CONTAINING MANY Remarkable passages.


The Contents of the severall Chapters fol­low in the next page.

Printed 1641.

The Contents of the severall Chapters in this BOOK.

  • COntaining a Comparison betwixt this Assemblie and the Councell of Trent.

  • 1. They agree in like subtill policie in their proceedings, specified in 6. points.
  • 2. They disagree, in that the Councell of Trent, in exter­nall order was more formall than this, and more sub­stantiall in discussing the Articles.
  • Containing two reasons why we intend to speak onely against the Act condemning Episcopacie.

  • 1. Because the rest of the Acts are established upon the same grounds.
  • 2. Because their principall purpose in desiring this As­sembly was to suppresse Episcopacie.
  • 3. The Act it self is set down verbatim, as it was set down in their printed Coppie subscribed by the Clerk▪
  • Discussing their foure Considerations in their preface, whereby they alleage they were moved to make this Act.

  • 1. The Consideration of the great mercie of God in the work of the reformation; wherein three notable fals­hoods are remarked.
  • 2. That many evill innovations were obtruded upon the Church: wherein also three notable falshoods are re­m [...]rked.
  • [Page] 3. That by the Kings urging the book of Common Pray­er, they were moved of Necessitie to make their Cove­nant: wherein are remarked 7. notable falshoods.
  • 4. That many having subscribed the Covenant without their applications, yet according to the meaning it had 1580. therefore it is necessary, that the Assembly should declare the true meaning: wherein are shown divers falshoods and impertinencies.
  • Containing the state of the Question, as it was propo­ned to be voyced in the Assemblie.

  • 1. The necessitie of right stating the Question.
  • 2. That their proposition is captious and confused, inclu­ding three severall Questions of divers natures, wher­unto no one Categoricall answer could be given.
  • 3. That they set it down in many ambiguous words and termes.
  • 4. It is sophistically and subtilly drawn à Thes [...]ad Hy­pothesin.
  • 5. That being proposed in that manner it could not possi­bly resolve the doubts, but rather increase them.
  • 6. The Question simply proposed had been fitter to re­solve doubts.
  • 7. There are two points which they intend to prove un­lawfull in Episcopacie. 1. That they have charge over mo [...] particular [...]ocks than one. 2. That they have pow­er and preheminence over their Brethren.
  • That this power and preheminence is not contrarie to the Confession of Faith in the Church of Scotland, but most conforme thereto, and to the first book of Disci­pline, and continuall practice of the Church of Scotland.

  • 1. A distinction of the Confessions of Faith so called, in a positive and negative, and that the positive is the only proper Confession of the Church of Scotland.
  • [Page] 2. That there is no Article of this Confession condemn­ing this power and preheminence,
  • 3. That the meaning of this Confession, concerning the point of Government, set down in the first book of Discipline, and long practice of the Church doth ex­presly approve the same.
  • 4. A paralell betwixt Superintendents and Bishops, wherein is shown that the power of Superintendents was no lesse than that which Bishops require now.
  • 5. That Bishops, retaining the office, title and Benefice of Bishops, had the power for 20. yeers after the refor­mation, and that by approbation both of the Church and Civill estate.
  • That this power and preheminence of Bishops was not abjured by the negative Confession or Covenant.

  • 1. That this negative Confession is not the proper Con­fession of the Church of Scotland, but an Appendix thereof.
  • 2. That it is only the first Confession whereunto all were sworn to adhere.
  • 3. Two reasons shewing that by the oath of the Cove­nant or negative Confession Episcopacie was not ab­jured. 1. Because it cannot have a meaning contrary to that whereof it is an Appendix. 2. Because it belongeth only to the King, and not to an Assemblie of the Church without the King, to declare in what sense the oath was required.
  • An Answer to those passages alleaged in the Act out of the Abjuration.

  • 1. Answered in Generall by Consideration of the words themselves.
  • 2. By the confession of the Moderator and his associ­ats.
  • [Page] 3. A particular answer to the first passage, shewing it to be cited falsly and impertinently.
  • An Answer to the second passage of the Covenant, wherein is shown clearly.

  • 1. A notable falshood in the citation both by chang [...]ng words, and adding others not contained in the originall.
  • 2. Divers reasons why this passage doth prove nothing to their purpose.
  • An Answer to the third passage wherein are these par­ticulars.

  • 1. It is shown to be impertinent.
  • 2. What is meaned by the word Hierarchie.
  • 3. That there may be an Hierarchie, neither Antichri­stian nor wicked, proved by the testimony of Calvin.
  • 4. Their first reason to prove that Episcopall Govern­ment is the Antichristian, wicked Hierarchie, is by▪ a false Syllogisme, ex omnibus particularibus & affir­mantibus in secundâ figurâ.
  • 5. This reason passable amongst themselves because no man durst examine it, under paine of the censure of the Church.
  • 6. Their second reason childish and Sophisticall.
  • 7. Their third reason impertinently applied.
  • 8. Their fourth reason hath no consequence and farre from the purpose.
  • 9. Their last reason is grounded upon a place in the se­cond book of Discipline falsly related.
  • An Answer to the fourth passage containing three par­ticulars.

  • 1. An explaining of the words.
  • 2. That the Doctrine and Discipline whereunto we are sworn to joyne our selvs, is not all the doctrine and disci­pline [Page] taught and practised in the Church of Scotland.
  • 3. That this Doctrine is expresly limitated in the Cove­nant by foure limitations, by every one of which it is cleered, that this power and preheminence of Bishops is not abjured.
  • 4. The first limitation, that we swear only to adhere to that which is taught by Gods Word; wherein there is nothing contrary to this point, but all is conforme thereto.
  • 5. The second limitation is, that Doctrine which is pro­fessed by many notable Realms and Churches: no Realm nor Church did condemne this, except Gene [...]a, and that not absolutely, but many Churches did ap­prove it expresly.
  • 6. The third limitation is, the doctrine particularly ex­pressed in the first Confession of Faith: but no doctrine is expressed therein contrary to this point.
  • 7. The fourth limitation is, that Doctrine which was for a long time before professed by the King and whole body of the Kingdome: But the King and body of the Kingdome did expresly professe that they did approve this point here damned.
  • 8. The discipline is limitated by the same limitation.
  • 9. The discipline is either taken in a strict and proper sense for the censures of the Church, or else in a large sense, signifying the whole policy of the Church.
  • 10. In the first sense, it was as yet retained precisely in the Church of Scotland under Episcopall Govern­ment; and therefore the oath is not broken.
  • 11. Discipline is again distinguished in these points which are essentiall and perpetuall, and those which are accidentall and mutable.
  • 12. The first sort are prescribed by Gods Word, and were not abolished by Episcopall government, but ob­served inviolable.
  • 13. The other sort is left to the libertie of the Church, and therefore alterable by the Church.
  • [Page] 14. To the observation of those, the Oath bindeth so long as the Constitution of the Church standeth in force; but being abrogate by a new Constitution, the Oath thereto is dissolved.
  • 15. Whosoever doth not follow the Church in those Al­terations doe against their oath.
  • An Answer to the Acts of the generall Assemblies al­leaged contrary to this point untill the year 1580. where­in are these particulars.

  • 1. That no Act of Assemblie is, nor can be produced be­fore that year 1575.
  • 2. The occasion of impugning Episcopacie at that time. 1. some fierie humours lately come from Geneva, and zealous of Geneva Discipline. 2. The Kings mino­ritie. 3. Factions amongst the Nobilitie and Cour­tiers. 4. The Sacrilegious greedinesse of those gaping after the Church rents, who for their own ends abused the simplicitie of some Ministers, and pride of others.
  • 3. That Bishops were not only tollerate, but approved by the Church untill this year 1575.
  • 4. At this Assemblie in August 1575. was the first mo­tion against Episcopacie in the Church of Scotland.
  • 5. The proceeding of this Assemblie declared at length, whereby it is cleered that this point here in controver­sie was not challenged therein, but expresly approved by all.
  • 6. Nothing in substance concluded against Episcopacie for five years after.
  • 7. A notable dissimulation of our Covenanters in citing an Act of this Assembly.
  • Answering to the Acts of Generall Assemblies for esta­blishing the second book of Discipline, wherein are these particulars.

  • [Page] 1. This book was brought in by the same occasions whereby Episcopacie began to be challenged.
  • 2. This Discipline was never fully agreed unto by the Church, some points thereof never practised, and those which were practised but of short continuance.
  • 3. They doe not themselves, nor will not approve some points in this book, but refuse obedience thereto, in­stanced in three particulars.
  • 4. This book nor any part thereof had any strength of a Law before the injoyning of the Oath.
  • 5. It is defective in the most substantiall points of Di­scipline, and superabundant in points not pertaining to Ecclesiasticall discipline.
  • 6. And therefore the Discipline therein contained can­not be that, whereunto we are sworn to joyne our selvs precisely.
  • Answering to the Act of the Assembly at Dundee 1580. condemning Episcopacie, together with the Act at Glas­go 1581. explaining the same containing these particulars.

  • 1. Albeit they condemned in these Acts Episcopacie (as it was then used in Scotland) as unlawfull in it self, yet did they not condemne these points here contro­verted.
  • 2. Neither did the Church then condemn any substan­tiall point of Episcopacie, except they did contradict themselves, instanced in six principall points of that Doctrine.
  • 3. They condemn only the corruptions which were at that time in Bishops themselvs, whereof some are only sup­posed corruptions; some corruptions indeed, but only personall, and not essentiall to the office.
  • 4. The principall point they condemn in Bishops is, that they received not their Commission from the Church to exercise their charge: and yet it is evidently pro­ved, that they had Commission from the Church to exercise all the points of their function.
  • [Page]

    Answering to the rest of the Acts here cited.

  • 1. Their Acts can be of no greater force than the former whereupon they are grounded, and therefore refuted by the same reasons.
  • 2. Some particular observations upon these Acts, where­by it is shewed that they make more against them, nor for them.
  • 3. Many of these Acts shews that they were concluded expresly against the Kings Majesties intention.
  • 4. The reason why that Act of Parliament 1592. Esta­blishing Presbyteries, was suffered to passe by the King and the three Estates.
  • 5. It was not because they did approve the same, but for eschewing of greater evils which were justly feared.
  • 6. That Presbyteriall Government in Scotland did not indure in full force above ten years.
  • 7. An Act of that Assembly 1589. disgracefull to the Church of Scotland.
  • Discussing the Conclusion of this Act, wherein are contained these particulars.

  • 1. Their Hyperbolicall magnifying of their accurate proceeding in concluding this Act, not like to be true.
  • 2. The proposition of the Question by the Moderator, in­formall, obscure, ambiguous, sophysticall, and such as could not be answered Categorically.
  • 3. The causes why they did so unanimously agree in their voycing was, because all were debarred whom they suspected would make any contradiction.
  • 4. The voyces, as they are here declared, doe neither fully answer to their proposition, nor condemn any thing in Episcopacie, as it is now in Scotland.
  • 5. They cannot excuse this but by laying the fault up [...]n the Printer, which is not like to be true for many rea­sons.


A Comparison betwixt this Assembly and the Councell of Trent.

THat turbulent and seditious Con­venticle of Covenanting Mini­sters and mis-ruling Elders assem­bled at Glasgow, Novemb. 1638. can be compared to none of that kind so well, as to that infamous Councell of Trent; which as it hath for a long time troubled the whole world, Emperors, Kings and Princes: fo this hath vexed mightily the Kings Majestie our dread Sove­raigne, disturbed both Church and Common-wealth, and hath led all his Subjects in Scotland blind-fold to Rebelli­on, given evill example to other Kingdomes, and brought an evident Scandall upon the reformed Religi­on. There hath been no lesse humane or rather Satanicall policie, and subtile close conveyance practised by the [Page 2] chiefe Rulers in that Assembly of Glasgow, both in the Preparation, Prosecution, and Conclusion thereof, (yet in this more malice, and lesse respect to the Supreme Ma­gistrate, and present established estate of the Church) than in that of Trent.

First, as the Pope and his Cardinalls in the Consistorie professed, that they desired a generall Councell, and did openly exhort the Emperor, Kings, Princes, and Repub­liques to concurre with them: yet they declared evident­ly by their dealing that they desired, either not at all a Councell, or not such an one as should be assembled by the Authoritie of the Emperor and Kings, or that any of them or their Ambassadors should have suffrage therein, and much lesse presidencie according to the ancient Cu­stome of the Church, esteeming that their Authority, suffrage, or presence would crosse their particular ends: Even so our Covenanters, albeit they often petitioned his Majestie for the libertie of a generall Assemblie, yet they declared plainly by their proceedings, that they did not desire such an one, as should be either convocated by his Majesties Authoritie, or wherein he, his Commission or Councell should preside, or give suffrage, or be present, if it had been in their choice, accounting it so not to be a free Assembly.

Secondly, as the Pope and his Cardinalls in the Con­sistorie used Politick meanes, that none or few of these Prelates, whom they supposed in any wayes would crosse their designes, should appeare in the Councell: although publikly they did admonish all, yet by private threatnings and distastes, hindred from comming many of the Bishops of Germany, France and Spaine: but on the contrary, allured by divers means those whom they supposed would favour their designes, as all the Bishops of Italy: so that when the Councell was at the greatest, there were above 150. Italian Bishops, whereof many were at the Popes charges, yet not above 60. of all other Nations. So in this at Glasgow, politick meanes were used that none [Page 3] should be chosen Commissioners, except Covenanters; and of those, only the strongest and most obstinate, who had solemnely already sworn unto these things they in­tended to conclude: and on the other part, meanes were used that all those, who were suspected to be averse from their designes, or not forward enough, shoud be exclu­ded: as is evident by the particular Instructions sent from the Tables of the Covenant unto all the Presbyteries of Scotland, which were discovered by the care and dili­gence of his Majesties Commissioner▪ and produced in open Assembly to their great confusion, whereby it was appointed that care should be taken that none should be chosen as Commissioner, for the Ministers or ruling El­ders, but Covenanters, and those wel-affected to the bu­sines; And if that any other happen to be chosen by the greater part, that all the best affected protest against them, and processe them before the Assembly that they might be excluded from voycing, and for that effect also directed an informall and illegall Citations against all the Bishops, to exclude them from having place or voyce in their assembly, who ought to have been (by the present lawes of the Church of Scotland, and continuall practice of the universall Church in all ages) the principall mem­bers thereof.

Thirdly, as in the Councell of Trent, the Pope of Rome to have more voices favouring his designes, did create many titular Bishops, who had no Christian slock, and had never so much as seen that Church which they did represent. So likewise in this Assembly were brought in many Titular Lay-elders, as Commissioners from Presby­teries, wherein they had no habitations, nor ever did sit therein to exercise their rule of Elder-ship before the day of their election to be Commissioners to the Assemblie.

Fourthly, the Pope and his Cardinalls did complaine that the Emperor and Kings would have prelimitate▪ the Councell by their directions: yet the Ambassadors and Prelates did in every Session and Congregation complain [Page 4] more justly, that the Councell was not free, being strange­ly prelimitate by the Pope and Consistory of Rome, both in the members and matters to be proposed, as also in framing of the Canons. So our Covenanters did re­quire a free assembly, affirming, that as farre as the assem­bly should be prelimitate either in the members or mat­ters to be treated, so farre the necessary ends of the Assem­bly and good of the Church was hindred, accounting it a most dangerous usurpation to any person or Iudicatori [...] whatsoever, to impose any such limitations, except an Assembly it self; And therefore did most grievously com­plaine against his Majestie, (although unjustly) for he re­quired no limitations, but such as were prescribed by former lawfull assemblies. Yet his Majestie and the whole Kingdome may more justly complaine of them, who re­fusing the reasonable prelimitations of other former as­semblies; did neverthesse admit strange limitations from the Tables of the Covenant, (which was neither a law­full Assembly of the Church, nor had any authority over the same) and those also against the established Consti­tutions of former generall Assemblies and Lawes of the Kingdome, as appeares evidently by those foure papers of Instructions sent to every Presbytery, according to the which the Assembly was limitate both in the mem­bers and matters.

Fiftly, as in the Councell of Trent nothing was ad­mitted to Consultation, but Proponentibus Legatis, which gave occasion of offence to many: no Bishop, no Pre­late, no Regall Embassador, nor any good Christian had liberty to propose any thing, onely the Popes Legates had this Power, who did propose every thing as they recei­ved instructions from [...]: even so in this Assemblie, nothing was admitted to De [...]beration, but Proponente Mo [...]rator [...]; And he likewise was confined to the Or­dinance of the Tables, who had before set down every Article which was to be treated: All propositions of any other whatsoever, though flowing from his Majestie, by [Page 5] his Commissioner or Councell, were contemptuously re­jected.

Sixtly, as in the Councell of Trent, let the Fathers and Doctors deliberate and reason Pro & Contra as they plea­sed, yet nothing was concluded, untill it was first agreed unto by the Pope and his Cardinalls at Rome, and their de­termination, who never heard the reasoning▪ was sent to Trent to be enacted, and that no otherwise then it was set down by them; which gave occasion to that common proverbe, That the holy Spirit, whereby the Councell was directed, came from Rome in a C [...]og-bag. So like­wise all that which was done in this Assembly was fore­ordained by the Tables of the Covenant in Edinburgh: For there were all the members of the Assembly consti­tuted, though contrary to the perpetuall practice of the Church; there were all the Commissions framed, and a Cople thereof sent to every Presbyterie, as appeared by the production, since never one of them was different in one Syllable from another; there also was the whole or­der of the Assemblie set down, and accordingly obser­ved; there were all things which were to be proposed in the Assembly, discussed and concluded by the Rulers of the Covenant, who for the most part were Lay-per­sons, Noblemen, Gentlemen, Burge [...]es, and some few Ministers most forward in the cause: therefore it may be justly said, that the Spirit, whereby those holy Brethren of the Assembly were ruled, came not from Heaven▪ but directly from Edinburgh. I leave you to imagine by the effects what Spirit that was, which hath stirred up such Sedition, Rebellion, Disorder and Confusion both in Church and Common-wealth.

Then although in these points of Corruptions, and ma­ny other which for shortnes we omit, this Assembly at Glasgow was not unlike that Councell of Trest; yet I will be bold to say, and that truely, that in some substan­tiall points, that Councell was more formall than this Assemblie.

[Page 6] For the Councell of Trent in the Externall order and Constitution of the members thereof, keeped more for­mality and decency according to the order of the Church many ages before. 1. There was none admitted to that Councell except Prelates of the Church, Ambassadours of Princes, and the most learned Doctors in all Europe for the time; And such as the Prelates thought fit in the bounds of their Iurisdiction to reason in weighty points of Doctrine. 2. In their Congregations and Sessions, they did sit every man in his owne place according to his degree, with such gravitie, modestie and decencie, as did become Reverend Fathers, distinguished one from another by their habits, appointed by the Canons of the Church, making it appear to the beholders, a Venerable Assemblie. 3. In their proceedings were appointed the wisest of the Bishops, and most learned amongst the Do­ctors to frame the Articles, and being framed, were par­ticularly one by one discussed, by weighty reasons ma­turely in severall dayes and diets, all doubts particularly moved, and Objections solidly answered according to their grounds, using not onely the testimony of former approved Councels, Fathers and learned Schoolemen, but also very frequently the Authority of Sacred Scri­ptures: So that if in their conclusions they had pondered well the reasons alleaged, and had concluded according to the same, and not according to the Popes sole Autho­ritie; that Councell might have had a more happy event for the weell and peace of the Christian Church.

But in this Assemblie at Glasgow was not observed that forme, order or decencie, which did become a venerable Ecclesiastick meeting: for first, these, who were ever esteemed the Principall members of all generall or Natio­nall Councels, to wit, the Reverend Bishops of the Church, were excluded; a company of Lay-men, Earles, Lords, Gentlemen and Burgesses, without warrant, Au­thoritie, or example of the ancient Church were thrust in their roomes, bearing chiefe Sway in the Assembie, car­rying [Page 7] all matters violently for their own ends; so that it was remarked by wise and grave men, that one Earle and one Lord made more speech in the Assemblie, than all the Clergie, except the Moderator. 2. In their Sessions, no order or decencie observed, all sitting pel-mell, with­out distinction of Degrees, save onely that Lay-Noble­men and Gentlemen occupied the chiefest roomes with their swords and pistolls by their sides; The Ministers mixt amongst Burgesses, Merchants, and Noblemens ser­vants, hardly to be discerned from them by their Habite or Carriage; Many of the Ministers in coloured clothes, all in short cloakes, except the Ministers of Glasgow who had their Gownes; so that unlesse one had known their persons before, they should scarcely have discerned the Ministers from the Merchant or Taylor. 3. The Mini­sters were not there by the approbation of their Bishops according to the custome of the Primitive Church, and Acts of the generall Assemblies of Scotland long after the Reformation, as for instance, in that Assemblie at Edinburgh Iuly 1568. It was expresly ordained, that no Minister should leave his Flock, except such as were chosen by their Superintendants: but by Commissions from their new invented form of Presbyteries, wherein Lay-men had the greatest rule, or rather from the Tables of the Covenant, who did not choose the most wise, mo­dest and learned Brethren; but the most turbulent, sedi­tious, and bold to oppose Authoritie: fit members in­deed of such an Assemblie. 4. In discussing of the mat­ters which were concluded, no reasoning but superficiall; no carefull pondering of the Reasons, but all taken Im­plicit fide, which had any shew; no exact distinguishing of the Articles, but many matters of different nature were h [...]dled up together confusedly, and with great precipita­tion were voyced and concluded. The Assembly conti­nued onely a moneth, and a great part of that time (to wit from the 21. of November to the 4. of December) was consumed in circumstantiall points concerning the per­sons [Page 8] to be admitted to have voice in receiving and discus­sing their Commissions, in Contestations betwixt the Commissioner and the Covenanters, in excluding some of his Majesties Counsellors authorized by him to have voyce in the Assemblie, contrary to the Practice of all Ancient approved Councels, either Generall or Nationall; in rejecting most just protestations of divers Presbyteries against this Assemblie, as that of the Presbyteries of Glasgow, of P [...]ables, of Aberdeine, of the Channonry of Rosse; in refusing to heare read the most just declinature and protestations of the Bishops. And finally, in declaring certaine books of the former Assemblies to be Authentick registers.

At last, the fourth of December they enter to the prin­cipall matters for which this Assembly was required, be­ginning at the condemnation of the six last generall As­semblies, conveened, continued, and concluded by the Kings Majesties Authoritie, and full consent of the Church, and ratified by the whole bodie of the King­dome in Parliament: which they did in shorter space then could suffice to reade them over; so precipitate were they in condemning absolutely so many grave Assem­blies with such unanimous consent, as never one was cal­led, but (without reason or judgement) condemned them all in one word, by implicite faith given to some few, neither of the most wise, or learned of the compa­ny, who had a Committee to invent some apparant rea­sons to anull the same: and that is most certaine that the two part of those who voyced against them, had never seen the Acts and the proceedings of these Assemblies, or at least had never read nor perused them; But out of a blind zeal and Iesuiticall obedience, did it only, because they were so directed by the Tables of the Covenant, and their rebellious Leaders.

In another Session they deposed and excommunicated summarily fourteen Bishops, upon a pretended false Li­bell produced before the Presbytery of Edinburgh against [Page 9] them (which by no law or reason could be competent Iudges to their processe) without lawfull citation, con­trary to the Acts of many generall Assemblies, the Books of Discipline and perpetuall practice of the Church; For the Church of Scotland was never accustomed, no, not in the most strict times of Presbyteriall government, to pro­ceed so summarily to the sentence of excommunication against most notorious offenders, without mature delibe­ration and long space granted to the Accused, either to justifie himself, or declare his repentance. 1. There was used three private personall Citations to appear before the Presbytery; next, if those were not obeyed, three publik Citations one three severall Sabbaths. 3. Followed three publik prayers for their conversion, and if at any of these times they did appear, either to purge themselves of the crime imputed to them, or submitting themselves to the censure of the Church; The sentence of excommunica­tion was not pronounced against them.

In another Session, they condemned with one voyce the Book of Common Prayer; the Book of Canons, the Book of Ordination of Ministers, and Consecration of Bishops; together with the Court of the High Commis­sion: which space was not sufficient to have read over all those books, muchlesse to peruse them throughly, and discusse the controverted points therein, which was ne­cessarily requisit to be done before they had been abso­lutely rejected.

But this is strange, that the principall and most weighty point, for the which chiefly they did procure this Assem­bly, should have been so slightly, & with such precipitation handled, to wit, whether Bishops should be reteined or removed forth of the Church of Scotland: A Doctrine so universally approven by the whole Christian Church, even in her purest time since the Apostles dayes, and al­lowed in Substance by the reformed Church of Scotland, for many yeares after the reformation; And though re­pressed for a time, yet re-established again by divers more [Page 10] lawfull Assemblies than this, ratified by divers Act of Parliament, and continued now for many yeeres by-gon; there behoved to be many and weighty reasons why such a Doctrine should be conversed, with a serious delibera­tion to ponder and consider them; yet neverthelesse in this Assembly in one short Session, the whole matter was proponed, discussed, voiced, concluded, and a large Act past thereupon.

Concerning the Act against Episcopacie.

ALbeit it were an easie matter to refute all the contro­verted Acts of this Assemblie, yet leaving the rest at this time, we intend onely to examine that Act, Sess. 26. Decemb. 8. Against Episcopacie, And that for two reasons especially:

First, because the grounds whereupon this Act is con­cluded, are the self-same whereupon all the rest of the controverted Acts are grounded; and therefore these grounds being declared evidently to be infirme and weak, it will also appear that together with this Act of Episco­pacie, All the rest of their Acts depending thereupon shall be found to be ruinous, as I trust their fall shall be suddain.

Secondly, because the principall aime of the most and chiefest of these, who were members of that Conventi­cle, was to suppresse Bishops, because they esteemed them chiefly to have crossed their Sacrilegious and ambitious [...]: I or, [...]efore Bishops were re-established, the Noblemen and Baro [...]s both possessed the substance of the Church ren [...]s, and also ruled the whole E [...]tate at their pleasure in Councell and Parliament, by their own voy­ces, and voyces of the Gentry and Borroughs, whom those factious [...] did depend for the most part upon [Page 11] one Noble man or other: then finding that by the re-e­stablishing of Bishops, their rents were taken out of their hands, and that they were like to loose their Abbeyes, and Prio [...]ies also; and finally, that their particular ends (not alwayes tending to the weell of the Church▪ or Kingdome, or Honour of the Prince,) were crossed by the estate of Bishops: no marvell then, though they be moved by all meanes possible to suppresse them; and for that effect have laboured to make use of the simplicitie of some of the Ministrie, and proud humours of others impa­tient of Subjection to lawfull Authoritie, of whom some having aimed in vaine at Bishopricks (as is well known of divers of the Ring-leaders of that Faction) thought it best for their credit, to declare a great contempt of that estate, which they had with much labour sought after, without the desired effect, according to the fable of the Fox▪ others by their former misdemeanors both against the Church and Regall Authority, being past hope of fur­ther advancement, did easily condescend to shake off that yoak, which their turbulent humours could never suffer them patiently to bear; those were made to blow the trumpet of Rebellion, both in their Pulpits and private conferences, drawing the people after them, and the sim­plest sort of Ministers also, who did not judiciously re­mark their secret ends, cloaked under the colour of Re­ligion, and libertie of the Church, by which meanes this condemning of Episcopacie was brought in head with all the consequences thereof.

