« PreviousContinue »
cause of the Reformation. In a letter addressed to such as had received this license, it is stated, "that the King had thought good to inhibit all manner of preachers who have not such license to preach, or stir the people in open or common preachings of sermons, by any means, that the devout and godly Homilies might the better in the meanwhile sink into his subjects' hearts, and be learned the sooner."
In a few months, however, a proclamation® was issued for the inhibition of all preachers, on the ground that many, so licensed as we have stated above, "had abused the authority of preaching, and behaved themselves irreverently, and without good order in the said preachings. Wherefore His Highness, minding to see very shortly one uniform order throughout this his realm, and to put an end to all controversies in religion, so far as God should give grace, (for which cause at this time certain Bishops and notable learned men, by His Highness' commandment, are congregate,) hath thought good, although certain and many of the said preachers, so before licensed, have behaved themselves very dis
d Burnet's Hist. Ref. part II. book i. App. No. 24.
*Fuller's Ch. Hist. lib. vii, p. 388. &c. Wilkins's Concilia, vol. iv.
creetly and wisely, and to the honour of God, and to His Highness' contentation; yet at this present, and until such time as the said order shall be set forth generally, throughout His Majesty's realm, to inhibit, and by these presents do inhibit generally, as well the said preachers so before licensed, as all manner of persons whosoever they be, to preach in open audience, in the pulpit or otherwise, by any sought colour or fraud, to the disobeying of this commandment, to the intent that the whole clergy in this mean space might apply themselves to prayer to Almighty God for the better achieving of the same most godly intent and purpose, not doubting but that also his loving subjects in the meantime will occupy themselves to God's honour, with due prayer in the church, and patient hearing of the godly Homilies, heretofore set forth by His Highness' injunctions to them; and so endeavour themselves that they may be the more ready with thankful obedience to receive a most quiet, godly, and uniform order, to be had throughout all his said realms and dominions."..
We see then that the framing of the Articles had a particular reference to pulpit instruction; that all preaching was suspended till they were prepared; that the object in
tended by them was to establish " one uniform order," and "to take away all controversies in religion." The same intent is fully recognized in the declaration prefixed to the Articles as we now have them.
The important use to which the Homilies were assigned in the period above alluded to, is a sufficient recognition of their agreement with the principles and doctrines of the Reformation, and of the propriety of their being considered one of the sources of an illustration of the Articles.
With respect to Nowell's Catechism, its authority for the purpose to which it also is here employed rests, if not on the recorded sanction of Convocation, yet on the circumstance of its having been enjoined as an authorized Catechism of instruction, to be used by all schoolmasters exclusively.
The history of this work is as follows. Near the end of the reign of Edward VI. a Catechism had been published by authority, supposed to have been composed by Poinet, Bishop of Winchester. Previously to the
The translation used is the one made by T. Norton, and printed by John Day, cum privilegio Regiæ Majestatis per Decennium An. 1571; but the references are to the pages of a Latin edition by the present Editor.
See Archdeacon Churton's interesting Life of Dean Nowell, sect. vii. and also Strype's Annals of the Reformation, p. 313.
Convocation of 1562, at the suggestion of Secretary Cecil, Nowell undertook a similar work on a larger scale, making much use however of the one just mentioned.
In the minutes of this Convocation, as quoted by Strype, is the following passage": First, a Catechism is to be set forth in Latin : which is already done by Mr. Dean of Paul's, and wanteth only viewing. Secondly, certain Articles, containing the principal grounds of Christian religion, are to be set forth—much like to such Articles as were set forth a little before the death of King Edward. Of which Articles the most part may be used, with addition and correction, as shall be thought convenient. Thirdly, to these also may be adjoined the Apology (of Bishop Jewell), lately set forth, after it hath been once again revised, and so augmented or corrected as occasion serveth. These to be joined in one book, and by common consent to be authorized, as containing true doctrine, and enjoined to be taught to the youth in the Universities and Grammar Schools throughout the realm." To which the Archbishop added, "and in Cathedral Churches and Collegiate, and in Private Houses." So much, as Archdeacon Churton
Strype's Annals of the Reformation, vol. i. p. 317.
observes, had he at heart the advancement of true religion, and so much did he approve of those means of advancing it.
In what manner the Convocation gave their sanction to this Catechism and Apology, does not appear by any public document; but in a letter written by the Dean to the Secretary, dated June, 1563, a little after the rising of the Synod, there is the following statement: "Whereas the copy of the Catechism, which he caused to be written out for his Honour, came to the hands of the Bishops and Clergy assembled in the late Convocation; and by reason that certain places were by their judgments altered, and that it was interlined, and somewhat blotted, he had caused it to be copied out again; and had sent it him now, not in his own name as afore, but in the name of the Clergy of the Convocation, as their book, seeing it was by them APPROVED and ALLOWED. That he would have sent it sooner, but that he thought his Honour to be occupied with certain most weighty public affairs ;which seeing they did not so speedily as he trusted draw toward an end, but continued and augmented still, he thought it meet that the copy of the book, at the beginning appointed and dedicated to his Honour, should remain with the same; that when opportunity