James Wayland Joyce.

England's sacred synods : a constitutional history of the convocations of the clergy, from the earliest records of Christianity in Britain to the date of the promulgation of the present Book of common prayer; including a list of all councils, ecclesiastical as well as civil, held in England, in whic online

. (page 1 of 83)
Online LibraryJames Wayland JoyceEngland's sacred synods : a constitutional history of the convocations of the clergy, from the earliest records of Christianity in Britain to the date of the promulgation of the present Book of common prayer; including a list of all councils, ecclesiastical as well as civil, held in England, in whic → online text (page 1 of 83)
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BR 744 .J8 1855

Joyce, James Wayland, 1812-

England's sacred synods


■■'^P^ '^r' ,j|||

ufflantr's: ^arretr J^iniotris*




ST. John's squarr.

(25uglauii'sJ ^acretr J^Kuotr^;.















'Apxatov yap £r) ri (paivirai iov. — Herod. Eut. 104.







Reverend and Dear Sirs,

To you I venture to dedicate this inadequate acknowledg-
ment of the trust you have committed to me as one of your repre-
sentatives in the Provincial Synod of Canterbury.

The main objects kept in view throughout these pages have
been — to show that the English Convocations are of ecclesiastical
origin, being pure Provincial Synods, constituted upon the model
of the apostolical and primitive Church assemblies — to maintain
the just independence of this National Church on any foreign
power — to prove that in all ages of our history questions touch-
ing the law divine have been held to belong to the Spiritualty, —
and to produce evidence from public records that the Reformation
in religion, having been synodically authorized in this country, was
the proper work of the Church of England in her sacred synods.

I am deeply sensible of my inability to do full justice to the
high and important subjects here involved ; still, in offering this
tribute of grateful respect to you, who will readily discover its
numerous defects, I have full confidence that they will all be
treated, at least at your hands, with such forbearance and con-
sideration as can reasonably be extended to them.

I am, reverend and dear Sirs,

Your faithful Brother,


BuRFORD Rectory.
Tuesday bufore Easter, 1855.



I. Apostolical Synods 1

II. Diocesan Synods. The " Corona Presbyterii " 30

III. Provincial Synods 48

IV. National Synods 78

V. British Synods and Councils 39-601 94

VI. Anglo-Saxon Synods and Councils 601—803-4 124

VII. Anglo-Saxon Synods and Councils 804—1070 155

VIII. Anglo-Norman Synods and Councils 1070—1279 199

IX. English Synods. Constitution of the English Convocations . 1279 — 1500 24?

X. English Synods. Dawn of the Reformation 1500-1534 322

XI. English Synods. Reformation of the Church of England . . 1534—1553 353
XII. Pretended English Synods. Marian and Parliamentary Perse-
cutions 15.53—1559 489

XIII. English Synods. Recovery of the Church of England . . . 1559—1604 547

XIV. English Synods 1604—1640 616

XV. English Synods 1640—1662 683

XVI. Conclusion 725

CEcumenical Councils are excluded in the above, as not properly belonging to the present
subject and design.

The reasons for the di\'ision into periods will appear in the body of the work.


For " Innett" read " Iiiett" passim.

Page liy, last note, for " R. J. AVilberforee " read " R. I. Wilberforce."

Page 127, last line of the fourth column of the table, for " Egbert II. " read " Egbert."

Page 151, line 7, for " our " rend " her."

Page S55, sixth column of the table, line 12 from bottom, for " July 1, 1540 " read " July 1, 1539.'

Pages 550, 551, in headings of tabular list, for " 1534-1553 " read 1559—1604."




I. At the ascensionof our Lord a change passed upon his Church. II. Wliat
that change was. III. The principle of synodical deliberation enforced by our
Lord Himself. IV. Synod for the election of S. Matthias. V. Synod for the
appointment of deacons. VI. Synod of Jerusalem. VII. English provincial sy-
nods or convocations constituted after the example of the Synod of Jerusalem.
VIII. None but bishops and presbyters admissible to give a vofnm decisiviim
in synods, in accordance with the example of the Synod of Jerusalem. IX. But
laity should unite in giving force to synodical decisions in accordance with the
example before mentioned, X. Ecclesiastical synods judicial as well as legis-
lative assemblies. XI. In the primitive Church censures ecclesiastical not
enforced by punishments temporal. XII. The two main duties of synods.
XIII. The necessity of some authority for solving questions of doubt in matters
spiritual. XIV. That authority resides in Church synods. XV. Faith and
discipline not the result of private judgment. XVI. Summary.

