Project Canterbury

A Letter on the Succession of Bishops in the Church of England:
Addressed to the Most Reverend John Heykamp,
Archbishop of Utrecht, and to the Bishops of Harleem and Deventer,
With the Clergy and Laity of the Old Catholic Church of Holland.

By John Wordsworth, D.D.,
Bishop of Salisbury.

London: SPCK, 1892.

Prefatory Note.

The original of this Letter (as published by the Anglo-Continental Society) was both in Latin and English. This fact may account for the form of some of the sentences and may explain to the reader a certain stiffness in the style in which it is written. It is now republished in English alone at the suggestion of one of our Colonial Bishops. The Archbishop of Utrecht, to whom it was addressed, died at the age of 67, on 8th January 1892, much regretted on account of the simplicity and piety of his character. He has been succeeded by Canon Gerard Gul.

May, 1892.

A Letter on the Succession of Bishops in the English Church.

To the Most Reverend Father in Christ and Lord, JOHN HEYKAMP, Lord Archbishop of Utrecht and Metropolitan, to CASPAR JOHN RINKEL, Lord Bishop of Harleem, and to CORNELIUS DIEPENDAAL, Lord Bishop of Deventer, with the Priests and Deacons, and all the faithful, who with them have preserved the ancient faith and practice of the Catholic Church: John, Bishop of Salisbury, in unfeigned love and brotherly charity, humbly prayeth grace and perseverance from God the Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ by the communication of the Holy Spirit.

INASMUCH as about the end of the year just passed I received a letter containing an honourable request from our friend T. van Santen, pastor of Dordrecht and Secretary of the General Assembly of the Church of Holland, dated November 19, 1889, together with the Report of the Three Priests to the said Assembly, entitled, "On the Succession of Bishops in the English Church;" to this I answered, as was right, with all due respect, but in few words, on the 6th of December of the same year. For the Secretary of your General Assembly kindly asked me, in the name of the Archbishop of Utrecht, to examine the Report, to add some elucidations of the questions contained in it, and, if possible, to transmit to him other documents bearing on the matter. I was not, however, either willing or competent to reply to your request until I had taken counsel with our Archbishop, and had carefully studied certain books on the subject.

This then I have attempted to do, to the best of my poor ability, in the present letter; not that I can suppose even now that I have fully satisfied either my own wishes or perhaps your own desire, since without a personal meeting and conference it is difficult to foresee by letter alone the points that are likely to be considered really difficult and requiring an explanation. Some things which from our habits and national disposition have acquired the force of a second nature, as unknown to you, may perhaps seem to require further demonstration. Other things, on the other hand, I may have treated at length which, in accordance with the traditions of the most illustrious Church of Utrecht, may at once seem clear and self-evident.

This, however, in the first place I should venture to affirm, and would ask to have thoroughly understood, that we in the Church of England do not entertain the shadow of a doubt as to the succession of our Bishops derived from Augustine and our other predecessors; nor are we labouring in proving these points, so often proved before, as if we were pleading the case for the validity of our orders in a court of law. I am writing as a brother to brethren, as a Bishop to fellow-Bishops of the Catholic Church, moved by the wish for unity alone, that so far as in me lies a hindrance to that union may be removed.

We know that we must answer before our Lord and God for the talents delivered unto us; and we are careful about the judgments that men may form respecting us, not for our own sake, but for that of the whole Church.

There are indeed other questions, as your own fatherly and brotherly authority knows, which may perhaps prevent entire communion from being restored between you and us during our lifetime; but this question of the succession of our Bishops is so clear to those who are willing to accept the truth, and who love peace, that I trust that it may be decided even in our time, and without long controversy. May the Holy Ghost, the Author of Peace and Lover of Concord, direct this our prayer to good effect!

