Studies in the History of
The Book of Common Prayer
The Anglican Reform; The Puritan Innovations; The Elizabethan Reaction; The Caroline Settlement
By Herbert Mortimer Luckock
[Footnotes moved near place of citation in square brackets. Bible citations in all Arabic numerals. Spelling selectively modernized.
INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER: Notices of the Early British Church. – The source from which she derived her Liturgy. The Mission of St. Augustine. Gregory’s reply to his questions. The rise and spread of Monasticism in England. The Benedictine Rule of Life. The Canonical Hours. The Liturgical Reforms of Gregory VII and Bishop Osmund. Religion confined to the Monasteries. Rivalry between the secular and regular Clergy. State of Public Worship in the Cathedrals in the 14th and 15th centuries.
CHAPTER I: The Anglican Reform. – The Pre-Reformation Service-books. The “Uses.” Monastic worship. The New Learning. The authority on which the Revision of the Service books was undertaken. The first Committee. Their representative character. The Primate. The Bishops: Goodrich, Thirlby, Day, Ridley, and Holbeach. The Presbyters: Cox, May, Taylor, Haynes, Robertson, and Redmayn. The Committee enlarged. The changes in the language. Roman arguments for a dead language. The English of the First Prayer Book. Larger use of Scripture. The Calendar. The consolidation of services. Ancient lines followed. Comparison of Reformed and unreformed services. The completion of the first Revision. Its authorization. Its reception. Rebellions. Their suppression.
CHAPTER II: The Puritan Innovations – The Foreign Reformers. Scheme for a Concordat. Its hopelessness. The Diet of Spires. The League of Smalcald. The tyranny of the Emperor. The Refugees in England: a Lasco, Peter Martyr, Martin Bucer. The Vestiarian Dispute. John Hooper. Revision on the authority of Parliament. Changes introduced in the Revised Book. In Matins and Evensong. Baptism. Confirmation. Matrimony. Visitation of the Sick. Burial Service. The Communion Office. The Sacrificial aspect obscured. The doctrine of the Real Presence discountenanced. The Invocation and Agnus Dei omitted. The Black Rubric. Suggested Explanations. Unsatisfactory. The aims of the Puritans defeated.
CHAPTER III: The Elizabethan Reaction. – The accession of Queen Mary. Reaction upon her death. Difficulties confronting Queen Elizabeth. Her doctrinal views. First steps toward revision. A Committee appointed. Public Debate in Westminster Abbey. Proposals for legislation. The Abbot of Westminster and Bishop Scott. The Act of Uniformity. Changes introduced. The Queen and her Privy Council. The Injunctions. Anglican Worship fully restored. Generally accepted. Opposition raised. Causes which advanced the Puritans. The Queen’s rapacity. The neglected state of the Churches. The object of the Injunctions. The Advertisements. The London Clergy. The Universities. The opportuneness of Hooker’s Works.
CHAPTER IV: The Caroline Settlement. – The state of feeling during the proscription of the Prayer Book. Deputation to Holland, and the Breda Declaration. The return of the King. A second manifesto. The unreasonableness of the Presbyterians. Proposals for a Conference. The meeting in the Savoy. The Members: Cosin, Morley, Sanderson, Pearson, Gunning, Reynolds, Richard Baxter, Calamy, Lightfoot. The object of the Conference. The exceptions of the Puritans. Baxter’s Liturgy. An attempt at agreement. Causes contributing to the restoration of Episcopacy: The Coronation, The Solemn League burnt, The Act of Uniformity, The return of the Lords Spiritual to the House of Peers. The results of the Conference. Committee appointed for the final Revision. Bishop Wren. Cosin’s previous labours. Numerous changes. The Sealed Books. The Act of Uniformity. The consequences. The conduct of the Presbyterian Ministers. The impossibility of reconciliation. The settlement at the bar of history.
APPENDIX I: On the Gallican Liturgy. – Points of resemblance between it and the Sarum Missal. Its original source. An outline of’ the structure of the Liturgy.
APPENDIX II: The Order of the Communion.
APPENDIX III: The Hampton Court Conference. – The hopes of the Puritans revived on the accession of James I. The Millenary Petition. The Constitution of the Conference. The meetings. The sign of the Cross objected to. The King’s answer. Unimportant concessions. The Prayer Book strengthened. Forms of Prayer added. A new translation of the Scriptures undertaken.
APPENDIX IV: The Directory of the Commonwealth, together with some account of its principles.
APPENDIX V: Changes introduced into the Prayer Book in 1662 A.D.
Index (omitted for web)
It often happens that many things in a book are intelligible only to those who are familiar with the mind and character of the author. An expression or phrase, which may ordinarily be passed over as unimportant, becomes instinct with meaning and suggestiveness, when read by one who has the advantage of an intimate acquaintance with the writer by whom it was used. And if this be true in regard to the chief leaders of thought in the present day, it is truer still when the reader and writer find themselves separated from each other by a long distance of time.
Now the realization of this has often made me feel that a much fuller apprehension of the real teaching of the Book of Common Prayer would be attained, if more light could be thrown upon the views and characters of the different men who compiled and revised it.
Many summaries of the history of the Book have been given to the world at divers times, but the authors have for the most part been satisfied with little more than the bare enumeration of the names of men who were charged with a work unequalled in importance for the influence which it has exercised on the worship of the Church. In a few instances, e.g. Cranmer or Ridley or Cosin, there was no necessity to do anything more, but Day and Thirlby and Morley (to select at haphazard), except to the real student of Ecclesiastical History, have been names, and names only.
Perhaps it would be impossible to illustrate more forcibly the advantages of such a plan as I proposed to myself than by a reference to the Council of Nicaea. Its history has often been written, and the names of the leading Bishops who took part in it have been familiar enough; but what a world of fresh interest gathered into that Council chamber by the Bithynian Lake, when Stanley seized the dry bones, and clothed them with flesh and blood, and stamped its own individuality upon every form! However much men may dissent from his conclusions, no one can deny that by the portraits of the disputants which he has drawn, from Constantine and Athanasius to Spiridion and Paphnutius, he has imparted a reality to the scene, as refreshing as it is instructive.
The materials upon which I have drawn for what I have written in the following pages are so scattered and various that anything like a full acknowledgment is impracticable. Much of course has been found in such standard histories as those of Collier, Fuller, Peter Heylin, and Strype in earlier times; or in Hook’s Lives of the Archbishops, and Froude’s History of England, and Dr. Stoughton’s series of works on Ecclesiastical History in later times. Separate Biographies, Diaries, Histories of individual Colleges at the two Universities, Athenae Oxonienses and Annales Cantabrigienses, have supplied sufficient matter for forming a fair estimate of the opinions of the Bishops and Divines who were most concerned with the growth and development of the Prayer Book.
Dr. Stoughton’s Histories have had an especial interest, as putting forth far more ably and attractively than ever before the views of Nonconformists upon those critical times.
But while according him much praise for the general tone, the vivacity and the clearness of his writings, it is impossible not to see that he has failed to recognize the real standpoint of the Church. For instance, he speaks without any reserve in condemnation of the ejection of the ministers in 1662 A.D., and tries to enlist our sympathies with the sufferings which they had to undergo, because they were too conscientious to conform to the Church of the Restoration, ignoring the fact that, twenty years before, their opponents had suffered equally, and that too at the hands of men who had usurped the government. If the Nonconformists had their “black Bartholomew,” the Bishops and the Established clergy had theirs also; indeed, not a few of the ministers who made such a grievance of being cast out in 1662 A.D., were actually holding benefices from which the orthodox incumbents had been ousted during the Commonwealth.
It only remains for me now to perform the pleasant task of expressing my grateful acknowledgments to those who have aided me in the work which this publication has entailed.
These are due especially to the Bishop of the Diocese, for help directly and indirectly given, as well for suggestions before its commencement, as for criticism of the results when the work was concluded. Doubts and perplexities were certain to arise, where the right understanding of a book, second in importance only to the Bible, was the object in view. On such occasions I have found myself not infrequently appealing to his counsel and judgment, and rarely without seeing the prospect cleared, and the difficulties made easier to contend with.
Next I would tender my thanks to the Rev. Canon Venables, Precentor of Lincoln, for having kindly examined the printed pages, and suggested some useful alterations.
Also I gratefully acknowledge the help in revising and correcting the proof sheets, which I have received from the Rev. W. B. Trevelyan, my colleague in the Ely Theological College.
And lastly, I may not forget that a fairly exhaustive Index – that part of a work on which much of its usefulness so frequently depends, but which nevertheless the author is so ready to neglect – is the acceptable contribution of a member of my own family.
And now in sending forth this humble treatise, I would express an earnest prayer that He, with Whose worship well nigh every page of it is concerned, will bless its influence for an ever increasing love, and a more intelligent and reverential use of those Forms of Prayer and Ceremonial observances, for which such brave battle was done in more troublous times.
H. M. L.
The Feast of St. Michael and All Angels, 1881
It may help the reader to a better understanding of the subject which we have endeavoured to illustrate in this book if we notice briefly the conditions of Public Worship in the country before we arrive at the great epochs with which the Book of Common Prayer is more immediately concerned.
The materials from which the historian is able to draw for a description of the Church and everything connected with it among the Britons are so scanty that much uncertainty must necessarily prevail.
Tertullian,* in the second century, says that “even those parts of Britain hitherto inaccessible to Roman arms had been subdued by the gospel of Christ”; and Origen,** half a century later, testifies that “the power of GOD our Saviour is even with those in Britain who are divided from our world.”
[*Adv. Judaeos, vii. Perhaps the date of this tract should be placed in the third century, but Bishop Kaye considers it to have been written before Tertullian became a Montanist, which is thought to have been about 200 A.D.
**Hom. vi. in Luc., also iv. in Ezech. But in his commentary on St. Matthew, he speaks of “very many” as not yet having received the Gospel, iv. 271.]
At the beginning of the fourth century we find the British Christians governed by Bishops. In 314 A.D. at the Council of Arles in Gaul, among the signatures to the Canons then passed occur the names of Eborius, Bishop of York, Restitutus of London, and Adelphus of Lincoln (or perhaps, Caerleon).
Again, at the Councils of Sardica in Illyria, 347 A.D., and Ariminium in Italy, 360 A.D., British Bishops took part, and it is worthy of notice, as bearing upon the poverty stricken condition of the Church in this land, that, at the latter of the above Councils, when the Emperor offered to defray the expenses of the Bishops who attended, the offer was declined except by those from Britain, who were too poor to refuse.
In 429 A.D. an event occurred which in all probability had an important influence upon the after-worship of the Church. The Britons, finding themselves unable to oppose the spread of Pelagianism, sent to Gaul for some learned men to come over to help them. A Gallic Synod was called, and Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre, and Lupus of Troyes, were sent as a deputation, and after completely refuting the errors of the heretics, whom they met in controversy at Verulam, they returned home, but only to be reinvited to establish the Britons in the Faith, and build them up in the doctrines of the Catholic Church. It is to their second visit that the introduction of the Galilean Liturgy and Ritual is most probably to be attributed.
And from this date, passing over a dark and obscure page in the Ecclesiastical history of the country, we come to the Mission of St. Augustine.
It is on his arrival with his forty companions, 596 A.D., that for the first time we have any definite mention of the existence of particular Forms of Worship in the British Church. The Gallican Liturgy was then in use: not perhaps in all points in its original shape, for variations were common in the Primitive Liturgies, arising from a multiplicity of causes, such as the peculiarities of a people, their habits and tastes, or the wishes of the Bishop of the Diocese. One thing however is certain, that when St. Augustine landed in England, he found the people using for their highest Act of Public Worship a Service which they had derived from Gaul.
We are almost surprised that he should have expressed so much anxiety to supersede it by the Roman. Had it been a Liturgy of the Oriental type, the variations from that to which he was accustomed would have been so numerous that his desire to substitute his own would have been quite intelligible: but between the Roman and the Gallican there were so many points of resemblance [Cf. Hammond, Liturgies, Eastern and Western, xxiii-iv.] that he might well have been satisfied to leave the existing Forms undisturbed. But he was impatient of any divergence, and inquired of Pope Gregory what course was to be adopted when the National Liturgy and the Roman were found to disagree. He hoped no doubt that he would receive authority to impose the latter without hesitation, but he was doomed to disappointment.
The Pope, in his reply, showed him that there was no obligation to insist upon the Roman. “You know,” he writes, “the custom of the Roman Church in which you remember you were bred up. But it pleases me that if you have found anything either in the Roman or the Gallican or any other Church, which may be more acceptable to Almighty GOD, you carefully make choice of the same, and sedulously teach the Church of the English, which as yet is new in the faith, whatsoever you can gather from the several churches. For things are not to be loved for the sake of places, but places for the sake of good things. Choose, therefore, from every Church those things that are pious, religious, and upright, and when you have, as it were, made them up into one body, let the minds of the English be accustomed thereto.” [Cf. Bede’s Eccles. Hist. i. xxvii.]
How far the advice was followed is a disputed question. Perhaps the most probable explanation of the different views is to be found in the supposition that the two Forms of Liturgical practice continued side by side for a time: those Churches which owed their origin to the missionary adopting that of their founder, while those which had existed before his arrival continued their worship unchanged.
Such divergence, however, ceased in the eighth century, when by a decree of the Council of Cloveshoo, [The place of meeting has been much disputed. Cliffe-at-Hoo, Abingdon, and Tewkesbury, have each had their advocates. The 13th Decree ran thus: “Ut festivitates in omnibus ad eas rite competentibus rebus, sc. in baptismi officio, in missarum celebratione, in cantilena modo, celebrentur juxta exemplar, videlicet quod scriptum de Romana ecclesia habemus.” – Wilkins’s Concilia, i. 97.] 747 A.D., it was decreed that the Roman Missal should be adopted throughout England.
But in addition to the Worship of the Altar with which alone the rare notices hitherto have been concerned, we now meet with daily worship and more frequent services. During that stage of Church history which reaches from the Mission of St. Augustine to the Conquest, all our interest gathers round the Monasteries.
These had existed before in different parts, to which the numerous “Bangors” [It means “high choir or circle,” or eminent community. For particulars cf. Bright, Eccles. Hist. 20.] are said to testify. At Bangor Iscoed, at Bangor Wydrin (or Glastonbury), and “the great Bangor over Conway,” and in other places, Monastic Colleges were built and formed centers of religious study and worship; but the system took no real hold of the country till the beginning of the seventh century. From this time forward it spread with marvelous rapidity.
It was the monks who converted the heathen. The austerity and stern duties which marked their manner of life seemed to be possessed of attractions for the rude Anglo-Saxon; and when the thanes and nobles with their crowds of retainers were drawn in, and then finally Kings and Queens lavished their treasure upon the Monastic Houses, the country became literally overspread by them. All the most beautiful spots in the land were assigned for their settlement, and in “every rich valley, and by the side of every clear stream, arose a Benedictine Abbey.” England became “a nation of monks”.
A consideration of the Benedictine Rule of Life will enable us to realize what an impulse the worship of GOD received from the extension of the Monastic system. The day was divided between “opus Dei, labor et lectio”: or the service of GOD and manual and intellectual work. For the regulation of the first, the day was divided into what were called “Canonical Hours.” There is some variety, but the ordinary arrangement gave seven in addition to the midnight Service: viz., Matins, or Lauds, at daybreak; Prime, at six A.M.; Tierce, at nine A.M.; Sext, at noon; Nones, at three P.M.; Vespers, before sunset; and Compline, at bedtime.
In the “Excerpta” of Ecgbright, [C. 28.] we read, “These seven synaxes or assemblings we ought daily to offer to GOD with great concern for ourselves and for all Christian people.”
Divers conjectures have been made as to the grounds upon which they have severally been observed.
The night services probably originated in times of persecution. Prime and Vespers, at sunrise and sunset, would naturally suggest themselves in connection with the Sun of Righteousness. The observance of the three “Leaser Hours,” which received their names from the third, sixth, and ninth hours with which three of the four divisions of the day terminated, was probably regarded as a continuance of the Jewish custom. Compline, from Completorium, was the gathering up of the day’s devotions, the Service in which the worshipper fully commended himself to GOD’S care for the coming night. These services combined were called “Divinum Officium”.
The next epoch opens with the Reforms of Gregory VII and Bishop Osmund of Sarum.
The former, who occupied the Papal Chair from 1073 to 1086 A.D., rearranged and abbreviated “the Divine Services” which had been used at “the Hours,” and brought them out under the title of “The Breviary,” which was generally imposed to the exclusion of the existing Forms. It consisted of four parts, for Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn respectively, and each part had four or five subdivisions, viz.: – 1. Kalendarium; 2. Psalterium; 3. Commune Sanctorum; 4. Proprium de Tempore; 5. Proprium Sanctorum. Sometimes the second and third of these were combined, as containing those parts which did not vary with days or seasons. In England the favourite title for the Book was Portiforium, which in its English form had many equivalents, – portfory, portuisse, and portuary.
The other reformer of Service books was Osmund. After the Conquest the Anglo-Saxon clergy were in some cases forcibly ousted, in many succeeded at their deaths by men of Norman blood.
Among these was a Count of some distinction as a statesman, who was consecrated to the See of Salisbury [The date has been variously given at 1085 and 1087 A.D.] on the death of Herman, 1087 A.D.
He at once set himself to put an end to the great diversities of Rites and Ceremonies, which prevailed in different parts of the country, and even in different parts of the same Diocese. He revised the Service books, and set forth a reformed Breviary, Missal, and Manual for adoption in all the Churches and chapels over which he had jurisdiction.
These, which constituted what was known as “the Sarum Use,” became generally popular, and were introduced into many parts of England, and held their ground down to the Reformation.
So far we have looked at the worship of GOD mainly as it was offered in the Monasteries, but it would have been almost useless to look elsewhere, for nearly all the religion of the country was gathered within their walls. The people who derived so much benefit from them would naturally be drawn into sympathy with their religious life. The Benedictine monks were the chief missionaries, for as they spread over the land they associated the work of evangelization with the labours of agriculture, and while they were turning uncultivated wastes into productive and luxuriant farms, and bringing plenty to the homes of the people, they superseded ignorance and blind Paganism by the blessed knowledge of the Gospel of Christ.
But in lapse of time their popularity waned, and a rivalry grew up between the secular clergy and the monks. And inasmuch as the former were in the main idle and incompetent, religion flagged, and in the Church, outside the Religious Houses, the worship of GOD was suffered to fall into neglect.
There was a brief resuscitation in the thirteenth century, when the country clergy were roused from their apathy by the enthusiasm with which the preaching Friars carried on their mission.
But the good influence was only short-lived: the mercenary spirit of the Roman religion, so rife at that era, was infused into the new Orders, and the preaching of indulgences supplanted the preaching of the Gospel.
In the Monasteries, as soon as they openly repudiated the authority of the English Bishops, the door was opened for the admission of endless innovations, and the Service books became more and more tainted with Roman errors.
The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries were so notoriously evil that for them as well as for the ninth and tenth, “the dark ages” has been regarded as the most fitting designation. This period has been described in these striking terms, “the epoch was an eclipse – a very Egyptian darkness; worse than chaos or Erebus – black as the thick preternatural night, under cover of which our Lord was crucified.” [Dublin Review, xliv. 49, cited by Hook, Lives of the Archbishops, vol. iii. 58.]
And though all this refers to the general condition of the Church, the decay of Public Worship was one of the most marked of its features. If we may judge from what we read of the Mother Churches, then we may well doubt if it was ever nearer to total extinction. As a single illustration, in the great Metropolitan Cathedral, at the close of the fourteenth century, where there was every facility from rich endowment and benefactions to maintain the beauty of holy worship in her services and ritual, we are quite appalled at the revelations of history. Where the worship of the Altar and the Daily Services had been for many generations offered with becoming dignity and splendour, the sacred vessels and ornaments were pilfered or sold, and the building profaned “by foul and abominable acts”. The House of GOD became a place of merchandise; and while the Services were suspended or driven into obscure corners, men and women, not on common days merely, but especially on the Festivals of the Church, exposed their wares, buying and selling with no thought whatever for the sanctity of the place. [Cf. Milman’s Hist. of St. Paul’s, 82.]
Then if we leap over a gap of a hundred years we find scarcely any improvement, and we realize to the full the appropriateness of the title which those centuries have received. When Dean Colet in 1505 A.D. found himself the guardian of St. Paul’s, with all his religion he made hardly a visible effort to purge the Church of the profane uses to which it had been abandoned. The degeneracy of the times was such that it may well be doubted whether he could have reinstated the worship of GOD; but a brighter era was about to dawn, and with it the shadows of the past were to flee away.
In the following pages we have endeavoured to show how the interest of the Reformation centered round the reestablishment of a pure worship with the Service books revised and the Ritual regulated with .a due regard to the edification of the worshippers.
Chapter I – The Anglican Reform
The chief Service books* in use in the English Church at the time of the Reformation were these: The Breviary, containing a series of daily services for the Canonical Hours, which were eight in number.
[*Breviarium: cf. Introductory Chapter. Missale was the title given probably in the eighth century, or a little later, to the volumes in which the following Office books were united: Lectionarius, for the lections from Scripture. Sometimes this was divided into Epistolarium, for the Epistles, and Evangelistarium, for the Gospels: Antiphonarium, or Graduale, for all that was sung at Mass: Sacramentarium, for all the fixed parts and the Collects.
Manuale was the title in the Salisbury and York ‘Uses’ for the Book called elsewhere Rituale. It comprised the offices for Baptism, Matrimony, Burial, and others of less importance.
Pontificale; the chief contents of this were the Ordination Services, Confirmation, Consecration of a Church and Burial ground, and sundry Episcopal benedictions.
In addition to the above the Primers deserve notice, though they were originally intended rather for private than public service. The Primer was not confined to any one definite set of prayers, but embraced several different collections according to the will of the compiler. Maskell’s Primer, e.g. which has been assigned a date as early as 1400 A.D., contained Matins, Evensong, Compline, Litany, the Hours of the Virgin, the Penitential Psalms and Songs of Degrees, the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, and Ten Commandments. It was usual to print the book in English and Latin, sometimes in one of these languages only. A revised edition was brought out by Marshall in 1530 A.D., and another by Hilsey, Bishop of Rochester, in 1539 A.D., but all existing editions were superseded in 1545 A.D. by “The Primer set forth by the King’s Majesty and his Clergy to be taught, learned, and read: and none other to be used throughout all his dominions.”]
The Missal, or Order of Celebration of the Holy Communion.
The Manual, for the Baptismal and other occasional offices, which might be performed by a priest.
The Pontifical, for such as the Bishop alone administered.
In all of these severally, while the outline and structure were the same, there was considerable variety in detail, and different editions, if we may so speak of them, had become generally accepted in different localities. York, for example, Lincoln, Hereford, and Bangor, had each its own “Use,” marked off by some peculiarity, while the remaining Dioceses united in the adoption of that entitled “the Sarum,” which the Bishop of Salisbury [It is considered highly probable that he was assisted by Lanfranc, who had already compiled a “Use” for the Benedictines. For the influence of Roman ritual upon that which was introduced into England in view of reconciling the clergy, which consisted of two rival races, cf. Preface to the Sarum Missal in English, pp. x.–xi.] had compiled with so much care in the eleventh century.
Three things in particular contributed to call for a revision of these Service books about the middle of the sixteenth century.
The Dissolution of the Monasteries [The Lesser Monasteries, 376 in number, with incomes not exceeding £200 a year, were dissolved by Act of Parliament, 1536 A.D. The Larger Monasteries shared the same fate, but not so summarily. The Act, which appropriated their revenues, passed 1539 A.D.] made a complete reconstruction of the Breviary an imperative necessity. In Religious Houses, where it was of the very essence of their constitution that the worship of GOD should enter largely into the routine of daily life, it was an easy matter to subordinate all other occupations to that which was held to be of primary importance, and seven [In lapse of time the two early services came to be used continuously, and were regarded as one.] times during the twenty-four hours the Bell of the Monastery summoned its inmates to assemble in the Chapel for Divine Service.
When Henry VIII realized that the Monastic Orders remained unshaken in their loyalty to the Papacy, and that the title of “Supreme Head of the Church,” which he had assumed, could be little more than nominal, if such formidable opponents were left to foster seditious counsels, nothing remained for him but to dissolve their constitutions and appropriate their revenues to other purposes.
With this abolition of the Religious Orders, the offering of frequent worship became wholly impracticable. Up to the time of the Dissolution, the daily service had not attracted the bulk of the people. [Cf. Freeman’s Principles of Divine Service, i. 278.] A certain number, no doubt, wherever there was a Monastery in the neighbourhood, would be drawn to some extent into a participation of its worship, but generally the people must have felt themselves precluded by their occupations from taking any part therein. Now, however, that the Monasteries had been swept away, men realized that if the daily homage of the creature was to continue to be paid, such changes were called for as should make the payment compatible with their secular duties.
How this was effected we shall see presently.
A second demand for revision arose out of the revival of learning.
The close of the fifteenth century witnessed the beginning of what was designated “the New Learning.” The Universities claimed the honour of its birthplace. Erasmus, of whom it has been said that. he was the first “man of letters” who had appeared in Europe since the fall of the Roman Empire, worked a complete revolution in the education of the country. The Greek language, long known but most imperfectly, and studied only in the books of authors wholly unworthy to represent its genius and its true value, seemed suddenly endowed with new attractions, and under the aegis of Erasmus regained its place in the two great seats of learning and education. He determined to break down the ignorant hostility to classical literature which reigned in the colleges and monasteries; but how difficult a task it was, and how long it took for scholars to shake off the fetters of a barbarous age, a study of Erasmus himself will abundantly testify. With all his appreciation of the beauties of Cicero, notwithstanding the spontaneity and naturalness of his Latin, which give it all the charms of a living and spoken tongue, he is still far removed from the purity and grace of the classical models.
But that for which we are most deeply indebted to him is the impulse which he gave to the study of the New Testament in the original language. [Erasmus’s Greek Testament, though of no critical value, made a deep and lasting impression. He had neither the MSS. to enable him to form a text, nor training to do it even if he had. To it, however, is due the first awakening to the fact that the Vulgate was a document not worthy of the confidence which the Church had placed in it.] The “ever memorable” Dean Colet, [Dean of St. Paul’s, and founder of the School which bears that name. He commenced his Lectures on the Greek Testament in 1498 A.D.] foremost among his friends, substituted lectures on Scripture at Oxford for the customary disquisitions on Scotus and Aquinas; while at the sister university George Stafford discarded the glosses of the Schoolmen altogether, and taught his classes to study the text; and not a few of the Reformers [Latimer, though at first bitterly opposed to him, became a convert to his teaching, and drew Ridley over to the same studies.] sat at his feet.
One of the most immediate results of this reaction, which rapidly affected the community at large, was to make them dissatisfied with the part they had hitherto been contented to take in public worship. Men awoke to the realization of the privileges which attached to “ the priesthood of the laity,”* and they determined to claim a portion in that intelligent and rational service, which the Clerics had monopolized all too long.
[*Maskell, in opposition to those who have asserted that daily service was never intended for the laity, appeals to the authority of the Fathers and decides that it is “a certain thing, that the Divine Office was not instituted solely for the clergy, but for all men who call themselves Christians.” Cf. Freeman’s Principles of Divine Service, i. 277.
The Scriptures teach plainly that in some sense all Christians are priests. St. Peter, addressing his converts at large, writes, “Ye also as lively stones are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood,” and again, “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,” 1 Peter 2:5, 9.
St. John also adopts similar language, “And hath made us kings and priests unto God.” Rev. 1:6.
This teaching however has often been misunderstood and supposed to destroy the efficacy of ordination. Rightly interpreted, it enhances it greatly. It is evident that the Apostles had in their minds the language which God addressed to the Israelites, where speaking to all He said, “Ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests and an holy nation.” Exod.. 19:6. They knew well that though the universal priesthood of the nation was here acknowledged, God had set apart a special priesthood with special functions, and so hedged it in that for any one of “the kingdom of priests” to claim it, without being called, was an unpardonable sin. Unless the two cases had been analogous the Apostles would have been careful to avoid the language they used. It is worthy of notice how those Nonconforming bodies, which lay stress in this matter on the authority of St. Peter and St. John, have robbed the laity of their prerogative, and precluded them almost entirely from all part in the offering of public worship. A comparison of the ordinary service and the parts assigned to the congregation and the ministers as appointed in the Church and in any Dissenting Chapel will exhibit the contrast in a very marked manner.]
The first step towards the attainment of this was the introduction of the vernacular in place of a dead unspoken tongue in the Public Forms – the supersession of Latin by the language of the country.
The third, and by many considered to be the chief call for revision, came from the pressing necessity for purifying the Service books from error, and clearing away the accretions of superstitious usage which had accumulated upon them in mediaeval times.
Such then being the chief causes which contributed to make a revision necessary, it remains for us to examine the authority by which it was undertaken and carried out, with a view to estimating how far the work is entitled to the confidence of the Church.
There are few greater mistakes than to accept as correct the loose statement so frequently made, that the Committee of Revision were appointed by the Crown. Long before it ever entered into the head of Henry VIII to touch our services, a reformed edition [In 1516 and 1531 A D. Cf. Freeman’s Princip., Introd. Pt. ii. Sect. x.] of the Sarum Breviary had been issued: and it is worth while observing that it followed the very lines which the Commissioners laid down for themselves in Edward VI’s reign. [This is especially observable in reference to the simplification of the directions for services, and to the extended reading of Holy Scripture.] This again was succeeded a few years later by a somewhat similar revision of the Sarum Missal. Now both of these were undertaken before the King had assumed the title of “Supreme Head of the Church,”* and when as yet he took no such interest in ecclesiastical matters as to justify us in believing that the work was in any way dictated by his advice or direction. Indeed we find him at this time most unwilling to meddle with Church Reform of any kind: as unwilling as Convocation was the reverse. He rejected a petition presented to him by the Convocation of Canterbury for an authorized version of the Bible in English for general circulation.
[*The title of “sole protector and supreme head of the Church,” which he proposed to assume, was much discussed in Convocation, and accepted with the limitation “quantum per Christi legem licet,” first by Canterbury and shortly afterwards by York. An Act of Parliament was passed in 1534 A.D. declaring the King to be the “Supreme head on earth of the Church of England.”]
It is true that a few years later he was induced to reconsider his decision, but we point to his hesitation in the matter as an indication of his indifference to reform, and as affording a strong presumption that whatever was done was sanctioned by Convocation, the idea of independent action being quite untenable.
But when at length the King was persuaded to interest himself in Liturgical improvement, his first step was to commission the Archbishop to acquaint the Houses of Convocation that it was his pleasure that the Service books should be revised: “that all mass books, antiphoners, portuisses, in the Church of England should be newly examined, corrected, and reformed;” and Convocation ordered that the work be entrusted to the Bishops of Sarum and Ely, [Nicholas Shaxton and Thomas Goodrich.] with three assessors [See below.] each from the Lower House. Matters had been made somewhat easier by an enactment of the previous year that one uniform service should be adopted throughout the Province of Canterbury. [March 3, 1541 A.D. Cf. Wilkins’ Concil. iii. 861, 862.] But there was one fatal obstacle to any real reform. So long as the Statute book [The Act passed in May 1539 A.D. The other enactments were on the efficacy of solitary masses and the celibacy of the priesthood.] imposed death by burning as the penalty for denying the doctrine of Transubstantiation, and hanging as a common felon for disapproval of Communion in one kind, or of the perpetual obligation of vows of chastity, or of the necessity of auricular confession, we can easily understand that the Revisionists felt themselves clogged and hampered at every step. The memory of the terrible scenes enacted in the torture room where Ann Askew so heroically endured the rack, or of the fires of Smithfield, in which, in company with others, she suffered martyrdom for her belief, must have hung like a sword of Damocles over their Council Chamber. Indeed Shaxton himself, who presided over their deliberations, had been condemned to the stake on the self-same charge, but had purchased his life by recantation; and the recollection of this must have haunted him like a specter till the Statute was repealed. The severities of the “Six Articles” were mitigated in 1544 A.D., but it was not till the close of 1547 A.D., after the death of Henry VIII and the accession of Edward VI, that the Act was erased from the Statute book. That erasure established freedom of debate, and made real revision a possibility; and immediately after we hear of the Prolocutor in the name of the whole House carrying a petition to the Primate, “that the works of the Bishops and others, who by the command of Convocation had laboured in examining, reforming, and publishing the Divine Service,” [November 22, 1547 A.D. Cf. Mem. of Cranm. by Strype, ii. 4.] should be laid before them. A few days later Cranmer made a report, which was followed by the publication of a new and uniform Order, chiefly in English, for administering Communion in both kinds, according to the rules of Scripture, and the use of the Primitive Church. This received the unanimous sanction of Convocation, and was in due course ratified by Parliament. [After being approved by Convocation, it was ratified by Parliament December 20, 1547 A.D., and issued by Royal Proclamation March 8, 1548 A.D. The Proclamation ran thus, “The most Blessed Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ our Saviour should from henceforth be commonly delivered and ministered to all persons within our realm of England and Ireland and other our dominions under both kinds, that is to say, of bread and wine (except necessity of the wise require) lest every man phantasaying and devising a sundry way by himself, in the use of this most blessed Sacrament of unity, there might arise any unseemly or ungodly diversity.” This “Order of the Communion” was really an addition to the Old Latin Mass of an English Form to be used when any of the laity communicated. Cf. Appendix II.]
The work may now be said to have been begun in earnest. The Committee was enlarged, and their sittings transferred to Windsor Castle as a special mark of royal approbation and favour. Before, however, we proceed further, we may well pause to make ourselves familiar with the members of that august body, which under the guidance of GOD’S good Spirit, gave to the country the noblest of Liturgical services ever compiled in any age.
Conventional pictures of this assembly of divines in the Council room at Windsor have placed Archbishop Cranmer in the chair. He is supported on either side by three bishops: while the six members chosen from the Lower House of Convocation occupy a cross-bench facing the Primate.
