« PreviousContinue »
but done with carnefinefs and plaufibility. For alas, tho' by the grace of God, their hearts may be changed in an hour, (whenever they understand, but the effentials of the taith) yet their understandings must have time and diligence to furnish them with fuch knowledge as muft ftablish them, and fortify them against deceit. Upon thefe and many the like confiderations, we should intreat all Chriftian families to take more pains in this neceffary work, and to get better acquainted with the fubftance of christianity. And to that end (taking along fome moving treatife to awake the heart) I know not what work fhould be fitter for their use than that compiled by the affembly at Westminifter; a fynod of as godly, judicious divines, (notwithftanding all the bitter words which they have received from difcontented and felf-conceited men) I verily think, as ever England faw. Tho they had the unhappiness to be employed in calamitous times, when the noise of wars did ftop men's ears, and the licentiousness of wars did fet every wanton tongue and pen at liberty to reproach them; and the profecution and event of thofe wars, did exafperate partial difconteated men, to dishonour themselves by feeking to dishonour theme I dare lay, if in the days of old, when councils were in power and account, they had had but fuch a council of bishops, as this of prefbyters was, the fame of it for learning and holiness, and all minifterial abilities, would with very great honour have been tranfmitted to po fterity.
I do therefore defire, that all masters of families would firft ftudy well this work themselves; and then teach it their children and fervants, according to their feveral capacities. And, if they once underfand thefe grounds of religion, they will be able to read other books more understandingly, and hear fermons more profitably, and confer more judiciously, and hold faft the doctrine of Chrift more firmly than ever you are like to do by any other courfe. Firft let them read and learn the Shorter Catechifm, and next the Larger, and laftly, read the Confeffion of Faith.
Thus far he, whofe name Ifhall conceal (though the excellency of the matter, and prefent file, will eafily difcover him) becaufe I have published it without his privity and confent, though, I hope, not against his liking and approbation. I thall add no more, but that I am
An ordinance of the Lords and Commons affembled in parliament, for the calling of an affembly of learned and godly divines, and others, to be confulted with by the parliament, for the fettling of the government and liturgy of the church of England; and for vindicating and clear ing of the doctrine of the faid church from false afperfions and inters pretations. June 12. 1643.
W Hereas, amongst the infinite bleffings of Almighty God upon this nation, none is, or can be more dear unto us than the purity of our religion; and for that, as yet, many things remain in the liturgy, difcipline and government of the church, which do neceffarily require a further and more perfect reformation, than as yet hath been attained: And whereas it hath been declared and resolved by the lords and commons affembled in parliament, that the prefent church government by archbishops, their chancellors, commiffars, deans, dean's and chapters, archdeacons, and other ecclefiaftical officers, depending upon the hierarchy, is evil and juftly offenfive and burdenfome to the kingdom, a great impediment to reformation and growth of religion, and very prejudicial to the itate and government of this kingdom; and therefore they are refolved, that the fame fhall be taken away, and that fuch a government fhall be fettled in the church, as may be most agreeable to God's holy word, and moft apt to procure and preferve the peace of the church at home, and nearer agreement with the church of Scotland, and other reformed churches abroad: And for the better affecting hereof, and for the vindicating and clearing of the doctrine of the church of England from all falfe calumnies and afperfions; it is thought fit and neceffary to call an affembly of learned godly and judicious divines, who, together with fome members of both the houses of parliament, are to confult and advise of fuch matters and things, touching the premiffes, as fhall be proposed unto them by both or either of the houfes of parliament, and to give their advice and counsel therein to both, or either of the faid houfes, when, and as often as they fhall be thereunto required. Be it therefore ordained, by the lords and commons in this prefent parliament affembled, that all and every the perfons hereafter in this prefent ordinance named, that is to fay,
And fuch other perfon or perfons as fhall be nominated and appointed by both houfes of parliament, or fo many of them as fhall not be letted by fickness, or other neceffary impediment, fhall meet and affemble, and are hereby required and injoined upon fummons:
figned by the clerks of both houses of parliament, left at their refpective dwellings, to meet and affemble themfelves at Westminster, in the chapel called king Henry the VIIth's chapel, on the first day of July, in the year of our Lord, one thousand fix hundred and forty three, and after the first meeting, being at least the number of forty, fhall from time to time fit, and be removed from place to place, and alfo, that the faid affembly shall be diffolved in fuch manner, as by both houses of parliament fhall be directed: and the faid perfons, or fo many, of them as fhall be so affembled, or fit, fhall have power and authority, and are hereby likewife injoined from time to time, during this prefent parliament, or until further order be taken by both the faid houses, to confer and treat among themselves, of such matters and things, touching and concerning the liturgy, difcipline and government of the church of England, for the vindicating and clearing of the doctrine of the fame, from all false afperfions and mifconftructions, as fhall be propofed unto them by both or either of the faid houses of