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An Ordinance of the Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament, for the call
ing of an Assembly of learned and godly Divines, and others, to be consulted with by the Parliament, for the settling of the government and liturgy of the Church of England ; and for vindicating and clearing of the doctrine of the
said Church from false aspersions and interpretations. June 12, 1643. W HEREAS, amongst the infinite blessings of Almighty God upon this
W nation, none is nor can be more dear unto us than the purity of our religion; and for that, as yet, many things remain in the liturgy, discipline, and government of the Church, which do necessarily require a further and more perfect reformation than as yet hath been attained; and whereas it hath been declared and resolved by the Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament, that the present Church-government by archbishops, their chancellors, commissars, deans, deans and chapters, archdeacons, and other ecclesiastical officers depending upon the hierarchy, is evil, and justly offensive and burdensome to the kingdom, a great impediment to reformation and growth of religion, and very prejudicial to the state and government of this kingdom; and therefore they are resolved that the same shall be taken away, and that such a government shall be settled in the Church as may be most agreeable to God's holy word, and most apt to procure and preserve the peace of the Church at home, and nearer agreement with the Church of Scotland, and other Reformed Churches abroad; and, for the better effecting hereof, and for the vindicating and clearing of the doctrine of the Church of England from all false calumnies and aspersions, it is thought fit and necessary to call an Assembly of learned, godly, and judicious Divines, who, together with some members of both the Houses of Parliament, are to consult and advise of such matters and things, touching the premises, as shall be proposed unto them by both or either of the Houses of Parliament, and to give their advice and counsel therein to both or either of the said Houses, when, and as often as they shall be thereunto required: Be it therefore ordained, by the Lords and Commons in this present Parliament assembled, That all and every the persons hereafter in this present ordinance named, that is to say,
And such other person or persons as shall be nominated and appointed by both Houses of Parliament, or so many of them as shall not be letted by sickness, or other necessary impediment, shall meet and assemble, and are hereby required and enjoined, upon summons signed by the clerks of both Houses of Parliament, left at their respective dwellings, to meet and assemble themselves at Westminster, in the Chapel called King Henry the VII.'s Chapel, on the first day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and forty-three; and after the first meeting, being at least the number of forty, shall from time to time sit, and be removed from place to place; and also that the said Assembly shall be dissolved in such manner as by both Houses of Parliament shall be directed: and the said persons, or so many of them as shall be so assembled, or sit, shall have power and authority, and are hereby likewise enjoined from time to time, during this present Parliament, or until further order be taken by both the said Houses, to confer and treat among themselves of such matters and things, touching and concerning the liturgy, discipline, and government of the Church of England, for the vindicating and clearing of the doctrine of the same from all false aspersions and misconstructions, as shall be proposed unto them by both or either of the said Houses of Parliament, and no other; and deliver their opinion, advices of, or touching the matters aforesaid, as shall be most agreeable to the word of God, to both or either of the Houses, from time to time, in such manner and sort as by both or either of the said Houses of Parliament shall be required; and the same not to divulge, by printing, writing, or otherwise, without the consent of both or either Houses of Parliament. And be it further ordained by the authority aforesaid, That William Twisse doctor in divinity shall sit in the chair, as prolocutor of the said Assembly; and if he happen to die, or be letted by sickness, or other necessary impediment, then such other person to be appointed in his place as shall be agreed on by the said Houses of Parliament: And in case any difference in opinion shall han. pen amongst the said persons so assembled, touching any the matters that shall be proposed to them as aforesaid, that then they shall represent the same, together with the reasons thereof, to both or either the said Houses respectively, to the end such further direction may be given therein as shall be requisite to that behalf. And be it further ordained by the authority aforesaid, That, for the charges and expences