I now turn to the Report, which is signed by three priests--G. C. van Schaik, G. van der Poll, and N. Prins--and is written in Dutch, with a French translation on the opposite page. Three questions especially are treated in this Report, as is customary in regard to this matter--that is to say, the consecration of Matthew Parker, through whom, as is evident, our succession is derived, to the Archbishopric of Canterbury, celebrated on Sunday, 17th December, 1559; next, the consecration of William Barlow (one of the four Bishops who consecrated Parker) to the Bishopric of S. David's, probably on the nth June, and certainly in the year 1536; lastly, the sufficiency of the Anglican rite according to the form employed in consecrating Bishops in the year 1549.

All these questions I will treat, but in reverse order; adding some information, which may perhaps be useful, on books and documents, and on the opinions of learned men, as occasion may serve, or at the end of the letter.

I. On the sufficiency of the Anglican rite according to the form employed in consecrating Bishops in the year 1549.--It is satisfactory to notice, though it is by no means unexpected, that there is no difference of opinion between us and you on this third question, which is in reality the primary one. But it was not always so well understood. For it was about this form, or about canonical rules, e.g. about the necessity of Papal confirmation, or concerning the faith and doctrine and lawful calling of the consecrators, or similar points, that our adversaries fiercely disputed about the actual time of the Reformation. Such are the objections which were made against us in the lifetime of Barlow and Parker, and many years after their deaths. But not even Harding, the persistent opponent of our Bishop Jewel, nor Sanders, the author of the book de Schismate Anglico, who poured out all kinds of charges against us, knew anything about that most foolish fable of a sham consecration of Parker in a tavern. Similarly, Bishop Bonner and Dr. Stapleton objected that the form had not Parliamentary authority, not being expressly mentioned as a part of the Book of Common Prayer, &c., in the statute of I Eliz., chap. 2, which revived that of 5 and 6 Ed. VI., chap. I. But their very objection (futile as it was) proved that they admitted the ordination and consecration of our clergy and Bishops to have been according to that form (cp. Haddan's Bramhall, iii. p. 79, note). Now they who oppose us are generally silent, at any rate about the form, having partly unlearnt their old errors. Nor could the clergy of the Church of Utrecht, being well instructed in liturgical knowledge, judge in any different way respecting our formulary. For it is clear that the delivery of the instruments or ornaments is not essential, but the form and matter which have always been in use among us, that is to say, "Receive the Holy Ghost," or words to the same effect, and imposition of hands, with prayer for the person ordained or consecrated, that he may well perform the office of a priest or bishop. [That is to say a prayer that the person to be ordained may receive the Holy Spirit.] And this has not been an unwilling or careless usage. There may have been, indeed, from time to time, in the Church of England, single persons, or more, who have lightly esteemed the grace of orders] but never, as far as we know, any who neglected the prescribed ceremonies in the consecration of Bishops. Nay, rather the general intention of the Church and nation, as manifested in its rites and ceremonies, as well as in its customs and habits of life, and expressed also in statutes and legal enactments, has been to recognize and emphasize the necessity of ordination conferred in a proper form, and at the same time to proclaim the distinction of the three orders of the ministry. Ample evidence of this could be given if any were needed. One special way in which this spirit has been manifested amongst our countrymen is to be found in the scrupulous care with which the registers of the acts of election, confirmation, and consecration of Bishops, and the ordination of other clergy, have been kept, both before and since the Reformation. Nor is there, perhaps, any Church throughout the world in which greater care has been shown in this matter, or where a greater accumulation of evidence is forthcoming. It is for this reason that the attention of our friends is requested to the volume entitled Registrum Sacrum Anglicanum, edited by William Stubbs, the well-known historian, now Bishop of Oxford, previously sent, last year, to the Archbishop of Utrecht.

