A Copy of the Petition of the Divines of the Assembly, delivered to both Houses of Parliament, July 19, 1643
To the Right Honourable the Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament,
The humble Petition of divers Ministers of Christ, in the name of themselves,
and of sundry others,
That your Petitioners upon serious consideration, and deep sense of God's heavy wrath lying on us, and hanging over our heads, and the whole Nation, and manifested particularly by the two late sad, and unexpected defeats of our Forces in the North, and in the West, do apprehend it to be our duty as Watchmen for the good of the Church and Kingdom, to present to your religious and prudent consideration these ensuing Requests, in the Name of Jesus Christ, Your Lord and ours.
First, That you would be pleased to command a Public and extraordinary day of Humiliation, this week, throughout the Cities of London, Westminster, the Suburbs of both, and places adjacent within the weekly Bills of Mortality, that every one may bitterly bewail his own sins, and cry mightily unto God for Christ his sake, to remove his wrath, and to heal the Land, with professed and renewed resolutions of more full performance of the late Covenant for the amendment of our ways.
Secondly, That you would vouchsafe instantly to take it into your more serious consideration, how you may most speedily set up Christ more gloriously in all his Ordinances within this Kingdom, and reform all things amiss throughout the Land, wherein God is more specially and more immediately dishonoured: Among which we humbly lay before you these particulars;
1. That the brutish ignorance and palpable darkness possessing the greatest part of the people in all places of the Kingdom, whereby they are utterly unfit to wait upon God in any holy duty (to the great dishonour of the Gospel, and the everlasting endangering of their poor souls) may be remedied, by a speedy and strict charge to all Ministers constantly to Catechise all the youth, and ignorant people, (they being commanded to be subject to it) and all sorts to be present at it, and information to be given of all persons who shall withstand or neglect it.
2. That the grievous and heinous pollution of the Lord's Supper, by those that are grossly ignorant, and notoriously profane, may be henceforth with all Christian care and due circumspection prevented.
3. That the bold venting of corrupt Doctrines, directly contrary to the sacred Law of God, and religious humiliation for sin, which open a wide door to all Libertinism and disobedience to God and man, may be speedily suppressed everywhere, and that in such manner as may give hope that the Church may be no more infected with them.
4. That the Profanation of any part of the Lord's Day, and the days of solemn Fasting by buying, selling, working, sporting, traveling, or neglecting of God's Ordinances, may be remedied by appointing special Officers in every place for the due execution of all good Laws and Ordinances against the same.
5. That there may be a thorough and speedy proceeding against blind guides and scandalous Ministers, by whose wickedness people either lack or loath the Ordinances of the Lord, and thousands of souls perish, and the removal of the Ark from among us, is (to the trembling of our hearts) evidently threatened. And that your Wisedoms would find out some way to admit into the Ministry such godly and hopeful men as have prepared themselves and are willing thereunto, without which there will suddenly be such a scarcity of able and faithful Ministers, that it will be to little purpose to cast out such as are unable, idle or scandalous.
6. That the Laws may be quickened against Swearing and Drunkenness, with which the Land is filled and defiled, and under which it mourneth.
7. That some severe course be taken against Fornication, Adultery and Incest, which do greatly abound, especially of late by reason of impunity.
8. That all monuments of Idolatry and Superstition, but more especially the whole body and practice of Popery may be totally abolished.
9. That Justice may be executed on all Delinquents, according to your solemn and religious Vow and Protestation to that purpose.
10. That all possible means may be used for the speedy relief and release of our miserable and extremely distressed Brethren, who are prisoners in Oxford, York, and elsewhere whose heavy sufferings cry loud in the ears of our God; and it would lie very heavy upon the Kingdom, should they miscarry, suffering as they do for the cause of God,
That so God, who is now by the Sword avenging the quarrel of his Covenant, beholding your integrity and zeal, may turn from the fierceness of his wrath, hear our prayers, go forth with our Armies, perfect the work of Reformation, forgive our sins, and settle Truth and Peace throughout the Kingdom.
And the Petitioners shall ever pray, &c.
This Petition being read in both Houses, Answer was returned to the Divines that presented it to this effect; That the Petition was very well approved, that both Houses had agreed to have a Public Fast in all the places mentioned in the Petition, on the Friday then next following, being July 21. (which accordingly was very solemnly performed by both Houses of Parliament and the Assembly all together, as well as by the Cities,) and that they would take the other particulars into speedy consideration.