Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Scriptural Duty of bearing public Testimony

John Willison writes the following in his A Fair and Impartial Testimony.

1. The servants of God, and especially ministers of the gospel, are frequently in Scripture called his Witnesses; in regard they are called to give testimony to his truths and ways, and to bear witness against what is prejudicial or contrary thereunto, Rev. xi. 3, 7. Luke xxiv. 48. John v. 33. and xv. 27. Acts i. 8. and xxii. 15, 18. and xxvi. 19. It is by such faithful witness hearing that we must hold fast the truths of God when ready to be plucked from us, and to contend for the faith which he hath delivered to his saints, Rev. iii. 11. Jude verse 3. And in this way we are to wrestle with and overcome truth’s adversaries, Rev. xii. 11. They overcame by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of their testimony. The character which God gives his servants three times in the compass of a few verses should make very deep impression upon us, Isa. xliii. 10, 12. and xliv. 8. Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord. And it is in that capacity he calls and requires us to confess Christ before men, to bear viwitness to Christ and to his truths, to stand fast is the faith, to quit ourselves like men, to be strong, to be steadfast, tobe zealous and valiant for the truth, to be faithful unto death.—To contend earnestly for the faith and set ourselves for the defence of the gospel.—To plead with our Mother; to keep the charge of the Lord, and the charge of his sanctuary; to keep that which is committed to our, trust; to be clean who bear the vessels of the Lord, and not to touch the unclean thing.—To save ourselves from an untoward generation: to keep our garments clean and unspotted from the world, to hate the work of them that turn aside, that it may not cleave to us; to keep ourselves pure, and not to be partakers of other mens sins; to flee from sin, and deliver every man his own soul; to abhor what is evil, to cleave unto the Lord and to that which is good; to keep ourselves from the accursed thing.—To be watchmen to the house of Israel, and give them warning from God; to cry aloud and not spare, to shew the house of Jacob their sins; to reprove the works of darkness; not to suffer sin upon our brother; to be pure from the blood of all men, and not to shun to declare all the counsel of God.—Now these multiplied Scripture texts and Divine precepts afford us clear and plain warrant to make an open appearance and declaration for our Lord Jesus Christ, and for his truths and ways when injured; and against the evils and corruptions of the times, especially when they are avowed and infectious, and like to infect more and more.

2. Writing and leaving a testimony behind us to true religion, and against error and corruption, is necessary and useful for the instruction, conviction, and confirmation both of the present and future generations, and a very proper mean for handing viidown God’s truths and institutions pure from age to age; which is a debt that one generation owes to another, as God declares in his word; Psal. lxxviii. 5, 6, 7. He established a testimony in, Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers that they should make them known to their children; that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born, who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of Cod, but keep his commandments. Psal. cxlv. 4. One generation shall praise thy works to another and shall declare thy mighty acts. And according to Psal. cii. 18. God’s works of grace and mercy are to be written for the generations to come, that the people which are to be created may praise the Lord. And we are enjoined, Psal. xlviii. 13. to walk about Zion, to tell her towers, mark her bulwarks and palaces, viz. the institutions and ornaments of the gospel church, that we may shew them to the generation following. And we are appointed, Ezek. xliii. 11. to shew to the house of Israel the form and fashion of the house of God, with the ordinances and laws thereof, and to write it in their sight, that they may keep them and do them. All these do plainly demonstrate our Scripture warrant for leaving such written testimonies behind us.

3. Writing and emitting faithful testimonies for God and his ways, is necessary and seasonable especially in times of corruption and backsliding, even when true religion is in danger. In such times Christ doth kindly accept and reward our open confessing of him and his truths before men, Rev. ii. 2. Matth. x. 32. And, on the other hand, he severely threatens our conniving at error and impiety, and not bearing testimony against them when they abound, Rev. ii. 14, 15, 16. Now, is not the backsliding day in which we live a proper season for such open confessions and faithful testimonies, when errors of all kinds are tolerate, approven truths are run down, and manifold corruptions prevail, to the dishonour of God and our holy religion; and when applications to judicatories for redress are unsuccessful? Surely it must be in such a time as this, that God calls his servants and witnesses to rise up for him (by faithful testimonies) against the evil-doers, and stand up for him against the workers of iniquity, Psal. xciv. 16.

