Sunday, October 31, 2010

FCA Southern Africa conference adopts resolution affirming the Jerusalem Declaration and the commentary Being Faithful

Proposes their use for "teaching the essentials of orthodox faith to the faithful"

The final sessions of the conference included the commitment to following resolution crafted by the entire gathering to declare our position in these changing times and our commitment to make an effective contribution to the Church in this region.

They produced the following resolution:

Friday, 29 October 2010

The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans Southern Africa, meeting for the second annual conference in Port Elizabeth resolved:

1. To constitute a Steering Committee representing parishes and regions.

2. To request Bishop Bethlehem Nopece to be Episcopal Adviser to FCA (SA).

3. To request members of the Committee to meet with the leadership of ACSA and CESA and to update them about the FCA (SA).

4. To affirm our commitment to our Churches and the renewal of the Anglican Communion.

5. To charge parish representatives to share with those around them:

The Jerusalem Declaration - as the central shared truths of Anglicanism we can use as the minimum expression of the truth.

Being Faithful – as a good instrument for beginning the education of ordinary Anglicans to know what they believe.

•To encourage individuals and parish councils to sign up to the Statement and join FCA (SA).

6. Respectfully request the GAFCON Primates to commission further contemporary teaching materials based on the Jerusalem Statement for teaching the essentials of the orthodox faith to the faithful – accessible especially for young people.

7. To express gratitude and appreciation to the CAPA conference in Entebbe for the clear and definite leadership in the midst of the global Anglican crisis given in the following areas:

•The welcome and affirmation of the Anglican Church of North America.

•The courageous stand against the liberalizing influence of TEC in the Global South.

8. To express our gratitude to Bishops Guernsey and Murdoch of ACNA for their supportive presence at our conference.

To read the entire article, click here.

How does FCA South Africa envision the implementation of this resolution in the Anglican Church in North America when its constitutions and canons in a number of key areas run counter to the Jerusalem Declaration?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Choose This Day....

By Robin G. Jordan

Les Fairfield has written about the development of what he calls “Catholic Modernism” in the Episcopal Church—the blending together of elements of Anglo-Catholicism and Modernism, which began with Lux Mundi: A Series of Studies in the Religion of the Incarnation, the collection of essays written by liberal Anglo-Catholics and edited by the future Bishop of Oxford, Charles Gore, in 1889. I have myself picked up elements of Newman’s theory of development and Maurice’s dynamic theory of the Anglican via media in contemporary Episcopal thought. But I do not find these elements confined to the Episcopal Church.

I have also noted these elements in the writings of the Emerging Church movement and the Ancient-Future or Convergence movement. Brian McLaren, a leading figure of the Emerging Church movement and the author of A Generous Orthodoxy is especially popular in the Episcopal Church. The Ancient-Future or Convergence movement, which has roots in the Episcopal Church and the charismatic movement, is influencing the Anglican Church in North America and the Anglican Mission. Archbishop Robert Duncan and Primatial Vicar Chuck Murphy often use its terminology in their sermons and addresses.

I have identified a number of underlying influences—Darwinism, post-modernism, humanism, and futurism. Doctrine, Biblical revelation, and even God are seen as evolving. This evolution is viewed as desirable and progressive. The Holy Spirit is seen as operative in the evolution of doctrine and Biblical revelation and behind the bringing together of disparate theological streams.

In the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church the feminist and gay rights movements have found in these developments a theology that is congenial to their aspirations. The Christian Church has a long history of theology following practice, the former to explain and justify the latter. As Archbishop Cranmer observed, “there was never anything by the wit of men so well devised, or so sure established, which in the continuance of time have not been corrupted.” Of course, the contemporary tendency is not to view the changes as the product of corruption but the result of progressive evolution. This is revisionism in full bloom. What past generations defined as evil is redefined as good. What they regarded as regressive is interpreted as forward-moving.

The pluralism we observe in the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church is also observable in the Anglican Church in North America and the Anglican Mission albeit in milder form. Anglo-Catholics and conservative evangelicals have different views of authority and salvation and do not preach the same gospel. It is not simply a matter of difference of emphasis or nuance. It is an entirely different message. Yet we are told that neither Anglo-Catholics nor conservative evangelicals have a monopoly on truth—a postmodernist view if I have ever heard one—and should tolerate each others’ teaching—a liberal view, with the inference that “persons will be saved no matter what belief they hold or what sect they belong to, provided they sincerely lead their lives according to those beliefs and to the light of nature”—a decidedly pluralist view.

I have no problem with tolerance of differences of opinion in secondary matters. However, salvation is not a secondary matter. Among the purposes for which the Thirty-Nine Articles were compiled and adopted is to set the bounds to the comprehensiveness of the Church of England. The Articles allow the maximum of flexibility and variety on secondary matters but not on primary matters.

Among the purposes of the Articles is also to ensure that the gospel of justification by grace alone by faith alone in Christ alone was not lost to the English Church again as it had been lost for such a long time before the Reformation. The Oxford movement and the Anglo-Catholic movement that has succeeded it are Counter-Reformation movements and they historically have sought to undo the Articles and the Reformed doctrine of justification and grace embodied in them.

In the Episcopal Church the Anglo-Catholic movement joined with the liberal Broad Church movement to remove the Articles from the American Prayer Book. They almost succeeded. In the 1979 Book of Common Prayer the Articles are relegated to the historical documents section.

The constitution of the Anglican Church in North America largely treats the Articles as a relic of the past. In its view the Articles deal with issues that were the subject of dispute in the sixteenth century but are not longer controversial, a view that is far from the truth.

We receive the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion of 1571, taken in their literal and grammatical sense, as expressing the Anglican response to certain doctrinal issues controverted at that time, and as expressing fundamental principles of authentic Anglican belief.

As comparison of this clause with that original clause in the Common Cause Theological Statement from which it was adapted show that two changes have been made. The original clause referred to the Thirty-Nine Articles of 1562, which omits Article XXIX. The latter affirms against Lutheranism that “wicked persons and all in whom a vital faith is absent physically and visibly press the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ with their teeth…, are in no sense partakers of Christ.” The article “the” preceding “fundamental principles of authentic Anglican belief” has been dropped. Several versions of the Common Cause Theological Statement were in circulation before the final ratification of the constitution of the Anglican Church in North America. Some omitted the article “the” while others contained it. The version of the Common Cause Theological Statement posted on the Anglican Church in North America web site contains the article. The omission of this article significantly alters the meaning of the clause, inferring that all the principles of historical Anglican belief are not contained in the Articles but may be found elsewhere such as the vague unidentified body of doctrine that Newman referred to as “Catholic tradition” in his explication of the Articles in Tract 90.

In this regard the Anglican Church in North America stands in continuity with the Episcopal Church from which a large proportion of its members come rather than global South provinces such as the Church of Uganda, which not only accepts the formularies of the Church of England as its standards of faith and doctrine but also disclaims for itself the right of altering them. The position of the Anglican Church in North America on the Articles stands in striking contrast to that of the GAFCON Jerusalem Declaration.

We uphold the Thirty-Nine Articles as containing the true doctrine of the Church agreeing with God’s word and as authoritative for Anglicans today.

The GAFCON Jerusalem Declaration takes the position that the Articles are authoritative as God’s word for contemporary Anglicans as they are agreeable to God’s word.

In the Church of England the Anglo-Catholic movement agitated for the abolition of the Articles and their replacement with the Prayer Book, interpreted “in a Catholic sense,” as the doctrinal standard for the English Church. While they did not succeed in their efforts to do away with the Articles, they were successful in weakening the laws and canons governing subscription to the Articles. What we are seeing in North America and the United Kingdom in the last months of the opening decade of the twenty-first century is the outworking of the consequences of these developments.

The challenge facing conservative evangelicals in North America is keeping the gospel from being obscured and even lost in the various bodies that form the North American Anglican community. Alone, isolated, and scattered, they can do very little to meet this challenge. Networked together within the North American Anglican body in which God has placed them and networked with conservative evangelicals in other Anglican bodies in and outside of North America, they can make an incredible difference. They can provide each other with mutual support and assistance. They can promote the historic Anglican formularies—the Articles that embody the historic Anglican understanding of the New Testament gospel, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer that gives expression in liturgical form to the doctrine of justification by grace alone by faith alone in Christ alone, and the 1662 Ordinal that emphasizes the ministry of the gospel. They can develop alternative rites and forms, including guidelines for local patterns of worship, for use alongside the 1662 Prayer Book, rites, forms, and worship patterns that adhere to the biblical and Reformation doctrine of the Prayer Book and respect its liturgical usages. They can make provision for the training of gospel workers, not only in residential programs but also at the local church level. They can plant new gospel churches throughout North America and organize networks and other groupings of these churches within the Anglican bodies in which they find themselves. They can also establish an independent association of gospel churches for those who cannot due to their theological convictions and/or other concerns join an existing North American Anglican body. These are just a few of the steps that they can take to maintain a genuine Anglican witness in North America, centered on the gospel and grounded in the Bible and the Reformation.

