And you the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses of the House of Com∣mons;* you may remember when both Houses were with me at the Ban∣quetting-house at White-hall, I did declare unto you two Rocks I wished you to shun, this is one of them, and of that consequence that I think ne∣ver Bill passed here in this House of more favour to the Subject than this is: and if the other Rock be as happily past over, as this shall be at this time; I do not know what you can ask, for ought I can see at this time, that I can make any q••stion to yield unto. Therefore I mention this to shew unto you the sense I have of this Bill, and the Obligation, as I may say, that you have to me for it; for hitherto (to speak freely) I had no great encouragement to do it.
If I should look to the outward face of your actions, or proceedings, and not to the inward intentions of your hearts, I might make question of doing it.
Hitherto you have gone on in that which concerns your selves to a∣mend, and not in those things that meerly concern the strength of this Kingdom, neither for the State nor mine own particular.
This I mention, not to reproach you, but to shew you the state of things as they are, you have taken the Government all in pieces, and I may say, it is almost off the Hinges. A skilfull Watch-maker to cleanse his Watch will take it asunder, and when it is put together it will go better, so that he leaves not out one Pin of it.
Now as I have done all this on my part, you know what to do on yours; and I hope you shall see clearly, that I have performed really what I ex∣pressed to you at the beginning of this Parliament, of the great trust I have of your affections to me; and this is the great expression of trust, that before you do any thing for me, I do put such a confidence in you.
And then also the King signed the Bill of Subsidies, both which Acts so pleasing to the Parliament, that at a Conference, it was a∣greed to wait upon his Majesty at White-hall, and by the Lord Keeper Sir Edward Littleton return their humble thanks. And Bon∣fires and Bell-ringing throughout all the City were signs of joy, which were so done by Order of Parliament.
The eight and twentieth of February Master Pym was sent from the Commons House to prefer the Charge of High Treason in four∣teen Articles against the Arch-bishop of Canterbury,* who was thereupon ordered to the Tower, but upon humble suit and some Reasons besides, his Commitment thither was respited till the first of March, and to that time he was Prisoner to the Black Rod.
Nor would this Mans remorse serve their turn, but the down fall of Episcopacy, a total Reformation in the Hierarchy it self. Nay, Page 362 they must not mannage any secular power, nor Votes in Parliament. And at length they would quite extirpate them Root and Branch. And the ground of their guilt was framed into an Induction of Particulars annexed to their Petitions, as may in part appear, which it seems were not sufficient, but that they meant to make it up with more, and yet the other were eight and twenty very large Articles, and from them an Addition of as many evil Consequences as might serve for a Treatise.
And after the Reading in the House, were put under the consi∣deration of a Committee.
We may imagine it impossible to express the various Debates pro & con upon that subject, the wit of man could not invent more, ei∣ther for Tongues in the House, or Pens abroad, at home, and be∣yond Seas.
Amongst many Tongues this Speech of the Lord Digby against the Petition, and for Episcopacy deserves the mentioning, in effect thus.
That he looked not upon that Petition, as a Petition from the City of London,* but from he knew not what fifteen thousand Londoners, all that could be got to subscribe.
That therein he discovered a mixture of things Contemptible, Irratio∣nal, and Presumptuous.
Contemptible. Did ever any man think that the Fables of Ovid, or Tom Coriat's News, should by fifteen thousand have been presented to a Parliament as a motive for the extirpation of Bishops; For the scandal of the Rocket, the Lawn-sleeves, the four-corner'd Cap, the Cope, the Surplice, the Hood, the Canonical Coat, &c. may pass as Arguments of the same weight. He did not know whether it were more preposterous to infer the Extirpation of Bishops from such weak Arguments, or to at∣tribute, as they do, to Church-government all the civil grievances. Not a Patent, not a Monopoly, not the price of a Commodity raised, but these men make Bishops the cause of it.
