A SPEECH OF THE HONORABLE NATHANAEL FIENNES, (second Son to the right Honourable the LORD SAY) in answere to the Third Speech of the LORD GEORGE DIGBY.

Concerning BISHOPS and the Cit­ty of Londons Petition, both which were made the 9th of Feb. 1640. in the honoura­ble house of COMMONS.

In which is plainely cleared the severall objecti­ons, that are made against the Londoners Peti­tion, and also the great and transcendent evills of Episcopal Government, are demon­strated and plainly laid open.

Printed in the yeare. 1641.


Mr. Speaker,

TWo things have fallen into debate this day.

The first, concerning the Londoners Petition, whether it should be commit­ted or no.

The other concerning the Governement of the Church, by Arch-bishops, Bishops, &c. whether it should be countenanced or no?

For the first, I doe not understand by any thing, that I have yet heard, why the Londoners Petition should not be committed, or countenanced.

The exceptions that are taken against it, are from [Page 2] the irregularities of the deliverie of it, and from the Subject matter contained in it.

For the first, it is alledged that the long taile of this blazing starre, is ominous, and that such a num­ber of Petitioners, and such a number that brought the Petition to the House, was irregular; hereun­to I answere, that the fault was either in the multi­tude of the Petitioners, or in their carriages, and de­meanors: if a multitud find themselvs agreived, why it should be a fault in them to expresse their grie­vances more then in one, or a few, I cannot see, nay, to mee it seemes rather a reason that their Petitions should bee committed, and taken into serious con­sideration, for thereby they may receive satisfacti­on, though all be not granted that they desire. But if wee shall throw their Petition behinde the doore, and refuse to consider it, that it may seeme an act of will in us. And whether an act of will in us, may not produce an act of will in the people, I leave it to your consideration. Sure I am, acts of will, are more dangerous there then here, because usually they are more tumultuous. All lawes are made, princi­pally for the quiet and peace of a Kingdome; and a law may bee of such indifferent nature manie times, that it is a good reason to alter it, onely, because a great number desires it, if there were nothing else in it, and therefore I doe not see that the number of Petitioners is any good reason, why it should not be committed, but rather the contrarie.

Now for their carriage, there came indeede, three or foure hundred of the 15000, some of the better sort of them, and there might be good reason for it. [Page 3] I have heard that there was brought a Petition to some privie Counsellours, with a thousand hands to it, and being brought onelie with six men, they were answered, that they six might write those thousand hands; if there were a thousand that joy­ned in the Petition, why did they not come too? And wee heard it objected but the other daie, in this House against the Ministers Petition, that there were indeed seven or eight hundred names to it, but two hands onelie. Therefore it was not with­out cause, that a considerable number should come, with a Petition signed by so manie, but for any dis­order in their carriage, I saw none; for upon an in­timation in one word from this House, they forth­with retired to their dwellings. As for the subject matter of the Petition, three exceptions are taken against it.

First, that divers things are contemptible in it, as that about Ovide Amore, set forth in English, and other such things.

Secondlie, that in manie things their discourse was altogether irrationall, for that they argue from personal faults of Bishops against the office it selfe of Bishops, and in other things argue from effects that proceed from it by accident, as if they did flie out of it.

And in the last place, that their praier and con­clusion is bold and presumptuous, desiring so boldly an abolition of standing lawes. To the first I answer, that some things may seeme contemptible in them­selves, which are not so in their causes, nor in their [Page 4] effects, as the suffering of such lascivious Pamphlets to be printed, and published, when other profitable writings are suppressed, doth discover a principle, that loosenesse and prophanesse, (which will helpe to bring in superstition) is more sutable to their hierachy then the contrarie, which makes them con­nive at such things, as are apt to produce loosenesse and lewdnesse, and this is no contemptible effect, nor doth it proceed from a contemptible cause.

In the next place, for that which seemes irratio­nall in the way of their discoverie, divers things may seeme to bee personall faults, which indeede are derived unto the persons from the office, or from the circumstances thereof, I meane their revenues, and dignities, on the one side, and the Ceremonies on the other side. For most of the things complained of, as silencing, and thrusting out of godly and paine­ful Preachers, bringing in Innovations in doctrine, and worship, and the like; although they may seeme personall and accidental faults, yet if wee follow them to their last resort, wee shall finde, that their worldly wealth and dignities stirre them up to doe this, that their sole and arbitrarie power over the Clergie, and in matter Ecclesiasticall, enable them to effect it, and the Ceremonies both new and old, serve as instruments, and meanes, whereby they effect it.

