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Acts viii, 17.
parity of their function is evident, and that a bishop has a CHARLES character which cannot be communicated but by one of the same distinction.
Fourthly. Without bishops, confirmation, called in Scripture imposition of hands, must be impracticable ; and, which ought to be observed, St. Paul reckons confirmation a funda- Heb. vi. mental point. The Church has always used it, and made it a peculiar branch of the episcopal function. And to justify this practice, we have the example of the apostles in the case of the Christians of Samaria, converted by the evangelist St. Philip."
This petition urges several other arguments from the laws of the realm, from the interest of learning, and from the late protestation recommended to the kingdom by the house of commons; that by this engagement they had tied themselves to maintain the established doctrine of the Church of England. And here they very pertinently urge, that the thirty-sixth article of our Church approves and confirms the ordinal for consecration of bishops ; and therefore, unless they appeared in behalf of episcopacy, they should fail in adhering to their late solemn protestation. This petition was signed by eight hundred of the gentry and freeholders, not reckoning the clergy Nelson's within the number.
Collect. &c. About a month after, the county of Huntingdon petitioned Nov. 18, the lords and commons to the same purpose. Farther, the Id. p. 720. address to the parliament from Somersetshire, in behalf of tions of this
petiepiscopacy and the liturgy, was signed by knights, esquires, divines, gentlemen, freeholders, all Protestants, to the number of fourteen thousand three hundred and fifty. The Cheshire Id. p. 726.
Dec. 10, address, delivered to the house of lords in behalf of the present 1647. form of Church government, was subscribed by four noblemen; baronets, knights, and esquires, four score and upwards ; divines, three score and ten; gentlemen, above three hundred; freeholders and other inhabitants, above six thousand.
Id. p. 759. To this I shall subjoin the petition of the diocese of Canterbury; it is particularly remarkable, and sets forth, —
That, notwithstanding this kingdom hath, by the singular providence of Almighty God, for many years last past, happily flourished above all other nations in the Christian world, under the religion and government by law established; yet hath it
LAUD, been of late most miserably distracted, through the sinister Abp. Cant.
practices of some private persons ill affected to them both; by whose means the present government is disgraced and traduced, the houses of God profaned, and in part defaced, the ministers of God are contemned and despised, the ornaments and many utensils of the Church are abused, the Liturgy and Book of Common Prayer depraved and neglected, that absolute model of prayer, the Lord's Prayer, vilified, the sacraments of the Gospel in some places rudely administered, in other places omitted, solemn days of fasting observed and appointed by private persons, marriages illegally solemnized, burials uncharitably performed, and the very fundamentals of religion subverted by the publication of a new creed, and teaching the abrogation of the moral law. For which purpose many offensive sermons are preached, and many impious pamphlets printed. And in contemning of authority many do what seemeth good in their own eyes only, as if there was no king nor government in this our Israel ; whereby God is highly provoked, his sacred majesty dishonoured, the peace of the kingdom endangered, the consciences of the people disquieted, the ministers of God's word disheartened, and the enemies of the Church emboldened in their enterprise.”
This petition was signed by twenty-four knights and baronets; esquires and gentlemen, not reckoning divines, above
three hundred ; to which may be added, eight hundred freeCollect. of holders and subsidy-men. Besides these, the counties of Petitions,
Cornwall and Devonshire, of Nottingham, Stafford, Lancaster, Oxford, and Hereford, and one county in North Wales, addressed for the continuance of the Church establishment. All these petitioners, who were persons of condition and substance, amounting to near fifty thousand. And upon this occasion the lord Faukland observed to the house, that the strength of the Church party was not barely to be compared by the list of subscribers, there being vast numbers of the same sentiment who chose to lie by, as being secure in the goodness of the laws, and the wisdom of the law-makers; and
that it was not usual to petition for what men have, but for Cyprian. what they have not." Anglic. The rebellion
And now, the two houses having seized the magazines and breaks out. places of strength, the war opened and the rebellion flamed
out. And after several skirmishes, the parliament forces CHARLES fought the king with some disadvantage at Edgehill. Immediately after this battle, the king took Banbury castle, marched towards London as far as Brentford, and, after some successes, countermarched to. Oxford for winter quarters. Before the king took the field again, some propositions for accommodation were sent him from the members at Westminster. One of the
“ That his majesty would be pleased to give his royal assent Proposition
the fourth. for taking away superstitious innovations, and sign the bill for the utter abolishing and taking away all archbishops and bishops, their chancellors and commissaries, deans, sub-deans, deans and chapters, archdeacons, canons, and prebendaries, and all chantors, chancellors, treasurers, sub-treasurers, succentors and sacrists, and all vicars choral and choristers, old vicars or new vicars of any cathedral or college-church, and all other their under officers out of the Church of England.” They likewise desired “his majesty's assent to the bill against scandalous ministers; to the bill against pluralities; and to the bill for consultation with godly, religious, and learned divines; that his majesty would be pleased to pass such other Feb. 2, bills for settling of Church government as, upon consultation A.D. 1642-3. with the assembly of the said divines, shall be resolved on by both houses of parliament, and by them to be presented to his majesty.”
