Of the power of summoning Councels and Synods.
1 FIrst, I affirm, that the right and authority of calling or summoning Ecclesia∣sticall Assemblies, Councells, Synods, whether Generall Nationall, or Provin∣ciall, to settle matters of Religion, Worship, Church-government, or constitute Ecclesiasticall Lawes, belongs not to Bishops, Ministers, or private Independent Congregations; but to Princes, or supreme temporall Magistrates and Powers.
This Proposition militating both against Papists, Brownists, Anabaptists, and some Independents, I shall ratifie by Scripture, and historicall presidents in all ages, as well forraigne as domestick, with brevitie and perspicuitie.
1. For Scripture-presidents and Authorities, we have Precepts to and Presi∣dents of Moses, the prime civill-Magistrate among the Israelites. Num. 10. •, 3 4. c. 8. 9. c. 20. 8, 10. Exod. 35. 1, 4. &c. Levit. 8. 3, 4, 5, &c. c. 19. 2. Deut. 29. 2, 3. c. 31. 2, 3, &c. 28. 29. 30, &c. Of Joshua, c. 8. 33, 35. c. 22. 11, to 34. c. 23. 2, to 16. c. 24. 1, to 29. Of the chiefe Magistrates of the Israelites, Judg. 20. 1, to 12. Page 2Of David King of Israel, 1 Chron. 13. 1, to 6. c. 28. 1, 2, 3. c. 29. 1. to 26. Of King Solomon, 1 King. 8. 1, 2, 3. &c. 2 Chron. 5. 2. &c. Of King Asa, 2 Chron. 15. 8, to 16. Of Jehoshaphat, 2 Chron. 20. 3 4, 5. &c. Of Jehojada, 2 Chron. 23. 1, to 20. Of King Joash, 2 Chron. 24. 4, to 15. Of King Hezekiah, 2 Chron. 30. 1, to 27. c. 31, 1, to 5. Of King Josiah, 2 Chron. 34. 29, to the end. c. 35. 1, to 20. Of Nehe∣miah, c. 8. 1. to 18. c. 9. 1, &c. Of Mordecai and Esther, Esth. 9. 17, to 32. And in defect of Christian Kings and Magistrates, the Apostles and whole Church, by mutuall consent assembled together in a Synod Acts 6. & 15. as the high-Priests, Scribes, and Elders, met together and assembled in their Sanhedrim by tem∣porall [ 2] authority, Matth. 26. 57. c. 27. 1. Mark 14. 51. 55. c. 15. 1. Luk. 22. 66. Acts 4. 5, 6, 7. c. 5. 21. to 42. c. 6. 12. c. 22. 30. c. 23. 1.
2. For forraigne historicall authorities in all ages and Churches of note. aSocrates Scholasticus records, That since the Emperours were first christi∣an, the State of the Church hath hanged on them, and the greatest Coun∣cels have been, and be kept by their advice, yea by their summons, writs, and edicts. The first famous generall Councell of Nice was called bybConstan∣tine the great, the first Christian Emperour.cEusebius writes, that Constan∣tine (not the Pope) gathered this generall Councell, and by honourable Writs called together the Bishops on every side, that they should hasten thither. dTheodoret, This great and holy Councell was gathered to Nicaea, by the grace of God, and by the godly Emperour Constantine.eCassiodore, That the zeale of the Prince raised up that most famous Councell at Nicaea, who commanded the Bishops and their attendants to come to the Synod on pub∣like Asses, Mules and Horses, which he provided for them.fNicephorus Cal∣listhus, That Constantine promulged that most famous Synod of Nice in Bi∣thynia,* and by his Letters summoned thither the Bishops of all places by a set day; and among the rest Pope Julius, who by reason of his decrepite age sent Vitus his Presbyter for his Proxie: The like writesgSozomen in the same words. The Councell of Rome under Pope Meltiades was convented by the same Constantines Writ: and here (saithhEusebius) is a copy of the Empe∣rours Writ, whereby he commanded a Councell of Bishops to be kept at Rome. And SaintiHieroni, To stay certaine Ecclesiasticall dissentions, the Emperours writs caused as well the Bishops of the East as of the West to draw to Rome. Yea the Councell ofk Orleance in France, and that of Tyrus (re∣moved from thence to Ierusalem by the Emperours Letters) were both sum∣moned by Constantines Writs. The second generall Councell of Constanti∣nople was called by Theodosius the elder; the Emperour; writelTheodoret,mSozomen, andnNicephorus, commanded a Synod of Bishops to meet together in one place, out of the provinces of his Empire, to confirme the De∣crees of the Nicene Councell; and the Bishops therein wrote thus to the Em∣perour, We are come to Constantinople by your Majesties commission. The third generall Councell at Ephesus was congregated by the younger Theodosius, Ex edicto pietatis studiosissimorum Imperatorum sanctum & universale concilium Ephesi coactum, writesoEvagrius: withpLaurentius Surius: and the Bishops Page 3 themselves in the prologue thereof, Cum ex pio edicto coacti essemus in Ephesio∣rum Metropoli. And so farre was Pope Leo from conceiving the right of call∣ing Councels to