Page images
PDF
EPUB

cluded in the year 1562, as you may see in the first of our canons.' The opinion of the Primate was, that the Irish Articles contained the doctrine of the English Articles more fully set forth, and that the English Articles were only received as expounded by the Irish; and, acting up to this view, he required the candidates for orders to sign both the Irish and English Articles, a practice in which he was followed by some other bishops. But it is quite evident, that the last act of the Convocation superseded all preceding ones, and that the canon enforcing the English Articles tacitly repealed all acts with respect to other Articles. This was the view taken of the subject by Bishop Taylor, in his sermon at the funeral of Archbishop Bramhall, to whom he attributed the adoption of the English Articles, and thus describes the advantages resulting from the enactment, “ that they and we might be populus unius labii, of one heart and one lip, building up our hopes of heaven on a most holy faith; and taking away that Shibboleth which made this church lisp too undecently, or rather in some little degree to speak the speech of Ashdod, and not the language of Canaan.”

It is certain that, after the Restoration, no attempt was ever made to enforce subscription to the Irish Articles, and that for admission to holy orders the only subscription to Articles required has been signing the first canon, which enforces the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England.

No sooner had the agreement with the Church of England in doctrine been settled in the Convocation,

than the Bishop of Derry moved that there should be a similar agreement in government, and that the English canons of 1604 should be received as the canons of the Church of Ireland. This proposal was strenuously resisted by the Primate, on the ground, that it would be a betrayal of the privileges of a national church; that some discrepancy ought to appear ; that the Church of Ireland might declare its independence of the Church of England, and also express her opinion, that rites and ceremonies need not be the same in all churches, which are independent of each other; but that different canons might co-exist with the same faith and communion. The Primate was successful in his opposition, and it was resolved, that such of the English canons as were suitable to the state of Ireland should be retained, and that others should be added to them. The execution of this task was intrusted to the Bishop of Derry, and the Book of Canons soon passed the Convocation, and received his Majesty's assent. The arrangement was totally different from the English book, and the number was reduced from one hundred and forty-one to one hundred.

Upon this subject Bishop Mant justly observes* : “ If the object was to maintain the independence and free agency of the Irish Church, that object might have been attained by appending to the English canons, or interweaving with them, such additions as appeared requisite for national purposes, and then adopting the code, in pursuance of Bishop Bramhall's proposal, in its original form, with those additions. Such a code would have been more complete in itself, and

better fitted for preserving that unity of Christian profession, which was avowedly manifested by the adoption of the English Articles, than by rejecting some of the English canons, and new-modelling the whole. For, whilst the wisdom of these objections is by no means palpable or indisputable, the new-modelling of the code gives an appearance of discrepancy, which really does not exist.”

Upon the distinctions between the English and Irish canons, Dr. Elrington thus writes : + “ As to the solemnity and uniformity of divine worship, the general principle of uniformity is as distinctly put forward by the third Irish as by the fourteenth English canon. The third Irish canon enacts, “That form of Liturgy or divine service and no other shall be used in any church of this realm, but that which is established by the law and comprised in the Book of Common Prayer and administration of Sacraments. The English canons, however, were not content with this general uniformity, and enjoined several observances in the mode of worship. The eighteenth canon gave the following directions : «All manner of persons then present shall reverently kneel upon their knees, when the General Confession, Litany, and other prayers are read; and shall stand up at the saying of the Belief, according to rules in that behalf prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer; and likewise when in time of divine service the Lord Jesus shall be mentioned, due and lowly reverence shall be done by all persons present, as it hath been accustomed; testifying by these outward ceremonies and gestures their inward humility, Christian

resolution, and due acknowledgement that the Lord Jesus Christ, the true eternal son of God, is the only Saviour of the world, in whom alone all the mercies, graces, and promises of God to mankind for this life and the life to come, are fully and wholly comprised. None, either man, woman, or child, of what calling soever, shall be otherwise at such times busied in the church, than in quiet attendance to hear, mark, and understand that which is read, preached, or ministred; saying in their due places audibly with the minister the Confession, the Lord's Prayer, and the Creed, and making such other answers to the publick prayers, as are appointed in the Book of Common Prayer. The corresponding Irish canon, the seventh, omits all these particulars, and substitutes this general direction, 'using all such reverent gestures and actions, as by the Book of Common Prayer are prescribed in that behalf, and the commendable use of this Church received.'

“In the administration of the Sacraments, I cannot perceive any deviation * from the rules prescribed in the

«* In the Irish Canons is omitted altogether the explanation of the use of the cross in baptism, which is given in the thirtieth English canon, and also the very important injunction with which it concludes, admonishing all persons, that things of themselves indifferent do in some sort alter their natures, when they are either commanded or forbidden by the lawful magistrate, and may not be omitted at every man's pleasure contrary to the law, when they be commanded; nor used when they are probibited.'

“The form of prayer to be used by all preachers before their sermons is also omitted in the Irish Canons; and also the order to have the Ten Commandments set up at the east end of every church, and to have chosen sentences written upon the walls, in places convenient."

English Canons. The two rules which affected particularly the Dissenters, are strictly enforced in the eighteenth canon : 'No minister when he celebrateth the communion shall wittingly administer the same to any but such as kneel ;' and Likewise the minister shall deliver both the bread and wine to every communicant severally.'

“There does not appear any difference as to the ornaments used in divine service,' for, though there is not an Irish canon corresponding to the fifty-eighth English, which enjoins the use of a surplice, yet the following passage in the seventh Irish canon enacts the same thing in another form: All Ministers shall likewise use and observe the orders, rites, ornaments, and ceremonies prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer and in the Act of Uniformity printed therewith, as well in reading the Holy Scriptures and saying of prayers, as in administration of the sacraments; without either diminishing in regard of preaching or in any other respect, or adding anything in the matter or form thereof.' And this canon alludes to the surplice as a dress universally adopted, for it orders, that in cathedral and collegiate churches, hoods shall be worn by the Deans, &c., along with their surplices.

The other provisions mentioned by Carte, as grounds of objection to the English Canons, are as rigidly enforced in the Irish, namely, the qualifications for holy orders, for benefices, and for pluralities, * the oath against simony, the

6* There is a difference in the restriction. In the English canon the two benefices must be within thirty miles, in the Irish they must

« EelmineJätka »