In the last place, that their prayer in the conclusi­on of their Petition, is bold, or presumptuous, I do not see there is anie reason so to esteeme of it: for if they had taken upon them to have altered any thing upon their owne authority, or had imperiously [Page 5] required the Parliament to doe it, then it might deserve such a stile, but when they come as humble suppliants, by way of Petition, desiring the altering of lawes, that haue beene found burdensome unto them, And that of the Parliament, where, and where­in, onely old lawes may bee repealed, and new lawes may bee made, they come in the right manner, to their right and proper place, and therefore have done nothing, boldly, or presumptuously, but or­derly, and regularly, and therefore ought not to receive any checke or discouragement, in the way that they have taken.

Now Sir, concerning the Government of the Church, by Arch-Bishops, Bishops, &c. which also hath beene spoken unto, whereas it is desired that the evils, and inconveniences should bee shewed, which arise not from the persons, but from the office it selfe of Bishops, I shall apply my discourse particularly to that point. But first, I shall crave leave to say a word or two, in answere to what hath beene alledged for the credit of the Government by Bishops. First, that it is as ancient as Christian Religion, and that it hath continued ever since the time of Christ and his Apostles; as for this, I doe not pretend to have so much knowledge in antiqui­tie, as to confute this out of the fathers and ecclesia­sticall histories, (although there are that undertake that) onely one sentence I have often heard cited out of Saint Ierome, that in the primitive times, Omnia communi Clericorum Concilio regebantur: and truely so farre as the Acts of the Apostles, and the new Tastament goeth, which was the ancien­test, [Page 6] and most primitive time of Christianity; I could never finde there any distinction betweene a Bishop and a Presbyter, but that they were one and the very same thing. In the next place, that which is alledged for the credit of episcopacy, is, that our re­formers and martyrs were many of them Bishops, and practized many of those things now complained of, and that in other reformed Churches where Bi­shops are not, they are desired. For the martyrs and reformers of the Church that were Bishops. I doe not understand that, that was any part of their reformation, nor of their martyrdome; I have read that whereas Ridley and Hooper had some difference betweene them in their life time about these things, when they came both to their martyrdome, hee that had formerly been the patron of this Hierarchie and Ceremonies, told his Brother, that therein his foo­lishnesse had contended with his wisedome. As for that which is said, that other reformed Churches where they have not Bishops, yet they are desired, I will not deny but some among them may desire Bishoprickes, I meane the Dignities and Revenues of bishops, but that they desire bishops, as thinking it the fittest, and best Government of the Church, I cannot beleeve, for if they would have Bishops, why doe they not make themselves Bishops? I know not what hindreth, why they might not have Bi­shops when they would. In the last place, for that which is alledged in relation to the Government of this Kingdome that Bishops are so necessarie, as that the King cannot well let them goe with the safetie of Monarchy, & that if Bishops be taken away, assem­blies, [Page 7] or something must come in the roome therof. And if Kings should be subject thereunto and should happen to bee excommunicated thereby, that after they would bee little esteemed, or obeyed as Kings, for this if it shall be cleared, as it is affirmed, that the removall of the Government by Bishops, or of any thing therein do any thing strike at Monarchie, I shall never give my vote, nor consent thereunto as long as I live. But to cleare that this is not so, I offer to your consideration, that by the law of this land, not onely all Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, but also all superiority, & preheminence over the ecclesiasti­cal state, is annexed to the imperiall Crown of this Realme, and may bee granted by Commission un­der the great seale, to such persons as his Majestie shall thinke meete: now, if the King should grant it unto a certaine number of Commissioners, equall in authoritie, as hee may doe, this were an abolition of Episcopacie, and yet not diminution of Monar­chy; but the truth is, Episcopacie is a kinde of Mo­narchie under a Monarchie, and is therein altoge­ther unlike the civill Government under his Maje­stie: for the King being a common head over the ecclesiasticall state and the civill, we shall finde that in the exercise of civill jurisdiction, in all Courts under his Majestie, it is Aristocraticall, and placed in manie, and not in one, as appeareth in this high Court of Parliament, in the inferiour Courts of Westminster-Hall, & in the Sizes, and Sessions in the countrie, which are held by manie Commissioners, and not onely by one, or his deputies, and Commis­saries, as it is in the exercise of ecclesiasticall Go­goverment. [Page 8] As to the point of excommunicatiō, sup­posing that it did dissolve naturall and civill bonds of dutie, as it doth not, it might indeed bee as terri­ble to Princes, as it is represented. But I reason thus, either princes are subject to excommunication, or they are not: if they bee not, then they need as little to fear a Presbyterie, or an Assembly, as a Bi­shop in that respect; if they bee, they have as much to feare from Bishops, at leastwise from Bishops in their Convocations, as from Presbyters in their as­semblies, and so much the more, because they have formerly felt the thunderbolts of those of that stampe, but never from this latter sort. And now Sir, I proceed to represent unto you the evills, and inconveniences that doe proceed from the Govern­ment and Ceremonies of the Church, and truely in my opinion the chiefe and principall cause of all the evills which wee have suffered, since the refor­mation in this Church and State, hath proceeded from that division which so unhappily hath sprung up amongst us, about Church Government, and the ceremonies of the Church, and from which part in that division, I beleeve, it will appeare in the par­ticulars. I know well there is a great division, & that upon greater matters, betweene us and the Papists, and I am not ignorant that there have been great and sore breaches, made upon our civil liberties, and the right of our proprieties.