belong to him, that he besought the Emperour Theodosius by an Epistle in these words,pWe beseech your godly Majesty to grant our suppli∣cation, that you would command a Councell of Bishops to be holden within Italy: which Epistle not prevailing, he writes another to him in these words,qAll our Churches, and all our Priests, beseech your Clemencie with sobs and teares, that you will command a generall Councell to be held within Italy: which yet he denied to grant, and summoned the same at Ephesus notwithstanding these intreaties. After which this same Pope intreated the Emperour Martianus, that it would please his Majestie to command a general Councell; andr writ to the Clergy and people of Constantinople, to make suit with discreet and humble prayer, that our most gracious Emperour would vouchsafe to grant our request, in that we have desired a generall Councell. Yea StsChrysostom being requested to do the like, writes thus to Pope Innocent, We went in and most humbly besought the most Christian Prince to call a Councell. In like mannertSozomen records, that the Arrians besought the Emperour Constantius to command a Councell to be holden at Antioch; and after this intreated him to summon another Councell at Millain: and that the Catholikes sent Hypatianus their Ambassadour to in∣treat the Emperour, that to redresse certaine errours they might have leave to meet together. So farre were they from redressing new errours (much more then from framing, printing, Articles, Canons, Constitutions, Oaths and im∣posing new Rites and Ceremonies, as our Bishops lately did in their Episco∣pall Visitations) that they durst not attempt to decree any thing positively against them without the Emperours speciall licence first obtained; no not in a publike Councell, much lesse in a private Consistorie.
But to proceed with generall Councels; the fourth generall Councell at Chalcedon was assembled by the Emperours Valentinian and Martian,uFa∣cta est Synodus ex decreto piissimorum ac fidelium Imperatorum Martiani & Va∣lentiniani, saith the first Action of that Councell: This Councell was first sum∣moned by these Emperours to be held at Nice, by severall Writs sent by them both to Pope Leo himselfe, (who was cited thereunto, and sent his Proxie thi∣ther) and to Anatolius Bishop of Constantinople, with other Writs to the ho∣ly Bishops in all places, recorded byxSurius: where they appearing at the day prefixed, they sent two other Writs unto them, to remove them from thence to Chalcedon, because they could not be present at Nicaea: whereupon y the holy and universall Councell came together at Chalcedon, secundum sacram praeceptionem, according to their sacred command. The fifth generall Councell at Constantinople was called by the Emperour Justinian: Imperator Justinianus sanctam quintam synodum Oecumenicam, Episcopis ecclesiarum omni∣um evocatis, coegit, writeszNicephorus: and Justinian himselfe in his Letters to that Synod, recorded by*Surius, recites, that the Councell of Nice was congregated by Constantine; the first Councell of Constantinople by Theodo∣sius the elder; the Councell of Ephesus by Theodosius the younger; the Synod of Chalcedon by Martianus; and then concludes, Ideo vocavimus vos ad re∣giam Page 4 urbem, that he had therefore called them to the royall City to discusse the three chapters then in controversie,l and to decide them according to these former generall Councels resolutions; yea, Pope Vigilius was cited to this Councell, to dispute together with the other Bishops there, concerning the three chapters. The sixt generall Councell of Constantinople was gathe∣red together by Constantius Pogonatus, asm his own letters of summons testifie, and this passage in the first action of it: Conveniente quoque sancta et universali Synodo, qua secundum Imperialem sanctionem congregata est, in hac à Deo conservanda regia Urbe. The seventh generall Councell of Nice (so ter∣med by the Papists, though false, spurious, and hereticall) was summoned by Irene the Empresse, and her sonne Constantine:nConveniente sancta & oecumenica, hoc est universali Synodo, quae per gratiam divinam, piumque illorum Imperatorum, sanctè orbem terrarum gubernantium decretum congregata est in clarissima Nicensium metropoli; are the words of the first action testifying the same. The eight oecumenicall Synod at Constantinople was called byoBa∣silius the Emperor; in the Prologue and first Act whereof, there was produ∣ced a letter of Pope Adrians to this Emperor, in these words: Volumus per vestrae pietatis industriam Constantinopoli numerosum celebrare Concilium.
