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 51 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 51 of 83)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

ject of the eucharist. In the prosecution of their work they

met at Windsor Castle, to " consult about

uniform ord(

for administering the holy communion in the English tongue
under both kinds of bread and wine."

Before these divines finally came to a resolution they broke
the question ' into ten divisions, and it was agreed that every
member of the committee should give his answer in writing.
They moved tenderly in their undertaking, unwilling to shock
those of the old persuasion, and still wishing to bring the
work to an unexceptionable standard. It was therefore so
arranged that the old office should *" be used to the end of the
canon as formerly, in the Latin tongue, and up to the point
where the celebrant received the communion himself. A new
portion was then added in English, beginning with an exhor-
tation (in effect the same as the second of those now stand-
ing in our Prayer Book), and containing the invitation, the
general confession, the absolution, the comfortable sentences,

' Archbishops — Canterbvuy and York ; Bishops— London, Durham, Worcester,
Norwich, S. Asaph, SaUsbury, Coventry and Lichfield, Carlisle, Bristol, S. David's,
Ely, Lincoln, Chichester, Hereford, Westminster, Rochester; Doctors— Co.tc, dean of
Christ Church, May, dean of S. Paul's, Taylour, dean of Lincoln and prolocutor of
convocation, Heynes, dean of Exeter, Robertson, afterwards dean of Durham,
and Redmayn, master of Trinity College, Cambridge.— Collier, vol. v. p. 246.




the prayer of humble access, the distribution of the elements
to the people, together with a dismissal in the peace of God.
A rubric ° was also added respecting the bread, and another
for consecrating more wine if needful. This godly form,
called "The Order ^ of the Communion," having been well° ap-
proved, was published on the 8th of March, 1548 n.s., toge-
ther with his majesty's proclamation giving the civil sanction
for its use.
^^^^ ^. After the restoration of full communion to

XXII. Fust

reformed Prayer the English Church, the next great advance
made towards complete reformation was the
establishment of the first reformed Prayer Book. By this
the standard of divine offices was defined ; and as by all
honest men the "lex orandi" must ahvays be considered
as the exponent of the "lex credendi" (notwithstanding
any late mysterious suggestions in the law courts to the
contrary), the faith of the English Church of that day may
clearly be gathered from the contents of this book. Its
variations P from the second reformed book and from the
book now in use are considerable, though not perhaps funda-
mental 1, nor are they necessary to our present inquiry at this
point. But the question of its due ratification by synodical
authority is a matter essential to our purpose.

It must be borne in mind that more than six years before
this time, viz. on the 24th of February, 1542 n.s.. Archbishop
Cranmer had moved in the upper house of convocation that
"portuisesS missals, and other service books should be re-
formed."" In the following year this matter was again urged
upon the attention of the synod, for on the 21st of February,
1543 N.s.% the archbishop again suggested an examination
and correction of all "mass-books*, antiphoners, and portuises,"
and the desirableness of framing the public services "out of
the scripture" and other authentic doctors." Upon this
suggestion a committee ^ was appointed for the purpose ; and
the business of the reform ''' in the services was then carried
on actively and without delay, the convocation having in the
same session ordered that a chapter^ of the New or Old
Testament should be read in English during the service, and

3 For this coramunion office, see Cone. Mag. Brit. iv. 11. Sparrow's Collec-
tions, p. 18. CardweU's Two Liturgies, appendix ad fin.

A.D. 1548.
K. Ed. VI.

" See Bul-
ley's Varia-
tions, Pref.


" Heylin's
Ref. p. 58.
Coll. V. 255.

P Vid. inf.
pp. 477, 478,

1 See Card-
weU's Two
Coll. V. 271
Sparrow by
■■ Vid. sup.
p. 408.
Cone. Mag.
Brit. iii.
^ Cone.
Mag. Brit.
iii. 863.
' Cone.
Mag. Brit.
iii. 863.
Sup. p. 412.
" Cone.
Magf. Brit.

* Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iii. 863. &
sup. p. 412.
"" Cone.
Mag. Brit.
iii. 863. &
sup. p. 412.
X Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iii. 863. &
sup. p. 413.


A.D. 1.548.






y Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iii. 863 ad

^ Nov. 22,
a Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 15.
p. 155.
b Att.
Rights, pp.

e Att.
Rights, p.
d Att.
Riglits, p.

e Att.
Rights, p.
Ref. ii. 50.
Iren. p. 386.
f Vid. sup.
p. 466.

e Sparrow by
app. cl., and
Hey] in,
Ref. p. 64.
h Coll. V.

