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 Presbiterians assert positively, the Magistrats right to con∣vocat Synods, to confirme their acts, to reforme the Chur∣ches within their dominions.

IN the second Chapter the warner charges the Scotes pres∣bytery, with the overthrowing the Magistrats right in Page  9convocating of Synods. When he comes to prove this, he for∣gets his challenge: and digresses from it to the Magistrates power of choysing elders and making Ecclesiastick lawes, avowing that these things are done in Scotland by Ecclesi∣astick persons alone, without consent of the king or his counsel. Ans. It seemes our Warner is very ignorant of the way of the Scotes discipline, the ordinary and set meetings of all assemblies both nationall and provincionall since the first reformation are determined by acts of Parliament, with the Kings consent, so betwixt the King and the Church of Scotland, there is no question for the convocating of ordi∣nary assemblies, for extraordinary, no man in Scotland did ever controvert the Kings power to call them when and where he pleased: as for the inhaerent power of the Church to meet for discipline, alswell as for worship, the Warner fals on it heereafter, we must therefore passe it in this place.

What hee meanes to speake of the Kings power in choy∣sing elders or making Ecclesiastick Lawes, himselfe knowes: * his Majestie in Scotland did never require any such privi∣ledge, as the election of elders, or Commissioners to Par∣liament, or members of any incorporation, civill or Eccle∣siastick, where the Lawes did not expresly provide the no∣mination to be in the crowne. The making of Ecclesiastick Lawes in England, alswell as in Scotland, was ever with the Kings good contentment, referred to Ecclesiastick as∣semblies: but the Warner seemes to be in the mind of these his companions, who put the power of preaching, of admi∣nistring the Sacraments and discipline in the supreame Ma∣gistrat alone, and derives it out of him as the head of the Church to what members he thinks expedient to commu∣nicat it: also that the legislative power alswell in Ecclesia∣stick as civill affairs, is the property of the King alone. That the Parliaments and generall assemblies are but his arbitrary Page  8〈1 page duplicate〉Page  9〈1 page duplicate〉Page  10counsels, the one for matters of the state, the other for matters of the Church, with whom or without whom hee makes acts of Parliament and Church cannons, according to his good pleasure, that all the offices of the Kingdome, both of Church and State are from him, as he gives a Com∣mission to whom he will to be a sheriffe or justice of peace, so he sends out whom he pleaseth to preach & celebrate Sa∣craments by virtue of his regal mission. The Warner and his Erastian friends may well extend the royall supremacy to this largenes, but no King of Scotland was ever willing to accept of such a power though by erroneous flaterers, sometimes obtruded upon him, (see Canterburian self con∣viction. cap. ult.)

The Warner will not leave this matter in generall, * he dis∣cends to instance a number of particular incroatchments of the Scots Presbiters upon the royall authority: wee must dispence in all his discourse with a small peckadillo in reaso∣ning, hee must bee permitted to lay all the faults of the Presbiterians in Scotland upon the back of the Presbitery it selfe, as if the faylings of officers were naturall to, and inse∣parable from their office: mis-kenning this little mote of un∣consequentiall argumenting, we will goe through his parti∣cular charges, the first is, that King James anno 1579, re∣quired the generall assembly, to make no alteration in the Church-Policy, till the next Parliament, but they contem∣ning their Kings command, determined positively all their discipline without delay, and questioned the Arch-Bischop of Sainct Andrews for voting in Parliament according to the undoubted Lawes of the Land, yea twenty Pres∣biters did hold the generall assembly at Aberdeen after it was discharged by the King. Ans. The Warner pos∣sibly may know, yet certainly he doth not care what he writes in these things to which hee is a meere stran∣ger: Page  11the authentick registers of the Church of Scotland convinces him heire of falshood. * His Majestie did write from Stirling to the generall assembly at Edinburgh 1579, that they should ceasse from concluding any thing in the discipline of the Church, during the time of his minority; upon this desire the assembly did abstaine from all conclusi∣ons, only they named a committee to goe to Striveling for conference which his Majestie upon that subject. What followeth thereupon? I. Immediatly a Parliament is called in October 1579, and in the first act declares and grantes jurisdiction unto the Kirk, whilk consistes in the true preach∣ing of the word of Jesus Christ, correction of manners, and administration of the true Sacraments, and declares that there is no other face of Kirk, nor other face of Religion then is presently by the favour of God established within this realme, and that there be no other jurisdiction Ecclesiasti∣cal acknowledged within this realme then that whilk is, and shalbe within the samen Kirk, or that which flowes therfra, concerning the premisses. II. In Aprile 1580. Proclama∣tion was made ex deliberatione Dominorum Consilii in name of the King, charging all Superintendentes and Commissio∣ners and Ministers serving at Kirkes. To note the names of all the subjectes alsweel men as women suspected to be Papistes or — and to admonish them — to give Confession of their faith according to the Forme approved by the Par∣liament, and to submitte unto the discipline of the true Kirk within a reasonable space —: and if they faile — that the Superintendents or Commissioners presente a role or catalogue of their names unto the King and Lords of Secret Counsell whereby they shalbe for the time, between and the 15 day of Iulie nixt to come, to the end that the actes of Parliament made against such persones may be execute. III. The shorte Confession wes drawen up at the Kings Page  12command, which was first subscrived by his royall hand, and an act of Secret Counsell commanding all subjectes to sub∣scrive the same; as is to be seen by the Act printed with the Confession, wherein Hierarchie is abjured, that is (as hath been since declared by Nationall assemblies and Parliamen∣tes both called and held by the King) episcopacie is abjured. IV. In the assemblies 1580 and 1581 that Confession of faith and the second book of discipline (after debating many praeceding years) were approved (except one chapter de dia∣conatu) by the Assemblie, the Kings Commissioner being al∣wayes presente, not finde we any thing opposed then by him: yea then at his Majesties speciall direction about fifty classical Presbyteries were set up over all Scotland which remaine un∣to this day, Was there heer any contempt of the roy all authority?

