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1686. Persons exercising Spiritual Jurisdiction, by any
Grant or Commiilion of the King's Majesty ; but it was declar'd and enacted (13 Carol. 2. c. 12.) That neither the said Aci, (of 17 Car. 1. ) nor any thing there in contuin’d, does, or shall take away any such ordinary Power or Authority; but that they may Proceed, Determine, Sentence, Exécute, and Exercise all manner of Ecclefiaftical Jurisdiction, and all Cenfures and Coercions appertaining and belonging to the same, before the making of 112 Aa, (17 C.1.) in all Cauf:s and Matters belonging to Ecclefiaftical Jurisdiction, according to the King's Majesty's Ecclefiftial Laws, used and practis'd in this Realm.
From this Act (13 Car. 11.) the Popish Party inferr'd, That there was no other Power takin from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, than that of Fining, Imprifming, or tendering the Oath ex officio; Ibat so mich was suppress'd by 17 Car. I. and no more ; That an Ecclesiastical Court exercising this Power wus put down, and the erecting the like for time to come stričily forbidden; but that the Court now set up by King James, ws not like to that, since it pretinded not to Fine, or Imprison, or tender the Oath ex officio, but kept within the Bounds of Ecclefiaftick Cenfieres. Nay, they did not stick to averr, That the Court beld by His Majesties Ecclesiastical Commissioners, w. niore' legal than, Doctors-Commons, and the Bishops. Courts, the first being in the King's Name, the others in the Archbishops and Bishops Name only. Thus the Papists, supported by a King of their Religion, beat the Protejtants with their own Weapons, and made use againt them of those very Statutes which were chiefly intended to discountenance Popery. But to pursue my Narrative, these Ecclefiaftical Commillioners were directed by the
Court to exercise their new Authority with the Chara&ter Suspension of Dr. Compton, Lord-Bishop of London. of the Bi- This Prelate, by his diffusive Charity, and wise joop of
Conduct, had gain'd the Love and Ésteem of all London.
the Protestant Churches both at home and abroad; and contented with that Distinction which his noble Birth, and his eminent Station gave him, had disdain'd those mean and servile Arts, where
by some other Clergymen had recommended them- 1686.
Dr. Sharp. of York.
The Romish Priests about the King had prevail'd with His Majesty to send to the Protestant Bishops the Letter or Order, already mention'd, containing Directions about Preachers. Dr. Sharp, a learned Divine, and principally admir'd for his great Talents for the Pulpit, and eafie, tho' manly Eloquence, taking Occation in some of his Sermons to vindicate the Church of England, in Opposition to the Frauds and Corruptions of Popery ; this, by the Court Emissaries was interpreted to be, the endeavonring to beget in the Minds of his Hearer's an illo.
The King's pinion of the King and his Government, by insinuating Letter to Fears and fealousies to dispose them to Discontent, and the Bishop to lead them into Disobedience, Schism and Rebellion ; of London, and consequently, a Contempt of the Order about June 14. Preachers. Whereupon the King sent a Letter to 1686. the Bihop of London, containing an Order to Sufpend Dr. Sharp from Preaching in any Parish or Chappel in his Diocess, until the Doctor had given Satisfaction, and His Majetties further Pleasure should be known. . The Bishop of London perceiving
1686. what the Court aim'd at in this Letter, endea
vour'd to divert the Storm that threatned not only him, but the whole Church of England. He writ a Letter to the Secretary of State, to be com
municated to the King, setting forth : “ That he Bishop of “thought it his Duty to obey His Majesty in whatLondon's “foever Commands' he laid upon him, that he Letter.
“ could perform with a safe Conscience: But in " this he was to proceed according to Law, and
as a Judge; and by the Law, no Judge condemns
a Man before he has Knowledge of the Cause, “ and has cited the Party. That however he had
acquainted Dr. Sburp with His Majesties Plea
sure, whom he found so ready to give all reason“ able Satisfaction, that he had made him the
Bearer of that Letter. Dr.Sharp's
With this Letter from the Bishop of London, Petition.
