The present year is the anniversary not only of the death of Mary Tudor but also of the accession of her half-sister Elizabeth I to the throne of England. This opened the way for a Protestant restoration and a somewhat permanent settlement of the religious question. Apart from the Civil War and some regrettable schisms, this settlement has indeed lasted in its main features right up to the present time, and some of its characteristics will repay our closer study.
Elements Of Strength
On the credit side, it may be noticed that a firm doctrinal Protestantism was adopted with the acceptance of a revised version of the original Forty Two Articles of Cranmer. For a time, concessions were made to Lutheran opinion in respect of the Lord’s Supper, but these were abandoned later in the reign; and the final Thirty Nine Articles commit the Church of England to a distinctively Reformed position in all the disputed issues of the time. The wording of the Articles makes it clear that the counter-propositions of Trent were flatly rejected.
Again on the credit side, the liturgical practice readopted by the church was that of the 1552 Book of Common Prayer with its incontestable Reformed presuppositions. In keeping with the policy of Cranmer, a fixed liturgical form was maintained. This was almost inevitable at a time when so many of the available clergy could not be trusted to follow forms of their own devising, and it secured for the church many of the treasures of the past in a manner adapted to serve the edification of the present. Orderly, dignified and deeply spiritual worship was linked with evangelical truth and preaching in a happy combination which is the heart and strength of Anglicanism at its purest and best.
Third, the existing ...1
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