REASONS Of the present judgement of the Vniversity of OXFORD, CONCERNING

  • The Solemne League and Covenant.
  • The Negative Oath.
  • The Ordinances concerning Disci­pline and VVorship.

Approved by generall consent in a full Convocation, 1. Iun. 1647. AND Presented to Consideration.

Printed in the Yeare, 1647.

A Solemn League and Covenant, for Reformation, and defence of Reli­gion, the honour and happinesse of the King, and the Peace and Safety of the three Kingdomes, England, Scotland, and Ireland.

WE Noblemen, Barons, Knights, Gentlemen, Citizens, Bur­gesses, Ministers of the Gospell, and Commons of all sorts in the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland, by the Provi­dence of God living under one King, and being of one Reformed Religi­on, having before our eyes the glory of God, and the advancement of the Kingdome of our Lord and Saviour Iesus Christ, the honour and hap­pinesse of the Kings Majestie, and His Posterity, and the true pub­lick Lybertie, Safetie, and Peace of the Kingdoms wherein every ones private condition is included, and calling to mind the treacherous and bloudy plots, Conspiracies, Attempts, and practices of the Enemies of God against the true Religion, and Professors thereof in all places, especially in these three Kingdomes, ever since the Reformation of Religion, and how much their rage, power, and presumption are of late, and at this time increased and exercised; whereof the deplorable estate of the Church and Kingdom of Ireland, the distressed estate of the Church and Kingdome of England, and the dangerous estate of the Church and Kingdome of Scotland, are present and publick Testimo­nies; We have now at last, (after other meanes of supplication, Re­monstrance, Protestations, and Sufferings) for the preservation of our selves and our Religion from utter ruine and destruction, according to the commendable practice of these Kingdomes in former times, and the Example of Gods People in other Nations; after mature delibe­ration resolved and determined to enter into a mutuall and solemne League and Covenant, wherein we all subscribe, and each one of us for himselfe with our hands lifted up to the most High God, do swear:


THat we shall sincerely, really, and constantly, through the Grace of God, endeavour in our severall places and callings, the preservation of the Reformed Religion in the Church of Scotland, in Doctrine, Worship, Discipline and Government, against our common Enemies; The Reformation of Religion in the Kingdoms of England and Ireland in Doctrine, Worship, Discipline and Government, according to the Word of God, and the example of the best reformed Churches: And shall endea­vour to bring the Churches of God in the three Kingdomes, to the nearest conjunction and uniformity in Religion, Confession of Faith, Form of Church Government, Directory for Worship and Catechizing; That we and our posterity after us may as Bre­thren live in Faith and Love, and the Lord may delight to dwell in the midst of us.


That we shall in like manner, without respect of persons, en­deavour the extirpation of Popery, Prelacy, (that is, Church Go­vernment by Archbishops, Bishops, their Chancellours and Com­missaries, Deans, Deans and Chapters, Archdeacons, and all other Ecclesiasticall Officers depending on that Hierarchy) Su­perstition, Heresie, Schisme, Profanenesse, and whatsoever shall be found to be contrary to sound Doctrine, and the power of Godlinesse; lest we partake in other mens sinnes, and thereby be in danger to receive of their plagues, and that the Lord may be one, and his Name one in the three Kingdomes.


We shall with the same sincerity, reallity and constancy, in our severall Vocations, endeavour with our estates and lives, mutual­ly to preserve the Rights and Privileges of the Parliaments, and the Liberties of the Kingdomes, and to preserve and defend the Kings Majesties person and authority, in the preservation and de­fence of the true Religion, and Liberties of the Kingdomes, that the world may bear witnesse with our consciences of our Loyal­tie, and that we have no thoughts or intentions to diminish His Majesties just power and greatness:


We shall also with all faithfullnesse endeavour the discovery of all such as have been, or shall be Incendiaries, Malignants, or evill Instruments, by hindring the Reformation of Religion, divi­ding the King from his people, or one of the Kingdomes from another, or making any faction or parties amongst the people, con­trary to this League and Covenant, that they may be brought to publick triall, and receive condigne punishment, as the degree of their offences shall require or deserve, or the supream Judica­tories of both Kingdomes respectively, or others having power from them for that effect, shall judge convenient.


And whereas the happinesse of a blessed Peace between these Kingdomes, denied in former times to our progenitours, is by the good providence of God granted unto us, and hath been lately concluded, and setled by both Parliaments, we shall each one of us, according to our place and interest endeavour that they may remain conjoyned in a firm Peace and Union to all posteri­ty; And that Justice may be done upon the wilfull opposers thereof, in manner expressed in the precedent Articles.


We shall also according to our places and callings in this com­mon cause of Religion, Liberty and Peace of the Kingdomes, as­sist and defend all those that enter into this League and Cove­nant, in the maintaining and pursuing thereof, and shall not suf­fer our selves directly or indirectly by whatsoever combination, perswasion or terrour to be divided and withdrawn from this bles [...]ed Union and Conjunction, whether to make defection to the contrary part, or to give our selves to a detestable indifferencie or neutrality in this cause, which so much concerneth the glory of God, the good of the Kingdoms and the honour of the King; but shall all the dayes of our lives zealously and constantly con­tinue therein, against all opposition, & promote the same according to our power, against all lets and impediments whatsoever; and what we are not able our selves to suppress or overcome, we shall [Page] reveal & make known, that it may be timely prevented or remo­ved; All which we shall do as in the sight of God.

And because these Kingdoms are guilty of many sinnes and provo­cations against God, and his Son Iesus Christ, as is too manifest by our present distresses and dangers the fruits thereof; We professe and de­clare before God and the world, our unfained desire to be humbled for our owne sins, and for the sins of these Kingdoms, especially that we have not as we ought, valued the inestimable benefit of the Gospel, that we have not laboured for the puritie and power thereof, and that we have not endeavoured to receive Christ in our hearts, nor to walke worthy of him in our lives, which are the causes of other sinnes and transgressions so much abounding amongst us; And our true and un­fained purpose, desire, and endeavour for our selves, and all others un­der our power and charge, both in publick and in private, in all duties we owe to God and man, to amend our lives, and each one to goe before another in the example of a reall Reformation, that the Lord may turn away his wrath and heavy indignation, and establish these Churches and Kingdoms in truth and peace. And this Covenant we make in the presence of Almighty God the searcher of all hearts, with a true intention to perform the same, as we shall answer at that great day, when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed. Most humbly beseech­ing the Lord to strengthen us by his holy Spirit for this end, and to blesse our desires and proceedings with such successe, as may be deliverance and safety to his people, and encouragement to other Christian Churches groaning under, or in danger of the yoke of Antichristian tyrannie; to joyn in the same, or like Association and Covenant, to the glory of God, the enlargement of the Kingdome of Iesus Christ, and the peace and tranquility of Christian Kingdoms and Common-wealths.

The Negative Oath.

I A. B. Doe sweare from my heart, that I will not directly, nor indirectly, adhere un­to, or willingly assist the King in this War, or in this Cause, against the Parliament, nor any Forces raised without the consent of the two Houses of Parliament, in this Cause or Warre: And I doe likewise sweare, that my comming and submitting my selfe under the Power and Protection of the Parlia­ment, is without any manner of Designe whatsoever, to the prejudice of the procee­dings of this present Parliament, and with­out the direction, privity, or advice of the King, or any of his Councell, or Officers, other then what I have now made knowne. So helpe me God, and the contents of this Booke.

Reasons why the Vniversity of Oxford cannot submit to the Covenant, the Negative Oath, the Ordinance concer­ning Discipline and Directory mentio­ned in the late Ordinance of Parliament for the Visitation of that place.

WHereas by an Ordinance of the Lords and Com­mons assembled in Parliament, for the Visitation and Reformation of the University of Oxford lately published, power is given to certain persons therein named as Visitors, to enquire concern­ing those of the said University that neglect to take the Solemne League and Covenant, and the Negative Oath being tendred unto them, and likewise concerning those that op­pose the execution of the Ordinances of Parliament concerning the Discipline and Directory, or shall not promote or cause the same to be put in execution according to their severall places and callings, We the Masters, Scholars, and other Officers and Mem­bers of the said University, not to judge the Consciences of others, but to cleare our selves before God and the world from all sus­picion of Obstinacie, whilst we discharge our own, present to consideration the true reasons of our present judgment concern­ing the said Covenant, Oath, and Ordinances: Expecting so much Justice, and hoping for so much Charity, as either not to be pressed to conforme to what is required in any the premisses, further then our present judgements will warrant us; or not con­demned for the refusing so to doe, without cleare and reall sa­tisfaction given to our just scruples.

