Now Printed, in English and Scotch; for Matthew Walbancke, at Grays-Inne Gate. 1646.

A Declaration of King James, made in Scotland, Anno Dom. 1585. Concerning Church-Government.

FOr so much as here are some evill affected men, that go about (so farre as lyeth in them) to invent lyes and ca­lumnies to stain and impair the Kings Majesties fame and honour, and raise brutes as if his Majestie had declined to Papistry, and had made many Acts to derogate the free passage of the Gospell, good order and discipline in the Church, which brutes are nourisht and entertained by rebellious subjects, who would gladly cover their seditious enterprises under pretext of religion, albeit there can be no religion in such as raise armour and disquiet the estate of their native Soveraign, and perjuriously have contraried the Oath bond and obligation of their faith, whereunto they have sworn and subscribed. Therefore that His Majesties faithfull Subjects be not abused with such slanderous reports, and His highnesse good and affectio­nate friends in other Countries may understand the verity of his upright inten­tions, His Majesty hath commanded this brief declaration of certain of His Majesties Acts of Parliament held in May 1584. to be publisht and imprinted, to the effect, that the indirect practices of such as slander His Majesty and his lawes, may be detected and discovered.

IN the first Act, His Majestie ratifieth and approveth the true profession of the Gospell, sincere preaching of the word, and administration of the Sa­craments, presently by the goodnesse of God established in this Realm; and alloweth of the confession of the faith set down by Act of Parliament the first year of His Majesties reign: Like as His Highnesse not onely professeth the same in all sincerity, but (praised be God) is come to that maturity of judge­ment, [Page 2]by reading and hearing the Word of God, that His highnesse is able to convince, and overthrow by the doctrine of the Prophets and Apostles, the most learned of the contrary sect of the Adversaries: So as Plato affirms that Commonwealth to be most happy wherein a Philosopher reigneth, or he that reigneth is a Philosopher: we may much more esteem this Country of Scot­land to be fortunate, wherein our King is a Theologue, and his heart replenisht with the knowledge of the heavenly philosophy, for the comfort not only of his good subjects and friends in other countries, but of them that professe the Gospell every where, he being a King of great expectation, to whom his birth­right hath not only destinate and provided great Kingdomes, but much more His Majesties vertue, godlinesse and learning, and daily encrease of all hea­venly sciences, do promise and assure him of the mighty protection of God, and favour of all them that fear his holy name.

