A review of Doctor Bramble, late Bishop of Londenderry, his Faire warning against the Scotes disciplin by R.B.G.
Baillie, Robert, 1599-1662.


The Warners exceptions against the covenant are full of con∣sidence but exceeding frivolous.

THough in the former Chapters the Warner has shewed out more venome and gall then the bagge of any one mans stomack could have been supposed capable of, yet as if he were but beginning to vomite, in this last Chapter of the covenant a new flood of blacker poyson rusheth out of his pen. His undertaking is great, to demonstrat cleerly that the covenant is meerly void wicked and impious. His first clear demonstration is, that it was devised by strangers, im∣posed by subjects, who wanted requisite power, and was extorted by just feare of unjust suffering, so that many that took it with their lips, never consented with their hearts. Ans. This cleer demonstration is but a poor and evill argu∣ment: the Major, if it were put in forme, would hardly be granted, * but I stand on the minor as weake and false for the covenant was not devised by strangers, the Commissioners of the Parliament of England together with the Commissio∣ners of the Parliament and generall assembly of Scotland Page  80were the first and only framers thereof, but they who gave the life and being to it in England were the Lords and Com∣mons assembled in Parliament at West-Minister by the Kings call, and at that time acknowledged by his Majestie without any question about the lawfullnes of their constitution and authority: these men and that Court were not I hope great strangers in England. The covenant was not imposed upon the King: but the Parliaments of both Kingdomes made it their earnest desire unto his Majestie, that he would be plea∣sed to joyne with them in that Covenant, which they did judge to be a maine peece of their security for their Religion and liberties in all the three Kingdomes. As for their impo∣sing of it upon the subjects of England, an ordinance of Par∣liament (though the King consent not) by the uncontrover∣ted lawes of England, is a sufficient authority to crave obe∣dience of all the subjects of England, during the continuan∣ce of that Parliament.

The last part of the demonstration is dishonorable indeed to the English Nation if it were true, it was no dishonour to England to joyne with their brethren of Scotland in a Cove∣nant for mantainance of their Religion and Liberties: but for many of the English to sweare a covenant with their lippes, from which their heart did dissent and upon this diffe∣rence of heart and mouth to plead the nullity of the oath, and to advance this plea so high as to a cleer demonstration, this is such a dishonour and dishonesty, that a greater can∣not fall upon a man of reputed integrity, Especially when the ground of the lie and perjury is an evident falshood: for the covenant was not extorted from any flesh in England by feare of any unjust suffering; so far was it from this, that to this day it could never be obtained from the Parliament of England, to enjoyne that covenant upon any by the penul∣ty of a two pence.

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The Warners second demonstration is no better then the first, the ground of it is, * that all oathes are void which have deceipt and errour of the substantiall conditions incident to them. This ground had need to be much better cautioned, then heere it is, before it can stand for a major of a clear de∣monstration: but how is the minor proved? behold how much short the Warners proofes are of his great boastings. His first argument is grounded upon an evident falshood, that in the Covenant we sweare the lately devised discipline to be Christs institution. Ans. There is no such word nor any such matter in all the Covenant: was the Warners ha∣tred so great against that peece of write, that being to make cleare demonstrations against it, hee would not so much as cast his eye upon that which he was to oppugne, Covenan∣ters sweare to endeavour the reformation of England, ac∣cording to the word of God and the best reformed Churches, but not a word of the Scotes Presbytery, nor of any thing in any Church even the best reformed, unlesse it be found ac∣cording to the paterne of Gods holy word.

The second ground of his demonstrantion is also an evi∣dent errour, * that the covenant in hand is one and the same with that of King Iames. Ans. Such a fancy came never in the head of any man, I know; much lesse was it ever wri∣ten or spoken by any: that the Covenant of King Iames in Scotland 1580, should bee one and the same with the Cove∣nant of all the three Kingdomes 1643, whatsoever iden∣tities may appeare in the matter and similitude, in the ends of both; but the grossest errors are solide enough grounds for praelaticall clear demonstrations. Yet heere the War∣ner understands not how hee is cutting his own vines; his friends in Scotland will give him small thanks for at∣tributing unto the nationall Covenant of Scotland, (that Covenant of King Iames) these three properties, that it Page  80〈1 page duplicate〉Page  81〈1 page duplicate〉Page  82was issued out by the Kings authority, that it was for the maintenance of the Lawes of the realme, and for the main∣tenance of the established Religion: tyme brings adversa∣ries to confesse of their own accord long denyed truthes. But the Characters, which the Warner inprints upon the solemne league and Covenant of the three Kingdomes, wee must bee pardoned to controvert, till he have taken some leasure to trie his wilde assertions. First that the league is against the authority of the King, secondly that it is against the Law; and thirdly that it is for the overthrow of Religion. The man cannot think, that any should beleeve his dictats of this kind without proofe, since the expresse words of that league do flatly contradict him in all these three positions.

