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. VII.

The Presbyterie does not draw from the Magistrat any paritie of his power by the cheate of any relation.

IN the seventh chapter the Warner would cause men be∣lieve many more of the Presbyteries usurpations upon the Page  36civill Magistrate. * The first is that all offences whatsoever are cognoscible in the consistory upon the case of scandals. Ans. First the Presbyterie makes no offence at all to come before the consistory, but scandall alone. Secondly these civill offences (the scandall whereof comes before the Pres∣bytery) are but very few, and a great deale fewer than the Bishops officiall takes notice of in his consistoriall court. That capitall crimes past over by the Magistrate should bee censured by the Church, no society of Christians who have any discipline, did ever call in question. When the sword of the Magistrat hes spared a murderer, an adulterer, a Blasphemer; will any ingenuous, either praelaticall or popish divine, admitte of such to the holy table without signes of repentance?

The Warners second usurpation is but a branch of the first, that the Presbyterie drawes directly before it selfe the cogni∣sance of fraud in barganing, false measures, oppression and in the case of Ministers, brybing, usury, fighting, per∣jury, &c. Ans. Is it then the Warners minde, that the notorious slander of such grosse sins does not deserve so much, as an Ecclesiastick rebooke? Shall such persons with∣out admonition be admitted to the holy communion? Se∣condly the named cases of fraud in barganing, false measu∣res, oppression, come so rarely before our Church-judica∣tories that though these thirty yeares I have been much con∣versant in Presbyteries, yet did I never see, nor doe I re∣member that ever I heard any of these three cases brought before any church assembly. In the persone of Ministers, I grant, these faults which the canons of the Church in all times and places make the causes of deprivation are cog∣nosced upon in Presbyteries, but with the good liking (I am sure) of all both papists and praelats, who themselves are free of such vices. And why did not the Warner put in a∣mong Page  37the causes of church mens deprivation from office and benefite, adultery, gluttonny and drunkennes? are these in his, &c. which he will not have cognoscible by the Church in the persons of Bishops and Doctors?

The Warners third challenge amounts to an high crime, that Presbyterian Ministers are bold to preach upon these scriptures which speake of the Magistrats duty in his office, or dare offer to resolve from scripture any doubt, which per∣plexeth the conscience of Magistrats or people, of Husband or Wife, of Master or Servant, in the discharge of their Christian duty one to another. What ever hath been the negligence of the Bishop of Derry, yet I am sure, all the preaching Praelats and Doctors of England pretended a great care to goe about these uncontroverted parts of their ministerial function, and yet without medling with the My∣steries of State, or the depths of any mans particulare vocati∣on; much lesse with thejudgement of jurisdiction in politi∣call or aeconomicall causes.

As for the Churches declaration against the Late engage∣ment; * did it not well become them to signify their judge∣ment in so great a case of conscience, especially when the Parliament did propone it to them for resolution, and when they found a conjunction driven on with a cleerly malig∣nant partie, contrary to solemne oathes and covenants, unto the evident hazard of Religione and them who had been most eminent instruments of its preservation; was it not the churches duty to give warning against that sinne, and to exhort the ring leaders therein to repentance?

But our Warner must needs insist upon that unhappy en∣gagement, and fasten great blame upon the Church for gi∣ving any advice about it. Ans. Must it be Jesuisitisme, and a drawing of all the civill affaires to the Churches barre in ordine ad Spiritualia, for an assembly to give their advice Page  38in a most eminent and important case of conscence, when earnestly called upon in a multitude of supplications from the most of the Congregations under their charge; yea when required by the States of the Kingdome in severall expresse messages for that end? It seemes, its our Warners conclusi∣on, if the Magistrat would draw all the Churches in his ju∣risdiction to a most unlawfull warre, for the advancement of the greatest impiety and unjustice possible, wherein nothing could be expected by all who were engaged there∣in but the curse of God; if in this case a doubting Natione should desire the assemblies counsel for the state of their sou∣les, or if the Magistrate would put the Church to declare what were lawfull or unlawfull according to the word of God, that it were necessary heer for the servants of God to be altogether silent, because indeed warre is so civill a busi∣nes, that nothing in it concernes the soule, and nothing a∣bout it may be cleered by any light from the word of God.