As these first eight generall Councels were thus congregated by Christian Emperors, not Popes or Prelates, so likewise Nationall, provinciall Councels and Synods have been alwayes usually called, assembled by the Writs and Summons of Christian Emperors, Kings, Princes, not by Bishops, or private christians: Thus the severallp Councels of Sardice, Millaine, Ari∣minum, Nicomedia, and Seleucia were assembled by the Emperor Constantius his Writs & Mandates; whenceqAthanasius writes thus of the Synods of Ari∣minum, & Seleucia, the passages wherof he records at large: A• Imperatore Proe∣fectisque Literae sequentes in omnem partem missae sunt, eos qui illuc ituri essent convocantes. The Councel ofr Illyrium was called by Valentintan and Theodo∣sius:s whence the Bishops in that Councel in theirt Epistles to those Em∣perors give them thanks for their care and pains in assembling this Councell in these terms. Apud quem gratias agenus vobis Clementissimi Principes, qui ad remo∣vendas altercationes congregare studuistis sacerdotale Concilium, & Episcopis dignatione vestra honorific•ntiam reservastis, ut nemo deesset volens, nemo coge∣retur invitus Itaque juxta Mansuetudinis vestrae statuta convenimus. Saint Am∣brose Bishop of Millaine speaks thus in that Councell: Nos in occidentis parte constituti convenimus ad Aquilei••seum civitatem juxta Imperatoris praeceptum. Palladius saith there likewise, Imperator noster Gratianus jussit Orientales ve∣nire, negas tu jussisse e•m? Ipse Imperator nobis dixit, se Orientales jussisse ve∣nire. Ambrosius Episcopus dixit; utique jussit. &c. The first•x Councel of Are∣lat about the yeare 314. was assembled. Constantini magni jussu. The first provinciall Councell of Agatha, was assembledv by the Kings permission, for whose long life the Councell prayed, ut qui nobis congregationis permiserat potestatem. The first Councell of Orleans was summoned byxClodovick King of France as is evident by this Rescript of the Bishops of that Synod to him: Domino suo Catholica Ecclesiae filio Clodoveo gloriosissimo regi, omnes sacerdotes Page 5 quos ad Concilium venire jvssistis: &c. Sacerdotes de rebus necessariis tractaturos in unum collegi jusseritis: The second Councell of Orleans was summoned by the precept of most glorious Kings.yCum ex praeceptione gloriosissimo∣rum regum in Aurelianensem urbem, Deo auxiliante convenimus; say the Bi∣shops in the prologue to their Canons in it. The Councell of Alebret met togetherz by the consent of their most glorious Lord and pious King The∣odebertus; The second Synod of Toures assembled together by thea con∣nivence of King Arithbertus: Theb fift Councell of Orleans was congre∣gated by King Childebertus, together with the Councell of Paris, as their Pro∣logues testifie. The third Councell of Toledo was summoned by KingcReccarredus, who, pro fidei suae sinceritate omnes regiminis suae Pontifices in unum convenire mandasset. Thed first and second Councels of Mascon, with the Councell of Valentia were assembled by King Guntram: Ex evoca∣tione gloriossssimi Regio Guntramni: juxta Imperium gloriosissimi Guntramni regis, say the Poems to these Synods Canons. The fourth Councell of Toledo was called by the diligence of the most religiouse King Sisenandus, ut ejus jussis et imperiis, that by his precepts and commands, a common treatise of Ecclesiasticall discipline might be compiled therein. Whereupon in the close of the Councell they pray to Christ for this their King, cujus devotio nos ad hoc decretum salutiferum convocavit: Thef fift and sixt Councells of To∣ledo were called by the Precept and writ of King Chintillanus: ex praecepto ejus et salutaribus hortamentis; The first and second Councells of Bracara assembled together ex praecepto, et per ordinationem, by the precept and appoint∣ment of the most gloriousg King Ariamirus. The seventh Councel of To∣ledo met togetherhstudio, by the care and command of King Chindasi∣undus. The 8. 