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

CHAP. IV.

Faulty Ministers in Scotland are lesse exempted from pu∣nishment, then any other men.*

THE Warner in his fourth Chapter offers to prove, that the Scottish discipline doth exempt Ministers from pu∣nishment for any treason or sedition they can act in their pulpits. Ans. This challenge is like the rest, very false. The rules of the Church discipline in Scotland obliges Churchmen to bee subject to punishment, not only for every fault for which any other man is lyable to censure, but ordaines them to bee punished for sundrie things, which in other men are not at all questionable: and what ever is censurable in any, they appoint it to be much more so in a Minister. It is very untrue, that the pulpits in Scotland are Sanctuaries for any crime, much lesse for the grievous crimes of sedition and treason. Let the Warner remember, how short a time it is, since an Episcopall chayre or a canonicall coate did priviledge in England and Ireland from all cen∣sure Page  26either of Church or State, great numbers, who were no∣toriously knowne to be guilty of the foulest crimes. Was e∣ver the Warners companion Bishop Aderton challenged for his Sodomy, so long as their commune patrone of Canterbury did rule the court? did the warner never heare of a prelate very sibb to Doctour Bramble, who to this day was never cal∣led to any account for flagrant scandals of such crimes as in Scotland are punishable by the gallows? the Warner doth not well to insist upon the Scots Clergie exempting them∣selfe from civill punishments: no where in the world are Churchmen more free of crimes deserving civil cognisance then in Scotland: and if the ears and eyes of the world may be trusted, the popish clergy this day in Italy and Spaine are not so challengeable, as the praelaticall divines in England and Ireland lately were for many grosse misdemeanors.

But why does the Warners anger run out so farre as to the preachers in Holland? * is it because he knoweth the Church disciplin in Holland to be really the same with that he op∣pugnes in the Scots, and that all the reformed Churches doe joyne cordially with Scotland in their rejection of E∣piscopacy? is this a ground for him to slander our Brethren of Holland? Is it charity for him a stranger to publish to the world in print that the ministers in Holland are seditious oratours, and that they saucily controll the Magistrats in their pulpits? Their crime seemes to be, that for the love of Christ their master, they are zealous in their doctrin, to presse upon the Magistrat as well as upon the people the true prac∣tise of piety, the sanctification of the sabbath day, the sup∣pression of heresy and shisme, and repentance for the sins of the time & place wherein they live. This is a crime whereof few of the Warners friends were wont to be guilty of: their shamefull silence and flattery was one of the great causes of all the sins and calamities that have wracked the three King∣domes: Page  27the streame of their sermons while the enjoyed the pulpit, was to encourage to superstition and contempt of piety, to sing asleepe by their ungracious way all, that gave eare unto them. The man is impatien, t to see the Pastors of Holland or any where, to walk in another path then his own, and for this cause would stirre up their Magistrats against them: as it was his and his Brethrens custome to stirre up the Magistrats of Britan and Ireland to imprison, banish, and heavily vex the most zealous servants of God, only for their opposition to the praelats profanity and errours. The War∣ner (I hope) has not yet forgotten, how Doctor Bramble and his neighbour Lefly of Down did cast out of the Ministry, and made flee out of the Kingdome, men most eminent for zeale, piety and learning, who in a short time had done more good in the house of God, then all the Bishops that ever were in Ireland, I meane Master Blaire, Master Levingston, Ma∣ster Hamilton, and Master Cuningham, and others.

The Warner needed not to have marked as a singularity of Geneva, that there all the Ecclesiasticks, quâ tales, are punishable by the Magistrats for civil crimes; for wee know none of the reformed Churches, who were ever following Rome in exeeming the Clergy from saecular jurisdiction, ex∣cept it were the Canterburian Praelats: who indeed did skarre the most of Magistrats from medeling with a canonical coat though defiled with drunckenesse, adultery, scolding, fighting, and other evils, which were too common of late to that order.

But how does hee prove, * that the Scots Ministers exempt themselves from civill jurisdiction? first (saith he) by the de∣claration of King James 1584. Ans. That declaration was not from King James, as himselfe did testify the yeare thereafter under his hand, but from Master Patrike Adam∣son, who did acknowledge it to bee his owne upon his death Page  28bed, and professed his repentance for the lyes and slaunders, wherewith against his conscience hee had fraughted that in∣famous libell.

