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Ruling eldership in Civil War England, the Scottish kirk, and early new England: a comparative study of secular and spiritual aspects.

Within early modern Christianity the idea of church government always entailed a basic contradiction. How could a spiritual body, devoted to Christ's teachings of love and forgiveness, exercise coercive authority? Given the widely accepted need of any sixteenth- or seventeenth-century government to enforce religiously based codes of behavior, churches and church officials were inevitably involved with the secular authorities in detecting and judging offenders. Inasmuch as such judgment had to include the threat of punishment, church officials of any kind were open to the charge of violating their Christian mission, which by nature was to be persuasive and educative rather than punitive, and also their Christian character, which, even among more radical Protestant sects, was to be more otherworldly than that of the laity.

In no area of Europe was this quandary so thoroughly explored as in seventeenth-century Britain, with its variety of episcopal, presbyterian, and congregationalist church governments, and with its experience of constitutional upheaval and civil war. In the debates of the Long Parliament in 1644-46 this quandary came into sharp focus over the problem of the "lay" or "ruling" elder: a church official who combined spiritual and secular characteristics and whose clerical status was therefore uncertain. A stranger to the English ecclesiastical polity in 1640, ruling eldership had been an integral part of the Scottish kirk for over sixty years and had also functioned successfully in the congregationalist churches of New England. In both of these areas the spiritual status of the ruling elder had been placed somewhere in between that of the lay parishioner and that of the preaching minister, but theologians and civil authorities had been notably imprecise in determining just where along that spectrum he resided. While such ambiguity facilitated the acceptance of ruling eldership in Scotland and New England, it would hinder such acceptance in Civil War England, owing in large part to England's different ecclesiastical and social background. By examining ruling eldership in a variety of contexts, this article will explore more broadly the complex relationships between spiritual and secular power with which every Christian society has struggled.

During the English Civil War ruling eldership was part of the high presbyterian system pressed upon the parliamentarian side by its military allies the Scottish Covenanters, and also by a majority in the Westminster Assembly of Divines. Under such a system the minister, or "preaching elder," was in each parish to be joined by one or more godly members of the congregation, who would assist him in the administrative and disciplinary functions of his ministry. Using admonition and persuasion to reclaim sinning brethren, these ruling elders would also join with the pastor to examine and judge the recalcitrants and if necessary suspend them from the sacrament of the Lord's Supper or even excommunicate them. The ruling elder was responsible for ensuring that none in the parish "live in the Church inordinately without a Calling, or idly in their Calling." (1) He was also to moderate church meetings, visit and pray with the sick, admit new members to the church, and if necessary represent his parish in the higher classes and assemblies of a national presbyterian church government. In this way he was a much more powerful officer than the churchwarden, who was the nearest equivalent within the traditional English parish structure.

In a series of ordinances voted between August 1645 and June 1646, Parliament did establish a presbyterian government by parish elderships, classes, and higher assemblies, but this government greatly disappointed the Scots and their supporters in the Westminster Assembly and London inasmuch as it left Parliament as the ultimate authority in ecclesiastical discipline. (2) According to an ordinance passed in October 1645, any person "grieved" with his or her treatment by the parish eldership could appeal successively to the classis, the provincial assembly, the national assembly, and finally to Parliament. Parish elderships were to judge only of sins specified by parliamentary ordinance; cases of any unenumerated sins were to be heard and determined by Parliament. (3) Elderships were not to examine people accused of capital offenses, that function being reserved for the magistrate, nor were elderships to have cognizance of "any thing wherein any matter of payment, contract, or demand is concerned, or of any matter of conveyance, title, interest, or property, in Lands or Goods." The secular courts were to make no use of any evidence given before the eldership. Complaints of "irregular procedure" by the elderships were to be directed to justices of the peace who would certify such complaints to a standing committee of Parliament. (4) In its Directions of August 19, 1645, Parliament stated that the National Assembly would meet only when summoned by Parliament and for only as long as Parliament determined. (5) Even this "lame erastian presbytery," as the Scottish divine Robert Baillie termed it, proved difficult to set up as a comprehensive national church, owing in large part to a lack of laymen willing and able to participate as ruling elders. (6)

Historians have advanced a number of explanations, both for the Long Parliament's unwillingness to entrust elderships, presbyteries, and assemblies with an independent control over church discipline and for the lack of volunteers for ruling eldership. In explaining the former, William A. Shaw, George Yule, and others have focused on erastianism: a desire for state control over the church, based primarily upon the idea that all coercive disciplinary and punitive power should be in the hands of the civil magistrate or Parliament. For Yule the battle in 1645-46 between the Westminster Assembly and the Long Parliament was between Melvillianism and erastianism: "The question at issue was which of these two powers (ecclesiastical or civil) was to say where the line between sacred and civil jurisdiction was to be drawn and so have the ultimate authority in church affairs." (7) For MPs in the mid-1640s, however, Yule's "ecclesiastical" power appears to have meant primarily the clergy. Accounts of the Commons' debates of 1645-46 show that MPs' main concern was with clergymen wielding the powers of suspension from the Lord's Supper and of excommunication; ruling elders are seldom mentioned separately from preaching elders. Why could not ruling elders, laymen that they were, provide the necessary guarantee against clerical power?

William Shaw pointed to an answer in holding that the Long Parliament's erastianism "sprang from the Common lawyers, nurtured on the traditional enmity of the Common to the Civil and Canon law." (8) However, while Shaw describes in detail the clash between Parliament and the Westminster Assembly over the jure divino status of presbyterian eldership, (9) he neglects other, more specific motives behind the Parliament's erastian stance. A strong sense of the proper differences of character and lifestyle that should exist between clergyman and layman, and in particular a desire to prevent arbitrary power and ensure due process in disciplinary proceedings, also lay behind this erastianism. The insufficiency of ruling eldership was politically significant in these contexts, as MPs who did not necessarily share the erastian philosophy of a John Selden or a Bulstrode Whitelocke could nevertheless be persuaded that ruling elders would have neither the religious expertise to counterbalance the influence of ordained ministers nor the magisterial expertise to ensure due process. In view of the success with which ruling eldership formed a bridge between magistrates and ministers in the seventeenth-century Scottish kirk and in early New England, both of which polities ostensibly accepted the idea that churches should not wield coercive power, these reasons behind English parliamentary erastianism need a fuller explanation, one which compares attitudes towards, and the actual practice of, ruling eldership in all three polities.

The view that ruling eldership was not jure divino or warrantable by Scripture certainly played a role; Charles Surman has shown that some parishioners were willing to be examined by ministers but not by ruling elders, who according to one source were seen to "have no Warrant in the Word" and in another to be lacking "Divine right." (10) Many members of the Westminster Assembly of Divines, however, did not support ruling eldership jure divino, but were still willing to accept it as at least agreeable to and warranted by Scripture or, as Richard Baxter described it, "prudentially." (11) In London prominent laymen valued ruling eldership, jure divino or not, as a means of social and religious stability. (12) Like erastianism in this context, the jure divino defenses of ruling eldership need fuller examination as to their roles, the most important of which may not have been clarification of ruling elders' biblical precedents but description of their proper qualifications, character, and functions. In England these could be and were seen to work at cross purposes, while such views had been less prevalent in Scotland and New England.

Similarly, there are a number of possible explanations for the unwillingness of qualified individuals to participate in parochial and classical elderships, although the great divergence of views and practices in Civil War and Interregnum England, together with a paucity of parish records, (13) makes general conclusions difficult. Historians have pointed to the lack of support from the civil government after 1647, as the rise of Independency and the power of the army made Parliament less willing or able to enforce its presbyterian ordinances. (14) Parochial elderships, however, were possible under both presbyterian and Independent polities, and presbyterian classes and assemblies were indeed held in some parts of England during the later 1640s and the 1650s. The problem was that they were generally attended more by ministers than by ruling elders. (15) C. E. Surman suggests that many English parishioners declined ruling eldership either through a recognition of their own faults or a fear of the antagonism that judging and punishing their neighbors would bring. Surman goes on to state that "Puritanism itself had begotten a new sense of individual responsibility in political and religious life which made any form of Discipline irksome." (16) Puritanically based individualism, however, as well as an unwillingness to give offence and the ability to see one's own faults, surely characterized laymen in seventeenth-century Scotland and New England as well as in England. Again, to understand fully the different fates of ruling eldership in these three places, it is necessary to examine the different ways in which the office was perceived, by laymen as well as divines, and also how it was put into practice.


The theological justification for ruling eldership lay partly in the ancient Jewish Sanhedrin, but primarily with passages from Paul's letters to Timothy, Titus, and Romans. 1 Timothy 5:17 stated that elders who worked well were worthy of double honor, especially those who labored in the Word and doctrine. Theologians could infer from "especially" that there were two kinds of elders, each existing jure divino, and that ruling elders were therefore of a similar spiritual order with ministers. The general qualifications were the same: "blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre, but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity.... not accused of riot or unruly ... not selfwilled, not soon angry ... a lover of good men ... just, holy, temperate.... Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught." (17)

These general descriptions, however, left unclear the extent to which the ruling elder was to resemble the minister in his status, functions, and personal character. Was he to serve for life, like a minister? If not, how long was his term of office to run? Would he receive a salary, like a minister, or would he be expected to make his own living and carry out the eldership in his spare time? How many elders would there be in each parish, and what would be the numerical balance between them and the ministers, both there and in higher classes? (18) Was the ruling elder to be ordained? Could he himself ordain others? Should various aspects of his lifestyle, such as dress and hair, resemble those of a minister, especially if, like the latter's, his office was jure divino? Would his functions include teaching and catechizing, if not preaching? What were his qualifications beyond personal godliness? How educated was he to be, and how much of an expert in doctrine?

