“The Church confronts greatest temptations and dangers when at peace with the world. A period of outward prosperity is almost certain to result in moral deterioration and produce membership of inferior mould. The appointments of God in divine worship being few, simple, and spiritual, are likely to be displaced by the showy, deceptive, sensuous inventions of man when the Church is honored with success. The Holy Spirit then
withdraws in measure; frigid formality quickly follows; the services, however beautiful, become artificial and spiritless.God has good reason for sending upon His Church periodical trials,
hardships, persecutions–storms that winnow the wheat, fires that melt the gold. Such tests of faith purify the Church, run off the dross, throw out the counterfeits, break off the dead branches. The people of God are then distinguished; their heroic qualities are called into action; they become burning and shining lights in the surrounding darkness. This severe process may reduce the enrollment, yet it mightily strengthens the ranks. The Lord Jesus would rather have one of
ten if true, than all the ten yea, ten times ten if untrue. Christ Jesus
prefers 300 who can wield the sword of the Lord and of Gideon, to 30,000 who are indifferent or faint-hearted.The Presbyterian Church made great progress under the Covenant of 1581 and overspread the kingdom. After ten years of prosperity came another
declension. Again she was reclaimed and revived by the renewing of the Covenant of 1596. Once more she became exceedingly prosperous and
popular; but her popularity resulted in weakness. Multitudes “joined the Church” merely for place, privilege, and power. These soon made themselves felt on the wrong side: they controlled the courts of God’s House. Faithful ministers contended for the truth, resisted the innovations, protested in the name of Jesus, and suffered because they would not consent to do evil. They were overpowered and sometimes were displaced, sometimes imprisoned, sometimes banished. Their farewell sermons were heart-rending. Amid the sobs and wails of the affectionate people, the farewell exhortations came from these devoted men of God as
words from heaven. Great excitement and sorrow prevailed in the churches, as the stricken congregations took leave of the pastors who loved the truth more than their own lives. Who can wonder at the indignation that arose like a storm, as the congregation witnessed their
beloved pastor and his wife and children leave their home, and go forth to wander under the skies of summer or through the storms of winter, not knowing whither they were going! Should the people be censured for nailing the church doors against intruding ministers, and refusing to hear the hirelings sent to fill the pulpit against their will?


-J.C. McFeeters,  “Sketches of the Covenanters” 1913