' Warner,

Ecc. Hist.

vol. ii. p.


k Coll. V.


1 Coll. V.


™ Warner,
X'll: i'- I'-



having also devoted two succeeding > sessions to the prosecu-
tion of the same subject. That tliis committee had now made
progress in tiie work assigned to them of reforming the service
books is plain from the petition before referred to, and sent
up last year'' from the lower house of convocation, to this
effect : That " the ^ work of the bishops and others, who Jy
the command of convocation have laboured in examining, re-
forming, and publishing the divine service, may be produced,
and laid before the examination of this house." Now ^ as the
reform of the divine offices had been entrusted to a committee
by convocation in K, Henry VIII. ^s time, and as the lower
house had again given an impulse to that proceeding by their
late petition, measures were taken that the desired event, the
publication of a reformed service book, might now be brought
to a speedy issue, " the business "^ being continued in the same
method into" which the convocation had formerly put it.

There is reason '^ to beheve, it is said, that the petition
of the lower house of convocation before referred to ended in
an address ^ of both houses to the king that he would himself
name the persons to bring this matter to perfection, liut
however that may be, a committee of divines was selected for
the purpose. This was a smaller committee than that which
had^ just settled the "order of the communion ;" though all
the persons here engaged were included in that former and
larger committee. The present connnittee* met together^ on
the 1st of September, 1548. Their object was to compile an
order for morning and evening prayer, together with forms ^
for celebrating other public offices, in conformity with the
faith of the early Church. The uses of Sarum, York, Bangor,
and Lincoln', as well as diversities in some parts of divine
service, were to be laid aside, and a uniform "^ office provided
for the whole kingdom. The committee laid down these
rules : that nothing should be changed for the sake ! of novelty,
that their work should -be grounded on the word of CJod, and
fashioned according to the best"' precedents of the primitive

* Composed of Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury ; Day, bishop of Chichester ;
Goodrick, bishop of Ely ; Skyp, bishop of Hereford ; Holbeach, bishop of Lin-
coln ; Ridley, bishop of Rochester ; Thirlby, bishop of Westminster ; with Drs.
May, Taylour, prolocutor of convocation, Heynos, Robertson, RedmajTi, and
Cox. — Coll. vol. V. p. 240. Card. Lit. pref. xi. Sparrow by Downes, ajip. rxlix.
Wheatly, Comm. P. i)p. 21, 22.




Church. They took notice though our Saviour was estabhsh-
ing a new Church, and introducing a religion strangely dif-
ferent from that of Moses, yet that He founded his two
sacraments of baptism and the eucharist " upon a resemblance
to Jewish rites ; and therefore they concluded, as they could
challenge no extent of authority approaching that of our Lord,
and as they had neither a commission nor a wish to erect a
new Church, that their business was to work upon the old
foundations, and to restore the ancient fabric to its fair pro-
portions. And in this course they proceeded. Their object
was to clear off the rust which had accumulated by lapse of
time, and to brighten their work by bringing it up to the
primitive standard. Calvin, it is said, offei-ed his services ° on
this occasion to Cranmer; happily the archbishop knew his
man, and declined them ; for had they been accepted we
should doubtless have had some baser metal introduced into
the composition. But Cranmer wisely refused such help, and
so saved the work from foreign alloy. The whole fabric of the
new service book was completed by English hands ; for though
Martyr and Bucer were invited at this time to come over to
season our universities, yet those foreigners i' did not arrive
till the liturgy was completed. This work, having been com-
pleted by the committee, received synodical sanction i. A
bill for the civil "ii ratification of this first reformed Book of
Connnon Prayer, and for enforcing the use of it, was brought
into parliament. It was introduced hito the House of Com-
mons '^ on the 9th of December, and into the House of Lords
on the 10th of December, 1548 ; and received its third reading
in the upper house on the 15th of January, and in the lower
on the 21st of January, 1549 n.s.^ Thus it was passed into a
statute', entitled an "Act" for Uniformity of Service and
Administration of Sacraments throughout the Realm.'''' The
act takes notice that the book is set forth by " the aid of the
Holy Ghost '^,''"' and enjoins upon the authorities of every
parish and cathedral church the duty of obtaining copies be-
fore the feast ^ of Whitsuntide, 1549, and of using the new
liturgy within three weeks after such copies were procured.
The book' itself was published" in March, 1549 n.s., and

^ This book was, with some variations, the same as our present Prayer Book.
A new communion office was added to it, superseding the " Order of the Com-

A.D. 1548.
K. Ed. VI.