His gentle memento, that Scotland, when they sued for aid from the crowne of England, had not the English dis∣cipline obtruded upon their Church, might heer have been spaired: was not the English discipline and liturgy obtruded upon us by the praelats of England with all craft and force? did we ever obtrude our disciplin upon the English? but when they of their owne free and long deliberate choice had abolished Bishops and promised to set up Presbytery, so far as they had found it agreable to the word of God, were wee not in all reason obliged to encourage and assist them in so pious a work?

In the nixt words the Warner for all his great boasts fin∣ding the weaknes of all the former grounds of his seconde demonstration, * he offers three new ones: which doubtles will doe the deid: for he avowes positively that his follo∣wing grounds are demonstrative, yet whosoever shalbe pleased to grip them with never so soft an hand shall find them all to be but vanity and wind. The first, after a num∣ber of prosyllogismes rests upon these two foundations, first that the right of the militia resides in the King alone: second∣ly Page  83that by the covenant the militia is taken out of the Kings hands; and that every covenanter by his covenant disposes of himselfe and of his armes, against the right which the King hath into him. Ans. The Warner will have much adoe to prove this second so, that it may be a ground of a clear demonstration: but for the first that the power of the militia of England doth reside in the King alone, that the two houses of Parliament have nothing at all to doe with it, and that their taking of armes for the defence of the liberties of England or any other imaginable cause against any party countenanced by the Kings presence against his lawes must be altogether unlawfull; if his demonstration be no clearer, then the ground where upon he builds it, I am sure, it will not be visible to any of his oppofits: who are not like to be convinced of open rebellion by his naked assertion, upon which alone he layes this his mighty ground. Beleeve it, he had need to assay its releefe with some colour of ane argu∣ment; for none of his owne friends will now take it of his hand for ane indemonstrable principle, since the King for a long time was willing to acknowledge the Parliaments jointe interest in the militia, yea to put the whole militia in their hands alone for a good number of yeares to come: so farre was his Majestie from the thoughts, that the Parlia∣ments medling with a parte of the militia, in the time of e∣vident dangers, should be so certainly and clearly the crime of rebellion.

The Warners second demonstrative ground wee admit without question in the major, that where the matter is evi∣dently unlawfull, the oath is not binding; but the applica∣tion of this in the minor is very false. All that hee brings to make it appeare to be true, is that the King is the supreame Legislator, that it is unlawfull for the subjects of England to change any thing established by Law, especially to the Page  84prejudice of the Praelats without their own consent, they being a third order of the Kingdom; otherwise it would be a harder measure then the Friers and Abbots received from Henry the eight. * Ans. May the Warner be pleased to con∣sider how farre his dictats heere are from all reason, much more from evident demonstrations. That the burden of Bi∣shops and ceremonies was become so heavy to all the three Kingdomes, that there was reason to endeavour their lay∣ing aside, he does not offer to dispute; but all his complanit runnes against the manner of their removall: this (say I) was done in no other then the ordinary and high path-way, whereby all burdensome Lawes and customes use to be re∣moved. Doth not the Houses of Parliament first begin with their ordinance before the Kings consent be sought to a Law? is not an ordinance of the Lords and Commons a good war∣rant to change a former Law during the sitting of the Parlia∣ment? The Lawes and customes of England permit not the King by his dissent to stoppe that change. * I grant for the tur∣ning an ordinance to a standing Law, the Kings consent is required, but with what qualifications and exceptions wee need not heere to debate, since his Majesties consent to the present case of abolishing Bishops was obtained well neere as farre as was desired; and what is yet lacking, wee are in a faire way to obtaine it: for the Kings Majestie long agoe did agree to the rooting out of Episcopacy in Scotland, he was willing also in England and Ireland to put them out of the Parliament, and all civil courts, and to divest them of all civil power, and to joyne with them Presbyteries for or∣dination and spirituall jurisdiction; yea to abolish them to∣tally name and thing, not only for three yeares but ever till he and his Parliament should agree upon some setled order for the Church, was not this Tantamont to a perpetuall abo∣lition for all and every one in both houses having abjured E∣piscopacy Page  85by solemne oath and Covenant, the Parliament was in no hazard of agreing with the King to re-erect the fallen chaires of the Bishops: so there remained no other, but that either his Majestie should come over to their judge∣ment, or by his not agreing with them, yet really to agree with them in the perpetuall abolition of Episcopacy, since the concession was for the laying Bishops aside ever, till hee and his houses had agreed upon a settled order for the Church. If this be not a full and formall enough consent to the ordinance of changing the former Lawes anent praelat, his Majestie, who now is, easily may and readily would supply all such defects: if some of the faction did not con∣tinually, for their own evill interests, whisper in his eares pernicious counsel, as our Warner in this place also doeth by frighting the King in conscience from any such consent, for this end he casts out a discourse, the sinshews whereof are in these three Episcopall maximes. * First that the legislative power is sollie in the King, that is according to his Brethrens Cōmentary, that the Parliament is but the Kings great coun∣sel of free choyce, without or against whose votes hee may make or unmake what Lawes he thinks expedient; but for them to make any ordinance for changing without his con∣sent of any thing that has been, or instituting any new thing, or for them to defend this their legall right and custome (time out of mind) against the armes of the Malignant party, no 〈◊〉 may deny it to be plaine rebellion.

