Page images
PDF
EPUB

Edward VI.-First Act of Uniformity

67

light supplied from ecclesiastical law, emanating from ecclesiastical persons; so now we have to exhibit the newly-established order of service, through the media of statutes proceeding from parliamentary authority.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The First Act of Uniformity passed A.D. 1549. The preamble confirms the previous illustrations of the diversity and liberty of public worship. It has these words: Where of long time 'there hath been had in this realm divers forms of Common 'Prayer, commonly called the Service of the Church, that is to say, the Use of Sarum, of York, of Bangor, and of Lincoln; and besides the same now of late, much more divers and sundry 'forms and fashions have been used in the cathedral and parish 'churches; with divers and sundry rites and ceremonies con'cerning matins and even song, and in the administration of other sacraments of the Church.' 'The King hath hitherto divers 'times assayed to stay innovation or new rites, yet the same hath 'not had such good success as his Highness required, therefore 'he hath been pleased with the intent to secure a uniform, quiet, and godly order,' to appoint Cranmer and others to make one 'convenient and meet Order of Common Prayer, the which, by 'the aid of the Holy Ghost, is of them concluded.' This order was thenceforth to be used in such order and form as is 'contained in the said book, and none other or otherwise.'

[ocr errors]

of

This statute did two things. It struck away the ancient prescriptive right of bishops to prepare, vary, and recommend a Use of Open Prayer for their respective sees; and next, it tied up the entire body of the clergy to certain words, to be uttered in prescribed forms, and none other or otherwise.' Had this been all, the Act would have been a dead letter as to many the clergy. There were then, had been from time immemorial, and there are now, ministers who are 'ordinaries' in their own churches. The bishop even now does not 'visit' them. By virtue of institution, they can exercise all the functions of a diocesan, and are remnants of the ancient parochial bishops. Such unique ordinaries' were, however, by a very graceful turn in the Act, brought within its scope and operation. Section xiii. gives archbishops, bishops, and other ordinaries, having peculiar ecclesiastical jurisdictions,' power to carry the Act into effect; and by consequence what these 'other ordinaries' did, or aided in doing in a diocess, that they might be called upon to do in their own parishes. It was necessary to bring in this provision, because by the constitution of Peckham, A.D. 1281, certain things were to be done by certain men, unless he [who did them] be exempt from the 'ordinary jurisdiction, both diocesan and metropolitical;' and

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

therefore Peckham himself, two years before, had 'intreated 'all exempt religious priests that they should freely comply 'with this ordinance [which related to Prayers for the Dead]; 'or at least do by their own authority ordain it to be observed. They are to know that we will thank them for their good'will, and shall lament to find them otherwise disposed.' Here, then, we discover a class of priests wholly exempt from diocesan and metropolitan authority. Forty-five of such peculiars now exist in the Diocess of Winchester, and they were formerly .much more numerous. But for the section in the Act just specified, all these 'exempt' priests might have set it at defiance. The Ordinary of a peculiar did so defy many a bishop and archbishop, who in ancient times sought their happiness in quietude and not in contention. By the above proceedings, however, the entire priesthood were subdued.

[ocr errors]

The Second Act of Uniformity was in the year 1552. It made very many alterations in the former book, some of them very important; but not one of them was equal to the change now made in the words used at delivering the eleThese contained sentiment and ments to the communicants. doctrine, rather than a mere form of words, and expressly taught that the Eucharist was restricted to a commemorative solemnity.

The Third Act of Uniformity dates A.D. 1558. Elizabeth re-enjoins the second book of her brother, Edward VI., with the form of the Litany altered and corrected, and two 'sentences added in the delivery of the Sacrament to the com'municant.' The Queen restored the words Edward had omitted in his second book, and united them to the words he had used in his first book. Why restore such words? 'Because it 'appears to have been the persuasion of the Queen and her council that in the important question of the Eucharist too 'much had been done in the reign of Edward VI. in the way of innovation; that the mysteries had been impugned by excluding words that might suggest though they do 'not necessarily involve, the doctrine of the real presence." What this real presence means is beyond our knowledge, nor do we find that Episcopalians can aid our ignorance on this point. But either Cranmer had been right in what he said, or Elizabeth was wrong. As left in the second book of Edward, the doctrine of the real presence was neither suggested nor involved, but all mysticism of that sort was expressly excluded: as Elizabeth enjoined it, the obscurity returns; for the words she employed (and they are still retained) do more than 'suggest,' they declare *Cardwell's Revision of the Liturgies (Oxford), page 34.

The Act of Uniformity of 1662.

69

the mystery intended to be in the service, and that at a time when, of all others, the thoughtful communicant is certain to imbibe a sentiment which he cannot disassociate from the solemnity in which he is engaged.

The Fourth Act of Uniformity came into operation A.D. 1662. It linked all the three preceding ones into itself, and thus formed the crowning point of a distinct class of legislative acts that had spread over 113 years. It reimposed subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles of Elizabeth; and that for a purpose which will presently appear.

The grave charge brought in this Act against some of the ministers of the Church was, that by 'great and scandalous neglect in the use of the Liturgy enjoined by' Elizabeth, they had helped to bring about schisms and factions, 'to the great 'decay and scandal of the reformed religion of the Church of 'England.' But what if this charge can be turned against the accuser? Who had injured the Reformation-Elizabeth, who carried back the Church to the use of words in the Liturgy which the matured judgment of Cranmer and his compeers had expunged, because they contained and sanctioned the doctrine of a real presence-or the men who had neglected to use such Liturgy simply because it had given a peculiar sanction to the Church authorities of their day in their determined efforts to restore as much of the old Roman element as possible? The charge recoils upon this last Act of Uniformity, and cannot, by any force of construction, be made to apply to the 2,000 ministers who threw up their preferments rather than become Romanized to the extent proposed.

