Willison’s Testimony: Prefatory Statement by the Transcriber



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Willison - Postscript 224:
who will not adventure to swear such an oath; and will our brethren, notwithstanding, take it on them to reject them as earthen pitchers, and refuse all communion with them? Oh, where have they their Master's warrant to act so, or to exclude his re­deemed ones from his table, and the food he hath provided for them, for refusing an oath of their

framing, containing so many things false, unchari­table and dark? when in the mean time these ex­cluded persons appear evidently to be the Friends of Christ, whom he himself invites most heartily, saying to them, Cant. v. 1.—Eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.

I acknowledge that our brethren appear and de­clare for many things valuable and excellent, for which I wish there were a true universal zeal throughout the land; but, when they mix so many other things choking with these in their Testimonies and Covenants, how can they expect that people of tender consciences should swallow them. Nay, by this way they give occasion to many to slight and speak evil of the precious things they stand up for.—My reverend brethren may believe (if they please) that I write not these things with any ill will against them, but out of love to them and others, to prevent more sin in the land, and to bring them, if possible, to a more moderate, chari­table and Christ like temper, that they may be wil­ling to break down these partition walls they are setting up between themselves and others of Christ’s ministers and people. O how lamentable a thing is it, that orthodox and zealous preachers of Christ should be carried away to such extrava­gant heights, by the intemperate zeal and head­strong humours of others who join with them! that they should go about this manner to divide
Willison - Postscript 225:
and distract the flock of Christ, and to rend and tear the members of his body one from another; yea, and to rear up partition walls in the midst of his church so high, that these upon one side cannot get over them to hold communion with the other! Is this good service to the Lord Jesus Christ! Is this the way to promote his cause and interest in the world? Is this the way to heal breaches and promote union among the true friends and lovers of Christ, ,which he makes the duty of all faithful gospel Ministers? Is not our glorious Master the prince of Peace? Hath he not said, Blessed are the peace makers? Was it not he that prayed for the union and peace of his church? Was it not he that recommended peace to us, and enjoined us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem? Let none mistake me, as if I were for peace on any terms; for they may see by the foregoing Testimony I am for truth as well as peace, and desire through grace to be zealous for both.

Some, who have seen this Testimony, object, That it is not impartial with respect to Mr. Whitefield’s success while he was in Scotland. The plain truth is, several things were said relative to it, where he is mentioned, p. 176, which were dropped to gratify some of the subscribers, who were not then satisfied as to the facts narrated. But, since that time I am well informed of the lasting good effects of his ministry upon not a few in and about Edinburgh and elsewhere, who once were careless and profane, but now are wonderfully changed and reformed, and still living as becometh Christians, persevering in the ways of the Lord; though at the same time I know no reason to make him the instrument of that extraordinary work at Cambulslang, Kilsyth and other places, but to


Willison - Postscript 226:
ascribe it, under God, to the ministry of their own worthy pastors, whom God made instrumental both to begin and carry on that work a good time before Mr. Whitefield came to preach at any of these places. But seeing God hath honoured Mr. Whitefield's ministry in other nations and coun­tries (though ordained a minister of the church of England) and also had opened his eyes so far, as to become Calvinist and sound in the doctrine of grace, and to witness against several corruptions of the English church, for which he was persecuted and under process; and seeing he had conformed to us in doctrine and worship, professed to lye o­pen to instruction as to our constitution and govern­ment, and was come at length to assert openly Christ to be the King and Head of his church, and that the church of Scotland was the best constitute national church in the world; and also had wrote and said some other things that gave ground to hope that his eyes might soon be opened to see the evil of Prelacy; and in the mean time he was most indefatigable in preaching Christ to sinners, and remarkably owned of God in his ministry: To have refused a kind reception to a stranger and persecuted man, in such circumstances when he came among us, had neither been charitable nor generous. Now, for the brethren to make this re­ception such a sin, that none can be admitted to baptism or the Lord's supper without condemning it by a solemn oath, is most surprising; especially considering they were the first themselves who re­commended him to the people of Scotland, and that in very strong terms! Surely it becomes us to be silent, and adore the sovereignty of the great God, in employing whom he will to promote his interest and kingdom in the world. If God think fit to
Willison - Postscript 227:
make use of Mr. Whitefield or other Methodists to turn sinners from their evil ways, to seek after a Saviour, and God through him, we should not oppose it, but let them alone, lest haply we be found fighting against God. We must not limit an Agent that is infinitely wise and sovereign in his actings, who may raise up the instruments of his glory from churches and societies he pleases, and sometimes glorifies his free grace the more by bringing them from these airths it could have been least expected. And frequently God doth honour and employ some to awaken, convince, convert and reclaim sinners from their evil ways, who yet remain unenlightened all their days as to several points of truth themselves: witness Luther and many of our reformers. To confine an infinitely sovereign Lord to our ways and means of working in advancing his kingdom, is it sin most grieving and provoking unto God.—He makes it one of his greatest quarrels with his professing people in the wilderness, that they tempted God, and limited the holy One of Israel, Psal. lxxviii. 41. It is fit then that we lay our hands upon our mouths, and adore him that doth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: And none can stay his hand, or say unto him, what dost thou? Dan. iv. 35.

