A SHORT VIEVV of the Praelaticall Church of ENGLAND: Wherein is set forth the horrible abuses in Discipline and Government, layd open in tenne SECTIONS by way of Quare and Petition, the severall heads whereof are set downe in the next Page. Whereunto is added a short draught of Church-government.

EZEK. 34. 3, 4, 10.

Woe bee to the Shepheards of Israell that feed them­selves.

Yee eate the Fat and cloath you with the Wooll, yee kill them that are fed, but yee feed not the flocke, but with force and with cruelty have yee ruled them.

Behold I am against the Shepheards, and I will re­quire my flocke at their hands, and cause them to cease from feeding the flocke, neither shall they feed themselves any more.

Printed in the yeare. MDCXLI.

  • [Page]SECTION, I. OF the title of the Church and why it is called Prelaticall.
  • SECTION, II. Of the principall persons in this Prelaticall Church and their Dependents.
  • SECTION, III. Of the meanes to support their Prelaticall greatnesse.
  • SECTION, IV. Of the Prelaticall rule and government, and the ends they aime at.
  • SECTION, V. Of the Prelaticall visitations.
  • SECTION, VI. Of the Prelaticall Churches, and the dependents on them.
  • SECTION, VII. Of the Prelaticall Service.
  • SECTION, VIII. Of the Prelaticall Ministerie.
  • SECTION, IX. Of the Prelaticall Convocation.
  • SECTION, X. Of the great and manifold evils of these Prelati­call governments.

A SHORT VIEVV OF THE Prelaticall Church of ENGLAND.

SECTION. I. Of the title Church, and why it's called Prelaticall.

THe Church of England now so called▪ is the Church of our Prelates, and may be right­ly tearmed the Prelaticall or Hierarchicall Church of England, received from Rome, the seat of Antichrist, and set up here after he Protestants fell off from that Papall Church, for it's framed of Prelates, and also of a Prelaticall Clergie, and onely ruled by them.

QVAERE.

Whither any such Church was ever in the Apostles dayes, or any time shortly after within 2 or 300. yeares?

Whither any such Church be among any of the refor­med Churches: or any where else, but under the Pope, the Beast which hath two hornes like a Lambe, but speaketh like a Dragon, Rev. 13?

Whither therefore, it be guided by the Spirit of Christ, or by the Spirit of Antichrist?

[Page 2]Whither God hath ever permitted any mortall men frame a Church after their wisedome?

For when hee gave
  • 1 The Paterne for his Tabernacle to Moses, Exo. 25.9. and 26.30. Heb. 8.5.
  • 2 The Paterne of his Temple to David, 1 Chr. 28.19 & verse 11, 12 13. 1 K. 6.38.
  • 3 The Paterne of the rebuilding of it to the Prophet, Ezek. 43 10, 11.

He did not suffer MOSES nor DAVID, nor SALOMON, nor the Prophet, nor any of them, to attempt such a thing. Was he so carefull for the type and shadow, and not for the Antitype and substance?

Whither therefore a frame of a Church after an hu­maine devise may not be altered, vpon good reasons by lawfull power?

The humble Petition.
That it may be considered of;

HOw according to the Romish fashion by the name of Church,

1 The Prelates vnderstand onely themselves, and (as they call them) their Clergie.

2 Than they seclude the Nobles and Gentry, the whole House of Parliament, the Vpper, and Lower, from being of the Church, and so debarre them from having any right to meddle in Church matters.

When the title of Church monopolized to themselves, is taken in Scripture of the New Testament?

Either for the Ministers and people together, Mat. 16. [Page 3] 18. Act. 12.1. & 13.1. & 9.31. & 15.22. & 14.27. and so usually.

Or for the people distinct from Ministers, Act. 14.23. where the people are called the Church, before they had Pastours set over them; Where Pastours and people are distinguished, there the people are called the Church, and not the Ministers; the Ministers are said to bee of the Church, and not the Church, Rev. 18.2.1.8. The Churches denomination is from the people; who also are the Lords Clergie, 1 Pet. 5.3. The word in English is Heritage, the Latin Cleri, and in the Greeke [...].

There is much complaint touching Monopolies in another nature, but this is taken no notice of, and yet this Monoply is a Mystery of mischiefes, for by this name of the Church assumed to themselves,

1 They dignifie very greatly their power, as may appeare by the 20. Article of Religion, which they have corrupted from that it was at first, set out in Anno 1561. & 1571.

2. They decree what they please without controle, as is evident by their former and late Canons.

3. They strike an awefulnesse in all sorts, vnder the sacred name of Church.

When the Church representative ought to be gathe­red of both sorts (as they be now distinguished) of the Lear­ned and Godly Laity, as well as of the Clergie.

Why should therefore (the whole Lords and Christian Spirits of the Gentry) lose the right, into which the holy Ghost (by calling them and the rest his Church) hath inve­sted them? In former times Parliaments have confirmed Injunctions Ecclesiasticall, and our Service Booke, con­taining Gods worship, matters of an high nature, and why not still so? And if the Nobles and Commons can claim so much, as to ratifie ye matters Ecclesiastical, being concluded vpon, I hope it is by perusall therof before, els how can they [Page 4] in judgement confirme them? And if they have wisedome from God to confirme them made, why may not some cho­sen men bee appointed to consult with the Convocation House about the framing of those things which are to bee set forth, seeing they very much concerne all? The Bre­thren at the great Councill at Ierusalem, were not shut out, while the Apostles and Elders came together to consi­der of a great controversie in Divinity, and in making their decrees; but when they were sent forth, they passed vnder their owne name with the name of the brethren also, Act. 15.6.22, 23. David consulted with the Laity, as well as with the Priests and Levits, to bring vp the Ark of God, 1 Chr. 13.1, 2.3. Hezekiah concerning the keeping of the Passeover, tooke counsell thereabout, not with the Priests onely, but with his Princes, and all the Congregation in Jerusalem, 2 Chro. 30.1, 2.

This Monopoly was not then learned among Gods ancient people, nor among the holy Apostles in their dayes.

SECTION. II. Of the principall persons in this Prelaticall Church, and of their Dependents vpon them.

1 There are two Provinciall Archbishops.

The one of the Province of Yorke Metropolitan of Eng­land, the other of Canterbury Metropolitan of all Eng­land.

