LONDON, Printed in the Year, 1661.

The First PAPER.

May it please Your most excellent Majesty,

WE Your Majesties loyal Subjects cannot but acknow­ledge it as a very great Mercy of God, that im­mediately after your wonderful and peaceable Restauration unto Your Throne and Government (for which we blesse his Name) he hath stirred up your Royal Heart, as to a zealous Declaration a­gainst all Prophaneness in the People, So to endea­vour an happy composing of the Differences, and healing of the sad Breaches which are in the Church. And we shall, according to our bounden duty, become humble Suiters at the Throne of Grace, that the God of Peace who hath put such a thing as this into your Maje­sties Heart, will, by his heavenly wisdom and Holy Spirit, so assist You therein, and bring your Resolutions to so perfect an effect and issue, that all the people of these Kingdoms may have abundant cause to rise up and bless You, and bless God who hath delighted in You, to make You his Instrument in so happy a Work: That as Your glorious Progenitor, Henry the Seventh, was happy in uniting the two Houses of York and Lancaster, and your Grandfather King James (of blessed memory) in uniting the Kingdoms of England and Scotland; So this Honour may be reserved to your Majesty (as a radiant Jewel in your Crown) That by your Princely Wisdom and Christian Moderation, the hearts of the People may be united, and the unhappy differences and mis-understandings amongst Brethren in matters Ecclesiastical so composed, that the Lord may be One, and his Name One in the midst of your Dominions.

In an humble Conformity to this your Majesties Christian Design, we taking it for granted, that there is a firm Agreement between our Brethren and us in Doctrinal Truths of the Reformed Religion, and in the substantial parts of Divine Worship; and that the diffe­rences are only in some various Conceptions about the Ancient Form of Church Government, and some particulars about Liturgie and Ce­remonies; do in all humble obedience to your Majesty represent,

[Page 4]First, In as much as the ultimate end of Church-Government and Ministry, is, That Holiness of Life and the Salvation of Souls may be effectually promoted, We humbly desire in the first place, that we may be secured of those things in practice, of which we seem to be agreed in principles: As,

1. That those of our Flocks who are diligent and serious about the matters of their Salvation, may not by words of scorn, or any abusive usages, be suffered to be reproachfully handled, but may have Liberty and Encouragement in their Duties, of exhorting and provoking one another to Love and to Good Works, and of building up one another in their most holy Faith, and by all religious and peace­able means of furthering one another in the waies of Eternal Life; who being not therein opposite to Church-Assemblies, nor refusing the guidance and inspection of their Pastors, and being responsible for what they do or say.

2. That each Congregation may have a Learned, Orthodox, and Godly Pastor residing among them, to the end the People may be publickly instructed, by preaching every Lords day, by catechising and frequent administration of the Lords Supper, and of Baptism, and other Ministerial Acts, as the occasions and necessities of the People may require in health and sikness: And that effectual provision of Law may be made, that such as are insufficient, negligent, or scan­dalous, may not be allowed or permitted in so sacred a Function and Imployment.

3. That none may be admited to the Lords Supper, till they can competently understand the Principles of Christian religion, and do per­sonally own their Baptismal Covenant, by credible profession of Faith and Holiness, not contradicting the same by a contrary profession, or by a scandalous life; and that unto such only Confirmation (if continued in the Church) may be administred. And that the Ap­probation of the Pastors, to whom the catechising and instructing those under their Charge doth appertain, may be produced before any person receive confirmation. Which course (we humbly conceive) will much conduce to the quieting those sad Disputes which have greatly troubled the Church of God amongst us, touching Church-Members and Communicants.

4. That an effectual course may be taken for the Sanctification of the Lords day, appropriating the same to holy Exercises both in publick and private, without any unnecessary divertisments; it be­ing certain and by long experience found, that the due observation [Page 5] thereof is a special means of preserving and promoting the power of Godliness, and obviating of Prophaness.

Then for matters in difference, viz. Church-Government, Liturgy, and Ceremonies, We humbly Represent to Your MAJESTY:

That although upon just Reasons, we do dissent from the Ec­clesiastical Hierarchy or Prelacy disclaimed in Covenant, as it was stated and exercised in these Kingdomes; yet we do not, nor ever did renounce the true ancient primitive Episcopacy, or Presiden­cy, as it was ballanced or managed by a due commixtion of Pres­byters therewith, as a fit means to avoid Corruptions, Partialities, Tyrannies, and other Evils which may be incident to the admini­stration of one single Person: which kinde of attempored Episco­pacy, or Presidency, if it shall by your Majesties grave Wisdome and gracious Moderation, be in such manner constituted (as that the fore-mentioned, and other like Evils, may be certainly preven­ted) we shall humbly submit thereunto. And in order to an happy Accommodation in this weighty Business, we desire humbly to offer to your Majesty some of the Particulars, which we conceive were amiss in the Episcopal-Government, as it was practised before the year, 1640. As,

1. The great extent of the Bishops Diocess, which was much too large for his own personal Inspection, wherein he took apersonal Charge over the Souls of all those within his Bishoprick; which burden must needs be granted to be too heavy for any one man's shoulders, the Pastoral Office being a work of Personal Ministra­tion and Trust, and that of the highest Concernment to the Souls of the People, for which they are to give an account to Christ.

2. That by reason of this disability to discharge their Duties and Trusts personally, the Bishops did depute the Administration of much of their Trust, even in matters of Spiritual cognizance to Commissaries, Chancellors, and Officials, whereof some are Secular persons, and could not administer that Power which originally pertaineth to the Officers of the Church.

