Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Reformation Attainments

In 1910 the Synod of the Free Presbyterian Church passed a resolution called "A Declaration anent Reformation Attainments, and the Church’s Relation thereto". It was a means to "humbly record, with gratitude to Almighty God, the great goodness and mercy with which He graciously visited Scotland in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by the Reformations from Popery and Prelacy, the spirit of wisdom and understanding He bestowed on the men who were instrumentally used in accomplishing His will during those memorable periods, whereby they were led to grasp, with eminent light and ability, the great doctrines and principles of religious, social, and civil liberty contained in the Bible, and the magnanimity, fortitude, and patriotism wherewith He enabled them to uphold and vindicate the same against inveterate enemies".

It uses the language of the Free Church Act of 1851 to recognise that while not absolutely satisfactory in that the Church was hindered from "realising fully the attainments that had been reached during the Second Reformation" and the failure of the civil power "in adequately acknowledging the Lord’s work done formerly in the land", there is much reason to be thankful for the Revolution Settlement of 1690. "For it would be in a high degree ungrateful to overlook the signal and seasonable benefits which the Revolution Settlement really did confer upon the Church, as well as upon the nation".

The Synod added their comments "The Synod heartily concur in the above statement of the Church in 1851, and they declare that, in their humble judgment, the fact that the “Rescissory Act” has
been left unrepealed on the Statute Book leaves the Presbyterians of Scotland in a dangerous position, and that effective steps should be taken for its repeal along with all the other pernicious cognate Acts of that period of our history".

In seeking the repeal of this Act and desiring that the covenants would have been acknowledged in the Revolution Settlement, the Synod were acknowledging the perpetual obligation of the Covenants. There is also a reference to renewal of the national covenant before the time of 1638. "Our fathers found the renewing of the National Covenant repeatedly during this period a source of much strength in their opposition to their enemies and of maintaining unity among themselves."