But yet still I returne to my former position, that the chiefe and most active cause hath proceeded from the Government and Ceremonies of the Church, and that those other causes have either fal­len [Page 9] into it, and so acted by it, or issued out of it, and so acted from it. As for poperie, I conceive that to have beene a cause that hath fallen into this, and acted by it, for at the reformation, it received such a deadly wound by so many sharpe lawes enacted a­gainst it, that had it not beene enlivened by this di­vision amongst us, it could never have had influence upon our Church and State to have troubled them, as this day we feele: but finding that in this division amongst us, one partie had neede of some of their principalls, to maintain their Hierarchie, together with their worldly pompe and ceremonies, which are appurtenances thereunto, from hence they first conceived a ground of hope, and afterwards found meanes of successe, towards the introducing againe of their superstition and idolatrie into this Realme: and they wrought so diligently upon this foundation, that they have advanced their building very farre, and how neere they were to set up the Roofe, I leave it to your consideration. As for the evills which wee have suffered in our civill liberty, and the right of our proprieties, I conceive they have proceeded out of this, and so acted from it, for if there had beene no breaches of Parliaments, there would have beene no need to have had recourse un­to those broken cisternes that can hold no water; but there being a stoppage of Parlamentary sup­plies, that was an occasion of letting in upon us, such an inundation of monopolies, and other illegall taxes, and impositions, accompanied with many other heavy and sore breaches of our liberties. Now there needed not to have beene any breaches of [Page 10] Parliaments, had there not been something disliked in them, and what was that? it could not be any of these civill matters that bred the first difference, for they have proceeded out of it, therefore I conceive it was this. The Prelates with their adherents (the Papists also concurring with them for their inte­rest) did alwaies looke upon Parliaments with an e­vill eye, as no friend to their offices and functions, at leastwise to their benefices and dignities, and therefore (some of them having alwayes had the grace to be too neere to the Princes eares) they have alwaies endeavoured to breed a disaffection in Kings from Parliaments, as the presse and pulpit doe aboundantly witnesse, and ballads too, made by some of them, upon the breaches of Parliaments. But wee have a fresh and bleeding instance of this, in the confirmation in his Majesties name, which they procured to be prefixed before their new booke of Cannons, wherein they have endeavoured to make this impression upon his Majesties royall mind, that the authors and fomentors of the jealousies in re­spect of the new rites and ceremonies lately intro­duced into the Church, which wee call innovati­ons, did strike at his royall Person, as if hee were perverted in his religion, and did worship God in a superstitious way, and intended to bring in some innovation in matter of Religion. Now Sir, who are the authors of those jealousies? did they not come as complaints in the petitions from the bodies of se­verall Countries the last Parliament, and from more this present Parliament, and who were the fomen­tors of those jealousies? did not the generall sence [Page 11] of the last Parliament concurre in it, that they were innovations, and that they were suspitious, as intro­ductory to superstition? nay, I appeale to all those that heare me, which are drawne from all parts of the Kingdome, whether this bee not the generall sence of the greatest and most considerable part of the whole Kingdome? I beseech you then to con­sider what kinde offices these men have done be­tweene the King and the Parliament, betweene the King and the Kingdome, I speak of the greatest and most considerable part, as giving denomination to the whole. And now Sir, as we have cast our eye backeward, if wee will looke forwards, how doe the clouds thicken upon us, and what distractions, yea what dangers doe they threaten us withall? proceeding still from the same roote of Church Go­vernment and ceremonies: and truely as things now stand: I see but two wayes, the one of destruction, the other of satisfaction, destruction I meane of the opposite party to the Bishops and the Ceremonies, and reducing of all to Cannonicall obedience, by faire meanes or by foule; this way hath beene al­ready tried, and what effect it hath brought forth in our neighbour Kingdome, wee well know, and it is like to produce no very good effect in this Kingdom, it mens scruples and reasons in that behalfe, shall be only answered with prisons, and pillories, and hard censures, that I may speake most softly of them. I hold therefore, that the other way of satisfaction is the safest, the easiest, and the onely way. And that is to take into consideration, the severall heads of the evills, which are causes of these complaints, and [Page 12] to find out, and apply the proper remedies thereun­to. For the furtherance whereof, I shall make bold with your patience (which I am very unwilling to tire, but must tire my own conscience, if I should not discharge it upon this occasion) to represent a brief model of the several heads and springs, from