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England, Church of

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The proper designation of this church since the Act of Union in 1801 is "The United Church of England and Ireland." The Reformed Church of England dates from the 16th century; but it is convenient to treat in this article of the rise of Christianity in England, and of its growth under the protection of the State. (The free churches of England are given under their several titles in this work.)

I. HISTORY.

(I.) Early Period (to the mission of Augustine, A.D. 596).

1. To the Saxon Invasion, A.D. 449. It is generally believed that Christianity was introduced into Britain before the end of the 2d century. Tertullian (t about 220) speaks of places in Britain not reached by the Romans, but yet subject to Christ (Britannorum inaccessa Romanis loca, Christo vero subdita). Eusebius, indeed, declares that some of the apostles preached in Britain (Dem. Evang. 3:7); Stillingfleet (Origines Britannicae, c. 1), Cave (Lives of the Apostles), and others, insist that St. Paul was the founder of British Christianity. Clemens Romanus (A.D. 101) says that Paul went to the limits of the West (το τέρμα τῆς δύσεως, I Epist. ad Cor.); and Theodoret (t 457) says that Paul brought salvation to the isles of the ocean (ταῖς ἐν τῷ πελάγει διακειμέναις νήσοις , in Psalms 116:1-19). But none of these hints amount to proof. Other traditions use the names of St. James, of Simon Zelotes, and of Joseph of Arimathea; asserting that the latter came over A.D. 35, or about the twenty-first year of Tiberius, and died in England. Of all this there is no proof (Fuller, Ch. Hist. of Britain, 1:13; Stillingfleet, Orig. c. 4; Short, Ch. History of England, 1, § 2). Another legend is that an English king, Lucius, sent messengers to Eleutherius (t 192), bishop of Rome, asking for Christian instruction; that the messengers were converted and ordained, one a bishop and the other a teacher; and that on their return king Lucius and his chief men were baptized, and a regular Church order established (Collier, Eccl. History, volume 1, chapter 1; Smith, Religion of Ancient Britain, chapter 5). But it is very doubtful whether there ever was a king Lucius, and the whole story is now generally discredited.

The Gospel having been introduced into Britain, a Christian Church subsisted there, though not always in an equal degree of vigor, till the persecution of Diocletian. It then acquired new strength from the fortitude of its martyrs. Though the names of only three have been recorded (St. Alban, Aaron, and Julius), yet all historians agree that numbers suffered in Britain with the greatest constancy and courage (compare Gildas, § 8; Bede, 1:6, 7). The first martyr is said to have been St. Alban, who lived in the town of Verulam, which had a Roman colony; he had been converted from paganism by a teacher to whom he had afforded protection from the general persecution. Though Constantius, the Roman governor of Britain, had an inclination to favor the Christians, yet it was' not in his power to dispense with the edicts of the emperors, and he complied so far with them as to demolish the churches. Though he died a pagan, yet he granted to the Christians the free exercise of their religion, and protected them from injury or insult. This emperor died at York, and was succeeded by his son Constantine, A.D. 306 (Carwithen, Hist. of Christian Church, chapter 16). The best illustration of the early organization of Christianity in Britain is the fact that three British bishops attended the council at Arles, A.D. 314, the canons of which have among their signers Eborius episcopus, de civitate Eboracensi, provincia Britannia; Restitutus episcopus, de civitate Londinensi, provincia suprascripta; Adelius episcopus, de civitate colonia Londinensium (perhaps Colonia Lindi. i.e., Lincoln); compare Jac. Usserii Brit. eccles. antiq. (London 1687); Bingham, Orig. Eccl. 3:557 sq. British bishops also attended the councils of Sardica (A.D 347) and of Ariminum (A.D. 359).

Little is accurately known of the real state of Christianity in this period. Pelagianism took root in Britain (the native country of Pelagius), and the British bishops called in Germanus and Lupus from Gaul, who refuted Pelagius at the conference of Verulam (A.D. 446). They also founded a cathedral at Llandaff, making Dubricius bishop, with extensive jurisdiction. The monastery of Banchor (Bangor), near Chester, was founded at about the same time.

2. From the Saxon Invasion,449, to the Invasion of Augustine, 596. Hengist and Horsa, retained by Vortigern, A.D. 449, to aid him with 5000 men in expelling the Scots and Picts from Britain, remained in the island as conquerors. The greater part of Britain was again plunged into barbarism, and Christianity kept its ground only in Wales and Cornwall. (Its history in Ireland and Scotland is given in separate articles.) The patron saint of Wales, St. David (6th century), is said to have been consecrated a bishop at Jerusalem; he held a synod against Pelagianism at Brevy, and became archbishop of Caerleon (See DAVID, ST). In Cornwall the British rites and usages were preserved until near the end of the 7th century. Iona, where Columba (q.v.) established his foundations about 565, was a center of light not only for Scotland, but also for north Britain (See IONA).

(II.) Middle Age: Era of Submission to the Papacy (6th to 16th century). Up to the 6th century British Christianity had been independent of Rome. But at that time Gregory the Great determined to seek the conversion of the English Saxons to Christianity. Ethelbert, king of Kent, had married. a Christian wife, Bertha, daughter of Charibert, king of the Franks. She induced her husband to favor Christianity, and thus prepared the way for the mission of Augustine (sent by Gregory), who, with a number of monks, landed in 596. They converted Ethelbert, who was not only king of Kent, but Braetwalda, or chief of the Saxon monarchs. His example was soon followed by the kings of Essex and East Anglia, and gradually by the other chieftains of England. It is said that 10,000 English were baptized within the year of Augustine's arrival. In 597 Augustine went over to Aries, in France, where he was consecrated by bishop Virgilius, and on his return he became the first bishop of Canterbury. His see was immediately endowed by king Ethelbert, who likewise established the dioceses of Rochester and London. Another portion of the Anglo-Saxons were converted by Aidan and other Scottish missionaries. But the ecclesiastical system set up by the Roman missionaries was entirely of the Roman type, which differed from that of the Irish and of the old British Church in various points, e.g. the reckoning of Easter, the clerical tonsure, chrism, etc. More important were the questions of the marriage of the clergy and of the papal jurisdiction. Wherever the Romish influence prevailed, the Roman view, of course, was adopted. But Scottish and Irish missionaries were also at work in the kingdom, and up to the 7th century the converts of the latter were probably in the majority. In 664, king Oswy of Northumberland held a conference at Whitby, where Colman (q.v.) of Lindisfarne maintained the old British and Irish views, and Wilfrid (q.v.) took the Roman side. The king was persuaded by Wilfrid (or perhaps by his queen, who was a Romanist), and went over to the Roman party. Colman and all his clergy then went to Ireland. In 668 the pope sent over Theodore to be primate of England, and under his administration (668-689) the Roman and British Christians (what remained of them) were fused into one body. (See THEODORE).