Dependents on Canterbury.
  • 1 His Princelike Retinue.
  • 2 His Domesticke Chapleines, and the rest.
  • [Page 5]3 Houshold Servants.
  • 4 All his Officers for temporalities, and the Reve­nues thereof, which are very great.
  • 5 All his Spirituall Officers under him, which are these.
    • 1 His Vicar Generall.
    • 2 His Guardians of Spiritualities.
    • 3 The Deane of the Arches, with all the number de­pending upon them.
    • 4 His many Courts▪
      • The Court of Faculties.
      • The Court of Audience,
      • The Prerogative Court,
      • The Delegates.
      • The Consistory in Pauls,
      • The High Commission Court.
With the swarmes of Attendance on these Courts, as
  • Advocates,
  • Registers,
  • Doctours,
  • Proctours,
  • Pursevants,
  • Messengers,
  • and Apparitours,
  • With all other belonging to them, all which come to ma­ny hundreds.

QVAERE.

WHither all or any of these, be of divine institution?

Whither the words of Christ forbidding to be graci­ous Lords, extend not to these, Mat. 20, 25, 26. Luke, 22.25, 26. Mar. 10, 42, 43, 44, 45.

Whether any spirituall function ordained by Christ, standeth in need of so great a Prelate, and so great a de­pendance to discharge the duties thereof?

[Page 6]Whither this greatnesse hath any time beene the support of goodnesse, and of good men in their places, or rather hath not from this greatnesse risen great troubles, as at this day, and much persecution, almost ever since the be­ginning of reformation?

The humble Petition.

THat the immeasurable greatnesse of these gracious Lords might be abated, and the number of those their dependents lessened.

That they might be made to shew themselves Arch-teachers of Christs Gospel, and to attend vnto some par­ticular flocke, to feed them.

That they might not be of Princes counsell, for commonly God leaveth such to become ill States men, because they doe contrary to Christs bidding. It shall not bee so with you, Mat. 20.26. Luk. 21.25. Mar. 10.42. And for that they neglect the sacred calling of the Ministery, which is to be of Christs heavenly Counsell, to give attendance vnto temporall affaires, and to be of Earthly Kings counsell.

II. There be twenty foure Bishops, Diocesan Lord Bishops.

They are seated in severall places throughout the King­dome

  • Of these three are under Yorke
    • Carleile,
    • Durham,
    • and Chester.

All the rest are vnder Canterbury.

Dependents on these.
  • Their traine of Domesticke Servants.
  • Their Chapleines.
  • [Page 7]Their Officers concerning their temporalities.
  • Their 24 Courts.
And hereto belonging.
  • 26 Chancellours, with wayters on them.
  • 24 Registers with their men.
  • 24 Gentlemen Apparitours.
  • 48 Proctours, if but two to a Court.
  • 120 Apparitours at least, more then a good many.

QVAERE.

WHither these Diocesan Bishops be jure divino, and have warrant from Scripture?

Whither St. Peters speech reacheth not to them, that they should not Lord it over Gods heritage, by over ru­ling it, 1 Pet. 5.3?

Whither we cannot be as well without them, as all other reformed Churches; or whither we will condemne those Churches for casting them out, or not receiving them in?

Whether this be not a mocke to say, no Bishop no King, seeing they also say, no Ceremony no Bishop, therefore no Ceremony no King, what a weake standing bring they a King unto? But a King is Gods ordinance, not so they? and in Denmark hath beene a King and no Bishops this 100 yeares?

Whither Bishops wanting in Diocesses, upon vacancy some 10, some 20 yeares (as some have beene) may not be so for more yeares, and so for ever? And if they may be wanting in a Diocesse, why not in a Province, and so why not every where?

Whither may not our King, as lawfully cast them out, as did the King of Denmark his Grandfather? Whither by their authority have they advanced true religiō, or upheld [Page 8] meere formes of it, shewes, habites, gestures, and Ceremo­niall observances, rather then the power of godlinesse?

What wickednesse and vanity is suppressed by him, nay, what errour, what vice, Idolatry, and prophainnesse groweth not under them?

What one made better by them in the wayes of God?

What one brought to a pious reformation by their Ci­tations, Excommunications, and imposed penancies?

The humble Petition.

THat they be seated in Pastorall charges, every one over a particular flocke, as at first all▪ Bishops were, there to preach and teach the people, and so their many de­pendents might be taken away.

That their Chancellours be removed from them, and their over swaying masterfulnesse in their Courts bee ta­ken downe, and cut off.

That they, their Officers, and their Courts, may bee brought vnder some such authority, as may rule over them question them, and duely censure them, when there is just cause, and not suffer them to be like Kings, free without command, or any power of censure at all over them. Is it fit they should judge all, and be free from the Iudgement of any?

3. There be threescore Archds. vnder these Bishops.
Dependents on these.

They have threescore Courts, to which doe belong, Com­missaries, Officials, Surrogates.

  • 60 Registers with their servants.
  • [Page 9]120 Proctours, if but two to every Court.
  • 200 Apparitours at least.

The whole number appertaining to Archbishops, Bi­shops, Archdeacons, with the many peculiars are judged to bee no fewer then ten thousand persons, which need yearely two hundred thousand pounds to maintaine them all, the greater and inefriour ones, reckoning but 20 l. a man, when many have 100 l, a yeare, some 200 l. o­thers more.

QVAERE.

Whither these swarmes of Waspes be of necessary vse in the spirituall Kingdome of Christ?

Whether their Courts be reformative or deformative?

Whether there is any likelyhood, that their grosse ab­buses of Gods Ordinances; in sending out excommunica­tions, and their commuting of penance, &c. can please God, to bring an holy reformarion?

Whether it can be probably imagined, that those Courts can reforme others, who in themselves are so corrupt and mercenary, and will employ such base and lewd compani­ons in a spirituall businesse, as be the Apparitors, whom either they cannot, or will not reforme?

Whether their Courts being taken away, as in all other reformed Churches, their want should be bewailed, and their setting vp againe be desired?

Whether the masse of mony which is spent by these so many thousands, might not well be spared, and farre bet­ter employed,

The humble Petition.

