Imágenes de páginas

there is another help: for the causes that come before him, are these: tithes, legacies, administrations, and other testamentary causes; causes matrimonial; accusations against ministers, tending to their suspension, deprivation, or degrading; simony, incontinency, heresy, blasphemy, breach of the sabbath, and other like causes of scandal. The first two of these, in my opinion, differ from the rest; that is, tithes and testaments: for those be matters of profit, and in their nature temporal; though, by a favour and connivance of the temporal jurisdiction, they have been allowed and permitted to the courts ecclesiastical; the one, to the end the clergy might sue for that that was their sustentation before their own judges; and the other, in a kind of piety and religion, which was thought incident to the performance of dead mens wills. And surely for these two the bishop, in my opinion, may with less danger discharge himself upon his ordinary judges. And I think likewise it will fall out, that those suits are in the greatest number. But for the rest, which require a spiritual science and discretion, in respect of their nature, or of the scandal, it were reason, in my opinion, there were no audience given but by the bishop himself; he being also assisted, as was touched before: but it were necessary also he were attended by his chancellor, or some others his officers being learned in the civil laws, for his better instruction in points of formality, or the courses of the court which if it were done, then were there less use of the official's court, whereof there is now so much complaint: and causes of the nature aforesaid being only drawn to the audience of the bishop, it would repress frivolous and prowling suits, and give a grave and incorrupt proceeding to such causes as shall be fit for the court.


There is a third point also, not of jurisdiction, but of form of proceeding, which may deserve reformation, the rather, because it is contrary to the laws and customs of this land and state, which though they do not rule those proceedings, yet may they be advised with for better directions; and that is the oath ev

officio: whereby men are enforced to accuse themselves, and, that that is more, are sworn unto blanks, and not unto accusations and charges declared. By the law of England no man is bound to accuse himself. In the highest cases of treason, torture is used for discovery, and not for evidence. In capital matters, no delinquent's answer upon oath is required; no, not permitted. In criminal matters not capital, handled in the star-chamber, and in causes of conscience, handled in the chancery, for the most part grounded upon trust and secrecy, the oath of the party is required. But how? Where there is an accusation and an accuser, which we call bills of complaint, from which the complainant cannot vary, and out of the compass of the which the defendant may not be examined, exhibited unto the court, and by process notified unto the defendant. But to examine a man upon oath, out of the insinuation of fame, or out of accusations secret and undeclared, though it have some countenance from the civil law, yet it is so opposite ex diametro to the sense and course of the common law, as it may well receive some limitation.


FOR the liturgy, great respect and heed would be taken, lest by inveighing against the dumb ministry, due reverence be not withdrawn from the liturgy. For though the gift of preaching be far above that of reading; yet the action of the liturgy is as high and holy as that of the sermon.. It is said, Domus mea domus orationis vocabitur: the house of prayer, not the house of preaching: and whereas the Apostle saith, How shall men call upon him, on whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe unless they hear? And how shall they hear, without a preacher? it appeareth that as preaching is the more original, so prayer is the more final; as the difference is between the seed and the fruit: for the keeping of God's law, is the fruit of the teaching of the law; and prayer,

or invocation, or divine service, or liturgy, for these be but varieties of terms, is the immediate hallowing of the name of God, and the principal work of the first table, and of the great commandment of the love of God. It is true that the preaching of the holy word of God is the sowing of the seed; it is the lifting up of the brazen serpent, the ministry of faith, and the ordinary means of salvation: but yet it is good to take example, how that the best actions of the worship of God may be extolled excessively and superstitiously. As the extolling of the sacrament bred the superstition of the mass; the extolling of the liturgy and prayers bred the superstition of the monastical orders and oraisons and so no doubt preaching likewise may be magnified and extolled superstitiously, as if all the whole body of God's worship should be turned into an ear. So as none, as I suppose, of sound judgment, will derogate from the liturgy, if the form thereof be in all parts agreeable to the word of God, the example of the primitive Church, and that holy decency which St. Paul, commendeth. And therefore, first, that there be a set form of prayer, and that it be not left either to an extemporal form, or to an arbitrary form. Secondly, that it consist as well of lauds, hymns, and thanksgivings, as of petitions, prayers, and supplications. Thirdly, that the form thereof be quickened with some shortness and diversities of prayers and hymns, and with some interchanges of the voice of the people, as well as of the minister. Fourthly, that it admit some distinctions of times, and commemorations of God's principal benefits, as well general as particular. Fifthly, that prayers likewise be appropriated to several necessities and occasions of the Church. Sixthly, that there be a form likewise of words and liturgy in the administration of the sacraments, and in the denouncing of the censures of the Church, and other holy actions and solemnities; these things, I think, will not be much controverted.