But for many ages we hear little of any exercise of jurisdiction,by the popes in England: the English bishops and kings did not permit appeals to Rome. When Wilfrid, bishop of York, appealed, A.D. 680, against an English synod which had deposed him from his diocese, and obtained a decree in his favor from the pope, that decree was disregarded in England, even Theodore himself refusing to obey it. From this period England was in formal connection with the see of Rome up to the time of the Reformation. A few great names shine amid the general gloom, e.g. Bede (t 735), Alcuin (t 804), king Alfred (t 900). The Anglo-Saxon Church, from the time of Alfred, grew more and more Romish. "At length, from the time of Gregory VII (A.D. 1073), the papal jurisdiction was pushed into England, as it was into other countries; legates made frequent visits, held councils, exacted subsidies. Appeals, dispensations, mandates, reserves, annates, bulls, and all the other inconveniences of papal usurpation, followed each other in rapid succession; and for four centuries no country in Europe suffered more, and with greater reluctance, than England. But the popes and the kings of England had, after much disputation, made their agreement, and the Church was their prey" (Palmer, Ch. History, chapter 22).

The Norman Conquest took place A.D. 1066. From this period, for several centuries, the history of England is full of struggles between the ecclesiastical and royal power for supremacy. William the Conqueror refused to acknowledge the pope as his feudal superior, and declared his right to retain in his own hand the investiture of bishops and abbots which the early Saxon kings had possessed. He prohibited the publishing of papal bulls and letters of advice till they had been submitted to and approved of by him; and, further, he deprived the clergy of the right of excommunicating any of his nobles except with his express permission. On the other hand, "he confirmed by charter a law of Edward the Confessor, granting to the clergy tithe of cattle and profits, in addition to the ancient tithe of produce," and committed a still greater error in establishing ecclesiastical courts, to which alone clerical persons were thenceforth to be amenable. The "spiritual courts" became an enormous power in supporting the Roman domination. In 1076 celibacy was first made imperative on the English clergy. "Under Henry Beauclere a synod met at Westminster, 1102, which passed various reforming measures, the nature of which attests the existing depravity and degradation of the Church. This synod prohibited simony, and the pope ruled that lay investiture was simony, and on this question a rupture between the pope and the king soon occurred. After a struggle to maintain the rights of investiture, which he had received with the crown, Henry felt himself compelled to relinquish them to the pope, and only got permission from the pope for bishops to do homage to him, if they chose, without being on that account removed from their sees.

None of the proposed measures of reform accomplished any result. The morals of the clergy were thoroughly relaxed; murder by a person in holy orders was quite a usual occurrence; against such offenders there was no resort to common law, and ecclesiastical courts rarely interfered with them. A case of this kind gave rise to the protracted struggle between Thomas a Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, on the side of the pope, and Henry II for himself and people" (Eadie, Cyclopaedia, s.v. The "Constitutions of Clarendon" (See CLARENDON) were intended to secure the rights of the civil against the ecclesiastical power; but the resistance of Becket (q.v.), his murder, and the repentant fears of the king, caused their speedy revocation in all the points to which the pope objected. "It was not, however, till the reign of John, when England was laid under an interdict, and the king resigned his crown to the pope, that the papal encroachments rose to their height; and the weak reign of Henry III, which followed, did nothing to abate them. Edward I gave a check to the power of the clergy, subjected them to taxation, and passed the statute of mort main (1279), which prohibited the transfer of land without the king's consent. There is little to be said as to innovations in doctrine during these three centuries; but it may be noted that about the middle of this period, viz. 1213, the Council of St. John Lateran declared transubstantiation, or the bodily presence of Christ in the consecrated elements, to be a tenet of the Church" (Chambers, s.v.). In 1350 the important statute of Provisors was passed. It was provoked by the fact that most of the valuable English benefices were reserved to the pope or to alien clergy, and it provided that the pope should confer no English benefice on any one without consent of the king. The statute of Praemunire (1389; enlarged 1393) forbade any interference of the Church with the statute of Provisors, and also all appeals from English civil courts to the pope. The statute of Mort main (in Magna Charta), and the various amendments and additions to it, all aimed to prevent the accumulation of property in the Church. (See MORTMAIN).

In the reign of Henry II certain German Church reformers found their way to England probably Waldensian Christians; and, though they were bitterly persecuted, all the good seed did not perish. In 1327 John Wycliffe was born. As rector of Lutterworth he preached until his death against the supremacy of the pope, the abuses of the hierarchy, and the Romish doctrine of the sacraments. In 1377 he was arrested for heresy, but no harm came to him. His translation of the Scriptures, and other writings, made a great impression upon the more educated classes, but his labors had little effect upon the mass of the people. After his death more fruit appeared; and by 1400 his followers were numerous enough to form a party and to get the designation of Lollards (q.v.), and for a century persecution for Lollardism was common in England. "Henry IV thought it necessary to fortify his usurped position by assisting the bishops against the Lollards, and from this time to the Reformation there was an uninterrupted succession of confessors and martyrs. Sir John Oldcastle, lord Cobham, was the most illustrious of these sufferers. Fox gives a detailed account of nearly twenty individuals burned for heresy between the death of lord Cobham and 1509, when Henry VIII ascended the throne. To some extent, the blood of these martyrs was the seed of the Reformed Church; but we must not overlook the 'hidden seed,' which was growing secretly from the time that Wycliffe gave to is countrymen a translation of the Scriptures in their own tongue. The progress of learning, and especially the study of Greek, led to a better understanding of the sacred books, whilst the invention of printing (1442) caused a wider circulation of them" (Chambers, s.v.). (See WYCLIFFE); (See LOLLARDS).

