The Reformed Presbytery (in 1879) has well noted the following incongruity that is still with us today, "We heard from various quarters the cry, -- 'maintain the truth, -- stand up for the principles of the Second Reformation:' and yet many of those who are the most loud in uttering this cry, appear desirous to bury in oblivion those imperishable national and ecclesiastical deeds, by which the church and kingdom of Scotland became 'married to the Lord'" (A Short Vindication of Our Covenanted Reformation, p. 20).
This book should go a long way to remedying the above noted ignorance and hypocrisy among those who now call upon the name of the Lord -- especially those who claim a Reformation heritage and are still open to further growth -- as it spells out in no uncertain terms what lay at the heart of the second Reformation.
Moreover, these covenants (landmarks of the Lord) stand as beacons to all nations of their continuing moral duty to bind themselves to Christ (first commandment) or suffer His avenging wrath (Ps. 2). And make no mistake about it, the Lord will utterly destroy all those who quarrel with His covenant bonds, whether individuals, churches or nations -- the mystery of iniquity will fall!
The prefatory note to this magnificent volume well describes its value:
"The Covenants, Sermons, and Papers in this volume carry the readers back to some of the brightest periods in Scottish history. They mark important events in that great struggle by which these three kingdoms (England, Scotland and Ireland--RB) were emancipated from the despotisms of Pope, Prince, and Prelate, and an inheritance of liberty secured for these Islands of the Sea.
The whole achievements of the heroes of the battlefields are comprehended under that phrase of Reformers and Martyrs, 'The Covenanted Work of Reformation.' The attainments of those stirring times were bound together by the Covenants, as by rings of gold. The Sermons here were the product of the ripe thought of the main actors in the various scenes--men of piety, learning, and renown.
Hence, the nature, objects , and benefits of personal and national Covenanting are exhibited in a manner fitted to attract to that ordinance the minds and hearts of men. The readers can well believe the statements of Livingstone, who was present at several ceremonies of covenant-renovation: 'I never saw such motions from the Spirit of God. I have seen more than a thousand persons all at once lifting up their hands, and the tears falling down from their eyes.'
In the presence of the defences of the Covenants as deeds, by these preachers, the baseless aspersions of novelists and theologians fade out into oblivion. True Christians must, as they ponder these productions, be convinced that the Covenanters were men of intense faith and seraphic fervour, and their own hearts will burn as they catch the heavenly flame.
Members of the Church of Christ will be stirred to nobler efforts for the Kingdom of their Lord as they meditate on the heroism of those who were the 'chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof;' and they will behold with wonder that 'to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time (the present great apostasy--RB), from the face of the serpent.'
And Statesman will discover how princes, parliaments, and peoples united in the hearty surrender of themselves to the Prince of the kings and kingdoms of the earth; and will be aroused to promote that policy of Christian Statesmanship which, illustrating the purpose and will of God, the Father, shall liberate Parliaments and nations from the bonds of false religions, and assert for them those liberties and honours which spring from the enthronement of the Son of man, and King of kings and Lord of lords.
This volume of documents of olden times is sent out on a mission of Revival of Religion, personal and national, in the present times. It would do a noble work if it helped to humble classes and masses, and led them to return as one man to that God in covenant from Whom all have gone so far away. A national movement, in penitence and faith, for the repeal of the Acts Recissory and the recognition of the National Covenants would be as life from the dead throughout the British Empire.
The people and rulers of these dominions shall yet behold the brilliancy of the Redeemer's crowns; and shall, by universal consent, exalt Him who rules in imperial majesty over the entire universe of God. For, 'The seventh angel sounded, and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the Kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ."
Here we have some of the most moving sermons ever addressed to a people and their nations, given before the most solemn of occasions -- national covenant renewal! Alexander Henderson, Andrew Cant, Joseph Caryl, Edmond Calamy and a host of other Puritan Covenanters (even the turncoat Independent Philip Nye) are included here in easy to read modern (1895) type.
Anyone interested in seeing the royal prerogatives of King Jesus once again trumpeted throughout the nations, on a national and international scale, needs this book -- for these men "were setting up landmarks by which the city of God will be known at the dawn of the millennial day" (Thomas Sproull cited in the Reformed Presbytery's Short Vindication, p. 38).
444 pages with illustrations.
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