Declarations – 1685 Second Sanquhar

The Second Sanquhar Declaration, 28 May 1685.

The Second Sanquhar Declaration publicly responded to the accession of James VII & II and laid out the United Societies’ collective position that they would aid the Argyll Rising of 1685, but not join with Argyll’s faction, as Argyll did not support a covenanted settlement. Like the Lanark Declaration, it extensively comments on politics and rejects the legitimacy of the Scottish Parliament. However, while addressing a wider audience, it also aimed to maintain the internal cohesion of the Societies after doubts had surfaced over the Societies’ isolationist strategy in the wake of the Apologetical Declaration and debates over whether they should join with Argyll or not.

Its authors are unknown, but we know that it was discussed at several conventions between February and May 1685, that James Renwick had a hand in its drafting and that Robert Hamilton provided hostile comments on a draft version prior to its proclamation. (Jardine, ‘United Societies’, I, 131-2, 137-8, 140-1.)

Text from An Informatory Vindication, 191-204.

‘The Protestation, and Apologetick Admonitory Declaration, of the Contending and Suffering Remnant, of the true Presbyterians of the Church of Scotland. [191] Against the Proclaiming James Duke of York, King of Scotland, England, France, and Ireland, The lawfulness of the present pretended parliament, and the apparent in let of popery, &c published at Sanquhair.

