Some convinced of the unlawfulness of the public resolutions and proceedings, in reference to the employing of the malignant party, yet do not find such clearness and satisfaction in their own consciences as to forbid the subjects to concur in this war, and associate with the army so constituted. Therefore it is needful to speak something to this point, That it is as unlawful for the subjects to associate and join in arms with that party as it is for the parliament to employ them. For these reasons:
1. The scriptures before cited against associations and confederacies with wicked and ungodly men do prove this. The command prohibiting conjunction with them and conversing, &c. is common both to magistrates and people, for the ground of it is common to both -- The people's insnaring, helping of the ungodly, &c. It were strange doctrine to say, that it is not lawful for the parliament to associate in war with the malignants, lest the people be insnared and yet it is lawful for the people to associate with them upon the command of the parliament, seeing the insnaring of the people hath a more immediate connexion with the people's conjunction with them nor(388) with the parliament's resolution about it. Had it not been a transgression in all the people to have joined with these men before the parliament's resolution about it? How then can their resolution intervening loose the people from their obligation to God's command? Shall it be no sin to me, because they sin before me? Can their going before me in the transgression, exempt me from the transgression of that same law which obliges both them and me? 2. The people were reproved for such associations as well as rulers, though they originated from the rulers. The prophets speak to the whole body. "What hast thou to do in the way of Egypt?" &c. Jer. ii.18. And Isa. xxxi. "Wo to them that go down to Egypt." Psal. cvi. "They mingled themselves," &c. The Lord instructed Isaiah, and in him all his own people, all the children whom God had given him, saying, "Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy," Isa. viii.12. When all the people were going on in such a mean of self defence, the Lord instructed him and the disciples among whom the testimony was sealed, that they should not walk in the way of this people. When Jehoshaphat was reproved for helping the ungodly, were not all his people reproved that went with him? They were the helpers of the ungodly as well as he. If Amaziah had refused to dismiss the army of Israel whom God was not with, doubtless it had been the subject's duty to testify against it, and refuse to concur and act in such a fellowship.
3. If the association and conjunction with malignants be only the sin of the parliament, and not the sin of the people, who do upon their command associate with them, then we cannot see how people can be guilty of association with malignants at any time, and in any case. To join with them in an ill cause is not lawful indeed. But neither may we join with good men in an evil cause. Suppose then the cause be good and necessary (as no war is just if it be not necessary), in what case or circumstances shall association with them be unlawful for the people? If it be said, in case the magistrate command it not, we think that strange divinity, that the sole command of the magistrate should make that our duty, which in absence of his command is our sin, and that not because of the absence of his command but from other perpetual grounds. Certainly, whenever association with them is a sin, it is not that which makes it a sin, because the magistrate commands it not, but because God forbids it. And it is as strange, that the unlawful and sinful resolution of parliament should make that lawful to me which otherwise had been unlawful. It is known that human laws oblige not, but as they have connexion with God's word. Now if that law, enjoining a confluence of all subjects for the defence of the kingdom, be contrary to the word, in as far as it holds out a conjunction with malignant and bloody men, how can it be lawful to me, in obedience to that ordinance, to associate with these men? If it be said to be lawful in the case of necessity, that same necessity is as strong a plea for the magistrate's employing them, as for the people's joining with them, and if it do not justify that, it cannot excuse this. If the lawfulness of the mean must be measured by the justice and necessity of the end, then certainly any mean shall be lawful in the case of just and necessary defence, then we may employ Irish cut throats, then we may go to the devil for help, if expediency to compass such a necessary and just end be the rule of the lawfulness of the mean.
4. The whole land is bound by the covenant and solemn engagement not to associate with the malignant party. Ergo, It is as sinful for the people to join with them as for the magistrate to employ them. Are we not all bound by covenant, to endeavour to bring malignants to condign punishment, and to look on them as enemies? And is not conjunction and confederacy with them, on the people's part, as inconsistent in its own nature with that duty, as the magistrate's employing them is inconsistent with his covenanted duty? When all the people did solemnly engage themselves not to join any more with the people of these abominations, was the meaning of it, we shall not join until our rulers join first, or, we shall not join with them in an ill cause? No indeed, but, we shall not employ them in a good cause, or join with any party of them in it. If that engagement be upon every one in their station, let us consider what every man's station in the work is. The ruler's station and calling is to choose instruments, and levy forces for the defence thereof. The subjects station and calling is, to concur in that work, by rising in defence of the cause and kingdom. Now, what did the subject then engage unto? Certainly, unless we mock God, we must say, that as the magistrate engaged not to employ that ungodly generation in a good cause, so the subject engaged not to join with any such party even in a good cause. If this be not the meaning of our engagements and vows, we see not how the subjects are in capacity to break them, as to that precise point of association.