The Bishops were Goodrich of Ely, Holbeach of Lincoln, Skip of Hereford, Day of Chichester, Thirlby of Westminster, Ridley of Rochester. We miss Shaxton, the head and chief of the original Committee, who had died; but we are not disposed to regret his removal, for decision of character was a quality most requisite in a crisis of this kind, and the Bishop of Sarum had forfeited all claim to that important virtue. The remaining six members were: Cox, May, Taylor, Haines, Robertson, and Redmayn: the same no doubt who had sat as assessors to Shaxton and Goodrich all through the existence of the Committee from 1542 A.D. Which of the bishops was placed on the right, which on the left of the Primate’s chair; which again of these places was the post of special honour, we need not stay to dispute, as Rome has so vehemently disputed in reference to another and still more momentous assembly [The Council of Nicaea, 325 A.D.] in her eagerness to claim the foremost place for her representative. In all probability Goodrich, as the sole surviving Bishop of the old Committee, and the senior Bishop, occupied the two highest seats, while Ridley as junior, and Thirlby as Bishop of the latest constituted see, that of Westminster, occupied the two lowest.
Now let me call your attention to the great care which appears to have been taken to make it a truly representative Committee.
Convocation claimed the whole number as members of one or other of its two Houses.
The Crown had its advocate in Cranmer, than whom none could be more attached to the king personally or more tenacious of his rights and prerogative.
The Universities appeared in the Heads of their chief Colleges, Cox being Dean of Christ Church, and Redmayn, Master of Trinity.
Two of the different “Uses” were represented directly: Lincoln by Holbeach and Taylor; Hereford by Skip: two, York and Bangor, indirectly, as we shall see, while the Archbishop and the other Bishops watched the interests of the Sarum “Use” which was adopted in all their dioceses.
I propose now to draw the portraits of the chief of these Commissioners in as few lines as is practicable, but in such a manner that the reader may be able to conjecture their part in the work, possibly also to imagine on which side their votes would be given on the debated questions, which they were called upon to decide.
Of Cranmer many pictures have been given to the world, but probably in no other case have they varied so materially from each other. This variation is due not so much to the bias of the painter, as to the fact that his character did change in many of its features at different periods of his history.
As we see him seated in the chair at Windsor, he bears distinctly many of the qualifications which fit him pre-eminently for the post. He had in a marked degree the first requisite for an efficient chairman, viz., a perfect control over his temper. He was by no means a man of great genius, or an original thinker, likely to strike out something fresh, but he possessed a good judgment, which would enable him to discriminate between what was new and what was old; what was purely Roman, and what was Catholic. He had a profound reverence for the Holy Scriptures upon which he based his doctrinal views, not however according to his private judgment, hut as the great Fathers of the Catholic Church had interpreted them in primitive times. [“I protest and openly confess that in all my doctrine and preaching both of the Sacrament and of other my doctrine, whatsoever it be, not only I mean and judge those things as the Catholic Church and most holy Fathers of old with one accord have meant and judged, but also I would gladly use the same words that they used.” Cf. Hook’s Life of Cranmer, cap. iii. pp. 147–9.] Again and again, his loyalty to Catholic antiquity manifested itself.
He held unhesitatingly the doctrine of the Real, as distinguished from the Corporal Presence in the Holy Eucharist: [The year after the Revision he published his Sacramental opinions in his “Defence of the True and Catholic Doctrine,” etc. For an extract cf. Hook, p. 163.] also the commemorative* rather than the propitiatory sacrifice: the representation or pleading of that which was once offered upon the Cross, rather than the repetition of it, which some few so persistently maintained.
[*2 For the right understanding of this we suggest a short explanation. Firstly, Christ was offered in sacrifice once for all, and in that sacrifice made a full, perfect, and sufficient atonement for sin. Herein it was distinguished from the Jewish sacrifices, which being imperfect were necessarily repeated. But though Christ died once only, and in His Death all His sufferings ended, there is a sense in which His offering is continuous. Look at the type. When the typical act of Atonement was about to be made on one day for the whole sins of the year, the sacrifices were offered in the outer court, and then the High Priest, taking the blood of the sacrifice, entered within the Veil, and presenting it before the Mercy Seat in the presence of God pleaded for forgiveness by and through it. The sacrifice was not complete till it was presented and pleaded before God. Now see the antitype. Christ suffered without the camp, and then by His own blood entered the Holy of Holies to complete His sacrifice by presenting and pleading it before God. This is still going on, as Hebrews 8:3 clearly teaches, and will be continuous till He comes again, when the pleading or representing the memorial of His Death will cease. Now let us see, secondly, how the Holy Eucharist is the counterpart on earth of Christ’s presentation of His own sacrifice in heaven. He commanded the Apostles to offer this as His memorial sacrifice. The language he used would suggest as much to Jews. Ανάμνησις was not a term familiar to them for a “memorial before men”; wherever it was used in the Greek Scriptures it was of a “memorial before God”; cf. Numb. 10:10, Lev. 24:7, Heb. 10:3, compared with Lev. 14:17. ποιειν, though often used in another sense, admitted a sacrificial interpretation; cf. Bishop Hamilton’s Charge. Liddell and Scott give the meaning “to sacrifice,” ποιειν μόσχον, LXX. Sacerdos vice Christi vere fungitur, qui id quod Christus fecit, imitatur, et sacrificium verum et plenum tunc offert. – St. Cyprian, Ep. 63. “As it is a commemoration and representment of Christ’s Death, so it is a commemorative sacrifice.” – Jer. Taylor, Life of Christ, Disc. xix. Cf. also St. Chrysost. Hom. xvii. ad Hebr.; Bramhall, ep. de la Milletiere, Wks. i. 54; Bull, Wks. ii. 271 (Oxf.); Andrewes, Resp. ad Apolog.]
These were two important points which Cranmer was determined not to yield, and it was probably this determination which induced him to decline the offer of Calvin to aid in the revision. Unless moreover he had felt very strong in his position he would hardly have acted as he did, for Calvin was at this time in the very zenith of his reputation, and many would have welcomed his assistance as the best guarantee for real reform.
Next in point of interest to the Primate is unquestionably Goodrich, Bishop of Ely.
Now there are many circumstances in Goodrich’s life which we are concerned in hearing of. When a Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge, he like his more famous companion on the same Foundation [Cranmer was twice Fellow: elected first in 1523 A.D.] rose into Royal favour by his judgment on the crucial question of the Divorce of Queen Catherine. He had been selected by the University from his legal knowledge to be on the Committee for drawing up an answer to the King’s application respecting the legality of the separation. We have no difficulty in discovering which view he took, for he was made a royal chaplain shortly after, and within a few years nominated to one of the most enviable posts, the then-wealthy and dignified Bishopric of Ely. [When the Abbey of Ely was converted into a Bishopric in 1109 A.D., the king directed that the estates should be divided in just proportion between the Bishop and the monks. The division which was conducted entirely by Harvey, the first Bishop, and forced upon the monastery, was so far from being an equitable one, that a contemporary, William of Malmesbury, writes of it in these terms: – “You may judge of the value of the ancient possessions of the Church of Ely by this: that though many of them have been taken away and many are in the hands of intruders, yet he who now presides there receives annually £1040 into his own purse, besides what he expends on his own family and in keeping up hospitality, but has scarcely allowed £300 to the monks.” Cf. Bentham, Hist. of Ely Cath. p. 135.]
It is more than probable that the first part of the Church Catechism* was his composition, and when in the year 1552 A.D. he built the Long Gallery attached to the Palace, side by side with the armorial bearings of the See and his own initials, he engraved on two tablets that which he desired to be associated with his name before anything else, “our Duty to God,” and “our Duty to our neighbour.”
[*This portion, extending to the paraphrase of the Lord’s Prayer, has generally been ascribed to Nowell, afterwards Dean of St. Paul’s, but at the time of this revision an assistant master at Westminster School. There is a strong presumption against the probability of the revisers deputing such an important work to one in a position of so little dignity. It was far more likely to be undertaken by one of their own body, such as Goodrich was. It is worthy of record that in 1540 A.D. he was appointed one of the translators of the Bible, and had the Gospel of St. John allotted to him.]
His eagerness for reform led him to inaugurate his episcopate by a series of Injunctions, having for their object the overthrow of Papal influence, and the erasure from the Service books of the name of the Pope, and the demolition of shrines which were frequented by idolatrous worshippers. But that he was in no sense a fanatic or disposed to condemn any usage or thing simply because it had been abused, his monument in Ely Cathedral, upon which he is represented with the full pontifical habit, bears evidence. He is further said to have endeared himself to the King by his singular wisdom, and to have won the affections of the people by his integrity and moderation.
Next after Goodrich comes Thirlby, whose appointment on the Commission is the best proof of the impartiality with which the selection was made. Although admitted to the privy councils of Henry VIII and Edward VI, he never sympathized with them in their desire to shake off their allegiance to the Papal See, but continued throughout a staunch Roman; and at Queen Mary’s accession he was singled out as the fittest ambassador she could send to tender to the Pope her assurances of loyal obedience. He was chosen too in the same reign, for a task from which, under other circumstances, he would have shrunk back, the degradation of Cranmer before he was sent to the stake. And if we need further and yet more decisive proof of his opinions, we shall find it in his refusal to accept the reforms of Queen Elizabeth and his consequent consignment to prison in the Tower.
One honour he enjoyed which has been shared by no one else. He was the first and last Bishop of Westminster, having exercised the episcopate therein from the creation of the See till its dissolution. [The Abbey was dissolved and erected into an Episcopal See in December 1540 A.D., and Thirlby appointed first Bishop with jurisdiction over Middlesex. On March 29, 1550 A.D.. he surrendered it into the king’s hands, who thereupon dissolved it, reconciled Middlesex to London, and translated the Bishop to Norwich.]
As Bishop of Ely, he was a great benefactor, especially to the Foundation of Jesus College, Cambridge, which owes to him much of its ecclesiastical patronage, and also to his cathedral, which received from him the endowment of its eight prebendal stalls.
Of Day less is known, but enough to make it certain that his hand would be held up and his voice raised against all changes involving any real departure from medieval usage. He was more courageous in holding his opinions than his brother of Westminster, as we shall see when we come to the close of the sittings. [Cf. p. 48. Day, Thirlby, and Skip all protested at first, but the two latter had not the courage of their opinions when the final pressure came. – Cf. Soares, Edward VI. p. 354.] When the King issued letters for the conversion of altars into tables, he refused to enforce the order in his diocese, and when threatened with deprivation, he pleaded vigorously for the rights of conscience; but finding his efforts to be unsuccessful, he expressed his final decision in terms which command our respect: “he accounted it a less evil to suffer the body to perish than to destroy the soul,” and “he would rather lose all that he ever had in the world than condemn his conscience.” He was committed to the Fleet Prison, [Nov. 30, 1550 A.D. Cf. Collier’s Eccl. Hist. v. 424. He was afterwards treated with kindness and sent to reside with the Lord Chancellor.] and his bishopric sequestrated.
The character of Ridley is too well known to need description, while of Holbeach, who assumed that name on becoming a monk of Croyland in place of his patronymic Rands, so little is left on record that it would be difficult to form an accurate estimate of the influence which he exercised upon the proceedings of the Commission.
Of the members of the Lower House, the most distinguished on the whole was Cox. He stands out in many ways as the very counterpart of Thirlby, and no one who reads their history can fail to be struck with the fairness of a Commission which admitted men of such opposing views.
When a Fellow at Oxford, Cox became enamoured of Lutheran Theology, and amid all the changes of those ever-varying times, he remained a consistent Protestant to the end.
After he came into the notice of Edward VI, honours were thickly heaped upon him, and it fills one with wonder at the small sense of responsibility which such a man must have had, to hear of his being simultaneously Rector of Harrow, Archdeacon of Ely, Canon of Ely, Canon of Windsor, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, and Dean of Westminster, and Bishop nominate of Southwell; not to mention the offices of Tutor and Almoner to the king, and the Chancellorship of his University.
His biographer writes quite incidentally, that it has been thought by some that “he had more regard to his private advantage than to the true interests of the Church,” and without any notice of these frightful pluralities, proceeds to vindicate him from the imputation touching the alienation of the episcopal estates. History has certainly recorded one instance of his determination to maintain the property of the See of Ely, though unsuccessfully. Sir Christopher Hatton, one of the Queen’s favourites, cast an envious eye upon the beautiful Palace and garden in Holborn; and to gratify his desire she commanded the Bishop to transfer a portion of it to him without delay. Whatever his feelings may have been on other occasions, he had strength enough to resist this iniquitous claim, but only to call forth the ever memorable rejoinder from the imperious Queen, “Proud Prelate, you know well what you were afore I made you what you are. If you do not immediately comply with my request I will unfrock you, by GOD.” And the property was alienated, as the name “Hatton Garden” still indicates.
Considering their value, we can hardly be surprised that his benefices were speedily seized and he himself was lodged in the Tower when the Protestant King was no longer able to befriend him.
Two circumstances may be here mentioned as testifying to his doctrinal opinions. At Oxford he issued a Commission for the discovery of books which encouraged Papal pretensions or Roman doctrine, and in the spirit of a true iconoclast ordered whole Libraries to be destroyed, without any respect to their historical value or antiquarian interest.
Again, when his brother Revisionist, Day of Chichester, had stirred up the people of Sussex to resist the removal of their altars, he was selected by the King’s Council as the fittest person they could find to counteract his influence by a preaching campaign in support of the Protestant Faith.
In May, the Dean of St. Paul’s, Cox found an entirely kindred spirit, as the following episode in his life will sufficiently indicate. On the publication of an edict by the Privy Council for the destruction of all images in churches, the work of demolition was not only sanctioned, but even encouraged by the appointed guardian of that Cathedral. The Rood, and the attendant figures of St. Mary and St. John, were roughly thrown down, and the wealth of sacred treasure in plate and jewels and vestments which had accumulated out of the offerings of the faithful to an almost incalculable extent was despoiled without even a show of resistance on the part of the Dean; and there is good reason to believe that it was done at his own instigation.
If this be true we cannot but admire him for his consistency, for much that he encouraged entailed grievous loss upon, if it did not actually impoverish, both himself and the Chapter which he represented.
He was what we may call an advanced Reformer, and a strong advocate of Liturgical revision.
Of Taylor’s views we are not altogether ignorant; on one important question, which all the Revisionists were called upon to answer in writing, viz., “what is the oblation and sacrifice of Christ in the mass?” it is recorded that he, in company with Cox, took the lowest ground, asserting it to “mean nothing more than prayer, thanksgiving, and the remembrance of our Saviour’s Passion.”
This was a strange reaction from the opinions which he had put forward in the previous reign, when he preached a sermon upon Transubstantiation, which led to the martyrdom of Barnes.
It is worthy of notice also that he was selected for promotion by King Edward VI just at the time when his Majesty was most especially under ultra-Protestant influence. [He was consecrated Bishop of Lincoln in 1552 A.D.]
Of Haynes there is little to be said, save that like the members of the Lower House already described he had a strong leaning towards radical change.
The two that remain were men of a very different type. Both Robertson and Redmayn were more Catholic-minded.
Both too were widely renowned for their great learning, the former having earned a reputation as a grammarian unsurpassed in his generation, and the latter holding one of the highest positions in the University of Cambridge.
The fact that Robertson obtained preferment [The Deanery of Durham, which, however, he was compelled to resign in favour of Horne, its former holder, on the accession of Elizabeth.] from Queen Mary, and that Redmayn tried to draw back from the sanction, which he had reluctantly given by his signature to the Reformed Service book, are adequate proof of the line which they must have taken in the deliberations at Windsor.
Such, briefly drawn, are some of the characteristic features of the individual members of that famous Committee to whom the Catholic Church of England owes so much.
But we must not fail to mention that even these men, so learned, so well qualified in many ways, and so thoroughly impartial as a body, were not held to be competent by their own unaided counsels to accomplish the work of Revision.
It was considered desirable to enlarge the Committee, so as to make it if possible still more representative, and to give all parts of the country and every one who had any interest at stake a voice in the proceedings. A large body of assessors [The assessors were Holgate, Archbishop of York, Bonner, Bishop of London, Tonstal of Durham, Heath of Worcester, Repps of Norwich, Parfew of St. Asaph, Salcot of Sarum, Sampson of Coventry and Lichfield, Aldrich of Carlisle, Bush of Bristol, and Farrar of St. David’s. Cf. Cardwell’s Two Litt. of Ed. VI.; Pref. xiii.] were added. They were not admitted to the Council Chamber, as their numbers would have made them unwieldy as a working Committee, but a series of questions bearing upon the most crucial matters under dispute were submitted to them, and their replies were duly weighed, and doubtless had no little influence upon the deliberations. Among these, whose opinions were thus invited, were the Archbishop of York and the Bishop of Sarum, representing directly the “Uses” of their Sees, while the Bishop of St. Asaph was appointed for the guardianship of the Bangor worship.
The first and most important change was in the language.
In the Preface to the First Prayer Book we read, changes “The service in the Church of England (these many years) hath been read in Latin to the people, which they understood not; so that they have heard with their ears only: and their hearts, spirit, and mind have not been edified thereby.”
So long as Rome was the center of European society, and Latin was generally spoken, there was no inconsistency in maintaining it as the vehicle of Western worship, but long after Rome had lost this preeminence, and her language had ceased to be intelligible to the common mind, “the once living outpourings of devotion” were suffered to continue only “fossilized into cold and lifeless forms.”
The arguments in defense of the continuance which the medieval Church set up were very plausible. It was urged that “ the majesty of religion would suffer and grow cheap if the most solemn and mysterious parts of the service should be understood by the audience”; or that there were obvious advantages for the protection of the Faith in embalming her Forms in a language which is beyond the reach of change; or once more, that it served as an abiding witness to the unity of the Church throughout Catholic Christendom, that every branch of it should offer up their prayers and praises in one and the same tongue.
These reasons were plausible enough, but the majority of the Revisionists saw that there were reasons for change which far outweighed them. The edification of the worshipper ought always to be a matter of primary importance. St. Paul [1 Cor. 14:19] had clearly so regarded it, when he declared that he would “rather speak five words in the Church” in such a manner as to teach others, “than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.” And the principle was upheld by the Primitive Church, which clothed its Liturgies in Greek, or Latin, or Syriac, or Coptic, according to the language of the people who used them. It was enforced, moreover, by the sayings of the Fathers; [Cf. Origen, Contra Celsum, viii. 37. St. Chrysost. Hom. xxxv. in 1 Cor. xiv.] and the Law, both civil and canonical, contained the plainest injunctions for its maintenance. The Code of Justinian [Justinian’s law enforcing this was afterwards erased from the Latin versions, but it is acknowledged by Bellarmine. – Cf. Jer. Taylor, Dissuasive of Popery, pt. 1. c.] provided “that all priests should celebrate the sacred oblation” in such a manner that “thereby the minds of the hearers might be raised up with greater devotion to set forth the praises of GOD, according to the Apostle’s teaching”; and that this was interpreted as enjoining a language “understanded of the people” is shown by the attempts of those who violated the practice to erase the enactment from the Statute book.
Again the Canon Law [Cf. Jer. Taylor, ibid.] by the authority of Pope Innocent and the Lateran Council, 1215 A.D., enforced “the celebration of Divine Service according to the diversity of ceremonies and languages.”
When then the Windsor Assembly were called upon to deal with this question, they knew that they should be fully supported if they abandoned the Latin tongue.
We stated before some of the causes which created a yearning on the part of the people for a more intelligent worship; and it was quite obvious that the use of the English Litany, [1544 A.D] put forth a few years before, and the reading of portions of the Communion office in their own language, had greatly intensified their desire, and the Revisionists felt that they could best satisfy the wants of the nation by giving them a complete English Prayer Book.
And while commending them for giving us a Service book in our own language, we are constrained to go further, and express an additional obligation to them for having clothed it in English, the beauty of which has rarely been equaled, and never surpassed, even in the best age of literary excellence. [Cf. Quarterly Review, No. 298, p. 416.] To whatever part of it we turn, whether hymns, or prayers, or exhortations, the style is such that it cannot be improved. “The essential qualities of devotion and eloquence,” as Macaulay says, [ Hist. of Engl. iii. 475.] “conciseness, majestic simplicity, pathetic earnestness of supplication, sobered by a profound reverence, are common between the translations and the originals. But in the subordinate graces of diction the originals must be allowed to be far inferior to the translations. ... The diction of our Book of Common Prayer has directly or indirectly contributed to form the diction of almost every great English writer, and has extorted the admiration of the most accomplished infidels, and of the most accomplished Nonconformists, of such men as David Hume and Robert Hall.”
As an illustration of this high praise, I have only to mention the very noblest of our Liturgical hymns, the Te Deum. In point of accuracy and exactness of rendering there* is in parts no doubt something to be desired, but in rhythm, in vigour of arrangement, and in its solemn grandeur (and so far it seems to me not to bear out Macaulay’s view), it is incomparably superior to the original Latin.
[*The opening line is an unfortunate rendering and quite unjustifiable. It should be “We praise Thee as God.” It is not at all improbable that this hymn was, in its original form, such an one as Pliny says the Christians used in his time, “carmen dicentes secum invicem Christo quasi Deo.” – Ep. ad Troj.
Eusebius also testifies to the custom of ascribing Divinity to Christ in hymns. Eccl. Hist. v. 28, cf. also Liddon’s Bamp. Lect. vii.
Other inaccurate renderings are “goodly fellowship,” for “praiseworthy number,” “noble army” for “white-robed,” (as in an old English version, “the white oost”) – “When Thou tookest upon Thee,” etc., for “When with a view to deliverance Thou tookest upon Thee humanity.” – “Make them to be numbered with thy saints in glory,” for, “to be rewarded with glory”: – “numerari” was probably substituted by a clerical error for “munerari,” and the “in” prefixed to “gloria” to complete the construction; – Possibly “Vouchsafe to keep us this day,” for “that day,” viz., the day of judgment, though iste is used medievally for hic; – and perhaps “never be confounded,” for “not to be confounded for ever,” so an old version, “Be I not schent for ever,” though here again “never” is so rendered in the Vulg.; cf. Pa. xv. (xiv.) 5; xxxi. (xxx.) 1.”
The rhythm is manifestly improved in verses 7, 8, 9. The original runs —
Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus,
Te Prophetarum laudabilis numerus,
Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus.]
And if we turn to the Collects, the same expression of unfeigned praise is equally due. Take one or two specimens – first, of a simple translation; and that I may not appear to be making a careful selection to support my opinion, I will quote the most familiar perhaps of all.
“Prevent us, O Lord, in all our doings with Thy most gracious favour, and further us with Thy continual help; that in all our works begun, continued, and ended in Thee, we may glorify Thy holy Name: and finally, by Thy mercy obtain everlasting life,” etc.
Now this, as it happens, is one of the most beautiful of the ancient Latin Collects: – Actiones nostras, quaesumus, Domine, et aspirando praeveni et adjuvando prosequere; ut cuncta nostra operatio et a te incipiat et per te coepta finiatur, per Jesum, etc.
But beautiful as it is, I am sure that no competent critic would venture to say that it has lost one particle of its peculiar grace by being clothed in an English dress.
Then take a sample of the original compositions. These were chiefly introduced to supersede the corrupt forms in use for the Festivals of Saints and Martyrs. [All the Saints’ Days Collects were composed in 1549 A.D., except those for St. Bartholomew and the Conversion of St. Paul, which were only altered, and those for St. Andrew and St. Stephen, the former of which was written in 1552 A.D., the latter in 1661 A.D.] Again, avoiding selection, let me quote the Collect for All Saints’ Day, which is oftenest on our lips.
“O Almighty GOD, who hast knit together Thine elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of Thy Son Christ our LORD: grant us grace so to follow Thy blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living that we may come to those unspeakable joys, which Thou hast prepared for them that unfeignedly love Thee, through,” etc.
But it is invidious to single out any special portion for commendation; “the whole book,” it has been well said, “is a very casket of treasures.”
The second alteration in order of utility was the increased value set upon the public reading of Holy Scripture. During mediaeval times the consecutive reading of this had been greatly interrupted by “the planting in uncertain stories and legends with a multitude of Responds.” [Cf. Preface concerning the Service of the Church. Responsories or responds were short verses from Scripture originally intended to give the keynote of what was being read. It was usual to introduce them after every three or four verses.] These last came to be regarded of such consequence that they were made long and elaborate, while the passages from Scripture were proportionably curtailed: in short, the Lessons and the Responds exchanged places.
The result of this was that the primary conception of the latter, which was to be simply illustrative, was entirely obscured, and the Respond became an independent anthem, confusing instead of unfolding the meaning of what was read.
Furthermore, the Legendary stories and acts of the Saints, especially at their commemorations, which were exceedingly numerous, were generally chosen as the Lessons for the day in preference to the Life of our LORD, and the sayings of His immediate followers.
The merit of initiating a reform in this is claimed by a Cardinal of the Roman Church, [Cardinal Quignonez, a Spanish Bishop, revised the Breviary, and published it for the use of the clergy and monasteries, under the sanction of Clement VII in 1536 A.D. The title of his edition was, Breviarium Romanae Curiae ex sacra et canonica Scriptura necnon sanctorum historiis summa vigilantia decerptis accurate digestum. It was suppressed in 1576 A.D.] who reinstated the Word of GOD in its rightful place, and showed how much store he set by the change, by inscribing on the title of his Revised Breviary the motto, “Search the Scriptures.”
This Breviary was put into the hands of the Revisionists as likely to prove a valuable aid in their work, and there is every reason to believe that not only in this but upon other important points it carried considerable weight.
In largely expanding the passages of Scripture, and in drawing both from the Old and New Testaments the Revisionists illustrated their determination to recover primitive usage wherever it seemed expedient. In the description of the early services found in the Apostolical Constitutions [Lib. ii. c. lvii. The date of their composition is uncertain: the first six books probably in the third century, the others a little later.] it would seem that as many as four Lessons of considerable length were read, two from either Testament; and in the middle of the second century Justin Martyr [Apol. i. lxvii. Cf. St. Chrysost., Hom. 24 in Rom. “Tell me, what Prophet, what Apostle was read to us today?” It may be seen also from the Canons of the Councils of Laodicea and Carthage that both the Old and New Testaments were read in Church. Cf. Bing., Antiq. xiv. iii. 2.] says, “that the memoirs of the Apostles or the writings of the Prophets are read as long as time permits.” This latter, however, is only noted of Sunday. To adapt the principle to the weekdays was a most judicious step, and finds ample justification in its propriety.
The third change was in the Calendar or Pie. The directions for the variable parts of the services in the old uses were complicated in the extreme. Perhaps the best idea of the minuteness of detail may be gathered from the fact that there is extant in the library of York Minster a volume of no inconsiderable size, the entire contents of which are regulations of the Pie! [The origin of the term Pie is a vexed question. It has been derived from the initial letter of πίναξ, a tablet, and from pica, a magpie. The allusion in the latter is to the party-coloured letters in which the directions were written. Before the 15th century these regulations were called Ordinale.]
Indeed so involved were the rules to be observed that the title by which the body of directions was designated has become a very symbol of perplexity and confusion. Nothing could have been happier than the language in which Cranmer expressed the feelings of the Revisionists on the subject. “The number,” he says, “and hardness of the rules called the Pie, and the manifold changings of the service, was the cause, that to turn the book only was so hard and intricate a matter that many times there was more business to find out what should be read than to read it when it was found out.”
All these difficulties were cleared away and a simple Calendar was substituted containing the order of Lessons, and preceded by a Table of Psalms, arranged for Matins and Evensong for a month.
A fourth change rendered necessary by the abolition of the Religious Houses was the union of the three Service books, Breviary, Manual, and Missal, in one volume, and the curtailment of the number of separate services.
The Revisionists determined to recover, for the mass of the people, a participation in public worship, which they had well-nigh lost through the establishment of the Monastic or Canonical “Hours.” The multiplication of services had led them to regard worship as an impossibility for men engaged in the ordinary occupations of secular life; and instead of selecting opportunities from the greater number, they came to look upon it as a luxury for the occupants of Religious houses, and left it almost entirely to them. Recognizing the fact that these were properly the exceptions only, and that what might have been appropriate enough for the few was ill-adapted to the majority, the Committee resolved at once upon a reduction of the services. They went back to the early ages for guidance as to their number, but they must have been perplexed by the evidence. Some writers* spoke of three, others of two only. The Revisionists very wisely decided to adopt the latter, and thus restore the principle which had existed all through the history of the elder dispensation, and offer the voice of praise and thanksgiving like the Incense of the Altar and the daily Sacrifice in the morning and at even.
[*Tertullian, 190 A.D., speaks of the third, sixth, and ninth hours as more solemn than the rest. – De Orat., c. 25.
St. Jerome mentions the same as the times when, according to Ecclesiastical tradition, the knees are to be bent to GOD. – Comm. in Dan., 6:10.
The Apostolical Constitutions, on the other hand, testify to two services only. The Bishop is directed to exhort the people to attend Church constantly morning and evening every day, and the 63d Psalm is appointed for the former, the 141st for the latter. – Lib. ii. c. lix.
Epiphanius also, in giving an account of the customs of the Church, mentions morning hymns and evening prayers as constantly used, but makes no allusion to any other. – Exposit. Fidei, n. 23 (t. i. p. 1106).]
The Seven “Hours,” for all of which there were special offices in the Breviary, were condensed into Matins and Evensong – the ancient Nocturns, Lauds and Prime becoming amalgamated in the former, Vespers and Compline in the latter. The remaining three, Tierce, Sext, and None, or the Lesser Hours, were set aside altogether, because they had long fallen into disuse except in the monasteries; and as these were now dissolved, it would have served no purpose to have retained what specially belonged to them. To suit the fresh adaptation, the Psalms, which had hitherto been divided into seven portions [The bulk of the Psalms were sung at Matins and Vespers, twelve at the former, five at the latter. The greater part of the 119th was divided between the Lesser Hours. The remainder were distributed between Lauds, Prime, and Compline.] for a weekly course, were so arranged as to be read through once in a month.
Now it is worth while observing how, in carrying out this consolidation of services, they carefully adhered to the ancient lines, and preserved in all their integrity the distinctive features of public worship.
The ideal Form of service has three component parts, though by no means in equal proportions. These are praise, instruction, and prayer. The primary conception gave by far the highest place to the first of these; indeed the other two are entirely subordinate.
There is a beautiful legend told of St. Theresa which illustrates this view in a very striking manner. As she lay asleep, the vision of a strange and awful woman passed before her. In one hand she carried a pitcher of water, in the other a pan of flaming fire. And when the Saint asked in fear and trembling whither she was going with her mysterious burden, she replied, “I go to burn up heaven and to quench hell, that henceforth men may learn to worship GOD, not for any hope of future reward in the one, nor for fear of threatened torment in the other, but for what He is – for Himself alone.”
Praise, then, the ascription of honour to GOD, simply and solely because it is due unto His name, is the dominant element of public worship, and that which blends our offering with the songs of angelic hosts.
But subordinate to this there have always [In the passage of the Apostol. Constit. above cited, it is stated that the prophets and the account of the Resurrection were read, and prayers offered up afterwards. – Lib. ii. c. lix.] been other considerations present to the mind of the worshipper, and in a confessedly imperfect state it could hardly have been otherwise. Meditation upon GOD’S Word, and the record of His works in Creation and Providence, exalts our conception of His greatness, and creates a desire to know more of His Will; and thus the consciousness of our own weakness is borne in upon us, and we pray to the Author of all power and might to help our infirmities and supply our needs.
Thus it is that psalms or hymns, lections, prayers or intercessions, have been linked together by a threefold cord in common worship.
From a comparison of the following Tables it will be seen at a glance that the first Revised Service book preserved the characteristic features of the ancient offices, and while the sequence of each part was generally retained, due prominence, as of old, was given to the element of praise. [This was more largely provided for in the First Prayer Book than in any of the subsequent Revisions. In each and all of these the element of prayer has encroached upon that of praise.] The Revisionists seem to have had the triple division in their mind when they placed in the forefront of their service the LORD’S Prayer and the “Venite.” Both alike strike the keynote of all that is to follow. The first three clauses of the Paternoster [Cf. Freeman’s Principles of Divine Service, vol. i. c. iv. s. 3.] correspond to the Psalms and Songs of praise; the petition “Give us this day our daily bread” has a special application to the reception of knowledge through the reading of Scripture; and the rest represent all prayer and intercession. So with the “Venite.” [The great antiquity of the use of this Invitation, dating certainly to the third century, as we know on the authority of St. Athanasius, as well as its peculiar propriety, are sufficient reasons for not omitting it in the Shortened Form of Service sanctioned by the Act of Uniformity Amendment Act. It is true that discretion is given to the Minister to add, in its proper place, any canticle he may think fit, but in our judgment the “Venite” should have found a place in the necessary portion of the Service.] No fitter prelude to worship could be found, since it embraced a triple call, in verses 1–5, to sing GOD’S praises; in 6 and 7, to fall down before Him in adoration and prayer; in 8–11, to hear His word.
Table of Services.
Canonical Hours in the Sarum Breviary
First Prayer Book
of Edward VI
In the Name ...
Our Father ...
Ave Maria ...
O LORD, open ...
O GOD, make speed ...
Glory be to the Father ...
12 Psalms and Antiphons.
18 Psalms (Sundays).
Lections with Responds.
Te Deum (Sundays).
O GOD, make ...
Glory be, etc. ...
5 Psalms and Antiphons.
Canticle from the O. T.
Collect for the Day.
Collect for Peace.
In the Name ...
Our Father ...
O GOD, make ...
Glory be, etc. ...
3 Psalms and Antiphons.
9 Ps. (Sundays).
Our Father ...
Collect for Grace.
Our Father ...
O LORD, open ...
O GOD, make ...
Glory be, etc. ...
Praise ye the LORD.
Alleluia (from Easter to Trinity)
Psalms in order, with Doxology.
1st Lesson, O. T.
Te Deum or (in Lent) Benedicite.
2d Lesson, N. T.
Collect for the Day.
Collect for Peace.
Collect for Grace.
Table of Services.
Canonical Hours in the Sarum Breviary
First Prayer Book
of Edward VI
In the Name...
Our Father ...
O God, make ...
Glory be ...
5 Psalms and Antiphons.
Collect for the Day.
Memoria of the B. V.
In the Name ...
Our Father ...
O GOD, make...
Glory be ...
Our Father ...
