The General Assembly, on considering the Report of the Committee to which this matter was referred at a previous diet, unanimously agreed to sanction, as they hereby sanction, the publication of a volume, containing the subordinate standards, and other authoritative documents of this Church.
And with the view of directing attention to ” all the way by which the Lord has led us,” as well as to the testimony which He has honoured this Church to bear for the whole truth of God regarding His Church, and His glory therein, the General Assembly did and hereby do adopt the following
Act and Declaration: –
When it pleased Almighty God, in His great and undeserved mercy, to reform this Church from Popery by presbyters, it was given to the Reformers, amid many troubles, to construct and model the constitution of the Church, in doctrine, worship, discipline and government, according to the Word of God, and not according to the will of earthly rulers. Our fathers, accordingly, in singleness of eye and simplicity of heart, without regard to the favour or the fear of man, so applied themselves to the work to which they were called, that they were enabled, with remarkable unanimity, to settle it upon the basis which, by the blessing of God, has continued unaltered down to the present time.
Of this settlement, besides that profession of the evangelical faith which is common to all the Churches of the Reformation, the peculiar and essential features are ;—I. The government of the Church by presbyters alone, or by that order of men which is indicated in the New Testament indiscriminately by the terms ” presbyters” and ” bishops”—or overseers (πρεσβύτεροι and ἐπισκόποι) and, II. The subjection of the Church, in all things spiritual, to Christ as her only Head, and to His Word as her only rule.
From the beginning these principles have been held as fundamental by the Reformed Church of Scotland ; and as such they were recognised in her earliest standards,—the First and Second Books of Discipline,—adopted by her own independent authority, before the full sanction either of the Crown or of the Parliament was given to the Reformation which God had accomplished on her behalf. For these principles, the ministers and members of this Church, as well as the nobles, gentlemen, and burgesses of the Land from the first united in contending : and on more than one occassion, in the course of these early struggles,—as in 1580 when the National Covenant was signed,*—our reforming ancestors bound themselves one to another, as in the sight of God, to maintain and defend them against all adversaries.
Farther ; while this Church has ever held that she possesses an independent and exclusive jurisdiction or power in all ecclesiastical matters, ” which flows directly from God, and the Mediator, Jesus Christ, and is spiritual, not having a temporal head on earth, but only Christ, the only King and Governor of his Church ;” she has, at the same time, always strenuously advocated the doctrine taught in Holy Scripture,—that nations and their rulers are bound to own the truth of God, and to advance the kingdom of His Son. And accordingly, it was with unfeigned thankfulness that she acknowledged the good hand of the Lord, when, after prolonged contests with the enemies of the Reformation,—and, in particular, with certain parties who sought not only to uphold a form of Prelatic government in the Church, but to establish the supremacy of the Crown in all causes, spiritual and ecclesiastical, as well as civil and temporal,—a national recognition and solemn sanction of her constitution, as it had been settled by her own authority, according to the Word of God, was at last obtained ;—first, in the Act of Parliament 1567, and again, more completely in the Act of Parliament 1592,—then and since regarded by her as the great constitutional charter of her Presbyterian government and freedom.
Thus the first Reformation was accomplished.
But before a generation had elapsed, a sad change for the worse took place. Through defection in the Church, and tyrannical invasion of her independence by the civil power, the Presbyterian polity and government were overturned, and manifold abuses and corruptions in discipline and worship were insidiously introduced. A second Reformation accordingly became necessary.
And here, again, it pleased Almighty God,—as in that former Reformation of the Church from Popery by presbyters,—to give to our fathers light and grace ; so that, taking His Word as their only rule, and owning His Son as their only King in Zion, they were enabled not only to restore the constitution of the Church as it had stood when her first Reformation seemed to be completed ;—but to aim, also, at carrying out more fully the great essential principles of that constitution ;—and securing, more effectually than before, the prevalence of these principles over all the land, as well as their permanency through all coming ages.
In seeking this noble end, our fathers were again led, for their mutual security,—as well as for the commending of so righteous a cause to Him by whom it was committed to them,—to have recourse to the solemnity of a holy confederation.