(III.) From the Reformation to the present Time. The Church of Rome, however, was to all outward appearance fairly established in England at the time of the accession of Henry VIII in 1509 (See HENRY VIII), and his minister, cardinal Wolsey, maintained the splendor of the Church to a degree unexampled in England. Nevertheless, the great edifice was already undermined. In view of the facts cited in the last paragraph, it is absurd to say, as Roman writers do, that the source of the English Reformation is to be found in the vices of Henry VIII. However, it was not till the reign of that monarch that the Reformation in England in reality commenced. When Luther declared war against the pope, Henry wrote his treatise on the seven sacraments against Luther's book, Of the Captivity of Babylon, and was repaid by the pontiff with the title of "Defender of the Faith" (1521). The king had married his brother's widow, Catharine of Aragon, and was weary of her. Wolsey at first favored a divorce, "to revenge himself on Charles V for having disappointed him of the papacy; but after the king began to look with favor on Anne Boleyn, one of a house from whom Wolsey had everything to fear, he adopted a covert policy of opposition to the divorce he had suggested. When at last he was pressed on every side, with no open way before him, and his own ruin imminent, his course became tortuous, and was marked by a constant endeavor to protract the proceedings, and delay any sentence being pronounced on this question by the pope. The issue was, in consequence of the advice of Cranmer, an appeal to the universities, and to the learned men of Christendom; for their opinion on this point, which was given in favor, for the most part, of Henry. The disgrace of Wolsey followed thereon. (See WOLSEY).

Henry's quarrel with the pope daily became more palpable Convocation was summoned in 1531, and charged with breaking the statutes of provisors and praemnunire. They humbly offered to pay a fine. The first step towards a schism was made by this Convocation, but it was under the pressure of the court. They proclaimed the king of England only and supreme lord, and, as far as the law of Christ permits, even the supreme head of the Church of England." In 1533, on the elevation of Cranmer to the see of Canterbury, he pronounced sentence of divorce between Henry VIII and Catharine; and the marriage of Anne Boleyn to Henry was publicly notified. The pope declared this illegal, and threatened, unless these doings were undone, that he would pronounce excommunication on Henry. To prevent any such proceedings affecting the stability of his throne and his succession, in the following year Henry caused Parliament to abolish all papal authority in England, and to stop all payments to the Roman exchequer. After this came, under Thomas Cromwell, acting as vice-regent, a blow upon popish power in England from which it never recovered-namely, first a visitation, and then, as a consequence, the suppression of the monasteries, because 'they had long and notoriously been guilty of vicious and abominable living.' Among the bishops there were two parties; one whose sympathies were with the pope, the other with reform; to the former belonged Bonner and Gardiner, to the latter Cranmer and Latimer. But it was necessary to have some authoritative declaration of what the Church of England held since it had rejected the pope; and hence, in 1536, the king, as head of the Church, issued a proclamation on this subject, and in 1539 Parliament passed an act for establishing the Creed, under the rather characteristic title, 'An act for abolishing diversity of opinions.' By this the doctrine of transubstantiation was taught, and the penalty of death by burning was attached to the denial of it. All who stood out for 'the necessity of the communion in both kinds, or for the marriage of priests, or against the observance of vows of chastity, or the propriety of private masses, or the fitness of auricular confession; all priests who shall marry after having advisedly made vows of chastity, shall suffer the pains of death as felons; and all those who maintain the same errors under any other manner may be imprisoned during the king's pleasure'" (Mackintosh). Henry felt compelled to go on and increase the 'distance which separated him from Rome.

There was in the Church a powerful party (Cranmer, Latimer, and many others of less note) that were of progressive tendencies, and to this party Thomas Cromwell, during his continuance in power, lent all his influence. His favor shown to the Protestant cause was one ground of his fall. About this time, too, several editions of the English Bible were printed and circulated with the permission of Henry. They were based upon Coverdale's translation. To Cranmer and Cromwell the permission to circulate them is due, and the command to place them in the cathedrals for public use, and for ministers to instruct their people in them. But the tide of political power now turned in favor of the Romanist party, and these permissions were withdrawn: the Bible became again for a time a prohibited book, and many who had received enlightened views of truth suffered bitter persecution. "In 1540 Cranmer persuaded Henry to appoint a commission, of which he was made a member, to draw up a formal confession. This appeared under the title, The Erudition of a Christian Man. It indicates some progress, since it only recommends prayers for the dead as 'good and charitable; and because it is not known what condition departed souls are in, we ought only to recommend them to the mercy of God.' It affirms justification by faith, though it modifies this declaration so far as to add, 'Yet man, prevented by grace, is by his free consent and obedience a worker toward the attaining of his own justification.' It forbids the worship of images, though it allows their use to excite devotional feeling. It altered some minor matters also in the service. Such was the character of the Church of England's first confession. The Reformers were gaining strength, and under Edward VI and the Protector Somerset their triumph was undoubted. Thirty commissioners were sent through the country to abolish superstitious practices. Cranmer drew up twelve homilies, which were appointed to be read in the churches where the ministers could, not preach. This was one of the provisions made for the diffusion of sound religious knowledge. This step, and the sermons themselves, elicited the unqualified approbation of the Continental Reformers. Cranmer wrote also a catechism, which was generally circulated. Such theologians as Bucer and Peter Martyr were invited to come and lecture in the English universities; and the most strenuous exertions were made to provide preaching; 'one sermon every quarter of the year at least' in every church being imperative. But such was the state of the Romish clergy that even this much they could hardly accomplish. In 1547 Parliament repealed the various persecuting acts of Henry VIII and earlier reigns, leveled against the new opinions, as they are often called. As Convocation was inclined in favor of the Romish party, Parliament assumed to itself the task of reforming the Church. It passed that year acts 'concerning the sacrament,' ordaining 'the communion to be received in both kinds,' forbidding the priest to communicate alone, and requiring him to prepare the people for worthily communicating by an exhortation on the day preceding its celebration. In 1548 there was a commission appointed for the revision of the offices of public worship. One of its first fruits was a new communion service. Confession was no longer made imperative. At the same time a new liturgy was compiled. At the end of it occurs the petition 'From the tyranny of the bishop of Rome and all his detestable enormities, good Lord, deliver us.' (See COMMON PRAYER). In 1551 a farther series of emendations was made in the Prayer- book: in it very few alterations have since been introduced. The same year the Articles, then forty-two in number, were published. (See ARTICLES, THIRTY-NINE).