Collect for Peace.
Our Father ...
O GOD, make ...
Glory be ...
Praise ye the Lord.
Psalms in order.
1st Lesson, O. T.
2d Lesson, N. T.
Collect for the Day.
Collect for Peace.
Collect for Aid.
One element alone of importance is wanting in the Revised Order, viz., Confession and Absolution. It is probable that they were omitted as being of late introduction into public services. There is no doubt some testimony to the former in St. Basil, [Ad Cleric. Neocaesariences, ep. 207.] who narrates how the congregation immediately on entering the house of prayer “confess to God,” but the Council of Laodicea points to this confession as being made in silence. And in the Western Church there is an entire absence of allusion to the custom for many centuries. It finds no place in the “Benedictine Rule”. [Its first mention is said to be in the Gemma Anima, written in the eleventh century.] And what applies to Confession is of course equally applicable to Absolution. They stand or fall together. We shall see hereafter under what circumstances the judgment of Cranmer’s Committee was revised.
These were the changes upon which the Revisionists laid most stress, as we may gather from the Preface with which they introduced their reformed Service book. In our present Prayer Book it is placed second, following that which was prefixed at the final revision.
Many observances and ceremonies which they retained, wisely or unwisely, will be brought under our notice in future lectures. It may, however, be well at this stage to state their own account of the principle which guided them in their decisions: such ceremonies as were visibly superstitious and tended to darken the Gospel and prove cumbersome to religion they rejected, [Cf. Dodd’s Church History, quoted in Collier, v. 299, n.] while those were retained which guarded the worship of God from nakedness and contempt. But while we pass these by we feel that no review of a Prayer Book could be regarded as satisfactory which failed to notice the relationship which it bore to the much disputed doctrines of the sacrificial aspect of, and the nature of the Presence of Christ in, the Holy Eucharist.
Now it is quite obvious that the Revisionists provided more largely for the actual participation of the laity, and gave fuller recognition to the Communion aspect of the celebration, which had been obscured in mediaeval times especially by the frequency of solitary masses in which the priest alone communicated. But while doing this they were extremely careful to avoid bringing the sacrificial view into discredit: in proof of which I would appeal to the general adoption of the term “altar,” and to the great prominence assigned to the Prayer of Oblation, in which it was said that “we do celebrate and make before Thy Divine Majesty, with these Thy holy gifts, the memorial which Thy Son hath willed us to make.” But they were determined at the same time to reestablish completely the principle of general communion, by the long obscuration of which the ordinance had been deprived of so much of its power and efficacy.
Then, touching the doctrine of the Real Presence, there can be no doubt that the Revisionists retained “the ancient belief from which no Apostolic branch of the Church had ever swerved,” viz., that the consecrated elements were in some way the Body and Blood of Christ. [Cf. Freeman’s Principles, Introd., pt. II., sect. xi. Massingberd, Eng. Ref., pp. 400–2.]
The words of administration used by them in either kind were the first part only of the formulas now in use, “The Body of our LORD Jesus Christ which was given for thee,” – and the “Blood of our LORD Jesus Christ which was shed for thee, preserve thy body and soul unto everlasting life,” and they necessitate this view. It is strengthened moreover by the manifested anxiety of the ultra-Protestant divines to get rid of them, which clearly indicates how they were interpreted.
But while they “affirmed in unequivocal language, and as the basis of all Eucharistic truth, what the consecrated elements were,” with a wisdom which cannot be overestimated, they made no show even of explaining the manner of Christ’s Presence, but left it, as it ever should be left, a mystery impenetrable to finite intelligence.
The character of the work effected by the first revision of the Old Service books has not unfrequently been misrepresented. There is an idea too widely prevalent, that a complete revolution in Church worship was carried out at this time, whereas nothing could have been further from the thoughts and intentions of those who undertook the revision, as any one may see who will investigate the principles by which, as we have desired to show, they were really actuated. Their aim was restoration, and in the process of attaining to it, they exercised the most careful discrimination between the old and the new, and, while cutting away without hesitation the later overgrowths, preserved with scrupulous care the ancient landmarks. And the impartial critic will not hesitate to acknowledge that the conservative and reverent spirit which animated them is abundantly evidenced in the result of their efforts.
But we pass on to the close. The arduous labours of the Committee came to an end, and the report of their deliberations was drawn up and laid upon the table to be attested by the sign-manual of the individual members: and it is not a little remarkable that notwithstanding their diversity of opinions, and the warm discussions which many of the questions had provoked, the result which they had attained was held to be so satisfactory, that there was but one dissentient: Day of Chichester alone [Skip and Thirlby signed the Book, but protested against the Act of Uniformity. – Soames, p. 401.] protesting that his conscience compelled him to withhold his assent to the document.
The next step, of course, was to give it legal force.
Convocation met in November, but though we have no records of what actually took place, we have the authority of the King for stating that it was agreed to by “the whole clergy ... of this our realm in their synods and provincial convocations.” [The Acts of Convocation are lost, having perished in the Great Fire in 1666 A.D., but the King states in answer to the Devonshire petition that the book was sanctioned by Convocation. The letter is preserved in Bonner’s Register. Cf. Lathbury, Hist. of Convoc., p. 138, n.; and Hardwick’s Ref., p. 213, n.] Then after being presented to the Crown it was laid before the nobility and commons assembled in parliament, and on January 15, 1549 A.D., an Act of Uniformity was passed enjoining the use of the Revised Prayer Book after Whitsuntide, in every parish of the King’s dominions “throughout England, Wales, Calais, and the marches of the same.” [It was allowed by the Act to use the Book, if it could be procured, as soon as Easter. It was used in divers London churches on Easter day, which fell on the 21st of April, and most probably also in some of the Provinces; for, as the rising of the Devonshire rebel’s took place on the 10th of June, and Whitsunday was on the 9th, the Service must have become known before this Festival. Cf. Lathbury, ibid. ] The postponement of the operation of the Act appears to have been unnecessarily long, but this particular time was selected by the Revisers for the purpose of specially dedicating their work to GOD on the Feast of the Holy Ghost, by Whose controlling influence they believed their counsels to have been guided throughout, and brought to a successful issue at last. [Cf. The Act of Uniformity.]
And now that all the legal formalities had been gone through, let us see how the Book was received.
Some of the London Churches set the example of compliance with the law, and superseded the old Service-books even before the term of respite had expired. [“After Easter beganne the service in English in divers churches, and at Whitsuntide at Paules by the commandement of the dean.” – Stowe, 1038. “At Easter some began to officiate by it, followed by others, as soon as books could be provided.” – Heylin’s Eccles. Rest., 74, quoted by Lathbury, 139, n.]
Throughout the country, not a few of the clergy, who were averse to any alteration, accepted it because the changes were less violent than they had been led to anticipate; many of the laity also welcomed it gladly, not so much for any modification in doctrine, as from the fact that being written in English, it made their worship more interesting, and converted what in too many cases had been merely a dumb show into a living intelligent transaction. But there were many exceptions. Some of the priests expressed an obstinate determination to resist the operation of the Act, and were contented to suffer for conscience sake. Others openly conformed to the obligation, but secretly continued to celebrate as of old, and, as this created considerable trouble and confusion, the Lords of the Council took violent measures to remedy the evil. This, however, was trifling, compared to other difficulties which arose among the laity, and plunged certain disaffected parts of the country into the miseries of civil war.
In these counties the proclamation of the Act was followed by insurrection. The first outbreak was in Devonshire and Cornwall. In the latter of these, one thing, which had especially recommended the Revised Book elsewhere, had little if any force at all. The change from Latin to English was no gain to the Cornishmen, to whom one was as unintelligible as the other.
The primary cause of the rebellion is to be found not in any spontaneous outburst of religious feeling, or general aversion to the Reformed service on the part of the people themselves, but to the fanaticism of a few individuals who urged them on.
Body, [Soames’ Reformation, iii. 440.] one of the Royal Commissioners appointed to destroy idolatrous shrines, was stabbed to the heart by a misguided priest, who, to justify murder, called upon the people to imitate his zeal, and save their Churches from desecration. Other priests went about the country preaching what the Mahometans call “a Jehad,” and invested the movement with all the character of a religious war; and when open hostilities broke out, they carried the Host on to the field of battle.
A secondary cause was an infatuated conviction that in some way the Revisionists were associated with the abolition of the Common Lands. Many of the nobility to whom Abbey estates had been granted, attempted to turn them to the best account, and made no scruple of enclosing commons, without any respect to the rights of the poor to pasturage.
At Sampford Courtenay in Devonshire, the priest in charge professed his intention of acceding to the change of Liturgy on the appointed day, but had secretly instigated the people to stop him by force, and claim the Latin Mass. From this village the flames of discontent spread [The rebellion began on Whitsun Monday, June 10th.] rapidly, and within a few weeks no less than ten thousand men, mostly mechanics, and deluded peasants, took the field in defense of the old Forms. They marched to Exeter, and from the outskirts of the city, sent their demands into the King’s camp, couched in insolent language, insisting on the restitution of their Service books, a recognition of Transubstantiation; and strangely enough, the reenactment of the Bloody Statute of the Six Articles. The Exonians determined on resistance, and the straits to which they were subjected, through a prolonged siege, have rarely been equaled in the annals of history. We may form some conception of the miseries they endured, when we read that one of the citizens proclaimed in the marketplace, that sooner than surrender he would fight with one arm and feed upon the other! At last, when the Royal troops were sufficiently strong to advance against the rebels (and it was not till three merchant princes had come forward to reinforce the leader with large supplies of money, and a regiment of Italian archers had been enlisted in the service), their fate was sealed. They suffered three successive defeats, and the rebellion was crushed.
The revenge was severe. [Commanded by Baptista Spinola. They joined Lord Russell’s forces and aided very materially in compelling the enemy to raise the siege. The city was relieved on the 6th of August. – Cf. Heylin, Ed. VI. p. 159. Froude’s Hist. of. Eng. iv. 410, sm. ed.] Arundel, Winslade, Berry, and Coffin, the ringleaders, were publicly executed at Tyburn: a multitude of others were unceremoniously hanged, among them the Mayor of Bodmin, and a number of priests; and in Exeter, Welsh, the Vicar of St. Thomas’, was suspended from his own Church tower, where he hung in chains till “his Popish apparel” rotted away, and the carrion crows picked his bones.
That was the most serious of the Rebellions.
We notice more briefly the rising in Norfolk, June 20, at Attleborough, for this, at least at the outset, was less than the other a protest against the Prayer Book. At first the enclosure of the commons was their cry of complaint, but as their numbers swelled new grievances were sought for, and we have them expressing themselves in such terms as these: “The miseries of this world might be borne; but when the loss of our souls is the question, the ruin from that quarter must be prevented at the utmost hazard ... the holy ceremonies of antiquity are abolished, and a new face and form of religion forced upon us.”
Again the Royal troops were unequal to the task of restoring order. Kett, [Robert Kett, who had been a tanner, was possessed of considerable landed property at Wymondham, and desiring to add to it, enclosed some of the public commons. His fences were demolished by a number of insurgents, whom he was induced to join.] the rebel chief, established a mock court under the “Oak of Reformation,” [This was on Moushold-hill overlooking the city of Norwich.] and spread terror through the surrounding country. And here occurred an incident which nearly cost the great Reformer of Queen Elizabeth’s reign his life. Parker, in despair at the failure of the sword, resolved to try the effect of peaceable measures. He made his way into the rebel camp, and from a branch of the famous oak, endeavoured to recall the people to counsels of moderation. But they were in no mood to listen, and were about to tear him to pieces for his advice, when the Chaplain of the Rebel Forces, realizing the imminence of the peril, called upon the people suddenly to sing the Te Deum, and in the excitement and enthusiasm which it kindled the future Primate made good his escape. [Cf. Hook’s Life of Parker, 99.]
At length, vigorous measures were taken by the government, and the mutiny was quelled. [They were commanded by the Marquess of Northampton, who failed, and was superseded by the Earl of Warwick, who fought a bloody battle at Dussingdale, defeating the rebels and leaving 2000 of them dead on the field, – Aug. 27.] Kett, on Norwich Castle, his brother on the steeple of Wymondham Church, and nine other rebels on as many branches of the “consecrated Oak,” paid the penalty of their crime.
And with their deaths resistance to the Reformed Liturgy ceased; and it was introduced throughout the length and breadth of the land to the increased edification of the people and the greater glory of Almighty GOD.
Chapter II – The Puritan Innovations
The Revised Prayer Book, after the opposition in Devonshire and Norfolk had subsided, received very general recognition. Of course there were some who, while grateful for the reforms which had been effected, could ill suppress their conviction that the hands of the Reformers had been stayed too soon. These, however, in England at least, were not a numerous body; and if no influence from without had been brought to bear upon them, they would probably have quietly acquiesced without taking any action in the matter. But there were many restless spirits on the Continent who watched the progress of reform in this country with the keenest interest, and whose hopes seemed to hang upon the English Church. All they felt would be safe if only they could indoctrinate England with a truly Protestant spirit, a genuine aversion to anything and everything which received the approval of Rome.
Foremost amongst these were Calvin, Melanchthon, John à Lasco, Racer, and Peter Martyr.
Unfortunately they found in Cranmer, the Primate of the English Church, a too ready listener to their proposals. All of them entered into correspondence with him upon ecclesiastical affairs; some of them came over in person, and were welcomed as guests in his Palace, and received much sympathy and encouragement at his hands.
Calvin, piqued by the manner in which the Archbishop had met his proposal* to take part in the first Revision, hesitated to risk a second rebuff by direct negotiations, but endeavoured first to ingratiate himself with the Protector, hoping through him ultimately to attain his object. He was considerate enough to express his general approval of set forms of prayer, but with the self-sufficiency, which asserts itself in all his letters, enters upon an elaborate criticism and censure of many of those which had so lately received the sanction of the English Convocation, the King, and the Parliament. After this he wrote to Edward VI pleading for more extensive revision.
[*Heylin says, “the Archbishop knew the man and refused the offer.” – Hist. Edw. VI. p. 134. Calvin’s readiness to come over is expressed in one of his letters thus – “If it shall be thought that I can be of any use, I should not hesitate to cross even the seas, if necessary, for the purpose.” It is asserted that this was written later, but it is generally known that his opinions were not approved by the leading Reformers. Cf. Cardwell. Pref. to Litt. of Edw. VI. p. xxxii.]
Cranmer had no personal liking for Calvin, and if he had been the only discontented complainant, probably little notice would have been taken of his grievance, but a far more dangerous Reformer entered into the field of controversy in the person of Melanchthon. The connection between him and the Primate began under most favourable circumstances. It would hardly be possible to find any other two men with such strong natural affinities to each other. Now at this time Melanchthon was possessed by an intense desire to draw up a Concordat which should commend itself to the Protestant world at large, and act as a powerful engine against the Papacy. So long as this was attacked by the Churches singly he felt that it would always prove formidable, perhaps quite invincible, but if it could once be attacked by a combination of forces its downfall was secured.
The possibility of the scheme had been suggested to him by the cordial reception of the Confession,* which he had compiled, throughout the Lutheran communities. It is characteristic, however, of Melanchthon’s modesty, and strangely in contrast with the self-confidence of his brother Reformer, that he shrank back from all claim to take part even in drawing up the terms of agreement, and more than hinted at the imperfections of the document he had framed.
[*This document was presented to the Emperor Charles V at Augsburg, June 26, 1530 A.D. It is divided into two parts, one referring to matters of faith, the other to ecclesiastical discipline touching certain matters of dispute. It is distinctly Lutheran, and received the signatures of all the princes who professed Lutheran opinions, viz.: – John, the Elector of Saxony; George, Markgrave of Brandenburg; Ernest, Duke of Lünenburg; Philip, Landgrave of Hesse; John Frederick, Electoral Prince of Saxony; Francis, Duke of Lünenburg; Wolfgang, Prince of Anhalt, together with the Senates of Nurenberg and Reutlingen. Cf. Hardwick. Hist. of the Articles, c. ii. p. 17.]
The idea commended itself to Cranmer’s judgment, and he lost no time in inviting its originator to settle in this country, but the invitation was not accepted. Again and again the Archbishop renewed his efforts, holding out every possible inducement, but Melanchthon persistently refused to leave his native land. The urgency of the invitations we may gather from the astonishment expressed in one of his letters, [Cf. Laurence, Bamp. Lect. notes to p. 37.] in which he writes that “the English pressed him so hard that they took away his breath.”
To any one who had interested himself in the work of Reform the union of all the Reformed Churches in such a coalition must in itself have appeared a grand conception; but past experience of such combinations ought to have suggested difficulty and danger. If the alliance was to be more than nominal it would entail many sacrifices before satisfactory terms could be mutually agreed upon. Of these it was inevitable that by far the larger share would be called for from England. Unhappily Cranmer had already begun to drift away from the principles which he so boldly advocated at the Windsor Revision; [When the First Prayer Book of Edward VI was drawn up.] and the utter inconsistency of making the required concessions failed to deter him. There was certainly one most desirable object to be obtained by the project, and possibly this weighed largely with him. It would give back to the Lutheran and Calvinistic Churches the Episcopal government which they had lost. [The Reformation in Germany was not supported by any Bishop. None but priests joined Luther, and ho was obliged, by the force of circumstances, either to abandon his design, or to admit the novel ordination of priests by the laying on of hands of the priests alone. He chose the latter course. The Augsburg Confession shows that a true sacramental system was retained with true priests to administer it for a time, but without the means of transmitting the power. Calvin’s Reformation began on lower grounds still. The Helvetic Confession maintained that Christ is the sole priest, except so far as laymen may be regarded as priests. He instituted a new order. Cf. Carter on the Doctrine of the Priesthood, c. iv. p. 24.] But he never calculated how much was to be set over against this one advantage in the surrender of other Catholic privileges. The Swiss Protestants, [Ranke, the historian, in contrasting Luther and Zwingli, shows how, while the former desired to retain everything that was not at variance with the express teaching of Scripture, the latter determined to abolish everything which could not be supported by Scripture totidem verbis. – Reform. in Germ. iii. 88, 89 (Eng. trans.).] for instance, were impatient of everything, either in doctrine or ritual, for which express direction was wanting in Holy Scripture. To conciliate them the authority of antiquity, the witness of tradition, the decrees of general Councils – all must be disregarded – and, in a word, the guiding principles of the First Revision completely reversed.
Cranmer, unless he wilfully closed his eyes, must have seen all this at the outset; but he was egged on by the Privy Council and the King himself. The fiery Scotch Reformer, John Knox, already enrolled among the Royal Chaplains, [In December 1551 A.D . He was afterwards proposed for the See of Rochester, but his scruples, especially about kneeling at the Holy Communion, prevented him from accepting it.] was actually proposed for a vacant Bishopric, the King expressing a hope that if raised to the Episcopal Bench he might prove “a whetstone to quicken and sharpen the Bishop of Canterbury, whereof he had need.” But though the Utopian scheme of Melanchthon was soon relinquished as hopeless, the impulse in the direction of Protestantism which Cranmer had received lost little of its force. Indeed it gathered fresh energy from a new and unexpected cause. This produced ultimately such grave and unhappy results that we cannot pass on till we have traced its origin with care and attention.
On March 15, 1529 A.D., a diet of the German Empire was ordered by Charles V to take into consideration the state of religion in his dominions. A resolution was passed ratifying a previous condemnation of Luther, and pledging the members of the Conference to use their endeavours to stem the tide of innovation which was threatening to inundate the land.
The Elector of Saxony, the Landgrave of Hesse, the Prince of Anhalt, the Dukes of Lünenburg, together with the Commissioners from fourteen Imperial cities, [The diet of Spires enforced the decree issued against Luther at Worms in 1524 A.D. The fourteen cities were Strasburg, Ulm, Nurenberg, Constance, Reutlingen, Windsheim, Meinengen, Liudaw, Kempten, Hailbron, Isna, Weissenburg, Nordlingen, and St. Gal. – Robertson, Hist. of Charles V. lib. v. p. 34.] made a manly defense for the rights of conscience, and solemnly protested against what they held to be an unjust decree, gaining from this circumstance the distinction of being the progenitors of all who have since borne the title of “Protestant”.
The league of Smalcald, [It was formed March 29, 1531 A.D. The Protestants bound themselves by it to aid each other in upholding the Augsburg Confession for six years.] which followed not long after, bound the Protestant States together for mutual defense against all aggression upon their religious rights. The Emperor determined to leave no stone unturned to defeat their object, but it was not till some time had elapsed that he was able to take any decisive step. In 1548 A.D., by the aid of several divines, he drew up a system of Theology [It was compiled mainly by John Agricola of Brandenburg. The only real concessions to the Protestants were the withdrawal of the restrictions touching the marriage of the Clergy in certain cases, and the permission to administer the Cup to the laity.] for general adoption, but although it was written with most carefully studied dissimulation, and every artifice which language could provide was employed to conceal its real effect, it was soon discovered to be conformable in all but a few unimportant articles to the old Roman Religion. The document purported to be merely intended as a provisional arrangement, of force only till a general Council could be summoned, and it was designated accordingly “The Interim”.
The Emperor was determined to bind the States to his will, and to coerce all who refused compliance. One prince after another suffered imprisonment, taking courage from the noble example of the Elector of Saxony, whom threats and promises alike failed to shake. “I cannot now,” he said, “in my old age abandon the principles for which I formerly contended; nor, in order to procure freedom during a few declining years, will I betray that good cause on account of which I have suffered so much, and am still willing to suffer. Better for me to enjoy in this solitude the esteem of virtuous men, together with the approbation of my own conscience, than to return unto the world, with the imputation and guilt of apostasy, and to disgrace and embitter the remainder of my days.” The severity of his confinement was increased, and everything done to compel submission; but throughout Germany and in the Netherlands, there was an obstinate determination not to be drawn back again into the toils from which they had extricated themselves, when Luther threw the Papal Bull into the flames at Wittenberg.
But in the midst of all this persecution it was not surprising that they looked abroad for a free country where they might hold and proclaim their opinions without molestation; and it was no less surprising that they turned instinctively to England to find what they desired. These were the circumstances which brought the bulk of the Foreign Protestants into this country. I have dwelt upon the history at length, at the risk of being tedious, because it was of such momentous consequence to the Church, that it can hardly be too carefully considered.
The leading Foreigners, who took refuge with us, were John à Lasco, Peter Martyr, and Martin Bucer.
As they affected for a time the whole character of Liturgical worship in England, I shall adopt the plan which I followed with the First Revisionists, and endeavour to draw out the leading features of their lives and work for the better understanding of the influence which they exercised.
In May 1550 A.D., John à Lasco came to settle in London. Though by birth a Pole, of noble blood, he had been living in the capital of Friesland [He settled at Emden in 1537 A.D.] for some years, and taking a prominent part in all the Ecclesiastical controversies, which agitated the Netherlands, as well as the rest of the Continent. The Protestant cause made great progress in the province, and the Emperor, perhaps confounding its advocates to some extent with the turbulent Anabaptists, took the extreme measure of invoking the aid of the Spanish Inquisition to suppress them. [Cf. Hardwick, Ref. c. ii. p. 161.]
The fear of this, combined with the publication of “the Interim,” [In the Spring of 1550 A.D.] drove à Lasco to find a refuge in England. The widespread influence which he exercised over the Foreign Churches, which had formed or were forming congregations in London, is very remarkable, and stamps him as a man of no inconsiderable power. He succeeded without difficulty in gaining the ear of the Lords of the Council, Cecil and Cheke, and through them of the Protector Somerset. He held out to him the advantages to trade, especially in the branch of weaving, which was their specialty, likely to accrue to our country if his followers were permitted to dwell unmolested. And he gained even more than he asked. The King was so fascinated by his conversation, and touched by his story, that he actually granted part of the dissolved monastery of the Augustinian Friars as a chapel for his congregation, together with the unprecedented privilege of absolute security from interference, civil and ecclesiastical, in their forms of worship and discipline. This remarkable concession, [The letters patent gave them leave “suos libere et quiete frui gaudere uti et exercere ritus et caeremonias suas proprias et disciplinam ecclesiasticam propriam et peculiarem.” – Wilkins, iv. 65. Hardwick, Ref. c. iv. p. 219.] fraught with so much future trouble to the Church, was signed and sealed on July 24, 1550 A.D. It offered all that the restless spirits of the time could desire in the free exercise of religious worship, after other forms than those established by the law of the land. The home of à Lasco became a rendezvous for persecuted foreigners of whatever denomination or doctrinal opinion, and he reigned like a second Pontiff over a multitude of communities, Dutch, German, Italian, Florentine, Belgian and French. In doctrine, on the crucial question of the day, the nature of the Sacraments, he advocated strongly Zwinglian principles, and condemned as idolatrous the practice of kneeling to receive the consecrated elements. His aversion to Rites and Ceremonies manifested itself in his eagerness to shake off the fetters of English usage; while in the Vestiarian controversy, which was creating such trouble and bitterness at this time, Hooper expressed his satisfaction that though there were many men of influence and position from whom he expected support “John à Lasco alone stood by his side.”
His piety was most marked, and his learning so profound, that Erasmus pronounced him to be “a man of such parts that he wished for no greater happiness than his single friendship,” [“Johannis à Lasco tale sum expertus ingenium ut vel hoc uno amico mihi videar sat beatus.” – Erasmi Epist. 878. Strype, Cranmer. ii. 277.] and as an unmistakable mark of his esteem, he bequeathed to him in his will the then-priceless treasure of his Library.
Now while à Lasco was exercising his great influence in favour of Calvinistic doctrine and unrestrained liberty of private judgment in the metropolis, the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge were being brought under the training of foreign minds in many respects of no very different type. Peter Martyr was teaching at Oxford; Martin Bucer at Cambridge. Martyr, a man of high birth, spent his early years in a Florentine monastery, but was at last compelled, like so many of his contemporaries, to become an exile for conscience sake. Like à Lasco he found a sanctuary in England. [He came to England in 1549 A.D.] Shortly after his arrival, mainly through the Primate’s influence he superseded Dr. Richard Smith in the Chair of Divinity at Oxford. He became at once unpopular with the University authorities; his first offence was taking his wife to live with him in his Canonical lodgings at Christ Church, she being the first woman who had ventured to invade by her presence the sanctity of College life. Dying shortly after, she was buried by the shrine of St. Frideswide in Christ Church Cathedral, but on the accession of Queen Mary the Celibates had their revenge, for her body was thrown out in scorn and buried in a dunghill without the precincts of the College. [On the accession of Elizabeth, her bones were restored to the Cathedral, and, to avoid the possibility of future desecration, were mingled with those of the patron Saint in the same shrine.]
In the earliest lectures that he delivered, he took such a low view of the Sacraments as to assert that they were mere “ figures of absent things,” and the general tone of his Theology roused a spirit of strong opposition, so strong that on one occasion when the Schools were thronged by town as well as gown, he owed his preservation from personal violence to the timely interposition of the Vice-Chancellor and his attendants. [He selected for his subject, 1 Corinthians, 11. Cf. Soames, Edw. VI. 504. Strype (Cranmer. ii. 157) gives an interesting account of the disputations upon Transubstantiation which were subsequently held.]
Again, on the Vestiarian controversy he took up a position directly opposed to all the traditional usage of the Catholic Church, and was heard to boast that although a Canon of the Cathedral “he had never worn a surplice at Oxford, even when present in the Choir,” and his favourite designation for the Eucharistic vestments was “relics of the Amorites”. [This designation is first attributed to Jewel. Cf. Life, by Le Bas, p. 74.]
And these are things which we must not forget when we come to consider the changes which the Second Edwardian Prayer Book effected both in doctrine and ceremonial.
We pass to the third of the distinguished Foreigners. His original name was Kuhorn, but according to a pedantic fashion of the day [Cf. Melanchthon, Erasmus, etc.] he changed it to Bucer, βους κέρας, or in English “Cowhorn”. Much of his early life he spent at Heidelberg as a Dominican Friar, [He was born at Alsace in 1491 A.D., and at seven years of age took the habit of St. Dominic. He came to England at the urgent request of Cranmer in April 1549 A.D., and began his Lectures on the New Testament after the Long Vacation.] but was at length tempted to abandon the cloister and entered the married state: and in doing so not only violated his own sacred promise, but induced another to do the same, for he selected a nun for his partner; and when in the plague which devasted the country in 1541 A.D., she and five of her thirteen sons were carried off, the enemies who professed the old Faith boasted that judgment had overtaken her at last for her broken vows.
On coming to England at the same time as Martyr, Bucer was placed in the corresponding Chair of Divinity in the sister University, where he gave a fresh direction to the studies of the place. While his brother Professor at Oxford had been trained in the School of Calvin, he had sat at the feet of Luther. [He first met Luther at the Diet of Worms, and subsequently was engaged much with him in discussing Theological questions, but never accepted the doctrine of Consubstantiation. He held, however, “quod corpus Christi vere et substantialiter a nobis accipiatur, cum sacramento utimur.” – Cf. Hardwick, Ref. iii. 166, n.] He did not, it is true, accept his master’s teaching on the subject of subjects, he nevertheless held Sacramental views many degrees removed from the bareness of Calvin’s pupil.
The vicious principle that the abuse of a thing is in itself a sufficient argument for its disuse, had a complete hold upon him, and it led him to oppose with fatal effect the Catholic practice of commending the faithful dead in prayer to the mercy of GOD. He did not hesitate to profess his cordial acceptance of the Revised Prayer Book, but inasmuch as in twenty-eight chapters of criticism of its contents, he finds abundant material for censure, it is difficult to acquit him of the charge of dissimulation, and certainly his views upon the utility of ceremonies, and “the circumstance” of religious worship, are utterly inconsistent with an unreserved approval of the principles of the First Revision. For instance, he confessed that the sign of the Cross in Holy Baptism, the symbolical act of investing with the Chrisom, [See below.] and “the sanctification of water to the mystical washing away of sin,” were especially distasteful to him. Even the innocent practice of bell ringing, except immediately before service, he denounced for reasons quite unintelligible.
The separation of the Clergy from the Laity during Divine Service, he designated an “antichristian practice”. The manual acts accompanying the words of Consecration in the Holy Eucharist he condemned as useless, and not only did he show an aversion to the Eucharistic vestments, but went so far as to object to wearing the Academic dress, though he shielded what we believe was a genuine detestation under the disguise of a quaint witticism, “that he could hardly be expected to wear a square cap, seeing that his head was round.” [There is much dispute as to the originator of this witticism. Fox (vi. 641), speaking of Hooper at Consecration, says, “Upon his head he had a geometrical, that is, a four-squared cap, albeit that his head was round.” – Cf. Heylin, Edw. VI. p. 194.]
But while we find so much with which we can feel little sympathy, we must not omit to bear testimony to his personal attractiveness and an amiability and sweetness of disposition towards those who differed from him, which often proved irresistible in winning them to his side.
His residence at Cambridge was of short duration, but sufficiently long to endear him to men of every class, and shade of opinion, and he was followed to his grave by the whole body of the University.
The learned ecclesiastic Redmayn, Master of Trinity, who delivered a panegyric upon his merits, confessed that his own high sacramental views might not improbably have undergone material modification had not the influence of the Professor’s teaching been so prematurely closed. His labours in the Protestant cause were not forgotten when Queen Mary reigned, for his body was exhumed, and burnt in the marketplace; but the dishonour was wiped out at a later date, when a special act of reparation was performed at St. Mary’s, and the Church presented a spectacle unique in its history, the walls being literally covered with laudatory verses and tributes to his worth.
It was to the spell of these three men that Cranmer yielded himself up. Whether he actually utilized their direct aid and counsel, during the progress of the Second Revision, or not, is really a matter of indifference, or at least of secondary importance. When we contrast him with what he was when he sat in the Chair in the Windsor Assembly, no one can deny that a vast change had passed over him; and when we go on to consider how the change had taken place in the very direction of the teaching of certain influential men, with whom he had been living in close intimacy or correspondence, there is only one consistent conclusion to be drawn.
In the alterations which mark the Revision under present consideration we see again and again such a significant coincidence between the proscription of forms or doctrine, and the peculiar tenets of one or other of these Foreign Reformers, that it is simple blindness to refuse to acknowledge the potency of this alien influence.
Now, while Cranmer and the King had been drawn into such close bonds of sympathy with the Exiles, and strongly impelled, as we have seen, to conciliate them by further revision of our Service books in view of a great Protestant Alliance, matters were brought to a crisis by the outbreak of the Vestiarian controversy.
The prominent figure throughout was John Hooper.
On the passing of the “Bloody Statute” [The Act of Six Articles was passed in 1539 A. D. Hooper was chiefly influenced at Zurich by Bullinger.] he fled to Zurich, and there became thoroughly impregnated with Swiss theology, and enamoured of the bareness, of Zwingle’s forms of service.
After his return home upon the accession of Edward VI, he was appointed to preach before the King and his Most Honourable Privy Council, and availed himself of the opportunity of advocating in several sermons a number of sweeping changes and most startling innovations. His first efforts were directed to the destruction of stone altars [The subject of his sermons preached before the King was “an oversight and deliberation upon the holy prophet Jonas.” In the fourth of the course he advocated the destruction of the altars.] and the substitution of wooden tables, which he deemed imperative, for the overthrow of the Sacrificial doctrine of the Holy Eucharist; and in this crusade Ridley went heartily with him. [He wrote a treatise to show why “the Lord’s Board should rather be after the form of a table than of an altar,” cf. Works, p. 321. In his Injunctions he exhorted “the curates, church wardens, and questmen to erect and set up the Lord’s Board after the form of an honest table.” Cardwell. Docum. Ann. i. 82.] As a necessary sequel it was followed up by an attack upon the Eucharistic Vestments, which he said were only “marks of Judaism” calculated to bring us back again to the Aaronic Priesthood. From this he went on to condemn the Academic habits, and the Convocation Robes of the Prelates especially as being of the colour which was held to identify the Papacy with the Babylonian harlot. But here the Bishop of London wisely quitted his side. He even contended so strongly for the mediaeval dress, that, sooner than yield, he advised the imprisonment of his old colleague for his obstinate refusal to wear them. Hooper was committed to the Fleet. [He was first committed to the Archbishop’s custody, but being immoveable in his determination not to wear the Episcopal habit, he was condemned to imprisonment January 27, 1551 A.D.: cf. Strype, ii. 217. He complied subsequently on condition that he should be “attired in the vestments prescribed when he was consecrated and when he preached before the King or in his cathedral or in any public place, but be dispensed with on other occasions.” Collier, v. 429.]
