Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 7, 1644. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1767-1830.
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Die Jovis, 20 die Novembris.
L. Viscount Say & Seale.
Message from the H. C. for Dr. Walker to make his Narrative to the Committee for the Admiralty.
A Message was [ (fn. 1) brought from] the House of Commons, by Sir Rob't Pye Knight:
To desire their Lordships, that whereas this House did send to them, for to desire a Conference to hear Doctor Walker; they desire it may be referred to the Commissioners for the Admiralty and Cinque Ports, for to hear Doctor Walker's Report, and they report the same to this House.
Norton to be instituted to Radborne.
It is this Day Ordered, by the Lords in Parliament, That Sir Nath. Brent Knight, Vicar General, is hereby authorized and required, either by himself, or such other whom he shall depute, to give Institution unto John Norton Clerk, into the Rectory of Radborne, in the County of Warwicke, forthwith after Sight of this Order; and this to be a sufficient Authority for so doing.
Letter from the Governor of Flanders.
Message from the H. C. with a Form of a Pardon for Delinquents;
for taking off Col. Lilburne's Fine;
with Names of Committees for Nott. and War.;
with an Ordinance;
with Names of Governors, &c.;
with Ordinances to clear the following Delinquents;
and to expedite the Ordinance for selling Delinquents Estates.
10. To desire Expedition to the Ordinance for selling of Delinquents (fn. 2) Estates, because the Well-being of the Army under Sir Tho. Fairefaix depends upon (fn. 2) it; for there are great Sums of Monies advanced upon the Credit of that Ordinance.
Committee for Petitions.
Message to the H. C. about the V. C. of Cambridge's Oath.
Answer from thence.
Petition from the Court of Aldermen, &c. about Church Government.
This Day a Petition was presented to this House, from the Mayor and Court of Aldermen of the City of London, delivered by Mr. Aldermen Gibbs, accompanied with divers other Aldermen and Common Council Men: And in the Seeech by Mr. Alderman Gibbs it was declared, "That this Petition was not intended to prescribe nor anticipate the Proceedings of this House; but only to submit them to their Lordships Consideration and Resolutions."
Committee to prepare an Answer to it.
Ordered, That these Lords following were appointed Committees, to draw up what they think fit to be returned in Answer to this Petition now received from the Lord Mayor, Court of Aldermen, and Common Council, and report the same to this House.
L. Viscount Say & Seale.
Answer to the Court of Aldermen, &c.
"My Lords have read your Petition; and take special Notice of your Expressions of submitting yourselves to the Resolutions of Parliament, for which they give you Thanks; and do recommend to your Care, in all your Actions, the same Respect and Tenderness to the Privilege of this House: And do further declare their Readiness hath been, and shall be, to engage themselves as far as any, in the Maintenance of the Covenant, the advancing and settling of God's true Religion, and Discharge of the Trust reposed in them."
London Ministers Petition.
A Petition was presented to this House, by Mr. Walker and others, Ministers of the City of London, in Behalf of themselves and others of their Brethren; which Petition was received, and read, as follows.
E. of Stamford's Goods at Bristol.
"Ordered, by the Lords in Parliament assembled, That the Committee of Bristoll is hereby authorized and required to call before them Mr. Alderman Hooke of the said City, his Wife, Sister, and Servants, to give an Account to them of all such Goods and Provisions as were left in his House at Bristoll, by the Earl of Stamford, or his Servants; and, after a full Examination of the Business (if Satisfaction be not given to the said Earl), to make Certificate in Writing unto this House, how they find the Business, and where the said Goods and Provisions now are; and herein the said Committee are required not to fail."
Letter from the Governor of Flanders, about Trade, and the Restitution of Ships taken.
