« AnteriorContinuar »
cutting off occasion" of cavil or quarrel. Of these, the second was far better secured than either the first or last. For, in fact, for purposes of conciliation and comprehension the Conference was rendered fruitless by unreasonable demands, involving a virtual reconstruction of the Liturgy on one side, and, on the other, not only an unwillingness to any concession whatever, but also a desire to make some alterations in the opposite direction.
The alterations actually made are then thus summarized:(a) Amendments of the Calendars and Rubrics, for the better direction of the officiating clergy (e.g., especially, in the Ritual Rubrics in the Service of the Holy Communion); (b) verbal alteration of ambiguous or obsolete terms; (c) the use of the Authorized Version for all Scriptural passages (except the Psalter, the Decalogue, and the Sentences in the Communion Service); (d) addition of some "Occasional" Prayers and Thanksgivings (e.g., the Prayer for Parliament, for All Conditions of Men, for the Ember Weeks, the General Thanksgiving, the Thanksgiving for the Restoration of Public Peace at home); (e) addition of the Office for those at Sea, and for the Public Baptism of Adults. Besides these, however, we have the alteration of the Ornaments Rubric, the addition of the last clause to the Church Militant Prayer, the re-insertion, with significant alteration, of the Rubric on kneeling at the Holy Communion, the addition to the Baptismal Service of the Rubric on the Salvation of Baptized Infants and the Note on the Sign of the Cross, and the addition of the Services for January 30th and May 29th.
Finally, the approval of the two Convocations is quoted (without any reference to Parliament), and the book commended to "the sober, peaceable, and truly conscientious sons of the Church of England."
CONCERNING THE SERVICE OF THE CHURCH.
This is the original Preface to the Prayer Book of 1549 (with a few omissions), written, as is usually supposed, by Cranmer, and obviously suggested by the Preface to the reformed Breviary of Cardinal Quignonez, published by authority of Pope Clement VII. in 1535, which it follows in many places.
I. It is notable that it lays almost exclusive emphasis on the reading of Holy Scripture, and the singing (or saying) of the Psalms, in Divine Service (only referring incidentally or by implication to the offering of Prayer and the administration of the Sacraments); and dwells with approval on the provision made by the ancient Fathers for regularity and completeness in the use of both, alike by Ministers and by the people, as a means of at once securing knowledge and "inflaming love."
Of the continuous reading of Holy Scripture thus provided for, it complains that it had been broken in upon (a) by "planting in
ought to be allowed to all human writings, especially such as are set forth by authority, and even to the very best translations of the holy Scripture itself.
Our general aim therefore in this undertaking was, not to gratify this or that party in any their unreasonable demands; but to do that, which to our best understandings we conceived might most tend to the preservation of peace and unity in the Church; the procuring of reverence, and exciting of piety and devotion in the publick worship of God; and the cutting off occasion from them that seek occasion of cavil or quarrel against the Liturgy of the Church. And as to the several variations from the former Book, whether by alteration, addition, or otherwise, it shall suffice to give this general account, That most of the alterations were made, either first, for the better direction of them that are to officiate in any part of Divine Service; which is chiefly done in the Calendars and Rubricks: Or secondly, for the more proper expressing of some words or phrases of ancient usage in terms more suitable to the language of the present times, and the clearer explanation of some other words and phrases, that were either of doubtful signification, or otherwise liable to misconstruction: Or thirdly, for a more perfect rendering of such portions of holy Scripture, as are inserted into the Liturgy; which, in the Epistles and Gospels especially, and in sundry other places, are now ordered to be read according to the last Translation: and that it was thought convenient, that some Prayers and Thanksgivings, fitted to special occasions, should be added in their due places; particularly for those at Sea, together with an office for the Baptism of such as are of Riper Years which, although not so necessary when the former Book was compiled, yet by the growth of Anabaptism, through the licentiousness of the late times crept in amongst us, is now become necessary, and may be always useful for the baptizing of natives in our plantations, and others converted to the faith. If any man, who shall desire a more particular account of the several alterations in any part of the Liturgy, shall take the pains to compare the present Book with the former; we doubt not but the reason of the change may easily appear.
And having thus endeavoured to discharge our duties in this weighty affair, as in the sight of God, and to approve our sincerity therein (so far as lay in us) to the consciences of all men; although we know it impossible (in such variety of apprehensions, humours and interests, as are in the world) to please all; nor can expect that men of factious, peevish, and perverse spirits should be satisfied with any thing that can be done in this kind by any other than themselves: yet we have good hope, that what is here presented, and hath been by the Convocations of both Provinces with great diligence examined and approved, will be also well accepted and approved by all sober, peaceable, and truly conscientious sons of the Church of England.