9. and 10. Councels of Toledo were congregated by thei command of King Recessuinthas: ejusque serenissimo jussn ac sanctissimo voto. The Councell of Cavailon was assembledkex evocatione vel ordina∣tione, by the summons and appointment of King Clodouicke. The eleventh Councell of Toledo came together,lhortatu, by the exhortation and precept of King Vuambanus: Them 12. and 13. Councels of Toledo were summoned and celebrated ex glorioso jussu, by the glorious command of king Eringius. The French Synod Anno 642. was summoned by CharlemainenEgo Carlomannus dux et Princeps Francorum, cum consilio servorum Dei et Op∣timatum meorum, Episcopos qui in regno meo sunt cum presbyteris ad Concilium et Synodum, pro timore Christi congregavi: The Synod ofo Soissons was called by Childerick and Pipin; and so was the Councell at the Pallace of Venis: glo∣riosissimus atque Deo religiosus illustris vir Pipinus rex Francorum, universos pene Galliarum Episcopos aggregari fecit ad Concilium Vernis palatium publicum. Thep severall Synods and Councels of Aquisgan, (or Aix) Paris, Lions, and Tholouse were summoned by Lewis and Lothorius their Writs and Man∣dates, as the marginall authorities largely evidence. Theq Councels of Frankford, Friuli, Arelat the fourth, Tovers, Cabilon the second: Mentz and Rheems were all called by Charls great; who (as Matthew Westminster and others write) in the year 813. commanded five severall Councels to bee Page 6 celebrated at once, the first at Mentz, the second at Rheemes, the third at Towers, the fourth at Cavailon, the fift at Arelat. The third Councell at Aques∣gran was summonedrprovidentissimo et jussu salutifero of King Pipin, as were the two former by the wholsom command and most provident direction of his Father Lewis. Thes Councels of Meaux and Medardum, by the consent and command of Charles the son of Lewis: Thet Councell of Valentia, by the Emperor Lotharius his command: ex jussione praefati Prin∣cipis reverendissimi trium provinciarum Episcopi in unum collecti residissent: The v Synod of Ticinum, and the Councell of Wormes, An. 868. were con∣gregated by the Emperor Lewis the second: Thex Synod of Colen Anno 887. by Charles the third his consent. They Councell of Ments Anno 888. and of Triburby Arnulphus the Emperor: Thez Councel of Ferrara by John Paleologus. The Provinciall Synod of Augusta Anno 1548. by the Emperor Charles the fift.aCui hanc Synodorum congregandarum facultatem veluti olim Constantino Imperatori totius ••re orbis acceptam ferunt, saith Otho the Popes own Legate. To these I might accumulateb the Synod at Tholetum Anno 525. congregated by the command of Richard King of the Wisi-Gothes. The Synod at Rome Anno 773. cited thither by Charles the great, to whom Pope Adrian and that whole Synod (consisting of 154. religious Bishops and Abbots) gave the right of chusing the Pope, and ordaining the Aposto∣licall See with sundry others: yea most of the Councels that I have met with in Surius, Binius, Crab, Merlin, Photius, Carranza, Syrmond, Bochellus, Spelman, Cresconius, Fulgentius, Ferrandus, and other collectors of Councels and Sy∣nods, have bin alwaies usually called by Emperors and Christian Princes; That being most true which the Code of the Liberties of the French Church af∣firmes, d That most christian Kings in allages, have been accustomed ac∣cording to the state of things hapning in their Realmes, to call Synods, and provinciall or Nationall Councels, for the ordering of Ecclesiasticall affaires; as the forecited presidents with infinite other testifie; & the forequoted Coun∣cels, Fathers, Popes, Historians, together with St. Hierom and PopeeGregory the great resolve.