The commission appointed in 1552 to prepare a canon law, in consequence of the death of Edward, was discontinued before its work was done. Under his reign the progress of reformation had been rapid, but it was to be sorely tried. Mary ascended the throne (1553) and re-established Romanism. Bonner and Gardiner were restored; the Book of Common Prayer and Catechism were declared heretical; the kingdom was reconciled to the see of Rome; a persecution of the chief reformers commenced Rogers was burned at Smithfield, Hooper at Gloucester, Saunders at Coventry, Taylor at Hadley. The prisons were filled with 'heretics;' many fled beyond sea; some purchased safety by an outward conformity. Cranmer, Latimer, and Ridley perished in the flames at Oxford. Cardinal Pole was made primate. One benefit was conferred on the Church by Mary she surrendered all the Church lands, as well as the first-fruits and tenths, which had been seized by Henry. At last the death of Mary (1558), with which that of the cardinal was all but simultaneous, delivered the Church from its oppressors. Under Elizabeth (1558-1603) Protestantism was again in the ascendant; and by the various measures which were taken, the Reformation in England was completed. The Convocation of 1562, besides drawing up the Thirty-nine Articles, published two volumes of homilies by Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer, and caused Nowell, dean of St. Paul's, to draw up a catechism for general use. (See NOWELL). "About this time the more extreme reforming party began to appear (See PURITANS), and to exert their influence specially in all the questions which arose about the various ceremonies of the Church. Elizabeth's extreme jealousy of her supreme authority often obstructed the plans for reform which the more zealous clergy contrived a jealousy which brought her into collision with the primate himself, as on the subject of 'the prophesyings.' The works of the great Continental divines, as Calvin and Bullinger, were studied in England; and the great standard work of Richard Hooker on Ecclesiastical Polity which may be styled the apology of the Church of England was published 1594-97.

"When James ascended the throne, both the Puritans and the Church party calculated on having his support. The Puritans hastened to present to him the famous Millenary Petition, which embodied a statement of those things in the Church which they desired to see amended. This elicited from the universities a counter-petition, and James held a conference with both parties at Hampton Court (q.v.), January 1604. It resulted in no good to the Puritans, for king James now thought Episcopacy was most conformable to monarchy, and the reply to their arguments he pithily put in the form 'No bishop, no king.' One advantage which ensued from this conference was the revision of the translation of the Bible, instituted at the suggestion of the leader of the Puritans, and the result was the present authorized version. During the, reign of James the famous Synod of Dort met, and four English divines were sent thither by James. (See DORT, SYNOD OF). Henceforward the Calvinistic party in the Church of England began to decline, and king James himself turned against it. James first issued the Book of Sports in 1618, and offended very many, because he thereby legally sanctioned certain amusements on the Sabbath day. Under Charles it was republished in 1663, the declaration affirming that it was done 'out of a pious care for the service of God... . and the ease, comfort, and recreation of our well-deserving people.' It was received with manifest disgust, and many of the clergy refused to obey the ordinance requiring its publication in the churches. In 1644 the House of Commons caused it to be burnt by the hangman. (See SPORTS, BOOK OF)." Under Charles, the High-Church party, with Laud at their head, rose to the highest power. The court of High Commission and the Star Chamber never had more constant employment, and their hateful tyranny most thoroughly roused the people. The severity of Laud occasioned the greatest discontent; and the Puritan party, as they could not maintain themselves in the Church, began to found special lectureships; but, on Laud's advice, the king issued instructions to the bishops to suppress all such. Forbearance at last came to an end. Then came the great rebellion and civil war, which led to the putting down of Episcopacy, and the establishment of Presbyterianism on the basis of the Westminster Confession, though afterwards Independency took the lead. Laud was condemned the day after the House of Commons established Presbyterianism, and executed January 10, 1645.

"With the restoration of Charles II occurred the restoration of Episcopacy in England. The Sunday after his return heard the liturgy read in almost every parish church. The Puritans, who are henceforward known as Presbyterians (q.v.), having greatly contributed to the restoration, were treated at first by Charles with kindness, and several of their number were offered high ecclesiastical preferments. In 1661 the famous Savoy Conference (q.v.) met, with Baxter as leader of the Presbyterian party, and Sheldon as that of the bishops, to try, if possible, to unite both sides. As might have been expected, the plan failed. In 1662 the Act of Uniformity was passed; and, rather than take the test it prescribed, 2000 Puritan clergy left the Church of England. Then, in quick succession, followed those persecuting acts, the Corporation, Conventicle, and Five-miles Acts. Still further grievances were inflicted by the Test Act of 1672. Next arose another school of divines 'Christian philosophers rather than divines.' Their lives were moral, but they eviscerated the Gospel of all that was characteristic of it. When a plan for 'comprehension' was revived in 1668, the House of Commons prohibited such a measure being introduced. When James, duke of York, professed Roman Catholicism, Charles at once proclaimed complete toleration. This was in 1672; but the Commons the year following compelled him to withdraw his indulgence. Popery they were determined to resist. When James came into power he proclaimed similar indulgences, and forbade preaching against Romanist errors; nay, in defiance of the enactment of 1651, he re-created the court of High Commission. These measures the clergy resisted. In consequence of his resistance, the bishop of London was suspended for a time. The University of Cambridge came into collision with the king, and also Magdalen College, Oxford. Rather than do what might advantage Rome, the Nonconformists did not avail themselves of the royal indulgence. But James renewed his declaration, and commanded that it should be published in the churches. Eighteen out of twenty-five bishops refused to do so, and nearly all the clergy. The bishops were commanded to cite the recusants, but they refused. Seven of them Sancroft, Lloyd, Ken, Turner, Lake, White, and Trelawney even drew up a remonstance, and, as a consequence, were sent to the Tower. Their committal to it had rather the appearance of a triumphal entry, from the enthusiasm displayed by the people on their behalf. They were tried at Westminster Hall, and the news of their acquittal was received with rapturous delight on all hands, for all felt that they were committed to a struggle against an insidious attempt to restore Popery. The royal career of James was now ending, and his further schemes were not developed, for that very year the Prince of Orange landed (5th of November, 1688). One of William's first acts was the passing of a toleration bill in 1689; but an act of comprehension was rejected in the Commons. In September of that year a commission was appointed to revise the liturgy and canons, and reform ecclesiastical abuses; but all their proposals were rejected by Convocation. Three of the seven bishops mentioned above refused the oath of allegiance to William and Mary. They headed the party known as the Nonjurors, which ceased to exist as an independent Episcopalian Church in 1780; but many of them became attached to the Scottish Episcopalians" (Chambers, s.v.). (See NONJURORS).

