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tolary controversy ensued between his Majesty and the commissioners, the chief brunt of which, as our readers know, was borne by Henderson; but as usually happens with such controversies, it produced no agreement. In the same year that the unfortunate monarch was beheaded (1649), Guthrie was translated from Lauder, to the more public and important charge of Stirling, in which he remained till his death.
After Charles II. had been recalled to Scotland, and when the unfortunate contest between the Resolutioners and Protesters ensued, Guthrie espoused the principles of the latter, and advocated them with such energy, that he was soon recognised as the leader of the party. Such too was the importance which he attached to the cause, that in conjunction with his colleague, David Bennet, he preached against, and denounced from the pulpit the Laodicean policy of the Resolutioners, and their readiness to coalesce with malignants and scoffers for the defence of the king and covenant. This attack was so unpalatable both to the courtiers and the Resolutionist Presbyterians, that they united in denouncing the unsparing divines, and Guthrie and Bennet were forthwith cited to appear before the king at Perth, on the twenty-second of February 1651, to answer for their offence. They accordingly repaired to the appointed place; but instead of answering as enjoined, they gave in a declinature of the king's authority in ecclesiastical matters, their alleged offence having been committed in a For this vindication of their sacred rights as churchmen, they were warded, the one in Perth, and the other in Dundee. So far, however, were they from being daunted by this foretaste of persecution, that only six days after, they presented another pro
testation against the royal interference in things purely spiritual, expressed in still firmer language than before. This second document we give entire, notwithstanding its length, because it not only embodies the sentiments of our illustrious reformers on the connection between the civil and ecclesiastical authority, but also, because it formed the chief ground of accusation against Guthrie ten years afterwards, and for which he was brought to the scaffold.
"Whereas the King's majesty and your Lordships have been pleased, upon a narrative relating to our doctrine and ministerial duties, to desire and require us to repair to this place, against a certain day contained in your letter, to-wit, the 19th of February ; in answer whereunto, we excused ourselves that we could not so precisely come hither, because of bodily indisposition of the one of us, known to be of verity; promising withal to wait on his Majesty and your Lordships, as soon as the Lord shall remove the necessity of our delay; and in case of the not removal thereof, the other should come towards the end of that week, with the mind of both and we accordingly appearing before your Lordships, did show how willing we were to hear what was to be said unto us, and to answer thereunto, as is contained in our protestation and declaration formerly given into your Lordships thereanent. Yet nevertheless, in the interval of time betwixt his Majesty's and your Lordships' receipt and reading of our humble excuse, and appearance before your Lordships, it hath pleased his Majesty and the Committee of Estates, not only to require us to come again to this place, which upon the first letter we have been careful to do with all possible diligence, but also, to ordain, that we should stay
here, or at Dundee, till his Majesty's return from Aberdeen, that in a full meeting of the committee, such course might be taken, as might be found most conducing for the safety of that place where we serve in the ministry; as his Majesty and your Lordships' second letter of the date February 20. 1651 bears. Which letter, albeit it came not to our hands before the time of our appearing before your Lordships, and was then delivered and communicated to us, yet in relation thereunto, we have likewise offered to your Lordships assurance, that we should return hither against his Majesty's coming back from Aberdeen, until which time, his Majesty and your Lordships' letter did continue and delay the business, as also was declared by your Lordships at our appearance before you; notwithstanding whereof, your Lordships have not been pleased to accept of any such assurance, nor to allow us your liberty to repair to our charges, till that time. And albeit this seems strange to us, especially in a matter of our ministerial function, and yet in dependence between the church judicatories and us undecided, nevertheless, that we even should not so much as seem in any wise to irritate, yea, that offence be not in any wise taken by any, especially by the civil magistrate, do resolve, for preventing of mistakes, and testifying our respect to civil authority, to endeavour to satisfy such an appointment, so far as we can without prejudice to our conscience, and the liberties of our ministry, and the solemn bonds and obligations that lie upon us to preach the gospel in the stations where God sets us, adhering always to our former declaration and protestation.
"Likeas we do now protest, that we do not hereby acknowledge his Majesty and your Lordships to be
competent judges to presbyterial acts and letters, or our ministerial function, or preaching, or any part thereof, which are the subject-matter of your Lordships' letter, requisition, and ordinance, because that they are ecclesiastical, and belong to ecclesiastical assemblies, as the only proper judges thereof; and because neither the Presbytery of Stirling, who are the proper authors of the foresaid letter, which is the first ground of the foresaid requisition and ordinance, nor have we been convened therefore before any ecclesiastic judicatory, neither were ever convened, or convinced for breach of any ecclesiastical act in the premises; and so there has proceeded no antecedent sentence of the said judicatories, finding, that we have violated any act of the church in preaching against the present way of levy, or that we have ill or unwarrantably appealed from the commission of the General Assembly their desire and charge to us in that particular.
"And also we humbly protest, that there be reserved to us all remedy competent of the law against the injury we suffer, by being thus convened and confined by a civil judicatory, and having your liberty refused to us to return to our charges, notwithstanding of assurance offered to attend at the time to which our business is continued, seeing this procedure is contrary not only to divine law, the word of God, the covenant, and solemn engagements unto the acts of our church, but also to the acts of parliament and laws of this kingdom, and established rights, privileges, and liberties of the judicatories of the kirk.
"And upon supposal that his Majesty and your Lordships were competent judges of these things, which we do not acknowledge, but protest against,
for the reasons contained in this and our former protestation, and for many other reasons of that kind, yet the hearing of parties before judgment passed upon them being a part of that native liberty that is due to all men who do not by their wilful absence from, and contempt of the judicatory, forfault the same, as being founded on the light of nature, common equity and reason, and agreeable to the word of God, and laws of all nations; and the king's majesty and your Lordships having, in your first letter to us, propounded that method of proceeding with us: notwithstanding thereof, and our undertaking to compear in competent time, his Majesty and your Lordships have, without hearing us, passed such a judgment in reference to us; therefore, we also protest against such method of procedure, as being contrary to that liberty which is due to us, and which we may justly challenge as subjects, and which his Majesty and your Lordships are bound by the light of nature, law of God, the covenant, and laws of the land to maintain and preserve inviolable.
"And albeit we do not resolve, upon any consideration, to depart from this place, or from Dundee, where his Majesty and your Lordships have commanded us to stay till his Majesty's return from Aberdeen, but for preventing of mistakes, and testifying our respects to civil authority, to endeavour, as we have already declared, to satisfy such an appointment so far as we can without prejudice to our consciences, the liberty of our ministry, and the solemn bonds and obligations upon us to preach the gospel in the stations wherein God hath set us; yet do we protest, that our staying here, or at Dundee, may not be esteemed or interpreted an acknowledgment of the