Most false & impudently arrogant then are the assertions of Pope Marcellus,fIulius,gPelagius, Gregory, and Symmacus, (if Gratian misreports not their positions) as likewiseh of Gratian, the Canonists,i Iesuits, and Popish Parasites who all sticke not to publish without shame or feare;
[ 3] Thirdly, to proceed to our own English Synods and Councels, wee shall finde that the right of summoning them and of our Convocations hath al∣wayes beene an indubitable Prerogative of our Christian Kings or Parlia∣ments, which I shall manifest. First by presidents. Secondly by Parliamen∣tory resolutions. Thirdly by the Doctrine, Articles, and Writers of our Church. Fourthly by the determination of King James, King Charles, and our late Convocations.
To begin first with Presidents, both before and since the Conquest: The great oSynod held at verolam Anno 446, to suppresse the Pelagian heresie; with ano∣ther great Councell after that Anno 449, to like purpose; and the Councell of Wales Anno 465, were summoned by the Kings and Peoples joint assents who to∣gether with the Clergie were present and voted in them. ThepSynod of Wor∣cester, and at Augustines Oke, under Augustine the first Arch-bishop of Canter∣bury Anno 603. was called Ethelberti Regis ope & auxilio, by the assistance or summons of King Ethelbert; adjutorio usus Edelberti Regis, write some. So was theqCouncell held at Canterbury Anno 605 in which both the Clergy and people were present. TherSynod of Streneshalch An. 664. under Oswy King of Northumberland, and Alchfrid his Son, who weee present at it, was sum∣moned by their appointment, to decide the controversie, concerning the time of Easter, and other differences, Anno 693 KingsAlfrick Synodum Episcopo∣rum convocari fecit, caused a Synod of Bishops to be called together. Anno 694, Page 9 at great Councell was summoned to meet at Becanceld by King Wi∣thred, who sate President therein, & praecepit convocari concilium: who likewise assembled and sate President in the grand Councell of Berghamsted, Anno 697. About the yeare 714 there wasu a great Councell of the Bishops, Princes, Nobles, Earles, and of all the wise-men, Elders, and people of the Realme, un∣der King Ina; per praeceptum Regis Ina, by the precept of this King. An. 724 thexSynod of Northumberland was conveened authoritate & gratia Osredi, by the authority and favour of King Osred. The famous Councell ofyClo∣vesho about the yeare 748, was assembled, Ethelbaldi regis Merciorum auxilio, who sate President therein, and in a former Councell there held Anno 742. The z Councell of Calchuth An. 787, was congregated by Offa King of Mercians, and Kenulfe King of West-Saxons, who together with their Bishops and Elders of the Land (senioribus terrae) were present at it. TheaCouncell of Clyffe An. 800, was convented by King Cenulfe his authoritie and assent.b A Synod was assembled by King Edward the elder: about the yeare 905, Rex praedictam Synodum congregavit, write the marginall Authors.cAn. 948. a Councell and Parliament was summoned at London per regium edictum, by Aedred his royall edict; the King and his Nobles, as well as the Bishops being present at it. The dCouncell of Enham An. 1009. ab Ethelredo rege edictum, was called by King Ethelred. TheeCouncell of Winchester An. 1070. was summoned and cele∣brated by the procurement of William the Conquerour,fRege procurante: so was the Synod at Westminster, An. 1075. Rex tandem Williesmus de negotiis agere constituens Ecclesiasticis An. 1075. apud Westmon•sterium Synodum coegit. This being the undoubted right of Kings in those dayes, caused Archbishop Anselme (though a great stickler for the Popes and Prelates supremacie) An. 1093. to move King William Rufus to command Councels to be revived after the ancient manner:gJube (ait) si placet, Concilia ex antiquo usu renovari, quae perperam acta sunt in medium revocari: who after held ah Councell at Westminster. An. 1102. by King Henry 1. his assent, ipso annuente. The Coun∣cell atiWestminster, held by the Popes •echerous Legate John de Crema An. 1125. was assembled Regis licencia, by the Kings owne licence: and the Coun∣cell of London An. 1129. summoned by this King. The Councell at Oxford against the Publicans was called by King Henry the second his Writ, Rex Epis∣copale praecepit concilium congregari, writeskNeubrigensis: So thel Synod of Cassels in Ireland for setling and reforming that Church, was congregated by King Henry the second his authoritie and command: Them Councell held by Hugo Cardinalis, the Popes Legat, at London under the same King An. 1176. was favore regio adjutus, called by the Kings favour and assistance. The Councell ofnLondon under Otho the Popes Legate An. 1237. was summoned by King Henry the third his authoritie and consent: And all Synods, Councels, Convocations from that time till this present, have ever been summoned by the Kings speciall Writs for the most part, as is evident by Matthew ParkersoAntiquitates Ecclesiae Britannicae, and by these ensuing ancient Presidents following, remaining upon Record.