§. I.
Of the Preface to the Covenant.

THe Exceptions against the Introductory Preface to the Co­venant although we insist not much upon, because it may be said to be no part of the Covenant: yet among the things there­in contained, the acknowledgment whereof is implicitely requi­red of every Covenanter,

  • 1. We are not able to say, that the rage, power, and presumption of the enemies of God (in the sense there intended) is at this time increased.
  • 2. Nor can truly affirme that we had used, or given consent to any Supplication or Remonstrance to the purposes therein expressed.
  • 3. Nor doe conceive the entring into such a mutuall League and Covenant to be a lawfull, proper and probable meanes to preserve our selves and our Religion from ruine and destru­ction.
  • 4. Nor can believe the same to be according to the commendable practice of these Kingdomes, or the example of Gods people in o­ther Nations. When we find not the least foot-step in our Histories of a sworne Covenant ever entred into by the people of this Kingdome upon any occasion whatsoever; nor can readily remember any commendable example of the like done in any other Nation: but are rather told by the defenders of this Covenant, that
    Such an Oath, as for Matter, Per­sons, and other Circumstances, the like hath not been in any Age or Oath we read of in sacred or humane stories. M. Nye, Covenant with Narrative, pag. 12.
    the world never saw the like before

§. II.
Of the Covenant in grosse.

1 FIrst, we are not satisfied, how we can submit to the taking thereof, as it is now imposed under a penalty.

  • 1. Such imposition (to our seeming) being repugnant to the [Page 3] nature of a Covenant: which being a Contract implyeth a
    Pactum est duorum pluriúmve in idem placitū consensus. L. 1. ff. de Pa­ctis.
    voluntary mutuall consent of the Contractors; whereun­to men are to be induced by perswasions, not compelled by power. In so much that the very words of this Covenant in the Preface, conclusion, and whole frame thereof runne in such a forme throughout, as import a consent rather grounded upon prudentiall motives, then extorted by Ri­gour.
  • 2. Without betraying the Liberty, which by our protestation we are bound, and in the third Article of this Covenant must sweare, with our lives and fortunes to preserve. To which Liberty the imposition of a new Oath, other then is established by Act of Parliament, is expressed in the
    Whereas many of them have had an oath admini­stred unto them not warrantable by the Lawes and Statutes of this Realme▪ They doe humbly pray that no man hereafter be compelled to take such an oath.—All which they most humbly pray—as their rights and liberties according to the Lawes and Statutes of this Realme. Petit. of Right, 3. Carol.
    Petiti­on of Right, and by the Lords and Commons in their
    It is declared 16 Ian. 1642. That the King cannot compell men to be sworne without an act of Parliament. Exact Collect. pag. 859, 860.
    De­clarations acknowledged to be contrary.
  • 3. Without acknowledging in the Imposers, a greater Power then, for ought that appeareth to us, hath been in former time challenged; Or can consist with our former Protesta­tion (if we rightly understand it) in sundry the most mate­riall branches thereof.

Neither, secondly, are we satisfied; (although the Covenant should not be imposed upon us at all, but only recommended to us, and then left to our choice;)

  • 1. How we should in wisedome and duty (being Subjects) of our own accord and free will enter into a Covenant, where­in He, whose Subjects we are, is in any wise concerned, with­out his consent, either expressed or reasonably presumed. It being in his power (as we conceive) by the equity of the Law, Numb. 30. to annull and make void the same at his pleasure.
  • [Page 4] 2. How we can (now that His Majesty hath by His publique
    Proclam. of 9. Octob. 19. Car.
    Interdict sufficiently made known His pleasure in that behalfe) enter into a Covenant, the taking whereof he hath expresly forbidden; without forfeiting that Obedience, which (as we are perswaded) by our naturall Allegiance and former Oathes we owe unto all such His Majesties Com­mands, as are not in our apprehensions repugnant to the will of God, or the positive Laws of this Kingdome.

§ III.
Of the first Article of the Covenant.

WHerein, first, we are not satisfied, how we can with judge­ment sweare to endeavour to preserve the Religion of another Kingdome;

  • 1. Whereof as it doth not concerne us to have very much, so we professe to have very little understanding.
  • 2. Which (so far as the occurrents of these unhappy times have brought it to our knowledge, and we are able to judge) is in three of the foure specified particulars, viz. Worship, Discipline, and Government, much worse; and in the fourth (that of Doctrine) not at all better then our own; which we are in the next passage of the Article required to re­forme.
  • 3. Wherein if hereafter we shall find any thing (as upon far­ther understanding thereof it is not impossible we may) that may seem to us savouring of Popery, Superstition, Heresie, or Schisme, or contrary to sound doctrine, or the power of godlinesse; we shall be bound by the next Article to endea­vour the extirpation, after we have bound our selves by this first Article to the preservation thereof.
  • 4. Wherein we already find some things (to our thinking) so far tending towards
    (viz.) In ac­counting Bi­shops Anti­christian, and indifferent Ceremonies unlawfull.
    Superstition and
    viz. In making their disci­pline and government a mark of the true Church, and the setting up thereof the e­recting of the throne of Christ.
    Schisme, that it seemeth to us more reasonable that we should call [Page 5] upon them to reforme the same, then that they should call upon us to preserue it.

Secondly, we are not satisfied in the next branch, concerning 2 the Reformation of Religion in our own Kingdome, in Doctrine, Worship, Discipline and Government; How we can sweare to en­deavour the same, (which without making a change therein can­not be done,)

  • 1. Without manifest scandall to the Papist and Separatist,
    • 1. By yeelding the cause, which our godly Bishops and Mar­tyrs, and all our learned Divines ever since the Reformation have both by their writings and sufferings maintained; who have justified, against them both, the Religion established in the Church of England to be agreeable to the Word of God.
    • 2. By justifying the Papists in the reproaches and scorne by them cast upon our Religion, whose usuall objection it hath been and is, that we know not what our Religion is; that since we left them, we cannot tell where to stay; and that our Religion is a
      Let us not be blamed if we call it Parliament Religion, Parliament Gospel, Parliament Faith. Harding confut. of Apology, part 6. Chap. 2.
      Parliamentary Religion.
    • 3. By a tacite acknowledgement that there is something both in the doctrine and worship, whereunto their conformity hath been required, not agreeable to the Word of God; and consequently justifying them both, the one in his Recusancy, the other in his Separation.
    • 4. By an implied Confession, that the Lawes formerly made against Papists in this Kingdome, and all punishments by vir­tue thereof inflicted upon them, were unjust; in punishing them for refusing to joyne with us in that forme of Wor­ship, which our selves (as well as they) doe not approve of.
  • 2. Without manifest wrong unto our selves, our Consciences, Reputation and Estates; in bearing false witnesse against our selves, and sundry other wayes: by swearing to endeavour to re­forme that, as corrupt and vicious▪
    • [Page 6]1. Which we have formerly by our Personall Subscriptions approved, as agreeable to Gods Word: and have not been since either condemned by our own hearts for so doing, or convinced in our judgements by any of our Brethren that therein we did amisse.
    • 2. Which in our Consciences we are perswaded, not to be in any of the foure specified particulars (as it standeth by Law established) much lesse in the whole foure, against the Word of God.
    • 3. Which we verily believe (and, as we think upon good grounds) to be in sundry respects much better, and more agreeable to the Word of God, & the practice of the Ca­tholique Church, then that which we should by the former words of this Article sweare to preserve.
    • 4. Whereunto the
      Stat. 13. Eliz. 12.
      Lawes yet in force require of all such Clerks as shall be admitted to any Benefice, the signification of their hearty assent, to be attested openly in the time of Di­vine Service before the whole congregation there present, within a limited time, and that under pain (upon default made) of the losse of every such Benefice.
  • 3. Without manifest danger of Perjury: This branch of the Article (to our best understandings) seeming directly con­trary
    • 1. To our former solemne Protestation, which we have bound our selves neither for hope, feare, or other respect ever to re­linquish. Wherein the Doctrine which we have vowed to maintaine, by the name of the true Protestant Religion ex­pressed in the Doctrine of the Church of England, we take to be the same which now we are required to endeavour to re­form and alter.
    • 2. To the Oath of Supremacy, by us also taken, according to the Lawes of the Realme, and the Statutes of our University in that behalfe. Wherein having first testified and declared in our Consciences, that the Kings Highnesse is the only su­preme Governour of this Realme, we doe after swear to our po­wer to assist and defend all Iurisdictions, Privileges, Preheminen­ces, and Authorities granted or belonging to the Kings High­nesse, His Heires, and Successors, or united and annexed to the [Page 7] Imperiall Crowne of this Realme. One of the which privi­leges and Preheminences, by an expresse Statute so annex­ed, and that even, in terminis, in the selfe-same words in a manner with those used in the Oath, is the whole power of Spirituall or Ecclesiasticall Jurisdiction, for the correction and reformation of all manner of errors and abuses in mat­ters Ecclesiasticall: as by the
      Such ju­risdictions, privileges, superiorities and preheminences spirituall and ecclesiasticall, as by any, &c. for the Visitation of the Ecclesiasticall State and Persons, and for reformation order and correction of the same, and of all manner errors, heresies, schismes, abuses, offences, contempts and enor­mities, shall for ever by authority of this present Parliament be united and annexed to the Imperiall Crown of this Realme. An Act restoring to the Crowne the an­tient Jurisdiction, &c. 1 Elizab. I.
      words of the said Statute more at large appeareth. The Oath affording the Proposition, and the Statute the Assumption, we find no way how to avoyd the Conclusion.