The fact, then, that a given person has been constantly accepted during his lifetime as a Bishop in England, and specially that he has sat and voted in Parliament as a Bishop, is to any historian a sufficient proof of his consecration. It must be remembered that in England Diocesan Bishops form one of the "three estates of Parliament," which are (I) the Lords spiritual, (2) the Lords temporal, (3) the Commons, the first two of which sit together in the Upper House of Parliament. Before the Reformation, of course, certain mitred abbots were reckoned among the Lords spiritual, but after the dissolution of the monasteries there were no longer such persons to be summoned to Parliament. It was therefore the interest of all that no improper person should intrude into this small but very powerful body, without the fullest evidence and the most complete right. Nor, indeed, could or can a Bishop who has not been consecrated vote in Parliament, nor did Bishops (save in the three cases of London, Durham and Winton) sit, nor do they sit, in any other order of precedence than according to priority of consecration--not, however, of election or confirmation. If, therefore, the evidence of Registers exists, it is to be considered first-rate proof; but if not, there is no room for doubt, if other evidence of the usual kind is forthcoming. Nor have we any other proof than this general recognition of a Bishop throughout all the Churches of Christendom, at any rate, up to the twelfth century. From this period, indeed, ecclesiastical registers in England, especially of the Archbishops of Canterbury, have been kept with great integrity and diligence. It is true, however, that in the reign of Henry VIII. the Registers of Warham and Cranmer were not kept with the same diligence as those of their successors (although the documents were given usually at much greater length than in those of their predecessors), and this certainly by the carelessness of the notaries rather than of the Archbishops. For in the multitude of engagements with which the minds of our Bishops are distracted, it has been customary to trust much to notaries. If I may give an instance from modern times, I myself have only inspected the Registers of my own acts once or twice during the last five years, while I have more frequently looked at those of my predecessors as occasion required. As regards Warham, one reason for this carelessness was the consecration of a number of Bishops at Rome, which necessarily led to a difficulty in registration, at least if the days were arranged according to order of time. But Cranmer's Register, which I have diligently examined, was clearly drawn up by different notaries, some of whom were not so careful as the rest, and was sewn together out of loose leaves, so that whatever is in it may be taken for a fact, but nothing can be inferred (within certain limits) against what is not in it. "To come to particulars," to speak with Haddan (in a book which will be cited several times in this letter, and always with honour, namely, his edition of the works of Archbishop Bramhall, preface to the third volume, p. [xix]), "the record of consecration in the Archiepiscopal Register is wanting for six (out of twenty-six) Bishops consecrated during Warham's Primacy (1503-1533)." [Ed. Oxford, 8vo, in five vols., 1844. The letters A. W. H. at the end of the prefaces are the initials of Arthur West Haddan.] In Cranmer's Register (covering the years 1533-1553), whereas thirty-six were consecrated during his Primacy, the confirmations of two before the year 1547 (and after that year the royal mandates for the consecration of two, when for a short time "confirmation" was not in use), and the consecrations of nine Bishops are wanting; that is about one-fourth part of the acts of this kind which ought to be found in it (ibid. p. [xv.]). Any one who wishes to know more about this Register should refer to the book just quoted, where much useful material is collected. [It is to be noted that the accounts of consecrations are short, and generally contained in a few lines, and are therefore more easily omitted, especially whenever several Bishops (as was often the case) were consecrated together. But the documents of elections and confirmations of Bishops are very long, and contained in several leaves, and being more nearly the work of notaries, are therefore less often omitted.] But inasmuch as for all these cases other documents are forthcoming, partly ecclesiastical and partly civil, and since all constantly received public recognition as Bishops, no sane man doubts that they were really consecrated Bishops. A remarkable example is that of Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, consecrated in 15.31, under Archbishop Warham, an enemy of the Reformation as carried out under Edward VI., and imprisoned for five years in his reign. The names of the consecrators of this man are unknown; no one doubts the fact of his consecration. The day of his consecration appears in his own Register. The date of Barlow's consecration was probably in like manner noted in his, which does not now exist.

