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The Ordinance of Covenanting (1843) by John Cunningham

KJV WBS Leviticus You shall eat neither bread, nor roasted grain, nor fresh grain, until this same day, until you have brought the offering of your God. This is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. See NIV Leviticus You shall make proclamation on the same day: there shall be a holy convocation to you; you shall do no regular work.

This is a statute forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. See NIV Leviticus You may not do any sort of work: this is an order for ever through all your generations wherever you may be living. See NIV Leviticus And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year; it is a statute for ever in your generations; ye shall keep it in the seventh month.

See NIV Leviticus Without the veil of the testimony, in the tent of meeting, shall Aaron order it from evening to morning before the LORD continually; it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations. See NIV Numbers They shall leave none of it unto the morning, nor break any bone of it: according to all the ordinances of the passover they shall keep it. You shall have one statute, both for the foreigner, and for him who is born in the land.

KJV WBS Numbers But the Levites shall do the service of the Tent of Meeting, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations; and among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance. See NIV Numbers This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke: KJV WBS Numbers He who gathers the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: and it shall be to the children of Israel, and to the stranger who lives as a foreigner among them, for a statute forever.

See NIV Numbers It shall be a perpetual statute to them: and he who sprinkles the water for impurity shall wash his clothes, and he who touches the water for impurity shall be unclean until even.

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See NIV Numbers If his father has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to his kinsman who is next to him of his family, and he shall possess it: and it shall be to the children of Israel a statute and ordinance , as Yahweh commanded Moses. YLT 1 Kings And they call with a loud voice, and cut themselves, according to their ordinance , with swords and with spears, till a flowing of blood 'is' on them; YLT 2 Kings and looketh, and lo, the king is standing by the pillar, according to the ordinance , and the heads, and the trumpets, 'are' by the king, and all the people of the land are rejoicing, and blowing with trumpets, and Athaliah rendeth her garments, and calleth, 'Conspiracy!

YLT 1 Chronicles For because you didn't carry it at first, Yahweh our God made broke out against us, because we didn't seek him according to the ordinance. This is an ordinance forever to Israel. They kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according to the ordinance. Every one of your righteous ordinances endures forever.

KJV WBS Isaiah Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways: as a nation that did righteousness, and didn't forsake the ordinance of their God, they ask of me righteous judgments; they delight to draw near to God. But these with one accord have broken the yoke, and burst the bonds. See JPS Jeremiah Yea, the stork in the heavens knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle-dove and the swallow and the crane observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the law of Jehovah. YLT Ezekiel Concerning the ordinance of oil, the bath of oil, ye shall offer the tenth part of a bath out of the cor, which is an homer of ten baths; for ten baths are an homer: KJV WBS Ezekiel You shall prepare a meal offering with it morning by morning, the sixth part of an ephah, and the third part of a hin of oil, to moisten the fine flour; a meal offering to Yahweh continually by a perpetual ordinance.

Seek righteousness. Seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden in the day of Yahweh's anger. Ordinance: Insufficiency of, for Salvation. Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary. Orderly arrangement; preparation; provision. There are many and forcible reasons. The present is a time when reformation is demanded both in church and state. A time of peculiar temptations to draw back. A time of misunderstanding and misapprehension among professors. A time when the faithful performance of the duty may operate as a means of conviction upon the enemies of truth.


A time of suffering. A time in which it is necessary to revive the sense of covenant obligation, which has lamentably declined, and is very feeble in the hearts of professors. Has not God, in his providence, given us, in modern times, several interesting illustrations of this divine ordinance of covenanting? The existence of such federal deeds can be distinctly traced in the writings of Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and others of the early Christian fathers.

During the dark ages, the testimony of the Waldenses and of the Bohemian brethren to the practice can be easily adduced. In more modern times it is well ascertained to have prevailed in all the Reformed churches of the continent-in Germany, France, Switzerland, and the Netherlands The league of Smalcalde, for example. But the examples in which we take the deepest interest, and in which we have the fullest embodiment of the principle in question, are those given in the British Isles; viz.

When and by whom was the National Covenant taken, and repeatedly renewed? At Edinburgh, on the 28th of July, , the National Covenant was sworn. Being cheerfully taken and subscribed by persons of all ranks throughout the land, under the direction of the constituted authorities, both civil and religious, it amounted to a solemn national surrender of the kingdom to the Lord. Afterwards, in , when the liberties of the church were threatened by both domestic and foreign invasions, this celebrated bond was ratified anew, under the direction of two commissions, the one consisting of 96 ministers, the other of of the nobility and gentry, who were authorized to obtain subscriptions; and with such success was this business executed, under the good favour of God, that in two years thereafter, an act, ratifying the liberties of the church, and settling the Presbyterian church government in Scotland, was obtained from the king and parliament.