I have seen the Proposition which Doctor Walker hath made me in your Name, according to his Credential Letters of the 27th May last, concerning the Business of the Liberty of Traffic, and other Points therein contained; and having thereupon heard some Ministers of the Admiralty, and debated the Affair in the Councils, both Privy and of State, of the King; I thought myself obliged to consult His Majesty about it, and mean while, expecting His Resolution, to govern myself according to the Treaties of Peace, conformable to the Right of Nations, and to the Orders of the Princes in these Parts; and particularly touching the Entry and Reception of Ships of War in the Havens or Sea Ports, and the Transportation of Arms out of these Provinces in Obedience.; praying and desiring you to take this Declaration in good Part, and to find good that accordingly I cause all Ships of War of Foreign Kingdoms and States to retire out of these Ports, with Prohibition not to return thither again, nor to receive any others, except for such Reasons, and in such a Manner, as are expressed in the 8 and 10th Articles of the Peace made betwixt the Two Crowns, in the Years 1604 and 1630; and concerning the Prizes, that I may keep the Way which is observed in the Neighbouring Kingdoms, and particularly in France; and whereas no Arms may be transported out of these Countries without any special Permission of His Majesty or of His Governor General, I therefore will therein proceed with such a Circumspection, that nobody shall have cause to complain: But as touching the Restitution of Ships and Goods already taken, seeing this Point is already debating in Justice, and upon Contestration of some of the Parties interested, I have taken Order that all their Papers and Writings be again put together and examined, thereupon to resolve and acquit myself as reasonably as can be done.
Petition of the Court of Aldermen, &c. for settling some doubtful Points concerning Church Government.
That the Petitioners do, with all humble Thankfulness, acknowledge the constant and unwearied Care and Pains taken by this Honourable House, now for about Five Years past, in the Defence of our Lives, Laws, and Liberties, against the common Enemies thereof; and your pious Endeavours, amongst other Things, for Reformation of Religion in this Kingdom, in Doctrine, Worship, Discipline, and Government, manifested by several Ordinances lately published, after Advice had with the Reyerend Assembly of Divines concerning the same.
That the Ministers and divers Citizens of this City have exhibited to this Court of Common Council their Desires, and Reasons thereof, hereunto annexed, for the Explication of Things doubtful, and supplying what they humbly conceive is necessary to enable and encourage such as shall be employed in exercising that Power which is intended to be conferred upon the Tryers, Ministers, and Elders, mentioned in the said Ordinances.
That the Petitioners do concur with the good Intentions and Desires of the said Ministers and Citizens, for settling Church Government according to the Word of God, and Example of the best Reformed Churches; and do remember the Solemn Covenant they have taken to endeavour the same.
And therefore your Petitioners do make it their humble Request, that the concurrent Desires of this Court, with the Desires and Reasons of the said Ministers and Citizens, may be forthwith taken into your most serious and religious Consideration; and thereupon to give such further Direction, by Ordinance of Parliament, as may encourage all that shall be employed in the said Government to proceed therein, as may tend most to the Glory of God, and the Peace and Happiness of this Church and Kingdom, and of all those that love Jesus Christ in Sincerity.
Desires of the Ministers of London, presented to them about it.
1. That the Presbyterial Government, in Congregational, Classical, Provincial, and National Assemblies, may be forthwith established amongst us, according to the Word of God, and the Example of the best Reformed Churches.
2. That a sufficient Power may be settled upon all the forenamed Elderships, that they may fully and faithfully put in Execution the said Prsebyterial Government, according to their several Subordinations respectively.
3. That (inasmuch as the Court, and those that are under the Power of it, are, in respect of your Number and Estates, more concerned in this great Work of Church Government than we of the Ministry) you would so deeply lay to Heart the ensuing Reasons, that some expedient Way be found out, by your Prudence, whereby the Explication of Things doubtful, and Supply of Things wanting in the Directions of the Lords and Commons of August 19th, and the Ordinance of October the 20th, 1645, may be obtained, that so we may proceed to the Election of Elders, without Hesitancy or Doubtfulness, in our several Congregations.
And both Ministers and Elders, and Tryers of Elders, and People, may chearfully embrace, execute, and submit unto, the said Government, orderly, peaceably, unanimously, and comfortably; carrying on this great Work of God, in our several Places and Callings respectively, so as may best conduce to the Glory of God, the Peace of our Consciences, the Perfection of Reformation, the Happiness of this City and all the Kingdom, and the Intentions of the Right Honourable Houses of Parliament for the compleat Establishment of Purity and Unity in the Church of God.
1. We apprehend that the Directions and Ordinance of Parliament forementioned take no Notice at all of any intrinsical Power in the Ministers or Elders derived unto them from Christ; no, not touching any the Substantials in Government and Discipline; but run in such a Strain, as if all of it were only of political Constitutions, and meerly to be derived from the Civil Magistrate.
