Selection from the Canons of 1571

Gee, Henry, and William John Hardy, ed.,
Documents Illustrative of English Church History
(New York: Macmillan, 1896), 476-7.

Hanover Historical Texts Project
Scanned and proofread by Heather Haralson, May 1998.
Posted by Raluca Preotu, July 1999.
Proofread and pages added by Jonathan Perry, March 2001.

Editors' Introduction:
THE Convocation of 1571, which revised the Articles of 1562, and ordered them to be printed, drew up a body of Canons about twelve in number. The queen however refused to sign them when complete, and so they practically became a dead letter. A summary of their contents may be inserted: 1. Concerning the duties of bishops. 2. Concerning the duties of cathedral chapters. 3. Concerning the duties of archdeacons. 4. Concerning the duties of chancellors, commissaries, officials, and parish clergy. 5. Concerning the duties of churchwardens, viz. term of office, care of church buildings, i.e. fabric and due appointment for service, recusancy presentment, and act of ministers. 6. Concerning preachers. 7. Concerning the residence of beneficed clergy. 8. Concerning plurality. 9. Concerning schoolmasters. 10. Concerning patrons and proprietaries. 11. Concerning illegal marriages. 12. Form of excommunication.
[Tr. contemporary print at the British Museum, 3505 e. 20(2).]

Canon 6. Concerning preachers.

No one without the bishop's permission shall publicly preach in his parish, nor shall he venture hereafter to preach (concionari) outside his cure and church, unless he has received permission so to preach, either from the queen through all the parts of the realm, or the archbishop through his province, or from the bishop through his diocese. And no power to preach shall be hereafter valid or have any authority save only such as shall be obtained after the last day of April of the year 1571. Preachers shall behave themselves modestly and soberly in every department of their life. But especially shall they see to it that they teach nothing in the way of a sermon, which they would have religiously held and believed by the people, save what is agreeable to the teaching of the Old or New Testament, and what the Catholic fathers and ancient bishops have collected from this selfsame doctrine. And since those Articles of the Christian religion to which assent was given by the bishops in lawful and holy synod convened and celebrated [Page 477] by command and authority of our most serene princess, Elizabeth, were without doubt collected from the holy books of Old and New Testament, and in all respects agree with the heavenly doctrine which is contained in them; since, too, the book of public prayers, and book of the consecration (inauguratio) of archbishops, bishops, priests, and deacons, contain nothing contrary to this same doctrine, whoever shall be sent to teach the people shall confirm the authority and faith of those Articles not only in their sermons but also by subscription. Whoever does otherwise, and perplexes the people with contrary doctrine, shall be excommunicated. In preaching they shall use such modest and grave apparel (veste) as may befit and adorn the minister of God, and such as was described in the book of the Admonitions. And they shall not demand money or any fee for a sermon, but shall be content with merely food and equipment (apparatu), and one night's hospitality. They shall not teach vain and old wives' opinions and heresies, and papal errors, abhorrent to the teaching and faith of Christ, nor anything at all whereby the unlearned multitude be inflamed to love of novelty or contention. Moreover they shall always put forward such things as make to edification, and reconcile the hearers by Christian concord and love.

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