IN the second Act, his Maj. royall authority over all estates both spirituall and temporall is confirmed, which act some of malice and others of ignorance, do traduce, as if his Maj. pretended to be head of the Church, a name which His Maj. acknowledgeth to be proper and peculiar to the Son of God the Saviour of the world, who is the head, and bestoweth life spirituall upon the members of his mysticall body, and he having received the holy spirit in all abundance ma­keth every one of the faithfull partakers, according to the measure of faith be­stowed upon them, of the which number of the head Christ His Maj. acknow­ledgeth himself to be a member, baptized in his name, partaker of the mystery of the crosse and holy communion, and attending with the faithfull for the com­ming of the Lord, and the finall restitution of Gods elect. And notwithstanding his Maj. surely understands by the scriptures, that he is the principall member appointed by the law of God, to see God glorified, vice punisht, and vertue maintain'd within his realm, and the soveraign judgment for a godly quietnesse and order in the common-wealth, to appertain to His highnesse care and solici­tude: which power of his highnesse certain ministers (being called before His Maj. for seditious and factious sermons, and stirring up the people to rebell a­gainst their native King) would in no wise acknowledg, but disclaimed His au­thority as an incompetent Judge; and especially one Mr. Andrew Melvile, an am­bitious person, of a salt and fiery humour, usurping the Pulpit of Sandrois, with out any lawfull calling, and privy at that time to certain conspiracies against His Maj. went about in his sermon upon a Sunday, to inflame the hearts of the people, by odious comparisons of His Maj. progenitors and councell. Albeit the duty of a faithfull preacher of the Gospel, be rather to exhort the people to the obedience of their native King, nor by popular sermons, which hath been the decay of great commonwealths, and hath greatly in times past disquieted this E­state. The said Mr. Andrew called before His highnesse answered, he would not be judg'd by the King and his Councell, because he spake the same in a Pulpit, which Pulpit (in effect) he alledged to be exempt from the judgment and cor­rection [Page 3]of Princes, as if that holy place sanctified to the word of God, might be a colour to any sedition against lawfull authority without punishment: His Maj. (being a most gracious Prince) was unwilling to use rigour against the said Mr. Andrew, if he had humbly submitted himself, acknowledg'd his offence and craved pardon; but he (afraid of his own guiltinesse, being private to divers conspiracies before, fled into England; whose naughty and presumptuous refu­sing of his Highnesse judgment, was the occasion of the making of the 2d. Act; That none should decline his Highnesse Authority, in respect that the common proverb is, that Ex malis moribus bonae leges natae sunt: that is, Of evill manners good Laws proceed; And indeed intollerable arrogancy in any Subject called before his Prince, professing and authorizing the same truth to disclaim his au­thority; neither do the Prophets, Apostles, or others, conducted by the Spirit of God minister the like example: For it is a great errour to affirme (as many do) that Princes and Magistrates have only power to take order in civill affaires, and that Ecclesiasticall matters do onely belong to the Ministry; by which means the Pope of Rome hath exempt Himself and His Clergie from all judg­ment of Princes, and hath made himself to be Judge of Judges, and to be judged of no man: whereas by the contrary, not onely by the examples of the Godly Governours, Judges, and Kings, of the antient Testament; but also by the new Testament, and the who [...]e History of the Primitive Church,; in the which, the Emperours judged over the Bishops of Rome, deposed them from their Seates, appointed Judges to acknowledg and decide in Causes Ecclesiasticall, vindicate innocent men as Athanasius from the determination of the Councell holden at Tyrus, and by infinite good reasons, which shall be set down (by the grace of God) in a severall Work, shall be sufficiently proved: But this appeareth at this present to be an unprofitable question, which hath no ground upon their part, but of the preposterous imitation of the pretended jurisdiction of the Pope of Rome; For if there were any question in this Land of Heresie, wherby the pro­found Misteries of the Scriptures behoved to be searched out, His Maj. would use the same remedy (as most expedient) which the most godly Emperors have used, and his Maj. following their example, would convene the Councel of lear­ned Pastours, that by conference of Scriptures the Truth might be opened, and Heresie repressed. But (praised be God) we have no such controversies in this Land, nor hath Heresie taken any deeproot in the Country; but certain of the Ministry joyning themselvs to Rebels have travelled to disquiet the estate with such questions, that the People might enjoy a sinister opinion of his Maj. upright proceedings; Neither is it his Maj. intention to take away the lawfull and or­dinary judgment in the Church, whereby Discipline and good order might de­cay, but rather to preserve, maintain, & encrease the same. And as there is in the Realm Justices, Constables, Sheriffes, Provosts, Bayliffes, and other Judges in Temporall matters; so His Majesty alloweth that all things may bee done in order, and a Godly Harmony may be preserved in the whole Estate. [Page 4]The Synodall Assemblies by the Bishops, or Commissioners (where the place is vacant) to be convened twice in the year, to have the ordinary triall of matters belonging to the Ministery and their estate, always reserved to His highnesse, that if they or any of them do amisse, neglect their duty, disquiet the estate, or offend in such manner and sort, that they in no wise pretend that immunity, pri­viledge and exemption, which only was invented by the Popes of Rome, to tread under foot the Scepters of Princes, and to establish an Ecclesiasticall tyranny within this country, under pretext of new-invented Presbyteries, which nei­ther should answer to the King, nor Bishop under His Majesty, but should have an infinire jurisdiction, as neither Law of God nor man can tollerate; which is onely His Majesties intention to represse, and not to take away any godly or solid order in the Church, as hereafter shall appear.