But for the particular exceptions to the liturgy in form as it now standeth, I think divers of them, allowing they were just, yet seem they not to be weighty; otherwise than that nothing ought to be counted

light in matters of religion and piety; as the heathen himself could say, etiam vultu sæpe læditur pietas. That the word, priest, should not be continued, especially with offence, the word, minister, being already made familiar. This may be said that it is a good rule ín translation, never to confound that in one word in the translation, which is precisely distinguished in two words in the original, for doubt of equivocation and traducing. And therefore seeing the word gerburg and is be always distinguished in the original; and the one used for a sacrificer, the other for a minister; the word, priest, being made common to both, whatsoever the derivation be, yet in use it confoundeth the minister with the sacrificer. And for an example of this kind, I did ever allow the discretion and tenderness of the Rhemish translation in this point; that finding in the original the word ayárn and never us, do ever translate charity, and never love, because of the indifferency and equivocation of the word with impure love.

Touching the absolution; it is not unworthy consideration, whether it may not be thought improper and unnecessary for there are but two sorts of absolution; both supposing an obligation precedent; the one upon an excommunication, which is religious and primitive; the other upon confession and penance, which is superstitious, or at least positive; and both particular, and neither general. Therefore since the one is taken away, and the other hath its proper case, what doth a general absolution, wherein there is nei ther penance nor excommunication precedent? for the Church never looseth, but where the Church hath bound. And surely I may think this at the first was allowed in a kind of spiritual discretion, because the Church thought the people could not be suddenly weaned from their conceit of assoiling, to which they had been so long accustomed.

For confirmation, to my understanding, the state of the question is, whether it be not a matter mistaken and altered by time; and whether that be not now made a subsequent to baptism, which was indeed an

inducement to the communion. For whereas in the primitive Church children were examined of their faith before they were admitted to the communion, time may seem to have turned it to refer as if it had been to receive a confirmation of their baptism.

For private baptism by women, or lay persons, the best divines do utterly condemn it; and I hear it not generally defended; and I have often marvelled, that where the book in the preface to public baptism doth acknowledge that baptism in the practice of the primitive Church was anniversary, and but at certain times; which sheweth that the primitive Church did not attribute so much to the ceremony, as they would break an outward and general order for it; the book should afterwards allow of private baptism, as if the ceremony were of that necessity, as the very institution, which committed baptism only to the ministers, should be broken in regard of the supposed necessity. And therefore this point of all others I think was but a Concessum propter duritiem cordis.

For the form of celebrating matrimony, the ring seemeth to many even of vulgar sense and understanding, a ceremony not grave, especially to be made, as the words make it, the essential part of the action; besides, some other of the words are noted in speech to be not so decent and fit.

For music in churches; that there should be singing of psalms and spiritual songs, is not denied: so the question is de modo; wherein if a man will look attentively into the order and observation of it, it is easy to discern between the wisdom of the institution and the excess of the late times. For first there are no songs or verses sung by the quire, which are not supposed by continual use, to be so familiar with the people, as they have them without book, whereby the sound hurteth not the understanding: and those which cannot read upon the book, are yet partakers of the sense, and may follow it with their mind. So again, after the reading of the word, it was thought fit there should be some pause for holy meditation, before they proceeded to the rest of the service: which pause was


« AnteriorContinuar »