of the said Divines, and every one of them, in attending the said service, there shall be allowed every one of them that shall so attend, during the time of their said attendance, and for ten days before and ten days after, the sum of four shillings for every day, at the charges of the Commonwealth, at such time, and in such manner as by both Houses of Parliament shall be appointed. And be it further ordained, That all and every the said Divines, so, as aforesaid, required and enjoined to meet and assemble, shall be freed and acquitted of and from every offence, forfeiture, penalty, loss, or damage, which shall or may ensue or grow by reason of any non-residence or absence of them, or any of them, from his or their, or any of their church, churches, or cures, for or in respect of their said attendance upon the said service; any law or statute of nonresidence, or other law or statute enjoining their attendance upon their respective ministries or charges, to the contrary thereof notwithstanding. And if any of the persons above named shall happen to die before the said Assem. bly shall be dissolved by order of both Houses of Parliament, then such other person or persons shall be nominated and placed in the room such person or persons so dying, as by both the said Houses shall be thought fit and agreed upon; and every such person or persons, so to be named, shall have the like power and authority, freedom and acquittal, to all intents and purposes, and also all such wages and allowances for the said service, during the time of his or their attendance, as to any other of the said persons in this ordinance is by this ordinance limited and appointed. Provided always. That this ordinance, or any thing therein contained, shall not give unto the persons aforesaid, or any of them, nor shall they in this Assembly assume to exercise any jurisdiction, power, or authority ecclesiastical whatsoever, or any other power than is herein particularly expressed.
Assembly at EDINBURGH, August 19, 1643. Sess. 14. Commission of the General Assembly to some Ministers and Ruling Elders, for
repairing to the Kingdom of England. MHE General Assembly of the Church of Scotland finding it necessary to
I send some godly and learned of this Kirk to the kingdom of England, to the effect under written; therefore gives full power and commission to Mr Alexander Henderson, Mr Robert Douglas, Mr Samuel Rutherford, Mr Robert Baillie, and Mr George Gillespie, Ministers, John Earl of Cassilis, John Lord Maitland, and Sir Archibald Johnstoun of Warristoun, Elders, or any three of them, whereof two shall be Ministers, to repair to the kingdom of England, and there to deliver the declaration sent unto the Parliament of England, and the letter sent unto the Assembly of Divines now sitting in that kingdom; and to propone, consult, treat, and conclude with that Assembly, or any Commissioners deputed by them, or any Committees or Commissioners deputed by the Houses of Parliament, in all matters which may fur. ther the union of this Island in one Form of Kirk-government, one Confession of Faith, one Catechism, one Directory for the worship of God, according to the instructions which they have received from the Assembly, or shall receive from time to time hereafter from the Commissioners of the Assembly deputed for that effect: with power also to them to convey to His Majesty the humble answer sent from this Assembly to His Majesty's letter, by such occasion as they shall think convenient; and sicklike, to deliver the Assembly's answer to the letter sent from some well-affected brethren of the minis
try there; and generally authorises them to do all things which may further the so much desired union, and nearest conjunction of the two Churches of Scotland and England, conform to their instructions aforesaid.
Many of the persons who were called by the foresaid Ordinance of the Lords and
Commons (in that broken state of the Church) to attend the Assembly appeared not; whereupon the whole work lay on the hands of the persons hereafter men tioned. The Promise and Vow taken by every Member admitted to sit in the Assembly. T A. B. do seriously promise and vow, in the presence of Almighty God, I That in this Assembly, whereof I am a member, I will maintain nothing in point of doctrine, but what I believe to be most agreeable to the word of God; nor in point of discipline, but what may make most for God's glory, and the peace and good of this Church.
A List of the Divines who met in the Assembly at Westminster. DR WILLIAM TWISSE of Newbury, Prolo- Richard Clayton of Showers, cutor,
Arthur Sallaway of Seavernestock, Dr Cornelius Burges of Waterford,
John Ley of Budworth, John White of Dorchester, Assessors,
Charles 'Herle of Winwick, prolocutor Dr William Gouge of Blackfriars, London, after Dr Twisse, Robert Harris of Hanwell, B.D.
Herbert Palmer, B.D. of Ashwel, assessor Thomas Gattaker of Rotherhithe,
after Mr White, Oliver Bowles of Sutton, B. D.
