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THE Liturgy was called “The Book of the Reformation.”a It has been attributed to Poynet, Bishop of Winchester ; but it certainly passed through a review by Ridley, and, probably, by Cranmer. Previous to the Reformation it was used only in Latin. It was formed, in part, of ancient forms used in the earliest times, and, in part, from others of a later date. At the commencement of the Reformation it was thought necessary to correct and amend these offices; and the Services of the Church were ordered to be performed in the English or vulgar tongue.
The principle upon which the first Reformers proceeded in the work of reformation, was to depart no further from the Church of Rome, than their sense of the purity of faith and worship required. It was their desire to maintain uniformity both in doctrine and discipline; the
a Bale's Centuries, p. 691.-Strype's Annals, vol. i. p. 489, 490. Edit. 2d.
advantages of which would be great, whilst the consequences of division and separation would be serious. They, therefore, continued whatever of ceremony had been the practice of the primitive church. It was, however, not without much opposition, length of time, and great unwillingness, that the people, and even the clergy, were reconciled to approve, and to retain, any part of the ecclesiastical habit. Strype,b who was contemporary witness of these proceedings, has afforded a curious view of the manner in which the public service of the church was conducted in the infancy of the Reformation.
Since the publication of the Primers of King Henry VIII., the Book of Common Prayer has, from time to time, received various alterations and additions ; and, down to its last review, in 1661, in its compilation, whatever was valuable in former liturgies has been added, altered, and transposed, as was deemed expedient.
The progress of the reformation in England was gradual. In 1533° there was a confirmation of the statutes concerning the burning of heretics. In the same yeard was passed an act to prohibit the payment of first-fruits to the Bishop of Rome;e all imposition to the Bishop or the See of Rome, was to cease to be paid ; and none
d C. 20.
35 Henry VIII. c. 14. & C. 21.