« AnteriorContinuar »
But that Prosidence, which, since the Reformation, had watched with a peculiar care over the beautiful structure of our ecclefiatical government, and the pure fyftem of our church discipline, would not entirely “give them up a prey to their enemies' teeth,” nor long fuffer the triumph of fanaticiim add infatuation over spiritual and reasonable worship. On the rettoration of Charles the Second, the church was re- itablished; the nine bilhops who had weathered the storm of fanatical furv, resumed their digpities, and all the other vacant fees were fpeedily filled up. It was not immediately, however, that the liturgy was again generally and formally adopted. Previously to Charles's return, he bad publihed at Breda a declaration concerning liberty of conscience in matters of religion; in order to foften the animofities of the different parties, and to conciliate the Prelbyterians, a large and formidable body. He had assured the leaders of that perfuafion, " that he had no intention of imposing hard conditions, or embarralling their consciences; that he would refer the matters they had mentioned to the two Houses of Parliament, who were the beít judges of what indulgence or toleration was necetary for the repose of the kingdom." In consequence of this assurance, he issued on his restoration a declaration respecting ecclefiaftical affairs, dated 25th of O&ober 1660, in which a promise was made that the liturgy should be reviewed by an equal numuber of divines of both perfuafions, and such alterations made
Lord Clarendon reports, that when this was observed in private conversation at the treaty of Uxbridge, the Earl of l'embruke laid, he was forry for the omiffion, but that upon a debate in the Houte of Commons, it was carried in the negative by cight or nine voices, Which male many imile, says his Lordlbip;, but the jelt will he lóit, when the reader is intormed, that the question in the house was not whether the Cree thould be recewed or rejected, bu: whether it should be printed with the Directory for Worthop; it being apprehende) more proper for a conteifion of faith; and accordingly the Greal and Ten Commandments were added to the Affeinbly's Contelfin, publihed a year or two forwards. The ordinance for eitablishing the Directory repeals and makes voit the acts of Edward VI. and Queen Elizabeth, by which the old liturgy was estabuthed, and to bids ibe ule of it within any church, chapel, or place of publick worthip in Laglan or Wiles, appunting the use of the Directory in its room; and thus it continued all the reiteration og king Charles II, when the conttitution being restored, the old liturgy took place again, the ordinance for its repeal having never obtained the royal affent. It was a confiderable time before this great revolution in the form of puick worship took place over the whole kingdom. In some parts of the country the church wirieas could not procure a Directory, and in others thev deipifed it, and continue i the old Common Prayer-B. ok; fome would reai no torm, and others would use one of their own). In order therefore to give lite to the Directory, the purament near tummer called in all Common Prayer-Books, and impoted a Gne upon thote ministers who thould read any other form than that online in the Directory: The ordinance is dated Aug. 23, 1646, antenacts, that the knights and burgeties of the several counties of Engiwdanj Wa'es shall send printed books of the Directory fairly bound to the committee of parliament in their leveral counties, wl.othali deliver then to the oficers of the several parishes in Ergint and Wales, by whom they thill be delivered to the feveral minister of each parth. It ordains turiher, that the leverai minila bers next Lori's day after their receivingth: book of Directory, thail read it openly in their felvedive churches before morning Sermon. It then foruds the ute or the Common Prager-Book in any church, chapel, of place of public worship, or in any priva'e place or faa mily, under penalty of five pounds for the thuit oitenes, en tor the second, and for ine thin a year's imprisonment. Such minitlers as do not obferve the Directory in ali exercites of publiek worihip, Thail forfeit forty thillings; and they who, with a design to bring the Directory into contempt, or to raise oppidon to it, in all pre ich, write, or print any thing in derogation of it, thail torleic a sum of money not under tive pounds, nor more thin fity, to be given to the poor. All Common Prayer - Books remaining in parish-churches or chapels are ordered, within a month, to be carried to the commonlee of the leveral countits, to be disposed of as the parliament ibi direct. ----Thele were the fint fruits of Preta byterian unitormity, and are equally to be condemned with the leverities and oppreslions of the late times; tor though it should be admitted, that the purament or legislature had a right to abregate the ate of the Common Prayer - Book in churche, was it not highly una reasonable to forbiū the reading it in private families or clofeis? Surely the devocion of a pavate tamiiy could be no disturbance to the publick ; nor is it sny excuse to lay, that very tes fuffered by it, becaule the law is still the same, and equally injurious to the natural rights of mankind."-Neale's Hilt. Purit, vol, iii, p. 143-146.
in it, as by the committee should be deemed proper and expedient. Accordingly, on the 25th of March 1661, letters-patent issued from the crown, appointing forty-two committioners, (twenty-one episcopalians and twentyone dissenters, (under the titles of principals and coadjutors).“ to meet at the master's lodging in the Savoy, and to take into consideration the several directions, rules, forms of prayer, and things in the Common Prayer contained, to revise the fame, comparing them with the most ancient liturgies; to advise upon the exceptions and objections that might be made; and if occasion should require, to make such reafonable corrections and amendments as they might judge useful and expedient for giving satisfaction to tender consciences, and restoring unity; but avoid, ing all unnecefiary abbreviations of the forms and liturgy so long received in the Church of England.”
The names of these commissioners, which included some of the most learned men in Europe, were as follows: Epifcopalians.
