« VorigeDoorgaan »
omitted, together with processions, bowings, frequent kneel. ings, and signs of the Cross; the elevation of the elements was expressly forbidden; non-communicants were no longer allowed to be present during the consecration of the elements, by the insertion of a Rubric after the Offertory,-" Then so many as shall be partakers of the Holy Communion shall tarry still in the quire, or in some convenient place nigh the quire, the men on the one side and the women on the other side. All other that mind not to receive the said Holy Communion shall depart out of the quire, except the ministers and clerks,” Thus the characteristic of the Mass as a propitiatory sacrifice for the benefit of non-communicants was abolished, and a right preparation of heart and lively faith were repeatedly enjoined as essential to the benefit of the ordinance. Notwithstanding, the name of Mass was still retained, the Mass vestments were to be worn, and the priest was to stand“ afore the midst of the altar," and the consecrated elements were offered up unto God “as a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving."
III. The third step in Liturgical Reformation was the publication of a Second Book of Common Prayer, in 1552. By a new Act of Uniformity this book superseded the first. In the new book, all the points of assimilation to the Mass enumerated in the last paragraph, were provided against; that is to say, the name of Mass was dropped, the Mass vestments were interdicted, the normal position of the celebrant was changed from “afore the midst of the altar,” to “the north side of the table.” A Rubric was inserted at the end of the Communion Service, declaring that kneeling to receive the Holy Communion was not to be regarded as an act of adoration to the sacramental bread and wine, or as indicating “any real and essential presence there being of Christ's natural flesh and blood.” An expression in the Consecration Prayer, “ Vouchsafe to bless and sanctify these thy gifts and creatures of bread and wine, that they may be unto us the body and blood of thy most dearly beloved Son Jesus Christ,” was suppressed ; and a prayer, in which the celebrant seemed to act the part of a sacrificing priest, containing the words, “we entirely desire thy fatherly goodness to accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving," was transferred to the post-Communion after the elements had been consumed; so cutting off all idea of an oblation of the elements by the priest, and making the act of “ sacrifice” the act of the whole congregation. In the prayer for the Church militant, the petition for mercy on behalf of the dead who have departed with the sign of faith, was suppressed.
The Rubric directing the communicants to assemble in the quire, and all others to depart out of it, was omitted, because another Rubric was introduced, directing the table to “stand in
the body of the church or in the chancel.” But a warning was introduced into one of the Exhortations, that non-communicants would commit a double sin if they should not only neg. lect to communicate, but also “stand by as gazers and lookers on them that do communicate," and they were therefore desired “to depart.”
An important alteration was also made respecting the practice of “auricular confession to a priest, and absolution." In the first Prayer-Book this practice was sanctioned in direct terms in one of the Exhortations at the Sacrament, in which the person with a troubled conscience was invited to come and “confess his sin secretly," and enjoining those who need not such a help not to be offended with them “that do use the auricular and secret confession to the priest.” So also a Rubric in the Visitation of the Sick provided a form of absolution, and “the same form of absolution was to be used in all private confessions.” In the second Prayer-Book, this notice of secret and auricular confession was struck out; the very word “confession” was avoided; for “Priest,” was substituted “Mi. nister of God's word ;” and the expression, “ that of us he may receive absolution,” is replaced by, “that by the ministry of God's word he may receive the benefit of absolution.” In the Rubric for the Visitation of the Sick, the expression, “the same form of absolution shall be used in all private confessions," was suppressed.
This historical review shows the several steps by which our reformed public worship was gradually purged from the superstitious and idolatrous ceremonies of the Roman Mass. How melancholy is the reflection that there are amongst the clergy of England, at the present day, those who attempt to drag back our public worship into practices which were repudiated by the compilers of our English Ritual.
It is sometimes said, that the question of Ritualism is one of a more or less ornate mode of worship. Such a sentiment can only escape the lips of a very superficial observer of the past and present times. The Reformers of Edward VI. knew by experience the advantages and the disadvantages of an ornate worship. Their object was to conciliate the popish party to the new worship. With this view they retained as much ceremony and splendour of worship as was consistent with edification; they cast off all that had a tendency to foster superstition or to teach false doctrine.
IV. Upon the accession of Queen Elizabeth, the Prayer Book of Edward VI. was subjected to examination and revision. The question was raised, what form of prayer should be adopted-whether a new liturgy, or whether either the First or Second Prayer Books of Edward VI. The statesmen and
divines who had to decide this question, were a different class, and were placed in different circumstances, from the compilers of the First Book. Queen Elizabeth was not so far advanced in the principles of the Reformation as her late brother King Edward VI. The leading divines of the Church had suffered persecution, and many had been exiled from their country, and had found their home in foreign churches, whose ritual and ceremonies were widely different from those adopted by the English Reformers. But they were men of great eminence as divines. Their character is thus sketched by Archbishop Parker :-“Men who coming forth of affliction and exile, looked upon with contempt by the Romanists, simple men without Pontifical ornaments to set them out, but eminent for the integrity of their lives, the gravity of their behaviour, the greatness of their spirit, and finally for their diligent search and accurate knowledge of scripture, councils, orthodox fathers, and all ecclesiastical antiquity.”
