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Ceremonies, which are now so much quarreled at, were not onely approved of, and used by those learned and godly Divines, to whom, at the time of Reformation under King Edward the Sixth, the compiling of the Book of Common Prayer was committed (divers of whom suffered Martyrdom in Queen Maries days), but also again taken up by this whole Church under Queen Elizabeth, and so duly and ordinarily practised for a great part of her Reign, (within the memory of divers yet living) as it could not then be imagined that there would need any Rule or Law for the observation of the same, or that they could be thought to savour of Popery.
“And albeit since those times, for want of an express rule therein, and by subtile practices, the said Rites and Ceremonies began to fall into disuse, and in place thereof other foreign and unfitting usages by little and little to creep in; Yet, forasmuch as in Our Royal Chapels, and in many other Churches, most of them have been ever constantly used and observed, We cannot now but be very sensible of this matter, and have cause to conceive that the authors and fomenters of these jealousies, though they colour the same with a pretence of zeal, and would seem to strike only at some supposed iniquity in the said Ceremonies: Yet, as we have cause to fear, aim at Our own Royal Person, and would fain have Our good subjects imagine that we Our Self are perverted, and doe worship God in a Superstitious way, and that we intend to bring in some alteration of the Religion here established ....
“But forasmuch as we well perceive that the misleaders of Our well-minded people do make the more advantage for the nourishing of this distemper among them from hence, that the foresaid Rites and Ceremonies, or some of them, are now insisted upon, but only in some Diocesses, and are not generally revived in all places, nor constantly and uniformly practised thorowout all the Churches of Our Realm, and thereupon have been liable to be quarreled and opposed by them who use them not ...."
Therefore the King had “ thought good to give them free leave to treat in Convocation : and agree upon certain other Canons necessary for the advancement of God's glory, the edifying of His holy Church, and the due reverence of His blessed Mysteries and Sacraments :” and further “ to ratifie by Our Letters Patent under Our Great Seal of England, and to confirm the same ...."
It has been thought that these Canons have ceased to possess authority, owing to the language of the 13 Charles II. c. 12, § 5, A.D. 1661, where it is stated that this Act is not “to abridge or diminish the King's Majesty's Supremacy in Ecclesiastical matters and affairs, nor to confirm the Canons made in the year One thousand six hundred and forty, nor any of them, nor any other Ecclesiastical laws or canons not formerly confirmed, allowed, or enacted by Parliament, or by the Established Laws of the land, as they stood in the year of our Lord One thousand six hundred and thirty-nine.”
But, on consideration, it will be seen that the words are cautionary, and were intended to prevent any misconception as to the force of this Act, which was passed “for explanation of a Clause contained in ” 17 Charles I. c. 2. The Act merely excludes these Canons from any Parliamentary authority which it might be supposed to confer on them; but then it does precisely the same with “any other Ecclesiastical laws or canons not formerly confirmed, allowed, or enacted by Parliament:" this necessarily includes the Canons of 1603-4, yet their authority is admitted. The Act in no way affects the recognized authority derived by the Canons of 1640, or by any others, from Royal Letters Patent: on the contrary, it helps to confirm such authority by declaring that it was not meant “to abridge or diminish the King's Majesty's Supremacy in Ecclesiastical matters and affairs ;” and of this the confirmation of Canons was made an important part by the Act of Submission 25 Henry VIII. c. 19.
From what has now been said with reference to these four Series of Ecclesiastical Ordinances, it will be seen that only the two latter have any thing more than Historical authority : it is only to the Canons of 1603-4 and 1640 that any legal obligation still attaches : but even these no longer retain the force which they once possessed in limiting or defining or dispensing with in practice the larger and more general Rule prescribed in the Prayer Book; for the revision of that Book in 1661, sanctioned as it was by the Convocations of the two Provinces and legalized by the Act of Uniformity 13 & 14 Charles II. c. 4, provided the latest and most authoritative law for regulating the Services of the Church of England; so that if in any instance a direction of these Canons and a direction of the Prayer Book are found to be conflicting, the Canon must yield to the Prayer Book, as being of supreme authority,
It is only right, however, to observe—that, as custom has so long sanctioned usages in accordance with the Canons of 1603-4, and as the Ordinaries and other administrators of the Ecclesiastical Laws have allowed the superior Rule to remain in abeyance, those who do not act upon the reimposed Rubric ought not to be regarded as culpably negligent of the law: nor is it likely that they would be
considered liable to Ecclesiastical censure or punishment for the omission; unless, indeed, such omission was in disregard of an Episcopal admonition to obey the law.