§. IV.
of the Second Article of the Covenant.

FIrst, it cannot but affect us with some griefe and Amazement,1 to see that antient forme of Church-Government, which we heartily (and, as we hope, worthily) honour; as under which our Religion was at first so orderly, without violence or tumult, and so happily, reformed; and hath since so long flourished with Truth and Peace, to the honour and happinesse of our owne, and the envy and admiration of other Nations, not only

  • 1. Endeavoured to be extirpated; without any reason offer­ed to our understandings, for which it should be thought necessary, or but so much as expedient so to doe. But also
  • 2. Ranked with Popery, Superstition, Heresie, Schisme and Prophanesse; which we unfainedly professe our selves to de­test as much as any others whatsoever.
  • 3. And that with some intimation also, as if that Government were some way or other so contrary to sound doctrine, or the power of godlinesse, that whosoever should not endeavour [Page 8] the extirpation thereof must of necessity partake in other mens sins, which we cannot yet be perswaded to believe.
  • 4. And we desire it may be considered, in case a Covenant of like forme should be tender'd to the Citizens of London, wherein they should be required to sweare, they would sin­cerely, really and constantly without respect of persons, en­deavour the extirpation of Treason, the City Government (by a Lord Major, Aldermen, Sheriffes, Common-Councel and other officers depending thereon) Murther, Adultery, Theft, Cosenage, and whatsoever shall be,—&c. lest they should partake in other mens sinnes; whether such a tendry could be looked upon by any Citizen that had the least spirit of free­dome in him as an act of Justice, Meeknesse and Rea­son?

2 Secondly, for Episcopall Government; we are not satisfied how we can with a good Conscience sweare to endeavour the ex­tirpation thereof, 1. in respect of the thing it selfe. Concer­ning which government we thinke we have reason to be­lieve,

  • 1. That it is (if not Iure divino in the strictest sense, that is to say, expressely commanded by God in his Word, yet) of Apostolicall institution, that is to say, was established in the Churches by the Apostles, according to the mind and after the example of their Master Iesus Christ, and that by virtue of their ordinary power and authority derived from him, as deputed by him Governors of his Church.
  • 2. Or at least, that Episcopall Aristocracy hath a fairer preten­sion, and may lay a juster title and claime to a Divine insti­tution then any of the other formes of Church-Government can doe; all which yet do pretend thereunto, viz. that of the Papall Monarchy, that of the Presbyterian Democracy, and that of the Independents by Particular Congregations, or Ga­thered Churches.

2. But we are assured by the undoubted testimony of Antient Records and later Histories, that this forme of Government hath beene continued with such an universall, uninterrupted, un­questioned succession in all the Churches of God, and in all King­domes that have beene called Christian throughout the whole [Page 9] world▪ for fifteen hundred yeers together; that there never was in all that time any considerable opposition made there against. That of Aërius was the greatest, wherein yet there was little of consideration, beside these two things: that it grew at the first but out of discontent; and gained him at the last but the reputa­tion of an Heretique. From which antiquity and continuance▪ we have just cause to fear, that to endeavour the extirpation thereof,

  • 1. Would give such advantage to the Papists, who usually object against us, and our Religion, the contempt of antiqui­ty, and the love of novelty; that we should not be able to wipe off the aspersion.
  • 2. Would so diminish the just authority due to the consenti­ent judgement and practice of the universall Church (the best interpreter of Scripture in things not clearly exprest; for Lex currit cum praxi:) that without it we should be at a losse in sundry points both of Faith and Manners, at this day firmely believed and securely practiced by us; when by the Socinians, Anabaptists, and other Sectaries we should be called upon for our proofes. As namely sundry Orthodoxall explications concerning the Trinity and Co-equality of the Persons in the God-head, against the Arians and other He­retiques; the number, use and efficacy of Sacraments; the Baptising of Infants; Nationall Churches; the observation of the Lords-Day; and even the Canon of Scripture it self.

Thirdly, in respect of our selves; we are not satisfied, how it 3 can stand with the principles of Iustice, Ingenuity, and Humanity, to require the extirpation of Episcopall Government (unlesse it had been first cleerly demonstrated to be unlawful) to be sincere­ly and really endeavoured, by us,

  • 1. Who have all of us, who have taken any Degree by sub­scribing the 39. Articles, testified our approbation of that Government: one of those
    Art. 36.
    Articles affirming the very Book containing the form of their Consecration to contain in it nothing contrary to the Word of God.
  • 2. Who have most of us (viz. as many as have entred into the Ministery) received Orders from their hands: whom we [Page 10] should very ill requite for laying their hands upon us, if we should now lay to our hands to root them up, and cannot tell for what.
  • 3. Who have sundry of us, since the beginning of this Parlia­ment, subscribed our names to Petitions exhibited or inten­ded to be exhibited to that High Court, for the continuance of that Government. Which as we then did sincerely and really, so we should with like sincerity and reality, still (not having met with any thing since to shew us our errour) be ready to doe the same again, if we had the same hopes we then had of the reception of such Petitions.
  • 4. Who hold some of us our livelyhood, either in whole or in part, by those titles of Deanes, Deanes and Chapters, &c. mentioned in the Articles; being members of some Colle­giate or Cathedrall Churches. And our memories will not readily serve us with any example in this kind since the world began; wherein any state or profession of men, though convicted (as we are not) of a crime that might de­serve deprivation, were required to bind themselves by oath, sincerely and really to endeavour the rooting out of that (in it selfe not unlawfull) together wherewith they must also root out themselves, their estates and lively­hoods.
  • 5. Especially it being usuall in most of the said Churches, that such persons as are admitted members thereof, have a per­sonall Oath administred unto them, to maintain the ho­nour, Immunities, Libertyes, and profits of the same; and whilst they live to seeke the good, and not to doe any thing to the hurt, hindrance, or prejudice thereof; or in other words to the like effect.

4 Fourthly, in respect of the Church of England: we are not satis­fied how we can swear to endeavour the extirpation of the esta­blished Government, no necessity or just Cause for so doing, either offering it selfe, or being offered to our understan­dings.

  • 1. Since all change of Government unavoidably bringeth with it, besides those that are present and evident, sundry other inconveniences, which no wit of man can possibly fore-see [Page 11] to provide against, till late experience discover them: We cannot be sure, that the evils which may ensue upon the change of this Government, (which hath been of so long continuance in this Kingdome, is so deeply rooted in the Lawes thereof, and hath so neere a conjunction with, and so strong an influence upon the Civill State and Government, as that the change thereof must infer the necessity of a great alteration to be made in the other also;) may not be grea­ter then the supposed evils whatsoever they are, which by this change are sought to be remedied. For there are not yet any come to our knowledge of that desperate nature, as not to be capable of other remedy, then the utter extirpa­tion of the whole Government it selfe.
  • 2. Whereas the House of Commons have
    —give advantage to this Malig­nant party to traduce our Proceedings. They infuse into the peo­ple that we mean to abo­lish all Church-Government— Remonst. 15. Dec. 1641. Exact Collect. pag. 19. The Lords and Commons doe declare, That they intend a due and necessary Refor­mation of the Government and Liturgie of the Church; and to take away nothing in the one or in the other, but what shall be evill, and justly offensive, or at least unne­cessary and burthensome. Declar. 9. Apr. 1642. Exact Coll. p. 135.
    remonstrated, that it was far from their purpose or desire to abolish the Church-Government, but rather that all the members of the Church of England should be regulated by such Rules of Order and Discipline as are established by Parliament, and that it was Malignancie to infuse into the people that they had any other meaning: We are loth by consenting to the second Article to become guilty of such Infusion, as may bring us within the compasse and danger of the fourth Article of this Co­venant.
  • 3. Since it hath been declared by sundry
    Statut. of Carlile 25. E. 1. recited 25. E. 3.
    Acts of Parlia­ment, That the holy Church of England was founded in the state of Prelacy within the Realm of England: We dare not by endeavouring the extirpation of Prelacy, strike at the very foundation, and thereby (as much as in us lyeth) co­operate towards the ruine of this famous Church; which in all conscience and duty we are bound with our utmost lawfull power to uphold.

