The Book of Common Prayer
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    A New History of
The Book of Common Prayer




[A.D. 1603-1649.]

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UPON the accession of King James I. (March 24, 1603), the earliest measure adopted by the general body of the Puritans was to present to him (in April) the famous Millenary petition,1 so called from the number of ministers who were said to have consented to it.2 Their chief grievances were four: The Church Service, Church ministers, Church livings and maintenance, Church Discipline. Upon the subject of the Prayer Book they urged that of these ‘offences following, some may be removed, some amended, some qualified :—

Puritan Objections.

The Millenary Petition.

’In the Church Service: that the cross in baptism, interrogatories ministered to infants, confirmation, as: superfluous, may be taken away: baptism not to be ministered by women, and so explained: the cap and surplice not urged: that examination may go before the Communion: that it be ministered with a sermon: that divers terms of ‘priests’ and ‘absolution’ and some other used, with the ring in marriage, and other such like in the book, may be corrected: the longsomeness of service abridged: Church songs and music moderated to better edification: that the Lord’s Day be not profaned: the rest upon Holy Days not so strictly urged: that there may be an uniformity of doctrine prescribed: no popish opinion to be any more taught or defended: no ministers charged to teach their people to bow at the name of Jesus: that the canonical Scriptures only be read in the church.’
Puritan objections to the Prayer Book.
’These, with such other abuses yet remaining and practised in the Church of England,’ they declared ‘we are able to show not to be agreeable to the Scriptures, if it shall please your Highness further to hear us, or more at large by writing to be informed, or by conference among the learned to be resolved.’3

A Conference proposed,


The King acceded to the request for a Conference, as suited to his own fondness for such a debate, though contrary to the wishes of the universities and of the clergy generally. A proclamation4 was issued (October 24), ‘Touching a meeting for the hearing and for the determining things pretended to be amiss in the Church,’ ‘to be had before himself and his council of divers of the bishops and other learned men.’ The meeting was at first intended to be held on the 1st of November, but was deferred till after Christmas. Meanwhile, Archbishop Whitgift sent to Hutton, Archbishop of York, certain queries of matters that might be debated at the Conference; among which these points were noted concerning the Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments: ‘(i.) concerning lay baptism: (ii.) concerning the sign of the cross in the child’s forehead made at its baptism: (iii.) concerning praying in the Litany to be delivered from sudden death, since we ought so to live, that death should never find us unprepared.’5



and ordered by proclamation.

The Conference was held at Hampton Court,6 on the 14th, 16th, and 18th of January, 1604. The persons summoned to take part in the discussion, on the side of the Puritans, were Dr. Rainolds, Dr. Sparkes, Mr. Knewstubbs, and Mr. Chaderton, who had the reputation of being the most grave, learned, and modest of the party. The Conference, however, was not a discussion between the Episcopal and Puritan divines in the presence of the royal council, but a Conference first between the King and the bishops, and secondly between the King and the invited Puritan divines, concluded by the royal determination upon the points debated. On the first day the King assembled the lords of his council and nine of the bishops with the deans of the chapel royal. and four cathedral churches; after an hour’s speech he propounded six points, three of them in the Common Prayer Book, viz. the general absolution, the confirmation of children, and the private lay baptism: the two former were allowed, but some things in them were to be made clear. After a long discussion on private baptism, it was agreed that it should only be administered by ministers, yet in private houses if occasion required. Some other matters were debated, concerning the jurisdiction of bishops, and the civilization of Ireland.

Conference at Hampton Court.




Conference between the King and the bishops, on Saturday Jan. 14.

On the second day, the Puritan representatives were called before the King and the council, in the presence of the bishops of London and Winchester, and the deans and doctors, who had been summoned to take part in the Conference. The Puritans propounded four points:— purity of doctrine: means to maintain it: church government: the Common Prayer Book. Concerning the ‘book itself and subscription to it, there was much stir about all the ceremonies and every point in it; chiefly Confirmation, the cross in baptism, the surplice, private baptism, kneeling at the Communion, the reading of the Apocrypha, and subscriptions to the Book of Common Prayer and Articles. ‘All that day was spent in ceremonies,’ writes Dean Montague in a letter giving an account of what passed in his presence, and ‘ all wondered that they had no more to say against them.’7 The conclusion was that there should be a uniform translation of the Bible, and one form of catechism over all the realm; that the Apocrypha should be read, but not as Scripture; and that any doubtful point of the Articles should be cleared.
Conference between the King with certain bishops and the Puritan divines, on Monday, Jan. 16.
On the third day, the bishops and deans, with certain civilians, attended at the court, and the Archbishop presented to the King a note of those things, both explanations to be added to the rubrics and other points, which had been referred to their consideration on the first day. These were: ‘ 1. Absolution, or remission of sins, in the rubric of absolution.’8. In private baptism, the lawful minister present. 3. Examination, with confirmation of children. 4. Jesus said to them, twice to be put in the dominical Gospels, instead of Jesus said to his disciples.’ With regard to Baptism, the King directed an alteration in the rubric of private baptism: instead of ‘They baptize not children,’ it should be, They cause not children to be baptized;’ and instead of, ‘Then they minister it,’ it should be ‘The curate, or lawful minister present, shall do it on this fashion.’ Then, after some discussion about the High Commission, the oath ex officio, and excommunication, and referring some points to special committees, Dr. Rainolds and his associates were called in, and the alterations agreed to were read to them. There was a little disputing about the words in the marriage ceremony, ‘With my body I thee worship,’ and it was agreed that they should be, ‘worship and honour,’ if it were thought fit. There followed a discourse upon unity and peace from the King, and a vain complaint urged in behalf of some ministers in Lancashire and Suffolk, who would lose their credit if they were now forced to use the surplice and cross in baptism; to this it was curtly answered, that the general peace of the Church must be preferred to the credit of a few private men; and so the Conference ended with a joint promise of the Puritan representatives to be quiet and obedient, now they knew it to be the King’s mind to have it so.9
Alterations agreed to by the King and the bishops on Wednesday, Jan. 18.
Certain alterations were thus agreed to by the King and the bishops at the Conference; but the particular form in which they should be expressed was referred with three other points to the bishops. A special commission10 dealt with other decisions of the Conference, e.g., the reform of Church Government and the new translation of the Bible. To effect the liturgical changes the King issued his letters patent11 (February 9), specifying the alterations, and ordering the publication and the exclusive use of the amended Book. The authority for this action was the undefined power of the Crown in ecclesiastical matters, as well as the statutable power granted by the Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity in 1559. And care was taken to call the alterations by the name of explanations, to bring them under the clause in Elizabeth’s Act of Uniformity, which empowered the Sovereign, with the advice of Ecclesiastical Commissioners, to ordain further ceremonies, if the orders of the book should be misused.12 It is to be noted, however, that these alterations had the sanction of Convocation, inasmuch as that body allowed this exercise of the prerogative, and ordered the amended book to be provided for the use of the parish churches.13

Revision of the Prayer Book after the Conference,


by the royal Authority


and sanctioned by Convocation.



