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Constitutions and Canons Ecclesiastical, treated upon
by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, Presidents of the Convocations for the respective Provinces of Canterbury and York, and the rest of the Bishops and Clergy of those Provinces : And agreed upon with the Kings Majesties License in their several
Synods begun at London and York. 1640. In the year of the Raign of our Soveraign Lord CHARLES,
by the Grace of God, King of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, the Sixteenth.
I. Concerning the Regal Power. HEREAS sundry Laws, Ordinances, and Constitutions have been formerly made for the acknowledgment and profession of the most lawful and independent Authority of our dread Soveraign Lord, the Kings most Excellent
Majesty, over the State Ecclesiastical and Civil : We (as our duty in the first place binds us, and so far as to us appertaineth) enjoyn them all to be carefully observed by all persons whom they concern, upon the penalties of the said Laws and Constitutions expressed.
And for the fuller and clearer instruction and information of all Christian people within this Realın in their duties in this particular;
We do further ordain and decree, That every Parson, Vicar, Curate, or Preacher, upon some one Sunday in every quarter of the year at Morning-prayer, shall in the place where he serves, treatably and audably read these Explanations of the Regal Power here inserted.
THE most High and Sacred Order of Kings, is of Divine Right, being the Ordinance of God Himself, founded in the prime Laws of Nature, and clearly established by express Texts both of the Old and New Testaments. A supreme Power is given to this most excellent Order by God Himself in the Scriptures, which is, That Kings should Rule and Command in their several Dominions all persons of what rank or estate soever, whether Ecclesiastical or Civil, and that they should restrain and punish with the Temporal Sword all stubborn and wicked doers.
The care of Gods Church is so committed to Kings in the Scripture, that they are commended when the Church keeps the right way, and taxed when it runs amiss, and therefore her Government belongs in chief unto Kings : For otherwise one man would be commended for anothers care, and taxed but for anothers negligence, which is not
The Power to call and dissolve Councils both National and Provincial, is the true right of all Christian Kings within their own Realms and Territories : And when in the first times of Christs Church, Prelates used this Power, 'twas therefore only because in those days they had no Christian Kings : And it was then so only used as in times of persecution, that is, with supposition (in case it were required) of subinitting their very lives unto the very Laws and Commands even of those Pagan Princes, that they might not so much as seem to disturb their Civil Government, which Christ came to confirm, but by no means to undermine.
For any person or persons to set up, maintain, or avow in any their said Realms or Territories respectively, under any pretence whatsoever, any independent Coactive Power, either Papal or Popular, (whether directly or indirectly) is to undermine their great Royal Office, and cunningly to overthrow that most sacred Ordinance, which God Himself hath established : And so is treasonable against God, as well as against the King.
For Subjects to bear Arms against their Kings, Offensive or Defensive, upon any pretence whatsoever, is at least to resist the Powers, which are ordained of God: And though they do not invade, but only resist; St. Paul tells them plainly, They shall receive to themselves dumnation.
And although Tribute, and Custom, and Aid, and Subsidy, and all manner of necessary support and supply, be respectively due to Kings from their Subjects by the Law of God, Nature, and Nations, for the publick defence, care and protection of them; yet nevertheless, Subjects have not only possession of, but a true and just right, title and propriety to, and in all their Goods and Estates : and ought to have : And these two are so far from crossing one another, that they mutually go together, for the honourable and comfortable support of both. For as it is the duty of the Subjects to supply their King: so it is part of the Kingly Office to support his Subjects in the property and freedom of their Estates.
And if any Parson, Vicar, Curate, or Preacher, shall voluntarily or carelessly neglect his duty in publishing the said Explications and Conclusions, according to the Order above described, he shall be suspended by his Ordinary, till such time as upon his penitence he shall give sufficient assurance, or evidence of his amendment; and in case he be of any exempt jurisdiction, he shall be censurable to his Majesties Commissioners for Causes Ecclesiastical.
And we do also hereby require all Archbishops, Bishops and all other inferiour Priests and Ministers, that they Preach, Teach, and Exhort their People to obey, honor, and serve their King; and that they presume not to speak of His Majesties Power in any other way than in this Canon is expressed.
