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16. THE KING'S WRIT SUMMONING THE GREAT COUNCIL. [September 7, 1640. Rushworth, iii. 1257. See Hist. of Engl. ix. 201.]
Rex Reverendissimo in Christo Patri ac fideli consiliario nostro Willielmo eadem gratia Cantuar. Archiepiscopo, totius Angliae primati et Metropolitano salutem. Quia super quibusdam arduis et urgentissimis negotiis nos et Regni nostri statum Coronaeque nostrae Jura specialiter concernentibus vobiscum et cum aliis Praelatis, Magnatibus et Proceribus ipsius Regni apud civitatem nostram Ebor. die Jovis, 24 die instantis mensis Septembris colloquium habere volumus et tractatum, vobis in fide et dilectione quibus nobis tenemini firmiter injungimus et mandamus, quod cessante excusatione quacunque, dictis die et loco personaliter intersitis nobiscum et cum Praelatis, Magnatibus, et Proceribus praedictis super dictis negotiis tractaturi vestrumque consilium impensuri, et hoc sicut nos et honorem nostrum ac tranquillitatem regni nostri juriumque nostrorum praedictorum diligitis, nullatenus omittatis. Teste etc. 7 Sept.
with a different set of signatures were in circulation, one of which, containing several errors, appears in Rushworth. As the signatures are scattered about the paper, I have placed them in order of precedence.
FROM THE MEETING OF THE LONG PARLIAMENT TO THE
OUTBREAK OF THE CIVIL WAR.
17. THE ROOT AND BRANCH PETITION.
[December 11, 1640. Rushworth, iv. 93. See Hist. of Engl. ix. 247.] To the Right Honourable the Commons House of
Parliament. The humble Petition of many of His Majesty's subjects in
and about the City of London, and several Counties of
the Kingdom, Sheweth,
That whereas the government of archbishops and lord bishops, deans and archdeacons, &c., with their courts and ministrations in them, have proved prejudicial and very dangerous both to the Church and Commonwealth, they themselves having formerly held that they have their jurisdiction or authority of human authority, till of these later times, being further pressed about the unlawfulness, that they have claimed their calling immediately from the Lord Jesus Christ, which is against the laws of this kingdom, and derogatory to His Majesty and his state royal. And whereas the said government is found by woeful experience to be a main cause and occasion of many foul evils, pressures and grievances of a very high nature unto His Majesty's subjects in their own consciences, liberties and estates, as in a schedule of particulars hereunto annexed may in part appear :
We therefore most humbly pray, and beseech this honourable assembly, the premises considered, that the said government, with all its dependencies, roots and branches, may be abolished, and all laws in their behalf made void, and the government according to God's Word may be rightly placed amongst us : and we your humble suppliants, as in duty we are bound, will daily pray for His Majesty's long and happy reign over us, and for the prosperous success of this high and honourable Court of Parliament. A Particular of the manifold evils, pressures, and grievances
caused, practised and occasioned by the Prelates and their
dependents. 1. The subjecting and enthralling all ministers under them and their authority, and so by degrees exempting them from the temporal power; whence follows,
2. The faint-heartedness of ministers to preach the truth of God, lest they should displease the prelates ; as namely, the doctrine of predestination, of free grace, of perseverance, of original sin remaining after baptism, of the sabbath, the doctrine against universal grace, election for faith foreseen, free-will against antichrist, non-residents, human inventions in God's worship ; all which are generally withheld from the people's knowledge, because not relishing to the bishops.
3. The encouragement of ministers to despise the temporal magistracy, the nobles and gentry of the land ; to abuse the subjects, and live contentiously with their neighbours, knowing that they, being the bishops creatures, shall be supported.
4. The restraint of many godly and able men from the ministry, and thrusting out of many congregations their faithful, diligent, and powerful ministers, who lived peaceably with them, and did them good, only because they cannot in conscience submit unto and maintain the bishops needless devices; nay, sometimes for no other cause but for their zeal in preaching, or great auditories.
5. The suppressing of that godly design set on foot by certain saints, and sugared with many great gifts by sundry well-affected persons for the buying of impropriations, and placing of able ministers in them, maintaining of lectures, and founding of free schools, which the prelates could not endure, lest it should darken their glories, and draw the ministers from their dependence upon them.
