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this Poem; yet from the Circumstances of his being compared to Sir Samuel Luke, Part 1. Canto 1. line. 906,&c. it is scarce probable, that he was intended, it being an uncommon thing to compare a Person to himself: that the Scene of Action was in Western Clime; whereas Bedfordshire is North of London; and that he was credibly inform’d by a Bencher of Grays-Inn, who had it from an Acquaintance of Mr. Butler's, that the Person intended, was Sir Henry Rosewell of Ford- Abbey in Devonshire. These indeed would be probable Reasons, to deprive Bedforshire of its Hero, did not Mr. Butler in his Memoirs of 1649. give the same Description of Samuel Luke ; and in his Dunstable Downs expresly style Sir Samuel Luke, Sir Hudibras. And from the sham Second Part, publish'd 1663. it appears, that the Bear-baiting was at Brentford, which is West of London, and this might induce him to say, Part 1. Canto 1. V. 677.

In Western Clime there is a Town, &c. The design of the Author in writing this Poem, was to expose the Hypocrisy and Wickedness of those, who began and carried on the Rebellion, under a Pretence of promoting Religion and Godliness; at the fame time that they acted against all the precepts of Religion. But in order to understand the several Disputes between the Knight and Squire, it may be proper to give an abstract of their Forms of Church Government and Worship, which may be a Clue to guide us through several parts of the Poem, which to the generality of Readers may be thought not a little intricate. And first, to give some account of the Presbyterian Scheme of Church Government, as they endeavoured to have it fet up here: and likewise of the Independent Scheme, (whom the Anabaptists also, such as Ralph was, agreed with in this point, though they differ'd about Infant Baptism, who were also for a sort of Church Government, but very different from That of the Presbyterians.) I think This, the more necessary, because little of it is to be found in our Histories of those Times: and without some A 3



knowledge of their several Schemes, many things, particularly the Rubs the Squire gives the Knight in this Poem, and the Disputes between them, are not to be understood.

According to the Presbyterian Scheme, every Parish was to have a Paftor or Minister, and Two Ruling Elders, who were Lay-Men, to be chosen by the Parishioners, and one or more Deacons to be chosen in the same manner, who were to receive the Alms collected at the Church Doors, and to distribute them as directed by the Minister, and Ruling Elders: and they had a Scribe to register what they did. It was a standing Maxim, That in all cafe's, there should be Two Ruling Elders to One Minister, and these governed by the whole Parish in Matters relating to Church Discipline. And if the Parish was small, as some Country Parishes are, and had not Two Persons in it fit to be Ruling Elders; it was immediately to be under the Government of the Claflis. The Claffis consisted of a Number of Parishes to be united for that purpose; the Ministers and Elders so united, being the Ecclesiastical Governours of all within that Precinct, having the same Power thus met in a Clasis, over all Persons within that Precinct, that each Minister, and his Elders, had over the several Parishes: Then there was a Provincial Synod, or an Assembly of all the Classes in a whole Country; to which Synod each Claffis fent Two Ministers, and Four Ruling Elders : and above these, there was to be a National Synod, to which the Provincial Synods were to send their Deputies; amongst which there were always to be Two Ruling Elders to One Minister : but what number every Province was to send to this National Synod is not set down in any Ordinance, I have yet seen.

The Congregational, or Parochial Eldership or Af sembly, were to meet once a week, or oftner, and were empower'd by an Ordinance of the Two Houses, dated Die Lune 20 Otober, 1645. to examine any Person complain'd of, for any Matter of Scandal recited in that Ordinance, such as Adultery, Fornication,



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ness, Curfing, Swearing, Gaming on the Lord's Day, or travelling on that Day without just occasion; with a multitude of other Matters, filling up one page of a book close printed in 4". “ This Eldership (lays the " Ordinance ) shall examine upon Oath such Witnesses, “ as shall be produced before them, either for acquit

ting or condemning the Party so accused, of any " of the 'Scandalous Crimes aforesaid, not Capital,

upon the Testimony of two credible Witnesses at " leaft: and if they are provid Guilty of the Crimes " they are charged with, then is the Eldership to

suspend them from the Lord's Supper, and Satis“ faction shall be given to the Eldership of every “ Congregation by a sufficient Manifestation of the " Offender's Repentance, before a Person lawfully “ convicted of such Matters of Scandal, as aforesaid, " and thereupon suspended from the Sacrament of " the Lord's Supper, be admitted thereto. If any “ Man suspended from the Lord's Supper shall find “ himself griev'd by the Eldership of any Congre

gation, he shall have liberty to appeal to the Claffical Eldership, and from thence to the Provincial