During the period just described a school of divines was formed who, in seeking to avoid Puritanism on the one hand, and Romanism on the other, became Latitudinarians. "They became Christian philosophers rather than divines; and, except an occasional dissertation on the Trinity or a Whitsunday sermon, in which the work of the Holy Spirit was carefully guarded against fanatical abuses, they scarcely interfered with matters of Christian doctrine. Still they were men of blameless lives, and in a slothful age remarkable for pastoral diligence. Amongst the leaders were Whitchcote, Cudworth, Wilkins, and Worthington; some of these were known to be men of eminent piety, but it was more apparent in their lives (and, since their deaths, by their private diaries) than in their preaching. They were equally afraid of superstition on the one hand, and enthusiasm on the other. They loved the constitution of the Church, and were well satisfied. with the liturgy; but they did not think all other forms unlawful. They wished to see a spirit of greater moderation. They continued on good terms with Nonconformists, and allowed great freedoms, not only in philosophical speculations, but in religion; and the boldness of their inquiries into the reasonableness, rather than the scriptural warrant of the truths of religion, led them to be regarded as Socinians. They were all zealous against Popery; and the Papists cried them down, in return, as Atheists, Deists, or, at best, Socinians, and men of no principles at all. In the society of these men, Tillotson, Patrick, Lloyd, and Stillingfleet were trained the greatest divines of the next generation, but still with the faults of the school in which they had been educated. They received, and long bore, the title of the Latitudinarian divines; and, in the sense in which we have explained it, the charge was just. They attempted a divorce between evangelical doctrine and Christian practice. The former they at first neglected, and at length lost out of sight; the latter they displayed with admirable clearness, and, if any other principles than those of the Gospel could possibly have enforced it, they would not have so completely failed. But the founders of the school made no deep impression in the days of Charles II, and their still more gifted pupils saw religion in the Church of England almost expiring in spite of all their efforts" (Marsden, Churches and Sects, 1:286). "In 1698 the Church of England gave birth to two noble philanthropic schemes the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, which circulates Bibles, Prayer-books, and Tracts; and in 1701 the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts was chartered." In 1747 Convocation was dissolved. (See CONVOCATION).

"That the Church of England, after fighting for its very existence against Popery on the one hand, and against Puritanism on the other, should have subsided into inactivity during the dull reigns of the Georges, is less a matter of surprise than of regret. The peaceful enjoyment of her temporalities in a dull, irreligious, not to say infidel age, may easily account for, though it cannot excuse, her idleness. But that in the rise of John Wesley, 1730, she should have failed to see a grand opportunity for herself, is a matter of both surprise and regret; she, however, let it pass; nor can she hope that such another will ever again present itself. (See METHODISM); (See WESLEY). The utmost that can be hoped is that she has seen her error.

"The next important event in the history of the Church is the Act of Union, which came into effect on the 1st of January, 1801, and united the churches of England and Ireland in all matters of doctrine, worship, and discipline. The Reformation had made some progress in Ireland under Edward VI. Five Protestant bishops were appointed in 1560, and the English Bible and Liturgy were introduced in 1551; but, from a variety of causes, the Reformed doctrines have never found much acceptance with the native population, and, although a Protestant Church was established by law, it was and is the Church of the minority. (See IRELAND). In 1635 the English Articles were received. and in 1662 the English Book of Common Prayer was adopted by Convocation. Before the political union of the countries, the two churches were in full communion. By an act of the imperial Parliament in 1833, ten of the Irish bishoprics were suppressed, and the funds thus obtained were applied to the augmentation of small livings, and the building and repair of churches" (Chambers, Cyclopcedia, s.v.). It is now proposed (1868) to "disestablish" the Episcopal Church in Ireland, and the proposal will doubtless be carried into effect. '

In the progress of the 19th century great changes have passed over the Church of England. The formation of the Church Missionary Society (See MISSIONARY SOCIETIES), of the Bible Society, etc., and especially the influence of Methodism, awakened the long dormant spirit of aggressive Christianity. Since 1800 more than 300C churches have been erected. About 1830 several earnest young men in the University of Oxford gave signs of profound theological study, and of deep interest in Church questions. In reaction, perhaps, from the latitudinarianism of the 18th century, their studies lay chiefly in the fathers and mediaeval writers, and in 1833 they began the publication of the Oxford tracts, calling for a revival of obsolete usages, and bringing up again Romanist or quasi-Romanist views in theology. A brief history of this movement is given under PUSEYISM (See PUSEYISM) ; it must suffice to say here that many young clergymen, as the result ofthe movement, went over to Rome; and those of the school who remained gave rise to the modern RITUALISM (See RITUALISM) (q.v.), which tends to import the spirit, doctrines, and practices of the Church of Rome into the Church of England. In the autumn of 1867 a conference of bishops of the Church of England, and of the churches in communion with the English, was held at Lambeth. The chief object of this synod was to promote a closer union between all branches of the Anglican Church. A resolution censuring bishop Colenso, of Natal, for his deviation from the doctrine of the Church, was adopted by all save three votes. The pastoral letter, signed by the bishops, warned the people against Romanizing tendencies, but made no reference to controversies within the Church. A Greek translation of the pastoral letter was officially transmitted by the archbishop of Canterbury to all the patriarchs and bishops of the Greek Church. (See PAN-ANGLICAN SYNOD).