It hath pleased the Holy and Wise God, to exercise the Church of Scotland now of a long time, with wrestling and war-fare-ing, under the yoke of cruel oppressors, who have made it their whole work to extirpate to true Worship and Worshippers of God out of the Land, they making it highly Criminal to own Christ as sole Supream over his own House, to mention any Adherence to Scotlands Reformation and Covenants, and to take the written word of God to be the only Rule of Faith and manners, Decerning any to forefault right to Estate, Life, and Liberty who are of Presbyterian Principles, who will not make a full surrender of Conscience unto them, to be carried about as they please, Complying with all Contradictions and Contradictory Impositions which their Diabolick Spirits may invent, who are clearly [192]seen to be void of all Religion, Reason, and Humanity; So that they proceed against all Recusants with the height of Barbabrity and Hellish Cruelty, Refusing to hear them profess Subjection to Rulers only in the Lord, and according to his word, yea cutting them off in the Fields without giving them any time to Deliberate upon Death, Yea often times without so much as a to commit their Spirits unto the Lord, but Butherously slaying them, without taking notice what they are, or what (according to their own Law) is to be led against them: Moreover these Arbitrarians have so Raged, that they have now brought the Land to that (O! Poor Miserable and Lamentable Slavery) that the freest subject and best Gentlemen in the Kingdom, is by their Acts, laws and Proceedings holden obliged to give Oath Super inquirendis before any single Souldier or Dragoon meeting them upon the way. Lo all this and much more we have met with, as just upon the Lords part, though most unjust upon Mans, for so manifold sins and Iniquities; And in a Special manner for our not purging our Judicatories and Armies when the power was in our Hands, of Men disaffected to the Cause and Interest of Christ; for our bringing in known Malignants to places power and trust among us; and for inordinate affection unto, and lusting after the deceast Tyrant, Charles the Second, and advancing him to [193] the Regal Throne, even while known by many palpable discoveries (as to be seen in the Causes of God’s wrath with the Church of Scotland) to retain his heart enmity to the Covenanted work of Reformation, which sins we desire to confess and mourn for, before God, Angels and Men; As also our sin in not timeous rejecting the foresaid Charles, when he brake Covenant and all parts of his Coronation Oath: Howbeit snaring the lying under such a Sin any longer, when we were brought to a very small Remnant, we did by open Declarations, disclaim his pretended Authority, upon many important grounds and Reasons, as is to be seen elsewhere, particularly in our Declaration published at Lanerk, January 12 1682 Years. All which Declarations we do hereby Ratifie and Approve.
So now, the Lord in his Goodness and Wisdom having removed the foresaid Charles from his Tyrannie by death; And a few wicked and unprincipled men of this Kingdom, having by open Proclamation proclaimed James Duke of York, though a profest Papist and excommunicate Person, and not yet received into the Church again, to be King of Scotland, England, France, and Ireland: We, the Contending and suffering Remnant of true Presbyterians of the Church of Scotland, calling to mind the many Bonds and Obligations that ly upon us from the Lord. And being desireous to be [194] found faithful in this day of Tentation, to avoid accession to the guilt in which many have involved themselves, to exoner our Consciences as in his sight, to Testifie our Resentment of the Deed, and make it appear unto the World that we are free thereof, whether by Concurrance or Connivance; Do here Deliberately, Jointly and Unanimously, Protest against the foresaid Proclamation of James Duke of York, to be King, as said is. In regard that the Choosing a Murtherer to be Governour, who hath shed the Blood of the Saints of GOD; In regard that it is the Hight of Confederacy with an idolater, which is Forbidden by the Law of GOD; In regard that it is Contrary to the Declaration of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, of the Date 27 July 1649 Years; In regard that it is Contrary to many wholesome and Laudable Acts of Parliament. As Act 8, Parliament first Repeated in the 99 Act, Parliament 7. Ratified in the 23 Act, Parliament II.. 114 Act Parliament 12 of King James 6. Where Papists are Decerned to be punished by manifold Civil and Ecclesiastick pains, as Adversaries to GOD’S true Religion: Yea, they are Ordain’d to be punished as Common Enemies to all Christian Government; Act 8 Parliament 16 King James 6. And in regard that it is inconsistent with the Safety of the Faith, Conscience and [195] Christian Liberty of a Christian People, to chuse a Subject of Anti christ to be their (especially Supream) Magistrat And si it is, that we understand that part of the 4. § Chapter 23. Of our Confession of Faith, and in a general and abstract sense, where it is said (in Opposition to Sectarians, who assert that such are not Lawful Kings, who either know not Christ, or believe not in him) That Infidelity or Difference in Religion, doth not make void the Magistrat’s Just and Legal Authority, nor Free the People of their Obedience to him: We Acknowledge it to be true indeed, that Infidels and these of a different Religion are not (chiefly because such) presently to be Declared no Magistrates, for Magistratus non est Magisraius qua Christianus, sed qua homo: