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in such order and form as is mentioned in the book; and that every parson, vicar, or other minister whatsoever, shall before the feast of St. Bartholomew, which shall be in the year of our Lord 1662, openly and publicly, before the congregation assembled for religious worship, declare his unfeigned assent and consent to the use of all things contained and prescribed in the said book, in these words, and no other:

"I, A. B. do declare my unfeigned assent and consent to all and every thing contained and prescribed in and by the book, entitled, The book of common prayer and administration of sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the church of England, together with the psalter or Psalms of David, pointed as they are to be sung or said in churches;' and the form and manner of making, ordaining, and consecrating of bishops, priests, and deacons*."

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The penalty for neglecting or refusing to make this declaration is deprivation, ipso facto, of all his spiritual promotions.

"And it is farther enacted, that every dean, canon, and prebendary; all masters, heads, fellows, chaplains, and tutors, in any college, hall, house of learning, or hospital; all public professors, readers in either university, and in every college and elsewhere; and all parsons, vicars, curates, lecturers; and every schoolmaster keeping any public or private school; and every person instructing youth in any private family, shall before the feast of St. Bartholomew, 1662, subscribe the following declaration, viz.

"I, A. B. do declare, that it is not lawful upon any pretence whatsoever to take arms against the king; and that I do abhor that traitorous position of taking arms by his authority, against his person, or against those that are commissioned by him; and that I will conform to the liturgy of the church of England, as it is now by law established. And I do hold, that there lies no obligation upon me, or on any other person, from the oath commonly called the solemn league and covenant, to endeavour any change or alteration of government, either in church or state, and that the same was in itself an unlawful oath, and imposed upon the subjects of this realm, against the known laws and liberties of this kingdom."

This declaration is to be subscribed by the persons above mentioned, before the archbishop, bishop, or ordinary of the diocess, on pain of deprivation, for those who were possessed of livings; and for schoolmasters or tutors, three months' imprisonment for the first offence and for every other offence, three months' imprisonment, and the forfeiture of five pounds to his majesty. Provided, that after the 25th of March 1682, the renouncing of the solemn league and covenant shall be omitted.


"It is farther enacted, that no person shall be capable of any benefice, or presume to consecrate and administer the holy sacra

*This form of subscription and solemn declaration was inserted by the lords, with whom this act of uniformity began.-ED.

ment of the Lord's supper, before he be ordained a priest by episcopal ordination, on pain of forfeiting for every offence one hundred pounds*.

"No form, or order of common prayer, shall be used in any church, chapel, or other place of public worship, or in either of the universities, than is here prescribed and appointed.

"None shall be received as lecturers, or be permitted to preach, or read any sermon or lecture in any church or chapel, unless he be approved and licensed by the archbishop or bishop, and shall read the thirty-nine articles of religion, with a declaration of his unfeigned assent and consent to the same: and unless the first time he preaches any lecture or sermon, he shall openly read the Common Prayer, and declare his assent to it; and shall on the first lecture-day of every month afterward, before lecture or sermon, read the Common Prayer and service, under pain of being disabled to preach; and if he preach while so disabled, to suffer three months' imprisonment for every offence.

"The several laws and statutes formerly made for uniformity of prayer, &c. shall be in force for confirming the present Book of Common Prayer, and shall be applied for punishing all offences contrary to the said laws, with relation to the said book, and no other.

"A true printed copy of the said book is to be provided in every parish-church, chapel, college, and hall, at the cost and charge of the parishioners or society, before the feast of St. Bartholomew, on pain of forfeiting three pounds a month for so long as they shall be unprovided of it."

It was certainly unreasonable in the legislature to limit the time of subscription to so short a period, it being next to im

This clause was also inserted by the lords.-ED.

"The act of uniformity and the corporation-act (Mr. Gough observes) did not in themselves materially affect the Quakers, who aspired to no places of honour or profit, and who testified against preaching for hire, and sought for no more than a toleration and protection in their religious and civil rights, to lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty; yet the corporation-act in its consequences did affect them, by filling the city and country with persecuting magistrates." Hist. of the Quakers. vol. 1. p. 469.-ED.