" Warner,
vol. ii. ]).

o Coll. V.
276, <and
Ecc. Vind.
4 to. p. 69.

P Heylin,
Ref. p. 65,
and Ecc.
Vind. 4to.
p. 69.

'1 Vid. infra,
p. 470 & seq.
m See Hey-
lin's Hist.
Tracts, pp.
15, 16.
>" Burnet's
Hist. Rcf.
vol. ii. p.

s Cardwell's
Two Litur-
gies, pref.
p. xi.

t 2 & 3 Ed.
VI. c. 1.
" Stat, at
" Sec. i. Cn.)

* See. viii.

w Latliburv,
Hist, of
tion, pp.
138, 139,
and notes.




A.D. 1549.






* Vid. sup.

p. 4li

y Ecc. Vim
4to. p. 81.

* Strypc's
Mem. vol.
ii. p. 87.
Comm. P.
pp. 21—27.
Card. Lit.
pref. xi.
Lath bury,
138. Hey-
lin's Tracts,
pp. 15, 16.

a Coll. V.
b Cone.
Mag. Brit,
vol. iv. p.

was used in some of the London cliurches on Easter Day,
which fell in that year on April the 21st.

Now it may occur to some minds that from the first appoint-
ment of a committee by convocation for the reformation of the
divine offices in 1542'', and during the different stages through
which these matters passed, very large powers were entrusted
to committees of divines, and that therefore the fruit of their
labours, now brought to maturity (in the first reformed
liturgy), required a full, definite, and formal synodical ratifica-
tion. For, in the words of Heylin >', " If the reformation be
in points of doctrine, and in such points of doctrine as have
not been before defined, or not defined in form or manner as
before laid down, the king only with a few of his bishops and
learned clergy (though never so well studied in the point dis-
puted) can do nothing in it. That belongs only to the whole
body of the clergy in their convocation rightly called and con-

A.D. i.W.o. This That this first reformed Prayer Book did ro-
sy nodicaf'"Lnc- c^^^'® proper synodical sanction ^ is not doubted
t'o°- by the most trustworthy writers. The records,

indeed, are lost, having been burnt in the disastrous fire of
London ; but there is such a mass of collateral evidence on
the subject as must needs satisfy any candid inquirer. As
this is a point of importance, the reader must not grudge
some pains in considering the evidence which establishes the
fact that this first complete liturgy of the reformed English
Church was fully sanctioned by synodical authority.

The first witness to be produced is K. Edward VL In his
letter ** to Bishop Bonner, dated July 23, 1549, the king thus
writes: "One^ uniform order for common prayers and ad-
ministration of the sacraments hath been and is most godly
set forth, not only by the common agreement and full assent
of the nobility and commons of the late session of our late
parliament, but also by the like assent of the bishops in the
said parliament, and of all other the learned men of this our
realm in their convocations and synods provincial.''''

munion" published last year; and the new office was now brought into nearer
resemblance * with that which we use at this day.

* Vid. Cardwell's Lit., BuUev's variations.



To the same effect is the king's answer to the petition of
the Devonshire men, who had risen in insurrection '^, being
displeased at this new service book. He assured those dis-
contented persons in these words : " Whatsoever*^ is contained
in our book, either for baptism, sacrament, mass, confirmation,
and service in the Church, is by our parliament established,
hy the icliole clergy agreed^ yea, hy the bishops of the realm de-
vised, by God's word confirmed." Now to imagine that his
majesty was the author of such gross falsehoods as are here
contained, if we admit the supposition that the first reformed
Prayer Book published in his reign was not sanctioned
synodically, is to attach a blemish to his fair character which
it has never been believed by persons of any party to deserve.

The next evidence to be produced confirmatory of the fact
that the first service book of this reign was synodically ratified
is drawn from an order of his majesty's council, by which in-
structions were given to Dr. Hopton, the Lady Mary's chap-
lain, to the intent that he might acquaint her with the in-
sufficiency of her reasons for demurring to the use of the new
liturgy. The council bid him use these words ^ : " The fault is
great in any subject to disallow a law of the king ; a law of
the realm by long study, free disputation, and uniform deter-
mination of the ivhole clergy consulted, debated, concluded."
Now, unless the first service book of this reign was sanctioned
by the convocations, such an order as that just quoted con-
tains a positive untruth ; for we are to consider that nothing
is here to be set down to looseness of expression, a failing, I
trust, never to be suspected among gentlemen holding high
government appointments, whose position and employments
demand the stereotyped precision of official routine.