Those who are numbering their years can leave behind them a rich legacy for future generations. They can go to their graves with peace of mind knowing that they have done their share to preserve and uphold the true apostolic faith of the reformed Church of England in North America. They have not labored in vain.

As mountain climbers and skiers know, it takes very little to start an avalanche. Once the snow begins to move, it gathers momentum and gathers more snow. Soon it is an unstoppable mass of snow, earth, and ice descending swiftly down the side of the mountain, carrying everything before it. Let us pray God will turn us into a human avalanche, an avalanche through whom God sweeps the lost into his arms, an avalanche so might that it shakes all North America and the world.

Let us pray that God frees us from whatever is holding us back from serving him to our fullest. Let us pray that God will make us hot and glowing, filled with fervor in the cause of the gospel, truly Anglicans ablaze!

Believing versus Belonging: what comes first?

During the last generation there has been ever increasing discussion of the relationship between believing, behaving and belonging in the Christian community.

This discussion is important as we think about what we expect of people joining church and how we organise our church life together.

It has traditionally been held that people begin by believing. This changes their attitudes and that is seen in changes in behaviour that enables them to belong to the people of God gathered. This is certainly the thinking of the early church as they structured how church life functioned.

In recent days sociological studies have declared that the actual way people change and grow is by belonging to a group that has a particular ethos, which almost by osmosis leads to a change in behaviour and that provides the fertile ground for a change in belief.

Some churches structure their meetings along these lines. The meeting’s main activity is to be accessible so that the newcomer immediately feels as though they belong to this group, and so that through continued relationship they change their behaviour and their belief.

To read more, click here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Lovely Gift of Music

By Robin G. Jordan

I truly desire that all Christians would love and regard as worthy the lovely gift of music, which is a precious, worthy, and costly treasure given to mankind by God. The riches of music are so excellent and so precious that words fail me whenever I attempt to discuss and describe them…next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world. It controls our thoughts, minds, hearts, and spirits… Martin Luther

I sojourn with a church that is very contemporary in its style of worship and uses contemporary Christian and praise and worship music almost exclusively in its worship gatherings. The church is primarily targeted at students attending the local university and young adults living in the community. It has recently launched a new ministry targeted at teenagers in high school and junior high school. The church has an excellent band of instrumentalists and vocalists and its performance of this particular style of music meets professional standards. Indeed the music is one of the church’s major attractions. A number of the band members have classical training, which may come as a surprise to some people. The band is composed largely of university students and a number of its members are majoring in music. In addition to the ubiquitous guitars and drums, the band’s instruments include electronic keyboard and have at different times also included an electric fiddle or violin and an electronically amplified upright piano.

The church’s steady diet of contemporary music has helped me to develop an even greater appreciation of more traditional forms of church music while at the same time allowing me to take note of the better songs in that repertoire. In the sphere of church music I am inclined to be eclectic, not only seeing a place for contemporary and traditional Western forms of church music in Anglican worship but also for non-Western forms of church music. While I lean toward the use of the small instrumental assemble using wind as well as string and percussion instruments and toward unaccompanied singing, I am a firm believer in taking a flexible approach, tailoring a church’s music to its circumstances, and making the best use of whatever musical resources are available to a church. A common mistake that small membership churches make is to attempt to imitate the music of larger churches.

This past weekend I listened to a medley of Psalm verses from Archbishop Matthew Parker’s The Whole Book of Psalms Translated into English Metre sung to the nine Psalm tunes that Thomas Tallis composed for them. They were sung a cappello by the Renaissance Singers.

At the time Mary ascended the English throne, Matthew Parker who was to become Archbishop of Canterbury under Elizabeth I, was Master of Corpus Christi College, Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University, and Dean of Lincoln. As a supporter of Northumberland and a married priest, Parker was deprived of his preferments. He would retire from public life and return to his native Norfolk. There he lived in obscurity and poverty throughout the larger part of Mary’s reign, pursuing his scholarly interests. He occupied his time in translating the Psalms into English and versifying them to “vulgar metres” so that they might be sung to metrical settings. He also wrote a treatise on the marriage of clergy, which he later published under the name of “Thomas Martin.”

The quiet life of a scholar held a strong appeal for Matthew Parker. When Elizabeth I ascended the English throne, she nominated Parker to the vacant see of Canterbury. Parker had served as her mother Ann Boleyn’s chaplain. Before her execution the ill-fated second wife of Henry VIII had entrusted Elizabeth to his care. Parker displayed great reluctance to accept the post. However, Elizabeth and her chief minister William Cecil compelled him to take it.

Archbishop Parker’s psalter was published in 1567. Tallis provided four-voiced musical harmonizations for eight of the Psalms, as well as the hymn, “Come, Holy Ghost.” The tune Tallis composed for this hymn is now known as Tallis' Ordinal and is found in a number of hymnals. One of the eight Psalm tunes became the subject of Ralph Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis . Most Anglicans and Episcopalians in North America are familiar with two other tunes from this collection Tallis’ Canon and Third Mode Melody.

Timothy Dickey provides us with the following description of Tallis’ nine Psalm tunes.

The poetical Archbishop himself offers the best summation of Tallis' music for these Psalms. He included a versified inventory of Tallis' Psalm Tunes: "The first is meek, devout to see/The second sad, in majesty/The third doth rage, and roughly brayeth/The fourth doth fawn, and flattery playeth...." And indeed, each of the eight Psalms contains its own character: the first (Psalm 1, "Blessed is the man") characterizes the righteous and devout Christian, the second (Psalm 68, "Let God arise") calls for majestic victory, the third (Psalm 2, "Why do the people rage") sounds a battle cry, and so on.

Tallis' music, as well, in all its simplicity, reflects something of these distinct characters. The first adopts a reverent minor mode, changing abruptly to major when discussing God's law, while the second takes a more direct rhythmic cast in duple meter. The third, the famous subject for Vaughan Williams' Fantasia, constantly oscillates between alternate chords, as if the issue of a battle remained eternally in doubt. Perhaps most poignantly, the fifth Tune, whose Psalm text (Ps. 42) compares the thirsty deer to the longing human soul, stretches and delays each cadence such that even within an extremely simple musical setting, the tone matches the pathos of the text.

Archbishop Parker’s rhythmic Psalter was one of the first produced for the use of the reformed Church of England. The metrical Psalter that would gain the most popularity and see the greatest use was Sternhold and Hopkins’ The Whole Book of Psalms collected into English Metre, also known as the Old Psalter. Elizabeth would authorize the singing of a Psalm before and after each service and before and after the sermon.

Elizabeth herself did not care for the metrical Psalms with tunes taken from traditional melodies, referring to these tunes derisively as “Geneva jigs.” However, the singing of metrical psalms was immensely popular with the English people. A crowd numbering in the thousands would on one occasion gather at St. Paul’s Cross to sing metrical Psalms for a large part of the day. The Elizabethans learned the metrical Psalms and their tunes by heart and sung them as they went about their daily activities, the housewife in her kitchen and the ploughman in the field.

The metrical Psalm would be the primary form of congregational church music sung in English parish churches until the early part of the nineteenth century. In the eighteenth century they were supplemented by hymns written by Thomas Cotrell, John Newton, Isaac Watts, and Charles and John Wesley. It was not until the nineteenth century and the Oxford Movement’s suppression of the metrical Psalm and the village quire of local instrumentalists and singers in favor of the hymn, the vested boys’ choir, and the organ, the hymn would eventually supplant the metrical Psalm in the English parish church.

A diligent search of the Internet found that the entire text of Archbishop Parker’s The Whole Book of Psalms Translated into English Metre is on the Internet at the University of Virginia website. The URL is Like Sternhold and Hopkins’ Old Psalter and Tate and Brady’s New Psalter, which eventually replaced it, Archbishop Parker’s Psalter contains metrical versions of Prayer Book canticles and the Quincunque Vult as well as metrical versions of the Psalms and the hymn “Come, Holy Spirit.” It also includes a doxology for use with the Psalms. A number of editions of the Old and New Psalters also contain metrical versions of the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the Nicene Creed.

It is evident that Tallis’ nine Psalm tunes were intended for use with Archbishop Parker’s entire Psalter. In this regard Tallis appears to follow the precedence of the plainsong Psalm tones. Like the plainsong Psalm tones Tallis’ Psalm tunes are composed to capture the basic moods of the Psalms.

In singing the metrical Psalms in the Old Psalter and the New Psalter only a limited number of tunes were also used. Local musicians composed their own settings for these Psalms. These local compositions form the corpus of what is known as West Gallery music so named after the practice of constructing a gallery at the west end of the parish church from which the village quire would lead the congregational singing and perform special music.

Take a moment to listen to the Renaissance Singers’ rendition of a medley of verses from Archbishop Matthew Parker’s Psalter to Thomas Tallis’ Psalm tunes. God has indeed bestowed upon Christ’s Church a gift of exquisite beauty and delight in the form of music.

Do not be afraid

It is amazing, once you are alerted to it, how often the brief encouragement 'Do not be afraid' occurs in Scripture. Often in the context there seems very good reason to be afraid. There might seem no way out. The opposition arrayed against you might seem overwhelming. The virulence and persistence with which you are opposed may be a very real cause for terror. And then the words come, 'do not be afraid'.