The National Covenant was renewed at the beginning of the contendings for this second Reformation ;—with an extension of its weighty protests and censures, to meet whatever new fruit the old stock of Prelatic and Erastian usurpation had been bearing. And the Solemn League and Covenant was afterwards entered into, in concert with England and Ireland, “for the reformation and defence of religion, the honour and happiness of the king, and the peace and safety of the three kingdoms ;” and, in particular, for ” endeavouring to bring the Churches of God in the three kingdoms to the nearest conjunction and uniformity in religion, confession of faith, form of Church government, directory for worship and catechising, &c.” *
Thus religiously bound and pledged to God and to one another, our fathers were enabled to effect the reformation of this Church from Prelacy ;—even as their fathers in like manner effected its reformation from Popery. In the ever-memorable Assembly held at Glasgow in 1638, as well as in subsequent Assemblies, it was declared that ” all Episcopacy different from that of a pastor over a particular flock was abjared in this kirk ;” and provision was made, accordingly, for its complete removal, and for the settlement of Church government and order upon the former Presbyterian footing.
In all this work of pulling down and building up, the independent spiritual jurisdiction of the Church, flowing immediately from Christ her only Head, was not only earnestly asserted, but practically exercised. For the whole work was begun and carried on without warrant of the civil power. And it was only after much contending, and with not a little hesitation, that the civil power began to interpose its authority in the years 1639 and 1641 ;—to support and sanction what the Church had, by the exercise of her own inherent jurisdiction, already done.
Thereafter, for the better prosecution of the work on hand, and in the face of the manifest purpose of the king and his adherents to crush it altogether, this Church, by commissioners duly named by the General Assembly, took part in the Assembly of Divines, which met at Westminster in 1643. And having in view the uniformity contemplated in the Solemn League and Covenant, she consented to adopt the Confession of Faith, Catechisms, Directory for Public Worship, and Form of Church Government, agreed upon by the said Assembly of Divines.
These several formularies,—as ratified, with certain explanations, by divers acts of Assembly in the years 1645, 1646, and particularly in 1647,—this Church continues till this day to acknowledge as her subordinate standards of doctrine, worship, and government ;—with this difference, however, as regards the authority ascribed to them, that while the Confession of Faith* contains the creed to which, as to a confession of his own faith, every office-bearer in the Church must testify in solemn form his personal adherence;—and while the Catechisms, Larger and Shorter are sanctioned as directories for catechising ;—the Directory for Public Worship, the Form of Church Government, and the Directory for Family Worship, are of the nature of regulations, rather than tests,—to be enforced by the Church like her other laws, but not to be imposed by subscription upon her ministers and elders. These documents, then, together with a practical application of the doctrine of the Confession, in the Sum of Saving Knowledge,§—a valuable treatise, which, though without any express act of Assembly, has for ages had its place among them,—have, ever since the era of the Second Reformation, constituted the authorized and authoritative symbolic books of the Church of Scotland.
Nor is it to be overlooked here, in connection with these proceedings,—but on the contrary, it is to be owned as a signal instance of the Divine favour,—that when the civil dissensions and wars—all of which this Church unfeignedly deprecated and deplored—issued in a brief interval of quiet ;—and when the Parliament of Scotland was at last moved to own the Reformation-work of God in the land ;—this Church obtained a ratification of her spiritual liberties much more full and ample than had ever previously been granted. This appeared, as in other things, so especially in the matter of presentation to benefices, with appointment to the oversight of souls. In that matter this Reformed Church had from the beginning maintained a testimony and contest against the right of patronage, as inconsistent with ” the order which God’s Word craves.” And now,—both the Parliament and the Church being free to act according to the will of God, and professing to be guided by His Word,— it was enacted by the Parliament in 1649, that ministers should be settled ” upon the suit and calling, or with the consent of the congregation ;” and the Assembly, in the same year, laid down wholesome rules and regulations for securing the orderly calling of pastors by the congregations of the Church, with due regard at once to the spiritual privileges of the people, and the spiritual jurisdiction of those appointed to bear office among them in the Lord.
Thus, by God’s grace, in this Second Reformation, wrought out by our fathers amid many perils and persecutions, this Church was honoured of God to vindicate and carry out the great fundamental principles of her constitution—the government of the Church by presbyters alone ; her inherent spiritual jurisdiction, derived from her great and only Head ; and the right of congregations to call their own pastors.
And thus the Second Reformation seemed to be happily accomplished and secured ; and the Church and nation of Scotland abjured Prelacy, as they had formerly abjured Popery.