Mr. Bates Dr. Barwick
Mr. Cooper Dr. Gunning
Dr. Lightfoot Dr. Pearson
Dr. Collins Dr. Pearce
Dr. Woolbridge Dr. Sparrow
Mr. Rawlinson Dr. Thorndike
Mr. Drake Of these commissioners, the Diflenters produced exceptions against the liturgy, and the Episcopalians combated them; the former displaying much acuteness and relinement in their argument, the latter evincing grcater knowledge of the subject in question, and a larger fund of liturgical and general learning. Many requisitions were made by the one party, for altering, abridging, and omitting the various services of the church, fome few reasonable and proper, but for the most part frivolous and uressential; whilst the other party, confounding the supposed dipofition of the Presbyterians to quarrel about trifles, with such of their suggestions as were really just and wife, stiffly refused to make concessions which it might perhaps have been prudent in them to grant. New forms of liturgy, allo, were prepared and presented by the Presbyterians, and one in particular from the pen of the celebrated Richard Baxter, (a tame, insipid, and confused performance;) but these met with a deserved rejection. Having exhausted the subject in writing, the commissioners had recourse to personal conference, and the last few days were spent by them in viva voce argument. But the same diffimilarity of sentiment continued to prevail, and on concluding the last day's debate, it was agreed upon by both parties, that the
following notification should be transmitted to the king, as the result of the commissioners' labours: “ that the church's welfare, unity, and peace, and his Majesty's satisfaction, were ends upon which they all agreed, but as to the means, they could not come to any harmony.”
Although the requisitions of the Presbyterians were rejected, and their exceptions over-ruled, yet the church commissioners proposed from themfelves a few alterations to be made in the rubrics and typography of the Prayer-Book; and some slight verbal changes to take place in the services. The convocation, also, which met to confirm their proceedings, adopted some other additions and alterations, (all which will be pointed out in their proper places) and thus settled, the book passed both houses of convocation in May 1661. In the ensuing September it was subscribed by the bishops and clergy; and, having the act of uniformity prefixed, and the preface, beginning “ It hath been the wisdom &c." it was ratified by parliament in 1662. From this time the Liturgy of the Church of England has not been altered. It then received the form in every respect in which it is now found in our Book of Common Prayer:
“ Th’ afcending pile “ Stood fix'd her stately height a model of fimplicity and majesty; of loveliness and sublimity; claiming the prayers of all those who enjoy its use, that the Divine blelling would ever continue to watch over and preserve it; nor suffer even “ the gates of hell to prevail against it.”
[T hath been the wisdom of the Church of England, ever since the first IT
compiling of her publick Liturgy, to keep the mean between the two extremes of too much stiffness in refusing, and of too much easiness in adnitting, any variation from it. For, as on the one fide common experience theweth, that where a change hath been made of things advisedly established, (no evident neceflity to requiring) sundry inconveniences have thereupon ensued, and those many times more and greater than the evils that were intended to be remedied by such change; fo on the other side, the particular Form of Divine Worship, and the Rites and Ceremonies appointed to be used therein, being things in their own nature indifferent, and alterable, and so acknowledged; it is but reasonable, that upon weighty and important considerations, according to the various exigency of times and occasions, such changes and alterations should be made therein, as to those that are in place of authority should from time to time seem either necessary or expedient. Accordingly we find, that in the reigns of several Princes of blessed memory, since the Reformation, the Church, upon just and weighty considerations her thereunto moving, hath yielded to make such alteration in some particulars, as in their respective times were thought convenient; yet so as that the main body and effentials of it, (as well in the chiefest materials, as in the frame and order thereof) have ftill continued the fame unto this day, and do yet stand firm and unshaken, notwithitanding all the vain attempts and impetuous affaults made against it by fuch men as are given to change, and have always discovered a greater regard to their own private fancies and interests, than to that duty. they owe to the publick.
By what undue means, and for what mischievous purposes the use of the Liturgy, though enjoined by the laws of the land, and those laws never yet repealed, came, during the late unhappy confusions, to be discontinued, is 200 well known to the world, and we are not willing here to remember. But when, upon his Majesty's happy Restoration, it seemed probable, that amongst other things, the use of the Liturgy would also return of course, (the fame having never been legally abolilhed) unless some timely means were used to prevent it; those men, who under the late ufurped powers had made it a great part of their business to render the people difaffected thereunto, faw themselves, in point of reputation and intereft, concerned (unless they would freely acknowledge themselves to have erred, which such men are very hardly brought to do) with their utmost endeavours to hinder the restitution thereof. In order whereunto divers pamphlets were published against the Book of Common Prayer, the old objections mustered up, with the addition of some new ones more than formerly had been made, to make the number (well
. In fine, great importunities were used to his Sacred Majesty, that the faid Book might be revised, and fuch alterations therein and additions thereunto made, as should be thought requisite for the case of tender consciences; whereunto his Majesty, out of his pious inclination to give fatisfaction (so far as could be reasonably expected) to all his subjects, of what perfuation foever, did graciously condescend.
In which review we have endeavoured to observe the like moderation, as we find to have been used in the like cafe in the former times. And there. fore of the fundry alterations proposed unto us, we have rejected all fucha as were either of dangerous consequence (as fecretly striking at some efta blished doctrine or laudable practice of the Church of England, or indeed of the whole Catholick Church of Christ) or else of no consequence at all,