3. That those Bishops who affirm, The Episcopal Office to be a distinct Order by Divine Right, from that of the Presbyter; did as­sume the sole Power of Ordination and Jurisdiction to themselves.

4. That some of the Bishops exercised an Arbitrary power, as by sending forth their Articles of Visitation, inquiring unwarrantably [Page 6] into several things, and Swearing the Church-wardens to Pre­sent accordingly; So also by many Innovations and Ceremonies im­posed upon Ministers and People, not required by Law.

For the reforming of these Evils, we first crave leave to offer to your Majesty:

1. The late most Reverend Primate of Ireland his Reduction of Episcopacy, unto the Form of a Synodical Government, received in the Ancient Church as a Ground-work towards an Accommoda­tion and Fraternal-Agreement, in this point of Ecclesiastical Govern­ment; which we rather do, not only in regard of his eminent Piety and singular Abilities, as in all other parts of Learning, so in that especially of the Antiquities of the Church; but also, because therein Expedients are offered towards in the Healing of these Grie­vances.

2. And in order to the same End, we further humbly desire, That the Suffragans Chorepiscopi, mentioned in the Primate's Reduction, may be Chosen by the respective Synods, and by that Election may be sufficiently Authorized to discharge their Trust, and that the As­sociations may not be so Large as to make the Discipline impossible, or to take off the Ministers from the rest of their necessary Work.

3. That no Oathes, or Promises of Obedience to the Bishops, nor any unnecessary Subscriptions or Engagements be made Necessary to Ordination, Institution, or Induction, Ministration, Communion, or Im­munities of Ministers, they being Responsible for any Transgression of the Law: And that no Bishop, nor any Ecclesiastical Governor, may at any time Exercise their Government by their private Will or Pleasure, but only by such Rules, Canons and Constitutions, as shall be by Act of Parliament ratified and established: And that suffi­cient Provision may be made to secure both Ministers and People against the Rules of Arbitrary Government.

Secondly, Liturgy.

1. We are satisfied in our Judgments concerning the Lawful­ness of a Liturgy, or Form of Worship, Provided it be for the Mat­ter agreeable to the Word of God, and fitly suited to the Nature of the several Ordinances and Necessities of the Church, neither too tedi­ous in the whole, nor composed of too short Prayers or Responsals, not dissonant from the Liturgies of the Reformed Churches; nor too rigorously imposed, nor the Minister confined thereunto, but that he may also make use of the Gifts for Prayer and Exhortation which Christ hath given him, for the Service and Edification of the Church.

[Page 7]2. Inasmuch as the Book of Common Prayer hath in it many things which are justly offensive, and need amendment, hath been long discontinued, and very many, both Ministers and people, and persons of pious, loyal, and peaceable Minds, therein greatly dis-satis­fied; whereupon if it should be again imposed, will inevitably fol­low sad Divisions and widening of the Breaches which your Majesty is endeavouring to heal: We do most humbly offer to your Ma­sties Wisdome, that for preventing of so great Evils, and for setling the Church in Ʋnity and Peace, some Learned, Godly and Moderate Divines of both Perswasions, indifferently chosen, may be imploy­ed to Compile such a Form as is before Described, as much as may be in Scripture-Words; or at least to Revise and effectually Reform the Old, together with an Addition or Insertion of other Varying Forms in Scripture-phrase, to be used at the Ministers choice; of which Va­riety and Liberty there be Instances in the Book of Common Prayer.

Thirdly, Concerning Ceremonies.

We humbly Represent, That we hold our selves obliged in E­very part of Divine Worship, to do All Things Decently, in Order, and to Edification, and are willing therein to be determined by Autho­rity in such things as being meerly circumstantial, are common to Humane Actions, and are to be ordered by the Light of Nature, and Humane Prudence, according to the general Rules of the Word, which are alwaies to be observed.

And as to divers Ceremonies formerly retained in the Church of England, we do in all humility offer to your Majesty these ensuing Considerations.

That the Worship of God is in it self Pure, and Perfect, and De­cent, without having any such Ceremonies affixed thereunto; for did they contribute any thing to that necessary Decency which the Apostle requires, we might expect to meet with them in the Apo­stles time, there being no Reason to induce us to the use of them, which might not have induced them.

