Grievances of the Scottish ministers, 1633

Pages 143-155

Historical Collections of Private Passages of State: Volume 3, 1639-40. Originally published by D Browne, London, 1721.

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In this section

The Grievances given in by the Ministers before the last Parliament in June, 1633.

The Ministers standing for the Preservation of the purity of Religion in Doctrine, Worship, and Government, assayed sundry Means to have his Majesty rightly informed of the Estate of our Kirk, but the Success was not answerable to their Expectation. Yet having the Opportunity of his Majesty's coming to his Native Country of Scotland to be Crowned, and hold his first Parliament, they advised upon some Grievances to be presented to his Majesty and Estates. It was ordained by Act of Parliament, 1594. that four of every Estate should Convene twenty Days before the beginning of the Parliament, to consider all Articles and Petitions, which were to be given in, that such things only might be put in form, and presented to the Lords, of the Articles in time of Parliament, as were reasonable and necessary, and that such as were impertinent and frivolous, might be rejected. But it was not determined who should make Choice of the Persons. Yet this was not observed before the last Parliament. But upon the 16th of May, 1633. Intimation was made by Proclamation, that all such, as purposed to give in any Articles or Petitions, deliver the same to the Clerk Register betwixt that and the first Day of June, to be presented by him to such of the Estates and Council as should be appointed to hear and consider them. The Ministers fearing not to be heard otherwise, appointed one of their distressed Brethren Mr. Thomas Hogge, to present their Grievances to him, which he presented and delivered, and took Instruments thereupon in the Hands of a Notair.

Grievances and Petitions concerning the disordered Estate of the Reformed Kirk within this Realm of Scotland, presented upon the 29th Day of May, 1633. by me Mr. Thomas Hogge, Minister of the Evangel, in mine own Name, and in the Name of others of the Ministry, likewise grieved, to Sir John Hay, Clerk of Register, to be presented by him to such as ought, according to the Order appointed, consider them, that thereafter they may be presented to his Majesty and Estates, which are to be assembled at the next insuing Parliament.

The Opportunity of this solemn Meeting of your gracious Majesty, and the Honourable Estates convened in this High Court of Parliament, and the Conscience of our Duty to God, and the Reformed Kirk within this Realm of Scotland, where we serve by our Ministry, constrains us to present in all Humility to your Highness and Estates presently assembled those our just Grievances and reasonable Petitions following.

1 Albeit Vote in Parliament was not absolutely granted to Ministers provided to Prelacies, but only upon such Conditions as his Highness of happy Memory, and the general Assemblies of the Kirk should agree upon, which is evi dent by the Remit and Provision expressed in the Act of Parliament holders at Edinburgh in December, 1597. And albeit the manner of their Election and Admission to the Office of Commissiduary, and the particular Conditions and Cautions to be observed by Minister's Vote in Parliament in Name of the Kirk after long Disputation, were agreed upon by his Majesty present in Person, and the general Assembly, and were appointed by them to be insert in the Body of the Act of Parliament, which was to be made concerning that Purpose. Some Ministers notwithstanding have been, and are admitted to Vote in Parliament, in name of the Kirk, as absolutely, as if the Act of Parliament did contain no such Reference, and as if his Majesty with the general Assembly had not agreed upon the manner of their Election and Admission to that Office, or upon any Limitations, whereby the Kirk hath sustained great Hurt and Prejudice in her Liberties and Priviledges, and specially by their frequent transgressing the first of the Conditions, altho grounded upon the very Law of Nature and Nations. 'That nothing be proposed by them in Parliament, Council, or Convention in Name of the Kirk without express Warrant and Direction from the Kirk, under the Pain of Deposition from their Office; neither shall they keep silence, nor consent in any of the said Conventions to any thing that may be prejudicial to the Liberty and Weal of the Kirk, under the said Pain. And the second, That they shall be bound at every general Assembly preceding, and shall submit themselves to their Commission since the Assembly preceding, and shall submit themselves to their Censure, and stand to their Determination whatsoever without Appellation, and shall seek and obtain Ratisfication of their doings at the said Assembly under the Pain of Insamy and Excommunication. Therefore our humble Supplication is, that the Execution of the Acts of Parliament of Matters belonging to the Kirk, to which they have voted in the Name of the Kirk, without any Authority or Allowance from the general Assemblies of the Kirk, be suspended, till the Kirk be heard, and that in time coming Ministers have no otherwise Vote in Parliament, but according to the Provision of the Act of Parliament, and the Order of their Entry to the Office of that Commissionary and Limitation foresaid agreed upon, as said is.