The truth is, the Church in their publick papers to the Par∣liament, declared oftner then once, that they were not a∣gainst, but for an engagement, if so that Christian and friend∣ly treaties could not have obtained reason, and all the good people in Scotland were willing enough to have hazarded their lives and estates, for vindicating the wrongs done, not by the Kingdome of England, but by the sectarian party there, against God the King, covenant and both Kingdo∣mes: but to the great griefe of their hearts, their hands were bound and they forced to sit still, and by the over great cunning of some, the erroneous mis-perswasions of others and the rash praecipitancy of it, that engagement was so spoiled in the stating and mannaging, that the most religi∣ous with peace of conscience could not goe along nor en∣courage any other to take part therein. The Warner touches on three of their reasons: but who will looke upon their pu∣blick Page  39declarations, shall find many more, which with all faithfullnesse were then propounded by the Church, for the rectifying of that action, which, as it stood in the state and managment, was cleerly foretold to be exceeding like to destroy the King and his friends of all sorts in all the three Kingdomes. The irreparable losses and unutterable cala∣mities which quickly did follow at the heeles, the misbe∣leefe and contempt of the Lords servants and the great dan∣ger religion is now brought unto in al these Kingdomes, hes, I suppose, long agoe brought griefe enough to the heart of them whose unadvised rashnes and intemperate fervour did contribute most for the spoiling of that designe.

The first desire about that engagement which the Warner gives to us, concernes the security of religion. In all the de∣bate of that matter, it was aggreed (without question upon all hands, that the Sectarian party deserved punishment for their wicked attemptes upon the Kings persone, contrary to the directions of the Parliamentes of both Kingdomes, and that the King ought to be rescued out of their hands, and brought to one of his houses for perfecting the treaty of peace which often had been begunne: but here was the question; Whither the Parliament and Army of Scotland ought to de∣clare their resolutiones to bring his Majestie to London with honour, freedome and safty, before he did promise any se∣curity for establishing Religion; The Parliaments of both Kingdomes in all their former treaties had ever pressed upon the King a number of propositions to be signed by his Maje∣stie before at all he came to London: was it then any fault in the Church of Scotland to desire the granting but of one of these propositions concerning Religion and the covenant, before the King were brought (by the new hazard of the lives and estats of all the Scottish nation) to sit in his Parliament in that honnor and freedome which himselfe did desire? There Page  40was no complaint, when many of thirty propositions were pressed to be signed by his Majestie for satisfaction and secu∣rity to his people, after so great and long desolations: how then is an out-cry made, when all other propositions are postponed, and only one for Religion is stuck upon, and that not before his Majesties rescue and deliverance from the hands of the sectaries, but only before his bringing to Lon∣don in honor freedom and safety? This demande, to the Warner, is a crime, and may be so to all of his beleefe, who takes it for a high unjustice, to restraine in any King the abso∣lute power by any condition: for they doe mantaine that the administration of all things both of Church and state does reside so freely and absolutly in the meere will of a Sove∣raigne, that no case at any time can fall out, which ought to bound that absolutnesse with any limitation.

