The Book of Common Prayer
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    The Book of Common Prayer - 1559




WHERE at the death of oure late Soveraigne lord King Edward the sixt, there remained one uniforme order of common service and prayer, and of the administracion of Sacramentes, Rites, and Ceremonies, in the churche of Englande, whiche was set furth in one booke entituled: The booke of common prayer, and administracion of Sacramentes, and other Rites and ceremonies in the churche of Englande, aucthorised by Act of Parliament, holden in the fift [fifth] and sixt yeres of our saied late Soueraigne lorde kyng Edward the sixte, intituled An acte for the uniformitie of Common prayer, and administracion of the Sacramentes, the which was repealed and taken away by acte of parliament, in the first yere of the raygne of our late Soveraigne Ladye Quene Marye, to the great decaye of the due honour of God, and discomfort to the professours of the trueth of Christes religion :
    Be it therefore enacted, by the aucthoritie of this present parliament, that the sayde statute of repeale, and every thing therein conteined, onely concerning the sayde booke, and the Service, administracion of Sacramentes, Rites, and Ceremonies, conteined or appoyncted, in, or by the saide booke shalbe voyde and of none effecte, from, and after the feaste of the Nativitie of S. John Baptist, next commyng. And that the sayde booke, with the ordre of service, and of the administracion of Sacramentes, Rites and Ceremonies, with the alteracion, and addicions, therein added and appoynted by this estatute [statute], shall stande, and be from and after the sayde feaste of the Nativitie of Sainct John Baptist, in full force and effect, according to the tenour and effect of this estatute, any thing in the aforesayde statute of repeale to the contrary notwithstanding.
    And further be it enacted by the quenes highnes, with the assent of the lordes and commons, in thys present Parliament assembled, and by aucthoritie of the same, that all and synguler ministers, in any cathedrall, or paryshe church, or other place within thys realme of Englande, Wales, and the marches of the same, or other the quenes dominions : shall from, and after the feaste of the Nativitie of Saynct John Baptist next comming, be bounden to saye and use the Matins, Evensong, celebracion of the Lordes supper, and administracion of eche of the Sacramentes, and all their Common and open prayer, in suche ordre and fourme, as is mencioned in the sayde booke, so aucthorised by Parliament in the sayde .v. and sixte yere of the raygne of king Edward the Sixt, with one alteracion or addition of certayn Lessons to be used on every Sonday in the yere, and the fourme of the Letanie altered and corrected, and two Sentences onely added in the delivery of the Sacrament to the communicantes, and none other, or other wyse. And that if anye maner of persone [parson], Vicare, or other, whatsoever minister that ought or shoulde syng or saye common prayer mencioned in the sayde booke, or minister the Sacramentes, from and after the feaste of the Nativitie of Sainct John Baptiste nexte commyng, refuse to use the sayde common prayers, or to minyster the Sacramentes in suche Cathedrall or paryshe Churche, or other places, as he shoulde use to minister the same, in such ordre and fourme, as they be mencioned and set foorth in the sayde booke or shall wilfully or obstinately standynge in the same, use anye other Ryte, ceremonye, ordre, fourme, or maner of celebrating of the Lords supper openly or prively, or Mattins, Evensong, administracion of the Sacrarnentes, or other open prayers, then is mencioned and set foorth in the sayd booke : or shall wilfully or obstinately standynge in the same, use anye other Ryte, ceremonye, ordre, fourme, or maner of celebrating of the. Lords supper openly or prively, or Mattins, Evensong, administracion of the Sacrarnentes, or other open prayers, then [than] is mencioned and set foorth in the sayd booke [Open prayer in and throughoute this Acte, is mente that prayer whiche is for other [others] to come unto, or heare, eyther in Common Churches, or privie Chappelles, or Oratories, commonlye called the Service of the Churche], or shall preach, declare, or speake any thyng in the derogacion or depraving of