[29 August, 1648.]
All places shall be under the Government of Congregational, Classical, Provincial and National Assemblies.
Be it Ordered and Ordained by the Lords and Commons in
Parliament assembled, and by authority of the same; That all
Parishes and places whatsoever within the Kingdom of England
and Dominion of Wales (as well privileged places and exempt
Jurisdictions as others) be brought under the Government of
Congregational, Classical, Provincial, and National Assemblies;
Provided that the Chappels or places in the houses of the King
and his Children, and the Chappels or places in the Houses of
Peers of this Realm, shall continue free for the exercise of
Divine duties to be performed according to the Directory and
Elders shall be forthwith chosen.
That there be forthwith a choice made of Elders throughout
the Kingdom of England and Dominion of Wales, in the respective Churches and Chappels, according to such Directions as
hereafter follow; and all Classes and Parochial Congregations are
respectively hereby authorized and required forthwith effectually
to proceed therein accordingly.
Directions for the Election of Parochial and Congregational Elders.
Directions for election of elders.
1. That notice of the Election of Parochial and Congregational
Elders, and of the time when it shall be, be given by the Minister
in the publique Assembly the next Lords day but one before, and
that on the said Lords day a Sermon be preached preparatory to
that weighty business.
2. That the ruling Elders of a Parochial and Congregational
Eldership, shall be chosen by the several Ministers and Members
of that Congregation respectively, or the major part of them there
assembled, being such as have taken the National Covenant, and
are not persons under age, nor servants that have no families.
3. That such shall be chosen for ruling Elders as are men of a
good understanding in matters of Religion, found in the faith,
prudent, discreet, grave, and of unblameable conversation, and
willing to undergo the said Office.
4. That no man be chosen for a ruling Elder, but onely for one
Congregation, and that in the place where his most setled dwelling and imployment doth lye.
5. That when any ruling Elder is to be chosen where an
Eldership is constituted, it be done by the Eldership with the
consent and approbation of the people of that Congregation.
6. That it shall be lawfull for the Congregation respectively, or
any other persons, to exhibite exceptions against any persons
elected as aforesaid, touching the right of his election, the
qualification of the person before mentioned, or touching matter
of Ignorance or Scandal, hereafter mentioned, to such persons as
are hereafter appointed to receive the said Exceptions.
Triers and judges.
Concerning the Triers and Judges of the integrity and ability of
such as are to be chosen Elders in the Province of London and
of the Inns of Court.
1. These persons following shall be Triers and Judges of the
integrity and ability of such as are chosen Congregational Elders
in the several Classes within the Province of London, and of the
dueness of their Election according to the rules and directions
The first Classis. Ministers.
Doctor William Gouge of Black Friers, Mr. George Walker of
John Evangelist, Mr. Lazarus Seaman of Alhallowes in Bread
street. Others, Mr. Richard Brown, Esq; of Black Friers, Mr.
Richard Turner Senior of Austins Parish, Mr. Will. Kendal of
Alhallowes in Bread-street, John Clark Doctor of Physick of
Martins Ludgate, Mr. Thomas Steines of Mildred in Breadstreet,
Mr. Christopher Meredith of Faiths.
The second Classis. Ministers.
Master William Reyner of John Baptists, Mr. Charles Offspring of Antholins, Mr. William Thomas of Pancras Soper-lane.
Others, Mr. Alex. Jones of John Baptists, Mr. Ralph Triplet of
Nicholas Cole-Abbey, Mr. Thomas Coffin of Michael Royal, Mr.
names Hayes of Bennet Sherehog, Mr. John Cock of James
Carlickhithe, Mr. Philip Owen of Mary Magdalens OldFish-street.
The third Classis. Ministers.
Master Humphrey Chambers of Stephens Walbrook, Mr. John
Rawlinson of Mary Abchurch, Mr John Cardel of Alhallows
Lumbard street. Others, Mr. John Warner Alderman of Stephens
Walbrook, Mr. Robert Sweet of Mary Woolnoth, Mr. Mich. Herring of Mary Woolchurch, Mr. Rich. Young of Alhallows
Lumbard-street, Mr. Rich. Warner of Mary Abchurch, Mr. Robert
Mead of Lawrence Pountney.
The fourth Classis. Ministers.
Master John Lee of Mary on the Hill, Mr. Joseph Caryl of Magnus
Mr. Fulk Bellers of Michael Cornhil. Others, Mr. James Bunce
Alderman of Bennet Gracechurch, Mr. Edward Hooker of Mary
on the Hill, Mr. John Bellamy of Michael Cornhil, Mr. John Gyes
of Andrew in Hubbert, Mr. John Hatler of Magnus, Mr. William
Bramwith of Peters Cornhil.
The fifth Classis. Ministers.
Master John Conant of Botolph Aldersgate, Mr. Anthony Tuckney
of Michael at Corn, alias Quern, Mr. Simoen Ashe of Brides,
Others, Sir John Wollaston Knight, of John Zacharies, Mr. Edward
Honywood of Michael at Corn, alias Quern, Mr. William Hart of
Christ Church, Mr. John Johnson of Botolph Aldersgate, Mr.
Richard Flood of Peters Cheap, Mr. John Sherman of Anne
The sixth Classis. Ministers.
Master Edmond Calamy of Mary Aldermanbury, Mr. John
Arrowsmith of Martins Ironmonger Lane, Mr. Arthur Jackson of
Michaels Woodstreet. Others, Mr. Walter Boothby of Mary
Aldermanbury, Mr. William Web of Martins Ironmonger Lane,
Mr. Wil. Bisby of Lawrence Jury, Mr. Tho. Bregstwell and Mr.
Rob. Manwaring of Giles Cripplegate, Mr. Lawrence Brinley of
Mary Magdalens Milkstreet.
The seventh Classis. Ministers.
Master Robert Harris of Botolph Bishopsgate, Mr. Samuel
Clarke of Bennet Fynk, Mr. Charles Newton and Mr. Leonard
Cooke of Michael Basingshaw. Others, Mr. Christopher Pack
Alderman of Michael Basingshaw, Mr. James Russel of Stephens
Colemanstreet, Mr. William Williamson of Christophers, Mr.
Robert Launt of Peters Poor, Mr. James Story of Bennet Fynk,
Mr. Samuel Harsnet of Bartholomew Exchange.
The eighth Classis. Ministers.
Master Will. Spurstow of Hackney, Mr. Thomas Porter of
Katherine Creed-Church, Mr. Elidad Blackwel of Andrew Undershaft. Others, Sir David Watkins Knight and Mr. John Smith of
Andrew Undershaft, Mr. George Clark of Hackney, Mr. Rich.
Shute of Creedchurch, Mr. Alex. Bence of Algate, Mr. Thomas
Hutchins of Hellens.
The ninth Classis. Ministers.
Master Thomas Clendon of Alhallows Barking, Mr. Thomas
Valentine of Mary White-chappel, Mr. Thomas Carter of Olaves
Hart-street. Others, Sir Edward Harrington Knight of Olaves
Hart-street, Mr. Francis West Lieutenant of the Tower, Mr.
Edmond Trench of Alhallows Staining, Mr. Maurice Thompson
and Mr. Stafford Clare of Dunstans East, Mr. Solomon Smith of
The tenth Classis. Ministers.
Master Thomas Gataker of Rotherhithe, Mr. Jeremy Whitaker
of Mary Magdalen Bermondsey, Mr. Samuel Bolton of Mary
Overy. Others, Mr. Collier of Saint Saviours, Mr. George Snelling
Mr. Rob. Haughton and Mr. George Thompson of Olaves Southwark, Mr. Daniel Sauton of Mary Overy, Mr. Henry Helmer of
Mary Magdalen Bermondsey.
The eleventh Classis. Ministers.
Mr. Richard Vines of Clement Danes, Mr. Henry Cornish of
Giles in the Fields, Mr. Cawdry of Martins in the Fields, Mr.
Gibson of Margarets Westminster. Others, Mr. John Packer Mr.
Thomas Faulconbridge, Mr. John Brigham, Mr. George Pryn and
Mr. Edward Martin of Westminster, Mr. James Prince, and Mr.
Sylvanus Taylor of Clement Danes, Mr. Walter Bigs of Giles in
the Fields, Mr. Edward Carter of Covent Garden.
The Twelfth Classis. Ministers.
