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nearly gained, if the original manuscript, or even an authentic copy of those articles can be produced.
There are five known manuscript copies of the Articles extant, in which the negative clause is prefixed to the twentieth article.-One, in the library of Bishop Cozens, at Durham, two in St. John's library, Cambridge, -one, in the public library, Cambridge,--and one, in the library of the Rector of Deptford, Kent.
On the other hand,—the negative clause is not inserted, in the manuscript, which was bequeathed by Archbishop Parker to Bennet College, in Cambridge, and which is now in the library of that College ; and it has been strenuously and acutely contended, that this manuscript is the authentic instrument, or, as it has been sometimes termed, the Record of the Articles, as they were produced and agreed to by the Convocation. In the writer's opinion, this manuscript has a better claim than any other manuscript, or any printed document, to express the text of the articles, as it was settled by the Convocation ; but cannot be the manuscript adopted by the Convocation.
It is signed with particular care by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and by almost all the Bishops of his province; by the “ Archbishop of York, and the Bishops of Durham and Chester, his suffragans; and by the whole lower house of Convocation. It has many alterations and erasures; at the end, there is mention not only of the number of pages, but of the number of lines in each page. In the memorandum of the signatures it is called the autograph, and is said to be in the custody of Archbishop Parker. These circumstances certainly give it great authority; the point to be ascertained, is what is the exact degree of authority, to which they entitle it. .
Now, when an important instrument is to be signed, and' formally presented to the public, or to a public body, it often happens,-particularly if the parties interested are numerous, and known to entertain different views of its subject,—that a meeting is called; that a draught of the instrument is produced, and read, clause by clause ; that numerous alterations are made in it, so as to render it unfit for presentation; and that a fair
copy for presentation is directed to be made : but that, in order to authenticate the tenor of what has been agreed to, the draught is signed and deposited with some respectable person for safe custody.
The writer suggests it to be very probable, that something of this nature took place in respect to the Thirty-nine Articles. The difference of opinion, on the subject of many of them, made it advisable, that, before they were discussed in convocation, the terms should be generally settled. For this purpose a draught would be prepared :- and may not the manuscript in Bennet College be this draught? This, all the circumstances of the draught render very probable.
But two circumstances absolutely negative the notion of its being any instrument or process of the Convocation. The first is, the mention of the pages in the subscription :-It is unknown and altogether inconceivable, that any respectable public body should have recourse to such a precaution in any of their records or solemn proceedings. The second is, the subscription of the Archbishop of York and his suffragans. The clergy of each province had its separate Convocation. It was the Convocation of the province of Canterbury, that was convened on this occasion :-Now the Archbishop of York, or his suffragans, could not concur in any Convocational act of the province of Canterbury, or subscribe any instruments of that province. Besides, -if we suppose it to be a convocational record, or a convocational transcript, it would have been deposited in the archives of the convocation, and not placed in the custody of the Archbishop.
It follows, therefore, that the manuscript in question is not a convocational record, or even a convocational transcript.
Still it is allowable to cite it as strong evidence of the text of the record. In all courts of judicature, it is a received rule of evidence, that, where the highest degree of evidence cannot be produced, the want of it may be supplied by the next degree that can be procured. Thus, when a deed has been burnt, the want of the original may be supplied by a copy, or even by a draught. Those who contend against such secondary evidence, are at liberty to disprove it, by any circumstance which detracts ment. It is there styled, “ the Book of Common Prayer, and administration of the Sacraments and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the church of England, together with the Psalter or Psalms of David, as they are to be sung and said in churches, and the form and mander of making, ordaining and consecrating of Bishops, Priests and Deacons.”
from its value: but, speaking generally, when it cannot be dis· proved, the next degree of evidence is always allowed to supply the want of the first, when that cannot be obtained.
To a high degree in this secondary class of evidence, the Bennett College manuscript appears to be entitled. How far its value is lessened or encreased by the various other circumstances which accompany the case, is beside the present enquiry: -the writer conceives, that, (each of them standing singly,) no other copy printed or manuscript has yet been produced, which can be put into competition with it.
The Book of Common Prayer.
That' the Jews had set forms of prayer, and used them in their synagogues, has been satisfactorily shewn by Doctor Lightfoot : that the earliest Christians joined in the use of the Lord's Prayer and the Psalms, appears from several passages in the Acts of the Apostles and the Apostolic Epistles : that, at an early period of christianity, Liturgies were in use, may be justly inferred from those ascribed to St. Peter, St. Mark, and St. James, which Mr. Wheately in a work of real learning,-his Rational Illustration of the Common Prayer, (Introduction, p. 13), says “ are doubtless of great antiquity.” In the course of time, there was a variety of liturgies. In England, those of York, Sarum and Bangor, were particularly distinguished.
Those of the middle ages generally consisted of the Missal, and - the Breviary. The former contained the service of the Mass;
the latter, those Forms of Prayer, consisting of Psalms, Hymns, and Lessons, which there was an obligation on the clergy to recite daily; and part of which was solemnly sung in the churches, every Sunday, and principal holyday, for the edification of the Laity.
The Liturgy soon attracted the notice of the Reformers. In
1537, a book was published, called The Godly and Pious instruction of a Christian Man. It contained in the English language, a declaration of the Lord's Prayer, the Hail Mary, the Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the Seven Sacraments. With some variations, it was re-published in 1540 and 1543, under the title of A necessary doctrine and erudition for any Christian Man. In 1545, the King's Primer was published, containing, among other things, the Lord's Prayer, Creed, Ten Commandments, Venite Exultemus, Te Deum and several Hymns and Collects.
Soon after the accession of Edward the Sixth, a committee of Divines was appointed to reform the Liturgy. They drew up offices for Sundays and Holidays; for Baptism, Confirmation and Matrimony; Burial of the Dead, and other special occasions ; and formed them into one book. It was published by the common agreenient and full assent of the parliament and convocations. In 1548, it was confirmed by an act of parliament, and declared “ to have been composed by the aid of the Holy Ghost.” Exceptions, however, were made to some passages. These were altered by Archbishop Cranmer, with the assistance of Martyn Bucer, and Peter Martyr, whom he had invited to England from Germany. Thus revised and altered, the book was confirmed by parliament, in 1551. Both acts were repealed in the first year of the reign of Queen Mary
At the accession of Queen Elizabeth, it was debated, which of the two books should be adopted. It was decided in favour of the latter, and by the act of uniformity, passed in the second year of her reign, the latter received, with some variation, the sanction of parliament.
Alterations were made in it, in the first year of James the First, in consequence of some things which had been said of it, at the conference at Hampton Court.
Immediately after the Restoration it was solemnly reviewed; some alterations were made, and the liturgy was brought to its present state. It was unanimously subscribed by the houses of convocation of both provinces, in December 1661. In the following March, an act of parliament was passed for its legal establish
The Thirty-nine Articles, and Book of Common Prayer, are. the only symbolic books of the Church of England. Next to them in authority are the Homilies. These are held in so much consideration, that 'recourse is sometimes had to them, to determine the sense of passages in the articles which have been thought dubious.
“ They are,” says Mr. Wheatley in his Rational Illustration of the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England, “two books of plain sermons, (for so the word signifies), set out by public authority; one whereof is to be read on every Sunday and Holiday when there is no sermon. The first volume of them was set out in the beginning of Edward the Sixth's reign, having been composed, (as it is thought) by Archbishop Cranmer, bishop Ridley and Latimer, at the beginning of the Refore mation, when a competent number of ministers of sufficient abilities to preach to a congregation was not to be found. The second volume was set out in Queen Elizabeth's reign."