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The Aberdeen Doctors
Appendix VI - Proceedings against Dr.John Forbes


(Diary of Dr. Forbes, fol. 143-4.)

Vpon the 28th day of Julie, 1640, began the generall assemblie, which was holden in the colledge kirk of New Aberdene, and that day they kept a fast and hade sermons in that kirk. The morning sermon was preached by Mr. David Dicksone (who hade bene moderator of the last generall assemblie at Edinbrugh), vpone theise words of the apostle: "For I determined not to know any thing among you save Jesus Christ and him crucified." A pastor ought to speake and doe determinatly, and not vnadvysedly, and lay aside other things that are hinderances, as enticing words of man's wisdome, vaine glorie, worldly distractions, &c. To know Christ signifieth hier so to know him, that we also loue him, and beeliue in him, and by experimentall knowledge be acquainted with him ; and especially to know him crucified for our redemption : This is life eternall, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.— John xvii. 3. And the apostle saith, that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship ot his sufferings, being made conformable vnto his death.—Philip iii. 10 ; also to know nothing but Christ crucified, is to professe nothing, to teach nothing, to glorie in nothing but Christ crucified, to seeke not our owne glory, but the glory of him that sent vs. For we preach not our selues, but Christ the Lord, and our selues your servants for Jesus sake.—2 Cor. iv. 5. I did keepe the fast that day with the assemblie, and I cryed vpon God both their and elsewhere, and I found joyful comfort, praised be the Lord. Amen.

Vpon the 29th of Julie, I remained an hearer in the assemblie all that session, and about the end of the session, my name, with the names of some others who hade beene charged, being called, I answered, and offered to come neerer to the moderator; but I was stayed, and bidden attend the assemblie euery day, and to remaine without the assemblie house, which I promised to obey.

Vpon the 30th day of Julie, 1640, in the morning early, revolving what hade passed yesterday, I found that in my words before the assembly, there were some which I should rather not haue spoken, and that I hade omitted some words which hade been very convenient to be spoken ; and fearing lest any offence haue arisen thereby in the mynds of any brethren, and fearing desertion, I prayed and wept vnto God for mercy, and that he would remeid and remoue all offences given by me to any, or taken by any at me, that day or at any tyme, and to be with my heart and with my mouth, and to grant me mercy and grace in his sight, and convenient mercy and favour in the eyes of all with whome I haue to doe ; and I was comforted in God : to him be glorie for euer. Amen.

Vpon the 31st day of Julie, 1640, I repeted the same petitions to God, and I was comforted.

Upon the first of August, 1640, I compeared before the committee of the generall assemblie, and being questioned vpon many things, I found God's mercifull presence so euidently with me, as notwithstanding of my scruples concerning the couenant, and of my wreittings, yet they were pleased with me. Also they tooke in good part my answeris to other questions vpon the 4th and 5th dayes of the same moneth. Now, all the dayes of the generall assemblie, I prayed euery day with groans and teares vnto God to be with me, and give me a comfortable outgett and a blessed event, and to forgiue all my sinnes ; and the Lord heard me ; praised be the Lord.

Vpon the 5th day of August, 1640, I was called, and I compeared before the generall assemblie, and the moderator therof Mr. Andro Ramsay said to me, in name and in presence of the whole assemblie, that the generall assemblie hath found me ingenuous and orthodoxe, and nather Papist nor Arminian, and as for my different judgement concerning the couenant, they should intimate their will vnto (me) the next morning. When I heard this, I answered and thanked God, and thanked this venerable assemblie for this testimonie of me, and I promised to set my self to give them all contentment sincerely, so farre as my conscience would permitt.