This covenant, with some additional clauses, was sworn to with great unanimity and effect at the commencement of the second reformation, in , "a step which was loudly called for by the insidious attempt then made to impose, by royal authority, the Book of Ecclesiastical Canons, and thus to blot out every vestige of the reformed religion and discipline from the land. What was the substance of this interesting deed? This deed formally abjured all the corruptions of the Popish system; expressed unequivocal attachment to the Confession of Faith, which, indeed, it comprehended; and embodied a clause in which the covenanters called upon God to witness the sincerity of their hearts in the solemn transaction.

What was the occasion of the Solemn League and Covenant? It was occasioned by the struggle maintained by an arbitrary and Popishly affected court against the friends of reformation and liberty in the British Isles. When was this celebrated deed prepared and taken? It was prepared by Alexander Henderson, received the approbation of the general assembly and the convention of estates, and was cordially subscribed by all persons of all ranks in Scotland, in the year Having been deliberately examined by the venerable assembly of divines at Westminster, it was solemnly sworn in the Church of St.

Margaret's, Westminster, by both houses of parliament, by the assembly of divines, and by persons of different ranks generally throughout England. In Ireland, too, it was joyfully received by many of the Protestant population in the south, and by almost the whole body in the north; although, from the distracted state of things in that country, it could not possibly obtain the same legislative sanction as in the other two kingdoms.

The Ordinance of Covenanting

This deed was formally and repeatedly ratified by parliament especially in and '49; and solemnly taken and subscribed by Charles II. What were the main objects of this famous deed? These were "the preservation of the reformed religion in Scotland, and the reformation of religion in England and Ireland, and the bringing of the churches in the three kingdoms to the nearest conformity, in doctrine, worship, discipline, and government. Is not the second article of this instrument, in which it is said, "We shall endeavour the extirpation of Popery, prelacy, superstition, heresy, schism, profaneness, and whatsoever shall be found contrary to sound doctrine and the power of godliness," chargeable with asserting persecuting principles?

There is nothing here which savours of persecution. There are certainly various methods of rooting out errors besides the anti-Christian one of putting to death the persons who hold them. The heresies, not the heretics, were what the Covenanters had in view in the article in question. Were not the Covenants enforced by "civil pains? This charge is founded upon the Act of Parliament, , enjoining the subscription of the National Covenant.

To this it is answered: 1. There is no evidence to prove that the subscription was not voluntary; but persons who had the best opportunities of knowing have declared that 'no threatenings were used, except of the deserved judgments of God, and no force except the force of reason.

Liberty to subscribe was withheld in the case of some, till there should be time to try their sincerity, and to prove that they acted from love to the cause, and not from the fear of man. Besides it ought to be borne in mind that these instruments had a civil as well as religious object; and that, although the latter might not warrant the infliction of "civil pains," the same restrictions did not apply to the former, and they ought, in candour, to be judged of in this complex character in which they were framed, enacted, sworn, and promoted.

Moreover, there is good reason to think that all that this vexed and startling phrase in the act in question was ever intended to provide for was, that the covenants should be employed as tests of qualification for office, or proof of the candidate's attachment to the Reformation.

Exclusion from places of power and trust, it is believed, is all that can be proved ever to have been inflicted under this obnoxious act.

Ordinance Covenanting

The phrase, "under all civil pains," when taken literally, and viewed by itself, may be deemed formidable looking enough, and calculated to call up, in the imaginations of the timid and weak, the frightful ideas of fines, confiscations, imprisonments, executions, and similar "chimeras dire;" but when fairly interpreted by the light of history, it dwindles very innocently into-"no seat in parliament. This is perfectly in conformity with the principle and practice of Israel's best king.

David cut off the horns, but not the heads, of the wicked. He deprived them of civil authority, and conferred office upon the righteous only; for "the wicked was his experience walk on every side when the vilest men are exalted? Is it not a valid objection to these deeds that they improperly blend civil and religious matters? They were necessitated, therefore, to frame their measures with a view to the removal of evils, and the accomplishment of ends, both of religious and political character; they had to have respect at once to the interests of the church, and those of the civil community.

Was not the taking of the covenants a most deliberate, solemn, and sublime transaction? Truly so. These all bespeak deliberation as well as determination. Well might Henderson exclaim, 'This was the day of the Lord's power, wherein He saw his people most willingly offer themselves in multitudes like the dew-drops of the morning.