The following changes were made at this time (1604) :
— In the Kalendar: one more Black Letter Saint was added, and lessons from canonical scripture were substituted for Tobit and Bel and the Dragon. Into the title of the Absolution were inserted the words, ‘or Remission of Sins.’ A prayer for the. Queen, the Prince, and other the King’s and Queen’s children, was placed after the prayer for the King; and a corresponding petition was inserted in the Litany. Thanksgivings for particular occasions, for Rain, for Fair Weather, for Plenty, for Peace and Victory, and for Deliverance from the Plague, in two forms, were added to the Occasional Prayers in the end of the Litany, and were styled, ‘An enlargement of thanksgiving for diverse benefits, by way of explanation.

Changes made after the Hampton Court Conference.

Divine Service.

In the Gospels for the 2nd Sunday after Easter, and the 20th Sunday after Trinity, the words ‘unto His disciples’ were omitted, and ‘Christ said’ and ‘Jesus said’ were to be printed in letters differing from the text.
The main alteration was made in the rubrics of the Office of Private Baptism, and the administration was now restricted to the minister of the parish, or some other lawful minister. The title had been, ‘Of them that be baptized in private houses in time of necessity’; now it became, ‘Of them that are to be baptized in private houses in time of necessity, by the Minister of the parish, or any other lawful Minister that can be procured.’ The 2nd rubric,— ‘that without great cause and necessity they baptize not children at home in their houses . . . that then they minister on this fashion . . .’ was amended as it now stands, ‘ . . . they procure not their children to be baptized . . .’ The 3rd rubric, ‘First, let them that be present call upon God for his grace . . . and one of them shall name the child, and dip him in the water, or pour . . . ‘ was now, ‘First, let the lawful Minister, and them that be present, call upon God for his grace, and say’ the Lord’s Prayer, if the time will suffer. And then the child being named by some one that is present, the said lawful Minister shall dip it in water, or pour water upon it . . .’ A corresponding alteration was made in the 4th rubric; and the inquiry — ‘ Whether they call upon God for grace and succour in that necessity? ‘ — was omitted, and the following precaution inserted in its place. ‘And because some things essential to this sacrament may happen to be omitted through fear or haste in such times of extremity, therefore I demand further. . . .’
’Confirmation’ was explained by adding the words, ‘or laying on of hands upon children baptized, and able to render an account of their faith, according to the Catechism following.
The concluding portion upon the Sacraments was added to the Catechism,14 and is generally attributed to Overall, the prolocutor of the Convocation.15
In 1608 the Prayer Book was printed in Irish, having been translated by William Daniel, or O’Donnell, Archbishop of Tuam, who had in 1602 published the first Irish version of the New Testament.16
Irish Prayer Book.
In Scotland the use of prescribed forms of prayer had long been a matter of controversy. The English Book had been in general use there between the years 1557 and 1564, but when Knox returned to Scotland in 1559 he brought with .him his Genevan book,17 which soon displaced the Prayer Book, and under the title of The Book of Common Order became the authoritative model18 of worship, Under James I. a valid episcopacy was restored to Scotland in 1610,19 and in 1616 he obtained the sanction of the General Assembly at Aberdeen, that a Prayer Book should be compiled for the use of the church,20 and the work was entrusted to one Peter Hewat, an Edinburgh minister, and three others. The result of this was a Form of Service21 to be used before sermon, which lay in MS. and forgotten till 1871. It was professedly a revision of The Book of Common Order, and consisted mainly of an exhortation on the fourth commandment, a long confession of sins, a psalm and prayer, two chapters from the Gospels and Epistles respectively, another psalm, creed, and a long final prayer.

The Prayer Book for Scotland.

The English Prayer Book used for seven years.

The General Assembly sanctions a Liturgy and Canons.

The King was set upon bringing Scotland into line with English customs, and in 1617 caused the English Prayer, Book to be used in the chapel royal of Holyrood.22 Meanwhile, he had sent to Scotland a set of Five Articles enforcing Kneeling at Communion, Private Baptism and Communion, four Holy Days corresponding to Christmas, Good Friday, Easter and Whitsunday, and an Episcopal Blessing of Children. The Scottish clergy resisted the Articles vigorously, and resented the King’s English service; and when in 1618 the Articles were definitely submitted, by the King’s desire, to the General Assembly at Perth, they were only adopted under great pressured and by the vote of the lay nobility.23 In 1621 they were confirmed by Parliament, but were not a whit more acceptable on that account.24 The Perth Assembly appointed a Commission to revise the draft Service-book; but it seems that this was set aside in favour of a new draft which was ready early in 1619,25 and submitted by the Archbishop of S. Andrew’s to the King.

Service-books prepared,



In character it was a cross between the English Prayer Book and Knox’s Book. The features of the former which were unpopular with the Puritans are omitted, but on the other hand some features appear which were retained in the later Scottish Book of 1637, and so found their way into the English Book of 1662. The Morning and Evening Prayer follow the lines of the Prayer Book, but all Versicles and Responses and variable Collects are omitted, except that five Collects are provided for the five ‘Commemoration’ days recognised by the Church corresponding to Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, Ascension Day, and Whitsunday. Special features were provided for Sundays, drawn largely from The Book of Common Order. The service of Baptism is the English Order altered on Puritan lines. The Confirmation service contains the Catechism drawn up by order of the Aberdeen Assembly in 1616. The Communion Order consists of a long exhortation and prayers, with the English. acts of Consecration and Administration, with rubrics for the manual acts. Then follow the Marriage Service, Visitation Order (with the English exhortation to confession and form of absolution), and lastly a general direction as to Burial. It was revised, with the assistance of Young, Dean of Winchester, and then returned to Archbishop Spottiswoode, in whose hands it lay dormant for some time,26 owing to the disturbed state of Scottish feeling, consequent upon the King’s action in forcing the Canons upon the Kirk.

but not used.