II. On the Consecration of William Barlow as Bishop of S. Davids.--When, therefore, William Barlow took his seat in the House of Lords by virtue of the Bishopric of S. David's, on June 3oth, 1536, as appears from the Journals of the House still in existence, no one doubted that he did so as having been consecrated Bishop of that see. [Lingard, speaking of Parker's case, calls this " a privilege never allowed to any but consecrated Bishops." See his letter in Hook's Lives of the Archbishops of Canterbury, ix. p. 253, and below.] For no one could take his seat in the House without a certificate of consecration addressed by the Archbishop to the Crown. We do not know for certain on what day this consecration took place, but it was most probably on June nth, on the same Sunday as Sampson and Reppis (or Rugg) were consecrated. Consecrations of Bishops were in that age always on Sundays, and it is more likely that he was consecrated with others on Sunday, June nth, than alone on either of the two following Sundays (i8th or 25th) in that month, since there was another consecration of a Bishop on July 3rd. That he was not consecrated before these two follows from the fact that he took his place after them in Parliament, a matter of form always settled among us by priority of consecration. Before promotion to S. David's he was Bishop-elect of S. Asaph; it is on this account that his removal to the see of S. David's is always called by the peculiar term transmutatio and not as usual, translatio, which is a second argument to prove that he was not previously consecrated. [See Cranmer's Register, fol. 193, 194, 196.]

Further, there is no doubt that Cranmer constantly used the old service for the consecration of Bishops; nay, even under Edward VI., when the Puritan feeling was strongest in the Church of England, in the famous case of Bishop Hooper, in 1551, he overruled the strong objections which this man felt and expressed to the episcopal habits and to certain rites and ceremonies in the consecration service. [See the Life of Bishop Hooper, with the notes to it, in Wordsworth's Ecclesiastical Biography, vol. ii. pp. 363-370. Lond. 1853.] It is certain also that Barlow assisted in consecrating Skip as bishop of Hereford in 1539, and Bulkeley Bishop of Bangor in 1542; In 1553 (on the accession of Queen Mary), Barlow, being married, was forced to resign his see of Bath and Wells. He was Bishop-elect of Chichester when, on 6th December, 1559, letters patent were sent to him by Queen Elizabeth for the consecration of Parker. Bishop Barlow's consecration was never, as far as we know, disputed till forty-eight years after his death.

For my own part, after reading and weighing the evidence which Mr. Haddan has so fully and accurately collected in his preface and notes to Archbishop Bramhall's Consecration of Protestant Bishops Vindicated and particularly on the subject of Barlow's consecration, it appears to me that whoever should doubt the fact is incapable of treating historical subjects, and that he who should doubt the date above given is rash and ill-advised. But the matter is, after all, of less importance, since in Parker's consecration four Bishops took part, who together laid their hands on him and said in English, "Take the hollie gost, and remember that thou stirre up the grace of God, which ys in the by Imposition of handes, for God hath not given us the spirite of feare, but of Power and Love and Sobernes." [The above is from the Register. The Latin version is taken from a MS. transcript at C. C.C., Cambridge, probably a gift of Parker's, and printed at the end of Bramhall's treatise, vol. iii. p. 212.] For to use the words of Martene "That all the assisting Bishops ... are not merely witnesses but also co-operators in the consecration, must be asserted without the least hazard of a doubt." [De Antiq. Eccl. ritibus, book I., part ii., ch. viii., 10, § 16; vol. 2, p. 331. Rouen, 1700.]

III. On the Consecration of Archbishop Parker.--The consecration of Matthew Parker as Archbishop of Canterbury celebrated in the manner just mentioned, in the Chapel of Lambeth Palace, on Sunday, 17th December, 1559, is a fact so certain that only obstinate and incurable prejudice can gainsay it. We have an important judgment to this effect from the excellent Roman Catholic historian of England, Dr. John Lingard, which may be found printed in Dean W. F. Hook's Life of Archbishop Parker. [Cp. also Fleury, Eccl. Hist. (continuation), book 153, § xcix.]