2. Seeing Ratifications of Acts and Constitutions of the Kirk cannot be construed to be a Benefit or Favour to the Kirk, unless the Ratifications pass according to the meaning of the Kirk, and the Tenour of the said Acts and Constitutions, without Commissions, Addition, or Alteration of Clauses, Articles, or Words of Importance, and that in the Ratification of the Act of the Assembly holden at Glasgow, Anno. 1610 which past in Parliament holden 1612. under the Name of Explanation, sundry Clauses and Articles were omitted; as the Subjection of Bishops in all things concerning their Life, Conversation, Officer or Benesice, to the censure of the general Assembly, the censure of Bishops in case they stay off the Censure of Excommunication, the continuing of the Exercise of Doctrine Weekly, the necessity of the Testificat and assistance of the Ministry of the bounds for the admission of Ministers, and other Clauses and Articles are added in an insert, as the different degrees of Arch bishops, and Bishops, the Power of giving Collation of Benisices granted to Bishops, the disponing of Benesices falling in their Hands jure devoluto, the appointing of Moderators in Diocesan Synods in case of their Absence, ad some Words of the Oath are changed: By all which Omissions, Additions, and Alterations, the Kirk hath sustained, and doth sustain great burt in her Jurisdiction and Discipline. Our humble desire therefore is, that the Kirk may be liberate from the prejudice of those Omissions, Additions, and Alterations of the Act foresaid.

3. Notwithstanding the general Assemblies have been holden from the time of Reformation till the Year 1603. at least once in the Year, and oftner pro re nata, Provincial Synods twice in the Year, Weekly Meetings for Exercises and Presbyteries every Week, for matters to be treated in them respective, and their Liberties were ratified in Parliament Anno, 1592. and by that, as a most powerful mean, blessed be God, Peace and Purity of Religion were maintained: And in the Assembly holden at Glasgow, 1610. when Commissioners Voters in Parliament provided to Prelacies were made liable to the Censures of the general Assembly it was acknowledged that the necessity of the Kirk craved, that there Liberty would be granted upon their request, whereby they were induced to condescend so far to the Act then made, as they did, which Act also in the very entry thereof a Request to his Majesty, that general Assemblies may be holden in all times coming once in the Year, or precisely at a set and certain time; nevertheless the wonted Liberty of holding general Assemblies is suppressed, the order of the Provincial Synods confounded, Presbyteries in a great part disordered and neglected, whereby Divisions have entered into the Kirk, Ministers have become negligent in their Callings, and scandalous in their Lives, the Godly are heavily grieved, the Weak are scandalized, erroneous Doctrine is delivered in Kirks and Schools without Controlment; the Commissioners Voters in Parliament lie untried and uncensured and Atheism and Popery encrease: Our humble desire is therefore, that the Act of Parliament, made in favour of the Assemblies of the Kirk, and especially the Acts of Parliament holden at Edinburgh in June, 1592. be revived and ratified in this present Parliament.

4. Notwithstanding the Observation on Festival Days, Private Baptism, Private Communion, Episcopal Confirmation of Children, have been rejected be this our Reformed Kirk, since the beginning of the Reformation; and it hath been declared by Act of Parliament in the Year 1567. that such only were to be acknowledged Members of this Reformed Kirk, as did participate of the Sacraments as they were then rightly Ministred, which was without kneeling in the Act of receiving the Sacramental Elements of the Supper, or immediate dispensing of the same to every Communicant by the Minister. And that it was Statute and Ordained in the same Parliament, that all Kings should give their Oath at their Coronation to maintain the Religion then prosessed, and that Forn of Ministration of the Sacraments which then was used: Nevertheless Pastors and People adhering to their former Profession and Practice are nicknamed Puritans, and threatned, not only without any good Warrant, but beside the Tenour of the Act of Perth Assembly, which containeth no strict Injunction, and contrary to the meaning of the Voters, and to the Proceedings of that Assembly, where it was prosessed that none should be pressed with Obedience to that Act: Therefore we humbly intreat that by Ratification of the Acts of Parliament, made before that Assembly, and by such Ways as shall seem good to your Gracious Majesty, and Honourable Estates Assembled, your Majesty's good People, Pastors and Prosessors, may both be purged from such soul Aspersions and may be freed from all Dangers and Fears which may occur by Occasion of that Act of Perth.

5. Albeit it be determined by the general Assemblies of this our Reformed Kirk, what Oaths Ministers should take at the time of their Admission or Ordination, yet there is a new form of Oath devised and urged by the Admiters or Ordainers, upon Intrants to the Ministry, together with Subscription to certain Articles devised by them without Direction and Warrant from any Assembly of the Kirk, yea, or Act of Parliament, whereby the Entry to the Ministry is shut upon the best qualified, and others less able are obtruded upon the People, to their great Grief and Hazard of their Souls. Our humble Petition therefore is, that all such Oaths and Subscriptions urged upon Ministers at their Entry of Transplantation, may be discharged.

6. Notwithstanding there be Constitutions of the Kirk, and Laws of the Country for censuring of Ministers before the ordinary Judicators Ecclesiastical; yet contrary to the Order, Ministers are suspended, silenced, and deprived, and that for matters meerly Ecclesiastical before other Judicators, which are not established by the Authority or Order of the Country and Kirk: Therefore our humble Petition is, that Ministers deserving censure, be no otherwise censured than the Order of the Kirk doth prescribe, and that such as are otherwise displaced be suffered to serve in the Ministry, as before.