The second particular the Warner pitches upon, is the Kings negative voyce; behold how criminous we were in the point; When some (most needlesly) would needs bring into debate the Kings negative voyce in the Parliament of England, as one of the royall praerogatives to bee maintai∣ned by our engagement: it was said, that all discourse of that kynde might bee laid aside as impertinent for us: if any debate should chance to fall upon it, the proper place of it was, in a free Parliament of England; that our Lawes did not admit of a negative voyce to the King in a Parliament of Scot∣land; and to presse it now as a prerogative of all Kings, (be∣sides the reflection it might have upon the rights of our Kingdome,) it might put in the hand of the King a power to deny all and every one of these things, which the Parlia∣ments of both Kingdomes had found necessary for the setling the peace in all the three dominions. Wee marvail not, that the Warner heere should taxe us of a great errour, seeing it is the beleefe of his faction, that every King hath not onely Page  41a negative but an absolute affirmative voyce in all their Par∣liaments, as if they were nothing but their arbitrary coun∣sels for to perswade by their reasons but not to conclude nor impede any thing by their votes; the whole and intire power of making or refusing Lawes being in the Prince alone, and no part of it in the Parliament.

The Warners third challenge against us about the ingage∣ment is, as if the Church had taken upon it to nominate the officers of the army; and upon this he makes his invectives. Ans. The Church was farre from seeking power to nomi∣nate any one officer: but the matter was thus; when the State did require of them, what in their judgement would give satisfaction to the people, and what would encourage them to goe along in the ingagement? one and the last parte of their answer was, that they conceived if a Warre shalbe found necessarie, much of the peoples encouragement would depend upon the qualification of the commanders, to whom the mannaging of that great trust should be commit∣ted: for after the right stating of the Warre, the nixt would be the carying on of it by such men who had given constante proofe of their integrity. To put all the power of the King∣dome in their hande, whose by past miscariadges had given just occasion to suspect their designes and firmenesse to the interest of God before their owne or any other mans, would fill the hearts of the people with jealousies and feares, and how wholsome an advice this was, experience hath now too cleerly demonstrate.

To make the world know our further resolutiones to medle with civile affaires, the Warner is pleased to bring out a∣gainst us above 80 yeares old stories, and all the stuffe which our malicious enemy Spotsewood can furnish to him: from this good author he alledges that our Church discharged merchants to traffique with Spaine, and commanded the Page  42change of the mercat dayes in Edenburgh. Ans. Both these calumnies are taken of at length in the Historicall Vin∣dication. After the Spanish invasion of the yeare eighty eight, many in Scotland kept correspondence with Spaine for treacherous designes: the Inquisitors did seduce some, and persecute others of our merchants in their traffique, the Church did deale with his Majestie to interceed with the Spa∣nish King for more liberty to our country men in their tra∣ding: and in the meane time while an answer was returned from Madrile, they advertised the people to be warry, how they hazarded their soules for any worldly gaine which they could find about the inquisitors feet.

As for the mercat dayes, * I grante, it was a great griefe to the Church, to see the fabbath day profaned by handy la∣bour and journeying, by occasion of the munday-mercats in the most of the great tounes: for remedie heerof, many supplications have been made by the Assembly to the Par∣liament: but so long as our Bishops satte there, these peti∣tiones of the Church were alwayes eluded: for the praelats labour in the whole Iland was to have the sunday no Sab∣bath, and to procure by their Doctrine and example the profanation of that day by all sorts of playes, to the end people might be brought back to their old licentiousnes and ignorance, by which the Episcopall Kingdome was advan∣ced. It was visible in Scotland, that the most eminent Bi∣shops were usual players on the Sabbath, even in time of divine service. And so soone as they were cast out of the Par∣liament, the Churches supplications were granted, and acts obtained for the carefull sanctification of the Lords day, and removing of the mercats in all the land from the Mun∣day to other dayes of the week.