It was one of those unguarded moves, which so often lead to consequences the very opposite to what is desired.
Persecution endured for conscience sake, not unfrequently terminates in favour of the persecuted. When the Prison door closed upon Hooper, the battle was won for his cause.
And, with this agitation, the combination of forces requisite to reopen the reform of Church worship was well-nigh complete. It only wanted the sanction of Convocation to insure recommencement and unimpeded progress afterwards. But, to the honour of the Church, that was never given.
At the urgent solicitation of Calvin, the two Houses seem to have taken into consideration the desirableness of proceeding with the work of revision, but though the records of their deliberations have perished, it would appear from contemporary evidence that they did not encourage, certainly not formally authorize, the proposed undertaking. Some of the Upper House, it is true, having been like the Primate brought under Continental influence, did suggest to the Lower House that they should consult upon certain controverted passages in the Book of Common Prayer; but when the latter were called upon by their spiritual superiors to give in the result of their deliberations, they found an excuse in the plea that insufficient time had been allowed, [When the Upper House debated upon certain disputed points they made known their views to the Prolocutor, but the Lower House made answer “that they had not sufficiently considered of the points proposed, but that they would give their lordships some account thereof in the following session”; but there is no trace of their fulfilling the promise. Heylin, 1. 228.] but made no signs of proceeding with the business, which, as far as they were concerned, was altogether dropped. It is quite clear that they were averse to the proposal, and that the King was fully aware of it. Otherwise it would be impossible to account for his declaration, that he was determined to carry it through, despite all opposition, and if the changes he desired were not secured by the ordinary process, he would, as head of the Church, exercise his prerogative and enforce revision.
Eventually an Act of Parliament was passed directing that the former Liturgy “should be faithfully and godly perused, explained, and made fully perfect.” [It was enjoined that it should be done by the King with the assent of the Lords and Commons. 5 and 6 Edw. VI. c. i. Fuller, Ch. Hist. 312.]
This was the authority upon which the Revision was undertaken.
Before we look at the changes which were made, let us prepare ourselves by a rapid glance at the distinctive features of Catholic and Puritan worship.
The Catholic clings to his Church as an historic Church. In every age of its existence its present is linked with its past. Its faith is a symbol of unity, because it is part of the great heritage of Catholic tradition: not an ever-changing system of religion and worship, but one inherited through a long line of ancestry, to be transmitted unimpaired to the latest posterity.
The Church of the Puritan is essentially unhistoric, with no reverence for ancient forms because of their antiquity, but ready at any time to sacrifice whatever in her judgment has become tainted with error; to supersede by modern innovations the most time-honoured usage.
And now, in the light of this broad distinction, let us look at the changes themselves.
They were so numerous that without attempting to exhaust the list, I shall be satisfied to set forth those which from their significance seem most worthy of our attention.
The title of the book was changed. In the first Prayer Book of Edward VI it was “The book of common prayer and administration of the Sacraments and other rites and ceremonies of the Church, after the use of the Church of England.”
In the second Prayer Book “of the Church” was omitted, and an indirect blow given to the claim of the Anglican branch to belong to the Catholic Church.
The spirit of the next change is worthy of all praise. Before the revision only such as “served the congregation” were expected to recite daily Matins and Evensong. Henceforward an obligation was laid upon all priests and deacons, “except they be letted by preaching, studying of divinity, or by some other urgent cause”; and also upon all Curates to say the same in their Parish Churches, unless they were absent from home or otherwise reasonably hindered.
These obligations, with a slight modification, remain in force at the present day. We cannot but think some evil has arisen from the causes of exemption not having been duly recognized. In many villages where the clergyman hesitates because he is singlehanded, the Daily service would be offered, if it were thoroughly understood by priest and people that its intermission from time to time from several causes, provided for in the rubric, would convey no impression of neglect of duty.
In the Calendar the names of three Saints were admitted, viz., SS. George, Laurence, and Clement; upon what grounds the two former were so honoured, it is difficult to divine, considering the strong objections felt by the Revisionists to the principle of commemorating any other than those whose place in Scripture history entitled them to distinction.
At the same time Mary Magdalene was allowed to drop out, probably from a doubt in their minds that she was the woman who was “a sinner,” to whom the portion of Scripture, St. Luke 7:36–50, read for the Gospel referred. There are few traditions more improbable and baseless than that which has resulted in the popular belief.
And though the Revisionists might have acted more wisely by substituting an appropriate passage, and thus retaining her place in the services of the Church, almost anything is better than the perpetuation of an error, which stained the memory of one of the most beautiful saints of Gospel story.
Then we notice the introduction of a rubric directing that the Prayers shall be said, “in such place of the Church, chapel, or chancel, and the Minister shall so turn him as the people may best hear.” This was intended as a relaxation of the rule or custom of the First Prayer Book, which placed the Reader in the Quire, where he stood or knelt facing eastwards, [Cf. Blunt, The Annotated Pr. Book, p. 19.] turning, that is, in the same direction as the congregation – a position which seemed fit and appropriate to one who was acting for the time being as their head and representative. The modification was a concession to Bucer and Calvin, whose vehement denunciations of the prevailing practice as “Antichristian” and as an “insufferable abuse” are still extant.
Another change was the prefixing of the Sentences, Exhortation, Confession, and Absolution to the Matins, [The change was extended to Evensong in 1662 A.D.] which had begun hitherto with the LORD’S Prayer. This was necessary when the frequency of divine service had ceased to solemnize the minds of the congregation, and for this purpose a better preparation could hardly have been devised. It is when the conscience is relieved from the burden of its sins, that man is in the fittest mood to praise and give thanks to GOD. The main object however of the Revisionists in this was to discourage private confession and absolution by providing through the public ministration of daily service the benefits which had been sought hitherto from the priest singly and alone.
At the same time the “Alleluia,” which had been sung from Easter to Trinity before the “Venite,” and which had become most closely associated in the minds of the people with that joyful season, was omitted.
The direction that “in places where they do sing,” the lessons should be sung in a plain tune after the manner of distinct reading, and likewise the Epistles and Gospels, was withdrawn: as also the rubric enjoining the singing of the “Benedicite” during Lent in place of the “Te Deum”. Henceforward it was made an alternative for it, and in a similar manner was the “Jubilate” for the “Benedictus,” the “Cantate” for the “Magnificat,” and the “Deus misereatur” for the “Nunc dimittis.” In the first instance the intention was probably to allow of greater freedom in, using the “Benedicite,” which before had been confined to a definite season. On the score of ancient usage the claims of the two are equal: for if the “Te Deum” be regarded as a development of the hymn which the early Christians in Pliny’s time sang “to Christ as GOD,” we have on the other hand the testimony of St. Chrysostom to the fact that the “Benedicite” had been sung from the beginning “everywhere throughout the world.” In point of propriety the one is the hymn of the Church, the other the song of the universe; while then the former is more adapted for general use, the latter may be fitly substituted on numerous occasions, when the blessings of creation are brought prominently forward, and for this reason its relegation to Lent was a patent inconvenience.
In the case of the “Jubilate,” the obvious intention was that it should only be substituted for the “Benedictus” on the occasions when the latter occurred elsewhere in the service, though this has been completely frustrated, and the special hymn has for the most part superseded the general. For obvious reasons this supersession is much to be deprecated. What influences led the Revisionists to offer the “Deus misereatur” for the “Nunc dimittis” we have no means of determining, but in the case of the “Cantate” for the “Magnificat” their motive was unmistakable. It was a needless compliance with the unreasonable objections of the Puritans, who did not scruple to banish from its time-honoured [The use of the Magnificat in public worship can be traced back to the beginning of the sixth century, as it is found in Lauds in the Rule of Caesarius; whereas the Cantate was never sung except in the proper order of the Psalms before 1552 A.D.] position one of the very noblest outpourings of inspired song, to gratify their aversion to everything which expressed the slightest reverence for the Mother of our LORD.
The Incarnation was the special idea embodied in the ancient Vespers, and it was very forcibly expressed in the thankful acknowledgment alike of the Blessed Virgin and of the aged Simeon. The removal, therefore, of their Canticles tended to break the continuity which the First Revisionists had been so careful to preserve.
In the First Prayer Book the Athanasian Creed was directed to be recited on the six great Festivals of Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, Ascension, Whitsunday, and Trinity. At the Second Revision seven Saints’ Days were added, the selection being made, so as to provide for its being said, as nearly as possible, once a month.
The discretion which allowed the substitution of a passage of Scripture in place of the Litany on the Great Festivals was withdrawn, as also the permission to omit the Litany, “Gloria in excelsis,” Creed, Homily and Exhortation to Holy Communion, if there was to be a sermon or for other causes which were considered important.
The wish of the Revisionists to enforce the Litany on all Sundays is quite intelligible, when read in the light of their austere and gloomy views of Sabbath observance; and though we may regret the course they adopted in regard to this, they deserve all praise for refusing to sanction the omission of the Creed and the “Gloria in excelsis.” It is true we cannot trace the recitation of a creed in the Liturgy without interruption from primitive times, but it is obviously most desirable that every safeguard against heresy should be taken in celebrating the great Mysteries; neither is it wise to curtail that which helped to express our thanksgiving, and make the service a “sacrifice of praise”.
In the Baptismal office the following rites and ceremonies were abolished: viz., the trine immersion, the anointing with oil, the signing the breast with the mark of the Cross, the form of exorcism in which the priest commanded the unclean spirit to come out and no more exercise tyranny over the infants whom Christ was calling to be of the number of his flock, and the investiture of the newly baptized with the Chrisom, [See above.] as the priest said “Take this white vesture for a token of the innocence, which by GOD’S grace in this holy sacrament of baptism is given unto thee; and for a sign whereby thou art admonished, so long as thou livest, to give thyself to innocence of living, that after this transitory life, thou mayest be partaker of the life everlasting.” At the same time the custom of the sponsors laying their hands upon the child preparatory to this ceremony was given up, as well as the dedication of the Chrisom by the mother when she presented herself in Church at her purification.
Some of these ceremonies may have been fitly removed, some might be now recovered with advantage. What, for instance, could be more appropriate than the triple affusion accompanying the utterance of the triple Name of the Triune GOD?
And amongst ignorant people, who, as an experience proves, are taught most easily by signs and pictures, it is possible to conceive of anything more instructive of the whole teaching of Holy Baptism, than the immediate investiture of the newly baptized in a robe of spotless purity?
An important addition was made by the introduction of the five prayers: “O merciful GOD, grant that the old Adam,” etc., of the form of reception into “the congregation of Christ’s flock,” and of the declaration of the child’s regeneration, “Seeing now,” etc., together with the thanksgiving for the same, “We yield Thee hearty thanks,” etc.
In Confirmation the rubric [“Then the Bishop shall cross them in the forehead and lay his hand upon their head, saying, “N., I sign thee with the sign of the cross, and lay my hand upon thee: In the Name,” etc.] was withdrawn directing the Bishop to “cross them in the forehead,” ad the beautiful prayer “Defend, O LORD, this child,” etc., substituted for another [“Sign them, O Lord, and mark them to be thine for ever, by the virtue of thy holy Cross and passion. Confirm and strength them with the inward unction of Thy Holy Ghost, mercifully unto everlasting life.”] referring to “the sign” as well as the unction of the Holy Ghost.
In Matrimony the sign of the Cross hitherto made when the priest blessed the man and the woman was omitted, and a reference to the apocryphal mission of the Angel Raphael to “Thobie and Sara” gave place to that of a Scriptural fact, viz., the blessing of GOD upon Abraham and Sarah.
In the Visitation, and the Communion of the Sick, the ancient rite of anointing with oil was no longer mentioned. The rubric providing that the form of absolution used in this service should be available for all private confessions was erased; and the liberty of reserving the Blessed Sacrament from an open Communion celebrated on the same day, or from a Celebration in one sickroom for Communion in another, was withdrawn.
No doubt abuses had sprung up in connection with the practice of reservation, but now that there is little probability of their breaking out afresh, a return to primitive custom might be allowed, and with every prospect of affording relief to the clergy and benefit to the sick. Instances of widespread sickness and mortality arising from some special cause must be within the experience of most parish priests, where they have had no alternative but to transgress the existing law, or leave men to die without the Food of eternal life.
In the Order for the Burial of the dead, the service was robbed of its most comforting element, when, as touching prayer for the departed, the mourners’ lips were sealed, and not even a pious aspiration was allowed to relieve a stricken and sorrowful heart. Two special forms for commending the soul into the hands of the merciful GOD were altogether expunged from the Office, and a prayer that the sins which the departed had committed might not be imputed to him, was turned into a thanksgiving that he had been delivered out of the miseries of this sinful world; and further a petition for our perfect consummation and bliss was couched in such ambiguous phrase that it is impossible to say whether it comprehends the dead as well as the living, or not.
The intention of the framers of it, judging from their general course of action, most likely was to pray for the latter alone; but their language was providentially so ordered that pious men in every generation since have been able to use it with larger views and in a more Catholic spirit.
And here I may be pardoned if I dwell awhile, because the action of the Foreign Reformers in this matter has not only left a most lamentable blot on the Book, but illustrates very clearly the principles by which they were guided. Their boast was that they cared little for antiquity, and had no reverence for the past; the guidance to which they trusted was that of private judgment which many of them came at last to believe in as infallible.
For fourteen or fifteen centuries, prayers had been offered for those who died in the LORD: there was not a Liturgy [Cf. Luckock, After Death, pp. 109–115.] from the very beginning, either in the East or the West, which did not contain such petitions, and yet in the face of this usage, the unbroken usage of the Church universal, because the Catholic belief in the intermediate state had been confounded with the errors of Purgatory, they paraded their pernicious rule, “the abuse is a sufficient reason for the disuse,” and disallowed in their cold and loveless creed even thanksgiving for the good example of a departed saint.
From the earliest times a celebration of the Holy Eucharist had been associated with the burial of the dead, and the Revisionists of 1549 A.D. made full provision for a continuance of the custom. When their successors in 1552 A.D. omitted the Introit. Collect, Epistle and Gospel appointed for the Service, thereby discountenancing a Celebration, they left a void in our Prayer Book for which nothing but its full restoration can ever supply adequate consolation.
In this Revision Psalms 116, 136, and 146, which were said in the First Prayer Book either before or after the burial of the corpse, were dropt out.
One object observable throughout appears to have been a desire to curtail the service as far as possible; a desire which developed in their successors to such an extent that in the next century Bishop Cosin [Works, v. 168.] testifies that “they would have no minister to bury their dead, but the corpse to be brought to the grave and there put in by the clerk, or some other honest neighbour, and so back again without any more ado”; and Hooker [Eccles. Pol., v. lxxv. 4.] laments the miserable days in which an orderly burial service was deemed “unmeet, indecent, and unfit for Christianity.”
When we open the Communion Office we are confronted by the same reckless indifference to Catholic doctrine and practice, and an ever-widening divergence from the lines laid down by the first Revisionists.
The title was changed from “The Supper of the LORD and the Holy Communion, commonly called the Mass,” into “ The order for the administration of the LORD’S Supper or the Holy Communion.” And here we cannot but commend them at least in part for the alteration.
“Mass,” [Missa, of which Mass is a corruption, is probably a noun of an unusual form, like collecta and oblata, and is frequently so used: cf. Cassian de Coenob. Instit. lib. iii. c. vii., Missam stans pro foribus praestolatur. St. August. Serm. xlix., Post sermonem fit missa Catechumenis. It is first used by St. Ambrose, Ep. ad Marcellin. p. 853, ed. Bened., Missam facers coepi.] as most of us are aware, was derived from the Latin missa, in the formula “ite, missa est” – “Depart, it is the dismissal,” at the utterance of which words the congregation left the Church. Now on the grounds that the designation is not Scriptural nor primitive nor significant, the action of the Revisionists in discontinuing it finds full and ample justification. We think they would have shown further discretion if they had eliminated also the title of “the LORD’S Supper”. It is supposed to rest on the authority of St. Paul, “When ye come together into one place, this is not to eat the LORD’S Supper,” [1 Cor. 11:17–34. It is impossible to account for St. Paul’s rapid transitions in this passage except by recognizing the close union of the two Feasts. Part of his language refers to the Agape, part to the Eucharist.] but a careful examination of the passage leads to the conclusion that the Apostle there applies it to the Agape or Love feast in combination with the Holy Eucharist, not to the latter considered by itself. Indeed, had this not been so, the extreme rarity of the designation among the early Fathers [The first of the Fathers who uses the title of “the LORD’S Supper” in the modern acceptation is St. Basil. In answering the question whether the Oblation should be made in a private dwelling, he says that we ought neither to take “a common supper in a Church nor to degrade the LORD’S Supper in a house,” Ep. liv. c. 7. St. Chrysostom uses the term more than once: cf. Hom. xxvii. in 1 Cor.] would be quite unaccountable. Not till the latter half of the fourth century is it adopted by any writer; and it is worth mentioning that at two of the early Councils, [The third Council of Carthage 418 A.D., Can. xliv. The Council of Trullo, 683 A.D., Can. xxix.] the title is distinctly appropriated for another Feast. The language is, “One day in the year in which the LORD’S Supper is celebrated,” where it refers not to the Holy Communion, but to a commemorative Feast on Maundy Thursday evening in imitation of our Lord’s Last Supper with His disciples preceding the institution of the Eucharist. Apart then from the uncertainty of its usage in Scripture and its extreme rarity in Patristic literature, it might well have yielded to titles with better claims and with no tendency to create confusion. [The earliest title was most probably “the Breaking of the Bread,” cf. Acts 2:42 and 46; 20:7. Ignatius ad Ephes. c. xx. “The Eucharist” was unquestionably a familiar title almost from the first. 1 Tim. 2:1 is of doubtful reference, but it seems highly probable that St. Paul should bid Eucharists to be offered on behalf of such a king as Nero, and equally improbable that he should exhort to give thanks for him. Ignatius uses it, Ep. ad Philadelph. c. iv., ad Smyrn. c. vii. viii. Many others also use it, Justin Martyr, Tremens, Clemens Alexandrinus, Origen, and it is worthy of notice that it became so common that the word was Latinized and Syriacized: cf. Tertullian, de Cor. Mil. c. iii. and the Syriac Version of Acts 2:42 and 46. “The Communion,” which St. Paul used, was some considerable time before it was popularly adopted. Many of the references often given are inapplicable, indicating Church fellowship and privileges rather than the Holy Eucharist. Having, however, Scriptural authority, and being at the same time especially appropriate in meaning, it may well be accepted as a suitable designation for the Sacred Feast.]
In the Exhortation read at the time of the Celebration the passage in which a blasphemer, adulterer, and any one guilty of grievous crime was exhorted not to come to the Holy Table before he had bewailed his sins, was transposed and inserted in the exhortation to be read on the Sunday or holy day preceding. The propriety of this change is patent, “For,” writes Bishop Cosin, [Works, v. 615.] “is any person who comes at that time purposely to receive the Communion likely to discover himself (if he be guilty) in the presence of all the congregation by rising up and suddenly departing from it?”
There is a long array of omissions, as was naturally to be expected.
Besides some especially significant, to be considered presently, the following are to be noticed: –
The Introits, which were the shorter Psalms or portions of the 119th selected one for each Sunday or holy day, and sung immediately before the Collect and Epistle. It has been conjectured that they were omitted with a view to the substitution of the metrical version, [Scudamore, Noticia Eucharistica, cap. iv. iii.] which was partly composed by Sternhold at this time, but the speedy discontinuance of the Prayer Book at the accession of Queen Mary prevented them carrying out their intentions.
A second Service for Celebration on Christmas Day and Easter, was erased from the Book.
The concluding paragraph of the Exhortation, following the direction for such as were troubled in conscience to resort to the priest “for comfort and absolution,” previously ran thus: “requiring such as shall be satisfied with a general confession, not to be offended with them that do use, to their further satisfying, the auricular and secret confession to the priest; nor those also which think needful or convenient, for the quietness of their own consciences, particularly to open their sins to the priest, to be offended with them that are satisfied with their humble confession to GOD and the general confession to the church. But in all things to follow and keep the rule of charity, and every man to be satisfied with his own conscience, not judging other men’s minds or consciences; whereas he hath no warrant of GOD’S word to the same.”
Few persons, who recognize the real teaching of the Church upon Confession and Absolution, can fail to regret that such valuable counsel should have been removed. In opposition to the Roman view it distinctly repudiates the necessity of private confession, by implying that in principle there is no advantage in private over public absolution: as one of the most eminent of our bishops writes to his clergy [Bishop Woodford in his Primary Charge.]: – “Any one who is sincerely penitent, even in the largest congregation, will receive as the absolving words are uttered, precisely the same benefit as if he knelt before the priest singly and alone.” ... “He may die without having ever made a private confession, and yet he may have passed again and again with fullness of effect under the keys of the kingdom.” But at the same time it distinctly admits full liberty of conscience to have recourse to this special ordinance of the Church in time of need.
In the “Prayer for the whole state of Christ’s Church,” all reference to the dead was left out, and its application strictly confined to the living by the addition of the words “militant here in earth.”
A few others of more or less importance require notice: such as the withdrawal of the rubric directing the minister to put to the wine “a little pure and clean water”. No reason was assigned for this, nor can any be conjectured. The custom of admixture was a natural one, if it be true, as most Jewish authorities maintain, that it was the habit of the Jews generally to dilute their wine with water; and so we find the practice almost universal in the Primitive Church. [Justin Martyr, Apol. i. 67. Irenaeus, v. ii. 3. St. Cyprian, Ep. lxiii.] It continues in the Eastern and Roman Churches, and as it is impossible to find in it any doctrinal symbolism of dangerous or doubtful import, and as many leading Divines [Bishops Andrewes, Cosin, Wilson. Cf. Scudamore, Not. Euch. cap. xii. x.] since the Reformation have not hesitated to consecrate “the mixed Chalice,” it is to be regretted on Vincentian principles that the rubric should have been erased.
Two other less important directions were omitted: one that at the administration the Bread should be “ unleavened and round “ in shape: the other that it should be placed in the mouth of the Communicant at the priest’s hands.
We next consider two additions to the Service, viz.: the Decalogue and the Second Exhortation.
The Revisionists desired to introduce some rule or standard for self-examination before communicating, in view of St. Paul’s direction, “Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup.” The Decalogue probably suggested itself to them from the existing practice of reading and expounding it during this service from time to time.
It was a happy thought which prompted them to take the Kyries, which in the First Prayer Book were repeated nine times at this part of the service, and with the addition of another, adapt them as ten responsory petitions for the ten commandments.
Whether it would have been more in harmony with the highest Christian service to have introduced the standard of self-examination from Christ’s commentary in the Sermon on the Mount, rather than the stern formula of the Jewish code itself, may be an open question. The American Liturgy supplements it by St. Matt. 22:37–40, and the Scotch Liturgy directs the people to “the mystical importance” of the commands, as well as “the letter”.
The second addition was an Exhortation for occasional use when the Curate found the people “negligent to come to the Holy Communion”. From 1552 A.D. to 1662 A.D. the following passage occurred in it; “And whereas ye offend GOD so sore in refusing this holy banquet, I admonish, exhort, and beseech you that unto this unkindness ye will not add any more; which thing ye shall do if ye stand by as gazers and lookers on them that do communicate, and be no partaker of the same yourselves. For what thing can this be accounted else than a further contempt and unkindness unto God? Truly it is a great unthankfulness to say nay, when ye be called; but the fault is much greater when men stand by and yet will neither eat nor drink this Holy Communion with others. I pray you, what can this be else but even to have the mysteries of Christ in derision? It is said unto all, Take ye and eat: take and drink ye all of this; Do this in remembrance of Me. With what face then, and with what countenance shall ye hear these words? What will this be but a neglecting, a despising and mocking of the testament of Christ? Wherefore rather than ye should do so, depart you hence and give place to them that be godly disposed. But when you depart, I beseech you, ponder with yourselves from whom ye depart. Ye depart from the LORD’S Table, ye depart from your brethren, and from the banquet of most heavenly food.”
This was what Cosin calls a “religious invective” against the principle of solitary Masses in which the priest alone communicated. It has in disregard of its true purpose been mixed up with the modern controversies on the legitimacy of “non-communicating attendance.”
Neither in its introduction in 1552 A.D. was it intended to discourage anything as practiced in the present day; nor in its subsequent withdrawal was it designed to sanction it. An examination of its language will show that it is wholly irrelevant to the case. The Revisionists had in their mind irreligious men who never communicated, and therefore profaned the service by an irreverent presence, for they contrast them with “the godly disposed.” With such they are certainly not to be confounded, who, being frequent communicants, and realizing fully that the greatest value of the ordinance lies in participation, are unwilling to forego a lesser blessing, if they have already partaken on the same day, or from some cause are unprepared for it.
But we pass to matters of greater moment.
In this revised Service, the Sacrificial aspect was greatly obscured by that of Communion. Sacrificial terms were for the most part suppressed: sacerdotal vestments forbidden: the position of the altar was changed, and the arrangement of important parts of the service disturbed. Everything, in short, was done, as the Revisionists fondly hoped, to dissociate the mind of the worshipper from all thoughts of oblation or sacrifice.
The direction was cancelled which ordered that at the appointed time the Celebrant should “put upon him a plain alb or surplice, with a vestment or cope,” which, whether invariably so from the beginning or not, was unquestionably and universally associated at this time with the idea of sacrifice. The term “Altar,” which was the correlative of sacrifice, was erased from this and every other rubric, and Table or Holy Table substituted. The most honourable place occupied by the Altar all through the Church’s history was left vacant, and the Table brought down to the body of the Church, and as a necessary consequence regarded simply as a Board from which holy Food was distributed, and nothing more.
The Celebrant who had stood “humbly afore the midst of the Altar” was directed to stand “at the north side of the Table.”
And lastly, a displacement [At the same time the short Exhortation, the Confession, the Absolution, the comfortable words, and the Prayer of Humble access, all of which had followed the Consecration, were now placed before it.] of the Prayer of Oblation was effected. It had long been inseparably united with the Act of Consecration by which the Bread and Wine were declared to be the Body that was broken and the Blood which was shed; but by disconnecting them, and placing the prayer after the consumption of the consecrated Elements, the idea of offering these to the Father as a commemorative Oblation of Christ’s Blessed Body and Blood was cast into the shade. Not content with emptying the words of their obvious force by the change of position, the Revisionists went further and made its entire omission possible by allowing the Thanksgiving Prayer to be used as an alternative. This was a direct breach of Catholic usage.
To pass on, they were no less anxious to discountenance the doctrine of the Real Presence.
Four things especially betray their design.
The discontinuance of the Invocation of the Holy Ghost upon the Elements, and of the singing of the “Agnus Dei;” the substitution of the second clause, “Take and eat this,” ... and “Drink this” ... for the first, “The Body of Our LORD,” etc. ... “The Blood of our Lord,” etc.; ... and lastly, the insertion of the “Black Rubric” or “Declaration of Kneeling”: upon each of these it will be necessary to dwell.
In almost every Primitive Liturgy* there had been a distinct prayer that the Spirit of GOD would sanctify the Elements that they might become to those who received them the Blessed Body and Blood of Christ. To eliminate this then was to break away from Catholic usage as well as to ignore the immediate action of the Holy Ghost, which is the great vivifying Agent in holy things.
[*In the Liturgy of St. James (Greek) the prayer is, “Send, O LORD, upon us and upon these Thy gifts set forth Thy all-holy Spirit the LORD and the Life-giver ... that He may make this Bread the Holy Body of Thy Christ and this Cup the precious Blood of Thy Christ.” Cf. Hammond, Litt. East and West, p. 43.
Nearly the same language is repeated in that of St. Mark, ib. p. 187, also in that of St. Basil, ib. p. 114. The Invocation is found in a shorter form in many of the Western Liturgies, e.g. the Gallican and Mozarabic.
That which the Revisionists of 1552 A.D. eliminated ran thus: –“And with Thy Holy Spirit and word vouchsafe to bless† and sanctify† these Thy gifts and creatures of Bread and Wine, that they may be unto us the Body and Blood of Thy most dearly beloved Son Jesus Christ.” It is retained with verbal alterations in the Scotch and American Prayer Books. It has been held of such importance that the Eastern Church ascribes the Consecration to this.]
And here I would observe that this is happily recognized in the Celebration of the other great Sacrament, the operation of the Holy Spirit being mentioned no less than three times in the opening of the Service.
With the discontinuance of the “Agnus Dei,” beautiful as it is, we can find no fault if we are satisfied not to overstep the paths of Primitive Antiquity. It had no place in the early Liturgies or Sacramentaries, and was probably not introduced in England till the times of AElfric, in the middle of the tenth century, nor much earlier in any foreign Churches.
The Form of Words previously used at the distribution of the Elements was deliberately abandoned in violation of an almost uniform tradition from the beginning. However far we go back we trace an inseparable connection not only in idea, but in expression, between the Bread and the Body – the Wine and the Blood. Often when the Priest gave the Sacramental Elements he simply said, “The Body of our LORD Jesus Christ,” “The Blood, etc.,” and the Communicant indicated his assent or his desire for its realization by adding “Amen”.
In the Sarum Missal the Formula had expanded into “The Body of our LORD Jesus Christ keep thy soul unto eternal life,” Amen; and the same had been unhesitatingly adopted in the First Prayer Book. But when the second Revisionists approached it with the knowledge that it admitted of only one interpretation, viz., that the Body of Christ was given in the Sacrament, they determined to eliminate it altogether and substitute another which would give no countenance to the belief of those who maintained that the words of the institution, “This is my Body,” were more than a mere figure of speech.
The last of the four was the “Declaration of Kneeling,” in which it was asserted that that posture did not indicate that any adoration was offered unto the Sacramental Elements or to any “Real and Essential Presence” of Christ’s natural Body. The words “Real and Essential” are to be noted, because they are no longer in the Rubric, having yielded to “Corporal” at the final Revision. The history of this Rubric* affords sufficient evidence that its introduction was intended as a concession to pacify the foreigners, who never ceased to characterize kneeling to communicate as a superstitious and idolatrous act.
[*The Act of Uniformity passed on April 6th, 1552 A. D., and fixed All Saints’ Day, November 1st, as the date upon which the Revised Book was to come into use. On October 27th a Declaration “touching the kneeling at the receiving of the Holy Communion” was forwarded by the Privy Council to the Lord Chancellor for insertion in the New Book. The only authority it had was the King’s signature. It is supposed to have been compiled by Cranmer, who, as well as the King, was yielding more and more every day to the influence of the Foreign Reformers. At the Elizabethan Revision it was treated as an illegal interpolation, and ignored. Its reintroduction at the Final Revision was due to the influence of Gauden and Morley. The Bishops, however, having carefully guarded the Catholic doctrine by a change of language, do not appear to have resisted the concession to the Presbyterians, who expressed their conviction that “the Church of England is for transubstantiation because of our kneeling.”]
Now the above is a long and heavy bill of indictment against the Second Revisionists for departure from Catholic doctrine.
Can anything be urged generally in mitigation of the verdict which the Catholic mind is impatient to pronounce? Apologists [Cf. Freeman’s Principles of Divine Service, vol. ii. pp. 123–126.] here and there have argued in their defense, that they did not in reality intend to abandon the doctrines and usages which they appeared to supersede: that many of the changes were made with the view of bringing into prominence principles which had been thrust out of sight to the great loss and injury of the Church in mediaeval times and at the first Revision. “Altar,” for instance, was not withdrawn, as intimating a denial that what was offered thereon was in some sense sacrificial, but “Table” was substituted because the predominance of the Sacrificial aspect had completely obscured the other side of Eucharistic teaching, viz., the Communion of the Blessed Body and Blood. Again, touching the words of administration and “the Black Rubric,” the First Book, they say, had affirmed what the Elements were – the Second Book aimed at explaining what they were not.
It is a very plausible defense, and finds some support in the official statements of the Revisionists themselves.
In the Act of Uniformity which gave legal force to their Revision they stated upon what grounds they had entered upon the work, and what their general opinion was of the Book they superseded.
The Revision had been necessitated, they said, because “divers doubts had risen for the fashion and ministration” [Cf. Collier, v. 464.] of the services, which proceeded “rather by the curiosity of the minister and mistakers than of any worthy cause.”
And the First Prayer-book the Statute declared to be “a very godly order, agreeable to the Word of God and the Primitive Church, very comfortable to all good people desiring to live in Christian conversation, and most profitable to the estate of this realm.” [Ibid.]
These statements seem well-nigh inexplicable on any other theory than that which the Apologists have set forth, viz., that the Revisionists had not really wished to renounce in any essential matters the teaching of the First Prayer Book. But if we could bring ourselves to accept it, we should still have to hold them up to rebuke for the weakness of their judgment and a strange ignorance of the ways of the world. It saves them from Scylla to plunge them into Charybdis.
The way to supplement is not to begin by taking away; and to remove one word or usage and replace it by another is substitution, not addition. If a particular phraseology, ever connected with one set of ideas, was ousted by another phraseology which had always been used to clothe ideas of a totally different order, no amount of side notes, still less general assertions, in a Statute, bound up at its first publication with the Service book, but disconnected from it for ever afterwards, could insure later generations from the danger of being misled. It seems difficult to acquit them of hypocrisy or infatuation. He who best understands the times and circumstances will be best fitted to decide whether they had desired in their hearts to revolutionize the worship of the Church, and were too cowardly to own it, or whether they had only aimed at developing obliterated features, but had proved by their bungling their incompetence for the task; and it will be a matter of no little surprise if the verdict is not, that they were guilty of insincerity rather than mismanagement.
The study of their lives and opinions forces upon us the conviction that their object was to eradicate the ancient Catholic doctrines; and we may be thankful that though they were able to prosecute their end in so far as they succeeded in eliminating the most salient features, the principles were too firmly embedded in the whole framework of the Liturgical Office to be rooted out by their action.
