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majestic simplicity of the Divine mystery shed its spiritual radiance over every line of the Office; and devout hearts saw that that only had been removed which, while it had, perhaps, excited their emotions, had hindered, in reality, the clear and deep apprehension of the heavenly vision itself.
When the Communion Service had been published, the way seemed open for the introduction of a complete Liturgy. The difficulties most to be dreaded were overcome by the circulation of the new Office. There could be little fear, that they who had hailed the change in the one instance, as founded on the truth and requirements of the Gospel, would fail to see the necessity of that which should afford the people at large pure forms of devotion in their daily exercises, and in all their appeals to Heaven for its guidance or its blessing.
The greatest confusion as yet prevailed in the mode of conducting public worship. This was the natural consequence of the state of Church affairs. The leaders of the Reformation had hitherto been mainly occupied with settling the great questions which regarded the independence of the Church, and the laws whereby it was in future to be governed. It was not till these things were determined that they could turn their attention to the internal arrangements of the Church, or properly attempt the exercise of an authority requisite for the purpose. The Latin Mass, therefore, continued to be used in some places, while in others it was regarded as an abomination. The same confusion prevailed in other parts of the Service, and the preamble to the act which was passed to stop these disorders states, that as there had long been in use various "forms of Church Service, as those of Sarum, York, Lincoln, and several forms of Common Prayer and Communion," "to stay innovations or new rites, and that an uniform, quiet, and godly order should be had, his Majesty, by advice of his council, had appointed the Archbishop of Canterbury and other learned and discreet bishops to consider the premises, and thereupon, having as well an eye and respect to the most sincere and pure religion taught by the Scriptures, as to the usages of the primitive Church, should draw and make one convenient and meet order, rite, and fashion of Common Prayer and Administration of Sacraments."
The venerable men who had drawn up the Office for the Communion were engaged to compile the Order of Common Prayer. This work was performed in the same conciliatory and devout temper as the former; and, after it had undergone the most careful revision, it was confirmed by the king and both houses of Parliament, the language of the act describing it as a work" concluded with uniform agreement," and "by the aid of the Holy Ghost." The act alluded to was passed in 1548, but many obstacles existed to the general reception of the new Liturgy. Bonner, Bishop of London, and others of the Roman Catholic clergy, still possessed their dignities; and neither the act, nor an order of council passed soon after, abrogating private Masses, could induce them to receive the reformed Services. The committal of the prelate to prison, because he would not give up his judgment or violate his conscience, was one of those circumstances which cast a shade over the conduct of the reformers of the English Church that cannot be easily removed.
Bonner had an indisputable right to adhere to a system which he believed to be consistent with the laws of the Church and of God. Had he not desired to act agreeably to integrity, he would not have held out against the persuasions of a court, and those who enjoyed its smiles. The harsh manner in which he was treated proves the lamentable truth, that no system and no set of men can be trusted when the argument of expediency is set against the argument of either justice or consistency.
As so much difficulty was found in securing an undivided attention to the new Liturgy, another act of Parliament was passed in 1549. In this it was said, "Notwithstanding the settlement of the Book of Common Prayer, yet there are other superstitions permitted, occasioning diversity of opinions touching the rites of the Church. It is therefore enacted, that all other Service-books, or books called Antiphonas, Missals, Grails, Processionals, Manuals, Primers, Cowchers, Journals, Ordinals, formerly used, other than the king shall set forth, shall be abolished."
The next year a further proof was given of the judgment with which everything was done which concerned the Liturgy itself as the rule of public worship. A careful revisal of the whole was undertaken, and this because, as was stated in the act passed soon after, "there had arisen in the use and exercise of the said Common Service, divers doubts for the fashion and manner of the administration thereof, rather by the curiosity of the ministers and mistakers than of any other worthy cause: Therefore, as well for the more plain and manifest explanation thereof, as for the more perfection of the said order of Common Service in some places where it is necessary to make the same prayer and fashion of service more earnest, and fit to stir Christians to the true honouring of God; therefore the king has caused the same former book to be perused, explained, and made fully perfect."