About that time some noble men had gote the revenues of the Bisshop-rickes for their private use; and because they could not enjoy them by any legal right, therefore for elu∣ding the Law, they did effectuate that some Ministers should have the title of this or that Bishopricke; and the revenues were gathered in the name of this titulare or tulchan Bishop, albeit hee had but little part: e. g. Robert Montgomerie Minister at Sterline was called Arch-Bishop of Glasgow: and so it can bee instanced in other Bishop-rickes and abba∣cies. Now this kind of praelats pretended no right to any part of the Episcopall office, either in ordination or jurisdic∣tion: when some of these men began to creep in to vote for the Church in Parliament, without any Law of the State, without any commission from the Church, the generall assembly discharged them, being Ministers, to practise any more such illegall insolencies, with this ordinance of the Church, after a little debate, King James at that time did shew his good satisfaction.

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But the Warner heere jumps over nolesse then twenty se∣ven years time from the assembly at Edinburgh 1579, * to that at Aberdeen 1605, then was King James by the English Bi∣shops perswasion resolved to put down the generall assem∣blies of Scotland, contrary to the Lawes and constant prac∣tise of that Church, from the first reformation to that day. The act of Parliament did bear that once at least a yeare the assembly should meet, and after their busines was ended they should name time & place for the next assembly. When they had met in the yeare 1602, they were moved to ad∣journe without doing any thing for two whole yeares to 1604, when then they were conveened at the time and place agreed to by his Majestie, they were content upon his Ma∣jesties desire without doing any thing againe to adjourne to the nixt yeare 1605, at Aberdeen, when that dyet came his Majesties Commissioner offered them a Letter: To the end they might be an Assembly and so in a Capacity to receave his Majesties Letter, with the Commissioners good pleasure they sate downe, they named their Moderator and Clark they received and read the Kings letter commanding them to rise, which they obeyed without any farther action at all but naming a dyet for the nixt meeting according to the Lawes and constant practise of Scotland, hereupon by the pernicious counsel of Arch-Bishop Banckroft at London, the King was stirred up to bring sore trouble upon a number of gracious Ministers. * This is the whole matter which to the Warner heir is so tragick an insolence, that never any Par∣liament durst attempt the like. See more of this in the Hi∣storicall vindication.

The nixt instance of our Presbiteryes usurpation upon the Magistrat is their abolition, (before any statute of Parliament thereupon) of the Church festivals in their first book of disci∣pline. Ans. Consider the grievousnesse of this crime, in Page  14the intervall of Parliaments, the great counsel of Scotland in the minority of the Prince entrusted by Parliament to rule the Kingdome, did charge the Church to give them in wryte their judgement about matters Ecclesiasticall: in obedience to this charge the Church did present the counsel with a wryte named since the first book of disciplin: which the Lords of counsel did approve, subscribe and ratify by an Act of State: a part of the first head in that wryte was that Christmas, E∣piphany, purification, and other fond feasts of the virgin Mary, as not warranted by the holy Scriptures, should bee laid aside. Was it any encroachment upon the Magistrate for the Church to give this advice to the privy counsell when earnestly they did crave it? the people of Scotland ever since have shewed their ready obedience to that direc∣tion of the Church founded upon Scripture, and backed from the beginning with an injunction of the state.