Yi\llVOQ 5' 6 -KOVOQ [lOl

Otolai SovKav \fp' «x"'' —
oil Bvaro'tg, dW dQavciToiQ,
tixpdfioig TTovoig (lox^tXv
ovK cnroKcifivijj.

EuRiP. Ion, 131—135.

•' Res antiquae laudis et artis
Ingredior, sanctos ausus recludere fontes."

ViRG. Georg. ii. 174, 175.

I At the as- ^T that hour^ when our Lord ascended'' from
cension of our earth, and left his Apostles "gazing"^ up into

Lord a chiinge ' ^ , .

passed upon his heaveu," a change passed upon the cn'cmn-
.stances of the Christian Church. While He
abode here, and went in and out among his Apostles and dis-
ciples, He was Himself the depository of all divine truth. To



" S. John vi

Arts i. 3.

'22, 2;{.

•• S. Matt.
xxviii. ]9,

t Actsi. 6.

J Arts i. 9.

Him they referred all their doubts; from Him they sought
instruction in each particular relating to their faith ; by his
lessons they learned how they should conduct themselves in
all the passages of this life, and in their journey onwards to-
wards the next. Indeed the whole narrative of the Gospel
history affords conspicuous evidence that the first followers of
the Lord Jesus Cin-ist looked to Him for a resolution of every
question which arose among them, whether referring to faith
or practice : a fact thus vividly brought home to our minds by
that exclamation of S. Peter, " Lord, to whom^ shall we go i
thou hast the words of eternal life." And even after the
Lord's crucifixion and burial his Apostles had yet more to
learn from Him before they were themselves fully prepared to
succeed to the ofiice of instructing mankind in divine truth :
they were not as yet themselves finally instructed to go forth
on that mighty errand in which He had been engaged during
the years of his ministry. For though the Lord was for a
season withdrawn from his infant Church, still those teachers
who were to succeed Him had some farther commission to
receive ; they were not yet finally charged with that sacred
ambassage which they had been called to undertake. And
therefore He thought good to "shew* Himself" to them "after
his passion," not only conferring upon them gifts needful for
the ministry, but " speaking of the things pertaining '' to the
kingdom of God," before their great work should be begun.
And to proceed one step farther, after tlie Divine breath ^ had
conferred on the Apostles the power of remitting and retaining
sins, — after they had received on the Galilrean mount the
commission to baptize and teach all nations'', — even after those
events, we find tliem again appealing for instruction at least
on one point to their heavenly Master in these words, "Lord',
wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel ? "
So clearly do we learn that tiie Lord Jesus Christ while on
earth was not only for his disciples, but for his Apostles
highly gifted though they were, the sole depository of divine
truth. His lips kept the key of knowledge; to Him every
appeal was made in questions which pertained to his heavenly

I Jut after the eyes of his admiring Ajiostles.
ch.angc was. lost sight of their Lord in that cloud J which re-


ceived Him upon the Mount of Ascension, a change passed
upon the circumstances of his infant Church on earth. That
truth which had before resided with Him alone, now abode
with those to whom He had committed it, and who by Him
were commissioned to teach it to others. It was not yet
indeed to be proclaimed abroad, until they should be "endued
with power'' from on high ;"■ but still it abode with them, and
was ready to be preached forth after a few days of seclusion '
and prayer" and supplication, after a little space had been
allowed for ordaining one to be a witness " with them, and to
take part of that ministry ° and apostleship from which a traitor
had fallen. Then in an upper chamber in Jerusalem there was
hidden from the world a small company, despised by men but
highly honoured of God, possessing among themselves that
body of truth, which had aforetime been laid up with One,
even their Divine Master during his sojourn on earth, but
which was now committed as a sacred deposit to them. The
Gospel of Christ, the " good tidings p of great joy to all people,"
was the pearl of great price entrusted to their stewardship.
They carried within them "a secret mighty to move the
world."''' With them was a body of truth not yet written, not
yet inscribed save on the fleshly tables of their hearts, but
still under the influence of the Spirit of wisdom which should
" guide 1 them into all truth," about to be matured into that
system of faith and morals which has ever since distinguished
the Christian Church from the rest of the world.

