Page images
PDF
EPUB

LAUD, I will not endeavour by myself, or any other, directly or indiAbp. Cant.

rectly, to bring in any popish doctrine contrary to that which is so established : nor will I ever give my consent to alter the government of this Church, by archbishops, bishops, deans, and archdeacons, &c. as it stands now established, and as by right it ought to stand ; nor yet ever to subject it to the usurpations and superstitions of the see of Rome. And all these things I do plainly and sincerely acknowledge and swear, according to the plain and common sense and understanding of the same words, without any equivocation, or mental evasion, or secret reservation whatsoever. And this I do heartily, willingly, and truly, upon the faith of a Christian. So help me God in Jesus Christ."

99

לי

To go on with the titles of the canons. The 7th is entitled, A Declaration concerning some Rites and Ceremonies. 8. Of Preaching for Conformity. 9. One Book of Articles of Enquiry, to be used at all Parochial Visitations. 10. Concerning the Conversation of the Clergy. 11. Chancellors' Patents. 12. Chancellors alone not to Censure the Clergy in sundry Cases. 13. Excommunication and Absolution not to be pronounced but by a Priest. 14. Concerning Commutations, and the disposing of them. 15. Touching concurrent Jurisdiction. 16. Concerning Licenses to Marry. 17. Against vexatious Citations,”

Besides these canons, which were all unanimously subscribed by the convocation (the bishop of Gloucester excepted), there were some other things proposed, which either fell in the debate, or miscarried by the distraction of the times. For instance, one Griffith, a member for one of the Welch dioceses, moved for a new edition of the Welch Church Bible: the Bible had been about sixty years since translated into that language by the assistance of bishop Morgan; but this performance suffered considerably in the press. For instance, verse twenty-three, of the 12th of Exodus, where the angel is said to

pass over the door sprinkled with blood,” is omitted, which maims the sense of the chapter. And in Habakkuk, the second and the fifth, the words “he is a proud man," are left out. Further, there was a design to draw an English pontifical, and get it passed by the convocation : this pontifical was to take in the form of king Charles's coronation, and serve as a prece

Synod.
Anglican.

canon.

The canons

dent for future solemnities of this kind. A form for consecrat- CHARLES

1. ing churches, churchyards, and chapels, was likewise to be inserted: to these an office was to be added, for reconciling such as had either done open penance, or apostatized to Mahometanism. These three forms, together with the Office of Confirmation, and the Ordinal now in force, were to make the whole book ; but the public discontents growing higher, it was thought advisable to postpone this matter till the times were better settled : many of the members excepted against tying up preachers to use the prayer before the sermon prescribed by the fifty-fifth canon. To relieve them under this grievance, as some counted it, a short prayer, comprehending the matter of the canon, was drawn up: this form, it was said, would have been well received by those who scrupled the direction of the

But the archbishop thought it better to keep close to the old rule, than run the risk of a new experiment: and thus the motion was dropped without going further.

Before the canons were offered to the houses for their sub- May 29. scription, they were read before the king and privy-council ; approved the judges and other eminent persons of the long robe being by the privypresent. And here they were approved by the whole audience, judges. the king giving the archbishop thanks for bringing things to so good an issue. After this solemn approbation, they were subscribed in the upper house by the bishops and the rest of the clergy ; none refusing to put their hand but the bishop of Gloucester. This prelate's firmness to the Reformation had been formerly questioned, which suspicion was increased by this refusal; for it was thought the strictness of the third canon, for suppressing the growth of popery, was the only reason which made him stand off. He was first argued with, and then required to acquiesce, by his metropolitan ; and these methods proving ineffectual, he was suspended ab officio et beneficio by both houses. This sentence being put into form, signed by the archbishop, and publicly pronounced, the king ordered his commitment. But this durance was but short; for on the 10th of July he acknowledged his misbehaviour before the lords of the council, and took the oath enjoined by the sixth canon. Upon this compliance he recovered his liberty. But whether this submission was not made with some reserved latitude, is not altogether so clear; for in his last

LAUD, sickness he declared himself in the communion of the Church of Abp. Cant.

Rome, and ordered his will to be drawn accordingly,

The canons of this convocation were transmitted to York, and signed unanimously by that synod, without debating upon matter or form. And after the national Church had thus given them their authority, they were confirmed by the king's

letters-patent under the broad seal. Exceptions But all this countenance and regular proceeding was not against them answered.

sufficient to screen them from censure. Some were unpleased with the seventh canon, intituled, “A Declaration concerning some Rites and Ceremonies.” This canon recommends bowing towards the communion-table, or altar. However, it is couched in very inoffensive terms, and lays no penalty upon the omission of this ceremony; and, which is more, all persons are desired to manage by the “rule of charity,” and neither blame the practice or omission. However, notwithstanding the indifferency the matter seemed to rest in, some thought those who forbore the ceremony would be looked on as short in their conformity, and stand with disadvantage in the opinion of the prelates.