His third instance of the Church of Scotlands usurpation upon the Magistrat is, * their abolition of Episcopacy in the assembly 1580, when the Law made it treason to impugne the authority of Bishops, being the third estate of the King∣dome. Ans. The Warner seemes to have no more know∣ledge of the affairs of Scotland, then of Japan or Utopia, the Law hee speakes of was not in being some yeares after 1580, how ever all the generall assemblyes of Scotland are authorised by act of Parliament, to determine finally with∣out an appeale in all Ecclesiastick affaires: in the named as∣sembly Lundie the Kings Commissioner did sit and consent in his Majesties name to that act of abolition, as in the nixt assembly 1581, the Kings Commissioner Caprinton did erect in his Majesties name the Presbiteryes in all the Land; it is true, three yeares thereafter a wicked Courtier Captaine James Stuart, in a shadow of a closse and not summoned Parliament, did procure an act to abolish Presbiteries and Page  15erect Bishops, but for this and all the rest of his crimes that evill man was quickly rewarded by God before the world, in a terrible destruction: these acts of his Parliament the very nixt yeare were disclaimed by the King, the Bishops were put downe, and the Presbitry was set up again, and ne∣ver more removed to this day.

The Warners digression to the perpetuity of Bishops in Scotland, to the acts of the Church and State for their re∣stitution, is but to shew his ignorance in the Scotes story: what ever be the Episcopall boastings of other Nations, yet it is evident that from the first entrance of Christian Religion into Scotland, Presbiters alone without Bishops for some hundred yeares did governe that Church: and after the re∣formation their was no Bishop in that Land, but in tittle and benefice till the yeare 1610; when Bancroft did consecrat three Scotes Ministers, all of them men of evill report, whom that violent Commissioner the Earle of Dunbar in the cor∣rupt and null assembly of Glasgow, got authorised in some pairt of a Bishops office; which part only and no more was ratified in a posterior Parliament. Superintendents are no where the same with Bishops much lesse in Scotland where for a time only till the Churches were planted, they were used as ambulatory Commissioners, and visitors to preach the word, and administer the Sacraments for the supply of vacant and unsetled congregations.

The fourth instance is the Churches obtruding the second book of discipline, without the ratification of the State. Ans. * For the Ecclesiastick enjoining of a generall assemblyes de∣crees a particular ratification of Parliament is unnecessary; generall acts of Parliament commanding obedience to the acts of the Church, are a sufficient warrant from the State, be∣side, that second book of disciplin was much debated with the King, and at last in the generall assembly 1590, his con∣sent Page  16was obtained unto it: for in that assembly where unani∣mously the subscription of the second book of disciplin by all the ministers of the Kingdome was decried, his Majestie some time in person and alwayes by the chancelor his Com∣missioner was present, and in the act for subscription Sess. 10. Augusti 8. it is expresly said that not only all the Ministers but also all the Commissioners praesent did consent, among which Commissioners the chancelor, his Majesties Commis∣sioner was chief. But neither the King nor the Church could get it to passe the Parliament in regaird of the opposition, which some States-men did make unto these parts thereof, which touched on their owne interest of unjust advantage, this was the only stick.

The next instance of the Churches encroachement is their usurpation of all the old rents of the clergy, * as the Churches patrimony, and their decerning in anassembly that nothing in the nixt Parliament should passe before the Church were fully restored to her rents. Ans. Consider heere the Warners hypocrisie and unjustice, he challenges the Presbi∣terians for that which no praelate in the world did ever esteem a fault, a meer declaration of their judgement that the Church had a just right to such rents, as by law and long possession were theirs, and not taken away from them by any lawfull meanes. What if heere they had gone on with the most of the praelaticall party to advance that right to a jus divinum? what if they had put themselves by a com∣mand from Court, into the possession of that right, with∣out a processe, as diverse of the Warners friends were begun lately to doe in all the three Kingdomes? but all that he can here challenge the Scotes for, is a meere declaration of their simple right, with a supplication to the Regent his grace, that hee would indeavour in the nixt Parliament, to procure a ninth part of the Churches patrimony, for the mantainance Page  17of the ministry, and the poore of the country: for all the rent that the Churches then could obtaine or did petition, was but a third of the thirds of the benefices or tithes. That ever any assembly in Scotland did make any other addresse to the Parliament for stipends then by way of humble suppli∣cation, it is a great untruth.