In 1834, Dr. Lingard wrote to the editor of the Birmingham Catholic Magazine: "Though I despair of satisfying the incredulity of one who can doubt after he has examined the documents to which: I refer, yet I owe it to myself to prove to your readers the truth of my statement and the utter futility of any objection that may be brought against it." He then gives six reasons, which I may summarize as follows:--

(i.) The Queen was very desirous for the consecration to take place. The Bishops named in her second commission, dated 6th December, "having obtained a favourable opinion from six counsel learned in the law, undertook to execute the commission and confirm Parker's election on the 9th December"--which confirmation it is allowed that they formally carried out on that day.

(ii.) There was no objection on the part of any one concerned to the further ceremony of consecration, and indeed the Bishops were bound to carry it out under the statute of 25th Henry VIII., revived in the last Parliament [i Eliz., cap. i, § 7], or to suffer heavy penalties.

(iii.) "On the 18th the Queen sent for Parker no fewer than six writs, addressed to him under the new style of Matthew, Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate and Metropolitan of all England, and directing him to proceed to the confirmation and consecration of six Bishops-elect for vacant sees." On the 21st December he consecrated four new Bishops, on the 21st January five others, two more on the 2nd and two on the 24th March. "Can we suppose that as much importance would be attached to consecration given by him if he had received no consecration himself, or that the new Church would have been left so long without Bishops at all if it had not been thought necessary that he who was by law to consecrate others should previously receive that rite?"

(iv.) "The fact of his consecration on this day (17th December) is asserted by Camden, i. 49; by Godwin, de praesulibus, p. 212; in the book de antiquitate Britannicae ecclesiae, published in 1572, three years before his death [on which see below], in his Diary [or rather in a series of dates of events of his life] in his own hand, and lastly in his own Register preserved in Lambeth Palace." [There are several copies of the account of Archbishop Parker's consecration as recorded in the Register in our public offices. See Calendar of State Papers--Domestic, 1547-1580, p. 144 (where they are Elizabeth, vol. vii. Nos. 67, 68, 69), ed. Lemon. Lond. 1856. The first is entitled Memorandum of the Consecration of Archbishop Parker. Lat. The Second (No. 68), Relation of the Rites and Ceremonies observed at the Consecration and Installation of Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury. Lat. The third is No. 69, Copy of the above. There is also a copy in the library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, printed in Haddan's Bramhall, vol. iii. pp. 210 foil., and elsewhere.]

(v.) "I am not aware of any open denial of the facts till about fifty years afterwards." In 1614, in consequence of the Nag's Head fable, Archbishop Abbot invited certain Roman Catholics to inspect the Register in the presence of six of his own episcopal colleagues, the details of which inspection have been preserved to us,

(vi.) "The register agrees in every particular with what we know of the history of the times, and there exists not the semblance of a reason for pronouncing it a forgery."

So far I have summarized Lingard's arguments, I have myself several times carefully examined the original record of Archbishop Parker's consecration. It is on the second to the eleventh leaf inclusive of a large folio volume on vellum, exactly of the same character as the registers of his predecessors and successors, only more careful and full than those of his predecessors. The handwriting of the acts of consecration is the same as that of the rest of the volume, and it is impossible to suppose that they are anything but what they profess to be, viz. the contemporary account of the consecration of the Archbishop, naturally placed there as a preface to his daily official acts. Such an account of the consecration of Cardinal Pole as Archbishop is prefixed to his Register; though it is naturally not so long and elaborate as that of Parker, since it took place according to the ancient rites, yet it consists of a good many leaves.

Parker was conscious that his consecration was a matter of great moment to the reformed Church of England, and being a great scholar and student of antiquity, and a champion of the "via media," or, as they then called it, the "mediocrity," to which the great body of the Church of England has ever since been attached, he determined that all should be fully described. The Queen also took great care in this matter, as is shown, for instance, abundantly by the statute 8 Eliz., cap. i.