That the Lord hath declared Himself in the matters that con­cern his Worship, to be a Jealous God, and this Worship of His is cer­tainly then most pure, and most agreeable to the simplicity of the Gospel, and to his Holy and Jealous Eyes, when it hath least of Hu­mane admixtures (in things of themselves confessedly unnecessary) adjoyned and appropriated thereunto. Upon these accounts ma­ny faithful Servants of the Lord knowing his Word to be a perfect Rule, of Faith and Worship (by which they must judge of his accep­tance [Page 8] of their Services, and must be themselves judg'd) have ever been exceeding fearful of varying from his Will, and of the danger of displeasing him by additions or detractions, in such Duties, where­in they must daily expect the communication of his Grace and comfort; especially in seeing these Ceremonies have been imposed and urged upon such Considerations as draw too near to the signi­ficacy and Moral efficacy of Sacraments themselves, that they have together with Popery been rejected by many of the Reformed Churches abroad; amongst whom, notwithstanding, we doubt not but the Lord is Worshipped decently, orderly, and in the beauty of Holi­liness: And ever since the Reformation they have been a matter of Contention and endless Dispute in this Church, and have been a cause of depriving the Church of the fruit and benefit they might have reaped from the labors of many learned and godly Divines, some of whom judging them unlawful, others inexpedient, were in Conscience unwilling to be brought under the power of them; And they have occasioned through the offence taken at them by many of the people heretofore great separation in our Church, and so have rather prejudiced than promoted the Ʋnity thereof: And at this time by reason of their long disuse, may be more likely than ever heretofore to produce the same inconvenience. And they are at best indifferent, and in their nature mutable: And that it is (especially in various Exigencies of the Church) very needful and expedient, that things in themselves mutable, be sometimes actu­ally changed, lest they should by perpetual permanency and constant use, be judged by the people as necessary as the Substantials of Worship themselves. And though we do most heartily acknow­ledge your Majesty to be Custos utriusque Tabulae, and to be supream Governor over all Persons, and in all Things and Causes, as well Ec­clesiastical as Civil, in these your Majesties Dominions; yet we hum­bly crave leave to beseech your Majesty to consider, Whether, as a Christian Magistrate, you be not as well obliged by that doctrine of the holy Apostle, touching things indifferent, in not occasioning offence to weak Brethren, as the Apostle himself (then one of the highest Officers in the Church of Christ) judged himself to be ob­liged by? and whether the great Work, wherein the Lord hath in­trusted your Majesty, be not rather to provide by your sacred Au­thority, that the things which are necessary by Divine Command in Gods Worship, should be duly performed, than that things un­nessary should be made by humane command necessary and penal? [Page 9] And how greatly pleasing will it be to the Lord, that your Maje­sties heart is so tenderly and religiously compassionate to such of his poor Servants, differing in some matters, who prefer the peace of their Consciences in God's Worship, above their own civil con­cernments whatsoever.

May it therefore please your Majesty out of your Princely Care for the healing of our Breaches, graciously to grant, That Kneel­ing at the Lords Supper, and such Holy Daies, as are but of humane Institution, may not be imposed upon such as do conscienciously scruple the observation of them. And that the use of the Surplice, and Cross in Baptism, and Bowing at the Name of Jesus (rather than Christ or Emmanuel, or any other names whereby the Divine Person, or either of the other Divine Persons is denominated) may be Abolished. These things being in the judgment of the Impo­sers themselves, but indifferent and mutable; and in the judgment of others, a Rock of Offence; and in the judgment of all, not to be valued with the peace of the Church. We likewise represent to your Majesty, that divers Ceremonies (which we conceive have no foun­dation in the Law of the Land) as erecting Altars, Bowing towards them, and such like, have not only been introduced, but in some places imposed, whereby an Arbitrary power was usurped, divers Ministers of the Gospel (though conformable to the established Ceremonies) troubled, some reverend and learned Bishops offen­ded, Protestants grieved, and the Papists pleased, as hoping these In­novations might make way to greater changes.

May it therefore please your Majesty, in such waies as your Royal Wisdome shall judge meet, effectually to prevent the impo­sing and using such Innovations for the future; that so according to the pious intention of your Royal Grandfather (King James of blessed memory) the publick Worship may be free, not only from blame, but from suspition.

In obedience to your Majesties Royal Pleasure signified to us, we have tendered to your Sacred Majesty, what we humbly con­ceive may most conduce to the Glory of God, to the Peace and Reformation of the Church, and to the taking away, not only our Differences, but the roots and causes of them. We humbly beg your Majesties favourable Acceptance of these our loyal and con­sciencious Endeavours to serve the Church of Christ; and your Majesties gracious Pardon, if in any thing or expression we answer not your Majesties expectation▪ professing before your Majes [...] [Page 10] and before the Lord the Searcher of all hearts, that we have done nothing out of strife and vain-glory, or emulation, but have sin­cerely offered what we apprehend most seasonable, as conducing to that happy end of Ʋnity and Peace, which your Majesty doth so piously prosecute. We humbly lay ourselves, and these our Ad­dresses, at your Majesties feet; professing our unfeigned Resolution, to live and die your Majesties real, faithful, and obedient Subjects: And humbly implore your gracious Majesty, according to your Princely Wisdom and Fatherly Compassion, to lay your Hands up­on the bleeding Rents and Divisions that are among us, that there may be an healing of them. So shall your Throne be greater than the Throne of your Fathers; and in your daies the Righteous shall flourish, Peace run down like a River, and the Generations to come shall call you Blessed.

The Second PAPER.

May it please your Majesty,

SO great was the Comfort created in our mindes by your Ma­jesties oft expressed Resolution, to become the Effectual Mo­derator in our Differences, and your self to bring us together, by procuring such mutual condescentions as are necessarie thereto; and also by your gracious Acceptance of our Proposals, which your Majesty heard and received, not onely without blame, but with acknowledgement of their moderatio [...]; and as such as would infer a Reconciliation between the differing Parties; That we must needs say, that the least abatement of our hopes is much the more un­welcome and grievous to us, in finding so much of the proposed necessarie means for our Agreement (especially in the point of Government) here passed by in your Majesties Declaration, as if it were denied us.

But yet remembring the gracious and encouraging Promises of your Majestie, and observing your Majesties Clemencie in what is here granted us, and your great Condescention in vouchsafing not only so graciously to hear us in these our humble addresses and Re­quests, but also to grant us the fight of our Declaration before it is [Page 11] resolved on, with libertie of returning our Additional Desires, and hope that they shall not be rejected. We reassume our confidence, and comfortably expect, that what is not granted us in this Decla­ration that is reasonable and necessary to our Agreement, shall yet be granted upon fuller consideration of the Equity of our Requests.