Lastly, in respect of our Obligations to His Majesty by our Duty 5 [Page 12] and oathes: we are not satisfied how we can swear to endeavour the extirpation of the Church-Government by Law established, without forfeiture of those Obligations.

  • 1. Having in the Oath of Supremacie acknowledged the King to be the onely Supreme Governour in all Ecclesiasticall Cau­ses and over all Ecclesiasticall Persons; and having bound our selves both in that Oath, and by our Protestation, To maintain the Kings Honour, Estate, Iurisdictions, and all man­ner of Rights: it is cleare to our understandings, that we cannot without disloyalty and injury to Him, and double Perjury to our selves, take upon us without his consent to make any alteration in the Ecclesiasticall Lawes or Govern­ment, much lesse to endeavour the extirpation thereof: Un­lesse the imposers of this Covenant had a power and mean­ing (which they have openly
    They in­fuse into the people, that we mean—to leave every man to his own fancie—absolving him of that Obedience which he owes under God unto His Majesty, whom we know to be entrusted with the Ecclesia­sticall Law, as well as with the Temporall. Exact Collect. ubi sup. p. 19.
    disclaimed) to absolve us of that Obedience, which under God we owe unto His Majesty, whom they know to be intrusted with the Ec­clesiasticall Law.
  • 2. We cannot sincerely and really endeavour the extirpation of this Government, without a sincere desire and reall en­deavour, that His Majesty would grant His Royall Assent to such extirpation. Which we are so far from desiring and endeavouring, that we hold it our bounden duty by our dai­ly prayers to beg at the hands of Almighty God, that he would not for our sins suffer the King to doe an act so pre­judiciall to his honour and conscience, as to consent to the rooting out of that estate, which by so many branches of his
    That he will grant, keep and con­firm the Laws, Customes, and Franchises, granted to the Clergie by the glorious King S. Edward. And that he will grant and preserve unto the Bishops, and to the Churches committed to their charge, all Canonicall Privileges and due Law and Iustice; and that he will protect and defend them, as every good King in his Kingdome ought to be Protector and Defender of the Bishops and the Churches under their Govern­ment. Vide Exact Coll. p. 290, 291.
    Coronation Oath, he hath in such a solemne manner [Page 13] sworn by the assistance of God to his power to maintain and preserve.
  • 3. By the Lawes of this Land,
    See Stat. 25. H. 8. 20. & 1. E. 6. 2
    the Collation of Bishopricks and
    See Stat. 39. Eliz. 8.
    Deanries; the
    Stat. 14. E. 3. 4. & 5. & 17. E. 3. 14
    fruits and profits of their Lands and Revenues during their vacancies; the
    Stat. 26. H. 8. 3. & 1. Eliz. 4.
    first fruits and yearly tenths out of all Ecclesiasticall Promotions; and sun­dry other Privileges, Profits, and Emoluments, arising out of the State Ecclesiasticall, are established in the Crown, and are a considerable part of the Revenues thereof; which, by the extirpation of Prelacy, as it is in the Article expounded, or by subsequent practice evidenced, will be severed and cut off from the Crown, to the great prejudice and damage thereof. Whereunto, as we ought not in common reason, and in order to our Allegiance as Subjects, yeeld our con­sent; so having sworn expresly to maintain the Kings honour and estate, and to our power to assist and defend all Juris­dictions, &c. belonging to His Highnesse, or united and an­nexed to the Imperiall Crown of the Realm, we cannot without manifest Perjury (as we conceive) consent there­unto.
  • 4. The Government of this Realm being confessedly an Em­pire or
    —Supre­mam potesta­tem & merū imperium a­pud nos habet Rex. Cambd. Whereas by sundry divers old authen­tique Histo­ries & Chro­nicles it is manifestly declared and expressed, that this Realm of England is an Empire, and so hath been accepted in the world, governed by one Supream Head and King, having the digni­ty and royall estate of the Imperiall Crown of the same. Stat. 24. H. 8. 12. See al­so 1 Elizab. 3.
    Monarchy, and that of a most excellent temper and constitution: we understand not how it can become us to desire or endeavour the extirpation of that Government in the Church, which we conceive to be incomparably of all other the most agreeable, and no way prejudiciall to the state of so well a constituted Monarchy. In so much as King JAMES would often say, what his long experience had taught him, No Bishop, no King. Which Aphorisme, though we find in sundry Pamphlets of late yeares to have been exploded with much confidence and scorn; yet we must professe to have met with very little in the proceed­ings of the late times, to weaken our belief of it. And we [Page 14] hope we shall be the lesse blamed for our unwillingnesse to have any actuall concurrence in the extirpating of Episco­pall Government: seeing of such extirpation there is no other use imaginable, but either the alienation of their Re­venues and Inheritances, (which how it can be severed from Sacrilege and Injustice we leave others to find out) or to make way for the introducing of some other form of Church-Government: which whatsoever it shall be, will (as we think) prove either destructive of, and inconsistent with Monarchicall Government, or at least-wise more pre­judiciall to the peaceable, orderly, and effectuall exercise thereof, then a well-regulated Episcopacy can possibly be.

§. V.
Of the other parts of the Covenant.

HAving insisted the more upon the two first Articles, that concern Religion and the Church, and wherein our selves have a more proper concernment: We shall need to insist the lesse upon those that follow, contenting our selves with a few (the most obvious) of those many great, and (as we conceive) just ex­ceptions, that lye there against.

1 In the third Article, we are not satisfied that our endeavour to preserve and defend the Kings Majesties Person and Authority is so limited, as there it is, by that addition, In the Preservation and defence of the true Religion, and Libertyes of the Kingdome. For­asmuch as

  • 1. No such limitation of our duty in that behalf is to be found, either in the Oathes▪ of Supremacy and Alleagiance, (which no Papist would refuse to take with such a limitation) nor in the Protestation, nor in the Word of God.
  • 2. Our endeavour to preserve the Rights and Privileges of Parliaments, and the Libertyes of the Kingdome, is requi­red to be sworn of us in the same Article without the like or any other limitation added thereunto.
  • 3. Such limitation leaveth the duty of the Subject, at so much loosenesse, and the safety of the King at so great uncertain­ty; [Page 15] that whensoever the People shall have a mind to with­draw their obedience, they cannot want a pretence, from the same for so doing.
  • 4. After we should, by the very last thing we did (viz. swea­ring with such a limitation) have made our selves guilty of an actuall and reall diminution (as we conceive) of His Majesties just power and greatnesse: the obtestation would seem very unseasonable (at the least) with the same breath to call the world to bear witnesse with our Consciences, that we had no thoughts or intentions to diminish the same.
  • 5. The swearing with such a limitation is a Testimony of the Subjects Loyaltie (to our seeming) of a very strange nature: which, the Principles of their severall Religions salved, the Conscience of a most resolure Papist or Sectary may securely swallow, and the Conscience of a good Protestant cannot but strein at.

In the fourth Article,

  • 1. We desire it may be considered, whether the imposing of 2 the Covenant in this Article do not lay a necessity upon the Son, of accusing his own Father, and pursuing him to de­struction; in case he should be an Incendiary, Malignant, or other evill Instrument, such as in the Article is described. A course, which we conceive to be contrary to Religion, Na­ture and Humanity.
  • 2. Whether the swearing according to this Article, doth not rather open a ready way, to Children that are sick of the Father, Husbands that are weary of their Wives, &c. by ap­pealing such, as stand between them and their desires, of Malignancy, the better to effectuate their unlawfull intenti­ons and designes.
  • 3. Our selves having solemnly protested to maintain the Liberty of the Subject, and the House of Commons having publiquely declared against the exercise of an Arbitrary Power, with Order that their said Declaration should be printed and published in all the Parish-Churches and Chap­pells of the Kindome, there to stand and remaine as a testi­mony of the clearnesse of their intentions; whether the [Page 16] subjecting of our selves and brethren by Oath, unto such punishments as shall be inflicted upon us (without Law or Merit) at the sole pleasure of such uncertaine Judges as shall be upon any particular occasion deputed for that effect, of what mean quality or abilities soever they be, even to the taking away of our lives, if they shall think it convenient so to doe, though the degree of our offences shall not require or deserve the same; be not the betraying of our Liber­ty in the lowest, and the setting up of an Arbitrary Po­wer in the highest degree, that can be imagined.