II. * That the King and Parliament both together cannot make a Law, to the praejudice of Bishops without their own consent, they being the third order of the Kingdome: for albeit it be sacriledge in the Lords and Commons, to clame any the smallest share of the legislative power, (this in them were to pyck the chiefest jewel out of the Kings Crowne) yet this must be the due priviledge of the Bishops, they must Page  84〈1 page duplicate〉Page  85〈1 page duplicate〉Page  86be the third order of the Kingdome, yea the first and most high of the three, far above the other two temporall States of Lords and Commons; their share in the Legislative pow∣er must be so great, that neither King nor Parliament can passe any Law without their consent, so that according to their humble protestation, all the Lawes and acts, which have been made by King and Parliament, since they were expelled the house of Lords, are cleerly voide and null.

That the King and Parliament in divesting Bishops of their temporall honour and estats, * in abolishing their places in the Church, doe sin more against conscience then did Henry the eight and his Parliament, when they put down the Abbots and the Fryers. Wee must beleeve that Henry the eight his abolishing the order of Monks was one of the acts of his greatest Tyranny and greed: wee must not doubt, but according to Law and reason, Abbots and priours ought to have kept still their vote in Parliament, that the Mona∣steryes and Nunryes should have stood in their integrity, that the King and Parliament did wrong in casting them down, and that now they ought in conscience to be set up againe, yea that Henry the eight against all reason and conscience did renounce his due obedience to the Pope, the Patriarch of the West; the first Bishop of the universe, to whom the superinspection and government of the whole Catholick Church in all reason doth belong. Though all this be heere glaunced at by the Warner, and elsewhere 〈◊〉 prove it to be the declared mind of his Brethren, yet we must be pardoned not to accept them as undenyable principles of cleare demonstrations. *

The last ground of the Doctors demonstration is, that the covenant is ane oath to set up the Presbyterian govern∣ment in England at it is in Scotland and that this is contrary to the oath of Supremacy; for the oath of Supremacy makes Page  87the King the only supreame head and governour of the Church of England, that is, the civil head to see that every man doe his duty in his calling; also it gives the King a su∣preame power over all persons in all causes: but the Presby∣tery is a politicall papacie, acknowledging no governours but only the Presbyters: it gives the King power over all per∣sons as subjects, but none at all in Ecclesiastick causes. Ans. Is there in all this reasoning any thing sound? First what article of the covenant beares the setting up of the Presbyterian government in England as it is in Scotland? II. If the oath of supremacy import no more then what the Warners expresse words are here, that the King is a civil head, to see every man doe his duty in his calling, let him be assured that no Presbyterian in Scotland was ever con∣trary to that supremacy. III. That the Presbytery is a pa∣pacy, and that a politicall one, the Warner knowes it ought not to be graunted upon his bare word. IV. That in Scot∣land no other governors are acknowledged then Presbyters, himselfe contradicts in the very nixt words, where he tells that the Scots Presbytery ascribes to the King a power over all persons as subjects. V. That any Presbyterian in Scotland makes it sacriledge to give the King any power at all in any Ecclesiastick cause; it is a senselesse untruth.

The Warners arguments are not more idle and weake, * then his triumphing upon them is insolent: for he concludes from these wise and strong demonstrations, that the poor covenant is apparently deceitfull, unvalide, impious, re∣bellious, and what not? yea that all the learned divines in Europe wil conclude it so, & that all the covenanters them∣selfes who have any ingenuity, must grant this much; and that no knowing English man can deny it, but his owne conscience will give him thely. Ans. If the Warner with any seriousnesse hath weighed this part of his owne write, and Page  88if his mind goe along with his pen, I may without great presumption pronounce his judgment to be none of the most solide.

His following vapours being full of aire we let them eva∣nish, only while he mentioneth our charging the King with intentions of changing the Religion and government, we answer, that we have been most willing alwayes to ascribe to the King good intentions but withall we have long avo∣wed that the praelaticall party have gone beyond intentions to manifest by printed declarations and publick actions their former designe to bring Tiranny upon the States, and po∣pery upon the Churches of all the three Kingdomes: and that this very write of the Warners makes it evident, that this same minde yet remaines within them without the least shew of repentance. So long as the conscience of the court is mannaged by men of such principles, it is not possible to free the hearts of the most understanding, from a great deale of Jealousy and feare to have Religion and lawes still over∣turned by that factione.