As our designs and desires are not for any worldly Advantages or Dignities to our selves, So have we not presumed to meddle with any Civil Interest of your Majesty, or any of your Officers, nor in matters of meer convenience, to cast our Reason into the bal­lance against your Majesties Prudence, But meerly to speak for the Laws, and Worship, and Servants of the Lord, and for the Peace of our Consciences, and for the safety of our own and our Brethrens Souls. It lifts us up with joy to think what happy Consequences will ensue, if your Majesty shall entertain these healing motions; How happily our differences will be reconciled, and the exaspera­ted minds of men composed! How temptations to contention and uncharitableness will be removed! How comfortably your Majesty will reign in the dearest affections of your Subjects, and how firmly they will adhere to your Interest as their own! How chearfully and zealously the united Parts and Interests of the Nation will conspire to serve You! What a strength and honour a Righteous Magistracy a Learned, Loyal, Holy Ministry, and a faithful, praying People will be to your Throne! and how it will be your glory to be King of the most Religious Nation in the World! that hath no considerable par­ties, but what are centred under Christ in You. What a comfort it will be to the Bishops and Pastors of the Church to be honoured and loved by all the most Religious of their Flocks, to see the success of their labours and the Beauty of the Church promoted by our Common Concord, and Brethren to assemble and dwell together in unity, ser­ving one God, according to one Rule, with one heart and mouth.

And on the contrary, should we lose the opportunity of our de­sired Reconciliation and Ʋnion, it astonisheth us to foresee what dole­full effects our divisions would produce, which we will not so much as mention in particular, lest our words should be misunderstood.

And seeing all this may be safely and easily prevented, We humbly beseech the Lord in mercy to vouchsafe to your Majesty, an heart to discern aright of Time and Judgment.

And as these are our general ends and motives, So we are indu­ced to insist upon the Form of a Synodical Government, conjunct with a fixed Presidency or Episcopacy, for these Reasons.

[Page 12]1. We have reason to believe that no other terms will be so ge­nerally agreed on, and it is no way injurious to Episcopal Power, but most firmly establisheth all in it that can pretend to Divine authority, or true Antiquity: It granteth them much more than Reverend Bishop Hall in his Peace-maker, and many others of that judgment do require, who would have accepted of the fixing of the President for Life, as sufficient for the reconciliation of the Churches.

2. It being agreeable to the Scripture and the primitive Govern­ment, is likeliest to be the way of a more universal Concord, if ever the Churches on Earth arrive to such a blessing: However it will be most accptable to God, and wel-informed Consciences.

3. It will promote the practice of Discipline & Godliness without disorder, and promote Order without hindering Discipline & Godliness.

4. And it is not to be silenced (though in some respects we are loth to mention it) That it will save the Nation from the violation of the Solemn Vow and Covenant, without wronging the Church at all, or breaking any other Oath. And whether the Covenant were lawfully imposed or not, we are assured from the nature of a Vow to God, and from the Case of Saul, Zedekiah, and others, that it would be a terrible thing in us to violate it on that pretence. Though we are far from thinking that it obligeth us to any evil, or to go beyond our places & callings to do good, much less to resist Authority, (to which it doth oblige us) yet doth it undoubtedly bind us to forbear our own consent to those luxuriances of Church-Government which we there renounced, and for which no divine Institution can be pre­tended. Not presuming to meddle with the Consciences of those ma­ny of the Nobility and Gentry, and others, that adhered to this late Majesty in the late unhappy Wars, who at their Composition took this Vow and Covenant. We only crave your Majesties clemency to our selves and others, who believe themselves to be under its obliga­tions. And God forbid that we that are the Ministers of the Word of Truth should do any thing to encourage your Majesties Subjects to cast off the Conscience of an Oath. Till the Covenant was decried as an Almanack out of date, and its obligation taken to be null, that odious Fact could never have been perpetrated against your Royal Father, nor your Majesty have been so long expulsed from your Dominions. And the obligation of the Covenant upon the consciences of the Nation, was not the weakest Instrument of your Return. We therefore humbly beseech your Majesty (with greater importunity than we think we should do for our lives) That you would have [Page 13] mercy on the Souls and Consciences of your People, and will not suffer us to be tempted to the violation of such solemn Vows, and this for nothing, when an expedient is before you that will avoid it, without any detriment to the Church; nay, to its honor & advancement.

The Prelacy, which we disclaim, is, that of Diocesans upon the claim of a superior Order to a Presbyter, assuming the sole power of Ordination, and of publick Admonition of particular Offender▪ en­joyning Penitence, Excommunicating and Absolving (besides Confir­mation) over so many Churches, as necessitated the corruption or extirpation of Discipline, and the using of humane Officers (as Chan­cellors, Surrogates, Officials, Commissaries, Arch-deacons) while the undoubted Officers of Christ (the Pastors of the Particular Churches) were hindred from the exercise of their Office.

The Restauration of Discipline in the particular Churches, and of the Pastors to the exercise of their Office therein, and of Synods for necessary Consultation and Communion of Churches, and of the primitive Presidency or Episcopacy, for the avoiding of all shew of In­novation and Disorder, is that which we humbly offer as the Remedy, Beseeching your Majesty, that if any thing asserted seem unproved, an impartial Conference in your Majesties hearing may be allowed us in order to a just Determination.

Concerning the preamble of your Majesties Declaration, we presume onely to tender these Requests.

1. That we are perswaded it is not in your Majesties thoughts, to intimate that we are guilty of the Offences which your Majesty here reciteth; So we hope it will rather be a Motive to the hastning the Nations Cure, that our unity may prevent Man's temptations of that nature for the time to come.