CONCERNING THE SERVICE OF THE CHURCH. THERE was never any thing by the wit of man so well devised, or so sure established, which in continuance of time hath not been corrupted as, among other things, it may plainly appear by the Common Prayers in the Church, commonly called Divine Service. The first original and ground whereof if a man would search out by the ancient Fathers, he shall find, that the same was not ordained but of a good purpose, and for a great advancement of godliness. For they so ordered the matter, that all the whole Bible (or the greatest part thereof) should be read over once every year; intending thereby, that the Clergy, and especially such as were Ministers in the Congregation, should (by often reading, and meditation in God's word) be stirred up to godliness themselves, and be more able to exhort others by wholesome doctrine, and to confute them that were adversaries to the truth; and further, that the people (by daily hearing of holy Scripture read in the Church) might continually profit more and more in the knowledge of God, and be the more inflamed with the love of his true religion.
But these many years passed, this godly and decent order of the ancient Fathers hath been so altered, broken, and neglected, by planting in uncertain stories, and legends, with multitude of responds, verses, vain repetitions, commemorations, and synodals; that commonly when any book of the Bible was begun, after three or four chapters were read out, all the rest
uncertain stories and legends," i.e. by reading spurious "Acts of Saints and Martyrs;" (b) by "multitude of responds, verses (versicles) and vain repetitions," referring clearly to musical responses interspersed in the reading of Scriptures, which were intended (like the responses to the Commandments) to accept and apply God's Word, but which had become so elaborate, and sometimes irrelevant, as to obscure it; (c) by "Commemorations," that is, Antiphons, Versicles, and Collects, commemorating Festivals, introduced into other festal or non-festal services; and (d) Synodals, that is, Canons of Provincial Synods, usually read after the Lessons. Similarly it complains that, whereas the whole Psalter was ordered to be said or sung every week (not, however, in the regular order of the Psalms), yet, in practice, partly by the interference of numerous festivals and partly by negligence, "a few Psalms were daily said, and the rest utterly omitted."
It then protests against the use of Latin instead of the vernacular tongue, and the cumbrousness and artificiality of the rubrical and ritual directions called "the Pie" (in the Latin Pica, a word of uncertain derivation), as effectually preventing the Service from being the Service of the people.
It next enunciates the four principles which obviously guided the compilers of the Prayer Book in forming it mainly out of old materials, and returning (as they believed) to the Primitive order, viz., (a) PURIFICATION from all that was untrue or questionable and superstitious, according to a Scriptural standard; (b) TRANSLATION into the vernacular language; (c) SIMPLIFICATION, both in length and order (even at the cost of completeness and beauty), so as to make it intelligible and practicable for the people; (d) UNIFORMITY, abolishing the ancient variety of "Uses," with a view to unity both of worship and of faith.
Lastly, it establishes an authoritative power of interpretation in the Bishop (or, in cases of special difficulty, the Archbishop), on all doubtful points whatever, both of theory and of practice, in the clearest terms.
The Act of Uniformity of Elizabeth especially sanctions Service in Latin, Greek, or Hebrew, in the Universities; the Act of Charles II. adds "the Colleges of Westminster, Winchester, and Eton, and the Convocations," but mentions only Latin.
The Order to the clergy to say "daily the Morning and Evening Prayer (either privately or openly)," is all but absolute; for it is clear that the "urgent cause" recognised must be one of real emergency; and it is notable that this order has been increased in stringency in the successive Revisions of the Prayer Book.
The Order for the Public use of the Daily Service is not quite so absolute; but it is still perfectly plain that it is intended to secure it as a rule, and that the frequent disuse of the Service, without reasonable hindrance," is a contravention both of the letter and of the spirit of the law.
were unread. And in this sort the book of Isaiah was begun in Advent, and the book of Genesis in Septuagesima; but they were only begun, and never read through: after like sort were other books of holy Scripture used. And moreover, whereas St. Paul would have such language spoken to the people in the Church, as they might understand, and have profit by hearing the same; the service in this Church of England these many years hath been read in Latin to the people, which they understand not; so that they have heard with their ears only, and their heart, spirit, and mind, have not been edified thereby. And furthermore, notwithstanding that the ancient Fathers have divided the Psalms into seven portions, whereof every one was called a Nocturn: now of late time a few of them have been daily said, and the rest utterly omitted. Moreover, the number 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.
These inconveniences therefore considered, here is set forth such an order, whereby the same shall be redressed. And for a readiness in this matter, here is drawn out a Calendar for that purpose, which is plain and easy to be understood; wherein (so much as may be) the reading of holy Scripture is so set forth, that all things shall be done in order, without breaking one piece from another. For this cause be cut off Anthems, Responds, Invitatories, and such like things as did break the continual course of the reading of the Scripture.