These questions were answered differently at different times and places between the establishment of the Scottish kirk in the 1560s and the end of the Interregnum. No one in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries made the ruling elder the exact spiritual equal of a minister, while all authorities agreed that he was something more, in a moral and spiritual sense, than the average layman. Just where one placed him along the spectrum between layman and cleric also determined his role in civil government and secular affairs more generally. The otherworldliness that had characterized the medieval priest remained a part of the minister's image, albeit to a much smaller extent, even among more radical puritans in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Though not possessed of sacerdotal power, a minister was set apart to a special work and hence was forbidden the coercive powers of a civil magistrate. To the extent that the ruling elder was "clerical," he too would logically be expected to partake of this separateness and its accompanying restrictions. Questions therefore arose as to what varieties of crime the ruling elder would investigate and punish, and what kinds of punishment he could wield.

All of these questions confronted the Westminster Assembly and the Long Parliament between 1643 and 1646. In May 1644 Richard Vines stated to the Westminster Assembly that it had not yet been decided what the ruling elder's functions were. (19) While his basic governing functions had been established by the middle of 1646, there appears to have been little consensus over his qualifications and characteristics beyond the general descriptions in the Pauline letters. The Independent divines of the Westminster Assembly asserted in their Apologeticall Narration of 1644 that in their church polity ruling elders were "not lay, but ecclesiastic persons separated to that service" by election and ordination. (20) In his reply to these divines the English presbyterian minister Thomas Edwards asked whether such elders were like pastors and teachers, "separated from all civill Imployments and callings to the worke of wholly attending to the flocke." "Now if you understand it in this sense," continued Edwards, "that all your ruling-Elders doe give over their civil callings and worldly imployments, and are so separated, as Pastours and Teachers are, it being the duty of the ruling-Elder to teach publikely as well as governe, then I have nothing to say against your ruling elders." Edwards then asked, "Whether did your Gentlemen and Merchants who were made ruling-Elders among you, upon their office give over their merchandizing, and their way of living, as Gentlemen, wholly applying themselves to their studies, and to all gravity in apparell, haire, etc." (21)

Edwards clearly did not expect his Independent opponents to answer in the affirmative, but his polemic illustrated a cause of the confusion; several commonly accepted characteristics of the ruling elder were uncharacteristic of the average lay gentleman. In his reply to Edwards Hezekiah Woodward described elders as "humble men, such as lye low." In 1643 leading New England ministers had emphasized that neither ruling nor preaching elders were to "strive for authority or preheminence one above another." In their Vindication of 1649, leading English presbyterian divines held that both ministers and elders ought to "Rule with all humility and Self-denyall," with "the spirit of meekness and patience." In 1652 the Scottish minister James Guthrie included humble service and a "condescending nature, remitting something of strict justice" in his description of the ideal ruling elder. (22) Despite their view of the ruling elder as an "ecclesiastic" person, however, not even the Independent divines saw the ruling elder as wholly clerical. If his were not simply the minister-like functions of catechizing, counseling, persuasion, and admonition but the magistrate-like functions of examining accused sinners, sitting in judgment upon them, and sentencing them to penalties, then he would also need qualities characteristic of the civil magistrate. Sixteenth-century reformers had called for able politicians and experienced governors to be ruling elders, and the early congregationalist William Bradshaw had in 1605 called for ruling elders who were "of civil note and respect in the world" and able to maintain themselves so as not to be .a financial burden to the church. (23) New England churches followed this directive and chose men of wealth, social status, and civic repute. (24) English Independents and presbyterians, along with the Scots, similarly expected political savvy, courage, financial independence, and good hospitality from their ruling elders. (25) Such elders were not likely to be unambitious for worldly honors or "such as lye low."

Despite these apparent contradictions, however, the ruling elder had by 1640 been functioning successfully in the Scottish kirk and in the congregationalist churches of New England. A comparison of the different ways in which each of the three polities answered the abovementioned questions on the ruling elder's semi-clerical status suggests that a major reason for the much weaker welcome given ruling eldership in Civil War and Interregnum England was a stronger desire to separate spiritual from secular functions. Whereas the Scottish kirk and the New England churches were able to bridge the gap between lay and cleric sufficiently to accept the lay-clerical hybrid that was ruling eldership, English puritan gentry, with their recent experience of "lordly prelacy" having made them less comfortable with the wielding of secular functions by clerics and spiritual censures by laymen, sought a greater separation of functions, a wider gap through which the office of ruling elder fell.


Historians of Scottish ecclesiastical history have shown that it took decades for the kirk to work out the fundamental contradictions in the ruling elder's office, and differences of opinion and practice remained right up to and through the 1640s. Walter Makey notes extensive differences between the First Book of Discipline, which would have had elders be unpaid, unordained, annually elected amateurs, and the Second Book of Discipline, which called for "ecclesiastical persons" who, like ministers, would work full-time, serve for life, be ordained, and receive salaries. (26) The economic circumstances of the sixteenth and seventeenth-century Scottish kirk made salaries for ruling elders impossible, but the professional elder, separated spiritually from the rest of the congregation, was an ideal that persisted into the mid-seventeenth century in the minds of Melvillian divines such as George Gillespie. (27)

In his study of the Second Book of Discipline, James Kirk draws a smaller difference between the First and Second Books, holding that "if an elder, as is sometimes argued, now ceased to be a layman as generally understood, then it was neither his election for life nor even his ordination which made him a 'minister,' but only that divine calling which was of course common to the elders defined in both Books of Discipline." Just what that "divine calling" was, however, is left unclear by Kirk, who in insisting that the ruling elder was neither a minister nor even clerical, nevertheless holds that the office was "recognized to be both spiritual and ecclesiastical." (28) Both Kirk and Makey hold that, in actual practice, the Scottish ruling elders of the early seventeenth century resembled more the amateurs of the First Book than the professional church officials of the Second; indeed, Makey holds that the Scottish ruling elder of the mid-seventeenth century "was not a 'spiritual person.'" (29) Their findings, however, indicate that there was disagreement in theory over the extent of the elder's spiritual status and considerable variation in the practices that indicated that status. While ordination of elders "remained the exception rather than the rule," it did, according to Kirk, occur in a few parishes during the early seventeenth century. (30) In his analysis of the records of 123 Scottish parishes between 1630 and 1660, Makey reports that "in none of these cases has any direct evidence of ordination or election for life been discovered; in only two ... can it be inferred, and even in these cases the evidence suggests a practice lapsing into disuse." Nevertheless, in many cases elders were repeatedly reelected, so that the office, if not officially a lifetime post, could be occupied by the same man for long periods or for life. (31) Responding in 1646 to a pro-episcopal critic who had gibed that Scottish ruling elders were "clerics today, laymen tomorrow," Robert Baillie held that it was the general practice in the kirk to elect elders for long terms or for life, while allowing elders who were urban merchants or tradesmen two years off out of every three, owing to the needs of their professions. (32)

In her recent study, therefore, Margo Todd is surely correct in asserting that Scottish ruling elders "occupied an at least semi-clerical status." She goes on to affirm that elders "fell more on the clerical than the lay side of the divide," and while Kirk holds that ordination of ruling elders was not perceived to confer "indelible character," Todd notes that the initiation ceremony for ruling elders was similar to ordination. (33) Both historians can be seen to be correct, inasmuch as Todd sees the terms "ordination" and "clerical" more as matters of degree. In denying that ruling eldership was seen as "clerical," Kirk points out that the Scottish reformed tradition "was disinclined to accept any rigid distinction between clergy and laity." (34) The sixteenth- and seventeenth-century kirk clearly gave the ruling elder a spiritual respect analogous to that given the minister, while not concerning itself overmuch with precise placement of the elder along the lay-clerical spectrum.

Imprecision over such placement was not ameliorated by the Scottish ruling elders' actual functions in the spiritual sphere. The Second Book of Discipline had held that "it is not necessary that all eldaris [ruling elders] be also teachearis of the word, albeit thay aucht cheiflie to be sic and swa ar worthie of double honour." (35) By 1652 James Guthrie was repudiating such a view, holding that the ruling elder was not to preach or teach. If, however, an elder were to bring sinners to repentance by, in Guthrie's words, "instructing, exhorting, and admonishing them," (36) this surely gave the elder considerable freedom to exercise the ministerial talents of preaching and teaching, albeit outside the pulpit. Scottish ruling elders, according to Alexander Henderson in 1641, participated in catechizing parishioners. They also heard confessions and were expected to "judge and give an account of their ministers' doctrine." (37) Makey holds that many country elderships were dominated by their minister because of his superior knowledge, but as David Mathew has commented, "a marked equality" existed between ministers and those laymen who were well educated and of strong opinions. (38) "Theirs was thus an anomalous position," summarizes Margo Todd: "they illustrate both lay control over the ministry and the nearly clerical status that elevated a significant group of laymen to spiritual power." (39) Such spiritual status can explain why well-to-do Scottish farmers and members of the urban middle classes, though not the nobility in any great numbers, were willing to serve as ruling elders. (40) It may also explain why there did not appear to be any generally accepted number of ruling elders per parish. (41) Drawing less of a difference between cleric and layman, Scottish lay elites would be less concerned than Long Parliament MPs over the lay-clerical balance on elderships and presbyteries.