The Presenter attended in Edinburgh to compare, if need were, before such as were to Convene to consider the Articles and Petitions, which were given in to the Clerk Register. But there was no appearance of any such Convention. The Ministers therefore directed the Brother above named to present the Supplication following to his Majesty, which he did upon the fifteenth Day of June, in the Castle of Dalkeith, the same Day that he was to make his Entry in Edinburgh.

This happy Occasion, with strong Desires, long waited for by your Majesty's most humble and loving Subjects the Pastors and Professors of the Reformed Religion within this your Majesty's Kingdom of Scotland. The great Fame, which hath often filled our Ears of your Majesty's most Pious and Princely Inclination to Religion and Righteousness, whence this Kirk and Kingdom from their singular Interests in your Majesty's Birth and Baptism, have Reason to look at this time for a comfortable Influence: The Body of this Kingdom in Heart joining with us, and only waiting for the least Word from your Majesty's Mouth. The Conscience which we have, and which we trust is manifest to all Men that we are seeking neither Riches nor Honours to our selves, but that the Sum and Substance of our desires is to procure the Advancement of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, and to see your Majesty's flourishing Estates in your Kingdoms: All of these and each of them move us to intreat in all humility your Gracious Majesty to be favourable to our Petitions, which we have delivered to the Clerk of Register to be presented to your Majesty and Estates at the approaching Parliament, that they may be considered, and receive a gracious Answer.

The King read the Petition at length. Yet there was no more heard of our Grievances either among the Lords of the Articles, or in open Parliament, where nothing cometh in voting, but that which first must pass the Lords of the Articles, and usually what passed thro' their Hands is concluded by the whole Estates in publick. Not only were our Grievances suppressed, but also all former Acts concerning the Kirk were ratified. Howbeit it was well known that sundry former Acts had wrought great Disturbance in our Kirk. An Act also in particular concerning the common Habits of Kirkmen (not of Surplice, or other like superstitious Vestures, as many mistake) was ratified and made a Point of the Royal Prerogative. Small hope had we of any better event, considering the dependance either of Noblemen upon the King's Favour for the Recovery of their broken Estates, or some other Men for Preferment, or the fear of others to lose it, all knowing very well the King's Bent and Inclination.

For the better clearing of the equity of our Grievances, I well set down these few Observations.

Great Opposition was made by many worthy Men of the Ministry to Ministers Vote in Parliament, Convention, or Council, and not without Reason. When it was carried by Plurality of procured Voices in a general Assembly holden at Dunde, Anno. 1597. against which and the two former Assemblies M. John Davidson protested; the next care of the sincere sort was to have the Commissioner Voter in Parliament tied to a certain form of Admission, and to some Cautions, that he degener not into a Roman or Anglican Bishop.

He was to be recommended to his Majesty by the general Assembly, and to be admitted by the Synod as it then stood in Integrity. The first two Cautions we have heard in the Grievances. By the third, the Commissioner Voter in Parliament was bound not to prejudge the Provision of other Kirks planted, or to be planted. By the fourth he was bound not to delapidat or dispone any part of his Benesice without the advice and consent to that effect. By the fifth, he was bound to attend faithfully upon his own particular Congregation, where he shall be Minister, in all the Points of a Pastor, and hereanent to be subject to the Trail and Censure of his own Presbytery and Provincial Assembly, as any other Minister that beareth not Commission. By the sixth Caution, in the Administration of Discipline Collation of Benesices, Visitation, and all other Points of Eccelesiastical Government, he shall neither Usurp or Acclaim to himself any Power or Jurisdiction, farther than any of the rest of his Brethren, under the pain of Deprivation. By the seventh, that in Presbyteries, Provincial and general Assemblies, he shall behave himself in all things and be subject to their Censure, as any of the Brethren of the Presbytery. By the eighth, at his Admission to the Office of Commissionary, these, and all other Points necessary he shall swear and subscribe to fulfil under the Penalties foresaid, otherwise not to be admitted. Bu the ninth, in case he be deposed by the general Assembly, Synod, or Presbytery from his Office of the Ministry, he shall lose his Vote in Parliament ipso facto, and his Benesice shall vaike.

Such as plotted the course of Episcopacy and aspired to Prelacies were constrained for the present to condescend to these Cautions, but were not minded to stand to one jot of them longer than they saw Occasions to break loose. Because they were made countable by these Cautions to the general Assemblies, they procured first a Prorogation of the Diets of the Assemblies by the Kings's Authority, and at last the bereaving of the Kirk of all Liberty to indict any Assemblies, that so they might be freed from making any Count at all. After they had gathered Strength and Power to overrule Assemblies of their own devising, and after that some of the Ministry were banished, other confined, a third sort drawn up to Court, they procured a Convention at Linlithgow, Anno. 1606. of Noblemen and Ministers nominate by them, and recommended by the King to the Presbyteries to be sent to that meeting. The Name of a general Assembly was concealed in the King's Missives. But soon after Presbyteries were charged with Letters of horning to accept the constant Moderators chosen by that meeting, such as were stiled vulgarly Bishops in respect of their Benesices to be Moderators of the Presbyteries where they made Residence. Synods likewise were urged to accept these Bishops for constant Moderators, howbeit no such thing was concluded at that meeting, but their Act falsifyed.