In sum, All the reasons that are brought to prove the unlawfulness of the public resolutions, may with a little variation be proportionably applied to this present question. Therefore we add no more but a word to an objection or two.
Objection 1. A necessary duty, such as self preservation is, cannot be my sin. But it is the subject's necessary duty to rise in defence of the kingdom. Ergo,
Answer. A necessary duty cannot be a sin in itself, but it may be a sin in regard of some circumstances, in which it ceases to be a necessary duty. It is a necessary duty to defend the kingdom. But it is neither a duty nor necessary to do it in such a conjunction and fellowship, but rather a sin. If I cannot preserve myself, but by an unlawful mean, then self preservation in such circumstances is not my duty.
Objection 2. Jonathan did assist Saul in a war against the Philistines invading the land, and no doubt many godly joined and died in battle. Now this is commended in scripture, as may be seen in David's funeral(389) upon them, although it was known that Saul was an hater of God's people and a persecutor, and that God had a controversy with him, and that these 3,000 that assisted him against David were also ungodly and wicked men.
Answer 1. These scriptures speak nothing to commend that particular act of Jonathan's conjunction in war with his father. David in his epitaph speaks much to the commendation of both Saul and Jonathan, as of excellent warriors, and of Jonathan as a kind and constant friend to him, but there is nothing touched of that point. If that place be pressed, it will follow with much more evidence, that Saul was as good a man as Jonathan, and that the people of God had great loss in his death. But none of these must be pressed rigorously from a speech wherein he vents his affection and grief.2. Suppose the natural bond of Jonathan to Saul his father, and the civil bonds of the people to Saul their king, did oblige them to join with him against the common enemy, yet we think they ought not to have associated with these persecuting servants, and the 3,000 that pursued David, but they ought to have pleaded for a purging of the army.3. It is not probable that there were many godly persons employed in that army. David complains of that time, (Psal. xii.) that the godly man ceased, and the faithful from among the children of men and that the wicked walked round about when the vilest men were exalted.4. Many of the laws of God have not been much taken notice of, even by godly men, until the Lord hath taken occasion to reprove them particularly, and so to mind(390) them of their duty. It is likely the rule, (Deut. xxiii.) had not been considered till the time of Jehoshaphat and Amaziah.(391) However it be, they had not so many solemn and particular ties of oaths, and covenants, and vows, and confessions, as we have lying on us.5. Let no man wonder that such particular escapes are not always reproved in scripture, who considers that the fathers' polygamy, though so frequent among them, was not laid to their charge.
Objection 3. Separation from the army, because of the sin of magistrates, in employing such unqualified persons, is paralleled to separation from church worship, because of the sin of the false worshippers, and because the guides of the church do not exclude them. Answer 1. We have particular commands about this, and many examples of it, which we have not about separation from a true church, and lawful worship. Union and conjunction with an enemy renders conjunction, and their fellowship, more dangerous and infectious than conjunction in a church state. Judah might not separate from these Israelites in lawful ordinances, or from the ordinance [because] of their presence. And yet they might not help them nor take help from them. Paul did not exhort any to separate from the worship at Corinth, because of the presence of scandalous persons at it and yet he charges them not to converse with such brethren as walk disorderly. Notwithstanding of union in church and state, we may look on many as such as should not be joined with in some other bonds. It is not lawful for a godly man to marry a profane woman, though a visible professor, he may not join in such a tie, although he ought not to separate from church worship for her presence. Besides, there is a conjunction in arms for one cause, as necessarily makes men partakers of the same blessings and cursings, and therefore we should give the more diligent heed, when we partake with them in lawful things.3. Are we all tied, by such particular oaths and solemn vows, not to join with the scandalous persons of a congregation in lawful worship, as we are, not to associate with the malignant party in the defence of the cause of God, and kingdom? It cannot be said. Therefore the cases are not paralleled.