whence the evils which are causes of these complaints, doe naturally or occasionally arise. The evills complai­ned of, doe either arise from persons, or from things, those faults that are personal, are besides the point that I intend to speak to, there is one onely remedy for them, that is, by punishment and removal of such persons, and the putting of better in their room. As for those evils which proceed from things, they also are remedied by a removal of such things as are evil, and the putting of better in their room; the evils and inconveniences of this kind do principally flow, ei­ther from the Clergies offices and functions, or from their benefices and dignities; those that arise from their offices and functions, doe arise naturally either from the lawes and constitutions, whereby, and according unto which, they exercise their of­fices and functions, or from the Government it selfe, wherein they exercise those functions. The faults that I note in the ecclesiasticall lawes, are that they hold too much of the civill law, and too much of the ceremoniall law: of the civill law, in respect of all those titles concerning wills, and legacies, tithes, marriages, adulteries, which all belonging to the civil jurisdiction, and are no more of spiri­tuall consideration, then rapes, thefts, fellonies, or treasons may bee. Sir it is good that every bird should have his owne feather, and I remember [Page 13] when one came to our Saviour Christ, to desire him that hee would cause his Brother to divide the inheritance with him, hee asked him, who made him a judge of such things: and may not we aske who made them, that take themselves to bee successours of Christ and his Apostles, Judges of such things? Many inconvenien­ces arise from hence, first, that the mindes of Cler­gie men, are inured unto civill dominion, and to meddle with civill matters. Secondly, the manner of their proceedings, is turned from a spirituall way into the fashion of processes in temporall Courts. And lastly, which is worst of all, by this meanes the spirituall sword comes to be unsheathed about such things as doe not at all fall under the stroake there­of. Many are excommunicated for pigges, apples, and nuts, and such like things; but the other fault which I noted in the ecclesiasticall lawes, and con­stitutions, pincheth us more, which is, that they hold too much of the ceremoniall law. And heere Mr. Speaker, give me leave to lament the condition of this our Church of England, beyond that of all o­ther reformed Churches. A certain number of cere­monies in the judgment of some men unlawful and to bee rejected of all Churches, in the judgement of all other reformed Churches to be rejected by them, and in the judgement of our owne Churches but in­different ceremonies, and yet what difference, yea, what distractions have these indifferent ceremonies raised amongst us? What hath deprived us of so many faithfull, able, and godly ministers, since the Reformation, as able and as fit in all other respects to discharge that function, as any age ever produced in the Christian World since the [Page 14] time of the Apostles, I say what hath deprived us of them, but these indifferent ceremonies? what hath deprived us of so many thousand Christians which desired (and in all other respects deserved) to hold communion with us, I say what hath de­prived us of them, and scattered them into I know not what places and corners of the world, but these indifferent ceremonies? What hath caused so ma­ny hard censures, and harder executions, but these indifferent ceremonies? What hath occasioned those calamities, and dangers, which we feele, and which wee feare, but those indifferent ceremonies? I shal say no more of them, but I pray God that now at length it may please his Majestie with this his great Counsel of Parliament, to take a view of them, and if there be a necessitie to retaine them, let them bee retained; but if not, then let us remove them, before they ruine us. As to the evills and inconve­niences that arise out of the Government it selfe, I should have noted something amisse, as well in the legislative part, as in the executive part, but in the former I am prevented, by what hath beene alrea­dy voted concerning the power of making Can­nons: which votes if they bee brought to perfecti­on, they will set us right in great part, in that re­spect, for surely, before the power was neither in the hands of such as were representative of that which is truely the Church of England, nor yet in the hands of those that were truely representative of the Clergie of England, if they were the whole Church, as indeed they are not. As to the executive part, which consisteth in the exercise of ecclesiasti­call [Page 15] Jurisdiction, therein I note also two disorders, Confusion, and Corruption, Confusion of the Spi­rituall sword, with the Temporall; lay-men strike with the Spirituall sword, and Spirituall men with the Temporall sword; nay, out of the same mouth, and at the same time proceedeth an excommunica­tion, and a fine, or commitment, ot both: I will not say positively, that it is unlawfull for Clergie men to exercise civill Jurisdiction, because I know it is a question, but yet such a question as hath beene determined by divers Canons of generall Coun­cells, and by some that were made in Synods of the Church of England, that it is unlawfull, and that upon grounds which are not contemptible.

