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3.9. The kings maiesties declaration of his acts confirmed in parlement.

The kings maiesties declaration of his acts confirmed in parlement.

_FOr as much as there is some euill affected men that goeth about so farre as in them lieth, to inuent lies and tales to slander and impaire the kings maiesties fame and honor, & to raise reports as if his maiestie had declined to papistrie, & that he had made manie acts to abolish the frée passage of the gospell, good order and discipline in the church: which brutes are main|teined by rebellious subiects, who would gladlie co|uer their seditious enterprises vnder pretense of reli|gion (albeit there can be no good religion in such as raise rebellion to disquiet the state of their natiue souereigne, and periuredlie dooth stand against the oth, band, & obligation of their faith, wherevnto they haue subscribed) therfore that his maiesties faithfull subiects be not abused with such slanderous reports, and his highnesse good affectionat friends in other countries maie vnderstand the verities of his vp|right intention, his highnesse hath commanded this bréefe declaration of certeine of his maiesties acts of parlement holden in Maie one thousand fiue hun|dred foure score and foure, to be published and im|printed, to the effect that the indirect practises of such as slander his maiestie and his lawes maie be de|fected and discouered.

In the first act his maiestie ratifieth and approoueth the true profession of the gospell, sincere preaching of the word and administration of the sacraments, presentlie by the goodnesse of God established with|in this realme, and alloweth of the confession of the faith set downe by act of parlement the first yere of his maiesties reigne. Likewise his highnesse not onlie professeth the same in all sinceritie, but (praised be God) is come to that ripenesse of iudgement by reading and hearing the word of God, that his high|nesse is able to conuince and ouershrow by the doc|trine of the prophets and apostles the most learned of the contrarie sect. So that (as Plato affirmeth that common wealth to be counted happie wherein a philosopher reigneth, or he that reigneth is a philoso|pher) we maie much more estéeme this countrie of Scotland to be fortunate, wherein our king is a di|uine, and whose hart is replenished with the know|ledge of the heauenlie philosophie: for the comfort not onlie of his good subiects and friends in other countries but of them that professeth the gospell e|uerie where, he being a king of great wisedome, and by his birth right borne to great possession; but much more his highnesse, vertue, godlinesse and learning, and dailie increase of all heauenlie sciences, dooth promise and assure him of the mightie protection of God, and fauour of all them that feare his holie name.

