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BOOK care and inward desire hath always been, from the beginning
of our reign, to provide, that by lawes and ordinances, agreeable to truth and justice, and consonant to good order, this our realm should be directed and governed, both in the ecclesiastical and civil policy, by public officers and Ministers, following, as near as possible might be, one rule, forme, and manner of order in al their actions, and directing our people to obey humbly, and live godly, according to their several callings, in unity and concord, without diversities of opinions or novelties of rites and maners, or without maintenance or breeding of any contentions about the same : yet we, to our no smal grief and discomfort, do hear, that where, of the two maner of governments, without which no maner of people is wel ruled, the ecclesiastical should be the more perfect, and should give example, and be as it were a light and guide, to allure, direct, and lead al officers in civil policy ; yet in sundry places of our realm of late, for lack of regard given therto, in due time, by such superior and principal officers as you are, being the Primat, and other the Bishops of your province, with suffrance of sundry varieties and novelties, not only in opinions, but in external ceremonies and rites, there is crept and brought into the Church by some few persons, abounding more in their own senses then wis dome would, and delighting in singularities and changes, an open and manifest disorder, and offence to the godly, wise, and obedient persons, by diversitie of opinions, and specially in the external, decent, and leeful rites and ceremonies to bee used in the churches. So as except the same should bee spedily withstand, stayd, and reformed, the inconvenience therof were like to grow from place to place, as it were by an infection, to a great annoyance, trouble, and deformitie to the rest of the whole body of the realm: and therby empaire, deface, and disturb Christian charity, unity, and concord, being the very bands of our religion. Which wee do so much desire to encrease and continue amongst our people ; and by and with which our Lord God, being the God of peace, and not of dissension, will continue his.blessings and graces over us and his people. And altho’ wee have
do so much by and with esension, will and altho'
now a good while heard, to our grief, sundry reports hereof, BOOK hoping that al cannot bee true, but rather mistrusting that the ". adversaries of truth might, of their evil disposition, encrease the reports of the same: yet we thought, until this present, that by the regard which you, being the Primat and Metropolitan, would have had hereto, according to your office, with the assistance of the Bishops, your brethren, in their several diocesses, (having also received of us heretofore charge for the same purpose,) these errors, tending to breed some schism or deformity in the Church, should have been stayed and appeased. But perceiving very lately, and also certainly, that the same doth rather begin to encrease, then to stay or diminish; we, considering the authority given to us of Almighty God for defence of the publick peace, concord, and truth of this his Church, and how wee are answerable for the same to the seat of his high justice, mean not to endure or suffer any longer these evils thus to proceed, spread, and encrease in our realm; but have certainly determined to have all such diversities, varieties, and novelties amongst them of the Clergy and our people, as breed nothing but contention, offence, and breach of common charitie, and are also against the laws, good usages, and ordinances of our realm, to bee reformed and repressed, and brought to one manner of uniformitie through our whole realm and dominions. That our people may thereby quietly honour and serve Almighty God in truth, concord, peace, and quietness : and therby also avoyd the slaunders that are spred abroad hereupon in foraign countries.
And therfore wee do by these our present letters require, 39 enjoyn, and straitly charge you, being the Metropolitan, according to the power and authority which you have under us over this province of Canterbury, (as the like wee wil order for the province of York,) to confer with the Bishops, your brethren, namely, such as be in commission for causes ecclesiastical, and also al other head officers and persons having jurisdiction ecclesiastical, as wel in both our Universities, as in any other places collegiat, cathedral, or whatsoever the same bee, exempt or not exempt, either by
BOOK calling to you from thence whom you shal think meet to
have assistance or conference, or by message, process, or letters, as you shal see most convenient : and cause to bee truly understand, what varieties, novelties, and diversities there are in our Clergy, or among our people, within every of the said jurisdictions, either in doctrin or in ceremonies and rites of the Church, or in the maners, usages, and behaviour of the Clergy themselves, by what name soever any of them bee called. And thereupon, as the several cases shal appear to require reformation, so to proceed by order, injunction, or censure, according to the order and appointment of such laws and ordinances as are provided by act of Parliament, and the true meaning therof. So as uniformity of order may bee kept in every church, and without variety and contention. And for the time to come, wee wil and straitly charge you to provide and enjoin in our name, in al and every places of your province, as wel in places exempt as otherwise, that none bee hereafter admitted or allowed to any office, room, or cure, or place ecclesiastical, either having cure of souls, or without cure, but such as shal be found disposed and wel and advisedly given to common order; and shal also, before their admittance to the same, orderly and formally promise to use and exercise the same office, room, or place, to the honour of God, the edification of our people under their charge, in truth, concord, and unity; and also to observe, keep, and maintain such order and uniformity in al the external rites and ceremonies, both for the Church, and for their own persons, as by laws, good usages, and orders, are already allowed, wel provided, and established. And if any superior officers shal bee found hereto disagreeable, if otherwise your discretion or authority shal not serve to reform them, we wil, that you shal duly inform us thereof, to the end wee may give in delayed order for the same. For wee intend to have no dissension or variety grow, by suffering of persons, which maintain the same, to remain in authority. For so the sovereign authority, which wee have under Almighty God, should bee violate and made frustrate: And wee might bee wel thought to bear the sword in vain.
And in the execution hereof, we require you to use all ex- BOOK pedition, that to such a cause as this is shal seem necessary: that hereafter we bee not occasioned, for lack of your diligence, to provide such further remedy, by some other sharp proceedings, as shal percase not bee easie to bee born by such as shal be disordered: and therewith also wee shal impute to you the cause thereof. [This last paragraph was substituted in the room of some
other words, which I find written by Cecyl's own hand
40 Pilkington, Bishop of Durham, his letter to the Earl of
Leicester; in behalf of the refusers of the habits. RIGHT honourable, my dutie considert, and under cor- MSS. penes rection; I understand by commen reporte, and I fear too me. true, that there is grete offence taken with some of the mynisterie for not using such apparel as the rest doe. Therfore, as in grete commen daungers of fire or such like, they that bee far off come to succure those that have nede; so I, being out of that joparde and ferre off, cannot but of dutie wish wel to those that bee touched in this case. In this
BOOK liberty of God's truth, which is taught plainly without
offence, in the gretest mysteries of our religion and salva-