The Generall Assemblies Answer to the Right Reverend the Assem∣bly of Divines in the Kirk of ENGLAND.
Right Reverend and well-beloved in the Lord JESƲS,
AMidst the manifold troubles in which this Kingdom hath been involved, and under which it still labour∣eth, we greatly rejoyced when it was testified unto us by our reverend Brethren, and under your hands in your Letter, and these Papers by them presented to us from you, what progresse you had made in the much desired Work of Uniformity; and acknowledge, that the same hath comforted us concerning our work and toile of our hands, and seemeth to us as an olive branch, to prognosticate the abating of the waters, which overflow the face of the Earth.
When we consider, that you have walked in pathes unusuall, which have not been haunted by Travellers there, as the publike way, though pointed out as the good old way by the Reformed Kirks, we do not wonder that you have carefully adverted in eve∣ry step to set foot upon sure ground; When we behold that strong and high tree of Episcopacy, so deeply rooted by continuance of time, not lopped of the Branches, and the stumpe of the root left in the Earth, with a band of iron and brasse, but pluckt up by the roots; We do confesse that the Carpenters, though prepared have a hard task, requiring time to hew it down, and root it up: And when Page 12we call to mind how much the Service-Book hath been cryed up, as the onely way of Gods Worship, how many thereby have had their wealth, and how difficill it is to forgo the accustomed way; We admire the power and wisdom of the good God who hath prospered you in your way, and led you this length, through so many straits, and over so many difficulties in so troublous a time.
We do for our part not onely admit and allow, but most hear∣tily and gladly embrace the Directory of Worship, as a common Rule for the Kirks of God in the three Kingdoms, now more straitly and firmly united by the Solemne League and Covenant; And we do all in one voice blesse the Lord, who hath put it in the hearts, first, of the Reverend, Learned, and Pious Assembly of Di∣vines, and then, of the Honourable Houses of Parliament, To agree upon such a Directory as doth remove what is none of Christs, and preserve the purity of all his Ordinances, together with Uniformity and Peace in the Kirk. Onely we have thought necessary, to declare and make known, That the Clause in the Di∣rectory for the administration of the Lords Supper, which appoin∣teth the Table to be so placed that the Communicants may or∣derly sit about it, or at it, is not to be interpreted, as if in the judge∣ment of this Kirk it were indifferent for any of the Communi∣cants not to come to and receive at the Table; or as if we did ap∣prove the distributing of the Elements by the Ministers to each Communicant, and not by the Communicants among themselves: In which particulars, we still conceive and beleeve the order and practice of our own Kirk, To be most agreeable and sutable to the Word of God, the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the na∣ture of that Heavenly Feast and Table. Neverthelesse, in other particulars we have resolved, and do agree, to do as ye have defi∣red us in your Letter, That is, not to be tenacious of old Customs, though lawfull in themselves, and not condemned in this Dire∣ctory, but to lay them aside for the nearer Uniformity with the Kirk of England, now nearer and dearer to us than ever before; A Blessing so much esteemed; and so earnestly longed for among us, that rather than it false on our part, we do most willingly part with such practice and customs of own, as may be parted with safely, and without the violation of any of Christs Ordinances, or trespassing against Scripturall Rules, or our Solemne Covenants.
We do in like manner agree to, and approve the Propositions Page 13touching Kirk-Government and Ordination; and have given power to our Commissioners who are to meet in Edinburgh, to agree to, and conclude in our Name an Uniformity therein, be∣twixt the Kirks in both Kingdoms, so soon as the same shall be without any substantiall alteration Ratified by an Ordinance of the Honourable Houses of Parliament of England, according to our Act of Approbation sent to our Commissioners with you.
As for the returning of our Commissioners; though the coun∣cell and assistance of our Reverend Brethren might be of good use to us in these difficult times, and their particular stations and im∣ployments importune the stay of these who are come unto us, and the returne of these who stay with you; yet preferring the publike good, and looking upon the profit may redound unto all by their continuing with you, we have satisfied your desire, and renew∣ed their Commission; Praying God they may (as we are confi∣dent they shall) prove answerable to our trust, and to your ex∣pectation.
Concerning one Confession of Faith, and Forme of Cate∣chisme, we apprehend no great difficulty: And to that which remains to be perfected in the matter of Kirk-Government, we do beleeve, and both you and we know by experience, that there is no word impossible with our God. He that hath begun a good work among you, will also perform it of his good pleasure. Go on in the Lord your strength, and the Spirit of truth lead you in all truth: The God of all grace and peace that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting Covenant, and by him hath called us unto his eternall glory, make you perfect in very good work to do his will, working in you, and by you, and among you, that which is well pleasing in his sight, stablish, strengthen, setle you, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Edinburgh13 Feb. 1645.
Subscribed in name of the Gene∣rall Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland, by the Moderator of the Assembly.