Honour and Wealth, their own Interest to the Interest of Christ, become easy, whether the covenanted Reformation in these Lands sink or swim; and, from a cowardly Disposition in some, and a malignant, perfidious Temper in others, coalesce and accord in apostatizing from the Articles of Covenant foresaid, the Cause of God, and its honest-hearted Friends; and frighted from both, as if they thought it both Sin and Shame to have it said, that they carried any warm Side to either the one or the other. I say, All Members of this National Church, who, on Account of any Combination, Persuasion, or Terror and Fear of worldly Loss, of Sufferings of whatsoever Kind, are guilty in any of these two Cases, are also guilty of making SCHISM from the covenanted Church, as is clearly manifest by the 6th Article of our Solemn Covenant" (pp. 182-184, , emphasis added).

Commenting on the common charge of schism leveled against those who would maintain the attainments of the covenanted Reformation, Clarkson writes:

"Now, upon the whole of this Objection, as 'tis plain, Presbyterian Dissenters are not Schismatics, nor deserve to be so called; so 'tis a most groundless and shameless Reflection, to call them Separatists, tho' 'tis the ordinary Name of Epithet given them, especially in Print; yet to me, and I judge to many others, it is a Wonder with what Audacity, Men of Sobriety and Conscience should have the confidence to speak at such a Rate, unless they intend, in a desperate Humour, to render their Authority every where, amongst all sober persons, contemptible: For, if two Persons, walking upon a high Path-Road, on the Brink of a Puddle, the one of them by a Blast of Wind tumbling headlong into the Gulf; when weltering amidst the Glare and miery Clay, cries up to his Neighbor upon the Brink, Sir, unless you tumble over after me, I will look upon you as a Separatist: Which of the two are to be judged most insnared into the Course of Separation, whether the Person keeping the High-way, or the poor Man wallowing in the polluted Mire, Crying upon his Neighbour to unite with him in that his miserable Estate? Est solatium miseris habere socios doloris, ('Tis Comfort to Persons in Misery to have Companions.) Have not this present Church thrown themselves over into the Ditch of Pollution, in complying with these dreadful Apostates of this and the former times? And, shall these be judged Separatists, who dare not, who cannot, and may not in Conscience follow their Example? Can such as join with, and strengthen them, be able to purge themselves from the Guilt and Judgements, which accompany this shameful Defection? For an Union here (so much cried up) without Debate, is the Brotherhood of Simeon and Levi: It is an Union in the Course of Sin and Wrath, and not in Truth and Duty" (pp. 206-207).

For more of this strong tonic get the whole book -- it is one of the strongest and clearest calls that we have ever seen for the church to repent of its covenant-breaking and backsliding and return to its first love at the corporate level (covenantal and constitutional).

In short, Clarkson's Plain Reasons, contains the highest quality of Reformation thought regarding the subjects of which it deals. It is undoubtedly a major Reformation classic and should be studied by all those who are serious about seeing the destruction of the present tyranny (which is expressed in the modern civil and ecclesiastical Babylon erected by those that oppose the covenanted Reformation and the implementation of the Crown rights of King Jesus over the whole Earth!).


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