An Ordinal was adopted in 1620, based on the then English Ordinal, but only recognising two ordersBishops and Ministers.27 But in the following. year, when Parliament accepted the Articles, a promise was given that there should be no further innovation, and the liturgical movement was stayed.
The Ordinal.

The project, however, was revived early in the next reign. Negotiations began in 1629 between Maxwell (on behalf of the Scottish Bishops) and Laud as to a new Book. Maxwell had, at the King’s request, brought a copy of the draft-book with him from Scotland. This did not commend itself to Laud, who wished the Scots to have the English Book; but Maxwell maintained that they would be much more likely to accept a book of their own.28

Four years later, when Charles visited Scotland, an was crowned at Edinburgh, the English customs were used. Gold and blue copes and a crucifix alarmed the Scottish mind, but there was more fighting over the surplice. The King, however, was unmoved and ordered the use of the English Book in the Royal chapel, with the Communion ministered every month in copes, with kneeling at reception enforced. Similar orders were directed to the Bishops and the University of S. Andrew’s.29 But, meanwhile, as a compromise between the conflicting desires for the Scottish draft-book of 1619 and the English book, the Bishops were instructed to draw up a new book, with the help of Laud, Wren, and Juxon.30 The work was done in the main by Bishops Maxwell and Wedderburn. Laud threw himself into it when, against his judgment, it was decided on.31 It was to be framed upon the English model ‘as near as can be,’32 and it seems clear that the draft of 1619 was. discarded, and the English Book taken as a basis; but some modifications were adopted to meet the wishes of the Scottish Bishops.

New projects under Charles.
After a new draft emanating from them had been set aside, even though it had been accepted and was in 1635 and 1636 already partly in print, another fresh start was made again on the basis of the English book; some modifications were adopted from a paper of ‘Certain notes to be considered of,’ sent to Archbishop Laud by Wedderburn, while others were rejected. The suggestion that the extracts from Scripture should be printed according to the last translation of the Bible was adopted, and also the proposal ‘that every Prayer, or Office, through the whole Communion, should be named, in the rubric before it, that it may be known to the people what it is.’ Again it was conceded at the Eucharist that the Collect of Consecration and Oblation . . . . and the Lord’s Prayer should be said before the Communion’; but, in spite of a proposal to change, it was decided that the Invitation, Confession, Absolution, Sentences, Prefaces, and Doxology should be set in the same order they stand in the English Liturgy: and that the Prayer of humble access to the Holy Table might stand immediately before participation. Wedderburn’s new Offertory Sentences were incorporated, and at his suggestion a rubric was inserted directing the manual acts in Consecration, which, though designedly omitted from the English Book since 1552, were considered by Laud “the practice of the Church of England.” Further objections seem to have been raised to the keeping of Saints’ days, the Quicunque, and probably the ceremonies of the ring and cross, which were the stock complaints of the enemy, but these met with, less consideration. Fault was also found by Wedderburn with the Scottish Ordinal of 1620,33 that the Order of Deacons was made no more than a lay office, an that ‘in the admission to priesthood’ ‘the very essential words of conferring orders are left out.’34 It was not till October 18, 1636, that it was decided to keep the English formula of ordination: at the same time the objections to the reading of lessons from the Apocrypha and to Saints’ days were finally overruled. The Book both reached its final form and also was authorized by Royal warrant on October 18, 1636; it was then promulgated by Act of the Scottish Privy Council and by Royal Proclamation on December 20. It was not likely to win the Scots’ approval. Not only did the new book prove ultimately to be merely a revision of the disliked English Book, and that too in the opposite direction to that which the Scots would have wished, but the whole matter was grossly mismanaged by the Scottish Bishops, in spite of Laud’s repeated warnings. The Book of Canons ordering the Book was allowed to appear before the Book and prepare for it a hostile reception. The clergy and the General Assembly were not consulted, and their attitude seems hardly to have been even considered. The book was foredoomed, in spite of its excellence.




Scottish proposals,

in the Communion Office.

The Book sanctioned by King Charles.








When it appeared, the following were seen to be its more prominent characteristics.

In the Kalendar, by the King’s express command, while the ordinary reading of the Apocrypha was given up, the first six chapters of Wisdom, and the 1st, 2nd, 5th, 8th, 35th, and 49th chapters of Ecclesiasticus, were placed among the Lessons to be read for certain Saints’ days: and besides the names of the saints which were in the English Kalendar, some were inserted belonging to the northern part of the Island. Throughout the book, by way of concession to the Scots’ wishes, the words Presbyter, or Presbyter or Minister, or Presbyter or Curate, were used instead of Priest or Minister. In the Office of Baptism, the water in the font was ordered to be changed twice in a month at least; and on the occasion of the first baptism after the water had been changed, the Presbyter or Minister should add these words in the first prayer of the service, ‘Sanctify this fountain of baptism, Thou which art the Sanctifier of all things.’ In the Communion Office, some important changes were made in the expressions, and the arrangement of the prayers was brought more nearly into accordance with the first Book of Edward VI.35

Its variations from the English Prayer Book.
This Book of Common Prayer for Scotland can hardly be said to have been used: it was silenced by a popular tumult, as soon as the attempt was made to introduce it, on the 23rd of July, 1637.36 A new Ordinal is said to have been published in 1636, but no copy of it is known to exist. The Prayer Book itself ends with the Commination. The Psalter had already been printed in 1636.
The Book not used,
The book over which Laud had spent such pains37 was thus a failure: this was due, not to its own fault, but to the circumstances which surrounded its introduction. The pains were not wasted, for a good deal of the amendment introduced into the Scottish Book was afterwards adopted into the English Book in 1662,38 and other good points, which the English Prayer Book has never yet been able to adopt, have found their way by means of the Scottish Liturgy into the Liturgy of the American Church; besides, the tradition of the Book of 1637 is preserved in the present Scottish Liturgy, which may fairly claim to be the best Liturgy in use in the Anglican Communion.39
but not wasted.