We shall close all with a testimony of one of the Lord's most faithful witnesses, Mr. Gillespie, whose light in this case was once very seasonably held forth, and effectual to the preventing of the declining of this land and we hope it will not be wholly forgotten by them, with whom it had weight then. In his letter to the General Assembly, 1648, he sayeth, "I am not able to express all the evils of compliance, they are so many. Sure I am, it were a hardening of the malignant party, a wounding of the hearts of the godly, a great scandal to our brethren of England, an infinite wronging of those who, from their affection to the covenant and cause of God, have taken their life in their hand, who, as they have been strengthened and encouraged, by the hearing of the zeal and integrity of the well affected in this kingdom, and how they oppose the late Engagement, so they would be as much scandalized to hear of a compliance with malignants now. Yea, all that hear of it may justly stand amazed at us, and look on us as a people infatuated, that can take in our bosom the fiery serpents, that have stung us so sore. But above all, that which would heighten these sins to the heavens is this, that it were not only a horrible backsliding, but a backsliding into that very sin, which was especially pointed at, and punished by the prevalency of the malignant party, God justly making them thorns and scourges, who were taken in as friends, without any real evidence, or fruits of repentance. Alas! shall we split twice upon this same rock, yea, run upon it, when God has set a beacon on it? Shall we be so demented as to fall back to the same sin, which was engraven in great letters in our late judgment? Yea, I may say, shall we thus out face and out dare the Almighty, by protecting his and our enemies, when he is persecuting them, by making peace and friendship with them, when the anger of the Lord is burning against them, by setting them on their feet, when God hath cast them down? O! shall neither judgments nor deliverances make us wise? I must here apply to our condition the words of Ezra, 'And after all this is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespasses, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hath given such deliverance us this, should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations, wouldest thou not be angry with us till thou hast consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping?' O happy Scotland! if thou canst now improve aright, and not abuse this golden opportunity, but if thou wilt help the ungodly, or love them that hate the Lord, wrath upon wrath, and woe upon woe, shall be upon thee from the Lord.
"This testimony of a dying man (who expects to stand shortly before the tribunal of Christ) I leave with you my reverend brethren," &c. And again in his Testimony against association and compliance with malignants, written two days before his death, he says, "Seeing now, in all appearance, the time of my dissolution is very near, although I have, in my latter will, declared my mind of public affairs, yet I have thought good to add this further testimony, that I esteem the malignant party in these kingdoms the seed of the serpent, enemies to piety, and Presbyterian government, (pretend what they will to the contrary,) a generation that have not set God before them. With the malignants are to be joined the profane and scandalous, from all which, as also from heresies, and errors, the Lord I trust is about to purge his churches. I have often comforted myself, and still do, with the hopes of the Lord's purging of this polluted land, surely the Lord has begun, and will carry on that great work of mercy, and will purge out the rebels. I know there will be always a mixture of hypocrites, but that cannot excuse the conniving at gross and scandalous sinners. This purging work, which the Lord is about, very many have directly opposed, and said, by their deeds, we will not be purged nor refined, but we will be joining, and mixing ourselves with those whom the ministers preach against, as malignant enemies to God and his cause. But let him that is filthy, be filthy still, and let wisdom be justified of her children. I recommend to them that fear God, sadly and seriously to consider, that the Holy Scripture doth plainly hold forth, 1. That the helping of the enemies of God, or joining and mingling with wicked men, is a sin highly displeasing.2. That this sin hath ordinarily insnared God's people into divers other sins.3. That it hath been punished of God with grievous judgments.4. That utter destruction is to be feared, when a people, after great mercies and judgments, relapse into this sin, Ezra ix.13, 14. Upon the said and the like grounds, for my own exoneration, that so necessary a truth want not the testimony of a dying witness of Christ, also the unworthiest of many thousands, and that light may be held forth, and warning given, I cannot be silent at this time, but speak by my pen, when I cannot by my tongue; yea, now also by the pen of another, when I cannot by my own; seriously and in the name of Jesus Christ, exhorting all that fear God, and make conscience of their ways, to be very tender and circumspect, to watch and pray that they be not insnared in that great dangerous sin of conjunction, or compliance with malignant or profane enemies of the truth, under whatsomever prudential considerations it may be varnished over, which if men will do, and trust God in his own way, they shall not only not repent it, but to their greater joy and peace of God's people, they shall see his work go on, and prosper gloriously. In witness to the premises, I have subscribed the same with my hand at Kirkaldy,(392) December 15th, 1648. Mr. Frederick Carmichael,(393) at Markinch, and Mr. Alex Moncreiff,(394) minister at Scoonie,