« AnteriorContinuar »
deal but with too few but the unruly. And it is for want of this laying the foundation well at firft, that profeffors themselves are fo ignorant as most are, and that fo many, especially of the younger fort, do fwallow down almost any error that is offered them, and follow any fect of dividers that will entice them, fo it be but done with earnestness and plaufibility. For alas, though, by the grace of God, their hearts may be changed in an hour, (whenever they understand but the effentials of the faith) yet their understandings must have time and diligence to furnish them with fuch knowledge as must stablish them, and fortify them against deceit. Upon thefe and many the like confiderations, we fhould intreat all christian families to take more pains in this neceffary work, and to get better acquainted with the fubftance of christianity. And to that end (taking along fome moving treatises to awake the heart) I know not what work fhould be fitter for their ufe, than that compiled by the affembly at Westminster: a fynod of as godly, judicious divines, (notwithstanding all the bitter words which they have received from difcontented and self-conceited men) I verily think, as ever England faw. Tho' they had the unhappiness to be employed in calamitous times, when the noife of wars did ftop men's ears, and the licentiousness of wars did set every wanton tongue and pen at liberty to reproach them; and the prosecution and event of those wars, did exafperate partial difcontented men, to dishonour themfelves by seeking to dishonour them: I dare fay, if in the days of old, when councils were in power and account, they had had but fuch a council of bishops, as this of prefbyters was, the fame of it for learning and holinefs, and all minifterial abilities, would with very great honour have been tranfmitted to posterity.
I do therefore defire, that all masters of families would first study well this work themselves; and then teach it their children and fervants, according to their feveral capacities. And, if they once understand thefe grounds of religion, they will be able to read other books more underftandingly, and hear fermons more profitably, and confer more judicioufly, and hold faft the doctrine of Chrift more firmly, than ever you are like to do by any other course. First let them read and learn the Shorter Catechism, and next the Larger, and laftly, read the Confeffion of Faith. Thus far he; whofe name I fhall conceal (though the excellency of the matter, and present stile, will easily discover him) because I have published it without his privity and consent, though, I hope, not against his liking and approbation, I fhall add no more, but that I am
In the Lord's work,
An ordinance of the lords and commons affembled in parliament, for the cal1 ling of an affembly of learned and godly divines, and others, to be confulted with by the parliament, for the fettling of the government and liturgy of the church of England; and for vindicating and clearing of the doctrine of the faid church from false afperfions and interpretations. June 12. 1643.
Hereas, amongst the infinite bleffings of Almighty God upon this nation, none is nor can be more dear unto us than the purity of our religion; and for that, as yet, many things remain in the liturgy, difcipline and goverment of the church, which do neceffarily require a further and more perfect reformation, than as yet hath been attained: And whereas it hath been declared and refolved by the lords and commons affembled in parliament, that the present church-government by archbishops, their chancellors, comis fars, deans, deans and chapters, archdeacons, and other ecclefiaftical officers, depending upon the hierarchy, is evil and juftly offenfive and burdenfome to the kingdom, a great impediment to reformation and growth of religion, and very prejudicial to the state and government of this kingdom; and therefore they are resolved, that the same shall be taken away, and that such a goverment shall be settled in the church, as may be most agreeable to God's holy word, and most apt to procure and preferve the peace of the church at home, and nearer agreement with the church of Scotland, and other reformed churches abroad: And for the better effecting hereof, and for the vindicating and clearing of the doctrine of the church of England from all false calumnies and aspersions; it is thought fit and neceffary to call an afsembly of learned godly and judicious divines, who, together with some members of both the houses of parliament, are to confult and advise of such matters and things, touching the premiffes, as fhall be propofed unto them by both or either of the houses of parliament, and to give their advice and counfel therein to both, or either of the faid houses, when, and as often as they shall be thereunto required. Be it therefore ordained, by the lords and commons in this prefent parliament affembled, that all and every the perfons hereafter in this present ordinance named, that is to say,
And such other perfon or perfons as fhall be nominated and appointed by both houses of parliament, or so many of them as fhall not be letted by fickness, or other neceffary impediment, fhall meet and assemble, and are hereby required and injoined upon fummons figned by the clerks of both houses of parliament, left at their refpective dwellings, to meet and affemble them
felves at Weftminster, in the chapel called king Henry the VIIth's chapel, on the first day of July, in the year of our Lord, one thousand six hundred and forty three; and after the first meeting, being at least the number of forty, fhall from time to time fit, and be removed from place to place, and alfo, that the faid assembly shall be diffolved in fuch manner, as by both houses of parliament shall be directed: and the faid perfons, or so many of them as fhall be fo affembled, or fit, fhall have power and authority, and are hereby likewise injoined from time to time, during this prefent parliament, or until further order be taken by both the faid houses, to confer and treat among themselves, of fuch matters and things, touching and concerning the liturgy, discipline and government of the church of England, for the vindicating and clearing of the doctrine of the fame, from all false afperfions and mifconftructions, as shall be propofed unto them by both or either of the faid houses of parliament, and no other; and deliver their opinion, advices of, or touching the matters aforefaid, as shall be most agreeable to the word of God, to both or either of the houses, from time to time, in fuch manner and fort, as by both or either of the faid houses of parliament, fhall be required; and the fame not to divulge by printing, writing, or otherwife, without the consent of both, or either house of parliament. And be it further ordained, by the authority aforesaid, that William Twiffe doctor in divinity fhall fit in the chair, as prolocutor of the faid affembly; and if he happen to die, or be letted by sickness, or other neceffary impediment, then fuch other perfon to be appointed in his place, as shall be agreed on by the faid houfes of parliament: And in cafe any difference in opinions fhall happen amongst the faid perfons fo affembled, touching any the matters that fhall be propofed to them as forefaid, that then they shall represent the fame, together with the reafons thereof, to both either the faid houses refpectively, to the end fuch further direction may be given therein, as fhall be requifite to that behalf. And be it further ordained by the authority aforefaid, That for the charges and expences of the faid divines, and every one of them, in attending the faid fervice, there fhall be allowed every one of them that shall so attend, during the time of their faid attendance, and for ten days before, and ten days after, the fum of four fhillings for every day, at the charges of the commonwealth, at fuch time, and in fuch manner, as by both houses of parliament shall be appointed. And be it further ordained, That all, and every the faid divines, fo, as aforefaid, required and injoined to meet and affemble, fhall be freed and acquitted of, and from every offence, forfeiture, penalty, lofs or damage, which fhall or may ensue or grow by reafon of any non-refidence, or absence of them, or any of them, from his, or their, or any of their church, church❤or cures, for or in refpect of their faid attendance upon the said service; any.