Page 10 Breve pro Convocat' habenda apud Lincoln, Anno Dom. 1321. Ed. Reg. 16.
Convocatio inchoata vigore brevis regii die Lunae proxim post fastum S. Sabiani & Sebastiani, An. Dom. 1369. Alia inchoat' eodem An. 21. die Januarii.
Convocat' inchoat' vigore brevis die Lunae proxim' post festum Pent' An. 1376.
Convocat' inchoat' vigore brevis die Lunae 9. die Novembris An. 1377.
Convocat' inchoat' 7. Maii An. Dom. 1382. quoad process. contra Haereticos.
Convocat' inchoat' 18. Novemb. An. Dom. 1382. continuat' ad 6. diem Janu. prox' sequènt'.
Convocat' inchoat' 2 Decemb. An. 1383. contin' ad 4. diem ejusdem mensis.
Convocat' inchoat' 20. Maii An. Dom. 1384. contin' ad festum Pent' sequent.
Convocat' inchoat' 1. Decem. 1384. contin' ad diem Lunae prox' post festum corp' Christi.
Convocat' inchoat' 6. Novem. 1385. contin' ad 7. diem Decem. An. praedict.
Convocat' inchoat' 5. Novem. 1386. contin' ad 3. diem Decem. An. praedict.
Convocat' inchoat' 26. Febr. 1387. contin' ad 4. diem Martii sequent.
Convocat' inchoat' 17. Octob. 1388. contin' ad 22. diem Octob. praedict.
Convocat' inchoat' 17. Apr. 1391. contin' ad 21. diem Apr. praedict.
Convocat' inchoat' 5. die Febr. 1394. contin' ad 18. diem ejusdem mensis.
Convocat' inchoat' 6. Maii, An. Dom. 1460. contin' ad 15. diem Julii An. praedict.
Convocat' inchoat' 6. Julii An. Dom. 1463. contin' ad 18. diem Julii praedict.
Convocat' inchoat' 21. Martii 1480. contin' ad 15. diem Novem. 1481.
Convocat' inchoat' 13. Febr. 1486. contin' ad 27. diem Febr. praedict.
Convocat' inchoat' 14. Ia••ar. 1487. contin' ad 27. diem Febr. praedict.
The Presidents since these being more obvious and infinite, I pretermit.
Indeed I finde some Convocations and Synods summoned without any speciall Writs yet extant which perchance are lost: however, though they were sum∣moned without speciall Writs, yet it was alwayes by the Kings licence, privi∣••, and assistance first obtained, or by former adjournments; and not by virtue of any summons from the Pope, Arch-bishop of Canterbury, or any other Pre∣lates, without or against the Kings command; as some of the ensuing Presidents manifest in direct termes.
Convocatio inchoata absque brevi mense Julii An. Dom. 1295.
Convocatio inchoata absque brevi die alia dominica qua cantabatur officium laetare, eodem Anno.
Convocat' inchoat' absque brevi die S. Hillarii An. Dom. 1297. Alia absque brevi pro defensione Ecclesiae cont' Scotos, die S. Edmundi Regis eodem Anno.
Convocat' inchoat' ad* instantiam Regis regressi à Flandriae inchoat' festo Na∣tiv' S. Johannis Baptistae An. Dom. 1298.
Convocat' Concilii provincialis absque brevi inchoat' 16. Maii An. Dom. 1356.
Convocat' Cleri Provinciae Cant' ad supplicationem dom. Reg. inchoat' die Mer∣curii proxim' post dominicam qua cantatur officium misericordia Domini, in Ec∣clesia S. Brigittae Londin. An. Dom. 1356.