In England, meanwhile, the Elizabethan puritan movement and the Jacobean nonseparating congregationalists hadproduced only rarely any functioning examples of ruling eldership. (42) Commentators such as Walter Travers, William Bradshaw, and Henry Jacob included them in their prospective church governments, while reflecting the same lack of specificity as did the Scots over where the ruling elder sat on the spectrum between layman and minister. Bradshaw, as we have seen, held that ruling elders should be respected figures in the civil sphere, but also that they be the "best grounded in Religion, and the ancientest professors thereof in the Congregation." For Bradshaw the ruling elder's inspection of the flock would allow the minister more time for his studies, and Bradshaw also saw ruling elders as necessary to prevent the minister from being "a sole Ruler, and as it were a Pope," but said nothing about the ruling elder's length of term. Henry Jacob apparently would have had the ruling elder less magisterial, in stating that such elders were, according to scriptural precedent, "not Lay but Ecclesiasticall." (43)

Many of Bradshaw's and Jacob's ideas concerning ruling eldership were explored more deeply, in theory and practice, by the non-separating congregationalist churches of New England. Harold Worthley's extensive study of lay officers in the churches of colonial Massachusetts has shown that, while ruling eldership declined during the later seventeenth century, in 1641 ruling elders were serving in a large majority of the Massachusetts churches. (44) Like ruling eldership in the Scottish kirk, it was a viable example, at least at the parish level, for the Westminster Assembly and Long Parliament and was invoked and debated in print during the 1640s along with other parts of the New England polity.

Here again historians' statements can be confusing. In the early years of the Massachusetts Bay colony, according to Edmund Morgan, a ruling elder "was not regarded as a clergyman: he was a lay officer of the church, like a deacon." (45) However, the chief defender of the New England church polity during the 1640s, John Cotton, defended ruling eldership to the point of insisting that they were not laymen but "Church-officers set apart to their office by the election of the people, and by imposition of hands," and indeed, "part of that Church body which those ancient times called Clerus." Like the Scottish authors of the Second Book of Discipline, Cotton was also willing to grant ruling elders salaries, although his context was hypothetical, and the New England churches, like the Scottish kirk, did not do SO. (46) Among the New England churches, parishioners, including at times Governor John Winthrop, commonly lumped ruling and preaching elders under the same category. (47) Both were ordained by imposition of hands and for life, and while ordination in New England was not intended to confer any sacerdotal status, it did confer a permanence of commitment. (48) Worthley holds that there was a "life-contract" attached to ruling eldership, and records show that, as in Scotland, elders frequently served long or lifetime terms. (49)

The actual functions of the early New England ruling elders bore out Cotton's clerus label. In 1648 the Cambridge Platform stipulated that teaching and preaching of the Word was confined to the pastors and teachers, but prior to that time there was apparently widespread disagreement over whether he should, in theory, be allowed to teach (that is, assume the function of the "doctor," or teaching elder), and practical necessity could allow a ruling elder to preach in the minister's absence. (50) As in Scotland, New England ruling elders were expected to be learned enough to catechize and teach others. They could, during the early years of the settlements, ordain others. (51) Like ministers, ruling elders could also question accused sinners during investigations, help examine candidates for church membership, and, with the consent of the congregation, excommunicate sinning members and receive repentant members back into fellowship. (52) In early New England, therefore, as in Scotland, the ruling elder was accorded a respect similar to that given the godly minister, and socially prominent, educated men stepped forward to fill the post. (53) With New England having a much smaller populace than that of Scotland or England, the problem of finding qualified candidates appears to have been ameliorated by having only one or two elders per congregation. (54) With the New England magistracy so firmly in control of all coercive power, there was no perceived need to ward off clericalism by ensuring a lay preponderance on elderships.


Presented with these two examples of functional ruling eldership, however, Long Parliament MPs still did not have a clear idea where to place ruling elders along a spiritual/secular continuum; neither the kirk nor the New England churches had been consistent in applying theory to practice. Parliament was particularly sensitive to the question of what functions were proper for clergymen, having in 1641 debated and then tacitly conceded the root-and-branch abolition of the episcopal hierarchy largely out of a sense of the impropriety of bishops, as clergymen, occupying secular roles. Such views extended to character and personality; the scripturally based view of clerics as humble men, neither proud nor "lordly," who did not lust after wealth and whose ambition was to take the form of godly service and the seeking after scriptural knowledge rather than worldly power, went back to Bucer and Calvin and had been affirmed by Knox and Elizabethan puritans as well as by more recent writers. (55) It had provided an effective root-and-branch argument in 1641, for to take away all of the bishops' "secular" powers entailed not simply the forbidding them civil offices such as seats in Parliament and justiceships of the peace but also the removal of those coercive powers and physical punishments that they had wielded as part of their ostensibly "spiritual" functions. In addition to the financial penalties imposed by the church courts, and other functions such as the proving of wills and the licensing of schoolmasters and midwives, those "spiritual" powers had included the bishops' coercive powers over ministers and the right, via the ecclesiastical courts, to suspend and excommunicate people from the church. When in the debates of 1641 MPs had called for a "primitive" bishop, many had been thinking of an official who was to be little more than a minister himself, confined, as a sort of chairman amongst his fellow ministers, to admonition, persuasion, rebuke, and godly example as his means of control. (56)

During the debates of 1645-46, MPs appear to have placed the ruling elder more on the lay side of the spectrum, although with considerable lack of detail. In its ordinances setting up the presbyterian government, Parliament did not make any provisions for the ordination of ruling elders, and in August 1646 it described ordination as the setting apart of persons "for the Office of the Ministery" and as an act performed by the "preaching Presbyters." (57) These ordinances did not describe the requirements and tests for the ruling elders in anything like the detail they presented for the ministers, and there is no mention of length of term for ruling elders. (58) In 1641 an Independent minister had argued that elders should keep their office for life, but in 1645 or 1646 John Owen suggested that parish elders be chosen "according to the ordinance of Parliament (annually or otherwise)." (59) Writing in 1646 of the successful election of elders to most of the London parishes, Robert Baillie stated that "They are all chosen for life," but his wording suggests a fear that there might have been a different result, and the MP John Selden assumed that elders would be elected to temporary terms. (60) Nor was there any mention in these ordinances of remuneration, although in 1647 a tract deriding ruling eldership assumed that, being called from their trades, they would need to "live upon the people." (61) Parliament's final, inclusive ordinance of August 1648 only vaguely addressed these issues, stating that "the Numbers of Elders in each congregation be proportioned according to the condition of the Congregation, and the exercise of their Office is so to be Ordered by the Eldership, as that their civil imployment may be the least hindered thereby." (62) The implication was that ruling elders would not be salaried, but the length of their terms and their numbers at the parish level would be left to the determination of the elderships themselves, based upon immediate needs. Despite these uncertainties, MPs' specific assumptions concerning ruling eldership, insofar as they had them, appear to have entailed an officer whose qualifications and character were noticeably different from those of the minister.

Consequently, when those MPs were considering whether to give elderships and presbyteries an independent power to suspend and excommunicate or to make Parliament the final arbiter, there was little faith that ruling elders would be able to act as an effective lay voice and counterbalance ministerial expertise on parish elderships. In these debates of 1645-46 the erastian group in the Commons, led by John Selden and including Bulstrode Whitelocke, Sir John Holland, and Sir Symonds D'Ewes, argued strongly for a magisterial and parliamentary control over church discipline on the grounds that clergymen should not be given such power. "Admit that there be twelve laymen to six presbyters," stated Selden in his Table Talk; "the six shall govern the rest as they please," both because the ruling elders were occupied with making a living at other professions and because the personnel of the ruling eldership was always changing whereas the presbyters were "constant." (63)

In their ordinances Parliament made it clear that ruling elders were to be "men of understanding." (64) The Buckinghamshire lawyer and JP Bulstrode Whitelocke, however, pointed out during the 1645 debates that "in some congregations, in country villages, perhaps they [ruling elders] may not be very learned themselves; yet the authority to be given them is sufficiently great," and on August 20 Sir John Cook, Jr., held that "Elders are not wiser than Jobs." (65) In its ordinance of August 1645 Parliament recognized that there would not be qualified candidates available in every parish and provided for such parishes to be ruled by the classis "until the congregation shall be enabled with members fit to be elders." (66) With the expectation that elderships would be formed for every parish came the fear that the number of spiritually and theologically qualified candidates was insufficient.