2. Though we have professed our willingness to submit to the Primitive Episcopacy and Reformed Liturgie, hoping it may prove an Expedient to an happy Union; yet have we expressed our dis­like of the Prelacy and present Liturgie, while unreformed. And though Sacriledge and unjust Alienation of Church-lands, is a thing that we detest, yet whether in some cases of true Superfluity of Re­venues, or true Necessity of the Church, there may not be an Aliena­tion which is no Sacriledge? And whether the Kings and Parlia­ments have been guilty of this Crime that have made some Alien­ations, are Points of high concernment, of which we never had a Call to give our Judgment; And therefore humbly beseech your [Page 14] Majesty, that concerning these Matters, we may not to our pre­judice be otherwise understood, than as we have before and here expressed.

3. That as your Majesty hath here vouchsafed us your Gracious Acknowledgment of our Moderation, it may never be sayd, that a Minister and People of such moderate principles, consenting to Pri­mitive Episcopacy and Liturgy, could not be received into the Set­tlement and countenanced Body of Your People, nor possess their sta­tions in the Church, and Liberty in the Publick Worship of God.

4. And whereas it is expressed by your Majesty, That the Es­sence and Foundation of Episcopacy may be preserved, though the Extent of the Jurisdiction may be altered; This is to us a ground of hope, that seeing the greatning or lessening of Episcopal power is in your Majesties Judgment but a matter of convenience, the Lord will put it into your heart to make such Alteration in the alterable Points, as the Satisfaction of the Consciences of sober men, and the Healing and Union of the Churches do require.

And as to our Plea for Primitive Episcopacy; the Offices and Ordinances of Christ must be still distinguished from the alter­able accidents; though we plead not for the Primitive Poverty, Per­secution, or Restraints, yet must we adhere to the Primitive Order, and Worship, and Administrations in the substance, as believing that the circumstantiating of them is much committed unto man, but to Institute the Offices and Ordinances, is the high Prerogative of Christ, the Universal King and Law-giver of the Church.

Concerning the Matter of your Majesties Concessions, as related to our Proposals.

I. We humbly renew our Petition to your Majesty for the ef­fectual securing of those premised necessaries, which are the matter of our chiefest care, and whereunto the controverted Points sub­serve, Viz.

1. That private Exercises of Piety may be encouraged.

2. That an able faithful Ministry may be kept up, and the in­sufficient, negligent, and non-resident and scandalous cast out.

3. That a credible profession of Faith and Obedience be pre­required of Communicants.

4. That the Lords day may be appropriated to holy Exercises, without unnecessary devertisements.

[Page 15]I. For Church-Government: In this your Majesties Declaration, Parish-Discipline is not sufficiently granted us; Inferior Synod: with their Presidents are passed by: and the Bishop, which your Majesty here declareth for, is not Episcopus praeses, but Episcopus princeps; endued with sole Power both of Ordination and Juris­diction: For though it be sayd, The Bishop shall do nothing without the Advise of the Presbyters, yet their Consent is not made necessary, but he may go contrary to the Counsel of them all. And this Ad­vice is not to be given by the Diocesan Synod, or any other Represen­tatives of the Clergy, but by the Dean and Chapter, and so many, and such others as he please to call. In all which there being nothing yeilded us, which is sufficient to the desired Accommodation and Ʋnion; we humbly prosecute our Petition to your Majesty, That the Primitive presidency, with their respective Synods, described by the late Reverend Primate of Ireland, may be the Form of Church-Go­vernment established among us, at least in these three needful Points.

1. That the Pastors of the respective Parishes may be allowed not only publickly to Preach, but personally to Catechise, or other­wise Instruct the several Families (admitting none to the Lord's Table, that have not personally owned their Baptismal Covenants, by a credible profession of Faith and Obedience) and to Admo­nish and Exhort the Scandalous, in order to their Repentance, to hear the Witnesses and the accused party, and to appoint fit Times, and Places for these Things: And to deny such persons the Communion of the Church, and the holy Eucharist, that remain Impenitent, or that wilfully refuse to come to their Pastors to be Instructed, or to Answer such probable Accusations, and to continue such Exclusion of them till they have made a credible profession of their Repentance, [...] and then to receive them again to the Communion of the Church Provided there be place for due Appeals to Superior Power. Al this we beseech your Majesty to Express, under your Fifth Con­cession, because it is to us of very great Weight, and the Rubrick is unsatisfactory, to which we are referred.

2. That all the Pastors of each Rural Deanry, having a stated President chosen by themselves (if your Majesty please to grant them that liberty) may meet once a Month, and may receive Presentments of all such persons, as notwithstanding Suspention from Communion of the Church, continue impenitent, and unrefor­med; and having further admonished them, may proceed to the Sentence of solemn Excommunication, if after due patience they can­not [Page 16] prevail: And may receive the Appeals of those that conceive themselves injuriously suspended, and may decide the Cause. Or (if this cannot be attained) at least, that the Pastors of each Rural Deanry, with their President, may have power to meet monthly, and receive all such Presentments and Appeals, and judge whether they are fit to be transmitted to the Diocesan or not: And to call before them and admonish the Offenders so presented; yet if the Present­ments against Magistrates and Ministers be resolved only to the Diocesan Synod, and their Appeals immediately put in, we shall therein submit to your Majesties pleasure.

