The Westminster Assembly of Divines: Part II by William Symington

Posted at Grace Online Library:

Samuel Rutherford was one of the most prominent of the Scottish commissioners.
(Wikipedia)

The Scottish Commissioners

Although the Scottish commissioners cannot be said to have formed a party in the Westminster Assembly, this is perhaps the proper place to advert to their appointment, character, and peculiar position in that meeting. When the calling of an assembly of divines first suggested itself, the English Parliament had determined to ask the counsel and assistance of the Church of Scotland in regard to the new form of government that should be set up in room of that which had been abolished. So long a time, however, elapsed before any formal application was made to the General Assembly for an appointment to this effect, that the Scots began to suspect the sincerity of their English friends. At length, in August 1643, commissioners from England arrived with power to consult with both the Convention of Estates and the General Assembly.

These commissioners represented the Lords, the Commons, and the Westminster Assembly respectively, and consisted of persons selected from each of these bodies – the Earl of Rutland, from the Lords, Sir William Armyn, Sir Henry Vane, Mr. Hatcher, and Mr. Darley, from the Commons, and Messrs. Marshall and Nye, from the Assembly. They were charged with a declaration of both Houses of Parliament, expressing a desire for reformation in religion, and begging aid from Scotland in the matter; also, with a document to the same effect from the Westminster Assembly, signed by the prolocutor, Dr. Twisse, and by Dr. Burgess and Mr. White, his two assessors; and further, with a private letter, subscribed by no fewer than seventy of the Westminster divines. The English commissioners were introduced in due form to the General Assembly, having been previously saluted and welcomed, in name of that court, by Mr. Robert Douglas, Mr. George Gillespie, and my Lord Maitland. The papers were all presented and read in public. ‘The letter of the private divines,’ says Baillie, ‘was so lamentable that it drew tears from many.’ Certain preliminary steps having been taken, and particularly the English commissioners and the General Assembly having agreed upon a Bond of Union between the two countries – the famous Solemn League and Covenant, the General Assembly proceeded to appoint persons to represent them in the meeting of divines at Westminster. Those fixed upon were, Messrs Henderson, Douglas, Baillie, Gillespie, and Rutherford, ministers; with the Earl of Cassils, Lord Maitland, and Johnstone of Warriston, elders. Two of this number, Mr. Douglas and the Earl of Cassils, never attended.

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