That they were not fully clerical even made it possible to see them in the same light as the lay chancellors and officials who had sat on the bishops' courts and on High Commission: laymen unjustly wielding spiritual censures and possibly exploiting the office for financial gain. (67) Even clerical defenders of ruling eldership admitted this connection; in response to the argument that to include ruling elders with preaching elders logically meant that both types of elder should be paid, John Cotton in 1645 replied from Massachusetts that even though congregationalists did not regard ruling elders as laymen, the Church of England had traditionally paid lay chancellors and commissaries, and that it would not necessarily be wrong for churches to pay ruling elders also. (68) The presbyterian authors of the 1649 Vindication asserted that for hundreds of years the English Church had had ruling elders, in the form of chancellors, commissaries, and officials, although the current presbyterian ruling elders would not rob and tyrannize as those episcopal officers had done. (69) Several pamphlets in 1647, however, accused ruling elders of such transgressions, one author claiming that they were "worse than High-Commission Court." (70) On September 8, 1645, Selden told the Commons that whereas the High Commission had been abolished because of its overweening power, the unlimited power to be given the elderships was much greater than what the High Commission had wielded. (71)

Given this greater sense of separation between layman and cleric than that shown in Scotland or New England, a major reason behind the lack of candidates for ruling eldership in Civil War and Interregnum England could well have been a sense of personal unfitness on the part of prospective volunteers. While parliamentary ordinances provided little in the way of tests or requirements for ruling eldership, there is in the 1656 minutes of Nottingham classis a formidable list of topics on which prospective ruling elders were to be knowledgeable, and C. E. Surman surmises that such a test may have discouraged many potential candidates. (72) Another probable reason, however, is that ruling eldership lacked the clerical prestige that it had in Scotland and New England. (73) In addition to accusing ruling elders of uselessness, the 1647 tract The Infancy of Elders reminded readers that such elders were not admitted into holy orders and ridiculed currently selected ruling elders as "silly upstart fellows," puffed up with pride but so ignorant that they would be but tools to be manipulated by the ministers. A satire published the same year, Lamentation of the Ruling Lay-Elders, similarly attacked them as being not spiritual but "Civill Lay-Elders" who presumed to catechize wiser men than themselves, who sought to be "Ealdermen" or "Earls," and who frequented alehouses and brothels. (74) Several of these publications also ridiculed ruling eldership as a lay-clerical hybrid, mocking it as a thing "made up half-dog halfe man," or comparing it to the Babylonian queen Semiramis, child of a man and a fish goddess, and calling ruling elders "Lay-Elders deckt with Ecclesiastical Plumes"; "meere counterfeits"; a "motley medley." (75)


If the ruling elder's clerical status was not as acceptable in Civil War England as it had been in Scotland and New England, neither was his magisterial status. Even as socially prominent and educated Englishmen were unwilling to volunteer for an office that lacked the spiritual prestige of a minister, so too did they, if capable of serving as civil magistrates, prefer to serve in that capacity rather than as elders, while showing an unwillingness to entrust examining and judging power to men ignorant of proper legal procedures. In Scotland and New England, by contrast, the ruling elder was used successfully as a bridge between minister and magistrate.

In this context there were important legal differences. In Scotland over the later sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries the parish kirk sessions had assumed cognizance of many secular concerns that had in England come under the purview of the justice of the peace. Scottish presbyteries had cooperated with magistrates in the mustering of troops during the period of the Spanish Armada war, and whereas JPs became responsible for oversight of the poor in seventeenth-century England, Scottish kirk sessions undertook this function in seventeenth-century Scotland. (76) Kirk sessions also dealt with cases of physical assault between parishioners, wifebeating, and other forms of disorderly conduct such as drunkenness, riot, slander, and perjury. (77) Cases of infanticide and manslaughter were heard in both kirk sessions and the Scottish civil courts, and indeed, as Leslie Smith has pointed out, the extensive investigative freedom of the ruling elder made kirk session records an invaluable resource for the civil courts in a variety of cases. (78) Sins of a more religious nature, such as blasphemy, adultery, fornication, and Sabbath-breaking, were made statutory crimes by sixteenth-century Scottish Parliaments and thus came under the purview of both the civil magistrate and kirk session. (79) In early Massachusetts Bay, similarly, there were many sins, including heresy, adultery, and usury, that were punishable by both church and civil government, (80) the one in its spiritual capacity, the other in its civil capacity. In 1643 the Dedham selectmen called upon a ruling elder for advice concerning land allocation; in 1653 the Massachusetts government consulted ruling elders concerning a possible war against the Dutch colonists. (81)

In constructing its new church government, the Long Parliament showed a greater desire than either the Scottish kirk or the New England churches to sort judicial cases into spiritual and secular categories, and to ensure that the church did not intermeddle with the latter. Such issues had come up in the root-and-branch debates of 1641, when Nathaniel Fiennes had asserted that the bishops and their courts had cognizance over "Wills, and Legacies, Tythes, Marriages, Adulteries, etc., which all belonging to the Civil Jurisdiction, are no more of spiritual Consideration, than Rapes, Thefts, Felonies, or Treasons may be." (82) On April 24, 1645, Sir Symonds D'Ewes objected to the prospect of ministers examining people for capital crimes and other "criminall offenses." To the objection that the examination of sinners by ministers and elders was used in Scotland, D'Ewes expressed confidence that those elderships did not examine "capitall crimes etc." "Or if this hath been used," D'Ewes continued, "it is better to be abolished then continued." The Committee of the Whole House agreed with D'Ewes that "all Capitall crimes such as manslaughter stealth, etc. should be examined by the civill Magistrate," and this was voted on May 1. (83) C. E. Surman has pointed out that in England there was considerable resistance to the elderships' being given power to suspend or excommunicate for offenses that were already crimes punishable by the secular courts. (84) On August 20, in a debate over the offenses to be punishable by the elders, the Worcestershire JP and Serjeant-at-Law John Wilde pointed out that there was a law for theft but not for lying, nor for drunkenness until recently, "yet these things exclude a man from the sacrament." (85) On October 3, 1646, Sir Gilbert Gerrard sought to differentiate between the scandal caused by the offense, which the church punished, and the crime itself, which the magistrate punished. D'Ewes labeled this a "cleare mistake, for the scandall was but the effect and the Crime the cause [of] theire being put from the Sacrament and [who] could be a competent Judge of the one without the other, if antecedent and consequent." (86) D'Ewes was apparently outvoted on this issue, as Parliament's ordinance of October 20, 1645 included duelling, forgery, bribery, extortion, assaulting one's parents or any magistrate, minister, or elder, and even the malicious taking of life in its list of enumerated scandals for which people could be suspended by the eldership. In judging the aforesaid offenses, however, the eldership was to "judge the matter of scandal," not the crime; no evidence given before the eldership was allowable "at any triall of Law of any person for any offence." The ordinance went on to stipulate that all capital offenses fell under the purview and examination of the magistrate, who upon committing any such offenders to prison would then notify the eldership, who would then have power to suspend them from the sacrament. (87)

The significance of this differentiation between scandal and crime was shown in the nature of the punishments to be inflicted. In 1641 the Commons had argued against bishops' parliamentary seats partly on the grounds that bishops, as clerics, were not to sit in cases of blood, and such beliefs, as we have seen, were extended to those physically coercive powers of "prosecution" that bishops had wielded as part of their ostensibly spiritual functions. (88) The punishments meted out by Scottish elderships, though designed to produce repentance through rebuke and public humiliation, could indeed be physical and even bodily invasive. Without the assistance of the magistrate, the kirk session could sentence sinners to the "jougs": iron neck collars that subjected the offender not simply to public imprisonment but physical abuse from passersby; to the branks, an iron mask that painfully depressed the tongue; to the ducking stool, which during the winter could entail considerable discomfort; to wrist manacles with which the sinner was chained to the churchyard wall; and to two weeks' imprisonment in the church steeple on bread and water. (89) Kirk elderships also sentenced sinners to sitting in the repentance stool on Sundays, barefoot, dressed in sackcloth, and in full view of the congregation, and to the cutting off of hair and to banishment: all of which punishments had a physical aspect though not physically painful, and which were seen by critics of the kirk as infringements upon the civil power. (90) Heavy fines could be levied by the kirk session, providing thereby a valuable portion of the parish income. (91) Under the Melvillian reforms of the 1590s and early seventeenth century, ruling elders who heard swearing or blasphemy could impose summary fines on the spot. If the kirk session left someone "lying under scandal," further, it meant the deprivation of civil rights. (92)

In rejecting such a presbyterian government for England, Long Parliament MPs reiterated the above-cited secular-versus-spiritual arguments of 1641, (93) and it was clear that the elderships of the reformed national Church of England would be able to inflict no physical punishment whatever. Moreover, even suspension from the sacrament and excommunication were seen by MPs as a form of coercive power, for these penalties had customarily been accompanied by secular punishments at the hands of the civil authority. The magistrate had been obliged by an early Elizabethan statute so to back up a sentence of excommunication, and this punishment included the removal of at least some civil rights. (94) Elderships were by the ordinance of March 1646 empowered to summon accused persons and witnesses by warrant, and in cases of contumacy to have a justice of the peace imprison the recusant. (95) Moreover, although the cooperation of the civil authorities was by no means assured during this period, suspension or excommunication carried a clear social stigma for a gentleman or any other person of prominence. (96) Bulstrode Whitelocke referred to the withholding of the sacrament as "power of persecution"; Sir John Holland referred to it as a power over "Estates and consciences," and on September 8, 1645, Sir Henry Vane, Jr., stated that there was no greater power in the kingdom. (97) On August 20 Selden warned against giving the elderships power to punish unenumerated sins, partly on the ground that a man might be wrongfully detained. (98)

Thus, to permit ministers even the power of examining and judging, however much the ultimate power to punish might lie with Parliament or the magistrate, could be seen to corrupt men unsuited to it by nature and training, even as it had corrupted the bishops. (99) On April 24, 1645, the attorney John Maynard, MP for Totness, cited an example of a minister who had recently, under cover of examining a person on a specific issue, improperly gone beyond that issue in his questioning. On October 3 D'Ewes asserted that to allow ministers to put anyone whom they pleased from the sacrament would be an occasion of "Pride Tyranny and Insolency in the Clergy," and he also pointed to the "great passions" to which clergymen were subject. (100)

But if preaching and teaching elders were unsuited to such magisterial functions, why could those functions not be carried out by ruling elders? In 1641 the radical preacher Henry Walker had called for the episcopal government to be replaced by that of "lay elders" so that the clergy might be freed for preaching duties. (101) In their Vindication of 1649 leading presbyterian divines reminded their readers that the minister would not be the sole judge but would share all disciplinary judgments with the ruling elders, who would "see that he doth nothing out of envy, malice, pride, or partiality." (102) If one assumed that the ruling elders were laymen not bound to the duties of regular preaching, nor possessed of the nature and characteristics of the minister, they could be permitted to judge and punish unless there were other reasons.

