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uniformity, and which is strictly in accordance with what we have seen to be the Catholic idea from the beginning : i. e., “to the intent that every person within this Realm may certainly know the rule to which he is to conform in public worship and the administration of the Sacraments."
Thus the Anglican Revision of the Ritual accepted and applied the principle which had always been regarded as the fundamental basis of all Ritual Law wherever there had been a Ritual. It did not impose any "shackles"
upon Clergy. No Priest in the unreformed Anglican Church would have claimed any liberty to add to or modify her Ritual according to his will. The reformed church nsed her influence both in these lawless times, and in the Puritan revolt in later days, to have the statutes of the Realm embody and enforce the principle of Ritual which was as universal and almost as ancient as the Church's being. But it was not in the statutes of the Parliament alone, that this obligation was recognized. The Canons of the Convocation in 1603 were the work of the Church and the Courch only, and were never passed in Parliament. Hence whatever may be said of the Acts of Uniformity as being only the action of the State, there can be no such objection to the Canons of 1603, which by the universal judgment of both lawyers and ecclesiastics bind the Church and clergy, even although not obligatory on the laity. And among these, Canon XIV. directs, "All ministers shall observe the orders, rites and ceremonies prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer withont either DIMINISHING
in any respect
or ADDING anything in the matter or form thereof." And thus the Church by her own sole and unquestioned action repeats the old and correct principle in all its fulness, and inakes it authoritatively binding on all her clergy. “They must not use any other rite or manner;" they must not “diminish aught from that which was appointed;" they must not “add anything in either the matter or the form thereof” to what is commanded.
A claim, however, is still made by some that there is
somehow and somewhere a certain right to use some portions of the old Sarum or others of the ante-Reformation Liturgies of the English Church. It has been maintained that “Some of the prescribed Ritual of the Sarum use was qmitted at the Reformation, bnt whatever was not specifically and by name rejected remained a part of the Church's lawful inheritance.” It is true that such acts and accompaniments of the Catholic usages as bad come down by Common Law, passed on, like all other matters of Common Law, without any break or change, and are still continued in the service, where they never have been interrupted nor even questioned. But it was not so with the definite and appointed words and usages which were “not retained ”in the revision, and had not "continued in unbroken use" as portions of the Church's Common Law. For as some of the ministers who still held to their allegiance to the Pope as paramount to the authority of the Church of England, endeavored surreptitiously to continue parts of the old services which had not been “retained ” in the Revised Liturgy, the English Church expressed her intention in this matter most unmistakably by having a Statute passed in 1550 which commanded :
“ That, Since the Common Prayer had been set forth
corrupt, untrue, vain and superstitious services should be disused, and THEREFORE, (mark the application of this premise), ALL books called Antiphoners, Grailes, Missals, Manuals, Legends, Aves, Portuasses, Primers in Latin or English, Couchers, Journals, Ordinals, or OTHER BOOKS or writings heretofore used for the service of the Church (other than such as are or shall he set forth by the King's Majesty), shall be by the present act clearly and utterly abolished and forbidden to be used in this Realm."
This does not really say any more than was implied in the very fact of an authoritative revision for the purpose that " the whole Realm should have but one use," as the Canon of 1603 explicitly affirmed. But it was worded thus exhaustively that there might be no room to question what was the intention of the Church, and that she did prohibit “specifically and by name " every part and act of
the Sarum and all other earlier Rituals whatever which had been “cut away and clean rejected” by their omission from the appointed words and acts of the revised Liturgy.
There can be no doubt that such was the mind and purpose of the Church of England at the time of the Revision of the Ritual in 1549; and as little, that it continued to be the uniform and accepted principle of that Church at the time when the organization of the Church in the United States was effected. Along with the doctrine of the Apostolic Succession, it occnpied the position of a fundamental axiom in the Church of England, and with the fathers and organizers of the American branch of the Church. It was the boast, and was thought to be the safeguard of the Church, that her teaching by the Ritual was and should continue to be UNIFORM. It was the standing taunt of the Puritan that his minister was not bound to any settled rite or form, but had that liberty of worship which would allow him to impress his own thoughts on the service and sacraments, as well as in the preaching of the Gospel.