The book referred to by Lingard, de antiquitate Britannicae Ecclesiae et privilegiis Ecclesiae Cantuariensis cum Archiepiscopis eiusdem 70, an. Dom. 1572, contains at the end a life of Parker under the title "Matthaeus," he being the seventieth from S. Augustine. [This life is not in the reprint fol. Hanoviae, typis Wechelianis MDCV., though on the title-page stands "de Archiepiscopis eiusdem LXX."] This book is referred to in a letter written to Wm. Cecil, Lord Burghley, dated 9th May, 1573 (Parker, Correspondence, pp. 424-426), the original of which is still extant, and which was sent with it and with two other books as presents to that great statesman. Parker calls this book, which is a learned and able one, "my poor collection," and speaks of his own life in the following terms:--"You may note many vanities in my doings, but I thought it not against my profession to express my times, and give some testimony of my fellow-brothers, of such of my coat as were in place in her Majesty's reign, and when I was thus placed," &c. [It is probable, both from internal evidence and from a statement by his son, that Parker was largely helped in this book by his secretary, Jo. Josceline (cp. Parker, Correspondence, p. xiii). But Parker clearly takes upon himself the responsibility for the whole book.] The last words "when I was thus placed" call attention to the detailed account of his consecration, which is found in the life. Is it conceivable that he should have done so, if there was any flaw in it, in writing to a man of Cecil's position?

The account in the life is as follows. It will be seen that it agrees with the Register, except in one point which is easily explained:--"In the year then of our Lord, 1559 he was elected Archbishop of Canterbury by the Dean and Chapter of the Metropolitan Church of Canterbury; and afterwards on the 17th December in the same year he was consecrated by four Bishops--William, Bishop of Chichester; John, Bishop of Hereford; Miles, sometime Bishop of Exeter; and Richard, Bishop of Bedford, being required to do so in accordance with a law passed on this subject. [The reference, doubtless, is to the Act 25 Hen. VIII, cap. 20, § 5, which was expressly revived by I Eliz., cap. I, § 7.] In which consecration there happened this memorable good fortune, that while he was the seventh Archbishop from Augustine, he was the first who receded his consecration without the addition of all that long and offensive business of Papal superstition, without the bull and approbation of the Pope, and those needless ornaments far beyond what even Aaron wore, namely gloves, rings, sandals, shoes, mitre, pall and other vanities of like nature. And far more properly, and simply and in accordance with the truth of the Gospel, was he solemnly dedicated by prayer and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, by imposition of hands, after holy promises uttered by himself, arrayed in vestments befitting the authority and gravity of an Archbishop, and by the preaching of an eloquent exhortation by way of sermon from the lips of a holy and learned Divine [i. e. John Scory, Bishop-elect of Hereford], on the duty, care, and fidelity that a Pastor should have to his flock, and the love, obedience, and respect that the flock should show to their Pastor; when this was ended the Eucharist was partaken of by a large congregation of eminent persons, and at the last was offered public and earnest prayer that the office now laid upon him may specially tend to the glory of God, to the salvation of the flock, and to the joyful witness of his own conscience, whenever he shall have to render account of the office he has borne before the Lord. Having been consecrated under such fortunate auspices, he continued his course with like devotion. In the first year of his consecration he consecrated eleven Bishops of his Province at Lambeth, and confirmed two, and in the next two years he filled up the full complement of Bishops of his Province by consecration, except in the see of Llandaff, where (as we have said before] Antony [Kitchin, Bishop, 1545-1563] alone remained of the Papal Bishops." [In the margin. These consecrations and confirmations appear in the Registers.]

Another document in the Archbishop's own hand (also referred to by Lingard) is also in existence, in which he mentions his consecration in touching words. It is a series of memoranda of the most important dates of his life, from his birth 1504 down to his consecration in 1559, with a few sentences added here and there in another hand, no doubt that of some member of his family, probably his son John. The only entry in his own hand after 1559 is the death of his wife in 1570. He describes his consecration as follows:--

"17 Decemb. A° 1559, consecratus sum in Archiepiscopum Cantuar.

