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“ brated by the Apostles, and apostolical men in the pri“ mitive Church, with wooden vessels and vulgar gar“ ments; for then, as is commonly said, there were “ wooden chalices and golden priests, but now is quite the “ contrary.” Instead of vulgar garments are now introduced and used an amess d, an alb, a surcingle, a maniple, a stole, and a chasuble ; all which are distinctly blessed or consecrated, and supposed to be “watered “ from above by God's grace, and purified, blessed, and “ consecrated by the humble service of the Bishop, and by " those means to be made meet and blessed for divine “ worship and holy mysteries; and that the Bishops, “ Priests, and Levites being habited with them, may de“ serve to be guarded and defended from all attacks or “ temptations of malignant spirits.”
Here in England, or rather in Great Britain, so far were either the Clergy or people from conforming to the Church of Rome in Venerable Bede's time, and acknow
ledging a dependency on the Pope as their supreme head, Hist.Eccles. that he tells us, “ the British Bishops and Doctors pre
“ ferred their own traditions to the Romish customs and “ usages, particularly as to the time of the observation “ of Easter, and the manner of administering Baptism, 6 which they seem to have had from the Greek or eastern “ Churches, by whom their ancestors had been converted “ to the belief of Christianity; and did or practised a great “ many other things, contrary,” as he represents it, “to the “ unity of the Church of Rome.” Insomuch, that the Bri
tons had this character given of them in a council held at Catal. L. L. Rome, in which the Pope himself presided; Britones, qui MSS. in
.c omnibus contrarii sunt; the Britons who are contrary to in Cam- all, or who differ from all of the Church of Rome. Of
this the reader will be furnished with many instances in the following papers, relating to the doctrine, worship, and discipline of the Christian Church; and thereby will,
lib. ii. c.
d Not one of these vestments was retained in the Church of England after the Reformation, nor any other consecrated vestments.
c. 23. Obj.
I hope, be convinced, that changes have been made in them, from what they were at first. ' Doctor Wiclif called the barbarous doctrine of transubstantiation a new heresy; a full and convincing proof of which are the Saxon or old English sermons, printed by Archbishop Parker's order in the original and modern English, and entitled, A Testimony of Antiquity. The same learned man observed that leges de confessionibus expressæ in Scriptura per Dial. lib. iv. mille annos et amplius suffecerunt, the laws of confes- of Freres sions expressed in Scripture sufficed for a thousand years c. 16. MS. and more; and imputed the introducing other laws or rules to the loosing of Satan out of prison. So that we may with much more truth return this man his own language, and defy him, as he defies us, to “ mark us out “ one single province, town, or even family, in Christen« dom, where the Popish religion, either established by “ law at Rome, or as it is modelled by the Pope's bulls or « councils, was publicly professed and published, as it is “ now, a thousand years after Christ.”
The learned John Beleth, before mentioned, assures us, that “ in the primitive Church it was forbidden to any one Expl. D.
Officio. “ to speak in an unknown tongue, unless there was some “ one to interpret it. For,” said he,“ of what use is it to « speak, if what is spoken be not understood ?” Certainly of none at all. Our learned martyr and archbishop Cranmer observed in 1540, that " it was not much above an Prologue.
A. D. 1408. “ hundred e years ago, since Scripture hath not been ac“ customed to be read in the vulgar tongue, or in English, “ within this realm; and many hundred years before that, A. D. 680. “ it was translated and read in the Saxon tongue, which " at that time was our mother tongue, whereof there re“ main yet diverse copies, found lately in old abbeys, of “ such antique manner of writing and speaking, that few “ men now ben able to read and understand them. And
e Jacobi le Long bibliotheca omnium ferme sacræ Scripturæ editionum ac versionum secundum seriem linguarum quibus vulgatæ sunt:
A complete History of the several Translations of the holy Bible and New Testament into English, the second edition, 1739.
“ when this language waned old, and out of common
“ usage, because folk should not lacke the fruit of reading A. D. 1980.« the Scripture, it was again translated into the newer
“ language, whereof yet also many copies remain, and be “ daily found.”
We may here likewise observe, how far a bitter zeal and persecuting spirit will carry those who are so unhappy as to be acted and governed by it. No one could express a truer affection for the Established Church than our Bishop; insomuch, that he was led by it to vindicate some of its grossest corruptions, and to be an advocate for usages, for which in truth there was nothing to be said in their defence. And yet, because he did not insist on the authority of the Church, or the Clergy, and the infallibility of their determinations, (the test and shibboleth of a true Churchman at that time,) because he thought that the people, as ignorant as they were, knew better than to believe it; and supposed that the Clergy, as well as other fallible men, might possibly be mistaken in their determinations; therefore was our Bishop exclaimed against as an enemy to the Church, which he so strenuously laboured to defend, and an encourager of the Dissenters in their new separation from it, whom he took so much pains to reconcile to it. For his only supposing that he could reclaim the dissenting Wiclifists, without having recourse to the infallible authority of the Church, he was reproached himself as an heretic, and treated with an illnatured scorn and contempt. Nay his enemies, who were but poorly qualified to be his judges, never left him, till, having the Court on their side, whom the Bishop seems to have disobliged, they got him, though contrary to law, deprived of his bishopric, and confined a prisoner in an abbey for life.
This is the account which I have here to give of the following performance; which, if it be any wise useful to convince men of the falsehood of those absurd and dangerous fancies, that the fierce wrath of man worketh the righteousness of God; or that truth may be imprinted on
men's minds with the points of naked swords, and their understandings enlightened, so as to perceive the truth, by making bonfires of their bodies; that weak and fallible men, who will not order their unruly wills and affections, are infallible, and, like God, can neither be deceived nor deceive; in short, if I can but contribute any thing to make my own countrymen more sensible of the great and invaluable blessing of the Reformation, and that the restoring Popish superstition under the venerable name of antiquity, and asserting its usurped infallible authority over our minds, &c. is putting an end to every thing for which life is worth the living, I have all my end.