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changing the government of the Church for the preservation of the State. “That the public repose could not be recovered any other way, and that therefore this expedient ought in conscience not to be declined. That the supporting the civil and ecclesiastical government upon the present footing was impracticable; and therefore that episcopacy ought to be resigned to the interest of the State. That now the question was not whether the government of the Church by bishops was lawful, but whether it was so necessary that Christianity could not subsist without it: that this latter question could not be affirmatively maintained without condemning all the reformed churches in Europe, in which there were no bishops, England only excepted. That the parliament, which best understood what was serviceable for the nation, had found episcopacy a very inconvenient and corrupt government: that the hierarchy had been a public grievance from the Reformation downwards: that the bishops had always abetted popery, kept on many superstitious rites and customs in their worship and government; and over and above, had lately brought in a great many novelties into the Church, and made a nearer approach to the Roman communion; and all this to the great scandal of the Protestant Churches of Germany, France, Scotland, and Holland : that the prelates had embroiled the British island, and made the two nations of Scotland and England fall foul upon each other : that the rebellion in Ireland, and the present civil war in England, may be charged upon them: that for these reasons the parliament had resolved to change this inconvenient mischievous government, and set another in the room of it, more naturally formed for the advancement of piety: that this alteration was the best expedient to unite all Protestant Churches, and extinguish the remains of popery ; and that he hoped the king would concur in so commendable and godly an undertaking: that he conceived his majesty's persuasion could not be urged against such a compliance; for by his consenting to the suppression of the prelacy in Scot
land, it is evident the king's conscience was not bound up to 838.
episcopacy, neither could he believe that form of ecclesiastical
government absolutely necessary.” Rebellion,
Dr. Steward, addressing the commissioners, replied, “ He
knew their lordships were too well acquainted with the constiard's reply. tution of the Church of England, and the basis upon which it
Lord Clarendon's Hist. of the
book 8. Dr. Stew
stood, to imagine it could be shaken by the force of Mr. Hen- CHARLES derson's rhetoric : that though he was firmly of opinion, that a government which from the first planting of Christianity in England, had continued here without interruption : that a government, under which Christianity had spread and flourished to a remarkable degree, could not have any thing vicious or antichristian in its frame : notwithstanding this opinion of his, he could expect no less than that those who had sworn themselves to an abolition of this primitive constitution, and came hither to persuade their lordships and his majesty to a concurrence, would not have gone lower in their argument than the unlawfulness of the government they pressed so strongly to remove. That though in their sermons and prints they gave episcopacy an antichristian addition, Mr. Henderson had prudently declined charging so deep, and only argued from the inconveniences of this government, and the advantages which would be consequent upon alteration. But of this no judgment could be made, till they had given in a scheme of the government they intended should succeed it. And in regard the union with the Protestant Churches abroad seemed to be the main reason for so remarkable a change, he desired it might be declared what foreign Church they designed for a pattern. That he was well assured the model in their Directory had no strong resemblance to any foreign reformed Churches. And though he would not enter upon a censure of those Protestant communions, yet it was well known, that the most learned men of those Churches had lamented a defect in their reformation: and that the want of episcopacy, which the state would not suffer, was an unhappy circumstance. That they had always paid a particular reverence to the Church of England, and looked on it as the most perfect constitution, upon the score of its having retained all that was venerable in antiquity. From hence he proceeded to enlarge upon the apostolical institution of episcopacy, and endeavoured to prove that without bishops the sacerdotal character could not be conveyed, nor the sacraments administered to any significancy.
“ As to his majesty's having consented to the putting down episcopacy in Scotland, he would presume to say nothing ; though he knew his majesty's present thoughts upon that subject : only this might be observed, that the king was farther
obliged in this kingdom, than in the other ; that in England he was tied by his coronation oath to maintain the rights of the Church: and that this single engagement was a restraint upon his majesty's conscience, not to consent either to the abolition of episcopacy, or the alienation of church lands.”
This argument was debated by the rest of the divines on each side, for almost two days together. At the close of the dispute, the king's commissioners desired those for the parliament to acquaint them in writing, whether they believed episcopacy plainly unlawful: but to this question they could never get a clear answer.
