TWO SPEECHES IN PARLIAMENT OF THE RIGHT HONOVRABLE WILLIAM, LORD Vicount SAY and SEALE, Mr. of his Majesties Court of Wards and Liveries, and one of his Majesties most Honourable Privie Councell, The first upon the Bill against Bishops power in civill affaires and Courts of Judicature. The other a Declaration of himself touching the Liturgie, and separation.

LONDON, Printed for Thomas Vnderhill. 1641.

A Speech of the Right Honou­rable WILLIAM, Lord Vicount Say and Seale, one of his Majesties most Honourable privie Councell, spoken in Parliament, upon the Bill against the Bishops.


I Shall not need to begin as high as A­dam in answer to what hath bin drawne downe from thence by a Bishop con­cerning this question,The Bishop of Lincolne. for that which is pertinent to it will onely be what con­cernes Bishops as they are ministers of the Gospell, what was before (being of another nature) can give no rule to this. The question that will lye before your Lordships in passing of this bill is not whether Episco­pacie (I meane this Hierarchicall Episcopacy which the world now holds forth to us) shall be taken away Roote and branch, but whether those exuberant and superfluous branches, which draw away the sap from the tree, and di­vert it from the right and proper use whereby it becomes unfruitfull, shall be cut off, as they use to plucke up suckers from the Roote. The question will be no more but this, whe­ther Bishops shall be reduced to what they were in their first advancement over the Presbyters (which although it were but a humane device for the Remedy of Schisme, yet were they in those times least offensive) or continue still with the addition of such things, as their owne ambition, and the ignorance and superstition of succeeding times did adde thereunto, and which are now continued for severall politicke ends, things heterogeneall and inconsistent with [Page 2]their calling and function, as they are ministers of the Gos­pell, and thereupon such, as ever have been, and ever will be, hurtfull to themselves, and make them hurtfull to others, in the times and places where they are continued. And these things alone this bill takes away, that is their offices and pla­ces in Courts of Judicature, and their imployments by Obli­gation of office in civill affaires: I shall insist upon this, to shew first how these things hurt themselves, and secondly, how they have made, and ever will make them hurtfull to others; They themselves are hurt thereby in their conscien­ces, and in their credits; In their consciences, by seeking or admitting things which are inconsistent with that function and office which God hath set them apart unto. They are se­parated unto a speciall worke, and men must take heed how they mis-imploy things dedicated and set apart to the service of God; They are called to preach the Gospell, and set apart to the worke of the ministery, and the Apostle saith, who is suf­ficient for these things, shewing that this requireth the whole man, and all is too little, therefore for them to seeke, or take other offices which shal require and tye them to imploy their time and studies in the affaires of this world, wil draw a guilt upon them, as being inconsistent with that which God doth call them and set them apart unto. In this respect our Savi­our hath expresly prohibited it, telling his Apostles that they should not Lord it over their Brethren, nor exercise Juris­diction over them, as was used in civill governments among the Heathen: They were called gracious Lords, and exercised Jurisdiction as Lords over others, and sure they might lawful­ly doe so: but to the Ministers of the Gospel our Saviour gives this Rule, it shall not be so done by you; If ye strive for great­nesse, he shall be the greatest, that is the greatest servant to the rest; therefore in another place he saith, Hee that putteth his hand to the Plow and looketh backe to the things of this world is not fit for the kingdom of God, that is the preaching of the Gospel, as it is usually called. To be thus withdrawne by intangling themselves with the affaires of this life by the necessity and duty of an Office received from men, from the discharge of that Office which God hath called them unto, [Page 3]brings a woe upon them; Woe unto me, saith the Apostle, if I preach not the Gospel, what doth he meane? If I preach not once a quarter, or once a yeare in the Kings Chappell? No, he himself interpreted it; Preach the Word, be instant, in season and out of season, rebuke, exhort, or instruct, with all long suf­fering and doctrine: he that hath an office, must attend upon his office, especially this of the ministery. The practice of the Apostles is answerable to the direction, and doctrine of our Saviour. There never was, nor will be, men of so great abili­ties and gifts as they were indued withall, yet they thought it so inconsistent with their Callings to take places of Judica­ture in civill matters, and secular affaires and imployments upon them, that they would not admit of the care and distra­ction that a businesse farre more agreeable to their Callings, then these, would cast upon them, and they give the reason of it, in the sixth of the Acts, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God and serve Tables. And again, when they had appointed them to choose men fit for that businesse, they insti­tute an office rather for taking care of the poore, then they by it would be distracted from the principall worke of their Calling, and then shew how they ought to imploy them­selves; But we (said they) will give our selves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the Word; Did the Apostles, men of extraordinary gists, thinke it unreasonable for them to be hindred from giving themselves continually to preach­ing the Word and Prayer, by taking care for the tables of the poore Widowes, and can the Bishops now thinke it reasona­ble or lawfull for them to contend for sitting at Councell Ta­ble to governe States, to turne States-men in stead of Church­men, to sit in the highest Courts of Judicature, and to be im­ployed in making lawes for civill polities and government? If they shall be thought fit to sit in such places, and will un­dertake such imployments, they must not fit there as ignorant men, but must be knowing men in businesses of State, and un­derstand the Rules and lawes of government, and therby both their time and studies must be necessarily diverted from that which God hath called them unto; And this sure is much more unlawfull for them to admit of, then that which the Apostles rejected as a distraction unreasonable for them to be interrup­ted [Page 4]by. The doctrine of the Apostles is agreeable to their pra­ctice herein, for Paul when hee instructeth Timothy for the work of the ministery presseth this argument from the ex­ample of a good Souldier, no man that warreth intangleth himselfe with the affaires of the world: So that I conclude, That which by the commandement of our Saviour, by the practice and doctrine of the Apostles, and I may add by the Canons of ancient Councels, grounded thereupon, is prohibi­ted to the Ministers of the Gospell, and shewed to be such a distraction unto them from their Callings and function, as wil bring a woe upon them, and is not reasonable for them to ad­mit of; If they shall notwithstanding intangle themselves withall, and enter into, it will bring a guilt upon their soules, and hurt them in respect of their consciences.