The Rubric relating to the Ornaments of the Church and of the Ministers, which stood in the Books of Elizabeth and James I., is retained, then, with certain verbal changes (not however affecting its former sense) in the Prayer Book of 1662, that at present in use. And, by travelling back to “the Second Year of the Reign of King Edward the Sixth,” and fixing upon the Ornaments then in use “ in this Church of England, by the authority of Parliament,” this Rubric passes over all changes and varieties subsequent to that year, and sets up a standard by which it is easy to decide what are now the proper Accessories of Divine Worship. It has been called “The Interpretation Clause" of the Prayer Book, and with much appropriateness; for it not only furnishes an exact mode of solving doubts which may arise as to the precise meaning of the directions which prescribe things to be used in Divine Service, but also it is a reliable guide in ascertaining whether any thing not prescribed is needful or suitable in executing the Offices which the Prayer Book provides.
But, though the present authority of this Rubric could not be disputed, the meaning of those words of it,“ by the Authority of Parliament, in the Second Year of the Reign of King Edward the Sixth," had in recent times often been a subject of controversy prior to the year 1857. Then, however, the celebrated Ecclesiastical suits arising out of the opposition to certain Ornaments introduced into the Churches of St. Paul, Knightsbridge, and St. Barnabas, Pimlico, led to a definitive Judgment on this point by the existing Final Court of Appeal in Ecclesiastical Causes, viz. the Judicial Committee of Her Majesty's Privy Council'.
In judicially interpreting this Rubric, with the view of applying it to the Ornaments complained of, the Judges drew a clear distinction between ORNAMENTS, i. e. ARTICLES “ used in the Services," and ARTICLES “ set up in Churches as Ornaments, in the sense of decorations."
They expressed themselves "satisfied that the construction of this Rubric which they suggested at the hearing of the case is its true meaning, and that the word 'ornaments' applies, and in this Rubric is confined to those Articles the use of which in the Services and Ministrations of the Church is prescribed by the Prayer Book of Edward the Sixth.”
In proof of this they added, that “the term 'ornaments’ in Ecclesiastical law is not confined, as by modern usage, to articles of decoration or embellishment, but it is used in the larger sense of the word ornamentum,' which, according to the interpretation of Forcellini's Dictionary, is used pro quocumque apparatu, seu instrumento. All the several articles used in the performance of the Services and Rites of the Church are ‘Ornaments.' Vestments, Books, Cloths, Chalices, and Patens, are amongst Church Ornaments; a long list of them will be found extracted from Lyndwood, in Dr. Phillimore's Edition of “Burn's Ecclesiastical Law' (vol. i. pp. 375–377). In modern times, Organs and Bells are held to fall under this denomination.”
Having thus defined the term “Ornaments,” their Lordships then interpreted the expressions “ Authority of Parliament” and “Second Year” as connected with the Reign of Edward VI.: their conclusion was arrived at thus :
After noticing the alterations in King Edward's Second Prayer Book (which diminished the number of the Ornaments prescribed in his First Book), and referring to the abolition of the Reformed Services by Queen Mary, they state that “on the Accession of Queen Elizabeth, a great controversy arose between the more violent and the more moderate Reformers as to the Church Service which should be re-established, whether it should be according to the First, or according to the Second Prayer Book of Edward the Sixth. The Queen was in favour of the First, but she was obliged to give way, and a compromise was made, by which the Services were to be in conformity with the Second Prayer Book, with certain alterations; but the Ornaments of the Church, whether those worn or those otherwise used by the Minister, were to be according to the First Prayer Book.”
1 The causes were argued before the Lord Chancellor (Cran. , their Lordships, on March 21st, made their Report, which was worth), Lord Wensleydale, T. Pemberton Leigh (afterwards Lord subsequently confirmed by the Queen in Council. The Counsel Kingsdown), Sir John Patteson, and Sir William H. Maule; the for the Appellants were Sir Fitzroy Kelly and Dr. Phillimore (now Archbishop of Canterbury (Sumner) and the Bishop of London Queen's Advocate); and Dr. Bayford and Mr. A. J. Stephens for (Tait) being summoned by command of the Queen to attend and the Respondents. advise at the hearing. After seven days' argument in February,
Then they compare the four Directions, as to the Ornaments, which occur in the Elizabethan Act of Uniformity and the Prayer Books of 1559, 1603-4, 1662 (given already at p. lxvi), declaring of them that “they all obviously mean the same thing, that the same dresses and the same utensils, or articles, which were used under the First Prayer Book of Edward the Sixth may still be used.”