From the opening of the Long Parliament at the end of 1640, it was manifest that a time of trouble was coming speedily upon the Church of England; Convocation, Liturgy, and Episcopacy were alike attacked, and after the Lords had attempted to suppress disturbances by commanding that the Prayer Book order should be observed40 (January 16), attempts were made to lessen the hostility of the Puritans against the Prayer Book by introducing some important changes. On the 1st of March, the very day on which Archbishop Laud was sent to the Tower, the House of Lords appointed a committee.41 ‘to take into consideration all innovations in the Church respecting religion.’ Archbishop Laud thus expresses his fears of the result: ‘This committee will meddle with doctrine as well as ceremonies, and will call some divines to them to consider of the business. . . . Upon the whole matter I believe this committee will prove the national synod of England, to the great dishonour of the Church: and what else may follow upon it God knows.’42 A sub-committee was appointed, more readily to prepare matters for discussion; Williams,43 Bishop of Lincoln and Dean of Westminster, presided and summoned other clergy to assist, representing both parties in the Church.44 A memorandum was drawn up by seven of the members for the consideration. of the body,45 divided into three heads, ‘Innovations in doctrine,’ ‘ Innovations in discipline,’ and ‘Considerations upon the Book of Common Prayer.’

Among the ceremonies, or innovations in discipline, which the committee were invited to condemn, the following concern the arrangements of the public service:

In England, Parliamentary action.




Committee of the Lords on Church Reform.

The turning of the holy table altar-wise: Bowing towards it: Setting candlesticks on it: Making canopies over it: Advancing crucifixes and images upon the parafront, or altar-cloth, so-called: Compelling all communicants to come up before the rails, and there to receive: Reading some part of the Morning Prayer at the holy table when there is no Communion: Turning to the East when pronouncing the Creed: Reading the Litany in the midst of the church: Offering bread and wine by the Churchwardens before the consecration of the elements: Having a credentia, or side-table, besides the Lord’s table, for divers uses in the Lord’s Supper: Introducing an offertory before the Communion, distinct from the giving of alms to the poor: Prohibiting a direct prayer be for sermon, and bidding of prayer. Singing the Te Deum cathedral wise: Introducing ‘Latin-Service in the Communion’ at Cambridge and Oxford: Standing up at the hymns, and always at Goria Patri: Carrying children from the baptism to the altar so called there to offer them up to God.

The ‘Considerations upon the Book of Common Prayer,’ propounded the following queries for the consideration of the committee:

Ceremonies proposed to be abolished.
To expunge from the Kalendar the names of some departed saints and others: To set out the reading Psalms, sentences of Scripture, hymns, epistles, and gospels, in the new translation: To mend the rubric, where all vestments in time of Divine service are now commanded which were used 2 Edw. VI. To substitute canonical Scripture for the Apocrypha in the Kalendar: To repeat the Doxology always at the end of the Lord’s Prayer: To read the Lessons and not sing them: Whether Gloria Patri should be repeated at the end of every Psalm: Instead of daily Morning and Evening Prayers, to read them only on Wednesday and Friday Morning, and in the afternoon on Saturday, with holyday eves: To omit the hymns, Benedicite, &c.: In the prayer for the clergy, to alter the phrase, ‘which only worketh great marvels’: To alter the rubric ‘that such as intend to communicate shall signify their names to the curate over night, or in the morning before prayers’: To clear the rubric, how far a minister may repulse a scandalous and notorious sinner from the Communion: To gather the alms when the people depart, instead of before the Communion begin: The confession to be said only by the minister, and then at every clause repeated by the people: Not to print in great letters the words in the form of Consecration, ‘This is my body-This is my blood of the New Testament’: To insert a rubric, touching kneeling at the Communion, that it is to comply in all humility with the prayer which the minister makes when he delivers the elements: Cathedral and collegiate churches to be bound to celebrate the Holy Communion only once in a month: In the first prayer at Baptism, to change the words, ‘didst sanctify the flood of Jordan and all other waters,’ into ‘didst sanctify the element of water’: Whether it be not fit to have some discreet rubric made to take away all scandal, from signing the sign of the cross upon the infants after baptism: or, if it shall seem more expedient to be quite disused, whether this reason should be published, That in ancient Liturgies no cross was Confined [? consigned] upon the party but where oil also was used, and therefore oil being now omitted, so may also that which was, concomitant with it, the sign of the cross: In Private Baptism the rubric mentions that which must not be done, that the minister may dip the child in water being at the point of death: To leave out the words in the rubric of Confirmation, ‘and be undoubtedly saved’: To enlarge the Catechism: To take away the times prohibited for marriage: None to marry without a certificate that they are instructed in their Catechism: To alter the words, ‘with my body I thee worship,’ into ‘I give thee power over my body’ : To mend the rubric, that new-married persons should receive the Communion the same day of their marriage, by adding, ‘or upon the Sunday following, when the Communion is celebrated’: In the Absolution of the Sick, to say, ‘I pronounce thee absolved’: To compose the Psalm of Thanksgiving of women after childbirth out of proper versicles taken from divers Psalms: May not the priest rather read the Communion in the desk, than go up to the pulpit? The rubric in the Commination leaves it doubtful whether the Liturgy may not be read in divers places in the church: To alter the words of Burial, ‘in sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life,’ into ‘knowing assuredly that the dead shall rise again’: In the Litany, to put ‘grievous sins’ for ‘deadly sin.’ To mend the imperfections of the metre in the singing psalms and then to add lawful authority to have them publicly sung before an after sermons, and sometimes instead of the hymns of Morning and Evening Prayer.46

The sub-committee held a week of sittings in March and the matter then went back to the committee, which closed its meetings on April 8. An allusion appears to it a month later, and then the whole question disappeared.