A commission was issued by the Queen to six eminent Divines, and Sir Thomas Smith, principal Secretary of State, to decide upon the adoption of a Book of Common Prayer. The Second Prayer Book of Edward VI. was adopted with very few alterations, and was sanctioned by a new Act of Uniformity. The testimony thus given to the value of the book, as a standard of Ritual in the Church of England, is remarkable; especially as Strype informs us that “the chief of the returned exiles, as Bishops Cox, Grindall, Horn, Sandys, Jewell, Parkhurst, and Bentham, upon their first return consulted together what to do, being in some doubt whether to enter into their functions; but they concluded unanimously not to depart from their ministry for some rites that, as they considered, were but few and not evil in themselves, especially as the doctrine of the Gospel remained pure and entire.” Those who now desire to relapse into Romish practices will do well to remember that there always has been in the Church a party who would cast off some of the ceremonies now retained, as savouring too much of Popery. The Church of England has hitherto held its even course without swerving to either side; nor will she allow this even course to be disturbed by the insubordinate conduct of a few individuals.
The Second Prayer-book of Edward VI. was thus adopted, without material alteration, except in two particulars, which indicate Queen Elizabeth's greater tenderness towards Romish error than her brother Edward VI. had manifested. In the Litany, a petition was omitted for deliverance “ from the ty. ranny of the Pope and all his detestable enormities.” And the Rubric at the end of the Communion Service was omitted, which explained that kneeling at the Sacrament did not signify the
doctrine of the presence of the natural flesh and blood of Christ, and that adoration of the elements was "idolatry to be abhorred by all Christian men.”
The Rubric was also omitted which enjoined that the “Minister shall use neither Alb, Vestment, nor Cope; but being archbishop or bishop, he shall have and wear a Rochet; and being a priest or deacon, he shall have and wear a surplice only;" and in place of it a Rubric prescribed “the use of such ornaments in the church as were in use by authority of Parliament in the second year of King Edward VI., according to the Act of Parliament set forth in the beginning of this book.” The Act so referred to (1 Elizabeth) declares that the ornaments in use in the 2nd Edward VI. should be retained only “until other order shall be therein taken by the authority of the Queen's Majesty, with the advice of her Commissioners appointed and authorized under the Great Seal of England for causes ecclesiastical, or of the Metropolitan of this realm.” Now, concurrently with the resumption of the Prayer-book, Royal Injunctions were issued, which were regarded and acted upon as having legal force in virtue of the Act, which directed the clergy, "both in the Church and without,” “to use such seemly habits, garments, and such square caps as were most commonly or orderly received in the latter year of the reign of King Edward VI." These Injunctions excluded the Alb, Vestment, and Cope, which were illegal in the latter year of Edward VI. That the Injunctions apply to the “habits” worn in church, is evident from certain " Interpretations” of these Injunctions issued two years later by the bishops, in which they apply the Injunctions to the use of the Surplice. So that, with the restoration of the reformed Prayer-book, Mass Vestments were laid aside. The same rule for Vestments was repeated a few years later in the “ Advertisements" of the Queen.
This review of the various revisions which our Book of Common Prayer has undergone will not be complete without some notice of the continual scrutiny to which it was subjected during the first century of its use. The Romanists, during the reign of Edward VI. and of Elizabeth, attempted to restore the Mass, while the Puritans pleaded for greater latitude of private judgment and fewer ceremonies; and the High Church party under Charles I. strove to assimilate our services to Romish ceremonies.
V. The Romanists attempted to assimilate the Protestant Communion Service to the Roman Mass. So early as the first year after the establishment of King Edward's first Prayer-book, Bishop Ridley, of London, found it necessary to issue Injunctions to the clergy of his diocese, of which one was, “That no minister do counterfeit the Popish Mass, in kissing the Lord's
Vol. 68.–No. 373.
Thislater in the same rule Prayer-boolice, som ich
board, .... showing the Sacrament openly, before the distribution, or making any elevation thereof,....or setting any lights upon the Lord's board. And finally, that the minister in the time of the Holy Communion do use only the ceremonies and gestures appointed by the Book of Common Prayer, and none other, so that there do not appear in them any counterfeiting of the Popish Mass.” Early, also, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth the bishops addressed the Queen upon the importance of abolishing all images, especially the crucifix and lights upon the altar, which she retained in her Royal chapels, and of substituting tables for altars. One argument they use is,—"The Mass Priests are most glad of the hope of retaining the altar, &c., meaning thereby to make the Communion as like the Mass as they can, and so to continue the simple in their former errors." The vigilance of the authorities, however, and the severity of the laws against Roman Catholic worship, sufficed, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, after these early ebullitions, to suppress all such tendencies.
VI. Opposition to the Ritual and Ceremonial of the Church in a contrary direction by the Puritans, sprang up and spread widely, to the great disadvantage of the Church. Several men of eminent station and learning objected to the use of the Surplice, as though it were a badge of Romanism. Many consequently were deprived of their preferment, and silenced. It appears from a memorandum of Cecil Lord Burleigh, dated February 14, 1564, that non-conformity had spread from the question of the Surplice, to the standing or sitting instead of kneeling to receive the Lord's Supper, and to the rejection of the sign of the Cross in Baptism. Many of the clergy ejected on these grounds setting up separate forms of worship, the opposition to Church ceremonies was merged in the wider ground of the constitution of a Church ; but till the close of Elizabeth's reign those who were otherwise favourable to the Church of England made “the three nocent ceremonies” the object of their hostility, namely,—the Surplice, kneeling at the Sacrament, the Cross in Baptism. Both Archbishop Parker and Bishop Whitgift were frequently urged to relax uniformity in respect of these ceremonies, but their answer was, that, if relaxation were allowed in this direction, it could not be resisted in the direction of Romish practices, and the Church would be liable to be broken into factions.
VII. A renewed scrutiny and revision of the Prayer-book took place as soon as James the First succeeded to the throne of England. He had been brought up under the Scottish Presbyterian system, and the hopes of many separatists in the Church of England were raised, that a change would have been made in the Church constitution. While all parties were in doubt of