Further, they discuss an important question which was raised as to the date of the Royal Assent to the Act of Uniformity which legalized the Prayer Book of 1549, and they resolve that the “use” of the Book" and the Injunctions contained in it, were established by authority of Parliament in the Second Year of Edward the Sixth, and this is the plain meaning of the Rubric.” It has indeed been questioned, and with some reason, whether what can be gathered from the known records of the time warrants this decision as to the date in question; but if it be an error, it is practically unimportant in connexion with their entire interpretation of the Rubric; for, whether 1547—the date of King Edward's Injunctions, or 1549—the date of the First Prayer Book, be the “ Second Year” mentioned in the Rubric, the result is the same, because no change was made in the Ornaments between those years. Moreover, the Rubric has now been judicially interpreted by a Court from which there lies no appeal, and therefore that interpretation, and that only, is the sole ground upon which the members of the Church of England can legally stand in endeavouring to carry out the requirements of the Rubric on Ornaments.
One thing more the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council showed in reference to the meaning of this Rubric, viz. that though it is prescriptive, it is not exhaustive: this opinion was arrived at from their consideration of the fact, that the Second Prayer Book of Edward VI. (like the First Book, and indeed the previous Service-books) “does not expressly mention ” every thing which, nevertheless, it is certain was used under it, e.g. the Paten (just as the First Book does not mention, e.g. the Linen Cloth); and also from the circumstance that they had to decide whether the Credence-table (which is not prescribed nominatim) could be regarded as a Legal Ornament. The opinion of the Court is thus stated,—“Here the Rubrics of the Prayer Book become important. Their Lordships entirely agree with the opinions expressed by the learned Judges [i. e. of the Consistory and Arches Courts] in these cases, and in ‘Faulkner v. Lichfield,' that in the performance of the services, rites, and ceremonies ordered by the Prayer Book, the directions contained in it must be strictly observed; that no omission and no addition can be permitted; but they are not prepared to hold that the use of all articles not expressly mentioned in the Rubric, although quite consistent with, and even subsidiary to the Service, is forbidden. Organs are not mentioned; yet because they are auxiliary to the singing, they are allowed. Pews, cushions to kneel upon, pulpit-cloths, hassocks, seats by the Communion Table, are in constant use, yet they are not mentioned in the Rubric.” So, as their Lordships further argued, there being a Rubric which “directs that at a certain point in the course of the Communion Service (for this is, no doubt, the true meaning of the Rubric) the Minister shall place the bread and wine on the Communion Table,” in their judgment, “nothing seems to be less objectionable than a small side-table, from which they may be conveniently reached by the officiating Minister, and at the proper time transferred to the Communion Table.”
One remark, however, may be made before quitting the consideration of this judicial rendering of the Rubric; and it is this—that, although it so completely covered the whole debateable ground by deciding that “the same” things “which were used under the First Prayer Book of Edward the Sixth may still be used,” it does not follow that all such things can be legally restored now quite irrespective of any differences in the Prayer Book of 1549 as compared with that of 1662,—the one at present in use. It may not be useless to say, that before any Edwardian Ornament is re-introduced, under the terms of this decision, it must first be inquired, whether the particular Ministration in which it is proposed to employ it is now so essentially the same as it was in 1549 that the Ornament has the like symbolical or practical use which it had then. It will probably be found that very few indeed of those Ornaments are inapplicable at this time; but to determine this it is important to proceed now to ascertain,
First, What were the customary Ornaments of that period.
There are four sources from which it may be ascertained with considerable accuracy what “Ornaments were in the Church of England, by the authority of Parliament, in the second year of the reign of King Edward the Sixth.” These are,–
I. The ancient Canon Law, which is held to have been then (as now) statutably binding upon the Church by the 25th Henry VIII. c. 19, in all points where it is not repugnant to or inconsistent with later Ecclesiastical Law.
II. The Salisbury Missal, which was the Liturgy chiefly' used, and of which a new edition was published by authority in 1541 : the Bangor, Hereford, and York books (especially the latter) may also be appealed to as illustrative of or supplementary to the Salisbury book, for they had long been more or less in use. “The Order of the Communion” of 1548 (which provided for the administration of the Lord's Supper in both kinds) directed that “until other order shall be provided,” there should be no “ varying of any other rite or ceremony in the Mass ;" so that these Service-books continued to be used intact until the first Prayer Book of King Edward VI. was published in 1549.
III. The directions, explicit or implicit, in the Prayer Book of 1549.
IV. The Inventories of Ornaments which were made in pursuance of Edward VI.'s Instructions to the Commissioners appointed in 1552 to survey the Church goods throughout the kingdom. These Inventories are very numerous, and for the most part are preserved in the Public Record Office, Fetter Lane, London: they do not indeed exhibit such full catalogues as would have been found in 1549, for many things had been sold (especially where they were duplicates) to meet Church expenses of various kinds; and some too had been embezzled. But they are thus the more reliable as being likely to show what Articles it was deemed needful to retain for the Services then authorized. Three of these Inventories (and they are by no means the richest which might have been chosen) are here selected for comparison, as affording a probably fair specimen of the rest, viz. a Cathedral, a London Parish Church, and a Country Parish Church.
