227. RELIGIOUS REFORMS UNDER KING EDWARD
These things premised, when this virtuous and godly young prince (endued as you have heard with special graces from God) was now peaceably established in his kingdom, and had a council about him, grave, wise, and zealous in God's cause, especially his uncle the duke of Somerset, he then most earnestly likewise desired, as well the advancement of the true honour of Almighty God, and the planting of his sincere religion, as also the utter suppression and extirpation of all idolatry, superstition, hypocrisy, and other enormities and abuses, throughout his realms and dominions: and therefore following, as is before expressed, the good example of King Josias, he determined forthwith to enter into some reformation of religion in the church of England. And, forasmuch as at his first entry, (notwithstanding his father's good beginning, in abolishing the usurped power of antichrist,) he yet found most of his laws greatly repugning against this his zealous enterprise, he therefore purposed, by the advice of his said wise and honourable council, and of his own regal power and authority, somewhat to prosecute his godly purpose, until such time as by consent of the whole estate of parliament, he might establish a more free, perfect, and uniform order therein.
Whereupon, intending first a general visitation over all the bishoprics within his realm, (thereby as well to understand, as also to redress, the abuses in the same,) he chose out certain wise, learned, discreet, and worshipful personages, to be his commissioners in that behalf; and so, dividing them into several companies, assigned unto them several dioceses to be visited; appointing, likewise, unto every company, one or two godly learned preachers, which, at every session, should in their preaching both instruct the people in the true doctrine of the gospel of Christ, and in all love and obedience to the same; and, also, earnestly dehort them from their old superstition and wonted idolatry. And that they might be more orderly directed in this their commission, there were delivered unto them certain injunctions and ecclesiastical orders drawn out by the king's learned council, the which they should both inquire of, and also command in his Majesty's behalf, to be thenceforth observed of every person, to whom they did severally appertain within their sundry circuits.
Certain ecclesiastical laws, or general injunctions, given by King Edward to the Church of England.
"The king's most royal Majesty, by the advice of his most dear uncle the duke of Somerset, lord protector of all his realms, dominions, and subjects, and governor of his most royal person, and the residue of his most honourable council, (intending the advancement of the true honour of Almighty God, the suppression of idolatry and superstition throughout all his realms and dominions, and to plant true religion, to the extirpation of all hypocrisy, enormities, and abuses, as to his duty appertaineth,) doth minister unto his loving subjects these godly injunctions hereafter following, whereof part were given unto them heretofore by the authority of his most dearly beloved father King Henry the Eighth, of most famous memory, and part are now ministered and given by his Majesty: all which injunctions his Highness willeth and commandeth his said loving subjects, by his supreme authority, obediently to receive, and truly to observe and keep, every man in their offices, degrees, and states, as they will avoid his displeasure, and the pains in the same injunctions hereafter expressed.
The first, that all deans, archdeacons, parsons, vicars, and ecclesiastical persons, shall faithfully keep and observe, and, as far as in them may lay, shall cause to be observed and kept of others, all and singular the laws and statutes made as well for the abolishing and extirpation of the bishop of Rome's pretended and usurped power and jurisdiction, as for the establishment and confirmation of the king's authority, jurisdiction, and supremacy of the Church of England and Ireland.
"And, furthermore, all ecclesiastical persons having cure of souls, shall, to the uttermost of their wit, knowledge, and learning, purely, sincerely, and without any colour or dissimulation, declare, manifest, and open, four times every year at the least, in their sermons and other collations, that the bishop of Rome's usurped power and jurisdiction, having no establishment or ground by the law of God, was of most just causes taken away and abolished: and that, therefore, no manner of obedience or subjection within his realms or dominions is due unto him: and that the king's power, within his realms and dominions, is the highest power under God, to whom all men within the same realms and dominions, by God's laws, owe most loyalty and obedience, afore and above all other powers and potentates in earth. Besides this, to the intent that all superstition and hypocrisy, crept into divers men's hearts, may vanish away, they shall not set forth or extol any images, relics, or miracles, for any superstition or lucre; nor allure the people, by any enticements, to the pilgrimage of any saint or image; but, reproving the same, they shall teach, that all goodness, health, and grace, ought to be both asked and looked for only of God, as of the very author and giver of the same, and of none other.
"Item, That they, the persons above rehearsed, shall make, or cause to be made, in their churches and every other cure they have, one sermon every quarter of the year at the least, wherein they shall purely and sincerely declare the word of God, and in the same exhort the hearers to the works of faith, mercy, and charity, specially prescribed and commanded in Scripture; and that works devised by man's fantasies, beside Scripture, as wandering to pilgrimages, offering of money, candles, or tapers to relics or images, or kissing and licking of the same, praying upon beads, and such like superstition, have not only no promise of reward in Scripture for doing of them; but, contrariwise, great threats and maledictions of God, for that they do things tending to idolatry and superstition, which, of all other offences, God Almighty doth most detest and abhor; for that the same diminisheth most his honour and glory.