Proposed changes in the Prayer Book.
Meanwhile, motions were entertained in the House of Commons47 which evidently showed that no change in ritual or discipline would pacify opponents who sought the ruin of the Church, and who were rapidly increasing in power. The ‘Protestation’ of May 3 was an attack upon the Church under the specious guise of promise to maintain ‘the true reformed Protestant religion.’48 The purpose however was plain, and under the circumstances the idea of making concessions, suche as those suggested, was laid aside as useless: but it was not forgotten by Nonconformists that such alterations had once been taken into consideration by persons of high name and station in the Church, and many of the objections reappeared in 1662.49 When Parliament reassembled in the autumn, unanimity was at an end: the ecclesiastical question came again to the front, and it was the question of Prayer Book which divided the House of Commons into the two great parties which thenceforward contended to the death. A new iconoclastic campaign similar to those which disgraced the reigns of Edward VI. and Elizabeth was inaugurated, but a resolution against the defamers of the Prayer Book rent the House of Commons asunder; and meanwhile, it found itself in conflict with the Lords, who had already modified its iconoclastic zeal and now reasserted their own previous order of January 16, that the Prayer Book should be strictly observed and its disturbers punished.50 After this the tide set wholly against the Church: the power of the Lords in her favour grew weaker: the bishops were ejected from Parliament51 and imprisoned, and episcopacy was abolished.52
Parliamentary attacks.
In 1643 (June 12) an Ordinance of Parliament summoned the Westminster Assembly, — a body designed as a substitute for Convocation, consisting both of lay members and divines, ‘to be consulted with by the Parliament, for the settling of the government and Liturgy of the Church of England, and for vindicating and clearing of the doctrine of the said Church from false aspersions and interpretations.’53 In the same year (Sept. 25), the Scottish oath, called ‘The Solemn League and Covenant,54 — a deliberate pledge to overturn the, Church — was subscribed by the remnant of the Parliament, and then was imposed upon all civil and military officers, and upon all those of the clergy who had hitherto been allowed to retain their benefices.55 In 1645 (Jan. 3), the day on which the archbishop’s attainder passed the Lords, an Ordinance of Parliament took away the Book of Common Prayer, and established in its stead the ‘Directory for the Public Worship of God in the Three Kingdoms.’56 This was followed: (Aug. 23) by another Ordinance ‘for the more effectual putting in execution the Directory.’57 Henceforth to use the Book of Common Prayer in any ‘public place of worship, or in any private place or family within the kingdom,’ was punishable by a fine of five pounds for the first offence, ten pounds for the second, and for the third by ‘one whole year’s imprisonment without bail or mainprize.’: not to observe the Directory subjected the minister to a fine of forty shillings; while to do or say anything in ‘opposition, derogation, or depraving of the said book,’ might be punished by a fine of five pounds, or fifty pounds, at the discretion of the magistrate.58
The Westminster Assembly summoned.


The Directory substituted for the Prayer Book,


and enforced under penalties.




This history does not require any account of those years of upheaval and violence, during which the voice of the Church of England was silenced, and Presbyterianism, after trying to bring a spiritual despotism into every parish and household, was in its turn obliged to yield to Independency.59 a ‘hydra of many heads.’ Old sects revived, new sects were created, and there ensued a state of distraction and impiety, the natural tendency of which was to break up all minor distinctions, and to divide men into two large classes, one of them anxious to find terms of agreement, in order that religion might not be easily extinguished, and the other indifferent whether any form of religion remained.’60


1 Printed in Gee and Hardy, Documents, LXXXVllI.; Prothero, Statutes, p. 213.

2 Gardiner, Hist. I. 148, note.

3 Cardwell, Conferences, pp. 131 and ff. Frere, Engl. Ch.. V. 292.

4 Doc. Ann. CXVI.; Conferences, p. 148.

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5 Strype, Whitgift, p. 570; and Appendix, XLIV. Cardwell, Conferences, pp. 151 and ff.

6 Frere, English Church, V. 296.

7 Cardwell, Conferences, p. 140. The opposition was soon seen to be very factious and futile. The King in a private letter revealed how much he had enjoyed the discomfiture which awaited the Puritans. ‘We have kept such a revell with the Puritans here this two days as was never heard the like: quhaire I have peppered thaime as soundlie as yee have done the Papists thaire.’ .And a good bit more in a very racy strain; for which see Cardwell. Conf., p. 161.

8 ‘I. Tell me I pray you why some of your combination desired to have the Absolution termed a Remission. N. Because Absolution implyeth forgiving of sins with authority, Remission only by way of declaration; whereof this latter may be permitted to men, but the former is peculiar to God: and therefore you are in this point too much the apes of Popery.’ Fisher’s dialogue, A Defence of the Liturgy, p. 174, written circ, 1610 (see p. 14), but not published till 1630.

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9 See Cardwell , Hist. of Conferences, ‘Letter of Dr. James Mantague, dean of the Chapel Royal,’ pp. 138 and ff.; and ‘The Sum and Substance of the Conference, contracted by Dr. William Barlow, dean of Chester,’ ibid. pp. 167-212.

10 S. P. Dom. vi 18, 25.

11 Cardwell, Conferences, p. 217.

12 See the letters patent, in Cardwell. Also in a proclamation (March 5), the King says, ‘We thought meet, with consent of the bishops and other learned men there present, that some small things might rather be explained than changed; not that the same might not very well have been borne with by men who would have made a reasonable construction of them, but for that in a matter concerning the service of God we were nice, or rather jealous, that the public form thereof should be free not only from blame, but from suspicion, so as neither the common adversary should have advantage to wrest aught therein contained to other sense than the Church of England intendeth, nor any troublesome or ignorant person of this Church be able to take the least occasion of cavil against it: and for that purpose gave forth our cam. mission under our Great Seal of England to the Archbishop of Canterbury and others, according to the form which the laws of this realm in like case prescribe to be used, to make the said explanation, and to cause the whole book of Common Prayer with the same explanations to be newly printed.’ Cardwell, Conferences, p. 227, Gee and Hardy, Doc. LXXXIX. Cp. S. P. Dom. vi. 83.
    In the proclamation of Oct. 24 it was expressly stated that if the state of things ‘deserved a review and amendment,’ the King would proceed according to the laws and customs of this realm, by advice of the Council or Parliament or Convocation. See above, p, 137.

13 Canon LXXX, (1604), ‘ Libri sacri in ecclesiis parandi. Ecclesiarum et capellarum omnium œconomi et inquisitores librum publicarum precum, nuper in paucis explanatum ex auctoritate regia, juxta leges et majestatis suæ hac in parte prærogativam, sumptibus parochianorum comparabunt.’

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14 See the King’s letter, commanding the alterations; Cardwell, Conferences, p. 217.

15 See below, p. 600.

16 See Stephens, MS. Book of Common Prayer for Ireland (ed. Eccl. Hist. Soc. 1849). Introd. pp, xxix, and ff.

17 See p. 112 n.

18 Sprott and Leishman, The Book of Common Order, p. xv.

19 Stephen, Hist. Scot. Ch. II. 202.

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20 Collier, Hist. VII. 709 ; Stephen, II. 219; Gardiner, Hist. III. 221.