This Moderation did not satisfy their ambitious Humour, not was it well accepted by Presbyteries or the synods. In the Year 1610, they were armed with the Powder of the High Commission, of which they were not capable, and without consent of the Estate, contrary to an Act of Parliament, Anno. 1584. to silence and deprive, fine and incarcerate Ministers, to Command them to Excommunicate such as in their Judgment deserved that Censure, and to fine and imprison other whatsoever Subjects. After that they become thus Great and Terrible, and now able to extort any thing from servile Ministers, they procured an Assembly to be holden at Glasgow soon after, like that other at Linlithgow, but that there was more Gold dealt among Mercenary Ministers at this Assembly.

Soon after, three of their Number went to Court to be consecrate Bishops, returned, and consecrated the rest of their Fellows, no such thing being Concluded at that meeting as the Office of a Diocesan Bishop, Anglican or Roman, that is to be the proper Pastor of all the Congregations within te Diocess, the Power of Ordination residing in him, and of Jurisdiction flowing from him. The Presbyteries and Synods were only tied to these who were called Bishops in respect of their Benesices in the Points, and in the manner expressed, and upon trust that they should be liable to the censure of ordinary and set general Assemblies. But they were not content with sundry Articles of that Act, howbeit the Assembly was overruled by themselves, and they consented, to the end that the Ministers there convened might be induced to yield so far as they did. Therefore when the Act was ratified Anno. 1612. they consented in Parliament to Additions, Alterations, and Omissions of sundry Clauses, as no doubt they had devised themselves before. In the Year 1617. they consented in Parliament to the Election of Bishops by Deans and Chapters, which was inhibited by the Acts of the Assembly holden 1578. and condemned in the second Book of Policy as Popish. It was likewise far different from the form of Election and Admission agreed upon with their own consents in the general Assemblies. What was proponed in Parliament for their Advancement was granted by the Estates, and consented to by themselves, as no doubt they had devised. So they were their own Carvers.

In the end they brought in Popish Ceremonies to vex the Ministers and professors, and to give them some other subject to work upon, than to meddle with themselves, and their usurped Authority.

Because they are conscious to themselves of the nullity of their Assembles, and fear to want the concurrence of Synods and Presbyteries, they draw Ministers and Professors before their Court of High Commission. But if this Court were not fortified and assisted by the Lords of secret Council, by whom it was first authorised, their Power in the High Commission would be little regarded. Our Bondage then resolves upon the Council.

Whatsoever be the Usurpation of the Prelates, the Ministry, and Professors are not to be excused. First, for acknowledging or not apponing to their Assemblies. For the safety of Religion dependeth not upon Assemblies of whatsomever kind, but upon the Liberty of free and right constitute Assemblies. As in the Common-weal he were not to be thought a faithful, Patriot, who would not stand as much for the Liberty of a Parliament as his own Possessions of that main Liberty. Next, be cause they continue in Subjection, notwithstanding we have not the Liberty of ordinary and set Assemblies to censure them according to the Cautions and Acts agreed unto by themselves. Thirdly, because they give further Obedience than is required by the Acts of their own Assemblies, as it they had an absolute Power to direct and enjoyn as pleaseth them. But the first is fountain of all our Mischief.

I have here subjoyned certain Propositions concerning Adoration before the Bread in the Sacrament without the Knowledge of the Author, who is known to be Learned and Judicious.

1. Besides that manifest and gross Kind of Idolatry, whereby Divine or Religious Worship is given unto the Creature instead of God, there is another more secret and subtile Sort, which rendereth not Divine Worship unto the Creature as it considered in it self, but as it carrieth a certain Relation and Respect unto God, who is to be Worshipped for himself, and therefore is commonly called Relative Worship. The reformed Kirks convince the Papists of manifold Idolatry of this Kind, and howsoever the Papists gather together many Fig-Tree Leaves to hide their Nakedness, yet there is nothing more certain, than that both the Gentiles and Fews pleased themselves in this sort of Worship, as may appear from Rom. 1.20.23. Deut. 4 . 12. 15. and many other Places.