Master Obadiah Sedgwick of Andrews Holborn, Mr. Emanuel
Bourne of Sepulchres, Mr. Strong of Dunstans West. Others, Mr.
Roger Drake Doctor of Physick, Mr. William Jesop of Andrews
Holborn, Mr. Thomas Smith, Mr. Nath. Camfield of Sepulchres
Mr. Francis Allen of Dunstans West.
2. That all Exceptions objected against any persons elected to
be Congregational Elders, shall be exhibited to the Tryers above
mentioned respectively, within fourteen dayes next after the said
3. That the said Tryers shall have power to receive, hear, and
determine all exceptions brought in to them concerning undue
Elections, and to that end to call before them all such Persons so
elected, and accepting such Election, and to send for such
Witnesses as shall be nominated unto them by such persons as
shall bring in such exceptions, and shall have power to examine
upon Oath, both the persons bringing in such exceptions, and
the said Witnesses, concerning any undue proceedings in the
manner of the said Election, and concerning all matters of ignorance or scandal objected against the party elected, and expressed
afterwards to be a sufficient cause of suspension from the
Sacrament of the Lords Supper (and of which any Eldership by
any Ordinance of Parliament hath Cognizance and Jurisdiction)
and that shall be proved to have been committed within one
whole year before the exceptions exhibited, and that the persons
against whom the exceptions are taken shall have like liberty to
produce witnesses to be examined in like manner on their
4. That the Tryers shall have power to examine whether the
Elders that are chosen be so qualified as is above expressed.
5. That in case the Election of any Elder of a Congregation,
upon just proof and examination, be found by the Tryers
appointed for that purpose to be unduly made, or the person to
be ignorant, or scandalous, or not qualified as aforesaid, Then the
said Tryers may order such Elder to be removed, and another to
be chosen in his place.
6. That in case no just exception as aforesaid shall be proved
against any Elder, and that the said Elder shall approve himself as
duely qualified for the said Office unto the Tryers, then the said
Tryers shall have power to approve the person so elected to be a
Congregational Elder in the place where he is so elected, and
the person so approved is hereby authorized to act with the
Minister, and the rest of the Congregational Eldership, in the
Government of that Congregation.
7. That the said Tryers have power to call before them those
persons whose names shall be returned to them as chosen to be
Elders in any Congregation, to know whether they are willing to
accept of the said Office, and to receive further satisfaction from
them concerning their fitness for the said Office.
8. That what shall be done by the major part of the Tryers
that be present, (not being under the number of seven) in each
Classis, shall be esteemed as the Act of all the Tryers of that
9. That the Committee of Lords and Commons hereafter
mentioned, appointed for the judging of Scandal, have power to
constitute Tryers within the Province of London, where need
Classical Elderships in London.
The Distribution of the Province of London into their Classical
1. That the Province of London shall be divided into twelve
Classical Elderships, according to the distributions hereafter
The first Classis to contain,
Alhallows Breadstreet, Andrew Wardrop, Anne Black-Friers
Austins Parish. Bennet Pauls-Wharf, Faiths, Gregories, John
Evangelist, Margaret Moses, Martin Ludgate, Mary Aldermary,
Mary Le Bow, Matthew Fridaystreet, Mildreds Bread-street, Pauls,
The second Classis to contain.
Anthonies vulgo Antholins, Bennet Sherehog, James Garlickhithe, John Baptist, Martin in the Vintrey, Mary Magdalen
Old Fishstreet, Mary Sommerset, Mary Mounthaunt vulgo
Mounthaw, Michael Queenhithe, Michael Royal, Nicholas Old
Abby, Nicholas Olaves, Pancret Soperlane, Thomas Apostle
The third Classis to contain.
Alhallows the Greater, Alhallows the Less, Alhallows
Lumbardstreet, Edmunds Lumbardstreet, Lawrence Pountney,
Mary Abchurch, Mary Bothaw, Mary Woolchurch, Mary Woolnoth, Nicholas Acon, Stephens in Walbrook, Swithins
The fourth Classis to contain.
Andrew Hubbert, Bennet Grace-church, Buttolph, Billinsgate,
Clements in Eastcheap, Dionis Backchurch, George Buttolphlane, Leonard in Eastcheap, Magnus, Margaret New-Fishstreet,
Martin Orgars, Mary-hill, Michael Crooked Lane, Michael Cornhil
The fifth Classis to contain,
Anne Aldersgate, Buttolph Aldersgate, Brides, Bridewel,
Christ-church, John Zachary, Leonard Fosterlane, Mary Stainings,
Michael in the Corn vulgo Quern, Olaves Silverstreet, Peter
Cheap, Pedast alias Fosters.
The sixth Classis to contain,
Albans Woodstreet, Alhallows Honey-Lane, Alphage, Giles
Creeplegate, James Chappel, Lawrence in the Jury, Martin in
Ironmonger-lane, Mary Aldermanbury, Mary-Maudlins Milkstreet, Mary Colechurch, Michael in Woodstreet, Mildred in the
Poultrey, Olaves in the Jury.
The seventh Classis to contain,
Alhallows by the Wall, Bartholomew Exchange, Bennet Fynk,
Buttolph Bishopsgate, Christophers, Margaret Lothbury, Michael
Basingshaw, Peter Poor, Stevens Colemanstreet.
The eighth Classis to contain,
Andrew Undershaft, Buttolph Aldgate, Ethelburgh, Hackney,
Hellens, James Dukes place, Katharine Creechurch, Leonard
Shoreditch, Martins Oteswitch vulgo Outwich, Mary Newington
alias Soke Newington.
The ninth Classis to contain,
Alhallows Barking, Alhallows Stainings, Dunstans in the
East, Gabriel Fenchurch, Katherine Coleman, Katherine Tower,
Margaret Pattons, Olaves Hartstreet, Peters in the Tower,
Stepney, Trinity Minories, Wapping, Whitechappel.
The tenth Classis to contain,
George Southwark, Lambeth, Mary Magdalen Bermondsey,
Mary Overs, Newington Buts, Olaves Southwark, Rotherhithe
vulgo Redriff, Thomas Hospital, Thomas Southwark.
The eleventh Classis to contain,
Clements Danes, Giles in the Fields, Knightsbridge, Margarets
Westminster, Martins in the Fields, Newchurch, Peters Westminster Pauls Chappel in Covent Garden.
The twelfth Classis to contain,
Andrew Holborn, Bartholomew the Greater, Bartholomew the
Less, Charterhouse, Dunstans in the West, James Clarkenwell
Mary Islington, Sepulchres.
2. That all the several Parishes and Places within the Cities
of London and Westminster, and the parts adjacent, according
as they are distinguished into Twelve several Classes, shall be
the extent and bounds of the Province of London.
3. That the Chappel of the Rolls, the two Serjeants Inns, and
the four Inns of Court, shall be under the Presbyterial Government of those respective Classes within the limits whereof they
Concerning the Members of the Classical and Congregational Presbyteries in the several Counties of the Kingdom of England
and Dominion of Wales.
Classical and Congregational Presbyteries in England and Wales.
1. That the Committees or Commissioners named in the
Ordinance of Sixty thousand 1. per mensem. Dated the 23 of
June 1647. or any three or more of them of the several Counties
of this Kingdom, with the Assistance of such Ministers and others
as they shall think fit, do forthwith meet, and consider how their
several Counties respectively may be most conveniently divided
into distinct Classical Presbyteries, where they are not already
divided, and what Ministers and others are fit to be of each Classis,
and they shall accordingly make such division and nomination
of Persons for each Classical Presbytery, which divisions, and
Persons so named for every division, shall be certified by the
said Committees and Commissioners to the Committee of Lords
and Commons for judging of scandal, And that the Chancellors,
Vice-chancellors, and heads of the Universites, do likewise
consider how the Colledges may be put into Classical Presbyteries,
and do certifie the same up to the said Committee of Lords and
Commons; And that the said Certificates be made before the
25 of March next, which Committee of Lords and Commons is
required to approve and confirm the same as they shall think
fit, immediately upon receipt of such Certificate.