In the second act his maiesties roiall authori|tie ouer all estates both spirituall and temporall is confirmed: which act some of malice, and some of ig|norance doth traduce, as if his maiestie pretended to be called the head of the church, a name which his maiestie acknowledgeth to be proper and peculiar to the sonne of God the sauiour of the world, who is the head, and bestoweth life spirituall vpon the mem|bers of his mysticall bodie, and he hauing receiued the holie spirit in all abundance, maketh euerie one of the faithfull partakers thereof, according to the measure of faith bestowed vpon them, of the which number of the faithfull vnder the head Christ, his maiestie acknowledgeth himselfe to be a member baptised in his name, partaker of the misterie of the crosse and holie communion, and attending with the faithfull for the comming of the Lord and the finall resurrection of Gods elect. And notwithstanding his maiestie surelie vnderstandeth by the scriptures, that he is the chéefe and principall member appoin|ted by the law of God to sée God glorified, vice puni|shed and vertue mainteined within his realme: and the souereigne iudgment of a godlie quietnesse & order in the common wealth, to apperteine to his highnesse care and solicitude. Which power and au|thoritie of his highnesse, certeine ministers being called before his maiestie for their seditious and fac|tious sermons in stirring vp the people to rebellion against their natiue king (by the instigation of sun|drie vnquiet spirits) would in no wise acknowledge but disclaime his maiesties authoritie as an incom|petent iudge: and especiallie one called master An|drew Melum of a salt and fierie humor, vsurping the pulpit of Saundois, without anie lawfull calling, and priuie at that time to certeine conspiracies at|tempted against his maiestie and crowne, went a|bout in a sermon vpon a sundaie, to inflame the harts of the people by odious comparisons of his maiesties progenitors and councell, albeit the dutie of a faithfull preacher of the gospell be rather to ex|hort the people to obedience of their natiue king, and not by popular sermons (which hath béene the euersi|on and decaie of great cities and common wealths, and hath greatlie in times past bred disquietnesse to the state thereby) to trouble and perturbe the coun|trie. The said master Andrew being called before his highnesse, presumptuouslie answered that he would not be iudged by the king and councell, because he had spoken the same in pulpit, which pulpit in effect he alleged to be exempted from the iudgement and correction of princes, as if that holie place sanctified to the word of God and to the breaking of the bread of life, might be anie colour to anie sedition in word or déed against the lawfull authoritie, without pu|nishment. Alwaies his maiestie (being of himselfe a most gratious prince) was not willing to haue v| [...]ed EEBO page image 439 anie rigor against the said master Andrew, if he had humblie submitted himselfe, acknowledged his offense, and craued pardon: who notwithstanding a [...]d of his owne giltinesse, being priuie to diuers conspirators before, fled out of the realme, whose naughtie & presumptuous refusing of his highnesse iudgement, was the occasion of the making of this second act: that is, that none should decline from his highnesse authoritie, in respect that the common prouerbe beareth Ex malis moribus bonae leges natae sunt, which is, that Of euill maners good lawes proceed. And in verie deed it wanteth not anie right intolle|rable arrogancie in anie subiect called before his prince, professing and authorising the same truth, to disclaime his authoritie, neither doo the prophets, apo|stles, or others (conducted by the spirit of God) mini|ster the like example: for it is a great error to af|firme (as manie doo) that princes and magistrats haue onlie power to take order in ciuill affaires, and that ecclesiasticall matters doo onelie belong to the ministerie.

By which meanes the pope of Rome hath exemp|ted himselfe and his cleargie from all iudgment of princes, and he made himselfe to be iudge of iudges, and to be iudged of no man: whereas by the con|trarie, not onelie by the example of the godlie go|uernors, iudges, and kings of the old testament; but also by the new testament, and the whole historie of the primitiue church, in which the emperors being iudges ouer the bishops of Rome, deposed them from their seats, appointed iudges to decide and de|termine causes ecclesiasticall, and challenge inno|cent men, as Athanasius from the determination of the councell holden at Tirus, and by infinit good reasons which shall be set downe by the grace of God in an other seuerall worke, and shall be suffici|entlie prooued and verified. But this appéereth at this present to be an vntimelie and vnprofitable question, which hath no ground vpon their part, but of the preposterous imitation of the pretended iu|risdiction of the pope of Rome. For if there were a|nie question of this land of heresie, whereby the pro|found mysteries of the scriptures behoued to be sear|ched foorth, his maiestie would vse the same reme|die (as most expedient) which the most godlie empe|rors haue vsed: and his maiestie following their ex|ample would allow the councell of learned pastors, that by conference of scriptures the veritie might be opened, and heresie repressed.

But God be thanked, we haue no such contro|uesies in this land, neither hath anie heresie taken anie déepe root in the countrie; but that certeine of the ministerie, ioining themselues to rebels haue trauelled to disquiet the state with such questions, that the people might imbrace anie sinister opinion of his maiesties vpright procéedings, and factions might be nourished and interteined in the countrie: neither is it his maiesties meaning nor intention in anie sort, to take awaie the lawfull and ordinarie iudgement in the church, whereby discipline and good order might decaie; but rather to preserue, increase, and mainteine the same. And as there is in this realme, iustices, conestables, shiriffes, prouosts, bai|liffes, and other iudges in temporall matters: so his maiestie alloweth that all things might be doone in order, and a godlie quietnes may be preferued in the whole estate; the synodall assemblies by the bishops, or commissioners, where the place was vsed to be conuenient, twise in the yeare, to haue the ordina|rie triall of matters belonging to the ministerie and their estate: alwaies reseruing to his highnesse, that if they, or anie of them doo amisse, neglect their dutie, disquiet the estate, or offend in anie such maner and sort, that they in no waies pretend ani [...] immunitie, priuilege, and exemption, which onel [...] was inuented by the popes of Rome, to tread vn|der foot she scepter of princes, and to establish an ecclesiasticall tyrannie within this countrie, vnder pretense of new inuented presbyters, which neither should answer to the king nor bishop vnder his ma|iestie: but should haue such infinit iurisdiction, as neither the law of God nor man can tollerat; which is onelie his maiesties intention to represse, and not to take awaie anie godlie or due order in the church, as hereafter shall appeare.