The reverent student will trace with satisfaction the overruling influence of GOD’S good Spirit frustrating their designs, and leaving them so far hopelessly baffled, that at the final Revision, the Church was able solemnly to declare that the true Eucharistic doctrine had remained essentially unchanged from the first Revision to the last.
In the Preface to the Prayer Book of 1662 A.D., which is now in use, the Revisionists expressed their conviction of this in unhesitating language. “We find, that in the reigns of several Princes of blessed memory since the Reformation, the Church, upon just and weighty considerations her thereunto moving, hath yielded to make such alterations in some particulars, as in their respective times were thought convenient; yet so, as that the main body and essentials of it, as well in the chiefest materials, as in the frame and order thereof, have still continued the same unto this day and do yet stand firm and unshaken.” It is impossible to exaggerate the weight of this declaration, which we must never forget is “the assertion not of individual theologians, but the deliberate pronouncement of the Church speaking for herself.” [Cf. Bishop Woodford’s Primary Charge.]
Chapter III – The Elizabethan Reaction
When King Edward breathed his last the Reformed Worship of the English Church hung for a moment in the balance.
“No compulsion of her subjects in the matter of religion” was the promise by which Mary gained supporters in Norfolk and Suffolk against her rival for the throne; and her words were taken up and repeated in every part of the kingdom. And when she entered the Tower and lifted the imprisoned Gardiner [The Duke of Norfolk was released at the same time. Cf. Collier, vi. 10.] from his knees, and let him go free, it was, she might have urged, one fulfilment of her promise, but it was interpreted very differently. Anglican and Protestant began to tremble for their faith; and as soon as her Crown was secure she threw off the disguise. A dagger launched by some fiery zealot against a preacher [Bourne, Canon of St. Paul’s, was the preacher.] at St. Paul’s Cross, who divining his mistress’s mood inveighed against the Prayer Book, was the signal for decisive measures to begin. Cranmer was confined within the walls of his Palace, Ridley was committed to the Tower, Cox was shut up in a cell in the Marshalsea, from which Bonner was released, and many others [E.g. Hooper, Coverdale and Latimer.] were imprisoned. In Canterbury Cathedral the suffragan Bishop, seizing the advantage of the Primate’s confinement, stopped the legal service, and with all the pomp and circumstance of the Roman Ritual restored the Mass: and from this beginning the old use regained its position step by step till the last vestige of opposition, that of the Legislature itself, entirely disappeared. The Houses of Parliament, with scarcely a dissentient voice, passed a vote of repentance for their schism, and after receiving, in behalf of the nation, absolution from the Papal legate on their bended knees, they heard the proclamation read, that England had entered again into union with Rome. For four years no language of prayer and praise but that which spoke in the Breviary and Missal was ever heard in the Churches. But Mary died, and Elizabeth reigned: and a fresh epoch in the religion and worship of the Church began. Never in the world’s history was a movement initiated under more difficult circumstances than the Elizabethan Reaction. It was well for England that the Sovereign, who was to guide it, was possessed of an unconquerable will and a tenacity of purpose rarely equaled, perhaps never surpassed.
Let us look awhile at the difficulties by which she was confronted when she resolved, as she did in heart from the beginning, to reestablish the Reformed Worship of the Catholic Church, unimpaired if possible alike by Papal and Puritan innovations.
The clergy of the country were pledged to Rome; the posts of dignity and influence from Bishopric to Prebend were filled, with rare exceptions, by men who were intensely Roman; the Parish priests were the same in a less degree no doubt, but in overwhelming majority, for the vigilant eye of Bonner had promoted none that were lukewarm, and spared from deprivation few that were disaffected. Here then was one obstacle of appalling magnitude.
And there was a second hardly less formidable. For Edward it would have been trivial: for Elizabeth it was overwhelming. The one would have seized it and made it a vantage ground: the other would be satisfied with nothing short of victory over it, or at least in spite of it. This was the Puritan Party which long banishment [The exiles are variously estimated from three hundred to eight hundred. Of the clergy the most notable were Bishops Point, Barlow, Scory, Coverdale and Bale, Deans Cox, Turner, Horne, and Sampson, and of others Grindal, Jewel, and Pilkington, of the laity Sir John Cheke, and Sir Anthony Cook. Cf. Collier, vi. 19.] and depression had embittered, and which now the prospect of release made buoyant with hope and eager for reascendancy.
When Mary declared herself for the Roman Faith, and the Second Prayer Book was suspended, all who held views that were decidedly Protestant, determined to escape from the intolerance which threatened them at home. An exodus to the Continent took place of some hundreds of the clergy, and Strasburg and Frankfort, Zurich and Geneva became for the English, what London had been a few years before, when it afforded a sanctuary from the Inquisition of Charles V and the Papal Interim. And many of the exiles were seized at once with a spirit of unrestrained freedom. Calvin, who at Frankfort was looked upon as an oracle, denounced the English Prayer Book, and his denunciation produced a powerful effect. Knox, the fiery revolutionist in Church government, placed himself at the head of those who wished to shake themselves free from the forms and ceremonies to which they had been tied. Thus a party was created of what we may call ultra-Protestants. [Many interesting details of these quarrels are given by Collier, vi. 144–153.] A few held out vigorously against these democratic innovations, under the leadership of Cox, and for a time they succeeded in preserving the English ritual in its integrity, but time and circumstances told upon them. Living as exiles in want and penury, they found that they had little to spend on vestments and ornaments, on the luxuries and beauty of an elaborate worship, and indifference to externals crept in, and the laxity of rule and discipline of their neighbours had its effect upon them and made them impatient of order. And so it came about that when they returned to England, even the bareness of worship which the close of Edward’s reign had encouraged, was made barer still by Genevan and Frankfort usage.
Confronted by these, what was the Queen to do? She was determined to overthrow the Roman worship, because with all the pomp and ceremonial which she loved, it involved doctrines which she disbelieved, and she shrank from an alliance with the power which would have made the task so easy, because her nature rebelled instinctively against the unattractive nakedness of Puritanical worship.
There was yet a third party, albeit apparently a small one, with which she decided to identify herself.
When the Romanists came in, the Protestants fled; but there were some who dreaded the association of the foreign Churches more than contact with Rome, and they determined to remain in England, some of them conforming to the Roman worship, and retaining their posts, others, whose consciences were more tender, resigning their livings and retiring into privacy, contented to bide their time and hope for better days. With this third part, the less violent portion of the exiles, who had clung to the Prayer Book through all their vicissitudes, were practically united on their return. It was reinforced too no doubt by. the adherence of numbers of the laity, for this is the only explanation of the conduct of the representatives of the people, in the Houses of Parliament, when they were called upon to declare their opinion on the Acts of Uniformity.
It will be well to ascertain as clearly as possible what the Queen’s doctrinal views really were, at the time when she was called upon to assume the direction of affairs. There can, I think, be little question that they underwent considerable modification in her later years, and it has been a common practice to lose sight of this and to speak of her as though she had held in the beginning the faith and opinions in which she died. Every surrounding had tended to lower the standard. Of the Bishops of her reign Parker was the nearest in sympathy, but with none of the Queen’s enthusiasm and ever ready to make concessions. Of her councilors Cecil was most faithful to her wishes, but in the maintenance of Catholic faith and worship only a half-hearted minister; while Essex was an avowed patron of nonconformity, and Leicester, “the wicked Earl,” seemed to have been born for the destruction of the Church. Such a combination of evil influences could hardly fail to affect her.
At the beginning of her reign she was distinctly Catholic in the true and proper sense of the term: and we shall see how she succeeded in more ways than one in stamping her Catholicity upon the revised Liturgy which was shortly put forth. And this point can hardly be too carefully considered or too clearly established, because it must have a most important bearing upon the “Vestiarian Controversy,” and the right interpretation of the disputed Advertisements.
In proclaiming her title she designated herself “of the true and ancient and Catholic faith”. When the adoption of a Prayer Book was mooted, she expressed a strong predilection in favour of the First of Edward VI. She had long been a student of patristic lore and the early history of the Church, and it had created in her an intense love for antiquity and reverence for old and time-honoured rites and observances.
Her views upon the crucial point of the Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist she was known to have expressed with a caution and reverence which might well be imitated.
“’Twas GOD the Word that spake it,
He took the Bread and brake it,
And what the Word did make it,
That I believe and take it.”*
[*This was her reply to a Roman priest who tried to extract from her a declaration of her belief. It is quoted in Heylin, ii. 261, from Baker’s Chron. 329.]
And once when the preacher in the Royal Chapel confessed with reverence and becoming humility the mystery of the Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament, she expressed her satisfaction by giving thanks to him openly for his pains and piety at the conclusion of the service. [Heylin, ii. 317.]
And when de Feria, [Froude, Hist. of Elisabeth, viii. 82.] Philip’s ambassador, pressed her to explain the doctrines which her people would be expected to believe, she assured him that “she held that GOD was really present in the Sacrament,” though she was not prepared to accept the teaching of the Roman Catholics upon the manner of His Presence. All this shows very plainly the bent of her mind.
The Puritans made a perpetual grievance of her allowing the Crucifix and Lights to remain on the altar in her chapel, [There is a long extract from Machyn’s Journal, showing how gradually the changes were made, in Forbes’ Articles, p. xviii. xix.] and Dean Nowell, when preaching before her in Lent, took occasion to speak by the way with little reverence of the symbol of the Cross; whereupon Her Majesty called to him from her closet window “to retire from that ungodly digression and return to his text.” [Cf. Life of Nowell, Athenae Oxonienses.]
The figure of the Crucified nailed to the Cross had become an object of intense aversion, but sober-minded judges would deem it an extreme measure to condemn her for Roman tendencies in using it, especially if her own avowed objections are allowed their legitimate weight.
It is true that in selecting her Privy Council she retained a number of statesmen who had served the same office to Queen Mary, [The Archbishop of York, the Marquess of Winchester, the Earls of Arundel, Darby, Pembroke and Shrewsbury, the Lords Clynton and Effingham, Sirs Thomas Cheyney, William Petre, John Mason, Richard Sackville and Doctor Wotton.] but she was actuated herein by prudential motives which admit of ample justification; and she was careful to provide against an undue preponderance of influence by the addition of others [The following were chosen by herself, the Marquess of Northampton, the Earl of Bedford, Sirs Thomas Parry, Edward Rogers, Ambrose Cave, William Cecil, and Nicholas Bacon. Cf. Heylin, ii. 269. Soakes, Hist. of Elisabeth, 605.] of very different views and policy. Again, she has been blamed for continuing to attend the Celebration of the Mass far longer than was necessary after her accession, but she exercised a wise discretion in determining to feel her way cautiously and avoid irritating her opponents by precipitate change. On one or two occasions, however, she thought fit to resist what she believed to be innovations upon Catholic usage. The Romans, for instance, elevated the Host that it might be worshipped, and against this she protested. It is recorded that on Christmas day she directed the Bishop, [Oglethorpe, Bishop of Carlisle. Cf. Lingard, vii. 255. Heylin, ii. 272.] who was about to celebrate in the Royal Chapel, not to elevate the Host in her presence, and that, when he replied that “his life was the Queen’s but his conscience was his own,” she marked her disapproval by rising before the Gospel and leaving with her attendants.
We pass now to see what, under these circumstances, was the tendency of the ecclesiastical measures with which she began her reign.
Her first act was the introduction of certain parts of the Service in English in the Royal Chapel, viz., the Litany, the LORD’S Prayer, Creed, Epistle, and Gospel. Then with the intention of checking the intemperate zeal of the advanced Reformers, who, in the belief that she was on their side, began at once a number of innovations, she issued a proclamation prohibiting any further departure from the established order of worship than such as she had sanctioned in her own chapel, till such time as “consultation should be had by her Majesty and her three estates of the realm.”
Her next step was to take into her confidence Sir Thomas Smith, a man of great learning, and, what was especially helpful to her at such a crisis, profound knowledge of the laws of the country. He at once drew up suggestions and embodied them in a document entitled “Device for the alteration of religion”; [Cardwell, Hist. of Conferences, 43–48.] it is singularly interesting as expressive at every turn of the legal mind, which saw things chiefly from the opponent’s side, and was occupied in forestalling the objections which would be raised.
His advice, which was acted upon, was the immediate appointment of an intimate cabinet of trusty Councilors, who should be made privy to the Queen’s designs and wishes, and aid her in the selection of a Committee of Divines to review the service and ceremonies of the Church. The inner circle was formed of Cecil, Gray, Northampton, and Bedford, and the revision of the Liturgy committed to eight learned and able men, Parker, Grindal, Cox, Bill, Pilkington, Whitehead, and May, with Sir Thomas Smith to render such legal and lay assistance as they were likely to require. The Catholic and Protestant views were equally represented, but those who held the latter, though chosen from the returned exiles, were of the more orthodox side, all having resisted the lax discipline and libertinism of Knox and his colleagues, and adhered throughout to the English order. They met for deliberation without any appointment under the great seal, but as a private body gathered together to advise the government how to proceed in the matter of religion. Their place of meeting was the lodging of their legal adviser in Cannon Row, Westminster: and the chair was taken by Parker. His health broke down shortly after, and Guest [The name is sometimes spelled Gheast or Geste. His chief weakness lay in his fear of giving offence, which often led him to make concessions to the Puritans, which Parker would certainly have resisted. Hook, Life of Parker, 163.] was appointed to fill his place whenever he was unable to attend. The first question which they were called upon to decide was the basis of the proposed revision. Sir Thomas Smith, as representing the Queen’s opinion, advised the First Prayer Book of Edward VI. It not only expressed those Catholic doctrines which she was prepared to uphold, but the authority under which it had been issued was unimpeachable. Convocation had drawn it up, the voice of the people in Parliament had ratified it, the King had sealed it, and beyond all this it had been acknowledged by its Revisionists to have been compiled under the guidance and influence of the Holy Ghost. These were weighty arguments in its favour, but the returned exiles interposed. They felt themselves to be the representatives of the whole Protestant body, and realizing what a violent shock it would be to them to hear that a Book, which many of them disliked only one degree less than the Roman Use itself, was about to be presented to Parliament for adoption, they pleaded eagerly for that which had been last in use. And their arguments prevailed. The office of conciliating the Queen was undertaken by Parker. He was known to have great influence with her, and he succeeded in overcoming her determination. His own inclinations were entirely with hers, but he was a far-seeing and sagacious counsellor, and he knew that to alienate the Protestants would be to leave the government, if not entirely without support, yet face to face with two bitterly hostile parties, which they would be powerless to resist.
It is very probable that he gave the Queen assurances that the Second Prayer Book would only be nominally presented to Parliament: he had every hope that such alterations would be made as should strip it of its most obnoxious features, and so prevent her from doing any violence to her conscience in accepting it.
After this preliminary was settled, the Committee had repeated sittings, and on the 15th of February, a Bill was laid before Parliament, for Uniformity of worship, but deferred on the ground that the subject was not yet ripe for legislation. The Queen thereupon directed the Archbishop of York to make arrangements for a public disputation between the Roman and Reforming parties in Westminster Abbey. Eight disputants were chosen on either side. [The exact number has been much disputed. Collier, Cardwell, Fuller, and Strype give eight. Fox, Jewel, and others give nine. It has also been doubted whether the names of Cox and Sandys are rightly admitted. Cf. Heylin, ii. 288.]
On the Roman side were Heath, Archbishop of York, four Bishops, White of Winchester, Bayne of Lichfield, Scott of Chester, Watson of Lincoln, Fecknam, Abbot of Westminster, Cole, Dean – and Chedsey Prebendary of St. Paul’s, and two Archdeacons, Langdale of Lewis, and Harpsfield of Canterbury.
On the side of the Reformers were Scory, late Bishop of Chichester, Cox, late Dean of Westminster, Horn of Durham, Sandys, Whitehead, Grindal, Guest, Elmar, and Jewel.
Of the Advocates of Rome apart from Archbishop Heath, who however took no part in the discussions, there are only two whose names bear any distinction in history, – Cole and Harpsfield, – the former as having been chosen for his learning to preach the Sermon at Oxford in justification of Cranmer’s sentence, the latter, for the unenviable reputation he gained in the Marian persecutions, as “the inquisitor of Canterbury,” in pitiless cruelty second only to “the bloody Bonner”.
The other list presents a far different aspect, almost the whole number having left the mark of their names upon the annals of the age.
Friday, March 31, was the day appointed for the commencement of the combat. It must have been a striking spectacle even in a building which, excepting only St. Peter’s, has witnessed grander assemblages than any other in Europe.
It was the arbitrament to which the Queen had resolved to submit the rival claims of her divided subjects, and on the result of the disputations the gravest consequences appeared to depend. And the spectators were not unworthy of the occasion. The Lord Keeper of the Seal, Sir Nicolas Bacon, came representing the Crown, and as Moderator of the Assembly, may have occupied for the occasion the Abbot’s stall, which would only be vacated for the Queen or her delegate. The Privy Council, as next in order of dignity, were placed in the stalls of the Monks. The Prelates, and the rest of the disputants, some in their Convocation robes, others in their Academic dress, were seated in the Quire beneath, the one on the North, the other on the South. The Houses of Parliament, Nobility and Commons, were provided for where room could be found, for their sittings had been suspended that all might attend that momentous contest. And such was the excitement and eager expectation of the populace, wherever sight could be obtained or hearing found, the Abbey was crowded with a dense mass of human beings.
Three subjects had been agreed upon for discussion: —
Firstly, That it is repugnant to GOD’S Word and the usage of the Primitive Church, that the service should be conducted in an unknown tongue.
Secondly, That every Church has authority to vary or modify its forms of worship, with a view to edification.
Thirdly, That the Mass is not a propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead.
The terms of the discussion agreed upon were, that the Roman advocates should begin, their adversaries follow. It was pretended that the arrangement was made in deference to the superior rank and position of the Romans, and they accepted it, without thinking apparently, and were placed at a manifest disadvantage.
Intellectually the Marian party were inferior, and could ill afford to make any such concession. The debate was opened with the question of the use of the Latin tongue in public service, and it ended as every one expected in the total discomfiture of the defenders of the Roman practice, [The weakness of the Romans may be estimated by the speech of Cole, who was put forward to argue in favour of the use of the Latin tongue; it is not only feeble, but contains deliberate misrepresentations of History. Cardwell. Confer. Docum. c. ii. p. 63.] and so completely did their adversaries overpower them in argument that they carried the audience completely with them, the vast assemblage raising loud plaudits at the conclusion, and the Prelates being covered with confusion and dismay.
The following Monday was fixed for the continuation of the dispute, but when they reassembled, the Bishops demanded that the order of proceedings should be reversed: and argued that alike by the practice of the Schools and the Law Courts, as they maintained the negative of the question to be discussed, they were entitled to the second place in the debate. And certainly they had justice on their side. Until the Law, had deprived them of their position, they were the recognized guardians of the Religion of the country; and it was obviously their duty to continue at their post, and when assailed to repel the assault if they could, or to succumb if they must.
But the Moderator ruled that the orders [The order, drawn up by Cecil and assented to by both parties, was that as the balance of dignity lay on the side of the Romans, their advocates should be called upon first to deliver their arguments.] drawn up by the Queen admitted of no modification, and must be strictly complied with, or the discussion would be closed. Angry recriminations and bitter invectives were bandied from side to side, but neither party would yield. The Romanists were conscious of being overmatched, and decided that it was better to retire with at least a show of unfair treatment, than risk being fairly beaten.
The Queen’s Representative rose from his seat and pronounced the discussion closed, but forgetting that an arbiter should know no favour, he turned with anger to the Bishops, and said, “You have refused to let us hear you; ere long, it may be, you will hear of us.” And the ominous threat was soon put into execution; the Bishops of Winchester and Lincoln, who had been foremost in defying the Queen’s mandate, were committed to the Tower for contempt of court, and the rest were bound over in heavy recognisances to come up for judgment whenever they should be called upon, and eventually sentenced to considerable fines. [The amounts were as follows: – for Bayne, £333, 6s. 8d.; Oglethorpe, £250; Harpsfield, £40; Scott, 200 marks; Cole, 500; and Chadsey, 40. Soames, 655, n.]
In a short time, the Parliament sittings were recommenced, and one of the earliest measures brought on was the Bill which had been dropped three months before for Uniformity of worship.
The debate in Westminster Abbey facilitated its progress. The Commons accepted it, as far as we can find, without a division, satisfied that it had received full consideration from competent commissioners; but the Lords, whom the presence of the spirituality in their councils had affected with a deeper concern for matters of religion, were in a far different mood, and offered vigorous opposition both at the second and third readings of the Bill.
The first to rise was the Abbot of Westminster, and ashamed no doubt of the miserable exhibition which his party had made in the Abbey, and eager to retrieve the credit they had lost, he made a vigorous attack upon its principles. The arguments of his speech were directed to the establishment of three propositions: —
Firstly, That the Faith which was imperiled was that which had come down from ancient times.
Secondly, That it was the only Faith which had ever been held with perfect consistency.
Thirdly, That it fostered loyal obedience to the Crown and to all in authority.
At the third reading, Scott, the Bishop of Chester, made a final effort to throw it out. His appeal was addressed especially to the lay members of the House, and he tried to overawe them by dwelling upon the weightiness, the darkness, the difficulty of the subject, “one touching life and death, upon which damnation depended”; and he drew a terrible picture of the danger and peril which hung over their heads if they erred in their judgment: and then traversing the history of the past, and the settlement of the great disputes of Arius, Macedonius, Nestorius, and Eutyches, in which no voice of the temporal power was suffered to be heard, he called upon his brethren of the laity to imitate the modesty of Emperors like Theodosius and Valentinian, and leave the settlement of Religion to the judgment of the Episcopate.
Both speeches [Cardwell. Hist. Confer. Docum. c. ii. 98–117. Cf. Collier, vi. 234–247.] have happily been preserved, and they are full of interest to those who study the turning points of history.
How they were answered or by whom, the annals of Parliament have left us no record; but when we remember that notwithstanding the fact that the occupants of the Episcopal benches were pledged to support them, they were defeated, we may fairly conclude that their fallacies were exposed, and the fears which they conjured up disarmed of their sting. The Bill passed* by a majority of three, the non-contents including the names of nine lords temporal and nine spiritual. It provided that the Second Prayer Book of Edward VI, as revised by a Committee of Divines, should be adopted throughout the kingdom on or after the Feast of John the Baptist next ensuing.
[*On the 28th of April. It provided that the Revised Book should come into use on the Feast of St. John the Baptist (June 24th next ensuing). The chief dissentients on the Episcopal Benches were Heath, Bonner, Thirlby, Kitchen, Scott, and Oglethorpe. On the question, however, of the Oath of Supremacy Kitchen parted company from the rest and stood alone in accepting it. Cf. Dodd, Ch. Hist. 133, ed. Tierney.]
Now let us see how the mind of the Queen was reflected in the changes. All but one perhaps involved important principles. That was simply the removal of an uncharitable petition in the Litany, which fostered a spirit of unchristian hatred, by praying for deliverance “from the tyranny of the Bishop of Rome and all his detestable enormities.”
Of the others the first was a direction that prayers should be said “in the accustomed place”; and the words, “as the people may best hear” were erased. There can be no question that “the accustomed place” was the Quire where the prayers were wont to be said during the three years and a half, when the First Prayer Book of Edward was in use. It has been asserted that it may have been simply a return to the usage of the Second Book, but as that was only used for eight months in the metropolis, and probably much less time in the provinces, no usage it enforced or sanctioned could have been of sufficiently long duration to be designated by such an epithet as “accustomed”. Indeed it is extremely probable that owing to the difficulties of communication, many of the more remote parishes never adopted the Book at all. [The date fixed for its introduction was November 1st, 1552 A.D., and Edward VI died July 6th, 1553 A.D.]
The second was the introduction of an “ornaments rubric,” which brought back the Eucharistic vestments, and repealed the prohibition of 1552 A.D. An additional clause was appended referring to an Act of Parliament which gave the Queen power by her Royal prerogative “to take other order”. “Provided always, and be it enacted, that such ornaments of the Church and of the ministers thereof shall be retained and be used, as were in this Church of England by authority of Parliament, in the second year of the reign of King Edward VI, until other order shall be therein taken by authority of the Queen’s Majesty, with the advice of her Commissioners appointed and authorized under the Great Seal of England for causes Ecclesiastical, or of the Metropolitan of this Realm.”
“And also that if there shall happen any Contempt or Irreverence to be used in the Ceremonies or Rites of the Church, by the Misusing of the Orders appointed in this Book, the Queen’s Majesty may, by the like advice of the said Commissioners or Metropolitans, ordain and publish such further Ceremonies or Rites, as may be most for the Advancement of GOD’S glory, the Edifying of His Church, and the due Reverence of Christ’s Holy Mysteries and Sacraments.”
When these clauses are read together (and they were printed as one in all the Elizabethan Prayer Books) it points to the interpretation of the objects of the provision, being in both cases rather a development than a restraint or modification of Ceremonial.
The third was the happy combination, as we have it now, of the two clauses in the Form of administration of the Elements: the first only having been used in the First Prayer Book, the second only in the Second.
The fourth and last of any real import was the striking out of the “Black Rubric,” which, the Queen insisted, had been illegally foisted into the Prayer Book after the revision was completed. [See above.]
Such were the changes, exhibiting a marked determination of the Revisionists to recover from the retrograde movement of the close of Edward’s reign. That the whole ground was not regained is not so much a matter of surprise, as that, in the face of such opposing forces, they were able to regain so much.
Even after Parliament had given legal force to the reestablishment of the reformed worship, efforts were made to stay the execution. The Queen was inexorable, and before the term of respite expired she resolved to summon the discontented Prelates into her presence and declare her unalterable resolve. Her Privy Council was called [On the 15th of May 1559 A.D. The Queen dwelt upon the Act of Supremacy passed in the late Parliament, and appealed to the Assembly to aid her in “abolishing superstition from the worship of the Church.” Hook, Life of Parker, 190.] and the whole Episcopal order and other ecclesiastics of distinction; and Archbishop Heath rose in the name of GOD and the Church he represented, to entreat her even at the eleventh hour to reconsider her determination: and in a speech full of foreboding predicted the consequences if the See of St. Peter should cease to be obeyed. The Queen replied with a dignity and calmness that fills us with wonder in one so young before such an assembly, and the words she used have become so familiar on her lips, as almost to have lost their original application: “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD,” [Joshua 24:15] adding, “My aim is to bind myself and my people to Christ, the King of kings, and not to the Roman See.” And the Assembly broke up. Within six weeks from that date, Breviary and Missal were superseded, and Forms of worship in which the laity were enabled to take an intelligent part, restored to the Churches. But the Queen was not satisfied to leave the enforcement of the Act to be carried out in the ordinary way. Before the year closed she issued a body of “Injunctions” to insure conformity in some essential particulars. Let me mention two by way of illustration.
The first was for the promotion of music in Divine Service. Recognizing its value not only as a vehicle of praise but as a help to devotion, she made provision for the due maintenance of singing men and children, with a wise precaution that the service should not be made thereby less intelligible. And for the special comfort of those who delighted in music, she enjoined that at the beginning and end of Common Prayer a hymn or song in praise of Almighty GOD should be sung in the best melody that could be conveniently devised. Could she have foreseen that under the shield of her royal sanction, the barbarous strains of Sternhold and Hopkins would thrust out even the “Te Deum” and “Magnificat,” she would have hesitated to pen such an injunction.
The second direction was to insure becoming reverence in the outward gesture of the worshipper: and she embodied a general principle in the following orders* which dealt with a familiar case: “That whensoever the Name of Jesus should be pronounced in any lesson, sermon or otherwise in the Church, due reverence should be made of all persons young and old, with lowliness of courtesy, and uncovering of the head of the men kind, as thereunto did necessarily belong and heretofore hath been accustomed.”
[*Cardwell. Docum. Ann. ii. 176.
The habit of showing reverence to the Name of Jesus, popularly supposed to have originated in the declaration of St. Paul “that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow,” had a more probable origin in the desire of the early Christians to exalt that which the Jews attempted to dishonour. The Name Jesus in particular was commonly regarded after the Crucifixion as a title of reproach, and such contemptuous designations as Jesus, the magician, Jesus, the impostor, Jesus, the Galilean impostor, were freely used. Again, the usual form of renunciation of Christianity was Anathema Jesus. By way of reparation, therefore, the Christians marked the same title out for the reception of especial honour.
At a Council held at Lyons in 1274 A.D. it was ordered that “whenever this glorious Name should be mentioned, especially when the sacred Mysteries were being celebrated, every one individually fulfilling himself that which is written, viz. ‘at the Name,’ etc., do bow the knees of his heart and testify that he does so by at least bowing the head.” In 1604 A.D. the custom was indorsed in Canon xviii. Cf. Bingham, vol. x. lib. iv. c. 8.]
It shocks our ideas of reverence to hear of men having their heads covered in a consecrated building, but the practice was general at this time. Whether it was confined to the hearing of the sermon only, or extended to the whole service, is doubtful. The well-known picture in the Palace of Ely, representing the funeral of Bishop Cox, exhibits the whole congregation wearing their hats within the choir.
And with the Act of Uniformity, passed April 28, 1559 A.D., and the Injunctions which followed, the Anglican Reformed worship, with the Ritual of Edward’s early years, was in the main reestablished.
The priests, according to the service in which they were engaged, were free to wear the Edwardian vestments: outward reverence for holy things and places and for the Sacred Name was revived: and music, wherever it could be had, lent added beauty to the service of God’s House. And, what was of no little importance, the Queen herself, by whose happy efforts these results had been mainly attained, was careful to set before her subjects a fitting pattern of the worship which she desired to be offered throughout her dominions. The Royal Chapel was a model to all Churches, in furniture and ornaments, as well as in the frequency and the reverential conduct of its services.
But how far was the copy imitated’ In proof that in many places it was done with no little success, we may appeal to the fact that multitudes of Roman Catholics, to whom the absence of Ritual would have been intolerable, were, if not satisfied, yet at least able to worship in our Churches. The Queen* writing some years after testifies to this: many of the nobility, who still remained true to Papal allegiance, she says, “did ordinarily resort in all open places to Divine Services in the Churches without contradiction or show of misliking.”
[*“As well those restrained, as generally all the papists in this kingdom, not any of them did refuse to come to our church and yield their formal obedience to the laws established. And thus they all continued during the first ten years of Her Majesty’s government.” Sir Edw. Coke’s Charge at Norwich, Lond. 1607, fol. 12. For the Queen’s assertion cf. Letter to Sir Francis Walsingham, dated August 11, 1570 A.D. Wordsworth, Eccles. Biogr. iii. 317. Collier, vi. 265.]
And if the higher classes did deliberately accept the Reformed worship, the common people very probably did the same unconsciously. It is almost certain that in many parishes the transition was practically unobserved by the congregation. The altars were vested very much as under the Marian rule, the “ornaments of the minister,” which the Elizabethan Revision enjoined, were not so divergent from the Roman as to strike the eye, while the gestures, the manner of the officiant priests, the intonation of the voice, all would in the nature of things remain the same, for no direction was given for change in any of these points. The real change was effected in the substance and doctrine of the Liturgy, but as it had been recited for six years in Latin, which was quite unintelligible to the masses, it is highly improbable that they would recognize the modifications. The only alteration which they would be certain to realize, they must have hailed with satisfaction and delight, viz., the substitution of the tongue which they spoke themselves, in place of one which, from their utter inability to comprehend it, had made their worship a cold and lifeless formality.
But it would have been far too much to expect that such acquiescence would be universal. In places opposition would be stirred up and fostered by the priests, who hated the Reformation, and outbreaks of rebellion, for the restoration of the Roman Faith and worship, were by no means infrequent. That which assumed perhaps the most dangerous proportions was headed by the Earls of Northumberland and Westmorland, [Percy and Neville. They were aided chiefly by one Nicholas Morton, whom the Pope had sent over with instructions to declare the Queen a heretic. The insurrection was not popular, and the most the leaders could number at any time was six hundred horse, and four thousand foot. When active measures were taken to repress it, the two earls fled to Scotland, and from thence the Earl of Westmorland escaped to Flanders; but Percy was taken prisoner and beheaded at York.] “the hereditary leaders of the North,” we may add also “the hereditary chiefs of English Revolution.” It reached its height in Durham, when they strode defiantly into the Cathedral with a crowd of followers armed to the teeth, headed by a massive Crucifix, and the old banner of the Pilgrimage on which the five Sacred Wounds were emblazoned. They tore the English Bible and Prayer Book to pieces: set up the ancient altar, replaced the holy water vessel, and then, as the historian relates, “amidst tears, embraces, prayers, and thanksgivings, the organ pealed out, the candles and torches were lighted, and the mass was said once more in the long desecrated aisles.” [Froude, ix. 515. Stow’s Ann. pp. 663, sq.] This rebellion however, like the rest, was crushed, and the Roman worship driven out. Then came the Papal Bull [Issued by Pope Pius v. 1569 A.D. This Bull is usually called “regnans in excelsis.” Cf. Collier, vi. 471. It marks definitely the time when the profession of Roman Catholicism in England became a schismatic act.] of Excommunication against the Queen, and no Romanist was suffered any longer to worship in the English Church.
But there was a party in England from whom the Elizabethan Reforms had more to fear than from any threatened rebellion of discontented Papists.
The Puritans had come in like a flood, and Acts and Injunctions and Royal proclamations proved powerless to stay their advance. Multitudes of important posts in the Church suddenly fell vacant. There had been an unprecedented mortality among the Bishops; the Plague had entered their Palaces, [A contagions fever raged for several months, and carried off, besides the prelates above spoken of, “so many priests that a great number of parish churches in divers places were unnerved, and no curates could be gotten for money.” Heylin, ii. 222.] and no less than nine had died, as Fuller puts it, to form “the death guard” of Queen Mary. The rest, with a single exception, [Anthony Kitchen, of Llandaff; cf. Fuller, Ch. Hist. ix. 450.] refused either the oath of Supremacy or the Act of Uniformity, and were deprived. And not only those in the highest office, but many Deans, and Archdeacons, and other dignitaries shared a similar fate. And what followed? Their places were far from being adequately filled. In the dearth of competent men of Catholic views, there was no alternative but to draw from the Protestant ranks. Men were appointed with strong Puritan tendencies, not only satisfied with a meagre ritual, but pledged in principle to encourage it. Bishops like Scambler at Lincoln, Pilkington at Durham, Sandys at Worcester, and even Grindal in London, made no show even of enforcing the Act, but lent all the aid of their countenance to nonconforming clergy, till in many parts almost every feature of Catholic worship was obliterated. [Cf. Fuller, Ch. Hist. ix. p. 480. Hardw. Ref. 258.]