THe fourth Act of His Majesties foresaid Parliament, discharges all judge­ments Ecclesiasticall, and all assemblies which are not allowed by His Ma­jesty in Parliament, which Act especially concerneth the removing and dis­charging of that form late invented in this land called the Presbytery, wherein any number of Ministers of any certain precinct and bounds accompting them­selves all to be equall, without any difference; and gathering unto them certain Gentlemen and others of His Majesties subjects, usurped all the whole Eccle­siasticall jurisdiction, and altered the Lawes at their own appetite, without the knowledge and approbation of the King or the estate; a form of doing with­out any example of any Nation subject to any Christian Prince. The perill whereof did so encrease, that in case in due season it had not been repressed and forbidden by His Majesties lawes, the same had troubled the whole country, and it being tried by His highnesse to be the overthrow of His Majesties estate, the decay of His crown, and a ready introduction to Anabaptisme, and popular confusion in all estates, His Majesty hath countermanded the same. And that the Reader may understand the danger thereof by many inconveniences, which thereby ensued in this Land; I will onely set down one, whereby ye may un­derstand what perill was in the rest. The Embassadour of France being to re­turn home to his own country, the King commanded the Provost-Bailifs and councell of Edinburgh to give him the banquet, that he might be dismist hono­rably, according to the amity of ancient times betwixt the two Nations; This command was given on Saturday by His highnesse, and the banquet appointed to be on the Munday: A number of the foresaid Presbyterie understanding thereof, convened themselves on Sunday in the morning, and presumptuously determin [...]d and agreed, that the Ministers of Edinburgh should proclaim a Fast upon the said Munday, where their severall Ministers one after another made three diverse sermons, invectives against the Provost-Bailiffs, and councell for the time, and the Noblemen in the country who assisted the banquet at. His Majesties command. The foresaid Presbyterie called and persued them, and [Page 5]scarcely by His Majesties authority could be with-holden from excommunica­ting the said Magistrates and Noblemen, for obeying only His highnesse lawfull command, which the law of all countries called jus gentium, requireth towards Embassadors of forraign countries: And not onely in this, but innumerable o­ther things, their commandement was opposite directly under pain of Excom­munication, to the Kings Majesty and His laws, which form of doing ingen­dred nothing but disquiet, sedition and trouble, as may manifestly appear, in that the speciall authors of the inventing, promoting & assisting of the aforesaid pretended Presbyters, have joyned themselves with His Majesties Rebels; and flying forth of the Realm in respect of their guiltinesse, have discovered what malicious practices were devised amongst them, if God had not in time pro­vided remedy. The other form of judgment which His Majesty hath dischar­ged, is the generall assembly of the whole Clergy of the Realm, under pretence whereof, a number of Ministers from severall Presbyteries did assemble, with some Gentlemen of the country, whereof some for that time male-contents of the State, sought that colour, as favourers of the ministery; by which they have practised many enterprises in the Realm; where there was no certain law in Ecclesiasticall affairs, but all depended upon the said generall convention, where the laws of the Church were alterable after the plurality of votes, which for the most part succeeded to the most unlearned of the multitude: This ge­nerall assembly, amongst other things, did appoint and agree with His Maje­sties Regents in His highnesse minority, that the estate of Bishops (which is one of the estates of the Parliament) should be maintained and authorized, as it is registred in the books of councell, and subscribed by the Commissioners for the time: which order was observed many years, and Bishops by their consents appointed to the Diocesses, where within this late time in assemblies holden at Dundee and Glascow respective, the foresaid Ministers and assemblies, took upon them contrary to their own hand-writing, to discharge the estate, and to declare the same to be unlawfull in their pretended manner: And there commanded the Bishops of the Country, to lay down and leave their Offices and jurisdictions, and that in no wise they should passe to the Kings Majesties Councell or Parliament, without commission obtained