The third act of his maiesties foresaid parlement dischargeth all iudgements ecclesiasticall, and all as|semblies which are not allowed by his maiesties par|lement. Which act speciallie concerneth the remo|uing and discharging of that forme, inuented in this land, called the presbyterie: wherein a number of ministers of certeine precincts and bounds, accoun|ting themselues to be equall, without anie diffe|rence, and gathering vnto them certeine gentle|men and others of his maiesties subiects, vsurpe the whole ecclesiasticall iurisdiction, & altereth the laws at their owne pleasure, without the knowledge or approbation of the king, or of the estate: a forme of dooing without example of anie nation, subiect to a christian prince. The perill whereof did so increase, that in case it had not beene repressed in due season, & forbidden by his maiesties laws, the same had trou|bled the whole countrie: and being tried by his high|nesse to be the ouerthrow of his maiesties estate, the decaie of his crowne, and a readie introduction to Anabaptistrie, and popular confusion in all estates; his maiestie hath giuen commandement against the same. And that the reader may know the danger thereof by manie inconueniences, which thereby insueth in this land, I will onelie set downe one, whereby they may vnderstand what perill was in the rest.

The ambassador of France, returning home in|to his countrie, commanded the prouosts, ba [...]liffes, and conestable of Edenburgh to make him a ban|ket, that he might be receiued honorablie according to the amitie of ancient times betwéene the two na|tions. This commandement was giuen on the sa|turdaie by his highnesse, and the banket appointed to be on the mondaie. A number of the foresaid preten|ded presbyterie vnderstanding thereof, assembled themselues on the sundaie in the morning, and pre|sumptouslie determined & agréed, that the ministers of Edenburgh should proclame a fasting vpon the same mondaie; where their seuerall ministers one after another made thrée seuerall sermons, and in|uectiues against the prouosts, ba [...]liffes, and councell for the time, and the noble men in the countrie; who repared to the banket at his maiesties command. The foresaid presbyterie called and persuaded them, and scarselie by his maiesties authoritie could be withholden from excommunicating the magistrats and noble men, for obeieng onelie his highnesse law|full command; which the law of all countries called Ius gentium, requires towards ambassadors of for|ren countries. And not onelie in this, but innu|merable other things, their commandement was proclamed directlie, vnder the paine of excommu|nication to the kings maiestie and his lawes.

Which forme of proceeding ingendered nothing but disquietnesse, sedition, and trouble: as may manifestlie appeare, in that the especiall authors of the inuenting, promoting, and assisting of the fore|said pretended presbyterie, hath ioined themselues with his maiesties rebels; and flieng foorth of the realme, in respect of their guiltinesse, hath discoue|red what malicious practises was deuised amongst them, if God had not in time prouided remedie. EEBO page image 440 The other forme of iudgement, which his maiestie hath discharged, is the generall assemblie of the whole cleargie in the realme: vnder pretense where|of a number of ministers from sundrie presbyte|ries did assemble, with some gentlemen of the coun|trie; whereof, some for that time (malcontents of the state) sought that colour as fauorers of the mi|nisterie, by the which they haue practised manie en|terprises in the realme; where there was no certeine law in ecclesiasticall affaires, but all depended vp|on the said generall conuention, where the laws of the church were alterable after the number of voices, which for the most part succéeded vnto the most vnlearned of the multitude.