3 The substance of the fift Article, being the settling and continu­ance of a firm peace and union between the three Kingdomes, since it is our bounden duty to desire, and according to our seve­rall places and interests by all lawfull meanes to endeavour the same: we should make no scruple at all to enter into a Covenant to that purpose, were it not

  • 1. That we doe not see, nor therefore can acknowledge the happinesse of such a blessed Peace between the three King­domes (for we hope Ireland is not forgotten) as in the Ar­ticle is mentioned: So long as Ireland is at War within it self, and both the other Kingdomes engaged in that War.
  • 2. That since no peace can be firme and well-grounded that is not bottom'd upon Justice, the most proper and adequate act whereof is, Ius suum cui (que), to let every one have that which of right belongeth unto him; we cannot conceive how a firm and lasting Peace can be established in these Kingdomes, unlesse the respective Authority, Power, and Liberty of King, Parliament, and Subject, as well every one as other, be preserved full and entire, according to the known Lawes and continued unquestioned customes of the severall Kingdomes in former times, and before the begin­ning of these sad distractions.

In the sixth Article we are altogether unsatisfied.

  • 4 1. The whole Article being grounded upon a supposition, which hath not yet been evidenced to us, viz. that this Cause, meaning thereby (or else we understand it not) the joyning in this Covenant of mutuall defence for the prosecu­on [Page 17] of the late War, was the cause of Religion, Liberty, and Peace of the Kingdomes; and that it so much concerned the Glory of God, and the good of the Kingdomes, and the Honour of the King.
  • 2. If all the Premisses were so cleare, that we durst yeeld our free assent thereunto, yet were they not sufficient to war­rant to our consciences what in this Article is required to be sworn of us; unlesse we were as clearly satisfied concern­ing the lawfulnesse of the means to be used for the support­ing of such a Cause. For since evill may not be done, that good may come thereof; we cannot yet be perswaded, that the Cause of Religion, Liberty, and Peace, may be supported; or the Glory of God, the Good of the Kingdomes, and the Honour of the King sought to be advanced, by such means, as (to our best understandings) are both improper for those Ends, and destitute of all warrant from the Lawes, either of God, or of this Realm.

Lastly, in the conclusion, our hearts tremble to think, that we 5 should be required to pray that other Christian Churches might be encouraged by our example to joyn in the like Association and Covenant, to free themselves from the Antichristian yoke, &c. Wherein

  • 1. To omit that we doe not know any Antichristian yoke under which we were held in these Kingdomes, and from which we owe to this either War or Covenant our freedome: un­lesse by the Antichristian yoke be meant Episcopall Govern­ment, which we hope no man that pretendeth to Truth and Charity will affirm.
  • 2. We doe not yet see in the fruits of this Association or Co­venant among our selves, any thing so lovely as to invite us to desire (much lesse to pray) that other Christian Churches should follow our example herein.
  • 3. To pray to the purpose in the conclusion of the Covenant expressed, seemeth to us all one in effect, as to beseech Al­mighty God, the God of Love and Peace,
    • 1. To take all Love and Peace out of the hearts of Chri­stians, and to set the whole Christian world in a com­bustion.
    • [Page 18] 2. To render the Reformed Religion, and all Protestants odious to all the world.
    • 3. To provoke the Princes of Europe to use more severity towards those of the Reformed Religion: if not (for their own security) to root them quite out of their se­verall Dominions.
    • 4. The tyrannie and yoke of Antichrist, if laid upon the necks of Subjects by their lawfull Soveraigns, is to be thrown off by Christian boldnes in confessing the Truth, and Patient suffering for it; not by taking up Arms, or violent resistance of the Higher Powers.

§. VI.
Some Considerations concerning the meaning of the Covenant.

OUr aforesaid scruples are much strengthned by these ensuing Considerations.

First, that whereas no Oath, which is contradictory to it selfe, can be taken without Perjury; because the one part of every con­tradiction must needs be false: this Covenant either indeed con­taineth, or at leastwise (which to the point of conscience is not much lesse effectuall) seemeth to us to contain sundry Contradi­ctions: as namely, amongst others, these:

  • 1. To preserve as it is, without change, and yet to reforme and alter, and not to preserve, one and the same Reformed Re­ligion.
  • 2. Absolutely and without exception to preserve; and yet upon supposition to extirpate the self-same thing, viz. the present Religion of the Church of Scotland.
  • 3. To reform Church-Government established in England and Ireland, according to the Word of God: and yet to extirpate that Government which we are perswaded to be according thereunto, for the introducing of another whereof we are not so perswaded.
  • 4. To endeavour really the extirpation of Heresies, Schismes and Profanenesse; and yet withall to extirpate that Government in the Church, the want of the due exercise whereof we con­ceive [Page 19] to have been one chief cause of the growth of the said evils; and doe beleeve the restoring and continuance thereof would be the most proper and effectuall re­medy.
  • 5. To preserve with our estates and lives, the liberties of the Kingdome; that is, (as in the Protestation is explained) of the Subject; and yet contrary to these liberties, to submit to the imposition of this Covenant, and of the Negative Oath not yet established by Law: and to put our lives and estates under the arbitrary power of such as may take away both from us when they please, not onely without, but even against Law, if they shall judge it convenient so to doe.

Secondly, we find in the Covenant, sundry expressions of dark 2 or doubtfull construction: Whereunto we cannot sweare in judgement, till their sense be cleared and agreed upon. As, Who are the Common Enemies? and which be the best Reformed Chur­ches? mentioned in the first Article. Who (in the fourth Article) are to be accounted Malignants? How far that phrase of hin­dring Reformation may be extended? What is meant by the su­preme Iudicatory of both Kingdomes? and sundry other.

Thirdly, by the use that hath been made of this Covenant,3 (sometimes to purposes of dangerous consequence) we are brought into some fears and jealousies, lest by taking the same we should cast our selves into more snares then we are yet aware of. For in the first Article,

  • 1. Whereas we are to endeavour the Reformation of Religion in this Kingdome, in Doctrine, Worship, Discipline, and Govern­ment, according to the Word of God, and the example of the best Reformed Churches:
    • 1. The Reformation in Worship (whereby we could not suppose any more was intended (according to their for­mer
      The Lords & Commons doe declare, That they intend a due and necessary Reformation of the Liturgie of the Church; and to take away nothing therein but what shall be evill, and justly offensive, or at least unnecessary and burthensome. Declarat. 9. Apr. 1642. Exact Coll. pag. 135.
      Declaration) then a review of the Service-book, [Page 20] that the translations might be in some places amended, some alterations made in the Offices and Rubricks; or at most some of the Ceremonies laid aside for the reasons of expediency and condescension) hath produced an utter abolition of the whole form established: without sub­stituting any other certain form in the room there­of.
    • 2. The Reformation in point of Discipline and Government intended (so far as by the overtures hitherto made we are able to judge) is such, as we conceive not to be accor­ding to the Word of God, nor (for any thing we know) ac­cording to the example of any Church that ever was in the world (best or worst) since the Creation.
  • 2. In the second Article, our griefe and fears had been lesse, if we could have observed the extirpation of Popery, Heresie, Schisme, and Profanenesse, to have been as really intended, and set on with as much speed and animosity, as the extirpa­tion of Prelacy, and that which some call Superstition. But when we see, under the notions of rooting out Prelacy and Superstition, so much quicknesse used to fetch in the Revenues of the Church, and the sacred Utensils, (no otherwise guilty of Superstition, for ought we know, then that they are worth something) and on the other side, so little yet done toward the extirpation of Heresie, Schisme, and Profanenesse, (as things of lesse temporall advantage.) We cannot dissemble our suspicion, that the designers of this Covenant might have something else before their eyes besides what in the begin­ing of the Introduction is expressed; and that there is some­thing meant in this Article, that looketh so like Sacrilege, that we are afraid to venture thereon.
  • 3. In the third Article
    • 1. Although we should not otherwise have apprehended any matter of danger or moment in the ordering of the particu­lars, in the Article mentioned: yet since M. Challoner in his Speech, and others have made advantage thereof to infer from that very order, that the defence of the Kings Person and Authority ought to be with subordination to the pre­servation of the Rights and Privileges of Parliaments, and [Page 21] the Liberties of the Kingdomes, which are in the first place,
      From whence it is most evident, that the Rights and Privileges of the Parlia­ments and Liberties of the Kingdom are in the first place to be preserved. Answ. to Scotish Papers, 18. Nov. 1646. page 21.
      and before it to be endeavoured; We hope we shall be excu­sed, if we dare not take the Covenant in this sense; especially, considering that if the Argument be of any force it will bind us at least, as strongly to endeavour the maintenance of the Kings Person, Honour and Estate in the first place, and the rest but subordinately thereunto; because they are so ordered in the Protestation: And then, that Protestation having the advantage of preceding, it will bind us more strongly, as being the first obligation.
    • 2. Whereas some have been the rather induced to take the Covenant in this particular by being told, that that limitati­on, in the preservation and defence of the true Religion and Liberties of the Kingdomes was not to be understood exclu­sively: yet when we finde that the House of Commons in their answer to the Scottish Papers, doe
      We ob­serve you mention the defence of the King twice from the Co­venant, yet in both places leave out In the preservation and, &c. pag. 39. & 46. a maine clause, without which the other part ought never to be mentioned. pag. 56.
      often presse that limitation, as without which the endeavouring to pre­serve the Kings Majesties Person and Authority ought not to be mentioned; it cannot but deter us from taking the Covenant in this particular so understood.
    • 3. Especially being told in a late pamphlet, that the King not having preserved the Liberties of the Kingdome, &c. as of duty he ought, is thereby become a Tyrant, and so cea­seth to be a King, and consequently that his subjects cease to be Subjects, and owe him no longer subjection. Which as­sertion, since we heartily detest, as false and scandalous in the supposition, and in the inference seditious and divelish; we dare not by subscribing this Article seeme to give the least countenance thereunto.
    • 4. But it striketh us with horror to think what use hath been made of this fourth Article; concerning the punishment of [Page 22] Malignants, &c. as by others otherwayes; so especially by the Corrector of a speech without dores, written in the defence of M. Challoners Speech: Who is so bold as to tell the Par­liament, that they are bound by their Covenant [...] (for the bringing of evill instruments to condigne punishment) to destroy the King and his Posterity; and that they cannot justifie the taking away of Straffords and Canterburies lives for Delinquency, whilst they suffer the cheif Delinquent to goe unpunished.