Dr. Grey argues that this objection is taken off by a clause, exempting from the penalties of the act those who were prevented subscribing within the limited time by some lawful impediment allowed and approved by the ordinary of the place, and complying with its requisition within a month after such impediment was removed; and the doctor adds, that, in pursuance of this clause, Dr. Laney, the bishop of Peterborough, dispensed with the dean and chapter of that church. He farther alleges a public advertisement given in London, 6th of August, 1662, declaring that the Book of Common Prayer was then perfectly and exactly printed, and books in folio were provided for all churches and chapels in the kingdom; which left a space of eighteen days for conveying them through the country. But the doctor did not calculate, how many of these days would be run out before this notice had circulated through the nation, and had reached the remoter parts and country parishes lying at a distance from the great post-roads. Bishop Burnet says, "the vast number of copies, being many thousands, that were to be wrought off for all the parish-churches of England, made the impression go on so slowly, that there were few books set out to sale when the day came.' Burnet, vol. 1. p. 269. Examination, vol. 1. p. 420-423; and vol. 3. p. 322, 323.-ED.



possible that the clergy in all parts of the kingdom should read and examine the alterations within that time. The dean and prebendaries of Peterborough declared, that they could not obtain copies before August 17, the Sunday immediately preceding the feast of St. Bartholomew; so that all the members of that cathedral did not and could not read the service in manner and form as the act directs, and therefore they were obliged to have recourse to the favour of their ordinary to dispense with their default; however, their preferments were then legally forfeited, as appears by the act of the 15th of Charles II. cap. 6, entitled, "An act for the relief of such as by sickness, or other impediments, were disabled from subscribing the declaration of the act of uniformity;" which says, that those who did not subscribe within the time limited were utterly disabled, and ipso facto deprived, and their benefices void, as if they were naturally dead. And if this was the case at Peterborough, what must be the condition of the clergy in the more northern counties? in fact, there was not one divine in ten, that lived at any considerable distance from London, who did peruse it within that time; but the matter was driven on with so much precipitancy, says bishop Burnet*, that it seems implied, that the clergy should subscribe implicitly to a book they had never seen; and this was done by too many, as by the bishops themselves confessed.

The terms of conformity now were,

(1.) Re-ordination, if they had not been episcopally ordained before.

(2.) A declaration of their unfeigned assent and consent to all and every thing prescribed and contained in "The book of common prayer, and administration of sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church of England, together with the psalter," and the form and manner of making, ordaining, and consecrating, of bishops, priests, and deacons.

(3.) To take the oath of canonical obedience.

(4.) To abjure the solemn league and covenant, which many conscientious ministers could not disentangle themselves from.

(5.) To abjure the lawfulness of taking arms against the king, or any commissioned by him, on any pretence whatsoever.

It appears from hence, that the terms of conformity were higher than before the civil wars; and the Common Prayer-book more exceptionable; for, instead of striking out the Apocryphal lessons, more were inserted, as the story of Bel and the Dragon; and some new holidays were added, as St. Barnabas, and the conversion of St. Paul; a few alterations and new collects were made by the bishops themselves, but care was taken, says Burnett, that nothing should be altered, as was moved by the Presbyterians.-The validity of Presbyterian ordination was renounced, by which the ministrations of the foreign churches were disowned.-Lec

* Page 269.

+ Page 267.

turers and schoolmasters were put upon the same foot with incumbents as to oaths and subscriptions.-A new declaration was invented, which none who understood the constitution of England could safely subscribe-and to terrify the clergy into a compliance, no settled provision was made for those who should be deprived of their livings, but all were referred to the royal clemency *.-A severity, says bishop Burnet, neither practised by queen Elizabeth in enacting the liturgy, nor by Cromwell in ejecting the Royalists; in both which a fifth of the benefice was reserved for their subsistence.

