It is a snare to the man who devoureth that which is holy, and after vows to make enquiry.—Proverbs 20.25.

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Die Martis 30 Ianuar. 1643.

The Declaration of the Kingdoms of England and Scotland, joined

in Arms for the Vindication and defence of their Religion, Liberties,

and Laws, against the Popish, Prelatical, and Malignant party;

By the Honourable Houses of the Parliament of England, and the

Honourable Convention of Estates of the Kingdom of

Scotland, in the year 1643.

IF either Christian duty, which by reason of the light of the Gospel so clearly shining amongst us, might have been expected from the professors of Religion; Or if natural affection which even in the Heathen and Infidels ignorant of Christ, hath abounded toward their native Country, or sincere respect to His Majesties Honour and happiness, could have been found in the ways or hearts of our common enemies, the enemies of Truth and Peace: If they had either feared God, or regarded men, or yielded to our Importunities, We had not after so many Petitions, Declarations and Remonstrances as have filled all mens ears and hands, been put to this necessity of a new Declaration (which therefore must be more pathetic and pressing than any of the former:) Nor after so many troubles and sufferings of the Kingdom of Scotland, after the desolation of the Kingdom of Ireland, and after so much blood, and so many unnatural Tragedies in the Kingdom of England, had we been redacted to this present condition and joint posture of Arms; the Lord, whose counsels are a great depth, and who is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works, hath just cause of controversy against us and this whole Island.  But who would have believed that our Religion, Liberties, and Laws which for so long a time have endured opposition and Assaults of foreign power, envying our happiness, would have been opposed, oppressed, and trod under foot by the craft and cruelty of our own Natives and Country men?

In this our extremity first of all We Declare, that We place not our confidence in our own counsels and strength, but our confidence is in God Almighty the Lord of Hosts, who will not leave nor forsake his people; It is his own Truth and Cause which we maintain with all the Reformed Churches, and which hath been witnessed and sealed by the testimony, sufferings, and blood of so many Confessors and Martyrs against the Heresy, Superstition, and Tyranny of Antichrist: the glory of is own Name, the exaltation of the Kingdom of his Son, and the preservation of his Church, and of this whole Island from utter ruin and devastation, is our aim, and the end which we have before our eyes.  His Covenant have we in both Nations solemnly sworn and subscribed, which he would not have put in our hearts to do, if he had been minded to destroy us; The many prayers and supplications which these many years past, but especially of late have been offered up with fasting and humiliation, and with strong crying and tears, unto him that is able to deliver and save us, are a seed which promise unto us a plentiful Harvest of comfort and happiness; and the Apostacy, Atheism, Idolatry, Blasphemies, Profaneness, cruelty, excess, and open mocking of all Godliness and Honesty, have filled the cup of our Adversaries to the brim, and threaten their speedy and fearful destruction, unless it be prevented by such extraordinary repentance, as seemeth not yet to have entered into their hearts.

Upon these and the like grounds and considerations, being confident that this war wherein both Nations now firmely united are so deeply engaged, is of God; Wee resolve with courage and constancy unto the end, to doe our part; and the Lord who hath stirred up our spirits, displayed his Banner before us, and given the Alarm, doe that which seemeth him good. [2 Sam. 10.12.]

Secondly, although every man is to hope for the principall reward of his service from God, who rewards every one according to his works; yet we find our selves bound in conscience and equity to Declare, that besides those who have the publique faith ingaged to them for their security, such as since the beginning have done valiantly, and dealt faithfully in this Cause, and such as have chosen rather to suffer the spoiling of their Goods, than to assist the Enemy, or to take Arms against their Religion and Country, and shall continue constant in the same course of doing or suffering unto the end, shall be according to their Merits taken into public Notice and Consideration, their losses (so far as may be) repaired, and themselves honoured and rewarded by such means and ways as we trust, {418} God in his providence shall afford, and the Parliament or Estates of the two Kingdoms respectively shall in their Wisdom, Justice and Thankfulnesse judge most convenient; so that no man who hath been eminent in action, or hath suffered any notable loss for the publique, shall be neglected or slighted, but one way or other shall be thankfully remembered, to his own honour, and the good of his Posterity.

Thirdly, although Neutrality and indifferency in the time of the danger of Religion be a thing detestable to God, [Judges 5.23,] who willeth all Christians earnestly to contend for the Truth, and such as have been Neutralists or indifferent in the times of civil division and danger of the Common-wealth, have been in all Nations severely punished as pernicious and publique enemies: yet that the consciences of all men may be the more convinced, and all pretexts removed, We give now Publique warning to such persons to rest no longer upon their Neutrality, or to please themselves with the naughty and slothful pretext of Indifferency, but that they address themselves speedily to take the Covenant, and join with all their power in the defence of this Cause against the common Enemy, and by their zeal and forwardness hereafter to make up what hath been wanting through their lukewarmness; this they will find to be their greatest wisdom and safety; otherwise We do Declare them to be publique Enemies to the Religion and Country, and that they are to be censured and punished as professed Adversaries and Malignants.

Fourthly, Because a great many of the multitude of the people, upon ignorant Mistakings, false Informations, and Threats, or Compulsions, against their wills and inclination, have been induced or constrained to join in Arms with the Enemies against their Religion and Native Country; We do Declare, that all common Soldiers, who upon the humble acknowledgment of their former Errors, shall offer themselves willingly and speedily to take the Covenant, and shall join heartily and really in the defence of this Cause, as becometh good Christians and lovers of their Country, shall be freely accepted into the Covenant, and their former Error passed by; otherwise let them expect the punishment of willful Delinquents and Malignants.