3. That a Diocesan Synod, consisting of the Delegates of the seve­ral Rural Synods be called as often as need requireth; and that with­out the consent of the major part of them, the Diocesan may not ordain or exercise any Spiritual Censures on any of the Ministers, nor Excommunicate any of the people but by the consent of the Synod, or of the Pastors of the particular Parishes where they had Communion. And that not only Chancellors, but also Archdeacons, Commissaries and Officials (as such) may pass no Censures purely spiritual, but for the exercise of civil Government, coercively by Mulcts, or corporal Penalties, by power derived from your Maje­sty, as Supream over Persons and Things Ecclesiastical, we presume not at all to interpose, but shall submit to any that act by your Majesties Commission.

Our Reasons for the first part of Discipline, Viz. In particular Parishes, are these.

It is necessary to the honour of the Christian profession, to the integrity of Worship, to the destruction of Impiety and Vice, to the preservation of the Sound, the raising them that are fallen, the comforting of the penitent, the strengthning of the weak, the pu­rity, order, strength and beauty of our Churches, the Unity of Believers, and the pleasing of Christ who hath required it by his Laws: And withall it's agreeable to the ancient Canons and pra­ctice of the Churches; and is consented to by our Reverend Bre­thren, and so is no matter of controversie now between us.

Yet is not the Rubrick Satisfactory to which we are referred.

1. Because it leaves the people at liberty, whether they will let us know of their intention to communicate, till the night or morn­ing before, and alloweth us then only to admonish them; when in great Parishes 'tis impossible for want of time.

[Page 17]2. Because it alloweth us to deny the Sacrament to those only that maliciously refuse reconciliation with their Neighbors, and only to admonish other scandalous sinners to forbear; though the Canon forbid us to deliver them the Sacrament.

The Reasons why we insist on the second Proposal, are these:

It being agreed on between us, that the younger, less discreeter sort of Ministers are unfit to pass the sentence of Excommunication without advice and moderation by others; And every Church is not like to be provided with grave, discreet, judicious Guides; the necessity of these frequent lesser Synods for such moderation, and advice, and guidance, will appear by these two general Evidences;

1. It is the very nature and substance of the Office of a Presbyter to have the power of the Keys for binding or loosing, retaining, or remitting sin: which therefore together, or apart, as there is occa­sion, they are bound to exercise. And this being the Institution of Jesus Christ, cannot be altered by man. In their Ordination, ac­cording to the established Order in England, it is sayd [Whose sins thou dost remit they are remitted, whose sins thou dost retain they are re­tained.] And they are commanded to minister the Doctrine, Sacra­ments, and Discipline of Christ as the Lord hath commanded, and as this Realm hath received the same, as expresly as the Bishops are. And as the late Primate of Ireland observeth in his Reduction, that they may the better understand what the Lord hath commanded, the Exhortation of S. Paul to the Elders of the Church of Ephesus is appointed to be read to them at the time of their Ordination: Take heed to your selves, and to all the Flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you Overseers, to feed (or rule) the Congregation of God which he hath purchased with his blood. And it is apparent in this Acts 20.17, 18, 28. Act. 14.23. Act. 15. —1 Thes. 5.12, 13. 1 Tim. 3, 4, 5. 1 Tim. 5.17. Heb. 13.7, 17, 24. and other places, that it is the Office of a Presbyter to over-see, rule, and guide the Flock with that Ministe­rial Rule which consisteth in the exercise of the Keys, or manage­ment, or personal application of Gods Word to the consciences and cases of particular persons, for their salvation, and order of the Church; the Coercive power belonging to the Magistrate. And this was the practice of the ancient Church, as appeareth undeni­ably in Ignatius, Tertullian, Cyprian, Jerome, Chrysostome, &c. Concil. Carthag. 4 Can. 22, 23, 29, 32, 34, 35, 36, 37. And is confessed by the chiefest Defenders of Episcopacy.

[Page 18]II. If all Presentments and Appeals be made to the Bishop and his consistory alone, it will take from us the Parish-Discipline, (which is granted us) and cast almost all Discipline out of the Church; as is most apparent to them, that by experience are acquainted with the quality of our Flocks, and the true nature of the Pastoral work, considering,

1. How many hundred Churches are in a Diocess.

2. How many thousand persons are in many Parishes; and of those, what a number are obstinate in wilful gross ignorance or scan­dal, refusing to be instructed or admonished by their Pastors.

3. How long, and earnestly, and tenderly, sinners must be dealt with, before they are cut off by Solemn Excommunication.

4. How unsatisfactory it must be to the conscience of a Bishop or Synod, to cut off a man as impenitent, upon the bare report of a Mi­nister, before they have upon full admonition proved him impeni­tent themselves, especially when too many Ministers are (to say no­thing of a passion that may cause partial accusation) unable so to ma­nage a reproof and exhortation, as is necessary to work on the con­sciences of the People, and to convict Resisters of flat Impentiencie.

5. What abundance of work the Bishop will have (besides constant preaching, which will require time for preparation) visiting the se­veral Churches, confirming all the souls in so many hundred Pa­rishes (which alone is more than any one man can do aright, if he had nothing else to do) Ordaining, Instituting and Examining the persons so far as to satisfie a tender conscience (that takes not all on trust from others, and is but the executor of others Judgments:) These and much more, with a care of Church-building, Lands, and his own Affairs and Family, and sicknesses, and necessary absence sometimes, will make this great additional work (which must be con­stantly performed for so many hundred Parishes) to be impossible.

6. Reproofs and suspension will so exasperate the scandalous, that they will vex the Pastors with numerous Appeals.

7. The Pastors will be undone by travelling and waiting, and maintaining such multitude of witnesses, as is necessary for the pro­secuting of Presentments, and answering the Many Appeals.