As first, that it is contrary to the precept and practise of Christ and his Apostles. And secondly, that it is not possible for one man to discharge two functions, whereof either is sufficient to imploy the whole man, especially that of the ministery so great, that they ought not to entangle themselves with the affaires of this world. A third ground not so well observed generally, as in one part thereof, is this, that Ministers of the Gospell, being sent e­specially to gaine the soules of men, they are to gaine as great interest as possible may bee, in their minds and affections: now wee know that the na­ture of all men is such, that they are apt to thinke hardly of those that are any authors of their paine and punishment, although it bee in a way of justice, & therefore as it is well knowne, that Clergy men are not to be present in judicio sanguinis, so the same reason extends it selfe to the administration of all [Page 16] civill jurisdiction, and therefore wee may observe that our Saviour Christ, as he alwayes rejected all ci­vill judicature, so on the other side, he went up and downe healing mens bodies, and otherwise do­ing good to their outward estate, that his doctrine might have a freer, and fairer passage into their soules. For the corruption that I spoke of in the exercise of Ecclesiastical jurisdiction, I do not mean any personall corruption, but a deviation, or aber­ration from the prescript of the divine rule, and though it bee not easie to finde what that is in all particulars, yet it is not hard to say, what it is not, and that I doubt may prove our case in divers things. Ecclesiastical jurisdiction we know, exten­deth either to the Clergy onely, and consisteth in the Ordination, Admission, Suspension, and Depri­vation of them, or else it extendeth to the whole Church, and consisteth in excommunication and absolution. As to the Ordination, Admission, Sus­pension, and Deprivation of Ministers, we see how it is wholly at the pleasure of one man, and that of one man proceeding in a manner arbitrarily, and that of one man whose interest is concern'd in it, that the doore should be shut against able and pain­full preaching Ministers, and a wide doore set open to such as are unable, and unfit for that function: many and great and dangerous evills arise from hence. As first, that there is a constant farre and fewd betweene the Ecclesiasticall State and the Civill, betweene Prelates, and Parliaments, be­tweene the Cannon law, and the Common law, be­tweene the Clergy, and the Common-wealth, ari­sing [Page 17] from the disproportion, and dissimilitude which is between the Civill and Ecclesiastical Go­vernement, however it may seeme to some to agree well enough, but the truth is, if wee consider his Majesty as the Common-head over the Ecclesiasti­call State, as well as the Civill, wee shall finde that in the exercise of all Civil jurisdiction, in all Courts under his Majesty, the power is not in any one, or his Deputies and Commissaries, as it is in the Ec­clesiasticall Government, in the severall Diocesses throughout this Kingdome: if wee looke first upon the highest and greatest Court, the high Court of Parliament, we know that is a Counsell and a great Counsel too. In like manner in the inferiour Courts of Westminster-Hall, there are many Judges in the point of law, and more in matter of fact, wherein e­very man is judged by twelve of equall condition unto him, I meane the juries, which are Judges of the fact, both in causes Civill and Criminall: and if wee looke into the country, wee shall finde the Ses­sions and Sizes, and other Courts held not by any one, but by divers Commissioners. And in short, in the Civil Government, every man from the grea­test to the least, hath some share in the Government according to the Proportion of his Interest in the Common-wealth, but in the Government of the Church, all is in the hands of one man, in the several Diocesses, or of his Chancellours, or Commissaries, and hee exacts Canonicall obedience, to his Pon­tificall commands, with a totall exclusion of those that notwithstanding have as much share in the Church, and consequently as much Interest in the [Page 18] government of it, as they have in that of the Commonwealth. (Sir) untill the Ecclesiastical govern­ment be framed something of another twist, and be more assimilated unto that of the Common-wealth, I feare the Ecclesiastical government will bee no good neighbour unto the Civil, but will be still a casting in of its leaven into it, to reduce that also to a sole, absolute, and arbitrary way of proceeding: And herein (Sir) I do not beleeve, that I utter Pro­phesies, but what we have already found, and felt.