One of my favourite texts which includes these four little words of encouragement comes from 1 Samuel 22 (drawn to my attention by John Woodhouse). Ahimelech the son of Ahitub has fled from Doeg the Edomite who has just murdered the priests of Nob. Coming to David, he seeks refuge with him. And at this point the Old Testament Christ says to him 'Stay with me; do not be afraid, for he who seeks my life seeks your life. With me you shall be in safekeeping.' (v. 23)

Of course in the New Testament these words occur repeatedly on the lips of Jesus. His disciples, it seems, had ample opportunity to be afraid (sometimes of Jesus as they caught glimpses of his unique power and authority, Mk 6:45–51; Lk 5:1–11). And yet he kept saying 'do not be afraid' (Mtt 10:26, 28, 31; Mk 5:36; Lk 12:32; Rev 1:17).

To read more, click here.

Yesterday the Mid-West including western Kentucky was hit by severe thunderstorms and high winds. Twice yesterday morning the warning siren went off alerting residents in the part of town near where I live that a tornado was in the vicinity. The only thing that one can do upon hearing the siren is to find a "safe spot" in the house and entrust oneself to God.

The Constitutional Crisis: Cracks at the Top

Now that we have the reports from the third and final day of the meeting in Salt Lake City of ECUSA's Executive Council, we are finally able to fill in the picture of what is going on among the Church's elected and appointed officials. The picture is neither pretty nor reassuring.

First and foremost, the Executive Council continues to tiptoe through the tulips, and to ignore its role to act as a watchdog for the whole Church during the 154 weeks out of 156 when General Convention is not in session. As documented in the series of posts called "ECUSA's Attorneys -- a Runaway Train", the litigation in which the Presiding Bishop has embroiled the Church on her own continues to drain the latter's resources -- but as far as Executive Council is concerned, it has no oversight role to play. We find out that in approving a reduced budget for 2011, the Council approved the Church taking out a new loan of up to $60,000,000, and securing its note by mortgaging its headquarters at 815 Second Avenue, as well as by pledging unrestricted endowment funds.

The new loan is necessary because the Church has already borrowed $46.1 million, the note for which falls due at the end of this year. Of that amount, nearly $10 million was used to acquire land for a new site for the Episcopal Archives in Austin, Texas, and the balance was used for improvements at 815 Second Avenue -- a good part of which has now been rented out to third-party tenants.

To read more, click here.

To read Part IV of "The Constitutional Crisis", click here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Place of the Caroline Divines in Classical Anglicanism

This past June I posted the article, “The Place of the Caroline High Churchman in Classical Anglicanism.” It addresses in part the three questions that one of my readers raised in a comment he left in response to my article, “A view of the English Reformation and the Elizabethan Settlement: The Canons of 1571.” I plan to post one or more articles that further address these questions.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A View of the English Reformation and the Elizabethan Settlement: The Canons of 1571

By Robin G. Jordan


The Canons of 1571, like the Act of Uniformity of 1558-1559, the Book of Common Prayer of 1559, Archbishop Parker’s Advertisements, the Articles of Religion of 1571, and other primary source documents from the reign of Elizabeth I, are windows through which we can view this important phase in the English Reformation. The English Reformation did not conclude with the untimely death of young King Edward VI and the fiery martyrdom of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. It experienced a temporary hiatus during the bloody reign of Elizabeth’s older half-sister Mary. During her short reign Mary restored the Pope’s authority over the Church of England and returned the English Church to ignorance and superstition. But she could not stamp out the desire in Englishmen’s hearts for a reformed Church and a reformed faith.

Elizabeth I is something of enigma. Whatever personal beliefs she may have held and whatever practices she may have permitted in her royal chapel, the Church of England became Protestant and Reformed in faith during her reign. God blessed Elizabeth with a long reign. He spared her from her enemies who wished to drag her from the English throne and install a Catholic monarch upon it. England would prosper under her rule.

The shape the Church of England took during Elizabeth’s reign is often described as the Elizabethan Settlement. The Elizabethan Settlement did not establish the English Church as a via media between Rome and Geneva, as the Tractarians would claim in the nineteenth century. The two poles that the Elizabethan Settlement holds in tension are the Churches of Geneva and Zurich. Both Churches are Protestant and Reformed in faith, as would be the Church of England. Where they differ is in the spheres of church governance and discipline and the relationship of the church to the state. The English adopted the model of Zurich and a number of other Swiss Reformed Churches. In these churches the state governed the church and the church acted as the conscience of the state while in Geneva the church governed the state and was its own conscience.

During Elizabeth’s reign the Articles of Religion of 1571, the confession of faith of the reformed Church of England and historic Anglicanism was adopted by Convocation and Parliament and would receive the royal assent. The first Protestant services were held in North America, using The Book of Common Prayer that she had sanctioned as the supreme governor of the English Church. The Elizabethan Prayer Book, authorized for use in 1559, was essentially Cranmer’s 1552 Reformed liturgy with three or four alterations. While the Declaration on Kneeling was dropped from the 1559 Prayer Book, its teaching was not abandoned by the English Church. The removal of the crucifixes, images, reliquaries, stone altars, and other trappings of Medieval Catholicism begun in the reign of Edward VI was completed in Elizabeth’s reign. Stone altars were replaced with movable wooden communion tables that could be placed in the body of the church for the celebration of the Holy Communion. At the request of Convocation Dean Alexander Newell drew up a reformed Catechism for use in grammar schools and universities, which Convocation would sanction in 1563. The Second Book of Homilies was published in for the use of clergy who were not licensed to preach. Among the requirements for a preaching license Archbishop Matthew Parker would prescribe the systematic study of the New Testament and Swiss Reformer Henry Bullinger’s Decades, a collection of fifty sermons which Bullinger had prepared to teach systematic theology to the laity. These sermons would serve Elizabethan clergy as a textbook on divinity.

The Convocation of Canterbury put forward a new Book of Canons, also known as the Book of Discipline, for the reformed Church of England in the spring of 1571. They were signed, in person or by proxy, by all the bishops of the Southern province. A copy of the Canons in the library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge shows that they were also signed by the Archbishop of York and the Bishops of Durham and Chester who may have been acting as proxies for the other bishops of the Northern province. However, they were not signed by the Lower House of the Convocation of York and therefore their placement before that body is questioned.

William Edward Collins argues in his introduction to The Church Historical Society’s 1899 edition of The Canons of 1571 in English and Latin that the canons derive their authority from the bishops in synod and not from the advice and consent of the clergy. In any event the Canons never received the royal assent and consequently they possessed no legal force. While the Canons were thus lacking legal validity, they were accepted as authoritative in the Province of Canterbury and were acted upon in the dioceses of the Southern province.

Looking through the windows that the Canons of 1571 and other primary source documents from the Elizabethan period is like looking at the English countryside through the different windows of a large, old English country house. Each window gives us a different view of the English countryside. Often what we read in the more recent histories of the Elizabethan Church is one person’s impressions of the countryside as seen from only a few windows. It is not the same thing as taking an unhurried look through each window ourselves and taking in every detail of what we see.

One particular passage from the Canons of 1571 has frequently been taken out of context and used to support the contention that the English Reformers gave much greater weight to the teaching of the Patristic writers than they actually did.

But chiefly they shall take heed, that they teach nothing in their preaching, which they would have the people religiously to observe, and believe, but that which is agreeable to the doctrine of the old Testament, and the new, and that which the catholic fathers, and ancient Bishops have gathered out of that doctrine.

The English Reformers were certainly well acquainted with the early Church fathers and cited them in their writings. However, they did not read the Patristic writers uncritically as would the seventeenth century Caroline High Churchmen and the nineteenth century Tractarians and their Anglo-Catholic successors. They tried the writings of the early Church fathers by Scripture as they did the later Schoolmen and the sixteenth century Church of Rome. For the English Reformers the rule that had the greatest weight was not the rule of antiquity but the rule of Scripture. They recognized that the Patristic writers were fallible men who at times erred in their understanding and interpretation of Scripture.

What is frequently not mentioned in such arguments is the context of this passage, the passages in the Canons of 1571 that emphasized conformity to the Articles of Religion, including the passage that immediately follows it.

And because those articles of Christian religion, agreed upon by the Bishops, in the lawful, and godly convocation, and by their commandment, and authority of our noble princess Elizabeth assembled and holden [= held], undoubtedly are gathered out of the holy books of the old, and new Testament, and in all points agree with the heavenly doctrine contained in them: because also the book of common prayers, and the book of the consecration of Archbishops, Bishops, Ministers and Deacons, contain nothing repugnant to the same doctrine, whosoever shall be sent to teach the people, shall not only in their preaching, but also by subscription confirm the authority, and truth of those articles. He that doth otherwise, or troubleth the people with contrary doctrine, shall be excommunicated.