Dr. Sharp carried a Petition to the King in his own Name, humbly reprelenting, “ That ever fince “His Majeliy was pleas'd to give Notice of his
Displeasure against him, he had forborn the pub“ lick Exercise of his Function: And as he had " endeavour'd to do the belt Service he could to “ His Majeliy, and His late Brother, in his Station;
so he had not vented now in the Pulpit any thing “tending to Faction or Schism; and therefore "prayed His Majetty would be pleas'd to lay a. “lide his Displeature conceiv'd' against him, and
restore hiin to that Favour which the rest of
the Clergy enjoy’d. All these Subinillions were to no Purpose ; nothing could satisfie the Popish Cabal, but a Revenge upon the Bishop of London for his exemplary Zeal in the Defence of the Protestant Church; and this Affair of Dr. Sharp was made use of as a plausible Pretence to mortifie him, and in his Person the whole Body of the Clergy; who now began to dread the Rod they themselves had, in a manner, put into the King's Hand, by their late Doctrine of Pasive Obedience. The Ecclefiaftical Commillioners, (viz. the Chancellor, the Earls of Sunderland and Rochester, the Bishops of
Durham and Rochejter, and the Lord Chief-Juftice * Aug. 4. Herbert) being set at White-Hall, the Bishop of 1686.
London, according to their Summons, made his Ap- 1686. pearance before 'em, and was treated in a manner unworthy of his Quality, and high Station in the Church, not being allow'd so much as a Stool to fit on. Jefferies their Chairman told him, with his usual Bluntness, That the King had given them a Commillion, by which they were impower'd to take Cognizance of all Ecclefiaftical Matters, and that they were order'd to Cite him before them; that he had but a short Question to ask him, and defi'd him to answer politively, why he had not obey'd His Majesties Command for suspending, Dr. Sharp? The Bishop of London own'd" he had receiv'd such a Command froin the King, but “ that
if he committed any Fault in that Affair, 't was “ rather thro’ Ignorance or Mistake,than wilfúlDilo
bedience; that he had always been ready to pay all “ manner of Respect to His Majeliy's Orders; and
that if he had not given him Proofs of his duti"ful Submission upon this Occasion, 'twas because “ he was assurd he could not lawfully do it; that " he took the belt Advice he could get concern
ing the Suspension of Dr. Sharp, and was in
form'd, that the Letter being sent to him as - Bishop of London, to suspend & Person under his “ Jurisdiction, he was therein to act as a Judge, it being a judicial Act; and that no Perlon could by Law be punith'd by Suspension, before he
was call'd, or without being adınitted to inaks “his Defence; that he thought it therefore his
Duty forthwith humbly to represent so much
to the Lord President, that so he might receive “ His Majefties Pleasure in that Matter ; never
theless, that he might obey His Majesties Com“mands, as far as by Law he could, he did then “ fend for Dr. Sharp, and acquainted him with
His Majelties Displeasure, and the Occafion of it; " that the Doctor having never been call'd to anS swer any such Matter, or make his Defence; “ but rather protesting his Innocence, and like. “ wise declaring himself most ready to give His
Majesty full Satisfaction therein, he advis'd him to forbear Preaching, until he had applied him
“ felf to His Majesty ; that at his Requeft he made “ him the Bearer of a Letter to the Lord-President,
waiting for His Majesties further Orders to pro“ ceed againti hum judicially, in cafe he should not
at that time give His Majetty the Satisfaction "requir'd; and that the faid Doctor had not fince
preach'd within his Diocess. He further said, That he was unprepar'd to answer, not knowing before what he was Cited for; and therefore pray'd the Court that he might have a Copy of the Commillion by which they acted, and
of his Accusation. The Chancellor delir'd him to explain his Demands; for if he ask'd a Copy of their Commillion, with Delign to dispute the Jurisdiction of the Court, he had an Answer ready for him ; that till they knew what Use he would make of it, he must needs tell him his Demand was unrealovable, and therefore not to be granted; that their Coinmitlion was upon Record, and tc be seen in every Coffee House; and that he doubted not but that his Lord'hip had seen it. The Bilhop replied, he had never seen it, neither did he detire to see it with Delign to dispute the Legality of it; but that there having been no such Commitlion granted within an Hundred Years patt, he inight perhaps find something in it either to juttite his patt, or at least to direct his future Conduct in this Affair; that if they would not let him have a Copy of it, he hop'd at least they would allow him to read it, or cause it to be read to him, which was refus’d. Then the Bithop defir'd a Copy of the Information, which was likewise denied ; Jefferies alledging, That such a Court as theirs was, always proceeded briefly, and Viva voce, and therefore he mult ask him the same short Question once more ,
Why he did not obey the King? The Bishop faid, The Question was indeed a short one, but that it requirà many Words to be answer'd that he defir'd the Court to consider he was a Peer and a Lithop; and that as he bore a publick, tho’undeserved, Character, he ought to be the more cautious of doing any thing contrary to Law; that as he understood there was no