A Second, and that a great evill, and of dange­rous consequence, in this sole and arbitrary power of Bishops over their Clergy is this, that they have by that meanes a power, to place, and displace the whole Clergie of their Diocesse at their pleasure: and this is such a power, as for my part, I had rather they had the like power over the Estate, and persons of all within their Diocesse; for if I hold the one, but at the will and pleasure of one man, (I meane the Ministery, under which I must live) I can have but little, or at least no certaine joy nor comfort in the other. But this is not all, for if they have such a power to mould the Clergie of their Diocesses, ac­cording to their pleasure, we know what an Influ­ence they may have by them upon the people, and that in a short time they may bring them to such blindnesse, and so mould them also to their owne wills, as that they may bring in what Religion they please: nay, having put out our eyes, as the Philistins did Sampsons, they may afterwardes make us grind, and reduce us unto what slavery they please, either unto themselves, as formerly they have done, or un­to [Page 19] others, as some of them lately have beene for­ward enough to doe. Now whether it be safe to walke upon Stilts on the top of the pinacles of the Temple, upon so high precipices, as are the mat­ters of Religion, and conscience, (which may have also a dangerous Influence upon our civil liberries) I leave it to your consideration: for my part, I should not thinke it safe, that such a power should be in any one man, though you suppose him to be a very good man.

