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Constitutions and Canons Ecclesiastical

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CONSTITUTIONS AND CANONS ECCLESIASTICAL. King James I., in the first year of his reign in England, by his writ directed to the Archbishop of Canterbury, summoned and called the " bishops, deans of cathedral churches, archdeacons, chapters and colleges, and the other clergy of every diocese within the province of Canterbury," to meet in the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in London, to "treat, consent, and conclude upon certain difficult and urgent affairs mentioned in the said writ." The persons so summoned met in Convocation, and " agreed upon certain canons, orders, ordinances, and constitutions, to the end and purpose" by the king "limited and prescribed unto them ;" to which the king, out of his " princely inclination and royal care for the maintenance of the pre sent estate and government of the Church of England by the laws of this realm now settled and established," gave his royal assent by letters•patent, according to the form of the statute of the twenty-fifth year of King Henry VIII. The king, by his prerogative royal and 'supreme authority in causes ecclesiastical, com manded these said canons, orders, and constitutions to be diligently observed, executed, and kept by his loving subjects of the kingdom, both within the provinces of Canterbury and York, in all points wherein they do or may concern every or any of them ; and the king also com manded that every minister, by whatever name or title soever he be called, shall in the parish church or chapel where he hath charge read all the said canons, orders, ordinances, and constitutions once every year, upon some Sundays or holy days, in the afternoon before divine service The canons and constitutions may be divided into fourteen heads, which treat as follow :-1. Of the Church of England.

2. Of divine service, and administration of the sacraments. 3. Ministers, their ordination, function, and charge. 4. Schoolmasters. 5. Things appertaining to churches. 6. Churchwardens, or quest men, and side-men, or assistants. 7. Parish clerks. 8. Ecclesiastical Courts belonging to the archbishop's jurisdiction. 9. Ecclesiastical Courts belonging to the jurisdiction of bishops and archdeacons, and the proceedings in them. 10. Judges ecclesiastical and their surrogates. 11. Proctors. 12. Registrars. 13. Appari tors. 14. Authority of synods. The number of constitutions is one hundred and forty-one. The authority of these canons is binding on the clergy, but not on the laity, except so far as is stated under the head CANON, p. 446. The authority of Canon 77 may be doubted ; it is this : " No man shall teach, either in public school or private house, but such as shall be allowed by the bishop of the diocese, or ordinary of the place, under his hand and seal ; being found meet as well for his learning and dexterity in teaching, as for sober and honest conver sation, and also for right understanding of God's true religion ; and also except he shall first subscribe to the first and third articles afore mentioned simply, and to the first ten clauses of the second article." The 78th Canon provides that " curates desirous to teach shall be licensed before others ;" and 79 declares " the duty of schoohnasters." The.Constitutions and Canons Ecclesiastical have been printed by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London, 1841, together with the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England.