A DECLARATION And RESOLUTION Of the Lords and Commons assembled In PARLIAMENT, IN ANSWER to the Scots Declaration.

Wherein is set forth the true Zeal and Affection betwixt both Kingdoms, for the Reformation of Church-Government.

ORdered by the Lords and Commons in Parliament, That this Declaration be forthwith printed and published:

Hen. Elsynge, Cler. Parl. D. Com.

London, Printed for Edward Husbands and John Franck, and are to be sold at their Shops, in the Middle Temple, and next door to the Kings head in Fleet-street.

September 23. 1642.

[Tudor rose]

[Scottish thistle]

[French fleur-de-lis]

[depiction of Irish harp]


A DECLARATION And RESOLVTION Of the Lords and Commons in PARLIAMENT, In Answer to the Scots Declaration.

THe Lords and Commons in Parliament have with ap­probation and thanks, re­ceived from the Commissi­oners of the Kingdom of Scotland, a clear Manifestati­on of the respect which the Lords of His [Page 4] Majesties Secret Councell for that Realm do bear to the well-fare and peace of this King­dom, in the expression of their Affections, wherein they were pleased to second the de­sires of the Generall Assembly of that Church for Unity in Religion, and Unifor­mity in Church Government in His Maje­sties three Kingdoms: And having often had that matter in debate, and our most serious consideration; the Christian Advice of that Reverend Assembly, and the grave Councell of that Honourable Table concurring with our own Judgement, and Experience of the manifold mischiefs and distractions which the Government of the Prelacie of this Kingdom hath in all Times and Ages produced in this Church and State, Have moved us to bring our Resolution to a more speedy maturity and conclusion; wherein, as we have satisfied our own Reason, so we hope we shall satisfie the loving and Chri­stian desires of our Brethren of Scotland; Although we know that hereby we shall exceedingly irritate that opposite and ma­lignant Partie who will bend all their In­vention and Force to interrupt this Work, [Page 5] and to ruine and destroy us in the underta­king of it.

And we desire their Lordships to consider that the Party which hath now incens'd and arm'd His Majestie against us and His other faithfull Subjects in this Kingdom, is the very same which not long since upon the very same designe of rooting out the Reformed Religion, did endeavour to begin that Tragedie in Scotland; which, whensoe­ver it shall be perfected in either Nation, wil easily be accomplished in the other; Religi­on being the Band and Foundation of the safety and happinesse of both. And as we resolve, according to the Nationall Com­mand betwixt the two Kingdoms, to be carefull of the peace of Scotland as of our own, so we doubt not but their Lordships and the Nation of Scotland will be carefull to expresse their Brotherly kindenesse to us, and prudent care of themselves, by restrayning the evill-affected amongst them, that they may not foment our troubles; and by all clear wayes, according to the Articles ratified in the Parliaments of both Kingdoms, to maintain the Peace and Amity betwixt the [Page 6] two Nations, and to restrain the mis­chievous attempts and practises of those who are enemies to both; that so, through Gods blessing, we may mutually rejoyce in one anothers happinesse, and yeeld his Ma­jestie such a faithfull subjection, as may be honorable to himself, comfortable to his People, advantagious to the Professors of the Reformed Religion in other parts be­yond the Seas.

WE the Lords and Commons in Parlia­ment assembled, having with much contentment perused the brotherly and Christian Answer, which the Generall As­semblie of the Church of Scotland have made un­to the Declaration formerly sent unto them from us; And finding therein great expressions of love to this Church and Kingdom, and of prudence and faithfulnesse in propounding those things which may conduce to a more close and firm union of the two Churches and Nations of England and Scotland, in preserving and maintai­ning the truth and purity of the Reformed Re­ligion, not onely against Popery, but against all other superstitious Sects and Innovations what­soever; Have thereupon resumed into our con­sideration and care, the matters concerning the Reformation of Church government and disci­pline, which we have often had in consultation and debate since the beginning of this Parlia­ment: And ever made it our chiefest ayme, though we have bin frequently interrupted, and powerfully opposed in the prosecution and ac­complishment of it.