This is the point we mean to examine for the present, and that you may see the weaknes of their reasons the better, we shall set down verbatim the Act it self, as it was conceived by them.

Act of the Assemblie at Glasgow, Sess. 16. Decemb. 8. 1638. Declaring Episcopacie to have been adjured by the Confession of Faith, 1580. And to be removed out of this Kirk.

THe Assemblie taking to their most grave and se­rious Consideration, first, the unspeakable goodnesse and great mercie of God manifested to this Na­tion, in that so necessarie, so difficult, and so ex­cellent and divine work of Reformation, which was at last brought to such perfection, that this Kirk was reformed, not onely in Doctrine and Worship, but also after many conferences and publik reasonings in divers Nationall Assemblies, joyned with solemn humiliations and prayers to God, the Discipline and Government of the Kirk, as the hedge and guard of the doctrine and worship, was prescri­bed according to the rule of Gods word, in the book of Po­licie and Discipline, agreed upon in the Assemblie 1578. and insert in the Register 1581. established by the Acts of the Assemblies, by the confession of Faith, sworn and sub­scribed at the direction of the Assembly, and by continuall practice of this Kirk. Secondly, that by men seeking their own things, and not the things of Iesus Christ; divers. Novations have been introduced to the great disturbance of this Kirk, so firmely once compacted, and to the endange­ring of Religion, and many grosse evils obtruded, to the ut­ter [...] of the work of Reformation [...] and change of the whole form of worship and f [...]ce of this Kirk, commanded to receive with reverence a new Book of Common prayer, as the onely form to be used in Gods publik worship, and [...] Contraveeners to be condignely censured, and punished: and after many supplications and complaints, knowing no other way for the preservation of Religion, were moved by God, and drawn by necessity, to [...] the Nationall Covenant [Page 13] of this Kirk and kingdome, which the Lord since hath blessed from Heaven, and to subscribe the confession of faith, with an Application thereof abjuring the great evils where­with they were now pressed, and suspending the practice of all Novations formerly introduced, till they should be tryed in a free generall Assembly: lastly, that some of his Ma­jesties Subjects of sundry ranks have by his Majesties com­mand subscribed and renewed the confession of Faith, with­out the former explication; And that both the one and the other Subscribers have subscribed the said Confession in this year, as it was professed, and according to the meaning that it had in this Kingdome, when it was first subscribed, [...]581. and afterward: The Assemblie therfore [...] by the Subscri­ption of his Majesties high Commissioner, [...] of the Lords of secret Councell, Sept. 22. 1638. and by the Acts of Coun­cell of the date foresaid, bearing that they should subscribe the said Confession, and ordaining all his Majesties Sub­jects to subscribe the same; according to the foresaid date and tenor, and as it was then professed within this King­dome; As likewise by the protestation of some of the Sena­tors of the Colledge of Iustice, when they were required to subscribe, and by the many doubtings of his Majesties good subjects, especially because the Subscribers of the Confessi­on in February 1638. are bound to suspend the approbati­ons of the corruptions of the Government of the Kirk▪ [...] they be tryed in a free generall Assemblie; finding it pro­per for them, and most necessarie and incumbent to them, to give out the true meaning therof, as it was at first profest, that all his Majesties Subjects in a matter so important, as is the publik Confession of Faith, so solemnly sworn and subscribed, may be of one mind and one heart, and have [...] satisfaction to all their doubts; and that the posteritie after­ward may be fully perswaded of the true meaning thereof, after earnest calling upon the Name of God, so religiously [...]tested in the said Confession, have entred into a diligent search of the Registers of the Kirk, and books of the Ge­nerall Assembly, which the greatest part of the Assembli [...] [Page 14] had not [...] before, and which by the speciall providence of God were [...]reserved, brought to their hands, and publikly acknowledged to be authentick, and have found that in the l [...]ter▪ Confession of the Kirk of Scotland; We professe 1. That we detest [...]ll Traditions brought into the Kirk, with­out or against the Word of God, and Doctrine of this re­formed Kirk. Next, We abhorre and detest all contrary Religion and Doctrine, but chiefly, all kind of Papistry in generall, and part [...] heads; as they were then dam­ned and [...] by the Word of God, and Kirk of [...] when the said Confession was sworn and sub­scribed, Anno 1580. & 1581. 1590. & 1591. Thirdly, That we detest [...] Antichrist, his worldly Mo­narchie, and wi [...]ed Hierchie [...]. Fourthly; That we joyne [...] selves to this reformed Kirk in Doctrine Faith, Religion, and Discipline; promising and swearing by the great Name of God, that we shall continue in the doctrine and discipline of this Kirk, and defend the same according to Vocation and Power, all the dayes of our life.

But so it is that Episcopall government is abhorred and detested, and the Government by Ministers and Elders, in Assemblies Generall and Provinciall, and Presbyteries was sworn to and subscribed, in subscribing that Con­fession, and ought to be holden by Vs, if we adhere to the meaning of the Kirk, when that Confession was framed, sword to, and subscribed; unto which we are obliged by the Nationall o [...]th and subscription of this Kirk, as is evident by the Acts of Generall Assemblies, agreed upon both before, [...] after the swearing and subscribing of the said Confessions; in the yeare above mentioned, and the book of Policie agreed upon in the Assemblie which was holden at Edinburgh the [...]4. of Aprill, and 24. of October▪ Anno 1578. [...] in the Register of the Kirk by Ordi­nance of the Assemblie holden as Glasgow 1581. and to be subscribed by all Ministers that then did bear, or thereafter were to bear office in this Kirk, by ordinance of the As­semblis [Page 15] holden the 4. of August at Edinburgh 1500. and at Edinburgh the 2. of Iuly 1591. but specially in the 2. 3. 4. 6. 7. and 11. Chapters of the said Book.

The Bishops being tollerate from the year 1572. till the Assembly holden in August 1575. And all this time the Assembly being wearied with the Complaints made against them, did enter in search of the office it self, and did agree in this, that the name of a Bishop is common to every one of them that hath a particular flock, over which he hath a particular charge, as well to preach the Word, as to mini­ster the Sacraments.

At the next Assembly which was holden in Aprill 1576. such Bishops were censured, us had not taken them to a par­ticular flock, in the generall Assemblie conveened in April, the year of God 1578. Sess. 4. Intimation was [...] as followeth.

For so much as the heads of the Policie being conclu­ded and agreed upon in the lust Assemblie, by the most part of the Brethren: certaine of the Brethren had some difficultie in the head, de Diacon [...]t [...]; whereupon further reasoning was reserved to this Assemblie. It is there­fore required, if any of the Brethren have any reasonable doubt or argument to propone, that he be ready the mor­row, and then shall be heard and resolved. In the 6. Sess. April 26. According to the Ordinance made the day before; all persons that had any doubt or argument to pro­pone, were required to propone the same: But none offered to propone any argument on the contrary. In the Assembly holden at Edinburgh, in October 1578. It was shown [...] by the Moderator thereof to the Noble, who were present, viz. My Lord Chancellor, the Earle of [...], my Lord Seat [...]n, and my Lord Lind [...]ey, What care and [...] die the Assemblie had taken to entertaine and keep the puritie of the sincere Word of God, unmixed with the inventions of their own heads; and to preserve it to the posteritie hereafter, and seeing that the true Religion is not able to continue, not enduce king without a good [Page 16] discipline and policie, in that part also have they imploy­ed their wit and studie, and drawn forth out of the pure fountaine of Gods Word, such a Discipline as is meet to remain in the Kirk.

In the same Assemblie, the speciall Corruptions were set down, which they craved such of the Bishops as would submit themselves to the Assemblie to remove, with pr [...] ­mise that if the generall Assemblie hereafter shall find fur­ther corruptions in the said Estate, then hitherto are ex­pressed, that they be content to be reformed by the said As­semblie, according to the Word of God, when they shall be required thereto. First, That they be content to be Pa­stors and Ministers of one flock: that they usurpe no criminall Iurisdiction, that they vote not in Parliament in the Name of the Kirk, that they take not up for the maintenance of their Ambition and Riotousnesse, the Emoluments of the Kirk, which may susteine many Pa­stors, the Schools, and the poore; but be content with reasonable Livings according to their office: that they claime not to themselves the titles of Lords Temporall, neither usurpe temporall Iurisdictions, whereby they are abstracted from their office; that they empyre not above the particular Elder-ships, but be subject to the same: that they usurpe not the power of the Presbyteries.

The Question being propounded by the Synod of Low­thian in the Assembly holden in Iuly 1579. a [...]ent a generall order to be taken for the erecting of Presbyteries, in places where publike exercise is used, untill the time the Policie of the Kirk be established by a Law: It is answered, The exercise may be judged to be a Presbyterie. In the As­semblie holden at Dundie in Iuly 1580. Sess. 4. The office of a Bishop was abolished by a particular Act; as appear­eth by the tenor of the Act following.

For so much as the office of a Bishop, as it is now used and commonly taken within this Realm, hath no sure warrant, Authoritie, nor good ground in the Scriptures, but is brought in by the folly and corruption of mans in­ventions, [Page 17] to the great overthrow of the Kirk of God, the whole Assemblie of the Kirk in one voyce, after libertie given to all men to reason in the matter, none opponing himself in defending the said pretended office, findeth and declareth the said pretended office, used and termed, as is abovesaid, unlawfull in it self, as having neither fundament, ground, nor warrant in the Word of God; And ordaineth that all such persons as brook or shall brook hereafter the said office, shall be charged simply to dimit, quit, and leave off the same, as an office whereunto they are not called by God: And such like to desist and cease from all preaching, ministration of the Sacraments, or using any way the office of Pastors, while they re­ceive de [...]ov [...], Admission from the generall Assembly, un­der the paine of excommunication to be used against them, wherein if they be found disobedient, or contra­dict this Act in any point, the sentence of Excommuni­cation, after due admonition, to be executed against them.

In the same Assembly holden Anno 1580. Sess. 10. This Article was appointed to be propounded to the King and Councell▪ that the book of Policie might be established by [...] Act of privie Councell, while a Parliament be holden, [...] which it might be confirmed by a Law.

The extent of the Act ma [...]e at Dundie, was interpreted and explained in the Assembly holden at Glasgow, in April 1581. Sess. 6. as followeth. Anent the Act made in the Assembly holden at Dundie against Bishops, be­cause some difficultie appeared to some Brethren to arise out of the word (Office) contained in the said Act, what should be meaned thereby, the Assembly consisting far the most part of such as voted, and were present in the Assembly at Dundie, to take away the said difficultie, re­solving upon the true meaning and understanding of the said Act, declare that they meaned wholly to condemne the whole estate of Bishops, as they are now in Scotland; and that the same was the determination and conclusion [Page 18] of the Assembly at this time, because some Brethren doubted whether the former Act was to be understood of the Spirituall function onely, and others alleaged that the whole office of a Bishop, as it was used, was damnable, and that by the said Act, the Bishops should be charged to dimit the same: this Assembly declareth that they meaned wholly to condemne the whole estate of Bishops, as they were then in Scotland, And that this was the meaning of the Assembly at that time.

The Kings Commissioner presented unto this Assemblie the Confession of Faith, subscribed by the King and his houshold, not long before together with a plot of the Pres­byteries to be erected, which is Registrate in the books of the Assemblie, with a Letter to be directed from his Ma­jestie to the Noblemen, and Gentlemen of the Countrey, for their action of Presbyteries, consisting of Pastors and Elders, and dissolutions of Prelacies, and with an offer to set forward the Policie untill it were established by Par­liament: The Kings letter subscribed by his hand, to the Noblemen and Gentlemen, was read in open audience of the whole Assembly.

This Assembly ordained the book of Policie to be insert in the Register by the Act following.

For asmuch as travell hath been taken in the framing of the Policie of the Kirk, and divers suits have been made by the Magistrate for Approbation thereof, which yet hath not taken the happy effect, which good men would wish, yet that the posteritie may judge well of the pre­sent Age, and of the meaning of the Kirk; the Assemblie hath concluded, that the book of Policie agreed to in di­vers Assemblies before, should be registrate in the Acts of the Kirk, and remaine therein ad perpetuam rei memo­riam: And the Copies thereof to be taken to every Pres­byterie; of which book the Tenor followeth, &c.

Immediately after the inserting of the book of Policie, called ther [...] the book of Discipline; The Assembly ordained that the Confession of Faith be subscribed as followeth.

[Page 19] Anent the Confession of Faith lately set forth by the Kings Majestie, and subscribed by his Highnesse: the Assembly in one voyce acknowledgeth the said Confes­sion to be a true, Christian, and faithfull Confession, to be agreed unto by such as truely professe Christ, and have a care of Religion, and the tenour thereof to be followed out efoldly, as the same is laid out in the said Proclama­tion, wherein that Discipline is sworn to.

In the generall Assemblie holden at Edinburgh in Octo­ber 1581. Sess. 10. Mr. Robert Montgomery is accused for teaching that discipline is a thing indifferent; Sess. 23. The Assemblie gave Commission to the Presbytery of Stirling, to charge Mr. Robert Montgomery to continue in the Ministry of Stirling, and not to meddle with any other office or function of the Kirk; namely, in aspiring to the Bishoprick of Glasgow, against the Word of God, and Acts of the Kirk, under the pain of Excommuni­cation.

In the same Assembly it is acknowledged that the estate of Bishops is condemned by the Kirk, Commission for ere­ction of moe Presbyteries was renewed: and a new Ordi­nance made for subscribing the Confession of Faith, and to proceed against whatsoever persons that would not aknow­ledge and subscribe the same.

In the Assembly holden in April 1582. there was a new Commission for erection of Presbyteries where none was at yet erected: Mr. Robert Montgomery, pretending to be Bishop of Glasgow, was ordained to be deposed and ex­communicate, except he gave evident t [...]kens of Repentance, and promise to superseed, which he did not: and therefore was excommunicate shortly after, according to the ordi­nance of this Assembly.

In the generall Assembly holden at Edinburgh 1582. The Generall Assembly gave Commission to some Presby­teries to try and censure such as were called Bishops, for the great slander arising by their impunitie. Commission was given at this Assembly to present some Articles to the [Page 20] Councell and estates, for approving and establishing by their authoritie the Presbyteries, the Synodall and Generall Assemblies in the 19. Sess. the Assemblie declared that [...] Bishop may [...]it upon the Councell in name of the Kirk.

In the Assemblie holden Anno 1586. these two Articles were agreed upon. First, It is found that all such as the Scripture appointeth Governors of the Kirk, to wit, Pa­stors, Doctors, and Elders may conveene to the generall Assemblies, and vote in Ecclesiasticall matters. Second­ly, There are foure Office-bearers set down to us by the Scriptures, to wit, Pastors, Doctors, Elders, and De [...] ­cons, and the name of Bishop ought not to be taken, as it hath been in the time of Papistry, but is common to all Pastors and Ministers.

In the Assembly holden Anno 1587. Sess. 8. It was or­dained that the admission of Mr. Robert Montgomery by the Presbyterie of Glasgow, suppose to the Temporalitie of the Bishoprick only, be undone and anulled with all possi­ble diligence, to the effect Slander might be removed from the Kirk. In Sess. 15. Mr. Rob. Pont she [...]ed the Kings presentation to the Bishoprick of Cathnes, and desired the Iudgement of the Assemblie. The Assemblie in their Let­ter to the Kings Majestie, declared that they judged the said Mr. Rob▪ to be a Bishop already, according to the do­ctrine of S. Paul: but as to that corrupt estate or office of these who hath been termed Bishops heretofore, they found it not agreeable to the word of God, and that it hath been [...] in divers Assemblies before.

In the Instructions given to such as were appointed to wait [...] upon the Parliament, it was ordained in the same Assembly, Sess. 17. th [...]t they be carefull that nothing b [...] admitted prejudiciall to the liberties of this Kirk, as it wa [...] concluded according to the Word of God in the generall As­semblies, preceeding the year 1584. but precisely to seek the same to be ratified in the Assemblie holden in March 1589. where the Articles were made for the subscribing the con­fession of Faith with a [...], it was [...] as followe [...]

[Page 21] For so much as the Neighbour Kirk in England is un­derstood to be heavily troubled for maintaining of the true discipline and government, whose griefes ought to move us: therefore the Presbyterie of Edi [...]burgh was ordained to comfort the said Kirk in the said matter.

In the Assemblie holden 1590. when the Confession of Faith was subscribed universally de novo, A ratification of the liberties of the Kirk in her Iurisdiction, Discipline, Presbyteries, Synods, and generall Assemblies, and an ab­rogation of all things contrary thereunto; was ordained to [...] sought both of the Councell and Parliament. In the next Session, it was ordained that the book of Discipline, speci­ally the controverted heads, should be subscribed by all Mi­nisters that beare, or hereafter were to beare office in this Kirk, and that they be charged by the Presbyteries under the paine of Excommunication: seeing the Word of God cannot be keeped in sincerity, unlesse the holy Discipline be preserved. The Presbyteries were ordained to get a Copie under the [...]lerks hand; there was sundry Copies subscri­b [...]d by the Ministers in the Presbyteries yet extant, as Had­dington, [...], &c. produced before the Assem­blie.

In the Assembly 1591. Sess. 4. The former Act anent the subscription to the book of Policie is renued, and penat­tis imposed upon the Moderator, in case it be not put in ex­ [...]cution.

In the Assembly 22. May 1592. Sess. 2. These articles were drawne up, That the Acts of Parliament made 1584. against the Discipline, Libertie, and Authoritie of the Kirk be [...], and the same Discipline, whereof the Kirk hath been in practice, precisely ratified; that Ab­ [...]ts, Pryo [...]ies, and other Prelats pretending the title of the Kirk, be not suffered in time comming. In the eleventh Session, the number of the Presbyteries were given up, and [...] in the Parliament immediately following. The fifth of Inne 1592. The Libertie, Discipline and Iurisdiction of the [...] Kirk in her Sessions, Presbyteries, [...] and [Page 22] generall Assemblies is largely ratified, as the same was used and exercised within this Realm, and all the Acts contrary thereto abrogate: the Kings prerogative declared not to be prejudiciall to the same priviledges grounded upon the Word of God: the former Commissions to Bishops 1584. rescinded, and all ecclesiasticall matters subjected to Pres­byteries, according to the discipline of this Kirk. Anno 1595. the Book of Policie with other Acts is ratified and ordained to be printed.

It was also cleared that Episcopacie was condemned in these words of the Confession, His wicked Hierarchie. For the Popish Hierarchie doth consist of Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons, that is Baptizing and Preaching Deacons: for so it is determined in the Councell of Trent, in the 4. Chap. De Sacramento ordinis, Cant. 6. Si quis dixerit in Ecclesiâ Catholicâ non esse Hierarchiam divinâ ordi­natione institutam, quae constat ex Episcopis, Pres­byteris & Ministris, anathema sit. Bellarmine like­wise in his Book De Clericis cap. 11. saith, That there are three Hierarchies in the Militant Kirk: The first of Bi­shops, the second of Priests, the third of Deacons; and that the Decons are also Princes, if they be compared with the people: This proposition following; Hierar­chia ecclesiastica constat ex Pontifice, Cardinalibus, Ar­chiepiscopis, Episcopis & Regularibus, was censured by the facultie of Theologie in the Vniversitie at Paris, as followeth; In ista prima propositione enumeratio mem­brorum Hierarchiae Ecclesiasticae seu sacri Principatus, divinâ ordinatione instituti est manca & redundans at (que) inducens in errorem contrarium determinationi sacrae Synodi Tridentinae: The proposition was defective, because it pretermitted the Presbyters and Deacons; it was censu­red as redund [...]nt, because it made the Hierarchie to consist of the Pope. Cardinals, Archbishops and Regulars; the Pope is not within the Hierarchie, Primats, Metropolitanes, and Archbishops, but as they are Bishops. Furthermore, this Hierarchie is distinguished in the Confession from the [Page 23] Popes Monarchie, and howbeit this Hierarchie be called the Antichrists Hierarchie, yet it is not to distinguish be­twixt the Hierarchie in the Popish Kirk, and any other as lawfull: but the Hierarchie wheresoever it is, is called his; as the rest of the Popish corruption are called his, to wit, In­vocation of Saints, Cannonization of Saints, Dedication of Altars, &c. are called his, not that there is another law­full Cannonization, Invocation or Dedication of Altars▪ whatsoever corruptio [...] was in the Kirk, either in Do­ctrine, worship, or Government, since the Mysterie of Ini­quitie began to work, and is retained, and maintained by the Pope, and obtruded upon the Kirk by his Authoritie are his. A passage also out of the History of the Councell of Trent was alleaged, where it is related, that the Councell would not define the Hierarchie by the seven Orders: we have in our Confession of Faith the manifold Orders set a part and distinguished from the Hierarchie, but as it is set down in the Cannon above cited: we have in the book of Po­licie or second book of Discipline, in the end of the second Chapter, this Conclusion agreed upon. Therefore all the ambitious Titles invented in the Kingdome of Antichrist, and in his usurped Hierarchie, which are not of one of these foure sorts, to wit, Pastors, Doctors, Elders and Deacons: together with the offices depending thereup­on, in one word ought to be rejected.

All which and many other Warrants being publikly read, and particularly at great length examined, & all objections answered in face of the Assemblie, all the members of the Assemblie being many times de [...]red and required to propon [...] their doubts and [...], and every one being heard to the full, and after much [...]gitation as fully satisfied; The Mo­derator at last exh [...]rting every one to declare his mind did put the master to voy [...]ing in these termes: Whether ac­cording to the Confession of Taith, as it was professed in the year 1580. 1581. and 1590. there be any other Bi­shop, but a Pastou [...] of a particular flock, having no po­wer nor preheminence nor power over his Brethren, [Page 24] and whether by that Confession, as it was then profes­sed, all other Episcopacie is abjured, and ought to be re­moved out of this Kirk.

The whole Assemblie most unanimously, without contra­diction of any one (and with the [...] of one [...]) professing full perswasion of mind, did voyce, That all E­piscopacie different from that of a pastour over a parti­cular flock, was abjured in this Kirk, and to be re­moved out of it. And therefore prohibits under Ecclesi­asticall [...] any to usurpe, accept, defend, or obey the pretended authority thereof in time comming.

Collected, visied, and extracted forth of the Register of the Acts of Assemblie by me Mr. A. Iohnstone Clerk thereto, under my signe and subscription manuall. A. Iohnstone Cler. Eccl.

Discussing the foure Considerations whereby they were moved to make this Act.

OUr Covenanters before they come to the point, in the beginning of the Act, have set down foure con­siderations whereby they alleage they were moved, yea forced of Necessity to conclude this Act against Bishops: and albeit they doe not directly appertaine to the sub­stance of the Controversie, yet we will shortly observe some few notes thereupon, to shew upon what imperti­nent Considerations this Act hath been grounded.

Their first Consideration is of the unspeakable good­nesse and great mercie of God, manifested to this Nation in that excellent and divine work of Reformation, brought to perfection, not onely in Doctrine and wor­ship, but also in Discipline and Government, &c.

Whereupon first we must remark, that if they had sori­ously considered that excellent work of Reformation, with due respect towards these worthy Reformers; (whom God used as instruments in effectuating that work) they should never have been moved thereby to have concluded such an Act as this, so directly contrary to their mind; for they at the Reformation did establish such a discipline and government in the Church accor­ding to Gods Word, as whereby one Pastour under the Name of Superintendent might lawfully have power and preheminence over other Brethren of the Ministrie, and over moe particular flock than one; which discipline and government continued with happie successe in the Church of Scotland, above thirty yeers after the Refor­mation: but they have made this Act quite contr [...]dicto­rie thereto, That it is not [...] for one Pastor [...] have power and preheminence over other Brethren, nor over moe particular flock than one.

2. That which they alleage that the second Book of [Page 26] Discipline is the perfection of the work of Reformation, can no wise be true; for that cannot rightly be called the perfection of any thing, which doth reverse and destroy the substance and nature thereof: but so it is that the Go­vernment established by the second book of Discipline, which was presbyteriall, including an absolute paritie a­mongst Pastors, did reverse and destroy the nature of the government established by the Reformation, which was Episcopall, including directly Superioritie of one Pastor over others; and therefore it could no wayes truely be called the perfection thereof.

3. It is false that this Discipline was established by the Confession of Faith, as shall be hereafter qualified by dis­cussing all the passages falsly and impertinently alleaged for the same: As likewise I see not how it can be true, that this book of Discipline was established by the con­tinuall practice of the Church; for some points thereof were never practised in the Church of Scotland, and those which were practised contrary to the estate of Bi­shops, were not o [...] long continuance; the practice of 8. or 10. or 15. yeers (which is the most I can reckon) can­not be accounted such a continued practice, as may make prescription against the continuall practice of the whole Christian Church for many hundred yeares before, and above six and thirtie yeeres since the approved practice of the principall points of their Discipline were disconti­nued, as we shall shew more particularly hereafter.

Their second Consideration is, that by mens seeking their own things and not the things of Christ, many In­novations and great evils have been obtruded upon the Church, to the utter undoing of the work of reformati­on, and change of the whole forme of worship and face of the Church.

To this we answer, that those Constitutions of the Church (which they call Novations and Evils, such as the establishing of Bishops; Baptisme in private places in [...]ase of Necessitie; reverent Kneeling in the Act of recei­ving [Page 27] the Supper of the Lord; not refusing to give it to the sick who earnestly desire it; the thankfull remem­brance of Gods speciall benefits by prayer; and preaching of the Word upon certaine appointed dayes; the Cate [...]hi­zing of yong children; and presenting of them to the Bi­shop to blesse them by prayer for increase of knowledge and continuance of Gods grace) are neither evils in them­selves, but tending to the removall of evils from the worship of God: as irreverence and contempt of the Sacraments, neglect of a thankfull remembrance of Gods speciall benefits, and ignorance in youth, and to the esta­blishing of great good in the Church, as sound Govern­ment, Reverence in the worship of God, thankfulnesse for Gods benefits, increase of knowledge in the yonger sort, and Spirituall comfort to Christian soules in Di­stresse: Neither are they to be accounted Novations, but rather a restoring of the ancient Constitutions and Cu­stomes of the Primitive Church in her purest times.

