A THIRD REFORMATION NECESSARY: OR, THE PIETY, PRINCIPLES, AND PATRIOTISM OF SCOTLAND'S COVENANTED MARTYRS; WITH APPLICATION TO THE PRESENT TIMES (SCOTTISH COVENANTERS)
By James Kerr
James Kerr, on the Sabbath, June 20th, 1880, in a sermon preached in Greyfriar's Churchyard, in Edinburgh, titled "A Third Reformation Necessary: or, the Piety, Principles, and Patriotism of Scotland's Covenanted Martyrs; With Application to the Present Times," makes the same point concerning the monumental character of the international transactions that transpired during the Covenanters' combat with the forces of antichrist. While also giving us great insight into some of the most important battles of Second Reformation warfare, Kerr proclaims, regarding the combat of these faithful witnesses,
They stood for the Supreme Authority of the Holy Scriptures; for the Exclusive Headship of the Lord Jesus over the Church; for the Church's independent spiritual jurisdiction and power; for the Divine right of Presbytery; for the purity of worship in the Church and the Church's freedom from all unauthorized rites and ceremonies. They stood for every pin of the tabernacle, for every item of truth to which they had attained...
'Whose faith follow.' Let us embrace those doctrines affecting the Church's existence, privileges and prosperity, for which the martyrs suffered, and let us imitate their fidelity to the high attainments of a preceding period. The great Scriptural doctrines for which they were honoured to contend and which constituted the Church's glory, are still more or less lightly esteemed by even many professing Christians and ecclesiastical denominations...
Arminianism is making rapid strides to popularity.
Dishonour is done to the royal prerogative of Christ as Zion's King by those Churches that appeal to or base the claim of rights upon the Revolution Settlement -- a Settlement that proceeded upon Erastian principles and left many of the attainments for which the martyrs suffered in the oblivion to which the Stuarts had consigned them...
The doctrine of Christ's Exclusive Headship over His own Church, and of the freedom of the Church under her exclusive head, requires to be vindicated and testified for against all modern departures therefrom.
There is need to maintain and propagate the doctrine of the Divine right of the Presbyterian form of Church government, for at the present time only two of the Churches -- and these among the smallest -- hold this doctrine in all its Scriptural completeness.
There is a need to maintain the high scriptural doctrine concerning the modes of worship in the Church, that no rite or ceremony is to be introduced into the forms of worship for which an express prescription, direct or indirect, cannot be produced from God's Own Word (or what is know as the regulative principle of worship - ed.). The additions to the Church's worship of forms of human invention, and called for in order to the gratification of mere religious fashion, constitute one of the saddest signs of the present time.
'As though God has been defective,' as Charnock writes with reference to such innovators, 'in providing for His own honour in His institutions, and modelling His own service, but stood in need of our directions and the caprichios of our brains. In this they do not seem to climb above God, yet they set themselves on the throne of God, and would grasp one end of His sceptre in their own hands. They do not attempt to take the crown from God's head but discover a bold ambition to shuffle their hairy scalps under it, and wear a part of it upon their own.'
By the unflinching maintenance and profession of these doctrines, then, we are to prove ourselves the legitimate descendants of Scotland's Covenanted Martyrs.
This duty may draw down upon us reproach and shame, but, as the doctrines are Scriptural, the shame, like that of the martyrs, is transformed into glory. These doctrines are not now popular nor fashionable; still they are in advance of this age and prevailing ecclesiastical opinions, and they shall be popular and fashionable in the Church everywhere when 'God shall help her, and that at the breaking of the morning.' They shall have a resurrection with power, when Zion shall be set upon the mountains, and when the glory of her King shall array her, they shall be triumphant when the whole banner for the truth shall wave upon the battlements of the Millennial Church of Jesus."
- Cited in Sermons Delivered in Times of Persecution in Scotland [1880 ed., SWRB reprint 1996], pp. 32-35, emphases added. This book is available on the PURITAN HARD DRIVE.