[Page 8] And however we continue still in the storme and conflict, finding small abatement of diffi­culty, and much increase of malignity and per­versnesse in the opposition, wherewith this great and necessary worke of Reformation is incountred; Yet we heartily thank God and rejoyce with our Brethren of Scotland, for that Peace, Liberty, and preservation which God hath afforded them, taking it as a pledge and earnest of the like mercy intended to us in his good time, and hoping that he will not onely free us from the most greivous and distructive miseries and calamities of a Civill War, but graciously perfect our designes and endeavours of a full Reformation in all matters appertay­ning to Religion, which as it is the greatest ho­nour and service which God receives from his people; so we acknowledge with our brethren that it is the surest foundation of glory, strength, and happinesse, which he bestowes upon any Nation.

The manifold obstructions and impediments which we have met with in seeking this great blessing, do give to us and all Gods People, great cause of grief, and works in us an earnest longing for the removall of them: Yet knowing that all the wonderfull works of God in this kind have bin brought to perfectiō, through many op­positions and seeming impossibilities, that so the conclusion might be more glorious to His divine [Page 9] Majesty, & comfortable to his children, we cannot but in humility & submission expect the like issue of our wrastling, and striving with that fierce and peremptory opposition which hath beene framed, and acted against us by the most subtill and busy engines of Satan, the most pestilent in­cendiaries among us the Jesuits from abroad, a virulent & discontented party at home, consisting of the Prelaticall Clergy, Atheisticall projectors against Religion, prophane and sensuall self­lovers, hightned and inflamed against us, with a spirit of malignity beyond the example of former times, wherein we have had manifold occasions to discerne both our owne weakenesse, and im­perfections, and the Divine mercy and goodnesse, and to hope that God having upheld us so long beyond our owne strength and merit, will bring us through at last to the full accomplishment of his owne praise, and of the joy of this and other Churches.

We acknowledge it an act of love to us, and of wisdome for the good of both Churches, for which wee are thankfull both to God and them, that our Brethren of Scotland have bestowed their serious thoughts, and earnest desires for Unity of Religion; That in all his Majesties Do­minions there might be one confession of Faith, one directory of worship, one publique Cate­chisme, and one forme of Church-Governe­ment. And although it will hardly be obtained [Page 10] punctually and exactly, unlesse some way might be found for a mutuall Communication, and Conjunction of Councell and debate in fram­ing that one forme: yet both intending the same end, proceeding by the same rule of Gods Word, and guided by the same spirit, we hope by Gods assistance to bee so directed, that wee may cast out whatsoever is offensive to God, or justly dis­pleasing to any Neighbour Church, and so farre agree with our Brethren of Scotland, and other reformed Churches, in all substantiall parts of Doctrine, Worship and Discipline, that both we and they may injoy those advantages, and con­veniences which are mentioned by them, in this their answer, in the more strict Union of both Kingdomes, more safe, easy and comfortable Government of His M [...]jesty, and both to him­selfe and people, more free Communion in all holy exercises and duties of worship, more con­stant security of Religion, against the bloody practises of Papists, and deceitfull errors of other Sectaries, and more profitable use of the Ministry: for the compassing and attai­ning whereof we intend to use the labour and advise of an assembly of godly learned Divines, for the convening of whom a Bill hath already past both Houses, which had taken effect long since, if we could have obtained His Majestyes Royall assent thereunto. All which considered, we acknowledge the faithfull and affectionate expressions of our Brethren, in wishing and desi­ring [Page 11] this great advantage for us, doth fully deserve those thanks which we have formerly expressed, and no whit stand in need of that apology which they are pleas'd to make.

