THE SOLEMN LEAGUE AND COVENANT
REFORMATION AND DEFENSE OF RELIGION
Jer. 50:5 Come, and let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual Covenant that shall not be forgotten.
Prov. 25:5 Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness.
2 Chron. 15:15 And all Judah rejoiced at the oath; for they had sworn with all their heart.
Gal. 3:15 Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed by an oath, no man disannulleth or addeth thereto.
All with one voice approve and embrace the same, as the most powerful mean, by the blessing of GOD, for settling and preserving the true Protestant religion with perfect peace, and propagating the same to other nations, that, being received and approven there the same may be, with publick humiliation, and all religious and answerable solemnity, sworn and subscribed by all true professors of the reformed religion
[Divers magistrates] did therefore, in the month of May 1643, meet together with the Commissioners for the common burdens, that, by joint advice, some resolution might be taken therein; and in respect of the danger imminent to the true Protestant religion by the multitude of Papists and their adherents in arms; appointed and caused indict a meeting being frequently kept by the [local magistrates] and they finding these dangers against kirk and state still increasing, resolved, after serious deliberation and advice of the [Reformed Church] that one of the chiefest remedies for preventing of these and the like dangers, for preservation of religion, and from ruin and destruction, and for procuring of peace, That [the Church] should, for these ends, enter into Covenant; which was accordingly drawn up, and cheerfully embraced and allowed.
THE SOLEMN LEAGUE AND COVENANT,
for reformation and defence of religion, and the peace and safety of the Church; approved by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and the Assembly of Divines in England, and taken and subscribed by them anno 1643; and thereafter, by the said authority, taken and subscribed by all ranks in the [Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America, at Octorara Pennsylvania anno 1743]. (And again renewed in Boston, with an acknowledgement of renovations, anno 1853.)
We, ministers of the Gospel, and commons of all sorts, in [the former colonies of England], by the providence of GOD living [in North America], and being of one reformed religion [the original Westminster Standards], having before our eyes the glory of God, and the advancement of the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour JESUS CHRIST, and the true public liberty, safety, and peace of the [land], wherein every one’s private condition is included: and calling to mind the treacherous and bloody plots, conspiracies, attempts, and practices of the enemies of GOD, against the true religion and professors thereof in all places, ever since the reformation of religion; and how much their rage, power, and presumption, are of late, and at this time, increased and exercised, whereof the deplorable, distressed and dangerous state of the Church, is a present and public testimony: we have now at last (after other means of supplication, remonstrance, protestation, and sufferings), for the preservation of ourselves and our religion from utter ruin and destruction, according to the commendable practice of [covenanted societies] in former times, and the example of GOD’S people in other nations, after mature deliberation, resolved and determined to enter into a Mutual and Solemn League and Covenant, wherein we all subscribe, and each one of us for himself, with our hands lifted up to the Most High GOD, do swear,
I. That we shall sincerely, really, and constantly, through the grace of GOD, endeavor, in our several places and callings, the preservation of the reformed religion in the Church, in doctrine, worship, discipline, and government, against our common enemies; the reformation of religion, in doctrine, worship, discipline, and government, according to the Word of GOD, and the example of the best reformed Churches; and shall endeavour to bring the Churches of GOD to the nearest conjunction and uniformity in religion, Confession of Faith, Form of Church Government, Directory for Worship and Catechising; that we, and our posterity after us, may, as brethren, live in faith and love, and the Lord may delight to dwell in the midst of us.
II. That we shall, in like manner, without respect of persons, endeavour the extirpation of Popery, Prelacy (that is, Church government by archbishops, bishops, their chancellors and commissioners, deans, deans and chapters, archdeacons, and all other ecclesiastical officers depending on that hierarchy), superstition, heresy, schism, profaneness, and whatsoever shall be found contrary to sound doctrine and the power of Godliness; lest we partake in other men’s sins, and thereby be in danger to receive of their plagues; and that the Lord may be one, and his mane one, in [these lands].
III. We shall, with the same sincerity, reality, and constancy, in our several vocations, endeavour, with our estates and lives, mutually, in the preservation and defence of the true religion and liberties of the [land]; that the world may bear witness with our consciences of our loyalty, and that we have no other thoughts or intentions to diminish [a covenanted government properly and formally recognizing the crown rights of King Jesus over nations of men].
IV. We shall also, with all faithfulness, endeavour the discovery of all such as have been or shall be incendiaries, malignants, or evil instruments, be hindering the reformation of religion, dividing the people, or making any faction or parties among the people, contrary to this League and Covenant; that they may be brought to trial, and receive condign punishment, as the degree of their offences shall require or deserve, or others having power from them for that effect, shall judge convenient.
V. And whereas the happiness of a blessed peace in the land, denied in former times to our progenitors, is, by the good providence of GOD, granted unto us; we shall, each one of us, according to our place and interest, endeavour that they may remain conjoined in a firm peace and union to all posterity; and that justice may be done upon the willful opposers thereof, in manner expressed in the precedent article.
VI. We shall also, according to our places and callings, in this common cause of religion, liberty, and peace of the [land], assist and defend all those that enter into this League and Covenant, in the maintaining and pursuing thereof; and shall not suffer ourselves, directly or indirectly, by whatsoever combination, persuasion, or terror, to be divided or withdrawn from this blessed union and conjunction, whether to make defection to the contrary part, or to give ourselves to a detestable indifferency or neutrality in this cause, which so much concerneth the glory of God, the good of the [land]; but shall, all the days of our lives, zealously and constantly continue therein against all opposition, and promote the same, according to our power, against all lets and impediments whatsoever; and what we are not able ourselves to suppress or overcome, we shall reveal and make known, that it may be timely prevented or removed: All which we shall do as in the sight of God.
And, because these lands are guilty of many sins and provocations against GOD, and his Son JESUS CHRIST, as is too manifest by our present distresses and dangers, the fruits thereof; we profess and declare, before GOD and the world, our unfeigned desire to be humbled for our own sins, and for the sins of these lands; especially that we have not, as we ought, valued the inestimable benefit of the Gospel; that we have not laboured for the purity and power thereof; and the we have not endeavoured to receive Christ in our hearts, not to walk worthy of him in our lives; which are the causes of other sins and transgression so much abounding amongst us: and our true and unfeigned purpose, desire, and endeavour, for ourselves, and all others under our power and charge, both in public and private, in all duties we owe to GOD and man, to amend our lives, and each one to go before another in the example of a real reformation; that the Lord may turn away his wrath and heavy indignation, and establish [His Church] and kingdom in truth and peace. And this Covenant we make in the presence of ALMIGHTY GOD, the Searcher of all hearts, with a true intention to perform the same, as we shall answer at that great day, when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed; most humbly beseeching the LORD to strengthen us by his HOLY SPIRIT for this end, and to bless our desires and proceedings with such success, as may be deliverance and safety to his people, and encouragement to other Christian Churches, groaning under, or in danger of the yoke of antichristian tyranny, to join in the same or like association and covenant, to the glory of GOD, the enlargement of the kingdom of JESUS CHRIST, and the peace and tranquillity of Christian kingdoms and commonwealths.