Fifthly, Because some of the Scottish Nation, upon their own private respects, or upon specious pretences and fair persuasions, have joined themselves in Arms with the Popish, Prelatical, and Malignant party, against the Parliament and Kingdom of England, and not considering the nature of the Cause in which they have been engaged, nor the deep interest of the Church and Kingdom of Scotland, upon which this War was to turn in the end, have been fighting against their own Religion and Native Kingdom; We do therefore again Warn all such, of whatsoever quality, and in whatsoever place, speedily to withdraw themselves from that Faction, to confess their mistakes, and to join in the Covenant and Cause of God in both Kingdoms before the first day of March next; otherwise We Declare, in the behalf of the Kingdom of England, that they are to expect no favour, but are to be used as desperate Malignants; And We Declare, in behalf of the Kingdom of Scotland, if they either continue in Arms after the foresaid first day of March, or withhold their help and assistance from their Native Country, in the time of trouble and danger, they are to be censured and punished as public Enemies to their Religion and Country, perfidious transgressors of their National Covenant, and their Estates disposed of for the use of the Publique.

Sixthly, Because there are divers Noblemen, Knights, Gentlemen, Citizens, and others, who by forsaking or deserting the Parliament of England, and by joining themselves to the Enemies of Religion, his Majesties happiness and Peace of the Kingdoms, have made the Division greater, and the Breaches wider betwixt the King and his Parliament, and thereby contrary to the duty of their places and callings, have been the cause of the shedding of much innocent Blood, of great Losses, and of many Miseries and dangers, to the Publique of both Kingdoms, and of the Sufferings of private men in their Estates, and Lives, and yet are not to be reckoned amongst the prime Authors of this unnatural War, nor amongst the malicious and desperate Enemies of their Religion and Country: We do Declare, That all such forsaking their former Opposition, returning to their duty, and endeavouring the good of Religion and the publique Peace, shall, as to their lives and liberties of their persons, be secured, and shall be received into favour: But to the end, that a just difference may be made betwixt such persons returning so late to their duty, and those that never departed from it, they must expect that toward the payment of the publique Debts, relieving the common Burdens of the Kingdoms, and repairing of particular Losses; All which in a great part have been contracted and sustained by their default or procurement: Their Estates in some proportions should be liable, and that as the wisdom {419} and discretion of the Parliament, or of such as shall be authorized by them, (who will be as careful to prevent their ruin, as to punish their Delinquencies) shall find and judge to be necessary for that end.

Wherein also, the time of their returning and offering themselves, the reality of their affections and intentions, and readiness to join in the common Cause, and Covenant, will be taken into special consideration.  And in case they persist in their Opposition, and shall not return before the first day of March next, they are not to expect favour, but shall be punished as publique Enemies to their Religion and Country.

Seventhly, Because Papists and Popish Recusants, according to the principles of their Profession, have ever been plotting and contriving the change of Religion in this Island, and the Ruin of all the professors thereof: And after the Frustration of their Attempts, having waited upon such a time as this, have alienated the Heart of the Kings Majesty from his Protestant and Loyall Subjects, taken Arms against the Parliament and Kingdom, and by all their means and power, have maintained a Bloody and unnatural War, presuming in the end to have their execrable Superstition and Idolatry set up in the place of the true Reformed Religion, and the King and his Kingdoms to be brought under the Power and Tyranny of the Pope: We do hereby Declare, That all such Papists and Popish Recusants, who have been, now are, or shall be actually in Arms, under the false pretence of defending the Kings Person and Authority, are to look for no favour, but to be punished as Traitors, and professed and intolerable Enemies of Religion and their Native Country.  The same Declaration We also make against all such Irish Rebels, whether Papists or others, who have come over from Ireland, and assisted in this War against the Parliament, and Kingdom of England.

And Lastly, Because there are some few wicked and devilish Spirits of both Kingdoms, who have kindled and fomented the Fire of Division and War betwixt the King and his Parliament, or have misgoverned his Majesties Counsels and Courses to his own dishonour, and to the destruction of his loving and dutiful Subjects, or have infused Malignancy in others, or have been restless and active Instruments of the Troubles and Miseries of his Majesties Dominions. [Therefore,]

We do Declare, concerning those who are or shall be found by the Supreme Judicatories of the Kingdoms respectively, or their Committees appointed for that effect, to be such; That as the Conscience of their own bad Deservings hath made them to despair of favour, and thereby uncessantly to work more and more mischief against their Religion and Native Country, so are they to look for such Execution of Justice as is due to Traitors and Enemies of Religion, of the King, and his Kingdoms, for Terror and Example to others, in all times to come.

And it is further now Declared, That the whole Estates, reall and personall, moveable, and Inheritance of those that shall not come in at the times before limited in the Sixth Article, and of the persons before excepted from Pardon, (as of Papists in Arms, Irish Rebels, and those who shall be found to come within the compass of the precedent Article) shall be forfeited and employed for paying the Publique Debts, relieving the common burdens of the Kingdoms, and repairing of particular Losses.

And this Declaration We make, not from any presumption or vain-glorying in the strength of our Armies and Forces; but from the sense of that duty which is required, and expected from the high places and public relations wherein we stand, and from the assurance We have of the assistance of God, by whose providence the trust and safety of these Kingdoms is put into our hands at this time, having after long and grave consultation, resolved and decreed never to lay down Arms till Truth and Peace by the blessing of God be settled in this Island upon a firm foundation for the present and future Generations, which shall be esteemed of Us an abundant reward of all that We can do or suffer in this Cause.


The above document has been prepared according to the text found in the original publication, A Collection of all the publicke Orders Ordinances and Declarations of both Houses of Parliament, from the Ninth of March 1642 until December 1646, &c., printed at London in 1646. With the exception of occasional updates to spelling, and bracketed insertions, the original text is retained.——JTKER::2014.12.13.