[5 February, 1643/4.]
Covenant to be taken throughout England and Wales.
Whereas a Covenant for the preservation and Reformation of
Religion, The maintenances and defence of Laws and Liberties,
hath been thought a fit and excellent means to acquire the
favour of Almighty God towards the three kingdomes of England, Scotland, and Ireland; and likewise to unite them, and by
uniting, to strengthen and fortifie them against the CommonEnemy of the true reformed Religion, Peace and Prosperity of
these Kingdomes; And whereas both Houses of Parliament in
England, the Cities of London and Westminster, and the Kingdome of Scotland have already taken the same; It is now
Ordered and Ordained by the Lords and Commons in Parliament,
that the same Covenant be solemnly taken in all places throughout the Kingdome of England, and Dominion of Wales. And
for the better and more orderly taking thereof these directions
ensuing are appointed and enjoyned strictly to be followed.
Instructions for the same.
Instructions for the taking of the Solemn League and Covenant
thoughout the Kingdome.
Speakers of both Houses to send copies to Lord General, etc.
That the Speakers of both Houses of Parliament doe speedily
send (to the Lord Generall, and all other Commanders in chiefe,
and Governours of Townes, Forts, Castles, and Garrisons, as also
to the Earle of Warwick Lord High Admirall of England) true
Copies of the said solemne League and Covenant, to the end it
may be taken by all Officers and Souldiers under their severall
Copies to be sent to Committees in Counties.
II. That all the Knights and Burgesses now in Parliament,
doe take special care speedily to send down into their severall
Counties (which are or shall hereafter be under the power of the
Parliament) a competent number of true Copies of the said
League and Covenant unto the Committees of Parliament in
their severall Counties; And that the said Committees doe within
six dayes at the most, disperse the said Copies to every Parish
Church or Chappell in their severall Counties, to be delivered
unto the Ministers, Churchwardens, or Constables of the severall
Committees to make returns.
III. That the said Committees be required to returne a Certificate of the day when they received the said Copies, as also
the day they sent them forth, and to what Parishes they have
sent them, which Certificate they are to return to the Clerke of
the Parliament appointed for the Commons House, that so an
Account may be given of it, as there shall be occasion.
Covenant to be read on Lords Day.
IV. That the severall Ministers be required to reade the said
Covenant publikely unto their people the next Lords day after
they receive it, and prepare their people for it, against the time
that they shall be called to take it.
Time for taking Covenant by Committees.
V. That the said League and Covenant be taken by the Committees of Parliament in the place where they reside, and tendered also to the Inhabitants of the Town, within seven dayes
after it comes to the said Committees hands.
Duties of Committee.
VI. That the said Committees after they have taken it themselves doe speedily disperse themselves through the said Counties,
so as three or foure of them be together on dayes appointed at the
chiefe place of meeting for the several divisions of the said
Counties, and summon all the Ministers, Churchwardens, Constables, and other Officers unto that place, where, after a Sermon
preached by one appointed by the Committee for that purpose,
they cause the same Minister to tender the League and Covenant
unto all such Ministers and other Officers, to be taken and subscribed by them, in the presence of the said Committees.
Duties of Ministers.
VII. That the said Committees do withall give the said
Ministers in charge to tender it unto all the rest of their
Parishioners the next Lords day, making then unto their said
Parishioners some solemn exhortation concerning the taking and
observing thereof: And that the said Committees do also return
to the severall Parishes the Names of all such as have taken the
Covenant before them, who yet shall also Subscribe their Names
in the book or Roll with their neighbours in their severall
Parishes: And if any Minister refuse or neglect to appear at the
said Summons, or refuse to take the said Covenant before the
Committee, or to tender it to his Parish, that then the Committees
be carefull to appoint another Minister to do it in his place.
Covenant to be tendered to all men above 18.
VIII. That this League and Covenant be tendered to all men,
within the severall Parishes, above the age of eighteene, as well
Lodgers as Inhabitants.
IX. That it be recommended to the Earl of Manchester to take
speciall care that it be tendred and taken in the Universitie of
Assembly of Divines to make exhortation.
X. That for the better encouragement of all sorts of Persons
to take it; It be recommended to the assembly of Divines to
make a brief Declaration by way of Exhortation to all sorts of
persons to take it, as that which they judge not onely lawfull, But
(all things considered) exceeding expedient and necessary, for
all that wish well to Religion, the King and Kingdome, to joyn
in, and to be a singular pledge to Gods gracious goodness to all
the three Kingdomes.
Where Covenant refused.
XI. That if any Minister do refuse to take, or to tender the
Covenant, or any other person or persons do not take it the Lords
day that it is tendered, that then it be tendered to them again
the Lords day following, and if they still continue to refuse it,
that then their Names be returned by the Minister that tenders
it, and by the Churchwardens or Constables, unto the Committees,
and by them to the House of Commons, that such further
course may be taken with them, as the Houses of Parliament
shall see cause.
Persons absenting themselves.
XII. That all such persons as are within the severall Parishes
when notice is given of the taking of it, and do absent themselves from the Church at the time of taking it, and come not in
afterwards to the Minister and Churchwardens, or other officers,
to take it in their presence before the returne be made, be returned as refusers.
Manner of taking the Covenant.
XIII. The manner of the taking it to be thus, The Minister to
read the whole Covenant distinctly and audibly in the Pulpit,
and during the time of the reading thereof, the whole Congregation to be uncovered, and at the end of this reading thereof, all
to take it standing, lifting up their Right hands bare, and then
afterwards to subscribe it severally, by writing their names (or
their marks, to which their names are to be added) in a parchment Roll, or a Book, wherinto the Covenant is to be inserted,
purposely provided for that end, and kept as a Record in the
Exhortation of Divines to be publicly read.
XIV. That the assembly of Divines do prepare an Exhortation for the better taking of the Covenant: And that the said
Exhortation and the Declaration of the Kingdomes of England
and Scotland, joyned in the Armies, for the vindication and defence of their Religion, Liberties and Lawes, against the Popish
Prelaticall and Malignant party, and passed the 30. of Ianuary
last, be publikely read, when the Covenant is read, according to
the fourth and sixth Articles: And that a sufficient number of
the copies of the said Declaration be sent by the persons appointed to send the true Copies of the said Covenant in the first
and second articles.