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slackly to the Processions.” This Litany was republished in the Primer of 1545.
Besides these Primers, several editions of books containing the Epistles and Gospels in English, were issued between 1538 and 1549, and one of the Psalter in Latin and English.
In the year 1542 a Committee of Convocation consisting of Shaxton, Bishop of Salisbury, Goodrich of Ely, and six members of the Lower House of Convocation, had been appointed with a view to the examination and correction of the Service-Books; and the proceedings of Convocation in 1547, (Wilkins, iv. 15) shew that revised Service-Books had been drawn up by order of that body during Henry's reign; for at their first meeting after his death, it was resolved, “That the books of the Bishops and others, who by the command of the Convocation have laboured in examining, reforming, and publishing the Divine Service, may be produced, and laid before the examination of this House." In estimating the importance of the First Reformed Prayer-Book it is. absolutely necessary to bear these facts in mind, and to avoid the mistake of supposing that it was a hurried production, the work of men who had not given their minds to the subject before Edward's
accession. The whole history of the preliminaries which resulted in the Book of 1549 is fully given in Archdeacon Freeman's “Principles of Divine Service," in Section X. of the introduction to Part II., to the following paragraph of which I would especially call attention:
“ The project of a Revision of her Ritual, both Ordinary and Eucharistic, had in truth occupied the attention of the English Church from a far earlier period than is commonly supposed. It is usually represented that in the year 1548–9, a body of Divines then first selected and commissioned by the Crown for the purpose, and resting their authority on no broader basis, took in hand for the first time the revision or reconstruction of the ancient Offices; and thus produced, at a single effort, the earliest form of the English Prayer-Book. Such a representation, however, does very imperfect justice to the real character of this importanů movement. The work thus accomplished did not merely—which is the most that is generally admitted—go forth with the sanction of Convocation, but had, in the truest sense, originated with that body, and was carried through by members of it: and so was in far stricter reality the work of the Church by representation than it would otherwise have been. And again, this work of revision had been spread over a period much more commensurate with the greatness of the undertaking, than is thus erroneously assumed. Some little obscurity indeed still exists as to the exact degree in which Convocation was concerned in the revision; but that it was so to a far greater extent, and from a much earlier date, than is generally conceived, is certain.” (Page 101.)
But, beyond the order issued with the revised edition of the Sarum Breviary (printed in 1541 by Whitchurch, afterwards the printer of the Book of Common Prayer) that after the Te Deum and the Magnificat Lessons should be read in the English language, no actual change was made in the Public Worship of the Church until the reign of Edward VỊ,
The first direct step towards the introduction of a Reformed Book of Common Prayer in the vulgar tongue was made by Cranmer on Nov. 30, 1547, when he brought before Convocation “a form of a certain ordinance for the receiving of the body of our Lord under both kinds, viz. of bread and wine." On the 20th December following an Act" for the receiving in both kinds” passed both Houses of Parliament; and on the following “viii
daye of Marche, in the seconde yere of the reigne of our souereigne lorde kyng Edward the Sixt. In the yere of our Lorde M.D. XLVIII.,"* the “Order of the Communion” (given at the end of this introduction) was published by Grafton with a Royal Proclamation prefixed.
By this time the joint committee of Convocation for the purpose of revision had been enlarged so as to consist of six members from each House. After a lengthened consultation on the subject at Windsor, during the summer of 1548, they brought the result of their labours before Convocation, which met on Nov. 24, 1548. They then laid it before the king in council, and finally before Parliament on December 9, and the Reformed Book of Common Prayer, “the noblest monument of piety, of prudence and of learning, which the sixteenth century constructed,” + was passed, together
* This date, given in the Colophon of “The Order of the Communion,” fixes “the second year of the Reign of King Edward the Sixth,” about which questions have been raised in recent discussions of the Ornaments' Rubric, to the year 1548. In like manner the Colophon at the end of the Communion of one of Grafton's Prayer Books of " Anno Domini M.D. XLIX,” states that it was * Imprinted at London viii, daye of Marche, in the third yere of the reigne of our souereigne Lorde Kyng Edward the VI.”
+ Archdeacon Hardwick's History of the Christian Church during the Reforination. Chap. iv.
with the “Act for Uniformity of Service,” by the House of Lords on the 15th, and by the House of Commons on the 21st of the following January, and came into general use on the following Whitsunday, June 9, 1549. This great work was recommended to the nation by the fullest synodical approval of the Church, as well as of the National Parliament, which it is important to remember consisted at that time exclusively of Churchmen. The Royal Council, in their rebuke of July 23, 1549, to Bonner, Bishop of London, for his reluctance to adopt it, remind him that “after great and serious debating and long conference of the bishops and other well learned men in the Holy Scripture, one uniform order for common prayers and administration of the sacraments hath been, and is most godly set forth, not only by the common agreement and full assent of the nobility and commons of the late session of our late parliament, but also by the like assent of the bishops in the said parliament, and of all other the learned men of this our realm in their synods and convocations provincial.” (Wilkins, iv. 35.)
The first edition of the Book of Common Prayer is Whitchurch's edition of March 7, 1549. The next is dated March 8, and was printed by Grafton;