This generall assemblie amongst other things, did appoint and agrée with his maiesties regents in his minoritie, that the Which is one of the estates of parlement. estate of bishops should be mainteined and authorised, as is registred in the bookes of councell, and subscribed by the commissio|ners for the time. Which order was obserued ma|nie yeares, and bishops by their coments appointed to their diocesse, vntill within this late time, in as|semblies holden at Dundée, and Glascow, respec|ting the foresaid ministers and assemblies, tooke vpon them contrarie to their owne handwriting, to discharge the estate, and to declare the same to be vnlawfull in their pretended manner. And there commanded the bishops of the countrie, to demit and leaue their offices and iurisdictions, and that in no wise they should passe to the kings councell or parlement, without commission obteined from their assemblie: that they should confirme nothing in parlement and councell, but according to their acts and iniunctions. And further, they directed their commissioners to the kings maiestie, comman|ding him and the councell vnder paine of the cen|sures of the church (whereby they vnderstood excom|municattion) to appoint no bishop in time to come, because they had concluded that estate to be vnlaw|full. And notwithstanding, that which they would haue deiected in the bishops, they purposed to erect in themselues, desiring that such commissioners as they should send to parlement and councell, might be authorised in place of the estate: wherby it should haue come to passe, that whereas now his maiestie may select the most godlie, learned, wise, and expe|rimented of the ministerie, to be on his maiesties estate, his highnesse should haue beene by that meanes compelled to accept such as the multitude, by an od consent of the most vnlearned, should haue appointed, which could not tend but to the ouerthrow of the realme.

After they had discharged bishops, they agréed to haue superintendents, commissioners, and visi|tors: but in the end they decerned that there should be no difference amongst the ministers, and imagi|ned that new forme of presbyterie, whereof we haue spoken before. Neither was there anie other appa|rance that they should haue staied from such dailie alterations in the common-wealth, which could not but continuallie be disquieted, where the law of con|science, which they mainteined by the sword of cur|sing, was subiect to such mutations, at the arbitre|ment of a number, whereof the most part had not greatlie tasted of learning. At once the foresaid assemblie was accustomed, not onelie to prescribe the law to the king and estate, but also did at cer|teine times appoint generall fastings through out the realme; especiallie, when some factioner in the countrie was to moue anie great enterprise. For at the fast, all the ministers were commanded by the assemblie to sing one song, and to crie out vpon the abuses (as they termed it) of the court and estate for the time: whereby is most certeine great alte|rations to haue insued in this land; while at the good pleasure of God, and his blessing towards his ma|iestie, the pretense of the last fast was discouered, and his highnesse deliuered from such attempts, whereby his maiestie hath béene iustlie moued to dis|charge such conuentions, which might import so pre|iudiciallie to his estate.

But especiallie his maiestie had no small occasi|on, whereas the same assemblie being met at Eden|burgh, did authorise and auow the fact perpetrate at Ruthwen, in the taking of his highnesse most noble person. The which déed notwithstanding, with the ad|uise of his estates in parlement accounted to be treason, the said assemblie esteeming their iudge|ment to be the souereigne iudgement of the realme, hath not onlie approoued the same, but also ordeined all them to be excommunicate that would not sub|scribe and allow the same. So the acts of this assem|blie, and the lawes of the estate directed, weied in ci|uill matter, with the which the assemblie should not haue medled, it behooued his highnesse either to dis|charge himselfe of the crowne, or the ministerie of the forme of the assemblie, which in déed of it selfe, without the kings maiesties licence & approbation, could not be lawfull, like as generall councels at no time could assemble, without the commandement of the emperor for the time. And our king hath no lesse power within his owne realme than anie of them had in the empire. Yea the bishop of S. Andrewes had not in time of poperie, power to conuent the bi|shops and clergie out of their owne diocesse, without licence giuen before by his highnes most noble pro|genitors of good memorie, and the causes thereof in|timate and allowed.