"Item, That such images as they know, in any of their cures, to be, or to have been, so abused with pilgrimage or offerings of any thing made thereunto, or that shall be hereafter incensed unto, they, and none other private persons, shall, for the avoiding of that most detestable offence of idolatry, forthwith take down and destroy the same; and shall suffer from henceforth no torches, nor candles, tapers, nor images of wax, to be set afore any image or picture, but only two lights upon the high altar before the sacrament, which, for the signification that Christ is the very true light of the world, they shall suffer to remain still; admonishing their parishioners, that images serve for no other purpose but to be a remembrance, whereby men may be admonished of the holy lives and conversation of them that the said images do represent; which images, if they do abuse for any other intent, they commit idolatry in the same, to the great danger of their souls.
"Item, That every holy-day throughout the year, where they have no sermon, they shall, immediately after the gospel, plainly recite to their parishioners in the pulpit, the Pater-noster, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments in English, to the intent the people may learn the same by heart: exhorting all parents and householders to teach their children and servants the same, as they are bound by the law of God, and in consequence, to do.
"Item, That they shall charge fathers and mothers, masters and governors, to bestow their children and servants, even from their childhood, either in learning, or to some honest exercise, occupation, or husbandry, exhorting and counselling, and by all their ways and means they may, as well in their sermons and collations as others, persuading their said fathers and mothers, masters, and other governors, diligently to provide and foresee, that the youth be in no manner of wise brought up in idleness, lest at any time afterward, for lack of some craft, occupation, or other honest mean to live by, they be driven to begging, stealing, or some other unthriftiness: forasmuch as we may daily see, through sloth and idleness, divers valiant men fall some to begging, and some to theft and murder, which after, brought to calamity and misery, do blame their parents, friends, and governors, which suffered them to be brought up so idly in their youth: whereas, if they had been well brought up in good learning, some occupation, or craft, they should, being rulers of their own household, have profited as well themselves, as divers other persons, to the great commodity and ornament of the commonwealth.
"Also, That the said parsons, vicars, and other curates, shall diligently provide, that the sacraments be reverently and duly ministered in their parishes. And if at any time it happen them, in any of the cases expressed in the statutes of this realm, or of special licence given by the king's Majesty, to be absent from their benefices, they shall leave their cure not to a rude and unlearned person, but to an honest, well learned, and expert curate, that can, by his ability, teach the rude and unlearned of their cure, wholesome doctrine, and reduce them to the right way that do err; and which will also execute their injunctions, and do their duty otherwise, as they are bound to do in every behalf; and accordingly may and will profit their cure no less with good example of living, than with the declaration of the word of God; or else their lack and default shall be imputed unto them, who shall straitly answer for the same, if they do otherwise. And always let them see, that neither they, nor their curates, do seek more their own profit, promotion, or advantage, than the profit of thesouls that they have under their cure, or the glory of God.
"Also, That they shall provide, within three months next after this visitation, one book of the whole Bible of the largest volume in English, and within one twelvemonth next after the said visitation, the paraphrase of Erasmus, also in English, upon the Gospels, and the same set up in some convenient place within the said church that they have cure of, where their parishioners may most commodiously resort unto, and read the same; the charges of which books shall be rateably well borne, between the person or proprietary, and the parishes aforesaid; that is to say, the one half by the person or proprietary, and the other half by the parishioners. And they shall discourage no man, authorized and licensed thereunto, from the reading of any part of the Bible either in Latin or English, but shall rather conform and exhort every person to read the same as the very lively word of God, and the special food of man's soul, that all Christian persons are bound to embrace, believe, and follow, if they look to be saved, whereby they may the better know their duties to God; ever gently and charitably exhorting them, and in his Majesty's name straitly charging and commanding them, that, in the reading thereof, no man to reason or contend, but quietly to hear the reader.
"Also, the said ecclesiastical persons shall in no wise, at any unlawful time, nor for any other cause than for their honest necessity, haunt or resort to any taverns or ale-houses; and after their dinner or supper they shall not give themselves to drinking or riot, spending their time idly, by day or by night, at dice, cards, tables-playing, or any other unlawful game: but, at all times as they shall have leisure, they shall hear or read somewhat of Holy Scripture, or shall occupy themselves with some honest exercise; and that they always do the things which appertain to honesty with endeavour to profit the common weal, having always in mind, that they ought to excel others in purity of life, and should be examples to the people to live well and Christianly.
"Item, That they shall, in confessions every Lent, examine every person that cometh to confession, whether they can recite the Articles of their faith, the Pater-noster, and the Ten Commandments in English; and hear them say the same particularly: wherein if they be not perfect, they shall declare, then, that every Christian person ought to know the said things before they should receive the blessed sacrament of the altar; and monish them to learn the said necessary things more perfectly; or else they ought not to presume to come to God's board without perfect knowledge and will to observe the same; and if they do, it is at the great peril of their souls, and also to the worldly rebuke that they might incur hereafter by the same.