And then there was another cause contributing largely to the same untoward result, for which the Queen herself must be held responsible, I mean the impoverishment of the Church.
There is a noble protest among Whitgift’s Letters,* which must be remembered to his honour: “Madam,” he writes, “religion is the foundation and cement of human societies: and when they that serve GOD’S Altar shall be exposed to poverty, then religion itself will be exposed to scorn and become contemptible; as you may already observe it to be in too many poor vicarages in this nation. And therefore as you are by a late Act or Acts of Parliament entrusted with a great power to preserve or waste the Church’s lands, yet dispose of them, for Jesus’ sake, as you have promised to men and vowed to GOD, that is, as the donors intended: let neither falsehood nor flattery beguile you to do otherwise; but put a stop to GOD’s and the Levite’s portion, I beseech you, and to the approaching ruins of the Church, as you expect comfort at the last day; for kings must be judged.”
[*Whitgift’s Works, iii. p. xiii. Hook’s Life of Whitgift, v. 136. It is said that all the Bishoprics of King Henry VIII’s creation were so impoverished that the newly appointed Bishops had actually to beg for their livelihood. The revenues of Oxford were divided between the Earls of Leicester and Essex. Some “reasons for making a Bishop of Elie” were drawn up by the Lord Beeper of the Great Seal, and disclose in the most patent manner the real condition of affairs: “Your Majestie shall fill that Sea which hath been 14 yeares voyde, remove the opinion of kepinge a Bishopricke so long in your Majestie’s hands; by placing an olde Bishop there it will not (lykely) be long out of your Majestie’s hands: the Bishop’s howses of accesse now in great ruyne, will be repayred. ... Your Majestic hereby shall not lose any profitt.” Then follow arguments to show “how the filling of the Sea may be nere as valuable to her Majestie as the Sea vacant,” and how the objections of “the Clergie-men may perchance think your Majestie doth decrease the revenewes of the Church” may be answered. The impression left on the mind after reading this strange document is simply this, that the Keeper of the Seal aimed at relieving the Queen of the unpopularity which she had gained by her appropriation of the Episcopal revenues, without restoring them to their rightful possessors. Cf. Bentham’s Hist. of Ely Cath. Appendix No. xxxiii. From the Harleian No. 6850.]
Many a Bishopric was sequestered. Ely, for example, was vacant for twenty years after the death of Cox, and his successor Heton found the estates of the See frightfully curtailed. And Elizabeth seized the revenues with unblushing rapacity, and appropriated them with unaccountable inconsistency, to enrich courtiers like Cecil and Leicester, as well as herself.
The richest endowments were the first to suffer. The Cathedrals soon presented an appearance of most appalling neglect. The only sign of life among the Deans and Canons was the principle of self-interest, with which the example of the Queen had infected them. They suffered the daily services to cease: the altars to be stripped: flagons and chalices stood on their sideboards; and the copes and vestments were slit into gowns and bodices for their wives and children.
In the towns and villages things were but a few degrees better. The Parish Priests who conformed and retained their benefices, made a struggle to maintain at least the decencies of Ritual, but at last, “drawing foul ensample from fair names,” they became like the rest.
The Puritan clergy, to whom even a surplice was an abomination, could hardly be expected to check the prevailing desecration.
So early as 1561 A.D. we read in a legal document, [Preamble of the Queen’s Order taken January 22, 1561 A.D. Cardwell. Doc. Ann. i 289. Parker’s Letter to Lord Selbourne, 27.] in which there is no probability of exaggeration, of the deplorable state to which the Chancels were reduced. “In sundry Churches and Chapels ... there is such negligence and lack of convenient reverence used towards the comely keeping and order of the said Churches, and specially of the upper part called the chancels, that it breedeth no small offence and slander to see and consider, on the one part, the curiosity and costs bestowed by all sorts of men upon their private houses, and, on the other part, the unclean or negligent order and spare keeping of the house of prayer, by permitting open decay ... and by appointing unmeet and unseemly tables, with foul cloths, for the Communion of the Sacraments, and generally leaving the place of prayer desolate of all cleanliness and of meet ornaments for such a place whereby it might be known a place provided for Divine service.”
Much of this deplorable neglect was inherited from the close of Edward’s reign. The change of Altars into Tables and also of their position in the Churches had almost necessitated the disuse of the rich vestments in which they had been clothed. To replenish his exhausted coffers the King issued a Commission with power to seize upon the plate and hangings and other furniture and ornaments which, it was said, being no longer available for their original purpose, would be better appropriated than suffered to fall into decay. The demolition of images too had led to a great defacement of Churches and Chapels; and the east wall in many cases, from having been a favourite position for sculpture, presented a ruinous appearance, while no attempt at restoration had been made during the Marian rule. This state of neglect, which the Romans, with all their love of the externals of religion, had done nothing to correct, was aggravated by the carelessness of the Elizabethan clergy, and the Preamble of the Queen’s “Order” to her Commissioners is a terrible revelation. Her Injunctions were issued not merely to stay further desecration but to recover what was lost. In destroying the Roods, the Screens on which they were placed had been ruthlessly thrown down and cleared away: but while acceding to the demolition of the former, she was determined that the Puritan claim to efface the distinction between the Chancel and the Nave [“Orders taken the x. day of October 1561 A.D. By vertue of Her Majestie’s letters, etc. ‘Provided also, that where in any Parish Churche the sayde Roode loftes be already transposed, so that there remayne a comely particion betwixte the Chauncell and the Churche, that no alteracion be otherwise attempted in them, but be suffered in quiete. And where no particion is standyng, there to be one appointed.’” Cf. Parker’s Letter to Lord Selbourne, Postscript, 157.] should not be acknowledged, and she peremptorily ordered that the partitions should be replaced. Further to hide the disfigured wall above the Altar, she directed that the Table of the Decalogue should be set up. In Cathedrals, “the exemplary Churches,” [The Commissioners issued their orders in these terms: “And further that there be fixed upon the wall over the sayde Communion borde the Tables of GOD’S Precepts imprinted for the sayde purpose.” “Provided yet that in Cathedral Churches the Tables of the sayde Precepts be more largely and costly painted out to the better show of the same.” Cf. Parker, Papers on the Ornam. Rubr. No. x.] they were to be embellished with “costly painting,” but in Parish Churches where poverty was sure to be pleaded, printed copies pasted upon board were sanctioned. We could hardly have a more forcible and telling description than is given by the fact that what bore no more traces of beauty than a modern “School Board Time Table” should have been accounted as a “comely ornament,” calculated to recover something of the reverence in which the Chancel had once been held. But the Injunctions failed to stay the progress of decay, and the Worship of GOD and everything connected with it fell into contempt. Even Convocation shared the indifference of the times, and a proposal to abolish some of the simplest ceremonies [The chief of the proposals was to abolish Saints’ Days, the cross in Baptism, organs in Churches, and the practice of kneeling.] was only rejected by fifty-nine to fifty-eight votes. Then came the Advertisements. They were an honest attempt of the Archbishop to enforce the laws which were everywhere persistently broken. Even the surplice had been discarded in the administration of the Holy Communion, and some received kneeling, some standing, some sitting. The superficial reader will be struck with the triviality of the points at issue, the use of a dress, the sign of the Cross, the outward reverence at the Sacred Name; but the discerner of the times knows that in the greatest struggles the immediate battle is often fought over apparent trifles, and sees here that the conflict was in reality between antiquity and novelty, between the voice of the Church and private judgment, between Catholic truth and sectarian error.
The result of the first attempt to enforce Uniformity proves how necessary an appeal to force had become. When the London clergy were summoned before the Primate and the Bishop of London, no less than thirty-seven out of ninety-eight, more than one-third, refused compliance, and their livings were sequestrated.
Of the Universities, the natural feeders of the Ministry, Oxford, after the suppression of the Roman influence, to which it yielded itself up in Queen Mary’s reign, became little more than a cipher. Sampson, Dean of Christ Church, and Humphrys, the President of Magdalene, came back from exile and tried to bring about a reaction, but they were speedily deprived. Puritanism took no root at Oxford: and the soil vacated by the expulsion of the Papist zealots was left to lie idle, and many of the Colleges were almost emptied of students.
Cambridge, on the other hand, though traditionally less liable to fluctuations than the sister University, passed rapidly from Roman under Puritan influence, and fanatical preachers excited the undergraduates to rise in rebellion against the operation of the Act for Uniformity of worship. Many of the Heads of Houses took an active part in the “Vestiarian controversy,” and gained the nickname of “cap and surplice fanatics.” [Fanatici superpelliceani et galeriani. This was the designation by which Bartholomew Clerk, a Doctor of Laws, who took a strong part in the Controversy, characterized the Nonconformists. Collier, vi. 421.] Others vented their Protestant spleen in stripping their Chapels of every vestige of beauty and ornament, and many fine paintings and stained glass windows fell victims to their iconoclastic zeal. Then came the libelous acts of Martin Mar-prelate, [This was a violent attack upon the organization and ritual of the Church. A series of scurrilous libels were published in 1588 A. D., anonymously assailing the Queen and Bishops with every kind of abuse. Cf. Maskell’s History of the Controversy.] which fostered the spirit of insubordination to the last degree, and the evil genius of the University, Thomas Cartwright, appeared to add to the confusion. [Hook considers him to have been the first organizer of Protestant Dissent in England. Life of Parker, 406.] It would be impossible to name any one who did more to impregnate that generation with an uncatholic system of Theology, and to stereotype in the Schools of the clergy principles which aimed at stripping the Worship of the Church of all that was attractive and beautiful. His Lecture room was thronged by admiring students, and his sermons were so popular that “the very windows were taken out of Great St. Mary’s Church that the multitudes might come within reach of his voice.”
But amidst so much that was sad and discouraging there was a gleam of sunshine: and it must have gladdened the heart of the Queen before she died with at least the prospect of a brighter future for the Church which she loved.
The Protestant invasion had stifled the “new learning” which was born when the century began. It breathed again in the immortal pages of Hooker when the century closed.
The Puritan rested the authority for the doctrines and worship of the Church upon the narrow ground of express Scripture direction. Nothing whatever, he said, in faith or practice may claim our acceptance, or has even any right to receive it, unless it is clearly laid down in GOD’S written Word. Hooker [Cf. Green, Hist. of the English People, iii. 30.] showed that this narrow ground must be abandoned, and that “a divine order exists, not in written revelation only, hut in the moral relations, the historical development, and the social and political institutions of men,” and he claimed for human reason the province of determining the laws of this order.
“The Ecclesiastical Polity” was exactly what was wanted in the crisis, and though the impression which it made was not immediately felt it was deep and lasting.
It informed the minds of men like Overall, and Andrewes, and Laud, and Cosin, and a great host of others who drew from its pages the spirit which gave them courage to meet the onslaught of the Commonwealth, and enabled them to raise the Church from her temporary overthrow, and place her securely in that position from which every effort has been powerless to dislodge her.
Chapter IV – The Caroline Settlement.
The Parish Churches of England experienced a second revolution in their worship at the beginning of the Long Parliament: but of a very different nature from that which ensued upon the accession of Queen Mary.
The bitter hostility to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Church which had been gathering for many years culminated in 1645 A.D., when a vote of the House established the Directory “for the public worship of GOD in the three kingdoms,” [On the very day of Laud’s attainder, Jan. 4th, 1645, £5 for the first offence; £10 for the second; a year’s imprisonment without bail or mainprise for the third. Coll. viii. 296. For an account of the Directory, cf. Appendix IV.] and proscribed by fine and imprisonment the use of the Prayer Book, not only in Divine Service in Churches, but even in private dwellings.
Henceforward the attachment of devout Churchmen to the forbidden Liturgy became greatly strengthened, and was regarded “with a degree of veneration such as is felt for a saint who has suffered martyrdom.” Men were courageous enough to brave the consequences for the sake of that they loved, and in secret chambers met from time to time to worship GOD according to the old ceremonies and the prayers of their fathers.
I know of hardly anything sadder than the few scattered notices in Evelyn’s Diary. [They are found under the following dates: – Dec. 3, 1654 A.D., Sept. 19, Aug. 3, 1656 A.D., Dec. 25, 1657 A.D.] These are examples.
Advent Sunday: – “There being no office at the Church, but extempore prayers after the Presbyterian way, for now all forms were prohibited and most of the preachers were usurpers, I seldom went to Church upon solemn feasts, but either went to London, where some of the orthodox sequestered Divines did privately use the Common Prayer; or else I procured one to officiate in my house ... on the 10th, Dr. Owen, the sequestered minister of Eltham, preached to my family in my Library, and gave us the Holy Communion.”
Again he writes, “People had no principles, and grew very ignorant of even the common points of Christianity: all devotion being now placed in hearing sermons and discourses of speculative and motional things.”
And in one of his entries for Christmas Day, several of which strike the same note of sadness, he tells how with some devout worshippers, be was surprised in Exeter Chapel in the Strand by a troop of soldiers, who held their muskets against them as if they would have shot them at the altar, and kept them in confinement.
And there is one more notice in the same journal which bears melancholy evidence to the condition of the Parish Churches: “They were filled with sectaries of all sorts, blasphemous and ignorant mechanics usurping the pulpits everywhere.”
And he sums up all in one pregnant line: “The Church now in dens and caves of the earth.”
And in corroboration of all this we might point to the lamentation of Chancellor Hyde, where he bemoans the fact that Papists and Puritans were both computing in how few years the enfeebled Church of England would expire. [Cf. Stoughton, Church of the Restoration, i. 37, where he quotes from Barwick’s Life, 449.] But the Providence of God defeated their expectations. The death of the Protector and the deposition of his weak and irresolute son revived the hopes of the oppressed. The reestablishment of the Church was inseparable from the restoration of the Monarchy; but it was for some time a matter of anxious doubt whether her worship should be brought back in its integrity, or only when shorn of most of its ancient glory.
The Lords and Commons and the City of London sent a deputation to the King, who had taken up his abode in Holland, during his exile, to convey to his Majesty expressions of loyalty. Eight Presbyterian Divines [The most important were Reynolds, Calamy, Manton and Case.] seized the opportunity for enlisting his sympathy, and succeeded in drawing from him the famous Breda Declaration,* to which they clung so pertinaciously but so hopelessly through all their after troubles. He assured them that in consequence of the passion and uncharitableness of the times having produced diversity in religious opinions, by which men had become engaged in parties and animosities against each other, he would grant “liberty to tender consciences.” There was some reserve in his promise which they did not examine very closely, viz., provided such differences did not interfere with the peace of the kingdom, and that Parliament were ready to sanction the indulgence.
[*As this played an important part in the history of the reign, we quote that part of it which concerns the Dissenters in full: “Because the passions and uncharitableness of the times have produced several opinions in religion, by which men are engaged in parties and animosities against each other; which, when they shall hereafter unite in a freedom of conversation, will be composed or better understood; we do declare a liberty to tender consciences, and that no man shall be disquieted or called in question, for differences of opinion in matters of religion, which do not disturb the peace of the kingdom; and that we shall be ready to consent to such an Act of Parliament as upon mature deliberation, shall be offered to us, for the full granting that indulgence.”]
There is no doubt however that his manner was conciliatory, perhaps more so than he intended, for emboldened by their reception, they pushed on at a later interview to extract a promise that neither the old Liturgy nor the abhorred surplice should be reintroduced even in his own chapel for fear of giving offence to their brethren. He replied with no little indignation, “that since he gave them their liberty, he should by no means resign his own; that he had always used that form of service, which he considered to be the best in the world, and he would have no other,” and touching the minister’s habit while officiating, he told them that it had been retained by him under more difficult circumstances and would certainly not be discountenanced now.
On the 26th of May 1660 A.D., Charles reached the English shores, and the following day the joyful sounds of the disused Liturgy echoed once more through the aisles of the metropolitan Cathedral at Canterbury.
Under the date of July 8th, there is a brief entry in Evelyn’s Diary, almost as full of hope as the last which we quoted from it was of sadness: “From henceforth was the Liturgy publicly used in our Churches, whence it had been for so many years banished.”
In the autumn of the same year, the King issued a second Declaration upon Ecclesiastical affairs. It was a repetition in the main of the less formal promise given at Breda, and conceived in the same conciliatory spirit towards Nonconformity. It contained much which would have curtailed very seriously the independent authority of the Episcopate; but this we pass by, as our present object is to deal with that part only which concerns the Worship of the Church.
Pending a revision of the Prayer Book, full liberty was granted to discontinue the use of it, as well as “the ancient ceremony” of bowing at the Name of Jesus, and the wearing the surplice, provided only that such liberty did not extend to those who ministered in Cathedrals and Collegiate Churches.
Probably the King felt confident of the ultimate result, when the projected Council of Divines should have held their debates, and so was anxious to make temporary concessions, to avoid being charged with a breach of faith, and to save himself from alienating a large portion of his subjects at the outset of his reign.
Each fresh concession, instead of satisfying the Presbyterians, made them wax bolder in their demands, till at last they completely overreached themselves, and, as we shall see, in the end lost everything by their grasping.
It is often asserted that they received hard measure at the hands of their opponents; if it be true, it must be attributed in a great measure to their own disregard of the feelings and interests of others.
The Church too was then rising after a long and severe depression, and it was only natural that as she found herself secure of the recovery of her ancient prerogatives, some of her ministers should feel but little sympathy for the alleged grievances of those, by whom in the hour of their triumph they had been so ruthlessly treated. Still further, it must be remembered that the differences were religious and doctrinal, and it was not a time for orthodoxy to yield even an inch to the demands of men whose teaching the Apostolic Church distinctly repudiated.
It was not till the spring of the following year that the King was able to carry out his intention of bringing matters to a final issue between the contending parties. Steps were then taken for submitting the vexed questions of Liturgical worship and ceremonial observance to the decision of a formally constituted assembly of Divines selected in equal numbers from either side. No pressure of any kind was exercised in the selection, but each party was left free to name its own Commissioners. Twelve Bishops and twelve Presbyterian ministers with nine coadjutors on either side formed the deliberative Council from which so much was expected, so little realized.
Twice before the disputant parties had been arranged on opposite benches, once at Hampton Court, [For a full account, cf. Appendix III. Archbishop Whitgift, Bishops Bancroft, Matthew, Bilson, and Deans Andrewes, Overall, and Barlow were the chief on the Episcopalian side. The Puritans were represented by Reynolds, Sparks, Knewstub, and Chaderton.] once at Westminster. [The Knights of the Shires named two or more representatives from each county. They numbered 120, of whom all but a very few were avowed enemies of the Church. They met first on July 1st, 1643 A.D., 69 members answering their names. The Prelates who accepted the invitation in the first instances soon discontinued their attendance.] At all three meetings the subjects of debate were practically identical, but the circumstances under which they were debated, most widely different.
When King James, in reply to the Millenary Petition, summoned a conference in 1604 A.D. to consider the Presbyterian grievances, the Episcopalians were in undisturbed power; and they took their seats under the Presidency of the King, who, they were secretly convinced, was strongly averse to any concession, as Ecclesiastical Commissioners appointed to adjudicate rather than to debate on terms of equality. The aggrieved party moreover were placed at a manifest disadvantage in point of numbers, having no more than four to confront an array of nine Bishops, seven Deans, and three others.
And there was the same inequality at Westminster, 1643 A.D., but then the tables were reversed, the Presbyterians appearing in an overwhelming majority, outnumbering the representatives of the Church in the proportion of twelve to one, or even more.
On the present occasion the champions of the two rival systems met face to face, equal in numbers, and not altogether unequal in intellectual power and learning; and as far as human judgment could foresee, there was every prospect of a fair trial of strength, and a full and unprejudiced consideration upon their merits of the questions to be debated.
That these anticipations were not fulfilled was due far more to the unwisdom and unyielding spirit of men like Baxter than to any other assignable cause.
The place of meeting by the Royal Proclamation was the Palace of the Savoy. It was a spot rich in historic memories, and worthy of the occasion. In the noble Hall of the Master’s lodging, looking out on the Thames, the Conference met for the first time on April 15, 1661 A.D.
And now let us look at the portraits of the representative Divines of that eventful time, for such were those who formed that memorable Assembly. [Episcopalians: Frewen, Sheldon, Cosin, Ring, Warner, Sanderson, Morley, Henchman, Laney, Sterne, Walton, and Gauden, with coadjutors, Earles, Heylin, Barwick, Gunning, Barwick, Hacket, Pearson, Pierce, Sparrow, and Thorndike. Presbyterians: Reynolds, Baxter, Tuckney, Wallis, Manton, Conant, Spurstow, Calamy, Jackson, Case, Newcommen and Clark, with coadjutors, Jacomb, Bates, Horton, Rawlinson, Lightfoot, Collins, Cooper, Drake, and Woodbridge.] Inasmuch as, to all outward seeming, the gravest issues for the future of the Church were likely to flow from its deliberations, we should have expected to see the Primate of England occupying the Presidential Chair, but Juxon was bowed down with the weight of years, the burden of which would have made a young man prematurely old, and he pleaded the infirmity of age as an excuse, deputing Sheldon, the Bishop of London, and by a happy coincidence also Master of the Savoy, to fill his place. His character has been severely criticized by Nonconformist historians, but he was far from deserving the wholesale condemnation which they have dealt out to him. We may find it difficult to maintain that the Episcopate suffered no loss in its sacred dignity from his public conduct, or that his spirituality and piety in private life were such as beseems a Father in GOD, but it cannot be denied that he possessed many of the qualifications which fitted him for a post, in which he was called upon to control the discussions of men of such widely different opinions. He had mixed much with the world, and acquired in society a wonderful aptitude for discerning character: and with this shrewd discrimination and quickness of apprehension, he combined great courtesy in manner and gentleness of speech.
He had the good fortune to be supported by Bishops and Divines, fully competent to maintain the honour and rights of the Church, men whose names have become familiar as household words in the world of Ecclesiastical Literature and debate.
Foremost in importance, not perhaps from every point of view, but unquestionably in connection with the subjects to be discussed, was Cosin, Bishop of Durham. He was almost without a rival in any age for acquaintance with Liturgical lore, the decrees of Councils and Patristic teaching. In his early days he had sat at the feet of Bishop Andrewes, and afterwards, when Chaplain to the Bishop of the See to which he succeeded, he drank in the opinions of Overall [He owed so much to Overall that he used to designate him his “lord and master”. He became his librarian in 1616 A.D.] and Laud, and other like-minded Divines, for Durham house in London was the center of high Ecclesiastical society.
It was here that he gathered many of the “Notes,” which were destined to play such an important part in the final settlement of Anglican worship. From the first he was exposed to obloquy, and for his efforts to restore the decency of worship in the Cathedral of Durham after his appointment to a Canonry, he was publicly delated as “a young Apollo who sets out the Quire with strange Babylonish ornaments,” and for his zeal in reviving a fitting ceremonial at the Coronation of Charles I, he was contemptuously designated “a Popish Master”. Unless it could be proved that he changed his views, his conduct during his exile at the Court of Queen Henrietta Maria, is sufficient to acquit him of any tendency Romewards. When brought into contact with the Jesuits, he held frequent discussions with them upon doctrinal questions, and at last gathered up his arguments into a treatise in denunciation of their supreme dogma of transubstantiation. But whether the charges were wholly unfounded or not, we can hardly be surprised that he had made himself hateful to the Puritans, or that he should have been selected as the first Episcopalian to suffer vengeance by a vote of the Commons. [He was impeached before the House of Lords 1641 A.D., and fled to Paris.]
Such being his history, such his character, we can well imagine the dismay which the Presbyterians must have felt when they saw him taking his place in the ranks of their opponents at the Savoy. From him at least they could expect no concession; and though it was by no means in a spirit of retaliation, for he was of a most generous temper and the strictest sense of rectitude and justice, he did not disappoint them, but stood firm and unbending to the principles for which he had suffered.
For the active part that he took in the proceedings, Morley, Bishop of Worcester, deserves to be noticed next. He had followed the fortunes of the King throughout the war, and had shared his banishment, and for his devotion to the Royal cause was selected as the fittest person to preach the Coronation sermon in Westminster Abbey.
He was a most brilliant speaker, quick in reply, and of ever ready wit, but unfortunately of such a hasty temper that he often spoke without weighing his words considerately. It is said too that he was so impulsive that he manifested the greatest impatience of a sustained argument, and frequently interrupted a speaker from whom he disagreed. These failings materially damaged his influence and weakened the force of those qualities which should have made him the most formidable member of the Conference. As it turned out, others were more feared by the Presbyterians, but no one was more obnoxious to them: indeed they disliked him more than all the rest of his party together.
Sanderson, Bishop of Lincoln, had qualifications, which placed him from time to time in the President’s seat in the absence of Sheldon. He was a staunch upholder of the rights and prerogatives of the Church. When forbidden by the Commonwealth to read the Book of Common Prayer, he committed its pages to heart, and habitually repeated them from memory all through the times of the proscription. His reputation as a Casuist is such that his works on the Conscience are studied in the present generation.
As a writer of English, he was almost unapproachable for the purity of his language, as the most familiar though by no means the best example of which, we may read the Preface to the Prayer Book which came from his pen.
He was especially disliked by the Presbyterians for the scathing severity with which he criticized the Solemn League and Covenant.
The portrait gallery of the Episcopalians would be grievously deficient, if Pearson and Gunning were wanting, though they only acted as Coadjutors.
The former, as the Theologian of the Conference, rises above all his fellows. The solidity of his learning and the cogency of his argumentative skill earned for him a reputation which the lapse of two centuries has hardly deteriorated.
In Catholic doctrine, it is true, he took lower ground than Cosin or Gunning, but the extraordinary abilities which he possessed commanded the respect of his opponents, though they contributed not a little to their discomfiture.
The latter, Gunning, deserves a fuller notice. He was a scholar of no mean attainments, and being possessed of an unusually retentive memory and readiness of speech, was able to enforce his arguments by telling illustrations drawn from history and a wide experience. Among the uneducated, however, this fertility of allusion made him obscure and difficult; and Charles II is said to have ridiculed the Court ladies for their admiration of his preaching, which he explained on the principle “omne ignotum pro magnifico.”
His views on Ecclesiastical questions were thoroughly Catholic; the Presbyterians stigmatized them as Roman, but they had been much irritated against him by his refusal to administer the Sacrament to Prynne, when he obstinately declined to kneel for its reception.
As a polemic he loved discussion, and was in many ways the counterpart of Morley, with the same ready wit and quick reply. He differed, however, in that he combined great courtesy and goodness, with the utmost gravity and dignified control over his temper.
It is recorded as an instance of his readiness that once he engaged in argument with an enthusiast whom he happened to hear declaiming on the immediate nearness of the Advent in the presence of a great crowd who were completely carried away with his words. Gunning, after trying in vain to turn them from their convictions by Scriptural arguments, seized upon an observation casually dropped to the effect that his opponent had lately invested in an estate, and offered him two years’ purchase for the transfer. Taken off his guard, the man demanded twenty as its real value, and his converts left him.
As a writer, he has left his mark upon our Service book in the beautiful prayer for “all conditions of men.” [Gunning is supposed to have yielded to the objections of the Presbyterians, and gathered into one the substance of several prayers for the king, clergy, and others, originally used at the close of the Litany. In favour of this view Wheatley has quoted the tradition that in St. John’s College Chapel, Cambridge, of which Gunning was master, this was never read at Evensong, because its composer had intended it to take the place of prayers which had been associated with the Litany, and belonged naturally to a morning service. The occurrence of the word “finally,” when so little has preceded, suggests the idea that other petitions may have fallen out. There is no authority for the common belief that Bishop Sanderson was the composer of it.]
I think no one can look at his monument in Ely Cathedral without being impressed with the majesty of his bearing, and the strength of character exhibited in his face, or stand upon the huge stone engraved with the pregnant title “Petrus Episcopus Eliensis,” without feeling a profound sense of gratitude to him, as he recalls his history as of one of the saviours of the Church in her most troublous time.
We turn now to those who represented the opposite party. By far the majority of them were men of distinction: a few stand out from the rest with names which would command the admiration of any generation in history: and at these we look more closely.
The first, however, that attracts our attention is Reynolds, whose position as a Bishop is not a little remarkable.
To sit as a Commissioner on the same bench with men who were ready to burn the Prayer Book, and to take his place in Convocation, which was almost sworn to defend it, is an anomaly almost without parallel. It makes us suspect his integrity, and is indicative of no little instability of mind and purpose. Though the Presbyterians were glad to avail themselves of his advocacy, he completely lost their confidence, when in later days he elected to retain his Bishopric and conform, while those in whose ranks he had stood, and who had looked to him for guidance, had the courage of their opinions, and were ejected. But whatever judgment we may pass upon him for his inconsistency, he has left a mark upon the Prayer Book, which the strongest Episcopalian can have no wish to efface, as the author of “the General Thanksgiving”. [This also has been assigned to Bishop Sanderson; but from the Records of Convocation it appears that Bishop Reynolds prepared a “Form of general thanksgiving,” and presented it on December 14th, 1661 A.D. Lathbury, Hist. of Convoc., 289. Kennet’s Register, 579.]
The moving controlling spirit of their party was Richard Baxter. One act of his, to be considered hereafter, will enable us to form a correct estimate of his character better than the most lengthy description. But we may sum up his faults by saying that he was far too self-reliant, seeing only with his own eyes and wholly incapable of understanding the position of an opponent: and his good qualities, by pronouncing him absolutely without an equal in guilelessness and personal piety.
Though his work in the Conference was in its spirit subversive of all that every loyal Churchman holds most dear, he has won our affections and healed many a wounded heart by the touch of his “Saints’ Everlasting Rest”.
Calamy gained great renown as a preacher, and had a larger following of distinguished persons than any minister in the seventeenth century. He was profoundly learned and conversant with writings not usually studied by men of his views, having read through (as his Biographers assert, though it can only be by a figure of speech) all the works of St. Augustine no less than five times, and being equally at home in the disquisitions of the Schoolman Aquinas.
Lightfoot, the last to be noticed, was the first of English Divines to penetrate deeply into the mysteries of Hebrew Literature, and to lay bare for the Christian the secrets of Rabbinic and Talmudic Science. Though two hundred years have elapsed since he entered upon the then-untrodden field, few, if any, have extended their investigations further.
Such were the men who were called together at this crisis to debate and adjust the rival claims of the two systems of Church Government and Worship.
The President of the Conference opened the proceedings by reciting the instrument under which they had been summoned. It enjoined them “to review the Book of Common Prayer, comparing the same with the most ancient Liturgies which have been used in the Church in the primitive and purest times: ... to advise and consult upon the several objections which should’ be raised against the same, and (if occasion be), to make such reasonable and necessary alterations as should be agreed upon to be needful and expedient for the giving satisfaction to tender consciences ... but avoiding (as much as may be) all unnecessary abbreviations of the forms and liturgy, wherewith the people are altogether acquainted and have so long received in the Church of England.”
The presiding Bishop ruled that the summons directed them to the consideration of exceptions and additions to the Prayer-book, and maintained that as the Episcopal party were well-satisfied with the Book as it stood, it was obviously the duty of those who were aggrieved to set forth their objections and to suggest such additional matter as they thought fit.. He ordered also that, to insure full consideration, they should be laid before the Conference in writing. The Presbyterians, after many fruitless protests against a course which they foresaw would fetter the freedom of debate, yielded an unwilling assent, and agreed among themselves that the main body should undertake to draw up the exceptions, and leave to Baxter alone the compilation of the additions.
The former work was speedily accomplished. The grievances had been stereotyped for years,* and only required to be placed in categorical order and expressed in the most trenchant terms.
[*A considerable number of them had been embodied in the form of petition, which was presented to King James on his accession. The petition prayed that these offences following, some may be removed, some amended, some qualified; “In the Church Service, that the Cross in baptism, interrogatories ministered to infants, confirmations, as superfluous, may be taken away, ... the cap and surplice not urged; that examinations may go before the Communion; that it be ministered with a sermon; that divers terms of priests and absolution and some other used, with the ring in marriage, and other such like in the book, may be corrected ... church songs and music moderated to better edification, ... no ministers charged to teach their people to bow at the Name of Jesus; that the Canonical Scriptures only he read in Church.” Cardwell. Confer. 132.]
Those which related to Church Worship may be comprehended briefly under these heads: –
I. The mode of expressing both prayer and praise.
II. The ceremonies attendant upon the same.
III. The restriction of times for public service.
The first claim put forward was for the omission of responses, and the alternative reading of Psalms, and for the consolidation of the divided petitions of the Litany into one continuous prayer.
This struck at the root of a very important principle, and though the objectors hardly realized it, it would have debarred the laity from the right which they possess in virtue of their priesthood [See near beginning.] of taking a recognized part in the public service.
Of a somewhat kindred nature was their exception to separate Collects, which, usually embodying only one brief petition, were unnecessarily encumbered, each with a preface naming the attributes of GOD, as well as a conclusion appealing to the merits of Christ’s intercession. It would be less interruption, they said, to the general flow of prayer to combine the subjects of several in one of greater length.
Another claim under the first head was that the Liturgy should not be so strictly imposed as to exclude the exercise of “the gift of prayer,” and that liberty of curtailing the stated forms be granted in view of affording opportunity for extempore effusions at the minister’s discretion.
Under the second head they desired the abolition of the ornaments of the ministers and ceremonial usages, singling out for especial animadversion the wearing of the surplice, the sign of the Cross, and kneeling at the Holy Communion.
Under the last, restricting public worship as far as possible to Sundays, they took exception to the observance of Saints’ Days and Vigils, and pleaded for the discontinuance of the title of Holy Days by which they had been ‘commonly designated.