2. That the said several Classes respectively, being approved
as aforesaid, within their several Precincts, shall Act and execute
all power belonging to any Classis, and also shall have power to
constitute Congregational Elderships, where a competent number
of persons so qualified for Elders as aforesaid, shall be found; And
to that end they have power to proceed in the Tryal, examination,
approbation, and removal of such persons as shall be chosen
Congregational Elders, as the Tryers above mentioned are
authorized to do; And that all exceptions against any persons
chosen to be Elders, shall be exhibited at the next Monethly
meeting of the Classis; And where no persons shall be found fit
to be Elders as aforesaid, then that Congregation shall be
immediately under the Classical Presbytery, until that congregation shall be enabled with members fit to be Elders as aforesaid.
3. That the several Classis constituted as aforesaid in the
several Counties, within the limits of the said respective Classis,
where no Congregational Presbyteries are already setled, shall
have from time to time power to nominate such Ministers and
others as are qualified according to this Ordinance, to joyn with
them in the same, to be approved by the Committee of Lords
and Commons appointed to judge of scandal, until such time as
Congregational Presbyteries shall be setled in the said respective
Precincts; And that such power shall be executed not onely in
cases of death or other departure of any Minister or Elder from
the place of their wonted dwelling, but also in case of increase of
Ministers, and of fit persons to be Elders in their several
4. That when the said Congregational Presbyteries shall be
setled within the said limits, that then the said Congregational
Presbyteries shall act according to the power and directions of
this Ordinance in that behalf.
5. That at any such time as seven Congregational Elderships
or more shall be constituted into any Classical Precinct, in any
of the Counties, by the respective Classis established as
abovesaid, the same shall by them be signified to the several
Congregational Elderships so established, and the said Congregational Elderships shall forthwith proceed to depute such of their
Elders as are most fit, who, together with their Minister, shall
meet as a Classis, and shall be to all intents and purposes
thenceforth the Classis of that Precinct, and execute all power
belonging to such or any former Classis, and the Classis formerly
constituted shall cease as to that Precinct.
6. That in all such Classical Elderships, whether in the
Province of London, or in any of the Counties of the Kingdom,
there shall be out of every Congregational Eldership, two Elders
or more, not exceeding the number of four, and one Minister,
sent to every Classis.
7. That the Classical Assemblies in each Province within the
Kingdom of England, and Dominion of Wales, shall assemble
themselves within one Moneth after they shall be thus
constituted, and shall thenceforth hold their meetings Monethly
by Adjournment, or oftner if need be, in such certain place as
shall be most convenient for the ease of the people; And that
before they sit about any business, there be a Sermon or
Exposition of Scripture made by some Minister of that Classis,
or expectant, as they shall agree amongst themselves.
8. That for the more orderly managing of such affairs as come
before them, there be one Moderator chosen by the Classis at
every meeting, out of the Ministers of the Word, who shall
continue until the next meeting.
9. That the Classis have power to take in such Ministers as
they shall think fit within their Precincts, although at the
present there be no Eldership constituted in the said Congregation.
10. That in the Classical meeting of all Classes, that which
shall be done by the major part present, shall be esteemed as the
Act of the whole Classical number, and that no Act done by any
Classis shall be valid and good, unless it be done by the number
of twelve present, whereof four at least to be Ministers, and eight
at the least Ruling Elders, or the major part of them.
11. That the Congregational Presbyteries shall meet once
every Week, and oftner if occasion shall require.
Concerning the Members of the Provincial Assemblies.
1. That the Committee of Lords and Commons have power to
bound the Provincial Assemblies in the Kingdom of England and
Dominion of Wales.
2. That the Provincial Assemblies shall be constituted of
Members sent from every Classis within the Province.
3. That the number of the Members sent from every Classis
shall be so proportioned as that the Provincial Assembly may be
more in number then any Classical Presbytery, and to that end,
they shall be at the least two Ministers, and four ruling Elders
out of every Classis, and that where there shall be need, the
Committee of Lords and Commons for the adjudging of scandal,
shall encrease the number of Delegates, which are or shall be
sent to any Provincial Assembly, as they shall think fit.
4. That the Elders of the Classis of the Province of London
shall hold their Provincial Assembly in Sion Colledge, as formerly
they have done, and may adjourn their meeting de die in diem,
and conclude their meeting with adjournment unto the next
opportunity, as formerly they have done; And that no Act shall
pass or be valid in the said Province of London, but what shalbe
done by the number of six and thirty present, or the major part
of them, whereof twelve to be Ministers, and four and twenty
ruling Elders; And that the first meeting of the Provincial
Assembly in the several Counties be appointed by the Committee
of Lords and Commons aforesaid, and may adjourn as aforesaid,
who are also to appoint the quorum that shall act in each
5. That the Provincial Assembly being constituted, shall meet
twice every year, or oftner if occasion shall require.
Concerning the National Assembly.
The National Assembly.
1. The National Assembly shall be constituted of Members
chosen by, and sent from, the several Provincial Assemblies
aforesaid; the number of the Members from each Province to
the National Assembly shall be, two Ministers, four ruling Elders
and five Learned and Godly persons from each University.
2. The National Assembly shall meet when they shall be
summoned by Parliament, and to sit and continue as the
Parliament shall Order, and not otherwise.
Of the Subordination of these Assemblies.
Subordination of the Assemblies.
1. That there be a Subordination of Congregational, Classical,
Provincial and National Assemblies, for the Government of the
Church, that so Appeals may be made from the Inferiour to the
2. That in all cases of Appeal to the Classical, Provincial, or
National Assembly, they shall have power respectively to proceed
thereupon by examination of Witnesses, and otherwise, in such
manner as the Congregational Eldership, from which the Appeal
ariseth, are enabled to do by this Ordinance of Parliament, and
shall certifie such their Proceedings to the said Eldership.
3. That the Provincial and National Assemblies have the
same power in all points of Government and Censures brought
before them, within their several bounds respectively, as doth
belong to Classical Presbyteries within their several Associations.
4. That if any person shall find himself grieved with the
proceedings against him before the Eldership of any Congregation, he shall have liberty to appeal to the Classical Eldership,
and from thence to the Provincial Assembly, and from thence to
the National, and from thence to the Parliament.
Of the power in Common of all these Assemblies and
the Order to be observed in them.
Powers of the Assemblies
1. That the several Assemblies before mentioned, may convent
and call before them any person within their several bounds,
whom the Ecclesiastical business that is before them shall
concern, either as a party, or as a Witness, according to the
nature of the Business: And that they do hear and determine
such causes and differences as shall orderly come before them,
and accordingly dispence Church Censures.
2. That these several Assemblies, or the Major part of them
respectively shall have power by Warrant under their hands (in
all cases whereof they have any Cognizance by this Ordinance)
to convent before them all persons against whom any Complaint
shall be brought by vertue of this Ordinance, and all such witnesses as shall be named for the Discovery of the Truth of such
complaint: And in case any person shall refuse to appear, Then
upon complaint made to the next Justice of the Peace, the
party refusing shall be brought before him, and in case of
obstinate persisting, shall be committed by the said Justice of
the Peace till he submit unto Order.
3. That in these meetings of the several Assemblies, one whose
Office is to labour in the Word and Doctrine, do moderate in
their proceedings, who is to Vote as well as the rest of the
Members, to begin and end the meeting with Prayer, to propose
questions, gather the Votes, pronounce the Resolves; but not to
do any act of Government, unless in and joyntly with the
Assembly whereof he is Moderator.
4. That all the members of these Assemblies respectively, are
to attend on the appointed days of their meetings, or to send the
reasons of their absence to be judged by the Assembly where
they are to meet.
The power of Congregational Elderships or Assemblies
for Governing of a particular Congregation.
Power of Congregational Elderships.
1. That the Congregational Eldership, consisting of the
Minister or Ministers, and the other ruling Officers of that
Congregation, shall have power, as they shall see just occasion
to inquire into the knowledge and spiritual estate of any Member
of the Congregation, to admonish and rebuke, to suspend from
the Lords Table those who are found by them to be ignorant
and scandalous, and to Excommunicate according to the rules
and directions hereafter following.
2. That where there are many ruling Officers in a Particular
Congregation, some of them do more especially attend the
Inspection of one part, some of another, as may be most convenient, and some of them are at fit times to visit the several
Families for their spiritual good.
3. That the Numbers of Elders in each Congregation be proportioned according to the condition of the Congregation, and the
exercise of their Office is so to be Ordered by the Eldership, as
that their civil imployment may be least hindred thereby.
The power of Classical Assemblies.
Powers of Classical Assemblies.