Notwithstanding that his maiesties intention and meaning maie fullie be vnderstood, it is his highnesse will, that the bishop or commissioners of anie diocesse or prouince, or part thereof, shall at their visitation appoint in euerie parish, according to the greatnesse thereof, some honest, vertuous, and discréet men, to aid and assist the minister, and to haue the ouersight and censure of the maners and behauior of the people of that parish. And if there be anie notable offense, worthie of punishment, that the bishop and commissioners be aduertised thereof, who shall haue an officer of armes to be assistant for the punishment of vice and executions to follow therevpon: that they who contemne the godlie and lawfull order of the church, maie find by experience his maiesties displeasure, and be punished accor|ding to their deseruings. And further, his maiestie vpon necessarie occasions which shall fall foorth, by di|uers maners of waies amongst the clergie, vpon humble supplication made to his highnesse, will not refuse to grant them licence to assist the bishops, commissioners, and some of the most vertuous, lear|ned and godlie of their diocesse, where such ecclesia|sticall matters, as apperteine to the vniformitie of doctrine and conuersation of a godlie order in the church, maie be intreated and concluded in his ma|iesties owne presence, or some of his honorable councell, who shall assist for the time: where if neces|sitie so require, a publike fast throughout the whole realme maie be commanded, and by his maiesties authoritie proclamed, to auoid the imminent displea|sure and danger of the wrath of the Lords iudge|ments, which is the right end of publike humilitie, and not vnder pretense thereof to couer such enter|prises, as haue heretofore disquieted and troubled the peace of this common wealth.

The twentith act ratifieth and approoueth, and esta|blisheth the estate of the bishops within the realme, to haue the ouersight and iurisdiction, euerie one in their owne diocesse: which forme of gouernement, EEBO page image 441 and rule in ecclestasticall affaires, hath not onlie con|tinued in the church from the daies of the apostles, by continuall succession of time, and manie martyrs in that calling shed their bloud for the truth: but also sith this realme imbraced and receiued the christian religion, the same estate hath béene mainteined, to the welfare of the church, and quietnes of the realme without anie interruption, vntill within these few yeares, some curious and busie men haue practised to induce into the ministerie an equalitie in all things, aswell concerning the preaching of the word, administration of the sacraments, as likewise in discipline, order, and policie. The which confusion his maiestie finding by most dangerous experience, to haue béene the mother and nurse of great factions, seditions, and troubles within this realme, hath with aduise of his highnes estates, aduisedlie concluded, the said pretended partie in discipline, orders and po|licie in the church, to be no longer to be tolerated in his countrie, but the solicitude & care of all churches in one diocesse to apperteine to the bishop and com|missioners therof, who shall be answerable to God, and his maiestie, and estates, for the right admini|stration and discharge of the office of particular mi|nisters, within the bounds of his iurisdiction. For as it becommeth his maiestie, as Eusebius writeth of Constantinus the great, to be a bishop of bishops, and vniuersall bishop within his realme, in so far as his maiestie should appoint euerie one to dis|charge his duetie: which his highnesse cannot, his countrie being large and great, take him to euerie minister that shall offend and transgresse against dutie, or quarell with the whole number of the mi|nisterie: but it behooueth his maiestie to haue bi|shops & ouerseeers vnder him which maie be answe|rable for such bounds, as the law and order of the countrie hath limited and appointed to euerie one of them. And that they hauing accesse to his maiesties parlement and councell, maie intercede for the rest of the brethren of the ministerie, propone their gréefe vnto his highnesse and estates, and receiue his ma|iesties fauorable answere therein. The which forme dooth preserue a godlie quietnesse, vnitie, concord and peace in the estate, and one vniforme order in the church. As contrariwise, the pretended equalitie diuideth the same, and vnder the pretense of equali|tie maketh the same of the most craftie and subtile dealers to be aduanced and inriched: and in preten|ding of partie, to séeke nothing but their owne am|bition and aduancement aboue the rest of the simple sort.