But we must have recourse still once more to the evidence
of his majesty's council on this point. A letter indited ^ by
them to the Lady Mary on the subject of her chaplains saying
mass declares that such a proceeding is " a contempt of the
ecclesiastical s orders of this Church of England." Now if
the first liturgy, to which the reformed communion office had
been appended, was not established by proper synodical
authority, we must here pay the council the ill compliment
of believing that they were under an incapacity of distinguish-
ing between ecclesiastical and civil sanctions — a vulgar failing

A.D. 1549.
K. Ed. VI.

•^ Hume, c.

XXXV. p,


d Att.

Rights, p.
199, cites
Foxe, vol.
ii. p. 668.

e Att.
Rights, p.
] 99, cites
Foxe, vol.
ii. p. 701,
ami see
Collier, vol.
V. p. 343.

f June 24,

s Foxe, vol.
ii.p. 709,
apud Att.
p. 20-2.




h Dr. Geo.
Abbot ag.
Hil. p. 104,
cited in
Mem. vol.
ii. p. 87.

i Bom 1544.

k Coll. vi.

' Strype's
I\Iein. vol.
ii. p. 87.

™ See also
Hist. Tracts,
pp. 15, 16.

then less common than now; or we must bear still more
hardly upon the memory of those gentlemen by supposing
that though cognizant of so patent a distinction they wilfully
mis-stated the facts of the case in hand.

But not only have we the evidence of his majesty K. Edward
VI. and of his council on this point. That of two archbishops
may also be cited for the same purpose. Dr. George Abbot,
archbishop of Canterbury, gives us a plain assurance in the
following words, that the first reformed Prayer Book of Edward
VI.'s reign was synodically sanctioned. "The religion '',■'■'
he says, " which was then and is now established in England
is drawn out of the fountains of the word of God, and from
the purest orders of the primitive Church ; which for the ordi-
nary exercise thereof, when it had been collected into the Book
of Common Prayer by the pains and labour of many learned
men and of mature judgment, it was afterwards confirmed hy
the upper and loicer house. Yet not so, but that the more
material points were disputed and delated in the convocation
house hy men of both parties, and might further have been dis-
cussed so long as any popish divine had aught reasonably to
say .... And then it being intended to add to ecclesiastical
decision the corroboration of secular government, according to
the ancient custom of this kingdom (as appeareth by record
from the time of K. Edward III.), the parliament, which is the
most honourable court of Christendom, did ratify the same."

We are also to observe that Archbishop Bancroft ', who
was alive at the time of the compilation of the first reformed
Prayer Book, affirmed that " the first '^ liturgy set forth in
the beginning of K. Edward's reign was carefully compiled
and confirmed hy a synod.''''

One more witness must be adduced, the learned historian
Strype, whose language is plain to the point. " The con-
sideration ' and preparation of this Book of Common Prayer,
together with other matters in religion, was committed first
of all to divers learned divines, as was shewn before, and
what these had concluded npon teas offered the convocation ;
and after all this the™ parliament approved it and gave it its

Now under the disabling circumstance of the loss of the
convocation registers, the foregoing testimony to tlicbynodical



sanction of the first reformed Prayer Book is more full than
could reasonably have been looked for. We have the united
evidence of K. Edward VI., of his council, each on two
several occasions, of two archbishops, and of a most trust-
worthy historian. To look for more convincing proof would
be surely unreasonable. When documents are lost corrobo-
rative evidence is wont to prevail. Here we have more than
corroboration, we find proof amply sufficient to satisfy any
candid inquirer.

^„-^^ „ The next step in the reformation of divine

XXIII. Re- ^

formed ordina- officos was the preparation " of a new ordinal.