8. The business will be so odious, chargeable and troublesome, that witnesses will not come in.

9. The Minister by these prosecutions and attendances, will be taken off the rest of his ministerial work.

10. Bishops being but men, will be tempted by this intolerable [Page 19] burthen, to be weary of the work, and slubber it over, and cast it up­on others, and to discountenance the most conscionable Ministers that most trouble them with presentments: which when the people perceive, they wil the more insult, and vex us with Appeals: So that the discouragements of the Ministers, and the utter incapacity of the Bishops to perform a quarter of this work, will nullifie Discipline, as leaving it impossible, Experience hath told us this too long.

And then when our Communion is thus polluted with all that are most incapable through ignorance, Scandal, and contempt of Piety,

1. Ministers will be deterred from their Administrations to sub­jects so uncapable.

2. Bishops that are tender-conscienced, will be deterred from un­dertaking so impossible a work, and of so ill success.

3. And men that have least tenderness of conscience, and care of souls, and fear of Gods displeasure, will seek for and intrude in­to both places.

4. And the tender-conscienced people will be tempted to speak hardly of such undisciplin'd Churches, and of the Officers, and to withdraw from them.

5. And hereby they will fall under the displeasure of Superiors, and the scorn of the Vulgar, that have no religion, but what is subservient to their flesh.

6. And so whilest the most pious are brought under discounte­nance and reproach, and the most impious get the reputation of being most regular and obedient to their Rulers; Piety it self will grow into disesteem, and impiety escape its due disgrace. And this hath been the cause of our Calamities.

II. As to Liturgie. It is matter of very great joy and thankfulness to us, that we have heard your Majestie more than once so resolutely promising, that none should suffer for not using the Common-pray­er and Ceremonies; but you would secure them from the penalties in the Act for Uniformity, as that which your Declaration at Breda intended: And to find here so much of your Majesties Clemencie in your gracious concession for a future Emendation. But we hum­bly crave leave to acquaint your Majestie,

1. That it greives us after all, to hear that it is given in charge by the Judges at the Assizes to indite men upon that Act, for not using the Common-prayer.

2. That it is not onely some obsolete words, and other expressi­ons that are offensive.

[Page 20]3. That many scruple, using some part of the Book as it is, lest they be guilty of countenancing the whole, yet would use it when reformed.

Therefore we humbly crave, that your Majesty would here de­clare, that it is your Maje [...]es pleasure, that none be punished or troubled for not using the Book of Common-prayer, til it be effectu­ally reformed, by Divines of both perswasions equally deputed ther­unto. And that your Majesty will procure that moderation in the imposition hereafter, which we before desired.

III. Concerning Ceremonies. Returning our humble thanks for your Majesties gracious Concessions (of which we are assured you will never have cause to repent:) We further crave,

1. That your Majesty will leave out those words in your Decla­ration, concerning us [That we do not in our Judgments believe the practise of those particular Ceremonies which we accept against to be in it self unlawful] for we have not so declared our Judg­ments. Indeed, we have sayd, That treating in order to an hap­py uniting of our Brethren through the Land; our work is not to say, what is our own opinion, or what will satisfie us, but what will satisfie so many as may procure the sayd Union. And we have sayd, that some think them flatly unlawful, some but inconveni­ent; some think some of them unlawful in themselves, and others but inconvenient; and while th [...] Imposer thinks them but indiffe­rent, we conceived they might reasonably be entreated to let them go, for the saving of their Brethrens consciences, and the Churches peace. We are sure that a Christians conscience should be tender of adding to, or diminishing from the matter of Gods Worship in the smallest point. The Laws of God being herein the only perfect Rule, Deut. 12.32. And that Synod infallibly guided by the Holy Ghost, would lay upon the Churches no other burden but necessary things, Act. 15.28. And that for things indifferent, Christians should not despise or judge each other, Rom. 14. Much less by silencing the able and faithful Ministers of the Gospel, to punish the Flock even in their Souls, for the tollerable differences and supposed mi­stakes of Ministers. We doubt not but Peter and Paul went to Hea­ven without the Ceremonies in question.

And seeing your Majesty well expresseth it [That the Universal Church cannot introduce one Ceremony in the worship of God that is contrary to Gods Word, expressed in the Scriptures.] And mul­titudes of the Protestants at home and abroad do think that all My­stical, [Page 21] Sacramental Rites of human [...] Institution, are contrary to the very perfection of Gods Law, and to Deut. 12.32. &c. (though the determination of meer circumstances necessary in [...] be not so) and therefore dare not use them for fear of the displeasure [...] of God the Universal Sovereign. It must needs be an expression of your Majesties wisdome, and tenderness of Gods honour, and the safety of your peoples souls, to refuse in things unnecessary to drive men upon apprehended sin, and upon the wrath of God, and the terrors of a condemned conscience.

2. We beseech your Majesty to understand, that it is not our meaning by the word [Abolishing] to crave a prohibition against your own, and other mens liberty in the things in question. But it is a full liberty we desire, such as should be in unnecessary things, and such as will tend to the concord of your people, Viz. That there be no Law nor Canon for or against them, commanding, re­commending, or prohibiting them; as now there is none for any particular gesture in singing of Psalms, where liberty preserveth an uninterrupted Unity.

For the particular Ceremonies.