4. A written subscribed testimony seems necessary in obedience to the Ninth Commandment, for preserving and clearing the names and characters of honest ministers and elders in times of defection, and for vindicating them from the common charge of the corruptions and wrong steps of the societies whereof they are members. As they are often loaded unjustly with these evils, so their giving a subscribed testimony against them is a proper xway to wipe off aspersions from their names while they live, to prevent blackning of their memories when dead, and also to yield them much inward peace when dying. Wherefore in my humble opinion, the call seems to be pretty clear to them who desire to, keep their garments unspotted, and to hate the work of them that turn aside, that it may not cleave to them, and who would embalm their names to posterity as witnesses for God in an evil time, to declare their minds by joining in such a testimony as this, and thereby exoner their consciences with respect to the backsliding and defections under which they have been long groaning. And whatsoever their hands finds to do in this matter, it is fit they do it without loss of time, seeing their standing is so slippery every day upon the brink of the grave.

5. Emitting testimonies in time of defection hath been the approven practice of God’s worthies in former times. They judged their giving written testimonies against growing errors and corruptions to be the lifting up, a banner for truth, and the proper means to stop the current of defection, and to excite and plead with their Mother to use her best endeavours for that effect.—We have still extant such faithful testimonies given by sundry ministers in the years 1658 and 1659, when a toleration was granted by law to the sectaries and errors which then prevailed: and namely, that famous testimony drawn up against these errors, and to the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government of this church, subscribed by Mr. Samuel Rutherford, Mr. James Wedderburn, Mr. James Guthrie, Mr. Alexander Moncrieff, Mr. Thomas Lundie, and many others.—Likewise a testimony against toleration by the presbytery of Edinburgh, xi5th October, 1659.—One by the ministers of Lancashire, 3d March, 1648.—One by Mr. George Gillespie, two days before his death.—One by the ministers of London, 14th December, 1647.—One by Mr. Rutherford on his death-bed, February, 1661.—One by, Dr. Horneck against stageplays, &c. And, lastly, what are all the dying speeches which our martyrs have left written behind them, but so many testimonies to the truths and ways of God, and against the errors and corruptions of their times? And these testimonies, however much despised by the world, God hath blessed as means for continuing truth and gospel purity among us to this day. And who knows but the Testimony now essayed in imitation of the foresaid worthies, may likewise be of use for preserving truth, and exciting reformation, when many of the present backsliding generation are laid in the dust? A new turn of affairs, and a general revival, may yet come; (The Lord himself hasten it!) Now it will be highly useful at such a time, for the generation to know something of the sentiments and practices of ancient wrestlers against corruption. Were there no testimonies of this kind, both the knowledge of truth, and the sense of duty and of sin in sundry cases, would be lost to the rising ages, towards whom we of the present age are indispensibly bound to act a kind and faithful part, viz. to give them just information.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI and the United Kingdom

The cost of the proposed papal visit to UK taxpayers is one thing (easily £100m once security is taken into account) - although by no means a small matter in the current climate. Why should the tax payer shell out so much on the head of a country that is so small it would scarcely cover the area of any parish or community council in the UK? There is another cost, however, which is political, moral and spiritual. It is a dangerous attack upon the heritage of the nation. A new book seeks to highlight this cost. It does so in an informed, rather than prejudiced, way by taking these matters back to the Scriptures for the examination of the claims of the papacy against the truth.

'For well over a thousand years there has been a succession of men claiming an astonishing position for themselves, both in religion and in the affairs of nations. When one dies, another takes his place. The latest in this extraordinary dynasty has been invited by the former Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown, to visit Britain. Who is this man and why is his visit a danger to the United Kingdom?'

Published by Free Presbyterian Publications (Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland) at £5 (available from, this small paperback (108pp) highlights the serious issues surrounding the impending state visit of the pope to the United Kingdom. It outlines his absurd role as head of state, his objectionable career, especially in covering up the sexual abuse carried out by priests. Other essays focus on the Protestant nature of the UK constitution, show that the Pope is head of a false religion which denies and undermines the cardinal points of salvation and truth, refute the doctrine of Papal infallibility and show how the Scriptures foretell the emergence, character and demise of the papacy.

The volume concludes with the reprint of an essay by RL Dabney on the Attractions of Popery. Dabney has this to say: "The popish system of ritual and doctrine was a gradual growth, which, modifying true Christianity, first perverted and then extinguished it. Its destructive power has resulted from this: that it has not been the invention of any one cunning and hostile mind, but a gradual growth, modified by hundreds or thousands of its cultivators, who were the most acute, learned, selfish, and anti-Christian spirits of their generations, perpetually retouched and adapted to every weakness and every attribute of depraved human nature, until it became the most skillful and pernicious system of error which the world has ever known. As it has adjusted itself to every superstition, every sense of guilt, every foible and craving of the depraved human heart, so it has travestied with consummate skill every active principle of the gospel. It is doubtless the ne plus ultra of religious delusion, the final and highest result of perverted human faculty guided by the sagacity of the great enemy".

A review is available at from which the above image has been borrowed.