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Premising thus much, we are bound to regard the Editions of the Primers set out in the above Table as having that full Ecclesiastical Sanction which is conveyed, in the Title-Page of the First and of subsequent Editions, by the words "set forth by the King's Majesty and his Clergy."
Further, as Cranmer was Archbishop of Canterbury, and the leading Prelate during the six years which produced the Editions comprised in the first fourteen copies mentioned in the above List, it must in all fairness be assumed (in the absence of any proof to the contrary) that he concurred in their publication. It can hardly be doubted that he was a party to the first Edition in 1545, when it is remembered. that as Strype informs us in writing of that year-(Cranmer Bk. I. c. 30.) Henry 8th "had of late appointed some other of his chaplains and learned men," "with the Archbishop, to peruse certain books of Service, delivered by the King to them, wherein there were many superstitions fit to be amended. Which the Archbishop, in the name of the rest, at this time acquainted the King with ..." For, though it is true that the Primer could not strictly, perhaps, be included among these "Books of Service," the fact that it appeared in a reformed shape in June, 1545, is a very strong indication that the Archbishop had to examine this among the other Books.
We have already seen (p. 160 and 263) that the Archbishop had abandoned Transubstantiation long before this time; and therefore if, as I have argued, he authorized the Primer of 1545, he could not have used the phrase, "didst consecrate thy blessed body and blood under the fourme of bred and wyne," as being (in Mr. Goode's words) " peculiar to those who held the Doctrine of Transubstantiation, and maintained that the forms or appearances only of bread and wine remained in the consecrated elements."-Goode on the Eucharist, Vol. i., p. 43.
But it may fairly enough be replied-that as Cranmer confesses himself to have been, apparently about this time, "in that error of the real presence, as I was many years past in divers other errors, as of transubstantiation," etc. (See p. 155, Note, and compare Foxe's account on p. 84), therefore
the Phrase which he sanctioned in Henry's Primer cannot be regarded as a suitable formula for the Church of England's present Doctrine; for that, whatever may now be her real belief as to the Presence, she certainly does not hold that "Corporal Presence of Christ's natural Flesh and Blood," which Cranmer is supposed to refer to in the above confession. (See also Strype's Cranmer, Bk. I., c. xviii.) Granting, however, for argument's sake, that Bishop Ridley, by means of Bertram's Book, had not then brought off the Archbishop from a carnal view of the Presence, which yet was not Transubstantiation; the objection only further proves that Cranmer could use the Phrase in some other than a Roman sense; and, if so, then it may be that it will further serve to express a Doctrine which is neither Transubstantiation nor the "" Corporal Presence" of the Declaration on
Facts prove, I think, that Cranmer himself thought thus: for it is certain, from his own words just quoted, that in 1548 he had abandoned that "error of the real presence," of which he speaks: yet in 1549 another Edition of the Primer appeared without the slighest change in this Prayer. Nay more, the perpetuation of the Prayer was, in fact, sanctioned by the 3 & 4 Edwd. VI. c. 10, which passed quite at the beginning of that year, (See Note No. 14, p. 272)-a Statute which the Archbishop is commonly supposed to have had a considerable share in procuring: yet that Statute required no other change in the Primer than the omission of " the sentences of invocation or prayer to saints."
But if any one thinks that the Archbishop's language about himself in 1548 is not clear enough to be wholly relied upon in this case, there can be no sort of pretence for saying that he had the slightest leaning towards a "corporal," i. e. carnal Presence, when he published, in 1550, his "Defence of the True and Catholic Doctrine of the Sacrament," and also, in 1551, his "Answer to Gardiner," vindicating that Book. Yet, in 1551, a new Edition of the Primer was printed, though not until this Prayer and the Phrase in question had been re-considered, as is shewn by the sub
stitution of "deliver" for " consecrate." This alteration however, so far from indicating any doubt on Cranmer's part of the propriety of the terms of the Advertisement to the Homilies, which had then been four years in circulation, did but serve to bring the Primer Phrase into a closer verbal agreement with the Advertisement Phrase: this will be, readily seen if they are read side by side, thus:
Advertisement, 1547. "Of the due receiving of His Blessed Body and Blood under the form of bread and wine."
... didst deliver Thy Blessed Body and Blood under the form of bread and wine." The Ad
Could language better harmonize than this? vertisement speaks "of the due receiving," by a particular medium, of that same Thing which the Primer teaches that Christ did "deliver" to His Apostles through the very same medium. Is it possible, then, that the Primate of all England and Metropolitan could instruct the King's "loving subjects" to pray in a Phrase which, at that very time, as Mr. Goode says, he repudiated for the Church of England? Whatever people may choose to think of the Archbishop's want of consistency, in some respects, they will scarcely be ready to answer "Yes" to this question: yet if any could be found to take so miserable an estimate of Cranmer's character, it will not be supposed that Mr. Goode would unite with them.