These objections [The exceptions of the ministers, both general and particular, as well as the answers of the Bishops, are printed in full in Cardwell’s Conferences, vii.] were laid before the Assembly at their next sitting. Written replies were drawn up, followed by rejoinders on the Presbyterian side, and time passed on without any advance being made towards union or reconciliation. The Bishops became daily more and more encouraged by a variety of circumstances to make a bold stand for the absolute integrity of their worship; and they assumed a more peremptory tone towards their antagonists. They were provoked to the last degree by the conduct of Baxter. In defiance of the terms under which they had been called together, in total disregard for antiquity, for the accumulated treasure of Liturgical forms, in many of which thirty generations had expressed their wants and done homage to the Creator, he was bold to substitute for the sanction of the Conference a Service book of his own,* whose claim for acceptance he based upon the fact that it contained nothing in common with the existing Liturgy, with a Book, that is, which his opponents next to the Bible held dearest in the world.
[*There is no doubt that it is a remarkable production, though it ill-deserves the high praise given to it by Dr. Johnson. as “one of the first compositions of a ritual kind that he had ever seen.” It contains services for the LORD’S Day, for Holy Communion and Baptism, for marriage, with directions for the visitation of the sick, for the burial of the dead; a discourse on preparatory catechizing before Communion, also on Church discipline, with forms of confession, absolution and exclusion, special prayers and thanksgivings, and an Appendix containing a long Litany or general prayer, and an ascription of praise for man’s redemption. Cf. Baxter’s Works, Lond. 1830: vol. xv. p. 449.]
The story of its composition, though it fills us with wonder, cannot but touch us by the simplicity of character which it betokens. He tells in his own words how, when the idea of a Reformed Liturgy had been conceived, he laid everything aside and shut out the world till he had carried the work to completion.
“Hereupon,” he says, “I departed from them and came among them no more till I had finished my task, which was a fortnight’s time.” While all the pomp and circumstance of Religious worship was breaking out with fresh vigour after long suppression, while every Rite and Ceremony which could enhance the splendour of the Coronation Service was being enacted in Westminster Abbey, a single divine in solitude and retirement, with no other help than his Bible and Paraphrase, was elaborating page by page a book which, in the infatuation of a beclouded judgment, he persuaded himself would be acceptable to the nation. And this, the result of fourteen brief days’ labour, he did not scruple to propose as a substitute for one which had grown with the Church’s growth, and rooted itself in the heart and affections of the people.
The laying on the table of the Committee room of that Reformed Liturgy did almost more than anything to wreck the Presbyterian cause.
It may be said that Baxter was only one, but his colleagues fathered his proposal, and so made themselves responsible for his act. That the adoption of a course so ill-timed, so devoid of all common sense, so certain to carry destruction with it, should have been even possible, is almost past belief. It is evidence of no little forbearance in the party in power that they did not break up the Conference in disgust at the revolutionary spirit in which their opponents were prepared to sacrifice most hallowed traditions, and at the self-confidence which demanded every concession from others, but refused to make any in return.
However, after much written matter had been interchanged between them, the Bishops consented to a debate on equal terms. Three were chosen on either side, Pearson, Gunning, and Sparrow on one, Baxter, Jacomb, and Bates on the other. It is needless to tell with what result. We know the respective characters of the chief disputants, Gunning and Baxter, and no annalist is required to record the issue of a debate between them.
Before, however, the expiration of the time to which the Session of the Conference was limited, Cosin made a final effort to gather up the threads of controversy, by calling upon the complainants to divide their objections to the Prayer Book, stating what they opposed as sinful, what as inexpedient. A subtle argument was carried on for some time, in which the Presbyterians attacked the Book as unscriptural, and therefore sinful, in eight particulars,* but it was as hopeless as the discussions which preceded it, and the Conference terminated, Morley and Baxter having consented to report to the King that they were all agreed as to the ends, viz., the unity, peace, and welfare of the Church, but after all their debates were disagreed on the means.
[*1. That no minister baptize without the transient image of the cross.
2. That no minister may read or pray that dare not wear a surplice.
3. That none be admitted to Communion that dare not receive it kneeling.
4. That ministers be forced to pronounce all baptized infants to be regenerate.
5. That ministers be forced to deliver the Sacrament to the unfit.
6. Or to absolve the unfit, and that in absolute expressions.
7. Or to give thanks for all whom they bury.
8. Or to subscribe the Prayer Book as containing nothing contrary to the Word of God. Cardin. Conf. c. vi. Coll. vii. 440.
The charges were unfounded, and the orders of the Church wilfully misrepresented. When e.g. does the Church direct the ministry to do what 5 and 6 assume that she does?]
During the sittings or shortly after, several events occurred which tended greatly to the reestablishment of the ancient Forms of worship in the Church.
I. The Coronation in Westminster Abbey.
II. The burning of the Solemn League and Covenant.
III. The passing by the House of Commons of an Act of Uniformity with the restored Prayer Book.
IV. The introduction of a Bill for the return of the Spiritual Lords to their seats in Parliament. Let us look at them separately.
I. As soon as the Coronation day (April 22d) was fixed, the records of the past were ransacked to furnish precedents for all the details of the solemnity, that nothing in the way of Ecclesiastical pomp which had characterized similar occasions might be wanting. So strong in the minds of the King’s counsellors was the reaction from the studied absence of Ceremonial which had marked the Commonwealth, that the Ritual exceeded in splendour and magnificence anything that even Westminster Abbey with all its tale of Ecclesiastical and Regal pageant had ever witnessed. The Presbyterians who were present must have heaved a deep sigh as they read the unmistakable evidence that Catholic worship was on the eve of full restoration, and that Episcopacy which they had dethroned and trampled in the dust would soon lift up its head on every side.
It was an Episcopal ceremony from beginning to end. The Archbishop poured the anointing oil. A Bishop preached the sermon: a second read the Gospel, a third the Epistle. Bishops were foremost in the procession, and foremost in the reception of Royal favour, chosen to walk at the King’s side under a Canopy borne by the Lords temporal, and permitted to kiss the King’s cheek before any one not of royal blood.
No matter that Presbyterians had been placed on the list of His Majesty’s Chaplains, [The Earl of Manchester, who favoured the Presbyterians, obtained the King’s consent to appoint ten of the number to be Royal Chaplains. Only four, however, Baxter, Reynolds, Calamy, and Spurstow, were ever invited to officiate at Court. Reynolds afterwards became Bishop of Norwich. The See of Hereford was also offered to Baxter, and that of Lichfield and Coventry to Calamy, but both were declined.] they were rigidly excluded from taking any official part in the proceedings.
This was the first direct blow which their cause received.
II. It was followed by a second quickly after. The Solemn League and Covenant [The Covenant was subscribed not only by the appointed Commissioners and Assembly of Divines, but also by the members of both Houses of Parliament. The King however issued a proclamation, dated October 9th, forbidding his subjects to accept it. For a copy of it, cf. Fuller’s Ch. Hist. iii. 450; Stoughton’s Eccles. Hist. ii. 535.] pledged the Covenanters to uphold in this country the Reformed worship and discipline, which had been established in Scotland, and to extirpate Prelacy which was said to be linked with superstition and heresy, and contrary to sound doctrine and the power of godliness.
It had been accepted by the Assembly of Westminster Divines, when with circumstances of an unusual significance they had met, Sept. 25, 1643 A.D., in St. Margaret’s Church under the shadow of the Abbey, and in the presence of the House of Commons, who adjourned to witness the solemnity, they lifted up their hands and swore to maintain its provisions.
It was not enough that it had been set aside informally at the King’s restoration; the nation must wash its hands from the stain, and the renunciation be as publicly marked as the acceptance had been. The House of Commons resolved that the ill-starred document should be destroyed in such a manner as to leave no doubt of their utter abhorrence of it. A decree was accordingly passed that a copy of it should be burnt by the public hangman in Palace Yard at Westminster, and another in the most crowded parts of the city, that all might see. [At Cheapside, and before the Exchange.]
And the journal [Mercurius Publicus, May 30, quoted in Stoughton’s Ch. of the Rester. i. 196.] of the period describes the execution of the sentence: “The hangman did his part perfectly well, for having kindled his fire he tore the document into many pieces and first burned the preface and then cast each part solemnly into the flames, lifting up his hands and eyes, and not leaving the least shred, but burnt it root and branch.” And the scene was reproduced in the provinces. At Southampton, [Public Intelligencer, June 6.13, ibid.] amidst the firing of cannon and public rejoicing, the hated scroll was plucked from a neighbouring Church, where it had been honoured with a stately setting in a conspicuous position, and thrown into the fire. At Bury-St. Edmunds an effigy of a notorious criminal, who had been hanged, was paraded through the streets with a copy of the League fastened under his arm and the Directory in his hand, and after being subjected to every possible indignity was torn piecemeal and destroyed.
III. The third step towards the reestablishment of the old worship was the introduction of a Bill into Parliament to bring back the Book of Common Prayer.
The very day after the King landed on the English shores, to the unspeakable joy of many who heard it, the proscribed Liturgy was read in Canterbury Cathedral, whither he turned aside on his journey to give thanks to GOD. Again, in the Houses of Parliament the old forms had been revived after the silence of well-nigh twenty years, and in many Churches where the incumbents sympathized with the Restoration the Directory was at once discarded, for though the law for its enforcement was not yet repealed, they had no misgivings that it might be broken with impunity. But the newly elected Parliament, Royalist and Episcopalian as they were in overwhelming numbers, were impatient to place everything connected with the worship of the Church in an unassailable position. So long as the Directory was sanctioned by the Statute book, those who professed the Presbyterian Faith were free to use it without molestation. Such liberty must be curtailed without delay. On June 29th “A Bill for Uniformity of Public Worship and the administration of Sacraments” was introduced in the House of Commons.
Search was made for the original manuscript of the Second Prayer Book of Edward VI to be affixed to the Bill; but whether it could not be discovered, or whether it was discovered but proved distasteful to the promoters of the Bill, or from some other unknown cause, its intended place was taken by that of King James, as amended at Hampton Court. [The Prayer Book of 1604 A.D. differed from its predecessor in the following particulars: in the rubric before the form of absolution was added “or remission of sins,” in the rubrics in the office for Private Baptism it was directed that the Sacrament should be administered only by a “lawful minister.” The explanation of the Sacraments, by Bishop Overall, was added to the Catechism. A prayer for the Royal Family and special thanksgivings for rain, fair weather, etc. were added, and certain changes were made in the Apocryphal Lessons; cf. Appendix III.] The Bill passed its third reading on July 9th, and was sent to the Upper House. They, however, deferred the consideration of it, both because they wished to await the result of the Savoy Conference, and also from a feeling that such a question could only be discussed at a disadvantage till after the readmission into their body of the spiritual Lords.
IV. And this brings us to the last measure, which paved the way so securely and effectively for the Caroline Settlement.
In the first year of the Long Parliament a determined effort was made, and again and again renewed, to exclude the Bishops from their seats in the Legislature. Hatred of them was stirred up and fostered by a variety of charges. On one occasion they were actually threatened with personal violence on their way to the House. They appealed for the protection of the law, and not satisfied with this, injudiciously went on to declare that any measure passed during their enforced absence would be null and void. They were at once impeached for high treason, condemned and sent to the Tower, and the Bill to deprive them of their privilege was hurried forward and passed its third reading within a few days, Feb. 5, 1642 A.D.
This was the history of their exclusion. When Charles II returned the Bishops’ Bench had been vacant for eighteen years.
The House of Commons voted for the restitution of their ancient rights, but strangely enough, owing mainly to the hesitation of the King founded on some Papist misrepresentations, [The Earl of Bristol persuaded the King that the Bishops, if admitted to Parliament, would feel conscientiously bound to oppose concessions to the Roman Catholics, which his Majesty was desirous to make. Afterwards he was induced by the Chancellor to withdraw his opposition, and the Bill was got through, and received the Royal assent the very day on which Parliament was adjourned, July 30th.] it was Nov. 20th before they were able to take their seats. To commemorate the event the King went to the House in person, and the junior Bishop [“From this time the junior Bishop in the House commonly read the form of prayers before their proceeding to any business.” Lathb. Convoc. 299.] was desired to open the sitting with prayer.
The combination of forces was now complete, and the total discomfiture of the Presbyterian cause was only a matter of time.
The result of the Savoy Conference was duly notified to the King. After waiting till October, he sent letters to the Primate to lay before Convocation, ordering them to proceed with the revision of the Prayer Book. They met on Nov. 21, and ,without delay nominated a Committee of Bishops to carry out the work. Considering the action which the House of Commons had taken they regarded the business of pressing urgency, and directed that they should meet daily except Sundays till the revision was completed. It has been asserted [Cf. Swainson’s Parliamentary Hist. of the Act of Uniformity, p. 15. Cardwell. Confer. 371.] that the appointed Revisionists did not act separately, but that immediately after their appointment Convocation repented of having delegated its powers to a small body, and resolving themselves into a Committee of the whole House, proceeded at once with the work.
There is unquestionably much uncertainty, but on the whole we are disposed to think that the appointment was not rescinded, but that the members of Convocation decided to sit simultaneously with the Revisionists so as to consider without delay the recommendations of the Committee to be laid before them day by day. An incidental note in Sancroft’s handwriting, in Cosin’s “corrected copy,” in reference to proposed alterations in the Communion Office, stating that “my lords the bishops at Elie House ordered all in the old method,” seems inexplicable on the theory that the work had been taken out of their hands.
Let us look in now upon the Committee of Revision. The place of meeting was the house situated in the famous garden which Elizabeth threatened the proud Prelate that she would unfrock him for daring to withhold from her favourite courtier.
They were eight in number, Cosin of Durham, Morley of Worcester, Warner of Rochester, Sanderson of Lincoln, Henchman of Salisbury, Nicholson of Gloucester, Skinner of Oxford, and Wren of Ely. Sancroft was appointed to act as Secretary. Of the Bishops the first four had been members of the Savoy Conference. Of the remaining three Wren alone was greatly distinguished. Memories of the most touching interest cluster round his name. Perhaps no one suffered more persecution at the hands of the Puritans, and in the estimation of his persecutors he deserved even more than he underwent. From his early years he was fiercely opposed to dissent, and for this reason was translated from Hereford to the turbulent See of Norwich, where schism was rifer than elsewhere. It is said that he ruled with such a high hand that its chief town was crippled in its manufacture and suffered great loss of wealth from the immense emigration of weavers who sought liberty of conscience on foreign shores. [Cf. Wren’s Parentalia, 10.]
From Norwich he was transferred to the important diocese and Palatinate of Ely, owing his promotion to his knowledge of law, both civil and ecclesiastical, which was requisite for the office.
His rigid enforcement of Church discipline, and his attachment to Catholic doctrine, raised bitter hostility against him during the Commonwealth, and after being subjected to a succession of calumnious slanders, he was impeached before the Commons for “high crimes and misdemeanours,” condemned, and thrown into the Tower. Here he remained for eighteen years, so cheerful throughout and resigned to the severities of his confinement that, as the Historian says, “the Church beheld his sufferings and saw by him that nothing in Christianity was impossible, and the world did almost pardon his enemies for the pleasure and benefit of his example.”
It was round his table at Ely House in that memorable winter that the Commissioners sat to establish for many generations the Liturgical forms and ceremonies in which the worship of the English Church was to be offered up.
They carried out their work with such expedition that they laid themselves open to a charge of inconsiderate haste, but in reality the revision had long been anticipated and prepared for with the utmost care and judgment.
There was a great mass of well-digested material ready to hand, which had been accumulating almost from the beginning of the century. Wren [Cf. Wren’s Parentalia, 26.] himself, in conjunction with Laud, had revised the Scotch Liturgy, and during his long imprisonment had weighed well the questions in dispute, particularly the deficiencies of the Anglican Ritual, always buoying himself up with the conviction that the time for a reaction was not far distant.
But the man whose labours contributed most to the final result was Cosin, who had been named as President of the Commission.
So early as 1619 A.D., he had made a collection of “notes” in an interleaved Prayer Book, and three or four [1st. MS. notes in an interleaved Prayer Book; 2dly. notes in another Prayer Book, collected by Cosin; 3dly. MS. notes by Cosin, in his own hand; 4thly. MS. notes by Bishop Andrewes. Cf. Lathb. Convoc. 287.] documents of a similar kind succeeded at intervals. The Revisers had little more to do than decide which of the proposed alterations should be accepted, and desire their Secretary to note down their decision for the approval of Convocation. A careful comparison of “the notes” with the Book an finally published, shows that about ninety in every hundred alterations were in accordance with Cosin’s suggestions.
There was a departure from the ordinary rules in respect to the Northern Convocation. In consequence of the difficulties and delay in transmitting messages between the North and South, the habit of discussing the questions separately was broken through, and deputies were sent from York, to sit and vote in the Houses of Canterbury.
When the Revision was finished it was found that six hundred changes [For a summary of these, cf. Appendix V.] great and small had been made.
The doctrinal changes were by no means numerous, but, such as they were, they testified definitely to the Catholic spirit of the Revision.
The “priesthood” was more distinctly marked. At the Savoy Conference, the Presbyterians had pleaded for the substitution of “minister” throughout the rubrics in place of “priest”. The object of their request was fully understood, for it went to the very root of the dissensions between the Church and Nonconformity. “No Priest, no Church” was a maxim which had been handed down from St. Jerome’s [Ecclesia non est, quae non habet sacerdotes. S. Hieron. Adv. Lucif. c. 8.] time, and the Bishops might have appealed to it with no little force, but they replied with calmness and simplicity that it was “unreasonable that the word minister should only be used in the Liturgy, since some parts might be performed by a deacon, others by none under the order of a priest, viz., absolution and consecration; it was fit therefore that some such word as priest should be used for these offices, and not minister, which signified at large every one that ministered in that holy office of whatsoever order he might be.” [Cardwell. Confer. vii. 342.] And now the Committee determined to place the meaning of the Bishop’s reply beyond dispute.
They displaced “ minister” and “pastor” and substituted “priest” [It is worthy of note, as pointing to the entire disappearance in the minds of the leaders of Revision of all aversion to the title of “priest,” that it was so largely reintroduced that it occurs now about the same number of times as it did in the First Prayer Book of Edward VI.] in two important places. The Absolution was henceforward to be pronounced by a “ priest,” and the suffrage in the Litany for “Bishops, pastors, and ministers,” was in future to be made for “Bishops, priests, and deacons.”
Again, the Presbyterians in their arguments for the identity of the office of Bishop and Priest had laid stress on the fact that no distinction of functions was recognized in the Ordinal.
The old form in the Consecration of a Bishop, “Take the Holy Ghost, and remember that thou stirre up the grace of GOD which is in thee by imposition of hands,” was altered to the present form: “Receive the Holy Ghost, for the office and work of a bishop in the Church of GOD.” [There is a letter extant, written by Dean Prideaux to one of Archbishop Sancroft’s chaplains, stating his belief that this alteration was made without any respect to the Romanists, but “to silence a cavil of the Presbyterians, who, from an Ordinal, pretended to prove against us that there was no difference between the two functions, because the words of ordination said nothing to him (as a bishop) in the old Ordinal, which he had not afore as a priest.” It bears date November 25th, 1687 A.D., and is given in full by Cardwell, Confer. viii. 386, n.]
A corresponding addition was made to the words used in the ordering of Priests: viz., “for the Office and Work of a Priest.”
In the Prayer for the Church Militant, [For a full account of Prayers for the Dead in this prayer, cf. Luckock’s After Death, p. 241.] though they were unable to recover all that had been lost by the omission of a prayer for the dead with which it closed in the First Prayer Book of Edward VI, they took an important step for vindicating a recognition of “the Communion of Saints” by inserting the beautiful thanksgiving for the life and example of those who had departed in the faith and fear of GOD.
The Presbyterians had conceived a dislike for the title of “Church,” and adopted “congregation” instead. No less than four [In the Collects for Good Friday, the fifth and sixteenth Sundays after Trinity, and St. Simon and St. Jude.] changes were made in connection with this to avoid even the slightest suspicion that the adoption might give rise to in favour of the Presbyterian form of Church Government.
In the Communion Office, other changes were introduced. Provision was made for the “Lesser Oblation,” the presentation of the Elements on the Altar, by prefixing the rubric to the Prayer for the Church Militant, “and when there is a Communion, the Priest shall then place upon the Table as much Bread and Wine as he shall think sufficient,” and further by inserting the word “oblation,” to be used in the prayer itself, of the Elements after their dedication to GOD.
Again, greater reverence was shown for that portion of the Consecrated Bread and Wine which remained unconsumed, by a direction that the same should be covered “with a fair linen cloth”; and also by the introduction of the sixth of the final rubrics, ordering that “if any remain of that which was consecrated ... the Priest and such other of the Communicants as he shall then call unto him, shall, immediately after the Blessing, reverently eat and drink the same.”
It has often however been maintained that the reintroduction of the “Black Rubric,” or the “Declaration of Kneeling” may well be set over against all the alterations which were made in a Catholic direction; but such a theory will be found untenable when subjected to examination.
It was no doubt originally introduced into the Second Prayer Book of Edward VI as a concession to the Puritan party. There is therefore some prima facie force in the above argument, but it is entirely destroyed by the alteration of the wording which the Revisionists made before reinserting it. On its first appearance it ran thus, “We do declare that thereby (i.e. by kneeling) no adoration is intended ... unto any real and essential presence there being of Christ’s natural Flesh and Blood.” On its reintroduction by the Caroline Revisionists it was worded, “unto any Corporal Presence of Christ’s natural Flesh and Blood.” The first traversed the Catholic doctrine of a Real Presence: the second simply denied the materialism of Transubstantiation. This Declaration, which has been interpreted as a concession to the Presbyterians, who shrank from kneeling on doctrinal grounds, was really couched in such well-chosen language, that while it appeared conciliatory to them, it in no way discredited the highest Sacramental teaching of the Anglican Church.
Such were some of the chief changes resulting from the last revision. It has been thought a matter for wonder that with Cosin in the Chair, and Wren to sympathize with and support him, the Committee should not have carried restoration further on the lines of the First Prayer Book.
Attempts we know were made, but unhappily without success. [Surtees Soc. Publ. No. 55, p. xiii.] Cosin had remodeled the Prayer of Consecration, introducing the Invocation of the Holy Ghost for the sanctification of the Elements, and had brought back the Prayer of Oblation to its proper place. The Revisionists, however, declined to accept his proposals. Their motive is doing so was not prompted by disapprobation, but by a desire to adhere as strictly as possible to their letters of instruction. And these were so unfortunately worded that they could hardly fail to be diversely interpreted. One party laid stress upon that portion which directed them “to compare the services with the most ancient Liturgies,” while the other attached paramount importance to another portion in which they were ordered “to avoid all unnecessary alterations.”
The Committee finished their work, and the Revised Book was subscribed on December 20th.
Measures were taken to insure its integrity being preserved.* Certain printed copies were carefully examined by a Committee appointed for the purpose, and each attested by the Great Seal of England. [For many interesting details the reader is referred to the Book of Common Prayer, edited by A. J. Stephens for the Ecclesiastical History Society, Introduction, clxxix.–cc., and to James Parker’s Introd. to the Revisions of the Prayer Book, dx.-dxxvi.] Each Cathedral was ordered to procure one of these, and after having its name legibly stamped on the cover, to lay it up among its archives as an ultimate standard of reference in case of dispute. A copy was also sent to the Tower, while four more were deposited in the several Courts at Westminster. It was an omen of sinister import for the part the Book was unhappily destined to play in legal proceedings, that it should be deemed necessary that each Court should be furnished with a copy of its own.
[*Printers’ errors have nevertheless slipped in. One such is worthy of notice, as having led to a distinct breach of Church Rule. Originally the rubric after the Nicene Creed provided that the Banns of Marriage should be published then. In 1805 A.D. the Delegates of the Oxford Press omitted the words from the rubric on their own responsibility, to bring it, as they supposed, into agreement with an Act of George II, which ordered that the Banns be published “in the Morning Service, or Evening Service if there be no Morning Service, after the Second Lesson.” They misread the object of the Act, which was not to interfere with the proper place for publication, viz., after the Nicene Creed, when the Creed was said, but to provide an alternative, where there was only Evening Service. Dr. Stephens gave a legal opinion to the effect that the present prevailing custom of publishing after the Second Lesson in the Morning is “a flagrant breach” of Church Order.]
The copy which belonged to the King’s Bench has come down to us in good preservation, and retains that which was their distinguishing feature, viz., the Great Seal perfect, still attached by the original cords; the rest of the Legal Copies are preserved, though in a far less perfect condition, in the Public Record Office. Of those acquired by Capitular bodies, three which are in possession of St. Paul’s, Christ Church, and Ely Cathedral respectively, have been collated.
The Act of Uniformity received the Royal Assent, May 19, 1662 A.D. And it was enjoined by Statute that the use of the Revised Book of Common Prayer should be obligatory upon all ministers after the ensuing Feast of St. Bartholomew (Aug. 24), before which date they were called upon to declare their “unfeigned assent and consent to all and everything contained and preserved therein.” The King felt scruples in signing the document, after the readiness he had so frequently expressed to grant “liberty to tender consciences,” but he was overruled by the wisdom of his Parliament and Convocation, and the principles and worship of the Church were preserved whole and entire.
The result is known to every one. “Black Bartholomew” witnessed the ejection of eighteen hundred. [For various estimates cf. Stoughton, Eccles. Hist., Appendix, 539–542. ] Presbyterians who refused to conform.
It can hardly be denied that there is some justice in the complaints of those who suffered, both as to the manner in which the operation of the Act was enforced, as well as to the stringency of the terms of conformity. The first proposal was that it should not come into force till Michaelmas, but the time was afterwards curtailed, and apparently not without malice prépense, in order that the nonconforming ministers might lose the tithes for the current year, the Feast of St. Michael being the day when they fell due.
Again, the hardship was aggravated by an unwarrantable delay in not publishing the Revised Book till the beginning of August, so that the Presbyterians were kept in suspense as to whether they would be able to conform to it or not; it was actually said that in some cases assent was demanded before the Book had even been seen. [Steel, a Flintshire clergyman, in his farewell sermon, declared that “he was turned out for not giving his unfeigned assent and consent to a book which he never saw or could see.” Stoughton, Ch. of Restor. i. 261.]
One of the first to refuse was Richard Baxter. After the eagerness which he had shown at the Savoy Conference in attempting to supersede the Prayer Book entirely, compliance with it at this juncture would have exposed him to the reproach of every honest-minded man: and he lost no time in making his decision known, hoping that its publicity at this early stage would influence the conduct of others who looked to him for guidance.
Reynolds, on the other hand, subscribed and retained his preferment. He was not so deeply committed as his friend, but it was a bitter disappointment to many, who would have rejoiced in the deposition of a Bishop as affording the strongest evidence of the force of Puritan convictions.
The Sunday preceding the ill-fated Saint’s Day was commonly agreed upon for the pastors who stood firm to take leave of their flocks. Nonconformist writers have excited compassion by the graphic pictures they have drawn of the scenes enacted on that mournful day. Happily we may compassionate men in affliction without admitting the justice of their grievance.
Calamy had gathered into his chapel, Sunday after Sunday, greater crowds than congregated anywhere else. Thomas Lye, Philip Henry, Oliver Heywood, Jacomb, Lamb, and many others were deservedly beloved, and their parting words drew tears of genuine sorrow from many eyes, but neither the faith which they professed, nor the commission which they bore as unepiscopally ordained, belonged to the Church whose offices and ministry they had unjustly usurped.
It is idle to talk of opportunities of comprehension lost, and bewail that men who might have been friends were confirmed in hostility; any compromise which would have satisfied them would have ruined the Church. It was not merely that they advocated a system of worship alien to long-established usage, but they claimed for the Presbytery a right which all through the Church’s history has been the sole prerogative of the Episcopate. However much then we may be touched with the sufferings of the ejected ministers, we cannot call them wrongs, nor see how they could have been averted without surrendering fundamental doctrines, and severing the Church of the Restoration from the Church of the Apostles. The Caroline Settlement has amply justified itself, and proved the soundness of the principles upon which it was made. Criticism is well-nigh disarmed when we point to the fact that it has maintained its ground for two centuries and a quarter. It survived the shock of the Nonjuring Secession, it survived the deadness and coldness of the Georgian period, which would have destroyed the vitality of a weaker constitution, and has become in this generation the root and source of a new outburst of Catholic faith and zeal almost unequalled in the Church’s history.
We believe then that every loyal Churchman may look back to it with satisfaction.
The Church passed through a crisis of almost unparalleled gravity. Her enemies were never more formidable either in numbers, or influence, or intellectual power. Happily it befell at a time when she was able to confront them at every point, and it is a matter for most grateful acknowledgment that with many temptations to yield for the sake of peace, her defenders maintained the contest to the end without making a single concession calculated in any way to compromise her position as a true and rightful branch of the
ONE CATHOLIC AND APOSTOLIC CHURCH.
On the Gallican Liturgy
In the Introductory Chapter we spoke of the earliest Form of Liturgical Worship traceable in the records of the British Church. And while we attributed its adoption to the visit of Germanus and Lupus, who were sent as a deputation from Gaul to help the Britons to combat the Pelagian heresy, we observed that it was highly probable that the Liturgy which they brought with them was modified in some particulars, yet for the leading features we turn to the Galilean Form as it was used in the country from which it derived its appellation. It was superseded, we said, by the Roman in England at the Council of Cloveshoo, 747 A.D., but one of the effects of the Norman Conquest was the Gallicanizing of the country, and many variations from the Roman introduced into the Sarum have been attributed to the national prejudices of the Liturgical Reformer Osmund, the Norman Count.
One peculiarity pointing in this direction has lately been noticed. [Hammond, Liturgies, Eastern and Western, Introd. lxiv.] In the Sarum Liturgy the rubrics are cast in the imperative mood instead of the present or future indicative, as is usually the case. Now we may fairly conjecture that this was adopted from the Gallican; we are unable to speak positively, because no rubrics have yet been found belonging to this Liturgy. But in the Sister-Liturgy, the Mozarabic, used in the neighbouring country of Spain, and bearing such a close resemblance in its structure that their common origin has never been doubted, this characteristic distinction is found: e.g., In the Sarum, Let the Priest say; in the Mozarabic, Let the Priest say; but in the Roman, The Priest says.
The Gallican belonged by origin to the Ephesine family of Liturgies, and was in the first instance connected with St. John. The Church of Ephesus established Christianity in Gaul at an early date, radiating in all probability from Lyons over a great part of the country. In the second century, 177 A.D., we find the Christians of Lyons and Vienne [Cf. Eusebius, Eccles. Hist. v. 1.] writing to the Churches in Asia and Phrygia, and seeking sympathy in their sufferings like children from a common mother.
The Liturgy of Ephesus, varying in some degree to suit the country, became the Liturgy of France, and continued in use there till Pepin first introduced the Roman chant and psalmody, and Charlemagne completely supplanted it by imposing the Sacramentary of St. Gregory, and issued an edict that this should be strictly adhered to. Our interest however is but little diminished by the knowledge that before the Conquest it had ceased to be used in Gaul, or by the fact that the eighth century witnessed the discontinuance of it in its Anglican form in this country. The manner in which the British and Anglo-Saxon Christians performed their highest act of Worship during those centuries when the land was being claimed for Christ and the Church set up upon the ruins of Paganism, is well worthy of our careful consideration, and on these grounds we have subjoined an outline of the Gallican Liturgy according to the plan which, with considerable difficulty and perhaps some uncertainty, the best Liturgiologists have been able to construct.
The following is an outline of the structure of the Gallican Liturgy [Cf. Palmer, Origines Liturgicae, i. 158; Mabillon, De Liturg. Gall.; Le Brun, Dissertationes de Liturgiis; Hammond, Liturgies.]: —
An Anthem or Introit with “Glory be to the Father,” etc.
The mutual salutation of Priest and People, “The LORD be with you,” etc.
The Trisagion (in Greek and Latin), followed by Kyrie eleison.
A Lesson from (i.) the Prophets, (ii.) an Epistle.
The Benedicite. [Hammond makes no mention of this.]
The Gospel read at the Ambon, the clerks at the beginning making response, “Glory be to Thee, O LORD,” and at the end, “Glory to GOD Almighty.”
Homilies, Prayers, and Collect, post precem.
Departure of the Catechumens.
The Preface or address on the day, and Collect.
An Anthem, during which was made the oblation of the Elements, and prayer for their sanctification.
The recitation of the Diptychs, with prayers for the souls of the Saints named.
Collects post nomina.
Kiss of peace, [Neither of this.] and Collect ad pacem.
The Preface, i.e. the part beginning “It is meet and right,” etc.
The commencement of the Canon.
The Collect post mysterium, or post secreta.
The Fraction and the Commixture during the singing of an Anthem.
A proper Preface.
The LORD’S Prayer recited by the Priest and People.
The Blessing, and the Priest’s Communion.
The Communicants approach the Altar.
Two Collects, one post communionem, the other consummatio Missae, with which the Service closed.
The Order of the Communion
On December 20th, 1547 A.D., an Act of Parliament was passed bearing the title, “An Act against such as shall unreverently speak against the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, commonly called the Sacrament of the Altar, and for the receiving thereof in both kinds.” This was drawn up in accordance with certain recommendations emanating from the Lower House of Convocation. The Committee of Divines, who had been appointed to revise the Liturgy, issued in the spring of the following year, March 8, 1548 A.D., their first instalment entitled “The Order of the Communion”. It provided not only for the restoration of the Cup to the Laity, but supplied them with a Service book, which was to be used whenever they communicated.
We have thought fit to print it at length, not only because it has been frequently referred to in the preceding pages, but because from the nature of circumstances it must be full of interest to all who desire to trace the growth of the English Liturgy.
The following is the Order of the Service: –
First, the Parson, Vicar, or Curate, the next Sunday or Holy Day, or at the least one day before he shall minister the Communion, shall give warning to his Parishioners, or those which be present, that they prepare themselves thereto, saying to them openly and plainly as hereafter followeth, or such like.