Part of the problem lay with the newness of the presbyterian system, which the Scottish kirk had had decades to work out, under different social and political circumstances. In addition to creating fears in England of clerical domination of elderships and classes, the perceived paucity of socially respectable ruling-elder candidates at the parish level also led to fears that baseborn men might be put in a position to judge their social and intellectual betters. Again, the experience with lordly prelacy had made the Long Parliament particularly sensitive to this issue; such prelacy could be seen as disruptive of the social order inasmuch as it raised men of humble origins to equality with the secular nobility. (103) In the abovementioned pamphlets of 1647, ruling elders in the infant English presbyterian church were accused of base origins, of giving themselves an unwarranted social status by virtue of their office and, like the bishops, of using their office to extort money from the people. (104) In seeking to have their chapels exempted from control by the presbyterian government, the Lords in August 1645 showed a similar fear of being "ruled" by their social inferiors. (105)

In Scotland, selection of ruling elders had generally ensured dominance by the "better sort": that is, prosperous farmers and successful merchants. (106) Geoffrey Parker and Michael Graham have shown that, despite official rules, the kirk paid for the close support of the Scottish magistrate with more lenient treatment of the socially prominent and wealthy. (107) In 1646 a critic of the Scottish kirk cited a Jacobean nobleman's having bribed the ruling elders so as to have his way in one of the session's judgments. (108) In 1618 the provost of Edinburgh was told by a socially inferior deacon in kirk session, "Sir, ye are but a Sessioner here," but after that occasion procedural methods were used to ensure that henceforth the eldership would be dominated by the Edinburgh social and political elite. (109) Having not yet had the chance to work out a system in which actual practice ameliorated the threats to social order inherent in the official theory, the Long Parliament MPs were understandably more reluctant to adopt the Scottish system, and they also recognized the different social patterns north of the border. Speaking in the Westminster Assembly on April 30, 1646, Sir Benjamin Rudyerd stated that in Scotland the nobility and gentry "live commonly in the country and so the clergy are moderated as by a scattered Parliament." (110)


There were also fears that legal rights would be violated. Sitting in a Committee of the Whole House, the Commons began debating the elderships' power of suspension from the Lord's Supper on March 21, 1645, and continued the debate through the summer and into the fall. The first concern was to specify just what forms of ignorance, sin, and scandal would justify suspension of a parishioner from the sacrament, lest elderships wield an arbitrary power of suspension. On April 2 the House quickly accepted incest, adultery, fornication, drunkenness, swearing, cursing, and murder, but on April 10 it took a long debate to approve the more general "Blasphemous, Speaking or Writing against God his holy word or sacraments." (111) Over the ensuing months this desire to specify and limit the offences led to a clash with the Westminster Assembly, which sought to leave the list open-ended for the eldership to judge. George Yule asserts that the Commons here were seeking to "curb clericalism" and make Parliament the institution ultimately responsible for ecclesiastical affairs. (112) This was true for erastians such as Selden and Whitelocke, who actually argued that no one but the sinner could judge of his own fitness for Communion, but for other MPs who had yet to consider these broader questions, the primary concerns were probably the ensuring of due process and the avoidance of arbitrary power in church discipline as it was avoided in civil government.

Selden and the other erastians effectively appealed to these concerns in the debates. When on April 24 the Commons considered whether "the matter of scandal in such as were to be admitted to the Sacrament should be examined by the Minister and Eldership of every parish or by some justice of the Peace or other Lay Magistrate," arguments for the latter included not only assertions that ministers should concentrate on study and preaching and not intermeddle in matters of civil jurisdiction, but also, first, that the party accused would not have the chance to call witnesses; second, that if the eldership examined a man under oath for a crime and the civil magistrate examined him under oath for the same crime, a man would be punished twice for the same offence; and, third, that there could be a "clashing between two jurisdictions." (113)

For MPs accustomed to decades of struggle between the civil and common-law courts, there was clearly a sense that the ruling elders would not provide the legal expertise necessary to judge fairly in ecclesiastical causes. In the debate of April 24 one objection was that the "Justice of peace is a sworne officer the other are not." Another was that whereas the choice of a parish's ruling elders must of necessity be limited to members of that parish, JPs were "men elected and chosen for their worth and ability." The House postponed the issue that day by voting that the eldership could suspend any such persons as had already been "Lawfully Convicted of any such matters of scandall as had been voted in the house." (114) On May 1 the Commons voted that all capital crimes should first be examined by the civil magistrate, and that only after the magistrate had certified this to the eldership could the latter suspend him from the Lord's Supper. On May 8 the Committee voted that the parish eldership could judge "matters of scandall not Capitall voted by the house upon proofe made before them by two witnesses" who were to be examined under oath. On August 1, having been informed of the Westminster Assembly's desire to keep the list of crimes and scandals open-ended, MPs in Committee debates continued to assail this as a granting of arbitrary power. (115) The debate continued on August 20, with John Wilde holding that "They judge not according to any rule of law but according to their own fancies," and Selden asserting that Geneva differed from England in that Genevan elders were chosen as English judges and lawyers were: "such as are fitt for it." In this debate Selden also objected that elders would be influenced by their superiors. (116) In a printed speech Whitelocke noted that historically the word "elder" had signified a man of the "greatest power and dignity," an "earl" or "ealder"; ruling elders were aiming at a power whereby one might claim the "highest Title imaginable." Whitelocke then continued: "And though I can never presume that the Reverend and Pious Learned Gentlemen [ruling elders] who aim at this power, can have the least supposition of any such effect by it, yet, if any Petitioners should sue to you to be made Judges or Justices, I believe you would judge their Petition the less modest, and them the less fit for such Offices." (117)

On August 26 the Committee voted that "A Company of understanding men" be chosen in every congregation to assist the minister in judging scandalous persons, "and no one to [be judged] scandalous but by the major part etc.": a clear attempt to ensure lay dominance, which was reflected later by a proviso in the ordinance of March 1646 that all presbyteries and assemblies must have twice as many ruling elders as ministers. (118) Laymen, however, were not necessarily sworn magistrates, and the ordinance of October 20 consequently permitted appeals to Parliament and added the abovementioned restraints that ensured magisterial control over the examination of capital crimes and forbade the use in civil courts of evidence obtained by the elderships. (119) In its ordinance of March 1646 providing for commissioners to judge of unenumerated offences, Parliament stipulated that the accused should have liberty to defend himself as he saw fit before both the eldership and the commissioners. (120)

These concerns for due process had been largely solved in Scotland and New England by more effective cooperation between civil magistrate and church eldership. Orthodox theory in all three places held that the church was not to wield coercive power or inflict physical punishments, those functions being left to the civil magistrate, and that clerics should not occupy temporal office. (121) If, however, church and state expected the magistrate, as a protector of the church, to punish offenders who had been found guilty of religious sins, then he would inevitably need the assistance of the clergy as experts on such sins, and thus would draw the clergy into the process of secular judgment and punishment, while the magistrate himself had a role in ecclesiastical discipline as the ultimate enforcer. Such an arrangement led to considerable overlap of personnel and functions in Scotland and Massachusetts: an overlap in which the office of ruling elder proved useful.

According to the Second Book of Discipline, "The ministeris exerce not the civile jurisdictioun, bot teaches the magistrat how it sould be exercit according to the word." (122) Given such a directive for cooperation, it was natural for Scottish magistrates to serve frequently as ruling elders in the kirk. (123) It was expected that these magistrate-elders would inflict secular punishments upon those whom the eldership had censured, and town council and kirk session could sit together to try serious crimes. In rural parishes elderships could request a commission from the privy council, whereby they were able to inflict civil penalties without the magistrate's assistance. City councilmen too were often chosen as elders. (124) So close was the cooperation between magistrate and session in Scotland that the session could be said to wield secular punishments via the magistracy. In contrast to the rivalry seen in early Stuart England between Common-law and ecclesiastical courts, elders and magistrates in Scotland could see each other's authority as mutually reinforcing; indeed, as Michael Graham has pointed out, for some magnates "submitting to discipline could reinforce their standing as 'godly magistrates,' albeit sinners." (125) In New England, similarly, the 1641 Body of Liberties charged the magistrate with seeing that the "Rules of Christ" were enforced, and he had a major role in the creation of new churches and the appointment of ministers. (126) While ministers did not occupy magisterial office, they were consulted by magistrates as experts in religious, moral, and even constitutional matters. (127) As in Scotland, ruling elders fit comfortably into such an overlap. While the consensus early on was that magistrates should not sit as ruling elders, there were some exceptions in practice, and Harold Worthley has suggested that the reason why ruling elders did not often double as civil officials was less doctrinal than practical: the duties of each office during this period were extensive enough to make it difficult for a man to occupy both at once. (128) Many Massachusetts ruling elders during this period were former civil officers in town or colony government; as in Scotland, the same sort of man who made a good magistrate was seen to make a good elder. (129)