2. These things cannot be said to be obtruded upon the Church, which were received by the Consent both of the Church in Generall Assemblies, and by the whole bo­dy of the Kingdome in Parliament, as all those Constitu­tions which they challenge have been: but on the con­trary, those things are said more truely to be obtruded upon the Church, which are not brought in either by Assemblie or Parliament, yea directly against the Acts of both standing in force are violently urged upon the peo­ple, not onely to receive them simply, but likewise to swear solemnly to the truth thereof by the great name of God, and that not by any having authority or lawfull calling thereunto, but by certaine seditious private per­sons: and such are their seditious Covenant and imper­tinent applications, or false interpretations of the Con­fession of Faith; whereby many persons of sundry estates were by false allurements and violent threatnings, forced against their minds, to swear directly disobedience to the Kings Laws and Constitutions of the Church.

[Page 28] Finally, it is also false, that those things which they call Nova [...]ions, have undone the work of Reformation, and changed the whole forme of Gods worship or face of the Church: For the work of Reformation is rather restored by the establishing of Bishops, which was destroyed in that point by their Presbyteriall Government, and abso­lute paritie of Pastors; as we have touched already, and shall be more fully cleered hereafter. Then albeit some Circumstances and Ceremonies in Gods worship, and externall apparell of the Church have been changed, yet the substance and forme of Faith, Religion, worship, and the Beautifull face of the Spouse of Christ, the Church, doth notwithstanding remaine still without change or al­teration; which S. Austin Epist. 86. expresseth fitly, speaking of the like Novations in these words, Vna fides oft universa Ecclesiae, tametsi ipsa fidei unitas quibusdam diversis observationibus celebratur, quibus nullo modo quod in fide verum est impeditur, omnis enim pulchritudo filia re­gis intrinsecùs, illa autem observationes quae variè celebran­tur, in ejus veste intelliguntur. That is to say, The faith of the universall Church is one, although the unitie of the Faith it self be celebrated by some diversitie of observa­tions, whereby the truth of faith is not hindred; for all the Beautie of the Kings daughter is within, But these obser­vations which are diversly celebrated are in her apparell. And Tortullian lib. de virg. vela [...]d. faith, Regula quidem fidei una omninò est sola immobilis & irreformabilis, &c. And a little after, Hâc lege fidei manente, caetera jam disci­plinae & conversationis admittunt novitatem correctionis, operante & proficiente usque in finem gratia Dei. That is to say, The rule of Faith is altogether one only, unchange­able, and such as admitteth no reformation; this Law of Faith standing firme, the rest that concerne discipline and reformation may admit the Noveltie of Correction by the grace of God, which worketh a profitable progresse even to the end.

Their third Consideration is, that by the Kings urging [Page 29] of the Book of Common Prayer, they knowing no other way to preserve Religion, were moved by GOD, and urged by Necessity to renew the Nationall Covenant, which the Lord since hath blessed from heaven, and to subscribe the Confession of Faith with an Application, abjuring and suspending all Novations formerly introdu­ced, till they should be tried in a free generall Assembly.

To this I answer, first, that the Kings urging of the Book of Common prayer was not the true essentiall cause of their rebellious Covenant, but onely an occasion gree­dily apprehended by the Ring-leaders, to make that a pre­text to stirre up the people to follow them in their Re­bellion, which they had before purposed in their heart: For, if it had been the true cause when the King dischar­ged that book, their Rebellion had there ceased; for sub­lata vera causa tollitur effectus, the true cause being taken away the effect must needs cease: But so it is that their Re­bellion did never shew it self in so damnable effects, as it did after the discharge of the book of Common prayer, and granting of all their petitions. 2. The urging of that Book containing no impious thing against God, nor hurtfull to true Religion, could not be a just motive to move them by any Necessitie to such an action, as by the fundamentall Laws of the Kingdome is declared to be high Treason; when as Subjects without permission or knowledge of the Kings Majestie, doe combine them­selves in a mutuall band of maintenance against all per­sons whatsoever, not excepting the King their Sove­raigne; yea, it is most evident that this Rebellious Cove­nant was intended against the Kings Majestie directly, and against him onely; albeit they cunningly dissemble and pretend the contrary; for from whom could so ma­ny potent Noblemen and gentlemen of such worth, with so great a number of their followers, possibly or by any liklihood fear any danger or harme in their persons or estates, for refusing the Book of Common prayer, or other things which they call Innovations, urged chiefly [Page 30] by the Kings Authoritie and speciall Command, if it were not from the King himself; Could they fear any harme from thirteen or foureteen Bishops, for the most part old decrepit and impotent men? or was there any, the smallest appearance of externall Invasion, or inward Conspiracie in the Kingdome, before they made it by their Covenant? so it is manifest that it was from the King onely they feared danger, being conscious to them­selves of their mis-demeanors and Rebellious intentions, by which it is more than evident, that the band of mu­tuall defence was onely intended against the Kings Ma­jesties self.

3. Was there no other way to preserve Religion, but by Disobedience and Rebellion? it is a dangerous and harmefull physick, which prescribes a remedie worse than the disease it self: the greatest danger which could come to Religion by this Book, was only in circumstan­ces, Ceremonies, and some mis-interpreted words, which being rightly understood could not have been rejected by peaceable, wise and understanding men, they might have been better interpreted or otherwise corrected, than by open disobedience to God and his Anointed: as Obedi­ence (according to the saying of the Prophet) is better than sacrifice: so Disobedience and Rebellion bringeth more danger and harme to Religion, than the alteration of some indifferent Ceremonies and Circumstances can be able to doe, as any wise man may consider by the misera­ble effects which ordinarily accompanieth Rebellion.

4 It is false also that they were moved thereto by God. For God is the God of order, and the God of peace, the author and commander of obedience unto Superiors; and therefore cannot be called without blasphemie, the author of Rebellion, Disobedience, Disorder, and Confu­sion in Church or Common-wealth, such as this Cove­nant is in it self, and hath produced all those evils as the proper effects thereof: It is the doctrine of Anabaptists and fanaticall Libertines to ascribe all the foolish conceits [Page 31] of their braines to the motion of Gods Spirit: But cer­tainly, it is more probable that they have been moved to this Rebellious Covenant by that Spirit, whereby Chore, Dathan, and Abiram were moved to make insurrection, drawing all the Congregation of Israel to Rebellion against Moses and Aar [...]n, since both the Acts are very like one to another, as is evident by considering the cir­cumstances. That Traitor Raviliack who killed Henry the Fourth of France, was a confident in his imaginati­on; affirming, even to the very death, that he was not moved to that Fact by any par [...]ular respect, or instiga­tion of another person, but onely by God and the Vir­gin Mary.

5. It is false also that they were thereto drawn by Ne­cessitie; it was thought indeed that those of Lower Ger­many were drawn by some Necessity, to confederate themselves together against the King of Spaine, (who was their Prince indeed) yet neither he, nor any of his Predecessors had such absolute Soveraigntie over them, as our King hath over Scotland; because he violented their conciences, compelling them not onely to forsake, but also to forswear the true Religion, and imbrace Po­pish Idolatrie; not by Proclamations onely, but by fire and sword, and cruell torments in the Inquisition; wher­by many thousands of them were put to death most cruel­ly, before ever they made any combination amongst themselves, or refused due Obedience to their Prince. Al­though neverthelesse many wise and learned men are of opinion, that their rising in Armes against their Prince, was not altogether justifiable before God: much lesse then can our Covenanters alleage truely, that they were drawn by any Necessitie to this Rebellious combination; since for the refusall of that book, never a man in Scot­land had lost his life or estate, or a drop of his bloud, or was fined in a farthing, or had his body imprisoned, or a haire of his head touch'd before that Covenant.

6. They alleage that this was a renewing of the Na­tionall [Page 32] Covenant injoyned by King Iames, which is most false; for it was a plaine contracting of a new one, dif­ferent in Substance from that which was sworn either the year 1580. or 1590. as they know well, and their own conscience beares them witnes. The substance of a Co­venant consists 1. in the Authoritie whereby it is con­cluded. 2. In the parties betwixt whom. 3. In the mat­ter or Articles whereunto they bind themselves. 4. In the end for the which it is contracted; but in all these points, this Covenant is different from the former injoy­ned by King Iames of h [...]ppy memory.

First, the Kings Covenant was injoyned by the Autho­ritie of the King and his Councell, who only under God hath power to bind all his Subjects: but this was onely framed and urged by private men, upon those, over whom they had no lawfull Authoritie civill or ecclesiasticall.

Secondly, in that Covenant the parties were the Kings Majestie our dread Soveraign on th'one part, and all his Subjects on th'other part: in this, the parties are some particular private persons, Noblemen, Barrons, Gentle­men, Ministers, Burgesses, and Commons amongst them­selves, excluding the Kings Majestie.

Thirdly, the matter and Articles whereunto all are bound in the first Covenant, are the maintenance of true Religion according to the Confession of Faith, Abju­ration of all Antichristian and Popish errors, the defence of the Kings Majesties person, Authoritie and estate; but in this, albeit they pretend to bind themselves by oath to the defence of all these, yet is it but a pretext to cover their Rebellion, and Protestatio contra factum: for it is evident that they have in this very Fact, many wayes in­croached upon the Kings Majesties Authoritie and estate, contrarie to the fundamentall Laws of the Kingdome; but the principall Articles whereto they bind themselves is, 1. To stand together in the mutuall defence one of an­other against all persons whatsoever. 2. To the main­tenance of their false Applications of the Confession of [Page 33] Faith added thereunto, like the Glosse of Orleans, destroy­ing the meaning of the Text. 3. To forbear the practice of all those things which they call Novations, constituted by the consent of the Church, ratified in Parliament, and commanded by the King, which is directly to swear dis­obedience both to the King and the Church, and conse­quently to God also. 4. To reject the present Govern­ment of the Church established by the Kings authoritie, consent of the Church in divers generall Assemblies, and of the whole estates in Parliament: finally, to sup­presse one of the three estates o [...] Parliament, thereby de­stroying the fundamentall Laws of the Kingdome.

Fourthly, the end of the first Covenant was to main­taine peace and concord both in Church and Common­wealth (which was many wayes disturbed in those times) and defence of the Kingdome from externall Invasions and inward Seditions, which were upon too evident grounds then feared: but in this their Covenant the chief intended end was to disturbe the peace both in the Church and Kingdome, by stirring up seditious factions therein against the King and his Loyall Subjects, that in those troubles (as fishing in troubled waters) they might work their own particular ends: and not to exclude ex­ternall invasions, but rather to open a gate for strangers to enter, and if their secret practices with the King of France, and the Estates of Holland could have prevailed (as they were confident they should) to have brought in forraigne forces within the bowells of the Kingdome; But praised be God, those Estates were wiser than so, as to assist Subjects in their unjust Rebellion against their naturall Prince.

Finally, we must not omit their foolish and vaine boast­ing here, and in their other pamphlets often repeated us (que) a [...] Nauseam, that their Rebellious Covenant hath been by the Lord blessed from Heaven; they conceive so, be­cause of the great appla [...]se it hath had amongst themselvs, and the prosperous succe [...]e they have found in their en­terprizes [Page 34] against the Kings Castles, in putting their Ar­mies to the field, and harming the Kings loyall Subjects without present damage to themselves: but let not him that putteth on his Armour boast himself, as he that put­teth it off; Chore, Dathan and Abirars had good successe at the first, and drew after them in their Rebellious Cove­nant two hundred and fiftie Princes of the Assemblie, famous in the Congregation, and men of Renoune▪ as it is written, Numb. 16. 2. And a great many of the peo­ple against Moses and Aaron, the Prince of the people, and the high Priest of the Lord whom God had set over them; So that Moses being greatly astonished, fell down most abjectly upon his face before them, and could not know how to represse that Sedition, except the Lord had comforted and directed him: these men might have thought as our Covenanters doe, that the Lord had bles­sed their enterprize from Heaven; yet ere it was long they found Gods just Iudgement and Curse both from Heaven and Earth, for the Earth swallowed up some of them quick, and others were destroyed by fire from Hea­ven: Let all Seditious Rebells therefore learne by this example to repent in time, and not to boast too confi­dently of their present successe, but fear the end.

The fourth and last Consideration is, because his Maje­sties Commissioners and Councell, by the Kings Com­mandment, and others of his Subjects by ordinance of the Councell, had subscribed the Confession of Faith without their Applications; and that both the one & the other Sub­scribers had done it according to the date, tenor and mea [...] ­ing it had An. 1581. there, for they considered that it was expedient and proper for the generall Assemblie to de­clare the true meaning thereof, as it was at first professed, to the end that all his Majesties Subjects may be one mind and heart, and have full satisfaction to all their doubts.

Concerning this Consideration, we must observe that howsoever the subscribers of that rebellious Covenant did understand the Confession of Faith, yet those who [Page 35] did subscribe the Kings Covenant at his Majesties com­mand, both first and last, could not lawfully swear to it in any other sence than the King who required the oath did understand the same; for this is most certaine, That all oathes required by a magistrate should be taken in the direct and explained meaning of him who required the oath: But it is evident that his Majestie declared himself plain­ly enough, that he did not require his Councell, nor his other subjects, to sweat this Confession in such meaning as therby either Episcopacy▪ or the other established Consti­tutions of the Church should be abjured; for otherwise, it had been a deluding of his Majesties Command by a Iesui­ticall equivocation, who teach their Supposts that Axiom, Vnto dangerous interrogatories one may frame to himself a safe sense, and swear thereto, thought it be contrary to the meaning of him who required the Oath. Therefore I cannot conceive, that those judicious and discreet Noblemen would practise Iesuiticall tricks to elude his Majesties Command, in swearing that Confession and Covenant in another sense than they knew his Majestie intended.

2. Albeit, that in their subscribing and swearing they had all added expresly that restriction, According to the meaning it had Anno 1581. yet will it not follow that they had any doubt of the true meaning, for we must pre­suppone that all the Kings loyall Subjects did conceive, that that Covenant was no otherwise understood at that time by King Iames of happy memory, than it is now by King Charles; to wit, in such a sense as might stand with Episcopacie, neither could it be otherwise understood as we shall declare more fully hereafter: and therefore, those needed not this Act of Assemblie to resolve them of their doubt in this point; and certainly, this Assembly hath casten more doubts and scruples in the hearts of men, than ever they shall be able to resolve, untill it shall be decla­red Null, as indeed it is already really null in it self. It were an infinit labour to examine all the falshoods of these Considerations, since there is scarce a line or a sen­tence [Page 36] therein, which doth not containe divers falshoods; yet those which we have remarked are sufficient to de­clare how unfirme those considerations are to ground thereupon a Necessitie of concluding this Act.

Containing the state of the Question concerning Episcopacie, as it is here condemned.

HAving already discussed the falshood and imperti­nencie of those foure considerations, laid down for grounds in their preface to the Act; we must now come to discusse the Act it self: But first of all, before we enter to the reasons pr [...] or contra, the state of the Controversie must be first set down, for there is nothing more requisite to the clear deciding of any Controversie, than the right stating of the Question; but chiefly in these Controver­sies which are to be determined by voyces or suffrages in a grave Assemblie of the Church, wherein every one ought to give his voyce, not according to the example or injunction of other men, but according to a certaine knowledge and conscience before God: therefore the Question must be cleer without ambiguitie, either in the matter, or in the words and phrases; It is a trick of So­phisters to propose a Question or determine it in obscure and ambiguous termes, which may be drawn to contrary senses; all such Questions ought to be plaine, clear and simple, and such as one may easily conceive, and answer thereto directly and Categorically.

But in this Act of the Assemblie the proposition of the Question is set down, in such ambiguous words and in­tricate phrases, that one can hardly either understand the meaning, or give a direct answer▪ And albeit the pro­position of the Question be set down in the end of the Act after all the Reasons, yet we must consider it in the [Page 37] beginning, to the end we may try how pertinently or im­pertinently the reasons alleaged, doe conclude the deter­mination of the Assemblie: It is proposed therefore by the Moderator in these words, Whether according to the Confession of Faith, as it was professed in the year 1580. 1581. and 1590. there be any other Bishop, but a Pastor of a particular flock, having no preheminence nor power over his Brethren; and whether by that Confession, as it was then professed, all other Episcopacie is abjured, and ought to be removed out of this Kirk.

First, this proposition of the Question is altogether captious, including a Sophisme à multis interrogatis; for there are three severall Questions expresly included therein, which are so different in Nature, that one can­not possibly answer to all in one manner, 1 Whether ac­cording to the Confession of faith, as it was professed in the year 1580. 1581. & 1590. there be any other Bishop, but a Pastor of a particular flock, having no preheminence [...] power over his Brethren: to this, the voycers accor­ding to the meaning of the Covenanters behoved to an­swer negativè, that there was no other Bishop. 2. Whe­ther by that Confession, as it was then professed, all other Episcopacie is abjured: Certainely, all Covenanters keep­ing their own grounds behoved to answer to this affir­mativè, that all other was abjured. 3. Whether all other Episcopacie behoved to be removed out of this Kirk, To this Question also they could not answer but affirma­ [...]vè.

Is it not then evident? that such a question as this [...]ould not be put to voycing, except by those who had a mind to intangle simple men by a Sophysticall proposi­tion; for in all matters which are to be determined by voyces, the question ought to be so proposed, as the voi­cers may answer by a simple affirmation, or by a simple negation, and as it is called in the Schools Categoricè; otherwise, there behoved to be a strange confusion in di­ [...]tinguishing the voices. But to this Question as it was [Page 38] proposed, no one Categoricall answer could be given by any, but they behoved of necessitie to answer negativè to one part, and affirmativè to another. I have known the Moderator to have been a quick and solid Logician, and I should marvell what could make him oversee himself so grosly in such a weightie busines against all true Logick, if I did know that passions and affections will often miscarry wise and learned men into great absurdities: or, that perhaps the Question was so framed at the tables of the Covenant, and appointed to be thus proposed at the Assembly; therefore he could not alter nor change the forme, because of his Oath of obedience to them as his Superiors, although he knew it was against all Logick and good reason.

But lest they should object, that if the Questions though many in number, have such a necessary and essentiall co-herence together, that the one being granted, the rest must be necessarily granted also, or that upon the Nega­tive of the one, the affirmative of the other dependeth by necessary consequence; then it is not captious, but one answer may suffice for all. To this we answer, that these Questions have no such necessary Cohesion together, for although the answer of the first were granted to be true, yet the answer to the second may be false, & albeit the se­cond be granted, the third may be false: for first, although it were granted that by the Confession of Faith, there were no other Bishops but such as were Pastors over a particu­lar flock, and had no preheminence over their Brethren; yet is it not necessary to grant, that all others were abju­red; for albeit there be no other Bishops expressed in the Confession of Faith, yet that will not exclude all others that are not expressed, yea even in divine Scripture; al­though in matters necessary to Salvation, Argumentum negativum à Scripturis be good and valid, it is not written, Ergo it is not necessary to Salvation; yet is it not so in all other particulars, not necessarie to Salvation, it is not written Ergo it is not; much lesse can such a reason [Page 39] be necessarie in humane writs, such as the Confession of Faith is. First, because all humane writs are subject to error, and not infallibly true; then because confessions doe not comprehend every point, which may by any be cal­led in controversie, but those onely which are chiefly controverted with their principall Adversaries: Now this point of the preheminencie of Bishops, &c. was not a point controverted, betwixt the reformers of Religion who set down the Confession, and their Adversaries the Papists; And therefore needed not to be mentioned in the Confession, and by consequent, albeit there was no such Bishops according to the Confession; yet it is not necessary that they should be abjured. Then there is as little coherence betwixt the last two questions, for al­though it had been abjured at that time, yet will it not follow necessarily, that it be now removed out of the Church for two reasons; first, because then it might have been abjured wrongfully and out of Ignorance; but after­wards men comming to better and sounder knowledge, that which rashly hath been abjured before, may be law­fully restored now. Next, because if there had been a Law and Constitution against it, for certaine reasons of not expediencie, the Church might have abjured it for that time; yet that Law being abrogated by lawfull Authori­tie, it may be received againe by the Church: for it is holden as granted by all, that Oaths given to humane po­sitive Laws, either Civill or Ecclesiastick, obliges no longer than the Law stands in force; Now therefore since the Law forbidding preheminencie of one Pastor over others (if any such Law was) being now abrogated, and the contrarie established, this preheminencie ought not to be removed now, though formerly abjured.

Secondly, There is great Ambiguities in the termes of the proposition themselves, yea, almost every word hath its own Ambiguitie: for 1. the word Confession is am­biguous, for although there be two writs which by some are called Confessions, yet there is one onely proper and [Page 40] perfect profession of Faith of the Church of Scotland, neither ought there to be any more in one Church; to wit that large Confession set down at the beginning of the reformation, wherein is contained all the positive Do­ctrine maintained by that Church, which was acknow­ledged & received in the general Assembly, An. 1560. and ratified by the whole body of the kingdom in Parliament, 1567. and inserted verbatim in the body of the Act: that other which is called the negative Confession is only an Appendix of the former, containing an abjuration of cer­taine speciall Errors of the Romane Church, so it is doubtfull which of those Confessions is here understood. 2. There is likewise an Ambiguity in that word, Accor­ding to the Confession; because it may be understood di­versly, for either it implies that it is expresly contained therein, and so it is properly according to the same; or otherwise it may signifie onely that it is not contrary thereunto, though not particularly expressed: now Epi­scopacie in the first sense perhaps is not according to the Confession, because it is not expressly mentioned therein, which is no absurditie as we have shown before; yet is it according to it in the second sense, because not contrary thereunto. 3. There is ambiguitie in the words (As it is professed Anno 1580. &c.) For either it must be sig­nified as it was then proposed in writ or print, and so certainly it was no otherwise professed at that time than it was from the beginning, and is now at this present▪ but hath been ever conserved unaltered, or uncorrupted in the Registers of the Church and Kingdome, so that the particular restriction to those years 1580. 1581. 1590. is needlesse and superfluous: or by (Profession) is signi­fied the sense or interpretation thereof, as it was under­stood and interpreted An. 1580. and thus also that restricti­on of the profession to those years, is no lesse superfluous; for it could not be, or at least ought not to have been by any otherwise interpreted in these years, or now, then it was understood at the beginning by those who set it [Page 41] down, for (as we say) unusquis (que) est optimus suorum ver­borum interpres, and the first Reformers, who framed that Confession, did interpret it in the first book of Discipline, and Acts of divers Assemblies thereafter, so as it did ap­prove the power of one Pastor over others: Therefore, if any did interpret it in a contrary sense, they wronged greatly the worthy Reformers of the Religion, and we are not now obliged to imitate them in their wrongfull dealing. 4. There is Ambiguitie likewise in the word (Bishop) which sometimes is taken in a generall sense, as it is attributed to every Pastor in the Church who hath power to oversee the actions of the people in Spirituall affaires: sometimes more particularly, as it signifieth those that have Iurisdiction both over moe pastors and people of a certaine bounds called a Diocese, as it hath been taken in all Churches since the Apostles dayes, untill this for­mer age, but because this is discussed in the Question it self I speak no more of it.

Finally, there is Ambiguities in those words (A par­ticular flock,) for a Diocese is the particular flock of a Bishop, aswell as a Parish is the particular flock of a Mi­nister: many more Ambiguities might be remarked in the words of this Question, which for briefues we omit here, but shall be (God willing) discussed as occasion serves in the subsequent discourse.

Thirdly, it is also subtle Sophysticall dealing, that they have drawn the Question à Thesi ad Hypothesin; they doe not aske whether Episcopacie be lawfull in it self or not, but whether it should be retained or removed, in regard of the Confession of Faith, and of the Covenant, and that only as the Confession was understood An. 1580. 1581. & 1590. involving the Question in divers intricate suppo­sitions, which they have done subtilly for their own ends: first, because they were not able to bring any solid testi­mony of Scripture, or approved Fathers, or practice of true antiquitie, to prove the unlawfulnesse of that office; and therefore, neither in this Act, nor in any other Act of [Page 42] this Assembly is there one syllable produced out of Gods Word to approve their conclusions, but all their proofes are from their Negative Confession of Faith, impudently wrested from the true meaning thereof, from the Oath of the Covenant strangely mis-applyed, and from certaine Acts of late Generall Assemblies; which all at the best are but humane testimonies, and such manner of proofes is not consonant to their ordinary exclamations against hu­mane ordinances and Traditions of men, continually pre­tending to all their speeches and actions, Gods Word, and Conscience which only is to be grounded thereupon. 2. They have framed the Question so, restricting the mean­ing of the Confession to the year 1580. &c. because it is evident that from the reformation untill that time, they could not alleage any Act of Assembly or Book of Di­scipline, shewing that the Church had any such intenti­on as absolutely to condemne Episcopacie: but by the contrary, the Church had declared both by the first book of Discipline, and Acts of divers Assemblies (as shall be fully made clear) that she did so explaine her meaning in the Confession of Faith concerning the point of Govern­ment, as she did approve expresly this power and prehe­minence, and charge over moe particular [...]ocks con­demned by this Act. 3. They framed the question in this manner, to strike a terror of a fearfull perjurie upon the weak Consciences of these who could not discerne right­ly either the quality of the Oath or the matter thereof; to make them more plyable to their Rebellious projects, perswading them, that the swearers themselves and all their posteritie were bound to the observation of that Oath, according to their false interpretation, notwith­standing of any interveening Law or Constitution absol­ving them from it; and that this fearfull perjurie could never be expiated, except they renewed their Oath to that Covenant, together with their false Applications and perverse interpretations, farre different, yea flat con­trary to their meaning who framed the Confession of [Page 43] Faith and injoyned the Oath, which as we shall shew, is but an Imaginarie fear.