the sayd booke, or any thyng therein conteyned, or of any part thereof, and shalbe thereof lawfullye convicted, according to the lawes of this realme, by verdicte of .xii. men, or by hys owne confession, or by the notorious evidence of the facte, shall lose and forfeyte to the Queenes hyghnesse, her heyres and successours, for hys fyrst offence, the profite of all his spiritual benefices or promocions, comming or arysyng in one whole yere next after this conviction. And also that the persone so convicted, shall for the same offence suffer imprisonment by the space of .vi. monethes [months], without baile or mainpryse. And if any suche persone, once convicte [convicted] of anye offence, concernyng the premysses, shall after hys fyrst conviction eftsones [=again] offende, and be thereof in fourme aforesayd lawfully convict [convicted]: that then the same person shall for his second offence suffer imprisonment by the space of one hole yere, and also shall therefore be deprived, ipso facto, of all his spiritual promotions. And that it shalbe lawfull to all patrons or donors of all and singuler the same spirituall promocions, or of any of them, to present or collate to the same, as though the person and persons so offending wer dead; and that if any such person or persons, after he shalbe twise convicted in fourme aforesayd, shal offend agaynst any of the premysses the thyrd time, and shalbe thereof in fourme aforesayd lawfully convicted: That then the person so offending, and convycted the thyrd tyme, shalbe deprived, ipso facto, of all his spirituall promocions, and also shall suffer imprisonment during hys lyfe.
    AND if the person that shall offend, and be convicte in fourme aforesayde, concernyng any of the premisses, shall not be beneficed, nor have anye spirituall promotion: That then the same person so offending and convict [convicted], shall for the fyrst offence suffer imprisonment during one hole yere next after his sayde conviction, without bayle or maynepryse. And yf anye suche person, not havynge anye spirituall promotion, after his firste conviction, shall eftsones [=again] offende in anye thynge concernynge the premysses, and shal in fourme aforesayd be therof lawfully convicted: That then the same person shall for his seconde offence, suffer imprysonment durynge hys lyfe.
    And it is ordeyned and enacted by the aucthoritie abovesayde, that yf any person or personnes whatsoever, after the sayde feaste of the Nativitie of Saincte John Baptyste nexte commynge, shall in any Enterludes, Playes, Songes, Rymes, or by other open wordes, declare or speake anye thinge in the derogation, depravynge or despysynge of the same booke, or of anye thynge therin conteyned, or anye parte thereof, or shall by open facte, deede, or by open threatnynges compell or cause, or otherwyse procure or mayntayne anye Pars [parson], Vonycar [Vicar], or other Mynister, in anye Cathedrall or paryshe Churche, or in Chappell, or in anye other place to synge or saye anye commen [common] and open prayer, or to minister anye Sacramente otherwyse, or in anye other maner and forme then is mencioned in the sayde booke, or that by anye of the sayde meanes shall unlawfully interrupt or let [=prevent] any parson, vycar, or other minister, in anye Cathedrall, or paryshe Churche, Chappel, or anye other place to synge or saye common and open praier, or to minister the Sacramentes or anye of them, in suche maner and fourme, as is mencioned in the sayde booke: That then everye suche parson [person] beynge thereof lawefully convicted in fourme above sayde, shall forfeyte to the Quene oure Soveraygne Ladye, her heires and successours, for the fyrste offence a hundredth markes. And yf any parson or parsons [person or persons], beynge once convicte [convicted] of anye suche offence eftsons [=again] offende againste anye of the laste recyted offences, and shal in fourme aforesayde be thereof lawfullye convicte. That then the same parson [person] so offendinge and convicte, shall for the seconde offence forfeyte to the Quene oure Soveraigne Ladye, her heyres and successours, foure hundredth markes. And yf anye parson [person] after he, in forme aforesayde, shall have bene twyce convicte of anye offence, concernynge anye of the laste recyted offences, shall offende the thyrde tyrne, and be