So far then as Archbishop Cranmer is concerned it seems to me that, while it was before shewn to be morally certain that he was responsible for the original appearance of the Phrase in the Advertisement to the First Book of Homilies, it is now proved to be, at least something like, historically true that he must have sanctioned and approved its continuance there.
Having regard, therefore, to all the known evidence, I cannot but think it clearly established-that (as the Archbishop must be held to have acted officially and legally in the matter, so) down to the end of the reign of Edward 6th the Formula in question had the complete authority of the Church of England.
It could hardly be expected that this reformed Primer would be re-printed in Mary's reign: its omission of certain Invocations would be alone sufficient to prevent its re-issue then but it is hardly probable that the Phrase in the Prayer would have been thought an adequate expression of the Doctrine of Transubstantiation (then again held) unless it were accompanied with an explanation to shew that "form" meant only accidents: yet such an explanation might encumber a Prayer, and therefore make it seem better to reject it altogether.
The members of Convocation at the Accession of Elizabeth were of course those who represented the Clergy on the death of Mary: now the earliest act of the Lower House in Elizabeth's reign (Feb. 18th or 28th, 1558-9, under their Prolocutor, Nicholas Harpsfield, Archdeacon of Canterbury) was to present an Address to the Bishops, to be tendered to the Parliament, containing "certain Articles in defence of the religion established under Mary:" the "First" of them ran in these words :
"That in the Sacrament of the Altar, by virtue of the words of consecration duly pronounced by the priest, the natural body and blood of Christ, conceived of the blessed Virgin, are really present under the species [=form] of bread and wine."
But it is clear that they did not think this language would cover Transubstantiation; therefore they proceeded to add :—
"Secondly, That after the consecration the substance of bread and wine does not remain, nor any other substance, excepting that of God and man."-Fuller, Ch. Hist., Bk. ix., § 1; and Collier, Eccl. Hist., Pt. ii., Bk. 6.
In fact they repeated what was done by the advocates of Transubstantiation in Henry 8th's reign, when they succeeded, against Archbishop Cranmer and others, in introducing this very same language into the first of the Six Articles of 1539, although three years before (1536) the Convocation had excluded Transubstantiation, while allowing a physical Presence, by expressing itself in the following language which was sanctioned by the king:
"FOURTHLY.-As touching the Sacrament of the Altar, we will, that all bishops and preachers shall instruct and teach our people
....that they ought and must constantly believe, that, under the form of bread and wine, which we there presently do see and perceive by outward senses, is verily, substantially, and really contained and comprehended the very self-same body and blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which was born of the Virgin Mary, and suffered upon the cross for our redemption; and that, under the same form and figure of bread and wine, the very self-same body and blood of Christ is corporally, really, and in the very substance exhibited, distributed, and received unto and of all them which receive the said sacrament; and that therefore the said sacrament is to be used with all due reverence and honour; . Fuller, Bk. v., § 4.
So then, in what has just been said, is to be found a further reason for the Primer of 1545 not being re-published under Queen Mary, though an unreformed Primer was reprinted.
But, so soon as the Archiepiscopal throne was filled by Queen Elizabeth's appointment of Parker, no time was lost in re-producing reformed Office Books, and the same year (1559) which witnessed Elizabeth's Prayer Book, saw also a new Edition of the Primer, with no other change in the Prayer than that substitution of "deliver" for "consecrate," which was made in 1551. Thus, then, at the commencement of another distinct period in the Reformation, the Phrase which is said (though how truly I have already considered) to have been repudiated for the Church of England by one Archbishop, re-appears under the sanction of another Primate ' whose Theological soundness also is not questioned by those who object to the Phrase; moreover, it re-appeared at the same time in a new Edition of the First Book of Homilies, which had not been merely left to the Royal Printers to set up from any old Edition, but which had been (as before noticed)" by her Grace's aduyse perused and ouersene, for the better understandying of the simple people." Mr. Griffiths states (p. lviii.) that " many verbal alterations were made in the text, partly by substitution, partly by addition :" so that the Editor must have carefully read the Book; yet, either he carelessly passed over the Advertisement at the End of it, or he knew that it was meant not to be altered; can any one reasonably doubt that the latter was his real condition?