Convocat' inchoat' absque brevi die Jovis prox post festum S. Georgii Martyris, 24. April. An. Dom. 1371.
Convocat' inchoat' absque brevi 1. die Decemb. An. Dom. 1373.
Convocat' inchoat' absque brevi 8. Febr. An. 1576.
Page 11 Convocat' inchoat' absque brevi 5. Novemb. An. Dom. 1377.
Convocat' inchoat' absque brevi 9. Maii. 1379.
Convocat' inchoat' absque brevi die Sabbat. proxim' post festum Purificationis S. Mariae Virginis An. Dom. 1379.
Convocat' inchoat' absque brevi 1. Decemb. An. Dom. 1380.
Since this time I finde no Synod, Councell, or Convocation, ever sum∣moned or assembled but by the Kings speciall Writs, yet extant among our Records, the particularizing whereof, being superfluous, I shall here omit.
Secondly, our Acts of Parliament expresly resolve, that our Convocations, [ 2] Synods, Councels, ought to be summoned onely by the Kings Writ. Hence the Statute of 8. H. 6. c. 1. recites,* That all the Clergie are to be called to the Con∣vocation by the Kings Writ: and thereupon enacts, That they and their servants shall for ever hereafter fully use and enjoy such liberties and defence in comming, go∣ing, and tarrying, as the great men and Commonalty of England called to the Kings Parliament doe enjoy. Hence the whole Clergie of England in their submission in Parliament 25. H. 8. c. 19. & 27. H. 8. c. 15. made this acknowledgment;e Whereas the Kings humble and obedient subjects the Clergie of the Realme of England. have acknowledged according to truth, THAT THE CONVO∣CATION OF THE SAME CLERGY IS, ALWAYES HATH BEEN, AND OUGHT TO BE ASSEMBLED ONLY BY THE KINGS WRIT, &c. And thereupon these Statutes among other things en∣act, according to this submission and Petition of the said Clergie, that they, ne any of them from henceforth should make, promulge, or execute any new Canons, &c. in their Convocations in times comming, which ALWAYES SHALL BE AS∣SEMBLED BY AUTHORITY OF THE KINGS WRIT, &c. A cleare confession and resolution, that Councels, Synods, and Convocations here in England, alwaies have been, are, and for ever hereafter ought to be called and summoned, (not by the Popes or Prelates authority and citations) but by the Kings royall authoritie and Writ. Hence the English Clergie in most Bills of their Subsidies since, as in 27. Eliz. c. 28. 29. Eliz. The Act of one Subsidie gran∣ted by the Clergie. 31. Eliz. c. 14. 35. Eliz. c. 12. 39. Eliz. c. 26. 43. Eliz. c. 17. 3. Ja∣cobi c. 25. 7. Jacobi c. 22. 21. Jacobi c. 32. 1. Caroli c. 1. & 3. Caroli c. 6. have in∣serted this clause in the prologue of their Subsidies; Vestrae serenissimae regiae Majestati (or, sublimitati) per praesens publicum instrumentum, sive has literas nostras testimoniales significamus & notum facimus, quod Praelati & Clerus nostrae Cantuariensis Provinciae IN SACRA SYNODO PROVINCIALI SIVE CONVOCATIONE, VIGORE ET AVTORITATE BREVIS REGII VESTRI IN EA PARTE NOBIS DIRECTI, in domo capitulari ECCLE∣SIAE VESTRAE CATHEDRALIS divi Pauli London, vicesimo quarto die mensis Novembris Anno Dom. &c. inchoata & celebrata: to testifie, that their Synods Convocations are and ought to be summoned and held, only by virtue and authoritie of the Kings Royall Writ: and why not then their Vi∣sitations being in truth* Convocations and Synods?