The last instance is, the erecting of Presbyteries through al the Kingdome, by an act of the Church alone. Ans. I have showne already the untruth of this alleadgeance; the proofe heere brought for it, is grounded only upon an ambiguous word which the Warners ignorance in the Scotish disciplin and Presbitery (though the maine subject of his booke) permits him not to understand. The Presbyteries were set up by the King after the assembly 1580, but the second booke of discipline of which alone the citation speaks, how ever enjoind by many assemblies, yet it could never be got∣ten ratified in any Parliament, only because of these parts of it which did speake for the patrimony of the Church, and oppugne the right of patronages.

How well the Warner hath proven the Presbiterian prac∣tises to be injurious to the Magistrate we have considered, * possibly he will bee more happy in his nixt undertaking, in his demonstrations that their doctrinall principles doe tram∣ple on the Magistrats supremacy and Lawes; their first prin∣ciple hee takes out of the second book of disciplin. Cap. 7. That no Magistrat nor any but Ecclesiastick persons may vote in Synods. Ans. Though I find nothing of this in the place cited, yet there is nothing in it that crosseth either the Laws or the Kings supremacy: for according to the acts of Parliament of Scotland both old and late and the constant practise of that Church, the only members of Pres∣byteries are Ministers and ruling elders. Is it the Warners minde to vent here his super-Erastianisme, that all Ecclesia∣stick Page  18assemblies Classicall, Provinciall, nationall are but the arbitrary Courts of the Magistrat for to advise him in the execution of his inhaerent power about matters Ecclesia∣sticall; and for this cause, that it is in his arbitrement to give a decisive voyce in all Church assemblies, to whom and how many so ever hee will? Though this may bee the Warners minde, as it hath been some of his friends, yet the most of the praelaticall party will not man taine him heerein. How ever, such principles are contrary to the Lawes of Scotland, to the professions also and practises of all the Princes and Magistrats that ever have lived there.

But the Warner heere may possibly glaunce at another principle of his good friends, * who have been willing lately to vent before al Britaine in print their Elevating the supre∣macy of Soveraignes so far above Lawes, that what ever peo∣ple have obtained to bee established by never so many assem∣blies and Parliaments and confirmed with never so many great seales of ratification, and peaceably injoyed by never so long a possession, yet it is nothing but commendable wisedome and justice for the same Prince who made the first concessions or any of his successors when ever they find themselfes strong enough, to cancell all and make void what ever Parliaments, Assemblies, royall ratifications, and the longest possession made foolish people beleeve to be most firme and unquestionable. To this purpose Bishop Max∣wel (from whom much of this warning is borrowed) doth speak in his Sacro-Sancta regum Majestas. Though this had been the Cabine divinity of our praelats, yet what can be their intentions in speaking of it out in these times of confu∣sion, themselves must declare: for the cleare consequente of such doctrine seemes to be a necessity either of such Warners perpetuall banishment from the Courts and eares of Sove∣raignes, or else that subjects be kept up for ever in a strong Page  19jealousy, and feare that they can never be secure of their liberties, though never so well ratified by Lawes and pro∣mises of Princes any longer then the sword and power re∣maines in their owne hand to preserve what they have ob∣tained. Such Warners so long as they are possessed with such maximes of state, are cleare everters of the first funda∣tions of trust betwixt Soveraignes and subjects, they take away all possibility of any solid peace of any confident setle∣ment in any troubled state, before both parties be totally ruined or one become so strong that they need no more to feare the others malcontentment in any time to come.

Our second challenged principle is that wee teach the whole power of convocating assemblies to be in the Church. * Ans. The Warners citations prove not that we maintaine any such assertion, our doctrin and constant practise hath been to ascribe to the King a power of calling Synods, when and wheresoever he thought fit, but that which the Warner seemes to point at is, our tenet of an intrinsicall power in the Church to meet, as for the word and Sacraments so for dis∣ciplin; in this all who are Christians, old and late, the prae∣laticall and Popish party as well as others, goe along with us to mantaine in doctrine and practise, a necessity even in times of persecution, that the Church must meet for the worship of God and execution of Ecclesiastick disciplin among their owne members. In this the doctrine and practise of the Scots is according to their setled lawes, uncontroverted by his Ma∣jestie. If the Warner will mantaine, that in reason and con∣science al the Churches of the world are oblidged to dissolve and never more to meet when an erroneous Magistrat by his Tyrannous edict commands them to doe so, let him call up Erastus from the dead to be disciplined in this new doc∣trine of the praelats impious loyalty.

