« PreviousContinue »
possessed themselves of that whole kingdom, totally subverted the government of it, routed out religion, and destroyed all the Protestants whom the conscience of their duty to God, their King and country, would not have permitted to join with them, if by God's wonderful providence their main enterprise upon the city and castle of Dublin, had not been detected and prevented upon the very eve before it should have been executed.
177. Notwithstanding they have in other parts of that kingdom broken out into open rebellion, surprising towns and castles, committed murders, rapes and other villainies, and shaken off all bonds of obedience to His Majesty and the laws of the realm.
178. And in general have kindled such a fire, as nothing but God's infinite blessing upon the wisdom and endeavours of this State will be able to quench it.
179. And certainly had not God in His great mercy unto this land discovered and confounded their former designs, we had been the prologue to this tragedy in Ireland, and had by this been made the lamentable spectacle of misery and confusion.
180. And now what hope have we but in God, when as the only means of our subsistence and power of reformation is under Him in the Parliament ?
181. But what can we the Commons, without the conjunction of the House of Lords, and what conjunction can we expect there, when the Bishops and recusant lords are so numerous and prevalent that they are able to cross and interrupt our best endeavours for reformation, and by that means give advantage to this malignant party to traduce our proceedings
182. They infuse into the people that we mean to abolish all Church government, and leave every man to his own fancy for the service and worship of God, absolving him of that obedience which he owes under God unto His Majesty, whom we know to be entrusted with the ecclesiastical law as well as with the temporal, to regulate all the members of the Church of England, by such rules of order and discipline as are established by Parliament, which is his great council, in all affairs both in Church and State.
183. We confess our intention is, and our endeavours have been, to reduce within bounds that exorbitant power which the prelates have assumed unto themselves, so contrary both to the Word of God and to the laws of the land, to which end we passed the Bill for the removing them from their temporal power and employments, that so the better they might with meekness apply themselves to the discharge of their functions, which Bill themselves opposed, and were the principal instruments of crossing it.
184. And we do here declare that it is far from our purpose or desire to let loose the golden reins of discipline and government in the Church, to leave private persons or particular congregations to take up what form of Divine Service they please, for we hold it requisite that there should be throughout the whole realm a conformity to that order which the laws enjoin according to the Word of God. And we desire to unburden the consciences of men of needless and superstitious ceremonies, suppress innovations, and take away the monuments of idolatry.
185. And the better to effect the intended reformation, we desire there may be a general synod of the most grave, pious, learned and judicious divines of this island ; assisted with some from foreign parts, professing the same religion with us, who may consider of all things necessary for the peace and good government of the Church, and represent the results of their consultations unto the Parliament, to be there allowed of and confirmed, and receive the stamp of authority, thereby to find passage and obedience throughout the kingdom.
186. They have maliciously charged us that we intend to destroy and discourage learning, whereas it is our chiefest care and desire to advance it, and to provide a competent maintenance for conscionable and preaching ministers throughout the kingdom, which will be a great encouragement to scholars, and a certain means whereby the want, meanness and ignorance, to which a great part of the clergy is now subject, will be prevented.
187. And we intended likewise to reform and purge the fountains of learning, the two Universities, that the streams flowing from thence may be clear and pure, and an honour and comfort to the whole land.
188. They have strained to blast our proceedings in Par liament, by wresting the interpretations of our orders from their genuine intention.
189. They tell the people that our meddling with the power of episcopacy hath caused sectaries and conventicles, when idolatrous and Popish ceremonies, introduced into the Church by the command of the Bishops have not only
debarred the people from thence, but expelled them from the kingdom.
190. Thus with Elijah', we are called by this malignant party the troublers of the State, and still, while we endeavour to reform their abuses, they make us the authors of those mischiefs we study to prevent.
191. For the perfecting of the work begun, and removing all future impediments, we conceive these courses will be very effectual, seeing the religion of the Papists hath such principles as do certainly tend to the destruction and extirpation of all Protestants, when they shall have opportunity to effect it.
192. It is necessary in the first place to keep them in such condition as that they may not be able to do us any hurt, and for avoiding of such connivance and favour as hath heretofore been shown unto them.
193. That His Majesty be pleased to grant a standing Commission to some choice men named in Parliament, who may take notice of their increase, their counsels and proceedings, and use all due means by execution of the laws to prevent all mischievous designs against the peace and safety of this kingdom.