I. We humbly crave, as to Kneeling, in the Act of receiving the Lords Supper, that your Majesty will declare a Liberty therein, that none shall be troubled for receiving it standing, or sitting. And your Majesties Expressions [upon Reasons best (if not only) known to our selves] commands us to render some of our Reasons.

1. We are sure Christ and his Apostles sinned not, by not receiving it kneeling; and many are sure▪ that by kneel­ing they should not sin: And therefore for the better secu­rity, though not for absolute necessity, we crave leave to take the safest side.

2. We are sure that Kneeling in any Adoration at all in any Worship on any Lords day in the year, or any Week day between Easter and Penticost, was not only dis-used, but forbidden by General Councils, (as Concil. Nicen. 1 [...] 20. Concil. Trull. &c.) and disclaimed by Ancient Writer [...]; and this as a general uncontrolled Tradition: and therefore [Page 22] that Kneeling in the Act of Receiving, is a Novelty contrary to the Decrees and practice of the Church for many hundred years after the Apostles. And if we part with the venerable Examples of all Antiquity, where it agrees with Scripture, (and that for no­thing) we shall depart from the Terms which most Moderators think necessary for the reconciling of the Churches; and Novelty is a Dishonor to any part of Religion. And if Antiquity be ho­norable, the most ancient and nearest the Legislation and Foun­tain, must be most honorable: and it is not safe to intimate a Charge of Unreverence upon all the Apostles and primitive Christians, and the universal Church, for so many hundred years together of its purest time.

3. Though our meaning be good, it is not good to shew a needless countenance of the practice of Adoring the Bread as God, when it is used by Papists round about us. Sayth Bishop Hall in his Life, p. 20. I had a dangerous Conflict with a Sorbonist, who took occasion by our kneeling at the receit of the Eucharist, to perswade all the company of our Acknowledgment of a Transub­stantiation.

4. Some of us that could rather kneel than be deprived of the Communion, should yet suffer much before we durst put all others from the Communion that durst not take it kneeling; which therefore we crave that we may not be put upon.

II. We humbly crave also, that the Religious observation of Holy daies of humane Institution, may be declared to be left indifferent, that none be troubled for not observing them.

III. We humbly tender your Majesty our thanks for your gracious Concession of liberty as to the Cross and Surplice, and bowing at the Name Jesus, rather than Christ, or God: But we further humbly beseech your Majesty,

1. That this liberty in forbearing the Surplice may extend to Colledges and Cathedrals also, that it drive not thence all those that scruple it, and make those places receptive only for a party. And that the Youth of the Nation may have just liberty as well as [Page 23] the Elder. If they be ingaged in the Universities, and their Liberties there cut off in their beginning, they cannot afterwards be free▪ and many hopeful persons will be else diverted from the Service of the Church.

2. That your Majestie will endeavour the repealing of all Laws and Canons by which these Ceremonies are imposed, that they may be left at full Liberty.

We also tender our thanks to your Majestie for your gracious Concession of the forbearance of the Subscription required by the Canon. But,

1. We humbly acquaint your Majestie, that we do not dissent from the Doctrine of the Church of England expressed in the Arti­cles and Homilies; but it is the controverted passages about Go­vernment, Liturgie and Ceremonies, and some by-passages and phrases in the Doctrinal part, which are scrupled by those whose liberty is desired. Not that we are against subscribing the proper Rule of our Religion, or any meet Confession of Faith: Nor do we scruple the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy: Nor would we have the door left open for Papists and Hereticks to come in.

2. We take the boldness to say, that since we have had the pro­mises of your gracious indulgence herein, and upon divers Ad­dresses to your Majestie and the Lord Chancellor, had comfortable encouragement to expect our Liberty; yet cannot Ministers pro­cure Institution without renouncing their Ordination by Presby­ters, or being re-ordained, nor without Subscription, and the Oath of Canonical Obedience.

3. We must observe with fear and grief, that your Majesties In­dulgence and Concession of Liberty in this Declaration, extendeth not either to the abatement of Re-ordination, or of Subscription at Ordination, or the Oath of Obedience to the Bishops.

We therefore humbly and earnestly crave, that your Majesty will declare your pleasure,

1. That Ordination and Institution and Induction, may be con­ferred without the said Subscription or Oath.

[Page]2. That none be urged to be re-ordained, or denied Institution for want of Ordination by Prelates, that was ordained by Pres­byters.

3. That none be judged to have forfeited his Presentation, or Benefice, or be deprived of it, for not reading those Articles of the 39. that contain the controverted points of Government and Ce­remonies.

Lastly. We humbly crave, that your Majestie would not onely grant us this liberty, till the next Synod; but will endeavour that the Synod be impartially chosen; and that your Majestie will be pleased to endavour the procurement of such Laws, as shall be ne­cessary for our security till the Synod, and for the ratification of moderate healing Conclusions afterward. And that nothing by meer Canon be imposed on us, without such Statute-Laws of Parliament.

These favours (which will be injurious to none) if your people may obtain of your Majestie, it will revive their hearts to daily and earnest Prayer for your prosperity, and to rejoyce in the thankfull acknowledgement of that gracious providence of Hea­ven, that hath blessed us in your Restauration, and put it into your heart to heal our breaches, and to have compassion on the faithful people in your Dominions, who do not petition you for liberty to be Schismatical, Factious, Seditious, or abusive to any; but onely for leave to obey the Lord that Created and Re­deemed them, according to that Law, by which they must all be shortly judged to everlasting Joy or Misery▪ and it will excite them to, and unite them in the cheerful service of your Majesty, with their Estates and lives, and to transmit your deserved Praise to Posterity.


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