A third evil, and that of dangerous consequence, is that the dore is shut against able and painefull Preaching Ministers, and a wide doore set ope un­to those that are unable, and unfit for that function, and the Bishops interest is concerned in it, that it should be so. Interest of honour, Interest of profit, and Interest of power, Interest of credit; for they see that those painefull Preachers carry away all the credit from them, and they neither can nor will doe the like themselves: they cannot by reason they are so intangled with the affaires of this world, and civill Jurisdiction; they will not, their great Digni­ties and honours make them so stately, that they think it is not Episcopall to Preach often; and on the other side, they are so far, and live so much at their ease, that through idlenesse they cannot bring their minds unto it, and so first ariseth envy against those that doe take paines, and thence after spring­eth persecution. In the next place, their Interest is concerned in matter of profit: for they suppose, that if the credit of their Diana fall to the ground, their gaine will after cease, and that the people wi [...]l [Page 20] thinke much that some men should take all the paines, and other goe away with all the Profit.

Lastly, their Interest is concerned in it, in point of power, for they find that neither such Preaching Ministers, nor their auditours, are so pli­able to yeeld blind Canonicall obedience, as others are: and so it concernes them in point of power to stop their mouthes. And now it must needes follow by the rule of contraries, that it must be for their profit, honour, and power, to set open a doore to idle and unfit Ministers. But there are two particu­culars which I will note wherein it concernes them in their profits, to set the doore very wide open, where there is no suspition of refractorinesse. First we know Bishops have many times Livings in Com­mendum and pluralities: but there is hardly any, but they have Impropriations, whereof they are to see the cure discharged, and therefore it is for their profit, that there may be good store of cheape Cu­rates, which cannot be very fit and able men: and with such ordinarily, they furnish the cures of such places, whereof they have the Impropriations. (Sir) In the next place we know, that orders are not gi­ven, but in a manner sold, for not onely the Bishop, and his Register, but also his Vsher, his Chamber­laine, his Butler, and Porter, and almost all his me­niall Servants must have their fees, before the poore Clarke with his Box full of Orders, can passe the Porters Lodge. I heare much of the legall Simo­ny, which consisteth in the buying and selling of Benefices, but whether this doth not approach nea­rer to the Evangelicall Simony, which consisteth [Page 21] in the buying and selling of the guifts of the holy Ghost; I offer it to your consideration. Now (Sir) for Excommunication and Absolution, all seemes to be out of point, for Excommunication is neither in right hands, nor exercised upon right grounds and matters, nor in a right forme and maner, nor to right ends, and then it is no marvaile, if it have not right effects. (Sir) we know our Saviour hath lodged it in the Church (for so runs the precept) dic ecclesiae: now (Sir) that one man should be a Church, soundes strangely in my eares. In the next place (I beseech you Sir) consider about what their Spirituall Sword is exercised, about things no way lying under the stroke thereof? A man shall be Excommunicated for a Pig, or for an Apple, and such like things? I heard once a Gentleman of the civill Law, answere hereunto in this House, that the Excommunication was not for the thing, but for the contempt, and the lesse the thing was, that was commanded, the greater was the contempt: If this were so, sure the greater is the cruelty, to lay command upon so small a matter, that draweth af­ter it so deepe a censure, as to cast a man downe into Hell. Suppose a Magistrate should command some triviall matter, some ceremony or other, under paine of Treason, and should proceed against the Infringers of his command as Traytors, it were much to be doubted whether the command did not partake more of cruelty, then the disobedience of contempt; for when authority shall so far loose it selfe, as to lay so great a weight upon so small a mat­ter, it rendereth it selfe contemptible, and then it is [Page 22] no marvell (I had almost said) it is no fault, if it bee contemned, having made it selfe contemptible. Then Sir, for the forme of proceeding, it is no whit spirituall, there is no fasting and prayer, no seeking to reclaime the sinner, but rather it is after the fa­shion of a summary Processe in a civill Court, nay Sir, it is accompanied sometimes with an intimati­on that no man shall buy, or sell, with the person excommunicated, nor set him a worke, nor doe any civill or naturall offices unto him. As wee had a complaint brought in this Parliament, of a Son that was excommunicated onely for repeating a Sermon to his father, being an excommunicate person. Now Sir, for the ends for which this censure is ex­ecuted, they are ordinarily to fetch in fees, or at the best to bring men under Canonicall obedi­ence, which is the Ordinaries will and pleasure, and I have sometimes seen a Minister pronounce an ex­communication, which hee held in one hand, and presently after the absolution, which hee held in the other, so the end of the excommunication was the absolution, and the end of that was fees: (Sir) for the honour of God, for the honour of our nati­onall Church, and for the honour of the Christian Religion, let the high and great censure of the Church no longer lackey after fees, let not Christi­ans any longer be cast to Sathan, in the name of Ie­sus Christ, for the non-payment of a groat. And now Sir we may imagine what effects are lik to follow up­on such premises, the great and dreadfull censure of excommunication is thereby made contemptible, and were it not for the civill restrains, and penal­ties [Page 23] that follow upon it, no man would purchase an absolution, though he might have it for a half pen­ny. And I have heard of some that have thanked the Ordinaries for abating, or remitting the fees of the Courts: but I never heard of any that thanked them, for reclayming their soules to repentance, by their excommunications; (Sir) for absolution it is relative to excommunication, and so labours of the same diseases: onely one thing I shall particu­larly note concerning absolution, (Sir) it is called commutation of penance, but indeed it is a de­struction of the ordinance, making it void and of none effect, and surely God never set his Ministers to sell indulgences in his Church. The oath that is to precede absolution, de parendo juri Ecclesiae et stan­do, &c. hath already been sufficiently spoken unto, in the debate about the Canons, and therefore there will bee no neede of speaking more to that. Now Sir, I am come to my last head, wherein I shall bee very briefe, and that is concerning the evills that arise out of the benefices and dignities of the Clergy, the common cause being from the inequa­litie of the distribution of them, much resembling a disease very ordinary at this time amongst chil­dren, which they call the rickets, wherein the nou­rishment goeth all to the upper parts, which are o­ver great and monstrous, and the lower parts pine away: and so it is in the Clergy, some are so poore that they cannot