THat these Courts be not longer permitted to take in so many thousand presentments every halfe yeare, [Page 10] onely to make such gaine of the people, as they doe, for they reforme no mens persons, but plague their purses?

That some other way might be considered of agreeable to Gods Word, and the godly practise of other Churches, for suppression of vice, and the maintenance of vertue in every Parish.

That their lewd Apparitours, so many, and so many be not long suffred.

That in their Courts, their proceedings may be open to the hearing of all, and that they lap not vp businesses in se­cret, as their manner is to shut their Consistory doore, where they doe as they please with delinquents.

That they delay not men in their Courts, forcing and vexing poore men to come very often, before they can bee dismissed, a grievous vexation to needy labouring men.

SECTION III. Of the meanes to support their Prela­ticall greatnesse.

These have their Lordly Pallaces, and great houses.

They have their Ecclesiasticall dignities, and Spirituall Offices and what doe thereto belong.

They have their Baronries, and the ample revenues thereof.

Viis & modis, such is their Income, as it cannot but a­mount to an hundred (besides their adherents which in all amounts to foure hundred thousand pounds or therea­bouts) and 40 thousand pounds per annum, if not more, so much their greatnesse comes vnto, as the State of a King may be supported not a little therewith,

QVAERE.

Whether the true Officers of the Church need so much to beare vp their traine?

Whether Christ be better served by them, or followed of them?

Whether their studies are more bent to advance the Churches Spirituall good?

Whether are they more sequestred to the wayes of God, to attend Gods service, the reformation of ill mens lives, the setting forward those that are good in the pathes of grace?

Whether doe they take the more time to apply them­selves, to fasting, to praying, to preaching and doing workes of piety, and workes of charity?

Whether doe they not rather intrude into secular af­faires, and into State businesses, to the disgrace of the Nobles and Gentrie of the Land, and the peace thereof.

Whether are they more bold against sinne, to sup­presse it in all sorts; or are they not thereby the more Lordly minded to beare vp themselves, and to crush all them that justly finde fault with what is amisse in them?

Whether are they not hereby higher from controle, and lesse subject to any censure, both they, and such as depend upon them?

Whether may not the King pare them, as well as did blessed Queene Elizabeth, some of them in her dayes; or as King Henry did the Lord Abbots, and Lord Priers with all their superfluous meanes: For those were of men, and so are these, and not of God.

The humble Petition.

THat they be made to change their Palaces for Perso­nage Houses, there to keepe Hospitality, and to feed the people with the word of life.

That their Baronries be taken from them, and so the Lordly title, and not be suffred to sit any more in Parlia­ment, as Lords there.

That their thousands be reduced to some hundreds, and so their Officers and retinue made fewer. What need a true Pastour be so pompeous and Lordly great, to doe his Office for Christ, in preaching, and in other Spirituall duties.

SECTION. IV. Of the prelaticall Rule and Government.

Their rule is partly after the Canon Law, yet in force, and partly after their owne framed Canons and Articles, and not according to Gods Word.

The manner of their ruling is Lordly, and alone in their inferiour Courts, and in the high commission Court, their power is vnlimitted, citing, examining, swearing, judge­ing, fining, and imprisoning, as they please, one of the most insufferable evils in this Kingdome.

The ends which they doe ayme at are.

I. To keepe vp their owne greatnesse, even by exa­cting Oathes for it; as the Oath of the canonicall obedi­ence, and the late Oath in the new canons.

II. To hold others in subjection vnder them, as they [Page 13] like best by citing to their Courts; by hasty suspensions by rash and very abusive excommunications, &c.

III. To enrich themselves gathering much money by all these meanes.

I. By ordained Deacons, and Ministers for money 4 times a yeare, by which they put vp yearely hundreds of pounds.

II. By instituting and inducting persons and Vicars, when benifices doe fall, and so scrape together much out of 9285 Livings, three pounds for every one viis & mo­dis, which in times come to many thousands.

III By making Rurall Deanes yearely (where they be) in every Deanry: And for the Oath taken; some pay 8. s. 6. d. or a Noble, but no benefit to the Deane at all, but to execute Bishops Mandats.

IV. By granting Lycenses which ought to be free.

1 To beneficed men to preach in their owne Cures; though at their ordination they give them authority to preach; yet may they not afterwards without 10. s. for every Lycense; Looke then how many lycensed Preachers there be (whether they preach or no) so many 10s, is paid, suppose there be in 9285 Parishes but sixe thousand of them, the summe commeth to three thousand pounds. Thus they pay money to have leave to discharge their highest duty of their Office.

2 To Curates, who must pay for a Lycense to read prayers in some place; for a Lycense to preach, for a Lycense to keepe Schoole, vndoing poore beginners before they get any thing.

3 To Clarkes of a Parish to be Clarkes,

4 To Physitians to practise Physicke.

5 To Midwives to doe their Office, for they have skill in all trades and professions to gaine money.

6 To parties which are to be married, without banes [Page 14] asking, and in times prohibited, and both for money al­lowed, yet against Law.

V. By absolving after a rash suspension, after a pro­phane Excommunication, and both for money.

VI. By aggravations, for money.

VII. By putting men to cleere themselves by oath, with their Compurgatours for money.

VIII. By imposing Penance, which the richer may commute for money, but the miserable poore (doing their penance) cannot bee freed from their Courts without money though they begge for it, but must stand Excommunicated, and so bee shut out of the Church and given over to the Devill, for non-payment of money.

IX, By willingly receiving any secret information (true or false) to call any before them, putting them to the oath Ex officio to catch them and make them pay money.

X. By interdicting of Churches and whole Congre­gations.

XI. By framing very many Articles, forcing Church­wardens to present vpon oath, that they may get mo­ney.

XII. By probates of Wills, and by granting Letters of Administrations.

XIII. By sutes about Tithes, and long delaying there­of, much money is spent of others, but gotten by them.

And thus a masse of money is scraped together of them, to the great vexation of his Majesties Subjects, especially of the meaner sort.

QVAERE.

Whether such a rule and authority, by such Canons, [Page 15] in such a manner, and for such ends, can be approved of God, or any longer suffered of men?

Whether this bee not to make money of Gods holy ordinances, and to gaine by sinne? what hope of a bles­sing can there bee by such a base kinde of Ecclesiasticall pecuniarie governing?