§. VII.
Of the Salvo's.

THe Salvo's that we have usually met withall, for the avoy­ding of the aforesaid scruples, either concerning the whole Covenant, or some particulars therein of speciall importance: We find upon examination to be no way satisfactory to our Con­science.

The first is that we may take the Covenant in our own sense: but this (in a matter of this nature, viz. an imposed promisory Oath, in the performance whereof others also are presumed to be concerned) seemeth to be

  • 1 1. Contrary to the Nature and end of an Oath, which unlesse it be full of simplicity, cannot be Sworn in Truth and Righte­ousnesse, nor serve to the ending of controversies and contradictions, which was the use for which it was instituted, Heb. 6.
  • 2. Contrary to the end of Speech: God having given us the use of Speech for this end, that it might be the interpreter of the minde; it behoveth us as in all other our dealings and con­tracts, so especially where there is the intervention of an Oath, so to speak as that they, whom it concerneth, may clearly understand our meaning by our words.
  • 3. Contrary to the end of the Covenant it self. Which being the confirmation of a firm union among the Covenanters, that by taking thereof they might have mutuall assurance of mu­tuall assistance & defence: If one may be allowed to take it in one sense, & another in a contrary; the Covenanters shall [Page 23] have no more assurance of mutuall assistance each from o­ther after the taking of the Covenant, then they had before.
  • 4. Contrary to the Solemne profession made by each Cove­vanter (in expresse termes in the conclusion thereof) in the presence of Almighty God, the searcher of all hearts, that he ta­keth it with a true intention to perform the same, as he shall an­swer it at the great day.

2 This will bring a scandall upon our Religion,

  • 1. That we practice that our selves, which we condemne in the Papist, viz. Swearing with Jesuiticall equivocations and mentall reservations.
  • 2. That we take the glorious and dreadfull Name of God in vaine; and play fast and loose with Oathes: in as much as what we swear to day in one sense, we may swear the direct contrary to morrow in another. And
  • 3. It will give strength to that charge which is layd to the Presbyterian party, in speciall, both
    Haeretici nec Deo, nec hominibus servant fi­dem.—Spe­ciatim hec addo, Calvinistas in hac re deteriores esse quàm Lutheranos. Nam Calvi­nistae nullam servant fi [...]em: Iura, perjura.—Lutherani moderatiores sunt. Be­can. 5. Manual. Controv. 14. 2. 4. &c.
    by Iesuites and
    Invent Oathes and Covenants for the Kingdome, dispence with them when he pleaseth, sweare and forsweare as the wind turneth, like a godly Presbyter. Arraig. of Perfec. in Epist. Ded.
    Sectaries; that there is no faith to be given to Protestants, whatever they swear; because they may swear one thing in their Words, and in their own sense mean another.

The second way is, to take the Covenant with these or the 2 like generall Salvo's exp [...]essed, viz. So far as lawfully I may; So far as it is agreeable to the Word of God, and the Lawes of the Land; Saving all Oathes by me formerly taken, &c. But.

  • 1. We beleeve this mocking of God would be so far from freeing us from the guilt of Perjury, that thereby we should rather contract a new guilt of most vile and abominable Hy­pocrisie.
  • 2. It seemeth all one unto us (the thing being otherwise suppo­sed unlawfull) as if we should swear to kill, steal, commit adultery, or forswear our selves, so far as lawfully we may.
  • [Page 24] 3. If this would satisfie the Conscience, we might with a good Conscience not only take the present Covenant, but even subscribe to the Councell of Trent also; yea and to the Tur­kish Alcoran; and swear to maintain and defend either of them, viz. so far as lawfully we may, or as they are agreable to the Word of God.

3 Thirdly, for the second Article in particular, in the branch con­cerning the extirpation of Church-Government, we are told that it is to be understood of the whole Government, taken col­lectively and in sensu composito, so as if we doe endeavour but the taking away of Apparitors only, or of any other one kind of infe­riour officers belonging to the Ecclesiastcall Hierarchy, we shall have sufficiently discharged our whole promise in that particular without any prejudice done to Episcopacy. But

  • 1. Neither the composers of the Covenant by their words, nor the imposers of it by their Actions, have given us the least signification that they meant no more.
  • 2. Yea rather, if we may judge either by the cause or the effects, we may well think there was a meaning to extir­pate the whole government, and every part thereof in the Article expressed. For
    • 1. The Covenant being (as we have no cause to doubt) fra­med at the instance of the Scots and for the easier pro­curing of their assistance in the late War, was therefore in all reason so to be framed and understood as to give them satisfaction, & (considering what themselves have
      By the Covenant, both Houses of Parlia­ment, & ma­ny thousands of other His Majesties Subjects of England and Ireland stand bound as well as we to hinder the setting up of the Church-Government by Bishops in the Kingdome of Scotland: And that we as well as they stand bound to endeavour the extirpation thereof in England and Ireland. Scots Declar. to the States of the United Provinces, 5. Aug. 1645. recited in Answer to the Scots Papers, pag. 23.
      decla­red) against Episcopacy, we have little reason to beleeve the taking away Apparitors, or any thing, lesse then the rooting out of Episcopacy it self, would have satisfied them.
    • 2. The proceedings also since the entring of this Covenant in endeavouring by Ordinance of Parliament to take away [Page 25] the Name, Power, and Revenues of Bishops doe sadly give us to understand, what was their meaning therein.

Fourthly, as to the scruples that arise from the Soveraignty of the King, and the duty of Allegiance as Subjects; we find two 4 severall wayes of answering, but little satisfaction in either.

  • 1. The former, by saying (which seemeth to us a piece of un­reasonable and strange Divinity) that Protection and Subje­ction standing in relation either to other, the King being now disabled to give us protection, we are thereby freed from our bond of subjection. Whereas
    • 1. The Subjects obligation (Ius subjectionis) doth not spring from, nor relate unto the actuall exercise of King­ly protection; but from and unto the Princes obliga­tion to protect (Ius Protectionis.) Which obligation ly­ing upon him as a duty which he is bound in conscience to performe, when it is in his power so to doe; the re­lative obligation thereunto lyeth upon us as a duty which we are bound in conscience to performe, when it is in our power so to doe. His inability therefore to performe his duty doth not discharge us from the neces­sity of performing ours, so long as we are able to doe it.
    • 2. If the King should not protect us, but neglect his part, though having power and ability to perform it; his vo­luntary neglect ought not to free us from the faithfull performance of what is to be done on our part. How much lesse then ought we to think our selves dis-obliged from our subjection, when the Non-protection on his part is not from the want of will, but of power?
  • 2. The later (wherein yet some have triumphed) by saying that the Parliament being the supreme Judicatory of the Kingdome, the King, wheresoever in person, is ever present there in his power, as in all other Courts of Justice: and that therefore whatsoever is done by them, is not done without the King, but by him. But craving pardon first, if in things without our proper sphere we hap to speak unproperly or amisse; We mustnext crave leave to be still of the same mind we were, till it shall be made evident to our understandings, [Page 26] that the King is there in his power, as it is evident to our sen­ses that he is not there in his Person: Which so far as our naturall reason and small experience will serve us to judge, all that hath been said to that purpose can never doe.