Yet, because there is no remedy, but that of necessity there must be some Rules; therefore certain Rules are here set forth; which, as they are few in number, so they are plain and easy to be understood. So that here you have an Order for Prayer, and for the reading of the holy Scripture, much agreeable to the mind and purpose of the old Fathers, and a great deal more profitable and commodious, than that which of late was used. It is more profitable, because here are left out many things, whereof some are untrue, some uncertain, some vain and superstitious; and nothing is ordained to be read, but the very pure Word of God, the holy Scriptures, or that which is agreeable to the same; and that in such a language and order as is most easy and plain for the understanding both of the readers and hearers. It is also more commodious, both for the shortness thereof, and for the plainness of the order, and for that the rules be few and easy.
And whereas heretofore there hath been great diversity in saying and singing in Churches within this Realm; some following Salisbury use, some Hereford use, and some the use of Bangor, some of York, some of Lincoln; now from henceforth all the whole Realm shall have but one use.
And forasmuch as nothing can be so plainly set forth, but doubts may arise in the use and practice of the same; to appease all such diversity (if any arise) and for the resolution of all doubts, concerning the manner how to understand, do, and execute, the things contained in this Book; the parties that so doubt, or diversly take any thing, shall alway resort to the Bishop of the Diocese, who by his discretion shall take order for the quieting and appeasing of the same; so that the same order be not contrary to any thing contained in this Book. And if the Bishop of the Diocese be in doubt, then he may send for the resolution thereof to the Archbishop.
THOUGH it be appointed, that all things shall be read and sung in the Church in the English Tongue, to the end that the congregation may be thereby edified; yet it is not meant, but that when men say Morning and Evening Prayer privately, they may say the same in any language that they themselves do understand.
And all Priests and Deacons are to say daily the Morning and Evening Prayer either privately or openly, not being let by sickness, or some other urgent
And the Curate that ministereth in every Parish-church or Chapel, being at home, and not being otherwise reasonably hindered, shall say the same in the Parish-church or Chapel where he ministereth, and shall cause a bell to be tolled thereunto a convenient time before he begin, that the people may come to hear God's Word, and to pray with him.
This Preface also is probably due to Cranmer. In 1549 it was placed at the end of the Book, after the Commination Service, and followed by certain Ritual directions; in 1552 it was transferred to its present place.
It vindicates the right of the Church to distinguish between the various Ceremonies previously in use; on the ground that some, originally good, had been abused; some were from the beginning the offspring of "indiscreet devotion" and "zeal without knowledge;" some were still good both for decency and edification.
The claim of this right for the Church accords with Art. xxxiv. Every particular or national Church hath authority to ordain, change, and abolish ceremonies or rites of the Church ordained only by man's authority, so that all things be done to edifying." Those who act in the name of the Church are "those lawfully called and authorized thereunto." Their action is morally limited by the respect for individual freedom referred to below, and by that desire to break as little as may be from the past, and from the rest of Christendom, which the English Reformation invariably professed; but, once taken, it is asserted (as in the Article) that it cannot be set aside by individual will. It is notable, as illustrating the true sense of the "middle way" spoken of in Bishop Sanderson's Preface, that the course taken is not a compromise "to please and satisfy" both parties, but dictated by a simple consideration how "to please God and profit both."
The need of reform of the ancient ceremonial is then urged, against those who are "so addicted to their old customs" as to abhor all change, on three grounds: (a) its exceeding cumbrousness and artificiality, and frequent obscurity of meaning, on which St. Augustine's Letter to Januarius (Ep. xliv. in Bened. Edn., Paris, 1836) is quoted; (b) its tendency to foster formalism, and so to fall away from the freedom and spirituality of the Gospel, which are contrasted with the Ceremonial character of the Mosaic Law; (c) its frequent abuse, by superstitious error and corrupt motives, so engrained that it could only be got rid of by cutting away the ceremony itself. All these may easily be proved by examination of the facts of the case. It is obvious that the third will require the most stringent proof, as being against the general rule, Abusus non tollit usum--a rule which, however, cannot be maintained universally by any who understand how largely men are influenced by the power of association.
On the other hand (as against the strong individualism naturally fostered, by reaction, during the Reformation, and afterwards developed in the Puritan party), it is urged that "the wilful and contemptuous breaking of a common order and discipline is no slight transgression." The ceremonial now authorized is defended (a) by consideration of the need for all Public Worship of Form and Ceremony in the abstract; (b) by the presumption in favour of what has been handed down from antiquity, and tried by the