thereof in forme abovesayde lawefully convicte: That then every parson [person] so offendynge and convicte, shall for his thyrde offence, forfeyte to oure Soveraygne Lady the Quene, all his goodes and catelles [chattels, =property], and shal suffer imprysonment duryng his lyfe. And yf anye person or persons that for his fyrste offence, concernynge the premysses, shall be convicte in forme aforesayde, do not paye the somme to be payde by vertue of hys conviction, in such maner and forme as the same oughte to be payde, within syxe wekes nexte after hys conviction, that then every person so convicte, and so not payinge the same, shall for the same first offence, instede of the sayde somme, suffer imprisonmente by the space of syxe monethes, withoute bayl or maynepryse. And yf anye person or persons, that for his seconde offece concerning the prernisses, shalbe convict in forme aforesayde, do not pay the sayed somme to be payed by vertue of his conviction, and this estatute, in suche maner and forme as the same oughte to be payde, within .vi. wekes nexte after hys said seconde conviction: that then every person so convicted and not so paiyng the same, shall for the same seconde offence, in the stede of the sayde somme, suffer imprisonment during .xii. monethes, withoute bayle or maynepryse. And that from and after the sayde feaste of the Nativitie of S. John Baptyst next commynge, all and every person and personnes, inhabiting within this Realme or anye other the Quenes Majesties dominions, shall diligentlye and faythfully, havynge no lawefull or reasonable excuse to be absente, endevoure [exert] themselves to resorte to their paryshe Churche or Chappel accustomed, or upon reasonable let thereof, to some usual place where common Prayer, and suche Service of GOD shalbe used in suche tyme of let upon everye Sondaye, and other dayes ordayned and used to be kepte as holye dayes. And then and there to abyde orderly, and soberly durynge the tyme of the common prayer, prechinges, or other service of GOD, there to be used and ministred, upon payne of punyshmet by the censures of the church. And also upon payne that everye persone so offendynge shall forfete for every suche offence .xii. d. [twelve pence] to be levyed by the Churchewardens of the paryshe, where suche offence shalbe done, to thuse of the poore of the same paryshe, of the goodes, landes, and tenementes of suche offendour, by waye of distresse. And for due execution hereof the Quenes moste excellente Majesty, the lordes Temporall, and all the commons in this present Parlyament assembled, dothe in Goddes name earnestly requyre and charge all the Archebyshoppes, Bishopes, and other ordinaries, that they shal endevour themselves to the uttermost of their knowledges, that the due and true execution hereof may be had througe houte their diocesse, and charges, as they wyll answere before God, for suche evylles and plages, wherewith almyghty God maye justlye punyshe his people for neglecting this good and holsome lawe. And for theyr aucthoritie in this behalfe, be it, further enacted by thaucthoritie aforesayde, that all and singular the same Archebyshopes, byshopes, and all other their officers, exercising ecclesiasticall jurisdiction as wel in place exempt as not exempt, within their diocesse, shall have full power and aucthoritie by this acte, to reforme, correcte, and ponyshe by censures of the churche, all and singuler persons, which shall offende wythin any theyr jurisdictions or diocesse, after the sayde feaste of the Nativitye of Sainct John Baptyst nexte commynge, againste this acte and statute. Any other lawe, statute, priviledge, lybertie, or provision heretofore made, had, or suifred to the contrarye notwithstandinge.
    AND it is ordeyned and enacted by the aucthoritie aforesayde, that all and everye justices of Oyer and determiner, or Justices of Assyse [Assize], shall have ful power and aucthoritye in every of their open and general Sessions, to enquire here and determine al, and all maner of offences that shalbe committed or done contrary to any article conteyned in this present act, within the lymites of the Commission to them dyrected, and to make processe for thexecution of the same, as they may do againste any personne beinge indited before them of trespasse, or lawfully convicted thereof.
