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what I have now made known. So help me God, and the Contents of this Book.
Reasons why the University of OXFORD cannot submit to the
Covenant; the Negative Oath; the Ordinance concerning Discipline and Directory, mentioned in the late Ordinance of Parliament, for the Visitation of that place.
Hereas by an Ordinance of the Lords and Commons assembled in Par
liament, for the Visitation and Reformation of the University of Oxford, lately published, Power is given to certain Persons therein named as Visitors, to enquire concerning those of the said University, that neglect to take the solemn League and Covenant, and the Negative Oath being tendred unto them, and likewise concerning those that oppose the Execution of the Ordinances of Parliament concerning the Discipline and Directory, or shall not promote or cause the fame to be put in Execution according to their several Places, and Callings, We the Masters, Scholars, and other Officers and Members of the said University, not to judge the Consciences of others, but to clear our selves before God and the World from all Suspition of Obstinacy, whilst we discharge our own, present to consideration the true Reasons of our present Judgement concerning the said Covenant, Oath and Ordinances : Expecting so much Justice, and hoping for so much Charity, as either not to be pressed to conform to what is required in any the Premises, further than our present Judgements will warrant us; or not condemned for the refusing so to do, without clear and real Satisfaction given to our just Scruples.
Sect. I. Of the Preface to the Covenant. TH
HE Exceptions against the Introductory Preface to the Covenant, al
though we insist not much upon, because it may be said to be no Parc of the Covenant: yet among the Things therein contained, the Acknowledgement whereof is implicitely required of every Covenanter. '1. We are not able to say, that the Rage, Power, and Presumption of the
Enemies of God (in the Sense there intended) is at this Time increased. 2. Nor can truly affirm, that we had used or given Consent to any Suppli
cation or Remonstrance to the Purposes therein expressed. 3. Nor do conceive the entring into such a mutuall League and Covenant to be a lawfull, proper, and probable Means to preserve our Selves, and our Religion from Ruine and Destruction. 4. Nor can we believe the same to be according to the commendable Practice of thefe Kingdoms, or the Example of God's People in other Nations. When we find not the least Foot-step in our Histories of a sworn Covenant ever entred into by the People of this Kingdom upon any Occasion whatfoever ; nor can readily remember any commendable Example of the like
done in any other Nation : but are rather told, by the Defenders of this Covenant, that (a) the World never saw the like before. Sect. II. Of the Covenant in gross.
is. "C FIRST we are not satisfied, how we can submit to the taking thereof,
as it is now imposed under a Penalty. 1. Such Impofition (to our seeming) being repugnant to the Nature of a Covenant : which being a Contract, implyeth a (b) voluntary mutuall Consent of the Contractors; whereunto Men are to be induced by Perswasions, not compelled by Power. In so much that the very Words of this Covenant in the Preface, Conclusion, and whole Frame thereof runne in such a Form throughout, as import a Consent rather grounded upon prudentiall Motives, than extorted by Rigour. 2. Without betraying the Liberty, which by our Protestation we are bound, and in the third Article of this Covenant, must swear, with our Lives and Fortunes to preserve. To which Liberty the Imposition of a new Oath other than is established by Act of Parliament, is expressed in the (c) Petition of Right, and by the Lords and Commons in their (d) Declarations acknowledged to be contrary. 3. Without acknowledging in the Imposers, a greater Power then, for ought that appeareth to us, hath been in former Time challenged; Or can consist with our former Protestation (if we rightly understand it) in fundry the most material Branches thereof. Neither, fecondly, are we satisfied; although the Covenant would not be imposed upon us at all, but only recommended to us, and then left to our Choice. 1. How we should in Wisdom and Duty (being Subjects) of our own Accord and free Will enter into a Covenant, wherein He, whose Subjects we are, is in any wise concerned, without his Consent, either expressed or reasonably presumed. It being in his Power (as we conceive) by the Equity of the Law, Numb. 32. to annull and make void the same at his Pleasure. 2. How we can (now that His Majestie hath by His publique (e) Interdiet sufficiently made known His Pleasure in that Behalf) enter into a Covenant, the taking whereof he hath exprelly forbidden; forfeiting that Obedience,
(a) Şuch an Oath, as for Matter, Per- Man hereafter be compelled to take such fons, and other Çircumstances, the like an Oath - All which they most humbly hath not been in any Age or Oath we pray as their Rights and Liberties acread of in sacred or humane Stories. Mr. cording to the Laws and Statutes of this Nye, Covenant with Narrative, p. 12. Realm. Petit. of Right. 3 Carol.
(b) Pactis eft duorum pluriumve in idem (d) It is declared, 16 Jan. 1642. That placitum consensus, L. 1. ff. de Pactis. the King cannot compel Men to be sworn
(C) Whereas many of them have had without an Act of Parliament. Exact Colan Oath administred unto them not war- leet. pag. 859, 860. rantable by the Laws and Statutes of this (e) Proclam. of 9. Oktob. 19 Car. Realm, They do humbly pray that no
which (as we are perswaded) by our natural Allegiance and former Oaths we owe unto all such His Majestie's Commands, as are not in our Apprehension repugnant to the Will of God, or the positive Laws of this Kingdom.