from their Assembly; That they should vote nothing in Parliament or Councell, but according to their acts and injunctions: And further, they directed their Commissioners to the Kings Majesty, commanding him and the Councell, under the pain of the censures of the Church (whereby they understood excommunication) to ap­point no Bishop in times to come, because they had concluded that estate to be unlawfull. And notwithstanding that which they would have dejected in the Bishops, they concluded to erect in themselves, desiring that such Com­missioners as they should send to Parliament and Councell, might be authori­zed in place of the estate, whereby it should have come to passe, that whereas now His Majesty may select the most godly, learned, wise, and experimented of [Page 6]the Ministery to be on His Majesties Estate, His highnesse should have been by that means compelled to accept such as the multitude by an odd vote of the most unlearned should have appointed, which could not tend but to the over­throw of the realm, whereof that Estate hath been a speciall stay: After they had discharged Bishops, they agreed to have Superintendents, Commissioners, and Visitors, but in the end they decreed that there should be no difference a­mongst the Ministers, and imagined that new form of Presbytery, whereof we have spoken before: Neither was there any other apparance that they should have stayed from such daily alterations in the Common-wealth, which could not but continually be disquieted, where the law of conscience (which they maintained by the sword of cursing) was subject to such mutations at the arbi­trement of a number, whereof the most part had not greatly tasted of learning: After the foresaid assembly was accustomed not only to prescribe the law to the King and State, but also did at certain times appoint generall Fastings tho­roughout the realm; especially when some factioners in the country were to move any great enterprise: For at the Fast all the Ministers were commanded by the said assembly to sing one song, and to cry out of the abuses (as they term­ed it) of the Court and State for the time: whereby it is most certain, great alte­rations have ensued in this land; untill at the good pleasure of God, and his blessing towards His Maj. the pretext of the last Fast was discovered, and His highnesse delivered from such attempts: whereby His Maj. hath been justly mo­ved to discharge such conventions, which might import so prejudicially to His Estate; but especially. His Maj. had no small occasion. Whereas the same assem­bly being convened at Edinburgh the day of did authorize and avow the fact perpetrate at Ruthuen in the taking of His highnesse most noble person: The which deed; although His Maj. with the advice of His States in Parliament hath counted to be treasonable, the said assembly (esteeming their judgement to be the soveraign judgment of the realm) hath not onely approved the same, but ordained all them to be excommunicate who would not subscribe and allow the same: So the Acts of this Assembly, and the Acts of Estate directly in civill matters, with which the Assembly should not have medled; it behoved His highnesse either to discharge himself of the crown, or the Ministery of that form of assembly, which in very deed in it self, without the Kings Majesties license and approbation could not be lawfull. Like as generall Councels at no time could assemble but by the command of the Emperor for the time. And our King hath no lesse power in his own realm, then any of them had in the Empire; yea the Bishop of St. Andrews had not in time of Popery power to convene the Bi­shops and Clergy out of his own Diocesse, without license impetrate before of His hignesse most noble progenitors of good memory, and the causes thereof intimated and allowed: Notwithstanding that His Maj. intention and meaning may be fully understood, it is His highnesse wil, that the Bishop or Commissio­ner of any Diocesse or Province, or part thereof, shall at their Visitation ap­point [Page 7]in every parish (according to the greatnes thereof) some honest, vertuous and discreet men, to concur and assist the Minister, and to have the oversight and censure of the manners and behaviour of the people of that Parish: And that there be any notable offence worthy of punishment, that the Bish. and Com. be advertised thereof, who shall have an Officer of arms to concur with his de­cree for the punishment of vice, and execution to follow thereupon; that they who contemn the godly and lawfull Order of the Church, may finde by experi­ence His Majesties displeasure, and be punisht according to their deservings.