2. As in the grosser kind of Idolatry it matters not, as touching the Point of Idolatry itself, whether the object of Adoration, and that which we Worship with divine Honour, be the Invention of our own Head, or the Creature of God, as the Sun, Moon, or Stars, or made by our Hands as an Image, or some thing ordained of God. And finally, whether it be a thing Consecrated or not, for the Adoration of the Bread in the Sacrament is Idolatry, no less than the Adoration of the Sun in the Firmament, or the Adoration of an Image the Work of Man's Hands. 'For their Error is more tolerable who Worship for God a Statute of Gold or Silver, or an Image of any other matter as the Gentiles Worshipped their Gods, or a red Cloth lifted up upon a Spear, which is reported of the Lippians, or living Creatures, as sometime the Egyptians, nor theirs who Worship a Peace of Bread, Coster. Enchir.chap. 12. In like manner, in the other sort of Worship which is relative, it is all one matter touching the Point of Idolatry, whether the secondary or subordinate object of our Adoration, and that which participates of the Worship of God, be a thing Natural as the Sun or the Moon, or a thing Artificial, as an Image, or some thing ordained of God, but for another end, as the Brazen Serpent, or a thing Consecrated of God, but not to be Worshipped, as the Sacramental Bread, for altho' there be a very wide Difference amongst those things in respect of Will-Worship; and because nothing can be a mean of the Worship of God, but that which is ordained of God, and the Sacrament is a mean of God's Worship, an Image is not a mean, yet in the Point of Idolatry there can be no difference at all, because no Creature of whatsomever kind can so much as take of the Worship of God without the Guiltiness of Idolatry

3. We fall into two Evils, when we adore before an Image, one is, when we make the Image a mean or middle of the Worship of God without a Warrant from God, whence it is that Adoration before an Image is Will-Worship; and altho' it had no other Evil in it but this one, it behoveth to be (by Interpretation as they use to Speak, or by Consequence) Idolatry, for whosoever appointeth of his own Head a new manner or mean of Divine Worship, by Consequence also appointeth another God, which he thinks delighteth in that Form of Worship. The other Evil is that Adoration before an Image is properly and formable Idolatry, because thereby Religious Worship is rendred unto another than unto God, and in some measure and degree the Image is made partaker of the Worship of God, which is cleared at large by the Divines of the Reformed Kirks. Now in our Adoration before the Breed we are free of the former of the two Evils, because the Sacrament is a mean of Worship authorised by God, but we cannot possibly be free of the other Evil, because the Adoration before the Bread, and before an Image, are altogether alike in respect of the Participation of Divine Worship. They who are Enemies to Images (faith Vasquez in his second Book of Adoration, disp. 8. c. 13.) and use Images only for History and Remembrance, do not bow their Knees, nor prostrate themselves before them: For so they should adore them, with an External sign of Worship. He who is Religiously prostrate before the Cross (faith the Bishop of Spalato, Book 7. pag. 293) he must have the Cross for the object of Adoration. Although Images were means of Worship ordained of God, such as the Sacrament is, yet were it not Lawful to adore before them. And the Arguments whereby our Divines prove the Worship of Images to be Idolatry, aim not at this Point to shew that Images are not lawful means of Worship, for that were nothing else but to prove that Worship before Images were Will-Worship, but they labour for this, that the Papists while they adore before Images, they give that unto the Creature which is proper unto God, and the Papists in this Question use not this Defence, that Images are lawful means of Worship, but that the Worship of Images is relative, an resolveth upon the Patterns whose Images they are.

4. That we may have a farther insight in this Truth, we must learn, as in other parts of Divine Worship, so in our Adoration before the Bread, to distinguish betwixt that which is Internal in the Mind, and that which is External in the Semses and Gestures of the Body, or (as the Schoolmen Speak) betwixt the Spirit of Adoration, which they make the inward Affection of subjecting our selves to that which we adore; and the external Mark or Sign of Adoration, which they also call the material part of Adoration, for suppose it were true that the whole Thoughts and Affections the Soul were taken up and exercised about the thing signified in the Sacrament, and that nothing were intended but to render the whole Worship unto God, yet the very Nature of the Sacrament (which is well called the visible Work) of Necessity doth require that our Eyes, and therefore out Gestures, the bowing of our Knees, and that whole material part of Adoration, be directed towards the Elements in the Act of receiving, in so far that altho' that Elements were nothing else to the Mind, but only signs to bring us to the right Remembrance of thing signified, it cannot be eschewed, but they must be the object of the outward Adoration of the Body, which is directed towards them, and therefore Adoration before the Bread, must needs be the Adoration of the Bread, even as the Adoration before the Image, the Adoration of the Image, while the Image to his Mind, that adoreth, is nothing else but a sign, bringing the Pattern to his Remembrance:

5. Since there be two kinds of Divine Worship, one immediate, as for Example Prayer, Thanksgiving, the Religious hearing of the voice of God speaking to us immediately: The other mediate, as the ordinary hearing of the Word, and receiving of the Sacrament. it is both lawful and suitable to use the gesture of Adoration in prayer, in Thanksgiving, and when we hear the immediate Voice of God, because no visible middle cometh in betwixt God and us that can be the Object of our Adoration: But in the ordinary hearing of the Word at the Mouth of the Preacher, and in the Act of receiving the Sacrament, it is neither suitable nor lawful to adore, for that were to adore in a mediate Worship, or to adore mediately, which both by force of Truth, and Confession of both sides must be Idolatry.