To help my readers take a look at the Elizabethan Church through the window of the Canons of 1571, I have modernized the spelling and have inserted explanation of certain words in brackets in the text. The text I used comes from The Church Historical Society’s 1899 edition of The Canons of 1571 in English and Latin. I have taken Professor Collins’ footnotes, renumbered them, and converted them into endnotes. I have also included the appendix to The Church Historical Society’s 1899 edition of The Canons of 1571 in English and Latin.

Of Bishops

If here followeth in this book some certain articles of the holy ministry, and of the offices of the Church, fully agreed upon by Matthew Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of all England, and Metropolitan, and all other Bishops of the same Province, which were partly present in person, and partly subscribed by the hands of their Proctors, in a Synod begun at London in the Church of S. Paul the third day of April. 1571.

All Bishops shall diligently teach the Gospel, not only in their Cathedral Churches which they govern, but also indifferently in all the Churches of every of their diocese, where they shall think it most needful.

And principally they shall exhort their people to the reading, & hearing of the holy scriptures, & that they come together in times appointed, every man to his own Church, and that they give ear diligently to the preachers of the Gospel, and that both they do hear reverently the godly prayers which shall be spoken by the minister, and also pray themselves with him, that they may be partakers of that heavenly mysteries, as they be now godly ordained lawfully in our Churches by the authority, and commandment of the whole Realm.

Every Bishop before the Kalends [= first of the month, also spelled ‘calends’] of September next, shall call unto him the public preachers, such as shall be in his own diocese, and shall require again of them, their licenses of preaching, which they have signed with any authentic seal, which they shall retain with themselves, or else abolish. After prudent choice made of them, he shall give new licenses [1] to the whom he shall find able to that great office, in respect of their years, doctrine, judgement, honesty of life, modesty and gravity: and yet so that they first subscribe to the articles of Christian religion, publicly approved in the Synod, and that they make promise willingly to maintain, and defend that doctrine, which is contained in them, as most agreeable to the verity of God’s word.

The Bishop must very diligently consider what manner of men he do admit into his household: for it chanceth sometimes where this foresight is not used, that wicked men, and enemies to the true religion, vitious [= depraved, given to vice, esp. buggery (sodomy), pedastry] men, and corrupt in all their life, yea, and men void of grace be admitted. Whereby the adversary will soon take occasion to speak evil.

The Bishops servants shall so modestly & orderly apparel themselves, in every part of their garments, that they do not offend their brethren whom Paul calleth of the household of faith. The Bishop shall lay his hands on none henceforward, but such as have been trained up in good letters, either in the university, or some other inferior school, or that doth understand the Latin tongue competently [2], and hath been well exercised in the holy scriptures: nor yet on any, except he be of that lawful age which is appointed by the statute and law [3]: nor except his life & honest behavior, be commended by the testimony of grave and godly men, and such as are well known unto the bishop: nor on any that hath been brought up in husbandry, or some other base and handicraft labor: nor on any, but such as have some title (as they call it) whereby he may live, if by God’s sufferance, he become blind, or fall into grievous sickness of the body, or into a continual & languishing disease: nor except he will exercise the holy ministry within his own diocese: nor at any other time, but when it shall chance, that some place of ministration is void [= empty] in the same diocese. And he shall admit no stranger, nor any that he knoweth not, either to the profits of any benefice [= church living], or to ecclesiastical ministry, except he bring with him that bishop’s letters of commendations, which they call letters dismissory, out of whose diocese he came.

The bishop shall not grant unto any man the next, or second, or third advowson [= right of presentation to benefice], (as they call it) of any prebend [= stipend of canon or member of chapter, land or title providing it] or benefice belonging unto him: for those advowsons are far from good doings and Christian charity: neither shall he ratify and confirm the leases of any profits or revenues of any parsonage, or ecclesiastical benefice, for term of many years, in any wise.

The bishop shall suffer no man to be occupied in the ministration of the church, which calleth him self by the idle name of a reader [4], not having received imposition of hands.

Every archbishop and bishop shall have in his house, The Holy Bible in the largest volume, as it was lately printed at London [5], and also that full and perfect history, which is entitled Monuments of Martyrs [6], and other such like books, fit for the setting forth of religion. These books must be placed either in the hall, or in the great chamber, that they may serve to the use of their servants, and of strangers.

Deans of Cathedral Churches

The very same books, which we spoke of last, every Dean shall cause to be bought, and to be bestowed in his Cathedral church, in such convenient place: that the vicars and peticanons, and other ministers of the church, as also strangers and foreigners may easily come unto them and read thereon.

The Dean, and every chief Residentiary whom they call the dignities of the church, shall buy the same books every one for his own family, and shall lay them in some fit place, either in the hall, or in the chamber.

The Dean & his prebendaries shall preach the word of God diligently, not only in the cathedral church where they live, but in other churches also of the same Diocese, and especially in the same places whence they receive yearly revenues and profits. Which if they do not, they shall be punished according to the discretion of the bishop.

No Dean, nor Archdeacon, nor Residentary, nor master, nor warden, nor head of any college, or cathedral church, neither president, nor Rector, nor any of that order, by what name so ever they be called, shall hereafter wear the Gray Amice [7], or any other garment which hath been denied with the like superstition [8]. But every one of them shall wear only that linen garment, which is as yet retained by the Queen’s commandment, and also his scholar’s hood, according to every man’s calling, and degree in school.

Every Dean shall be resident in his cathedral church, four times a year at the least. And shall continue there, by the space of a month every time (if he may possible) in preaching the word of God, and keeping good hospitality, except he shall be otherwise letted [= hindered, obstructed] with weighty and urgent causes. Which causes he shall at every such time, declare unto his ordinary. When he is come to his church, he together with his prebendaries resident, shall foresee that the statutes of his church, if they be not contrary to the word of God (as many are) and that the statutes of this realm whatsoever, concerning ecclesiastical order, and all Injunctions, either set forth by the Queen’s Majesty, or enjoined by the bishop in his visitation of the same church, be diligently observed. Moreover the Dean and Residentaries shall endeavor, as much as lieth in the [sic], that the peticanons [9], or vicars, and other ministers of their church, (lest they live idly, and unprofitably in slothfulness, and give them selves to unlawful gaming,) be constrained to the study of the Holy Scriptures, and that every one of them have the New Testament, not only in Latin, but also in English.

The Deans, and Residentaries shall see that there be no other form observed in singing, or saying prayers, or in the administration of the Sacraments, but only that which is set forth, and prescribed in the book of Common Prayers: neither shall they suffer any stranger to preach unto the people, except the Queen’s Majesty, or the Archbishop of the same Province, or the Bishop of the same Diocese, have granted him license thereunto. And if such a Preacher so allowed, either by the Queen’s Majesty, or by the Archbishop, or Bishop, shall in his sermon publish any doctrine either strange, wicked, or disagreeable with the word of God: or with the Articles of our Religion, agreed upon in the Convocation house (which no doubt are consonant to the Scriptures) or with the book of Common Prayers: the Dean, or the Residents shall as soon as may be, give notice of the same to the Bishop by their letters, subscribed also with some of their hands which heard him preach: that he may determine on the matter, as he shall see good.


Every Archdeacon shall have in his house both the other books, and namely those which are entitled, Monuments of Martyrs.

Every Archdeacon which hath authority to visit, either by common law, or by prescription, shall visit his territory once every year in his own person: and he shall not substitute any to be his Official, but such a one as hath been brought up in the universities, and hath studied the civil law, and is of the full age of xxiiij. years, being able not only in learning, but also in gravity, and modesty to discharge that office.

Archdeacons, and their substitutes (whom they call Officials) shall call the clergy to accompt [= account] in their visitations, how much every one of them hath profited in the study of Scripture, and shall give unto so many of them, as have not taken the degree of a master of Arts upon them in the university, some part of the New Testament to be learned without book [10], and at the next synod shall compel them to make repetition thereof: and they shall detect unto the Bishop, such as are either stubborn, or negligent herein.

When the visitation is finished, the Archdeacon shall signify unto the Bishop, whom he hath found in every deanery, so furnished with learning and judgement, that they may be thought worthy to instruct the people in sermons, and to rule and govern others. Of these the Bishop may chose some, whom he will have rural Deans [11].

Archdeacons shall straightly and severely punish all offenders, and not wink at their faults, or suffer any man to escape unpunished, who is known to have offended.
Archdeacons shall have a special care, that the monuments of their acts, and doings be faithfully and safely preserved, and shall once every year bring to their Bishop, all the original copies of such testaments, which shall be proved before them the year before, that they may be preserved by the Bishops register. They shall write out the copies of the same testaments to their own use, if they will.

Chancellors, Commissaries, and Officials

Every Chancellor, commissary and official shall be learned in the ecclesiastical and civil laws, which is twenty and six years old, and hath taken some degree in the schools for learning’s sake, and is reasonably well practiced in common pleas, touching whose life & manners, no evil report be heard. Besides, every one of these, either shall be in the ministry, or if he be not, yet shall he be well affected, and zealously bent toward religion, and that he shall openly and freely pretend [= lay claim], and before he enter his office, he shall take an oath of the authority and supremacy of the prince, and also shall subscribe to the articles of religion allowed in the convocation of Bishops.

