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toral, with bishops having jurisdiction, but presbyters as to order. This form may properly be called episcopal, taking the word in the scriptural sense. 3. The prelatical, or diocesan episcopacy, 4. The regal. 5. The papal. In the English Church, the regal form of government prevails; the prelatical is conspicuous, but as the creature of the state or parliament, and under the control of the king. In it some leading elements of Popery remain; and the primitive pastoral, presbyterial, or episcopal form is lost, so that the scriptural and inherent rights of the pastors or people are prostrate. It may be called the Anglican form of church government; as it cannot be well identified with the apostolical, presbyterial, prelatical, regal, or papal ; though the regal prevails, and perhaps it may be called indifferently, regal or Anglican.
The act of supremacy laid the foundation of the English Church, connected as it is with the submission of the clergy in the reign of Henry VIII, and brought about by the famous statute of premunire. The word is synonimous with premoneri, to be admonished, and in English law, is the name of a writ or the offence whereon the writ is granted. It is named from the words of the writ, preparatory to the prosecution thereof. “Premunire facias, A. B.” &c. “Cause A. B. to be forewarned—that he appear before us to answer the contempt wherewith he stands charged." It took its origin from the exorbitant power claimed and exercised in England by the pope; and was originally ranked as an offence immediately against the king; because it consisted in introducing a foreign power and creating imperium in imperio, by paying that obedience to papal process, which according to the English constitution, belonged to the king alone, long before the Reformation in the reign of Henry VIII. Some remarks on the state of the English Church previous to the Reformation will be necessary in order to trace out the sources of its present organization.
2. Religious principles, when genuine and pure, have a direct tendency to make their professors better citizens, as well as better men; but when they are perverted and erroneous, they are subversive of civil government, and are made the cloak and instrument of every pernicious design. The unbounded authority that was exercised by the Druids in the west of Europe, and the terrible ravages committed by the Saracens in the east, to propagate the religion of Mohammed, testify that in all countries, civil and ecclesiasticaltyranny are mutually productive of each other. Religious bigotry, when actuated by erroneous principles, even of the Protestant kind, is productive of great mischief, though its plea may be for equality and freedom. This is evident from the history of the Anabaptists of Germany, the Covenanters of Scotland, and the deluge of sects in England who murdered their king, changed the government of the church, prostrated all law, and established a kingdom of saints. But these are as far from being true Protestants as true Christians. But the effect of this anarchy in religion, is only short, though violent and tumultuous. The progress, however, of papal policy is slow, though, in the end, tremendously destructive. The power of the pope had made rapid strides in England, before the time of Henry VIII,; but by the vigor of the free institutions of Britain, it was entirely overturned.
The ancient. British Church, by whomsoever planted, was a stranger to the bishop of Rome, and all his pretended authority. But the pagan Saxon invaders, having driven the professors of Christianity to the remotest corner of the island, their own conversion was afterward effected by Augustine and other missionaries from the Church of Rome. This naturally introduced some of the papal corruptions, in point of doctrine, but there was no civil authority claimed by the pape till- the time of the Norman conquest in A. D. 1066. At this time the reigning pontiff having favored William the Conqueror in his projected invasion, by blessing his army and consecrating his banners, took that opportunity also of establishing his spiritual encroachments; and was even permitted to do so by the policy of the Conqueror, in order to humble the Saxon clergy and aggrandize his Norman prelates.
More effectually to enslave the consciences and minds of the people, the Romish clergy themselves paid the most implicit obedience to their superiors or prelates; and these in their turn were de.. voted to the will of the pope, whose decision they held to be infallible, and his authority coextensive with the Christian world. Hence his legates a latere were introduced into every kingdom of Europe, his bulls and decretals became the rule both of faith and disci. pline; his judgment was the final resort in all cases of doubt and difficulty ; his decrees were enforced by anathemas and spiritual censures; he dethroned even kings that were refractory, and denied to whole kingdoms, when undutiful to him, the exercise of Christian ordinances, and the benefit of the gospel of God.