194. Thus some good course be taken to discover the counterfeit and false conformity of Papists to the Church, by colour whereof persons very much disaffected to the true religion have been admitted into place of greatest authority and trust in the kingdom.
195. For the better preservation of the laws and liberties of the kingdom, that all illegal grievances and exactions be presented and punished at the sessions and assizes.
196. And that Judges and Justices be very careful to give this in charge to the grand jury, and both the Sheriff and Justices to be sworn to the due execution of the Petition of Right and other laws.
197. That His Majesty be humbly petitioned by both Houses to employ such counsellors, ambassadors and other ministers, in managing his business at home and abroad as the Parliament may have cause to confide in, without which we cannot give His Majesty such supplies for support of his own estate, nor such assistance to the Protestant party beyond the sea, as is desired.
198. It may often fall out that the Commons may have just cause to take exceptions at some men for being coun
1 Eliab in Rushworth.
cillors, and yet not charge those men with crimes, for there be grounds of diffidence which lie not in proof.
199. There are others, which though they may be proved, yet are not legally criminal.
200. To be a known favourer of Papists, or to have been very forward in defending or countenancing some great of fenders questioned in Parliament; or to speak contemptuously of either Houses of Parliament or Parliamentary proceedings.
201. Or such as are factors or agents for any foreign prince of another religion ; such are justly suspected to get councillors' places, or any other of trust concerning public employment for money; for all these and divers others we may have great reason to be earnest with His Majesty, not to put his great affairs into such hands, though we may be unwilling to proceed against them in any legal way of charge or impeachment.
202. That all Councillors of State may be sworn to observe those laws which concern the subject in his liberty, that they may likewise take an oath not to receive or give reward or pension from any foreign prince, but such as they shall within some reasonable time discover to the Lords of His Majesty's Council.
203. And although they should wickedly forswear themselves, yet it may herein do good to make them known to be false and perjured to those who employ them, and thereby bring them into as little credit with them as with us.
204. That His Majesty may have cause to be in love with good counsel and good men, by shewing him in an humble and dutiful manner how full of advantage it would be to himself, to see his own estate settled in a plentiful condition to support his honour; to see his people united in ways of
: duty to him, and endeavours of the public good ; to see happiness, wealth, peace and safety derived to his own kingdom, and procured to his allies by the influence of his own power and government.
35. THE KING'S PROCLAMATION ON RELIGION. [December 10, 1641. Rushworth, iv. 456. See Hist. of Engl. x. 98.]
By the King. A proclamation for obedience to the laws, ordained for the esta
blishing of the true religion in this kingdom of England. His Majesty considering it is a duty most beseeming, and that most obligeth sovereign authority in a Christian King to be careful (above all other things) of preserving and advancing the honour and service of Almighty God, and the peace and tranquility of the Church, to which end His Majesty with his Parliament hath it under consideration, how all just scruples may be removed, and being in the meantime sensible that the present division, separation and disorder about the worship and service of God, as it is established by the laws and statutes of this kingdom in the Church of England, tendeth to great distraction and confusion, and may endanger the subversion of the very essence and substance of true religion ; hath resolved for the preservation of unity and peace (which is most necessary at this time for the Church of England), require obedience to the laws and statutes ordained for the establishing of the true religion in this kingdom, whereby the honour of God may be advanced, to the great comfort and happiness both of His Majesty and his good subjects.
His Majesty doth therefore charge and command, Divine Service be performed in this his kingdom of England and dominion of Wales, as is appointed by the laws and statutes established in this realm ; and that obedience be given by all his subjects, ecclesiastical and temporal, to the said laws and statutes concerning the same. And that all Judges, officers and ministers, ecclesiastical and temporal, according to justice and their respective duties, do put the said Acts of Parliament in due execution against all wilful contemners and disturbers of Divine Service contrary to the said laws and statutes.
His Majesty doth further command that no parsons, vicars or curates in their several parishes shall presume to introduce any
rite or ceremonies other than those which are established by the laws and statutes of the land.
Dated the tenth day of December, in the
seventeenth year of His Majesty's reign.
36. THE KING'S ANSWER TO THE PETITION ACCOMPANYING THE
[December 23, 1641. Rushworth, iv. 452. See Hist. of Engl. x. 108.]
We having received from you, soon after our return out of Scotland, a long petition consisting of many desires of great moment, together with a declaration of a very unusual