This was set° on foot towards the end of
1549. The work was committed again to a committee, as in
the case of the reformation of the other offices, and it is be-
lieved upon good P authority to that same i committee (the
Bishop of Chichester only excepted) which was engaged on
the first Prayer Book. This committee framed their work in
conformity with the principles "^ of the primitive Church, and
executed it in accordance with the rules recapitulated in the
Council ^ of Carthage held a.d. 401 ; and which in early times
had been generally received and approved so far as regarded
the consecration of bishops, and the ordination of inferior minis-
ters in the Churches of the west. When the work had been
completed by* the committee of divines, it was used for the
purposes intended without further authority for some time.
Indeed there is no record remaining of its having had the
formal sanction of the whole convocation until 1553 n.s.,
when, having been annexed with some slight variations to
the second reformed Prayer Book* of K. Edward VL's reign,
the whole volume was sanctioned by the 85th article of
1552-3. This ordinal had also a second confirmation by"
the 36th ^ article of 1563 n.s., so that it has a double
synodical sanction. It may be remarked in passing, that
the act of parliament ^ which ratified this ordinal was passed
before the work was complete. It seems therefore that

^ When this ordinal was added to the second Prayer Book of 1552, the varia-
tions were these : viz. omission of some requirements as to vestments, omission of
introits, of appeal to saints and evangelists, of the delivering a chalice and bread
at the ordination of a priest, and the laying the bible on the neck, and of placing
the pastoral staff in tlie hand, at the consecration of a bishop. — Vid. Bulley, Varia-
tion of Comm. and Baptismal Offices, Pref. p. x.

A.D. 1549.
K. Ed. VI.

» Att.
Rights, p.

Coll. V.
Mem. vol.
ii. p. 18G.
P Heylin,
Hist. Ref.

1 Vid. sup.
p. 468, note.
>■ Coll. v.

« Hevlin's
Ref. "p. 83.

t Hevlin's
Hist Ref.
p. 83.

" Coll. V.


^ Hevlin's

Ref p. 83.

" 3 & 4 Ed.

VI. chap. 12.




A.D. 1549.






x Heylin's
Hist. Tracts,
p. 16.
y Att.

Rights, p.

^ Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iii. 754-5,
and sup.
chapter x.
p. 347.
a Att.
Rights, pp.
92-3, and
App. p. 537.
^ See sup.
this chap,
p. 375.
<= Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 15, and
sup. this
chap. p. 458.
•1 Strypc's
Cran. p. 1.55.
Coll. V. 220.
e 3 & 4 Ed.
VI. c. 11.
*■ Stat, at
Large, in

e Vid. sup.
this chap,
p. 37.5.
'• Heylin's
Rcf. 83.
i Hovlin's

^ See ch.ap.
ii. pp. 41,42.

' Ref. Icguni
(le Ecclcsia,
cap. 19.
"< Cap. 20.
" C.ip. 21.
o Cap. 22.
P Cap. 23.

XXIV. "Re-
formatio legum
promoted again at
this time.

the parliament on "^ this occasion paid exceeding deference to
the future resohitions of the committee of divines, by enact-
ing y them, not only before they had been inspected by the
civil power, but even before they were concluded by their

At the end of this year (1549) another en-
deavour was made towards a reformation of the
ecclesiastical laws. It will be remembered that
the clergy in synod had consented to the re-
form^ of the ecclesiastical laws by thirty-two commissioners on
the 15th of May % 1532 ; and that by the act (25 Hen. VIII.
c. 19) measures^ had been taken in 1534 for carrying ont the
plan. The clergy had again made a formal^ synodical petition
on the subject in 1547, desiring that this business might '^ be
concluded; and in consequence by another recent act'' the
king was now empowered to "nominate ^ and appoint two and
thirty persons to peruse and make ecclesiastical laws." In
accordance with this last act the thirty-two s persons were
now appointed ; and in order to a dispatch of the work ^ a
sub-committee was ^ afterwards commissioned (Nov. 1 1, 1 551).
By them the work was " digested and fashioned according to
the method of the Roman decretals, and called by the name
of the Reformatio legum Ecclesiasticarum '."

Now this book is most valuable, as shewing what were the
views of our reformers of that age, and how widely their senti-
ments differed from those of persons in the present day, who
either from wilfulness or ignorance hopelessly confuse the prin-
ciples of the reformers with those of the puritans. To pass
over the other points in this performance, from which, how-
ever, very wholesome instruction might be derived, those only
shall be glanced at which affect our present inquiry. As was
remarked above ^, diocesan synods arc treated in this work with
very great respect ; no less than five chapters being specially
devoted to that subject, containing very minute regulations, and
specifying the reasons for convening ' such assemblies, the
times'", and the form" of holding them, the subjects" to be
there treated of, and the manner p of concluding the meetings.

' Archbishop Cranmcr, Th. Goodrick, bishop of Ely, Dr. Rich. Co.x, Dr. Peter
Martyr; William May, and Rowland Taylor, LL.D.'s ; John Lucas and Rich.
Goodrick, Esqrs.




It is specified, also, that a synod of bishops should be called '^

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 51 of 83)