For, first, to the point of presence:

  • 1. We have been brought up in a beliefe that for the making of Lawes the actuall

    The old formes of Acts of Par­liam▪ were, The King willeth, pro­videth, ordaineth, establisheth, granteth, &c. by the assent of Parliament, &c. See Statutes till 1 H. 4. After that, The King, of the assent of the Lords Spirituall and Temporall, and at the speciall instance and request of the Commons of this Realm, hath ordained, &c. See Statutes 1 H. 4. till 1 H. 7. A forme of such Petition of the Commons, see 1 R. 3. 6. Prayen the Commons in this present Parliament assembled, that where, &c. Please it therefore your Highnesse, by the advice and assent of the Lords Spirituall and Temporall in this your present Parliament assem­bled, and by the authori [...]y of the same, to ordaince, &c.

    No Bill is an Act of Parliament, Ordinance, or Edict of Law, although both the Houses agree unanimously in it, till it hath the Royall Assent. Ancient Customes, pag. 54.

    Assemblee de ceux troys Estats est appellee un Act de Parliament: car sans touts troys nest ascun Act de Parl. Finch Nomotech. fol. 21.

    We admit that no Acts of Parliament are complete, or formally binding without the Kings assent. H. P. Answer to David Ienkins, pag. 6.

    Royall assent was simply necessary, and not onely a virtuall assent supposed to be included in the Votes of the two Houses: otherwise, what use can be made of his Negative voice? or what need to
    —Which if your Majesty shall be pleased to adorne with your Majesties Royall assent, (without which it can neither be complete and perfect, nor—) Stat. 1. Jac. 1.
    desire his Royall assent, to that which may be done as well without it?
  • 2. The
    Stat. 33. H. 1. 21.
    Statute, providing that the Kings assent to any Bill signified under his great Seal shall be to all intents of Law as valid & effectual, as if he were personally present, doth clear­ly import that as to the effect of making a Law, the Kings Po­wer is not otherwise really present with the two Houses, then it appeareth either in his Person or under his Seal: Any other real presence is to us a riddle, not much unlike to that of Tran­substantiation: an imaginary thing, rather devised to serve [Page 27] turnes, then believed by those that are content to make use of it.
  • 3. Such presence of the King there, when it shall be made ap­peare to us either from the writs, whereby the Members of both Houses are called together, or by the standing Lawes of the Land, or by the acknowledged judgement, and continu­ed practice of former and later ages, or by any expresse from the King himself, clearly declaring his minde to that purpose, we shall then as becometh us, acknowledge the same, and willingly submit thereunto.

And as for the Argument drawn from the Analogie of other Courts, wherein the Kings Power is alwayes supposed to be vir­tually present, under submission we conceive it is of no conse­quence.

  • 1. The Arguments à minore and à majore are subject to ma­ny fallacies; and unlesse there be a parity of reason in every requisite respect between the things compared, will not hold good: A Pety Constable (they say) may doe something which a Justice of Peace cannot doe: And the Steward of a pety Mannour hath power to adminster an Oath, which (as we are told) the House of Commons it self hath no po­wer to doe.
  • 2. That the high Court of Parliament is the supream Judicato­ry, we have been told it is by vertue of the Kings right of pre­siding there, he being
    Dominus Rex habet or­dinariam ju­risdictionem, dignitatem & potestatem super omnes qui in regno suo sunt.—Ea quae jurisdictionis sunt & pacis—ad nullum pertinent nisi and coronam & dignitatem Regiam, nec à coronâ se­parari possunt. Bracton cited by Stamford, lib. 2. cap. 2.
    the Supream Iudge, and the Mem­bers of both House his Councell: Which being so, the reason of difference is plaine between that and other Judi­catories in sundry respects.
  • 1. The Judges in other Courts are deputed by him, and doe all in his name, and by his authority; and therefore the pre­sence of his power in those Courts of ministeriall Jurisdicti­on is sufficient, his personall presence not necessary, neither hath he any personall vote therein at all. But in the high [Page 28] Court of Parliament, where the King himself is the Supreme Judge, judging in his own name and by his own authority, his Power cannot be presumed to be really present without either the actuall presence of his person, or some virtu­all representation thereof signified under his great Seal.
  • 2. The Judges in inferiour Courts, because they are to act all in his name, and by his Authority, doe therefore take Oathes of fidelity for the right exercising of Judicature in their severall places; sitting there, not by any proper interest of their owne, but only in right of the King, whose Judges they are, and therefore they are called the Kings Judges and his Ministers. But in the high Court of Parliament, the Lords and Commons sit there in Councell with the King as Supreme Judge for the good of the whole Realm; and therefore they are not called the Kings Judges, but the Kings Councell: and they have their severall proper rights and in­terests peculiar and distinct both between themselves, & from that of the Kings; by reason whereof they become distinct
    For in our Lawes, the Clergie, Nobility, & Communal­ty are the 3. Estates.—We your said most lo­ving, faith­full, and obe­dient Sub­jects, (viz. the Lords Spirituall and Temporall, and the Commons) represent­ing your Three Estates of your Realme of England, 1 Eliz. 3.—the State of the Clergie being one of the greatest States of this Realme. 8 Eliz. 1.
    Orders, or, as of late times they have been stiled (in this sense as we conceive)
    See Fin [...]h supra ad lit. [d].
    three distinct Estates. Each of which being supposed to be the best Conservators of their own proper interest; if the power of any one Estate should be presumed to be virtually present in the other two, that Estate must needs be in inevitably liable to suffer in the pro­per Interests thereof. Which might quickly prove destru­ctive to the whole Kingdome: The safety and prosperity of the whole consisting in the conservation of the just rights and proper interests of the maine parts, viz. The King, Lords, and Commons, inviolate and entire.
  • 3. The Judges of other Courts, for as much as their power is but ministeriall and meerly Judiciall, are bounded by the present Lawes, and limited also by their owne Acts: so as [Page 29] they may neither swerve from the Laws, in giving Judgement, nor reverse their owne Judgements after they are given. But the High Court of Parliament, having (by reason of the Kings Supreme Power presiding therein) a Power Legislative as well as Judiciall, are not so limited by any earthly Power, but that they may change and over-rule the Lawes, and their own Acts at their pleasure. The Kings Personall assent there­fore is not needfull in those other Courts, which are boun­ded by those Lawes whereunto the King hath already given his personall assent: but unto any Act of Power beside, be­yond, above, or against the Lawes already established, we have been informed, and it seems to us very agreeable to reason, that the Kings Personall Assent should be absolutely necessary: Forasmuch as every such Act is the exercise of a Legislative rather then of a Judiciall power; and no Act of Legislative power in any Community (by consent of all Na­tions) can be valid, unlesse it be confirmed by such person or persons as the Soveraignty of that Community resideth in. Which Soveraignty, with us, so undoubtedly resideth in the person of the King, that his ordinary style runneth,—Our
    The Crown of England hath been so free at all times, that it hath been in no earthly subje­ction, but im­mediately to God in all things touching the Regality of the said Crowne.—16 R. 2. 5. Omnis sub eo est, & ipse sub nullo, nisi tantùm sub Deo. Parem autem non habet Rex in regno suo, quia—Item nec multò fortiùs superiorem aut potentiorem habere debet, quia sic esset inferior suis subjectis. Bracton. conten. 1. Rubr. 36.—Cui [...], legibus ipsis legum vim imponendi potestatem Deus dedit. Finch Nomotech. in Epist. Dedic. to K. Iames.
    Soveraign Lord the King: And he is in the Oath of Supre­macie expresly acknowledged to be the onely Supreme Gover­nour within his Realmes. And we leave it to the wisdome of others to consider, what misery and mischief might come to the Kingdome, if the power of any of these three Estates should be swallowed up by any one or both the other, and if then under the name of a Judiciall there should be yet really exercised a Legislative power.
  • 4. Since all Judiciall Power is radically and originally in the [Page 30] King, (who is for that cause styled by the Lawes
    Fons Iustitiae. Bracton. By War to intend the al­teration of the Lawes in any part of them, is to levy War a­gainst the King, and consequently Treason by the Statute of 25 E. 3.—because they are the Kings Lawes. He is the fountaine from whence in their seve­rall channels they are deri­ved to the Subject. Ma­ster Saint John's Speech concerning the Earle of Strafford, page 12.
    The Fountaine of Iustice) and not in any other Person or Per­sons, but by derivation from him: it seemeth to us evident, that neither the Judges of inferiour Courts of ministeriall Justice, nor the Lords and Commons assembled in the High Court of Parliament, may of right exercise any other power over the Subjects of this Realm, then such as by their respe­ctive Patents and Writs issued from the King, or by the known established Laws of the Land formerly assented un­to by the Kings of this Realm doth appear to have been from him derived unto them. Which Lawes, Patents and Writs being the exact boundary of their severall Powers it hath not yet been made appeare to our understandings, either from the Lawes of the Realme, or from the tenour of those Writs by which the Parliament is called, that the two Houses of Parliament have any power without the King to order, command, or transact; but with him
    —Et ibidem vobiscum colloquium habere, tractare super dictis negotiis tract: vestrum (que) consilium impensur: Writ to the Lords.
    to treat, con­sult, and advise concerning the great affairs of the Kingdome. In which respect they have sundry times in their Declarati­ons to His Majesty called themselves by the name of His great Councell. And those Lawes and Writs are (as we conceive) the proper Topick, from which the just power of the Honourable Houses can be convincingly deduced: and not such fraile Colletions as the wits of men may raise from seeming Analogies and Proportions.