Daniel Cawdrey of Great Billing. Edward Reynolds of Bramston,
Henry Painter, B.D. of Exeter, Jeremiah Whitaker of Streton,
Henry Scudder of Colinborn, Dr Anthony Tuckney of Boston,
Thomas Hill, B. D. of Tichmarsh, John Arrowsmith of Lynne,
William Reynor, B.D. of Egham, Simeon Ashe of St Brides,
Dr Thomas Goodwin of London, Philip Nye of Kimbolton,
Dr William Spurstow of Hampden, Jeremiah Burroughs of Stepney,
Matthew Newcomb of Dedham, John Lightfoot of Ashley,
Dr Edmond Staunton of Kingston, Stanley Gower of Brampton Bryan,
John Conant of Lymmington, B.D. Richard Heyrick of Manchester,
Anthony Burges of Sutton Coldfield, Thomas Case of London,
William Rathband, Dr Thomas Temple of Battery,
Dr Francis Cheynes of Oxen, George Gipps of Ayleston,
Dr Henry Wilkinson younger of Oxford,
Obadiah Sedgwick, B.D. of Cogshal,
ford, John Guibon of Waltham,
Samuel Gibson of Burley, Christopher Tesdale of Uphusborne,
Thomas Coleman of Bliton, Henry Philps,
William Carter of London,
John Maynard of Mayfield,
William Price of Paul's Church in Covent Dr Henry Wilkinson senior of Waderston, Garden, Richard Vines of Calcot,
John Whincop of St Martins in the Nicholas Profit of Marlborough,
Peter Sterry of London,
William Méw, B. D. of Eslington, Thomas Hodges of Kensington,
Benjamin Pickering of East Hoatly, Thomas Baillie of Mildenhall, B.D.
John Strickland of St Edmonds in Sarum, Francis Taylor of Yalding,
Jasper Hicks of Lawrick or Lanrake,
Henry Halí, B. D. of Norwich,
Thomas Ford of London, afterwards of Edward Pele of Compton,
Exeter, John Green of Pencomb,
Thomas Thorogood of Massingham, Andrew Pern of Wilby,
Peter Clerk of Kerby Underhill, Samuel de la Place,
William Good, John de la March,
John Foxcroft of Cotham, John Dury,
John Ward, Philip Deline,
Richard Byfield of Long-Ditton, Sidrach Simpson of London,
Francis Woodcock, John Langly of Westuderly,
John Jackson of Marske,
Commissioners from the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. ALEXANDER HENDERSON of Edinburgh, John Lord Maitland, afterwards Duke of Robert Douglas of Edinburgh,
Lauderdale, Samuel Rutherford of St Andrews,
Sir Archibald Johnstoun of Waristoun, Robert Baillie of Glasgow,
[Ruling Elders, George Gillespie of Edinburgh, Ministers, Adoniram Byfield, John Earl of Cassilis,
John Wallis, Scribes.
Assembly at EDINBURGH, August 27, 1647. Sess. 23.