    PROVIDED alwayes and be it enacted by thaucthoritye aforesayd, that all and every Archbishoppe and Bishoppe, shall or may at al time and times at his libertie and pleasure, joyne and associate himselfe, by vertue of this acte, to the said justices of Oyer and determiner, or to the said justices of assise, at every of the sayd open and general Sessions, to be holden in any place within his diocesse, for and to the enquiry, hearing and determining of the offences aforesayde.
    PROVIDED also and be it enacted by thaucthority aforesaid, that the bokes concernyng the sayd Services, shall at the costes and charges of the paryshioners of everye paryshe, and Cathedrall Church, be attained and gotten before the sayd feast of the Nativitye of Saint Jhon Baptist next folowing, and that all suche paryshes and Cathedral Churches or other places, wher the said bokes shalbe attained and gotten before the said feaste of the Nativitye of Sainct Jhon Baptist, shal within three wekes next after the said bokes so attained and gotten, use the said service and put the same in ure [=use] accordyng to this acte.
    AND be it further enacted by thaucthoritie aforesaid, that no parson or parsons [person or persons] shalbe at any time hereafter empeched or otherwyse molested of or for any of the offences above mencioned, hereafter to be committed or done contrary to this act, onles he or they so offendynge, be therof indited at the next generall Sessions, to be holden before any such Justices of Oyer and determiner, or Justices of assise, next after any offence committed or done contrarye to the tenor of this act.
    PROVIDED alwayes, and be it ordeined, and enacted by the aucthoritie aforesaid, that al and singuler Lordes of the Parliament for the third offence above mencioned, shall be tried by their peres.
    PROVIDED also, and be it ordeined, and enacted by thaucthoritie aforesaid, that the Maior of London, and all other Maiors, Bayliffes, and other head officers of al, and singular Cities, Boroughes, and Townes Corporate within this Realme, Wales and the marches of the same, to the which Justices of Assise do not commonly repayre, shall have ful power and aucthority by vertue of this acte, to enquire, here, and determine the offences abovesaid, and every of them yerely, within .xv. daies after the feast of Easter, and S. Mighel [Michael] tharchaungell, in like maner and fourme as Justices of Assise and Oyer and determiner may doo.
    PROVIDED alwayes and be it ordeined and enacted bythaucthoritie aforesayd, that al and singuler Archbishops and Byshops, and every of their Chauncellours, Commissaries, Archdeacons, and other ordinaries, havynge any peculier ecclesiasticall jurisdiction, shal have ful power and aucthority by vertue of this act, as wel to enquire in their visitation, Synodes, and elsewhere within their jurisdiction at any other time and place, to take occasions and informations of al and every the thinges above mencioned, done, committed, or perpetrated within the limits of their jurisdictions and aucthoritie, and to punish the same by admonicion, excommunication, sequestration, or deprivation and other censures and processe in like fourme as heretofore hath ben used in like cases by ye Queenes ecclesiastical lawes.
    PROVIDED alwayes and be it enacted, that whatsoever person offending in the premisses, shall for the offence firste receyve ponishment of the ordinary, having a testimonial therof under the said ordinaries scale, shal not for the same offence eftsones [=again] be convicted before the Justices. And lykewise receivynge for the sayd fyrst offence ponishment by the Justices, he shal not for the same offence eftsoones receyve ponishment of the ordinary. Any thinge conteyned in this act to the contrary notwithstandyng.
    PROVIDED alwayes and be it enacted, that suche ornaments of the Churche, and of the ministers therof, shalbe reteined and be in use as was in this Churche of England, by aucthority of Parliament, in the second yere of the raygne of Kyng Edward the vi. until other order shalbe therin taken by thaucthority of the Quenes Majestie, with the advise of her Commissioners appointed and auctorized under the great Seale of England, for causes ecclesiastical, or of the Metropolitan of this Realme. And also that if there shal happen any contempte or irreverence to be used in the ceremonies or rites of the Church, by the misusinge of the orders appointed in this boke: The Quenes Majestie may by the like advise of the sayd commissioners, or Metropolytan, ordeine and publish such further ceremonies or rites as may be most for the advauncement of Gods glory, the edifiyng of his Church, and the due reverence of Christes holy mysteries and Sacramentes.
