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Vanity Fair

William Thackery

The Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Thomas Carlyle, Rudolf Steiner

The Souls of Black Folk

W. E. B. DuBois

Paradoxes of the Highest Science

Eliphas Levi

The Elizabethan prayer-book & ornaments

by Henry Gee


tation, and ever since his time this letter acceptance, of Guest has been considered to be an important side-light on the history of the Elizabethan Prayer-Book. So confidently has this view been taken that a descendant of Bishop Guest wrote a Life of his ancestor some sixty years ago, in which he described Guest as "the principal compiler of the liturgy of the Church of England established at the time of the Reformation, and now in

1 Strype, Annals, i. 83. Cf. H. G. Dugdale's Life of Bishop Geste, p. 37.

use amongst us as the only English Church service legally established in the kingdom." Mr. Dugdale, the author of this Life of Guest, called upon "the literary world at large, but more especially those seats of learning of which he [Guest] was a member, as well as those ecclesiastical establishments over which for so many years, to the honour and glory of God, to the fruitful edification of His Church, and to his own excellent and meritorious commendation, he presided, [that] they will search with diligence and avidity the arcana of their respective depositaries; examine their munimental manuscripts; and should their labours be attended with success, communicate their contents to the world."1 Well, it is in the spirit of this appeal that the present examination is made of the documentary authority on which the story of the Elizabethan revision rests. It may perhaps result in dethroning Guest from a position which I do not think that he ever claimed for himself.

1 Dugdale, p. vi.

So much for the first appearance of View of the


Guest's letter as a contribution to the history before strype: of Elizabeth's Prayer-Book; and so much for the theory based upon it by Strype. We discard it for the time being and proceed with our inquiry. The next historian before Strype is Burnet, who published the first volume of Burnet his History of the Reformation in 1679. He threw new light upon the early days of Elizabeth by utilising for the first time some of the documents in the archives of Zurich, which were published in full by the Parker Society sixty years ago, and form a most useful addition to our knowledge of the times. But Burnet passes over the matter of the revision entirely, and merely calls attention to the result.1 Heylyn, the chaplain 2. Heyiyn. of Archbishop Laud, produced his Ecclesia Restaurata in 1661, the year of the last revision of our Prayer-Book. He gives the story of the commission with which the "Device" has made us familiar, and has

1 Burnet, p. III.

nothing further to add upon the subject.1

3. Fuller. Thomas Fuller wrote his Church History of

Britain, as did Heylyn, during the troublous times of the Protectorate, to which period we owe other learned works which might never have seen the light had not their authors been diverted from the ordinary course of their life during the sorrows which then came upon the Church of England. Fuller brought out his quaint and interesting book in 1656, but he simply notices that "uniformity of prayer and administration of sacraments were enacted."2 He has no word to offer about the revision. Next in order of time is a manuscript history of the Prayer-Book inserted in a copy of the year 1638, and preserved at Lambeth.3 It is very

4. Laud. probably the work of Laud or was drawn up

for him. It is called "A brief survey of the times and manner of Reformation in Religion of the Churches of England and Scotland,

1 Heylyn, ii. 272, 273, ed. 1849. 2 ii. 440, ed. 1842.

3 Lambeth MS., 731.

and of the Liturgy, Rites, Ceremonies, and discipline therein used or controverted, and how far the present agrees with the former." It asserts that "the care of correcting the liturgy which by King Edward the VI. was set forth in the vulgar tongue was committed to Parker, Bill, May, Cox, Grindal, Whitehead, and Pilkington, learned divines, and to Sir Thomas Smith." This account again suggests the " Device," though the order of the names slightly differs. At last we reach Camden, who was the chief antiquary in 5- Camden. England at the beginning of the seventeenth century. He is the fountain source of Elizabethan history, from which all subsequent historians drew without question or reserve, until Strype tapped fresh manuscript authorities. Camden published the first volume of his Annales rerum Anglicarum et Hibernicarum regnante Elizabetha in the year 1615. For this and his other works he made the most elaborate preparations. He bequeathed his books and papers to Arch

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