I doubt not but some may quarrel me and this Testimony, for making too free with the Associate Brethren: but they may see I have been as plain and free with others, and even with the established church, relating to things I judge wrong; and this seemed to be necessary to render the Testimony the more impartial. But, after all, when I look inward, and view the sins of my own heart, and the sad corruption of my nature, besides outward


Willison - Postscript 228:
defects; I have reason to blush and be ashamed to take notice of the sins and failings of others; and even to lie in the dust, and cry, Unclean, un­clean; and with much self-abhorrence to look to­wards the blood of Jesus, that cleanseth us from all sin. May the holy Spirit apply it to me and the whole land!

I shall now conclude with my interest wishes and prayers,

that the Lord may excite a pray­ing remnant, to wrestle and be importunate with him

for sparing mercy to these guilty nations; and that he would revive a covenanted work of reformation through Britain and Ireland, and the dominions thereto belonging, from which these lands have wofully departed; and uphold and encourage all who breathe after reforma­tion, and the coming of Christ's kingdom in the world; and

even countenance more and more these instruments who, according to the light

given them, labour with earnestness to awa­ken perishing sinners from their lost natural e­state, to flee to a crucified Jesus for safety from sin and wrath; and, wherein any of them remain unenlightened, that the Lord would send out his light and truth, to lead them, and graciously de­liver them from all mistakes, errors and corruptions whatsomever: That what they see not, the Father of lights may teach them, that so they may be honoured more and more to bring multitudes from following sinful courses, to the ways of true religion and gospel-holiness; and from resting on their own righteousness, or a form of godliness, to come and embrace him who is the Lord our Righteousness, and follow him whithersoever he goeth.


And particularly,
That the Lord would come
Willison - Postscript 229:
and revive his work in Scotland, that once was famous through all the churches, and esteemed one of the most bright and shining, Candlesticks of Christ in the world, but now under a lamentable decay of zeal for pure religion and reformation; and that he would cause us remember with godly sorrow from whence we have fallen, repent, and do our first works.—That he would pity these who, Gallio-like, are indifferent and unconcerned about our defections, and the grounds of the Lord’s controversy which he is pleading with the land, and awaken these who are at ease in Zion, in such a time, and would fain sit down, Issachar-like, and couch under the burden.—That he would come suddenly to his temple, even in a national way, and sit as a Refiner and Purifier of silver, and purify the sons of Levi, and cast out buyers and sellers out of his house.—That he would in mercy shut that door whereby a corrupt ministry enters into the church, and raise up a faithful, zealous and reforming ministry through the land, and make all ranks among us concerned to attain to the reforming spirits and dispositions of our fathers.—Oh! when shall we come their length in reformation!