Whether it bee not fit and just to squeise such Spunges, and ravenous harpies, by finding out their illegall courses, and punishing them?

The humble Petition.

THat they may not rule by the Cannon Law, which yet is in force (so farre as it toucheth not the Kings Supremacy) nor by their owne devised Canons, but by Gods word, and by such Canons as agree with the word, and are made with the full consent of the Convocation, and confirmed by act of Parliament.

That in ruling they Lord it not alone, but that they sit with learned godly and grave Assistants, keeping with­in the bounds of the Lawes, doing neither contrary to, nor besides them, nor yet dispense with any, as they doe for marrying without banes asking, and in times pro­hibited.

That they keepe not their Courts in their owne names, nor send out processe, summons, Citations, nor proceed to censure in their owne Names or Stile, nor vse onely their owne Seale of Office, and Armes as they doe, thereby denying their power to be derived from the King, this is an vnsufferable vsurpation.

That they be made to acknowledge their authority not to be divine, but humane, from the King, as hath hereto­fore beene fully acknowledged,

[Page 16]That the power of the high Commission in ministring the Oath ex Officio be taken away, as also in all other infe­riour Courts, and that it may be a limited power vnder Law, in all the proceedings in citing, examining, judge­ing, fining, and imprisoning, that so the complaints of Gods Ministers and others, may not still cry alowd in the Lords eares, to bring downe wrath: Who can but pity with teares of bloud, the insufferable misery of Mr. Peter Smart of Durham, for preaching against setting up of Images and Altars, the severe bandling of Mr. George Huntley Mr. Crowder; ministers and many others.

That by their high authority they may not be suffred to hinder such as be troubled from taking the benefit of Re­gall courses to helpe themselves, and neither Judges nor Lawyers be made so to feare, at the one sort dare not free­ly plead for them, nor the other judge but with feare, as they ought not.

That seeing they are otherwise sufficiently provided for, they make not such wicked gaine in making and institu­ting Ministers in giving Lycenses, in imposing penance, in absolving all the rest before named, to the great grie­vance of his Maiesties Subiects, robbing them of a trea­surie of mony, and making sale of Gods holy Ordinances; Is there Symonie in buying a benefice, and none in giving money for the vse of Spirituall gifts?

That they make no encroachments vpon the Subiects liberties, as they doe, proved fully by the Author of the Breviate.

SECTION. V. Of their Prelaticall Visitations.
These are pecuniary, meerely for money.

  • I. Are Bishops Visitations, and in these:
    • I.
      • CHurchwardens of every Parish, and Chappell are called, who receive a booke of Articles to present by, if any are wanting they are warned to appeare at their Court, with Cost.
      • These Churchwardens pay for their booke of Articles every yeare (though the very same) and for other things, and for writing their presentments by a Clarke (which they themselves could doe) 2s ▪ 4d, which in 9285 Parishes commeth to 1058l xis, viijd, besides Chappels, which be here and there many.
    • II. Ministers beneficed.
      • These pay for Lycenses to preach, if they have none.
      • Then they pay for shewing their Letters of Orders, their License to preach unto the Register at every Bishops Visitation, though seene and allowed of before xxd or thereabouts.
      • After for procurations to the Bishop 4 s a piece, to the Gentleman Apparitour 8d, but the abler sort xijd.
      • Lastly, sometimes the Bishops crave Benevolence, as the occasion is, but the summe they will set downe.
      • Besides all these they pay Paschal tents or Synodals to the Archd. in the Bishops visiting.
    • III. Curats.
      • If they want Licenses to read, preach, or teach a Schoole, then they pay for them.
      • [Page 18]Then for shewing their Letters of orders, so that in 9285 Parishes, the summe will arise to some thousands of pounds.
      • Thus they doe at Archbishops Visitations, but when an Archbishop comes newly to Yorke, the Parsons and Vi­cars, though never so poore under him, give him a tenth of their living for a benevolence to helpe the Archbishop to settle himselfe in 5 or 6 thousand pounds a yeare, which extorted benevolence, if not paid him of the poorest Vi­car, the Reverend Father out of his mercifulnesse, will pit­tifully afflict him in his Court.
  • II. Archdeacons Visitations.
    • These be twise a yeare, here the Churchwardens doe as before.
  • The Ministers pay.
    • At Easter Visitation their Paschal Rents or Synodals, which summes are not alike to all, some pay 5 s. some lesse.
    • At Michalmas they pay procurations, some 7 s. some 10 s. some lesse, but it's judged, that Ministers pay yearely at Visitations throughout the Land, 4 or 5 thousand pounds, some reckon more.
  • And what is all this for:
    • 1 To call every Minister by name, and to pay as is a­foresaid.
    • 2 To call Churchwardens, Questmen, Sidemen, or Posts (as some name them) to take their Oathes, to make pre­sentments, that men may be brought into their Courts, to get money.

QVAERE.

WHither these Visitations be after God or man?

Whither any can be hereby bettered by them either for life or doctrine?

Whither any reformed Churches keepe such kind of Visitations and such a manner of visiting?

Whither these be worthy of so many thousand pounds for calling such visitations?

Whither such meetings bee worthy the assembling to­gether of so great a number of the Clergie, and Laity?

The number out of 9285 Parishes, to wit, one Minister besides Curates, and 4 men, Churchwardens, and Side­men, or Posts, besides 2 in every Chappelry are above 45 thousand at one visitation, and both the number double is 90000, where if they expend alike xijd. a man, for dinner and horsemeate, as usually they doe, the summe doth arise in both the visitations throughout the Land to 4000. and 500. pounds yearely.

Why should men cast away so much money yearly, yeare by yeare for upholding them in such vaine Visitations, injurious to others, and onely gainefull to themselves?

The humble Petition.

THat some way may be taken, to make more vsefull these Visitations, in calling together so many thou­sands, than thus onely to fill their purses.

That neither the Bishops, nor Archdeacons be permitted to frame Articles, so vnlawfully out of the Canons, with sundry of their owne additions, as may appeare by compa­ring some of their Articles with the Canons, which every Parish is bound to have, and so need none of their Articles.

[Page 20]That threescore and fourteene thousand men be not con­strained to sweare threescore and fourteen thousand oaths yearely, as they doe, to their soules damnation without re­pentance?