Also, that they shall admit no man to preach within any their cures, but such as shall appear unto them to be sufficiently licensed thereunto by the king's Majesty, his Grace the lord protector, the archbishop of Canterbury, the archbishop of York in his province, or the bishop in his diocese and such as shall be so licensed they shall gladly receive, to declare the word of God without any resistance or contradiction.
"Also, if they have heretofore declared to their parishioners any thing to the extolling or setting forth of pilgrimages, relics, or images, or lighting of candles, kissing, kneeling, decking of the same images, or any such superstition, they shall now, openly, before the same, recant and reprove the same; showing them, as the truth is, that they did the same upon no ground of Scripture, but were led and seduced by a common error or abuse, crept into the church through the sufferance and avarice of such as felt profit by the same.
"Also, if they do or shall know any man, within their parish or elsewhere, that is a letter of the word of God to be read in English, or sincerely preached, or of the execution of these the king's Majesty's injunctions, or a favourer of the bishop of Rome's pretended power, now by the laws of this realm justly rejected, extirped, and taken away, utterly they shall detect and present the same to the king, or his council, or to the justice of the peace next adjoining.
"Also, that the parson, vicar, or curate, and parishioners of every parish within this realm, shall, in their churches and chapels, keep one book or register, wherein they shall write the day and year of every wedding, christening, and burial, made within their parish for their time; and so every man succeeding them likewise; and also therein shall write every person's name, that shall be so wedded, christened, or buried; and, for the safe keeping of the same book, the parish shall be bound to provide, of their common charges, one big coffer, with two locks and keys, whereof the one to remain with the parson, vicar, or curate, and the other with the wardens of every parish, church, or chapel, wherein the said book shall he laid up: which book they shall every Sunday take forth, and, in the presence of the said wardens or one of them, write and record in the same all the weddings, christenings, and burials, made the whole week before; and, that done, to lay up the book in the said coffer, as before; and, for every time that the same shall be omitted, the party that shall be in fault thereof,shall be forfeit to the said church 3s. 9d., to be employed to the poor men's box of that parish.
"Furthermore, because the goods of the church are called the goods of the poor, and, at these days, nothing is less seen, than the poor to be sustained with the same, all parsons, vicars, pensioners, prebendaries, and other beneficed men within this deanery, not being resident upon their benefices, who may dispend yearly £20, and above, either within this deanery or elsewhere, shall distribute hereafter among their poor parishioners, or other inhabitants there, in the presence of the churchwardens or some other honest men of the parish, the fortieth part of the fruits and revenues of their said benefices, lest they be men worthily noted of ingratitude, who, reserving so many parts to themselves, cannot vouchsafe to impart the fortieth portion thereof among the poor people of that parish, that is so fruitful and profitable to them.
"And, to the intent that learned men may hereafter spring the more for the execution of the premises, every parson, vicar, clerk, or beneficed man within this deanery, having yearly to dispend, in benefices and other promotions of the church, a £100, shall give competent exhibition to one scholar; and for as many hundred pounds more as he may dispend, to so many scholars more, shall give like exhibition in the university of Oxford or Cambridge, or some grammar school; which, after they have profited in good learning, may be pertainers of their patrons cure and charge, as well in preaching, as otherwise in the execution of their offices; or may, when need shall be, otherwise profit the common weal, with their counsel and wisdom.
"Also, that all proprietaries, parsons, vicars, and clerks, having churches, chapels, or mansions, within this deanery, shall bestow yearly, hereafter, upon the same mansions or chancels of their churches being in decay, the fifth part of their benefices, till they be fully repaired; and the same, so repaired, shall always keep and maintain in good estate.
"Also, that the said parsons, vicars, and clerks, shall, once every quarter of the year, read these injunctions given unto them, openly and deliberately, before all their parishioners; to the intent that both they may be the better admonished of their duty, and their said parishioners the more moved to follow the same for their part.
"Also, forasmuch as, by a law established, every man is bound to pay his tithes, no man shall, by colour of duty omitted by the curates, detain their tithes, and so redouble and requite one wrong with another, or be his own judge; but shall truly pay the same as he hath been accustomed, to the parsons, vicars, and curates, without any restraint or diminution. And such lack and default as they can justly find in their parsons and curates, to call for the reformation thereof, at their ordinary's, and other superiors' hands; who, upon complaint and due proof thereof, shall reform the same accordingly.
"Also, that no parson, from henceforth, alter or change the order and manner of any fasting-day that is so commanded, nor of Common Prayer, or divine service, otherwise than is specified in these Injunctions, until such time as the same shall be otherwise ordered and transposed by the king's authority.