"Heu, heu, Domine Deus, in quae tempora servasti me. Iam veni in profundum aquarum et tempestas demersit me. O Domine vim patior, responde pro me: et spiritu tuo principali confirma me: homo enim sum et exigui temporis et minor etc. Da mihi fidium tuarum, etc." [Parker's Correspondence. Parker Society, pp. x, 483, 484. Camb., 1853.]

The character of the document is that of memoranda written down in great part at the very time at which they were dated, as will be seen, particularly in the case of the troublous years 1554, 1555, and 1556.

So much about the facts. It is also pertinent to inquire what Parker's opinion was of the necessity of ordination. This is evident from his correspondence, as well from his private letters as from his official inquiries addressed to other Bishops and to his officials. Thus he writes to Lord Thomas Howard, ith April, 1561x, to refuse to grant a dispensation for a boy to take a benefice as against the statute of 21st Hen. VIII., and says that even if he had a dispensation to delay taking orders " yet he were not freed with for his laity, and the bishop might repel him at his institution, and so should [he] bestow his cost but in vain." [Correspondence, p. 136.]

Writing 6th February, 1567-8, to Lady Bacon, [Ibid. p. 312.] he complains that her husband, Sir Nicholas Bacon, "had set a serving-man, a mere lay-body, in the face of the whole city to be a prebendary of the Church there (Norwich)." In his official inquiries he constantly asks, whether any laymen, not priests or deacons, hold any spiritual promotions"--since such abuses were in those times, through the greediness of secular persons, by no means uncommon, as indeed they were till a much later date in the Gal-lican Church.

It is also worth noticing that on 3rd June, 1564, he writes to Sir William Cecil [Ibid. p. 214 foll.] an account of his interview with the French Ambassador, De Goncour, and the Bishop of Constance (Coutances?), as follows:--

"The substance of his inquisition was much for the order and using of our religion; the particularities whereof I discoursed unto him. He noted much and delighted in our mediocrity, charging the Genevians and the Scottish of going too far in extremities.

"I perceive that they thought before their coming we had neither statas preces, nor choice of days of abstinence, as Lent, &c., nor orders ecclesiastical, nor persons of our profession in any regard or estimation or of any ability, amongst us. And thereupon, partly by word and partly by some little superfluity of fare and provision, I did beat that plainly out of their heads. And so they seemed to be glad that in ministration of our Common Prayer and Sacraments we use such reverent mediocrity," &c., &c.

Further, there is also another life of Parker in the Historiola on the Foundation and Condition of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, which he himself caused to be written. He was master of that house during the years 1544 to 1553, and was a great benefactor to it, and especially adorned it with his own library. This life, of which MSS. only exist in Latin, was turned into English by an enemy, one of the Puritan faction, who added satirical notes in the margin, and had the book printed in the year 1574, at what place is uncertain, but somewhere outside England. I have seen five copies, if I recollect rightly, of this book, which is rather rare, one or two of which show at the end a table in which are contained the names of the Bishops of England, dates of their consecration and the like. In this little history a short account of the consecration is given, but reporting rather what was edifying in it, as follows:--"The sermon ended when the companie presente had refreshed themselves, by partakinge the spirituall banquett: they make'an ende with earneste praiers unto God that that function whiche was laide on him by the clergie mighthe chiefly tende to the glory of God, to the salvation of the Christian flocke, and the joyfull testimonie off his owne conscience by faithfull executinge of his office when yt shall happen him to departe unto his Lorde to whom he vowed himselfe. And the very same solempnitie and manner of consecration he used toward his bretherne bishoppes uppon whome afterward he laide his hande." I have quoted this account here not because it adds anything to what has previously been quoted, but because it can be proved that it was written about 1569, and because it agrees with the Register in affirming that Parker used exactly the same rite and form in consecrating others as those with which he was consecrated himself.