Dear friends, and you especially upon whose souls I have cure and charge, upon day ________ next I do intend, by God’s grace, to offer to all such as shall be thereto godly disposed, the most comfortable Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ; to be taken of them in the remembrance of his most fruitful and glorious Passion: by the which Passion we have obtained remission of our sins, and be made partakers of the kingdom of heaven, whereof we be assured and ascertained, if we come to the said Sacrament with hearty repentance of our offences, steadfast faith in God’s mercy, and earnest mind to obey God’s will, and to offend no more: wherefore our duty is, to come to these holy Mysteries with most hearty thanks to be given to Almighty God for his infinite mercy and benefits given and bestowed upon us, his unworthy servants, for whom he hath not only given his Body to death, and shed his Blood, but also doth vouchsafe, in a Sacrament and Mystery, to give us his said Body and Blood spiritually to feed and drink upon. The which Sacrament being so divine and holy a thing, and so comfortable to them which receive it worthily, and so dangerous to them that will presume to take the same unworthily; my duty is to exhort you in the mean season to consider the greatness of the thing, and to search and examine your own consciences, and that not lightly, nor after the manner of dissimulers with God; but as they which should come to a most godly and heavenly banquet; not to come but in the marriage garment required of God in Scripture, that you may, so much as lieth in you, be found worthy to come to such a Table. The way and mean thereto is,
First, That you be truly repentant of your former evil life, and that you confess with an unfeigned heart to Almighty God your sins and unkindness towards his Majesty, committed either by will, word, or deed, infirmity or ignorance; and that with inward sorrow and tears you bewail your offences, and require of Almighty God mercy and pardon, promising to him from the bottom of your hearts, the amendment of your former life. And amonges all others, I am commanded of God especially to move and exhort you to reconcile yourselves to your neighbours whom you have offended, or who hath offended you, putting out of your hearts all hatred and malice against them, and to be in love and charity with all the world, and to forgive other, as you would that God should forgive you. And if there be any of you whose conscience is troubled and grieved in any thing, lacking comfort or counsel, let him come to me, or to some other discreet and learned Priest taught in the law of God, and confess and open his sin and grief secretly; that he may receive such ghostly counsel, advice, and comfort, that his conscience may be relieved, and that of us, as a Minister of God, and of the Church, he may receive comfort and Absolution, to the satisfaction of his mind, and avoiding of all scruple and doubtfulness: requiring such as shall be satisfied with a general Confession not to be offended with them that doth use, to their further satisfying, the auricular and secret Confession to the Priest; nor those also, which think needful or convenient, for the quietness of their own consciences, particularly to open their sins to the Priest, to be offended with them which are satisfied with their humble confession to God, and the general Confession to the Church; but in all these things to follow and keep the rule of charity; and every man to be satisfied with his own conscience, not judging other men’s minds or acts, where as he hath no warrant of God’s Word for the same.
The time of the Communion shall be immediately after that the Priest himself hath received the Sacrament, without the varying of any other rite or ceremony in the Mass, (until other order shall be provided,) but as heretofore usually the Priest hath done with the Sacrament of the Body, to prepare, bless, and consecrate so much as will serve the people; so it shall yet continue still after the same manner and form, save that he shall bless and consecrate the biggest Chalice or some fair and convenient Cup or Cups full of Wine, with some Water put unto it. And that day not drink it up all himself, but taking only one sup or draught, leave the rest upon the Altar covered, and turn to them that are disposed to be partakers of the Communion, and shall thus exhort them as followeth.
Dearly beloved in the Lord, ye, coming to this holy Communion, must consider what S. Paul writeth to the Corinthians, how he exhorteth all persons diligently to try and examine themselves, or ever they presume to eat of this Bread and drink of this Cup. For as the benefit is great, if with a truly penitent heart and lively faith we receive this holy Sacrament; (for then we spiritually eat the Flesh of Christ, and drink his Blood; then we dwell in Christ, and Christ in us; we be made one with Christ, and Christ with us): So is the danger great, if we receive the same unworthily; for then we become guilty of the Body and Blood of Christ our Saviour; we eat and drink our own damnation, because we make no difference of the Lord’s Body; we kindle God’s wrath over us; we provoke him to plague us with divers diseases, and sundry kinds of death. Judge therefore yourselves (brethren), that ye be not judged of the Lord; let your mind be without desire to sin; repent you truly for your sins past; have an earnest and lively faith in Christ our Saviour; be in perfect charity with all men; so shall ye be meet partakers of these holy Mysteries. But above all things you must give most humble and hearty thanks to God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, for the redemption of the world by the Death and Passion of our Saviour Christ, both God and Man; who did humble himself, even to the death upon the Cross, for us miserable sinners, lying in darkness and the shadow of death; that he might make us the children of God, and exalt us to everlasting Life. And to the end that we alway should remember the exceeding love of our Master and only Saviour Jesus Christ, thus doing for us, and the innumerable benefits which by his precious blood-shedding he hath obtained to us; he hath left in these holy Mysteries, as a pledge of his love, and a continual remembrance of the same, his own blessed Body and precious Blood, for us spiritually to feed upon, to our endless comfort and consolation. To him therefore, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, let us give, as we are most bound, continual thanks; submitting ourselves wholly to his holy will and pleasure, and studying to serve him in true holiness and righteousness all the days of our life. Amen.
Then the Priest shall say to them that be ready to take the Sacrament,
If any man here be an open blasphemer, advouterer, in malice, or envy, or any other notable crime, and be not truly sorry therefore, and earnestly minded to leave the same vices, or that doth not trust himself to be reconciled to Almighty God, and in charity with all the world, let him yet a while bewail his sins, and not come to this holy Table, lest, after the taking of this most blessed Bread, the devil enter into him, as he did into Judas, to fulfill in him all iniquity, and to bring him to destruction, both of body and soul.
(Here the Priest shall pause a while, to see if any man will withdraw himself: and if he perceive any so to do, then let him common with him privily at convenient leisure, and see whether he can with good exhortation bring him to grace. And after a little pause, the Priest shall say,
You that do truly and earnestly repent you of your sins and offences committed to Almighty God, and be in love and charity with your neighbours, and intend to lead a new life, and heartily to follow the commandments of God, and to walk from henceforth in his holy ways; draw near, and take this holy Sacrament to your comfort, make your humble Confession to Almighty God, and to his holy Church, here gathered together in his Name, meekly kneeling upon your knees.
Then shall a general Confession be made, in the name of all those that are minded to receive the holy Communion, either by one of them or else by one of the Ministers, or by the Priest himself; all kneeling humbly upon their knees,
Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men; We knowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed by thought, word, and deed, against thy divine Majesty, provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, and be heartily sorry for these our misdoings; the remembrance of them is grievous unto us; the burthen of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; for thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake forgive us all that is past; and grant that we may ever hereafter serve and please thee in newness of life, to the honour and glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Then shall the Priest stand up, and turning him to the people, say thus:
Our blessed Lord, who hath left power to his Church to absolve penitent sinners from their sins, and to restore to the grace of the heavenly Father such as truly believe in Christ; Have mercy upon you; pardon and deliver you from all sins; confirm and strength you in all goodness; and bring you to everlasting life.
Then shall the Priest stand up, and turning him to the people, say thus:
Hear what comfortable words our Saviour Christ saith to all that truly turn to him.
Come unto me all that travail and be heavy laden, and I shall refresh you. So God loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, to the end that all that believe in him should not perish, but have life everlasting.
Hear also what S. Paul saith.
This is a true saying, and worthy of all men to be embraced and received, That Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners.
Hear also what S. John saith.
If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: he it is that obtained grace for our sins.
Then shall the Priest kneel down and say, in the name of all them that shall receive the Communion, this prayer following:
We do not presume to come to this thy Table (O merciful Lord) trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We be not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table. But thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy: Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the Flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his Blood, in these holy Mysteries, that we may continually dwell in him, and he in us, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his Body, and our souls washed through his most precious blood. Amen.
Then shall the Priest rise, the people still reverently kneeling, and the Priest shall deliver the Communion first to the Ministers, if any be there present, that they may be ready to help the Priest, and after to the other. And when he doth deliver the Sacrament of the Body of Christ, he shall say to every one these words following,
The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ which was given for thee, preserve thy body unto everlasting life.
And the Priest, delivering the Sacrament of the Blood, and giving every one to drink once and no more, shall say,
The Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ which was shed for thee, preserve thy soul unto everlasting life.
If there be a Deacon, or other Priest, then shall he follow with the Chalice; and as the Priest ministereth the bread, so shall he, for more expedition, minister the Wine, in form before written.
Then shall the Priest turning him to the people, let the people depart with this blessing:
The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
To the which the people shall answer,
Note, that the Bread that shall be consecrated shall be such as heretofore hath been accustomed. And every of the said consecrated Breads shall be broken in two pieces, at the least, or more, by the discretion of the Minister, and so distributed. And men must not think less to be received in part than in the whole, but in each of them the whole Body of our Saviour Jesu Christ.
Note, that if it doth so chance that the Wine hallowed and consecrate doth not suffice or be enough for them that do take the Communion, the Priest, after the first Cup or Chalice be emptied, may go again to the Altar, and reverently and devoutly prepare and consecrate another, and so the third, or more likewise, beginning at these words, Simili modo postquam caenatum est, and ending at these words Qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum, and without any levation or lifting up.
On the Hampton Court Conference.
It may have been thought that, in treating of the crises through which the Book of Common Prayer has passed, we might have added a fifth epoch, and drawn out the details of its history at the beginning of King James I’s reign. The reason which has prompted us to relegate this to a brief and supplementary page against our inclination (for no episode could be found which lends itself so readily for description), is the consciousness that, in estimating the importance of its results, this period is found to be wholly unworthy of the attention which the rest are entitled to.
Inasmuch, however, as it did leave its mark upon the contents of the Service books, we have placed before our readers a summary of the proceedings of the Council, drawn in the main from original documents. [“The sum and substance of the Conference contracted by Dean Barlow.” “A letter from Patrick Galloway to the Presbytery at Edinburgh, concerning the Conference.” “A letter from Court by Matthew, Bishop of, Durham.” All of these have been placed within reach of the ordinary reader by Cardwell in his History of Conferences on the Book of Common Prayer.] Upon the accession of James I in 1603 A.D., the Puritans were full of hope that their grievances against the existing Forms and Ceremonies of Worship would receive a favourable consideration. Accordingly a Petition purporting to be signed by “a thousand of His Majesty’s subjects and ministers,” hence called “the Millenary Petition,” in which they embodied their objections, was presented to him shortly after his arrival in England.
It was couched in these terms: –
“Most Gracious and Dread Sovereign,
“We, the ministers of the gospel in this land, neither as factious men, affecting a popular parity in the Church, nor as schismatics, aiming at the dissolution of the state ecclesiastical, but, as the faithful servants of Christ and loyal subjects to your Majesty, desiring and longing for the redress of divers abuses of the Church, could do no less, in our obedience to God, service to your Majesty, and love to his Church, than acquaint your princely Majesty with our particular griefs.
“Our humble suit, then, unto your Majesty is that these offences following, some may be removed, some amended, some qualified: – In the Church service: that the cross in Baptism, interrogatories ministered to infants, Confirmations, as superfluous, may be taken away: Baptism not to be ministered by women, and so explained: the cap and surplice not urged: that examination may go before the Communion: that it be ministered with a sermon: that divers terms of priests and absolution and some other used, with the ring in marriage, and other such like in the book, may be corrected: the longsomeness of service abridged: Churchings and music moderated to better edification: that the Lord’s day be not profaned: the rest upon holidays not so strictly urged: that there may be an uniformity of doctrine prescribed: no popish opinion to be any more taught or defended: no ministers charged to teach their people to bow at the name of Jesus: that the Canonical Scriptures only be read in the Church.”
Subsequently the Puritans asked for a Conference of representatives to discuss the disputed questions. Such a course was vigorously opposed by the Universities as well as by the rest of the Episcopal Clergy, but the King, confident in his powers of controlling the debate, and thinking it prudent to yield to the wishes of so large a body, granted their request.
The Conference was summoned to Hampton Court, where the King resided, for its first session on January 14th, 1604 A.D.
The Divines selected to represent the discontents were Dr. Rainolds or Reynolds, and Dr. Sparkes, with Mr. Knewstub and Mr. Chaderton.
The advocates of the Church invited to take part were Archbishop Whitgift, eight Bishops, of whom Bancroft of London, Matthew of Durham, and Bilson of Winchester were chief, six or seven Deans, embracing Andrewes, Overall, and Barlow, two doctors of Divinity, and one Archdeacon.
On the first day the King did not invite the attendance of the Puritan representatives, but held a consultation with the Bishops and Deans on these subjects, Confirmation, Absolution, and Private Baptism, upon which he required information.
Two days afterwards, January 16th, the aggrieved party were admitted to a discussion with a portion of their opponents. The King opened the proceedings by expressing his readiness to hear any objections which they had to bring forward. These were reduced by Dr. Reynolds to four, the last of which was aimed at the unfitness of the Book of Common Prayer to promote true piety. Judging from the following admonition of the King, the Bishops were disposed to take advantage of their position and not conduct the debate on fair terms. It was the conduct of Bishop Barlow which called for his Majesty’s interposition.
“My Lord Bishop, something in your passion I may excuse, something I must mislike. I may excuse you thus far, that I think you have just cause to be moved in respect that they traduce the well-settled government, and also proceed in so indirect a course, contrary to their own pretense, and the intent of this meeting. I mislike your sudden interruption of Dr. Reynolds, whom you should have suffered to have taken his liberty; for there is no order, nor can be any effectual issue of disputation, if each party be not suffered, without stopping, to speak at large. Wherefore, either let the Doctor proceed, or frame your answer to his motions already made, though some of them are very needless.”
One of the objections which received much attention, as indeed it has done in other times besides, was the use of the Sign of the Cross in Baptism.
The King consulted with his Divines, and was satisfied of its antiquity from the learned testimony of Dean Andrewes, who appealed to the authority of the Primitive Fathers. But such evidence was of no value in the eyes of the objectors: even allowing that it had been in use, it had been abused, and that of itself was sufficient argument against the continuance. Dr. Reynolds called upon the King to follow the example of Hezekiah, who had crushed the brazen serpent to powder, because it had been perverted to idolatrous purposes. The King’s reply is highly characteristic: –
“Though I be sufficiently persuaded of the cross in baptism, and the commendable use thereof in the Church so long, yet, if there were nothing else to move me, this very argument were an inducement to me for the retaining of it, as it is now by order established; for inasmuch as it was abused, so you say, to superstition, in time of Popery, it doth plainly imply, that it was well-used before Popery. I will tell you, I have lived among this sort of men, (speaking to the lords and bishops,) ever since I was ten years old, but I may say of myself as Christ did of Himself, Though I lived amongst them, yet since I had ability to judge, I was never of them; neither did anything make me more to condemn and detest their courses, than that they did so peremptorily disallow of all things, which at all had been used in Popery. For my part, I know not how to answer the objections of the papists when they charge us with novelties, but truly to tell them, that their abuses are new, but the things which they abuse we retain in their primitive use, and forsake only the novel corruption. By this argument, we might renounce the Trinity, and all that is holy, because it was abused in Popery: (and speaking to Dr. Reynolds merrily) they used to wear hose and shoes in Popery, therefore you shall now go barefoot.”
“Secondly,” quoth his Majesty, “what resemblance is there between the brazen serpent, a material visible thing, and the sign of the cross made in the air?”
Thirdly, he was informed by the Bishops, and found their account true, that “the Papists themselves never attributed any spiritual grace to the sign of the Cross in Baptism.
“To say, that in nothing they may be followed which are of the Church of Rome, were violent and extreme.”
“Some things they do in that they are men, in that they are wise men, and Christian men; some things in that they are misled and blinded with error.”
The next scruple was the wearing of the surplice: this, it was pretended, was a habit worn by the priests of Isis.
“This objection,” the King said, “was somewhat new, because it was usually called a ‘rag of Popery.’ But granting the supposition, we do not live now amongst heathens, and therefore there is no danger of reviving Paganism.”
On the third day of the Conference, January 18th, the Bishops laid before the King the result of their deliberations upon the points on which he had consulted them when they first met. Thereupon his Majesty decided what alterations should be made in the Prayer Book, the exact wording being left to a small committee of the Bishops and Privy Council.
The following may be regarded as concessions to the Puritans, though they were quite insignificant compared with the changes which were asked for.
The Apocryphal Lessons were modified, and the title “Confirmation” was explained by the additional words, “or laying on of hands upon children baptized and able to render an account of their faith.”
The grievances against vestments, the ring in Matrimony, and the Cross in Baptism were left unredressed. An explanation of the Sacraments from the pen of Overall, which must have been far from acceptable, if they rightly understood it, was added to the Catechism. Further, the title of the Absolution was enlarged by the addition of the words, “or Remission of sins”. With all these decisions the Puritans who were present at the Conference expressed their concurrence, though their conduct in doing so was a disappointment to the body whom they represented.
An additional Prayer for the Queen, the Prince, and other King’s and Queen’s children, with corresponding insertions in the Litany, was introduced, together with numerous Thanksgivings for diverse Benefits, – For Fair Weather, For Plenty, For Peace and Victory, and For Deliverance from the Plague.
By far the most important however of the results of the Conference was the appointment of a Committee of Divines to make a new translation of the Holy Scriptures. The suggestion was made by Dr. Reynolds, but some years elapsed before the plan was matured. On July 22nd, 1604 A.D., the King writes to Bishop Bancroft that fifty-four translators, to meet in various companies at Oxford and Cambridge and Westminster, had been nominated, and would shortly be prepared to proceed with their work. There was still further delay before the companies met, and the Translation was not given to the world till 1611 A.D. How far it became at once connected with the Services and worship of the Church is a disputed question. There is a statement on the title page that it is “appointed to be read in Churches,” but there is an entire absence of testimony to its having ever received any public sanction from Convocation or Parliament or the Privy Council or the King.
On the Directory
As the Parliament grew in power, and influence, they determined to submit all questions touching the Religious Worship of the country to an Assembly of Divines selected and appointed by their body. In view of obtaining for it a general acceptance they resolved to give it an air of wide comprehensiveness.
Its members may be ranged in four parties: – Firstly, The Episcopalians, [Usher, Archbishop of Armagh; Brownrigg, Bishop of Exeter; Westfield of Bristol; Dr. Featley, etc.] whose number, however, was naturally as limited as possible. Secondly, The advocates of the doctrines and discipline of Presbyterianism, [Drs. Hoyle, Smith, Twisse, Burgess, Stanton, etc.] who formed the bulk of the Assembly. Thirdly, Some foreign Nonconformists, [Philip Nye, Sidrach Simpson, Goodwin, etc.] who had settled chiefly in Holland. Fourthly, A Committee of Laymen, [The Earl of Pembroke, Messrs. Belden, Rouse, etc.] taken out of the two Houses of Parliament. With the Assembly so constituted certain Scotch Commissioners [The Earl of Lothian, Lords Lauderdale, Warriston, etc.] were subsequently associated.
The whole number of members nominated was one hundred and twenty, but when their names were called over at their first meeting in the chapel of Henry VII at Westminster, July 1, 1643 A.D., only sixty-nine presented themselves, and of these not a few appear to have withdrawn.
The Episcopalians, on learning the constitution and the objects of the Assembly, saw at once that their position as members was quite inconsistent with their loyalty to the King and their adherence to the Ecclesiastical Discipline of the Church.
Their withdrawal has been regarded as a mistake, but their numbers were far too small to have influenced the decisions of the Council; and we cannot regret that their conduct has acquitted the Church of any, even the least, participation therein.
And now let us look at the part which the Assembly took touching Public Worship. The Parliament resolved to abolish the Book of Common Prayer, and called upon the Westminster Assembly to frame a model for Divine Service. The result of their labours was a book entitled “A Directory for the Public Worship of GOD, throughout the Three Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland,” ordered by the Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament to be printed and published March 13, 1644 A.D., and again enforced under pain of forfeiture and penalties, August 25, 1645 A.D.
As it superseded the Prayer Book and continued in use for a long period, and as it is not easy to be obtained, we have thought fit in this place to subjoin a general statement of its principles, as well as sufficient extracts from its directions to enable the reader to estimate it aright.
The first characteristic of this “model of Public Worship,” is the insignificant part assigned to that which the Church has always regarded as the chief element, viz., Praise. At the very close, as though it were an afterthought merely, it is declared to be “the duty of Christians to praise GOD publicly by singing of Psalms together in the Congregation, and also privately in the Family,” but only once in the order of Service (apart from a parenthetical note) is any direction given, and then in the most indifferent way, “Let a Psalm be sung, if with convenience it may be done.”
When this slight notice of praise is contrasted with the minute and lengthy directions for prayer and preaching, it becomes only too patent how selfishness had completely subordinated the higher motives which ought to prompt the worshipper to ascribe honour to GOD simply and solely because it is due unto His Name. [See above.]
The exercise of “the gift of prayer,” which was one of the most urgent demands all through the Presbyterian grievances, was provided for on the most liberal scale. The Document, which throughout is a manual of directions rather than a Service book, contains detailed prescriptions and numerous suggestions as to the character of the minister’s petitions, and it is not a little significant that those, which are to guide “the Prayer before the Sermon,” occupy considerably more space [No less than six pages are taken up with these.] than all that bears upon the Celebration of the Holy Communion.
The directions for the reading of Holy Scripture are much less profuse. Of course none but the Canonical Books of the Old and New Testaments were admitted, and the longstanding prejudice against the Apocrypha was satisfied. The aversion to set Forms was carried to such an extent that the compilers seemed unwilling even to have a chapter of the Bible read unless it was accompanied by an exposition. For the Preaching of the Word, the power of God unto salvation, they laid down a series of rules, admirable enough in themselves, but out of place when forced into such prominence as to raise the value of the office far above any ordinance, saving that to which they allowed nothing to be subordinated, viz., extempore prayer.
In the administration of Baptism, while laying the utmost stress upon the Rite as a “seal of the Covenant of grace,” they provided against the Catholic doctrine of Regeneration, by asserting of those who come to receive the Sacrament, “that they are Christians, and federally holy before Baptism, and therefore are they baptized.”
In the Celebration of Holy Communion, their directions in one instance are more Catholic than we should have expected.
The words which accompanied the distribution of the Elements were so framed as to exhibit no trace of a desire to exclude the Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence.
This will be more striking if the formula be compared with that adopted by the Puritans in the Second Prayer Book of Edward VI. [See above.]
In the Directory, the order runs thus: “Then the Minister, who is himself to communicate, is to break the Bread, and give it to the Communicants: Take ye, eat ye: This is the Body of Christ, which is broken for you; Do this in remembrance of Him.”
The obligation to kneel for reception was abrogated by the rule that “the Table should be so conveniently placed, that the Communicants may orderly sit about it or at it.”
Again, they read the words of the Institution simply as “a lesson of edification” instead of embodying the account in a prayer so as to make the Service “a memorial before God,” the same manual acts being used and the same words spoken as by Our LORD on the night of His betrayal. [Cf. Sadler’s One Offering, 101–105.]
One of the most grievous blots on the Directory is the page which touches the Burial of the Dead. It shows how prejudice and fanaticism will drive men to violate the instincts of nature. If there be one time more than another when the heart of man needs the consolation of prayer, it is when he is burying his dead out of his sight. And yet the Westminster Assembly peremptorily forbade anything but “meditations and conferences suitable to the occasion”. If a Minister happened to be present, the privilege was conceded of putting the people “in remembrance of their duty”.
It only remains to point out in what a marked manner their Sabbatarianism and dislike to the observance of Holy Days manifested itself. The whole of Sunday was to be celebrated as holy to the LORD, and an entire abstinence was enjoined not only “from all sports and pastimes but also from all worldly words and thoughts.”
It was further ordered that the intervals between the Public Services should “be spent in Reading, Meditation, Repetition of Sermons, especially by calling their families to an account of what they have heard, and Catechizing of them, holy conferences, Prayer for a blessing upon the public Ordinances, singing of Psalms, visiting the sick, relieving the poor, and such like duties of piety, charity and mercy, accounting the Sabbath a delight.”
The Commemoration of Saints, and other Festivals they swept away by the declaration that “Festival Days, vulgarly called Holy Days, having no warrant in the Word of God, are not to be continued.”
The Contents of the Directory
Of the Assembling of the Congregation.
Of Public Reading of the Holy Scripture.
Of Public Prayer before Sermon.
Of the Preaching of the Word.
Of Prayer after the Sermon.
Of the Sacrament of Baptism.
Of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.
Of the Sanctification of the Lord’s Day.
Of the Solemnization of Marriage.
Of the Visitation of the Sick.
Of Burial of the Dead.
Of Public Solemn Fasting.
Of the Observation of days of Public Thanksgiving.
Of singing of Psalms.
An Appendix touching Days and Places of Public Worship.
Of Public Prayer Before the Sermon
“To acknowledge our great sinfulness; First, by reason of original sin, which (beside the guilt that makes us liable to everlasting Damnation) is the seed of all other sins, hath depraved and poisoned all the faculties and powers of Soul and Body, doth defile our best actions, and (were it not restrained, or our hearts renewed by Grace) would break forth into innumerable transgressions, and greatest rebellions against the Lord, that ever were committed by the vilest of the sons of Men.”
“To bewail our blindness of mind, hardness of heart, unbelief, impenitence, security, lukewarmness, barrenness, our not endeavouring after mortification and newness of life; nor after the exercise of godliness in the power thereof;” ...
“To acknowledge and confess, that, as we are convinced of our guilt; so out of a deep sense thereof, we judge ourselves unworthy of the smallest benefits, most worthy of God’s fiercest wrath, and of the Curses of the Law and heaviest Judgements inflicted upon the most rebellious Sinners; and that he might most justly take his Kingdom and Gospel from us, plague us with all sorts of spiritual and temporal judgements in this life, and after cast us into utter Darkness, in the Lake that burneth with fire and brimstone, where is weeping and gnashing of teeth for evermore.”
“Notwithstanding all which, To draw near to the Throne of Grace, encouraging our selves with hope of a gracious Answer of our Prayers,” ...
“And humbly, and earnestly to supplicate for mercy in the free and full remission of our sins, and that only for the bitter sufferings and precious merits of that our only Saviour Jesus Christ.”
“To pray for the propagation of the Gospel and Kingdom of Christ to all Nations, for the conversion of the Jews, the fullness of the Gentiles, the fall of Antichrist, and the hastening of the second coming of our Lord;” ...
“To pray for all in Authority, especially for the King’s Majesty, that God would make him rich in blessings both in his person and government; establish his Throne in Religion and Righteousness, save him from evil counsel, and make him a blessed and glorious Instrument.”
“For the comforting of the afflicted Queen of Bohemia, sister to our Sovereign, and for the restitution and establishment of the illustrious Prince Charles,” ...
“For a blessing upon the High Court of Parliament,”...
“For all Pastors and Teachers, that God would fill them with his Spirit,” ...
“For the Universities, and all Schools and Religious seminaries of Church and Commonwealth,” ...
“For the particular City or Congregation,” ...
“To pray earnestly for GOD’S grace and effectual assistance to the Sanctification of his holy Sabbath, the Lord’s day,” ...
“More particularly that God would in a special manner furnish his Servant (now called to dispense the bread of life unto his household) with wisdom, fidelity, zeal, and utterance, that he may divide the Word of God aright,” ...
Of Prayer After the Sermon
“To give thanks for the great Love of God in sending his Son Jesus Christ unto us; For the communication of his Holy Spirit; For the light and liberty of the glorious Gospel, and the rich and heavenly Blessings revealed therein; as namely, Election, Vocation, Adoption, Justification, Sanctification, and hope of Glory; For the admirable goodness of God in freeing the Land from Antichristian Darkness and Tyranny, and for all other National Deliverances; For the Reformation of Religion; For the Covenant; and for many Temporal blessings.”
“To turn the chief and most useful heads of the Sermon into some few Petitions; and to pray that it may abide in the heart and bring forth fruit.”
Of The Administration of Baptism
“That it is instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ: that it is a Seal of the Covenant of Grace, of our engrafting into Christ, and of our union with him, of Remission of Sins, Regeneration, Adoption, and Life eternal:” ...
“That children by Baptism are solemnly received into the bosom of the visible Church, distinguished from the world and them that are without, and united with Believers; and that all who are baptized in the Name of Christ, do renounce, and by their baptism are bound to fight against the Devil, the World, and the Flesh: That they are Christians, and federally holy before Baptism, and therefore are they baptized. That the inward Grace and virtue of Baptism is not tied to that very moment of time wherein it is administered, and that the fruit and power thereof reacheth to the whole course of our life; and that outward Baptism is not so necessary, that through the want thereof the Infant is in danger of Damnation, or the Parents guilty, if they do not contemn or neglect the ordinance of Christ when and where it may be had.”
Of the Celebration of the Communion, or Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper
“Let the Prayer, Thanksgiving, or Blessing of the Bread and Wine be to this effect;
“With humble and hearty acknowledgement of the greatness of our misery, from which neither man nor angel was able to deliver us, and of our great unworthiness of the least of all God’s mercies, to give thanks to God for all his benefits, and especially for that great benefit of our Redemption, the love of God the Father, the sufferings and merits of the Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God, by which we are delivered; and for all means of Grace, the Word and Sacraments, and for this Sacrament in particular, by which Christ and all his benefits are applied and sealed up unto us, which, notwithstanding the denial of them unto others, are in great mercy continued unto us after so much and long abuse of them all.”
“To profess that there is no other Name under Heaven by which we can be saved but the Name of Jesus Christ, by whom alone we receive liberty and life, have access to the throne of Grace, are admitted to eat and drink at his own Table, and are sealed up by his Spirit to an assurance of happiness and everlasting life.”
“Earnestly to pray to God, the Father of all mercies, and God of all consolation, to vouchsafe his gracious presence, and the effectual working of his Spirit in us, and so to sanctify these Elements both of Bread and Wine, and to bless his own Ordinance, that we may receive by Faith the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ crucified for us, and so to feed upon him that he may be one with us, and we with him, that he may live in us and we in him and to him, who hath loved us and given himself for us.”
“After all have communicated the Minister is also to give solemn thanks to God for his rich mercy and invaluable goodness vouchsafed to them in that Sacrament, and to entreat for pardon for the defects of the whole service, and for the gracious assistance of his good Spirit, whereby they may be enabled to walk in the strength of that Grace, as becometh those who have received so great pledges of salvation.”
Concerning Burial of the Dead
“When any person departeth this life, let the dead body upon the day of Burial be decently attended from the house to the place appointed for public Burial, and there immediately interred without any Ceremony. And because the customs of kneeling down, and praying by, or towards the dead corpse, and other such usages, in the place where it lies, before it be carried to Burial are superstitious, and for that praying, reading, and singing, both in going to, and at the Grave, have been grossly abused, are in no way beneficial to the dead, and have proved many ways hurtful to the living, therefore let all such things be laid aside.”
“Howbeit, we judge it very convenient that the Christian friends which accompany the dead body to the place appointed for public Burial, do apply themselves to meditations, and conferences suitable to the occasion: And that the minister, as upon other occasions, so at this time, if he be present, may put them in remembrance of their duty.”
“That this shall not extend to deny any civil respects or differences at the Burial suitable to the rank and condition of the party deceased whilst he was living.”
On the Changes Introduced at the Last Revision
In the account of the Revision of the Prayer Book at Ely House after the Restoration of Charles II, we entered upon a few changes which seemed to have an especial bearing upon the doctrines then under dispute. Many others, more or less important, resulted from the labours of the Committee, and as the history of this period would be manifestly very incomplete without some notice of them, we have subjoined an outline thereof, deeming this amply sufficient for the ordinary student.
By far the greatest number of changes was made by the alteration of existing rubrics and the addition of new ones. Several which tended to promote greater reverence in the Administration of the Holy Eucharist have already been mentioned. We notice further the directions or side notes in the Consecration Prayer providing for the manual acts which had been ignored in the Second Prayer Book of Edward VI and not restored by Elizabeth. An addition was made to the note in the First Prayer Book of Edward VI of the words, “and here to break the bread,” insuring what Bishop Cosin characterized as a “needful circumstance of the Sacrament.”
The belief in the Regeneration of Infants in Holy Baptism was strengthened by the transference of a rubric from the Confirmation to the Baptismal Office. In its original place it was intended to satisfy people that Confirmation was not necessary to salvation, for that if children died in their infancy after baptism their salvation was assured. In 1662 it was added at the close of the Baptismal Service as worthy of greater prominence than it received in an Office which was used so rarely as that for Confirmation. The Rubric runs thus”: It is certain by GOD’S Word that children which are baptized dying before they commit actual sin, are undoubtedly saved.” It involved a doctrine so repugnant to the Presbyterians, that Baxter declared, “That of the forty sinful terms for a communion with the Church party, if thirty-nine were taken away and only that rubric concerning the salvation of infants dying shortly after their baptism were continued, yet they could not conform.”
In the Introductory part of the Prayer Book the following additions were made: —
The Preface, most probably written by Bishop Sanderson.
The Table of the Vigils, Fasts, Days of Abstinence, together with certain solemn days for which particular services are appointed.
“The five prayers” were transferred from the close of the Litany to the services for Matins and Evensong; and the latter received the addition of the Sentences, Exhortation, etc., which before had been prefixed to Matins only. In the Litany the petition for deliverance from Rebellion and Schism was added with much significance. Among the occasional prayers and thanksgivings were introduced: —
A second prayer for fair weather.
Two prayers for Embertide.
The prayer for Parliament.
The prayer for all conditions of men.
The General Thanksgiving.
The Thanksgiving for public peace at home.
New collects were composed for —
The third Sunday in Advent.
St. Stephen’s Day.
The sixth Sunday after the Epiphany.
A distinct Gospel and Epistle were introduced for the 6th Sunday after the Epiphany.
The title of the Feast, “The Purification of St. Mary,” was enlarged to its present form, “The Presentation of Christ in the Temple, commonly called The Purification,” etc., and a special Epistle, provided instead of that for the preceding Sunday.
A new Office was composed, for “The Baptism of such as be of riper years.”
The Catechism was separated from the Confirmation Service.
The requirement for newly-married people to communicate on the day of their marriage was modified to a recommendation to do so then or at the first opportunity.
In the Visitation of the Sick two rubrical changes were made by the insertion of the words in italics: — “Here shall the sick person be moved to make a special confession,” and “After which confession the Priest shall absolve him, if he humbly and heartily desire it.”