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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

Without however letting fall the ancient forms of episcopacy


The

Statute was, that no person should hold a public office, whether spiritual or temporal, who did not conform to this law. Thirteen bishops, four-and-twenty deans, eighty rectors of parishes, and most of the heads of colleges resigned. It has been said that this number, about two hundred, is not very considerable, since the English clergy held 9000 benefices and offices; but it comprehended all those who held the government of the church and represented the prevalent opinion in it. The difficulty arose how to replace the bishops in conformity with the principles of the English church constitution as then retained: perhaps the difficulty was intentional. There were however two conforming bishops who had received the laying on of hands according to the Roman ritual, and two others according to the Reformed: these consecrated the new Archbishop of Canterbury. It was objected to this act that none of them was in actual possession of a bishop's see: the Queen declared every defect, whether as to the statutes of the realm or church-usages, since time and circumstances demanded it, to be nullified or supplied. It was enough that, generally speaking, the mystery of the episcopal succession went on without interruption. What was less essential she supplied by the prerogative of the crown, as her grandfather had done once before. The archbishop consecrated was Dr. Parker, formerly chaplain to Anne Boleyn: a thoroughly worthy man, the father of learned studies on English antiquities, especially
on the Anglo-Saxon times. By him the laying on of hands and consecration was bestowed on the other bishops who were now elected: they were called on to uphold at the same time the idea of episcopacy in its primitive import, and the doctrines of the Reformation.

In regard to the election of bishops also Elizabeth went back one step from her brother's system; she gave up the right of appointment, and restored her father's regulations, by which it is true a strong influence was still reserved for the Civil Power. Under her supreme authority she wished to see the spiritual principle recognised as such, and to give it a representation corresponding to its high destiny.

Thus it must needs be. The principle which comes forward for the first time, however strong it may appear, has yet to secure its future: it must struggle with the other elements of the world around it. It will be pressed back, perhaps beaten down: but in the vicissitude of the strife it will develop its inborn strength and establish itself for ever.

An Anglican church,--nationally independent, without giving up its connexion with the reformed churches of the continent, and reformed, without however letting fall the ancient forms of episcopacy,--in accordance with the ideal, as it was originally understood, was at length, after a hard schooling of trials, struggles, and disasters, really set on foot.

But now it is clear how closely such a thoroughgoing alteration affected the political position. Reckoning on the antipathies, which could not but hence arise against Elizabeth in the catholic world, and above all on the consent of the Roman See, the French did not hesitate


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