For,

I. Not any doe, nor can keepe the oath in presenting, all offences, faults, defaults and crimes (as they call them) mentioned in so numerous Articles, and so doe forsweare themselves, which breach of oath goeth through the whole Land, and with every oath goeth a Curse.

II. If men should present for offences, faults, and crimes, every thing according to every Article, then they cursedly sweare to present for sinnes, offences, faults, and crimes, which before the Almighty God are none, as for instance.

A Minister to preach in his owne charge without a Lycense, or in a Cloake.

A Father at Baptisme to offer to the Minister his owne Child, and vndertake for the Infants education, and so prevent an high presumption of others who may be wit­nesses, but not vndertakers, promising for the Child that which they neither can, nor ever intend to doe.

Some going to another Parish to heare Sermons (which at Baptisme they are exhorted vnto) when they have none at home.

Some meeting together to read the Scripture, and good Bookes allowed to bee printed, to sing Psalmes and pray together.

A poore man and in need to worke vpon an holy day for reliefe of his poore family.

A Minister or a Deacon having vnworthily taken those callings vpon them to leave the same upon trouble of conscience, because they find themselves to be utterly vn­fit, and to betake themselves to some more fit course of life.

[Page 21]One for having his Hat on.

Another for not standing vp at the Creed, others for not bowing, or not putting the Hat off (which they may not have on) more at the name of JESUS, than at Lord and Saviour Christ.

These and other such like, who dare to present vpon oath for sinnes, offences, faults, and crimes before God? And yet Churchwardens and Sidemen doe so, to the grievous wronging of their owne soules.

Oh take pitty, take pity of this their perjury and sinfull swearing bringing a curse vpon them.

That a Bishop in his Visitations doe goe abroad to visit, and not force all Ministers and many old men, to come to him many miles, when he is but one, and they very many, for this is a making of them to visit him, and not he them, But all is to spare his owne paines and his owne purse, that what he gets at such Visitations, may be his without any expences, Provident Prelates.

SECTION. VI. Of the Prelaticall Churches.

THe Prelaticall Churches, besides their private Chap­pels, are the great and vast Cathedrals, or other Col­legiate Churches,

Dependents on these are.

  • 26 great Deanes, next unto Bishops with their atten­dants and Servants.
  • 5, 44 Canon Residents, and Prebendaries.

[Page 22]The rest also are many hundreds.

  • As Their Vicars.
  • As Peticanons.
  • As Singing men and boyes, Choristers.
  • As Organists.
  • As Gospellers and Epistelers.
  • As Virgers, and who else appertaine to this idle and fat fraternity.

An 100. or 200. thousand pounds yearely in Lands, rents, Leases, and other revenues, and profits doe belong thereto.

QVAERE.

WHither such idle Droanes are worthy of so much for their service, such as it is?

Whither Iesus Christ cannot be better served with farre lesse cost, and better pleased?

Whither all these thousands might not be better em­ployed to greater good in the training up of thousands in divine and humaine learning?

As thus,

I. That never a Deane have any Pastorall charge, but be continuall resident at the Cathedrall Church, being a godly and learned Doctour, there to read twise or thrice a weeke a Divinity Lecture, and interpret the Scriptures.

II. That all the Canon residents be also without Pa­storall Charges, and that they be learned, grave, and god­ly Divines, or else others in their stead, chosen out of the Universities to assist the Doctour Deane in, and about Spirituall and divine exercises, dayly to study controver­sies, cases of conscience, and some speciall tracts of divini­ty, &c. that other Ministers in the Country may come [Page 23] thither for helpe, and for better information of judgment, as need shall require.

III. That the greater part of the rest of the Prebendaries be turned into speciall selected Schollers, Graduats out of either Vniversitie, such as for naturall gifts, their lear­ning in tongues and Arts, and pious disposition by grace, doe give very good hopes to become good Divines, and here trayned vp vnder the Deane and the other Divines for the Ministery.

IV. That 7 of the best Prebendes be alotted to 7 lear­ned men, to become Schoolemasters to teach Schollers.

Every Schoolemaster to be accurately skilfull in one Art, and secondly to have ability withall to teach the said art to his Schollers with some speed.

  • The 1 To teach to write very faire.
  • The 2 To teach Musicke.
  • The 3 To teach Grammar onely.
  • The 4 To teach Rhetoricke.
  • The 5 To teach Poetry.
  • The 6 To teach the Greeke tongue.
  • The 7 To teach the Hebrew.

That their Schollers may come thus furnished to the Vniversities, there to learne Logick and other Arts, and to take the degrees of Schooles.

Every Master must make knowne the aptnesse and untowardnesse of every Scholler, that the Master may not be troubled with uncapable Boyes.

V. That the Vicars, Peticanons, singing men and boyes, with the rest, bee turned into Schollers, ingenious Laddes, pickt out here and there from among meane mens Children, to bee brought up under the aforenamed Schoolemasters, to be after sent to the Vniversities, and maintained there by some of the Revenues belonging to [Page 24] the Cathedrals, that so they may be taken thence, if they prove not unworthy, and brought backe againe as places be void, to be trained vp for the Ministery.

By all these in the Cathedrall Churches, Gods pub­licke worshiship, Morning and Evening might be perfor­med better than now it is.

And by this pious and profitable transformation of these Cathedrals.

1 When any Benefice falls void, hither may the Pa­trones come for a learned and godly Minister taking his choise.

2. Jf any Pastour happen to be sicke, or have just occa­sion to be absent, hither may he send for one to supply his place for preaching and prayers, till he be well, or return home.

Ware this so happily done, who could but approve thereof, if godly and wise hearted.

The humble Petition.

THat the goodly revenues belonging to these Cathe­drals, be employed to some such good and godly vse, as the wisedome of the State shall thinke fit, for better ad­vancement of Gods glory, Learning and Religion than now they be.

Thot the so many needlesse Probendaries might not be allowed, nor to take vp so great summes as some doe, for preaching 2 or 3 Sermone a yeare, either by themselves, or by some other, whom they can hire for a noble, or an angell a time,

That the so many gifts of Livings, in the hands of Bishops, Deanes, Archdeans, and the rest, be looked into, for better bestowing thereof, then they commonly be.