In order to promote the interest of intelligent laymen in the affairs of the Church, a "Church Congress" was called in 1860, which from that time has held annual sessions. (See CHURCH CONGRESS). Several attempts were made by the High-Church party to introduce monastic institutions. Thus the Reverend Mr. Lyne, assuming the name of father Ignatius, endeavored to establish an Anglican branch of the Benedictine order, but the first monastery of the order at Norwich had, after a trial of a few years, to be abandoned. At Bristol a community of the Third Order of St. Benedict was organized. The Reverend Mr. Mackonochie, in 1867, established a Society of the Holy Cross, of which he was the first master. But thus far (1868) all these attempts have met with but little success. (See MONASTICISM). The High-Church party exhibited a great desire to bring on a closer union with the Eastern churches. A special society, the Eastern Church Association (see below, Statistics), was established to promote the cause, and the Convocations of Canterbury and York gave their official approval of the scheme. (See EASTERN CHURCHES, GREEK CHURCH, AND PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH). Official communications for the same purpose were also opened with the Church of Sweden, but this step was strenuously opposed by one portion of the High-Church party on the ground that the Swedish Church held some heretical doctrines.

II. CONSTITUTION AND GOVERNMENT.

1. Church and State. The constitution of the Reformed Church of England is that "of an authorized and paid establishment, which is not allowed to persecute those who dissent from it" (Short). The union of Church and State was completely secured by the statutes that followed the Reformation up to the Revolution of 1688. The English Church constitution remained nearly unchanged by the Reformation, only that the crown took the place of the pope. The course of subsequent legislation brought in, however, many important modifications of detail. The old statutes, though rarely enforced, were still law, excepting when expressly abrogated. One of the most important of these was the Prnmunire (see above). The statute 25 of Henry VIII (1534), chapter 21, declares entire independence of Rome, and calls the king supreme hede of the Church of England, according to the recognition of its prelate: and clergy. This statute abolishes Peter's pence, and provides for the visitation of monasteries by royal commission.

During the reign of Mary Popery was restored, but all the statutes to that effect were repealed by stat. 1 of Elizabeth (1558-9), which transfers the headship of the Church from the pope to the English crown, and declares the royal supremacy perpetual. Every form of spiritual and ecclesiastical jurisdiction and prerogative is included in the declaration. The crown can exercise this authority through such officers as it may select, provided they be British subjects appointed by letters-patent. The act prescribes the oath of supremacy, to be taken by all civil and spiritual officers. (See OATH OF SUPREMACY). The Act of Uniformity (1559) restored the Common Prayer, and required the clergy to conform strictly to it. The statute 13 Eliz. c. 11 (1571), incorporated the 39 articles which had been agreed upon by the Convocation of 1562 into the law of the land. This act, with the laws of supremacy and uniformity, and the articles, settled the government, the worship, and the doctrines of the Church. The queen, though subject to the Church order and doctrines, was invested with full power to govern the Church, and to fill the highest ecclesiastical offices. Church and State were fused together, for all citizens of the State were made members of the Church; the officers of the Church were officers of the State, and the head of the State was made head of the Church. The Revolution made several changes in the constitution of the Church. By stat. 1 William and Mary chapter 6 (April, 1689), the coronation oath was modified. In it the king swore not merely to govern according to the old laws and customs, but also to maintain the laws of God and the true confession of the Gospel, and of the Protestant Reformed religion as by law established; and to "present ye unto the bishops and clergy of this realm, and to the churches committed to their charge, all such rights and privileges as by law do or shall appertain unto them." The 8th chapter substituted a new form of the oath of allegiance, in which the recognition of the king's ecclesiastical supremacy is left out, and in its place stands a promise to obey the king truly; with an anathema of the impious doctrine that princes excommunicated by the pope should be deposed and executed, and that a foreign potentate can have ecclesiastical authority within the realm. The same statute (chapter 18) removed some penalties from Dissenters, and made them eligible to office, provided they took the oath of allegiance personally, or by proxy, in case of conscientious objection to taking the especial oaths of office. During the present century a number of acts have been passed annulling disabilities of Papists and Dissenters; and it is now the case that Dissenters and Romanists have religious freedom, are eligible to civil office, and are admitted to Parliament.

2. Government.

(1.) The king is the supreme head of the Church on earth, at least in name and form. Formerly the clergy made the following subscription: "That the king's (queen's) majesty, under God, is the only supreme governor of this realm, and of all other his highness's dominions and countries, as well in all spiritual or ecclesiastical things or causes as temporal," etc.; but by an act of Parliament of July 5, 1865 (28th and 29th Vict. cap. 122), persons to be ordained deacons or priests are required (1) to make a "Declaration of Assent" to the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion and to the Book of Common Prayer, and of the Ordering of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons; (2) to take the Oath of Allegiance and Supremacy (21st and 22d Vict. cap. 48), by which they swear to be faithful and bear true allegiance to the queen, and declare that no foreign prince, person, prelate, state, or potentate hath, or ought to have, any jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre- eminence, or authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual, within this realm. "The highest Church offices are filled by the ministry in the name of the crown. The Privy Council, in which only temporals vote, is the highest court of appeal."