Cranmer had been induced to urge this revisal of the new Liturgy by the persuasions of the two great foreign divines, Bucer and Martyr; the one professor of divinity at Cambridge, and the other at Oxford. strong feelings of the Swiss reformers against every trace of Romish superstition, these celebrated theologians pointed out numerous errors in the Services; and Cranmer and his associates having themselves advanced towards clearer views of doctrine, the book underwent a general and very severe examination. The new edition, or, as it is commonly called, the Second Book of King Edward, was confirmed by act of Parliament in 1552, and ordered to be read on the approaching feast of All Saints, and thenceforward, in all the churches of the kingdom.
Bucer and Martyr allowed nothing to remain which savoured of useless ceremony. So great was the veneration paid to their judgment, that, as they were unacquainted with English, the whole work had been translated into Latin that it might be submitted to their scrutiny. When it reappeared, those who had tolerated the previous edition, retaining as it did so strong a tincture of old opinions, were greatly irritated at the evidence which it afforded of the entire change in the spirit of the church. For the most part
it was received with satisfaction. Nothing was left out which piety required, and much was added, the want of which had been evidently felt in the use of the former book. Of the additions thus made, the principal were the opening sentences; the Exhortation, the Confession, and Absolution, in the Morning and Evening Service; and the Ten Commandments in that of the Commu nion. In the first book, the use of oil in Baptism and in the Visitation of the Sick had been prescribed, according to former usage. Prayers for the dead had been inserted in the Communion and Burial Service, and in both cases it was now considered there had been a violation of Christian truth and simplicity. The present edition, therefore, prescribed neither the use of oil, nor prayers for the souls of the departed. In the former book, the Holy Ghost was invoked at the consecration of the elements in the Communion, and in the prayer of Oblation; this was now discontinued, and the Rubric was left out which had directed the mixing of water with the wine.
In the same year that the new edition of the Liturgy made its appearance, forty-two articles on the chief points of religion were published, " as agreed upon by the bishops, and other learned and good men, in the Convocation held at London in the year 1552, to root out the discord of opinions, and establish the agreement of true religion." Similar articles had been published by authority of Henry VIII., but they were not the result of the same wise and deliberate spirit as that which now prevailed. The long discussion of the subjects to which they allude had taught the leading divines of the Reformation both the importance and the difficulty of the task. They had for their example the Confession of Augsburg to incline them to draw up such a statement of faith. The reformers of Germany owed much to the clearness with which the fundamental points of belief were set before them in their Confession; but devout minds could not fail, at the same time, to see that human reason is sure to err if it would compass or define, without assistance from above, those things which are only to be comprehended in the language and in the light of the Divine Spirit.
The King's Primer was also re-published this year, and with the addition of a part of our present Catechism. Another Catechism had been compiled by Dr. Poynett, Bishop of Winchester; and as it was prefaced by an epistle from the King, it received the title of King Edward's Catechism.
Affairs were in this happy state, when the death of the youthful and pious monarch put a sudden stop to the progress of the Reformation, and exposed its leaders to a persecution as fearful as had ever been endured in the struggles of religion against a dark and cruel despotism. The hopes entertained for a brief season that Queen Mary, notwithstanding her known attachment to the Church of Rome, would not employ any violent measures against the Reformation, were at once dissipated by the repeal of the acts so lately passed in favour of its important designs. Had the religious or intellectual state of the nation depended on the favour of the court, the decrees of the infatuated Queen would have quickly plunged it into the darkness of her own errors. By one of her ordinances the Mass was restored; by another the Pope's supremacy; by a third the marriage of the
clergy was prohibited; and these were rapidly followed by others of a similar kind, till not a vestige of Protestantism would have remained, had not the affections of a vast proportion of the people been too deeply embued with the love of the Gospel to allow of its being long or effectually resisted. The martyrs that suffered in the persecution which attended the enforcement of the papal laws, exhibited a grandeur of character, a fulness of knowledge and of faith, that shed a new glory on the Church of the Reformation. While many thus shed their blood in its honour, illustrating the power of its doctrines and the consistency of its children, others were led by the providence of God into foreign lands, there to increase in spiritual knowledge and experience, and to learn as exiles how to become more eminently useful in their native land.