The change which had thus passed upon the Christian
Church at the Lord's ascension w^as this. The truth now
abode no longer with one, but with many. Each one of the
Apostles indeed had received for himself individually autho-
rity to bind"" and to loose, to baptize® and preach^ the Gospel,
to dispense the communion ^ of the Lord's body and blood ;
offices which induced S. Paul to say, " Let"" a man so account
of us as of the ministers of Christ and stewards of the mys-
teries of God."" But yet each one did not by himself chal-
lenge authority to decide all doubtful questions for his brethren.
For though the Apostles were "every one'^ guided by an in-
fallible Spirit in the doctrines which they taught and delivered
to the Church," and so the matters upon which they sub-
sequently met and deliberated " might without dispute ^ have

k S. Luke
xxiv. 49.
1 Acts i. 13.
■» Acts i. 14.

o Acts i. 25.

P S. Luke ii.


q S. .Tolin
.xvi. 13.

r S. Matt.
xviii. 18.
s S. Matt,
xxviii. 19.
t S. Matt,
xxviii. 20.
« S. Luke
XX ii. 19.
V 1 Cor. iv.

w Brett on
Ch. Gov. p.

B 2



A.D. 33.

y Brett on
Ch. (Jov.
p. 286.

* Compare

S. Matt.

xviii. 19. &

S. Mark ix.


b S. Matt.

xviii. ] 9, 20.

«! Pole in

<• Sec iilso
Bp. Bilson
Perpct. Gov.
of Christ's
Ch. p. 373.

been determined by any one of them," still, as a fact, no one
of thom did choose to claim the authority of resolvin<T by
himself alone all doubts, all diffieultios, and all questions which
arose. And one chief i-eason of their assemblinr^ together to
determine disputable points synodically, seems to have been
this : " That they might leave an example ^ to their successors
to instruct them how they ought to proceed in putting an end
to controversies when the gift of immediate divine inspiration
should be no longer granted." Certain it is that thus they
acted themselves, and left an apostolic model which the
Church, so long as she adheres to primitive example and
aindcs faithful to her divine mission, may not refuse to imitate.
It was indeed one glory of the infant Church that there
was a stedfast continuance in " the Apostles' ^ doctrine and
fellowship;" and now that Christ's personal presence was
withdrawn, though there resided with each one of them the
ordinary exercise of his ministry, yet with them as a college,
resided the body of divine truth ; and ultimate decision on all
matters where doubt arose, as was said before, was not as an
historical fact challenged by any one individual among them,
but common counsel was taken by all.

Ill The prin- ^^^^ princi])le of taking common counsel in
dpie of synodical syuodical deliberations was ^ enforced by the

deliberation en- t i tt- ip i t

forcedhy our Lord Lord Hunsclf, whcu He Said to his Apostles,
'"^^ ■ " I say unto you'^, That if two of you shall agree

on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be
done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where
two or three are gathered together in my name, there am
I in the midst of them." For it is not to be presumed that
these words have reference only to community of prayer :
indeed the common consent of writers forbids so narrow an
interpretation of this passage, of which the meaning is thus
given by the learned Pole: Whenever Christ's people "are
met "^ by his authority, or upon his account or command,
whether it be for counsel, or judgment, or ])rayer, or the
celebration of any sacred institution of his '', He is in the
midst of them to protect and favour them." It was upon this
principle thus proclaimed by Christ that his Apostles, after
his removal from them, proceeded to act : and of their con-
stant obedience to his exhortation in this respect we are


assured by the facts that they " abode '^"'"' together, that they
continued "with one accord in prayer^ and suppHcation," that
on the day of Pentecost they were found "all with one^
accord in one place," and that they took counsel together as
occasion required.

IV s nod for ^^ery * shortly indeed after the cloud on the
tiie election of S. niouut had received '* the Lord out of the Apos-

Miitthias. , , . , . , ,.,

ties sight, they entered into conmion delibe-
ration, in accordance with their Master's injunctions. The
object was, that one might* be "ordained to be a witness" of
the resurrection, and that an Apostle might be elected to
take part of that ministry J "from which Judas by transgres-
sion" had fallen. After S. Peter had addressed'' the as-
sembly, two persons ' were named, Joseph and JNIatthias, and
prayer to God™ was made that He would signify which He had
chosen; when, upon the giving" forth of the lots, "the lot
fell upon Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven
Apostles." So early an example do we find of the Apostles
endeavouring, in a matter of doubt, to secure for their common
deliberations their Master's assistance, in accordance with
his promise before alluded to, " Where two or three ° are
gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of