It had been more plaine dealing, and fitter to have re­moved all doubts, if they had proposed the Question more simply, and in more perspicuous termes, asking, Whether the Office of a Bishop be lawfull in it self or not; for, if it had been solidly proven by Gods Word to be unlawfull, then it had been evident also, that the Oath whereby it was abjured, was lawfull; and no man could have doubted but that Oath did bind, both the Actuall swearers and all their posterity to the observation thereof: but if it had been found by cleer Scripture that the Office of a Bishop had been lawfull, then no man could have doubted but the Oath whereby they did abjure it was unlawfull; and therefore, that no man was bound to the observation thereof, but by the contrary, all were bound in Consci­ence to break such an Oath: or, if it had been found of middle nature, neither simply unlawfull, nor necessarily lawfull at all times, but a thing indifferent, in the power of the Church and Supreme Magistrate, to make a Law either establishing or abolishing the same, who might also require an Oath of all to observe that Law: then certain­ly, no man could have doubted but that so long as that po­sitive Law stood in force, that Oath did bind all Sub­jects to the observation of it; as likewise that the Law being abolished by lawfull Authoritie, no man was fur­ther bound, but was ipso facto absolved from the Oath. So the Question being propounded in this manner, and re­solved any other wayes it had cleered all doubts and mo­ved all to be of One mind and one heart; but being pro­pounded in their manner, no resolution did take away all doubts (as they promised to doe by this Act) but rather did multiplie them and make them greater: For albeit it had been cleered, that Episcopacie had been abjured by the Oath of the Covenant (which notwithstanding is not done) yet a greater doubt remained, whether that Ab­juration was lawfull or not; which could not be resol­ved [Page 44] except it had been first made manifest, that Episco­pacie was unlawfull in it self by Gods Word.

Yet that we may follow them in their own method, and reason upon their own grounds, we shall leave at this time the probations which may be brought for the office of a Bishop from Gods Word, and practice of the Primi­tive Church, which hath been sufficiently performed by divers learned Divines, to the which the best of that Sect could never sufficiently answer. Taking then the Que­stion as it is set downe by them, there are two points which they onely here condemne in that office; first, that they have charge over moe Parishes than one, secondly, that they have power and preheminencie over their Bre­thren, we shall make it therefore evident, 1. That by the Confession of Faith, Books of Discipline, Acts of Ge­nerall Assemblies, and long continued practice of the Church of Scotland at the reformation and many yeers after, this preheminence and power of one Pastor over others, and charge over moe parishes than one, hath been acknowledged to be lawfull. Secondly, we shall shew that none of those passages brought by them, at length in the Act it self, (which doubtlesse were the strongest they could find) forth of the abjuration in the Covenant, books of Discipline, and Acts of former generall assem­blies, doe prove their conclusion; but that all of them are either falsly or impertinently cited, farre by, or con­trary to the meaning of the Authors, and therefore that all of them are Sophystically alleaged.

That this preheminence and power of Bishops here questioned is conforme to the true Confession of Faith of the Church of Scotland, to the first Book of Discipline and the long continued practice of the Church.

FIrst, we must observe that there are two Confessions of Faith so called in the Church of Scotland, as we have remarked before, to wit, that large Confession, esta­blished at the first reformation, framed by Iohn Knox, and other faithfull Ministers Anno 1560. Confirmed by di­vers generall Assemblies, received by the whole body of the Kingdome, ratified by Act of Parliament 1567. and inserted in the body of the Act, which is the only proper Confession of the Church of Scotland, containing all the positive grounds of the Reformed Religion, especially in matters of Faith, controverted betwixt us and the Papists, and other Hereticks; the other called common­ly the Negative Confession, which is not properly a per­fe [...]t Confession, but an Appendix of the former, framed not by any Ordinance of the Assemblie of the Church, but by the appointment of the Kings Majestie and Councell; first sworn and subscribed by the Kings Majestie himself and his houshold, then by an Act of Councell dated the 5. of March 1580. It was ordained that all persons with­in the Kingdome should swear the same; and for more commodious doing thereof, it was presented by his Majesties Commissioners to the Assemblie holden at Glasgow, 1581. that they might approve it, and injoyne every Minister to see the Oath taken by all their Parishioners, and it did containe an abjuration of most speciall grosse errors of Poperie: the same ab­ju [...]ation was againe commanded by the King to be re­newed in the year 1590. (when as that Conspiracie of [Page 46] some Papists trafficking with the King of Spaine was dis­covered) having annexed thereto a generall band or Co­venant, whereby all the Subjects bindes themselves with the Kings Majestie for maintenance of true Religion, ac­cording to the Confession of Faith set down at the first re­formation, and for the defence of the Kings Majesties person, Authoritie and estate, against all Enemies within and without the Kingdome; to the end that true profes­sors, and his Majesties loyall Subjects might more easily be discerned from hypocriticall Papists and seditious Re­bells.

Now as for that onely perfect Confession there is no clause nor Article therein, which either expresly, or by any probable consequence condemneth this power and preheminencie here controverted: neither have they been so bold, as to alleage any passage out of the same; nor was it the meaning of those godly and learned persons who set it down, and proposed it to be received by the Church and Kingdome of Scotland; nor the meaning of the Church and Kingdome who accepted and approved the same, as the true Doctrine proved by Gods Word, thereby to condemne any such thing: yea, it is most evi­dent that they had a quite contrary meaning, as they themselves did publikly declare in the first book of Di­scipline, shewing therein what manner of Government and Policie they doe require in the true reformed Church; to wit, that it should be governed by Superintendents in every Province, having power and preheminence over all the Ministers and all the Parishes within their bounds: for this book of Discipline was framed by the same per­sons who set down that confession of Faith, and at the same very time or shortly thereafter; and that by the command and direction of the great Councell of Scotland, admitted to the Government, by common cons [...]nt of the whole estates, in [...]he Queens absence, (being for the time in France) and ratifi [...] by Act of Councell, and manuall subscriptions of the Counsellors, and of divers other [Page 47] men of worth the 17. of Ianuary 1560. approved by ma­ny generall Assemblies, and the continuall practice of the Church for twice as many years thereafter, as Presbyteri­all Governmental remained in force.

Then that we may see how farre this power of Super­intendents did extend, we must consider that the first Re­formers of Religion, (because of the detestable enormi­ties of Papisticall Bishops, which made their persons, offices, and very names to be detested) out of a certaine zealous scrupulositie, would not at first give the title of Bishops to the rulers of the Church; yet neverthelesse by the example of many other reformed Churches, gave to those who were appointed to their charge a title of the same signification, calling them (Superintendents:) So changing a proper Greek word into a barbarous Latine, for the Greek word [...], and the Latine word Su­perintendens doe both signifie one thing; to wit, such a one as is set over others to oversee their actions.

Albeit by this book of Discipline, the whole Kingdome was divided in ten Dioceses, expresly so called) and over every Diocese a Superintendent appointed to be set; yet in all the books of Assemblies we find onely foure who carried expresly this title, to wit, M [...]. Iohn Spotswood (father to the late deceased Iohn Archbishop of St. An­ [...]ws) called Superintendent of L [...]thran, or Edinburgh: Iohn Areskin of Diune Superintendent of Angus and Mearnes, or of Brechin: Mr. Iohn Wonram Superinten­dent of Fyfe or S. Andrews: M. Iohn W [...]llocks Superin­tendent of the West or Glasgow: those who were set over the rest of the Dioceses were called Commissioners, either because at that time they could not fi [...]d so many sufficient men, or for lack of sufficient meanes to maintaine the estate of Superintendents, or as some rather thinke, be­cause they esteemed this too absolute a Title, and neere in signification to the title of Bishop; therfore they thought it more fit to call them Commissioners, as importing morse a dependencie upon the generall Assemblie of the Church, [Page 48] from which they received Commission to exercise their charge, not for any definite time, but ad vitam or ad cul­pam. Those same are at sometimes called Visitores by a word of the like signification with Episcopus, for [...] signifieth likewise a Visitor, and [...] Visita­tion, as 1 Pet. [...]. 12. [...] is translated by all interpreters in dievisitationis, and so the Hebrew word [...] from the known word [...] visitavit by the Septuagints is translated [...], and by Latines Inspector, Visitator or Praefectus: Howsoever they were diversly named they had all a like power and Iurisdiction, which was no lesse then in the Church of Scotland, than the power which the Bishops had in the ancient Church; or in the Church of Scotland these many yeers by-gone, as may appeare by this paralell, betwixt the power of Bishops and the pow­er of Superintendents.

A Paralell betwixt the power of Bishops and the power of Superintendents.

FIrst, as every Bishop hath his own Diocese, over the which he hath Superioritie and Iurisdiction, and ther­in a speciall Citie, for his sea and place of Residence, called the Metropolitan or Cathedrall Citie. So every [...] by the first book of Discipline Cap. 5. Art. 2. [...] pointed to him his own Diocese, to have [...] power over all persons both pastors and people [...] that bounds, and therein a certaine place of ordi­nary residence, called there the Superintendents towne; which for the most part were the same Cities, from which the Bishops of Scotland are now denominated.

Secondly, As all the Clergie in every Diocese are bound to give [...] obedience to their ordinary Bishop, according to [...] Canons of the Church. Right so by a speciall [...] Generall Assembly at Edinburgh, Iuly [Page 49] 30. 1562. It is concluded by the whole ministers there As­sembled, that all Ministers shall be Sub [...]ct to their Super­intendents in all lawfull [...] as well in the book of Discipline, as in [...] Election of Superintendents; which is no other [...] but Ca­nonicall obedience.

Thirdly, As all Bishops are to be [...] of Generall or Nationall Councels, [...] been in all ages, and needed not any [...] thereto, from the time that they were [...] consecrated to that office. So likewise in all [...] Su­perintendents and Commission [...] [...] were constant principall members of [...] Assemblies, and needed not any particular Commission thereto, but being once admitted to the office, were ever acknow­ledged thereafter, and received without any other Com­mission; as is evident by that Assemblie at Edinburgh Iuly 1568. wherein the members of the Generall Assem­blie are divided in two Ranks, some are appointed to be ordinary and perpetuall members, as Superintendents and Commissioners of Provinces; the other sort are mutable, as Commissioners of Churches, Vniversities, Townes, and Provinces; the first had no need of particular Commissi­on, but were perpetuall and first called in the Roll, the other were changeable from Assemblie to Assemblie, and had new particular Commissions from those by whom they were directed. In the Assemblie at Edinburgh 1563. that every Superintendent shall appear the first day of the Assemblie: at Edinburgh March 1578. the same Act is renewed, and Bishops also are appointed to be present at all Assemblies, or else to be accounted unworthy of the office, and by divers other Acts: yea, after that the othee of Bishops begun to be questioned in the Assemblie 1579. Iuly 7. Sess. 9. It is ordained That Bishops and Com [...]iss [...] ­ouers of Provinces who abjent themselves from [...] Assemblies shall be censured according to the Act, august 12. 1575. and that Act to be understood not onely [...] [Page 50] Bishops having power of Visitation from the Church, but also of such as have not that office.

Fourthly, As all Bishops have power to hold their Sy­nods twice in the year, when and where it shall please them within their own Diocese, and there all the Cler­gie of the Diocese are bound to conveene, and all matters which concerne the Diocese are therein to be determi­ned by the Bishop. So likewise albeit that in the first book of Discipline, there is no mention of Synodall or Provin­ciall Assemblies: yet after by Acts of Generall Assemblies, it is appointed that every Superintendent and Commissi­oner shall hold Synods in their own bounds, wherein all matters pertaining particularly to their own Diocese or Province shall be determined, as appeares by the Assem­blie at Edinburgh March 5. 1570. wherein these two Acts are set downe: first, It is ordained that offenders in hainous crymes shall not appear before the generall Assem­bly, but shall be called before the Superintendents, and Com­missioners of Provinces to appear before them in their Sy­nodall Conventions, and there to receive their injunctions, conforme to the order used before in Generall Assemblies. Itein, It is ordained that all Question [...] concerning the Pro­vince shall be propounded first to the Superintendent et Commissioner, to receive resolution in their Synodall con­ventions; and if they be diffieile, to be propounded to the next generall Assemblie by the Superiatendent or Commissioner; with certification that no Question shall be received here­after from any private Minister. So likewise in the As­semblie at Edinburgh 1568. It is ordained that no Mini­ster exhort or reade, or other person shall trouble the Generall Assembly with such matters as Superintendents may and ought to decide in their Synods; And if they doe so their Letters shall be rejected.

Fiftly, As no Pastor ought to have place in Nationall Assemblies, except such as are authorized thereunto by their Ordinarie Bishop, according to the custome of the ancient Church: Although our Bishops in Scotland, [Page 51] since they were re-established, did never usurpe this pow­er to themselves, but left the Election of the Commissi­oner in the power of the Brethren of the Presbyterie: So likewise it was ordained in the Assemblie at Edinburgh 1568. That no Minister should have voyce in Generall As­semblies, nor leave their flocks to attend thereat, unlesse they be chosen by their Superintendent, as men known able to reason, and of knowledge to judge in matters of weight. The same likewise we see testified to have been the Cu­stome of the Church of Scotland, by a Letter written by the Lord Glames then Chancellor of Scotland unto Beza, about the year 1575. when Episcopacie began to be quar­relled, wherein Quaest. 2. he saith, Post reformatam Re­ligionem consuetudine receptum est, ut Episcopi (under which word he comprehendeth the Superintendents) & ex Ministris, Pastoribus, ac Senioribus, tot, quot ijde [...] Episcopi jusserint, unum in locum conveniant, cum prae­cipuis Barronibus, ac Nobilibus, Religionem veram profi­tentibus, & de doctrinâ & de moribus inquisituri.

Sixtly, As all the presentation of Benefices vacant were to be directed to the Bishop of the Diocese where the Be­nefice lyes; so that if the person presented be found qua­lified, he may enjoy the same. So is it appointed at the Assembly holden at St. Iohnstone Iune 1563. That when any Benefice shall chance to vaick, or is now vacant, that a qualified person be presented to the Superintendent of that Province where the Benefice lyes, and that he being found sufficient, be admitted Minister to that Kirk, &c. Like­wise in the Assembly at Edinburgh, 1578. (wherein they alleage the second book of Discipline was agreed unto) one of the Petitions of the Assemblie preferred to the King and Councell was, That all presentations to Benefices may be directed to the Commissioner or Superintendent where the Benefice lyes.

Seventhly, As the Ordination of Ministers appertaines peculiarly to the Bishop of the Diocese. So likewise the Ordination (which by the stile of Scotland is called Ad­mission [Page 52] or Conftirmation) not onely of Ministers, but also of Readers, Schoolmasters and Principalls of Colledges, did appertaine to the Superintendents in their owne bounds, as is evident by the fifth Chapter of the book of Discipline, in the Article of Superintendents, and in the Article of Schools and Universities.

Eightly, As Bishops have at all times had power to ex­amine the life, doctrine and behaviour of the Clergie of his own Diocese, and to admonish, correct, or censure them accordingly. So likewise in the same book of Di­scipline, Cap. 5. the Superintendents received power and authoritie to visit the Churches of their bounds, so often as they may, and therein not only to preach, But also to ex­mine the life, diligence and behaviour of all the Ministers, as likewise the orders of the Kirks, and manners of the peo­ple, and to admonish where admonition needeth, and to cor­rect them by the censures of the Kirk, &c.

Ninthly, As Bishops have power of suspension or de­position of Ministers, who are either scandalous in their lives, or hereticall in their doctrine. So by the book of Discipline, and divers Acts of the Assemblies, that power doth appertaine to Superintendents, Commissioners or Visitors, as is manifest by that place of the book of Disci­plince, cited by us in the former Article: and by the As­semblie holden at Edinburgh, April 1576. wherein it is said, Anent the demand made by Mr. Andrew Hay Parson of Ranthrow, if every Commissioner or Visitor in his own bounds hath alike power and Iurisdiction to plant Mini­sters, suspend and depose for reasonable causes: the As­semblie resolved affirmative, that they have alike power and Iurisdiction therein, as is contained in the particular Acts concerning the Iurisdiction of Visitors.

Tenthly, As Bishops, because of their places and great charges in overseeing all the Churches, have greater rents appointed to them than to other Pastors. So likewise by the book of Disciplie, Cap. 5. in the Article for the pro­vision of Ministers, is appointed almost foure times as­much [Page 53] stipend for the Superintendent, as for other private Ministers.

Moreover, it is evident by many Acts of Generall As­semblies, that those Bishops who had joyned themselves to the reformed Church, retaining still the office and title of Bishops, did by approbation of the generall As­semblies, exercise their Iurisdiction over the Ministrie and people of their own Diocese, even from the begin­ning of the Reformation almost; for in the Assembly at Edinburgh, 1582. Alexander Gordon Bishop of Gallo­way was authorized to plant Ministers, exhorters and rea­ders, and to doe such other things as has been heretofore ac­customed to be done by Superintendents or Commissioners. In the Assembly at S. Iohnstone, Iunc 1563. the Bishops of Orknay and Kai [...]hnes are allowed to exercise the same Iurisdiction; and to shew that they did not this by com­pulsion of Superior Authoritie, but of their own volunta­ry motion, in that Assembly it is appointed, that a Suppli­cation shall be preferred in name of the whole Assembly to the Queens Majestie, that she would be pleased to re­mit the thirds of the Bishopricks (which were then in the Queens hands) to the Bishops, who were allowed by the Church to be Commissioners, for planting of Churches within the bounds of their own Diocese: and therafter Anno 1572. All Bishops were by speciall Act of the Generall Assemblie restored to the function, at the desire of the Earle of Lenox then Regent of Scotland: and the next year in the Assembly at Edinburgh 1573. certaine limitations of their power were added, not very strict which no Bishop can refuse; 1. That the Iurisdicti­on of Bishops in their Ecclesiasticall function, should not exceed the Iurisdiction of the Superintendents, which here­tofore they had and presently have; which Iurisdiction, as we have declared, was no lesse than that which the Bi­shops require now. 2. That they should be willingly subject to the Discipline appointed by the Generall Assem­blie as members thereof: This likewise is reasonable, and [Page 54] no Bishop will think himself exeemed from the censure of a Nationall Assemblie lawfully constituted, accor­ding to the established and approved orders of the Church. 3. That no Bishops give co [...]ation of Benefices within the bounds of Superintendents without their consent and testimoniall subscribed by their hands: This was also reasonable, for Superintendents were also Bishops, and it is conforme to the ancient Canons of the Church, That no Bishop should give ordination or collation to any within the Diocese of another Bishop without his con­sent and testimoniall. 4. That Bishops in their own Dio­cese visite by themselves, where no Superintend [...]nts are: which indeed is their duty, if they be not impedited ei­ther by infirmitie, or by some weightier affaires of the Church. 5. That they give no collation of Benefices with­out the advice of three qualified Ministers: The Bi­shops of Scotland heretofore did astrict themselves fur­ther, for they were not accustomed to give collation of Benefices (except [...] were to men of known worth in the exercise of the ministry before) without the advice of the whole Brethren of the Exercise in the bounds where the Benefice lyes, committing the whole triall both of their life and doctrine to them, and according to their Testificate did accept or reject him who was pre­sented.

By this then which we have truely related out of the book of Discipline, and Acts of Generall Assemblies of the Church, it is manifest, that the true Confession of faith, as it was professed at the Reformation, and many yeers thereafter, had no such meaning as condemne or [...]bjure the power and preheminence of One Pastour over others, or over moe particular flocks than one: But on the con­trary did approve the same, as it is explained (concerning the point of Government) by the book of Discipline and practice of the Church, under the title of Superintendent untill the year 1590. and under the title of Bishop untill the year 1580. for untill those years neither the one nor [Page 55] the other were abrogated by the Assembly of the Church, the first Act condemning that Iurisdiction under the title of Bishops was in that Assembly at Dundie 1580. and the first Act abolishing the office and title of Superinten­dents was in that Assembly at Edinburgh, August 1590. wherein it is declared that since Presbyteries were fully established, that Superintendents and Commissioners were neither necessarie nor expedient. What regard should be had to those Acts we shall shew hereafter.

Is it not therefore too impudent and manifest a calum­nie, and a scandalous impurtation laid by our Covenainers upon the worthy reformers of the Church of Scotland; and those who did prosecute the same for many years, that their meaning in the Confession of Faith was to con­demne that as unlawfull, which they did approve by their plaine and publike declaration and continuall pra­ctice? As it is also a subtill and hypocriticall dissimula­tion of the Ring-leaders of this Rebellion (against the knowledge and conscience [...]f those who knowes the hi­storie of that Church since the Reformation) to professe and perswade people that their upright intentions is to reduce the Church to her former purity wherein she was constituted by the Reformations, and to abolish all nova­tion [...], since they are manifestly doing the quite contrary; abolishing, violently that order of Government which was established by the Reformation, and establishing in place thereof a most dangerous Novation, never heard of in many Christian Church since the beginning untill this [...] age, and whereof the Church of Scotland never thought of, nor dreamed at the Reformation or many yeers thereafter; untill it was brought by a violent wind from Geneva, bringing therewith great trouble and di­sturbance to the Church of Scotland, and whole King­dome both first and last.

Shewing that this power and preheminence of Bi­shops was not abjured by the Negative Con­fession or Covenant.

HAving showne that this power and preheminence of Bishops was not condemned by the principall and proper Confession of Faith of the Church of Scot­land. It followes also, that we shew that it was not con­demned by that abjuration in the Covenant called the Negative Confession; which by them improperly and [...] is called a Confession: For it is absurd, and almost repugnans in adjecto, to say that it should be the Confession of Faith in any Church, which doth not de­clare any positive point of Doctrine to be beleeved, but consisteth onely of meere Negatives, which are not to be beleeved. It was onely therefore set down as an Ap­pendix of the true Confession, for that end which we declared before: For this is the ordinary manner both of publike Confessions of Churches, and private Confessions of particular persons, first to set down the positive Do­ctrine in certaine Articles and propositions, which are properly the Confession of Faith; and then by way of Appendix deduced from thence, to adjoyne damning and abjuring of the contrary errors: so we see it done in most of the Confessions of reformed Churches, collected to­gether in that book called Syntagma Confessionum. So doth befa in his Confession, and learned Zanchius in his: right so we must conceive the matter, that those ab­jurations of Popish errors set down in the Covenant, are but Appendices deduced from the Articles and proposi­tions which comprehend the Confession of Faith: yea, the very words of that Covenant make it cleer and evi­dent, for therin it is first said, We beleeve with our hearts and confesse with our mouthes, that this is the true Chri­stion, [Page 57] Faith and Religion, which is particularly expressed in the Confession of our Faith, established and confirmed by divers Acts of Parliament, &c. To the which Confession and forme of Religion we agree in all points, &c. In these words is the proposition and summe of the Confession, the Appendix followeth thereafter in these words, And therefore we abhorre and detest all contrary Doctrine and Religion, but chiefly Papistrie and particular heads there­of, &c. whereby it is evident, that it is onely the proper ancient Confession of Faith set down at the Reformati­on, whereunto they did directly swear in that Covenant; but unto the abjuration of errors they did onely swear in­directly, and by consequent, as they were contrary to the doctrine contained in the Confession of Faith.

From this then that we have shown to be true, we may bring a forcible argument to prove, that by this ab­juration the power and preheminence of Bishops is not abjured: For this abjuration being but an Appendix de­duced by necessary consequence, it could not of it self have another meaning, or at least not a contrary sense to that Confession whereupon it depends; but so it is that the meaning of the Confession of Faith, as it was explai­ned by the Church, was no other, but that it was lawfull for one Pastor to have this power & preheminencie over others, &c. Therfore the abjuration could not have a con­trary meaning, towit, that this power and preheminencie was unlawfull in it self. The assumption of this argument is already sufficiently qualified in the former Chapter by the book of Discipline, Acts of divers generall Assemblies, and long continued practice of the Church. The propo­sition is evident in it self, for it is an absurd thing to say, that an Appendix should have a contrary sense to the principall proposition, from whence it is deduced by ne­cessary consequence: all good Logicians know this, of which number to my knowledge the Moderator is one, who hath in his time composed many accurate proposi­tions with their Appendices; and would not have suf­fered [Page 58] one of his Schollers with patience to set down their Thesis with so evill knit consequences, as they would make us beleeve, is betwixt the confession of Faith, and the Abjuration of the Covenant depending thereupon. I can finde no reason why he and other learned men of that Assemblie should be so farre misled against all true Logick and sound reason; except it be (as appeares) that they have captivated their understanding to the Tables of the Covenant, that for obedience thereto they have forgot all rules of Logick, to advance per fas & nefas their Idoll of Presbyteriall Government.

But our Covenanters objects, that albeit the Confession of Faith might have been understood so by those who have set it down, and so interpreted by the Church for a long time, as that thereby this power and preheminency was not condemned; yet the Generall Assembly of the Church (to whom it appertaines to interpret the Con­fession of Faith) might understand and interpret it other­wise, as it did in that Assembly at Dundie 1580. wherein Episcopacie was condemned, and now in this Assembly at Glasgow, 1639.

To this we answer first, It is possible indeed, that men might understand it otherwise then it was understood at the beginning, yea in a contrary sense as the Covenan­ters doe interpret it now: But the Question is, whether both those contrary sense can be the true meaning of the Confession; I hope they will not judge so, except they would make the Confession of Faith like a nose of wax, (as some blasphemous Papists speak of the Scripture) or that they would make the Confession (which ought to be a firme and constant rule, to try the doctrine of all within the Church) like a Lesbian rule, which may be applyed both to crooked and straight lines, or to contrary and contradictory senses. Then if it be so, it may be asked which of those is the true meaning? Certainely, there is no reasonable man but will esteeme that to be the true meaning which is intended and expressed by the author [Page 59] thereof; For as we say, Vnusqui (que) est su [...]ru [...] verborum optimus interpres, except such a one as speaketh non-sense: but so it is, that they that framed the Confession of the Church of Scotland, and the Church who received the same, did declare their meaning therein to be such, as that thereby this power and preheminencie was not damned, but directly approved; Therefore that contrary meaning which they ascribe to the Church in the year 1580. 1581. 1590. must needs be false.

