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men have the management of it, is exempt from inconveniences. Abp. Cant. Equality amongst the ministry is subject to blemishes and

excesses, no less than superiority. The safest and most pru900.

dent conduct, therefore, is not to run from one settlement to another, nor to hazard the shaking the whole frame in hopes of a better constitution, though we had both authority and power to make such an experiment. Prudence, justice, and Christian charity, will by no means give us leave to push the point thus far, and venture on such dangerous extremities only for a different form of government. The best expedient is to endeavour the drawing towards a temper, and lessen, as much as may be, the inconveniences we are afraid of, and not to have recourse to violent remedies. My lord, I make no scruple to call the setting up private meetings, declining the public congregations, and withdrawing from your lordship’s government, violent remedies. Such practice is apparently no better than a formal schism : a crime, in its own nature hateful to God and

men; and for which, both those who set it up, and encourage Stilling- it, must expect to give an account at the great day.”

The remainder is too long to be inserted. From what has

been already recited, it is plain these three celebrated divines Separation,

have justified the communion of the Church of England, and

given the cause against the Dissenters. March 21,

In the latter end of this year, the parliament was summoned to Oxon, and dissolved after one week's sitting. The convocation was ordered to meet at St. Paul's, London, March 22nd, but was first prorogued, and afterwards dissolved, without doing any business.

This summer, a parliament was held at Edinburgh, his royal highness the duke of York being high commissioner. The first act relates to religion, and stands thus :

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fleet's Unreasonableness of

p. 395. et deinc.


The parlia

“Our sovereign Lord, with the advice and consent of the ment at Edinburgh

estates of parliament, ratifies and approves all and whatsoever provides

for laws, acts, and statutes, made by his royal grandfather and of the reli- father of blessed memory, or made and passed in any of his gion established.

majesty's former parliaments, for settling and securing the liberty and freedom of the true Kirk of God, and the Protest

ant religion, presently professed within this realm, and all acts Charles 2. made against popery; and ordains the same to stand in full

force and effect, and to be put in execution according to the

parl. 3.

cap. 1.

tenour and purport of these acts, as if they were specially men- CHARLES tioned and set down herein."



Charles 2.



This session, a test was enacted for the farther security of The Scotch the established religion and government. This solemn engagement was to be sworn by all persons in public trust in the Church, in the State, and the army. And here, to say somewhat more particularly, the national covenant and the solemn league and covenant are renounced; the endeavouring any alteration, either in Church or State, is disclaimed ; the defence of the crown as fully engaged for, and the doctrine of non-resistance as strongly asserted, as can well be expressed.

parl. 3. Those who refuse to swear pursuant to the tenour of this act, are declared incapable of all offices and public trust, both and jurisin Church and State: and were to be punished over and above diction of with the loss of their moveables, and life-rent escheat. But owned by notwithstanding the heavy penalties of this statute, the test continue the was generally refused by the Scottish bishops and clergy, till same it was it was explained to an inoffensive sense by the king and during the council, and the inherent rights of the Church expressly centuries, guarded and reserved. This being a matter of considerable under hea

then princes. moment, and much to the commendation of the Scottish hierarchy, the reader shall have the public instruments of this process inserted at large.

“ An Act of Council explanatory of the Test : Edinburgh, the

third day of November, 1681. “Forasmuch as some have entertained jealousies, and prejudices, against the oath and test appointed to be taken by all persons in public trust, civil, ecclesiastic or military in this kingdom, by the sixth act of his majesty's third parliament, as if thereby they were to swear to every proposition, or clause in the confession of faith therein mentioned ; or that invasion were made thereby upon the intrinsic spiritual power of the Church, or power of the keys; or as if the present episcopal government of this national Church, by law established, were thereby exposed to the hazard of alteration, or subversion; all which are far from the intention and design of the parliament's imposing this oath, and from the genuine sense and meaning thereof: therefore his royal highness, his majesty's high-com

SAN- missioner, and the lords of privy-council, do allow, authorize,
Abp. Cant. and impower the archbishops, and bishops, to administer this

oath and test to the ministers and clergy in their respective
dioceses in this express sense ; that though the confession of
faith, ratified in parliament, one thousand five hundred sixty
and seven, was framed in the infancy of our reformation, and
deserves its due praises ; yet by the test we do not swear to
every proposition, or clause therein contained; but only to the
true Protestant religion, founded on the word of God, con-
tained in that confession, as it is opposed to popery, and

“Secondly, That by the test, or any clause therein contained, no invasion, or encroachment, is made, or intended upon the intrinsic spiritual power of the Church, or power of the keys, as it was exercised by the apostles, and the most pure and primitive Church, in the first three centuries after Christ, and which is still reserved entirely to the Church.

