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THIS Volume contains the two Books of Common Prayer set forth by authority of Parliament in the reign of King Edward VI. They are printed concurrently in such a manner that the reader may easily observe the differences existing in them, and trace the progress which was made at that period in the reformation of religious worship In the Appendix is added the Order of the communion, which had been published previously by Royal authority, and carried into effect the first measure of a religious character adopted by the legislature in that reign. It will be necessary, by way of preface, to give a short notice of the opinions and occurrences of those times, in order to bring the subject distinctly before the general reader.
The changes which had been made during the reign of Henry VIII. for the establishment of pure religion, were neither many in number, nor in themselves of the first importance. Depending in great measure upon the opinions of that prince, they had their origin, and took their character, from some temper of mind, or some secular design, with which they had no natural connection. They were adopted in the first instance without regard to their relative importance, and were persisted in or abandoned without consideration of their real value. The native disposition and acquired habits of Henry's mind gave himn a strong inclination in favour of the ancient
learning; and though he was too headstrong to yield implicit obedience to the court of Rome, and too sensible to tolerate its most flagrant corruptions, he cherished to the last its religious and moral system, and felt neither respect nor sympathy for the genuine principles of the Reformation.
But though he seems to have been desirous of enforcing on his own anthority the same confession of faith and order of discipline which had previously been exacted by the court of Rome, he had undesignedly been encouraging among his subjects a spirit of inquiry, and a capacity and taste for religious controversy, to such an extent, that, whatever might be the evils attendant on them, they could not fail to be productive of great benefit, in the opposition they created to his despotic measures. From the time also when he found it convenient to appeal to Universities, and to learned foreigners, for their judgment on the subject of his divorce, he opened a communication with the reformers
a Hooper writes to Bullinger, Jan. 26. 1546, Papam trucidavit rex non Papatum. Hess, Catal. of letters at Zurich, a MS. in the possession of the Delegates of the Oxford Press.
• The earnestness with which Henry sought for the assistance of the German divines may be shewn from the following notices contained in Melancthon's letters to Camerarius. Epp. I. 4. ep. 119. anno 1531. Melancthon consulted on Henry's marriage. Ep. 154. an. 1534. jam alteris litteris in Angliam vocor. Ep. 166. an. 1535. de Anglicis rebus coram tecum malim loqui, quam per litteras. -Ab Anglis bis vocatus sum, sed especto tertias litteras, et ut dicam quod sentio, pænitet me meæ Bpaduriitos. Ep. 170. an. 1535. these words inserted by way of privacy in a Latin letter, ήλθε δε προς ημάς ξένος τις πεμφθείς εκ της βρετανίας, μόνον διαλεγόμενος περί του δευτέρου γάμου του βασιλέως" των δε της εκκλησίας πραγμάτων ου μέλει, ώς φησι, τη βασιλεί Ep. 179. an. 1535. ego rursus Anglicis, non solum litteris, sed etiam legationibus, et vocor et exerceor. Ep. 182. an. 1536. Angli ostendunt se genus doctrinæ purioris nostrorum exemplo recepturos esse.