§▪ VIII.
Of the Negative Oath.

WE are not satisfied, how we can submit to the taking of the Negative Oath,

  • 1. Without forfeiture of that liberty, which we have sworne and are bound to preserve. With which liberty we con­ceive it to be inconsistent, that any obligation should be laid upon the Subject, by an oath not established by Act of Par­liament.
  • 2, Without abjuring our
    Every Subject by the duty of his Allegi­ance is boun­den to serve and assist his Prince and Soveraigne Lord at all seasons when need shall require 11 H. 7. 18.
    naturall Allegiance, and violating the Oathes of Supremacy and Allegiance by us formerly taken. By all which being bound to our power to as­sit the King, we are by this Negative Oath required to swear, from our heart, not to assist him.
  • 3. Without diminution of His Majesties just Power and great­nesse, contrary to the third Article of the Covenant; by ac­knowledging a power in the two Houses of Parliament, in opposition to the Kings Power. Whereas we professe our selves unable to understand, how there can be any lawfull power exercised within this Realme, which is not subordi­nate to the power of the King.

§. IX.
Of the Ordinances concerning the Discipline and Directory.

1 FIrst, concerning them all together; we are not satisfied how we can submit to such Ordinances of the two Houses of Par­liament not having the Royall Assent,

  • 1. As are contrary to the established Lawes of this Realm contained in such Acts of Parliament as were made by the joynt consent of King, Lords, and Commons.
  • 2. Nor so onely, but also pretend by repeal to abrogat such Act or Acts. For, since Ejusdem est potestatis destruere cujus est constituere, it will not sink with us, that a lesser po­wer can have a just right to cancell and annull the Act of a greater.
  • 3. Especially the whole power of ordering all matters Eccle­siasticall being by the Lawes in expresse words for ever annexed to the Imperiall Crown of this Realm.
    Stat. 1. El. 1.
    And upon what head that Crown ought to stand, none can be igno­rant.

2 As to the particular Ordinances: those that concern the Disci­pline, first.

  • 1. If under that title be comprehended the Government also: we cannot submit thereunto, without consenting to the eradication of a Government of reverend Antiquity in the Church. Which (notwithstanding the severall changes of Religion within this Realm) hath yet from time to time been continued and confirmed by the Publique Laws and Great Charters of the Kingdome: then which there cannot be a more ample testimony that it was ever held agreeable to the Civill Government and the Subjects liberty. Which also the successive Kings of this Realme at their severall Coronations have solemnly sworn to preserve. And the con­tinuance whereof for sundry reasons before (upon the second Article of the Covenant) specified, we heartily with and desire.
  • 2. But if the word Discipline be taken (as it is in the first Ar­ticle [Page 33] of the Covenant) as contradistinguished unto the Govern­ment: there is something even in that also, wherein we are not fully satisfied, viz. the leaving of so much power in so many persons, and those, many of them of meane quality, for the keeping back of thousands of well-meaning Christi­ans from the benefit and comfort of the blessed Sacrament. An Austerity, for which there appeareth not to us any pro­bable warrant from the World of God: But which seemeth rather repugnant, as to the generall principles of Christian prudence and charity, so to the directions and practice of S. Paul in particular;
    1 Cor. 5. 1. &c.
    who in a Church abounding with sun­dry errors and corruptions both in faith and manners, (ha­ving first given order for the excommunicating of one onely person that by shamelesse continuance in a notorious sinne had brought a foule scandall upon the Gospell) sufficing himself then with a generall proposall of the great danger of unworthy communicating, remitteth every other particular person to a selfe-examination;
    1 Cor. 11. 28. &c.
    without any order either to Ministers or Lay-Elders to exclude any from the holy Com­munion upon their Examination.

As to the Ordinance concerning the Directory in particular:3 we cannot without regret of Conscience, (during our present judgement, and the continuance of the present Lawes) consent to the taking away of the Book of Common-Prayer.

  • 1. Which by our Subscriptions most of us have approved: with a solemne promise therewithall, in the publique Ser­vice to use the forme prescribed therein, and no other.
  • 2. Which, according to our said Subscription and Promise, and our bounden duty according to the Statute in that case provided, we have hitherto used in our Churches, Chap­ples, and other Oratories, to the great benefit and comfort of our soules.
  • 3. Which we verily beleeve not to contain any thing which (with such favourable construction as of right ought to be allowed to all manner of Writings) is not justly defensible; which hath not been by learned and godly men sufficiently maintained against such exceptions as haue been heretofore taken thereat; and which we are not confident (by the Assi­stance [Page 34] of Almighty God) we shall be able to justifie (as oc­casion shall be offered) against all Papists, and other op­pugners or depravers thereof whatsoever.
  • 4. Which is established by an Act of Parliament, made (in peaceable times) by as good and full authority as any un­der heaven can have over us. Which doth so weigh with us, that as it freeth us from the necessity of giving in any parti­cular exceptions against the Directory or any thing therein contained: so it layeth an inevitable necessity upon us of contunuing the forme of Prayer therein enjoyned, & of not admitting any Directory or other forme to the prejudice thereof, till the said Act shall by the like good and full au­thority be repealed.

In which Statute there is not onely an expresse Command given to all Ministers for the using of the same; but there are also sanctions of severe punishments to be inflicted upon such of them as shall refuse so to doe; or shall preach, declare or speak any thing to the derogation or depraving of the Book of Common Prayer, or of any thing therein contained, or of any part thereof: with punishments also to be inflicted upon every other person whatsoever (the Lords of the Parliament not excepted that shall in like manner declare or speak against the said Book; or shall by deed or threatning compell or otherwise procure or maintain any Minister to say open Prayer, or to minister any Sacrament in any other manner or forme then is mentioned in the said Book; or shall interrupt or hinder any Minister in the use of the said formes, as by the words of the said Statute more at large may appeare.

Which Statute also hath had such an universall powerfull influ­ence into the succeeding times, that in all suchStat. 23. Eliz. 1. & 29. Eliz. 6. & 35 El. 1. & 2. & 3 Iac. 4. & 5. Statutes as have been since made against Popish Recusants, the refusing to be pre­sent at Common-Prayer, or to receive the Sacrament according to the formes and rites mentioned in that Book, is expressed as the most proper legall character, whereby to distinguish a Popish Recusant from a true Protestant. In so much that use hath been made of that very Character in sundry Acts, since the beginning of this present Parliament for the taxing of double payments upon Re­cusants.

[Page 35] THus have we clearly and freely represented our present judgement concerning the said Covenant, Negative Oath, and Ordinances; which upon better information in any parti­cular, we shall be ready to rectifie. Onely we desire it may be considered, that if any one single scruple or reason in any the premisses remaine unsatisfied, (though we should receive full sa­tisfaction in all the rest) the Conscience would also remain still unsatisfied. And in that case, it can neither be reasonable for them that cannot satisfie us to presse us, nor lawfull for us that cannot be satisfied to submit to the said Covenant, Oath and Or­dinances.


Quis damnaverit eum, qui duabus potentissimis rebus defenditur. Iure & mente?

ROM. 14. 22.

Happy is he that condemneth not himselfe in that which he alloweth.



Page 23. marg. read Haeretici. pag. 24. l. 12. read Ecclesiasticall. p. 24. l. 27. r. declared against Episcopacie) p. 26. l. ult. marg. r. Hen. 3. p. 28. 1. 24. r. be inevitably.

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