"Also, that the parson, vicar, curate, chantry-priest, and stipendiary, being under the degree of a bachelor of divinity, shall provide and have of his own, within three months after this visitation, the New Testament, both in Latin and English, with paraphrase upon the same of Erasmus; and diligently study the same, conferring the one with the other. And the bishops and ordinaries, by themselves or their officers, in their synods and visitation, shall examine the said ecclesiastical persons, how they have profited in the study of Scripture. Also, in the time of high mass, within every church, he that sayeth or singeth the same, shall read, or cause to be read, the epistle and gospel of that mass, in English, and not in Latin, in the pulpit, or in such convenient place as the people may hear the same. And also every Sunday and holy-day, they shall plainly and distinctly read, or cause to be read, one chapter of the New Testament in English, in the said place at matins, immediately after the lessons; and at evensong, after Magnificat, one chapter of the Old Testament. And, to the intent the premises may be more conveniently done, the king's Majesty's pleasure is, that when nine lessons should be read in the church, three of them should be omitted and left out, with their responds; and at evensong-time, the responds, with all the memories, shall be left out, for that purpose.
"Also, because those persons which be sick and in peril of death, be oftentimes put in despair by the craft and subtlety of the devil, who is then most busy, and specially with them that lack the knowledge, sure persuasion, and stedfast belief, that they may be made partakers of the great and infinite mercy which Almighty God, of his bountiful goodness and mere liberality, without our deserving, hath offered freely to all persons that put their full trust and confidence in him; therefore, that this damnable vice of despair may he clearly taken away, and firm belief and stedfast hope surely conceived by all their parishioners being in any danger, they shall learn, and have always in a readiness, such comfortable places and sentences of Scripture, as do set forth the mercy, benefits, and goodness of Almighty God towards all penitent and believing persons; that they may, at all times when necessity shall require, comfort promptly their flock with the lively word of God, which is the only stay of man's conscience.
"Also, to avoid all contention and strife, which heretofore hath risen amongst the king's Majesty's subjects in sundry places of his realms and dominions, by reason of fond courtesy, and changing of places in procession, and also that they may the more quietly hear that which is said or sung, to their edifying, they shall not from henceforth, in any parish church, at any time use any procession about the church or church-yard, or other place; but immediately before high mass, the priests, with others of the choir, shall kneel in the midst of the church, and sing or say plainly or distinctly the Litany which is set forth in English, adding nothing thereto, but as the king's Grace shall hereafter appoint; and, in cathedral or collegiate churches, the same shall be done in such places as our commissaries in our visitation shall appoint. And in the time of the Litany, of the high mass, of the sermon, and when the priest readeth the Scripture to the parishioners, no manner of persons, without a just and urgent cause, shall depart out of the church; and all ringing and knolling of bells, shall be utterly forborne for that time, except one bell, in convenient time, to be rung and knelled before the sermon.
"Also, like as the people be commonly occupied on the work-day with bodily labour, for their bodily sustenance, so was the holy-day, at the first beginning, godly instituted and ordained, that the people should that day give themselves wholly to God and whereas, in our time, God is more offended than pleased, more dishonoured upon the holy-day, because of idleness, pride, drunkenness, quarrelling, and brawling, which are most used on such days (people, nevertheless, persuading themselves sufficiently to honour God on that day, if they hear mass and service, though they understand nothing to their edifying); therefore, all the king's faithful and loving subjects shall, from henceforth, celebrate and keep their holy-day according to God's holy will and pleasure; that is, in hearing the word of God read and taught; in private and public prayers; in acknowledging their offences to God; in amendment of the same; in reconciling themselves charitably to their neighbours, where displeasure hath been; in oftentimes receiving the communion of the very body and blood of Christ; in visiting the poor and sick; in using all soberness and godly conversation. Yet, notwithstanding, all parsons, vicars, and curates, shall teach and declare unto their parishioners, that they may, with a safe and quiet conscience, in the time of harvest, labour upon the holy and festival days, and save the thing which God hath sent. And if, for any scrupulosity, or grudge of conscience, men should superstitiously abstain from working upon those days, that then they should grievously offend and displease God.
"Also, forasmuch as variance and contention is a thing which most displeaseth God, and is most contrary to the blessed communion of the body and blood of our Saviour Christ, curates shall in no case admit to the receiving thereof, any of their cure and flock, who hath maliciously and openly contended with his neighbour, unless the same do first charitably and openly reconcile himself again, remitting all rancour and malice, whatsoever controversy hath been between them. And, nevertheless, their just titles and rights they may charitably prosecute before such as have authority to hear the same.
"Also, that every dean, archdeacon, master of collegiate church, master of hospital, and prebendary, being priest, shall preach by himself personally, twice every year at the least, either in the place where he is entitled, or in some church where he hath jurisdiction, or else which is to the said place appropriate or united.
