O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker.—Psalm 95.6.

[The Second Indulgence, 1672.]
 
THE SECOND INDULGENCE,
By Charles II, 1672.
Excerpted from
Wodrow's History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland.
 
TrueCovenanter.com Editor's Note
Please note: The following historical document is provided to satisfy the interest of readers by making available the actual text of a Declaration often mentioned in the writings of the Covenanters. The reader will find this blasphemous Declaration faithfully testified against, and the acceptance thereof proven sinful, in such works as Alexander Shields' Hind Let Loose, the United Societies' Informatory Vindication, and the Sermons of Messrs. Richard Cameron and Donald Cargill.

Declaration of his majesty's favour, or English indulgence, March 15th, 1672.

Our care and endeavours for the preservation of the rights and interests of the church, have been sufficiently manifested to the world, by the whole course of our government, since our happy restoration, and by the many and frequent ways of coercion that we have used for reducing all erring or dissenting persons, and for composing the unhappy differences, in matters of religion, which we found among our subjects upon our return: but it being evident, by the sad experience of twelve years, that there is very little fruit of all these forcible courses, we think our self obliged to make use of that supreme power in ecclesiastical matters, which is not only inherent in us, but hath been declared and recognized to be so by several statutes and acts of parliament; and therefore, we do now accordingly issue this our declaration, as well for the quieting the minds of our good subjects in these points, for inviting strangers in this conjuncture, to come and live under us; and for the better encouragement of all to a cheerful following of their trade and callings, from whence we hope, by the blessing of God, to have many good and happy advantages to our government; as also, for preventing for the future, the danger that might otherwise arise from private meetings and seditious conventicles. And in the first place, we declare our express resolution, meaning and intention to be, that the church of England be preserved, and remain entire in its doctrine, discipline and government, as now it stands established by law; and that this be taken to be, as it is, the basis, rule, and standard of the general and public worship of God; and that the orthodox conformable clergy do receive and enjoy the revenues belonging thereunto; and that no person, though of a different opinion and persuasion, shall be exempt from paying his tithes, or other dues whatsoever. And further, we declare that no person shall be capable of holding {II:202:A} any benefice, living, or ecclesiastical dignity, or preferment of any kind, in this our kingdom of England, who is not exactly conformable. We do, in the next place, declare our will and pleasure to be, that the execution of all, and all manner of penal laws in matters ecclesiastical, against whatsoever sort of nonconformists, or recusants, be immediately suspended, and they are hereby suspended; and all judges, judges of assize and gaol-delivery, sheriffs, justices of the peace, mayors, bailiffs, and other officers whatsoever, whether ecclesiastical or civil, are to take notice of it, and pay due obedience thereunto. And that there may be no pretence for any of our subjects, to continue their illegal meetings and conventicles, we do declare that we shall, from time to time, allow a sufficient number of places, as they shall be desired, in all parts of this our kingdom, for the use of such as do not conform to the church of England, to meet and assemble in, in order to their public worship and devotion; which places shall be open and free to all persons. But to prevent such disorders and inconveniences as may happen by this our indulgence, if not duly regulated, and that they may be the better protected by the civil magistrate, our express will and pleasure is, that none of our subjects do presume to meet in any place, until such place be allowed, and the teacher of that congregation be approved by us. And lest any should apprehend, that this restriction should make our said allowance and approbation difficult to be obtained, we do further declare, that this our indulgence, as to the allowance of the public places of worship, and approbation of the teachers, shall extend to all sorts of nonconformists and recusants, except the recusants of the Roman catholic religion, to whom we shall in no ways allow public places of worship, but only indulge them their share in the common exemption from the execution of the penal laws, and the exercise of their worship in their private houses only. And if, after this our clemency and indulgence, any of our subjects shall presume to abuse this liberty, and shall preach seditiously, or to the derogation of the doctrine, discipline, or government of the established church, or shall meet in places not allowed by us, we do hereby give them warning, and declare, we will proceed against them with all imaginable severity: and we will let them see, we can be as severe to punish such offenders, when so justly provoked, as we are indulgent to truly tender consciences.

Given at our court at Whitehall, this fourteenth day of March, in the four and twentieth year of our reign.