By the mercy of the great head of the Church, the season of persecution was not allowed to be of long duration. Queen Elizabeth ascended the throne in November, 1558, and measures were immediately taken to restore some parts of the Service as established in the reign of Edward VI. The Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Litany, and the portions of Scripture appointed for the Epistles and Gospels, were at once allowed to be used in English. But with the caution that characterised every important proceeding in the English Reformation, it was deemed expedient not to restore the complete Service Book till it had undergone the most careful and severe revision. For this purpose a Committee of Divines was formed, at the head of whom was Dr. Parker, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury. Grindal, who subsequently rose to the same dignity; Sandys, Guest, Cox, and Pilkington, all of whom were raised to important sees, were members of this Committee. For some time it was disputed whether the First or Second Book of King Edward should be restored; and Cecil is said to have very earnestly questioned Guest, to whom Parker intrusted a great part of the work, respecting the more important differences in the two editions. Somewhat of political feeling probably entered into the views of the secretary in proposing his questions; but it was at length decided that the Second Book of King Edward should be established. Some corrections were then made; the arrangement of the lessons being altered, and the two sentences which formed part of the Communion Service in the First Book, but which were omitted in the Second, being restored. These sentences were, the "body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for thee, preserve thy body and soul unto everlasting life," and "the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for thee, &c. ;" and the rubric in the Second Book against the real presence was now omitted. Some alteration was also made in the Litany, the sentence "from the Bishop of Rome, and all his detestable enormities," which had appeared in the former edition, being omitted. Other alterations were made, and with the same view, it is supposed, of soothing the angry feelings of the opposite party. Among the additions were prayers for the Queen, and "for the Clergy and People." Power was also given to the bishop to appoint what part of the Church might be most convenient for the performance of Morning and Evening Service, instead of
confining the minister to the chancel, as had hitherto been the case. By a similar rule, the vestments of the clergy, which had been disused according to an order in the reign of Edward, were restored; and the service of the Church was generally established on the principles which have ever since continued to give it its peculiar character and energy.
Parliament conferred its authority on the Liturgy thus revised; and the people at large were so well satisfied with its comprehensiveness and charitable spirit, that, for ten years, the greater number of the Roman Catholics themselves continued to attend the churches where it was used. On the Accession of James I., a conference was held, at Hampton Court, between the heads of the Church and the leaders of the Presbyterians. The King himself, and Whitgift, Archbishop of Canterbury, were present at this assembly, and the Puritans were represented by Dr. Reynolds. Nothing was effected by this conference, except that a few alterations were made in the Liturgy. They consisted in the addition of forms of thanksgiving for several occasions, and of Collects in the Morning and Evening Prayer, and in the Litany an intercession, for the Royal Family. The administration of Baptism was now also restricted to regularly-ordained ministers; and the questions and answers respecting the Sacraments were added to the Catechism.
The King's authority only gave force to these alterations, but they were received without dispute. Charles I. pursued a similar course, and made some slight corrections, which were confirmed by his sole authority. During the Commonwealth the Liturgy fell into total disuse. On the Restoration a commission was issued, whereby twelve bishops, and the same number of theologians belonging to the Puritan party, with nine assistants on each side, were appointed to make a complete review of the Liturgy. The meetings of this assembly were held in the Savoy, and the dispute was carried on with an earnestness proportioned to the importance of the subject and the zeal of the controversialists. But the result was as little satisfactory, so far as the union of the parties was concerned, as the dispute was long and severe. Some alterations were made in the Liturgy subsequent to the conference, but they originated with the bishops. Thus the Prayer for all Conditions of Men, the General Thanksgiving, the Prayers for the Ember Weeks, and that for the Parliament, were added;- —as were also the two psalms in the Burial Service, the Office for Baptism of those of Riper Years, the Form of Prayer to be used at Sea, and that for King Charles's Martyrdom. The Epistles and Gospels were taken from the last translation of the Bible; but this alteration was not extended to the Psalms, it being deemed advisable to retain the old version, to which the people had been so long accustomed. Some change was made in the Collects; and those for Easter Eve, for the Sixth Sunday after Epiphany, and for the Third Sunday in Advent, were now first inserted.
The Liturgy, in this its revised and comprehensive form, was confirmed by both houses of Convocation, and received the signatures of the bishops