That the men whom God raised up for his great work proved themselves to be fallible in several of their proceedings, does not detract from our conviction that the work itself was the work of God. The principles of religious liberty not being so thoroughly understood in that age as they are now, it is not surprising, however much it is to be lamented, that our fathers should have given some occasion to the charge of intolerance in the laws enacted, though seldom enforced, with a view to inflict civil penalties for offences partly, if not entirely, religious. It is to be confessed, also, that in prosecuting their great work in circumstances of unparalleled difficulty, instances were not wanting of an undue commingling of religion with the passing polities of the day, and an undue reliance on an arm of flesh for the furtherance of the cause of God. These defects some of the worthiest and ablest of the actors in that great crisis lived to deplore. And to such causes may be traced, in a great measure, the bitter animosities that too speedily ensued between the parties of the Resolutioners and the Protesters—in consequence of which the Church of Scotland was found divided against herself at the very time when union was most essential, and at the restoration of Charles II. was thrown helpless and fettered into the furnace of a bitter and unrelenting persecution.
But notwithstanding these evidences of the hand of man in the transactions connected with the Second Reformation, we would grievously err and sin were we not to recognise, in the substance of what was then done, the hand and Spirit of God ; and were we not to discern in it such an adaptation to the exigencies of the times, and such an amount of conformity to the Divine mind and will, as must ever be held to give to the attainments then made by this Church and nation, a peculiar force of obligation,—and to aggravate not a little the guilt of subsequent shortcomings and defections.
Passing over the dark period of the closing years of the Stuart dynasty, and descending along the line of history to the era of the glorious Revolution, we find the Church, which had been twice before brought out of great troubles in her contendings against Popery and Prelacy, once again rescued from the oppression of arbitrary power, and lifting her head as the free Presbyterian Church of Scotland. The bloody acts of the preceding time were repealed. On the petition of the ministers and professors of the Church of Scotland, the civil sanction was given to the Confession of Faith. Presbyterial Church government was re-established in the hands of those who had been ejected by Prelacy in 1661. And to the wonder of many, and the confusion of her enemies, this Church rose from her ashes, and was recognised as the same Church which, whether in freedom or in bondage—whether under the shade of royal favour, or hunted as a partridge on the mountains—could trace its unbroken identity downwards from the very beginning of the Reformation.
That ” the Revolution Settlement,” by which the liberties of the Church were secured, under the reign of William and Mary, was in all respects satisfactory,—has never been maintained by this Church. On the contrary, various circumstances may be pointed out as hindering the Church from realizing fully the attainments that had been reached during the Second Reformation. Not only were the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland, unprepared for prosecuting the work of ” reformation and uniformity in religion” to which they had pledged themselves ; but even in Scotland itself the reluctant concessions of statesmen were limited to what a people, worn out by long and heavy tribulation, were barely willing to accept as a relief;—and did not thoroughly undo the mischief of an age of misrule.
Thus, for instance, in the civil sanction then given to Presbytery, the Parliament of 1690, overlooking altogether the higher attainments of the Second Reformation, went back at once to the Act 1592, based its legislation upon that Act alone, as being the original charter of the Presbyterian Establishment. Accordingly, it left unrepealed the infamous “ Act Rescissory” of King Charles, by which all that the Church had done, and all that the State had done for her, in the interval between 1638 and the Restoration, had been stigmatized as treasonable and rebellious. Thus the Revolution settlement failed in adequately acknowledging the Lord’s work done formerly in the land. And it was, besides, in several matters of practical legislation, very generally considered by our fathers at the time to be defective and unsatisfactory. Some, and these not the least worthy, even went so far as to refuse all submission to it. But for the most part, our fathers, smarting from the fresh wounds of anti-Christian oppression, weary of strife, and anxious for rest and peace, either thankfully accepted, or at least acquiesced in it ; in the hope of being able practically to effect under it the great ends which the Church had all along, in all her former contendings, regarded as indispensable.