Irrational. A Petition ought to be like a kinde of Syllogism, the Con∣clusion, the Prayer, ought to hold proportion with the Premisses, that is, with the Complaints, and to be deduced from them: but in this Petition there was a multitude of Allegations, of Instances, of Abuses, and De∣pravations in Church-government; and what is thence inferred? Let the Use be utterly abolished for the Abuses sake. For the moveables sake to take away the solid good of a thing, is just as reasonable, as to root up a good Tree, because there is a Canker in the Branches.
Presumptuous. What greater boldness can there be than for Petitio∣ners to prescribe to a Parliament what and how it should do? For mul∣titude to teach a Parliament what is, and what is not, the Government according to Gods Word? Again, it is high presumption to petition point-blank against a Government in force by Law: the honour of for∣mer Page 363 Acts must be upheld, because all the reverence we expect from fu∣ture times to our own Acts, depends upon our supporting the dignity of former Parliaments.
He said, We all agree that a Reformation of Church-government is most necessary: but to strike at the Root, he can never give his Vote be∣fore three things were cleared to him.
First, that no Rule, no Boundaries can be set to Bishops able to restrain them from such Exorbitances.
Secondly, such a Frame of Government must be laid before us, as no time, no corruption, can make liable to inconveniences proportionable with those we abolish.
Thirdly, whether the new Model is practicable in the State, and con∣sistent with Monarchy.
For the first, he was confident a Triennial Parliament would be a curb sufficient to order them.
For the second, he was also confident, that if we did listen to those who would extirpate Episcopacy, we should in state of every Bishop we put down in a Diocess, set up a Pope in every Parish.
For the last, he was of opinion that it would be unsafe for Monarchy, for if the Presbyterian Assemblies should succeed, they would assume a power to excommunicate Kings, as well as other men. And if Kings came once to be excommunicated, men are not like to care much what be∣comes of them.
But notwithstanding all their Debates and banding, Episcopacy was alive, though drooping; for the Commons the tenth of March voted, That no Bishop shall have any Vote in Parliament, nor any judicial power in the Star-chamber, nor bear any sway in temporal Affairs, and that no Clergy-man shall be in Commission of Peace. And yet in some doubt what to do as to the Hierarchy, they in February had required the Arch-bishop of Armagh lately come into England, to give them his Directions concerning the Liturgy and Episcopal Government, whose Answer was thus:
The Bishop of Armagh's Direction to the Parliament concerning the Liturgy and Episcopal Government, being thereunto re∣quired by them, Febr. 1640.
To satisfie you Demands both concerning the Liturgie and Episcopal Government.
First, for the Book of Common Prayer, it may be alleged:
First, that God himself appointed in the Law a set Form of Benedi∣ction, Numb. 6. 23, 24, 25, 26.
Secondly, that David appointed set Psalms to be sung upon especial occasions, as the Title to each of them sheweth.
Thirdly, that the Prophet Joel appointed a third Form of Prayers to Page 364 be used by the Priests at a solemn feast Joel. chap. 2. verse 15. 17.
Fourthly, That Christ, not only commands us to pray after such a manner, Mat. 6. 9. but to use a set form of words Luke 11, 2. when you pray say, Our father, &c.
Fiftly, the spirit of God is no more restrained by using a set form of Prayer, then by singing set hymns or Psalms in Meeter, which yet the adversaries of our Common-prayer, Practise in their As∣semblies.
Sixtly, of All Prayers premeditated are the best, Eccle. 5. 30. of Premeditated Prayers, those which are allowed by publique Autho∣rity are to be preferred, above those, which are uttered by any pri∣vate Spirit.
Seventhly, All the Churches in the Christian world, in the first and best times, had their set formes of Liturgie, whereof most are extant, in the writings of the Fathers, to this day.
Eightly, Let our Service-book be compared to the French, Dutch, or any other Liturgies, prescribed in any of the former Churches, and it will appear to any indifferent reader, that it is more exact, and com∣pleat, then any of them.