None of these, neither Chancellor, Commissary, nor official shall proceed in examination of matters unto the sentence of excommunication, but only in causes of instances. In matters of correction, they shall do all other things, which lawfully they may, and are wont to be done.

But the sentence of excommunication they shall leave only to the Bishop, which either he himself shall pronounce, or shall commit the pronouncing thereof to some grave man, which is in the ministry. After that he hath given sentence, he shall also add, for a warning and terror to the people, a certain order of words, which after shall be showed [12]: and also shall cause some like instrument, which shall be used in signifying the excommunication to the people, to be written out, and sent to every minister in their churches, that they may have it in readiness to occupy, if need require. But the penance enjoined, neither Chancellor, Archdeacon, Official, nor Commissary, shall alter [13]. That authority, for many weighty causes is reserved only to the Bishop, or if he shall appoint any other, by special commandment for that purpose.

No ecclesiastical judge, of what place or degree so ever he be, shall absolve any that is excommunicated, at his own house, or otherwise in private houses, but only openly, and in the consistory.

Chancellors, Officials, Commissaries, shall do their endeavour, that all others which are under their jurisdiction, do their duty. Especially, that Parsons, Vicars, and ministers of Churches may painfully [= taking pains to do, taking the trouble to do] be occupied in the scriptures, that they provide them books fit for their degree and profession, that whosoever hath not proceeded master of arts, buy for himself two books of the New Testament, the one translated in Latin, the other in English, that every one of them learn without book, that task of Scriptures which is enjoined him, either by the ordinary ecclesiastical judge, or by some other, whom for his trust & painfulness the bishop will rather choose: that they observe the orders, and customs prescribed in the book of common prayers, as well in reading the holy scripture, and saying of prayers, as in ministration of the sacraments: that they neither diminish, nor add any thing, neither of the matter, nor of the manner: that they behave themselves honestly, and walk modestly and comely in sober apparel appointed in the book of advertisements [14]: that, if they have a family, and have no wife, they keep no other woman at their house, but either their mother, sister, or niece by brother or sister: but if they live unmarried, and have no wives, let them not board in any Tavern or Alehouse, but in some honest house in the same parish, where they may live without suspicion: that they play not at dice, cards, or other unlawful games: that they use their bow and shafts only, and that to refresher their minds, modestly, and in due time, that they be not let [= hindered, obstructed] from doing their duty, or study of the holy Scripture.

They shall take heed also, that no Parson, Vicar, or Curate, serve any where, either in Chapel, or other place of prayer, or say common service in any private man’s house, except the Bishop grant him license by his own instrument & subscription of his hand: & that no Parson, Vicar, or Curate serve more then one Church or Chapel in one day.

Every minister of the Church, before he enter that holy function, shall subscribe to all articles of Christian religion, which were agreed upon in the convocation, and wheresoever the Bishop shall command, shall declare his conscience to the people, what he thinketh of those articles, and the whole doctrine. And he being once admitted into the holy ministry, shall from thenceforth never depart from it, nor shall use himself as a layman, either in apparel, or in any part of his life.

Every Parson, Vicar, or Curate shall yearly before twenty days after Easter, exhibit to the bishop, or to his Chancellor or Commissary, the names and surnames of his parishioners, as well men as women, (of those I say) -which being fourteen years of age, come not to the holy Communion, (as by the statutes & ecclesiastical laws of this Realm, they are bound) & such as refuse to be examined by the minister of the Church, in learning the Catechism, and articles of Christian religion, and what parents or masters think scorn to send their children or servants to Church, at the times appointed, to hear and learn the same Catechism. They shall suffer none to undertake [15] for an Infant at Baptism, except he have received the Communion, and have been partaker of the holy mysteries, and he shall admit none to the partaking of the sacraments, which hath not learned the Catechism [16], and articles of the faith [17].

Every Sunday and holyday, the parsons vicars and curates, shall come to the church so timely, and conveniently in due season, that the parishioners having done their business, may come thither with their children & servants. And there they shall reverently, (as it is fit) and godly say or sing the holy service, so plainly, so manifestly, & distinctly, that the people may hear & understand, what is said or song, & thereof receive comfort and commodity. The like reverence and godliness they shall observe in celebrating the most holy Sacraments, so that they turn not to superstition, or worshipping, or Idolatry. But if that in time of the holy Communion there shall be no sermon, they shall on the book in the pulpit read some one, or other of those homilies, which we have to that end set forth before. In the mean time they shall exhort the people, to come diligently to church, that they may attentively hear that which is read and said, and that all the time thereof, they use them selves reverently and modestly: and least the godly may be offended thorough wantonness and lightness, void of religion, they shall take heed, that young men, especially countrymen, (whose nature is more prone to the contempt of godliness and disorder) neither ring bells, neither walk in the churches nor have idle talk together, nor by laughing, or noise, or unhonest jesting, either let [= hinder, obstruct] the minister, or offend the people.

They shall admonish the people to come oftener to the holy Communion, & that before, they prepare themselves with a perfect mind, as it is fit. And that all may understand, what duty they owe to God, what duty to the prince, whom they ought to love & reverence as the vicar of God, what they owe to the laws, what to the magistrates, what to their brethren, what to the people of God: they shall be ready in the church straight after noon, every Sunday & holy day, & there at the least they shall read two hours, and teach the Catechism, and therein shall instruct, all their flocks of what age or degree so ever, not only maidens and children, but also the elder, if need be. But especially they shall warn young folks, not only men, but also women, that it is provided by the laws, that none of them may either receive the holy Communion, or be married, or undertake for a child in baptism, except before they have learned the principles of Christian religion, and cannot fitly and aptly answer to all the parts of the Catechism.

But if the parsons, vicars, curates, either can not preach, or have not received license to preach of the bishop, yet they shall teach children to read, to write, and know their duty, toward God, toward their parents, and all others: and if they perceive any of them to be of that disposition, that by teaching and instruction they may attain to the knowledge of learning, they shall counsel their parents, to set them to school, that being endowed with learning, they may one day become fit for the holy ministry of the mighty God: but whom they perceive to be duller, and not disposed to learning, to see them set to some other science, or to husbandry.

They shall also warn their parishioners, that for great and weighty causes it was appointed in the convocation by the Reverend father in God, Matthew Archbishop of Canterbury, and the other bishops, that their [18] children marry not, without consent of the parents, and that no young man hath power in himself to marry [19], before he be xvj. years of age, and no maid before she be xiiij. years old.

Churchwardens and sidemen

Churchwardens according to the custom of every parish, shall be chosen by the consent of their parishioners, and their minister: otherwise they shall not be churchwardens: neither shall they continue any longer then one year in that office, except perhaps they be chosen again. And all churchwardens once every year shall give up just account of such money, as they have received: and also particularly shall shew, what cost they have bestowed in repairing the houses [20], and for the use of the church. Last of all going out of their offices, they shall truly deliver up to the parishioners, whatsoever money, or other ecclesiastical things shall remain, & be in their hands, that it may be redelivered by them to the next churchwardens.

The churchwardens shall see, that the churches be diligently and well repaired with lead, tile, lime and glass, that neither the minister, nor the people, either in the holy ministry and worshipping of God, or in celebrating the heavenly mysteries, or in receiving and hearing the Communion, be troubled with tempestuous weather. But especially they shall looked unto, that in the meeting of the congregation peace be well kept: and in all visitations of bishops and archdeacons, they shall truly and personally present, and name all those, which rudely behave themselves in the church, or which by untimely ringing of bells, by walking, by talking, or noise shall let [= hinder, obstruct] the minister or preacher.

Churchwardens shall see, that the churches be kept clean and holy, that they be not loathsome to any, either by dust, sand, or any filthiness. They shall also see, that the holy Bibles be in every church in the largest volume [21], (if it may conveniently be) such as were lately Imprinted at London: that the book of common Prayers, that the holy Homilies, which lately were written against rebellion [22], be in every church. It is meet that these books be whole and clean, not torn or foul in any wise, lest it breed irksomeness or contempt amongst the people. They shall see, there be a joined handsome table, which may serve for the administration of the holy Communion, and a clean carpet to cover it: a convenient pulpit, whence the heavenly doctrine may be taught. Moreover they shall see, that all sollars [23], in which wooden crosses stood, and all relics of superstition be clean taken away, that the walls of the churches be new whited [= whitened], and decked with chosen sentences of the holy Scripture, that by the reading and warning thereof, the people may be moved to godliness. Last of all they shall see, that in every church there be a holy font, not [24] a basin, wherein Baptism may be ministered, and it be kept comely and clean.