It was conformity to the Doctrine, more than conformity to the Liturgy of Elizabeth, that was sought. That was the reason why her Thirty-nine Articles were to be subscribed anew. Now, what is the fact? Elizabeth did more than restore words in the Liturgy which Edward had expunged; she fell back upon a doctrine which Edward, in his Articles, had repudiated. The doctrine was that of the Opus Operatum. His Article reads thus: 'Sacraments have a wholesome effect and operation; [and yet 'not that of the work wrought, as some men speak; which word, 'as it is strange and unknown to Holy Scripture, so it engen'dereth no godly, but a very superstitious sense]. But they that "receive the Sacrament unworthily purchase to themselves 'damnation, as St. Paul saith.' How reads Elizabeth's Article? She begins as did Edward; goes on as he did until she comes to the words we have enclosed in brackets. All these she omits, and then concludes as Edward had concluded. His renunciation of the Opus Operatum she puts to sleep. The Queen and her

advisers knew full well that in dropping the renunciation, the old Canon of Peckham in 1281* revived, and that not by induction, but by virtue of a positive statute † of Henry VIII., which had declared that the canons then in force to be' now still ' in force as they were before the making of the Act.' This law was known; Elizabeth and her advisers must have known it; and by a secret, but almost surreptitious, method of proceeding, 'the reformed religion of the Church of England was thus made to retain the real presence doctrine. This was indeed the second tenet of that class which she restored. The 'real pre'sence' and the Opus Operatum' must ever run pari passu. They are theological twins, and are always seen in company with each other.

[ocr errors]

It may be said that these observations apply to 1558 as well as to 1662. Doubtless they do, but to a greater extent and with more cumulative force to the latter than to the former. Indeed, the three preceding Acts of Uniformity reached no further than an enjoined use of prepared prayers, and heavy penalties for uttering 'an open word in derogation, depraving, or despising any part' of the book; whereas the last Act prescribes not use only, and not only reinforces all the penalties contained in the other Acts, but demands assent and consent to 'all and everything contained in' the book. And still more, assent and consent to' all such things as are now 'prescribed' therein. So that the men of this period were tied up to exact terms, and, in addition, were made to forswear the constitution of their own Church, the authorities of which had never before, during all its historic and theological changes, 'prescribed' belief in the ceremonies ordained. And still more, such assent and 'consent' to both use and belief, was 'solemnly' to be declared in the presence of the congregation, made at the same time that the Articles 'ex animo' were professed as the rule and standard of faith. The ex animo' relative to the Articles would be construed to apply to the Book of Common Prayer, and lead to the conclusion that, as from his soul, the priest believed every word in the standard of faith, so, from his soul, he both believed and would use every word prescribed as to practice. The cord that had previously been drawn around the altar, had proved elastic, a chain is therefore substituted; and to render the process more stringent and humiliating, the men now required to wear this chain were even to declare that from their hearts they believed no wrong to have been done either to them or their Church, in their being compelled to bear the weight thus laid upon them, or feel dishonoured by this newly-invented and * Quoted in page 64. † 25 Henry VIII., ch. xix. sect. 7.

[ocr errors]

Mountain Adventure.

[ocr errors]

71

'prescribed subjection. We quit,' said they, 'rather than conform.' And, according to the constitution of their Church, they carried their "Orders along with them, which 'Orders,' by the same constitution, they could confer upon others, either with or without the presence of a bishop.

We content ourselves with simply stating these matters of fact, and leave our readers to make their own application and use of them.

ART. IV. (1.) The Alps; or, Sketches of Life and Nature in the Mountains. By H. BERLEPSCH. Translated by the Rev. LESLIE STEPHEN, M.A. London: Longman & Co. 1861. (2.) Sketches of Nature in the Alps. By FRIEDRICH VON TSCHUDI.. London: Longman & Co. 1856. (3.) Mountaineering in 1861. A Vacation Tour. By JOHN TYNDALL, F.R.S., Professor of Natural Philosophy in the Royal Institution of Great Britain; Author of the Glaciers of the Alps.' London: Longman & Co. 1862. (4.) Peaks, Passes, and Glaciers; being Excursions by Members of the Alpine Club. Second Series. Edited by EDWARD SHIRLEY KENNEDY, M.A., F.R.G.S., President of the Club. In Two Volumes. London: Longman & Co. 1862.

[ocr errors]

MOUNTAINEERING has now become a sort of fashionable pastime. The existence of a society for the exploration of Alpine cliffs and glaciers is a significant feature of the age. Had the great geographical problems of the last few centuries been still unsolved, we should probably propose to settle them by means of clubs, or, if likely to produce money, by means of joint-stock companies, with limited liability. We should have associations for the discovery of America, the fountains of the Nile, the north-west passage, or the circumnavigation of the globe, as it is possible that we may soon have clubs for the investigation of islands like Iceland, or of continents like Africa.

There is, however, a peculiar charm about mountain adventure, not only for the philosopher, who climbs into a new world, where science has a thousand questions to ask; or the poet, who finds richer food for his fancy than the prose levels of life can afford; but even for the Cockney tourist, prouder of his Richmond Hill than a Swiss of his Jungfrau ; or the Yankee traveller, who looks upon Vesuvius as lost for want of a Barnum, and wonders why

« PreviousContinue »