Jaw or statute of non-refidence, or other law or ftatute injoining their atten! dance upon their respective ministries, or charges, to the contrary thereof, notwithstanding. And if any of the perfons above-named fhall happen to die before the faid affembly shall be diffolved by order of both houfes of parliament, then fuch other perfon or perfons, shall be nominated and placed in the room and ftead of such person or perfons fo dying, as by both the said houses shall be thought fit, and agreed upon; and every fuch perfon or perfons, fo to be named, shall have the like power and authority, freedom and acquittal to all intents and purpofes, and alfo all fuch wages and allowances for the faid fervice, during the time of his or their attendance, as to any other of the faid perfons in this ordinance, is by this ordinance limited and appointed. Provided always, that this ordinance, or any thing therein contained, fhall not give unto the perfons aforefaid, or any of them, nor fhall they in this affembly affume to exercife, any jurifdiction, power or authority ecclefiaftical whatfoever, or any other power than is herein particularly expreffed..
ASSEMBLY at EDINBURGH, August 19, 1643. Seff. 14. Commiffion of the General Assembly to fome Minifters and Ruling Elders, for repairing to the Kingdom of England.
HE General Affembly of the Church of Scotland finding it neceffary to fend fome Godly and Learned of this Kirk to the Kingdom of England, to the Effect under-written; Therefore gives full Power and Commiffion to Mr. Alexander Henderfon, Mr. Robert Douglas, Mr. Samuel Rutherfoord, Mr. Robert Baily, and Mr. George Gillespie, Minifters, John Earl of Caffils, John Lord Maitland, and Sir Archibald Johnfton of Waristoun, Elders, or any Three of them, whereof two shall be Ministers, to repair to the Kingdom of England, and there to deliver the Declaration fent unto the Parliament of England, and the Letter fent unto the Affembly of Divines now fitting in that Kingdom; and to propone, confult, treat and conclude with that Affembly, or any Commiffioners deputed by them, or any Committees or Commiffioners deputed by the Houfes of Parliament, in all Matters which may further the Union of this Ifland in one Form of Kirk-government, one Confeffion of Faith, one Catechifm, one Directory for the Worfhip of God, according to the Inftructions which they have received from the Affembly, or fhall receive from Time to Time hereafter from the Commiffioners of the Affembly, deputed for that Effect: With Power alfo to them to convey to his Majesty the humble Anfwer fent from this Affembly to his Majefty's Letter, by fuch occafion as they fhall think convenient; and fuch like, to deliver the Affembly's Anfwer to the Letter fent from fome well-afected Brethren of the Miniftry there; and generally authorizes them to do all Things,
which may further the fo much defired Union, and nearest ConjunctionTM of the Two Churches of Scotland and England, conform to their Inftructions aforefaid.
Many of the Perfons who were called by the forefaid Ordinance of the Lords and Commons, (in that broken State of the Church) to attend the Affembly, appeared not; whereupon the whole Work lay on the Hands of the Perfons hereafter mentioned.
The Promife and Vow taken by every Member admitted to fit in the Affembly.
GOD, That in this Affembly, whereof I am a Member, I will maintain nothing in Point of Doctrine, but what I believe to be most agreeable to the Word of GOD; nor in Point of Difcipline, but what may moft for God's Glory, and the Peace and Good of this Church.
A LIST of the DIVINES who met in the Affembly at Westminster. R. William Twifle of New- George Walker, B. D bury, Prolocutor Edmond Calamy, B. D. of Aldermanbury
Dr. Cornelius Burges of Waterford
Dr. Lazarus Seaman of London.
Robert Harris of Hanwell, B. D.
Oliver Bowles of Sutton, B. D.
Dr. Thomas Temple of Battery
Dr. Humphrey Chambers of Cla-
Thomas Micklethwait of Cherryburton
John Guibon of Waltham