They shall also warn vintners [= wine-sellers] and victuallers [= food-purveyors], which sell acates [25], that they receive none into their tavern or alehouse, all that time wherein either is preaching, or common service. If any do contrary, upon contempt or stubbornness, they shall present both him, & them whom he received, personally in the next visitation. If any offend their brethren, either by manifest adultery, or whoredom, or incest, or drunkenness, or much swearing, or bawdry, or usury, or any other uncleanness and [26] wickedness of life, let the churchwardens warn them brotherly and friendly, to amend. Which except they do, they shall personally shew them to the parson, vicar, or curate, that they may be warned more sharply and vehemently of them: and if they continue so still, let them be driven from the holy Communion, till they be reformed. And that all which live unchastely and loosely, be punished by the severity of the laws, according to their deserts. The same churchwardens shall present those adulterers, whoremongers, incestuous, drunkards, swearers, bawds, and usurers in the Bishop’s and Archdeacon’s visitations.

Churchwardens shall suffer no feasts, banquets, suppers, or common drinkings to be kept, in the church, neither the bells to be rung superstitiously, either in the feast of all souls, or the day after all saints, (which day not long since was kept holy for the souls of the dead) neither at any time at all, whereas the custom of ringing, shall seem to incline to superstition. They shall suffer ringing only at those times, which are appointed in the book of advertisements [27], and to that only use, and after that only order.

It shall not be lawful to keep fairs, and common markets upon the Sunday: neither on that day to put to death, and openly punish offenders condemned by the sentence of the Judge.

They shall not suffer, that any of these light wanderers in markets, and pelting [28] merchants [29], which carry about, and sell pins, points, and other small trifles, whom they call peddlers, to set out their wares to sale, either in the churchyards, or in the porches of churches, or any where else, on holydays or Sundays, whilst any part of the holy ministry is in doing, or any sermon is preached, neither that beggars, or vagabonds, which have no certain dwelling, abide either in the churchyard, or in the church porch, all the time of service or preaching: but shall command them, either to come in, or to depart.

They shall also search and diligently inquire, if any of the parishioners either come not at all to church, or come later or slower, at the times appointed by the laws: and whom they shall find so to offend, they shall amerce [= fine, (loosely) punish] [30] them, according to the appointing of the law. They shall mark whether all & every of the parishioners come so often every year to the holy communion, as the laws & statutes do command [31]: and whether any strangers from other parishes, come more often and commonly to their church, and shall shew their curate of them, lest perhaps he admit them to the Lord’s table amongst others, but shall send them rather to their own curates.

They shall receive no parson, nor vicar, to the ministry of their church, but whom the Bishop shall allow by his institution, and by his mandate shall put in possession of that church. They shall receive no curate, but him that by the letters, and seal of the Bishop is specially appointed for that church. But if the Parson, Vicar, or Curate, behave himself otherwise in his ministry, or that he read ill, darkly, and confusedly, or that he live more loosely, and licentiously than is fit for a man of that calling, and thereby great offence be taken: the churchwardens shall speedily present him to the Bishop, that by and by he may be punished, and amendment of his fault may follow.

And that the Bishop may understand, what sermons are made in every church of his diocese: the churchwardens shall see, that the names of all preachers, which come to them from any other place, be noted in a book, which they shall have ready for that purpose, and that every preacher subscribe his name in that book, and the name of the Bishop, of whom he had license to preach.

Last of all, the churchwardens shall see, that all things be diligently observed, which pertain to their offices, and that are contained in the Queen’s injunctions, and the book of advertisements, and that shall be set forth by the Archbishop or Bishop in every their visitations, for the use of the churches. But if any do rail upon them, or go to law with them, for doing their duty, and detecting of offenders, that also they shall present unto the Bishop, that by his means & travail, they may more easily be delivered from that trouble.


No man shall openly preach in his parish, but being licensed by the Bishop, neither hereafter shall be so bold, as preach out of his own cure & church, except he have obtained license so to preach, either of the Queen’s Majesty, over all her realm: either of the Archbishop, through his province: or of the Bishop, in his diocese. And no license to preach shall hereafter stand in force, but that which hath been obtained after the last day of April, which was in the year, 1571 [32]. Preachers shall behave them selves modestly and soberly in all their life.

But chiefly they shall take heed, that they teach nothing in their preaching, which they would have the people religiously to observe, and believe, but that which is agreeable to the doctrine of the old Testament, and the new, and that which the catholic fathers, and ancient Bishops have gathered out of that doctrine [33]. And because those articles of Christian religion, agreed upon by the Bishops, in the lawful, and godly convocation, and by their commandment, and authority of our noble princess Elizabeth assembled and holden [= held], undoubtedly are gathered out of the holy books of the old, and new Testament, and in all points agree with the heavenly doctrine contained in them: because also the book of common prayers, and the book of the consecration of Archbishops, Bishops, Ministers and Deacons, contain nothing repugnant to the same doctrine, whosoever shall be sent to teach the people, shall not only in their preaching, but also by subscription confirm the authority, and truth of those articles. He that doth otherwise, or troubleth the people with contrary doctrine, shall be excommunicated.

In preaching they shall wear a very modest and grave garment, which may become, and set forth the minister of God, and such as is prescribed in the book of advertisements [34]. They shall require no money or reward for their preaching [35], but shall be content with meat and drink, and plain provision, and one night’s lodging.

They shall teach no vain, and old wives opinions, no heresies, nor popish errors, disagreeing from the doctrine and faith of Christ: neither any thing at all, whereby the rude people may be stirred up to the desire of novelties, or contention. But they shall always teach that, which may make for edifying, and may unite the hearers in Christian peace and love.


The absence of the shepherd from the Lord’s flock, and that careless negligence, which we do see in many, and forsaking of the ministry, is a thing in it self to be abhorred and odious to the people, and pernicious to the church of God. Therefore we exhort all pastors of churches, in the Lord Jesu, that forthwith they return every one to their parishes, and diligently teach the gospel, according to their living to keep house, to help the poor by hospitality, and there to be resident every year no less then lx. days.


It shall be lawful for no man, of what degree, or order so ever he be, to have at one time, any more than two ecclesiastical benefices: neither shall it be lawful for any man at all, to obtain two benefices, if they be distant more than xxvj. miles.
Of schoolmasters

It shall not be lawful for any to teach the Latin tongue, or to instruct children, neither openly in the schools, neither privately in any man’s house, but whom the bishop of that dioceses hath allowed, & to whom he hath given license to teach under the seal of his office. And here we except, (for honours sake) the Lords of the Parliament: but the bishop shall allow no schoolmaster, nor accompt [= account] worthy of [36] that office, but whom he shall find in his judgement to be learned, and worthy of that place, and whom he shall see commended by the testimony of godly men, touching his life and manners, and especially his religion.

Schoolmasters shall teach no Grammar, but only that, which the Queen’s majesty hath commanded to be, read in all schools through the whole realm [38], neither any other Latin Catechism, then that which was set forth, in the year 1570 [39]. The which also, that is translated into English, we will have taught unto children, that are ignorant of the Latin tongue.

All other books they shall teach, whereby the fullness and fineness of the Latin & Greek tongue may be learned, & those especially, which profit to the knowledge of Christ and godliness. And once every year they shall signify to the Bishop, what chosen scholars they have of all their number, which are of that aptness & so forward in learning, that there may be good hope, they will become fit, either for the common wealth, or for the holy ministry. By this hope the parents being allured, will more willingly keep them at school.

But chiefly they shall so order and frame the tongues of children, that they may pronounce openly, plainly and distinctly. And as often as any sermon shall be, they shall either send them or bring them to church, that from their childhood they may be brought up in godliness: & lest they should hear it negligently, at their return to school, they shall call and examine every one, what they have learned out of that sermon: and that the minds of children, may be the more stirred up to virtue and diligence, they shall rebuke the idle and sluggish, and shall praise the attentive and diligent.

Patrons and Proprietaries

The Bishop shall earnestly and diligently exhort patrons of benefices, to consider the necessities of the churches and to have before their eyes the last day, and judgement, and the tribunal seat of God. Therefore that they prefer no man to any ecclesiastical living, but him which by doctrine, judgement, godliness, honesty, and innocency of life, is able to bear so heavy a burthen [= burden], that they do nothing therein, but uprightly, incorruptly & truly, & he shall profess that he will use all honest, and lawful means to search out the truth. But if, either in the presentation, or else after he shall perceive any corruption, or simony to be committed any way, either closely, either directly, or indirectly, by him, or any other, either that money, or money’s worth [= service or other thing recognized as the equivalent to money], or that any commodity, or any part of the profits should come unto him: that he then will publish and declare this wicked deed and simony, not only in the cathedral church, but also else where, to his shame and perpetual reproach, & also thrust out that minister, whom he so wickedly presented, not only from the office of a priest, which he unlawfully entered: but also from all ministry, and out of the whole diocese.

Humble petition must be made to the Queen’s majesty, that some way by her leave, and commandment may be found, that the chancels of those churches, may speedily be repaired, which by impropriation are come unto her, and that a yearly stipend may be appointed for serving the cure thereof: for now in many places, both the chancels are foully fallen down, and the ministry of the church is destitute because of the smallness of the stipend.

The Bishop shall see, that a true inventory and (as they call it) a terres [40], of all the lands, meadows, gardens, orchards, which belong to any parsonage, or vicarage, be taken by the view [= inspection, survey] of honest men, and be laid up in his treasury of evidences, for a perpetual memory thereof.