With the Church feeling, such as we have expressed, held at that time as the admitted doctrine of the Church of England, it wonld require clear and emphatic evidence to show that the precisely opposite idea had been“ deliberately adopted at the organization of the American Church after the Revolutionary War," and that the Church in the United States intended to introduce an "entire liberty of Ritual"
a strikingly distinctive feature in the American Church.” This very claim is an admission that such liberty had no support in Catholic precedents. While so far is it from being true that such was the action or the intention of the American Churchmen, the very opposite was the case. If any historic fact can be considered certain, it is that the framers of our Liturgy "did not intend to depart from the Church of England in any essential point of doctrine, discipline or worship, or further than local circumstances reqnire.” This is their solemn assertion in the Preface of the Prayer Book, which was established and set forth"
a part of our Book of Common Prayer; and is to be regarded as the authoritative announcement by the American Church of the causes that led to our revision of the English offices, and of the principles on which our services were all prepared. And certainly no point of discipline and worship was considered more essential in the Church of England at that time, and continuously for two hundred years before, than the obligation of the officiating minister to perform the Ritual as the Church had appointed it; “ Neither diminishing in aught nor adding anything in the matter or the form thereof." What is thus apparent from the general relation of the American Churchmen to the Church of England at this period, is abundantly confirmed by the memoirs and correspondence of all the prominent actors in that great work whose writings or opinions have been preserved to us, so far as I have ever known them, or seen them quoted. And it is also established in the clearest manner by the forms and requirements of both the Prayer Book and the Constitution of the Church, as these have been adopted by the Church in the United States.
The language of the title page adopted and set forth as descriptive of the character of the Prayer Book was identical with that of the English Book, which we have seen to be expressive of the purpose that the whole Realm was to have but one form, and that was to be “according to the use of the Church of England.” So, too, our own, is "According to THE USE of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America ;” and was meant to express the same intention. The Book itself was established and set forth " under an Article (8) in a Constitution formed before the Prayer Book was prepared, and which ordained that it “Shall be used in the Protestant Episcopal Church in those States which have adopted" this Constitution; while in another Article (7) it commands that “No person shall be ordained until he have subscribed a declaration that, 'I do solemnly engage to conform to the doctrines and worship of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States.?" And, that there may be no mistake in both the obligation to conform, and the rule to which he must conform, the candidate for Priesthood must promise, before he receive the power to perform her "established" offices, that “ by the help of the Lord,” he will “ALWAYS so minister the doctrine and sacraments of Christ as the Lord hath commanded, and as This Church hath received the same." Here again is the same langnage as that of the Church of England, the manifest design of which was, as we have shown from the very language of the act imposing them “that every person in this Realm may certainly know the RULES to which he is to conform in
the administration of the sacraments and other rites and ceremonies of the Church."
There is no implication, even, in these, nor so far as any one has shown, in any other provision of the Prayer Book of the American Church, that the principle of Ritual liberty was adopted by the fathers of the Church in the United States. Their legislation was not hasty, nor without due consideration. For full five years, from 1784 to 1789, there were repeated Conventions and continual correspondence between the men who were most influential in giving the Prayer Book the form it finally received, and in these every portion and provision of the Ritual was most anxiously considered and discussed. I am sure no person reading either the correspondence or the stages of the public work could find in these the evidence that our Church has given or designed to give its individual ministers any liberty of Ritual other than the Church Catholic has always given, and the Church of England had most unequivocally affirmed, that is, the right and duty to perform the Ritual of the Church just as the Church in which he held his orders had commanded; omitting nothing; changing nothing ; nor adding anything thereto, in either form or matter.
Canon 22, Title I. of the general Canon is the reaffirmation by the American Church of the same Catholic principles of Liturgical obligations, and both of its Sections involve precisely the same relations of the officiating priest to the services, viz. :