    AND be it further enacted by the aucthoritie aforesaid, that al lawes, statutes and ordinaunces, wherin or whereby any other Service administration or Sacramentes or Common prayer, is limited, established, or set forth to be used within this Realme, or any other the Quenes dominions or Countryes, shall from hensforth be utterly voyde and of none effect.




THERE was never anye thynge by the witte of man so well devised, or so sure established, whiche (in continuaunce of tyme) hath not been corrupted: as (emong other thynges) it may plainly appeare by the Common prayers in the churche, commonly called divine service: the firste originall and ground wherof, if a man woulde serche out by auncient fathers, he shall fynde that the same was not ordeyned but of a good purpose, and for a greate advauncemente of godlines. For they so ordred the matter, that all the whole Byble (or the gretest part therof) should be red over ones [once] in the yere entending therby, that the clergie and specially suche as wer Ministers of the congregacion, should (by often reading and meditacion of Gods word), be styrred up to godlines themselves, and be more able also to exhorte other [others] by holesome doctrine, and to confute them that wer adversaries to the truth. And further that the people (by daily hearynge of holy scripture read in the Churche) should continually profite more and more in the knowelege of God, and be the more enflamed with the love of his true religion. But these many yeres passed, thys godly and decent ordre of the auncient fathers, hath been so altered, broken, and neglected, by planting in uncertain Stories, Legendes, Respondes, Verses, vain Repeticions, Commemoracions, and Sinodalles [Synodals], that commonly when any booke of the Bible was begon, before thre or foure Chapiters wer red out, al the rest wer unredde. And in this sort the booke of Esay [Isaiah] was begon in Advent, and the boke of Genesis in Septuagesima : but they were onely begonne, and never red through. After lyke sorte wer other bokes of holy scripture used. And moreover, wheras Sainct Paule woulde have such language spoken to the people in the Churche, as they might onderstande, and have profite by hearing thesame, the service in this churche of Englande (these many yeres) hath been redde in Latine to the people, whiche they understoode not, so that they have heard with their eares only, and their hartes, spirite, and mynd, have not been edified therby. And furthermore, notwithstandyng that thauncient fathers have devyded the Psalmes into seven porcions, wherof every one was called a Nocturne, now of late tyme, a fewe of them have been daily sayd (and oft repeated) and the rest utterly omitted. Moreover, the nombre and hardnesse of the rules, called the Pye, and the manifolde changeinges [changes] of the service, was the cause, that to turne the boke onely, was so harde and intricate a matter, that many tymes there was more businesse to find out what should be read, then to reade it when it was found out.
    These inconveniences therefore considered, here is set furthe suche an ordre, whereby thesame shalbe redressed. And for a readinesse in this matter, here is drawen out a kalendre for that purpose, which is plain and easy to be understanden [understood], wherin (so muche as may be) the reading of holy scriptures is so set furth, that all thinges shalbe doen in ordre, without breaking one piece therof from another. For this cause be cut of Anthemes, Respondes, Invitatories, and such lyke thinges, as dyd breake the continual course of the reading of the scripture. Yet because ther is no remedy, but that of necessitie there must be some rules, therefore certayn rules are here set furth, which as they be fewe in nombre, so they be plain and easy to be onderstanden. So that here you have an ordre for prayer (as touching the reading of holy scripture) much agreable to the mynd and purpose of thold fathers, and a great deale more profitable and commodious, then that which of late was used. It is more profitable, because here are left out many thinges, whereof some be untrue, some uncertayn, some vain and supersticious, and is ordeyned nothing to be readde but the very pure woord of God, the holye scriptures, or that which is evidently grounded upon the same, and that in such a language and ordre, as is most easy and playne for the understandyng bothe of the readers and hearers. It is also more commodious, bothe for the shortnesse therof, and for the playnesse of the ordre, and for that the rules be fewe and easye. Furthermore, by thys ordre, the Curates shall nede none other bookes for their publique service, but this booke, and the Bible, by the meanes wherof, the people shal not be at so greate charge for bookes, as in tyme paste they have been.