In order to sustain this spiritual authority, every method was resorted to that promised pecuniary advantage. The doctrine of purgatory was introduced, and with it the purchase of masses and indulgences. Crimes were punished by penances, and these were commuted for money. Non-residences and pluralities among the clergy, and divorces among the laity were forbidden by the canons; but dispensations were seldom denied to those who could purchase them. The pope, too, took advantage of the feudal system then current in Europe. The pope became a feudal lord; and all ordinary patrons were to hold their right of patronage under this universal superior. The annual tenths were collected from the clergy s the oath of canonical obedience was derived from the feudal oath of fealty ; and Peter-pence came in the place of the occasional aids levied by the prince on his vassals. The presentation to vacant benefices, as well as the avails of vacant ones were claimed by the popes. Dispensations to provide for these vacancies, begat the doctrine of commendams ; and papal provisions were the previous nomination to such benefices, by anticipation, before they became actually void. In consequence of this, Italians and other foreign clergy, the true vassals of the pope, were placed in the principal sees in England. The nomination to bishoprics, the ancient prerogative of the crown, was wrested from King Henry I. in 1100; and afterward from his successor John in 1199 ; and apparently conferred on the chapters belonging to each see; but by means of frequent appeals to Rome, through the intricacy of the laws which regulated canonical elections, was eventually vested in the pope. Another papal engine set on foot, was to grasp at the lands and inheritances of the kingdom. To this end the Benedictine and other monks were introduced, by whose hypocrisy and deceit, indulgences and rapine, in about a century after the conquest, innumerable abbeys and religious houses were built and endowed, not only with the tithes of parishes, but also with lands, manors, lordships, and extensive baronies. And the doctrine inculcated was, that this illgotten property was consecrated to God himself, and to alienate it was sacrilege. This is only a partial outline of the extent of papal usurpations; but it is sufficient to answer the purpose in view. (Şee Blackstone's Com. b. iv, c. 8. pp. 104-110.)
The regal form of church government had made considerable progress in England before the power of the pope could be efficiently established ; and it had become so established by law that it was finally made available in overturning papal usurpations. The kings of England, having claimed in ancient times a power in ecclesiastical matters equal to what the Roman emperors had in their empire, exercised this authority over the clergy and laity. They erected bishoprics, granted investitures in them, called synods, made laws, and, in a word, governed their whole kingdom as well in ecclesiastical as in civil matters. And when the bishops of Rome obtained supreme power in the English Church, they gave investitures, received appeals, sent legates to England, and did several other things of a like nature. The kings of England long contested these invasions, as they deemed them, of their ancient rights. But in consequence of the weakness of some princes, the superstition and treachery of others, &c., the popes at length succeeded to some degree in establishing their authority. In the first contests between the king and the popes, the clergy were generally on the pope's side. But when the popes became warlike princes, and made heavy demands on the clergy, by palls, expensive bulls, annates, tenths, as standing taxes, beside many new ones on emergent occasions ; the clergy fled back to the crown for protection, which their predecessors had abandoned. Several penal laws were made against this enormous power; yet there was not sufficient fortitude to stop its progress : so that the pope's interest still advanced.
3. The famous act of premunire, by which the supremacy of the pope was transferred to the king of England, prepared the way for, and indeed was the principal means of, organizing the English Protestant Church. The import of the name premunire, and its application, have been already explained. We will now trace those steps by which the English Church was transferred from the popish to the regal form of church government.
From the days of Edward I., who commenced his reign in 1272, many statutes were made to restrain the exactions of Rome. In the 35th year of this king's reign, or in the year 1307, the first statute against papal provisions was made, and is reckoned the foundation. of all the future statutes of premunire, which was an offence immediately against the king, because every increase of the papal power was deemed a diminution of the authority of the crown. The statute recites, (35 Ed. I. st. i,)—“That the abbots, friars, and governors had, at their own pleasure, set divers impositions upon the monasteries and houses in their subjection; to remedy which it was enacted, that, in future, religious persons should send nothing
to their superiors beyond the sea; and that no imposition whatever should be taxed by friars to aliens.” By statute(25 Ed. III., st. 5, c. 22,) in the year 1352, it was enacted—" that the court of Rome should not present or collate to any bishopric or living in England ; and that whosoever disturbed any patron in the presentation to a living, by virtue of a pápal provision, such person should pay fine and ransom to the king, at his will; and be imprisoned till he renounced such provision. The same punishment was inflicted on such as should cite the king or any of his subjects to answer in the court of Rome.” Several other statutes, to the same amount, were made during this king's reign; nevertheless, the pope found means to counteract their operation, so that the statutes were not of much present practical use. (See Burnet, b. ii. vol. i, p. 142.)