But the Warner commands us, * to speake to his Dilemma, whither we think it lawfull or unlawfull for subjects to take armes against their prince meerly for Religion. We answer, that the reasons whereby he thinks to conclude against us, on both sides are very poor, if we shall say, it is unlawfull; then he makes us to condemne our selfes, because our co∣venant testifies to the world, that we have taken up armes meerly to alter Religion, and that we beare no alleadgance to our King but in order to Religion, which in plaine tear∣mes is to our owne humours and conceits. Ans. There be many untruthes here in few words, first how much reality and truth the Warner and some of his fellowes beleeves to be in that thing which they call Religion, their owne heart knowes; but it can be no great charity in him to make the Page  89Religion of all covenanters to be nothing but their owne humours and conceits. Secondly it is not true that Covenan∣ters beare no alleadgance to the King but only in order to religion. III. The Parliament of England denied that they took up armes against their King, though to defend them∣selves against the popish praelaticall and malignant faction, who were about to destroy them with armes. IV. They have declared, that their purpose was not at all, to alter Religion but to purge it from the corruptions of Bishops and ceremonies that to long had been noxious unto them. V. They have oft professed that their armes were taken for the defence of their just liberties, whereof the preservation and reformation of Religion was but one.

The other horne of his Dilemma is as blunt in pushing as the former. If we make it lawfull (saith he) to take up armes for Religion, we then justify the independents and Ana∣baptists; wee make way for any that will plant what ever they apprehend to be true Religion by force, and to cut the throat of all Magistrats, who are in a contrary opinion to them; that it is a ridiculous partiality for any to priviledge their own Religion as truth and Gospell. Ans. * Whether will these men goe at last, the strength of this reason is blak atheisme, that their is no realty of truth in any Religion, that no man may be permitted to take his Religion for any thing more but his owne apprehension, which without ridi∣culous folly he must not praeferre to any other mans appre∣hension of a contrary Religion: this is much worse then the pagane Scepticisme, which turned all reality of truth into a meer apprehension of truth, wherein their was no certainty at all: this not only turnes the most certaine truths, even these divine ones of Religion, into meer uncertaine concep∣tions; but which is worse, it wil have the most orthodoxe beleever so to think, speake and act, as if the opinions of Page  88〈1 page duplicate〉Page  89〈1 page duplicate〉Page  90Independents, Anabaptists, Turks, Jews, Pagans or grosse Atheists were as good, true and solide as the beleefe of Moyses or Paul, were of the truths revealed to them from heaven. Secondly we say that subjects defence of their Religion and liberties established by Law, against the violent usurpation of Papists, Praelats or Malignants, is not the planting of Religi∣on by arms; much lesse is it the cutting of the throats of al Ma∣gistrats who differ in any point of Religion. a III. In the judgement of the praelaticall party, the defensive armes of the Protestants in France, Holland, and Germany, must be als much condemned as the offensive armes of the Anabap∣tists in Munster, or of the sectaries this day in England. Can these men dreame that the World for their pleasure will so farre divest themselves of all Religion and reason, as to take from their hands so brutish and Atheisticall maximes.

b He concluds with a wish of a generall counsel, at least of all protestant Churches for to condemne all broatchers of seditious principles. Ans. All true covenanters goe before him in that desire, being confident that he and his fellowes as they have declined al ready the most solemne assemblies of their owne countries, upon assurance of their condemna∣tion; so their tergiversation would be als great, if they were to answer to an oecumenick Synod. c What (I pray) would the Warner say in a counsel of protestants for the practise of his party pointed at in his last words? I meane their purging the Pope of Antichristianisme, of purpose to make way for a recon∣ciliation, yea for a returne to Rome, as this day it lyes under the wings of the Pope and Cardinals. d Also what could they answer in a Christian counsel unto this charge, which is the drift of this whole Book, that they are so farre from any re∣morse for all the blood and misery, which their wickednes (most) has brought on the former King and all his King∣domes these eleven yeares, that rather then they had not Page  91the Covenant and generall assembly in Scotland destroyed as an Idoll and Antichrist, they wil chuse yet still to im∣broyle all in new calamities? This King also and his whole Family, the remainder of the blood and Estats in all the three Kingdomes, must be hazarded for the sowing together of the torne mytres, and the reerecting of the fallen chayres of Praelats. If Bishops must lie still in their deserved ruines, they perseveer in their peremptory resolution, to have their burials sprinckled with the ashes of the royall Family and all the three Kingdomes.