V s nod for ^^ ^ ^^^^ ^^^ ^°"S ^^eforo there was again occa-
the appointment siou for the Apostlcs to take common counsel,

and, in expectation of the fulfilment of their
Lord's promise, to unite in common deliberation. The
Church was still in her early infancy, when a matter of in-
ternal discipline required arrangement. " There arose p a mur-
muring of the Grecians against the Hebrews because their
widows were neglected in the daily ministration." By common
consent the Apostles agreed upon a plan for providing against
this growing want in the Church. They decided that another
order of ministers should be added. Having come to this
resolution, they called together "the multitude^ of the dis-

* " Quia in primitiva. Ecclesia varias synodos celebratas legimus unam de
substitutione Matthise," &c. &c.— Ai-ticles edited by University of Oxford in 1414.
Cone. Mag. Brit. iii. p. 361.

2 " Quia in primitiva Ecclesia varias synodos celebratas legimus unam . . . .
aliam de electione vii diaconorum." — Articles edited by University of Oxford
iu 1414. Cone. Mag. Brit. iii. p. .361.

<■ Actsi. 13.
f Acts i. 14.
g Acts ii. 1.

i Acts i. 22.

J Acts i. 25.

^ Acts i. 15


' Acts i. 23.

"> Acts i. 24.
" Acts i. 26.

<> S. Matt,
xviii. 20.



A.D. 33.

Acts vi. 3.
Acts vi. 6.

" Acts viii.

A.D. 41.

Acts xi. 18.

» Acts .\i

A. n. .50

> Acts .\iv.

« Acts XV. 3.
b Acts XV. 4.
r Acts XV. 6.
d Acts XV.
13-21. See
also Lan-
(lon's Ma-
nual of
Councils, p.

ciples," and desired them to look out seven "■ men, who were
then ordained * by the Apostles to the required mini.stry.
So early was that good example set in the Church of in-
creasing the number of her ministers in order to meet the
increasing wants of her children ; a course crowned with im-
mediate success, for forthwith " the word of God increased, and
the number of the disciples * multiplied in Jerusalem greatly."
It is to us an example which, if copied in these later ages,
might, with God's blessing, produce a like happy result.

In the course of the succeeding seventeen years, we have
several indications that common counsel was taken by the
Apostles upon occasions of need, and that common consent
in matters of importance was secured. These indications
may be perceived in the united determination of the Apos-
tles^ to send down Peter and John to Samaria, in order
that they might by the laying on of hands confer the gift
of the Holy Ghost : and also in that agreement " to admit
the Gentiles into the Church, wiiich was secured by the
address^ of S. Peter to the Apostles and brethren at
VI. Synod At the end of the period above mentioned we have
at all events a direct proof that it was the practice
of the early Church for her ordained teachers to take common
counsel, and that formally, in matters of doubt. About a. d. 50
a discussion arose on the subject of circumcision. It was
doubted whether or not theGentile converts should undergo that
rite upon their admission into the Church : Cerinthus (as it is
generally believed) being among those who maintained its
necessity. Hence arose "no small dissension^ and disputa-
tion" at Antioch, where S. Paul and S. Barnabas then abode y.
It was determined, in consequence of these circumstances,
that they " should '^ go up to Jerusalem unto the Apostles and
ciders about this question." And so deep an interest in the
matter did the members of the Church in Antioch shew, that
they accompanied* S. Paul and S. IJarnabas for some way
upon their journey. On their arrival they were received by the
whole Church ^ of Jerusalem : and a formal council was con-
vened, in which " the Apostles and elders came together to
consider «= of this matter," under the presidency of S. James
the Less the bishop of that see. He pronounced '^ the decision



of this synod, which charged the members of the Church to
abstain from meats which had been offered to idols, from
blood and things strangled, and from fornication. And these
synodical decrees were forwarded to Antioch in the name of
the Apostles, elders, and of the whole Church ^.

VII. English Now there are three points connected with
r'convocations ^^''^ ^yuod of Jerusalem, which, as it must
constituted after be considered a fitting precedent for other

the example of .

the Synod of Je- ecclesiastical synods, are very important to our


present purpose.

