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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

No other liturgy was to be used


No

direct alteration could be thought of so long as the Six Articles still existed with their severe threats of punishment. In the Parliament elected under the influence of the new government it needed little persuasion to procure their repeal. The Protector assured the members that he had been urgently entreated to effect this, since every man felt himself endangered.[141]

One of those popular beliefs gained ground, which are often more effective in great assemblies than elaborate proofs: the conviction that doctrine and authority were too closely akin for the separation from Rome to be maintained without deviation in doctrine; the breach must be made wider if it was to continue, and the hierarchic doctrines give way.

So it came about that by a unanimous resolution of Convocation, which Parliament confirmed, the alteration was approved, which almost more than any other characterises those Church formularies that deviate from the Romish, the administration of the communion in both kinds.

Now it was exactly from this that the transformation of the whole divine worship in England proceeded. The very next Easter (1548) a new form for the communion office was published in English. This was followed, according to a wish expressed by the young King, by a Liturgy for home and church use, in which the revised Litany of Henry VIII was also included. In this 'Common Prayerbook' they everywhere

kept to what was before in use, but everywhere also made changes. The Reforming tendencies obtained the upper hand in reference to its doctrinal contents; thus even one of the rubrics previously in favour by which auricular confession was declared to be indispensable was now omitted; it was left to every man's judgment to avail himself of it or not. At times they again sought out what had been disused in later ages: they recurred to Anglo-Saxon usages. The Common Prayer-book is a genuine monument of the religious feeling of this age, of its learning and subtlety, its forbearance and decision. In the Parliament of 1549 it was received with admiration: men even said it was drawn up under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The order went forth for its adoption in all churches of the land, no other liturgy was to be used; it has nourished and edified the national piety of the English people.[142]

And just as it was now asserted that in all this they were only carrying out the views of the deceased King, as he had set them forth many years before and had at the last again proclaimed them, so now Somerset undertook to carry through another of his intentions as well, which was closely connected with his religious plans.

In 1542 Henry VIII had agreed with some of the most powerful nobles of Scotland that in that country too the Church should be reformed, all relations with France broken off, and the young Queen brought to England in order if possible to marry his son Edward at some future day. The scheme broke down owing to all kinds of opposition, but the idea of uniting England and Scotland in one great Protestant kingdom had thus made its appearance in the world and could never again be set aside. The ambition to realise it filled the soul of Somerset. When, before the end of the summer of 1547, he took up arms, he hoped to bring about an acknowledgment of England's old supremacy over Scotland, to prepare the way for the future union of both countries by the marriage, and to annihilate the party there which opposed the progress of Protestantism. A vision floated before him of fusing both nations into one by a union of dynasty and of creed. It was mainly from the religious point of view that his ward regarded the matter. 'They fight for the Pope,' wrote Edward to the Protector when he was already in the field, 'we strike for the cause of God, without doubt we shall win.[143]'


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