(2.) The management of the Church is in the hands of a hierarchy of archbishops and bishops, subject to the authority of the king and Parliament. The United Church of England and Ireland is divided into four provinces: two English, Canterbury and York; two Irish, Armagh and Dublin. These are under four mutually independent archbishops. The bishops, as well as the archbishops, are spiritual peers, excepting the bishop last consecrated, and the bishop of Sodor and Man, who does not sit in the House of Lords unless he happens to be a peer in his own right. Archbishops are chosen by the crown from among the bishops. The sovereign also nominates the bishops. The Church is governed, "under her majesty, by archbishops, bishops, deans, archdeacons, and the rest that bear office in the same" (Song of Solomon 7:1-13). The archbishops and bishops alone have the power to ordain clergymen; and these ordinations take place, according to canon law, at "allotted certain times," and "only on the Sundays immediately following jejunia quatuor temporum, commonly called Ember weeks." Candidates for the ministry are usually graduates of Cambridge or Oxford, or Trinity College, Dublin, or else of Durham, Lampeter, or St. Bees; but the bishops are not bound to restrict ordination to members of any university or college. Approved candidates take "the oath of supremacy," sign a declaration that they will conform to the liturgy, and subscribe three articles: the first affirming the supremacy of the sovereign in the Church; the second asserting that the Book of Commnon Prayer contains nothing contrary to the word of God, and that the ordained person will use the form of the said book; and the third, that they hold all "the Thirty-nine Articles." The candidate is first ordained a deacon, and so continues for one year. At the expiration of this term he undergoes an examination; and when this is satisfactory, he is admitted by the bishop to the order of priest, or presbyter. Several of the presbyters, as well as the bishop, lay their hands simultaneously on the head of every candidate, while the bishop repeats the form prescribed in the ordination service. When once ordained a presbyter, he is competent to take any duty or to hold any preferment in the Church.

(3.) The country is divided into parishes, and many of these have been of late years subdivided. (See PARISH). The property of the Church of England is obtained through many different channels, and is very valuable: the total revenues are estimated as being not under seven millions a year; and yet so unequal is the distribution, that there are, out of 10,500 benefices, not less than 6800 with incomes under £300 a year; and of these there are 3460 livings whose annual value is under £150. The curates have a very inadequate compensation, the ordinary pay ranging, in large towns, from £70 to £150.

The total number of benefices in 1890 was 14,200. Of late some reforms have been effected by the Parliament. There is a special board of "ecclesiastical commissioners for England to administer the state patronage of ecclesiastical benefices. In their twentieth report, issued in 1868, they state that in the current year they expect to complete the scheme which, in their report of 1864, they proposed to accomplish within five years. Every living with less income than £300 a year which then existed, and contained, according to the census of 1861, a population of 4000 persons, will, on the 1st of March, 1869, have had its income raised to £300 a year, except those cases in private patronage where the one half of the augmentation which the patrons were required to provide from non-ecclesiastical sources has not been forthcoming. In their report of 1853 the commissioners referred to an arrangement which had been entered into with the dean and chapter of York, whereby the capitular estates (subject to subsisting leases) had become vested in the commissioners, and inlieu thereof the dean and chapter were to receive an annuity until the commissioners should restore to them real estates in possession calculated to produce an income equal to such annuity; and it was estimated that the arrangement would at a future date yield a considerable surplus for the augmentation of small livings. At the close of 1852 the chapter of Carlisle effected a similar commutation. In 1855 the Cathedral Commission advised that all the improved revenue derived from the better management of capitular property should be appropriated to the augmentation of capitular incomes, and to the improvement of cathedral institutions. In 1856 a committee of the House of Commons sat to consider the proceedings of the ecclesiastical commissioners, and in their third report set out the details of the York chapter commutation, and observe, 'Such agreements tend to facilitate enfranchisement, and to provide funds for the endowment of poor livings, as well as to afford a ready means of providing estates in possession for the ecclesiastical corporations.' In the year 1854 the chapters of Peterborough and Chester; in 1855, the chapter of Gloucester; in 1856, St. Asaph; in 1857, Worcester; in 1860, Chichester; in 1861, Winchester and Salisbury; in 1862, Bristol, Canterbury, and Exeter; in 1866, Wells, Rochester, and St. David's; and in 1867, the chapters of Llandaff and Windsor, effected similar commutations of their capitular estates. All these arrangements have been successively sanctioned by orders in council. Commutations have thus been effected with no fewer than eighteen chapters. Under these commutations the chapters gave up their ancient estates in consideration of annual money payments to be received by them, pending their re- endowment with real estates in possession: and in 1862 the permanent estate of the chapter of York; in 1863, that of Peterborough; in 1865, those of Carlisle and Chichester; in 1866, those of Chester, Cloucester, and Canterbury; and in 1867, that of Winchester, were reassigned. As a consequence, the commissioners, in the period between 1864 and 1868, considered the local claims of the parochial cures upon the estates of the chapters of York, Peterborough, Carlisle, and Chichester, and, so far as the value of the property would permit, the requisite grants were made to such parochi;al cures." See below, Patronage and Statistics.

(4.) The only ecclesiastical assembly of the English Church is Convocation (q.v.), which is a convention of the clergy to discuss Church affairs in time of Parliament. As the Parliament consists of two distinct houses, so does this Convocation; the one called the upper house, where the archbishops and bishops sit severally by themselves; the other the lower house, where the rest of the clergy are represented by their deputies. The power of the Convocation is limited by a statute of Henry VIII. They are not to make any canons or ecclesiastical laws without the royal license; nor, when permitted to make any, can they put them in execution but under severe restrictions. In the year 1661 the English Convocation granted a subsidy to king Charles II, which was the last tax of this nature paid by the English clergy; for, by an arrangement made between archbishop Sheldon and lord chancellor Clarendon in 1664, the Convocation of the clergy thenceforward gave up the privilege of taxing themselves to the House of Commons, in consideration of being allowed to vote at the election of members of that house (Eden). Of late, the Convocations, both of Canterbury and York, have again been permitted to meet, talk, vote addresses to the crown, etc., but they have no real power. (See CONVOCATION).

(5.) Canons. In the Convocation which met at the time of the Parliament of 1604, the canons by which the Church of England is still governed were passed. They are said to have been collected by Bancroft from the canons of the ancient Church, and the articles, injunctions, and acts of Convocation during the reigns of Edward and Elizabeth. They received the royal sanction, but were not carried through the two houses of Parliament, and are not, therefore, laws of the realm. They bind the clergy only, and that by virtue of their promise of canonical obedience. Many of them have been virtually repealed by subsequent enactments, especially the Toleration Act. Many of those that remain are such that the best and wisest members of the Church would gladly see them repealed. (See CANONS OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND).