Thirdly, the whole Church of England in the 39. Articles of Religion, [ 3] ratifiedf by Parliament, and all Clergy-mens subscriptions to them; as also by our present Soveraigns Declaration prefixt before them Anno 1628. Artic. 21. and the whole Church of Ireland in their Articles of Religion▪ Page 12Anno 1615. Artic. 76. unanimously resolve, as an Article of Religion not to be questioned: That generall Councels (and by the selfe-same reason Nationall and Provinciall) may not be gathered together (by Popes, Pre∣lates, or any other, persons) without the Commandement or will of Princes. Therefore the sole right of summoning them, belongs not to Popes or Pre∣lates, but to Princes and other supreme temporall Magistrates. And as these Articles, so the learned Writers of our Church, as incomparable Bishop Jewell in the defence of the Apologie of the Church of England, part. 1. c. 9. Divis. 1. p 52, 54. part. 6. c. 12. Divis. 2. p. 58•. to 592. Reply to Master Har∣dings answer Artic. 4. Divis. 19. and 26. p. 193. 212, 213, 214. Bishop Alley in his poore mans Library Tom. 2. Miscellanea Praelect. 1. f. 18, 19, 20. Bishop Bilson in his true difference between Christian subjection & unchristian rebel∣lion, passim. Doctor William Whittakers Controversia 3, de Conci••s. Quaest. 2. p. 577. to 585. Doctor Willets Synopsis Papismi. Controversi. 3. Concerning generall Councels. Quaestion 2. Doctor John White his way to the true Church, sect. 29. n. 28. p. 111. Master Rogers his Analysis on the 21. Article Propo∣sition 1. withg sundry others whom I pretermit, subscribe, and justifie this truth against all Romish opposites. And if these be not sufficient; all the Reformed Churches in their several confessions, registred in the Harmony of confessions, & cited by Master Rogers in his Analysis of the 21, Article; with the whole Classe of their learned Writers unanimously resolve; That the power of calling Councels, Convocations, Synods, belongs not to Popes or Prelates, but only to Christian Emperors, Kings, Princes, and other chief temporall Magistrates; which our late famous King James, (in the last place) in his Letters Patents prefixed before the Canons and Ecclesiasticall Consti∣tutions made in Convocation Anno 1603. ratifies to the full; affirming, that the Synod and Convocation at that time held, was, and ought to bee summoned and called only by vertue of his royall Writ. The like is affir∣med by our present Soveraigne King Charles in his Declaration before the 39. Articles, and in his Patents, Commissions, licenses for making the last new Canons 1640. and resolved in the first Canon thereof.
From this 1. Proposition thus plentifully ratified by uncontrolable Presidents, and publike Authorities of whole Synods, Parliaments States, in all ages, which infinitely over-ballance the inconsiderable rash opinions of any private men, I shall deduce these Consectaries.
1. That the chiefest care of defending, propagating the true Religion, sup∣pressing errors, haeresies, schismes, vices, and enacting Laws, Canons for this end, for the Churches peace Government and advancement of Gods true Worship, belongs to Christian Princes or supreme temporall Magistrates, and is an es∣sentiall part of their duty; because the right and trust of calling Synods Councels upon all such occasions, is thus originally vested in them.
2. That* Synods & Councels are very useful, necessary, profitable to the Churches of Christ if rightly ordered, else God himself, all Christian king∣doms states, Churches would not have invested Kings & supream civill Magi∣strates with such a power of convening them; nor all Christian Kings, Emperors, Page 13 but made so frequent use of this their power,* not onely without opposition, but even with publike approbation; yea such hath been the necessity and ex∣pediency of Synods and Councels in all Christian Churches in all ages, That the generall Councell of Nice An. 363, the Councell of Antioch Can. 20. the first Councell of Constantinople Can. 3. the Councel of Africke Can. 18. the Councell of Chalcedon Can. 19. the third Councell of Toledo under King Reccaredus An. 600. cap. 18. the fourth Councell of Toledo under King Sise∣nandus An. 6•1. the Greeke Synods collected by Martin Bishop of Bracara cap. 18. the second Councell of Arelat Can. 2. the third at the same place Can. 1. and the fourth,* Can. 37. the second Synod of Towers. Can. 1. the fifth Councell of Orleans cap. 11. the Councell of Hereford under King Eg∣fred,* An. 670. the sixth Councell of Constantinople Can. 8. the Councell of Antricum Can. 7. the Councell of Mascon Can. 20. the Synod of Soissons under King Childeric; the Councell under King Pepin at the Pallace of Ver∣nis, An. 755. cap. 4. the Councell of Paris under Lewis, and Lothaire An. 829. the Councell of Meaux An. 845. cap. 32. yea the great Councell of Basill,