And if any Parson, Vicar, Curate, Preacher, or any other Ecclesiastical Person whatsoever, any Dean, Canon, or Prebendary of any Collegiate or Cathedral Church, any Member or Student of Colledge or Hall, or any Reader of Divinity or Humanity in either of the Universities, or elsewhere, shall in any Sermon, Lecture, Common-place, Determination or Disputation, either by word or writing, publickly maintain or abet any position or conclusion, in opposition, or impeachment of the aforesaid explications, or any part or Article of them, he shall forthwith by the Power of His Majesties Commissioners for Causes Ecclesiastical, be excommunicated till he repent, and suspended two years from all the profits of bis Benefice, or other Ecclesiastical, Academical, or Scholastical Preferments : And if he so offend a second time, he shall be deprived from all his Spiritual Promotions, of what nature or degree soever they be.
Provided always, that if the offence aforesaid be given in either of the Universities, by Men not having any Benefice or Ecclesiastical Preferment, that then the Delinquent shall be censured by the ordinary authority in such cases of thal University respectivly, where the said fault shall be committed.
II. For the better keeping of the day of His Majesties most
happy Inauguration. THE Synod taking into consideration the most inestimable benefits which this Church enjoyeth, under the peaceable and blessed Government of our dread Sovereign Lord King CHARLES ; and finding that as well the godly Christian Emperors in the former times, as our own most Religious Princes since the Reformation, have caused the days of their Inaugurations to be publickly celebrated by all their Subjects with Prayers and Thanksgiving to Almighty God; and that there is a particular form of Prayer appointed by Authority for that day and purpose : and yet withal considering how negligent some people are in observance of this day, in many places of this Kingdom; Doth therefore decree and ordain, That all manner of Persons within the Church of England, shall from henceforth celebrate and keep the morning of the said day in coming diligently and reverently unto their Parish Church or Chap. at the time of Prayer, and there continuing all the while that the Prayers, Preaching, or other service of the day endureth : in testimony of their humble gratitude to God for so great a blessing, and dutiful affections to so benign and merciful a Soveraign. And for the better execution of this our Ordinance, the holy Synod doth straightly require and charge, and by authority hereof enableth all Archbishops, Bishops, Deans, Deans and Chapters, Archdeacons, and other Ecclesiastical persons, having exempt or peculiar jurisdiction; as also all Chancellors, Commissaries, and Officials in the Church of England, that they enquire into the keeping of the same in their Visitations, and punish such as they shall find to be delinquent, according as by Law they are to censure, and punish those who wil. fully absent themselves from Church on Holy-days. And that the said day may be the better observed, we do enjoyn, that all Church wardens shall provide, at the Parislı-charge, two of those Books at least, appointed for that day; and if there be any want of the saiti Book in any Parish, they shall present the same at all Visitations respectively.
III. For the suppressing of the growth of Popery. ALL and every Ecclesiastical persons, of what rank or condition soever, Archbishops, and Bishops, Deans, Archdeacons, all having exempt or peculiar jurisdiction, with their several Chancellors, Commissaries, and Officials, all persons intrusted with cure of souls, shall use respectively all possible care and diligence by conferring privately with the parties, and by censures of the Church in inferiour and higher Courts, as also by complaints unto the Secular Power, to reduce all such to the Church of England, who are misled into Popish Superstition.
And first, These private Conferences shall be performed in each several Diocess, either by the Bishop in person, if his occasion will permit it, or by some one or more learned Ministers at his special appointment, and the said Bishop shall also design the time and place of the said several Conferences, and all such persons as shall be present thereat: which if Recusants refuse to observe, they shall be taken for obstinate, and so certified to the Bishop. And if the said time and place be not observed by the Minister or Ministers so appointed, they shall be suspended by their Ordinary for the space of six months, without a very reasonable cause alledged to the contrary. Provided that they be not sent above ten miles from their dwelling.
If the said Conferences prevail not, the Church must and shall come lo her Censures ; and to make way for them, the said Ecclesiastical persons shall carefully inform themselves in the places belonging to their several charges, of all Recusants above the age of twelve years, both of such as come not at all to Church, as also of those who coming sometimes thither, do yet refuse to receive the holy Eucharist with us, as likewise of all those, who shall either say or hear Mass : and they shall in a more especial manner enquire out all those, who are either dangerously active to seduce any Persons from the Communion of the Church of England, or seditiously busie to disswade his Majesties Subjects from taking the Oath of Allegiance, together with all them who abused by their Sophistry, refuse to take the said Oath.
And we straightly command all Parsons, Vicars and Curates, that they carefully and severally present at all Visitations, the names and sirnames of the Delinquents of these several kinds in their own Parishes, under pain of suspension for six months.
wise we straightly enjoyn all Church-wardens, and the like sworn Officers whatsoever, that by vertue of their Oaths they shall present at the said Visitations the names of such Persons, whom they know or hear of, or justly suspect to be delinquent in all or any