Mr. Rapin has several remarks on this act: if we compare it with the king's declaration from Breda, says het, it will easily be seen what care the ministers about the king, who were the real authors or promoters of this act, had for his honour and promise; though some therefore may look this act as the great supupon port and bulwark of the church, others, no less attached to its interests, will perhaps look upon it as her disgrace and scandal.His second remark is, for the reader to take notice of the amount of the promises made to the Presbyterians by the king's party, upon the assurance of which they had so cheerfully laboured for his restoration, and followed the directions transmitted by his friends. -His third remark is, that by an artifice, the most gross conspiracies were invented, which had no manner of reality; or supposing they had, could no ways be charged on the Presbyterians, who were not to answer for the crimes of other sects.

On the other hand, bishop Kennet says, "The world has reason to admire, not only the wisdom of this act, but even the moderation of it, as being effectually made for ministerial conformity alone, and leaving the people unable to complain of any imposition. And it would certainly have had the desired and most happy effect, of unity and peace (says his lordship), if the government had been in earnest in the execution of it." Must the blessings of unity and peace then be built on the foundation of persecution, plunder, perfidy, and the wastes of conscience? If his Majesty's declaration concerning ecclesiastical affairs breathed the spirit of true wisdom and charity, and ought to stand for a pattern to posterity, whenever they are disposed to heal the breaches of the church, as the bishop has elsewhere declared §, where could be the wisdom and moderation of this act, which turned out two thousand ministers into the world to beg their bread upon such severe terms? And whereas the bishop says, the

This was done by a proviso, drawn up by the lords, "that such persons as have been put out of their livings, by virtue of the act of uniformity, may have such allowances out of their livings for their subsistence as his majesty shall think fit." Grey's Examination, vol. 1. p. 423. A feeble, inefficient proviso, permitting the king to be kind, but leaving it to his option to be unjust and cruel; tantalizing distress, rather than relieving it.-ED.

+ Vol. 2. p. 629, folio.

The references are, I apprehend, to the bishop's Complete History. There is a passage correspondent to the first in the Chronicle, p. 712.-ED. § Kennet's Chron. p. 246.

people had no reason to complain of imposition, was it no hardship to be obliged to go to church, and join in a form of worship that went against their consciences? Does not the act revive and confirm all the penal laws of queen Elizabeth and king James, in these words, "Be it farther enacted, that the several good laws and statutes of this realm, which have been formerly made, and are now in force for the uniformity of prayers and administration of the sacraments within this realm of England and places aforesaid, shall stand in full force and strength to all intents and purposes whatsoever, and shall be applied, practised, and be put in use, for the punishing all offences contrary to the said law." Surely this must affect the laity! it is more to be admired, in my opinion, that the clergy of England, and all officers both civil and military, could subscribe a declaration which gave up the whole constitution into the hands of an arbitrary prince; for if the king had abolished the use of parliaments, and commanded his subjects to embrace the Popish religion, which way could they have relieved themselves, when they had sworn, that it was not lawful to take up arms against the king, or any commissioned by him, on any pretence whatsoever, on pain of high treason? It is hard to reconcile this doctrine with the revolution of king William and queen Mary. I shall only add, that many of the most learned and judicious divines of the church have wished, for their own sakes, that the act might be amended and altered.

Mr. Collyer, a nonjuring clergyman who suffered for his principles, speaks more like a gentleman and a Christian than the bishop: The misfortune of the Presbyterians (says he) cannot be remembered without regret; those who quit their interest are certainly in earnest, and deserve a charitable construction. Mistakes in religion are to be tenderly used, and conscience ought to be pitied when it cannot be relieved."

It is fit the authors and promoters of this memorable act, which broke the peace of the church, and established a separation, should stand upon record. Among these the Earl of Clarendon deserves the first place, who was once for moderate measures, but afterward altered his conduct, says bishop Burnet,* out of respect to bishops. "The rhetoric and interest of this great minister (says Collyert) might possibly make an impression upon both houses, and occasion the passing the act of uniformity in the condition it now stands." He entertained the Presbyterians with hopes, while he was cutting away the ground from under their feet. Strange that one and the same hand could, consistently with conscience and honour, draw up the king's declaration from Breda, and his late declaration concerning ecclesiastical affairs, and this severe act of uniformity.

Next to chancellor Hyde was Dr. Sheldon, bishop of London, and afterward archbishop of Canterbury, of whom notice has been

• Page 270.

+ Page 88.

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