In the next place it doth blemish them, and strike them in their credit, so farre from truth is that position which they desire to possesse the world withall, that unlesse they may have these outward trappings of worldly pomp added to the Ministry, that Calling will grow into contempt, and be de­spised. The truth is, these things cast contempt upon them in the eyes of men. They gaine them cap and courtesie, but they have cast them out of the consciences of men; and the reason is this, every thing is esteemed as it is eminent in its owne pro­per excellencie; the eye in seeing, not in hearing; the eare in hearing, not in speaking; The one would be rather monstrous then comely, the other is ever acceptable being proper; so is it with them, their proper excellency is spirituall, the deniall of the world with the pomp and preferments, and imploy­ments thereof, this they should teach and practise, but when they contrary hereunto seeke after a worldly excellency like the great men of the world, and to rule and dominere as they doe contrary to our Saviours precept, Vos autem non sic, but it shall not be so amongst you, in steid of honor & esteem they have brought upon themselves in the hearts of the people that contempt and odium which they now lye under, and that justly and necessarily, because the world seeth that they pre­fer a worldly excellency, and run after it, and contend for it, before their owne, which being spirituall is farre more ex­cellent, and which being proper to the Ministry is that alone [Page 5]which will put a value and esteem upon them that are of that Calling. As these things hurt themselves in their consciences and credit, so have they, and, if they be continued, still will make them hurtfull to others; The reason is, because they break out of their owne orbe, and move irregularly; there is a curse upon their leaving of their owne place. The heavenly bodies while they keep within their own spheres give light and comfort to the world, But if they should break out, and fall from their regular and proper motions, they would set the world on fire: so have these done while they kept them­selves to the work of their ministry alone, and gave them­selves to prayer, and the ministry of the Word, according to the example of the Apostles, the world received the greatest benefits by them, they were the light, and life thereof; But when their ambition cast them down like starres from heaven to earth, and they did grow once to be advanced above their brethren, I doe appeale to all who have beene versed in the ancient Ecclesiasticall stories, or moderne Histories, whether they have not been the common incendiaries of the Christian world, never ceasing from contention one with another about the precedency of their Sees, and Churches, Excommunica­ting one another, drawing Princes to be parties with them, and thereby casting them into bloody warres. Their ambiti­on, and intermedling with secular affaires and State businesse, hath bin the cause of shedding more Christian blood then any thing else in the Christian world, and this no man can deny that is versed in History; But we need not go out of our own Kingdome for examples of their insolency and cruelty; when they had a dependency upon the Pope, and any footing there­by out of the Land, there were never any that carried them­selves with so much scorn and insolency towards the Princes of this Kingdom, as they have done.Lincolne. Two of them the Bishop that last spake hath named, but instances of many more may be given whereof there would be no end. Although the Pope be cast off, yet now there is another inconvenience no lesse prejudiciall to the Kingdome by their sitting in this House, and that is, they have such an absolute dependency upon the King, that they sit not here as freemen. That which is requi­site to freedome, is to be void of hopes and feares; Hee that [Page 6]can lay downe these is a free-man, and will be so in this house; But for the Bishops as the case stands with them, it is not likely they will lay aside their hopes, greater Bishopricks be­ing still in expectancy: and for their fears they cannot lay them downe, since their places and seats in Parliament are not invested in them by blood, and so hereditary, but by an­nexation of a Barony to their office, and depending upon that office, so that they may be deprived of their office, and thereby of their places, at the Kings pleasure, they doe not so much as sit here dum bene se gesserint, as the Judges now by your Lordships petition to the King have their places granted them, but at will and pleasure, and therefore as they were all excluded by Edw. the first as long as hee pleased, and Lawes made excluso Clero, so may they be by any King at his pleasure in like manner, they must needs therefore bee in an absolute dependencie upon the Crowne, and thereby at devotion for their votes, which how prejudiciall it hath beene, and will be, to this house, I need not say.