"Also, that they shall instruct and teach in their cures, that no man ought obstinately and maliciously to break and violate the laudable ceremonies of the church, by the king commanded to be observed, as yet not abrogated. And, on the other side, that whosoever doth superstitiously abuse them, doth the same to the great peril of his soul's health; as in casting holy water upon his bed, upon images, and other dead things; or bearing about him holy bread, or St. John's Gospel; or making crosses of wood upon Palm Sunday, in time of reading of the passion; or keeping of private holy-days, as bakers, brewers, smiths, shoemakers, and such others do; or ringing of the holy bells, or blessing with the holy candle, to the intent thereby to be discharged of the burden of sin, or drive away devils, or to put away dreams and fantasies; or in putting trust and confidence of health and salvation in the same ceremonies, when they be only ordained to put us in remembrance of the benefits which we have received by Christ. And if any use them for any other purpose, he grievously offendeth God.
"Also, that they shall take away, utterly extinct and destroy, all shrines, coverings of shrines, tables, candlesticks, trindles, or rolls of wax, pictures, paintings, and all other monuments of feigned miracles, pilgrimages, idolatry, and superstition, so that there remain no memory of the same on walls, glasses, windows, or elsewhere, within their churches or houses; and they shall exhort all their parishioners to do the like within their several houses.
"Also, that the churchwardens, at the common charge of the parishioners, in every church shall provide a comely and honest pulpit, to be set in a convenient place within the same, for the preaching of God's word.
"Also, they shall provide and have, within three months after this visitation, a strong chest, with a hole in the upper part thereof, to be provided at the cost and charge of the parish, having three keys, whereof one shall remain in the custody of the parson, vicar, or curate, and the other two in the custody of the churchwardens, or any other two honest men, to be appointed by the parish from year to year; which chest you shall set and fasten near unto the high altar, to the intent the parishioners should put into it their oblations and alms for their poor neighbours. And the parson, vicar, or curate, shall diligently from time to time, and especially when men make their testaments, call upon, exhort, and move their neighbours, to confer and give, as they may well spare, to the said chest; declaring unto them that whereas, heretofore, they have been diligent to bestow much substance otherwise than God commanded, upon pardons, pilgrimages, trentals, decking of images, offering of candles, giving to the friars, and upon other like blind devotions, they ought, at this time, to be much more ready to help the poor and needy, knowing that to relieve the poor is a true worshipping of God, required earnestly upon pain of everlasting damnation; and that also whatsoever is given for their comfort, is given to Christ himself, and so is accepted of him; that he will mercifully reward the same with everlasting life, the which alms and devotion of the people, the keepers of the keys shall, at all times convenient, take out of the church, and distribute the same in the presence of the whole parish, or six of them, to be truly and faithfully delivered to their most needy neighbours; and if they be provided for, then to the reparations of the highways next adjoining. And also, the money which riseth of fraternities, guilds, and other stocks of the church, except by the king's Majesty's authority it be otherwise appointed, shall be put into the said chest, and converted to the said use; and also the rents of lands, the profit of cattle, and money given and bequeathed to the finding of torches, lights, tapers, and lamps, shall be converted to the said use; saving that it shall be lawful for them to bestow part of the said profits upon the reparations of the church, if great need require, and where the parish is very poor, and not able otherwise to repair the same.
"And forasmuch as priests be public ministers of the church, and upon the holy-days ought to apply themselves to the common ministration of the whole parish, they shall not be bound to go to women lying in childbed, except in time of dangerous sickness; and not to fetch any corpse before it be brought to the church-yard: and if the woman be sick, or the corpse brought to the church, the priest shall do his duty accordingly in visiting the woman, and burying the dead person.
"Also, to avoid the detestable sin of simony, because the buying and selling of benefices is execrable before God, therefore all such as buy any benefices, or come to them by fraud or deceit, shall be deprived of such benefices, and be made unable at any time after to receive any other spiritual promotions: and such as do sell them, or by any colour do bestow them for their own gain and profit, shall lose the right and title of patronage and presentment for that time; and the gift thereof for that vacation shall appertain to the king's Majesty.
"Also because, through lack of preachers, in many places of the king's realms and dominions, the people continued in ignorance and blindness, all parsons, vicars, and curates, shall read in their churches every Sunday, one of the homilies which are and shall be set forth, for the same purpose, by the king's authority, in such sort as they shall be appointed to do, in the preface of the same.
"Also, whereas many indiscreet persons do at this day uncharitably contemn and abuse priests and ministers of the church, because some of them (having small learning) have of long time favoured phantasies, rather than God's truth; yet, forasmuch as their office and function is appointed of God, the king's Majesty willeth and chargeth all his loving subjects, that, from henceforth, they shall use them charitably and reverently, for their office and ministration's sake; and, especially, all such as labour in the setting-forth of God's holy word.
"Also, that all manner of persons, who understand not the Latin tongue, shall pray on no other Primer but upon that which was lately set forth in English by the authority of King Henry the Eighth, of most famous memory; and that no teachers of youth shall teach any other than the said Primer. And all those who have knowledge of the Latin tongue, shall pray upon none other Latin Primer, but upon that which is likewise set forth by the said authority. And that all graces to be said at dinner and supper, shall be always said in the English tongue. And that none other grammar shall be taught in any school or other place within the king'srealms and dominions, but only that which is set forth by the said authority.
