[14 March, 1645/6.]
That the Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament, Being
very sensible of the great Duty which lieth upon them to settle
matters concerning Religion, and the Worship of Almighty God;
And having continually before their Eyes, the Covenant which
they have so solemnly taken for the performance thereof, and
the manifold motives and incouragements thereunto, by a
special hand of Providence, pouring forth daily mercies upon
them: In discharge of their Duty, and in pursuance of the said
Covenant, and in thankefulnesse to God for all his Mercies
having diligently applied themselves to that Work of his House
by his Grace and assistance, they have made some progresse
therein, notwithstanding the exigency of other Affaires, accompanied oftentimes with great and imminent dangers; And
notwithstanding the great difficulty of the Work itself in divers
respects, and particularly in the right joynting of what was to be
settled with the Laws and Government of the Kingdom, the
want whereof hath caused much trouble in this and other
States; yet by the merciful assistance of God, having removed
the Book of Common Prayer, with all its unnecessary and
burdensome Ceremonies, and established the Directory in the
room thereof; and having abolished the Prelaticall Hierarchy by
Archbishops, Bishops, and their Dependants, and instead thereof
laid the foundation of a Presbyterial Government in every
Congregation, with Subordination to Classical, Provincial, and
National Assemblies, and of them all to the Parliament;
Although it cannot be expected that a present Rule in every
particular should be settled all at once, but that there will be
need of Supplyments and Additions, and haply, also of alterations, as experience shall bring to light the necessity thereof;
yet were the Fundamental and Substantial parts of that Government long since settled in persons, by and over whom it was to
be exercised, and the nature, extent, and Subordination of their
power was limited, and defined; onely concerning the Administration of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, how all such
persons as were guilty of notorious and scandalous Offences,
might be suspended from it, some difficulty arising, not so much
in the matter itself, as in the Manner how it should be done,
and who should be the Judges of the Offence: The Lords and
Commons having it alwayes in their purpose and intention, and
it being accordingly Declared and Resolved by them, That all
sorts of notorious scandalous Offenders should be suspended
from the Sacrament; For the preventing of an indefinite, and
unlimited power in the Eldership, they held it fit for the
present, That the particular Cases of such scandalous Offences
should be specified and enumerated with expresse Declaration,
That further provision should be made by Authority of Parliament, for such Cases as were left out of the said enumeration,
which, accordingly, having since taken into their serious
consideration, and having had several debates thereupon as the
difficulty of the Matter required, which hath taken up much
time, for the avoiding as far as possible may be all Arbitrary
power; and that all such cases wherein persons should be
suspended from the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, might be
brought to the cognizance, and passe the Judgement of the
Parliament, who were bound in Justice as well to take care that
none be injuriously detained from that Ordinance, as to give
power whereby such may be kept away who are unfit to partake
therein: And to the intent also that a full and speedy course
may be settled to enable the several Elderships to suspend all
such Offenders, from the Lords Supper, without having recourse
to the Parliament itself from all parts of the Kingdom upon
every such emergent Case, which might prove troublesome and
tedious, and give liberty to such notorious and scandalous
Offenders to communicate a long space in the said Ordinance;
And to the Intent likewise, That all such Cases coming first
from the particular Elderships, may, after they have passed the
Judgement of Parliament, return again to all the severall
Elderships within the Kingdom, to proceed upon them from
time to time in like manner as in the Cases enumerated. For
the ends and purposes aforesaid, and also for supply of some
defects in the former Ordinance, and Direction of Parliament,
concerning the choice of Elders, and some other Matters;
Election of Elders to be made throughout England and Wales.
I. Be it Ordained, That there be forthwith a choice made of
Elders throughout the Kingdom of England, and Dominion of
Wales, in the respective Parish Churches and Chappels, according to such Directions as have already passed both Houses,
bearing date August the nineteenth, One thousand six hundred
fourty and five, and since that time; and all Classes and
Parochial Congregations, are respectively hereby Authorised and
required forthwith effectually to proceed therein accordingly.
Notice to be given by Minister next Lord's day but one before.
II. That notice of the Election of Parochial and Congregational Elders, and of the time when it shall be, be given by the
Minister in the Publike Assembly, the next Lords day but one
before; and that on the said Lords day a Sermon be preached
preparatory to that weighty businesse.
Who shall elect.
III. That such Elections shall be made by the Congregation,
or the major part of them then assembled, being such as have
taken the National Covenant, and are not persons under Age,
nor servants that have no Families.
Triers of Elections to examine charges of undue election, scandal, etc., and put Witnesses on Oath.; Persons excepted against may have witnesses examined in like manner.