For it would be in a high degree ungrateful to overlook the signal and seasonable benefits which the Revolution Settlement really did confer upon the Church, as well as upon the nation. Not only did it put an end to the cruel persecution by which the best blood of Scotland had been shed in the field, on the hill-side, and on the scaffold ; not only did it reinstate in their several parishes the pastors who had been unrighteously cast out in the reign of the second Charles, and set up again the platform of the Presbyterian government ; but by reviving and re-enacting the Statute of 1592,—the original charter and foundation of Presbytery,—it recognised as an inalienable part of the constitution of this country the establishment of the Presbyterian Church. It secured also effectually, as was then universally believed, the exclusive spiritual jurisdiction of the Church, and her independence in spiritual matters of all civil control. And by the arrangements which it sanctioned for the filling up of vacant charges, it abolished those rights of patronage which had been reserved in 1592, * and made provision for enforcing the fundamental principle of this Church, that “ no pastor shall be intruded into a congregation contrary to the will of the people.” On all these grounds the Church was well entitled to rejoice in the deliverance wrought out for her in 1688 and 1690 ; to thank God for it, and take courage ; and to cherish the warm and sanguine expectation of reaping now the fruit of her struggles and her trials, in a career of undisturbed, united and successful exertion, for the glory of her great Head, the good of the land, and the saving of many souls.
How far that expectation might have been fulfilled, if faith had been kept with the Church and people of Scotland by the British Parliament, according to the terms of the Revolution Settlement, subsequently ratified by the Treaty of Union between Scotland and England,—and if the Church had received grace to continue faithful to her principles,—is a question which can now be little more than matter of speculation and conjecture. For the breach made upon her constitution by the restoration of patronage in 1711,—a measure passed against her own earnest remonstrance and protest,—concurring with that unhappy declension from sound doctrine and spiritual life which began to visit this, as well as other Churches of the Reformation, during the early period of the last century,—not to speak of the leaven of unsound principle transmitted from the too easy admission at the Revolution of the Prelatic curates into the Presbyterian Church, without any evidence of their sincere attachment to its doctrines ;—.these things led to abuses in the administration of the Church’s discipline and government,—such as, to a large extent, prevented the Revolution Settlement from obtaining a full and fair trial.
The abuses to which we refer regarded matters of vital import, such as the toleration of heresy and immorality ; the tyrannical exercise of Church power over brethren, with the unjust denial of the right of protest for the exoneration of individual consciences ; the arbitrary enforcing of the law of patronage by corrupt Presbyteries and Assemblies, acting upon their own discretion, and with no compulsion from any civil authority ; the grievous oppression of congregations, by the forcible intrusion of ministers into parishes against the will of the people ;—and other proceedings of a similar kind ;—in consequence of which, not only were multitudes of godly ministers and people compelled, for conscience sake, to withdraw from her communion, and to form themselves into separate ecclesiastical societies, but the Church itself from which they seceded, was found willing—though always, blessed be God ! with a protesting minority in her courts—to make a practical surrender of the most important and distinctive principles of her ancient Presbyterian polity.
Hence it happened, that when, in the good providence of God, and through the gracious working of His good Spirit, this Church once more, for the third time, was led to take up the work of the Reformation, — entering, through alas ! with much shortcoming, into the labours of our fathers, by whom she had been reformed from Popery and Prelacy, — she encountered, as was most natural, no small measure of the same opposition with which they had been obliged to contend, from a formidable body of her own ministers and members, as well as from the civil power ; whose aid was called in to coerce and control the Church courts in the exercise of their spiritual functions, and through them, to crush the liberties of congregations in the calling of ministers to be over them in the Lord.
For it ought to be on record to coming ages, that this Church began the work of reformation, on this third great occasion in her history, in 1834, by refusing to allow any pastor to be intruded upon a reclaiming congregation.
At the same time, also, while thus securing such a protection to her congregations, this Church resolved to give practical effect to another fundamental principle of her Presbyterian polity which had been grievously violated ;—the principle, namely, that ” the pastor, as such, hath a ruling power over the flock ;” or, in other words, that all ordained pastors are equally entitled to rule, as well as to teach and minister, in Christ’s house. This, accordingly, the Church did, in an act of Assembly 1834, recognising all pastors of congregations as members of her Church judicatories, and assigning to each, along with the elders of his congregation, the administration of discipline among his own flock, and the oversight of souls, in whatever local or territorial district the Church might be pleased to place under his spiritual care.