The Bishop shall not suffer the farmer of any benefice, to have any authority over the minister of God, that he may either admit, or reject him. Neither shall the minister take less, then x. pounds for his stipend [41].

All matrimonies, which any where are contracted within the degrees of consanguinity, or affinity forbidden in the xviij. of Leviticus, shall be dissolved by the authority of the Bishop: but especially, if any man, his first wife being dead, shall take her sister, to wife: for this degree, by common consent, and judgement of learned men is thought to be forbidden in Leviticus.

It shall not be lawful for any man, to marry within those degrees, which are forbidden in the table written, and published for that end, by the reverend father in God, the Archbishop of Canterbury [42].

The form of the sentence of excommunication [43][44]

Brethren, because all we which do profess the name of Christ Jesu, are members of one body, & it is meet that one member should feel, and suffer the grief of another member: by reason of mine office I signify unto you, that A. B. is openly accused of adultery, wherein, the report is, that he hath lived wickedly, and filthily, to his shame and infamy, and grievous offence of the church of God: and for that cause he is cited to the bishop’s consistory, that his notorious disorder may some way be punished. And because the foresaid A. B. through guiltiness of his wickedness, hath contemned to appear at the day lawfully named, and stubbornly hath withdrawn him self from Justice, and by his example hath hearted others to the like stubbornness, therefore, this I further warn you, that our bishop, by the name and authority of the most mighty God, hath excommunicated him from all company of the church of God, & hath cut him of as a dead member, from the body of Christ: In this state, & in so great danger of his soul is he at this time. S. Paul being taught by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, commandeth that we eschew the fellowship, & company of such men, lest we be partakers of the same wickedness. Yet, as Christian charity warneth us, because he will not pray for himself, neither understandeth his danger, let us all in his name pray unto God, that once he may acknowledge his misery and filthiness of life, and may repent, and turn unto God. For our God is merciful, and can call them from death, that were fallen.


The Earl of Windsor to Archbishop Parker
[Parker MSS. cxiv. 307, C. C. C. Cambridge.]

Right Honorable good Lord may it please your grace to understand that Wheare John Earle Clarke standeth bound to the Queen’s Majesty by recognizances [= bonds, sureties] remaining in your grace’s hand for his abode at Croundall and Bentley and for the rendering of the epistle of St Paul to the Galatians without book, and for his honest and quiet behavior These may be to certify you that his abode hath been and is at this present time at Croundall. And as concerning the epistle the vith day of January last past he rendered to me without book at my house of Bentley. And for his Behavior as I have heard hath been honest and quiet this that I certify you of is nothing but the very truth. Therefore I desire you to consider his poverty and stand his good lord as charity shall move you. Not doubting but he will continue of such good behavior as your grace shall think your favor well bestowed toward him. Thus beseeching almighty God to send your grace long life with increase of honor I leave troubling you any farther at this time.

Written the xxith day of January 1559

Yours to command
Thomas Wyndesore

(Endorsed) To the right honorable my Lord of Canterbury's grace give these.

Parker has written at the foot of the letter, “I pray you send me the commission for the oath taking & c. by your next trusty messenger.”

Your M. C. '

and added the endorsement " To my L. of London."