The Warners nixt challenge of our usurpation is, the as∣sembly at Edinburgh 1567 their ratifying of acts of Parlia∣ment, Page  43and summoning of all the country to appeare at the nixt assembly. * Ans. If the Warner had knowne the histo∣ry of that time, he would have choysed rather to have omit∣ted this challenge, then to have proclaimed to the world the great rottennesse of his own heart; at that time the condition of the Church and Kingdome of Scotland was lamentable, the Queen was declared for popery, King James's Father was cruelly without any cause murthered by the Earle of Bothwell; King James himselfe in his infancy was very neare to have been destroyed by the murtherer of his Father, there was no other way conceivable of saftie for Religion for the infant King, for the Kingdome, but that the Protestantes should joine together for the defence of King James against these popish murtherers. For this end the generall assembly did crave conference of the secrete counsel: and they with mutual advise did call for a meeting of the whole Protestant party: which did conveen at the time appointed most fre∣quently in an extraordinary and mixed assembly of all the considerable persons of the Religion, Earles, Lords, Bar∣rons, Gentlemen, Burgesses and Ministers, and subscribed a bond for the revenge of King Henryes death, and the de∣fence of King Iames his life: This mixed and extraordinary assembly made it one of the chiefe articles in their bond to de∣fend these Actes of the Parliament 1560 concerning religi∣on, and to endeavour the ratification of them in the nixt en∣suing Parliament. As for the assemblies letter to their Brethren for so frequent a meeting at the nixt extraordinary assembly, it had the authority of the secret counsel; it was in a time of the greatest necessity, when the Religion and liberties of the land were in evident hazard from the po∣tent and wicked counsels of the popish party, both at home and abroad; when the life of the young King was daily in vi∣sible danger from the hands of them who had murthered his Page  44Father, and ravished his Mother. Lesse could not have been done in such a juncture of time by men of wisedom and courage, who had any love to their Religion, King and country: but the resolution of our praelats is to the contrary, when a most wicked villaine had obtained the connivance of a Queen to kill her husband, and to make way for the killing of her Son in his Cradle, and after these murders to draw a nation & Church from the true Religion, established by Law, into popery; and a free Kingdome to an illegall Tyranny; in this case there may be no meeting, either of Church or State, to provide remedies against such extraor∣dinary mischiefes. Beleeve it, the Scotes were never of this opinion.

What is subjoined in the nixt paragraph of our Churches praesumption to abolish acts of Parliament; * is but a repeti∣tion of what is spoken before. Not only the lawes of Scotland but equity and necessity referres the ordinary reformation of errours and abuses in Religion to the Ecclesiasticall assem∣blies: what they find wrong in the Church, though ratified by acts of Parliament, they rectify it from the word of God, and thereafter by petition obtaines their rectification to be ratifyed in a following Parliament, and all former acts to the contrary to be annulled. This is the ordinary Methode of proceeding in Scotland and (as I take it) in all other States and Kingdomes. Were Christians of old hindred to leave paganisme and embrace the Gospell, till the emperiall la∣wes for paganisme and against Christianity were revoked? did the oecumenicall and National Synods of the auncients stay their reformation of heresies and corruptions in reli∣gion, till the lawes of State (which did countenance these errors) were cancelled? Was not popery in Germany France and Britaine so firmely established, as civil lawes could doe it? It seems, the Warner heer does joyne with his Brother Page  45Issachar, to proclaime all our Reformers in Britaine France and Germany, to be Rebells for daring by their preachings and Assemblies to change these things, which by acts of Parliaments had been approven, before new Parliaments had allowed of their reformation. Neverthelesse this plea is foolishly intended against us, for the Ministers protestation against the acts of Parliament 1584, establishing (in that houre of darknes) iniquity by a law, and against the acts of the Assembly of Glasgow declaring the unlawfulnesse of Bi∣shops and ceremonies; which some Parliaments upon Epis∣copall mis-information had approven: both these actions of the Church were according to former Lawes and were rati∣fied afterward by acts of Parliament yet standing in force which for the Warner (a privatman, and a stranger) to challenge, is to contemne much more grossly the law, then they doe, whom here he is accusing of that crime.