Secondly, This Covenant and abjuration therein was neither framed by the Authoritie of the Church or ge­nerall Assembly, nor was the Oath required by their Au­thoritie: but both was done by the Authoritie of the King and Councell, at whose direction this Covenant and abjuration was framed, and the Oath and subscripti­on thereto required of all his Subjects by his Command­ment; therefore it appertaineth onely to his Majestie and Councell to declare the meaning thereof, and in what sense he did require the Oath of all his Subjects: For this is a most true Axiom agreed unto by all orthodox wri­ters, That all Oathes required by a Magistrate should be taken according to the direct and plaine meaning of him who requireth the same: But it is most manifest that neither the King nor Councell did require that oath in such a sense, as thereby Episcopacie should be condemned; for he and his Councell did plainely declare before that time, at that same very time, and many times afterward, that his expresse meaning, purpose, and constant intention was, to continue the estate and office of a Bishop in the Church of Scotland; and to withstand all motions ten­ding to the overthrow thereof, as we shall shew more particularly. For first, that this abjuration was set forth by the King and Councels appointment, and that by his Authoritie onely the Oath was required, is manifest both by that Act of Councell, March 5. 1580. which they have prefixed before their Rebellious Covenant pressing thereby to make people beleeve, that it was authorized [Page 60] by the King: as likewise by the Acts of Assembly cited here by themselves, wherein is declared, That the Kings Commissioner presented to the Assembly in April 1581. the Confession of Faith subscribed by the King and his houshold not long before, and in that Act approving this Confes­sion cited here by them it is expresly acknowledged that it was set forth by the Kings Majestie. Next that it was to be understood according to the Kings Majesties mean­ing, appeareth also by the same Act where it is said, That it should be followed out efoldly, as the same is laid out in the Kings Proclamation, for that word Efoldly signifieth, that they should follow not onely the words, but likewise the sense and meaning which was intended in his Majesties proclamation, not in a twofold sense, as if the Assemblie would intend one sense and the King another, but sim­ply and sincerely by all in the same words and meaning which his Majestie did expresse in his Proclamation. Thirdly, that his Majestie did not intend, that it should be sworn and subscribed in such a sense or meaning, as that thereby Episcopacie should be condemned is also most manifest. 1. By his Majestie and Councell often rejecting the instant petitions of divers Assemblies, for establishing the second book of Discipline, whereby the power of Bishops is impaired, and absolute paritie of all Pastors established; as they acknowledge themselves by that Act of the Assembly at Glasgow 1581. cited here by them, wherein are these words, Because divers suits have been made to the Magistrate for approbation to the book of Po­licie, which yet have taken no great effect. Then because his Majestie both before this time, at this time, and after, did shew evidently that he did approve the office of a Bishop, as he testified by his divers protestations against those Assemblies which pressed to suppresse the same, and by his presentation of Bishops to the places, whensoever they hapned to be vacant; as he did at that same very time, present M. Rob. Montgomery to the Archbishoprick of Glasgow: and by that Act of Parliament 1584. where­by [Page 61] the whole Iurisdiction of Bishops was ratified by his Majestie with consent of the whole estates of the King­dome.

Seeing then that this Abjuration or Confession (call it as they please) was framed by the Kings Majestie, ap­pointed to be subscribed and sworn by his Authoritie, and that in such a sense, as that thereby Episcopacie was not understood to be abjured; It must be also presupponed, that all those who did swear or subscribe the same, did it in no other sense or meaning, otherwise they did swear falsly, sophystically, and by Equivocation: therefore it must necessarily be concluded, that by that Oath of the Covenant 1580. 1581. 1590. and 1591. Episcopacie, nor the power and preheminence of one pastor over others, or moe particular flocks than one, was not abjured by honest men, who had an efold and upright meaning in taking their Oath. Neither can the interpretation of this Assemblie at Glasgow 1639. give any fure warrant to those who hath sworn in a sense contrary to the Kings mean­ing; for if this Abjuration or Covenant had been the Act of the Church properly, there had been some appearance that a lawfull generall Assembly now might give forth the true interpretation thereof; but since it is the King and Councels Act, and the Oath thereto required of all the Subjects by his Authoritie, it doth not appertaine to the Generall assembly, especially such an unformall and un­lawfull one as this, to declare in what sense it should be understood.

So that it is but false and vaine fear, wherewith they would burden the consciences of all the Kingdome of Scotland, as being fearfully perjured, by establishing con­trary to the pretended oath of the Covenant, the office of Bishops in Scotland, and giving obedience unto them: But on the contrary, they are rather forsworn and per­jured, who contrary to the meaning of their first oath, have by their new rebellious Covenant and ordi­nance of their Assembly abjured Episcopacie. And of this [Page 62] no man needeth to doubt, but that all those who have acknowledged Bishops, and have taken their oath of Ca­nonicall obedience, and now by perswasion of their Lea­ders have broken their solemn Oath, in disobeying and contemning their authoritie, and ratifying their disobe­dience by another Oath, are evidently forsworn, as most of the Ministers of that Assembly have done; Let them in sincerity of mind search their own consciences in this point, and I doubt not, that if it have any life therein, they will finde themselves sensibly pricked thereby.

VVherein is answered to their Argument taken from foure severall sentences of the Abjura­tion, and particularly to the first.

HAving now shown that neither by the principall Confession of Faith, nor by the Appendix thereof called Abjuration, nor by the first book of Discipline, nor by any Acts of Assemblies, nor practice of the Church ma­ny yeers after the reformation, this power and prehemi­nency of Bishops here controverted is condemned; it rests that we answer to those Arguments which are brought by them in the body of the Act, to prove the de­termination of the Assembly, which are neither brought from the Word of God, nor from the testimonie or pra­ctice of the primitive Church immediately after the A­postles dayes, nor from any words of the perfect Con­fession of Faith in the Church of Scotland, but all their Arguments are of a later foundation, and may be in summe reduced to three sorts; first, they bring certaine broken sentences [...]ut of the Abjuration in the Covenant, which they call the Confession, then some Acts of their late Ge­nerall Assemblies, and thirdly, some passages out of the [Page 63] second book of Discipline to the which we shall answer in their own order.

And first they bring foure severall sentences out of the Abjuration or negative Confession, falsifying and wre­sting them strangely, as to make them appeare to have some shew of proving their determination: The first pas­sage is in these words, We professe that we detest all Tra­ditions brought into the Kirk, without, or against the Word of God, and Doctrine of this reformed Kirk. The second is, We abhorre and detest all contrary Religion and Do­ctrine, but chiefly, all kind of Papistry in generall, nad par­ticular heads; as they were then damned and confuted by the Word of God, and Kirk of Scotland, when the said Con­fession was sworn and subscribed, Anno 1580. and 1581. 1590. and 1591. The third is, That we detest the Roman Antichrist, his worldly Monarchy and wicked Hierarchie. The fourth is, That we joyne our selves to this reformed Kirk, in Doctrine, Faith, Religion and Discipline, pro­mising and swearing by the great name of God, that we shall continue in the Doctrine and Discipline of this Kirk, and defend the same according to our vocation and power.

We answer first in generall to all these passages, that by none of them is either Episcopall Government abjured, for first in the words themselves, there is no mention ei­ther of Bishops or their power and preheminency over others, or their charge over moc particular flocks, or of Presbyteries of absolute parity of Pastors: Therefore ex­cept they have recourse to some secret meaning, these passage can serve nothing to their purposes: and we have shown before both by the meaning of the principall Confession of Faith, whereof this Abjuration is an Ap­pendix, and by the explained meaning of his Majestie by whose appointment this abjuration is framed, and who required the oath and subscription thereunto, that it can­not be understood in such a sense as that this power and preheminencie of Bishops should be thereby abjured, and therefore neither the words nor the s [...]nse can be able to p [...]ove their purpose.

[Page 64] Secondly, we prove the same by the Confession of the Moderator M. Alexander Henrison, and his Associats the Apostles of the Covenant; for they in their Disputes with the Doctors of Aberdeene doe confesse plainly, that by swearing this Confession of Faith, Episcopacie was not abjured, and that any man might safely swear that Confession and their Covenant also, without abjuring Episcopacie; and by this profession they entised many to sweat and subscribe their Covenant, who otherwise would n [...]t have done it. Now either they spake sincerely at that time according to their knowledge and consci­ence, and so did flatly contradict this position, That by swearing the Confession of Faith Episcopacie was abjured: or else by dissembling policie they did so professe, con­trary to their own mind, to serve their own designes in advancing (per fas & nefas) their rebellious Covenant; And so did shew themselves Iesuiticall temporizers and time-servers (En graine) abusing people most impudent­ly to promote their own ends. Albeit this that we have spoken, already may suffice to cleer that Abjuration and Coven [...]t, or any part thereof, of any such meaning as they pretend, yet that the matter may be more evident, we shall examine particularly every one of these foure sentences cited by them, shewing that all of them are ei­ther falsly or impertinently alleaged by them to prove such a conclusion.

As to the first sentence here produced, by it we may judge (tanquam ex ungue Leonem) what we m [...]y expects of the rest of these reverend Fathers [...]: they be­gin with a manifest falshood, and we [...] divers more in that kind; the words according to that citation are, We professe that we detest all traditions brought into the Kirk, without, or against Gods Word, and Doctrine of this Reformed Kirk. Whereas in the Covenant it self it is otherwise, for there the words are, And finally we detest all his (to wit the Roman Anti­christs) Traditions without or against Gods Word.

[Page 65] First, we answer that there is a great difference betwixt All Traditions absolutely, and the Roman Antichrists traditions; for albeit we detest as sincerely as they doe all Antichristian traditions, yet doe we not so detest all tra­ditions absolutely, which have not expresse or particular warrant from Gods Word, if they be not repugnant there­to: the Traditions of the Roman Antichrist are those which are invented by him, for upholding his tyrannie over the consciences of men, made equall to Gods word, and intruded upon the Church as parts of Gods worship, those we detest and abhorre from our very heart; but to abjure absolutely all Traditions which are not expressed in Gods Word, it was never the meaning of the reformed Church of Scotland, nor of any well reformed Church; for all the ancient Fathers of the Primitive Church, and all Neoterick, Orthodox writers doe teach, that some Apostolicall and Ecclesiasticall traditions are not onely profitable, but also almost necessary to be retained in the Chruch; Necessary I say, if not ad esse simplicter, yet ad bene esse, such as are according to these generall rules of the Apostle, 1 Cor. 14. According to decency and good order, and tending to Edification: and such as are accord­ing to that rule of S. Austin lib. 4. contra Donat. cap. 41. Quod universa tenet Ecclesia, nec concilijs constitutum semper retentum est, non nisi Apostolicà authoritate tra­ditum, rectissimè crediture: of which there are many pro­fitably reteined in the Church, both concerning doctrine, manners, government, and circumstances of Gods wor­ship, as the distinction of Canonicall books from Apo­crypha, the Constitutions of the Apostolick Creed, the manner of the celebration of Marriage before the Church, the sprinkling of water upon the head of the Child in Baptisme to be sufficient, the gesture of kneeling in the Supper of the Lord, the time and place of the ordinarie Celebration thereof in the morning, and in the Church; and such likewise are the Appropriating of the name and title of Bishops, to these Pastors who are set in Authority [Page 66] over others, and divers Ecclesiasticall Canons concern­ing the manner of their Government.

Secondly, albeit it had been so that all Traditions had been simply abjured, (which men of understanding would not have done) yet this sentence could not have served to prove their Conclusion; for although some of the points of the office of a Bishop, now appertaining there­to, be by Apostolick tradition or Ecclesiasticall constitu­tion, yet this point here called in Question, that one Pa­stor may have power and preheminencie over others, or over more particular flocks, is not a Tradition either against or without Gods Word, and Doctrine of this re­formed Church; but first it is a most certaine written ve­ritie approved by Gods Word expresly, and the Con­stant practice of the Church of God, from the very first Constitution of the visible Church and publik exercise of Gods worship, not only under the old Testament, but under the new also, continued in all Churches untill this lust age, which cannot be denied without great impuden­cic: then it is not against the doctrine of the reformed Church of Scotland, but most conformable thereunto, as we have sufficiently declared before; therefore it is ma­nifest, that this passage can prove nothing for their pur­pose, but is both falsly and impertinently produced by them.

VVherein is answered the second Passage of the Covenant.

THe second passage cited from the Negative Confes­sion or Abjuration, is no lesse falsified than the for­mer, both in the change of words, and addition of others not contained in the Originall: the words of their cita­tion are, We abhorre and detest all contrary Religion and [Page 67] Doctrine, but chiefly all kind of Papistrie in generall, and particular heads, as they were then damned and confuted by the Word of God and Chruch of Scotland, when the said Confession was sworn and subscribed, Anno 1580. and 1581. 1590. and 1591. But the words in the Originall are only these, As they are now dawned and confuted by the Word of God and Kirk of Scotland: So that they change that particle (now) in (then) and adde more which is not in the Originall, when the Confession was sworn and subscribed Anno 1580. & 1581. 1590. & 1591. Albeit this Alteration seemeth but small to change (now) in (then,) yet in effect, it is very matteriall and subtilly made to wrest the meaning of the words to their own purpose, contrary to the intention of those who framed this Ab­juration, in making this (Now) relative to the damning of Episcopacie in that Assemblie at Dundie 1580. and others thereafter, albeit it be evident, that there was no such thing intended in the framing of this Abjuration for divers reasons.

First, that (now) in the Kings Covenant, is not to be understood of that present definite time then, when the Covenant was framed or subscribed, but as it is expresly exponed a little before, Now for along time, to wit, from that time when the large Confession of Faith was set forth Anno 1560. and approved by the Generall Assem­bly, and ratified in Parliament 1567. By the which Con­fession those particular heads of Papistrie were condem­ned and confuted, and the true Doctrine opposite there­unto, Now for a long time openly professed by the King, and whole body of the Kingdome, as it is expresly set down in the same place of the Covenant: therefore it is mani­fest that this (Now) is not relative to that Condemnation of Episcopacie 1580. which was not then for a long time condemned, but only for that present yeer.

Secondly, albeit we should grant that this (Now) was not to be understood of that definite time, yet doth it not serve to prove the point in Controversie; for albeit by [Page 68] that Assembly 1580. Episcopacie as it was then used in Scotland was condemned, yet this power and prehemi­nence, by approbation and practice of the Church of Scot­land, were standing in force in the persons of Superin­tendents, Commissioners or Visitors, and not abrogated untill the year 1590. towit, ten years after▪ the setting down, and swearing of this Abjuration: And therefore this power and preheminence, which is the point in con­troversie, cannot be understood to have been then con­demned in the Abjuration 1580. & 1581. for otherwise the Church should have condemned that which in the mean time they did approve and practise.

Thirdly, notwithstanding that Act 1580. condemning Episcopacie, as it was then used in Scotland, yet these points of the power and preheminence of one Pastor over others, and charge over moe particular flocks was not condemned, but expresly acknowledged to be lawfull by that whole Assembly, wherein Episcopacie was called in Question Anno 1575. 1576. as shall be evidently cleared when we shall come to discusse the Acts of those Assem­blies.

Fourthly, those points of Papistrie in generall, and the particular heads damned and confuted by Gods Word and Kirk of Scotland, were only such as were opposite to the doctrine contained in the principall Confession of the Church of Scotland, then of a long time professed by the Kings Majestie, and whole body of the Kingdome, as it is expresly set down in the same place of the Covenant: But so it is, that there was no Doctrine contained either in the Confession of Faith, or professed now for a long time by the King and whole body of the Kingdome, con­trary to these points of power and preheminence of one Pastor over other Brethren, or moe particular flocks: therefore these are not points of Papistrie abjured by the Covenant, as being damned then by Gods Word, or the Church of Scotland, and so this passage doth not more serve to prove their purpose than the former.

Containing an Answer to the third Passage.

THe third Passage is in those words We detest the Ro­man Antichrist, his worldly Monarchie and wicked Hierarchie. In this passage indeed there is no false cita­tion as in the former two; yet is there as great imperti­nencie in applying it to their purpose: for I cannot see what they can assume upon this proposition to conclude the point in Controversie, except they would say, that all power and preheminence of one Pastor over his Bre­thren, or over more particular flocks is an Antichristian worldly Monarchie, and all degrees of Ecclesiasticall per­sons is an Antichristian wicked Hierarchie, and there­fore detested and abjured: But if this Assumption were true, then the high priest in Ierusalem constituted by God himself had been an Antichristian Monarch, and the divers degrees of Ecclesiasticall persons distinguished by God himself had been an Antichristian wicked Hierar­chie; for it is most certaine, that the High priest had power and preheminencie over his Brethren, and charge over all the particular flocks in Iudea. The Apostles like­wise in the Christian Church, and their fellow-labourers, Tit [...]u, Timothie, and others had been Antichristian wordly Monarchs, for it is most certaine, that they had power and prehe [...]ninence over their Brethren, and charge over moe particular flocks, as Bishops have now; which may be qualified by the writings of the Apostles, and the testimony of all the Venerable Fathers of the Primitive Church, who lived either in the dayes of the Apostles, or neer to them. So likewise those Reverend [...]thers them­selves, as Polycarpus, Ignatius, Cyprian, Austin, Am­brose, Chrysostome, &c. should be esteemed no better: yea likewise our Superintendents or Com [...]issioners of Provinces should have been Antichristian worldly Mo­narchs. So that the worthy Instruments of God in the [Page 70] reformation of the Church of Scotland, must be thought to have (instead of a laudable reformation) brought in an An­tichristian worldly Monarchy in the Church of Scotland.

But the principall words which they doe most urge is the last c [...]se of this passage, His wicked Hierarchie, by which words it was made cleer (as they alleage) in the Assembly that Episcopacie was abjured: what was made cleer in the Assembly we know not, but we shall make it cleer (God willing) to [...] (whose eyes are not blinded with partiall affection) that those reasons produced in the Act in the end thereof at length (which doubtlesse were the most weighty they could bring) are foolish, childish and ridiculous, unworthy of such men as they would be accounted amongst the people.

But before we enter to discusse their reasons, we must first explaine the word Hierarchie, and shew what Hie­rarchie is here condemned: first, the word [...] a­mongst the ancient Grocians was used to signifie a cer­taine Magistracie, the charge whereof was to have a [...] of Sacred and Holy things, as of Temples, Altars, and Sa­crifices; and from thence was translated by an [...]ient Chri­stian writers to signifie the sacred orders of Rulers in the Church: Now that there is an holy order of Rulers in the Church I think no man can deny, even in Presbyteri­all Government, there are three orders of Ecclesiasticall persons who bear rule in the Church, and have charge of sacred things, of distinct power and authoritie, towit, Pastors, Elders, and Deacons, and so those orders may be [...]afely called an Ecclesiasticall Hierarchie; they who un­derstand the Greek word, knowes perfectly that it sig­nifies no other thing, but [...] of sacred things, or a holy Government: they cannot deny but these Ecclesiasticall functions have every one their own point of Govern­ment, and that about sacred and holy things, why then should they abhorre the word, since they acknowledge the thing signified thereby to be competent to their Ec­clesiasticall functions? Is it because the word is bor­rowed [Page 71] from Ethnicks? It should not be abhorred for this cause, more than the words Episcopus, Presbyter, and Pastor, which did signifie also amongst the Ethnicks certaine offices, or magistracies, as is well known to those who are versed in their writings. Or is it because it hath been abused by the Papists? neither can it for this cause be rejected, taken in a right sense, and separating Papi­sticall corruptions from it, more then the other titles gi­ven to Ecclesiasticall officers, which all have been abused in the Popish Church: and that this word Hierarchy may be used to signifie the orders of Ecclesiasticall rulers in the Christian Church, I will bring no other testimony than that of Calvin, who was the first Author of Presbyte­riall Government, he in his Treatise De N [...]cessitat [...] ref [...]r­manda Ecclesia, speaking of the Popish Hierarchy, saith; If they will set us down such an Hierarchie, wherein Bi­shops have so preheminence, that they refuse not to be sub­ject to Christ, depending from him as from their head, and referring all to him; wherein they doe so entertaine Societie amo [...]gst themselves, that they be no otherwise bound but by his truth: Then I must acknowledge that th [...]se are worthy to be called ex [...]crable, who will not reverence such an Hie­rarchie, and with all humble obedience receive the same. Where we see that Calvin doth acknowledge, that there may be a lawfull Hierarchie neither wicked nor Antichristian, and such was this Hierarchie in the Church of Scotland; consisting of Bishops, Presbyters and Dea­cons, wherein Bishops have so preheminence over others, as they refuse not to be subject to Christ, and depend up­on him, as from their head, and not from the Pope of Rome, &c. And therefore in the judgement of Calvin, those who will not reverence such an Hierarchie, are worthy to be accounted execrable and accursed; and since our Covenanters professe, that they reverence the judgement of Calvin more than all Antiquitie, I mar­vell how they can blesse themselves in this, wherein he accounteth them accursed.

[Page 72] To the same purpose likewise speaketh Beza, the chief promoter of Presbyteriall government in his Answer to Saravia De divers. grad. Minist. cap. 21. Albeit he doth not name Hierarchie, yet speaking of the Orders in the Roman Church, whereof the Hierarchie doth consist, he concludeth in these words, Neither doe we accuse of this Tyrannie, all those who are called Archbishops or Bishops, for what Arrogancie were this? yea, we doe acknowledge all those who are so called, as faithfull Pastors of the Chri­stian Church, providing, they imitate the example of those holy Bishops, in reforming the house of God so miserably, deformed; according to the rule of Gods Word; and obey them, and with all reverence receive them: so farre are we from that whereof some do most impudently accuse us, that we should prescribe to any our particular example to be followed like to those impertinent men, who esteeme nothing well done except that which they doe themselves, &c. By the judgement then of these two learned men, whose judge­ments they can hardly contemne, all Hierarchie is not condemned, nor all Episcopacie under the name of Hie­rarchie is to be abjured, but only in so farre as it is Anti­christian and wicked; that is to say, the manifold corru­ptions and abuses in the orders of Ecclesiasticall rulers brought in by the Pope to fortifie his usurped Tyrannie; Those with you we also abjure and detest from our very heart. But so it is, that one Pastor to have power and preheminence over others, is not to be reckoned amongst these corruptions which were brought in by the Pope or Antichrist, but was appointed by God himself, and pra­ctised in the Church by those whom Beza doth acknow­ledge to have been faithfull Pastors of the Christian Church.

Now to come to the reasons which they set down at length in the end of the Act; the first reason whereby they presse to prove that the order of Government under Bishops, having power and preheminence over other Pastors, as Presbyters and Deacons, is the P [...]pish Hierar­chy, [Page 73] is in these words: The Popis [...] Hierarchie doth consist of Bishops, Presbyters and Deacons, that is, Baptizing and Preaching Deacons, which they prove first by a Canon of the Councell of Trent. 2. By a testimony of Bellar­mine. 3. By a Censure of the Vniversitie of Paris, of cer­taine Articles sent out of Ireland; which tedious proba­tion was needlesse, for we doe not deny their proposition, but grant that the Popish Hierarchie doth consist of Bi­shops, Presbyters and Deacons; But what then? they suppresse the Assumption and Conclusion, yet according to Logicall Rules we may finde them out, their Conclu­sion is known, towit, that Episcopall Government is the Antichristian wicked Hierarchie. So to inferre this Con­clusion upon their proposition as it is set down, nothing can be assumed for the minor, but that Episcopall Govern­ment consisteth of Bishops, Presbyters and Deacons. So the whole Syllogisme must be.

The Popish Hierarchie doth consist of Bishops, Presby­ters and Deacons.

But Episcopall Government consisteth of Bishops, Presbyters and Deacons:

Ergo, Episcopall government is the Popish wicked Hierarchie.

But by their leave, this is a Syllogisme, Ex omnibus par­ticularibus & affirmantibus in secundà figurâ, which concludeth not, as they who have learned the first rudi­ment of Logick knows; such as that, Asinus habet aures, tu habes aures, ergò, tu es Asinus. I confesse that this may be reduced to a syllogisme in primâ figurâ, by converting the termes of the proposition, and making it universall, as Quic quid habet aures est Asinus, tu habes aures, Ergo, &c. But thus the Major is evidently false, and so like­wise their Syllogisme may be deduced in the same man­ner, by converting the Major, and making it universall, but so it is no more their proposition, thus;

All Orders of Ecclesiasticall Rulers consisting of [Page 74] Bishops, Presbyters and Deacons is the Antichristian wicked Hierarchie.

But the orders of Ecclesiasticall rulers in Episcopall

Government consisteth of Bishops, Presbyters and Deacons.

Ergo, &c.

But so the major is evidently also false, neither doth their reasons any wayes prove it, for if it were true, we might aswell prove thereby that the orders in the Eccle­siasticall Rulers in the Apostles dayes, and Primitive Church after them, was the Popish wicked Hierarchie; for they cannot deny but therein were Bishops, Presby­ters and Deacons. As likewise that their Presbyteriall Government is the Antichristian wicked Hierarchie, for they grant that their Pastors are Bishops, their Elders Presbyters, and their Deacons are Ecclesiasticall Rulers also.

But they seeme to object, that their Deacons are not preaching and baptizing Deacons as ours are, and those of the Roman Church, but onely distributers of the Ec­clesiasticall goods: I answer, their Deacons are so much the worse, as unlike to Apostolick Deacons; and there­fore our Deacons and Popish Deacons more Christian, and liker to those who were appointed by the Apostles, for Stephen who was the first of these Deacons was a Preacher, and for his preaching suffered Martyrdome. Act. 7. Philip was a Deacon, and yet both a Preacher and Baptizer, Act. 8. 5. & 12. And so we must esteeme that all the rest of the Deacons had the same power, nor are they able to shew the contrary. We will not be ashamed therefore in this point, rather to joyne with Papists, wherein they adhere to Gods Word and sound Antiqui­ty, than to their new invented opinion disagreeing from both.

This reason, notwithstanding the grosse informalitie thereof, was good enough for the Common people, who are well pleased, with any shew of reason comming [Page 75] from the mouthes of their Leaders, and men of learning amongst them either would not or durst not enquire the strength of it: or if they did enquire in their own minds, durst not publish their opinion either by word or writ, because of an Act of this Assemblie, Sess. 23. Act. 17. pro­hibiting any person of whatsoever qualitie or degree to speak or write against this Assemblie, or any Act thereof under paine of incurring the censure of the Kirk.

Therefore leaving the informality of this Argument, I answer to the substance of the matter; that all orders of Ecclesiasticall Rulers are and may be called an Hierarchie we grant, in that sense which we have declared, but that all such is wicked and Antichristian we deny, and have even Calvin (the first founder of Presbyteriall Discipline) for our warrant, as we have shown already▪ and there­fore that exception they make, That this Hierarchie is cal­led the Antichristian Hierarchie, not to distinguish the Hierarchie in the Popish Church from any other as lawfull, But that the Hierarchie wheresoever it is, is called His: is most false, and all the reasons they bring to prove it are as false and impertinent.

First, they say, as Invocation of Saints, Canonization of Saints, &c. are called his, not that there is any lawfull Invocation or Canonization of Saints, but wheresoever they are, they are his; even so (would they say) the Hie­rarchie is called his, not as if there were any other Hie­rarchie lawfull, but all Hierarchie wheresoever it is, is the Popes, therefore abjured. A solid reason indeed, and worthy of such an Assembly: for first they may aswell conclude that all wordly Monarchy is abjured, because the Popes worldly Monarchie is abjured, and so be of the Anabaptists opinion, that there ought to be no King in a Christian Church; and indeed it is to be lamented that their words, writings and practice doe bewray their mind, that they approach too neer to those damnable opinions.