SECTION. VII. Of the Prelaticall Service.

THe Prelaticall service, is the Cathedrall service, consisting in these things.

1 In a long wearisome Liturgie, read after a singing manner, syllables and words drawne out unto a tedious length, which Liturgie is formed out of three Romish bookes, the Purtuys, the Breviarie, and the Masse booke; so as King JAMES said of it, That its an evill said Masse, from which it needeth purging, and from some vaine re­petitions, some Romish superstitions, some absurdities, and from a corrupt translation of holy Scriptures, and o­ther abuses thereof:

2 In an unedifying singing and piping on Organs.

3 In superstitious cringing to the name JESVS, to­wards the Altar, towards the East.

4 In a formall observation of habites, Surplesses, Hoods, Copes, variety of gestures and ceremonies, de­votions, devised by men.

QVAERE.

Whether such a Service booke (as the Papist Bristow called it, an apish imitation of the Masse) be well plea­sing unto God?

Why we should vphold such Service, which nouri­sheth a bare reading Ministery, nusles people in igno­rance, and which no reformed Churches have received to vse?

Why is it not suffered to be reformed, in such things as have beene witnessed against from the beginning of re­formation, and for the reformations whereof, thousands have petitioned, many hundreds have beene suspended, deprived and imprisoned.

[Page 26]Why is it that no end will be put to the misery of such who are men of tender conscience, and doe desire, God knowes, to live in peace, seeing now a whole Kingdome refuseth it, and that with the danger of their vtter vn­doing.

The humble Petition.

THat such a Liturgie might bee framed, as may bee freed from corruption, and in such a forme as may have no resemblance to the Romish service, for by this Papists are but hardened and other fall a­way.

That no Ceremonies be ordained, but what may be found to agree with all the Apostles rules, made for the vse of things indifferent.

That the vse of them be free, and not rigorously impo­sed, nor the failing otherwise of painefull and peaceable men to conforme in some things, be more severely looked after, and punished more sharpely, than the grosse enor­mities of their conformitant Priests.

SECTION. VIII. Of the Prelaticall Ministerie.

THe conformitant Priests (so they now are called) which properly belong to this Prelaticall Church and come from cursed Rome, are these;

1 All dumbe Ministers of which there be yet in the Land two or three thousand, if not many more.

2 All Pluralists, of which there be very many in some [Page 27] Diocesses 30, in some 40. why should some have two o­ther tot quotes, when worthy men have not one.

3 All Nonresidents, such are commonly these:

  • Bishops which have Commendams.
  • Deanes.
  • Archdeacons.
  • Canon Residents in Cathedrals and Collegiate Churches.
  • Prebendaries some.
  • Heads of some Colledges.
  • Domesticke Chaplaines.

4 All Curates which are,

  • Vnder Pluralists.
  • Vnder Nonresidents.
  • Vnder some idle Doctors, and some other Parsons and Vicars.
  • Vnder Lay and impropriate Parsons: the number of which are 3800 and odde, in this Kingdome.

5 All idle Droanes, monethly and quarterly Prea­chers, or which preach perhaps once a yeare, or not at all, at home, though it may be now and then abroad.

6 All lewd and base ministers, as also the meere World­lings, and Mammonists, of which sort there be no fewer, than some thousands.

7 All Popishly affected, and all Arminians may be ad­ded to these, to make vp these Locusts, vnder their King Abbaddon and Apollyon.

QVAERE.

Whether these be sufferable in any reformed Church of Christ?

What care hath beene taken hitherto to reforme this so great wickednesse and mischiefe to Gods people?

How many thousands perish vnder these for lacke of knowledge, are their bloud of no price with men, whom Christ hath purchased with his owne blood?

The humble Petition.

THat there might be a speedy redresse concerning these so much spoken against, and written against, from time to time, disallowed of God, and all Christian Chur­ches (separated from the Church of Rome) and not tolle­rable in Christ his Church, where he raigneth by his owne word, in his owne ordinances, as hee hath appointed.

SECTION IX. Of their Prelaticall Convocation.

I. This is a Provinciall assembly, for the Province of Canterbury, which consists of the Archbishop, the Pre­sident, of all the other Bishops vnder him, Deanes, Archdeacons with others, and of the two Ministers cho­sen out of every Dyocesse, called the Clarkes of the Con­vocation to the number of 40 and odde.

These Clarkes should be chosen freely by the publicke consent and voice of all the Ministers in every Diocesses, but the Prelates propound whom they list, or like best for their purpose, and to aske voyces, which are given to them of many through feare, so as the choise is not free as it ought to be.

II. That which is intended to be done there, is contri­ved and hammered in the head of the Archbishop, and some few with him, to which the rest of the fearefull Bishops doe consent.

III. In the lower house, the Priests, Parsons, Vicars, those Clarkes sit there to gaze one on another, and to tell the Clock, waiting for their Lessons from their Lords, the Prelates.

There is no freedome of voyces, they dare not consult among themselves to promote the cause of Christ, and to reforme abuses.

The better sort are the fewest; and are,

  • [Page 29]Either overawed by the greatest.
  • Or borne downe by the worst.

So as they bee made to consent to the making of such Canons as they would not, and these are thrust vpon us as the Constitutions of the Church of England. When its nothing so, but of a strong faction of Prelates, and their adherents, who set them forth; and obtrude them vpon us vnjustly.

IV. The Canons they make are many, not a few of them to vphold their Prelaticall authority, and vnappro­vable courses, many of them without warrant from holy Scripture.

  • Some of them against Scripture,
  • Some of them Superstitiously Ceremonious:
  • Some of them blind Canons, as these;

1. Against Popery and Superstition, but they tell us not what Popery is, what Superstition is.

2 Against Socinianisme, but without declaring what that damnable heresie is; almost every one of them nee­deth examination, and to be rectified for the peace of Gods people, and the Churches edification.

Note moreover, that in setting forth their so many Ca­nons, there be none charged against Armianisme, that Semipelagian heresie. None against the Prelates them­selves for their innovations and exorbitancies, as if they could not erre, nor ever doe amisse.

Lastly before they breake vp, they looke not to have their Canons ratified by Parliament, as they ought, but doe make themselves as Clergie men, onely to bee the Church and not any else in the Land with them to be the Church; wch should not by godly wise men be digested.

