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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.