The First Admonition to Parliament  1572.

Following the succession of Queen Elizabeth I to the throne of England in  1558,  very many dissenters and non conformists returned from exile on the continent. Among them were many who had been in Geneva who were keen to bring a Calvinist reformation to the Church of England. As a group they were called Puritans - this included the main dissenting groups that would become the  Baptists, Congregationalists and the Presbyterians. The separate faiths would emerge in England in the late 16th and early 17thC  when  `Nonconformists` and `Dissenters` was then used to describe them. Meanwhile the Puritans were themselves divided into two groups, one remaining with the Church of England, working from within for desired reform; and the nonconforming groups who wanted change right away. The first group were influential but their efforts were unavailing and they either joined the dissenters, or went abroad to Holland and the Low Countries, or joined those who opted to go to New England.

The Puritans presented two `Admonitions` to Parliament. Subsequently the first presbytery was established at Wandsworth, then in the county of Surrey, in 1572. The Presbyterian leaders at this time were Thomas Cartwright (1535-1603) and William Perkins (1558-1602). The document was composed by Cartwright, Sampson and others, and addressed to the Parliament of 1572. 

 An Extract:-

 An Admonition to the Parliament. A view of popish abuses yet remaining in the English Church for the which godly ministers have refused to subscribe.

 Whereas immediately after the last parliament [ 1571 ]. . . the ministers of God’s holy word and sacraments were called before her Majesty`s High Commissioners, and enforced to subscribe unto the articles. if they would keep their places and livings, and some for refusing to subscribe were . . removed . May it please therefore this honourable and high court of parliament to take a view of such causes as then did withhold and now doth the foresaid ministers from subscribing and consenting unto those foresaid articles, by way of purgation to discharge themselves of all disobedience towards the Church of God and their sovereign, and by way of most humble entreaty for the removing away of all such corruptions and abuses as with­held them Albeit, right honourable and dearly beloved, we have at all times borne with that which we could not amend in this book [ The Book of Common Prayer ] and have used the same in our ministry, so far forth as we might .  . yet now being compelled by subscription to allow the same and to confess it not to he against the word of God in any point, but tolerable, we must needs say as followeth that this book is an unperfect book, culled and picked out of that popish dunghiIl the portuise and mass-book full of all abominations. For some and many of the contents therein be such as are against the word of God…

Their pontifical  [procedures]  … whereby they consecrate bishops, make ministers and deacons, is nothing else but a thing word for won drawn out of the Popes pontifical ..; and as the names of archbishops, archdeacons, lord bishops, chancellors, &c. are drawn out of the Pope’s shop together with their offices, so the government which they use ... is antichristian and devilish, and contrary to the scriptures. And as safely may we, by the warrant of God`s word, subscribe to allow the dominion of the Pope universally to rule over the word of God, as of an arch­bishop over a whole province, or a lord bishop over a diocese which containeth many shires and parishes. For the dominion that they exercise . . . is unlawful and expressly forbidden by the word of God

What should we speak of the archbishop’s court, sith all men know it, and your wisdoms cannot but see what it is. As all other courts are subject to this by the Popes prerogative, yea, and by statute of this realm yet unrepealed, so is it the filthy quake-mire and poisoned plash of all the abominations that do infect the whole realm,.. And as for the commissaries’ court. that is but a petty little stinking catch that floweth out of that former great puddle, robbing Christ’s Church of lawful pastors, of watchful seniors and elders, and careful deacons

And as for the apparel, though we have been long borne in hand, and yet are, that it is for order and decency commanded, yet we know and have proved that there is neither order nor comeliness nor obedience in using it.  Neither is the controversy betwixt them and us (as they would bear the world in baud) for a cap, a tippet or a surplice, but for great matters concerning a true ministry and regiment of the church according to the word …. If it might please her Majesty, by the advice of your Right Honourable, in this High Court of Parliament, to hear us by writing or otherwise to defend ourselves, then, such is the equity of our cause that we would trust to find favour in her Majesty’s sight ... If this cannot be obtained, we will, by God’s grace, address ourselves to defend his truth by suffering and willingly lay our heads to the block, and this shall be our peace, to have quiet consciences with our God, whom we will abide for with all patience until he work our full deliverance.  "

Home Scottish Reformation The Covenanters Ulster Scots English Reformation European Reformation General Topics & Glossary My Books & Bibliography Contact