And notwithstanding that his maiestie hath re|established the said estate, it is not his highnesse will and intent, that the foresaid bishop shall haue such full power as to doo within his diocesse what he plea|seth. For his maiestie cannot allow of anie popular confusion, wherein (as the prouerbe saith) Nulla ty|rannis aequiparanda est tyrannidi multitudinis, that is: No tyrannie can be compared to the tyrannie of a multitude, hauing commandement and power in his hands: so on the other part his maiesties will is, that the bishops authoritie in anie graue matter, be limited to the councell of thirtéene of the most an|cient, wise, and godlie persons of his diocesse, selected out of the whole synodall assemblie of the prouince: by whose aduise, or at the least the most part thereof, the weightie affaires of the church maie be gouer|ned to the glorie of God, and quietnes of the realme. Further it is his highnesse will and commande|ment, that their bishops and commissioners twise in the yeare, to wit, ten daies after Easter, and the sixt of September, hold their synodall assemblies in e|uerie diocesse, for the kéeping of good orders therein: and if anie be stubborne, or contemne within their bounds the good order of the church, that it maie be declared vnto his maiestie, and punished to the ex|ample of others, according to their deseruings. Nei|ther is it his maiesties meaning or intent, that such bishops or commissioners as shall be appointed, shall receiue their onelie and full commission of his ma|iestie without admission ordinarie, by such as are ap|pointed to that effect in the church: but hauing his highnesse nomination, presentation, and commen|dation as lawfull and onlie patrone, they to be tried and examined, that their qualities are such as they are able to discharge their cure and office. And if it shall happen anie of the said bishops or commissio|ners, to be negligent in their office, or to be slande|rous or offensiue in their behauior, life, and maners, in time to come, it is not his highnesse will, that they shall be exempted from correction, notwithstanding anie priuilege of his highnes estate, councell or par|lement: but their labors, trauels, diligence and beha|uiors, to be tried in the generall assemblie, not consi|sting of a confused multitude, as it was before; but of such worshipfull persons as is heretofore prescri|bed in his highnesse presence, or his deputies to that effect.

Lastlie his maiestie giueth commission to the said bishops or commissioners at their visitations, to consider in what part of the countrie, the enterprise, or interpretation of the scripture, by conference of a certeine number of the ministerie within those bounds, maie be most commodiouslie once in euerie fiftéene daies. For as his maiestie inhibits all vn|lawfull méetings, that maie ingender trouble and contention in the countrie: so his maiestie is well affected to sée the ministerie increase in knowledge and vnderstanding, and by all meanes to fortifie and aduance the same. Wherein his highnesse comman|dement is, that a graue, wise, and sage man shall be appointed president, who maie haue the ouersight of these bounds, and be answerable therefore to the bi|shop, his councell and synod; and he to be respected reasonablie for his paines, at the modification of sti|pends: that all things maie be orderlie doone in the church, peace & quietnesse mainteined in the realme, and we deliuered from apparant plagues, and the blessings of God continued to the comfort of our po|steritie. And in the meane time his highnesse inhi|bits & expreslie forbids vnder the paines conteined in his maiesties acts of parlement, & all other pains arbitrable at his maiesties sight & councell, that no minister take in hand to assemble themselues for the foresaid cause, without the appointment and order taken by the said bishops or commissioners, whereby his highnesse maie be certeinlie informed, that the foresaid ministers assemble not, to meddle with anie ciuill matters, or affaires of estate, as was accusto|med before; but onelie to profit in the knowledge of the word, and to be comforted one by another in the administration of their spirituall office: which his highnesse wisheth them faithfullie to discharge, and then to call to God, that his maiestie maie in a pro|sperous reigne enioie good and long life, and conti|nue and increase in the feare of the almightie.

Besides which, the king at the end of this his in|tention, did further articulate his intention into sundrie heads as here followeth.

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