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to repair to their Parish Churches or Chappels where they inhabit for the hearing of Divine Service established, and receiving of the holy Communion, according to Law.
And we do also further decree and ordain, That the Clause contained in the Canon now made by this Synod against the Books of Socinianism, shall also extend to the Makers, Importers, Printers and Publishers, or Dispersers of any Book, Writing, or scandalous Pamphlet devised against the Discipline and Government of the Church of England, and unto the maintainers and Abettors of any Opinion or Doctrine against the same.
And further, because there are sprung up among us a sort of factious people, Despisers and Depravers of the Book of Common-Prayer, who do not according to the Law resort to their Parish-Church or Chappel to joyn in Publick Prayers, Service and Worship of God with the Congregation, contenting themselves with the hearing of Sermons only, thinking thereby to avoid the penalties due to such as wholly absent themselves from the Church. We therefore for the restraint of all such wilful contemners or neglecters of the Service of God, ordain, That the Church or Chappel-Wardens, and Questmen, or Sidemen of every Parish, shall be careful to enquire out all such disaffected persons, and shall present the names of all such Delinquents at all Visitations of Bishops, and other Ordinaries; And that the same proceedings and penalties mentioned in the Canon aforesaid respectively, shall be used against them as against other Recusants, unless within one whole month after they are first denounced, they shall make acknowledgment and reformation of that their fault. Provided always, that this Canon shall not derogate from any other Canon, Law or Statute in that behalf provided against those Sectaries.
VI. An Oath enjoyn'd for the preventing of all Innovations in Doctrine and Government.
THIS present Synod (being desirous to declare their sincerity and constancy in the profession of the Doctrine and Discipline already established in the Church of England, and to secure all men against any suspition of revolt to Popery, or any other superstition) decrees, That all Archbishops and Bishops, and all other Priests and Deacons in places exempt or not exempt, shall before the second day of No
vember next ensuing, take this Oath following against all Innovation of Doctrine or Discipline, and this Oath shall be tendred them, and every of them, and all others named after in this Canon, by the Bishop in person, or his Chancellour, or some grave Divines named and appointed by the Bishop under the Seal; and the said Oath shall be taken in the presence of a publick Notary, who is hereby required to make an Act of it, leaving the Universities to the Provision which follows.
The Oath is,
I A. B. do swear, That I do approve the Doctrine and Discipline or Government established in the Church of England, as containing all things necessary to salvation: And that I will not endeavor by my self or any other, directly or indirectly, to bring in any Popish Doctrine, contrary to that which is so established: nor will I ever give my consent to alter the Government of this Church, by Archbishops, Bishops, Deans, and Archdeacons, &c. as it stands now established, and as by right it ought to stand, nor yet ever to subject it to the usurpations and superstitions of the See of Rome. And all these things I do plainly and sincerely acknowledge and swear, according to the plain and common sence and understanding of the same words, without any equivocation, or mental evasion, or secret reservation whatsoever. And this I do heartily, willingly, and truly, upon the faith of a Christian. So help me God in Jesus Christ.
And if any man Beneficed or Dignified in the Church of England, or any other Ecclesiastical person, shall refuse to take this Oath, the Bishop shall give him a months time to inform himself; and at the months end, if he refuse to take it, he shall be suspended ab officio, and have a second month granted and if he then refuse to take it, he shall be suspended ab officio & beneficio, and have a third month granted him for his better information; but if at the end of that month he refuse to take the Oath above-named, he shall by the Bishop be deprived of all his Ecclesiastical Promotions whatsoever, and execution of his function which he holds in the Church of England.
We likewise Constitute and Ordain, That all Masters of Arts, (the sons of Noble-men only excepted) all Batchelors and Doctors in Divinity, Law or Physick, all that are licensed to practice Physick, all Registers, Actuaries and Proctors, all School-masters, all such as being
Natives or naturalized, do come to be incorporated into the Universities here, having taken a Degree in any foreign University, shall be bound to take the said Oath. And we command all Governors of Colledges and Halls in either of the Universities, that they administer the said Oath to all persons resident in their several Houses that have taken the Degrees before-mentioned in this Canon, within six months after the publication hereof.
And we likewise Constitute, That all Bishops shall be bound to give the said Oath unto all those to whom they give holy Orders at the time of their Ordination, or to whomsoever they give Collation, Institution or License, to Preach, or serve any Cure.