That the Lord would help us to bless him for his astonishing kindness to this land, in such a backsliding, withering and decaying time, in vouchsafing to water several spots of his vineyard here and there with the refreshing rain of his Spirit: And that he would continue, increase, and spread the shower, until the whole garden be watered; that so our dry ground may become a green pasture, and our wilderness blossom as the rose.—That in his free mercy he would forgive our ingratitude for former kindness,


Willison - Postscript 230:
preserve us from the errors, power and cruelty of Papists, and avert these black clouds of wrath which now threaten us; and that, instead of pouring out the vials of indignation on us which we deserve, he would pour out a spirit of repentance and reformation upon all degrees of men from the highest to the lowest.—That amidst the reelings, shakings, backslidings and divisions of these times, he would preserve pure religion, and support all these who desire to cleave to the Lord Jesus, love him in sincerity, and witness for his truths and ways;—That he would encou­rage them under all their discouragements, and keep them from being carried down the stream of defection with others.—That he would unite the hearts and minds of all that desire honestly to witness against the evils of the day, and help them to temper their zeal with knowledge, wis­dom and meekness; and graciously forgive all these who fail in this respect, rectify their mistakes, and honour them to be instruments of his glory in the land.
This is and shall be the earn­est prayer of
Jo. Willison.
July 9th, 1744.
This Adherence to this Testimony was signed at Hespieshaw in Teviotdale, on the 26th of July 1744, by
Tho. Hardie, Elder.

THE CONTENTS.



[231]

Page

Christianity planted early in Scotland, and promoted by king Donald and

king Donald and king Crathilinth. 25


Opposed by Druides, but advanced by the Culdees, who

were Presbyterian 26


Presbytery continued until Paladius came from Rome,

and set tip Prelacy 28


The LoIlards of Kyle, and Mr. Patrick Hamilton persecuted for

the truth ibid.


The Reformation, and Presbytery established in Scotland 29
The national covenant entered into, with remarkable

signs of God's presence 30


Prelacy again set up, and attended with long defection

and persecution 32


Persecuted ministers blessed with great success in

preaching the word ibid.


God's appearing for this oppressed church, and the na­tional

covenant renewed 33


The Ass. at Glasgow, and Presb. re‑established in 1638 34
Reformation carried on, and the Solemn League entered

into with England 36


Good things done by the English parliament and Westminster

Assembly ibid.


A noble act of the Scots parliament against patronages 37
The woful breach betwixt the public resolutioners and

protestors 39


Cromwell's toleration, and K Charles II his restoration 40
Presbytery and the covenants demolished, and Prelacy

re‑established 42

Mr. Guthrie, Argyll and Waristoun executed 43
Many Presbyterian ministers ejected, and the covenants

burnt 44


The cruel laws against Presbyterian meetings for worship 45
The indulgence granted to some with limitations considered 46
The Test and wicked oaths imposed, plunder and murder authorised 47
The dreadful bloodshed of that reign; king James a Papist

his dispensing power 49


King James his toleration, and its limitations, considered 50
The deliverance of this church by king William 51
Presbytery restored, and persecuted acts anti laws re­pealed. 53
The general ass. 1690, their answer to the king's letter 55
Masters Linning, Shields and Boyd received by the as­sembly,

and other good things done 57


Willison - Contents 232:

Page


A national fast appointed by the assembly, with an enumeration of sins 58
Things wished for, which they did not: Their difficulties noticed 59
The faithfulness and zeal of assembly 1692, when dis­solved 60
Many good things done by general assemblies after the Revolution 61
The zeal of our assemblies for propagating Christian knowledge

at home and abroad 62


The success of charity-schools in the Highlands and Islands 63
Complaints against the assembly for not passing asser­tory acts 65
The principles of this church as to Presbytery, Christ's headship,

the covenants, &c. 66

The conduct of this church with respect to the union 1706 69

The bad effects of the Union in Scotland with respect to religion 71


The assembly's zeal against the English service, Sab­bath‑breaking, &c. 73
The church's zeal against the toleration act 75
The church's address against restoring patronages 77
Memorial of Assembly 1715 against toleration, patron­age,

Sacramental Test, &c. 78


The trial of this church with respect to the oath of abju­ration 80
The Commission’s seasonable warning against the arti­fices of

Jacobites 1713 83


Our deliverance from the rebellion in 1715, and unthankfulness for it 85
Mr. Webster's process against Professor Simpson, and

the Assembly's lenity to him 86


The assembly's hasty condemnation of the Marrow, &c. 88
The favourable law 1719 about patronage, accepting pre­sentations,

how brought in 90


Patronage proven to be a sinful usurpation over the church of God 93
Accepting of presentations proven to be sinful 96
The Assembly's sad neglect to discourage these acceptances at the first 100
When and how intrusions began to be common in the church 101
Arguments for the rights of congregations, and against intrusiens 103
Willison - Contents 233:

Page


Independency, and new doctrines, propagated by Mr. Glas and Mr. Archbald 111
Professor Simson processed for Avian doctrine, and

suspended 113


Representation and petition of 42 ministers concerning

church grievances 117


Act of assembly 1732 concerning the planting of churches,

worse than the act or parliament 1690 122


Act of assembly 1649 not favourable to intrusions, and

the meaning of causeless Prejudices 129


The church not obliged by the laws to make intrusions 130
Mr. Ebenezer Erskine censured for his synodical sermon 132
Four protesting ministers suspended and ejected 133
The brethren's stiffness and contempt of the authority of the church 134
Their precipitant secession, and constituting a new presbytery 136
The faithful endeavours of assembly 1734 to redress grievances 138
Several good things done by Assembly 1735 and Assembly 1736 141
An excellent act in favor of true gospel preaching 142
Of legal preaching, and how morality should be preached by gospel‑ministers 143
The excellency of preaching Christ crucified 146
The danger of neglecting to preach Christ, and of right dividing the word 151
Professor Campbell processed for error 152
An attempt to alter our Shorter Catechism condemned 154
Reading the act about Captain Porteous a great trial to this church 155
Principal Wishart processed for error 158
Superficial processes, and easy absolutions, testified against ibid.
The Seceding Brethren libelled and cited to the General Assembly 160
Remarks upon the Assembly's sentence deposing them 161
The wrong steps of the Seceding Brethren witnessed against 163
The mistakes and slanders of their testimony, &c. 169
The defections of the Episcopal Clergy to Popish errors 171
Remarkable instances of the effusions of God's Spirit abroad and at home 173
The Oxford Methodists their labours and success 174
Willison - Contents 234:

Page


The extraordinary work at Cambuslang, Kilsyth, and other parishes in Scotland. 178
The evidences of its being a glorious work of the Spirit of God 179
The opposition of the Seceders to this blessed work considered 181
Scripture instances of bodily distresses of persons con­vinced, &c. 182
A sum of the errors, Corruptions aud defections here witnessed against 187
Many of the God dishonouring sins and evils of the land enumerate 191
The heinous aggravations of these sins 195
How desperate like our case appears; and, when it is so, what must be done 199
Humble pleadings with our Mother to testify against the errors which abound 200
To testify against encroachments upon Christ’s Head­ship over his church 202
To do something more for relieving congregations from

patronage and intrusions 203


To appoint national fasts, and particularize the grounds and causes thereof 206
To deliberate upon methods and means for reviving practical godliness 208
Reasons why some things are omitted in this Testimony and so few sign it 210
The adherence and subscriptions 211

POSTSCRIPT.


Containing Remarks upon Mr. Leechman'a sermon, and upon the Acts of the Associate

Presbytery, concerning the doctrine of grace, and the renewing of the Covenants;

and upon their act anent [regarding] the terms of Ministerial and Christian Communion, February fourteen, 1744. Toge­ther with some Observations relating to Mr. Whitefield's success while he was in Scotland. And, lastly, Some con­cluding wishes and ejaculations for pity to these lands, and for the revival reformation and true Christianity therein.
FINIS.

SUBSCRIBERS’ NAMES.


STATE OF PENSYLVANIA.

Allegheny County.
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Jas. M'Elroy

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Jas. Cubbage

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Wm. Tidball, jr.

John Given, jr.

Jacob Cantreberry

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David Hall

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John M'Kean

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Hannah Barr

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Harman Skiles

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APPENDIX


A Complimentary Subject Index to

Willison’s Testimony


Compiler’s note: This subject index is not exhaustive and meant only to supplement the “Contents” found in the work itself. When there is an indented list, either the first entry is of the same subject matter or the indented list that follows contains different subjects found on the same page. At times, subjects may occur more than once in the list. The list mainly follows the chronological sequence of pages and subjects found therein. Therefore, various subjects will be found more than once.
GENERAL

Preface ………………………………………………………… iii

Testimony …………………………………………………….. 25

Advertisement ………………………………………………… 210

Adherence ……………………………………………………. 211

Postscript, 1st ………….……………………………………… 212

Contents ………………………………………………………. 231

Postscript, 2nd ………. ………………………………………. 234

Subscriber’s Names …………………………………………. 235

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