Master ROWSE his Speech made in the House of Parliament, the 30 of Decem∣ber, 1641.
YOu may remember the report made about seven weeks since by Master Woodward, of an or∣der from his Majesty sent out of Scotland, for drawing up of certain Congideleers, for the electing of five new Bishops, whereof two are made and consecrated; And that then I moved, for petitio∣ning his Majesty to stay the making of them, but other businesse of greater consequence for the pre∣sent hindred my enlarging such Reasons as I con∣ceived of weight to stop the proceedings con∣cerning them.
And now, Master Speaker, under favour of this honourable House, I intend to give you some fur∣ther ground of my opinion then, that it was not neither is it yet convenient, as I under favour con∣ceive, they should be made Bishops.
Page 2Master Speaker, You know the proceedings a∣gainst those Bishops which have beene great De∣linquents in this State, and that we have prosecu∣ted to our Impeachment of them of high Treason, which was a mayne ground of my opnion for the then averting that intended businesse in making these new Bishops, till that businesse was brought to a period.
And Master Speaker, I perswade my selfe that there are as great Delinquents to their power a∣mongst the inferiour Clergy, as the Bishops, I speak not with an intent you should conceive that I re∣flect any ways upon the persons of any of these that are elected or made, but that untill the other impeached be proceeded against, either to their condemnation or otherwise, as by the Parliament they shall be found guilty, these new elected may be awhile procrastinated and delayed.
We have (as occasion hath served us) had many debates and arguments about the quite taking a∣way of Bishops, and many divisions in the House have been concerning the same, and although vo∣ted for their continuance, yet the manner of their Government not determined of, then as (I con∣ceive) it can neither be requisite nor convenient to make new Bishops till a certain forme of their Go∣vernment be fully concluded and setled by the whole State of this Kingdome.
Page 32. Secondly, Mr. Speaker, if wee should give way to the making of these Bishops, great preju∣dice may follow before wee can setle them in such a government as may agree most for the secu∣rity and safety both of this Kingdome, and the fundamentall points and Principles of the Do∣ctrine of the Church of England.
For Mr. Speaker, notwithstanding our procee∣dings against Delinquents (both in Church and State) how many Petitions and Complaints have we daily received against pernitious, and dange∣rous tenents in Doctrine, besides scandalous and slanderous aspersions delivered, by divers of the Clergie in their Sermons, and otherwise, since the sitting of this present Parliament, which out of doubt are favoured, nay animated and incoura∣ged by the Bishops, which doth much trouble ma∣ny people, and is a great cause of their continu∣ance in evill, and obstinate maliciousnesse of a great many of good quality and estimation, and then for new Bishops to be made (although per∣chance men of great Learning and Judgement) be∣fore the Parliament hath fully agreed on the man∣ner of their Government, and proceedings to pro∣secute and punish such Delinquents as have beene perverse instruments in the Church, to withdraw the affections of many, (otherwise perhaps rea∣sonable well affected) from the right setling of true Religion, with such Discipline congruent thereunto, that should be the best meanes to pro∣cure the everlasting peace of King and People, those inconveniencies and dangerous consequents Page 4 that may happen, may be yet worse then the for∣mer we have had too much experience of.
3. Thirdly I conceive, the making of these Bi∣shops, when they shall be admitted to sit in the Lords house, their Votes there, although voted downe in this House, yet not agreed unto by the Lords, may be a great hinderance in our procee∣dings, to settle such a forme of Government in Religion, as shall by the Parliament bee thought requisite, they all of them contriving to continue their old forme and power of Government, and their Votes you know, Master Speaker, have pre∣vailed much in that House, many of the Lords, (not so many I could wish) being much inclined to∣wards them, & too willing to Complie with them in their Designes, but I hope by Gods blessing, and our indeavours, wee shall in time by degrees remove such Impediments both in Church and State as hinder our happy proceedings in redres∣sing such things that are amisse in the same.
4. Fourthly, a fourth ground of my Opinion, that I conceive to be of waight for the staying the making of these Bishops, Mr. Speaker, is the Non-concurrence amongst our selves concerning their Consecration, which I desire may not bee Con∣clusive, till the other things before mentioned for the settlement of Religion, and punishment of De∣linquents bee agreed unto; that then such as shall be by this wise Councell of State thought fit to beare any office in the Church in places of Go∣vernment, may be (by the same) tried and proved, in their Learning, Judgement, and the holinesse of Page 5 their lives and conversations, that so having not only able, but godly men, set in places of Autho∣rity, we may expect the well Government of the inferiour Clergie.
I desire, Mr. Speaker, not to bee misconceived in this my speech concerning the stay of making these Bishops yet unconsecrated, I speake not a∣gainst their uncapablenesse or unworthinesse of such places of Government, but that they are as able and fit for the same as any other; But the in∣tent of my speech and humble motion is, that only for the reasons before specified, they may not yet be made and Consecrated, till such time as all things for the well Government of the Church be fully concluded and setled▪ Which God grant, that having reformed all disorders both in Church and State, we may every one sit securely under his owne vine and fig-tree, and reape and injoy the fruit of his owne labour.