Page images
PDF
EPUB

cher Year on the First of January; the State on the 25th of March : But I believe the Rea. der will rather believe the Churcb berself, which declares, that her Supputation of the Year begins on the 25th of March. See Rubr. under tbe Table of Move able Feafts. As therefore the Church complies with the State in reckoning January the first Month of the Year, and in calling the last of December, New-Years Eve, (Rubri after the Collect for Śt. Stephen's Day) in condescension to the Capacities of the People, and to avoid Confusion; and yet ex. prelly says, that the Ecclefiaftic Year begins not till lady-day, ; so she does the same thing in calling the beginning of the greater Festivals, the Evening next before, nainely, because according to the State Account, the foregoing Day is not ended till Twelve at Night: Tho’I think all Divines, Rationalists and Canonists are agreed, that the Sacred Day begins at Six in the Evening, and which yet once at least, viz. in the Collect on Purification-Day, the Church mentions as part of the Feast.

This first part of the Festivals was, very early among the primitive Christians, fpent in Hymns, and other Devotions; (see the Martyr. dom of St. Ignat.) which were oftentimes continued till late in the Night, and were from thence called Vigils; which Vigils were by degrees enlarged, till at last the whole preceeding Day was call’d by that Name: Nor only so, but latter. ward they were so loath to part with their ReHigious Feafts, that they did not think them ended at•the beginning of the next Evening, but lengthend out the Solemnity so long as the

Twi

Twilight continued: And what Lyndwood says of our Lady-day, may, I suppose, be applied to all other Feasts of the Church ; viz. Quoad Festivitatem, five celebrationem Divini Officii, incipit Annunciatio, in primis vesperis, finitür poft fecundas. L. 1. T. 3. c. Nullus verb. ante Annunciationem.

CH A P. XXIII

Of PARIS H-CLERK S.

There

were of old, several Clergymen be-longing to all Churches (that were not. extreamly Poor) besides the Incumbent, and all of them were under the Inspection and Care of the Incumbent, or his Representative, who on. this Account was stileda Prelate : Greater Rectories were to have three, or two at least, in Priests Orders. Prov. L. 3. T. 15. C. Ad instar. These the Rector, or Vicar, might chuse at his. own Discretion, without express Leave from the Bishop. Conft

. Otho.ad Vicar. Glof.in propriis. Personis. And they were to be maintain'd by the Incumbents, who gave them their Title, if they were not Ordain'd before. Stilling. Eccl. Cafes, p. 131, 132. and these were called Chap. lains, Parish Vicars, and Parish-Priests-; (for it does not appear, that Incumbents ever were: so called). There were many. Altars in most Churches, and the Business of these Clerks was to fay Maffes for the Dead, and to join with the

In.

[ocr errors]

1

Incumbent in rehearsing the Hours of the Bre. viary in the Chnrch, especially on Festivals. Conft. Otb. Ecel.v. Altar.

And it seems necessary, that there should have been as many in inferior Orders to attend those in the superior, whilft they were Celebrating. And let no one wonder how these were main. tained, since it appears, that he who had only the Office of carrying the Holy-Water was there. by provided of a Livelihood by the Alms of the People, which if they withheld, they were to be Censur’d, L. 3. T. 7. c. a noftris. And it fhould seem'a Custom was growing up in Lynd. wood's Time, of giving them certain Fees every Sunday , and especially at the greater Festivals, and fome Sheaves of Corn in Harvest. Ibid. It was sufficient, that they who thus attended the Priests, had taken any of the Inferior Orders, or if they were but Pfalmists, and had the Prima Tonfura, of whom the Canonists fome. times dispute, whether they might be called Clerks or not.

From what has been said, it seems evident, that before, and at the beginning of the Refore mation, there were several Persons to attend the Incumbent in performing Divine Offices, especially in larger Parishes, as there are still in Cathedral and Collegiate Churches ; and these were all called Clerks, tho' they were not in Orders, at least not all of them ; of these, that Rubric is, I suppose, to be understood in the Burial Office, viz. the Priest and Clerk meeting the Corps, &c. In some Choires, those Singing Men who read the first Lesson, are called Laya Clerks (a contradictory Name it is not to be

doubted)

doubted ), but before the Reformation they were in some of the Inferior Orders, Pfalmifts, or Lectors at least ; of this fort probably were those, who are, and have long since been calo led Parish-Clerks, whereof now there is but one in a Parish. See Prov. L. 3. T. 1. Gloff.

By Canon 19 the Incumbent has the Choice of the Parish-Clerks, as he formerly had of the Aquæbajulus: But as the People of old, in some Places, difputed this Right with their Rectorsgs and Vicars, so they have of late Years; and it has been several Times adjudged, that where the People have a Custom of chuling their Parisha Clerk, the Canon cannot alter it. Godol. c. 17sect. 15. and that the Ordinary cannot Deprive the Parish-Clerk, tho” he may Censure, and Exo communicate hint for any Fault; but they only who put him in, can deprive him. Ibid.

In fome Places, where the Incumbent has an undisputed Right of chusing his Clerk, the Pae rishioners have pretended a Right of chusing a Saxton, to have the Privilege of the Bells, and digging the Graves; but I never knew that this was actually done in any Place, but where, of ancient Custom, there uses to be a Saxton, till about five Years ago this was practised at Maida ftone, in the Diocese of Canterbury. And the Saxton there chofen, by a Majority of the Parishioners in Veftry, was confirined by a Verdiet. at the Assizes there, the Lord Chief Justice Holt fitting on the Bench, and directing the Jury to find for the Saxton fo elected. But here too, it was pretended, that before the late Rebellion, the two Offices of Clerk and Saxton, had been in two several Perfonso

Farisko

Parish.Clerks, after having been chosen, and declared by the Minister, are usually Licensed by the Ordinary, and may fue for their Dues in the Ecclefiaftical Courts. To have served the Place a competent Time without Objection, is fufficient without a License; as I heard a certain Vicar-General to an Archbishop once des clare in Court. When a Parish Clerk is Licenfed, he is tworn to obey the Minister. So all the old Parish-Priests and Clerks, took an Oath of Obedience to the Rector, or Vicar, of the Church. Prov. L. 1. T. 15. So they that Offi, ciate in any Chappel of Eafe, do, to this Day, fwear Obedience to the Incumbent of the Moiber.Church,

CH A P. XXIV.

Of Tythes and offerings. TYTH ES are of three forts, Prædial, Mixi,

Personal: Prædial Tythes are such as arise wholly, or chiefly of the Earth, as of Corn, Hay, Under-Wood, Seeds, Herbs, Apples, Pearsye Cherries, &c.

Mixt Tythes are such as arise from Beasts, or other Animals Pastur’d, or fed with the Fruits of the Earth; as Colts, Calves, Lambs, Wool, ! Milk, Fowls, 8c.

Personal Tyıbes are the Profits arising from the Labour, Art, Trade, Navigation, Industry of Men.

Great

« PreviousContinue »