And further, his Maj. upon necessary occasions which may happen by divers manners of wayes amongst the Clergy, upon humble supplications made to his Highnesse will not refuse to grant them licence to convene: to wit, the Bi­shops, Commissioners, and some of the most vertuous, learned, godly of their Diocesse, where such Ecclesiasticall matters as appertain to the Uniformity of Doctrine, and conservation of any godly order in the Church, may be intreated and concluded in his Maj. own presence, or some of his Maj. honourable Coun­cell, who shall assist for the time; where if necessity so require a publique Fast throughout the whole Realm may be decreed, and by his Maj. Authority pro­claimed, to avoid the eminent displeasure and danger of the wrath of the Lords judgments, which is the right end of the publike Humiliation, and not under pretext thereof to cover such enterprizes as have heretofore greatly disquieted and troubled the Peace of this Common-wealth.

THe XX. Act, ratisieth, and approveth, and re-establisheth the estate of the Bi­shops within the Realm, to have the over-sight and jurisdiction; every one in their own Diocese, which form of government and rule in Ecclesiasticall af­fairs hath not only continued in the Church from the days of the Apostles by continuall succession of time, and many Martyrs in that calling shed their blood for the Truth; but also since this Realm embraced and received the Christian Religion, the same estate hath been maintained to the welfare of the Church, and quietnesse of the Realm without any interruption while within these few yeers, some curious and busie men have practised to bring in the Ministry an e­quality and purity in all things, aswell concerning the preaching of the Word, and ministration of the Sacraments; as likewise in discipline, order and policy: The which confusion his Maj. finding by most dangerous experience, to have been the Mother and Nurse of great factions, seditions, and troubles within this Realm, hath with the advice of his Highnesse Estates, maturely, and advisedly concluded the said pretended party in discipline, order, and policy in the Church to be no longer tolerate in this Country, but the solicitude and care of my Churches of one Diocese, to appertaine to the Bishop and Commissioner thereof, who shall be answerable to His Majesty, and Estates, for the right ad­ministration and discharge of the office of particular Ministers within the bounds of their jurisdiction: For as it becommeth his Majesty (as Eusebius writeth of CONSTANTINE the Great) to be a Bishop of Bishops, and [Page 8]universall Bishop within his realm, in so far as His Majesty should appoint eve­ry one to discharge his duty; so His highnesse cannot (his country being large and great) take him to every Minister that shall offend and transgresse against duty, or quarrell with the whole number of the ministry; but it behoveth His Majesty to have Bishops and over-seers under him, that may be answerable for such bounds, as the law and order of the country hath limited and appointed unto every one of them: And that they having accesse unto His Majesties Par­liament and Councell, may intercede for the rest of the brethren of the ministe­ry, propound their griefs unto His highnesse and the Estates, and receive His Majesties favourable answer therein: The which form doth preserve a godly harmony, unity, peace and concord in the estate, and a solid order in the Church. As contrariwise the pretended equality divides the same, and under pretext of equality, makes some of the most crafty and sutable dealers to be advanced and enricht; and in pretending of purity, to seek nothing but their own ambition and advancement above the rest of the simple sort: And notwithstanding that His Majesty hath re-establisht the said estate, it is not His highnesse will and intention, that the fore-said Bishop shall have such full power, as to do within his Diocesse what he pleaseth; For as His Majesty cannot allow of a popular confusion, wherein as the proverb witnesseth, Nulla tyrannis aquiparanda est tyrannidi multitudinis; that is, No tyranny can be compared to the tyranny of a multitude, having power in their hands: So on the other part, His Majesties will is, that the Bishops authority in any grave matter, be limited and circumscri­bed to 13. of the most ancient, wise and godly pastours of his Diocesse, selected forth of the whole Synodal assembly of the Province, by whose advice or at the least the most part thereof, the grave and weighty affayrs of the Church may be conducted and governed to the glory of God, and quietnes of the realm: Fur­ther, it is His highnesse will and expresse commandement, that their Bishops and Commissioners twice in the year; to wit, ten days after the Pasche time, and the sixt day of September, hold their Synodall assemblies of every Dioces, for the keeping good order therein: And if any be refractory or a contemner within their bounds, of the good order of the Church, they may be declared un­to His Majesty, and punisht in example of others according to their deservings. Neither is it His Majesties meaning or intention, that such Bishops or Com­missioners as shall be appointed, shall receive their onely and full Commission of His Majesty, without admission ordinary by such as are appointed to that effect in the Church, but having His highnesse nomination, presentation and commendation, as lawfull and only patron, they to be tried and examined that their qualities are such, as they are able and sufficient to discharge their cure and office; and if it shall happen any of the said Bishops or Commissioners to be negligent in their Office, or to be scandalous or offensive in their behaviour life and manners in any time comming, it is not His highnesse will, that they shall be exempt from correction, notwithstanding of any priviledge of His highnesse [Page 9]Estate, counsell or Parliament, but their labours, travails, diligence, and beha­viour, to be tried in the generall assembly, not consisting of a confused multi­tude, as it was before, but of such worshipfull persons as is heretofore prescri­bed in His highnesse own presence, or His Majesties deputies to that effect: Last His Majesty giveth Commission to the said Bishops or Commissioners at their visitations to consider, in what part of the country the exercise or interpreta­tion of the Scriptures by conference of a certain number of the ministery with­in that bounds may be most commodiously, in the fifteen days: For as His Majesty inhibits all unlawfull conventions, which may engender troubles and contentions in the Country, so His Majesty is well affected to see the ministe­ry encrease in knowledge and understanding, and by all means to fortifie and advance the same; wherein His Majesties commandement is, that a grave, wise, and sage man, shall be appointed President, who may have the oversight of that bounds, and be answerable therefore to the Bishop his Councell and Sy­nod, and he to be respected reasonably for his paines at the modification of sty­pends, that all things may be orderly done in the Church, peace and quietnesse maintained in the realm, and we delivered from the appearing plagues, and the blessing of God continued, to the comfort of our posterity.