In the reign of Richard II., who ascended the throne in 1377,"it was found necessary,” says Blackstone, (b.iv, c. 8, p, 112)" to sharpen and strengthen these laws, and therefore it was enacted by statutes, (3 Rich. II., c. 3 & 7 ; Rich. II. c. 12,) first, that no alien should be capable of letting his benefice to farm; in order to compel such as had crept in, at least, to reside on their preferments : and that afterward no alien should be capable to be presented to any ecclesiastical preferment, under the penalty of the statutes of provisors. By the statute 12 Rich. II., c. 15, all liegemen of the king, accepting of a living by any foreign provision, are put out of the king's protection, and the benefice made void. To which the statute 13 Rich. II., st. 2, c. 2, adds banishment and forfeiture of lands and goods; and by c. 3 of the same statute, any person bringing over any citation or excommunication from beyond sea, on account of the execution of the foregoing statutes of provisors, shall be imprisoned, forfeit his goods and lands, and moreover suffer pain of life and member."
But in the year 1393, the famous statute of premunire was passed in the sixteenth year of Richard II., c. 5, which is the statute generally referred to by all subsequent statutes, and is by way of eminence and distinction called the statute of premunire. Complaint had been made to parliament “that the crown of England, which had been so free at all times, should be subjected to the bishop of Rome, and the laws and statutes of the realm by him defeated and destroyed at his will. They also found those things to be against the king's crown and regality, used and approved in the time of his progenitors.” Whereupon it was ordained by the parliament,“That if any did purchase translations, sentences of excommunications, bulls, or other instruments from the court of Rome, against the king or his crown, or whosoever brought them to England, or did receive or execute them ; they were out of the king's protection, and that they should forfeit their goods and chattels to the king, and their persons should be imprisoned.” (Burnet, b. ii, vol. i, p. 143.)
By statute 2 Henry IV., c. iii, and in the year 1401, it was enacted that all persons who accept any provision from the pope, to be exempt from canonical obedience to their proper ordinary, were also subject to the penalties of a premunire. This is said to be the last ancient statute concerning this offence till the Reformation. Several other statutes were passed in the parliament between the passage of the famous prémunire act, and the reign of Henry VIII.; but the struggle for the mastery between the popes continued with doubtful or alternate victories till the reign of this monarch.
The statutes of premunire were extended to various ecclesiastical offences in the reigns of Elizabeth and her father; such as the appointment of bishops refusing to take the oath of supremacy, carrying crosses and such things to be blessed by the pope, aiding Jesuits, and the like. (See Burnet's Hist. Ref. b. ii, vol. I, p. 140, &c. Blackstone's Com. b. iv, c. viii, p. 103-118. Jacob's Law Dict. on premunire.) The original meaning of the offence called premunire was introducing a foreign power into England, and creating imperium in imperio, by paying that obedience to the pope which constitutionally belonged to the king, long before the Reformation in the reign of Henry VIII. The penalty for this offence of premunire was according to Coke, -" That from the conviction, the defendant shall be out of the king's protection, and his lands and tenements, goods and chattels forfeited to the king, or that his body shall remain in prison at the king's pleasure.” 1 Inst. 129.
4. While the debates and proceedings respecting the divorce from Queen Catharine by Henry VIII. were pending, all appeals to Rome were cut off, by act of parliament in consequence of the evasions of the pope and his advisers. An act was passed in 1533, (24 Hen. VIII., act xxii,) against appeals to the pope, which widened the breach between the pope and Henry. The preamble declares, “ That the crown of England was imperial, and that the nation was a complete body within itself, with a full power to give justice in all cases, spiritual as well as temporal; and that in the spirituality, as there had been at all times, so there were then, men of that sufficiency and integrity, that they might declare and determine all doubts within the kingdom; and that several kings, as Edward I., Edward III., Richard II., and Henry IV., had by several laws preserved the liberties of the realm, both spiritual and temporal, from the annoyance of the see of Rome, and other foreign potentates ; therefore it was enacted that all such cases, whether relating to the king or any of his subjects, were to be determined within the kingdom, in the several courts to which they belonged, notwithstanding any appeals to Rome, or inhibitions and bulls to Rome; whose sentences should take effect, and be fully executed by all inferior ministers: and if any spiritual persons refused to execute them because of censures from Rome, they were declared liable to the pains in the statute of provisions in the sixteenth of Richard II. But that appeals should only be from the archdeacon, or his official, to the bishop of the diocese, or his commissary, and from him to the archbishop of the province, or the dean of the arches; where the final determination was to be made without any farther process; and in every process concerning the king, or his heirs and successors, an appeal should lie to the upper house of convocation, where it should be finally determined never to be again called in question." (Burnet Hist. Ref. b. ii, vol. i, p. 167.)
It may be proper to mention here what occurred in the year 1531. Cardinal Wolsey, two years previous to this time, by exercising his legantine powers, fell into a premunire, by which his property was forfeited to the king. In this year, those who had appeared in his