Ninethly, Our Service-book was penned, and allowed of, not onely by many Learned Doctors, but glorious Martyrs, who sealed the truth of the Reformed Religion with their Blood.
Yet it cannot be denied, that there are quaedam in pulchro Corpore mendae; And it were to be wished, (so it be done without much noyse:)
First, That the Calendar, in part, might be reformed, and the Lessons taken out of the Apocrypha might be struck out, and other Lessons taken out of the Canonical-Scriptures, appointed to be read in the place of them; for, besides, that there is no necessity of reading any of the Apocrypha, there are in some of the Chapters set in the Index, passages repugnant to the doctrine of holy-scriptures, as name∣ly in some Chapters of Tobit.
Secondly, that in the Psalms, Epistle, and Gospels, and all sen∣tences alledged out of holy-scripture, the last translating of King James Bible, may be followed; for in the former, there be many passages, not agreeable to the Original, as may be proved by many instances.
Thirdly, That in the Rubrick, where of late, the word Priest hath been put instead of the word Minister, it may be expunged and the word Minister restored; which is less offensive, and more agree∣able to the language of all Reformed Churches; And likewise, that some clauses; which seem to have surreptitiously crept into it, to be expunged; as namely, after the Communion, every Minister shall Communicate, and shall so receive the Sacraments, and other rites, according to the order in this Book appointed; which words, can carry no good sence in a Protestants eare, nor those, after Private baptism, that it is certain by Gods word that Children Page 365 being baptized, have all things necessary for their salvation, and be undoubtedly saved.
Fourthly, that in the Hymns, instead of, the song of the three-Children, some other word might be placed out of the Canonical scrip∣tures; and that a fitter Psalm were chosen, at the Churching of a woman; for those verses, he will not suffer thy foot to be moved, and, the Sun shall not burn thee by day, nor the moon by night, seem not very pertinent.
Fiftly, that in the Pravers and Collects, some expressions were better; as where it is said, Almighty God which only worketh great wonders, send down upon our Bishops, &c. And let thy great mercy loose them, for the honour of Jesus Christ his sake; and, from fornication, and all other deadly sins; and the like.
Sixtly, That in the singing Psalms, either, the lame rythms, or the superfluous words, as I say's and for why's; And homely phrases; as thou shalt feed them with brown bread; and take thy hand out of thy lap, and give thy foes a rap and mend this geer, and the like, may be corrected, or at least, a better translation of the Psalms in meeter, appointed, in place of this old.
Secondly, for Episcopal-government, it may be alleged.
First, That in the old-law the Priests were above the Levites.
Secondly, that in the Gospel, the Apostles were above the Seven∣ty Disciples.
Thirdly, That in the subscriptions of St. Paules Epistles, (which are part of the Canonical Scripture) it is said, that Timotheus was ordained the first Bishop of the Church of the Ephesians.
Fourthly, That Episcopal ordination and Jurisdiction, hath ex∣press warrant in holy Scripture, as namely Titus 1. 5. for this cause left I thee in Crete that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting and ordain Elders (that is Ministers,) in every City and, of Tim. 5. 22. Lay hands suddenly on no man; and 5. 19. Against an Elder (or Minister) receive not an accusation but be∣fore two or three witnesses.
Fiftly, The Angels of whom the Epistles were indorsed, the un∣animous consent of all the best Interpreters, both ancient, and latter, expound it to be, the Bishops of those Cities.
Sixtly, Eusebius, and other Ecclesiastical writers affirm, (none contradicting them) that the Apostles themselves, chose James Bishop of Jerusalem, and, that in all their Apostolical Seats, succeeded Bi∣shops, which continued in all the Christian world, and no other Government heard of in the Church for fifteen hundred years and more, then by Bishops and the Canons of Councels both General and Provincial which consisted of Bishops.
Seventhly, That so many acts of Parliament and Laws of the Kingdome, and Statutes of Colleges of both Universities, have relation to Bishops, that the removing of them, (especially there have∣ing Page 366 been never any other Government setled in this Kingdome) will breed an Infinite confusion, and no Reformation but rather a de∣formation in the Church: yet, it were to be wished that in something, our Government might be reduced into the constitutions, and practice of the Primitive Church, especially, in these particulars.