His second proofe is from the second booke of discipline Chapter II, * It is absurd that Commissaries haveing no func∣tion in the Church, should be judges to Ministers to depose them from their charges. Ans. Though in England the Commissary and officiall was the ordinary judge to depose and excommunicat all the Ministers of the diocese, yet by the Lawes of Scotland no Commissaries had ever any juris∣diction over Ministers. But though the officialls jurisdiction together with their Lords the Bishops were abolished, yet doth it follow from this, that no other jurisdiction remaineth whereby Ministers might be punished either by Church and State, according to their demerits? is not this strongly reasoned by the Warner?

His third proofe is the case of James Gibson, * who had rai∣led in pulpit against the King, and was only suspended, yea thereafter was absolved from that fault. Ans. Upon the complaint of the Chancelor the alleadged words were con∣demned by the generall assembly: but before the mans guil∣tines of these words could bee tryed, hee did absent himselfe: for which absence he was presently suspended from his Ministry: in the nixt assembly he did appeare and clear∣ed the reason of his absence to have been just feare and no contumacy, this hee made appeare to the assemblyes satis∣faction, but before his processe could be brought to any issue, he fled away to England, where he died a fugitive never re∣stored to his chardge, though no tryell of his fault was per∣fected. *

The fourth proofe is Mr. Blacke his case: heereupon the Warner makes a long and odious narration. If wee interro∣gat him about his ground of all these Stories, he can produce Page  29no warrant but Spots-woods unprinted book: this is no au∣thentick register whereupon any understanding man can re∣ly, the writer was a profest enemy, to his death, of the Scot∣tish disciplin, he spent his life upon a Story for the disgrace of the Presbytery and the honour of Bishops: no man who is acquainted with the life or death of that Author will build his beleefe upon his words. This whole narration is abun∣dantly confuted in the historicall vindication, when the Warner is pleased to repeat the challenge from Issachars burden hee ought to have replyed something after three yeares advisement to the printed answer.

The matter (as our registers beare) was shortly thus, in the yeare 1596 the Popish and malignant faction in King James his court grew so strong that the countenance of the King towards the Church was much changed, and over all the Land great feares did daily increase of the overthrow of the Church discipline established by Law. The Ministers in their pulpits gave free warning thereof, among others Mr. Black of Saint Andrews, a most gracious and faithful Pastor, did apply his doctrine to the sins of the time; some of his E∣nemies delated him at Court for words injurious to the King and Queen: the words hee did deny and all his honest hea∣rers did absolve him by their testimony from these calum∣nies: of himselfe hee was most willing to be tryed to the ut∣termost before all the world, but his Brethren finding the libelled calumnies to bee only a pretence and the true inten∣tion of the Courtiers therein was, to stop the mouthes of Mi∣nisters, that the crying sins of the time should no more bee reproved in pulpits, they advised him to decline the judge∣ment of the counsel, and appeale to the generall assembly, as the competent judge according to the word of God and the Lawes of Scotland, in the cause of doctrin; for the first instance they did never question, but if any thing truely Page  30seditious had been preached by a Minister that he for this might be called before the civill Magistrat and accordingly punished but that every Minister for the application of his doctrine according to the rules of scripture to the sins of his hearers for their reclaming, should be brought before a ci∣vill court at the first instance, they thought it unreasonable and defired the King in the nixt assembly might cognosce upon the equity of such a proceding. The Ministers had many a conference with his Majestie upon that subject, often the matter was brought very neare to an amicable conclusi∣on, but because the Ministers refused to subscribe a band for so great a silence as the Court required against his Maje∣sties countenancing of treacherous Papists, and favouring the enemies of religion, a seveer Sentence was pronounced not only against Master Black, but also all the Ministers of Edinburgh.

In the meane time malcontented States-men did adde oyle to the flame, * and at the very instant while the Ministers and their friends are offering a petition to his Majestie, they subborne a villane to cry in one part of the streets the Mini∣sters are slain, and in another part of the streets that the King was killed: whereupon the People rush all out to the streets in their armes, and for halfe an howr at most were in a tu∣mult, upon meere ignorance what the fray might be, but without the hurt of any one man: so soone as it was found that both the King and Ministers were safe, the people went all peaceably to their houses. This is the very truth of that innocent commotion, whereupon the Warner heere and his fellowes elsewhere make all their tragedies. None of the Ministry were either the authors or approvers thereof, though diverse of them suffered sore troubles for it.