Act approving the CONFESSION of Faith. A CONFESSION of Faith for the Kirks of God in the three kingdoms, A being the chiefest part of that uniformity in religion, which by the Solemn League and Covenant, we are bound to endeavour: And there being accordingly a Confession of Faith agreed upon by the Assembly of Divines sitting at Westminster, with the assistance of Commissioners from the Kirk of Scotland; which Confession was sent from our Commissioners at London to the Commissioners of the Kirk met at Edinburgh in January last, and hath been in this Assembly twice publickly read over, examined, and considered; copies thereof being also printed, that it might be particularly perased by all the members of this Assembly, unto whom frequent intimation was publickly made, to put in their doubts and objections, if they had any: And the said Confession being, upon due examination thereof, found by the Assembly to be most agreeable to the word of God, and in nothing contrary to the received doctrine, worship, discipline, and government of this Kirk. And, lastly, It being so necessary, and so much longed for, that the said Confession be, with all possible diligence and expedition, approved and estab. lished in both kingdoms, as a principal part of the intended uniformity in religion, and as a special means for the more effectual suppressing of the many dangerous errors and heresies of these times; the General Assembly doth therefore, after mature deliberation, agree unto, and approve the said Confession, as to the truth of the matter; (judging it to be most orthodox, and grounded upon the word of God;) and also, as to the point of uniformity, agreeing for our part, that it be a common Confession of Faith for the three kingdoms. The Assembly doth also bless the Lord, and thankfully acknowledge his great mercy, in that so excellent a Confession of Faith is prepared, and thus far agreed upon in both kingdoms; which we look upon as a great strengthening of the true reformed religion against the common enemies thereof. But, lest our intention and meaning be in some particulars misunderstood, it is hereby expressly declared and provided, That the not men. tioning in this Confession the several sorts of ecclesiastical officers and assemblies, shall be no prejudice to the truth of Christ in these particulars, to be expressed fully in the Directory of Government. It is further declared, That the Assembly understandeth some parts of the second article of the thirtyone chapter only of kirks not settled, or constituted in point of government: And that although, in such kirks, a synod of Ministers, and other fit persons, may be called by the Magistrate's authority and nomination, without any other call, to consult and advise with about matters of religion; and although, likewise, the Ministers of Christ. without delegation from their churches. may of themselves, and by virtue of their office, meet together synodically in such kirks not yet constituted, yet neither of these ought to be done in kirks constituted and settled; it being always free to the Magistrate to advise with synods of ministers and ruling elders, meeting upon delegation from their
rches, either ordinarily, or, being indicted by his authority, occasionally, and pro re nata; it being also free to assemble together synodically, as well pro re nata as at the ordinary times, upon delegation from the churches, by the intrinsical power received from Christ, as often as it is necessary for the
good of the Church so to assemble, in case, the Magistrate, to the detriment of the Church, withhold or deny his consent; the necessity of occasional assemblies being first remonstrate unto him by humble supplication.
CHARLES I. Parl. 2. Sess. 2. Act 16.
At EDINBURGH, February 7, 1649.
T of the second triennial Parliament, by virtue of an Act of the Committee of Estates, who had power and authority from the last Parliament for convening the Parliament, having seriously considered the Catechisms, viz. the Larger and Shorter ones, with the Confession of Faith, with three Acts of Approbation thereof by the Commissioners of the General Assembly, presented unto them by the Commissioners of the said General Asse ratify and approve the said Catechisms, Confession of Faith, and Acts of Approbation of the same, produced as it is; and ordains them to be recorded, published, and practised.
ACT 7th June 1690. Ratifying the Confession of Faith, and settling Presbyterian Church Government. OUR Sovereign Lord and Lady, the King and Queen's Majesties, and three U Estates of Parliament, conceiving it to be their bounden duty, after the great deliverance that God hath lately wrought for this Church and Kingdom, in the first place to settle and secure therein the true Protestant reli. gion, according to the truth of God's word, as it hath of a long time been professed within this land; as also the government of Christ's Church within this Nation, agreeable to the word of God, and most conducive to the advancement of true piety and godliness, and the establishing of peace and tranquillity within this realm,—they, by these presents, ratify and establish the Confession of Faith now read in their presence, and voted and approven by them, as the public and avowed Confession of this Church, containing the
nd subs nce of the Doctrine of the Reformed Churches. (which Confession of Faith is subjoined to this present Act,) as also they do establish, ratify, and confirm the Presbyterian Church Government and Discipline; that is to say, the Government of the Church by Kirk Sessions, Presbyteries, Provincial Synods, and General Assemblies, ratified and established by the 114 Act James VI., Parl. 12, Anno 1592, entitled Ratification of the Liberty of the Kirk, &c., and thereafter received by the general consent of this nation, to be the only Government of Christ's Church within this kingdom; reviving, renewing, and confirming the same in the whole heads thereof, except that part of it relating to Patronages, which is hereafter to be taken into consideration.