While the business of religion was under debate, one of the
king's commissioners asked an acquaintance of his, deputed by The Creed the parliament, why their Directory makes no mention at all of Command" the Creed, or the Ten Commandments ? By the way, this
question was put when the commissioners were not sitting in Directory, their public character, but conversing in a room as friends. and why. Feb. 22,
The earl of Pembroke, over-hearing what was softly proA.D. 1644-5. nounced, answered aloud, with his customary passion, “ That
himself, and many others, were sorry the Creed and Decalogue were left out in the Directory: that this point had been debated several hours in the house of commons ; that the leaving them out was carried by eight or nine votes : and that upon this account the house of peers did not think fit to insist upon inserting them.” This was an odd discovery in lord Pembroke ; and looked like extraordinary zeal in the members at Westminster, that the Creed and Ten Commandments should be put to the question, and have it carried against them. After several days' debate, the commissioners coming to no agreement either in Church or State matters, the treaty
ments not put in the
The Westminster lords and commons, flushed with their Augnst 23, late victory at Naseby, repeated their ordinance for putting the
Directory in execution, with penalties upon those who refused for establish- to comply, or made use of the Common Prayer. If any perrectory
, and son preached or printed against the Directory, he was to forputting down feit such a sum of money as those who tried him thought fit Prayer.
to impose; provided the sum was not less than five pounds, Scobel's
nor more than fifty. And those who read the Communion Acts, fol. 97. Prayer, either in churches or their families, were to forfeit five
Answers of the Dissent
pounds for the first offence, as they called it ; ten pounds for CHARLES the second; and suffer a year's imprisonment, without bail or mainprize, for the third.
The king, in November following, published a proclamation, The king's counter to this pretended ordinance; in which the use of the proclama
tion against Common Prayer is strictly enjoined, and the Directory charged it. with opening a liberty to ignorance and faction. That it is likely to mislead people into wickedness and rebellion : and that, supposing the ministers well intentioned, it must of necessity break the uniformity in God's service, and occasion Bibliotheca divisions in the Church.
Regia, The Independents moving for a toleration, and publishing p. 334. their Apology, has been already mentioned. The clashing between the Presbyterians and this party being now grown Papers and higher, a committee was appointed for accommodation. At this committee the Independents request, “ they may and the
ing Brethren not be forced to communicate as members in those parishes Committee where they dwell: that they may have the liberty to form con- sembly of gregations of such persons as give good testimony of their
for Accomgodliness, and voluntarily offer themselves for such religious modation, societies ; the tenderness of their consciences not giving them London, leave to communicate in their parishes." The assembly-divines, before they came up to a direct The Inde
pendents' answer, insisted upon the following preliminaries :
toleration. First, that whatever indulgence they shall agree to, they take it for granted upon what has been already offered by their Independent brethren, that the same Directory for worship, and the same confession of faith, shall be equally imposed upon both parties : and therefore,
Secondly, Whoever falls short of coming thus far towards 839. an uniformity ; whoever refuses to assent to the substance of divine worship held forth in the Directory; whoever disallows the confession of faith, or dissents from the doctrines of the reformed Churches, contained in their confessions and writings, must not expect the benefit of this toleration. And,
Thirdly, If any one shall clash with the Directory, in his practice, and write or argue against the confession of faith, he must expect to suffer the same penalties the Presbyterians would incur upon such misbehaviour. Having premised this, the assembly divines answered, that the Independents' request was not to be granted for the following reasons.
1648. Dec. 4.
“1, Because it imports a plain and total separation from the rule; as if it was not to be complied with in any point, nor the Presbyterian Churches to be communicated with in any thing which infers Church communion. More than this, say they, could not be objected against false Churches.
“ 2. This request supposes the lawfulness of gathering Churches out of true Churches; and over and above out of such true Churches, as are endeavouring a farther reformation: and that in countenance of this liberty, there is not the least example in all the holy Scriptures.
“3. This would encourage perpetual schism and division in the Church, always drawing some off from the Churches under the rule: that the result would end in misunderstandings and animosities between those who went off, and the rest that kept their ground : and the same consequence would happen between the Church deserted and the congregations new formed."
To these reasons the Dissenting brethren returned a reply. For satisfying the first reason, they argue:
“That forming congregations of such members as cannot out of tenderness of conscience go through all the conditions required in these Churches ; to form such congregations for the pure enjoyment (as these Independents believe) of all ordinances, yet still maintaining communion with the Presbyterians, as Churches; this, they say, is far from separation. It is not setting up Churches against Churches, but only retiring to a neighbourly situation, and constituting sister Churches of a different judgment.
“ 2dly, They cannot be charged with an open and total separation from the rule, unless they disagree in every thing, and constitute their society upon regulations wholly different with respect to worship and government. But such a distance is far from their intention: they design to practise towards an uniformity, and retain the most substantial things prescribed by the rule itself.
3dly, They declare themselves willing to maintain occasional communion with the Presbyterian churches; not only in hearing and preaching, but occasionally in baptizing their children in their Churches, and receiving the Lord's supper there."