Let us now hear what our own Jewel wrote in 1567 in the Defence of the Apology of the Church of England, against Harding, who, amongst other things, had attacked bur orders for certain reasons on which we have touched shortly above. [Works, vol. iii, p. 334, Parker Society.] "Further, as if you were my metropolitan, ye demand of me cwhether I be a Bishop or no?' I answer you, I am a Bishop, and that by the free and accustomed canonical election of the whole Chapter of Salisbury, assembled solemnly together for that purpose, of which company you, M. Harding, were then one; and, as I was informed, being present there in your own person amongst your brethren, gave free and open consent unto the election. If you deny this, take heed your own breath blow not against you.

"As for the impertinent tales of Ischyras and Zacchaeus, they touch us nothing: they are none of ours, we know them not. [Observe that he says nothing of modern fables, then unknown.] Our Bishops are made in form and order, as they have been ever, by free election of the Chapter; by consecration of the Archbishop and other three Bishops; [Jewel himself, as he writes, was consecrated Bishop by the Archbishop, Matthew Parker, and three other Bishops, i.e. Edmund Grindal of London, Richard Cox of Ely, and John Hodgkin, Suffragan of Bedford (one of Parker's consecrators), on the 21st of January, 1560. Since that year, however, our lawful custom has been as follows: If the Archbishop be present, not less than two other Bishops take part in the Consecration, and often more; but if the Archbishop's see be vacant, or the Archbishop be absent, at least four Bishops are required to take part. This last rule has very seldom been interrupted. But consecration has never been performed among us by less than three Bishops; although we by no means deny that, if necessity requires, one Bishop is sufficient for a valid consecration.] and by the admission of the prince. [That is to say, by the restitution of the temporalities after homage.] And in this sort not long sithence the Pope himself was admitted; and, as Platina saith, without the Emperor's letters patent the Pope was no Pope, as hereafter it shall be showed more at large."

Lastly, I observe that--though the three presbyters quote Courayer's Dissertation sur la validité des ordinations des Anglois et sur la succession des evesques de l'église Anglicane, published first at Brussels in 1723, in two volumes; and though they notice Le Quien's Nullité des ordinations Anglicanes, &c. (2, vols., Paris, 1725)--they do not appear to be aware that these writers continued the controversy in further publications.

The first is Courayer's Defense de la dissertation sur la validité des ordinations des Anglois, and is in two volumes (in four parts), Brussels, 1726. To this Le Quien replied by a second critique, called La nullité des ordinations Anglicanes demontrée de nouveau tant par les Faits que par le Droit, 2, vols., Paris, 1730 [in Lambeth Library, 87, C. -22, 23], to which Courayer rejoined by a last work, Supplément aux deux ouvrages faits pour la defense de la validité des ordinations Anglicanes pour servir de dernière réponse au nouvel ouvrage de P. le Quien, etc., Amsterdam, 1732. Le Quien died March 12, 1733, aged seventy-two, and for this, amongst other reasons, the controversy on this point did not continue. Courayer died in England, October 17, 1776, at the age of ninety-five.

These books, if you desire it, you can probably obtain more readily in Holland than in England. But I send the five volumes of Haddan's edition of Bramhall--the third of which is indispensable to this question--as a present from myself. The fifth volume contains a second dissertation of similar subject as well as a valuable index at the end, which will be a guide in many points to the reader.

I have now finished my task, which, though it is small in compass, has not been altogether light in labour; but I have throughout felt a pleasure in working for those who, like you, most Reverend Father, and your brethren, are not only personally friendly, but are really guided by true piety.

If, at the same time, I have done anything to support the position and claims of my mother the Church of England, to whom I owe the knowledge of God and the hope of a future life, I shall feel most amply rewarded.

Farewell, brethren, and pray for us.
Given at Salisbury the XIIIth day of May, A.D. 1890.


Project Canterbury