Die Martis, 21 Aprilis, 1646.
THE House, according to Order, this Day, the
first Business, resumed the Consideration of the Narrative of the Matter of Fact concerning the Breach of the
Privilege of Parliament, by the last Petition of the Assembly of Divines: The which was voted Clause by Clause;
and was in bæc verba; viz.
A Narrative of the Matter of Fact concerning the
Breach of the Privilege of Parliament by the Petition
of the Assembly of Divines.
THE Parliament, by the fundamental Laws and
Constitutions of this Kingdom, hath this great
Privilege, to be the supreme Judicatory; and hath
Jurisdiction in all Causes, spiritual and temporal, and
to delegate so much of this Power as they think
fit: And, when they have declared their Judgments,
and given their Directions, in a Law, the same is binding to all Persons of this Kingdom, of what Quality
The Assembly of Divines, called by Ordinance of Parliament, are authorized and injoined by the said Ordinance, from time to time, during this present Parliament,
or until further Order be taken by both the said Houses,
to treat of such Matters therein mentioned, as shall be proposed unto them, from time to time, by both or either of
the Houses of Parliament, and no other; and to deliver
their Opinions and Advices, of or touching the Matters
aforesaid, as shall be most agreeable to the Word of God,
to both or either of the said Houses, from time to time,
in such Manner and Sort as by both or either of the said
Houses shall be required; with a Prohibition, that they
do not assume to exercise any Jurisdiction, Power, or Authority, Ecclesiastical, whatsoever, or any other Power,
than what in the said Ordinance is particularly expressed.
The Assembly are further authorized, by Ordinance of
Parliament, the Twelfth of October 1643, to treat among
themselves of such a Discipline and Government 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 to deliver their
Opinions and Advice therein, with all convenient Speed, to
the Houses: Whereupon they gave their Advice, before
the Houses declared their Judgment in the Ordinance for
The Parliament having received the Advice of the Assembly concerning Presbyterial Government; and particularly, That Jesus Christ hath placed in the Ministers and
Elders of his Churches the Power of keeping away scandalous and unworthy Persons from the Lord's Table;
Both Houses, after mature Deliberation had thereupon,
did, notwithstanding, ordain, by a Law, That, in Cases
not enumerated, the Commissioners, by them to be appointed according to the said Law, should exercise so much
of the said Power, as in that Law is provided.
The Assembly are not authorized, as an Assembly, by
any Ordinance or Order of Parliament, to interpret the
Covenant, especially in relation to any Law made or to
be made; nor, since the Law passed both Houses concerning the Commissioners, have been required by both or
either of the Houses of Parliament, or had any Authority
before by Parliament, to deliver their Opinions to the
Houses, in Matters already judged and determined by
them: Neither have they Power, either to debate or vote,
whether what is passed as a Law by both Houses, be
agreeing or disagreeing to the Word of God, until they be
Matter of Fact arising from the Petition itself.
The Assembly of Divines, under the Name of a Petition, dated March 23 1645, attested by the Prolocutor,
and the Two Scribes;
First, Do oppose their Judgment, as an Assembly, in
relation to a Law passed both Houses, unto the Judgment
of Parliament, being not thereunto authorized nor required; affirming, That the Provision of Commissioners
to judge of Scandals, not enumerated, appears to their
Consciences to be so contrary to that Way of Government
which Christ hath appointed in his Church, in that it
giveth a Power to judge of Persons to come to the Sacrament, unto such as Christ hath not given that Power;
and to be, in many respects in the said Petition mentioned, so disagreeable to the Covenant; that they dare
not practise according to that Provision.
Secondly, The Assembly, in their Petition, do declare,
That the Power of judging in Cases not enumerated
(placed, in Part, by the said Laws, in Commissioners), and
to keep back from the Sacrament all such as are notoriously scandalous, doth belong to the several Elderships
by divine Right, and by the Will and Appointment of
Christ; excluding thereby the said Commissioners, and in
them the Parliament, from the Power and Right to judge
in Cases of Scandal not enumerated.
This being taken into Consideration by the House of
Commons; after a long and serious Debate had thereupon,
they have Resolved and Declared, That this Petition, thus
presented by the Assembly of Divines, is a Breach of Privilege of Parliament.
Mr. Samuel Browne, Mr. Prideaux, Mr. Natha.
Fines, Mr. Marten, Mr. John Stephens, Sir John Evelyn
of Wiltes, Sir Arthur Haslerigg, Sir Peter Wentworth,
Mr. Rowse, Mr. Tate, Mr. Gurdon;
This Committee is appointed to communicate, in a fair
manner, unto the Assembly of Divines, the Vote of this
House, upon the Breach of Privilege in their Petition:
And are to inlarge themselves upon the several Heads of
the Narrative brought in from the Committee, and resolved on by the House.
Ordered, &c. That Mr. Walker, a Member of this
House, shall have Leave to go into the Country, for Recovery of his Health.
Ordered, &c. That the Questions, brought from the
Committee, to be propounded to the Assembly of Divines,
be taken into Consideration To-morrow Morning, the first
Business: And that, immediately after, the whole Business
concerning the North, and concerningNottinghamshire,
be taken into Consideration.
Ordered, &c. That Sir Philip Parker shall have Mr.
Speaker's Warrant for his Son to go beyond Seas, into the
Ordered, &c. That, on Saturday next, peremptorily, the
first Business, the House do take into Consideration the
Reports from Goldsmiths-Hall: And that Mr. Speaker
put the House in mind hereof.
Ordered, &c. That Paul Best be brought to the House
on Thursday come Sevennight: And that, in the mean
time, he be remanded, and kept Prisoner, according to