Vpon the 6th day of August, 1640, being called, I compeared againe before the generall assemblie, and the moderator therof did give me againe publikly, in name of the assemblie, that same testimonie of ingenuitie and orthodoxie which they had giuen me the preceeding day, and declared vnto me that it is the will of the assemblie that I take journey and goe to Edinbrugh, some dayes after the assemblie, and there conferre with the brethren of that presbyterie anent the couenant. I acknowledged this to be a fauour done vnto me, and promised to obey, requesting with all, that whether after conference we agreed or not, they would continow their loue toward me vpon my good bearing, and I promised to heare and consider sincerly and vnpartially all the reasouns that should be represented vnto me, and that no wilfulness or hardnesse of heart, nor honour or dishonour, nor any other respect worldly shall hinder me from embracing and professing that which I shall find to be true. I shall pray to God, and I trust in his grace. And when I desired them to continow their louing affection to me, they answered me kyndly that I might referre that to them of the committee to be at Edinbrugh, and that I might expect fauourable vsage, so farre as might consist with the publike good of the kirk of Scotland, which they must preferre to any priuat man. I answered it is very good reasoun. And this I was dismissed with loue and vnanimous good lyking of the whole generall assemblie, and of all the members thereof, both of laitie and of the clergie. And I came from them rejoycing and praising God, who hath hade mercy vpon me, and hath giuen me this louing fauour of the generall assemblie, and hath made my freinds to rejoyce and praise God with me, and for me and myne enemies he hath made to be at peace with me, and to become my freinds, and he hath confounded my spirituall enemies, and hath made all the beholders of this great mercy of God toward me to admire and magnifie thewonderfull prouidence of God, and his most Bellent louing kyndnesse and the trueth of his saluation to all them that trust in his mercy and call upon his name. LE—Elohe—Israel. Blessed be the Lord for he hath shewed me his marveilous kindness in a strong citie.

After this, that same day, I being alone in the field, and meditating on all theise things, I fell doune vpon my face and praised God with teares of joy. He hath deliuered my soule in peace from the battell that was against me ; for there were many with me. O Lord, thou hast pleaded the cause of my soule, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee. What shall I render vnto the Lord for all his benefits towards me ? O Lord, my goodness extendeth not to thee. O Lord, sanctifie my whole spirit, and soule, and body, wholly vnto thy selfe. Thy vowes are upon me, O God. I will render praises vnto thee, for thou hast deliuered my soule from death. Wilt thou not deliuer my feete from falling? that I may walke before God in the light of the liuing. Lord, lead me, preserue and bless me in this intended journey to Edinbrugh, and bring me home againe in peace with a good conscience. This I asked fervently with teares, and the Lord graciously heard my prayer, assuring me that he will goe with me, and bring me againe in peace, and he will shew me his saluation, so that I shall finish my course with joy, and depart in peace in the sight of his saluation. I was heirby exceedingly comforted in the Lord my God, against the feare of this journey to Edinbrugh, and of my weaknesse, and of the assaults attending me their, and against the feare of death. Blessed be the name of the Lord for euer and euer. Amen.

DR. FORBES' ANSWER TO THE SYNOD—1642

My answere to the tuo reverend brethren, Mr. Robert Reid and Mr. William Strachan, which were sent to me from the provinciall synode of Aberdene, the 19th day of October, 1642.

I doe indeed remaine in my former judgement concerning theise our domestike differences, but, seeing the brethren doe know that I am sound and orthodoxe in all the controversees against papists, and socinians, and arminians, and anabaptists, and other sectaries, conforme to the doctrine contained in our nationall confession, and in the harmonie of confessions, and my judgement concerning our domestike differences is neither hereti-call norschismaticall,and I doe possesse it peaceably; knowing that theise differences are not a sufficient cause wherefore to make separation or perturbation ; I submit myselfe to the present government, and doe practise as is appoynted ; neither in this is my practise contrarie to my judgment, seing that which I practise may lawfully be done, and, consequently, the publike peace requiring it now of me, I ought to doe so ; although concerning the nature of episcopacy, and the necessitie or vnlawfulnesse of some other things contained in the covenant, I differ in judgment from my brethren, modestly and peaceably; and that episcopacie, which I think lawfull and agreable to God's Word is not destructiue of the presbyterie, nor inconsistent therwith ; and in those churches which are governed only communi presbyterorum consilio, the want of such a bishop, with them is indeed, in my opinion, an economicall defect, but it is not an essentiall defect, it neither taketh away the true nature of a church, neither doeth it make void or invalide the ordination and jurisdiction therof ; and my judgement, concerning theise our domestike differences, agreeth with the judgement both of catholike antiquitie, and of the reformed churches, and the most famous and most approved doctors therof; and, seeing my brethren know that I was placed in this station by an evident divine calling, by the voice of the church, and God hath bene with me therin ; neither doe I desert my station, nor alienat my affection from it, but am willing to continue in the service, for advancing the reformed religion ; I doe not conceiue how it can be saife for my brethren, toward God, to put me from my station, or to hinder or discourage me in the performance of this worke, which God hath committed vnto me, and wherin he doeth mercifullie blesse me. Therefore in all theise considerations, I expect that they will encourage me, euen as I am to goe in this service, and not remove me from it, which, if they doe, I meane, if they remoue me from this station, wherin God hath placed me, (albeit) I can not approue that their doeing, yet I am resolued to endure it patiently.—(Diary, fol. 174.)


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