Obrazy na stronie



CANNOT think that any, even a short, Preface to these volumes is of absolute necessity. They will suffi

ciently explain themselves and are intended to supply, according to the profession of their titlepages, some information respecting the ritual and offices of the Church of England, during the centuries immediately preceding the Reformation. And this information has been sought for, in the only fit repositories of it, that is, in the actual documents themselves which may yet be extant.

But I would take this opportunity of expressing my fear, that although many means and opportunities have been open to me, they have not been so profitably used as they ought to have been that instead of one Office having been selected, another rather should have been chosen:1 that the notes and observations are

1 I look forward to being permitted, in a third and concluding volume, to republish the ancient

Ordinal of the Church of England, and the Coronation Service, from the Sarum Pontifical.

not in some places required, and in others, where real difficulties exist, they have been omitted altogether that references to more authorities should have been added on some particular. subjects, or were not necessary upon others. To these and such objections (of the reasonableness of which I cannot but be too sensible)

I have only to offer the answer, if answer it may be, that no one can know exactly all that is, or is not, required either by way of explanation, or selection; and that I humbly trust that these volumes, as a whole, will not be found to be entirely useless.

There is much, very much, in the succeeding pages, and in another work which will be published with them, involving doctrines of the highest importance, and opening questions over and over again debated between the various branches of the Catholic Church. To have passed all these by without remark would have been surely blameable: to have entered into them at any length, or with the pretence of exactness in the detail, would have been impossible within the space which my limits could allow. I have therefore been obliged rather to seem to lay down decisions, where reasons might have been demanded; and to give results and determinations instead of the arguments by

which they ought to be arrived at. In the Preface to the Ancient Liturgies, this, I fear, will be more evident than even in the present work: but let me in all honesty, yet humbly, assure the reader, that on whatever subject I have ventured so to speak, it has only been after much consideration, and careful inquiry; and with the earnest and sincere desire to promote the Truth, as it has always been held by the One Holy Catholic Church of Christ. Upon another point, it must be also said, I have been very anxious: namely, whilst I have not wished to shrink from the expression of a plain opinion in any case which might seem to call for it, I have striven to avoid harsh and unkind words towards others, and to keep within the reasonable bounds of Christian controversy. I have endeavoured to remember that they whose judgements are different from my own, may be far more competent than myself to argue upon many matters, on which I have nevertheless not hesitated to speak undoubtingly my belief; first, because it seemed not right to be silent, and secondly, because I was satisfied that I was but uttering the doctrine of the Church of England, in which I am a priest.

And in this place also it is incumbent upon me to discharge a most welcome duty: the

[ocr errors]

acknowledgement of my best thanks to all who have given me assistance towards the completion of the object which I have had in view. Particularly, to his Grace the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, for permission to examine the manuscripts, and for the offer of the loan of some rare printed volumes, in the Lambeth library : -to my diocesan, the Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of Salisbury, for permission to make extracts from the most valuable manuscript, the

Registrum S. Osmundi," among the muniments of the see:-to the very reverend the Dean and Chapter of Salisbury, for the loan of a transcript of the same MS. :-to the very reverend the Dean and Chapter of Bangor, for the loan of the "Bangor Pontifical:"-to the very reverend the Dean and Chapter of Exeter, for permission to examine the manuscripts in their cathedral library, and to make extracts from them; and for the loan of the "Ordinale" of Bishop Grandisson:-to the University of Cambridge for the loan of four manuscripts; viz. the two Pontificals of the churches of Salisbury and Winchester, the "Order of Consecrating Nuns," and the " Prymer in English:" -to the President and Fellows of St. John's College, Oxford, for the loan of their copy of the Hereford Missal:-to the Master and Fel

« PoprzedniaDalej »