1. That Classical Presbyteries, which are Assemblies made up
of Ministers of the Word, and other Ruling Officers belonging
unto several neighbouring Congregations, shall have power to
consider, debate, and resolve, according to Gods Word, such cases
of Conscience or other difficulties in Doctrine, as are brought
unto them out of their Association, according as they shall find
needfull for the good of the Churches.
2. To examine and censure, according to the Word, any
erroneous Doctrine, which has been vented within their Association to the corrupting of the judgment of men; And to endeavour
the converting and reducing of Recusants, or any other in Errour
3. To take Cognizance of causes ommitted or neglected in the
Eldership of Particular Congregations, and to receive appeals
4. To dispence Censures in cases within their Cognizance, by
Admonition, Suspension, or Excommunication.
5. To admonish, or further to censure, scandalous Ministers,
whether in life or Doctrine, according to the nature of the offence,
and that not onely for such offences for which any other Member
of the Congregation shall incur any censure of the Church, (in
which case he is to be censured by the Classis with the like censure, for the like offence) but likewise particularly for Simony,
entering into any Ministerial charge without allowance of Authority, false Doctrine, affected lightness, and vanity in Preaching,
wilfull neglect of Preaching, or slight performance of it, wilfull
non-Residence from his charge without call or cause approved by
the Classis, neglect of Administration of the Sacrament, or other
Ministerial duties required of him in the Directory of worship,
depraving and speaking reproachfully against the wholesome
Orders by Authority setled in the Church, casting reproach upon
the power of godliness, which he by his Office ought chiefly to
promote, yet so as that no Minister be deprived or degraded, but
by the resolution of a Synod.
6. To Examine, Ordain, and Admit Ministers for the Congregations respectively therein Associated, according to the
Orders and directions hereafter following.
The Ordination of Ministers.
Ordination of ministers.
Whereas the word Presbyter, that is to say, Elder, and the word
Bishop, do in the Holy Scripture intend and signifie one and the
same function, although the Title of Bishop hath been by corrupt
Custome appropriated to One, and that unto him ascribed, and
by him assumed, as in other things, so in the matter of Ordination,
that was not meet; which Ordination notwithstanding being performed by him, a Presbyter joyned with other Presbyters, we hold
for substance to be valid, and not to be disclaimed by any that
have received it; And that Presbyters so Ordained, being lawfully thereunto appointed and Authorized, may Ordain other
Presbyters. And whereas also it is manifest by the Word of God,
that no man ought to take upon him the Office of a Minister
until he be lawfully called and Ordained thereunto; and that the
work of Ordination, that is to say an outward selemn setting
apart of persons for the Office of the Ministry in the Church by
the Preaching Presbyters, is an Ordinance of Christ, and is to be
performed with all due care, wisedome, gravity, and solemnity; It
is ordained by the Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament,
and by the Authority of the same, (after advice had with the
Assembly of Divines now convened at Westminster,) That the
several and respective Classical Presbyters within their several
and respective bounds, may and shall examine, approve, and
ordain Presbyters, according to the Directory for Ordination, and
rules for Examination, hereafter expressed, that is to say;
First, he that is to be Ordained, must address himself to the
Presbytery, and bring with him a Testimonial of his taking the
Covenant of the Three Kingdoms, of his diligence and proficiency
in his studies, what Degrees he hath taken in the University, and
what hath been the time of his abode there, and withal of his
Age, which is to be four and twenty years at least but especially
of his life and conversation.
Secondly, the Presbytery shall proceed to enquire touching the
Grace of God in him, and whether he be of such holiness of life
as is requisite in a Minister of the Gospel, and to examine him
touching his learning and sufficiency, and touching the evidence
of his calling to the holy Ministery, and in particular, his fair and
direct calling to that place to which he is designed.
The Rules for Examination are these.
Rules for examination.
1. That the party to be examined be dealt with in a brotherly
way with mildness of spirit, and with special respect to the
gravity, modesty, and qualty of every one.
2. He shall be examined touching his skill in the Original
Tongues and that tryal to be made by reading the Hebrew and
Greek Testament, and rendring some portions of them into
Latin; Inquiry also shall be made of his knowledge and skill in
Logick, Philosophy, and other learning.
3. It shall be inquired what Authors in Divinity he hath read,
and is best acquainted with, and whether he hath read and
observed the Ecclesiastical History, and what his skill is in the
Chronology of the Holy Scripture.
4 Tryal shall be made of his knowledge in the chief grounds
of Religion, and of his ability to defend the Orthodox Doctrine
contained in them, against all unsound and erroneous opinions,
especially those of the present Age; Also of his skill in the sense
and meaning of such places of Scripture as shall be proposed to
him, also his judgement in cases of conscience.
5. If he hath not before preached in publique, with approbation
of such who have ability to judge, he shall at a competent time
assigned him, and before the Presbytery, preach a Sermon upon
such a place of Scripture as shall be given him.
6. He shall in a competent time also frame a discourse in
Latine, upon such a common place or controversie in Divinity as
shall be assigned him, and exhibite to the Presbytery such Theses
as express the sum thereof, and maintain a dispute upon them;
also he shall preach before the people, the Presbytery, or some of
the Ministers of the Word appointed by them, being present.
7. The proportion of his Gifts, in relation to the place unto
which he is called, shall be considered.
8. Besides the tryal of his Gifts in preaching, he shall undergo
an Examination in the premisses two several dayes or more, if
the Presbytery shall judge it necessary.
Thirdly, after which he being approved, is to be sent to the
Church, or other place, where he is to serve, if it may be done
with safety and conveniency, there to Preach Three several days,
and to converse with the People, that they may have tryal of his
Gifts for their edification, and may have time and leisure to
inquire into, and the better to know, his life and conversation.
Fourthly, in the last of these three dayes appointed for the
making known of his Gifts in Preaching, there shall be sent from
the Presbytery to the Congregation a publique instrument in
writing, which shall publiquely be read before the people, and
after affixed to the Church-door, to signifie such a day any
member or members of the said Congregation, or any other person
or persons whatsoever, or any of them, may put in, with all
Christian discretion and meekness, what exceptions they have
against Him, and if upon the day appointed there be no just exceptions against Him, the Presbytery shall proceed to Ordination.
Fifthly, upon the day appointed for Ordination, which is to be
performed in that Church where he that is to be ordained is to serve
(if it may be done with safety and conveniency) a solemn Fast
shall be kept by the Congregation, that they may more earnestly
joyn in prayer to God for a blessing upon the person and labour
of this his servant solemnly to be set apart to the Office of the
Ministery for their good; the Presbytery shall come to the place,
or some Ministers of the Word, five at the least, shall be sent
from the Presbytery, whereof one shall preach to the People concerning the Office and Duty of the Ministers of Christ, and how
the people ought to esteem him for the work sake.
Sixthly, after the Sermon ended, the Minister which hath
preached shall in the face of the Congregation, demand of him
who is now to be ordained, concerning his faith in Christ Jesus,
and his perswasion of the truth of the Reformed Religion according to the Scriptures; his sincere intentions and ends in desiring
to enter into this calling; his resolution to use constant diligence
in Prayer, Reading, Meditation, Preaching, ministring the
Sacraments, and doing all Ministerial duties towards his charge
with his whole desire, as in the presence of God, so as may most
further their edification and salvation; his zeal and faithfulness
in maintaining the truth of the Gospel, and purity of the Church
against Errour and Schism; his care that himself and family may
be unblamable, and examples to the flock, and his full purpose
to continue in his duty against all trouble and persecution.
Seventhly, in all which having declared himself, professed his
willingness, and promised his endeavours by the help of God, the
Presbytery, or Ministers sent from them, shall solemnly set him
apart to the Office and work of the Ministery, laying their hands
on him, with a short Prayer or blessing, to this effect:
The prayer.; † Here let them impose their hands upon his head.
Thankfully acknowledging the great mercy of God in sending
of Jesus Christ for the redemption of his people, and for his
ascension to the right hand of God the Father, and there pouring
out his Spirit, and giving gifts to Men, Apostles, Evangelists,
Prophets, Pastors, and Teachers, for the gathering and building
up of his Church, and for fitting and inclining this man to this
great work; to beseech him to fill him with his holy Spirit, whom
in his Name we† set apart to this holy service, to fulfil the work
of his Ministery in all things, that he may both save himself, and
the people committed to his charge.
