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dead." By the queen's royal proclamation, the public worship of God remained some time without alteration. All preaching was prohibited; and the people were charged to hear only the epistles and gospels for the day, the ten commandments, the litany, the Lord's prayer, and the creed, in English. No other prayers were to be read, nor other forms of worship to be observed, than those already appointed by law, till the meeting of parliament.* : The parliament being assembled, the two famous acts, entitled “The Act of Supremacy,”; and “The Act of Uniformity of Common Prayer,” were passed. The former ve rise to a new ecclesiastical court, called The Court of IIGH CoMMission, which, by the exercise of its unlimited power and authority, became the engine of inconceivable oppression to multitudes of the queen's best subjects. The latter attempted, indeed, to establish a perfect uniformity in public worship, but it could never be effected. Durin the whole of this reign, many of the best divines an others, were dissatisfied with the Book of Common Prayer, and with the rigorous imposition of it in divine worship. Some things contained in the book, they considered to be erroneous; others superstitious; and the greater part to be derived from the corrupt fountain of popery, and, therefore, could not with a good conscience observe the whole; on which account, they were treated by the prelates with the utmost severity. The principal debate in the first parliament of this queen's reign, was not whether popery or protestantism should be established; but whether they should carry on the reformation, so happily begun in the days of King Edward, to a greater degree of perfection, and abolish all the remains of superstition, idolatry, and
* It is observed, that when the exiles and others came forwards in public, a certain gentleman made suit to the queen, in behalf of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, who had long been imprisoned in a Latin translation, that they also might be restored to liberty, and walk abroad as formerly in the English tongue. To this petition her majesty immediately replied, ** That he should first know the minds of the prisoners, who perhaps desired no such liberty as he requested.”— Heylin's Hist. of Resor.
p. 275. + Burnet's Hist. of Refor. vol. ii. p. 378. –Strype's Annals, vol. i. p. 41–44. f Ibid. p. 69.
§ This act was designed to establish a perfect and universal conformity, among the laity, as well as the clergy. It required “all persons diligently and faithfully, having no lawful or reasonable excuse, to resort to their parish church, every Sunday and all holidays, on pain of punishment by the censures of the church, and also on pain of forfeiting twelve-pence for every such offence, to be levied by way of distress.”—Burn's Eccl. Law, vol. ii. p. 145. Edit, 1775.
popish innovations, which being still retained in the church, were stumbling blocks to many worthy subjects.” In the year 1559, the queen published her Injunctions, consisting of upwards of fifty distinct articles. She commanded all her loving subjects obediently to receive, and truly to observe and keep them, according to their offices, degrees and estates, upon pain of suspension, deprivation, excommunication, and such other censures as to those who had ecclesiastical jurisdiction under her majesty, should seem meet.* . Though in these injunctions the queen manifested some disapprobation of the Romish superstitions and idolatry, she was much inclined to retain images in churches, and thought they were useful in o devotion, and in drawing people to public worship. Her object was to unite the papists and protestants together. She still retained a crucifix upon the altar, with lights burning before it, in her own chapel, when three bishops officiated, all in rich copes, before the idol. Instead of stripping religion of the numerous, pompous ceremonies with which it was incumbered, she was inclined rather to keep it as near as possible to the Romish ritual : and even some years after her accession, one of her chaplains having preached in defence of the real presence, she presented her public thanks to him, for his pains and piety.| She spoke with great bitterness against the marriage of the clergy, and repented having made married persons bishops. Her majesty having appointed a committee of divines to review King Edward's liturgy, she commanded them to strike out all passages offensive to the pope, and to make the people easy about the corporeal presence of Christ in the sacrament.” The liturgy was, therefore, exceedingly well fitted to the approbation of the papists.H The queen commanded, that the Lord's table should be placed in the form of an altar; that reverence should be made at the name of Jesus; that music should be retained in the churches; and that all the festivals should be observed as in times of popery.ft. The reformation of King Edward, therefore, instead of being carried forwards and perfected, was, according to Burnet, removed considerably backwards, partly from the queen's love of outward magnificence in religion, and partly in compliance with the papists." Many of our excellent reformers who had espoused the cause of nonconformity, in the days of King Edward, retained their principles, and acted upon them, during their exile in a foreign land, especially those who being driven from Frankfort, settled at Geneva and other places. Nor did they forget their principles upon the accession of Elizabeth. Having settled for several years among the best reformed churches in Europe, they examined more minutely the grand Ho". of the reformation, and returned home richly fraught with wisdom and knowledge. They wished to have the church purged of all its antichristian errors and superstitions, and to have its discipline, its government, and its ceremonies, as well as its doctrine, regulated by the standard of holy scripture. On the contrary, many of the bishops and clergy being too well affected to popery, opposed a thorough reformation, accounting that of King Edward sufficient, or more than sufficient, for the present church of England. Therefore, so early as in the year mentioned above, there were many warm debates betwixt the two contending parties.4 In addition to the oath