attend their ministerie, but are faine to keepe Schooles, nay, Ale-houses, some of them; and some others are so stately, they will not attend their ministery: and so betweene [Page 24] them the flocke starves, but our evills have more especially proceeded, from the excessive worldly wealth, and dignities of one part of the Clergy, I meane, such as either are in possession, or in hopes of Bishoprickes for these great places of profit and ho­nour, first have beene the baites of ambition, and then they became the apples of contention, and last of all the seeds of superstition, the one being a step and degree unto the other, and all of them leading in the end to the corruption, that I may not say sub­version of our Religion. Sir they are first the baits of ambition, and I know not by what secret cause, but experience sheweth us, that when Clergy men have once tasted the sweete of wordly wealth and honours, they are more eager, and ambitious after them then any other sort of men, hereupon other godly Ministers, that live more according to the simplicity of the Gospel, and the example of Christ aud his Apostles, cannot but beare witnesse against their worldly pompe and dignities, and so the fires of contention breaketh forth. And truely (Sir) the state of the Clergy is very like to fire, which whil'st it keepes in the chimney, it is of excellent use to warme those that approach unto it, but if it once breake out into the house, and get upon the house top, it sets all on fire. So whilest the Clergy keepe themselves within the pulpit, they are of great use to stir up the zeale and devotion of Chri­stians, but if they once flye out into the house, if they begin to meddle with Civill places and juris­dictions, and especially if they once get up to the Counsell-table, it is seldome seene, but that [Page 25] length they set all on fire, and what is it that maketh the fire to breake out of the chimney, but too much fuell: if there be but a moderate proportion of fuel, the fire keepes it selfe within it's bounds, but if you heape fagot upon fagot, a whole cart-load toge­ther, then it breaketh out: (so Sir) if there bee a competent maintenance for the ministerie, they wil keepe themselves within their bounds, but if living bee heaped upon living, and temporalities added to spiritualities, the flame will soone breake out, and set the house on fire. (Sir) I doe not envy the wealth or greatnes of the Clergy, but I am very con­fident if those were lesse, they would be better, and doe more service to Christ and his Church, and I am very cleare in mine owne heart, that the livings of the Clergie being more equally distributed, the ser­vice of God would bee so farre from receiving any prejudice, that it would bee much advanced, and withall a good proportion of revenue might return againe unto the Crowne, from whence it was first derived. (Sir) Bishopricks, Deanaries, and Chapi­ters, are like to great wasters in a wood, they make no proofe themselves, they cumber the ground whereon they stand, and with their great armes and boughes stretched forth on every side, partly by their shade, and partly by their sowre droppings they hinder all the young wood under them from growing and thriving. To speake plaine En­glish, these Bishops, Deanes, and Chapiters, doe lit­tle good themselves by preaching, or otherwise, and if they were felled, a great deale of good timber might be cut out of them, for the uses of the Church [Page 26] and Kingdome at this time. A fresh stoole of three or foure able Ministers might spring up in their stead, to very good purpose in those great townes, which are ordinarily the seates of those Episcopal, and Collegiate Churches, and the private congre­gations of divers parochiall Churches might thrive and grow better, which now have the Sun of Gods word, I meane the cleare and spirituall preaching thereof kept from them, and live in the dangerous shade of ignorance, by reason that all the meanes is taken from them, and appropriated unto Bishops, or to Deanries, & Chapters, and other such like Col­legiate Churches. Besides such as doe begin to grow and start up through the voluntary pains of some a­mongst them, or by such preaching as they them­selves have procured by their voluntary contributi­ons, should not still bee dropped on as they are, from the armes and appendances of those great was­ters, and kept downe continually by their bitter persecutions. That which remaines now, is to shew how these great revenues and dignities, become the seeds of superstition, and that is thus. The Clergy in the maintenance of their greatnesse, which they are neither willing to forgoe, nor yet well able to maintaine upon the principles of the reformed Re­ligion, finding that the popish principles, whereon the Bishop of Rome built his greatnesse, to suite well unto their ends, that maketh them to side with that party, and that must needs bring in superstition: and as ambition allureth on the one side, so the principles they goe by, draw them on farther, and farther, and happily at length farther then they [Page 27] themselvs at first intended. Whether a reconciliati­on with Rome, were imagined or no by some, I leave it to every one to judge within himselfe: but sure I am, if an accommodation could have been made in some fashion or other, with the Church of Rome, the Clergy might againe be capable of forraine pre­ferments, and Cardinalls capps, and this is no small temptation. Now Sir, I am at an end: onely I shall draw out three conclusions, which I conceive may clearely be collected out of what I have sayd: First that civill jurisdiction in the persons of Clergy men, together with their great revenues, and high places of dignity, is one great cause of the evills which wee suffer in matter of religion. Secondly, that the sole and arbitrary power of Bishops in the ordai­ning and depriving of Ministers, and in excommu­nication, and absolution, is another great cause of the evills we suffer in matter of Religion. Thirdly, the strict urging of Subscription, and Conformity to the Ceremonies, and Canons of the Church, is another great cause of Evill, which we suffer in matter of Religion.

And now my humble motion is, that we should take a piece only of this subject into our consideration, but the whole matter, and that not only that part of the Ministers remonstrance, which hath been read, should be referred unto the Committee which you are about to name, but Londons petition also, and all other petitions of the like nature, so soone as they shall be reade in the house, and that the Com­mittee may collect out of them all, such heads as are fit for the consideration of this house, and surely [Page 28] that is fit to be considered, that happily will not be thought fit to be altered: consideration is one thing, and alteration another: where there is a mixture of bad and good together, the whole must be consi­red that wee may know how to sever the good from the bad, and so retaine the one, and reject the other, which is all that I desire. And if any thing have fallen from me more inconsiderate (as in so long a discourse many things may have done) I humbly crave the pardon of the house, protesting that I have spoken nothing but with a mind, which is ready to sacrifice the body it dwelleth in, to the peace and safety of his Majesties King­domes, and the safety and honour of his Majestie in the Govern­ment of them.


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