3. The Tryers have no Power to reject any chosen an Elder, but only for the Points of Ignorance and Scandal hereafter mentioned in the Ordinance; so that, though the Person elected want those necessary Qualifications, Soundness in the Faith, Prudence, and Discretion, required Direct. 5, p. 3, yet the Tryers cannot reject such a Man, because he comes not within the said Description of Ignorance and Scandal; and though the Elected be guilty of never so many notorious Scandals not named in the Letter of the Ordinance, though he be an Heretic, an Apostate, a Perjured Person, a Common Worker on the Sabbath, a Thief, a Liar, &c. yet, because these and many such Scandals, are not expressed, such must be received into the Eldership.
3. The Chapel of The Rolls, the Two Serjeants Innes, and the Four Innes of Court, seem to be wholly exempted from the Province of London; and so (being of no Province) from the National Assembly; compare Direct. 7, 8, p. 3, with Direct. 9, p. 7; for the Parishes of London and Westm. as distinguished into Twelve Classis, are there made the Extent and Bounds of the Province of London; but these Innes of Court are none of the Twelve Classis, but a Thirteenth distinct from them all. This, we conceive, had need to be cleared; and The Savoy is left out of the 11th Classis, Direct. p. 7.
4. As yet there is extant no Ordinance of Parliament (so far as we can discern), plainly authorizing and commanding the Ministers and People to elect Elders; whereas such a weighty Office, and so new to this Kingdom, had need to be established upon the strongest Foundation; especially considering, the Statute 1° Eliz. 1. condemning the Exercise of all Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction not established by Authority under severest Penalties.
5. Divers Scandals, expressed in the Description of Scandals, in the Ordinance, p. 5, 6, seem not to be so clearly laid down in the Letter as they had Need to be; or are so tied up, that they will seldom or never come under Censure; As for Example, Whoredom and Adultery, being Deeds of Darkness and Secrecy, seldom or never can be discovered by Oath of Witnesses. By that ["any Person that shall profess himself not to be in Charity with his Neighbour,"] p. 6, seems evidently to be meant, that, unless in plain Terms and Words, a Man declare himself not to be in Charity, though indeed he be never so grossly out of Charity, and that be proved against him, yet he must be admitted to the Lord's Supper. Those Games and Sports counted scandalous on the Lord's-day, p. 6, seem not to be censurable upon Fast-days, Thanksgiving-days, and on all other Days, according to that Rule, Exceptio firmat Regulam in non exceptis, i. e. An Exception confirms the Rule in Things not excepted; but divers of these, as Masking, Plays, Interludes, Morris-dancing, Wakes, seem to be always scandalous. Barretry, Extortion, and Bribery, are not made scandalous till they be legally convicted; and then here's no Order for any Certificate to the Elderships of such Conviction, p. 6.
6. The Enumeration of (fn. 3) Scandals seems to be very defective, many notorious Scandals being omitted; as for Instance, Heresy; Common Contempt or Neglect of God's Public Ordinances and Family Duties; Prophane Scoffing and Jeering at the Profession and Power of Godliness; Servile Work in Mens Callings on the Sabbath-day; Stolen and Clandestine Marriages; Theft; Known and Wilful Defrauding in Bargaining; Common unnecessary Haunting of Taverns, Ale-houses, and Gaming-houses; Common Lying; Malicious Slandering and Back-biting; Preaching publicly or privately by such as are neither Ordained nor Probationers, and Common Frequenting of such; palpable Hindering or Opposing the Reformation of Religion, which we have covenanted with God to promote; all Injuries (though never so scandalous) about Payments, Contracts, &c. are expressly exempted from the Cognizance of the Eldership, Caution 2, p. 8; Mens renouncing their Baptism or Ministry; Man-slaughter; Perjury; Common Scolding and Quarrelling; Witchcraft, Sorcery, Fortune-telling, Figure-casting, Charming, Conjuring, and such like Arts; Bigamy or Polygamy; Sodomy; Confusion of Man or Woman with Beast; with a Multitude of other Scandals, whereof we conceive it's impossible to make, or that any of the Reformed Church (that we know) did ever make, a perfect Enumeration.
7. We conceive that the Eldership have no Power granted by this Ordinance to suspend any Persons from the Lord's Supper for any Scandals not expressed in the very Letter of the Ordinance, which in Effect is to allow such scandalous Persons to communicate, because of that Clause ["and not otherwise, until it be otherwise declared by both Houses of Parliament, p. 5;"] so that, till that be done, the Elderships are necessitated to dash themselves upon One of these Two Rocks; either to admit such scandalous Persons to the Sacrament, against their Conscience, to God's Dishonour, and the Offence of the Godly; or to incur the severe Penalties of the Statute 1 Eliz. 1. for usurping a Jurisdiction Eccleclesiastical which is not established.