"Item, That all chantry priests shall exercise themselves in teaching youth to read and write, and bring them up in good manners, and other virtuous exercises.
"Item, When any sermon or homily shall be had, the prime and hours shall be omitted."
Besides these general injunctions and laws ecclesiastical, set out by the godly prince, King Edward, with the consent of his uncle, for the whole estate of the realm, there were also certain others particularly appointed for the bishops only, which, being delivered unto the commissioners, were likewise at their visitations committed unto the said bishops, with charge to be inviolably observed and kept, upon pain of the king's Majesty's displeasure; the copies whereof here ensue in tenor and effect following:-
"Injunctions given by the most excellent prince, Edward the Sixth, to the reverend father in God, Thomas, bishop of Westminster, in his Highness's visitation.
"First, you shall, to your uttermost wit and understanding, see, and cause all, every, and singular the king's injunctions heretofore given, or hereafter to be given, from time to time, in and through your diocese duly, faithfully, and truly, to be kept, observed, and accomplished.
"Item, you shall personally preach in your diocese, every quarter of a year, once, at the least; that is to say, once in your cathedral church, and thrice in the year in other several places of your diocese, where to you shall seem most convenient and necesssary; except you have a reasonable excuse to the contrary.
"Item, You shall not retain into your service or household, any chaplain or chaplains but such as be learned, or able to preach the word of God; and these you shall cause to exercise the same.
"Item, you shall not give orders to any person or persons, not being learned in Holy Scripture, nor deny them that be learned in the same, and of honest conversation and living.
"Item, you shall not, at any time or place, preach or set forth unto the people, any doctrine contrary or repugnant to the effect and content contained and set forth in the king's Highness's homilies; neither yet admit, or give licence to preach to, any within your diocese, but to such as you shall know, or, at least, assuredly trust, will do the same. And if, at any time, by hearing or by report proved, you shall perceive the contrary, you shall, incontinent, inhibit that person so offending, and punish him, and revoke your licences. All which and singular injunctions you shall inviolably observe and keep, upon pain of the king's Majesty's displeasure, and as you will answer for the contrary.
"Given, the twenty-ninth day of August, in the chapter-house of the cathedral church of St. Peter's of Westminster, the first year of the reign of our said sovereign lord, King Edward the Sixth.
"Anthony Cook; John Godsalve; John Gosnold; Christopher Nevinson; John Madew."
"Injunctions given by the king's Majesty's visitation, by us, Sir Anthony Cook, knight; Sir John Godsalve, knight; John Gosnold, esquire; Christopher Nevinson, doctor of law; and John Madew, doctor of divinity; commissioners specially appointed by the king's Majesty to visit the churches of Westminster, London, Norwich, and Ely: to the right reverend Father in God, Thomas, bishop of Westminster.
"In primis: In consideration, that above and before all other things, such ways and means are to be sought for, whereby the people may learn to know their duties to God, their sovereign lord, and one another: you shall cause, every Sunday, divine service to be done and ended in every parish church within this city of Westminster, before nine of the clock the same days; to the intent that the priests and the laity of the city may resort to the sermon to be made in your cathedral church, except they have a sermon made and preached in your own parish churches.
"Item, Whereas, by the ignorance of the clergy, not only God's glory is greatly obscured, but, also, the same clergy much disdained and evil spoken of by some of the laity, you shall cause that every parson, vicar, chantry-priest, and other stipendiary within this city of Westminster, be present at every lecture of divinity to be made within the college of St. Stephen, except they or any of them have some reasonable let, to be allowed and admitted by your chancellor, commissary, or other officer for that purpose, or the reader of the said lecture.
"Also you, your chancellor, commissary, and others, exercising jurisdiction ecclesiastical under you, shall proceed in all kinds of causes summarily, and de plano, sine figura et strepitu judicii; and shall give sentence in every cause within four assignations after the term ad audiendum sententiam finalem. All which and singular injunctions you shall inviolably observe and keep, upon pain of the king's Majesty's displeasure, and as you will answer for the contrary.
"Given at Westminster the third day of September, in the first year of the reign of our sovereign lord, Edward the Sixth, by the grace of God, king of England, France, and Ireland, defender of the faith; and, in earth, of the Church of England, and also in Ireland, the supreme head.
"Anthony Cook; John Godsalve; John Gosnold; Christopher Nevinson; John Madew."