The maine cause which hitherto hath depri­ved us of these, and other great advantages, which we might have by a more close Union with the Church of Scotland, and other reformed Churches, is the government by Bishops, which to strength­en it selfe hath produced many other differences in Discipline and ceremonies betwixt them and us, and is apt to worke in the minds of those who are the approvers and defenders of it, such a dis­esteeme of, and opposition to those Churches, as makes us desperat of that most beneficiall and de­sirable conjunction with them, untill this great impediment be removed: whereupon wee have entred into a serious consideration, what good we have received from this government by Bishops, which may countervaile such a losse and incon­venience, And we are so far from apprehending any satisfaction herein, that we plainly perceive it a cause of many other calamities, dangers, and intollerable burdens, being a dishonour to God, by arrogating to themselves a preheminence and power which hee hath not given them, by pro­phaning the purity of his ordinances, with the mixture of their owne injunctions, by withstand­ing the frequent and powerfull Preaching of the Gospell, that so their usurped authority might [Page 12] receive more easy admittance into the ignorant, and misguided consciences of men, by corrupting the Ministrie with Pride, Ambition, Covetous­nesse, Idlenesse and Luxurie, by suppressing the spirituall power and efficacie of Religion, and tur­ning it into formality and Pompe, by inclining to popery, the principles thereof being sutable to this government, and contrary to those principles which were the first grounds of Reformation. We likewise finde it most pernitious to the civill state and common wealth, in that the Bishops have ever beene active to infuse into our Kings such Te­nents and Positions, as are contrary to the fundamentall lawes of the Kingdome, and apt to introduce Tyranny, and an arbitrarie power over the lives, liberties, and propriety of the subject, & that they have been forward to incite the King against his people, & by force of arms to constrain them to submit to such an arbitrary government. and by unlawfull contribution ofmoney to assist his Maiesty in making war upon his subiects wher­of there are many evidences both in those prepa­rations which not long since were made to invade Scotland, and in the warre now raised against the Parliament, and kingdome of England, and yet they have shewed themselves so ambitious of so­veraignty, that they forbeare not to maintaine in Sermons and printed Books, that the Kings Scep­tre ought to submit to Aarons rod, and the Mi­tre to be above the Sword; which argues in them [Page 13] an Antichristian spirit to exalt themselves above all that is called God, and a designe (when they have brought the Kingdome to be disposed at his pleasure) to subiect his Maiesty to their own ar­bitrary censures that themselves may triumph in the bondage and slavery both of King and people. Upon all which & many other reasons we do de­clare, That this governmēt by archbishops, Bishops their Chancellours, and Commiss [...]ries, Deanes, Deans and Chapters, Archdeacons, & other eccle­siasticall officers depending upon the Hierarchy, is evill and iustly offensive and burdensome to the kingdome, a great impediment to Reformation and growth of Religion, very prejudiciall to the state and government of this kingdome: And that we are resolved that the same shall be taken away. And according to our former Declarati­on of the seventh of February, Our purpose is to consult with godly and learned Divines that we may not only remove this but settle such a govern­ment, as may be most agreeable to Gods holy Word most apt to procure and conserve the peace of the Church at home, and happy union with the Church of Scotland, and other reformed Church­es abroad, and to establish the same by a law which we intend to frame for that purpose to be presented to his Maiesty for his Royall assent. And in the mean time humbly to beseech his Maiesty that a Bill for the Assembly may be pass [...]d in time convenient for the meeting to be by the fift of No­vember [Page 14] next, the miserable estate of the Church and kingdome not being able to endure any lon­ger delay.

This being the resolution of both Houses of Parliament, we do desire our brethren of Scotland to concurre with us in petitioning his Maiesty, that his Royal authority may be applyed to the con­servation of a firme unity between the two king­domes, and that they likewise will think good to send to the same Assembly some godly and lear­ned Divines of that Church, whereby an uniformi­ty in form of Church government may be obtained, and thereby a more easie passage made to the set­ling of one Confession of faith, One Liturgie or di­rectory of the publick worship, & one Catechisme in all the three kingdomes. Which we hope through Gods blessing will have such an effect in all his Maiesties dominions, as will much advance the honor and service of God, enlarge the greatnes power and glorie of the King, confirm the peace security & prosperity of all his good subiects, make way to the relief and deliverance of the poore af­flicted Churches abroad, and to the totall abolish­ing of the usurpation and Tyrannie of Rome, being the prime cause and fountaine of all the miseries and calamities, the bloudy massacres, outrages, cru­elties, and bitter persecution of Gods people in all he Christian world for many Ages.

FINIS.

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