21 ‘Hewat’s Form of Prayer,’ printed in Sprott’s Scottish Liturgies of James VI. (Edinburgh, 1871), pp. 119-140.

22 Hall, Rel. Lit. introd. p. xxii.; Sprott, p. xxv.

23 Gardiner, III. 220 and ff. Stephen, II. 223.

24 Gardiner, VII. 274·

25 A copy of this draft of the Prayer-Book for Scotland is in the British Museum: it is printed with a valuable introduction in Sprott, See also Hall, Reliq. Liturg. vol. I. Introd. p. xix,; Stephen, II. 216; Gardiner, VII. 282.

26 It was in 1619 very near to publication, for a license to print it for nineteen years was then granted. Sprott, p. xxxiv.

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27 This very rare book has been reprinted in the Wodrow Miscellany, and by Mr. Forbes in his edition of the Works of Bp. Rattray (Burntisland, 1854), pp. 695-712 (i. 597-615): The forme and maner of ordaining ministers: and consecrating of archbishops and bishops used in the Church of Scotland. Edinburgh, 1620.

28 Laud. History of Troubles, 168, (Works, III. 427), cp. 109 (335) and ff.

29 Collier, VIII. 760, gives the order in full, cp. Stephen, II. 238, Gardiner VII. 385. Sprott, xlvii-xlix.

30 Juxon, Bishop of London, being also Lord Treasurer, was at times too busily occupied to pay the requisite attention; so that the work was left to Laud and Wren. Collier VIII. p. 767, Laud, Works, VI. 456.

31 See the account of the Scottish Prayer Book of 1637, by Dr. Bright, In Blunt, Annotated Prayer Book, p. 580[705. ed. 1884]; Dowden, Annotated Scottish Communion Office, pp. 29 and ff.; Collier, Eccl. Hist. VIII 762.

32 King Charles’s letter to Spottiswoode, Oct. 20, 1634. Sprott, p. xlix., cp. Laud’s note on p. xlvii.

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33 Above, p. 145.

34 See the letter of April 20, 1636, printed in Prynne’s Hidden Works of Darkness brought to Light (1645), p. 152 (Laud, Works, VI. 455), written by Laud to Wedderburn, informing him how many of the notes were allowed, and adding sundry directions from the King. These new alterations superseded those that had been formerly conceded, and were now written, chiefly in presence of the King, on the margin of a 4to English Prayer Book, with the following warrant for their adoption :— ‘ CHARLES R., I give the Archbishop of Canterbury command to make the alterations expressed in this book, and to fit Liturgy for the Church of Scotland And wheresoever they shall differ from another book, signed by us at Hampton Court, September 28, 1634, our pleasure is to have these followed : unless the Archbishop of St. Andrew’s, and his brethren who are upon the place, shall see apparent reason to the contrary. At Whitehall, April 19th, 1636.’ Hall, Reliq. Lit. Introd. pp. xxv. and ff. Sprott, lviii. and ff.

35 For fuller detail, see Bright’s account in Blunt, Annotated P. B. ‘The Booke of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and other parts of Divine Service for the use of the Church of Scotland’ (1637), is reprinted in vol. II. of P. Hall’s Reliquiæ Liturgicæ. Its variations from the English Prayer Book are noted in L’Estrange’s Alliance of Divine Offices, Keeling’s Liturgiæ, and Parker’s First P. B.

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36 Gardiner, VIII. 312. Stephen, II. 250. Seven years afterwards a sort of remembrance of it was issued by the Kirk, at the same time that the Directory was published in England, entitled, ‘The New Booke of Common Prayer, according to the forme of the Kirke of Scotland, our brethren in faith and covenant,’ 1644, with ‘C. R.’ on the title-page. It was a brief abstract of Calvin’s Geneva Prayer Book, derived from Knox’s Book of Common Order. Hall, Fragment. Lit. I. pp. 85-98.

37 This was not the only influence which this archbishop has been supposed to have exercised upon the Book of Common Prayer. He was accused by the Puritans of having caused some changes of words and phrases to be inserted in the editions printed under his supervision, in order to give support to doctrines and practices which were now called popish And the accusation was made so unscrupulously, that it was very generally believed, in spite of the archbishop’s solemn denial, and no withstanding the fact that no such alterations had been made-a fact which was patent to any who might choose to compare the printed books. Mr. Lathbury states, as the result of a comparison of editions fro 1604 to 1642, that the word priest or minister was inserted by the print at his own discretion, or as a matter indifference. Moreover such charges were made at random: Prynne says the same of Cosin, that he had made alterations in our Common Prayer Book, and put priests for ministers. Hist. of Convocation, p. 270. Another charge against Laud was that at was printed for in, in the Epistle for the Sunday before Easter, where the phrase was, ‘in the name of Jesus every knee shall bow’: the Archbishop replied that, if the alteration were purposely made by the printers, they followed the Geneva Bible (1557). The fact was that ‘at’ was printed during the whole of the reign of Charles I., and the practice of bowing at the name of Jesus, which the word was supposed to sanction, had been required by the injunctions of Elizabeth. See Cardwell, Conf. ch. V.

38 E.g. the Manual Acts and the Offertory.

39 E.g. the oblation before Communion and the Epiclesis. For the later history see below, p. 228.

40 Gardiner, IX. 266.

41 The committee consisted of thirty lay peers and ten bishops, to whom later the Bishop of Durham and two more lay peers were added; on March 10, they were empowered to increase their number by calling in such learned divines as they pleased, and Archbishop Ussher, Prideaux, Warde, Twisse, and Hacket were especially named as suitable.

42 Laud, Diary, p. 61; cp. p. 174 (Works, III. 241, 437). Fuller, Ch. Hist. bk. XI. p. 174.

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43 Though Williams for political causes fell in with the Puritans, yet he must be allowed the praise of getting the Prayer Book translated into French and Spanish. See Lathbury, Hist. of Convoc. p. 268.

44 Laud’s History of Troubles, p. 174 (Works, III. 437): they were Drs, Brownrigg, Featly, Racket, Westfield, Burgess, with Messrs. Shute, Calamy, White and Marshall. Cp. Cardwell, Conferences, p. 239; Collier, Eccles. Hist. VIII. 799 ; Gardiner, IX. 298. At the same time other private meetings were held by Williams in which Bp. Sanderson had a part. See Life by I. Walton. This was no doubt on the conservative side: Sanderson like J. Taylor drew up a form of service for use while the P. B. was suppressed. See Jacobson, Fragm. Illustr. 1-40, and Taylor’s Works.