By the nixt Story the Warner will gaine nothing, * when the true case of it is knowne. In King Iames minority, one Captaine Iames Stuart did so farre prevail upon the tender and unexperienced yeares of the Prince, as to steale his countenance unto acts of the greatest oppression; so farre that Iames Hamelton Earle of Arran (the nixt to the King in blood, in his health a most gallant Prince, and a most zealous professor of the true Religion) in time of his sick∣nes, when he was not capable to commit any crime against the State, was notwithstanding spoiled of all his livelyhood and liberty: his Lands and honour with the dignity of high Chancelor of Scotland were conferred on that very wicked Tyrant Captain Iames, a number of the best affected and prime nobility impatient of such unheard-of oppressiones, with meere boasts and no violence at the road of Ruthven chased away that unhappy chancelor from the Kings perso∣ne, this his Majestie for the time professed to take in so good Page  46part that under his hand he did allow it for good service, in his letters to the most of the Neighbour princes: he dealt also with the secrete counsel and the chiefe judicatories of the land, and obtained from them the approbation of that act of the Lords as convenient and laudable, promising likewise to ratify it in the nixt ensuing Parliament. When the Lords for their more abundante cleering required the Assemblies declaration there upon, the Ministers declined to medle at all with the case; but the Kings Majestie sent his Commissioners to the Assembly, entreating them withall earnestnesse to declare their good liking of that action, which he assured them was for his good, and the good both of the Church and Kingdome: for their obedience to the Kings importunity they are heer railed upon by the wise Warner. It is true, Captaine Iames shortly after creept in againe into Court, and obtained a sever revenge against the authors of that action, before a Parliament could sit to approve it, but within a few monthes the same Lords with some more did at Striveling chase againe that evill man from the Court: whither he never more returned, and this their action was ratified in the nixt Parliament, and so stands to this day unquestioned by any but such as the Warner, either out of ignorance or malice.

I am weary to follow the Warner in all his wandrings; * at the nixt loupe he jumps from the 1584 to the 1648, skip∣ping over in a moment 64 yeares. The articles of Strive∣ling mentions that the promoving of the worke of Refor∣mation in England and Ireland, bee referred to the generall assembly, upon this our friend does discharge a flood of his choler: all the matter of his impatience heere is, that Scot∣land when by fraud they had been long allured, and at last by open violence invaded by the English Praelats, that they might take on the yock of all their corruptions, they were Page  47contented at the earnest desire of both the houses of Parlia∣ment, and all the wel-affected in England, to assist their Brethren, to purge out the leaven of Episcopacy, and the Service book with all the rest of the old corruptions of the English and Irish Churches; with the mannaging of this so great and good an Ecclesiastick worke, the Parliament of Scotland did intrust the generall assembly. No mervaile that Doctor Bramble a zealous lover of all the Arminianisme, Popery and Tyranny, of which his great patron Doctor Lade stands convicted yet without an answer to have been brin∣ging in upon the three nations, should bee angry at the dis∣coverers and dis-appointers of that most pious work as they wont to style it?

What heere the Warner repeats, it is answered before, * as for the two Storyes in his conclusion, which he takes out of his false Author Spots-wood, adding his owne large am∣plifications; I conceive, there needs no more to be said to the first, but that some of Iohn Knocks zealous hearers un∣derstanding of a Masse-Priest at their very side committing idolatry contrary to the Lawes, did with violence break in upon him and sease upon his person and Masse-cloathes, that they might present him to the ordinary Magistrat to receave justice according to the Law; This act the Warner wil have to be a huge rebellion, not only in the actors, but also in Iohn Knocks, who was not so much as present thereat.

What first he speaks of the Assemblies convocating the people in armes to be present at the tryall of the popish Lords and their avowing of that their deed to the King in his face we must be pardoned to mistrust the Warner heerin upon his bare word without the releefe of some witnes, and that a more faithfull one then his Brother in evill, Mr. Spotswood, whom yet heere he does not professe to cite. Against these popish Lords after their many treasons and bloody murders Page  48of the lieges, the King himselfe at last was forced to arme the people; but that the generall assembly did call any unto armes we require the Warners proofe that we may give it an answer.