Page images

in the next Reign: For Ministers, not licenfed to Preach, by the 49th Canon then made, are pot permitted to expound any Text of Scripture, but only to read the Homilies: even in tbeir own Cures; but the occasion of those Canons being now taken away, our Bishops do wholly, and juftly forbear to put that Canon in execu. tion: and every Priest is permitted to preach, at least in his own Cure, as he may, and ought to do by the old Canon Law, by the Charge gi. ven him at his Ordination, and by the very nature of his Office. For wholly to forbid any Clergy man to preach to those, the Cure of whole Souls is committed to him, is a most ex. ceffive Strain of Authority; and such as the Popith Prelates never thought fit to make use of, when they were in the height of their Fury, a. gainst what they falfly called Heresy. Indeechy lo gentle is the prefent Government in the Church, that even Deacons are, by connivance, generally allow'd to preach without License.

For the Encouragement of Preaching Mini. pers, it was enacted, by a Claufe in the 13 Eliz. 12. that No one shall be admitted to a Benefice, with Cure of Souls, of above 30 1. per An. in the Queen's Books ; unless he be Batchen lor of Divinity, or a Preacher lawfully allov'd by fome Bishop, or one of the Universities; and this is yet in force.

He that is ordained Priest, and is Doctor of Divinity, is qualify'd for any Dignity in the Church, under that of a Bishoprick. The Lo. cal Statutes of the Cathedrals, and other Eccle. fiaftical Corporations, do generally make that Degree, either in Divinity or fome other Facul.


ty, necessary for their greater Dignities; and no one can hold two Benefices, that is not Ma. fter of Arts, Can.41. And farther, the Incum. bents of all Churches, united by 17 Car. II. c. 3. must be Graduates in one of the Universities, See also the Chapter of Pluralities.

The Qualifications for Deacon's Orders, are, in the main, the same that are required for Priests : but in this they differ, that a Man can. not be difpensed with for receiving Priest's Osders before he be full Twenty Four : but a Fa. culty or Dispensation is exprefly allow'd for him that is ordam'd Deacon, before he be Twenty Three. See Preface to the Ordination Service. And indeed, by the old Forin of Ordination, a Deacon was not requir'd to be more than Twenty One. It feems now to be left to the Archbi. fhop's Difcretion, at what Age to admit one to be a Deacon. And 'tis not unusual for Diocesan Biihops to admit Men to Deacon's Orders under Age, without any Dispensation.

Farther, A Man ought regularly to be a Dead con a whole Year before he be ordained Priest; but the Bishop may ordain him sooner if he. pleale. Rubrick to Ordination Service. But it were much to be wilh'd, that this Rule were friąly observed. For one main Use and End of Deaconship in the Church, is, to be a 'Time of Probation, that it may upon Trial appear, whether he be a Person fit to have the Cure of Souls coinmitted to himn ; and this would in a great measure prevent the Practice of such, as can in Ten Days Time, from being Beaus, become Dignitaries, or Incumbents; and who are moved by nothing but Profit, to take on them

The Holy Order; for if they were to stay a whole Year in the Order of Deaconship, Lapse might incur, and their fecular Ends be defeated.

The Deacon's Office, with us, consists in Read. ing Divine Service and Homilies, Catechising the Youth, Baptizing Infants in tlie Priest's Ata sence, Burying, Marrying. See Watf. c. 14. p. 103.) and to be Afliftant in the Care of the Poor; which last Part of his Office is almost fet afide, by that generous Provision for the Poor, made by several Statutes in, and since the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, not to be paralleld in any other Nation.

The Forin of Ordaining Deacons exprefly fays, that'tis the Office of a Deacon to afrist the Priest in the distribution of the Holy Communion; and such, I suppose, has always been the practice: but Dr. IV at fon moves a Scruple, whether the Deacon, by distributing the Cup, do not incur the 100t. Penalty laid by that Ac7, (which ra. tifies the Ordination-Office) viz. 14 Car. II. 4. on those wbo adminifter the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper witbout being ordain'd Priefts. But sure this might have been spared; for to adminisier the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, does often signify the whole Action, or Solem. nity of the Communion ; and he that performs one Part, and that which is aflign’d him by the Law and Canon, does not do the whole; nor does any one call the Cup alone, the Sacrament of the Lords Supper : But that it inay appear that this Law was not intended for a Snare, let it be obferved how cautiously 'tis Worded, viz. that no Perfon Mall presume to

Con ,

Consecrate, and (not or, as Dr. Watson reads it administer the Sacraments, &c.

A Deacon, before this A&t of Uniformity, was capable of being Incumbent in a Church with Cure, and a Layman in a Prebend, or other Sine Cure ; but now a Deacon can only be a Chaplain, or assist in serving a Cure, or at most preach a Lecture : For he inay preach, if be bo tbereunto licensed by the Bishop; and a License granted by any one Bishop, or by either of the Universities, qualifies a Man to preach any where else. Watf.c. 15. p. 104.

Our Church allows no Orders to be good, but what are conferr’d by Bishopš ; nor does it appear, that any Church did ever approve of Or. dination performn’d without a Bishop,till a contrary Practice began of late in France and Gera many; but the Primitive Church was the Pat. tern by which ours was reformed.If any object a Crime against a Person to be Ordained, the Bishop is to forbear, till the Par; ty be found clear of that Crime. Rubr.Ord. Service.

He that is born Hlegitimate, cannot:be admito ted into Holy Orders, without a Dispensation from the King or Archbishop; and if he take a Benefice, he may be depriv'd of it, till fueli Dispensation be obtain'd. Watf.c. 14. P. 102.Let the Clergy man see his Name, and Ordination enter'd in the Bishop's Register. For if he chance to lose his Letter of Orders, or if that be suspe&ted through some Fault of the Secretary, as it often happens, then the Bishop's Re. gifter is the only remaining Evidence of his Ordination ; unless, by chance, some Perfonsthat were present at his Ordination can be found.



The Bishop, if he thinks fit, may Ordain or any Sunday or Holy-day ; but the Times men. tion'd in the Canon, and referr'd to in the Ru. brick, are the Sundays next after the Ember. days, which, in the Laws of King Alfred, c: 39. are call’d ymb-sivne natar, and in those of Canute, c. 16. Ýmb-sen fæsten, i.e. the circular Days or Fafts : The first of these Weeks is in Spring or Lent, when Corn and other Seeds are fown; the second at Whitsuntide, when they are growing ; the third in September, when they are gather'd and imbarn'd; the fourth in December, when they are marketed and used ; on which four Seafons the Circle of the Year turns. Mr. Somner therefore thinks that these Fafts were first instituted, to beg God's Blessing on the Fruits of the Earth, and on ourselves in the use of them, and not only on account of Ordination. The Canonifts call thefe Ember-Weeks (as we now corruptly write them) Quatuor Anni Tempora, by which very Words they denote likewise the Four Quarters of the Year. See Lyndwood, in Glof. L.I. T. 11. Quatuor in Anno.

CHA P. VIII: of Deans and Chapters, Archdeacons and

Rural Deans.


HE Bishops, in ancient Times, had their

Clergy residing with them in their Cathedrals, to be aflifting to them in the Performance of Divine Office, and adminiftring the Govern


« PreviousContinue »