So it is that the Magistratical Power considered Generaliter, given for the Good of Humans Societies, may be in the person of an Infidel, or one of a Different Religion, but considered specialiter, given for the Good of the Church, it is only in the person of a Professor of the true Religion. Hence in Traveling or Traficking in Foreign Lands, be the persons in whom is the Power, Infidels or of a different Religion, we cannot refuse Subjection to their Laws so far as they are Consistent with the written Word of GOD, and our true Christian Liberty. Howbeit, our Covenants [196] and Acts of Parliament have put a Bar, upon the Admission of any person, if either Infidels or of a different Religion, while such, to Govern in Scotland: and the practice of our Church confirms it, in refusing the Crown to the late Deceast Tyrant Charles 2d until he Subscribed such Demands as were sent unto him; And especially upon Admission of a known Enemy to the true Religion, to Govern: For it could not but be both highly sinful and irrational for us, to entrust an Enemy to the Work and People of God, with the Interest of both.
Also conceiving that this pretended Parliament is not a lawfull Parliament, in regard that the election of Commissioners in Limited and prejudged, in the due Liberty thereof, by their Acts and laws: In regard that the Members are convicted of avowed Perjurie, which according to Scottish Law, maketh a Man incapable of being so much as a Witness, in regard they are Men of blood, the chief being convict of avowed Murder, whereby they are under the lash of the Law; And in regard of their carrying on Apostacy, and making way for the Man of sin: We do on the like manner upon these and many other important grounds and reasons, protest against the Validity and Constitution of this present Parliament, as not being free and lawful; against their assuming [197] to themselves any Authority, or exercising any power or jurisdiction, for making of Acts or Laws, for judging Causes, determining of Controversies, or proceeding in any Parliamentary way. And in particular, we protest against their proceeding to any Approbation or Ratification of the foresaid Proclamation of James Duke of York, to be King, as said is: And that they may not go on further, to set the Crown upon his head, they being incapable to give it.
And further seing bloody Papists, the Subjects of Anti-christ, become so Hopefull, Bold and Confident under the perfidy of the said James Duke of York, and Popery it self so eminent and (Oh Lamentable) like to be intruded again (if God’s Mercy and Power meeting together in a wonderful way prevent it not) upon there Covenanted Lands, an open Door being made there unto, by its accursed and abjured Harbinger Prelacy which these three Kingdoms are equally sworn against. We do, in the like manner, Protest against all kinds of Popery in general and particular heads, the Jurisdiction of the Pope, all the Heretical and Erroneous Doctrine of the Church of Rome, their Tyrannous laws made against Christian Liberty, their Erroneous and bloody Decrees, their vain Ceremonies and Superstitions, their Allegories, Rites, Signs and Traditions, their Laws, Statues, Acts, Constitutions, Canons [198] Civil or Municipal, with all other Ordinances and Practique Penalties whatsoever, made in prejudice of the true Religion and Professors thereof, or of the true Church Discipline, and Jurisdiction or freedom thereof, and every other thing contrary to sound Doctrine and the power of Godliness, abjured most explicitly by our National Covenant, Abrogated, annulled, and rescinded by our Acts of Parliament, as Act 3. Act 31 Parl. I. Act 23. Parl II. Act 114. Parl. 12. Act 5. Parl. 20. King James 6. We say, we do Protest against all kind of popery whatsoever, against it entering again into this Land and against every thing that doth, or may directly, or indirectly make way for the same. Disclaiming likewise all Sectarianism, Malignancy, and any Confederacy therewith.
Moreover, taking to our serious considerations, the low, deplorable and obscured State of the Churches of England and Ireland, and that we are all bound in one Covenant and Solemn League together, we (in the bowels of Christ) do in like manner hereby Admonish you our Brethren in these our Neighbour and Covenanted Lands, that ye Remember how far ye have sadly failed in pursuing the ends of our Covenants (as we ourselves also have done, which we desire to Confess, imploring Gods Forgiveness to you & Us both) how ye have suffered your Lords Enemies to Rob you of all [199] your privileges and pleasant things; how ye have given up your selves to be Seduced by complying Luckwarm and Court flattering brethren; And how ye have passed by, lightly Looking upon our Bleeding Wounds, denying us help, though we have been like to give up the ghost; and what great accession ye have to the giving Popery such an open door to Enter upon our Land again. Remember these things, and consider what the Lord is now calling for at our Hand: Break off your sinful way by Repentance; And abandon all Luckwarmness and indifferency in the Lord’s matters give up with your own things; Be tender of GOD’S Declarative Glory, which is Lying at the Stake: Quite your selves like Christians and Men; And stretch your hands to the strengthening, incouraging, and comforting a poor wasted, wronged, wounded, Reproached, despised, and bleeding Remnant; (with who you are in Covenant) setting our selves against all the Injuries and affronts done to our blessed Lord Jesus Christ, against the man of sin, the Kingdom of Antichrist, and all