(6.) Patronage. The theory of the Church of England is that whoever originally built a church is entitled to choose its minister in perpetuity i.e., is the patron of the living. What follows on this point is from a Church of England writer (Marsden, Churches and Sects, 1:332): "In a few instances this right is still vested in the descendants of the original patron, but these must be rare. The right of patronage is now a salable commodity, transferred, or sold by auction, to the highest bidder, like any other real property, and the patronage of the Church "of England is consequently dispersed wherever wealth has found its way: 1144 benefices are in the gift of the crown; 1853 in that of the bishops; 938 in that of cathedral chapters and other dignitaries: 770 in that of the universities and collegiate bodies; 6092 in private persons; and 931 (vicarages or perpetual curacies) in the incumbent of the mother church. The good and evil of this system are so nearly balanced that thoughtful and wise men are to be met with every day who, as they look at the favorable or dark side of the question, are disposed to cherish it as the nearest approach that is ever likely to be made in practice to a perfect theory; or, on the other hand, to reject it as unjust and full of danger. Its evils lie upon the surface, and they are by no means slight. It has a tendency to promote a subservient spirit, inconsistent with the courage and simplicity of the Christian minister, towards those in whose hands patronage is vested, for upon them advancement in the Church depends. It excludes many valuable men from livings of importance, and thrusts many incompetent men into stations for which they are but meanly qualified. It fills our choicest parishes with men rather well bred than deeply learned men of courtesy and benevolence rather than a fervent zeal; and, consequently, the parish church wears to the poor man too frequently something of a cold and aristocratic air. He is spoken to by his superior in the presence of his superiors, and he retires to the dissenting chapel, not that he prefers dissent, but that he meets with sympathy and feels himself at home. Patronage is either held by individuals, or vested in corporations or in trustees; but the individual may have little sense of religion; he may give away his church on considerations of friendship, or he may look upon it merely as a provision for a younger son. Corporate bodies have less conscience than individuals. Previous to the act for reforming municipal corporations twenty years ago, most of the livings in our ancient towns and boroughs were in the gift of our municipal corporations. Their appointments, on an average, were certainly not better than those of private patrons; religion slumbered in our great towns not less profoundly than in our country villages. Several trusts have been formed of late years for the purchase of advowsons (an advowson is the right of presentation in perpetuity), and none can deny them at least the praise of pure disinterestedness. They have expended large sums to obtain in return the right of placing zealous ministers of evangelical principles in populous places. But all these various methods of patronage labor under the same defect the congregation whose spiritual interests are to be committed to the new pastor, and the parishioners amongst whom, as their friend or their example, he is to live and die, have no voice whatever in the momentous choice. The party most interested looks on with indifference, or hope, or silent resignation. The English lay churchman, in the most important event that can effect his parish during his lifetime, finds everything done for him; it is only on trifling matters that he is consulted. He may help to build the school, he may discharge the duties of churchwarden, but with regard to the appointment of the minister he has no right to speak." A remarkable illustration of the way in which ecclesiastical wealth is monopolized by certain families is afforded in the case of Richard and George Pretyman, sons of the bishop of Lincoln, which is stated in the Methodist Quarterly, 1853, page 157.

III. DOCTRINES.

(1.) The doctrinal standards of the united Church of England and Ireland are, after the Scriptures, the Book of Homilies, the Thirty-nine Articles, and the Prayer-book.

(a) The Homilies (q.v.) were composed by Cranmer, Latimer, and Ridley, men of unexceptionable learning and orthodoxy; or, according to others, the first book was written principally by Cranmer, and the second by Jewel. They were appointed to be read in churches at the beginning of the Reformation, when, by reason of the scarcity of learned divines, few ministers were found who could safely be trusted to preach their own compositions.

(b) The first draught of the Articles was composed by archbishop Cranmer, assisted by bishop Ridley, in the year 1551; and after being corrected by the other bishops, and approved by the Convocation, they were published in Latin and English in 1553, and amounted to forty-two in number. In 1562 they were revised and corrected. Being then reduced to thirty-nine, they were drawn up in Latin only; but in 1571 they were subscribed by the members of the two houses of Convocation, both in Latin and English, and therefore the Latin and English copies are to be considered as equally authentic. (See ARTICLES, XXXIX).

(c) During the last century disputes arose among the clergy respecting the propriety of subscribing to any human formulary of religious sentiments. Parliament, in 1772, was applied to for the abolition of the subscription by certain clergymen and others, whose petition received the most ample discussion, but was rejected by a large majority. It has been generally held by most, if not all Calvinists, both in and out of the Church, that the doctrinal parts of the articles are Calvinistic. This opinion, however, has been warmly controverted. It is no doubt nearer the truth to conclude that the articles are framed with comprehensive latitude, and that neither Calvinism nor Arminianism was intended to be exclusively established (Watson, s.v. Church). See Puller's Moderation of the Church of England considered, 1679 (new edit. Lond. 1843, 8vo); and also (See ARMINIANISM), (See ARTICLES LAMBETH),.

The articles contain, however, what the Church of England holds to be a fair scriptural account of the leading doctrines of Christianity, together with a condemnation of what she considers to be the principal errors of the Church of Rome and of certain Protestant sects. As far as they go (and there are many things unnoticed by them), they are a legal definition of the doctrines of the Church of England and Ireland; though the members of that communion look to the Prayer-book as well as to the articles for the genuine expression of her faith. The articles are far more thoroughly Protestant than the Prayer-book, taken as a whole. Although the articles expressly assert that the Church of Rome has erred, attempts have repeatedly been made by the High-Church party of the Church of England to show that there is no irreconcilable difference between the Thirty-nine Articles and the decrees of the Council of Trent, and that a construction can be put upon them fully harmonizing them. To show this was, in particular, the object of Dr. Newman's celebrated tract (Tracts for the Times, No. 90, Oxf. 1839), and more recently of Dr. Pusey's Eirenicon (Lond. 1865; N.Y. 1866). See also Christ. Remembrancer, January 1866, art. 6.

(2.) For the preservation of doctrine and discipline in the C

Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'England, Church of'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​tce/​e/england-church-of.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.
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