It was in carrying out these measures of indispensable practical reform, adopted in 1834, that the Church was visited with the interference of the courts of civil law ;—in those various forms of unconstitutional aggression upon and invasion of her sacred functions as a Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, owning no head on earth but only Christ, which are set forth at large in the Claim, Declaration, and Protest, adopted by the General Assembly in 1842, and laid before Her Majesty, and before the Parliament of Great Britain, in the course of the year thereafter.*
These manifold invasions of her spiritual jurisdiction by the courts of civil law, this Church received grace stedfastly to resist,—at the expense of much loss, obloquy and suffering, borne by her faithful ministers and people.
But this was not all. For she was enabled also, during all her harassing and painful contendings, to carry forward still farther the work of revival throughout her borders, as well as to lift up a still more decided testimony for the purity and liberty of Christ’s house,—His Church on earth,—especially in the explicit condemnation which the General Assembly in 1842 passed of the entire system of patronage, as a grievance to be utterly abolished. And, through the blessing of God, she was not left without manifest tokens of the Divine countenance and favour,—such as, in like circumstances, had been vouchsafed in former times,—in the remarkable pouring out of the Holy Spirit on not a few portions of the chosen vineyard of the Lord.
Among other tokens for good, as the Church humbly considered them, it may be mentioned as one of the most gratifying, that a beginning was made, during this reforming period, of the work of re-union among the true-hearted branches of the Presbyterian Church in Scotland. Overtures towards a junction with the Church of Scotland having been made by a highly esteemed body of those whose fathers had seceded from it, and ample deliberation having taken place on both sides, the end in view was happily and harmoniously attained in the year 1839, when the General Assembly, with the consent of the Presbyteries of the Church, passed an act to the following effect :—
” Whereas proposals have been made by the Associate Synod for a re-union, with the Church of Scotland, and a considerable number of overtures have been sent at the same time to the- General Assembly from the Synods and Presbyteries of the Church favourable to that object ; and it has been ascertained by a committee of the General Assembly, that the course of study required for a long time past of students in divinity in connection with said Synod is quite satisfactory, and that their ministers and elders do firmly adhere to the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, and other standards of our Church : and whereas the members of the Associate Synod do heartily concur with us in holding the great principle of an ecclesiastical establishment, and the duty of acknowledging God in our national as well as our individual capacity ; and we, on the other hand, do heartily concur with the members of the Associate Synod in confessing the great obligations under which we lie to our forefathers in the year 1638, and several years of that century immediately following, and the duty, in particular circumstances, of uniting together in public solemn engagement in defence of the Church, and its doctrine, discipline, and form of worship and government : and whereas our brethren of the Associate Synod have declared their willingness, in the event of a re-union, to submit to all the laws and judicatories of this Church, reserving only to themselves the right which the members of the Established Church enjoy of endeavouring to correct in a lawful manner what may appear to them to be faulty in its constitution and government,—the General Assembly, with the consent of the Presbyteries of this Church, enact and ordain, that all the ministers of the Associate Synod, and their congregations in Scotland, desirous of being admitted into connection and full communion with the Church of Scotland, be received accordingly.”
This step was hailed with lively satisfaction by the supporters of the old hereditary principles of the Scottish Reformation, as not only a testimony to the returning faithfulness with which these principles were now maintained, but a pledge and presage also of other movements of a similar kind which might be expected to follow, as the work of reformation and revival went on ; thus holding out the hope of this Church being honoured to be successful in healing the breaches of Zion, as well as in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.
Thus, with much cause to sing of mercy as well as of judgment, the Church for ten years continued to testify, to contend, and to labour, in the great and good cause. But as time rolled on, and the causes of collision between the ecclesiastical and the civil courts became more embarrassing, it was apparent to all that an emergency was at hand, such as would call for the utmost wisdom of counsel as well as the firmest energy of action.
All along, indeed, while the contendings of this third Reformation period were going forward, not only did ” they that feared the Lord speak often one to another,” but most solemn consultations of the brethren were held at every step, with much earnest prayer, and many affecting pledges of mutual fidelity to one another, and to God. And as the crisis manifestly drew near, the whole body of those ministers of this Church by whom the contest was maintained met together in convocation, in November 1842 ;—being convened by a large number of the fathers of the Church. And, after a sermon preached by the late lamented Dr Chalmers, they continued in deliberation for several successive days, spending a large portion of the time in united supplication for the guidance and grace of God ; and did not separate till, with one mind and one heart, they were enabled to announce, in resolutions having, in the circumstances, all the force of the most impressive vows and obligations, their final purpose, at all hazards, to maintain uncompromised the spiritual liberty and jurisdiction of this Church. And this they resolved to do, not by prolonged resistance to the civil courts, above-mentioned Claim of Rights, but by publicly renouncing the benefits of the National Establishment,—under protest that it is her being Free, and not her being Established, that constitutes the real historical and hereditary identity of the Reformed National Church of Scotland.