    And where hertofore there hath been greate diversitie, in saying, and singyng in churches within thys realme, some folowing Salisburye use, some Herford use, some the use of Bangor, some of Yorke, and some of Lincolne: now from hence furth, all the whole realme, shall have but one use. And if any would judge this way more paynfull, because that all thynges must be readde upon the booke, wheras before by the reason of so often repeticion, they could say many thinges by heart; if those men will weigh their labour, with the profite and knowledge, which daily they shall obteyne by readyng upon the booke, they will not refuse the pein, in consideracion of the great profite that shal ensue therof.
    And forasmuche as nothyng can almost be so playnly set furth, but doubtes may ryse in the use and practising of the same: To appease all such diversitie (if any aryse), and for the resolucion of all doubtes concerning the maner howe to understand, do, and execute the thinges conteined in this boke: the parties that so dout [doubt], or diversly take any thing, shal alway resort to the Bishoppe of the dyocesse, who by hys discrecion shall take ordre for the quyeting and appeasing of the same : so that the same ordre be not contrary to any thyng conteyned in this booke. And yf the the Byshoppe of the Dyocesse be in any doubte, then may he sende for the resolucion therof unto the Archebishoppe.
    Though it be appoyncted in the afore written Preface, that all thynges shalbe readde and song in the Church, in the Englishe tongue, to the ende that the congregacion may bee thereby edifyed; yet it is not meant, but when men say Mornyng and Evening prayer privately, they may say thesame in any language that they themselves do understande.
    And all Priestes and Deacons, shalbe bounde to say dayly, the Morning and Evenyng prayer, eyther privately or openly, except they be letted [=prevented] by preaching, studying of divinitie, or by some other urgent cause.
    And the Curate that ministreth in every paryshe Churche or Chapell, beyng at home, and not beyng otherwyse reasonably letted [=prevented], shall say thesame in the Parishe Church or Chapell where he ministreth, and shall toll a belle therto, a convenient tyme before he begyn, that such as be disposed may come to heare Goddes woorde, and to praye with him.


The wording of the Preface was changed in a number of minor ways at various times throughout the life of this book.


These last three paragraphs were separated from the Preface and printed in italics in later editions



OF suche Ceremonies as be used in the churche,and have hadde their beginning by the institucion of man : Some at the firste were of Godlye entent and purpose devysed, and yet at length, turned to vanitie and supersticion : some entered into the Churche, by undiscrete devocion and suche a zeale as was withoute knowledge: and for because they were winked at in the beginning, they grue daily to more and more abuses, which not only for their unprofitablenes, but also because they have muche blynded the people, and obscured the glorye of God, are woorthy to be cut away, and cleane rejected. Other there be, which although they have been devysed by manne, yet it is thought good, to reserve them still, aswel for a decent ordre in the churche (for the which they wer first devised) as because they pertaine to edificacion : wherunto all thinges doen in the Churche (as the Apostle teacheth) ought to be referred. And although the kepyng or omitting of a Ceremonye (in it selfe considered) is but a small thyng : yet the wilfull and contempteous transgression, and breakyng of a common ordre, and discipline : is no small offence before God.
    Let all thynges be doen emong you (saith S. Paule) in a semelye and dewe ordre. The appoynctment of the which ordre, perteyneth not to private men; therefore no man ought to take in hande, nor presume to appoincte or alter any publique or common ordre in Christes Church, excepte he be lawfully called and aucthorised therunto.