The settling this article was referred to the following treaty at Oxford. But here the king found the parliament commissioners so bound up to their instructions, and straitened in time, that the coming to any good understanding was utterly impracticable. But notwithstanding the two houses had no concession from An ordi
nance for the king to warrant their proceedings, they passed an ordi- sequestering
the bishops nance to sequester the bishops' and other delinquents' estates. By delinquents, they meant those who declared for the king, delinquents
' and refused to join the rebellion. Thus the rents and profits
823. of the sees and capitular bodies, which lay within the reach of Scobell's the parliament army, were seized, and the rest of the loyal Acts and clergy were sequestered under the character of scandalous Ordinances
, ministers. And now most of the silenced lecturers and other preachers, who within the last ten years had left the kingdom, either for nonconformity, debt, or intemperate behaviour,
&c. fol. 37.
LAUD, returned at the invitation of the juncture. These men were Abp. Cant.
preferred to the sequestered benefices ; but then, to keep them servile and true to the cause, they were but, as it were, “ tenants at will,” and held their livings only durante bene placito.
The king, acquainted with this oppression and these illegal proceedings, published his proclamation against them.
May 15, “ His majesty takes notice in the first place, that several 1643. The king's of the clergy eminent for their piety and learning, were forced tion against
from their cures and habitations, or otherwise silenced and prohibited the exercise of their function, for no other reason but because they would not break the laws, and act counter to their consciences, because they would not pray against him and his assistants, because they refused the publishing illegal commands and orders, for fomenting the unnatural war raised against him. That these unexceptionable clergy, being thus turned out of their livings, many factious and schismatical persons intruded upon them : that these men made it their business to sow sedition, and draw his majesty's good subjects from their obedience, contrary to the word of God, and the laws of the land : that the intruders had an assignment of part
of the profits of the said benefices, and that the rest was conMay 15, verted to the supporting the war against him: that therefore
his majesty straitly commands all his good subjects to desist from such illegal courses against any of the clergy aforesaid, and to pay their tithes to their respective incumbents, or their assigns, without fraud, notwithstanding any sequestration, pretended ordinances or orders whatsoever, from one or both houses of parliament. And this they were to do under the penalty of being apprehended and proceeded against according to law, and of having their lands and goods in the mean
time seized and sequestered." Reg. pt. 1.
This proclamation, though it showed his majesty's care to protect the loyal clergy, had no effect to stop the persecution. And that they might seem to deserve what they suffered, a lewd pamphlet, licensed by White, chairman of the committee for religion, was published, under the title of “ The First Century of scandalous and malignant Priests,” &c. The royalists offered to return the reproach with much more force the
Puritan party, but the king, who thought common Christianity CHARLES might suffer in the contest, refused to give leave for such an undertaking
Besides their attacking the hierarchy in their reputation, the two houses played a more effectual battery against the Church, and executed their design, already mentioned, of consulting godly, religious, and learned divines. For this purpose they did not think fit to wait his majesty's pleasure, but upon the return of their commissioners, from Oxford, convened an assembly by their own authority. The convocation, though summoned by the king's writ, was not sitting: the times were too much disturbed, and the place too much in the enemy's power for that business. Neither were the two houses willing to venture their cause with such a regular body. They were so far from resting the matter upon that foot, that they refused to refer the choice of their assembly men to the beneficed clergy, according to the customary methods of provincial synods. This power of electing, they reserved to themselves, and gave the nomination to the knights of shires : for we are to observe, these assembly men were not chosen as formerly, with regard to the diocesan divisions, but two or more out of each county, the whole number amounting to a hundred and twenty. To give this extraordinary meeting the face of authority, an ordinance was passed in form by the lords and commons: the preamble setting forth the occasion, runs thus :
“Whereas among the infinite blessings of Almighty God An ordiupon this nation, none is or can be more dear unto us,
nance for than
convening, the purity of our religion ; and for that as yet many things the assembly remain in the liturgy, discipline, and government of the Church, which do necessarily require a further and more perfect reformation than as yet hath been attained : and whereas it hath been declared and resolved by the lords and commons assembled in parliament, that the present Church government by archbishops, bishops, their chancellors, commissaries, deans and chapters, archdeacons, and other ecclesiastical officers depending upon the hierarchy, is evil, and justly offensive and burthensome to the kingdom, a great impediment to reformation and growth of religion, and very prejudicial to the state and government of this kingdom, and that therefore they are resolved that the same shall be taken