Secondly, this is a manifest putid Sophis [...], A dicto se­cundum [Page 76] quid ad dictum simpliciter; All Antichristian wic­ked Hierarchie is abjured, Ergo, All Hierarchie is abjured simpliciter. A child or an ignorant that knew never a word of Logick, may see by naturall reason evidently the absurditie of this Argument, for albeit all wicked and Antichristian Hierarchie is unlawfull, and therefore to be abjured: but since there may be a lawfull Hierarchie in the Church as we have shown, which therefore needs not to be abjured simpliciter; as if one should reason thus; God hateth all wicked men, ergo He hateth all men simplici­ter. This Sophisme is like that which is in their next Act against the Articles of Perths Assembly, to prove that Confirmation of Children is abjured, The Popish five ba­stard Sacraments are abjured, but Confirmation is one of the five bastard Sacraments, ergo abjured: It is abjured indeed to be a Sacrament, but not therefore simply, for so they may conclude aswell upon that ground that Marriage is abjured, because Marriage is one of these five bastard Sa­craments; albeit perhaps the Moderator has abjured mar­riage, yet I hope all the rest of the Brethren of the As­semblie will not doe so. I marvell indeed, that men esteemed for learned and wise should have blotted paper with such trash, and put such childish Arguments in print, as if they had to deal with none but fools or Ignorants. Thirdly, there is a great difference betwixt Canonization or Invocation of Saints, and an Hierarchie: for Invoca­tion and Canonization are sunply evill in themselves, as against Gods Word, albeit they had never had the Pope for their Author. But an Hierarchie or order of sacred Rulers in the Church is not in it self evill, but onely in re­gard of the Corruptions thereof in the Roman Church, for which respect it is called Antichristian and wicked, and therefore only abjured; though in it self separating these corruptions from it, it may be lawfull and reteined:

Secondly, they bring a reason to prove this, that all Hierarchie is the Popes in these words, Whatsoever cor­ruption was in the Kirk, either in Doctrine, Worship, or [Page 77] Government, since the mystery of iniquitie began to work, and is retained and maintained by the Pope, and obtruded upon the Church by his Authoritie, is his, but all Hierar­chie is such; Ergo, &c. I answer, that neither the Hierar­chie in it self, that is the order of Ecclesiasticall Rulers, nor the power and preheminencie of one of these orders above others, is a corruption of the Church, but a per­fection thereof, as we have shown before, nor was it brought in since the mystery of Iniquity began to work, but established by God himself long before that mysterie of Iniquitie; And albeit it was retained and maintained by the Pope, yet for that is it not to be rejected more than divers sound points of Doctrine, which are as yet retai­ned and maintained by the Pope; God forbid we should think, that all which the Pope retaines and maintaines were wicked and properly Antichristian; finally, neither is it obtruded now upon the reformed Church by the Popes Authoritie, but restored to the former perfection by the lawfull Authoritie of the Kings Majestie, with consent both of Civill and Ecclesiasticall Supreme [...]udica­torie of Generall Assemblies and Parliaments: Therefore this Hierarchie in our Church is neither to be accounted the Popes nor Antichristian.

Thirdly, they alleage a passage out of the Historie of the Councell of Trent to prove this, Where it is related that the Councell would not define the Hierarchye by the seven Orders▪ and that we have in our Confession the manifold orders set apart, and distinguished from the Hierarchie: Ergo, Gl [...]ke. I professe I doe not understand what they would conclude upon these words, but of this I am assu­red, they can conclude nothing that serves to prove their conclusion; It hath need of a sharp wit to finde any cleer consequence thereof pertinent to the purpose, and since they have set downe no consequence themselves, it were an idle thing for me to trouble my braines to search it out, and therefore untill it be better explained, I leave it.

[Page 78] Lastly, they alleage a passage out of their second book of Discipline, Cap. 2. in the end thereof: Therefore all the ambitious titles invented in the Kingdome of Anti­christs, and in his usurped Hierarchie which are not of one of these foure sorts, towit, Pastors, Doctors, Elders and Deacons: together with the offices depending thereupon in one word ought to be rejected. If they would conclude up­on this, that the ambitious title of Bishop, and the office depending thereupon is therfore to be rejected, (for I can see no other consequence that can be deduced of these words pertinent to the purpose in hand.) I answer, first that they have used as great falshood in this citation, as they have done in divers others before, for in that same very place cited by them, the title of Bishop is one of these which they acknowledge is given to signifie a Pa­stor of the Church, for a little before, they number these titles to be Pastor, Minister, Bishop, Doctor, Presbyter, Elder and Deacon; and yet they here in their citation, reckon onely foure titles, whereas in the book it self in the Chapter cited by them seven are reckoned, whereof the title of Bishop is one, and therefore not to be rejected as an ambitio [...]s title, nor the office depending thereupon. Secondly, the title of Bishop is not an ambitious title in­vented in the Kingdome of the Antichrist, or the Popes usurped Hierarchy, but is a title given by the Spirit of God in the Scripture to signifie a Spirituall function in the Church, Acts 1. 20. Acts 20. 28. 1 Tim. 3. 1, 2. And therefore this Citation out of the Book of Discipline is both false and impertinent. Thirdly, Albeit it were true­ly alleaged, and did prove the point directly, yet we ac­count not the Authoritie of that Book so authentick, as­to make it an Article of our Beleife whatsoever is said there.

Containing an Answer to the fourth place cited out of the Abjuration.

THe fourth and last passage of the Abjuration or Ne­gative Confession, whereby they alleage that Epi­scopacie is abjured, is, We professe that we joyne our selves to this reformed Kirk, in Doctrine, Faith, Religion, and Discipline; promising and swearing by the great Name of God, that we shall continue in the Doctrine and Discipline of this Kirk, and defend the same according to our Voca­tion and power all the dayes of our life.

First, we must remark that by these foure distinct terms are not signified foure severall distinct things, but by do­ctrine, Faith and Religion is signified one and the self-same thing, for Doctrine to be beleeved is the object of Faith and Religion consists in the practice of this Do­ctrine, and Discipline is the meanes to conserve Doctrine, Faith and Religion, and so we see in the next words, con­taining the promissary part of the Oath, they are all redu­ceed to two, Doctrine and Discipline.

Secondly, we must consider what doctrine and disci­pline this is whereunto they swear; It is not every point of doctrine which hath been taught in the pulpits of Scotland, nor every point of Discipline which hath been practised in their Sessions, Presbyteries & Assemblies; for then (God knowes) how doubtsome and uncertaine an Oath this should have been, because those points have been often changed, and some directly contrary to other: the matter of an Oath should be so clearly and particular­ly set down as is possible; for it be set down indefinitely, men may involve themselves rashly in a contradictory Oath: And therefore those who framed this Oath, have wisely and considerately set down divers limitations of the matter of the Oath, whereby it is made clear and [Page 80] evident, what doctrine and discipline it is whereunto they promise by their oath to joyne themselves: But our Covenanters have dissembled subtilly those necessary li­mitations, and set it down in generall and indefinite termes, only naming in generall the Doctrine and Disci­pline of the Church of Scotland.

Now that we may know more evidently what Do­ctrine and Discipline is here meaned, I shall set down at more length the words of the Oath as they be in the Ori­ginall: We beleeve with our hearts and confesse with our mo [...]thes, &c. that this is the onely true Faith and Religion, pleasing God and bringing salvation to man, which is now by the mercy of God revealed to us by the preaching of the blessed Evangel, and received, beleeved and defended by ma­ny notable Churches and Realms, and chiefly by the Church of Scotland; particularly expressed in the Con­fession of Faith, established and publikely confirmed by di­vers Acts of Parliament, and now of along time publikely professed by the King and whole body of the Kingdome. In these words are comprehended foure necessary limitations of the matter of this Oath, without the bounds of which, it is not to be extended; Albeit it were sufficient to shew that Episcopacie was not abjured by this Oath, if we prove that by any one of these limitations it can be ex­cluded, yet to make the probation more full we shall make it evident, that not by one onely, but by all these foure limitations, this point (That it is not lawfull for one Pastor to have power and preheminence over his Bre­thren, or over more particular flocks than one) is excluded from this Oath, and therefore not abjured as a Popish error.

The first limitation is, that they only did swear to ad­here to that Doctrine, which is revealed by the preaching of the blessed Evangel, or by Gods Word: But so it is that no doctrine condemning this power and preheminencie, is revealed by the Gospel, or expressed by Gods Word, or depending thereupon by necessary consequence, therefore [Page 81] by that Oath, none was sworn to adhere to any such Do­ctrine condemning that point: But the contrary doctrine is so clearly testified by the whole course of Scripture, both in the old and new Testament, that it is lawfull for one Pastor to have power and preheminence over others, or over moe particular flocks, that we much admire why men so versed in Scripture can be so blinded as not to soe so cleer a Truth, or if they see it to be so impudent, and without conscience to abjure it as a damnable Heresie, compelling others to abjure the same by so solemn and fearfull an Oath, wherein they move them really to per­jure themselves for eschewing a supposed perjury.

The second limitation is, that the Doctrine whereunto they swear to adhere was that, Which was received, be­leeved, and defended by many notable Churches & Realms, then when this Oath was first made: But so it is that this Doctrine declaring it to be unlawfull, that one Pastor should have power and preheminence over others &c. was not received, beleeved, and defended by many nota­ble Churches and Realms at that time; for we can shew that the most of the reformed Churches and Realms at that time did professe and practise the contrary, as all the Churches of High-Germany, Rohemia, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Poland, Hungaria, Helvetia, England, Ireland, and our own Church of Scotland: they cannot produce one Realm, nor any Church that had at that time imbra­ced fully presbyteriall Government, except one City of Geneva, which notwithstanding did not so absolutely condemne Episcopacie as they doe, as we have shown by the Testimonie of the two cheifest members of that Church, Calvin and Beza. There are now some Churches which have received the Geneva Discipline, as the Pala­tinate in High-Germany, the consederate Provinces of Lower-Germany, and the reformed Church of France, which notwithstanding had not that Discipline, nor a full established Church amongst them at that time: for the Palatinate continued in the Doctrine and Discipline [Page 82] of the August [...]ne Confession, untill the year 1584. when Iohn Cassitmere Prince Elector after his Brother L [...]d [...] ­wick's death brought in Calvinisme, as Lucus O [...]iander in his Epitom, Histor, Eccles. Ce [...]t. 26. lib. 4. cap. 20. doth testifie. In the Low Countries, albeit there were many protestants before, yet had they not an established Church untill the year 1583. when as they renounced the Autho­ritie of the King of Spaine: neither had they of France an established Church untill the raigne of Henry the Fourth. Reade over all the Confessions of Reformed Churches contained in that Sy [...]tag [...] [...]onfessionum, you shall not finde one of them condemning this power and preheminence, or Episcopacie absolutely. But on the con­trary, many of them doe expresly approve it: Therefore since there was not many notable Churches and Realmes, which received, beleeved and defended, that it was un­lawfull for one Pastor to have power and preheminence over others, or over moe particular flocks, it is manifest that this point was not abjured by the Oath of the Co­venant.

Thirdly, the matter of the Oath is expresly restricted to that Doctrine and Discipline, Which is particularly ex­pressed in the Confession of Faith, set down Anno 1560. And ratified publikly by divers Acts of Parliament before this Abjuration was sworn: by which limitation is ex­cluded from this oath all points of Doctrine and Disci­pline added since, either by Acts of Generall Assemblies, Synods or Presbyteries since that Confession was recei­ved, as that Act of the Assemblie at D [...]ndie, 1580. and at Gl [...]sgow, 1581. Condemning Episcopacie, and others of that kinde; and such are our Covenanters Additions or Applications of the Confession of Faith, expressed in their Rebellio [...]s Covenant: And the truth is, that they neither have nor can produce one word of that Confessi­on condemning this power and preheminence, neither had the Church who established it any such purpose or in­tention to doe so. But on the contrary, the same Church, [Page 83] at the same very time, in setting down the first book of Discipline, did approve that power and preheminencie under the title of Superintendents; therefore this point was not abjured by the Oath.

Fourthly, the matter of this Oath is determined to be that doctrine and discipline, Which was for a long time be­fore, the first framing of this Oath, professed by the King and whole body of this Kingdome. But so it is that no point of Doctrine condemning this power and preheminence, was professed for a long time before this, by the King or body of the Kingdome: therefore that power and pre­heminence was not abjured by that Oath. For the Kings profession we have shown Cap. 6. what it was at that time, and both before and after; then the profession of the whole body of the Kingdome cannot be determined by particular mens opinions, but by publik Acts either by the Supreme, Civill or Ecclesiastick Court. And they have not produced any Act of either of those Courts long be­fore, shewing such a profession; and therefore, it is to be presupposed that there was none such: But on the contra­ry, we can produce Acts of both those Courts, not onely long before, but also continually since the Reformation, yea at that same very time when this Abjuration was first made, and some yeers after standing in force, appro­ving this power and preheminence: the first Act they can produce, having any appearance of condemning Epi­scopacie as unlawfull, is that Act of the Assemblie at Dundee 1580. which notwithstanding doth not serve their purpose, first, because this Act was not long before (if not after) this Abjuration was first framed, being even that same very year about that same time. Secondly, al­beit the office of a Bishop, as it was then in Scotland, be condemned, yet notwithstanding this point, that it was lawfull that one Pastor might have power and prehemi­nence given him, was agreed unto by the whole Assem­blie, as we have signified before, and shall more fully de­clare hereafter. Thirdly, long before this the power and [Page 84] preheminencie of Superintendents and Commissioners was publikly approved by the first book of Discipline, and by divers Acts of Generall Assemblies, even then, and some years after standing in force unrepealed, which we have before faithfully cited cap. 5. And as for the civill Courts both of Councell and Parliament, they declared their profession by rejecting of divers suits made for ra­tifying the second book of Discipline, which seemed to condemne this power and preheminence as in the As­semblies, 1578. 1579. and 1580. cited here by them­selves; It is declared that divers suits were made for esta­blishing the second book of Discipline by Act of Parlia­ment, or otherwise, if that could not be obtained, by Act of Councell, but both the one and the other were often re­fused.

Moreover, it was declared by the King and whole bo­dy of the Kingdome assembled in Parliament at Edin­burgh May 22. 1584. that they had no such profession: but on the contrary, in the 129. Act of that Parliament representing the whole body of the Kingdome, the whole power, preheminence and Iurisdiction of Bishops was ratified and confirmed in most ample forme. By which it is evident, that there was no point of Doctrine long before the swearing of this Covenant received, be­leeved and defended by the King and whole body of the Kingdome, condemning this power and preheminence now in question; And therefore that it was not abjured by the Oath of the Covenant. And since it is so, it is strange with what face or conscience they can so [...] abuse Christian people, as to impose falsly [...]uch a burden upon the Consciences of all persons within the King­dome, both King and Subjects, Pastors and people, in pressing to perswade them against so many evident rea­sons, that they are all by vertue of that Oath so fearfully perjured, who have consented to the [...] of Epi­scopacie.

But, because this point of Episcopacie is understood by [Page 85] them rather to be abjured under the name of Discipline, than under the name of Doctrine: therefore to take away all way of Escape or subt [...]rfuge, we shall examine the point of Discipline also, and shew how farre it is inclu­ded in the Oath; and albeit it be by all those former limi­tations excluded also, for these limitations are to be ap­plied aswell to the Discipline as to the Doctrine.

Yet for further resolution, we must consider that the word (Discipline) is taken in divers significations, first strictly and properly, for that part of the Policie which concerneth the censures of the Church, to be practised up­on those who doe erre either in doctrine, or in manners of life. And so Episcopacie, or power and preheminence of one Pastor over others is not contrary thereto, but may very well subsist therewith, and hath subsisted actually both during the Governement under Superintendents or Commissioners, as also under the Government of Bi­shops since they were re-established: for the same cen­sures which were established by the book of Discipline, by the order set down before our Psalm books, and by divers Acts of Generall Assemblies long before Bishops were re-established, did still remaine the same admo [...]iti­ons private and publik, the same sentence of excom [...]u­nication, and manner of proceeding therein, by three pri­vate and three publik Citations before Ecclesiasticall In­dicatories, the same publik prayers [...]ppointed by order of the Church of repentance to the delinquent, upon three severall Sabbath dayes, the same forme of pronouncing the sentence, and enjoyning private or publik satisfaction, the same manner of receiving and absolving of the pen [...] ­tent. As all within the Church of Scotland doe know: And therefore it is evident, that this power and preh [...] ­minence of Bishops is not contrary to the Discipl [...]e of the Church of Scotland taken in this [...]eale; [...] apparently it is taken in the Oath for in [...]ll speeches or w [...]s of con [...]sequenc [...] chi [...] those which are see down for a sol [...] oath, [...]hich ought to be plain and cleer,) the words [...] [Page 86] be taken in their proper and most usuall sense, rather than in an unproper and figurative, except by some evident reason it appear that it must be taken improperly. And this certainly is the most proper and usuall meaning of this word (Discipline,) as it is taken in the order set down before our Psalm books, in the second book of Di­scipline cap. 7. intituled of Ecclesiasticall Discipline, in the second book of Discipline every where, and most frequently by all Ecclesiasticall writers: and therefore those who have obeyed and received Bishops are not per­jured, nor have broken that oath, whereby they did swear to adhere to the Discipline of the Church of Scotland. But on the contrary, those of this Assembly who have de­posed and excommunicated with such precipitation so many Bishops and Ministers, without observing in their proces these formes prescribed by the Discipline of the Church of Scotland, are evidently perjured according to their own grounds.

Secondly, the word Discipline is taken at some times in a more large and ample signification, for the whole Po­licie of the Church, which in the second book of Disci­pline cap. 1. is defined to be An order or form of Spiritu­all Government, which is exercised by the members thereto appointed by the Word of God, for the we [...]ll of the whole bo­die: which policie cap. 2. is divided, first in regard of the persons, in that part which concerneth Rulers, and that which concerneth them who are ruled; secondly, in re­gard of the thing subject to this Policie in three parts. 1. The policie which concernes the preaching of the Word, and the administration of the Sacraments. 2 That which concerneth the censures of the Church or Disci­pline so properly called. 3. In that which concerneth the collecting and distributions of Almes and [...]ent of the Church.

Now if any will be so obstinate as to contend, that the word Discipline is taken in this large sense in the Oath of the Covenant; for their satisfaction likewise, we must [Page 87] consider that in this Discipline or Policie, it is requisite that we distinguish the points which are essentiall and perpetuall, from the points accidentall and mutable; or as it is expresly distinguished in the first book of Discipline cap. 9. Intituled of the Policie of the Church in things ut­terly necessary, without the which there is no face of a visible Church, and in things profitable and not meerly necessarie: the points utterly necessary are those which are prescribed by Gods Word to endure perpetually, as that there be Pastors, Teachers and Rulers in the Church, that Gods Word be truely taught, and Sacraments admi­nistred according to Christs Institutions, and that the censures of the Church be exercised against scandalous persons, and such other like things. The points not meer­ly necessary but profitable are those, which are not parti­cularly prescribed by Gods Word, but left to the libertie of the Church to constitute by Ecclesiasticall Canons, set­ting down the formes, Ceremonies and Orders to be ob­served in Gods worship, and ruling of the Church, ac­cording as the divers circumstances of time, place, and persons doe require: Such as, how many Pastors under what names and titles they ought to bear rule in the Church, over what bounds or what particular persons they ought to have charge, when, where, in what order, gesture, or what habite they ought to preach, pray, or ad­minister Sacraments, and exercise their Authoritie, and divers other Ecclesiasticall Constitutions concerning their particular manner of Government.

The first sort ought not to be altered or changed in sub­stance, since they are appointed by God to be perpetuall in the Church, and the oath taken in Baptisme, or entr [...]e to a calling, doth oblige every one within the Church according to their place and station therein, to observe them perpetually, albeit there had been no other Oath. But so it is that this power and preheminencie here condem­ned, is not contrary to any of these essentiall points of the policie of the Church appointed by Gods word, but most [Page 88] conforme therto, according to the practice of the Church both under the Old and New Testament; And therefore in swearing to adhere to these points of Discipline none have abjured this power and preheminence, but there­with have retained those essentiall points without change or Alteration.

There be other points of Episcopacie, which are com­prehended under the accidentall parts of the Policie of the Church, such as are by what titles or names those who bear chief rule in the Church ought to be called, Whether Bishops, or Superintendents, or Commissioners, or Presi­dents, or [...], or Moderatores, by whose advice they should exercise their Authoritie, whether by Cha­pters▪ or Synods, or Presbyteries, or by other wise, godly and learned men, assumed by their own choice to be their C [...]uncell: Albeit indeed it be more expedient to use these titles and names, which have ever been used in the Apostolick and Primitive Church, and continued by long prescription in after ages, than those new invented titles, by men affecting Singularitie.

These points being alterable in their own nature, as not being precisely commanded in Gods word, may be changed by the Church in whose libertie they were left: and therefore no Oath could bind any man to the perpe­tuall observation thereof, in case it pleased the Church for reasons of expediency to alter them; for according to that Common Regula Iuris, Iuramentum sequitur na­turam actus super quo interponitur, if the things we swear unto be of their own nature perpetui Iuris, the oath taken thereupon bi [...]des to the perpetuall observati­on, and no Creature is able to absolve us of that Oath. But if it be Iuris positivi, and onely a Constitution of the C [...]urch or Common-wealth concerning these things [...] are left to the libertie of the Church or Supreme [...] then certainly, the oath taken thereupon, [...] longer than the Constitution standeth in force, but being altered by that same lawfull Authoritie [Page 89] whereby it was established, all are ipso facto loosed from the bond of that Oath: yea all those who have sworn to adhere to the Discipline of the Church of Scot­land, are bound by vertue of that oath to follow the Church in the alteration she makes in those mutable points, and to obey the new Acts and Constitutions that concerne the same. Although they be different or con­trary to the former Acts, and all those who disobey there­in contemptuously, are guiltie of perjurie: Therefore since the Church hath altered upon good and grave rea­sons those formes and Constitutions of Presbyteriall Go­vernment, established for a time not upon so good grounds unto the ancient approved manner of Episcopall Govern­ment; all those within the Church are obliged notwith­standing of their former oath to follow the Church in her change without fear of perjurie. And on the contrary all our Covenanters, who before the lawful abrogation of the Constitutions of the Church established by lawfull Au­thoritie, have not conformed themselves thereto, but disobeying them in their own persons, and by their ex­emplary practice intised, yea compelled others to disobey and rebell to the disgrace of their mother their Church, and breaking of the bond of peace, whereby the Unitie of the Spirit is conserved doe lye under a fearfull perjurie untill they doe seriously repent.

Answering to the Acts of the Generall Assemblies produced against Bishops untill that Act at Dundee, 1580.

HAving disoussed those passages alleaged out of the Abjuration of the Covenant, it rests that we an­swer in like manner to the Acts of divers generall Assem­blies, produced to prove that the Church hath condemned [Page 90] this power and preheminence of one Pastor over another and over moe particular flocks: albeit a sufficient answer may easily be gathered by the judicious Reader; out of that which we have said already, yet because many are moved by the Authority of those Assemblies, who doe not under­stand the manner of their proceedings, we must consider them more particularly, to the end than we may shew what weight and force they ought to have in the Church.

Those Acts here cited by them for the more commo­dious answering without Tautologie may be disposed in three Ranks, first, some of them containe only prepara­tions to the condemning of Episcopacie, as those from the year 1575. to the 1580. next there are some that tend directly to the establishing of the second book of Disci­pline, transferring the power of Bishops to Presbyteries; thirdly, others are such as condemne Episcopacie, which all we shall examine particularly in their own order.

And first we must observe, that they never alleage one word of any Assembly since the Reformation untill that at Edinburgh 1575. albeit there were thirtie generall Assemblies in Scotland before that time, more uncorrupt, holy and venerable, than any of those which are alleaged of them; for why they were not able to shew by any probabilitie, that before that time the Church of Scotland did think any evill of this power and preheminencie, but did continually and constantly approve the same both by her Constitutions and practice.

Next we must consider the causes and occasions mo­ving the Ministers at that time to alter their judgements in this point, and if we remark the estate of the Church and Kingdome of Scotland at that time, as it is known to all these who have taken paines to understand the true history of the Church and Kingdome of Scotland in those dayes, we shall finde evidently the occasions of this alte­ration of Iudgement.

First, there were at that time some men of learning, [Page 91] but of fiery and violent humours, come into Scotland from Geneva, who because of their travels abroad and learning were had in great esteeme; and they being themselves greatly in love with Geneva discipline, did labour by all manner of perswasions to move others to like both of the Clergie and Laitie, especially Noblemen, to a liking ther­of also; at lest by intreaties, perswasions, and some shew of reason made secretly amongst themselves a reasonable number both of Nobility and Ministry, who carried a great sway in generall Assemblies, and were able to make a partie if the former Government were called in Que­stion.

Secondly, they thought the time fit to further their de­signe, in regard of the Kings Majesties minoritie, being then about ten yeers of age at most, and therefore not ca­pable of the knowledge of that which was most fit for the Government either of the Civill or Ecclesiastick estate, governed himself by divers men of divers hu­mours.

Thirdly, there was a great furtherance to this Alterati­on, in regard of the great troubles, divisions and factions at that time, amongst the Nobilitie and Courtiers, every one striving to thrust out his Neighbour from that im­ployment he had about the King and Court, as witnes the violent death of three Regents, and the fourth, like enough, had gone the same way (if his Govermne [...]t had indured longer) and many of the Nobility cut off by par­ticular quarrells, some justly, some unjustly under co­lour of legall proceeding: as witnes likewise an Act of the Assemblie at Edinburgh 1578. whereby a solemn Fast was injoyned for divers reasons, Especially because of the [...]ivill and intestine, ungodly S [...]ditions and Divisions within the Bowells of the Kingdome: Some Noblemen therefore and Courtiers in those factious times, as fishing in troubled waters, to further their own ends did labour to make some pretext of Religion, and therefore did strive to ha [...]e the Church upon their side, abusing the simplicitie of some [Page 92] of the Ministrie zealous of the new Discipline, and the pride of others impatient of subjection to their Bishops or Superintendents stirring them up to cast off their yoak: knowing that they by their Sermons and private practices might doe much, to make the people incline to which faction they pleased best; And by that meanes to force the Kings Majestie for fear of a generall insurrection to grant them whatsoever they desired, which policie our Covenanting Noblemen have carefully practised now with great but a dangerous effect: there was never yet in those times so bold a Traitor, but he found Ministers of that sect to Countenance him, and approve his doings both privately and publikly, as witnes their applauding the Earle of Bothwell in his treasonable attempts, for it is certainly known that of those moneyes which was collected by the Ministers for the relief of Geneva, a part was imployed to wage souldiers for him, I know and could name if I pleased both the deliverers and Receivers thereof: It is known also that Ministers of that Sect had a chief hand in all those attempts which commonly are called Roads, as at the road of Stritilling, the road of Leith, and the Abbey road, and at the 17. day of December the Earle of Gowry found one of the prime Ministers of that Sect to justifie his cause, and refuse to give thanks to God for the Kings Deliverie from that treasonable At­tempt. Finally, it is well known how King Iames of happy memory was vehemently troubled and vexed most unjustly by that Sect, during the time of that Anarchie of the Church, as he himself left in record in his Basilicon Doron.