    And wheras as in this our tyme, the mindes of menne are so diverse, that some thinke it a great matter of conscience, to departe from a piece of the least of their Ceremonies (they be so addicted to their old customes) and again on the other side, some be so newe fangled, that they would innovate all thing, and so do despise the olde, that nothing can like them, but that is newe: it was thought expedient, not so muche to have respect how to please and satisfie either of these parties, as how to please God, and profite them bothe. And yet lest anye man shoulde be offended (whom good reason might satisfie) here be certain causes rendered why some of the accustomed Ceremonies be put away, and some retained and kept still.
    Some are put away, because the great excesse and multitude of them, bath so encreased in these latter days, that the burthen of them was intollerable; whereof S. Augustine in his tyme complained, that they were growe to suche a nombre, that the state of christian people was in worse case (concerning that matter) then wer the Jewes. And he counsailed that such yoke and burthen shoulde be taken away, as tyme woulde serve quietly to doe it.
    But what woulde sainct Augustine have sayde, if he had seen the Ceremonies of late dayes used emong us? wherunto the multitude used in his time was not to bee compared. This our excessive multitude of Ceremonies was so greate, and many of them so darke, that they did more confounde and darken, then declare and set furthe Christes benefites unto us.
    And besides this, Christes Ghospell is not a Ceremoniall lawe (as muche of Moses lawe was) but it is a religion to serve God, not in bondage of the figure, or shadowe, but in the fredome of spirite, beyng content onelye with those Ceremonies, which doe serve to a decent ordre, and godlye discipline, and suche as be apte to styrre up the dull minde of manne, to the remembraunce of his duetie to God, by some notable and speciall significacion, whereby he might be edified.
    Furthermore, the moste weightie cause of the abolishement of certain Ceremonies was, that thei wer so farre abused, partly by the supersticious blindnesse of the rude and unlearned, and partly by the unsaciable avarice of such as sought more their owne lucre, then the glorye of God: that the abuses could not well be taken awaye, the thing remaining still. But now as concerning those persones, whiche peradventure will bee offended, for that some of the old Ceremonies are retained stil: if thei consider, that without some Ceremonies it is not possible to kepe anye ordre, or quyet discipline in the Churche, they shall easely perceive just cause to refourme their judugementes. And if they thinke muche that anye of the olde dooe remain, and would rather have all devysed newe: Then such men graunting some Ceremonies convenient to be had, surelye where the olde maye be well used, there they cannot reasonably reprove thold onely for their age without bewraying [betraying] of their awn foly. For in such a case, they ought rather to have reverence unto them, for their antiquitie, if they will declare themselfes to be more studious of unitie and concord, then of innovacions and new fanglenesse, whiche (asmuch as maye bee with the true settyng furth of Chrystes Religion) is alwayes to be eschewed. Furthermore, such shall have no just cause with the Ceremonies reserved, to be offended: For as those bee taken away, whiche wer moste abused, and dyd burthen mennes conscionces without any cause: so the other that remain are retained for a Dysciplyne and ordre, whiche (upon just causes) maye bee altered and chaunged, and therfore are not to be estemed equall with Goddes lawe. And moreover thei be neither darke nor dombe Ceremonies, but are so set furthe, that everye manne may understand what they dooe meane, and to what use they dooe serve. So that it is not lyke, that they in tyme to come, shoulde bee abused, as the other have been. And in these oure doynges, we condempne no other nacions, nor prescribe any thing, but to our awne people onelye. For wee thinke it convenient that every countrey should use such Ceremonies, as they shall thinke best, to the setting furth of Goddes honour, or glorye, and to the reducyng of the people to a moste perfect and Godly livyng, without errour or Supersticion. And that they should put away other thynges, whiche from tyme to tyme, they perceyve to bee moste abused, as in mennes ordinaunces, it often chaunceth diversely in divers countreys.


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