The Claim of Rights adopted by the General Assembly in 1842 having been denied and disallowed ;—first by Her Majesty’s Government, in a letter addressed to the Moderator by the Secretary of State for the Home Department, and thereafter by the Commons’ House of Parliament, in a vote taken on the 7th March 1843, and carried against a large majority of the members representing Scotland ;—it became apparent that the system of patronage,—to which this Church, although viewing it as a grievance, had submitted, under the impression that the right was restricted to the disposal of the benefice, while the Church was left free in the matter of admission to the cure of souls,—must be held, as now interpreted and maintained by the supreme power of the State, to be altogether contrary to the Word of God and the liberties of the people of Christ ; and that this Church, therefore, in that as well as in other departments of her administration, had no choice or alternative but submission in things spiritual to civil control, or separation from the State and from the benefits of the Establishment.
Holding firmly to the last ;—as she holds still, and, through God’s grace, will ever hold ;—that it is the duty of civil rulers to recognise the truth of God, according to His Word, and to promote and support the kingdom of Christ, without assuming any jurisdiction in it, or any power over it ; and deeply sensible, moreover, of the advantages resulting to the community at large, and especially to its more destitute portions, from the public endowment of pastoral charges among them : this Church could not contemplate without anxiety and alarm the prospect of losing, for herself, important means of general usefulness,—leaving the whole machinery of the Establishment in the hands of parties who could retain it only by the sacrifice of her fundamental principles,—and seeing large masses of the people deprived of the advantage of having the services of a gospel ministry provided for them independently of their own resources. But her path was made plain before her. For the system of civil interference in matters spiritual being still persevered in, so as to affect materially the very constitution of the General Assembly, in the election of commissioners from the Presbyteries to that supreme court,—it became the duty of those of the said commissioners who were faithful to the crown of Christ,—and who formed decidedly the major part of the members chosen according to the laws of the Church,—to protest,* in presence of Her Majesty’s representative, on the 18th of May 1843, against the meeting then convened being held to be a free and lawful Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
Under which Protest, and in the terms thereof, the said commissioners withdrew to another place of meeting, where, on the same day, and with concurrence of all the ministers and elders adhering to them, they proceeded to constitute, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, as the only King and Head of the Church on earth, the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland, and to take measures for the establishment of the Church apart from the State in the land.
How signally God opened for her, in her new position, both a door of utterance and a door of entrance, not only in this, but in other countries also —how mercifully He disappointed all her fears, and procured for her acceptance among the people—how wonderfully He disposed all hearts so as to continue to her the means of missionary enterprise, both at home and abroad—how graciously He cheered her, by giving to her the signal privilege of finding all her missionaries, to the Jews and the Gentiles, true to herself and to her principles, in the hour of trial ; and in general, how large a measure of prosperity and peace He was pleased to grant to her,—though with some severe persecution and oppression in certain quarters,—this Church cannot but most devoutly acknowledge; mourning bitterly, as she must at the same time many shortcomings and sins, and lamenting the little spiritual fruit of awakening and over revival that has accompanied the Lord’s bountiful and wonderful dealing with her. In deep humiliation, therefore, but at the same time in the holy boldness of faith un-feigned, she would still seek to retain and occupy the position which the foregoing summary of her history assigns to her ; humbly claiming to be identified with the Church of Scotland, which solemnly bound herself to the Reformation from Popery and again similarly pledged herself to the Reformation from Prelacy ; deploring shortcomings from the principles and work of these Reformations, as well as past cessions from her own communion, occasioned by tyranny and corruption in her coup oils ; and, finally, resolved and determined, as in the sight and by the help of God, to prosecute the ends contemplated from the beginning in all the acts and deeds of her reforming fathers, until the errors which they renounced shall have disappeared from the land, and the true system which they upheld shall be so universally received that the whole people, rightly instructed in the faith, shall unite to glorify God the Father in the full acknowledgment of the kingdom of His Son, our blessed Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, to whose name be praise for ever and ever. Amen.