Sect. III. Of the first Article of the Covenant, WI
Herein, first, we are not satisfied, how we can with Judgement swear
to endeavour to preserve the Religion of another Kingdom. 1. Whereof, as it doth not concern us to have very much, so we profess
to have very little Understanding. 2. Which (so farre as the Occurrents of these unhappy Times have brought it to our Knowledge, and we are able to judge) is in three of the four specified Particulars, viz. Worship, Discipline, and Government, much worse ; and in the fourth (that of Do&trine) not at all better than our own; which we are in the next Passage of the Article required to reform. 3:
Wherein if hereafter we shall find any Thing (as upon farther Under. standing thereof it is not impossible we may) that may seem to us favouring of Popery, Superstition, Herese, or Schism, or contrary to found Do&trine, or the Power of Godlinese; we shall be bound by the next Article to indeavour the Extirpation, after we have bound our selves by this first Article to the Preservation thereof. 4. Wherein we already find some Things (to our thinking) so far tending towards (f) Superftition and (8) Scbism, that it seemeth to us more reasonable that we should call upon them to reform the fame, than that they should call upon us to preserve it. Secondly, we are not satisfied in the next Branch, concerning the Reformation of Religion in our own Kingdom, in Do&trine, Worship, Discipline, and Government ; how we can swear to endeavour the same, (which without making a Change therein cannot be done,) 1. Without manifest Scandal to the Papist and Separatist. 1. By yeelding the Cause, which our godly Bishops and Martyrs, and all our learned Divines ever since the Reformation have both by their Writings and Sufferings maintained; who have justified, against them both, the Religion established in the Church of England to be agreeable to the Word of God. 2. By justifying the Papists in the Reproaches and Scorn by them cast upon our Religion, whose usual Objection it hath been and is, that we know not what our Religion is; that since we left them, we cannot tell where to stay; and that our Religion is a (b) Parliamentary Religion.
(f) Viz. In accounting Bishops Anti- erecting of the Throne of Christ. christian, and indifferent Ceremonies un- (b) Let us not be blamed if we call it lawfull,
Parliamentary Religion, Parliament Gospel, (8). Viz. In making their Discipline Parliament Faith. Harding, Confut. of Aand Government a Mark of the true pology, part 6. chap. 2. Church, and the setting up thereof, the
3. By a tacite Acknowledgement that there is something both in the
agreeable to God's Word : and have not been since either condemned by
the Realm, and the Statutes of our University in that Behalf. Wherein
nese is the only supreme Governour of this Realm, we do after swear to our
ceffors, 'Pot" united and annexed io tbe Imperial Crown of this Realm. One of
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Abuses in Matters Ecclefiaftical: as by the (i) Words of the said Statute ? more at large appeareth. The Oath affording the Propofition; and the
Statute the Assumption, we find no way how to avoid the Conclusion, piticum Sect. IV.: Of the second Article of the Covenant. i 9.0 side
1959 FI IRST, it cannot but affect us with fome Grief and Amazement, to fee
that ancient Form of Church-Government, which we heartily (and, as we hope, worthily) honour; as under which our Religion was at first lo orderly, without Violence or Tumult, and so happily reformed; and hath since so long fourished with Truth and Peace, to the Honour and Happiness of our own, and the Envy and Admiration of other Nations, not only, 1. Endeavoured to be extirpated; without any Reason offered to our Un
derstandings, for which it Ihould be thought necessary, or but so much as :. expedient so to do. But also, 2. Ranked with Popery, Superftition, Herefie, Schism and Propbanenelle; which
We unfainedly profess our felves to detest as much as any others whatsoever. 3. And that with fome Intimation also, as if that Government were some Way or other so contrary to found Doctrin, or the Power of Godlinefle, that whosoever fhould not endeavour the Extirpation thereof, muft of Necessity partake in other Men's Sins, which we cannot yet be perswaded to believe. 4. And we desire it may be considered, in Cafe a Covenant of like Form
should be tender'd to the Citizens of London, wherein they should be resquired to swear, they would sincerely, really and constantly without Respect
of Persons, endeavour the Extirpation of Treason, the City Government (by a Lord Mayor, Aldermen, Sheriffs, Common-Councel and other Offices depending thereon) Murther, Adulterie, Theft, Coufenage, and whatsoever
jhall be, &c. left they should partake in other Men's Sinnes, whether fuch ca tendry could be looked upon by any Citizen, that had the least Spirit of
Freedom in him, as an Act of Justice, Meekness and Reason? Secondly, for Episcopal Government, we are not satisfied how we can with a good Conscience swear to endeavour the Extirpation thereof, 1. in Respect of tbe Tbing it self. Concerning which Government we think we have Reason to believe. I. That it is (if not Jure divino in the stricteft, that is to say, exprefly commanded by God in his Word, yet) of Apostolical Institution, that is to say, was established in the Churches by the Apostles, according to the Mind and after the Example of their Máster Jesus Christ, and that by Vertue of their ordinary Power and Authority derived from him, as deputed by him Governors of his Church.
ij is (i) Such Jurisdictions, Privilegesy Sue fences, Contempts and Enormities, hall periorities and Preheminences, spiritual for ever by Authority of this present Parand, ecclefiaftical, as by any, &c. for the liament be united and annexed to the Visitation of the Ecclesiastical State and Imperial Crown of this Realm. An AA Persons, and for Reformation, Order and restoring to the Crown' the antient Jurifa Correction of the fame, and of all manner diction, &c. i Elizab. I. of Errors, Heresies, Schisms, Abuses, Ofe DE 2011.15 Whit' J Q992
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