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Chiefly of England,
FROM THE FIRST PLANTING OF CHRISTIANITY, TO THE END OF
THE REIGN OF KING CHARLES THE SECOND;
WITH A BRIEF ACCOUNT OF THE
AFFAIRS OF RELIGION IN IRELAND.
COLLECTED FROM THE BEST ANCIENT HISTORIANS, COUNCILS, AND RECORDS,
JEREMY COLLIER, M.A.
WITH A LIFE OF THE AUTHOR, THE CONTROVERSIAL TRACTS CONNECTED
WITH THE HISTORY, NOTES, AND AN ENLARGED INDEX, BY
WILLIAM STRAKER, 443, WEST STRAND.
This second volume' acquaints the reader with no small revo ii. lution in the belief and worship, in the revenues and jurisdiction of the Church. This matter, not carried at first without opposition, and descending in the consequences upon after ages, must of course be differently received. I am sensible, a subject of so nice and weighty an importance, cannot be undertaken without standing some hazard. When men's opinions are contested, when they are not entertained in their humour, nor caressed in their imagined interest, they are apt to grow disconcerted, and run out into censure. But a Church historian especially, ought to be proof against attacks of this kind. His business is neither to take too much freedom with the dead, nor to be overawed by the living. Caution in excess, affectation of popularity, and mercenary regards, are dangerous qualities : he that seeks to please men, upon these motives, cannot be the servant of Christ.
Gal. i. 10. On the other hand, where truth and public service will give leave, gentle usage, and smooth report, are clearly to be preferred. A prosecuting manner, when unseasonably indulged, is an argument of prejudice, and ill nature ; it tends only to give disgust, and provoke to reprisals. A writer, who without necessity, bears hard on the credit of others, takes the likeliest I Viz, the second volume or second part of the original folio edition.
methods to raise a party against his own. I hope there will be no just occasion for a charge in this article. But professions of candour are, it may be, to little purpose. The critics are sometimes disposed to overlook the evidence, to press into the dark, to conjecture beyond appearance, and pronounce unkindly upon the mind and intention. I must confess an author's fate lies too much at mercy this way, were it not for the relief of an appeal to a higher court.
To qualify myself for the following undertaking, I have looked out for the best materials: and had the good fortune to succeed in this preparatory search. I received the favour of free access to the public repositories of records : some worthy gentlemen of my acquaintance have likewise obliged me with very valuable remains in manuscript. The places, and persons, are inserted in the margin, which I mention here by way of acknowledgment.
Some prints which I have made use of, are, upon the score of their scarceness, no less curiosities than those unpublished. And of this, the first Common Prayer drawn up in the reign of king Edward VI., might have passed for an instance. But about half a year after I had gone through a short defence of this service, and transcribed the Communion Office, a book entitled, “ The Dignity of the Episcopal Order,” &c., appeared in print. In this treatise, as I am informed, (for as yet I have not given myself the satisfaction of perusing it,) some part of that Common Prayer is published. As to this, I must say, I knew nothing of the learned author's design: neither was I acquainted with his having vindicated the eucharistic sacrifice, until I had finished my remarks upon that subject.
As the main points in difference between the Churches of Rome and England came up, I have endeavoured, in both parts of this history, to justify the reformation of the latter.
And here it may be observed, the council of Trent convened in the reign of king Henry VIII., has disserved the union of Christendom. For instance: this synod has decreed disputable doctrines into articles of faith. And whereas, before,
either side of the question might have been held without censure ; now, that liberty is gone; and every one is obliged to come up to the terms of the council. Amongst these Father misfortunes may be reckoned, their setting Scripture and Lists
north Council of tradition upon an equal footing of authority, and extending the canon to the Apocrypha. Pope Pius IV.'s creed will furnish D: somewhat farther. Thus instead of relaxing, they have drawn Hist.
cent. 16. the knot closer, thrown in new difficulties, and made the con- vol. 2. ditions of communion more shocking and impracticable.
In the course of this work I had occasion to take notice that one question, of no small importance, does not properly lie within the cognisance of the long robe. But in this remark I meant no abatement of regard to that profession. The law is a very useful and creditable employment. It requires industry and close thinking ; and without natural fund, time, and application, there is little progress to be expected. I heartily wish the clergy would imitate their predecessors, and make it more of their study. In my humble opinion, Coke's Institutes would be better furniture than Calvin's Institutions ; and the reading the Statute-book much more serviceable than some systems of Dutch divinity. The Jewish priests understood property, and Deut. xvii. pleas of the crown. The pontifical college of the old Romans Güthe were famous for attainments of this kind; and so were the
the de Veter.
me Pontific. English Churchmen in former ages. Were this custom revived in those of that function, they might meet with an encouraging return. A moderate improvement in this knowledge would guard their interest, oblige their parish, and strengthen their character. Neither would this be any encroachment on a foreign employment, any interloping upon the Inns of Court : for the constitution is no inclosure : it is designed for common benefit: and, as king James I. justly observes, every subject ought to understand the laws under which he lives.
When the first part of this history was finished, only five Wenttomes of the Tower Records were published by Mr. Rymer, Office of
Executors, which I then made use of; but now that number is increased Præf. to fourteen. And since most of these collections fall short of