Now, during the time that the commissioners were occupied abroad in their circuits about the speedy and diligent execution of these godly and zealous orders and decrees of the king and his council, his Majesty, (with the advice of the same,) yet still desiring a further reformation as well in this case of religion, as also in some others of his civil government, appointed a parliament of the three estates of his realm to be summoned against the fourth day of November, in the first year of his reign, A. D. 1547, which continued unto the twenty-fourth day of December then next following; in which session, forasmuch as his Highness minded the governance and order of his people to be in perfect unity and concord in all things, and especially in the true faith and religion of God, and therewithal also duly weighed the great danger that his loving subjects were in, for professing the gospel of Christ, through many and divers cruel statutes made by sundry his predecessors against the same, (which being still left in force, might both cause the obstinate to contemn his Grace's godly proceedings, and also the weak to be fearful of their Christianlike profession,) he therefore caused it among other things, by the authority of the same parliament, to be enacted, "that all acts of parliament and statutes, touching, mentioning, or in any wise concerning, religion or opinions; that is to say, as well the statute made in the first year of the reign of King Richard the Second, and the statute made in the second year of the reign of King Henry the Fifth, and the statute made in the 25th year of the reign of King Henry the Eighth, concerning punishment and reformation of heretics and Lollards, and every provision therein contained; and the statutes made for the abolishment of diversity of opinions in certain articles concerning Christian religion, commonly called the six articles, made in the 31st year of the reign of King Henry the Eighth, and also the statute made in the parliament begun the 16th day of January, in the 33d year of the reign of the said King Henry the Eighth, and, after, prorogued unto the 22d day of January, in the 34th year of his said reign, touching, mentioning, or in any wise concerning, books of the Old and New Testament in English, and the printing, uttering, selling, giving, or delivering of books or writings, and retaining of English books or writings, and reading, preaching, teaching, or expounding the Scriptures, or in any wise touching, mentioning, or concerning, any of the said matters; and also one other statute, made in the 35th year of the reign of the said King Henry the Eighth, concerning the qualification of the statute of the six articles, and all and every other act or acts of parliament, concerning doctrine or matters of religion; and all and every branch, article, sentence, matter, pains, or forfeitures contained, mentioned, or in any wise declared, in any of the same acts and statutes, should from thenceforth be utterly repealed, made void, and of none effect."
By occasion hereof, as well all such his godly subjects as were then still abiding within this realm, had free liberty publicly to profess the gospel; as also many learned and zealous preachers, before banished, were now both licensed freely to return home again, and also encouraged boldly and faithfully to travail in their function and calling, so that God was much glorified, and the people, in many places, greatly edified.
Moreover, in the same session his Majesty, with the lords spiritual and temporal, and the commons in the same parliament assembled, thoroughly understanding by the judgment of the best learned, that it was more agreeable unto the first institution of the sacrament of the most precious body and blood of our Saviour Christ, and also more conformable to the common use and practice both of the apostles, and of the primitive church, by the space of five hundred years and more after Christ's ascension, that the said holy sacrament should be ministered unto all Christian people under both the kinds of bread and wine, than under the form of bread only; and also that it was more agreeable unto the said first institution of Christ, and the usage of the apostles and primitive church, that the people, being present, should receive the same with the priest, than that the priest should receive it alone; did, by their authority, moreover enact:
"That the said holy sacrament should be from thenceforth commonly delivered and ministered unto the people, throughout the churches of England and Ireland, and other the king's dominions, under both the kinds of bread and wine, except necessity otherwise required; and, also, that the priest that should minister the same, should, at least one day before, exhort all persons who should be present, likewise to resort and prepare themselves to receive the same. And at the day prefixed, after some godly exhortation made by the minister, wherein should be further expressed the benefit and comfort promised to them that worthily receive this holy sacrament, and the danger and indignation of God, threatened to them which presume to receive the same unworthily, to the end that every man might try and examine his own conscience before he should come thereto; the said minister should not, without a lawful cause, deny the same to any person that would devoutly and humbly desire it: any law, statute, ordinance, or custom contrary thereunto in any wise notwithstanding."
After which most godly consent of the parliament, the king, being no less desirous to have the form of administration of the sacrament truly reduced to the right rule of the Scriptures, and first use of the primitive church, than he was to establish the same by the authority of his own regal laws, appointed certain of the most grave and best learned bishops, and others of his realm, to assemble together at his castle of Windsor, there to argue and treat upon this matter, and to conclude upon, and set forth, one perfect and uniform order, according to the rule and use aforesaid.
And, in the mean time, while that the learned were thus occupied about their conferences, the lord protector and the rest of the king's council, further remembering that that time of the year did then approach, wherein were practised many superstitious abuses and blasphemous ceremonies against the glory of God and truth of his word, (determining the utter abolishing thereof,) directed their letters unto the godly and reverend father, Thomas Cranmer, then archbishop of Canterbury, and metropolitan of England, requiring him that, upon the receipt thereof, he should will every bishop within his province, forthwith to give in charge unto all the curates of their dioceses, that neither candles should be any more borne upon Candlemas-day, nor yet ashes used in Lent, nor palms upon Palm-Sunday.