[1] Strype quotes from the Ely Registers an instruction of Bishop Coxe to his Chancellor, which proves that the Canon was acted upon in his diocese: " Forasmuch as it was ordained for sundry and weighty considerations that no Minister should preach . . . without lawful license to him granted: and therefore, that it was further ordained that all preachers having licenses to preach at any time before the last day of April last past, must render up the old license unto the Bishop of the diocese, to the intent the same might be renewed orderly," order is taken accordingly.—Life of Parker ii. 61.
[2] It should be noticed that the Canons of 1603 make this requirement more stringent: " Except he be able to yield an account of his faith in Latin . . . and to confirm the same by sufficient testimonies out of the holy scriptures."— Canon xxxiv
[3] i.e. in the Preface to the Ordinal, which derived its legal sanction from I Eliz. c. 2.
[4] To supply the lack of clergy in the early years of Elizabeth, readers were appointed in many parishes by the authority of the bishops, to say prayers, to take churchings and funerals, and to perform such other functions as a layman could, acting under lawful authority. (See the regulations which were put forth by them by the Convocation of 1562-3: Strype, Annals I. i. 514 f.) Strype has written about them at some length; but having confused them with the unlearned clergy who were not licensed to preach, he is under the impression that they were ordained (Annals I. i. 265 f.). Cartwright approves of the appointing of such readers “without making any new order or office of the ministry,” and Whitgift says: “I know it is true that there may be some appointed to read in the Church, which be not admitted either to preach or to administer the sacraments.” (Whitgift, Works Parker Society, vol. Ii p. 341, 458: cf. 342, 456) In his Injunctions dated May 15, 1571, Grindal refers to them somewhat disparagingly: ‘No person, not being a minister deacon, or at least tolerated by the ordinary in writing, should attempt to supply the place of a minister, & c.’ (Cardwell, Documentary Annals i. 355, ed. I) By this Canon they appear to be finally abolished.
[5] Viz. the Bishop's Bible, revised under Parker's auspices and published in 1568 by R. Jugge (Westcott, History of the English Bible, second edition, pp. 97-105). Parker's noble Prefaces to the Old and New Testament are given by Strype, Life of Parker App. nos. lxxxiii-iv (vol. iii. pp. 236, 253). The version only partially supplanted the earlier versions. As late as July 16, 1587, Whitgift wrote to the Bishop of Lincoln complaining that many churches only possessed mutilated Bibles, " and yet not of the translation authorised by the synods of bishops," and directing that they should be procured. (Cardwell, Documentary Annals ii. 11 f.)
[6] 1 The second edition, in two folio volumes, had been published by John Day in 157); and the book was in its day highly esteemed, as is proved by this direction. " From hence it cannot be inferred that the Convocation believed all the matters of fact reported, or approved all the remarks and reasoning of that historian. The Church allows the reading of the Apocrypha, and the binding it up with the rest of the Canon. But to argue from hence that all the historical passages are unquestionable, the customs warrantable, and the doctrine without exception, would be a wrong consequence " (Collier, vi. p. 500). Other books which were put forth by authority were the Paraphrases of Erasmus (by the Edwardine and Elizabethan Injunctions) and Jewel's Apology (by Abp Bancroft: Cardwell, Documentary Annals ii. 126).
[7] On the history and changes in form of the Grey Amice or Amyss, see a valuable paper by Dr Wickham Legg in the Transactions of the St Paul’s Ecclesiological Society vol. i. p. 41 f. It was a choir vestment worn by dignified ecclesiastics and especially by canons, of whom it is so characteristic that the word is used to signify a canon (Machyn, Diary p. 171: "Master Mortun on of the grey ames of Powlles"; cf. Ellis, Original Letters, series II, vol. ii. p. 177). For some reason not easy to discover, it was highly unpopular with the more extreme reformers, and every attempt was made to abolish it. On Whitsunday, 1549, the canons of St Paul's " left of their gray and calabre amises " (Wrothesley, Chronicle, Camden Society, vol. ii. p. 14; Grey-Friars Chronicle in Monumenta Franciscana, Rolls Series, ii. 220). It was restored on St Andrew's Day, 1553 (Monumenta Franciscana ii. 248), but again put down by Grindal, then bishop-elect of London, and May the dean of St Paul's, on Aug. 12, 1559 (Wriothesley, ii. 146). Two of the prebendaries in their grey amices took part in the dirge for Henry II of France, which was observed at St Paul's on Sept. 8 and 9 of that year (Strype, Annals I. i. 189); but this was probably exceptional. Still, we know from contemporary portraits that the garment continued to be worn by bishops, and the fact that Parker wore it is mentioned in the account of the Convocation which met on Jan. 13, 1562-3 (Cardwell, Synodalia ii. 497-8, where amictus must surely be used for the more common almutium). And if, as seems probable, the black scarf is really the same vestment as the grey amice, it has never died out.
[8] This point was not unnaturally seized upon by Cartwright, who marvelled " that they could espy in the last synod, that a grey amice, which is but a garment of dignity, should be a garment. . . denied with superstition, and yet that copes caps surplices tippets and such like baggage, the preaching signs of popish priesthood, . . . should be retained still and not abolished" (Whitgift, Works, Parker Society, ii. 50). Whitgift does not deal with the point of superstition, but says: " The grey amice was justly taken away, because the use of it is not established by any law of this realm, as the use of other vestures be; and in mine opinion the bishops deserved commendation in so doing; for thereby they declared that they will not suffer any rites or ornaments to be used in this church, but such only as are by public authority established " (ib. p. 5a). Cartwright does not here represent the attitude of other Puritans towards the grey amice. " The gray amise with cattes tayles " is mentioned by Anthony Gilby as one of the " Grosse pointes of poperie, euident to all men," in his " Pleasavnt Dialogve Betweene a Souldior of Barwicke and an English Chaplains. Wherein are largely handled and laide open, such reasons as are brought in for maintenaunce of popishe Traditions in our Eng. Church" (at leaf M. 3 verso). There are copies of this rare little book in the British Museum, G. 12013, and in the Lambeth Palace Library, xxix. 9. 8 (4).
[9] i.e. minor canons.
[10] It was a favorite plan in the time of Elizabeth to give passages of Holy Scripture to be learned by heart by others as well as the non-graduate clergy. In the appendix I have given a letter to Parker which speaks of such a task having been imposed on one who was supposed to be disaffected in religion (p. 96).
[11] For the history of the office of rural dean, see W. Dansey, Horae decanicae rurales, ed. 2, 1841, and Phillimore, Ecclesiastical Law, ed. 2, p. 208 f. At this time the office had fallen practically into abeyance, and an attempt was being made to revive it. And about ten years later Bishop Freake of Norwich, in which diocese the office had always been of special importance (Phillimore, 21 a), put forth in his diocesan synod a scheme for the restoration of the office. In the course of it he writes: " Since it appears by ancient records in the bishop's office, for these three hundred years, that certain choice, picked men were appointed and authorized in every several deanery, called in law decani rurales; and in the bishop's canons superintendents; that is, some preachers, resident in the deanery, orderly, grave, learned, discrete, and zealous: it is necessary to renew and revive that ancient, commendable practice" (Strype, Annals 11. ii. 695 f.).
[12] See below, p. 92. [See the letter in appendix]
[13] Commutation of penances was a notorious abuse which had survived from earlier days; and every effort was made to check it. The thirteenth of the Articles put forth by the Convocation of Canterbury in 1575 provides that "from henceforth there be no commutation of any penance . . . into any mulct penalty: unless the same be done upon great and urgent causes, by the consent of the bishop of the diocese, declared in writing under his hand and seal" (Cardwell, Synodalia i. 137 f.). Grindal went still further. See his Form of Public Penance (Remains, p. 455 f., Parker Society), in which it provided that the offender shall "be set directly over against the pulpit during the sermon or homily, and there stand bare-headed with the sheet, or other accustomed note of difference; and that upon some board raised a foot and a half, at least, above the church floor.... If the ordinary see cause to commute the wearing of the sheet only (for other commutation I wish none) then appoint a good portion of money to be delivered, immediately after the penance done in form aforesaid, by the penitent himself to the collectors for the poor; with this proviso, that if he show not good signs of penitence, he is to be put again to his penance with the sheet: and then no money at no time to be taken of him."
[14] The provisions of Parker's Book of Advertisements for the apparel of the clergy are somewhat minute. They will he found in Wilkins, Concilia iv. 247 f., or Gee and Hardy, Documents illustrative of the History of the English Church p. 473 f.
[15] i.e. to become Sponsor.
[16] i.e. the Church Catechism, which in the Elizabethan Prayer Book consisted of the first part of the present Catechism.
[17] i.e. the Creed. Here, as elsewhere, a careful distinction is made between articles of the faith and articles of religion
[18]The later issues read that children.
[19] Later issues contract marriage.
[20] Later issues reparations.
[21] See ante, p. 29, note 2 (Endnote 5).
[22] The Homily in six, parts, Against Disobedience and Wilful Rebellion, which was put forth after the Northern Rebellion of 1569. See Queen Elizabeth's Defence of her Proceedings in Church and State (Church Historical Society, No. lviii), p. 31. [23] Sollar, soller, or solar, an upper chamber, from Lat. solarium. In old leases the expression " with sollars and cellars" is often met with. Sometimes it is used for the triforium, but here, of course, for the rood-loft. See Du Cange, s. v. solarium, and Parker, Glossary of Architecture s. v. solar.
[24] In one copy of the Canons (Sion Coll. A. 97. 0. 4te Ar. 7. 8) the word is partially and very carefully erased, evidently by a contemporary hand, so as to read or a basen.
[25]Acates or achates, provisions purchased: from Old French achater. Late Latin accaptare (Mayhew and Skeat, Concise Dictionary of Middle English s. v.). By this time it was generally abbreviated into cates. Cf. Taming of the Shrew, II. i. 190.
[26] One impression reads or.
[27] The only direction in the Advertisements as to the ringing of the bells is in the twelfth of the Articles for administration of prayer and sacraments (Gee and Hardy, op. cit. p. 471) where provision is made for the passing bell and tolling for funerals. This is, of course, in addition to the direction in the Preface to the Book of Common Prayer for the tolling of the bell before service.
[28]Pelting, i.e. dealing in skins or rags. Peltryware is from the Old French pel (=peau) a skin, whilst paltry is from the Scand. palter, rags, refuse.
[29] The later issues read sellers.
sanction from Elizabeth's Act of Uniformity (i Eliz. c. a).
[30] Later issues punish.
[31] i. e. "at the least three times in the year," according to the provision of the rubrick in the Communion Office, which derived its legal
[32] See ante, p. 24. (Endnote 1)
[33] This Canon has always been regarded as of the highest importance. It is quoted by Abp Bancroft in the preface to the edition of Jewel's Works which he put forth in 1609 to be placed in churches, to show that " this is and hath been the open profession of the Church of England, to defend and mainteine no other Church, Faith, and Religion, than that which is truly Catholike and Apostolike, and for such warranted, not only by the written word of God, but also by the testimonie and consent of the ancient and godly Fathers."
[34] The only express direction in the Advertisements with regard to the attire of preachers is that in cathedrals the hood is to be worn.
[35] This is an advance on the Book of Advertisements, where it is directed that preachers are not " to exact or receive unreasonable rewards or stipends of the poor pastors " (Articles for doctrine and preaching No. 6).
[36] The later issues read accompt him worthy the office.
[37] i. e. the famous Grammar which was prepared for use in St Paul's School, and which is usually known as William Lilly's, though Colet, Erasmus and others probably took part in its composition. (See the preface to the edition by John Ward, London, 1732.) It had received the authority of Henry VIII, Edward VI, and Elizabeth, and afterwards received that of James I: see Elizabeth's Injunctions, No. 39, and Canons of 1604, No. lxxix.
[39]Not the Church Catechism in which parish clergy were to instruct their people (see p. 54), and which was to be learned by all before Confirmation; but a larger Catechism (as it is called in the Canons of 1604, No. lxxix) for purposes of instruction. It was the work of Alexander Nowell, the Dean of St Paul's, had received the sanction of Convocation in 1563, and was published both in Latin and English, by Abp Parker's desire, with a dedication to the Bishops, in 1570. See the Preface to the Parker Society's edition.
[40]Later issues read terrey, and terres is probably only a misprint: the Canons of 1604 give the modern form terrier (No. lxxxvii). As its name implies, the terrier or terrey (Low Lat. terrarius) is primarily a register of landed property. In the fourth part of the Homily for Rogation Week the word terrey is used to denote a trodden boundary or landmark: " They do wickedly, which do turn up the ancient terries of the fields, that old men before times with great pains did tread out." The Homilies, ed. Corrie, p. 497.
[41] This is an advance upon the provisions of the Advertisements, according to which an incumbent was to promise that he would undertake no secular work " having in ecclesiastical living to the sum of twenty nobles or above by year." The noble was worth 6s. 8d.
[42] According to Strype, it was set forth in the first instance by Parker and others, in 1560 (Annals 1. i. 332); or, as he says elsewhere, in 1563 (Strype, Life of Parker i. 556). It is put forth as the standard of the English Church by the Advertisements, by this Canon, and by the Canons of 1604 (No. xcix). See Cardwell, Documentary Annals, 1839, vol. i. 28a n.
[43] This is printed in larger black letter type than the canons themselves.
[44] In the MS. there is no title here.

From the Pen of J. C. Ryle: Thoughts on Public Worship

How do we worship?” This question is of great importance today, particularly remembering that many people who attend church do so very infrequently; and that many who do attend regularly are not concerned about how the worship should be carried out. It needs to be remembered that the Bible points out that not all worship is right in the sight of God.

So it is important for those who are professedly Christians to understand the essence of worship. But it must be stated that we are considering only public worship, and not private worship, which includes prayer and Bible-reading. Such does lie at the root of personal Christianity, and in fact, without these private religious activities, public worship is really of little use. But it is solely public worship which is the subject here.

To read the entire reprint, click here.

Reform plans Religious Society as 'Model to Wider Church'

Reform members have voted to back the creation of a religious society within the Church of England for conservative evangelicals who want to promote the church’s mission but are opposed to the consecration of women as bishops.

Speaking at the network’s annual conference yesterday, attended by over 170 members, Revd Rod Thomas, the Reform chairman, said: “This is a very positive move not just for us, but for the wider church. The creation of a society can both provide a model of how the church can change to become more focused on mission, not maintenance, and a way forward through the dilemma it faces over women bishops.

“Reform members are involved in innovative ways of reaching into local communities with the good news of Jesus Christ. Many are in churches with a good number of younger men and women being trained for future gospel work. We have a mission-focus which brings health and life that is good for the wider church, and a religious society would enable us to continue that focus.

“In light of the recent results of elections to General Synod, our proposal takes on even greater weight,” he added.

To read more, click here.