First, that Bishops did ordinarily Preach, either in the Metro∣politan -Church, or in the Parochial-Churches, in their visitations.
Secondly, That they might not Ordain any Minister without the consent of three or four at the least, grave Pastors.
Thirdly, That they might not suspend ab officio et beneficio, at their pleasures by their sole authority, and only, with a necessary consent of some assistance, and that for such causes and crimes only, as the antient Canons or the Laws of this Kingdome appoint.
Fourthly, that none might be Excommunicated but by the Bi∣shop himself, with the consent of the Pastor, in whose Parish the Delinquent liveth; and that for Heinous Scandalous Crimes, joyn∣ed with obstinacie, and wilful contempt of the Churches authority; and that, for non appearance upon ordinary citations, some other punishment might be inflicted, and, that appointed by Law.
Fiftly, That Bishops might not demand benevolence for the Clergie, nor exact allowance for their diet in their visitations, nor suffer their servants to exact undue fees, in Ordinations and institu∣tions
Lastly, That Bishops, Chancellors, and officials may be subject to the Censures of the principal Synods and Convocations.
But of the Original of Episcopacie, take a cleer view of Doctor Reynalds, his judgement, and the Arch Bishop of Armagh con∣firmation thereof, and here abreviated, referring the Reader to the Book it self, and his Annotations for his Authority, printed this year 1641.
When Elders were ordained (so the doctor) by the Apostles in every Church,* through every City, to feed the flock of Christ, whereof the Holy Ghost had then overseers; they, the better to perform that duty, did Assemble and chose one amongst them President, and Moderator. As at Ephesus, though sundry Elders and Pastors, yet but one chief, whom our Saviour calls the Angel of the Church, and whom the primit•ve fathers of the Church call Bishops, for as Minister the common name to all who serve in the steward-ship of the Ministers of God, is now by custome restrained to the name Elders who are under a Bishop; so the name Bishop common to all Elders and Pastors, was by the language of the Fathers apppropriated to him who was Pre∣sident over Elders.
Thus are certain Elders reproved by Cyprian, for receiving Page 367 to the communion them who had fallen (in time of persecution) be∣fore the Bishop had advised of it with them and others. And Cor∣nelius writeth that the Catholique Church committed to his charge, had fourty six Elders, and ought to have but one Bishop. And both of them being Bishops, the one of Rome, the other of Car∣thage, do witness of themselves, that they dealt in matters of the Churches Government by the consent and councel of the company of Elders, or Eldership.
This was that Doctors opinion, which the Arch Bishop of Ar∣magh confirmes* with these notes of Antiquity.
That the Angel of the Church of Ephesus was by the fathers called Bishop, is cleerly confirmed both by the succession of the first Bishop of that Church, and by the Testimony of Ignatius who (within twelve years after) distinguisheth the singular and constant President thereof from the rest of the number of the Presbyters, by appropriating the name of Bishops unto him.
The former is declared in the general councel of Calcedon, by Lecutius Bishop of Magnesia; That from Timothy, there had been a continued succession of twenty seven Bishops, all ordained in Ephesus, of which number the Angel of Ephesus must needs be one, whether it were Timothy or one of his next successors.
That Timothy had been Antistes (as Iustin Martyr calls him,) and the father, term, a Bishop, or President, is confessed by Beza. And that he was the first Bishop of Ephesus as in the second Epistle to Timothy and in Eusebius, but also in two ancient Treatises con∣cerning Timothies Martyrdome, the one of them nameless; the other, named Policrates, who was himself Bishop of this Church of Ephesus, and born within thirty seven years after St. Iohn had written the said Epistle to the Angel of that Church, and in his Epistle to Victor Bishop of Rome he maketh mention of seven kinsmen of his who had been Bishops; he himself being the Eight.