But nothing occasioned more clamour than the oath enjoined by the sixth canon, which was pelted both from pulpit and press. The "&c.' in this engagement was reckoned a dark abbreviation, and that the meaning of it was not to be reached. But to this it was answered, that in the five preceding canons, made some time before, there was a particular recital of all the persons vested with ecclesiastical jurisdiction ; that is to say, archbishops, bishops, deans, archdeacons, deans and chapters, and other persons having peculiar and exempt jurisdiction. All these distinctions, having been particularly set forth in the first five canons, were in the first draught of this oath cut off with this "&c.' to avoid repetition. However, it was intended to engross the canons in the whole length of the enumeration, and then the exceptionable • &c.' would have been thrown out,

of course ; but the king being tired with the charge of keeping 794.

a guard for the convocation, and the clamour occasioned by this extraordinary security, sent several messages to the clergy

This bishop of Gloucester was Godfrey Goodman, formerly dean of Roc er. He came into his bishopric in 1624, and died a Papalist in 1655; after which the see of Gloucester remained vacant five years.

1.

לי

to press them upon dispatch. The houses being thus some- CHARLES what hurried, sent the canons to the press, and forgot to expunge this "&c.' It was answered,

Secondly. That the '&c.' in the oath is so limited and explained by the following words, viz., “as it stands now established,” that there can be no reasonable fear of a dangerous meeting. It was farther objected, that the requiring an oath not to consent to the alteration of the present Church government, by archbishops, bishops, deans, archdeacons, deans and chapters, &c., was a confinement of the civil and ecclesiastical legislature; and tying the Church and State down to the decrees of a convocation. To be sworn out of liberty in this manner was reckoned the more unreasonable, because some of the orders specified in the oath, particularly deans and archdeacons, have no pretence to a divine right, and consequently cannot prescribe against alteration. To this it was replied, that the convocation never intended this oath for a restraint of their own authority, or to bar the clergy complying with such alterations, as might be afterwards lawfully made ; therefore, these words, “I will never give my consent to alter the government of the Church,” &c., imply no more, than that the clergy bind themselves not to be in a practice against the present ecclesiastical establishment, nor attempt an alteration in the Church, without the consent of those who govern.

Lastly. It is objected, the person is to declare “he takes the oath willingly;” though, after all, there is no refusing it, without incurring the penalties of suspension and deprivation. But this pretended rigour is defended by a parallel instance in the oath of allegiance; for here the party is obliged to swear he makes this recognition “ heartily, truly, and willingly.” And yet, notwithstanding the compass of this acknowledgement, the taking the oath is required under very severe forfeitures.

Thirdly. The canons were charged with “encroaching upon the property of the subject.” But this objection shall be postponed to the next parliament.

But after all it was thought the main exception against the convocation was their drawing the first canon so much to the service of the crown, and flatly condemning resistance of the government upon any pretence whatsoever. It is true in this they advanced no other doctrine but what was warranted by the laws, and asserted at length in the Homilies. But notwithstanding they went plainly upon the authority of Church

[ocr errors]

לל

Laud.
Cant's
Doom.

Church.

LAUD, and State, some people were much unpleased to have their Ap. Cant.

memory refreshed with this doctrine. This resentment, though smothered at first by the English malcontents, was spoken out by the Scotch commissioners. These Covenanters, amongst the rest of their articles of impeachment, “charged the archbishop with making canons against their just and necessary defence; and that he had obliged the clergy to preach such doctrine four times a year as was not only contrary to their proceedings, but to the doctrine and proceedings of other re

formed Kirks, to the judgment of all sound divines and lawHistory of yers, as tending to the utter ruin and enslaving of all estates bles, &c. of and kingdoms." From hence it appears that the guarding the Archbishop

government, the pinning the subjects so close to their duty,

and declaring so strongly against rebellion, was the great A.D. 1640. grievance in these canons. To go back a little and touch

upon the affairs in Ireland : in this kingdom a parliament met on

the 20th of March, and sat till the 17th of June. At this Irish acts in session two acts passed for the benefit of the clergy. The favour of the

first statute, entitled “ An Act for Endowing Churches with Glebe Lands," is as follows :

" Whereas all beneficiaries with cure, especially vicars, are bound to perpetual residence; and yet, through the war and confusion of former times in this kingdom, the ancient glebes in many places are so obscured that they cannot be found out, by which means the incumbents are necessitated to perpetual non-residence ; be it therefore enacted by the king's most excellent majesty, the lords spiritual and temporal, and commons in this parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, that it shall be lawful for any devout person, without licence of mortmain, to endow churches having no glebes, or not above ten acres of glebe, with new glebe, provided the glebe of

any one church so endowed do not exceed forty acres at the 15Charles 1. most, and that the said lands be not holden in capite, or by

knight's service."

By the next statute, the penalty of deprivation incurred by the incumbent, for not paying the twentieth part of his living

to the crown, is lessened to a forfeiture of only the treble 15 Charles l. value of the said twentieth part: this was the last parliament

of that kingdom during the earl of Strafford's lieutenancy.

יל

.

[ocr errors]

cap. 11.

Jd.

cap. 12.

This summer the Covenanting Scots levied another army

« PreviousContinue »