In the Long Parliament, by contrast, a committee of the Commons, appointed to draw up a position paper in response to a petition from the Westminster Assembly, held in October 1645 that to allow elderships to suspend or excommunicate for unenumerated sins would be to grant them an arbitrary power, and that Parliament could not so allow the raising up of "that exploded piece of Popery, that churchmen must declare persons heretics, and then by an implicit faith the magistrate must hang and burn them." (130) Given this stronger sense of difference between churchmen and magistrates, and the resultant weaker sense of "implicit" cooperation, it is not surprising that English MPs and other gentlemen were less willing to envision a mixing of magistracy with ruling eldership by men occupying both offices at once. The rationale, however, based on recent experience with lordly prelacy, included not only the idea that elders should not be distracted from their callings by civil employment but the abovementioned notion that magisterial and ministerial skills could work at cross purposes. In 1641 Nathaniel Fiennes had asserted that, inasmuch as men resent those who judge and punish them, the rule forbidding clergymen to judge cases of blood was applicable for all civil jurisdiction. (131) Fiennes was not speaking of ruling elders in this context, but the same argument of personal unsuitability could apply insofar as ruling elders could be seen to be spiritual or ecclesiastical officers. In their ordinance of October 20, 1645, Parliament exhorted both ministers and ruling elders to adorn their "holy Profession" with "humility and meekness of spirit." (132) Speaking to the Commons against granting disciplinary power to the eldership, Whitelocke stated: "I have heard here many Complaints of the Jurisdiction formerly exercised by the Prelates, who were but a few; there will be by the passing of this now desired, a great Multiplication of Spiritual men in Government." (133) It is notable that Whitelocke used the term "Spiritual men" rather than "ministers" or "clerics"; he had differentiated between pastors and ruling elders earlier in this speech. In the earlier arguments over episcopacy, Selden had equated the bishops' temporal powers with temporal powers wielded by ruling elders. (134)


Even in London, where many aldermen and Common Council members served as ruling elders in the later 1640s and 1650S, (135) the Common Council in December 1646 issued a printed order barring Councilmen from being chosen lay elders. The order was justified partly on the grounds that neither preaching elders nor ruling elders should be "molested and hindered by any civill imployment, place or office," but also because "it hath ever proved dangerous to States, Kingdomes, and Cities, that Ecclesiastical Officers have ever been put into places of Politicall Gove[rnmen]t, and publicke trust in the Commonwealth" (136) If even the strongly presbyterian London Common Council could pay lip service to such a separation, it is reasonable to assume that it was a widely accepted tenet in England, and that ruling eldership only functioned effectively when it was violated.

By the time of the Protectorate, few if any of the paradoxes concerning the nature and functions of ruling eldership had been resolved to any general satisfaction. Writing in November 1656, Richard Baxter expressed doubt that many potential ruling elders would readily volunteer when they knew that they had to make their own living, and also when they knew that they had to serve for life. (137) These paradoxes were more significant in Civil War and Interregnum England than in Scotland or early New England, where the Calvinist stress upon the spiritual equality of layman and cleric strengthened a willingness to let the ruling elder assume much of the function and attendant honor of the minister. In England, wealthy and well-educated puritans were less able to see themselves in a semi-clerical role; one was either a cleric in character, lifestyle, and training or one was not, and a governing function was either spiritual and persuasive or it was physical and coercive, in which case it belonged to the trained magistrate. An inability to envision an officer at once clerical and magisterial lay behind much of the Long Parliament's "erastian" inability to entrust ruling elders to join with ministers in wielding an independent control over church discipline.

William M. Abbott is an associate professor of History at Fairfield University.

(1.) Thomas Goodwin, "The Government and Discipline of the Churches of Christ," in The Works of Thomas Goodwin D.D. (London: Printed for the author, 1697), 4:19.

(2.) George Yule, Puritans in Politics: the Religious Legislation of the Long Parliament 1640-1647 (Appleford, U.K.: Sutton Courtenay, 1981), 52; William A. Shaw, A History of the English Church During the Civil Wars and Under the Commonwealth, 1640-1660 (London: Longmans-Green, 1900), 1:195-201.

(3.) John Rushworth, Historical Collections: The Fourth and Last Part: In Two Volumes (London: C. Thomason, 1701), 1:212.

(4.) Ibid.; Shaw, History, 1:275-77, 298.

(5.) Directions of the Lords and Commons Assembled in Parliament. After advice had with the Assembly of Divines, for the electing and choosing of Ruling-Elders in all the Congregations (London, August 20, 1645), 10.

(6.) Shaw, History, 2:99-110; Charles E. Surman, "Classical Presbyterianism in England 1643-1660" (Ph.D. diss., University of Manchester, U.K., 1949), 138-40.

(7.) Yule, Puritans in Politics, 151.

(8.) Shaw, History, 1:237.

(9.) Ibid., 298 ft.

(10.) Surman, "Classical Presbyterianism in England," 136, 143; see also Shaw, History, 2:119.

(11.) Robert S. Paul, The Assembly of the Lord (Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark, 1985) 170-71; J. R. DeWitt, Jus Divinum: The Westminster Assembly and the Divine Right of Church Government (Kampen: J. H. Kok, 1969), 79-85; Rosemary D. Bradley, "The Failure of Accommodation: Religious Conflicts between Presbyterians and Independents in the Westminster Assembly 1643-1646," Journal of Religious History [Australia] 12 (1982): 33; Samuel Miller, An Essay on the Warrant, Nature, and Duties of the Office of the Ruling Elder, in the Presbyterian Church (New York: Jonathan Leavitt, 1832), 146. See also Robert Baillie's account, in Shaw, History, 1:161-62.

(12.) Michael Mahony, "Presbyterianism in the City of London, 1645-1647," The Historical Journal 22 (1979): 114.

(13.) See Shaw, History, 2:137; Tai Liu, Puritan London (London: Associated University Presses, 1986), 54-55.

(14.) John Morrill, "The Church in England, 1642-9, in Reactions to the English Civil War 1642-1649, ed. John Morrill (New York: St. Martin's, 1982), 96-97; Shaw, History, 2:33, 125-36; Christopher Hill, Society and Puritanism in Pre-Revolutionary England (New York: Schocken, 1964), 252. See also J. Charles Cox, "Minute Book of the Wirksworth Classis, 1651-1658," Journal of the Derbyshire Archaeological and Natural History Society (January 1879): 147.

(15.) Surman, "Classical Presbyterianism," 139 ff.

(16.) Ibid., 139, 216-17.

(17.) 1 Timothy 3:1-4; Titus 1:6-9 (King James Version).

(18.) Henry Wilkinson brought this up in the Westminster Assembly in 1643. Robert S. Paul, The Assembly of the Lord, 169. It had also been a question in Scotland. Yule, Puritans in Politics, 197. See also John Maxwell, The Burthen of Issachar (Oxford: n.p., 1646), 4.

(19.) Paul, Assembly of the Lord, 344.

(20.) Apologeticall Narration, quoted by Benjamin Hanbury, Historical Memorials relating to the Independents or Congregationalists (London: The Congregational Union of England and Wales, 1841), 2:224.

(21.) Thomas Edwards, Antapologia (London: John Bellamie, 1644), 62-63.

(22.) Hezekiah Woodward, A Short Letter, Modestly intreating a Friends judgement upon Mr. Edwards his Booke, he calleth an Anti-Apologie (London: n.p., 1644), 31; Richard Mather, Church-Government and Church-Covenant Discussed, In an answer of the Elders of the severall Churches in New England (London: Benjamin Allen, 1643), 76; A Vindication of the Presbyteriall-Government and Ministry: Together With an Exhortation, to all the Ministers, Elders, and People (London: C. Meredith, 1649), 86, 87; James Guthrie, A Treatise of Ruling Elders and Deacons (Edinburgh: George Mosman, 1699), 41.

(23.) Elsie Anne McKee, Elders and the Plural Ministry (Geneva: Librarie Droz S.A., 1988), 75, 79, 101; William Bradshaw, English Puritanisme: Containing the maine Opinions of the rigidest sort of those that are called Puritanes ([Amsterdam?]: n.p., 1640), 20.

(24.) Harold F. Worthley, "The Lay Officers of the Particular (Congregational) Churches of Massachusetts, 1620-1755: An Investigation of Practice and Theory" (Th.D. diss., Harvard University, 1970), 155, 210, 243. See also James F. Cooper, Jr., Tenacious of Their Liberties: The Congregationalists in Colonial Massachusetts (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 25.

(25.) Brian Manning, "Puritanism and Democracy, 1640-1642," in Puritans and Revolutionaries: Essays in Seventeenth-Century History Presented to Christopher Hill, ed. Donald Pennington and Keith Thomas (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978), 154; Thomas Goodwin, "Government and Discipline" (see note 1), 4:15; A Vindication of the Presbyteriall-Government and Ministry, 114; Walter R. Foster, The Church Before the Covenants (Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, 1975), 69; James Guthrie, A Treatise (see note 22), 40-41, 67; Margo Todd, The Culture of Protestantism in Early Modern Scotland (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2002), 6, 142, 444; David Mathew, Scotland Under Charles I (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1955), 273.

(26.) Alan R. McDonald, "Ecclesiastical Representation in Parliament in Post-Reformation Scotland: The Two Kingdoms Theory in Practice," Journal of Ecclesiastical History 50 (1999): 45, quoting the Second Book; Walter Makey, "Presbyterian and Canterburian in the Scottish Revolution," in Church, Politics, and Society: Scotland 1408-1929, ed. Norman MacDougall (Edinburgh: John Donald, 1983), 152; Makey, The Church of the Covenant, 1637-1651 (Edinburgh: John Donald, 1979), 124-25.

(27.) Makey, "Presbyterian and Canterburian in the Scottish Revolution," 152; Makey, Church of the Covenant, 125.

(28.) Church of Scotland, The Second Book of Discipline, ed. James Kirk (Edinburgh: Saint Andrew Press, 1980), 92, 93.