I have now shewed your Lordships how hurtfull to themselves and others these things which the bill would take away have beene, I will only answer some Objections which I have met withall, and then crave your pardon for troubling you so long.

Object. 1. It will be said that they have beene very antient.

2. That they are established by law.

3. That it may be an infringement to the priviledges of the House of Peeres, for the house of Commons to send up a Bill to take away some of their members.

To these three objections the answer will be easie.

1. To the first, Antiquity is no good plea, for that which is by experience found to be hurtfull, the longer it hath done hurt the more cause there is now to remove it, that it may doe no more, besides other irregularities are as antient which have bin thought fit to be redressed, and this is not so antient, but that it may truly be said, Non fuit sic ab initio.

2. For being established by Law, the law-makers have the same power, and the same charge, to alter old lawes in­convenient, as to make new that are necessary.

[Page 7] 3. For priviledge of the House it can be no breach of it, for either estate may propose to other by way of bill what they conceive to be for publick good, and they have power respectively of accepting or refusing.

There are two other Objections which may seeme to have more force, but they wil receive satisfactory answers.

The one is, that if they may remove Bishops, they may as well next time remove Barons and Earles: for answer.

The Reason is not the same, the one sitting by an Ho­nour invested in their blood, and hereditary, which though it be in the King to grant alone, yet being once granted he cannot take away; the other sitting by a Barony de­pending upon an Office which may be taken away, for if they be deprived of their office they sit not.

2. Their sitting is not so essentiall, for Lawes have bin, and may be made, they being all excluded, but it can ne­ver be shewed, that ever there were Lawes made by the King, and them, the Lords and Earles excluded.

The other objection is this, that this Bill alters the foundation of this house, and innovations which shake foundations are dangerous.

I answer first, that if there should be an error in the foundation, when it shall be found, and the master-builders be met together, they may, nay, they ought rather to a­mend it, then to suffer it to runne on still, to the prejudice and danger of the whole structure.

2. Secondly, I say this is not fundamentall to this House, for it hath stood without them, and done all that appertaines to the power thereof without them, yea, they being wholly excluded, and that which hath beene done for a time at the Kings pleasure, may be done with as little danger for a longer time, and when it appears to be fit and for publick good, not onely may, but ought to be done altogether by the supreame Power.


A Speech of the Right Ho­nourable WILLIAM, Lord Vicount Say and Seale, one of his Majesties most Ho­nourable privie Councell, spoken in Par­liament, touching the Liturgie and Separation.


I Have waited to find you free from greater businesses, that I might crave leave to speake of something that concernes my selfe; And this I have the more desired since my Lord of Canterburies last speech, who ex­pressing his troubles, and bewailing the miserie of his condition, and of the condition of the Church of Eng­land, (for he would needs joyne them together, which I thinke he may as the cause and effect, for the miseries of the Church have certainly risen from him) hee insisted much upon this, That these troubles had befallen him through the malice of two parties, the Papists, and the Sectaries, and by those hee said the Church was greatly afflicted. How farre this man will extend this word Sectarie, and whom he will comprehend under it, I know not, but I have some cause to feare that I may lye under some misapprehensions in respect of matters of this [Page 9]nature, which how farre it concerneth him your Lord­ships will perceive by what I shall say. My Lord of Can­terbury a man of meane birth, bred up in a Colledge, (and that too frequently falls out to be in a faction,) whose narrow comprehensions extended it selfe no farther then to carry on a side in the Colledge, or canvas for a Pro­ctors place in the Universitie, being suddenly advanced to highest places of government in Church and State, had not his heart inlarged, by the inlargement of his fortune, but still the maintaining of his partie was that which fil­led all his thoughts, which he prosecuted with so much violence and inconsideratenesse, that he had not an eye to see the consequences thereof to the Church and State, until hee had brought both into those distractions, dan­ger and dishonour, which we now find our selves in­compassed withall; Yet to magnifie his moderation, pre­sently after the breaking of the last Parliament hee told a Lord who sitteth now in my sight, that if he had beene a violent man, hee wanted no occasion to shew it, for hee observed that my Lord Say never came to prayers, and added, that I was in his knowledge as great a Separatist as any was in England. My Lords, how farre hee hath spit this venome of his against me, I am not certaine; But I may well feare where it might doe me greatest preju­dice; I shall therefore intreat your Lordships favours and patience, that I may give you in these things which so neerely concerne me a true account of my selfe, which I shall doe with ingenuity and clearenesse, and so as that if I satisfie not all men, yet I hope I shall make it ap­peare I am not such a one as this waspish man was wil­ling to make the world beleeve.