“Thirdly, That the oath and test is without any prejudice to the episcopal government of this national Church; which is declared by the first act of the second session of his majesty's first parliament to be most agreeable to the word of God, and most suitable to monarchy, and which upon all occasions, his majesty has declared he will inviolably, and unalterably preserve; and appoints the archbishops, and bishops to require the ministers in their respective dioceses, with the first conveniency, to obey the law, in swearing and subscribing the aforesaid oath and test, with certification ; that the refusers shall be esteemed persons disaffected to the Protestant religion, and to his majesty's government, and that the punish

ment appointed by the aforesaid sixth act of his majesty's 901. third parliament, shall be impartially, and without delay, Rehearsal, inflicted upon them. num. 163.

“Extracted forth of the records of privy-council, by

vol. 1.

“ WILLIAM PATERSON, CI. Sti Concilii.”

To this record I shall subjoin his majesty's letter of approbation.

" CHARLES REX. “Most dear, and most entirely-beloved brother ; right


trusty and well-beloved cousins and councillors ; right trusty CHARLES and well-beloved councillors; and trusty and well-beloved councillors, we greet you well. Whereas, by one of your letters directed unto us, bearing date the 8th instant, we do find that some having entertained scruples and prejudices against the test, by mistaking the true sense and meaning thereof; and others having put false and unjust glosses and senses upon it, tending to defeat its excellent design for the security of our government, and that upon this account you found it necessary, by an act of that our council (which we have seen) to declare its true and genuine sense, and to allow and empower the bishops to administer the same in this sense to the clergy in their respective dioceses ; we are so well pleased with that explanatory act, that we will not delay to send you our cheerful approbation thereof, with our hearty thanks for your zeal in our service upon all occasions, especially in what relates to the security of the persons, rights, interests, and privileges of our orthodox clergy, which we do now (as we have often done before) in a particular manner recommend to your care, as a matter wherein you may render unto us the most acceptable services; and therefore we expect that you will upon all fit occasions give them all possible encouragement, as those whom we have received, and will constantly shelter under our royal protection, against all their enemies. So we bid you heartily farewell.

“ Given at our court at Whitehall, the fifteenth day

of November, one thousand six hundred eighty
and one, and of our reign the thirty-third year.

“By his majesty's command,


And here it may not be improper to advertise the reader, that by the Scottish constitution, the king and the council are the authentic interpreters of the legislature; and their explanation of the sense of an act stands for law, unless afterwards disallowed in parliament, which never happened in the present


And thus, upon the whole, we have a full acknowledgment from the State of the Church's independency in spiritual mat


ters; that the power of the keys, as it was exercised by the
Abp. Cant. apostles, and by other ecclesiastical governors through the first

three centuries, is still reserved entirely to the Church as a
peculiar and unalienable jurisdiction. From whence the next
inference is, that the Christianity

ty of princes

princes implies no cession of authority in the hierarchy, or the forfeiture of any branch of our Saviour's commission to the apostles and their successors, the bishops.

Soon after his royal highness returned to England, seven of the Scotch bishops wrote to the archbishop of Canterbury, to acquaint him how sensible they were of the benefit of the duke's administration. Their letter stands thus :

lish compu


the duke's


March 9,
1682. But “ His royal highness having passed from hence on Monday

hin coming last, being called by the king to attend his majesty at Newtation,

market; we should prove very defective in duty and gratitude, The Scotch if, upon this occasion, we should forget to acknowledge to your bishops' letter by way grace how much this poor Church and our order do owe to his ledgement or princely care and goodness, that his majesty and the worthy the benefit of bishops of England may from you receive the just account administra- thereof.

“ Since his royal highness's coming to this kingdom, we find our case much changed to the better, and our Church and order (which, through the cunning and power of their adversaries, were exposed to extreme hazard and contempt) sensibly relieved and rescued; which, next to the watchful providence of God (that mercifully superintends his Church) we can ascribe to nothing so much as to his royal highness's gracious owning and vigilant protection of us.

“Upon all occasions he gives fresh instances of his eminent zeal against the most unreasonable schism, which, by rending, threatens the subversion of our Church and religion, and concerns himself as a patron to us, in all our public and even personal interests; so that all men take notice of his signal kindness to us, and observe, that he looks on the enemies of the Church as adversaries to the monarchy itself; nor did we ever propose or offer to his royal highness any rational expedient which might conduce for the relief or security of the Church, which he did not readily embrace and effectuate.

* The peace and tranquillity of this kingdom is the effect of

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