6. Is it therefore unlawful to adore before the Bread, or to kneel in the very Act of receiving the Sacrament, not only by Reason of the Danger of Breadworship, wherein the Bread is adored instead of Christ by the ignorant Multitude; neither is it only unlawful, because it is Idolatry to adore before the Bread for Reverence and due Regard of, the Sacrament, which cannot be avoided by them who adore according to the meaning of the Article of Perth Assembly; but it is also unlawful, because Adoration before the Bread even, in the very Nature of the Action itself, is Idolatry, neither is it possible for any Man to make his Adoration before the Bread not to be Idolatry, except he will take away the Element, that is the Sacrament itself, from the Sacrament, which is impossible.

7. And therefore they are to be commended, who far from all Idolatry, and from all Peril and Appearance of Idolatry, to sit or use an Ordinary Table Gesture in the Supper of the Lord : Since neither the Evangelists, nor the Apostle Paul have written so much as one Word, which may give the least suspicion, or ground of Conjecture, that Christ and his Apostles did change their ordinary and common form of sitting at Table: Since it is certain from the whole frame of the Institution, that the Supper of the Lord was an holy Feast or Banquet, and since by so doing the whole Institution of Christ, which is very many ways defaced by kneeling, is keeped safe and found. It is not far from Blaspbemy (faith Paraeus) to say that the Kirk hath with greater Wisdom made any change in the Eucharist, for what were that but to say, that the Kirk is wiser than Christ himself, as if he had not known well enough, what was able to procure greatest Reverence to the Sacrament, or what should carry with it the least peril, which is a Blasphemy worthy of the Followers of Antichrist.

Mr. William Cowper Minister at Perth, his Letter, written before he was Bishop of Galloway, to Mr. George Graham, Bishop of Dumblane, Anno. 1606.


I have received your Commendations from B. which were needless, if you had kept your wonted Heart. As for me, I never hated you, your course wherein we are entered I never loved. Altho' the Fruit we enjoy be sweet, yet the end shall prove it never grew on the Tree of Life. Doing in a Work of Conscience with doubling turneth Light in Darkness, whereupon followeth Induration. Whereof it followeth that many in our Kirk without feeling are Coursers against their Bretbren, that have done more good in the Kirk for Edification of others than ever themselves did, having neither Eyes to see, nor Hearts to feel, how dangerous their Estate is, who cannot rise but with the falling of many in God have entered this Ministry, closing the Fountain that God hath opened. One of your own told me, long ever last Ministers went to England that they were written for to Reason, but the end proved Prison, and no appearance of returning to some of them. These are the first Fruits of your Preferment. Here ye stand, and therefore I cannot stand with you, except it be to witness to God in mine Heart against you, that ye have gone wrong. We hope in this Course to do good, but it is hard for you to work Miracles. At lest he will hold of Evil: But how shall we drawn in a yoke with them that are drawing on evil daily. We will not go beyond the Caveats of the general Assembly. But the Answers given to the Commissioners of the Kirk at the last Parliament by the Chancellor (we enter not Bishops according to an Act of the assembly but according to that which they were an Hundred Years since, detexis frudem. I heard it given, and so did the chief of themselves, A. B. C. ye skur at them whom ye were blyth to see, ye like not the Light ye loved, ye count these Preachings unpleasant, wherein ye were wont to Rejoice. These may tell you ye have fallen. Consider your self, where ye was, where ye are now, & quantulum illud sit proper quod nos reliquisti. thus loving your self, and not your way, I end.

Mr. Gamen Hammilton, Bishop of Galloway, was sent up to Court by the rest of the Bishops, after the Convention of the Estates, which was holden about the end of January, 1609. I have here set down the Instructions or Memorials recommended to him by the rest of the Bishops, Written by Mr. John Spotswood, then pretend it Bishop of Glascow, and subscrived by him in the Name of the rest.

Memorials to be proponed to his most Excellent Majesty.

1. You shall relate the Proceedings of the late Convention, and what Affections some that were present keithed therein, that his Majesty may be foreseen with Men's Disposition, for the better choice of those to whom the Affairs shall be concredited.

2. You shall remember the Care we have had of reclaiming the Marquess of Huntly, and the Earl of Arral from their Errors, and the small Profit we have seen thereof, and insist for his Majesty's Favour to the Petition of our Letter.

3. Anent the Ministers that are confined, your L. Shall excuse the Request made by us in some of their Favours, shewing how it proceeded, and further declare that of late they have taken course to give in Supplications to the Council for their enlarging to a certain time, for doing their particular Business at Session, and otherwise, in the Country, and that some of them have purchased Licence by the Votes of the Council, albeit we opponed. Therefore beseek his Majesty to remember the Council, that the consining of those Ministers was for Faults done by them to his H. self, and that they should be acknowledged and consessed to his Majesty and his H. pleasure understood therein before the grant of any Favour, otherwise they shall undo all that hath been hitherto followed for the Peace of the Kirk.