V. To the dissolving of this their Convocation, they presume.

1 To make it a Synod, without a new call and Sum­mons.

[Page 30]2 To give great summes out of all Parsons, and Vicars purses, vnder the name of a benevolence, and yet rate every one at a certaine summe, as a subsidy; and that vn­der the penalty of deprivation, and vtter ruine of them, that doe not pay, setting forth a Booke to this purpose, which they will that Lay men should not see.

VI. After some space of time,

1 They collect Articles every Bishop in his Diocesse, and every Archdeacon, in his Archdeaconry out of those Canons, which Articles they impose vpon all Church­wardens and Sidemen, and by them to present vpon oath.

Then if any thing happen to become questionable, tou­ching the Canons or other things, for and about their Church, their Service, and Ceremonies every Bishop in his Dyocesse doth take vpon him to give a sense, and in­terpretation as he pleaseth, on which we must rest, though they be never so absurd, and not take the words as they be in the Letter, till there be an other Convocation to decide the question and doubt arising, as they ought to doe; and if men be not satisfied, they labour to gaine the helpe of Royall authority by some publicke Declarati­on, to make good what they say and doe, and so lappe vp all vnder the authority of the Church.

QVAERE.

Whether such a Convocation can justly be approved?

Whether such Canons comming forth are to bee held the Canons of the Church of England?

Whether they be of all to be submitted vnto, before they be confirmed by act of Parliament?

Why more Canons are added, and not rather the other reformed?

[Page 31]Why they establish and countenance all their decrees, so as if they were of an vnchangeable nature ordained without errour, and necessarily vsefull, ever and every where.

The humble Petition.

THat his Majestie, the Noble Lords, the worthy Com­mons of the house of Parliament, would carefully see that the Convocation be gathered lawfully, that voy­ces be free therein, without over-awing power, that nothing be there decreed, but with a serious examination, and full consent of the house, and not be permitted to passe with­out an act of Parliament.

For if this kind of Convocation, and their such pro­ceedings, as have beene, be suffred to passe, they will Lord it over vs still, and in the Church there will never be peace.

Oh consider how in the Parliament they have been pre­valent over their equals and betters, in the Convocation then they must needs domineere over all their vnderlings, on whom they can avenge themselves afterwards, if they find any wisely and with courage, to have affronted and crossed any of their intents and purposes,

SECTION X. Of the great and manifold evils of the Pre­laticall Governours.

THey beare vp themselves mightily by their Revenues and Baronries, strengthening themselves in their pompe, and in their pride, to overtop whom they list.

They become as great Peeres of the Land, and sit in Parliament with them cheeke by joole, to affront all the Nobles of the Kingdome, to beare downe the house of Commons, and perhaps to procure the dissolving of Par­liaments, to the great disturbance of the whole Kingdome and State.

They have raised vp a bellum Episcopale, to dash two Kingdomes one against another, to the shedding of much blood, if God in mercy prevent it not.

They keepe vp a Romish Hierarchie among us, full of corruption which they suffer not to be reformed.

They vphold the forenamed sinfull Prelaticall and Priest­ly Clergy, so as those their Priests be conformable to all their rites and Ceremonies, they may in a manner live as they list, and be supported against all those that shall attempt their reformation.

They are pleased with the peoples ignorance, and their contentednesse, resting in a long read service without bet­ter instruction, holding reading to be preaching, and prea­ching no part of divine service, that so such silly peo­ple might be nufled in grosse blindnesse, perishing for lacke of knowledge.

[Page 33]They suppresse Lectures and Sermons in the afternoone and allow no questions in Catechizing, but onely such as be in the very common Catechisme much hindering in­crease of knowledge.

They will permit no Minister to preach, or to expound in his own Parish without paying for a License, for which when he hath paid, they never care whither hee preach or no.

They will allow none of the people to seeke for in­struction, when they want it at home, nor yet presse the Minister to the discharge of his duty, but trouble o­thers.

They never trouble any Minister for neglect of his duty in preaching. But diligent preachers they have a jealous eye over, and are ready to take an occasion to vexe them as not for their turne.

They sinfully trouble thousands of Churchwardens and Sidemen, making them sweare to their Articles, which cannot be observed.

They hinder prohibitions, stop the courses of Law, and terrifie both Lawyers and Iudges.

They dare to fine and imprison without Law, going beyond all Spirituall power, yea, the Lawes of our Land.

They have ever beene plotting to ensnare Christs pain­full Ministers, that they might roote them out.

1. They pressed upon them subscription, and Cere­monies, and so cast out very many.

II. They urge the oath ex officio, and by this they have undone not a few.

III. They procured the reading of the Declaration for prophaning the Sabbath our Lords day, and hereby many were suspended, excommunicated, and some deprived.

IV. When they saw, that all these things would not bring to passe their intended mischiefe, they lately framed [Page 34] a wicked Oath, to be tendered to all Gods Ministers, which whosoever would not take, should be suspended first, and after deprived.

Lastly, to make up the measure of their evils, they have illegally given a Subsidie to be extorted from us, under the name of a benevolence, which whosoever shall refuse to pay, is utterly undone according to their mercilesse de­cree in a book published, which now they are loath should see the light, and be read of any judicious, and religious Lay men.

They are the cause of the Division and Separation a­mong us, by their Lordly rule, their rigour in exacting conformity, and their cruell dealing with such as doe not obey their Lordly wills.

They suffer Papists and nourish Arminians in the be­some of their Church, to the disturbance & danger of the true Church of Christ, and this whole state.

They allow to vaine people Revils, heathenish vani­ties, vnchristian meetings▪ and that on the Lords day to prophane it, and have procured a Declaration for the rea­ding of this Licentious liberty in every Church, and such Ministers as refused, they did suspend, excommunicate, and some they deprived. The like never heard of in any Church of Christ.