Eighthly, This or the like form of Prayer or Blessing being
ended, let the Minister who preached, briefly exhort him to
consider, the greatness of his Office and Work, the danger of
negligence both to himself and his people, the blessing which
will accompany his faithfulnes, in this life, and that to come;
withal let him exhort the people, and charge them in the Name
of God, willingly to receive and acknowledge him as the Minister
of Christ, and to maintain, encourage, and assist him in all the
parts of his Office, and so by Prayer commending both him and
his flock to the grace of God, after the singing of a Psalm, let
the Assembly be dismissed with a blessing.
Ninthly, Let such as are or shall be chosen or appointed for
the service of Army, Navy, Colledges, or other charge, be
ordained as aforesaid, in such Church as the Classical Presbytery
to which they shall address themselves shall think fit, and such
alterations made by the Minister that ordaineth, from the
exhortation last before prescribed, as the circumstance of place
and person shall require.
Tenthly, Let every one which is or shall be chosen or appointed
for any Place or Congregation, not being at that time within the
bounds of any Classical Presbytery, be ordained by that Classis
of Presbyters which he shall address himself unto, or by five, or
any greater number of Ministers of the Word, to be sent from
that Presbytery; which Ordination is to be performed according
to the rules and directions before prescribed, as far as with safety
and conveniency may be.
And be it further ordained by the said Lords and Commons,
and by the Authority aforesaid, That every person formerly
ordained a Presbyter, according to the form of Ordination which
hath been held in the Church of England, and is to be removed
to another charge, do bring to the Presbytery where he is to be
placed, if there be any, and if not, then to some other Presbytery,
a testimonial of his Ordination, and of his abilities and conversation, whereupon his fitness for that place to which he is to
be removed shall be tryed by his preaching there, and (if it shall
be judged necessary) by a further examination, and so without
any new Ordination he shall be admitted, if he be approved, as fit
for that place: And if any person ordained Minister in Scotland, or
in any other Reformed Church, be designed to a Congregation in
England, he is to bring from that Church to the Presbytery
where he is to be placed, if there be any, and if not, then to some
other Presbytery, a sufficient testimonial of his Ordination, of his
life and conversation while he lived with them, and of the causes
of his removal, and to undergo such a trial of his fitness and
sufficiency, and to have the same course held with him in other
particulars, as is set down in the foregoing rule and provision,
touching the examination and admission of persons formerly
ordained in England.
And it is further ordained, that Records be carefully kept by
the Register to be nominated by the Presbytery, of the Names of
the persons ordained, with their Testimonials, of the Time and
Place of their ordination, and of the Ministers who did ordain
them, and of the Charge to which they are appointed, and that
no money or gift, of what kind soever shall be received from the
person to be ordained, or from any on his behalf, for Ordination,
or ought else belonging to it, by the Presbytery, or any of them,
or any appertaining to any of them, upon what pretence soever,
except to the Register for the Entry, Instruments, and Testimonial
of his Ordination, which shall not exceed the sum of Ten
shillings for each person ordained.
And it is yet further ordained by the Authority aforesaid, That
all persons who shall be ordained Presbyters according to this
Directory, shall be for ever reputed and taken, to all intents and
purposes, for lawfull and sufficiently authorized Ministers of the
Church of England, and as capable of any Ministerial imployment
in the Church, with the rights and profits belonging thereunto,
as any other Presbyters whatsoever, already ordained, or hereafter
to be ordained: And that all Presbyters, who are hereby
appointed and authorized to ordain, and shall (according to this
present Directory) ordain any one or more Presbyters, are hereby
declared to perform an acceptable service to this Church and
Kingdome, and shall have the protection of both Houses of
Parliament for their indempnity: And what Presbytery soever
being in due manner desired, shall, without just and due cause,
refuse, or defer to ordain any Presbyter, whom by the rules and
direction of this Ordinance they ought to ordain, or shall omit,
or neglect to observe the solemnity of Ordination, in that decent,
and grave, and Godly manner as is meet, It is hereby declared,
That they are guilty of a very great offence, and deserve severe
The Power of Synodical Assemblies.
Powers of Synodical Assemblies.
1. That Synodical Assemblies, whether Provincial or National,
consisting of Pastors, Teachers, Church-governours, and other fit
persons (when it shall be deemed expedient) where they have a
lawfull calling thereunto, have Ecclesiastical power and authority
to judge and determine controversies of Faith, and cases of
Conscience according to the Word.
2. They may also excommunicate, and dispense other Church
censures, in cases that are orderly brought before them.
Of Church censures; and first, of suspension from the
Church censures.; Suspension from the Sacrament:
1. That the several Elderships respectively, within their
respective bounds and limits, have power to suspend from the
Sacrament of the Lords Supper, all ignorant and scandalous
persons within the Rules hereafter following, and according to
the said Rules and directions.
Rules and Directions concerning suspension from the Sacrament
of the Lords Supper, in cases of Ignorance.
In cases of ignorance.
1. All such persons who shall be admitted to the Sacrament
of the Lords Supper, ought to know, That there is a God, that
there is but one everliving and true God, maker of Heaven and
Earth, and Governour of all things; that this onely true God is
is the God whom we worship; that this God is but one God, yet
three distinct persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, all
That God created man after his own Image, in knowledge,
righteousness, and true holiness; that by one man sin entered
into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all
men, for that all have sinned; that thereby they are all dead in
trespasses and sins, and are by nature the Children of wrath, and
so liable to eternal death, the wages of every sin.
That there is but one Mediator betwixt God and Man, the man
Christ Jesus, who is also over all, God blessed for ever, neither is
there salvation in any other.
That he was conceived by the Holy Ghost, and born of the
Virgin Mary, that he died upon the Cross to save his people from
their sins, that he rose again the third day from the dead, ascended
into Heaven, sits at the right hand of God, and makes continual
intercession for us, of whose fulness we receive all Grace necessary
That Christ and his benefits are applyed onely by Faith; that
Faith is the gift of God, and that we have it not of our selves,
but it is wrought in us by the Word and Spirit of God.
That Faith is that Grace whereby we believe and trust in
Christ for remission of sins and life everlasting, according to the
promises of the Gospel; that whosoever believes not on the Son
of God, shall not see life, but shall perish eternally.
That they who truly repent of their sins, do see them, sorrow
for them, and turn from them to the Lord; and that except
men repent, they shall surely perish.
That a Godly life is conscionably ordered according to the
Word of God, in holiness and righteousness, without which no
man shall see God.
That the Sacraments are Seals of the Covenant of Grace in the
bloud of Christ; that the Sacraments of the New Testament are
Baptisme and the Lords Supper: That the outward Elements in the
Lords Supper are Bread and Wine, and do signifie the Body and
Bloud of Christ crucified, which the worthy Receiver by Faith
doth partake of in this Sacrament, which Christ has likewise
ordained for the remembrance of his death: That whosoever eats
and drinks unworthily, is guilty of the Body and Bloud of the Lord,
and therefore that every one is to examine himself, lest he eat
and drink judgement to himself, not discerning the Lords Body.
That the souls of the faithfull after death do immediately live
with Christ in blessedness; and that the souls of the wicked do
immediately go into hell torment: That there shall be a Resurrection of the Bodies both of the just and unjust at the last day,
at which time all shall appear before the Judgement Seat of
Christ, to receive according to what they have done in the body,
whether it be good or evil, and that the Righteous shall go into
life eternal, and the wicked unto everlasting punishment.
2. Those who have a competent measure of understanding
concerning the matters contained in these Articles, shall not be
kept back from the Sacrament of the Lords Supper for Ignorance:
And the examination and judgement of such persons as shall for
their ignorance of the aforesaid points of Religion not be admitted to the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, is to be in the
power of the Eldership of every Congregation.
Rules and Directions concerning suspension from the Sacrament
of the Lords Supper, in cases of Scandal.
In cases of scandal.