Was not the influence of these covenants highly beneficial? God smiled on the work, and "by the outpouring of his spirit gave the testimony of the divine approbation. Religion prospered, and the schemes of enemies were overthrown. Andrews, when he heard of the renovation of the national covenant, 'now all that we have been doing these thirty years past is thrown down at once.

The ordinances were lively and longed after. Then did the nation own the Lord, and was visibly owned by him; much zeal and an enlarged heart did appear for the public cause; personal application was seriously set about; and then also was there a remarkable call of providence that did attend the actings of this people, which did astonish their adversaries, and forced many of them to feign subjection.

We believe it has been greatly owing to the covenants of our fathers, to which a faithful and gracious God has hitherto had respect.

It was not the ocean that surrounds us; it was not the number and prowess of our fleets and armies, nor the wisdom of our councils when invasion was threatened but the sword of the Lord, and the buckler of his favour that saved us. Are not these covenants still obligatory upon the British Isles? The parties also still continue-the eternal and unchangeable God on the one hand, and the British nation on the other.

Nations having a moral and even religious character, it must be admitted, are competent to enter into such solemn engagements; and those of which we speak were in every point of view national deeds; they were framed and concluded by the representatives of the kingdom; they were taken by the call and authority of those in power; they were sworn in a public capacity; they were ratified and confirmed by public legislative acts; the public faith was plighted by all the organs through which a nation is accustomed to express its mind and will.

Sanctions less sacred; pledges less numerous and formal, would have entitled another nation to demand from Britain the fulfilment of any treaty or contract; and shall not God, who was not only a witness, but a party, nay, the principal party in these transactions, and whose honour and interests were immediately concerned, be regarded as having a claim to see that the stipulations are fulfilled?

The individuals that compose it, like the particles of matter in the human body, pass away, and are succeeded by others, but the body politic continues essentially the same. Have the pledges given by the nation been yet redeemed? Do not the principal stipulations in the covenant remain unfulfilled at this day? Are we not a people still bound by that engagement to see these things done? Has the lapse of time cancelled the bond?

Or will a change of sentiments and views set us free from its tie? Is it not the duty of all the friends of the reformation to endeavour to keep alive a sense of this obligation on the public mind? But although all ranks and classes in the nation should lose impressions of it, and although there should not be a single religious denomination, nor even a single individual in the land to remind them of it, will it not be held in remembrance by ONE, with whom a thousand years are as one day, and one day as a thousand years?

Ordinance Covenanting - AbeBooks

Does not great guilt rest upon the British nation for its treatment of these covenants, and for the blood of the covenanters? A fearful weight of guilt. It is also a well known fact, that under royal authority, the covenants were publicly burned by the hands of the common hangman, at London, in , at Linlithgow the year following, and afterwards at Edinburgh. It is painful to be obliged to record, that, at the revolution in , which extinguished the fires of persecution consuming the adherents of the covenants , and put an end to the tyrannous rule of the Stuarts, nothing whatever was done, either by church or state, to make reparation for these atrocious indignities"-and the blood of the covenanters, which still stains the throne and nation.

Now, when we consider that "one of the heaviest charges ever brought against the people of Israel was on this ground; they kept not the covenant of the Lord, and refused to walk in his law. Wherefore hath the Lord done thus unto this land? What meaneth the heat of this great anger? May we not indulge the hope, that, in the goodness of our covenant God, and by the promised outpouring of his Holy Spirit, "the kingdoms of the world" at large, and the British empire in particular, will dedicate themselves to God in a covenant not to be forgotten-animated by the example of our covenant fathers exhibited in these memorable deeds?

Still Waters Revival Books www. This book is considered by many as the classic work on covenanting. The treatise is a valuable addition to that solid theological literature of which the Reformed Presbyterian Church has produced repeated and enduring specimens, and stamps Mr. Cunningham as a distinguished disciple of the thoughtful and scriptural school of Mason and the Symingtons" Presby Rev.

The author himself notes that "Prayer and the offering of praise are universally admitted to be duties of religion. The Scriptures announce a place among these for the exercise of solemn Covenanting What the word of God unfolds concerning it, is addressed to the most resolute consideration of all, and is capable of engaging the most extensive and prolonged investigation. And yet, though none have found this subject, like all God's judgements, else than a great deep, still in meditating upon it, the ignorant have been brought to true knowledge, and the wise have increased in wisdom.

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