(29.) Ibid., 92; Makey, "Presbyterian and Canterburian," 153; Makey, The Church of the Covenant, 126.

(30.) Church of Scotland, Second Book of Discipline, 92.

(31.) Makey, Church of the Covenant, 126, 126-27; Church of Scotland, Second Book of Discipline, 90.

(32.) John Maxwell, The Burthen of Issachar, 2; Robert Baillie, An Historical Vindication of the Government of the Church of Scotland (London: Samuel Gellibrand, 1646), 17.

(33.) Margo Todd, Culture of Protestantism (see note 25), 370-71. See a description of this ceremony in The Platforme of the Presbyterian Government ... of The Church of Scotland (London: R. Austin, 1644), 4-5.

(34.) Church of Scotland, Second Book of Discipline, 93.

(35.) Ibid., 193.

(36.) Guthrie, A Treatise (see note 22), 22, 64.

(37.) Alexander Henderson, The Government and Order of the Church of Scotland (Edinburgh: James Bryson, 1641), 30; Todd, Culture of Protestantism, 371; Church of Scotland, Second Book of Discipline, 95.

(38.) Makey, Church of the Covenant, 152; Mathew, Scotland Under Charles I (see note 25), 59.

(39.) Todd, Culture of Protestantism, 372.

(40.) Makey, Church of the Covenant, 140-52; Mathew, Scotland Under Charles I, 46-47; Foster, Church Before the Covenants, 69.

(41.) Platforme of the Presbyterian Government ... of the Church of Scotland, 11; Yule, Puritans in Politics, 197, n. 89.

(42.) Patrick Collinson, The Elizabethan Puritan Movement (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967), 350-55.

(43.) Worthley, "Lay Officers" (see note 24), 152-55; Bradshaw, "English Puritanism," in Several Treatises of Worship and Ceremonies (London: n.p., 1660), 44, 43; Henry Jacob, Reasons Taken Out of Gods Word and the Best Humane Testimonies ([Middleburg?]: R. Schilders, 1604), 67.

(44.) Worthley, "Lay Officers," 289-90, 762.

(45.) Edmund S. Morgan, Roger Williams: the Church and the State (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1967), 70.

(46.) John Cotton, The Way of the Churches of Christ in New England (London: Matthew Simmons, 1645), 33, 25; Worthley, "Lay Officers," 277. James F. Cooper notes one exception: Cooper, Tenacious of Their Liberties (see note 24), 227, n. 11.

(47.) Edmund Morgan, ed., Puritan Political Ideas (Indianapolis, Ind.: Bobbs-Merrill, 1965), 93, n. 3.

(48.) Thomas Hutchinson, The History of the Colony of Massachusets-Bay, from the first settlement thereof in 1628 (Boston: T. and J. Fleet, 1764), 433; Cooper, Tenacious of Their Liberties, 26; Worthley, "Lay Officers," 234, 219; Ralph F. Young, "Good News from New England: The Influence of the New England Way of Church Polity on Old England, 1635-1660" (Ph.D. diss., University of Michigan, 1971), 8-10.

(49.) Worthley, "Lay Officers," 219-20, n. 170, 461, 766. Elders Thomas Leverett and Thomas Oliver of First Church Boston are two examples. Richard D. Pierce, ed., The Records of the First Church in Boston, 1630-1868, Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 39 (Boston: The Society, 1961), 41, n. 3; James Cooper, "The Confession and Trial of Richard Wayte, Boston, 1640," William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd ser., 44 (1987): 315. Philip Groves of the Church of Christ in Stratford is another example. Samuel Orcutt, A History of the Old Town of Stratford and the City of Bridgeport, Connecticut (New Haven, Conn.: Tuttle, Morehouse, and Taylor, 1886), pt. 1, 165.

(50.) Thomas Hutchinson, History ... of Massachusets-Bay, 432; Mather, Church-Government (see note 22), 77; Cooper, Tenacious of Their Liberties, 26; Worthley, "Lay Officers," 360.

(51.) Thomas Hutchinson, The History of the Colony and Province of Massachusetts-Bay, ed. Lawrence S. Mayo (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1936, 1:359; Edmund Morgan, Visible Saints: The History of a Puritan Idea (New York: New York University Press, 1963), 141. The Cambridge Platform stated that ruling elders could assist ministers in ordaining church officers. Cooper, Tenacious of Their Liberties, 26.

(52.) See Pierce, ed., Records of the First Church in Boston, 41-47, 51.

(53.) Cooper, Tenacious of Their Liberties, 26; Worthley, "Lay Officers," 199, 202, 210, 243-44.

(54.) See Hutchinson, History, ed. Mayo, 1:360; Worthley, "Lay Officers," 273, 285; and Records of the First Church in Boston, 38-47, in which only two elders are listed (Leverett and Oliver). Philip Groves of Stratford was the sole ruling elder in his church from 1640 to his death in 1675. Orcutt, History of ... Bridgeport, pt 1, 165.

(55.) Church of Scotland, Second Book of Discipline, 170, n. 18; Mather, Church-Government, 76. See also James Noyes, The Temple Measured (London: Edmund Paxton, 1647), 16, 29.

(56.) See comments in May and June 1641 by Lord Saye and Sele and MPs William Thomas, Nathaniel Fiennes, Sir Symonds D'Ewes, Arthur Haselrig, and an anonymous MP. William Fiennes, Two Speeches in Parliament of the Right Honorable William, Lord Viscount Say and Seale (London: T. Underhill, 1641), 2; John Nalson, An Impartial Collection of the Great Affairs of State (London: S. Mearne and others, 1682), 2:215-16, 222, 225; Diary of Thomas Moore, British Library [hereafter BL], Harl. MSS 478:51a-51b; Yale Center for Parliamentary History transcript of Bodl., Rawlinson MSS. D. 1099, f. 55b; Diary of Sir Symonds D'Ewes, BL, Harl. MSS 164:1015; Yale Ctr. Parl. Hist. transcript of Diary of Moore, BL, Harl. MSS 478:55v; A Speech when Master Hide was in the Chayre upon the Bill concerning Episcopacie (London: n.p., 1641), 4. See also the primitive episcopal plan put forward by Sir Edward Dering, in John Rushworth, Historical Collections: The Third Part: In Two Volumes (London: Richard Chiswell and Thomas Cockerill, 1692), 1:294-95; and The Order and Forme for Church Government by Bishops and the Clergie of this Kingdome Voted in the House of Commons on Friday, July 16, 1641 (London: n.p., 1641). I examine these 1641 debates in a forthcoming festschrift chapter.

(57.) C. H. Firth and R. S. Rait, ed., Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660 (London: Stationery Office, 1911), 1:865-66.

(58.) Surman, "Classical Presbyterianism" (see note 6), 144; Firth and Rait, Acts and Ordinances, 1:749, 865-69; John Rushworth, Historical Collections: The Fourth and Last Part: In Two Volumes, 1:213.

(59.) Brian Manning, "Puritanism and Democracy" (see note 25), 154; John Owen, The Works of John Owen, D.D. ed. William H. Goold (Edinburgh: Johnstone and Hunter, 1851), 8:50.

(60.) Shaw, History, 2:4; John Selden, The Table Talk of John Selden, ed. Samuel H. Reynolds (Oxford: Clarendon, 1892), 156.

(61.) J. S., The Infancy of Elders: A Short Treatise composed for Vindication of the Christian liberty of Freeborne denizens of England (London: n.p., 1647), 5.

(62.) Firth and Rait, Acts and Ordinances, 1:1199.

(63.) Selden, Table Talk, 156.

(64.) Diary of Walter Yonge, BL, Add. MSS 18780:72; Firth and Rait, Acts and Ordinances, 1:1189.

(65.) Yule, Puritans in Politics, 347; Diary of Yonge, BL, Add. MSS 18780:109.

(66.) Shaw, History, 1:197.

(67.) See Nathaniel Fiennes' attack in 1641 against the bishops' courts: Rushworth, Historical Collections: The Third Part, 1:178-79. See also Robert Baillie, An Historicall Vindication, 16.

(68.) John Cotton, The Way of the Churches of Christ in New England, 25-26.

(69.) A Vindication of the Presbyteriall-Government and Ministry, 54-55. For the authorship of this tract (probably Edmund Calamy and Christopher Love), see Carol Schneider, "Roots and Branches," in Puritanism, ed. Francis G. Bremer (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1993), 195; and Tai Liu, Puritan London, 67.

(70.) J. S., The Infancy of Elders, 15, 24; The Lamentation of the Ruling Lay-Elders (London: n.p., 1647), 1-4.

(71.) Diary of Walter Yonge, BL, Add. MSS 18780:114.

(72.) Surman, "Classical Presbyterianism" (see note 6), 146.

(73.) For several examples, see Adam Martindale's autobiography in Shaw, History, 2:119; and Surman, "Classical Presbyterianism," 141.

(74.) J. S., Infancy of Elders, 17, 23, 4, 13-14; Lamentation of the Ruling Lay-Elders, 1-2. See also The Scottish politike Presbyter, Slaine by an English Independent (London: n.p., 1647).

(75.) The Four-Legg'd Elder, or, a horrible Relation of a Dog and an Elders Maid (London: n.p., 1647); Infancy of Elders, 18, 24-25.