Secondly, It must be determined what Ornaments, whether by express prescription or by plain implication, are now pointed out for use in the Ministrations of the Church of England.
V. These Ornaments are to be sought in the Canons of 1603-4 and of 1640; also in the directions, explicit or implicit, of the present Book of Common Prayer.
The Altar, the Lord's 1. The High Altar.
1. A Communion Table. Table, God's board. 2. A Communion Table. 2. An Altar.
3. A Tabull with a frame. 3. The Lord's Table. 1, 2. Cushions.
[Desk or Cushion-needed
for the Altar Book.] 1, 3. Frunts for the Altar. | 1. A carpet of silk or other 2. Altar Cloth.
decent stuff. 1. Altar Cloths, white, co. 1. A fair Linen Cloth.
loured, plain, and diaper. 3. Fair white Linen Cloth. 2. Table Cloths, plain and
3. Altar Cloths. “ laying the bread ( 1, 3. Corporis Cloths. 3. A fair Linen Cloth for upon the Corporas."
covering what remaineth of
the Consecrated Elements. [Mundatory-needed to wipe Chalice, &c.]
Corporas (and Case). | 1, 2, 3, 4. Corporal. “A very clean cloth” 2. Sudarium.
for “the Priest to wipe his fingers and lips after receiving
the Sacrament.” Paten.
1, 2, 3, 4. Paten.
1, 2, 3, 4. Chalice. Wine and Water to be 1, 2, 3, 4. Wine and
used,-implying ves Water brought to
“Paten or some other | 1, 2, 3. Paten.
“putting the Wine
3. Cup or Chalice.
Communion Table. 3. Flagon.
1 The preference which seems to have been given to the Rites | of the Church of Salisbury should be observed by all and singular of Sarum is illustrated by the circumstance, that the Convocation clerics throughout the Province of Canterbury, in saying there of Canterbury decreed, March 3, 1541, that the “use and custom canonical hours.” (Wilkins' Concilia, iii. 861-2.)
Cross, for processions
and for the dead. “ Two Candles, or one
at the least, at the time of High Mass.”
1, 2, 3. Cross for the Altar.
A Cense pot.
Font of stone, with a
lock and key.
1. Two Wax Candles
1, 3. Large Candlesticks Standard Candlesticks-con. in Candlesticks to be
sistent with the Services. carried to the Altar steps. 1, 2, 3. Thurible.
1, 3. Censers.
Censer-Use of Incense never 1. Ship-for Incense.
1, 2. Spoon—for Incense.
Font-unlikely to be men- | 1, 3. Font.
tioned, not being move. | 3. Vessel for Water - imable.
plied in “ then to be filled with pure water." 3. Shell - consistent with
“pour water." 1, 3. Litany Desk - implied in some convenient place” and “the place where they are accustomed to say the Litany." 1. Stall or Reading-pew, to
read Service in. 1,2. Pulpit (or Ambo) | Pulpit.
2. Cloth for the Pulpit. 1, 3. Pulpit. for the Epistle and
3. Kneeling - desk – for Gospel.
3. Chair for the Archbishop or Bishop.
or Bishop. 2. Organs.
1. The Ten Commandments. 1. Images.
“ Other chosen sentences upon the walls."
(Decorative Ornaments.) 1. Banners.
1, 3. Banners.
3. Rogation Days recognized.
Bier-requisite. 2. Herse Cloth for burying. | Pall -requisite. 1, 3. Cloths to cover and Covering for Linen Cloth
keep clean the Linen Altar desirable. | Cloth.
Images, especially of
the Saint to which the Church is dedi.
Besides the “Ornaments” contained in this List, there are many others mentioned in the Inventories, which are merely Ornaments “in the sense of Decorations.” Such are the following :Curtains for the sides of Altars ; Hangings for the wall behind the Altar and of the Chancel; Carpets for the Altar steps; Cloths and Veils for Lent.
There were also “Ornaments," i. e., Articles “used in the Services,” which, on various grounds, are barely, or not at all, consistent with the character of the present Prayer Book Services, or with some of its directions. Thus we find :—the Pyx, or Monstrance, with its covering and canopy for the Reserved Sacrament (the former of which could only be used in circumstances which really necessitated Reservation for the Sick); Bason and Towel for the Priest to wash his hands before Consecrating; Sanctus, Sacryng, and other Bells; Light and Covering for the Easter Sepulchre; Vessels for Holy Water; the Chrysmatory for the oil of Unction in Baptism and Visitation of the Sick; the Pax for the Kiss of Peace; the Reliquary.