Page images
PDF
EPUB

no Church members upon any offences taken by them, having performed their duty required of them in this matter, ought to disturb any Church-order, or absent themselves from the publique Assemblies or the administration of any Ordinances, upon that pretence, but to wait upon Christ in the further proceeding of the Church.

“XXII. The Power of Censures being seated by Christ in a particular Church, is to be exercised only towards particular members of each Church respectively as such ; and there is no power given by him unto any Synods or Ecclesiastical Assemblies to Excommunicate, or by their publique Edicts to threaten Excommunication or other Church censures, against Churches, Magistrates, or their people, upon any account; no man being obnoxious to that Censure, but upon his personal miscarriage, as a member of a particular Church.

“ XXIII. Although the Church is a Society of men, assembling for the celebration of the Ordinances according to the appointment of Christ, yet every Society assembling for that end or purpose, upon the account of cohabitation within any civil Precincts or Bounds, is not thereby constituted a Church; seeing there may be wanting among them, what is essentially required thereunto; and therefore a Believer living with others in such a Precinct, may join himself with any Church for his edification.

“XXIV. For the avoidance of differences that may otherwise arise, for the greater Solemnity in the Celebration of the Ordinances of Christ, and the opening a way for the larger usefulness of the Gifts and Graces of the Holy Ghost, Saints, living in one City or Town, or within such distances as that they may conveniently assemble for divine Worship, ought rather to join in one Church for their mutual strengthening and edification, than to set up many distinct Societies.

“XXV. As all Churches, and all the members of them, are bound to pray continually for the good or prosperity of all the Churches of Christ in all places, and upon all occasions to further it; (every one within the bounds of their Places and Callings, in the exercise of their Gifts and Graces): so the Churches themselves (when planted by the providence of God, so as they may have opportunity and advantage for it) ought to hold communion amongst themselves for their peace, increase of love and mutual edification.

"XXVI. In Cases of Difficulties or Differences, either in point of Doctrine or in Administrations, wherein either the Churches in general are concerned, or any one Church, in their Peace, Union and Edification; or any Member or Members of any Church, are injured in, or by, any proceeding in Censures not agreeable to Truth and Order ; it is according to the mind of Christ, that many Churches holding communion together do by their Messengers meet in a Synod or Council, to consider and give their advice in or about, that matter in difference, to be reported to all the Churches concerned : Howbeit these Synods so assembled are not entrusted with

any Church-Power, properly so called, or with any Jurisdiction over the Churches themselves, to exercise any Censures, either over any Churches or Persons, or to impose their determinations on the Churches or Officers.

“XXVII. Besides these occasional Synods or Councils, there are not instituted by Christ any stated Synods in a fixed Combina. tion of Churches or their Officers, in lesser or greater Assemblies; nor are there any Synods appointed by Christ in a way of Subordination to one another.

“XXVIII. Persons that are joined in Church-fellowship, ought not lightly or without cause to withdraw themselves from the communion of the Church whereunto they are so joined. Nevertheless, where any person cannot continue in any Church without his sin, either for want of the Administration of any Ordinances instituted by Christ, or by his being deprived of his due Privileges, or compelled to anything in practice not warranted by the Word, or in case of Persecution, or upon the account of conveniency of habitation ; he, consulting with the Church, or the Officer, or Officers thereof, may peaceably depart from the communion of the Church wherewith he hath so walked, to join himself with some other Church, where he may enjoy the Ordinances in the purity of the same, for his edification and consolation.

“XXIX. Such reforming Churches as consist of Persons sound in the Faith, and of Conversation becoming the Gospel, ought not to refuse the communion of each other, so far as may consist with their own Principles respectively, though they walk not in all things according to the same Rules of Church-Order.

"XXX. Churches gathered and walking according to the mind of Christ, judging other Churches (though less pure) to be true Churches, may receive, unto occasional communion with them, such Members of those Churches as are credibly testified to be godly, and to live without offence.”

BOOK IV

FROM THE RESTORATION (1660) TO THE

REVOLUTION (1688)

CHAPTER I

NEGOTIATIONS FOR COMPREHENSION AND

TOLERATION

CHARLES'S PLEDGES, AND HOW HE KEPT THEM 1-PRESBYTERIAN CHAP

LAINS-PRESBYTERIAN SCHEME OF RITUAL AND ORDER—What
WOULD HAVE SATISFIED THEM-BISHOPS MAKE NO CONCESSIONS-
CONFERENCE or PRESBYTERIANS AND EPISCOPALIANS—BAXTER'S
ACCOUNT OF IT—THE KING TAKES MATTERS INTO HIS OWN HANDS-
His DECLARATION FAVOURABLE TO COMPREHENSION ; BUT DOES
NOT PROVIDE TOLERATION FOR ROMANISTS-PRESBYTERIAN
DIGNITARIES-PARLIAMENT REJECTS THE DECLARATION—CAUSES
THAT CHANGED THE KING's Policy-EJECTED CLERGY RESTORED
TO THEIR LIVINGS AND PLACES.

I

N the Declaration issued from Breda on April 14, 1660,

Charles had assured the nation that he would grant liberty to tender consciences, and that under his reign no man should be disquieted or called in question for differences of opinion which did not disturb the peace of the kingdom.' These solemn pledges were the chief part of the price which he had paid for his crown. They were too recent to be forgotten. On May 29, when Charles returned to Whitehall, the Presbyterians still appeared so strong that unless he retained their confidence he might soon be driven from the throne.

I

He therefore began his reign by making ten or twelve Presbyterian ministers royal chaplains—among them Baxter, Reynolds, Calamy, Bates, and Spurstow. In the middle of June the new chaplains were presented to the King by the Earl of Manchester, who was a strong supporter of the Presbyterian interest ; Clarendon and other statesmen were present. Baxter delivered a very long speech. He had been a resolute 1 Clarendon, History, vi. 233.

Baxter, Life, i. (2), 88.

« PreviousContinue »