And in the mean time, His highnesse inhibits and expresly commands under the paines contained in His Majesties Acts of Parliament, and all other pains arbitrall at His Majesties sight and counsell: That no Minister take in hand to convene themselves for the foresaid cause, without the appointment and order taken by the said Bishops or Commissioners, whereby His Highnesse may be certainly enformed, that the foresaid Ministers convene not, to meddle with any civill matters, or affairs of Estate, as was occasioned before, but onely to profit in the knowledge of the Word, and to be comforted one by another in the administration of their spirituall Office, which His highnesse wisheth them faithfully to discharge; and then to call to God that His Majesty may in a pro­sperous reign enjoy good and long life, and continue and increase into the fear of the Almighty.

The Kings Majesties intentions.

HIs Majesties intention is, by the grace of God, to maintain the true and sincere profession of the Gospell and preaching thereof, within this Realm.

2 His Majesties intention is, to correct and punish such as seditiously abuse the chair of truth, and factionsly apply or other wise bewray the text of the Scripture to the disquieting of the Estate, and disturbing of the Commonwealth, or empairing His highnesse or Councels honour.

3 His Majesties intention is, if any question of faith or doctrine arise, to convo­cate the most learned, godly, wise and experimented Pastors, that by conference of Scriptures the verity may be tried, and heresie and schism by that means repressed.

4 His Majesties intention is, that for keeping good order in every Parish, cer­tain to be censors of manners of the rest, be appointed at the visitation of the Bishop, or Visitor, who shall have His Majesties authority and Officers of Armes con­curring for the punishment of vice.

5 His Majesties intention is, to maintain the exercise of prophesie for the encrease and continuing of knowledge in the Ministery, in the which a wise and grave man selected by the Bishop or Commissioner at the Synodall assembly shall preside; and render an account of the administration of that bounds where the exercise is holden, For which cause some respect of living shalbe had to him who sustaineth the burden.

6 His Majesties intention is, not to derogate unto the ordinary judgment of matters of the Church by the ordinary Bishops, their Councels and Synodes, but if any of them do amisse and abuse their callings, to take order for the correcting, a­mending and punishing thereof.

7 His Maj. intention is, not to hinder or stay any godly or solid order grounded upon the word of God, and order of the primitive Church, but that the Ministers of the word, meddle only with their own calling, & judg not temerariously of the state.

8 It is His Maj. intention, that the Presbyteries consisting of many Mini­sters and Gentlemen at Landwart, or otherwise, be no further tolerated within this Realm, but the exercise and jurisdictions of the Churches to be in the hands of the Bishop or Commissioner, and their Councels or Synods.

9. His Maj. intention is, that the Bishops or Commissioners convene not any gene­rall assembly out of the whole realm, without His Maj. knowledge, and license ob­tained thereunto, which upon supplication His highnesse will not deny, that an uni­form order may be conserved in the whole realm, the Bishops & their diligences there tryed and examined, and the complaints of every particular heard and discussed.

10 It is His Majesties intention, to assist this assembly himself, or by a Noble­man of his Councell his Deputy.

11 It is his Maj. intention, that when any parish findeth necessity of a Fast, they intimate the occasion to the Bishop or Commissioner their Councell, that they may understand that the cause is lawfull: Likewise the Bishop of the Diocesse finding lawfull occasion, may with his Councell, prescribe a publike humiliation there.

12 It is his Majesties intention, that a generall Fast throughout the whole realm, shall not be proclaimed but by His Majesties commandement, or by that generall Councell, wherein His Majesty or His highnesse Deputy be present.

13 It is His highnesse intention, that the Bishops in the Realm in every Diocesse, with their Councell, preside into the Ecclesiasticall government, but as is said, with a Councell, that both tyranny and confusion may be avoided in the Church.

14 It is His highnesse intention, that Commissioners be directed universally throughout the whole realm to establish a godly order, and that his Majesties Com­missioners take order presently for the translation of such Ministers, whose travels they esteem may more conveniently and profitably serve in another place.


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