45 Namely, Ussher, WiIliams, Prideaux, Ward, Brownrigg, Featly and Racket. See Selborne, Liturgy of the English Church, p. 37.

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46 A Copy of the Proceedings of some worthy Divines, &c., 1641, printed in Cardwell, Conferences, p. 270. Lathbury, Hist. Convoc. 269.

47 The bill against deans and chapters occasioned a misunderstanding amongst the divines, and broke up the meeting. Collier, VIII. 800.

48 Gee and Hardy, Doc. XCVIII.

49 See e.g. Baxter’s Preface to his Rejoinder to the Bishops in 1661, below, p. 191. And see Selborne, Liturgy of the English Church, 36.

50 Gardiner, X. 14; Collier, VIII. 806; Gee and Hardy, Doc. C—CIII.

51 Gee and Hardy, Doc. CIV.

52 ibid. CV. CVI.

53 Rushworth, Hist. Collection, Part III. Vol. II. p. 337. See Collier, Eccles. Hist. VIII. 823.

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54 Gee and Hardy, Doc. CVII.

55 Hallam, Constit. Hist. II. 224 (164).

56 Collier, VIII. 835. The Ordinance is printed with the Directory in Hall, Rel. Lit. III.

57 Collier, VIII. 838.

58 ‘The Presbyterian State Church proved to be quite as intolerant, and to the majority of the people, less pleasant, than the Episcopalian had been. Assemblies of divines have never been celebrated for practical wisdom, moderation, or charity, and, of all assemblies, that of Westminster, which sat for six years, and held 1163 sittings, showed the least of these qualities." Skeats, Hist. of Free Churches of England, p. 51.

59 Hallam, Constitutional Hist. II. 270 (197).

60 Cardwell, Conferences, p. 244.


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AN abridgment of Calvin’s Form of Service, or rather of Knox’s Book of Common Order, was presented to Parliament, and printed; in 1641, and again in 1643;1 and another adaptation of the same original, somewhat larger than the Middleburgh,2 but much shorter than either that of Calvin or Knox, was presented to the Westminster Assembly, and printed in 1644.3 The parliamentary divines, however, preferred to issue a work of their own composition. They had denounced the Book of Common Prayer as unfit to lead the devotions of the people; but they then suffered a year to pass by before they attempted to substitute anything in its place. Then came the ordination of Elders and Deacons by an Association of Ministers in London and other chief towns; and then the preparation of a Book of service. A committee was appointed to agree upon certain general heads for the direction of the minister in the discharge of his office before the congregation; these, being arranged in London, were sent to Scotland for approbation, and summarily established by Ordinance of Parliament (and denounced by a counter-proclamation from the King) as the Directory for Public Worship. This was not so much a Form of Devotion, as Manual of Directions: the minister being allowed a discretion, either to make the most of what was provided for him in the book, or to use his own abilities to supply what he considered needful.

A few of the variations, more especially directed against preceding usages, were the rejection of the Apocrypha ; the discontinuance of Private Baptism; of godfathers and godmothers; of the sign of the cross; of the wedding ring; and of the administration of the Lord’s Supper to the Sick at home; the removal of the communion-table into the body of the church; with the preference of a sitting or standing to a kneeling posture. All saints’ days were discarded, and all vestments. No service was appointed for the Burial of the Dead: no Creed was recited, nor the Ten Commandments; though these with the Apostles’ Creed were added to the Confession of Faith a year or two afterwards.4

This parliamentarian form of Public Devotion is entitled, A Directory for the Public Worship of God throughout the Three Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland. Together with an Ordinance of Parliament for the taking away of the Book of Common Prayer, and the Establishing and Observing of this present Directory throughout the Kingdom of England and Dominion of Wales.

The Service and Discipline.

The Settled Order.

It commences with a note ‘Of the assembling of the congregation, and their behaviour in the Public Worship of God.’ The minister is to begin with prayer, in a short form, for a blessing on the portion of the Word then to be read. All the Canonical Books are to be read over in order: ordinarily one chapter of each Testament at every meeting. After reading and singing, ‘the minister who is to preach is to endeavour to get his own and his hearers’ hearts to be rightly affected with their sins.’ A long prayer is prescribed before the sermon. Then follows a long note of the manner and matter of preaching. After sermon follows a prayer of thanksgiving. The Lord’s Prayer, as being not only a pattern of prayer, but itself a most comprehensive prayer, is recommended for use in the prayers of the Church.
Reading of Scripture.
The Administration of the Sacraments; and first of Baptism: It is to be administered only by a minister, ‘in the place of Public Worship, and in the face of the congregation, where the people may most conveniently see and hear; and not in the places where fonts in the time of Popery were unfitly and superstitiously placed.’ The child, ‘after notice given to the minister the day before, is to be presented by the father, or (in case of his necessary absence) by some Christian friend in his place.’ ‘Before Baptism, the minister is to use some words of instruction’: that the seed of the faithful have right to Baptism: that they are Christians, and federally holy; before Baptism, and therefore are they baptized: that the inward grace of Baptism is not tied to the amount of its administration; and that it is not so necessary that through the want of it the infant is in danger of damnation, or the parents guilty. ‘ Prayer is to be joined with the word of institution, for sanctifying the water to this spiritual use.’
’The Communion, or Supper of the Lord, is frequently to be celebrated; but how often, may be considered and determined by the ministers and other church-governors of each congregation. ‘We judge it convenient to be done after the morning sermon; ‘It is requisite that public warning be given on the Sabbath-day before the administration.’ Therefore, after the sermon and prayers, follows a short exhortation: then, ‘the table being before decently covered, and so conveniently placed that the communicants may orderly sit about it or at it, the minister is to begin the action with sanctifying and blessing the elements of bread and wine set before him.’ The words of institution are next to be read out of the Evangelists, or 1 Cor. xi. 23-27: then the prayer, thanksgiving, or blessing, offered up to God, ‘to vouchsafe his gracious presence and the effectual working of his Spirit in us; and so to sanctify these elements, both of bread and wine, and to bless his own ordinance, that we may receive by faith the body and blood of Jesus Christ crucified for us, and so feed upon him that he may be one with us, and we with him, that he may live in us, and we in him and to him, who hath loved us, and given himself for us.’ ‘ The elements being now sanctified by the word and prayer, the minister being at the table, is to take the bread in his hand, and say in the expressions (or other the like used by Christ, or his Apostle, upon this occasion) :— According to the holy institution, command, and example of our blessed Saviour Jesus Christ, I take this bread; and having given thanks, I break it, and give it unto you. (There the minister, who is also himself to communicate, is to break the bread and give it to the communicants.) Take ye, eat ye. This is body of Christ, which is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of him. In like manner the minister is to take the cup, and say . . . According to the institution, command, and example of our Lord Jesus Christ, I take this cup and give, it unto you. (Here he giveth it to the communicants.) This cup is the New Testament, in the blood of Christ, which is shed for the remission of the sins of many, drink ye all of it. After all have communicated, the minister may ‘put them in mind of the grace of God in Jesus Christ held forth in this Sacrament’: and he is to give solemn thanks to God.