of supremacy, a compliance with the act of uniformity, and an exact observance of the queen's injunctions, a public creed was drawn up by the bishops, entitled “A Declaration of certain principal Articles of Religion,” which all clergymen were obliged to read publicly at their entrance upon their cures. These were, at this time, the terms of ministerial conformity. There was no dispute among the reformers, about the first and last of these qualifications, but they differed in some points about the other two. Many of the learned exiles and others, could not, with a good conscience, accept of livings according to the act of uniformity and the queen's injunctions. If the popish garments and ceremonies had been left indifferent, and some liberties allowed in the use of the common prayer, the contentions and divisions which afterwards followed, would no doubt have been prevented. But as the case then stood, it was almost miraculous that the reformation did not fall back to popery; and if some of the nonconforming divines had not in part complied, in hopes of the removal of these grievances at some future period, that would most probably have been the unhappy consequence. Many churches were for a considerable time without ministers, and not a few mechanics, and persons altogether unlearned, were preferred, which brought much reproach upon the protestant cause; while others of the first rank for learning, piety and usefulness, were laid aside in silence. There was, indeed, very little preaching through the whole country." The Bishop of Bangor writes, during this year, “that he had only two preachers in all his diocese.”4 Indeed the bishops in general were not insensible of the calamity; but instead of opening the door a little wider, for the allowance of the more conscientious and zealous reformers, they admitted the meanest and most illiterate, who would come up to the terms of conformity.t And even at this early period, there were many of the clergy, who, though preferred to benefices, could not conform, but refused to observe the public service, and to wear the holy garments; at which the queen was exceedingly offended.; Dr. Matthew Parker was this year consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury. In the year 1562, sat the famous convocation, when “The Thirty-nine Articles of Religion,” much the same as those of King Edward, were drawn up and subscribed by all the members then sitting, and required to be subscribed by all the clergy in the kingdom. The convocation proceeded next to consider the rites and ceremonies of the church, when Bishop Sandys presented a paper recommending the abolition of private baptism, and the crossing of the infant in the forehead, which, he said, was needless and very superstitious. Another paper was, at the same time, presented to the house, with the following requests:— “That the psalms may be sung distinctly by the whole “congregation; and that organs may be laid aside.—That “none may baptize but ministers; and that they may leave “off the sign of the cross.—That in the administration of “ the sacrament, the posture of kneeling may be left indif“ferent.—That the use of copes and surplices may be “taken away; so that all ministers in their ministry use a “grave, comely, and long garment, as they commonly do “in preaching.—That ministers be not compelled to wear “ such gowns and caps, as the enemies of Christ's gospel “ have chosen for the special array of their priesthood.— “That the words in the thirty-third article, concerning the “punishment of those who do not in all things conform to “ the public order about ceremonies, may be mitigated.— “That all the saints' days, festivals, and holidays, bearing “the name of a creature, may be abrogated.”—This paper was subscribed by one provost, five deans, twelve archdeacons, and fourteen proctors, many of whom were eminent for learning and ability; but their requests were rejected." In the above convocation, there was a great difference of sentiment among the learned reformers, which occasioned many warm debates upon points of great importance, especially upon this, “Whether it was most proper to retain the outward appearance of things, as near as possible to what had been practised in times of popery.” While the one party maintained the affirmative, the other asserted, that this outward resemblance of the Romish church, would encourage the people in their former practices, nourish in them the old root of popery, and make them a more easy prey to their popish adversaries. Therefore they recommended that every thing might be removed as far as possible from the church of Rome. In the conclusion, the contrary party prevailed: and the bishops, conceiving themselves empowered by the canons of this convocation, began to exercise their authority by requiring the clergy of their respective dioceses to subscribe to the liturgy, the ceremonies, and the discipline of the church; when such as refused, were branded with the odious name of Punit ANs. This was a term of reproach given them by their enemies, because they wished to serve and worship God with greater § than was allowed and established in the church of England.; All were stigmatized by this name, who distinguished themselves in the cause of religious liberty, and who could not in all points conform to the ecclesiastical establishment. In the year 1564, Archbishop Parker, with the assistance of several of the bishops, published the Advertisements, with a view to secure a due conformity among ecclesiastical persons. By the first of these advertisements, all preachers throughout the province of Canterbury were at once disqualified; and by the last, they were required to subscribe, and promise not to preach or expound the scriptures, without a license from the bishop, which could not be obtained
* MS. Remarks, p. 463. + Sparrow's Collec. p. 65–86.
** Burnet's Hist. of Refor. vol. ii. p. 392.
* Burnet's Hist. of Refor. vol. iii. p. 305. + Ibid. vol. ii. p. 407.-Baker's MS. Collec, vol. xxvii. p. 387.
* Biog. Britan. vol. v. p. 3297. Edit. 1747. + MS. Register, p. 886. : Neal's Puritans, vol. i. p. 146, § Strype's Parker, p. 106. | Strype's Annals, vol. i. p. 297, * Strype's Annals, p. 298. vol. ii. Adden. p. 15, + Burnet's Hist. of Refor. vol. iii. p. 302. † Fuller's Church Hist. b. ix, p. 76.