8. There seems to be no special Rule prescribed for Suspension of Ruling Elders, either from the Lord's Supper, or from the Execution of any Part of their Office, in Case they be scandalous; yet the Parochial Eldership (though consisting but of Two Elders) seem to have Power granted, by a special Rule, to suspend their Minister from giving and receiving the Lord's Supper for any enumerated Scandals proved against them, Ord. p. 6; which, we humbly conceive neither to be according to the Word of God, nor the Example of any Reformed Church in the whole Christian World; nor was ever practised in any Church, in or since the Apostles Times; but that this properly belongs to the Classical Eldership or Synods, who may provide for the Supply of the Congregation during the Minister's Suspension; as it seems unfit that the Ruling Elders should be suspended till Advice had with the Classis, to avoid Mal-administration of Censures.
9. There seems to be a great Defect, touching the fundamental and first Act of Government; there being no Power granted to the Eldership to convent or bring before them either any Persons to give an Account of their Knowledge before they communicate, or any scandalous Person, or Witnesses; or for the Eldership to minister an Oath in such Cases; but, if they will come of themselves, the Eldership may proceed; if they please not to come, they are left to their own Liberty: Nor do we find any Course prescribed to prevent such as are suspended from Sacrament in One Parish from going to the Sacrament in another.
10. There appears to us no Ecclesiastical Remedy at all for them that are 'grieved by any Censure; for, though they may appeal to the Classical, Provincial, and National Assemblies, yet none of them have any Power at all confirmed upon them, that we can find; nor is it said what they shall do in such Cases of Appeal, nor in any other Cases of Difficulty and common Concernment. Ord. p. 7.
11. We find no Power at all settled for rooting out of Schism and Divisions, which is our great Disease; nor for reducing us to Unity, so solemnly mentioned in the Preface, p. 1, which is our vehement Desire; but rather the Defects of this Power will (as we apprehend) extremely confirm and increase Sects and Divisions amongst us, and Separation from us more than ever heretofore.
12. A Standing Committee of Parliament is appointed, to whom all Scandals not expressed in the Ordinance may be represented by any Classis, Ord. p. 8; which (we exceedingly fear) will tire out the Kingdom, will create endless Work for the Parliament and the said Committee, will never fully satisfy the Churches, and will keep the Door open for scandalous Persons in the mean Time to come to the Lord's Table, which will be a great Remora to the Reformation, by reason that Congregations far remote in the Country cannot or will not (at their great Costs and Trouble) make their Addresses to the Committee of Parliament, but rather swallow their Grievances, and lie under them.
These our Desires and Reasons we humbly present to this Honourable Court; not that we have the least Intention of investing ourselves and the Ministry with any arbitrary, unlimited, and exorbitant Power; for the Power is not to be settled upon the Ministers alone, but upon the Presbyteries; in all which it is provided already, that there shall be always Two at least of the People for One Minister; and we sincerely profess our Desires and Intentions, to manage this weighty Government, not according to our Wills and Wisdoms, but as near as is possible according to the Will and Word of God, the most certain Rule in the World; nor that we would carry on this Work by Might and Power, for we have good Hope that God in due Time will patronize His own Cause, though Men should be wanting: But that we may discharge a good Conscience, in our utmost Endeavours to advance the Kingdom of Christ in the Purity of Reformation; to be faithful to the Church of Christ wherein we are Stewards and Watchmen, and to succeeding Posterity; to maintain the Truth to which we are bound to bear Witness; to fulfill our Solemn League and Covenant with God, from which we cannot go back; and, as your Remembrancers, to put you in Mind to neglect no pious Endeavours, in your Places and Callings, for expediting both yourselves and us out of the former Difficulties, and for promoting of such a Reformation of Religion in Discipline and Government, as may have due Purity in itself; may bring sweet Unity amongst us, and most conduce to an happy Union in all the Three Kingdoms, according to the Vows of God that are upon you in your Solemn League and Covenant.
Petition of the Citizens of London about the same.
That your Petitioners are most deeply apprehensive of those many woeful Divisions touching Matters of Religion, both in regard of Doctrine and Discipline, which, within these few Years, have so miserably distracted not only this famous City, but many Parts of this Kingdom, and have already prevailed, to the unhappy producing such lamentable Mischiefs as we want Words to express. Truth is cried down, Error cried up, Brotherly Love abated, Unbrotherly Variance increased, and that amongst all Sorts of nearest and dearest Relations; the Power of Godliness is neglected, for the studying and maintaining of false and frivolous Opinions; a full Reformation not yet established, to the great Grief of the Godly, the Joy of the Wicked, and insulting of all our Adversaries.