1. That the several and respective Elderships shall have power
to suspend from the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, all
scandalous persons hereafter mentioned, appearing to be such
upon just proof made thereof in such manner as by this present
Ordinance is hereafter appointed, that is to say, All persons that
shall blasphemously speak or write any thing of God, his Holy
Word or Sacraments, all Renouncers of the true Protestant
Religion professed in the Church of England: And all Persons
that shall by Preaching or Writings maintain any such Errors as
do subvert any of those Articles, the ignorance whereof doth
render any person excluded from the Sacrament of the Lords
Supper: An Incestuous person, an Adulterer, a Fornicator, a
Drunkard, a prophane Swearer or Curser, one that hath taken
away the Life of any person maliciously: All worshippers of
Images, Crosses, Crucifixes, or Reliques; All that shall make any
Images or Pictures of the Trinity, or of any Person thereof; All
religious worshippers of Saints, Angels, or any meer Creatures;
Any person that shall profess himself not to be in charity with
his Neighbours; all persons in whom malice appears, and they
refuse to be reconciled; any person that shall challenge any
other person by word, message, or writing, to fight, or that shall
accept such Challenge, and agree thereto; Any person that shall
knowingly carry any challenge by word, message, or writing:
Any person that shall upon the Lords Day use any Dancing,
playing at Dice, or Cards, or any other Game, Masquing, Wakes,
Shooting, Bowling, Playing, playing at Foot-ball, Stool-ball,
Wrestling, or that shall make or resort into any Plays, Interludes,
Fencing, Bull-baiting, or Bear-baiting, or that shall use Hawking,
Hunting or Coursing, Fishing or Fowling, or that shall publiquely
expose any Wares to sale, otherwise then is provided by an
Ordinance of Parliament of the Sixth of April, 1644. Any
person that shall travel on the Lords Day without reasonable
cause; Any person that keepeth a known Stews or Brothelhouse, or that shall sollicite the Chastity of any person for himself or any other: Any person, Father or Mother, that shall
consent to the Marriage of their Child to a Papist, or any person
that shall marry Papist: Any person that shall repair for any
Advice to any Witch, Wizard, or Fortune-teller; Any person that
shall menace or assault his Parents, or any Magistrate, Minister,
or Elder in the execution of his Office; Any person that shall be
Legally attainted of Barratry, Forgery, Extortion, or Bribery.
2. That the Eldership of every Congregation shall have power
to examine any person complained of for any matter of scandal
aforesaid; and upon confession of the party before the Eldership
to have committed such an offence, to suspend any such person
from the Sacrament of the Lords Supper: And the Eldership of
every Congregation, shall examine upon Oath such Witnesses as
shall be produced before them, either for the acquitting or con
demning of the party accused of any of the said scandalous
Crimes aforesaid, not capital; and the Eldership of every
Congregation shall judge the matter of scandal aforesaid, being
not capital, upon the Testimony of Two credible Witnesses at the
3. That the several and respective Elderships in their
several and respective proceedings shall observe these ensuing
1. That Cognizance and Examination of any capital offence
shall be by the Magistrate thereunto appointed by the Law of
the Kingdome, who, if he shall commit the party questioned to
Prison, or secure him or her by Bail, he shall thereof make Certificate unto the Eldership of the Congregation where he or she
did last reside, or to any other Eldership, who shall thereupon
have power to suspend the party from the Sacrament of the
2. The Presbytery or Eldership shall not have cognizance of
any thing wherein any matter of Payment, Contract or Demand
is concerned, or of any matter of Conveyance, Title, Interest, or
Property in Lands or Goods.
3. No use shall be made of any Confession or proof made
before the Eldership at any Tryal at Law, of any person, for any
4. That if any person shall commit any scandalous offence (not
enumerated in this Ordinance) upon the day of the Administration of the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, in the face of the
Congregation after it is assembled, the Minister of that Congregation shall forbear to administer the Sacrament to such a
person for that time; and he shall forthwith certifie the said
offence and forbearance unto the Committee of Lords and
Commons hereafter mentioned: And upon Certificate so made,
the said Committee shall proceed thereupon as in other cases
5. That if any member of a Congregation shall by vertue of
this Ordinance of Parliament, either for ignorance, or for any
offence of scandal, be suspended from the Sacrament of the Lords
Supper, and being so suspended, shall offer himself to any other
Congregation to receive the Sacrament of the Lords Supper
together with them, the Ministers and Elders of such Congregation, having notice of such suspension, shall not, without
Certificate from the Congregation, whereof he is a member,
that his suspension is taken off, admit him unto the Sacrament.
6. That any Minister of a Congregation may be suspended
from giving or receiving; And any Elder from receiving the
Sacrament of the Lords Supper, for the same causes, and in the
the same manner, and have the like benefit of Appeal, as any
other person may by this Ordinance: And after such suspension
of the Elder from the Sacrament, the Elder so suspended shall
not execute that Office during his suspension, until the Appeal be
determined: And if upon Appeal that suspension appear to have
been just, then another to be chosen in his place.
7. That in case of such suspension of any Minister, the Classis
whereunto the said Congregation doth belong, shall appoint some
fit person or persons for the supply of that place during such
suspension, and shall have power to allow convenient maintenance
for that end, out of the profits belonging to the Minister so
suspended; and have hereby power to sequester and imploy the
same for that purpose.
8. That in all cases of suspension of any person from the
Sacrament, the party suspended (upon manifestation of his or
her repentance before the Eldership by whom the party was
suspended) shall be admitted again unto the Sacrament of the
Lords Supper, and the suspension thenceforth shall be void.
Committee to adjudge scandalous offences.
And because the Lords and Commons in Parliament assembled,
having it always in their purpose and intention, and it being
accordingly declared and resolved, That all sorts of notorious
scandalous offenders shall be suspended from the Sacrament, Be
it Ordained, That Algernon Earl of Northumberland, Henry
Earl of Kent, John Earl of Rutland, Philip Earl of Pembroke
and Montgomery, Theophilus Earl of Lincoln, Charls Earl of
Nottingham, James Earl of Suffolk, William Earl of Salisbury,
John Earl of Bridgewater, Robert Earl of Warwick, Bazil Earl of
Denbigh, James Earl of Middlesex, Edward Earl of Manchester,
Edmond Earl of Mulgrave, Henry Earl of Stamford, Walter
Viscount Hereford, William Lord Viscount Say and Seal, George
Lord Berkley, Francis Lord Dacres, Philip Lord Wharton, Charls
Lord de la Ware, Dudley Lord North, John Lord Hunsdon,
Charls Lord Stanhope, Edward Lord Montague, William Lord
Grey of Wark, John Lord Roberts, William Lord Maynard
Edward Lord Howard of Escrich, Thomas Lord Bruce,
Francis Rous, Edmond Prideaux Esquire, Sir Henry Vane
senior, John Glyn Esquire, Recorder of London, Sir Robert
Harley, Bulstrode Whitlock, Humphrey Salaway, Esqs. John
Wilde Serjeant at Law, Oliver St. Johns Esq. his Majesties
Solicitor, Sir Benjamin Rudyard Knight, Mr. Tate, Sir John
Clotworthy Knight, John Maynard Esq. Sir Henry Vane junior,
Knight, William Pierrepoint, William Wheeler Esqs. Sir William
Masham, Walter Young, Sir John Evelin Knight, John Selden
Samuel Brown, Esqs. Sir William Strickland, Walter Long,
Herbert Morley, George Snelling, Esquires, Sir Harbottle
Grimstone Baronet, John Boyse, Richard Shuttleworth, Esquires,
Sir John Danvers, John Crew Esquire, Sir Anthony Irby, Sir
John Holland, Luke Robinson, Thomas Westrow, Denzil Hollis,
Henry Lucas Esquires, Sir John Dreydon, Robert Reynolds
Esqure, Sir Thomas Middleton, Robert Jenner, Henry Oxenden
Esquires, Sir Gilbert Gerrard, Sir John Burgoin, Sir Edward
Ayscough, John Swynsen Esquire, Sir Henry Heyman, Edward
Leigh Esquire, Sir Thomas Wroth, Samuel Got Esquire, Sir John
Bamfield, John Palmer Doctor of Physick, Lawrence Whitacre
Esquire, Sir Arthur Hesilrige, Sir Dudley North, Sir William
Waller, Nathaniel Bacon, Richard Edwards, Luke Hodges, Esqs.