That Ignatius was ordained Bishop of Antioch by St. Peter, and did sit in that sea, at the same time, when that Epistle unto the Angel of the Church of Ephesus was commanded to be writ∣ten. And in the last journey which Ignatius made for the con∣summation of his glorious Martyrdome at Rome, he wrote another Epistle unto the self same Church of Ephesus in which he maketh mention of their then Bishop Onesimus, in this Epistle to the Ephesians, Ignatius having acknowledged that their numerous multitude was received by him in the presence of their Bishop Onesimus, puts them in mind of their duty in concurring with him as their worthy Presbyters did, and exhorteth them to obey both the Bishop and the the Presbytery with a undivided mind.
In that journey Ignatius wrote another Epistle unto the Church of Smyrna (one other of the seven in St. Iohns Revelation) sa∣luting Page 368 their Bishops and Presbyters, exhorting them to follow their Bishop, as Christ Jesus did his Father, and the Presbyters, by the Apostles, and tells them that none ought to administer the Sa∣craments▪ or meddle with the Church without consent of the Bi∣shop.
That Polycarpus was then the Bishop, when Saint Iohn wrote un∣to the Angel of the Church of Smyrna, as Irenaeus informs, who was present when Polycarpus himself did discourse of his conversation with Saint Iohn, and of those things which he heard from those who had seen our Lord Iesus. Polycarpus (says Irenaeus) was not onely taught by the Apostle conversed with many that had seen Christ, but also was by the Apostles, and constituted in Asia Bishop of the Church which is in Smyrna, whom we our selves also did see in our younger age; for he continued long, and being very aged, he most glo∣riously and nobly suffered Martyrdom.
And he of whom the Brethren gave this respect, He was (say they) the most honourable man in our times, an Apostolical and Pro∣phetical Doctour, and Bishop of the Catholick Church which is in Smyrna.
Polycrates Bishop of Ephesus, and his Neighbour affirms, that Poly•arpus was both Bishop and Martyr in Smyrna.
About the time of Poly•rates it was, that Tertullian published his Book of Prescriptions against Hereticks, where he avoucheth against them, that as the church of Smyrna had Polycarpus placed there by Saint John, and the Church of Rome had Clement ordained by Saint Peter, so the rest of the Churches did shew what Bishops they had re∣ceived by the appointment of the Apostles to traduce the Apostolical seed unto them.
And before him did Irenaeus urge against them the Succession of Bishops, unto whom the Apostles committed the charge of the Church in every place: and we are able to number those, who were ordained Bishops for the Churches and their Successours unto our days.
•For proof whereof Irenaeus brings in the Succession of the Bi∣shops of Rome from Linus (unto whom the Apostles committed that Episcopacy) and Anacletus, and Clement unto Eleutherius.
In the time of Eleutherius, Bishop of Rome, Lucius King of Brit∣tains sent to him an Epistle, desiring to be made a Christian, who ob∣tained it, and that the Brittains kept the Faith then received, sound and undefiled, in quiet peace, untill the times of Dioclesian the Em∣perour; and that yet within ten years after (and eleven before the Council of Nice) three of our Brittish Bishops sub•cribed unto the Council of Arles, they were Eborius of York, Restitutus of London, and Adelphius of Golchester, called in that Council Colonia Londi∣nensium.
And so the Arch-bishop concludes, that the Angels of the seven Page 369 Churches in the Revelation, were seven singular Bishops, and that Saint Iohn being removed from his Exile by the Sentence of Nerva, he betook himself to the Metropolis of Ephesus, and being assisted with the presence of the seven Bishops, he took upon him the Go∣vernment of the Metropolis of the Ephesians, and continued preach∣ing the Word of Piety untill the Empire of Trajan.
That during that time he published the Gospel, as saith Irenaeus, Eusebius, and Hierom, at the intreaty of the Bishops of Asia, and there did ordain divers Bishops in several Churches. All which may suffice for the deduction.
To which was added by another the Thesis.