For the first of these that he chargeth upon me, it may be he was willing to have it thought that I would not joyne in prayer with your Lordships, but refused such a communion, which is altogether false, for I should most willingly joyne in prayer with you. And further I will adde, that I doe not thinke but some set formes of prayer, [Page 10]by some men, in some cases, may be lawfully used; But this is that which I am not satisfied in, that a certaine number of men should usurpe an authority unto them­selves to frame certaine prayers and formes of divine Ser­vice, and when that is done, under the name of the Church to injoyne them upon all persons, in all times, and upon all occasions to be used and none other: and up­on this ground (which makes it the worse) because these come from the publike spirit of the Church (when the Bishop or his Chaplaine shall frame them) and others proceed from the private spirit of this or that particular man.

This injunction is an usurpation of power over the Churches of Christ, and over the gifts and graces which Christ hath given unto men: which the Apo­stles never exercised nor would assume, and yet they might much better have done it, and the same reasons might then have beene alledged for it, that are now; This turnes such formes, in stead of being directions, into su­perstition.

This sets aside the gifts and graces which Christ hath given, and thrusts out the exercise of them, to substitute in their places, and introduce a device of man. This injunction of such formes upon all men, turnes that, which in the beginning necessity brought in for the helpe of insufficiency, to be now the continuance and mainte­nance of insufficiencie, and a barre to the exercise of able and sufficient gifts and graces: As if because some men had need to make use of Crutches, all men should bee prohi­bited the use of their legges, and injoyned to take up such crutches as have beene prepared for those who had no legges. This I confesse I am not satisfied in, yet I will further say thus much, here are with your Lordships some Bishops, men of great parts, able to offer up this worship unto God, in the use of those gifts which God hath endowed them with: and certainly they ought to serve him with the best of their abilities which they [Page 11]have received. Let them make use of their owne gifts, nay let them but professe that they accompt not them­selves bound to use formes; nor to this forme they use, more then any other, but that it is free to them to conceive prayer, or to helpe themselves by the use of any other forme they please aswell as this prescribed; And let them practise the same indifferently, that so it may be manifest the fault rests in the person and not in the Service, in the negligence of him that may offer better if he will, not in the Injunction of that which is offered; And I will not refuse to come to prayer: for I take the sinne then to bee personall, and to reside in the person officiating onely. I know not whether I expresse my selfe clearely to be un­derstood in this or not, and it may seeme to be a nice scru­pulosity, give me leave therefore to indeavour to cleare it by an instance or two. In the time of the Law, when God appointed himselfe to be worshipped by offerings, and sacrifices, the shadowes and types of those truths which were to come; If a poore man that had not abili­ty to bring a Bullocke, or a Ramme, or a Lambe, had brought a paire of Turtle Doves, or two young Pigeons, it would have beene in him an acceptable service: But if a man of ability who had heards and flocks, should out of negligence or covetousnesse, have spared the cost of a Bullocke or a Ramme, and brought young Pigeons, his service would have beene rejected, and himselfe punish­ed: how much more would the service have beene abo­mination, if men should have taken authority to have injoyned all to bring no other but Turtles or young Pi­geons, because some were not able to doe more? In one case there might be a tollerable and lawfull use of that, which otherwise used (especially if generally in­joyned) would have beene most unlawfull; God will be worshipped with the fatte and the best of the inwards, the best of mens gifts and abilities, which he that wor­ships, or officiates in worshipping, is to doe at his owne perill; And if it be left free unto him, the worship may [Page 12]be lawful to him that joyneth with him therein in it selfe, though performed in a negligent, and so in a sinfull man­ner by the Minister, but if that manner bee injoyned, the Service it selfe is to be refused.