parliament, and no other; and deliver their opinion, advices of, or touching the matters aforefaid, as fhall be moft agreeable to the word of God, to both or either of the houses, from time to time, in fuch manner and fort, as by both or either of the faid houses of parliament, shall be required; and the fame not to divulge by printing, writing or other wife, without the confent of both, or either houses of parliament. And be it further ordained, by the authority aforefaid, that William Twiffe doctor in divinity fhall fit in the chair, as prolocutor of the said affembly; and if he happen to dic, or be letted by fickness, or o ther neceflary impediment, then fuch other perfon to be appointed in his place, as thall be agreed on by the faid houfes of parliament: And in cafe any difference in opinions (hall happen amongst the faid perfons fo affembled, touching any the matters that shall be proposed to them as aforefaid, that then they fhall reprefent the fame, together with the reasons thereof, to both or either the faid houfes refpectively, to the end fuch further direction may be given therein, as fhall be requifite to that behalf. And be it further ordained by the authority forefaid, That for the charges and expence of the faid divines, and every one of them, in attending the said service, there shall be allowed every one of them that shall fo attend, during the time of their faid attendance, and for ten days before, and ten days after, the fum of four-fhillings for every day, at the charges of the common-wealth, at fuch time, and in fuch manner, as by both houfes of parliament fhall be appointed. And be it further ordained, That all, and every the faid divines, so as aforefaid, required and injoined to meet and af femble, fhall be freed and acquitted of, and from every offence, forfeiture, penalty, lofs or damage, which fhall or may enfue or grow by reason of any non-refidence, or abfence of them, or any of them. from his, or their, or any of their church, churches or cures, for or in refpect of their faid attendance upon the faid fervice; any
law or fatute of non-refidence, or other law or statute injoining their attendance upon their refpećtive minifters, or charges, to the contrary thereof, notwithstanding. And if any of the perfons above named fhall happen to die before the faid affembly fhall be diffolved by order of both houfes of parliament, then fuch other perfon or perfons, fhalk be nominated and placed in the room and ftead of fuch perfon or perfons fo dying, as by both the faid houfes fhall be thought fit, and agreed upon; and every such person or perfons, fo to be named, (hail have the like power and authority, freedom and acquittal to all intents and purpofes, and alfo all fuch wages and allowancce for the faid farvice, during the time of his or their attendance, as to any other of the faid perfons in this ordinance, is by this ordinance limited and appointed. Provided always, that this ordinance, or any thing therein contained, shall not give unto the perfons aforefaid, or any of them, nor fhall they in this affembly affume to exercife any jurifdiction, power or authority ecclefiaftical whatfoever, or any other power than is herein particularly expressed.
Affembly at EDINBURGH, August 19, 1643. Seff. 14.
Commiffion of the General Affembly to fome Minifters and Ruling Elders, for repairing to the Kingdom of England.
HE General Affembly of the Church of Scotland finding it necessary to fend fome Godly and Learned of this Kirk to the Kingdom of England, to the Effect under-written; Therefore gives full Power and Commiffion to Mr. Alexander Henderson, Mr. Robert Douglas, Mr. Samuel Rutherfoord, Mr. Robert Bailie, and Mr. George Gillespie, Minifters, John Earl of Gaffs, John Lord Maitland, and Sir Archibald Johnston of Wariftous, Elders, or any three of them, whereof two fhall be Minifter, to repair to the Kingdom of England, and there to deliver the Declaration fent unto the Parliament of England, and the Letter fent unto the Affembly of Divines now fitting in that Kingdom; and to propone, confult, treat and conclude with that Affembly, or any Commiffioners deputed by them, or any Committees of Commishioners deputed by the Houfes of Parliament, in all Matters which may further the Union of this Ifland in one form of Kirk-government, one Confeffion of Faith, one Catechifm, one directory for the Worship of God, according to the Inftructions which they have received from the Affembly, or shall receive from Time to Time hereafter from the Commifiioners of the Affembly, deputed for that Effect: With Power allo to them to convey to his Majefty the humble Anfwer fent from this Affembly to his Majefty's Letter, by fuch occafion as they shall think convenient; and fuch like, to deliver the Affembly's Answer to the Letter fent from fome well affected Bre thren of the Miniftry there; and generally authorizes them to do all Thing, which may further the fo much defired Union, and nearest Con
junction of the Two Churches of Scotland and England, conform to the Inftructions aforefaid.
Many of the Perfons who were called by the forefaid Ordinance of the Lords and Commons, (in that broken State of the Church) to attend the Affembly, appeared not; whereupon the whole Work lay on the Hands of the Perfons hereafter mentioned.
The Promife and Vow taken by every Member admitted to fit in the Affembly.
TA. B. do feriously Promife and Vow, in the Presence of Almighty GOD,
That in this Affembly, whereof I am a member, I will maintain nothing in Point of Doctrine, but what I believe to be most agreeable to the Word of GOD; nor in Point of Discipline, but what may make most for GOD's Glory, and the Peace and Good of this Church.
A LIST of the DIVINES who met in the Affembly at Westminster.
Diffam Twiffe of Newbury, John Guier of all uph
Oliver Bowles of Sutton, B. D.
Dr. Humphrey Chambers of Claver-
Thomas Micklethwait of Cherry
George Walker, B. D.
Dr. Lazarus Seaman of London
Richard Vines of Calcot
Dr. Joshua Hoyle late of Dublin
William Greenhill of Stepney.