Whereupon the archbishop, zealously favouring the good and Christian-like purpose of the king and his council, did immediately, in that behalf, write unto all the rest of the bishops of that province, and, amongst them, unto Edmund Bonner, then bishop of London; of whose rebellious and obstinate contumacy, for that we have hereafter more to say, I thought not to stand now long thereupon, but only by the way somewhat to note his former dissimulation and cloaked hypocrisy, in that he outwardly, at the first, consented as well unto this, as also unto all other the king's proceedings; but whether for fear or for any other subtle fetch I know not; howbeit most like it is rather for one of them, or both, than for any true love. And therefore, receiving the archbishop's letters, as one of them seeming to allow the contents thereof, he did presently write unto the bishop of Westminster, and to others to whom he was appointed, requiring them to give such knowledge thereof in their dioceses, as thereunto appertained; as more plainly appeareth by these his own letters here inserted, which here do follow.
A letter missive of Edmund Bonner, sent to the bishop of Westminster, with the tenor of the archbishop's letter for abolishing of candles, ashes, palms, and other ceremonies.
"My very good lord, after most hearty commendations, these be to advertise your good Lordship, that my Lord of Canterbury's Grace, this present twenty-eighth day of January, sent unto me his letters missive, containing this, in effect: that my lord protector's Grace, with the advice of other the king's Majesty's most honourable council, for certain considerations them moving, are fully resolved that no candles shall be borne upon Candlemas-day, nor also from henceforth ashes or palms used any longer: requiring me thereupon, by his said letters, to cause admonition and knowledge thereof to be given unto your Lordship, and other bishops, with celerity accordingly. In consideration whereof, I do send at this present these letters unto your said Lordship, that you thereupon may give knowledge and advertisement thereof within your diocese, as appertaineth. Thus I commit your good Lordship to Almighty God, as well to fare as your good heart can best desire.
"Written in haste, at my house in London, the said twenty-eighth day of January, 1548.
"Your good Lordship's to command,
Now, about that present time, credible and certain report was made unto the lords of the council, that great contention and strife did daily arise among the common people, in divers parts of this realm, for the pulling down and taking away of such images out of the churches, as had been idolatrously abused by pilgrimage, offerings, or otherwise, (according to the tenor of one of the injunctions given by the king in his late visitation,) some affirming that that image was abused, others that this, and, most, that neither of them both; so that, if speedy remedy were not had therein, it might turn to further inconvenience. Wherefore they, by one advice, thinking it best, (of good experience,) for avoiding of all discord and tumult, that all manner of images should be clean taken out of all churches, and none suffered to remain, did thereupon again write their letters unto the archbishop of Canterbury, requiring his ready aid therein, in manner following.
Another letter of the council, sent to the archbishop of Canterbury for the abolishing of images.
"After our right hearty commendations to your good Lordship: whereas now of late, in the king's Majesty's visitations, among other godly injunctions commanded to be generally observed through all parts of this his Highness's realm, one was set forth for the taking down of all such images as had at any time been abused with pilgrimages, offerings, or censings, albeit that this said injunction hath in many parts of this realm been quietly obeyed and executed, yet, in many other places, much strife and contention hath risen and daily riseth, and more and more increaseth, about the execution of the same (some men being so superstitious, or rather wilful, as they would, by their good will, retain all such images still, although they have been most manifestly abused); and in some places also the images, which by the said injunctions were taken down, be now restored and set up again; and almost in every place is contention for images, whether they have been abused or not: and while these men go on both sides contentiously to obtain their minds, contending whether this or that image hath been offered unto, kissed, censed, or otherwise abused, parts have, in some places, been taken in such sort, as further inconveniences be like to ensue, if remedy be not found in time. Considering therefore, that almost in no place of this realm is any sure quietness, but where all images be clean taken away and pulled down already, to the intent that all contention in every part of the realm, for this matter, may be clearly taken away, and that the lively image of Christ should not contend for the dead images, which be things not necessary, and without which the churches of Christ continued most godly many years; we have thought good to signify unto you, that his Highness's pleasure, with the advice and consent of us the lord protector and the rest of the council, is, that immediately upon the sight hereof, with as convenient diligence as you may, you shall not only give order, that all the images remaining in any church or chapel within your diocese be removed and taken away, but also, by your letters, signify unto the rest of the bishops within your province, his Highness's pleasure, for the like order to be given by them and every of them, within their several dioceses. And in the execution hereof, we require both you and the rest of the said bishops, to use such foresight that the same may be quietly done, with as good satisfaction of the people as may be. Thus fare your good Lordship heartily well.
"From Somerset-place, the 11th of February, 1547.
"Your Lordship's assured loving friends,
When the archbishop had received these letters, he forthwith directed his precept unto Bonner, bishop of London, requiring, and in the king's Majesty's name commanding him, that, with all speed, he should as well give in charge unto the rest of the bishops within the province of Canterbury, to look immediately, without delay, unto the diligent and careful execution of the contents of the said letter through all places of their diocese; as also, that he himself should do the like within his own city and diocese of London. Whereupon he, seeming then, with like outward consent as before, to allow these doings, presently (by virtue of the said precept) did send out his mandate as well unto the rest of the bishops, as also again unto the bishop of Westminster.