Fourthly, to those occasions another was joyned to further the ruine of Episcopacie, towit, the Sacrilegious greed of some of the Nobilitie and Courtiers gaping after the Church-rents, which they perceived they could never obtaine so long as the Authority of Bishops did subsist, and therefore did use the uttermost of their endea­vour to bear down that estate, pushing forward the Mini­sters [Page 93] to cry out against the Bishops, and to blue abroad their personall faults both in their Assemblies, Pulpits and private conference, to make the very office it self [...] to the people.

It is therefore more than manifest▪ that those trouble­some and factio [...]s times cannot be accounted a good pr [...] ­sident for the Government of the Church in after ages; for shall a few turbulent Assemblies backed and [...] forward by factious humours and sacrilegious greed of Noblemen and Courtiers? in the mi [...]orage of the Su­preme Magistrate constituting a new Discipline, by the example of one small Citie of Geneva, confirmed onely by the practice of fourteen or fifteen yeers at most, be able to counterpoize Gods Word, the continuall pra­ctice of the Church of God both under the old and new Testament, and the example of the blessed Apostles and their Successors, the venerable Pastors of the Primitive Church, continued in after ages in all Christian Nations untill this last age; yea retained by the first reformers of the Church of Scotland, and approved by the Church therein for many yeers thereafter. So that the Authoritie of these Assemblies ought not to move judicious men judging without partiall affection: This much in gene­rall concerning those Assemblies whereby the estate of Bishops was opprest in those dayes, yet to remove all scruple, we shall discusse particularly all the Acts alleaged here out of these assemblies, shewing that they serve little or nothing to the present purpose.

First, they alleage that Bishops were tollerated from the year 1572. untill this year 1575.. But by their leave, they were tollerated from the very first years of the Re­formation, for so many of them as did joyne themselves to the reformed Religion, retaining the title, office, and Benefice of a Bishop, did exercise their jurisdiction [...] all the Pastors a [...]d people within their Diocese by appro­bation of the generall Assemblies of the Church, as we have shown before, Cap. 5. So that this was not as they [Page 94] alleage a meer tolleration, but a full consent and approba­tion, at least in regard of their power and preheminence above Ministers, and charge over moe particular parishes. It is true that Anno 1572. there were divers Bishopricks vacant, and that my Lord Regent did excuse himself to the Assembly, that they had been so long void; as appears by an Act of that Assemblie at Edinburgh, August 1572. wherein it is recorded, that Alexander Hay Clark of the Councell presented some Articles in name of the Regent to the Assembly, whereof one is My Lord Regent his grace mindes, that with all convenient diligence, qualified persons shall be presented to the Bishopricks now vacant, the delay whereof has not been by his owne default, but by reason that some enteresse [...]as made to those livings in fa­vour of some Noblemen, before his acceptation of the Re­gencie; yet his Grace is perswaded that qualified persons shall be speedily presented, and in case of fail [...]i [...], will not faile without the others knowledge or consent to present. So it appeares by his excuse, and promise of diligence in times to come, that this was not a tolleration onely, but an earnest suit of the Church, that qualified persons should be presented as they were shortly after and accepted by the Assemblie: The Regent at this time was the worthy Mathew Earle of Lenox, a man of a noble and generous disposition, who bent himself to wrest the Church Li­vings out of the Noblemens hands, and to establish the Church in her proper lustre, which doubtlesse he had effectuate if he had been suffered longer to live, and so set­tled things therein, as King Iames of happy memory, and King Charles now raigning should not have had so much trouble and turmoile in redressing the estate thereof a­gaine: But not long after this, he was traiterously mur­thered at [...], and after his death another wind blowing, all his designes were reversed, Episcopacie born down, and the Church brought to miserable povertie.

The first Assembly alleaged to prove their conclusion is that in August 1575. which notwithstanding doth no­thing [Page 95] make for them, but against them rather, as we shall make manifest by the proceeding of that Assemblie and Conclusion thereof, according as we have faithfully ex­tracted them out of the Register of the Assemblies. At this Assemblie indeed was made the first publik motion against Episcopacie (although they had before laid pri­vately their plots in their own conventicles) at the very beginning of the Assembly, when they were calling the Roll of their names, the Bishops (according to the accu­stomed order in former Assemblies) being first called, the promoters of Geneva discipline set forward one Iohn Durie, a man neither of the wisest nor most learned of the Ministrie, but of great boldnesse, which happily he had learned in the Cloister, having been sometime (as I have heard) a Monk in Dumfermling; he rising up made a Protestation, That the calling of the Bishops in the Assem­blie should not prejudge the opinions and reasons which he and other Brethren of his mind had to oppone against the office and name of Bishops; this Protestation being vehe­mently seconded by others, the question was proposed to the Assemblie in these termes, Whether the Bishops, as they are now in Scotland, have their function of the word of God, or not: a more formall proposition indeed than this in the Assemblie of the Covenanters, albeit it have some ambiguitie also: they thought it not sit to put the mat­ter presently to the voycing, untill it were sufficiently dis­cussed by reasoning pro & contra; and for that effect there are three appointed upon every part to reason the matter, and to report their judgement and opinion to the Assem­blie, and how farre they could agree: the reasoners a­gainst Episcopacie were M [...]. Andrew Meltin Principall of the Colledge of Glasgow, who was the chief man in this cause, M [...]. Iames Lawson Minister at Edinburgh, and M. Iohn Craig Minister at Aberdeene: on the other part for Bishops were appointed M. George Hay Commissio­ner of Caithnes, M. David Lyndsay Minister at Leith, M. Iohn Ro [...] Minister at P [...]rth; they together having [Page 96] conferred and reasoned the matter at length, could not agree upon the Principall question, and therefore the As­sembly determined by an Act, That they think it not expe­dient presently to answer to the Principall question: yet they who were appointed to reason the matter, reported to the Assembly that they had agreed altogether in certain points, First, that the name of Bishop is common to all them which have charge of a particular flock, to preach the Word and administer the Sacrament, which is their chief function by the Word of God. Secondly, That out of this number may be chosen one to have power to visite such reasonable bounds as the Assemblie shall appoint. Thirdly, That he may have power in these bounds to ap­point Ministers, with consent of the Ministers of that province, and of the flock to which they are appointed. Fourthly, That he may have power to appoint Elders, and Deacons in every particular Congregation with consent of the people. Fiftly, That he may have power to suspend and depose Ministers for reasonable causes, with consent of the Ministers aforesaid. The which points of agreement were ratified and approved by the next Generall Assembly in April, 1576. whereby it is evident that they did not intend to diminish that power and preheminence, which Superintendents had before over private Ministers, or over the particular Congregations within their bounds, which as we have shown before was no lesse than tha [...] which Bishops now doe require to have in the Church: And therefore that this Assemblie concluded directly a­gainst them, who condemne the power and preheminence of Bishops over Ministers and over moe particular flocks than one.

Secondly, we must remark a subtill dissimulation of our Covenanters, who in the Citation of this Act remember only one point of this Agreement towit, That the Name of a Bishop is common to every one of them that hath a par­ticular flock; but dissembles the other points of agreement which we have rehearsed importing this power and pre­heminence, [Page 97] because they found them directly contrary to their Conclusion.

Thirdly, albeit they intended at this Assemblie present­ly to have thrown down Episcopacie to the ground, yet because many wise, learned and godly Brethren did op­pose them, standing firmly for the ancient discipline of the Church, there passed five or six years in these conte­stations before the finall sentence was pronounced; in the mean time those Episcopomastiges ceased not to labour diligently by all meanes to draw others to their judge­ment, using likewise the perswasions of men of speciall note beyond Seas; as in the time of the Contestation, the Lord Glames then Chancellor of Scotland was moved by our Genevating Ministers to write to Beza, craving his opinion concerning the present Government under Bi­shops & Superintendents, to the which letter Beza made a large answer condemning the present Government, and setting down a plot of that Policie and Discipline which he desired them to imbrace, according to the which they did frame their second book of Discipline, and that in ma­ny points ipsissimis verbis, as may appear by conferring the Book with his Epistle.

That second citation from the Assembly, April 1576. serves nothing to their purpose, for albeit Some Bishops were censured because they had not betaken themselves to a particular flock: yet this might consist with power and preheminence over other as is cleer in the Superindents, who albeit they had particular flocks wherein they were specially bound to attend in preaching the Word, and ad­ministration of Sacraments, yet that did not hinder but that they might have charge over other Pastors and moe Parishes.

Finally, those corruptions of the estate of Bishops which are set down in the Assemblie at Edinburgh, 1578. were not fully concluded in that Assembly to be damned absolutely, but only proposed by some and craved to be considered.

Answering to the Acts for establishing of the second Book of Discipline.

THe second Rank of Acts cited out of Generall As­semblies are those which concern the establishing of the second Book of Discipline, such as are that Act of the Assembly in April 1578. Sess. 4. that in April 1578. Iuly 1579. Iuly 1580. Sess. 10. April 1581. 1590. 1591. Sess. 4. to the which they need no particular Answer, but Generally concerning this book of Discipline, we answer, first, that this Book of Discipline was brought in head, and urged by the same means and occasions where­of we spake before, to subvert the former established Go­vernment, and to bear down Bishops, that the Church the more easie might be robbed of her patrimonie by No­blemen and Courtiers gaping after the Church-rents, and factious humours striving to singularity, contrary to the mind of the wisest and gravest and most modest of the Ministry, and opposed continually by the King & Councel and whole body of the Kingdome, as the very Acts them­selves here produced by them doe evidently declare.

Secondly, the Acts of those Assemblies can be of no greater force than the book it self, for the establishing whereof they were made. But so it is, that this Book is not in it self that Discipline whereunto we swear to joyne our selves in the Oath of the Covenant, first, be­cause at this time the book of Discipline was but onely a thing in fieri, not as yet concluded when the Oath was made, and therefore could not be accounted to be com­prehended therein; for that Ordinance of the Assemblie at Glasgow, 1581. whereby that Discipline was appointed to be registrated in the Assembly books, did not make it a binding Law, neither was it intended for that end, but as it is expresly set down in the Act it self ad perpetuam [Page 99] rei memoriam, and that the posteritie should think well of the intention of the Church. So it was but a thing inten­ded by the Church, but not effected: as likewise that Or­dinance of the Assembly at Glasgow 1590. concerning the subscription to that book, did not extend it self to all, but to actuall Ministers only, and yet of those many did resist it; as particularly the Ministers of Angus and Mear [...]es, and divers other parts of the Kingdome, for the which cause it was thought needfull that a new Act should be made Anno 1591. injoyning againe the subscri­ption under a penalty, and particularly to those of Angus and Mear [...]es. This book was never ratified by any Act of Estate either in Councell or Parliament, without the which they themselves confesse it could not be a Law, as they doe in that Assembly Iuly 1579. and that Assembly 1580 Sess. 10. As for that Act of Parliament 1592. here alleaged, first, it was after the last urging of the swearing of the Covenant 1591. and therefore could not be inclu­ded in the Oath. Secondly, it was but a partiall ratifica­tion, not of the whole book, but of Generall, Synodall, and of Presbyteriall Assemblies, and Parish Sessions, which did still remaine under Episcopall government with grea­ter regularitie than they were before.

2. This book of Discipline many years after the first motion thereof, could not be agreed unto by the greatest and best part of the Ministrie, finding it for the most part but an Imaginary plot, which could be hardly effectuate or indure long in the Church without great corruption, as the event proved. Some of it never put in practice either in the Church of Scotland, or any other Church in the world, like to the frame of Policie in Plato's Republik, or of Outopia, as those points de Diaconatu, concerning the collecting and distribution of the rents of the Church: in some points the contrary hath ever been practised, as it is appointed by that Book Cap. 7. That Landward Churches should not nor could not have particular Elder­ships, and yet ever after there was not so small a Land­ward [Page 100] Church, but had their particular Sessions consisting of the Ministers, Elders and Deacons. It is likewise there appointed that Elders once lawfully called to the office may never leave it again; and yet it hath ever been an use that he who was Elder this year should be casheered the next, and every year a new Election made. Item, it is ordained Cap. 3. That all Ecclesiasticall Parsons, as Pastors, Elders, and Deacons should receive the Ceremonie of ordination to their office, which are declared to be Fasting and Prayer, and imposition of hands of Elderships, and yet they did never practise imposition of hands upon Elders or Dea­cons, but only in the Ordination of Pastors: many other points might be brought which either were never practi­sed, or the contrary practice brought in.

3. If this Book of Discipline be a declaration of the meaning of Church, whereby the negative Confession in the Covenant should be interpreted, then those who have sworn the Covenant, have sworn also to this Book of Discipline; if it be so then, which of all the Covenanters can free themselves of perjurie, for I am assured, that the greatest part are not perswaded in their Conscience of the truth of all this Book of Discipline, nor will swear to adhere thereto all the dayes of their lives: let them put their Covenanting Noblemen, and other Gentlemen possessors of the Church Rents, to an assay to swear that point of this Book ca. 9. That to take any part of the patri­mony of the Church (consisting of Tithes, Manses, Glaebs, Possessions, Lands, Biggings, Annuall rents, and any o­ther thing which hath been at any time before, or shall be in times coming, given for the use and utilitie of the Church) and convert it to the particular and profane use of any per­son, we hold it a detestable Sacriledge before God. Or that point Cap. 12. That this order which Gods Word craves, cannot stand with patronages, or power of presentation, &c. put them (I say) to this Oath particularly, and make them understand, that by swearing to the discipline of the Church of Scotland, they are sworn also to this point; [Page 101] and then you shall find that they will rather renounce your Covenant before they take such an Oath: Or if they have so bad a Conscience as to swear so directly against their mind, before they perform really that which they swear, by restitution of the patrimonie of the Church and quieting the Right of Patronage, they shall rather revolt from your Covenant, and conforme themselves to the Book of Common Prayer, Book of Canons, and high Commission likewise. So if you should put many of the Ministrie, especially those who possesse rich Parsonages, to swear particularly that point of the Policie appointed by this Book, Cap. 9. & Cap. 12. To suffer the Deacons to intromet with all their Church Rents, and to distribute the same by the direction of the ruling Elders, giving one fourth part for the maintenance of their Lay-Elders and Deacons, another to their poore Hospitals and Schools: another for upholding the fabrick of the Church and other extraordi­nary affayres, and only a fourth part to be given to the Minister; they should find few of them who would im­brace their Covenant upon those Conditions. So then to perswade people that by swearing to adhere to the disci­pline of the Church of Scotland, they swear also to this book and to all the points therein, (whereunto the whole Church did agree fully in that Assemblie 1578. as they al­leage) either it is a false deluding of the whole Kingdom, in drawing upon their consciences the burden of a fear­full perjurie, or else the Covenanters themselves remaine as yet under that fearfull perjurie, notwithstanding of the renewing of their Covenant, whereby they think that their perjurie is expiate; for they have not as yet re­nounced those things which they are bound to renounce by their oath.

4. This Book of Discipline is deficient in the principall points of Church discipline; there is no order set down therein of the censures of the Church, nor of the manner of proceeding to the sentence of excommunication a­gainst offenders, or in the absolution of the penitent, or [Page 102] of receiving them again into the Church who has been excommunicated: in which points that which properly is called the Discipline of the Church doth consist. Every Church hath her Ecclesiasticall Canons, whereby those things are directed, but this book omitting those Canons hath done, as that Painter, who having portraied every Nation in its proper habite, did paint the French man naked with a paire of Taylors sheers in his hand to shape to himself a fashion of Habite, because he changeth year­ly according to his fancie: even so this book of Disci­pline hath given to the Ministers, and Lay-Elders in their Elderships, a power to shape to themselves a new forme of Discipline every year as they please; so that as I know perfectly, there were few Presbyteries or Sessions in Scot­land, but had different manner of proceeding in these things, as I could instance in divers particulars, having seen and perused many Presbyteriall and Session books. And there is none amongst themselves, who frequented divers Presbyteries, but they know this to be true.

Finally, this Book is superabundant also, meddling with those things which doe not appertaine to Ecclesiasticall discipline, as setting down rules restraining the civill and supreme Magistrate in the execution of his charge committed to him by God, debarring him from med­dling with Ecclesiasticall matters, and not giving him so much power therein, as to a Shoemaker or Taylor being a ruling Elder, and giving him no definitive power, but only to be an executioner of that which they define, and such other points of Iesuiticall doctrine.

Seeing therefore this book of Discipline was never fully approved, nor practised by the Church, nor fully ratified by the estate and kingdome, nor received fully by the Covenanters themselves, and since it is de [...]icient in principall points of Discipline, and superabundant in meddling wit [...]things impertinent, it cannot be accounted that discipline whereunto all are sworn by the oath of the Covenant: And therefore that all those Acts of Assem­blies [Page 103] cited here for the establishing thereof are imperti­nent to prove their conclusion.

VVherein is discussed that Act of the Generall Assemblie at Dundee 1580. Condemning Episcopacie, as it was then in Scotland.

THe principall Act whereupon they chiefly insist, and ground this abjuration and meaning of the Church in these years when the Covenant was sworn, is that Act of the Generall Assemblie at Dundee Iuly 1580. whereby The office of a Bishop (as it was then used in Scotland) is condemned as unlawfull in it self: and that Act at Glas­gow in April 1581. explaining the same, declaring it to be understood not of the spirituall function only, but of the whole office of a Bishop, as it was then used. Albeit the Church appeareth wholly to have condemned by those Acts all the points of the function of a Bishop, yet if we consider rightly, we shall finde nothing in them which proveth directly the determination of this Assemblie; for I cannot see how the whole Church of Scotland did agree at that time in condemning as unlawfull in it self, either this point of Episcopacie which is condemned by this Assemblie of Covenanters 1638. or any Substantiall point either of the Spirituall or temporall function thereof, ex­cept they grant that the Church at that time did contra­dict it self.

First, I am assured they intended not to condemne in Bishops, as unlawfull it self, the preaching of the Word, the Administration of the Sacraments, and the exercise of Ecclesiasticall Discipline, since they acknowledge them­selves that these are the principall points of their spirituall function in that Act of the Assemblie 1575. discussed here before.

[Page 104] Secondly, neither did they condemn as unlawfull in it self, the name and title of a Bishop to be appropriated to some Pastors by others, for first, they did allow the title of Superintendent to be appropriated to some pastors, which is a word of the same sense and signification, and importing as great Authoritie and Iurisdiction as the other; And therefore it were but a foolish Logomachie, or strife about words to allow the one title, and con­demne the other. Secondly, it may aswell be condemned as unlawfull, to appropriate the name of Minister to the degree of preaching Pastors, which is common to all those who have charge in the Church: or to appropriate the name of Elder to their ruling Elders only, which is common to all Pastors, Apostles, Evangelists, and Bi­shops.

Thirdly, neither did they condemne as unlawfull in it self, their power and preheminence over the Ministers in their Diocese, or charge over moe particular Parishes, first, because there were points agreed upon by both par­ties before this Assemblie, and approved by a speciall Act as we have shown before, Cap. 11. Secondly, because this power was as yet still remaining in the persons of Super­intendents, Commissioners and Visitors, and long after this time.

Fourthly, neither did they condemne as unlawfull in it self, their power of Convocation of Synodall Assemblies and their moderation therein, for the Church acknow­ledged this power to be lawfull in Superintendents, as we have shown by divers Acts of Assemblies, Cap. 5. for if it were unlawfull in it self, it could not be thought lawfull under any title whatsoever.

Fiftly, neither did they condemne as unlawfull in it self their sitting and voycing in Councell or Parliament, or other Civill Iudicatories; for they acknowledge in the second book of Discipline, Cap. 11. That Pastors may and should assist their Princes when they be required in all things agreeable to Gods Word, whether it be in Councell [Page 105] or Parliament, or otherwise. So a little before this time M. Robert Pont, who was a Pastor and Commissioner of Caithenes, had licence from the Assemblie to exercise the office of a Senator of the Colledge of Iustice, which was a civill Iudicatorie: That proviso which is added to this doth not import any unlawfulnes in the office, Pro­viding they neglect not their own charge, nor by flatterie of Princes hurt the publik estate of the Church; if any doe so, it is but a personall fault, and not essentiall to the office, for Bishops may doe more good in those places for the publik weal of the Church, than their Apostles of the Covenant by their long staying in Edinburgh farre from their own particular charges, attending the tables of the Covenant, and gadding up and down the Countrie to stirre up the Kings Subjects to rebellion against him, and to disturb the estate of the Church and Kingdome, as many of the Covenanting Ministers have done.

These are the principall points both of the Spirituall and temporall functions of the Bishops, and since they were not accounted by the Church unlawfull in themselves, how can this be that this Assembly hath justly condem­ned The whole estate of Bishops as unlawfull in it self; ex­cept the Ambiguitie lurk in these words which are there added and often repeated, As it is now used in Scotland, signifying that it was only the corruptions which were in those who were Bishops at that time which they did condemn, and not Episcopacie absolutely. It may be true indeed, that there were some corruptions at that time in those who had the office of Bishops, or that they did not exercise their office aright, retaining some cor­ruptions of the Roman Church, but for these personall faults, the office should not have been condemned of it self, since these corruptions might have been separated from the office, as they were indeed by the new re-esta­blishment of Bishops in the year 1606. 1608.

And certainly, they understood those corruptions which are remaked to have been in the Bishops by the [Page 106] book of discipline, Cap. 11. whereof some are corruptions indeed, but not competent to that office, as it was now established in Scotland by generall Assemblies and Acts of Parliament: others of them are only supposed corrupti­ons, which cannot be convinced to be such indeed, either by Gods Word, or testimonie of approved Fathers, or practice, or example of the primitive Church. 1. They say, it is a corruption that the name of Bishop should be appropriated to some few: we have answered to this a little before, shewing that this is only a proud doting about questions and strife of words, as the Apostle sayes, 1▪ Tim▪ 6. 4. 2. They account it a corruption, that they addict not themselves to a particular flock: I answer, that they doe so, for their Diocese is their particular flock; Then it is neither necessarie nor expedient, that he to whom the generall charge of many parishes is commit­ted, should astrict himself to one Parish only, nor can the contrary be convinced from Gods Word, wherein we finde no such divisions of Parishes as is now. 3. They challenge them that they are called Lords over their bre­thren, and over the inheritance of the Lord: But first we say, that they are not called Lords in regard of their rule over their Brethren, but in regard of their temporall Lordships bestowed upon them by the Liberalitie of Princes, and in regard of their place in Parliament and Councell: then this title of Lord, like as Dominus in La­tine, and [...] in Greek is sometimes a word signifying absolute and illimitated Dominion. So we see that di­vers Emperors, albeit in effect they had absolute domini­on, yet did they refuse often the title of Dominus be­cause it was odious to people, and in this sense Bishops are not called Lords, neither doe they arrogate to them­selves such absolute and unlimited dominion, as to doe what they pleased, but they must be ruled by the Canons of the Church. But otherwise the title of Lord is only a word of honour competent to every man of respect, to whom it pleases the Prince, or custome of the Countrey [Page 107] to give that title, as in France we see the Bishops are no otherwise intituted than other ordinarie Gentlemen, cal­ling them Mounsieur; so likewise in Spaine and Italy Seignior, which title is also given to any other man of worth; it is only the custome of the Countrey of Eng­land and Scotland, whereby this title of Lord is given to Bishops, and not for any absolute Dominion they arro­gate thereby. 4. They account it a corruption that Bi­shops should have further bounds to visite then they may lawfully (they would say conveniently:) but that corru­ption may easily be amended by division of the Dio­cese, as is lately done in the Diocese of St. Andrews, with­out abolishing the whole office. 5. That a Pastor should have criminall Iurisdiction: we answer they have not this as Pastors or Bishops, but as a priviledge by the Laws of the Countrey annexed to their temporall lands, which notwithstanding they doe not exercise in their own per­son, but by their Stewards or Bailif [...]es. 6. They count it a corruption, that Bishops would not subject themselves to the correction and censures of the particular Elder­ships or Presbyteries: this is but a supposed corruption, and if it were so, it were a great corruption indeed, and a most uncomely and confused disorder, to give libertie to the inferior members to correct the head; it is true indeed, that Bishops ought to be subject to the censures of Generall or Nationall Councels, and none of them will think themselves exeemed from such a one as is lawfully constituted. Albeit the Bishops did decline upon many just reasons this Assembly of Covenanters, which are at length expressed in their declinature, yet if that the As­semblie had been constituted according to the present established order of the Church, they would never have declined from the same. The last corruptions, they re­mark in the Bishops as they were then in Scotland, is, that they did not instruct their people in Gods Word, which is a corruption indeed, but not essentiall to the office of a Bishop, or allowed by a Law: if any omit that [Page 108] dutie, let them be censured for their personall fault, it is great iniquitie to condemn the whole office as unlawfull in it self, for the personall fault of one or two.

But I perceive that the chief thing which was then condemned in Episcopacie is, that they did not receive their Commission to exercise their charge from the Church, or that every Minister had not his voyce in the Nomina­tion or Election of Bishops, but that they were nomina­ted and presented by the King, elected by those of the Chapton only, and consecrated by other Bishops, and this was the thing which moved them [...]o despitefully to condemn that estate, in the constitution whereof every one of them had not a hand, and in all their proceedings both in the book of Discipline and Acts of Assemblies it appeares, that this was the chief thing they required, that if they had had their Commission only from the Church or generall Assemblie, they would have condescended to all other points of their function.

1. In the second book of Discipline, Cap. 11. they con­fess that albeit Pastors as pastors have not power over moe [...]locks than one, yet if it be given them by the Church they may exercise it lawfully. 2. In the Assemblie 1575. it is agreed by both parties as we have declared, that amongst the pastors one may be chosen by the Church to visite certaine bounds comprehending many particular parishes, and therein to plant Ministers, to suspend and depose them for reasonable causes. 3. In the Assemblie at Edinburgh 1578. one of the principall petitions they make to the Regent, was that none should be admitted to vote in Parliament in name of the Church, excep [...] such as have Commission from the Church. 4. In the second book of Discipline, Cap. 11. It is said that no person un­der whatsoever title ought to attempt any Act in name of the Church either in Councell or Parliament, having no Commission from the Church; so that if that had been done, we see that they acknowledge both their power and preheminence over other Pastors, their charge over [Page 109] moe particular flocks, their sitting in Councell, and vo­ting in Parliament to have been lawfull, which are the principall points both of the Spirituall and temporall function of Bishops, which they challenge in this Assem­blie to be unlawfull.

