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I.-- British Museum, C. 25, f. 16 (title-page). II.-
(fol. B. i, verso). III.
C. 25, f. 12 (title-page). V.
(fol. B. i, verso). VI.
» (colophon). VII.--Durham, University Library, xvii, E. 19 (title-page). VIII.
(fol. B. i, verso). IX.
(colophon). X.-Durham, Cosin Library, F V, 2 (fol. B. i, verso). XI.-Bodleian Library, Arch. Bodl., A. I, 57 (title-page). XII.
(fol. A. vi, verso).
The appearance of the Order of the Communion in March, 1548, had been preceded by the passing, in December, 1547, of an Act of Parliament, in which provisions of very different kinds are curiously linked together. The first portion of the Act, after a prelude on the virtuous intentions of the king and his desire to govern his subjects by methods of clemency, indicates that some bridle of fear” is necessary for certain persons, described
men most contentious and arrogant for the most part or else most blind and ignorant,” by whom “ things well and godly instituted” are “ perverted and abused,” and that this tendency is especially apparent “in matters of religion and in the great and high mysteries thereof, as in the most comfortable Sacrament of the Body and Blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ, commonly called the Sacrament of the Altar, and in Scripture, the Supper and Table of the Lord, the communion and partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ." It proceeds, after a statement as to the institution of the Eucharist, to declare that the Sacrament has been “of late marvellously abused " by
unreverent and ungodly” disputations and reasonings, and by "such vile and unseemly words as Christian ears do abhor to hear rehearsed.” It therefore enacts that any persons who after the first day of May, 1548, shall by words or otherwise deprave, contemn, despise or revile the Sacrament shall suffer fine and iinprisonment at the King's pleasure, and directs the mode of proceeding against offenders.?
1 The statute i Edw. VI. cap. 1. It is printed in Gee and Hardy, Documents illustrative of the History of the English Church, 1896, p. 322.
2 The effect of this may seem at first sight to be the giving of full liberty of speech to the revilers for four months or more. But this was probably not intended ; and the gap was filled within a few days after the passing of the Act by a proclamation, forbidding irreverent and indecent discussions as to the Sacrament, and the use
The second portion of the Act declares that it is more agreeable to the first institution of the Sacrament, and to the common use and practice of the Apostles and the primitive Church, that the Sacrament “should be ministered to all Christian people under both the kinds of bread and wine than under the form of bread only”; and “that the people being present should receive the same with the priest than that the priest should receive it alone."1 It therefore enacts that the Sacrament shall "be hereafter commonly delivered and ministered unto the people within the Church of England and Ireland, and other the King's dominions, under both the kinds, that is to say, of bread and wine, except necessity otherwise require"; that the priest shall, at least one day before he ministers the Sacrament, exhort those who are present to prepare themselves to receive it; and that on the day appointed, “after a godly exhortation by the minister made,” declaring the benefits of receiving worthily and the peril of receiving unworthily, "to the end that every man shall try and examine his own
conscience before he shall receive the same,” the minister “shall not, without lawful cause, deny the same to any person that will devoutly and humbly desire it."
It is not always easy to trace in the Parliamentary Journals of the time the exact steps by which particular measures passed into law. But there can be little doubt that this Act was the result of a combination of bills, of which one was intended to repress the growing irreverence towards the Sacrament, the other to provide for the administration of the Sacrament to the lay people "under both the kinds." The Parliament met on
of irreverent language concerning it (examples being cited in unnecessary quantity), under severe though unspecified penalties. (Wilkins, Concilia, vol. iv, p. 18.) This was doubtless meant to supply the necessary“ bridle of fear” for the time. By the proclamation preachers were prohibited from using, on the subject of the Sacrament, till a further definition of doctrine should be made, any terms not employed in Scripture.
1 It may be noted that the practice of “five hundred years and more after Christ's ascension " is alleged for ministration in both kinds ; no precise period is assigned for the duration of the other primitive usage.
November 4th, 1547. The Journals of the Lords show that a bill “ for the Sacrament of the Altar” was read in that House on November 12th, again on November - 15th, and twice on November 17th. On November 26th, a bill "for the receiving of the Sacrament sub utraque specie” was read and delivered to the Chancellor, Lord Rich. On December 3rd, a bill "pro Sacramento” was read and committed to the Protector. The committing of the bills seems to have been utilised for their combination, which may perhaps have been the purpose for which they were committed.
On December 5th, a bill "pro Sacramento Corporis et Sanguinis Christi” was read in the Lords, and committed to two judges, Marvin and Portman. This was probably the bill resulting from the combination of the two measures, and the same which was read on December 7th, when it is described as a bill“ pru sacrosancto Sacramento Altaris.” On December 1oth it appears again, as a bill “pro sacrosancto Sacramento Corporis et Sanguinis Christi”: it was then read and approved “communi omnium procerum assensu," with five dissentients. These were the Bishops of London (Bonner), Norwich (Rugg), Hereford (Skip), Worcester (Heath), and Chichester (Day). Cranmer and nine other Bishops who were present appear to have assented to the passing of the bill. In the Commons its progress was rapid : it was read a first time on the same day on which it was passed by the Peers ; the second reading followed on December 13th, and the third on December 14th. On December 17th it appears once more in the Journal of the Lords, where it is recorded that a provision to be annexed to the bill was sent to the Commons, "the which the Commons would not receive, because the Lords had not given their consent to the same.” On the same day
1 These were the Bishops of Durham (Tunstall), Ely (Goodrich), Salisbury (Salcot), St. David's (Barlow), St. Asaph (Parfew, otherwise Wharton), Carlisle (Aldrich), Bristol (Bush), Lincoln (Holbeach), and Rochester (Ridley).
2 There is nothing to show the nature of this provision. The part of the bill relating to communion in both kinds appears to have received no addition or alteration after it was engrossed.
the bill was read once more in the Commons, and passed by them.
The Convocation of Canterbury met on November 5th, the day after the meeting of Parliament. After the election of the Prolocutor, the Lower House, on November 22nd, agreed upon four petitions, which were presented to the Upper House, but to which, apparently, no answer was ever returned. One of these petitions was that the clergy of the Lower House, according to the ancient customs of the realm and the tenor of the King's writ for the summoning of Parliament,' might be "adjoined and associated " with the House of Commons, or else that statutes and ordinances concerning matters of religion and ecclesiastical causes might not be passed without their “sight and assent.” On November 30th, while the Lower House was still awaiting an answer to its petitions, the Prolocutor brought forward, in a session which is said to have been "anticipated," a document described as "the form of an ordinance," which he stated that he had received from the Archbishop, as to communion under both kinds. He himself and fifteen other members, out of fifty-eight who were present, signed the document in question. On December 2nd (probably the day to which an adjournment had been made on November 25th) the proposal made in the "anticipated” session was approved viva voce by all who were present, without expression of dissent.?
It is uncertain what the forma cuiusdam ordinationis" may have been which was produced on November 30th, and received a somewhat irregular assent on December 2nd. But it may be conjectured that it was a draft or summary of the bill which had been introduced in the House of Lords on November 26th, to which an objection may have been raised on the ground that the Convocation had had no opportunity of expressing an opinion
1 The reserence is to the clause “ Praemunientes” in the writ by which the Bishops were summoned to Parliament.
2 The methods of assent by subscription which had been applied on November 30th and was afterwards employed in a later session in the expression of an opinion on the marriage of priests was apparently abandoned in this session.