VII. A Declaration concerning some Rites and Ceremonies. BECAUSE it is generally to be wished, that unity of Faith were accompanied with uniformity of practice, in the outward worship and service of God; chiefly for the avoiding of groundless suspitions of those who are weak, and the malitious aspersions of the professed Enemies of our Religion; the one fearing the Innovations, the other flattering themselves with the vain hope of our backslidings unto their Popish superstition, by reason of the situation of the CommunionTable, and the approaches thereunto, the Synod declareth as followeth :
That the standing of the Communion-Table side-way under the East-window of every Chancel or Chappel, is in its own nature indifferent, neither commanded nor condemned by the Word of God, either expressly, or by immediate deduction, and therefore that no Religion is to be placed therein, or scruple to be made thereon. And albeit at the time of Reforming this Church from that gross superstition of Popery, it was carefully provided that all means should be used to root out of the minds of the people, both the inclination thereunto, and memory thereof; especially of the Idolatry committed in the Mass, for which cause all Popish Altars were demolished; yet notwithstanding it was then ordered by the Injunctions and Advertisements of Queen Elizabeth of blessed memory, that the holy Tables should stand in the place where the Altars stood, and accordingly have been continued in the Royal Chappels of three famous and pious Princes, and in most Cathedral, and some Parochial Churches,
which doth sufficiently acquit the manner of placing the said Tables from any allegality, or just suspition of Popish superstition or innovation. And therefore we judge it fit and convenient, that all Churches and Chappels do conform themselves in this particular to the example of the Cathedral or Mother Churches, saving always the general liberty left to the Bishop by Law, during the time of Administration of the holy Communion. And we declare that this scituation of the holy Table, doth not imply that it is, or ought to be esteemed a true and proper Altar, whereon Christ is again really sacrificed but it is, and may be called an Altar by us, in that sence in which the Primitive Church called it an Altar, and in no other.
And because experience hath shewed us, how irreverent the behaviour of many people is in many places, some leaning, others casting their hats, and some sitting upon, some standing, and others sitting under the Communion-Table in time of Divine Service: for the avoiding of these and the like abuses, it is thought meet and convenient by this present Synod, that the said Communion-Tables in all Chancells or Chappels be decently severed with Rails, to preserve them from such or worse profanations.
And because the Administration of holy things is to be performed with all possible decency and reverence, therefore we judge it fit and convenient, according to the word of the Service-Book established by Act of Parliament, Draw near, &c. that all Communicants with all humble reverence shall draw near and approach to the holy Table, there to receive the Divine Mysteries, which have heretofore in some places been unfitly carried up and down by the Minister, unless it shall be otherwise appointed in respect of the incapacity of the place, or other inconvenience, by the Bishop himself in his jurisdiction, and other Ordinaries respectively in theirs.
And lastly, Whereas the Church is the house of God, dedicated to his holy Worship, and therefore ought to mind us, both of the greatness and goodness of his Divine Majesty, certain it is that the acknowledgment thereof, not only inwardly in our hearts, but also outwardly with our bodies, must needs be pious in itself, profitable unto us, and edifying unto others. We therefore think it very meet and behoveful, and heartily commend it to all good and well-affected people, members of this Church, that they be ready to tender unto the Lord the said acknowledgment, by doing reverence and obeysance, both at their
coming in, and going out of the said Churches, Chancels or Chappels, according to the most ancient custom of the primitive Church in the purest times, and of this Church also for many years of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth. The reviving therefore of this ancient and laudable Custom, we heartily commend to the serious consideration of all good people, not with any intention to exhibit any Religious Worship to the Communion-Table, the East, or Church, or any thing therein contained in so doing, or to perform the said gesture in the celebration of the holy Eucharist, upon any opinion of a corporal presence of the body of Jesus Christ on the holy Table, or in mystical Elements, but only for the advancement of Gods Majesty, and to give him alone that honor and glory that is due unto him, and no otherwise; and in the practise or omission of this Rite, we desire that the Rule of Charity prescribed by the Apostle, may be observed, which is, That they which use this Rite, despise not them who use it not; and that they who use it not, condemn not those that use it.
VIII. Of Preaching for Conformity.
WHEREAS the Preaching of Order and Decency, according to St. Pauls Rule, doth conduce to edification; it is required, that all Preachers, (as well Beneficed men as others) shall positively and plainly Preach and Instruct the People in their publick Sermons twice in the year at least, that the Rites and Ceremonies now established in the Church of England, are lawful and commendable; and that they the said people and others ought to conform themselves in their practice to all the said Rites and Ceremonies; and that the people and others ought willingly to submit themselves unto the Authority and Government of the Church, as it is now established under the Kings Majesty. And if any Preacher shall refuse or neglect to do according to this Canon, let him be suspended by his Ordinary during the time of his refusal, or wilful forbearance to do thereafter.
IX. One Book of Articles of Enquiry to be used at all Parochial Visitations.
FOR the better setling of an Uniformity in the outward Government and Administration of the Church, and for the more preventing of just grievances which may be laid upon Church-wardens and other Sworn