Asembly, from thence to the National, and from " thence to the Parliament. The Classical Eldership

was appointed to meet once a Month, the Provincial Asembly twice in a Year, and the National Af

sembly, when the Parliament pleased to call them. “ Thus the Parliament kept the Presbyterians here, " under their own Rule; but in Scotland, the National Assembly would acknowledge no Superior, in “ what they thought fit to call Spirituals."

The Independents were so called, because they maintain'd, that every Congregation was a compleat Church within itself, and ought to have no Dependency as to Matters relating to Religion, or any other Assembly, Classical, Provincial, or National, 'nor on any Civil Magistrate. They chose their own Minister, and That choice gave him fufficient Authority

, to preach without any Ordination : whereas, the Pres


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byterians required, that every Minister should be Ordain'd by laying on the Hands of the Presbytery: The Independents also allow'd any Gifted Brother, that is, any one who thought himself qualified, to preach and pray in their Assemblies himself: and though Independent Teachers got Parish Churches, and Good Livings as well as the Presbyterians, preached in them, and receiv'd the Profits of them ; yet all their Parishioners were not properly their Congregation: they were their Hearers indeed, that is, such as might hear them preach, but not such unto whom they would administer Sacraments : They had a select Company for that purpose out of several Parishes, who enter'd a Covenant with Him they chose for their Minister, and with one another, to walk by such Rules as they thought proper to agree upon, and to appoint Elders, who together with their Ministers were to have a fort of Rule over the Congregation : I say, a Sort

I of Rule, because I think, there lay an Appeal to the whole Congregation. In this Covenant the Rulers promised in the presence of Christ, to rule faithfully, diligently, and couragiously in the Faith, and in the Fear of God, &c. and the Ruled promised to obey their Rulers, and submit to them according to the Word of God. These Covenants have different Terms in different Congregations, for, as they are all Independent one from an other, no Congregation can impose a Form upon an other. There is a long Covenant of this kind which was entered into by the Congregation of 'Mr. Richard Davis of Rothwell in Northamptonshire, printed in the year 1700. And Mr. Daniel Williams, a famous Independent Minister (who as

the News Paper said, died worth Fifty Thousand Pounds) in a Letter which he wrote to a rich Widow who had left his Congregation, puts her in mind of the Covenant she entered into, saying, “ Did not you before God “ and his Angels, renew your Baptismal Covenant " and accept Me as your Pastor, and folemnly en



gage to walk in Subjection to Christ's Appoint“ ment? If you have forgotten it, yet know it is “ recorded on High, and not forgotten by God. " And how often have you witnessed it at the Table s of the Lord ! Does not Christ who appointed a special “ Relation between People and their Pastors, account you to be related to me as your Pastor; cc and does he not therefore command you to obey " me, as having the Rule over you ; and to submit

your self to me according to His Word?” There is a great deal more to the same purpose. This Letter with Remarks upon it by Mr. Dorrington, was printed for Henry Clements, 1710.

Thus the Independent Ministers, though they plead strenuously for Liberty of Conscience, yet take care to hamper the Consciences of all that joyn with them, by imposing upon

them a Covenant of Their own contriving. And that such a Covenant was used by the Independents when they first began to thew themselves, in the Times of which Mr. Butler writes, we learn from a small Pamphlet printed in the year 1647. the Title of which is, What the Independents would have: written by John Cooke of Gray's Inn, Barrister, which I take to have been John Cooke, who was afterward the Regicide. There he says, p. 4.concerning an Independent, " He thinks no Man will be Godly, “ unless he promises to be so, therefore wonders, “ that any Christian should speak against a Church " Covenant, which is no more, than to promise to “ do that by God's Affistance, which the Gospel re“ quires of Him." This is a full Proof that the Independents at that time, used what they called, ' A Church Covenant, as well as they have done it since, and I suppose continue to do so still. They admit all Persons to be their Hearers, but account none to be properly of their Church or Congregation, how constantly soever they attend their Prayers or Sermons, and contribute to the Maintenance of their Ministers, except they also sign that Covenant.


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