(76.) McDonald, "Ecclesiastical Representation" (see note 26), 50; Christopher Hill, Society and Puritanism in Pre-Revolutionary England, 248; Geoffrey Parker, "The 'Kirk By Law Established' and the Origins of 'The Taming of Scotland': St. Andrews 1559-1600," in Perspectives in Scottish Social History, ed. Leah Leneman (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1988), 3; Michael Lynch, "The Scottish Early Modern Burgh," History Today 35 (1985): 14; Lesley M. Smith, "Sackcloth for the Sinner or Punishment for the Crime? Church and Secular Courts in Cromwellian Scotland," in New Perspectives on the Politics and Culture of Early Modern Scotland, ed. John Dwyer, Roger A. Mason, and Alexander Murdoch (Edinburgh: J. Donald, 1982), 119-20.

(77.) Parker, "'Kirk By Law Established,'" 3, 9, 13, 14, 16; Michael F. Graham, "Equality before the Kirk? Church Discipline and the Elite in Reformation-era Scotland," Archiv fur Reformationgeschicte 84 (1993): 298, 300; Smith, "Sackcloth for the Sinner," 120.

(78.) Parker, "'Kirk By Law Established,'" 10; Smith, "Sackcloth for the Sinner," 123-30.

(79.) Parker, "'Kirk By Law Established,'" 4, 8, 13; Foster, Church Before the Covenants (see note 25), 78.

(80.) Firth and Rait, Acts and Ordinances, 1:71-72.

(81.) Worthley, 'Lay Officers' (see note 24), 243; Thomas Hutchinson, History, ed. L. Mayo (see note 51), 1:153-54; John Winthrop, Winthrop's Journal, "'History of New England 1630-49," ed. James K. Hosmer (New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1908), 1:143.

(82.) Rushworth, Historical Collections: The Third Part, 1:178.

(83.) Diary of Sir Symonds D'Ewes, BL, Harl. MSS 166:204, 206; Diary of Lawrence Whitacre, BL, Add. MSS 31116:207v.

(84.) Surman, "Classical Presbyterianism," 138.

(85.) Diary of Walter Yonge, BL, Add. MSS 18780:103.

(86.) Diary of Sir Symonds D'Ewes, BL, Harl. MSS 166:267v.

(87.) Firth and Rait, Acts and Ordinances, 1:791-92.

(88.) See John Pym's statements in February 1641. Sir Simonds D'Ewes, The Journal of Sir Simonds D'Ewes, ed. Wallace Notestein (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1923), 413, n. 19. See also Nathaniel Fiennes' 1641 speech, in Rushworth, Historical Collections: The Third Part, 1:178-79.

(89.) Parker, "'Kirk By Law Established,'" 12-13; Todd, Culture of Protestantism (see note 25), 140-41.

(90.) Parker, "'Kirk By Law Established,'" 12; Graham, "Equality before the Kirk?," 303; Baillie, An Historical Vindication, 17; John Maxwell, The Burthen of Issachar, 3.

(91.) Parker, "'Kirk By Law Established,'" 12. See also Margo Todd, "Profane Pastimes and the Reformed Community: the Persistence of Popular Festivities in Early Modern Scotland," Journal of British Studies 39 (2000): 144.

(92.) Parker, "'Kirk By Law Established,'" 17-18; Smith, "Sackcloth for the Sinner," 124; Parker, "'Kirk By Law Established,'" 4.

(93.) See Sir Symonds D'Ewes on September 13, 1644. Diary of D'Ewes, BL, Harl. MSS 166:113v.

(94.) Surman, "Classical Presbyterianism," 163, referring to 5 Elizabeth c. 23: "An Act for execution of the writ De Excommunicato Capiendo"; Selden, Table Talk, 66. See also Nathaniel Fiennes' 1641 speech, in Rushworth, Historical Collections: The Third Part, 1:181.

(95.) Firth and Rait, Acts and Ordinances, 1:837.

(96.) Surman, "Classical Presbyterianism," 153-55, 163; Edmund Morgan, Roger Williams, 69.

(97.) Bulstrode Whitelocke, Memorials of the English Affairs from the Beginning of the Reign of Charles the First (Oxford: n.p., 1853), 1:493; Yule, Puritans in Politics, 360-61; Diary of Yonge, BL, Add. MSS 18780:114.

(98.) Ibid., 103.

(99.) See, for example, Nathaniel Fiennes and Harbottle Grimston in the 1641 debates. Rushworth, Historical Collections: The Third Part, 1:181-82, 187.

(100.) Diary of Yonge, BL, Add. MSS 18780:8; Diary of D'Ewes, BL, Harl. MSS 166:267v.

(101.) Henry Walker, Corda Angliae, Or, The General Expressions of the Land ([London?]: n.p., 1644), 3.

(102.) A Vindication of the Presbyteriall-Government and Ministry, 72-73.

(103.) See Robert Greville, Lord Brooke, A Discourse opening the Nature of that Episcopacie which is exercised in England (London: Samuel Cartwright, 1641), 3-5, 35-41; William Constantine, The Interest of England, How it consists in Unity of the Protestant Religion (London: Lawrence Blaicklocke, 1642), 29; The Journal of Sir Simonds D'Ewes, ed. Willson H. Coates (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1942), 46. See also an anonymous paper of March 10, 1641, in Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series, of the Reign of Charles I, 1640-1641, ed. W. D. Hamilton (London: Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans', and Roberts, 1882), 498.

(104.) J. S., Infancy of Elders, 4; Lamentation of the Ruling Lay-Elders, 1-4. See also The Scottish politike Presbyter, Slaine by an English Independent.

(105.) Diary of Lawrence Whitacre, BL, Add. MSS 31116:224v.

(106.) Smith, "Sackcloth for the Sinner," 119; Foster, Church Before the Covenants, 69; Makey, Church of the Covenant, 131-32, 139-52. See also Mathew, Scotland Under Charles I, 272-73.

(107.) Parker, "'Kirk By Law Established,'" 5; Graham, "Equality before the Kirk?," 289-309.

(108.) John Maxwell, Burthen of Issachar, 11.

(109.) Michael Lynch, "The Scottish Early Modern Burgh," 15; Helen Dingwall, "Town Councils in Edinburgh 1550-1650," in New Perspectives on the Politics and Culture of Early Modern Scotland, ed. John Dwyer, Roger A. Mason, and Alexander Murdoch (Edinburgh: J. Donald, 1982), 27.

(110.) Alex F. Mitchell and John Struthers, ed., Minutes of the Sessions of the Westminster Assembly of Divines (Edinburgh: Blackwood, 1874), 456.

(111.) Diary of Lawrence Whitacre, BL, Add. MSS 31116:204.

(112.) Yule, Puritans in Politics, 152-53.

(113.) Diary of D'Ewes, BL, Harl. MSS 166:204; Diary of Yonge, BL, Add. MSS 18780:8.

(114.) Diary of Yonge, 8; Diary of Whitacre, 206v.

(115.) Yale Center for Parliamentary History, transcript of Diary of D'Ewes, BL, Harl. MSS 166:249b; Diary of Walter Yonge, BL, Add. MSS 18780:88.

(116.) Diary of Yonge, 103-4v.

(117.) Rushworth, Historical Collections: The Fourth and Last Part, 1:204.

(118.) Firth and Rait, Acts and Ordinances, 1:836; Diary of Yonge, 109; Yule, Puritans in Politics, 179.

(119.) Firth and Rait, Acts and Ordinances, 1:792-93.

(120.) Ibid., 836.

(121.) Church of Scotland, Second Book of Discipline (see note 28), 170 and note 18; Allen Carden, "God's Church and a Godly Government: A Historiography of Church-State Relations in Puritan New England," Fides et Historia 19 (1987): 62; Edmund Morgan, Roger Williams, 70. For Calvin's position, see Elsie Anne McKee, Elders and the Plural Ministry, 30.

(122.) Church of Scotland, Second Book of Discipline, 171.

(123.) Smith, "Sackcloth for the Sinner," 122-23; Graham, "Equality before the Kirk?," 296; Todd, Culture of Protestantism, 142.

(124.) Foster, Church Before the Covenants, 70-71, 78, 79; Dingwall, "Town Councils" (see note 109), 26-28; Smith, "Sackcloth for the Sinner," 122; Makey, Church of the Covenant, 149.

(125.) Graham, "Equality before the Kirk?," 293.

(126.) Aaron B. Seidman, "Church and State in the Early Years of the Massachusetts Bay Colony," New England Quarterly 18 (1945), reprinted in Puritanism in Seventeenthcentury Massachusetts, ed. David D. Hall (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1968), 77, 82. Governor John Winthrop insisted that the magistrates were to be as "nursing fathers" to the churches. Carden, "God's Church and a Godly Government," 53.

(127.) Thomas Hutchinson, History, ed. Mayo (see note 51), 1:122-23, 358.

(128.) Cooper, Tenacious of Their Liberties, 32; Worthley, "Lay Officers," 243-44, 90, 91, 210-12, 214, 218.

(129.) Worthley, "Lay Officers," 210, 243-44, 374, 568.

(130.) 130. Historical Manuscripts Commission, The Manuscripts of the Duke of Portland, 13th Report Appendix (London: Stationers' Office, 1891), 1:297-99.

(131.) Rushworth, Historical Collections: The Third Part, 1:179.

(132.) Firth and Rait, Acts and Ordinances, 1:789.

(133.) Rushworth, Historical Collections: The Fourth and Last Part, 1:205.

(134.) Selden, Table Talk, 20.

(135.) Tai Liu, Puritan London, 55-83.

(136.) Die Lunae 21 December 1646: An Order Against chusing Elders for Common-Counsell Men ([London: n.p.], 1646).

(137.) Baxter to John Bryan, 12 November 1656, Dr. Williams Library, Baxter MSS 1:254.
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