The third principle is that the judgment of true and false Page  20doctrine of suspension and deprivation of Ministers belong∣eth to the Church. * Ans. If this be a great heresie it is to be charged as much upon the state as upon the Church, for the acts of Parliament give all this power to the Church, neith∣er did the lawes of England or of any Christian state, popish or protestant, refuse to the Church the determination of such Ecclesiastick causes; some indeed doe debate upon the power of appeales from the Church, but in Scotland by the law, as no appeale in things civill goes higher then the Parliament so in matters Ecclesiastick none goes above the generall as∣sembly. Complaints indeed may goe to the King and Parlia∣ment for redresse of any wrong has been done in Ecclesiastick Courts, who being custodes religionis may by their coercive power command Ecclesiastick Courts to rectifie any wrong done by them contraire to Scripture, or if they persist take order with them. But that two or three praelats should be∣come a Court of delegats, to receave appeales from a gene∣rall assembly, neither Law nor practise in Scotland did ever admit, nor can the word of God or any Equity require it. In the Scotes assemblies no causes are agitat but such as the Parliament hath agreed to bee Ecclesiastick and of the Churches cognisance: no Processe about any Church rent was ever cognosced upon in Scotland but in a civill Court: its very false that ever any Church censure, much lesse the highest of excommunication did fall upon any for robbing the Church of its patrimony. *

Our fourth challenged principle is that wee maintain Ec∣clesiastick jurisdiction by a divine right. Ans. Is this a huge crime? is there divine in the world, either Papist or Potestant, except a few praelaticall Erastians, but they doe so? If the Warner will professe (as it seemes hee must) the contradiction of that which he ascribes to us, his avowed te∣net must bee that all Ecclesiastick power flowes from the Page  21Magistrat, that the Magistrat himself may execute all Church censures, that all the Officers appointed by Christ for the governement of his Church, may bee laid aside, and such a kind of governors bee put in their place, as the Magistrate shalbe pleased to appoint: that the spirituall sword and Kei∣es of heaven belong to the Magistrate by vertue of his su∣premacy, als wel as the temporall sword and the Keies of his earthly Kingdome: our difference heere from the War∣ner will not (I hope) be found the greatest heresie.

Our last challenged principle is, * that wee will have all our power against the Magistrat, that is, although hee dissent. Ans. It is an evill comentare that al must be against the Ma∣gistrate, which is done against his consent: but in Scotland their is no such case: for all the jurisdiction which the church there does enjoy, they have it with the consent of the Magi∣strat: all is ratified to them by such acts of Parliament as his Majestie doth not at all controvert. Concerning that odious case the Warner intimats, whither in time of persecutiō, when the Magistrat classheth with the Church, any Ecclesiastick disciplin be then to be exercised; himselfe can better answer it then we, who with the auncient Christians doe think, that on all hazards (even of life) the church may not be dissolved, but must meet in dens and caves and in the wildernes for the word and Sacraments and keeping it selfe pure by the divine ordinance of discipline. *

Having cleered all the pernicious practises and all the wicked Doctrines, which the Warner layes upon us, I think it needles to insist upon these defenses which he in his aboun∣dant charity brings for us, but in his owne way, that he may with the greater advantage impugne them: only I touch one passage whereupon he make injurious exclamations: that which Mr. Gilespie in his theoremes wryts; when the Ma∣gistrate abuses his power unto Tyranny and makes havock Page  22of all, it is lawfull to resist him by some extraordinary wayes and meanes, which are not ordinarily to bee allowed: see the principles from which all our miseryes and the losse of our gracious Master have flowed. Ans. Wee must heere yeeld to the Warner the great equity and necessity that every doctrine of a Presbyter, should be charged on the Presbytery it selfe, and that any Presbyter teaching the lawfulnesse of a Parliaments defensive armes is tantamont to the Churches taking of armes against the king. These small unconsequen∣ces wee must permit the Warner to swallow downe without any stick, however wee doe deny that the maxime in hand was the fountaine of any our miseryes, or the cause at all of the losse of our late Soveraigne. Did ever his Majestie or any of his advised counsellers declare it simply unlawfull for a Parliament, to take armes for defence in some extraordinary cases, however the unhappines of the Canterburian Prelats did put his Majestie on these courses, which did begin and promote all our misery, and to the very last these men were so wicked as to refuse the lousing of these bands which their hands had tyed about his misinformed conscience, yea to this day they will not give their consent, that his Majestie, who now is, should lay aside Episcopacy, were it for the gay∣ning the peaceable possession of all his three Kingdomes, but are urgers of him night and day to adhaere to their errours, up∣on the hazard of all the miseries that may come on his person, on his family and all his people: yet few of them to this day durst be so bold as to print with this Warner, the unlawful∣nes of a Parliaments armes against the Tyranny of a Prince in any imaginable case, how extraordinary soe∣ver.