’The collection for the poor is so to be ordered, that no part of the Public Worship be thereby hindered.’

Then follows a note ‘Of the Sanctification of the Lord’s-day.’

The Lord’s Supper.

’The purpose of marriage between any persons shall be published by the minister three several Sabbath-days in the congregation.’ And the marriage shall be publicly solemnized ‘in the place appointed by authority for Public Worship, before a competent number of credible witnesses, at some convenient hour of the day, at any time of the year, except on a day of public humiliation. And we advise that it be not on the Lord’s-day,’

The manner of marriage is first a prayer, a declaration of the institution, use, and ends thereof, a solemn charge, if they know any cause why they may not lawfully proceed to marriage, to discover it: then ‘the minister shall cause, first, the man to take the woman by the right hand, saying these words: I N. do take thee N. to be my married wife, and do, in the presence of God, and before this congregation, promise and covenant to be a loving and faitful husband unto thee, until God shall separate us by death.’ Then the woman shall take the man by his right hand, and say a like form, adding the word obedient. ‘Then, without any further ceremony, the minister shall . . . pronounce them to be husband and wife according to God’s ordinance; and so conclude the action with prayer.’

A notice is given of instructions ‘Concerning Visitation of the Sick, and suitable topics of exhortation and prayer.’
Visitation of the Sick.
‘Concerning Burial of the Dead,’ all customs of praying, reading, and singing, both in going to and at the grave. are said to have been grossly abused. The simple direction is therefore given, ‘When any person departeth this life, let the dead body, upon the day of burial, be decently attended from the house to the place appointed for public burial, and ‘there immediately interred, without any ceremony.’
Then follow directions ‘Concerning Public Solemn Fasting,’ ‘Concerning the Observation of Days of Public Thanksgiving,’ and ‘Of Singing of Psalms’; concluding with ‘An Appendix touching Days and Places for Public Worship’; in which it is ordered that only the Lord’s-day, and days separated for Public Fasting or Thanksgiving, shall be kept holy; and the old churches are allowed to be used for the following reason: ‘As no place is capable of any holiness under pretence of whatsoever Dedication or Consecration, so neither is it subject to such pollution by any superstition, formerly used and now laid aside, as may render it unlawful or inconvenient for Christians to meet together therein to the Public Worship of God. And therefore we hold it requisite that the places of public assembling for worship among us should be continued and employed to that use.’





Holy Places.

The Parliament, it seems, was not entirely satisfied with its own Directory, and soon found it necessary to publish a supplement for the use of the sailors. This is one of the most singular productions of that extraordinary period. It is called A Supply of Prayer for the Ships that want Ministers to pray with them. ‘A reason of this work’ is prefixed to the book; and it states: ‘Whereas there are thousands of ships which have not ministers with them to guide them in prayer, and therefore either use the old form of Common Prayer, or no prayer at all; the former whereof for many weighty reasons hath been abolished, and the latter is likely to make them rather heathens than Christians: Therefore, to avoid these inconveniences, it has been thought fit to frame some prayers agreeing with the Directory established by Parliament.’ There are certain directions for the use of the form; ‘The company being assembled, they may thus begin with prayer’: a short prayer follows, after which the Lord’s Prayer is to be used, and we have this direction, ‘After this, some psalms and chapters being read out of both Testaments (but none out of those books called Apocrypha), and a psalm being sung, a prayer may follow in this manner.’ Two prayers follow, one being ‘for the Church universal and our united Churches and Kingdoms.’-The latter contains a petition for the King, though at the very time they were making war upon him: ‘We pray thee for all in authority, especially for the King’s Majesty, that God would make him rich in blessings, both in his person and Government, establish his throne in religion, save him from evil counsels and make him a blessed and glorious instrument for the conservation and propagation of the gospel. Next comes a direction, ‘After this prayer a psalm may be sung, and the conclusion may be with a thanksgiving and blessing.’ Then follows ‘a prayer particularly fitted for those that travell upon the seas,’ and ‘a prayer in a storm.’5

Form of prayer for Sailors.

1 ‘The Service, Discipline, and Forme of the Common Prayers and Administration of the Sacraments, used in the English Church of Geneva . . . 1641.’ The 2nd Edition was called, ‘The Reformation of the Discipline and Service of the Church, according to the best Reformed Churches . . . 1643.’ P. Hall’s Reliquiæ Liturgicæ, Vol. III. P. 89.

2 See above, p. 132.

3 ‘The Setled Order of Church-Government, Liturgie, and Discipline, for the rooting out of all Popery, Heresie, and Schisme, cording to the Forme published the Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland, and parallel’d to the best Reformed Protestant Churches in Christendome: and most humbly presented to the learned assembly Divines, now congregated at Westminster, by the authority of both Houses of Parliament, for the Reformation of abuses in the government of the Church . . . 1644.’ P. Hall’s Reliq. Liturg. Vol. I. p. 111.

4 See Hall, Reliq. Liturg. Introd. p. xl. Several editions of the Directory appeared during the years 1644, 1645, and 1646. It is reprinted with the Ordinances of Parliament (Jan. 3, 1644-5, and Aug. 23, 1645) in Reliq. Liturg. Vol. III., and in Clay, Book of Common Prayer Illustrated, Append. IX. X. XI. See also Sprott and Leishman, pp. 283 and ff.

5 Lathbury, Hist. of Convoc. pp. 497 and ff.

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