4. Touching the Erections, it is our humble desire to his Majesty that the Noblemen, in whose Favours the same have been past, may take Order for the Provision of their Kirks, according to the Conditions made in Parliament, or then discharge their Erections: Which seems best to be done by an Act of this ensuing Session of Parliament, for which his Majesty's Warrant would be had, And some such like Course would be taken for the Prelacies erected, which have past also the constant Plat, that the Presentation of Ministers to the modified stipends at the vacancy of the Church should be in his Majesty's Hand whereunto tho' his Majesty's express Commandment was given of before, no need was taken by such as had the charge of Affairs.

5. Since this matter of the Commissaries importeth so much to the Reformation of our Church Government, as this being restored in a little time, the rest may be supplyed which will be wanting, it shall be good to remember it by a serious Letter to my Lord of Dumbar, that we may know in due time what is to be expected. And since our greatest hindrance is found to be in the Session, of whom the most part are ever in Heart opposite unto us, and forbear not to keith it when they have Occasion, you shall humbly intreat his Majesty to remember our sute for the Kirkman's Place, according to the first Institution, and that it may take at this time some beginning, since the place Vacant was even from the beginning in the Hands of the spiritual side with some one Kirkman or other till now, which might it be obtained, as were most easy by his Majesty's Direction and Commandment, there should be seen a sudden change of many Humours in that Estate, and the Commonwealth would find the profit thereof.

6. Anent our Conference with the Ministry, your L. will declare the time that is appointed, and Reasons of the Continuation of the same.

7. Because in the time of Parliament chiefly, it should be expedient to have the Bishops to Teach in the Pulpits of Edinburgh, his Majesty would be pleased to commend this to my Lord of Dumbar by a particular Letter, and to require also the Ministers of Edinburgh to desire their help at that time, if it were for no other end, but to testify their Unity and Consent of Minds to the Estates.

8. Because the Kirk of Lieth lieth destitute in a sort thro' the Bishop of Rosse his Age, and the Imprisonment of Mr. John Murrey, and that the said Mr. John is no ways minded, as appeareth, to give his Majesty Satisfaction, neither were it meet, in respect of his carriage, that he should return to that Ministry, and to insist in his Deprivation with the Commissioners, might perhaps breed us a new Difficulty, if his Majesty shall be pleased, we do hold it most convenient for the Errand, that the said M. John be convened before the Council by his Majesty's Command, and by them charged to waid in the Town of Newabby, and some Miles about, having Liberty to teach that People, among whom he shall find some other Subject to work upon than the state of Bishops. And for the Provision of Leith, that his Majesty would be pleased to Command the Presbytery of Edinburgh, in regard of the Bishop of Rosse his Age, and the said M. John's Transportation by his H. appointment, to have care that said Kirk of Leirh be planted with all convenient diligence by M. David Lindsey, sometimes Minister at Sant Andrewis, for whom both the People is earnest, and we may have sufficient Assurance to his Majesty's Service. And in case the said Presbytery prove willful, that another Letter to the same Effect may be sent to the Commissioners of the general Assembly, who may take order to see that matter ended, if such shall be his Majesty's Pleasure, and this would be done with all Diligence convenient.

We cannot but remember also the misorder keeped in the Country, that once was happily repressed, wearing of Guns and Pistols, and humbly beseech his Majesty that some new course may be established for searching of such Persons, and delating of them to the Counsel, that they may be punished, and the Theasaurer may have commandment to make Choice in every Country of certain that shall be thought fittest to search, who shall be known only to his L. self, and satisfy them for their Pains, to the end this insolence may be restrained. Particularly it would be forbidden in the granting Commissions, that this Liberty be not permitted, for this is one of the Causes of their so open dealing, as said is.

These Particulars your L. would have care to propone to his Majesty at some fit time, and see the Answers thereof dispatched accordingly.

Glasgow by the warrant and at the desire of the rest of my Lords the Bishops.

Mr. George Glaidstones sent this Letter following to the King in August 1612. whereby the Reader may perceive what were their Plots and Preparations before the Parliament following in October, where the Act of Glasgow was ratified, or ratheir altered.