6. The great increase of idle, lewd and dissolute, ignorant and erroneous men in the ministry, which swarm like the locusts of Egypt over the whole kingdom ; and will they but wear a canonical coat, a surplice, a hood, bow at the name of Jesus, and be zealous of superstitious ceremonies,
they may live as they list, confront whom they please, preach and vent what errors they will, and neglect preaching at their pleasures without control.
7. The discouragement of many from bringing up their children in learning ; the many schisms, errors, and strange opinions which are in the Church; great corruptions which are in the Universities ; the gross and lamentable ignorance almost everywhere among the people ; the want of preaching ministers in very many places both of England and Wales ; the loathing of the ministry, and the general defection to all manner of profaneness.
8. The swarming of lascivious, idle, and unprofitable books and pamphlets, play-books and ballads ; as namely, Ovid’s ‘Fits of Love,' The Parliament of Women,' which came out at the dissolving of the last Parliament; Barns's
Poems, Parker's 'Ballads,' in disgrace of religion, to the increase of all vice, and withdrawing of people from reading, studying, and hearing the Word of God, and other good books.
9. The hindering of godly books to be printed, the blotting out or perverting those which they suffer, all or most of that which strikes either at Popery or Arminianism ; the adding of what or where pleaseth them, and the restraint of reprinting books formerly licensed, without relicensing.
10. The publishing and venting of Popish, Arminian, and other dangerous books and tenets; as namely, “That the Church of Rome is a true Church, and in the worst times never erred in fundamentals ;' that the subjects have no propriety in their estates, but that the King may take from them what he pleaseth ;' that all is the King's, and that he is bound by no law;' and many other, from the former whereof hath sprung,
11. The growth of Popery and increase of Papists, Priests and Jesuits in sundry places, but especially about London since the Reformation ; the frequent venting of crucifixes and Popish pictures both engraven and printed, and the placing of such in Bibles.
12. The multitude of monopolies and patents, drawing with them innumerable perjuries ; the large increase of customs and impositions upon commodities, the ship-money, and many other great burthens upon the Commonwealth, under which all groan.
13. Moreover, the offices and jurisdictions of archbishops, lord bishops, deans, archdeacons, being the same way of
Church government, which is in the Romish Church, and which was in England in the time of Popery, little change thereof being made (except only the head from whence it was derived), the same arguments supporting the Pope which do uphold the prelates, and overthrowing the prelates, which do pull down the Pope ; and other Reformed Churches, having upon their rejection of the Pope cast the prelates out also as members of the beast. Hence it is that the prelates here in England, by themselves or their disciples, plead and maintain that the Pope is not Antichrist, and that the Church of Rome is a true Church, hath not erred in fundamental points, and that salvation is attainable in that religion, and therefore have restrained to pray for the conversion of our Sovereign Lady the Queen. Hence also hath come,
14. The great conformity and likeness both continued and increased of our Church to the Church of Rome, in vestures, postures, ceremonies and administrations, namely as the bishops' rochets and the lawn-sleeves, the fourcornered cap, the cope and surplice, the tippet, the hood, and the canonical coat; the pulpits clothed, especially now of late, with the Jesuits' badge upon them every way.
15. The standing up at Gloria Patri and at the reading of the Gospel, praying towards the East, the bowing at the name of Jesus, the bowing to the altar towards the East, cross in baptism, the kneeling at the Communion.
16. The turning of the Communion-table altar-wise, setting images, crucifixes, and conceits over them, and tapers and books upon them, and bowing or adoring to or before them ; the reading of the second service at the altar, and forcing people to come up thither to receive, or else denying the sacrament to them ; terming the altar to be the mercy-seat, or the place of God Almighty in the church, which is a plain device to usher in the Mass.
17. The christening and consecrating of churches and chapels, the consecrating fonts, tables, pulpits, chalices, churchyards, and many other things, and putting holiness in them; yea, reconsecrating upon pretended pollution, as though everything were unclean without their consecrating; and for want of this sundry churches have been interdicted, and kept from use as polluted.
18. The Liturgy for the most part is framed out of the Romish Breviary, Rituals, Mass-book, also the Book of Ordination for archbishops and ministers framed out of the Roman Pontifical.