They will have bowing to Altars, and yet permit noto­rious offenders, yea Theeves and Murtherers condemned, (if they have gotten pardons) to come to the holy Sacra­ment, before satisfaction be given to the Congregation; yea drunkards, blasphemous Swearers, infamous Adulte­rers, and other vile persons may receive, and not be debar­red, if they can satisfie their Courts, and free themselves from thence, though they doe not manifest their repen­tance to the Congregation, eating and drinking the holy Sacrament unworthily to their owne damnation, a pro­phanenesse [Page 35] prophanenesse much to be lamented. They hunt after greatnesse, not for goodnesse but for gaine, & to withstand all good meanes of reformation, and all the wayes of re­dressing their corrupt courses, much to the hinderance of the growth in religion, and of mens more religious con­versation and walking with God.

QVAERE.

Whither these evils are not such as may force all pious men to lay them to heart, and to seeke that they may bee removed, as farre as they are able, to the utmost, that wee may be freed from their unjustifiable courses and grievous wrongs?

Whither we should not endeavour to introduce that which may better the Ecclesiasticall government, and bring this Prelaticall power within bounds, and our selves from the intolerable Burthen thereof.

The humble Petition.

THat for these so many great and grievous evils, they may be questioned and caused to reforme, or else bee censured and punished: For,

They never had possession peaceably, but they have beene,

1 Prayed against for a long time.

2 Preached against by many.

3 Written against by many, on this side, and beyond the Seas.

4 Testified against, by suffering suspension, excommunica­tion, deprivation, open punishment, to the cropping of eares, slitting of the Nose, standing on the Pillory, imprisonment, and some have suffered death.

5 Withstood by the Sword.

[Page 36]And what now remaineth, but for their evils to bee con­demned by the honourable and happy Assembly in Parlia­ment.

That a better way of government might be thought off, after the wisedome of God in men, tending not to the subversion of Ecclesiasticall government, but to moderate the now Governours, ease the Land of excesse Charges, rid our selves of these vnsufferable evils, weaken the King­dome of Satan, advance the glory of Christ, and procure our owne peace and happinesse.

A short draught of Church Government.

1. In every Parish.

THat there be a meeting of choise men, for wisedome gravity, and love of Religion, to wit, Elders, and O­verseers of the poore, in other Churches called Deacons, the number more or fewer, as the place shall require.

These with their Pastour to come together as often as shall be judged fit, at a set time and place, once a Moneth, to looke unto all within the Parish, concerning their reli­gion, their honest behaviour, and peaceable demeanure, and to see all abuses reformed, according to the word of God, and according to the good and Ecclesiasticall lawes, which shall be prescribed unto them.

This will free us from all weekely corrupt Courts, and free the people from all burthensome expences, and not suffer sinne to raigne as it doth in every Convocation.

2. In every Division or Circuit.

That there be a Presbytery of chosen Ministers, the best learned, the gravest, and the godlyest men, to sit with the Superintendent or president.

The meeting to be appointed at a certaine time and place once a quarter, and in every meeting a new Election to be freely made, of those that shall be of the Presbytery.

These are to see how the government is to bee obser­ved in Parishes, how Ministers and Overseers doe dis­charge their duties: at this meeting Ministers gifts are to be shewed and tryed, that such as come thither may bee edified and instructed.

III. In every County.

That the Bishop be a Pastour over a particular Congre­gation, resident and painefull there, and with him out of the severall Circuits be chosen a certaine number to bee his assistants in this Assembly, once every halfe yeare.

In this to see how every presbyterie with the superin­tendents or presidents doe demeane themselves, to see of­fences in them punished without all partiality.

Here worthy Ministers to be ordained, and without re­spect of persons: and here the vnworthy to be judged and censured, as they shall deserve, and the rest encouraged.

IV. In every Province.

That there be a Provinciall Synod gathered once a yeere of Pastorall Bishops, godly and learned superinten­dents or presidents, and out of every County, certaine learned and grave Divines selected, and the number to be [Page 38] according to the Circuits in every County.

In this to looke into County Assemblies, and to see that all things be well ordered according as they ought to be, that Bishops, superintendents or presidents, demeane themselves aright, or else to endure a censure as well as others.

V. In the whole Nation.

That a generall Assembly Nationall be gathered once in 3 yeare, of chosen men, to consult for the generall good of all, to make Canons, and to establish Ecclesiasticall government.

Of the Excellency of this Government.
  • I. It may stand with a Monarchy, for what is here that justly can be said to hinder it?
  • II. It takes off all Prelaticall Lordly tyranny, for every part is subordinate to another, the Parochial meeting to the Superintendent and his Presbytery, this Presbytery to the County Assembly, this Assembly to the Provinciall Synod, and this to the Nationall Convocation.
  • III. Jt keepes Bishops and Pastours to their Spirituall function, and suffers them not to intermeddle in Civill and worldly affaires.
  • IV. Jt sets up a learned and preaching Ministery, and casts out the before mentioned Prelaticall destroying Clergie.
  • V. It furthers the power of Religion, in Families, Villages, Townes, Cities, in Vniversities, and in Princes Palaces.
  • VI. It's Christs government, and easie yoke, freeing Gods people from great payments, as hath before beene named, from all the corruptions of the Courts, which all the Land doth groane under, from that cruell Oath ex officio, and that unlimitted high Commission grievous to be borne.
  • Ir's a government that aymeth at godlinesse, and not at greatnesse and gaine.
  • Jt makes none jealous of painefull Pastours, none to be offended at Christian meetings, as if they were Conven­ticles, none to envie other mens graces, but stirreth vp to watch one over another, and freely to admonish one ano­ther, to further one another to Heaven.
  • It graceth very highly the godly and learned Laity.
  • Its grounded vpon the word, proceedeth by the word, rejecting the Popish Canon Law, Popish Ceremonies, Popish superstitions, and Idolatry, and all mens vaine in­ventions, in Doctrine, Sacrament, worship, and govern­ment of CHRIST.

The Conclusion of all is this, and the summe of my desire, viz. that there may be a full Conformity in Doctrine, and Discipline, with the rest of the Protestant Churches of Scotland, reformed Church of France, Geneva, &c.

1. For this will prevent future differences betwixt the two Nations.

2. Prevent the removeall of many of the Kings good subjects into other Countries, with many other benefites.

This I humbly request to be taken into serious considera­tion, which being done, will bring a blessing vpon this Kingdome and Church.

Courteous Reader take notice, that in pag. 10. & Section 3d. that for foure hundred thousand pounds, read foure hundred thousand pounds, per annum.

FJNIS.

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