Sir William Lewis, Francis Allen, Giles Green, John Gourdon,
Denis Bond, Esqs. Sir Peter Wentworth, Sir Samuel Luke,
Edward Bainton Esq. Richard Salaway junior, Simon Theloal,
Oliver Cromwel Esqs. Isaac Pennington Esq. Alderman of the
City of London, John Ven Esq. John Bond Doctor of Law, Sir
Richard Onslow, Sir William Armyn, William Ayscough, George
Abbot, Cornelius Holland, John Blakiston, Esquires, Lord Herbert,
Sir Walter Erle, Henry Martin Esq. Sir Thomas Dacres, Richard
Brown, Willian Ellis, John Lisle, William Ashhurst, Esqs. Sir
John Trevor, Sir Nathaniel Barnardiston, Thomas Lord Wenman,
Sir Martin Lumley, Samuel Vasel, Jervase Pigot, John Hutchinson, Thomas Hatcher, James Fiennes, Valentine Walton, John
Stephens, Esqs. Sir John Evelyn of Surrey, Thomas Scot,
Thomas Pury, Henry Peck, Thomas Hodges of Glocestershire,
William Leman, Richard Winwood, John Lowry, Esqs. Sir
Martin Lister, Sir Edmund Fowel, Robert Wallop, Richard
Whitehead, Nathaniel Hallows, Robert Brewster, Esqs, Sir Edward
Hungerford, Richard Norton Esq. Sir Thomas Barnardiston, Sir
Thomas Trenchard, Miles Corbet, Esqs. Sir Henry Mildmay,
Thomas Atkins Esq. Alderman of the City of London, Charls
Lord Cranborn, Roger Hill Esq. Sir John Barrington, John Trenchard Esq. Sir John Corbet, Alexander Popham Esq. Sir John
Cook, John Nut, Ralph Ashton, Richard Barwis, William Armyn
Richard Tolson, Esqs. Sir Henry Cholmley, Sir Thomas
Widdrington, George Fenwick, Edmund Ludlow, Lillybone
Long, Francis Drake Esqs. Sir Michael Livesey, Edward Stephens,
Esq. Sir William Spring, James Herbert, Henry Lawrence, John
Roll, Thomas Sandys, Esqs. Sir Thomas Malyvaret, Sir William
Litton, Nathaniel Fiennes, William Purefoy, Esqs. Sir John
Palgrave, Sir John Pots, John Doddridge, John Nelthorp,
Richard Rose, William Priestley, Thomas Grove, Esquires, or any
Nine of them, shall be a Committee of Lords and Commons to
adjudge and determine scandalous offences not formerly enumerated, And the Elderships shall proceed in the Examinations of
such Scandalous Offences, according to the Cautions and Restrictions mentioned herein, and the said Committee shall have such
power, and shall proceed in such sort, as is hereafter mentioned.
If any Notorious and Scandalous offence not formerly enumerated, be committed by any within any Eldership, and so after
full proof shall be found before the Eldership, who shall have
power to examine Proofs and Witnesses on both sides, in case
both the Elderships and the party complained of do agree, the
Proofs and Examinations to be duly taken, the said Eldership
shall forthwith certifie the said Offence, with the Proofs, to the
said Committee of Parliament, who shall with all convenient
speed Determine and Adjudge the same: But in case the party
accused shall find himself grieved, either by the not examination
or undue examination of Witnesses, or mis-entring of the Depositions, in such case he shal forthwith declare the same to the
Eldership, who shall relieve him if there be cause; which if they
shall not do, then the three Justices of Peace next to the Parish
whereof the party complained of is a member, or any two of them,
not being of the same Eldership before whom the complaint lies,
shall have power, and are hereby enabled and required, forthwith
to examine upon Oath the said Witnesses that were not examined
or were mis-examined, or whose Depositions were mis-entred,
and with all convenient speed return the Examination to the
said Committee of Parliament: And in case the said Justices, or
any two of them, do not finish their examination within six days
after the cause shall be presented unto them, the party shall
abstain until they have finished and certified their examination:
And the said Committee, upon hearing the whole matter from
the Eldership and Justices, or either of them, shall adjudge
whether the same be a Notorious and Scandalous Offence, and so
proved, or no; in case the said Committee shall not adjudge and
determine the case within fourteen days after the receipt of the
Certificate to them made, the party against whom the said
Certificate shall be made, shall abstain from the Sacrament until
the Committee shall determine the same, unless in the meantime
the party shall shew his Repentance for the said Offence, and
thereof give satisfaction to the Eldership. And if the said Committee shall adjudge the same not to be a Scandalous Offence,
or not well proved, the said party shall be admitted to the Sacrament; and if they shall adjudge the same to be a Scandalous
Offence, and so proved, he shall not be admitted to the Sacrament
until he shall have testified his Repentance to the Eldership.
And be it further Ordained, That the Eldership shall either
give personal notice to the party complained of before them, or
else leave notice in writing at his dwelling place, of the time and
place, when and where they will examine Witnesses against him,
and also of the time that they will make their Certificate to the
Committee of Parliament: And in case Information shall be
given to the Eldership, of a Notorious and Scandalous Offence
committed by any within their Eldership, they shall forthwith
proceed to the examination thereof; and if they cannot finish
their examination till the week before the Sacrament, and they
shall then find by sufficient proof that he hath committed a
Notorious and Scandalous Offence, and yet they cannot certifie
the same before the Sacrament, it being to be administred within
a week after; in such case the party shall abstain from the Sacrament for the next time onely, unless the Committee of
Parliament, to whom the same is to be certified, shall adjudge
the same a Notorious and Scandalous Offence, and so proved, for
which he ought to be kept from the Sacrament; and in such
case, upon the testifying of his Repentance to the Eldership, he
shall be again restored to the Sacrament, and not before.
And be it further Ordained, It any shall find themselves
aggrieved with the Judgement against him given by the said
Committee, they shall appeal from thence to both Houses of
Parliament, if they see cause.
And be it Ordained, That the Committee to whom the said
Certificate shall be made as aforesaid, shall Report to both Houses
the said several cases to them certified, and their Judgements
thereupon, that so the Offences not yet enumerated, may be added
to the enumeration, in case the Houses shall so think fit: And
in their Reports they shall take care, that they first Report those
Certificates, and their Opinions thereupon, wherein they at any
time shall differ from the Eldership.
Rules and instructions in cases of suspension
Be it further Ordained, That these Rules and Instructions
following be carefully observed by the respective Elderships, in
the dispensing of this Censure of Suspension from the Sacrament
of the Lords Supper.
1. That none be suspended from the Sacrament before Admonition, unless the commision of the sin, or the information thereof
to the Elders, be so immediately before the time of the Administration of the Sacrament, that there be no space for Admonition.
2. That Offences which are private be not brought unto the
Eldership, unless the Offendor be privatly admonished, and is
not amended by such private admonition.
3. That in all cases, the Eldership specially labour to convince the person offending, of the sinfulness of that which is
proved against him, and then of the aggravations, as they shall
4. That if they shall see cause to judge, after the pressing or
it upon his Conscience, that he yet remains unconvinced that it
is a sin, and therefore doth not express any Repentance for it,
but not out of stubbornness and obstinacy, then they are not to
suspend him from the Sacrament, until further endeavours have
been used to convince him, unless it appear that his Admission
would be scandalous to the Congregation.
5. That in lesser Offences brought before the Eldership, they
proceed with special Lenity, as in greater with special Zeal, and
so accordingly be more slow or quick in censuring those that are
found guilty, and more facile or wary in admitting expressions
6. That if upon Admonition the Offendor shall give evidence
of his Repentance, so as the Elders shall be satisfied, and the
parties offended an justly except nothing against it, let him not
be kept from the Sacrament: But if he repent not, but remain
obstinate, let him be suspended from the Sacrament, according
to the Directions beforementioned.
7. That if any man accuse another for a scandalous Crime
unjustly, the Eldership shall not onely clear the wronged Person,
but take care that the Accuser may make such acknowledgement as the Eldership shal advise, according to the nature of the
8. That in all Offences brought before the Eldership, they are
to be carefull to keep the matter as secret as they can, even
though they be forced to proceed to Suspension, and not to
make it more publique then the nature of the Fact, and the
impenitency of the Person doth constrain them.
9. In case any should be censured in the particular Congregation whereof he is a Member, he may presently appeal to the
Classical Presbytery, or further if it be requisite, where not
onely himself may be cleared and righted, but such as have done
the injury may be censured; yet pendente lite let him abstain
from the Sacrament.
Of Excommunication, and the course of proceedings therein.
The Order of proceeding with Offenders, who before
Excommunication manifest Repentance.