IV. That the Tryers of Elections of Elders, shall have power
to receive, hear, and determine all exceptions brought in to
them concerning undue Elections; and to that end to call
before them all such persons so elected, and accepting such
Election, and to send for such Witnesses as shall be nominated
unto them by such persons as shall bring in such exceptions;
and shall have power to examine upon Oath, both the persons
bringing in such exceptions, and the said witnesses, concerning
any undue proceedings in the manner of the said Election, and
concerning all matters of Ignorance, or scandal objected against
the party elected, and expressed in any Ordinance of Parliament,
to be a sufficient cause of suspension from the Sacrament of the
Lord's Supper (and of which, any Eldership by any Ordinance
of Parliament hath cognizance and jurisdiction) and that shall
be proved to have been committed within one whole yeare
before the exceptions exhibited; and that the persons against
whom the exceptions are taken, shall have like liberty to
produce Witnesses to be examined in like manner on their
Triers may examine Elders' qualifications.
V. That the Tryers shall have power to examine, Whether
the Elders that are to be chosen be so qualified as is expressed
in the Ordinance or Directions which hath passed both
In case of undue election may make fresh choice.
VI. That in case the Election of any Elder of a Congregation
upon just proof and examination, be found by the Tryers
appointed for that purpose, to be unduly made; The said
Tryers may order such Elder to be remouved, and another to be
chosen in his place.
Service in Royal Chapels.
VII. That the Chappels or places in the Houses of the King
and his Children, shall continue free for the exercise of Divine
Duties to be performed according to the Directory and not
Chapels in Peers' Houses.
VIII. That the Chappels or places in the Houses of the Peers
of this Realm, shall have the like freedom.
IX. That the Savoy Parish shall be reckoned within the
leventh Classis of London.
Chapels of the Rolls, Inns of Court, etc.
X. That the Chappel of the Rolls, the two Serjeants Inns, and
the four Inns of Court, shall be a Province of themselves.
That the Presbytery of the Chappel of the Rolls, the two
Serjeants Inns and the four Inns of Court, shall be divided into
That Lincolns Inn, Grays Inn, Serjeants Inn in Chancery Lane,
and the Rolls, shall be one Classis; that the two Temples and
Serjeants' Inn in Fleet Street, shall be the other Classis.
Classical Assemblies when to meet.
XI. That the Classical Assemblies in each Province, shall
assemble themselves within one month after they shall be
constituted and this Ordinance published, and shall thenceforth
hold their meetings monthly by adjournment, or oftener if need
be, in such a certaine place as shall be most convenient for the
ease of the people.
Composition of each Classis.
XII. That out of every Congregational Eldership, there shall
be two Elders or more, not exceeding the number of four, and
one Minister sent to every Classis.
What persons may besuspended from the Sacrament.
XIII. That all persons guilty of notorious scandalous offences,
and more particularly, all renouncers of the true Protestant
Religion professed in the Church of England; and all persons
that shall by preaching or Writing, maintain any such errours
as do subvert any of those Articles, the ignorance whereof do
render any person excluded from the Sacrament of the Lords
Supper: And all persons that shall make any Images, or
Pictures of the Trinity, or of any person thereof: And all
persons in whome malice appeares, and they refuse to be
reconciled; and the same appearing upon just proof, all such
persons may be suspended from the Sacrament of the Lords
Commissioners to be chosen by Parl. in every province to judge of certain scandalous offences.
XIV. That in every Province persons shall be chosen by the
Houses of Parliament, that shall be Commissioners to judge of
scandalous offences (not enumerated in any Ordinance of
Parliament) to them presented; And that the Eldership of that
Congregation where the said offence was committed, shall upon
examination and proof of such scandalous offence (in like
manner as is to be done in the offences enumerated) certifie the
same to the Commissioners, together with the proof taken before
them, and before the said certificate, the party accused shall
have liberty to make such defence as he shall thinke fit before
the said Eldership, and also before the Commissioners, before
any certificate shall be made to the Parliament. And if the
said Commissioners after examination of all parties, shall
determine the offence so presented and proved to be scandalous
and the same shall certifie to the Congregation, the Eldership
thereof may suspend such person from the Sacrament of the
Lords Supper in like manner as in cases enumerated in any
Ordinance of Parliament.
Qualifications of such; Commissioners.
XV. That such persons as shall be chosen for Commissioners
to judge of notorious and scandalous offences as aforesaid, shall
be men of good understanding in matters of Religion, sound in
the faith, prudent discreet, grave, and of unblameable conversation, and such as do usually receive the Sacrament of the Lords
Supper, as Members of a Presbyterial Congregation.
