The First Admonition to Parliament  1572

Following the succession of Queen Elizabeth I to the
throne of England in  1558,  very many
dissenters and non conformists returned from exile on the
continent. Among them were many who had been in Geneva who
were keen to bring a Calvinist reformation to the Church
of England. As a group they were called Puritans – this
included the main dissenting groups that would become the 
Baptists, Congregationalists and the Presbyterians. The
separate faiths would emerge in England in the late 16th
and early 17thC  when  `Nonconformists` and
`Dissenters` was then used to describe them. Meanwhile the
Puritans were themselves divided into two groups, one
remaining with the Church of England, working from
within for desired reform; and the nonconforming groups
who wanted change right away. The first group were
influential but their efforts were unavailing and they
either joined the dissenters, or went abroad to Holland
and the Low Countries, or joined those who opted to go to
New England.

The Puritans presented two `Admonitions` to Parliament.
Subsequently the first presbytery was established at
Wandsworth, then in the county of Surrey, in 1572. The
Presbyterian leaders at this time were Thomas Cartwright
(1535-1603) and William Perkins (1558-1602). The document
was composed by Cartwright, Sampson and others, and
addressed to the Parliament of 1572. 

 An Extract:-

Admonition to the Parliament. A view of popish abuses yet
remaining in the English Church for the which godly
ministers have refused to subscribe.

 Whereas immediately after the last parliament [ 1571 ]
. . . the ministers of God’s holy word and sacraments
were called before her Majesty`s High Commissioners, and
enforced to subscribe unto the articles. if they would
keep their places and livings, and some for refusing to
subscribe were . . removed . May it

please therefore this honourable and high court of
parliament to take a view of such causes as then did
withhold and now doth the foresaid ministers from
subscribing and consenting unto those foresaid articles,
by way of purgation to discharge themselves of all
disobedience towards the Church of God and their
sovereign, and by way of most humble entreaty for the
removing away of all such corruptions and abuses as
with­held them Albeit, right honourable and dearly
beloved, we have at all times borne with that which we
could not amend in this book [ The Book of Common Prayer ]
and have used the same in our ministry, so far forth
as we might .  . yet now being compelled by
subscription to allow the same and to confess it not to he
against the word of God in any point, but tolerable, we
must needs say as followeth that this book is an
unperfect book, culled and picked out of that popish
dunghiIl the portuise and mass-book full of all
abominations. For some and many of the contents
therein be such as are against the word of God…

Their pontifical  [procedures]  … whereby they
consecrate bishops, make ministers and deacons, is nothing
else but a thing word for won drawn out of the Popes
pontifical ..; and as the names of archbishops,
archdeacons, lord bishops, chancellors, &c. are drawn out
of the Pope’s shop together with their offices, so the
government which they use … is antichristian and
devilish, and contrary to the scriptures. And as safely
may we, by the warrant of God`s word, subscribe to allow
the dominion of the Pope universally to rule over the word
of God, as of an arch­bishop over a whole province, or a
lord bishop over a diocese which containeth many shires
and parishes. For the dominion that they exercise . . . is
unlawful and expressly forbidden by the word of God

What should we speak of the archbishop’s court, sith all
men know it, and your wisdoms cannot but see what it is.
As all other courts are subject to this by the Popes
prerogative, yea, and by statute of this realm yet
unrepealed, so is it the filthy quake-mire and poisoned
plash of all the abominations that do infect the whole
realm,.. And as for the commissaries’ court. that is but a
petty little stinking catch that floweth out of that
former great puddle, robbing Christ’s Church of lawful
pastors, of watchful seniors and elders, and careful

And as for the apparel, though we have been long borne in
hand, and yet are, that it is for order and decency
commanded, yet we know and have proved that there is
neither order nor comeliness nor obedience in using it. 
Neither is the controversy betwixt them and us (as they
would bear the world in baud) for a cap, a tippet or a
surplice, but for great matters concerning a true ministry
and regiment of the church according to the word …. If it
might please her Majesty, by the advice of your Right Honourable, in this High Court of Parliament, to hear us
by writing or otherwise to defend ourselves, then, such is
the equity of our cause that we would trust to find favour
in her Majesty’s sight … If this cannot be obtained, we
will, by God’s grace, address ourselves to defend his
truth by suffering and willingly lay our heads to the
block, and this shall be our peace, to have quiet
consciences with our God, whom we will abide for with all
patience until he work our full deliverance.  “