1. When the Offence is private, private Admonition is in all
wisdome and love to be observed, that the Offendor may either
be recovered by Repentance, or if he add obstinacy or contempt
to his fault, he may be cut off by Excommunication.
2. If the sin be publiquely scandalous, and the sinner being
examined be judged to have signs of unfeigned Repentance, and
nothing justly objected against it when made known unto the
people, let him be admitted to publique Confession of his sin,
and manifestation of his Repentance before the Congregation.
3. When the Penitent is brought before the Congregation, the
Minister is to declare his sin, whereby he hath provoked Gods
wrath, and offended his people, his Confession of it, and profession of unfeigned Repentance for it, and of his Resolution
(through the strength of Christ) to sin no more; and his desire
of their Prayers for Mercy and Grace to be kept from falling
again into that, or any the like sin: Of all which the Penitent is
to make a full and free expression according to his ability.
4. Which being done, the Minister, after Prayer to God for
the Penitent, is to admonish him to walk circumspectly, and the
people to make a right use of his fall and rising again, and so to
declare that the Congregation resteth satisfied.
The Order of proceeding to Excommunication.
1. Excommunication being a shutting out of a Person from the
Communion of the Church (and therefore the greatest and last
Censure of the Church) let it be inflicted with great and mature
deliberation, and after all other good means have been assayed.
2. That such Errors as subvert the Faith, or any other Errors
which overthrow the power of Godliness, if the Party who holds
them, spread them, seeking to draw others after him; and such
sins in practice as cause the Name and Truth of God to be
Blasphemed, and cannot stand with the Power of Godliness;
and such practices as in their own nature manifestly subvert
that Order, Unity, and Peace which Christ hath established in
his Church; and particularly all those Scandalous sins for which
any Person is to be suspended from the Sacrament of the Lords
Supper, obstinately persisted in, these being publiquely known,
to the just Scandal of the Church, the Sentence of Excommunication may and ought to proceed, according to the Directions
3. But the Persons who hold other Errors in Judgment, about
points wherein Learned and Godly men possibly may or do differ,
and which subvert not the Faith, nor are destructive to Godliness;
or that be guilty of such sins of infirmity as are commonly
found in the Children of God, or being otherwise found in the
Faith, and holy in Life, (and so not falling under Censure by the
former Rules) endeavour to keep the Unity of the Spirit in the
Bond of Peace, and do yet out of Conscience not come up to the
observation of all those Rules which are or shall be established
by Authority for Regulating the outward Worship of God, and
Government of his Church, the Sentence of Excommunication
for these causes shall not be denounced against them.
4. That when the sin becomes publique, and justly scandalous,
the Offender shall be dealt withal by the Eldership to bring him
to Repentance, and to such a manifestation thereof as that his
Repentance may be publique as the Scandal: But if he remain
obstinate, he is at last to be Excommunicated, and in the mean
time shall be suspended from the Sacrament of the Lords
And whereas there be divers and various Judgments touching
the power of Excommunication, and the proper subject thereof,
for the clearing of Difficulties, avoiding of Offences, and preservation of Peace, Let these following Directions be observed.
In the great and difficult cases of Excommunication, whether
concerning Doctrine or Conversation, the Classical Presbytery
upon the knowledge thereof may examine the person, consider
the nature of the Offence, with the aggravations thereof; and as
they shall see just cause, may Discern and Declare, That he is to
be excommunicated, which shall be done by the Eldership of
that Congregation whereof he is a Member, with the consent of
the Congregation, in this or the like manner.
1. As there shall be cause, several publique Admonitions shall
be given to the Offender (if he appears) and prayers made for him.
2. When the Offence is so hainous, that it cries to Heaven for
vengeance, wasteth the Conscience, and is generally Scandalous,
the Censures of the Church may proceed with more expedition.
3. In the Admonitions, let the Fact be charged upon the
Offender, with the clear evidence of the guilt thereof; then let
the nature of his sin, the particular aggravations of it, the
punishment and curses threatned against it, the danger of
impenitency, especially after such means used, the wofull condition of them cast out from the favour of God, and Communion of the Saints, the great Mercy of God in Christ to the
penitent, how ready and willing Christ is to forgive, and the
Church to accept him upon this his serious Repentance: Let
these or the like particulars be urged upon him out of some
suitable places of Holy Scriptures.
4. The same particulars may be mentioned in Prayer, wherein
the Lord is to be intreated to bless this Admonition to him, and
to affect his heart with the consideration of these things, thereby
to bring him unto Repentance.
5. If upon the last Admonition and Prayer there be no
evidence nor sign of his Repentance, let the dreadfull Sentence
of Excommunication be pronounced, with calling upon the Name
of God, in these or the like expressions.
Speak this in the third person, if the party be absent.
Whereas thou N. hast been by sufficient proof convinced of
[here mention the sin] and after due Admonition and Prayer
remainest obstinate, without any evidence or sign of true Repentance; Therefore in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and
before this Congregation, I pronounce and Declare thee N.
Excommunicated, and shut out from the Communion of the
Let the Prayer accompanying the Sentence, be to this effect.
That God, who hath appointed this terrible Sentence for
removing of offences, and reducing of obstinate sinners, would be
present with this his Ordinance, to make it effectual to all those
holy ends for which he hath appointed it; That the retaining of
the Offenders sin, and shutting him out of the Church, may
fill him with fear and shame, and break his obstinate heart and
be a means to destroy the Flesh, and to recover him from the
power of the Devil, that his Spirit may be saved; that others
also may be stricken with fear, and not dare to sin so presumptuously, and that all such corrupt Leaven being purged out of
the Church (which is the House of God) Jesus Christ may
delight to dwell in the midst of them.
6. After the Denunciation of this Sentence the people are to
be warned that they hold him to be cast out of the Communion
of the Church, and to shun all Communion with him: Nevertheless, Excommunication dissolveth not the bonds of Civil or
Natural Relations, nor exempteth from the Duties belonging to
The Order of proceeding to Absolution.
If after Excommunication the signs of Repentance appear in
the Excommunicated person, such as Godly sorrow for sin, as
having thereby incurred Gods heavy displeasure, occasioned
grief to his Brethren, and justly provoked them to cast him out
of their Communion, together with a full purpose of heart to
turn from his sin unto God, and to reform what hath been amiss
in him; with an humble desire of recovering his peace with God
and his people, and to be restored to the Light of Gods countenance, and the Communion of the Church: Let him be brought
before the Congregation, and there also make a free confession
of his sin, with sorrow for it, to call upon God for mercy in
Christ, to seek to be restored to the Communion of the Church,
promising to God new obedience, and to them more holy and
circumspect walking as becometh the Gospel; Let him be pronounced in the name of Christ absolved and free from the
Censures of the Church, and declared to have right to all the
Ordinances of Christ, with praising of God for his grace, and
prayer that he may be fully accepted to his favour, and hear joy
and gladness, to this effect:
To praise God, who delighteth not in the death of a sinner,
but that he may repent and live, for blessing the Ordinance of
Excommunication, and making it effectual by his spirit to the
recovery of this Offender; to magnifie the mercy of God through
Jesus Christ, in pardoning and receiving to his favour the most
grevious Offendors, whensoever they unfeignedly repent and
forsake their sins: To pray for assurance of mercy and forgiveness to this Penitent, and so to bless his Ordinance of Absolution,
that he may find himself loosed thereby: And that the Lord
would henceforth so uphold and strengthen him by his spirit,
that being sound in the Faith, and holy in all manner of
conversation, God may be honoured, the Church edified, and
himself saved in the day of the Lord Jesus
Then shall follow the sentence of Absolution in these or the like words.
Whereas thou N. hast for thy sin been shut out from the
Communion of the Faithfull, and hast now manifested thy
Repentance, wherein the Church resteth satisfied, In the name
of Jesus Christ before this Congregation, I pronounce and declare thee absolved from the Sentence of Excommunication,
formerly denounced against thee, and do receive thee to the
Communion of the Church, and the free use of all the Ordinances
of Jesus Christ, that thou mayest be partaker of all his benefits,
to thy eternal Salvation.
After this Sentence of Absolution, let the Minister speak to
him as to a Brother, exhorting him to Watch and Pray, or
comforting him, if there be need: Let the Elders imbrace him,
and the whole Congregation hold Communion with him as one
of their own.