If then we can shew that the Bishops have received from the Church such a Commission, to exercise all these points of their office, how can it be denied but they may exercise them lawfully, since this is the only exception against them in these things: Therefore we shall make it appear that Bishops have received from the Church this Commission. 1. Christ himself who is the head of the Church having all power, gave to the Apostles this Commission to exercise power and preheminence in all Spirituall and Ecclesiasticall matters, over all both Pastors and people throughout the whole world. 2. The Apo­stles who were at the beginning the representative Church, gave the like Commission to Bishops over cer­taine bounds over the which they received Iurisdiction, as Paul gave to Timothy in Ephesus, and the bounds of Asia minor thereabout, Commission to plant Churches, to ordaine Presbyters and Deacons, to have Iurisdiction and Rule over them being ordained, to receive or repell accusations given in against them, and by consequent to judge and correct, or censure them: the same Commis­sion received Titus in the Kingdome of Creta; neither can it be doubted, but the rest of the Apostles gave the like Commission unto others in these Nations where they travelled to preach the Gospel, who were to succeed them in the rule and Government of the Churches, wher­in they had not only the Name, but also the office, and that power of Bishops which is here called in Controversie; as none can deny, except those who will impudently deny all t [...]rue records of Antiquitie, since all the o [...]thodox Fathers who succeeded the Apostles, and lived in the same age with them, doe with unanimous consent te­stifie the same. The which Commission was derived from [Page 110] the Primitive Church (who received it from the Apo­stles) to those of succeeding ages, confirmed by continu­all practice uncontrouled for the space of fifteen hundred years by any Orthodox writers, untill this last age that some of the Church of Geneva began to call it in question. 3. The Commission to vote in Parliament they could not have at the beginning, when there was no Christian Ma­gistrates or Common-wealths, yet so soone as King­domes and Common-wealths received the publik exer­cise of Christian Religion authorized by Laws, then the Church considering that many of the Civill Laws did ei­ther directly or indirectly reflect upon Ecclesiasticall mat­ters and Religion; and that it was very expedient, that Ecclesiasticall Constitutions for better obedience thereto should be strengthened by the Laws of the Kingdome, they did earnestly supplicate Emperors, Kings and Ma­gistrates that some Commissioners from the Church might have place in their Soveraign Courts, whereby Laws were established to further therein the cause of God and the Church, and to take heed Nè Ecclesia aliquid de­trimenti capiat: the which supplications Christian Em­perors, Kings and Magistrates out of a pious zeal did grant, And therefore did authorize the Bishops and Pre­lates to sit in their Soveraigne Courts in name of the Church; this priviledge many godly and learned Pre­lates did injoy to the unspeakable good of the Church, and advancement of Christian Religion: so that it is no lesse, but rather a great deal mo [...]e wicked Sacriledge to rob the Church of this so profitable a priviledge, than to rob her of her patrimonie: and therefore no marvell, though these who make no scruple in Conscience to be sacrilegious in the one, be also sacrilegious in the other.

4. To come neerer to our Church of Scotland it is evi­dent by all histories, that since there were Christian Princes therein, the reverend Bishops did not onely rule the Ecclesiastick affaires, but also had a great hand in the affaires of the Civill estate, and did much good by their [Page 111] wise Counsell to the King, the Church and whole King­dome, before Popish tyrannie had place therein; and that since there were any formall Parliament in Scotland, the Prelats made up the third Estate, and did represent the whole Church therein, both by the consent of the Church and fundamentall Laws of the Kingdome, so that to the enacting of any Law, the consent of Prelates was ever thought as necessarie as any of the other two Estates. And therefore since by the fundamentall Laws of this King­dome, no Act in Civill or Ecclesiasticall matters ever had the strength of a binding Law without the consent of all the three Estates, whosoever will prease to suppresse th [...] estate of Prelates doe reverse and destroy the very funda­mentall Laws of the Kingdome. 5. To come yet neerer to the reformed Church of Scotland, at the very first re­formation, those who were appointed in the place of Bi­shops called Superintendents, had by Commission from the Church as great power and preheminence over other Pastors, and all the Parishes within the bounds of the charge committed to them, as Bishops doe now require in their Diocese. It is true, the Superintendents had not vote in Parliament, nor could have; for why the Bishops retained still their possession in those places upon their an­cient Commission, often ratified in Parliament both be­fore and after the Reformation, never quarrelled by any Generall Assemblie of the Church, untill that Assemblie at Edinburgh in October 1578. wherein the Bishops are required only, not to vote in Parliament in name of the Church without speciall Commission there [...]ra. And a few years before, to wit, at the Assemblie at Edi [...]burgh 1573. the whole Iurisdiction and power of Bishops is expresly allowed by the Church, with some exceptious not very materiall as we remarked before, and yet there is no mention of excepting this power, to vote in Parlia­ment in name of the Church, whereby they doe tacitely at the least approve this the ancient Commission of the Bishops to vote in Parliament in name of the Church.

[Page 112] Finally, at the last re-establishing of Bishops, Thu Com­mission to vote in Parliament in name of the Church was expresly given to them by the Church; for first, by that Assemblie at Montrosse 1600. the Church gave Commis­sion to a certaine number of Ministers (though not under the title of Bishops) to have a care of the Generall af­faires of the Church, and to voice in Parliament in name of the Church: then the generall Assemblies at Glasgo [...] and Lithgow in the year 1606. 1608. 1610. they did un­der the very title of Bishops receive full Commission from the Church, not only to vote in Parliament, but likewise to exercise their whole Iurisdiction, power and and preheminence over all Pastors and people within the bounds of their Diocese, and so every Bishop particularly by their election and consecration receives power to use this Commission, whensoever occasion shall be offered: neither is it necessary, that for every severall Act they doe in name of the Church, they have a new particular Com­mission for that effect; but it is sufficient, that by the con­sent of the Church and Estates of the Kingdome, this power is annexed to the office of a Bishop for ever, so that whosoever should be elected to that office, should have this Commission once for all during his life time, or untill by his malversation in his charge he be lawfully and legally deprived.

It is true indeed, that the Church may adde new Arti­cles to their Commission, as times and occasions requires; as is done in England and Ireland where the Convocati­on of the Clergie sits ever in the time of Parliament, to consider upon such Articles as are thought by common consent to serve for the weel of the Church, and by them are presented to the Bishops, that by their care they may receive due ratification: but the turbulent behaviour of some Ministers in Scotland, who scornes to have their pe­titions proposed orderly by the Bishops, hath as yet bar­red the Clergie of Scotland from that priviledge.

Now to conclude this point, since for ought we can [Page 113] see, the only exception that the Church of Scotland hath made against any point of the function of Bishops, at that time when Episcopacie was condemned as unlawfull, Anno 1580. & 1581. is that they had not their power and preheminence by Commission from the Church or generall Assemblie, and since that exception, as we have shown, is now removed, it is evident that those Acts of the Assemblies at Dundee, 1580. and at Glasgow, 1581. doe not serve to prove the Conclusion of this Assemblie, and therefore are impertinently alleaged.

Discussing the rest of the Acts of Assemblies here cited.

SInce all the rest of the Acts in the subsequent Assem­blies against Bishops are grounded upon these two former Acts, whereby the office of a Bishop was con­demned, and since we have shown in the former Chapter that they doe not serve to prove the Conclusion of this Assemblie, and therefore the rest of the Acts depending thereupon must have as little strength as they, so that we need not to insist in the particular discussing of every one of them: yet lest it be thought that we have over past them altogether, we shall remark some few particular observations upon them, whereby it may be perceived that if they serve not for their purpose here▪ yet that they serve in divers points against them. First, those Acts ci­ted here concerning the presentation by the King, and admission by the Presbytery of Glasgow of M. Robert Montgomerie to the office of the Archbishop of Glasgow. and of M. Robert Po [...]s to be Bishop of Caith [...]es, and the divers ineffectuall suits made by the Generall Assemblies to the King, Councell and Parliament, for advancing of [Page 114] their Presbyteriall Discipline, and suppression of Bi­shops, to wit, those presented by the Assemblies 1580. 1581. & 1587. serves against them in so farre as they de­clare, that their violent proceedings against Bishops, and for establishing of their new discipline, was not allow­ed by the Kings Majestie and Councell, and whole body of the Kingdome in Parliament all this time, but directly resisted, as contrary to their wills and manifest intenti­ons, whereby it is evident, that neither the King nor the Councell, nor the whole body of the Kingdome had any such meaning or intention, as by that oath of the Cove­nant, to abjure Episcopacie. 2. Although that the King and estate suffered an Act to passe in Parliament 1592. esta­blishing in a part their new discipline, yet was it not their meaning to approve the same directly. But for a pregnant reason of estate, they did tollerate lesser evils, that greater might be eschewed: for at that time it is well known, that the King and estate were mightily astonished by the late discovery of a dangerous conspira­cie of sundry Noblemen of greatest power in the King­dome, by the practice of some tras [...]ieking Iesuites and Gentlemen affected to the Popish Religion, such as Fa­ther Creightou, father Abercromy, Sir William Graham of Fentry, M. George Carr, and others who brought in great summes of Spanish gold, and promised greater, whereby those Noblemen and many others of their Fa­ction were corrupted to betray their Native Countrey, promising by their letters, and subscription of blank pa­pers, to give way and assistance to the King of Spaines Navie to enter within the bowels of the Kingdome: No marvell therefore, although (in so perillous a time, when a totall ruine both of Church and Kingdome, of Policie and Religion was feared and threatned) the King and estate thought it fit for eschewing the present danger, to give way at that time to those new Disciplinarians, suf­fering that Act of Parliament to passe in their favour; fearing that if they should have resisted their present im­portunity, [Page 115] turbulent spirits (as some of them were) might have made a further distraction, even amongst these who adhered to the true Religion, whereby an other gate might have been opened for the entrie of forraigne ene­mies, and so the estate being thus devided should have been lesse able to resist the common enemie.

This was the very true reason whereby his Majestie was in a manner forced to condescend to this Act, where­of they brag so much, contrary to his own judgement and constant intention: as is evident by that which followed, for no sooner was that blast past, and that Conspiracie re­pressed, but King Iames of happie memory did set him­self more earnestly than ever he did before, to re-establish Episcopall government, and bear down that new disci­pline, the evils and corruptions whereof disturbing both Church and Common-wealth he perceived daily more and more.

3 We must remark that this Act of Parliament 1592. was the first that ever did allow presbyteriall Govern­ment by a Law, and therefore ought to be accounted the first establishment thereof in the Kingdome of Scotland, whereby it appears, how short a continuance it had in this Church, and how soone it became loathsome to all estates of persons, Spuria, putamina non agunt altas radi­ces: For not full eight years after this, in the Assemblie at Montrosse, 1600. it received a great blow, and Episco­pacie was by one step more advanced, wherein it was concluded that a certaine number of ministers who were nominated by the King, should supply the place of Bi­shops, by voycing in Parliament in name of the Church, and to have a care of the generall affaires thereof under the name. of Commissioners, whose power was inlar­ged by that Assembly at Haliru [...]house, 1602. and Bishops thereafter under their own proper title were established in their full power and Iurisdiction by the generall As­semblies of the Church 1606. 1608. 1610. & solemnly ra­tified by consent of the three Estates in Parliament, 1612.

[Page 116] 4. We cannot omit that Act cited out of the Assemblie March 1589. wherein it is said for asmuch as the Neigh­bour Kirk in England is understood to be heavily troubled for maintaining of the true Discipline and Government, whose griefes ought to move us: therefore the Presbyterie of Edinburgh was ordained to comfort the said Church in the said matter. I cannot conceive whom they call The Church of England here, except it be some few Schis­maticks, who a little before this time were challenged before the Starre-chamber, for disturbing the Church and Kingdome, by promoting unto the people a new forme of Discipline, different in many points both from the Scottish Discipline, and that of Geneva; who because they did obstinately refuse to answere to some interroga­tories proposed to them by the Councell of England, were committed to prison; of which number was one Wigintone, who stirred up three fanaticall fellows, Ed­mund Coppinger, William Hacket and Henry Arthington to labour for their relief, perswading them that they were extraordinarily called thereto, Hacket being mightily possessed by this humour did give out that Christ was de­scended from heaven with his fan in his hand, and had cal­led him extraordinarily to purge both Church and Com­mon-wealth, he sent out before him his two principall Prophets Coppinger and Arthington, to whom he as­signed a diverse charge, that Coppinger should offer grace and mercie to the people, if they would beleeve and fol­low him, for the relief of the faithfull servants of God, and Arthingtone should denounce Gods wrath and eter­nall damnation to unbeleevers who would not adhere to them: those two being sent by Hacket came to the streets of London, and did preach according to their charge, railing impudently against the Queen and Councell, de­claring openly that she was fallen from her right to the Crowne, and that Hacket was their King whom they ought to obey, being placed in Christs stead; whereby they moved great multitudes of the Common people to [Page 117] follow them, but before they could effectuate their pur­pose, they were prevented by certaine of the Councell sent by the Queen, who apprehended them in the very Act at Cheapside the 16. of Iuly 1591. for the which cause Hacket was executed as a Traitor, Coppinger killed himself in prison, and Arthington repenting him of his madnesse did confesse their whole proceedings: in whose Confession it was declared that they had received an in­couragement to this attempt from Scotland by the means of one Penry, who having been a certaine space a Prea­cher in Scotland, wa [...] returned a little before this enter­prise, and was lurking then in the City of London, or in some place thereabouts: this Penry was chiefly the man who procured these consolatorie letters from the Assembly to his Companions, to the great disgrace of the Church of Scotland, as having given encouragement to further such a treasonable attempt: and apparantly that letter written from Scotland by one Gibson to Cop­pinger was one of these consolatorie letters ordained by the Assemblie to be written to them; wherein he saith, The best of our Ministers are most carefull of your estate, and have sent for that effect a Preacher of our Church (to wit Penry) this last sommer (1590.) of purpose to con­ferre with the best affected Ministers of your Church, to lay down a plot how our Church might best travell for [...]our relief. I have heard some of the wisest and gravest of the Ministrie of Scotland at that time, who did heavily re­grate that the Church of Scotland was mightily abused by this Penry, who although he was for a time in great estimation amongst the people, and some of the chief Ministers likewise, yet they found him at last an arrant K [...]ave.

I am sorry that the Brethren of this Assemblie have been so inconsiderate, as to refricare ban [...] scabie [...], in calling to remembrance again, that oppro [...]ric of the Church of Scotland in these times, as having had two deep a hand in that attempt, to stirre up a Combustion in our Neigh­bour [Page 118] Kingdome and Church, but our Covenanters are so farre from being ashamed thereof, as they cease not as yet to use all meanes to doe the like, if they could find in England such fanaticall fellows, as Hacket and Coppin­ger.

Discussing the Conclusion of the Act.

NOw after they have set down their confused rapsody of Reasons for proving the determination of their Assembly, they conclude in these Hyperbolicall termes, All which and many other reasons being publikly read, and particularly at great length examined, and all objections answered in the face of the Assembly, all the members of the Assembly, being many times required to propone their doubts and scruples, and every one being heard to the full, and after much agitation as fully satisfied, &c. Magnifick words indeed. ‘Dare pondus idonea fumo.’ able to give weight to the light smoak of their reasons: it is a strange matter if it be true that in one only Session, in the shortest day almost in the whole year the 8. of De­cember, so many things could be done to the full, that all these reasons and many others could be particularly at great length examined in so short a space, All objections that could be proponed exactly answered Every member of the Assembly heard to the full, Every member of the Assembly being many times desired and required to pro­pound not only their great Doubts, but their small scru­ples also; and after much agitation all being fully satis­fied: certainly, the perswaders had need of great volubi­litie of tongue, to repeat so many reasons in so short a time, to propose and to answer to many so strong objecti­ons, as might have been alleaged against their Conclusi­ons, [Page 119] and the Eloquence of Cicero or Demosthenes, yea, the tongues of Angels to perswade to the full all their hearers of the truth of their reasons and answers: and these who were contrary minded had need of pregnant wits to conceive all their perswasions so quickly, yea of some secret Enthusiasme and divine inspiration to change their hearts, who not long agoe were fully per­swaded to the contrary, and had confirmed their per [...]wa­sion by their oath of Canonicall obedience to their Bi­shops, and had practised accordingly for a long time: all these things alleaged here to have been done, had re­quired a greater space to have done them Exactly to the full than the space of a whole month, which was the whole time this Assembly did sit in determining with this point many other Articles of no smal consequence; so precipitate were they in their determinations, fearing les [...] they should have been prevented, before they had vented their great malice against Moses and Aaron, the King, and the Bishops to the Full.

Secondly, after this Bravado the Moderator did put the matter to voycing in these termes, Whether according to the Confession of Faith, as it was professed in the year, 1580. 1581. & 1590. there be any other Bishop, but a pa­stor of a particular [...]ock, having no preheminence nor power over his Brethren, and whether by that Confession, as it was then professed, all other Episcopacie is abjured, and ought to be removed out of this Kirk.

This proposition we have discussed before at the begin­ning in stating the question as was most fit, to the end we might more easily perceive whether the reasons alleaged did conclude directly the point in Controversie: where we have shown evidently, that this proposition, as it is here set down, was informall, obscure, ambiguous, sophi­sticall, and such a one as it was impossible to answer Ca­tegoric [...], either affirmative or negative, as all voy [...]es ought to be given and are accustomed to be in any orderly meeting, therefore we need not to insist further therein in this place.

[Page 120] Thirdly, when it comes to the voycing, they say, The whole Assembly most unanimously without contradiction of any one (and with the hesitation of one alla [...]erly) pro­fessing full perswasion of [...]ind did voyce, &c. No marvell, though all these who were present and admitted to give voyce, did so without contradiction, since all those whom they suspected, would make any contradiction were ei­ther excluded from being Commissioners, or if they were chosen Commissioners, were debarred from voy­cing by the Rulers of the Covenant, according to the in­structions sent from their Tables at Edinburgh, and di­rected to every Presbyterie, some publikly to all, some se­cretly to those of every Presbyterie, who were most af­fected to the cause; and to make this evident, it shall not be amisse to set down some of their instructions verba­tim. 1. Order must be taken that none be chosen ruling-Elders but Covenanters, and those wel-affected to the busi­nesse. 2. That where the Minister is not wel affected, the ruling-Elder be chosen by the Commissioners of the Shire, and spoken to particularly to that effect. 3. That they be carefull that no Chapter-men, Chappel-men, or Ministers, Iustices of peace, be chosen Commissioners although they be Covenanters. 4. That the Commissioners of the Shire cause conveen before them the ruling-Elder of every Chur [...]h before the day of the election, and injoyne them upon their oath that they give vote to none to be Commissioner, but to those who are named already at the meeting at Edinburgh. 5. That such as are erroneous in doctrine or scand [...]lous [...] life (and such only they account those who are contrary to their Covenant) be presently processed, that they be not chosen Commissioners, and if they shall happen to be chosen by the greater part, that all the best affected protest against them, and come to the Assembly to testifie the same. There were divers likewise who were chosen and admitted Commissoners, and yet did remove themselves when the Assemblie was discharged by the Kings Authoritie, out of conscience of obedience to the Sover [...]igne Majestie and [Page 121] detestation of Rebellion before this point was put to voycing: Therefore none remaining except these who were resolved to be partakers of Rebellion, no marvell, though none of them did contradict their rebellious Lea­ders.

We see indeed this same unanimous consent in all the rest of the Articles which were put to voycing in this Assembly, whereby it may be cleerly discerned, that all of them before this time were resolved upon amongst themselves, by a sensible preagreement at their Tables at Edinburgh, to the which agreement, they did astrict all the Commissioners before they were admitted to have voice in this Assembly: and for that effect it is injoyned both by their secret and publik instru [...]tions. That every Presbyterie shall send their Commissioners to Edinburgh before the first of October (which was seven weeks be­fore the day appointed to the beginning of the Assembly) to the end they may know their own strength the better at their next meeting. So that these Acts cannot be accoun­ted the Acts of the generall Assembly of the Church at Glasgow, but rather Acts of those seditious tables of Co­venanters at Edinburgh, and only repeated here at Glas­gow for the fashion.

Fourthly, wherein was this unanimous consent of their suffrages? It was (say they) That all Episcopacie different from that of a Pastor over a particular flock, was abjured in this Kirk, and to be removed out of the same. If this was their unanimous suffrage and no more, I marvell not that there were no contradiction: Yea, I beleeve, that if all the Bishops in Scotland, and all those who had refused to subscribe their Covenant, had been admitted to give their voyce, they should not have contradicted this: for neither doe these words answer to the propositon of the Moderator, nor doe they condemn Episcopacie in any point, as it was then used in Scotland, or in the primitive Church.

As for the first, that it doth not answer directly to the [Page 122] proposition, I prove it in two substantiall points: for first (as we declared before in setting down of the state of the question) the Moderators proposition included three distinct questions. 1. Whether according to the con­fession of Faith, as it was professed anno 1580. 1581. & 1590. there be any other Bishop but a Pastor of a particu­lar flock, having no preheminence nor power over his Bre­thren. 2. Whether by the confession of Faith, as it was then professed, all other be abjured. 3. Whether all other ought to be removed out of this Kirk or not. But in voycing they answer only to the last two, omitting altogether the the first, which notwithstanding is the ground of both the other: And indeed considering the informalitie of the proposition, I esteeme that they had good reason to answer so, for if they had done otherwise, their voices had been as informall and intricate as the proposition was, because they could not answer Categorically to all three at once, for why, according to their grounds they behooved to answer to the first Negati [...], and to the other two affirmativè; and therefore lest their answers should have been obscure and intricate, including both a negative and affirmative voyce, they did wisely to an­swer to those questions only, to the which one affirma­ [...]ive voyce might serve. 2. The propo [...]ition containeth two points of Episc [...]pacie, to wit, Charge over moe par­ticular flocks, and power and preheminence over other Bre­thren, demanding, if both these points be abjured or not, and both to be removed: But in voycing they determine only the first point concerning their charge over moe particular [...]locks than one, not a word of their abjuring or removing their power and preheminence over their [...], which notwithstanding is the chief point that doth most grieve our [...]ovenenters, and for removing whereof they have raised all this trou [...]l [...] Be it therefore known to all, that this Assembly which was [...] conve [...]ned to condemn Episcopacie▪ did [...] this power and preheminence over their [...] [Page 123] therefore that this standing still in force in the Church of Scotland, whosoever yeeldeth not due obedience to the Bishops according to their oath, are evidently perjured, and are not absolved from their oath by this Assembly except they would say that they have extended the Con­clusion further then all their unanimous voyces could suf­fer; which as they must confesse is the greatest iniquitie which can be committed by any Assembly whatsoever.

Finally, if it be so, that no episcopacie is here con­demned, except that which is different from a Pastor of a particular flock; there is nothing here condemned in the Bishops, either as they were of old in the p [...]imitive Church, or were of late in Scotland, and are as yet in Eng­land and Ireland, yea, no Episcopacie is here abjured, except that of the Bishop of Rome, who only arrogats to himself to be the Pastor of the universall flock: all other Bishops requires no more, but to be a Pastor of a particu­lar flock, and as Cyprian faith, Episcopatus [...] est, cujus à singulis in solidum pars tenetur: there is no bounds prescribed by Gods word of a particular [...]lock, but the Church by the Authority of the Magistrats, for the more commodious ruling of the Church, and for conserving unitie, have divided Kingdoms in provinces, and pro­vinces in particular Dioceses, and Dioceses in particular parishes, appointing to every part their own rulers, so that as a parish is the particular flock of a Presbyter or Minister; even so a Diocese is the particular flock of a Bi­shop, the province the particular flock of an Archbishop, and the Nation or Kingdome in regard of the universall Church is the particular flock of a Primate. Neither may any Bishop lawfully usurpe charge over the particular flock of another Bishop without his consent. Their A­postles of the Covenant who went through the Country to preach, not the Gospel of peace, but their seditious Covenant and mortall warre against the King and all his Loyall Subjects, albeit they pretend to be Pastors only of a particular parish, yet did violently intrude themselves [Page 124] to exercise charge in the parishes of other pastors, with­out warrant or Authoritie, or lawfull calling from the Church, and contrary to the Constitutions of the Church of Scotland, established even then when presbyteriall government was in greatest force, drawing after them many thousands of people to disobedience and open Re­bellion, and by consequent to perdition, except they re­pent; and yet who dare be so bold as to say to any of them cur ita facis?

I cannot see what they can answer to this grosse and absurd escape in not answering by their voices fully to the proposition, and extending the determination of the As­sembly further than the voyces can suffer, except that they would alleage that it is a fault in the Printer, and that it was otherwise in the originall Register, which is not like to be true for these reasons: first, because if it had been so that they had answered fully to the proposition, their suffrages should not have been Categoricall, but very in­formall and intricate, including both a negative and an affirmative voyce. 2. Their Clerk M. Archibald Iohn­stone hath testified the contrary, by adding to this printed Coppie, and all other which I have seen his signe and Manuall subscription, testifying thereby that they are printed according to the originall Acts contained in the Authentick Register, out of the which he affirmes, he hath not only collected and extracted these Acts, but al­so visied them, to see if the extract was according to the originall; if he had committed such an absurd escape in omitting the very principall point whereupon the whole Act doth depend, and being that Act also for the which the Assembly was chiefly conveened: he hath certainely shown himself a very Asse, unworthy of that trust which the whole Assembly did commit unto him by an expresse Act, constituting him the only visitor and approver of all things that are to be printed concerning the Church or Religion. 3. Albeit it had been true that Iohnstone might [...]ave overseen himself so far, yet how could it be possible [Page 125] that the Moderator, and others committed to visite the Acts should have suffered such a fault, as reverseth the whole Act about the which greatest care was taken to passe forth before it was diligently corrected.

Therefore I cannot but beleeve assuredly that there was no fault committed by the Printer, but that the Act was printed according to the originall Register, and that it was so written in the Register, as it was voyced unani­mously in the Assembly, and that the voycers had no other meaning then their words did expresse: and there­fore that nothing in effect was concluded in this Act a­gainst Episcopacie, as the title of the Act beares. And so we may conclude justly in these words of the Satyrick. Poet: ‘Parturiunt moutes & nascitur ridiculus mus.’


This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.