Most Gracious Sovereign,
As it hath pleased your Majesty to direct me, and my Lord your Majesty's Secretary for advising anent our Affairs to be handled in this approaching Parliament, so happily did I find him, and my Lord of Glasgow both in this Town, and convened them both immediately after mine arriving, and with good Advisement we have made Choice of these things which are most necessary, and have omitted these Articles which may seem to carry envy or suspicion, or which your Majesty by your Royal Authority might not perform by your self. But we all hold fast this Conclusion, that it is most necessary and convenient, both for your Majesty's Service, and weal of the Church, that the day viz. the twelfth of October shall hold precisely, to the which the Parliament was Proclaimed upon the twenty fourth of this Instant. I will assure your Majesty that the very evil wills which is carried to my Lord Chancellor by the Nobility and People, is like to make us great store of Friendship, for they know him to be our prosessed Enemy, and he dissembled it not. I thank God, that it pleased your Majesty to make Choice of my Lord Secretary to be our Formalist, and Adviser of our Acts. For we find him Wise, Fast, and Secret. We shall not be idle in the mean time to prepare such, as have vote, to incline the right way. All Men do follow us, and hunt for our Favour, upon Report of your Majesty's good Acceptance of me and the Bishop of Cathnes, and sending for my Lord of Glasgow, and the Procurement of this Parliament without Advice of the Chancellor. And if your Majesty will continue these shining Beams, and showes of your Majesty's Favour, doubtless the purpose that seems most difficil, will be facilitate to your Majesty's great Honour, and our Credit, which if it were greater than it is, your Majesty could receive no Interest. For besides that no Estate may say, that they are your Majesty's Creatures as we may say, so there is none whose standing is so slippery, when your Majesty shall srown, as we: For at your Majesty's nodd we must either stand or fall. But we refer the more ample Declaration of these Purposes, and other Points of your Majesty's Service, to the sufficiency of my Lord of Glasgow, and my good Lord Secretary, the fourteenth Bishop of this Kingdom. But my Lord of Glasgow and I am contending, to which of the two Provinces he shall appertain. Your Majesty, who is our great Archbishop, must decide it. Thus after my most humble and hearty Thanks for your Majesty's good Acceptance, and gracious dispatch lately which hath filled the Ears of all this Kingdom, I beseech God to heap upon your Majesty the plenty of all spiritual and temporal Blessings for ever, I rest.

Your Majesty's most humble
Subject and Servitour

S. Andrewis

Edinburgh the last of August 1712.

Mr. William Struthren one of the Ministers for Edinburgh, and a Conformitane, howbeit he was content to accept a fat Bishoprick yet was content in end to forgo the lean Ceremonies to live in the greater Ease and peace, as this Letter following, directed to the Earl of Airth, to be presented to his Majesty, testifieth.

My very good Lord
Ivisit your L. with this Letter, and that for the end which I spoke more largely in conference, ever for hte Peace of this poor Kirk, which rent so grievously for Ceremonies. There is also some surmises of farther Novations of Organs, Liturgies, and such like, which greatly augments the Grief of People, but the wiser sort assure themselves of his Majesty's Royal Wisdom and Moderation, that his Majesty would impose no new thing, if his Majesty were timously informed of these, and the like Reasons.

1. Because King James of happy Memory, made the Marquess of Hamilton promise in his Majesty's Name to all the Estates of this Land solemnly in face of Parliament, that this Church should not be urged with any more Novations than these five Articles, that then were presented to the Parliament, upon which promise the Parliament rested, and gave way the more chearfully that these Articles should pass in Act of Parliament.

2. Next, because the Motion that is said to be made to his Majesty of those Novations, is made by and beside the Knowledge and Conscience of the Kirk of this Land, who are heavily displeased for that motion, and more because it is alledged to have been in their Name, who knows nothing thereof but by Report.

3. Because our Church lies already groaning under two Wounds, the first of the Erection of Bishops, the other of Kneeling. But if a third be inflicted, there is no appearence but of a Dissipation of this Church. In the first, People were only Onlookers on Bishops State. The second touched them more in Celebration of the body Sacrament, but yet least Arbitrary to them. But the third will be greater, because in the whole Body of publick Worship they shall be forced to suffer Novelties.

4. Because the Bishops are already publici odii victimae, and born down with contempt, and that Vexation is intolerable, when they depose any Brother for not Conformity, they scarcely can find an Expectant to fill the empty place, and that because they become so odious to the Flock, that they can do no good in their Ministry. But if any farther Novation be brought in, the Bishops will find ten for one to be deposed, and that of those who have already given Obedience to the five Articles, who will rather chuse to forsake their Places than to enter in a new Fire of Combustion.

5. Lastly, because it is observed by such as are Judicious, that the former Schisms have shaken the Hearts of the People in Religion, and hath produced Odium Vatinianum among Brethren, Popery is increased in the Land, and if any further come in, it will be seen, that universally People will be made susceptible of any further come in, it will be seen, that universally People will be made susceptible of any Religion, and turn Atheists in gross.

Your L. knows I am not one of those who stand out against Order, but do suffer for mine Obedience, and therefore the more boldly I suggest these Reasons unto your L. I dwell in the most eminent part of this Land, and so I have occasion to say more what is the Fruit of a Schism. I profess an unspeakable Grief, to see any thing done that may trouble the Peace of a Church, and divide the Hearts of a good People from a good King. Our Fire is a so great already, that it hath more need of Water to quench it than Oil to augment it.