Now in the time of the Gospell God hath appointed the foolishnesse of preaching (for so the world accompts it) to be the meanes whereby he will save those that be­leeve; I conceive where there are no gifts inabling men to preach, there might bee a lawfull and profi­table use of reading of printed Sermons and Homilies, and in such case they might very lawfully be heard; But if some men upon pretence to prevent extravagant preaching, should take upon them to set forth a booke of publike or common Sermons fit for all times and oc­casions, and should injoyne Ministers to conforme to those, and use no other preaching at all, but the reading of these common Sermons or Homilies so devised for publike worship, this would make it utterly unlawful, and to be professed against, as that which were the bring­ing in of a humane device and injunction, in the place, and in stead of Gods ordinance, to the exclusion thereof, as the Pharisees, to establish traditions of their owne, made void the commandements of God; let it bee considered what difference there can bee found betweene these, but onely this, Use and Custome hath enured us to that of Prayer, not so in this of Preaching, and therefore the evill of it would easily appeare unto us if so injoyned.

My Lords, let me presume upon your patience so farre further, as to give me leave to speake to the other impu­tation laid upon mee that I am a Separatist, and the grea­test in England; and first I shall say of this word Separa­tist, as that learned man Mr. Hales of Eaton saith in a little Manuscript of his which I have seene.

That where it may be rightly fixed and deservedly char­ged, it is certainly a great offence; But in common use now amongst us it is no other then a Theologicall scar-crow, wherewith the potent and prevalent party useth to fright [Page 13]and enforce those who are not of their opinions to subscribe to their dictates, without daring to question them, or bring them to any rule or examination either of Scripture or reason. And he observeth that this was too usuall, even in ancient times as well as now.

Secondly, I say that there is a twofold separation, one from the Universall or Catholike Church, which can no otherwise be made but by denying the faith, (for Faith and Love are the Requisites unto that communion) the other is a separation from this or that particular Church or con­gregation, and that not in respect of difference with them in matter of faith or love, but in dislike onely of such corruptions in their externall worships and Liturgies as they doe admit of, and would injoyne upon others. This is a separation not from their persons as they are Chri­stians, but from their corruptions in matter of worship as they are therewith defiled; And this separation every man that sin keepe himselfe pure from other mens sins, and not sin against his own conscience, must make. And I will ingenuously confesse, that there are many things in many Churches or Congregations in England practised, and injoyned upon all to be practised and suffered, which I cannot practise, nor admit of; except I should sin against the light of my conscience, untill I may out of the word of God be convinced of the lawfulnesse of them, which hitherto I could never see sufficient ground for. But my Lords, this is so farre from making me the greatest Sepa­ratist in England, that it cannot argue me to be any at all; for my Lords, the Bishops doe know that those whom they usually apply this terme unto are the Brownists (as they call them by another name) and they know their tenents. The truth is, they differ with us in no fundamen­tall point of doctrine or saving truth, as I know.

Their failing is in this, they hold that there is no true Church in England, no true Ministry, no true worship, which depend the one upon the other, they say all is Antichristian: here is their errour, they [Page 14]distinguish not betweene the bene esse or puritie of a true Church, and the esse or true being of it, though with many defects and grosse corruptions, But conclude that because such things are wanting, which are indeed necessary to the well being of a true Church, and to be desired, therefore there is none at all in being. I hold no such opinion, but doe beleeve to the contra­ry, That there are in England many true Churches, and a true Ministrie which I doe heare, and with which Churches I could joyne in communion were those yokes of bondage which are laid upon them taken off, and those corruptions removed which they doe (contrary as I thinke to their dutie) yeeld unto and admit of, and this I am sure no separatist in England hold­eth that deserveth that name. Therefore I hope your Lordships will in that respect let me stand right in your opinions. I shall now end with two requests.

The one that your Lordships will please to pardon me for troubling you with so long a discourse con­cerning my selfe, I have not used it heretofore, and I am not like to offend againe in the same kind, it is but once, and your Lordships will consider the occasion.

The second is humbly to intreat of you, that where you know there is one and the same God worship­ed, one and the same faith imbraced, one and the same spirit working love, and causing an unblameable conver­sation without any offence to the State, in your brethren, that in all these concurre with you, you will not suffer them (for Ceremonies, and things to you indifferent, but not to them but burthens, which without offence to the State, or prejudice to the Churches, you may take off if you will) to be thrust out of the Land, and cut off from their native Countrey, for if you thus shall wound the consciences of your brethren, you will certainly of­fend, and sinne against Christ.


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