The Church, the Ordinances of Christ, and the Glory of our God, do greatly suffer in all; and we exceedingly tremble to think that all this must needs be Bitterness in the End, if sufficient Remedy be not seasonably applied.
And now, after our long Expectations, that which is already published we cannot conceive to be a sufficient Remedy for our Malady, nor reaching up fully to our Covenant according to the Word of God; whence we desire that Government to be drawn (at least in the Fundamentals of it), which may bear Sway in our Consciences: Neither can we discern how Unity among ourselves, or Uniformity with the Sister Churches, should be fully obtained, until Purity of Ordinances, and particularly that of the Lord's Supper (which is the very Centre where, if ever, we must meet) be compleatly established; those that withdraw from our Church Communion generally objecting against us the Impurity of our Ordinances as a Cause of their Separation.
Be pleased, therefore, to remember your Covenant, to lay to Heart the Cause of God, to set your Shoulders close to the Work of Reformation, calling to Mind the vast Expence of Wealth, Blood, and Lives, especially for the purchasing of a pure and thorough Reformation; and to make some speedy and earnest Address to the Honourable Houses of Parliament, for the compleat Establishment of such Power, upon all the several Elderships, Congregational, Classical, Provincial, and National, respectively, according to the Word of God, and the Example of the best Reformed Churches, as may raise up the Church, and all Christ's Ordinances therein, to the due Purity and Unity which the Honourable Houses so piously expressed in the Preface of their Ordinance, and which all faithful Christians so exceedingly desire.
London Ministers Petition to the Parliament, for settling some doubtful Points in Church Government.
That your Petitioners and daily Orators at the Throne of Grace, do unfeignedly bless our God, and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour, the Head over all Things to the Church, that, in the Midst of those many insufferable Miseries, overflowing and almost overwhelming both the Church and Kingdom, He hath graciously opened for us a Door of Hope, in raising up, continuing together, and assisting, of this Renowned Parliament, above our Expectations, and against all Oppositions, for the rescuing both of Church and State from their deep Calamities; having, to these Ends, engaged your Hearts (and with you the Three Kingdoms) unto Himself in so Religious a Covenant: And we humbly present our hearty Thanks unto the Right Honourable Houses, for all their indefatigable Endeavours, these Five Years together, for the Kingdom's Happiness, and the Church's Reformation; and in particular for the Hopes of a speedy Establishment of Church Government, intimated unto us in your Directions of August 19, 1645, Order of September 23, and Ordinance of October 10, 1645; in which Directions and Ordinance, notwithstanding divers Difficulties appear both to us and to our People, hitherto obstructing our putting the Presbyterial Government (therein mentioned) into actual Execution according to our earnest Desires, by reason of divers Things (as we humbly conceive) partly (fn. 4) doubtul, partly defective therein.
Wherefore your Petitioners, in Pursuance of our Solemn Covenant, in Zeal to the Glory of God, the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, and to the complete Establishment of Purity and Unity in the Church of God, for the Satisfaction both of our own and our People's Consciences in this weighty Matter of Church Government, and for the general Benefit, not only of the Province of London, but of all the Provinces in England, both for present and succeeding Ages, do most humbly and earnestly beseech the Right Honourable Houses,
That the Presbyterial Government, in Congregational, Classical, Provincial, and National Assemblies (agreed upon already by the Right Honourable Houses), may be speedily established, with such Fulness and Sufficiency of Power upon all the said Elderships, that they may fully, faithfully, and chearfully, with well-satisfied Consciences, submit unto, and put in Execution, the said Government; and that there may be, to that End, by your Authority, superadded a clear Explanation of Things doubtful, and full Supply of Things defective, in the said Directions and Ordinance of the Right Honourable Houses, according to the Schedule annexed, and herewith humbly presented to your Wisdoms and Piety.
Clause added to the V. C. of Cambridge's Oath.
"Be it Ordained, by the Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament, That for the present, till the Statutes of the University of Cambridge can be surveyed, that the Vice-chancellor of the said University shall take his Oath with this Clause annexed, Hoc in me recipio in quantum Statutis & Ordinationibus Regni non repugnat."