the Limbs and parts thereof. And here with all sincerity of mind and unfeignedness of Resolution, we promise to act unto you the parts of the Covenanted Brethren in the Lord, to the utmost of our power. Likewise, we do hereby in like manner, Call unto you, All [200] Protestant Reformed Churches, kingdoms and Common Wealths, that ye would take to your serious consideration the low and dangerous state of the Gospel Interest, And advert- to the Growth and increase of Popery in all places, bestirring your selves timously against it, lest ye be too late, and loss what much blood and contending may not Recover again; considering the distressed Case, whereunto we are brought, as a share of the true protestant Interest; And Refreshing us with your help: And withal, as ye tender the advantage of Christ’s Cause, which to own is the Christians glory, that ye engage not your selves in any quarrel, or with any person whatsomever, till you know that the quarrel be rightly stated, and that the persons in the judgement of charity are seeking the advancement of the Kingdom of Christ, lest that ye Join your selves to those who may lead you back to Egypt, and so you provock the Lord to destroy you in the wilderness.
Finally, we being Misrepresented to many, by wicked malice of our avowed enemies, and the sinful prejudice of others, who Misrepresenting our late Declaration affixed to several Paroch Church doors (which we do hereby Ratifie and Approve) perverting the true and obvious sense thereof, And through blind Malice and prejudice mistaking our signs therein (else their Consciences give their Tongues the Lye) hold us forth as persons of [201] Murthering, and assassinating principles: All which principles and practices, we do hereby Declare before GOD, Angels and Men, that we abhore, Renunce, and Detest; As also all manner of Robbing of any, whether open Enemies, or others, which are most Falsly aspersed with, either in their Gold, their Silver, or their Geir, any Houshold stuff. Their Money perish with themselves; the Lord knows that our eyes are not after these things.
And in like manner, we do hereby disclaim all unwarrantable Practices committed by any few persons reputed to be of us, whereby the Lord hath been offended, his Cause wronged, and all made to endure the scourge of tongues; for which things we have desired to make Conscience of mourning before the Lord; both in Publick and Private. As the unwarrantable manner of the killing that Curate of Carsphairn (though he was a man of death, both by the law of God and Man, and the Fact not materially Murther) it being gone about contrar to our Declaration without Deliberation, common or competent consent, (the conclusion and deed being known only to Three or Four Persons) in a rash, and not in a Christian manner. And also other Offences being committed at the time, which miscarriages have proven a mean to stop and retard lawfull, laudable, and warrantable proceedings, both as to the matter and manner But let not guilty Persons think themselves indemnified. [202]
Howbeit, we require and hope, that all whosoever in this Land, our Neighbour or Foreign lands, which have not a willful prejudice at the Cause and Way of GOD will not give Ear unto Reports, which Stated Enemies or prejudg’d pretended Friends give of us, that they will not impute the Miscarriages of one or more Persons, to us or all of us; who desire that nothing may be looked on hereafter, as our Deed, which wanteth common Consent or Approbation, and that they will not receive a wrong Impression of us and our proceedings: For We call the Living GOD, the Searcher of hearts, to witness, that this only is our Sincere Desire, and unfeigned Resolution, to continue in the Profession and Obedience of the True Religion of Jesus Christ, according to His Word, our Covenants, national and Solemn League, to defend the same, and to Resist all contrary Errors, Corruptions, and Innovations, according to our Vocation, and the utmost of the power that God doth, or may put in our hands.
Now, we hope none who have not made a full Surrender of Conscience, and are not bent to welcome Popery into the Land, will be offended at what we have here done: For, in the Lord’s Sight, we durst do no less, whatever occasion of persecution our God’s Enemies may take from the same: For we could [203] not see at the time any other way to discharge our duty before the Lord, to exoner out Consciences, and to Free our selves of the Connivance of Popery, which we pray the Lord may stop, and not lay the Guilt of its increase to the Charge of Us and our Posterity.
Therefore, We Appoint and Ordain, That incontinently ye our Emissaries, pass upon the Twenty Eight day of May 1685 years, unto the Merkat Cross of Sanquhair; and there, by open Proclamation, make Intimation of this our Declaration, Leaving Copies of the samen Affixed upon the foresaid Merkat Cross, and other Patent Places of the foresaid Burgh.
Given at                Upon the 28th day of May 1685.
Let King JESUS Reign, and all His Enemies be Scattered;’ [204]

Second Sanquhar Declaration 1685


2 Responses to “Declarations – 1685 Second Sanquhar”

  1. […] which began on 23 April, and confirmed James VII.’s absolute authority soon after. Third, the Second Sanquhar Declaration proclaimed after the twentieth convention on 28 May, which appears to mark a potential end point […]

  2. […] a paper being written [i.e., the Second Sanquhar Declaration], was brought to this meeting [the twentieth convention], which conveened at Blachgannoch, on May […]

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