Minister may deal with scandalous offence in face of congregation.
XVI. That if any person shall commit any scandalous offence
(not enumerated in any Ordinance of Parliament) upon the day
of the Administration of the Sacrament of the Lords Supper in
the face of the Congregation after it is assembled, the Minister
of that Congregation may forbear to administer the Sacrament
to such a person for that time, and he shall within eight dayes
after certifie the said offence and forbearance unto the Commissioners aforesaid, and upon certificate so made, the said Commissioners shall proceed thereupon as in other cases not enumerated,
and shall make certificate of the case or cases, with their
opinions, to both houses of Parliament with all speed: And
thereupon the Parliament shall proceed to a final determination
of the case, and send the same determination thereof to the
Parish where such offence shall have been committed; and as
often as the like case shall fall out in any Congregation, the
Eldership thereof having notice of such determination, shall
proceed thereupon as in the case of offences enumerated in any
Ordinance of Parliament.
Meetings of Commissioners.
XVII. That the said Commissioners upon notice given to
them or any two of them, of any case of scandal befaln (Wherof
they ought to have cognizance by vertue of any Ordinance of
Parliament) shall assemble themselves in such certain place
within that Province, as may be most convenient for the ease of
the people: And thereof shall give timely notice to the Ministers
of that Province whereof they are Commissioners, and being
met, shall adjourn their meeting from time to time, for such
time as the case shall require.
Power of Assemblies to call witnesses.; Penalty for witnesses that refuse to appear.
XVIII. That the Eldership of each Congregation, or the
major part of them, as also the Classes of each Province or
major part of them, and also the Provincial Commissioners or
the major part of them after they shall be assembled, shall have
power by Warrant under their hands (in all cases whereof they
have cognizance, by any Ordinance of Parliament) to convent
before them all persons, against whom any complaint shall be
brought by vertue of any such Ordinance, and all such
Witnesses as shall be named according to any such Ordinance
for the discovery of the Truth of such complaint; and in case
any such person shall refuse to appear, not being a Peer of this
Realm, Member of the House of Commons, or Assistant of the
House of Peers, or Officer of either of the Houses of Parliament,
then, upon complaint made to the next Justice of the Peace, the
party refusing shall be brought before him; and in case of
obstinate persisting, shall be committed by the said Justice of
the Peace till he submit to order.
Persons suspended in one Congregation not to be admitted in another.
XIX. That if any Member of a Congregation shall by vertue
of any Ordinance of Parliament for any offence of scandal, be
suspended from the Sacrament of the Lords Supper; and being
so suspended, shall offer himself to any other Congregation to
receive the Sacrament of the Lords Supper together with them,
such Congregation having notice of such suspension, shall not
without certificate from the Congregation whereof he is a
Member, admit him unto the Sacrament.
Suspension of Ministers and Elders.
XX. That any Minister of a Congregation may be suspended
from giving or receiving, and any Elder from receiving the
Sacrament of the Lords Supper for the same causes, and in the
same manner, and have the like benefit of Appeal as any other
person may by any Ordinance of Parliament; and after such
suspension of the Elder from the Sacrament, the Elder that is
suspended, shall not execute that Office during his suspension
until the Appeal be determined; and if, upon Appeal the
suspension appear to have been just, then another to be chosen
in his place.
Cases of appeal.
XXI. That in all cases of Appeal to the Classical, Provincial,
or National Assembly, they shall have power respectively to
proceed thereupon by examination of Witnesses and otheswise
in such manner as the Congregational Eldership from which the
Appeal ariseth are enabled to do by any Ordinance of Parliament,
and shall certifie such their proceedings unto the said Eldership.
Classis may appoint substitute for suspended minister.
XXII. That in case of such suspension of any Minister, the
Classis Whereunto the said Congregation doth belong, shall
appoint some fit person or persons for the supply of that place
during such suspension, and shall have power to allow convenient maintenance for that end, out of the profits belonging to
the Minister so suspended, and have hereby power te sequester
and imploy the same for that purpose.
Persons suspended to be readmitted on repentance.
XXIII. That in all cases of suspension of any person from the
Sacrement, the party suspended (upon manifestation of his or
her repentance before the Eldership by whom the party was
suspended) shall be addmitted unto the Sacrament of the Lords
Supper, and the suspension thenceforth shall be void.
Provided, That if the said Commissioners or any two of them
shall not determine the case so certified as aforesaid to them
from the Eldership within six weeks after the Certificate to
them made. The party is hereby enjoyned to forbear coming to
the Sacrament until the cause shall be determined, or until he
give satisfaction to the Eldership.