Declarations – 1684 Against Intelligencers
The Apologetical Declaration Against Intelligencers, 28 October 1684.
Written by James Renwick at Glengaber on 28 October 1684 and posted on the night of Saturday 8 November on selected church doors. The Declaration heralded a short-lived campaign of assassinations targeted against the persecutors of the Society people which brought about the infamous field shootings of the Killing Times.
Text from Wodrow, History, IV, 148.
‘Albeit we know that the people of God in all ages, have been cruelly persecuted, and maliciously reviled by apostates from, and enemies to the truths of our Lord Jesus Christ; yet such hard usage, and virulent reproaching, hath not (at least not ought to have) abated the zeal of tender hearted Christians, in the prosecution of holy and commanded duties. Therefore, as hitherto (through assisting grace) we have not been driven to lay aside necessary obliging duties, because of the viperous threatenings of men, who are given up of an holy and wise God, to lay out all their might and power for promoving a course of wicked profanity by virulent persecution, and ignominious calumnies, (to all of who nevertheless, that are reconcilable unto God, we heartily wish eternal salvation) so we declare our firm resolution of constant adherence to our covenants and engagements, where we are bound to have common friends and foes with our covenanted reformation; and to look upon what is done to one, as done to all of us; and also our unanimous adherence to our faithful declarations wherein we have disowned the authority of Charles Stuart, (not authority as God’s institution, either among Christians or heathens) and all authority depending upon him, for reasons given elsewhere; (disclaiming all such things as infer magistratical relation betwixt him and us) and wherein, also we have declared war against him, and his accomplices, such as lay out themselves to promove his wicked and hellish designs. Therefore, that therein our mind may be more clearly understood, and for preventing further mistakes anent our purposes, we do hereby jointly and unanimously testify and declare, that as we utterly detest and abhor that hellish principle of killing all who differ in judgement and persuasion from us, it having no bottom upon the word of God. Or right reason; so we look upon it as a duty binding upon us, to publish openly unto the world, that forasmuch as, we are firmly and really purposed not to injure or offend any whomsoever, but to pursue the ends of our covenants, in standing to the defence of our work of glorious reformation, and of our own lives: Yet (we say) we do hearby declare unto all, that whosoever stretcheth forth their hands against us, while we are maintaining the cause and interest of Christ against his enemies, in the defence of our covenanted reformation, by shedding our blood actually, either by authoritative commanding, such as bloody counsellors (bloody we say, insinuating clearly by this , and other adjective epithets, and open distinction, betwixt the cruel and blood-thirsty and the more sober and moderate,) especially that (so called) justiciary, generals of forces, adjutants, captains, lieutenants, and all their civil and military power, who make it their work to embrue their hands in our blood, or by obeying such commands, such as bloody militia men, malicious troopers, soldiers, and dragoons; likewise gentlemen and commons, who, through wickedness and ill will, ride and run with the forsaid persons, to lay search for us, or who deliver any of us into their hand, to the spilling of our blood, by enticing morally, or stirring up enemies to the taking away of our lives, such as designed and purposedly advise counsel, and encourage them to proceed against us, to our utter extirpation; by informing against us wickedly, wittingly, and willfully, such as viperous and malicious bishops and curates, and all such sort of intelligencers, who lay out themselves to the effusion of our blood, together with all such as, in obedience to the enemies commands, at the sight of us raise the hue and cry after us; yea, and all such as compearing before the adversaries their courts, upon their demands delate us, and any who befriend us to their and our extreme hazard and suffering. We say all, and everyone of such shall be reputed by us, enemies to God, and the covenanted work of reformation, and punished as such, according to our power, and degree of their offence; chiefly, if they shall continue after the publication of this our declaration, obstinately and habitually, with malice to proceed against us, any of the forsaid ways, not at all exeming from present punishment, such as formally have been chief ringleaders and obstinate offenders. Withal leaving room for civil and ecclesiastic satisfaction, before lawful and settled judicatories, for the offences of such persons as our power at this time cannot reach, or degrees of whose punishment, according to their offences, is hard for us to be determined. Finally. We do hereby declare , that we abhor, condemn, discharge and personal attempts, upon any pretext whatsomever, without previous deliberation, common or competent consent, with certain probation by sufficient witnesses, the guilty person’s confession, or the notourness of the deeds themselves. Inhibiting also and discharging any of our emissaries whatsomever, to stretch forth their hands beyond the certainly known degrees of any of the forsaid persons their offences. Now let not any think, that (our God assisting us) we will be so slack-handed in time coming, to put matters in execution, as heretofore we have been, seeing we are bound faithfully and valiantly to maintain our covenants, and the cause of Christ. Therefore let all these forsaid persons be admonished of their hazard, and particularly all ye intelligencers, who, by your voluntary informations, endeavour to render us up into the enemies hands, that our blood may be shed; for by such courses ye both endanger your immortal souls, if repentance prevent not, seeing God will make inquisition for shedding the precious blood of his saints, whatever be the thoughts of men; and also your bodies, seeing you render yourselves actually and maliciously guilty of our blood, whose innocency the Lord knoweth. However, we are sorry at our hearts, that any of you should choose such courses, either with bloody Doeg to shed our blood, with the flattering Ziphites, to inform persecutors where we are to be found. So we say again, we desire you to take warning of the hazard ye incur, by following such courses; for sinless necessity for self-preservation, accompanied with holy zeal for Christ’s reigning in our land, and suppressing of profanity, will move us not to let you pass unpunished. Call to your remembrance, all that is in peril is not lost, and all that is delayed is not forgiven. Therefore, expect to be dealt with as ye deal with us, so far as our power can reach, not because we acted by a sinful spirit of revenge, for private and personal injuries, but mainly because by our fall reformation suffers damage; yea, the exercise of godliness through ensnaring flatteries, and terrible threatening, will thereby be brought to a very low ebb, the consciences of many more dreadfully surrendered, and profanity more established and propagated. And as upon the one hand we have here declared our purpose anent malicious injurers of us, so upon the other hand, we do hereby beseech, invite, and obtest all you who wish us well unto Zion, to show your good will toward us, by acting with us, and in your places and stations, according to your ability, counselling, encouraging and strengthening our hands for this great work, of holding up the standard of our Lord Jesus Christ. Think not that in any ways ye are called to lie by neutral and indifferent, especially in such a day; for we are a people by holy covenants dedicated unto the Lord, in our persons, lives, liberties, and fortunes, for defending and promoting his glorious work of reformation, notwithstanding all opposition that is, or may be made thereunto; yea, and sworn against all neutrality and indifferency in the Lord’s matters. And moreover, we are fully persuaded that the Lord, who now hideth his face from the house of Jacob, will suddenly appear, and bring light out of darkness, and perfect strength out of weakness, and cause judgement to return to righteousness. Thus having declared our deliberate, lawful, and necessary purposes, concerning this matter, in order to the publication of the same, we do hereby statute and ordain, that upon the eighth of November, copies of this our declaration, be affixed upon sufficient and competent number of public market-crosses of the respective burghs, and patent doors of the representative kirks within this kingdom.
Given at upon the 28th day of October, one thousand six hundred and eighty four years.
Let King Jesus reign, and all his enemies be scattered.’