1 . In the first place, the elders were here admitted into
deliberation with the Apostles, for we are plainly told that
SS. Paul and Barnabas "went up to the Apostles and elders^
about this question,'" and also that " the Apostles and elders
came together to consider ^ of the matter," Thus we see
that the duty of taking common counsal was no longer con-
fined to the Apostles. Those who had been ordained to the
second order of the ministry, and to whom the power of the
keys had been imparted, were now admitted into that body
which was authorized to deliberate and decide on matters
of faith, discipline, and ceremonial usage. This is no un-
important point : it especially affects, as will be seen in
pursuing this subject, that branch of the Church which is
planted in England. In our provincial synods, now called
convocations, very extensive powers attach to presbyters. In
the decision of matters connected with doctrine, discipline, and
ceremonial, our bishops have no authority, accoi'ding to the
constitution of the Church of England, to make even the
slightest change in any written formulary without the consent
of the second order of the clergy ; and in support of this
principle of admitting the presbyters to council, it is manifest
that we may appeal to the practice which prevailed at the
Synod of Jerusalem.

2. The second point connected with this synod, and mate-
rial to our present inquiry, is, that S. James the Less bishop
of Jerusalem was president. In this fact we see a pi-ecedent
for the rule that the presidency in council should belong to
that person within whose ecclesiastical jurisdiction the council
is held. And in this particular again, the sacred synods of
this nation have followed the apostolic pattern.

A.D. 50


• Acts XV.

22, -rs.

f Acts XV. 2.
S Acts XV. 6.



A. p. 50


'' Brett on
Ch. Gov. 1).

'lb. pp. 34-2,


J Acts XV. 2.

I Actsxvi. 4

"• Acts XV.


» Acts XV.


o Brett (111
C.'li. G'ov. J),

S. There is a third point to be noted as connected with
the Synod of Jerusalem, in which the Enghsh Church (at
least while her synodical action remained unimpeded) has
followed that apostolical model ; and to this point present
circumstances seem to require that special attention should
be drawn. In the Synod of Jerusalem, so far as the Scripture
narrative informs us, while presbyters constituted ^ an authori-
tative part of it as well as the Apostles themselves, yet to
those two orders in the ministry the power of deciding on the
matter in question was restrained ' ; and this we gather from
the sacred text. It was to the Apostles J and elders, and to
them onl^. that SS, Paul and Barnabas were sent about the
matter in dispute. They were the Apostles and elders, and
they only (and not any other members of the Church, at least
so far as Scripture informs us), who "came'' together for to
consider of this matter." With the Apostles and elders, and
with them only, there appears to have resided authority to con-
clude the question in debate ; such decision thus pertaining to
the ordained teachers in Christ's Chui'ch, and being restrained
within the power of the keys. And still farther, the decision
now ratified is afterwards mentioned in Holy Writ as having
been determined on by the Apostles and elders only. The
judgment is manifestly limited to them ; for when S. Paul
proceeded on his second journey, together with Silas, as they
passed through the cities " they delivered them the decrees ^
for to keep, that were ordained of the Apostles and elders
which were at Jerusalem '."

It is fully admitted that the lay brethren ™ were present,
and that the synodical epistle " is inscribed in the name of the
"brethren," as well as of the "Apostles and elders." But
this falls for short of proof that the lay brethren had any
authority to decide on the matter which had been brought
under the consideration of the Aj)Ostles and elders. " When "
the Apostles and ciders had agreed upon the matter, then
they drew up their synodical epistle, and put the brethren into
the inscription of it ; not that their consent was any ways
necessary to give strength to the decree, but to satisfy the

" TO. Soy/jara rd KiKpifikva vtto riov 'AnoaroXwv Kal rdv TrpiajSvripiov
tUv It' 'lepovaaXi'ifi.— Acts xvi. 4. Here the icpiais is manifestly limited to the
Apostles and elders.



Church of Antioch that this was no private determination, but
a matter that had been openly discussed and fully debated in
a public assembly." To give a decisive voice in a matter of
controvei-sy, and to give force by subscription to what has
been previously decided on, are two different functions. "To
be present p at synods is one thing ; to deliberate and deter-
mine in synod is another thing;" and though the brethren
are named in the inscription of the epistle, yet so far as
appears from the sacred narrative, the brethren were present
in the council only to hear and be satisfied ; while on the
other hand the presbyters discussed the matter with the

Online LibraryJames Wayland JoyceEngland's sacred synods : a constitutional history of the convocations of the clergy, from the earliest records of Christianity in Britain to the date of the promulgation of the present Book of common prayer; including a list of all councils, ecclesiastical as well as civil, held in England, in whic → online text (page 1 of 83)